Without a solid media center software your HTPC wouldn’t be much more than a regular PC hooked up to your TV. If you are desperate you could resort to using Windows Media Center, but you HTPC could be so much more and it won’t cost you anything apart from a bit of time and perhaps an ounce of dedication. There are several great open source alternatives to Windows Media Center available and the one I finally decided on was XBMC Media Center.
Having an HTPC hooked up to your TV just isn’t the same unless you’ve got an efficient and simple way of controlling it from the couch. The whole idea of an HTPC is to have access to all your media at your fingertips and getting off the couch sort of defeats that purpose. There are many different gadgets and peripherals you can buy to enhance your living room experience and give you greater control of your HTPC. At the very minimum you’ll want a remote control and/or a wireless keyboard.
Choosing the right hardware for your needs. When choosing the components for your HTPC you should first consider what you will be using your HTPC for.
- Do you plan to play full HD 1080p content?
- Do you plan to play games?
- Do you plan to record TV programmes?
You don’t need the hardware of a revved up gaming computer just to watch HD content but if you plan on playing some newer games then you’ll probably want to invest a bit more in components. For slower systens there is now an ideal (and cheap) hardware solution to provide smoother 1080p playback even on slower machines, it’s called Broadcom Crystal HD. Check out the Broadcom website for more details.
Continue reading Building an HTPC – Part 2: Components and hardware
Most designers have a set favourite tools they turn to for day to day design tasks. In addition to the more traditional design tools like Photoshop and Dreamweaver some little applications add-on or integrate straight into your browser without the need to use a separate application, allowing you to skip a few steps and streamline your workflow. Most of these tools make daily tasks easier whilst others are simply so great that you can’t comprehend how you survived without them. Here are the top 5 browser tools in my design toolbox.
Continue reading 5 must have free browser tools for web designers & developers
Over the past decade computers have slowly but surely crept their way into the living rooms of more than just uber geeks. I’ve wanted to build a dedicated HTPC for ages but I’ve never felt the timing was quite right, until now. Full HD TV’s are dirt cheap, the computer hardware required to run and store 1080p is cheaper and more readily available than ever. Recent graphic cards that have HDMI output supporting 7.1 surround sound means that you can easily assemble an HTPC with a single cable connecting to the TV. Hard drives cheap and big enough to support even the most ambitious media collections. My childhood dream of having access to a massive media archive at my fingertips is almost a reality; no more having to search for that elusive DVD missing from it’s cover to watch something
Building your own HTPC is not that different from putting together a regular computer, but there are some things you should keep in mind.
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a set of techniques and methods aimed at improving and optimising the ranking of a website for particular search terms in natural search engine results.
Having a well designed functional website is great, however it will do you little good if nobody can find it.
Regardless of what you are trying to achieve with your website you will always need traffic; and the largest source of website traffic will almost always come from search engines. In order to increase the amount of traffic your website receives from search engines your site needs to rank well for relevant search terms across multiple search engines.
Having used WordPress on and off for a number of years and only recently jumped on the iPhone bandwagon it was more or less a given that I had to try the WordPress iPhone app. The app is very easy to setup and supports multiple WP blogs.
Convenience for being able to blog wherever you are does however come at the cost of several core features. Realistically though I doubt you’ll be churning out novel length posts this way but it does have some uses for basic admin tasks and micro-blogging.
Using correct HTML tags within your markup not only helps with SEO but also promotes web standards and for some gives us a warm fuzzy feeling in our stomach knowing things are the way they were meant to be.
But what exactly does semantically correct HTML mean? HTML is a markup language, and as with other languages, HTML tags and attributes can have a meaning (semantics) attached to them. Typically HTML elements can roughly be categorised into the following:
WordPress is a fantastic tool for anything from casual blogging to fully fledged CMS. If you are a designer and or developer using WordPress chances are you will be installing WordPress quite a few times but even if you’ve never installed WordPress before you’ll find this guide useful.
If you’ve installed WordPress more than a couple of times you would have noticed that there are few things that you always tend do with each WP install. Here are some of the first few steps you should consider doing after installing WordPress.
Web design guidelines have evolved significantly over the last decade. Some basic guidelines however, are still as important today as they were a decade ago.