Archive for Antony Leather

The government is as clueless as the music industry about the Internet

Posted on 10th Apr 2010 at 10:48 by Antony Leather with 43 comments

Antony Leather
So the Digital Economy bill has largely been passed here in the UK (except for a few loose ends). It's been a topic of conversation in countless online forums and indeed here in the office.

However, while there's something positive to be said for wanting to reduce piracy, and for the government at least taking an interest in the Internet, I'm not the only one to think the process by which this bill has been created, debated and passed into law is extremely worrying.

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Second Hand Hardware

Posted on 5th Mar 2010 at 10:25 by Antony Leather with 32 comments

Antony Leather
With relatively high failure rates (I'm sure we've all had plenty of stuff die out of warranty, I know I have) and the rate at which PC technology advances, there's not as much second hand gear out there as there might be compared to other things, like cars or cameras.

However, while I love receiving shiny new kit, I've always been a fan of buying and selling second hand PC hardware so if you've never thought of going to computer fairs or online auction sites for your next upgrades here's a few reasons why it's worth it and also what to watch out for.

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My Favourite Firefox Addons

Posted on 9th Feb 2010 at 11:01 by Antony Leather with 45 comments

I’m only a fairly recent convert to Firefox for the simple reason I didn’t need too many bells and whistles in a browser before now. It’s no surprise then that I used Google’s Chrome for a while after leaving my IE days firmly behind me, but having had to use Firefox because my online banking didn’t support Chrome at the time, I got hooked and have never looked back.

In particular I loved how customisable it was. Not just the interface but also the addons which both added functionality to the interface and other features besides. Here’s my top five Firefox addons - and don’t forget to let me know yours in the coments.

1. Speed Dial
One of the best things about Chrome is the home page with the speed dial links to your favourite websites. If you have the need for speed these are so much quicker and easier than bookmarks and shortcuts. Thankfully you can mod Firefox to look the same on your home page and even new tabs too using an addon called Speed Dial.

My Favourite Firefox Addons My favourite Firefox addons

It’s very configurable too and you can alter both the number of dial windows, add them to groups and even back them up and change how often their preview images are updated of the web page in question.

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Why Software Companies Should Slash Their Prices

Posted on 4th Feb 2010 at 11:09 by Antony Leather with 26 comments

Antony Leather
Value. It’s a funny word, and never more so when applied to the IT industry. In fact it’s so tricky to place in this fast-moving online world that it’s usually only spoken of as “perceived” value and that’s about as accurate as we can get. Saying a piece of software - be it a game or operating system - is good value is even more of a convoluted statement.

How do you compare one piece of software to another? Features? Price? The space it takes up on your hard drive? How would you predict how well a product might sell and factor that into the pricing?

For most of us it comes down to cold hard cash and whether we can find something that’s as good or better, for less, or even for free. However, only a handful of companies have grasped the fact that if you lower the price of software enough, sales will skyrocket so high, they’ll make many times more profit than if they priced it twice as much, however popular the software may be.

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Is this the decade PC gaming bounces back?

Posted on 26th Jan 2010 at 10:25 by Antony Leather with 41 comments

Antony Leather
I noticed a rather interesting trend in the uptake of the latest generation of consoles over the last few weeks. I don’t usually take much notice of them to be honest. I haven’t bought a new console since PC upgrades started being affordable to me, and it’s been that way since the N64 started showing its age.

However, the majority of ‘what was great in 2009' and general 'over the shoulder glance' articles about the previous decade's tech meant I couldn’t really avoid reading about the PS3 or Xbox 360. What I read lead me to an interesting idea.

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What makes a great mod?

Posted on 11th Jan 2010 at 11:20 by Antony Leather with 11 comments

Antony Leather
We're hoping to see 2010 be a year of many a budding modder take to our forums with scores of new and fresh ideas. With Mod of the Year in its final week and having recently started my own project, I’ve had modding on the mind for the last few weeks or so.

Something that’s got me thinking though is how some mods and scratch-builds get masses of attention, while others, equally deserving and no less amazing seem to fade into the background.

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Crysis - Did you upgrade?

Posted on 15th Dec 2009 at 11:05 by Antony Leather with 55 comments

Antony Leather
It came, it saw, it conquered - our PCs that is. It's rare that we've seen a game that was so demanding on its release. The question 'Yeah, but can it play Crysis?' is now a comical catchphrase addition to most graphics card reviews. It was responsible for tens of thousands of bank managers groaning under the huge wake of costly upgrades. Now the dust has all but settled, did Crytek's awesome DX10 FPS help or hinder the PC gaming industry?

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Live TV On Your iPhone

Posted on 8th Dec 2009 at 10:22 by Antony Leather with 23 comments

Antony Leather
On my way to work this morning I experienced something amazing. I watched live TV on my iPhone using a 3G signal, for free. That's right. No WiFi and no video file saved in my phone's precious storage. Just a plain, every day, boring old data connection. What's more - it worked nigh-on flawlessly as long as the 3G connection was upheld.

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Budget overclocking is back!

Posted on 30th Nov 2009 at 10:50 by Antony Leather with 25 comments

Antony Leather
I’ve felt a little lost over the last six months or so. AMD still hasn’t come back with a definitive answer to Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs and even they have been prohibitively expensive for many looking to upgrade from a Core 2 system.

Gone, it seems, are the days of the Core 2 Duo E1200 which could be bagged for less than £40. After a 100% overclock, it could turn into something that gave £150 CPUs a run for their money. I've used the CPU in several systems that I've built for people over the last few years, coupled one of the many budget uberclocking LGA775 boards that were pushed off the production lines.

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Cool Modding Stuff #2

Posted on 13th Nov 2009 at 12:26 by Antony Leather with 4 comments

Antony Leather
Having recently received a few emails from companies shouting about new shiny stuff (one being Mod of the Month Sponsor Quiet PC), I thought it's about time for the second installment of
Cool Modding Bits.

If you missed my last blog where I listed a few interesting gadgets I'd found on my travels, you can see it here.

As I'm still sporting some heavily overclocked DDR2 in my main rig at home, I've been worried about how hot it gets so I've been looking around for a few products that might set my mind at ease.

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Custom PC Issue 125

Custom PC Issue 125

Our latest issue is bursting with premium PC goodness, as we enter the land of dream PCs, full of expert customisation and modding, as well as gorgeous water-cooling loops.

Get 3 Issues for just £1

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