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

Valve’s Steam Controller isn’t just designed for new games. Unlike other controllers, it’s designed to be backwards-compatible with as many games as possible — even ones designed for keyboard and mouse controls. To make the controller work with a game, you may need to tweak is controller profile.

about 5 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Here’s our selection of some of the best computing kits made for kids and parents to share and learn with together (and yes, almost all of them will play Minecraft).

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Many Internet service providers offer combined modem/router units, but a modem isn’t the same thing as a router. Understanding exactly what a modem is is important so you can buy your own modem and stop paying $8-$15 a month to rent one from your Internet service provider.

about 5 months ago - by  |  22 Replies

Your router’s web-based setup page allows you to change various settings — like your Wi-Fi network’s name and password — and view information. You’ll need your router’s IP address to access it.

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Google’s Chromecast works well for streaming videos from YouTube, Netflix, and other online services. But there isn’t an obvious way to stream local video files from your computer to your TV via the Chromecast.

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Many cellular carriers offer “microcell” devices — T-Mobile is calling them “CellSpot” devices, but they’re the same thing. These function as small cellular towers, but they use your home Internet connection and anyone can connect to them.

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There’s a good chance your smart TV is spying on you. Smart TVs often analyze the videos you’re watching and report back — whether you’re watching live TV, streaming videos on a service like Netflix, or playing local video files. Worse yet, this can be a security problem.

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Your Wi-Fi router comes with a default network name and password, and both are often printed on the router itself. But you can change the name and password to anything you want in just a few clicks.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Wireless charging is overrated — at least in its current form. The dream of wireless power sounds great, but current wireless charging technologies are more “plugless” than “wireless.” They’re also less convenient, slower, and less-efficient than just plugging your phone in.

about 6 months ago - by  |  43 Replies

Amazon’s Fire tablets run Amazon’s own “Fire OS” operating system. Fire OS is based on Google’s Android, but it doesn’t have any of Google’s apps or services. Here’s what that means, and how exactly they’re different.

about 6 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Wouldn’t it be great to have a smart TV? Well, not really. Smart TVs have a lot of problems. If you do have a smart TV, you’d be better off combining it with a cheap set-top box rather than actually using its smart features.

about 6 months ago - by  |  70 Replies

Amazon’s Fire Tablet normally restricts you to the Amazon Appstore. But the Fire Tablet runs Fire OS, which is based on Android. You can install Google’s Play Store and gain access to every Android app, including Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, Hangouts, and the over one million apps in Google Play.

about 6 months ago - by  |  20 Replies

On a Chromebook, only apps from the Chrome Web Store typically get their own taskbar icons and separate windows. But you can give any website its own taskbar icon and make it open in a separate window, effectively turning any website you like into an “app.”

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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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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.

about 6 months ago - by  |  11 Replies

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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Halloween is one of those holidays that really brings out the tinker in a lot of geeks; there’s a veritable laundry list of things to deploy, modify, and enhance all in search of becoming the spookiest house on the block and throwing the best party. Read on as we highlight how easily you can turn a digital projector into a Swiss Army knife of cool Halloween tricks.

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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.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

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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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.

about 6 months ago - by  |  57 Replies

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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PCs don’t have to be power hogs, but they often are. High-powered desktops with gaming-focused dedicated graphics hardware are the most thirsty for energy, but older PCs are typically less energy-efficient than modern ones.

about 7 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Apple wants to keep your iPhone and iPad up-to-date. But you may want to go back to an older operating system. This is especially true if you’re trying out a beta version of iOS on your iPhone or iPad.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Once you get the hang of installing apps on your new Apple Watch it’s no big deal, but if you’ve just peeled the protective film off you’re probably left a bit puzzled as to how your new watch works. Let’s take a look at how to get apps from your iPhone to your watch.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply