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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+.

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

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.

about 8 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

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?

about 8 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

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 9 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Remember TV antennas? Well, they still exist! Get a digital TV antenna and you’ll be able to watch local TV stations for free, all without paying a dime to a cable TV company.

about 9 months ago - by  |  42 Replies

The era of the $200 Windows laptop is back, and the HP Stream is just the first of many. These products are definitely better than the much-maligned netbook, but Chromebooks beat them in many ways.

about 9 months ago - by  |  22 Replies

Poor signal strength could be your carrier’s fault, or it could be because of signal-blocking materials in your home’s walls. Whatever the cause, you can boost that signal and get the maximum number of bars at home.

about 9 months ago - by  |  8 Replies

Apple tries to stop it, but there are ways to change your default apps on iOS. You can use your favorite browser, email client, and mapping app instead of Apple’s own apps.

about 9 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Apple’s MacBook Air, along with many other Macs, no longer includes an optical drive. But you can still use CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and other optical discs on your Mac.

about 9 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux all allow you to schedule boot-ups, shut-downs, and wake-ups. You can have your computer automatically power up in the morning and automatically shut down at night, if you’d like.

about 9 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

For those of us who didn’t grow up with smartphones, typing on a touch keyboard can feel awfully slow. But there are tricks you can use to speed up typing on a touch keyboard, just like a physical one.

about 9 months ago - by  |  11 Replies

On our Comcast Xfinity router, WPA2-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES), and WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES) are all different options. Choose the wrong option and you’ll have a slower, less-secure network.

about 9 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Chromebooks allow you to set a custom DNS server, but Google doesn’t make the option easy to find. There are many reasons to change your DNS server, after all.

about 9 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Despite what you may have heard, closing apps on your iPhone or iPad won’t speed it up. But iOS does allow apps to run in the background sometimes, and you can manage that in a different way.

about 9 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

MAC address filtering allows you to define a list of devices and only allow those devices on your Wi-Fi network. That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, this protection is tedious to set up and easy to breach.

about 9 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

By now, most people know that an open Wi-Fi network allows people to eavesdrop on your traffic. Standard WPA2-PSK encryption is supposed to prevent this from happening — but it’s not as foolproof as you might think.

about 9 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

Amazon Instant Video uses the Flash plug-in, so you might imagine that it would “just work” with Flash on Linux. You’d be wrong, but you can get Amazon Instant Video to work with minimal tweaking.

about 9 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Every camera — whether it’s a dedicated digital camera or the Camera app on Android or iPhone — places the photos you take in a DCIM folder. DCIM stands for “Digital Camera Images.”

about 9 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

A “text expander” autocorrects short combination of characters you type to longer phrases. They can be used anywhere in any operating system. For example, you could type “bbl” and have this always automatically expand to “I’ll be back later.”

about 9 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Do you know who’s connected to your router’s Wi-Fi network? Take a look at the list devices connected to your Wi-Fi network from your router or computer to find out.

about 9 months ago - by  |  19 Replies