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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+.

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.

about 1 year ago - by  |  11 Replies

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.

about 1 year ago - by  |  172 Replies

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.

about 1 year ago - by  |  5 Replies

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.

about 1 year ago - by  |  14 Replies

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?

about 1 year ago - by  |  14 Replies

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.

about 1 year ago - by  |  7 Replies

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.”

about 1 year ago - by  |  11 Replies

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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Whether you’re installing the latest version of Windows or upgrading your Linux distribution, most geeks agree that you should probably perform a clean installation rather than try your luck with an upgrade.

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Android geeks often unlock their bootloaders to root their devices and install custom ROMs. But there’s a reason devices come with locked bootloaders – unlocking your bootloader creates security risks.

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Multiple user accounts were once impractical to use on Windows, but they aren’t anymore. If multiple people use your computer – particularly children or guests – you should give each person a separate user account.

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Some people believe Tor is a completely anonymous, private, and secure way to access the Internet without anyone being able to monitor your browsing and trace it back to you – but is it? It’s not quite that simple.

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Many gamers refer to any performance problem in an online game as “lag.” But if your computer’s frame rate is low, that isn’t the same thing as lag – lag and low FPS are different problems with different causes.

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Llama is a clever Android app that can automatically perform actions based on your location. It uses cell towers — not GPS — so it won’t use much additional battery power. In fact, Llama can help save battery power.

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Whether you’re dealing with images, music, or video files, it’s important to understand the difference between different types of formats and when to use them. Using the wrong format could ruin a file’s quality or make its file size unnecessarily large.

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Android includes a system encryption feature that encrypts all data – including application data, downloaded files, and everything else – on your phone or tablet. You’ll have to enter your PIN or password each time you turn on your phone

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We all know that Windows is the most malware-ridden platform out there, but why is that? Windows is the most popular desktop operating system, but that isn’t the only reason – past decisions made Windows a fertile breeding ground for viruses and other malware.

about 2 years ago - by  |  17 Replies

If you have installed Linux on its own partition in a dual-boot configuration, there’s no easy uninstaller that will remove it for you. You will need to delete its partitions and repair the Windows boot loader on your own.

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Geeks often consider encryption a fool-proof tool to ensure that data stays secret. But, whether you encrypt your computer’s hard drive or your smartphone’s storage, you may be surprised to know the encryption can be bypassed at cold temperatures.

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You can’t go anywhere on the web without hearing about Google Reader’s shutdown. There are a number of lessons to be learned, but “never use any Google product ever again” isn’t the right lesson to draw.

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The Windows Store may be fairly light on great apps, but BlueStacks gives you access to over 750,000 apps on your Windows 8 PC – including lots of touch-enabled games.

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Many Android phones have an integrated notification LED. With Light Flow, you can have your phone’s LED notification flash different colors depending on the types of notifications you have waiting for you – your phone can communicate notifications even with its screen off.

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Web browsers have been growing up over the past few years. Now that Internet Explorer 6’s hold on the web has been broken, browsers have been implementing a variety of cool new features that websites are taking advantage of today.

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Web apps have been replacing desktop apps for everything from email and document-editing to playing videos and music. You don’t have to keep your web apps confined to a browser window – they can become first-class citizens on your desktop.

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