Lo-Jack schmojack. You don't need some spendy GPS unit and to keep tabs on that new Escalade. Uplinking your wheels to the great eye in the sky without breaking the bank is easier than you think.
Standalone GPS units can cost hundreds. And that's not counting the installation and (frequently hefty) activation and monthly fees associated with whatever service you do choose. For most of us, it's overkill. The good news is that if you happen to have a GPS-equipped phone lying around, you can rig your own vehicle tracking system for virtually nothing. Here's how it's done...
Windows Media Player: The end-all, be-all software for displaying most multimedia on your system. It’s an inescapable part of the Windows experience. While, sure, it seems as if there are as many alternative song library apps, video playing utilities, and music-blasting programs as there are pages on the Internet, it’s hard to resist the urge to turn to the simple, no-fuss attraction of good ol’ WMP. It works; it’s there; it’s quick to load and it plays your files without hassle.
There are always going to be ways to tweak your experience with any multimedia application. Some are inherent to the program itself, some require a modification or a tweak to unlock, and others can be seen as a kind-of total converstion: a third-party application that works in tandem with your multimedia app to bring forth some kind of awesome new functionality.
We’re fans of all three scenarios at Maximum PC. And let’s face it: Windows Media Player might be entrenched inside of your operating system worse than a camper in Call of Duty: Black Ops, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t build it up into the Greatest Media Player Ever with a few (or more) helpful tips. We’ve split our list into sections based on the difficulty of the tweak—let’s get started!
With the majority of users connecting to the Internet on some form of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), we thought it was time to give you some tips to help you streamline your DSL connection using filters. If you’re connecting to the internet using cable or satellite or, god forbid, dial-up, these instructions might even help you to get rid of a bit of noise in your phone line.
Most DSL connections are actually ADSL (Asynchronous DSL), meaning that your upload speed probably sucks but your download speed is likely decent. For example, if you can download at 5 Mbps (megabits per second), you can usually upload at around 1 Mbps. Most of the time, these speeds are attained via POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)which utilizes basic copper wire. Although some telcos feed fiber cables to a place near your home, and use copper for the rest of the journey. If you’re lucky enough(and well-off enough)to have a fiber ADSL connection, then, well, none of this really applies to you. Your speeds should be much higher.
In the United States and Canada, it’s pretty standard for the telcos to connect a line to your house leaving the rest of the wiring beyond that point under your control. That point is called a Demarcation Point or a NID (Network Interface Device) and the telcos responsibility ends there. Anything you do with the wires past the demarc is your concern, not theirs. Look for this box by following your phone line up to your house. Ideally, everything that you’re going to work on should be easily accessible on the inside of that wall.
What’s the best way to transfer files from one computer to another? You can use a USB thumb drive or an Internet service like Dropbox, but a network connection is almost always the most efficient choice. You might think that both computers need access to a common network to use network sharing, but that’s not actually the case. Thanks to ad-hoc networking (a built-in feature in Windows) any two Wi-Fi-enabled laptops can shares files and play games as though they were on a LAN.
Setting up an ad-hoc connection in Windows Vista or 7 is a surprisingly simple affair. We’ll show you how.
One of the oldest ways to send and receive files on the Internet is FTP, and although almost everyone has connected to an FTP server at some point or another, most people have never set one up. While there are several options for FTP server software, we prefer FileZilla, which offers a streamlined interface, and most importantly, is completely free (most other companies only offer a trial period before charging you). Here's how to use it.
Uncle Ben famously told Peter Parker that "with great power comes great responsibility," but even Spider-Man never had to deal with constant phone calls, text messages, emails, and instant messages asking for a "quick second" of his time to solve a PC related issue. As power users, our family and friends tend to view us as their own personal 24/7 tech support super heroes, minus the obligatory tights.
Don't get us wrong, we're more than willing to lend a helping hand, it's the handful of acquaintances who expect us to drop everything and devote hours of our time fixing a problem that could have been avoided with a little common sense that gets our goat. You know the type -- "Hey broseph, I clicked on this link and now my computer is flipping out again. Can you come over for a second and fix it? Thanks bud, I'll owe you a beer!"
A $1.50 bottle of suds doesn't cut it, and besides, we'd forget what it's like to be sober if we accepted brew as currency every time someone we knew needed our PC expertise. So how do we handle these situations? It's a delicate balancing act maintaining our sanity and personal relationships, but we're here to tell you it can be done.
Hit the jump to find out how you too can avoid devoting your all your free time to pro bono tech support.
With all the recent hubbub about Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move, you’d be excused for thinking that motion control is some new phenomenon. In reality, it’s a technology that’s been around on the PC for years. Head tracking allows you to control your PC with your head. Mostly used in sim games, head tracking lets you move and tilt your head to control where your character looks. There are, of course, some excellent commercial head-tracking systems available, but it’s possible (thanks to free software called FreeTrack) to build your own head tracker with just a webcam and a few dollars worth of electrical supplies. We’ll show you how.
How do you know when it’s time to replace your gaming rig? When you’ve turned down all of the game settings to minimum and you still have to play at 1024x768. Or you’ve just completed the Steam hardware survey and Valve rejects your score because it’ll drag down the curve. Of course, if you’re asking the question in the first place....
In spec’ing this year’s gaming build, we decided to restrict ourselves to a budget of approximately $1,400. This would provide a nice challenge, but would still give us enough cash to build a powerful and feature-filled machine. If you’ve ever tried to squeeze high-end performance into this price point, you already know that the road to our final configuration wasn’t clear, obvious, or easy.
The truth is that there are many ways to skin a Tribble, and there is no single right config for everyone. To give you some insight into how we arrived at our final destination, we’re going to walk you through our decision-making process.
We expend bunches of keystrokes detailing how to recover from disaster, everything from sweeping spyware from your system to how to get your data back from the digital graveyard, but equally important is how to avoid potentially catastrophic scenarios in the first place. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or in in the world of PCs, hours of frustration.
On the flip side, maybe you have a masochistic desire to destroy your system. What better way to force your hand at upgrading then to render your current rig all but unusable? We don't condone killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars of hardware, but hey, it's your stuff at stake, and how you choose to use (or abuse) it is up to you.
Either way, follow along as we show you the 10 worst things you can do to your PC and how to avoid them.