I'm a writer and computer sciences student from Belgium. You can always do me a favor with a good article idea, book recommendation, or recipe idea. You'll also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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Simon's Latest Posts
Although AirPlay – a system that allows you to stream video and audio between AirPlay-enabled Apple devices – works great in a lot of situations, it isn’t a perfect system. Perhaps most importantly, Apple’s AirPlay system is proprietary, meaning it’s only officially implemented by Apple and thus only available on Mac OS X and iOS devices, leaving a lot of Windows-Apple crossover users out in the cold. Luckily, both of these problems are solved by AirParrot.
With Spotify and similar music-streaming services on the rise, the run-of-the-mill stereo installation is starting to look more and more inadequate. The main problem with this setup is that if you’re sitting with friends, computer-stereo-hybrid blasting away at the other side of the room, it’s often a chore to play DJ… unless you start involving your mobile devices and an app like Spot Remote for iOS.
One of the clumsiest things to do on Mac OS X is Windows management. I don’t usually look back on my Windows years with longing, but window management has been integrated far less sloppier on Windows 7 than it has on Mac OS X. The buttons at the top of the screen sometimes seem to act illogically. But worse, moving and resizing windows has to be done manually using the mouse. This may seem like a trivial task, but believe me, it adds up.
A more portable laptop (in my case, an ultrabook) comes with all kinds of problems for the music enthusiast. The sound quality of Apple’s built-in speakers is better than most, and I love iTunes’ capabilities for organising my media library. However, anything resembling a decent music collection takes up most – if not all – of the available hard drive space. Without a gigantic hard drive, keeping a local music library simply isn’t feasible.
Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at a number of media center software alternatives. Some people swear by XBMC, or swore by Boxee before it stopped developing the Boxee desktop application. In the end, I always come back to Plex. Plex has matured a lot. Now, it’s not only on of the most eye-catching media center applications, it’s a easy to use solution I would recommend to most people looking to build a media center.
You’re having family or friends over and want to show off the pictures of that trip you made last year. Those pictures you haven’t already shared on Facebook (and aren’t likely to) are waiting patiently on your computer until you can gather around your guests and share the memories you made. There are a couple of ways to access your pictures and slideshows on your Apple TV.
Apart from a handheld console like the PlayStation Vita, your tablet or smartphone is probably the best way to game, and keep yourself entertained on the road. After all, a very decent-sized chunk of the iOS app store is filled with games. Some of these games lend themselves better to the iPhone’s or iPad’s touchscreen interface than others.
A big part of the iOS app ecosystem consists of paid apps, more so than its Android counterpart, the Google Play store. In this way, iOS is much like Mac OS X; it’s very common to shell out a few bucks for software now and again. Of course, you don’t have to cough up a lot of money to find great apps for your phone or tablet. Here, we’ll show you how to meet your video player demands with exclusively free iOS apps.
Shelfari and Goodreads are both online tools to manage your book collection. Both websites help you create lists of books read and books yet to read, with reviews to help you decide and tips from friends to keep you going. I got started with Goodreads, but moved to Shelfari for its visual appeal. Shelfari’s integration with Amazon also added to the bargain.
Multitasking is not always a choice. When you have to write up a report, you need access to your text processor, but also to your reference material. While working, I often end up working with five applications at once. Sometimes multitasking is a necessity, but if you’re working off a laptop, it can also be a real annoyance. Windows are lost between countless others, and you switch to the wrong application every five minutes.
So you like to download. Maybe we’re talking eBooks, comic books, or TV shows. We already wrote a lot of articles concerned with the act of actually downloading things. In fact, MakeUseOf wrote an excellent primer on torrents, with The Torrent Guide for Everyone. Just last year, I wrote about 3 Mac OS X applications to speed up your downloads. Today, I’d like to show you the other Mac OS X utilities that help me while downloading (anything).
Having been brought up on western comic books, it’s refreshing to be introduced to a wholly different comic book culture. Those of you that have already had the pleasure to make acquaintance with manga (Japanese comics) will agree on the certifiable wealth of stories contained in this comic book branch. And what better companion than your trusty iPad to journey through the manga landscape?
I used to play most of my games on the computer. All of that changed when the next (that is, current) generation of consoles came out. For one, these devices had a considerable assortment of games and great graphics. Another consideration – perhaps most vital in putting me over the edge towards console gaming – was the price-quality. In terms of hardware, consoles function as an opposite of gaming PCs.
A few years ago, attending university, I started renting an apartment. I took over the current electric plan and went to a different Internet service provider, but the television provided a bit of a conundrum. Cable television had become an intrinsic part of my day-to-day routine, but was it worth the money? Or was it even worth the hassle? In the end, I decided to cut the cable. Abstaining from cable television has a number of advantages.
Computers often pose a dilemma of power consumption. You’d like to do batch jobs like downloading, system repair or back-ups at night, when you aren’t bothered by it. Then again, it seems a bit wasteful to keep your computer running all night long, especially if it should finish its work in an hour or three. Sure, it’s easy that way, but it’s also an incredible waste of energy.