Speed up or slow down your slideshows

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Fjjaf asked me how “to set the seconds a photo will show in Picasa until moving to the next photo.” My answer covers more than Picasa.

Back in February, I discussed ways to spruce up your automated slideshows with fancy transitions. But when you think about it, those transitions aren’t nearly as important as the photos shown between them—or the length of time you show each photo.

Here’s how to set a slideshow’s speed in Picasa and a couple other programs. Whatever program you use, I suggest leaving each photo up for three to five seconds.

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Computer shutting down on its own? Maybe it's time to play it cool.

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Martin Lønn Naess’ PC “suddenly turns off while rendering a video.” My guess is that it’s overheating. Here’s what to do about it.

Chips and hard drives use electricity, and therefore generate heat. That heat can seriously damage the circuits inside your PC. Luckily, the computer is smart enough to shut itself down when it gets too hot, protecting itself from permanent damage. A PC that suddenly shuts itself down may be a lesser evil, but it’s still something you want to avoid.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Some files need encryption and some files don't

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Andre De Beer asked if certain files on his hard drive need encryption. Some do and some don’t.

If you’re like the vast majority of PC users, you have no need to encrypt everything on your hard drive. Before you decide to encrypt anything, ask yourself this: What would you lose if criminals or the NSA got their hands on these files? If the answer is “nothing,” those files don’t need encryption.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Take precautions when using Gmail—or any other email service

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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G. Jitchaku asked me if Gmail was “safe.” That’s a very broad question, so I’m offering a very broad answer.

Nothing in this world is ever entirely safe, and that goes double for anything that lives in the cloud. If you use Gmail, your mail could be read by someone other than the intended recipient, or your account just might get hijacked.

That’s the case with every email service. Whether you use Gmail, Outlook, or your ISP’s email service, you need to protect yourself. I’ll concentrate on Gmail here, but the basic advice applies to any mail service.

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What to do when a second hard drive bricks your PC

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Mahenthiran K installed a second hard drive into his PC. The computer should still boot from the original drive, but it doesn’t boot at all.

When you install a second hard drive in a PC, it shouldn't get in the way of the original drive’s boot process. Of course, there’s often a big gap between what should happen and what does happen.

Let’s see if we can fix this problem.

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USB 3.0 speed: real and imagined

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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This story has been updated.
When Don Stovicek set out to buy a fast USB 3.0 flash drive, he discovered that the advertised speeds fell well below even USB 2.0’s official capabilities.

The now-aging USB 2.0 standard can theoretically transfer data at a very high 480 megabits per second (mbps), or 60 megabytes per second (MBps). That’s impressive, but not as much as the newer USB 3.0, which can handle up to 5gbps (640MBps)—over ten times as fast as the 2.0 maximum.

Why is it that the current crop of USB 3.0 flash drives don't deliver full USB 3.0 speed? Most of them max out—according to manufacturer specifications—at 100MBps (800mbps) or less. In a casual search, I only found one, the Mushkin Enhanced Ventura Plus, that advertised a read speed of 200MBps (1.6gbps). That’s still less than half USB 3.0's maximum.

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How to stream media from your PC to your HDTV over WiFi

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Nik keeps his PC downstairs. But he wants to watch videos stored on that PC on an HDTV that’s upstairs. What’s the simplest way to do that?

There’s actually an open standard for sharing media files across a home network. It’s called the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), and you probably already have everything you need to use it.

First, some definitions: The device that sends the stream—such as a PC—is the DLNA server. The device that receives the stream—such as an HDTV or something connected to the TV—is the DLNA renderer (I really hate that term; player or receiver would be much friendlier). Both devices must be on the same network.

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