This is a follow-up to last week's "Before you buy a sound bar speaker, read this" post, but this time I'm setting my sights on expensive, $400-plus iPod and Bluetooth speaker "docks." They have built-in limitations common to all single-speaker systems. They might have two sets of speaker drivers housed in a single cabinet, but when the drivers are just a few inches apart, "stereo" sounds more or less like mono. In the quest to make these speakers as sleek and lightweight as possible, bass and dynamic range capabilities are limited, compared … Read more
For some people, smartphones and their always-on Internet connections and apps is a waste of money.
If you don't need apps or games and you can live without fast, robust access to the Net from your cell phone, then a smartphone might be expensive overkill. All four of the major U.S. wireless carriers still offer basic feature phones, which don't require expensive data plans. In this Ask Maggie, I offer some advice to a reader who is looking for one of these phones.
I also offer some advice regarding the new all-in-one desktop computers.
Going retro with … Read more
As Black Friday expands into a week-long marathon of deals (followed by the now-requisite Cyber Monday), a new laptop, desktop, or tablet may be high up on your shopping list. And with Windows 8 launching dozens of new computer models, that's just one more reason to upgrade. Perusing the major retailers for PC deals, I found a few noteworthy ones, as well as a few you should be warned away from.
There are decent discounts on some mainstream full-power laptops, as well as on newer touch-screen Windows 8 systems. Tablet deals were less common, largely restricted to no-name brands. … Read more
Lenovo seems to one of the few PC vendors thriving in a weak market.
For its fiscal second quarter that ended September 30, the Hong Kong-based company scooped up record sales of $8.7 billion, a jump of 11 percent from the prior year's quarter. PC shipments rose 10.3 percent, a healthy gain given that shipments for the overall industry fell more than 8 percent.
The publishers describe SNV Timer as a reminder program, but it actually includes three separate applications designed to manage shutdown operations, user-set alerts, and more. While many will see this diversity as a benefit, others will find that the lack of integration between programs and the redundancy of some functions negatively affect SNV Timer's usefulness.
When you install SNV Timer, you'll actually get SNV Timer, SNV Notepad, and SNV Calendar, each with its own desktop icon. SNV Timer does just what its name implies: it allows you to choose a specific time or number of hours for whatever … Read more
A useful tool for the multitasker, Virtual Desktop Assistant lets you create multiple virtual desktops on one computer, and can help busy people stay organized.
Virtual Desktop Assistant has an intuitive layout that makes it easy to get started. It sits in the taskbar for quick access and displays the numbers 0 through 3 on the bottom-right corner of the user's window. Zero represents the default system desktop and 1 through 3 represent virtual desktops that can be navigated to simply by pressing the Alt key and the number that represents the virtual desktop you want to switch to.… Read more
Windows 8 is neither a completely foreign experience, as some have said, nor is it a smooth continuation of the Windows you've known for the past 11 years, since the start of the modern XP era.
From a hardware point of view, using Windows 8 and its not-Metro interface is eventually navigable after some trial and error, and memorizing a few new commands and gestures -- at least if you have one of the many new touch-screen laptops or all-in-one desktops.
Desktop Groups is a simple app you can use to create folders on your desktop that can contain any number of files. Designed to help clean up the clutter on your desktop, Desktop Groups lets you create as many folders as you wish, add or delete files in a folder, and move the folder and all its contents around as you need. There is a free version of the app called Desktop Groups Lite, while the full version is sold for $5.99.
Installing Desktop Groups is easy and the app runs cleanly. You can create folders with any title … Read more
Desktop Groups Lite is a free version of a paid ($5.99) app that lets you create folders on your Mac's desktop. Desktop Groups Lite lets you create a folder and drag and drop files into it, or drag them out, to manage the folder's contents. The app installs quickly and easily, but the free app is limited to five folders total.
A clean desktop is a necessity for some; others like a wild collection of icons scattered all over. If you fall into the first category, Desktop Groups Lite is for you. You can assemble all your … Read more
Our nation faces a decision that could tear us apart.
Yes, the choice between running Windows 8 in Metro view or the traditional desktop view is what we must wrestle with.
Fortunately, there is a compromise to bridge this heated divide. By using a dual-screen setup, you can run Metro and desktop views simultaneously on the same machine.
In the How To video above, I'll walk you through the process of connecting a second monitor to your Windows 8 machine and adjusting just a few settings to achieve the ultimate dual-interface Windows 8 experience.
To cut to the chase, … Read more