How To Blog

Learn Everything

Learn More

Latest Blog Posts

3 Simple Ways To Save A Bunch Of Money When Buying A New Computer!

 Looking to buy a new computer?

Overwhelmed by all of the options available to you? 

Stressed by the high cost of computers today?

For most people, buying a new computer does not have to be as stressful as buying a new car. Nor does it have to be as expensive. If you’re like most people, and you have a limited budget for buying a computer, then you need to try to get as much computer for your money as possible.

Here are 3 simple ways anyone can save money when buyi...


Looking to buy a new computer?


Overwhelmed by all of the options available to you? 


Stressed by the high cost of computers today?


For most people, buying a new computer does not have to be as stressful as buying a new car. Nor does it have to be as expensive. If you’re like most people, and you have a limited budget for buying a computer, then you need to try to get as much computer for your money as possible.


Here are 3 simple ways anyone can save money when buying a new computer:


1) Shop around for best deal.


Sounds pretty obvious. But many people don’t realize they don’t need the fastest, most expensive computer with the most “extras”. In fact, if you are already using an older computer, even the least expensive new computer will be a big upgrade. If you don’t know a lot about computers, you can learn a lot by shopping around. Ask lots of questions, compare prices, compare features, then find the best price. Shop at your local electronics store, and look for the best deals online. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by shopping around!


2) Install your own “extras”


Many computers you will find in a store have a lot of extra software already installed. While this is convenient, it is not always the best way for you to save money. Also, while many of these extras sound good, you don’t always need them. You can often find better deals by shopping around separately for your own software extras (such as a word processor, anti-virus, popup blocker, spyware removal, games, etc). And some of these you can get for free. So before you buy the “fully loaded” computer, ask yourself if you really need all the extras, then shop around to see if you can buy a scaled down computer - and get the extras yourself for much less!


3) Don’t buy extended warranty


If you are not a computer “techie”, the extended warranties offered by the computer retailers often sound like a good idea. After all, who wants to be bothered paying for service on a computer after you buy it. But keep in mind that most computers come with a warranty, and most computer problems will either happen at the beginning (when you still have the warranty in effect) or much later (when it might be cheaper to buy a new computer). Technology changes very quickly these days. So consider whether or not it’s worth the inflated price of the extended warranty. And, if you really feel you need the extended warranty, then ask to purchase it at a lower price. Not all retailers will negotiate on the warranty, but some will. And whether you buy the extended warranty or not, make sure you back up all your files periodically, just in case!


If you have an unlimited budget, consider yourself lucky. And if you do business on the computer, make sure you get what you need, while trying to keep the price down. At any price, buying something that does not fit your needs is not a good deal.


Hope you find these tips helpful, and happy computer shopping!

3 More Common E-Mail Problems And What To Do About Them

 As we continue to evolve into the world of e-mail that is part of our everyday life, sometimes little problems arise that bother the user.  Previously we talked about returned messages and lost connections, both which can be aggravating, and supplied solutions.  But there are a few more problems that can affect an e-mail user causing frustration and we will address these here, and again provide reasonable solutions to over come them.



As we continue to evolve into the world of e-mail that is part of our everyday life, sometimes little problems arise that bother the user.  Previously we talked about returned messages and lost connections, both which can be aggravating, and supplied solutions.  But there are a few more problems that can affect an e-mail user causing frustration and we will address these here, and again provide reasonable solutions to over come them.


Problem 1 – You Cannot Send a Message


Even when there is not a connection problem, you may attempt to send email, but find that it continues to remain in your outbox.


Solution 


Typically this is a software problem, the result of otherwise unapparent damage or corruption to one or more e-mail messages.  To address this problem, first copy any unsent messages as text.  Then save them on the computer's hard drive or a back-up storage medium.  After all messages have been saved, highlight all the messages in your outbox and click on “delete” or “clear”.  When clearing your outbox, start over.  Just copy unsent messages from the text files, pass them into new e-mail messages and resend. 


Problem 2 – The E-mail is Missing an Attachment or the Attachment Won't Open


An especially handy feature of e-mail is the ability to send and receive attachments.  Transmitting documents, photos or other such information can save time and money compared to the U.S. Mail or express delivery services.  At the same time, attachments can be real headaches.  A common frustration is to receive an e-mail message that refers to an attachment, but then find nothing is there.


Solutions


Often the best solution is to request that the sender try once again, since it is not unusual for the writer to refer to an attachment, but then forget to attach it.  Even if this is not the case, your request might prompt the sender to re-think the attachment's format before transmitting again.  If the problem continues, consider asking the sender to paste the contents inside an e-mail message and try again.  This may disrupt formatting, but can be an effective way to circumvent attachment problems. 


If you see a message that the attachment has been deleted, it may be that your anti-virus software has detected a virus, and you're better off without it anyway.  But if you find that all attachments are indiscriminately being deleted, check your mail properties.  If a box is checked that blocks all attachments, remove the check mark so that you can receive attachments.  If you then receive a message from an unknown person, or if the message or attachment seems suspicious, delete the message without opening the attachment. 


A related problem is to see that an attachment has been transmitted, but find that you are unable to open it.  The causes (and thus the solutions) vary.  In some cases, the problem is that the software used by the sender does not match that of the recipient.  As with a missing attachment, a simple fix is to ask the sender to copy and paste the contents of the attachment within a follow up mail message.  Even if formatting is disrupted, you can still get the gist of the information.  You can also use your own copying and pasting process to reformat the contents, if that is important. 


Another strategy is to save the document to your hard drive, and then open the software program that was used initially to create it.  Once this program is in use, your computer may be able to recognize what had been the attachment, and open it.  If you do not have the appropriate software loaded on your computer, you may be able to download it from the Internet; just follow the on screen prompts to proceed.


Problem 3 – You Have too Much Incoming Mail or Cannot Download What You Have 


If you are receiving large volumes of e-mail, you may be vulnerable to several difficulties.


Solutions


Many Internet service providers place limits on the amount of storage provided to each user (although some have recently increased storage limits).  If a pre-set limit is reached (perhaps because you've gone too long without downloading your e-mail, or have been inundated by SPAM or virus induced flood of messages), additional messages will be bounced back to those who sent them.


Of course the direct approach is to download your mail and then weed it out, but a smarter move may be to access your e-mail account via Web mail.  That way you can see a listing of all messages and quickly delete any that do not appear to be of interest.  The end result is the same, but this step can save a great deal of downloading time if you're using a dial up modem.  It also adds an extra measure of virus protection even if you have a broadband connection.  Since you're deleting messages from your ISP's server before they ever have a chance to infect your computer, it's like killing mosquitoes before they bite you – instead of afterwards. 


If you do not have a Web mail account, it's easy to get one.  Simply go to a provider such as Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) or Lycos (www.lycos.com) and register.  You can also use a site such as mail2web (www.mail2web.com) or webmail4free.com without even registering.  Go to the site and enter you e-mail address and password.  You will see a listing of all incoming mail, which you can read and then retain for downloading, or delete, as you choose.


A similar challenge may be caused by unusually large message.  Again, this problem is more common with dial-up modems, where hefty messages may take an annoyingly long time to download.  In the worst cases, you may find yourself unable to receive other messages, because the connection with the server where your messages are stored is severed when a time limit has been reached.


Use of Web mail can also do the trick here.  Just log on to the third-party site, peruse the list of messages in your inbox, and choose the one that is the largest (most Web mail programs automatically list the size of each message).  If the message seems of potential interest, open and read it, and then delete it.  Or if it is obviously spam or something in which you have no interest, you can delete the message without even bothering to read it.  Once you have removed the offending message, your other incoming mail will no longer be blocked.


If you do not have Web mail, an option is to contact your Internet Service Provider and ask for help.  Once a customer service representative deletes the offending message from the ISP's server, you can then download all remaining messages.


Also keep in mind that retaining too much e-mail can be an organizational problem, if not a technical one.  Take time to delete e-mail that does not need to be saved for future reference.  Allowing too many messages to accumulate wastes storage space and makes it more difficult to find important messages when you need to refer to them.  For messages that merit retention, create a series of folders so that they can be readily located, and so that your inbox will not become too full.

3 Different Types Of Camera’s: Box, Folding-Roll, And Viewfinder

 This article will outline 3 different types of camera’s: Box, Folding-Roll, and Viewfinder. This information will help you decide which camera suits your photography needs the best.

For over several decades the box camera was the gadget of choice for the typical amateur photographer. This is because it was cheap and simple, yet still capable of excellent results under most conditions. Box cameras were usually fitted with a single-element lens, a limited range opening contr...


This article will outline 3 different types of camera’s: Box, Folding-Roll, and Viewfinder. This information will help you decide which camera suits your photography needs the best.


For over several decades the box camera was the gadget of choice for the typical amateur photographer. This is because it was cheap and simple, yet still capable of excellent results under most conditions. Box cameras were usually fitted with a single-element lens, a limited range opening control, and a single-speed shutter.


Next up is the Folding-Roll Film Camera, which was also very popular but not quite as much so as the box camera. The folding camera came in several types of formats, but basically, it was a box camera whose lens was included into a movable disk that could slide back and forth on a rail, allowing the lens to change focus from close to long range.


There were more complicated models available, but they were more expensive and considered very high quality. But, the most important benefit that they had over the box camera, was their compact design when folded, which made them easier to pack and transport. There has been something of a minor renaissance in folding-roll film cameras in recent years, with appearance of several new professional instruments. They are appreciated for their large negative size and compact design.


Next is a Viewfinder type camera which does not use a lens to view the subject but instead relies on a separate viewing system in the camera for aiming and for focus. The range finder camera allows for accurate focus, however, by using two views of the same subject to adjust focus. In this camera there are two images in the viewfinder. One is usually only a portion of the viewer area and is usually slightly yellowish in color. The photographer adjusts the focus ring on the lens and as they do the two images move. When both on directly on top of each other they blend together and almost disappear which signifies that the camera is in focus. The rangefinder is accurate and very quiet as well as being light weight. It is also useful for taking pictures in low light conditions or for candid photographs. These cameras can easily be spotted because of their double view windows in the front.


Enjoy your photography hobby and remember – keep experimenting with different angles and new lighting. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

3 Benefits To Owning A Refurbished Laptop

 If you like having the latest and greatest, then refurbished is not for you. However, if you don't mind minor cosmetic damage, and the fact that someone else has used your laptop, then you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished laptop. But why would anyone want to purchase a refurbished laptop as opposed to a brand new one? In this article, I will tackle this very issue, and give 3 reasons why you should own a refurbished laptop.



If you like having the latest and greatest, then refurbished is not for you. However, if you don't mind minor cosmetic damage, and the fact that someone else has used your laptop, then you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished laptop. But why would anyone want to purchase a refurbished laptop as opposed to a brand new one? In this article, I will tackle this very issue, and give 3 reasons why you should own a refurbished laptop.


The first reason why purchasing a refurbished laptop may be a good idea is that they are a lot less expensive than their newer cousins. Of course, refurbished implies that it has seen prior usage, so refurbished laptops are generally older models, and you don't always know how their previous owners took care of them. But refurbished also implies that someone has taken the time to fix, and often times replace, any broken components. Do some research and only buy from reputable sources.


The second reason why you may want to purchase a refurbished laptop is that, because of their low cost, they are more expendable than new models, and make a great second laptop. As I explained above, refurbished laptops are generally a lot cheaper than a new laptop so if something should happen to it, you're only out maybe a few hundreds dollars as opposed to a new laptop which could cost you thousands.


The third reason why you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished laptop is that since you'll be spending a lot less money on the computer itself, you can afford to spend more upgrading it with newer, and better components. For example, you can add memory to speed it up, or upgrade to a larger hard drive. You should, of course, make sure that your computer can support these upgrades before you even purchase it. If it can't, then look for one that can before making your final decision.


If you decide to purchase your first refurbished laptop, make sure you do plenty of research. Refurbished means used, and you don't kow how the previous owner took care of it. Buy from a reputable source that offers some sort of warranty. Most won't warranty the battery or software but will provide at least a 30 day warranty for most of the hardware.


I've discussed three benefits to owning a refurbished laptop. They are low in cost, make a great second laptop, and you can spend more on upgrading the components.  Make sure to do your research before you buy, and owning one will be a pleasant experience.

Two Way Radios

 Frequency Considerations for Recreational 2 Way Radios

If you are in the market for 2-way radios for personal use, you have an immediate and important choice to make: What radio frequency band do you require?

Frequency! 2-way radios obviously utilize 'wireless' communication methods so when using a 2-way radio you are transmitting and sending your message through the air -- the same air that is currently carrying television signals, commercial radio signals, Ham radio s...


Frequency Considerations for Recreational 2 Way Radios


If you are in the market for 2 way radios for personal use, you have an immediate and important choice to make: What radio frequency band do you require?


Frequency! 2-way radios obviously utilize 'wireless' communication methods so when using a 2-way radio you are transmitting and sending your message through the air -- the same air that is currently carrying television signals, commercial radio signals, Ham radio signals, and literally thousands of signals from other private 2 way radios. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the job of controlling all of these communication signals so they don't run into each other; to accomplish this they have reserved frequency bands for use by certain types of communication (signal sending) devices. There are two frequency bands in use for recreational 2-way radios, these are called Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).


In 1996, the FCC reserved a set of radio frequencies they called the Family Radio Service (FRS) band, specifically for short-range 2-way radios (radios that operate no more than 2 miles away from each other) with small power output (up to 500 milliwatts or one-half watt).


About fifty years before the FCC created the FRS band they had reserved a set of frequencies for higher power 2-way radios that operated over a longer range this is the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) band. The GMRS band is for radios with a power output between one and five watts and a range over 2 miles. The FCC regulates the 2-way radios that operate on the GMRS band and requires users of this type of radio to obtain a license and pay a fee. The GMRS license is good for five years and costs $80.00; the license must be obtained by an adult (the radios operating under the license may be used by minors but only with the licensed adult's knowledge and permission). Go to the FCC's Internet page at: http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=general_mobile

for more information on GMRS licensing.


When buying 2-way radios, your choice is between a set of radios that operates only on one of these frequency bands or a set of radios that is able to operate on either one of these frequency bands. This determination will obviously have to be made based on the maximum distance the radio users will be from each other. If the radios are to be used within two miles of each other, FRS will be the best (and least expensive) choice. If a greater distance is consistently required, 2-way radios that operate on the GMRS frequency band will be required. If the need for distance is uncertain or if you want the option of occasionally transmitting up to five miles FRS/GMRS hybrid is the radio set to choose.



Two Common E-Mail Problems and What To Do About Them

 When it works well, e-mail can be great.  It's hard to beat e-mail for everything from staying in touch with family to requesting information from businesses or other organizations.  Want to send the same message to several people?  Communicate with someone across the continent?  Transmit photos, manuscripts, or other information?  For speed and efficiency, this virtually instantaneous medium is one of the most convenient features of modern life.




When it works well, e-mail can be great.  It's hard to beat e-mail for everything from staying in touch with family to requesting information from businesses or other organizations.  Want to send the same message to several people?  Communicate with someone across the continent?  Transmit photos, manuscripts or other information?  For speed and efficiency, this virtually instantaneous medium is one of the most convenient features of modern life.


But e-mail is not without problems.  If you key in the name of an intended recipient but your message keeps bouncing back, you might not be singing e-mail's praises.  Ditto for attachments that won't open or other such nuisances.  With just a little patience, though, you can readily overcome most e-mail problems.  What follows are 4 common e-mail problems along with solutions for overcoming them.


Problem – Returned Messages


This may be the most frustrating of all e-mail problems.  After taking the time to create a message, you click on the “send” button and consider your task accomplished.  But the next thing you know, the message pops up in your inbox with a heading that it did not reach its intended recipient.


Solutions 


First, take the simple step of checking to see that the address of your recipient has been entered correctly.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes the only thing wrong is a misplaced letter, the use of “com” instead of “net”, or some similar error.  If you know the correct address, this is a straightforward matter of double-checking each character.  If not, you might need to experiment by sending multiple messages, or by entering alternative addresses with slight variations.  Under this approach, you simply keep track of which messages are bounced back and compare them with the overall list of addresses you used.  If you sent four variations but only three were returned, you have solved the problem by the process of elimination. 


Sometimes the source of your problem lies with the recipient.  If messages to other addresses go through but fail here, try to contact the intended recipient by other means and report the situation.  The cause may range from a temporary problem with the recipient's server to a switch to another e-mail provider, to a full inbox.  In this case, simply waiting may be the best recourse.  Or a phone call or other communication may be required on your part to obtain the correct e-mail address.  If all your messages are being returned, you may have a connection problem.  See below for more details.


Problem 2 – You Have Lost Your Connection


Sometimes a failure to send or receive e-mail can be traced to a lost connection with your Internet service provider. 


Solutions 


If you see a “failure to connect” or “no response” message or have otherwise determined that you have failed to connect, double-check to make certain there are no physical problems.


First, check your cables and connections.  If you use a dial-up modem, listen to make sure it produces the normal high-pitched dialing sound.  If not, the problem could be a loose connection.  Locate the phone cord that runs from the back of your computer to the phone jack, and then make sure that each end is plugged in snugly. 


If you will don't hear the expected dialing sound, check to make sure your phone cord is undamaged.  If it seems worn, replace it with a new one.  Other steps include making certain the line is plugged into the right port and checking the phone jack by plugging the cord into a different jack.  If you hear the dialing sound after any of these steps, you have made a successful connection. 


Connection problems may be more common with dial-up modems than with broadband connections, but the latter are also dependent on physical connections.  A loose wire or poorly connected cable can easily be problematic.  Sometimes a glitch occurs that can be best addressed by repeating portions of the initial set-up process.  A simple fix touted by Verizon technical service reps for some DSL (digital subscriber line) customers is to disconnect the three lines from the back of the modem and then reconnect them in a specified order.  When this action is taken, the online connection is immediately regained. 


If you are online but keep getting bumped off, the lost connection can be the result of an unintended software command.  In Outlook Express, for example, you will find the command “Hang up when finished.”  If the box in front of this phrase is checked, the connection will automatically be severed each time you send or download an e-mail.  Sometimes a misdirected click of your mouse will cause you to place a check in the box even though you do not realize it.  Simply click on the checkmark to make it disappear, and the hang-ups will cease.


These 2 common e-mail problems are quite easy to determine and when rectified will make your emailing experience more enjoyable.

Blogging: Let's Brainstorm for Content

 Fresh content is important to keep your blog readership as well as the search engines interested, but what do you do when the well of ideas runs dry? These articles give some suggestions on how to keep the momentum going when you're blogging.




In "1 - Blogging: Let's Get You Started" we ended with the subject of content. Fresh topics are important to keep your blog readership interested, and now we're going to discuss just how you can do that.


What are you going to write about? It should be a topic that you're passionate about or are at the very least interested in. If you've chosen blogging as your new career, then you don't want to torture yourself by writing about something that you have zero interest in, otherwise you might as well return to that mundane job you just quit!


Feelings and emotions show through your writing, so your readers will notice any indifference you may have toward a certain topic that you find boring. Don't forget the advice about writing with a personality. Forced writing will not establish you in the world of blogging at all.


Once you've chosen your main theme -- or if it has chosen you, then that's even better -- start posting to your blog and try to get into the habit of doing that at least once every day. It doesn't always need to be a long post; it could be a comment on something you read in the newspaper today or a segment that you saw on the breakfast news program on TV. Think of yourself as a gigantic container ship, that needs a lot of effort to get moving. At first, you'll budge just a foot or two and later you'll trudge slowly on until you're at full speed. Before you know it, it'll take a lot of effort to stop you!


Nevertheless, regardless of how well you know your topic, you're going to run out of fresh input at some point, so let's look at some content brainstorm ideas.


1) Check out what other bloggers have to say on the current state of affairs in your field of discussion. You can find related blogs by visiting http://blogsearch.google.com/  or http://www.technorati.com. You'll learn from other blogs and you can also comment on what others have to say on your own blog!


2) Once you’ve established contact with other bloggers, you’ll have almost inexhaustible input to keep you going for a while, so there won't be an acute need to search for content to write about. Should you still be stuck, then you can search for news articles related to your niche in you local newspaper or online.


3) By joining a few forums related to your niche -- just choose the ones that are the most focused on your particular area -- you can engage in conversations with others who share your interests. This is a great way to build up a Q&A bank and interesting discussion topics to write about. An added bonus is that your forum posts will quite handily generate traffic for your blog and, hopefully, profits.


Try to maintain your daily posting habit. The major search engines love fresh content and they are more likely to spider your blog frequently, which will also result in getting you extra traffic.


The subject of traffic will be discussed in a future article, so don't worry about that right now. Just keep writing and posting and building up that momentum -- you'll be an established blogger before you know it!


Contact Us