Transporter is an online, but off-cloud storage solution for privately sharing, accessing and protecting all of your valuable files. By choosing the drive-less option, you maintain the flexibility of choosing the capacity you need and the drive manufacturer you trust….
The 2TB Transporter allows you to share, access, and protect up to two terabytes of data. That’s 2x the movies, music and photos. Better than the cloud, the Transporter is completely private with unlimited sharing and no subscription fees, ever….
Being more of a software gal than a hardware geek myself, I was the only Lifehacker editor who had never built a PC from scratch. So when I needed a new PC late last year, I took the plunge and built my custom system. I’m so glad I did—the project turned out to be one of my proudest accomplishments of 2008. If you’ve cracked open your PC before to install a new hard drive or TV capture card, but you’ve never built a whole new system from the ground up, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are my notes for first-timers who want to build instead of buy their next computer.
Why Build Instead of Buy
“But computers are so cheap these days,” you say. “Why waste the time and energy building your own system when you can get a great machine fully assembled and shipped to your door?” that’s a great question. Building your own PC will not save you time. It might save you money, but that’s not even the best reason to do it. For me, it was a fantastic hands-on educational experience. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction every single day when I press the power button on my tower, watch it light up, and know that I plugged in the wire that goes from that light to the motherboard. Building your PC takes the mystery out of what’s going on inside that black box you spend hours on per day.
There are other good reasons to build instead of buy, too. With your own build you can customize your system just how you like and make your perfect media center or gaming machine. You can save money if you already have some parts (though see my warnings on the dangers of a “Frankenbuild” below). Upgrading your PC in the future becomes easier and cheaper since your parts aren’t tied to a particular manufacturer. With a custom build you can do fun stuff like overclock your CPU and get more bang for your buck, or install OS X where it was never intended to run.
In short, building your own PC makes you feel like a badass.
What You’re Getting Into
Don’t get me wrong, though: building a PC (for the first time especially) takes research, time, gumption, patience, and a willingness to deal with several WTF moments. If you’ve never cracked a PC’s case and installed parts, like a new hard drive or a video card, start there first. If you’ve got that experience under your belt, you might think that building a new PC is just a matter of snapping together a few parts. It is, but building from the ground up takes much more than an hour or two. My build took two full days, one online order, one returned motherboard, two trips to Fry’s, one condescending sneer from a sales associate when I asked a newb question, and one trip to Radio Shack. If that sounds like a lot, well, it was, and there were moments in the process when I wished I’d just bought a Dell. But when it finally all came together, all the sweat makes the results even sweeter.
Where to Start: Researching and buying Your Parts
You scared off yet? No? Good. Let’s get down to it. There are a gadzillion articles on the internet about building your own PC, but many are way out of date, or just don’t get specific about what exactly you should buy. When I had to start researching what parts to purchase, of course I turned to savvy Lifehacker readers to help me out. Several readers mentioned Ars Technica’s excellent system buyer’s guide, which breaks down exactly what parts you’d want for one of three levels of computer: a “budget box,” a “hot rod,” or a “God box.” The 2008 guidepublished last fall; make sure you use the most recent one when you start your research. I started by plugging parts from Ars’ “hot rod” system list into Newegg to get a sense of price and see if there were any deals, coupons or upgrades. In the end I didn’t use Ars’ exact recommendations, but it was an awesome, up-to-date, jumping-off point.
Your research into parts is the most important stage of the process. For first-timers it can be bewildering, and you will have questions. Just keep reading, take notes, consult with forums or sales associates, and remember that if you make the wrong purchase you can always return it for the right one. In the photo to the left you’ll see my build’s case, motherboard, power supply, CPU, and RAM. (I had a video card, DVD drive, and a hard drive from an old machine I planned to use in my new build.)
See this entire comment thread for more resources on deciding what parts to buy for your budget.
Get Down and Dirty
Once you’ve got your hot little hands on all the parts you need, the real fun begins. There are two stages to your build: the hardware stage, and the software stage. Adam’s already covered how to install each individual hardware component. Here’s the list:
- Install the motherboard and CPU
- Install your RAM
- Install the video card
- Install the hard drive and DVD drive
Once you’ve got everything plugged in and mounted inside your case, leave the case sides off and plug in your keyboard, mouse, monitor, and power, and press the On button. This is the moment of truth. The first time you see the lights come on and the system setup appear on-screen, you’ll feel like you’ve just arrived at the top of Mount Everest.
If the machine doesn’t power on, or there’s no video signal, or the keyboard doesn’t work—just unplug everything and check your connections. It took me a few hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing attempts to get my new build to boot properly. If it doesn’t work the first time, take a breath, unplug it all, and try again. Don’t cry; that won’t help.
Once you’re into the machine’s BIOS setup, key around and make sure the motherboard recognizes your DVD or CD drive and your hard drive. You’ll need those working in order to install your operating system. Everything there? Now set your boot sequence to check your optical drive first. Insert your operating system’s disc into your CD or DVD drive, and restart the machine. Now your operating system’s setup will launch on boot, and you can install away.
In the meantime, blast very loud rock music, strut about the vicinity, arms upraised, and revel in your greatness.
Mistakes I Made That You Can Avoid
When you build your first PC, keep a few things in mind I wished I’d realized before I started.
- Beware of the “Frankenbuild.” A great way to save money on your new PC is using parts that you’ve already got around. But I was overly optimistic about what items from my very old Dell tower would work in my new system. I assumed my hard drive would work (it did, but it was an IDE drive, which I wound up replacing with a faster SATA model), I hoped my video card would work (it didn’t), and I thought my DVD drive would work (it did). In the end I wound up buying parts I thought I’d be able to reuse, so my total price wasn’t as low as my initial estimate.
- Expect mishaps. I bought the wrong motherboard. Well, not the wrong one, but one that didn’t have a FireWire port, which I wanted. Well, I had a FireWire card, but it didn’t fit into the motherboard. Anyway, I figured all this out after I installed the CPU, which meant I had to remove it from the board, break the thermal compound seal, and ship the motherboard back. When I got the new motherboard and reinstalled the CPU, because the thermal compound left there didn’t work anymore, the machine would start and within 10 seconds overheat and shut itself off. Next thing you know I’m scraping hardened thermal compound off the CPU with Goof Off and a credit card, and reapplying fresh from a tube I had to pick up from Radio Shack. Lesson: there will be mishaps. Expect crap to go wrong. Be confident in your ability to fix it after you Google the solution to the problem hundreds of people have had before you did.
- Read the frakkin’ manual. With years of tinkering in my PC’s case under my belt, I went into my build eager to start working and only skimmed the user guides and online howto’s before I started. Don’t do that. Open and read the full-on manual that comes in the box with every single one of your parts. If you’re not sure about something said manual includes, do your research before you plug anything in.
- Buy locally if you can. My initial parts order was from Newegg, which was great price-wise, but really sucked when I had to return my motherboard, because I had to pay shipping fees and a restocking fee. With a Fry’s down the road, I regretted not just buying everything at the store itself from the get-go to to make returns easier.
- Give yourself lots of time. I wrongly assumed I’d be able to finish my build in a day, but it took two whole days and stressed me out because they were work days. Don’t build a new PC when you’re on deadline or otherwise pinched for time. Give yourself a whole weekend and a clean and spacious work area that you can leave filled with packing debris and electronic parts strewn about for a few days.
Have you built your own PC? Are you considering taking the leap? Let us know how it went or what you’re thinking in the comments.
Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, loves turning on her new PC every single day. Her new weekly feature, Smarterware, appears every Wednesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Smarterware tag feed to get new installments in your newsreader
This is like day one of the mouse. Except, no one needs an instruction manual for their hands.
Get ready, get set, go.
We asked one simple question: ‘What feels natural?’. Using a Leap is easy. And the next thing you know, a swipe in the air leads to a swipe of the page. So that nice LED display remains clean and untouched, as it should be.
In minutes, you’ll be able to interact with your desktop using natural hand and finger movements.
It sounds too good to be true, we know. But, that’s what we specialize in around here.
We are changing the world
Two or three hundred thousands lines of code later, we’ve figured out how to use the Leap to create an interaction space around your computer, in 3D. Able to distinguish thumbs from fingers, and even handheld items like pencils. This allows users to interact like never before, using only natural movements.
And we went a step further. You will be able to create custom gestures that fit how you want to use your computer. You can even network more than one Leap device, to create even larger interaction areas.
We’ve been able to link Leap to dozens of applications and operating systems.
But this is just the beginning. As our development community builds, who knows what the future holds?
Whatever you save,
we’ll make even better.
Add something to your Springpad, and we’ll instantly enhance it with more information. Save a restaurant and we’ll give you a map and reviews. Save a movie, and we’ll give you the showtimes near you. Save a book, and we’ll link you to where you can buy it. Save a product, we’ll tell you when there’s a price drop. Get the idea?
The world is your Springpad
Save anything to Springpad,
Fill your Springpads with things you find on the web or on the go. Clip an article, snap a photo, scan a product barcode, record a voice memo, or save a place nearby. Then access it anytime, anywhere you need it.
Get it, together.
with your friends
Smart Notebooks to save, share and act on what’s important to you
Create notebooks for recipes, books, movies or anything else that matters to you, together with friends, family and co-workers. Save ideas and info from anywhere, access them whenever, and start getting more from life
Packing in a whopping 250 new features, Mac OS X Lion ($30) looks to be a worthy upgrade to Apple’s awesome operating system. Available in July as a download from the Mac app Store, it’ll bring new features including iOS-style full screen apps, new Multi-Touch gestures, Mission Control and Launchpad (new things for seeing all your apps at once and for finding and launching apps quicker), a redesigned Mail app, Auto Save for everything, and AirDrop (easy file sharing).
[Nice write up Uncrate.com]
Syncing all your stuff between all your digital devices is going to eventually drive you insane. Apple is here, once again, to help. iCloud (Free/$25 a year) seamlessly stores your music, photos, apps, email, calendars, and documents, and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices automatically so everything stays up to date and in sync. When something changes on one of your devices, all of your others are wirelessly updated almost instantly. You can also use iTunes Match to have all of your ripped music available to you on any device for a yearly fee. You’ve been hearing about this “cloud” stuff on crappy IBM commercials for a year, but now (well, this fall when iOS 5 is released) you’ll actually benefit from it. [Nice write up Uncrate.com]
iPhoto is a good thing. Pre-installed on every new computer cranked out by Cupertino, millions of Mac users have come to rely upon the application’s user-friendly functionality to collect, edit and share their photos, as these are all tasks that iPhoto does very well.
That said, I think we can agree that the software flounders in a sea of fail when it comes to finding and deleting duplicate photos that–by way of editing or import–have found their way into your photo collection. Sure, you could root through your iPhoto collection and delete each and everyone of the duplicates you stumble across manually, but if you’re anything like us, you’ve got so many photos crammed into your Mac that the thought of doing is daunting, to say the least. Fortunately, there’s a far easier way to rid your iPhoto collection of those darned duplicates.
Step One: download and Install Duplicate Annihilator
Yep, it’s just that easy. This is a Monday morning how-to, and as such, no black magic of quantum physics are involved. Bratoo Propaganda Software‘s Duplicate Annihilator is a one stop shop of a plug-in that will bring almost instant sanity to your iPhoto collection. In fact, depending on the size of your iPhoto gallery, it could very well take you longer to type the developer’s name than it does for Duplicate Annihilatorto track down and destroy all of your photographic duplicates.
Once the program’s .DMG file is safely nestled away in your download folder, open it and drag the Duplicate Annihilator to the Application Folder shortcut built into the installation window.
Step Two: Lock and Load
Locate the program in your Applications folder and open it. For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with a bare bones user interface that will let you get right down to business. By default, the interface opens to a tab named Find duplicates, which is good, because that’s what this tutorial is all about.
Make sure that the options on this tab are set to move duplicates to trash–which will ensure that the program cloisters off your duplicates to the Trash folder–and Classic mode: a setting that forces the program to abide by your choices you make in the applications other tabs.
Speaking of which, click on the tab marked Preferences. Make sure that the options “MD5 checksum” and “Set duplicates’ comments to duplicate” are selected. Doing so will ensure that Duplicate Annihilator will spot the duplicates in your iPhoto collection based upon their content, and mark any suspected duplicates as–you guessed it–duplicate.
Step Three: Hunt ‘Em Down
Return to the Find duplicates tab and click “Find and annihilate duplicates”. If you downloaded the free version of the application, it will scan a maximum of 500 images in your iPhoto gallery. Let the application do its thing.
While you wait for your duplicates to be hunted out, be sure not to open up iPhoto for any reason. Doing so could at worst, damage your library and at least mess with Duplicate Annihilator’s cleaning of said library.Once the program has completed its work, it will inform you of how many duplicates it found. As soon as you recieve that message, you can open up iPhoto and finish cleaning up your library.
Step Four: Enjoy Your Handiwork
Open up your Mac’s Trash folder. You’ll find that Duplicate Annihilator has moved all of the image files it believes to be duplicates there. You can choose to either chuck them out or, alternately, send them back to iPhoto if you want to keep it. We’re sure that you’ll agree that the trial edition of Duplicate Annihilator makes locating and nuking duplicates in your iPhoto gallery so easy that it’s easy to justfy paying $7.99 to score the full version.
Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter
Elysia has debuted their new Alpha Compressor plug-in for Mac and PC. the alpha compressor plugin is the software emulation of elysia’s discrete class-A mastering compressor. It claims to offer all the functions of its analog counterpart and was programmed by the geeks at Brainworx.
The set of features makes the alpha a complete dynamics toolbox: Mid/Side and stereo processing, feedback and feed forward compression, Auto fast modes for attack and release, integrated audio and sidechain filters, onboard parallel compression, switchable signal coloration as well as additional Soft Clip Limiters can be freely combined according to the users’s specific needs.
But not only the final stage of mastering can profit from this processor with a focus on transparent compression: A special mixing version with a reduced user interface has been added for fast and easy mix buss operation. The plug-in license includes all the important formats in one: TDM, RTAS, VST, AU and Venue. The native formats are available as of now, while TDM and Venue will follow in January 2011.
I cannot think of a single application or website that has improved my daily work processes more quickly and effectively than Dropbox. Dropbox combines elements of many different applications: SVN, WebDAV, online storage, network storage, music and file sharing, FTP, Flickr, and Google Docs, just to name a few. And it manages to do so with style and simplicity. It is non-technical and seamlessly integrates into my normal working environment.
Initially, Dropbox quickly addressed the hassle of trying to work on the same files among multiple computers. I have long been tired of e-mailing files to myself, manually uploading files to a server, or transferring files using a flash drive. Dropbox allows me to bypass these now archaic file transferring options.
Just a warning: this post is pretty long. There’s so much to say about Dropbox…
So what is Dropbox?
at its core, Dropbox is a file sharing application / service. At the time of this writing, there is a Dropbox client program for Mac OS X and Windows, and there is a Dropbox web interface. “Client program” might not be the best name, since what it does is designate a specific folder on your computer to be the Dropbox folder. You don’t have to interact with a program â€“ you can simply put all of the files you want to work with in this folder and the program does its magic in the background. There is a Linux client in the works, but I have no idea when that will be released. Since I work with both OS X and Windows, this cross operating system availability is a huge plus.
Once you receive an invite to Dropbox, you create an account on the Dropbox website. Through this account, you can manage your Dropbox service. You can upload files, create shared folders, generate links to files in your public folder, and “share the love” by inviting your friends to Dropbox. If Dropbox was only web-based, it wouldn’t be so impressive. Luckily for us, it isn’t.
From your account, you can download and install Dropbox onto your computer, and link your account to it. Once that’s done, the magic begins. You can simply put any files into the “My Dropbox” folder. It works the same as managing your files within your “My Documents” folder. In fact, the Dropbox folder is installed into the “My Documents” folder (or the equivalent Mac folder) by default.
Mac OS X integration:
Any file that you drop into your Dropbox folder automatically uploads to the remote Dropbox servers and you can access it from your account using a web browser. You can download and install Dropbox to as many computers as you like and link it to your account. Once that’s done, any changes to the Dropbox folder are automatically reflected on all the computers on which you have Dropbox installed and linked to. Complete synchronization.
From this description, Dropbox might not sound that great, but to fully illustrate the awesomeness of Dropbox, I must describe each of the ways I use it.
Music access / sharing
With Dropbox, you simply drop a music folder into the “My Dropbox” folder and you can access your music files easily from any computer you have Dropbox installed on or through a web browser. To share your music with other Dropbox users, you can simply drop the music folder into your shared folder (more on that later). To share your music with the rest of the world, you can drop your music into the “Public” folder and send the world a link (not recommended if you want to avoid a lawsuit).
There are other music services, such as Muxtape, that allow for a more public form of music sharing. However, if your objective is to listen to your files privately among different computers or share music with a select group of friends without any uploading / listening / file format limitations, Dropbox is the clear winner.
Dropbox has a slick photo gallery. There is a “photos” folder under the main Dropbox folder. Any picture files put in the “Photos” folder are automatically available via a photo gallery. If you create sub-folders, each sub-folder is a separate photo gallery.
If you do not need to share your pictures with everybody, they can remain in your Dropbox and nobody can access them. However, in the context / right-click menu on your computer, you can get the public URL for each sub-folder’s gallery to share with everybody:
The public gallery is similar to Lightbox or Facebook galleries, with automatically-generated thumbnails:
When you click a thumbnail to view the larger-size picture, you can view the previous and next photos like a slideshow:
File sharing (via a link)
There are probably thousands of file sharing websites. The usual process on one of those sites is that you use an upload form to manually put the file on the public server. Dropbox has a “Public” folder under the main Dropbox folder. There is a public URL available for any of the files placed in this folder. Simply place the file(s) you want to share in the “Public” folder, wait for the files to sync with the server, then copy the public link from the context / right menu.
You can then share that link with your friends, family, and colleagues without having to deal with attachments or file sharing sites.
Multiple work computers
The main reason why I was drawn to Dropbox was to have an easy way to share files between my home and work computers. With the Dropbox client installed on both computers, I put all of my portable files in the Dropbox folder:
Suppose I do work in the morning on my home computer. I save my files, and head to the office for the afternoon. Once I boot up my work computer, the files that I had added or updated from my home computer are automatically updated on my work computer’s Dropbox folder. I can pick up where I left off, never having to worry about having multiple, out-of-sync repositories.
Public computers (using the web interface)
While the Dropbox client is easy to install on multiple computers, sometimes you will encounter a point where you have to use a public computer or someone else’s computer. In other words, you cannot install the client or it’s not practical to install it.
You can still access your files by logging into Dropbox’s web interface.
From there, download the files you need, update them, then upload them again:
The next time you access one of your computers with the Dropbox client installed, the files will be added or updated.
Revisions and restoring deleted files
Whenever you update a file in your Dropbox, the revision is noted. You can view the history of your revisions and, if desired, restore the file back to its previous revision.
Similarly, if you delete a file and decide that you want it back, you can restore it. When browsing through your Dropbox in the web interface, you can choose to show deleted files.
You can restore any of the deleted files (like restoring files from the “Trash” or “Recycle Bin” on your computer) or remove them completely.
File sharing using shared folders
Here’s a brief transcript of the chat that took place after Thom dropped a file into a shared folder. True story:
If you couldn’t follow the chat transcript, seconds after Thom dropped a jpg into the Shared Folder, Peter was notified of the new file, and then thanked Thom for it. Though it was a small file, the transaction speed was hella fast. On your computer, a shared folder can be identified by the 2 blank-faced dudes on the folder icon:
There are two different ways to create a new shared folder. first, you can create a new shared folder from your “My Dropbox” folder’s context / right-click menu:
Once you click on “Share”, your browser will open the web interface for your Dropbox account. From there, you can invite other Dropbox users to partake in your shared folder fun!
The other way to create a shared folder is directly in the web interface:
While creating a new shared folder directly from the web interface is better if you’re creating a brand new folder, the first method allows you to make any existing folder into a shared one.
From the invitees’ end, they will receive a notification in their inbox about the invite, which they can choose to accept or decline. Whoever creates the shared folder has administrative control over it, and can invite or kick out users as he / she pleases. Invitees, or “collaborators” as they are called in Dropbox, are able to invite friends or leave the folder.
Once your shared folder is set up and the appropriate people are invited, sharing files is a joy.
This article was written by two people sitting at opposite ends of the country with the help of Dropbox. In a shared folder described above, we outlined this article, drafted it (in a word processor), saved screenshots, and even sent a few messages back and forth about the article (by using text files to contain messages).
Whenever one of us uploaded or updated a file, the other party was almost instantly notified.
While we couldn’t work on the same file at the same time (a bit impractical unless you are working on a standard format such as in Google Docs), we had one Word file in the Shared Folder and took turns adding and editing the text in it on our own time. Dropbox took care of the automatic updating and notifications on each end, no cumbersome IM file sending required.
Communicating through Dropbox — not-so instant messaging
By no means is Dropbox intended to be a messaging solution, but there is a built-in messaging function that allows you to leave messages to your collaborators in the Shared Folder. This keeps all messages about updates, feedback, or general thoughts available within the folder that you’re collaborating on. Once you add a comment, it sends an email out to all the collaborators informing them a comment was added.
You can also employ a makeshift messaging system by creating a text file in a shared folder. The text file is ideal as opposed to another file format because it is quick and simple, and can be viewed directly in a web browser if needed.
After adding a new message in the text file and saving it, your collaborators will get a notification that the file has been updated, which essentially means that there is a new message.
There are obviously more efficient ways to sending instant messages, but the methods described above allow for messages to be sent when you cannot reach a collaborator through an IM program, such as MSN, or if you want the messages saved in some form of repository. It’s also faster than sending an email or replying to one.
As a Linux client is upcoming, it would be handy to install the client on a server in order to sync and work on website files, eliminating the need to use FTP, SSH, or SVN clients. This can also be done on a Mac OS X or Windows server (I’ve successfully tested this) by using one of the sub-folders under your Dropbox folder as the “pub_html”, “httpdocs”, “www” or similar folder.
Storage space and conclusion
Currently, new Dropbox beta users receive two gigabytes of storage space to hold all files, revisions, and deleted files. This is plenty of space for your document, music, and picture needs. It is not enough if you are sharing large videos, but to make good use of Dropbox’s speed and efficiency, use something else for such needs.
Even though you run the risk of a remote server crapping out and losing your hosted files, there’s little worry since everything is always backed up on your local machine, or machines (assuming, in a worst-case scenario, that you can disconnect your computer before it syncs with an empty dropbox account by deleting every file). And if you have shared folders, there will back-ups of the files on each of your collaborators’ machines. However, if you wanted to access files through the web interface if the servers go down, you’re SOL. But that’s a risk I’m more than willing to take.
Dropbox is currently free for everybody, but it will probably also offer premium, paid accounts with more storage and features when it is officially open to the public. I have been so impressed by it so far that I think an account is worth a few dollars per month even for its current offering.
Apple today announced that the Mac app store will officially launch on Thursday, Jan. 6 2011. The Mac App Store, like its iOS equivalent, will be used to sell and distribute applications, only for OS X instead of for Apple’s portables. The newly-announced date falls well within Steve Jobs’ stated release timeframe of 90 days, which he announced at Apple’s Back to the Mac event in October.
The official announcement goes on to briefly describe how the Mac App Store will work. new and noteworthy apps, staff favorites, category searching and customer reviews and ratings will all make the jump from the iOS version of the software marketplace. Apps can also be downloaded and installed in one click, and once you’ve bought an app, you can download and install it on any other Mac associated with your iTunes store account. Updates for software purchased through the Mac App Store are delivered directly through it, too.
Some things the Mac App Store will be missing from its iOS counterpart include in-app purchases and trial versions of software with limited content or gameplay. It’s unclear whether or not Apple plans to implement any of these things down the road.
When it does arrive, users won’t even have to go to Apple’s site to grab the download, since it’s being pushed out to all Snow Leopard users via Software Update as a free download. Apple clearly doesn’t want to risk anyone missing this boat.