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Headshot of MakeUseOf Writer, Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman

/ Joined 8 December, 2011

Chris Hoffman is a tech blogger and all-around technology addict living in Eugene, Oregon.

343 Articles
2002 Comments
Hack Windows Explorer for Efficiency Boosts

Windows

Hack Windows Explorer for Efficiency Boosts

Windows Explorer — known as File Explorer on Windows 8 — is an application that you probably spend a good amount of time in. Even Windows geeks that avoid using any other Microsoft program tend to use Windows Explorer instead of a third-party file manager. But, while we spend time customizing our browser with extensions, we often don’t think about hacking our file manager. There are a lot of ways you can customize Windows Explorer to make your file management experience faster and more efficient.

10-09-2013
Hack Windows Explorer for Efficiency Boosts
What Are Gaming Routers and Are They Worth Buying?

Technology Explained

What Are Gaming Routers and Are They Worth Buying?

Hardware companies target gamers with all kinds of special gaming hardware. There are gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, sound cards, and more. There are now even “gaming routers” — routers specially marketed towards gamers offering an improved online gaming experience. But what exactly do these gaming routers do differently from standard routers, and do their features really matter?

09-09-2013
What Are Gaming Routers and Are They Worth Buying?
Facebook Makes Money Out of Your Data, Why Shouldn’t You?

Internet

Facebook Makes Money Out of Your Data, Why Shouldn’t You?

There are so many free services online because companies can profit from the data you provide. Companies like Facebook sell (or buy) your data to third parties, while ones like Google use your data to target ads directly at you. As the saying goes, if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product, not the customer. But if these companies can make money from your data, why can’t you make money from your own data?

07-09-2013
Facebook Makes Money Out of Your Data, Why Shouldn’t You?
Ooops! 10 Common User Errors & How To Fix Them In Windows 8

Windows

Ooops! 10 Common User Errors & How To Fix Them In Windows 8

Try as it might to be an easy-to-use, simplified operating system, Windows 8 is still Windows at heart. If you’re using Windows 8’s desktop, you’ll still be facing many of the issues you faced on previous versions of Windows. We’ll cover some common problems users will face and how to fix them on Windows 8. Some of these tricks may work on previous versions of Windows, but Windows 8 adds many new tools to help with these sorts of problems. For example, Windows 8 includes a built-in antivirus.

05-09-2013
Ooops! 10 Common User Errors & How To Fix Them In Windows 8
Change the Way Windows Runs Depending on the Time of Day

Windows

Change the Way Windows Runs Depending on the Time of Day

Every day, the sun rises, marches through the sky, and then sets. The world changes with it as people wake up, go about their business, and then rest. But your computer just sits there all day, only acknowledging the change in time by updating its clock. There are a variety of third-party tools for Windows that can automatically adjust your computer’s settings as the day goes on, from changing your screen’s color temperature to setting desktop wallpapers, tweaking sound levels, and blocking websites.

02-09-2013
Change the Way Windows Runs Depending on the Time of Day
10 Windows 8 Start Screen Hacks

Windows

10 Windows 8 Start Screen Hacks

Windows is moving towards a more locked-down direction with Windows 8 and its Start screen and “Modern” app environment. There’s no denying this — you can’t even set a custom Start screen background without installing a third-party utility. Luckily, Windows hasn’t completely shed its legacy of customizability, yet. There are many different hacks you can perform with the Start screen, although most of them should have been included with Windows 8 itself. This article reveals them all.

30-08-2013
10 Windows 8 Start Screen Hacks
Why Email Can’t Be Protected From Government Surveillance

Internet

Why Email Can’t Be Protected From Government Surveillance

“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.

21-08-2013
Why Email Can’t Be Protected From Government Surveillance
Should You Still Buy MP3 Players?

Product Reviews

Should You Still Buy MP3 Players?

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.

21-08-2013
Should You Still Buy MP3 Players?
How to Jailbreak Your Windows RT Device and Run Unapproved Desktop Software

Windows

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

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.

18-08-2013
How to Jailbreak Your Windows RT Device and Run Unapproved Desktop Software
8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You’d Be Surprised

Internet

8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You’d Be Surprised

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.

16-08-2013
8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You’d Be Surprised
9 Ways to Customise the New Tab Page in Chrome

Browsers

9 Ways to Customise the New Tab Page in Chrome

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.

16-08-2013
9 Ways to Customise the New Tab Page in Chrome
Facebook Usage Is Changing – So Which Online Social Activities Are Growing?

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

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?

14-08-2013
Facebook Usage Is Changing – So Which Online Social Activities Are Growing?
Which Browser Has The Better Password Manager? Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Internet Explorer

Windows Browsers

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

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.

09-08-2013
Which Browser Has The Better Password Manager? Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Internet Explorer
What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know

Internet

What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know

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.

07-08-2013
What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know
How to Run Old Games & Software in Windows 8

Windows Gaming

How to Run Old Games & Software in Windows 8

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.

05-08-2013
How to Run Old Games & Software in Windows 8
Managing Notifications in Windows 8

Windows

Managing Notifications in Windows 8

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.

02-08-2013
Managing Notifications in Windows 8
5 Password Management Tools Compared: Find the One That’s Perfect for You

Windows Browsers

5 Password Management Tools Compared: Find the One That’s Perfect for You

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.

31-07-2013
5 Password Management Tools Compared: Find the One That’s Perfect for You
How to Browse the Web Anonymously On Your Android Smartphone

Android

How to Browse the Web Anonymously On Your Android Smartphone

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.

26-07-2013
How to Browse the Web Anonymously On Your Android Smartphone
Everything You Need To Know About Passwords

Internet

Everything You Need To Know About Passwords

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.

24-07-2013
Everything You Need To Know About Passwords
6 Quick Ways To Get Familiar With A New Operating System

Android

6 Quick Ways To Get Familiar With A New Operating System

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.

22-07-2013
6 Quick Ways To Get Familiar With A New Operating System
3 Uncommon Ways to Use Your Laptop Touchpad

Windows

3 Uncommon Ways to Use Your Laptop Touchpad

Your laptop’s touchpad seems like a simple, boring piece of technology, used only when no mouse is available. But touchpads can be fast and efficient. They have shortcuts for everything from easily scrolling to gestures for quickly getting around in Windows 8. Spend a moment learning your touchpad’s tricks and configuring actions that work well for you. It will pay off when you can use your touchpad to get things done faster. For Windows 8 users, touchpads are a great way to add touch gestures to PCs without touch.

19-07-2013
3 Uncommon Ways to Use Your Laptop Touchpad
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