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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+.

You’ll see badges like “Norton Secured,” “Microsoft Certified Partner,” and “BBB Accredited Business” all over the web — especially when downloading software. You shouldn’t blindly trust a website that displays such badges — they’re just images anyone can copy and paste.

about 1 day ago - by  |  3 Replies

Firewalls are an important piece of security software, and someone is always trying to sell you a new one. However, Windows has come with its own solid firewall since Windows XP SP2, and it’s more than good enough.

about 1 day ago - by  |  23 Replies

f.lux changes the color temperature of your computer’s display depending on the time of day. Everything’s normal during the day, but f.lux users warmer colors after sunset to match your indoor lighting.

about 2 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Your Internet service provider runs DNS servers for you, but you don’t have to use them. You can use third-party DNS servers instead, which offer a variety of features that your ISP probably doesn’t.

about 3 days ago - by  |  9 Replies

The FBI isn’t happy about the latest versions of iOS and Android using encryption by default. FBI director James Comey has been blasting both Apple and Google. Microsoft is never mentioned — but Windows 8.1 uses encryption by default, too.

about 3 days ago - by  |  18 Replies

iPads and iPhones give you control over how your kids can use your devices. You can quickly lock your device to a certain app before handing it over or lock down an entire device with comprehensive parental controls.

about 4 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

You’ve probably heard all about how the Java browser plug-in is insecure. 91% of system compromises in 2013 were against that insecure Java plug-in. But Java isn’t the same thing as JavaScript — in fact, they’re not really related.

about 4 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Never download a driver-updating utility. Like PC-cleaning programs, they try to charge you money for a service you don’t need. They do this by scaring you with threats of blue screens and system problems.

about 5 days ago - by  |  34 Replies

Do you get too many newsletters and other promotional emails? These emails aren’t technically “spam” — they’re from legitimate organizations. Thanks to the US CAN-SPAM act, every legitimate company offers a consistent way to unsubscribe from their newsletters.

about 5 days ago - by  |  12 Replies

You’ve probably given a few applications or websites access to your Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, or Microsoft account. Every application you’ve ever allowed keeps that access forever — or at least until you revoke it.

about 6 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

We recently explained why you should be using IMAP instead of POP3 for your email. If you still have old POP3 emails stored offline, you don’t have to abandon them — import your POP3 emails into an IMAP account.

about 7 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

If a website asks you to download a “codec,” “player,” or “browser update” to play a video, run the other way. You don’t actually need to download this sort of thing — the website is trying to infect your computer with malware.

about 8 days ago - by  |  15 Replies

Wireshark is the Swiss Army knife of network analysis tools. Whether you’re looking for peer-to-peer traffic on your network or just want to see what websites a specific IP address is accessing, Wireshark can work for you.

about 9 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Minecraft runs just fine on Linux, but it’s probably not available for easy installation in your Linux distribution’s package manager. Here’s how to get your Linux system ready for Minecraft.

about 9 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Wireshark has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, from capturing remote traffic to creating firewall rules based on captured packets. Read on for some more advanced tips if you want to use Wireshark like a pro.

about 10 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Ever tried to buy a Windows license from Amazon or Newegg? If only it was so simple. You’ll encounter cheaper System Builder (OEM) and more expensive Full Version (Retail) licenses. But the difference isn’t immediately apparent.

about 10 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Wireshark, a network analysis tool formerly known as Ethereal, captures packets in real time and display them in human-readable format. Wireshark includes filters, color-coding and other features that let you dig deep into network traffic and inspect individual packets.

about 11 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Java was responsible for 91 percent of all computer compromises in 2013. Most people not only have the Java browser plug-in enabled — they’re using an out-of-date, vulnerable version. Hey, Oracle — it’s time to disable that plug-in by default.

about 11 days ago - by  |  20 Replies

Java tries to install the terrible Ask Toolbar and other obnoxious junk — sorry, “sponsored software” — when you install it. Worse yet, Java bundles this junkware with security updates. This registry hack tells Java to never install that stuff.

about 12 days ago - by  |  22 Replies

The extremely useful Snap feature — introduced as “Aero Snap” in Windows 7 — is much-improved in Windows 10. Snap Assist, 2×2 snapping, and vertical snap features help make you more productive on the desktop.

about 12 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

iOS 8 added support for third-party keyboards. Now iPhone and iPad users can finally swap out their keyboards and use some of the same keyboards available on Android devices. Swipe-to-type is now an option for iPhone users, too.

about 13 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

The default folder-merge behavior in Mac OS X is to erase the existing folder, deleting all its files rather than offering to merge them intelligently. Windows and Linux file managers have offered folder-merging for decades, but Macs still don’t.

about 14 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

A new focus on the desktop brings new keyboard shortcuts for desktop users, so rejoice! Here are all the new keyboard shortcuts you need to know in the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

about 15 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Windows 10 contains some great new features. if you’re a Windows 8 user, you may be tempted to upgrade just to have your desktop work better. But you can get many of Windows 10′s features without upgrading.

about 16 days ago - by  |  7 Replies
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