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

The Plex Media Server experience is generally pretty smooth, unless you do a lot of streaming when you’re away from home or your server hardware is underpowered. Fortunately, it’s very simple to have Plex optimize your media for silky smooth playback.

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Can you transfer your Windows license between PCs? It depends–the answer isn’t so cut and dried.

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Smart outlets are a cheap way to turn your ordinary appliances and fixtures into smart devices. With a smart outlet, you can turn your appliances on and off from your phone, or (in some cases) with your voice through devices like the Amazon Echo. But not every device will work with smart outlets.

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Imagine you go on your dream European vacation and all your things are stolen after your hotel room is burgled or your car is broken into. Clothes and toothbrushes are easy to replace, but your devices are a potential treasure trove for thieves to exploit.

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Up until now, if you wanted to play Spotify music on the Amazon Echo, you had to say the artist or song you wanted to play and then tack on “on Spotify” at the end. It’s a little cumbersome, but now you no longer have to do that, as you can set Spotify as your Echo’s default music provider.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One includes a 500GB hard drive, but games are getting larger and larger. Halo: The Master Chief Collection takes up more than 62GB alone, even if you have the game on a physical disc. Here’s how to free up space so you have room for more games.

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The Ecobee3 smart thermostat uses remote sensors to monitor the temperature in other areas of your house, rather than just where the thermostat is. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and simple way to select which sensor to use at any given time. Here’s a way around that, though, which lets you pick which sensor to use and when to use it.

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Is your computer unstable? There may be a problem with its RAM. To check, you can either use a hidden system tool included with Windows or download and boot a more advanced tool.

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If you’re sick of having to find and fumble with the light switch every time you enter a dark room, you can use SmartThings to automate that process and have the lights turn on automatically when you enter.

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NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay offers easy gameplay recording, live streaming, and even an FPS counter overlay. It can automatically record gameplay in the background–just on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One–or only record gameplay when you tell it to.

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All of us have had problems with our devices getting hot from time to time, but desperation to ease or solve the problem may lead to some unorthodox solutions. With that in mind, today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answers to a worried reader’s questions.

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The Amazon Echo is an always-listening voice-controlled virtual assistant, but if there are times you’d rather not listen (or be listened to) by the Echo, here’s how to automatically mute it at certain times of the day.

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Chromebooks can now download and install Android apps from Google Play, and it works pretty well. But not every Android app is available in Google Play. Some apps are available from outside Google Play as APK files, and you can install them on your Chromebook with a bit of extra work.

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Recording audio from a Bluetooth microphone isn’t something that iOS can do out of the box, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entirely possible. With a little help from a third-party app, you can use a wireless headset and record your voice through that if you need to.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One has limited support for some types of physical keyboards, but not mice. Connect a keyboard and you can use it to type text more conveniently than using the on-screen keyboard with your controller.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 includes a 500GB hard drive, but games are getting bigger and bigger–Grand Theft Auto V alone requires 50GB of space on the hard drive, even if you have the disc. Here’s how to free up space–and upgrade your PS4’s storage capacity so you can fit more games.

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The Ecobee3 has a neat feature that can use the local weather information to determine the best way to heat or cool your house. If the weather isn’t currently set up on your Ecobee3 thermostat, here’s how to set the location so that it can begin optimizing your HVAC system.

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Robot vacuums sound great. They do the vacuuming for you, saving time and hassle. And they’ve come down in price, too–you can get a decent Roomba for a little over $300. But while plenty of people seem happy with their Roombas, I decided to return mine. Vacuuming still isn’t fun, but a solid cordless vacuum is more useful to me than a gimmicky robot.

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Sony’s official PlayStation app, available for both Android phones and iPhones, allows you to remotely control your PS4. Use it as a playback remote or a keyboard for quickly typing without relying on the PS4’s controller and on-TV keyboard.

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Amazon already makes it really easy to order stuff with its 1-Click ordering system, but the company’s relatively new Dash buttons make ordering stuff even easier. Here’s how to set one up quickly and easily.

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The Oculus Rift is locked down by default, and will only run games and apps from Oculus’s own store. You’ll see an “Unknown Source” message on the Rift if you try to run something else. But change one setting, and you can use Valve’s SteamVR or any other Rift-enabled app or game.

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Android apps are coming to Chromebooks, and the ASUS Chromebook Flip is the first device to get a taste of what that’s going to be like. It makes sense, really—it’s an ultra-portable convertible laptop-slash-tablet that makes a lot of works well with and without the keyboard. The real question, however, is how practical is this?

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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.

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You’re having a night out. With dinner down the hatch, you’re walking down the street with your sweetheart to the next destination. You reach into your pocket to pull out your phone, when that feeling hits the pit of your stomach: your phone is missing. Did you leave it at the restaurant? Or maybe at home? Did someone steal it? Your mind races. You have no idea.

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The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit comes with a small handful of sensors and an outlet switch, but if you need more than what comes in the starter kit, you can easily add additional sensors and devices to your SmartThings setup.

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