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How to Spoof Your Chromebook User Agent for Sites That Don’t Support Chrome OS

Title image of a Chromebook laying closed on a white background

Not all browsers handle websites the same, and if they don’t support your operating system or browser, you could be denied access. Luckily, you can spoof the user agent on Chrome OS to make it look like you use a completely different system.

Websites identify incoming connections by their user agent—a line of text sent in the HTTPS header with the browser name, version, and operating system. The reason they do this is to determine how to render the page specific to your device. One of the more common uses is to differentiate the desktop view from a mobile layout. However, sometimes you might need to spoof the user agent to trick a site that claims it’s incompatible with your browser.

RELATED: What Is a Browser’s User Agent?

How to Change Your User Agent

To get started, open Chrome, click the three dots, and then select More Tools > Developer Tools. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+I on the keyboard.

Click the three dots, point to More Tools, then click on Developer Tools

Click “Network Conditions,” located at the bottom of the Developer Tools pane.

Click the Network Conditions tab at the bottom of the Developer Tools pane

If you don’t see this option, click the menu icon, and then select More Tools > Network Conditions to enable it.

If you don't see the Network Conditions tab, click the menu icon, select More Tools, then Network Conditions to alternatively open it

Under the User Agent section, uncheck “Select Automatically.”

Uncheck the Select Automatically option

Chrome offers a long list of pre-configured user agent templates you can select from the drop-down menu.

A list of all the preconfigured user agents in Chrome

If there is a specific user agent you want to use that isn’t listed in the drop-down menu, you can copy and paste a custom one into the text field underneath.

Enter a custom user agent into the text field below the drop-down menu

Afterward—with the Developer Tool pane still open in the current tab—go to any website, and the user agent is set to the custom one you specified until you close Developer Tools.

Go to a website with the Developer Tools still open to view it using the specified user agent

You can even get a little creative with it!

Specified user agent indicating it's really just Chrome on Chrome OS

User agent spoofing is a temporary setting that stays active only while Developer Tools is open and in the current tab. After you close the Developer Tool, your user agent goes back to the default selection by Chrome.

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Don’t Just Take Photos—Do Something With Them – LifeSavvy

Woman holding a handful of photos over a pile of photographs spread out on a table
Vadim Georgiev/Shutterstock

How many digital photos have you taken? 10,000? 20,000? 50,000? Instead of leaving all those photos sitting on your smartphone or a hard drive, why not do something with them?

Wander around any city, and you’ll see hundreds of people all with their phones out taking photos. Some of those pictures might end up on Facebook or Instagram, but for the most part, they sit forgotten an unappreciated in digital limbo. That’s a real shame. Photos are a great way to remember people, places, and events—plus, the pictures your smartphone takes are really good now.

The great news is there are lots of cool things you can do with your digital photos. Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Sort Through Them

I’ve shot thousands of photos with both my smartphone and dedicated camera. Most of them are terrible. Blurry selfies, missed photos, screenshots of memes, and God-only-knows-whats. They don’t deserve to be ignored—they deserve to be deleted, and have whatever hard drive they were on smashed to dirt. Buried in there, however, are some outstanding photos. The kind of thing I want to keep forever. As long as the good and bad all stay mingled together, I’m never going to see the good photos. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

Now, the bad news. There is no easy way to sort photos. The only real way to do is to sit down, throw on your favorite TV show, and go through, deleting all the bad pictures, sorting the others into albums, and favoriting the absolute best.

But, you’re probably not going to do this. Almost everyone (myself included) is at the point where they’ve shot way too many digital photos for this to be a realistic option. That means we need to use some less thorough strategies to get the good photos out:

  • Go through your Facebook and Instagram accounts. If there are any photos you really like there, go through your phone and pull out the original. Also, use it as a springboard to remind yourself of events or places you loved, and go back and find photos from them too.
  • Use your photo app. Both the iPhone Photos app and Google Photos (available on both iOS and Android) will show you photos from past events, organize photos by location and event, and more. While they’re made with machine learning, they will pull out some useful suggestions—like that vacation you took to the Florida Keys.
  • Get into a habit of, when you remember something fun, taking five minutes to go back through your photos and grab the photos out. It will take time, but you’ll gradually sort through chunks of your photos.
  • If you have an iPhone, you can use Gemini ($2.99/month) to clear out loads of the bad photos, which will make finding the good images a lot easier.

Print Them Out

Printed photos spread out on a table
Harry Guinness

My granny’s house was covered in photos. She had four children and 14 grandchildren (plus a pile of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who made the cut) and each of us was featured at least four or five times. The favorites would have an entire mini-shrine dedicated to their achievements. Most of the photos were pretty terrible but, because they were the ones she had, they were the ones on display.

Now, most people have hundreds of much better photos, but because they’re not printed out, nobody sees them. The single best thing you can do with your digital photos is print them.

You could print a few dozen pictures you love as 4×6″s and put them in photo frames around your house, just like my granny. Or, you could get one or two of your best made into 36×24” framed prints or canvases that dominate a wall—digital photos, even ones from a smartphone, can be printed pretty damn big if you work from the original. Really, the options are limitless. You could also make a photo album. Just be sure to check out our guide to why photos don’t look the same when you print them on How-To Geek to make sure you’re doing it right.

Create Shared Albums

As well as taking thousands of photos of myself, I’ve also taken thousands of pictures of my friends. And they’ve taken loads of pictures of me. The problem is I only have the photos I’ve taken, and they only have the photos they’ve taken (and they’re all sitting on hard drives or smartphones). We haven’t shared more than a handful with each other.

There is, however, a simple solution to this: create some shared, online photo albums. That way, everyone ends up with all the photos; even the ones they didn’t take.

If everyone uses the same smartphone platform, then things are really easy. Just check out How-To Geek’s guides to creating shared albums on your iPhone or with Google Photos to get started. If not, then you’ll need to use a cross-platform service—here are our favorites.

Make Them Your Wallpaper or Screensaver

While the default wallpapers on most modern devices are pretty good, there’s nothing that sets your smartphone or computer apart as much as using an image you took yourself. Why not find a good photo and set it as the wallpaper across your phone, tablet, and computer?

Or best of all, set it to the screensaver on your TV. Here’s how to do it with an AppleTV and a Chromecast. Anytime you want to see your favorite photos you can flip on your TV and watch the slideshow.

Make Greeting Cards

You don’t just have to print your photos as, well, photos and hang them around your home. You can also do more with them. One of my favorite things to do around Christmas is creating personal greeting cards and sending them to my friends.

example of a personalized Christmas card
Harry Guinness

And it doesn’t have to be for Christmas—you could create personal birthday cards, postcards, or even just random stationary. Make every letter better with your face.

Do Something Weird

selfie toast

In the last few years, a market for very weird—and wonderful—custom photo products has popped up. Ever wanted your face on a pair of socks? Well, you can. Want custom Vans shoes to match? They have you covered.

There’s almost no limit to what products you can print or make with your photos. If you can think of it, it can probably be done. I’ve seen jigsaws, smartphone cases, murals, and skis. If you have a hobby, you can get gear made from your photos.

Give them as Gifts

For all that people ignore the photos they take, they still love them. Everyone wants to see their friends’ childhood photos or pictures from their blunder years. If you’re going to spend the time to sort through your photos and pull out the good ones, you’ve set yourself up with gifts to give for years to come. Either print the pictures and frame them or go with one of the wackier suggestions, depending on who you’re giving the gift too. They’ll appreciate it.

Whatever you do (or don’t do) with your photos, there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned yet that’s crucial: backing them up. Hard drives fail; smartphones break. Don’t leave the safety of your photos down to luck, or they might not be there when you want them.

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Don’t Want to Use Facebook Messenger? 10 Slick Alternatives to Try

Facebook Messenger is one of the world’s most popular messaging apps, but it’s not without its critics. Which is why we have found the best alternatives to Facebook Messenger.

Some people loathe using anything connected to Facebook. Others are unimpressed with the linkup between Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, all of which are owned by Facebook. Either way, one of these Messenger alternatives should work for you.

Telegram has emerged as one of the best alternatives to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and all the other mainstream messaging apps. The client-side code is open source; the server-side code is proprietary.

It strips away many of the worst parts of Facebook Messenger that annoy people, including the ads, stories, and active statuses.

On the downside, some experts have criticized the app for its unintuitive approach to end-to-end encryption. It’s only enabled by default in secret chats. There are also concerns surrounding Telegram’s custom-designed encryption protocol; experts often criticize it for being unreliable.

Telegram is available on all major operating systems and via the web.

2. Facebook Messenger Lite

Another common reason that people shun Facebook Messenger is due to its performance. It places a high burden on your battery, eats through web data, and is slow on phones with a smaller amount of RAM.

Most of the main Messenger features are available on the Lite version, but the app’s file size is smaller, and it uses less data.

The most significant missing feature is video calling. There’s also no animated GIFs or stickers, and you cannot share your location using Messenger Lite.

Download: Facebook Messenger Lite for Android | iOS (Free)

slack chat window

Much of the decision surrounding which is the right Messenger alternative for your situation depends on how you use the Facebook app. For example, if you use Messenger as a way to communicate with colleagues, you should check out Slack instead.

Slack is free to use, though there are some restrictions compared to the paid version. Nonetheless, you still get 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations, and support for one-on-one video calls.

Paid licenses start at $6.67/person/month.

4. SMS

Think about the primary tasks that you perform on Facebook Messenger. For most people, it’s merely sending text-based messages to friends and family.

If that describes your use case, it might be worth reverting back to SMS. Everyone has a phone number, so unlike other services like Telegram and Slack (which require other people to have an account), almost everyone will be within reach.

And remember, lots of carriers offer unlimited free text messages, so flipping back to the more traditional approach won’t cost you a dime.

If you want a like-for-like experience, IM+ is arguably the best alternative to Facebook Messenger.

IM+ is a Facebook Messenger client, meaning you can add your Facebook account and use the app to send messages to your Facebook Messenger contacts. However, the app also works with Yahoo Messenger, AIM, ICQ, Jabber, and more. It’s a one-stop hub for all your instant messaging providers.

You can use the app on Android and iOS, and there’s also a browser bar so you can stay on top of your messages without interrupting your browsing experience.

jitsi make a call

If you mainly use Facebook Messenger to make video calls, have a look at Jitsi.

Jitsi is a free-to-use video calling service. It has a few noteworthy features that help it stand out from the crowd. These features include encrypted calls, open source code, and, perhaps most importantly, anonymity. Neither you (or your fellow callers) need to make an account in order to place or participate in a call.

Jitsi is available on the web, Android, and iOS.

7. Swipe for Facebook

Swipe for Facebook is another Facebook Messenger client. Unfortunately, it’s only available on Android; there is no iOS version.

Unlike the other apps on our list, Swipe provides access to both Facebook and Facebook Messenger. It’s beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say that the official Facebook app has its own issues regarding bloat, spam notifications, and unnecessary features—so Swipe can kill two birds with one stone.

It’s easy on your battery, supports picture-in-picture video calls, offers live Android homescreen widgets, and supports Messenger chat heads.

Download: Swipe for Facebook (Free)

If you value privacy, Threema is a highly recommended Messenger alternative.

As soon as you sign up, you’ll notice some differences. For example, you don’t need to supply your phone number or email address to create an account. Instead, the system relies on a uniquely-generated Threema ID number.

Additionally, Threema does not require access to your contacts, is ad-free, and offers best-in-class encryption. And because Threema is a Swiss company, it is bound by the country’s strict privacy laws. It’s not vulnerable to the much weaker laws in the US.

All the usual features (video calling, image/video sharing, group chats, multiple themes, etc.) are present.

Threema is not free. Instead, you need to make a one-off payment of $2.99.

Pidgin is like IM+. The app is a Messenger client that lets you connect to multiple services, thus providing a single, centralized hub for all your social media contacts.

Facebook Messenger is not natively supported, but it’s fast and easy to install the necessary third-party plugin. The native IM apps that Pidgin supports are Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Groupwise, IRC, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, and Zephyr.

Pidgin is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Wafer Messenger is a perfect Facebook Messenger alternative for anyone whose inbox is a constant whirl of GIFs, stickers, and animations.

The app lets you combine texts, sketches, stickers, pictures, videos, and audio into a single message. If you want to get creative, Wafer Messenger is for you.

Wafer Messenger also offers live sound effects, support for surveys and polls, and collaborative messages (people can use your unique creations and add to them).

The company promises not to log any of your private information or keywords, and does not show ads.

More Alternatives to Facebook Messenger

The Facebook Messenger alternatives and clients we’ve looked at in this article all do a great job of replicating—or improving—at least one part of the Facebook Messenger experience.

But they are not the only ways to connect with your friends and family. For more tips, check out our article on the best online messaging services to chat with friends

5 Online Instant Messaging Services to Chat with Friends

5 Online Instant Messaging Services to Chat with Friends

If you were an AOL Instant Messenger fan, don’t worry. There are still some worthwhile services available. Here are five to check out.
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and our short list of Facebook Messenger alternatives

5 Facebook Messenger Alternatives to Use Instead

5 Facebook Messenger Alternatives to Use Instead

If you have had enough of Facebook Messenger, it might be time to switch to another platform. Here are the best alternative messaging apps.
Read More


Explore more about: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instant Messaging.

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Don’t consider Apple Watch an enterprise product? Think again

Do you think Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but not really an enterprise product?

I’d like to prove you wrong

I’ve been saying for years that Apple would need to ensure Apple Watch could exist independently of the iPhone.

There were several challenges to achieving this.

One was the need to find a modem sufficiently low-powered to run inside the watch without bleeding the battery dry.

Another was the need to find battery technologies that could handle robust use during the day.

Apple crossed the first hurdle when it introduced Apple Watch Series 3, which has its own built-in cellular connection.

The great thing about this – as at least one promotional video showed – is that it made it possible to make a call using your watch while your iPhone is left on the table at your office or home.

And you feel a little like some Dick Tracy meets the Jetsons meets an FBI agent when you talk into your sleeve to make those calls.

Of course, introduction of cellular support in Apple Watch doesn’t come free, and the operating system that runs the watch was still umbilically connected to the iPhone.

It still is.

But not for much longer

One of the big WWDC announcements Apple made was that watchOS 6 would let Apple Watch users download and use apps directly on the watch rather than using an iPhone.

This even extends to an App Store on your wrist – you can search, browse, and install apps directly on the watch.

Developers – including enterprise developers – can visualize and then build watch-only apps.

This could be bespoke enterprise apps. For example, Vlocity Wear in 2015 introduced an app that would use the watch to beam relevant information to customer service agents that was relevant to an incoming request.

This is the personal nature of enterprise technology.

Enabling access to relevant information in small chunks in response to contextual situations detected by the device.

You see, these person-focused enhancements don’t just make the watch better for personal use. They also transform it into a flexible tool for enterprise deployments.

watch os 6 Apple

WatchOS 6 will be available in the fall.

Enterprises are people, too

Many enterprises already provide Apple Watch to employees.

IBM provides watchOS apps for hospitals, law enforcement, public safety, and field service engineers.

We all saw the huge spike in interest that met the introduction of Apple Card.

It proved something more than the power of the Apple brand.

It proved that there is a huge pent-up market eager for hyper-personalized fintech products.

(That’s the same kind of interest Facebook wants to exploit with its digital currency, which history will call the “Facepalm,” given how cynical most of us have become about the service.)

Financial data is data, and the personal nature of digital payments is another space that will be explored.

Think what happens when enterprises figure out how to issue virtual Apple Card cards to employees with clearly defined payment parameters – you’ll be able to buy fuel, but not clothes, for example.

An end to some forms of fraud.

watchos 6 female health Apple

WatchOS 6 will bring female health tracking through the Cycles app.

Why personal must be personal

Health insurance companies already offer deals that favor Apple Watch users willing to share their Activity data.

New apps coming in watchOS 6 (particularly Cycle Tracking and Activity Trends and a future diabetes sensor) show the kind of insights that can be gleaned using computers on the wrist.

Apple’s focus on health and health sensors also means the device will deliver ever more accurate personal health data, with big implications to care.

Its application of CoreML, processor innovation and commitment to privacy means many of these insights are only ever identified by the device – not to be shared without your express permission.

Add location and Voice Control and what else becomes possible?

  • Field service technicians receiving machine repair information via Siri on their Watch when they arrive at a location?
  • Automated reporting for delivery, sales or maintenance crews?
  • Perhaps even step-by-step direction to help hard-pressed hospital staff navigate internal maps in search of life-saving medical equipment tagged with Bluetooth beacons?

Apple Watch: A new frontier

With a voice-first user interface, an ever-extending feature set, and growing independence from the iPhone, Apple Watch is becoming another computer that’s all you require for some tasks — including enterprise tasks.

Apple Watch is not just a fitness tracker.

It is a context-sensitive business opportunity your enterprise should explore. And its growing independence amplifies that opportunity. 

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

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Found a Tick? Don’t Panic. Here’s How to Safely Remove It – LifeSavvy

Woman walking with her dog in a heavily wooded area where ticks live
Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock

Whether there’s a tick on you or your pet, if you don’t know how to remove it the right way, you may make that nasty little bug bite in deeper and end up with an infection in the process. Here’s how to check for them and remove them safely.

How to Check for Ticks

If you’ve spent time in the outdoors, especially in wooded areas, you may have come in contact with ticks. In areas populated with ticks, the ticks hang out on dense foliage, grass, trees, and bushes, waiting for a warm-animal like you, your kids, or your pets, to come strolling along before hopping on for a ride and a snack.

Ticks aren’t always easy to find, and it’s not uncommon for them to go undiscovered until you get home. They like to hide in dark areas. This means you need to check yourself from head to toe (literally).

Comb through your hair with your fingers, making sure to touch your scalp the entire time. Check in all of your nooks and crannies, and look at your back in a mirror. If you discover one in a place that isn’t visible, it might feel like a little scab (ticks are tiny and rough before they become engorged after extensive feeding). Verify that’s really a scab and not a bug!

On pets, you’ll need to do the same thing you did on your head, run your fingers through their coat all over. Check bellies and in places that a tick would like to hide, such as under their ears, behind their legs, and so on.

Most ticks are a brownish color, but there are many types of ticks, and it’ll depend on where you live on which ones are around. Different ticks carry different diseases. While not all tickborne diseases affect animals, some can, including Lyme disease. If you live in an area with lots of ticks and a high incidence of Lyme disease, talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations for tickborne illnesses as well as combination flea/tick preventatives like once-a-month pills.

How Not to Remove a Tick

While it’s important to get a tick off you or your pet as soon as possible, let’s take a moment to highlight what not to do. The CDC cautions against using “folklore” type methods. Here are those methods you should never use:

  • No Heat: Don’t use a match or a blow dryer to heat the tick to remove it.
  • No “Smothering”: Don’t coat the tick in nail polish, petroleum jelly, or even soap.
  • No Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol doesn’t work either, don’t try to kill it off with rubbing alcohol or other solvents

Not only do the techniques above not work very well, but they do they increase the chances of the very thing you’re trying to avoid: getting infection material from the tick inside your body. Burning or smothering tick is more likely to make the bug bite in more, releasing more disease-carrying saliva.

Let’s take a look at how to safely remove the tick and avoid unnecessary exposure to pathogens.

How to Safely Remove a Tick

Center for Disease Control illustration, demonstrating how to remove a tick with tweezers

If you’re removing a tick from a pet or child, you may want a second person on hand to help them hold still. If you’re handling the situation by yourself, handle it as calmly as possible to help them stay calm too. If there is a tick on you in a hard-to-reach-area, get some help removing it. Don’t panic if you can’t get it off you the second you see it— leave it alone and find someone to help out.

Here are the safest steps to follow to make sure you remove the entire tick from your skin:

  • Use your tick removal tool or fine-tip tweezers to get to the tick as close to your skin as possible—this handy tool combines tweezers for use on people with a slotted end that makes it easy to get ticks out of animal fur. You want to pull upward, removing the entire tick. Pulling sideways or twisting it may leave the mouth behind. Leaving the mouth in the skin may cause irritation.
  • If you’re unable to remove the entire tick, you can use fine-pointed tweezers to try to pull the mouth part out. If it doesn’t come easily, leave it and keep the area clean—the pieces will come out of the skin like a splinter.
  • Dispose of the tick by dunking it in rubbing alcohol to kill it and flushing it down the toilet or putting it in a plastic bag in the trash. Despite what you may have heard, the CDC doesn’t recommend keeping the tick for any testing (as such tests are unreliable).
  • Wipe the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and then wash it, and your hands, with warm soapy water.

Again, for emphasis, the most critical element of safe tick removal is removing it as soon as possible and removing it cleanly by grasping it between the mass of the body and the skin, to prevent

After Care: Look Out for Rashes, Fevers, and Aches

After you’ve removed a tick, your foray in the world of gross bugs is not over. Keep an eye on the area where the bite occurred, looking for a rash. If you, your child, or your pet get rash at the bite site, a fever, flu-like symptoms, or aching joints or swelling, it’s crucial to get into your doctor or veterinarian immediately.

These are all symptoms of an infection and, potentially, Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by a bacteria carried by ticks that have fed on infected wild animals. If caught early and treated with antibiotics, most people recover completely, but left untreated can cause a host of problems over time, including facial paralysis, meningitis, and other ailments.

Ticks are pretty gross, and nobody likes to find a little parasite attached to them, their kids, or their pets, but if you check carefully after visiting an area where you could be exposed to ticks and remove them promptly, the risk of any severe side effects is minimal.

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