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10 THINGS
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A THE PLAYLIST 0609 HANDY GUIDE TO
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LOGAN DECKER’S

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VOLUME 16, NUMBER 06 JUNE 2009 VOLUME 16, NUMBER 06 JUNE 2009

JUNE 2009

THE CRUCIAL LOOT JUNE 09 ISSUE NO.188 YOU SHOULDN’T JUNE 2009 #188 LIVE WITHOUT JUNE 2009 • NO. 188
JUNE 2009 • NO. 188
KEEP-A-CABLE (on back card that attaches to the edge of your desk and keeps cables—including laptop DVI and power cables—from falling behind your desk when you remove them. The best thing to come from plastic since credit cards. $5 per pack (4 to a pack), www.keepacable.com

IN THIS ISSUE JUNE 2009

You had no idea you needed
DRIVER BACKUP Like showering, PC gamers have come to accept re-installing Windows on a semi-regular basis as a necessary evil. But it’s no longer as much of a drag as it used to be, especially with Driver Backup, a free, open-source utility that automates the process of backing up and restoring the drivers you need for your hardware. Free, sourceforge.net/projects/drvback

C.H.I.M.P. MIRROR The C.H.I.M.P. mirror attaches to the corner of your display with Velcro (included) and gives you a wideangle view of the world going on behind you, including the whereabouts of your supervisor. After a month or two, try taking off the C.H.I.M.P. mirror and tell me if you don’t suddenly feel blind, naked, and vulnerable. $6.99, www.thinkgeek.com (where else?)

FRAPS This easy-to-use utility for recording video footage of your gameplay is also a screen capture app (it’s what we use here at the PCG compound) as well as a fantastic benchmarking tool that dynamically displays your frames per second and even logs framerate statistics to a text file. A must-have software Leatherman tool for gamers. $37, www.fraps.com

AMER MAGAZINE ++ JUNE 2009

++ PC GAMER MAGAZINE ++ JUNE 2009 ++ PC GAMER MAGAZINE ++ JUNE 2009

AMER MAGAZINE ++ JUNE 2009 of desk) It’s a notched

A SECOND DISPLAY We’re going to forgive you if you don’t already have one, because it’s possible that you didn’t know that you can get a decent 17-inch 1280x1024 secondary display for less than $100, or a small USB-connected display (like the Mimo UM-740 reviewed on page 91) if your videocard doesn’t have multiple outputs. But next time, we’re not going to be cool about it.

NEXSTAR HARD DRIVE DOCK We’ve all gotten away with good excuses not to back up our stuff: DVDs don’t have enough capacity, and Blu-ray and external drives are too expensive. But the NexStar HD Dock lets you pop in any spare 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA hard drive and use it as a removable drive. $39.99, www.thinkgeek.com

POWERSQUID The PowerSquid that let you plug wall-warts into every single flexible extension socket was good. Even better: The awesomely named PowerSquid Surge3000 Calamari Edition with surge protection, power filtering, and a swiveling wall plug. $69.95, www.cableorganizer.com

MOUSE BUNGEE If you’re still using a wired mouse—and if that mouse isn’t the SideWinder Mouse with the cool combo cable anchor/weight storage box—then you need the Mouse Bungee. This inexpensive and effective prophylactic against cable drag also comes with an unexpected benefit: obsessively twanging the spring with a finger is a satisfying nervous habit that drives co-workers insane. $9.95, www.mousebungee.com

DISCHUB Not every game is available on Steam, so we inevitably end up with piles of game discs on our desks because we’re too lazy busy to put them away, and after a few weeks they all appear to have been attacked by packs of feral cats. Except for the few bare discs that got tucked gently into the soft, scratchless slots of the tasteful DiscHub. $10, www.thedischub.com

STEALTHSWITCH II The original StealthSwitch was a “desktop cloaking device” that instantly hid applications when you triggered the palm-sized pedal with your foot, so that your boss wouldn’t know you were playing World of WarCraft or cooperating with the SEC. But one simple tweak—programmability—turned a clever gadget into an essential part of any gamer’s loadout. The StealthSwitch II allows you to bind any keystroke to the footswitch, so you can use it to take screenshots, reload weapons, activate push-to-talk in VOIP applications, launch macros, or toss a grenade while simultaneously firing a weapon and holding a beer stein. It doesn’t interfere with your mouse and keyboard settings, doesn’t require software to work after initial programming (take it from PC to PC tucked in your waistband!), and you can even “slave” up to four more foot-switches for ultimate seven-controller gaming fu. $39.95 StealthSwitch II, $14.95 each add’l slave switch, www.stealthswitch2.com

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