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More Digital Home How-To

  • How-Tos: Meet the Hassle-Solving USB Cable, Cheaper Edition

    Last week I told you about the Magic Cable Trio, a 3-in-1 USB charge/sync cable with connectors for micro USB, mini USB, and Apple devices (like the iPhone and iPad).

  • How-Tos: Know your last-minute holiday shopping deadlines

    It might feel like you've just finished that last helping of turkey at the Thanksgiving, but the calendar doesn't lie: The holidays are just about here. You've got less than a dozen shopping days until Christmas. Hanukkah starts even sooner--December 20--and even Kwanzaa is right around the corner, beginning on December 26. It seems like plenty of time to get your shopping done, but not if you're relying on online shopping or buying customized tech gifts. If you still have gifts to order, pickup, or send, observe these deadlines to ensure that your gifts are delivered before 2012.

  • How-Tos: How to Stream Digital Media From Your Windows 7 PC

    With the immense popularity of digital cameras, smartphones, and tablets for taking pictures and capturing video, and the wide availability of affordable digital music and movies, many people have amassed enormous collections of digital media. Much of that media typically finds its way onto a PC or mass-storage device of some sort--and, unfortunately, it can sometimes go unused for ages. Flipping through pictures or videos and relaxing with some good tunes is always appealing, but sitting in front of a PC isn't the ideal way to enjoy such content.

  • How-Tos: How to set up an Amazon Kindle

    Amazon's Kindle and other eReaders have surged in popularity over the past few years.

  • How-Tos: 5 Steps to Prepare for the Ice Cream Sandwich Update

    New phones and tablets with Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich, are just around the corner, and carriers are also announcing which current models will be upgradable, most likely in early 2012. Many of the new features and updates will be great for business users.

  • How-Tos: Five ways to create and send holiday photo cards

    The holidays are fast approaching and so is the pressure to send out your annual greeting cards to update family and friends about your fabulous life and beautiful children. We looked at five of the best, most user-friendly options that make it easy to design and send photo cards. Starting with the Apple programs you already have on your Mac or iOS device, and ending with sites you may not be familiar with, here's a walk through a veritable winter wonderland of photo card-making options.

  • How-Tos: How to Root Your Kindle Fire

    Amazon's Android-powered Kindle Fire e-reader/tablet has arrived, which means only one thing: Eager Android enthusiasts everywhere will buy one and hack it so they can get superuser access, or "root" it. Root your Kindle Fire, and you can potentially install a custom Android ROM that lets you use your Kindle Fire as a full-featured tablet, install and use Android apps that require root privileges to add features and access your Kindle's system guts, and more. (You can even add support for the complete Android Market, but that's a separate guide.)

  • How-Tos: BlackBerry Tip: How to Avoid a "Bricked" or "Nuked" BlackBerry

    The modern BlackBerry smartphone can be "quirky," to put it mildly.

  • How-Tos: Tips for Taking Better Photos During the Holidays

    We tend to take more photos over the holiday season than at any other time of year. Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas trees, glowing menorahs, and family gatherings all make for compelling photo opportunities. This year, as you dust off the digital camera and charge up your battery pack, take some time to do your homework. Brush up on some photographic basics by reviewing my composition tips, then try using the tips collected in this article to turn your holiday photos into works of art. Happy holiday shooting!

  • How-Tos: How to Boost Your Smartphone Battery Life

    Do you know where your smartphone is? Unless you're using it to read PCWorld.com, your phone is probably plugged into an outlet somewhere to charge, because the battery stinks. You can find plenty of good reasons why your smartphone battery sucks, most of which stem from the failure of lithium ion batteries to keep pace with the exponentially increasing power demands of rapidly evolving smartphone technology. Thankfully, plenty of tips and tutorials are available to help you wring every last drop of juice from your smartphone battery, and such tricks can be distilled down to two critical steps: Configure your smartphone for maximum battery life, and then download a reliable and trustworthy battery-optimization app.

  • How-Tos: Managing battery life for iOS 5 devices

    Apple's concession Wednesday that an iOS 5 glitch is behind the battery problems experienced by some iOS devices is welcome news. Not only does it mean help is on the way--Apple promised it was working on a fix--but it also lets iOS device owners who've been experiencing battery drain know that they aren't imagining things. As someone who's had to troubleshoot a power-mad iPhone 4S, I'm happy to hear that I'm not crazy. Not about this, anyhow.

  • How-Tos: Updating a stubborn iPod touch to iOS 5

    A reader who wishes to remain anonymous is having some difficulty downloading iOS 5. He writes:

  • How-Tos: How to watch Sky on a PC

    Digital TV means there's much more to watch on TV than when Brits just had access to the five (or in some cases four if you lived in an area where it was impossible to pick up channel five) terrestrial channel.

  • How-Tos: Troubleshooting a battery-sucking iPhone 4S

    Last week I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my new iPhone 4S, as I relied upon it for email, web browsing, and Twitter. It was not a completely satisfactory experience. And it wasn't because it sucked down the battery like its life depended on it (which, of course, it did). Over the course of an hour when the phone was supposedly idling its charge would drop 20 percent and the thing ran hot.

  • How-Tos: Moving to an iPhone 4S

    Congratulations, you've braved the lines, delivery wait times, or in-store negotiations to snag yourself a brand-new iPhone 4S. But before you get to playing with your new device, you'll probably want to set it up. Thanks to iOS 5's step-by-step activation process, Apple's made it pretty simple to get started; but just in case you need some extra help, we've put together a comprehensive guide for activating your new iPhone, transferring data from your old phone, and some suggestions for exploring your 4S's new features.

  • How-Tos: Bulk delete email on an iPhone

    Reader Arnie Goldstein asks the question that every iOS user has had flit through their mind at one time or another:

  • How-Tos: How to view photos on a TV

    Having problems viewing photos from your PC on your TV? Our Helproom Expert can help.

  • How-Tos: How to Recover a Lost Phone, Tablet, or Laptop

    The bad news: At some point, your cell phone is likely to go missing. Whether it falls out of your pocket in a cab, or you leave it unattended in a public place for a few seconds only to have it swiped by someone with sticky fingers and low moral fiber, your phone is vulnerable. In fact, according to a report from security software company Symantec, 36 percent of U.S. consumers have had a cell phone disappear on them.

  • Video: Video: how to take out an eBook from your local library

    ...in the US at least. Thousands of libraries across the US can now loan ebooks through Amazon. They can be delivered to your phone, iPad, Kindle or PC/Mac and are free with your library membership. Check your local library for more details.

  • How-Tos: Turn Any Photo Into a Pencil Sketch

    I've often wished I could draw. My drawing abilities stopped evolving in kindergarten, so my drawings of people remain the stick figure variety. That's why I like the fact that I can capture portraits with my digital camera--no drawing skills are required. And for those occasions when I want something that looks like a drawing, I can easily take a full-color portrait and turn it into something that looks like a pencil sketch with just a few clicks.


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