About steve

steve has been a member since August 23rd 2011, and has created 5615 posts from scratch.

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Your Questions About Hp Graphic Card Upgrade

Mark asks…

can I upgrade the processor and graphic card of my hp dv6436nr?

I have an AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Techonly TL-56 1.8 GHZ.

steve answers:

You can but processors are very expensive for laptops. Http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010340759+50001028&Configurator=&Subcategory=759&description=&Ntk=&SpeTabStoreType=&Order=BESTMATCH&srchInDesc= If you compare here, you probally have about the fastest AMD moble processors out there without buying another lappy…

Sandy asks…

Can I possibly Upgrade my HP Compaq Presario V3645AU Note Book’s Graphic card?

I’m wondering if I can upgrade it, I dont think I have a dual core.

Well, if I can, could someone please tell me a website for a cheap GeForce 8600+ card.

steve answers:

Notebook or laptop graphics cards are not upgradable. Sorry. I hope this helped.

Sharon asks…

Is there a way to upgrade my laptops graphic card? Its a HP Pavillion DV7.?

Please I have a ATI 4560 graphic cards and 8 gig I can’t play CoD:BlackOps, is there a way to replace my graphics cards?

steve answers:

It is extremely unlikely you can replace anything on a laptop when it comes to graphics cards or CPUs. Even if it might be possible (which it usually isn’t, due to among other things limitations in the power available and the fact that the GPU is usually integrated on the motherboard), it isn’t worth the time, hassle, or money to do so. A laptop can get its RAM upgraded, its hard disk upgraded (maybe) – and that’s it, really. Better start saving up for a desktop if you want to have the flexibility of choosing your own hardware.

Donna asks…

can i upgrade my hp laptop’s graphic card.its pretty low rght nw.i want nvidia in it?

my laptop is a hp dv6.3gb ram,320gb hard disc.i want nvidia.

steve answers:

Not really since the graphics cards are integrated into the mother board

Maria asks…

Hp pavilion a1524n upgrade?? case power supply graphic card?

Hi i wanted to get a new graphics card for for my hp pavilion a1524n but when i went to the store the guy said i couldn’t because i didn’t have a good power supply and good air flow in my PC case because the card can be overheated. So what Im thinking is that i should get a new PC case for my computer and and a new power supply(over 400w so graphics card will have power and with the pci-e connector). but im not sure what will work for my PC like what is compatible, and thats where i need help im not really good with computers and stuff like mother boards so I really need help! So i need a case and power supply.
Additional details:
my current power supply is 300w
PS: im doing this because i want high performance computer for gaming and i dont wanna make one because i wanna save up momey.
HELP!! thanks :)

steve answers:

The biggest thing with transferring your system is making sure that the mother board risers will fit your mother board layout. Most cases have mutiple riser configurations so I will hazzard a guess that you can mount it in a new case.

Dont get cheap when it comes to a case and PSU. This is a very popular mid tower gamers case.

Http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021&Tpk=antec%2b900

you need at least a 400W PSU, but I would recommend getting a 550W that supports SLI and Crossfire and comes with at least two 6pin PCIe power connectors and if possible a couple of 8 pin PCIe connectors as well. The bigger and newer cards, especially the nVidia cards, are coming with dual power connectors for a single card.

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Your Questions About Hard Laptop Case 16

Linda asks…

What are some good earbud headphones?

I’ve gone through 3 sets of earbud headphones and they keep breaking, mostly the wire at the connector part (the bottom part where you plug them in to your laptop/ipod) gets worn down and breaks.

Any good durable earbuds out there that won’t easily get worn down?

thanks in advance.

steve answers:

Hiya. It really depends how much you want to spend…. For under $100, I think the Head Direct RE0 are probably the best. For over $100, I like the Etymotic ER4 and the Shure SE530. I used to buy cheap Skullcandys but I soon realized that they sound nasty and break too easily. Spending more gets you better durability and MUCH better sound. The Etymotics that I own have been going strong for 10 years… The key is not to scrunch them up and stuff them in a pocket – if my headphones are not in my ears then they’re carefully stored in a hard-shell case. If you don;t have a case, an empty Altoid tin will do…

You should decide how much you want to spend on new headphones and then head over to http://www.head-fi.org to see what’s available. The headphone addicts over there have reviewed just about every headphone available so the site is a great resource. Start with this review of over 160 in-ear headphones: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-162-iems-compared-kozee-infinity-x1-earsonics-sm2-added-04-16

Good luck with your search…

Ken asks…

What’s the minimum graphics card/chipset needed to run Adobe Photoshop CS4 on a new laptop?

Will integrated graphics suffice or do you need discrete graphics for adequate performance? How about minimum graphics memory?

steve answers:

System Requirements
Windows

* 1.8GHz or faster processor
* Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended) or Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista)
* 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
* 1GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
* 1,024×768 display (1,280×800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
* Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
* DVD-ROM drive
* QuickTime 7.2 software required for multimedia features
* Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Mac OS

* PowerPC® G5 or multicore Intel® processor
* Mac OS X v10.4.11–10.5.4
* 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
* 2GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on flash-based storage devices)
* 1,024×768 display (1,280×800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
* Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
* DVD-ROM drive
* QuickTime 7.2 software required for multimedia features
* Broadband Internet connection required for online services

I would note that if the new laptop runs vista you would want a higher end hardware laptop. Vista is nice but uses a lot of resources. For Image editing I would suggest 2 gig Ram at a minimum. I use a Asus G2S with 4 gig RAM, NVidia 8600M graphics card, and a 2.2 duo proc and it handles CS3 quite well.

Joseph asks…

I have security cameras set up, what software can I use to record images?

I have 3 IP cameras set up. And I can see them on the computer. What is a good program so that I record the images (I want it running 15-24 hours a day recording) into an external hardrive or something?

What’s a good one? And what’s a good cheap one?

I tried searching but I get a lot of overcomplicated responses. It shouldn’t be that hard to just record the screen right?

steve answers:

IP cameras are a waste of Money compared to analog cameras.

Here is a DVR that will work perfectly for you.

Http://ascendentdvr.com/x4sdvr/x4s-8240dvd.html

http://www.ascendentgroup.com/~ascendent/HTML%20E-mail/X4S/x4s.html (pricing is dealer so unless your a certified installed you will probably have to pay 25% more which is still a steal of a deal)

Just about any Analog DVR will do what you are looking for and not only display them but record them as well they will also allow you to view them over the internet from a Iphone or laptop.

Many people have a misconception that IP has Superior scalability then Analog but with the advancements with DVR’s this simply isn’t true, you cn do up to 16,000 cameras each camera could even be from a different DVR and a different site.

And when you are using the internet to connect multiple sites together analog transmits over the internet faster with less latency using less bandwidth allowing you not only to view and monitor a situation real time but also effective control PTZ cameras.

What is the Advantage of IP?
Many of the so called advantages of IP simply don’t hold water in the real world, IP is mainly Hype and marketing and outside of a few niche applications such as 1 or 2 camera installs, where MP cameras are needed or large scale wireless projects which represent about 2% of the total CCTV market, IP has very few advantages compared to analog based on performance, cost and reliability. (yet all companies touting IP will often use MP cameras to demonstrate the advantages of IP)

IP video is more about marketing then it is about performance as larger companies like Bosch pelco Honeywell axis can change for both hardware and software and once you use there cameras you have to keep using there cameras unlike analog.

Also IP sounds great, plug and play, Better image quality, use existing infrastructure, who wouldn’t want that unfortunately this is often not the case.

IP is like wireless (in theory its perfect) if that was true there would be no wired cameras or analog cameras it would all be wireless IP.

IP cameras are based on CMOS
Analog cameras are based on CCD (usually)

CCD image sensors contain hundreds
of thousands picture elements, called pixels. Each pixel contains a light sensitive element and a capacitor.

A CMOS sensor is constructed using a array of pixels, but unlike CCD’s CMOS do not have a capacitor to store the charge for each pixel.The rows of pixels are activated sequentially rather then individually

This means CMOS has some significant disadvantages compared to CCD, this means CMOS
have inferior ability to cope with ambient lighting such as back light, bright, deep shadows contrasts, low light and IR this is also known as the real word.

In short unless you have perfect lighting a good CCD camera will outperform an equivalent CMOS camera.

File Size:
The smaller the files size the more images that are able to be sent and the faster they can be processed improving both FPS and speed. File size is the heart of any DVR and goes far beyond just its streaming capabilities as it also determines the recoding storage time, how much you can back up at once, how fast it renders and searches video. (Ascendents X3 DVR achieves file sizes as low as .3KB on normal image quality on a CIF image no IP camera on the market will come close to this) The file size of a DVR impacts the performance of the DVR in just about every aspect from speed to longevity and is often the most import spec of any DVR.

IP cameras have up to a 5X larger file size then analog cameras. (at same resolution) I have seen MP cameras that on 2MP resolution are over 300X (%3000) larger then our X3 DVR on a CIF image. This is an extreme case but generally speaking IP cameras have a much larger file size.

Most routers and switches are not designed to handle IP cameras they have enough bandwidth but they are not able to process the amounts of commands. (9 IP cameras 30FP is 230 instructions per second) standard routers have enough bandwidth (up to 1GB) but cant handle the amount of tasks (instructions) so frames get dropped latency is introduced and the effectiveness of other devices such as POS, printers and dats storage can be affected and compromised.

IP is a young and emerging technology and I have no doubt that in the future it will outperform analog cameras but its not a mature technology yet. Once we start to get standard IP platforms, get rid of license fees’ and existing networks have larger bandwidths then IP video will be a good solution, but until then analog is the way to go.

Make sure you get good cameras as well, Ascendent has the best IR outdoor cameras on the market and are about %50 less then Bosch while offering triple the distance.

Chris asks…

How much would it cost to build this desktop computer?

I want to build a desktop computer for gaming but i want to know how much it would cost to build it and any suggestions to make it a better computer or cheaper.

My recommended specs:
Windows 7 64Bit (windows 8 doesnt seem worth it)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or 650
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor
8GB Ram (16 depending on if its worth the upgrade)

I would also like suggestions on:
Motherboard
The Case (probably want a Full Tower)
Monitor

Thanks for any replies!
!!!-> Forgot but i also want to get 2TB hard drive

steve answers:

If the only things you need are the following above, i can make some recommendations, windows 7 64 bit is good, for gpu, the gtx 660 is a good choice, for processor, go with a newer generation i3, i5 processor or some cheaper quad core amd processor, 8gb of ram is good enough, p8z77m is a good motherboard along side paired with 8gb of the gskill sniper ddr1600 1.25v ram, for case, i would just get a mid tower, full towers are not really necessary because mid towers can almost do the same functions, and monitor , at least a 21.5 inch with 1080p resolution is good, i would rather get a ssd drive as they run silent, way more reliable than hard drives, 2tb is way overkill, plus there arent really that good reviews for internal hard drives, i picked out a external one with usb 3.0 with less space but with better reviews for you, if you get it, make sure to plug the usb 3.0 cable into the usb 3.0 of the motherboard, a 256gb ssd is a better choice in my opinion, its in the link too if you want one instead of the hard drive, but dont get both a ssd and hard drive, just get one or the other, it just doesnt seem practical to have 2, my dad has had is laptop for over 6 years and not even filled up 100gb, -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/GENUINE-Microsoft-Windows-7-Home-Premium-64-bit-SP1-Full-Version-/261146878928?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ccd9123d0

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7352742&sku=E145-06608

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131832

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231461

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3734679&CatId=1969

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2933288&CatId=136

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211603

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zalman-MZ215ED-21-5-LED-Monitor-1920×1080-1000-1-16-9-5ms-Speaker-DVI-VGA-/110989045480?pt=Computer_Monitors&hash=item19d7766ee8

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147023

if you dont already have, you will still need thermal paste, the prolimatech pk3 1.5g is a good one, a wired keyboard and mouse combo, go on tigerdirect and type microsoft wired keyboard and mouse, maybe a wifi card or usb wireless adapter if your connecting to the internet wireless, and power supply.

Lizzie asks…

How do I burn DVD’s that are copyrighted so I can make other copys using nero 7?

When I try to copy dvd’s nero 7 brings up something along the lines of “unable to copy as it is copyright protected” Does anyone know how to go about copying the dvd to laptop any other way?

steve answers:

This is a complete list from making a backup copy of your movies all the way to printing a cover sheet for your dvd case. If you need to know where to get cheap dvd cases like those at your local blockbuster send me a e-mail. I know some folks do not trust some sites due to all the junk spyware out there and virus stuff. But look at my answer history, you will see that I can be trusted. D/load the free protection I recomend. I trust the programs I mention below and use them. I also believe in try before you buy.

Http://www.dvdshrink.org/what.html……… – DVD Shrink Freeware will copy most DVDs but there are some it will not copy.

Http://www.slysoft.com/?aid=50549………. – AnyDVD and CloneDVD
These 2 programs are great, 21 day free trial, and I have them both. AnyDVD and CloneDVD they will take off encryption and protection.

FEATURES:
1.Works automatically in the background
2.Removes encryption (CSS) and region code (RPC) from DVDs
3.Removes analogue copy protection (Macrovision)
4.Removes features such as forced subtitles and warnings
5.Decrypts without the need to save the data onto your hard-disk
6.Decrypts ‘on the fly’
7.Prevents automatic launching of ‘PC-friendly’ software on video DVDs
8.Allows adjustment of your monitor refresh rate for both NTSC and PAL monitors
9.Allows execution of external programs on disc insertion and removal
10.Allows speed control of your DVD drives
11.Compatible with all DVD media
12.Works with all DVD-drives, regardless of region code
13.Works with all DVD copying, such as CloneDVD, and all DVD player software
14.Works transparently for the operating system: DVDs can be shared over the network and copied with the command prompt or with Windows Explorer, etc.
15.Proven to be stable and fast and does not require an ASPI driver
16.Features AnyCDDA: play, copy and rip protected audio CDs

http://www.cdcovers.cc/ – Go here to print out movie covers for your DVD cases

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Your Questions About Google Scholar

Lizzie asks…

How do you translate documents using Google Scholar?

If I am doing some research on the government of a foreign country and find some potentially useful documents, but which are not in English, how can I use Google Scholar to translate those documents into English?

steve answers:

I do not believe that google scholar does that, you need some sort of translator function

~

Donna asks…

How to get maximum out of Google Scholar?

Is there a way which can enable me to export the search results of Google scholar in a ms excel file, where I can see a column with hyper-linked titles. Also, I want,when I click the title it should open the research article from my university library or may be automatically download the pdf file and open it. Please help me here if it is possible. I would really appreciate because it will save me lot of time.

steve answers:

Yes to all of that. And you will find all the answers within Google, which has plenty of guides and how to’s.
Alike, excel has plenty of guides and how to’s.

There are a variety of articles on the net, and even books – like ‘Google for Dummies”

Richard asks…

How can I tell if a source is peer reviewed?

I am using Google scholar, and databases from my school library such as EBSCOhost “academic search premier” would articles that come up in those searches be peer reviewed?

steve answers:

Not all of the articles that come up in Academic Search Primer are peer reviewed, but many of them are.

Imagine that you are at the EBSCOhost site now and you are doing a basic search. Put the keywords that you are researching in the search box, but before you hit “search,” scroll down to the search options area. In the section called “limit your results” click on “full text” and “scholarly (peer reviewed) journals,” and then hit the search button.

With Google Scholar it’s not as easy to identify that the article is peer reviewed, but many libraries participate in “Library Links” and then you can verify with a librarian if the article is peer reviewed.

William asks…

How to find peer reviewed articles about basic things?

I’m a freshman in college, so I’m still in basic classes. My latest assignment in an evolutionary biology class is to find a peer reviewed article about a species (I chose the African Bush/ savanna elephant – Loxodonta africana.) I’m going to research for the rest of the year. It is NOT supposed to be in depth – just a basic article that classifies the animal all the way down to its binomial, and that has some basic information about habitat, a little on evolution, etc.

I CANNOT FIND ANYTHING LIKE THIS ANYWHERE. She was very specific in that it MUST be peer reviewed. I’ve tried google scholar, I’ve tried every database (that would apply to my research) that my school gives us access to. It’s been HOURS.

My peers have this problem too, and when we tried to talk to her about it, she said there is definitely something out there and that we need to look harder or go to her office hours. I’ll go to her office hours, but obviously I need to turn in the assignment.

So far I’ve put in countless combinations of “loxodonta africana, african bush elephant basic information/ introduction” etc. Nothing comes up with any sort of broad article.

Any sort of advice/ information is appreciated!
Uhh to clarify…I’m not stupid. I’ve typed in countless combinations into google scholar. Read the question before you answer, I’m not asking you to type anything in and send me the link. That’s worthless and obviously something I can figure out on my own…

steve answers:

Http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&oe=ASCII&q=Loxodonta&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C20&as_sdtp=

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22Loxodonta+africana%22+systematics&btnG=&hl=en&oe=ASCII&as_sdt=0%2C20

Laura asks…

How can I find scholarly resources online?

Where can I find scholarly essays, articles, etc, that don’t require you to be registered with a school or university? I’m talking about some sort of database similar to JSTOR. I need to find certain articles so that I can do a personal opinion essay thing and I’m kind of freaking out because I can’t find anything. Google Scholar is next to useless.

steve answers:

As someone who works in a library i can say that there is no easy answer to that. It really all depends on your topic and how hard you are willing to look. Some databases that i am aware of that offer scholarly resources are listed below. As for google scholar being useless. I will have to seriously disagree with you there. I find that google scholar is more user friendly and more accurate in finding resources on a given subject. I would suggest going to a library that has access to the online articles. If not, try these:

1. Http://www.intute.ac.uk/
2. Http://infomine.ucr.edu/
3. Http://www.lii.org/

also, check the webpages of various universities and specifically the departments in the colleges such as history, art, etc. You will often find links to scholarly resources and projects that do not require a subscription or password.

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Your Questions About Samsung Infuse 4g

Paul asks…

Which phone is better? the galaxy s3 or the Samsung infuse 4g?

Galaxy s3 vs the Samsung infuse 4g? Which has a better and why? In sound and in pictures.

steve answers:

Samsung galaxy s3. I have the infuse 4g it’s good but the galaxy s3 is better. Better camera. Dual core. HD screen. Newer os

Lisa asks…

How can i get my kindle books to download?

I have the kindle app on my Samsung Infuse 4G and I recently purchased two books. However, when I try to download them, they stop at 0% and it says download interrupted. Any suggestions?

steve answers:

Could be because of a weak wifi signal. When i had an iPod touch, my downloads would constantly get interrupted due to my low wifi signal. If that’s not the case, I would suggest re installing the app.

Good Luck! :D

Nancy asks…

Will the price of the Galaxy Nexus drop in a few months?

Ok I have the Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T but I want the Galaxy Nexus. Now my upgrade isn’t till next year and as far as I know AT&T isn’t carrying this phone, so I’m planning on paying full retail for the unlocked Galaxy Nexus. I’m just wondering if the price is gonna decrease somewhat around the middle of this summer. Its kind of expensive haha!

steve answers:

Probably, yes. I have the Samsung galaxy S 2 and I brought it before Christmas for 500 and it’s now 450, technology is always changing so therefore they’re bringing new phones out. So the chances are, it will.

Betty asks…

Why wont pc recognize USB drive for my Samsung infuse?

Ok so I have a PC running windows XP. I also have a Samsung Infuse 4g, that when I plug the USB into the PC and phone, it says the USB is not recognized. The USB port isn’t bad, I have used other things on it. So, Why can I not get my phone to register on my PC. It did last night and then. I ejected it properly. So what happened between then and now?

steve answers:

Hello, Microsoft answer desk is free, give it a try and you will like it.
Http://www.answerdesk.com/ This is new and very good… Speak to Microsoft Certified Technicians Call 1-866-610-3132 Toll Free
microsoft-support.fixnow.us Here is the
old stand by http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/#tab0
Hey, I enjoyed your question, I have worked as a technician most of my life, I hope I have helped you…
Good luck…

CompTIA A+ Certified Computer Professional

Maria asks…

How do I get my google toolbar back?

I accidently deleted the Google toolbar off my home screen on my Samsung infuse 4g, does anyone know how to get it back?

steve answers:

It may be part of the NEW Gmail look that forces all their users to download their NEW features.
If you dont want it, lose it. There are many other email providers out there

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Your Questions About Cheap Laptop Cases

Robert asks…

What kind of laptop is the most reliable?

I was promised a laptop for Christmas. I’ve researched both Macs and other PCs like Dell, but I can’t tell which is better for me. I need it for research, projects, and fun things like MySpace and Youtube. Which is better for a 17 year old?

steve answers:

As far as viruses, the mac has fewer problems only because there aren’t as many people using them to create viruses.But on the down side there isn’t as much compatible software either, and way more expensive for the specs/features you get per dollar spent.I would recommend a good mid-range PC(brand isn’t as important as specs). Keep a copy of the OS & drivers in case of crash,and frequently back up to disc all wanted and needed files(pics,music,documents,etc).Keep all software program discs(and key codes) you have installed and plan to keep.I have crashed a few times through the years,but still have all the same files/programs only bigger/better. Expandability is a key too, 1gb mem expandable to 4gb etc.Same thing with processors too.It’s a lot cheaper to swap out a part than buy a new computer.

David asks…

What is the best way to connect my laptop to my HDTV?

I have a Toshiba L500-00F laptop with VGA and USB output options. I am trying to connect it to my LG LCD TV with HDMI and USB input options. I would like to know what the best way to connect the two would be that would offer the highest quality picture and audio. I am aware of a number of conversion boxes and cables, but don’t know much about which types of cables carry which signals, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

steve answers:

As you are no doubt aware, the answers telling you “HDMI …” won’t work – your laptop has no HDMI Out, right? And while your USB port is both “in and out” – bi-directional – it doesn’t carry video signals, so it’s of no use in connecting to your LG. The TV’s USB (and without a model # it’s impossible to be certain) likely won’t help in playing video formats, either. While adapters from VGA to HDMI do exist, they won’t help in the vast majority of cases (they only work with VGA outs that can do digital, and if you had one of these you would probably know it). Usually VGA is analog RGB (Red/Green/Blue), HDMI is always digital.
BUT, there are converters (a box with its own power supply and electronics inside to do the analog -> digital conversion), like this, that will work:

http://www.amazon.com/Unknown-HDMI-VGACONVERTER-Audio-HDMI-Converter/dp/B0015YWV1G

Note that you also need an audio cable (VGA stands for Video Graphics Array – no audio included) to go from the RCA outs (Red/White – Right/Left) from your laptop’s audio out (3.5mm) like this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V0G2C4/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002KR1OG&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=11D19MWJC2JAGQ11WJ1Z

These are just examples – search [vga to hdmi converter] and [rca to 3.5mm stereo] for more offerings.

However, an easier, cheaper, and probably just as good quality solution is (assuming your TV has VGA In – often labeled “PC In”) just go laptop VGA -> TV VGA In, running a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cable from laptop audio out to the TV audio port grouped with the PC In, like this:

http://www.amazon.com/3-5mm-Stereo-Male/dp/B000I20BBI

This way you let the TV do the analog -> digital conversion instead of a plug-in box. Something to think about…

Mary asks…

How do I stop a laptop restoring it’s hard drive to factory settings?

Somehow one of my friends was messing around on my laptop and now whenever I turn it back o it says it is restoring the hard drive to its factory settings. Is there any way that I can stop this now because it will be really bad if I lost all of my files and work.
Thanks.

steve answers:

Can you take the hard drive out of the computer and link it via USB to another computer so you can retrieve your files that way? After that you could do a full reinstall of Windows.

You can use a hard drive enclosure (caddy) for the type of HDD you have – or even cheaper, you can buy just the cable linkages on Amazon or similar.

The only other thing I can think of is trying to get into safe mode as it starts to boot by tapping F8, then trying to get into System Restore’ but I’m doubtful if that would work in your case.

Lizzie asks…

Why do so many schools use Apple computers for their students instead of cheaper windows-based laptops?

I’ve noticed that more and more schools are dumping their windows based computers in favor of Apple computers. One tech agent said that they have a storeroom full of 4-year windows laptops that have stopped working due to software issues but their Apples have had no problems at all in the past 2 years.

So why do so many schools switch from windows-based computers to Apple-brand computers for their students?

steve answers:

There are two reasons.
Apple made a very big marketing push on the schools and discounted their prices in the large volume sales. It is also true that Apple does sell generally high quality products and schools don’t care very much about performance for the dollar where Apple is dismal. They just want machines to last a long time so not to buy them again and the feature set and performance of those systems is extremely low. In general, the Windows systems are made for value in performance and know that technology tends to obsolete them in about three to four years. Schools don’t care as long as they internet connect and perform basic functions for a long time. Also, the Apple operating system is very “canned” and had been a little easier to use and stable until Windows 7 approximately matches the OS performance. The software titles offered for Windows is huge compared with Apple. Finding assistance is easier in Windows systems, but schools deal directly with Apple under their long term contracts. I answered a question looking for a $500 Apple MacBook, and found its performance was half of a new Acer in every characteristic at the same price, and Acer was new. That is typical. If you want to hold your laptop for 6 years no matter how it compares to new systems get a MacBook Pro. Desktops by Apple are made of the same parts at a higher price in most cases. At the same total cost in laptops, you can discard the Windows systems at the same performance as a MacBook after three years and update your technology and just get a new one. That is not what schools want for budgeting. Actually, IBM+Lenovo made deals with a few universities providing Thinkpads to all new students for uniformity and they couldn’t be happier. There you get even higher quality and durability as an Apple with better features at a lower price, but still is higher cost than the average cheap consumer stuff.

This as stated is the real answer, though you may get a variety of opinions from people not on the inside (I worked at IBM+Lenovo in Procurement Engineering for many years until retiring and worked with former employees of other computer companies)

Helen asks…

Can you use a convertible laptop for programming?

I am thinking of investing in a new laptop, but have heard about the convertible ones and they seem interesting. I am curious, can one handle computer programming? What about word processors and and flash player?
Also, any suggestions on which convertible laptop is the best?
Thanks for the info!

steve answers:

As long as it’s got a decent keyboard.
I like a big full keyboard I can bang on. Programming is hard enough without having to deal with a laptop keyboard. You can always plug in a usb keyboard. It’s loud, but I highly recommend the audible and tactile feedback of the buckling spring mechanical keyboards made by unicomp (they make themfor IBM).

I am currently using a 2004 pentium 4 HT (1-core 2-thread) 2.8GHz xp box for programming. It’s slow on builds. You can feel the creep during a build for several minutes on code that has 2k lines (small-sized project – minor utility). Windows 7+windows 8 would be a better build environment for testing against current environments, since their manifests are different. With NO manifest, I hear it gets virtualized. :-( do a bunch of research on manfests. It’s ugly. A lot of the manifest examples are great to have it’s just that they don’t work. Dig hard. You will find something. I will give you what info I have.

Take a typing class or buy a typing tutor program and brush up on your typing skills.

Adobe flash player is the player end of adobe Flash Pro which makes flash animations. An alternative is adobe edge for HTML5.

Don’t get something cheap like a $300 laptop. You will regret the speed. Those are equivalent to a

what I am unsure of is if the laptop can handle long compiles on big stuff. There is a slight possibility of overheating the machine. Laptops are not meant for heavy loads like gaming (although there are the ones with the 2940xm procs, that will make short work of it and probably keep the temp reasonable in most cases). If you need to do seriously large builds (like compilers), get a high end desktop or workstation. In that case, most of that build time is going to be spent waiting for the slow disk.

The disk is going to be the slowest thing on the computer. Hopefully tech will change.

Flash I use on my old xp box, do video authoring with adobe cs5, etc. It’s just how long are you willing to wait. If you have the kilobucks, try for
- desktop i7-3770k system, you can get for $1k
- best desktop is i7-3970x but that costs 3-5 kilobucks
- laptop i7-3940xm system or other i7 system (the higher the model number, the better).kilobucks.
- laptop, i7,the higher the model number the better.
- if you want the best mobile workstation, spend the kilobucks and get a goboxx.

Get a big disk. Get several of them. The toshiba qosmio is $1k-$2k can have 2. But it has no choice of windows 7, you will have to buy that on your own, check to see if there are windows 7 drivers first!.

These are some guidelines. If you can get something with a blu-ray burner,do so. It might become more commonplace soon than just readers. For desktops, the LG BH14NS40 I think is the model you are looking for. I think blu-ray drives can’t have more than 16-threaded systems. I hope this changes quickly.

Just how big are your builds? How many lines of code are we talking? Or are we planning for the future?

Desktops can handle the heat, if the thermal paste is properly applied (smiley face method seems to be most effective at spreading from some visual research/demos I saw). No rocking. Clean off old stuff. Arctic silver 5. Laptops should not be operated without a laptop cooler. I suggest a 200mm fan version. Whatever blows the most CFM (cubic feet per minute).

Microsoft word is sluggish on my old box. My proc is equivalent to today’s lowest end processor. To get an idea of cpu speed, see last link. Mine is next to last link. It was next to tops in 2004. Now an i7-3960x will run 30x faster (I think), provided the benchmark uses a linear scale. I get different results using a different benchmark (novabench), it’s like 8x or so.

There is a windows 7 machine with decent specs at bottom.

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