Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

Robot vacuums sound great. They do the vacuuming for you, saving time and hassle. And they’ve come down in price, too–you can get a decent Roomba for a little over $300. But while plenty of people seem happy with their Roombas, but I decided to return mine. Vacuuming still isn’t fun, but a solid cordless vacuum is more useful to me than a gimmicky robot.

about 30 minutes ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Thanks to the frequent sales, PC games just cost less than console games. If you’re patient and know the tricks, you can save quite a bit of money. Almost every game seems to regularly go on sale.

about 18 hours ago - by  |  9 Replies

Sony’s official PlayStation app, available for both Android phones and iPhones, allows you to remotely control your PS4. Use it as a playback remote or a keyboard for quickly typing without relying on the PS4’s controller and on-TV keyboard.

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The Oculus Rift is locked down by default, and will only run games and apps from Oculus’s own store. You’ll see an “Unknown Source” message on the Rift if you try to run something else. But change one setting, and you can use Valve’s SteamVR or any other Rift-enabled app or game.

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The Oculus Rift offers a polished virtual reality experience, even though it doesn’t have the room-scale virtual reality or touch controllers like the HTC Vive–yet. Here’s how to set up your Oculus Rift, and what you’ll need to know ahead of time.

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Microsoft removed Windows Media Center from Windows 10, and there’s no official way to get it back. While there are great alternatives like Kodi, which can play and record live TV, the community has made Windows Media Center functional on Windows 10.

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Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass app allows you to launch games, browse TV listings, and control apps on your Xbox One. You can even use it to stream live TV from your Xbox One to your phone. It’s available for Android phones, iPhones, Windows 10 and 8, and even Windows phones.

about 7 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Android allows apps you to subscribe to apps and services, including Google’s own Google Play Music, through Google Play. If you subscribe to an app, Google will automatically bill your saved payment method until you cancel the subscription.

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When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, the Kinect was an “essential” part of the console. In fact, the Xbox One wouldn’t even function unless the Kinect was plugged in. That’s changed, however–today, the most popular Xbox One bundles don’t even include a Kinect.

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The Bash shell arriving with Windows 10’s Anniversary Update is deceptive. It’s not just Bash–it’s a compatibility layer for running Linux software on Windows. You can use it to run Zsh or whatever other shell you prefer.

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If you built your own PC and bought speedy RAM, there’s a good chance that RAM isn’t actually running at its advertised timings. RAM will always run at slower speeds unless you manually tune its timings–or enable Intel’s XMP.

about 12 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Google’s Chrome web browser is now more widely used than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge combined. If you haven’t switched to Chrome yet, here’s why you might want to–and how to quickly switch over.

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By switching to Insider Preview builds of Windows 10, you’ll get the latest changes and features before other Windows users. However, you’ll also get new bugs. Here’s what running an Insider Preview is actually like.

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The Oculus Rift and Valve’s HTC Vive require some powerful PC gaming hardware. Not sure if your PC can handle it? Both Oculus and Valve provide tools that will quickly check if your PC is up to snuff.

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After upgrading to Windows 10, you have 30 days–about a month–to roll back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if you so desire. After that, Windows takes the option away from you. But there’s a way to extend this time limit at the cost of some disk space.

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Windows 7 and above are set to automatically enable TRIM on solid-state drives. You shouldn’t need to worry about enabling TRIM yourself. But, if you want to double-check that Windows has enabled TRIM, you can.

about 18 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Set up your Xbox One’s TV integration and you can do more than just watch TV on your Xbox: you can also stream that live TV from your Xbox to a Windows 10 PC, Windows phone, iPhone, iPad, or Android device over your home network.

about 18 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Animated GIFs can be a fun way to spice up reactions on social media, or get a point across in an article–but they can also be annoying, and take forever to load if you have a slow connection. If you’d rather not see them, here’s how to stop them from automatically animating.

about 18 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Microsoft has downplayed the Xbox One’s TV features since its launch, but the Xbox One still offers useful TV integration. It’s even been enhanced: You no longer need a cable or satellite subscription to watch TV. You can watch TV for free with an antenna.

about 19 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

On a Mac, you can take screenshots with a few quick keyboard shortcuts. But Mac OS X also includes more powerful screenshot tools, too. Here are some of the many ways you can get a screenshot on OS X.

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Your Xbox One’s Kinect should “just work” after you set it up, but occasionally you may experience problems with voice or people recognition. You can recalibrate and reset your Kinect to fix these and other problems.

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Solid-state drives aren’t anywhere near as small and fragile as they used to be. You don’t need to worry about wear, and you don’t need to go out of your way to “optimize” them. Windows 7, 8, and 10 automatically do the work for you.

about 23 days ago - by  |  12 Replies

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has voice commands, just like the Xbox One. They’re just not as heavily advertised. PS4 voice commands work with a standard headset, so you don’t need any special hardware–unlike the Xbox One, which requires a Kinect for voice control.

about 24 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows 10’s next big update, dubbed the “Anniversary Update”, comes out this summer. Here’s what’s been announced so far, along with a few goodies we’ve discovered in the first, second, third, and fourth Insider Preview builds.

about 24 days ago - by  |  41 Replies

When you open a document created in an older version of Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in a modern version of Office, you may see “Compatibility Mode” appear after the name of the document in the titlebar. This changes the way the document appears and prevents you from using some modern features.

about 27 days ago - by  |  2 Replies
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