Useful and overdue swipe gestures come to Chrome for iOS

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Matt Elliott/CNET

A Chrome for iOS update in April introduced pull-down gestures that made it easy to open a new tab or close the current tab when browsing on your iPhone. That was, however, the extent of Chrome’s gestures for the iPhone. Chrome still forced you to tap the forward- and back-arrow buttons to navigate pages while Safari let you swipe to navigate forward and backward.

With an update yesterday, Chrome now supports swipe gestures on the iPhone to navigate forward and backward. Specifically, swipe right to go back a page and swipe left to go forward. The arrow buttons still remain in the upper-left corner, so you can continue to tap them if you are so inclined. But if Chrome auto-updated and you missed the introduction of the newest gestures, you can do less tapping and more swiping if that’s how you’d like to navigate Chrome on your iPhone.

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Samsung Galaxy A8 seduces with silky smooth, all-metal body (hands-on)

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Finally, a multifunction inkjet printer with low-cost ink refills

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Open programs with keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

There are myriad ways to open programs in Windows 10 — use the Start menu/screen, pin shortcuts to the taskbar, or use Cortana.

But if hands-free isn’t your thing, you can also use keyboard shortcuts. Here’s how to create keyboard shortcuts for programs and apps in Windows 10 (this also works in older versions of Windows).

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

1. Open the Start menu/screen, and click All apps.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

2. Find the app you want to create a keyboard shortcut for and right-click it. A dropdown menu will appear. If you see the option Open file location, click it and skip the next step. If you do not see the option Open file location, you’re looking at either a native Windows 10 app or an app from the Windows Store – move on to step 3.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

3. If the app you want to create a keyboard shortcut for is a native Windows 10 app, click it and drag it from the Start menu onto the desktop to create a desktop shortcut. Right-click the desktop shortcut and click Properties.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

4. A Properties window will open. Under the Shortcut tab, you should see a line that says Shortcut key. Click the textbox next to this line and then tap the desired shortcut key on your keyboard. The new shortcut will appear as Ctrl + Alt + [Key]. Click Apply (an ‘Access Denied’ window may pop up – click Continue to grant admin privileges and complete the operation).

5. Use your new keyboard shortcut to open up the program or app.

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How to import bookmarks into Edge

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

The first step to making Microsoft Edge feel like your primary browser is to import your bookmarks. Luckily, importing bookmarks into Edge is super simple…if you already have your bookmarks saved in a different browser that’s currently installed on your Windows 10 PC. That’s right — at the moment, Edge only supports bookmark importation from other browsers — not from HTML files.

Import bookmarks from another browser

If you have another browser installed on your PC, you can import bookmarks from that browser directly into Edge.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

1. Open Edge and click the button to open the main menu. At the bottom of the main menu, click Settings to open the settings sidebar.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

2. Click Import favorites from another browser.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

3. Choose the browser or browsers from the list of compatible browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox all work) and then click Import. After a few seconds, your bookmarks should appear in Edge.

Import bookmarks from an HTML file

Unlike other browsers, Edge does not currently support the ability to import bookmarks from an HTML file. This means you can’t export your bookmarks from another browser (perhaps on another computer) to an HTML file and then transfer them over to Edge.

If you want to import bookmarks from an HTML file, you can do so by first importing them into a compatible browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox). Then, open up Edge and import the newly imported bookmarks directly from that browser.

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An affordable 4K TV with an excellent picture

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Pricey curved sound bar fills narrow niche

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Find open hotspots with WifiMapper


Nicole Cozma/CNET

Using a mobile hotspot means that you’ll have Internet access on your tablet or laptop when you leave home or work. But what if you don’t have signal, or you forget your hotspot on your desk? That’s when you may be looking for an open hotspot out in the wild, and WifiMapper — newly available on Android — is just the app to get the job done.

While there are several precautions you’ll want to take before using a public Wi-Fi connection, if you absolutely need to, this app can save you from having to drive around looking for a good connection. The added benefit of comments from Foursquare and other users of the app help you find the right hotspot. Here’s how to get started:

  • Grab a copy of WifiMapper for your Android or iOS device. Make sure you’re using the app provided in the link for your device type, created by OpenSignal, as there are several apps with the same name.
WifiMapper map of hotspots.
Nicole Cozma/CNET

  • The app will show you a map of your current location, as well as list of nearby hotspots. The hotspots with a gray Wi-Fi signal in the oval require a password, while the green-colored ones are open/free. You can move the map around to look at other areas of your city, or even search by city name at the top of the screen.
  • If you’re within range of a free hotspot, you can tap the Connect button to the right of its name. (iOS users will need to tap the name of the connection first.) When a password is required for a connection, you’ll be presented with a prompt to enter it.
Hotspot information in the WifiMapper app.
Nicole Cozma/CNET

  • Once you tap on a hotspot name, you’ll see a bit more information about it. If you want to leave a comment, you’ll need to log in with Google+ (Android) or Facebook (iOS). Foursquare users can look up a location through their app and leave comments there.

Using public Wi-Fi connections isn’t ideal, but they are useful if you’re trying to do something like kill time before an appointment, or on a road trip. What do you think of the WifiMapper app? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Stop your gadgets from keeping you awake at night

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Josh Miller/CNET

Have a hard time falling asleep? It might be time to stop falling asleep with your gadgets. Study after study after study has shown that light given off by electronics affects our sleep health.

The consensus is that the blue light that LED screens give off can slow or halt the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals our brain that it’s time for bed.

Without melatonin, we stay awake and alert, keeping us up later than intended. If you really want to get deep on this topic, read up on retinal ganglion cells, the sensors in our eyes that may be to blame for this phenomenon.

The simplest solution is to shy away from your phone or tablet before bed. But what if you can’t give up late-night Netflix sessions on your tablet, or thumbing through Instagram on your phone? Here’s help to stave off some of the negative effects of your screen addiction.

Apps for your weary eyes

Several apps have made it easy to battle the dreaded blue light using a warm red filter that changes the color temperature of your screen.

Flux adapts your device’s screen to the time of day, changing the hue of your screen when the sun sets. The subtle orange-red filter is easier on the eyes and automatically disappears when the sun rises again in the morning. Once you set up Flux, it runs in the background and adjusts based on your location and the time of year. The app is available for free for Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS devices and it’s easy to install.

The only catch is that on iPhones, iPads and iPods, you’ll need to jailbreak your device to use Flux, which can be a tedious and intimidating process that can void your warranty, so proceed with caution.

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Twilight adjusts your screen temperature to block out blue light.
Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Also free, Twilight works a lot like Flux, but it’s built for Android devices. You get a bit more control with the app over the hue and intensity, using sliders in the app to adjust the color from deep red to pale yellow. You can opt for Twilight to stay on at all times, set specific times for it to run or let it work automatically, by coming on and shutting off with the setting and rising of the sun.

Finally, e-book subscription service Oyster recently added a nighttime setting called Lumin to its iOS and Android apps that counteracts blue light. With it turned on, your screen color will adjust over time, going from a soft amber in the early evening to a deeper amber at night. Since many dedicated e-readers don’t have a similar red-hued night mode, Oyster is a good alternative for reading books at night.

Hardware help

Software isn’t the only tool you can use to fight the dreaded blue light. There are a few external products promising to help too.

Though they are hardly fashionable, some research suggests wearing glasses with amber- or orange-colored lenses can block out blue light. These are usually sold as safety goggles and you can pick them up at most hardware stores or online for a couple bucks. They have an added benefit of blocking out blue light from your entire environment, including house lights and your TV.

You can also opt for a screen protector that combats blue light from your screen at all times. There are several options out there, and the highest-rated ones are from Tech Armor for the iPad and iPhone. These work just like other screen protectors, though reviews are mixed on how well they block out blue light.

Shut off and go to sleep

Despite all these efforts, some studies suggest that simply staring at a screen before bed, whether it’s giving off blue light or not, can keep you awake longer. Bright light in our environment can signal our brains to stay alert and we get a direct dose of it by looking at a phone or computer. Do yourself a favor and put down your tablet or phone at least 1 hour before bed — it could help you get a more restful night of sleep.

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Let Pocket read your clipped articles aloud

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Pocket’s new text-to-speech feature is just two taps away.
Read It Later, Inc.

There are few apps I prize as much as
Pocket
. I use the browser bookmarklet constantly to “clip” Web articles I want to read later, and the app to read those articles — all beautifully reformatted for mobile viewing — on my phone or tablet.

Of course, Pocket doesn’t do me much good if I’m in the car, working in the kitchen or otherwise unable to hold my device and focus my eyes.

That’s why this news rocks: Pocket for iOS now offers a text-to-speech option that lets you listen to your clipped stories. (Android users have enjoyed the same feature since way back in 2012. Better late than never?)

To access the option, first hit the App Store on your device and make sure to update Pocket to the latest version (5.6.7 as of this writing).

Next, run the app, open any article you want to hear, then tap the More icon (represented by three dots). Then just tap “Listen (TTS)” and the audio will start immediately. At the same time, you’ll see a player toolbar with the usual Play/Pause/Shuttle buttons.

There’s also a slider at the bottom that lets you adjust reading speed. I found the default speed a little fast, but one notch down was just right.

The female, Siri-like voice is a little on the robotic side — to be expected — but at least “she” uses the proper inflection and pauses around punctuation. It’s not a perfect listening experience, but it’s pretty darn good.

Indeed, this is a great way to enjoy long-form articles while you’re driving or just want to give your eyes a screen break. Pocket was already awesome; now it’s even better.

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