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Simone Giertz Laser Cuts Her Secret Santa Gift!

For the Reddit Secret Santa exchange this past holiday, Simone made a custom laser-cut star map using some internet searching, vector drawing, and laser cutting at the Tested office. She walks us through her one-day project so you can make one too!

Shop Tips: How To Properly Clean Your Paint Brushes

Frank shows us his workflow and tips for keeping his paint brushes clean after using them, including what cleaners to use and how different types of brushes can be treated differently. Whether you run a large workshop or just work out of your garage, we want to hear your shop tips that you rely on in your projects. Post them in the comments below!

Google Play App Roundup: System Panel 2, Soul Knight, and PixelTerra

Your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new, and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

System Panel 2

Sometimes you need to know what's going on inside your phone, and System Panel is one of the apps that helps you do that. However, the original System Panel app hasn't been updated in ages. Now, there's a new version available in the Play Store. It's actually a completely new listing and rewritten app. That means you'll have to buy it again if you had the original.

There will be some concern over the new version so I'll just point out the original System Panel was supported for about 6 years. That's not bad for an app people spent a buck on. The new one has better support for modern versions of Android and has a vastly improved UI. However, changes to the way Android works will limit your ability to track and manage running processes (you shouldn't be "managing" them anyway). You need root access for System Panel 2 to access these tools.

Even without root, there are a lot of cool things to do in System Panel 2. On the main screen you have a dashboard of your phone's current activity. At the top are read-outs of what's going on with your processor, RAM, storage, battery, and network connection. Below that is a historic graph of battery charge and CPU usage. This can be useful troubleshooting an app or performance issues. At the bottom is a panel showing how many apps you have installed, and your device's ID.

Tapping on any of the panels in the main app UI will open additional information. For the top few, you'll get the live streamed data with additional information. Opening the history panel (also accessible from the nav menu) lets you drill down into more historical stats. The device ID panel gives you access to system information like reported specs, network conditions, and location data.

The app manager is one of the most interesting parts of System Panel 2, I think. It has sections for your installed apps, system apps, archived apps, and a permission list. Tapping on any app in the list shows you the package name, install date, last update date, and more. You can archive any app, saving the APK for the current version. The APK is placed on your SD card in a simple folder hierarchy so it's easy to find. With archived apps, you can compare the package stats using the drop down in the app details screen. You can, of course, install those old APKs or export them elsewhere. Note: paid apps can be archived, but the licensing will prevent them from working on devices without a valid account license.

System Panel 2 is still in beta, but it seems really solid for what it is. I'd like to see some widgets, and a few alternative data filters might be nice. If you need a system info app, this one is a good choice and it's free. If you want to remove the ads, it's a $1.99 in-app purchase.

Crossing the Pond with Stuart Bray - Episode 57 - 1/20/17
Today's guest is on loan to us from the UK - Stuart Bray. Stuart has lent his talent in special effects and prostethics to such big budget features as Shaun of the Dead, The Mummy Returns and Gladiator. He's also worked on such iconic small screen shows like Game of Thrones, Waking The Dead (not to be confused with The Walking Dead), Hex and Doctor Who. He also has a fantastic blog at LearnMakeupEffects.com and his own podcast called Battles with Bits of Rubber. If you're digging this podcast, please head over to http://www.patreon.com/creaturegeek and support us with a few bucks.
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We Ditch Gas Stations and Go Full Electric with Chevy Bolt

We ditch the gas station and go full electric with the Chevy Bolt, the new electric vehicle that just hit the roads. Our own Jeremy Williams picked up the Bolt as his first EV, and we go for a ride and test drive to learn about his experience driving it for a few weeks.