Category: Technology

What Happened to Google TV?

What Happened to Google TV?

In 2010 Google launched Google TV, a Smart TV setup box to access internet via TV and also watch TV over the internet. It adds interactivity to watching TV.

Physically it came via a set-top box or special TV sets that have the technology built in. Several manufacturers offered it such as Intel, Sony, and Logitech. The OS on the either methodology was Android.

The OS featured a home screen where users can bookmark channels, photo albums, music, etc. The interface looked very Boxee-like and would allow you to run applications and other features. Since Google opened the source code for Google TV for developers, so there were tons of useful (as well as useless) apps.

Google TV also featured the Chrome browser with the very latest flash plugin. Apart from using the browser for the usual needs, you could search for your favorite TV show and this is what the whole Google TV concept is mainly about. The results for your search would display links to the show on Hulu, download links on Amazon, links to the show on FOX’s website and even the TV schedule. When you saw it on the schedule, you can set it to be recorded on whatever DVR device you possess through the Google TV interface.

Google TV stopped in June 2014 and replaced by Android TV, which is far superior system.  Google has partnered with Sony, Philips and Sharp to offer this built in in their TV sets.

Hiring an IT person

Hiring an IT person

For most people, learning technology is just as tough as learning Greek or Latin while most companies also think that their technology requirements are uniquely complicated and the computer support orange county needs to take a similar approach. Even though one part of it is indeed true, the core technology used is the same for every organization except for a few tweaks here and there that can be easily taken care, so that the business can begin to function smoothly as soon as possible.

IT companies offer computer and customer support to their clients who require professionals with technical expertise in these areas. Even though it does cost a lot to maintain a large in-house team, the IT solutions provided by these companies also ensure that the costs are not too much either.

Interestingly, if one had to look for an organization that can provide technical assistance, one should review their previous track record and the kind of clients they have had to find out whether this organization is suited to your needs.

Whether you are just starting up or intend to switch from a previous IT solutions provider, it is important that you find IT support that fully understands the specifics of the business while also providing support that would turn out to be economical in the long run.
And in leaving technical support to the experts, you can then focus on areas of your business that need your attention.

How to Bring Down Your Electricity Costs

How to Bring Down Your Electricity Costs

You may not realize it but your computer can eat up a lot of electricity. How much it consumes depends on you’re the configuration and also on what other devices you have connected to it.

Usually a desktop PC will have a Power Supply Unit that is rated between 300 and 500 watts. This denotes the maximum power that can be delivered via that PSU. Before you start panicking, the PSU does not deliver the maximum all the time and only does it when required.

There are many culprits that cause a lot of power consumption. Advanced graphics cards draw a lot of power, especially when graphics intensive games are played. Using apps that require a lot of memory and processing power also delivers similar results. Using a large CRT monitor or even an LCD monitor at full brightness can push up your power bill.

To bring down your energy costs, try to do the following:

1. After shutting down the computer, physically cut the power connection to the PC by flicking the switch to the “off” position on the wall socket.
2. If your monitor does not draw power from the PC (enabling an auto switch off), you should switch it off manually after shutting down the PC.
3. Switch off printers and scanners when not in use.
4. Switch off any powered speakers when not in use.
5. Reduce the brightness on your monitor. This will consume less power and also promote long life in the product.
6. Use power management tools provided with the OS.

Buying an External Hard Drive

Buying an External Hard Drive

An External Hard Disk is a worthwhile investment for any computer user. If you are an avid downloader of content (legally, of course) then storing movies and mp3s on your computer is going to take up a lot of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) space. This is fine until you encounter the day when the HDD crashes. Backing up your data can save you the frustration and anger when that happens and this is where an external HDD really comes into play.

When looking to buy an external drive, you have to consider the two types available -Solid State Drives (SSD) and HDD’s. SSDs have no moving parts in them, so vibrations and small impacts will not do any harm to them. However, as long as you treat your HDD carefully there is very little chance of anything happening to it either. Of the two, HDDs are easier on your wallet.

You should decide on the size of the external drive, depending on how much data you want to backup or transfer out of your computer. If these are mainly documents that will be stored, then even a 100GB drive is enough. Otherwise, if you do need more space, 1TB and 2TB drives have recently become more affordable.

If you can afford to wait a while, USB 3.0 drives will be out in the near future offering staggering transfer rates. But in the meantime, external drives come in USB 2.0, Firewire and eSATA flavors. You should choose one of these depending on the connectivity you have on your computer and the availability of external power as some of these devices require that.

Just remember that the cost of an external drive is peanuts compared to the cost you will encounter at a data retrieval service should your HDD crash.

Buying a PC Case

Buying a PC Case

As you become more familiar with the hardware components in your computer, you will want to assemble the next computer you buy. This is because it allows you greater freedom in customizing the configuration and getting it “exactly right”. At this point, you should pay some attention to the type of casing that will house your computer.

The first decision is to choose between a Desktop and a Tower casing. The only real advantage of a Desktop casing is that it does not consume a lot of space. It allows you to place the monitor over it and there ends its usefulness. For serious hardware enthusiast, the Tower casing is the way to go.

Tower casings come in a variety of sizes and you should pick the biggest one you can which won’t eat up too much of space in your room. There are many advantages in doing this, the main one being the cooling factor. A large case will allow you to fixe multiple fans inside the casing, at strategic locations, so that your computer can be cooled efficiently. Inefficient cooling can lead to quick hardware deaths. A large casing laterally will also accommodate the large heat sink towers that are now available for CPU’s. In addition to this, it can also accommodate any future hard disk and DVD drive expansion plans.

Usually, casing come with a pre-installed power supply. In most cases this is enough to drive basic to moderately advanced hardware. But if you are going to plug in multiple hard drives and run a high end graphics card, you should probably ask the store to swap the existing power supply with one that has a higher Wattage. This will ensure that there is enough “juice” to keep all your hardware running smoothly. A word of warning though, the more devices you run on the machine the more your electricity costs will go up.

Reasons for Microsoft to smile

Reasons for Microsoft to smile

Traditionally Microsoft has been at the receiving end of most tech related jokes. In many ways all the barbs are justified as its OS’s have been bulky, resource hungry and its browser has been a clunky app that that just barely got things done.

The main reason that Microsoft enjoys a majority share of the OS and browser market is that
a. Initially it was virtually the only proper OS available for PC users
b. Apple failed to penetrate the consumer market significantly
c. Internet Explorer was forced upon users
But all that seems to be changing as of late.
Over the years IE has seen many challengers to its crown and the most notable of the 90’s challengers, Netscape has disappeared into the wings. Opera has made a comeback, but Firefox, Chrome and Safari have been the biggest reasons for IE losing market share. After making constant one percent drops over the years, it was one very rare occasions that IE managed to get gain any market share. But over the last two months IE has done the impossible and actually gained ground. This is a significant reflection of how much IE has improved.
Windows 7 has also contributed greatly to Microsoft’s fortunes as it has also gained market share. In fact, it has overtaken Windows Vista in market share. The reason for this could be that Microsoft has finally produced an OS that actually does what is supposed to do without asking for too much. Vista was probably the worst OS to come out of Redmond and the bad press it has generated over the years will take some time to fix. However, currently, the signs are good for Microsoft and the company can afford to smile after a long time.

Computer Maintenance Guidelines

Computer Maintenance Guidelines

Computers, just like cars and other mechanical devices, need to have maintenance performed on them regularly. However, this article does not deal with the hardware maintenance, but rather the software side of maintenance, which is often forgotten.

Software, as most people do not realize, also needs to be kept in order. More often than not, the software that you get contains a few undiscovered bugs, some unpolished corners and even some loopholes in the code that allow hackers to exploit them. These can be fixed by installing software updates. In the past, the prevalent method involved manually checking for, downloading and installing the updates. Now, most software vendors have taken to the automatic delivery of software updates. This generally happens through the application you purchased, which is put into effect the moment you register. Whenever you see an alert for a software update, make sure you install it as quickly as possible. This is especially important in the case of operating systems, virus scanners and firewall updates.

Other than this, you can take some steps to make sure your data is protected as well. Make data backups a part of your schedule. Once a week or in two weeks is an acceptable frequency. You should also scan your hard drives for viruses regularly, once a day if possible. Hackers are always finding new ways to infiltrate systems so it is better to be safe than sorry. One other thing you can do to stay safe is to change your password whenever you can. This helps keep any unwanted characters from getting into your system and stealing valuable data.

The best way to keep track of all these tasks is to make a schedule with a checklist and stick to it religiously. This will ensure that your computer stays in good working order for a long time.

Keeping Tab with A Fleet GPS Tracking System In Place

Keeping Tab with A Fleet GPS Tracking System In Place

The current trend of having a fleet GPS tracking is fast catching up with almost all of the fleet managers. It is not only convenient to have a tracking system for the fleet but also safer. By taking the help of a fleet tracking system the worry and concern about the vehicles is totally taken out and the manager’s minds and they can concentrate on expanding their business rather than wasting their time worrying about the whereabouts of their company’s fleet of vehicles.

Many employees do think that installing a GPS tracking device in the vehicles is being done only to keep tabs on their activities and many of them even consider this as a huge question mark on their loyalty by the employers. But if the employee is actually doing his or her job properly there is no need to worry about the tracking device. It is only the trouble makers that should worry about the tracking device being fitted in to the vehicles that they drive.

Using real time GPS vehicle tracking is a very wise decision as the exact timings of the arrival and the departure of the vehicles can be predicted. In addition to this facility the vehicle can be continuously monitored for the speed limits and if in case the driver decides to exceed the permissible speed limit or veer off from the decided route then it is possible for the managers to contact the erring drivers and issue a warning. The safety benefits of installing a GPS tracking system cannot be stressed upon enough.

Ubuntu – an Alternative for Businesses

Ubuntu – an Alternative for Businesses

There is no doubt that Microsoft Windows is the most dominant operating system in the world today. As a result of this most people are reluctant to move to another option for various reasons (e.g. familiarity). But there is an alternative that everyone should explore, whether it is a home user or a business, and that is Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu is an extremely improved version of Debian. It provides users with a very Windows-like feel and works well with older hardware. The best feature of Ubuntu is that it is free. You don’t have to pay a single cent for it. Upgrades that come out from time to time are also released free and all you have to do is download it. For your work needs, you can download OpenOffice.org which is also free. This suite of applications includes all the familiar apps you would find in the MS Office suite. They look remarkably similar so it is easy for people to adapt to it.

Ubuntu come with a firewall which you can activate to protect yourself from malicious persons on the internet. It does not come with an anti-virus program though. This is because Linux based systems are not threatened by viruses and therefore have no need of programs like that.

So far, all of this represents a saving of over $600 in software related costs. Add to this that there is a whole host of open source software that can be download and used on Ubuntu and you being to see why using this OS makes sense for businesses. Buying one hundred new computers for the office suddenly does not seem so expensive when licensing fees no longer play a role in those decisions.

35mm Slide Scanners

35mm Slide Scanners

Imagine yourself purchasing a direct-to-home television package that is digital but using a television from the eighties (provided they’re still around that is) to view your favorite programs with. Sounds kind of odd… doesn’t it?

It’s really the same thing if one uses a professional camera with film to take photos but cannot save them for those moments of nostalgia much later on in life that can be so easily solved by purchasing a photo slide scanner.

Even though a lot of people use digital cameras today, still photography still has a soft corner for photography with the good old film as it tends to add a more realistic touch to the photographs taken. Many professional and budding amateur photographers seem to think this way, and while they do have ‘film stock’ in the truer sense of the word, it does not mean that storing them digitally isn’t a priority and tor this, 35mm slide scanners are available so that one can do just that.

In another scenario, when it comes to converting photographs taken on film digitally, most professional photographers use the services of a professional digital film scanner owned by an organization that convert these photographs to their digital equivalent for exorbitant fees.

Truth be told, this works out to be expensive, so it only bodes well for photographers to get their machine that will work out to be inexpensive in the long run.