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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+.

Whether we’re comparing Firefox to Chrome or testing the real-world speed benefits of a 64-bit browser, I see a lot of comments saying one browser feels faster. When people compare web browsers, they don’t usually perform rigorous benchmarks.

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The Linux terminal has rich multitasking capabilities. You can switch between the virtual consoles already running on your system, use Bash job control to run processes in the background, and take advantage of GNU screen, a terminal “window manager.”

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Classic Shell is an open-source utility that brings classic Windows features to newer versions of Windows. It offers the most classic Start menu for Windows 8 yet, and it lets you avoid the ribbon with a Windows Explorer toolbar.

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Send to Kindle for PC makes it easy to put content on your Kindle, whether it’s a free ebook or a Word document. You can also email files to @Kindle.com or transfer them over USB, the old-fashioned way.

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Ubuntu includes Déjà Dup, an integrated backup tool, but some people prefer Back In Time instead. Back In Time has several advantages over Déjà Dup, including a less-opaque backup format, integrated backup file browser, and more configurability.

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We’ve covered a lot of tips, tricks, and tweaks for Windows 8, but there are still a few more. From bypassing the lock screen to instantly taking and saving screenshots, here are a few more hidden options and keyboard shortcuts.

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There’s more to using the Linux terminal than just typing commands into it. Learn these basic tricks and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the Bash shell, used by default on most Linux distributions.

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This article is for Windows users – 64-bit Linux distributions include 64-bit browsers, so you don’t have to do anything special on Linux.

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Android’s default browser, named “Internet,” is a very simple browser that’s tied to your Android OS version. Other, third-party browsers offer more powerful interfaces, greater configurability, and more frequent updates.

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If you long for the days of GNOME 2 and just can’t get along with Unity or GNOME 3, MATE is here to save you. It’s an actively developed fork of GNOME 2, and it’s easily installable on Ubuntu.

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APTonCD is an easy way to back up your installed packages to a disc or ISO image. You can quickly restore the packages on another Ubuntu system without downloading anything.

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There are several different ways to create custom Ubuntu live CDs. We’ve covered using the Reconstructor web app in the past, but some commenters recommended the Ubuntu Customization Kit instead. It’s an open-source utility found in Ubuntu’s software repositories.

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Window Maker is a Linux desktop environment designed to emulate NeXTSTEP, which eventually evolved into Mac OS X. With its focus on emulating NeXTSTEP, it eschews the task bars and application menu buttons found in many other lightweight desktop environments.

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Windows includes Shutdown.exe, a simple utility for remotely shutting down or restarting Windows computers on your local network. To use Shutdown.exe, you must first configure the PCs you want to shut down or restart remotely.

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You can even create pools of storage larger than the amount of physical storage space you have available. When the physical storage fills up, you can plug in another drive and take advantage of it with no additional configuration required. Storage Spaces is similar to RAID or LVM on Linux.

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ImageMagick is a suite of command-line utilities for modifying and working with images. ImageMagick can quickly perform operations on an image from a terminal, perform batch processing of many images, or be integrated into a bash script.

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Whether you’re an inexperienced terminal user or a grizzled veteran, you won’t always know the right thing to type into the Linux terminal. There are quite a few tools built into the terminal to help you along.

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Firefox 11 added two new web developer tools to Firefox’s already impressive arsenal. The Tilt feature visualizes website structures in 3D, while the Style Editor can edit CSS stylesheets on the fly.

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Whether you want to download files, diagnose network problems, manage your network interfaces, or view network statistics, there’s a terminal command for that. This collection contains the tried and true tools and a few newer commands.

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Déjà Dup is a simple — yet powerful — backup tool included with Ubuntu. It offers the power of rsync with incremental backups, encryption, scheduling, and support for remote services.

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The Task Manager in Windows 8 has been completely overhauled. It’s easier-to-use, slicker, and more feature-packed than ever. Windows 8 may be all about Metro, but the Task Manager and Windows Explorer are better than ever.

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Mozilla Firefox is an open-source web browser, so anyone can take its source code and modify it. Various projects have taken Firefox and released their own versions, either to optimize it, add new features, or align it with their philosophy.

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Avidemux is an easy-to-use, open-source video editor for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It’s ideal for basic video-editing tasks. Unlike more advanced programs, it doesn’t have a lot of complex features that get in the way.

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Google Chrome is based on the open-source Chromium browser project. Anyone can take Chromium’s source code modify it to build their own browser. These browsers all build on the core browser and offer unique twists on Chrome.

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If you’re a Linux user, there’s a good chance you can’t live without virtual desktops. They’re a great way to organize your workspace. Dexpot brings virtual desktops to Windows, complete with 3D effects and extensive customizability.

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