Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living.
Take a look at the most common computing problems of the last century.
Infographic courtesy of: lenovo
Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living.
Take a look at the most common computing problems of the last century.
Infographic courtesy of: lenovo
Online storage auctions have grown in popularity in recent years. This is, in part, related to the developments of internet technology including the introduction of smartphones and tablets. Internet auction platforms mean people can now bid on items from the comfort of their living room without having to rummage through cramped storage units.
Storage auctions can be a great place to find bargains. Storage companies auction off the belongings of a unit when the owner fails to pay rental fees. Traditionally bidders enter the unit and bid on items on-site, which can often be a loud, busy and altogether chaotic experience.
Due to an ever growing tech-savvy population, storage auctions have now gone online as well, and have proved very popular. People are well accustomed to scouting out bargains online and virtual storage auctions are no exception. In fact, online auctions can often earn twice as much as onsite auctions for sellers.So what are the core benefits of an online storage auction for the ordinary buyer?
Attending an online storage auction is simply a matter of sitting in your favourite chair and opening up an app or browser window on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Everything is a finger click away. While eventually you’ll need to collect the items bought, the actual process of selecting and buying can be done from anywhere.
Storage auctions online allow you to quickly browse through many different auctions taking place in the local region and beyond. This provides a great overview of options rather than driving from one unit to another by car. Not only do you save money on gas but also you avoid wasting time with obviously unsuitable auctions.
Auctions of any kind can be a rough and tumble affair and this is especially the case with storage unit and garage auctions. A virtual storage auction does away with the need to manually explore the contents of a unit with other people vying for the same items. This is especially beneficial for bidders and bargain hunters who are elderly, disabled or infirm.
Online storage auctions can run for weeks at a time and are open twenty-four seven until the published end date. This allows bidders to bid at any time of day or night. Traditional storage auctions are open for limited hours each day which can be difficult for some people to get to, due to work or family constraints. The virtual auction allows everyone to bid, even from bed in the early hours of the morning.
In the loud excitement of a traditional auction, prices can sky-rocket as people try to outbid one another. There’s a certain rivalry to be had when you can see fellow bidders face-to-face. An online auction takes away part of that adrenaline rush and time anxiety, and allows for more considered bids over a longer time frame. This means cheaper overall prices and better deals.
Plus, as mentioned previously, there’s less wasted gas and time from driving between auctions.
Online storage auctions can be accessed from a variety of devices. This allows for more and more people to make bids which not only benefits bidders but also sellers. As technology develops even further, it’s safe to say online auctions are here to stay.
Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before, and it’s changing the way we do business. Social media has transformed marketing into a community activity, artificial intelligence is changing customer service as we know it and mobile phones have made it easier for shoppers to buy products on the go.
This Black Friday marked a major milestone for mobile eCommerce as shopping from phones and tablets was responsible for $1.2 billion in U.S. online sales! While purchases from mobile only make up 36 percent of total online sales for Black Friday, mobile views actually outweighed PC views by 55 percent – meaning that the majority of shoppers at least viewed a retail or eCommerce page from their smartphone before buying products from their personal computer.
And mobile purchases are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, 2016 saw the first time shoppers made the majority, 51 percent, of their purchases on the web. This trend will only increase as it become easier to research and buy items from computers and mobile devices. If eCommerce sites want to stay competitive, they need to design for mobile.
Below are a few tips to get your enterprise eCommerce store in on the action.
Build a Mobile Friendly Site:
If you are looking to optimize your site for mobile, it’s probably best to start with an enterprise eCommerce platform built with mobile in mind. Retrofitting an existing site can take a lot of extra time and effort, especially if you hire an agency or outside team to make the necessary adjustments. Remember that mobile doesn’t only mean smartphone, so you will also need a tablet-friendly version of your site as well.
Entice Younger Customers:
Depending on your business model and target demographics, you may be looking towards mobile to attract more Millennials. It turns out members of Generation Y are the most avid mobile shoppers, making nearly 63 percent of their purchases via smartphone or tablet. It’s crystal clear – if you want to appeal to younger buyers, you must optimize your eCommerce site for mobile.
Email Marketing for Mobile:
Email marketing is nothing new, but did you know it is one of the hottest ways to keep customers engaged in your brand? More than 65 percent of all email gets opened first on mobile; and since push notification alert users when they receive new messages, your emails have a greater chance of being seen. Use email marketing to promote sales, limited-time discounts, promotions and more. Experiment with pushing out marketing material at different times of day. Want to be the first thing in their inbox when they wake up? Or should you try to catch shoppers with store alerts in the late evening?
Embrace Social Commerce:
Social media is abuzz with viral marketing campaigns and two-way conversations between buyers and brands. Never has it been easier to see exactly what your audience is talking about. Luckily, social media platforms have taken things further by offering buy buttons on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and others. Now users looking at your page can buy directly from their feed.
Avoid Orphaned Carts:
Of course, nothing comes without its challenges. Mobile enterprise eCommerce isn’t perfect and in fact could lead to the growing number of abandoned carts. Reports show cart abandonment is highest among mobile users as they relinquished orders at around 79 percent. To combat this, make sure that your checkout process is quick and simple for mobile users. No one likes fumbling around with tiny text boxes on such a small screen.
If you operate an enterprise eCommerce store, then you should take advantage of the exciting development in mobile sales and marketing. This guide will get you started, but don’t forget to experiment to see what works best for your customers and your business.
Computer networking is a valuable skill ― especially if you are hoping to acquire that skill to break into the lucrative tech field. After all, network engineers and administrators can earn upwards of $75,000 in salary and enjoy a long, stable career.
Networking is the process of linking several computing devices, so they can exchange data. Businesses require complex networks and professionals to manage them because employees must communicate and collaborate almost constantly. However, you don’t need a small-business-worth of devices to begin learning how to network. In fact, like most tech proficiencies, it is entirely possible to learn networking from the comfort of your home using only the following tech tools.
Unless you are reading this on a mobile device, you probably already have this tool at-the-ready. Computers are far-and-away the best machines to use to practice networking. Almost any functional computer should be enough to help you learn routing, switching, bridging, and other networking principles. However, a computer equipped with a newer version of a popular operating system ― namely, Windows 7 or 10 ― will prepare you best for a future career in IT because Microsoft Windows remains the most popular OS for businesses around the world.
Though some offices around the country are connecting mobile devices to their networks, they certainly aren’t conducive to the beginning networker. Small screens, atypical operating systems, and limited functionality will make your networking practice frustrating and generally ensure you are ill-prepared for real networking environments. Plus, few mobile devices are capable of running other essential networking tools, like:
Unless you already have enough devices for a networking playground, you probably don’t want to incur the colossal expense of acquiring enough computers, printers, and other electronics necessary to practice your burgeoning networking skill. Fortunately, you don’t need to, either; network simulators allow your computer to reproduce other devices digitally, giving you the opportunity to play with networking strategies without an office full of beeping, blinking machines.
Inarguably, the most valuable network simulator you can get is Graphical Network Simulator-3, or GNS3. Best described as a graphical interface that allows everyone from networking novices to experienced networking professionals to test various network configurations, GNS3 is vital to experimenting with different types of networking equipment without investing in them right away. The software emulates and simulates a vast array of networking devices, including Cisco routers and firewalls, Juniper routers, and frame-relay switches, so you can understand the best ways to connect devices for different office environments. Still, GNS3 won’t be useful to you, unless you also have:
Like most fields in tech, networking has its own jargon. Though terms like “router” and “gateway” might seem familiar enough, there are hundreds of names and phrases that remain utterly mysterious to everyone outside the isolated community of networkers. Abbreviations like DHCP, IPv4, and NAT aren’t necessarily easy to parse, and proficiency in clustering, filtering, cloaking, and switching simply won’t come naturally to a first-timer. You do need a guide through the wide world of networking, even when you are learning the skill from home.
Fortunately, there are dozens of networking courses available online. There are step-by-step guides to every networking process, from downloading and using GNS3 to ensuring the security of an established network. Tech experts ― many of whom are self-taught themselves ― are often more than eager to pass on their knowledge to upstarts, which means you can typically find all the information you need to begin networking. Plus, by acquiring your knowledge online and informally, you can hold down a job or engage in other pursuits that may contribute to your future tech career.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer network administration jobs are on the rise. By 2024, more than 30,000 jobs in this field will need filling, and if you devote time to practicing networking, you could develop a proficiency that makes you the perfect candidate. It doesn’t take much to learn networking ― just a computer, a simulator, and a will to learn ― so what are you waiting for? You can start right now gaining the knowledge and skills for a fantastic tech career.
After a lot of deliberation, you’re finally ready to get that video conferencing system up and running… up until you realize that there’s a whole slew of systems to choose from. You can’t just pick one out, call it a day, and hope for the best, can you? You’ll need to make sure that it’s the right one, for you and your team. Here are a few helpful questions, then, to guide you throughout that selection process:
What Are the Features You Need?
What features are non-negotiable for you? Don’t forget to pull in key members of your team. Better yet, ask them all. That way, you’ll find out which features rank the highest in terms of need and popularity among your employees. If you don’t, you could end up buying a video communication system your team hates.
What Hardware Do You Need?
If you already have laptops and desktop units with cameras, then a video conferencing software might just be what you need to get going. But if you don’t have any audio and video tools or equipment, you will need to spend more on those elements. Along with those video cameras, you also have to invest in microphones and high-quality monitors, says Cisco. Be wary of going for the lowest option, especially when you set out to buy monitors. If you end up with blurry visuals, it’s going to render your video calling and conferencing tool useless. Determine what hardware you need to set your system up.
How Much Can You Spend?
Your budget will determine a great deal. If you’re working under a tight one, then it might be prudent to go with BYOD (bring your own device) to work, allowing employees to bring their own laptops—equipped with web cameras already—and simply install the software into those units. However, if you do have room in your budget for more, then use it to set aside a video conferencing room. That way, if you or someone in your team needs to get in touch with an offsite employee, you have a go-to spot you can readily use.
How Will Your Employees Use the Technology?
User adoption is crucial, so ask your people how they’re going to use the video communication system. This can handily provide you with a checklist of what your team needs so you can make a fully informed decision. Are they going to use it to connect to remote employees or reach out to customers? Are the meetings going to be long or short? Will the video conferences need to be archived? Do they want a recording feature? The BlueJeans offers enterprise video conferencing solutions that are easy to install, understand, and use. That’s going to go a long way with your employees. The simpler a system is, after all, the more people will use it. That’s the result you want. After all, there’s no use getting a system, even one with all the bells and whistles, if your team doesn’t end up using it. That’s just money down the drain.
Is It a Multipoint System?
These days, a lot of video solutions work on a number of devices and platforms. Pick one like that. Multipoint capability is gold. Have a meeting to go to but you’re still stuck in traffic? No worries. Fire up your laptop and log onto that meeting. Do you have low batteries on your laptop that are not going to last you for the entire session? Switch to your mobile or tablet instead. That’s how crucial multipoint capability can be. With it, you or anyone on your team can enjoy greater flexibility with your devices. This also means that you and your team won’t have to be tied to a single unit just for the video calling and conferencing system to work. You can work from any number of devices, so long as you have a reliable internet connection.
Is It Reliable?
Your video conferencing solution needs to be reliable, the Inc. says. If you constantly experience lag times, connection problems, and even blurry videos, it might be time that you switched to a new one. You could also test out the system before you commit to it long-term. Some companies offer trial periods for a small fee. You can take advantage of those trials to see if a particular conferencing system is the one you and your team has been waiting for. If you get better video quality, reliable calls, and a slew of great features, then it’s safe to say that you’ve found a winner. Make sure you and your team test it out thoroughly for user adoption.
Choosing the right video communication system for your company involves a lot of factors, so consider those before you decide on a final pick. With so many options to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that suits you, your team, and your company right down to a tee.
image credit: TANDBERG Corporation / Wiki
With so much emphasis on the digital, it is clear that if someone has a business, they need a website. That said, one must consider quite a few things when going down the path of website creation. Many people and business owners have already made those decisions. However, that doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t take a look at options that are available. This is especially the case if a website revamping is in order in the future.
Among the available options, is the online website builder. A website builder is a great tool that can help small business owners create their own website. However, like most things in life, there are both positives and negatives to using a tool like this.
Website builders usually follow a content management system principle. This means that there is a definite distinction between the content and design of the website. Before making the decision to use a website builder, it is a good idea to take a look at the resources available, which in this case include offline and online web creation tools.
Actually, the discussion of a true CMS goes beyond the scope of this article and originally, what we consider a CMS was not really the case. However, we are not here to quibble over definitions and website design has come a long way in the past few years. It is a combination of CMS (which it needs to be, in this fast-paced digital world!) and design. Fortunately, the modern website builder tools help to integrate those two aspects so that you don’t have to worry about it.
As the name suggests, an online website builder becomes usable when an active online connection is in place. One major advantage is that it usually includes easy functionality. Another advantage over the offline is that it is available wherever there is an internet connection. It is also possible that it is usable on a myriad of devices that access the internet.
Since most of the platforms do not require skills in coding, users are able to design their website quickly. They can design in a usable way, instead of trying to think like a programmer. (That work has already been done for them!)
Although an online builder has a multitude of benefits, offline website creation should still be a possibility. The group of individuals who do well with the offline choices are generally those such as the experienced programmer.
What is an offline builder? Ok, to answer that question, let’s use an example of a particular popular software. Well, at the least, it was very popular a few years ago (that should give you an idea about the growth of popularity of online tools, as well). The software is Dreamweaver, by Adobe, which used to be available as a full-fledged offline software program. It is now available as a subscription, from the Adobe Creative Cloud. To go into an explanation of what it does and how cool it is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say, it was/is an awesome tool for programmers and even those who simply understood how to code in HTML.
There are a few things to consider when making a final decision. First, let’s talk about why choosing an online website builder is likely a better choice, overall, than a software choice. Hey, we are not here to tell you what to do, but we are distilling out the points that were discussed in the above section, to demonstrate what is left. In other words, those aspects that likely affect your final decision, which is, of course, YOUR final decision (not ours).
In comparing the two examples that we are using for this article, website builders are more cost effective than the standalone software application. The website builder, ucraft, is $8/month. The online Adobe Creative Cloud Dreamweaver application (not completely offline) is $19.99/month.
As mentioned above, online creators do not require exceptional coding skills. Coding skills help, but are not generally required. This allows the online website builder tools to be a bit easier, especially for the novices and those new to the web (newbies). In comparison, coding skills (and exceptional coding skills) are generally helpful for software applications like the Dreamweaver software (generally offline, but available via the cloud).
Users can also easily monitor any changes made to the site, right away, after (or as) the changes are made. In comparison, truly offline software applications present a bit of an issue in this area. At the least, there is either a less-than-exact preview of the site, or more steps to acquire the same preview. Disclaimer: This is a comparison to the offline Dreamweaver software application. Creative Cloud version of Dreamweaver may have some desirable online features (beyond the scope of this article).
That said, it still stands that the online website builder/creator tools over very acceptable preview options. This is often called WYSIWYG (“What You See is What You Get”). This is desirable. And, it is available to you in most website builders.
Ok, we have spent some time differentiating between online and offline (even if accessible via the internet) tools. Even if you have chosen to move forward with the online website builder, you still need to evaluate the options. Those options vary between website builders. This is true regardless of the fact that they all fit in the category of “online website builders.”
This is another way of saying that you might be wondering what to look for in a website builder. Before jumping in with both feet, it’s a good idea to do some detective work. This means finding a program that feels right. For example, ucraft (more on ucraft, below) offers templates customized to your specifications.
Geared towards both newbies and advanced users, the skill sets of all business owners are covered, in most website builders. They are able to create many different types of pages. Of course, that still requires that detective work we mentioned, to ensure that the tool that you have chosen provides what you need, when it comes to matching your skill set, and that of your team.
Some website builders offer a trial period, to allow you the opportunity to do the detective work. Again, using ucraft as our example, they offer a 14-day trial period. This allows users the ability to explore everything the tool has to offer. Taking time to explore the ins and outs of each website builder can help to ward off problems down the road. This is especially the case if someone is just starting out on that road. Easy functionality should sit high on the list of must-haves when deciding which website builder to choose.
Another feature to look for is a builder that offers several different themes and color scheme templates. If the interface seems complicated from the start, it is probably better to continue searching for another website builder. You want a builder that is navigated in a straightforward, easy-to-follow manner that suits your skill set. So, again, we have options, navigation, and a good fit for your skill set.
Ultimately, whether ones uses a website creator or not comes down to what you are looking to accomplish. Fortunately, creating a website has never been easier. Thanks to all of the builders online, creating a solid website is only a click away.
Using our process from above, let’s list the options and features that we need (or want) in an online website builder. First, let’s start with the features that ucraft lists, right on their website:
These features are all listed on the same page that is linked above, for ucraft.
Now, as you can see, many of these listed items are actually on your list for your detective work. That means that that work has been done for you! Makes it a bit simpler, eh?
There are also several additional items on the list that we did not cover explicitly, but which are definitely helpful. The hosting and the 24/7 support are two of those. When was the last time you were working on something in the middle of the night and needed help? Well, in this case, ucraft has you covered! Also, if you are in another country, different time zone, ucraft has you covered with the 24/7 support.
And, we didn’t even have a discussion about SEO, but ucraft has you covered on that one. Confused by SEO? Fortunately, ucraft has the SEO app built into the website builder. The step-by-step process provides what you need for your SEO-ready site.
Many times website builders (especially the free ones) require their branding to appear on the website, as advertising for their own website. That actually makes sense if you are not paying anything for the builder, but fortunately, you will not have that with ucraft. It is all about you, in this case.
Great place to leave it, eh? Now, go ahead and move forward on your dreams and goals and succeed. You have the tool(s) that will help you do just that!
April is a historic month for the internet. This April Amazon turned 21, the first Skype message was 13 years old, and the first YouTube video turned 11 years old only last Saturday.
If these sites were people, YouTube would have mastered the art of reading, Skype would be starting to feel hormonal, and Amazon could probably be sitting its undergraduate finals.
The folks at SSLs have created an infographic that presents a fascinating timeline of all the most important ‘internet firsts’.
It’s amazing to think how much these sites shape the media landscape we interact with on a daily basis, regardless of how young they really are. On the flip-side it’s also incredible to consider just how old this ‘new’ digital technology is getting.
Text Hat Tip: visualistan.com
Not all desktop or laptop computers were created equal. Similar to the process of purchasing a car, with each vehicle being made to serve a unique purpose, so it is with a computer, or, in this case, a laptop. These machines are finely crafted for their purpose in life. The key to finding the right device is understanding that purpose and understanding what it is that you need (and want) as a gamer.
It is not uncommon for gamers (or non-gamers, for that matter) to get so excited about their new purchase that they go out and buy the first laptop that they find, thinking that all laptops are alike (or close enough), and any laptop will do the trick. Worse yet is the type of excitement that leads them to buy a used (and possibly broken) laptop. That sort of logic, if applied to finding the perfect marriage partner, could increase business for the lawyers as the divorce and separation rates skyrocket!
Whether it is the search for a life partner or the search for just the right gaming laptop, we should step back and take a breather, ensuring that we properly evaluate what it is that we need (and want). As gamers, we want to be sure that we know what options are available and which ones we need and which ones we can forego.
Now that we know what we need to do, 1) where do we start; and 2) what qualities are the most essential to us?
When shopping for a laptop, whether it is online or in a store, look for those “Sale” signs, or the “Half Off” or those “Suggested Retail Prices” that have lines through them (in the above image). After all, you don’t want to pay full price, do you? That is the first place to start. Fortunately, these sales are often pretty easy to find and especially with the online stores, like the one shown here, at Shopping Express online store.
You don’t necessarily have to rule out buying used (i.e. eBay). This is especially true if you are handy with the computer hardware or you have a friend who is handy with computer hardware. However, if you are that person, you are not likely reading this article because you have already found your gaming laptop or pieced the perfect gaming laptop together for yourself (or your friend). Also, keep in mind that even if you have a friend who is handy with fixing computers, that that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she wants to do it or that he or she has the time to do it for you. You do need to weigh which is more important, the friendship or the gaming laptop.
Another thing to evaluate if you are going to involve “used” in the equation of affordability is the return on investment (i.e. ROI). For example, if you see a $3,000 laptop that is on sale for $400 because the screen is broken, and you find the very same screen for $40, and you know how to replace the screen yourself, then you have a good deal, saving yourself $2560 (not including labor). However, if there is any risk at all that you may not know what you are doing or that you may have the wrong part or that the advertised screen may not be in tip top shape (or the seller may not be shooting it straight)… well, that is a case where you should step back and think a little more about it. Examples like this are why it is often times easier (and safer) to just go with buying new or discounted and leave the “used” out of the equation entirely. Another reason is that you may always be wondering if the reason that you are slower on the “Grand Theft Auto” is because of some glitch in the used hardware and not your skill. Keep it simple and leave the questions behind and not a part of the game.
Ok, we are not talking about speed as it relates to racing or how fast you can steal something, or how fast the cave men fall off their thing-a-ma-jig in the lemmings-like cave man game. We are talking about the speed and processor of your laptop.
Everyone has different preferences, but when I’m looking for a gaming laptop, I want a fast processor, high-quality sound, and amazing graphics. Anything less than that takes away from the gaming experience, and for me, it’s vital to keep these specifications in mind when making a purchase.
Think about it. If you think you can get by with 10% slower speed, or 5% inferior sound, or 7% fuzzy graphics.. well, how long will that last before you feel like pulling your hair out at the roots? Or, worse yet, pulling parts and wires out of your laptop? For your own sanity, go for the 100%. Already, at some point, we are going to be wanting to upgrade our laptops (and desktops and other devices), so we might as well do the best we can during each upgrade. That way we can maximize our rate of return.
So, back to the topic of “speed.” When referencing speed, we are talking about your laptop’s ability to process data quickly and efficiently. When playing a game, your laptop must make rapid calculations about the environment, player movements, and much more. An inability to process this data fast enough will result in slow loading times and lag. A friend of mine used to call it “connecting to the mother ship,” when there would be a spinning wheel (Mac) or spinning hour glass (Windows). When you have these unfortunate events, you can experience shaky, unnatural movements, which will disrupt your gameplay experience.
It is not uncommon for gamers to choose a processor that meets their current games’ minimum requirements, but this means their processor will soon be outdated. Instead, make it a habit of looking for hardware (laptop) that matches or exceeds the maximum gaming requirements. This is a much wiser long-term choice and investment. At this point in time, it is a good idea to consider an Intel I7 processor. However, even as you are reading this article, that information will eventually become outdated, so be sure to do your research and get the best processor available for your gaming needs.
Powerful, beautiful visual effects add to your gaming experience, and they allow you to become fully immersed in the game. If you choose a laptop that lacks powerful graphics, it will limit your gaming experience. Poor visual effects distract players from the game’s storyline by calling attention to system flaws. People often buy laptops and pay little attention to the quality of the monitor or graphics card, which often leaves them disappointed. Poor graphics can do more than ruin your gameplay experience; if your laptop’s graphics card does not meet the minimum requirements, many games won’t even load. If you want a quality gaming laptop, it’s vital to select one with NVIDIA GTX graphics.
Keep in mind, too, that sometimes your buying environment affects your interpretation of the graphics. If you are not reading the spec card for your laptop (or you do not understand how to read it), and you are only listening to the salesperson, you may be missing out on vital information. Many times the lighting in the showroom is not ideal for evaluating the video game graphics. The lighting may be too bright or too dark. Or, you may even be distracted and not really take in the information needed in order to make the right buying decision. Online purchasing can be even more challenging without a trial run with the laptop to see if the graphics are all that they are cut out to be for your gaming laptop. By all means, ensure that you have a return policy so that after you get your laptop in the environment where you will be playing your games (doing most of your gaming), and you are free from distractions, that you really have a chance to try it out and ensure that the visuals are up to snuff and what you expect. In the programming world, we call this the “burn in” and in the gaming world, it is something similar except that you are actively involved in testing your laptop to the hilt.
Audio quality is the next element you must consider when buying a gaming laptop. Poor sound quality interrupts your gaming experience and prevents you from feeling immersed in the game. On the other hand, high-quality sound adds to the gaming experience by adding a level of realism. Thus, a quality gaming laptop should come with SonicMaster sound capabilities or something similar.
One advantage, when it comes to sound, is that you can “fix it in the mix,” to some extent. The phrase, “Fix it in the mix” is a phrase us sound engineers use (or, preferably, don’t use). What it means is that if you do not get a good “take” when you are recording a band, that you “fix” the sound recording with your sound board, effects, and all those magic tricks that are up your sleeve. The reality is that this is NOT the way that a sound engineer should approach a recording gig. The recording process should be a high-quality process so that you do NOT have to fix it in the mix, and instead, you are enhancing a quality recording that has already been laid down on the tracks. However, in this context, with gaming, there are some advantages. No, we are not recording music (or are we? lol). However, we do have an ability to attach external speakers, headphones, sound studio effects, etc. But, that does not negate the need to purchase a laptop that has “decent sound.” In the same way as getting a good recording, you want to have a decent sound coming out of your laptop. That way, any special tricks (or magic up your sleeve) is only enhancing the sound capabilities and allowing you to immerse yourself that much deeper into the game as if you are really there. That sound enhancement allows you to become one with the game and what does that do? It allows you to be the best gamer that you can be, right?!
Some of the key things that GadgetJM brought out in his review of this laptop was that it isn’t “just” a gaming laptop. Yes, it is true that that is what we are in the market for, a gaming laptop, but Mike points out that this laptop covers what is needed for a gaming laptop, but goes beyond that to be able to be classified as a media laptop. This is important if you ever want to take a break from your gaming, give your hand(s) a rest, and chill watching Netflix or your favorite streaming video or audio service.
It is not the lightest laptop in the world, but it is also easier to carry around than a desktop. Also, Mike pointed out that the sleek black design may be difficult to keep clean. Because of this design, the finger smudges and fingerprints are going to show, and they are going to show up faster than they would on their laptop cousins. That said, with proper and thorough cleaning, as well as a nerdy sleeve (to protect it from smudges), this laptop can look pretty spiffy and impressive out in public. Then again, is this laptop a showpiece or a competitive edge against all of your gamer friends?
There are other minor setbacks, but nothing that you wouldn’t find with most laptops. Things like fan noise that isn’t too excessive, but wouldn’t win an award for the most quiet either. All-in-all, Mike rated this laptop as not just suitable as a gamer laptop, but an overall “good laptop,” as well. That may mean that you could even use it for college or university in between all of the gamer competitions! And, don’t miss the pricing. The particular site where we read about this laptop had a price that was significantly lower than the suggested retail price (above snapshot; affordability).
We would be remiss if we didn’t give you some other ideas and things to percolate on when it comes to technology. Do keep in mind that your gaming life is not limited to just the laptop. You can also hook up the laptop to a monitor (even a big screen TV) for an incredible viewing experience. You are not limited by the “smallness” of the laptop when you have that 40-inch big screen. Don’t forget to attach your favorite gaming mouse, your surround sound speaker system, favorite lazy-boy chair (is that too old?)… and much more.
Keep in mind that your games don’t all have to be on the computer, as an application. There are quite a few online games that you can play with your friends (hey, even your grandparents!). And, keep those tablets and smartphones handy. Amazing what you can do with those devices when a bathroom break interrupts your favorite game, and you don’t want to lose your winning streak!
Now, before we go, some fun accessories to add to your collection (Be sure that the accessories go with your particular gaming setup/devices):
|G502 Gaming Mouse||Belkin Power Supply (65w)|
|Belkin Surge Protector||Lenovo Adapter|
And, with that, Happy Gaming (and don’t forget to pop in and say “Hi” in between games)!
All too often we hear the word “game changer” as if it’s something so revolutionary we’re all left in awe. As if we’re supposed to then get down on our knees to worship at the feet of the developers behind it. This happens pretty often in the tech world. We’re left scratching our heads. On one hand they may actually be useful. On the other hand we have no idea how we could add it into our busy lives.
Let’s introduce you to the concept of the future.
Computer Downsizing, it’s here, it’s real, and you can’t do anything about it.
Smart Devices have become a thing lately. With the hype of the Apple Watch being downgraded to merely giving such a wearer a cursory glance. We only recently gave these wearables permission to join our little family of scattered devices laying around our homes. Everything needs to be charged, everything needs to be synced, everything needs WiFi
That’s always going to be up to you to decide. Just don’t bring up Google Glass–trust us, they don’t–some say it was ahead of its time, others say there was never a time.
Our list of downsizing is remarkable. There are so many variants of mobility today that it’s become difficult to keep track of them. Many made the list, many didn’t. If only we had the time and space to bring them under the limelight, sigh.
When we think computer we think of desktop PCs. We’d bet many of you reading this right now have used Windows 3.1 for word processing. We agree, learning how to navigate through MS-DOS was a pain but Command line was a useful foundation to learn.
There are several models to choose that don’t get above 190mm by length or width. They come with mandatory Solid State Drives, which is a great thing because if you read our earlier post on SSDs you’ll understand why! They all have HDMI outputs, two audio jacks, an onboard LAN, WiFi, bluetooth, and expandable RAM up to 16 GB. The CPU isn’t too shabby either. They’ve managed to cram in an Intel Celeron 2957U @ 1.40 GHz at the lower end and an Intel Core i5-4210U @ 1.7 GHz at the higher end. The GPU performance is standard with an integrated Intel HD graphics card. The exeception would be the VM62N; it has an Nvidia GeForce 820M.
All are upgradable to Windows 10. If you wanted Windows 7 we assume it wouldn’t be hard to install it provided you knew how.
Ultrabooks, the main competitor for the Macbook Air are out this year with a vengeance. We have the Lenovo LaVie Z. Touted as “the lightest ultrabook in the world.” At 1.87 lb, it packs a 2.40 GHz Intel Core i7-5500U, Intel HD integrated graphics 5500, 8GB RAM, 2k screen, and 256 GB SSD! As you might expect, having to cram all of those things into something less than a foot long is an expensive process. Accept that none of the ultrabooks on the market now are that affordable.
As far as Ultraportable Laptops go, Apple has always been the go-to for those with the means and a lifestyle that would rather have something that just works right out of the box. It is a bit long in the tooth but being last years model, it’s better priced. The 2015 Macbook sports a 12-inch 1440p screen, 1.1GHz Core M processor, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz, and an Intel HD integrated graphics card. The base model comes with a 256 SSD and of course everything gets tied together in OSX 10.10.2 Yosemite.
We’ve looked at the witchcraft that is the ASUS VivoPC, ultrabooks, ultraportable laptops, what’s next?
How small can we get?
The smallest of the bunch seems to be the Intel Compute Stick. It sells for $99.99 on Amazon in early 2015 and has since been surpassed by the Cherry Trail Atom at $154.64. Lenovo and ASUS have also made the jump to stuffing functional OS’s into something the size of a flash drive.
The next step up might be the NUC class. According to Computer Shopper, NUC stands for “Next Unit of Computing.” This initiative is being led by Intel as a catalyst for developing very small Windows-based desktop PCs using mobile processors. The HP Pavilion Mini is one such example. The best part? It affixes to the back of your LCD monitor.
This then brings us to another huge question…
Raspberry Pi seems like something everyone has heard at some point but since it wasn’t much more than a PCM board with a few connectors it sort of just slipped under the radar. Going to RaspberryPi.org we found a lot of help with our definition of just what exactly this thing was.
The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.
It’s basically whatever you choose to make it.
We still don’t understand it. Rather than try to explain it, it’s best you just watch this video.
We own a Moto 360, and while we often forget to charge it overnight it’s made sure we’re on top of things at all times. Especially when we really don’t feel like pulling our phone out. In our model we get the ability to look through messages, browse the web, watch videos (with bluetooth headphones), send text messages through voice, and answer calls with a swipe across your watch. They feature interchangeable digital faces as well. The hot watch this year is going to be the Moto Sport 360 running the newest edition of Android Wear.
There are quite a few mentionables such as Athena which is supposed to track and protect women via an alarm and GPS alerts, super small earpiece devices coined “hearables”, YouTube 360 taking advantage of the VR movement, “invisibles” or “tech tattoos” designed to do… something, wearable payments embedded in bracelets, and wearables marketed directly to fashion conscious women.
The idea of Virtual Reality has been around for a long time. If you can remember “The Lawnmower Man” in the 90’s and it’s successors, “Virtuosity,” and “Arcade” then you know what we mean when we say things have come a lo-o-o-o-o-ng way.
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Oculus Rift and its little brother Gear VR by Samsung take readings from motion sensors embedded in the headset to determine how you’re interacting with the virtual environment. Controls in the Samsung Gear VR rest on the side of the device and you choose by either using a small set of buttons for directions or you make choices while looking at virtual menu boards in the viewfinder–or whatever’s in front of your eyes because you do forget you’re looking through goggles pretty often.
The Oculus Rift is a little different in that it uses dedicated control pads–either an Xbox controller or the proprietary controllers dubbed “Oculus Touch.” The requirements of Gear VR are as simple as owning one of the Galaxy S6 & S7 line of phones or the Galaxy Note 5 & 6. Requirements of the Rift are a more demanding. You’re going to need a PC that runs $400.00 GPUs or better. That means you need to have at least an r9 290x. If you’re on team green make that a least an Nvidia GTX 970.
CPU power start at an Intel i5-4590 or AMD equivalent and 8GB of RAM. Don’t think you can skimp on your OS either. You’re going to need a 64-bit system; Windows 7 and onward.
It matters because “all this” has become embodied and now resides in our daily lives. Smart homes are no longer a dream of science fiction, nor are concepts like smart clothing for athletes. Despite many failures--Google Glass, Blackberry Playbook, Nokia N-Gage–we’ve come to terms with the idea that these tiny devices are going to continue to be a big part of our lives. We have smart TVs, RF microchipped pets, and kitchen appliances that tell you when you need to toss bad food. Then there’s that thing you carry around in your pocket, a supercomputer that you might only use for Facebook.
Yes we’ve left some out. Fitbit, Garmin, GPS Navi systems, cars with smart networking features by Toyota, NFC powered phones, wireless printing, and the like. Did we really need to tell you that they exist? We all use these devices never thinking twice about it. The Internet has in all respects, truly come alive. It’s right here in our living rooms, our garages, our workplaces, perhaps even in our bedrooms…smart “toys” anyone?
The future is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.
There’s no other time I’d rather be alive.
There has always been a lot of discussion about the amount of privacy that broadband and wireless internet subscribers should have. This argument, however, has usually been between the privacy laws concerning private citizens and the government. This debate has now headed in a new direction with the Federal Communications Commission targeting internet service providers.
There is undoubtedly a greater number of utilization of the internet and its services. People are using the internet in their daily lives and daily activities. This of course, has resulted in a flourishing business for many sectors. Wireless carriers and cell tower real estate companies such as towerpoint.com are just some of these entities. Internet service providers, however, have found yet another way to make this particular industry fruitful.
Internet service providers have a great deal of access to the information regarding individual’s internet activities. It may seem as though the majority of most people’s daily web surfing is quite uninteresting. What many do not realize, however, is that it can be a treasure trove of information for advertising agencies. This is due to the increasing popularity of targeted advertising.
When advertising companies have access to people’s browsing habits, they gain insight into their likes, dislikes, as well as their shopping habits. They can use this material to tailor their advertisements to fit individuals. This in turn will make the ads more appealing to users.
The FCC’s Aim
The FCC is not necessarily trying to prohibit this collection of information from ad agencies via the internet service providers. The Commission is, however, attempting to restrict the flow of information. The FCC is attempting to get the users whose information is being sold, involved in the process. This means that internet service providers would have to ask permission from their subscribers before they sold this information.
The FCC would also like consumers to have greater access to how secure their information is. The new laws would fortify the amount of security that is placed around customer statistics. The Commission seeks to force the internet service providers to inform their consumers when a hack takes place. In the event that these laws are passed, they would be the most impressive regulations that have been placed against internet service providers.
There are several entities that do not agree with the FCCs plan, namely the internet service providers who seek to curb this ruling. There are also limitations to the laws attempting to be enacted. For instance, the only companies that will affected are those that connect the users to the internet. Social media giants such as Facebook or corporations such as Google will be exempt from these regulations. This is because such entities fall under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission. This government agency has far less capability in monitoring the activities of the corporations under its jurisdiction.
Internet privacy is once again under debate. This round, however, it is the companies that are providing the internet that might be saddled. The ruling on March 31st, 2016 will be just the beginning of the whole affair.
image credit: shutterstock