Computers and hardware

How to migrate Time Machine backups to a new drive

Apple's Time Machine feature in OS X is a convenient way to maintain a fully recoverable backup of your system. But sometimes you might wish to upgrade your Time Machine drive, either because you suspect a problem with your current one or simply wish to have a larger drive.

Unfortunately Apple does not provide much instruction for doing this, and for the most part the recommended approach is to start a new set of backups on the new drive. In doing this, you can leave your prior backups intact on the old drive and access them if needed, but … Read more

How to set up an ergonomic workstation

Stop whatever you're doing and freeze. Well, keep reading this article, but as you do, evaluate your body. Does anything -- your neck, perhaps -- feel achy? How's your posture? And your wrists and fingers -- are they okay after all that typing and texting?

While working long hours at the computer, you've complained about (and subsequently ignored) the toll desk work takes on your body. But it's easy to brush off the daily aches and pains when the solution is so unclear.

If you're lucky, your company might offer its employees ergonomic consultations. But, … Read more

How to boot to another hard disk in OS X

There are times when you may need to boot to a volume other than the main OS X installation on your Mac, whether to try a specific software configuration without affecting your main workflow, or to troubleshoot an existing OS X installation by loading a fresh one from an external drive, or even to boot and use a Linux or Windows installation.

The standard way to do this for Apple's systems is very simple. When you boot your computer, hold down the Option key -- before or after hearing the boot chimes, depending on the type of keyboard you'… Read more

Tips and tricks to improve your Chromecast experience

Demand appears to be sky-high for Google's $35 TV dongle. The low price tag proved to be appealing to consumers, who have been quick to adopt the company's latest gadget. Hours after being announced late last month, the Chromecast had already sold out across a variety of outlets.

Despite there being only a handful of compatible applications, such as Netflix, Google Play Music, and YouTube, various workarounds have been discovered that enable more content to be delivered to the popular device.

Here are a few tips and tricks that could improve your Chromecast experience:

1. Play local media … Read more

Wake-up call: Are you making these five ergonomics mistakes?

At some point, you've probably been given advice for making your workstation "more ergonomic." Friends and colleagues tell you to raise your monitor a little here, nudge your keyboard a little there, and maybe even purchase one of those fancy (read: expensive) chairs.

Ideally, we'd all be hearing such advice from certified ergonomics professionals. In the real world, however, most of us will likely never speak to such experts, much less have the luxury of an ergo evaluation.

If you're reading this article, you're already taking a long stride in the right direction. Get … Read more

How to pipe command output to the clipboard in OS X

When you run commands in the OS X Terminal, they will usually output some result, such as the information you are trying to look up, or status details about the command being run. By default this output is send to the Terminal window, where it is displayed for you to see before the command exits and drops you back to the command prompt. If you are intending to use this output for something you can copy and paste it into another file, but there are other ways to save the information that you may find helpful.

One common approach to … Read more

How to fill an uneditable PDF form in OS X

The PDF format is commonly used to provide electronic forms and other documents, and often these will require you to fill them out and submit them for processing somewhere. Often, such PDFs are given form properties where you can click various fields to edit them and input the necessary information; however, often this is not the case, and those distributing the form simply have it as a basic and apparently uneditable PDF.

In these cases, you may find yourself printing the PDF, filling it out by hand, and then scanning it back into your system to submit; however, this is … Read more

How to set up and manage Netflix profiles

Ever since I signed up for Netflix's streaming-only plan, its suggestions have been largely useless. That's because my two kids have been the majority users of the service from the start and, thus, have clogged up Netflix's recommendation engine with Disney sitcoms (courtesy of my daughter) and superheroes and mutant turtles (my son). Thankfully, I can now keep their fare separate from mine (and each other's) because Netflix has introduced profiles.

When you access Netflix from a computer, you should see a pop-up window with one profile already created from your existing account along with a … Read more

Home networking explained, Part 8: Cable modem shopping tips

Editors' note: This post is part of an ongoing series. For the other parts, check out the related stories section below.

If you're looking for the best home broadband speeds, cable Internet service is still the go-to choice for most users. But what many people don't know is that they may be paying more than they need to for cable broadband -- especially if they use the equipment provided by the cable company.

Indeed, many users can save upward of $7 per month -- more than $80 per year -- on their current cable Internet service. To that … Read more

Pin Twitter lists and user profiles to the Windows 8 Start screen

If you follow a lot of Twitter users and lists, but have a just a handful that you track closely, the new Twitter for Windows 8 has a feature you might be interested in. The latest update to the Twitter app from the Windows Store now lets you pin your favorite lists and user profiles to the Windows 8 Start screen.

Combined with the upcoming Windows 8.1 release that allows you to customize the Start screen, you can dedicate a section of the Start screen for the Twitter profiles and lists that interest you the most. Here's how:… Read more