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Tag Archives: Home PC

Sound Editing Software

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In the world of audio, things began to switch to digital quite a long time ago. The ability to record sound digitally gives people the ability to manipulate that sound and edit it in other ways using a computer. Huge conveniences come from being able to edit sound using this type of audio technology and it also gives more people (that otherwise might never venture into audio editing) access to this type of tool. The digital format is a much more lasting format than analog (cassettes and vinyl) and a lot of people want to buy sound editing software just to transfer old albums into digital.

These days, sound editing software can be purchased online in a single transaction, downloaded right away onto a computer and used instantly to edit sound. There is a host of sound editing software on the market; more than you could probably imagine so sorting through it can be quite a task. Below, I have looked at some of the popular sound editing software applications and performed a few comparisons for you:

NCH Golden Records
NCH Golden Records is sound editing software designed specifically for transferring analog recordings into MP3 files or into CD format through your computer. Users can record music onto their computer and then onto CD. Clicks, pops and hisses can all be removed using an auto restoration feature of the software. The software is easy to use and it works with a record player or cassette recorder being plugged directly into the computer. NCH is a reputable company that has all types of audio applications on offer.

AVS Audio Editor
AVS Audio Editor is sound editing software that is currently available for the Windows platform only. It is quality software that allows users to enhance digital audio, extract and edit audio from video files, save audio in a variety of formats, remove excess noise from audio and more. It allows you to visually analyze files to help with the task of editing them. AVS is a reputable UK-based software development company that has already created many good commercial applications.

Audacity
Audacity is a free open source sound editor. It is available for all platforms so Windows, Mac and Linux users will all be happy with this product. This software can be used to do all types of audio editing tasks: record live audio, convert analog recordings to digital, edit sound files, splice and mix sounds and more. This is a very reliable piece of software that is very effective, especially due to the live recording feature.

With all of the benefits of digital music, it is definitely time to archive all of those old vinyl recordings in a digital format that will not wear out. Any of the sound editing programs featured above will make this task quick and easy for you. In most cases, all that is needed is a record player or cassette player and a computer with a USB port and wire to plug the record player into.


Handy tips for efficient computer use

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Today’s computers run much more efficiently than ever before in history. Innovative tech companies continually find new ways to speed up the processing time of computers and to increase their ability to easily perform multiple tasks at one time. As computers get faster we also want to speed up the way that we interact with them. This can be made possible by taking advantage of the many shortcuts that are built into the computers that we use.

The most common shortcuts on today’s computers can be done by using the keyboard, and also the mouse. This is true for computers running on Windows operating systems (OS) and with Macs.

Keyboard shortcuts:
Windows users:
The main keys used for making shortcuts on the keyboard are the Windows key (Command key), Ctrl key, the Alt key, Shift and Tab.
The Windows key is an important key for taking keyboard shortcuts. It can be used to open any item in the Start menu. By pressing the Windows key and the corresponding underlined letter in the start menu you can quickly open programs and directories. In the same way, the Alt key can be used to open menu items by pressing the Alt key along with the menu item’s underlined letter.
Below is a selection of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows users:

F1 = Help
Alt + Tab = Browse between open Windows
Alt + F = Open the File menu list
Alt + F4 = Quit program
Windows key + L = Lock computer
CTRL + C = Copy highlighted item
CTRL + X = Cut highlighted item
CTRL + V = Paste
CTRL + Z = Undo

Mac users:
The main keys that are used for keyboard shortcuts on Macs are similar to those used by computer users on Windows OS. The only difference with Macs is the addition of the Apple Key, which is also known as the Command Key. The Command key is essential in most Mac shortcuts.
Below is a selection of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Mac users:

Command + A = Select items on the screen
Option + Command + A = Deselect all items
Command + C = Copy highlighted item
Command + D = Duplicate highlighted item
Command + I = Get info
Command + M = Minimize window

Mouse short cuts
Windows users:
Right clicking items on your screen allows you to use mouse shortcuts on your computer. Mouse shortcuts on a Windows machine are done by right-clicking on different areas of your computer screen with the mouse. Some of the most common shortcuts performed by right-clicking are copy, paste and delete. By right clicking a highlighted word, image or item in most programs you at minimum have the option of performing these tasks.

Mac users:
Few people realize that Macs have their own version of right-clicking. This is because traditionally, MACs only have one button on their mouse. To achieve a right-click like the Windows OS, Mac users have to press the CTRL key and then the item that they want to see a “right-click” menu for. A drop menu appears over the item, providing a few choices of action. A Mac mouse can also be used to drag and drop items to copy/paste them from one drive or folder to another.


Is Ubuntu 9.04 a Contender Against Windows?

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What is Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an operating system that was developed in South Africa and that very much like Unix. It is available in over 55 languages and it was developed by Canonical Ltd and is set to be administered by the Ubuntu Foundation, which was created specifically for this purpose.

The word of Ubuntu is a South African word that describes an ideal or an ideology promoted there, which is “humanity towards others”. Ubuntu is a stable operating system and has been developed as an open source software platform that is distributed for free. One of the main goals of the software, and something that they have done successfully is make it very easy to use for the average computer user. It is very user-friendly and easy to install.

Ubuntu History
Ubuntu was first released in 2004 with the explicit goal of releasing an update every 6 months. The operating system has been developed with usability being one of the highest priorities. One of the biggest concerns though for computer users that have been raised on Microsoft Windows is, how many applications does Ubuntu come with and are software developers writing programs for this platform? Ubuntu comes with Firefox, OpenOffice, Pidgin, GIMP and a few others and it is also possible to use quite a few programs that have been written for Microsoft Windows, including Microsoft Office. This can be done either through a virtual machine (VM) or through Wine.

Can Ubuntu Compete with Windows?
Ubuntu has made huge strides when you consider that just a few years back it was a brand new operating system. Furthermore, it is attempting to compete with Microsoft which is a massive competitor. Ubuntu has made great progress and in just a few years. According to the New York Times in January of 2009, Ubuntu had more than 10 million users and this figure is reported to be growing consistently.

Although Ubuntu is not currently making much of a dent in the Microsoft market, it can no way be an indicator of where things can go. Ubuntu definitely has potential and it has made remarkable strides. At the end of the day, all sorts of factors can potentially affect whether a product finds true success or not. Keep an eye on the technology news headlines as well as to the way that investors and vendors respond to this operating system. The biggest challenges in my view will be keeping the product strong against viruses and security attacks, which are one Microsoft’s biggest weaknesses. Ubuntu can only begin to content with Windows when software developers create programs to run on their OS as often as they make them for Windows and Mac.


A Brief History of Home Computing

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Anyone that has been around for the past 30 years has no doubt seen some phenomenal changes in home computers. Massive changes have taken place not only in what computers can do but also in the way that they look. I personally can not help but laugh when I see computers from as recently as the 1980s. They just look funny!

It really was not until the 1990s and the development of the Microsoft Windows operating system that computers literally became a household item. There were definitely families that had computers in the home during the 1970s and “80s”. These computers were very bulky and rustic in comparison to today’s sleek, slimline computers and they really didn’t serve much of a purpose comparatively either.

Home computers were introduced to the market in 1977. It is safe to say that at that time, we only had the tiniest glimpse of the potential of home computers, and the ways in which they could be used. In fact, I would go so far as to say, we have still only captured just a tiny glimpse of what is possible with the home computer. 1970s home computers came without monitors but had ports that allowed them to be displayed through the television. Games were played on them and very basic calculations were performed.

During the 1980s, manufacturers saw the potential of merging the sale of personal computers and computer games. Up to that point, they were sold as separate devices. Home computers in the “80s” were mostly used for education, games, and at times, for spreadsheets, and personal tools. Often computers were purchased as kits and needed to be put together before they could be used. In addition to this, they often had no software which meant that anyone that used them had to actually learn to write programs first.

The 1990s ushered in the mass demand and usage of the home computer. The ease-of-use ushered in by Windows software changed home computing forever. Suddenly computers were easy enough to be used by anyone. Microsoft Windows operating System revolutionized the world, literally!

The early 2000s has expanded on the platforms and ideas that began in the “90s”. The fact that computer use became so widespread meant many companies were willing to invest in writing programs and games for home computers. Things have moved at an unbelievable rate since then.

These days, computers are used for everything imaginable and projections for home computer use see the integration of almost every electronic device in the home with the PC. Already the telephone, TV, VCR, radio and cable TV can be part of your home computer.


Securing Home Networks …How to stop your neighbours leeching

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There is no doubt that a wireless network is the best way to set up a home network and to make the Internet available to every member of your household. In most cases when using a wireless network, family members can be in any section of the house and still pick up the wireless signal to access the network or the Internet. Wireless networks offer networking convenience and quick access to the world via the World Wide Web.

One of the downsides to having a wireless network at home is that there is the potential for neighbours to leech off of your signal. Anyone living in close proximity to your home is likely to be able to detect and use your wireless network. That is unless you go the extra step of securing your network.

Since most people buy their network router and rush home to plug it in and try it out, they very often fail to follow the appropriate steps needed to set the network up for optimal security. The most basic way to protect your home network is by setting up a network key. A network key is basically a password that you require people to use when they want to gain access to your network.

Another way to protect your network and your data is to make use of the data encryption technology that is available on your router. Depending on the age of your computer and your router, you will have a series of encryption options: WEP, WPA, WPA2, etc. Encrypting your data ensures that it can not be stolen in transit should anyone gain access to your network or to any information you send through the Internet.

Unless you have unusual circumstances, it is advisable to always secure your home network. Many people are relaxed about this issue, stating that they have nothing worth stealing. If you use your computer for online banking, you run the risk of having your passwords stolen on an unsecured network and thus funds stolen from your account. Even worse, you could find that your identity has been stolen just by way of the sensitive information that can be found once an individual gains access to your online account. Securing your home network is vitally important. Therefore, always be sure to follow the instruction manual that comes with your router when setting up your home network.


Voice Recognition Advances for the home PC

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Voice recognition software when fully installed on a personal computer (PC) is software that has the ability to receive, interpret and convert spoken words into written text. Anyone that wants to use voice recognition software will need to have a sound card and a fairly decent microphone. A microphone is used to capture the words that you speak and to input that sound into the computer. Words that are spoken into the microphone can be detected by the software, recognized and converted into written text.

Voice recognition technology has been around for some time, although it has seen huge advancements over the past few years. As with any technology, voice recognition technology started off being slow, heavy and clunky. Not every word was recognized correctly and so work needed heavy editing. With time, the technology has been refined and improved so as to deliver the quality that we can enjoy today. These days, there less errors with the software in converting spoken words and fewer incorrectly interpreted words. Voice recognition software now has the ability to judge the context within which words are spoken and therefore can correctly choose the spelling of any word that can be spelled in more than one way. This helps in situations where two words sound exactly the same, such as the words “to” and “two”.

There are many reasons that voice recognition software is useful both for personal and business purposes. The technology is great for any individual that may suffer from a disability that prevents them from typing into a keyboard or using computers in the typical manner. Voice recognition software can bridge a huge communication gap for people with disabilities by allowing more people to have access to computer technology. If a person is unable to type for any reason whether due to a physical disability or through maybe not having learned to type, voice recognition software provides them with the option of speaking words into a computer rather than typing them in.

Typically, voice recognition software can read back to the user the words that they have spoken. This allows the user to review their work/words and to make edits and corrections if necessary.

If you are on the market for voice recognition software for your PC, the two areas that you should judge software on are the speed and the accuracy of the software. In the best case scenario, you should try to buy the software that has the best word error rate (WER). Most applications will provide statistics on their WER. If they don’t, a search of consumer web sites and voice recognition forums will put you in touch with other consumers that can give you the “real deal” on the accuracy of the voice recognition program you are thinking of buying.


Image Scanners

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If you are like most people, you have a collection of photographs that you have accumulated over the years. Photos provide us with hours of memories and entertainment. One of he ways that you can preserve the memories and ensure that they are around for many years to come is to scan them and turn them into a digital format.

A scanner is a device that can be attached to a computer and used to scan photographs. People choose to scan photos for all types of reasons. Scanning a photo with a scanner takes it from being a physical photo and instead creates a digital version of it (of course the physical photo still exists). Once a photo has been scanned it can be saved in a variety of formats and edited and adjusted without limits, in the same way that a digital photo taken with a digital camera can be.

Once a photo has been converted into digital format it can be adjusted using image editing software just like an image that was created using a digital camera, it can be emailed and used as a screensaver and for other purposes. Most scanners come with software included in the box. This software usually includes a driver for the scanner (a very small program that helps your computer to recognize and know how to read information from the scanner), they have the scanner program and they often have image editing software installed as well.

Over the years, all kinds of scanners have been developed. The most popular photo scanner is the flatbed scanner. It is easy to use and doesn’t take up too much space. With a flatbed scanner, a photo is placed down on the scanner glass to be scanned. It is very much like using a photocopy machine.

If you like to buy integrated and bundled devices, then you might want to consider buying a multi-use scanner. There are many scanners on the market that come bundled with other devices. Popular at the moment are scanners that not only have a photo scanner but also a printer and a photocopier as well all in one. These integrated scanners offer a lot of convenience. They can save you space in a small office and they can definitely save you a lot of money. Buying a mixture of devices will save you more than buying each device individually. In addition to all of that, they also offer simplicity for the user.

Some of the most popular scanners on the market are made by Canon, Epsom, HP and a few other large brands. Scanners can vary significantly in price depending on the features that the scanner you are buying is bundled with. Resolution capabilities and bundling with other hardware will also affect the price of the photo scanner that you buy.


PC sound systems …setting up great sound for your PC

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Our desktop and laptop computers are used for such a variety of purposes these days that it is very easy to spend hours upon hours seated at your computer. Information that is passed to us through the Internet comes not only with text and images but also with sound, video and ***. Long gone are the days when a computer was simply an office tool.

More and more, our computers are used as channels for multimedia. DVDs can be watched on our computers, streamed movies can be watched through the Internet not to mention online music that gets more and more popular by the day. With all of these options for entertainment via the computer, it is important that you have the right sound set up. The only way to really enjoy the PC multimedia experience is with the right equipment.

If you have a computer that is very old, there is a big chance that you might need to install a sound card and a video card. This is highly unlikely though as most of today’s computers are sold with these components already installed. With your PC sound set up, you do not necessarily have to go the expensive route. You can get a great sound from your computer with a simple set of speakers that sit on your computer desk. However, if you want a sound that is very powerful and that fully conveys the beat of the music, you at least want to listen to sound with desktop speakers and a subwoofer.

A subwoofer plays deep sounding notes in a powerful way. So, expect the bass notes of a song to be stronger and louder with a subwoofer. The desktop speaker provides great stereo and play the higher notes of a song. To compliment your hardware, software that usually comes installed on your computer or with your soundcard, will have sound equalization options to help you further adjust the sound to your liking.

Any desktop computer or laptop that already has a soundcard installed will have a speaker jack either at the back or the front of the computer. Plug your speakers in there. A standard that you will come across often is that the jack for your speakers has a green cover or is indicated in some way by green. Usually directly beside your speaker jack is your microphone jack which is often indicated by pink.

Once you have plugged your new speakers in place your subwoofer on the floor or on another stable surface, and your desktop speakers on top of your desk or in another location of your preference. This way, you can comfortably enjoy any multimedia experience on your computer at any time.


Linux Software for Personal Computers

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For many years now Linux has offered an operating system for personal computers (PCs). Microsoft has had the monopoly on operating systems for personal computers since it first came out with Windows. Because of Microsoft’s popularity and complete dominance in operating systems, it is very brave and an absolutely huge goal for any company to attempt to try to compete against them in this area. Linux is one company that has done just that. They put out an operating system (OS) that provides a viable alternative to Windows operating system. Although Linux has not fully taken off as a major player in PC operating systems you can never tell what might happen in the fast-paced world of the Internet.

When it comes to servers and software for hosting web sites, Linux has done exceptionally well and has made a lot of inroads. Many, many web site owners prefer to host their web sites on a Linux server over a Microsoft server. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops with time and whether we will see the same trends for Linux with personal computers.

If you choose to install Linux on your PC as your operating system, you will also need to install programs that run on Linux. The programs that you have installed on your Windows operating system will not work with Linux. This is probably the most significant factor contributing to the slow progress of Linux with PC users. It is probably only when programs written for Linux OS can rival, in quality and in ease-of-use, those written for PCs that Linux will really take off.

The great thing about Linux and one of the things that has made it popular as a server and, on a smaller scale, as a desktop operating system is the open source aspect of the software. Open source means the code is open and other programmers can help to program and develop the technology. Another benefit for users is the fact that much of the software that is developed to run on Linux operating system is free. As the price of software that runs on Windows and Apple platforms skyrockets, the free aspect of Linux software is very appealing to many computer users.

Although Linux technology has proved to be popular among the technical community, that enthusiasm has not yet caught on among every day computer users. There are many possible reasons for his. Installation and set up of Linux software is not always as simple as clicking the Terms and Agreements box and clicking the next button. It can require quite a bit of work and for some it can be completely impossible to install. The technical understanding needed to deal with some of the error messages, and configuration problems is too much for many would-be uers. Once Linux becomes as user-friendly as Windows we may see more and more people moving over to Linux OS for PCs.


Things Around Your Home That Could Damage Your PC

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Your personal computer (PC) is an important purchase, and quite an expensive one too. With the advances planned for PCs and wireless technology, it is only a matter of time before PCs will be considered a household appliance. Now, although a PC is usually a fairly tough piece of machinery, it is possible for computers to be brought to a premature death by the environment they are kept in.

When it comes to taking care of a PC, maintaining it and keeping it trouble-free, the media most often warns us about protection from viruses and back door intruders. Because of this emphasis, many PC owners fail to realize that there are many external things that can just as easily cause damage to a PC. Things in the home such as dust, humidity, water and even power surges can all cause your computer to break down.

When you bring a PC into your home, you should think carefully about where you will place it. Firstly, never keep your computer too close to the humid areas of your home; the bathroom and the kitchen especially. Humid air contains minute droplets of water which can settle on the electronics of your PC. Over time, humid air will cause rust and corrosion inside your PC, creating a host of problems.

PC owners should use a surge protector as much as possible to protect against spikes in their electrical current. Power surges are sudden peaks in voltage that happen from time to time and that can damage your computer. PCs should be plugged directly into a surge protector and then the surge protector plugged into the power outlet. If you live in an area with high lightening activity you will be at even more risk from power surges.

Since dust and moisture exist in every home, it is important to regularly clean your computer to remove any excess dust. Cleaning your computer will protect the electronics. If you see a large build up of dust around your computer fan, it is a sign that there is probably a large build up of dust inside your computer as well. To resolve this, hold the hose of your vacuum cleaner against the outside of the fan and gently suck out the dust inside.


Recent News

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