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Stories by Rick Broida

Six browser plug-ins that protect your privacy

By Rick Broida | 17 October, 2014 21:43

It's no stretch to say that ads are what make the Web go 'round. The content you're reading right now? Paid for by ads. Google, Facebook, Pandora, YouTube? Driven by ads. This is not a new concept: TV and radio have relied on commercials since their earliest days. Because, let's face it, something has to pay for all the free programming and services.

OnePlus One deep-dive review: Unbeatable value for Android geeks

By Rick Broida | 07 July, 2014 20:38

With a starting price of just $299, the unlocked, Cyanogen-powered OnePlus One Android phone beats the bigger brands at their own game.

How to save on mobile plans: Your guide to 16 no-contract carriers

By Rick Broida | 24 April, 2014 23:34

The mobile-phone industry is in a state of flux. Where once you had little choice but to buy a subsidized phone from a major carrier and pay two years' worth of whatever monthly fees it chose to levy, now you have options aplenty.

Leap Motion Controller review: A touchscreen interface without the touching

By Rick Broida | 27 July, 2013 10:07

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?

The 7 Best Podcasts for Business Users

By Rick Broida | 11 May, 2012 15:12

Last week you learned how to avoid gridlock during your daily commute. Of course, you can't avoid that commute altogether, which is why it's smart to make the most of time you have to spend in the car (or, for that matter, on bus, plane, train, etc.).

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

By Rick Broida | 02 November, 2011 09:17

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.

Make sure all your Google Contacts sync to your iOS device

By Rick Broida | 27 October, 2011 09:28

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?

Browsing tips: Slow-loading sites, Google Chrome tweak

By Rick Broida | 05 October, 2011 08:52

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.

Learn how to run programs from your flash drive

By Rick Broida | 27 April, 2011 08:15

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

Turn Amazon Cloud drive into desktop-accessible storage

By Rick Broida | 15 April, 2011 06:29

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.

Add a spell-checker to Internet Explorer

By Rick Broida | 12 April, 2011 06:45

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.)

Can your system handle Windows 7?

By Rick Broida | 06 April, 2011 02:46

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.

Firefox 4 tip: Why your status bar keeps switching sides

By Rick Broida | 01 April, 2011 01:59

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

Firefox 4 tip: Keep tabs open between sessions

By Rick Broida | 30 March, 2011 03:30

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.)

Firefox 4 tips: Bend the new browser to your will

By Rick Broida | 30 March, 2011 03:28

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.