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    How To Monitor Your Broadband Bandwidth Usage
    Late last week news broke that a pair of policy groups have petitioned the FCC to investigate bandwidth caps in the United States. The groups called AT&T’s new 150GB cap “a profit center” that isn’t linked to network congestion woes and called into question Comcast’s cap, which has held fast at 250GB since 2008 despite three years of network improvements. Now the FCC has to choose how to respond; hopefully the Commission will compare these bandwidth caps to the amount of traffic passing through each network and determine their fairness.

    a few tools ISPs offer to keep an eye on the restrictions they’ve put in place.

    How To Protect Your Privacy on Android Phones
    Users of Android phones know that Google's services are tightly integrated with the device. For most of us, that's all well and good. But in the wake of the iOS tracking incident, the recent data thefts from Sony's PlayStation Network, and now LastPass hacking, we have to wonder if it's not better to just opt out of some of these services. Android offers some ways to reduce your data exposure and increase the overall level of security and privacy. 



    How To Make Your Own Cinemagraphs: A New Take on GIFs
    We hate to break it to you, but it doesn't look as if GIFs are disappearing anytime soon. Those ancient animated images — once limited to   gaudy "under construction" signs and chain-mail fodder — are receiving a new lease on life as of late, thanks to a little something called  cinemagraphs.

    This is actually just a fancy name for an animated GIF, but specially designed with a purposeful artistic goal. One photographer, Fernando J Baez, describes the technique as "more than a photo, but not quite a video." The intent is to augment, or draw attention to, certain aspects of an image through localized animation — for example, a breeze blowing through a subject's hair — and masking the remainder of the animation to appear static. It's by no means a new phenomena, but the technique is a little more involved than creating your average meme-worthy GIF, and can produce some incredibly cool results.

    One of Jamie Beck's animated photographs, otherwise called a cinemagraph.
    Photoshop. That's because Adobe's powerful image manipulation software actually allows us to edit more than just images — there's support for certain video formats too, which is what we'll be using to create our final image. Sound good? Let's get started.

    How To Have Fun with Near Field Communication on Android
    At this juncture, we're all familiar with wireless communication technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But one wireless tool that is just starting to roll out to the mainstream is near field communication, or NFC. The first Android phone with NFC was the Nexus S last December. If you pick up a Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy S II, or the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, you will have NFC capabilities in your phone.    



    What iPhone's Location Tracking Means for You (and How to Protect Yourself)
    Like many of you, I woke up this morning to the news that my iPhone and 3G-enabled iPad have recorded every single location I’ve visited since last summer, when I installed iOS 4. If you’ve missed the story, Ars Technica has a typically thorough breakdown of the work done by a pair of security researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, and the implications of your iPhone recording your daily movements--or maybe just the cell towers your phone connects to as you move around.

    Either way, the upshot is the same: all iPhones running iOS 4.0 or higher periodically record the time and general location of the device using cell towers as a point of reference. As far as anyone can tell, this info is only stored on the phone (and in the phone’s backup on your Mac or PC) and is never transmitted to anyone, including Apple. 



    How To Repair a Headphone Cable and Replace a Jack Plug
    I think you'll agree, headphone cables break more often than we'd like. These tiny pieces of plastic, rubber and copper put up with a lot of stress, especially when used in conjunction with portable media players and during daily commutes. Walking down the street, twisting and curling the cable, seeking that magic sweet-spot that brings your left speaker back into play makes for a frustrating and wasteful trip to your local electronics emporium for a replacement.



    How To Easily Set Up Router QoS for VoIP, File Sharing, and Gaming
    Routers accept traffic from a lot of sources — laptops, consoles, phones and tablets, all jockeying for control of your bits and bytes. But it doesn’t take much to clog the pipes, and be it torrents or Team Fortress, keeping your bandwidth under control isn’t always easy.

    That’s why we’re going to show you how to configure a little something called Quality of Service for a smoother online experience. You can prioritize applications, throttle specific machines, and configure your whole house or apartment with multiple users and devices in mind — quelling data hogs and headaches at the same time.



    The Best Apps to Read Comic Books on Android
    One of the advantages of carrying a smart phone is that you can fill it with digital content to keep yourself entertained on the go. There is a robust e-book ecosystem on mobile platforms, but comics haven't reached quite the same level. That's not to say you don't have options. Whether you're looking for an all-in-one solution, or a more DIY option, Android has you covered.



    Barebones Android: The Features to Ditch for Maximum Battery Life
    That Android phone in your pocket does a lot of cool stuff, right? It's easy to get caught up in the fun of using your phone and lose track of the battery level. The last thing you want is a dead phone when you're not near a charger. Since today's mobile devices use juice even when they're just sitting in your pocket, you might want to take action.



    Backstabbed: 7 Brutal April Fools Pranks You Can Do Now!

    Welcome to the worst news day on the Internet. While every other site is busy posting fake news, the humorless bunch at Tested .com will be gluing people's mice to their desks and filling people's offices with styrofoam peanuts. Oh, and we're going to show you how to prank the hell out of your friends too.

    There are veritable cornucopia of killer pranks you can pull on your coworkers and friends. Everyone's heard of the old standbys, like plugging a spare wireless mouse in to someone's computer, then making their cursor go crazy throughout the day (for bonus points, control the mouse with your feet, so they won't catch your hand movements), the old tape over the mouse sensor trick, and the always classic desktop wallpaper instead of desktop--although we do have a killer variant of that one that will actually melt your brain. 

    Oh, and don't forget to lock your workstation (that's Win+L on Windows, but you can use LockTight to do the same thing on the OS X) any time you get up tomorrow, or risk being the fool, rather than the fool-er. Oh, you didn't prepare for your prankery before you came to work? Fear not, six outta seven pranks require no preparation.

    How To Find All Your Downloaded Music to Upload to Amazon's Cloud Drive
    Last night, Amazon pulled the wraps off of it's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. I love that the new service offers free online backup and streaming of songs you purchase from Amazon going forward, but the songs you've already purchased won't be automatically backed up. Nor will songs downloaded from other services, like eMusic or iTunes. Backing those tracks up should be easy using Amazon's new MP3 Uploader, right? It should be, but it isn't. If you're like us, your digital purchases are buried in your music library along with thousands of tracks ripped from CDs--and it will be a massive pain in the ass to dig them out, one file at a time. 
     

     
    How To Troubleshoot a Crash-Prone Android App
    The vast majority of the time, apps you download will work just as well on the 100th run as they did on the first. But there are times when things go awry. An app might be behaving itself, then spontaneously start force closing or failing to run at all. Android hides a lot of powerful functionality behind the scenes, and this is a time to break it out. 


     
    How To Build a Future-Proof $1500 Gaming PC
    Building a new gaming PC is much easier than you think. All you really need is a screwdriver and the eight components that make up a modern PC: CPU, motherboard, case, RAM, video card, storage drive, optical drive, and power supply. Picking out these components isn't so difficult either, since we've just seen product refreshes in the CPU and GPU markets that makes choosing those core parts a no-brainer. So when Jeff from Giant Bomb told us he was in the market to upgrade from his dated Core 2 machine, we seized the opportunity to spec out a reasonably-priced rig that would last a couple years and build it live to show you just how easy PCs are to assemble.


     
    Tested: Flash 10.2 for Android Taken for a Test Drive
    Prospective Honeycomb tablet buyers had a pretty serious frown on their faces recently when we found out that the Xoom wouldn't be shipping with Flash. Adobe had still not finished the Android version of Flash 10.2, which was required for Honeycomb but runs on phones too. The turnaround is looking not terribly bad, though. The final version of Flash 10.2 for Android is expected to be in the Market Friday, but you don't have to wait.

    The APK file has leaked, so we're going to give it a try and see what, if anything, has changed. 
     
    How to Properly Encode Video for Android Devices
    Android is still without an built-in video solution. That means you will be confronted with a painful reality should you adopt one of these devices, you will need to encode your own videos. Encoding your video in the first place is troubling, but knowing what settings to use for your Android device can end up a nightmare. 


     
    Hack Removes Dock Requirement for Atrix's Webtop
    In case you forgot, the Motorola Atrix is one beast of a mobile phone. But speedy, dual-core processor aside, there's one particular feature that first caught our eye back at CES — Webtop. Connect the Atrix to its optional multimedia dock or laptop attachement and you can launch a separate, desktop-style operating system, complete with mouse and keyboard support. In fact, Webtop runs very similarly to a fully-fledged computer — but with a few caveats. 

    simply does not work over vanilla HDMI. Those who want Webtop functionality are required to purchase one of Motorola's expensive accessories. But if the world of custom ROMs and Android hacks has taught us anything, it's that in this community, nothing stays locked for long.