If you weren't aware of it already, and we're sorry to be the ones to remind you, but it's that time of year to pay our dues to Uncle Sam. Paying taxes isn't anyone's idea of fun but the pain can be reduced by having an idea of what to expect, which brings us to this weeks Android App of the Week, TaxCaster by TurboTax.
Game soundtracks get no respect. Not to sound like Rodney Dangerfield, but despite years and years of amazing music coming from games, gaming music is often treated by the public the same way your mom treated your 3rd grade art project. A dismissive pat on the head and a "good work, Danny, this is beautiful!"…followed by it being promptly buried under calendars, grocery lists, and "real" art on the refrigerator.
Things have been particularly rough for PC soundtracks where, due to a lack of audio hardware uniformity, music in the pre-CD audio era was a wildcard at best. Hell, even well into the late '90s there was no guarantee a PC even HAD a soundcard. Still, despite the limitations, we're not ashamed to say we not only respect PC game soundtracks, we flat out love them! The good ones at least. Click to see which soundtracks we love the most!
My favorite games of the year were Bastion, Skyrim, and the Witcher 2. Wow, that was easy. And hey, I already wrote extensively about allofthem. Convenient! So, for the next few days, I'm gonna discuss some of 2011's lesser-known greats. Last week, I turned into a quivering pile of mush on BioShock 2: Minerva's Den, and today, I'm taking a crack at Team Meat teammate Edmund McMillen's blood-soaked solo smash, The Binding of Isaac.
The Binding of Isaac is the game that finally pulled me away from Skyrim.
Like any gamer in the target demographic of Bethesda's behemoth (read: “a human capable of drawing breath”), I pretty much sacrificed my every waking hour on Skyrim's altar. Sometimes, it was 30 minutes here or there. Other times, it was 30 minutes here, there, and everywhere until a family of mice had taken up residence in my flowing gray beard. Point is, that game consumed my life.
That is, of course, until I bought Binding of Isaac and learned a very valuable lesson: Most modern big-budget games? Yeah, they're kinda crappy.
In the dark ages of PC gaming, the CPU took care of most of the graphics chores. The graphics chip did just the basics: some raster operations, dedicated text modes, and such seemingly quaint tasks as dithering colors down to 256 or 16 colors. As Windows took hold, the graphics equation began to shift a bit, with some Windows bitmap operations handled by “Windows accelerators.” Then along came hardware like the 3dfx Voodoo and the Rendition V1000, and accelerated 3D graphics on the PC took off.
Now it’s coming full circle. Today’s GPUs are fully capable of running massively parallel, double-precision floating-point calculations. GPU computing allows the 3D graphics chip inside your PC to take on other chores. The GPU isn’t just for graphics anymore.
We look at the effect of memory bandwidth and clockspeed on gaming performance.
The mystique of adding RAM to a system to “increase performance” is often misunderstood by the average person. Most think that if their seven-year-old Windows XP build is getting slow, doubling the RAM from 2GB to 4GB will speed it up. Any PC tech worth his Pringles knows that won’t do much for Windows XP performance. Generally, it’s very easy to hit the point of diminishing returns with system RAM. But there’s one bad pattern we’ve been seeing in many of the notebooks with integrated graphics lately: configuring RAM for the minimum system bandwidth.
If you’re a browser jockey, that’s not a huge issue but if you play any games that rely on the graphics card, that configuration can hobble your performance if you’re trying to play games. To see what the situation is, we decided to take a typical modern notebook and see the impact of system bandwidth on gaming. Read on.
A metaphorical boxing match between two 800-pound gorillas is quickly shaping up in the social network arena. In one corner: Facebook, the reigning champion. In the other corner: Google+, a fast-rising up-and-comer with a big name and deep pockets behind it. At stake: the time-deprived attention of millions of social network users. There can be only one victor.
There’s no denying that Twitter’s become an important part of our lives, bringing us a first hand view of the profane, mundane and everything in between from around the globe. By firing off a tweet, you’re not just speaking your mind, you’re adding to a far-reaching cultural mosaic that speaks of our thoughts, dreams, loves and hates, moment by moment. If you’ve ever wondered who’s reading the 140 character toots you’ve been spewing, you’ll love TweepsMap, our Cool Site of the Week.
Before it shipped, a friend of mine expressed a great deal of skepticism—even hostility—about the Kindle Fire. This was right after HP had dropped their remaining stock of Touchpads onto the market for $200 each.
My buddy failed to understand two things—first, HP was abandoning the Touchpad and cleaning out their warehouses. And second, the Kindle Fire is not a tablet—it’s a low-cost content-delivery system. This is critical to understanding what the Kindle can and can’t do.
Whether you're making a purchase from an online store, signing up for a new service or renewing an old one, when online forms work, they work very well... until your web browser crashes and the burning rage of one thousand suns eats all that was once good in your life as a result. Fortunately, for Chrome and Firefox users, the days of form-related hissy fits may soon be nothing more than an ugly memory, thanks to Lazarus, our Browser Extension of the Week.
One of the huge benefits of using a Windows Phone is how it integrates with Microsoft’s cloud services like Zune, SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Xbox Live. All of these services are integrated directly into the Windows Phone OS, but a few have also been targeted with secondary apps to increase the level of integration.