Friday, September 30, 2005

History Of The Laptop Computer

by Cody Kahl

Have you ever wondered where the sleek new portable PC's of today came from? How did they get so small, and so fast? It's true that modern notebook computers have undergone many changes throughout the years.

In this article I will attempt to put together a rough history and timeline based on the laptop computer. I say rough because no one can really put a finger on who developed the first mobile computer. Anyways, let's get started!

Computer buffs may not know who created the first laptop, but most will agree that Alan Kay of the Xerox Palo Alto research center was the first to come up with the idea of the portable PC in the 1970's. Kay envisioned a portable computer much like the ones found today - Something small and lightweight that anyone could afford.

Some say that the first notebook that was actually built in 1979 by William Moggridge who was with Grid Systems Corp. It featured 340 kilobytes of memory, a folding screen, and was made of metal (magnesium). This was hardly like the laptop computers found today, but it was a start.

Arguably, the next mobile computer produced was in 1983 by Gavilan Computers. This laptop featured 64 - 128 megabytes of memory, a touchpad mouse, and even a portable printer. Weighing in at 9 pounds without the printer, this computer was actually only a few pounds heavier than notebooks found today.

Gavilan later failed largely due to their computer being incompatible with other computers - Mainly because the Gavilan laptop used their own operating system.

Apple Computers introduced the apple IIc model in 1984, but it wasn't all that much better than what Gavilan had produced a year earlier. It did feature an optional LCD panel which had on impact on later notebooks.

Finally in 1986 a true laptop was created by IBM called the IBM PC Convertible. I say "true" because unlike a few of the others, this laptop didn't have to be setup everywhere. And unlike the others it featured two modern 3.5 inch floppy drives, and space for an internal modem! Also found on the Convertible was an LCD screen and basic applications the user could use to create word documents, and schedule appointments.

Maybe most interesting was that the IBM PC Convertible sold for $3500! Of course you would be hard pressed to find that price tag on any laptop these days - (They have gone way down).

Since the late 80's many manufacturers have come forward to produce new machines that are even faster and more powerful than their previous counterparts. These days the buyer has a lot of choice, and laptops are faster than ever.

For more on laptop computers visit
  • laptops

    About the Author
    Cody Kahl is creator and writer of Toshiba Laptops Guide - A site dedicated to providing only the best toshiba laptop computers information. Cody believes in quality, and this free resource proves it.
  • Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    5 Security Tips For Mac Users That You Should'nt Live Without

    Here are some quick tips to keep your Apple Computer (Mac) safe when using the internet. A1-Computers

    STOPzilla Anti-Spyware: Limited Time Only: $19.95 - $10 REBATE

    by Paulo Fretowski

    So, you've bought a new Macintosh, and now you may be wondering how to keep it safe. Here are several things that you can do which will protect your Mac from viruses and hackers. Macs are already very difficult to hack, but don't let that fact allow you to become lenient with your security.

    1. Download all of the software updates available.
    This seems like a no-brainer, but some Mac users forget to download the newest updates. You can even set your computer to automatically download new updates. However, some dial-up users encounter trouble when trying to downloaded updates. If you are a dial-up user, the best suggestion is to leave your Mac on overnight and let it download. Apple releases many programs that fix bugs in iLife applications, and in Mac OS X. Probably the most important of these updates are the security updates. Apple periodically offers security updates for its operating systems (Panther and Tiger).

    2. Be careful what you download
    Some people use P2P downloads for Macintosh (I.E. Poisoned). Be careful when downloading using a P2P because you do not know where the music or file is coming from. Some P2P users specifically make corrupted files to send via music downloading programs. Generally, it is a good idea to stick to iTunes, because those files are ACC Protected and offered through Apple so they certainly won't have viruses.

    3. Choose the best and safest Internet Browser
    Safari comes standard on all new Macs as part of iLife. However, some people do not enjoy Safari as much as others. Some say that Safari is not as safe from hackers as other browsers. Safari can also be a problem if you are going to a web page that requires a version of Internet Explorer or Netscape to view it. You can download Internet Explorer and Netscape for Mac, but again, some believe that these browsers are not as safe from hackers. Many people believe that Mozilla Firefox (my personal favorite) is the safest browser to use because of its customizable features. Firefox is available for downloading on the Macintosh.

    4. Don't be afraid to buy anti-virus software
    If you have to download files from the internet as part of a job or hobby, then it is probably a good idea to have some sort of anti-virus software on your Macintosh. Apple provides a wide-variety of anti-virus software that is constantly updated.

    5. Finally, keep an eye on those e-mail attachments and instant messages
    Some hackers have programmed viruses to IM you from one of your friends' screen names. Don't click on any link without knowing what it is first. Most e-mail providers use virus scans automatically, but you should always be extra careful when downloading an attachment. If it is from someone you do not know, don't trust it.

    Apple computers are very safe from hackers, but they can always be improved. Keeping a computer safe, and running well requires a great amount of time and energy. Just remember that if your computer is safe, your Apple experience will be much more rewarding.

    For more on Macs apple mac mini Visit

    About the Author
    Paulo Fretowski enjoys writing about computers because he uses them for his job with BizNicheMedia.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Introduction To The Personal Computer

    A1-Computers home page

    Here is a quick and simple look at the essential parts of a personal computer:

    When you mention the word "technology," most people think about computers. Virtually every facet of our lives has some computerized component. The appliances in our homes have microprocessors built into them, as do our televisions. Even our cars have a computer. However, the computer that everyone thinks of first is typically the personal computer or PC.

    It is a general-purpose tool, built around a microprocessor. A PC has many different parts such as memories, a hard disk, a modem, etc that work together. A PC is said to be "general purpose" because you can do many different things with it like: type documents, send e-mail, browse the Web and play games.

    Let us look at the main components of the typical desktop computer

    Central processing unit (CPU): The microprocessor "brain" of the computer system is referred to as the central processing unit. The CPU oversees everything that a computer does.

    Memory: This fast storage area is for storing data and is connected directly to the microprocessor. That's why it is fast. There are various types of memory in a computer system:

    To read the rest of this article on the personal computer

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    The Five Essential Features To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop

    Here you will find all of the pertinant information on gaming laptops - A1-Computers

    by Laura Alter

    Remember when you would have been laughed at if you walked into an all-night LAN party carrying your trusty laptop and expecting to hang with the giant computer towers standing at everyone's feet. The gaming laptop computers of today sport huge, crisp LCD screens, cutting-edge video cards and full-size keyboards. Not only can these gaming laptop computers hang with the standard clunky computer tower, but they can also be ordered fully custom to meet the exact specifications of any gamer.

    There are many customizable components in these laptops, a standard practice has been to create what some call a "system builder." This is the page where you get to add and subtract components through drop-down menus in order to create the best gaming laptop computer for your needs and your budget. This type of page can be overwhelming to someone just starting the gaming laptop shopping process, but it is very manageable if you take it just one component at a time.

    The Gaming Laptop GPU

    This is the heart of a gaming laptop computer. The GPU - graphics processing unit - is a component that will make or break your gaming experience. If your GPU isn't up to snuff, your games won't play.

    Without getting into specific models since they change all the time, the key is that the graphics card not share resources with the computer. A gaming laptop video card must have its own memory on board. Generally speaking, standard off-the-shelf laptops will not have this feature. The two current makers of laptop video cards are nVIDIA and ATI.

    Without the Screen, You Don't Have Much

    What good is a gaming laptop without a screen that can actually render your games? Now certainly, you can connect an external monitor, but if you can't actually play on your gaming laptop without that external monitor, then your laptop isn't all that mobile.

    While the technology and terminology for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) could take up an entire article in itself, there are a few key points to keep in mind when choosing from available LCD options for your new gaming laptop computer: native resolution, aspect ratio, rise and fall time, contrast, viewing angle, and size.

    Native Resolution. The native resolution is simply the setting at which your screen will render the clearest images. Since games are constantly in motion, slightly soft edges may not bother most gamers, but keep in mind that while this is your gaming laptop, you will likely also use it for other things like surfing the Internet. If the resolution isn't comfortable, you aren't going to enjoy using it.

    Aspect Ratio. As you probably know, a movie theater screen and a TV screen have different proportions. Likewise, there are widescreen format gaming laptops and there are laptops that have a standard aspect ratio - like that of a TV. A widescreen format gaming laptop has advantages and disadvantages. Many games today do not have a widescreen mode. This means that the game may stretch across the screen and become distorted or you may run it with black bars that fill in the sides. There are ways to get around this, but if you want an out of the box perfect experience, the widescreen format may not be for you.

    That said, a widescreen LCD does offer plenty of screen real estate for web surfing and other type of computer activities, and a game played in a wide format setting offers an expansive field of view. For this reason, there are some very loyal widescreen-loving gamers out there.

    Do your best to find a balance between current and future technology and what your computer habits are beyond gaming. Even with its limitations, the widescreen format is found on most of the best gaming laptop computers.

    Rise and Fall. The phrase 'rise and fall time' is used to describe how fast the LCD can respond to changes. In the past, LCDs have been plagued with the inability to render images as fast as computer games can spit them out. This presents a major problem for laptop gamers because if they can't see the images properly, they can't play the game properly. This lag can mean the difference between playing to win and barely playing.

    Fortunately, gaming laptop LCDs have come a long way and they are only getting better. While once it was impossible to game on a laptop screen, the gaming laptop LCDs of today offer 25 milliseconds or less rise and fall time while generally off-the-shelf laptops have 40 milliseconds or less rise and fall time.

    Contrast. If a gaming laptop LCD has poor contrast, that means that the black areas aren't quite as black as they should be and the white areas aren't quite as white. This is important to a laptop gamer because you have to see the game properly - as it was intended to be seen - in order to compete effectively. Look for a contrast ratio of 400:1 or higher in a custom gaming laptop computer.

    Viewing Angle. This is an often-overlooked LCD feature, but it must be considered if you are building a gaming laptop computer. Many high quality LCDs on the market are difficult to see clearly at any angle other than straight on and at the right height. This can be a big drawback to gaming on a LCD screen because a screen with poor viewing angles won't allow others to watch the screen as you play and also hurts your view when doing something as simple as adjusting your seating, which can require you to then adjust to position of your laptop screen to see it properly again.

    But gaming on a laptop does not mean that you are doomed to have poor viewing angles. There are LCDs on the market that have amazing viewing angles - up to 120 degrees. These screens not only allow gaming onlookers, but they also allow you to use that giant, crisp screen to do things like play movies and even make presentations.

    Size. In a gaming laptop computer, size is everything. Most gaming laptops are large, robust pieces of electronics. Having a machine of this stature means you also get to have a large screen. The best gaming laptop computer LCD screens out there are at least 15 inches. A crowd favorite is a 17 inch widescreen (even with the challenges that widescreens present). Largr 19 inch laptop screens are just starting to be talked about with consumers expecting to see 19 inch or even large models on the market in the near future.

    The best way to really get a feel for what laptop LCDs are all about is to take a trip to a local box store and play with the LCDs on the display laptops while keeping in mind what you have read here. While these laptops are not custom gaming laptops, you can see what the sizes really look like, what different resolutions look like, and what the viewing angles truly are so you can start to develop your own preferences.

    The RAM - What Type and How Much?

    The RAM (random access memory) found in laptops is called SODIMM (small outline dual inline memory module). The RAM is responsible for your processing power. If you are shopping for a custom gaming laptop, you will generally be offered DDR2 RAM with the choice of how much you want in your computer. Most high-end games being released today need 1GB of RAM for optimum, lag-free game play. Some people are going with 2GB to ensure that they can run multiple applications along with the game and not experience any slow down in response time. This is a large investment and you want to be able to use this gaming laptop for some time in the future. Most custom laptops are user upgradeable, but this should be left up to professionals.

    The CPU - Not Just Mobile Technology

    The CPUs (central processing units) found in many custom gaming laptops are identical to those found in desktops. These chips require a great deal of cooling power, which in turn can make your laptop louder than light weight, lower power ultra portables when the fans kick on and it can become somewhat warm to the touch. Don't be alarmed by this - it is normal. And with these desktop processors comes screaming power! Don't waste your money on the latest CPU release that likely has an inflated price tag (and that price will likely come down before long). Stick with a current CPU speed that is offered by a reputable custom gaming laptop reseller, and you really can't go wrong.

    The Gaming Laptop Hard Drive

    This is the final component to consider when building a gaming laptop. Laptop hard drives come in a variety of speeds and capacities ranging from 4200 to 7200 RPMs and 40 to over 100 GBs. For the most part, this is user preference. Whenever possible, go for a 7200 RPM hard drive, but if you need a capacity not offered in this speed, it's okay to go for the 5400 RPM drive. Take a look at your current computer, and buy your capacity based on this. Also keep in mind that with many custom gaming laptop manufacturers, you have the ability to upgrade or add another hard drive at a later date.

    At the end of the day, gaming laptop computers are all about power. Don't expect a twelve-pound notebook with a desktop processor, numerous fans, a giant heatsink, and independent video card to last on battery power all that long. But do make sure to enjoy the jawdrops that you'll get as you walk into your regular LAN party location with your new, screaming-fast gaming laptop computer. Crack that puppy open, fire it up, and stand clear of the drool as you take on your favorite game with fellow gamers gathered around to take in the action. Gaming is not just for desktops anymore!

  • For more on laptops visit A1-Computers

    About the Author
    PC Torque Ltd is a leading authority on laptop gaming news and technology. For more information on how to to build the best gaming laptop, or to check out the latest offerings in the custom gaming laptop industry, visit
  • Saturday, September 24, 2005

    A Guide to Refurbished Laptops

    Learn what to look for when buying a refurbished laptop. The most minor blemish can mean hundreds of dollars in saving for your pocket!

    By Max Bellamy

    Computing freedom, independence, and mobility don’t have to come with a hefty price tag.

    Manufacturers refurbished laptop computers that have been returned. The laptop may have a scratched screen or other minor blemish. In some cases, the laptop was an unwanted gift or its packaging was dented. The laptop is inspected by the manufacturer, tested for quality, and repackaged for sale at a much lower price.

    While many new laptops can cost thousands of dollars, most refurbished laptop computers usually cost less than a couple of grand, and often less than $500. In most cases, they are as good as new and have a very low return rate. They even come with guarantees and warranties, just as you would expect with a new model.

    A refurbished laptop can satisfy most people’s basic computing needs, such as word processing, running software, reading e-mail, creating spreadsheets, playing CDs, surfing the Internet, and more. Laptops allow access to all these features from anywhere.

    All laptop manufacturers offer refurbished laptops, including such popular brands as Dell, IBM, Toshiba, and HP.

    Computer prices are affected by type of processor, operating system, modem, and network card; size of the hard drive and RAM (Random Access Memory); and whether there is a CD/DVD-ROM/RW, a video card, a sound card, and zip drive. Prices are also affected by screen size and type of chassis.

    The price will be affected by all these specifications, along with how well preserved the chassis is, the name of the manufacturer, and whether you acquire the laptop form the factory or through a private dealer. Private dealers charge less, but beware: not all dealers are up to par with their refurbishing skills. Be sure to go to one that is reputable and experienced.

  • For more on Refurbished Computers go to A1-Computers

    Refurbished Laptops Info provides detailed information on quality, cheap refurbished laptops by manufacturers like Dell, IBM, Toshiba, and HP, as well as refurbished laptop batteries and related products. Refurbished Laptops Info is the sister site of Rack Mount Computers Web.
  • Why Build Your Own Computer System

    Get the real reasons for building your own computer system. Saving money? Get the exact computer you want? Easyer to repair? Find out below.

    By Jeff Heaton

    Have you ever thought about building your own computer system? Maybe you’ve heard friends talking about doing this sort of thing, but you were never sure what was involved. This article attempts to answer two questions. First, why would you want to build your own computer system? Secondly, how hard is it to do this?

    Why Build a Computer System

    First we will look at why you would want to build a computer system. There are three main reasons often cited for building a computer system. The first is that it will save you a great deal of money. The second is that you will get exactly the computer system that you want. And finally, the third reason is that you can easily repair the system if anything goes wrong.

    Building a computer to save money is most likely not a realistic goal. These days you can get some really inexpensive computer systems. With complete systems selling for under $500, it would be hard to build a computer system yourself that is going to beat that price by much.

    However, there are some cost cutting options available. You might use many of the parts from your old computer system. This would save money, as there is probably no reason to replace such devices as the CD-ROM drive, floppy drive, or even case of the old computer system.

    Additionally, once you have built your computer system, you can easily upgrade it. A computer system you built yourself can always be upgraded more easily than a “mass market PC”. For example, if you need a faster processor just upgrade the processor and/or motherboard.

    I think the biggest reason for building your own computer system is the second reason that I previously mentioned. You are able to get exactly the computer system that you want. If you want a certain type of graphics card, you can select it. You can pick the RAM that has the best access time for the money, and not what some large computer manufacturer got the best deal on that week. For the true computer enthusiast, this is the only way to go! For me, just being able to pick the exact case I want makes the process worthwhile.

    Finally, computer systems that you built yourself are much easier to repair than “mass market PC’s”. For one thing, this is a computer system that you built. You know where everything is at, and what it is for. Secondly, the computer system was built from common parts, so finding replacements will be easy. Very often large computer manufacturers will build computer systems with proprietary parts, which you can only obtain from the computer manufacturer.

    How Complex is it to Build a Computer

    Building a computer system is not as complex as you might think. The only tools that you will need are screwdrivers. If you have ever added an expansion card to your computer, you are almost half-way to building your own system.

    The most complex part is making sure that everything is compatible with everything else that you buy. You need to line up the specs exactly between your parts. For example, if you buy a motherboard with DDR2 RAM memory, you need to make sure your RAM is DDR2.

    Once you get all of the required components together you have only to assemble your new computer. You will have purchased a case, motherboard, RAM, hard drive, CD-ROM drives, floppy drive, video card and audio card. Now you have only to assemble them. This usually takes only a few hours and no tools other than the screwdrivers you likely already own. Plus, it is very hard to damage anything. Most cables are keyed so that you are not able to plug them in backwards.

  • More on Computer Systems

    Heaton Research has a complete tutorial, including many photos, of how to build your own computer system.

    Jeff Heaton is an author, college instructor, and consultant. Jeff lives in Chesterfield (St. Louis), Missouri. The author of four books and over two dozen journal and magazine articles, Jeff specializes in Internet, socket-level/spidering and Artificial Intelligence programming. A Sun Certified Java Programmer and a member of the IEEE Jeff holds a Masters Degree in Information Management from Washington University in St. Louis.

    Article Source:
  • Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Recent studies show that 9 out of 10 PCs are infected with Spyware

    Do you know all there is to know about spyware? Malware? There may be some things you do not know, I was even surprized reading this article and I really thought I knew by now everything about this stuff. So read on - you may just learn somthing! A1-Computers--

    Internet connections are infected with Spyware or other types of information-gathering Malware. offers free antispyware software programs, helping computer users to protect their computers as well as their personal privacy.

    Spy Sweeper named PC Magazine's Best of the Year 2004 for antispyware

    The very best AntiSpy program on the market -

    Webroot Spy Sweeper was named best spyware remover 2004 by PC magazine and praised for it's efficiency, speed and userfriendlyness.

    Spyware and malware are large problems for Internet users today and can be both annoying and a real threat to you and your computer. There exist a number of different spy and malware of which some are relatively friendly and only spies on your surfing habits, while others like the Trojans can be used to corrupt your hard drive or steal your usernames and passwords. A Trojan can even be used to steal your identity by extracting all necessary information from your computer.

    You may think that ad ware might not be that bad, that it is good if the ads are chosen to fit your interests. This might be true if the spy ware didn't have a number of other negative effects, such as an increased amount of pop up ads, unexplained home page changes, strange results when searching the web and the fact that your computer are being slowed down by the spy wares. These are all very common results and symptoms of spyware and ad ware. More unusual problems connected with spyware and Trojans are the corruption of the hard drive, the loss and exposure of private information and login information and in a worst case scenario, the theft of the identity of the owner of an infected computer.

    Spyware is a large treat to the security of your online privacy.

    There are however steps that you can take to avoid suffering the negative effects that spy- and ad ware can bring, and start protecting you computer and building an Identity Theft Protection. The first of these steps are to get a good antispyware and antiadware program able to remove spyware. There are a number of different spyware removers available and two of the most well known might be Ad Aware and Spybot which are both good programs. The best available program that is designed to remove spyware and adware is however at the moment SpySweeper which was chosen as the best spyware remover 2004 by PC magazine.

    Spy Sweeper can scan your computer 30% faster then other available products and successfully remove spyware like CoolWebSearch. Spy Sweeper also uses a system monitor that automatically discovers spy ware and prevents installation of spyware on our computer. Spy sweeper is effective for spyware and adware removal.

    The active shield uses System Monitoring to in real time prevent new spy- and adware programs from being installed on your computer. This fact combined with the fact that Spy Sweepers uses a constantly updated database of all available spy- and ad wares means that this adware remover can clean your computer, ridding it of any and all spy- and ad ware. Once it has cleaned your computer it can keep it clean and assure that your computer stays clean from ad- and spy ware.

    By keeping your computer free from spyware and adware Spy Sweepers also protects your information and keeps your identity safe. Spy Sweepers prompts you to update it if it has been to long since it was last updated.

    If spy sweeper finds a spyware it will immediately quarantine the spyware and disable the spy wares functionality until you can decide whether to delete the file or try to clean the file from spyware elements and return the file to its original place on your hard drive.

    If you have a problem with Spy Sweeper despite its highly user friendly and automated design you will have access to an excellent customer support where experts answers any question you might have.

    Spy Sweepers deserved the title PC Magazine's Best of the Year 2004 since it can do everything the alternatives can do, but better as well as faster then the alternatives.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR offers new and enhanced Free Spyware Removal Software. Not only will these programs effectively check and clean your computer from Spyware, once installed they will also shield your computer from future Spyware intrusions and browser hijacks - before the malevolent software even have a chance to enter you PC! Spyware Remover Software is an important function all computer users should rely on to ensure their computer is free from nosey software and their privacy protected.

    For more helpful computer tips go to A1-Computers - Computer Tips

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Why Buy a Refurbished Dell Laptop

    Dell Outlet

    Dell offers a full line of refurbished laptops on their website, Look for “Outlet Refurbished Laptops.” There you will find a full range of popular models that run just as reliably as a new machine – for hundreds of dollars less than you would pay for new versions. This is because Dell refurbished laptops are inspected for “good-as-new” quality. The only differences are the red label on the bottom of the unit and a lower price.

    Dell’s most popular refurbished laptops are Latitude and Inspiron. The Latitude series of “notebook” computers is no longer manufactured, but is still a great buy for someone looking for an up-to-date machine. Latitude is an apt name for these models: they afford you great leeway in updating, expanding, or otherwise changing the internal workings of the computer. With its black chassis and clean lines, it is a rather “normal” looking computer. It is a middleweight unit, but sized to fit any standard laptop case, along with AC/DC adaptor, mouse, floppy and zip disks, and other accessories. The Dell Latitude C600, CPX, and L400 are the three most popular models in the line.

    The Inspiron series of notebook computers is still manufactured today, with some modifications. Slightly older versions are still a great way to meet all your computer needs. Inspirons are not quite as expandable as Latitudes, but, with their jazzy black-and-silver chassis, have a distinctive look. Inspiron laptops are also a bit more affordable than Latitudes. Furthermore, Inspiron ranks among the highest performing laptops available, with famously long battery life The Dell Inspiron 1100 and 1150 are the two most common models in the line of refurbished laptops at Dell.

    If you are looking to get the lowest price on a Dell laptop, look for one that uses a Celeron processor instead of an Intel. Celeron is less expensive, and also uses less battery juice, than Intel.

    Refurbished Laptops Info provides detailed information on quality, cheap refurbished laptops by manufacturers like Dell, IBM, Toshiba, and HP, as well as refurbished laptop batteries and related products. Refurbished Laptops Info is the sister site of Rack Mount Computers Web.

    For more tips on buying a laptop computer Laptops at A1-Computer

    Do You Think You Have Dead Pixels On Your Notebook Screen?

    Do you take good care of your laptop/notebook comptuer? How does your screen look? If you see somthing your not sure but you think it may be a poblem with your screen pixels read this article a learn how to find out for sure. A1-Computers

    Take a careful look at your notebook computer screen. Do you find some tiny dark spots? You could have dead pixels. One of the most expensive parts of your notebook computer is the LCD screen.

    Your LCD screen is highly sensitive and any amount of pressure, touching or handling may damage it. As such, dead pixels aren't an uncommon thing. Apparently, some degree of dead pixels is to be expected. Still if you have a lot of them, it would be classified as a defective screen. So, how do you determine if you have dead pixels?

    First, lets make sure it's not just dust. Clean your screen first. The best way to do that is to use a soft cotton cloth - no rags or paper towel as they can scratch your screen easily. Moisten the cloth with plain old water and wipe the screen gently.

    Side note: I've also tried maintaining my screen dust free with a Swiffer Duster. These are inexpensive, very soft and they pick up the dirt not just re-distribute it. It has worked well. Of course, this will not take care of smudges or dried on dirt. So you'll still have to use the cotton cloth and water combo sometimes.

    Once you've cleaned it, you can run a quick check with a free software called Dead Pixel Buddy. It's basically a very simple file that will rotate your screen through all the basic colors. This way you can tell if a pixel on your screen is not displaying properly. One tip, you might want to get a help of a friend. Two sets of eyes are better than one especially since pixels tend to be miniscule.

    You can also do a low tech way by changing your desktop's background color to black, white, red, green blue and yellow, checking the screen each time you change the colors. This is of course not fool proof especially if you have tons of icons on your desktop but it's a good 'backup' check if you don't have Internet access to download the file or whatever the case may be.

    If you do find dead pixels, don't panic yet, as mentioned earlier, a small amount of dead pixels could be inevitable but if you have a lot of them and your notebook computer is still under warranty, this may be a good time to call up the manufacturer and ask for assistance.

    For more Tips about laptops and notebooks visit Laptops

    Lynn Chan helps new owners learn proper notebook care and use. Take care of your investment, find out how at

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Wireless Networking Basics

    Where is the best way to go about and use your wireless networking? Is there ways to get more speed out of your connection? Read on...A1-Computers--

    Considering a wireless connection for your computer? Discover the basics of wireless networking before you proceed.

    Wireless networking is simple in theory: just install a wireless network adapter in each computer and forget about drilling holes and running cable. When you deal with equipment based on the 802.11b (or Wi-Fi) standard, unfortunately, the reality often falls short of claimed specifications. Your wireless network will have a limited range - you've probably experienced a decrease in speed at a certain distance from an access point. That's why you must adjust the location and configuration of your wireless setup to obtain the best possible performance, range, and reliability. Follow expert advice and your connection will be faster across longer distances--and you'll have fewer dropped connections.

    Pick the best location: The farther your wireless networked computer is from a wireless access point--and the greater the number of solid objects that stand in the way--the slower your connection will be. To optimize your network's speed and range, position your wireless access point at least a few feet above the floor and away from metal objects, particularly large appliances like refrigerators. Though most manuals for networking products tell you to position the access point in the middle of the coverage area, it's often better to identify the locations where you expect to use a computer and put the access point where it will be in a direct line of sight (or close to it) to as many of those places as possible.

    Don't waste time worrying about "dead spots" if no one is likely to use a computer there. Once your wireless network is up and running, even slight changes in your wireless network card's position (say, a shift in the orientation of your laptop as you recline on the couch) may dramatically improve throughput or even restore a dropped connection.

    For larger areas--or areas with many obstructions--your only option may be to shell out the cash for multiple access points. If you go this route, you'll find that wireless setup is easy: Simply make sure that the access points have identical settings. Virtually all wireless network adapters support "roaming": In areas where access point coverage overlaps, the adapter will latch on to the strongest signal.

    Get more great computer tips at A1-Computers

    Lana Hampton makes it easy to find the right wireless product for your needs. Visit today for the latest wireless information.

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Healthy Computing

    Remember the old saw about how computers would change our lives for the better? We would have more time to ourselves and lead healthier, happier lives. The truth is computers do make processing information lightening fast. It is just that today, we have so much more information to process and so many more distractions that the computer, via the Internet, has brought into our lives.

    What is the bottom line? Today we spend more time operating a computer, for fun and for profit, than on any other single pastime, except for maybe sleeping. And if you are a heavy computer user like me, even sleep takes a back seat to computer use every now and then.

    There are health hazards to continual computer use. Personally I have suffered from back and shoulder pain, eyestrain and numbness in my fingers. I've even had to deal with stiff joints and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. None of this was any fun.

    I did learn a few things important enough to pass along to you today. Here are some things you can do right now to reduce or eliminate stress on our body while operating your computer.

    Positioning Your Body for Maximum Comfort at Your Computer

    The Concept of Neutral Body Positioning

    Consider a comfortable working posture with a natural alignment of all your joints from head to toe. This method of neutral positioning helps you reduce the stress and strain on your muscles, tendons, and skeletal system thus reducing the risks of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

    For Some Quick Tips and Body Posture go to healthy computing. You will also find More Tips + Your Work Environment there.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    How To Download MP3's Quick and Easy

    by: Keith Kingston

    The MP3 movement started out with a huge audience of music enthusiasts on the internet. The MP3 digital music format has had, and will continue to have, a huge impart on how people, gather, listen to and share music.

    The MP3 format is a compression system for digital music that helps reduce the size of a digitized song without disturbing the sound quality. Digital music is converted to MP3 format and made available for use, usually via the web. MP3 files can be downloaded onto your computer from the internet and special software, either commercial or freeware. Using your computer and software you can convert digital music from a CD into MP3 format.
    MP3 files can be played in three different ways:

    · They can be played directly onto your computer.
    · They can be decompressed and recorded onto a CD.
    · These files can be played on a portable MP3 player.
    · The advantage of MP3 players is that they are small, lightweight and rugged. They are a great way to carry your MP3 files with you

    With a portable MP3 player, a personal computer, and the appropriate software, you can do the following:

    · Obtain free or low-cost music from the web.
    · Create your own mix of music by downloading MP3 files from the web and converting the tracks from CDs.
    · Obtain free or low-cost music from the web.
    · Create your own mix of music by downloading MP3 files from the web and converting the tracks from CDs.
    · Listen to near-CD quality music wherever you go.
    · Listen to more music (up to 10 hours' worth).
    · If you want to convert your songs from your CDs into MP3 files, you can use ripper and encoder software. A ripper copies a song's file from the CD onto your hard disk. The encoder compresses the song into the MP3 format. By encoding songs, you can play them on your computer or take them with you on your MP3 player. The ripper and encoder software may come with your MP3 player.

    The specific instructions will vary with the individual software programs, but the following steps will definitely take place:
    · Place the CD from which you want to convert songs into your drive.
    · Select the track(s) that you want to convert to MP3 format.

    · Convert the selected track(s).
    · Copy the new MP3 files on to your computer's hard disk.
    · Now you are ready to download these MP3 files into your portable MP3 player.
    Once you have MP3 files on your computer, you can use the software that came with your MP3 player to download the files into your MP3 player. Again, the specific instructions will vary depending upon your software program and player, but you will:

    · Create a playlist from your MP3 files.
    · Plug the player into your computer's parallel of USB port.
    · Transfer the MP3 files according to the instructions.
    · Once you have downloaded the MP3 files into your portable MP3 player, you are ready to take your music anywhere. Most MP3 players are small, lightweight, and solid-state. Because most players are solid-state, there are no moving parts to break down or skip, so the sound quality is uninterrupted regardless of your physical activity. MP3 players are equipped with various types of headphones or earpieces.
    Portable MP3 players can play music longer than a portable CD player. The length of play for a CD player is about 74 minutes, the length of one CD. However, the length of play for an MP3 player depends upon its memory capacity, which can be upgraded on some models. A standard MP3 player can play for about half an hour (32 MB) to a few weeks (40 GB)! Some models can be upgraded with additional memory devices.

    About The Author
    Keith Kingston is a professional web publisher, offering information on mp3 downloads and mp3 players. You can visit his website at

    For more computer tips

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Removing PC Clutter

    Its hard enough as it is these days to get organized and then remain that way for weeks and months down the road. We are all very busy people, some of us with 9-5 jobs and one hour commutes, and others of us busy making our lives at home work for us, with children in tow and a variety of chores to do as well as errands to run. However, no matter how vastly different our lives may be, we all run into the same problems when dealing with organization, and thats: KEEPING organized. We need to develop a system that helps your PC remain free of clutter and organized. Granted, this task does not come easy at first, but all it takes is a few extra steps each day, done consistently, that will maximize your results in the long run.

    So, lets say you have disorganized files all over your hard drive that you have difficulty finding when you need them. Your PC keeps catching viruses out of the blue. You do not know what to do with all your spam mail. You have extra programs and freeware on your PC that you do not know anything about, and even if you did, you would not know what to do with them. Here are a few steps to help you get started in the right direction: removing pc clutter