Netbooks - The Next Generation of Mobile Computing

Laptops are on their way out. In their place, we have netbooks. These smaller computers are set to take the world by storm with their compact, easy to carry design. These travel easy notebooks are changing the way we travel with computers for the better.

Miniature laptops, these smaller computers are even easier to bring along anywhere. That's one reason why many computer customers have one of these in addition to their laptop or desktop. The small size makes travel easier. They usually leave the bigger laptop at home, and grab this one for on the go use.

Very tiny, these siblings of the notebook computer are made with the bare minimals so it will run more precisely. This makes them very desirable. The battery lasts longer too. With these small devices, you only need to worry about general usage. More costly models have an extended battery. If you are planning to use this as your primary computer is suggested you look into that model.

There are a few accessories you might want to buy for your new computer. These can be found almost anywhere laptop accessories are found. Some accessories you might consider are a travel case, flash drive for transferring files. It's a great idea to have a portable CD-ROM drive too. This will make it easy to add programs that are not already there.

Compaq, Dell, HP and most other brands that build computers also produce these small computers. They are trusted by millions. These computer brands are found all of the world. You need only to look around you. Check it out. There is a good possibility they are jumping on the miniature notebook bandwagon. Talk to those who own these types of computers. They will know what brands are good.

Shop comparatively. This will increase your chances of getting a great deal. Each store will have their own deals, so take all of this into consideration when shopping. Make sure you know what you want and then ask around to find the best way to get it without spending a lot of money. Those who have recently purchased one of these types of computers will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Netbooks are becoming as widespread as laptops once were. These little machines are becoming a favorite computing product among young college students for their easy to transport styles. With products coming from world's leading computer companies you will definitely find the one that's right for you.

What is Cloud Computing and How Does it Effect Me?

Computing in the "cloud" or "cloud computing" is the world coming full circle. When IBM, DEC, Tandem and Cray started out, they built room sized computers that were so big and ate so much energy, they required their own cooling systems. The programmers all worked directly for the manufacturer making software custom for each customer. The costs were staggering in today's dollars, and somehow the productivity gains made it all worth it. The First Main Frame that ran Bank Of America's ATM system throughout California had less memory and horsepower than today's $299 netbooks.

When the PC arrived on the scene, big companies started moving to mini computers and the client-server systems were born. Most of us are familiar with the client-server model and don't even know it. If you have an email program that connects to a server to get your email you are using client server computing. The difference here is even if you are not connected, you can create the e-mail and wait to send it until the next time you connect. Your computer in this case is the client and you trade or update data with a server. The process of trading or updating data is called synchronizing or "syncing" for short.

Cloud computing using netbooks goes back to the old mainframe model. the difference here is the software companies like Oracle, PeopleSoft and Google are in charge, not the hardware people like IBM, DEC (gone), Tandem (gone) or Cray. With cloud computing, if you don't have an internet connection to access iGoogle or MSN, you can not even write the e-mail. All of the computing power and software is really on their "servers", not your little netbook. The "servers" at these companies are really clusters of PC's with software designed to make them work together nicely and share the horsepower or processing power. Mini clouds within a company for applications makes sense, one computer gets the upgrade, everyone has new software.

The challenge for cloud computing is still access to the "cloud". Internet access isn't everywhere, and where it is, the access isn't always free or fast. If you don't have service, you really can't work or communicate. If your provider doesn't have service in a specific area, it is another challenge in itself.

For instance, if you fly two different airlines with a stop for lunch at an airport not served by your current provider and cell service is slow or your tether software quits, you could easily spend $70 in connection fees in one day. I know because I have done it. I have tethered services from AT&T, and they quit working one day. Airline 1, $15.99, Airport day pass $9.99, Airline 2, $15.99, Airport 2 day pass $4.99, Hotel day pass $14.99, day pass at area near meeting, $12.99. Yes it happens. Services are getting better but they are not that good yet.

The happy medium can't be far off though. The next step in the client server and distributed computing model could be combined with cloud theory to create a distributed sync model. In distributed sync, your data would still exist on centralized servers and on your computer or other storage device. Some parts of the software would exist on your computer, others on theirs. When you are within range of a network your computer would become part of the grid, offering computing power and network hops to everyone in range when you don't need it.

The first part of the distributed sync model holding it back is standards. If I change a document on my iPhone and my laptop before my next sync, which one wins? Two significant changes need to occur for this to work, computers need more power and networks need to have more speed to allow very fast sync for changed items only. If I change one item in my blackberry, I need to go through the entire sync process. The same was true of my windows mobile phone as well. This is a limit of sync computing that is solved by the pure "cloud" solutions.

The second hold back is network access. Some carriers charge you twice for your phone and laptop, others let you tether. They don't have interoperability agreements so when I am out of range of my carriers signal like today, I am dead.

The final question is of course the data. When "they" can sift through all of your e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, what are they learning? Facebook recently agreed they didn't "own" the data, but they also didn't say they wouldn't "use" it while it was on their servers either. Scott McNealy, a guy I consider a pioneer in the silicon valley and on the internet said some time ago that privacy was dead, give it up. Should we?

Cloud computing is a great idea for a world under constant change. The hardest part is keeping up. This morning we found our Google Client Center and our Skype Business Center interfaces were completely different. We lost a lot of productivity learning on the fly with customers on the phone. Cloud computing in some form is here to stay, the mainframe and terminal just look different.

What is a Computer Chair Mat?

According to certain reports, an average office worker sitting in a computer chair working at least 8 hours a day will move his chair at least 250 times. With this much movement, any flooring can sustain considerable damage in a year's time. Because repairing floors can be costly, the need for a cheaper alternative is needed. Thus the need for a chair mat. It is basically a mat that you place underneath you computer chair to help protect your flooring. Unlike traditional mats, they have anti-static properties than can also help protect your computer hardware.

Similar to any other mat, these mats provide a number of benefits. First of all it adds protection to your flooring. With the wear and tear your floors endure everyday, a mat will help reduce these damages. Comparing the cost of repairing your floors to buying a chair mat, your costs will definitely decrease.

The mats also provide you more movement. If you have tried moving your chair from one desk to another in a carpeted surface, you know how back breaking it can be. With it, you can easily glide from one place to another without hurting your back. Because of this increased mobility, a mat not only protects your carpet, it can also prevent injury to a person's joints and back. Also, this will ensure less fatigue while working in an office.

As mentioned earlier, an additional feature computer mats have is their ant-static properties. Whenever we move around in our computer chair, it creates static electricity that can transfer from the floor through our body and then to the computer. Static electricity can greatly damage computer hardware. Take for instance the RAM or memory module. Static electricity can "fry" it or make it unusable if it's not protected.

Aside from these benefits, it can come in any shape or design. This means that it will suite any office setting, or even home setting, one may have. Be it a small conference room or a long row of office cubicles, most manufacturers can adapt to any need. Although the price range of these computer chair mats can be a bit steep, the added protection to your flooring and computer equipment plus the other benefits like reduced risk of injury and fatigue, can make up for the cost of purchasing one.

Online Fax - What Is A Computer Fax Service?

In today's business world, we are using computers more and more in all aspects of running a business. This includes one of the stables of the modern workplace - the fax. It only stands to reason that faxing would be united or combined with the other stable of the modern workplace - the computer. That's where an online fax service enters the picture.

Using online fax simply means using your computer and your email system to send and receive all your faxes. Since you're using your computer, many users refer to this as a computer fax service. Your messages are digitized and sent as email attachments, usually in a Tiff or Pdf format, but there are countless other file formats you can use for your messages.

In order to start faxing from your computer, you have to sign up to an online fax service where you're given a local or toll-free fax number. You also get an online account which is private and accessible only by you. Then no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a computer and a web connection, you can do all your faxing.

This complete mobility is one of the best advantages of using computer fax, you are no longer tied down to the conventional machine in the office. You can send your messages anytime, anywhere. This gives all your company's dealings great freedom and versatility.

Getting an online fax service is relatively painless since it can be done in a few minutes and most providers offer 30 Day Trials so you can check out their services before you buy. This can be very cost-effective, especially for those businesses which are just starting up. Going with a "computer-based" system will mean you don't have to put in a dedicated fax phone line, nor do you have to buy a traditional fax machine or pay for machine maintenance.

Services are usually priced around $8 to $10 per month and for that price you get on average around 300 (incoming/outgoing) faxes, although if you shop around you can get much cheaper programs with more faxes per month. So it does pay to do a little homework, especially when you consider this will be an ongoing business expense.

Keep in mind, many fax providers have a desktop application which you can download to your computer and then you can send your faxes directly from your computer desktop. You can also use an email program like Outlook Express to send your faxes.

Regardless of which method you use or which online service provider you pick, sending faxes from your computer is so much more convenient than regular faxing. It is also much cheaper since you don't have to buy any papers, toners and inks. Overtime, this fact alone will save you a lot of money if you go with computer faxing to send and receive your messages. It's your call?

What Kind of Computer Should I Buy

This article will walk you through the choices you need to make and provide guidance for what to choose.

In order to answer this question properly, you need to decide what type of user you are and what special needs you may have. Additionally, you need to determine how much you want to spend and whether you would consider buying a used or refurbished computer.

General Guidelines

As a general rule, my opinion is that one should get the most computer that they can afford without getting the actual top of the line.

Computer technology changes rapidly and today's super fast and capable computer rapidly becomes outdated. Unless you are interested in swapping your computer frequently, getting a very capable current computer should hold you for at least a few years.

The very top of the line computer demands a premium in price that is generally not worth it and one level below has at least 95% of the capability of the top.

If your budget doesn't allow for this solution, you need to be aware of the tradeoffs in various choices that you will have to make.

Computer type selection

You should first decide if you want a laptop or desktop computer. I've discussed the issues at length in my article entitled Desktop or Laptop? The main question is if you have the need to be mobile even though your computer will cost more and possibly have less capability.

Depending on one's finances, you may opt for used computer or for a blowout special. Great savings can be achieved by taking this route.

However, used computers present support challenges and the risk of early breakdown. Low priced bargain computers may be limited in ultimate capability and need to be carefully evaluated. I hope to discuss these options in greater detail in a future article.

Heavy duty 3D gaming is a whole new world and generally pushes current computer technology to the limits with top of the line powerful and expensive units and is out of the scope of this article.

Component choices

1. Processor

If money is not a pressing issue, single core computers should not be purchased. Dual core processors are more powerful and, for most users, any dual core processor based computer should suffice for standard activities such as word processing, email, browsing the web, watching DVD's, doing one's finances and the vast majority of other tasks.

If you need to do heavy database querying, complicated mathematical computations and number crunching or heavy encryption, you should get one of the higher end processors.

2. Operating system

Assuming a Windows PC, the choices are between XP and Vista. Vista Service Pack 1 (a set of fixes to the known problems of the operating system) has not yet been officially released and the first service pack usually makes a big difference. My opinion is that if there is a choice, Vista should be avoided until SP1 is officially released.

If you are very familiar with XP and don't want to struggle with learning a new operating system or you have a program that is not supported on Vista yet, XP can do everything you need and you can request it worry free if your vendor allows for this option.

If you select Vista, at a minimum you should not get Vista Home Basic but rather select Vista Home Premium. For maximum OS power, Vista Ultimate should be chosen. The detailed options for Vista are outlined in my article Which Vista should I Use?

3. Monitor

A 17 inch monitor is probably the smallest that you should settle for. You can select larger ones if you so desire. Some monitors come with built in speakers if that suits your needs. If you want your computer to double as an entertainment center, you should consider purchasing a high definition or plasma monitor. Dell has an excellent summary of their choices here

Dell Monitor Link

4. Memory

The most crucial factor in terms of computer performance is the amount of memory. When you buy computer memory, a minimum of a gigabyte of high speed memory should be selected to support today's demanding operating systems and programs. 2 gigabytes would be even better.

If one is engaged in heavy duty graphics such as CAD (Computer Aided Design) or 3D gaming, or if one is doing heavy database access or number crunching, even more memory should be added.

5. Hard Drive Size

Major manufacturers are offering drives with 250 Gigabytes of storage on their lowest end computers. This should be more than enough for most users.

6. CD and DVD burner

Drives that read and write to CDs and DVDs are cheap and you should specify read and write for both. Don't accept CD read/write and DVD read only.

Blue Ray and HD DVD disks can hold up to 50 gigabytes but the drives needed to use them are much more expensive than standard DVD drives. Standard DVD drives will run around $50 while Blue Ray will cost around $600.

7. Video card

The type of card that you get depends on the type of activities that you are planning;

1. Basic user - word processing, internet browsing, email and DVD movies

The basic level card will suffice for this. It should have at least 128MB. 2 representative cards are the Nvidia 7300GT and ATI 1300XT.

2. Vista Aero User or light gaming, rich media, and general entertainment

This capability requires mid level graphics power and a card with at least 256 MB of its own internal memory should be purchased. A sample card would be ATI HD2600XT

3. Edit and view photographs in brilliant color

A mid level card should be used for this. One example is the NVidia 8600GT, All cards from this level and up should have at least 256 MB.

4. Playback HD quality content

The card should have HDMI outputs to attach to external displays. 2 possibilities are Nvidia 8600gt or ATI HD2600XT.

5. 3D accelerated games in high definition player, CAD (Computer Aided Design), video editing or high level graphic design

3D gaming makes the greatest demands on the computer's video systems and the sky is the limit here. In general, the highest level card that your system will accept will provide the most satisfying experience.

The detailed options for each of these levels of activity are described in my article Video Cards Demystified.

8. Sound and Speakers

The standard sound card offered by most manufacturers is fine. If you have special requirements, the major dealers describe the advantages of the various upgrade offerings.

Speakers project the sound of your computer. Better speakers provide subwoofers and different levels of surround sound.

9. Keyboard and mouse

Connected or wireless versions are offered. Be sure to get an optical mouse. They are much more reliable than a trackball mouse.

10. Media reader

These are usually listed as 15 in 1 or 13 in 1 card or media reader. This device allows you to directly get data off of a number of devices such as digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and others.

11. Modem

If you want to send or receive faxes or connect to the internet via a phone line where high speed internet may not be available, you will need a modem.

12. Wireless network

If you plan to connect to a wireless network, you will need a wireless network card in your computer. Standard network cards are built in.

Best of luck with your purchase.

CoreBook Computer - The Future of Mobile Computing

Embedded systems have proved themselves to be a crucial contributor to the changing face of today's industrial scenario. Fuelling in unbridled power into industrial computers to tackle the most complex applications, they have made quite an impression with a lot of the leading industrial sectors. Backed with the most durable components and peripherals sticking to the highest quality standards, the next generation embedded computers have what it takes to endure highly trying and harsh work environments. Multifunctional ability is the highlight of these systems even as they comprise a uniquely designed combination of software and hardware to perform highly challenging tasks that are a far cry for the common personal computers. This combination happens to be a programmed platform that is assigned with specific applications for the task and goes through various tests to make sure the systems offer long-life performance.

Embedded computers serve their purpose in a variety of areas, including military, the gaming industry, security and surveillance, and infotainment. Talking of their abilities and efficiency, a look into the highly popular CorBrick855E embedded computer will offer a good insight into what is possible at their behest. This highly rugged modular embedded system comes across as a high-powered per-watt platform for various thermal density and size constrained applications. Fitted with a long-life industrial motherboard, the CorBrick855E has an Intel 855GME chipset and an onboard integrated graphics utilizing Intel Extreme Graphics 2 Technology LVDS controller. Available with wall mount brackets, it is fully RoHS compliant and carries a five to eight year production life cycle guarantee to put your apprehensions to rest.

Another hugely prominent contender in this category is the LegaSys440 system, which is structured over the Raptor ATX long-life industrial motherboard, supports three full-length ISA slots with full DMA, pre-Pentium 4 software and is fully RoHS compliant. This system supports Windows 98Se, Windows 2K, Windows XP, and DOS operating systems, and is fuelled by the Intel Pentium III (Socket 370) 850MHz processor. With a five to eight year production life cycle guarantee, the LegaSys440 system can help you cut down considerably on your redesign recertification costs and greatly give a boost to your rate of investment.

From the recent trends in a growing league of industries, it is quite clear that embedded systems are headed towards a bigger picture of consistently aggressive development. With rising prospects in a broad range of areas that demand high-tech technological assistance, embedded computers are looking at a newer horizon of growth and credibility.

What is Cloud Computing? An Introduction Article

Cloud computing is a new term trending in the world of internet technology. There are conflicting reports as to who first coined the phrase. Some indicate it was back in 2001 by New York Times contributor, John Markoff, when he used the phrase "cloud of computers" in an article about Microsoft's Hailstorm. Most seem to give the credit to Eric Schmidt of Google, who used the complete term, "Cloud Computing", in reference to SaaS in August 2006. There have been a few who have tried to trademark the phrase, including Dell. However, Dell's bid to own "Cloud Computing" was quickly rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Cloud computing is otherwise known as a paradigm shift, defined as a set of forms all of which contain a particular element, especially the set of all inflected forms based on a single stem or theme. The shift here being that of the Mainframe to the Client Server and then on to Cloud Computing. The cloud metaphor stems from a drawing meant to illustrate the relationship between the Internet and a network of computers. The cloud works by accessing the business applications using a web browser and storing the actual data on servers.

There are many benefits to the Cloud environment. Initially, it eliminates the need for traditional software, and the costs associated with the purchasing and implementation of these programs. Ultimately, the capital expenditures budget transfers to operating costs primarily because the initial outlay of funds is replaced with a subscription based expense. Consumers are finding more pricing options available, especially since they are only paying for services required, rather than entire systems that may only be partially utilized.

Reportedly, the transition from antiquated server systems to the Cloud is fairly quick and simple, requiring fewer in-house IT skills. In some cases, a cloud may be multi-tenant where costs and resources are shared by several entities. Cloud is scalable and eliminates bottlenecks resulting from peak load issues.

The Cloud environment also affords a greater independence in accessibility, not only on a PC but also in the ever growing mobile browsing community. Reliability is a key factor in cloud's success, offering enhanced continuity and disaster recovery. Maintenance and support are improved because the global environment affords instant updates, and support solutions that do not need to be placed or adjusted on multiple workstations.

Cloud security has raised a few eyebrows in recent months, especially where sensitive data is concerned. Medical practices subject to HIPAA regulations, for example, question the security risks involved in this web-only platform. Contrarily, some argue that security here is equal to or surpasses the security of server-based systems for two reasons. First, data spread out over a greater area is better secured and more difficult to fraudulently access. Second, the costs saved have been spent in creating solutions to the common security problems of the past.

PT Barnum said, "Every cloud has a silver lining." MK Ash said, "Every silver lining has a cloud." Love it or loathe it, cloud computing is another step in the unstoppable progress of technology. In my opinion, it is cheaper and cleaner, quicker and easier, safer and stronger. It is for the reader, however, to make up his or her own mind on the subject.