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+.

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite brought a revamped Spotlight search interface. But it’s still limited. Flashlight smashes those limits, adding a plug-in system to Spotlight.

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The “Smart Lock” feature on Chrome OS allows you to pair your Chromebook with your Android phone, automatically unlocking it when the phone is nearby and unlocked.

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The web browser in Android 4.3 and earlier has many big security problems, and Google won’t be patching it anymore. If you use a device with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or earlier, you need to take action.

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Modern smartphones and cloud photo services want to automatically upload every single photo you take to the cloud. But you don’t always want to save every photo forever on those remote servers.

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Apple has been frantically removing Google from their operating systems. Siri and Spotlight search with Bing by default, and there are rumors they’ll make Yahoo! or Bing the default search engine in Safari next.

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Adobe Flash is under attack yet again, with yet another “0-day” — a new security hole being exploited before there’s even a patch available. Here’s how to protect yourself from future problems.

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If you haven’t upgraded to a new wireless router in a few years, you might want to seriously consider it. That old router may still be working, but newer ones will give you better Wi-Fi.

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Most cell phones sold in North America  — especially on contract — are “locked” to a particular cellular carrier. They can only be used on that carrier’s network, so you can’t switch to another carrier without “unlocking” it first.

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Crouton is the best way to run Linux alongside Chrome OS on your Chromebook. Now it’s even better — you can run that Linux desktop in a browser tab.

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For additional security, you can require a time-based authentication token as well as a password to log into your Linux PC. This solution uses Google Authenticator and other TOTP apps.

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AirDrop allows you to quickly and easily send links, photos, files, and more content between nearby iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Just open up the Share panel and tap a nearby device.

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There’s a dedicated community of browser users who consider a vertical tab bar, or tree-style tabs, to be an essential feature. If you use a large number of browser tabs, this can be a lifesaver.

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NAS stands for “Network-Attached Storage.” Basically, it’s a way to attach a hard drive to your network and make it accessible to all your devices for centralized file-sharing and backups.

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Linux newbies have probably heard a lot about Ubuntu, but it isn’t the only Linux distribution. In fact, Ubuntu’s standard Unity desktop is still controversial among long-time Linux users today.

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We’ve been banging on about the horrific and broken Windows software ecosystem for a long time now. Rather than installing applications from Download.com and every other freeware site, you should just switch to Linux if you want to download freeware safely.

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iPhones come with a cable that can connect your phone to your PC or Mac, but you don’t actually have to use it for that. You don’t even have to use the cable for charging if you buy into wireless charging (or just get a dock).

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We were supposed to be living in a wireless future, but we’re not quite there yet. Still, many things we do with cables don’t actually require cables anymore — you can go wire-free with just a few tweaks.

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At CES 2015, smart home products were everywhere. With Apple’s new “HomeKit” system and Google’s acquisition of Nest, smart home products are becoming more mainstream than ever.

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Windows, Mac OS X, and most Linux desktops have built-in tools for quickly renaming multiple files. Use a batch-rename tool rather than fixing them one by one.

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Mirroring your laptop or desktop PC’s display on your TV is actually pretty simple, assuming you know what you’re doing. There are several ways to do this, both wired and wirelessly.

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The big push for consumer 3D TVs is mostly over, and most manufacturers are pushing other technologies like 4K, quantum dot, and even questionable curved displays. But 3D TV could yet make a comeback — maybe.

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Well, it’s noon and your phone’s battery is already at 37 percent. There are ways to avert this disaster, adding more battery capacity to your favorite smartphone.

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Point-and-shoot cameras have gone the way of the dodo. Sure, expert photographers may turn to DSLR cameras, but most of us are just getting by with the camera on our smartphone.

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Apple’s Health app arrived in iOS 8, and it’s now on every up-to-date iPhone. This app appears simple at first glance, but it hides a lot of data and advanced functionality.

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To make things even more confusing, manufacturers often don’t call this feature “HDMI-CEC”. Like with Miracast, every manufacturer wants to call it their own branded name, even though it’s an interoperable standard.

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