Tech HowTo: How to Block Someone on Strava

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Strava, like all social media apps, can reveal a huge amount of information about you. Even if you stop random strangers from stumbling across your home address, you might sometimes need to actively stop a specific person from seeing what you’re up to. Here’s how to block someone else on Strava.

By default, anyone on the internet can see your activities and, potentially, work out where you live. Be sure to look through your Strava account privacy settings, too.

Blocking someone on Strava:

Somewhat surprisingly, if you have a publicly viewable activity, like say a top 10 position in a segment leaderboard, they’ll be able to see the summary of it there, but they won’t be able to click through for a more detailed view.

Blocking someone won’t send them a notification, but they’ll know something’s changed if they try to view your profile.

strava preview

RELATED: How to Stop Strava From Making Your Home Address Public

Head to the person you want to block’s profile page on Strava and tap the three little dots in the top right corner.

Tap “Block this Athlete,” then “Block Athlete” to block them.

blocking strava app

Open Strava in your browser and navigate to the person you want to block’s athlete page. Click the “Settings” icon (the gear icon) and then “Block Athlete.”

Finally, click “Block Athlete” again to block them.

blocking website

The Strava account you block won’t be able to follow you or view information about your activities, follow you, or appear in your activity feeds anymore.

Tech HowTo: How to Find and Disable Resource-Hungry Chrome Extensions

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Google Chrome is a resource-intensive browser. You might be used to closing tabs to free up RAM, but extensions run constantly in the background and take a lot of resources. Here’s how to find and disable resource-hungry Chrome extensions.

Just like your Windows or Mac computer, Chrome has its own task manager built-in. From here, you can see how many resources a tab, app, or extension is taking up.

RELATED: Windows Task Manager: The Complete Guide

To get here, click the “Menu” button found in the top-right corner of the Chrome toolbar and go to More Tools > Task Manager.

Open Task Manager in Chrome

Here, you’ll find all active extensions at the bottom of the list. You can also click the “Memory Footprint” tab to sort all processes based on the RAM usage.

Now, go through this list and identify memory-hungry extensions. There could be extensions that are taking up well over 500 MB RAM. It’s not unusual for small extensions to use 50-100 MB RAM.

You can’t disable or delete extensions from here (more on that later), but you can temporarily disable the extensions. If an extension has gone rogue and is using a lot more memory than it should, you can select it and then click the “End Process” button to stop it from running.

End Process in Task Manager in Chrome

The extension will now crash, and you won’t find it in the Chrome toolbar. When you restart the Chrome browser, the extension will work again. To reload a crashed extension, go to Menu > More Tools > Extensions and click the “Reload” button.

Click Reload to Enable a Crashed Extension

During the process of finding resource-hungry Chrome extensions, you might come across some extensions that you have no use for. You might also come across extensions that you will need to delete because they are using too much RAM.

To do disable or delete an extension, click the three-dot Menu button from the Chrome toolbar and then go to More Tools > Extensions.

Open Extensions Manager in Chrome

Here, you’ll see all your installed extensions in a grid. From the top, you can search for a particular extension.

To disable a Chrome extension, click the corresponding toggle button. The extension will disappear from the Chrome toolbar, and you won’t be able to access it.

Click Toggle to Disable a Chrome Extension

Although disabled, the extension is still installed. If you want to delete it from Chrome for good, click the “Remove” button.

Click Remove to Delete a Chrome Extension

Then, from the popup, confirm your decision by clicking the “Remove” button.

Click Remove to Confirm

The Chrome extension will now be removed and it won’t hog up your computer’s RAM anymore.

Want to learn more about Chrome extensions? Here’s how to install and manage Chrome extensions.

RELATED: How to Install and Manage Extensions in Chrome

Tech HowTo: Here’s How to Build a Dirt-Cheap Pizza Oven

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Look, we’ll be immediately upfront with you. This isn’t a tutorial on how to build a beautiful pizza oven. This is a tutorial on how to build a fast, cheap, and powerful one with nothing but loose bricks and a little time.

If you want to build a beautiful pizza oven that will impress your neighbors and maybe survive long enough for your grandkids to make a pizza in it, check out some of the cool tutorials on YouTube. They’ll guide you through building a proper, long-lasting, tank-like pizza oven.

But if you’re thinking, I wish I could just pile up some bricks and make a pizza, you’re in luck! It’s not going to win any beauty contests and, bricks or not, it definitely won’t survive an encounter with the Big Bad Wolf. But this quick-to-assemble DIY pizza oven will get you from pile o’ bricks to pizza in no time.

While the video above does a good job of showing you how to set it up and use it, there are a few extra tips worth noting.

If possible, use actual firebricks and pavers. And, whether you’re using firebricks or not, we recommend building a small kindling fire in the pizza oven first. Then, observe it from a distance to ensure the heat of the fire pushes moisture out of the bricks, and nothing cracks from the heat.

Tech HowTo: How to Automatically Close Safari Tabs on iPhone and iPad

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Apple iOS and iPadOS Safari Icon

If you frequently find yourself with dozens of forgotten open Safari tabs on your iPhone or iPad, then it can be annoying to sort through them or manually close them later. Luckily, Safari can automatically close tabs after a certain period of time. Here’s how to set it up.

First, open Settings. Scroll down until you see “Safari” and tap it.

Tap Safari Settings on iPhone

In Safari settings, swipe down until you see the “Tabs” section, then tap “Close Tabs.”

Tap Close Tabs in Safari Settings on iPhone

One the “Close Tabs” screen, you have the option to set the lifespan of an open Safari browser tab. When set, Safari will close tabs that have not been viewed within the period of time you set, and the options are “Manually,” “After One Day,” “After One Week,” or “After One Month.” This setting applies to Private tabs as well.

Pick the option that suits you best and tap on it.

Select Tab Lifespan Option in Safari Settings on iPhone

After that, leave Settings. It’s handy to know that even after Safari automatically closes your older tabs, you can still find them in the hidden “Open Recently Closed Tabs” menu in Safari for iPhone and iPad. You can access it by holding down the “+” (plus) button on the tab management screen in Safari.

As a potential downside, Safari (as of iOS and iPadOS 13) will also group recently closed Private Browsing tabs in the same “Recently Closed Tabs” area if they are closed automatically. If you want to fully conceal recent browsing activity, it may be best to manually close Private tabs yourself.

RELATED: How to Reopen Closed Tabs on an iPhone or iPad

Tech HowTo: How to Create or Remove a Hanging Indent in Microsoft PowerPoint

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A hanging indent (often called a negative indent) positions the first line of a paragraph a predetermined amount of space behind the following sentences. Here’s how to create or remove a hanging indent in Microsoft PowerPoint.

To create a hanging indent, first, open your PowerPoint presentation and then select the text box that contains the paragraph you would like to add the indentation to.

Select the text box

As a note, if there are multiple paragraphs in a single text box, all of the paragraphs in that text box will be indented. If you’d like to indent only one specific paragraph, highlight that paragraph instead of selecting the text box.

RELATED: How to Align Text After a Bullet in PowerPoint

Once selected, navigate to the “Paragraph” group of the “Home” tab. Here, select the “Dialog Box Launcher” icon in the bottom corner of the group.

dialog box launcher icon

The “Paragraph” window will appear. In the “Indentation” group, set the “Before Text” spacing to the desired indentation space. In general, hanging indents are set to 0.5-inches. Next, select the arrow next to show the drop-down menu next to “Special” and select “Hanging.” Finally, select the “OK” button.

Paragraph indents and spacing settings

The hanging indent is now applied to the paragraph in the selected text box.

Paragraph with indentation

To remove a hanging indent, select the text box of the indented paragraph (or highlight the paragraph).

Once selected, click the “Dialog Box Launcher,” found in the bottom-right corner of the “Paragraph” group in the “Home” tab.

dialog box launcher icon

The “Paragraph” window will appear. Here, reduce the spacing of the “Before Text” indent to 0 and then select “None” from the “Special” option. Select “OK.”

Settings to remove hanging indent

The hanging indent will now be removed from the highlighted paragraph or all the content in the selected text box.

Tech HowTo: 6 Tips for Schooling Multiple Ages at Home

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Facing another semester with your kiddos stuck at home? Being an impromptu teacher isn’t easy, especially if you’re attempting to tackle multiple grades at once. Here’s how to manage it without losing your head.

Whether you’re planning to full-on homeschool or simply following the school’s guidelines, your children are bound to need some hands-on assistance. And, honestly, being able to offer each child adequate time, attention, and focus is going to be tough.

However, with enough planning, organization, and self-directed activities, you can get through this!

You’ll want to create a solid plan before diving into your children’s school tasks. This plan can (and probably will) change, but having a general schedule in place will prevent your day from becoming utter chaos.

Check out this sample quarantine schedule we created. All that really matters is that everyone keeps up with and does their work. If that means waking up early or staying up late, so be it.

A key component of the plan should involve setting up individual workspaces for each child. If you don’t have separate desks, a shared table can work, as long as there are clear boundaries in place (use masking tape, if necessary).

You can keep up with your family’s changing needs by scheduling family meetings. This gives everyone an opportunity to discuss what’s working and what’s not, as well as make lists for the coming week.

Don’t forget to schedule some fun, too!

If you have multiple children in different grades, it can be a nightmare keeping track of all their homework, tests, projects, requirements, and so on. Work together and write all tasks on a large whiteboard or add them to an organizational app, like Trello.

Alternatively, you can also give each child his or her own school planner, so they can write out the details for the coming week.

Once you’ve created your system, mark which items your child’s capable of doing himself and which areas he’ll need help with. Also, star the items that are top priority, like a homework assignment that’s due tomorrow.

Try your best to group similar subjects, even if your children are studying vastly different material within that topic. Not only will this make scheduling easier for the whole family, but it will also help everyone (including you) switch their brains to that topic.

For example, if you schedule math studies at the same time, younger kids are bound to be inspired by watching their older siblings tackle bigger problems. Older kids, in turn, will be proud of their accomplishments when they see how far their skills have advanced.

Additionally, there are plenty of topics that work perfectly as a group activity, such as art, music, physical education, and foreign languages. Imagine a solid hour of everyone speaking Spanish—talk about total immersion!

The goal is to balance independent tasks with hands-on assistance. This allows your kids to develop and expand their self-directed skills, while you tend to each child one-on-one to address more complex problems.

Here are some great ideas for independent tasks:

If you’ve got preschoolers in tow, keep them occupied with these Montessori activities while their older siblings are plugging away on homework.

Not all kids learn at the same pace. Some respond better to shorter bursts of focus, while others like to stay on a task until it’s completed—even if it takes hours. One kid might like learning outside, whereas another wants to be tucked away in a quiet room. Learning isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, after all.

Of course, it might be impossible to adjust your family’s schedule to suit everyone’s needs, and that’s okay. When your children are in traditional school, they’re expected to abide by a classroom’s routine.

If your kids start rebelling at home, have a family meeting and re-create the schedule. Include some time for fun, creativity, outdoor play, or even screen time. Once your child feels like he’s part of the planning process, he’s more likely to follow along.

Most importantly, go easy on yourself. It’s okay to be less than perfect right now—especially if you’re juggling a full-time job while trying to teach your kids. It’s a challenging time for everyone.

If your kids have a wide age gap, consider having the older ones tutor the younger kids. This might feel like a chore, but it will actually help them cement the basics.

When you teach someone else how to master basic math problems, you have to explain every detail. Through this process, you gain a deeper understanding of the topic, as well.

Plus, your younger children might enjoy a break from their usual teacher (you). Take this time to enjoy a cup of coffee on the back porch—you’ve earned it!

If your kids are really struggling with the material, you might want to consider hiring an online tutor to help out.

Having your kids stuck at home for months on end can be incredibly challenging. Tending to all their individual academic needs might also feel completely impossible. Just take it one day at a time, follow a plan, and encourage your kids to become independent learners.

Tech HowTo: How to Display man Pages in Color on Linux

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If you want color highlighting in your man pages similar to the syntax highlighting in an editor, there are two simple ways you can achieve it. We’ll show you both!

Color highlighting makes things easier to read. It can make details pop, so you don’t skim past and miss them. Most modern editors support syntax highlighting, which uses color to identify and differentiate between different elements of a programming language. Reserved words, variables, strings, and numbers are all colorized to make it easier to visually parse a page or function of code.

Having this feature in the Linux man pages would be extremely helpful. Despite favoring brevity, some man pages are big, dense, and difficult to get through. Anything that makes it easier to visually navigate them is a good thing.

We’re going to describe two ways you can get a colorized effect in man pages. One involves using a different pager to display them, while the other requires passing a bunch of parameters to less at run time. The neatest way to do that is to create a shell function.

The most pager is a file viewer, like more and less, with improved handling of very wide files. It also automatically colorizes man pages.

To install most on Ubuntu, use this command:

sudo apt-get install most in a terminal window.

To install most on Fedora, type:

sudo dnf install most in a terminal window.

To install most on Manjaro, you type:

sudo pacman -Syu most in a terminal window.

To tell Linux to use most as the default pager, we have to export the value of the PAGER environment variable.

We type the following:

export PAGER=“most” in a terminal window.

This only works until you close the terminal window, though. To make this change permanent, we have to add it to the “.bashrc” file (we’ll make it the last line in the file):

gedit .bashrc in a terminal window.

We add the line, save our changes, and then close the editor.

.bashrc in a the gedit editor.

To make the contents of the modified “.bashrc” file active, we close and reopen the terminal window.

To keep the terminal window open, we’ll use the source command, which can be shortened to a period (.). This will make the shell read the contents of the modified “.bashrc” file.

We type the following:

. .bashrc in a terminal window.

Let’s open a man page and see what it looks like:

man grep in a terminal window.

The man page opens as usual, but it now has text highlighted in different colors.

man page with color highlighting.

Scroll down, and you’ll see how the different elements of the page are colorized.

A section of a man page with color highlighting in a terminal window.

Using most is very similar to using less, but there are some differences. Press H in  most to see a list of keybindings and their functions.

The most pager help screen in a terminal window.

If you don’t want to install another pager or have to learn new keystrokes, there’s a trick you can use to force less to use color. There are different ways you can do this, but we’ll cover the quickest and easiest method.

This method uses the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) color codes to control the onscreen effects associated with the old and mostly defunct termcap settings.

These were once used to specify how computer terminals of different makes and models should interpret display commands. Software packages also had their own termcap settings, and less does, too.

Here are the definitions of the less termcap settings:

Again, we’ll set these to control color combinations using the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) color codes.

The format of the color code is easy to read once you understand it:

These are the codes we’ll use to start a color sequence, and how to turn them all off:

We’re going to wrap all of this in a shell function we’ll call man. It will set these values for us, and then call the real man program.

If you’ve already got some shell functions defined in another file, you can add this one to that file. Otherwise, copy the following text into the bottom of your “.bashrc” file:

gedit .bashrc in a terminal window.

Paste the function at the bottom of your “.bashrc” file.

manshell function in the gedit editor.

Save your changes and close the editor. Now, we need to read the “.bashrc” file to make the shell function active, so we type:

. .bashrc in a terminal window.

Now, when we start a man page, it will be colorized in less:

Running "man chmod" in a Bash terminal.

The man page opens with color highlighting.

A colorized man page in less in a terminal window.

In retrospect, yellow on magenta might not have been the best idea. Thankfully, you can tweak the color codes to your liking.

RELATED: How to Create Aliases and Shell Functions on Linux

It’s easy to scroll through a long man page and miss an important piece of information, like an option or parameter, because it’s lost in a sea of text.

Now, parameter and option names will be highlighted and much easier for you to spot.

Tech HowTo: How to Fix a Slow Context Menu in Windows 10’s File Explorer

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Windows 10’s context menu can slow down over time. Third-party programs often install context menu extensions, and badly coded ones can slow things down. Here’s how to fix context menus that open slowly, freeze, or hang when you right-click.

We’re going to do this the easy way. Yes, you can directly remove context menu entries from the Windows registry. But that’s a slow process, and we’re going to quickly pin down the problem.

With that in mind, we recommend ShellExView, one of the excellent free utilities from NirSoft. It runs on Windows 10 and older versions of Windows, too. Download and launch ShellExView to get started.

You’ll see a long list of Windows shell extensions. However, many of them are created by Microsoft and included with Windows. Those shouldn’t be slowing down your system. To hide all the Microsoft extensions, click Options > Hide All Microsoft Extensions.

You will now see a more manageable list of the third-party shell extensions from the programs you installed. For example, on our Windows 10 PC, we saw extensions from programs like 7-Zip, Notepad++, NVIDIA’s graphics drivers, Dropbox, Google Drive, Malwarebytes, and Paint.NET.

You’ll want to figure out which shell extension is causing the problem. This involves disabling one or more shell extensions, restarting Explorer, and then seeing whether your problem is solved.

For example, you could do this in several ways:

However you choose to do it, here’s how to disable extensions:

First, select the extensions you want to disable. You can click one to select it, press Ctrl+A or click Edit > Select All to select all of them, press and hold the Shift key while clicking to select a range, or press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking to select multiple extensions.

To disable one or more selected shell extensions, right-click them and select “Disable Selected Items” or click File > Disable Selected Items. (To re-enable them after, select “Enable Selected Items” here.

Disabled shell extensions will say “Yes” under the Disabled column.

Your change won’t take effect until you restart Windows Explorer. You’ll see an option for this in ShellExView’s Options menu, but we don’t recommend that—it caused Explorer and the Windows taskbar to reload over and over until we signed out.

Instead, we recommend using Task Manager. To open it, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc or right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager.”

Click “Windows Explorer” under Apps on the Processes tab. (If you don’t see this tab, click “More Details.”) Then, click the “Restart” button at the bottom-right corner of the Task Manager window.

Explorer will restart. Now, try right-clicking a folder, file, or your desktop—whatever was slow before. Is it still slow? Then you need to try disabling more shell extensions. Is it faster than it used to be? Then you’ve disabled a shell extension that was slowing it down.

Repeat this process to turn extensions on and off and determine which is causing your problem. By testing your context menus after every time you make a change (be sure to restart Explorer first!), you can determine which one is causing the problem.

Feel free to leave any extensions you don’t want to use disabled, too. You can always re-open ShellExView and re-enable them in the future.

By the way, with our PC, the culprit slowing down our folder context menus was Google Drive’s “GDContextMenu Class” extension. Apparently this is a known problem. But, with the extension disabled in ShellExView, our PC’s context menus returned to their usual speed.

And, if you want even more speed, you can disable animations in Windows 10. Context menus will quickly pop up with no time-wasting animations after you do that. That’s just one of many ways to speed up your Windows 10 PC.

RELATED: How to Turn Off Animations and Make Windows 10 Seem Faster

Tech HowTo: How to Choose Your Shopping List App in the Google Home App

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Google Assistant and Nest smart speakers (aka Google Home) make it easy to add items to shopping lists with just your voice. If you don’t want to use Google’s built-in list, you can connect your device to a third-party app. Here’s how.

You can simply add things to a shopping list using the Assistant or your Nest speaker by saying, “Okay Google, add milk to my shopping list.” If you have a Google Nest speaker or display, you don’t even need to pull out your phone. Selecting a preferred shopping list is the first step in getting the most out of this feature.

Open the Google Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, and tap the “Settings” gear icon in the top section.

google home settings

Scroll down to the “Services” section, and tap “Shopping List.”

Google home shopping lists

Navigate to the “Select your notes & lists provider” section, and you will see a few different apps to choose from. Select the app you wish to use.

Google Assistant select anylist shopping list

After selecting an app, a pop-up message will tell you that all future notes and lists created with Google Assistant will be visible in the selected app. Tap “Continue.”

google home select shopping list app

You will be redirected to sign in to the selected app. Follow the steps outlined by your selected app.

Once finished signing in, you will be brought back to the “Notes & Lists” page in the Google Home app. Now, whenever saying something like “Okay Google, add milk to shopping list,” the Google Assistant will add the item to your chosen shopping list app.

There are only a handful of notes and lists apps that can integrate deeply with the Google Assistant. The difference between the apps listed in the Google Home app and other apps that advertise Google Assistant support is the commands.

For apps listed in Google Home, you only need to say, “Okay Google, add milk to shopping list.” Apps without the deep integration require lengthier commands, such as “Okay Google, ask [APP NAME] to add milk to shopping list.”

As mentioned above, Google Assistant includes its own basic shopping list. This list is used by default if you don’t select a different shopping list app. The shortcut to Google’s shopping list is only present in the Google Home app on Android devices, not iPhone or iPad.

However, the “add to shopping list” commands works with Google Assistant on all devices, and the list itself can be accessed through any web browser at shoppinglist.google.com.

If you want to use Google’s built-in shopping list option, open the Google Home app on your smartphone, and tap the “Settings” gear icon in the top section.

google home settings

Scroll down to the “Services” section, and tap “Shopping List.”

Google home shopping lists

Navigate to the “Select your notes & lists provider” section. Make sure “Do not sync with other services” (on iPhone and iPad it’s simply “Don’t Sync”) is selected.

google home default notes lists android iphone

Now, whenever saying “Okay Google, add [BLANK] to shopping list,” the Google Assistant will add the item to your list at shoppinglist.google.com.

Tech HowTo: How to Disable File Thumbnails on Windows 10

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Even in our age of speedy PCs, many people use removable or networked drives that can be frustratingly slow to browse—especially if we have to wait for each new file thumbnail to load in File Explorer. Luckily, it’s easy to speed up file browsing by disabling thumbnails completely. Here’s how.

First, open the “Start” menu and type “File Explorer Options.” Click the first result.

(Or, you can open a File Explorer window and select View > Options in the menu bar.)

Open Start and type File Explorer Options

In the File Explorer Options window that appears, click the “View” tab. In the “Advanced Settings” area, click the checkbox beside “Always show icons, never thumbnails.” Then, click “OK.”

Check Always show icons instead of thumbnails in File Explorer Options on Windows 10

If you’d like, open up a folder full of documents or images to test the new setting. You should only see standard icons for each file instead of thumbnails, which will very likely speed up your future file browsing experience.

If you ever change your mind and want thumbnails back, just revisit File Explorer Options and uncheck the box beside “Always show icons, never thumbnails.”