A network-attached storage (NAS) device is the Robin to a LAN’s Batman. The two should be inseparable, and for good reason. A NAS box gives you a guaranteed way to store all of your files and stream your media. Running a NAS box also means that you don’t have to boot your power-leeching desktop rig every time you want to access your files from another device.
But you don’t have to go out and purchase a NAS device. You can build a superior alternative using spare parts left over after upgrading your PC.
Second Opinion is where readers respond to the Doctor, share their wisdom, correct him if he's wrong, and generally show the world what smart, beautiful people you are.
I can’t agree more with the Doctor regarding his advice to Michael Collins (June 2008) on a TiVo as the best option to extend your DVRing capabilities, especially for transferring recorded programs to a computer. The TiVoToGo feature is great. However, the Doctor’s advice regarding the FireWire ports of most cable DVRs is, as Dwight Schrute would say, “False!”
In your June 2008 issue, Frank Buttell mentioned a problem with a disappearing hard drive. I have also had that problem with Vista Ultimate, except my disappearing drive was my DVD +/- RW with LightScribe. I am dual-booting with XP Pro x64 edition and Vista Ultimate (32 bit). The drive is fine in XP, but in Vista, it will randomly disappear. A restart or sometimes a disconnect and reconnect of the SATA cable will solve the problem. So something must be up. What’s going on?
My question regards backing up games using tools like ImgBurn and Daemon Tools. I use ImgBurn to create the ISO from a disk and Daemon Tools to mount the ISO. But for some reason, with half of my games I get the message “Please insert the original disk” when I try to run the game from the ISO. My method works with older games but not newer ones. I understand that some of these games might have some kind of protection on them preventing me from running them off an ISO, but I paid for these games and I should be able to create backups of them. Do you know how I can back up my games so they actually work?
—Sgt. Christopher Basquit
Gotta go forward to go back, Christopher - hit the jump for the answer.
I downloaded BioShock through Steam a couple weeks ago and have had trouble getting it to run. Sometimes it will randomly crash and send me back to the desktop with a message that tells me the display driver stopped working and has recovered successfully. I have to restart the program through Task Manager to get it to run again, but I can only play 5 to 10 minutes at a time. I have an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT in a MacBook Pro running Vista 32-bit.
With a presidential election around the corner, let’s look at how people pervert copyright law to squelch speech. Copyright takedown notices were never meant to stifle whistle-blowers or detractors, yet that’s become a popular use for them. Individual critics are likely to go broke even if they win a case, so people and ISPs tend to back down at lawyer point.
It's a cruel and efficient tactic, of which more after the jump.
There’s a game that’s become part of my daily regime. It’s one of the first things I do after firing up the laptop over my morning coffee and the last thing I do before shutting down the laptop with an evening gin. It never takes more than a few minutes, and I do it throughout the day, like answering email. In fact, it is answering email, except with little lettered tiles.
Yes, I am completely addicted to Scrabulous (www.scrabulous.com). Email games are certainly nothing new, but good, well-supported, free email games that a wide variety of people can play without any initial purchase are pretty rare.
AMD continues to suffer through corporate misery, most recently by losing almost $1.2 billion in a single quarter, forcing the replacement of CEO Hector Ruiz with his subordinate, Dirk Meyer. If AMD collapses and Intel becomes the only major vendor of PC processors, will prices soar?
Unfortunately, monopolies usually do inflate prices. They also retard progress. AMD stimulates Intel to price its processors more aggressively and develop better processors. Without AMD, we might not have 64-bit x86 processors today or PC processors with integrated memory controllers. Right now, we’d probably be looking forward to the first quad-core x86 processors instead of the first eight-core chips.
I just returned from a special theater screening of War Games—quite possibly the only good film Hollywood has ever produced about computers, computer nerds, or hacker culture. Shockingly, the movie, which was first released in 1983, holds up quite well, despite the use of archaic hardware (acoustic couplers and vocoder boxes), a laughable sentient military supercomputer, and an occasional lapse into typical Hollywood lingo.
The abundance of 8-inch floppy discs also gave people in the theater a laugh, as did the fact that characters were practically chain-smoking throughout the entire movie. But none of the showing’s pervasive air of yestertech could take away from the fact that War Games remains awesome.