How To Micromanage Your Windows Startup RoutinebyWill GreenwaldonSept. 30, 201018 Comments
Windows almost never simply boots. Once you start loading your computer with software, it collects several applications and utilities it will run every time you start. Office has them, Adobe has them, and even iTunes has them. Many of these programs don't even offer the option of disabling them within their own settings; once they're installed, they're lodged securely in your startup routine.
Chaos In Your Inbox: Turn Off Gmail's Conversation ViewbyWesley FenlononSept. 29, 201012 Comments
Do you remember the dark age of email, the time before threaded messages became standard? Grouped conversations work wonders for a crowded Inbox, keeping conversations neat and tidy no matter how long they get. Up until iOS4 launched, the lack of threaded email support was quite possibly the most common complaint leveraged against Apple’s smart phone. Everyone loves Gmail’s conversation format, right?
Well, apparently not. Enough crazies out there petitioned for an option to turn off threaded messaging that Google finally responded, adding Conversation view to the Settings menu. If you feel like deleting snippets of a conversation to make your email archives confusing and disjointed, now’s your chance! If you don’t see the option in settings yet, check back over the next couple days--Gmail updates usually take a few days to roll out to the entire userbase.
How To Watch Blu-ray Movies on Your Mac (It's Not Pretty)byMatthew BragaonSept. 29, 201020 Comments
Blu-ray support on OS X is something of a mystery. According to Steve Jobs, digital download services like iTunes are, in fact, the future, and will ultimately replace physical disc-based formats. And although that future is a long way off — at least, in terms of features and quality — it means the popular Apple OS won't be getting proper support for the format anytime soon. But regardless of what our black turtlenecked overlord thinks, consumers are buying the high-definition discs in droves — and Mac users have no way to enjoy them.
How To Take Phone Screenshots with the Android SDKbyRyan WhitwamonSept. 29, 20107 Comments
As we all become more enamored with customizing our smart phones, it makes sense you might occasionally want to show off what you've done. The problem is that Android makes it a pretty spectacular pain to actually take screenshots of your phone. If you root, there are a number of apps you can use to take screens. But if you're not rooted, with a little setup the Android SDK can be used to capture screen shots easily, and with great results.
How To Bring Aero Peek to Mac OS X with HyperDockbyMatthew BragaonSept. 29, 201011 Comments
The Dock is one of OS X's defining features, but not everyone is a fan. For some, Microsoft's iconic taskbar is the only way to go, and the release of Windows 7 only added further features to improve its functionality.
In fact, compared to other operating systems, Apple's Dock is starting to look a bit dated. It's pretty, sure, but lacks some of the tricks found in more modern application launchers. Perhaps that's why the idea of HyperDock is so great, augmenting previously-limited functions, and bringing Windows-only features like Aero Peek and thumbnail previews to the OS X world.
How To Properly Merge Social Networking Contacts on AndroidbyRyan WhitwamonSept. 28, 20109 Comments
Ever since Android 2.0 debuted on the Motorola Droid, Android has been doing some very interesting things with social networking contact integration. When you tap on a contact's profile picture almost anywhere in the UI, you will get a few way to bug them, as well as their last social networking status. The system might also pull their profile pic from Facebook to Twitter. Android is usually spooky good at figuring out who's who in your contacts.
How To Better Control Your Android Phone's Notification LEDbyRyan WhitwamonSept. 28, 20106 Comments
A feature we can always appreciate on an Android phone is the notification light. Users of BlackBerrys can certainly see the appeal here. When your phone receives a text message, email, or anything else, the notification light will let you know. It's been a little inconsistent which phones will have this feature. Some ship without an LED notification light. On some handsets, like the Nexus One, it is inside the trackball. Other phones like the Droid have it under the glass front near the top of the phone.
Xmarks Shutting Down Syncing Services at the End of 2010byWesley FenlononSept. 28, 201021 Comments
Yesterday was a sad day for syncing service Xmarks--CTO Todd Agulnick posted on the Xmarks blog that they’ll be shutting down their servers and closing up shop within 90 days. Since its introduction as a Firefox syncing add-on in 2006, Xmarks has grown to over 2 million users across four web browsers and synced over 1.2 billion bookmarks. Despite pouring years of effort into making Xmarks a profitable venture, working bookmark recommendations and crowdsourced data into search results never took off, and advertisers never got on board, either.
When their recent talks to sell the company fell through, Xmarks had no choice but to close down. We hope everyone affected by the business closure finds new work elsewhere--Xmarks undoubtedly played a big role in pushing bookmarking services forward. What was once a niche add-on is fast becoming a necessary component of modern browsers.
How To Fix Video Interlacing in Your Movie Files On the FlybyWill GreenwaldonSept. 28, 20104 Comments
Have you ever watched a video on your computer and noticed the picture breaking up into misaligned arrays of horizontal lines whenever there's a lot of motion on the screen? It's called interlacing, and it can ruin an otherwise well-encoded and -rendered video.
Video interlacing is the technical relic of video production decades ago. From the early days of video, interlacing was used to make footage seem smoother without requiring more information to be transmitted. Each full frame of video is split up into two fields of alternating lines. Instead of displaying the full frames in their entirety one after the other, the two fields of each frame are drawn in succession, producing a consistent image while appearing smoother than it would look otherwise. Progressive scan, which involves drawing the whole frame without breaking it into fields, can produce higher resolution video at the same framerate but requires higher bandwidth. While that bandwidth is readily available now and most HDTVs are 1080p (progressive-scan screens with 1,080 vertical lines of resolution), interlaced video remains an issue with a lot of media.
How To Reset Your Android Phone's Default Home Screen byRyan WhitwamonSept. 27, 20109 Comments
Android has been called an operating system of Easter eggs. In all honesty, we can't really dispute that claim. There are things Android does that are completely non-transparent. One of the functions that users are not immediately aware of, is the control of default apps. When a new app is installed, it can take over functions usually reserved for an system app. With all the strange carrier/ manufacturer user interfaces coming out, many users are looking into home screen replacements. It can be frustrating to constantly be changing defaults for something as important as the home screen launcher.
How To Use Virtual Desktops for Smart Window ManagementbyMatthew BragaonSept. 27, 20109 Comments
For some people, one screen just isn't enough. And while we've covered the advantages of using multiple monitors in the past, that type of setup isn't always as realistic as we might like. Size constraints, a lack of funds, or a myriad of other reasons might be keeping us from reaching that triple-screen nirvana, which leaves us to maximize what little space we have as much as possible.
built-in for years, while Mac users were given Spaces with OS X Leopard. Windows users, however, have long been left out of the fun.
That leaves third party utilities to pick up the slack, and a number of them happen to work quite well.
Will tears into the guts of Sony's waggle wand to see if there's a Wii remote hidden inside.
How To Completely Customize Mouse Buttons for Individual AppsbyWill GreenwaldonSept. 22, 20104 Comments
Yesterday, I wrote about a little app called Volumouse, that can let you change your computer's volume levels with the mouse wheel. It's a handy trick, but it's only the tip of the iceberg that is mouse button customization. While Windows offers a few options and many high-end gaming mice include their own software for button assignments, I've yet to find a tool as powerful as the free (but donation-accepting) utility X-Mouse Button Control for configuring mouse behavior.
Four Tiny Utilities to Get More Control Over Windows AudiobyWill GreenwaldonSept. 22, 20109 Comments
Windows offers plenty of options and settings for sound playback, but they're by no means a complete and comprehensive way to control how you listen to things on your computer. While many keyboards have multimedia controls and you can always physically turn the dial on your speakers, you're often left with clicking on the little speaker icon in the lower-right-hand corner of the screen to change settings.
How To Optimize Power Conservation While Your PC is IdlebyWill GreenwaldonSept. 17, 201017 Comments
Your computer doesn't stop consuming power just because you walk away from it. Even with all your programs closed, with no games being played, videos being rendered, or numbers being crunched, your PC will eat electricity. The best thing you can do is to simply turn off your computer when it's not in use.
How To Properly Hold Your DSLR While Taking PhotosbyWill GreenwaldonSept. 16, 20109 Comments
Photography is more than setting the camera, pointing, and shooting. You need to frame the shot just right, and depending on your lens and the design of your camera, that can be a trickier prospect than you might think. There are several tricks and guidelines you can use to better hold your camera and use it to get the angle you're looking for.
How To Sync and Consolidate Your Many Contact ListsbyMatthew BragaonSept. 15, 20103 Comments
Gone are the days of beefy address books and paper-filled rolodexes — that's what the internet is for, after all. But while all of our phone numbers and addresses are now stored online, they can't always be found in the same place, and consolidating all that information isn't the most enjoyable of tasks.
Android Task Killers are Dead—Here's What You Should Be DoingbyRyan WhitwamonSept. 14, 201023 Comments
As a general rule, people have a hard time dealing with change. Android, being perhaps the fastest changing mobile OS in history, can leave people in the dust as the platform evolves. Things don't work the same from release to release. Some of this is user-facing, and people can adapt. But some changes are deeper system level alterations that people might not notice at first, and then might not understand why they've changed. The functionality and usefulness of task killers is one such advance. A lot has changed in the underlying Android OS regarding how background processes are managed.