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What a Laptop!

Steampunk is a form of art where modern day objects are transformed to look like 19th century steam powered devices. An example is this laptop complete with its power-on key. Rich Nagy the creator of this beast sums up his passion for tinkering with technology "[Computer technology] was robbed of the fleeting, wonderful period right after invention, where it is celebrated and honoured by the finest craftsman, artists and creative minds and given a structure befitting its potential and greatness."

The Return of Single Core Processors: A Power vs Portability Compromise

In the last few months I've had a hard time finding a reasonably priced dual core processor laptop in the consumer PC market. Most of the models I loved have been discontinued and moved off the shelves. You would think that they have been replaced by more powerful models, but no. Computer manufacturers are taking a step back in time and actually building slightly less powerful laptops but instead offering more portability and style. I take a trip down memory lane and look at the philosophy behind the next generation of laptops.

Wireless Devices Maybe Cool But Are They Secure?

It seems that wireless devices are taking over our lives. Starting with wireless internet most other computing devices are now also wireless. We have wireless keyboards, wireless mice, wireless telephones, wireless headphones and wireless CCTV. Companies that sell these devices are fairly quick to point out how convenient it is to use the wireless device and how long the wireless range is, but very few of them actually publish information about if the wireless communication on the device is secure.

The Pitfalls of Using Default Function Parameters in C++

C++ (not C) has a convenience feature that allows programmers to specify default parameters on functions when declaring them. The compiler uses the default value if no value is supplied by the caller for that parameter, instead of complaining about a missing parameter value. I am not going to discuss the mechanics of declaring these default parameters; any C++ book will explain this. I’m going to delve into what problems happen over time when using default parameters during software maintenance phase as code ages and changes hands between programmers.

Securing Your Home with Burglar Alarms and CCTV

Security is a increasing source of concern for home owners today. Bad economic times have led to an increased risk of home breakins and theft. Most security installations are done by professional organizations which will charge you a hefty sum and provide you will iron clad security. However what many home owners need is a simple deterrent system, that will stop the street thief from getting in and wiping the house clean. There are an increasing number of security products in the market which you can install yourself, but it is important to understand the advantages of using each because incorrect use could create a false sense of security while actually leaving your home more exposed than protected.

Megapixels: How Many Do You Really Need?

In the small world of digital pocket cameras, increasingly the trend is to buy one with higher number of megapixels. Camera manufacturers seem to be trying to convince us that more megapixels mean better pictures. However, in reality they are not building better cameras that support higher mexapixels, they are often simply extracting more megapixels from their existing cameras.

Using the C++ #define Directive

The #define directive in C++ is usually glossed over in most books that attempt to teach the C++ language. It obviously takes much lower precedence than more important language constructs like if and switch. However this directive deserves far more credit than it gets. Here are some of the feats this directive can perform.

Programmers and Pointers

It seems that when it comes to programming computers there is no escaping the mention of the word pointers. Recent programming language trend is to automatically handle pointers, hiding gory details from the programmer. While this might be a good language feature, will it eventually result in a new generation of programmers who do not understand pointers?