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+.

The era of the $200 Windows laptop is back, and the HP Stream is just the first of many. These products are definitely better than the much-maligned netbook, but Chromebooks beat them in many ways.

about 2 years ago - by  |  22 Replies

Apple tries to stop it, but there are ways to change your default apps on iOS. You can use your favorite browser, email client, and mapping app instead of Apple’s own apps.

about 2 years ago - by  |  2 Replies

Apple’s MacBook Air, along with many other Macs, no longer includes an optical drive. But you can still use CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and other optical discs on your Mac.

about 2 years ago - by  |  3 Replies

Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux all allow you to schedule boot-ups, shut-downs, and wake-ups. You can have your computer automatically power up in the morning and automatically shut down at night, if you’d like.

about 2 years ago - by  |  2 Replies

For those of us who didn’t grow up with smartphones, typing on a touch keyboard can feel awfully slow. But there are tricks you can use to speed up typing on a touch keyboard, just like a physical one.

about 2 years ago - by  |  11 Replies

On our Comcast Xfinity router, WPA2-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES), and WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES) are all different options. Choose the wrong option and you’ll have a slower, less-secure network.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Chromebooks allow you to set a custom DNS server, but Google doesn’t make the option easy to find. There are many reasons to change your DNS server, after all.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Despite what you may have heard, closing apps on your iPhone or iPad won’t speed it up. But iOS does allow apps to run in the background sometimes, and you can manage that in a different way.

about 2 years ago - by  |  7 Replies

MAC address filtering allows you to define a list of devices and only allow those devices on your Wi-Fi network. That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, this protection is tedious to set up and easy to breach.

about 2 years ago - by  |  12 Replies

By now, most people know that an open Wi-Fi network allows people to eavesdrop on your traffic. Standard WPA2-PSK encryption is supposed to prevent this from happening — but it’s not as foolproof as you might think.

about 2 years ago - by  |  12 Replies

Amazon Instant Video uses the Flash plug-in, so you might imagine that it would “just work” with Flash on Linux. You’d be wrong, but you can get Amazon Instant Video to work with minimal tweaking.

about 2 years ago - by  |  4 Replies

Every camera — whether it’s a dedicated digital camera or the Camera app on Android or iPhone — places the photos you take in a DCIM folder. DCIM stands for “Digital Camera Images.”

about 2 years ago - by  |  5 Replies

A “text expander” autocorrects short combination of characters you type to longer phrases. They can be used anywhere in any operating system. For example, you could type “bbl” and have this always automatically expand to “I’ll be back later.”

about 2 years ago - by  |  2 Replies

Do you know who’s connected to your router’s Wi-Fi network? Take a look at the list devices connected to your Wi-Fi network from your router or computer to find out.

about 2 years ago - by  |  19 Replies

With iOS 8, your iPhone or iPad can now have a local file system like the one Android users have. Store files for use offline, access them in any updated app, and save files directly to the file system from other apps.

about 2 years ago - by  |  2 Replies

Chromebooks are supposed to have amazing, all-day battery life — but not all of them do. Follow these tips to squeeze more battery life out of your Chromebook.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Hollywood doesn’t understand technology and “hacking.” That’s what we thought, anyway. But many of the ridiculous things we’ve seen in movies turned out to be completely true.

about 2 years ago - by  |  7 Replies

MacBooks are known for their excellent battery life, but we always want more. This is especially important if you have an older MacBook with a more power-hungry CPU and mechanical hard drive, but everyone can benefit from these tips.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Firefox themes — also known as “personas” — can change the way your browser looks, making it more personal. If you like theming the applications you use, there’s no better application to theme than your browser.

about 2 years ago - by  |  4 Replies

TrueCrypt’s dramatic shutdown in May, 2014 left everyone shocked. TrueCrypt was the go-to recommendation for full-disk encryption software, and the developers suddenly said the code was “not secure” and halted development.

about 2 years ago - by  |  11 Replies

Zip files can be password-protected, but the standard Zip encryption scheme is extremely weak. If your operating system has a built-in way to encrypt zip files, you probably shouldn’t use it.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Thanks to bad design decisions, AutoRun was once a huge security problem on Windows. AutoRun helpfully allowed malicious software to launch as soon as you inserted discs and USB drives into your computer.

about 2 years ago - by  |  3 Replies

You don’t need third-party software to access FTP servers, WebDAV sites, and other remote files shares. Popular desktop operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux can all do this out-of-the-box.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Apple introduced iCloud Drive in iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite. It’s designed to be a more easily understandable cloud storage location, working more like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

about 2 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Chromium is the open-source project that forms the basis for Google Chrome. Because it’s completely open source, Chromium is available in many Linux distributions’ software repositories for easier installation.

about 2 years ago - by  |  9 Replies