How to tidy up smartphone home screen

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. My smartphone Home screen is a mess, with app icons all over the place, most of which I never use. Should I just delete them or what would you suggest, Mr. M?

A. If you are absolutely sure you won't use an app again, deleting it is definitely an option. An alternative, however, would be to create a folder for unused icons. To do this on your Android phone, press and hold your finger on a blank space on your Home screen, then select Folders. You can then drag and drop any icons you rarely use into your newly created folder.

Q. The Recycle Bin icon disappeared from my Desktop. I don't know when it departed or where it went. How can I get it back?

A. The Recycle Bin does have a tendency to go AWOL on occasion. Vista's Recycle Bin was particularly problematic in that it included a right-click “Delete” option that was far too easy to accidentally select when attempting to empty the bin. (This option was removed from Windows 7.)

If your Recycle Bin vacated the premises without asking permission, it's easy to bring it back. In either Vista or Win 7, right-click an empty area on the Desktop, select Personalize > Change Desktop Icons, in the upper left-hand corner. Place a check mark beside Recycle Bin and click Apply > OK.

Q. You wrote in your weekly newsletter ( that Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube. I was just curious: People who use YouTube don't pay anything, so how can the site be worth so much money? What is it selling? Boy, do I feel ignorant.

A. Succinctly stated, the product sold is eyeballs. If you go to YouTube, you will see lots of advertising, including increasing numbers of ads that appear before the start of a video. In some instances there will be a countdown: "The video will start in 30 seconds,” or “The video will start in 15 seconds." You then sit there, hostage-like, while a little video advertisement plays. It's the same thing with static ads that appear on YouTube and the pages of other sites.

Every time a user views or better still, clicks an advertisement, ca-ching! Money changes hands. It may be a fraction of a cent, it may be five cents, it may be 10 cents per "click-through," but multiply that times millions of eyeballs and the numbers are astounding. That's why, in large part, sites like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and others are valued in the billions. The greater the traffic to a Web site, the more eyeballs available to view the site's content, including advertising.

Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube back in November of 2006. YouTube's estimated value today is $36 billion. Not too shabby for a bunch of amateurs. I don't like to brag, but I got in on the ground floor with BetaMax stock so my ship is clearly in the harbor and will be coming into port any day now.

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