Giz Explains: The Best Of 2009

Is there a burning question you have about tech? Like what's the difference between $US100 and $US100,000 headphones? Or why every country has a different [email protected]%#ing plug? We explained all that, and a whole lot more this year.

Photography

What Everybody Should Know About Cameras The essentials of digital camera knowledge, from all the different types of cameras to image sensors to jargon like ISO, all in one epic spot.

Why Lenses Are the Real Key to Stunning Photos Despite what stupid spec wars would have you believe, a fancy slice of glass is just as important as silicon to taking a stunning photo.

When (Not) To Use Your Camera's Flash What is photography's greatest scourge? mobile phone cameras? MySpace self-portraiture? No, it's that dratted flash. Here's when and how you should - and more importantly, shouldn't - use it.

Why More Megapixels Isn't Always Better In short, 12 megapixels stuffed onto a tiny arse sensor looks like crap. Twelve megapixels with plenty of a room on a full-frame sensor can look pretty great.

Television

The Ultimate HDTV Cheat Sheet and Buying Guide Read this before you go buy and HDTV, and you'll have the Bing Lee employee spinning in circles. Or at least, he won't be able to take you for a spin.

The Difference Between a $US600 TV and a $US6000 TV There is a difference, and it goes way beyond the logo sitting front and centre. How much do all those extra inches cost? What about 120Hz, or hell 240Hz? The cost of a fancy arse TV, broken down.

What's So Great About LED-Backlit LCDs Any LCD display worth its salt—especially when it comes to laptops - is lit up by a bunch of LEDs, not the fluorescent bulbs that light up high school cafeterias. But, not all LED displays are created equal.

Audio

Why You Can't Get Decent Headphones for Under $US100 Building truly great in-ear headphones is hard. Which means it's expensive. We got an earful of the secret sauce that goes into the pricey headphones that sound oh-so-delicious, and why you can't buy 'em for a song.

The Difference Between $US100 and $US100,000 Speakers Well the title really says it all, don't it?

Why Analogue Audio Cables Really Aren't All the Same Yes, there really is a difference between analogue cables. And you want there to be.

Computers and Software

Why Quantum Computing Is the Future, But a Distant One Computing with quantum physics! It's as crazy as it sounds, so we'll let quantum physicists explain it.

Why Stuff Crashes, And Why It Happens Less Often Now Ever wondered what causes a BSOD or kernel panic? Notice how it happens a less often than it used to? (Though Firefox crashing every five minutes seems to make up for it.)

Android and How It Will Take Over the World No, it's not because of the mysterious Nexus One. The true nature of Android is a little more complex than you might realise, able to run everything from phones to nooks to set-top boxes. And Google's giving it away for free.

GPGPU Computing and Why It'll Melt Your Face Off Graphics cards, they're not just for PC gametards anymore. Thanks to new programming standards they'll be accelerating everything on a computer that can take advantage of oodles of processing cores.

How Apple Affects Your Tech World Through Standards (Even You, Windows Guy) The easy way to have power over technology and people outside of your own little domain: Create tech standards. Here's a few Apple's been instrumental in getting out there.

Microsoft and Standards The flip side to how Apple plays with industry-wide standards, Microsoft just establishes them de facto, when it can. Here's some of the bigger ones they're responsible for.

Mobile Phones

How Cell Towers Work Until Wilson explained how cell towers work, I always thought Stormtrooper fairies carried the signals from my phone to the Death Star and then to my mum's mobile phone.

Bill Nye Explains Oleophobic Screens Uh, Bill Nye. Explaining stuff. Do I need to say anymore?

Electricity

Why Every Country Has a Different F#$%ing Plug There actually are reasons there's like a billion different types of power plugs scattered across the world. I know you want to know why.

How Electrocution Really Kills You (With Adam Savage) MythBuster Adam Savage tells us how electricity really kills you - surprisingly, it's not by poaching your brains inside of your skull.

Coffee

How to Actually Make Coffee Odds are, you're doin' it wrong. Here's most of the major ways to make delicious coffee, with advice from our friends at Ninth St. Espresso, Intelligentsia Coffee and La Marzocco.

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