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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+.

One of the first messages you’ll see after logging into Windows 8 for the first time (aside from a message about activating Windows) is a request to “Trust this PC.” But why does Microsoft want you to “trust” your PC?

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It’s easy to think of a Kindle as just an eBook reader, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an MP3 player, portable web browser (with free Wikipedia access over 3G), gaming device, and image viewer.

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Do you store sensitive files on Dropbox or another cloud storage service? Encrypt them with EncFS for Linux, an encrypting file system that transparently encrypts and decrypts each individual file with your encryption key. There’s also an experimental Windows build.

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Want to secure your SSH server with easy-to-use two-factor authentication? Google provides the necessary software to integrate Google Authenticator’s time-based one-time password (TOTP) system with your SSH server. You’ll have to enter the code from your phone when you connect.

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Consider this a public service announcement: Scammers can forge email addresses. Your email program may say a message is from a certain email address, but it may be from another address entirely.

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Google Now, new in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is Google’s attempt to be smarter. It includes cards that automatically provide you with information and voice search integrated with Google’s knowledge graph to provide direct answers to your questions.

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Android is very customizable – many of its features are just defaults and can be swapped out for third-party alternatives without any rooting required. Some of these things are possible on a jailbroken iOS device, while some remain impossible.

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LastPass offers a lot of security options for locking down your account and protecting your valuable data. We’re fans of LastPass here at How-To Geek – it’s a great service that a lot of you already use.

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Want to put your Linux PC into sleep or hibernate mode and have it automatically wake at a specific time? You can easily do this with the rtcwake command, included by default with most Linux systems.

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Each version of Android since Gingerbread (Android 2.3) has included an Easter egg, which is always accessed in the same way. The Easter eggs in the latest versions are becoming more complex, with animations and interactivity.

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Android 4.0 and newer include an easy-to-use, built-in screenshot feature. You can take a screenshot and send it off your smartphone or tablet in just a few seconds. This feature was introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).

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There’s no built-in way to take screenshots if your device is using a 2.x version of Android, such as Gingerbread or Froyo. However, you can take screenshots by connecting your Android phone to your computer and using Google’s Android SDK.

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The Ubuntu App Showdown resulted in the development of 133 new applications for Ubuntu. Soon, you’ll be able to install these apps from the Ubuntu Software Center and vote on your favorites – the voting decides which apps win.

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Want to play videos from your computer on your Android, without the hassle of copying them to your device’s internal storage? Share a folder over the network with Windows. You can copy files back and forth over Wi-Fi, too.

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Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the slickest, fastest, most responsive release of Android yet. Here’s a list of the great features you have to look forward to when you get your hands on Android 4.1.

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Try to install an extension from outside the Chrome Web Store and Chrome will tell you that extensions “can only be added from the Chrome Web Store.” However, this message is incorrect – you can still install extensions from elsewhere.

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For years, Android enthusiasts have been rooting their devices to do things that Android doesn’t allow by default. Google has added many features that once required root to Android, eliminating many of the reasons for rooting.

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Use the Nexus Root Toolkit to quickly root your Nexus devices, whether you’ve got a Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus, or even a Nexus S. Rooting allows you to use powerful apps that don’t work in Android’s default sandbox.

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Flash may not be important in the future – but a lot of websites want it today. If you’re not ready to give up Flash just yet, you can install Flash on your Nexus 7, even if Adobe doesn’t approve.

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VLC is full of powerful features, including the ability to record your desktop. VLC is great for quick captures, although it doesn’t necessarily have the more advanced features of a dedicated screencasting application.

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Unlike other tablets, the Nexus 7’s home screen is locked in portrait mode by default. If you’re using an app in landscape mode and hit the home button, you’ll have to flip your tablet around to read the home screen.

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If you’re a Linux user, you may have seen zombie processes shambling around your processes list. You can’t kill a zombie process because it’s already dead – like an actual zombie.

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Have you ever noticed that your browser sometimes displays a website’s organization name on an encrypted website? This is a sign that the website has an extended validation certificate, indicating that the website’s identity has been verified.

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Windows 8 allows third-party browser to replace Internet Explorer in the Metro environment — except on Windows RT. You can use Google Chrome in Metro today, and Firefox for Metro is on the way.

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IPv4 addresses on the public Internet are running low. Microsoft paid $7.5 million for Nortel’s 666,624 IP addresses when Nortel went bankrupt in 2011 – that’s over $8 an IP address. IPv4 has technical problems, and IPv6 is the solution.

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