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+.

QuickTime for Windows has dangerous security vulnerabilities that let attackers take over your computer, but Apple won’t be updating it to fix them. It’s time to uninstall it.

about 7 months ago - by  |  19 Replies

Windows 10 comes with a number of “optional” features that you can turn on or off through the Windows Features dialog. Many of these features are intended for business networks and servers, while some are useful to everyone. Here’s an explanation of what each feature is for, and how to turn them on or off.

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Your PlayStation 4 is constantly recording your gameplay in the background, just in case you want to save or share a clip. You can also quickly create screenshots with a single button-press.

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Windows 10 is designed to be an always-connected, always-up-to-date operating system. It’s the most data-hungry version of Windows yet, but you can restrain it from going all-out on your home network with a few tricks.

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With Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, Microsoft is making it possible for developers to convert traditional Windows desktop applications to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications. But anyone can do this with any app–not just developers.

about 8 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows 10’s Anniversary Update offers a big new feature for developers: A full, Ubuntu-based Bash shell that can run Linux software directly on Windows. This is made possible by the new “Windows Subsystem for Linux” Microsoft is adding to Windows 10.

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The Professional version of Windows 10 asks you who owns your PC during its first-time setup process. It’s not completely clear what this setting does, though.

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The tar command on Linux is often used to create .tar.gz or .tgz archive files, also called “tarballs.” This command has a large number of options, but you just need to remember a few letters to quickly create archives with tar. The tar command can extract the resulting archives, too.

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Your PlayStation 4 offers parental controls that can limit access to games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, and web browsing. Your restrictions are protected with a four-digit numerical PIN so they can’t be easily bypassed.

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Apple’s Podcasts app automatically downloads new episodes of podcasts you subscribe to, storing them on your device. That’s convenient, but it can strain all those 16GB iPhones and iPads.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 can now stream games to Windows PCs and Macs with a feature called Remote Play. That means you can play your games right on your PC or laptop, without hogging the TV when your spouse or roommates want to use it.

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So you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network from way back when, but you can’t remember what the password is. Whether you’ve changed the default password or not, it’s simple to find it. You can look up any Wi-Fi network password if you’ve previously connected to that network from your computer or phone.

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Windows 10 includes “Work Access” options, which you’ll find under Accounts in the Settings app. These are intended for people who need to connect to an employer or school’s infrastructure with their own devices. Work Access provides you access to the organization’s resources and gives the organization some control over your device.

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Apple’s own AirPrint printing is deeply integrated into iPhones and iPads. The “Print” options you see throughout the operating system will only print to AirPrint-enabled printers. You can still print to a Google Cloud Print-enabled printer, but it’ll take a little extra effort.

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Windows 10 includes a mysterious app named “App Connector” that has access to your location, camera, contacts, and calendars. This app was created by Microsoft, but Microsoft hasn’t officially explained what it does.

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Xbox is no longer just a gaming console. It’s an app and set of services integrated into Windows 10. But Xbox still uses whatever old gamertag, or nickname, is associated with your Microsoft account. You may have set this name on an Xbox 360 a decade ago, or may have been provided by Microsoft’s Games for Windows LIVE service.

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Apple’s Mail app doesn’t provide a lot of control over how much storage it uses. it wants to download and store a lot of emails so they can be indexed and searchable with Spotlight. But the Mail app may sometimes use a large amount of space, which is particularly onerous on storage-limited 16GB iPhones.

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Microsoft’s DirectX 12 and Apple’s Metal are next-generation graphics platforms. They provide lower-level access to graphics hardware, allowing game programmers to squeeze more performance out of the hardware. Vulkan is the cross-platform answer to Microsoft and Apple’s technologies.

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If you send and receive a lot of messages, the Messages app can take up a lot of space on your iPhone or iPad. Not only does it store your message history, it keeps photo attachments you’ve received. All this data then takes up iCloud space as part of your backups, too.

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One of the most annoying things about the iPhone and iPad is the inability to hide built-in apps like Tips, Stocks, and News. iOS 10 finally fixed this annoyance, but if you’re stuck on iOS 9 or earlier, you still have a few other workarounds.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 has a social media-style dashboard. Your friends can view your PlayStation activity along with your real name, and your account may be discoverable to your Facebook friends if you’ve linked your PlayStation 4 with Facebook.

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Google’s Nexus devices are supposed to receive timely updates, but the staggered rollout means it can take weeks for devices to receive over-the-air (OTA) updates. Luckily, there’s a faster (and geekier) way to install the latest version of Android.

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Last month, Linux Mint’s website was hacked, and a modified ISO was put up for download that included a backdoor. While the problem was fixed quickly, it demonstrates the importance of checking Linux ISO files you download before running and installing them. Here’s how.

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Windows has a hidden setting that will enable only government-certified “FIPS-compliant” encryption. It may sound like a way to boost your PC’s security, but it isn’t. You shouldn’t enable this setting unless you work in government or need to test how software will behave on government PCs.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 offers button remapping for its DualShock 4 controllers. If you don’t like a game’s control scheme, you’re free to switch the buttons around and make it more comfortable. The game doesn’t even need to offer its own button-remapping.

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