guide articles

Explained: A Guide to Smartphone Camera Hardware

For many people smartphone cameras have replaced standalone point-and-shoots as the go-to device for everyday photography, as they're easier to access and more compact to carry with you. But just what goes in to making a good smartphone camera? What hardware do companies use? What do pixel sizes and f-stops really mean? In this article I'll be exploring the hardware, key terms associated with photography, and some comparisons along the way.

Happy 4th of July: How to Take Amazing Photos of Fireworks

Fourth of July is here. Between the barbecues and good times spent with friends and family, you'll no doubt be bombarded with images of fireworks over the coming days, and truth be told, most of them will suck. But you don't have to be a pro photographer to snap some amazing pictures tonight, all you need is some basic equipment and a little know-how.

amazing photos fireworks

How-To: A Beginner's Guide to the Linux Command Line

Do you think of the command line as an antiquated leftover from the past, or an old fashioned way of interacting with a computer? Think again. In Linux, it is the most flexible and powerful way to perform tasks. In this article, we will explore the basics of the Linux command line, including directory navigation, file/directory operations, and more.

How To Use a Xbox/PS Controller on Your PC

How To Use a Xbox/PS Controller on Your PC

While the keyboard and mouse remain the best means of controlling many titles, especially PC staples like FPS and strategy, there are plenty of other options that are really crying out for a pad.

You could go and buy a custom PC control pad, but that would be stupid. Chances are you already own a control pad you can use on the PC: the ones that came with your Xbox 360, PS3 or Nintendo console.

Last Call: Google Reader Dies Monday, Here Are The Best Alternatives

Last Call: Google Reader Dies Monday, Here Are The Best Alternatives

Google feels RSS is no longer as important as it used to considering how the average internet user receives his fix of interesting links and news via social networks -- most of the time not through their social network, though.

But for millions of professionals that need that constant stream of information from manually selected sources, RSS is a big deal. Journalists, bloggers, programmers, researchers, students, tech savvy people, among others, fall into this group. It's a niche product, but still a big niche. Here are what we consider the best drop-in replacements for Google Reader today.

AMD: The Rise, Fall and Future of an Industry Giant

AMD: The Rise, Fall and Future of an Industry Giant

There is no single event responsible for ousting AMD from its lofty position in early 2006. The company's decline is inextricably linked to its own mismanagement, some bad predictions, its own success, as well as the fortunes and misdeeds of Intel.

AMD has long been subject of polarizing debate among technology enthusiasts. The chapters of its history provide ample ammunition for countless discussions and no small measure of rancour. Considering that it was once considered an equal to Intel, many wonder why AMD is failing today. However, it's probably fairer to ask how the company has survived so for long -- a question we intend to explore as we revisit the company's past, examine its present and gaze into its future.

TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2012

TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2012

With barely a month to go before Christmas, the race is on to clear your holiday shopping list -- or, for the procrastinators out there, to start putting one together. Although you're working against the clock, the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales make this a fairly sensible time to dive in and ensure your loved ones are sufficiently showered in silicon-laced trinkets and baubles on the morning of December 25. As it happens, we have a soft spot for said gadgets and we've compiled a list of over two dozen things spanning all budgets that we'd love to find under the tree this year.

Free to $60 Gifts Gifts for Less Than $200 Between $200 and $400 Gifts $400 and Up

Tech Tip: How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8

Tech Tip: How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8

Besides not offering a way to bypass the new Windows 8 Start screen (not without the help of third-party utilities), surprisingly Microsoft is also limiting your options when it comes to customizing its appearance. You can choose from a couple color schemes and 10 stock background images, but that's about it. We've seen some workarounds before but they are cumbersome and the results are less than optimal.

Enter Decor8. Stardock’s Windows 8 customization app removes this limitation by giving users the ability to pick any picture they want as the Start screen background.

How to Access Region-Locked Content From Anywhere: Proxy, VPN, DNS Redirections Tricks and More

How to Access Region-Locked Content From Anywhere: Proxy, VPN, DNS Redirections Tricks and More

Online services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify and many others have brought upon an era of instant, on-demand digital media consumption in a world where linear programming, bundled content, and physical formats no longer fit many people's lives.

Unfortunately this is a revolution not everyone can partake in (not yet or not as easily, at least). In this article we’ll offer you three alternatives to get around region locks. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and whichever route you choose will depend on the services you need to access as well as the devices you need to access them from -- not to mention whether you are willing to pay or not.

TechSpot Laptop Buying Guide: The Ivy Bridge Update

When choosing the right laptop it all comes down to what you are willing to spend and what you plan to use it for. This guide will help you navigate through the countless options out there. As usual, we've narrowed down our favorite notebooks and grouped them into five different categories: ultraportables, business and workstations, desktop replacements, gaming, and budget-oriented machines.

Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life. Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.
Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower. Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.
Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.    
Everything you need to know about Intel's Ivy Bridge

Everything you need to know about Intel's Ivy Bridge

Intel is set to roll out its latest generation of processors sometime this spring. By normal standards, the launch should mark a new "tick" in the company's product roadmap, but Intel is going beyond just shrinking the current 32nm Sandy Bridge die by introducing some fundamental advancements with its new 22nm process.

There's been quite a bit of information on Ivy Bridge going around ever since Intel detailed the architecture late last year. We'll recap some of the major changes and practical implications, while also bringing you up to speed on the latest developments, including expected launch lineup and pricing.

Windows 8 tricks, tips and shortcuts: a power user must-read

Windows 8 tricks, tips and shortcuts: a power user must-read

Windows 8 CP cracked 1 million downloads shortly after launching last Wednesday and I'm sure many of you have tried it already. Whether you went with a dual-boot, upgrade, clean install or virtual machine, if you're coming from Windows 7 you'll notice significant changes immediately, while others may not be as obvious.

With change comes good and bad -- at least until you learn some tricks that get you back up to speed. Without further ado, here's a shortlist of Windows 8 shortcuts and useful quick tricks I've gathered thus far.

Neowin: How to regain your online privacy

Neowin: How to regain your online privacy

These days it is very hard to keep your profile low when you are online. Services that are used every day by many, such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, aren’t exactly known for keeping your data especially private by default.…
Tech Tip: Enable Concurrent Desktop Sessions in Windows

Tech Tip: Enable Concurrent Desktop Sessions in Windows

Remote Desktop in server editions of Windows by default supports two concurrent connections to remotely troubleshoot or administer a computer. However, there are a few reasons why concurrent sessions would come in handy for power users not necessarily running a server.

For example, if you have a dedicated Media Center PC running in the living room, you'll be able to remotely access all files on the machine without interrupting the person watching TV. Or if you are sharing a computer with other users, concurrent Remote Desktop sessions will allow more than one person use that system under a different or even the same user account, without kicking each other off.

Tablets of 2011: What to Look For (Updated)

Tablets of 2011: What to Look For (Updated)

Apple iPad remains the undisputed best-selling tablet in the market, but companies such as Asus and Samsung are coming on strong with their first Android "Honeycomb" tablets. RIM on the other hand hasn't been doing too well with the PlayBook.

We've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the hottest tablets either currently available or announced so far. With more than a dozen options already in the market, this will serve as a starting point for narrowing down your purchase.