Quantcast
Latest StoriesHow-To
    Handbrake vs. Freemake: Video Converter Showdown
    Handbrake is a very capable video converter, and while it's not the only option out there, it's one of the best. But that could soon change. A new video conversion utility (Windows only) is putting a spin on many of Handbrake's best features — and the results aren't half bad, either.
     
    Freemake Video Converter. Today we're going to see how it stacks up to Handbrake, and whether it's worth your time. 
     
    How To Properly Tweak Msconfig To Speed Up Windows
    If you’ve ever had to research a major Windows error, you’ve probably run across msconfig, the handy Windows utility. Msconfig provides insight into what your computer is doing behind the scenes, and lets you take control of processes that you’d normally never encounter directly. If you haven’t used this valuable diagnostic asset yet, it’s time to give it a try. Learn to use msconfig well, and you’ll have a powerful new item in your mental tech toolbox.



    How To Best Export Photos from Your Android Phone
    Here's the scenario, you just took a picture with your Android phone, and you want that file on your computer. Sure, you could drag out the cable and plug in your phone to transfer it over. But what is this, the stone age? Android is designed to be a connected operating system that doesn't rely on being tethered to a PC. So why break out the cable when you need to move some images off? 


     
    How To Make the Switch to Google Chrome Browser
    By now you’ve probably heard about a little web browser called Google Chrome. But maybe you haven’t had a chance to try it yet? It’s cool, we know you’ve been busy these past few years. Or perhaps you’ve used Chrome in the past, but have let the link sit idling on your desktop, while the silent updater has added a wealth of new features. Either way, you should put Google’s ever-more-popular browser to the test, and make it work for you.


     
    How To Master Typing with Swype Keyboard for Android
    Since it is that time of year, the fine folks at Swype have reopened their ongoing beta for Android devices. That means you can have yourself some gesture text input for absolutely free. Swype is unlike most other text input options. Instead of tapping, you draw a line passing through the necessary letters. It's been imitated, but if you ask us, not yet duplicated. Some users aren't sold on Swype just yet. 


     
    How To Monitor Your Bandwidth Usage on PC and Mac
    Not everyone has the luxury of an uncapped connection these days — especially those of you in the mobile world. There's not much we can do to make things better, but at the very least, there are ways to keep you from incurring those pesky overage charges.



    Three File Sharing Programs That Dropbox Can't Touch
    We all love Dropbox. It's a free, convenient way to backup and share files— or even do some cool tricks. But if you’re defaulting to Dropbox for every file sharing need, you may be missing out. With a little searching, you can find other options that have their own interesting takes on moving data from one place to another. For certain purposes, in fact, some of the alternatives even have distinct advantages over that handy little blue box.

     
    How To Completely Secure Your Data on Android Phones
    Your phone travels around with you all day, giving you ample opportunity to lose it, or simply let it out of your sight for a time. It is increasingly common that people carry personal, and sometimes sensitive data on their mobile phones. There are a few simple tricks you can use with Android to make sure no prying eyes can access your data. 


     
    When to Upgrade Your Graphics Card and Other Hardware
    I’ve been there. Something cool – really cool comes out. It just sets of that itch inside you, that gotta have itch that only plunking down your credit card and installing that shiny new piece of hardware can scratch. Case in point: graphics card. If you’re a PC gamer like me, a new GPU emerging from the mists of NDA-land and onto store shelves sets off that gotta have itch more than any other PC hardware. You just know in your heart of hearts that the new graphics card will make your gaming experience 1,000x better. 
     
    No, it won’t. Unless you’re coming from really old hardware, a new graphics card will only incrementally improve performance. If your system is several generations old, you probably have more performance issues than a new GPU will solve. If you’re running last generation’s graphics, you’re probably in pretty good shape. So you should hold onto that credit card for now.


     
    How To Keep Your Online Passwords Safe And Secure
    You've probably heard by now that the Gawker network — purveyors of all things gossip, gadgets and games — suffered from a particularly nasty security breach earlier this week. Not only was staff email breached and crucial servers hacked, but a sizable number of user passwords were exposed as well — over 1.3 million, according to the group responsible. 

    But while these sort of breaches are never fun to report on, it reinforces the importance of a secure password for your online accounts. A staggering number of users had actually used "password" as part of their login credentials, or variations of "qwerty" instead — and as readers of our site should know, that's just not going to cut it.


    How To Make the Most Out of Google Voice on Android
    Google Voice is a great service is you take the time to get to know it. Even the concept can be a little hard to grasp. Nowhere is Google Voice more completely integrated than in Android. There are apps, extensions, and web interfaces to become familiar with. Each piece of the puzzle gets you one step closer to a more coordinated Google Voice experience. 


     
    How To Protect Yourself from Windows and Firefox Crashes
    Windows has made some wonderful strides since the debut of Windows 95. The operating system that brought us the Start menu and task bar crashed aggressively and almost seemed to delight in delivering that dreaded blue screen of death. Things have gotten better since then. Vista may have been something of a misstep (and we don’t even want to talk about Windows ME) but Windows 7 is stable, slick and intuitive.



    We’ll lead the way.
     
    How To Root the Most Popular Android Phones, and Why You'd Want To
    Android is a very capable operating system in its shipping form. But there may come a time that you just want a little more control. Rooting your phone can be a rewarding experience. There are a number of reasons you might want to do this. For instance, some apps require root access to work. Or maybe you want to flash a third-party ROM on the device. Whatever your intended results, you should proceed carefully as these operations can often damage your phone. 
     

     
    How To Choose an Android Phone and Not Get Screwed on Updates
    Since Google has finally announced version 2.3 of the Android OS, also known as Gingerbread, the time has come for people to start clamoring for an update. Some phones will probably be bumped up fairly quickly, while others will languish in the doldrums of Froyo, or maybe even Éclair. Samsung has been using some vague, discouraging language regarding a Galaxy S update, which is surprising. 


     
    How To Properly Convert Your Vinyl Record Collection to Digital
    A veritable treasure trove of classic vinyl recently fell into my lap, bursting with treasures like "Blood on the Tracks" and "Led Zeppelin I"--it’s a collection of hundreds for me to listen to, enjoy . . . and rip. There’s something a little bit magic about vinyl that separates it from the digital music libraries we use today: the incredible artwork you can touch and feel, the weight of the record in your hands, the subtle difference in tone and atmosphere of an analog recording. It’s just different, in an irreplaceable way. But there are some drawbacks. Scratches and pops are atmosphere, but skipping signifies damaged vinyl. And portability? Forget it.

    Armed with a fairly cheap ION USB turntable, I’ve started listening my way through the 60s and 70s, recording every wah-wah and analog crackle the needle picks up. I’m doing it partly for safekeeping but mostly because dealing with music technology--both new and old--is awesome. By grappling with drivers, software and a mess of configurations, I’ve finally settled on a streamlined system that works really well. You won’t know how satisfying it is to hear a fantastic quality mp3 of Neil Young’s "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" until you’ve ripped it from vinyl yourself. 



    The Awesome iOS 4.2 Feature You Don't Know About
    The recent release of iOS 4.2 brought a number of cool additions, but one of the most significant improvements is something you probably didn’t notice, or even know about. An updated iPhone now supports Network Controlled Fast Dormancy, technology that lets a handset and it’s network join forces to improve battery life and reduce network traffic—both things that a multitasking iPhone could use.



    When You Should Give Your Android Phone a Factory Reset
    In an ideal world, your Android phone would run like a dream forever. This being real life, we can't always expect that sort of robust performance out of our devices. Things can happen that slow your phone and damage the experience. Maybe you install a lot of apps, and some of them are acting a little mischievous, or maybe something has just gone wrong deep down in the system where you have little chance of fixing it. At times like this, you could agonize over tweaks and possible fixes, or you could spend time uninstalling different combinations of apps. But maybe wiping the phone clean and starting over is the best overall option sometimes.