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6 security tips for using public Wi-Fi

6 security tips for using public Wi-Fi

Don't expose yourself in public. We all do it: switch on a phone, laptop, or tablet and hop on to a Wi-Fi hotspot in airports, coffee shops, trains, hotels, and other public places. The problem is, those networks are open -- even if they require a login and password, you may be sharing your files or leaving doors open to data thieves. You can't secure the network, but you can raise siege walls between your private information and the barbarians. Follow these six tips to network more safely.

1. Lock down your security settings.

Go to the security … Read more

Heartbleed: Two steps to protect your information

Heartbleed: Two steps to protect your information

Heartbleed is a security flaw that's plaguing as much as two-thirds of the Internet, including many popular sites like Yahoo and GitHub. On sites affected by Heartbleed, user accounts are vulnerable -- your username, password, credit card number, and other private information may be exposed. Companies are scrambling to patch their sites.

But don't sit around waiting for a fix. Take these two defensive steps (and one more if you have an Android device):

1. Check whether your most-visited sites are vulnerable

CNET has already checked the top 100 sites to see if they have Heartbleed patches, so … Read more

Windows 8.1 announcements at Build 2014

Windows 8.1 announcements at Build 2014

Today Microsoft officially announced upcoming features for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 at the Build developer conference in San Francisco.

The Windows Phone 8.1 update introduces the Action Center, a slide-down panel for notifications and phone activity similar to what's available for iOS and Android. The update brings customizable notification settings for developers, including app-specific triggers for vibration and sound.

Another big update is the introduction of Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant powered by the Bing search engine. Though the keynote demo had some hiccups, Cortana's voice recognition shows a lot of progress and … Read more

Spruce up your PC for spring with these top apps

Spruce up your PC for spring with these top apps

Every machine needs tune-ups, and that includes your PC. Without regular cleaning and updates, your system performance suffers, slowed down by hefty files and unneeded software. Fortunately, many fine -- and free! -- utilities can do the system spring cleaning for you. Here's a roundup of our favorites.

CCleaner

CCleaner is one of our go-to, no-nonsense Registry cleaners. It scans your PC for junk files, unnecessary Registry entries, and unused cookies. It's good practice to run these scans at least once a month.

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller is an alternate uninstallation utility for Windows. What it lacks in … Read more

Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on)

Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- The new Nokia X Software Platform unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2014 is kind of like the wedding adage: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Here, the phone-maker borrows, bends, and recombines elements of Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia's own Asha OS as a response to a particularly sticky conundrum: how to make users' beloved Android apps run on a non-Google-looking phone, thereby avoiding a betrayal of partner-and-soon-to-be-parent Microsoft.

The result is an awkward amalgamation that doesn't do justice to any of the hybrid platform's component parts. For someone familiar with all … Read more

Mozilla to rekindle Firefox OS interest at MWC

Mozilla to rekindle Firefox OS interest at MWC

Mozilla lit up Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year with its flashy debut of Firefox OS, the light, browser-based mobile operating system intended to sweep across emerging markets as a low-cost Android alternative.

While several handsets did see the light of day, including the Alcatel OneTouch Fire and a trio of Geeksphones, the OS certainly felt underbaked to us.

Now, Mozilla will return to the mobile megashow with a press conference to spread its message like wildfire, and to show off its latest progress and products. We'll be there on the ground, following the action.

Build your own dream game console with SteamOS

Build your own dream game console with SteamOS

With the flood of Steam machines introduced at CES, both casual and hardcore gamers have plenty of console options. But gamers with maxed-out hardware -- or those who just don't want to shell out for a Linux system in a pretty case -- can build their very own Steam box using the beta build of SteamOS. Here's how to set up your Steam machine.

What You Need

Processor: Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor Memory: 4GB or more RAM Hard drive: 500GB or larger disk Video card: Nvidia graphics card (Sorry, AMD and Intel graphics folks AMD and … Read more

Apple delivers OS X Mavericks update with Mail fixes

Apple delivers OS X Mavericks update with Mail fixes

Apple has released the first update to its OS X Mavericks operating system. The update, which Apple has been working on since before the initial release of Mavericks, offers the usual stability and compatibility fixes for the operating system, and is a recommended update for all who are using OS X.

The update 10.9.1 revolves largely around the use of Apple's Mail program and its integration with services like Gmail, and specifically improves the following features of OS X:

Improved support for Gmail in OS X Mail, and fixes for users with custom Gmail settings Improves the … Read more

OS wars 2013: How the latest Mac and Windows upgrades compare

OS wars 2013: How the latest Mac and Windows upgrades compare

Last year when Mountain Lion and Windows 8 were released, I wrote a piece comparing the Mac and Windows operating systems, and concluded that Apple took the better path by keeping its tablet and desktop operating systems separate. With Windows 8 Microsoft gave its operating system a complete makeover, asking that people change the way they use their computers. Now that the two operating systems have updated with Mac OS X Mavericks and Windows 8.1, I thought I should take another look at both to see if the update did anything to change my mind.

For full disclosure, I … Read more

Windows 8.1 is finally here!

Windows 8.1 is finally here!

On Thursday, the long-awaited update for Windows 8 was finally released into the wild. Windows 8.1 brings a slew of new features, upgrades, and overall improvements to the operating system and every app that comes with it.

If you've been using the Preview version of 8.1, many of these features should already seem familiar: swiping up from the base brings up the All Apps drawer, desktop backgrounds can move in parallax effect, and of course, the obligatory "Start" button is back (though it's just a visual icon for the home screen).

Other changes include … Read more