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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+.

Windows remembers Wi-Fi passwords to save you time, but you can save more time by exporting the saved passwords and transfering them to other computers. LastPass, WirelessKeyView, and Windows itself can back up your wireless passwords.

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The Trinity Desktop Environment is KDE 3, actively developed and updated. It’s ideal for KDE fans that never took to KDE 4 or anyone interested in what KDE was like.

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You may have heard of Wolfram Alpha, which is a “computational knowledge engine.” That makes it sound a bit scary, but it’s a great tool once you can wrap your head around it.

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Google may still be the top search engine, but Bing is starting to stand on its own. Bing has many of the same search operators offered by Google, but it has a few tricks you won’t find elsewhere.

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Apple users have iTunes to synchronize their media libraries back and forth, but what do Android users have? Google doesn’t provide any official method of synchronization. Enter Synx, a simple, open-source tool for synchronizing your media files and your Android.

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The fdisk command is a text-based utility for viewing and managing hard disk partitions on Linux. It’s one of the most powerful tools you can use to manage partitions, but it’s confusing to new users.

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Google is a powerful tool, but you’re missing out on a lot of that power if you just type words into it. Master Google and find the best results faster with these search tricks.

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The Swype keyboard for Android replaces pecking at letters with gliding your fingers over them. Swype automatically interprets your gesture and figures out the word you meant to type.

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Viewing the permissions of each installed Android app requires digging through the Manage Applications screen and examining each app one by one — or does it? aSpotCat takes an inventory of the apps on your system and the permissions they require.

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With TeamViewer for Android or iOS, remote desktop connections to Windows, Mac or Linux are a snap. It’s free for non-commercial use and easy to set up — no fussing with firewall rules, ports or IP addresses required.

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The hardest part of compiling software on Linux is locating its dependencies and installing them. Ubuntu has apt commands that automatically detect, locate and install dependencies, doing the hard work for you.

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Google accounts are a treasure trove of personal data for identity thieves. We’ve already covered setting up two-step authentication to secure your Google account, but there are a few more tricks you may not know about.

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Google’s Android Market isn’t the only place you can get Android apps. Whether you’re looking for free paid apps, social recommendations or an app store to replace a missing Android Market, you have a lot of choice.

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Wireshark has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, from capturing remote traffic to creating firewall rules based on captured packets. Read on for some more advanced tips if you want to use Wireshark like a pro.

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Gmail isn’t just a typical webmail system — it’s a full-fledged email client that can consolidate all your email addresses in one place. Get all your emails in a single Gmail inbox and send emails from any address.

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If you’ve used Google lately, you’ve probably seen Google+ taking over Google’s search results. You don’t have to put up with it — you can disable the integration, show better social-networking pages or hide those pesky Google+ notifications.

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AirDroid for Android replaces your USB cable with your web browser. Transfer files back and forth, send text messages, play music, view your photos and manage applications — all without installing anything on your computer.

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Firefox’s Web Developer menu contains tools for inspecting pages, executing arbitrary JavaScript code, and viewing HTTP requests and other messages. Firefox 10 added an all-new Inspector tool and updated Scratchpad.

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Ubuntu and other Linux distributions have extensive package repositories to save you the trouble of compiling anything yourself. Still, sometimes you’ll find an obscure application or a new version of a program that you’ll have to compile from source.

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Firefox Sync allows you to access your open tabs, bookmarks, history, passwords and preferences everywhere, whether you’re using a laptop, desktop or smartphone. Firefox Sync also works as a backup for your browser data.

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Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android is the complete package. Not only will it show you the channels used by nearby wireless networks on a slick graph, it’ll recommend the ideal channel to reduce interference on your wireless network.

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Linux is a great operating system, but its software catalog can be lacking. If there’s a Windows game or other app you just can’t do without, you can use Wine to run it right on your Ubuntu desktop.

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Opera contains hidden features that aren’t exposed in its user interface. They’re on internal pages, which you can access by typing Opera: into the address bar, followed by the name of the page.

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We’ve mentioned using two-factor authentication with a text or voice message in the past, but the Google Authenticator app can be more convenient. It displays a code that changes every thirty seconds. The code is generated on your device, so you can use the app even if your device is offline.

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New versions of Windows don’t fully support classic DOS games and other old applications — this is where DOSBox comes in. It provides a full DOS environment that runs ancient DOS apps on modern operating systems.

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