Monthly Archives: May 2017

How To Reset Data Usage On Windows 10

Windows 10 runs on tablets, desktops, and laptops. Windows 10 tablets are limited to just the Surface line at present but the OS has features that are useful for tablet owners. Desktop users have access to these features too, even though they’re less likely to need or use them. Windows 10 shows you detailed data usage on a per-app basis. You can see which apps consumed how much data on WiFi or Ethernet. The Settings app shows data consumption for the past 30 days on both WiFi and on Ethernet. It also shows you data consumption by individual apps installed on your system. The only downside is, there’s no way to reset data usage. If you use a tablet, this total will not help manage your data plan. Here’s how you can reset data usage on Windows 10.

Reset Data Usage On Windows 10

There is no native way to reset data usage on Windows 10. Perhaps there is a registry entry you can modify to reset the data consumption figures but that’s the long way to do it. A much easier way is to use an app called Reset Data Usage. It’s a portable utility that requires one click to reset your data usage stats. It will reset both the WiFi and Ethernet stats.

Download the app and run the correct version for your system. The zipped file contains both a 32-bit and 64-bit version. Run the app and click the ‘Reset Data Usage’ button. If you want to check out what the current data usage stats are, you can click the ‘Data Usage’ button to open the Settings app and view them.

Once you reset the stats, there’s no way to recover them.

View Data Usage In Windows 10

If you want to know how you can view data usage stats without going through the app, it’s pretty simple. Open the Settings app. Go to the Network & Internet group of settings. Select the Data Usage tab. You can see how much total data was consumed by all your apps.

Click ‘View usage details’ to see how much data was consumed by each individual app on your system.

When you reset these stats with the app, this list will disappear. You won’t be able to view data usage stats for apps until you use them. It’s a pretty good way to check out which apps constantly use the internet even when they aren’t open. For example, after purging my data stats, they filled up again immediately because I was using Chrome which is normal. What isn’t normal is that Netflix had also consumed about 2MB of data even though I wasn’t watching it.

How To Share And Scan Spotify QR Codes For Tracks And Radio Stations

Music streaming services let you share tracks, playlists,  and now playing with friends. You can share what you’re listening to privately or publicly on social media. Most services, especially those that involve media have a robust sharing system in place. Spotify is no different. You can share the current song you’re listening to on social media or share a link to it via any messaging app. The only problem with this sharing method is that it forces you to use an intermediary app to share songs. You have to leave the Spotify app. Spotify has fixed that little problem. Spotify now has QR  codes for sharing the current song and/or radio or playlist. You can share and scan Spotify QR codes from inside the app. Here’s how.

Share A QR Code

Make sure the Spotify app is up to date. Open the app and play a song, or a radio station. Tap the overflow button to go to the track’s options. You will see the usual ‘Save’ and ‘Add to playlist’ options. The QR code is incorporated in the bar under the album art for the track. You basically have to show this screen to a fellow Spotify user so they can scan it.

For a radio station, tap the radio station so that you’re on its home screen. Tap the overflow button at the top right. Again, the QR code is in the bar under the album art for the radio station. Show it to your friend so they can scan it.

You can get a QR code for all playlists in much the same way. QR codes aren’t limited to the playlists that Spotify generates. You can get a QR code for a custom playlist.

Scan Spotify QR Codes

Open the Spotify app and go to the Search tab. At the top, next to the search bar, is a camera button. Tap it to launch the app’s built-in QR code scanner. The app will need permission to access your camera. Point the camera towards a QR code and it will scan it. You will be taken to the track or radio station where you can play it.

When you scan Spotify QR codes, you have the option to save the song or playlist it points to, or play it right away. The song or the radio doesn’t start to play right away. If you scan the QR code for a song, Spotify will show you the entire album the song is from and give you the option to download it.

How To Follow Someone On Snapchat

Following someone on Snapchat is a lot like following someone on Twitter. There is no ‘approval’ process involved. Facebook and LinkedIn both have something similar. You can follow someone on Facebook and LinkedIn and view all their public posts in your feed. In a similar vein, you can follow someone on Snapchat and view their story. They don’t necessarily have to follow you back i.e. add you as a friend. You can’t send them a private message though unless they add you back.

Before we tell you how to follow someone on Snapchat, there’s a little bit of terminology we need to make clear. On Snapchat, following means to add a person as a friend. We call it following because that’s the blanket term used by other popular social media sites.

Follow Someone On Snapchat

As stated earlier, to follow someone on Snapchat means to add them as a friend. There are two ways to do this. You can search for a person by their handle, or you can scan their Snapcode. The difference between the two is that you can’t just get a user’s Snapcode unless they’ve shared it publicly or privately with you.

Search By Name

Open Snapchat and tap the search bar at the top. Enter the name of the person you want to follow on Snapchat. You don’t necessarily need to know a person’s Snapchat user name but it will help if there are multiple people by the same name in your search results.

How to Install a VPN on Amazon Fire TV Stick [No Root Needed]

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick bridges the gap between streaming videos from the internet and watching TV. The tiny device makes it easy to watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, BBC iPlayer, Crackle, Amazon Instant Videos, and countless other channels and services, all in HD quality. It’s portable, inexpensive, and extremely convenient, especially if you pair it with a good VPN.

There’s a limit to what the Amazon Fire TV Stick can do, however, and that mainly centers on content availability. Channels and providers can restrict videos based on your location, preventing you from watching shows outside of your region. This can be especially frustrating if you’re traveling overseas and can’t access the content you’re used to.

A quick and simple workaround to the geo-locking problem is to use a virtual private network. Installing a VPN on your Amazon Fire TV Stick only takes a few minutes and can deliver countless hours of content with no restrictions. Installing a VPN is a popular option with those using Kodi on their Fire Stick where the content sits in a legal gray area.

Benefits of a VPN on a Fire Stick

Virtual private networks offer a host of benefits for users on all kinds of devices, from laptops to cell phones, PCs and tablets. Even if you only use your Fire TV Stick for streaming the occasional movie, having a VPN active will provide an extra layer of privacy to keep you safe in an expanding digital world.

Some of the biggest benefits of installing a VPN on your Fire TV Stick include:

Unblock restricted content

Certain movies and TV shows are only available to viewers in a small list of countries. A VPN allows you to switch your virtual location with just a few taps, making it easy to change locations and access the content you’re interested in regardless of where you’re physically sitting.

Stay anonymous

Internet service providers can collect and even sell user data without your permission. Even watching movies on a Fire TV Stick adds to that database and can be tracked and linked back to your identity. A VPN eliminates that issue by encrypting data and associating it with random IP addresses instead of IPs linked to your service provider.

Travel with confidence

The Fire TV Stick is the perfect portable streaming device. Plugging it into TVs while you travel and using public Wi-Fi broadcasts information about your viewing habits across the network, however, and if you cross a country’s border you might find the TV show you were watching is suddenly unavailable. Using a VPN helps protect your data even on public networks and makes it easy to switch your virtual location to access the content you need, even while abroad.

VyprVPN

VyprVPN owns and operates its own massive network of servers that includes over 200,000 IP addresses spread across 700 servers in 70 different locations. Unlimited switching is a core feature, along with zero-logging, unrestricted bandwidth, and no file type restrictions. Those features alone make it a prime candidate for Fire TV users looking to bypass region locked content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other channels.

The defining feature of VyprVPN for Fire TV is that the app is available to install through the Amazon Appstore, and it works like a dream. This means you can skip the complex install instructions below and just start watching movies. This is the only major VPN service to offer a native Fire TV app, which earns VyprVPN a ton of bonus points.

Reader deal: VyprVPN allows you a 3-day trial, without committing to any plans. I you decide to buy a plan a 50% discount will be applied to your first month’s bill. The deal is available on this link.

NordVPN

A long time leader in the VPN field, NordVPN has a reputation for providing impeccable connection speeds along with unbeatable security. The service encrypts all data twice, wrapping it in 2048-bit SSL encryption that even a supercomputer can’t crack. Paired with that security is a zero-logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, and a massive network of 839 server locations in 57 different countries, a number that’s constantly growing. Server switching to access region locked content is also unlimited, making NordVPN a strong choice for Fire TV users looking for more freedom.

One of the best features of NordVPN is SmartPlay. This clever service automatically unblocks streaming services that aren’t available in your area. If you can’t access Hulu or BBC iPlayer, for example, NordVPN seamlessly switches and unblocks them in the background. This doesn’t prevent you from changing server locations on your own, of course, it’s just a convenience feature you’ll learn to love.

One downside of using NordVPN with Fire TV Sticks is that some users report having trouble with the app on their device. If this is the case, using NordVPN directly from your router should solve any lingering problems.

DEAL ALERT: A 30 day money back guarantee is a great place to begin with NordVPN. They also run a limited time offer (we have no idea how long it’s going to stay on) that gives our readers a huge 72% discount on the monthly price if you signup for the two year plan. It’s a bit hidden on their site, but you can get it with this link.

IPVanish

IPVanish mainly focuses on privacy and keeping the internet secure for its users. However, the company operates over 750 anonymous VPN servers in 60 countries, giving it one of the widest ranges in the market. With unlimited switching in place you can sidestep restricted content on your Fire TV in seconds. Unlimited bandwidth and fast connection speeds make it even easier to keep the streaming going strong.

The IPVanish Android software is known as one of the more friendly apps for Fire TV Stick users. Following the instructions below yields a seamless install that isn’t too resource intensive, allowing for crystal clear HD video without any stuttering.

DO NOT MISS THIS: AddictiveTips readers get a massive 57% on the IPVanish annual plan! It doesn’t get better than that.

Installing VPN Software on Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV Stick is normally limited to downloading software from Amazon’s Appstore. There’s a wide variety of apps and utilities there, but to get a VPN onto the device, you’ll need to install it on your own. This process is called sideloading, and it will only take a few minutes to complete from start to finish.

There are multiple ways to sideload apps onto your Fire TV Stick, some of which require a PC or an Android device. Below are two of the more straightforward methods.

Sideload a VPN with Downloader app (free, no PC required):

  1. Go to your Fire TV Stick’s settings page.
  2. Select Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to On.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Return to the home screen and open Amazon’s Appstore.
  5. Search for Downloader and install the program.
  6. Run Downloader.
  7. On your PC, locate the download link for the Android version of your VPN’s software.
  8. Enter that URL into the Downloader app’s text box. It should end with .apk
  9. Download and install the VPN software to your Fire TV Stick.
  10. Run the VPN app and enter your login details.
  11. Use your Fire TV Stick as you normally would.

Sideload a VPN with adbLink (free, PC required):

  1. Go to your Fire TV Stick’s settings page.
  2. Select Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to On.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Find your devices IP address by going to Settings > System > About > Network
  5. Return to the home screen.
  6. Visit the adbLink website on your PC and download the program.
  7. Run and install adbLink.
  8. Click “new” next to the devices box and add your Fire TV Stick.
  9. Type the IP address of your Fire TV Stick into adbLink.
  10. Click “Save”, then “Connect”.
  11. Visit your VPN provider’s website on your PC and download the Android version of their software.
  12. In adbLink, click “Install APK”, then find the VPN file from above.
  13. Install the VPN software to your Fire TV Stick.
  14. Run the VPN, log in, and stream as normal.

Recommended: Install IPVanish on your Amazon Fire TV Stick

Although the process of sideloading and using a VPN on Fire TV devices isn’t difficult, performance can vary depending on the provider’s software. IPVanish neatly sidesteps this limitation with a lightweight app that’s easy to use and works extraordinarily well on the Fire TV Stick. No video stuttering and no complex set-up process, just safe streaming through a sturdy and reliable VPN.

Follow the steps below to install IPVanish on your Fire TV device:

  1. Click on your Fire TV Stick’s settings icon.
  2. Choose Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to On.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Return to the home screen and open Amazon’s Appstore.
  5. Search for Downloader and install the program.
  6. Run Downloader.
  7. Enter the following URL into the Downloader text box: https://www.ipvanish.com/software/android/IPVanish.apk

     

8. The file will download and install automatically.

  1. Visit the IPVanish website and sign up for an account.
  2. On your Fire TV Stick, go to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications
  3. Choose the IPVanish VPN software and launch it.
  4. Enter your login credentials and connect.
  5. Use your Fire TV Stick as normal. The VPN will remain active until you manually close the program or disconnect.

Install a VPN on Your Router

If you can’t quite get the VPN installation to work on your Fire TV Stick, there are some workarounds you can try. The best is to install your VPN provider’s software directly to your router, eliminating the need to use software on every device that connects to the internet. It can require a little more technical knowledge to get running, however, and your Fire TV Stick will only gain the region switching benefits when connected to your home network, but it can be a great solution if you don’t want to mess with sideloading apps.

The process of installing a VPN to your router will vary depending on the type of router you own as well as your VPN provider, so check their support pages for detailed instructions. Before you get started, make sure your router is compatible with your VPN. This usually means supporting PPTP, L2TP, or OpenVPN connection types. If it doesn’t, custom firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato are perfect solutions to prepare your router for hosting VPN software.

Evaluating Compatible VPNs

Choosing the right VPN can be tough. There are so many details about security protocols, logging practices, server locations, and data plans to sort out, it seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth. We’ve made the process easy by focusing on trusted providers with long standing reputations in the VPN marketplace. They also feature software and support that covers the Fire TV Stick, so if you run into any problems while streaming, they can make it right.

Below are the criteria we used to evaluate VPNs best suited to install on your Fire TV Stick:

Fire Compatibility

Even the best VPN isn’t much use if you can’t use it with your Fire TV Stick. The recommended providers below all support Fire devices to varying degrees, including direct router installs and Android versions of the software, which are compatible with Fire.

Speed

One of the main selling points of the Fire TV Stick is streaming HD video. You can’t do that on a slow internet connection. Because VPNs can lag download speeds by 10-20% due to encryption overhead and traffic routing, finding a provider that puts a priority on speed is extremely important.

Server locations

Using a VPN to step around region locked content requires the provider to have a decent number of options at your disposal. Most VPN services have server locations in several dozen countries, allowing you to hop between areas until you find one with the right balance of content availability and speed. The VPNs below all have respectable lists of server locations and allow unlimited switching between them.

Traffic limitations

It’s not uncommon to see VPN providers putting traffic caps or bandwidth limitations on the data they provide. If you cross the threshold in the middle of the movie, you’ll experience stuttered playback or worse. All of the VPN services below feature unlimited bandwidth for all the streaming you can handle.

Logging

One of the main benefits of using a VPN service is knowing your data isn’t being stored and sold to third parties. A strict zero-logging polity is high priority when looking for a VPN, and we’ve made sure the providers below state their practices up front and without exception.

Price

The wide availability of VPNs has increased competition in the market, driving prices for the service lower and lower. Most providers can deliver unlimited bandwidth and a host of features for the price of a fancy cup of coffee.

Avoiding Free VPNs

One of the most common warnings you’ll hear from the VPN community is this: never use a free VPN. No-cost providers are still businesses, and if they’re not making money from users, they have to look elsewhere for revenue. This often comes in the form of selling collected user data, which is something most people are trying to avoid when they start using VPNs in the first place.

Even if you’re only using a VPN for streaming videos on Fire TV, you’re still compromising your privacy and security if you use a free provider. The risk just isn’t worth it. A good VPN is a small investment that’s absolutely worth the asking price.

VPN vs DNS

The simplicity of the Fire TV Stick’s offerings have many users wondering if a DNS rerouting service is preferable to a VPN. Put simply, DNS rerouting delivers the virtual location switching feature from a VPN so you can watch content from around the world without limitation. There are no privacy or anonymity measures in place, just a quick and inexpensive way to change virtual locations so accessing geo-blocked content is never an issue.

Deciding between a full blown VPN and a DNS rerouting services largely comes down to user choice. Both deliver great results when it comes to unrestricted video streaming from sources around the world. VPNs can be a little more expensive, but the features they offer are worth the asking price, especially if you use multiple devices on the same connection. If you’re not sure, a VPN is easily the best choice between the two. Kodi users should avoid DNS and stick to VPNs.

 

How To Use And Install Snap Packages On Linux

On Linux, there are many different ways to install software. There are Debian packages, Redhat RPM packages, the Arch Linux user repository, the Gentoo Portage tree, AppImages, tar.gz archives with static binary files, and the list goes on. Still, with as many ways to install software on Linux, there are still many problems present. For example: when developing professional software for Linux, it’s very hard to get it on every single Linux distribution. The people at Ubuntu are committed to solving this issue. Their solution ; Snap packages. Here’s a look at the need for Snap Packages on Linux, and how to use and install them.

Why Snap Packages Were Developed

Often times developers find themselves packaging their programs in many different package types, and get discouraged. It takes time to make all of these package files, and as a result, lots of programs don’t make it onto Linux. This is why the people at Ubuntu developed Snap packages. A snap is something that can be installed from the snap store, and inside the “snap” is everything the program is required to run.

This means that everything the app needs (libraries, binary files, image files, audio files and programs) are self contained and can run independent of the system. This ensures that no matter what, the program will run despite how outdated, or misconfigured the host system is. This Effectively makes it possible to install snaps on any Linux distribution, and makes it a “universal installer” that any developer, big or small, can pick up and even make their own snap store!

Installing Snapd and getting it running

Snapd is the technology that helps snaps run on Linux. The company behind snaps has worked with other Linux distribution makers so that the popular and most used Linuxes can run and install snaps with ease. Here’s how to get it running

Note: Ubuntu users, as well as those using a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu will not need to install Snapd.

How To Fix ‘Health Report Is Not Available’ In Windows Defender

The Windows 10 Creators Update revamped the Windows Defender Security Center. The UI fits better with the rest of the OS now and the functionality is still as good as ever. Windows Defender has a neat little section called Device Performance and Health. It gives you a general idea as to how well your system is doing. If you’re missing a driver or your power plan isn’t optimized, the health report will tell you. The only problem is, sometimes there is no health report. Instead, when you visit the Device Performance and Health tab, it says ‘Health report is not available’. There’s no way to force Defender to generate a health report. Here’s how to fix Health report is not available message in Windows defender.

There are three ways to fix Health report is not available in Windows Defender.

Run An Offline Scan

This method may or may not work but it’s simple enough so give it a try. Open Windows Defender Security Center. Go to Virus & Threat Protection.

Click the ‘Advanced scan’ button under ‘Quick scan’.

How To Move Notes From Your iPhone To iCloud

The Notes app in iOS can save notes to your device, or to iCloud. When you create a note, you can decide where you save it. The notes on your iPhone don’t sync to iCloud. If you wipe your device, restore it, or anything like that, you will lose these notes. The notes in iCloud are safe. They are saved to iCloud and sync to your Mac and all other iOS devices you’re signed into. The Notes app also supports folders; you can create folders on your iPhone or in iCloud and sort your notes accordingly. You can also choose which notes appear on your lock screen. If you need to move notes from your iPhone to iCloud, there’s a pretty simple way to do that. There’s no copy/paste involved.

Open the Notes app. The home screen shows you how many notes you have saved to your iPhone and to iCloud. “How To Move Notes From Your iPhone To iCloud“You can move notes from your iPhone to iCloud, and vice versa. The process is the same.

Move A Single Note

Tap ‘Notes’ on your iPhone to view all the notes on your device.

How To Move Notes From Your iPhone To iCloud

Find the note you want to move and swipe left. You will see two buttons; Move, and Delete. Tap ‘Move’. This will take you to the ‘Select a folder’ screen. “How To Move Notes From Your iPhone To iCloud“You can move a note from your iPhone to iCloud or you can move it to a different folder on your iPhone.

What is Kodi? Is it Legal? Is it safe to use?

Kodi has received a lot of press of late. A lot, that is, for a media player that, until very recently, no-one outside the open-source software community had really heard of.

But in more recent times, Kodi has become one of the most popular, and indeed controversial, pieces of media software around. So, what is it about Kodi that has caught people’s interest so much?

What Exactly Is Kodi?

Kodi is formerly known as Xbox Media Center or XBMC. It is a free media player which was initially created by a not-for-profit tech consortium known as the XBMC Foundation. It launched back in 2002 as the Xbox Media Player (XBMP) but quickly evolved in 2004 into the XBMC.

Kodi for Windows What is Kodi? Is it Legal? Is it safe to use?

Kodi for Windows: downloading from the Store

Its initial target platform was the first generation of the Xbox games consoles created by Microsoft, but it was never formally approved for use by Microsoft, so it was only available to users who hacked their device to permit the installation of unofficial software or those who had a modchip installed.

Its initial purpose, which remains unchanged to this day, was to provide users with a single central hub through which they could manage all of their personal media.

In 2014, XBMC, which had long since branched out down its own software fork, finally rebranded itself and the term Kodi emerged. By this point, it was also available as an app on a wide variety of different operating systems including iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux, and Windows.

The technical bit (jargon-free)

Let’s get technical for just a moment. Kodi is a piece of open-source software, originally written in C++ code. If you are not familiar with the term ‘open-source’, it means that the software and its source code can be accessed, analyzed, changed, and then redistributed. Essentially software developments can legally personalize and make improvements to the core Kodi software.

Kodi is actually available as a piece of Free and open-source software (FOSS), which means that unlike some open source programs which require a license to be obtained from the copyright holder, Kodi is totally free and available to anyone who wants to play around with the coding and make changes.

This has resulted in modified version of Kodi being used in such diverse devices as set-top boxes, Smart TVs, hotel TV systems, other media players, and even digital signs.

If you are not a software developer, the benefits of Kodi being a FOSS is most evident in the flexible nature of the modern version of the software. This can be seen firstly in its appearance, with a wide variety of different skins available to give the software pretty much any appearance you might want for it. If you know a bit about coding, you are also able to personalize it yourself.

More importantly, however, this flexibility has manifested itself in the huge number of plug-ins which can be added to the software to add functionality.

A plug-in, if you cannot guess from the name, is a software component which can be added to a Kodi to add a specific feature or capability to the software. For Kodi, a plug-in is most commonly used to enable users to stream online media content through the software.

They function in a similar way to apps on your smartphone, allowing you to personalize Kodi and use it to access and stream media from the sources that interest you.

What Can Kodi Do Today?

So, as you will have gathered, Kodi has evolved quite a lot from the original piece of software designed to be used on the first-generation Microsoft Xbox 15 years ago.

Kodi what can it do What is Kodi? Is it Legal? Is it safe to use?

Today, Kodi is one of the most versatile and efficient media players around. It is capable of playing pretty much any type of audio or media file format around. This makes it a great piece of software to use as a hub if you are getting your media from different sources and in different file formats.

Those of you who have downloaded video or audio files before will be very familiar with the frustration of getting the file of a film you have long wanted to see, or that album you have been looking forward to listening to for ages, and then finding it won’t play on your media player. With Kodi, that issue is a thing of the past.

It can also bring media files from all of your online devices together and make them available across everywhere. With Kodi installed on all your devices, any audio or media file, and even photo files, are available on the other devices in your media network. This means you can stream all the media files stored on your smartphone on your computer, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or whatever other device you might have Kodi downloaded on.

Kodi is also able to both stream and record live TV, and with the addition of electronic program guides, and smartphone apps, can also allow users to turn their smartphone into a TV remote.

What Devices Can I Download Kodi Onto?

As a popular piece of open-source software, it would be easy to assume that Kodi was available on every device you possibly can think of. That is sort of true, but the reality is a little more complicated than that.

First, the simple bit. There are Kodi apps freely available for all Windows, OSX, Linux, and Android devices. Should you be a developer who enjoys tinkering with a Raspberry Pi, there are also some versions available for that too (and there are even Kodi branded cases available should you be so inclined).

A particularly popular platform for Kodi is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This portable USB device is ideal for making all of your media available anywhere you go. Similar, but lower profile devices, such as the WeTek Play also have Kodi apps available.

But you may have noticed a few rather glaring omissions to this list. There is no official version of Kodi available on iOS for iPhones and iPads. The reason for this is the importance with which Apple regards its vetting process. To get into the Apple Store, all apps have to pass a very strict security vetting process, which is how Apple has minimized the exposure of their customers to viruses and other software threats.

Whilst Kodi itself is not a threat in this way, its customizability and the ability to install third-party plug-ins is viewed by Apple as a risk, as they would not be able to vet these add-ons directly.

Don’t despair, as it is still possible to get Kodi onto your iPhone, but you will need to jailbreak your device in order to do it.

Similarly, there is no app available for Window’s Phone’s at the present time, and with sales of Window’s devices in decline, it seems unlikely that one will emerge anytime soon.

Ironically, the other major device on which Kodi is not currently available is games consoles. Despite the software being originally developed for the Xbox, there are no versions that currently function on any modern games consoles.  This is because most consoles these days do not offer the ability to add external software in the same way that the older versions did.

In an effort to prevent software piracy and keep users dependent on software bought directly from the manufacturer, most games consoles are locked down these days and Kodi is far from the only piece of software that cannot be used on them.

How Do I Use Kodi?

As outlined above, Kodi is not available on absolutely every device. But for those that it is, the process for downloading it is relatively easy.

You can download an installer for your operating system of choice on the official Kodi website. For some platforms, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, you may need to download a dedicated installer tool before you can download Kodi. These are usually available on the ‘most popular apps’ lists.

That will download the core Kodi software, but as we have already explained, what makes Kodi really special is the plug-ins. And most users will immediately want to start to download the plug-ins that interest them.

There are many hundreds of these plug-ins available. A full list can be found on the Kodi Wiki. Users can download them in one of two ways.

They can either download individual plug-ins directly from their creators or they can find them in a repository such as SuperRepo.

Once you have downloaded a plug-in, it can be installed quite easily. Click on ‘system’ on the main Kodi screen, then select ‘settings’, ‘add-ons’, and ‘install from zip file’. You’ll then have the option to select the downloaded zip file from your downloads folder or wherever you saved it. And don’t worry about extracting the zip package before installing onto Kodi, as the Kodi software will do all that for you.

Is Kodi Legal?

You may have noted at the top of this article we described Kodi as a “controversial” piece of software. This controversy is the reason for much of the media coverage around Kodi and indirectly for the surge in its popularity in recent times.

It stems from the external plug-ins that you can download and use with Kodi. Some of these plug-ins can be used to enable the user to break media copyright laws and this has led to some governments and companies taking steps to regulate Kodi’s usage.

This makes the question is Kodi legal, both a simple and complex one to answer.

The Simple Answer

The simple answer to the question is Kodi legal, is yes. Kodi is absolutely 100% legal.

It is a piece of computer software and every bit as legal to download and use as any software which is available under the GNU General Public Licence.

As it is a FOSS, the creators of Kodi, the XBMC Foundation, have been extremely transparent with what Kodi is. The source code is freely available on Github, the world’s leading software development platform.

They also work with the Software Freedom Law Center, an advisory body which assists developers on issues related to copyright and trademark law.

So, not only is Kodi completely legal, but its developers are as transparent as they possibly could be about what it is made up of. So having Kodi on any electronic device is not going to get you in any trouble whatsoever.

Where the answer to this question gets a little more complicated is when it turns to the question of Kodi plug-ins or add-ons.

The Complicated Answer

Whilst Kodi itself is totally legal, its states as a FOSS is where the problems start. As a piece of free open-source software, Kodi allows developers to use its source code to create additional software or amend existing software however they see fit.

Kodi and its developers have no control over what these plug-ins actually allow users to do, and this is the problem. Because some Kodi plug-ins do enable users to undertake online activity which might be illegal. Principally, these are plug-ins which allow users to stream and download copyrighted content for free.

But the legality of streaming and downloading copyrighted content will depend on which country you are living in. Because national laws on copyright can vary from place to place and in many places, the legality is still not clear.

The European Union

The classic example of this lack of legal clarity is in the European Union, where it appears that streaming copyrighted content is not considered an offense.

It all stems back to a 2014 ruling from the European Courts of Justice. They found that copyright law was not infringed by people streaming copyrighted content online because the copyrighted information was only stored on their device temporarily.

This suggested that whilst downloading copyrighted content illegally was against the law, streaming wasn’t, and as most Kodi add-ons are used to facilitate the latter, there was no real legal issue with Kodi.

However, a recent ruling has shifted this position somewhat. In a case brought against a Dutchman referred to a Mr. Willuns, the European Court of Justice ruled that the sale of pre-loaded Kodi boxes was against the law.

A Kodi box is a piece of hardware rather like a set-top TV box which some users have to use Kodi on their TVs. A pre-loaded box is one which comes with the plug-ins that can be used to stream copyrighted content already downloaded onto it. Perhaps the most common usage is to watch subscription TV services without having to pay a subscription.

This case has muddied the water still further because whilst it can be argued that the case has now ruled streaming to be illegal as well as downloading, it confirmed that the equipment itself was not illegal and it was the fact that the defendant was selling the box with the software on it, with the intent of it being used to infringe copyright law, which was illegal.

There have been a number of prominent arrests for this across the EU, including in the UK, where a man called Malcolm Mayes was fined £250,000 ($325,000) for advertising and selling pre-loaded boxes.

One of the most prominent victims of such copyright infringement is England’s top flight football league, the Premier League. They have secured a ruling in the British courts that enables them to require the UK’s biggest ISPs to block any connections which are hosting illegal streams of Premier League games. This legal step was taken with Kodi plug-in services in mind but is aimed more at those hosting streams than watching them.

Is Kodi Legal In The USA?

The situation in the USA is similarly vague. Back in 2011, a bill called S.978 was put before Congress which tried to make the streaming of copyrighted content a felony offense. The bill failed to make it through Congress.

This means that much like in the EU, technically using Kodi to stream copyrighted content in the US does not appear to be in breach of any specific law. But downloading such content is likely to be in breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

A greater threat to those who do stream copyrighted content is likely to come from copyright trolls.

As ever, money talks in the USA, and organizations such as the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and some ISPs keep tabs on such activity.

They frequently hire copyright lawyers, better known as copyright trolls, who will threaten individuals to seek sizable financial settlements in exchange for not taking them to court. Usually, streamers can safely ignore such demands as copyright trolls will not bother to actually follow through on their threats because individual streamers are not profitable enough.

But if such a demand does escalate into a court case, it is vital to show up as a no-show defendant will automatically be deemed to have lost.

Is Kodi Safe?

As with the issue of Kodi’s legality, the question of whether Kodi is safe is not a straightforward one to answer.

If pressed, the simple answer to the question ‘is Kodi safe’ would have to be ‘no’. But, having said that, taking a few simple precautions should be enough to protect users from the handful of threats they are exposed to when using Kodi.

The reason Kodi cannot be described as safe is down to its open-source coding. Making the source code available for all developers to adapt and create add-ons for has made Kodi the popular media player that it is today. But it has also made it relatively easy for hackers to create malicious add-ons. This is one of the main reasons why Apple refuses to allow Kodi into its App Store.

Such add-ons open Kodi users up to a number of common threats, but these can be addressed fairly easily. Those threats include:

Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

A ‘Man-in-the-Middle attack occurs when data is intercepted whilst traveling between one device and another and corrupted by a third party.

Kodi is vulnerable to such attacks because of the way it updates itself. When Kodi is first launched, it automatically searches for any updates to the core software or any add-ons which have already been downloaded. Any that it finds will be automatically downloaded without the user having to confirm the download, or even being aware of it.

The problem is that this process takes place over an unencrypted and unsecured HTTP protocol. This insecure protocol makes it easy for hackers to intercept update data and potential add in a modified update which behaves maliciously and could be used to further infiltrate the user’s system.

This is a problem which Kodi’s administrators should have addressed by now, but so far haven’t. Fortunately, it is easily mitigated. Using a reputable VPN means that all of your online traffic is encrypted, regardless of whether it is using the HTTP or more secure HTTPS protocol.

However, a VPN will not encrypt data as it travels between its server and the Kodi server. There is a lower chance of data being intercepted here, but it is still possible. Therefore, in addition to a VPN, Kodi users should also consider using an anti-virus programme which can protect their devices.

Most reputable providers should do the job, provided they are updated regularly, but there are a few tailored-made to stop threats of this nature. One such, which I have had good experiences with is Bitdefender, but there are other options out there.

Malicious Add-Ons

A better-known threat than Man-in-the-Middle attacks for Kodi users comes from malicious add-ons. As was suggested earlier, Kodi’s open-source coding allows anyone to create add-ons for the software. And whilst many add-ons are perfectly legitimate and very useful, there are inevitably some who have seen Kodi as an opportunity for more nefarious purposes.

If you do download a malicious add-on it is likely to try and execute code on your device with a view to either stealing data, gaining control, or installing malware or ransomware.

There is no failsafe way to counter threats of this nature, but there are a few simple tips which can significantly decrease the risk you are putting yourself in.

Firstly, try to stick to the tried and tested, and recommended add-ons. Look for add-ons which have a high number of good reviews and do some research online before downloading them. This doesn’t guarantee you will be safe, but it will help a lot.

Secondly, a lot of Kodi commentators recommend “sandboxing” Kodi. This means that when you are using Kodi, run it is an environment that cuts it off from the rest of your system. Certainly, every time you use Kodi, you should ensure that your VPN and your AV software is working.

Most VPNs offer a kill-switch facility that will cut the connection to selected software if the VPN connection goes. This should always be enabled for Kodi.

Pre-loaded devices

It is becoming more and more common to find adverts or devices which are pre-loaded with Kodi and various add-ons. This might seem like a good time-saving idea, but it is strongly recommended that you avoid such devices.

Whether you are thinking about a pre-loaded Kodi set-top box or Amazon Fire Stick, you are exposing yourself to potential risk.

If you haven’t downloaded the software and add-ons yourself, you cannot know what is on the device and the risk of malicious software being present is often high. And that is without taking into account the potential legal risks of purchasing and using such devices which we have discussed above.

Here at Addictive Tips, we strongly advise downloading Kodi and all add-ons yourself. The process is simple enough and there are countless guides available online. That along with using a good VPN and anti-virus software offers you the best chance of a safe Kodi experience. Most users will be fine, but as with all open-source products, you can never be 100% safe.

Popular Kodi Builds And Add-Ons

Kodi’s popularity stems from the huge number of add-ons and builds available, which allows each user to enjoy a uniquely personal experience with the software.

There are countless builds and add-ons available, far too many to detail every single one here. But for those looking for pointer to get them going with Kodi, here is a run-down of our top-5 builds and add-ons for Kodi in 2017:

The Top 5 Kodi Builds

A Kodi build is a quick way to get going with Kodi. A Kodi build is a version which comes with various add-ons pre-installed which means users can get going straight away. As we have already noted, our advice is for users to download a clean version of Kodi and their own add-ons, as there is a risk that builds could contain malicious software.

But they are a great way to get going, so we have detailed out top 5 builds which should be safe to use and give you a great Kodi experience

  1. Nemesis:

Nemesis is a clean and visually appealing Kodi build which offers users a great experience. It features a whole host of the most popular (and legal) add-ons already installed and ready to use. Nemesis can be used on pretty much any platform and it’s simple three-line menu allows users to navigate easily.

  1. Apollo:

Apollo is perhaps the most complete and fully-functioning build you will find for Kodi. It has a simple, user-friendly and stylish appearance. Underneath it contains pretty much every add-on you are every likely to need already in place and ready to use.

Adding too many add-ons to Kodi can, at times, make it unstable, but Apollo has no such problems and should work on Laptops and Fire Sticks without any trouble.

  1. Dad’s Life:

Dad’s Life is a popular build in the UK, where it has been billed as a Kodi build for all the family. It has a great cross-section of content, ranging from kids shows and family-friendly films through to more grown-up content, sports, and even games for Mums and Dads.

It is another build with a clean and easy-to-use interface and it is easy to see why so many families have opted for it.

  1. FireTV Build:

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of the most popular tools for running Kodi, so it is no surprise that a build tailored for that platform should be one of the most downloaded around.

It has plenty to offer too, with al the most popular add-ons included, but with a focus on keeping it light on resources and heavy on user features and speed. It was created by the FireTVGuru website and they also offer support and tips for using the build through their Facebook page, which is a nice touch.

  1. Evolution:

Evolution is another Kodi build which is focused on providing content for all the family. All of the usual add-ons are included on a build based around the Zephyr skin, which is user-friendly and visually appealing. It is the fresh and clean look which makes this build one of the best and most popular around.

The Top 5 Kodi Add-Ons

As we have already noted above, users need to be careful to ensure they are downloading legitimate and secure add-ons. But there are far more good add-ons than bad ones and we have picked out top 5 add-ons to help get you going.

  1. Exodus:

Exodus is the most-used video add-on for Kodi and one of the first most users will download. It is one of the most reliable around, with far fewer broken links than others and a clean, crisp, and easy-to-use interface.

It should be noted that Exodus does not distinguish between copyrighted and uncopyrighted content, so user discretion is required with this. It has also been corrupted in the past and used to turn user devices into a Botnet. Downloaders are therefore advised to follow the precautions we have outlined above.

  1. Phoenix:

Phoenix is another hugely popular video add-on with one of the most comprehensive content lists available on any Kodi add-on. The content is regularly updated and also placed in dedicated sections to appeal to different demographics, which makes it easy to find things that appeal to you.

  1. YouTube:

YouTube is obviously the biggest internet video site in the world so it should come as little surprise to learn that demand for it is high on Kodi as well. There are a number of add-ons which allow access to YouTube, but the best we have found is simply called YouTube and was created by Bromix.

  1. Plex:

Kodi is not just about streaming video content but managing all your media content. Plex is a great (and official tool) to allow you to access and manage everything from personal video’s, photos, music, and downloaded media, in one place. It offers DNLA support and can allow you to access all of your content across multiple devices and even stream it online. Plex should be essential for all Kodi users.

  1. ROM Collection Browser:

As I noted at the top of this section, there are thousands of add-ons that I could mention. Perhaps my fifth pick should be Twitch, which allows users to enjoy online gaming streams. I know that young people, especially in Asia, are crazy about this.

But instead, I’m going to show my age and pick the ROM Collection Browser. This add-on allows users to play a whole host of retro video games through Kodi. Titles such as Pac-man and Super Mario are in there with pretty much every other game I used to while away the hours with as a kid. Beats watching other people playing games for me, but that’s the beauty of Kodi; there really is something for everyone!

An Overview: What Is Kodi? Is It Legal? Is It Safe?

In summary, Kodi is a flexible and hugely popular media player which offers a number of unique features which will benefit most modern internet users who stream or download content online.

Kodi itself is a completely legal piece of software, but the plug-ins and add-ons, which are part of what has made it so popular can sometimes not be legal.

A simple rule of thumb is not to buy or sell Kodi boxes or other devices on which Kodi and these plug-ins have been pre-installed. This is definitely not legal in most places.

It is still a grey area in both the EU and the US whether streaming copyrighted content is illegal. If you want to be sure, ask yourself if you are watching a paid-for service for free. If you are, you might end up in trouble.

Kodi is also not a 100% safe product, thanks to its open-source status. But by ensuring your download the software and any add-ons yourself and make use of a reputable VPN and anti-virus tool when using it, there is no reason why most users should enjoy a trouble-free experience with Kodi.

All in all, Kodi is not only a good media player, but it is one of the best media players around. And if used sensibly, could revolutionise the way you experience media content online.

Stay Safe: There’s A New Google Docs Phishing Scam Going Around

It was just last week that we covered the Punycode phishing attack. A week before that, we were talking about fake VPN services pretending to be affiliated with legit, big name services. Today’s phishing attack is masquerading as a Google Docs file. The short version of the attack is you are invited to a Google Docs file. If you join it and give it the extra bit of access it wants, you inadvertently give someone else access to your emails. Everything from the Google Docs email you receive to the account selection page is legit until you need to give the ‘document’ access to your emails. The good news is, a Googler was quick to find this attack reported on Reddit and has shut it down. The details are here.

The Google Docs Phishing Scam

Reddit user JakeSteam posted in r/Google about how he almost fell for this new Google Docs phishing scam. The email was real, the account selection screen was real, and the sender looked familiar. What tipped him off was an extra bit of access that he was asked to give.

This specific permission would allow Google Docs to access his account (image credit: Reddit user JakeSteam). Jake clicked ‘Google Docs’, which turned out to be, not the actual Google Docs app but something published by a Gmail account he didn’t recognize.

What’s At Risk?

The ‘Google Docs’ is basically an app. It’s asking to access your emails. The information is being sent to a random person. If said person were to gain access to your email, they could reset every password on every account you own. This includes online banking accounts, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

It’s clever because it calls itself ‘Google Docs’. The email Jake received told him a Google Docs file was shared with him. A less diligent user will think this is just Google Docs asking for additional permission. Ordinary users don’t really pay attention to what permissions a trusted app asks for. In a way, this is something like the fake VPN scam that pretended to be affiliated with Plex.

In this case, it’s not pretending to be affiliated. It’s pretending to be the trusted app.

Google Is On It

Jake posted this to Reddit where a Googler was quick to spot it, and then escalate it. Within hours, the problem was resolved. We’re hoping it’s resolved for good and not just this one case scenario because there could be other scams waiting to strike.

The scam was possible because Google doesn’t stop users from naming apps Google Docs, even though it’s a proprietary name. Let’s hope they’ve put a stop to it now, or will in the very immediate future. Stay diligent.

Update: The official Google Docs account on Twitter has released a series of statements  confirming the scam and its resolution.

We are investigating a phishing email that appears as Google Docs. We encourage you to not click through & report as phishing within Gmail.

We’ve addressed the issue with a phishing email claiming to be Google Docs. If you think you were affected, visit http://g.co/SecurityCheckup . pic.twitter.com/AtlX6oNZaf

We've taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs & have disabled offending accounts. We’ve removed the fake pages, pushed updates through Safe Browsing, & our abuse team is working to prevent this from happening again. We encourage users to report phishing emails in Gmail. If you think you clicked on a fraudulent email, visit g.co/SecurityCheckup & remove apps you don't recognize.

What To Do If You’re Effected

Of course, you might already be effected. In this case, Reddit Superhero and all around good guy JakeSteam has a few tips for you.

  • Visit this page and revoke access to apps called ‘Google Docs’. The real Google Docs doesn’t need any extra permissions to work.
  • Check if you’re account has been sending out any spam and get in touch with anyone who has received spam from you. Tell them what’s going on.
  • If you know the person who sent the Google Docs invite, get in touch with them and tell them their account is compromised.
  • Finally, if you’re a Google Business accounts admin, make sure none of the accounts have given permission to or have access to an app called ‘Google Docs’.

How To Watch 360 Videos In Windows 10 Via The Movies & TV App

360 content is slowly growing. Both Facebook and YouTube support this format even though cameras for it are not common. They’re also very expensive so you’re unlikely to see a huge boom in 360 content any time soon. That said, 360 content, 3D content, and Virtual Reality content are being pushed hard by giants like Facebook and Microsoft. Facebook has its Oculus headset, and Microsoft has the Hololens. With the Creators Update, Microsoft added expanded the capabilities of the Movies & TV app and added support for 360 content. You can now use the app to watch 360 videos in Windows 10. Here’s how.

To watch 360 videos in Windows 10 via the Movies & TV app, you need a video recorded in that format. The app doesn’t automatically detect if a video was shot in that format. It will give you the option to view any and all videos in 360 format. The only thing is, it’s pointless if the video isn’t shot that way.

Download A 360 Video From YouTube

You can probably find a stock videos shot in 360° format, or you can download one from YouTube. To download a 360 video from YouTube, you need an app that will preserve the 360 format. We recommend using KeepVid. Find a 360 video and paste its URL in KeepVid.

When given the choice, select the highest available resolution to download the video in.

Watch 360 Video In The Movies & TV App

After you download the video, open it in the Movies & TV app. You should see a 360° button next to the full screen button. Click it. If you don’t see this button, click the overflow button and there will be a ‘play as 360 video’ option in the menu. Click it.

The video player will switch to the 360 format with pan controls in the top right. Use the pan controls to look around, or click and drag your mouse over the screen to look around.

This feature is only available in the Creators Update. After you update to the Creators Update, you will need to wait for the Movies & TV app to update as well. Microsoft added additional features to this app via updates. It added a mini view feature before, and now a 360 video feature.

As mentioned earlier, even if your video isn’t shot in 360 format, you can still switch to this viewing mode. The video will of course look terrible. It will look like you’ve it stretched out in every direction possible. You will not have a superior viewing experience if you watch a normal video in 360 format. The 360 video format is available in version 10.17022.1031.0. of the Movies & TV app.

This is major step forward for 360 content. A default, desktop app on one of the most popular desktop operating systems can play 360 videos. Previously, if you wanted a reliable app to play 360 content, your only choice was VLC player.

Visit KeepVid

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