Stupid Geek Tricks: Convince Your Friends You’re a Hollywood-Style Hacker with These Tools

Hacking in the movies is crazy exciting: fingers fly across the keyboard, and the screen is an ever flashing array of cryptic characters. It’s all so…interesting. Real hacking, sadly, isn’t that intense. However illegal what you’re doing may be, you’re still just someone sitting at a computer. Most the time you’re just trying to get people to use a fake Google sign-in page.

How to Check a Video’s Bitrate In VLC

A video’s bitrate is a key piece of information in determining the quality of said video. Even if two videos have the same resolution, a lower bitrate is going to result in less detail and clarity. Here’s how to see the bitrate of any video you’re playing in real time with VLC.

How to Fix Windows and Linux Showing Different Times When Dual Booting

Your computer stores the time in a hardware clock on its motherboard. The clock keeps track of time, even when the computer is off. By default, Windows assumes the time is stored in local time, while Linux assumes the time is stored in UTC time and applies an offset. This leads to one of your operating systems showing the wrong time in a dual boot situation.

Four Simple Timers That Remind You to Take Breaks from Your Computer

Whether you work at your computer or just enjoy the occasional long gaming session, it’s important to take breaks regularly. Getting up to take a walk, grab a coffee, or do some stretches helps reduce eye strain, prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI), and is otherwise just plain good for you. And one study from the University of Illionoise at Urbana-Champaign shows that breaks might even enhance productivity by increasing focus.

How to Automatically Mute New Tabs in Chrome and Firefox

Let’s say you’re trying to be quiet, browsing the internet at home, work, or a public space. You’re secretly filled with dread that anything you click will open a new tab with an autoplay video or blare an obnoxious audio ad. End that fear forever by keeping all your new tabs muted by default.

How Long Do Solid State Drives Really Last?

When large-scale flash storage first came to the consumer market as an alternative to conventional hard drives, the biggest concern (aside from price) was longevity. Tech fans had a pretty good idea of the general reliability of hard drives, but SSDs were still something of a wild card.

How to Find Old Versions of Your Favorite Desktop Programs

Have you ever used one of your favorite programs on your desktop, only to find that in later updates, that program changes in ways you don’t particularly appreciate? It’s a common phenomenon: a single program, like a chat client, might break with your specific computer setup after a recent update. It’s easier (and less disruptive to your workflow) to switch to an older version of the program until the problem is resolved.

How to Regain Access to Your Plex Server When You’re Locked Out

For the most part, the Plex Media Server experience is pretty flawless. You install the server software, you point your Plex clients at it, and start watching your movies. But sometimes, you’ll go to log into your server only to be mysteriously shut out. Let’s dig into some arcane settings and get you back to media nirvana.

How to Back Up Your Stardew Valley Game Saves

Stardew Valley, the smash hit indie farming simulation role-playing game, is the kind of game players get quite attached to after sinking a lot of time into their farms, their relationships with the characters, and building their skills. Let’s look at how to safely backup your game so your farm is always safe.

The Best Comic Book Readers for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Comic books as a medium seem tailor-made for tablets, even if the timeline doesn’t precisely add up. But there are a surprising amount of comic reading applications meant for old-fashioned desktop machines, too. This stuff comes in handy for gadgets that blur the lines, like the Microsoft Surface, or for someone who’s amassed a large collection of DRM-free comic book files.

Microtransactions in AAA Games Are Here to Stay (But They’re Still Terrible)

This weekend, while most of the technology and gaming press wasn’t working on anything particularly important, Warner Bros. Interactive tried to slip a small news item past their attention. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the highly-anticipated sequel to the Tolkien-themed adventure game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, will include microtransactions. This $60 game—up to $100 USD if you spring for the special pre-order versions—will ask players to pay even more in bite-sized chunks to unlock some of its content faster.

Ubuntu’s Window Buttons Are Moving Back to the Right After All That “Innovation”

Do you ever feel like software is just changing back and forth for no good reason? Windows 8 dropped the Start button, then Windows 8.1 brought it back—both decisions being touted as big improvements. Windows 7 brought Aero transparency before Windows 8 dumped the transparency, and both decisions were proclaimed design improvements at the time. Now, Microsoft is bringing transparency back again with Fluent Design.

The 10 Best Free-to-Play Online Shooters

Games are expensive. Want to play the latest headline-grabbing entry from EA or Activision? Be prepared to shell out $60…or $100 for the real version with a name like “Ultimate Edition.” Maybe that’s why so many developers are extending their horizons into the free-to-play arena. Here are ten online multiplayer shooters you can play without spending a dime.

What Is Wake-on-LAN, and How Do I Enable It?

Technology often yields ridiculous conveniences, like being able to turn on your computer from miles away without pushing the power button. Wake-on-LAN has been around for a while, so let’s see how it works and how we can enable it.