Justin Pot

Justin Pot is a staff writer for How-To Geek, and a technology enthusiast who lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.

You’re sitting on your couch, browsing the web on your laptop. Some music would be nice, but you don’t really want to put down your laptop, pick up the remote, and browse your music collection with your TV remote.

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It’s one of the great new features of macOS: your desktop syncs from one Mac to another using iCloud. Put a file on the desktop of your iMac, and it’s there waiting for you on your MacBook. It’s like magic.

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Are there Wi-Fi dead zones in your house? Before you do anything drastic, you might be able to fix it by simply moving your router.

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Back in ancient days, when you wanted a movie, you got off the couch and went to the video store. Sure, you had to leave your house and talk to a person (things no one has to do against their will in 2017,) but you didn’t need to wonder where to look for what. Every store had basically every movie.

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Kodi can make your massive media collection easy to browse and play, but adding new media is a bit of a chore. By default, you need to manually tell the program to re-scan your folders every time you add something, which is annoying if you add new media regularly. Isn’t there a way to automate this?

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Are you getting notifications about a full Time Machine drive? Do you feel like your backups are taking too long? A bigger, faster hard drive might be the best solution, but you can also help by excluding particular folders from your backups.

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You’re watching a movie late at night. Your family is asleep. You can’t hear the dialogue during a key scene, so you turn up the volume, only for an unexpected explosion to wake up the entire house. Isn’t there some way to prevent this?

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If you’re a Mac user and a fan of open source software, you’ve probably seen certain apps with the “Darwin” label. But why do the macOS versions of apps carry this name?

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You’re not the only person who lives in your house, and you’re not the only person who watches things on your Kodi box. Why should there be only one media library, with one list of what has and hasn’t been watched, and one favorites list? Kodi has offered a profile system for years, and you shouldn’t overlook it.

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So you’ve decided you want a Roku, but there are so many choices. There are currently six different models (not including full TVs with Roku built-in), and it’s not at all clear what the difference between them is. Which one do you want?

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If you love Microsoft’s “Ribbon” interface but prefer the free and open source LibreOffice, you can get the best of both worlds…if you’re willing to put up with an experimental feature. While not officially an alternative to the Ribbon, LibreOffice’s “Notebookbar” bears an uncanny resemblance, and it’s a big improvement on LibreOffice’s old-timey toolbars.

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Kodi 17.0, codename Krypton, is here. There are all kinds of new features, but the most obvious is the new default theme: Estuary. This theme looks great, and is very functional, but it gets better.

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If you connect a lot of drives to your Mac—or connect a particular external hard drive to a lot of different Macs—it can all be a lot to keep track of. Changing the icon for your drives is a quick way to visually tell them apart.

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Sometimes you just want to fire up Pandora on your stereo, without having to plug in your phone or enable Bluetooth. If you’re a Kodi user, you’ve probably wondered if there’s a Pandora add-on for your home theater PC.

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Every bit of monitor space is precious, particularly vertical space. But in Windows 10, the fairly large taskbar takes up real estate even when you don’t need it.

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Maybe you’re curious about building your own Roku channels. Maybe you’ve found a Roku channel that you want to use, but there’s no officially supported way to install it. Either way, you need to know how to enable developer mode and sideload a Roku app that isn’t available in the store. Here’s what you need to know.

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Maybe you, or someone in your family, is deaf. Maybe you’re watching a movie in another language. Or maybe you just plain can’t make some characters’ speech out because of their accent.

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Kodi can do a lot out of the box. If you’ve got a collection of ripped Blu-Rays and CDs, you can browse them from your couch with a beautiful interface. If you’ve got a TV tuner card, you can watch live TV with NextPVR. As local media players go, it’s very complete.

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You bought a TV show or movie on iTunes. You want to watch it on your Android phone, Plex media server, or basically anything not made by Apple. Why won’t it work?

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Some people find the macOS Terminal scary, and that makes sense. Commands can feel alienating, and learning to use them takes time. It’s hard to find a starting point.

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You probably bought a Roku to watch services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Maybe you’ll even check out some free video channels. But you probably don’t have any interest renting or buying movies from Fandango.

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You regularly back up your Mac with Time Machine, but how do you know that it’s working?

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The Windows 10 taskbar is, by default, slightly transparent and tinted to a color you choose. If you know where to look, and you can even increase its transparency with a registry hack. But you can’t make the taskbar completely transparent, so that only your icons show up against your wallpaper.

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Chrome, or your computer, crashed. All of your tabs are gone, and what’s worse, there’s no button offering to “Re-open Last Session” when you reload Chrome. Maybe you missed it? Or maybe it was never there. Either way, you’d really like to find those tabs back.

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There’s no getting around it: the Mac App Store is slow. If you try to avoid opening it whenever possible, you’re probably pretty annoyed when you see the update notification in the menu bar. You’ve got to open the App Store, click the “Updates” button, and wait while the application is “Checking for Updates.”

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