Partition

Being in the computer field for some years, I’ve seen many people being afraid to save data on their computers. People are so paranoid, but don’t really know what to do unless they’re willing to spend a little time to learn about the box with a cup holder built into it (CD ROM tray)=0).

Anytime I build a computer or reinstall Windows on someone’s computer, I always partition the hard drive into C: and D:.

Partitioning is the process in which is installing one hard drive and making your computer see itself as having two hard drives. The C drive is always going to be the Primary Partition and the D and any other drive letter is always going to be a Logical Partition. He or she can use the FDISK utility in a Windows 98 Boot up floppy (XP already has the utility in the install cd and will ask if you want to create partitions)to create two partitions in one hard drive. This is good practice because when something goes wrong with Windows, all the data that’s saved in the D drive is in tact since Windows is installed in the C drive (remember, your computer is thinking that it has two hard drives instead of one).

Another good practice is to buy an external hard drive, Zip, or a tape drive depending on how large your data is, to have extra backup just in case, which is rare but does happen, the partition gets corrupted and the Logical drive is no longer there. I always tell my clients to save data that is critical to be on an external drive and to turn it off or at least take the connection out from the computer after every backup session, so that in case there’s a total system crash, or a hacker getting into the system, the data is not there to be damaged or tampered with.

Whether you have a desktop, or a laptop, you need various computer accessories and peripherals to derive the maximum benefit from them and also optimize their use. There are quite a lot of accessories available in the market today, and new ones are making their entry on a day-to-day basis.

In most of the cases these accessories and peripherals are available with your computer, but if they aren’t then, they are available at all computer shops. Some of the special items in this regard, will not be available with your computer, but can be bought from exclusive vendors.

The different types of computer accessories and peripherals

The keyboard

Everyone knows what a keyboard looks like and its functionality. All computers come with their own keyboard, and you don’t have to buy them separately. However, there does come a time, when you find that they don’t suit you or they do not have the features that you are looking for.

Its arguably one of the most important of all computer accessories and its primary activity is to input data. The amount of choices available in terms of keyboards and their functionality is enormous.

These days you also get a wireless keyboard, and even a keyboard that is ergonomic in nature. Ergonomic keyboards are a great buy for people who spend a lot of time typing. They prevent strain resulting from the same.

The mouse

Though you can control your computer without the use of your mouse, it’s still much easier and comfortable to do so, using the mouse. All operating systems, that are available today, are configured to work with the use of a mouse.

Mouse, as an accessory, is an overriding necessity and you simply can’t do without it. It is available in a variety of designs, and are configured to suit various requirements of the user.

There are various types of mouse available in the market. The most affordable out of all this variety is the simple mouse that contains a ball underneath, which helps in the movement of the cursor. Other expensive varieties include the optical mouse and the wireless mouse.

The printer

Printers cannot be called a necessity in terms of computer accessories and peripherals, but are required if you want to print material on a regular basis. However, they are a helpful addition to all computer systems.

The market is replete with numerous options, when it comes to printers. Today, buying printers is not difficult or even expensive. You can go for the black and white variety or opt for a color printer. Laser printers are the most expensive of the lot, but in the long run, help save a lot of money.

The scanner

Again, like the printers, it’s not a primary requirement when it comes to a computer system. A scanner, basically, helps you scan various images, and documents onto your computer.

After you get them on your computers, you can edit them and even print them. The purpose of a scanner is to make a graphic image of your document and save them into your computers.

Scanners are not cheap, but to call them expensive wouldn’t be right either. Today, you can buy a combination that includes both a scanner and a printer. Such models can be a good buy.

The speakers

All computers come with their own sound cards, which enable you to hear sound played from your computer. This can be done using a set of speakers that are reliable and give out good sound.

You can buy a host of speakers, dependant on size, price, design, and style. Sophisticated speakers are expensive, but are recommended if you are going to use your computer to watch DVD films or play computer games.

Web cam

Web cameras are the miniature version of regular cameras and their images can be accessed using the services of the World Wide Web. These web cameras are a combination of digital cameras, with a capability to upload all images on a particular web server.

These cameras are attached to a PC, enabling people to see each other, when they chat or do video conferencing.

Flash drive

A flash drive is essentially a storage device. It’s called a flash drive, because it uses a flash memory rather than the traditional methods of data storage.

Many a times, they are used as a replacement for hard drives, and most of the times, their functionality, size, shape, and even user interface is similar to these hard drives.

Pen Drive or USB Flash Drive

These drives are integrated with a Universal Serial Bus or USB connector, and are generally small, removable, rewritable, and lightweight. They are the new age replacements for traditional data storage accessories like floppy disks or even data CD’s.

They are able to store more data, are easy to use, and are inherently more reliable.

There are many more computer accessories and peripherals that are available in the market. Such accessories have exclusive uses and are only used for specific purpose. The ones listed above are the ones that are commonly used.

So you have decided to purchase a PDA. Congratulations-you will be buying a form of technology that will help you get your life organized! Yet, if this is your first PDA purchase you may find that you will benefit from some of these PDA buying ideas.

1) Find a PDA at a price that you can afford. Don’t go crazy when you purchase a PDA, more money doesn’t always equate to a better PDA. If you are unsure as to what PDA is worth the money you are planning to pay, read various PDA reviews to see what others think of the product. In fact, in reading PDA reviews, you can successfully determine which PDA will meet any and all of your needs. I strongly urge you to use PDA reviews, they can save you a lot of grief when purchasing your pda.

2) PDAs are diverse in size and you should find one that you will be comfortable in handling on a regular basis. Some PDAs are very tiny while others are smaller than a laptop, but still relatively large. If you are comfortable with a tiny device then get a small device, but if you have a repetitive motion injury or if you have a problem with your fine motor skills, a smaller PDA may not be the best thing for you and you may want to consider purchasing a larger PDA.

This is so true, you really need to sample a pda, I mean actually hold it in your hand and try it out. Because if it’s not comfortable to use then down the road you won’t use it.

3) Again, the size of your PDA and its keyboard is so vitally important. No one wants to be constantly aggravated by a PDA keyboard that has keys that are designed too close together or that are small and difficult to utilize. This is especially true for those individuals that have problems with fine motor skills or have a repetitive motion injury. Therefore, thoroughly examine the usability of a PDA’s keyboard before you make your PDA purchase.

I just want to reemphasize this point, I not to long ago bought a PDA for my wife. Sure I sampled them found one I thought she would like and low and behold found out the opposite. She liked the small size but did not like the keyboard. So I took her to the store so she could sample them herself I then purchased the one she was comfortable with.

4) If you are considering using your PDA to get Internet access, invest in a PDA that offers you wireless Internet access. The whole idea of enjoying the use of a PDA is the portability that the product provides and using cell phone dial up, although more secure, is in no way less costly than wireless Internet access.

5) If you plan to carry quite a few files or images on your PDA, you may want to purchase an expanded memory card. Because PDAs are small, handheld devices, their memories are a bit limited. Therefore, if you plan some heavy-duty use of a PDA, you many need to purchase additional memory so you don’t slow down the processing that can be handled on your PDA.

Or better yet, purchase a PDA with more installed memory. You can always buy expanded memory down the road if you need it. But purchasing a PDA initially with larger installed memory for your current needs is cheaper than buying one with less and then adding a memory expansion card.

In the end, if you keep the above mentioned tips in mind, you will easily find a PDA that is right for you. Now all you need to do is start your research and your sampling of PDAs. Visit the nearest electronics dealer to determine what PDA you want and get your life organized today!

Ok, so you’ve read all the cool stuff and heard all the great things about going wireless and then it just hit you. However, that works you don’t know or care but it hit you. That was it, the little voice in your head said, “do it” and that was that. Unfortunately, that was awhile ago and since that “moment” you’ve done your part. You did some research into what was needed to upgrade your computer but it’s all just so darn confusing. You keep thinking, why can’t someone just give me a few basics so I feel more comfortable about this whole “upgrading” process.

If the above paragraph describes you and if you’re the typical computer user it probably does, then it’s time to exhale, calm your nerves, grab a latte and settle in because hopefully this article can shed a little understanding on at least one aspect of going wireless – the network card.

Like most “typical” computers users, you love your computer and you’ve pretty good at surfing the net, using email and you’ve probably even gotten fairly proficient at using your favorite word processing program but when it comes to some of the more technical aspects of your computer or computing in general, you are probably about as close to a “deer in the headlights” as you can get.

Hey, no problem because you’ve stumbled across a source that hopefully can shed a little light into that wireless networking card abyss. See, those searching skills do come in handy.

Let me start out by saying that when it comes to selecting a wireless networking card you can pretty much ignore all the hoopla except for the following three key factors: range, speed, and standards. Ok, let’s do it and take a look at a few specifics.

Below is a typical specification for wireless networking card. This one just happens to be for a Linksys wireless PCMCIA laptop card. Frankly, I can’t tell you if this card rocks or it stinks, I’m simply using it as an example. And with that, let’s take a closer look.

Here’s the description from Amazon: 11 Mbps high-speed transfer rate; interoperable with IEEE 802.11b (DSSS) 2.4Ghz-compliant equipment; plug-and-play operation provides easy set up; long operating range (up to 120m indoor); advanced power management features conserve valuable notebook PC battery life; rugged metal design with integrated antenna; compatible with virtually all major operating systems; works with all standard Internet applications; automatic load balancing and scale back; model no. WPC11

Like I mentioned above, most of the specs can be ignored. To start with, “compatible with virtually all major operating systems.” That means nothing. It’s simply fluff to expand the description to make the card appear better.

Range

Take a look at where it says “up to 120m indoor”. This means that the maximum range of the wireless card is 120 meters — sure if everything was perfect. And by the way, one meter is equal to about 39 inches or 3 feet. However, in the real world where nothing is ever perfect interference caused by thick walls, other power sources and the list goes on could reduce this number by as much as 90% – so just be aware of this.

And without enough range, your wireless network is no longer wireless and therefore – worthless. It serves no purpose to go wireless if you have to keep your computer next to the wireless port in order for it to work or if you have multiple computers to keep them all in the same room to get them to connect to each other.

As a rule of thumb, unless your walls are made of drywall or wood, it’s best to buy about four times the strength you think you’ll need. Even in perfect conditions, get twice what you think you’ll need – just to be safe.

Speed

Take another look at the description and find where it says Mbps. Mbps is the speed of the wireless connection – 11 Mbps is about one and a half megabytes per second. All 802.11b wireless cards have a speed of 11Mbps, while 802.11g cards run at 54Mbps or nearly 5 times faster. And of course, the next generation will be even faster.

Clearly, speed is important to your wireless network because it’s going to directly influence how long you have to wait to connect, how fast pages upload, file transfer rates, and your overall computer experience is always better when things download faster. I don’t know about you but if something takes more than a few seconds to download, I start to get impatient.

However, because there are currently very few Internet connections running at speeds over 11Mbps – it’s really as much as you need, at least for now.

Standards

You’ve probably noticed in the above specs the number 802.11 followed by a letter b. The b is the standard that the wireless device conforms too. Currently, there are 3 standards – a, b and g.

In a nutshell, 802.11b and 802.11g are compatible with each other while 802.11a isn’t compatible with either. Due to the incompatibility issues with the other two standards and because it’s an older less robust standard I would stay away from cards using it.

Between b and g, b is cheaper but slower, while g is more expensive but faster. It’s also worth considering that adding a b-speed device to a network that has g-speed devices will often slow the whole network down to b-speed, making the g-devices pointless. Basically, the network will operate at the speed of its weakest link.

If your wireless device doesn’t conform to the right standards, it’s not going to be much good to you. I often see uninformed people bidding for used wireless equipment on eBay, not realizing that it’s going to be terribly slow and may not work with other equipment they might have. Always check what standard the wireless equipment is using and if you don’t know the 802.11 letter, don’t buy it!

A great place to research and find answers to everything “wireless” is Zephyr Net. Simply click the Wifi Hotspot link in the resource box below.

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