Build an #Arduino Enigma Cipher Machine – APC August 2014 issue


I have to admit I’m a bit of a technology history buff – whether it’s mechanical or electronic – and in the new August 2014 issue of APC magazine out today, I’ve designed and created an easy-build Enigma Cipher Machine using an Arduino Uno microcontroller for this month’s Arduino Masterclass.
Okay, it might not look like an Enigma Machine, but this little black box does exactly the same thing as the real three-rotor Enigma used by the German army during World War… Read more

New iPad Air & Mini reviews on APC wesbite


In one of my recent features for APC magazine, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest iterations of Apple’s popular iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display tablets.
You can read the full reviews by following the links above to the APC website.
But it’s interesting that in Apple’s recently announced quarterly results, sales of iPad tablets are falling while the iPhone continues to be the company’s cash cow.
There is growing disquiet… Read more

PC User software: UserBench Encode HD


There’s a long back-story to how the UserBench benchmark series came about that I tell one day, but at the time I developed the first one in 2005, it was the first PC benchmark developed in Australia.
PC User UserBench Encode HD was the last in the ‘Encode’ series and came out in 2010. Despite it’s age, it’s still a very relevant measure of performance today.
We found back in 2005 that there were very few benchmarks focused on multimedia… Read more

What has happened to the Arduino Zero?


It was announced with considerable fanfare back in May 2014, but since then, the Arduino team has been all but silent on the upcoming replacement for its popular Arduino Uno microcontroller board.
The new board, dubbed Arduino Zero, could well be a gamechanger for the DIY/maker community with its considerably up-scaled processing and storage power.
Rather than stick with Atmel’s 8-bit ATMEGA series used on the Uno or even the SAM3X8E 32-bit Cortex M3 controller found on the Arduino Due,… Read more

PC User software: System Spec Analyser


Okay, strictly speaking, I can’t remember if this was ever included on a PC User cover disc. It may have been available on the PC User website before it was shut down in June 2012, I’m not sure.
In any case, I designed this app some time ago while I was benchmarking PCs and notebooks during the monthly ‘Best Value PC’ roundups – that’s where we’d set a category or price and ask vendors to send us product. In the… Read more

PC User software: Windows 8 USB Installer


This app was originally published as ‘Windows 7 USB Installer’ in Australian PC User magazine, but upgraded at the end of 2011 when the first ‘consumer previews’ of Windows 8 were made available by Microsoft.
At the time of that release, if I remember correctly, Microsoft hadn’t yet released its own USB drive installer app, so I developed this one. Again, it’s very much like my Linux USB Installer app in its simplicity – you select your Windows ISO image and… Read more