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HARDWARE ARTICLES / RASPBERRY PI, DIY, GADGETS, AND MORE

Sony encourages you to use “Rest Mode” on your PlayStation 4 instead of completely powering it off. Rest Mode is a bit like sleep mode on your PC–it goes into a low-power mode instead of turning off entirely, so you can get to your games faster when you wake it up. The only downside to using Rest Mode is that it uses more energy than turning your PS4 off–but how much more, and how much does it cost?

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The Xbox One has integrated TV features and support for streaming media apps like Netflix and Hulu, but that isn’t where it ends. You can play video and music files you’ve ripped or downloaded by plugging in a USB drive or streaming them over your local network.

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Parental controls allow you to restrict child accounts on an Xbox One. You can restrict access to games, media, and apps by age rating, filter the web, and control online privacy and chat features. This works similarly to the parental controls in Windows 10.

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While setting up your Xbox One, you’ll be asked whether you want to use “Instant On” mode or “Energy Saving” mode. You can also change this option at any time. We’ll show you how to calculate exactly how much Instant On mode costs in your area, so you can make an informed decision.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to easily capture a screenshot or record the last thirty seconds of gameplay as a video. You can also use the Game DVR app for more fine-grained recording options. All video clips are saved in 720p resolution at 30 frames per second.

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Before you sell your Xbox One or pass it on to someone else, you should perform a factory reset. This wipes all your personal data. Whoever gets the Xbox One will have to go through the first-time setup process once again, signing in with their own Microsoft account.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to remap the buttons on its controller. This feature was originally introduced with Microsoft’s high-end Xbox One Elite controller, but it now works with standard Xbox One controllers as well.

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Google changed the device-to-TV scene with Chromecast, but as with all technology, it can have problems. At some point, you may need to reboot or factory reset your Chromecast.  While these options are slightly hidden to prevent an accidental reset, it’s a straightforward and simple process.

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Believe it or not, Sony’s PlayStation 4 works with a mouse and keyboard. This makes it more convenient to type, use the web browser, and generally get around more quickly. Some games even support mouse and keyboard controls.

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Your PlayStation 4 is constantly recording your gameplay in the background, just in case you want to save or share a clip. You can also quickly create screenshots with a single button-press.

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Your PlayStation 4 offers parental controls that can limit access to games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, and web browsing. Your restrictions are protected with a four-digit numerical PIN so they can’t be easily bypassed.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 can now stream games to Windows PCs and Macs with a feature called Remote Play. That means you can play your games right on your PC or laptop, without hogging the TV when your spouse or roommates want to use it.

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So you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network from way back when, but you can’t remember what the password is. Whether you’ve changed the default password or not, it’s simple to find it. You can look up any Wi-Fi network password if you’ve previously connected to that network from your computer or phone.

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Microsoft’s DirectX 12 and Apple’s Metal are next-generation graphics platforms. They provide lower-level access to graphics hardware, allowing game programmers to squeeze more performance out of the hardware. Vulkan is the cross-platform answer to Microsoft and Apple’s technologies.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 has a social media-style dashboard. Your friends can view your PlayStation activity along with your real name, and your account may be discoverable to your Facebook friends if you’ve linked your PlayStation 4 with Facebook.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 offers button remapping for its DualShock 4 controllers. If you don’t like a game’s control scheme, you’re free to switch the buttons around and make it more comfortable. The game doesn’t even need to offer its own button-remapping.

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Not all Internet traffic is equal. Streaming HD video or having a stutter-free Skype call is probably more important to you than downloading a big file. The Quality of Service feature on your router lets you prioritize the things you care about, so they happen faster than the things you don’t.

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Anyone with physical access to your PlayStation 4 can just grab the controller, turn it on, and start playing–at least by default. You can restrict access to your PlayStation 4 so people can’t  play your games, mess with your save files, and make online purchases without your permission.

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Ever want to watch a video on your phone or tablet without wasting its storage space? Or maybe you just need to view a file your friend gave you. Most modern Android devices support standard USB drives, so you can plug in a flash drive just like you would on a computer.

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USB Type-C brings a new universal connector to laptops and smartphones, and many devices are already starting to use it. But beware: many USB-C cables aren’t designed properly and could potentially damage your hardware.

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Nintendo’s Wii U has apps for watching Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and all kinds of other streaming video. But Nintendo doesn’t offer an app that will play media files from an external drive or media server. Here’s a little trick that will let you stream videos from your home network to your TV with your Wii U.

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Like the Roku and Chromecast, Sony’s PlayStation 4 can play video and music files from a USB drive or another computer on your network. Your PS4 can even play local music files in the background while you play a game.

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If you have a Comcast Xfinity Internet connection and you’re renting your cable modem from Comcast, it’s probably hosting a public Wi-Fi network that passers-by can connect to. If you don’t like this, you can disable that “xfinitywifi” network.

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As consumers continue to shift their lives away from the desktop and onto their mobile devices, having an external hard drive that can you connect to without any cables is a convenient way to stash away photos, videos, and music you want to take with you on the road. But how do they work, and are they worth the increased cost over the more traditional external media solutions we’ve used until now?

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As digital technology continues to seep into every aspect of our analog lives, it seems it was only a matter of time before it started to replace our plain old visual experiences with something a little more tantalizing.

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