Stories by Rick Broida

Should you get a hybrid laptop? A user report card

Hybrids -- laptops whose displays detach to become tablets -- were designed to allow users to have one device with many uses. But do they work as advertised? We talked to some users to find out.

By Rick Broida | 20 March, 2014 10:56

Tags: hardware systems, laptops

There's no place like home page: 8 iGoogle alternatives

Use iGoogle? Upset that it's going away? Here are 8 alternative Web portals, some of which are just as good -- and one or two of which are better.

By Rick Broida | 31 October, 2013 13:11

Tags: web apps, Google, bing, Desktop Apps, twitter, software

3 wireless media hubs: Extra storage for mobile devices

When you've burned through the available storage on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, you have two basic options: Delete old stuff to make room for new, or upgrade to a new device that offers more space. The former is a hassle; the latter, expensive.

By Rick Broida | 13 September, 2013 22:01

Tags: Carry Technology, storage, Iogear, Kingston Technology

7 mobile hard drives: More portable and more powerful

As more and more business travelers depend on portable hard drives to both back up their data and carry it around with them, the technology has been consistently improving. Even with the proliferation of cloud data services, hard drives are often considered more private and secure (and are especially useful where there is no wireless connection).

By Rick Broida | 19 August, 2013 14:36

Tags: storage

Leap Motion Controller review: A touchscreen interface without the touching

The new Leap Motion Controller brings motion control to any computer. The question is: How effective is it, and does it have any practical value?

By Rick Broida | 27 July, 2013 10:07

Tags: hardware, Computer Peripherals, Leap Motion, hardware systems, Lenovo

Windows 8 on a USB Drive, defragging tips, launch apps fast

If you've poked around PCWorld in recent weeks, you've learned how to download and install Windows 8 on a new hard-drive partition and how to install Windows 8 in a virtual machine. Today, let's talk about one of my favorite approaches for installing Windows 8, well, anywhere: by way of a flash drive.

By Rick Broida | 02 November, 2011 09:17

Tags: Windows, software, operating systems

Make sure all your Google Contacts sync to your iOS device

My wife recently made the switch from a clunky old Android phone to a spiffy new iPhone 4S. When she asked if all her contacts could be moved from the former to the latter, I confidently replied, "Sure, no problem!" After all, Android phones sync with Google Contacts, and iTunes has the ability to do likewise. Easy-peasy, right?

By Rick Broida | 27 October, 2011 09:28

Tags: Google, consumer electronics, Phones, iPhone, hardware systems, smartphones, tablets, iTunes, iPad, Apple

Browsing tips: Slow-loading sites, Google Chrome tweak

True story: I'd been getting fed up with Firefox, in part because it was acting sluggish and flaky, so I decided to give Google's Chrome browser a try. And by "try," I mean make it my primary browser for a couple weeks.

By Rick Broida | 05 October, 2011 08:52

Tags: Browsers & Add-Ons, Google, applications, mcafee, SiteAdvisor, browsers, software

Learn how to run programs from your flash drive

Reader Patricia has a question: "Why can't application software be put on USB drives instead of [hard] disks?"

By Rick Broida | 27 April, 2011 08:15

Tags: storage accessory, storage, USB, software, flash memory

Turn Amazon Cloud drive into desktop-accessible storage

As you may recall, Amazon recently unveiled its new Cloud Drive service, which provides 5GB of free online storage. (Elsewhere I explained how you could bump your limit to 20GB for under a buck.) The only downside? To access it, you have to use Amazon's Web-based interface. It's not bad, but not nearly as convenient as, say, a local hard drive.

By Rick Broida | 15 April, 2011 06:29

Tags: Web services development, application development, web services, software, Hard Disk, file management

Add a spell-checker to Internet Explorer

Among the many reasons I'm partial to Firefox is that Mozilla's browser has long offered a built-in spell checker. (Not that I need it, of course -- we payd riters learnt gud speling in skool.)

By Rick Broida | 12 April, 2011 06:45

Tags: applications, plug-ins, browsers, software, Internet Explorer, mozilla

Can your system handle Windows 7?

Much as everyone loves Microsoft's Windows 7, not everyone has made the move yet. Plenty of folks are clinging to Windows XP for dear life, while others just didn't see enough reason to upgrade from Vista. After all, it's not like Microsoft is giving Windows 7 away for free.

By Rick Broida | 06 April, 2011 02:46

Tags: windows xp, Freeware / shareware, Microsoft, Windows, software, Windows 7, operating systems, windows utilities

Firefox 4 tip: Why your status bar keeps switching sides

I'm not sure if this is a bug or a "feature," but it's definitely annoying.

By Rick Broida | 01 April, 2011 01:59

Tags: Firefox, applications, browsers, software, mozilla

Firefox 4 tip: Keep tabs open between sessions

Yesterday I told you how to tweak Firefox 4 so it would allow incompatible add-ons to run. One of my primary motivations for doing so was the PermaTabs Mod add-on, which I use religiously to keep tabs open from one browsing session to the next. (Ironically, that extension came into being because its predecessor, PermaTabs, was incompatible with Firefox 3.)

By Rick Broida | 30 March, 2011 03:30

Tags: Firefox, applications, browsers, software, mozilla

Firefox 4 tips: Bend the new browser to your will

Mozilla released Firefox 4 last week. I'm trying hard to like the new browser, but it keeps finding ways to annoy me. First, it moved the Reload button for no good reason (same for the Home button, but that's just as easily fixed). Second, it put the tabs at the top of the screen (again, easily fixed). Third, and most important, a bunch of my favorite add-ons stopped working. Luckily, I've come up with a few ways to fix the interface quirks that are driving me nuts and solve the extension compatibility problem.

By Rick Broida | 30 March, 2011 03:28

Tags: Firefox, applications, browsers, software, mozilla

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