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This shortened article was taken from the January-February 2010 edition of Stuff magazine and enhanced to accommodate new technologies.

We ‘have come up with this compendium of gadget-maximizing, life-enhancing tips.

Read on to start getting what you’re missing…

HOW TO… Turbocharge a Windows PC

1. Lighten the Load

In Windows Vista, click the Start button in the bottom left corner and search for “disk cleanup”. Click on Disk Cleanup from the program list and select your main drive (probably C:). Choose items from the list that you want to delete. You can junk most of it, but keep the Hibernation data unless you know what you’re doing. You can also bin unused programs under the “More Options” tab. Sort them by size to find the biggest gigabyte guzzlers, click on a program you want to nuke forever and select “Uninstall”.

2. De-Frag your Data

With a new hard drive, data gets written in neat chunks across virgin territory. But as files are edited, deleted and moved, each single file can end up in pieces spread around the hard disk. This slows the system down as the read/write head has to move around a lot more. To fix this, search as above but for “defrag”, select “Disk Defragmenter” and then “Defragment now”.

3. Max your Machine

Tweaking automated processes can give your speed a lift too, especially when it comes to boot times. Instead of twiddling your fingers, use one to hold down the Shift key while Windows fires up to stop programs launching during start-up. To stop these permanently, delete the icons in the Startup folder. Go to the Start menu, select “All programs”, then “Startup” and right-click and delete those you don’t want.

4. Keep it Clean

The worst offender for slowing down a PC is out-of-date, unwanted and malicious software. Microsoft’s Solution Center (support.microsoft.com) will tell you which essential upgrades you’re missing and help you download them. With Windows 10 and 11 your updates should be automatic if not you can set it to your desired setting.

You should also keep some vigilant antivirus software running that can sniff out spyware and other unwanted memory hogs from your system.

5. Start over

Sometimes, the best option is to wipe your hard drive and reinstall the system from scratch. First, make a copy of your current data on an external hard drive using the Backup and Restore Center tool.

Recommended if you got data that you do not want to lose. You Need an external backup drive to backup all data to it for save keeping until windows is back up and running, alternatively you can use cloud storage if you got a decently fast internet store it in the cloud like OneDrive.

Win 10 and 11 got Recovery Options that you can reset the Windows if it is not running well or if you feel that you want to do a complete wipe and do a fresh install.

If you do have a recovery DVD that came with your PC you can boot from it to reinstall windows,

Also you can do the following, if you have an Image on a Flash Drive for Windows you can reinstall windows from the Flash Drive, just make sure your data is backed up before deleting all the partitions when installing a fresh copy of windows.

And if all else fails…

Buy a shiny new PC, but don’t throw away the old one – turn it into a media centre. Sign up for Boxee (Rfree, boxee.tv), point it at your movie, music and picture libraries and it’ll scoot off to “automagically” find artwork and song lyrics. Boxee also works with online content from the likes of YouTube, Last.fm and Flickr.

HOW TO… Back-up your Mobile Contacts

What’s more devastating than losing your Contacts or Apps installed on your phone? Losing all those numbers and having to create a whiny Facebook group to claw some digits back. Keep your Contacts safe and apps safe with Google Backup, with android phones it is easy to restore your Phone if it is wiped or if you bought a new phone Google should sync all your contacts and download the apps that was backed up from your previous phone.

For more info you can go here: Backup Your Phone

HOW TO… Become an App Millionaire

Use your ingenuity to make e-millions. Milo Bird, creator of the Byline app, explains how to make a living from an iPhone application…

Your first customer has to be yourself

Design an app that you’d want to use. If you try to design an app you think other people might want, you’ll end up with an app nobody wants.

Attention to detail

There are over 65 000 apps on the App Store. To stand out, your app must be polished, professional, and a delight to use. Small details can make a big difference to your users’ enjoyment of the app.

Think globally

Byline sells more copies in Japan than anywhere else in the world, because it’s one of the few RSS apps to offer a Japanese translation and proper handling of text encodings. Localising your app is easy if you plan for it from the beginning, even if you don’t ship translations with version 1.0.

Get graphical

Presentation is very important, so hire a graphic designer. If you’re skint, choose a young and hungry designer, but make sure they’re familiar with the iPhone and understand its interface design.

HOW TO… Make 3D glasses

Step 1

You need some card, red and blue “gels” (available from art and photography shops), a ruler, scissors, a scalpel and some glue.

Step 2

For the frames, fold the card in half and cut a rectangle as wide as your head and twice as deep as your eyes, then cut eye holes.

Step 3

Cut one square of each gel slightly larger than the eye holes and two long strips of card about 2cm wide for the arms.

Step 4

Open up the frames and place the lenses inside with red on the right eye. Put about 1cm of each arm on the sides. Seal like a sandwich.

Step 5

Fold and trim the arms, and carve shapes for your ears and nose.

HOW TO… Create a 3D YouTube video

YouTube has a clever feature which creates red/blue 3D movies. You’ll need a pair of (preferably identical) camcorders, some video editing software and some glasses to watch the results. Here’s what to do:

  1. Set up a scene to be recorded on two cameras simultaneously, arranging them like a pair of perfectly level eyes. Any difference in angle will reduce the effect.
  2. Sync the resulting footage in your video editing program, placing the two shots side by side in the same frame. The “left-eye” camera shot should go on the right-hand side and vice-versa.
  3. When you upload the video, add the tag yt3d:enab/e=true. If it’s in widescreen, you also need to add yt3d:aspect=16:9.
  4. YouTube will then analyse the video and make a composite of both sides. When viewed through your 3D specs it should jump out at you.

HOW TO… Get SNES games on your phone

Long-suffering Windows Mobile users rejoice: here’s a must-have app for your phone. MorphGear (Rfree, spicypixel.com) is an emulator that accepts various “MorphModules”, allowing your phone to ape retro games machines. Our favourite plug-in is the PocketPC version of SNES9x which allows it to play you guessed it – SNES titles, though Sega fanboys should check out Generator for Mega Drive kicks. Finding the ROM files (which contain the original games) is of tenuous legality, but they’re all over the internet. There’s a great Windows desktop version too.

HOW TO… Have fun on your work PC

Set up a Virtual Personal Network

A virtual personal network (VPN) is the online equivalent of having the Mission Impossible support team as your helpdesk. Routing your browsing through a remote computer gives unfettered access to the internet, even the parts locked out by killjoy IT bods. Install Hotspot Shield (Rfree, www.hotspotshield.com) to access the forbidden vaults by stealth. Too slow? AlwaysVPN (ssl.alwaysvpn.com, from R65 for 5GB) should fix that. You can even access US-only sites such as Hulu.

Tether your phone to your PC

Use your internet-connected mobile to access the sites you like. With Windows Mobile or Symbian, tether via USB or Bluetooth. Symbian should bring up connection options when it finds the PC, but in WinMo you might need to tweak the internet sharing options (in the Programs menu on your phone). For Android, you’ll need the “android-wifi-tether” app (R65, bit.ly/wifitether) while version 3.0 iPhoners need to set Safari’s controls for the non-official iPhone Help Center (help.benm.at) and follow the steps. Careful, though: you might violate your network’s terms or incur massive data charges. Some networks offer special packages for a fee.

HOW TO… Remember names


When you’re introduced to someone, say their name back to them (“Hello, Nebuchadnezzar”), as it helps imprint it in your mind. Use it as much as you can at first.

Face association

Think of an image that relates to their name, and picture them together. For instance a car jack under Jack’s jaw should help. By turning names into images, you’re using the creative part of your brain as well as the logical one, helping your chances of recall.

Ask them how to spell it

Perhaps not if they’re called Tom, but you could get away with: “Is it Mark with a ‘c’ or a ‘k’?”

HOW TO… Get into space (Google HOW TO…Get into space)

Go as a tourist

The cost of a private astronaut mission to the International Space Station will cost around 4,5 Million to 55 Million depending on which service you want to use.
Alternatively, sign up for a lunar mission for USS1m with Space Adventures.

Go as an astronaut

At the moment NASA only accepts applications from people with US citizenship, but if you get first-class honors in Science at Cambridge and marry an American you’ll be eligible for their programme.

Enjoy zero G in Moscow

Train like the cosmonauts at the Zero G centre (gozerog.com) and experience weightlessness in their dedicated aircraft which dives at 45 degrees from 34,000 feet and you get to keep your training suit.

HOW TO… Hack your Canon

If you have a Canon Ixus or PowerShot camera, you owe it to yourself to try CHDK (chdk.wikia. com/wiki/CHDK). This firmware hack allows your compact to do loads of impressive things, from playing Connect 4 to recording photos in RAW. You can even make your camera motion sensitive, or control it remotely via USB. This is how…

  1. Check there’s a version of CHDK for your camera. There’s a big list on the right-hand side of the CHDK homepage.
  2. Visit the FAQ section of the CHDK site to determine your camera’s firmware. This is quite an involved process and you’ll need an SD card. Windows users also need to download a program called CardTricks. Be prepared for this to take some time.
  3. Download the correct build of CHDK for your camera.
  4. Load the build onto your SD card, insert into your camera, turn it on and you’re away!

HOW TO… Handbrake Turn

…as explained by Formula 2 racing sensation and face of Forza Motorsport 3, Natacha Gachnang

  1. Don’t start too fast or too slow. You need momentum to go round a full 180 degrees, so aim for at least 45km/h in second gear. If you go over 60 though, you might end the maneuver rolling backwards.
  2. When you want to turn, release the accelerator, slam down the clutch, and spin the wheel quickly but smoothly in the direction you want to turn.
  3. Keep steering till you reach full lock, but before you reach it, pull on the handbrake. Your rear wheels will start to flick out behind you. As they do so, straighten the wheel until you’re facing in the opposite direction.
  4. Release the handbrake again. Stick the car into first gear, let the clutch out and burn away to freedom.

HOW TO… Be a Socialite like a Pro with X (Knows as Twitter)

Become a member of the Twitterati with these tips.

Don’t lock your profile

You need followers, so open your profile page to all. Pimp it up using twitrounds.com and make it as witty as possible.

Follow influential’s

You’ll increase your potential audience to millions. Check who the influencers follow and see If they’re worth following too.

Maximize your usage

Use the mobile app for the social platform or an app such as Twhirl to make Tweeting or socializing as effortless as possible. socialize on the move with an app for your phone too.

Tweet the good stuff

Make your content as interesting or fun as possible, and repost the good stuff you read (copy and paste it with “RT@username” in front). Others will return the favour and your name will get out.

Pimp your content

Upload urls, images, music and video to sex up your Social Profile. Try Twitpic for easy image uploading from PC or phones. Twiddeo will let you do the same with video, while Tweetcube will let you send files, including MP3s.

Use a recommendation service

Mr Tweet will analyse your profile and recommend Twitterers you should consider following (and recommend you to other users).

Don’t go crazy

Try to follow the same number as you have followers yourself.

HOW TO… Speed read

Don’t sub-vocalize text

Mouthing the words or thinking them slows your reading, so absorb rather then enunciate the words.

Scan every other line

Train your brain to look for keywords and you’ll halve your reading time. This takes practise though.

Keep your eyes still

Valuable seconds are wasted moving them from side to side. Try to scan up and down the page rather than left to right.

Build a bigger block

When you learnt to read you read every word individually, but learn to read whole blocks in one go and you’ll get faster.

Check your reading speed at www.readingsoft.com

HOW TO… Get your website noticed

You might be more insightful than Hawking and funnier than Fry, but if the web doesn’t like your site design your musings will go unread. Here’s how to rise to the top of the search engines.

1. Use keywords

The first paragraph is crawled by Google, so make sure it contains keywords relating to your content.

2. Submit your site to Google

Go to google.co.za/addurl and tell it about your site. Do this with Yahoo and MSN directories as well.

3. Meta tags

Have a unique title, description and excerpt for every page of your site, and make sure this identifies the content of that page.

4. Label image files correctly

Many people stumble upon sites via image searches, so correct labelling can bring in more traffic.

HOW TO… Photoshop your photo’s

Make your photos look as good as they should with these tips.

Wonky pic?

The first thing to do is to straighten the horizon. Use a line guide to find the horizon. Go to the Image menu, select Rotation and play around until it looks straight. Our picture was rotated 6 degrees clockwise.

Crop to the good stuff

As the picture is now in its frame at an angle, you’ve got ugly black triangles to deal with. Using the Crop tool, draw a rectangle around the area you wish to keep. When done, release the mouse button and press Enter on the keyboard.

Wipe out the ugly details

Something in the picture not pleasing you? Clone a part of the background and paint over what you want to remove. In this case, we used the Clone Stamp tool to copy sky over the other parachutists. First, select what you want to clone by pressing ALT+click. Then simply draw over the details you want rid of. Make sure to specify the right brush size and tweak the hardness setting to suit: harder for fine details, softer for large areas of natural tones.

  1. Crop tool
  2. Spot Healing Brush
  3. Clone Stamp tool
  4. Blur tool
  5. Zoom tool

Setting brush size This toolbox to the top-left allows fine tuning of brush width and hardness

Heal your handiwork

Use the Spot Healing Brush to blend the new pattern to fit with the rest of the background. It looks as if you’re erasing the background, but when you finish it magically blends the edges.

Draw details in

We cloned sky over the parachute lines of our remaining parachutist but used the line tool to get those parachute lines back in. If you want to paint in details, use the Layer selection tab and choose “new” to add an invisible layer over the top.

Blur to create oasis

Use the Blur tool to soften the edges of any new details you add. This replicates the look of the original photo. Then change the opacity of the new layer to make new additions look natural. This tool is a slider in the Layers palette to the right of the screen.

How to get into Parkour

EZ, director of Urban Freeflow www.urbanfreeflow.com

“Start slow and stay low, to begin with. Leave building jumping to the pros. Your aim is to move effortlessly and instinctively and let moves flow together seamlessly, but patience and practice are key. Remember: the world is your playground.”

How to Fall
  1. Think of this as landing rather than falling. If you’re jumping from a low height, make sure you bend your knees to absorb impact and bounce up straight away.
  2. When you’re dropping from a high surface, try to land in a roll.  Keep your knees bent as you jump, and try to land on the balls of your feet – never the heels as this can cause knee injuries.
  3. Keep your arms in front of you, and form a diamond shape with your hands. Decide which side you’re most comfortable rolling on, and place that forearm on the ground. Lean forward as you land and fall towards this shoulder, placing your free hand towards the side of your head.
  4. Roll over your shoulder, making sure not to make contact with the neck or head – the shoulder should be the only body part in constant contact with the ground. Let the momentum carry you upwards, into a kneeling position with one foot on the ground. This is all about reducing the impact and keeping your body moving to channel energy through the fall.

HOW TO… Keep web videos forever

Seen a clip on YouTube you simply must have for keepsies?

There is many sites that you can download a YouTube video for free by entering the copied URL, sites like publer.io provides a tool to download YouTube videos.

You can also try a FLV Converter for Converting video files and loads of other Files.
FLV is a Flash compatible video container that is used in several online video and audio streaming sites
CloudConvert is one site that can be used.


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