Yearly Archives: 2009

Media Player Classic Home Cinema

media-player-classic-homecinema

One of the most common problems I experience when playing movies and videos on my home PC is poor lip syncing caused by the sound and video not marrying up perfectly.  Rather than performing any degree of troubleshooting I always fall back to the trusty player ‘Media Player Classic Home Theatre’ which despite a complete lack of both bells and whistles always performs admirably.

The user interface for Media Player Classic looks just like the old Windows Media Player 6.4 which was bundled with Windows ME and early versions of Windows XP.  I expect few users to know this specific version off the top of their heads so simply refer back to the version in your memory that could be described as looking ‘particularly primitive and dated’.

There are no fancy skins, no modern looking icons and no ribbon style interface; what you simply get is a blank screen along … Read the rest

Microsoft Office 2010

MS-Office-2010

Despite it being the second most used application on my work computer (behind the Mozilla Firefox browser), it’s still impossible for me to get excited about a new edition of the Microsoft Office suite.

With the final release due in a couple of months, Microsoft have provided a beta test version of Office 2010 that’s free for members of the public to download.  The beta test version will run unhindered until October 2010 at which point users must decide whether they wish to purchase the final release or have it removed from their hard drive.

For the costs involved the majority of home users may still be better off with the free OpenOffice Suite (www.openoffice.org) as it should provide all the features you are likely to need at no cost.  This having been said, the Office Suite has remained a popular flagship product over the years due to business users … Read the rest

Aviary Online Design Suite

aviary

This week we’ve been making paper penguins.  Our reasoning isn’t quite as tenuous as you would imagine; our company mascot is a penguin, we had an hour to kill, and we needed something to put on the Refresh Cartridges blog.

Of course, you never know where a journey to create a penguin template will take you and while looking for a free vector image editing program, Matt fortunately stumbled across the website www.aviary.com.  Aviary is essentially a free online design suite which consists of many powerful tools ranging from a simple audio editor to a variety of fairly sophisticated image/vector editing software.

The applications are all used online rather than being downloaded and installed on to your hard drive.  This offers a number of advantages, most notably the ability to ‘dip in’ quickly and easily, without having to install, and the fact that everything is stored on a central … Read the rest

World of Warcraft

World-of-Warcraft

The below article has been written by our very own Becky Brand who works in our Torquay Store and has long been a diehard fan of the World of Warcraft series of games.   As an avid gamer; I thought she would be better equipped to talk about this subject with you this week.

World of Warcraft (or WoW) is the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Blizzard Entertainment.   Warcraft initially started out as a series of three games ending in Warcraft 3 with World of Warcraft being set after these games.

When you start the game you need to create an avatar which you will control as you explore the fictional world of Azeroth.  You have a choice of two sides; either the Alliance or the Horde with each side having a number of different races that you can play as including Trolls, Dwarfs, Humans, Gnomes and Orcs.

Depending Read the rest

iPhone Games

iphone game

I declared quite publically around a year ago that I was refusing to select an iPhone as my next contract phone, not due to the fact that I consider it a poor piece of technology but rather that it would have immediately made me ‘one of those’ people.

You know the type; you’re busy minding your own business but they’ll sit next to you and force you to endure a daily demonstration of the latest app that they’ve downloaded.   They do this with such a self assured smugness that you’d swear that they’d invented the iPhone, not had it handed to them by their mobile phone provider.

I am starting to get a little envious however…..

It seems there are more to these apps than initially meet the eye; after years of dominance, both the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS portable games consoles are starting to lose ground to, … Read the rest

AC Networking Part 2

ac networking

One of the biggest growth areas for home computing this decade has been the humble network.

At the turn of the century it was most often the case that we used a single machine connected directly to a phone line whereas now it would be rare to find a home that hasn’t been networked to some extent.  Applications range from wireless Internet on a laptop, file sharing between two machines, a hard drive set up to distribute media around the home, a wireless printer which all the family can access or a games console piggybacking the main Internet connection.

The conventional methods of deploying a network around your home are well known; you can either connect via a network cable or connect wirelessly over the airwaves and while usually suitable, both methods have potential disadvantages.  A wired network is of course limited by a physical connection being needed between your … Read the rest

WordPress 2.8.5 – Part 2

wordpress

Last week we were looking in to the powerful WordPress editor.  Those that missed my last article can view a copy either at the Herald Express’s website (www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk) or on my own online blog (www.computerarticles.co.uk).

To recap, WordPress (www.wordpress.org) is an open source application which gives home users the ability to quickly and easily create an online blog, a term used to describe a website which provides an ongoing chronicle of information.  After covering the basics last week we’ll now start to uncover the more advanced features that really make WordPress stand out from the crowd.

The term ‘plug-in’ is used to describe a small piece of software written by either the WordPress authors or a third party which provide additional features not found on a standard installation.  If a blogger finds that WordPress doesn’t cater for a particular requirement of his then in … Read the rest

WordPress 2.8.5

wordpress

It’s been a year now since I was first properly introduced to WordPress and started using it to create an online archive of my work.  Over the last 12 months I have grown to appreciate the power and flexibility of this piece of online blogging software and feel the need today to go in to a little more detail.

WordPress is a free and open source publishing application which gives home users the ability to quickly and easily create an online blog using their own domain name.   Blogging, the term used to describe the maintenance of a website used to chronicle information has become incredibly popular in recent years as more users realise that the Internet provides a global platform which can be used to broadcast their ideas or opinions.

For most, the prospect of coding a website from scratch is not just a daunting but potentially impossible task, and … Read the rest

Windows 7 Release

windows 7

“It’s the big week when Windows 7 is launched on Thursday, but one statistic that grabbed my eye was in a Wikipedia article stating that there are estimated to be three times as many XP computers in use today than Vista ones (68.49% XP versus 22.39% Vista). This suggests that XP is far from being the dinosaur system that the marketing people would have us believe. I’ve still got two XP desktops and no complaints, even though they are getting on a bit.

It also leads to questions about how popular Vista was with the general public and business world, and in this a recent BBC article a Microsoft executive admits that Vista never fully recovered from the early criticism, and they hope for better things with Windows 7.

Two quotes in particular that stick out is that of Annette Jump, a research director at a technology research firm who Read the rest

Kongregate

kongregate

This week Matt Stevenson from our Torquay Road store has kindly offered to write about the fantastic gaming site Kongregate which, as a non gamer, I felt ill-qualified to cover. Enjoy!


A year and a half ago I was shown a website that was pitched to me as “YouTube for video games” and as an avid gamer I was rather keen to get on this website and see just how it worked. The website was kongregate.com and it has since become one of my top visited sites for many reasons.

Kongregate currently features 19,620 completely free mostly independently produced games and more are being added daily. Whilst not necessary, users are encouraged to register for an account so they can use the sites social element and contribute to the site with ratings and reviews.

The social part of the site (to justify endless hours of gaming instead of getting … Read the rest

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