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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 bans games that deals with serious issues from its app store. Some of the most high-profile banned games have come to Android and the web, so you can play them yourself to see what all the fuss is about.

about 1 year ago - by  |  10 Replies

Chrome warns you that PDF files “can harm your computer” when you try to download them. But how can a PDF file be so dangerous — isn’t a PDF just a document with text and images?

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So you’ve set a password on your Windows laptop or desktop, and you always sign out or lock the screen when you leave it alone. This still won’t protect your data if your computer is ever stolen.

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Google provides a primary app store for Android, known as Google Play. However, Android isn’t like iOS. Google Play isn’t the only game in town, and there are other ways to install apps on Android.

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Windows allows desktop apps to remain running whether they’re visible or not, while Apple’s iOS only allows apps to perform a few limited tasks in the background. Android sits somewhere in between — apps running in the foreground are prioritized, but apps have much more freedom to run in the background than they do on iOS.

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The Digital Millennium Contract is a US law passed in 1998 in an attempt to modernize copyright law to deal with the Internet. The DMCA has a number of provisions, but we’ll be focusing on the ones that have most affected the web we have today.

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One of the many ways you can customize your Android home screen is by replacing it entirely. Android developers can create their own software to replace your home screen — Facebook Home is just one of many options.

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Cloud gaming has much in common with streaming videos. Essentially, the cloud-gaming server runs a game and streams a video of the gameplay to you. Your keyboard, mouse, and controller input actions are sent over the network to the cloud gaming server.

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Hackers aren’t inherently bad — the word “hacker” doesn’t mean “criminal” or “bad guy.”  Geeks and tech writers often refer to “black hat,” “white hat,” and “gray hat” hackers. These terms define different groups of hackers based on their behavior.

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Do you regularly open your antivirus program and run scans? Microsoft Security Essentials and other antivirus programs think you need to, warning you that your computer may be at risk if you haven’t done so in a while.

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iTunes can’t sync your music library to an Android device, and Google doesn’t offer an iTunes-style desktop app. However, there are several ways you can easily transfer your music collection to your Android smartphone or tablet.

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Unlike most other operating systems, Windows still doesn’t include first-class support for printing to PDFs. However, PDF printing is still fairly simple — you can quickly install a free PDF printer or use the support included in various programs.

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The last few years have seen the rise of closed platforms — operating systems that only allow you to install software approved by the operating system’s developer. However, many popular platforms — even mobile ones — are still open platforms.

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If you’re like most people, your Internet service provider hands you a single Internet Protocol address and your router shares it amongst all the connected devices in your home.

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The XPS format is Microsoft’s alternative to PDF. It was introduced in Windows Vista, but never gained much traction. However, modern versions of Windows continue to include better support for XPS files than PDF files.

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Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014 after 12 and a half years of supporting it. Microsoft has gone out of their way to extend support on several occasions, but the 2014 deadline looks like the final one.

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Phones have improved dramatically in the last ten years. Modern smartphones seem like a technology from an alien civilization when placed next to the original cell phones. But battery life hasn’t improved. In fact, battery life feels like it’s getting worse.

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Have you upgraded to Windows 8 yet? We’ve published a lot of Windows 8 articles here at How-To Geek, and I’ve written many of them, but I haven’t. I still use Windows 7 on my PC.

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You’ve probably heard that firewalls are an important security protection, but do you know why that is? Many people don’t, if references to firewalls in TV shows, movies, and other forms of popular media are any indication.

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Most Linux distributions come without support for MP3 audio, H.264 video, Flash content, and even commercial video DVDs. Patents, closed-source software, and even laws that make certain types of software illegal restrict what can be included in a Linux distribution.

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So you have an antivirus guarding your system, your firewall is up, your browser plug-ins are all up-to-date, and you’re not missing any security patches. But how can be sure your defenses are actually working as well as you think they are?

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If you’re new to the world of PC gaming, it can all seem a bit complicated. Consoles don’t have upgradable hardware, desktop software running in the background, or graphics settings that must be tweaked for ideal performance.

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More than $5000. That’s how much one man’s child ran up on his credit card by playing “free” games on his iPad. Many games may be advertised as free, but they actually try to push expensive “in-app purchases.”

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The news is full of reports of “spear-phishing attacks” being used against governments, large corporations, and political activists. Spear-phishing attacks are now the most common way corporate networks are compromised, according to many reports.

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On Linux, you install software from package management applications like the Ubuntu Software Center. But not every piece of software is available in your Linux distribution’s software repositories.

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