How to Create Price Alerts For Holiday Shopping Deals

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, one of the biggest spending holidays is still on the horizon: Christmas! While savvy shoppers may have gotten their Christmas shopping out of the way during the year’s two biggest days for deals, there are more savings to come as retailers work to clear out their inventory before the new year.

With plenty of year-ending online sales left to be scavenged, it’s worth it to know some of the best ways of having the internet do the hardest parts of shopping for you. Comparison shopping is tough and time-consuming, but we know two web services that can save you a lot of time.

If there’s a particular store or item that you’ve got your eye on before Christmas, there are two great ways that you can monitor them and know when great online deals come up or a specific price is met. 

In this article, let’s go over these two ways how you can get ahead of other shoppers by using Slickdeals and Keepa for automated price alerts.

Slickdeals

If you’re big on shopping, you’ve probably heard of Slickdeals. Slickdeals is fresh off of celebrating its 20th anniversary, offering 20 consecutive days of hand-picked deals to fans of its website. While Slickdeals’ frontpage is a well-recognized revolving door of up-to-date deals, you may not know about arguably its best feature – deal alerts.

Slickdeals’ custom deal alerts have personally saved me hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, and they can do the same for you. All you have to do is sign up for a Slickdeals account and navigate to the Deal Alerts page.

Once you’ve chosen a keyword for a product you’re interested in, add it by typing it and hitting the Enter key. You can then click More Options to fine-tune your price alert.

These options are what make Slickdeals deal alerts so powerful. You can change the target forum, notification method, frequency, and deal rating threshold.

By downloading the Slickdeals app on iOS or Android, you open yourself up to deals on the go with Slickdeals’ mobile push notifications. Selecting instant frequency, rather than daily, means that the moment a matching deal is posted, as long as it meets your rating threshold, you’ll know about it.

The rating threshold slider may be the most important option on this page. Defaulting to +2, this refers to the number of net upvotes required before your alert is triggered. The non-numerical values refer to special and featured ratings. 

For this value, you’ll want to use Any for products you’re extremely eager to purchase, but maybe something higher, such as Popular, for a product you’re only interested in if the deal is particularly good, as picked by the community.

When satisfied, click on the Add Alert button.

You can add as many deals as you want, and these can be defined by keyword, or store or brand name (if supported by Slickdeals). For stores and brands, you can even combine multiple into a single alert.

If you end up finding these deal alerts useful on the web, we definitely recommend installing the app on your phone for instant push notifications (as shown above).

Keepa

If you’ve heard of CamelCamelCamel, Keepa is similar, but we believe that Keepa’s browser extensions and charts are much more intuitive and powerful.

Keepa is an Amazon and eBay price tracking service that features price history charts, price drop and availability alerts, and more. Although Keepa only supports Amazon and eBay, these two storefronts are a massive chunk of the e-commerce space.

Keepa is available as a browser extension on Chrome, Firefox, Opera (through the Chrome extension), and Internet Explorer. There are no mobile apps for Keepa, but you can keep up with price alerts on your smartphone if you have an email client, Facebook, Telegram, or RSS reader.

After creating an account and installing the browser extension, Keepa will automatically show price history charts on every Amazon product page.

Across the top of this chart, you’ll see multiple tabs, one being Track product—clicking this tab will change views and present you with options to do just that.

Keepa supports tracking products sold new and used by Amazon and third-party sellers. While you can’t track items from eBay, any items tracked on Amazon will also offer charting for matched eBay results.

It’s worth noting that there are three tracking modes: Basic, Advanced, and Pro. Basic (shown above) and Advanced are available for free. Advanced options will allow you to set price alerts based on Lightning Deals, add memos and tags, consider shipping costs in prices, and more.

To set up your notification preferences, you need to go to the Settings area of the Keepa website.

Set any or all of these to receive price alert notifications as you desire. Again, while Keepa does not have a native iOS or Android app, these options (such as Telegram) can be leveraged so that Keepa notifications are easily seen on your smartphone.

Lastly, you can see and manage all of your currently tracked items on Keepa’s Tracking Overview page.

Here, you can see everything you’re currently tracking at a glance. You can also bulk manage all of your products’ individual settings. It only takes a click and a few keystrokes to change any product’s desired price.

Slickdeals and Keepa are godsends if you’re a penny pincher or savvy shopper. These two tools for price alerts give you every advantage, at your desk or smartphone, to beat other shoppers to the punch on some great deals that you may otherwise miss. Once you start getting Slickdeals and Keepa price drop notifications, you’ll wonder what you hadn’t done this sooner!

How to make updating Ubuntu simpler

Ubuntu can be updated from the command line, and from the GUI. If you decide to update Ubuntu via the command line, you’ll find there are quite a few steps to the process. To make things simple, you can create a script that will handle the entire update process. Creating the script will take a little time but once you have it set up, you will be able to use it to update Ubuntu whenever a new update is available. Here’s what you need to do.

Easy update script

Making Ubuntu much easier to update starts with creating an “easy update script.” This script will take care of everything from updating package sources, installing Ubuntu upgrades, cleaning packages that need to be removed, and even refreshing things like Snaps and Flatpaks!

To start the process of creating the easy update script, open up a terminal window on your computer. A terminal window can be opened by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Once the terminal is open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to create the script.

Step 1: Using the touch command, create a new blank file called “update.” The “update” file will hold all of the upgrade operations on your Ubuntu PC.

touch update

Step 2: After creating the new update file with the touch command, it is time to access it for editing purposes. Open up the “update” file in the Nano text editor.

nano -w update

Step 3: Inside of the Nano text editor, write the code below. Be sure that this code is on the very first line, or it will not work correctly!

#!/bin/bash

The code above you’ve just added to the “update” file is called a shebang. It tells the interpreter what to do with your script.

Step 4: Following the shebang code, we must add in the “update” line. This line will check for any new software updates on Ubuntu. Press Enter in Nano to create a new line. Then, paste in the code below with Ctrl + Shift + V.

sudo apt update

Step 5: After adding the “update” line, it’s time to add in the “upgrade” line. ”
Upgrade” will install any pending software patches on your Ubuntu PC. Press Enter to create a new line. Then, paste in the code with Ctrl + Shift + V.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 6: Now that the “upgrade” line of code is in the easy update script, it is time to add the “autoremove” line. “Autoremove” will automatically uninstall and clean up any unwanted packages from the system.

To add the “autoremove” line to the script, press Enter, then paste the code below into the file with Ctrl + Shift + V.

sudo apt autoremove -y

Step 7: With “update,” “upgrade,” and “autoremove” added to the script, it is time to write a line of code that will automatically refresh and update all Snap packages on the system.

To add the Snap update line, press Enter. After that, paste the code below into the file with Ctrl + Shift + V.

sudo snap refresh

Step 8: After adding in the Snap update line, we must add in the Flatpak update line. To add it, press Enter on the keyboard to make a new line. Then, with Ctrl + Shift + V, paste the code below into the file.

Note: if you do not use Flatpaks on Ubuntu, feel free to skip this step.

sudo flatpak update -y

Step 9: With the Flatpak line added to the script, no more coding is required. Now we must save the “update” file to reflect the changes made. To save, press Ctrl + O.

After saving the “update” file, exit Nano with Ctrl + X.

Installing the easy update script

The easy update script is now written and ready to install. To install the script, we must place the file in the “/usr/bin/” directory. To place the file there, start by elevating your terminal session from a regular user to root using the sudo -s command.

sudo -s

Now that your terminal window has root access, you can place the easy update script inside of your “/usr/bin/” directory. To put the file there, use the mv command below.

mv update /usr/bin/

Now that the script is in the “/usr/bin/” directory, it is time to change the permissions of the file so that it can be run as a program on your Linux computer. To update the permissions of the file, use the chmod command.

chmod +x /usr/bin/update

Assuming the permissions of the “update” file have been changed, the script is ready to be used as a program in the command-line.

Using the easy update script

When the easy update script was written, it included many system operations to make updating much easier. Now that the script is ready to use, we can call all of those operations simply by running the update command in a terminal window.

update

Once the update command is run inside of a terminal window, you will be prompted to enter your user’s password. Do so. Soon after your Ubuntu packages will be upgraded, unwanted packages will be removed, and Snaps and Flatpaks will be upgraded automatically!

Making updates easier on Ubuntu with Software Center

Another way to make updating the Ubuntu operating system much easier is to use the Software Center, rather than the built-in update tool. Why? Not only can it take care of your Ubuntu package updates, but it also will upgrade Snap packages and other items as well.

To update with Ubuntu Software Center, do the following.

Step 1: Launch Ubuntu Software Center on your Ubuntu Linux desktop.

Step 2: Locate the “Updates” tab, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Click the refresh button on the top left to check for software updates.

Step 4: Click the install button to get available updates.

 

Read How to make updating Ubuntu simpler by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Allocate More RAM To Minecraft

Despite its low graphical style and relatively simplistic gameplay, Minecraft can be an intensive application. There’s a lot going on in the background, especially if you start playing around with redstone-heavy builds. 

If you throw mods into the mix, the standard amount of RAM Minecraft needs to run suddenly becomes nowhere near enough. Without enough RAM, you’ll start to encounter stuttering, crashes, and other issues that make the game almost unplayable.

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to allocate more RAM to Minecraft. The other good news is that there is more than one way to do it.

Make Sure You Have RAM To Spare

The first step is to find how exactly how much RAM your PC has. This is easy. 

  • Click Start and select the Settings icon (it looks like a gear).
  • Click About.
  • Under Device Specifications, look for Installed RAM. The number beside that will tell you how much RAM you have to spare. 

Minecraft calls for a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, although the recommended specs call for 4 GB. If you have more than that, you’re golden. Now you can allocate all the RAM Minecraft needs to quench its thirst.

Method One: Allocate RAM From The Default Launcher

The original, default Minecraft launcher has changed over the years, but you can still allocate more RAM to what Minecraft uses. 

  • Open the Minecraft Launcher and select the version you want to play (either Bedrock or Java)
  • Select Installations from the tabs at the top. You will see a list of releases below, but if you haven’t set up any specific versions to play, you might only see the most recent version. 
  • Hover your cursor over it and click the three white dots on the right side, then click Edit.
  • You will see a screen with the name of the installation, the version, and a few other settings. Click More Options and scroll down until you see JVM Arguments. This box will contain a lot of code, but all you need to worry about is the first snippet that looks like this:

-Xmx2G

  • The number at the end is the amount of RAM Minecraft uses. Change the “2” to however much RAM you want Minecraft to utilize. 

It’s possible to let it use all of the RAM you have available, but whether it actually takes advantage of full utilization depends on if you have anything else running and open in the background. 

  • Once you make the change, click Save and launch the game. You should see a difference in performance immediately.

Method Two: Allocate RAM From The ATLauncher

If you have downloaded mods or played a lot of Sky Factory, then you’re likely familiar with the ATLauncher for Minecraft. The ATLauncher makes setting aside more RAM even easier than with the default launcher, especially since it means you don’t have to work with any code to make it happen.

  • Launch the ATLauncher. 
  • On the right side of the launcher is a list of options. Select Settings and then the Java/Minecraft tab at the top of the screen. 
  • There are multiple options to choose from, but what you’re interested in is the second one – Maximum Memory/RAM. You can type in the amount you want to allocate, but the easiest option is to click the up and down arrows. This moves the amount of allocated RAM up or down in 0.5 GB increments.
  • Once you have selected the amount of RAM you wish to use, click Save. If you’re playing a mod-heavy pack like SkyFactory, you will have to allocate more RAM or the title won’t launch. In tests, Sky Factory 4 required 4 GB of RAM at minimum or it encountered errors on startup.

Method Three: Allocate RAM Using The Twitch/Curse Launcher

You can also play a variety of Minecraft mods (or normal Minecraft) via the Twitch launcher. Changing the settings is just as easy in this launcher as in the ATLauncher above, but the initial method for reaching those settings is a bit different. 

  • In the top-right corner, click the three lines, go to Files, and then click Settings. You can also press CTRL + Comma from within the launcher to open the Settings menu.
  • From there, navigate to Minecraft and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. You will see a section entitled Java Settings. Look for Allocated Memory and click the slider. 
  • By default, it gives 3,228 MB of RAM to Sky Factory 4. You can move the slider to the left or to the right to allocate more or less RAM for the game. The slider increases or decreases the RAM in 0.25 GB increments.
  • Once you have moved the slider, you’re finished. Navigate back to Mods, select Minecraft, and launch into your better-performing title. It’s as easy as that. 

Allocating more RAM to Minecraft can (and in many cases will) make Minecraft perform better, but there are situations in which allocating too much RAM will decrease overall system performance. 

Other areas of your PC require RAM, too. While these won’t make a huge impact if they aren’t running at the same time as a game, it’s often a good idea to allow at least 1 GB of RAM for other processes not related to gaming. 

If you change your RAM settings and you still do not see the performance you expect—or your PC reports an inaccurate amount of RAM—it can indicate other issues with your memory. It’s a good idea to occasionally check for bad memory.

The good news is that even if you do have an issue with your RAM, swapping it out is simple. In fact, if you want to see even better performance, it’s worth considering purchasing more RAM for your system, especially as memory prices continue to fall. 

How to Add a Drive to the Windows 10 Taskbar

DriveTaskbar

Adding a drive to the taskbar makes it easy to access files and folders, but adding one to the taskbar isn’t as easy as you’d think. Here’s how to add a drive to the taskbar in Windows 10.

You’d think you could drag an icon to the taskbar and have it added. Sadly, that isn’t how it works. If you try to drag a drive icon to the Taskbar, it just adds it to File Explorer. Here’s how to pin a drive to the Windows 10 taskbar. This works with fixed drives, not portable or external drives.

The basic steps are creating a shortcut of the drive and sending it to the desktop, then adding text to the target

Here’s the steps … Read More

12 Best VR Apps For Android

Virtual reality — it’s the technology we’ve been waiting to get our paws on for many years. Now that it’s here, how will you implement it into your life? You have Microsoft already crafting VR gadgets like goggles and headgear for gamers and casual use.

However, you don’t need all of this fancy equipment to get started with using virtual reality. In fact, if you have a smartphone, you can start right now. There are many virtual reality apps on the market you can use — which should are worth the download? 

Let’s take a peek at the top 12 best VR apps for Android. 

YouTube VR

If you’re like most people today, then you spend hours of your life watching YouTube videos each week (if not each day). So why not step it up a notch by viewing your favorite content using YouTube VR? 

There’s no additional app to open — once you download it, you can just use your YouTube app. All you have to do is switch to “watch in VR” mode, and you can enjoy your shows and movies using an Android-supported VR headset. 

Google Cardboard

This is the VR app Google designed for Android users to enjoy its Cardboard VR headset with. Once you’re all set up, you can use all of the basic VR features with various Cardboard-supported apps. 

You can also use it to load VR videos and view 3D demonstrations. 

Google Expeditions

Google makes it to the list for the third time in a row. Is it really any surprise, though? With Google Expeditions, you’re doing more than just viewing scenes in 3D — you’re taking a trip around the world. 

You can travel to various corners of the earth, see different cultures up close and “personal,” and explore areas you’ve never even known existed. Expeditions is the perfect name for this VR app!

Fulldive VR

You always see virtual reality apps designed for games — but what if you want to enjoy using your smartphone in 3D? With the Fulldive VR app, you can become fully immersed in your smartphone. It’s ideal for browsing the web or viewing your photos and videos. 

Plus, it comes with a VR camera that allows you to capture videos and photos in a 360-degree view. 

VR Thrills Roller Coaster 360

What fun is getting the best VR apps if they’re not taking you on a wild roller coaster ride? With the VR Thrills Roller Coaster 360 app, you can get your adrenaline fix without leaving your house. 

This app features pre-recorded videos in first-person so you can “feel” like you’re actually there. 

VR Crazy Swing

Maybe you’re not into roller coasters, but wouldn’t mind being on a swing. Not just any swing — a VR Crazy Swing. 

This is beyond the typical swing you’ll find at the playground. When you climb aboard your virtual swing, you’ll be hundreds of feet off the ground. Then once the swing starts doing its thing, you’ll be thrilled (or even scared) at how high and far it goes. 

Netflix VR

Do you have a subscription with Netflix? Of course, you do! Now you can binge-watch your favorite movies and shows in 3D. 

There are two options for viewing your content. You can either go with a static view (aka rustic living room experience), so it feels like you’re sitting in a cozy den. Or you can choose to immerse yourself in the content with the void experience. With this option, the content moves based on your eye movement. 

InCell VR

Let’s not leave the kids out of the virtual reality fun. On this list of best VR apps, we have InCell, which is designed with children in mind. It’s an educational app that teaches children about the human body. 

Think of The Magic School Bus episode where Ms. Frizzle takes the class on a field trip into the bloodstream. Instead of just watching, your children can engage by defending the system from viruses as they travel throughout the body. 

Google Daydream

If you’re using Google Cardboard, then be prepared to make the switch to Google Daydream. This is an upgraded version that’ll replace Cardboard. You can use it to access all sorts of VR content, such as VR videos and other apps supported by Daydream. 

Be sure to get a Daydream headset, so you configure it to work with your VR experience. 

Orbulus

All the talk today about colonizing Mars may seem like an impossible feat. Now, you can get a head start by using Orbulus. In this VR app, you get to explore 360-degree photospheres of Mars and other celestial areas. 

However, that’s not all — the app also allows you to experience photos of events in 3D, such as the Hong Kong New Year Fireworks.

Cosmic Roller Coaster

Maybe you enjoy roller coasters and viewing celestial worlds in 3D. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to give Cosmic Roller Coaster a whirl. With this virtual reality app, you’ll be able to take a tour of the solar system on a fun roller coaster ride.  

Not to worry though — you’re not traveling at the speed of light, so you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful celestial views. 

Sisters

Now, for the folks who enjoy playing spooky games on their smartphone (like Granny and Five Nights at Freddy’s), you have Sisters. This is more than just another horror game — it’s a virtual reality app, which means you get to enjoy the game in 3D. 

If you didn’t think those games were nerve-wracking enough, wait until you try this!