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Your Guide to Private Browsing

InPrivate, Incognito, Private Browsing -- whatever they want to brand it -- all modern browsers offer a special mode designed to keep what you do online a secret from prying eyes. Despite different names and origins at different companies, they all work in basically similar ways: A new browser session is created that operates separately from your existing one, with its own history and cookies...

Your Complete Guide to Windows Security

We want to make one thing clear: we're not picking on Windows. But, the truth is, for a number of different reasons, keeping Microsoft's OS safe requires more thought and effort than other systems. Entailing more than hackers and viruses, being secure means protecting your privacy, securing your data, and ensuring that your account passwords are as robust as possible (and not written down on...

Dispatches from CES: 'Wall Street,' Balloon Porn and a Nasty Case of Gastroenteritis

Like Cinderella's magnificent chariot turning back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, the wondrous luster of CES quickly transformed into a big, rotten vegetable as we entered Day Two. Maybe it was the fact that the whole Switched crew came down with violent food poisoning (we're looking at you, CES-provided media luncheon), or maybe it was the fact that, despite its metastasizing breadth,...

6 Brilliant Laptops, From Budget to Big-Ticket

Share Despite the fact that most Americans have been doing it for at least a decade, buying a laptop is getting increasingly difficult. A laptop makes a great gift if you don't mind splurging a bit for somebody, but the range of models available and the minuscule differences between them make navigating the crowded notebook scene a daunting task. Before we go any further, let us explain why you...

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Review: Does Microsoft Deliver?

It's no secret that Internet Explorer has been the lame duck of the browser market since Firefox landed on the scene. One of the first things most tech-savvy people do with new PCs is install Google Chrome or The Fox, and with good reason. Though IE7 and IE8 did a lot to modernize the look and basic feature set of the default Windows browser, the truth is that, under the hood, it still couldn't...

The Week in Design: Rethinking Classic Forms

The Web is teeming with the unrealized ideas of both students and established designers who set out to produce astonishing renderings and prototypes for unusual products. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, money, or technology, many of those products never progress from the planning stages to the mass market. But that doesn't mean we can't salivate over them, nevertheless. This week saw...

Best Screen Capture Apps for OS X, Windows and Linux

There are a number of tools that we simply can't live without. For instance, we'd be lost without the ability to quickly take, manipulate and share screenshots with each other. A good screen capture app is essential for adding images to blog posts, sharing ideas and mocking the occasional typo. But you don't need to be a blogger to make good use of such a tool; they're great for capturing images...

New York Answers, 'What Is a Zune?'

Share We understand that Apple's brand-name recognition stretches from one hemisphere to the next, and that competitors face a nigh-impossible task of out-marketing the Cupertino giant. But, still, we expected at least a few people to get this one. Considering all the fanfare with which Microsoft released the Zune HD late last year, we'd have wagered that at least someone in the New York area...

Microsoft Hotmail Overhaul Aims to Unclutter Your E-mail, Lands This Summer

Microsoft veteran Chris Jones couldn't have been much more direct: while Hotmail is still a major player -- the top worldwide, in fact -- the mail client is underperforming in the U.S. and is "just behind on a bunch of features" compared to its competition. And so began our briefing today on a completely revamped Hotmail, the rollout of which hits around July or August this year. What we saw was...

Bad Men: The Five Worst Tech Ads and Five Who Got It Right

Share While we'd love to think we're immune to the coercive powers of advertising, we're confident that a lie detector test would shame us all. For the companies hoping to sell us their wares, that would seem like great news, but the blade of advertising cuts both ways; a bad commercial or ad campaign can conversely turn out to be a powerful disincentive. In the tech world, biases toward or...

Microsoft Security Essentials Offers Fast, Powerful and Free Malware Protection

What it is: Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-malware and anti-virus package, designed to compete with both commercial and free offerings like AVG and Norton. What we like: First, and most obviously, we like the price point; it's hard to argue with free. But no matter how free an app is, if it sucks, there's no reason to install it. Thankfully, there is plenty more to like about...

Get Your E-Spring Cleaning Done With OnyX and CCleaner

We've got a double dose of Switched Downloads for you. Normally we try to cover cross platform apps so everyone can get in on the fun, but with the category of app we're covering today, that just isn't an option. CCleaner and OnyX are system cleaning and optimization tools for Windows and Mac respectively. We searched for a comparable product for Linux, but the closest we could find is the...

The Great CES Swindle: Five Years of Flaunting and Failing

Since long before Switched was even a twinkle in the Internet's eye, we've been making the annual January pilgrimage to Sin City to pay homage to the tech gods. And every year -- sometimes days, sometimes weeks, or sometimes months after the fact -- we realize that we done got played. We inevitably find that, at some point, amid the hustle and bustle, the lights and music and product pitches, we...

Is the Zune HD Better Than the iPod?

Hype Check: Zune HD What it is: You've no doubt heard of Zune -- Microsoft's much-hyped personal media player (PMP) -- but you may not have seen much of it. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the device hasn't exactly caught on with the mainstream, with Apple's iPod (not to mention iPhone) still dominating the space. Zune HD is the Zune's third iteration and it comes in 16 -gigabyte (GB) and 32GB...

Is Apple More Evil Than Microsoft?

We're not exactly huge Microsoft boosters around here. Most of us in the Switched offices are devoted Mac users, and there's at least one professed Linux nerd in house. We regularly joke that it takes just as long in 2009 to open Microsoft Word as it did back in 1992. Operating system preferences aside, we can't help but feel as though Microsoft is getting a raw deal. The Redmond-based company is...