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The 20 Best How-To Geek Explainer Topics for 2010

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It’s near the end of 2010, and we’ve put together a list of the 20 best “Explainer” articles of the year—where we answer a question and teach you a little more about the topic. Enjoy!

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Why Do So Many Geeks Hate Internet Explorer?

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It’s common knowledge that almost every single geek hates Internet Explorer with a passion, but have you ever wondered why? Let’s take a fair look at the history and where it all began… for posterity, if nothing else.

HTG Explains: Why Do So Many Geeks Hate Internet Explorer?


Debunking Myths: Is Hiding Your Wireless SSID Really More Secure?

Seems like every guide to securing your wireless network tells you to keep your SSID from broadcasting to make your network more secure, but is that really worthwhile? Let’s take a look at one of the silliest myths out there.

Debunking Myths: Is Hiding Your Wireless SSID Really More Secure?


What is Cloud Computing and What Does This Stupid Buzzword Mean?

The other day a reader wrote in asking if cloud computing could help save his hard drive space, which made me realize that it’s time to talk about exactly what this moronic buzzword really means.

What is Cloud Computing and What Does This Stupid Buzzword Mean?


What’s Wrong With Writing Down Your Password?

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Recently a reader asked me why she wasn’t supposed to write down her passwords—which is a very good question. Ignoring all the geeky password manager talk, why can’t a home user write down passwords? Let’s examine this topic more closely.

Ask How-To Geek: What’s Wrong With Writing Down Your Password?


Why Do Application Installs Make You Reboot and Close Other Apps?

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It’s happened to everybody at some point—you go to install a new application, and Windows tells you to reboot first. Or reboot after. Or it asks you to close out of every other application first. Why does it do that?

Why Do Application Installs Make You Reboot and Close Other Apps?


What’s the Difference Between JPG, PNG, and GIF?

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As we keep building on old image technology, types of file formats keep piling up, each with their own nuances and uses. JPG, PNG, and GIF have become the most common, but what sets them apart from each other?

What’s the Difference Between JPG, PNG, and GIF?


Is Your Desktop Printer More Expensive Than Printing Services?

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While many users see desktop printers as the best way to print photos, compared to cheap printing services, they may be more expensive. In this simple How-To, learn how to compare the cost per print to commercial options.

Is Your Desktop Printer More Expensive Than Printing Services?


LCD? LED? Plasma? The How-To Geek Guide to HDTV Technology

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With image technology progressing faster than ever, High-Def has become the standard, giving TV buyers more options at cheaper prices. But what’s different in all these confusing TVs, and what should you know before buying one?

LCD? LED? Plasma? The How-To Geek Guide to HDTV Technology


Which Linux File System Should You Choose?

File systems are one of the layers beneath your operating system that you don’t think about—unless you’re faced with the plethora of options in Linux. Here’s how to make an educated decision on which file system to use.

HTG Explains: Which Linux File System Should You Choose?


Why Does Photo Paper Improve Print Quality?

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So you’ve shelled out the money for a fancy inkjet photo printer, only you’re not impressed with the images you’re getting out of your standard office paper. Have you ever wondered why that photo paper works so much better?

HTG Explains: Why Does Photo Paper Improve Print Quality?


What is the Best Office App for my iPhone or iPod Touch?

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Want to see what all of the major Office apps for iPhone and iPod Touch offer without wasting money purchasing them all?  Here’s our definitive guide to the best iOS Office apps, so you can learn before you buy.

What is the Best Office App for my iPhone or iPod Touch?


What’s the Difference Between Desktop and Professional Printers?

The device you use to print your mapquest directions has more going on inside it that you’d give it credit for—in fact, it’s practically a miracle. What goes on inside one, and what’s different about professional printers?

What’s the Difference Between Desktop and Professional Printers?


What is the Linux Kernel and What Does It Do?

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With over 13 million lines of code, the Linux kernel is one of the largest open source projects in the world, but what is a kernel and what is it used for?

What is the Linux Kernel and What Does It Do?


What’s the Difference Between Pixels and Vectors?

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As the basis of nearly every image format worth using, Pixels and Vectors are the broad categories of modern 2D image files. But what are they exactly, and how are they different?

What’s the Difference Between Pixels and Vectors?


What’s the Difference Between HDMI and DVI? Which is Better?

Are you confused by the barrage of video cables available today?  Let’s take a look at the most important video cables today, HDMI and DVI, and see what’s the differences between the two.

What’s the Difference Between HDMI and DVI? Which is Better?


How Do You Make Upside Down Text?

Have you ever seen somebody use upside down text on the web? Ever wonder how to do it? Let’s take a quick look at how the characters are actually put together, and show you an easy generator that will do it for you.

Ask How-To Geek: How Do You Make Upside Down Text?


How to Understand Typography Like a Professional Designer

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Typography is so overwhelmingly ever-present we hardly notice it there anymore. As elemental as it is to our culture, it’s actually bizarre to think it has a history at all. This article will serve as a condensed education on the basics of typography, including typographic terms, proper usage of fonts, unusual characters, and history.

How to Understand Typography Like a Professional Designer


What Files Should You Backup On Your Windows PC?

Everybody always tells you to make sure that you are backing up your PC, but what does that really mean? And what files do you actually need to backup? Today we’ll walk you through the basics of backing up your PC, what you should back up, and why.

What Files Should You Backup On Your Windows PC?


The How-To Geek Guide to Computer Microphones

With Gmail adding the ability to make free calls within the US and Canada, now is a great time to invest in a quality computer microphone. We’ll take some of the guesswork out of that process, and give you some tips on setting up your microphone once you get it.

The How-To Geek Guide to Computer Microphones


How Can I Tell What is Listening on a TCP/IP Port in Windows?

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Whenever an application wants to make itself accessible over the network, it claims a TCP/IP port, which means that port can’t be used by anything else. So if you need to use an in-use port, how do you tell what application is holding it?

How Can I Tell What is Listening on a TCP/IP Port in Windows?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/27/10

Comments (12)

  1. Hatryst

    Just what I’ve been waiting for ;)
    Cool !!

  2. oldgoat1057

    As usual, great stuff from you folks. Thanks for the hard work!

  3. Roberto Roberts

    Unlike so many others, your site offers knowledge for people at all levels of experience, Even when I haven’t understood something, I’ve never felt “spoken down to.” Keep on keeping on. You are a beacon of light in an otherwise mostly dark internet.

  4. ed

    Totally agree with Mr Roberts.

  5. Mozzy

    Well done guys. I have been receiving your info-emails for more than a year now and can’t wait for the next one. Here’s to a great 2011 and keep it up!

  6. Mystraw

    Grt post guys.keep it up

  7. Dizzy

    Too Cool. Great Stuff!

    I just started receiving your mails, and I’m tickled to death with it.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  8. Bhasker Raj

    Very helpful, valuable and useful stuff for all.

    Thank How to Geek for this report.

    A. S. Bhasker Raj
    India

  9. jacques

    The first place I look for help is How To Geek!
    Thanks
    jacques

  10. joe desilva

    As an early computer user back in the late 50s, I’m continually impressed by the advances in technology (thumb drives storing what used to require refrigerator-sized disk drives)…but depressed by the increase in specialization. Thanks to Geeks, I can keep up with a few of the areas that have slipped by me in the past. Still, the pace of change is dizzying…at least for this old man.

  11. Bob1001

    I know everything there is to know about anything, but because I’m old, I keep forgetting and have to be reminded by excellent articles like these of How-to Geek. Daily if possible. Further, I passworded one of My Documents “Personal Files” (XP) in 2003, but just cannot remember how to remember the password. Please remind me how to open this passworded file – please! Please? Greetings, good folk.

  12. Jim

    Excellent, just read them all

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