Your PC’s hard drive is probably packed to the platter’s edge with hundreds of ripped DVD videos, gigabytes of digital photos from your camera, and tens of thousands of songs. And that’s not even counting the high-definition digital video from your last family vacation that you’re still planning to unload. But with terabytes of media just gathering dust on your desktop PC, you risk losing years of aggregated files when your hard drive inevitably gives out (don’t even think about backing it all up to the cloud). Our solution: Keep all your data backed up on a Windows Home Sever. More than just a generic NAS box, Windows Home Server maintains backups, streams media files, and works as a file share across your home network. And the best part is that you can build one yourself—we’ll show you how!
A bootable USB key is a convenient way to install operating systems on netbooks without optical drives, or carrying around a Live OS with you at all times. It especially makes sense if you're installing software on a machine that otherwise has no need for an optical drive, such as a Windows Home Server. Here’s a definitive guide to making a bootable USB key with either Vista or Windows 7 in just 9 steps.
Microsoft has a penchant for hiding some of the strongest, most versatile tools for managing their operating system in places you’d never find by yourself. Given that the average computer user is pretty dumb, this makes sense
—some of the tools can easily screw up your computer pretty badly. But you, Maximum PC reader, are not one of the clueless masses, so we’re going to trust you with this: The Local Group Policy Editor.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use the Local Group Policy Editor to tweak every aspect of your PC. We’ll also show you how to use Multiple Local Group Policy Objects on a Windows Vista or 7 computer to create different policies for different user accounts, allowing you to create an account just for guests, or for the kids.
Web applications are quickly gaining popularity over desktop programs for day-to-day tasks like email and calendar management, but you have to run a web browser and be tethered to an Internet connection to take advantage of these services. Luckily for you, both Google Chrome and Firefox actually offer the ability to turn these web apps into desktop applications.
Remember when T-Mobile's G1 was being billed as a potential iPhone killer? Powered by Google's Android platform, the open-source mobile OS was supposed to usher in the end of the iPhone OS era, and who knows, maybe someday it still will. But it won't be on the G1 (otherwise known as the HTC Dream), the chunky alternative that misses the mark of mobile greatness. But while the G1 might leave a lot to be desired out of the box, power users who aren't afraid to take matters into their own hands have the ability to significantly enhance the handset's capabilities.
On the following pages, we're going to show you how to hack your G1 the easy way so you can do things with your phone that other G1 owners only wish they could, like install apps to an SD card. And for you old school traditionalists who like to get your hands dirty, we'll also show how you to root your G1 the old fashioned way and wade through all the necessary code step-by-painstaking-step. After it's all said and done, we'll cover some of the most popular third-party ROMs and tell you which one we're rolling with.
Are you ready to hack? Grab your G1 and hit the jump to get started!
Have you always wished you could merge, encrypt or just manipulate a PDF file? Editing PDFs has always been possible with Adobe’s software, but not everyone can afford the steep price of Adobe’s professional suite. But there are actually several pieces of software that will let you deftly manipulate Adobe’s proprietary Portable Document Format. In this guide, we will show you a few ways you can manipulate a PDF file without investing in Acrobat Professional. To start, here’s an overview of the free software that you’ll need.
PDF Split and Merge
As the name implies, this program allows you to split and merge a PDF. However, it has a few limitations. This program will not split or merge protected PDF files (which are password-protected). If you want to split and merge PDFs that you have created, the program should work fine.
We’ve all seen those perfectly wired high-dollar rigs with cables completely hidden beneath the motherboard tray and have wanted that for our home-brewed PCs. Unfortunately, unless you’re prepared to buy or make cables that are precisely the correct length for the components in your system, a Voodoo-quality wiring job is nigh-impossible to achieve. However, with some zip ties and a little patience, you can get close.
Before you start, you’ll need something to restrain the cables. Some enthusiast PC cases come with a package of ties, but they’re also frequently available in the cable-tie area of your hardware store or in Radio Shack. We prefer small plastic zip ties, which you can buy at most hardware stores in quantities of 100 for around $5; Velcro straps will also work, and twist ties are even acceptable in a pinch. You’ll also need wire snips (to trim the ends of the zip ties), and some adhesive cable wranglers are also handy for attaching the bundled cables to the case. We also use flex tubing and shrink tubing to bundle up smaller cables. You can find the tubing at most electronics stores, or online at Frozencpu.com.
As always, feel free to do as much or as little with your PC wiring as you’d like. This is a project that can take from 10 minutes (if you want to do it quick and dirty) to several hours (if you want every little wire in perfect position).
We love point-and-shoot pocket cameras for their small size and ease of use, but we lament their relatively paltry feature sets when compared to more expensive DSLR models. The good news, for owners of the popular Canon PowerShot cameras, is that your consumer-grade gadget can be upgraded with custom software to endow it with professional features like RAW image recording and live histogram feedback. CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) is an easy-to-install software package created by a savvy group of programmers to supercharge the Canon PowerShot. We show you how to safely install and configure this free firmware add-on with no risk to your camera.
For as long as Sony’s PlayStation Portable has been on the market, it’s been a juicy target for hackers. With burly hardware (for a handheld) and a gorgeous screen, it just begs to play homebrew, and lots of PSP owners have cracked their devices to do just that. Unfortunately, Sony has had other plans for their handheld, and has released dozens of firmware updates and several hardware revisions to make it harder to hack the PSPs handheld.
As such, there’s no one hack that works on all PSP, and in fact some PSPs are completely unhackable. There is, however, one fairly easy method that works on most consoles, which is what we’ll illustrate in this article.
Third-party router software has been around for a while, but we can’t help but keep recommending it to users who want to add undocumented features to their home network. Our favorite router firmware package is still Tomato, which we favor for its compatibility with a wide range of router brands and models, user-friendly interface, and powerful feature set. We’ll show you how to upgrade your router’s firmware to the newest version of Tomato and then configure the Quality of Service settings to manage your network traffic.