This holiday, you pull the wraps off a brand new laptop and open the lid to your shiny new mobile companion. The first thought you might have is to consider which apps you should install first and what's the fastest way to load the up the hard disk with music and movies. Of course, you inevitably have to think about your old laptop, and what price you can sell it for on Craigslist. But before you dump an old laptop or retire it to the den of forgotten gadgets, here are eight practical ideas on how you can extend its life.
When you get right down to it, Dropbox is a pretty simple app. It syncs folders—that’s it. But what makes Dropbox amazing is the sheer number of different ways you can use that functionality, by itself or in conjunction with other programs, to improve your computing experience. We like Dropbox so much that we’ve written about it severaltimesbefore, and we still haven’t gotten to every cool thing you can do with the program.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to share with you a whopping 15 things that we think everyone should know about Dropbox, from how to get extra storage for free to how to use Dropbox to control your Bittorrent client.
For example, do you know how to hack Dropbox to accept email attachments?
No matter how innovative the big boys are, the minions lurking about in the ‘tubes’ keep on beating them to the punch on new, innovative features. In this case the big boy is Google Voice, which offers you a phone number along with a bag stuffed with nifty features like voicemail, voicemail transcription, custom greetings, free text-messaging, blocking unwanted callers, and call screening. The only drawback is you have to use Google Voice’s assigned number, which is a problem for us who have our identity intimately tied to an existing mobile number.
The hackers on the net didn’t let this slow them down, however, and a workaround came about pretty quickly. Keep your existing mobile number, just forward your unanswered calls to your Google Voice number. The process is pretty simple, in fact. You can find it explained in posts at TechnologyCrowd and Lifehacker.
Well hack no more. Google Voice has taken the hint and now offers a ‘lite’ version with this feature. According to The Official Google Blog if you sign up with your existing number you’ll get access Google Voice’s voicemail features. If you already have a Google Voice account the process of forwarding your voicemail from your mobile numbers has been simplified.
While we're big fans of the proven awesomeness of open-source software, we don't automatically download every free application that's labeled as an open-source project. What make more sense is the use of open-source as the tool that effects some kind of massive or otherwise unreachable change in a common device. Case in point is open-source firmware, named not for any philosophical belief behind its creation, but because few would want to heft the banner for these changes themselves. After all, creativity comes from a wide range of sources and inputs--as does software testers. You sure wouldn't want to be the one person working on third-party iPhone firmware, bricking device after device in a quest to add additional functionality that Apple didn't first design.
But that kind of unintended funcitonality is the sole benefit to open-source firmware. Throw those aspirations of community membership and open-source allegiance out the window: You want to increase the power of your device akin to a Sim tinkering his or her hardware to gain mechanical skill points. There's no shame in that. In fact, you can accomplish much by adopting third-party firmware in place of standard manufacturer packages. For example, building increased sound codecs into your MP3 player of choice, or adding on-screen level meters to your digital SLR. You can even turn your router into a bridge, perfect for extending the range of your neighbor's wireless signal so you can thieve his connection from additional locations in your apartment. You can also brick your device.
We jest, but only partially. For the danger of running third-party firmware--safe as many of the packages can seem to be--is that you could render your device of choice unusable. It happens to "real" firmware upgrades; it can happen to "unofficial" firmware upgrades as well, only I venture that you'll probably find more problems in the latter scenario than with a manufacturer's tried-and-tested update. But still, the benefits can often outweigh the risks, especially if you're looking to extend your legacy devices with additional features. An entire ocean of open-source firmware fixes awaits your perusal -- we take a look at some outstanding examples of open-source firmware, and teach you how to install them on your own gadgets!
We love point-and-shoot pocket cameras for their small size and ease of use, but we lament their relatively paltry feature sets when compared to more expensive DSLR models. The good news, for owners of the popular Canon PowerShot cameras, is that your consumer-grade gadget can be upgraded with custom software to endow it with professional features like RAW image recording and live histogram feedback. CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) is an easy-to-install software package created by a savvy group of programmers to supercharge the Canon PowerShot. We show you how to safely install and configure this free firmware add-on with no risk to your camera.
Chances are you know what Gmail is and have been using it for quite some time, even if Google’s service is technically still in beta. But did you know that Gmail can be used for many other practical functions other than sending and receiving e-mail? With the appropriate extensions and setting hacks, you can make Gmail do things that other web-based e-mail services and even some desktop clients cannot. In this guide, we will show you how to implement the ten hidden features you need to know about Gmail and introduce you to five of our favorite Gmail Labs add-ons. You may already know or use some of these features, but there are sure to be a few in here that you do not.
What’s a USB key good for? Carrying files from one computer to another? If you think that’s all, then you’re missing out. USB thumb drives can be used in almost all the ways a regular hard drive can, including storing all sorts of useful apps. We think that this presents a great opportunity for savvy PC users to keep their favorite programs at hand, no matter what computer they end up using.
In this article we’re going to show you a number of different loadouts for USB “tools.” With these on hand you’ll be able to do everything from checking your email to recovering data off a damaged hard drive on any computer you find yourself sitting in front of. We'll also show you a couple of cool tricks, like how to run a virtual, encrypted drive from a thumb drive, so gather up some of those spare USB keys you have lying around and read on.
Back in our September 2008 issue, we published a list of 9 Skills Every Nerd Needs – a lighthearted examination of the essential abilities Maximum PC readers should have in their geek arsenal. We still stand by that list, but we were somewhat one-upped last month when we saw that Gizmodo had since run its own list of 50 key geek skills. Their list was very respectable, but we thought that we could do better by not only expanding and refining our original story, but actually teaching you these skills. The highest echelon of geeks will be able to do everything in this list, and this is by no means a full categorization of the complete geek skillset – only what we consider to be the most indispensable abilities. Have anything to add to our list? Post it in the comments!
Wi-Fi theft is turning into a menace of inordinate proportions and home-based wireless networks are sitting ducks for bandwidth thieves, a demographic that now also includes wily terrorists. A case that has come to light in India will insure that some of the benevolent Wi-Fi hosts will never turn off their firewalls or show vacuous disregard towards bandwidth theft.
He is fortunate that the cyber experts of the ATS bought his plea, that his Wi-Fi might have been used by the terrorists to send the e-mail without him being in the know. Of course, their preliminary investigation also seems to suggest the same, as he hasn’t been booked under any law. However, he has been told not to leave the country until further notice.
Several fear-mongers have prophesied about the threat cyber terrorism poses. This isn’t the deadly manifestation of cyber terrorism that they talk about, it is a sinister beginning all the same.