So your computer is taking too long to boot, after being bogged down by dozens of startup applications you’ve downloaded over the years. You might want to just format, but that’s the coward’s way out. If you spend a little time tuning up your boot applications you may avoid the time it takes to wipe and restore your system altogether. Don’t give in to clutterware -- follow our guide to the essential methods of troubleshooting your PC’s start up sequence and freeing Windows of unnecessary resource hogs.
Today, we live in a world of rapidly diminishing privacy. If you use your employer's email system, it is possible that every message you send or receive is logged and intercepted without your knowledge. This may have unintended or even disastrous consequences if an intercepted email message contains sensitive personal information. Unless your email goes through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected connections, your email is vulnerable to what is known in the IT security field as man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker can intercept your message as it flies to its intended recipient.
Email is sent in a format that is easily readable if an attacker can grab and reconstruct enough pieces (packets) from the data transmission with packet sniffing software. Technologies like deep packet inspection make it theoretically possible that any given message that goes over the internet can be sniffed and read by third parties who have the right software and know-how. (the feds, your ISP, etc.) While no one may have a real reason to spy on you, relying solely on security through obscurity has always been a poor policy to live by. Because of this, encryption is the only real option you can trust. We teach you how to put your emails in a lockbox before sending them off to their destinations.
Overclocking can kill your CPU. It can corrupt your OS, melt your motherboard, and cause you to lose a month’s work or more. Despite those dire orange-alert warnings, however, overclocking has moved on from the Nerd’s Only Club to become practically a mainstream hobby in the last few years.
So why overclock if the risks are so great? For some folks, it’s about bragging rights. Like drag-strip racers who burn up an engine just to set a quarter-mile record, there’s a small community who will overclock a CPU to the brink of destruction just to run a benchmark and take a screen shot of the result.
The bulk of overclockers, however, are more concerned with the cost dividends. If you can take a $300 CPU and make it as fast or faster than one that costs $1,000, the money you save can go toward other components in your system. For these folks, it’s like getting a free high-end videocard.
Whether you’re a cheapskate or a drag racer, you’ll find that Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is unlike any previous Intel CPU, and overclocking this beast requires more tinkering than you might expect. Follow along as we explore what it takes to push this chip hard.
We’re sure that many of you have been away from our home computers at a time when we needed access to a certain file or desktop program. Many companies have proprietary solutions (like GoToMyPC) that allow you to remotely access files on your home computer while you are away from it. While this service has a $19.95/month licensing fee (per computer, no less), there are alternatives that provide similar functionality on the Linux platform for free. Many of these free solutions are very versatile and are useful in a wide variety of situations. We show you how to master remote system access on your open-source machine.
Cloud computing has become quite the buzzword over the last year or so. It seems like every major company wants a piece of the “cloud,” from IBM to AMD to Microsoft. Definitions for the phrase vary, but the most common aspect of any cloud computing service is the notion that you can use the internet to run applications on remote computers, making you less dependent on any one physical machine.
And while the idea of software as a service is hardly new, the number of online “cloud” apps has reached a sort of critical mass lately, making it possible to do the vast majority of your computing online. In this article we’ll show you some of our favorite cloud applications, and explain how they can help make the move to cloud city.
If a computer can exist without hardware, as we learned in last month’s white paper about virtual machines, can it be useful without application software? It can if it relies on the concept of cloud computing.
Cloud computing describes a data-processing infrastructure in which the application software—and often the data itself—is stored permanently not on your PC but rather a remote server that’s connected to the Internet. When you need to use the application or access the data, your computer connects to the server through the Internet and some of that information is cached temporarily on your client machine. What do clouds have to do with all this? The cloud is simply a metaphor for the Internet, based on the symbol that’s used to represent the worldwide network in computer network diagrams.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. We’ve spent a good deal of the last 12 months hunkered down at our PCs playing every game that’s come our way. The very best of them have pulled us into their imaginary, action-packed worlds and stolen hours of our valuable time—and we love ’em for it! Others, not so much. Here forth is our frank assessment of 2008’s most noteworthy games.
It's been over a week since the Windows 7 Beta was released to the public. You've read our initial impressions and even followed our guide to installing the OS using a USB key. So what now? Microsoft's post-Vista Windows experience is more than the obvious Taskbar and user interface updates; there are plenty of hidden features and shortcuts that haven't been advertised. But fear not: we've compiled a list of every known Windows 7 tweak and secret. Follow these 20 tricks to make the most out of this beta and become a Windows 7 power user.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends. The first iteration of Microsoft’s next operating system has arrived, and things are looking up for the Windows faithful. In fact, the first beta of Windows 7 is so reliable and responsive that it reminds us of the early Windows XP betas. With less than 12 months to go before launch, Windows 7 is in much better shape than Vista was at the same time, and it feels like a much more usable operating system than even XP did during its beta phase.
Windows 7 features a completely overhauled interface along with a host of new features. We give you a quick tour of what to expect.
Finally, someone has announced an iPhone killer that we can all get behind. The Palm Pre surprised everyone at CES with its best-of-all-worlds specs and features. We’re talking about a multi-touch phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a truly innovative web-integrated user interface.
Early impressions indicate a really smooth and fast interface and web-browsing experience, with all the productivity and media features that we’ve come to expect from a modern smartphone. It’s as if Palm designers made a list of everything that was lacking from the iPhone and made a point to incorporate it here. Real GPS, MMS messaging, USB port, and removable battery lets Palm blow a raspberry at the competition. Copy and paste is just gravy. But too bad it won’t be converting iPhone users anytime in the near future – the Pre is a Sprint exclusive.