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 Oculus Rift offers a polished virtual reality experience, even though it doesn’t have the room-scale virtual reality or touch controllers like the HTC Vive–yet. Here’s how to set up your Oculus Rift, and what you’ll need to know ahead of time.

about 6 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Microsoft removed Windows Media Center from Windows 10, and there’s no official way to get it back. While there are great alternatives like Kodi, which can play and record live TV, the community has made Windows Media Center functional on Windows 10.

about 6 months ago - by  |  9 Replies

Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass app allows you to launch games, browse TV listings, and control apps on your Xbox One. You can even use it to stream live TV from your Xbox One to your phone. It’s available for Android phones, iPhones, Windows 10 and 8, and even Windows phones.

about 6 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Android allows apps you to subscribe to apps and services, including Google’s own Google Play Music, through Google Play. If you subscribe to an app, Google will automatically bill your saved payment method until you cancel the subscription.

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When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, the Kinect was an “essential” part of the console. In fact, the Xbox One wouldn’t even function unless the Kinect was plugged in. That’s changed, however–today, the most popular Xbox One bundles don’t even include a Kinect.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

The Bash shell arriving with Windows 10’s Anniversary Update is deceptive. It’s not just Bash–it’s a compatibility layer for running Linux software on Windows. You can use it to run Zsh or whatever other shell you prefer.

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If you built your own PC and bought speedy RAM, there’s a good chance that RAM isn’t actually running at its advertised timings. RAM will always run at slower speeds unless you manually tune its timings–or enable Intel’s XMP.

about 6 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Google’s Chrome web browser is now more widely used than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge combined. If you haven’t switched to Chrome yet, here’s why you might want to–and how to quickly switch over.

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Windows 10 won’t hassle you to install an antivirus like Windows 7 did. Since Windows 8, Windows now includes a built-in antivirus named Windows Defender. But is it really the best for protecting your PC–or even just good enough?

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By switching to Insider Preview builds of Windows 10, you’ll get the latest changes and features before other Windows users. However, you’ll also get new bugs. Here’s what running an Insider Preview is actually like.

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The Oculus Rift and Valve’s HTC Vive require some powerful PC gaming hardware. Not sure if your PC can handle it? Both Oculus and Valve provide tools that will quickly check if your PC is up to snuff.

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After upgrading to Windows 10, you have 30 days–about a month–to roll back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if you so desire. After that, Windows takes the option away from you. But there’s a way to extend this time limit at the cost of some disk space.

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Windows 7 and above are set to automatically enable TRIM on solid-state drives. You shouldn’t need to worry about enabling TRIM yourself. But, if you want to double-check that Windows has enabled TRIM, you can.

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Set up your Xbox One’s TV integration and you can do more than just watch TV on your Xbox: you can also stream that live TV from your Xbox to a Windows 10 PC, Windows phone, iPhone, iPad, or Android device over your home network.

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Animated GIFs can be a fun way to spice up reactions on social media, or get a point across in an article–but they can also be annoying, and take forever to load if you have a slow connection. If you’d rather not see them, here’s how to stop them from automatically animating.

about 6 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Microsoft has downplayed the Xbox One’s TV features since its launch, but the Xbox One still offers useful TV integration. It’s even been enhanced: You no longer need a cable or satellite subscription to watch TV. You can watch TV for free with an antenna.

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On a Mac, you can take screenshots with a few quick keyboard shortcuts. But Mac OS X also includes more powerful screenshot tools, too. Here are some of the many ways you can get a screenshot on OS X.

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Your Xbox One’s Kinect should “just work” after you set it up, but occasionally you may experience problems with voice or people recognition. You can recalibrate and reset your Kinect to fix these and other problems.

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Solid-state drives aren’t anywhere near as small and fragile as they used to be. You don’t need to worry about wear, and you don’t need to go out of your way to “optimize” them. Windows 7, 8, and 10 automatically do the work for you.

about 6 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has voice commands, just like the Xbox One. They’re just not as heavily advertised. PS4 voice commands work with a standard headset, so you don’t need any special hardware–unlike the Xbox One, which requires a Kinect for voice control.

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When you open a document created in an older version of Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in a modern version of Office, you may see “Compatibility Mode” appear after the name of the document in the titlebar. This changes the way the document appears and prevents you from using some modern features.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

In this day and age, there’s no reason to shut down your computer, then sit through the boot-up process when you want to use it. Save yourself time by putting your computer to sleep or hibernating it instead.

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Changing the default application for most files in OS X is easy. OS X also allows you to choose your default web browser and email client, but these options are hidden in a place you might not expect.

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If you have a Kinect, you can use a variety of voice commands with your Xbox One that turn it on, navigate the interface, skype your friends, and even record your gameplay.

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Tools like FRAPS and NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay are great for monitoring your game performance on Windows, but they don’t work with Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games. Thankfully, a few tools will let you monitor your framerate and benchmark games made for Windows 10’s new application platform.

about 7 months ago - by  |  2 Replies