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Tag Archives: Home Technology

E-Readers

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E-books continue to grow in popularity. Not only are today’s consumers willing to pay for their e-books, many authors are making a living exclusively through selling their books in electronic format. The most convenient way to read your e-book is through the use of an e-reader device. These are usually small, hand held devices that can be carried anywhere with you. There are some excellent models in e-readers on the market. In this article, I will mention just a few of the e-readers that I feel fall among the best on the market.

Sony PRS600
The Sony PRS600 is an attractive device that has a 6-inch touch-sensitive screen. The PRS600 holds countless e-books which are stored on an SD memory card. While reading from the device, users can easily turn the pages of their e-books by simply moving their finger across the screen. This great feature makes things feel very much like reading a physical book however this model can have screen glare.
Size: Height = 174.5 x Width = 121 x Depth = 10mm
Weight: The PRS600R weighs just 286g so it is very easy to carry around
Battery Life: Comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. As measured by page turns, the battery lasts 7,500 page turns when using it for reading (excluding when other features are being used).
Memory: Uses SD memory and has a built in slot for cards.

The Kindle Wireless Reading Device
The Kindle is a great e-reader made available by Amazon.com. Users can use it to read ebooks, to store up to 1,500 ebooks, to purchase ebooks from Amazon.com and to do a host of other things. This well-engineered device has a screen that looks like paper. Unlike many LCD screens, it can be read in sunlight as well as in any other environment as well.
Size: 1/3 inch slim (about the thickness of a magazine)
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Battery Life: User can read for up to 1 week on a single charge even with the wireless feature switched on.
Memory: Holds up to 1,500 books

Bookeen Cybook Opus
The Bookeen Cybook Opus is an attractive e-book reading device. It is extremely easy to read from. It makes use of ePaper technology which emulates the way that ink prints on a piece of paper. The screen can be read in all types of lighting conditions, including sunlight. The Cybook has very long battery life. Users can download a huge number of books from a catalogue made available by a variety of web sites.
Size: Height = 151mm x Width = 10mm
Weight: 150g
Battery Life: Battery lasts for 8,000 page flips.
Memory: The Opus has 32 MB of built in memory with 1 GB of NAND storage. It also accepts Micro SD storage cards.


2010 Technology Trends

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2010 is upon us and unfortunately, the decade of the “noughties” has passed quicker than any of us could have anticipated. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that we were scuttling around trying to protect ourselves and our computer systems from the Y2K Bug? Amazingly a complete decade has passed since the now laughable problems of Y2K. In that time, huge strides have been made in the area of electronic gadgets and technology, especially when it relates to the Internet. I have compiled a short list of technology trends that are expected to hit us in 2010. This is by no means an exhaustive list but a “things to look out for in 2010” kind of list so read on:

Increased Use of Cloud Computing Technologies

Cloud computing is most likely a term that you have heard bandied about in magazines and technology programs. The average computer user will not know what it is, but basically it is a term that is used to describe a cloud of services that any business, person or entity might use to share information between people and computers. These services include things like data storage, computer power, file back ups, telephony, messaging and more.

In 2010, major tech companies plan to move forward with cloud computing initiatives and so it is very likely that businesses will also latch onto and make the most of what cloud computing can provide them. IBM, Cisco and EMC have all spoken publicly about boosting what they offer in the way of cloud computing.

A Switch from Netbooks to Smaller Mobile Devices

Netbooks skyrocketed in popularity over the past 3 or so years. Netbooks are said to be popular because of their mobility (they are extremely lightweight), their simplicity and the speed within which they can connect to the Internet. The downside to Netbooks, is that although quite small, they are not as portable as a PDA or mobile phone. 2010 is expected to introduce devices that will overtake Netbooks in popularity. These devices will be smaller than Netbooks yet slightly larger than PDAs. The Apple Tablet is one product that will be launched and various manufacturers are planning PC versions of the Apple Tablet.

The Availability of 3D Technology in the Home

Home entertainment manufacturers are planning to make 3D technology increasingly available in the home. An increasing number of 3D movies were released in 2009. These 3D movies will soon be offered on DVD and Blu-Ray for home audiences. Enjoying this technology and making the most of it will most likely require consumers to purchase 3D capable TV screens, along with the 3D versions of DVDs. Keeping up with this trend will require a considerable financial investment, so only you and your family can decide whether it’s worth it.


The PS3 the ultimate home device

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If you have been a gamer or computer user for any length of time, then like me you would have seen PlayStation technology go through many changes and releases over the years. The PS3 is as exciting as any PlayStation has ever been. In fact, the new PS3 is not just a gaming device but it is an all around entertainment device for the home. Not only can you play a host of interactive, multiplayer video games on it, you can also watch movies on it, chat with friends (even video chat), play music, display digital photos on a slideshow and more. The Sony PlayStation has truly evolved.

The PS3 and other PlayStation devices were originally developed for gamers. They had solely a video gaming focus and they were good at what they did. Over the years however, they have developed to include other types of entertainment as well. Now they don’t just appeal to one or two members of the family but to every single member of the family. They are now entertainment units that the whole family can enjoy.

PlayStation devices plug into a normal television and they use the TV screen as the monitor for the games that are played. Many people like using the new PS3 with high definition televisions for the powerful impact of the visuals. The PS3 is able to play movies both on DVD and on Blu-ray which means crystal clear, extremely high definition move watching for those that own HD TVs. Blu-ray technology allows for some of the highest quality picture quality in existence. It is clear that the PS3 has been designed to be an all around multimedia center and so far, it seems to be succeeding at that.

For further family entertainment, the PS3 allows you to display photos on a continuous slideshow. When games are not being played on your PS3 device or movies watched, it is nice to let family photos appear on the TV screen in slideshow mode. It can be a way of lifting your spirits while doing housework or while relaxing with music. Additionally, the PS3 lets you play your digital music files to provide the perfect backdrop for any occasion.

These days, most video games come with a government rating to indicate the age groups that they are appropriate for. With the PS3, not only do games come with ratings, there are several options in parental controls within the device as well. This means that conscientious parents can help prevent their children stumbling across dodgy content. The natural curiosity of children means that if it can be found using PS3, they will find it. Safeguards such as these make the PS3 a safe, exciting entertainment option for any family.


Blu-Ray Vs HD DVD

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The goal to improve upon DVD technology brought about a surprisingly fierce battle to produce “the product” that would replace DVD technology. This race was run primarily between HD DVD technology which was being developed by Toshiba and Blu-ray technology which was being developed by a conglomerate of contributors known as the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA).

What is Blu-Ray?
Blu-ray technology was developed by a group of developers and contributing companies so as to improve, and ultimately replace DVD technology. A major feature of Blu-Ray technology is that it uses an optical disc and so is not starkly different in appearance to a DVD. It also uses a blue laser to read the data on the disc. This blue ray allows for greater accuracy in accessing data and therefore allows data to packed much closer and tighter together. This means that Blu-ray discs can potentially hold more data than the original DVD.

What is HD DVD?
HD DVD or High-Definition/Density DVD is a technology that is no longer being developed. Like Blu-ray and DVD, it uses an optical disc which is capable of storing very large amounts of data. HD DVD technology made use of a blue laser as opposed to the red laser used in original DVD technology. Although HD DVD was a promising format, over time, it did not manage to gain popular support. This was true especially among manufacturers and retailers, the place where it needed it most. When the majority of the market chose to work with Blu-ray, the development of HD DVD was discontinued.

Blu-ray technology continues to increase in popularity and it is now positioned to be the technology that ultimately replaces the popular DVD format that we have become used to. Other benefits of Blu-ray technology are that it is backward compatible with DVD and CDs. This is excellent because users will be able to avoid having to re-format or re-record their entire CD and DVD collections. It also means that recording older discs over to the new technology will be much easier than has been with previous replacement technologies.


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.


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.


What to Look for When Buying a Printer for your PC

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Computer and Internet technology provide us with the prospect of very soon conducting work and business using electronic and digital documents only; in essence, a paperless environment. However, there will always be a need to print documents every once in a while.

The cost of a printer is usually very low. Printer manufacturers know that they will make enough of a profit on ink cartridges to risk taking a small loss selling the printer. Therefore, many consumers find themselves in the position where they have a fantastic printer but over time, can not afford to buy ink for it.

A printer can usually only be used with unique ink cartridges made specifically by the manufacturer for that printer. This is something to bear in mind when you are making a decision about which printer to buy. Before committing to a specific printer, find out how much it will cost you to keep the printer supplied with ink cartridges.

Even though printers are sold cheaply, it is still important to make sure that you are buying a quality printer. You don’t want to have to shop for a new printer in a few months no matter how little you paid for it. Find out what people are saying about the printer you have your eye on. Review web sites are a great place to hear directly from other consumers.

Whether you are a student and will use your printer at home or if you are buying a printer for business purposes, you will probably want a printer with a few extra features. A variety of good features come packaged with today’s printers. A scanner, fax and copier are common built-in add-ons and ones that are recommended for home office use.

Printers come quite cheaply these days. If you take the time to do a little bit of research before buying, you can prevent yourself overspending on ink and from suffering with a printer that functions as cheaply as the price you paid for it.


What's the difference between LCD and Plasma

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Flat screen TVs give a modern, fashionable look to your home. Although flat screen TVs give high definition and crystal clear pictures, not all flat screens are equal! Generally, flat screen TVs come in two different varieties: LCDs and Plasmas. When buying a flat screen TV, you will choose between a plasma or an LCD television.

Plasma TVs take advantage of a fairly old technology but in a new way. They give a crystal clear picture that is high definition and they do it through tiny tubes that are filled with neon and xenon gases. This new use of neon gives plasma TVs their amazing picture clarity.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) uses an older pixel technology. LCD TVs create their clear picture by placing pixels in front of a reflector or a source of light. LCD technology is not only used in flat screens, its popular in portable devices because it only needs a small amount of battery power.

When it comes to buying a flat screen TV, both plasma and LCD technologies have their pros and cons. Which one you choose depends on your own situation and how you anticipate using your television. LCD technology has some screen size limitations. Plasma technology allows for much larger screens than LCDs. So, if size is a factor for you, a plasma TV would be the way to go.

You can potentially have a very flat screen with both LCD and plasma technology, especially in comparison to traditional televisions. However an LCD TV can go the flattest. LCD TVs can be as thin as 2 inches, they tend to weigh much less than plasma televisions and require only about half the electricity of a plasma.

Plasma TVs have delicate, vulnerable screens. They can easily sustain damage and are expensive and, at times, impossible to repair. LCD televisions have much tougher screens which have a longer lifespan overall.

One of the most significant differences between a plasma TV and an LCD is their response time during fast action sequences. LCD screens have more of a process to go through to create an image onscreen. Therefore, they can have a slight blur during fast, action scenes. On the other hand, LCDs offer more clarity on still pictures.


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