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When you first start using Android 10, it won’t look all that different from version 9. In fact, the biggest change you’re going to encounter is that it doesn’t have a tasty dessert moniker attached to it. But even without any radical new features, Android “Don’t Call It Q” charts a whole new path for the OS, with new ways to navigate, customize, and secure your phone. So if you can’t find anything new, you’re just looking in the wrong places. Here are all the best new features in Android 10 and how to start using them.

Dark theme Dark theme-ready

Notification shade

Google search widget

Chrome

Contacts

Drive

Files

Google Pay

Keep Notes

Photos

Play Games

Settings

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Dark theme in Android 10 can be toggled with a quick settings icon.

Separate dark mode available in app settings

Calculator

Messages

Always dark

Clock

Play Movies

Not ready for dark theme

Gmail

Google

Home

Maps

News

Play Books

Play Store

Podcasts

Wear OS

For the apps and elements that support it, you can turn on Dark theme in two ways. The quickest is inside the Notification shade. Just swipe down from the top of the screen, swipe again to expand the quick settings, and tap the Dark theme icon. Alternatively, you can find a toggle inside the Display settings. Google is already teasing a dark mode for Maps and Assistant on its Android 10 site, so it shouldn’t be long before the remaining apps receive support.

Gesture navigation

Gesture navigation technically launched with Android 9, but for all intents and purposes, Android 10 is its debut. That’s because Google has seriously refined its gesture system and introduced a whole slew of changes to how you get around.

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There are now three ways to navigate your phone.

You’ll find gestures in the same spot as before—inside the System settings—but here it has a proper name, Gesture navigation. Last year’s method, which in Android 9/Pie was called Swipe up on home button, is now named 2-button navigation. The super-old-school nav bar icons are 3-button navigation.

When you select Gesture navigation, you’ll notice the buttons are completely gone, replaced by a thin line similar to the iPhone’s home indicator. That’s where you’ll do most of your gesturing, so Google has streamlined the whole system to make things less dependent on the home button:

Go home: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen when in an app.

Switch apps: Swipe left or right on the bottom of the screen.

App Overview: Swipe up from the button of the screen and hold your finger in the center of the screen for a second.

Open app drawer: Swipe up from bottom of the screen when on home screen, or swipe up a second time when in the app switcher.

Summon Assistant: Swipe from either the right or left corner of the screen.

Because the back button is gone, you’re probably wondering how you go back one screen when using an app. It’s simple: You swipe from either side of the screen. That means swiping left from the right side of the screen or swiping right from the left side of the screen will go back a screen. You’ll see an arrow animation and feel a small vibration, and then you only need to lift your finger to go back a screen.

Android 10 notifications

It wouldn’t be a new Android release without some tweaks to the notification system. The changes in Android 10 aren’t as dramatic as they were in Pie, but they’re still meaningful.

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Notifications have received some smart changes in Android 10.

Speaking of silent notifications, you’ll also be able to track them better in Android 10. Inside the notification panel, you’ll find a new grouping for silent notifications, so you can quickly see what came through without a buzz or beep. The per-app settings have also been streamlined to make things easier to understand and control.

New sharing functions

The share sheet has been something of a sore spot for previous Android releases, but in version 10, Google has finally done something about it. Getting to the share sheet is the same, of course—tap the share button or icon inside an app—but the feel and functionality has completely changed.

For one, it’s a whole lot faster. Where the previous menu took a second or two to load the full list of app actions and shortcuts, in Android 10 it’s practically instantaneous.

It’s much quicker to find a sharing destination, too. The old version used app and cache data to predict which app or action you might want in a lengthy, disorderly list. In Android 10, sharing is broken down into logical panes: your frequent message recipients, followed by four suggested apps based on use, and finally an alphabetical list of all possible app destinations. That makes it much quicker to track down the app you want when you aren’t texting.

Focus mode

In addition to Wind Down and app timers, Digital Wellbeing in Android 10 will also have a new feature called Focus Mode. As its name suggests, Focus Mode forces you to keep your attention on work by disabling distracting apps of your choice, like Candy Crush or Twitter. Unlike app timers, it’s an on or off thing, so you’ll need to disable Focus Mode on your own when you’re ready for a break. Thankfully, Google has made it easy with a Quick Settings shortcut that lets you flip it off with a tap.

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Focus mode lets you shut down apps that might distract you from the task at hand.

Also new to Digital Wellbeing is the inclusion of Family Link. The parental control service was previously available via a separate app. Google is now including it in the main Android settings, so you can quickly set up an account and set limits on your kids’ activities—as well as approve any extra time requests. It never really made sense that Family Link required a separate download and app experience, so it’s nice to see it all incorporated under one umbrella now.

Privacy

Over the past several releases, Google has been working to make Android more private and transparent. Version 10 continues the effort, though many of the changes are behind the scenes. For example, apps cannot access clipboard data or device information such as IMEI and serial number without privileged permission.

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The privacy settings are much easier to find in Android 10.

Inside the Privacy tab, you’ll also find a new Permissions manager. Other than the new name, it’s exactly the same as the App permissions tab of old. Like before you’ll be able to see which apps are accessing things like the camera, contacts, and microphone. Note an important change to the Location settings, however: Instead of a toggle that merely allows or blocks access, there’s a new option—-allow only while using the app. That means an app won’t be able to access location data unless you’re explicitly using it, so you don’t have to worry about being tracked by apps running in the background .

Because most users won’t be aware of the change, Google will push out occasional alerts to let you know which apps are accessing your location. Occasionally, you’ll get a notification warning that a specific app got your location in the background because it can always access your location. To change the permission, you’ll simply need to tap the notification to get to that app’s permission settings.

WiFi password sharing

There’s always one thing your guests want before a drink or a bowl of chips: your Wi-Fi password. In Android 10, Google is making it easy to give it to them. Head over to your Wi-Fi settings, tap on the network you’re connected to, and you’ll see a new Share button. Tap it and a QR code will appear, which can be scanned by a QR reader on another phone.

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Getting Started With Your New Amazon Echo

Have you recently jumped on the bandwagon and purchased an Amazon Echo? If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard a lot of great things about the device and how a lot of people simply love their Echo!

Well, I decided to see what all the hype was about and got one for myself. I have to admit, the Echo is pretty fun to use and it’s really useful if you have kids around. My kids love asking it to play music and I’ve installed several skills so that they can play math games, word games, etc.

Table of Contents

In this article, I’m going to talk about how to quickly get your Echo setup and how to configure it so that you can get the most benefit from all of its current features. Amazon keeps adding new features to the Echo pretty much every week, so I’ll keep posting new articles when those new features make it to the device.

Setting Up an Echo

When you get your Echo and unbox it, you’ll basically see three items inside: the Echo, the power adapter and some instructions. To get started, you start by plugging it into a wall outlet. While the device is booting up, you can go ahead and download the Amazon Alexa app from iTunes or the Google Play Store.

Once you download the app, go ahead and login with your Amazon account credentials.

Once you have signed in, go ahead and close the app and then check your Echo. By default, once it boots up, the ring that goes around the top should light up orange. This means it’s ready to start the WiFi setup process.

If, for some reason, the light is not orange, just press and hold the Action button for 5 seconds. The Action button is the one with just the single dot in the center. Now go to your phone and go to the WiFi settings section.

When the light is orange on the Echo, you should see an Amazon-WVM WiFi network that you can connect to. Once you connect to that network, go ahead and open the Alexa app on your device. It should automatically detect that you are trying to setup the device, but if not, tap the three horizontal lines at the top left, then tap on Settings and then tap on Set up a new device.

The setup screen should appear and it will remind you to make sure that the light ring is orange before continuing.

If everything is properly setup, you should see a Connected to Echo message on the next screen. Tap Continue to continue the setup.

On the next screen, you have to choose a WiFi network to connect your Echo to. This will be the WiFi network that your Echo connects to when it is powered on. Note that you can change the WiFi network or connect to additional networks later on using the app.

The next screen will show you a progress bar as your Echo is prepared.

Once everything is setup, you should be able to start talking to the Echo! When you open the app, you’ll see the Home screen gives you a tip and then just has one card telling you to customize Alexa.

The way the Echo works is that whenever you ask it something, it will respond via voice, but it will also create a card in the Alexa app that you will see on the home screen. For example, if you say “Alexa” and then say “What’s the weather like?“, it will tell you verbally, but it will also show the information in the app.

It’s kind of a history log of everything you have said to Alexa. To activate your Echo, you have to say the word “Alexa“. You can change this in the settings later if you like, but only to “Amazon” or “Echo“. That might change in the future, though.

Customizing Alexa

The first thing you probably want to do once the Echo is up and running is to train your voice so that it better understands you. To do this, go to the app, tap on the three lines at the top left, tap on Settings and then tap on Voice Training. It’s directly below the Set up a new device option I had mentioned towards the beginning of the article.

Once you have done that, you should configure your music, news, sports, calendar and traffic. To do all of that, go to Settings again and scroll down to the section that says Account.

These are all pretty easy to setup, so I won’t go into much detail. For Music & Media, you can play music from Amazon if you have Prime or Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio or TuneIn. Under Flash Briefing, you can configure a whole bunch of news programs like CNN, NPR, BBC, HuffPost, etc. Don’t go too crazy with this section though because your news briefing might end up being 40 minutes long!

Under Sports Update, just search for all your favorite teams and Alexa will give you an update on all of them when you ask. Traffic only allows you to enter a start and ending destination for now, so it is only good for people who commute everyday on the same route, i.e. home to work. Under Calendar, you can log into your Google Calendar and then use Alexa to add events to your calendar.

So what exactly do you say to activate all of these functions? Well, there are two ways to learn the commands. You can tap on the three lines at the top left and then tap on Things to Try or you can read all the commands online.

The other built-in features of Alexa are Timers & Alarms and Shopping & To-do lists. To set a timer, all you have to say is “Alexa, set a timer for x minutes.” For an alarm, just say “Alexa, set an alarm for 4 o’clock in the evening.” You can also say AM or PM if you like.

For the lists, just say “Alexa, add x to my shopping list” or “Alexa, add your-phrase to my to-do list.” Alexa, can also answer various questions like simple math or conversions. For facts, the device seems to rely on Wikipedia, so that’s either a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. You can ask it things like “Who is the president of X country?” or “What is the capital of X state” or even something like “Name all of the continents”.

Alexa Skills

The real power of Alexa, though, comes in the form of skills. If you tap on the three lines and then Skills, you’ll get a list of all the ways you can enhance the Echo. These are basically little apps written for the Echo by various companies or individuals.

There are a bunch of skills, but currently most of them are silly or useless. However, the list is getting better by the day and some are really good. For my kids, I use Baby Animals, Spelling Bee, Human Body Quiz, Mental Math, and Dinosaur Facts. I really like the Mental Math skill for my five-year old daughter.

For myself, I use the Capital One skill, This Day in History and Random World Facts. I also have the TP-LINK Kasa and SmartThings skills enabled so I can control my switches, etc. via Alexa. In a future post, I’ll write instructions on how to setup your Smart Home devices with Alexa.

Getting Started With Content Strategy

Content is king. It is the only silver bullet available for inbound marketing. However, getting started with content strategy can be difficult. Below is a to-do list to give you a head start and keep you going.

Think about Your Customers 

List the traits you want your ideal customers to have. When you write new content with those traits in mind, you’ll resonate with potential clients who possess those traits and attract more of them.

Narrow Down Your Customers 

Identify all kinds of people your product or service can serve. I’m sure the list will be huge. If that is the case, pick no more than seven types of people. Use the traits you defined above and commonalities among all the types of customers you listed, and see which type of customer in your list exhibits most of them. Then narrow it down to just one, your primary customers. The narrower you get, the better your messaging will be.

Identify the Problem Hierarchy

For the primary customer, identify the key problems that your business solves for them. Restrict the number of problems to three, and order them by importance. Once you have identified the three problems, write down one line on how your business solves them. This is your message hierarchy. In most cases, the first problem and solution statement is your primary message.

Fill Your Website 

Content writing for your website is the first, most important step before you embark on anything else. Do not rush, and do it right. If possible, do it yourself first and then ask others for their input. When you do the business content yourself, you pour in your passion, and that stands out.

Start with your homepage. Try to figure out what you can tell the potential customer/visitor in six seconds. You will probably want to use your primary message from the message hierarchy. In an ideal situation, your potential customer will be searching for the exact same problem, and you can generate a lead by simply mentioning how you solve it for them. Use the message hierarchy to figure out all the other pages of your website. Keep it succinct and to-the-point.

Keyword Mapping and Onsite Optimization

Use the Google keyword tool to pick the right words for your messaging. Eight to ten transactional keywords to begin with is a good start. (Transactional means lead-generating.) Optimize your site to be search-friendly. Work on improving your onsite optimization on a daily basis.

Measure and Iterate 

Once your website is up, identify the best way to measure it. First, install Google Analytics. Consider whether heat mapping makes sense for your business. Track your call-to-action buttons. Choose what you want to measure, and then start small.

Blog Strategy 

The best blogging is about giving, not seeking. Identify topics that are business problems for your potential customers. Provide answers and alternatives. Optimize your blog with keywords, but ensure it does not compromise what you want to communicate. Looking good matters. Ensure your blog looks good and is UX optimized.

Content Is Neverending 

Understand that content is a long-term strategy. You have to continue and stay on the path forever once you get started. You’ll produce new content, curate old content as you learn more, and continually evolve to make it better and better.

If you’re only beginning to build your website or product, understand that content is part of UX. Content makes the application usable, and you cannot save it for last.

Get started with the basics listed in this blog post first. As you move along, content strategy will evolve and show you the way.

Windows 10 Build 17723 Releases With New Features

Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 10 build 17723 for devices enrolled in the Fast ring of the Windows Insider Program. This is the twentieth preview that becomes available as part of the Redstone 5 development, and it includes a new set of enhancements and features expected to arrive in September or October.

Windows 10 Insider Preview build 17723, according to the software maker, uses machine learning to prevent reboots to apply updates while you’re using your device. This flight also delivers improvements for Microsoft Edge, and emoji version 11 arrives to Windows 10 with 157 new emojis.

What’s new with Windows 10 build 17723

Here are the changes included in the latest Redstone 5 preview of Windows 10 coming later this year:

Windows Update

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects about Windows 10 is the ability to try to install new updates while you’re working on your computer. Starting with build 17723, if you have an update pending, Windows 10 will use an updated “reboot logic” to be more “adaptive and proactive.” Using cloud machine learning, Microsoft has trained a “predictive model” to accurately predict when is the right time to restart the device.

Game bar

In this flight, you can now open the Game bar from the Start menu or using the Windows + G keyboard shortcut.

Windows Mixed Reality Microsoft Edge

This flight also introduces several improvements for Microsoft Edge, including Acrylic effect (part of Fluent Design) for the main menu.

The default web browser is getting a few new policies for administrators, including policies to control full-screen mode, printing, favorites bar, and saving history. In addition, you’ll find new Group Policies and MDM settings to prevent certificate error overrides, configure the Home button and startup options, set the New Tab page and Home button URL, and managing extensions.

Emoji

In addition, this release also includes tweaks in some of the existing emojis.

Time

Starting with this flight, Windows 10 includes support for Leap Second, which allows occasional 1-second adjustments in a traceable and UTC-compliant manner.

This build also includes a new time protocol that delivers far more accurate time samples to the endpoint to display time more accurately. In addition, you can now further improve your network time accuracy by eliminating the software delay introduced by the Windows networking stack.

Kiosk

In this Redstone 5 update, the Settings app is making easier to set up devices as kiosk or digital sign devices.

The new page provides a wizard that walks you through the kiosk setup flow including creating a kiosk account that will automatically sign in on device start.

Additionally, Microsoft Edge now works with assigned access which allows administrators to create a tailored browsing experience designed for kiosk devices. Supported kiosk mode include digital and interactive signage, two public browsing modes, and normal mode.

Additional improvements

Alongside the numerous tweaks and new features, Windows 10 build 17723 also ships with some additional improvements, including a new icon for the Delivery Optimization Settings page, and some tweaks to the design of the Cortana & Search landing page, specifically in situations where Cortana isn’t enabled or supported.

Windows 10 version 1903 (19H1)

Along with build 17723, Microsoft is also releasing Windows 10 build 18204 for devices using the Skip Ahead option. This marks the first preview for the next major release of Windows 10 coming in the first half of 2023.

Currently build 18204 includes all the same changes found in 17723, but eventually, the company will start adding different improvements and features specific for the 19H1 development.

Microsoft is listing the complete set of improvements, fixes, and known issues for Windows 10 Insider Preview build 17713 and build 18204 at the Windows Blog.

Downloading Windows 10 build 17723

You can also check out these resources:

Windows 10 Build 17682 Releases With New Features

As part of the Redstone 5 development, Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 10 build 17682 for testers with devices enrolled in the Fast ring and Skip Ahead lane of the Windows Insider Program. This new update isn’t significant, but it introduces a few new features and a slew of improvements over the previous build.

Windows 10 build 17682, according to the company, delivers improvements to Sets and to the experience when projecting content wirelessly. Microsoft Edge introduces improvements that developers can implement to facilitate authentication. Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) are now available on demand through the Settings app. In addition, the out-of-box experience (OOBE) has been updated to help users configure new features, such as Windows Hello, link your phone to your PC, Timeline, OneDrive, and Office.

Here are the changes included in the latest Redstone 5 preview of Windows 10:

Sets

Starting with Windows 10 build 17682, Sets is updating the new tab page listing your frequent apps at making it more obvious that you can use this page to launch applications. Also, the new tab page displays the all apps list so you can quickly start any app, instead of having to open the Start menu.

Wireless presentation

In order to help you to know when you’re wirelessly projecting and how to disconnect, Redstone 5 introduces a control banner at the top of the screen when you’re projecting.

The banner will keep you informed about the state of your connection, allow you to quick disconnect or reconnect, and tune the connection.

Game mode — minimizes the screen to screen latency to make gaming over a wireless connection possible.

Video mode — increases the screen to screen latency to ensure the video on the big screen plays back smoothly and without glitching.

Productivity modes — strikes a good balance between game mode and video mode where the screen to screen latency is responsive enough that typing feels natural, while ensuring videos don’t glitch frequently.

Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 build 17682 delivers an updated version of Microsoft Edge that comes with a preview for Web Authentication support, which provides an open, scalable, and interoperable solution to facilitate authentication, which replaces passwords with stronger hardware-bound credentials.

Using this new implementation lets users to use Windows Hello (via PIN or biometrics) and external authenticators like FIDO2 Security Keys or FIDO U2F Security Keys, to securely authenticate to websites.

Remote Server Administration Tools

Starting with build 17682, Windows 10 allows to install Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) using the Settings app Manage optional features page.

Once the tools are installed, the next time you upgrade, Windows 10 will automatically add them again to your device.

Post-update setup

Specifically, for older devices, starting with the Redstone 5 update, you’ll now get a post-upgrade out-of-box experience to finish setting app new features that were not available the first time your setup Windows 10.

Other changes

Microsoft is listing the complete set of improvements, fixes, and known issues for Windows 10 Insider Preview build 17682 at the Windows Blog. In case you missed it, you can read all the changes for Windows 10 build 17677 in this article.

Downloading Windows 10 build 17682

You can also check out these resources:

Getting Started Stable Diffusion 2 In Paperspace Notebook

Many people have been looking at alternatives to Google Colab and one great solution is Paperspace. You can create multiple notebooks and run up machines using GPUs that are available for free or charged by the hour. In this post I want to share my workflow of how I run up Stable Diffusion on Paperspace. This notebook can run multiple versions of Stable Diffusion using Automatic1111.

I am assuming that as a reader you have basic code understanding and have had some experience with Google Colab.

Start of the Interface and in the notebooks create a new notebook. Select the option Start from Scratch, choose the desired GPU and Auto-shutdown timeout choose the maximum of 6 hours.

Start notebook when you are ready…we need the notebook running for the next steps.

Setup your Notebook in Paperspace

In the meantime your Notebook would have started and on the left side should be folder 📁 button which will show a file manager. Upload the file ‘StableDiffusionUI_Voldemort_paperspace.IPYNB‘ you just download to the Notebook. It should only take 2-3 seconds to upload the file.

In my case I am using the Paid Tier and I like to store my model location in tmp folder, the repo location remains as per default. So I only modify “model_storage_dir” to “/tmp/models‘.

Run/Re-Run the Notebook Code # Free tier # symlink_to_notebooks = True # Enables the creation of symlinks back to /notebooks/ # model_storage_dir = '/tmp/stable-diffusion/models' # Where the models will be downloaded to. # repo_storage_dir = '/notebooks' # Where the repository will be downloaded to. # Paid Tier symlink_to_notebooks = False model_storage_dir = '/tmp/models' repo_storage_dir = '/notebooks'

First cell of code that needs to be updated and run

Next step is to run the Clone the WebUI repository. This will download the WebUI repo from the web, this ensures that your version remains up to date always after the first time you run it.

Following this Run the Install requirements and download repositories, which installs all the required files to make the whole thing work.

Now that all the files are installed, we need the Stable Diffusion 2.0 model downloaded. You have numerous options available here to download the 768×768 pixel version or the 512×512 pixel version. You can download one or more model versions which can then be selected later on in the Automatic1111 WebUI.

Run the corresponding cell related to your model. I’m running 768×768 cell to download and install this model.

Next step is to run the cell below Link the models directories. This checks all the available models and links them up for use in the WebUI.

Finally we are now ready to run the main cell that will give us access to run the prompts we want and create images. Navigate down to Launch the WebUI section and run the cell within.

As the code runs it will produce two URLs that will show up at the end of the execution summary which is displayed below the cell. If you don’t see it there should be a More button that reveal the rest of the summary. It should look like this:

Now the fun part starts up as a new tab opens with the Automatic1111 WebUI interface running Stable Diffusion 2.0. I use the prompt provided on the Stable Diffusion website.

Enter both the prompt and the negative prompt (as shown below).

Prompt: a portrait of a beautiful blonde woman, fine – art photography, soft portrait shot 8 k, mid length, ultrarealistic uhd faces, unsplash, kodak ultra max 800, 85 mm, intricate, casual pose, centered symmetrical composition, stunning photos, masterpiece, grainy, centered composition:2

Negative Prompt: blender, cropped, lowres, poorly drawn face, out of frame, poorly drawn hands, blurry, bad art, blurred, text, watermark, disfigured, deformed, closed eyes:-2

Sampling Steps: 20

Sampling method: Euler a

Width and Height: 768

Batch size: 6 (but you can set to what you want).

Now that you have Stable Diffusion 2.0 running in Paperspace using Automatic1111, you can repeat the above steps each time from Run/Re-Run the Notebook Code section onwards. You don’t need to create a new notebook each time as it will stay saved as long as you maintain your account in Paperspace or decide to delete it yourself.

When done creating the images you can switch back to the browser tab where you were running the Notebook, stop the cell in Launch the WebUI which should be running still. Once it stops, use the Export Generations cell and run it to create a ZIP file of the images generated. This is obviously faster than downloading each image from the outputs directory which should be visible in the file browser.

Sample Images

Here are some of sample images I created using above and other prompts.

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