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

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.

about 5 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Manufacturers have been pushing “Ultra HD” 4k TVs for a couple years now. There are plenty of models available now, and they’re cheaper than ever, too. But should you buy one?

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New 4K monitors are dropping in price, and they are available almost everywhere. They can be found now for a few hundred bucks, and we’ve seen some great sale prices. But are they worth the money, and should you upgrade?

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BitLocker disk encryption normally requires a TPM on Windows. Microsoft’s EFS encryption can never use a TPM. The new “device encryption” feature on Windows 10 and 8.1 also requires a modern TPM, which is why it’s only enabled on new hardware. But what is a TPM?

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Drones are awesome fun. They can bring out the inner kid in even the most jaded individual, but they can also land people in a lot of trouble. Here are some things every new drone owner should know before taking to the skies.

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Google’s Chromecast offers a way to play games on your TV, too. You won’t find the same ecosystem of games you will for the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV, but you will find some fun party games people can gather around the TV and play, using their smartphones as controllers.

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Sony and Microsoft chose not to ship the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles with solid-state drives. They went with slower mechanical drives to keep costs down, but you can speed up load times for your console games by adding a solid-state drive to your PS4 or Xbox One.

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Google doesn’t provide an easy way to see the storage, RAM, CPU, and other specifications of your Chromebook. But it’s possible to dig all this information up, just as you could on a traditional computer operating system.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 7 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply