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How to save your Google+ account data



Google abandoned Google+, its social network, late last year. Now, you have until April 2 before Google starts deleting your Google+ posts and communities. For most people, that’s not a big deal, but for those of us who loved Google+, it’s a sad time. But, at least you can can save some of your information before the clock strikes midnight.

What Google+ data will be deleted?

According to Google, it won’t just be your posts and communities that will will vanish into the great bitbucket in the sky. Your Google+ photos and videos will also be deleted. If you’ve backed up your photos and videos to Google Photo, they’ll be safe.

Google won’t be deleting everything immediately. It will take a few months for Google to get around to deleting all the content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archives. Don’t wait for it. The smart thing to do is to get your data out before it disappears. Here’s how you do it.

(Image: ZDNet)

How to save your Google+ account data

Go to Google Takeout

First, head over to Google Takeout. This webpage shows all your Google products. I’ll bet you didn’t even know you used that many. I had well over 50 myself. From here, by default, you can create an archive of all your data. Since that’s probably not what you want to do, hit Select None. Then, go down the list to Google+.

Decide which data you want to retain

You’ll see there’s not a single Google+ listing. Instead, there are five separate ones. You can ignore Google+ +1s on websites. That’s just your +1 recommendations on other web sites. The ones you want are Google+ Circles (your contacts), Google+ Communities (your community data), Google+ Stream (your posts), and Profile (your profile data).


(Image: SJVN)

Pick a data format 

This data comes in multiple formats. At the top, you can get your Circle contact information in CSV, HTML. vCard, or JSON.

For Communities, you can get your data in HTML or JSON. In theory, you can get your data from all the communities you were active in or select data from specific communities. In practice, I found you can only download the data from all your communities.

With Google+ Stream, you can choose to get your data in HTML or JSON. Here, you really can pick which data you want to retain. You’re given a choice of posts, activity log, metadata, and events. Of these, I think posts are likely to the ones you’ll want to keep. Your Profile data is only available in JSON.

Choose a compressed format and archive file size

Once you’ve picked out what you want, go to the bottom of the page and click on the Next button. You’ll now be presented with a choice in which compressed format you’ll want to get your archives: zip or tgz. You can also choose the size of your archive files. This ranges from 1GB to 50GB. If you have even more data, you can get multiple archives.

Get your download link or add to cloud storage

Once that’s done, you can get a download link by e-mail or have the archive be placed directly into your Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Box. Depending on how much data you have, this may take some time. Google warns it make take hours or even days to get your archive.

Is it worth it? 

It is for me. I spent many hours on Google+ talking with my readers and chatting with the movers and shakers of open-source software and Linux, including Linus Torvalds. It’s well worth the effort.

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How To Easily Find Electric Car Charging Points Near You



Electric cars are the future of the automobile industry, with virtually every manufacturer already building electric vehicles (EVs). Many manufacturers have even gone a step further, committing to an all-EV lineup in the near future.

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Despite how quickly the industry is pivoting to EVs, range anxiety is still the biggest issue slowing down faster adoption. For example, one study showed that 1 in 5 California plug-in EV owners end up going back to gasoline-powered vehicles over range anxiety and the difficulty involved in quickly charging an EV.

If you’re a current EV owner or considering becoming one, knowing how to easily find all available EV charging points near you is an important step in easing range anxiety and enjoying your EV. Fortunately, there’s a couple of easy ways to do it.

Use Google Maps In Your Vehicle


One of the easiest ways to find nearby EV charging stations is by using Google Maps.

Google’s in-vehicle version of Google Maps offers a number of features designed to reduce range anxiety. For longer trips, the software can help plan your route according to available charging stations, and even make recommendations on when and where you should stop for a charge.

“Now when you enter a destination that requires two or more recharge stops, algorithms in Maps will search and filter through tens to thousands of public charging stations to find the most efficient route — all in less than 10 seconds,” writes Alex Donaldson, Product Manager, Google Maps. “You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.”

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the list of EVs with Google’s software built-in is still relatively short but includes the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Use Google Maps On Your Phone

Google Maps on Android phone


If you don’t own one of the vehicles that have Google’s mapping software built-in, you can still use Maps on your phone to access many of the same features.

Beginning in 2019, Google started adding EV charging information into Maps, and users can now find charging locations, as well as important information about each location. For example, you can find out what kind of charging ports are supported, what charging speeds are offered, and how many stations are currently available.

“Simply search for ‘ev charging stations’ to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint,” writes Donaldson. “You’ll then see how many ports are currently available, along with other helpful details, like the business where the station is located, port types and charging speeds. You’ll also see information about the station from other drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.”

Use Apple Maps

Apple Maps on an iPhone

Studio Monkey/Shutterstock

Similarly, Apple Maps provides an easy way to find nearby charging stations. Beginning with iOS 14, Apple added the ability to plan your route according to your vehicle and compatible charging locations.

“Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types,” notes Apple in the iOS 14 press release.

Thanks to Google and Apple, overcoming range anxiety has never been easier. All the information you need to plan your trip or go about your day’s activity is right at your fingertips.

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2022 Ford Ranger Splash Limited Edition returns with nature-themed color variants



American legacy automaker Ford started rolling out the Splash Package and Splash Limited Edition for its Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck last year. Both offer a “splash” of unique, one-time-only color themes and bespoke equipment, and Ford promises to drop new Splash themes every few months.

Images: Ford Motor Co.

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Apple CarPlay on a Tesla made possible with this hack



Tesla might be most controversial for its misunderstood and misused self-driving features, but for a certain number of car owners, its biggest is simpler. Tesla still refuses to play ball with Apple and add support for CarPlay or even Apple Music, no matter how loud its customers clamor for it. It doesn’t seem that things will be changing soon, so a developer tried to take matters into his own hands with relative success.

Image: Tesla

Pi Power

Although initially intended to be more of an educational tool, the Raspberry Pi has become the darling of makers, hackers, and developers who need an affordable yet almost complete computer that’s the size of a credit card (but way, way thicker). It can run a variety of operating systems, including even Windows, and with some add-ons, it can do almost everything that a regular PC can and more.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

That’s what Polish developer Michał Gapiński did when he set out to solve one of the biggest pain points about Tesla: its lack of support for Apple CarPlay or Music.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

He installed an Android-based ROM on the single-board computer (SBC) and turned it into a Wi-Fi access point. Connecting the Tesla’s browser to the Raspberry Pi gives access to CarPlay and all its features, making it look like Apple’s in-vehicle infotainment system is actually running on Tesla’s dash. It even works with steering wheel controls

Tesla and Apple

For reasons still unknown, Tesla refuses to support even Apple Music on its cars. Both companies want full control of the software running inside vehicles, so it’s not surprising that their ideologies clash. That said, almost all carmakers today support Apple CarPlay or even just streaming from Apple Music, leaving Tesla as the odd one out.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

Gapiński’s workaround is hardly ideal, but the lack of any official solution leaves people with very few options. The developer is working on refining the system, but it will always be a hack in many other ways. Gapiński promises to make it available to the public once it reaches a more decent state.

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