About Tyler Lacoma
Tyler Lacoma has spent more than 10 years testing tech and studying the latest web tool to help keep readers current. He's here for you when you need a how-to guide, explainer, review, or list of the best solutions for your Android life.
Changed an address or number? Update PayPal right away with these account changes
PayPal is one of the largest online banking and wallet systems in the world, with more than 430 million active users. With an account and deposited cash, you can pay for nearly anything on the web, which makes PayPal important for all kinds of users.
Apple's Focus modes allow for unprecedented control over distractions. Here's how to use one
Are you feeling a bit distracted these days? Is a new remote work situation or job creating problems with task management? Apple added a productivity feature to iOS and related platforms called Focus. Focus allows you to customize certain modes for work, studying, or other activities to avoid distractions. If you haven't tried it, we recommend incorporating it into your most productive times. Focus is more useful than the usual sleep modes or just leaving messages on read.
Read receipts giving you problems on iMessage? Here's how to shut them down.
iMessage remains Apple’s all-purpose message app. If you’re happily ensconced in the Apple world, you probably don’t use social media message apps like WhatApp or Messenger unless it’s the only way to contact friends or family — iMessage takes care of pretty much everything.
Firmware helps manage all our electronics. Here's how it works, why it's different from software, and more
Along with the standbys "hardware" and "software," the digital world has long used a third description called "firmware." While firmware has been around for several years, it's not always clear to the average user what it refers to or how it differs from previous definitions for software.
Google Earth Pro offers casual geo-information tools for everyone from students to environmental scientists
Google runs one of the most impressive 3D mapping tools available. It's a reliable go-to for planet zooming, location finding, and basic geo-analysis. But, unlike Google Maps, Google doesn't market it to general users much, so you may not have heard of it. Let's talk about Google Earth Pro, the advanced, publicly available software that lets even casual users play with GIS data or go on a swooping tour of the world.
Google's PaLM 2 LLM is fueling Bard, Google Assistant, and much more: Here's what's going on
You may have noticed that Google has invested deeply in AI tools for many years. Lately, it's brought more of those tools to the public, encouraging developers to rely on Google platforms for their complex AI creations. That often means chatbots and other uses of large language models (LLMs), which brings us to PaLM 2.
The Apple Watch makes it easy to set simple daily fitness goals for health improvement. Here's how it works
Apple's Activity app (a.k.a. the Fitness app) is deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem, capable of storing tons of helpful data for you, your trainer, and your doctor. The fitness app pairs especially well with an Apple Watch. The latest models have extensive sensors to keep track of your heart rate, steps counted, and the oxygen in your blood. Tracking your numbers can help you get your resting heart rate down, get your cardio heart rate up, and increase your calories burned, among other smartwatch-oriented goals.
RankBrain is a Google AI made to improve search results: Here's what's going on every time you search with Google
When you pull out your phone and type in a quick Google search to answer a question, what's really going on? Most of us know that there's some vast Google algorithm behind the scenes that interprets organic search and posts results via a specific ranking. So far, so good. But Google also included a significant amount of AI technology in its search engine, bringing us to RankBrain. RankBrain is a machine learning model that's deeply involved in how Google search results are returned, which means it impacts many of our online lives. Here's an overview of how it all works.
Cash App makes adding funds easy with the right bank account connected. Let's go through what you can do
Cash App is a popular cash payment app that makes sending online money to people easier. Pull out your Android phone, open the app, and send money immediately from your account to any contact you want. It's great for splitting a check, paying for a favor, settling a friendly debt, and paying with supporting small businesses.
Let's define reality with a close look at AR, VR, MR, and other technologies to see what they mean
It seems like everyone has a new high-tech headset these days. It's a technology we keep returning to, looking for new ways to use or present it to consumers. It's been almost 19 years since Google Glass died of embarrassment (although that AR project was only officially shuttered in 2023), and now Apple is taking its turn with the Vision Pro. Meanwhile, Microsoft has HoloLens, while Vive and Oculus have been around for years, and there are kid-friendly goggles you can strap a high-quality Android phone to in an imitation of a full VR experience.
Stable Diffusion is an image generator focused on realism: Here's how it works
The world of AI creation seems like it's jumped forward decades in only a couple of years because of tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney. However, these user-friendly apps have long-term foundations in technology and research that were carefully put together by programmers over time. That yields incredible tricks, whether it's ChatGPT imitating a president or Midjourney creating surreal artwork.
Google's AutoML Vision has helped train visual AI across industries: Here's how it works, what's replacing it, and more
Google has recently begun offering a large suite of AI tools to everyday businesses and ambitious software products that use Google platforms, perhaps from a capable Chromebook. One interesting example in the past few years is Google Cloud's AutoML Vision. This tool to create image analysis models may soon shut down for Vertex AI's rollout. However, you can still learn how it works and how to prepare data, which will be invaluable when using Google's similar future services. Let's look at the details.
Find everything you need to know about getting the most from your AirPods.
If you have your eyes on a shiny new set of AirPods, we don’t blame you. With multiple lines to choose from a variety of price points, it’s easier to find the right model than ever. Plus, Apple has confirmed that AirPod charging is getting switched to USB-C as well, a huge relief to those who already rely on USB charging for their devices.
Apple's watchOS covers all the software that powers the Apple Watch: Here's what's going on
As of Fall 2023, Apple is on the 9th generation of its Apple Watch (and has introduced another Apple Watch Ultra model), continuing its more-or-less unchallenged reign as the high-end smartwatch maker. If you want a watch that instantly measures your altitude while calculating your blood-oxygen levels and playing your favorite songs, the latest Apple Watch Series offers functionality you can't get elsewhere.
Unity is the game engine for just about everyone: Here's what it includes, how much it costs, and everything else to know
Indie and newly budding developers dream of making their first big game exactly how they picture it in their minds. These days, barriers have never been higher. Time, investment, and performance demands are enormous, even for mobile games. One of the most popular tools to handle those challenges is the Unity game engine. It's not only for small-time devs, either. If you've played games like Call of Duty Mobile or Pokémon Go, you've played a Unity game.
Looking for a phone that handles excellent ultrawide shots?
You can now find ultrawide cameras on all kinds of smartphones. These extra-large rear cameras snap to an enormous field of view and capture unique looks at landscapes. Ultrawides bring in more surrounding detail. They also give photos a magnified look that can be corrected via editing and modes or used as a stylistic choice on your latest nature hike.
Starlink's satellites are bringing the internet to the world. Here's how they work, what they're about, and what the future holds
If you've heard the name Starlink thrown around the past few years, you may wonder what the deal is. Sure, it has something to do with satellites and Elon Musk, but the details get fuzzy after that. After all, you're not likely to use Starlink unless you're in a rural or emergency-prone area. At least, not yet.
If your iMessage was a big mistake, there are ways to unsend that text. Here's how
We've all sent messages and suddenly realized, "Ahhh! I need to take that back!" From disastrous autocorrects to heat-of-the-moment misfires and shooting a message to the wrong person, our texts sometimes need a redo button.
Some confirmation would be nice...maybe a "leave me alone" notification?
Did you get on someone's wrong side, or are you worried you lost contact with someone important? There's a chance an iPhone user may have blocked your contact number. iMessage makes it easy to block phone numbers and deal with uncomfortable situations without confrontation. It's largely undetectable unless you know what to look for.
Google's aiming for the cloud-based AI creation sector: Google Cloud TPUs are helping it win
Google's foray into AI bots isn't limited to creations like the conversational Bard. Behind the scenes, the company has been working to support AI creation and management for years. That's led to some important developments, including TPUs or Tensor Processing Units.