Stories by Patrick Miller

Going VoIP-only: Do you still need cellular voice service?

These days, smartphones with speedy Web connectivity are easy to find, so consumers should be able to get by with just a roomy data plan, dumping voice service in favor of VoIP. But is that practical? To see how feasible cutting voice service is, I decided to go VoIP-only for a week, on the new T-Mobile/Walmart prepaid plan that offers 5GB of 4G data on T-Mobile's HSPA+ 14.4 network for a measly $30 per month.

4 stupid tech tricks, tested

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." When you read those words, you might imagine yourself showing an iPad to someone from the 1800s. You probably don't think twice about blowing into your old Nintendo Game Paks to get them to load properly. I mean, you know how those work, right?

Google Plus: 8 quick tips and tricks

Google Plus (aka Google+), Google's new social network, might offer the right mix of sharing and privacy to woo you away from your Facebook account.

Tablet or netbook? How to choose the right mobile tech

Tablets, netbooks, smartphones--these days, you can't buy a microwave without being upsold on the touchscreen, app-store model. But when you're picking out your preferred mobile tech for work (or even for play), you can't rely on a features chart or a list of specs to tell you what you should buy.

28 iPad 2 tips and tricks

Your new iPad 2 might not be as full-featured (or as complicated) as a laptop or desktop PC, but a few neat tricks are still hidden between the surface. Read on to learn how to secure your iPad, sync your bookmarks, and more.

HDTVs at CES: Small steps in the big picture

Whether they were big or small, LED or plasma, all the HDTVs on the CES 2011 show floor had one thing in common--they took the best that came out of last year, and added several slight, but significant, improvements.

Hands-on With Vizio's New Theater 3D HDTVs

On Monday, Vizio announced their new Theater 3D HDTV lineup: Every TV in their E-series, M-series, and XVT-series line will include support for 3D TV. However, instead of using the active-shutter glasses that were so prevalent (and expensive) in 2010's 3D TVs, Vizio worked with a manufacturer called Sensio to implement polarized 3D--the same kind of 3D found in most movie theaters.

LG announces 'flicker free' LW6500 cinema 3D TV

In what may turn out to be a sneak peek of CES 2011 HDTV trends, LG announced the newest entry to their 2011 HDTV lineup--and it's a 3D TV that doesn't use the heavy, expensive active-shutter 3D glasses.

BitTorrent for beginners

Comcast wants to kill it, your next wireless router will probably have it built-in, and you can use it to download the entire GeoCities archive. BitTorrent has come a long way since its public release on July 2, 2001, but unless you're a regular media pirate, you probably haven't used it much. Read on to find out how it works and to clear up a few common misconceptions about it.

Technology's Biggest Myths

As it turns out, Windows Vista really wasn't all that slow; and no, your PC probably won't fry if you open it up without wearing a wrist strap. Thanks in large part to the Internet, the tech world is teeming with lies, half-truths, and misinformation. We've dug up some of the Web's most notorious nuggets of conventional wisdom to see which hold up to scrutiny and which are merely urban legends.

Robocop Ran DOS: Stupid movie tech moments

Virtually no sci-fi or action flick these days is complete without a computer scene showing a few screens of mysterious scrolling text and a 3D wire-frame model. But where does this vaguely tech-looking stuff come from? Well, more often than

55 super software secrets

The apps you use most--your Web browser, productivity tools, media managers, and Windows and its built-in accessories--are more powerful than you realize. They are loaded with unpublicized features that make your PC easier to use, they respond to superquick keyboard shortcuts that you've never heard about, and they support add-ons and plug-ins that can shave minutes or even hours off of mundane daily chores.

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