Eh. Technology upgrades. You don't need the latest graphic, motherboard, and CPU combinations to have a good time on your PC. Sure, having realistic raindrops fall across your warrior's face is a nice touch. And you can never go wrong with all those fun volumetric shadows and such--you know, the ones that cripple your poor videocard whenever you try and crank your display's resolution to the max.
A good game is all about the fun it brings to the table absent of technical wizardry or flashy effects. I like to call this the Nethack effect. For those recently born, Nethack is that old-school ASCII game that's still beloved by many even though its graphics could easily be replicated by a graphing calculator. The game doesn't need top-shelf scenery or character models to be awesome. It just is--by virtue of its immersion, frustrations, and countless ways to die.
As you might guess, This week's freeware roundup is another gaming-focused edition, but I'm covering a wide range of graphical treatments with the racing, hack-and-slash, and building-creation games I feature (amongst other categories). You'll see games that look pretty good given their open-source and freeware roots; You'll also see games that are a bit less, er, polished... but still worth your time for their creative features and fun action. You might even see a game that involves ponies.
Nehalem for everyone! That simple sentence best explains Intel’s brand-new series of CPUs, which is sure to please budget users everywhere while confounding power users.
Why would a new CPU that gives you the best bang for the buck in town be greeted nervously? Because Intel’s new CPU brings with it a new socket as well as a new infrastructure. This new infrastructure is essentially a fork in the road that forces users to make a difficult choice: Save money today but get locked out of the high-end, or splurge today knowing that the budget CPU is damn near as good as the top-end part.
For the details on Intel’s new budget monster, savor our full report, consume the specs, and then digest the benchmarks to see just which path your next PC should take.
Once a week, I feel like I'm either finding or running a large batch of programs in an effort to keep my computer as crap-free as possible. It's a never-ending battle. I defrag, I delete, I shuffle, I organize, I optimize, I scan... and still, what I end up downloading and installing over the next six days almost always leads me back to the good ol' "Sunday Purge," as I've come to call it.
And you? I venture that your habits are pretty similar to mine, as you're a Maximum PC reader with a thirst--nay, need--for speed. But we both don't have to waste a ton of time poring over our hard drives and giving them digital equivalent of a good flossing. There are tools, wonderful tools, that will automate this process--and automate it for free!
You're probably aware of quite a few of these applications, in fact. That's why I've cast my net over a wide swath of sites to find two little tidbits that you probably haven't heard of before. Here's a sneak preview: These tools let you assign rules for clearing out a wide variety of files based on customized criteria you select. One of the apps works its wonders on your desktop and the other offers a similar service for any USB device you attach to your system.
Intrigued? Those are but two of the five awesome programs in this week's freeware roundup. The rest are waiting for your trigger-happy downloading fingers after the jump, as always.
Factor these (now) thirty-six tests against an average of ten test suite iterations--a minimum number of variances that Resig runs in a common jQuery testing environment. That's three hundred and sixty runs for every test you create, more if you're expanding to include OSX and Linux platforms. And did I mention that the best results tend to occur when actual human beings are behind the testing instead of some automated attempt at user interaction? Yeaaaah...
Conceptually speaking, the Internet can be viewed as consisting of four functional layers: the Link Layer, the Internet Layer, the Transport Layer, and the Application Layer. Each layer has several protocols, sets of rules that define how data is formatted and transmitted, which are known collectively as the Internet Protocol Suite. We’ll discuss all four layers here, but we’ll dive deepest into the Internet Layer and its associated Internet Protocol (IP)—because this is the worldwide network’s most fundamental component.
The Link Layer is the lowest layer and is responsible for delivering data over whatever hardware is in use. A link consists of the physical and logical components that are used to interconnect host computers and other types of network nodes (a node is any electronic device that’s connected to the network, including hosts). Link Layer protocols, including Address Resolution Protocol and Media Access Control, operate only on a host’s link.
Continue reading about Internet Protocol after the jump.
In less than two months, Microsoft will finally release Windows 7 to an eager user base, some of which have already put Vista in the rear view mirror. Microsoft's slickest OS to date, Win 7 purports to do everything from improve file transfer performance to solving the world's problems and finally bringing peace around the globe.
On the other side of the tracks, Justin Long and the rest of the Apple allegiant will get a head start on the next-gen OS wars with Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard." And while we can knock Apple for its overpriced hardware and sissy aesthetics, OS X Leopard users will be able to upgrade for just $29, or less than a week's worth of lattes.
But we're not here to diss on Apple (at least not unnecessarily), nor do we intend to crank Microsoft's hype machine (seriously though, Windows 7 officially kicks ass). What we will do is take you all the way back to Windows 3.1 and examine how the OS wars have evolved in the modern era (you can find our pre-Windows 3.1 retrospective here). And for you open- source fans, fear not, you'll get your fill of Linux as well.
So sit back, grab a cold one (beer if you're a PC user, mocha cappuccino if you're a Mac user, and Bawls if you're rocking Linux), and hit the jump to get started!
Having just gotten off a plane, I'm now facing the difficulties that a West-to-East coast trip does to one's sleeping schedule. Thus, this week's freeware roundup has as much of a concrete theme as I have a coherent thought at the moment. But that's ok. Examples of killer freeware or open-source software don't always fall within a single bucket.
So what's on deck for right now? I won't give away too many details. Suffice, if you've ever lost data as a result of a scratched or scuffed CD, you'll want to click on the jump below. While the page loads, go dig though the trash to recover the media that you just tossed--it's not dead. It might be on life support, and you might stand a very good chance of losing parts of your data, but you might also be able to save a portion of the files located on said disc.
That's a great bit of lifesaving... and it's just one of the programs in this week's roundup. Even niftier applications lurk behind the cut below. Get your downloading finger ready.
They’re lighter, they’re (sometimes) faster, and they take up less hard drive space than most programs — they’re Adobe Air applications. Though they appropriately live up to their name, these tiny apps do not skim on features. From shopping to managing online photos or streaming digital music, Adobe Air is making it easier to run multiple processes at one time without straining your system. Sometimes, when Photoshop is too much and Firefox has too many tabs open, we just want to open up one more application without using up all our RAM.
The Adobe Air Marketplace offers a substantial list of freeware and shareware Air applications that simplify our lives and make it just a bit easier to finish the task at hand. Though there’s a great selection of all sorts of useful and entertaining applications and desktop widgets, we’ve compiled our list of our favorite, and free, utilitarian Adobe Air applications.
With all the fuss being made about netbooks, you’d think they were God’s gift to computing convenience. Sure, there’s something to be said for those low-cost, low-power machines, but what if you actually need to get some real work done? There’s nothing convenient about being hobbled by an anemic processor, a relatively low-res screen, a shrunken keyboard, and the various other compromises that contribute to a netbook’s cost savings.
For extreme portability in a machine that packs a punch, you’ll need to set your sights higher, to an ultraportable notebook. Ultraportable notebooks are every bit as light, or lighter than, a netbook, with the added benefit of superior features and a more powerful processor. As a general rule, you’ll find your hardiest ultraportables among the business-class models, which are made for both regular travel and all-around productivity. Of course, convenience of this caliber comes at a premium price—usually four to five times the cost of the average netbook.
Thus, choosing an ultraportable is not a decision to be taken lightly. To help you out, we gathered up four elite representatives of the class and put them through rigorous testing. Obviously, we can’t expect any ultraportable machine to have the muscle required for chores like video editing, batch transcoding, or serious gaming. But we do expect these notebooks to accomplish the gamut of typical day-to-day tasks, including photo editing, slide-show creation, and multitasking. And we expect them to offer all the comfort and features necessary for full-fledged computing on the go.
The surge suppressor is one of the unsung heroes of the computer world. Often valued more for its ability to multiply one electrical receptacle into many than for its role as protector of all things electronic, the surge suppressor is your first line of defense against transient power surges that can damage or destroy sensitive components inside your PC. Let’s take a look at how they work.
Before we tackle the concept of surge suppression, we should first understand what exactly a surge is. In the United States, electrical energy flows through standard household wiring at an average rate of 120 volts. Because the system used is alternating current, the voltage level of every AC cycle reaches a peak value that’s roughly 1.414 times higher than 120 volts. A surge occurs when the voltage level suddenly rises significantly higher than that. A lightning strike on a power line, for instance, will cause a transient spike in the electrical power entering your house. Problems with your utility company’s equipment (anything from a downed power line to a defective transformer) can also cause power surges.
Appliances and other electrically powered devices inside your home, however, are much more common causes of power surges. Any device that requires a large amount of energy to switch on or off—examples include refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and air conditioners—can disrupt the flow of voltage through your home’s electrical wiring. Surges such as these don’t pack as much destructive power as a lightning strike, but they can cause as much damage, instantly or over time.