The PC tablet is the latest innovation in consumer computers. As many laptop users make the switch to a PC tablet, the primary reasons are increased portability and user friendliness. What exactly is it about this emerging device that makes it excel so much in these areas? Accessibility With no keyboard and more efficient use of hard drive space, PC tablets are much smaller and lighter than most laptops. The most important outcome of this fact is that not only can you take them anywhere, you can easily use them while on the move. Whether waiting for a train or walking down the street, the efficient design of a PC tablet means it’s accessible anywhere. Battery Life Again an effect of efficient hardware and software design, PC tablets feature a fantastic battery life, with most of them claiming in excess of seven hours of usage from one charge, with some of the better ones boasting up to twelve hours. In contrast, most laptops are lucky to last five hours. Functionality A common feature from PC tablet manufacturers is an online marketplace where hundreds of both free and paid applications can be downloaded and installed within seconds. The advantage here is just how amazingly easy it is to customize your PC tablet to suit your needs. No fiddling around with CDs, serial keys and registration. Most of the time, you need only search for what you want on the marketplace, click install and it’s done faster than you can read this article. Uninstalling is a breeze, too. Interactivity If you’ve ever tried to draw with a mouse, you know exactly how natural it doesn’t feel. The touch screen is a standard feature of the PC tablet and provides a direct method of interacting with what you see on your screen instead of through peripheral devices which are often clunky and counter-intuitive. While PC tablets will likely never surpass desktops in terms of raw power, they were made for one thing: to make computers more mobile than ever before. In that regard, the PC tablet definitely does its job with everything you need and nothing you don’t.
When you’re trying to get something from your screen onto a piece of paper, choosing the right printer is an important decision that depends on many factors. Two of the most common types are inkjet and laser printers and between the two of them, the vast majority of us will find whatever we need. But first, what’s the difference? As the name implies, an inkjet printer works by shooting little drops of ink onto the paper. A laser printer, on the other hand, is somewhat more complicated. The (very) simple version is that a laser attracts toner according to the image to be printed, which is then fused to the page via heat. With that covered, how do you choose between them? The factor that many people consider most important is price. Generally speaking, while both types are comparable in initial price, the costs after buying a printer are more important. It’s well known that the cost of ink and toner will be the bulk of your printing costs over time. In this regard, toner is typically more expensive, but will print more pages. However, if you only intend to print in black and white, laser printer costs per page will be marginally lower. For those among you choosing a printer for a business environment, print speed and quality will be important as well. Once again, the difference comes down to whether your printing is in colour or black and white. Not only will inkjet printers tend to be slower and lower quality than their laser counterparts in black and white, each page will need some time to dry before handling to prevent it smudging. The most important thing is that you do your research and really consider your printing needs, especially colour vs. black and white and occasional vs. frequent printing. A family which prints occasionally but for any number of reasons may consider an inkjet to be best due to its versatility. A business, however, is much more likely to do the same type of printing frequently and so may consider an affordable laser printer for black and white, or a high-end one for colour.
How a computer works can be a confusing topic for the average user and its random access memory, or RAM, is no exception. Essentially, RAM is the space in your computer that stores data related to everything your computer is currently doing, from word processors, web browsers, and games, to the operating system itself. The more applications you use at any one time, or the more space they need to run, the less space there is available for anything else. Of course, that means that more RAM is always better. That being said, how much is enough depends on what you use your computer for. The bare minimum nowadays is 512MB of RAM on computers running Windows Vista Home Basic and 1GB for other versions. For Windows 7, depending on the version, you’ll need up to 2GB of RAM. That amount will cover the basic expected computer functions such as web browsing, Microsoft Office applications, playing music and the like. For those among you who intend to play the latest and greatest games, 2GB of RAM will usually be sufficient. While there are always a few exceptions, developers recommend 2GB for most of today’s games. However, the gaming industry does have a reputation for rapidly driving technology requirements upward, so it’s entirely possible that this number could be made obsolete in a couple of years. For that reason, 4GB is often quoted as good value for money taking your needs in the foreseeable future into consideration. While that’s certainly something to think about, if you don’t expect your computer needs to change any time soon, the average computer user will find 1GB of RAM to be the minimum, with 2GB providing enough room such that you don’t have to worry about anything for a long time. Of course, if you’re using very memory intensive programs, doing heavy multi-tasking, doing 3D design or using your computer as a server, you’ll want to go over that. If you’re doing these things though, you probably already know exactly how much you need. For the rest of us, the main thing to ensure is that you consider the programs you’re likely to be using on your computer, and check the information on system requirements provided by the developer or manufacturer, to find how much RAM is right for you.
Webcams make communicating over the web feel more personal and offer an inexpensive way to chat face-to-face when you can’t be there in person. Besides video calling and video-conferencing, web cams can be used to remotely monitor the security of your home or office, or to add videos and still pictures to your social networking sites, blog or other website. If you are thinking about getting a webcam but are unsure about making a selection, here are a few pointers on what to look for when buying a webcam. Resolution Picture resolution is measured in pixels. The higher the pixel rate, the better the resolution and image quality, with standard webcams having a rate of 640×480 pixels. High-end webcams can record at rates between 1600×1200 pixels up to high definition quality, and are best suited to professional video conferencing. Most webcams a capable of capturing still images however since the resolution is actually achieved through software manipulation, the actual images aren’t as sharp or clear as they appear to be. Frame rate Video is comprised of a consecutive series of still pictures changing at a frequency that gives the viewer the impression they are watching a motion picture. The higher the number of frames per second (FPS) shown, the smoother the video will appear. For home users who will be using their webcam for video calls and instant messaging, a frame rate of 30 FPS will suffice. For businesses frequently conducting video conferencing, higher refresh rates of 50-60 FPS offered by more expensive hardware would be more suitable. Audio Capability If you intend on using your webcam for video calling, video-conferencing or instant messaging, ensure you select one with a built-in microphone with noise-cancelling technology. For those just looking for a webcam to hook up to a security monitoring system, a webcam without audio capability that includes a motion sensor will best suit your needs. Lens type Webcams have either a plastic or glass lenses. Glass lenses provide far superior image quality to plastic lenses, but are more expensive. Since the lens type is not usually specified on the packaging, ensure you have a closer look at the camera before purchasing it. Look for a webcam with auto-focus capabilities that can adjust to lighting conditions. You will need to keep your lighting in mind when using your webcam as some do not perform well in low light. Other Important Considerations To make the most of your webcam, high-speed broadband Internet access is a must because the speed of your connection will ultimately effect your frame rate. If you have an older computer, you may find it beneficial to buy a more expensive webcam. This way the camera rather than the computer does the image processing, giving you better picture quality. Also consider you computer’s display type. Will your webcam be sitting on a flat surface or will you be using propping it on top of your LCD or laptop screen? Ensure you choose a webcam that can properly sit where you intend to put it. In conclusion, how you will be using your webcam will determine the features you require. Choose the best webcam for your budget with the features most suitable for your needs.
Cross-cultural communications are now much simpler with electronic language devices helping to bridge the language barrier for international business people and travellers. These devices are also assisting students of foreign languages by providing them with a range of tools to facilitate their learning.
These devices are also referred to as electronic language translators and dictionaries, or simply as e-translators. While all electronic language devices offer the basic functions of translation and a dictionary, some offer much more. Because of this, they can range from less than $100 dollars to over $700. So, before you buy, take a quick look at the different features available to help determine what you want and need in an electronic language device.
Do you require a bilingual or multilingual device? If you intend on only using your e-translator for regular business trips to Tokyo, then a simple bilingual English-Japanese device is all you will need. On the other hand, if you want a unit to assist you as you travel across Europe, a multilingual device is more suited to your needs. However, keep in mind that the greater the number of languages a device is equipped to work with, the pricier it is likely to be.
Talking Versus Non-Talking Dictionaries
Non-talking dictionaries provide fast bi-directional (and in the case of multilingual devices, multi-directional) word translation as well as extensive databases of useful expressions and colloquialisms. In addition to these functions, talking electronic dictionaries also provide an audio pronunciation of the text, which serves as an added benefit to those wanting to develop their oral language skills.
Vocabulary and Spelling Checker
The larger the vocabulary capability of an electronic language device, the more useful it is likely to be, particularly if you will be using it for dealing with technical language like medical, legal and business terminology. If the device you like only provides basic general vocabulary capabilities, find out whether it has the capacity for specialist dictionary add-ons.
Since many foreign languages are not phonetic, you are bound to misspell many words that you type into your translator. For this reason, having a spell-checking function is essential.
Speech Recognition and Text Scanning Capabilities
Devices with speech recognition technology make speech-to-speech translation possible, saving you time and helping you to speak to the locals in their native tongue. Having a built-in scanner can also save you the time of typing in text, by allowing you to scan words and passages of text for translation, which is great for helping you to find the meaning of anything from bus timetables to newspaper articles while in a foreign land.
Before buying, also check to see if the device offers any other functions you may need while abroad such as world clocks or calculators for currency and measurement conversion.