While you’re still waiting on your refrigerator or your microwave to be as smart as your phone, the car in your garage is already ahead of the curve. If you own a vehicle made after 1996, you can connect to it with a simple device called an OBD-II adapter and find out your fuel efficiency, diagnose check engine lights, and gather a ton of other useful data. Most cars manufactured since the 80s have an on-board diagnostics (or OBD) computer inside. These computers allow mechanics and regulators to troubleshoot any computer-controlled parts of the car. From January 1st, 1996 onward, all cars sold within the US were required to have an OBD-II compatible port. This allows anyone with an adapter to read information from the car. You may have seen this when a technician checks your emissions. For the most part, OBD-II tools were only used by professionals to do things like figure out why you check engine light is on, or to make sure your car is meeting emission standards. However, … [Read more...] about How to Make Your Car Smarter with an OBD-II Adapter
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Your smartphone — and other devices that use Wi-Fi — broadcast a unique number when they search for nearby Wi-Fi networks. A device’s unique MAC address is sent along with “probe requests” that search for nearby Wi-Fi networks. This tracking problem isn’t just theoretical. Advertisers in London used Wi-Fi-enabled garbage cans to track people’s movements around the city . The Wi-Fi specification wasn’t designed for a world where people carried Wi-Fi-scanning devices in their pockets all day long. Why Your Devices Have Unique MAC Addresses RELATED: How (and Why) to Change Your MAC Address on Windows, Linux, and Mac Each physical network interface — whether it’s a wired Ethernet card in a desktop PC or a Wi-Fi chipset in a smartphone — ships with a unique MAC address. This number is designed to be unique to the hardware. This lets networks you connect to identify the device. For example, at home, you could adjust your home router’s settings to assign static IP … [Read more...] about Your Devices Broadcast Unique Numbers, and They’re Being Used to Track You
Google TV devices, like the Chromecast with Google TV , are great at surfacing content to watch, but not all of that content is family-friendly. Thankfully, you can set up a specific profile for your kids, complete with parental controls. You can have multiple profiles for everyone in your home on Google TV devices. The Kids profiles have a bunch of extra controls, including bedtimes, viewing limits, app monitoring, and more. Creating a Kids profile will add them as a member to your Google Family . It’s not the same as creating a Kids profile from scratch, as you won’t be assigning them a Gmail address. Let’s get started. RELATED: What's the Difference between Google TV and Android TV? On the Google TV home screen, select your profile icon in the top-right corner. From the menu, select your account. Now, choose “Add a Kid” to proceed. Next, you’ll be greeted with a friendly introduction screen. Select “Get Started.” If you previously added … [Read more...] about How to Add a Kids Profile to Google TV
So, you’re thinking about buying an Xbox. Do you want a Series X or S? Is your existing TV good enough, or do you need to upgrade? And will you have to stand the console up like some sort of monolith? Let’s answer the most pressing Xbox Series X and S questions. What’s the Difference Between Series X and S? The Xbox Series X costs $499, while the Series S retails for $299. Beyond price, the main difference between the two consoles is graphical power. They have similar CPUs, but the GPU on the Series S has about one-third of the raw power the Series X has. The Series X sets a target of 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps), while the Series S settles for a more modest 1440p, also at 60 fps. On paper, this should be the only difference. However, in practice, we’ve seen games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla also cut back on features like ray tracing in the Series S version. The Series X has a 1TB SSD, while the Series S only comes with 512GB. The Series S is an … [Read more...] about Everything You Need to Know Before Buying an Xbox Series X|S
If you drive to the same place every day (say, to or from work), you’d probably like to know how long it will take you to get there before you leave. Thanks to the Shortcuts on iPhone , it’s easy to make a dedicated shortcut that speaks the live commute time to your home, office, or another destination. Here’s how. Your iPhone will get this estimate from Apple Maps, predicting the current time it will take you to commute to the destination based on live traffic and other factors. First, open the Shortcuts app. If you can’t find it, swipe downward with one finger on your home screen and type “Shortcuts” in the search box. Tap the “Shortcuts” icon when you see it in the results. With Shortcuts open, tap “My Shortcuts” at the bottom of the screen, then add a new shortcut with the plus (“+”) button. In the “New Shortcut” page, tap the ellipses button (three dots in a circle), then tap the “Shortcut Name” field and enter a new name that you’d like. We chose “Speak Travel … [Read more...] about How to Hear a Commute Time Estimate in One Tap on iPhone
As a hobby, vintage computing is on the rise. A generation that grew up with classic PCs is looking back and revisiting the glory days of the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s with the authentic machines. But what’s the best way to get the hardware? We’ll show you the options. The Catch: Many Vintage Computers Need Repair Before we begin, there are some “gotchas” you should know about buying vintage computers. Unless a machine has been shown to be in working condition, don’t buy it, because the older it is, the less likely it is to work as soon as you get it. That makes an “as-is” purchase risky for people who don’t have the technical background to repair or recondition a vintage PC. Almost no PCs were designed with three-decade longevity in mind. As a result, these sensitive electronic devices include components that degrade over time. Here are some frequent problems that pop up with vintage PCs: Plastics discolor or become brittle Rubber components or cables degrade and get … [Read more...] about What’s the Best Way to Buy a Vintage Computer?