All posts tagged ‘howto’

File Under: Software & Tools

How To: Share Files on Usenet

You’ve heard its name countless times. You’ve probably even tried to use it to download a file. But what exactly is Usenet, anyway?

Simply put, Usenet is a network of newsgroups with a built-in file sharing protocol. Content on the Usenet network is self-propagating, meaning that when you upload a message or a file to a Usenet server, that content is transferred from news server to news server until, eventually, every Usenet server contains a copy of that file or message.

Usenet has one main advantage over other P2P file-trading methods like BitTorrent and Kazaa, and that’s the fact that your download speed is only limited by the speed of your connection. There are no flaky peers or trackers to slow you down. Also, Usenet has a steeper learning curve and it has yet to hit the mainstream, so it isn’t in the public eye like BitTorrent or the other marquee names. OK, so there’s more than one big advantage.

To get started sharing files, check out our Usenet guide on the How-To Wiki. And yes, it’s a publicly-editable wiki, so if you have extra advice, you can log in and add it.

Illustration: Benjamin D. Esham

File Under: Software & Tools

How To: Simulate Middle Click On A Trackpad

trackpad.jpgLaptops rarely, if ever, provide the trackpad equivalent of a middle mouse button, most models offer only two buttons, though some provide a way to simulate the middle button with software. For most people this may not be a problem, but if you’ve always wanted a middle mouse button on your laptop, we’ve found a solution for you.

Ryan Wagner over at CyberNetNews was missing the middle mouse button on his laptop so he created a quick little AutoHotKey script, which is actually just two lines of code:

  • ~LButton & RButton::MouseClick, Middle
  • ~RButton & LButton::MouseClick, Middle

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How To: Create Flickr Smart Sets


The Flickr site is back up and functioning, which means you can try out our how to of the day: Flickr Set Manager. Flickr Set Manager is a handy web-based tool that allows you to create “smart” Flickr sets using a wide variety of criteria — very similar to smart playlists in iTunes.

Define your sets based on interestingness, date posted and tags, or generate a completely random set of images. There’s even an option to automatically regenerate your set once a day.

As with any Flickr tool, you’ll need to authorize Flickr Set Manager to access your account, but once you do, creating sets is just a matter of defining the criteria through a web form. The app isn’t the fastest site we’ve ever used (probably due to the Flickr API, not the site), so be patient when generating your smart sets.

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Add RAW Capabilities To Low-End Canon Cameras

canon.jpgIf you’ve got a low-end Canon point-and-shoot you could have access to more features than you think. Most of Canon’s recent digital cameras, even the low end models, are based on the DIGIC II chip, and, as points out there’s an alternate firmware for that chip that unlocks the features Canon disables in the low end models — including the ability to shoot RAW images.

The alternate firmware for Canon’s DIGIC II processor is known as CHDK. You can grab the firmware from the site, which also has a list of supported models and instructions for installation.

CHDK adds the following features to your supported camera:

  • Shooting in RAW
  • Live histogram (RGB, blended, luminance and for each RGB channel)
  • Zebra mode (blinking highlights and shadows)
  • DOF-calculator
  • Battery indicator
  • Scripts execution (exposure/focus/… bracketing, intervalometer and more)
  • File browser
  • Text reader
  • Calendar
  • Some tools and games

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File Under: Software & Tools

Vote: The Best of the DIY Web

By now, we’re sure you’re totally enamored with the new Wired How To Wiki. If you haven’t seen it yet (what do you mean you haven’t seen it!?), then be sure to dig in and explore a little. It’s filled with dozens of instructional tutorials on a wide range of topics. Some of our favorites: How to run an efficient meeting, how to compile software from source code, how to make an iPod Nano case from a bike inner-tube and how to run Windows on a Mac. And the whole site a wiki, which means you can add your own expertise to make the how tos better.

Of course, we’re not the only ones providing resources of the hands-on variety. The web has always been well-steeped in DIY culture, so there are thousands of pages dedicated to projects, tutorial topics and helpful tips for using software and hardware of all stripes.

We’d like to ask you to nominate the best how to projects on the web.
Vote for your favorite resources below or submit your own to the list.
What are the destinations that really inspire you to roll up your
sleeves, grease your elbows and get your hands dirty? Once the votes
have been counted, we’ll contact the winning author and send them some
tchotchkes — and we’ll feature their tutorial on the front page of the
Wired How To Wiki site.

Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via Flickr

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