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.
Did you know that more Wi-Fi networks are out there than what your computer can normally see? It's true. But depending on the security settings of the wireless network and its overall signal strength, you might not see these alternate options pop up in the standard Windows network settings dialogue. That's where Wi-Fi scanning applications like NetStumbler or inSSIDer come into play. That, and they're the best way you go about cataloging all the hotspots in your neighborhood from the passenger seat of your moving vehicle.
Click the link, and we'll show you how you can use inSSIDer to find out valuable information about the wireless networks floating around you right now!
The production of a sequel typically implies that the original creation is worth revisiting. However, considering that the original Phenom was the hardware version of Ishtar, many enthusiasts didn’t think Phenom deserved to be revisited.
AMD certainly thinks it does—and it hopes Phenom II is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn to Phenom’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And why shouldn’t AMD be able to pull off a reversal of fortune? Phenom II isn’t just Phenom joined by a Roman numeral—it’s a die shrink with a boatload of additional cache and an improved core. In short, AMD hopes to erase memories of the original Phenom and put smiles on the faces of disappointed overclockers with its reimagined Phenom II chip.
Come with us as we review, critique, and dissect Phenom II and find out how it stacks up against a stack of Intel CPUs.
Team Maximum PC is here at the Venetian hotel/casino in Las Vegas, attending the Microsoft CES keynote. This will be the first keynote since Bill Gate's retirement, and Steve "Developers! Developers! Developers!" Ballmer is filling in to kick off the conference. This is Microsoft's chance to wow techies after Apple dropped the ball yesterday with its decidedly unspectacular MacWorld keynote. Windows 7 will undoubtedly be the hot topic of tonight's presentation, but we're hoping for a few surprises as well. Ballmer has also historically been an energetic and entertaining speaker, so we know we're in for a good show, at least. Keep your eyes peeled on MaximumPC.com and this liveblog page for all the latest updates!
Read on to see what Microsoft has to announce at CES 2009!
We're not going to make any comments about your multi-platform setup at home, because it's okay to accept that your PC can live alongside your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Wii without major squabbling between the systems. But what do you do when your devices want to interact with each other? How do you get all of those movies, music albums, and Internet feeds on your PC to show up on your console and television set?
There are a bunch of solutions on the Internet today for streaming media from your PC to your console of choice. But that doesn't mean all of them are good. In fact, you'll never know whether a given tool works for you unless you spend the requisite half-hour installing it, configuring it for streaming, firing up your console, trying to connect to your PC, et cetera. It's a process. But at least allow us to do our part in reducing your streaming nightmare. We've rounded up a batch of our favorite freeware applications for streaming media from a PC to a console, as well as a handy encoding tool in case you still can't get your huge movies to work just right.
Click the link, press Start, and we're off to World 1-1 of media transcoding!
A few years ago, SUVs were riding high, with throngs of the massive gas-guzzlers clogging the highways. Compact cars were considered wimpy and passé. Fast-forward to the present day and suddenly small is back in style. It’s not the size that matters, as the saying goes, it’s what you do with it. Since the advent of Asus’s Eee PC, manufacturers have been racing to bring tiny, low-powered laptops, also known as netbooks, to the market. You probably won’t use a netbook as your primary computer: limited storage space, integrated graphics, and the lack of an optical drive make them unsuitable for any really intensive tasks. But as small, eminently portable word-processing and Internet-browsing devices, netbooks hit the price/performance sweet spot for many people. By the end of 2008, more than 8 million netbooks will have been shipped.
In just the past several months, the netbook market has gone from nonexistent to immense, with dozens of models out already, most of them built around Intel’s low-voltage Atom processor, but some on VIA’s C7-M.
For this roundup, we chose three Atom-based netbooks running XP from three different vendors at three different price points to determine what this new category of portable PCs is capable of and how much price figures into performance. Ultimately, we aim to answer whether this new breed of portable PC is something we should even care about.
We know, you just got your rig right where you want it, complete with a primo CPU, a kick-ass videocard config, and seemingly limitless storage. So forgive us if we dangle the temptation of better, faster hardware in front of your face. We’re just doing our job. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been grilling our industry contacts for news of what computing delights await power users in the months and years to come. And delightful the future is: CPUs with eight cores, GPUs that run games as a pastime, mobos with both SLI and CrossFire support, and hard drives so large your data will feel puny and inadequate. And that’s just part of it.
Look at it this way: Our 2009 technology preview gives you advance warning about the hardware that will soon occupy your dreams, so you can start saving your pennies and plotting your next upgrade path today.
As we get ready to celebrate the end of 2008 and start of 2009, it's important to put down the champagne glasses for a moment and consider all of the big open-source stories that have come across over the past year. There have been a lot. In fact, we've even gone and chronicled some of the bigger stories for you already. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so. Like watching The Empire Strikes Back before A New Hope, you'll be lost if you read on much further. That's because we're now taking a look at what's in store for the open-source world in 2009.
We'll get to the specific predictions in a big, but here's the big picture: the open-source software world is on the up, up, up. We called this out in a news article awhile ago once the economy started taking a dive. Guess what? The economy's still taking a dive, and companies long and far are taking an increased interest in the open-source community. That's because open-source solutions can help them generate cost savings over expensive, proprietary software without a loss of business quality or functionality. And that translates into increased opportunities for open-source developers -everybody wins! Unless you're Microsoft and think the entire affair is rubbish. But enough of that... onto the predictions!
Click the link to jump into the open-source world of 2009!
Can a computer exist without hardware? It can if it’s a virtual machine. A virtual machine is software that’s capable of executing programs as if it were a physical machine—it’s a computer within a computer. Virtual machines can be divided into two broad categories: process virtual machines and system virtual machines.
A process virtual machine is limited to running a single program. A system virtual machine, on the other hand, enables one computer to behave like two or more computers by sharing the host hardware’s resources. A system virtual machine consists entirely of software, but an operating system and the applications running on that OS see a CPU, memory, storage, a network interface card, and all the other components that would exist in a physical computer. For the remainder of this discussion, we’ll use the term “virtual machine” to refer to a system virtual machine.
Software running on a virtual machine is limited to the resources and abstract hardware that the virtual machine provides. Since a virtual machine can provide a complete instruction set architecture (ISA, a definition of all the data types, registers, address modes, external input/output, and other programming elements that a given collection of hardware is capable of working with), a virtual machine can simulate hardware that might not even exist in the physical world.
Using virtual machines, a computer can run several iterations of an operating system—or even several different operating systems—with each OS isolated from and oblivious to the existence of the others. The only requirement is that each operating system must be capable of supporting the underlying hardware. And, of course, there must be enough resources (memory, hard disk space, CPU cycles, and so on) to support everything. You could use a virtual machine to run Linux on top of Windows, for instance, or you could run two versions of Windows and use one as a sandbox for testing software you wouldn’t trust on a “real” machine.
We're taking a look at Web page creation tools in this week's freeware/open-source roundup. And let's face it, the task sounds daunting: making a Web page, that is. Finding the programs is the easy part. There are a ton of authoring tools out on the Interwebs, but therein lies the problem. You don't want to have to burrow through 30 different applications to find the one that matches your experience level. And if you're completely new to HTML/CSS, you're going to want the most bare-bones, easy-to-use application you can find for making your first big online "Hello World!"
We've scoured through a number of programs to find the best applications for helping you make that picture-perfect Web page. From HTML creation, to file uploading, to validating, our choices represent a batch of must-have programs. Depending on your experience level, you might not need all five before you have your own variant of Maximumpc.com up and running. But everyone should be able to find something they need in our treasure trove of Web tools.