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    How To Completely Secure Your Data on Android Phones
    Your phone travels around with you all day, giving you ample opportunity to lose it, or simply let it out of your sight for a time. It is increasingly common that people carry personal, and sometimes sensitive data on their mobile phones. There are a few simple tricks you can use with Android to make sure no prying eyes can access your data. 


     
    When to Upgrade Your Graphics Card and Other Hardware
    I’ve been there. Something cool – really cool comes out. It just sets of that itch inside you, that gotta have itch that only plunking down your credit card and installing that shiny new piece of hardware can scratch. Case in point: graphics card. If you’re a PC gamer like me, a new GPU emerging from the mists of NDA-land and onto store shelves sets off that gotta have itch more than any other PC hardware. You just know in your heart of hearts that the new graphics card will make your gaming experience 1,000x better. 
     
    No, it won’t. Unless you’re coming from really old hardware, a new graphics card will only incrementally improve performance. If your system is several generations old, you probably have more performance issues than a new GPU will solve. If you’re running last generation’s graphics, you’re probably in pretty good shape. So you should hold onto that credit card for now.


     
    How To Keep Your Online Passwords Safe And Secure
    You've probably heard by now that the Gawker network — purveyors of all things gossip, gadgets and games — suffered from a particularly nasty security breach earlier this week. Not only was staff email breached and crucial servers hacked, but a sizable number of user passwords were exposed as well — over 1.3 million, according to the group responsible. 

    But while these sort of breaches are never fun to report on, it reinforces the importance of a secure password for your online accounts. A staggering number of users had actually used "password" as part of their login credentials, or variations of "qwerty" instead — and as readers of our site should know, that's just not going to cut it.


    How To Make the Most Out of Google Voice on Android
    Google Voice is a great service is you take the time to get to know it. Even the concept can be a little hard to grasp. Nowhere is Google Voice more completely integrated than in Android. There are apps, extensions, and web interfaces to become familiar with. Each piece of the puzzle gets you one step closer to a more coordinated Google Voice experience. 


     
    How To Protect Yourself from Windows and Firefox Crashes
    Windows has made some wonderful strides since the debut of Windows 95. The operating system that brought us the Start menu and task bar crashed aggressively and almost seemed to delight in delivering that dreaded blue screen of death. Things have gotten better since then. Vista may have been something of a misstep (and we don’t even want to talk about Windows ME) but Windows 7 is stable, slick and intuitive.



    We’ll lead the way.
     
    How To Root the Most Popular Android Phones, and Why You'd Want To
    Android is a very capable operating system in its shipping form. But there may come a time that you just want a little more control. Rooting your phone can be a rewarding experience. There are a number of reasons you might want to do this. For instance, some apps require root access to work. Or maybe you want to flash a third-party ROM on the device. Whatever your intended results, you should proceed carefully as these operations can often damage your phone. 
     

     
    How To Choose an Android Phone and Not Get Screwed on Updates
    Since Google has finally announced version 2.3 of the Android OS, also known as Gingerbread, the time has come for people to start clamoring for an update. Some phones will probably be bumped up fairly quickly, while others will languish in the doldrums of Froyo, or maybe even Éclair. Samsung has been using some vague, discouraging language regarding a Galaxy S update, which is surprising. 


     
    How To Properly Convert Your Vinyl Record Collection to Digital
    A veritable treasure trove of classic vinyl recently fell into my lap, bursting with treasures like "Blood on the Tracks" and "Led Zeppelin I"--it’s a collection of hundreds for me to listen to, enjoy . . . and rip. There’s something a little bit magic about vinyl that separates it from the digital music libraries we use today: the incredible artwork you can touch and feel, the weight of the record in your hands, the subtle difference in tone and atmosphere of an analog recording. It’s just different, in an irreplaceable way. But there are some drawbacks. Scratches and pops are atmosphere, but skipping signifies damaged vinyl. And portability? Forget it.

    Armed with a fairly cheap ION USB turntable, I’ve started listening my way through the 60s and 70s, recording every wah-wah and analog crackle the needle picks up. I’m doing it partly for safekeeping but mostly because dealing with music technology--both new and old--is awesome. By grappling with drivers, software and a mess of configurations, I’ve finally settled on a streamlined system that works really well. You won’t know how satisfying it is to hear a fantastic quality mp3 of Neil Young’s "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" until you’ve ripped it from vinyl yourself. 



    The Awesome iOS 4.2 Feature You Don't Know About
    The recent release of iOS 4.2 brought a number of cool additions, but one of the most significant improvements is something you probably didn’t notice, or even know about. An updated iPhone now supports Network Controlled Fast Dormancy, technology that lets a handset and it’s network join forces to improve battery life and reduce network traffic—both things that a multitasking iPhone could use.



    When You Should Give Your Android Phone a Factory Reset
    In an ideal world, your Android phone would run like a dream forever. This being real life, we can't always expect that sort of robust performance out of our devices. Things can happen that slow your phone and damage the experience. Maybe you install a lot of apps, and some of them are acting a little mischievous, or maybe something has just gone wrong deep down in the system where you have little chance of fixing it. At times like this, you could agonize over tweaks and possible fixes, or you could spend time uninstalling different combinations of apps. But maybe wiping the phone clean and starting over is the best overall option sometimes. 


     
    How to Make an Optimal Wallpaper for Your Android Phone
    Android has long supported custom wallpaper on the home screen. It does fit the platform's high degree of customization after all. When you're looking for a new wallpaper, there are a few things to think about. Android doesn't just take an image that is the resolution of your display, like some other platforms do. 

     
    How To Test the Quality of Your Android Phone's Touchscreen
    A phone can be built well, and have fast internals, but if the touch screen is of poor quality, the experience will be damaged. This is of special concern with Android. Many manufacturers use different hardware with different capabilities. You also have to worry about defects that can adversely affect the image quality of the screen. It's also possible for a high quality touch screen to be defective when you take it out of the box. There are a few easy things you can do to make sure your touch screen is detecting your interactions correctly. 


     
    Be a Savvy Tech Shopper by Avoiding These Two Psychological Pricing Tricks
    No one wants to be a sucker. We all like to think of ourselves as savvy consumers, especially when it comes to our tech. That’s why we arm ourselves with benchmarks, product reviews, and bar code scanner apps—so we can buy the best gear, and not get fooled by hype and gimmicks. But are we really as safe as we think? Dan Ariely, author of “ Predictably Irrational,” would say “no.” In his book, Ariely explores the field of behavioral economics, which studies how consumers make decisions, and explains how products in the real world are sold through subtle psychological trickery. These slick tactics show up everywhere—even the latest electronics store catalog.


     
    Clever Hack: 3.5 Floppy Inches of USB Storage
    We can’t get enough of hacks that hearken back to tech from days gone by. Who wouldn’t want a Game Boy Hard drive? The latest nostalgia-fueled hack we’ve come across is a USB drive crammed into a 3.5” floppy disk. The floppy, submitted to technabob, houses a flat chip of flash storage and the USB cord fits right out of a snug hole beside the disk’s shutter. When not in use, the USB pushes far enough back into the floppy to be almost completely hidden. Industrious hacker Charles Mangin even lined up the flash drive’s red LED light with the disk’s read/write port.

    The USB port was too thick to fit within one floppy, so this hacked USB storage drive is actually made of two 3.5” disks stacked together. And here’s a depressing thought: show this to a kid under the age of 15 and he probably won’t even notice the added bulk.


     
    Four Essential Computing Tasks You Don't Do Often Enough
    We can sit at our computers for hours, polishing our operating system into a lean, mean, defragged and efficient machine. Even the arduous process of upgrading software and drivers can somehow be fun when it offers the illusion of new features and better performance. Tech geeks have a tendency to pour lots of effort into system maintenance, but we slack off when it comes to real-world upkeep. Crumbs in the keyboard? Dust buildup in the PC tower? We’ll take care of it later!


     
    How To Resolve Windows 7's Most Frustrating Annoyances
    Microsoft has scored big with Windows 7, redeeming itself from the mess that was Windows Vista and delivering a solid, easy-to-use operating system. Nevertheless, Win7 comes with some baggage from previous versions of Windows. And with the breadth of functionality in a modern OS, it’s a given that there will be features and shortcuts that some people never want to use. There are also shortcuts that no one has ever wanted to use, little Windows quirks we’ve been living with for years.


     
    Perform Regular Solid-State Checkups with SSDlife
    Solid-state drives aren’t the outrageously expensive investments they once were, but it’s still important to keep them running in tip-top shape to make the most of their speedy potential. Here’s a free tool to give that SSD a regular checkup: SSDlife scrutinizes your drive and spits out a detailed report on how it’s feeling, how much work its done over its lifetime, and how many years it has left before conking out.

    Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology monitoring system to analyze various drive values like throughput performance, temperature and read/write errors. SSDlife is a lightweight tool that gives easy at-a-glance info about your solid-state drive: to give the SSD a tune-up, try Intel’s Solid-State Toolbox.