Friday, November 29th, 2013
The holiday season is approaching and many people are starting to get their festive shopping started. This year, as with previous years, laptops will undoubtedly be a popular gift. However, with so many different types of laptops out there, it can be tough to find the perfect one to give as a gift, whether you are treating yourself, a loved one or an employee.
To pick a laptop that will be not only be reliable but also make a great gift, follow our four great tips.
1. Think: What will this laptop be used for?
Because there are so many different laptops available you can guarantee that there will be a laptop that meets the needs of any user. Before you get buying a laptop for someone else, pause and make a list as to how the laptop will be used.
If you are buying a laptop for someone who will be using it for work, and works on a daily basis with intensive software like Photoshop, then look for one with higher-end hardware. If the laptop is going to be used for everyday work, like word processing, email and spreadsheets, you likely don't need one with high level hardware.
When considering different laptops, it is a good idea to actually try the laptop out in the store to see if it can handle what it will be used for.
2. Go with a company offering great tech support
Support is a factor many people who buy laptops don't consider. The truth is, there is … Continue reading the story "4 tips on purchasing laptops"
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
There are many essential components to the computer. One of the more important is the hard drive, which is where data and programs are stored. Without a hard drive, most computers would be more or less useless to the majority of users. Because they focus on storage, hard drives have limited space and in order to add more, some users turn to external hard drives.
Hard drives are separate drives that you can connect to almost every computer. The vast majority of drives use a USB cable, while some are Apple specific and use the Thunderbolt cable. Because computers, by default, don't rely on these drives in order to operate, they can usually be connected to other devices as long as they have the correct formatting.
There are numerous ways these hard drives can be used in the office. The most obvious is to back up data. Because many of these drives now come with a large amount of storage, you can easily fit computer backups and even systems onto a drive. Add in the fact that they are relatively cheap to purchase, and you can see how they can be a useful tool, especially when combined with other backup solutions.
Four benefits of using an external hard drive in your business
The majority of external hard drives are used as some form of backup solution e.g., to actually back up systems, or to keep a copy of files, which afford several benefits:
- Portability - Most external devices are small enough to move … Continue reading the story "External hard drives in business"
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Most people use the Internet at least once a day, while many of us are constantly connected. As the availability of Internet increases, we will see a continued increase in the time we spend online. As a business owner, you may eventually have to upgrade your Internet connection, or pick a new type. This can be a daunting task if you don't know what is out there.
Below is a brief overview of the three major types of Internet connection available to many businesses.
Dial-up uses a modem that is usually in your computer and connected to a phone line which in turn is connected to other modems. When you connect, your modem dials the other modems, which are usually owned by the phone provider, and establishes a connection, allowing you to access the Internet.
Dial-up is by far the slowest Internet connection, and is pretty rare in most population centers. It can still be found in some rural or remote areas, as it only requires existing telephone lines, but many Internet Service Providers (ISP) and telephone companies have stopped offering this service as technology has simply moved on.
Broadband refers to any high-speed Internet connection. There are a number of different types of broadband connections, the most popular being:
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
One of the more important features of most portable electronic devices is the memory. Many of these devices have very little internal storage space, instead relying on a memory card that can be plugged into your phone for extra storage. The problem with these cards is that there are numerous types and it can be hard to actually figure out what the differences between them are.
This article is an overview of the two most popular types of removable memory cards that most electronics use: SD and CF.
Secure Digital cards, more commonly known as SD cards, are the most popular storage medium for smaller devices like smartphones and most digital cameras. There are three main types of SD card:
- SD Mini
- SD Micro
Regular SD cards are the biggest, at 32mm length and 24mm wide. SD Micro cards are the smallest at 11 mm length and 15mm wide. If you have a device that can support SD cards, it's important to know what size of card you need. You can usually find this out in the tech specs of the device.
Each size of SD card usually comes in three different types. This designation actually dictates the maximum storage capacity of the card:
- SDSC - SD Standard Capacity - can store up to 2GB of data. Some cards can go as high as 4GB.
- SDHC - SD High Capacity - can store up to 32GB of data.
- SDXC - SD eXtended Capacity - can store up to 2TB (Terabytes) of data, although … Continue reading the story "SD and CF cards: The difference"
Thursday, August 8th, 2013
One of the more popular home media trends of the past three years is the integration of devices that allow users to stream content like movies from Netflix on their TV. Some of these devices include capabilities such as the ability to share content on a mobile device or computer and are starting to gain the interest of businesses. Have you seen these devices and wondered if they could fit into your business?
These devices, often referred to as dongles, come in a variety of different sizes, with a variety of functionality. However, they serve one main purpose, to allow you to stream content on your TV. Here is an overview of three of the more popular devices that enable this capability and some examples of how businesses are using it.
This little black box allows Apple users to stream content from their Apple computers or iDevice onto any monitor with an HD connection - most users connect the AirPlay to their TV, but if you have a projector with HDMI in, or a VGA adapter, you should be able to hook up AirPlay to bigger screens and even projectors.
The strength of this device is that it allows you to share what you see on your iPhone or iPad. If you have a presentation on your iPad, you can simply connect to AirPlay and share it on a big screen - no more having to carry around a bulky laptop.
AirPlay also supports mirroring. If you have a newer Mac … Continue reading the story "Media streaming onto the TV – good idea?"
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Computers are made up of numerous complex components that are all necessary in order for us to be able to use them. One vital component is the processor which functions as each machine's brain. The most popular computer processors are created by Intel. At a recent press event, Intel released the latest version, or generation, of their popular Core processors.
While the new processors are not out just yet, many business owners and managers are wondering what exactly this new version will bring and whether upgrading is worth it when it's released?
Overview of Intel's processors
If you have looked at buying a computer in the past three years you have likely heard or seen computers being advertised as having an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7. These processors are Intel's current line or models, used in laptops and desktops.
- Core i3 processors offer the lowest amount of processing power and are generally found in low-end laptops or desktops. These are best for users who only need computers to check email or browse the Internet.
- Core i5 processors are the mid-range and can usually be found in mid-range laptops and desktops. These are best suited to most personal users and can handle most computing needs.
- Core i7 processors are top of the line and are the most powerful processors Intel makes. These are really suited to businesses and high-end consumers who need powerful processors.
Introduced in 2010, these processors have seen updated versions released almost every year. Intel calls each update a 'generation' and … Continue reading the story "Intel introduces new processor: Haswell"
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Computers and the hardware components that run them are always evolving, getting faster and faster. Unfortunately, small to medium businesses often can't take advantage of the latest and greatest simply because it's too expensive to be constantly updating. This means using older systems that will get slower with age. That's why it's important to take steps to keep your computer running fast.
Below are four things you can do to keep your PC running smoothly.
1. Shutdown properly
If you turn your computer off at the end of the day, or it freezes, it may be tempting to flick the off switch on the power bar, or press the power button until it turns off. This isn't ideal for your computer's health because when a computer is unexpectedly shut down, there could be damage to the operating system.
You may notice that when your computer crashes, it takes longer to reboot. This is because Windows is actually searching for, or trying to repair any damage that may have been done. There is a chance that powering down improperly could cause files to become corrupted which may make the system inoperable.
Therefore, you should follow proper shutdown procedures. If you need to shut down quickly, try pressing Control+Alt+Delete and selecting Shut Down from there.
2. Close unnecessary programs running in the background
Some programs are written to be always running in the background. If you look in the bottom right of your screen, you should see programs running beside the clock. In truth, most of these likely don't need to be open. You should … Continue reading the story "Here are 4 tips on keeping computers running"
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Computers are incredibly useful, however they are also complex beyond belief. This is made even more so because of the large number of confusing acronyms, words and terms. If you read tech blogs, or have friends/colleagues who are in-the-know, you have likely heard them mention overclocking and may have wondered what it is, and if you should be looking into it.
Here's a brief overview of overclocking.
When it comes to most tech based devices, the processor (or CPU) is the integral component that functions as the brain of the device; it runs the show. The job of the CPU is to take instructions and input from all the other devices and components and execute them. For example, double-click on a program on your desktop and the CPU computes what to do with the mouse click (open the program), and runs the related code, which is shown as the program opening.
One thing many computer sales people talk about is processor or CPU speed. This is the number of instructions it can run in one second. These instructions are grouped together into one cycle, and one cycle per second equates to a Hertz. You may see computers that have 2Ghz processors, this means 2 Gigahertz or 2,000,000,000 cycles in one second.
Now, when manufacturers release a new CPU they design it to run at a standard, or optimal speed, and will generally limit it. This is done to preserve the life of the components, however there are often ways to break this speed limiter. When you raise the maximum clock … Continue reading the story "What is overclocking? Can it help?"
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
The computer is one of the most important inventions of the past century. While it is a magnificent machine, most users treat their computers like a black box. We know how to use it, but little do we know about what is inside. It's these components that allow us to communicate, run businesses and yes, even surf Facebook. As such, it could be beneficial to know a little bit about the internal workings of the modern computer.
Here's a basic overview of the seven essential hardware components of the modern computer that businesses rely on. These components are found in nearly every computer, and now many tablets and smartphones too.
Think of the motherboard as the backbone of nearly any technological device. It holds all the major components of the computer, including the hard drive, processor, memory and peripheral ports like the USB. Most motherboards in computers, and to some extent laptops, are called expandable. This means that you can replace components as long as they are compatible. For example, you can take out a hard drive and replace it with another that has more storage capacity.
If you can't take parts out, you may see the term mainboard used. This term is usually applied to devices like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and so on.
2. Networking cards
Networking cards, or network interfacing cards, may be separate cards or integrated into the motherboard. Their purpose is to provide a way for your computer to connect to the network and Internet.
Many new computers will have the network card integrated into the motherboard, … Continue reading the story "The 7 essential computer parts"