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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+.

Gaming mice are advertised with high DPIs and polling rates. But what do these specifications actually mean, and are higher values actually useful?

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Most operating systems can be grouped into two different families. Aside from Microsoft’s Windows NT-based operating systems, nearly everything else traces its heritage back to Unix.

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HTTPS, which uses SSL, provides identity verification and security, so you know you’re connected to the correct website and no one can eavesdrop on you. That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, SSL on the web is kind of a mess.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Microsoft has been called late to the party for not offering Microsoft Office for the iPad, other tablets, and smartphones. The truth is, Microsoft does make quite a few different versions of Office for mobile devices, although they aren’t full versions of Office.

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There are two types of mixed content — one is worse than the other, but neither is good. Mixed content warnings are in indication that something is wrong with a web page you’re visiting.

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HTTPS, the lock icon in the address bar, an encrypted website connection — it’s known as many things. Knowing what it means is important, as it has serious implications banking online, shopping, and¬†avoiding phishing.

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Have you ever noticed that it’s C:\Windows\ in Windows, http://howtogeek.com/ on the web, and /home/user/ on Linux, OS X, and Android? Windows uses backslashes for paths, while everything else seems to use forward slashes.

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Many people say they use Hibernate instead of Sleep mode because Hibernate draws no power. Unfortunately, when it comes to desktop PCs, they’re wrong. Desktop PCs still use some power even while they’re shut down.

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You’re playing a game and you Alt+Tab to use another program, but there’s a problem. The Alt+Tab process may be extremely slow, the game may crash or freeze, or you may see graphical corruption.

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Can you not see your laptop’s screen in a bright room, or do you think the colors on your desktop computer’s display look dull and lifeless? Maybe you chose the wrong type of display coating.

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If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a choice of different Internet service providers in your area. Don’t just trust the advertised speeds — look at the data to find the fastest ISP near you.

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Windows has quite a few features for automatically arranging windows, placing them side by side or tiling them on your screen. These features are a bit hidden, so you may not have noticed them.

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If the paperless office isn’t here for you yet, you can print from your iPad or iPhone. Sure, you can’t directly connect a printer to your iPad, but there are plenty of ways to print wirelessly.

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There are two big choices when it comes to reading eBooks. You can go with either a dedicated eReader, like a Kindle Paperwhite, or a tablet with an LCD screen, like an iPad — but which is best?

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When you don’t have unlimited mobile data on your Android or iPhone, every megabyte counts. Mobile browsers like Google Chrome and Opera offer a built in data compression feature, allowing you to browse with less data.

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There is a huge number of antivirus programs to choose from, so how do you find the best one? Do you use what came with your computer or what your friend recommended? How do you know if it’s any good?

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Many computer users were trained never to turn their PCs off by pressing the power button on their desktop PC’s case. This used to cause problems in the previous millennium, but it’s now perfectly safe to shut down with the power button.

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Apple sells Apple Remote Desktop on the Mac App Store for $80, but you don’t have to spend any money to remotely connect to your Mac. There are free solutions — including one built into your Mac.

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Microsoft Office saves hidden metadata in your Office documents, including how long you’ve been working on them, the name of everyone who’s worked on the document, when the document was created, and even previous versions of the document.

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Once a month, a new version of the Malicious Software Removal tool appears in Windows Update. This tool removes some malware from Windows systems, particularly those systems without antivirus programs installed.

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The Mission Control feature in Mac OS X allows you to arrange windows into several different screens you can quickly switch between. This feature was formerly known as Spaces, and is called virtual desktops or workspaces on Linux.

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Not all Wi-Fi networks are created equal. Wi-Fi access points can function in either “ad-hoc” or “infrastructure” mode, and many WI-Fi-enabled devices can only connect to infrastructure-mode networks, not ad-hoc ones.

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A keylogger is a piece of software — or, even scarier, a hardware device — that logs every key you press on your keyboard. It can capture personal messages, passwords, credit card numbers, and everything else you type.

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Bill Gates famously said “two years from now, spam will be solved” back in 2004. It’s now ten years later and more than 70% of emails are spam, according to Kaspersky. Why is spam still such a problem?

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Windows 8′s desktop hasn’t seen many improvements for touch use, but even 8-inch Windows tablets have a desktop.¬†If you have to use the desktop with your finger, these tips will help you avoid frustration.

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