FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

Google Cardboard is cool. It’s a way to try virtual reality with a cheap headset made of cardboard and your current Android phone or iPhone. But, compared to devices like the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard is just a parlor trick.

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For years, pundits and publicist alike were chanting that PC gaming had finally met its match. That after years on top of the gaming world as the technologically superior option, consoles had finally caught up to the aging platform, and asserted their dominance as the go-to option for anyone who took their top score seriously.

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U2F is an emerging standard for physical authentication tokens. Current U2F keys are all small USB devices. To log in, you won’t need to enter an authentication code provided from an app or SMS — just insert the USB security key and press a button. Here’s how they work.

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U2F is a new standard for universal two-factor authentication tokens. These tokens can use USB, NFC, or Bluetooth to provide two-factor authentication across a variety of services. It’s already supported in Chrome for Google, Dropbox, and GitHub accounts. Microsoft is working on implementing it in Edge.

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Yes, Android devices have serious security problems. There’s Android malware out there — mostly outside the Google Play Store. The biggest problem is that most Android devices don’t get security updates. Android antivirus apps aren’t a solution to these problems.

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Like cars and homes before them, mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives, something we all need to stay current on the days events or respond to emails while on the road. But what can you do to protect them in case your case can’t protect them from threats external or otherwise?

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If you’ve purchased an app from the iOS App Store or the Mac App Store and there’s a problem, you can contact Apple to get your money back. This isn’t automatic — you’ll have to provide a reason you want a refund and Apple will review your request.

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Google Play allows you to easily refund an app — for any reason — within the first two hours after purchasing it. After that, it gets a bit more difficult and situational — but there are still ways you can potentially get a refund.

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Siri is best known as Apple’s so-called digital personal assistant available on iOS devices like iPhone and iPad. Some might think Siri is only good for looking stuff up, but it can actually do a great deal more.

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A few years back, Intel noticed that less and less people were as interested in buying desktop and tower PCs as they were during the roaring 90’s. As sales continued to decline for the dinosaurs of modern computing, the company decided to mix the best of both worlds up in a blender to see what came out the other side, and their new line of NUC computers are the result of that experiment.

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Web pages can automatically play audio thanks to HTML5, even if you’ve set Flash and other browser plug-ins to click-to-play. Most modern web browsers include an audio indicator that will show you which tab is playing sound. Most modern browsers also let you mute individual tabs.

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Telephone scams are on the upswing, and they’re often enabled by caller ID spoofing. That name and number that appears when someone calls you can be faked, so you can’t place all your trust in it.

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The console wars. A test of will, strength, and perseverance almost as old as gaming itself. Over the past few decades companies from every corner of the technosphere have thrown their hat into the ring with one wacky system or another, with only a select few fighting through the fold to make their way to the top of the heap. These days, however, only three major manufacturers have survived to tell the tale: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.

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Spotlight search on Mac OS X shows results from the “Developer” category if you’ve ever installed Xcode on your Mac. If you still have Xcode installed, there’s an easy checkbox to disable this. But, if you’ve uninstalled Xcode, Spotlight just keeps showing Developer search results with no way to turn them off.

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Microsoft Edge doesn’t yet have browser extensions, but it can use bookmarklets. Bookmarklets work just fine in Edge, and they make up for the lack of browser extensions. You’ll just have to install them manually first.

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Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 10 all keep a list of apps you’ve purchased and downloaded from their stores—even if you no longer have those apps installed. This list will become cluttered over time, especially if you download and try out a lot of free apps. But you can clean this list up, at least on iOS and Android.

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Routers protect their web interfaces, where you can configure their networking, parental control, and port forwarding settings, with a username and password. These default passwords can be changed to protect the router’s settings.

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How much energy do your smartphone, laptop, and tablet chargers really use? Should you unplug them when you aren’t using them to save power and money? We measured exactly how much power a variety of common chargers use, and how much keeping them plugged in will cost your each year.

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow contains a highly experimental and hidden multi-window mode. Perhaps this will be stable in the next version of Android — it would definitely make Google’s Pixel C, Nexus 9, and Nexus 6 phones more useful. For now, you can enable it if you’re willing to do some tweaking.

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I got my Apple Watch gold plated… for Science! Can you really get a gold Apple Watch on the cheap instead of paying the crazy $17,000 that Apple is charging? Would it look terrible? Would it even still work? I had to find out.

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Mac OS X offers no “Uninstall a program” interface like the one available in Windows. You have to uninstall applications by dragging their icons around — but what about applications that don’t have shortcuts, built-in system apps, and other corner cases?

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Four months into its release, Windows 10 is doing alright, and despite some hiccups, we think it’s about time to upgrade. Here then are ten reasons you might consider making the leap, if you haven’t already.

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Android includes full access to a file system, complete with support for removable SD cards. But Android itself has never come with a built-in file manager, forcing manufacturers to create their own file manager apps and users to install third-party ones. With Android 6.0, Android now contains a hidden file manager.

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One of Android’s most powerful features is the ability to select your default apps for browsing the web, sending emails, and other tasks — even the launcher that appears when you press the Home button. On Android 6.0, there’s now an easy interface for managing your default apps.

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No two people sound exactly alike. Different people have different accents and ways of pronouncing words, and computer voice recognition systems like Siri, Cortana, and Google’s voice search aren’t as good as actual human beings at understanding every voice. Train your voice assistant and it’ll be better at understanding you.

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