Five ways to put your collection of neglected USB thumb drives to good use
Although they were once considered expensive luxuries to most users, USB thumb drives have become nearly as ubiquitous as the now defunct floppy disk. Thumb drives of all shapes and sizes are currently sold at corner drug stores, freely disseminated at trade shows, and even given out as digital business cards. Thumb drives are so commonplace now that it’s not unusual for PC users to have amassed huge collections of drives that, for the most part, do little else but sit around collecting dust. We speak from experience.
Note: This article was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
As any SSD owner can tell you, fast boot times are a wonderful thing! Except for, well, when they're not. Microsoft's been working hard at reducing the boot times in Windows 8 and to hear them tell it, your home screen pops up so fast that there simply isn't enough time to mash on the trusty ol' F2 or F8 if you need to muck around in the BIOS or enter Safe Mode. Rather than shrugging their shoulders and leaving users to press a key in a 200ms window, Microsoft instead created a new "Boot Options" menu.
At first glance, Microsoft’s decision to go with UEFI instead of BIOS seemed like a decent security-minded step. Microsoft plans on requiring that all PCs shipping with Windows 8 implement the secure boot option included in recent UEFI specifications. That’s good, right? It stops malware from playing around with the boot path and disabling antivirus programs! The smiles faded into looks of concern when it was pointed out that a PC with only OEM and Microsoft secure boot keys couldn’t launch Linux distros. The ‘Net raged, and yesterday, Microsoft responded to the allegation.
Maybe you shut down your work PC at the end of each day but leave your home machine running 24/7, only shutting down during lightning storms and other rare occasions. Regardless of how you approach shutting down and starting up, Microsoft is making efforts to ensure that when you do perform a cold boot in Windows 8, you'll be up and running faster than ever before.
Old School Monday has brought you many things: crazy cool Rigs of the Year, Lust Lists, and behind the scenes photos of the Lab (way back in the day). But the key ingredients we've left out, until now, are the back-of-the-mag satires and parodies of Glitch! Check out the following Glitch'es (in no particular order). You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll fall in love all over again! Or, you know, just read 'em and comment. Whatever works for you.
While everyone is prepping for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, we decided to take a look back at the tech goodies of yesteryear. What was the must-have gadget from fourteen years ago? What was the one item that we needed to have, to hold in our hands? What were we lusting after?
In order to answer those questions, and many, many more, may we present the Lust List from boot December 1996. We got Editorial Director Jon Phillips and Reviews Editor Michael Brown to chime in about their picks from '96.
This week's Old School Monday is short and sweet. Behold, the one-page review of the genre-defining Quake from the October '96 issue of Boot. We're not going to say that we've got a 100% track record with our game reviews, but with this one we were right on the money. Quake wasn't perfect, but it was groundbreaking, and the first truly three-dimensional shooter from legendary developer id.
Want to know how accurate boot magazine was with its yearly tech previews? It was often called booterdamus by those in the know in the industry. NO, we made that up but someone should have said that. Afterall, the magazine correctly predicted such things as: a Pentium II on a 100MHz front side bus for 1998, 19-inch CRTs reaching the “low” price of $850, and 15-flat panels going for $3,000. Of course, that was nothing compared to the prediction of the Voodoo2 being the Hotel Sierra videocard for the coming year. All this and more in a look in this weeks edition of Old School Monday. - Gordon Mah Ung
For this week’s installment of Old School Monday (but actually a Tuesday because of Labor Day) we’ve got a little HTPC Before-and-After. The After, of course, is our recent feature on how to build the ultimate 3D home theater PC. You should check out the article, but the long and the short of it is that we set up a beast of a system, able to play video in 3D, play and record up to 4 TV channels at once, and stream pretty much everything under the sun from the internet.
So what’s the Before? It’s this beauty, from The October 1996 issue of Boot (our predecessor):
If you want to know what the state of the HTPC union was 14 years ago, read on.
To accompany our yearly Dream Machine feature last week, we went digging through our archive of old issues to find some old stories to put this year’s rig in perspective. We found the original Dream Machine, some great statistics, and someshockingly accurate predictions. But what we really discovered was that there’s some really fascinating stuff in the old issues of Maximum PC. They’re ripe with reviews of long-forgotten tech, crazy interviews with major tech players, and some of the cheesiest ads in history, and we’ve decided to start bringing it all to you, every week.
So welcome to Old School Monday, where we’ll share some of the fun stuff we find in our oldest issues (and if you were wondering, Maximum PC was called "boot" in those first few years). This week, we’ve got a 1997 article by games industry legend Alex St. John describing the early history of DirectX—a technology that 14 years and 11 versions have proven to be in it for the long-haul. Though it seems like a constant now, DirectX was still a young technology in 1997, and this article provides an interesting perspective on the graphics API.
In addition to a lot about DirectX, read on for the truth about Microsoft’s hostage situation, their 2 million dollar H.R.Giger UFO, and a comic strip about Bill Gates.