Latest StoriesHow-To
    How To Easily Stream Your Own Live Podcast On Windows or Mac with Mixlr

    Our 24-hour Oktobercast marathon went out over a live video stream, but as an alternative the day-long podcast was simultaneously streamed through a service called Mixlr. Mixlr's audio streams--accessible on computers or mobile devices thanks to HTML 5-optimized sites and Flash playback on Android--gave listeners an opportunity to follow along for the entire 'cast and was rock solid for the entire production. So why had none of us heard of Mixlr before?

    Simple answer: Mixlr's free broadcasting launched in late May 2011, and since then the service has been piling on new features--integration with Dropbox, Facebook, Soundcloud, and more. If you're looking to livestream your own podcast or broadcast audio from a special event, Mixlr's a great place to start. We'll walk you through the setup--what kind of hardware you'll need, how to get Mixlr running smoothly, and what it takes to get music and sound effects like the Inception horn integrated into the stream.

    How To Use Android's Safe Mode to Save a Phone from Boot Loops

    We find that Android is a stable operating system these days, but there is always the possibility that you might install an app that doesn’t agree with the device. When that happens, a device can start suffering battery drain issues, force closes, or even a boot loop. Force close and boot loops can result from the app continuously opening itself, thus rendering the device unusable. In these, the darkest of scenarios, the temptation may be to reset the device to factory defaults. But there is another way.

    Android has a hidden Safe Mode that is perfect for pulling out a miscreant app that is causing your system to crash. There are some annoyances, and it’s not necessarily consistent from device to device, but it can save your bacon.

    How To Choose the Perfect Bag for Your DSLR

    Bags come in all sorts of varieties. Some are designed to contain all your gear — from your biggest lenses, to your cache of spare batteries. Others are slim and compact, intended for no more than a single body and lens. From backpacks to slings and over the shoulder or messenger-style bags, there's nearly an endless selection of models from which to choose. So how do you decide what's best?

    Predictably, it all comes down to the amount of gear you own, and how you want to use it. If you're searching for the perfect bag for your DSLR, here's a good place to start.

    How To Get Started With iCloud Backups and Sync in iOS 5

    iOS 5 is packed with a bevy of new features, but iCloud is undoubtedly one of the best. Announced at WWDC this past June, iCloud does what MobileMe could not. The web-based calendar, contacts and mail functionality are still there, but the service has been reborn as an impressive backup solution that aims to keep all of your Apple devices in sync.

    That means apps, music, videos and books move seamlessly between devices. Your data and settings stay persistent too. And because it happens in the cloud, you don't need a Mac or PC. Here's how to get started.

    A Link to the Past: How To Add CRT Filters to 16-Bit Games on PC

    Almost 90 million people worldwide own Nintendo Wiis. Millions of those Wii owners spent money on retro games on Nintendo's Virtual Console to replay classics like Super Mario World. And millions of those people were in for an ugly surprise: old, low resolution games do not look good on LCD TVs. Between upscaling games designed for 224p output and inappropriately stretching them to 16:9, modern flatscreens do Virtual Console games no favors.

    But the problem goes deeper than that: LCDs and plasmas simply look different than the cathode ray tube televisions old games were designed for. Emulators allow us to run games at their original resolutions or control image scaling more accurately, but that's only a partial solution. Here's where it gets cool: programmers with a passion for preservation have developed filters to bring the CRT look alive on modern displays. We're talking about manually introducing color bleed, scanlines and even the rounded corners and bulge of the CRT into perfectly emulated images.

    The attention to detail may sound crazy, but comparisons will make you a believer. Read on to see the filters in action as we dig into the technology keeping the analog video look alive and flickering in the digital era.

    How To Properly Upgrade to iOS 5 in Five Simple Steps

    We've been putting the iOS 5 beta through its paces for the past few months. But today, the final release is available to all. Any device capable of running iOS 4 is eligible for an upgrade to iOS 5 — including the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod Touch.

    If you've been waiting for improved notifications and iMessage goodness, this is your chance to see what you've been missing. But more important, here's how to make your upgrade go smoothly the first time.

    How To Shoot Better Photos on Your Android Phone with 4 Apps

    The iPhone 4S and iOS 5 are really taking Apple’s cameras up a notch, but existing Android phones often have fine sensors of their own. With a few software compliments, your Android device’s camera can get a new lease on life. Not all phones have the same features built in, but with these apps, you can bring your phone up to parity with even the most advanced cameras.

    We’re going to go over ways to make your pictures better looking, faster, and more expansive.

    10 Clever Ways to Automate Your Online Life with ifttt

    You want to automate your life. So do we. And while there’s still no way to feed the cat and do the dishes in one fell swoop, we can at least make your digital life a little easier. But don’t thank us. Direct your praise at ifttt instead.

    It has a weird name. We know. Just say “lift” but without the L. That’s ifttt. The acronym actually stands for “if this then that” which is the basis of ifttt’s operating philosophy. You create macros, or automated tasks, by combining a variety of web apps and services. The results are extremely cool.

    Think of it as “duct tape” for the web, where you make sites that don’t normally talk speak each other’s language. In other words, you have the ability to send all your Instagram photos to a Dropbox folder, or have your phone ring every time a used SNES hits Craigslist. If this, then that. And we’re only just scratching the surface.

    How To Buy and Test a Third-Party Battery for Android Phones

    Android is designed in such a way that users that really want to go out of their way, can customize a device eight ways from Sunday. it can be easy to go a little overboard and end up with a ton of services pining the data network or the GPS. While useful, this is a major drain on battery life. If you want to keep your phone chugging along, but don’t want to make sacrifices, it could be time for a third-party battery.

    There are a few things to look for no matter if you’re replacing your battery altogether, or just getting a second as a spare. Read on to stay powered up.

    How To Download Kindle Books from Your Local Library Website

    Library fans rejoice! The Kindle Lending Library service, announced in April of this year, has spread from its limited launch in Seattle to a far more accessible range of 11,000 libraries across the United States. The service mixes the routine and limitations of borrowing a book from a library with the lovely convenience of Kindle digital delivery. That is, libraries have limited digital copies of books, and only lend them out for certain periods of time, but you don't actually have to go to the library to check out a book.

    Books can be checked out via participating library websites and synced to a Kindle via Wi-Fi or USB. And if you don't own the e-reader itself that's okay, too--anyone using the Kindle reading software can get in on the book borrowing action. Here's how to find out if your library's involved.

    Best Practices for Securing Your Online Accounts

    When you think about it, a username and password are just two strings of characters. A measly handful of letters, numbers and symbols are all that stand between your digital identity and nefarious spammers and phishers, hungry for just a taste of your juicy bits and bytes. While securing your many online accounts may be somewhat inconvenient, weigh that against the inconvenience of losing everything to a hacker who, with little effort, gained access to your personal information and used it to take money from your bank accounts and burn bridges in your name.

    The following are just a few steps that you can take with relatively little effort to secure your online accounts and to rest, comfortable in the knowledge that your online identity is yours alone.

    How To Make Better Use of Dropbox on Android

    Without a doubt, one of the best cloud services in town is Dropbox. For the unaware, Dropbox allows users to sync files between their cloud storage and as many devices as they like. A free account will get new users 2GB of storage, plus there are plenty of ways to increase that limit for free. The official Dropbox app has been on Android for some time, but there are also a number of third-party apps that can improve the experience.

    Taking advantage of just a few of these apps will make your cloud storage much more useful. Let’s go over how to take your Dropbox experience to the next level.

    How To Simulate Five Popular Lens Effects in Photoshop

    There's photography, and then there's photography — that is, all of the impressive lenses, filters and techniques that can make a good photo great. But while many popular image effects are only possible with special — and often expensive — photographic equipment, there is a way to approximate many of those results in software as well.

    A fake tilt-shift photo, via Flickr user kennymatic.

    That includes fisheye, tilt-shift, shallow depth of field and more. You’ll never beat the real thing, of course, but we can still come close.

    How To Use Filters to Teach an Old Camera Lens New Tricks

    DSLR owners, both new and old, take note: it's not all about the lenses. An extra piece of glass can be a great way to expand your camera's abilities — but it's also an expensive investment you don't necessarily need to make. There's a much cheaper way to get more from your old lens, and all it takes is a filter.

    A dramatic example of a polarizing filter, via Flickr user jadjadjad.

    Filters — to use a tired, but apt cliche — come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, there are a myriad of great filters that can both alter and even improve the look of your pictures. And you don't have to break the bank either. Here's how.

    How To Properly Patch and Repair Your Network Cables

    Network cables are the arteries and veins of the Internet. A cabled network is the most reliable of the available options for setting up network infrastructure as it provides the highest speeds, is less prone to failure and has fewer points of failure to check during troubleshooting. Being less prone to failure, though, does not make it foolproof. Cables get twisted, caught in doors, have clips broken and become unreliable as they’re pulled and tied in knots during transport.

    Today, we're going to help you to become "that guy" who can fix network cables. Y’know, the guy who brings a roll of bare Ethernet cable, a crimping tool and a bag of 8P8C plugs to every single LAN, just in case. We’re here to tell you, that guy is awesome.

    How To Design a 3D Model for MakerBot Printing with Google SketchUp

    Most weeks, our famed MakerBot printouts are culled from a handy website called Thingiverse. It's here that members of the CNC community can submit pre-made models for anyone to print — and if some of our past videos are any indication, there are some very good ones available too. But while it's easy to print someone else's creation, there's something to be said for designing one yourself. There's a sense of accomplishment that you just don't get by mashing "print" on a pre-made design.

    Today, we're going to use a free piece of software called Google SketchUp to make a simple 3D model, and show you how to turn your creation into a tangible piece of printed plastic art. There are some caveats, of course — some objects and designs are simply impossible to print — but we'll make sure you come away with something awesome for your effort.

    After all, if you make something especially cool, we could print it on a future episode of the MakerBot Mystery Build!

    How To Get Started with 3D Modeling for 3D Printing

    There’s one thing--and only one thing--the Transformers films are truly remarkable for: staggeringly detailed computer effects shots from the incomparable artists at Industrial Light & Magic. In Dark of the Moon, Shockwave’s worm-like metal pet Driller consists of 70,051 separate parts, a good 20,000 more than Revenge of the Fallen’s Devastator. It took ILM 288 render hours per frame to animate the Driller eating its way through a CG Chicago skyscraper, and the visual effects files themselves took an hour just to load on the development house’s most powerful desktops.

    No one does 3D modeling and animation like ILM--they’ve proven that time and again by bringing characters like Optimus Prime and Davy Jones to life. To climb to that level of talent, most of us have to start small, building our own simple 3D models and learning the ins and outs of shaping and texturing meshes. Getting into 3D modeling can be intimidating thanks to the complexities (and costs) of software like Autodesk’s $3500 3D Studio Max, but it’s easier than ever thanks to free options like Google Sketchup and Blender.

    Interested in throwing yourself into 3D animation? Want to know how to design those cool objects we print in the MakerBot every week? Here’s how to jump headfirst into 3D modeling without spending hundreds of dollars on overwhelming software.

    Where to Find Free e-Books for Your Kindle and Other e-Readers

    Google eBooks are compatible with all sorts of e-book readers, but until recently the service has never enjoyed the benefits of an affiliated electronic paper device. Now however, the iRiver Story HD has become the Kindle to Google’s Amazon, providing users with the kind of direct access that other online booksellers have enjoyed for years. Google boasts that the new device has access to “more than 3 million” free titles through their service. But is that really a selling point? Can’t other electronic paper devices provide free reading, too? We decided to take a look.

    Here’s how to get started finding free content for the major e-book readers available.

    How To Create Your Own OS X Lion Bootdisk and Cure Installation Woes

    Lion, the latest version of OS X was released on Wednesday, and already, many of you have made the jump. But if you’re still holding off, and wondering how exactly the upgrade process works, worry not — we’ll answer those burning questions right here and now.

    For example, is a clean install necessary, or even possible? And now that OS X is offered as a digital download, can you reinstall from physical media in the event your hard drive dies? Read on.