Tips And Tricks To Set You Apart From The Tech Crowd (Part 4)

3/31/2013 9:20:42 AM

Anyone can stroll into an Apple Store and drop a month's wages on a Mac Pro - but only the Geek Elite can build something better.


Corsair 600T

Corsair 600T

Building a PC without a case is like baking a pie without pastry - messy and pointless. Our PC pastry of choice is the Corsair 600T (www.corsair.com). It comes with plenty of expansion room and three fans to keep things cool. A dial on top will boost the fans if you’re really crunching pixels.

Motherboard & CPU

Intel Extreme Board DZ77GA-70K

Intel Extreme Board DZ77GA-70K

The brains of our binary-busting monster are a 3.5GHz, quad-core Intel i7 3770K processor and DZ77GA-70K motherboard (www.ebay.com). That processor sits near the top of the Ivy Bridge hierarchy, so throw in a CPU cooler too. Cooler Master’s V6 (www.ebay.com) should do it.


Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690

When it comes to graphics, don’t accept half measures. Nvidia’s frankly ridiculous GeForce GTX 690 (www.nvidia.com) is the fastest card ever made. With dual GPUs and 4GB of onboard RAM it’s a bit like jamming two nuclear- powered PS3s into a silicon sandwich. Hence, it has the largest GPU fan ever too!


128GB Kingston SSD

128GB Kingston SSD

Pairing two separate types of storage gets you the best of both worlds. Windows 7, games and anything that needs to run quickly are loaded on to a 128GB Kingston SSD. A more capacious, slower 1TB Seagate Barracuda HDD handles movies, music and photos.


G.Skill Trident X 16GB

G.Skill Trident X 16GB

Want your PC to multitask like a workaholic octopus with a lengthy to-do list? You’ll want to pack it with a shedload of RAM. We’ve gone for G.Skill Trident X 16GB of RAM ($345, www.ebay.com), which should keep things running smoother than a butter-slathered worm. You can almost never have too much RAM.


Corsair’s TX750M

Corsair’s TX750M

Of course, without a power supply you might as well fill the case with hair. Corsair’s TX750M power supply (www.ebay.com) delivers 750W of juice and has a modular system that allows you to remove any cables you don’t need. After all, with that big window on the side of the case, you’ll want it all looking neat and tidy.

Built it? Now add these

1.    BenQ M2700HD

BenQ M2700HD

BenQ M2700HD

This 27in, 16:9, 1,920x1,080 LCD monitor has a mighty 170° viewing angle, while a 50,000:1 contrast ratio makes it great for video and photo editing. A 5ms response time is one of the best for gamers too.

2.    DayZ

This zombie survival MMO might not test the graphics to their limits, but DayZ is the hottest game around. It’s a mod for ArmA II: Combined Operations, available for $29.99.

3.    LG BH-12LS38

LG BH-12LS38

LG BH-12LS38

With most software and games available to download, an optical drive is no longer essential - but they do make it easier to install your OS. They’re also as cheap as chips, as this 12x Blu-ray drive proves.


Any geek can live a happy virtual life - but to join the Elite, you need to master Twitter, learn to code and treat the net like your own personal fiefdom.

How to bridge the gap between Apple and Android

So you own an iPad but make your calls from a Galaxy S III?

Here are six ways to wave the white flag on the Second Great Apple -Android War, and get both platforms working together...

1.    Use a Google account

With iCloud running a door policy stricter than a Berlin nightclub (only Apple kit is allowed in) the obvious way to sync contacts, calendars and email accounts between gadgets from opposite sides of the fence is to use your Google account on each. Sync your Google contacts by checking the option in iTunes, or setting up an Exchange account from your iThing. There's a guide to that here: bit.ly/GooglelOS

2.    Ditch Airplay, get AirSync

An extension for the free Android/Mac media player double Twist, AirSync (doubletwist.com) allows you to wirelessly sync songs and iTunes playlists to your Android phone or tablet. Better still, you can stream music, movies and pics straight to your Apple TV. It probably makes Apple furious, but we rather like it.

3.    Use Google Docs right

The Google Drive app for Android is powerful enough to edit docs, but the iOS version has had its wings clipped. Get around the issue with iDocs Pro ($4.99, i-c-soft.com) instead, which comes with full support for creating and tinkering with the docs saved on your Google Drive.

4.    Swap FaceTime for Skype

FaceTime is another Apple invention that won't play nicely with others. Switch to Skype, though, and you can make video calls from iOS to Android (and vice versa). It also allows you to send text, pictures and videos over the internet, effectively replacing iMessage as well. Two birds - meet one stone.

5.    Auto-upload your photos

Install Dropbox's mobile app (free, dropbox.com) on any Android or iThing with a camera and it can auto-upload any pics you take to the cloud, over 3G or Wi-Fi. That way you'll always have a Photostream-style, cross­-platform backup of your photos.

6.    Go for cross-platform multiplayer

Unless you're half-octopus you'll probably need a friend for this one. Some mobile games, such as MMO Star Legends (free, starlegends.com) and the turn-based strategy Greed Corp (from $0.99, vanguardgames.net) offer cross-platform multiplayer, allowing Android and iOS users - and sometimes PC/Mac users too - to play against each other.

How to disappear completely

When you live your life online it's all too easy to leave binary paw prints everywhere you go.

Here are four ways to cover your tracks and take the power back (or at least keep a bit more of a low profile than before...)

1.    Step 1

You only have to look at weknowwhatyouredoing.com to see how many people don't understand Facebook's (admittedly convoluted) privacy settings. At the very least your sharing settings should be as strict as possible, public search should be disabled and secure browsing (which uses the less-hackable HTTPS protocol) should be on.

2.    Step 2

 No, the Onion Browser ($0.99, onionbrowser.com) isn't an AR app for picking out the finest shallots at your local Nature's Basket. It's an iOS web browser that should keep you safer than a beer party in a bank vault. It encrypts your online activity and hides your IP address, so you'll be able to browse the internet completely anonymously.

3.    Step 3

If you don't believe you're being tracked online, download the Collusion add-on for Chrome, Safari or Firefox and watch as your browsing activity spreads across the web.

Limit which sites can track you with Disconnect (free, disconnect.me), a browser extension which stops Facebook, Google and Twitter from spying while you surf.

4.    Step 4

Looking to drop off the grid once and for all? Deleting your Google account is a pretty big step - but if you want to retain a record of your time online (just in case), Google's Data Liberation Front has created Takeout (free, google.com/takeout), a one-click tool for downloading all the docs, pics, contacts and data on your Google accounts.

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