Chris Hoffman

Joined December 2011

Chris Hoffman is a tech blogger and all-around technology addict living in Vancouver, BC. Connect with him on Google+ or Twitter.

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339 Posts Published
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Chris's Latest Posts


Why Email Can’t Be Protected From Government Surveillance

21st August, 2013

“If you knew what I know about email, you might not use it either,” said the owner of secure email service Lavabit as he recently shut it down. “There is no way to do encrypted e-mail where the content is protected,” said Phil Zimmermann as he suddenly shut down Silent Circle’s secure email service. The reality is that email is fundamentally insecure and can never be protected from government surveillance in the same way some other communications can.

headphones with mp3 player

Should You Still Buy MP3 Players?

21st August, 2013

Remember how everyone used to have an MP3 player? In the days before the iPhone, MP3 players were a must-have item. Smartphones have eaten into MP3 player sales over the years — why purchase a separate device when you have a smartphone in your pocket with a built-in MP3 player? Well, you might want to buy one for several reasons — MP3 players aren’t obsolete just yet.

surface rt on airplane

How to Jailbreak Your Windows RT Device and Run Unapproved Desktop Software

18th August, 2013

Windows RT is the locked-down version of Windows 8 for ARM computers, as seen on Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet and other Windows RT devices. Windows RT doesn’t allow you to install your own desktop programs. You’re limited to the included desktop programs written by Microsoft or Modern apps from the Windows Store. However, there are ways to jailbreak your Windows RT device and run unapproved software on the desktop. These tricks are for the geeks who want to make their Surface do more than what it was designed to do.

live concert

8 Legal Uses For BitTorrent: You’d Be Surprised

16th August, 2013

Like HTTP, which your browser uses to communicate with websites, BitTorrent is just a protocol. You could use your browser to download pirated content, just as you could use a BitTorrent client to download pirated content, but that isn’t the only possible use. Sure, let’s face it — BitTorrent is probably primarily used for downloading unauthorized content. But that’s far from its only use, and the protocol still has a lot of value to people who don’t pirate.


9 Ways to Customise the New Tab Page in Chrome

16th August, 2013

Chrome’s new tab page is serviceable, but a bit boring. Whether you’re looking for a nice background for your new tab page or want to easily create your own visual bookmarks, add custom widgets, and view live information such as the weather or updates from your social networks, we’ve got a list of ways to make Chrome’s new tab page your own.

new online social services

Facebook Usage Is Changing – So Which Online Social Activities Are Growing?

14th August, 2013

Facebook isn’t cool anymore. It’s the website where your older relatives hang out. It’s the place where people post political screeds, religious diatribes, and personal drama you don’t want to read. It’s seen as a service that doesn’t care about privacy, one that constantly wants more and more of your data to sell and profit from. So what are the kids using these days?


Which Browser Has The Better Password Manager? Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Internet Explorer

9th August, 2013

Although there are a variety of dedicated password management tools, every modern browser has its own built-in password manager. But just how good are the built-in password managers? We’ll look at how each popular browser’s password manager compares when it comes to convenience, security, sync features, and supported devices and operating systems. Dedicated password managers still have some advantages, so we’ll cover how you can get a better password manager no matter which browser you’re already using.


What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know

7th August, 2013

The National Security Agency in the US has access to whatever data you’re storing with US service providers like Google Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook. They’re also likely monitoring most of the traffic flowing across the Internet. We’ll try to summarize the important revelations about PRISM from the recent leaks and discussions around this important topic.


How To Run Old Games & Software In Windows 8

5th August, 2013

One of Microsoft’s big strengths — and weaknesses — is their focus on backwards compatibility. Most Windows applications will work just fine on Windows 8. This is especially true if they worked on Windows 7, as Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. Some old games and software, particularly ones designed for older operating systems like Windows XP, Windows 98, or DOS, may not work properly out of the box. The below tips apply to all different types of software and will help you get an idea what the problem is.


Managing Notifications in Windows 8

2nd August, 2013

Windows 8′s new app platform provides an integrated notification system for Modern apps. Windows 8-style apps can use several different types of notifications — traditional toast notifications, lock screen notifications, and live tiles. All of these can be managed, whether you want to disable an app’s notifications, allow notifications only for certain email accounts, or temporarily silence notifications. Unfortunately, Windows 8 doesn’t include a notification center that shows a history of your notifications in one place.


5 Password Management Tools Compared: Find The One That’s Perfect For You

31st July, 2013

Choosing some sort of password management strategy to deal with the huge amount of passwords we need is crucial. If you’re like most people, you probably store your passwords in your brain. To remember them all, you end up choosing weak, easy-to-remember passwords and reusing them for multiple accounts. But there are better ways — a good password management tool will allow you to use secure passwords without devoting lots of time to memorization. Read on to learn about a variety of powerful solutions to manage strong passwords.


How Can I Override Silent Mode With a Text Message? [Android]

29th July, 2013

People set their phones to silent or vibrate mode when in meetings, lectures, theaters, or anywhere else where it would be rude if the phone made noise. But what if there’s an emergency and someone needs to quickly get in touch with you? We’ll show you how to have your Android phone override silent mode and play an alert when a text message containing something like “Emergency” or “SOS” comes through. There are multiple ways to do this and we’ll cover two.


How to Browse the Web Anonymously On Your Android Smartphone

26th July, 2013

When you access a website on your smartphone, your cellular carrier, network operator, and government all know you accessed that website. Tor allows you to browse anonymously and bypass web censorship on your desktop. Orbot brings Tor to Android, so you can do the same from your smartphone. Whether you’re connected to a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, Orbot works the same. Like the Tor browser bundle for PCs, it connects to the Tor network and allows you to browse the web anonymously.


Everything You Need To Know About Passwords

24th July, 2013

Passwords are important and most people don’t know enough about them. How do you choose a strong password, use a unique password everywhere, and remember them all? How do you secure your accounts? How do you protect your files and operating system? And what if you ever lose a password? We’ve covered all this and more over the years. Be sure to read our password management guide for an in-depth overview to everything from choosing strong passwords to picking a password management technique and setting up two-factor authentication.

operating system

6 Quick Ways To Get Familiar With A New Operating System

22nd July, 2013

In the past, the only consumer operating systems that mattered were Windows and maybe Mac OS X and Linux. Now, we also have Chrome OS, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to worry about. And new versions of these operating systems are coming out even more frequently. Things are changing frequently. The days of learning a single operating system like Windows XP and using it for ten years are behind us. Here are some tips for keeping up with new operating systems and learning how they work.