Getting a new computer can be a hassle if you’ve got lots of programs left behind on your old one. You would think that using a drive image program to copy everything from the old drive to DVD or other storage medium would work just fine. Surprise! It works fine, all right, but only to restore your old computer back to a point when everything was working well. It won’t copy the programs of the old computer onto the new one. What about using one of those transfer programs? You know, the ones that advertise they can move everything from your old computer over to the new one. Well, they can move a lot of stuff over, but in our [...]
“LEGO Heavy Weapons,” by Jack Streat; $25 from nostarch.com
The instructions show you how to make Lego block replicas of the world’s most iconic firearms, including a massive Desert Eagle handgun, with working blowback action, a compact but deadly AKS-74U assault rifle with folding stock, a “Jungle Carbine” rifle, and a pump action shotgun. Each set of instructions lists the LEGO blocks you need.
When Marcin Jakubowski’s tractor broke down, the physics-trained PhD in fusion energy didn’t go out and buy a new one, he built one. Then he decided to put together simple plans for 50 machines any group might need.
“123D Catch” is a free app from Autodesk that lets you use the iPad 2 or iPad 3 to create 3D renderings of objects snapped with the tablet’s camera. You have to send the 3D code generated by the app to a 3D printer or laser cutter. There are a number of services that provide that and costs vary, but we thought they were reasonable. Replicate your dog, your sofa, your mother-in-law. There’s also a desktop version at 123dapp.com/catch .
“Programming Your Home,” by Mike Riley, $33 from Pragmatic Bookshelf at pragprog.com.
If you’re a techie, this book could launch a new business in home automation. The author starts by telling us of his parents’ simple joy with their Mr. Coffee machine back in the 1970s. They could lie in bed knowing a cup of coffee was waiting for them, brewed at just the time they set. It combined an alarm clock with a coffeemaker. Things have moved along since then.
If you’ve updated your iPhone to the latest “iOS 5” operating system, you may have noticed that the battery drains faster. Here are some tips:
Set the time zone manually. Otherwise, it will constantly readjust itself, making repeat calls to the GPS radio signal. Tap “Settings,” “Location Services” and then “System Services.”
Bloggers have gone nuts for the website “Pinterest,” which has been adding millions of new users each month. We finally woke up and tried it ourselves. Now we’re addicted. Pinterest is an online “pinboard” for pinning interesting things from the Web. Put a “p” in front of “interest” and you’re there.