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James's Latest Posts
We all have things we’d rather not tell the world about. I think it’s time we clear up a few things about anonymity online — and answer once and for all, whether it’s really possible.
Twitter is the world biggest repository of short messages from people with nothing to say – and now you too can contribute to that epic project with an automated Twitter bot, powered by your Raspberry Pi. I’m kidding, of course – some people actually tweet interesting things. I’m not one of them though – I use my mine for shameless product promotion in exchange for free stuff, competition entries, and auto-posting new episodes of our very own Technophilia Podcast. Whatever – my followers love me!
Whether it’s part of a choir or in front of your PC, singing releases endorphins – otherwise known as the happy chemicals. Don’t embarrass yourself in front of strangers at a Karaoke bar though – do it in the privacy of your own office (when you’re supposed to be working). It’s surprisingly therapeutic. Unless you’ve listened to the song so many times you know the words by heart, you generally need to get the lyrics from somewhere. Today I’ll be putting 4 lyrics apps for Mac OS X to the test!
A complete Android system for your TV – not a Chromecast, not an adapter for your phone – no additional hardware required. Android “TV sticks” are mini computers running Android. They have no screen, instead they output directly through HDMI to your HD television. They’re pretty powerful little machines – the equivalent of a mid-range Android tablet – and easily outgun a Raspberry Pi for only a few more pennies. There’s a wealth of existing Android apps to choose from – so is it worth getting one, and precisely what can you do with them?
Notice anything different about the site? MakeUseOf has undergone some major cosmetic changes and is now looking better than ever. It’s not just great looks — we’ve sped up the page load time and added a bunch of new features we think you’ll really like. Read on to find out what’s new, then voice your opinion in the comments.
Watch movies on the big screen, at home, with the perfect home cinema set up for any budget. Nothing beats the big screen experience for movies or gaming, but home theater is an expensive hobby to get into. This is the guide you’re looking for, so get out your shopping list and tape measure as I walk you through every aspect of planning your own home theater, from layout to choosing curtains and the most important part of the set, the projector itself.
Raise the perfect bread, brew beautiful beer, and rear happy chicks with an Arduino temperature controller. If you live in a less than reliable climate like England, directions that tell you to keep something at a set temperature aren’t particularly helpful – we don’t have air conditioners, and raising the thermostat for the whole house isn’t practical for just making a loaf of bread.
Detect movement, then scare the heck out of an intruder with a high pitched alarm sounds and flashing lights. Does that sound fun? Of course it does. That’s the goal of today’s Arduino project, suitable for beginners. We’ll be writing completely from scratch and testing as we go along so you can hopefully get some idea of how it’s all being done rather than simply installing something I’ve already made.
The future is gesture controls, they would have us believe. You should all be touching your computer screens, waving your arms around in front of your Xbox, and waggling your way to virtual sports victory. But you’re just not, apparently. Leap Motion is hoping to change that: to give us both precise desktop hardware that can retrofit any machine into a motion sensing beast, and an app store chock full of fantastic killer apps. Does it deliver? We find out. And we’ll be giving away a Leap Motion to one lucky reader!
Oculus Rift is going to change gaming, forever – the hype hasn’t just fizzled it, it’s been sustained for the past year and only growing. The age of VR is now upon us; immersive experiences are where the cool kids are heading. Here for your consideration are 5 rock-solid reasons we already know the Rift is going to change computing, forever. I’ll sum it up for you first: Carmack, porn, hardware, drivers, and community. These 5 things almost guarantee success when the consumer units finally roll in next year.
The home automation market is flooded with expensive consumer systems, incompatible with one another and costly to install. If you have a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino, you can basically achieve the same thing at a fraction of the price, assuming you’re willing to put in the time and the effort.
Is your Mac feeling bloated and suffering performance anxiety? Try Drive Genius 3 to get back that feeling of freshness. Drive Genius 3 is an all-in-one suite of hard drive utilities, including a defragmenter, drive slimming, and smart status notifier. It’s a comprehensive power tool for pros – used by Apple Geniuses – and yet simple enough for even the most novice of users. We’re giving away 10 copies of Drive Genius 3. Read through our review, then join the competition!
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could use this green screen effect for a live broadcast – like on Google Hangouts, or Skype? “Yes indeed it would be, James” is the answer you’re looking for there, and you’re in luck because I’ve been having a go at doing that very same thing. Read on to join the cool kids club as we play with live green screen broadcasting on Mac or Windows.
The days of having a slot-in memory cartridge are far gone – a few hundred gigabytes would be modest by today’s standards. Let’s upgrade. Luckily, Sony made it really easy and user-serviceable to upgrade the internal storage drive – unlike Microsoft, who locked it down and demanded you buy first-party approved models only. Upgrading your PS3 drive will not void the warranty.
Electronics of all kinds aren’t really built to withstand much in the way of knocks or extreme weather, but a special breed of portable hard drives exists to serve this very purpose – to withstand the everyday tumbles and adverse weather without sacrificing your precious data. It’s not often I get to break things in the name of science, but today is a special day. In the interests of all backpackers, hikers, summer poolside partygoers and urban adventurers – I’ll be putting the claims of two “rugged” portable drives to the test.