Tips, News, links to the best freeware and shareware, Video, Hi-Fi, TV, DVD, camcorders, satellite TV, mobile phones and gadgets feature archives

Search BootLog

Site Navigation



Top Tips

Other Stuff


About BootLog

Radiation & Geiger Counters

Top 10 Boot Camps

Poor Man's Vista

Digicam to PC to TV & DVD

Video Tape to PC to DVD

Moving To A New PC

Vinyl and Tape to CD & MP3

Put a Puppy on your PC

Slipstream Windows XP

Dual Monitor Displays

Boot XP in under 30 secs

XP Troubleshooting


Top 10 Top Tips

Prolong Laptop Battery Life

Folder Size Display In Explorer

Webcam security recorder

Customise the Places Bar

Real Time Virus Alert Map

Make your own Word icons

The Best Word tip ever!

XP Shutdown shortcut

Control Windows Explorer

Fixing Word faults


BootLog F!F!F! Archive

2008  January February 

March April May June 

July August September

 October November 


2007 January February

March April May June July

August September October November December

2006 January February March April May June July

August September October November December

2005 September October  November   December


Magazine Archives

Future Home 2002-2003

Buying Satellite 1993-95

What DVD 2000-2003

Home Entertainment 1994-2003

Computer Video 97-00

Home Cinema 1994-1996

Video Camera 1989-2000

What MP3 2001

Security & Surveillance

What Cellphone


60s & 70s Technology

Crystal radios

Transistor radios

Mini tape recorders

Yet more mini recorders


Sinclair pocket TVs



Glory days 1955-1961

Shocking Experiences 


Tip of the Week

Exploring New Possibilities

Windows Explorer has been around forever and is the way most of us look inside our computers, to find, see or open the files and folders stored on our hard drive. It does the job, albeit in a fairly clanky way, so if you are the sort of PC users that often has two or three Explorer windows open at the same time then your life could be a lot easier with a this free Windows Explorer alternative, called Q-Dir. By default it opens in a convenient 4-pane view but there are numerous alternatives, one of which will be bound to suit your way of working. Each Q-Dir window is a separate entity, but like open Explorer windows, you can drag, drop, copy paste and move files around, from window to window, with the greatest of ease. There are all of the usual view icons, from small to large thumbnails, and there’s a few useful extras, including a great many customisation options, zoom, the facility set up shortcuts to frequently used utilities, and more besides. It can be installed or used as a portable application and there’s a very good chance that once you have used it, you won’t want to go back…


This tip and hundreds more like it can be found in the PCTopTips Archive or, just click the TOP TIPS link opposite . Why not make BootLog your Home Page? In addition to new Tips there's a handy Google Search box and links to all of your favourite  features and resources.


News Briefs

 Archives  2006   2007  2008  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

A Jewel Of A Touch Screen

Blinging up smartphones is hardly a new idea but how would you like one with a screen made of sapphire? It may well happen and the word on the street, or rather the digital superhighway, is that Apple could be one of the first to have them. In its natural state sapphire is a precious gemstone but there are ways and means of synthesising it in industrial quantities, but not for its aesthetic or jewel like qualities. It turns out that sapphire, like diamond, is super-tough and hard as nails. In fact it’s virtually bullet-proof, and more than able to withstand the day-to-day rigours of a smartphone screen, including being dropped and sat on. It is totally transparent, can be coloured by adding impurities and it can be up to four times more durable and even thinner than Gorilla Glass. None of this is news but up until now it has, like the stuff you get in jewellers, been very expensive. Scaling up and improvements in manufacturing and processing methods could reduce the cost by a factor of ten, which still makes it a good deal dearer than existing screen glass, but given it’s properties, and the never ending quest for thinner screens it may well be coming to a smartphone near you, and maybe sooner than you think.


Cool Way To Make Electricity

There are many environmentally friendly ways to generate electricity but here’s one of the hottest, or coolest – depending on your point of view – that uses nothing more than plain old humidity – and there’s been no shortage of that lately. Researchers at MIT dreamt it up and the operating principle is incredibly simple, not to say elegant. Some materials strongly attract water (superhydrophyllic) and others repel it (hydrophobic). If you put a copper plate coated with a superhydrophyllic material close to one with a hydrophobic coating, the droplets of water that condense on the hydrophobic surface will jump the gap, and in doing so generate a tiny electric charge. Now don’t get too excited, we are talking about minute amounts of electricity at this stage, just a few picowatts per square centimetre but the MIT boffins reckon this can be increased to a microwatt or more, at which point it may be possible to build a device around 50cm sq, that could produce enough energy to charge a mobile phone in 12 hours. In theory humidity generators would be cheap to build, there are no moving parts, and the technology could be scaled up to become a potentially very useful source of power in parts of the world blessed (or cursed) with high levels of humidity. 



Rewritable Revival

Remember recordable CDs and DVDs? The older ones amongst you may remember that they used to quite popular a few years ago but now they’re in danger of becoming obsolete, what with low-cost solid-state memory and data streaming, but hang on, the technology may still have a trick or two up its sleeve. The materials used in recordable optical discs, including one called germanium antimony tellurium alloy (GST to its friends) have an interesting property called reversible phase change, which basically means they switch between two states when exposed to laser light or heat. Researchers have found a way of triggering the phase change electrically and create a super thin material that can be made to change colour. In short they have come up with the basis of a new optical display technology and potential applications include superfast, nanometre-pixel visual displays, smart glasses with variable transparency lenses, artificial retina devices, flexible displays for wearable tech and smart contact lenses. Sounds promising and we’ll file this one under worth-keeping-an-eye-on…