Stories by Tom Mainelli

Visualize your data in whole new ways

I spend an inordinate amount of time working in huge Excel spreadsheets that represent data about the worldwide PC monitor market. Excel's pivot tables and charts are useful, but sometimes I still struggle to find the trends buried in all those numbe...

FreeNAS

Based on the FreeBSD operating system (a Unix derivative), FreeNAS is a server operating system that offers lots of features, a very small footprint, and a can't-beat-it price (it's free).

Better music, from your PC, for free

High-quality PC audio is important to me, as I spend a lot of time listening to music on my desktop. In previous articles I've discussed the aural advantages of lossless audio codecs (like FLAC), discrete sound cards, and specialty music player softw...

Audioengine A2

If you're serious about music but you currently listen to tunes through a pair of tinny, cheapo PC speakers, check out Audioengine's A2 speakers

Virtualize this: The pleasures of a virtual PC

I like trying out lots of new software. But when I uninstall a stinker, I know it is probably leaving behind chunks of code that will bog down my system over time. So lately I've been trying out new programs on a virtual machine.

Rock the iPod with open-source upgrade

Life is too short to listen to crappy digital music. So I recently decided to begin ripping all of my newly purchased CDs into FLAC, the Free Lossless Audio Codec. Music files in FLAC format sound better than those using lossy compression formats suc...

XFX GeForce 7800 GT

When nVidia launched the GeForce 7800 GTX, several months ago, its stellar performance blew us away--but so did its scary price. The latest nVidia chip is the 7800 GT, which features great performance for power users on a slightly tighter budget.

Canon Digital IXUS 700

The Canon Digital IXUS 700 is so small that it fits easily in just about any pocket, leaving you no excuse for not having a camera handy when those once-in-a-lifetime baby/puppy/soccer shots happen. The resulting photos weren't our favorites, but the...

BTX gives motherboards a makeover

Intel's new BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) specification gives motherboards a makeover. The company says that the new motherboard and chassis spec uses fewer fans, resulting in PCs that run more quietly, and possibly at a lower temperature, than ...

Easy monitor calibration

If you've ever spent hours tweaking your vacation photos on the PC, only to have the kids sport Shrek-tone tans when you print, your monitor settings are probably out of whack.

Coming soon: 64-bit desktop computers

The dawn of 64-bit Windows desktop computing is upon us. So say the likes of Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, and Microsoft. And this time, they really, really mean it.

400GB serial ATA drive

Hitachi's Deskstar 7K400 is the new king of big: the 7200rpm Serial ATA hard drive comes with an 8MB buffer and a staggering 400GB of storage. The drive also features improved digital-media handling capabilities and in our tests performed exceptional...

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PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

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