Did you know that laptops and other devices without GPS hardware can determine your precise physical location—with just a Wi-Fi radio? Here’s how this often-overlooked feature of modern “Location Services” works. “Location Services” Is More Than GPS Modern operating systems—including iOS, iPadOS, Android, Windows 10, macOS, and Chrome OS—have their own “Location Services” systems built in. When an app—like a map or navigation app, for example—wants to request your location, it doesn’t just access your device’s GPS radio directly. Instead, it asks your operating system’s “Location Services” where you are. Modern Location Services systems use a variety of techniques to find your location. GPS is one of those techniques. But, when a GPS signal or GPS hardware is unavailable—or just too slow—Location Services has other tricks up its sleeve. For example, if your device has a cellular signal, it may triangulate your location based on signals from cellular towers. Based on the … [Read more...] about How Devices Use Wi-Fi to Determine Your Physical Location
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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?
There are a ton of generic OBD-II adapters you can use to make your car smarter . However, one stands out above the rest. Automatic Pro does more than just pair with your phone over Bluetooth. It has its own GPS, 3G radio with 5 years of free service, plus OnStar-like Crash Alert. Here’s how to set yours up. Setting up an Automatic Pro is a little different than most other OBD-II adapters. If you’re not familiar with OBD-II adapters, you can check out our guide here . While you can get a basic adapter for as little as $20, Automatic Pro costs $130 . For that extra cost, though, you get a more advanced system that’s not dependent on your phone. It can track your car even if someone else is driving it, it can sync to your phone without Bluetooth, and it comes with a free Crash Alert system. If Automatic detects that you’re in a severe accident, it will call your phone and ask if you need emergency services and send them to your location. What You’ll Need Before you get … [Read more...] about How to Set Up Your Automatic Pro OBD-II Adapter
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
After over three decades of Microsoft Windows success, there have been some clear failures along the way. With that in mind, we’ve picked the six worst versions of Windows. All of these made us want to stick to older, better versions of Windows, or use alternatives like Macs or Linux instead. The Ranking Criteria Most of us know a bad version of Windows when we see it. Maybe we’ve experienced personal pain in wrestling with its bugs, or lost time reinstalling it over and over again, or heard stories about how often it’s crashed. In developing this list, we considered the following metrics: How much people hated each version (appearances on other worst-of lists), how poorly it sold, how slowly it was adopted, how bad its reviews were, the length of its lifespan on the market, and our own personal experiences with the software. For fun, we also googled “Windows [x] Sucks,” and tallied up the results. Honestly, there’s no hard science to this, so you might not agree with … [Read more...] about The 6 Worst Versions of Windows, Ranked