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How to convert your handwriting into a font

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

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Remember that feeling after the school summer holidays, when you’d sit down at your desk, pick up your pen and… nothing. Six weeks of kicking a football around the park meant your handwriting would regress to the level of a toddler with no thumbs, and it would take days to get the muscle memory back.

Well, if you’re anything like me, that’s now a permanent condition. I write lists with a pen, I address envelopes with a pen, I sign my name with a pen — for everything else, there’s Word. So when I stumbled across a site that turns handwriting into fonts I figured it was a no-brainer: a way to further reduce the amount of time I have to spend scrawling illegibly.

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How to cancel recurring PayPal payments

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Coins and notes

On almost exactly the first working day after Christmas, I was irritated by £39.99 being spirited out of my bank account by PayPal, sent on my behalf to Microsoft – with absolutely no trackback or narrative to the transaction at all.

This type of transaction is a modern plague and whole lifetimes of reading material on ultimately frustrating and self-indulgent Adventures in Billing stories can easily be found on this subject, starring pretty much every major brand you can think of: Microsoft, PayPal, Google and more. The most commonly cited bad guy in this field is Netflix, whose free startup offer collects your payment details and then seamlessly slides into charging you, by way of PayPal’s repeat-payment system. The email notifying you of the transfer only ever comes after the money’s been sent, not before.

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How to (unofficially) upgrade in place from Windows 8.1 Preview to final code

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Win8.1

Windows 8.1 is here at last, and all Windows 8 users can upgrade for free by visiting the Windows Store. Even users who are currently running the Preview code that was released in June can get the official update – something we’re very pleased to see, as it had been expected that they’d have to wipe their systems and perform a clean installation of the final code.

However, things aren’t quite as peachy as they may seem for Preview users. According to Microsoft’s own advice, if you installed the preview from the Windows Store, you’ll lose your applications when you move to the final code, and will have to reinstall them all. That’s a pain, and staying on the preview code isn’t a long-term option as it expires in January.

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SD cards: the cheap way to boost laptop storage

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Apple SSD

An increasing number of laptops these days boast SSDs, but capacities are rising quite slowly. For some people, 128GB as your main drive might be enough, but if you want more, is it worth shelling out the huge fees charged by manufacturers to upgrade to a higher capacity SSD, or can you make do with alternative storage?

To find out, we ran our standard file transfer tests – first between a RAM disk and the SSD of a brand new laptop, then between a RAM disk and a variety of external storage devices. (more…)

What’s really killing your Wi-Fi? Here’s a graphic illustration

Friday, August 19th, 2011

We’ve written many times about how crowded the 2.4GHz frequency band is becoming these days, and how that can affect the reliability and speed of your wireless network.

There are so many devices and routers now using the unlicensed space between 2,400MHz and 2,475MHz that finding a quiet, undisturbed channel for your network to reside on is nigh on impossible. That’s why we recommend anyone upgrading their wireless router chooses a dual-band model — one that gives you the option of connecting in the less congested 5GHz frequency band.

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Intel Thunderbolt FAQ

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Thunderbolt

Intel’s Light Peak technology has made a surprise early appearance in Apple’s MacBook Pros, under the new name Thunderbolt. But those leaving the Apple store with a shiny new laptop will find it’s not as simple as plugging in and getting started. We run through the facts.

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Top ten price comparison websites

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Looking to save pennies in the aftermath of a blowout Christmas? Made a New Year’s resolution to tighten your belt? You need to get down to your local price comparison website.

It isn’t just about Kelkoo and Google Products any more either. These days there’s a huge choice of specialist sites, catering for everything from supermarket shopping to selling your mobile phone. Here’s our pick of the best.

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Displaying a location marker on a Google Map

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Google Map

One of the most popular features on websites today is a marker pinpointing a location on Google Maps. It’s incredibly easy to add such a map to a website and I’m going to show you how.

I said it was easy, and with the recent release of version 3 of the Google Maps JavaScript API, it’s become even easier. With the previous version of this API, you had to register your map to receive an API key, but that’s now no longer necessary.

Naturally Google provide a comprehensive guide to the Maps API, but I will run through the basics here.

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How to store website data with HTML5

Monday, September 27th, 2010

html5 storage

Throughout your web browsing careers I’m sure you’ve come across the notion of cookies, pieces of text stored by the browser to be retrieved and used at a later date. These vary from simply remembering your name to welcome you personally next time you visit, to more complicated storage of authentication and shopping-cart contents.

Cookies generally work well but can be fiddly to implement, as they are set to be deleted by default once the browser is closed. If a website owner needs the data to be stored for a longer period, a cookie can be given an expiry date. Again this isn’t as clean as it could be: how far into the future do you set the date, for example? And what happens when a user flushes out their cookies?

HTML5 attempts to clean this up with the introduction of web storage.

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Adding your Twitter feed to your website with jQuery

Monday, September 13th, 2010

PC Pro Twitter page

If you or your company has a Twitter account, chances are you’d like to promote it and display your latest tweets from your website. Since many websites – both personal and increasingly business – are built on blogging software such as WordPress, this is usually achieved via a plugin, of which there are many out there.

But what if you simply want to add your live Twitter feed to a “normal” web page? Twitter itself provides a number of HTML widgets, but in this article I’ll show you how easy it is to achieve with a little bit of JavaScript, CSS, and jQuery.

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