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What You Need to Know About Sync & Storage and Backup Services

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For those who aren’t aware of the difference between backup and sync & storage services, it’s true that they’re both cloud-based services but they’ve been created for different purposes.

While both these services will back your files in a protected environment and they can be accessed from anywhere, there are certain differences that make each of them unique in their functions.

While sync services such as Google Drive and Dropbox require you to upload all files to one folder while backup services allow you to upload files into separate folders if you wish.

Alternatively, backup folders will back up all of your folders but the thing is that they will not sync. That said, one account will back up one computer but in the case that it backs up several, it will so separately.

Also, if you download these files and alter them – these changes won’t be reflected in the files stored in the backup service such as Carbonite, these alterations won’t be reflected back in the cloud.

Of course, Mozy and Carbonite offers their paid subscribers sync tools. However, these require extra software and will be run separately from backup.

There’s also the issue of versioning and which all backup services will provide but sync and store services also do the same. Having said that, Microsoft’s OneDrive will do it only with Office documents be it .docx or .xlsx files.

No matter what, you don’t have to pay for both services. However, if you use a true backup service, you can easily do with a limited, free version of the sync service that you use.

3 Ways To Use An Old Hard Drive

Putting an old hard drive to good use is easier than you think even if you don’t see how that’s possible.

 Of course, if you think that all it can be used for is as a paperweight or you have no other options but to get rid of it, that’s not true.

With that said, here are 3 ways by which you can use an old hard drive:

#1: You can donate it

Just because you might find little or no use for an old hard drive, that doesn’t mean there are others who might have no need for it either. In fact, the simplest way you can extend the use of an old hard drive is to find out whether you can donate it to a school, local non-profit organization or even family and friends who can find some use for it.

Of course, remember to format your hard drive before you do so.

#2: Use it with your desktop

The next option would be to use it on your desktop so as to get extra space. Again, the ability to use the hard drive is more likely to work with a desktop rather than a laptop. Another factor that might work in your favor is if the drive connects via the SATA interface, but more importantly if your computer has an extra drive bay.

#3: Turn it into an external hard drive

If you aren’t able to add it as internal storage, have no fear: you can use it as external storage. All you need to do get a USB enclosure that could cost about $20 or so.

LED technologies in Brief

LCD TV’s require a backlight to illuminate the picture that is being shown. In normal LCD TV’s, this light is provided by fluorescent backlights called CCFL. Now, LED lights are being used instead of CCFL’s because they consume less power and enable manufacturers to come up with thinner models.

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Edge lit (without local dimming) – This is what you generally get in the market. The LED’s in this type of TV are set around the edge of the screen. The center of the screen is illuminated with the help of “light guides”. The picture quality on this is the same as a normal LCD, but you will have certain problems like brighter edges and a dimmer center.

Full Array (without local dimming) – This model is rather rare and obviously a bit more expensive to make due to its component cost. Here LED’s are found everywhere behind the screen and not along the edges. This means that can be no dark spots like in the edge lit version. Picture quality is the same as a normal LCD TV.

Full Array (with local dimming) – This is the same as the previous model with one significant exception. Individual areas in the LED array can be brightened or dimmed as dictated by the signal. Due to the black levels can be far superior to those in normal LCD’s. However, it also leads to “blooming” (light spill) issues too. In spite of that, this remains the most desirable model to purchase.

Edge lit (with local dimming) – This model is still not perfect. It tries to do what the preceding type does, but rather unsuccessfully. Attempting to dim with edge lighting gives way to a lot of “blooming” issues. The best thing to do is to avoid this model.

The Revamped Classmate PC

Intel announced their latest revamp to the Classmate PC. In essence it is a tablet PC which looks like a Netbook, but it is quite formidable if you look closer.

It features an Atom N450 processor, a 160 GB hard drive, Wi-Fi, GPS and allows OEM’s to include 3G or WiMax connectivity. It is also EnergyStar 5.0 compliant and is touted as having an eight and a half hour battery life. But the real kicker is the 1366×768 touch screen.

The screen responds to touch and to a stylus. It can also be rotated so that it lies flat on the keyboard, essentially turning it into a tablet PC. Orientation of the screen is automatically handled by an accelerometer. Intel has also made a smart decision by putting the webcam and microphone on a pivot mount, which allows users to capture themselves or the background.

The PC is quite rugged in design and is made of thick plastic so that young users need not be extra careful when using it. The rubberized surface provides users with an excellent grip. The cooling vents have been placed thoughtfully and the stylus has a neat recess that it can go to as well as having a place to be tethered to. The screen also features some buttons around it, which enables certain quick tasks when it is used in the tablet PC mode.

All in all, Intel seems to have done a good job in thinking things through and providing features that appeal to the target market. Look for it to hit the market soon!

The Battle for the Handhelds Heats Up

The Apple iPad is doing well in sales; selling over 300,000 on the first day seems to be a good indication of its popularity. Another good indication is how much the hackers are interested in it. The device was jailbroken in less than a day giving Apple a bittersweet experience. The positive side is that the tech community and hackers want the device and the negative side is that Apple is starting to become a bit like Microsoft, having to release fixes on a fairly regular basis.

The software used to hack the iPad seems to be a variant of “Spirit”, an application that is used to crack iPhones. Apple has not reacted to the reports of the jailbreak and it is not known if users of jailbroken iPads will be treated like some users who have jailbroken Apple products. In the past Apple has rendered devices useless and even banned some users from the Apple App Store.

While all this drama ensues, HP decided to seize the moment and release a tiny sneak peek at the new Slate Tablet. The device in the video appears to be about the same size as the Apple product but in features it differs significantly. It has two cameras, one in front and one behind, and it also has USB and SD card support. None of these features are found on the iPad. The Slate runs Windows 7 as the OS and features touch controls and supports Adobe Flash and Air. The latter software is also not supported on the iPad.

Hot & Cold iPads

With over 300,000 units being sold on the very first day, the iPad is very hot at the moment. Whether Apple will hit it big with this product is still a big mystery. The initial boom in sales can be mainly attributed to the “techies and gadget freaks” factor that have to have the newest technology available. However, the future of the iPad solely rests on how relevant it can be to users and how word of mouth spreads, especially from the initial tier of buyers.

The problem with the iPad, as perceived by many, is that it looks and functions like an iPod Touch. So the hesitation to go out and get an oversized iPod Touch is only natural. Add to this that there is still no multi-tasking support, no flash support and no camera and the appeal for Apple’s new über gadget begins to drop.

Users need to give the product a chance. The iPad is a new approach at the Netbook and eBook reader market. What Apple is trying to do is give users a lightweight device with a large display which is uncluttered and familiar to use. The lack of certain features is, in Apple’s case, only to be expected; think about how long it took for them to include cut, copy and paste in the iPhone! While the debate runs strongly over the virtues and failures of the iPad, it is only prudent to wait and see what Apple offers us in the next iteration.

The first LED backlit 3D TV

After weeks of rumors and non-committal statements from the manufacturer, LG has finally ‘spilt the beans’. This week LG announced that the LX9500, which it plans to release in May, will be the first HDTV in the world to feature 3D as well as an LED backlit LCD screen.

The upcoming model will be available in two varieties, a 47-inch and a 55-inch version. Both models will be packed to the brim with features like 3D, HDMI, USB 2.0 and integrated Skype software. It also features TruMotion 400 Hz (480 Hz) and a dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000,000:1. The 3D glasses used to watch TV employ the shutter glass technique, which means each lens is blocked out alternatively in relation to the refresh rate of the TV. This also enables it to add more depth to the image. The good news about the glasses are that they are USB powered, so all you have to do is leave it plugged into the TV or PC and the batteries will be charged. Once fully charged, the batteries are expected to run for 40 hours allowing for uninterrupted viewing.

The TV also supports the new Multi Picture Format, which means that users can plug in their 3D cameras directly into the TV and view what they’ve shot without having to go to a computer to convert them. The LG TVs are expected to hit the Korean market first in the coming months, so as to get the jump on their main competitor, Samsung. European and U.S. consumers will have to wait till May for LG’s launch. So far, the unofficial word is that the TVs will be priced along the $4,000 mark.

LED or LCD for Your Next Laptop

The new generation of laptop screens offers you the choice of switching to an LED screen. Initially this can sound confusing and exciting until you see the price tag. So what’s all the fuss about LED?

The term LED actually refers to Light Emitting Diode and is a reference to the backlighting that is used in new laptops. The prevalent method of backlighting is Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps or CCFL. Both methods use LCDs in front but the benefits of LED are far superior.

In terms of power consumption, LED are great because they use up to 30 % less power than the CCFL screens. In terms of a laptop, this is a huge saving as the battery will last longer. Since you will charge the laptop less frequently, this also means that you save on your energy bill.

LED backed screens also give brighter and richer colors. Color accuracy and contrast is also improved. However, since LEDs adjust brightness levels automatically based on ambient lighting levels, these features may be less evident at times.

If you plan to use your laptop for a few years then LEDs are a good bet too. Over time CCFL screens start dimming and the output does not look as it once did. LED screens last longer and do not diminish over time. They also are lighter so the overall laptop weight goes down too.

As you can see, LED technology is actually the right way to go. The only thing stopping it from taking over the market is the current high cost of manufacturing. But if you consider the long term benefits that this technology offers, then the extra $100 or so you spend getting it, is truly justified.

Windows 7 and Netbooks – 6 Steps to Harmony

With Netbooks spreading like a wildly contagious infection all over the world, it will be only a matter of time before users want to get Windows 7 for their machines. The latest operating system from Microsoft has revealed itself to be surprisingly kind on resources and works quite well on low spec machines. Installing it on a NetBook is fairly straightforward but you should make sure that a few things are in order.

1. Windows 7 has an excellent driver database but they are not always the best drivers. On a normal laptop or PC you can be not-too-bothered about this, but with a low powered NetBook you need all the performance you can get. Even if Device Manager reports everything as “ok”, you should still download the latest drivers for your devices from the manufacturer’s site.

2. Manufacturers like ASUS have excellent power management software that comes with their devices. After a new operating system install, it is advisable to download this software again as it will manage your power consumption better.

3. Netbooks are about performance, so get rid of Aero and other graphical marvels. In the long run you will be happier due to the extended battery life.

4. Free up screen space by installing practical apps, like Chrome for browsing. Unlike Firefox it is not menu heavy, therefore you get more viewing space. You should also auto-hide the taskbar to gain a few more pixels. In this manner, try choosing software that will consume less screen space in terms of menus and sidebars and so on.

5. Squeezing your battery to last longer is always a running battle and one thing that can help you is MSCONFIG. Using this, turn off any processes and services that you don’t need. Do this with caution; just because you do not know what a process does, that does not mean that you should turn it off. Look online for guides on how to do this.

6. If you do have the budget, consider some hardware upgrades like memory and efficient hard disks. The memory will help Windows and the HD will use less power.

A Brief History of Netbooks

The first version of the netBook (also known as mini-notebooks) for general computing applications and for accessing web applications first appeared in 2007. These “primitive” models lacked many of the features of today. They had smaller screens and did not even have an optical drive. Nevertheless their potential was immediately recognized by the masses and lapped up.

The predecessor of the netBook can be traced back to 1991 when the Psion-3 was released. The key factor that sets this particular model apart is that it included a dial-up modem. Since then, we have had the Toshiba Libretto 20, Casio Cassiopeia, Psion netBook, HP Jornada, OQO Model 01, Sony VAIO X505 and finally, the netBook that has really kicked off the phenomenon in 2007, the Asus Eee PC 701.

The reason for the netBook’s popularity is simple. The reliance that people now have on the internet is great which means that people need to have access or to be plugged in to the World Wide Web wherever they are. With the advent of Wi-Fi and free internet access points popping up everywhere, it became normal for people to purchase laptops and carry them to whatever location they travelled to. Yet the problem of weight was a pressing one and this is where the netBook has won hands down.

The netBook’s primary function is to be a device that provides access to the internet. Although mobile phones and handheld devices like the iPod Touch provide the same function, the netBook with a larger screen, QWERTY keyboard and now with an optical drive is a clear winner for anyone who needs to be in touch with the world without being hampered by the limits of a tiny device.

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