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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Hazards of Mobile Productivity

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This is not the post I wanted to bring you this week.

It’s late. It’s short. It probably won’t help anyone out there have a better experience with technology.

For that I apologize.

But this is all I can write.



A little over a year ago, I went out on a limb and dubbed tablets and smartphones consuming devices only, not productive ones. That, I felt at the time, was exclusively the domain of the PC. Since then Android has grown to become singularly the most advanced platform to hit our pockets (or heads, or wrists, or wherever else Google tries to put it). I now have a phone as fast as my four year old laptop. It runs the same version of OpenOffice that my PC does and synchronizes my documents over the cloud. I can write anything I want anywhere I want any time I want. I can plug in an SD card and process RAW photos or trim videos straight from my DSLR. It can’t compare to what my PC is capable of, but I still do a lot of creating on the platform—far more than I consume on it.

So when someth…

NVIDIA GameStream to any Android Device with Limelight

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Game streaming. It’s still an anomaly in the gaming world, certainly more novelty than habit for gamers (and we know where that leads). Tech companies desperately want us to do it, simply because it’s an easy out for them—they can produce low-performance hardware capable of playing the latest PC titles, and there’s no porting effort spent on the part of game developers. OnLive was the first exposure many gamers had to the idea of playing games remotely, but as enticing as the idea of every game out there being instantly available from anywhere in the world is, problems begin to arise when you get into paying for them. Someone’s gotta pay—streaming games from servers is an expensive endeavor, and it’s perfectly fair to charge for the service. But therein lies the problem: either you pay individually for games you never own and can lose access to at any point in time, or you pay regularly for the service of accessing them and may or may not ever get your full money’s worth out of the de…

Don’t Blame Technology

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There has been a continual struggle over the last century, one that has caused an ever-increasing divide between proponents on each side. With the information age and the industrial age before it, a disparity was introduced where before there was none. Children are some of the most apt learners on the planet: they pick up the basics—and even some not-so-basics—of a language and culture from exposure alone. Technology is a part of that learning process, and it’s a given that each new generation will adapt to the latest trends faster than their elders. Thus a ‘generation gap’ was born, and conflict arose over each side’s differences—namely their use of technology or lack thereof.



To be fair, the battle is not cleanly split between the young and the old, nor is one side wholly right and the other wholly wrong. There are benefits to doing certain things without technology, and likewise there are benefits to doing things with technology. But in reality one is not inherently superior, and in…

Launching Windows 8 Apps from the Desktop – Round 2

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A while back I wrote up a post showing how it is possible to launch Modern Windows 8 Apps using a URL which can be shortcutted and even pinned to the taskbar with a little extra work. That post has since been updated numerous times as readers have encountered shortcomings of the method or found ways to circumvent them, and at the end of the day Windows 8.1 Update 1 just built in the shortcut functionality, rendering all that work almost obsolete.

Almost.

While Update 1 introduced native shortcutting to the taskbar, there are still times you might want to launch an app from elsewhere, and many apps lack an IE-compatible URL to be launched from. Today we are going to address these problems once and for all. The result is definitely more hack than solution, but it works—and from anywhere, for any app on your PC. Let’s get started.


Visual Basic Script
Whether you know it or not, your Windows PC is equipped with VBScript, a scripting language modeled after Visual Basic and designed to act upon…

Adapt an old IDE Hard Drive to SATA (Tutorial)

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There are some things that every computer wizard just ought to have under his belt. A decent working knowIedge of IDE and SATA hard drives is one of them. While IDE is becoming increasingly rare, if you’ve ever owned an older PC or frequently do computer repair work for others chances are still good you’ll find one of these guys laying around sooner or later, and that being the case, chances are also good you’ll want to read the data off of them and perhaps even use one as your daily driver. The trouble is, very few modern manufacturer PCs ship with motherboards that even support IDE drives. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean the end for your data. Adapting IDE to SATA is a pretty simple process—all it takes is about $10 and a little know-how.


What’s the difference?
So what is this IDE and SATA business, anyway? Well, without going into the specifics, IDE is the old technology for reading and writing to a hard drive, and SATA is the new(er) kid on the block. SATA is faster, more compact, …