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.

What’s the Best Way to Back Up My Computer?

Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomware could hold your files hostage, or a software bug could delete your important files. If you’re not regularly backing up your computer, you could lose those files forever.

How to Load DRM-Free eBooks Onto Your Kindle

The Kindle is a fantastic reading device, but it’s almost entirely reliant upon Amazon’s closed retail system for buying books. That’s by design, of course—it’s an Amazon gadget, they want you to spend money on their store. But if you have a collection of eBooks obtained somewhere else, designed for cross-platform reading in another format without the typical DRM, it’s possible to get them loaded onto your Kindle fairly easily.

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.