This year, we broke down some tough subjects, from technical how-tos to psychological theory, many of them inspired by reader questions. Here are some of our favourite explainers from 2011.
Recent information has come to light showing that Facebook keeps track of where you are on the web without your consent. Here's how to protect yourself, and keep your browsing habits to yourself. More »
We consume an enormous amount of sugar, whether consciously or not, but it's a largely misunderstood substance. There are different kinds and different ways your body processes them all. More »
We spent a week learning all about your home network, your routers, and all the cool things you can do with them. Here's the complete guide that will teach you how to pick out the best network hardware, get to know it better, make it perform at its best, and more. More »
Some computers (like Macs) always warn you about disconnecting flash drives without ejecting, while Windows doesn't seem to have a problem-in fact, some USB drives don't even have an eject option. More »
Dear Lifehacker, I've heard that we're running out of IP addresses and we need to switch to a new system called IPv6, but I don't understand any of it. More »
Dear Lifehacker, I'm not a huge nerd, but everyone's talking about switching to HTTPS on Facebook because it's so much better. Why is it better and why should I care? More »
Dear Lifehacker, I hear a lot of arguing about "lossless" and "lossy" music these days, but I'm having a hard time getting straight answers. Does bitrate really matter? More »
Stress is an unpleasant fact of life. We all experience it for various reasons, and we all try to come up with ways of coping with it-some with more success than others. More »
Vengeance is evil but often sweet, and it can be hard to pass up when someone really pisses you off. Here's a look at how revenge works, how best to enact it, and if it's really worthwhile at all. More »
You can customise nearly every last inch of your Linux installation to fit your liking, and it starts with choosing the right desktop environment. Whether you're a Linux beginner or you're just looking for a new interface, here's an overview of how desktop environments work and how to pick the right one for you. More »
Dear Lifehacker, I've done lots of research about my Internet Service Provider's relationship with my uTorrent activity, but I still don't feel entirely confident in my knowledge about what they see. More »
Towing the line between keeping your private information secure and still conveniently accessible is always a challenge, but you can make it a little easier-and fun-by coming up with your own simple encryption schemes that you can decode easily in your head. More »
Dear Lifehacker, Google's CEO said something about a new version, but it's coming after Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb"), and it ties in with Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread'), which really hasn't moved out yet, and might also update. More »
Advertisements aren't inherently bad, but many use manipulative tactics that influence in ways we don't even realise. Despite how much you think you ignore them, and how little you may believe they affect you, that's not necessarily the case. More »
There you have it. We've tackled some pretty hefty subjects this year, but hopefully we're all a little more knowledgeable on the things that affect us every day. Whether your favourite made the list or not, let us know which explainers were your favourite in 201. And, if you're really thirsty for knowledge, check out our most popular explainers of 2010, too. Here's to a great year!