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

If you lose your phone, you can call it or locate it with GPS. If you lose other important things like your keys or wallet, however, you’re usually out of luck. The Tile keychain and card gadget trackers aim to solve that by letting you call your valuables from your phone.

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When it comes to digital distribution for PC games, Steam is the undisputed champion, serving up approximately 2.4 billion total game sales as of March 2017. But just because it currently has a lead in the market doesn’t mean you need to curtail your choices for digital game purchases. Here are 10 alternatives to Steam for PC gamers, some of which offer Steam compatibility, and which often beat it on price as well.

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Windows automatically suspends your USB devices when they aren’t being used. This helps save power, but may cause problems with some USB hardware. Your USB devices will use more power if you disable this feature, but it can fix peripherals that stop working properly after Windows suspends them.

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The DVD industry is declining, which can be seen from the dramatic decrease of Netflix DVD subscribers. However, most people are really concerned about their possession of movies and music they purchase. For them, only if they get a physical disc filled with wanted media, they own it verily. In the meantime, they also desire for a digital copy for flexible playback or other good reasons. Instead of re-buying their digital counterparts, some people would rather rip copies off DVDs directly.

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The Digital Touch feature on your Apple Watch allows you to send sketches, taps, or even your heartbeat to another friend who also has an Apple Watch or an iPhone. Here’s how to use it.

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Android Wear watches aren’t necessarily like your phone: they’re more of an auxiliary device than a standalone unit, so most of the time you don’t install a bunch of stuff directly onto the watch itself (though with Android Wear 2.0, this is possible). But you can store music on it for freedom from the phone, so sometimes you just need to know how much storage is left on the watch so you don’t run out. Here’s how to check it.

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Most of the steps in building your own desktop PC are fairly self-explanatory: thanks to the modular nature of PC parts, it’s actually hard to mess up. But there’s one exception, and it can get messy.

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In the immortal words of Jacobim Mugatu, mini-ITX gaming PCs are “so hot right now.” While home-assembled gaming computers have generally been focused on the larger mid-tower ATX standard for decades, a recent wellspring of tiny, powerful components have made more compact builds worth considering.

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In photography, the aperture is the hole in a lens that lets light into your camera.

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How important are the specs under your smartphone’s hood, really? That may seem like a silly question, but honestly: are specs what define phone’s worth?

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If you’ve spent the extra money for a 4K TV, monitor, or laptop, you’d probably like to have something to watch on it. Unfortunately, several years after the first sets came to the market, we’re still severely lacking in actual sources for ultra-high-def video content. Options are limited: as of early 2017, here are the online and pay TV services that offer 4K content.

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If your gadgets never leave your side, what better place to charge them then next to your bed? With some inexpensive parts and a few minutes of time, you can upgrade your nightstand into an all-in-one charging station for your gear.

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If your Amazon Echo can’t hear you from the other room, or if you just want to control it when you’re away from home altogether, you can do so with the Amazon app (on iOS) or a handy third-party app (on Android).

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You’ve set up parental controls in Netflix, and worked to make YouTube kid-friendly, and your kids already love it. But there are several other channels you can add featuring only kid-friendly content, from Sesame Street to Pokemon to GI Joe—all for free.

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The Nest learning thermostat can tell when you leave the house and save energy by turning off the heat or A/C. If you’re leaving home for vacation, however, you can save a lot more by turning your thermostat off entirely.

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You know what’s exciting? New games, game updates, and system updates. You know what stinks? Waiting for them to download. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait—with a couple of simple tweaks, you can easily make sure your PlayStation 4 or Pro always has the latest goods.

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In photography, shutter speed, also called exposure time, is the length of time the digital sensor (or film in an older camera) is exposed to light while taking a picture.

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Feel like you aren’t getting the best picture from your shiny new TV? Want to make sure you’re watching movies as they were intended to be seen? Here’s what you need to know about HDTV picture quality, and how to adjust your set for the best image.

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Razer recently announced a new customer loyalty program: PC gamers can earn virtual currency, called “zSilver” and saved in a “zVault,” just for playing the games that they’re already enjoying. Games are launched from Razer’s Cortex desktop program—a bit like Steam without the built-in game store—and tracked minute-by-minute, earning zSilver that can be exchanged for Razer-branded hardware goodies.

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Have you ever needed a short Ethernet cable, but all the ones in your closet are six feet long? You could just wrap up the excess, but for a cleaner look, you can shorten the cable yourself. With the right materials, you can even make your own custom-length network cables.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been out since 2013, but there’s a pair of new, updated players on the stage: The PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro. But what’s the difference, and which one should you buy?

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If there’s an Apple TV compatible version of your favorite iPhone or iPad app, but it never makes it to your Apple TV, that doesn’t do you a lot of good. Fortunately, with a simple tweak, you can ensure you’re getting the best apps on both your phone and your TV.

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Google Wi-Fi is similar to other mesh Wi-Fi systems, but one big feature separates it from the pack: Google On.Here.

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The coolest part of owning a Nintendo Switch is picking it up from the dock and taking Zelda with you in the car (…or to the bathroom). Every time you do, though, the countdown to a dead battery begins ticking. Fortunately, there are some small things you can do to squeeze a little extra juice out of your game.

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If you are thinking about setting up a web server, do you need a computer specifically built with that purpose in mind or can you use a more common type of computer? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a curious reader’s question.

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