10 essential gadgets for surviving in the wilderness

So you've gone and got yourself lost in the wilderness (or possibly even chosen to rough it in the outback). While relatives may chastise you for leaving your mobile phone at home, it probably won't work anyway, so here are…

Easy image manipulation software: five of the best

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1. Adobe Photoshop Elements [PC / Mac]

Photoshop? Easy?

There’s no denying that the various flavours of Photoshop contain some very advanced features, but in fact it’s possible to do basic image and photo editing and manipulation plus a range of “fancy” things without a whole lot of training.

Photoshop Elements is a cut-down version of the full-blown package which means it doesn’t have as many features but it’s also cheaper. In fact, it often comes bundled with digital cameras.

Get to grips with the basics of Photoshop Elements and you may well find yourself wanting to delve deeper into its powerful tools.

Ease of use: 3/5
Features: 5/5
Price: Latest version around £60, may be bundled. PC / Mac

TweetDeck versus Seesmic: battle of the Twitter apps

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TweetDeck and Seesmic are desktop clients designed to make communicating on Twitter and managing your accounts easier.

Here they go, head to head: TweetDeck version 0.26 versus Seesmic version 0.4.

Look & Feel

Both TweetDeck and Seesmic are built using the Adobe AIR platform, and have a similar look and feel.

Seemsic appears to have more subtleties designed to make it easier to decipher tweets from multiple accounts at once, yet neither application is hugely customisable when it comes to the overall look.

If you only run a single Twitter account then seeing how applications handle multiple accounts won’t matter to you, but if you’re a “power user” handling two or more active accounts, you’ll find Seesmic offers more options for handling them.

Both applications let you view columns for each account’s tweets, replies, direct messages and so on, but Seesmic also allows you to view a single stream of messages from all your accounts at once, ordered by the time tweets arrive.

Whether this works for you depends on how you like to view accounts, but at least you have the option. TweetDeck (currently) doesn’t offer this.

Six steps to recording the perfect podcast

Ever wanted to hear your dulcet tones on the Internet but didn’t know where to start? Read our handy guide to recording, editing and hosting your podcast and you’ll be there in no time.

We can’t guarantee you’ll be popular, but at least you won’t stay silent.

1. Get the right hardware

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It’s fairly obvious that if you want to record yourself speaking you’ll need some way of getting audio on to your computer.

There are plenty of ways of doing this, but you’ll want to get the best quality piece of kit you can afford if you want to sound good and minimise the amount of tidying up you’ll have to do later.

Podcast Pick:

My absolute favourite mic for podcasting (and indeed many other uses) is the Blue Microphones Snowball USB mic. At around £85 it’s not the cheapest option but it’s used by professional broadcasters and podcasters alike. Simply plug it in to a spare USB port and you’ve got a quality audio recording device for vocals, instruments and ambient sounds…

Top 10 iPhone music apps

After yesterday's mammoth list of the 101 best iPhone apps we decided there was a little bit more room… for a list of the iPhone's top 10 music applications. These are apps that help you to listen to or discover…

Gallery: Top 10 Lightweight notebook PCs

Laptops, notebooks, netbooks… whichever flavour of portable PC they are, here are ten of the lightest yet fully-featured machines currently available. Is your favourite here? Click on the picture below to start the tour, and if you don't find yours…

5 reasons to switch to Linux

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Struggling along on your Windows-based PC and considering moving over to Linux?

Here are five reasons why you should make the switch.

1. Lots of free software available

If your PC doesn’t already have a Linux distro (the geek cool name for a particular distributed version of the operating system) installed on it, and you’re a tech-head then you can generally get the Linux operating system itself for free

If you want support and instructions on setting it up you can pay a software company for this.

However, once it’s set up and running, you’ll find a wide variety of useful software packages already available that will let you do pretty much anything you’re likely to want to do.

It’s true that there are more versions of Linux available than of Windows or Mac OS X, but you can find out more about the user-friendly Ubuntu flavour of Linux in Duncan’s How to get all the music and software you want for free and legally talk…

Should I buy an OLED TV or stick with LCD and plasma?

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There’s a new display technology in town — OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) — and it could be coming to a large TV near you very soon.

Plenty of big-name manufacturers have already produced OLED TVs, and others are promising to have sets available within the next couple of years.

OLED has a lot of very attractive characteristics meaning it can has the potential to power large, bright, thin, energy-efficient televisions. Then again, LCD and plasma TVs currently rule the roost and are no pushovers when it comes to features.

Should you buy an OLED TV? Let’s take a look…

The ten greatest Apple products of all time

32 years old and still going strong, Apple has launched a huge range of hardware and software in that time.

Not all of it was great, and there were some very dark years at Apple in between Steve Jobs’ two reigns. Nevertheless, picking the ten greatest Apple products of all time hasn’t been easy.

Here’s my attempt. I’m sure you have your own ideas.

Click on the image below to start