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More Digital Home How-To

  • How-Tos: Video Chatting for Newbies

    Video chat is all the rage these days, thanks to new services such as Google+ Hangouts and Skype/Facebook integrated video chat. Video chatting is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends--seeing loved ones' faces on a computer screen is almost like actually being there.

  • How-Tos: Tips for taking great smartphone photos

    You probably don't carry your fancy-pants DSLR camera with you all the time, but your smartphone--along with its built-in camera--is in your pocket everywhere you go. That's why these days the most popular camera used to upload photos to Flickr isn't a camera at all, but the iPhone.

  • How-Tos: How to convert videos for a phone or tablet, for free

    If you've got a library of downloaded videos and want to play them on your smartphone or tablet, you might find out they're the wrong file type. Some tablets and phones can only play specific file types, and only a few devices support high definition files. The easiest thing you can do to get these files playing is to transcode them to a different file type and resolution that matches your device. Our software of choice for this purpose is Handbrake -- it's a lightweight, powerful and very easy to use video transcoder that works on Mac OS X, all flavours of Windows and Linux.

  • How-Tos: Run a small business from your smartphone

    You know that running a business can be tough. Luckily, you have technology on your side.

  • How-Tos: How to Get Any File to Playback on Your Android Phone

    Android may be a versatile OS, but the little green robot can run into trouble when it comes to certain file formats. RAW photo formats such as .NEF won't show up in the default Android's image and video Gallery app. Even common video file formats such as .AVI and .MKV will stop most Android phones in their tracks.

  • How-Tos: How to rip audio from your Blu-ray discs

    [Editor's note: The MPAA and most media companies argue that you can't legally copy or convert commercial DVDs for any reason. We (and others) think that, if you own a DVD, you should be able to override its copy protection to make a backup copy or to convert its content for viewing on other devices. Currently, the law isn't entirely clear one way or the other. So our advice is: If you don't own it, don't do it. If you do own it, think before you rip.]

  • How-Tos: How to Work Outdoors

    Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are supposed to make us mobile: Freed of cumbersome desktop technology, we can work anywhere we want. Why, then, don't you see legions of people at parks, beaches, or even sidewalk cafes typing away on their laptops? Mainly because they simply can't see their screens.

  • How-Tos: How to access iTunes on a Google Android device

    BlackBerry owners have support for iTunes built in, but users of other mobile platforms aren't so lucky. For Android handsets, doubleTwist is a mobile app that lets you access anything in your iTunes library for playback on your phone. Download it from doubletwist.com and allow it to access the Registry.

  • How-Tos: How to use BBC iPlayer on an Android device

    Here's how to catch up with your favourite BBC shows on your Android device.

  • How-Tos: How to connect an HDTV to the network to view iPlayer programmes, photos

    How to connect your TV to your home network, so you can watch programmes and view photos from the web.

  • How-Tos: Calibrate Your Home-Theater Audio

    Sound is a big part of a satisfying home-theater setup, and people tend to give a movie higher marks when they watch it with good surround sound audio than with simple stereo. So improving the audio listening environment in your family room or living room may yield a much more immersive HDTV viewing experience.

  • How-Tos: How to tune a TV tuner to pick up digital TV

    A reader is having trouble changing his TV tuner from terrestrial to digital TV. Here's our advice.

  • How-Tos: Check Transit Schedules With Google Maps

    Google unveiled today a new feature for Maps, which adds a layer for transit systems. So now you can use Google Maps to manage your public transit commute in much the same way you might check for traffic conditions.

  • How-Tos: Five Simple Tips for Better Fireworks Photos

    This time of year, photographers dust off their cameras while dogs hide under the bed: It's fireworks season. Trance and Topher (my dogs) notwithstanding, I love fireworks displays--especially on the Fourth of July--and I'm always eager to capture some of the magic on film. In years past, I've given you detailed advice for shooting fireworks, but this year I've decided to distill it all down to five simple tips. Follow these, and you should have some nifty fireworks photos this year.

  • How-Tos: Personalize Your Android Phone

    I'll admit it: I think the base version of Google's Android platform is a little rough around the edges--especially when compared with the iPhone, which not only "just works," but is beautiful too.

  • How-Tos: On the road with a camera, an iPad, and a Hyperdrive

    A quick iPad tip: Turkish Dolmuses—van-sized mini buses that provide inexpensive regional travel—are too shaky and bumpy for accurate typing on an iPad. I know this because I’m trying to type this while riding on a Dolmus.

  • How-Tos: Take Night Photos, Understand Focal Lengths, and More

    Have a question about digital photography? Send it to me. I reply to as many as I can--though given the quantity of e-mails that I get, I can't promise a personal reply to each one. I round up the most interesting questions about once a month here in Digital Focus. For more frequently asked questions, read my newsletters from January, February, March, and April.

  • How-Tos: Can I Wirelessly Connect My PC to My HDTV?

    Ernest Valdez, Jr. asked how he could wirelessly send a video signal from his computer to his HDTV.

  • How-Tos: Acer Iconia A500 Tablet Pairs Nicely with Any USB PC Keyboard

    I'm writing today's post on my Android-based Acer Iconia A500 tablet. But no, I'm not tapping slowly around an on-screen keyboard. Instead, I grabbed an old USB keyboard that was laying at the bottom of a junk drawer in my closet, and I'm typing as fast as I would on my desk-bound machine. For tablet-based productivity, this is an awesome experience.

  • How-Tos: Using iTunes' Restore From Backup command

    Earlier this week, my friend and Macworld colleague, Dan Frakes, posted a series of tweets lamenting a frustrating problem he was having with his iPhone. It began with a seemingly innocuous act: charging his iPhone overnight. The next morning, Dan's iPhone had "reset"--with the result that the ordering of his home screen icons was jumbled and all his painstakingly assembled folder organization was gone.


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