How to Cancel Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime logo

Amazon Prime normally costs $119 per year unless you can score a discounted Prime membership. If you’re ready to give up free two-day shipping, the Amazon Prime Video library, Prime Day, and other perks, here’s how you can quit Prime.

Here’s the good news: You might be able to score a refund if you’re paid for Prime but haven’t used your benefits in this period. So, if Amazon just automatically renewed your Prime subscription and charged you, you may be able to get your money back. Even if you can’t get a refund, you can cancel Prime and you’ll keep your benefits until the end of your paid membership period. Amazon won’t automatically charge you to renew.

To get started, head to Amazon’s website. Sign in with your Amazon account if you’re not already signed in. Mouse over “Account & Lists” near the top right corner of the page and click “Your Prime Membership.”

Option to manage Prime membership on Amazon.com

Click the “End Membership and Benefits” link under Membership Management at the left side of the page. This begins the process of canceling your membership.

Option to end Prime membership benefits on Amazon.com

Amazon will remind you what you’re giving up. You can click “End My Benefits” and go through the prompts to continue the cancellation process.

Amazon's Prime cancellation wizard

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Are Extended Warranties Ever Worth Buying?

A group of people looking at an iPad screen displaying an offer for extended warranty.
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Extended warranties are everywhere. But whether it’s on a car or an appliance, extended warranties are almost always a waste of money.

The Best Warranty Is a Savings Account

Extended warranties are rarely worth your money. Products don’t break on their own, and when they do, the price of repairs is usually lower than what you’d spend on an extended warranty.

Sure, some people have saved a lot of money with extended warranties. That’s great! But take a moment to ask yourself why a company would offer you an extended warranty. The answer is: because they’re profitable.

According to Warranty Week, a newsletter dedicated to service plans, extended warranties are a $40 billion business. This figure alone indicates that extended warranties are grossly overpriced and rarely used.

In most cases, it’s best to skip the extended warranty and use your extra cash to build up an emergency fund. But every situation is different, and some extended warranties are more useful than others. That’s why we’ve researched some popular products that usually offer extended warranties and explain whether it’s worth your money.

Extended Warranties for Cars Are Scams

A man's hand handing a stack of money to another man's hand over a table with a contract and a car key sitting on it.
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Extended warranties for cars are a giant scam. They don’t exist to make people’s lives easier, and they’re not worth your money. Of course, everyone’s situation is different. If you’re offered a cheap extended warranty for a car with a lot of mileage, for example, it might be worth going over the pros and cons.

Dealerships offer extended warranties to supplement reduced prices on the showroom floor, to push people into high-interest, low-payment deals at the last second, and to ensure that people go to dealerships (instead of small businesses and competitors) for servicing. On top of all that, dealerships don’t always honor extended warranties, and most of the money from them goes toward a dealer’s commission, not a vehicular social security program.

The average extended warranty for a car costs between $350 and $750 a year (plus interest, if you add the warranty cost to your loan). And, in most cases, an extended warranty won’t cover routine maintenance (which costs less than $100 a year when paid out of pocket and prevents most unexpected breakdowns).

If you take that $350-$700 and stick it in your savings account, you’ll have more than enough money to pay for any surprise repairs. If you do run into a problem that’s too expensive to deal with (an engine replacement, for example), you can sell your car and use your savings as a down payment on a new one. This way, you also avoid Blue Book depreciation and future breakdowns (after one serious failure, cars tend to suck the money out of your wallet).

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How to Create and Update a Table of Figures in Microsoft Word

word logo

A table of figures is a list, sorted by page number, of the captions pulled from figures, images, or tables in your document. It’s like a table of contents, but it’s a table of anything to which you can add a caption.

Insert a Table of Figures

Adding a table of figures is a useful tool for allowing the reader to quickly navigate to specific parts of the document (or as a personal quick reference guide). This is especially true for longer documents with an excessive amount of media. It’s important to note, however, that adding a table of figures is only possible if you add captions (not to be confused with alternative text) to your figures, images, and tables. We’ll assume that you have already captioned the relevant material in your Word document in this example.

Once you’re ready to insert your table of figures, go ahead and click the location of the document in which you would like the table to be added. Next, head over to the “References” tab and select “Insert Table of Figures.”

Insert table of figures option in reference tab

Once selected, the “Table of Figures” window will appear, displaying the print and web preview of the table of figures. Here, you can also adjust several options and customize the format of the table.

Once you’ve tweaked your settings, click “OK.”

Edit the Table of Figures options

Your table of figures will now be inserted in your Word doc.

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Daily News Roundup: Sprint Got Hacked Through Samsung

Sprint sent letters out to customers informing them someone had breached the company’s servers and stolen user data. The data included phone numbers, billing addresses, names, and more. Oddly, instead of a direct attack, the hack went through Samsung’s website.

Samsung sells phones on its website. To make the process easier, it works with carriers directly to offer financed prices. As you are checking out, you can choose your carrier (Verizon, Sprint, etc.), whether or not to take advantage of any phone deals the companies are offering, and set up activation.

A hacker used this connection between Samsung and Sprint to break into customers’ accounts and stole personal information including phone number, device type, device ID, monthly recurring charges, subscriber ID, account number, account creation date, upgrade eligibility, first and last name, billing address, and add-on services.

What’s unclear is how long the hackers had access or how many customers were affected. Sprint says it was informed of the breach on June 22nd and reset customer pins to secure their accounts three days later. No customer action is needed at this time, but it would be wise to keep an eye on bank accounts, credit card statements, etc. especially if you received a letter from Sprint. [ZDNet]

In Other News:

  • Huawei plans extensive layoffs in the United States: The bad news continues for Huawei. The company reportedly plans to layoff U.S. workers, likely as a result of the ban preventing it from selling phones or even working with Android. The number of layoffs is expected to be in the hundreds.  [Wall Street Journal]
  • Twitter’s redesigned website is rolling out now: Twitter.com might look different today if you’re using it from a desktop browser. The new look sports a coat of fresh dark theme paint, a reorganization of the sidebar and headers for easier navigation, and a multi-paned direct message screen. Twitter says the changes are rolling out to all users now. [TechCrunch]
  • Apex Legends will put cheaters in a corner: Like all online games, Apex Legends has a cheating problem. Respawn, the developer behind the game has a solution we can all get behind: quarantine cheaters and have them play against each other. That should make cheating less fun for them and the game more fun for the rest of us. [Engadget]
  • RingCentral and Zhumu affected by the same flaws as Zoom: Just when you thought the Zoom saga had come to an end, more bad news rears its ugly head. Two apps, RingCentral and Zhumu, use Zoom software to power video conferencing, and so have the same underlying flaws allowing bad actors to start your webcam without your permission. You should update the apps now if you have them installed. [The Verge]
  • Alexa may come to your Windows 10 lock screen: Microsoft released a Windows 10 Insider update that included an interesting new change: users will be able to choose which voice assistant activates with a wake word from the lock screen. Right now, only Amazon offers a PC app, but Google could release one as well. [How-To Geek]
  • Microsoft pulled the Windows 10 May 2019 Update from Surface Books: Microsoft put an update block on Windows 10 May 2019 update for Surface Book 2 laptops. Some of the devices with integrated graphics cards stopped detecting that hardware after the update. Given that Microsoft makes the Surface Book 2, it’s surprising the company didn’t catch the issue before release. [TechSpot]
  • Fernando Corbato, inventory of the computer password, dies at 93 years old: Dr. Corbato faced a unique challenge during the 1950’s. Multiple people needed to use MIT’s computers, but the machines could only one person at a time. Not to be stopped by small limitations, Corbato first created an OS that could handle multiple users by dividing processor time between them. Then he went on to create passwords to keep files private on shared computers. He leaves behind a legacy of privacy and trying hard to remember if your password was Tr0ub4dor&3 or Tr0mb4ne&3. [BBC]

Fifty years ago today, Apollo 11 launched—destination: The Moon.

The successful launch would take three men to space, where two of them would eventually become the first people to step foot on the moon.

It’s a testament to human ingenuity that we could successfully create a giant controlled explosion beneath three people, launch them into a place where humans were not meant to be, and bring them back safely.

Surprisingly, to this day, the Saturn V rocket that Nasa used to launch the men into space is still the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.

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How to Disable Twitter’s “News For You” Notifications

Twitter "News For You" notification on an iPhone

Twitter typically notifies you about likes, retweets, or mentions. But sometimes it notifies you about “News for You,” inviting you to read the latest news on Twitter. Here’s how to turn off those news notifications on your iPhone or Android.

First, open the Twitter app on your phone. Tap your profile picture and then tap “Settings and Privacy.”

Launching Twitter's settings in the iPhone app

Tap “Notifications” in the list of settings categories.

Opening Twitter notification options in the mobile app

Tap “Push notifications” under Preferences.

Opening Twitter push notification options on mobile

Disable the “News” slider under “From Twitter.”

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How to Fix a Frozen Windows PC

Windows 10 PC showing a blue screen error.
Mashka/Shutterstock.com

Windows PCs freeze for a variety of reasons. One instance might be a fluke, but repeated freezes suggest a problem you’ll want to fix. Here’s how to unfreeze and recover a stuck PC—and stop it from freezing again.

How to Unfreeze a Frozen Windows PC

There are several ways you can recover your frozen PC, depending on what caused the problem. Sometimes, all you have to do is wait a few seconds—the PC might get hung up while doing some work and unfreeze itself a few seconds later.

If a full-screen application, like a game, freezes and prevents you from leaving it, press Alt+F4. This closes the application if the game is just experiencing graphical problems, but it won’t work if the application has frozen completely.

To see if the computer is still responding, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete. From this screen, you can open the Task Manager (and close any running applications), or log out of or restart your PC. If this screen doesn’t appear, you might not be able to recover your PC without rebooting it.

Open "Task Manager" from the Ctrl+Alt+Delete screen.

If you can open the Task Manager, you might be able to recover from the freeze. (You can also press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager.)

Select the “Processes” tab—if you don’t see it, click “More Details.” Locate any processes using a lot of CPU—you can click the “CPU” column header to sort by CPU usage and see the most demanding processes at the top of the list.

Click a process to select it, and then click “End Task” to forcibly end the program. You’ll lose any unsaved work in the program, but if it’s crashed and is using a lot of CPU, there might be no way to recover your unsaved data, anyway.

Click the "CPU" column to sort by CPU usage. Click a process to select it, and then click "End Task."

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How to Fix Crashing Apps on an iPhone or iPad

Hand holding an iPhone XS showing the home screen.
N.Z.Photography/Shutterstock

Apps can crash or freeze on iPhones and iPads, just as they can on any other platform. Apple’s iOS operating system disguises app crashes by closing the app. If you’re experiencing crashing, freezing, or buggy apps, here’s how you can fix your problem.

Is it an App or Device Crash?

First, you have to figure out whether it’s an app crash or a device crash. This is pretty simple: if you’re using an app, and it suddenly closes for no reason, the app crashed. If you’re using an app and it becomes unresponsive, but you can still access other apps, the app has crashed. If you’re trying to launch an app and it keeps disappearing, the app is repeatedly crashing.

If your phone has become unresponsive, it’s likely a device issue. Your phone will display a black screen or remain stuck on the Apple logo if the device has crashed. Also, if your iPhone or iPad is slow for no apparent reason, and across multiple apps, it’s a device issue.

If you cannot connect your wireless headphones, send files over AirDrop, or see AirPlay devices, it’s possible a service used by the operating system has crashed.

Troubleshooting App Crashes

Apps are third-party software that runs on your iPhone. Despite the, “it just works,” perception of Apple devices, there’s plenty that can go wrong and cause apps to crash, become unresponsive, or refuse to open at all. Problems usually stem from issues with the code, unexpected input, and even hardware limitations. Apps are made by humans, after all, and humans make mistakes.

If an app suddenly disappears, it’s due to a crash. In most cases, reopening it resolves the problem. If you’re sharing analytics with developers (more on this later), they receive a crash report they can use to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

How to Kill an Unresponsive App

If an app is unresponsive, you can kill it using the app switcher. There’s no need to routinely kill apps using this method unless they’re causing issues. The app switcher is accessed using different shortcuts, depending on your iPhone model:

  • iPhone 8 and earlier (devices with a Home button): Double-tap the Home button until you see a list of recently-used applications.
  • iPhone X and later (devices without a Home button): Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and flick to the right or Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold until you see a list of recently-used applications.

You can use this list to switch between apps quickly. Find the application causing the issue, and then touch and swipe up on it to “throw it away” and close it. The app will disappear from the list of recently-used apps.

The iOS App Switcher on an iPhone.

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Xeon vs. Core: Are Intel’s Expensive CPUs Worth a Premium?

Desktop computer and headphones on a desk in a low-lit room.

Apple made a big splash in June 2019 when it introduced an overhauled Mac Pro desktop computer dripping with processing and graphics power. The primary components behind the new Mac beast are Intel Xeon processors. They range from an unnamed eight-core, 3.5 GHz Xeon W (possibly, the Xeon W-3223), to another as-yet-unnamed 2.5 GHz, 28-core Intel Xeon W processor (likely the Xeon W-3275 or W-3275M).

The new Mac tower inspired discussions around the How-To Geek watercooler about whether packing one of these multicore behemoths into your next PC build is worth it.

Let’s face it; Apple’s new workstation isn’t realistic for most of us. Pricing for the new Mac Pro starts at $6,000 and escalates up to “small business loan.” The new desktops also have restricted upgrade possibilities due to proprietary connectors, and they lack the vast gaming potential on the Windows side.

So, should you leave the bounties of Core i7 and i9 processors behind to experiment with the world of Xeon?

Probably not, and here’s why.

What’s a Xeon CPU?

Xeon is Intel’s CPU lineup, and it’s aimed primarily at business workstations and servers. These CPUs typically offer more cores than mainstream PCs, but the clock speeds are a little wonky when compared with their Core i7 and i9 counterparts.

The Intel Xeon W-3275/W-3275M, for example, has clock speeds that start at 2.5 GHz and go up to 4.40 GHz, with a further boost to 4.60 GHz under certain loads. Compare that to the popular Core i9-9900K, which has a base clock of 3.60 GHz and a boost of 5.0 GHz. Clearly, the Core i9-9900K’s clock speeds are loads better for the average PC user.

Intel's Xeon processor package.
Intel

Then, you have the Xeon W-3223. This is also an eight-core, 16-thread chip, like the Core i9-9900K, but its clock speed tops out at 4.0 GHz, and its MSRP is about $250 higher than the i9-9900K. In short, Xeon clock speeds can either be close to a top Core part or well below it.

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Traveling Internationally with Your Phone? Here’s What You Need Know

Woman checking her phone in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Bojan Milinkov/Shutterstock

Does the thought of heading off somewhere without your phone leave you terrified? Well, here’s what you need to know about traveling internationally with yours.

Not All Phones Work Automatically

A few years ago, traveling with your phone was a little trickier, and it still can be if you’re using an older phone. There are two 3G standards: GSM (used by most of the world, and AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.) and CDMA (used by Russia, Verizon, and Sprint). Some older phones were either GSM or CDMA, which meant if you were traveling internationally, you had issues. Thankfully, most major smartphones—like the iPhone XS, Samsung S10, and Google Pixel 3—work everywhere now. If you’re using a phone that’s more than five-years-old and are worried about whether it will work, contact your carrier for support or search the model number online.

The bigger problem now is not all phone plans support roaming by default. You often have to opt into it the first time you go abroad, so carriers can say you consented to the exorbitant rates—which we’ll look at in a moment.

If you haven’t taken your phone abroad before (or have only taken it to Canada or Mexico), it’s worth it to check if roaming is activated if you plan to use it. Either contact support or review the terms of your contract for defined international charges.

Roaming Charges Can Be Expensive

Default roaming charges tend to be ridiculous. We’re talking $2.00 per minute for calls, $0.50 per text, and (most horrifically of all) $2.00 per MB of data. So, watching a five-minute YouTube video would cost you about $500 and just opening Instagram could run about $20. As you can see, using default roaming charges is a terrible idea.

Verizon's Pay as You Go roaming rates.

Thankfully, most carriers now offer international roaming plans or add-ons to existing plans. For a daily or monthly fee, you can get significantly more reasonable roaming rates. For example, Verizon’s TravelPass costs $10/day and allows you to use your standard allowance of calls, texts, and data—up to 500 MB high-speed, and then unlimited at a slower speed. While that’s still pricey, it’s far more reasonable than default roaming rates. As long as you stick to your allowances, you won’t come home to any unexpected bills.

If you travel a lot, you have two good options:

  • Sign up for Google Fi. The rates are the same in over 200 destinations. At $10 per GB, it might be expensive at home or if you stream a lot of videos, but if you travel a lot, the savings are insane.
  • Get an unlocked phone (or get your carrier to unlock your current one) and buy local data SIMs. Even if you’re just staying for a few days, not having to worry about going over a set data limit is nice.

You’re More Likely to Lose It

Travel is rough on your phone. You’re far more likely to drop it, lose it, or have it stolen in a hectic, unfamiliar environment than when you’re just puttering around at home. You have to be extra careful and take additional steps to protect it—especially if you’re prone to breaking phones.

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How to Make Sure a Deal Is Really a Deal

The Prime Day banner inspected under a magnifying glass.
dennizen/Shutterstock

While a deal or discount may look great at first glance, you can probably get an even better one. Whether it’s Prime Day or a regular old Tuesday, a quick deal-check can save you some cash.

Deal-checking is a relatively straightforward (albeit, tedious) process. In essence, you’re just checking that a deal is really a deal. Retailers are super-competitive and crafty. They like to get people hyped up for “deal days” (like Prime Day or Black Friday) and capitalize on that energy by offering mild discounts, rather than great deals. Sometimes, the best deals don’t even happen on those “deal days,” they just pop up a few times a year. So, how do you make sure you’re getting the best deal possible?

Check Other Retailers’ Websites

Online retailers are viciously competitive. When there’s a good discount on one website, another always tries to match it. Target and eBay are even hosting their own “deal days” on Amazon Prime Day this year.

Before jumping on a potential deal, take a minute to see if other retailers are offering a better price. We like to use the search function on Slickdeals, a website that aggregates and organizes deals across the web.

But, if you aren’t having any luck with Slickdeals, you can make a manual price comparison. Check whether major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target have better discounts, or search a bit deeper with websites like Woot, Rakuten, and Groupon.

Check the Product’s Price History

It’s important to understand that, even if you can’t find a better price for a product that’s on sale right now, it may hit an even lower price in the future. Sale prices fluctuate over time, and popular products (especially smarthome products) routinely jump between sale prices from week to week.

So, before buying that “discounted” smart toaster, you should look up its price history. The most popular price tracking website is camelcamelcamel. It creates price history graphs for every product on Amazon in real-time, so you can quickly check if a discount is a good deal. Yes, Amazon isn’t the only store in the world, but it routinely matches the discounts of its competitors, so it’s a good reference point for the market as a whole.

A camelcamelcamel price chart for the Amazon Echo Dot.
camelcamelcamel

You can also check a product’s discount history on Slickdeals. Just search for the product, and you’ll see how much it’s sold for in the past.

If you want to take things a step further, you can set up camelcamelcamel and Slickdeals to alert you for deals and discounts on select products. You can even import your Amazon Wishlists into camelcamelcamel, so you never miss a deal.

Use a Browser Extension for Easy Deal-Checking and Coupons

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The Switch Lite Exacerbates Nintendo’s Portable Problems

The Switch Lite might exacerbate one of the Switch's biggest (and smallest) usability problems.
Nintendo

I love my Nintendo Switch. But I don’t love taking it with me in its much-vaunted portable form. The new Switch Lite won’t fix that—if anything, it will make it worse.

So what’s the problem? I won’t tease you: it’s that games are often too hard to see on the small 6.2-inch screen. Those of you blessed with perfect vision might not notice this, but it’s been a fairly consistent complaint about switch games since the very beginning. And to be fair, this isn’t exactly Nintendo’s fault: it’s more a problem with the game developers (often including Nintendo’s internal studios) not taking the practicalities of the Switch’s form factor into account.

Take a look at this screenshot from Breath of the Wild. It’s pretty standard stuff for an action-RPG: the menu system has to get a lot of information to you in an efficient way. And it’s plenty comfortable on the 55-inch TV in my living room, where almost all of my Switch gaming is done.

Breath of the Wild’s inventory menu, as seen on your television.

Now take a look at the same game menu on the Switch’s tablet screen, barely one-tenth of the size. It’s no bigger than my Galaxy Note phone screen, with one quarter the resolution and a notable drop in clarity on Nintendo’s cheap LCD panel.

The same screen as above, on the six-inch original Switch.
The same screen as above, on the six-inch original Switch. Michael Crider

Playing Zelda in handheld mode is an exercise in frustration for me. Ditto for Smash Bros, where the fighters are about the size of a Tic-Tac when the camera zooms out on a big battle. It’s telling that, when Nintendo released Smash Bros. on the 3DS in 2014, it gave players the option to have easy-to-see borders around the fighters, an option that’s unfortunately absent in the Switch-exclusive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Trying to read text formatted for a television on a tiny handheld screen was the one real downside of playing one of my all-time favorites, Mark of the Ninja, on the go.

The Nintendo 3DS version of Smash Bros. has visibility assistance features, but Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Switch lacks them.
The Nintendo 3DS version of Smash Bros. has visibility-assisting outlines on fighters features, but Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Switch lacks them. Nintendo

Take Fortnite, the biggest game in the world right now. Developer Epic has copied the interface from the PC, Xbox, and PlayStation versions more or less exactly on the Switch…and in handheld mode, the smallest type on the screen is literally one millimeter high. On the 5.5-inch Switch Lite with the same 720p resolution, it will be even smaller.

The smallest text on this screen is only a milimeter high on the Switch's handheld display.
The smallest text on this screen is only a millimeter high on the Switch’s handheld display.

I’m no developer, but I’m going to guess that part of the problem is that the Switch has enjoyed such a robust library of ports from home consoles and indie PC titles on Steam. These games don’t take a huge amount of time or resources to port (at least compared to original development), and I’ll wager that developers and quality assurance teams test them almost exclusively on monitors and televisions, the format for which they were initially designed. Testing for a long time in handheld mode wouldn’t be practical, but as reviews show, it’s necessary.

The problem isn’t universal. Games designed with portable play in mind, like Pokemon Let’s Go, don’t have the same issues. Whether it’s the fact that the game comes from a long legacy of Game Boy and Nintendo DS portable games, or that it’s intended primarily for a much younger audience, the text in Pokemon is big and eyeball-friendly. Ports from iOS and Android like Fallout Shelter, not to mention Nintendo’s own 3DS, seem to fare a lot better. The principle is pretty easy to distill down: games designed to be viewed on a tiny screen don’t suffer from playing on a television, but games made for a TV can be brutal on a small display.

The camera angles and text in Pokemon: Let's Go is much more friendly for portable players.
The camera angles and text in Pokemon: Let’s Go are much more friendly for portable players. Nintendo

The Switch Lite is all portable, all the time, with no option for docked play on a television. And its screen is even smaller than the typical 2019 phone screen. Playing some of the Switch’s most popular games on it is going to be brutal.

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