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For apps that you have downloaded via the Google Play store, you will always be notified when there is an update to the app. However, if you have installed apps from outside the Play store, you will have to manually check if there is an updated version for the app. This can be a cumbersome task, especially when you have a number of these apps installed on your device and all of them are from different sources. If you are facing this problem, here’s a way for you to check for updates for the non-play store apps.

Checking for Updates for Non-Play Store Apps on an Android Device

There is an app called ApkTrack that lets you check for updates for the apps that you have downloaded from outside the Google Play store.

To get started, download the ApkTrack app from its developer’s website, as it is not available on Google Play.

Make sure that “Install from unknown sources” is enabled on your Android device. If you’re unsure, head to Menu followed by Settings. Tap on Security and ensure that the Unknown sources option is tick-marked.

Launch File Manager and tap on ApkTrack to install the app on your device. Once installed, launch it from your app drawer.

Once you see all of your apps listed in there, tap on the Sync icon given next to the Search icon to find updates for these listed apps.

When the app has finished searching for updates, you will get notifications of which apps need to be updated.

You can have ApkTrack search for updates in the background by enabling an option in the Settings menu.

Press the Menu button on your device and select “Settings” to go to the settings panel.

Tick-mark the option that says “Enable background checks” to allow the app to automatically check for updates for the apps installed on your device.


While it is very easy to be notified about an update for the Google Play store apps, it is quite difficult to know if there is an update for an app that was downloaded from outside the Google Play store. ApkTrack helps you find updates for such apps so you can have them all updated on your device.


Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who’s written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He’s been into the field for last eight years and hasn’t spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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3 Effective Strategies For Non

Marketing your non-profit is essential to the success of your cause and luckily, the internet offers numerous possibilities – you just need to make the most of these opportunities

Non-profits and charities often have small budgets and few people to help with their marketing strategies. But without a good marketing strategy in place, how do you raise awareness of your cause? How do you attract more supporters and donors to help support your cause? Marketing your non-profit is essential to the success of your cause and luckily, the internet offers numerous possibilities – you just need to make the most of these opportunities.

In this blog post, I’m going to share 3 effective strategies for non-profits and charities.

Advertise online…for free?

Google Ads can be extremely successful; they appear right at the top of search results so they’re the first result people see when doing a Google search.

The issue with that, of course, is that it costs money. And although it might not be a lot, many non-profits and charities simply can’t afford this kind of investment.

Download our Business Resource – Social media communications for not-for-profit organizations guide

This guide aims to give a clear structure to help you grow internal confidence and buy-in so that the benefits of social media can become visible and it becomes more accountable, serving the long-term strategic aims of charities.

Access the Social media communications for not-for-profit organizations

Go to the link mentioned earlier to apply for the ad grant; first, though, you’ll have to check whether you are eligible for a grant – it’s not too complicated and you can check what exactly it entails here.

If you are eligible and you’re given the grant, make sure to do everything possible to follow Google’s instructions so that you can remain eligible.

Invest in visual content

There is nothing more powerful than visual content – particularly images and videos. They can say so much in just a few seconds and most importantly, they can have a big emotional impact on the viewer. So whether it’s your website, your blog, your social media, or any other digital channel, try to use as much visual content as possible to help attract a wider audience and most importantly, get them to take action (share your updates with your friends, make a donation, buy something from you to help promote the cause, and so on).

Here are a few useful ideas of what types of visual content you can create:

Tell a story with a video

Videos are incredibly powerful – especially when they tell a story that people can empathize with. As a charity or non-profit, you can use video to show how you’re making an impact on the world; for example, Charity: Water often publishes videos of success stories, including a little backstory to paint a full picture.

Motivational images

These super easy to create (just use something like Canva, Crello, or Pablo) and they’re highly shareable because social media users love them. One way to use these types of images is to grab quotes not only from known personalities but even from the people you’ve worked with or helped – and to make them even more impactful, include a short story or link to a blog post/video/etc. where you tell a story, like TWLOHA do in this post:

Behind the scenes photos and videos

Candid and behind the scenes visuals can help generate good engagement on social media and they help show the human side of your organization; even though your organization might be there to help people or make a real change in the world, you’re still, in effect, a brand. Here’s how UNICEF share selfies from their campaigns.

The power of storytelling

Previously, we’ve touched a bit on storytelling when we talked about videos and motivational quotes, and we’ve seen some examples of storytelling from charities and non-profits marketing strategies.

Storytelling is incredibly important on social media (and with all content in general, in fact), especially for non-profits, because it doesn’t just help inform them, but it pulls at people’s emotions. And when you can impact people’s emotions, you make them want to take action: to share your posts and help spread the word or your organization, to donate their time and/or money, and to help support you in your cause.

Stories can be told in a variety of mediums and channels; for example:

A blog post detailing the success stories of your work

A video of someone you helped or impacted sharing their own story

Powerful images with text updates telling the complete story (like the earlier example from TED Talks)

As to how to tell powerful stories, here’s what you can learn from this post from TED Talks:

Here’s what you can learn from it (as well as the previous example from Charity: Water):

You need a hero/heroine: like Shameem Akthar who had to change who she was in order to thrive in an extremely conservative environment

The villain: any good story has a villain. It can be a person, a country, an organization, and anything in between. In this case, the villain is most likely the society that she was born in – a society that didn’t allow her to get the education she wanted and needed.

A conflict: you need to conflict in order to build suspense. And people love success stories, they want to see the good one win – and the bad one lose. For example, the conflict in this particular story is that she was a girl and as a girl, she couldn’t go to school – and then comes the solution to the conflict: her uncle raising her as a boy so she could have more opportunities in life

A happy end – although that is debatable; sometimes there is no happy end – yet – but that just means the story isn’t over yet. You can still tell those stories and ask people for help so you can actually reach a happy ending for your story. But if you do have a happy ending, like the story above (with Shameem Akthar not only managing to play the system but also ultimately getting a PhD and helping change other girls’ life as a social worker) that too can have a big impact on people. Happy endings like these make us feel good while at the same time, they also inspire us to be better, to do better, and to try to make our own mark on the world, just like people like Shameem Akthar have done.


Non-profits and charities might have small budgets and few people to help them market their organization, but by using strategies like the above you can make a real impact on your success without spending all of your budget.

All you need is a great content strategy to help; follow the tips and ideas outlined in this article and try to incorporate more storytelling and more visual content (videos and live videos, images – both candid and created by you – and so on) on any digital channel you’re using.

The Easiest Christmas Stocking Tutorial For Non

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I’ve been wanting to replace our Christmas stockings and tree skirt for years, but I’ve been too cheap and lazy in the past years.

Luckily, my blog requires that I get stuff done, so it’s happening this year. Best reason to blog ever! Our old stockings were the soft furry kind, but I wanted something more us.

So I decided to make some out of vintage sheets and fabric from my stash. This is a great stash buster, by the way. Today I’m sharing how to sew stockings with a cuff.

* I noticed as I was sewing that I’m not real exact with measurements. I’m pretty comfortable with sewing, so I skip or combine a lot of steps. I also skipped ironing, but it makes sewing much easier. This is probably not a good tutorial if you’re new to sewing. Unless you’re a non-perfectionist, like me. I will throw in some lazy girl tips, though.

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Christmas Stocking Tutorial Supplies Needed Christmas Stocking Tutorial: Stocking Body

Gather your fabric*. It should be fabric that you could marry if you could. So you know that fabric that you’ve been hoarding? Use it. I chose a combination of vintage sheets and fabric from my stash. I knew that I wanted the main colors to be pink, aqua, green and red, so I used that as a starting point. Gather your pretty trim too. I used pom pom trim, ribbon, rick rack, and ruffle trim, both store bought and homemade. You don’t have to use crazy patterns and colors like I did. You can choose solids and even omit the trim. That’s the best part of DIY: making it exactly how you want it.

Use an old stocking for a pattern. I folded fabric and cut around our old stockings. Trace it before cutting if it makes you feel better. Just make sure your fabric is folded so that you get 2. Do this again for the inside lining. I used plain colored vintage sheets for this part.

Sew around the edges, leaving the top open. Go slow around the curves if you need to. (Lazy girl tip: The presser foot also doubles as a seam allowance gauge. It’s really close to 1/4″ and that’s all you need.) The floral is the outside and the pink is the lining.

Clip the curved parts. (Lazy girl tip: I just snip, being careful not to clip the seams. It’s not always necessary to clip notches.) Iron it at this point if you want. I obviously didn’t….

Flip the outer fabric inside out. Leave the lining as it is and put it inside the stocking. The wrong sides of the fabric should be together.

Make the stocking loop. Cut a piece of fabric that’s about 7″ x 3″. Fold the edges to the inside and top stitch around the edge. (lazy girl tip: You can iron it to make it easier, but I find it easier to just fold it and sew it. Sewing it flattens it out.)

How to Sew the Cuff for the Stocking

Make the cuff. Using the stocking as a guide, cut a piece of fabric a little longer than needed to wrap around the top of the stocking. This piece was about 8″ high. You want it to be high enough to fold under and sew.

Sew the edge under. Once again, ironing makes this step easier. I just folded it under and then folded it again before sewing.

Add trim to the cuff now. It’s easier to add trim now. I chose a gingham ruffle trim. Picking out trim was the best part!

Fit the cuff around the stocking. Pin if needed to find the precise measurement. Leave space where the ends meet to sew the edges together. Pin it where the edges meet and sew the cuff into a loop.

Pin the cuff to the stocking. Fold the stocking layers in toward each other. Place the cuff in between this stocking sandwich. This will give the stocking a nice finish with all of the seams on the inside. Be sure to pin the stocking loop on the same side as the heel! 

Sew the cuff to the stocking. This will be a top stitch, so you can match the thread color or add more trim here if you would like! 

Admire and repeat as many times as needed! The whole process went pretty fast and I was able to get 4 done in a few hours. Although, much of that time went into making fabric decisions.

I’ve since ironed them and they look a lot better.  I’m so in love with these stockings. I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to make my own! Making stockings was actually pretty simple. I hope you enjoyed my Christmas stocking tutorial!

You might also like: Pin for Later!

Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…

Top 5 Smartphone Brands For Android Updates

Why brands can’t follow Google with Android updates?

The fragmentation of Android versions is still a plague that affects Google’s ecosystem. The search giant has been taking some steps to force brands to keep their smartphones updated. Things like preventing brands from launching phones with older Android versions have reduced the number of devices arriving with 2-year-old Android versions. Besides this, customers are also more aware of their needs and usually go for brands that have a better level of software support. In recent years, we saw a change in some brands, that are offering long-term software support for their smartphones.

Although we are still not getting the same level of iOS support, the situation is improving, and below we will list the Top 5 Smartphone brands if you want o get a device with long-term support.

The Android skins are just part of the “problem”

The existence of Android skins is one of the reasons but is not the only one. Unlike Google, other Android OEMs tend to offer phones for all price ranges. Samsung, for example, releases up to 20 smartphones every year. In two years, we have had more than 40 devices. So it’s not so easy to keep these phones updated. For comparison, Google reveals basically three phones every year, and Apple unleashes three and sometimes four devices per year.

There are also some carrier-specific phones that need to get updates separately. It makes the entire process even more difficult. For that reason, brands tend to prioritize the devices in the flagship segment. While others manage to offer updates for budget ones.

Top 5 Smartphone Brands for Android Updates

Despite the challenges, there are some brands that are finding their way to keep users engaged and happy with continuous support. Below, you’ll learn some of the best 5 brands when it comes to software updates on the Android side of the coin.


Samsung was a target of multiple memes for Android fragmentation and lack of support. Anyway, the company learned from its mistakes and stood up. Back in February 2023, the company promised four years of Android security patches for phones from 2023 onwards. This is regardless of their position in the low-end, mid-range, or flagship segment. For flagships, the brand offers up to four years of major Android updates and up to five years of security patches. Some popular mid-range phones are also getting this treatment.

Shortly after Google’s rollout of Android 13, the brand already updated a plethora of its smartphones. These include flagships and mid-range phones from 2023, 2023, and 2023. With One UI 6.0, the company promises to be even faster bringing updates to as many devices as possible.

So getting a Samsung phone nowadays, means that you’ll get two or more Android updates. The security patches will also come for a long time, but that may come on a monthly or quarterly basis. The company certainly is one of the best, if not the best, among the Top 5 Smartphone Brands for Android updates. We’re putting it above Google in this list due to the fact that it has many more devices to cover and also has a custom skin.


This choice here is rather obvious, we can’t make a list of the Top 5 Smartphone Brands for Android updates without mentioning Google. The search giant is behind Android and dictates the rules for the market. It offers long-term software support for its Pixel smartphones. New Android updates usually come on day one for Pixel phones, and there are also some exclusive features in the software such as GCam.

The company has been working hard to make Android better on its Pixels. Nowadays, it has full control over the hardware and software parts. Google is for Android, basically what Apple is for iOS. Having total control of the software and hardware part.

Officially, Google offers three years of major OS updates for its phones and monthly security patches. The brand new Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will have a long journey getting updates until Android 16. But as we’ve said this can even change for better in the future. Since 3rd party OEMs are offering four years, we don’t think the “mother of Android” will want to stay behind.


Nokia arrived in the Android scene making quite a buzz. However, in recent years, the company slowed its plans. The brand is not here to compete with giants in the phone scene but is here to offer decent support and a reliable experience.

With the launch of the first Android phones, Nokia bet on the Android One program while it was trending. That resulted in one of the best software supports from third-party brands. The brand also has a good portion of phones for the mid-range and low-end pricing categories and offers at least two major Android updates for most of them.

The company has fewer smartphones in the market, or perhaps, its devices are less relevant than what we often see from Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, and others. Anyway, it’s offering decent support for them. According to Counterpoint, the company was the best for updates in 2023. Now, however, it sits at the fourth slot for the research firm. There are many factors behind this, and the smaller amount of devices being released every year certainly is one of them.


OnePlus certainly was one of the best in the past years. It managed to roll major Android updates shortly after Google. However, things changed in recent years, as the company took major departures from the vanilla-like Android and also increased the list of phones.

The deployment of the OnePlus Nord series increased the list the number of phones that the company needs to support. The company promised to improve things by merging with Oppo. At the start, the company promised to fuse OxygenOS and ColorOS, but the plans changed due to a huge backlash. The codebase, however, is basically the same. OxygenOS nowadays is much closer to ColorOS than to vanilla Android as the past builds were. After a rough start, we’re starting to see some improvement.

The flagship phones always get the best treatment, and the arrival of mid-range phones will not change that. So far, the company has been offering three major updates to its flagships, but that will change with the OnePlus 11. The next year’s flagship will be the first to be eligible for four major Android updates. Some OnePlus Nord phones will be eligible for at least two major updates, while those in the N-series may get just one major update.

It’s not the best support in the world when we look at the low-end categories. But if you aim at a flagship OnePlus – which is usually the brand’s more interesting class – you’ll get top-notch software support. Global customers get OxygenOS which is similar, but not a 1:1 copy of ColorOS. The Chinese variants will keep getting ColorOS instead.


Xiaomi is the last one on our list, and maybe you think it does not deserve to be here. Yes, I know that Xiaomi usually takes months and months to deploy newer updates. But the company has a massive portfolio of smartphones. Unlike Samsung, the company didn’t figure out how to bring updates to as many as devices possible. Also, things are slightly different for Xiaomi. The company wants to push MIUI as a complete experience – Android is just part of the whole. That said, when you get a Xiaomi phone a new MIUI version matters more than a newer Android version.

MIUI is what determines the features available for one Xiaomi phone. The company usually covers a lot of its phones with every MIUI update. The company has been trying to pair newer Android versions with newer MIUI 14 versions. Unfortunately, in some cases, this is not possible. We will see a lot of phones getting MIUI 14 and Android 13 at some time. While others may still get MIUI 14 but will keep running older Android versions.

One of the things pushing Xiaomi to improve in the Android update part is the users’ demand.

The best of the rest when it comes to Android updates

We listed some brands in our top 5, but there are also other companies that are working hard to improve their “figure”. Although they are not the best, they’re still working hard to join this list. For instance, we have brands like Realme, Oppo, and Vivo that have been working hard to become faster with updates.

Realme always tried to be among the fastest in updates. We can see signs of commitment with many “Beta” programs going on at the same time. Unfortunately, these beta programs tend to take months to reach stability, and that is where the company stays behind the competition. Perhaps in the future, with a bigger development team (we presume), the company will manage to become one of the fastest in the market.

Motorola was one of the best in the past. Its Moto G series is always legendary. After all, the Moto G was one of the first mid-range phones to get a decent update treatment. That in a time when others were shipping phones with Android 2.3. The company slowed down in recent years, and has been offering just one major update for mid-range phones, and up to two for flagships. There are signs of a change with the recent Motorola Edge 30 series, and we hope for the best.

Oppo and Vivo are in the same boat, the two brands didn’t care much for updates a few years ago. But changed their “philosophies” in the past few years. Nowadays, we can see more consistency in their update programs. Vivo is showing a huge sign of improvement with newer phones launching with Android 13. The latest Android version has been out for a while, but some phones are still coming with Android 12.

Android updates are important and needed

As we’ve said in this article, users are more aware of the importance of software support. That said, they are not accepting just the bare minimum from smartphone brands. Since these are costlier products, software support, and security reliance are mandatory. The brands are starting to figure out the importance of updates. Since one offers top-notch update quality – then we will start to see more offering the same. No one wants to stay behind.

Hp Updates It Automation Suite For Cloud Deployments

The updated software addresses “the new style of IT, where [IT shops] no longer support a monolithic environment in a data center but actually a set of distributed environments,” said Jerome Labat, vice president and general manager of cloud automation at HP.

To this end, the company has released version 10 of HP Operations Orchestration, version 10 of HP Server Automation and version 10 of HP Database and Middleware Automation 10. The company has also packaged all these software programs, along with the newly updated HP Cloud Service Automation 3.2, in a single integrated package.

The idea behind the new integrated set of packages is to make it easy for IT personnel to speed deployment of application-based services across a hybrid cloud environment, to “make it easy to deploy database services, or database backup services, or a full application across a site,” Labat said.

HP Server Automation allows organizations to deploy and maintain the patching and updating of thousands of servers. The new version can update virtual servers that are sleeping. The previous version of the software could update only those virtual machines (VMs) that were active when the updating process was initiated. This was a problem, Labat said, because those virtual servers not running may fall out of compliance by not getting the required patches or updates. The new version can awaken a sleeping VM, update it, then shut it down again.

“If you didn’t have this capability in a development environment where the engineers are standing up VMs very quickly, you would [have many VMs] that would be out of compliance very quickly,” Labat said.

HP has also released the Server Automation software as an appliance, called HP Server Automation Standard. It includes much of the core configuration, deployment and compliance checking functionality found in the full software edition.

The appliance would be ideal for smaller organizations and for branch offices, built to manage from 3,000 to 4,000 system nodes, which could be servers or virtual machines, Labat said. “We’ve encapsulated the Server Automation technology in an easy-to-deploy environment,” Labat said.

HP Operations Orchestration is the company’s process automation engine, able to link together separate applications in order to create a workflow across them. This is the first version of the software that is able to work in distributed workflows across different hosted providers. It can now interoperate with OpenStack cloud deployments, as well as with the Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). The user interface has also been revised to accommodate the management of these new cloud resources. It also can fold into workflows SAP applications as well as HP’s own ArcSight and Fortify software packages.

HP Database and Middleware Automation software provides capabilities to automate the management of databases and many middleware programs, working with Oracle’s and Sybase’s databases, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2 and the IBM WebSphere and Oracle WebLogic application servers. Version 10 of this software has been tailored to work seamlessly with the other packages within the CloudSystem Enterprise Starter Suite. From Operation Orchestration, for instance, an administrator can now directly bring into a workflow any database or middleware management operations developed within this software.

Use of the combined set of software “enables our customers to start building platform services using existing assets,” Labat said. “You can rapidly provision services, deploy them and put them under change control so you are always in band in terms of SLAs, and compliance with policies.”

Different Types Of Windows Updates Released For Windows Os

If you have ever used a Windows device, you might have encountered updates often — just before switching off your computer. Sometimes your device asks you to install critical updates. Then there are six yearly feature updates that are essential too! What are all these Windows Updates? What is the difference between different types of Windows Updates? Let’s take a look at them. Before that, let’s check out the difference between Windows Updates and Microsoft Updates.

Windows Updates vs. Microsoft Updates

The term Windows Updates refers to the updates and service packs available for Windows operating systems. Microsoft, as a software giant, also keeps updating its other products such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneDrive, and such products. Any updates applicable to the entire operating system, MS Office, OneDrive, and other things such as games, etc. are called Microsoft Updates. Updates applicable to only to the operating system are Windows Updates. You can say that Windows Update is a subset of Microsoft Updates.

Updates that affect all software like Office software in entirety or to a particular software (such as Outlook) within it is called Microsoft Update. The delivery pattern of both Windows Update and Microsoft Update depends on the types of Windows Update. For example, if the monthly updates are applied on every second Tuesday of each month.

Read: Terms used by Microsoft to describe the various software updates released by it.

We’ll talk about types of Windows Updates now.

Types of Windows Updates

You might have encountered the following types of Windows Updates when working on Windows devices.

Critical Update: It is a worldwide release update for any specific issue that is not related to the security that the operating system offers; such updates are released to address a critical but non-security issues

Definition Update: Definition update is a Windows update that adds or modifies the definition database of Windows operating system; A definition database is a database that is built into the operating system to help it identify malicious code, phishing sites, and junk mail

Update: An update addresses a noncritical, non-security-related bug.

Driver Updates: are the ones that affect the working of one or more device drivers

Security Updates: Updates that address security-related issues in an operating system are called security updates; These Windows Updates are generally issued after some security organization finds a fault in any operating system and notifies Microsoft; Microsoft creates a patch (update), asap or within a fixed period, to fix those issues; The update is then released worldwide; often users are also notified via email to download these security updates

Feature Pack Updates: Are updates that make changes to specific features of the operating system; such updates are released as and when available to a selected set of users; if that set of users provide good feedback about the changes in operating system features, Microsoft includes the changes into the next big release of Windows Operating Software; Currently, you get two feature updates every year if you are using Windows 10

Monthly Rollup: Among the different types of Windows updates, you also get monthly rollup as an update on every second Tuesday normally; this update includes all the updates rolled out previous month plus additional definitions of malware

Service Pack: It is a cumulative set of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, fixes, and updates. It is a set of Windows Updates that were released between two successive versions of Windows operating system. The age of Service Packs is over now.

Tool updates: These are updates to the built-in utilities and tools.

Update rollup: A cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment

Full updates: They have all the necessary components and files that have changed since the last feature update.

Delta updates: They include only the components that changed in the most recent quality update, and will only install if a device already has the previous month’s update installed.

Security Quality Update: It contains all the previous updates.

Security Monthly Quality Rollup: It contains only the current month’s updates.

Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup: These preview releases contain only non-security updates, and are meant to provide testing of the planned non-security updates targeted for the next month’s Update Tuesday release.

Service Stack Updates: They are kept separate from the regular cumulative updates because these Cumulative Updates add new and more optimized files to the operating system.

These are some of the different types of Windows Updates.

You might want to also read about the Windows Update Expiration Policy.

Also read: What is the difference between Windows Update and Upgrade.

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