Thursday, 19 March 2015

Money, Money, Money

start something new

Craig Grannell on why it's great to see Apple championing apps that cost a pretty penny

Apple recently ran a campaign on the Mac App Store that caught my attention: "Start something new." The premise was that whatever you can imagine, you can bring to life using Macs, primarily through the many third-party apps you can run on them. (After all, I'm pretty sure even the most innovative of creators isn't going to be fashioning the next Hollywood masterpiece in TextEdit or Mail.)

Remembering... AGP

Radeon HD3850 AGP

To think we used have make do with graphics cards that had mere kilobytes of memory on board and fitted into a spare ISA or the-then more advanced PCI slot on a motherboard.

They were, of course, the bees knees back then, and for the sake of running something like Commander Keen, they did the job well enough. However, as always in this field of interest, time marches ever onward and as the games, imaging and even running the operating system became more resource hungry, the performance and power required from the graphics card grew exponentially.

Vodafone Smart Tab 4G

Vodafone Smart Tab 4G

Vodafone banishes tethering for low-cost Android tablet fans

Occasionally, I travel down to London by train, and often I take my Nexus 10 tablet with me. Using it involves tethering it to my phone, reducing dramatically the battery life of that device.

The solution, as well presented by the Vodafone Smart Tab 4G, is to have a tablet with its own mobile communications and by definition its own mobile SIM.

But before we go there, I was curious to see what sort of tablet Vodafone would sell you for £125 and how it might compare with devices at a similar price.

Zotac GeForce GTX 960 AMP! Edition

Zotac GeForce GTX 960 AMP! Edition

Zotac pimps Nvidia's latest GPU for some AMP-level performance

Like Microsoft has with Windows 10, Nvidia decided to leapfrog a series number and jump from the Kepler-based 700 cards to the new Maxwell powered 900 series.

At this time, they don't include any low-end cards, so the minimum specification ones are the GTX 960 cards that start at about £165, rising to more than £200.

The Zotac GeForce GTX 960 AMP! is a pre-tweaked design that costs only marginally more than a stock item, but comes with some highly desirable enhancements.

Phillips 274E5 Monitor

Phillips 274E5

The first two characters of the Philips 274E5's model number give the clue that this is a 27“ monitor. With a thin black bezel, the LCD monitor offers an effective viewing area of 597.89 by 336.31mm with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and an optimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 60Hz.

The monitor panel needs to be mounted on the supplied black stand using a screw located as part of the oval base, and this monitor doesn't possess swivel or height adjustment features, so you're limited to landscape orientation with the screen's height fixed at 10cm above the workspace. The only adjustment you can make to positioning is the ability to tilt the screen between -5 and 20 degrees. This isn't a deal-breaker, though, especially for a monitor of this price.

Make Your Old Phone As Good As New

Old Phone

Insufficient memory, long charging times, and stubborn apps - older smartphones can be quite problematic. This is how you can make your mobile phone faster and more stable. By Frederik Niemeyer

Mobile phones age quite quickly. A freshly-installed system will run as smooth as silk. Animations executes elegantly, the charging times are short, applications are stable, the battery service life is in order and storage space is available in spades. However, after several apps have been installed and uninstalled, firmware updates have been run and the device has been subjected to sustained use on a daily basis, your pride and joy will start to stutter. It complains about insufficient storage space, hangs in the middle of operations and ceases to be an enjoyable device. The change from a high-end accessory into an outdated gadget is as steep as it is relentless.

Hidden Windows 10 Hacks

Hidden Windows 10 Hacks

Use Cortana now

If you install the Technical Preview, you’ll probably find that Cortana (Microsoft’s voice-control tool) is not enabled by default. That’s because it still needs to be localised and is only currently available for those using US English as their default language. But if you’re eager to try Cortana now, you can do so by altering Windows 10’s regional settings so it thinks you’re a US user.

Click Start, Settings, ‘Time & Language’, then ‘Region & Language’. Select United States from the ‘Country or region’ dropdown menu. If ‘English (United States)’ isn’t listed under Languages, click ‘Add a language’ to install it. Then click it in the list, click Options and download the language pack. Go back to the previous screen, click ‘English (United States)’ then ‘Set as primary’.

Never run out of printer ink

printer ink

You're paying over the odds for printer ink - but you can beat the system. Jane Hoskyn reveals secret tricks and tools for making your ink go much further

In 2003, printer ink was more expensive per millilitre than fine champagne ( By the end of 2014, you could buy a computer for £30 and 64GB for a tenner, but printer ink was still more expensive per millilitre than fine champagne ( Or, if you believe Twitter, per millimetre (

Stuart Andrews spoke for many when he described feeling “held to ransom” by printer manufacturers. Stuart tried saving money by switching to unbranded ‘compatible’ cartridges, and his printer promptly refused to work.

Printer makers, you see, haven’t quite ignored technological advances. They’ve just hand-picked the advances that suit them and not us, such as encrypted printer chips that detect and block compatible cartridges and refilling. So it’s become harder to cheat the pricey printing system - but, as we discovered, it’s not impossible.



The internet is about to get faster and safer thanks to the number '2', though there's a bit more to it than that

What is it?

An update to the HTTP web protocol, the first since 1999, when HTTP1.1 was introduced. The technical details behind the new protocol are rather complicated, and there are a lot of acronyms involved, but its benefit is easy to understand: it will speed up the internet by making web pages load faster. It is based on Google’s protocol SPDY (pronounced “speedy”) which has been working in the background since 2009 to make the internet faster.