Using the Google Play Store is pretty simple: you pop it open, search for the app you want to download, and install it on your device. That’s about all there is to it.
But what happens if you move to a different country? You’ll need access to the proper version of the Play Store for billing information. And Google Play features different apps for various regions, which can sometimes allow or block access to certain apps.
Whether you’ve recently moved or want to try accessing another region’s Play Store (which comes with a big caveat), here’s how to change your country setting in Google Play.
How to Change Country in the Google Play Store
Open the Play Store app on your Android device.
Slide out the left menu and select Account.
If you have access to the country-switching option, you’ll see a Country and profiles entry in this menu.
Tap this Country category, and select your new country. Proceed through the prompts to add a new payment method for your current country, if needed.
Review the warning prompt and accept the change. Once you’ve switched countries, you’re now able to browse the Play Store for that region. The change may take up to 24 hours to go into effect.
This option won’t appear for everyone. It only shows up if you were previously in a different country than you are now (based on IP address). This means you can’t just switch your Play Store to any country that you feel like.
If you use the Google Play Family Library feature, you also won’t see the option to change your Play Store region.
Caveats When You Change Google Play Store Country
When you change your Play Store location, you must be aware of a few important points.
First, you cannot use your old payment method. You’ll have to use the one from your new country. After swapping, you also can’t spend your Google Play balance from the old country. That includes any gift cards you’ve added but not spent yet, as well as credit earned from Google Opinion Rewards.
In addition, you can only change your Play Store country once per year. You can visit the same menu again to change back to your old country after this amount of time.
Because of all this, we recommend changing countries in the Play Store only if you’ve actually moved countries and plan on staying for at least a year. While you could probably trick this by using a VPN, it’s not worth it just to get access to a few different apps. You’ll be locked into a Play Store outside your region for quite some time, which will be a big pain.
Sony launched the PlayStation Network way back in 2006. People signed up in droves, and everyone chose a PSN name as their online ID. However, many appear not to have realized that name would be permanent, as Sony refused to let you change your PSN name.
In October 2018, Sony finally announced that it was going to let you change your PSN name. The option was initially launched in beta as part of the PlayStation Preview Program, but it’s now being rolled out to everyone stuck with a name they no longer like.
How to Change Your PSN Name
As detailed on the PlayStation Blog, you can change your PSN name either on your PS4 or via a web browser.
To change your PSN name on your PS4, go to Settings, then select Account Management > Account Information > Profile > Online ID. Enter a new PSN name of your choosing (or one of the suggestions), and then follow the onscreen prompts to complete the change.
To change your PSN name on a web browser, sign into your PlayStation Network account and select PSN Profile. Select the Edit button next to your Online ID, and enter a new PSN name of your choosing. Finally, follow the onscreen prompts to complete the change.
Changing your PSN name doesn’t mean you lose your old one. And you can revert back to an old PSN name by contacting PlayStation Support. You can also display your old PSN name next to your new PSN name for 30 days to help your friends notice the change.
Unfortunately, changing your PSN name comes with some risks. While games released after April 1, 2018 support the feature, older titles do not. And some may cause critical issues. Sony recommends checking this list of tested games before proceeding.
Sony Creates Another Way to Make Money
You can change your PSN name once for free, but after that, all subsequent name changes will cost you cold, hard cash. PlayStation Plus subscribers will pay $ 4.99, while everyone else will pay $ 9.99. So it would be a good idea to get this right the first time.
This is long overdue, as Xbox owners have been able to change their gamertags for a while now. Still, it gives PlayStation 4 owners who chose terrible PSN names when they were young a chance to start over. And then they can enjoy the best PS4 exclusives.
When you’re feeling stressed, depressed, and unable to get out of a funk, these free apps can help manage your mood and trick your brain into feeling more positive for the time being.
From bots that will talk to you through a funk to long-term projects that help express and manage your mental state through photography, these apps have several approaches to change how you feel. It’s all about mood management and mind hacks, a combination that can help you better understand depression and anxiety, and deal with disorders.
Important: If you have signs of depression, mood disorders, and other mental health issues, these should be addressed by a medical professional. The apps in this article are stop-gap measures or add-ons to actual therapy and advice, they can’t replace medical diagnoses.
The One Project has been around for eight years, but a recent overhaul has put it on a new stage. The project continues its goal of using therapeutic photography, but now puts it into a new mobile app that lets you better connect with the community and the goals of the ideal.
Therapeutic photography is all about taking and analyzing your photos to understand how you see the world. Others in the community can also comment on your pictures to perhaps uncover things about yourself that you didn’t realize. It’s a learning process, done both consciously and subconsciously. You can learn more about it in the TED talk by founder Bryce Evans.
The One Project generally carries a $ 9.99 membership, but the community prides itself on denying nobody. So if you have financial constraints, you can still use the app by requesting a free membership.
Healacrity (Web): Daily Questionnaire to Reduce Stress
When you wake up and start the day, you can approach the challenges and tasks with a clearer mind. Healacrity takes this clarity to prepare your brain for the day, no matter what happens, so that you don’t get stressed.
The web app, which also works on mobile, has a step-by-step questionnaire. You will be asked about big goals and the future, small goals and what’s troubling you, and worst case scenarios too. By writing your deepest desires and fears on a daily basis, it’s a bit like a doing a brain dump that also preps you.
Healacrity will email your responses immediately so that in case things go wrong, you can refer to your inbox which has a plan that you set at the start of the day on how to deal with obstacles. It’s better than having your tired, stressed mind coming up with a new attack.
Youper (Android, iOS): Bot to Track Moods and Rewire Your Brain
Youper is a mobile app that combines an AI-based chatbot with basic features of apps to track mood and progress. Through a series of questions and exercises, it will help you figure out how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and beat it.
The chatbot will ask you a daily question to track your mood, or you can start the app to talk through how you’re feeling. There’s a bunch of presets for common moods, and you can choose the intensity of your feelings too. Over time, Youper will smartly figure out patterns in how you feel, and counter them with exercises.
There are also short-term exercises like guided meditations, for situations when you are feeling bogged down and want an instant boost. The bot understands normal language and has even auto-replies to feel like a natural process.
Our moods are dependent on chemicals in our brain, like dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and so on. Some studies have shown that certain types of videos, sounds, or activities release more of these chemicals. For example, watching nature videos can release GABA, which makes you calmer.
Moodrise is an incredible app that puts together a series of 10 video exercises to help change your mood. First, you state how you are feeling, so the app can track your emotions. Then you choose from the recommended chemicals and undertake the exercise. It takes less than five minutes to finish one, but through watching, listening, and interacting with the set, your mind will trick itself into feeling better.
Moodrise is completely free, and you can do multiple chemical exercises in a day too. If you can’t find “Moodrise” on your phone’s app store, try searching for the developer AeBeZe.
We all know that mindfulness meditation apps help improve your life, but several people find it difficult to sit still in one place without any activity. Pauseable combined the principles of Tai Chi with technology to create Pause, an app that makes you move to meditate.
Start the app, plug in your headphones, and you will be asked to touch the screen. Then you have to slowly trace your finger across the screen. Calming sounds play on your headphones, in sync with the calming animation and movements of your finger. You’ll get prompts if you go too fast or stop, along with prompts to close your eyes.
Ideally, a Pause session should last for 10 minutes, after which you’ll get a notification on your headphones. But you can change the duration in the app’s settings, as well as the difficulty for how slowly you move on screen, how much contact you need, and so on.
Tom Cruise is worried about the settings on your TV. And he’s worried that a particular setting is robbing you of seeing him at his best in those movies where he does all of his stunts for no reason other than the fact he’s Tom Cruise. And he’s right.
What Is Motion Smoothing?
Cruise has made a PSA with Mission Impossible: Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie drawing attention to motion smoothing. Motion smoothing is an effect technically referred to as video interpolation and more commonly known as “the soap opera effect”.
Whatever you call it, the result is the same. Motion smoothing means your TV will literally fill in the gaps between frames, resulting in smoother video and less motion blur. Unfortunately, while motion smoothing is great for sports, it makes movies look worse.
Tom Cruise Hates the Soap Opera Effect
Cruise and McQuarrie deliver their PSA against motion smoothing on the set of Top Gun: Maverick. And while it starts out light-hearted, Cruise soon puts on his serious face to really drive home how you’re ruining his movies by using motion smoothing.
I’m taking a quick break from filming to tell you the best way to watch Mission: Impossible Fallout (or any movie you love) at home. pic.twitter.com/oW2eTm1IUA
After explaining what interpolation is and does, Cruise explains how most new TVs come with motion smoothing turned on by default. McQuarrie then literally tells you how to Google “Turn off motion smoothing” on your television set. Which is rather good advice.
Making Films Look Like Liquid Diarrhea
Cruise and McQuarrie aren’t alone. Rian Johnson, Edgar Wright, and Chris Nolan have all previously criticized the effect. Johnson suggested motion smoothing makes movies “look like liquid diarrhea”. And as the director of The Last Jedi, he should know.
While this isn’t the most serious issue facing the world right now, motion smoothing is a crime against movies. And not just because Tom Cruise said so. If you’re in the market for a new TV, here’s how to pick the right TV for your living room.
Everyone knows how about the Windows “look”, but what if you’re feeling a bit tired of seeing the same old thing each time you switch on your computer?
Windows 10 and the earlier Windows 7 each have good options for tweaking the login screen. Here’s how to access those options and configure the login screen to look just how you want.
Customize the Login Screen on Windows 10
You have two options for customizing the Windows 10 login screen: the message, and the background.
Change the Windows 10 Login Screen Message
Whether you use a desktop, laptop, or even a Surface-like tablet, it’s possible to set a custom login screen message. This has various uses, from delivering a corporate message, to making the end user smile. It might also be useful if your device goes missing, displaying your address to the finder.
Note that the actual login screen itself will remain unchanged. Rather, a new screen will be displayed, with an OK prompt, before the login screen.
Start by opening the Registry Editor by pressing WIN+R and typing regedit. Click OK, then browse the left-hand pane for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Expand this entry, following the path SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrent VersionPoliciesSystem.
Under System, in the right-hand pane, you should see a registry item, legalnoticecaption. Right-click this and select Modify, and under Value Data input a heading for your new message. Some sort of hail, or attention-grabbing phrase, should do.
Next, find legalnoticetext. Again, right-click to Modify, this time entering into Value Data a more detailed message.
This might be something like “Log in to access the ACME Plc network” or “If found, please return to…” Ultimately, it needs to be a message that serves some sort of purpose, otherwise there’s not much point in changing anything!
With the message input, click OK to confirm, then exit the Windows Registry. Next, restart Windows to apply the registry tweak.
Your new Windows 10 login message should be displayed! You’ll need to click OK to reach the login screen.
In addition to the login screen message, you can also change the background.
Hit WIN+I to open the Settings screen and select Personalization > Lock Screen. Find the Background drop-down menu and select between Windows spotlight (images from Microsoft), Picture, and Slideshow. The latter two options let you select images from your own library.
Now, as this new image is specifically for the lock screen at this stage, you’ll also need to ensure the Show lock screen background picture on the sign-on screen option is switched to On. Otherwise, the lock screen with display a different image, or remain blank. Once you’re done, close the Settings screen. (Check our full guide to the Windows 10 Settings menu for more.)
Again, you should sign out of Windows to check that the tweak has been applied. If all has gone to plan, you should have a new Windows 10 lock screen background and accompanying message!
While tweaks are limited on Windows 10, things are a bit more generous on Windows 7. Here, you can customize the login screen message, as well as the login screen font.
Change the Windows 7 Login Screen Message
Intended for Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit computers with Service Pack 1 installed, the following can be done with or without User Account Control active. You will also need a copy of Resource Hacker, a free tool designed to enable you to modify, add, rename, delete and view resources in Windows EXE files.
While this is downloading, open C:WindowsSystem32en-US (note that non-English versions of Windows will have a different folder name, such as es-ES for Spanish) and find winlogon.exe.mui.
Right-click this file and select Properties > Security > Advanced > Owner.
In this window, click Edit and then under Change owner to, select your own login name and click Apply. Click OK to proceed and select OK to exit these windows and the original Properties box.
Once done, return to Properties > Security and select Edit. In the following box, click Add and search for your login name; it should resolve as PCNAMEUSERNAME.
Select this, click OK to add the login, and you will be returned to the Security tab. From here, click Advanced > Permissions > Change Permissions, and under Permission Entries select the newly added entry and click Edit.
Select the Full Control checkbox in the Allow column, then click OK, and then Apply to exit.
You should then copy the winlogon.exe.mui to a new location, preferably your desktop.
Next, install Resource Hacker and launch the software from the Windows Start menu by right-clicking and selecting Run as Administrator.
Agree to the UAC notice and when the application has loaded open File > Open.In the Files of type box select All files (*.*), browse to the desktop and load winlogon.exe.mui into Resource Hacker.
You will see that the tool has a similar interface to the Windows Registry Editor, so expand String Table > 63 > 1033 and in the right pane update the entries in quotes on lines 1002 and 1005—this will be your new Windows 7 login screen message!
Ensure the quotes remain in place, and click Compile Script then File > Save to complete the process.
Close Resource Hacker and copy the winlogon.exe.mui file back to C:WindowsSystem32en-US (choosing Copy and Replace). Open Start and type CMD, right-clicking the resulting command prompt icon and selecting Run as administrator.
Type mcbuilder and tap Enter, then wait until the process is complete (the cursor will flash on a new line).
When done, type exit and tap Enter to close the command prompt.
You’ll need to restart Windows to complete the process and confirm your changes.
To undo this and restore the original message, simply start the process again, replacing your custom message with “Welcome”.
Alternatively, delete winlogon.exe.mui and replace it with the winlogon.exe_original.mui file created by Resource Hacker, making sure to give it the old filename.
Select a New Windows 7 Login Screen Font
While changing the login screen message might take a while, changing the font is much quicker.
Open Start and type regedit, tapping Enter to launch the utility and agreeing to any UAC prompts (before proceeding use File > Export to make a backup of your Windows Registry—useful if an error is made).
Expand the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionFontSubstitutes and find MS Shell Dlg in the right pane#
Right click on this and select Modify.
In the resulting box, input the name of the font you wish to use (check C:WindowsFonts for a list of currently installed choices), and repeat for the entry MS Shell Dlg 2 (note that the default option is Tahoma).
Once this is done, close the Windows registry and restart your computer to apply the changes. (While you can also logoff and login, locking your computer will not display the new font.)
The Login Text Is Too Light/Dark!
Changing the color of the Windows login screen font isn’t possible.
However, you can change the weight of the text—that is, how prominent it appears in front of your chosen background.
To do this, return to the Windows Registry Editor and expand the path HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionAuthenticationLoginUI.
In the right-hand pane, right-click some empty space, and select New > DWORD, naming it ButtonSet.
Once this is done, double click to edit the value, clicking OK when you’re done. You have a choice of the following:
0: This gives lighter text shadows, darker buttons and is the default choice.
1: Suitable for lighter backgrounds, this option offers darker text shadows and lighter buttons.
2: Intended for a darker background, text shadows are removed, and buttons are opaque.
When your choice is made, close Registry Editor and restart Windows to check the results.
Change Your Windows Login Screen!
We’ve looked at login screen tweaks for two versions of Windows, those that are currently most popular: Windows 7, and Windows 10.
To recap, if you want to tweak the Windows 10 login screen, you must:
Open the Windows Registry
Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Expand this entry, following the path Software / Microsoft / Windows / Current Version / Policies / System
Right-click legalnoticecaption, select Modify, and under Value Data input your new message.
For tweaks to the Windows 7 login screen, meanwhile, you can:
Change the login screen message
Change the login screen font
Adjust the weight of the text, making it lighter or darker
Although third party software and changes to the Windows Registry are required to make these customizations, the results can be impressive, especially when combined with a custom login screen background.
Sony is finally going to let PlayStation owners change their PSN IDs, and it has only taken 12 years of begging to make it happen. This means people stuck with the same PSN ID they chose in 2006 will finally be able to change it to something more mature.
Creating a PSN ID to Last a Lifetime
When Sony launched the PlayStation Network in 2006, it asked users to create an online ID. People did just that, but many didn’t take it as seriously as they should have. Cue 30-somethings with dumb names they grew out of a decade ago.
Sony has always insisted that allowing people to change their PlayStation Network Online ID was a bad idea. Because PlayStation Trophies and other essential elements are tied to those IDs. However, the company has now decided to lift those restrictions.
Sony Finally Offers PSN ID Changes
On the PlayStation Blog, Sony announced that PSN ID changes are coming. The feature will first be tested as part of the PlayStation Preview Program before being rolled out to everyone. The beta will run until November, with a full rollout in early 2019.
As with Microsoft’s Xbox Live name changes, the first change will be free, but all subsequent changes will cost you cold hard cash. Sony will charge PlayStation Plus members $ 4.99 per name change, with everyone else charged $ 9.99 per name change.
When you change your PSN ID you’ll be able to display your old name alongside it. You can also revert back to your original ID for free at any time. Which may be necessary, as Sony is warning that “users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games.”
There May Be Trouble Ahead…
It’s ridiculous that it has taken Sony this long to offer such a feature. Sure, it may cause issues, and if so, we’re sure the PlayStation forums will be full of complaints saying as much. But forcing people to stick with names chosen 12 years ago was bizarre.