Advancements In Computer Technology

With technology progressing as fast as it is at the present, it is a wonder we do not have a new mass-marketed gadget appearing every few minutes. Personal computers, once predicted to be owned by a mere handful of individuals, are everywhere nowadays. If you are a student a personal computer is virtually a necessity. Accompanying the ever-increasing popularity of the personal computer is a plethora of gadgets and technological advancements. Though it may not be every few minutes, it seems as though every couple of months we hear about a computer with more storage space or a new device that one can connect to their computer.

Some devices that appear on the market are either completely superfluous or not so accessible to the entirety of the population, whether it is because of their cost or their limited supply. The costly devices are reserved to those who can afford them, until some new gadget replaces them and the price of these machines decreases, much like any new technology that appears on the market. Those gadgets, which are unnecessary, are not overly practical and the market for these creations is comprised mainly of those with an affinity for such devices. Inventions like webcams, while they are certainly fun to play with, are essentially unnecessary as they have no bearing on the actual operation of the computer and are used largely for leisure computer activities.

The more purposeful advancements in computer technology revolve around those, which increase the computers ability to manage certain tasks and those, which increase the storage space of the computer. Many personal computer owners find themselves craving more space to store songs or various other files and often wishing that their computer were faster. Though many computers produced today have a excessive storage space, that is, it is nearly impossible to fill a personal computer to capacity, these types of advancements permit a much speedier and more efficient functioning computer.

3 Benefits To Owning A Refurbished Laptop

If you like having the latest and greatest, then refurbished is not for you. However, if you don’t mind minor cosmetic damage, and the fact that someone else has used your laptop, then you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished laptop. But why would anyone want to purchase a refurbished laptop as opposed to a brand new one? In this article, I will tackle this very issue, and give 3 reasons why you should own a refurbished laptop.

The first reason why purchasing a refurbished laptop may be a good idea is that they are a lot less expensive than their newer cousins. Of course, refurbished implies that it has seen prior usage, so refurbished laptops are generally older models, and you don’t always know how their previous owners took care of them. But refurbished also implies that someone has taken the time to fix, and often times replace, any broken components. Do some research and only buy from reputable sources.

The second reason why you may want to purchase a refurbished laptop is that, because of their low cost, they are more expendable than new models, and make a great second laptop. As I explained above, refurbished laptops are generally a lot cheaper than a new laptop so if something should happen to it, you’re only out maybe a few hundreds dollars as opposed to a new laptop which could cost you thousands.

The third reason why you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished laptop is that since you’ll be spending a lot less money on the computer itself, you can afford to spend more upgrading it with newer, and better components. For example, you can add memory to speed it up, or upgrade to a larger hard drive. You should, of course, make sure that your computer can support these upgrades before you even purchase it. If it can’t, then look for one that can before making your final decision.

If you decide to purchase your first refurbished laptop, make sure you do plenty of research. Refurbished means used, and you don’t kow how the previous owner took care of it. Buy from a reputable source that offers some sort of warranty. Most won’t warranty the battery or software but will provide at least a 30 day warranty for most of the hardware.

I’ve discussed three benefits to owning a refurbished laptop. They are low in cost, make a great second laptop, and you can spend more on upgrading the components.  Make sure to do your research before you buy, and owning one will be a pleasant experience.

5 Reasons to Choose a Notebook Over a Computer Desktop

Many of us are so used to working on a computer desktop that when it comes time to purchase a new computer, we don’t consider other options. Today, computer notebooks – which were once called laptops – offer a number of advantages over a computer desktop. Here are just five reasons why you should take a second look at notebooks.

1. Mobility

You might be used to pulling up a chair to your computer, but it makes much more sense to pull your computer up to your chair. Laptops can certainly be used at your desk, but you also have the option of bringing them to the spot where you’re most comfortable. Maybe you’d like to surf the Web in the evening out in the living room or catch up on your favorite blogs before bedtime. Notebooks with wireless connectivity can travel with you throughout your home, so you can check your email or do your Internet shopping anywhere.

Of course, notebooks also make sense for those who are on the go. Students can take laptops to class and to the library, while businesspeople can take them along while traveling. With WiFi so widely available, it even makes sense to have a notebook while on vacation. With the right notebook, it’s easy to take photos with your digital camera, upload them, and email them to friends and family before you even get back home. Or you can use it to write a vacation blog and include those pictures from your digital camera.

2. Better Displays

The size and quality of computer notebook displays has improved so dramatically that there’s little difference between laptops and a computer desktop. For example, you can get Apple’s MacBook with a 13.3-inch LCD widescreen (1280 x 800 pixels), a 15.4-inch LCD widescreen (1440 x 900 pixels) or a 17-inch widescreen (1680 x 1050 pixels). Similarly, the Compaq Presario has a 15.4-inch display.

3. Lighter Weight

Just a few years ago, even the lightest notebook was a pain to lug around. Today, though, laptops are increasingly easy on the back. The MacBook is slightly over an inch thick and the Toshiba Portege weighs in at about four pounds. While that’s still heavy compared to come of the new ultralight convertibles (Fujitsu’s LifeBook U810 weighs only a pound and half), it’s a significant improvement over the old seven-pound laptops.

4. Better Computing and Battery Power

Historically, two drawbacks of notebooks were their limited RAM, limited space on the hard drive, and short battery life. Times have changed, though, and laptops now have as much power under the hood as their computer desktop cousins. The MacBook, for example, has 1GB of memory (configurable up to 4 GB) and a hard drive that’s configurable to 250GB. This means that your software will hum right along and you’ll be able to zip through programs as quickly and as easily as you do on your desktop. Likewise, batteries in today’s notebooks don’t heat up and don’t conk out.

5. More Features

In older laptops, the computer’s size and weight limited the number and types of features available. Today, with smaller processors and other components, there’s room to pack more features into notebooks. For example, the MacBook has a DVD player, built-in webcam, built-in wireless capability, two USB ports and a FireWire port, built-in microphone, and audio and digital input/output.

There are so many advantages to owning notebooks that, before you buy your next computer, it’s worth your while to take one for a spin.

Computer Ergonomics: Keeping Your Mouse Safe

When it comes to the matter of computer ergonomics — making certain that you computer work environment is safe and healthy — many people focus their attention on such items as their chair, the desk of worktable utilized and the positioning of the keyboard. Of course, these are all important items when it comes to the matter of computer ergonomics. In this regard, many people pay little of no attention to their computer mouse when it comes to the matter of computer ergonomics and the safe use of a computer and related equipment. When all is said and done, making sure that you are using your mouse in a safe and healthy manner is vital and cannot be understated.

The basic, primary directional device used by most computer operators is the mouse. Many computer users find themselves using a mouse continually throughout the day. In the long run, if a person does not utilize a mouse in a proper, healthy manner, a person can end up seriously impairing his or her shoulder, forearm and wrist.

With these risks in mind, there are some important pointers that you should keep in mind when it comes to properly utilizing your mouse.

When using a mouse, you should rest your entire arm on either the side of your chair, on the table or some other available and level support. In addition, the mouse itself should be located conveniently at the side of the keyboard, on the same level as the keyboard. You should not have to reach for the mouse each time you need to use the device.

When using the mouse, make certain that you do not apply a great deal of pressure to your wrist. Again, it is important that your wrist and arm basically be in a comfortable and resting-like position when using a mouse.

Generally speaking, you should keep your wrist straight when using the mouse. Further, do not grip the device tightly. No matter how stressed you might feel on the job, do not use a stranglehold on your mouse.

Mouse devices come in a wide array of different shapes, styles and sizes. Take the time to select a mouse that fits well into your hand.

Finally, set your mouse speed in the middle range. In a similar vein, reduce the time that you actually use the click and drag feature of the mouse unit. There is now some software on the market that eliminates the need for this particular function all together.

By following these steps, you will avoid causing yourself harm or damage over the long term through the use of your mouse.

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Adware: Are Your Businesss Computers Secure

Adware, software dedicated to displaying advertising, can really slow down any business that depends on computers. Adware promoters use some cunning tricks to get you to install their software on your machine. Here’s what to look out for.

Adware is, by definition, something reasonable people don’t want on their computers. That’s why adware can’t just come out and ask people to install it. Often, the computer owner is completely unaware of it being installed. But not always.

When adware doesn’t want to sneak in through an open window, it will try to trick you into letting it in through the front door. Don’t think you could be tricked? Don’t be so sure until you’ve checked out these most common ways people have been tricked into allowing malware to be installed on their machines.

Adware Installation Trick 1: Piggybacking

How it works: malware may come bundled with a legitimate piece of software the user actually wants, such as a game or emoticon. The malware is merely labeled “companion software,” without any indication of what it will do.

How to fight it: the fact that adware so often comes bundled with “entertainment” software, most notably the file-swapping program Kazaa, is a very good reason to separate business from personal when it comes to computing. But adware can sometimes comes bundled with non-entertainment software, such as search tools or cracks of legitimate business software. Be very suspicious of any software that comes bundled with other software. Don’t installed software that comes bundled with other software unless you know everything that the bundled software does. After all, if the bundled program has anything to do with the program you actually want, why couldn’t the software developer just get both programs’ functionalities into a single piece of software? Software developers are now very sensitive to malware concerns and will provide a lengthy explanation of just why the bundled software is necessary, in the cases when they actually do need to use bundled software.

Adware Installation Trick 2: Bait and Switch

How it works: since people are getting more and more suspicious of bundled software, the program’s developers may simply label it as valuable software, for instance, a browser plugin that supposedly accelerates web browsing (but in reality only shows ads).

How to fight it: again, a suspicious mind is useful in avoiding malware. Ask yourself some questions:

* What will this software actually do? Adware and adware-bundled software often come with very fuzzy claims attached. Sure, it says it will improve your browsing experience, but how? Often, this improved browsing experience just means a browsing experience with more advertising.

* If the software is so great, why is it being given away free? Most commonly, software is only given out free in two cases: if it’s OpenSource (designed by a community of developers and not proprietary–OpenSource software is always clearly labeled as such); or simply a come-on for a fuller-featured version of the software. If neither case is true, there’s a real chance the software is financed by adware.

Adware Installation Trick 3: Outright Lying

How it works: adware may even be labeled as something else entirely, such as a well-known piece of software or a crucial component of the computer operating system.

How to fight it: this is the trickiest adware of all, and requires extreme caution. You don’t want to start deleting any of your program files, much less your system registry entries, unless you’re absolutely sure it’s malware. Plenty of overzealous parasite hunters have shot their own machines to bits this way. This is one case where you want to be using an anti-spyware program, and preferably a second anti-spyware program to provide a second opinion.

Getting Rid of Adware

Adware is so tricky that trying to uninstall it by yourself could be like a trip into the Matrix. Luckily, there are good anti-spyware programs that tackle adware as well–after all many adware programs are also spyware since they monitor your internet usage.

True, it may feel like adding insult to injury to have to install more software to get rid of software you never meant to install in the first place. But keeping your computer free of adware is just one new cost of doing business.

A Computer And Internet Glossary

When you use computers and the Internet in your business, it’s all too easy to start feeling like you’re drowning in a sea of nonsense. Computer-related things tend to have a language all their own, and while you don’t need to know all of it, there are many confusing words and phrases that you’re going to come across sooner or later. Here’s a quick primer.

Bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that your website can send each second, as well as the amount of data that the visitor to your website can receive. If either one doesn’t have enough bandwidth, then the website will appear slowly. For this reason, you should choose a host with plenty of bandwidth, as well as testing that your site doesn’t take too long to download on slow connections.

Browser. A browser is the software (see below) that visitors to your site use to view it. The most popular browser is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which comes with Windows.

Cookie. Cookies are data files that your site can save on the computer of someone who visits that site, to allow it to remember who they are if they return. You will find that problems people have in ordering from you will almost inevitably be related to cookies — they will need to have them turned on.

Download. Transferring data from a website to a computer.

Favourite. A favourite is a website that a user has stored to look at again, by choosing ‘Add to Favourites’ in their browser’s menu.

FTP. File Transfer Protocol. This is a common method of uploading (see below) files to your website.

Javascript. A common language for writing ‘scripts’ on websites, which are small programs that make the site more interactive. Another common cause of problems for visitors.

JPEG. Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is the name of the most popular format for pictures on the web, named after the group that came up with it. If you want to put pictures on your website, you should save them as JPEGs.

Hardware. Hardware is computer equipment that physically exists. It is the opposite of software.

Hosting. If you’ve got a website out there on the Internet, then you’ll be paying someone for hosting. It is the service of making your site available for people to see.

HTML. HyperText Markup Language. A kind of code used to indicate how web pages should be displayed, using a system of small ‘tags’. The ‘b’ tag, for example, causes text to appear in bold, and the ‘img’ tag displays a picture.

Hyperlink. A hyperlink is when a piece of text on a website can be clicked to take you to another site, or another page on the same site. For example, if clicking your email address on your website allows someone to email you, then your email address is a hyperlink.

Programming. This is when the computer is given instructions to tell it what to do, using one of many ‘programming languages’. Programming languages for the web include PHP and Perl.

Server. The server is where your website is stored, and it is the server that people are connecting to when they visit the site. If someone tells you, for example, that your server is ‘down’, it means that your website is inaccessible. Note that server refers both to the hardware and software of this system.

Software. Programs that run on the computer, or that make your website work. Microsoft Word is software, for example, as is Apache (the most popular web server software). Opposite of hardware.

Spider. Don’t be scared if a spider visits your website! Spiders are simply programs used by search engines to scan your site and help them decide where it should appear when people search. It is good to be visited by spiders, as it means you should start appearing in search engines soon.

Upload. Uploading is when you transfer data from your own computer to your website. For example, you might upload your logo, or an article you’ve written. Opposite of download.

URL. Uniform Resource Locator. This is just a short way of saying ‘web address’, meaning what you have to type in to get to your website. Sometimes pronounced as ‘Earl’.

Electronics Stores

Electronic stores are becoming more and more popular. With the introduction of new technology every day it’s easy to see why stores that cater to the electronics fan are popping up steadily on the retail horizon.

Electronics stores sell many different products. One of the most common items found in electronics stores are televisions. Years ago you could just take a trip down to your neighborhood department store to purchase a television but that has all changed with the introduction of newer designs of televisions.

Most electronics stores display dozens of models of television. You’ll often see an entire wall of the electronics store filled with television sets of different sizes and designs. A very popular choice in television sets today are the flat screen models. These come in different sizes and you can usually find one that will fit into your room perfectly.

Electronics stores have other televisions as well including wide screen models. These have a high definition feature which enables the viewer to see a truly brilliant image. Many DVDs being sold today are specifically manufactured for viewing on wide screen televisions.

Televisions aren’t the only thing being sold in electronics stores. Another item that you’ll find there are home theatre systems. If you want theater quality sound in your home you’ll want to browse this department whenever you visit electronics stores. The variety of products offered is expansive and regardless of the size of your room you can achieve audio that makes you really feel as though you are sitting in a theatre viewing either the movie you are watching or the television program.

Some people visit electronics stores because they want to find an audio system that is a bit more portable. This includes items like MP3 players and personal CD players. These are great gadgets that afford the user the convenience of being able to take their music selections with them. Prices vary on these devices and it’s a good idea to consider the features you want before you decide to purchase.

One of the favorite departments of electronics stores for young people is the video games. Video games have grown leaps and bounds since the days of Pong. The video game systems being manufactured and sold today allow the user the ability to play a game with graphics that in many cases look very real.

Each gaming system has its own positive features and sells games that are often times unique only to them. Many young people and even some adults find this kind of play exciting and exhilarating; they wait anxiously for the release of new games.

Electronics stores also sell many accessories for video game systems including extra controllers, steering wheels and joysticks. They also sell the cables necessary to connect the game console to the internet for tournament play. This is an additional feature on selected game consoles and is a great way for people to challenge others to their favorite games.

You’ll find the staff at most electronics stores to be courteous and very helpful. They are trained in the use of the electronics they are selling. It’s also quite common for electronics stores to have a service counter. You can bring any products that aren’t functioning properly in for troubleshooting and repair.

Home Audio Speakers: Improving Your Home Theater With Proper Speakers

Having the right speakers for your home theater room – correct size, proper sound output, and fitting aesthetics – brings the entire room together in one cohesive piece. When looking at new home speakers, consider the size of the room, the appropriate speaker size, the number of speakers that you are going to be using, and what is within your price range for sound equipment. You may also want to consider more aesthetic items like speaker placement and the overall look of your home theater design with speakers.

When it comes to finding home speakers, the first thing to do is analyze the size of the room. You want to take a good look at how much space you have, and then do some calculations about your speaker placement and number of speakers. For instance, if the room is very large, you are going to want to place your speakers much higher. If it is small, speakers on the floor will cut down on echoes and make it easier to align your entire sound system. In-wall speakers are another option that will allow you to have quality sound from all parts of the room without dealing with the potential clutter of floor standing speakers.

The next thing to consider is the size of the speakers themselves. Each speaker type (front, side, subwoofer) come in different sizes depending on how they will be mounted, the quality of the sound and the type of application they will be used for. Larger speakers may be able to give you richer, deeper sound but that sort of sound may not be necessary for the size and layout of your particular home theater room. Additionally, quality speaker manufacturers are improving on the sound quality of smaller speakers every year. Large room sound may soon not require the use of large floorstanding or cabinet speakers. Consider the size of the in-wall speakers you prefer as well. The size of the speaker will equate to the portion of your wall that will need to be removed in order to place the speakers. A custom home theater installer can help with defining the parameters for the home theater speaker size best for your home.

The number of speakers your room needs is another item to consider. Several of the speaker brands offer different lines of speakers that include three, five or seven speaker configurations. Consult with a home audio technician or custom installer about what is the best proportion for your home if you are unsure of what you will need.

Speakers for any home theater are no longer outside of many people’s reach. Home theater equipment is available in a wide range of pricing suitable for any budget. Quality speakers by top-brands are available within the range of average home owners and top of the line speakers are also available for audio junkies who have a fine ear for sound and a fascination with the technology. Don’t let pricing stop you from getting the right type of speakers for your home. Talk to a custom installer about your price range and what is most important to you when it comes to the sound quality in your home theater.

Consider these important items as you develop your home theater’s audio system.

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