We’ve heard the phrase “visual computing” being used a lot lately – it refers to the use of computers and graphical environments to interact with and manipulate heady data sets and other textbookish content. Well, we’ve encountered one of the most visually stunning and impressive examples of visual computing in San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium, the new $20 million dollar facility that’s a part of the recently reopened California Academy of Sciences. This isn’t your daddy’s planetarium (nor is it Barack Obama’s famous $3 million dollar star charter, either).
The Morrison Planetarium is a technological marvel, enabling astronomers not only to show traditional star charts, but to guide visitors through an immersive fly-through of our universe – realistically rendered in real-time. We were fortunate enough to be invited for a private screening of the new exhibit, and went behind to scenes to check out exactly what PC hardware drives this modern stellar cartography lab. And before you ask – yes, the system can play Quake.
We'll guide you through a tour of the planetarium, show you what visitors get to experience in the amazing digital presentation, and then walk you behind the scenes for an exclusive look at how the tech gods who built the whole system make it work. Trust us, you'll be impressed.
As power users, we all know how awesome a PC can be. After all, we’ve built and fine-tuned our rigs with an eye toward maximum capability. And as a result of our tinkering we know with stone-cold certainty the killer frame rates we can achieve, the mad multitasking we can accomplish, and the sheer speed at which we can get common computing chores done. All very important matters, to be sure. But perhaps it’s time to broaden our horizons and look at the lesser-known ways our computers can empower us. Whether it’s by helping us develop new talents or ply a new trade or expand our technical savvy, our rigs hold the key to limitless possibilities. Don’t believe us? Well, read on.
Forget the lessons of Tyler Durden. The things you own define who you are. And nothing makes a bigger statement than your cell phone ringtone. Your ringtone gives valuable insight for everyone within earshot about your preferences and personality -- information with which they'll use to judge you (and yes, you're always being judged). You don't want to be the guy sitting in a quiet lecture hall when your phone suddenly starts blasting the latest Fallout Boy single. That tells your neighbors that you have poor taste and probably cry yourself to sleep at night. No, you want to be the guy who has Europe's The Final Countdown chime in at opportune moments, letting that cute hipster girl nearby know that yes, you too are a fan of Arrested Development.
For geeks and techies who want to attract like-minded compatriots, we've compiled a list of the top 10 must-have ringtones to own. Any respectable tech/gadget/sci-fi aficionado should have these tones stored on their phones at all times, alternating the chimes in a daily rotation to prevent them from getting stale. We've also included a definitive list of the 10 coolest text-message alert sounds, as well as the most clichéd and obnoxious ringtones and alerts that must be avoided at all cost.
There are fewer delights in life greater than the fabled "holiday break" that comes this time each year. For those fortunate enough to have some time off from their places of business, it's a treat to be able to come home to a roaring fire, a loud desktop machine, and a week-or-so's worth of frantic Web browsing and video game playing. This is also the perfect time of year to run some tweaking on your computer, and invariably the perfect time of year for Murphy's Law to curse you with an unresponsive desktop or faltering operating system. But fear not! Santa Maximum PC is ready with a bag full of freeware applications for you to tinker (or save your computer) with.
Click the link and start opening your software presents!
Behind every piece of malware—be it a virus, spyware, or any other form of hostile, destructive code—is a sneaky, scheming scoundrel, oftentimes someone you’d never suspect. Antivirus suites promise to defend your PC against all the baddies. We test 10 of the leading products to see which ones are best at keeping your PC safe.
Remember Myst Online? You shouldn't. GameTap shut the servers for the fumbling MMO in the beginning of this year, leaving plenty of fans of massively multiplayer online puzzle-solving out in the cold. Until the rights were returned to Cyan Worlds, which promptly promised to resurrect the MMO under the clever acronym of MORE -- the Myst Online Resurrection Experiment. Which was all fine, until funding difficulties killed the project once again. Which has since been resurrected again (surpassing Jean Gray's record), this time as a result of Cyan Worlds turning the entire Myst Online platform over to the open source community.
Strangely, this is the first big announcement from any of the "larger" MMOs that involves open source in any fashion. When an MMO dies, it usually dies for good, regardless of how persistent the fan base is toward resurrecting the fallen title into a working project.
Click the link and come into the strange, shifting world of open-source MMOs!
In October, we spec’ed out a respectable $800 gaming PC in our monthly Buyer’s Guide feature. While the price and parts looked promising, we had to see for ourselves if this sub-$1000 system could hold its ground against today’s top rigs. After all, if you don’t need to spend your next month’s paycheck on performance parts, why should you?
We had to make some careful choices to keep this machine within our constrained budget, but in the end we were surprised by this little PC’s kick ass performance. Want to learn how to build it yourself? We’ll walk you through our meticulous build process, explain why we chose each component, and give you our final thoughts on the benchmark results this little-PC-that-could throws down.
Everyone has a short list of "classic" games that are fun to fire up every now and then. It doesn't matter how old they are, nor how many times you've successfully beaten these A-list titles. These awesome games will always hold a special place in your heart no matter what. That's the enduring legacy of their appeal.
That's why we love remakes -- fresh new takes on classic games or traditional gaming motifs that can be better than the original titles we're used to playing. Bundle in our zealous enjoyment of anything free or open-source, and you've got a recipe for awesome on your hands. We like awesome, which is why we're profiling five freeware gaming remakes in this week's feature roundup. Check out these titles, as they're examples of some of the best, remade gaming environments that the freeware/open-source community has to offer!
Years from now, when future geeks muse over the history of PC tech, what will they remember about 2008? That’s the question we sought to answer when we compiled this comprehensive technology retrospective of the last year. Make no mistake, identifying and sorting the year’s most significant tech events was no easy task. We locked ourselves in a room where we mentally relived the last 12 months, pondering hundreds of items of note and debating the importance of each to find its appropriate rank on our list. Behold the result: our countdown of the 250 items representing the most noteworthy events and product releases that shaped the PC computing landscape in 2008.
Remember this quote? "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." It was uttered by none other than Microsoft frontman Steve Ballmer himself, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in 2001. It's no secret that Microsoft has put itself right in the center of the proprietary versus open-source war. But the software giant is now starting to dabble in the dark side of open-source projects itself. We're getting nothing but mixed-signals from Redmond. So what is it, Microsoft? Cancer, or cash-cow?
Read on to find out about Microsoft's newest open-source initiatives!