Spend a little time learning Skype and you'll soon discover it's much more than a one-trick pony. Sure, Skype's bread and butter is still its ability to let users make phone calls using their broadband connection, but there's so much more you can do with this versatile app.
There are the basics, like sending and receiving instant messages with other Skype users. But did you ever think to use Skype as a make-shift home surveillance system while you're away at work? By following a few simple steps, you can see if Fido's chewing on the couch again, and if so, issue a stern warning to cut it out.
You can also use Skype to record your own Podcast, weekly rant and all. We'll show you how, but that's not all. We're also going to walk you through an assortment of tweaks and hacks to get the most out of this swiss-army utility. Consider this your go-to guide for making the most out of Skype.
There was a time when ripping a CD was a time-intensive, error-prone process. But these days, with programs like iTunes turning the task into a one-click affair, CD ripping has become fast, easy, and reliable enough that backing up your music library is more simple than programming a VCR. However, using a program called Exact Audio Copy, you can achieve even better-quality rips than you can with generic music library managers.
EAC is an “audio grabber,” or ripping program, that’s beloved by the digital music world. It has earned this adoration by providing the tools needed to make the most accurate rips possible, with the fewest errors, and giving you complete control over how your MP3s are tagged and organized.
And although getting EAC set up is a little more complicated than, say, iTunes, we’ll walk you through the process, and show you that it’s not that hard to make top-quality audio rips.
BitTorrent, as you're probably already aware, is a decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing protocol ideal for transferring large files (and if you didn't know that, don't worry, we also include some lightweight tips to get you started). In a nutshell, the way it works is when you're downloading a massive file -- like a Linux distribution, for example --bits and pieces of the file will be uploaded at the same time. Typically BitTorrent allows for a more efficient and faster transfer method than traditional, Direct Connect P2P software.
To get started, you need a desktop client. We recommend using uTorrent, or uT for short. We prefer uTorrent based on its combination of advanced features, performance, and small footprint -- in other words, it has all the makings of a power user program.
On the following pages, we'll not only show you how to get the most out of uTorrent, but out of BitTorrent in general. We'll cover both basic and advanced tips, and then toss in some of our favorite third-party add-ons for good measure. Whether you're new to BitTorrent or a seasoned vet, there's something in this guide for you.
Firefox may be your default browser, but that doesn’t mean you really use it to its full potential. Mozilla’s browser is a big threat to Microsoft not because it’s fast and full of unique features, but because it’s also extremely customizable. Add-ons, style scripts, and hidden preferences let you personalize your Firefox experience to meet your tastes and needs. Sure, you may know about hidden easter eggs like the about:robots page, but we’re going show you the 20 most essential tips, tricks, and tweaks to this super browser.
Last month we reported a killer deal for Windows 7 whereby eligible students could preorder a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional for just $30.Talk about a steal! But what Digital River (the company responsible for the promotion) didn't tell you was that instead of a handy ISO image that you could burn to a DVD for safe keeping, you instead would receive a trio of files on you desktop.
Power users that we are, this just didn't sit well with us, so we went in search of a solution. Well guess what? We found one, courtesy of WindowsSevenForums.com forum member SIW2. We verified that his method works, and if you're one of the students who jumped on the promotional pricing, we're going to show you how to quickly convert your copy of Windows 7 into an ISO file.
Before getting started, be sure you've downloaded your copy and clicked the Run button in the download manager. This will extract all the Windows 7 files that we need to a folder on your desktop.
Once you have everything in order, hit the jump to get started!
So after reading our review of Windows 7, you’re ready to take the plunge and upgrade to Microsoft's new OS. You’ve read our upgrade guide, decided whether you want 32- or 64-bit Windows 7, and bought your retail box. But what if you want to install Windows 7 on a netbook or other computer without an optical drive? Fortunately, you’re not out of luck, because Windows 7 (and Vista, for that matter) can be installed from a USB storage key. Not only does installing from a USB key remove the need for a DVD drive, the install time is also greatly reduced – we shaved off minutes from the total install time. Our step-by-step guide will have you rocking the new version of Windows in no time!
Regardless of the operating system you are using, data loss is inevitable. Sooner or later, it will happen to you—the only question is how much data you will lose. Although RAID can act as an insurance policy for hardware failures, it was never designed to serve as a backup and will not perform this task well at all. Human error is always the greatest concern since important files can be accidentally overwritten or deleted at careless moments. It is easy to fall behind on your backups or get complacent; without recent backups you have no recovery strategy. This guide will help you automate your backups on your Linux rig so you will always have your files up to date.
You could buy a used car -- albeit not a very good one -- for the same scratch it takes to pick up a copy of Adobe Photoshop, the de facto standard in high-end photo editing software. Or a pair of GTX 285 graphics cards for that killer SLI setup you've always wanted. We could go on, but at $700 for a piece of software, Photoshop's MSRP hardly needs put into perspective. In short, it's expensive.
It's also powerful, but don't worry if you don't have a handful of Benjamins laying around. Thankfully, you can perform a lot of the same photo editing tricks for free with GIMP. Short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP is the open source (and no-cost) equivalent to Photoshop, and like it's paid counterpart, GIMP can be a little overwhelming at first. That's where we come in.
Like swimming, it's best if you just dive in. To help give you that push, we waded through the gazillion tutorials floating around the Web and brought back a sundry collection of groovy tips and tricks that, along with some touches of our own, will have you learning the ins and outs of GIMP while having fun doing it. We'll show you how to make lifeless photos pop with detail, how to tap into the Force and add a lightsaber to any pic, make your own custom brushes, and much more.
A bootable USB key is a convenient way to install operating systems on netbooks without optical drives, or carrying around a Live OS with you at all times. It especially makes sense if you're installing software on a machine that otherwise has no need for an optical drive, such as a Windows Home Server. Here’s a definitive guide to making a bootable USB key with either Vista or Windows 7 in just 9 steps.
Microsoft has a penchant for hiding some of the strongest, most versatile tools for managing their operating system in places you’d never find by yourself. Given that the average computer user is pretty dumb, this makes sense
—some of the tools can easily screw up your computer pretty badly. But you, Maximum PC reader, are not one of the clueless masses, so we’re going to trust you with this: The Local Group Policy Editor.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use the Local Group Policy Editor to tweak every aspect of your PC. We’ll also show you how to use Multiple Local Group Policy Objects on a Windows Vista or 7 computer to create different policies for different user accounts, allowing you to create an account just for guests, or for the kids.