So, you’ve got a terabyte of media on your home PC—movies, music, TV shows, the works. On top of that, you like to watch streaming videos on the web and listen to Internet radio. Isn’t the future great? But how are you getting at all this media? Do you keep all your files in folders on your desktop, or are they just sitting on a NAS box? Maybe you use something like iTunes, and then fire up your browser to get at streaming content. There’s a better way.
What you need is a media front end, which can help you organize and access all your media, whether it’s files on your system or in the cloud. In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to do to get XBMC—a popular media front end—up, running, and customized.
So you're jetting off to a tropical island in uncharted waters. But how are you supposed to enjoy paradise when copyright laws put the international hammer down on Netflix? Winter travelers, meet your new best friends: Proxy and VPN services.
Forget big. For this challenge, I’m going small. My goal: to create a kick-ass gaming rig on a Mini-ITX motherboard. That means I need a discrete graphics card, a mobo with a full PCI-E x16 slot, a desktop processor, and plenty of storage. I also need a case that can hold it all elegantly, a PSU to power it, and enough airflow to make sure the rig doesn’t melt. Finally, it has to look good.
As a digital photography and video enthusiast, I needed a system that could handily withstand the rigors of Photoshop and make my occasional work in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 move more smoothly. High-end enthusiast PC parts seemed like the way to go, allowing me avoid the crushing cost of professional workstation components.
But a fast PC isn’t the only ingredient. I also needed to consider the peripherals. For instance, by going with an ultra-high-resolution display, my editing can be much more exact, saving me time in the long run, and enabling me to produce high-quality results. A high-end photo printer gives me a means for displaying my masterworks with poster-size prints.
Today is (believe it or not) the 25th birthday of the Windows operating system. To celebrate, we’re going to take a little trip back in time, and relive the glory(?) days of Windows 3.1. Windows 3.1 was a lot of people’s first exposure to Windows, but there are also a lot of younger computer fans who never got a chance to try it out. In this mini-how-to we’ll show you how to get a virtual Windows 3.1 sandbox up and running, using free, virtualization software VirtualBox.
So whether you missed out on trying the earliest popular version of Windows, or you just want to take a little nostalgia trip, read on!
Lo-Jack schmojack. You don't need some spendy GPS unit and to keep tabs on that new Escalade. Uplinking your wheels to the great eye in the sky without breaking the bank is easier than you think.
Standalone GPS units can cost hundreds. And that's not counting the installation and (frequently hefty) activation and monthly fees associated with whatever service you do choose. For most of us, it's overkill. The good news is that if you happen to have a GPS-equipped phone lying around, you can rig your own vehicle tracking system for virtually nothing. Here's how it's done...
With the majority of users connecting to the Internet on some form of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), we thought it was time to give you some tips to help you streamline your DSL connection using filters. If you’re connecting to the internet using cable or satellite or, god forbid, dial-up, these instructions might even help you to get rid of a bit of noise in your phone line.
Most DSL connections are actually ADSL (Asynchronous DSL), meaning that your upload speed probably sucks but your download speed is likely decent. For example, if you can download at 5 Mbps (megabits per second), you can usually upload at around 1 Mbps. Most of the time, these speeds are attained via POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)which utilizes basic copper wire. Although some telcos feed fiber cables to a place near your home, and use copper for the rest of the journey. If you’re lucky enough(and well-off enough)to have a fiber ADSL connection, then, well, none of this really applies to you. Your speeds should be much higher.
In the United States and Canada, it’s pretty standard for the telcos to connect a line to your house leaving the rest of the wiring beyond that point under your control. That point is called a Demarcation Point or a NID (Network Interface Device) and the telcos responsibility ends there. Anything you do with the wires past the demarc is your concern, not theirs. Look for this box by following your phone line up to your house. Ideally, everything that you’re going to work on should be easily accessible on the inside of that wall.
What’s the best way to transfer files from one computer to another? You can use a USB thumb drive or an Internet service like Dropbox, but a network connection is almost always the most efficient choice. You might think that both computers need access to a common network to use network sharing, but that’s not actually the case. Thanks to ad-hoc networking (a built-in feature in Windows) any two Wi-Fi-enabled laptops can shares files and play games as though they were on a LAN.
Setting up an ad-hoc connection in Windows Vista or 7 is a surprisingly simple affair. We’ll show you how.
One of the oldest ways to send and receive files on the Internet is FTP, and although almost everyone has connected to an FTP server at some point or another, most people have never set one up. While there are several options for FTP server software, we prefer FileZilla, which offers a streamlined interface, and most importantly, is completely free (most other companies only offer a trial period before charging you). Here's how to use it.
With all the recent hubbub about Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move, you’d be excused for thinking that motion control is some new phenomenon. In reality, it’s a technology that’s been around on the PC for years. Head tracking allows you to control your PC with your head. Mostly used in sim games, head tracking lets you move and tilt your head to control where your character looks. There are, of course, some excellent commercial head-tracking systems available, but it’s possible (thanks to free software called FreeTrack) to build your own head tracker with just a webcam and a few dollars worth of electrical supplies. We’ll show you how.