Computer Consumer

Antivirus Software – Essential Computer Repair Tool

Anyone who has worked with PC for a number of years has definitely faced problems connected with spyware, malware and viruses. These electronic parasites can cause severe damage to your computer, consume your time and even financial resources. A solution to these problems is a good antivirus software program. What are the positive aspects of antivirus software?

Antivirus software performs both preventive and repair functions. If you have up to date software it can be very effective in protecting you against different malicious programs. Cyber space may not be as safe as it might seem. One can assume being safe because he/she is alone at home and safely browses in internet. The situation is the opposite. An average PC user is prone to cyber attacks 10-20 times per day. This includes direct hacker attacks, virus contained emails, malicious programs downloaded with some free software and etc. Computer specialists have created a number of anti-spyware to protect PC users from the above mentioned programs.

As I said, antivirus software performs also a repair function. If your computer has been infected with some malicious program, a good antivirus system can definitely solve the problem. It not only detects those harmful programs but is able to remove them quite easily. You simply have to open your antivirus program, select ‘scan’ function and all work is done for you. Depending on the level of infection you might as well perform a thorough scan rather than a quick one.

While choosing which piece of software to buy one has to pay attention to the fact that quite many antivirus programs slow down computer work quite a lot. I remember one time, when I wanted to download some antivirus program for a trial period and in the comment section I found this comment:”Do not download the program. It does not catch viruses. It is a virus itself”. So, some programs consume so much of your computer resources that it is really not worthwhile having them as a protective tool for your PC. Try a few programs before you buy the real stuff just to see whether they are compatible with your PC. Some brand name software can actually be a burden for your PC system, although its’ makers can point out very many advantages of the product. Try it for yourself and then make up your mind.

Best Laptop Computer – Consumers Say These Are the Best Laptop Computers

The best laptop computers are listed here according to what consumers say are the best laptops…

1. Best Laptop Computer #1: Apple MacBook MA700LL/A 13.3″ Notebook PC (2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive) – White

  • Product Description: Why just notebook? The world and cyberworld seems brighter when you’ve MacBook. The most advanced and affordable Mac notebook ever gives you a blazingly fast mobile architecture in a beautiful design that costs less than slower, clunkier models. It’s like getting a sports car for the price of a scooter. Talk about performance, MacBook’s powered with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with speeds revving up to 2.0GHz. Thanks to a 13.3-inch glossy widescreen display, MacBook provides the perfect combination of pixels and portability. Built-in wireless capability of MacBook puts the world back in World Wide Web. If there’s a wireless hot spot nearby, you can get online. No need to waste valuable surfing time configuring your computer. Just open it up. MacBook automatically detects wireless networks within range and asks nicely if you’d like to join any of them. That’s it. Catch up on your blog, share this weekend’s trip as a Photocast, or just chat with your friends. With built-in utility software to help make living easier and funnier, the MacBook MA700LL/A helps the business and joys that embrace who you are and aspire to be. Your MacBook comes with 90 days of free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty. SuperDrive DVD Writer – (write) up to 2.4x DL DVD+R, 6x DVD-R/+R, 4x DVD-RW/+RW, 24x CD-R, and 10x CD-RW / Read up to 8x DVD-ROM and 24x CD-ROM Intel GMA 950 Graphics Processor with 64MB of Memory (memory is taken from the main system) Built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi AirPort Extreme Adapter Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+ Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) Built-in iSight Camera and Omnidirectional Microphone Built-in Stereo Speakers Ports – 2 USB 2.0, 1 FireWire 400, 1 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Combined Optical Digital Audio In/Line-In, Combined Optical Digital Audio Out/Headphone Out Color – White Unit Dimensions – 1.08 (h) x 12.78 (w) x 8.92 (d); Unit Weight – 5.2 lbs. Up to 6 hours use per charge.”
  • To see picture and get more info:

2. Best Laptop Computer #2: Apple iBook Notebook 14.1″ M9848LL/A (1.42 GHz PowerPC G4, 512 MB DDR SDRAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive) 

  • Product Description: “Includes: lithium ion battery, AC adapter, VGA adapter, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, iLife ’05, Safari, Sherlock, iSync, iCal, AppleWorks, Quicken 2005 for Macintosh, & more. Apple 14.1″ iBook G4 Notebook Computer – This lightweight (a mere 5.9 lbs.) notebook computer features a powerful 1.42GHz PowerPC G4 processor and 512MB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM. An impressive 1-2 punch that can handle your everyday applications, as well as your more demanding programs – like graphical and video editing or games. Being a great mobile computer has it’s drawbacks though – you’ll want to take it everywhere, which can increase the odds of your iBook getting a few bumps and bruises. Not to worry though, because Apple has you covered. The built-in Sudden Motion Sensor senses changes in the iBook’s axis position, as well as accelerated movement. So if you drop it, the hard drive heads are instantly parked, protecting your data. When the iBook is level, the hard drive is automatically released for normal operation. Those are just a few of the many features this iBook has in store for you. Take a look at what else it has to offer: 60GB ATA/100 4200RPM HDD Slot-Loading SuperDrive – up to 8x DVD-R, 8x DVD+R, 4x DVD-RW, 4x DVD+RW, 24x CD-R, 16x CD-RW, 8x DVD-ROM, & 24x CD-ROM 14.1 XGA Display Native Resolution – 1024×768 ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 graphics with 32MB of dedicated DDR SDRAM Built-in 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme 802.11b/g Wi-Fi Wireless Network Adapter Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Support 1 FireWire 400 Port (up to 400 Mbps) 2 USB 2.0 Ports (up to 480 Mbps) 10/100 Ethernet VGA Video Out (with included adapter) S-Video & Composite Video Out (requires optional adapter) Built-in 56k v.92 Modem.”

3. Best Laptop Computer #3: Sony VAIO VGN-C240E/B 13.3″ Notebook PC (Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 1.66 GHz Processor, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, DVD RW Drive, Vista Premium) 

  • Price: $1,449.99
  • Product Description: “More than just good looking, the VAIO C240E/B has the heart of a champion backed by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, DVD Writer and Energy Saving 13.3-inch Widescreen LCD with XBrite-ECO Technology. Enjoy the freedom and flexibility of integrated Wireless LAN and extended battery life to bring the Internet to you anywhere in your house. This 5.07 pounds lightweight mobile PC also comes with Windows Vista Home Premium operating system making content management a breeze and an easy way to enjoy your digital entertainment on-demand. 2GB (1GBx2) PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz Max Memory 160GB Serial ATA 5400rpm Hard Drive Optical Drive – 4x DVD+-R Double Layer, 8x Write DVD+-R, 6x DVD+-RW, 24x Write CD-R/RW, 24x Read CD, 8x Read DVD, 5x Read and Write DVD-RAM Multimedia Card Reader – ExpressCard 34 Slot 5-in-1 Memory Card Adapter supporting Memory Stick, Memory Stick(R) PRO, Secure Digital, xD Picture Card and Multimedia Card (MMC) Windows Sound System 13.3-inch 1280×800 XBrite-ECO WXGA LCD Technology Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 224MB Video RAM VGA Out with Smart Display Sensor Interface Ports – Ethernet Port, Headphone Jack, 4-Pin iLink Interface, Memory Stick(R) Media Slot, Modem, Microphone, Port Replicator Connector, S-Video Output, 2 USB 2.0 Port, VGA Output and DC-in Operating System – Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Dimensions – Width 12.98 x Height 1.47 x Depth 9.28 inches Weight – 5.07 pounds Note – When you first turn this machine on, you will have to wait ONLY 5-6 minutes before you use Windows Vista.”

Save Money On Computer Consumables

Home computers are a brilliant invention, enabling people to perform countless useful tasks from the comfort of their own home whether this is paying bills and shopping or using your computer for a hobby. The growth in personal computer use has lead to an increase in home printing and the need for various methods of digital storage, both of these needs have many hidden costs and have lead to the growth of a huge market for cheap printer cartridges and blank media.

Blank media has many formats (and sub formats) so you need to be careful when buying that the media matches the capabilities of your recorder and player. The main blank media formats of note are recordable and re-recordable compact discs which are great for storing music and photos (the re-recordable versions are reusable). DVD is the standard format for films and larger computer files such as programmes whilst Blu-ray offers the kind of storage needed for the latest high definition movies.

Great savings on branded blank media can be made buy sourcing generic products but it is advisable to buy these from a retailer you trust to avoid any problems with warranty.

Printer ink is a contentious subject as the high price of the original manufacturer’s inks has lead to a huge market for cheap printer cartridges from third part manufacturers. Many printer manufacturers sell their printers at a cut price rate in the hope of recouping their outlay when customers come to replace their empty ink cartridges with expensive genuine replacements. These hidden costs have lead to an outcry from consumers and an increased interest in sourcing cheap printer cartridges from third party manufacturers.

The options for getting cheap printer cartridges fall into three main categories, refilling your old ones(which can be messy and unsuccessful as the chips need re-setting too) buying refilled cartridges (sometimes difficult if your printer is very new, very old or not very popular and again the chip on the cartridge needs to be reset otherwise it will register as empty in your printer) or buying new printer cartridges from a third party manufacturer (there is the possibility of problems with fitting your printer due to the quality of the moulding of the cartridge).

The main problems regarding sourcing cheap printer cartridges currently seem to be the quality or the ink in the cartridges and the quality of the electronic chips on the side of the cartridges that send important information regarding ink levels and print head cleaning to your printer. Sometimes cheap printer cartridges contain cheap ink which gives poor results in terms of colour matching, lightfastness (meaning the prints fade), and the compatibility with specialist photo papers. If the cartridge you buy is a faultless reproduction of the original, it still might not work due to problems with the micro chip that communicates with the printer. However by buying cheap printer cartridges from one of the number of respected third party manufacturers and also using a retailer you trust can avoid these kinds of problems allowing you to make great savings and great prints at the same time.

What is a “Silent” Computer?

Some years ago, Intel and Microsoft laid down noise guidelines for computers in certain applications, using the term “silent” as one of the descriptors. The response from acoustics engineers in the industry was swift and merciless. The critics argued correctly that “silent” is not possible to define in any meaningful way, at least from an engineering perspective. It is also a challenge to define legally, an issue whenever there are corporate legal teams that routinely consider worse-case-scenarios. The term has more or less disappeared from Intel and Microsoft’s official vocabulary, and now it is impossible to find well defined recommendations or guidelines about low-noise PCs on either company’s web site.

Yet, there is a growing need to define “silent” components and computers in a way that is possible for engineers to agree upon, and more importantly, for consumers to understand and trust. As media PC popularity grows, so does the awareness among consumers that the typical computer is not the ideal silent servant. Instead, there is dismaying realization in many households that that a media PC must be relegated to a closet, a spare room – anywhere but out in the open due to its intrusive noise. There are quiet computers on the market, but with the co-opting of the terms “silent” and “quiet” by marketing teams in the computer world, it’s impossible to tell whether one is really quiet until it is brought home, plugged in and turned on. This is not a good state of affairs for consumers or for the PC industry, which looks to the media PC as a major source of new sales.

Why is “silence” such a difficult term for the engineers? Simply defined, silence is the absence of sound. There are two aspects to sound: Its generation, and its perception. Yes, the age-old question, “If a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, then does it make a sound?”

Physical Sound and Psychoacoustics

The engineers who criticized the use of the term “silent” were concerned with the physical phenomenon, the generation of sound. Except in deep space, where there is no air to transmit vibration, which we define as sound, there is no silence. Everywhere on earth, there is always some level of acoustic energy in the air. Even a computer with no moving parts still generates sound from its transformers and other electronics parts, it cannot be silent like a rock.

Sound is also the human perception of acoustic energy. From a psychoacoustic perspective, silence is achieved when a human being perceives no sound. (Of course, one can argue that even in the most advanced anechoic chamber, a human being can always hear his own breathing or the sound of his own internal organs.) The key here is human perception.

A PC acoustics white paper from a major system brand stated: “The human ear is not a reliable instrument with which to measure sound levels because its sensitivity varies with the frequency of a sound.” What this statement reveals is that for the writer, sound level – or more precisely, sound pressure level – is the reference. From the point of view of designing products for people, this is backwards. It is human perception that must be the reference, not SPL, which describes the way a machine “perceives” sound. It is human aural perception that we need to begin with in order to design a computer that sounds quiet to people.

Acoustics engineering in the PC industry is mostly dominated by sound pressure level and sound power. They are single number metrics that are extremely difficult to correlate to human perceptions of sound. Is a 2.8 bel sound power measurement quiet? Is it noisy? How about 25 decibels, A-weighted from a meter away? No one can say for sure from just looking at the numbers. Why? Because quiet and noisy are qualitative terms that refer to human perception, not the physical phenomenon. The sound power and SPL numbers refer to the physical phenomenon. An experienced acoustic engineer would ask to look at the waveforms, study the spatial, temporal and time structure of the sound, and perhaps ask for a listening jury to work with. And then, and only then, could he say with scientific certainty whether it is quiet or noisy. We are now speaking not just of sound level or loudness, but sound quality, which is a growing sector in acoustic engineering.

Human Perceptions of Computer Noise

This brings us back to the main concern of a noise-conscious computer consumer: “Can I hear it and is it a nasty noise?” The terms I like to use are “inaudible” and “benign”, so that the question can be changed to, “Is it inaudible? If it is audible, is it a benign sound?” Again, these are simple questions, but scientific answers to these questions are not easy to get.

Let’s examine what I mean by each of these terms and what is required to achieve what they describe.

By inaudible I mean we don’t hear it. What qualities must a sound have in order that we don’t hear it?

* It must be at a very low “loudness” level, lower than the ambient background noise level in its operating environment.

* It must be constant, or almost constant, so that people’s attention is not drawn by changes in noise characteristics.

A constant sound, even a fairly loud one, is something most people can tune out with a little acclimatization. Not so with irregular sound. People, like animals, have high built-in sensitivity to any sudden change in our environment, which seems directly linked to survival instincts; in nature, it often means imminent attack by a predator. A movement in the scene in front of our eyes draws our attention instantly, as does any kind of change in noise – even when it is much lower in level than the ambient. This happens because once we adapt ourselves to the ambient noise as being normal, it ceases to be consciously perceived, even when it’s pretty loud. The human mind/hearing is capable of incredibly sophisticated filtering.

By audible and benign, I refer to a gentle and unobtrusive sound that we can hear. This means that…

* It must be smooth, lacking in “sharpness”.

* Again, it must be constant, or almost constant. This is even more important for benign than for inaudible.

From a design point of view, making an inaudible computer is a tough challenge, but it is possible to do, unlike a silent computer. There are two basic approaches which can be taken:

1. Fan less, with costly, custom enclosures for passive cooling of components. Most often modest heat producing components are used, but some ambitious products allow the use of very hot components and near-cutting-edge performance.

2. Fan-cooled, with careful optimization of heat generation and performance in a more conventional enclosure. High performance heat sinks and high quality fans are musts. The ability to run multiple fans at slow speed without risk of overheating is critical.

With each approach, care in component choices are critical. Cooler components make lower noise easier to achieve, but hotter, higher performance components can also be used successfully.

Fanless System Design

Key computer components today generate enough heat that cooling fans are almost inevitable for stable operation and to avoid jeopardizing product reliability or longevity with high temperatures. The handful of commercial computers with a serious claim to be “silent” are mostly fan less, with custom cases that are in part massive external heat sinks to allow passive cooling of the hot components. This means there is no fan noise, which is a big part of typical computer noise. However, this does not eliminate all sources of audible noise.

There is the hard drive, an electro-mechanical device spinning at high speed, often more than one in many systems. Hard drives have a wide range of acoustic output and also add vibration to the case, which usually causes a host of other audible effects, including harmonics and inter modulation. They also make quite different noises when seeking compared to when they’re idle, and the change is very noticeable for anyone who listens. The acoustic effects of the hard drive must be neutralized if the costly removal of cooling fans is to be effective in achieving inaudibility.

There are still other noise sources: electronic parts such as capacitors and inductors can emit mid/high frequency noises, especially of a tonal nature, and often intermittent. These parts are found mostly on power circuitry and they can be truly annoying even when at very low measured loudness. With conventional computers, such tonal noises are often not heard directly because they are masked by the roar of fans and hard drives. In a fan less system, this noise is plain to hear. It is far more common than you’d think. It can sound like CRT monitor high frequency whine, which most people have heard. It can also sound like a buzz or hum. Often this noise is too low in loudness to appreciably affect any conventional SPL or sound power measurements. But they are perfectly audible for users with normal hearing, as many a frustrated user can attest. Only careful selection of parts and good circuit design can ensure that such noise problems don’t arise.

What all this means is that in designing a fan less system for low noise, any one of many factors can lead to failure, to nasty noise, unless the primary design target is kept firmly in mind: Human perception.

Fan Cooled Quiet System Design

A different approach to low noise computers using carefully selected, high quality, low noise fans in more conventional cases is usually cheaper to implement. Although the absolute measured “loudness” of such fan-cooled systems might come in a bit higher than for completely fanless systems, the perceived audibility may be just as low. In many conditions, the residual broadband airflow noise of the fans can provide a smooth masking effect over tonal aspects of the acoustics that can lie at very low loudness levels. Keep in mind that serious tonal or intermittent noise factors will still be easily heard by noise-conscious users, and hard drive noise still has to be well managed.

Furthermore, the issue of fan speed changes in response to rises in component temperature (due to high load or hot weather) also must be managed well. Too much of a speed up (or even down), especially in a short period, is heard as an annoyance by most users. Lower power components, especially those meant for mobile computing where the drive to maximize run time on batteries has created highly power-efficient parts, can make noise optimized fan cooling a practical and viable way of building inaudible computers.

Carefully designed fan cooling can also be used to create high power computers that are audible but have a benign acoustic signature that makes them unobtrusive in most environments, for most people. A broadband random sound like softly falling rain can actually measure fairly high, yet rank very low in perceived “loudness”. Combined with care around the other noise factors above, such a computer can have excellent acceptance among noise conscious consumers.

Undesirable Qualities

Despite the name of our web site, a silent computer may be scientifically impossible… but “inaudible” or “audible but benign” computers are well within reach. Careful system design is necessary to ensure that all the potential pitfalls are avoided, not just “low measured loudness”:

* sharp tonal aspects

* intermittent sounds

* rapid changes in noise

* harshness (caused by intermodulation and harmonics)

* vibration induced noise

Keep in mind that all of these various aspects of noises can be identified using sophisticated audio measuring equipment, the same equipment need to test for sound power.

A Need for People-centric Metrics

In light of these various factors, the long upheld ISO 7779 standard for measuring computer acoustics is clearly lacking. By focusing only on sound power and a single half meter SPL measurement, ISO 7779 manages to ignore the sound quality aspects so important to human perception, leaving only a machine-language definition of overall noise. The fact that so few companies actually use this standard and its results for promotion is actually something of a relief. It would only lead to greater confusion and consumer dismay.

Buying Used or Refurbished Computers

The purchasing of pre-owned computers has become increasingly popular to avoid the higher prices of new computers. Consumers are receptive to the idea of purchasing pre-owned components known as refurbished and used. Of the two types, refurbished computers are becoming known as the best quality alternative to buying a new computer. Buyers should be aware when purchasing used because it is likely to be neglected or abused before you get your hands on it. I would recommend obtaining a guarantee including support for any one of these computer options that you might exercise.

First, let us tackle the distinction between a used computer and a refurbished computer. Equipment that was used has been defined, which vary from demonstration units justified by the producer with the prospect of capacities and quality of units. Someone chose to trade up and purchase new, but the computer they traded still worked well and was completely operational. The owner went on their way and the computer was sold to another source. Your dealer’s price is based on age, brand, and characteristics and is offered at a cost that is lower than when it was originally sold.

In general, laptops can be had for as low as $150.00. A refurbished one could come from a variety of places. In some cases, when someone acquires a brand new laptop and it’s got a flaw, they send it back to the seller who fixes the flaw and afterward they’ll sell the laptop as open box or Refurbished at a discount. Possibly someone had a laptop with a guarantee and one of the internal parts is found to be defective. They send it in and the seller sends them a brand new one, the old computer is reconditioned and receives a replacement for that defective part, is straightened up and offered as a refurbished system.

In a lot of cases, refurbished simply means used with replacement parts which could make it more dependable and generally implies that newer technology is installed. Purchasing this type of equipment has some considerable advantages over simple price savings. It can usually be obtained more quickly for urgent situations, as opposed to used equipment which might require more time for the presentation. Often times, refurbished is readily available and can be shipped overnight. Regardless if you’re buying, renting, or leasing, you generally can rely on affordable costs and faster delivery by always choosing refurbished.

Computer Repair Services

Computer repair services help businesses, students, and the general population fix their computers. Portable internet devices such as palmtops and laptops have enabled a lot of individuals to be able to access the world wide from the convenience of their cars, bathrooms, hotels and other places. This is because a lot of office work, business and other kinds of transactions take place over the internet. It has become virtually impossible for man to perceive the world without the internet and mobile devices. This has created the need for maintenance and repair of computers. Today, kids only have computer games in place of outdoor games and interactions. This exposes them to the internet from a very early age. This has both pros and cons.

Computers and the internet have made it possible to purchase almost anything from the comfort of our houses. Banking services are also possible using the same technology. The age old pen and paper is slowly being edged out. Personal and business information is stored in the hard drives of computers. There are also databases for the military and other government and private agencies. Data storage in computers consumes less space for a considerable amount of information as compared to physical files which take up entire floors. Computer repair services should be easily accessible considering people’s dependency on computers.

A variety of online sites provide solutions to almost any kind of computer mishap that requires repair. This is all good. However, some problems require the attention of qualified computer maintenance personnel. There are a variety of computer forums that address help, but sometimes computer repair services are required. These forums have provisions for registration of new members. They come up with solutions to specific problems that have defied known solutions. The trick is to ask and consult with the computer repair services. It becomes apparent that any computer problem is solvable.

Getting appropriate computer repair services can help you avoid expensive bog downs as a result of crashed systems which require time to solve and increased costs. Understanding the basics of computer working will go a long way in avoiding disastrous information losses and other malfunctions through preventive action and appropriate computer repair.

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