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More Digital Home How-To

  • How-Tos: How to return your gadget gifts without any runaround

    December may be the season of giving, but January is the season of returning. Unfortunately, returning that not-quite-right gift can be tricky. With so much shopping happening online these days, it isn't always clear where to turn--plus, you have to deal with packing, shipping, and other details. And if you don't have a receipt, sending back electronics and tech gear can be particularly complicated, as it's often burdened with restocking fees and other annoying restrictions. Here are a few tips to ease the hassle of returning tech products.

  • How-Tos: How do I connect my TV to the Internet?

    How do I connect my TV to the Internet? We show you the easiest ways to connect your television to the Internet, your router and your computer.

  • How-Tos: Black borders on external monitor

    If you are seeing a black border around your PC content, it is likely that your graphics card thinks the screen is a TV. It's easy to solve: our Helproom Editor explains how. Updated 17 December 2012.

  • How-Tos: Make DVDs as holiday gifts

    Apple has almost entirely abandoned DVDs—remember, those shiny discs that no longer fit into many modern Macs? But despite the shift to online photo and video services, not everyone is capable of streaming media over the Internet. A DVD (and increasingly, a high-definition Blu-ray disc) is still a near-universal way to share the photos and videos as a holiday gift. Besides, friends and family members can’t unwrap a pipeline of bits and bytes.

  • How-Tos: Bugs & Fixes: Texting fails for just one person

    When writing up bug reports for this column, I prefer to have guaranteed solutions to offer. However, a few problems are so frustrating and mysterious that I'll cover them even without a known reliable fix. That's the situation today.

  • How-Tos: How to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8

    Windows Media Center has been taken out of Windows 8, but is available as a pay-for added extra. But if you are quick, and you want Windows Media Center, you can get it for free.

  • How-Tos: How do you play Blu-rays on an older model HDTV?

    Joe Blumenthal has an older HDTV without HDMI inputs. How can he connect a Blu-ray player?

  • How-Tos: How to update your Galaxy S III to Jelly Bean right now

    Sick of waiting for the Jelly Bean update for your Galaxy S III? We show you how to update manually with an easy, five-step guide.

  • How-Tos: How to watch Microsoft Windows 8 launch live

    Microsoft is preparing to launch its latest operating system so here's how to get live coverage of the Windows 8 event.

  • How-Tos: Master VLC, the ultimate Windows media player for power users

    Let's just rip off the Band-Aid and get the bad news out of the way: The standard version of Windows 8 won't include Windows Media Center or the ability to play DVDs by default.

  • How-Tos: How to extract voice and text messages from an iPhone

    Reader Amy Campbell has all the right reasons for extracting data from an iPhone. She writes:

  • How-Tos: Monitor cable problem

    Our Helproom Editor helps out a reader who is having problems with his display.

  • How-Tos: Podcasting: All you need to know

    The first podcasts broadcast over the Internet more than a decade ago, and since that time much has changed. Podcasting has gone from a niche hobby for amateurs to a recording industry that's helping many entertainers make a living.

  • How-Tos: Next iPhone Screen Production Delayed By Sharp, Reports Say

    Sharp, one of Apple’s three suppliers of iPhone displays, is reportedly having problems mass producing the screen for the next-generation iPhone. Apple is widely expected to unveil its latest smartphone in just under two weeks, but Sharp’s delay could mean Apple won’t have enough new iPhones to satisfy demand.

  • How-Tos: How to Tether Cameras, Make Star Trails on a Mac, Learn RAW Workflows, 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 email 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.

  • How-Tos: Easy Home Automation Projects for the Weekend Warrior: Part One

    People have long viewed home automation--the ability to monitor, program, and control your home's lighting and entry locks, its heating and air conditioning, and other systems--as a technology that's "just around the corner." The Home of Tomorrow has been a fixture at state fairs, industry trade shows, and Disneyland; but for years it remained always a little out of reach, except for those people who could afford to invest tens of thousands of dollars to hire a professional to install a custom system.

  • How-Tos: How to Send Web Content Straight to Your Kindle

    If you're a Kindle (or Kindle app) owner and a Google Chrome user, here's good news: You can now send Web content directly to your mobile device.

  • How-Tos: How to Use Your Android Tablet as a Secondary Display

    If you own an Android tablet, you probably get most of your real work done on a desktop or laptop PC, and use your tablet primarily for casual Web browsing and content consumption. But you can use your tablet to improve your productivity, too. Since a tablet is essentially a portable touchscreen, why not repurpose it during work hours as a secondary display?

  • How-Tos: How to Recharge Your USB Gear Faster

    Most smartphones, digital cameras, MP3 players, and other small gadgets have one thing in common: They can charge via a standard USB port.

  • How-Tos: Playing Amazon Instant Video from iPad to TV

    Reader Andy Grant has unfulfilled expectations of his iPad. He writes:


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