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    The New Complete Guide to Backing Up Your Android Phone

    Google has had more than a enough time to develop some sort of unified backup solution for Android. They haven't, and we don’t expect them to ever do it. Google, and by extension Android, are about the Cloud. A lot of the data on your device ends up in Google’s servers, ready to be pushed back down to your device should you ever need it. But for the data that isn’t handled by Google, you’re on your own.

    A year ago we went over how to backup your Android phone, and it’s about time we revisited the issue. Technology marches on, things change, apps fall behind, and new services appear. Read on to find out what you can backup and how to do it.

    The Best Apps and Services to Find Your Lost Android Phone

    Quick! Check your pocket. Is your phone there? Is it supposed to be? If your Android handset has gone missing there are a number of useful apps you can use to find it again. Depending on the gravity of the situation you can pinpoint its location, make it ring, lock it down, or even wipe the device if it isn’t coming back.

    There are quite a few apps on the Market that purport to handle this functionality for you. Some are free, some cost a few bucks up front, and some require a subscription. Join us as we talk about four of the top apps and service to find your phone.

    How To Diagnose and Repair Basic Network Connection Problems

    Home networking equipment has reached a point of such ubiquity that it will soon be counted among common household appliances such as your TV, microwave and refrigerator. Unfortunately, it seems that the extent of most people's troubleshooting knowledge ends with rebooting their router and whining at the closest person they consider their personal tech support representative. This guide aims to provide a series of tools which can help you repair problems yourself, thus alleviating the pressure placed on those around you with any tech knowledge at all.

    We've covered networking before, I won't be detailing tips for improving your Wi-Fi network, or configuring your router. Instead, let’s take a look at some common tools you can use in administrating your own home network.

    How to Troubleshoot Common Android Market Errors

    Google has worked hard to make the Android Market more usable in the last few months. The phone client is easier to navigate, and the web Market has totally changed the way people install applications. But despite all the improvements, there are still some confusing bugs and limitations people run into.

    We’re going to go over some of the most common Android Market issues, and give you a rundown of potential fixes.

    How To Move Your Apps and User Files to a Secondary Drive

    One of the obvious benefits of having multiple hard drives is that you have more than one place to put all your stuff. In most cases, this involves creating a couple of ad-hoc folders for music or games on a secondary drive — folders that live outside your traditional home directory. But what if you’d prefer to keep everything in one place? More importantly, what if you want to move your user files or applications to another drive entirely?

    The benefit here is not only speed, but reliability. If your boot disk fails, all your files are stored safely on another drive for a speedy recovery. And for those using solid-state disks, you can free up space and keep only the necessities for a speedy OS. It beats messing about with RAID.

    Of course, neither Windows or OS X offer an obvious way to do this. By default, both operating systems place all their system files and folders on one drive, and one drive only, leaving you to deal with additional drives on your own. But with a bit of tweaking, it’s easy to move your applications and files to a secondary drive — leaving your computer none the wiser.

    How To Make Any Pair of Headphones Smart Phone Capable

    You know what's handy? Devices that perform more than one useful function. Take smart phone headsets, for example: They have headphones which give you the ability to listen to music without annoying your fellow public transit passengers, and the in-line remote and microphone allows you take calls without needing to put your phone to your ear. Unfortunately, the ear buds included on most bundled headsets are almost uniformly low quality. If you've ever wished you could use a pair of headphones you already own with your phone without sacrificing the features of your headset, you're in luck.

    This guide will show you how to mount a female headphone socket to your headset, giving you an in-line microphone compatible with any headphones you'd care to connect.

    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.