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+.

Windows 10, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One all have integrated ways to record your gameplay and post clips online. Now, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads are gaining integrated ways to capture videos of mobile gameplay and post it to YouTube or elsewhere.

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Antimalware programs like Malwarebytes pop up warnings when they detect “potentially unwanted programs” you might want to remove. People call PUPs many other names, including “adware” and “crapware.” You almost certainly don’t want these programs on your computer, but they’re categorized differently for legal reasons.

about 10 months ago - by  |  8 Replies

Many online services offer two-step verification or two-factor authentication. Enable this for an account and it’ll require more than just your password to sign in. You’ll also need something else — and there are many different types of additional authentication methods you can use.

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On a Chromebook, only apps from the Chrome Web Store typically get their own taskbar icons and separate windows. But you can give any website its own taskbar icon and make it open in a separate window, effectively turning any website you like into an “app.”

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Google Cardboard is cool. It’s a way to try virtual reality with a cheap headset made of cardboard and your current Android phone or iPhone. But, compared to devices like the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard is just a parlor trick.

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U2F is an emerging standard for physical authentication tokens. Current U2F keys are all small USB devices. To log in, you won’t need to enter an authentication code provided from an app or SMS — just insert the USB security key and press a button. Here’s how they work.

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U2F is a new standard for universal two-factor authentication tokens. These tokens can use USB, NFC, or Bluetooth to provide two-factor authentication across a variety of services. It’s already supported in Chrome for Google, Dropbox, and GitHub accounts. Microsoft is working on implementing it in Edge.

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Yes, Android devices have serious security problems. There’s Android malware out there — mostly outside the Google Play Store. The biggest problem is that most Android devices don’t get security updates. Android antivirus apps aren’t a solution to these problems.

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If you’ve purchased an app from the iOS App Store or the Mac App Store and there’s a problem, you can contact Apple to get your money back. This isn’t automatic — you’ll have to provide a reason you want a refund and Apple will review your request.

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Google Play allows you to easily refund an app — for any reason — within the first two hours after purchasing it. After that, it gets a bit more difficult and situational — but there are still ways you can potentially get a refund.

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Web pages can automatically play audio thanks to HTML5, even if you’ve set Flash and other browser plug-ins to click-to-play. Most modern web browsers include an audio indicator that will show you which tab is playing sound. Most modern browsers also let you mute individual tabs.

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Telephone scams are on the upswing, and they’re often enabled by caller ID spoofing. That name and number that appears when someone calls you can be faked, so you can’t place all your trust in it.

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Spotlight search on Mac OS X shows results from the “Developer” category if you’ve ever installed Xcode on your Mac. If you still have Xcode installed, there’s an easy checkbox to disable this. But, if you’ve uninstalled Xcode, Spotlight just keeps showing Developer search results with no way to turn them off.

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Microsoft Edge doesn’t yet have browser extensions, but it can use bookmarklets. Bookmarklets work just fine in Edge, and they make up for the lack of browser extensions. You’ll just have to install them manually first.

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Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 10 all keep a list of apps you’ve purchased — or just downloaded, if they’re free. This list will become cluttered over time, especially if you download and try out a lot of free apps. But you can clean this list up, at least on iOS and Android.

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Routers protect their web interfaces, where you can configure their networking, parental control, and port forwarding settings, with a username and password. These default passwords can be changed to protect the router’s settings.

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How much energy do your smartphone, laptop, and tablet chargers really use? Should you unplug them when you aren’t using them to save power and money? We measured exactly how much power a variety of common chargers use, and how much keeping them plugged in will cost your each year.

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow contains a highly experimental and hidden multi-window mode. Perhaps this will be stable in the next version of Android — it would definitely make Google’s Pixel C, Nexus 9, and Nexus 6 phones more useful. For now, you can enable it if you’re willing to do some tweaking.

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Mac OS X offers no “Uninstall a program” interface like the one available in Windows. You have to uninstall applications by dragging their icons around — but what about applications that don’t have shortcuts, built-in system apps, and other corner cases?

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Android includes full access to a file system, complete with support for removable SD cards. But Android itself has never come with a built-in file manager, forcing manufacturers to create their own file manager apps and users to install third-party ones. With Android 6.0, Android now contains a hidden file manager.

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One of Android’s most powerful features is the ability to select your default apps for browsing the web, sending emails, and other tasks — even the launcher that appears when you press the Home button. On Android 6.0, there’s now an easy interface for managing your default apps.

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No two people sound exactly alike. Different people have different accents and ways of pronouncing words, and computer voice recognition systems like Siri, Cortana, and Google’s voice search aren’t as good as actual human beings at understanding every voice. Train your voice assistant and it’ll be better at understanding you.

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Apple’s Game Center is included on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s a social gaming service for games on Apple’s platforms. With Game Center, you might see friend invites, game invites, and other notifications — but you can disable all that and never see a Game Center notification again.

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Did you know Google has its own dedicated password manager? It’s more than just password-syncing built into the Chrome browser — Google’s solution also offers a web app, mobile apps, deep integration with Android, and automatic generation of strong passwords.

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There are plenty of downsides to jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad. You’ll be behind on iOS updates and forced to jailbreak each new version of iOS you want to use. More importantly, leaked security documents show jailbroken iPhones are more vulnerable to attack.

about 11 months ago - by  |  11 Replies