Upgrade Your Life
  • Notifications on your phone – a buzz, a beep, a pop-up alert – are fine if you actually want them, like when you get a new text. But what about all those annoying notifications? Do you really want to be interrupted every time an old high school friend posts something inane on Facebook? Good news: Turning off or limiting notifications on your smartphone is easy. Watch the video above to see how.

    On iPhones

    Go first to “Settings” then “Notifications.” Then scroll down through each IOS feature and app and turn off the ones that are annoyances rather than useful alerts. You can also tweak how they appear – as banners on top as pop-ups in the center of the screen. You can even decide if you want them to appear when the phone is locked. Again, the video above shows where in the menus to find these options.

    On Android phones

    On newer models go into settings, notifications and then turn off the annoying ones. On older versions of Android, you may need to first launch the offending app, then hit

    Read More »from Stop Annoying Phone “Notifications”
  • We’ve fallen in love with activity monitors like the FitBit and Nike Fuel Band that track your steps and graph how many calories you burn. The quantified life provides insight that can lead to healthier behavior. But would a gadget that tracks how much you drink work the same way?

    The BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer – How it Works

    The $150 BACtrack connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Then you just download the app, enter your gender and weight – and blow into the hand-held device. It gives you a blood alcohol reading that is then saved in your phone. Less expensive (and less accurate) personal breathalyzers utilize a semiconductor sensor, but the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer uses a professional-grade, fuel cell sensor, the same technology used by law enforcement. That said, no breathalyzer is 100% accurate – defense attorneys routinely challenge their validity in court (blood tests are the gold standard). But while I wouldn’t bet my license – or someone’s life – on this device, it

    Read More »from Smartphone Device Tracks and SHARES Your Blood Alcohol Level
  • Which of these passwords is harder to crack?

    DOG!(!(!(!(!(! or PrXyc5NFn4k77

    Amazingly, it’s the easier-to-remember password. Watch the video above to find out why – and what it means for your password security.

    [Related: Is it Safe To Bank on Public Wi-Fi? How Not To Get Hacked! ]

    Password tricks


    Make passwords more secure:

    * Add letters: Since there are 26 letters in the alphabet, one additional letter can make your password much harder to crack.
    * Use a mix of lower and uppercase letters: Mixing up your cases adds complexity and safety to your chosen password.
    * Add numbers: Using letters, words, and phrases for your passwords seems both natural and easy to remember, but it's much safer to diversify.
    * Add symbols: Symbols are the real secret ingredient to security. Since there are over 1500 symbols a hacking program needs to run through to correctly lock down one character of your password, adding one extra asterisk or exclamation point can make it dramatically more difficult for

    Read More »from Trick for Safer, Easier-to-Remember Passwords

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  • 10 Things to Know for Today
    10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

  • Obama to GOP: 'Stop just hating all the time'
    Obama to GOP: 'Stop just hating all the time'

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Pointing the finger at Republicans for congressional inaction, President Barack Obama chided lawmakers Wednesday for spending the waning days before their month-long summer break trying to sue him rather than addressing economic issues that could boost the middle class.

  • Russia ordered to pay another $2.5 bln for Yukos

    The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ordered Russia to pay out another 1.9 billion euros ($2.5 billion) to a group of shareholders of Yukos, the oil company the government dismantled over a decade ...

  • Afghan election resolution inches forward with audit deal

    Afghanistan's floundering attempts to declare a winner of its presidential election inched forward Thursday with a deal allowing an audit of all votes to restart, but the United Nations warned of the risk of further delays. Alleged fraud during the June 14 election has plunged the country into a crisis as US-led troops wind down their war against Taliban insurgents and President Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after ruling since 2001. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the two poll rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, had finally agreed how the massive audit would separate fraudulent ballots from genuine votes. As the deepening stand-off threatened to spark a return to the ethnic violence of the 1992-1996 civil war, US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Kabul earlier this month and persuaded the two opponents to agree to the audit.

  • Kurdish oil cargo unloaded at sea, destination a mystery

    By Keith Wallis SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. The United Emblem, which is carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil, is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales. The Kurdistan Regional Government filed a letter with the Texas court arguing its sales are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.

  • Carnage in war-torn Gaza as strike hits packed market
    Carnage in war-torn Gaza as strike hits packed market

    They had ventured out in their hundreds to stock up on provisions during a rare lull in the fighting in Gaza, and were crowded into Shejaiya market when Wednesday's explosions hit. "We've been here for four hours waiting to buy bread.

  • The ‘Netflix for pirates’ is coming soon to an iPhone near you
    The ‘Netflix for pirates’ is coming soon to an iPhone near you

    Those unencumbered by guilt and happy to steal movies instead of paying to see them will be glad to learn that the latest and greatest movie-pirating tool is coming soon to an iPhone and iPad near you. Hot on the heels of the release of an app called TorrenTV that uses Popcorn Time’s code to stream torrents to an Apple TV or Roku box, the team behind Popcorn Time confirmed that an Apple TV streaming feature has been added to its own app. More interestingly, however, the team has confirmed that it will soon launch an iOS version of its popular app. “Our ultimate goal is to bring Popcorn Time to every platform, operating system and device that can play videos, so Airplay

  • State Dept: 'No American is proud' of CIA tactics
    State Dept: 'No American is proud' of CIA tactics

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.

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