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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+.

Consoles have come a long way from cartridges. Today, they’re practically just gaming PCs and include built-in storage for save files, game updates, and digital-download games.

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Mac OS X ships with a built-in firewall, but it’s not enabled by default. The Windows firewall has been enabled by default ever since worms like Blaster infected all those vulnerable Windows XP systems, so what gives?

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We’ve all seen it in movies: Someone’s in an emergency situation, so they dial 911 on a landline phone and run off. The police then rush to their location. This location tracking doesn’t work as well with cell phones and VoIP services.

about 2 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Remember TV antennas? Well, they still exist! Get a digital TV antenna and you’ll be able to watch local TV stations for free, all without paying a dime to a cable TV company.

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The era of the $200 Windows laptop is back, and the HP Stream is just the first of many. These products are definitely better than the much-maligned netbook, but Chromebooks beat them in many ways.

about 4 days ago - by  |  21 Replies

Poor signal strength could be your carrier’s fault, or it could be because of signal-blocking materials in your home’s walls. Whatever the cause, you can boost that signal and get the maximum number of bars at home.

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Apple tries to stop it, but there are ways to change your default apps on iOS. You can use your favorite browser, email client, and mapping app instead of Apple’s own apps.

about 6 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Apple’s MacBook Air, along with many other Macs, no longer includes an optical drive. But you can still use CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and other optical discs on your Mac.

about 6 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux all allow you to schedule boot-ups, shut-downs, and wake-ups. You can have your computer automatically power up in the morning and automatically shut down at night, if you’d like.

about 7 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

For those of us who didn’t grow up with smartphones, typing on a touch keyboard can feel awfully slow. But there are tricks you can use to speed up typing on a touch keyboard, just like a physical one.

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On our Comcast Xfinity router, WPA2-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES), and WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES) are all different options. Choose the wrong option and you’ll have a slower, less-secure network.

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Chromebooks allow you to set a custom DNS server, but Google doesn’t make the option easy to find. There are many reasons to change your DNS server, after all.

about 10 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Despite what you may have heard, closing apps on your iPhone or iPad won’t speed it up. But iOS does allow apps to run in the background sometimes, and you can manage that in a different way.

about 11 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

MAC address filtering allows you to define a list of devices and only allow those devices on your Wi-Fi network. That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, this protection is tedious to set up and easy to breach.

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By now, most people know that an open Wi-Fi network allows people to eavesdrop on your traffic. Standard WPA2-PSK encryption is supposed to prevent this from happening — but it’s not as foolproof as you might think.

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Amazon Instant Video uses the Flash plug-in, so you might imagine that it would “just work” with Flash on Linux. You’d be wrong, but you can get Amazon Instant Video to work with minimal tweaking.

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Every camera — whether it’s a dedicated digital camera or the Camera app on Android or iPhone — places the photos you take in a DCIM folder. DCIM stands for “Digital Camera Images.”

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A “text expander” autocorrects short combination of characters you type to longer phrases. They can be used anywhere in any operating system. For example, you could type “bbl” and have this always automatically expand to “I’ll be back later.”

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Do you know who’s connected to your router’s Wi-Fi network? Take a look at the list devices connected to your Wi-Fi network from your router or computer to find out.

about 16 days ago - by  |  19 Replies

With iOS 8, your iPhone or iPad can now have a local file system like the one Android users have. Store files for use offline, access them in any updated app, and save files directly to the file system from other apps.

about 17 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Chromebooks are supposed to have amazing, all-day battery life — but not all of them do. Follow these tips to squeeze more battery life out of your Chromebook.

about 18 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Hollywood doesn’t understand technology and “hacking.” That’s what we thought, anyway. But many of the ridiculous things we’ve seen in movies turned out to be completely true.

about 19 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

MacBooks are known for their excellent battery life, but we always want more. This is especially important if you have an older MacBook with a more power-hungry CPU and mechanical hard drive, but everyone can benefit from these tips.

about 20 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Firefox themes — also known as “personas” — can change the way your browser looks, making it more personal. If you like theming the applications you use, there’s no better application to theme than your browser.

about 20 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

TrueCrypt’s dramatic shutdown in May, 2014 left everyone shocked. TrueCrypt was the go-to recommendation for full-disk encryption software, and the developers suddenly said the code was “not secure” and halted development.

about 21 days ago - by  |  11 Replies
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