Google's tips and tricks guide for Android users

Also in today's open source roundup: A first look at Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon, and ways you can run Windows applications on a Linux computer

Android tips for contacts and communication
mammela via pixabay

Google’s Android tips and tricks guide

Android is a very powerful mobile operating system, and there’s quite a bit users can do with it. But some folks might not be aware of how to make the most of Android. Fortunately, Google has released a web page that offers helpful tips and tricks for Android users.

Sam Nimmo reports for Android Headlines:

Android is an incredibly flexible operating system capable of doing amazing things. But one of the drawbacks of a wide variety of capabilities is complexity. Because Android can do so much, understanding how each part works, and how they all relate to each other, can take some time, particularly when coming from different operating systems that work very differently. Fortunately, Google understands this, and they’ve created a web page that will help you master using your Android device in no time.

Titled “Tips and Tricks”, this virtual cheat sheet covers an array of categories of things you can do with your devices. The tabs near the top navigate from one category to the next, with the featured items at the beginning. Other topics include using voice commands, optimizing battery life, changing settings and taking photos. The tips are presented on color-coded cards, and each card has an icon in the bottom right corner of the app that relates to the tip when applicable. The tips are presented in a simple and clear way, with a “Learn More” option that will provide a popup containing step-by-step instructions.

So if you want to know how to schedule an alarm with your voice, add widgets to your home screen, or turn on package-tracking notifications, all of this information is just a few clicks away. And finally, there are some links at the top of the page to other Android-related resources, such as information on devices and where to purchase them, a guide for switching to Android from other mobile operating systems, and information relating to Android Pay.

More at Android Headlines

A first look at Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon has been out for a while now, and folks have had some time to use it on their computers. One writer at FOSS Force recently shared her thoughts about Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon.

Christine Hall reports for FOSS Force:

Being a longtime Linux Mint user, I was happy at the end of last month when lead developer Clement Lefebvre and the gang released Linux Mint 18, otherwise known as “Sarah.” As always, the new Mint was first released with two desktops that are based on GNOME, Mint’s default Cinnamon and the more retro MATE. Those who prefer Xfce (my personal choice) and KDE will have to wait a while longer while the developers get them polished and ready to work and play well with the rest of Mint.

Normally I’d just wait until the Xfce edition was released and have a look at that, since it’s what I use to get my work done. However, with the buzz by some being that the new Mint is the best thing since sliced bread — SJVN seems to think it’s something akin to the best operating system in history — I was hankering to give it a look sooner rather than later. Besides, I see Xfce on Mint every day. I figured it was time to take a look at Mint’s flagship desktop, Cinnamon. Although based on GNOME, a DE I’ve never much liked, word from some users is that Cinnamon is a much better attempt to redefine GNOME than, say, Ubuntu’s Unity.

After downloading via torrent and making a bootable thumb drive, I booted the live version just long enough to make sure of a wireless connection before installing to the hard drive on the FOSS Force test machine, a System 76 Pangolin laptop with a quad core 2.53 GHz processor and 4 GB RAM. As I’ve been using Mint as my go-to distro for a number of years, the installer was familiar to me, so the installation was uneventful. In no time at all I was rebooting into a fresh install of Linux 18 Cinnamon.

Now that I’ve had about a week to play around in Mint 18, I find a lot to like and have no major complaints. While Cinnamon probably isn’t destined to become my desktop of choice, I don’t dislike it and find it, hands down, the best of the GNOME based desktops I’ve tried so far. Anybody looking for a powerful, all purpose distro that’s designed to work smoothly and which can be mastered with ease would be hard pressed to find anything better.

More at FOSS Force

Ways to run Windows apps on Linux

Most Linux users probably don’t care about running Windows applications on their computers. If they did, they would run Windows itself instead of Linux. However, there are some folks who need or want Windows apps on their Linux boxes.

A writer at Datamation recently examined how to to run Windows apps on a Linux computer.

Matt Hartley reports for Datamation:

Running Windows apps on Linux might be avoided by some, but the truth is, there are occasions where it helps.

One of the biggest reasons that some folks can’t break free from Windows is the available applications. Sometimes these applications are legacy applications that don’t have an open source alternative. Other times, it’s simply a matter of someone wanting to play their favorite video games. And even though the available apps and video games for Linux has grown tremendously over the years, there are always “those specific titles” that seem to be missing.

In this article, I’ll share some tips I recommend when you want to run Linux as your default OS, but still need certain legacy Windows applications. Yes, you can run Windows apps on Linux – it’s clearly an option if you need it.

More at Datamation

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?