These days, most people have at least one computer and a large collection of media files. The conventional practice for most people has always been to have redundant copies of their media collection on their various computers. While this system technically works, it is highly inefficient and creates the unnecessary task of keeping the media collection on each computer synchronized and up-to-date with the others. A far better solution is to keep all the media on one computer and stream it as needed to the other machines over the network.
Streaming technology has been around for over a decade and is something that most people are at least a little familiar with. (Youtube uses streaming flash-based video to work) In the past, playing large files over the internet was usually pointless due to the fact that the software of the time required the whole file to download (often on slow connections) before the media could be played. With streaming media, the remainder of a file is fetched as the first part it is being played, so there is no need to wait to get the whole thing before watching it. The video quality on early streaming media was often quite bad, (a trade-off between quality and speed was necessary when most people were stuck on dial-up) but with the near-ubiquitous availability of broadband in most urban and suburb areas today, high-quality streaming media has finally become practical.
We have assembled this guide to help you set up a cross-platform media streaming service using a Linux computer as a server. With our guide, you will be able to stream media to any other computer you own. Other guides on the subject discuss how to set up a Samba-based solution, but we feel that our solution is simpler and easier since you only have to install and configure one program instead of several. For this purpose, we use GNUMP3d. GNUMP3d is a program that makes media available through a web-based interface. Instead of using the Samba protocol, GNUMP3d uses ordinary HTTP to get the job done.
If you want to take full advantage of your PC’s audio potential, you should connect your rig to your A/V receiver and passive speakers—or a really good set of powered speakers. But accomplishing this task is often tricky, thanks to a combination of digital rights issues, proprietary surround-sound algorithms, and evolving connection standards.
Computers outfitted with Blu-ray drives and certain late-model videocards can deliver Blu-ray video over HDMI, but getting HD audio that way is another issue. An HDMI cable can carry both high-definition video and up to eight channels of high-definition audio (front left and right, front center, rear left and right, side left and right, and low-frequency effects). Blu-ray discs are typically encoded using Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, or DTS-HD Master Audio; all three of these eight-channel lossless compression codecs can deliver bit-for-bit perfect copies of the original movie soundtrack. Here lies the rub: PCs currently cannot output audio encoded in any of these formats over HDMI.
A properly outfitted PC running CyberLink’s PowerDVD 8, however, can decrypt and decompress Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD and output it as uncompressed eight-channel LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) to HDMI. However, while videocards based on newer Nvidia GPUs are outfitted with HDMI, they’re all limited to two-channel LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) audio over HDMI, and that’s only if your motherboard has a S/PDIF-out header
AMD’s RV7xx-series cards can deliver uncompressed eight-channel LPCM audio over HDMI because they route the signals over the PCI Express bus. For integrated graphics, motherboards with Nvidia’s GeForce 8300 chipsets (for AMD CPUs) and GeForce 9300 or GeForce 9400 chipsets (for Intel CPUs), and those with Intel’s G35 Express, G45 Express, and G965 Express chipsets can do it, too.
We highlight the four most common PC audio scenarios. Pick the one that fits your situation and we’ll show you the best way to integrate your PC into your home-theater system.
In our opinion, no artistic medium offers a better opportunity to express a PC gamer’s individuality and inappropriate sense of humor like a personal decal “spray” projected on your enemy’s spawn room wall during a multiplayer match. While Valve has made it a mostly painless process to import spray images into their Source engine-based games, the difficulty still lies in creating an original image you can be proud to vandalize next to an enemies corpse. And since no game offers more opportunities to grief friends and enemies than Left 4 Dead, we’re going to show you a flawless technique for creating your own ‘writing on the wall’, pun absolutely intended.
Hard drive encryption sounds like an intimating concept, mostly because it is. The thought of taking your precious files, then using a mathematical formula to convert them into random noise before scattering them back across your disk is a hard sell. The harsh reality is, mobile computing is on the rise, and so is laptop theft. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 laptops are lost or stolen in the US each year. In some cases, the data on the hard drive is often more valuable than the machine itself.
To determine if disk encryption is something you should be considering, simply ask yourself if your PC contains anything you wouldn’t want posted publically on the internet. If the answer to this is yes (and I assume for most of us it is) then encryption is worth considering.
The good news is, you no longer need to be a member of the CIA to lock down your machine with government level encryption.In fact, one of the most highly regarded and powerful encryption tools available is both free, and open source (our favorite combination!) True Crypt allows you to protect either all your data, or only what you choose. You can mask your boot drive and sensitive documents, while leaving your games or other non generic data in the clear. While no encryption process is without risk, True Crypt is designed to put your mind at ease, and takes no chances with your data. The process can be reversed at any time even without being able to boot into windows.
So if your ready to get started click the jump to learn step by step how to protect your data.
Malware is everywhere. You can't browse on any Internet tech forum without someone mentioning this word (with disdain), usually in search of a remedy after being infected with spyware. No matter how careful you are, we’re guessing that many of you have had malware inadvertently installed on your system and may have even ended up reformatting your computer as a last resort. While that may have been the most thorough solution, it is in a sense admitting defeat. Or worse yet, you took your computer to get cleaned and was charged anywhere from $50-300 -- a high price for humiliation. But don't fret, because you can actually purge your system of malicious software for free! Just follow our comprehensive guide.
Seadragon image zooming software is one of the more interesting software technologies coming out of Microsoft Research Labs. Its implementation in web applications is potentially a big leap in the way we view images online. One such implementation is Deep Zoom, an Ajax-powered online viewer that lets you view, zoom, and pan through high-resolution photos and images in a way that is incredibly fast and smooth, regardless of the original image’s pixel density. Companies adopting this tech include the Hard Rock Café, which utilizes it in its music memorabilia showcase. Microsoft also developed and released a mobile application for Seadragon in the form of a really cool iPhone app which lets you view Deep Zoom image files.
But what if you want to turn your own photo albums into a Deep Zoom gallery? With Microsoft’s Deep Zoom Composer, you can now create a high-tech hassle-free photo album allowing you to display your images online using the Seadragon plug-in. We show you how with our comprehensive step-by-step guide!
Any car enthusiast worth his salt knows that until you customize your ride, it’s just another commuter. Likewise, your computer is little more than a generic PC in an ocean of look-alikes until you make it your own.
Here at Maximum PC, we don’t settle for out of the box. To us, a computer is incomplete until it’s been forged in our own image. To that end, we’re taking a look at six unbeatable tools that can spice up a drab Windows desktop. When we’re done here, you’ll have given your default Windows interface a much-needed face-lift by adding custom themes, ditching the taskbar for a more attractive dock, and setting up your wallpaper to refresh on a schedule.
This newfound pride in your desktop will raise your morale while you’re working for the man, and these apps will boost your overall productivity by better organizing your applications and icons on different virtual desktops and placing to-dos, system statistics, and other important information a keystroke away.
Sound appealing? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s time to turn that dreary Windows default into something you can be proud of.
So, the season of giving has just come and gone, and you’ve received a Linux-based netbook—the popular new class of ultra-cheap, ultra-portable computer. By definition, netbooks are very limited in what they can do; they’re primary meant for accessing the web as well as some moderate office and multimedia use. Their low-speed processor and minimal memory means that they’re just not suited for more intensive applications like gaming or video editing.
However, there are things you can do to get the most out of your little machine. For instance, you can swap out the limited OS that comes packaged with most Linux-based netbooks for a much more versatile distro like Ubuntu, which can be customized specifically for netbooks. It’s a somewhat complicated process, but in this guide we’ll walk you through it, step by step, and then we’ll show you how to get around in Ubuntu.
With outsourced support now the de facto standard in the IT and ISP industries, do-it-yourself computer repair has gone from being an optional luxury to an outright necessity. You might feel hopeless and abandoned the first time your network connection gives out, but don’t fret just yet. Given the right direction, even the greenest of users can fix a number of common network errors. We’re going to give you all the tools you need to become your own network tech support.
You might be skeptical, but LAN/WAN troubleshooting isn’t all that difficult. Upgrades are easy and cheap—if required at all—and the analysis process is brief and painless, even if you’ve never wired a Cat5 cable or run a command line ipconfig. Even better, many of the steps and instructions are identical in Vista and XP, which goes a long way toward easing the troubleshooting transition, should you switch from one OS to the other.
While sometimes a call to your ISP is unavoidable, when you do have to do it, at least you’ll brandish the knowledge to blaze through all the low-level BS and head straight to a speedy resolution. Don’t let the Internet and networking companies bully you any longer—it’s time to stand up and take matters into your own hands.
Read on to find out how to optimize your internet experience!
There’s no denying that Flash has changed the world of entertainment in some pretty profound ways. Sure, some might argue that we could have done without the flash-enabled advent of floating ads, gaudy movie websites and cheaply-animated stoner cartoons, but we think that the good outweighs the bad. After all, without Flash, we’d be missing out on a whole slew of rad flash games, clever web interfaces and cheaply-animated stoner cartoons. And let’s not forget YouTube and its ilk, which have truly revolutionized the way we waste time.
However, there’s a problem with streaming video: you don’t get to keep it on your computer when you’re done. So if you want to watch something again, or to show it to your friends, you have to go back and find it on the website again. But it’s pretty easy to rip streaming video to your hard drive, and in this article we’ll show you how, as well as how to convert that video to other formats so that you can play it on your device of choice.