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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+.

DashClock allows you to see notifications and status information at a glance, turning your Android lock screen’s clock into a dashboard. It’s a big improvement over the lock screen widgets included in Android 4.2.

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Free, ad-supported apps have two hidden costs: They use your phone’s data connection and battery power to download and display ads. In the long run, using a free app may be more expensive than buying the paid version.

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The media (and Apple) still can’t stop talking about Android malware. Antivirus companies want to sell you a complete Android security solution, but Android malware can be avoided with a few common-sense tips.

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Keyboard shortcuts are an essential tool for dramatically speeding up everything you do on your computer. Geeks make extensive use of keyboard shortcuts, but every computer user can benefit from them.

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Whenever antivirus software is mentioned, someone always seems to chime up and say they don’t need an antivirus because they’re careful. This isn’t true. No matter how smart think you are, you can still benefit from an antivirus on Windows.

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Whether you’re a new Linux user or you’ve been using Linux for a while, we’ll help you get started with the terminal. The terminal isn’t something you should be scared of – it’s a powerful tool with lots of uses.

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The new Copyright Alert System, also known as the “Six Strikes” system, marks the beginning of ISPs in the USA attempting to police their subscribers’ Internet usage. The “punishments” include increasingly harsh alerts, bandwidth throttling, and restricting browsing activity.

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Much of the data on your Android phone or tablet is backed up by Google (or the individual apps you use) automatically. Your photos can also be backed up automatically, but aren’t by default. However, some data is never backed up automatically.

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Google Chrome allows other programs on your computer to install system-wide Chrome extensions. Chrome even allows these extensions to prevent you from disabling or removing them via Chrome’s Extensions page.

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Firefox provides several ways for other programs on your computer to install Firefox extensions, sometimes without your explicit consent. While you can disable these extensions, you often can’t uninstall them via Firefox’s Add-ons screen.

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The tech press is constantly writing about new and dangerous “zero-day” exploits. But what exactly is a zero-day exploit, what makes it so dangerous, and – most importantly – how can you protect yourself?

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The Caps Lock key is outdated and mostly useless. Most people will only ever trigger it accidentally. Google replaced the Caps Lock key with a Search key on its Chromebooks, and you can do the same thing on Windows.

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Entering your online-banking or email passwords on an untrusted computer – particularly one in a public place – is risky. If you had a USB drive with Linux installed on it, you could log into your accounts without fear.

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Browser plug-ins like Flash and Java add additional features web pages can use. However, they can also slow things down when in use or add extra security holes, particularly in the case of Java.

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Browsers are packed with settings and options, many of which are hidden. Each browser has a place where you can change advanced settings that aren’t available in its standard options window.

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Web browsers store your personal data – bookmarks, history, settings, extensions, and more – in a profile. You can create separate profiles to split things up – for example, you could have one profile for work and one for play.

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Android may not have Siri, but it does have Voice Actions. Voice Actions are a powerful way to perform actions – searching, getting directions, making notes, setting alarms, and more – with just your voice.

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The Galaxy S III is the highest-selling Android phone, but much of the geeky buzz is around the Nexus 4 – and the Galaxy Nexus before it. Nexus devices are special because they don’t have some of Android’s biggest problems.

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With browser sync enabled, you can open some tabs on your computer and access them on-the-go from your smartphone. If you have multiple computers, you can easily keep your bookmarks and settings in sync between them.

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You will usually see the Linux operating system referred to as “Linux” online. However, the term “GNU/Linux” is occasionally used instead. Linux and GNU/Linux refer to the same operating system and software, and there’s a controversy over which term is more appropriate.

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Android has a built-in battery stats tool that shows you what is using your battery. Unfortunately, this tool doesn’t provide all the information you need to identify the root causes of poor battery life.

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Many websites offer specific interfaces for smartphones, iPads, and other mobile devices. Whether you need to test mobile websites or you’re just curious to see what they look like, you can access them in your desktop browser.

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes unlocking cell phones, ripping DVDs, removing eBook DRM, and jailbreaking tablets illegal in the USA. However, there’s another surprise: simply watching a DVD on Linux is also illegal.

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Few people disable JavaScript, but many who do are very vocal about it. JavaScript makes the type of web pages we have today possible. While you could disable JavaScript, it would be a lot of annoyance for little benefit.

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There is more to an Internet connection’s speed than just its bandwidth. This is especially true with satellite Internet connections, which can offer speeds of up to 15 Mbps – but will still feel slow.

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