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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+.

Wireless charging is one of many new features appearing in the latest smartphones, from Google’s Nexus 4 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 to Nokia’s Lumia 920. There are even cases that add wireless charging capabilities to Apple’s iPhone 5.

about 2 years ago - by  |  18 Replies

QR codes are plastered on advertisements, billboards, business windows, and products. They appear to be very popular among marketers, although it’s rare to see anyone actually scanning one.

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ActiveX controls are Internet Explorer’s version of plug-ins. For example, Internet Explorer’s Flash player is an ActiveX control. Unfortunately, ActiveX controls have been a significant source of security problems.

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Microsoft recently launched Office 2013 as well as Office 365, a subscription service. Office 365 will cost you $9.99 per month or $99 a year, while Office 2013 will cost you $219.99 for the Home and Business edition, which can only be used on one PC at a time.

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Chromebooks aren’t “just a browser” — they’re Linux laptops. You can easily install a full Linux desktop alongside Chrome OS and instantly switch between the two with a hotkey — no rebooting necessary.

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The Great Firewall of China, officially known the Golden Shield project, employs a variety of tricks to censor China’s Internet and block access to various foreign websites. We’ll be looking at some of the technical tricks the firewall uses to censor China’s Internet.

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When people think of innovative tech companies, they generally don’t think of Microsoft. Microsoft has actually had a history of innovative products and ideas, but they’ve failed to execute them over and over again.

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DNS cache poisoning, also known as DNS spoofing, is a type of attack that exploits vulnerabilities in the domain name system (DNS) to divert Internet traffic away from legitimate servers and towards fake ones.

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You can’t normally “undo” an email sent by mistake. Some email clients have undo-like features, such as the “Recall” feature in Microsoft Outlook, but these won’t work most of the time.

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Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a security technology that will help patch up one of the Internet’s weak points. We’re lucky SOPA didn’t pass, because SOPA would have made DNSSEC illegal.

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Chromebooks are becoming more popular, with Samsung’s $249 Chromebook garnering solid reviews and decent sales. But a Chromebook still seems a bit scary — how do you live with just a Chrome browser? Is that really enough for a laptop?

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Apple bans games that deal 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.

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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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