Every power user has hopped on the cloud storage bandwagon because it’s awesome having all your files synced to any Internet-connected machine, but there are two problems. First, we have some privacy concerns; second, it’s ridiculously expensive. WD’s new My Cloud addresses both of these issues by being dirt cheap (by comparison) and by storing all your data on a “personal cloud,” also known as a NAS drive. It’s time for a clash of the clouds!
Note: This article originally appeared in the january 2014 issue of the magazine.
You are your own worst enemy, indeed. In this month’s matchup, we pit Windows 8.1 against its predecessor, Windows 8, in not so much an outright battle, but a comparison of some of the more notable tweaks that Microsoft has slapped into its first refresh of the controversial operating system. Just make sure you tell your system to stop hitting itself, OK?
Note: This article originally appeared in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine.
For years, we’ve been touting the virtues of KeePass Password Safe, a free open-source program for storing all your website passwords and associated notes behind a single master password. And to synch KeePass across multiple machines, we’ve been recommending that readers store the encrypted database on Dropbox. However, we got to wondering whether the popular browser-based password manager LastPass was a superior, one-stop solution. So this month, we invited the two free password trappers to duke it out for bragging rights.
Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Gmail vs.Outlook.com: the battle of the best email services
Your webmail inbox is the center of your online ecosystem, and not just for your primary email account, but for every other account you have that’s connected to it. Which one’s better? It’s time for the battle of the webmail giants, and it’ll be a doozy. In one corner, we have the Whale of Webmail, the defending champion inboxer: Gmail! In the other corner, the scrappy kid with a big name, the King of Clean, the Preview of Pain, Outlook.com!
Note: This feature was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Windows 8 ships with a new version of Windows Defender that’s supposed to offer the same level of protection as Microsoft Security Essentials. Along with other security upgrades, we’re left wondering if there’s any reason to saddle up with a third-party antivirus program. To find out, we compared Windows Defender with Avast, which as we discovered in last month’s antivirus roundup is a formidable ally to have by your side as you romp around the web.
Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
CrashPlan vs. Backblaze: Two cloud storage backup applications go head-to-head
We all know how useful cloud storage is for easy access to all your files from any Internet-enabled location, but there’s also an equally killer service known as cloud backup. It lets you back up files to a remote server for retrieval after a disaster strikes, such as a failed hard drive, Hurricane Sandy, an apartment fire, or any other calamity that leaves your PC’s local storage permanently damaged. It’s in these scenarios that the mirrored RAID inside your home PC or sitting on your desktop will be about as valuable as Jack Squat. When your home PC, or town, goes bye-bye, you need offsite backup, so this month we’ve taken a look at two of the most popular services that offer unlimited backups for a modest sum. May the best cloud win.
Note: This article was taken from the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
The unique $35 Raspberry Pi computer set the PC world on its ear last year. Part computer science project and part incredibly cheap PC, the DIY single-board computer is such a hot item, some retailers are charging double what the unit originally cost. Of course, where there’s money, there’s Intel. The chip giant has formally introduced its $320 “Next Unit of Computing,” or NUC, PC concept—basically a bare-bones, hobbyist kit PC. While this is admittedly an apple–to-orange comparison in many respects, we felt that hobbyists deserve to see an accounting of the pros and cons of each in a head-on fight.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
We test the latest Beta drivers to see who is the single-GPU champ
Earlier this year both AMD and Nvidia released all-new 28nm GPUs, resulting in AMD taking the single-GPU performance crown momentarily with its HD 7970 before Nvidia swiped it away a few months later with its GeForce GTX 680. It’s been awhile since we’ve even thought about either of these cards as we’ve been busy testing their binned counterparts for most of the year, but this past week AMD released a new Beta driver that it claims provides "significant" performance improvements for its already-potent HD 7000 series cards. Just one day later Nvidia pounced, releasing its own Beta driver which also claimed to boost performance in a wide variety of popular titles. This happens all the time; as soon as one manufacturer holds an advantage the other strikes back in order to help drag the performance crown back to its own camp, typically via an overclocked card, improved drivers, or both.
We all know the Apple iPad sits atop the 10-inch tablet market like an MMA fighter straddling the octagon fence after a first-round TKO. That fight is over, for now, but the battle for 7-inch supremacy is still going strong and our new favorite contender is the Google Nexus 7, made by Asus. Since we now have two favorite tablets, and room for only one in our man purse, we must settle this the old-fashioned way—with a tab blood-letting.
After years of rumors and whispers, Google finally released its long-awaited Google Drive cloud storage service in April, combining Dropbox-like synching abilities and a PC client with the company’s Google Docs service. Microsoft could have waved the white flag; instead, it released an excellent update for its own SkyDrive service, adding many of the features found in Google Drive. The chips are on the table and there’s only one question left: Which cloud storage service is better?