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Headshot of MakeUseOf Writer, James Bruce

James Bruce

Chief Technology Officer and Hardware Reviews Editor / Joined 12 November, 2010

James has a BSc in Artificial Intelligence, and is CompTIA A+ and Network+ certified. He's the lead developer of MakeUseOf, and spends his free time playing VR paintball and boardgames. He's been building PCs since he was a kid.

621 Articles
3692 Comments
5 Tech Projects For The Mini Farmer

DIY Web Culture

5 Tech Projects For The Mini Farmer

With food prices at a record high, chaotic weather systems destroying crops the world over, and no signs of population growth slowing down anytime soon – never has growing your own produce been more important than it is right now. So as city dwellers turn to mini-farming, technology is playing an increasingly important role in maximising crop yields from a small place. Today I’d like to highlight some of those great projects.

26-08-2012
5 Tech Projects For The Mini Farmer
How P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works

Internet

How P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works

There has always been a dark side to the Internet, and from the earliest days piracy was rampant. It began with message boards even before the traditional “internet” as we know it was even born, progressing to warez sites and private FTPs hosted on home computers. Finding pirate software and files used to be a slow and arduous task; it was more common to get the music or software from a friend as a physical copy (a so-called the “sneakernet”). P2P filesharing technology changed all that.

24-08-2012
How P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works
8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center

Mac

8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center

With Mountain Lion came the introduction to the desktop of the familiar Notification Center, ported from its iOS origins. It’s brought even more unity between the desktop and mobile OS, and essentially replicates functionality that’s been available with third party applications for a few years now. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s surprisingly customizable (for an Apple product).

22-08-2012
8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center
Your Sneakers Can Kill Your Computer: How Static Electricity Works [MakeUseOf Explains]

Technology Explained

Your Sneakers Can Kill Your Computer: How Static Electricity Works [MakeUseOf Explains]

Static electricity is the number one computer hardware killer, and its everywhere! Panic aside, if you do any work with computer components – even as simple as upgrading your memory – you need to know what static electricity is, how it can damage your PC, and how to prevent problems occurring in the first place.

19-08-2012
Your Sneakers Can Kill Your Computer: How Static Electricity Works [MakeUseOf Explains]
Why Wait For The Wii U? Go From Mobile To Big Screen Gaming Now With The Free Brass Monkey Gaming Platform

Gaming

Why Wait For The Wii U? Go From Mobile To Big Screen Gaming Now With The Free Brass Monkey Gaming Platform

If you have a mobile or tablet, and can connect your computer to your big screen TV (or even if you just have a really big monitor), you can enjoy big screen gaming with your mobile or tablet functioning as the controller, right now. Brass Monkey is the magical software that ties it together, and currently it’s in beta with tons of free games. Compatible with both Android and iOS, this could be the cross-device party game platform you’ve been looking for.

17-08-2012
Why Wait For The Wii U? Go From Mobile To Big Screen Gaming Now With The Free Brass Monkey Gaming Platform
5 Uniquely Creative Photo Apps For The iPhone

iPhone and iPad

5 Uniquely Creative Photo Apps For The iPhone

A recent study suggests 1/3 of all photos are taken using an iPhone. That’s an astonishing number, but simply posting those photos as is to Flickr or Facebook usually isn’t exactly going to rock the world. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the more uniquely creative ways you can enhance your photos on the iPhone, such as adding text, making a one panel cartoon, taking a 3D photo, or making your scene look like it’s just a model diorama.

15-08-2012
5 Uniquely Creative Photo Apps For The iPhone
Old-Time Fun: How To Make 3D Images For Viewing With No Glasses

Web Culture

Old-Time Fun: How To Make 3D Images For Viewing With No Glasses

Believe it or not, you don’t actually need 3D glasses to experience convincingly realistic 3D images (or movies). You just need to make yourself go “crosseyed”. Essentially, you look at two images, and by intentionally crossing your eyes to defocus your normal vision, the two images will converge into one central image that the brain will interpret as a 3-dimensional scene.

12-08-2012
Old-Time Fun: How To Make 3D Images For Viewing With No Glasses
Oculus Rift Will Change Gaming Forever

Product Reviews

Oculus Rift Will Change Gaming Forever

The StarTrek Holodeck – the epitome of a virtual immersive environment – has been a sci-fi dream for far too long now. A week ago, Oculus launched a Kickstarter project for a $300 consumer VR headset, complete with head tracking and 3D visuals. It’s very rare that I get this excited for a bit of new hardware, but this is a game changer. This may shape the future of gaming forever.

10-08-2012
Oculus Rift Will Change Gaming Forever
4 Reasons I’ll Be Switching To Safari 6 [OSX Mountain Lion]

Mac

4 Reasons I’ll Be Switching To Safari 6 [OSX Mountain Lion]

Until now I’ve put Safari firmly in the same box of horrible things as Internet Explorer – a sluggish, default browser that’s only purpose in life is to download other shinier and faster browsers. Safari 6 – which comes with Mountain Lion – may have just changed all that. Here’s 4 reasons I’ll be switching my primary browser to Safari, and ditching Chrome.

08-08-2012
4 Reasons I’ll Be Switching To Safari 6 [OSX Mountain Lion]
How To Install Mountain Lion On A PC [Hackintosh]

Mac

How To Install Mountain Lion On A PC [Hackintosh]

Are you not looking forward to Windows 8? Perhaps you’re jaded by Microsoft’s decision to kill of Windows Home Server? Are you maybe tired of Windows Media Center being treated like a second class citizen? Have you got some extra PCs lying around and wish they were as awesome as your Mac? Welcome to the world of Hackintosh. Now let’s turn your PCs into Macs – Mountain Lion roaring Macs, no less.

05-08-2012
How To Install Mountain Lion On A PC [Hackintosh]
Programming Your Arduino 4x4x4 LED Cube To Do Some More Awesome Stuff

DIY Programming

Programming Your Arduino 4x4x4 LED Cube To Do Some More Awesome Stuff

Last week, I built an LED cube – 64 LEDs that you can program to make fantastic futuristic light shows – and I hope you did too, because it’s a great project to motivate you and expand your Arduino skillset. I left you with a few basic apps to get you thinking, but today I’ll be presenting a few more bits of software that I made for the cube, along with code explanations.

01-08-2012
Programming Your Arduino 4x4x4 LED Cube To Do Some More Awesome Stuff
How To Swap Out Your Macbook’s DVD Drive For An SSD

DIY

How To Swap Out Your Macbook’s DVD Drive For An SSD

Is your old Apple laptop starting to struggle? Is the boot time so long that you can actually go out and buy a coffee? If so, perhaps it’s time to think about upgrading your main system drive to a low cost SSD and getting rid of that useless old DVD drive. If it’s an older Macbook, fret not. This tutorial will be perfect for you.

29-07-2012
How To Swap Out Your Macbook’s DVD Drive For An SSD
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