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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+.

It’s a lesson many of us have learned the hard way. Yes, $100 is overpriced for a storage upgrade, but it’s still worth it. The most inexpensive models of smartphones, tablets, and laptops often have too little storage.

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Microsoft recently announced that WIndows 10 would be a free upgrade even for computers without genuine copies of Windows. But, even though they’ll let you install Windows 10, you’ll just end up with a non-genuine copy of Windows 10 that continues to nag at you.

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When you set up Time Machine, your Mac wants to use an entire external drive exclusively for backups. Here’s how you can get around that and use a Time Machine drive both for backups and file storage.

about 2 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Surge protectors aren’t like diamonds. They have a definite lifespan. At some point, your surge protector will stop protecting your gear from power surges and become a dumb power strip.

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Homebrew is the most popular package manager for Mac OS X. Homebrew Cask extends Homebrew with support for quickly installing Mac applications like Google Chrome, VLC, and more. No more dragging and dropping applications!

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Time Machine doesn’t just back up to external drives. Enable Time Machine on your MacBook and it will create “local snapshots,” too — potentially taking up over 100 GB of disk space on its internal storage.

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Your Android phone’s NFC hardware is for more than just transferring content and using mobile payments. You can buy cheap, programmable NFC tags and have your phone automatically perform actions when you touch them.

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Are you in a relationship with someone who has their own Amazon account? Link your accounts together and share purchased Kindle ebooks, audiobooks, and apps. You can add up to four child profiles, too.

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Wi-Fi isn’t the same in every country. Regulatory agencies in countries around the world limit Wi-Fi to different parts of the radio frequency spectrum. Some routers broadcast the countries they think they’re in.

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Not everyone has unlimited cellular data. If you find yourself going over your cellular data allowance and paying overage charges or getting throttled, you can make your iPhone use less data.

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Two-factor authentication systems aren’t as foolproof as they seem. An attacker doesn’t actually need your physical authentication token if they can trick your phone company or the secure service itself into letting them in.

about 10 days ago - by  |  10 Replies

Ubuntu’s installer offers an easy “Use LVM” checkbox. The description says it enables Logical Volume Management so you can take snapshots and more easily resize your hard disk partitions — here’s how to do that.

about 11 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Apple’s new MacBook has a single USB Type-C port, but this isn’t an Apple-only standard. This is a new USB standard, and — given time — it’ll spread to everything that currently uses an older, larger USB connector.

about 12 days ago - by  |  13 Replies

Macs offer a way to hide files and folders, just like other operating systems. But Mac OS X hides these options and doesn’t make it as easy as it is on Windows and Linux.

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Keyboard shortcuts aren’t just for web browsers themselves. Most of those web apps you use — everything from Facebook and Twitter to Gmail and Outlook.com — offer keyboard shortcuts you can use to speed things up.

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Apple has added an increasingly sophisticated app permission system to iOS over the years. It’s up to you whether an app gets access to everything from your device’s sensors and personal information to notifications and cellular data.

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Modern smartphone embed GPS coordinates in each photo they take. Yes, those photos you’re taking have location data embedded in them — at least by default. Many modern digital cameras also do this.

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Too many browser tabs! It’s a problem everyone has at some point. For all the window-management tricks built into our desktops, we often just use a single browser window packed with tabs.

about 16 days ago - by  |  10 Replies

uTorrent recently made headlines for bundling cryptocurrency-mining junkware. Out of all the junkware programs bundled with installers, cryptocurrency-miners like Epic Scale are some of the worst.

about 17 days ago - by  |  9 Replies

Want to use a VPN? If you’re looking for a VPN provider or setting up your own VPN, you’ll need to choose a protocol. Some VPN providers may even provider you with a choice of protocols.

about 18 days ago - by  |  22 Replies

Ctrl+Alt+Delete isn’t just necessary on Windows and other desktop operating systems. Applications can freeze or get stuck in bad states on modern iPhones, iPads, and Android devices too.

about 19 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Windows has Ctrl+Alt+Delete and Macs have Command+Option+Escape to force frozen applications to close. Linux has its own ways of “killing” those misbehaving processes, whether they’re graphical windows or background processes.

about 19 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Migrating your files, settings, and programs to a new PC can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re not completely organized. These tools and simple tips will help you get started.

about 20 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Always-listening voice commands are a big thing now. You don’t need an Xbox one or Amazon Echo for this — just make your phone, tablet, or computer always listen for voice commands.

about 21 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Remember when uTorrent was great? The upstart BitTorrent client was super-lightweight and trounced other popular BitTorrent clients. But that was long ago, before BitTorrent, Inc. bought uTorrent and crammed it full of junkware and scammy advertisements.

about 22 days ago - by  |  19 Replies
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