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
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.
What happens when you start up your PC? In most cases (and putting it very simply), after the power switch has controlled the flow of electricity to the motherboard and the fans have started up, your hard disk drive will be initialized and the boot section read. From here, the operating system will load up from the hard disk drive. But what if you don’t want it to? Then, you would need to change the boot order for your computer.
Considering the cost of a new smartphone, most of us are extremely casual about how we treat them. But keeping tabs on your smartphone isn’t difficult. Keeping it safe from the possibility of theft is even simpler. The following practical tips should explain exactly where you have been going wrong. You need never worry about a lost phone again!
You took one look at the headline and thought “this guy is crazy”, right? That’s pretty much what I thought at first, but as the week progressed I found myself struggling with apps, multi-tasking and spending too much money in cafes (and I only went once!). What’s worse is that this article was my idea. Anyone else could have taken it, but it fell to me. Perhaps the rest of the team were trying to tell me something; perhaps I should have heard the alarm bells ringing?
Although things are getting better (some printer manufacturers have radically reduced the cost of ink) as far as the owners of many sub-$100 printers are concerned, the price of ink is staggeringly close to the price of the printer. This underlines the manufacturers’ attitude to the devices – that they’re consumables, intended to last just a couple of years before being replaced. There are several ways in which you can force your printer into sharing a bit more ink with you.
As you’re probably aware, the new Nintendo Wii U has just been launched, which pushes the already low cost of the Nintendo Wii even further down. The result of this is a games console that can be used as the main interface for your home theatre system that can be picked up for under $50 and has access to a wide selection of TV playback services.
The HP TouchPad is a remarkable piece of kit. This tablet computer with its dual core CPU was released with a buggy version of the webOS operating system back in mid-2011 and failed to capture the imagination of app developers, leading to HP dropping the device within weeks of its launch. The ensuing firesale resulted in tablets being picked up brand new for under $100 on both sides of the Atlantic.
With your shiny new Windows 8 device or upgrade booted up, tiles gleaming at you and winking with useful information, you might take a few moments having a look around before you get the chance to look at the email client. I should add here that not all versions of Windows 8 come with the Microsoft Mail client pre-installed. It really depends on the version and the manufacturer of your Windows 8 computer.
The world’s favourite voice over IP, text, voice and video chat system, Skype is one of those rare things, an app that has found a place in the hearts and minds of computer and smartphone users regardless of what operating system and manufacturer they have allegiance to. Of course, as any scam-aware users (and indeed, scammers) know, where there is widespread use of a piece of software, there is an opportunity to rip someone off, usually with malware.
Question: how do you improve on perfection? Answer: you wait for someone else to have a go. A quick look around the smartphone market reveals that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are top dog, while Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone are eager for scraps thrown from the table.
When Microsoft unveiled Windows 8, one of the most interesting things about it was the new iteration of Internet Explorer. If viewed via the Start screen, the slimmed-down browser offers maximum space for viewing web pages thanks to the position of buttons and the address bar striped across the bottom of the screen (where people don’t usually read). It’s a fascinating new approach, but Internet Explorer 10 is apparently low on features and options.
It’s very square, Windows 8, don’t you think? Those tiles have such defined lines – edges you could almost cut yourself on – and impressions of the whole user experience seem to change from person to person. Depending on your needs and requirements, Windows 8 is either a white elephant or a superb piece of finger-focused modern UI design. However, it remains as tweakable as previous versions of Windows, just in other ways.