3 things to consider before ditching your laptop for a tablet

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

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.


Chrome's new tab page.

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

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

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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Stop typing and start dictating documents in Windows

The easiest way to operate your PC is with your hands whether you're navigating a touch screen, or using a mouse and keyboard. But for some people that's just not possible, especially when it comes to typing.

Maybe you broke your finger or you suffer from a repetitive strain injury that makes typing impossible. Or perhaps you simply want to get work done while running on a treadmill.

But just because you can't type doesn't mean you can't create documents. All you need is a microphone for your PC and Microsoft Word to take the stress off your hands and start using your voice.

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Three services that take the headache out of creating a website

Even in this time of Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook many people argue you need your own online presence with a personal or professional website. Having your own website gives you a place to represent you that is under your complete control.

There are a wide number of services that make it easy to create something quickly, even if you don’t have a deep knowledge of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript (JS)—the building blocks of the web.

Here are three free services that can help you create a website. By default, they all direct your newly created site to a generic domain name, but all three also let you use your own purchased website name if you choose.

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Three easy ways to create a collaborative photo album

Special events like holidays, weddings, and school reunions just beg to be captured in pictures—but organizing photos from friends and family after the event can be a pain. 

It doesn't have to be! Here are three easy ways to collect everybody's photos and share them with all participants after your get-together is over.


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