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

Sometimes you need to work on hardware components, like a motherboard, outside of the computer case, but is it safe to do so with the hardware in question powered up? Today’s SuperUser Q&A posts looks at precautions one should take with an endeavor like this.

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It’s important to secure your wireless network with WPA2 encryption and a strong passphrase. But what sorts of attacks are you actually securing it against? Here’s how attackers crack encrypted wireless networks.

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The FileHub is a little digital Swiss Army knife of useful tools; you can recharge your devices, link them together via mobile hotspot, stream files to them, and in turn back files up from your devices to the FileHub. Read on as we put it through the paces and see if a device smaller than a deck of cards can really shine in all those categories.

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Computer networking is filled with jargon that isn’t self-explanatory. Here’s a quick overview of many of the terms you’ll see when you glance at the network status information on any device.

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Motherboards include integrated graphics, sound, and network hardware — but is it good enough, or do you need to buy discrete components when building your own PC?

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Bluetooth mice are conveniently cordless but it’s very frustrating when they lose their connection; read on as we troubleshoot a reader’s Windows laptop and help them keep their mouse awake and in communication with their computer.

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Do you have an old desktop PC sitting in a closet somewhere? Put it to use by installing FreeNAS. FreeNAS is a free, open-source operating system that will convert old PCs into network-attached storage devices.

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Chromebooks locally sync some data, so you’ll want to wipe that personal data when selling or passing on your Chromebook. You can also reinstall Chrome OS — particularly useful if you’ve messed around in developer mode.

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Linux isn’t the only alternative PC operating system out there. Some alternative operating systems are developed by large corporations, while others are small projects worked on by hobbyists.

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Smartphones are expensive — you wouldn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on one and end up with a scratched screen. Many people still buy screen protectors to protect those screens, but they’ve become less necessary.

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You’ve probably seen references to TCP and UDP when setting up port-forwarding on a router or when configuring firewall software. These two protocols are used for different types of data.

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RFID is a technology that surrounds us every day. It’s in our credit cards, passports, and some of the products we buy. Even many of our pets have RFID chips in them!

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Memory cards are used in digital cameras, music players, smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. But not all SD cards are created equal — there are different speed classes, physical sizes, and capacities to consider.

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No need to wait for Valve’s Steam Machines — connect your Windows gaming PC to your TV and use powerful PC graphics in the living room today. It’s easy — you don’t need any unusual hardware or special software.

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Netbooks — small, cheap, slow laptops — were once very popular. They fell out of favor — people bought them because they seemed cheap and portable, but the actual experience was lackluster. Most netbooks now sit unused.

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QWERTY — so-called because the letters at the top-left corner of the keyboard begin with QWERTY — is the most common keyboard layout. But some people think alternative keyboard layouts like Dvorak and Colemak are faster and more efficient.

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Routers are basically little computers. By default, they run a manufacture-provided operating system, or firmware, to route network traffic and provide you with various settings and features. But you can often replace this firmware.

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Consumer PCs didn’t always run Windows. Before Windows arrived, PCs came with Microsoft’s MS-DOS operating system. Here’s what the command-line environment was actually like to use.

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Although monitors are largely a plug and play device, there’s more to setting up a new monitor than simply plugging it in and turning it on. Read on as we show a fellow reader how to quality check his new monitor and help it put the best face forward.

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Building your own computer is actually pretty simple. Don’t be afraid to dive right in — all you’ll need is a screwdriver, patience, and the ability to follow simple instructions.

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Have you ever wondered why laptop screens seem to come in such odd sizes? Then you are not alone! Today’s SuperUser Q&A post looks at the reasons for the odd screen sizes you see when comparing laptops.

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Putting your computer to sleep overnight to save energy and resume your work first thing in the morning is a handy trick, but what if your computer wakes itself up early like an energetic toddler? Read on as we help a fellow reader figure out what exactly is waking his PC up.

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Many Internet service providers are now giving their customers combined devices that function as both a modem and a wireless router. With these devices, you don’t have to buy a router — but you can, if you like.

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It’s common wisdom that deleted files can’t be recovered from solid-state media, only from traditional mechanical hard drives. But this only applies to internal drives — USB flash drives and external solid-state drives are vulnerable to file-recovery attacks.

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When you sign up for cable Internet service, you need a modem. You’re often asked to choose between renting the modem from your Internet service provider for a monthly fee or buying it outright.

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