Handbrake vs. Freemake: Video Converter ShowdownbyMatthew BragaonDec. 23, 201035 Comments 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.
How To Properly Tweak Msconfig To Speed Up WindowsbySam CookonDec. 23, 201024 Comments
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 PhonebyRyan WhitwamonDec. 23, 20108 Comments
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 BrowserbySam CookonDec. 22, 201034 Comments
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 Monitor Your Bandwidth Usage on PC and MacbyMatthew BragaonDec. 21, 201025 Comments
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 TouchbySam CookonDec. 21, 201018 Comments
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 PhonesbyRyan WhitwamonDec. 16, 20106 Comments
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.
Will dismantles the Kinect and puts it back together without breaking a sweat. Almost.
When to Upgrade Your Graphics Card and Other HardwarebyLoyd CaseonDec. 15, 201038 Comments
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.
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 AndroidbyRyan WhitwamonDec. 14, 20108 Comments
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 CrashesbyWesley FenlononDec. 13, 201023 Comments
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 TobyRyan WhitwamonDec. 10, 201022 Comments
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 Properly Convert Your Vinyl Record Collection to DigitalbyWesley FenlononDec. 7, 201015 Comments
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.
When You Should Give Your Android Phone a Factory ResetbyRyan WhitwamonNov. 30, 201033 Comments
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.