We are certain that many of you want to try Linux to see what it is like, but have no idea where to start or how to get into it. This article is the first installment in a four-part guide that will gradually introduce you to the Linux environment and how to adjust to it if you are a new user.
One of the hardest things to do while starting out is finding a distro that is right for you. Many users try several before settling on one of two that they really like. Once they find a distro that feels right, they are often reluctant to switch unless the distro becomes unsuitable for their needs for whatever reason.
In most instances, choosing a distro ultimately comes down to several factors: Your skill level, the purpose of the system, and package management.
What's that? You're not on Twitter? Get out. From Will Smith to surgeons--freakin' surgeons!--millions of people worldwide are using this popular online service to offer up brief, 140-character descriptions of the key events in their fascinating lives. And you too could join the bandwagon/party/mayhem, but you sure aren't going to do it from Twitter's Web page. That just wouldn't be very Maximum PC of you when a host of other options exist for pulling an up-to-the-second ton information out of this living, breathing Web entity.
So join us as we explore five of the top Twitter clients. If you like what you see, perhaps you'll even be so inspired as to write your very own "Tweet," or "Twit," or "message" about your software adventures! Just promise you won't do it from the operating table, ok?
Cuba has debuted a new national Linux-based operating system dubbed "Nova." As one might expect, Cuba claims that the move will help the country replace proprietary Microsoft software running on the nation's computers. It almost sounds a little silly, but Cuba makes two noteworthy points as to why it's trying to purge this United States-based software from its networks. Nor is this the first international body that's sought to replace Microsoft software with an open-source alternative.
According to Cuban officials, the switch is more intended to turn away from United States-backed software as opposed to specifically Microsoft. They claim that governmental agencies would be able to infiltrate Cuban systems because they would could to pressure Microsoft to give up its "codes." It's unclear whether Cuba expects U.S. officials to actually hack into Cuban databases, break through encryption measures, or any combination of nefarious activities. Cuban officials also suggest that importing Microsoft software violates the U.S. trade embargo, an explanation for why Microsoft operating systems are allegedly more difficult to acquire for the island nation.
Grab your cigar and click the link to find out just how much Linux adoption Cuba expects to have within five years!
You have to admit, Windows is a pretty barebones operating system, feature-wise. After a fresh install of XP or Vista (perhaps following a Clean Start), you're faced with a barren Start Menu and an empty desktop that's beaming with limitless potential. The problem is that it's up to you to hunt and download those applications that you really need in your day-to-day computing experience. And chances are, it's often difficult to find good software that's also free. That's where this guide comes in.
We've put together a list of what we think are the most essential PC apps for every Maximum PC reader. These are all free programs (except one) that should be immediately installed after a fresh build or reformat; 32 indispensable programs and utilities that we couldn't imagine computing without. From the best IM client to FTP browser and Notepad replacement, these essentials truly enhance the Windows experience (much more so than Microsoft's own Windows LIVE Essentials). We're not saying you'd use all 32 entries in our list on a daily basis, but if you are at all serious about utilizing your PC, we promise our picks will not go unused.
And at the end of the feature, we'll even show you how to install these apps in one fell swoop with a special configuration file we've created. Because if it were up to us, this is software that should be bundled with every copy of Windows.
It might seem like an oxymoron to the average geek: getting healthy with your PC. Sure, you can lift your turbo-charged, water-cooled desktop as if you were doing a common bench press. And you could probably tie the ends of the two front speakers in your 5.1 surround sound system together, creating a crude jump rope for exercising right out of your home office / basement dwelling / dorm room. But while these fitness techniques might improve your personal health, they're not very beneficial for the longevity of your beloved computer system.
Let's fix that.
We're taking a look at fitness-themed applications in this week's freeware roundup. And while you might roll your eyes as you head back to your local meat locker for a punching session, don't brush off the notion of computer-assisted fitness just yet. From applications that help you map your heart rate, to nutrition guides, to a comprehensive guidebook of exercises that you can do right at (or near) your desk, this batch of freeware apps will help you transform your PC into your very own personal trainer.
Slap on some sweatbands and click the link, for it's time to pump you up.
Hard drive encryption sounds like an intimating concept, mostly because it is. The thought of taking your precious files, then using a mathematical formula to convert them into random noise before scattering them back across your disk is a hard sell. The harsh reality is, mobile computing is on the rise, and so is laptop theft. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 laptops are lost or stolen in the US each year. In some cases, the data on the hard drive is often more valuable than the machine itself.
To determine if disk encryption is something you should be considering, simply ask yourself if your PC contains anything you wouldn’t want posted publically on the internet. If the answer to this is yes (and I assume for most of us it is) then encryption is worth considering.
The good news is, you no longer need to be a member of the CIA to lock down your machine with government level encryption.In fact, one of the most highly regarded and powerful encryption tools available is both free, and open source (our favorite combination!) True Crypt allows you to protect either all your data, or only what you choose. You can mask your boot drive and sensitive documents, while leaving your games or other non generic data in the clear. While no encryption process is without risk, True Crypt is designed to put your mind at ease, and takes no chances with your data. The process can be reversed at any time even without being able to boot into windows.
So if your ready to get started click the jump to learn step by step how to protect your data.
Are you ready for some f... reeware? It's Super Bowl weekend at Maximum PC, and we're doing all we can to find you the best, quick-hit freeware applications that will make a profound difference in your computing life. It's hard to manage the grill and install freeware, so we're giving you a mix this week: Tiny applications that don't require much of your input at all to interact with, as well as a pretty big application or two that should easily distract you if football-watching isn't your thing. We're covering a lot of field this week with our applications. Be prepared to check out everything from efficient file unzippers, to 3D designing programs, to pretty desktop RSS feed readers.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your helmet and get ready to go third and long with our latest batch of freeware applications!
Microsoft has released the source code for its Sandbox virtualization technology, offering Web developers a new method for protecting the contents of a Web page from malicious exploits and code injections. The project has been released under the Apache 2.0 license, a source no doubt familiar to Microsoft, as the company began sponsoring the Apache Software Foundation to the tune of $100,000 annually last July.
While the Apache Software Foundation isn't sponsoring or endorsing Sandbox--Microsoft's just using the software license--the move is nevertheless the second time Apache and Microsoft are tangling up this year. Microsoft announced its intentions to donate code to Apache's Stonehenge project on January 19.
We've explored Microsoft's increased interest in the world of open-source solutions before. Click the jump to find out why the software giant is so interested in letting everyone else play in its Sandbox for free.
Sometimes gamers just have to go back to their roots. It's inevitable. Blazing, next-generation graphics can be a blast to check out, and all the crazy advances in storytelling and immersion have allowed games to penetrate peoples' lives more than ever before. Don't get us wrong, these are all good things for the industry and its many, many fans.
But gamers always get that urge--a tickling--to give their turbocharged video card a break and fire up some titles that have withstood the test of time. Or better yet, modern reinventions of classic gameplay motifs. Some of these titles can be a blast to play, which is exactly why we're jumping into the gaming remake scene with this week's freeware roundup. If you loved the originals that these games are based on, you'll find yourself sinking just as much time into these freeware remixes as before. Don't worry if you've never played some of the genres that these newer titles are based on. Spend a few minutes downloading these titles, fire up a game or two in your spare time, and see what you think!
Tired of scratching all of your discs every time you fling them about your desk after an install? Want to pull of your favorite online services--Google Mail, Google Picasa, Amazon S3--directly into Windows explorer, bypassing the need to log into them from a Web site? Want an easy way for compressing the contents of your folders into a single mountable source, and beyond that, a way to mount up to 20 of these at once? It's mount week at Maximum PC's freeware... repository... feature... thing. We're going to take a look at five different programs that will make your optical drive quiver with fear, your Internet connection explode, and your general computing life much easier.