Set up quick access to the Galaxy S3 or Note 2 camera

This How To isn't about lock-screen widgets. Yes, they are exciting. And yes, they bring additional functionality to your lock screen -- but unfortunately, a lot of people have not had their devices updated to Android 4.2 as of yet. If you have, check out Jason Cipriani's post on how to set up lock-screen widgets.

Instead, let's work with the wonderful world of TouchWiz that comes preloaded on your Samsung Galaxy S3 or Note 2. TouchWiz, in short, is a home replacement for Android (think Facebook Home), that adds proprietary theming and options. … Read more

Set up Reading Mode on the Galaxy Note 8

Using a tablet as an e-reader can save you money and lighten your load while on the go. Unfortunately, a lot of tablets aren't optimized for reading text for long periods of time (like e-books, RSS feeds, or just long Web posts) and may cause mild eyestrain. Luckily, the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a feature to help solve this issue: Reading Mode.

However, Reading Mode isn't turned on for all of your apps by tapping on the icon in the notification panel. Why doesn't this mode work in all apps by default? No idea, but fixing … Read more

Customize BlinkFeed for HTC One

For the HTC One, HTC designed a news feed widget called BlinkFeed that pulls in top stories from around the Web, as well as social feeds, such as Twitter and Facebook. It's a good-looking piece of software, and for better or worse, HTC makes it your default home screen on the HTC One.

But if you're less than thrilled by BlinkFeed, I'll show you how to better customize the stories that it pulls in, or even remove it from your home screen.

First off, tap the home button to make sure you're at the top of … Read more

Add Google Now style to New Tab page in Chrome

The abundance of unused white space on the New Tab page in Chrome lends developers ample options for sprucing it up. While the extension I'm about to suggest isn't anything groundbreaking, it's definitely one of the better options out there in terms of usefulness.

Literally called "New Tab Page," this Chrome extension makes your New Tab useful and attractive but doesn't gain any creativity points for its name. Installing the extension is quick: just head to the entry for New Tab Page on the Chrome Web Store and click Add to Chrome. … Read more

Let guests DJ your party

I get all panicked when I have to put together music for a party. It's not because I hate music; it's because I love it too much.

Putting together a playlist is like putting my ego on the line. If someone doesn't like a song I picked out -- or just fails to love it as much as I hoped they would -- it has the power to send me into a depressive spiral of self-loathing.

I'm weird that way. I could never make it as a DJ.

That why I was excited to see CNET … Read more

How to hook up a subwoofer to a stereo system

Subwoofers are used in most home theater systems, but subs can also radically improve the sound of stereo systems -- and not just the ones with small speakers. Subs can provide a foundation to the sound that few speakers can muster on their own. So adding a sub is not just about adding more and deeper bass; rather, a properly integrated subwoofer can improve the overall sound of the system.

Subwoofer connection to a two-channel system differs from the methods used in home theaters. AV receivers feature bass management to direct the low bass frequencies to the sub and the … Read more

Things to think about when buying speakers

The No. 1 question I get from readers is something along the lines of "What's the best speaker?" Some readers include a price range, which is a huge help, but there are a lot of factors that should be considered when selecting a speaker. Or to be more precise, a speaker system.

Speakers "play" the room, so room size and acoustics should be taken into consideration when buying speakers. The pair of 8-inch tall speakers that might sound great in a 10-by-12-foot bedroom probably won't cut it in a 25-by-40-foot living room, where you … Read more

Add shortcuts to Google services with Black Menu for Chrome

Depending on the version of Chrome you're using, you may have noticed some changes to the black navigation bar along the top of the Google homepage. For some, the bar is still there, and for others, it has completely disappeared. One developer decided to make his own navigation menu, and luckily you can use it too.

Black Menu, by Carlos Jeurissen, is a Chrome extension that adds quick links to all of the popular Google services, like Gmail, Maps, Drive, YouTube, among others. Instead of waiting for Google to decide if the navigation bar will stay or go, … Read more

How to set up the ultimate home theater PC

At some point, you've probably considered hooking your computer up to your TV. Maybe you even purchased a video cable, only to realize that being hunched over your computer and tethered to the TV is far from the awesome setup you had in mind.

Hooking up your computer to your TV can be as simple or as complex as you want. A basic setup lets you stream the occasional Web video, while a more advanced rig lets you access movie and music files from computers across your home network.

But the most brag-worthy home theater PCs (HTPCs) include all … Read more

German court invalidates Apple slide-to-unlock patent

In a legal victory for Google and Samsung, a German court has reportedly invalidated all patent claims related to Apple's "slide to unlock" user interface.

Today's ruling by Bundespatentgericht, Germany's federal patent court, is a setback for Apple, which has pressed the patent against Google's Motorola and Samsung in courts across Europe in attempts to secure injunctions preventing the companies' devices from being sold. However, the decision is appealable, according to Foss Patents blogger Florian Mueller, a paid consultant for several tech companies who was first to report on today's ruling.

The ruling, … Read more