Printing digital photographs seems so last century.
These days, we all carry at least one smart device, whether it’s an iPhone, a Zune, an MID, or something else. We all use Facebook. And those with a more serious photographic bent might also use an online photo service like Flickr or SmugMug. Indeed, a vast array of methods for showing off your photography without actually handing someone a print now exists.
There are good reasons, however, to have photographic prints—even in the 21st century. Grandparents and other family members often like to have something to put in a frame that they can hang on a wall. Another other reason is size. There’s something compelling about a really large print—8x10 inches or beyond. An iPod or laptop screen might be an acceptable replacement for the common 4x6- or even 5x7-inch print. But holding up a 13x19-inch print suddenly makes a half-decent photograph seem almost like a work of art.
So, for those times when you want a print, what’s the best way to get it? Is it worth paying $400 or more for a large-format printer, and then paying again and again for the ink? What about large-volume or professional online photo-printing services? Are they cost-effective, and can those prints measure up to a good-quality home printer? And how about those photo kiosks you find in places like Target and many grocery stores?
What a difference $500 makes. With $1500, building a gaming PC means being as lean as possible, sacrificing a little here and there to bump the important components to the next tier. But with $2000, your options really open up. The extra dough means you can start considering a solid-state drive or dual-GPU solution. Getting the most bang for your buck is always a consideration, but two grand means you can splurge for cutting-edge components that are priced for early adopters. It also means you have to think about your system's upgrade path, since you don't want to spend so much on a rig with nowhere to go in two years. Lynnfield or Bloomfield? SSD or high-capacity storage? Nvidia or ATI? There are a few no-brainers in our $2000 parts pick, but also a few surprises as well.
So, what's the best gaming system you can get for $2000?
You wouldn't be an average Maximum PC reader if you didn't have 30 different windows, tabs, and applications open at once. After all, what's the point of having a computer that's dressed to the nines if you aren't using up every available resource each time you sit at your desk? Although it's been said that multitasking actually does much to impair your focus and efficiency in dealing with tasks versus a methodical, one-at-a-time approach, all the science know-how in the world isn't going to stop the average geek from using his or her computer to do a billion things at once. That's just how it goes.
So now that we're all candidates for the 12-step multitasking program, how can we go about making the actual act of multitasking more efficient? And no, I'm not talking about those applications that you can use to tell you just how much time you're spending in each open window--if anything, knowing that one spends 95% of one's day looking at cuteoverload.com might be discouraging if nothing else. No, there are ways to quicken and improve your multitasking without resorting to needless shaming.
Minimize your windows, click the jump, and I'll show you five apps that will make your multitasking even better. No. Really. Minimize some windows already..
We've seen some pretty incredible products released in 2009, from the iPhone 3Gs and blistering-fast videocards to the timely release of Windows 7. Unfortunately, there have also been a number of exciting technologies that didn't make it out this year, despite widespread hype and high expectations. We've taken it upon ourselves to call out the worst offenders. Read on for our list of the ten most notable technologies that got prematurely announced, delayed, or outright cancelled in 2009.
Though solid state drives have existed for years, it is only recently that they’ve gained any sort of market penetration for average users. As we stated in our February 2009 white paper on the subject, solid state drives offer many advantages over traditional magnetic drives. Unlike mechanical hard drives, SSDs have no moving parts, so they draw less power and produce no vibrations. They’re also more resistant to physical shock. And most importantly, solid state drives offer much higher read and write speeds than traditional hard drives—at least when they’re new. Due to their NAND flash architecture, SSDs can suffer serious slowdowns once they run out of fresh blocks to write to. The TRIM command, found in Windows 7 and newer releases of the Linux kernel, aims to fix this. But what is TRIM, and why is it even necessary?
Back in the day, the average nerd household had one or two computers, a printer, and a game console. If you were lucky, you had an Internet connection on one of those computers—forget about the printer; forget about the console. And forget about home networking. But now, the average geek household has a multitude of machines: desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, and networked game consoles—not to mention terabytes of ripped movies, music, and photos. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a central location where all of those files lived that was accessible to all your computing devices? A place where you could back up all of your computers, host your media files for streaming to your console or other computers, and use as a file share for your whole network? Yes. Yes, it would.
A few months ago, we showed you how to set up a Windows Home Server to enable such a scenario. But a Windows Home Server license costs 100 bucks, and doesn’t necessarily play well with non-Windows machines. FreeNAS, on the other hand, is a free, open-source FreeBSD derivative, and though it can be a little more complex under the hood, it’s as powerful as Windows Home Server and runs well on salvaged hardware. And FreeNAS plays well with Windows, Apple, and *nix systems.
We’ll show you what hardware you’ll need for a FreeNAS server, how to install and configure your server, and then help you choose between FreeNAS and WHS.
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.
For those of us who download applications, programs, extensions, or really anything off the Internet in great frequency, what's the best way to keep a computer completely protected from external threats? I'm talking about locking down your system tighter than a Supermax prison--not impacting your ability to carry out your everyday tasks, rather, making sure that you're protected from attack at your PC's primary entry points.
That's exactly what I'll be exploring in this week's freeware roundup: The five best free applications for keeping your computer as secure as can be. If you aren't running some combination of these freeware and open-source apps, well, you only have yourself to blame if your system gets infected with something unpleasant!
Second verse, same as the first! It's Cyber-Monday, that retailer-coined holiday term that's supposed to be a continuation of Black Friday deals mainly offered via online purchases. It remains to be seen whether this day is actually a "prime" shopping day or not, as not nearly as many retailers are offering as good of a discount as what you might have seen this past Friday (or weekend, for that matter).
Suffice, Cyber-Monday is here, and we've rounded up a list of items that might catch your fancy if you're into that whole "I like to buy goods and services when they cost less than their original price" sort of thing. Without further ado, click the jump and get ready to spend!
Black Friday. It's big. There's a lot of shopping going on. You can acquire goods and services for far below the actual cost of the items. Unless you can catch said deals online, you will likely spend a lot of time fighting your peers for low-priced products. You might start to hate shopping. You might vow to never shop on Black Friday again.
Those are the ground rules. Let's get to the deals. As mentioned, there are a lot of awesome things you can pick up on Black Friday for a cheaper-than-expected cost. I've searched through a number of online sites to find just exactly what it is that's going on come Black Friday. I'll be listing out a number of awesome deals to check out below, as well as a handful of sites that you can check out to further supplement your tech-themed Black Friday purchases. I've really scoured the categories to find some great savings and great products--in the case of the storage category, for example, that's the most inexpensive capacity points you're going to find for those prices!
Anyway, enough reading. Let's get to the spending. Black Friday 2009... begin!