Giz Explains: The Best of 2009S

Is there a burning question you have about tech? Like what's the difference between $100 and $100,000 headphones? Or why every country has a different f@%#ing plug? We explained all that, and a whole lot more this year.

Photography

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Television

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

The Difference Between a $600 TV and a $6000 TV
There is a difference, and it goes way beyond the logo sitting front and center. How much do all those extra inches cost? What about 120Hz, or hell 240Hz? The cost of a fancy ass TV, broken down.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

Why You Can't Get Decent Headphones for Under $100
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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

The Difference Between $100 and $100,000 Speakers
Well the title really says it all, don't it?

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Computers and Software

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.)

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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 realize, able to run everything from phones to nooks to set-top boxes. And Google's giving it away for free.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Cellphones

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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 mom's cellphone.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

Why WiMax and LTE Wireless 4G Data Will Blow Your Mind
WiMax is really here (at least in some places) and LTE from Verizon and AT&T will be ramping in short order. The days of ubiquitous wireless broadband are very nearly here. Exciting, and scary.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Electricity

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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

Giz Explains: The Best of 2009

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.

Still something you still wanna know? Send any questions about cameras, processors, or anything else crazy complicated to tips@gizmodo.com, with "Giz Explains" in the subject line.