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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+.

Apple’s Health app arrived in iOS 8, and it’s now on every up-to-date iPhone. This app appears simple at first glance, but it hides a lot of data and advanced functionality.

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To make things even more confusing, manufacturers often don’t call this feature “HDMI-CEC”. Like with Miracast, every manufacturer wants to call it their own branded name, even though it’s an interoperable standard.

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Wearables were everywhere at CES 2015, which is no surprise — even “normal people” are already walking around with activity-tracking bands. An avalanche of wearable products is coming your way.

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TV manufacturers are in a constant race to add new “features” so they can convince you to buy a new TV. Next up after 3D, 4K, and curved displays: Quantum dots!

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CES 2015 was packed with different virtual reality headsets, and it feels like we’ve been on the cusp of consumer VR for years. Oculus Rift hasn’t released their consumer version yet, and other companies are trying to beat them to market.

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Curved TVs were everywhere at CES 2015. We’re not exaggerating: Almost all the TVs being shown off were curved instead of flat! But what’s the advantage of a curved TV, anyway?

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You’re guaranteed to stumble into an occasional error page while browsing the web. This guide will help you understand exactly what each error page means and what to do when you see them.

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DNS cache poisoning, also known as DNS spoofing, is a type of attack that exploits vulnerabilities in the domain name system (DNS) to divert Internet traffic away from legitimate servers and towards fake ones.

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Manufacturers are pushing “Ultra HD” 4k TVs hard here at CES 2015. By the end of 2015, half of all TVs in stores may be 4K TVs. They’re cheaper than ever, too. So, when should you buy one?

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We all want the replicator from Star Trek: a machine that can create any object we desire. 3D printers, which create objects from plastics and other materials, are the closest things we have. And they’re getting cheaper every year.

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As with TVs, a 4K computer monitor has a display resolution of 3840×2160. This is about four times as many pixels as a typical 1920×1080, or 1080p, display.

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So it’s the end of the road for your PC, tablet, or smartphone. Before letting go, be sure to follow this quick check list to prepare your device for its new owner.

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Windows 8 (and now 10) no longer comes with Windows Media Center by default. To get it, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and purchase the Media Center Pack. And Windows 10 doesn’t have it at all.

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When you sign up for cable Internet service, you need a modem. You’re often asked to choose between renting the modem from your Internet service provider for a monthly fee or buying it outright.

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Windows 8 or 10 allows you to create a recovery drive (USB) or system repair disc (CD or DVD) that can be used to troubleshoot and restore your computer. Each type of recovery media gives you access to Windows’ advanced startup options.

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Most people use their operating system’s included file manager, but many geeks prefer third-party file managers. After all, Windows Explorer doesn’t offer tabs, a dual-pane interface, batch file-renaming tools, and more advanced features.

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Screenshots are great, but sometimes you need to create a video recording to really get your point across. You can record your computer’s desktop, your smartphone’s screen, or your tablet’s display.

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Your Mac’s Services menu can be very useful. The Services menu has become a hidden feature used mostly be power-users, but it’s very easy to use. It’s a bit like the Share features on Android or iOS.

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Google rolls out Android updates slowly, even to their own Nexus devices. It may take weeks before an over-the-air update becomes available via the System updates screen, but you can skip the wait.

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Animations on a desktop PC, smartphone, or tablet are nice — the first few times. Eventually, you just wish they would hurry up and stop wasting your time.

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Keeping your home router updated is a crucial part of staying secure. Shellshock affected a number of routers, and we’ve also seen routers hacked and turned into botnets. Home router security is notoriously poor.

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Gatekeeper is how Apple is “locking down” Mac OS X, forcing it to only run Apple-approved software by default. But a Mac is locked down in the same way Android is locked down — you’re free to change an option and install any application you want.

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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 8 months ago - by  |  3 Replies