In the decade or so since the rise and fall of Napster, it’s become very hard to find a single person who doesn’t keep a super-size collection of MP3s on their hard drive. That’s all well and good, but what happens when you get a new roommate or move in with a significant other, and want to merge two music collections into one? Windows 7 and most popular music library managers, like Windows Media Center, iTunes, and WinAmp offer solutions for sharing your music library over a home network, but a big decentralized library (likely with lots of duplicate files) spread out over a network is inefficient, hard to manage, and hard to keep backed up. In this article, we’ll show you how you can use a free program to merge multiple libraries into a single, organized music archive.
Most PC gamers have, at one point or another, known what it feels like to have a computer that’s too slow to play the latest games on the market. It sucks, but it comes with the territory—you just save up some cash and upgrade. Unfortunately, there’s another, more insidious problem that can keep you from playing the games you want to: a PC that’s too fast.
If you’ve ever tried to run an old DOS game on a modern computer, you probably know what we’re talking about. If the game loads at all, it’s glitchy, or too fast, or the sound doesn’t work. It’s a symptom of software written at a time when gigahertz-scale processors and gigabytes of RAM were simply unthinkable. If you wanted to, you could try to fix the problem by building a PC out of vintage hardware and running DOS natively, but there’s a much easier solution, called DOSBox.
DOSBox is an emulator, similar to those that allow you to play classic console games on your PC, which simulates a DOS environment running on old hardware. In this article, we’ll show you how to get set up with DOSBox, so you can play all of the classics on even the most breakneck-fast modern rigs.
Since its release, the Android platform has grown in leaps and bounds, finding its way onto laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones. Helped by the momentum of search giant Google, much of Android's popularity is due to its open source nature. Because Android is an open platform, manufacturers have been able to adopt Android with ease and spend more time on developing features - instead of a proprietary operating system. This led to a wide variety of features unique to specific Android models: some had HTC's gorgeous SenseUI, some had Android 2.1's slick Eclair home screen, and lucky Evo 4G users got WiMax.
This division of features drove independent developers to take action, and Android's developer-friendly, open nature made customization possible. Almost as early as Android's first release, developers have been creating custom ROMs to bring additional functionality, improve performance, and increase battery life.
Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and netbooks have always had a trade-off. What you get in convenience, you lose in good old-fashioned power. Even as modern smartphones close the processing power gap, and web apps get more sophisticated, you still can’t do everything you could do at your primary PC. Or can you?
In this article, we’re going to show you how to use remote-desktop software to control your PC from another PC or mobile device. There are several programs that let you remotely control a computer, but in our experience LogMeIn offers the most useful and consumer-friendly software in the category. In light of that, we’re going to show you how to configure and use LogMeIn Free and LogMeIn Ignition to get desktop-grade power, anywhere.
Don't let Google scare you into thinking they're the only search engine out there. Microsoft's Bing offers users a solid, user friendly engine with a ton of features that set it apart from the competition. In this article, we're going to dissect Microsofts patented search engine and bring you some basic tips to help get you started. We'll also run you through some of Bings more distinct features, including 3D map capabilities and Microsoft's Photosynth system.
Following the recent launch of Apple's Safari 5 Web browser, users have been reporting that Netflix streaming no longer works. We expect this to be sorted out rather quickly, but in the meantime, there's a pretty simple workaround - use a better browser. Oops, did we just say that?
We kid (kind of). For those of you who want to stick it out with Safari, you can take matters into your own hands until an official fix is in. The problem stems from the browser agent string, which Netflix doesn't yet recognize as a supported browser. All you have to do is change this back to Safari 4.1 and you're golden. Here's how:
Click the Gear icon (Settings) and select Preference > Advanced. Check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" box. Now click the Paper icon (Menu) and select Develop > User Agent > Safari 4.1 -- Mac (yes, you select this option even on a Windows machine).
That's it, you're now ready to one again stream Netflix movies and TV shows to your browser. Just be aware that if you later plan to surf a Safari 5 optimized site, you'll want to switch this back.
With the arrival of the much-hyped iPad and the rest of tablet-mania, it seems like ebooks are about to have their “iPod moment,” when they’ll go from a favorite of early adopters and bibliophiles to a mainstream phenomenon. There’s one problem, though: Unlike MP3s, there’s not a single, near-universal standard for ebooks. Historically, this has made it difficult to organize your ebooks and transfer them between various reading devices.
Fortunately, there’s one program that can help you solve nearly all of your ebook-related problems: Calibre. A free, open-source project, Calibre is one part iTunes-esque library-management program, one part batch-conversion tool, and one part file-transfer manager. In this article, we’ll show you how to use Calibre to manage your ebooks and to get them working on any reader.
There are few moments in life quite as sickening as realizing that you’ve spilled a beverage on one of your gadgets. The feeling can range from mild infuriation (spilling a Bud Light on your PlayStation controller) to near-coronary levels (knocking over a Mountain Dew: Code Red onto your brand-new laptop). Either way, it’s never something you want to go through. Because of that, we’ve put together a simple disaster plan for dealing with beverage-soiled electronics. We hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you read it.
By now you've probably noticed that Google has given its search results page a brand new look (our own Ryan Whitwam covered the changes in blog post last week found here), but not everyone is keen on the new design. If you're one of those people, there's a relatively simple fix. All you have to do is change your default search page to this:
It's anyone's guess as to how long this will work, but at least for now, the above URL reverts Google's search results page to the old style, giving you control over when and when not to show advanced options in the left-hand column. In the words of Nick Burns, "You're Welcome!"
After installing a new OS, most people just jump right in and start driving it through all their favorite applications and games. Makes sense, right? The operating system, after all, should be a background player in the computing experience—a means to an end, with the end being web surfing, content editing, and wanton destruction in the first-person shooter of one’s choice.
The problem, however, is that most people, even a lot of self-described power users, never take the time to really tune the new OS, exploring its menus and setting up the interface for the fastest, most convenient operation based on personal preferences. And as operating systems offer more and more user controls, it’s the curious, performance-minded enthusiast who has the most to gain from tuning an OS to his or her liking.
It’s been about six months since Windows 7 hit the market, so we figure most of our readers have made their upgrades. For those who’ve made that jump, we present a bottle of our favorite Windows 7 tips, each designed to help you extract the very last bits of convenience and GUI-navigating performance from your own personal dream machine. And if you haven’t yet upgraded to Win7, we trust you will after reading this article, as its core features—let alone its actual Lab-benchmarked performance—kicks Vista and XP ass.
We close out our tuning session with a tip designed to supercharge the process of installing the OS. By loading Windows 7 onto a USB key, and making that key a bootable drive, you can do an end-run around slow optical-drive technology and install your OS in (pardon the pun) a flash.
It’s time to get started. Park your computer, but don’t shut down. This is one PC tune-up that can only be done with your engine running.