Whether you have a laptop with an integrated camera or a webcam that plug in via USB, you can use the applications included modern operating systems to easily take photos and record videos. With Windows 10, this is now built into Windows and no longer requires third-party applications.
Some utilities have a “secure delete” option that promises to securely erase a file from your hard drive, removing all traces of it. Older versions of Mac OS X have a “Secure Empty Trash” option that tries to do something similar. Apple removed this feature recently because it just doesn’t work reliably on modern drives.
Wi-Fi calling allows your smartphone to place and receive phone calls, as well as send and receive SMS messages over Wi-Fi instead of the cellular network. Your phone will seamlessly hand off to the cellular network when you move out of Wi-FI range.
Google doesn’t provide an easy way to see the storage, RAM, CPU, and other specifications of your Chromebook. But it’s possible to dig all this information up, just as you could on a traditional computer operating system.
Valve’s Steam Controller isn’t just designed for new games. Unlike other controllers, it’s designed to be backwards-compatible with as many games as possible — even ones designed for keyboard and mouse controls. To make the controller work with a game, you may need to tweak is controller profile.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the first iPhones to feature “3D touch“. 3D Touch allows the iPhone to detect how hard you’re pressing, and you can press harder on the screen in some places to do different things.
Smartphones still don’t have Internet connections everywhere — and, even if they did, there are times you’ll want to save a copy of a web page. Modern iPhones and Android phones allow you to save copies of web pages so you can refer to them later.
Many Internet service providers offer combined modem/router units, but a modem isn’t the same thing as a router. Understanding exactly what a modem is is important so you can buy your own modem and stop paying $8-$15 a month to rent one from your Internet service provider.
Apple’s iMovie application comes free with new iPhones and iPads. It allows you to make home videos, combining multiple clips, inserting photos, adding transitions, applying a soundtrack, and using other effects.
iPhones and iPads offer a built-in way to cut clips out of videos and trim them without installing any third-party apps. This is useful when you want to upload or share a video — but not the entire video.
Your router’s web-based setup page allows you to change various settings — like your Wi-Fi network’s name and password — and view information. You’ll need your router’s IP address to access it.
Steam Machines with Valve’s Steam OS automatically boot to Steam’s Big Picture Mode, allowing you to use a controller to launch games and do everything else. If you have a Windows gaming PC plugged into your TV, you can also make it boot directly to Big Picture Mode.
Google’s Chromecast works well for streaming videos from YouTube, Netflix, and other online services. But there isn’t an obvious way to stream local video files from your computer to your TV via the Chromecast.
Many cellular carriers offer “microcell” devices — T-Mobile is calling them “CellSpot” devices, but they’re the same thing. These function as small cellular towers, but they use your home Internet connection and anyone can connect to them.
There’s a good chance your smart TV is spying on you. Smart TVs often analyze the videos you’re watching and report back — whether you’re watching live TV, streaming videos on a service like Netflix, or playing local video files. Worse yet, this can be a security problem.
Microsoft’s Edge browser receives media-casting support as part of Windows 10’s first big update. Edge can now cast media to MIracast and DLNA-enabled devices. This isn’t compatible with Google’s Chromecast, but it can be used for similar purposes.
Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet only comes with 8 GB of storage, but it also supports MicroSD cards. A MicroSD card is an inexpensive way to add additional storage to your tablet and use it for music, videos, apps, and other types of content.
Modern versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox prevent you from installing unapproved add-ons. This is a good thing, and helps block malware from your browser. But you may sometimes need to install an unapproved add-on from a CRX or XPI file.
Your Wi-Fi router comes with a default network name and password, and both are often printed on the router itself. But you can change the name and password to anything you want in just a few clicks.
The first big update to Windows 10, which should be arriving today via Windows Update, fixes a lot of problems with Windows 10. Microsoft is streamlining activation, restoring colored window title bars, integrating Skype, and improving the Edge browser. But they’ve also added advertisements to the Start menu.
Windows 10’s Start menu — or Start screen, in tablet mode — allows you to “pin” more than just apps. You can pin folders, websites, settings shortcuts, email folder, notes, and contacts.
Wireless charging is overrated — at least in its current form. The dream of wireless power sounds great, but current wireless charging technologies are more “plugless” than “wireless.” They’re also less convenient, slower, and less-efficient than just plugging your phone in.
Want to update your computer’s hardware drivers? Don’t use driver-update utilities. Avoid bad freeware-download sites, too. Get your driver updates from Windows Update or your device manufacturer’s website.
Google’s new YouTube Gaming and Google Play Games apps allow you to record your Android device’s screen and create screencasts. They’re designed for recording mobile games while you play them, but you can use them to record any app.
Amazon’s Fire tablets run Amazon’s own “Fire OS” operating system. Fire OS is based on Google’s Android, but it doesn’t have any of Google’s apps or services. Here’s what that means, and how exactly they’re different.