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How to Get Rid of Bloatware on Your Phone or PC
October 16, 2013
You know all those free programs that typically come on PCs and mobile devices whether you want them or not? Common examples include paid antivirus programs within the PC environment and phone company add-ons like music stores within Android. Often called "bloatware," they are usually manufacturer- or carrier-sanctioned stripped down come-ons designed to get you to buy a subscription or upgrade.
How to Dye the Back Cover of Your Phone or Tablet
October 10, 2013
Early upgrade plans are tips of the hat to phone-as-fashion-statement. Who wants a graying two-year-old phone? Such plans do come at a cost, however. What if you don't actually need a new phone and the innards and battery are still good? If you're not a hard-core phone geek, aren't they all just about the same?
How to Take, Keep and Share Great Android Smartphone Photos
October 09, 2013
It's not all photo apps and more apps when it comes to taking photographs with an Android smartphone -- there are some basics that you need to know, unique to smartphones, that have nothing to do with imaging apps. If you're finding that you're migrating from a dedicated digital camera and taking more photographs with your phone but are disappointed with the results, here are some pointers.
How to Avoid Excessive Phone Charges When Traveling in Europe
October 03, 2013
If you've been stung by roaming charges in the past when using a U.S. cellphone abroad and you've recently heard about new, supposedly fair roaming caps in Europe, beware: It's not what it seems. As of July 2013, European-carrier SIM card roaming rates are capped in Europe at 0.45 euros, or about $0.60, per megabyte for data and 0.24 euros, or about $0.32, for one minute of voice.
How to Boost Your Home WiFi With Multiple Repeaters and Access Points
September 26, 2013
With a 3 GB bucket of wireless data from your cellphone company often costing more than $50, it makes sense to take advantage of the often unlimited or at least generous nature of a cheap, wired home Internet connection when you can. Netflix reckons that its movie and TV streaming service, using its Best Quality setting in High Definition, uses up to 4.7 GB of data an hour.
How to Tease Top Performance Out of Your Windows Laptop
September 19, 2013
If you're noticing that your Windows laptop runs slower and crankier the older it gets -- I'm talking about your laptop here, not you or me -- it's probably because it needs a bit of maintenance. Some tender loving care will take care of most old-laptop lethargy in much the same way a routine service visit can extend the life of your car and let it operate with more vroom.
How to Make Your PC Restart Automatically After a Power Outage
September 12, 2013
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is quietly underway. Kit is available, however, that can help mitigate potential office disruption as weather ramps up. Uninterruptible power supplies are sophisticated battery-containing devices that supply backup power to desktop PCs during grid electricity outages, like in storms. You can pick up a UPS at office supply retailers, among other places.
How to Repair a Broken Screen on a Tablet or Phone
September 05, 2013
Breaking the screen on your mobile device doesn't have to mean a brand new, expensive bit of kit. It's actually quite easy, and cheap, to replace the glass once you get the hang of it. A tablet touchscreen can cost about $50 if you perform the work. I've replaced a few touchscreens on my roughly handled devices and found that tablet and phone construction both rely on the same basic concepts.
How to Survey a Home for Internet Interference
August 29, 2013
The WiFi network you have in your home distributes Internet bandwidth using radio signals. It's the same technology that FM radio, smartphones and television rabbit-ears use -- and it's susceptible to the same kind of problems, like interference, penetration and range. If you're having Internet bandwidth problems at home -- buffering on YouTube, say -- there are simple ways to improve performance.
How to Use a Windows PC as an Internet Hotspot
August 19, 2013
If you're like many, you're sprouting portable devices. Tablets, e-readers and phones are taking over our pockets and bags; add mobile games consoles and phoneless iPod touches for the kids, and that's a lot of Internet connections to maintain when out and about. It's a gaggle of device connections that's hard to sustain because each one needs configuring onto a hotspot.
How to Get Windows 8.1 on Your PC Now
August 01, 2013
It's no secret that Windows 8 has met with only a lukewarm reception, but life in the tech world moves quickly, and now Windows 8.1 is on the way. If you've installed Windows 8, it's worth downloading the recently released free preview version of Windows 8.1. By doing so, you will be able to take advantage of the updated OS's personalization and services improvements.
How to Manage Email and Stop It From Overwhelming You
July 25, 2013
Email has been around since before the Internet, but while the email technology itself hasn't changed much since the 1970s, the volume of it has. Some people, in fact, receive hundreds of messages a day. That's a threat to a human's ability to process information. There are, however, ways to manage email. Here's how to go about it. Shut down your in-box if you find emails are distracting you.
How to Reduce Your Cellphone Bill by Jumping Ship and Going Contract-Free
July 18, 2013
You may be surprised by how much money you can save by moving your wireless plan over to a no-contract Mobile Virtual Network Operator, called an "MVNO." It's particularly worth exploring the possibility if you're an occasional user; travel overseas for long periods; use an unlocked phone anyway; or own a high-end, paid-for smartphone in good condition.
How to Set Up a Microwave Internet Link Over Distance
July 11, 2013
Around this time of year some buddies and I usually pack up a bunch of our brick-like ham radios, a few unwieldy 30-foot masts, a helium balloon antenna and some pop-up shade shelters and lug it all over to a local mountaintop near our suburban Los Angeles homes. We traipse up the baked hillside with this gear each year to perform a nonstop radio experiment that lasts over a weekend.
How to Save Files to the Cloud
June 27, 2013
Personal file storage on a computer used to involve a PC-based hierarchical folder system that was maintained on local, PC-based hard drives. Today we are embracing the cloud, which allows for redundancy, remote access, remote backup and the use of convenient input/output mobile devices like phones with limited storage but outstanding portability.
How to Turn an Old Android Phone Into a Webcam
June 20, 2013
Many of us are now at the point where we're trading in old smartphones for new. The big question is often, what to do with the old one? Possible solutions include leaving it in a drawer; trading it in; downloading maps and creating a dedicated in-car GPS navigator; or turning it into a free webcam. We'll look at some more solutions in the future, but for now, the last of these is a nice option.
How to Password-Protect Your Digital Life
June 06, 2013
It's no longer acceptable to use birthdates, pet names and so on for passwords. These easily guessed words were never secure, but it didn't matter much in the past. Who cared if a black hat got into your email account? So what? However, things are much different today, because our lives are now digitally enveloped. Everything from banking to relationships is now inexorably online.
How to Get Music Onto Your Smartphone
May 31, 2013
One of the advantages of carrying a smartphone is that it's an all-arounder, and one of its killer features is that it can function as a personal media player. It's functionality that an iPod or MP3 player would have provided a few years ago -- and Sony Walkman before that. The principal difference between a smartphone and a classic MP3 player is that the smartphone now includes connectivity.
How to Work at Top Performance From Home
May 16, 2013
It's not ink cartridges, printers and faxes anymore. The cloud and smart devices have changed the home office landscape -- for the better. There are now numerous free apps for instant messaging, video conferencing and cheap calls; plus it's easier than ever to keep coworking teams on the same page. Working from home lets businesses reduce real estate costs while boosting worker productivity.
How to Identify Bogus Banking Emails
May 09, 2013
There are ways to stop spam, but what do you do about bogus email -- that is, email that appears legitimate but isn't? Fake emails are sent by criminals in order to get your money, or to take advantage of your computer's processing power and Internet connection to launch Web-clogging Denial of Service attacks on other networks.
How to Get Breaking News on Twitter
May 02, 2013
News, in particular, breaking news and events, is now easily obtained through Twitter feeds. Here's how to go about building a news feed, and how to follow breaking news events through this new medium. First you'll want to create a News list populated with sources of your choice. Start by accessing Twitter with a Web browser and sign in to your account.
How to Silence Telephone Spammers
April 25, 2013
We've been seeing a gradual reduction of spam in our email in-boxes due to efforts by ISPs and email providers, new laws and education. However, the same isn't true for junk phone calls and text messages. Laws provide some protection from marketing intrusions, and it's possible to thwart much of the legally sanctioned bombardment with a few simple steps.

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