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Technology and Your Kid
As far as the children of today are concerned, the Internet has always been around. They are playing video games on it or using Skype to talk to far-off relatives or even doing their school projects. Children are being introduced to the Internet as early as kindergarten. They learn about their teacher’s website along with her name and do research for their projects on the computers in the school library. Learning how to use this technology that has become such an integral part of our lives is a necessary skill that needs to be taught, and moderated, to children today.

The Age of Internet


By 2011, six out of ten children from the ages three to 17 used the Internet at home, roughly 58%. Almost 83% had a computer at home. There has been a steady rise in the number of children with access to computers at home. It has risen from 15% in 1984 to 76% in 2003. Consequently the number of children using Internet at home has risen from 11% in 1997 to 58% in 2011. 36% of eight to eighteen year olds have access to a computer in their bedroom and as many as 33% have Internet access. The youth of today spends nearly an hour-and-a-half apart from schoolwork on the computer surfing various social media sites.

We are living in an age when the process of teaching and learning is being enhanced in ways previously thought impossible without technology. Schools are giving students their own devices to access information, participate in courses, do research and homework, as well as engage classmates. It can safely be said that schools, soon, will be wired for an improved learning and teaching experience. But these tools of technology are not the end, but a means to help the children learn the skills that will propel them towards careers benefiting society.

There are definitely implications to letting kids as young as 5 or 6 have access to such technology. Growing cases of cyber-bullying or child abuse online are but a few cases. Just as we guide kids about issues of safety, conduct, manners and decorum, we should also ensure that they know the protocol of online behaviour before they get online. Laws like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) require schools to teach the children about online safety and responsibility.

What Can Parents Do

Talk to Your Child – Parents should take an active interest in what their child is doing on the computer or the Internet. Just like they want to know of their kids’ whereabouts and the company they keep, similar interest should be shown in learning of their online activities.

Talk about the Rules with Your Child – You and your child together should develop rules about acceptable and safe behaviour for all electronic media. Be it the television, the laptop, or the tablet.

Check out the Internet – Try and assess the pros and cons of the websites your child visits. Most online activities are beneficial and help young people with similar interests interact.

Talk to Other Parents – Talk to other parents about how they discuss technology and its uses with their children.

Connect with the School – Parents should work with their kid’s school and school district to help develop a class educating the parents about the ground rules on usage of equipment like laptops, computers, tablets etc. as well as policies on electronic aggression and the resources available to parents.

Educate Yourself – Stay updated about new devices and websites your child is using. Talk to your child regularly and explore the technology for yourself.

Set a Good Example – Children take their cues from parents. It is important that parents set the bar high in terms of use of technology.

Introduce Them to Safe Websites – The aim with exposing younger children to technology is to shield them from exposure to harmful content and set rules to keep their online enthusiasm within reasonable bounds. Take recommendations for such sites from teachers and other parents and look them up with your child.

Keep the Computer Visible – Making sure that the laptop or computer is in your vicinity and visible gives you more control over the online activities of your child. Set clear limits on the amount of time that can be spent by children on the computer.

Make It a Family Activity – Children love to take on a teaching role. If you are not savvy around technology ask your child to coach you, or show you what they have been up to online.

Set Downloading Rules – Warn the children against downloading anything without your permission. There are many programs and plug-ins that threaten the integrity of your system and are hugely popular on peer-to-peer networks used by teens.

Explain Online Shopping to Children – Avoid giving children the use of credit cards online, it is a gateway to financial disaster.

What Can Schools Do


Almost 70% of middle school students use laptops for learning, 66% use desktops and 47% use smart phones. These figures jump to 75%, 65% and 60% for high school students. This makes it imperative for schools to regulate the use of technology among kids.

Boost Parent Leadership – Begin discussions in the PTO or the PTA about safe and responsible online use by students at school and home. Form an advisory group which can determine where to get started or get an expert to help you out. There are many free and reputable sources available which help parent and teaching communities to keep a better check on the laptop/computer and Internet usage of kids.

Communicate with the Parents – If the school is starting with the use of computers in classrooms make it a part of an open-house or parent-teacher nights. This will help the parents get a better idea of what their children are being taught.

Be Clear with Parents on the Repercussions of Misuse of Technology – When parents sign the school’s Code of Conduct and Acceptable Use Policies (AUP), it makes them aware of what constitutes a transgression of the policy, how it will be handled and how it will reflect on your child’s record.

Be Creative in Your Efforts - Schools and parents should not limit their discussions to being safe and responsible with technology. The best aspect of these technologies is the amount of ease they offer in learning and teaching. Ways must be found to use these technologies with families and steps should be taken to encourage them to use it together for school-driven activities, events, fund-raisers, or other projects.

Embrace the Change


It is not surprising to find a pre-schooler who can barely tie his shoelaces, but as if by instinct, can operate the latest gadget that has come home. Technology can be intimidating for those who were introduced to it late in life. The most important point to keep in mind is this, the job of teaching kids how best to use technology can seem daunting as they seem to be so much better at it than us.

Always be willing to learn along with, or from, your child. Establish trust between yourselves to ensure they are always honest and forthright about their activities with you. There are some definite dangers to children using technology, just like there are dangers to children playing football or other outdoor sports. The most important thing to be kept in mind by both the parents and the teachers here is for what purpose is the technology being used.

Experts worried about how immersed kids are these days in interactive media point to studies linking heavy screen-time to obesity, short attention spans, inability to make real-world friends, dulled imagination, low academic performance and increased aggression. They also argue that digital technology robs kids of the hands-on creative play that is so essential for their development. On the other hand many experts and parents laud the fact that technology makes learning fun, and engages kids actively in exploring and trouble-shooting.

However, even experts who are skeptical about the growing use of technology among children agree with the importance and benefits that it presents. All said and done, learning how to live in this hi-tech world is an essential life-skill that children today require, and it is something for which they need to be carefully guided.

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If you've been looking to upgrade your businesses laptops there could be many good reasons to do so. If you look at it from purely the cost side then yes you'll think you're just spending money on new computers and losing money. When you look at it from a business side you'll realise it can actually make you a lot of money, you're paying your employees hourly so the longer a certain task takes them the less efficient they are. If you get them a newer and faster machine they can now get far more work done in their hours at work and potentially make you even more money. There are even ways to sell your old laptops so let us see how it can be profitable to sell a businesses' laptops or desktops.

 

 

 

 sell-business-laptops

 

How and Where to Save Money Buying New Computers

 

 

 

The first step might seem like the most obvious but you've got to buy new computers and you want to spend the least amount of money possible right? There are many options to look at and depending on how large your business is or how many you need there is no “right” choice. One option you can always consider is to buy used laptops, just like with cars, electronics lose their value very fast. So if you buy a year or two old model laptop it's value has already greatly dropped and you can now save a large amount of money upgrading. Used computers can be found in many places, Craigslist locally, local computer stores, or the best option being an online bidding site. Some companies sell their gently used models for a huge loss and it's the perfect way for you to save hundreds or thousands If you're set on getting a new laptop or desktop system you can still be a frugal shopper, looking at places online will get you the best deals and you can even check on sites like New Egg or Tiger Direct and find some very low prices on brand new technology. There is no simple answer for which option is best that's for you to decide, however don't think going down to Best Buy is your only option because that will typically be the most expensive way to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Don't Forget About Your Old Laptops

 

 

 

Just because you no longer need your old computers doesn't mean they're worthless yet. Depending on how old they are and what condition they're in you can actually sell your old business or school computers. There are places online who will help you with the process and even pay for all of the shipping and handling. Making the entire process for you as easy as going to their website or making a short phone call it can now all be done online. Doing this can greatly offset the price of new laptops and the more often you do it the better it might be for your company. If you upgrade your laptops once every 4-5 years you will not only have to deal with slow old computers, but when you go to sell them their value will be considerably lower because technology moves so fast. If you want to know the secret to saving money and optimising your employees efficiency it is to sell your old and used laptops more frequently. This mean every 1-2 years you will get newer cutting edge laptops that perform tasks far quicker and make the entire office get more done in their day. It also means when you go to sell your laptops their value has dropped less and you will lose a far smaller percentage than you did by waiting longer. It really is beneficial to sell your businesses or schools laptops and desktops sooner than later because it drops so much every year. Technology is even worse than cars in their depreciation so the quicker you can sell them the better off you'll be.

 

 

 sell-your-business-laptops-online

 

 

Where to Sell Your Laptops at?

 

 

 

Now the biggest problem is where can you sell them safely and securely? Most companies are going to want their personal information erased whether it be bank information, customer information or just personal documents. This can be a big problem because most places don't offer any sort of safe business data removal or charge money for this service. The one I found who offers the highest level of data erasing security is Quick Laptop Cash, it might not sound important but a company who will go through every single computer and hard drive to ensure it has been erased is very important. If you want your companies information erased to government and military standards they use the exact same software and systems as the most top secret government institutions. If you've ever looked around at different companies most will actually charge you a fee to get data security at this level! Erasing hard drives and memory takes a very long time and the required hardware and software to do it are very expensive. If you want to not only dispose of your companies desktop and laptop computers but ensure that your personal and business information is safe you need to use a company like Quick Laptop Cash, it is where I went to sell my laptops online and I'd highly recommend them.

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have upgraded to newer and more efficient computers, have sold your old unneeded technology, and have got a free data removal service that would normally cost thousands what is left to do? You now need to keep doing this same process every few years to keep your costs of upgrading low and get the most work out of your employees as possible. Too often do I hear them complain of slow or out dated laptops that can no longer keep up with their work. Don't pay your employees to sit around and stare at a loading bar sell your old business or school computers and get them a modern quick computer!

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How Well do they Fix Your Computer Issues?

 

 

You've most likely heard of these programs by now, whether it was a TV commercial or a friend who tried them. If so you hopefully know to stay far away from them because they will not do anything positive for your computer. They advertise claims of “we'll speed up your computer to be faster than new” and “we will solve all your computers issues”. They are not going to clean anything up and they actually install more stuff onto your computer that slows it down. Let us take a look at a few of the popular ones and what they claim they can do to speed up or fix your laptop or desktop. They end up working more like a virus than anything and should never be used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Programs to Never Install on Your Laptop

 

 

One of the more popular ones is AVG PC Tune Up, they claim it will boost your computers speed but if you Google some of the reviews you will quickly see you should never even run their free trial. After the 24 hour period is up you can expect your computer to run at speeds FAR worse than you've ever seen before. They will then show you endless ways to “click here” and purchase the full version that will make your computer run faster again. There will be messaged like “we found 48 errors and can fix them for the low price of $xx.xx”. If you spend anytime looking into this one the reviews alone should scare you away from ever wanting to touch it, the most common review said they had to have their operating system professionally reinstalled to even get their computer to boot again.

 

 

 

 

The other popular one is a Registry Cleaner software and there are many of them out there. These have been proven time and time again to do absolutely nothing good and actually slow down your laptop or desktop too. They are supposed to clean or wipe the files left behind from deleted programs and other saved items. This in turn is supposed to make your PC be able to access information faster because it won't have to look through these items but the truth is unless you have an incredibly slow hard drive or too little ram your computer should never experience problems because of this. What these programs typically do is install bloatware along with the actual Registry Cleaner, when you're not paying attention to the install screen it will have add on programs also known as bloatware that get installed and cause horrible problems for your computer like pop ups, internet not working, and in some cases the computer won't even boot up. NEVER install a registry cleaner whether it's from a random company or a well known one.

 

 

 

 PC Tune Up Problems

 

 

What to do if You Want to Speed Up Your PC Computer

 

 

Now that you know these fake programs do nothing to speed up or clean your computer you might be wondering how you can actually speed it up. There are some simple, safe and FREE steps you can take to speed up your computer.

 

  1. The first step is to get rid of all of those programs you downloaded looking for the quick and easy fix. They're slowing down your computer and actual contain malware that will harm your computer in more ways than just slowing it down. You can try a program to search for malware but you should be warned they don't work too well either.


    The best way is to go into your computers control panel, and then go to uninstall a program so you can get these malicious programs out of your hard drive. The easiest way to do it is to organize the programs by their install date. Chances are it is one of the most recently installed programs if it has started causing enough problems to try finding it. Once in there you can go through and see every programs name, publisher, install date, and file size. The program name and publisher should be all you need to decide if it was something you installed or something vital to the PC operating. If you're doubtful on who the publisher is or if you actually installed it do a simple Google search. Putting in the program name and publisher will instantly give you a ton of reviews from people with the same problems. If it says the publisher is Microsoft Corporation you probably don't want to mess with it, when the publisher is Bills Spyware Safety that would be a good place to start at, chances are it is not a program you need or want. Left click on it the program name and then right click. You'll see “Uninstall” come up and you can now get rid of that pesky malware program.


    Do this through your entire program list and your computer will be much better off. Some will make you restart of might even tell you they cannot be uninstalled. If this happens you have now found a really bad program or something vital to your computers functionality. Do a little research and be sure it is not needed, then simple read how to get rid of it because PC techs will gladly share their knowledge online of how to beat these malware viruses. If all else fails take it in to a professional who can make sure it is properly removed.

  1. Another thing that Microsoft Windows 7/8 and Vista has is Aero. The technology they call aero is for esthetic purposes and is just there to make the operating system work and look more stylish. This takes a toll on your ram and processor though because they must dedicate some resources to them, I'd turn these off if you're finding your machine to have speed problems. It won't be a big difference but if you're looking to speed up your computer it will certainly help.

  1. Do less multitasking if your PC is having speed problems. Depending on the task(s) at hand and how new or fast your computer is will play a huge roll in how fast certain things will run. If you're trying to stream music, browse the internet and burn a Blu-ray DVD at the same time you might have problems on an older laptop or desktop. Lots of people think their computer is running slow when it's actually just their internet, if all of the things you're trying to do are online or you have 10 windows open on your browser you might not have fast enough internet to keep up. Keeping an eye on your multi tasking and internet speeds can be a big cause of what seems like an old or slow machine. Try to change your computer habits and focus on one task at a time to see if that helps.

 

 

 

computer tune up 

 

 

Speed Issues can be Hardware Related

If after doing all of this you're still seeing speed issues you might have larger problems like something wrong with your hardware. Laptop hard drives are the most prone to fail item on modern laptops or desktops because they have a ton of moving parts. You often won't know they're about to fail but sometimes your computer might give you a warning. If you see this your computer will likely be running slow and is probably about to fail. Either back up your information or take it to a computer repair store so they can safely transfer your information or attempt to fix it. The hard drive failing will slow everything down and possible stop it from booting without warning. If you don't think it is hardware related try those 3 tips for speeding up your PC and avoid buying useless programs!

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Don't Let Your Laptop Slow You down at Airport Security

Flying, for many, is a feat of fortitude. It is not only about spending long hours in the air, but also the amount of time usually spent at the terminal. Waiting to check-in can often be longer than expected, but even worse than that is to encounter an unmoving line at security.

Facing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is one of the most frustrating aspects of air travel for most people. Tales of privacy violation and long-drawn searches are shared often on the Web, this and the snail-paced lines during the holiday season suddenly makes airport security a nightmare.

One of the biggest fears of any flyer is to lose their laptop in the checked baggage. This is why it is usually preferred to take it along onboard with the carry-on luggage. But even then, if not packed correctly, it can cause you a delay during the security check.

Below are a few steps you can follow to ensure that you and your laptop breeze through airport security:

Pack Smartly


It is always advisable to learn the rules of airport security beforehand. Make sure that the intended checked baggage is properly packed with no loose cords or metal containers. If not, be prepared to get pulled up.

The carry-on baggage is the luggage you are allowed to take onboard the airplane. You can carry one personal item like a laptop, a purse, a small backpack or a camera case, over and above one carry-on. There are a few things you should keep in mind so that your checked luggage and carry-on luggage, which usually includes your laptop, makes the flight with you.

 - If there is film in your checked baggage, be ready, the screening equipment will damage it. Keep all undeveloped film and cameras in your carry-on baggage

 - Putting your personal belongings in clear plastic bags will make it less probable that the TSA screener will have to handle them

 - Do not keep wires and cords in a jumble; pack them cleanly with minimum possible looping

 - Get a backpack with a lot of pockets for the journey. If you want to take a purse make sure it fits inside the backpack

 - Don’t stack piles of books or documents on top of each other

 - Make your belongings easily visible to hasten the process

 - Do not pack or bring prohibited items to the airport

 - Check ahead of time with your agent or airline to determine the baggage policy, including the limitations on the
number of pieces, size and weight

 - Carry-on baggage always follows the 1+1 rule, one bag and one personal item

 - Keep identification tags on all your bags with your name, phone number and address. This includes your laptop

 - Avoid overpacking, especially around your laptop. Not only will it cause spillage when opened for checks, it may even cause the airport security to pull you out due to difficulty in screening

 - If you are carrying any wrapped electronic equipment or anything gift-wrapped be prepared for it to be opened for inspection

Prepare Your Laptop for the Trip


TSA requires an unobstructed view of your hardware in order to make sure your computer hasn’t been tampered with. However, juggling various items like shoes, jacket, ID and tickets, makes it difficult to keep a track of things. Add a fragile and difficult-to-handle laptop in the mix, and you can find yourself in complete disarray by the time you reach the scanner.

Be prepared to prove that the laptop is yours. US Customs officials may charge you a duty fee to bring your laptop into the country, unless you prove it has been purchased in the United States. Keep it handy when standing in line.

If asked to turn on your laptop to prove it is a working computer, which may mean time to boot up, be prepared. Turn on your laptop before you get in line and put it in sleep mode.

Trying to save time by packing your laptop with your checked luggage is a no-no. The chances of theft are high for any valuable packed in the checked luggage. Carry the laptop with you and make sure some part of your body is touching it at all times.

If a traveler fails to answer the questions posed or follow security guidelines, airport security has the right to confiscate the laptop. In case of multiple laptops being passed through security, you should put your name and address on them. Don’t run your laptop through anything other than the airport security x-ray machines. Keep it away from other screening equipment and request that it be physically inspected instead. Make sure your laptop is prepped and ready before your journey.

TSA Approved Laptop Bags



To save on time, and the annoyance of having to take out your laptop in transit, try and get yourself a TSA-approved laptop bag. You can choose from three different patterns: Butterfly, Trifold, and Sleeve. These allow the x-ray machine a clear view of your computer as it rolls along on the conveyor belt.

People carrying laptop bags that are not checkpoint-friendly must remove the laptop from the bag. When you place the laptop in the scanning bin to pass through the x-ray machine make sure there are no other hard objects in it that could damage the laptop.

Some of the things to look for when selecting a checkpoint-friendly bag:

 - Make sure your bag has a designated laptop-only section to lay it out flat on the x-ray belt

 - There should be no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on-top of the laptop-only section

 - The laptop-only section should have no pockets inside or outside

 - There should be nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop

 - Make sure that your bag can be unfolded so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section

There is no guarantee, even after purchasing one of these bags, that you can leave your laptop in your bag for screening. If it is found that the bag does not provide a clear and distinct image of the laptop, it will be screened separately. There are options for laptop bags available in the market that present a clear x-ray image but most current laptop bags will not do so.

What Stays in and What Does Not



Any laptop 12x14’ or larger has to come out of the bag. Not every laptop coming through is measured, but those are the general dimensions that are considered to be standard size. But remember, if you choose to leave your small laptop in the bag and it is not visible clearly on the x-ray, it will have to come out.

Usually equipment like tablet computers, netbooks, and e-readers are less dense than a typical laptop and are easier for x-ray operators to inspect. However, larger laptops and game consoles appear denser and need to be removed in order for the x-ray operator to get a look. But once again, if the officer can’t get a good look at your bag, or if they see something out of the ordinary, they will have to remove it.

A lot can be hidden inside a laptop. Items have often been found concealed in the body or circuitry of laptops, this makes it imperative for security officials to take a good look at them. Having only three seconds to make a call in order to keep the lines moving, the more visible you keep your laptop the faster the process will go.

Wear a Smile



It may not be your favourite part about traveling but security checks and security officials at airports have a very important job to do. Venting your frustration at them is a sure-fire way to slow yourself down. The TSA agents deal with scores of grumpy travelers every day. But if you keep your cool, cooperate and wear a smile the procedure will be pleasant for you and everyone around.

So the next time you go through airport security keep in mind the points above if you’re carrying your laptop, tablet, gaming console or other devices. Make sure that you cooperate with the officials and have the documents and equipment handy for speedy checks.

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It has been talked about a million times but there are still people converting from one to the other or they might actually need to use both. For this reason there are always people looking at the newest Macbooks or iMacs and people looking to build a new top of the line custom PC. It really comes down to what you'll be using it for and this guide should help you make the right choice because it's never the same for any two people. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses so let's see which ones work best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

What to Look for in a New Laptop or Desktop

 

 

 

 

1) What are you going to use it for?

This is the most important question, while either of the platforms will be able to handle your easy daily tasks such as internet browsing, email, and multimedia there are some specific tasks that certain ones will really excel in.

 

 

 

 

If you're trying to play video games the long time running leader is still a PC and it's typically a custom built one. This is because you can keep your computer updated to have the latest cutting edge hardware very easily that will allow you to play the huge list of PC games out there. While most games are made to be compatible with both platforms now there is still a large list that is PC specific. On top of that there is no native support for DirectX on the Mac OS or Linux, you will need this for most newer games and while it can be made to work for a Mac, the Windows PC is the best option here by far.

 

 

 

 

If School or work is your main focus chances are you'll be using Microsoft Office Suite. While there are plenty of other options it still continues to be the norm in work and school environments. It is compatible on both platforms so you shouldn't have a problem getting it to work with either and you can even use the free versions out there like Open Office if you're wanting to save some money. The only thing that might sway your vote here is if you need to use a specific program for work, depending on your line of work most still prefer a Windows laptop or desktop but some creative arts jobs might require an Apple computer. With an Apple computers you can always just run Boot Camp, Parallels or any of the other options out there which allow your Mac to either turn on like a Windows computer or open a window that runs like the Windows operating system. This is where you want to make sure you know exactly what you'll be doing with your computer to avoid any Windows vs Mac compatibility issues you might run into on either platform.

 

 

 Apple Macbook Pro vs Windows 8 Toshiba

 

 

 

2) What are the Limitations to the System that you Choose?

 

 

 

 

If you decide to go with a laptop or desktop it doesn't matter if you're looking at an Apple Macbook or Windows 7/8 computer they're all going to be limited by their processor and video card (if it has one). This means don't buy a laptop expecting to upgrade it later as they're set in stone and not able to be switched out like a desktop.

 

 

 

 

If you decide to go Apple you no doubt know they're well known for their multimedia capabilities whether it be photos, video editing, music production and much more. However they're being caught up to quickly by PC brands and the software they offer is what makes Apple one of the most popular brands still. The all in one approach they take to your entire computer experience is what really sets an Apple apart from everything else. From the moment you buy the laptop to when you get rid of it they're there to help along the way. With new Apple stores popping up all over the country chances are you have one close to you. Their laptops are constantly rated to be some of the highest in reliability and customer satisfaction. This is because they offer amazing customer support that is actually based here in the United States as well as having their laptops all assembled and the parts produced by them. Most Windows computer companies will use the cheapest parts they can find to keep costs down but Apple uses their parts, their operating system and stands behind it all. This all of course comes at a much higher cost then a Windows option.

 

 

 

 

Say a Windows laptop or computer is more your style, you'll have endless options from the multiple companies out there who produce business and main stream models, to the less know brands who make niche computers for gaming, multimedia uses, and everything in between. If you still can't find what you're looking for you can always just go ahead and build your own from scratch! The Windows operating system allows you to create as simple or wild a machine as you'd like, this is where it has Apple desktops beat because you can always upgrade their hardware to the newest cutting edge stuff. They are also quite a bit less expensive especially when you look at higher end iMacs or Apple desktops capable of costing over $3,000 with only a few simple upgrades.

 

Windows 7 or 8 and Apple OSX desktop compatibility 

 

 

Wrapping up the Differences of Apple vs Windows

There is far too much to cover about their differences but those are some of the main ones regarding price, functionality, and what meets a users needs. The best thing to do is talk to people you work with and see what works best for them, if they're all using Apples chances are it works best in that scenario, if your work ONLY lets you use a Windows PC then it might not even be a choice for you to make. Most places will have them out on display and Best Buy is the only retail store that sells both. You can go in and test out both of them to see which one you like more. Some people absolutely love the Apple all in one track pad while others cannot stand it. In the end it will come down to which one works best for you so go try them out first hand.

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9 Gifts the Geek in Your Life Will LoveConnoisseurs of technology have a different standard of gifting than any old regular Joe. You cannot imagine them to be happy with just another iPad mini or whatever latest Kindle version you could find online. Gadget hounds cherish technology like art. Some of the amazing gadgetry coming out today is nothing less than art. But it can be difficult to wade and trudge through the never-ending stream of gear and find something that truly stands out. Be it a brother, father, boyfriend, wife, sister or mother, there is a ton of interesting gadgetry out there.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic – For any photo enthusiast already at pro-level with DSLR and its assorted lenses, the next best thing is usually an instant film camera. It is alright if you think that these analog models had completely disappeared from the market with the rise of digital cameras and smartphones. But Fujifilm has been making a line of similar Polaroid-like instant cameras with a styling that is both retro and sleek. With a film size roughly an area of 3.25 x 2 inches, it is not as big as the typical polaroid print but makes for perfect memento-sized pictures that can fit in a jacket or a purse.

Its manual control over brightness, a bulb mode and double exposure setting offer enough wriggle-room for enthusiasts to get really creative with this camera. This is a great camera for travelers, the fact that it looks like a toy camera also helps put people at ease. You can get up to 10 exposures before you have to load another cassette into the camera.Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

Mohu Curve Indoor HDTV Antenna – It is true, you can vastly improve the video quality of broadcast on TV channels and bypass your cable box while at it. All major broadcast networks have been streaming free uncompressed HD signals since 2009, all you need to receive them is antenna. With the technology today having come a long way from the rabbit ears of yore, antennas too have gotten much better in performance, and style.

Many indoor antennas are about the size, and bear the appearance, of a plastic placemat for the dining table. For the best reception you need to hang them in a window or on your wall near the ceiling. They work well, but usually do nothing good for your décor. The Mohu Curve Indoor HDTV Antenna on the other hand looks almost like a simple sculpture.

Set on the table it looks as if it was always meant to be there. The Curve 30 has a 30-mile reception range and the Curve 50, a 50-mile reception. It connects to your TV with the same type of coaxial cable that your cable box uses. It comes with a ten-foot cable, but you may have to experiment with the placement for the best reception.

Chromecast – Weighing in at about 34 grams this 72 x 35 x 12 is one of the smallest and handiest dongles in the market. Once plugged in the back of a television set, there is almost no indication that it is a part of your home theatre setup.

Unlike other streaming devices, Google’s Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote control, or for that matter, any onboard applications or content.

Setting up the device or watching a video from your personal media collection or even browsing YouTube is done through the use of apps on your Android phone or tablet, iOS device or via Google’s Chrome browser on a Chrome OS, Windows or Mac PC.

The setup is an absolute ease with the Chromecast. Just power the device and plug it into an available television HDMI port and follow the prompts. It will walk you through the process of connecting it to a Wi-Fi network, pairing with your choice of source device and downloading any available firmware updates. At its low cost and user-friendliness it is the perfect gift for a travelling geek. ChromecastPebble – One of Kickstarter’s most successful crowdfunding projects, Pebble was one of the first to break into the smartwatch market. But contrary to popular perception it is not a smartphone for your wrist. It reads out basic text, lets you skip through your music and of course displays the time. You will need a smartphone and an accompanying app to get started.

It feels comfortable on the wrist, is relatively lightweight and the smooth edges keep their distance from the skin. It is solid enough for regular use and with its waterproofing down to 50 meters it can stay with you in the pool or under the shower.

The secret to its weeklong battery life and daylight readability is a technology similar to an e-paper display. The 114x168 black-and-white screen has nearly 20,000 pixels. It lets you view emails and time readout in various fonts, along with watch faces and other indicators.

Pebble’s two apps, one for Android 2.3 and the other for Apple devices running on iOS 5 or later, enable everything from initial setup to push notifications. There have been various other smartwatches that have been launched since and it would be a good idea to check them out as well.

Logitech Powershell – One of the best designed gaming controllers for the iPhone so far, the Logitech Powershell is solid with a rubbery finish making it comfortable to hold. It is sturdy and compact enough to be stored loosely in a bag or pocket.

The Powershell slots directly into the iPhone without having to pull the controller apart to fit it. The phone retains all of its independent functions and the headphone jack and lock buttons remain attainable so that users can listen to music and lock their phones at all times.

Unlike other controllers it has an analog D-pad instead of analog sticks. It registers both the direction you are pressing it and the force with which you are pressing it.

Peachy Printer – 3D printing has become one of the biggest leaps technology has taken in the new millennium. But for most, the idea of owning a 3D printer is as good as a mirage. However, thanks to crowdfunding and a bunch of enthusiastic people, we can now buy affordable versions of 3D printers.

Boasting of a price under $100, Peachy Printer is set to revolutionize the world of home printing. It provides a minimum wall thickness of 0.2 mm and its speed is dependent on the complexity of the project.

It has no certain build limit, but the amount of time taken to print will depend on the complexity of the project. It is entirely feasible that one day Peachy Printer may even print you a house, but doing that may take years. The printer uses resin and the company is in the process of figuring out a high-performance low-cost resin especially for the Peachy Printer.

Panono Panoramic Ball Camera – This is a shutterbug’s delight. Fitted with 36 cameras, all you need to do to get those difficult panoramic shots is throw the ball in the air, not too high though.

One quick toss will capture everything in every direction into a high resolution 360 degree x 360 degree full-spherical panoramic image. Not to be afraid if you do not catch the Panono when it comes down; it’s tough external casing protects the cameras inside. It is lightly resistant to rain, and if the camera rotates too much when you throw it up it will not register an image.

Mophie Space Pack – Consider this a three-in-one device, providing a case, a charger and a storage provider. Despite adding a little bulk to your iPhone 5/5s, it is a great asset that helps compliment the iPhone 5’s insufficient amount of built-in storage. It is perfect for on the go users who are constantly on the move without access to power sources or backup memory.

Nest Learning Thermostat – In 2012 the Internet expanded to include more IP addresses. Machine-to-machine technology, or the Internet of things, is set to connect billions of electronics around the world. This thermostat gives you control of how low you want to keep the heat and helps lower your bills. It lets you control the heat from anywhere in your home from your smartphone. It also has humidity sensors, temperature sensors and a Wi-Fi radio! It definitely puts the old thermostats to shame.

There are a lot of gift options to present to your tech-loving friend. So do not be daunted by the amount of new gadgetry that comes your way and find what the gadget-freak in your life would love.

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Does your battery not last as long as it use to? Can it only hold a fraction of the charge it use to even though it says you're at 100%? If so it's probably time to start looking into replacing your laptops battery.

There are many reasons why your laptop battery starts to fail quicker but the main reason is age. A laptop battery is doomed from the start as their useable life starts diminishing from the day you buy it. All new laptop batteries and most old ones are of the lithium-ion type and it has been the standard for many years. These batteries are here to stay for awhile and I wouldn't expect any major improvements or upgrades to come out anytime soon. If you've hit the point of needing a new battery before you make the purchase here are a few reasons why these batteries fail.

 

 

 

All Batteries Fail in Time

It's the one thing you cannot prevent from happening to your laptop battery. Eventually it will get old just like the laptop and need to be replaced or recycled for a newer one. Manufactures say their batteries are typically good for about 400 charging cycles. This might not sound like a lot but should last you about 1-2 years before you see it's life start to diminish. This might mean instead of 3-4 hours of like you'll get just one or two at best. These are the early warning signs of a failing battery.

There is sadly no way to “restore” a dead laptop battery. You might read that some people try to completely deplete it and recharge the battery a few times in a row. It might sound like a good idea but this is not going to work and you should save the time trying this to find a better deal online for a new one!

 

 

 

Critical-Battery-Icon-old-laptop

 

 

How to Extend or Save Your Current Battery

Luckily there are some steps you can take to keep your battery working longer so you can save the money you'd waste on a new battery, and after you see the price you'll want to save that money. Lots of people use their laptop as a desktop replacement, and that means it's always on a desk, couch, etc. and actually doesn't even use the battery. If you always have it plugged into the AC wall adapter this is great for computing power but horrible for battery life. This constant draining and charging of your laptop battery is actually making it's short life even shorter. Like we said earlier a laptop batteries life is determined by the number of charge cycles it will go through, so save it some cycles and just unplug it. With your laptop plugged into the wall it will have zero negative affects on your computing experience and might even improve it!

The other problem with leaving the battery in your laptop while you're running off the wall power is the extra heat. I am sure you have noticed after it's been on your lap for awhile there is a great deal of heat being let off by these little laptops. Keeping the battery unplugged when not needed will keep it from getting hot which is the other big reason a battery will hold a smaller charge. Keep your battery cool at room temperature and don't needlessly cycle it through charging and you'll save a lot of time in the long run.

 

 

 

When the Time Comes to Buy a New One

Once you've tried everything possible to keep that old battery going you will eventually need to buy a new one if you're set on using your laptop away from AC power.

There are many ways you can go about this but I'd recommend looking online because you will find the best deal there. Going through the manufacture is a great way to get an OEM battery but they are not cheap, some batteries are going to cost close to $300! If this is not worth it for you then I'd say to start looking into places like Amazon or eBay. They will sell OEM or used OEM batteries at a fraction of the price you can buy a new one for.

If you're not looking for an OEM battery there are plenty of good options out there. I'd still heavily worn you to not buy the cheapest battery because they will not last. There is a saying you get what you pay for and those are just a cheap plastics shell around some AA batteries, these will wear out quick, hold a very short charger and can even possibly damage your laptop. Saving money is important but don't even look at these options unless you want to run into some battery or laptop trouble.   

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It's no secret if you've owned a laptop that they will eventually break. The real question is why, when and how. If you knew the answer to this for every laptop you'd be a rich man. There is sadly no easy way to tell what went wrong with your computer but there are some tips and tricks to try before completely giving up and scrapping your laptop.

 

 

 

Laptop has No Power

If you're trying to turn on your laptop and nothing is happening the first thing to check for is power! Many newer laptops have a light next to the charger port that will light up orange or red if the laptop has power and is charging, it will also turn blue or white when the battery is fully charged, these are a great indicator of whether or not your laptop is getting power. If these lights are not on or your laptop is an older model the first thing to try is a different wall plug, maybe a circuit got flipped or who knows what. Once you have tried a new wall plug the next step is trying a new or known to be working wall charger. Eliminating any power problems is the best way to start your diagnosis and makes everything more simple from there.

 

 

 

Will not Turn on and has Power

If your laptop has power but when you go to turn it on nothing happens there are many reasons why this could happen. The first and probably most likely is your power jack has gone bad, frayed or shorted out somewhere. These very commonly go bad and depending on your laptops make and model could be a very simple fix or incredibly complicated. Another reason for this problem but a lot less likely is a broken or worn out power button. These do fail although it is more rare than a power jack, it is much harder to test though and should probably be taken to a local computer shop if you think this is your problem. The last reason would be the worst and that is your motherboard having completely failed, this could be because of a video issue, it simply overheated or liquid being spilt on it. If any of these are the problems with your computer they're the hardest to diagnose and should probably be taken to a professional who has experience

 

 

 

Laptop has No Video or Picture on Screen

One of the biggest problems with laptops is heat and this comes from the fact they're so portable and small it's hard to fit that all into a small package and still keep everything running cool. They have been getting better with new laptops but the issue is still there and one of the main reasons is where the CPU cooling fan intake and exhaust vents are. This is where the fan takes in cold air to keep temperatures down and where the hot air is sent out from the laptop after being used. These two open ports are essential to keeping your laptop running and they are the most neglected part of it. If you're sitting with it on your lap on the couch or laying down in bed chances are these are not getting enough air and your laptop is running far to hot! What this causes is your video card or graphics card to overheat and it is the most popular reason why a laptop will power on but have no video, everything else still works but the laptops video has been ruined most likely due to heat and the entire motherboard must be replaced.

Another thing to check that is cheap and easy is reseating your ram or it's also known at memory. These are easily removable and sometimes come loose or even break. When this happens your laptop will have problems turning on and might even give an error message if it was only one of them that came loose or had an issue. There should be a small cover door on the bottom of your laptop you can open and try to reseat them to solve your problems. Make sure when you do this that the battery is removed and it is not plugged in or turned on or you can cause much more severe damage.

 

 

 

Things that Will NOT make your Laptop not Work

As well as the common problems you see, there are common things people “think” are wrong with their laptop and end up spending to much money on a severely broken laptops when it was simply misdiagnosed. I have seen people claim a bad battery or “worn out” battery is the cause of a laptop not turning on or not showing video. This is sadly not true and never the case, if a laptop is plugged into a good working condition charger it will turn on with or without a battery so there is no way this could be causing your laptop to not work.

A bad hard drive is also commonly used to explain problems like no video or no power. A bad hard drive will simply make your laptop not boot into its Windows operating system or for an Apple Macbook the Apple OSX. This will not make the laptop fail to turn on or output video just like a battery. If you are having video or power issues it is not related to your laptops hard drive or battery it can function without these two items and should immediately be ruled out from diagnosing the problem.   

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Laptops, tablets, smart phones and other small electronic devices are the items of choice when it comes to theft now a days. They're built to be small, portable and very expensive so it's no wonder why their theft rates are at all time highs! These items cost a lot of money new and can be sold very quickly online at places like Craigslist, eBay or a local pawn shop. This means thieves will take any chance they can get to slip them into a pocket and disappear into a crowd leaving you high and dry.

 

 

The Hidden Cost of Stolen Items

It might seem like you've lost enough with a couple hundred dollar phone or laptops being stolen but what about the costs you don't think about? You might have had some accessories or add ons with your laptop like a bag, wireless mouse, external hard drive etc. On top of those you now lost your software and any time and expense it might take to set up and configure these programs if you're going to do it yourself. An even bigger problem is the files or pictures that might have been lost, whether it's kid photos or sensitive work files this person now has unlimited access to them and even a password won't stop most thieves.

 

 

Best Ways to Help Prevent Theft of Your Devices

Luckily there are some steps you can take to stop thieves from stealing your hard earned money, time and possibly more. Don't wait until it's too late be proactive and use some of these basic tips to save yourself a huge headache.

  • Don't leave a laptop, cell phone or other devices in your car whether it is locked or unlocked. Not only will your device be gone but your window will be broken too. If you absolutely must leave them in a car keep them hidden somewhere out of site like in the trunk, under a seat or in your glove box. Most crimes are because of convenience so don't make it easy!

  • Don't ever leave them unattended whether it's at your desk at work or the table of a bar or cafe. They're tiny enough it only takes seconds to put them into a pocket or bag and you'll never be able to track them down then. This is one of the most common ways to have them stolen.

  • Don't use a typical bag or case made for a laptop or smart phone this is a dead giveaway of what's inside. A briefcase can still carry a laptop and keeps it much more discrete while still protecting the device from physical damage.

  • Always remember that most people use automatic log ins so things like email, social media, and even bank accounts might be at risk if your device is stolen, it's recommended to have a laptop password for logging into Windows as well. If it does end up stolen be sure to change these passwords as quickly as you can to avoid identity theft.

  • Last but not least don't forget to back up your information and files to an external hard drive or a flash drive. This quick and simple process can save you huge head aches in case your devices do come up stolen but the key is to be consistent and keep a regular schedule when

you do back them up.

There is sadly no way to prevent laptop or cell phone theft and it has consistently been on the rise with new phones coming out worth more and more money. The best thing to do is prepare and make sure your device is never left alone. The more prepared and aware of electronic gadget theft you are, the better your chances are it won't come up stolen or fall into the wrong hands.

 

 

Report the Theft Immediately and even “brick” your device

This might seem pointless but most people never report the item theft and just write it off as a loss. While this typically holds true when you report a crime the time and location is now in a police data base so if this happens repeatedly you might help others out because the police will eventually investigate if there are too many reports from a certain store or location. It is best to call them before your carrier because the carriers now “brick” a phone making it 100% useless to use or sell. Once they do this is might hurt the investigation and they might recommend you keep the device turned on in hopes that the criminal will try to use it and get caught that way. The worst thing you can do is nothing so try to report it or notify someone of the crime to help prevent it from happening to someone else.

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What Do Your Laptop Specifications Mean?

When looking for a new laptop there is a lot to consider. The first is your budget and what you'll be using the computer for. If you're just wanting to send some emails and put your itunes music on it then you'll be looking at drastically different models than someone who is going to use it for brand new video games. Why this matters is because of the laptops hardware, computer hardware refers to the actual physical parts inside of it that make it work. These parts are the laptops processor, memory, hard drive, video card, screen size and much more. Unlike desktops you can't really change these parts easily so when you're shopping for a new one it is important to make sure you get what you want or need from the start.

What's really going to determine how fast your laptop works is the Processor or CPU and the speed and amount of ram it has. These two working together will play the main part in how fast your laptop works and what it's maximum capabilities are. The next most important part is your hard drive size and speed. If you want the fastest laptop around you're going to want a Solid State hard drive often called a SSD. These hard drives use flash memory instead of disks and are far faster but much more costly than an old hard drive with disks. A conventional hard drive is typically 5400RPM or 7200RPM which signifies the revolutions per minute the disk spins at, the faster it goes the quicker you can get your information. The last part of your computers hardware will be it's video card, most laptops will have an on board or integrated video card but there is a small percent that have an external one and they're typically high end gaming laptops and are far more costly because of this.

These major hardware choices greatly determine a laptops speed and power as well as price. I have noticed with most people they try to buy a laptop that is far more powerful or way out performs their needs. What I mean by this is people want the latest and greatest laptop but often over pay to get it. They either think they need certain requirements or the laptop salesman as the store talks them into a much more expensive purchase then they need. This is not a problem unless you're working on a budget and are just trying to get a good deal on the laptop. For most people their laptop use consists of sending emails, writing papers for school and work, or just browsing the internet like Facebook and Youtube. None of these tasks are very difficult to modern computers and even the new entry level models are able to do them with relative ease. The biggest problem for them is video games and picture and music editing which demands a lot more from a computer.

What Laptop Do You Actually Need?

The next time you're going to buy a laptop first think of what you actually use your computer for and what you'd like to do with it. Are you doing basic tasks or would you like to step up to some more complex ones? The only other things that matter once you're shopping is the screen size. The most common sizes are 14”, 15.6”,16” and a 17.1” screen size. Today's laptops are almost all LED screens which are supposed to be better on battery life but obviously the larger a screen the less portable it will be, so if you're a student on the run you probably want to avoid the larger screens as they're heavier to carry, have shorter batter life, and most back packs or bags aren't designed for their screens so transporting it will be harder and more prone to damage.

The whole debate over which brand is “best” also seems to have gone away with only a few companies even making the internal parts anymore. While HP or Dell might want you to think their laptops are far different the truth is they aren't, most of their parts internally are not even made by them and they buy hard drives from companies like Toshiba, Seagate or Hitachi. There are only a couple laptop brands who still make their motherboard and even those are slowly going away and it reflects in their prices. So when you're looking for a laptop don't get wrapped up in who makes it, look for the screen size you want, with the hardware you'll need at a minimum and don't get caught up thinking you need the latest generation of processor if you're typing word documents. This will keep your costs down and allow you to focus on which laptop looks the most aesthetically pleasing while still giving you all the power you need to make the most of your new purchase!

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