Cortana for Android and iOS will disappear in multiple markets soon

Microsoft plans to stop supporting the Cortana mobile app in select markets starting in early 2020, the company quietly revealed on its support website. It’s unclear how broadly the app will be removed — based on Microsoft’s message, it will happen in at least three countries. Microsoft’s personal assistant will remain available on Windows 10, of course. Cortana is Microsoft’s … Continue reading

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

The 10 best gadgets for your next family trip

If you’re planning on traveling anywhere with children in tow, you best be darn sure to be prepared. As a family, you want your time in transit and sleeping away from home to be a part of the adventure, not a traumatic series of tantrums. 

Along with lots of patience, technology can assist you. We’re highlighting 10 excellent gadgets that can help entertain, comfort and even inspire your little ones whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or car. 

1. Comfortable kids’ headphones

Try CozyPhones, $18.97

Headphones are a no-brainer for most trips, since many kids will play games or watch movies or shows on a portable device and parents don’t want to hear it all. For kids, especially young ones, try a pair of CozyPhonesRead more…

More about Travel, Headphones, Small Humans, Tech, and Consumer Tech

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

5 of the Best Chromebooks You Can Buy in 2019

best-chromebook-feature.jpgThe first Chromebooks hit the public in 2011. Since then, various manufacturers have released devices running Chrome OS. Despite being on the market for close to a decade, they are still somewhat misunderstood devices. Many people who initially wrote them off as glorified netbooks are now starting to pay attention to them, as they have the backing of trusted brands and sport very attractive price tags. Furthermore, the adoption of Chromebooks in schools around the U.S. has made them very popular with young people. What are our top picks for the best Chromebooks of 2019? Read on to find out. Related: What Is a Chromebook,… Read more

MakeTechEasier?i=tADUW2JWWgM:DyTtDSH0K0w MakeTechEasier?i=tADUW2JWWgM:DyTtDSH0K0w MakeTechEasier?i=tADUW2JWWgM:DyTtDSH0K0w MakeTechEasier?d=qj6IDK7rITs MakeTechEasier?i=tADUW2JWWgM:DyTtDSH0K0w MakeTechEasier?i=tADUW2JWWgM:DyTtDSH0K0w

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

How to Become a Great Facebook Group Admin

Facebook-groups-featured-image.jpgIf you own a business, run a non-profit, or have something similar that you want to spread a message about, Facebook is a great place to do it. With nearly 2.5 billion users, you can get great results from the social media platform. There are two ways to do this: you can start a Page or a Group. Facebook pages are visible to everyone online, not just on Facebook, and are discoverable through search engines. These are useful if you want people to get information about your topic. Facebook users can become fans and interact with your posts. Facebook groups allow users to get more… Read more

MakeTechEasier?i=7WT7El10Yko:NiOgOb19Plo MakeTechEasier?i=7WT7El10Yko:NiOgOb19Plo MakeTechEasier?i=7WT7El10Yko:NiOgOb19Plo MakeTechEasier?d=qj6IDK7rITs MakeTechEasier?i=7WT7El10Yko:NiOgOb19Plo MakeTechEasier?i=7WT7El10Yko:NiOgOb19Plo

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

Google will now tell you how you’ve been mispronouncing words your entire life

Good news if you’re a fan of being constantly corrected by technology about everything you’ve been doing wrong your entire life: Google will now be able to to tell you what words you’ve been mispronouncing.

Best of all, it’s pretty easy to do so. Simply go to Google on your phone or computer, type, “How do you pronounce [word]” in the search bar, and click. Google will provide you with an audio clip of that word’s correct pronunciation.  

Where is Google is getting its pronunciations from? The Oxford English Dictionary? Webster’s? It’s not listed, so we reached out to Google for additional information.  Read more…

More about Google, Pronunciation, Sea Anemone, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

Supreme Court to hear copyright case pitting Google against Oracle


The Supreme Court today announced it will take up the longstanding copyright dispute between Google and Oracle.

The decision to hear the case marks a temporary win for Google, which in January petitioned the court to intervene in the 9-year-old court battle.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to review the case and we hope that the Court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability in American competitiveness,” Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs said in a statement. “Developers should be able to create applications across platforms and not be locked into one company’s software.”

The dispute centers on Google using the Oracle-owned programming language Java as the backbone of its widely used Android operating system. Google has argued the language is considered “fair use” and thus exempted from certain copyright protections.

Oracle contends the opposite and wants Google to pay for using technology it owns. A federal appeals court ruled in Oracle’s favor last year. Oracle is asking for $9 billion in damages.

“We are confident the Supreme Court will preserve long established copyright protections for original software and reject Google’s continuing efforts to avoid responsibility for copying Oracle’s innovations,” Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our arguments, which have been embraced by the Solicitor General and the Federal Circuit.”

Google previously sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case in 2014 after a circuit court ruled Oracle’s code was protected by copyright laws. That request was denied.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

The 5 Best Note-Taking Apps for Android

Google Keep Android App Laying on RockJustin Duino

Forgetting a great idea is frustrating, and having paper and pen nearby is not always an option. But your phone is always on you, so why not take advantage of that with a great note-taking app?

What do you Need in a Note-Taking App?

Everyone’s note-taking needs are different—what a student will find invaluable when taking notes during class could be cumbersome to the person walking down the street trying to write down that great joke they just thought of. Here are a few things to think about to help you decide which app is best for you.

  • Organization Options: If you think something is important enough to write down, chances are you’ll want to be able to find it later. Organization options can be anything from folders, hashtags, to even simple color coordination—but they must be there.
  • Input Methods: Having more options is always welcome, even if you think just having typed notes is fine. And being able to do things like record audio or handwrite notes could be more useful than you think.
  • Cross-Platform Support: Even if you primarily use Android, being able to access your notes on other devices will be something that comes in handy and could even prove vital.
  • Design: The app should be easy to use and navigate, but the design should also work for what you need. Whether that means a straightforward layout for the fastest access possible to note creation or having all your options presented to you at all times.

With a large number of note-taking apps available on the Play Store today, there’s most likely an app that fits your needs. Let’s take a took at five of the best available today.

Best for Most People: Google Keep

Google KeepGoogle

Keep is a great all-around note-taking app, and will feel familiar to Android users. Since it’s a Google product, your notes automatically sync with your account, making them accessible from any device. Keep also follows the design and look used throughout the Android operating system and Google’s other apps, making the app simple to use. However, that doesn’t mean it skimps out on additional features.

Aside from keyboard input, Keep offers a few different ways of taking notes. Handwritten notes are available for those missing their old pocket notepad. Audio notes can be recorded and auto-transcribed by Google’s speech-to-text software if you prefer to talk out your thoughts. Notes can be directly linked to reminders, making Keep useful for keeping track of your appointments. Finally, checklists round off the note-types for simple list-making and planning.

All of your notes appear on the app’s home page and can be color-coded to make more important notes stand out. And for further organization, “Labels” allow for grouping multiple notes together.

Keep may not specialize in any one thing, but it’s simple, feature-rich design and Google account syncing make Keep great for most Android users. Keep is included on all Android devices out of the box, so it should definitely be the first thing you try if you’re looking for a note-taking app.


Best for Short Notes: Simple Notes Pro

Simple Notes ProSimple Mobile Tools

When it comes to those ideas that feel like they leave your head five seconds after entering, a note-taking app with a lot of features and options suddenly becomes a note-taking app with a lot of obstacles. In those moments, simplicity rules high—and Simple Notes Pro certainly lives up to its name.

Upon opening the app, you will see a new, blank note (after your first time opening the app, it opens to your last-opened note). This makes having a single, long-running note always open the quickest way to write something down. You can also create a widget of notes for even faster access.

The app does allow you to make multiple notes if you need it for organizational reasons, and swapping between notes is quick with either swipe to the left or right at the top of your screen, or you can tap the folder icon in the top-right corner to get a full list of all your notes.

The look of the app can be fully customized with options to change the color of the background, text, header, and even the app’s icon.

At the time of writing, there are two versions of Simple Notes available: a free one and a paid “Pro” version. The free one is still available on the Play Store but just had its development discontinued—meaning the app will not be receiving any bugfixes or improvements in the future—something that will only become more of a problem as time goes on. So, if Simple Notes sounds right for what you need, it’s best to bite the bullet and pay $1.19 for the “Pro” version.


Best for Longer Notes: Keep My Notes

Keep My NotesLiteWhite

If you find yourself writing multi-paragraph notes regularly and want something with a few more options than the apps mentioned so far, Keep My Notes is an app you should try. It features rich text formatting, which means you can strikethrough, underline, highlight, bolden, or italicize text—using these can help make longer notes easier to read. You can also put notes into a “read” mode, so that way notes can be read without accidentally making edits. Word and character counters can also be enabled.

The app also offers checklists, reminders, handwritten notes, and audio notes. If you need to transfer your notes to other devices, you can upload them to Google Drive or save them directly to your device as a text document. And, if you’re concerned about privacy, you can lock any note behind a password.

Keep My Notes is free but does have occasional ads—if you want them gone, you’ll need to get the no-ads subscription, which costs $0.99 a year.


Best for Power Users: Evernote

EvernoteEvernote Corporation

Evernote is a well-known note-taking app that is brimming with features. For the person who will write long notes and needs all the customization options of an app like Google Docs, Evernote is an invaluable productivity tool. Video, audio, and handwritten notes are all available. And even for standard text notes, text formatting and attachment options allow for much deeper note-taking than other apps. There are over 50 in-built templates ranging from budget management to weight-loss tracking, along with the ability to create your own.

Notes can be organized into separate notebooks, and tags can also be applied, which allows you to find a note on a specific topic quickly.

You will likely not use every feature Evernote has to offer, but if you need to do note-taking on your phone a level above most others, Evernote is the right choice for you.

Evernote has a free version available, but it is limited; notes are limited to 25 MB, you have a monthly upload limit of 60 MB, and you can only have two devices on a single account. There is a premium subscription for $7.99 a month, which raises the monthly cloud data cap from 60 MB to 10 GB, allows for unlimited devices, and grants full offline access to notes—this is what most people use and what we recommend getting if you want more out of the app. There is also the business plan, which adds many features focused around office work and sharing notes and documents, which is $14.99 a month.


Best for Students: Microsoft OneNote


OneNote primarily aims for that same power user crowd that Evernote does, holding many of the same features and options. However, OneNote does have a few advantages over Evernote when it comes to students. Features such as being able to embed images or articles into notes can be useful for research and presentations. And, with direct integration with Office365—something most students can get for free through Office365 Education using their student email—OneNote can be used with other Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel (for example, making a table in OneNote and then converting it to an Excel spreadsheet). Office365 also allows for cloud storage, meaning you can switch between note-taking on your phone and laptop without an issue.

If you’re a student and are already using many of Microsoft’s other applications for your school-work, OneNote will feel familiar and will still give you all features you’d find in other high-end note-taking apps.


Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.

Opera’s latest browser update will show you how much you’re being tracked

dims?crop=1800%2C1212%2C0%2C0&quality=85With its previous release, Opera unveiled a tracker blocker for its browser that sped it up by up to 20 percent and offered more privacy, to boot. With the latest version, you’ll be able to see a list of those trackers to get an idea of just how ofte…

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.