Saturday, October 04, 2008

How to choose and buy a suitable desktop or laptop

Sometimes it can be a challenge when it comes to buying a computer but with a bit of knowledge it can be quite easy.

1. Desktop or Laptop ? Which one should I get?

~If you just want a computer for your desk at home or office and won't be moving it around much, then a desktop is obviously the choice. They tend to be cheaper than laptops for the same capacity and speed, but they also take up more room. Desktops are often easier to upgrade as well and you can change the monitor and hardware without too much fuss. The best desktop computers also come with higher system memory, hard drive, and port/ connection number, when compared with the best laptops. This is due to the fact that desktops are larger and have more room to fit everything. By the same token desktops have a lot of separate components to take care of.

~If you are an on-the-go type of person a laptop would be idea for home, school, work, in the park, library, and away on trips because of their all-in-one portability. Note however that the smaller they are, the more expensive they tend to be if you want the works. Laptops also tend to have less ports/ connections compared with the desktop so it is good to check that aspect out when you buy one. After all the manufacturers have to squeeze more specially designed components into a smaller space. One of the things to bear in mind is that you should choose a laptop that is less than 5 pounds and preferably less than 3 pounds, otherwise you will find yourself with a very sore shoulder or back after a few months.
Check out discounts for laptop and desktop computers here

2. PC or Macintosh ? The debate about which is better.
There's no right or wrong. Most people feel comfortable with the operating system they are familiar with and which their family members, or friends recommend to them. If you are on a budget then the PC is your best bet. About 9 in 10 computer systems run on windows, so the higher demand and volume of PC-based computers produced enables PC manufacturers to cut down the cost. If you prefer a prettier, graphic interface and what has been touted an easier to use operating system, then consider the Mac. A lot of people also say that the Mac has a more stable operating system, longer lifespan and is good for graphic and gaming design. On the other hand the more advanced PC's tend to have more horsepower, and most developers prefer the PC. The other thing is finding technical support and trying to repair a Mac can be more difficult in certain areas.
Overall, it's really up to the user. If you want a computer with more compatible software and at a cheaper price then a PC would be a good choice, but if you are willing to spend a fair bit more, and are more into graphics and intuitive handling, then Mac may be what you want.

3. CPU speed ? Faster the better?
CPU, or the central processing unit speed is the speed at which the computer can process commands or instructions per second. This is also referred as the clock speed. It is measured in GHz (gigahertz) these days. (In the past with all the slower computers it was measured in MHz) .In general the higher the number the better. However other factors come into play including:
~the Bandwidth (measured in bits): this determines how much data the processor can run in one instruction. Most computers these days are 32-bit, but the more updated ones are 64-bit chips. Please note that currently, most software are compatible with 32-bit processors. The Windows Vista is however optimized for 64-bit processors.
~Font side Bus (FSB) speed: this is the connection between the CPU and system memory. FSB speed limits the rate of data going to the CPU and thus determines how fast information can be transmitted to the rest of the system.
~Level 2 Cache: this is a like a small on-board memory store which enables the CPU to access data directly and repeatedly, rather than having to request data from the RAM (discussed below). This is very important in video editing, gaming, CAD/CAM programs. It is not such a big deal for normal word processing, surfing the net etc. The cache ranges from 128K to 1MB cache.
~Other components: Likewise the Motherboard chipset, RAM access speed, rotational speed, hard drive disk access time also play a factor in determining overall speed of the CPU,
~Heat: A computer with a good fan system allows heat to dissipate so that the CPU won't have errors, lock, freeze or burn up (die), and therefore run more efficiently. Electrically run cooling pads which contain fans can be bought for less than $20 at most electronic stores and these can be placed under any computer.

More PC's today are optimized to run with many programs so aside from all the variables forementioned the CPU speed is important in regulating how efficient your computer will be. Most people do well on 1.5 GHz for normal applications like word documents, surfing, emailing, listening to music. Those who need really powerful platforms can get up to 4 - 5 GHz. Some of the more common better performers include AMD Athlon 64 FX - FX- 51 series (2.2 GHz), Power Mac G5 (1.6, 18 and dual 2GHz), Intel Pentium 4 (2.4-3.2 GHz).

4. RAM? What is it and how much do you need?
Random Access Memory or RAM is a temporary form of data storage. It consists of integrated circuits that enable stored data to be accessed in any order. This is used in many applications such as word processing where you would perform editing. When you push the save button, the information is transferred from the RAM to the hard drive disk. Increased RAM size allows your computer to multiple complex commands at the same time (eg listening to music at the same time as working on an excel file). This is particularly important for those who want to store large music files, movies, games, run multiple browser windows online, which can require a large amount of RAM. Modern computers have the DDR-SDRAM (double data rate-SDRAM) which runs twice as fast as its predecessor (SDRAM) which could also perform at different clock speeds.
The standard RAM is around 512 MB - 1024 MB and this is suitable for most applications .

5. Hard Drive size ?
The HDD or hard drive disk is basically how you store permanent information. It is a classified as a
"non-volatiles storage" device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating magnetic plates. Again the larger the drive the faster the performance and capacity. For basic home or office use without too much multimedia storage, a 20 - 80 GB HDD is sufficient. For those who want to store a lot of DVDs and games you can obtain 250 GB hard drives or even higher (up to around 1000GB). Most run at a good speed of 7200 rpm and you can upgrade to 10 000 rpm HDD if you really want to. The average media transfer rate is around 1 Gbit/s or higher. Note that laptops have smaller HDD capacity owing to their smaller size. The average laptop HDD spins at 5400 rpm and the higher end models go up to 7200 rpm.
Although most drives use the serial ATA interface today, there isn't that much difference in performance compared with the ATA / IDE interface (ie a disk drive device that integrates the controller on the disk drive itself, used to connect HDDs, CD-ROM drives, etc and transfers up to 8.3 - 100MB/s for ATA-6. SATA transfer rates are however a bit faster. The main thing to note is that the type of hard drive chosen ATA or SATA) needs to match the motherboard in terms of the connector type (IDE or SATA).

6. Optical Drives CD/DVD)?
It is useful to have at least a CD-RW/DVD combo drive or 24x recording speed for CD media storage and DVD playback. Lightscribe or labelflash support will also enable you to burn labels directly to CDs. These days most people want DVD burners and it is best to have a multiformat DVD burner with a speed of 16x, that is compatible with both +R/RW and -R/RW formats.

7. Video Cards ? Things to look for

Most basic computer usage won't require a change in video cards, which are updated 3-4 times a year by companies. Those who are into 3D graphic display and gaming will be interested in updating their video card. The things to consider include performance, amount of memory on the card, output connectors and the Direct X version supported. Most systems use a PCI-Express graphics standard video card.

8. Ports ? Connections? How many, what ports are needed

Check how many USB ports the computer has. Most laptops only come with two, some with four. Most desktops will have multiples ones (around 6) on the tower. It's best to find a computer that supports the latest USB 2.0 specification. Firewire ports are also great for video capture and editing. Most PC's also come with a modem for dial-up internet access and an ethernet port for broadband access via cable. For wireless connection, a wireless network adapter is required. In order to create a wireless networks with other computers, a good router is needed as well as external adaptor or card for each computer. Most use 10/100 ethernet, but if you want a very fast connection than a gigabit ethernet is the way to go.

Monitor? What size and type?
Monitors come in various shapes and sizes. Most people have a 12, 14 or 15 inch screen. If you are planning on using it for design or have bad eyesight it is best to choose something larger like a 17 inch monitor. You can even get 20 -22 inch models.
These days the LCD has just about superceded the CRT monitor which is a lot bulkier. In the past many graphic designers preferred the CRT because they supported a greater range of resolutions and more color shades. But now, many of the better LCD's have approached the color quality of CRT's but use half the power. In addition widescreen monitors have also become quite popular. Although the brand doesn't matter as much as the price, some of the more popular brands include NEC, Samsung and ViewSonic.

10. Software ?

A lot of computers these days already come with a basic word processor like microsoft word trial (though you have to upgrade to the full version), perhaps a spreadsheet like an excel trial, notepad or some other text editor, mediaplayer or similar AV player, and an antivirus program such as norton antivirus provided by HP and McAfee installed by Gateway. Vista also comes with Windows defender which is something you can download free online. It is very useful as it blocks malware and spyware as well.

10. Where to buy? Discount computers, cheap computers, computer coupon codes and specials

There are so many computers these days to choose from that it can become overwhelming!

Some of the most popular desktops that you may consider include:

CNET's top 10 desktops:
Best budget PC: eMachines T6420
Best small-form-factor PC: Apple Mac Mini Core Duo
Best PC design: Apple iMac Core Duo 20-inch, 2.0GHz)
Best gaming PC: Velocity Micro Raptor 64 DualX (AMD Athlon 64 FX-60)
Best affordable gaming PC: Velocity Micro Gamer's Edge DualX (Athlon 64 3700+)
Best PC line: HP m7300 Media Center Series
Most innovative PC: Shuttle XPC P 2600g
Best business PC: ThinkCenter A52
Best Media Center PC: Creature Scylla S301
Best desktop for creative pros: Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2.5GHz


Some of the best laptops that might like to check out include:

PCWorld's Top 10 laptops / notebooks

1. Micro Express JFL226
2. Lenovo IdeaPad Y510
3. Acer Aspire 5920-6954
4. Lenovo ThinkPad R61
5. Fujitsu Lifebook A6120
6. Dell XPS M1330
7. Sony VAIO VGN-FW198U/H
8. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180E/B
9. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N
10.Fujitsu LIfebook S6510

If you are looking to save some money, and want great deals, bargains, coupons, discounts then check out
*** Top desktop and laptop computer deals and discounts. *** =>



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eBay coupon codes, Paypal coupons, online retail coupons

In today's economy with rising inflation, expensive housing and gas prices, unmatched by wages and salaries, it's nice to know you can still pick up a few bargains, coupons, and sales.

FOR RECENT EBAY coupons, PAYPAL coupons, COUPON CODES for US CA AU UK Click here and scroll down =>
Please ensure your ebay and paypal accounts are linked! NOTE that not all codes work for everyone but you never know till you try

TO SAVE EVEN MORE! => COMBINE the coupon codes or your eBay mastercard (US) with one of the coupon cashback sites below eg Bigcrumbs for US and CA (highest cashback) or Mr Rebates (US site) / Mr Rebates (CA site). Just signup and USE THEIR ebay link (or other shopping site if you want to buy from another retailer), then use your code or credit card when you pay with paypal. You can literally save 100s to 1000s of $$ a year or even more!

~Bigcrumbs provides the highest overall cash back for each purchase at popular retailers, such as EBAY (36% cashback of all seller's fees) for US / CA / UK etc, Old Navy, Gap, Dell etc. There are 100's more online stores including travel sites, books, videos, jewellery, flowers and gifts, food and drink, office and business, wireless and internet stores etc. Like the ones forementioned it is free to join and does not require a credit card. In order to receive cashback it is necessary to use their links to get to the online store, otherwise they are unable to verify your purchase to give you a cash rebate.
Bigcrumbs will also host / promote your ebay store if you have one, and there is now a big shopping community so you can get more deals, coupons, meet new people and have fun shopping!
~Mr Rebates (US site) and Mr Rebates (CA site) is another cool online mall with rebates and coupons. It has 1% cashback on the final bid price (excluding shipping/tax) for Ebay US, CA for most items. And you can get up to 25% cashback for many other stores like Dell, Office Depot, Nordstrom, Best Buy, etc. Besides being free to join, you can get $2.50 bonus added to your account :) Enjoy!
~Ebates , (for US online stores) is another shopping site that gives you up to 25% Cash Back every time you shop online. You can shop at over 800 stores including Barnes &, Gap, Target, and Expedia. Note it does Not include Ebay but hey there are other really neat stores. Plus you get extra savings with exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales! Oh there's also a $5 bonus for signing up!
~Coupon Cactus for Ebay coupons (for US, CA, UK, IN, HK, SG etc) , and heaps more......there are 100s of coupons and bargains all in the one site that are regularly updated. Join up is free of course.
~Others include CurrentCodes, eCoupons, CouponClub, CoolSavings, Val-Pack, Coupon Mountain,, Dealcatcher etc etc etc........
~Jellyfish and Fat Wallet , are also useful for US online store savings!
MyStoreRewards: This is a coupon percent off rewards program provided by sellers on ebay and on various other online stores that accept Paypal. When you see the MyStoreRewards invitation on an ebay auction, you can get a discount on that auction + any other auctions that you bid on and win by the same seller, when you click a link to enroll for free. It's dead simple to save. Combine the coupon rebates with the other rebate offers above eg Bigcrumbs or Coupon cactus and you save even more. Check out these auctions which give MyStoreRewards coupons. __________________________________________________________________
~Online Mall and More with more US savings and updated coupons, discounts, sales each month for many popular retail stores on the net

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wedding Crafts Ideas for Saving Money

Weddings are a joyous occasion but can get expensive in a hurry. With wedding crafts you can insert a personal touch and hold the price down as well. Here are a few ideas for wedding crafts to add sparkle and creativity to your big day.

It is not that hard to create your own wedding veil. To make this wedding craft, you will need a length of bridal illusion in the desired length. You will also need a comb to attach it to your hair and a hat or headpiece to cover the comb. Sew large running stitches about an inch from the end of the illusion and gather it tightly. Now sew the veil to the comb. Top with hat or headpiece. As an alternative, you can decorate a wide-brimmed straw hat with silk flowers, ribbon, and pearls.

The bouquets and floral arrangements can also be personally crafted. For a simple outdoor wedding, consider wild flowers. They are free and have a charm all their own. Bouquets can be arranged in large clear vases, with a bow tied elegantly around.

Favors for the guests are particularly appropriate wedding crafts. Refrigerator magnets are a simple and well-received favor. A really nice idea is to make a magnetic picture frame and include a picture of the couple. You could cut a frame out of craft foam in one of the wedding colors, arrange over the photo, and glue all onto a cardboard backing. Place self-adhesive magnet tape on the back of the cardboard. Decorate the front of the frame with foil heart stickers and a monogram of the couple's last name.

Bows for the ends of the pews or rows make simple wedding crafts. Wide velvet ribbons are nice for fall and winter weddings, while satin is more appropriate for spring and summer weddings. Loop some flat lace in with the ribbons. In the center of the completed bow, attach some silk flowers and pearl sprays with a hot glue gun.

Perhaps you'd like to try your hand at decorating your own cake. Check the craft section of the department store for pans and gadgets of all types to help you create a cake to remember. Do remember, though, that it takes a steady hand. Be sure to practice before starting on the real cake.

Preparing for a wedding can be expensive, but with wedding crafts, you can take some of the sting out. Plan early, however, because it will take a little while to make favors for everyone and all the other little details you will want to take care of. Maybe creating wedding crafts will even relieve some of those wedding jitters.

If you need any wedding material at discount and often super cheap prices then do a wedding search on eBay. You can get wedding favours, wedding crafts and kits, bridal gowns, wedding veils, books on wedding preparation and so much more. Weddings don't have to be expensive. It's up to your own creativity!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Monday, April 30, 2007

GET the most out of all your online shopping! Cashback for all!

Many major online stores are also offering rebates through websites including BigCrumbs, Ebates, Jellyfish and FatWallet. Essentially they give you back a percentage of what you spend rather than a flat rate. This is particularly useful for those who shop online frequently.

BIGCRUMBS in particular gives you the highest overall cash back for each purchase at popular retailers, such as EBAY, Target, Old Navy, and Gap. Naturally there are 100's more including travel sites, books, videos, jewellery, flowers and gifts, food and drink, office and business, wireless and internet stores etc.

Like the ones forementioned it is free to join and does not require a credit card. In order to receive cashback it is necessary to use their links rather than go to the actual store, otherwise they are unable to verify your purchase.

So check it out! It doesn't cost a thing!

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Monday, October 09, 2006

EBAY: when to buy and when to bid!

You will often find yourself facing the choice of whether to pay a fixed price or keep on bidding. This choice might be presented to you in a single auction, or you might be choosing between different auctions of the different types. So should you use that 'Buy it Now' button or keep on trying to outbid everyone else? It's all a question of weighing up the advantages and disadvantages.
Buy it Now.
- The Advantages.
When you use Buy it Now, you know the asking price and you can take some time to decide whether to pay it or not - you can even negotiate. You don't need to keeping your eye on the auction, or get caught up in the last-minute bidding frenzy that is now inevitable on any popular item. Not only that, but the seller will be happy to get a fixed price for their item, and they're likely to nicer to you than usual. Some sellers can be a little resentful when they feel that you got a little too much of a bargain on their item.
- The Disadvantages.
You will almost certainly pay more for the item, especially with more expensive items. Also, it takes some of the fun out of eBay. Aren't you there for an auction, after all? If you want to pay a fixed price then there are thousands of online stores you could be visiting. It's like pressing 'collect' instead of 'gamble' on a fruit machine: it's the boring option. But then, maybe that's what you want.
These rules are relatively constant: there are few times when using Buy it Now would allow you to get something cheaper, or when bidding would be an easier way to do it. In the end, as with so many things in life, it's a simple question of price vs. convenience, and it's up to you.
There are those times, though, when the strategic use of the Buy it Now button can be a useful tool to help you outwit your competition. If the current bid is almost as high as the Buy it Now price, then why bid higher and keep the contest going? Clicking that button is a no-brainer. The same goes for times when a seller has, for some reason, set the Buy it Now price only slightly higher than their starting price for bids. Why bother to go through all the hassle of bidding?
You might also find that there are times when you should leave the Buy it Now button as a last resort: it can be a useful way of ending last-minute contests with a decisive 'this is mine' gesture.
In fact, there are all sorts of tricks you can use on eBay, if you want to get ahead of the game. Remember that most buyers on eBay are casual, and don't know what they're doing: a little knowledge can go a long way in getting you an advantage.
For more tips check this out

Shop on ebay and see how much you can save