Providing Information

Are you fully utilising the potential of your gadgets?

Here we show you how to access some features that you may not know existed on your device…

Apple iPad
Your iPad is a powerful device and it is capable of providing you with a full Windows experience using a free VNC app. Install a free VNC server software such as TightVNC on your computer and a free VNC app on your iPad (there are several options). As long as both the iPad and computer are connected to the same network, your iPad can connect to your computer and function as a portable ‘screen’ for your computer — complete with touch control. You can also use your iPad as a second display for your computer using an app called Air Display. If your iPad has limited storage, you can store them on your computer and stream them over using an app called Air Video


Canon DSLRs

Most digital SLRs have some features that are either limited or locked by the manufacturer. Using a custom firmware, you can unlock these hidden features and in the process, enable features from Pro-level cameras in your entry-level DSLR. Magic Lantern is one such temporary firmware that can immediately enhance the number of features your camera offers.Head to magiclantern.fm and download the custom firmware. Copy it to the root of your SD card (format the card before starting) and start the firmware upgrade process from settings. It will take a few minutes to upgrade and once you see the confirmation screen, restart your camera.

You will notice various new settings in the display and more can be accessed by pressing the Delete button. All this is done without actually modifying anything permanently — so your warranty remains intact. When you want to go back to original firmware, format the card and restart your camera. Keep in mind that it only works with select Canon DSLRs, so check if your camera is supported before downloading.

Sony PSP, PS Vita

Apart from portable gaming and entertainment, a Sony PlayStation Portable or PlayStation Vita can be used to remotely access your PS3 (and the upcoming PS4 – which will support additional features compared to PS3). You need to configure it first by connecting both to the same WiFi network and looking for the Remote Play option in the PS3 settings menu.

Follow the on-screen instructions to pair them (you might need to connect them using a USB cable). Once both of them are paired, the connection can also be established remotely, ie, you can be outside of your home network as well.

For this to work, your PSP/Vita needs to be connected to a WiFi network (4 mbps minimum recommended ) while your PS3 at home should be either switched on or on standby mode and the home Wi-Fi connection should be switched on. Then your PSP will be able to remotely power on the PS3 and access the contents (music, photos, videos) stored on the drive.

Sony PS3

A PlayStation can function quite well as a media center: A hub for your photographs, music & videos. If you install the free PS3 Media Server on your computer, you can stream any type of video (with live conversion) over to your PS3.

Many PS3s come with an internal hard drive — a 40GB drive for a PS3 that’s a few years old, going up to 500GB for newer versions. Whatever the size of the drive, you can upgrade it yourself without much fuss. You need a larger capacity 2.5-inch (laptop size) SATA hard drive and a Philips head screwdriver.

It does not void warranty and the procedure is detailed by Sony in the user manual. Usually, the hard drive spins at 5400rpm. While upgrading, get one that spins at 7200rpm or better yet, a flash-based drive to boost speed in certain areas.


Is your internet connection too slow? Did you know that you can easily take a friend’s wireless connection, your own wired connection and a USB data dongle — and bridge all of them to get three times the Internet speed? All you need is small software called Dispatch (connectify.me/dispatch).

Dispatch takes all the available connections on your computer and combines their bandwidth seamlessly. It even includes real-time bandwidth monitoring to keep an eye on your bandwidth usage. A paid pro version removes advertisements and adds features like application specific settings, automatic startup, unlimited dispatch uptime and even lets you assign data caps to each connection so that you don’t cross your ISP’s pre-assigned data limit.

Currently, Dispatch is only available for Windows. Mac users can try out Switchboard (connectify.me/switchboard) that offers similar functionality.

Xbox 360

If you own the Xbox 360 with 4GB storage, you will notice a couple of issues. Not only does this console have very limited storage, many new games refuse to work on it because they need to download content to an internal hard drive.

One way to solve the issue is to buy Microsoft’s own hard drive upgrade which is needlessly expensive. Or, you could just add a hard drive on your own. The process is easy and does not void warranty— buy an Xbox 360 third party HDD case (available for as low as 400 online) and use any 2.5-inch SATA hard drive.

Xbox 360 has a slot to connect a hard drive for extra storage. Open the hard drive cover on the bottom of the console to access the hard drive slot. Fit your hard drive into the Xbox specific case and just slot the case into the Xbox. It will lock with a click and you are done.

Start your Xbox, go to settings > system settings and select storage to view if your Xbox has detected the hard drive. This method will be at least 50% cheaper than buying an official Microsoft hard drive.

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