How to get (mostly) stock Android on your phone easily with CyanogenMod

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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There's a lot to love about Android, but one problem that plagues the mobile platform is the variety of different interface skins. Samsung has TouchWiz, HTC does the Sense UI, Asus has Zen UI, and on and on it goes.

If you're tired of all the nonsense and just want stock Android you have two options: Buy a device among the limited selection of Google Play Edition devices or install a new Android ROM that brings your phone or tablet to a vanilla state.

Today, we're going to explore that second option by installing CyanogenMod, the ROM pre-installed on the OnePlus One, using Cyanogen's almost one-click installer for Windows.

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Three warning signs that email is malicious

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Email spam filtering is far better than it used to be. There was a time when nearly every scam email would land in your inbox. Thankfully that's not the case anymore—especially if you're a Gmail user.

But no system is perfect. Every now and then a scam message will manage to slip into your inbox. But how do you know when you're looking at a scam or not?

Here are three basic tip-offs you can look for to figure out whether you're looking at an email with dishonest intentions. They're hardly an exhaustive list, but more often than not one of these tips will save you from getting suckered.

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How to make webmail your default email in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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How many times have you clicked an email address on a webpage instead of copying it only to accidentally start Outlook or another desktop mail client?

Who uses desktop mail clients anymore? Well, I do, but that's another story. Many people these days are just keeping all their email in web-based services like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo Mail.

When you click an email address your browser is handing off responsibility for a special kind of link, called mailto, to a desktop program.

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Automate your morning programs with Windows Task Scheduler

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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One of the best parts of owning a PC isn't downloading videos, sending email, or playing games. If you ask me, the best tool for your computer is automation. Get it to do some of the mundane things you need to get done in the day or that make your work life just a little bit easier.

One way to do that is to use the built-in Task Scheduler for Windows. A simple, but also strangely satisfying use for Task Scheduler is to fire up all the programs you need to get going during your morning work routine.

In our case, we'll use Excel, Firefox, and Skype as examples. The only thing to keep in mind is that you must be logged in for Task Scheduler to work. If you shut down your PC or log out every night, you'll want to make sure Task Scheduler is set to go to work after you login.

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Two Google scheduling tricks to keep you organized in the fall

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Ah, the back-to-school season. There's no other time of the year that simultaneously strikes fear, dread, and excitement into the hearts of students and parents across the country.

On the fear and dread side, part of the problem is staying organized while getting used to a brand new schedule, new schools, new teachers...new everything.

Just as the year gets into full swing, now is a good time to remind you about two great tools baked into Google.com that can help keep everything in order.

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How to clear absolutely everything off your desktop in Windows 8.1

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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I'd bet that if you polled 10 PC users on the best way to use the desktop on Windows you'd get 11 different answers. How to use the desktop is one of the most personal choices each PC user makes. We've already covered ways desktop hoarders can better manage files that cover up their wallpaper, for example.

Today, we're going to look at a method to keep your desktop as spartan as possible so that all you see when you boot up your PC is a pristine background image.

Here's how to do it in Windows 8.1.

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Three ways to use BitTorrent Sync to share your files without the cloud

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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On Tuesday, BitTorrent (the company) launched Sync 1.4, a brand new version of its peer-to-peer file syncing app that makes sharing folders with others a breeze. We have an in-depth hands-on with Sync 1.4 that will teach you how to use the app if you’re not familiar with it.

But since this new version means Sync isn’t just for power users anymore, I thought I’d offer three interesting ways you could use the new app to share photos, trade notes, and sync music across all your devices.

Just keep in mind two crucial points: any device you’re sharing files with must have Sync 1.4 installed (mobile or PC). Second, both devices must be turned on at the same time for Sync to work since files are not stored on a third-party server (like Google Drive, or Dropbox), but shared between devices over an encrypted peer-to-peer file sharing network.

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