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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+.

Don’t let the version number trick you, Android 4.4 KitKat isn’t a minor release. This isn’t a small update like Android 4.3, but a big new release with lots of important features.

about 1 year ago - by  |  2 Replies

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 updates. Luckily, there’s a geekier way to upgrade to the latest version of Android.

about 1 year ago - by  |  5 Replies

Apple’s iOS is nowhere near as vulnerable to malware as Windows is, but it’s not completely impervious. “Configuration profiles” are one possible way to infect an iPhone or iPad just by downloading a file and agreeing to a prompt.

about 1 year ago - by  |  2 Replies

WPA2 with a strong password is secure as long as you disable WPS. You’ll find this advice in guides to securing your Wi-Fi all over the web. Wi-Fi Protected Setup was a nice idea, but using it is a mistake.

about 1 year ago - by  |  3 Replies

Google’s working on a new launcher for Android, one that seamlessly integrates Google Now. The Google Experience Launcher is officially exclusive to the Nexus 5, but you can easily use it on any other Android smartphone or tablet.

about 1 year ago - by  |  6 Replies

It has now been over a year since Windows 8 was released. A lot has happened — we’re now on Windows 8.1 and new devices running Intel’s Haswell and Bay Trail chips are coming out every day. Touch-enabled laptops, convertibles, and Windows tablets are getting cheaper and more common.

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Computer hardware and electronic devices aren’t perfect. They may stop working on you at some point, which is why manufacturers offer warranties. Taking advantage of this warranty generally requires you perform an “RMA,” in geek shorthand.

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We’ve written some particularly negative things about Windows recently, focusing on the reasons why using the traditional Windows desktop can be a frustrating experience. Do we just hate Windows? Not at all. The Windows desktop is an amazing platform.

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Every device — smartphone, tablet, eReader, laptop — seems to come with its own charger. But do you really need all these chargers? Can you re-use the same charger for multiple devices?

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Windows 8.1 allows Windows to work better on high-DPI displays. As part of this, the way Windows deals with mice has changed. Games that don’t read raw mouse data may end up with laggy, freezing, or stuttering mouse movement.

about 1 year ago - by  |  6 Replies

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service, offering integrated online backup and syncing for Apple devices. iCloud is built-in on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but can also be accessed on Windows.

about 1 year ago - by  |  1 Reply

After Windows users have watched smartphones, tablets, and even Mac laptops get high-density displays, they’re finally arriving on new Windows laptops. But be careful what you wish for — many desktop apps have problems on high-DPI displays.

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New Windows 8 PCs don’t include the traditional BIOS. They use UEFI firmware instead, just as Macs have for years. How you go about doing common system tasks has changed.

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New Windows PCs come with UEFI firmware and Secure Boot enabled. Secure Boot prevents operating systems from booting unless they’re signed by a key loaded into UEFI — out of the box, only Microsoft-signed software can boot.

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PC games offer seemingly endless screens of graphics options to fiddle with. Each involves a trade-off between graphical quality and performance, but it’s not always clear what each option does.

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IPv6 is extremely important for the long-term health of the Internet. But is your Internet service provider providing IPv6 connectivity yet? Does your home network support it? Should you even care if you’re using IPv6 yet?

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Have you ever noticed how slow Steam’s built-in web browser can be? Do you struggle with slow download speeds? Or is Steam just slow in general? These tips will help you speed it up.

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Are the photos you take with your iPhone or iPad backed up in case you lose your device? If you’re just relying on iCloud to manage your important memories, your photos may not be backed up at all.

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Apple makes it easy to synchronize bookmarks between the Safari browser on a Mac and the Safari browser on iOS, but you don’t have to use Safari — or a Mac — to sync your bookmarks back and forth.

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PC games usually have built-in graphics options that you can change. However, you’re not limited to the options built into games — the graphics control panels bundled with graphics drivers allow you to tweak options from outside PC games.

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If your computer is infected with malware, running an antivirus within Windows may not be enough to remove it. If your computer has a rootkit, the malware may be able to hide itself from your antivirus software.

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The Developer Options menu in Android is a hidden menu with a variety of advanced options. These options are intended for developers, but many of them will be interesting to geeks.

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Viruses and other types of malware seem largely confined to Windows in the real world. Even on a Windows 8 PC, you can still get infected with malware. But how vulnerable are other operating systems to malware?

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iTunes isn’t an amazing program on Windows. There was a time when Apple device users had to plug their devices into their PCs or Macs and use iTunes for device activation, updates, and syncing, but iTunes is no longer necessary.

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Android phones — and tablets, too — display animations when moving between apps and screens. These animations look very slick, but they waste time — especially on fast phones, which could switch between apps instantly if not for the animations.

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