Wednesday, June 8, 2016
How to Buy a Computer

The choice of computer types and styles has exploded in recent years, making buying a new computer a completely different experience than it was even ten years ago. There are many things to consider as you research computers to find one you want at a reasonable price.

It’s no surprise then if you’re confused about what to look for in a new computer and you’re certainly not alone. Many of us are in that self-same boat. Let’s face it, technology changes so fast, it’s hard to keep up. What’s state-of-the-art today becomes old news so quickly it can be frustratingly hard to keep up.

In the end, all you really need to know is - will the computer you pick do everything you need it to do? Here’s a simple plan to help you choose a computer that fits your needs

Learning Computer Speak

In order to help you understand what you read or hear from a computer sales person, here’s a glossary of terms you’re likely to encounter when shopping for a new computer. It’s the same whether you’re buying a PC or a Mac.

Computer Router
  • A Router is a small box that allows several computers to join the same network.  Besides wired connections, most modern routers offer wireless connectivity as well.
  • The Processor is the brain of a computer, also referred to as the CPU. Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHZ.) The larger the number of GHZ, the faster the computer will be.
  • The RAM or Random Access Memory, is what your computer uses to store information.  Again, the higher the number, the more memory your computer will have.
  • The Optical Drive is the device that can read and write CDs and DVDs.
Wireless Network Card
  • A Wireless Network Card is able to access the Internet without the computer being physically connected to a router. They are rated by their speed. A computer store expert can advise you on the speed you’ll need for your purposes.
  • An Ethernet Port is standard on all computers. It allows your computer to connect to the Internet by physically plugging it into your router.
  • The Operating System is the software that makes your computer go.
  • The Hard Drive is where all files, whether music, movies or word documents, will be stored. Hard drives are rated by size and speed. A computer salesperson can help you decide how much storage you should have for your needs.
  • A Video Card enables you to see what you’re doing on your monitor. Different video cards allow you to do different things, such as use multiple monitors or watch HD movies on your computer.

New or Used

Whether you want a new or a refurbished computer depends a lot on your price range. You can save a lot of money by buying something that’s a year or so old. Naturally, a brand-new computer with a warranty will cost more.

Features You Need

Decide what features and abilities are most important to you. Things to think about include:

  • Do you want a laptop or desktop model?
  • What software do you need the computer to run?
  • Are there peripherals, such as a modem or printer you need to be able to connect to the computer?
  • Compatibility with software or hardware you already have.
  • Your budget.

Portable Vs. Powerful

You will need to decide whether you want a desktop or a laptop. You can also get a hybrid PC.

Today’s laptops are small, lightweight and portable and offer a variety of characteristics that will suit almost any need. Many laptops now feature detachable, convertible screens that can double as tablets.

For a more powerful system, a typical desktop is designed with more core processors and hard drives and lets you add extra devices, if needed. You can connect a desktop computer to one or more large screens, which offers greater flexibility for looking at data, files and videos.

Standard laptops and desktop machines, which are a lot cheaper than they used to be, are also still available. But these, too, start to get expensive if you opt for advanced features like touchscreens, built-in cameras, fingerprint readers and even facial recognition login software. Some of these extra features may be unnecessary. For example, a touchscreen isn’t very useful on a desktop monitor.

Bottom Line

These days it’s not unusual for homes to contain more than one computer or types of computers. Laptops are convenient devices for students and executives who are always on the move. A desktop computer is often chosen to play games or pay bills on.

A reputable computer retailer will take the time to help you understand the features and functions of each of the different computers you’re considering so you can make the best choice for your particular needs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Video Editing for Your Business

In this day and age, businesses that want to make their mark online must learn how to take advantage of multimedia content. It’s what potential customers are responding to on the Internet, and nothing works better than video because it combines the power of visuals, audio, and storytelling to capture the attention of an individual.

However, producing and editing videos can be a tall order particularly for small businesses that can’t set up their own studios. There’s a free video editing software with Windows and there are freeware ones out there, but what they’ll give you are either watermarked files or severely crippled functionality. A business needs a full-fledged commercial video editing software, such as Camtasia Studio 8.

Created by TechSmith, Camtasia Studio originally started as a rudimentary video creation tool used by software demonstrators, but over the years, it has blossomed into a full-featured education/information video tool. Now at version 8, the program’s codebase has been rewritten completely from scratch and includes a whole slew of new useful features (such as multi-track video editing and hyperlinks) as well as optimizations that lessen the system requirements.

How Camtasia Studio 8 Can Help Your Business

To understand Camtasia Studio’s value as a tool for your business, you need to first understand what it was originally used for and what made it so popular in the first place. The first users of the program, or at least the first users who managed to use it for profit, are those who create video tutorials on Youtube.

When Camtasia was first created, it’s selling point is that it can capture screen activity and save it as a video. People who need to attract customers did so by creating tutorials of how to do things, whether it’s tweaking a game, installing a WordPress plugin, or even how to modify a computer’s registry – they used Camtasia to capture what they are doing and uploaded it to Youtube for everyone to see.

It highlights a couple of important things that businesses need to remember: first is that people prefer being shown what to do on a video, as opposed to reading text instructions, and second is that there is value in showing people how to do things. This means if your business has something to do with teaching people or showing them something, Camtasia Studio is the perfect tool. But what if your business relies on something else, such as conventional selling and marketing of goods? Thankfully, the new Camtasia Studio is still useful.

What Camtasia Studio 8 Can Do For Your Business

Version 8 of Camtasia Video is no longer just a desktop capturing application. It is a full-featured video editor that supports all the file formats that you would ever encounter, from MP4 to MOV, to PNG to MP3 and everything in between. You can now create and edit your own videos, for a fraction of the price of more popular video editing software used by big name studios. Additionally, Camtasia has a free trial phase so it is virtually risk-free.

So what can you do with a video editing program? Create your own Multimedia content, of course. It could be something with high production values or something that looks intentionally low-fi, designed to go viral on meme sites. Whatever kind of multimedia content you create, one new feature of Camtasia Studio 8 will be extremely useful: support for clickable hyperlinks on the video itself. This is not a simple text link either, you can turn anything on the canvas into a clickable hyperlink, whether it’s text or part of an image.

This clickable hyperlink will be a very valuable tool in bringing new customers to your fold. Just create a video designed to reach as many viewers as it can get, then stick a hyperlink in there pointing to your website or a newsletter signup and you’ll have an interactive ad that works so much better at driving traffic than a hundred dollar banner ad.

Camtasia also has the ability to include polls or interactive questionnaires straight from the video, which could be useful for gathering feedback or encouraging viewer engagement.

Is It Worth Getting?

The biggest thing that Camtasia Studio 8 has going for itself is the fact that it costs a fraction of what other video editing software demands while offering the same functionality. By virtue of being affordable, it minimizes the cost risk to businesses and makes it a smart move to at least get the trial version, just to see if you can put it to work for your business.

If you just need a simple image editing software for creating a video here and there, Camtasia Studio is still a good deal, as not only will it fill your needs, it also keeps you future proof in case you find yourself with a business that could benefit from a video campaign.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015
OS X Yosemite

When it comes to computerizing your workplace, there are a lot of complex and confusing decisions to be made. One of those decisions is to choose the right kind of operating system for your workstations. Each operating system comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

You will have to find one that would suit your operations and overall business better. In this scenario, it would be ideal to look at all your options and test them against your requirements. Here are the top OS options available in the market for you to take a look at.

The Big 2

Though there are more OS options available, the 2 most popular and widely used options include Windows and OSX and therefore, our comparisons will be limited to these options. To start off, we will take a look at Windows first.

Windows: Microsoft's Windows is the staple operating system for more than half the organizations around the world because it is highly flexible and compatible with multiple programs and software. This high level of flexibility and compatibility comes in handy, especially, if your organization has to constantly collaborate on work or share files with clients or other businesses.

Windows is also quite user friendly, which means you won't have to spend considerable amounts of money or time trying to train employees. In fact, windows is so common that most of your employees probably know their way around it.  Speaking of the flexibility mentioned earlier, Windows can be used with multiple hardware options giving you the freedom to pick and choose only the components that you would require.

Coming to the drawbacks, the truth is that windows has many. One of the main issues with windows is security. This OS has a wide list of viruses and other computer infections that it falls victim to on a regular basis. The other issue is that of hardware and software maintenance. Owing to the large number of software and hardware options available for Windows, not every configuration can be tested officially. This results in a lot of configuration problems and eventually leads to instability.

Nevertheless, Windows makes a good option if you aren't too concerned about security or regular maintenance.

OSX: Though not as common as the Windows OS, it is, nevertheless, considered to be far superior by its patrons. Apple's OSX is the dream operating system for those involved in content creation. It's built on the Unix platform, which gives it a wide range of advantageous features.

It also hosts applications that are optimized for the purpose of content creation, be it textual or visual. It is also extremely easy to operate and users constantly praise it for its brilliant interface. Work processes become smoother and problem free with OSX. It is also very secure compared to windows since there aren't too many viruses or malware designed for OSX.

However, there are drawbacks even to OSX. To begin with, OSX is an expensive program and would not be feasible unless your work involves continuous content creation. Even the annual updates tend to burn a hole in company budgets. The other issue is that it isn't compatible with multiple hardware or software options like Windows. OSX runs only on Apple hardware, which means you will have to buy the complete Apple system, which isn't cost-friendly at all. So, unless you are an organization whose service involves constant content creation, OSX isn't for you.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Gtel

Gtel, the Zimbabwean company, has become known for its mobile phones and customized Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) hardware. The company has now ventured into tablets with its first one called the T9000 tab. They have chosen to go with a Windows OS for their first tablet, moving away from the trend of Android tabs that have been flooding the market. How does this tablet fare and is it worth buying?

Features and specs in the Gtel T9000 Windows Tab

The Gtel T9000 Windows Tab features a roomy 8.9 inch screen that works really well for watching videos, although the in-built speakers are not that great unless you are in a very quiet place. Windows has made its OS free for devices that are smaller than 9 inches, which is helping Gtel price their tab much lower than would have been otherwise possible for a Windows OS tablet.

Some basic specs of the Gtel T9000 Windows Tab:

  • 8.9’ 1920x1200 multi touch touchscreen display that works at 254ppi for the tab
  • Intel Atom z3735F Quad Core 1.83GHz processor
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 32GB TF cards storage
  • 5 megapixel primary back and 2 megapixel secondary front camera
  • 8000mAh battery
  • Windows 8.1 OS, but also optimized for Android KitKat Intel HD Graphics card

Gtel provides a wireless keyboard as part of the package for this tab, which is very convenient especially if you intend to use it for extended periods for typing and writing.

The body has a glass front and back with an aluminium finish in gray and black, making the tab look and feel very premium. However, the body plus the TF card storage make the tablet quite heavy and bulky. The bulkiness makes it less portable, so if that is something you are looking at, then consider your options carefully.

Being a Windows tab automatically reduces the choice of apps on this tablet. However, most apps that can be used for a Windows desktop can be used on this tab. Some of these apps are not optimized for tablets and touchscreens, so using the keyboard more often might be a good idea.

Pros

  • Comes with a wireless keyboard
  • Software updates directly by Microsoft
  • Battery good for daily use, lasts up to a day with a single charge
  • Wireless keyboard shipped with tablet

Cons

  • Heavy bodyweight
  • Camera gives poor quality photos and does not have an in-built flash
  • Files cannot be directly copied from PC to tablet
  • No choice between Windows and Android, although box mentions it to be so

Overall the tablet seems to be built sturdily, performs well for most day to day activities and has a good battery backup. Downside is its heavy body, a not-so-great camera and the fact that it is only usable with Windows 8.1.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015
Trendy Mini PCs

It was long time back that smaller desktop computers became extremely popular. That was the time of media center PCs and home-theater fans would connect the TV to small computers for streaming videos or recording on-air programs. Today, there has been a dramatic transition towards game consoles, smart TVs and Apple’s Mac Mini is perhaps the only small-sized desktop in the picture.

HP’s new range

HP believes that the market can still do with a small desktop powered by Windows, whether on an office desk or the living room. The latest collection of products launched by HP includes the HP Stream notebook (11.6 inches), two tablets - HP Slate6 VoiceTab II, HP Stream 8 and the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop. The HP Stream has an 11.6 inches High Definition display and 32GB flash memory (eMMC). It is equipped with the Intel Celeron processor and comes in a slim design with a Horizon blue color palette.

The HP Stream is a tablet that is powered by Intel and is cloud-connected. It has Office 365 (one year) installed in it along with Microsoft OneDrive storage (1 TB for 1 year) in addition to the Windows 8.1 operating system. The HP Pavilion Mini Desktop stands 2.06 inches tall and weighs just about 630 gram. It is literally palm sized!

Even Intel i3 core processors can be supported by this system. The starting price of the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop is Rs. 26,990 which includes 4GB RAM, Intel Pentium 3558U and an HDD of 500 GB. The HP Stream (without keyboard, monitor mouse) has a starting price of Rs. 19,990. The starting price of the HP Stream 8 Tablet is Rs. 16,990 and that of HP Slate 6 VoiceTab II is Rs. 15,990.

Big storage for HP's new Pavilion Mini desktop

The latest Pavilion Mini by HP is less expensive than the Mac Mini with a smaller footprint. It also has one distinct feature which is missing in the Mac Mini-It can access the internal elements in case additional RAM is required.

The HP Pavilion Mini is decent enough for necessary office tasks and everyday surfing. It has an Intel Pentium processor; however an Intel Core i3 CPU can also be installed for better speed. There is 4GB RAM in both of them and they can offer support to up to 16GB (if added later).

You might find some glitches or slowdowns in the working of the Pavilion, especially when compared to the Mac Mini. But it is still value for money and comes with a mouse and wireless keyboard, not available in Apple. Check out a laptop rental to experience working on the latest range of HP mini PCs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Things to Consider While Choosing a VPN service for your PC

If you require your data to be protected, the most likely solution you would have been given is to install a VPN. The VPN is a virtual private network and works by providing a channel between the internet and your computer, which provides anonymity online and encryption of data. When you have a VPN, there’s a buffer which is a server that comes with an IP address.

If you are working on a PC or laptop that is not at home, and are using a lot of Wi-Fi at public places, there is just no way for you to know how secure the network is. You could be traveling a lot with a PC/laptop rented from a computer rentals company, and want your data safe. That is when you use the VPN service; there are several such  free services available, although the paid ones are faster.

Things to consider

Some of the VPNs block torrents so if you are planning to use the service for torrents, you should check that first. The VPN should be able to function on all your gadgets and not just the PC. Another aspect to consider is if the service has any limits on bandwidth.

You would want a network that has no limits on bandwidth. Before you get a service, you should also check on their privacy policy; does the VPN retain records of usage? If they keep logs and you are uncomfortable, you should research well before opting for a service. Also, make sure where the servers of the VPN providers are located. If the physical/geographic distance between the server and your PC is huge, the downloads will be slower. It is ideal to choose a service provider closer to your region.

There are four well known VPNs, including point-to-point tunneling protocol (PPTP), layer 2 tunneling protocol and internet protocol security (L2TP and IPsec), secure sockets layer (SSL) and openVPN.

PPTP: Not a very secure VPN step, but it is a good step from where you can start your VPN exploration.

L2TP and IPsec: Safer than PPTP, but are more complicated when it comes to setting them up.

SSL: VPN method which is more trustworthy and dependable than PPTP, L2TP or IPsec

OpenVPN: An open source system that is secure, free, and has no connection troubles.

If you need a VPN system that is more dependable than all of the above, you could try a VPN router. If you are seeking VPN just to safeguard your internet activity while on a public Wi-Fi, you could subscribe to a VPN service provider. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The ultraportable Toshiba Portege R30-A1302 boasts of an Intel Core i7 processor alongside a high-speed solid-state drive (SSD).  What makes it even better? It comes with a battery life that lasts all day long. This makes it perfect to qualify as a powerful business laptop. Not much can be said about the remainder of the system that is pretty average and nothing beyond the ordinary.

Design review

The Portege R30-A1302 has sort of an old school design and looks a bit chunkier when compared to other ultrabooks that come in much sleeker designs. It's a just over one inch thick at 12.4 by 1.04 by 9 inches (WHD). However, it is quite a light machine weighing just about 3.18 pounds.

Toshiba Portege R30-A1302

The frame of the Toshiba has large side panels that provide room for full-size ports - VGA, Ethernet, ExpressCard and have enough room left. There is provision for a DVD burner and also an SD card slot, three USB ports and a headset jack.

You can enjoy the multi-touch touchpad experience along with a pointing stick when using this device. Below the keyboard, you will also find the mouse buttons as how they are usually placed. The keyboard claims to be spill-resistant and has a slight sponge-like feel to touch.

Machine performance

The device comes with a dual-core Intel Core i7-4600M processor and integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics. The memory is a good 8GB. It takes a matter of seconds to boot the system. The system's SSD is the reason it scored 4,727 points on PCMark 7. AS far as performance at the multimedia front is concerned, Portege beat its rivals-the Dell e7440 and the two Lenovos.

The ultraportable cleared the battery rundown test with flying colors lasting a good 9 hours 20 minutes which was much more than the Lenovo T440s and Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch. However, when compared to the MacBook Pro which has a battery life of about 11 hours and 26 minutes, it still lagged behind by a few hours.

The device is appealing with respect to its features and model design. It gives the user a lot of relevant features such as the DVD burner, ExpressCard etc in a very simple easy-to-use design framework. But it falls short in its appeal when it comes to the $1,600 price which is almost the same as that of ultrabooks which come with a touchscreen of much higher-resolution. Computer rentals are a great option if you would like to check out this new machine by Toshiba!

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Friday, March 28, 2014
LCD Monitor

Due to the huge dependence on computers these days, people are now finding ways to enhance their overall computer experience. One of these ways include renting out LCD monitors for their CPUs and desktops from computer rental companies. There are many reasons why people are choosing LCD monitors over CRT monitors. Here is a brief overview of LCD monitors and why they are beneficial for individuals and businesses.

Features

LCD or Liquid-Crystal Display monitors are flat panel, electronic displays that uses the light modulating properties of crystals to create high quality visuals. LCDs are commonly used to display arbitrary images which can be hidden or displayed such as digits, 7-segment displays and preset words. These images are made up of a large number of tiny pixels that come  together to create a visual element. LCDs are commonly used in televisions, displays and computer monitors.

Benefits

The first benefit is that LCD monitors use less energy in comparison to the standard CRT monitors. Due to its low power consumption, LCD monitors are used for battery-powered equipment such as laptops, CPUs and televisions. Most LCD monitors are now built to look smaller and thinner while weighing half as much in comparison to CRT monitors.

This makes it easier for the user to mount the LCD on to a wall or on a desk top with little or no hassle. The liquid-crystals in the monitor produces clear images, which puts less strain on the eyes. Texts and images are displayed much clearly when compared to other monitors.

Popular LCD monitors available for rent

There are a number of LCD monitors made these days with many high-end brands such as Samsung, Apple and HP creating a bulk of them. The HP Pavilion 27xi is one of the most popular LCD monitors used by both businesses and individuals. Its In-Plane Switching and color-rich technology allows the user to view images and texts in high-definition without any distortion or blurs.

The maximum resolution the user can obtain from this monitor is an astonishing 1920x1080, which is not even seen in many television sets these days. Acer's V173 is a sleek, 17-inch LCD monitor that can display images in a 1280x1024 resolution. This particular LCD monitor consumes less energy and takes up only 100V. Its flat panel allows the users to view crystal-clear images without any issues such as blurring or flickering.

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Monday, March 17, 2014
Video Equipment

Many times we need certain video equipment like projectors and laptops for events like seminars, conferences and trade shows among others. Instead of buying these equipment, it is much better to rent them for a short period of time and return them back when they are no longer required.

Renting these devices is an inexpensive and convenient choice that is offered by certain computer rental companies. Here are some of the major benefits of renting video equipment from a computer rental company

Choice of opting for the latest models

Most of the time, the latest models of laptops and PCs won't be available for purchase. However, there is a good chance that these latest devices will be there for the taking if you approach rental service agencies. These agencies provide a comprehensive set of choices and you can test these devices before making a decision on renting them.

Inexpensive and cost effective

These companies offer the customers with a number of choices and those who have a tight budget are likely to have their problem solved with this option. These companies also sometimes offer a discount when you need a lot of devices; in such cases, you can opt for the package that suits your needs.

Technical support available for the usage of the device especially during the time of breakdown

If by any chance you face problems in handling the devices, you will get the required technical support from these rental companies. A lot of renting agencies also offer 24/7 helpline service.

Delivery of the equipment to the place of venue

More often than not, these rental companies will deliver the equipment wherever needed and you do not have to worry about moving these fragile devices. Good transportation service is needed especially in case of transferring equipment like plasma screen and large bass speakers and all this is taken care of by these rental companies.

Expert advice when it comes to choosing the right equipment for your special needs

Many people are clueless about the kind of equipment they will need for their event. However, the rental companies can show you the right way. You just have to tell them some basic information like the size of the audience and the type of venue for which you need the equipment.

You may not get these benefits if you decide to buy these equipment and you may even have to handle the transportation on your own.

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Friday, February 28, 2014
Copier Rentals

A copier is perhaps one of the most essential parts of every business. In many cases, such as in small businesses, the copier can be a reason for a huge financial burden. Supply, maintenance and the initial capital involved itself can intimidate most small businesses. The operational costs can further throw your budget way beyond the scope of feasible profits. As a result, leasing or renting a copier can ease up a significant amount of financial burden for small businesses while offering a range of highly attractive benefits.

Minimum capital

Small budgets have a very limited amount of capital at their disposal. As a small business, you must be more focused towards conserving your financial resources and exploring opportunities for your business. Purchases need to be made in a way that the commodities provide an excellent appreciation over a given period of time. On the other hand office technology is something that  loses value over a period of time. So investing on it is not really a great idea for your capital as these investments can clog your line of credit available for business needs as well as reduces your payout. Leasing and renting office supplies such as copiers on the other hand will keep your options open without sacrificing your office needs.

Budget

The budget is also a huge concern for small businesses as the capital available itself is very limited. In such a scenario, managing the budget effectively is of prime importance. Renting a copier can help you obtain ample room in your budget to focus more towards the core business development activities. Buying a copier involves making a significant amount of investment in one huge lump. Copier rentals on the other hand allow you to make several smaller payments over a scheduled period of time while prioritizing your financial needs appropriately.

Technology

A copy machine is something that depreciates over a time period. As a result, when you purchase a new copier it will instantly begin losing value as and when newer and better technology enters the market until the point where your copier becomes obsolete. So investing in a new copier will only mean that you cannot upgrade your technology quickly. The only way to do this would be to purchase a new copier which may not be a very feasible option. Renting copiers on the other hand will give you the benefits to scale and upgrade with ease. You can scale the technology as per your printing needs and upgrade as and when superior technology surfaces.

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