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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+.

Google Play is full of task managers for Android. These utilities can show you apps running in the background, kill running apps, and otherwise manage your apps — but you don’t need to install any third-party software to do this.

about 1 year ago - by  |  20 Replies

If you’re using a password manager and it’s not the cloud-based LastPass, it’s probably KeePass. KeePass is a completely open-source password manager that stores all your sensitive data locally. However, this means that it isn’t quite as well-integrated as other solutions.

about 1 year ago - by  |  18 Replies

It’s a common situation — you have several computers near each other and you want to transfer files between them. You don’t have to pull out a USB drive, nor do you have to send them over email — there are faster, easier ways.

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Many programs want to send usage statistics, error logs, and crash reports — data about how you use the application and what problems occurred — to their servers. Some people disable these options, but should you?

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Android doesn’t come with a “find my Android” feature, so there’s no official way to track your phone if you lose it. You should prepare your phone for loss by setting up such a tracking app — but what if you didn’t?

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When you’re managing a public computer, you need a special kind of tool. You need a way to reset that computer back to a clean state every time it boots so no one can make any harmful changes.

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One day, you could misplace your phone or have it stolen — smartphone thefts are on the rise. Prepare your Android phone for the day you lose it and losing it will be a much less traumatic experience.

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Your laptop, smartphone, and tablet probably all have integrated Bluetooth support. Bluetooth is a standard that allows devices to communicate wirelessly. Most people are familiar with Bluetooth headsets, but there are more things you can do with Bluetooth.

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Web apps are all the rage, but offline apps still have their place. Whether you want better offline support or you just want to keep your sensitive data on your PC, there’s a free desktop app that can replace your web-based productivity app.

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The benchmarks are clear: Solid-state drives slow down as you fill them up. Fill your solid-state drive to near-capacity and its write performance will decrease dramatically. The reason why lies in the way SSDs and NAND Flash storage work.

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Solid-state drives are different from the mechanical, magnetic hard drives in wide use. Many of the things you’ve done with typical mechanical hard drives shouldn’t be done with newer solid-state drives.

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Modern smartphones and tablets can help you go without printers, but they can also help you print. You could even start print jobs from anywhere and pick up the document when you arrive at home or the office.

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Overclocking is the action of increasing a component’s clock rate, running it at a higher speed than it was designed to run. This is usually applies to the CPU or GPU, but other components can also be overclocked.

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Most new PCs have been shipping with the 64-bit version of Windows — both Windows 7 and 8 — for years now. 64-bit bit versions of Windows aren’t just about taking advantage of additional memory. They’re also more secure than 32-bit versions.

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We’ve all heard the rumors and seen occasional evidence — some Internet service providers slow down certain types of traffic, like BitTorrent traffic. Other ISPs slow down their customers’ connections if they download too much data in a month.

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Android’s lock screen supports a variety of different unlock methods as well as widgets, which allow you to take action and view information from the lock screen. To really master your device, you’ll want to tweak your lock screen.

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Have you ever noticed that your Internet service provider advertises their speeds as “up to” a maximum speed? You may think you’re paying for a 15 Mbps connection, but you’re actually getting an “up to 15 Mbps” connection that may be slower.

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Windows includes its own versions of many widely used system utilities. A variety of new utilities were added to Windows 8, but many of these utilities are available on Windows 7, too.

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Firefox has a problem. It has fallen behind, with development stalled on the most crucial, most difficult problems. Many of the most significant improvements in Firefox over the past few years have simply been copying changes made in Chrome.

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Until Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu recommended all users use the 32-bit edition of Ubuntu on its download page. However, this recommendation has been removed for a reason — users of modern PCs are better off with the 64-bit edition.

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Firewalls are an important piece of security software, and someone is always trying to sell you a new one. However, Windows has come with its own solid firewall since Windows XP SP2, and it’s more than good enough.

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If all you do with your Android phone or tablet’s keyboard is tap out words, you are missing a lot of great features. There’s more to learn about a keyboard than you might expect.

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Android doesn’t have an iTunes-like desktop program, so the process of syncing your data may not be as obvious as it is with an iPhone.¬† However, you don’t need a desktop syncing app — even iPhone users are leaving iTunes behind.

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Chromebooks aren’t like traditional laptops. They’re locked down by default, only booting Google-approved operating systems in their default state. They’re much more limited than traditional Windows, Mac, or Linux laptops.

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Whether net neutrality should be mandated by law is one of the biggest policy debates around the Internet, but net neutrality isn’t just a matter of law. Net neutrality is a principle that’s given us the Internet we have today.

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