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    Windows DirectDraw Hack Helps Wing Commander Fly Anew
    Keeping up with the latest and greatest in technology is a big part of being a gamer, particularly on the PC side. New graphics cards, faster processors, more RAM--we love that stuff, but over time the steady march of progress leaves some games in the lurch. With every new version of Windows, running games designed for Windows 3.1 or 95 becomes a whole new brand of complicated. DOSBox and ScummVM are godsends for what they support, but what about poor old, antiquated Windows games?

    Finnish engineer and programmer extraordinaire Jari Komppa ran into just such a problem when he wanted to play the Windows versions of the first four games in the Wing Commander series. When faced with crippling display errors as a result of Microsoft’s DirectDraw 2D rendering, he skipped straight past the typical “get pissed and give up” response and decided to simply write his own DLL file. It’s a fascinating, enterprising solution--and, even better, it works with a few old favorites including Warcraft 2 and Fallout.

    Wing Commander--and all the trials and tribulations that goal entailed.

    How To Keep The Colors Of Your Photos Accurate
    If you're a casual shutterbug, you might have noticed that the colors in your photos can vary wildly. Under light bulbs and natural light, everything has an orange tint. Under fluorescent lights, everything seems pale and blue. The shade of yellow you get when you shoot a flower on a sunny day might be drastically different from the shade you get if you shoot the same flower on a cloudy day. 


     
    How To Prioritize Your Network Adapters and Connections
    Switching between wired and wireless connections can be annoying, especially if you do it often. The actual act of moving between the two is easy enough, but knowing which one takes priority isn't always clear. Plug in that Ethernet cable, and your wireless gaming session could easily be interrupted — unless you know how to configure things properly.



    When and How To Clean Your DSLR's Lens and Sensor
    If you want to take consistently sharp photos, you need to make sure your camera's lens and sensor are both clean. If any smudges show up on the glass, or if any particles accumulate on the CMOS, you can expect fuzziness, spots, and other unwanted things to show up in your pictures. To do this, you need to do two things: protect your camera's sensitive parts, and clean your camera's sensitive parts when dirt still manages to get in. 


     
    How To Get Great-Sounding Audio for Podcasts and Games
    We all know that guy — the one who jumps on team chat spewing more static than an electrical storm. Your friends may be attempting an enjoyable game of Team Fortress 2, but LickitungNorm92's awful mic is making the whole experience a futile one. You could mute him and move on, but there will be more — some with even worse audio than the last. 



    How To Take and Create HDR Photos on Android
    HDR photography is all the rage these days, isn't it? A good HDR shot can bring out details in shadows, while not over-exposing lighter elements. This technique has the potential to give your shots a really great hyper-realistic effect. Apple announced in their recent event that the camera software on their i-devices would be getting built-in HDR shooting modes.  


     
    How To Spot Scams and Malware Apps on Android
    Android offers developers a lot of freedom in using a phone's hardware in their apps. While this leads to some really amazing functionality, it can also be a security concern. Google has chosen to run a more open marketplace for apps, and does not hold content up so they can review it first. There is no gatekeeper for the Android Market. All a developer needs to do is pay the $25 developer fee and upload their app to the Android Market. Naturally, this has invited some riffraff to join the party. By looking at an app with a skeptical eye, and checking the permissions, you can avoid apps that are shady, or just plain scams. 
     

     
    How To Make Sweet Magic Eye Images (Glasses-Free 3D!)
    While the Nintendo 3DS may be making waves in the low-cost 3D market, we often forget it's not the only option for cheap 3D. In fact, you can produce a similar effect at home, thanks to random dot autostereograms — or Magic Eye images, as they've become colloquially known. 

    We know it's not *quite* the same sort of thing, but that doesn't mean the effect still isn't cool. These images are specially designed to produce the impression of 3D by focusing your eyes on 2D patterns. Given a cursory glance, the images may look insignificant, but a closer look will reveal a simple 3D image beneath.



    Reference Video Cards vs Third-Party Designs: What's the Difference?
    Extravagance is over clocking your CPU to 7GHz and cooling it with liquid helium. Extravagance is configuring a $20,000 Mac Pro with 12-cores and all the optional upgrades. And most recently, extravagance is buying a thousand dollar GPU — one of the fastest on the market — packaged in a P90-themed gun case.
     
    What you're looking at below is the XFX HD 5970 Black Edition, a third-party Radeon card with two 5870 GPUs welded directly to the board. There's no questioning this card is fast, but for consumers, this is where confusion sets in. While AMD and NVIDIA will design and manufacture their own GPUs, those reference builds are licensed out to other manufactures too, who then modify them as they see fit. That means buying the latest Radeon or GeForce isn't as simple as walking into the store — you need to know which flavor you want. 


    How To Choose the Right Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning Your Devices
    Microfiber has quickly become one of the most popular materials in cleaning electronics. When your iPhone gets smudged or your monitor gets dusty, you're likely to reach for the soft, synthetic cloth to make the displays pristine again. While it's seen use in various applications over the last few decades, it's become particularly popular among consumers in the last few years. 
     
    Technically speaking, microfiber is any stranded material with a strand weight of less than one denier (a denier is a unit of measurement defined as the number of grams 9,000 meters of a strand of material weighs). In terms of consumer use, microfiber is any woven material made of microfibers (smaller than 1 denier), generally made from 80/20 blend of polyester and polyamide. Natural silk is 1 denier, and it's extremely difficult to find any natural fiber suitable for commercial use smaller than that.


     
    Splice Your iPhone's Bundled Earphones for Superior Sound
    Anyone who remotely cares about the quality of their audio knows that Apple's standard iPhone or iPod earphones simply aren't that great. And while you could go out and buy a decent third party pair, you lose out on the handy functionality of Apple's built-in microphone and remote. For hands-free junkies and audiophiles alike, the choice is difficult one.

    he combined his two options into one. By simply splicing the wires of Apple's microphone and remote with a superior style of earphone, Tsutano was able to get the best of both worlds — and we'll show you how to do the same.

    How To Properly Benchmark Your Android Phone's Battery
    It's common that whenever a new technology finds its way into mobile phones, a company feeds us a line about how much better it will be for battery life. They know how to get us like that. The Achilles Heel of many smart phones is the battery life.  If a phone can't make it through a day under your unique usage pattern, it is of little use. When AMOLED displays started making their debut on phones, the battery life was supposed to be much improved.  

    analysis from Laptop Magazine shows that, in fact, many AMOLED Android phones perform worse than their LCD-using cousins. The Droid X with its large LCD display bested the smaller AMOLED handsets. Informative as this is, it was an artificial benchmark. If you really want to know how your battery performs, the best way is to just use the phone, and track your battery usage. Read on as we show you how to do just that. 
     
    How To Get One Great Photo By Taking Many Shots
    When you get right down to it, photography is the art and science of capturing a single moment in time. While there are exceptions (artistic long exposures to show motion, high dynamic range shooting that combines exposures), you're basically trying to take a single photo that captures exactly what you want. Unfortunately, it's almost never that simple. If you want one good shot, you're probably going to have to take two dozen bad shots. 


     
    How To Diagnose Your Network Connection's Health
    In the world of first-person shooters, there's no better scapegoat for your poor sniping skills than a shoddy internet connection. Dropped packets, slow connections and poor latency are just some of the excuses you've might have used in the past — all serious problems preventing your "mad skillz" from being what they could. Thus, we're going to help you out; we want to see you knock SexyWill23 off the top of the Modern Warfare leader boards just as much as you do.



    Leave No Trace: How To Truly Browse the Web in Private
    When private browsing was finally introduced into Google Chrome, many users lauded the feature for allowing them " to plan surprises like gifts or birthdays." Before, it was all too likely that a snooping boss or spouse could uncover a user's secret plans, and it was clear that Google had to do something about it. And do something they did. For party planners and secret shoppers everywhere, Incognito mode was the answer.

    Or so users thought. As it soon turned out, Incognito wasn't as private as they had been led to believe — and Chrome wasn't the only browser either. Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer were found to be susceptible as well, putting party planning aficionados everywhere on watch.

    really keeping your browsing habits secure.

    How To Best Spend a $600 Digital Camera Budget
    Camera phones and digital point-and-shoot cameras are fine for taking snapshots, but they're really not meant for "real" photography. Framing everything just so, setting the right exposure, capturing the exact moment in time you want, these are skills you can't easily develop on compact cameras. To get a firm grip on photography and practice the more complicated techniques of the craft, you need to use a camera that offers the full range of settings and, ideally, lets you use different lenses for different circumstances. The vast majority of compact cameras don't even offer PASM exposure modes, and by their nature don't support interchangeable lenses. 


     
    How To Get The Best Reception With Your HDTV Antenna
    While getting screwed by the likes of Comcast and DirectTV is practically a national past time, there are still a select few who've managed to escape the clutches of America's media conglomerates. Call Grandpa crazy for using bunny ears all these years, but it looks like he was really on the cutting edge after all. Picking up HDTV signals over-the-air is actually a totally viable method for watching TV these days, and depending on where your located, can actually give you a nice assortment of channels to augment your Netflix queue.



    Don't Give Up: How To Salvage a Failing Hard Drive
    If you ever hear an ominous clicking noise coming from within your PC, don't panic. A family of wayward crickets may have simply taken refuge inside your case. Or your hard drive could be dying. Somehow, we think the second scenario is a lot more likely.
     
     The point is, hard drive problems suck, and nothing is worse than losing all your valuable data to the digital abyss. But how do you know for sure that drive of yours is dying in the first place? If failure is imminent, there are a few tell-tale signs — but things might not be as bad as you think, either.