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
If you’re like me, you probably make good use of USB on your PC, from connecting keyboards and printers to smartphones, USB flash memory, Bluetooth, 3G or Wi-Fi dongles, headsets, game controllers and more. USB is a versatile and easy-to-use connection format, but there is one thing that bugs many people (including me) about it.
One of the most popular uses for mobile devices is to enjoy videos, films and TV shows, so it should come as no surprise that one of the world’s most popular streaming services, Netflix, is available on Windows Phones. While the possibility of an official YouTube app continues to remain unlikely, Netflix has continued its blanket approach to be available on every single operating system available.
Has your computer loaded this webpage yet? If it has, you’ll be halfway toward working out just why it seems to be running so slowly. There are many reasons for desktop and laptops to chug along at their own, slow pace, defying the system specs and performing more like a relic from the 1990s. Where you’re browsing the web, word processing or gaming, poor performance will cause problems.
If there’s any hardware released in 2012 that you’re likely to fall in love with, it’s the sweet-as-sugar Raspberry Pi, a mini computer designed and built in the UK that has shipped all around the world. Equipped with an ARM processor and capable of running various operating systems, the Raspberry Pi is small enough to fit into a cigarette box and powerful enough to run a home server, media centre and much more.
I’m not much of a platform gamer. To be honest, I’d rather be running around in a first person shooter, building detailed strategies against computer controlled opponents in map-based resource management and combat games or slaying dragons online. But there is something compellingly honest and old school about platform games, particularly those that are developed […]
How do you dispose of your old computer hardware? Some people take their old PCs to the local landfill; others wipe the devices and donate them to schools or relatives. I prefer to make as much use as possible from the components. Some can easily be reused, such as optical drives, switches, USB devices, and slot cards. Power packs can also be repurposed after a clean, while fans and heatsinks can often find their way into other computers.
While the list of games from Windows Phone continues to be rather modest, some great titles have been available since the platform launched. One of these is Rocket Riot, an energetic omni-directional shooter taking place in a two-dimensional, 8-bit style gaming world, brought to life with modern graphics and just the tiniest hint of three dimensional depth. Sure, it looks good, but it also plays well, and the soundtrack should also be experienced.
As befits a man with too much tech on his hands, I’ve been playing with my Raspberry Pi recently, configuring the device so that it works to its fullest potential. It continues to run as a media center, although I have no doubt that this use will be added to it in the very near future. However, installing an OS and adding XBMC is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using the RPi.
I’ve recently been enjoying the new Guild Wars 2 MMORPG, with its fantastic graphics, overdue revision of the mechanics of RPG combat, thrilling tasks, quests and dungeons and of course the amazing soundtrack by the unrealistically talented Jeremy Soule (once described as the “John Williams of video game music”). His list of credits is immense, covering not only the Guild Wars games but also World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls and Harry Potter.
Several months ago I turned my very nice tablet, the HP TouchPad, from a pleasant-to-use device into a handheld computing god thanks to the Android CM9 port of Ice Cream Sandwich. Since then, the device has gone from strength to strength, enabling me to enjoy movies and TV with Netflix, listen to the radio and of course play games and even do some work while I spent a week in the south west of England.
YouTube – it sits there, in your browser, throwing new videos at you from big stars like Rihanna, clips from classic comedies, trailers for new movies and the thoughts of Evelyn Smythe, a history professor from Oxford likes to share her thoughts with the world. It is in this last type of YouTube video that the future of television is at stake.
I was recently searching my hard disk drive looking for a specific video clip recorded at a Christmas party a few years ago. While browsing the resulting clips, I noticed that some wouldn’t play back; others were at the wrong orientation for viewing on a computer, while others needed some serious editing. Fortunately there are many tools available online that can help overcome these problems
As the owner of a Raspberry Pi, I’ve spent a bit of time looking for a suitable case for my versatile miniature computer. For a time I settled on the popular “punnet” design that other RaspPi users can download, print out and construct from card, but this wasn’t the most ideal solution. While useful, the punnet case wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Instead, I hit the web.
I’ve been using Steam for game delivery for some time now. Even when I own physical copies of the games I use the service to download them, safe in the knowledge that the original media is safe. As I write this, I’m fortunate that I have a high speed Internet connection – 50 Mb/s – however it wasn’t always this way. The benefits of optical cables aside, the distance from my home to the local telephone exchange meant that ADSL was never going to offer more than 2 Mb/s.
Much has been made throughout 2011 and 2012 of the dangers of phone hacking. While many of the victims of the practice – in this case sponsored by major news organizations – were celebrities, politicians and sportsmen, many more were real, regular people who may or may not have been involved with slightly more famous […]