Guy McDowell

Joined December 2008

The Hi-Tech Redneck ® has 20+ years of IT and Technical Trades experience. Working with people, or on my own, I strive to do the best job possible in the best manner possible. Keep in touch: Twitter - Google+

Feel free to contact at guy@makeuseof.com

168 Posts Published
898 Comments Posted
110 Answers

Guy's Latest Posts

security-man

The Web Hidden On The Web – FreeNet

14th June, 2013

Last week it was officially announced that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has been mining data from cellular service provider, Verizon. People were, and are, freaking out! How could the government do such a thing? What kind of totalitarian state are we really in?

gps_planet

Trouble Getting a GPS Signal for Your Satnav? Try These Tips

7th June, 2013

Possibly the biggest boost to the male ego since chest hair, GPS Satnav units have saved us from having to “pull over and ask for directions!!!” Nuh-uh sweetie-pie, I got this with my GPS. Don’t give me directions, just give me an address and I’ll be there! Oh technology, we all love you, keeper of peace […]

word-cloud-stop-violence

How To Use Your Smartphone To Protect And Uphold Your Civil Rights

4th June, 2013

Can you imagine how much quicker the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s would have come to a head if they had the power that we hold in our pocket? Some would say that the Civil Rights Movement is still going on, and The Arab Spring shows us that it is. Here’s how you can document the challenge and make a difference with just a smartphone, some courage, and compassion.

feature-image

Which Weather Widget Would You Use? 3D Weather vs. AccuWeather.com [Android]

31st May, 2013

Since the dawn of media, the weather has sustained publishers of almanacs, sold newspapers when nothing was happening, tuned listeners into the radio, and viewers into the television news. Today, we carry all of this media in the form of our smartphones, yet something as primal as our need to know the weather is still important. Today I want to share with you two ways to get the weather, the 3D Weather widget and the AccuWeather.com widget.

compuserve

GIF – The Final Word On How To Pronounce It

28th May, 2013

With the resurgence of the Graphics Interchange Format in its animated incarnation, the HOT debate about how to pronounce that gem of an acronym has also come to the front again. There are two fighters in the ring, here. One that is coached by the man most credited with bringing the GIF to the world, Steve Wilhite and his soft-G approach. The other fighter goes by the name of Vox Populi.

usb-multiple-os

How To Install Multiple Bootable Operating Systems on One USB Stick

24th May, 2013

Fellow reader Dado asked us, “How can I run multiple operating systems from a single USB?” This becomes practical if the different operating systems are Live CDs, i.e. designed to access a PC from outside of the computer’s own operating system. This can be handy if the native operating system is corrupted through misuse, poor maintenance, or worse, malware. There are several tools that can help you create your multiboot USB stick. We tested three of them: XBoot, MultiBootUSB, and YUMI.

computer-rescue

Get a Head Start On Your USB Toolkit With Windows System Control Center

21st May, 2013

I often joke about being the only IT guy with a 36-inch pipe wrench in his toolbox. Funny, but also probably true. But I do carry one IT tool in my kit that is just as powerful and hefty as that pipe wrench – the Windows System Control Center on my Tools USB flash drive. The WSCC is an interface that gives you access to the SysInternals and NirSoft suite of tools. It’s like having a 3 foot pipe wrench in your back pocket! Only considerably more comfortable.

expensive-apps

iPaid A Lot: The 10 Most Expensive iOS App Store Downloads

17th May, 2013

Various magazines and TV shows have been dedicated to the finer things in life, or at the very least the more expensive things in life. Are these things really worth that much, or is that just the price they put on them because they know rich people do stupid things too? Who knows. But here at MakeUseOf we’ll keep our extravagant spending somewhat useful. Let’s take a look at the Most Expensive iOS Apps available to those with caviar dreams and champagne wishes.

write-protected-usb

How To Fix Write Protection Errors On a USB Stick

14th May, 2013

You’ve got your trusty USB flash drive plugged into your computer, and you go to copy some files to it. Then you get this – “The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk.” Then you say, “Whaaaaaa….?!?!” How did this happen? This is your USB stick, you should be able to read, write and do whatever you want with it! Deep breath and stay calm. It is just an error message.

hurricane

Free Storm Tracking Software To Get Warned Before Everyone Else

10th May, 2013

Finally, the season is upon us where we get the really cool storms! And by ‘cool’ I mean ‘deadly’. Tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, oh freaking my! Okay, I’m not really sure when tsunami season is, but I’ve been through a few tornadoes and hurricanes. And I LOVE THEM! When no one gets hurt of course. That […]

stupid_facebook

How Can I Fix My Facebook Page So It Doesn’t Look Stupid?

7th May, 2013

Some people might say that having Facebook and Stupid in the same title is a bit redundant. They may be correct. There are definitely a lot of things that qualify as stupid on Facebook, and the harsh reality is that there are a lot of stupid people on Facebook. Come on folks, there’s over half a billion people on Facebook, some of them, statistically speaking, have to be stupid! In fact, at least 49% of us on Facebook are below average intelligence.

illegal-to-sell-used-software

Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal?

3rd May, 2013

This is by no means a legal document and don’t think that this substitutes for the opinions of an officer of the court. Let me be clear – I’m going to present to you the research that I’ve done and what it means to me. It is NOT legal advice. Now that is out of the way, lets get to the heart of the matter on whether buying second-hand software legal or illegal.

feature-smartphone-stand

Can You Make an iPhone or Other Smartphone Stand From Paper?

30th April, 2013

I’m not frugal or thrifty, I’m cheap. My food comes only in yellow and black packaging. My Dad would say that I was “so cheap, he’d skin a fart for the grease.” I will stop in the middle of crossing the road to pick up a penny, and we don’t even use them in Canada anymore. So when I wanted a holder for my Samsung Whizzbang Z 28 and our office budget didn’t really cover that, I got to thinking about using paper instead.

How To Test Your PC For Failing Hardware

26th April, 2013

Good PC ownership is a lot like good car ownership. You do more than just use it, you learn something about how it works. You don’t need to be a PC technician or a mechanic, but you should be able to identify certain signs of trouble so you can get your rig in for maintenance. Unfortunately, checking out your PC for failing hardware isn’t quite as hands-on and easy to do as checking your car for worn tires or dirty oil.

dead_headphones

No Sound? Don’t Worry! Troubleshooting Tips For Your Computer Speakers

23rd April, 2013

Using your computer seems like a purely visual experience, but the aural experience is surprisingly important as well. You may not notice how important it is until the sounds disappear suddenly. Then, there’s a sudden recognition that something is not quite right, or if you’re playing a game, that something is terribly wrong. Half of your computing experience just vanished! There’s no sound coming from your speakers. What happened? Where’d it go? Don’t panic.