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Christian Cawley

Deputy Editor / Joined 2 December, 2011

Deputy Editor for Security, Linux, DIY, Programming, and Tech Explained. He also produces The Really Useful Podcast and has extensive experience in desktop and software support. A contributor to Linux Format magazine, Christian is a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, Lego lover and retro gaming fan.

1398 Articles
2038 Comments
Which Game Consoles Can You Use as a Media Center?

DIY

Which Game Consoles Can You Use as a Media Center?

Looking at Microsoft and Sony’s next generation offerings, it seems that bringing video, TV, music and your photo collection (and probably social networking) into the mix of games and achievement unlocking is now part and parcel of owning a game console. It’s a major selling point, one that should deliver the ultimate entertainment experience to living rooms and dens across the developed world. But hold on – why wait for an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 when you can already stream video and music from computers across your home network and from the Internet into the existing Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo consoles?

11-07-2013
Which Game Consoles Can You Use as a Media Center?
Five Amazing Nokia Camera and Image Apps for Lumia Windows Phones

Internet

Five Amazing Nokia Camera and Image Apps for Lumia Windows Phones

Since Microsoft and Nokia announced their joint venture back in 2011, there has been a general shift towards the Finnish company in the Windows Phone manufacturers’ market share. Nokia has been innovating and producing a series of superb apps for Windows Phone, exclusive to Lumia devices. Put simply, if you own a Windows Phone 8 device from Nokia, you should have these camera and image apps, which are all available free (for the full app or with trial) from the Windows Phone Store.

10-07-2013
Five Amazing Nokia Camera and Image Apps for Lumia Windows Phones
10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of BBC iPlayer

Windows Internet

10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of BBC iPlayer

What is the best in British entertainment? Is it on TV or on the radio? Either way, both media are accessible with the BBC’s iPlayer service. BBC iPlayer is a browser-based service that is also available as desktop, mobile, and console apps. International viewers can also take advantage of the service, with some restrictions. With so many shows on offer and many options for playback and downloading shows (with DRM) if you’ve ever used the service it might be the case that you haven’t used BBC iPlayer to its full ability.

05-07-2013
10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of BBC iPlayer
Everything You Need to Know About Adding Ringtones on Windows Phone 8

Internet

Everything You Need to Know About Adding Ringtones on Windows Phone 8

Over the 15 or so years of owning a mobile phone, I’ve always been interested in pushing the device as far as it can possibly go. In the early days, this would often involve finding ways to add custom ringtones. When Windows Phone 7 was first released, the customization options were limited. Windows Phone 8 takes a whole new approach to ringtones, making the addition of user-chosen audio far simpler. If you own a Nokia Lumia 920, you could have custom ringtones set up by the time you finish reading this page.

05-07-2013
Everything You Need to Know About Adding Ringtones on Windows Phone 8
How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8

Internet

How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8

I’ve just about filled the 32 GB internal storage on my Nokia Lumia 920. Initially, I was surprised that it only took me six months, until I realised that I’ve been recording videos in HD. When you consider everything that relies on internal storage, it certainly seems like a complete removal of personal storage is required. There are several options. Backing up data can be performed manually, using the Windows Phone Tool via USB and you can rely on native tools to back up your photos, apps, settings and messages.

03-07-2013
How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8
What Is The True Cost Of Running a Raspberry Pi?

DIY

What Is The True Cost Of Running a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi – a small, compact and versatile computer, capable of processing HDMI and MPEG-2 being the central component of any number of weekend projects from retro gaming stations and media centres to smart TVs, Internet radios and low budget space programs. Since its release in 2012 the Raspberry Pi has proved something of a phenomenon. Costing less than $40, the Raspberry Pi is a hugely successful computer, largely due to its low price.

27-06-2013
What Is The True Cost Of Running a Raspberry Pi?
File Sharing, Manual Syncing & Bluetooth Tips For Windows Phone 8

Internet

File Sharing, Manual Syncing & Bluetooth Tips For Windows Phone 8

Having used the Windows Phone platform since 2010, one of the things that has struck me is how difficult Microsoft initially made it to share files to and from your phone. With the original Windows Phone 7 a registry hack was required to use a device as mass storage, but this workaround was soon shored up in a subsequent update. Fortunately with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has taken a more accepting position on the use of phones as mass storage devices.

26-06-2013
File Sharing, Manual Syncing & Bluetooth Tips For Windows Phone 8
How To Tether The Nokia Lumia 920 & Other Connectivity Options

How To Tether The Nokia Lumia 920 & Other Connectivity Options

Here in the UK, 4G is currently being rolled out across major towns and cities by the EE network (previously T-Mobile and Orange). Where I live we’re stuck with 3G, but I do have a 4G SIM to take advantage of high-speed mobile Internet when travelling. This always comes in useful, particularly if local Wi-Fi networks aren’t doing their job properly.

21-06-2013
How To Tether The Nokia Lumia 920 & Other Connectivity Options
How To Improve Netflix Streaming On Any Device

Android iPhone and iPad

How To Improve Netflix Streaming On Any Device

A few months ago I was playing games on my Nintendo Wii (thanks to the loss of my Xbox 360) and even getting fitter in the process – until I stumbled across the news that not only could I turn my Wii into a media centre, but that I could also install Netflix. Suffice to say, the intervening months have not been kind to my waistline. At times, they haven’t been all that kind to my sanity, either.

20-06-2013
How To Improve Netflix Streaming On Any Device
How This Freelance Writer Maximises Productivity With Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8

Windows

How This Freelance Writer Maximises Productivity With Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8

My personal desktop setup has changed considerably in the past few months since purchasing the Acer Iconia W7 series tablet, which I use as my primary PC. Gone is the tower of my old self build AMD-powered game station, replaced by far more compact dimensions, a new monitor and an external HDD. This is the main hub of my professional life: a Windows 8 tablet. Yes, you read that right. Let me demonstrate how you can be productive with Windows 8. It is possible, and with the right apps you can get great results.

19-06-2013
How This Freelance Writer Maximises Productivity With Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8
3 Portable Options For The Raspberry Pi

DIY

3 Portable Options For The Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi – I just can’t stop tinkering with it. Fresh from setting it up as a media centre and a retro games console, I’ve recently started looking at the possibilities of the device as something more important. You may have seen one of our earlier posts about the unusual uses for a Raspberry Pi. One of these was using it as the computer in a low-budget space program, something that would make the Pi more portable than most computers on earth!

13-06-2013
3 Portable Options For The Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi’s Father Speaks: Eben Upton On The Future of Technology And More

Internet DIY

Raspberry Pi’s Father Speaks: Eben Upton On The Future of Technology And More

Enthusiasm radiates from Eben Upton. He’s the driving force behind the Raspberry Pi, that small computer that has been revolutionising hobbyist computing since its launch in 2012. Tall, and dressed casually, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation is explaining to me the background to the amazing minicomputer. But Upton isn’t your usual computer designer. He and his team didn’t build the Raspberry Pi to retire on. What they planned was something audacious, something fantastic.

06-06-2013
Raspberry Pi’s Father Speaks: Eben Upton On The Future of Technology And More
Android’s Facebook Home vs Windows Phone’s People Hub

Android

Android’s Facebook Home vs Windows Phone’s People Hub

Facebook Home is the highly-promoted new Android app from Facebook that unifies messaging and socializing with a single view and launcher, a sort of home screen replacement. Meanwhile Windows Phone users have People, the contacts/social networking hub that is integrated into the platform. We thought it would be interesting to see which of these approaches to integrated social networking is most effective.

06-06-2013
Android’s Facebook Home vs Windows Phone’s People Hub
How I Freelance Without My PC – Using Windows Phone As A Mobile Office

Productivity

How I Freelance Without My PC – Using Windows Phone As A Mobile Office

One of the things I love about a freelance career is being able to up sticks from my home office and go to a local café, bar or library to work in a different environment. It can prove extremely productive and as they say, a change is as good as a rest. I’ve even used the boot of my MPV as a makeshift office! While I generally have my Windows 8 Acer Iconia W7 series tablet with me in such situations, there are of course times when I’ve been caught out.

05-06-2013
How I Freelance Without My PC – Using Windows Phone As A Mobile Office
Stuck In a Recharge Loop? Use These Power Saving Windows Phone 8 Tips

Stuck In a Recharge Loop? Use These Power Saving Windows Phone 8 Tips

When I became the proud owner of a Nokia Lumia 920, I was delighted to learn that I would be the lucky beneficiary of a free wireless charging pad, apparently worth about £100. Although there were a few hoops to jump through, the pad eventually came a few weeks later, enabling me to simply put my phone down to charge it, rather than struggle working out which way the USB cable connects to my phone.

30-05-2013
Stuck In a Recharge Loop? Use These Power Saving Windows Phone 8 Tips
Modern All The Way: Creating Custom Tiles for Windows 8

Windows

Modern All The Way: Creating Custom Tiles for Windows 8

To tile or not to tile? One of the most divisive elements of Windows 8 is the Start screen’s tiles. These square or rectangle-shaped buttons are effectively shortcuts to launching apps, and are often displaying additional data about the app they represent. This makes them vital, whatever you might think of them, and far superior to shortcut tiles. There are several very easy to use apps and utilities that can be used to create aesthetic and functional Windows 8 Start screen tiles.

29-05-2013
Modern All The Way: Creating Custom Tiles for Windows 8
Race Against Rising Lava & Collect Diamonds: Call Of Carlos for Windows Phone

Gaming

Race Against Rising Lava & Collect Diamonds: Call Of Carlos for Windows Phone

It’s unusual for me to find a platform game that I would call fun (see my review of ilomilo for more on this), even more unusual that I should return to it again and again. But that is exactly what has been happening with Call of Carlos, a free Windows Phone game that features a jumping diamond miner, his versatile pickaxe and some fast-rising molten lava! Surely it can’t be the promise of virtual riches as Carlos collects the diamonds, so what is the attraction?

16-05-2013
Race Against Rising Lava & Collect Diamonds: Call Of Carlos for Windows Phone
Everything You Need To Know About Emails & Windows Phone 8

Everything You Need To Know About Emails & Windows Phone 8

How do you use your Windows Phone? I know a lot of users who are purely addicted to a combination of WhatsApp and Xbox Live gaming. Others enjoy their Windows Phones purely due to the social networking options (which are admittedly impressive). Then there are also those of us who take advantage of the various productivity tools. Email is of course one of these (along with the mobile Microsoft Office).

15-05-2013
Everything You Need To Know About Emails & Windows Phone 8
Start Screen Shortcuts – Connection Tiles For Windows Phone 8

Internet

Start Screen Shortcuts – Connection Tiles For Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone has one or two frustrating omissions. One of these is an easy toggle button to enable and display wireless networking, mobile Internet, Bluetooth pretty much anything concerning communication. Rather than a simple on/off button on the Start screen, users must open the settings menu and flick the on/off switch. Surely there is an app-based solution to this?

10-05-2013
Start Screen Shortcuts – Connection Tiles For Windows Phone 8
Voice Messaging – A Secret Weapon On Windows Phone 8

Voice Messaging – A Secret Weapon On Windows Phone 8

One of the most important things about using a smartphone is the ease with which you can compose and send messages. These might be SMS/MMS messages, emails or even a social network. The important thing, of course, is that you are able to get in touch with the other person as easily and efficiently as possible. Certain mobile phone platforms prevent this. In the case of Windows Phone 8 there are many improvements over competitors.

09-05-2013
Voice Messaging – A Secret Weapon On Windows Phone 8