Use Gmail's hidden colored stars to better organize important emails

There's nothing like a nicely organized Gmail inbox to take the stress and worry out of your life. But there's one area of your email that may not be as well organized as it could be: Gmail's Starred section.

I love using stars in Gmail to remind me about important messages or emails I want to hold on to for later. Labels are great and all, but the immediacy of clicking that star is much better for me than setting up a bunch of filters or dragging and dropping messages into categories.


Look at all those fancy colored stars.

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How to use your favorite mobile messaging service on your PC

It’s ridiculous how many different mobile messaging services are out there right now. Looking at my own phone I’ve got Blackberry Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Line, and WhatsApp installed, all to communicate with different people in my life. Most of these services are mobile centric, but many of them have desktop counterparts too—making life easier when you’re stationed in front of your PC.

If you need to send and receive messages from your favorite mobile messenger on your PC here’s a list of the more popular services that offer official desktop counterparts.

WhatsApp: The Facebook-owned messaging service introduced a web app in January. It’s not an independent service, however. To use WhatsApp on the web your phone needs to have WhatsApp installed and be connected to the Internet while you’re using the web app. Check it out at

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Streamline keyboard shortcuts even more with Sticky Keys

I love keyboard shortcuts. They are incredibly useful, but sometimes they can be a little impractical. Especially when a key combo is particularly far apart on the keyboard (Alt + PrtScr I'm looking at you).

That's why it's handy to know about a Windows feature called Sticky Keys that lets you activate important keys including AltCtrlShift, and the Windows logo key with a single press. It's like Caps Lock for cut and paste.

We've talked about Sticky Keys before, but here's a little more detailed look at this handy feature.

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How to figure out if a website is down...or if it's just you

Internet access is a glorious thing—except for when it isn't. Sometimes it's an easy fix if you know how to solve Wi-Fi router problems, and other times the issue isn't so obvious, especially if it looks like your favorite site went down and took half the web with it.

If you need to figure out if a particular site is up and running or if the problem begins and ends with you, here's how.

Ping sites

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This trick can quickly fix many mysterious hardware failures

Every now and then something breaks on your computer. Maybe you get a bad system update from Microsoft or cosmic rays flip the wrong bit on your system. Whatever the cause, often your problem has nothing to do with hardware, but lies within the software powering it, instead.

This recently happened to me when a USB 3.0 port on my system suddenly stopped working. I wasn't sure how it happened, and when I looked into the problem Windows displayed its infamous "error code 43." Luckily, this problem can often be fixed in just a few clicks. Try this out before freaking out if one of your PC components suddenly stops working.

Device Manager

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UglyEmail reveals when senders secretly track your email activity, personal info

Advertising companies aren’t just tracking your web browsing habits—some marketers secretly monitor your email usage to discover a startling amount of information about you, too.

While senders are limited to only tracking specific messages they’ve sent to you, doing so can reveal whether you’ve opened the email or clicked any links in the message. It can also expose your general location and what kind of device you’re using.

If you’re curious about which messages are monitoring you and which one’s aren’t, a new extension for Chrome called UglyEmail can help. This extension—by developer Sonny Tulyaganov—monitors your inbox to find messages using pixel tracking. This is a common marketing technique where companies insert a transparent (and therefore invisible to you) one-pixel image into a message.

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SocialSafe automates social media backup

Most social networks have a mechanism that makes it easy to export all your status updates and photos, but figuring out how to do it isn't always simple. Plus you have to go through each social network one at a time.

If you're looking for an easier way to get most of your data out of the social networks check out SocialSafe. This desktop program is designed to back up your social data on your own PC and even lets you lock down your data with a password.


SocialSafe helps you download your social data for free.

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