Christian Cawley is MakeUseOf's security editor, Android tinkerer, Windows Phone mentalist, and Doctor Who fan. Follow him as @thegadgetmonkey on Twitter.
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Christian's Latest Posts
I’ve been building a media centre recently. Actually, scratch that – I’ve been building two. One is a compact device (my Raspberry Pi) running the RaspBMC distribution of XBMC, while the other is a traditional HTPC home build – a media centre in a slimline PC case with added TV card. At this stage I haven’t quite decided which system I’m going to stick with long term, so I have a sort of competition running between the two.
While computers and the Internet have moved into the public consciousness since the late 1990′s, their importance wasn’t quite appreciated until recently. But the computer revolution that started in the 1960′s was well into its stride when the following excellent documentaries were broadcast in the 1980′s and 1990′s. These must-watch films explain everything you need to know about the birth of computing and the development of the Internet.
There seems to be a sort of general malaise among users – the tech savvy and everyday users alike – that because your computer fits in your pocket, it can’t be infected by malware, Trojans, worms or other threats. This is, of course, ridiculous, and perhaps stems from the age-old misunderstanding of the nature of malware transmission.
Back in the day, a bricked device would be very tough to recover, but over the years some resilience has been built into smartphones and tablets. These days a few clever button presses, useful additional software, a USB cable and a few prayers (the prayers are optional, of course) will sort out many bricking issues. But as it turns out, you don’t even need to go as far as that!
After spending hundreds of dollars on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, we all try to be vigilant when it comes to thieves. In most cases you can walk down a street without any trouble; most days your briefcase or satchel won’t be stolen when you put it down beside you in a restaurant or railway station. Most days, your home or office won’t be broken into and your computer stolen.
When I head out I’m already carrying my Windows Phone. What I don’t need is an extra device in order to access any books I might fancy reading. Fortunately, Amazon appreciates this and has released apps mimicking the functions of their popular Kindle device. One of the first apps to launch on Windows Phone 7 back in October 2010, Amazon Kindle is now available for Windows Phone 8 devices.
Whenever you switch to a new operating system there are always a few new things to learn – and with Windows 8, the learning curve has increased considerably with the new user interface and built-in store adding a new dimension to Microsoft’s long-running OS. One of the key differences in Windows 8 is the approach to social networking.
As befits a new operating system, over the past few weeks we’ve featured many articles about how to use and tweak Windows 8. With the focus largely on tweaking. After all, when so many developers have gone to the lengths of making tools to make the new operating system more customizable, it would be a shame to overlook this, especially when so many potential Windows 8 users seem to want to make changes.
I recently purchased a new Windows Phone 8 device (the Nokia Lumia 920) and discovered a much-improved mobile operating system compared with the previous Windows Phone 7.5. However, as much as I am enjoying the new phone, its increased speed and wider selection of functional apps, there is one thing that is a bit of a […]
As mobile devices become more and more prominent as productivity tools, so an increasing number of apps offering solutions become available. Earning my living as a freelance writer, I’m particularly interested in word processing on my Android tablet, which I use as a proxy laptop computer. Thanks to a selection of useful apps – native and third party – I’m able to work from just about anywhere!
As a long term user of Windows Phone 7, the decision to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 was made all the more difficult by Microsoft’s revelation that they wouldn’t be completely abandoning the older release. Instead, the older devices would be receiving an upgrade to what is called Windows Phone 7.8, an update that begins rolling out in December 2012.
It’s been ten years since I took my first IT job, and in that time I’ve collected a bunch of tools that have proved invaluable to me in resolving issues with computers, hard disk drives, printers and other corporate hardware. While I work purely freelance these days, I still maintain a collection of devices and gadgets that can be used to assist with quickly resolving problems that might arise.
Public wireless networks are becoming more and more prevalent within towns and cities, providing an excellent alternative to running up a large data usage bill on 3G or 4G. Often public Wi-Fi is “free”, perhaps afforded to customers of a particular shopping chain or Telecoms Company, or anywhere else where a transaction might have already been made. Managing Wi-Fi on an Android tablet is largely straightforward, particularly on the most recent versions.
The problem is that not all businesses “trading” at Christmas are reputable. While you can trust your shopping center chains and online giants, there are plenty of businesses operating both in plain sight and behind the scenes that are trading not in gifts, but in data – your data. Specifically, I’m talking about email addresses, and the remarkable number of ways that scammers can farm them over the Christmas period.
If you’ve been turned onto sepia, black and white and the authentic effects of old cameras thanks to apps like Instagram, you might have considered heading for your parents’ old box of photographs to see what can be scanned and saved to your computer. Unfortunately, this is where the headache starts! You might find, for example, that the photos are dirty or dusty; that they’re creased or blemished; that there are too many for you to scan in one go.