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

Valve’s SteamOS is a living-room operating system you can install yourself, but it will start shipping on Steam Machines later this year. While SteamOS is intended as a living-room operating system, it actually has a full Linux desktop.

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New computers have now been coming with USB 3.0 ports for years. But just how much faster is USB 3.0? Will you see a big speed improvement if you upgrade your old USB 2.0 flash drives?

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If you have Internet access, you probably have a router — and your router has its own settings screens full of options. Everyone should know how to use their router’s web interface, if only to configure their Wi-Fi security settings.

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Earlier this week, Steam released Family Options, their version of parental controls, for the Steam game client. Read on as we show you how to lock down adult games, online content, and purchasing options to make your Steam client kid-friendly.

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This year’s CES unveiled a ton of new gadgets, but most of them aren’t that interesting. Here are the ones that we liked the best — just the most interesting gadgets and gear that we looked at.

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Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign is wrong about Chromebooks. Chromebooks definitely aren’t for everyone, but they’re not completely useless either. And Chromebooks have more in common with Microsoft’s vision than Microsoft wants to admit.

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The other day we wrote a guide to help people choose a battery pack for recharging their mobile devices, but we never considered that some people might want to also use it as a jump starter for their car. Well, we came across one that can do just that.

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We had no idea that a company could pack this much power into a really slim laptop, but they’ve managed it — with dual NVIDIA GTX 765M graphics cards, no less. 17.3″ display, Intel Core i7, up to 32 GB of RAM, and dual SSD drives in a package that is 0.9″ thick. We’re guessing the battery doesn’t last very long.

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It’s been a while since we’ve been impressed with anything Yahoo has to offer, but they’ve definitely been making a comeback lately. The Yahoo Weather app is beautiful and functional, and today at CES they announced a very interesting and visually impressive News Digest app for iPhone.

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Toshiba announced their first Chromebook at CES yesterday, and it’s the first one with a 13.3-inch display, priced under 300 bucks. Haswell processor and nine hours of battery life make it an interesting choice.

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CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show, is happening right now in Vegas, and How-To Geek has boots on the ground. The Pebble Smartwatch has launched a new version made from stainless steel instead of plastic. It’s stylish, sturdy, and does everything the old version did.

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Some routers have a Wireless isolation, AP Isolation, Station Isolation, or Client Isolation feature that allows you to lock down your Wi-Fi network. This feature is ideal for businesses with public Wi-Fi networks or anyone who’s just a bit paranoid.

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Chromebooks default to the stable version of Chrome without any experimental features enabled. If you’re a geek, you can go out of your way to get the latest features before they roll out to everyone.

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Chromebooks are becoming more and more popular, with recent reports indicating that Chromebooks captured about 10% of all desktop, notebook, and tablet sales in the US in 2013. But how good are Chromebooks, really? Should you buy one, too?

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There are a few big problems with using a public Wi-Fi network. The open nature of the network allows for snooping, the network could be full of compromised machines, or  — most worryingly — the hotspot itself could be malicious.

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A lot of benchmarks are rather arcane and filled with technical parameters and jargon. Is there a simple way to perform a comparison between GPU performances (say, before and after a major video card upgrade)? Read on as we explain how.

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More and more new devices are using Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct allows two devices to establish a direct, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection without requiring a wireless router. Wi-Fi becomes a way of communicating wirelessly, like Bluetooth.

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Contrary to all the criticism out there, a Chromebook can be surprisingly useful offline. The key to using a Chromebook offline is preparing ahead of time and ensuring your apps and data will be ready.

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As great of a tablet as the Kindle Fire is (especially in the newest HDX incarnation), there’s what most consider a pretty unbearable flaw: you can’t access the Google Play store to get at apps outside the Apps for Android Amazon store. Read on as we show you how to circumvent that with sideloading (no rooting or warranty voiding required).

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Kindle FreeTime is, hands down, the most sophisticated and easy to use parental-control tool available in the tablet market. Read on as we show you how to set it up, access the vast FreeTime Unlimited media library, and set time limits for your kids.

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The tablet market is bursting at the seams with new models and innovations. One of the newest arrivals is the refresh of Amazon’s Kindle Fire lineup: the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ and 8.9″. We’ve been playing with, stress testing, and otherwise putting our pair through the paces over the last few weeks. Read on as we detail the good, the bad, and the verdict for the Kindle Fire.

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Macs switched over to Intel processors years ago, but it is still a huge headache to run OS X on a PC. Read on as we explore the technical hurdles in installing Apple’s OS on a PC framework.

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With all the great gadgets and geeky toys ‘n trinkets that fall into the small-enough-for-a-stocking category, there’s no need to limit yourself to boring stocking stuffers. Read on as we showcase some great items to tuck in all those stockings hung on the mantle with care.

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If you’ve got your hands on Microsoft’s Surface Pro, there are a variety of things you should know. These tricks span everything from hidden keyboard shortcuts and freeing up disk space to using the pen and connecting standard headsets.

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Shopping for a new computer? Don’t pay too much attention to CPU clock speed. “CPU speed” was once an easy, if not completely accurate, way to compare two computers’ performance — just compare the GHz. But not anymore.

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