How to find free Internet for your laptop while traveling

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Sure, you can do a lot on a smartphone, phablet, or slate, but there are times when only a laptop will do. Unfortunately, situations like this always seem to pop-up while I'm on the road with no obvious Internet access.

But have no fear, weary traveler. This is no time to cave and start paying for Wi-Fi. Instead, put this three-step plan for finding free(ish) Wi-Fi into action before you even think about paying for that Boingo or Gogo day pass.

Wi-Fi hotspots

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Office 2013 tips: How to open common files quickly and save to any cloud storage service

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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We may live in the era of free productivity apps like Google Docs and Office Online, but I still find value in owning the paid, desktop-bound version of Microsoft's productivity suite—especially with all the extras Microsoft keeps throwing at Office 365 subscribers, like boundless cloud storage.

Today, I've got two quick tips for Office 2013 owners and Office 365 customers. One helps you keep your oft-used files and folders at the top of your Office suite apps, and the second one is for those who prefer to use Dropbox or another cloud storage service over OneDrive.

Pin your files

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How to automatically delete your cookies every time you close your browser

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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On Monday, Mozilla introduced a new Forget button to Firefox that makes it really easy to clean out your recent cookies and browsing history in one click.The new button gives you options to wipe out your history and cookies from the last 5 minutes, or 2 or 24 hours.

That's great if you feel the need to wipe out your history and cookies infrequently. But if you're trying to stymie online tracking cookies, you need a more permanent solution.

One way to defeat online tracking—at least a little bit—is to flush your cookies every time you shut down your browser.

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3 things to consider before ditching your laptop for a tablet

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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For a few years now I’ve been watching tablets develop into ever more potent machines, with an eye towards making the jump from a laptop to a slate for my mobile workstation. Sure, people have been working on iPads for years, but until recently it’s always seemed like a bit of a hack to me.

But between a legion of slimmed-down, powered-up Windows tablets hitting the streets and the increasing performance of the iPad, the day may soon come when I officially make the leap. And PCWorld senior editor Mark Hachman has already embraced the Surface Pro 3 for work and for play.

If you’ve been thinking about making the switch too, here’s a look at three features to keep top of mind when pondering the jump from a clamshell to a tablet.

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Make Chrome's New Tab page beautiful and more productive with these extensions

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Browser extensions excel at making your browser more useful, but these customizations often aren't about improving the actual look of the browser itself, Firefox's earth-changing UI themes aside.

That makes sense: Browser aesthetics are pretty clearly defined, with not a whole lot to improve—except when it comes to Chrome's New Tab page.

googlestocktab

Chrome's new tab page.

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Back up your PC's files for free with these 3 tools

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Regular backups are often the only thing that can save your bacon when a hard drive failure or otherwise catastrophic PC meltdown occurs. If your files go poof, they're gone forever unless you've safely stashed copies elsewhere.

You would ideally have at least two back-ups: one kept at home and one stored off-site—a feat that’s easily done with cloud solutions like Backblaze or CrashPlan. There are also various kinds of back-ups you can do like system images that include your files and an OS backup.

But today we’re going to focus on a trio of free, automated tools to back up just your personal files to an external hard drive or other PC—because that’s really the most critical stuff you want to save. PCs and their operating systems can be replaced, but treasured photos of your kids or accounting documents? Not so much.

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Two good reasons to stick with POP3 email over IMAP

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Lately, I’ve noticed quite a few stories and discussions online centering around the always popular debate about whether to use IMAP or POP3 for email. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, IMAP and POP3 are the protocols you use to access email via clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, or Android's stock email app.

The general consensus is that the more modern IMAP is the way to go and the aging POP3 standard should be abandoned at all costs.

But that’s just not the case. In fact, I am going to point out two very good reasons to go on using POP3, or perhaps even actively switch to it.

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