About steve

steve has been a member since August 23rd 2011, and has created 6523 posts from scratch.

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Your Questions About Sony Vaio

Susan asks…

How to restore to factory a windows 7 sony vaio laptop?

I had a Hard Disk Corruption once,so i changed my hard disk,which means,i won’t have the Sony Vaio Wizard Recovery. Any other ways i can restore to factory? I pressed F8 at boot up and there is no restore to factory option.

steve answers:

You can try with “system restore”
You can find this option in start
Hope this will help :)

Thomas asks…

Sony Vaio Laptop Advice?

I was thinking between the

VGN-FW518F/B http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+VAIO+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174;+Centrino+2+Processor+Technology+-+Silver/9956425.p?id=1218201192431&skuId=9956425

or
VGN-NW350F/S http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony%20-%20VAIO%20Laptop%20with%20Intel%C2%AE%20Core%E2%84%A22%20Duo%20Processor%20-%20Silver/9700641.p?id=1218152418750&skuId=9700641

Both look good but do any of you have those laptops with reasons why i should or shouldnt get one. Also anyone know which one is a newer model?

steve answers:

Sony VAIO VGN-NW350F/S Laptop Computer

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003340VTK?ie=UTF8&tag=track-yahoo-answers-20

You can store everything in your digital world on the 320GB hard drive…or connect a blazing fast FireWire peripheral via IEEE 1394 connector. The Sony VAIO VGN-NW350F/S Laptop Computer helps you keep in touch with integrated 802.11b/g/n wireless, webcam, and audio ins and outs. This powerful, portable and extremely entertaining laptop is the perfect way to take High Definition Blu-ray on the road less traveled. Check out the Sony VAIO VGN-NW350F/S Laptop Computer today!

Carol asks…

Sony VAIO or Macbook Pro?

I need to buy a laptop for school and I’ve narrowed it down to two: the Sony VAIO series and the Macbook Pro series. I’d love to hear the pros and cons of both, if possible. Also, in your opinion, which is the better choice? Please give as much information as you can, because I want to make a very informed decision.

steve answers:

Sony VAIO. If does not look as stylish as the Macbook Pro, but it’s faster and you will get much more done in less time at lower price.
If you want to look stylish to your mates, then the Macbook Pro would work, but if you want to show real work done, get the Sony VAIO.
Sony VAIO
Pros – Windows 7 with thousands of applications, more speed and performance at less price.
Cons – Little heavier, no Line-In and bad web camera.

Macbook Pro
Pros – More stylish, more portable, less heavy.
Cons – MacOS with much less applications than Windows 7, less speed and performance and higher price.

Jenny asks…

Help me choose between dell studio 15 vs sony vaio CEB26FG?

Dell studio 15
i5,full hd,4 gb ram,500gb HDD,blu ray,graphics 1gb
Sony vaio
i3 processor,remainig same except blu ray

steve answers:

Sony Vaio all the way,
mate I’ve had so many clients who have had dell based laptops and computers, and the design of them inside the case is made of such cheapy and bad parts the computer breaks down and u end up getting techincal problems.
Sony Vaio is such a better make, I’ve had a sony vaio for about 6 years, and it still works like a dream. A dell lasted for about 2 years before something happened.
For security go for the sony vaio, don’t be swayed by the fact the dell has the better parts, in the long term the sony vaio will still be going strong in years to come.
Hope I helped :)
Steve

Daniel asks…

sony vaio????

is sony vaio cr a good notebook if i want to use it for downloading pictures, internet access?

steve answers:

Yes, Sony Vaio laptops are a very good quality product. The only caution that I would have is that it is a Sony product. Sony is the company that was putting rootkits on their audio cd’s, etc. I personally don’t think that I would feel comfortable buying a Sony computer product because they probably have all sorts of backdoor accesses built into the software so that they can monitor what kinds of files you put on it. And eventually all of those backdoors will become known to hackers and will be a terrible security risk. So for that reason alone I don’t think that I would purchase a Sony product.

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Your Questions About Tablets Computer Art

Sandy asks…

how do i make art on the computer?

like drawing tablets a digital art and stuff
not photo editing but drawing
dont tell me photoshop cause its like a bijillion dollars
i already have photofiltre and picasa 2

steve answers:

Photofilter is good to start with, and there are a few other freeware programs you can use,

http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm

Gimp ~image editor,

http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html

Pixia

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/mighty/knight/

Rendera – Free Graphic Editor

http://www.rendera.net/

smoothdraw lite

http://www.smoothdraw.com/product/freeware.htm

Artweaver

http://www.artweaver.de/index.php?en_version

ArtRage 2

http://www.ambientdesign.com/artragedown.html

Inkscape illustrator,

http://www.inkscape.org/screenshots/index.php?lang=en

_________

and a tablet would be useful for better control,
Wacom Intuos3

http://www.wacom.com/intuos/

..

Ruth asks…

If you have a tablet with a usb wire, does it have to be connected to a computer to use?

I’m looking at tablets for art, but since I don’t have a laptop, I don’t want one that would tie me to a computer at all times. If it’s not wireless, does it have to be attached to a computer just for me to draw with gimp or something? Thanks :)

steve answers:

Yes, a tablet is an input device like a mouse, and keyboard that should always be connected to a computer to be able to use it. There are USB wired and a Wireless type Tablet at the market, like this at the Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=wireless+tablet&x=14&y=13

You should have a Laptop or desktop for you to use them. But there are also a tablet with a built in computer like this one in Amazon. This is a dual purpose PC and a Tablet in one.
Http://www.amazon.com/Superpad-Tablet-Google-Android-Webcam/dp/B004HIXDEQ/ref=sr_1_23?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1299487369&sr=1-23

James asks…

Artist & Designers: Which do you prefer when working with art on the computer: mouse or drawing pad/stylus?

I’ve always used the mouse and I can use it well, but I’ve been curious about getting a tablet & stylus, because it seems it might be more intuitive when it comes to painting and illustrative projects.

But I think the mouse would still be best for vector-based artwork and page layout, plus a good size tablet it expensive.

Any insight and perspective would be helpful. Thanks.

steve answers:

Personally, I would opt for a pen tablet. It gives me more control over the mouse, especially for digital imaging and illustrations. The mouse works fine with the “pen” tool in photoshop, flash and illustrator.

But when it comes to precision masking and pressure control, the tablet rules it all. I am currently using a WACOM graphire(approx. A6) at home and it is quite affordable these days.

On the other hand, I also use a WACOM intous 3(12″ x 19.2″) at the office but that will set you back more than US$500. But then, the large space gives you more comfort and precision at doing selections and fine strokes of the brush.

Think of the tablet as a good investment for the artist/designer. In the long run, the tablet would earn you back the money through all the wonderful design that churns out from the tip of stylus pen. ;)
Prices of Wacom tablets have increased since last year but you may want to check out stores that sell slightly older models of the tablets at a lower price(you can get an older graphire under US$100).

Additional notes:
I choose Wacom over other brands because it’s easier to get nib/part replacements and they provide free delivery for the parts right to my doorstep.

David asks…

How do I Learn Digital Art?

Ok, I’m completely clueless! how do you draw on a computer. Is digital art always accompanied by expensive tablets? As I actually bought a middle of the range one and it was useless! I’m not even a hundred percent sure what digital art is but have seen some amazing examples and would really like to learn. So how on earth does a clueless eegit like me start?

steve answers:

Photoshop, plus an Apple Mac digital, media based, computer.

George asks…

i am an artist. I would like to know from other artists, what is the best art tablet for computers?

steve answers:

I’d go with the Wacom tablet. Trusted brand for over 20 years.

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Your Questions About Translate

David asks…

Why do they say that when you learn a second language it is better not to translate?

To translate the foreign words you learn to your mother-tongue? But is this an effective way of learning?
How do you learn better and faster a second language?

steve answers:

Because structures don’t translate exactly to other languages. For example, we can say in English “I’m driving to New York tomorrow.” But if you translate that into the present progressive in Spanish, it doesn’t work because they don’t use that to indicate future time in Spanish.

Children who are raised in homes where two languages are spoken learn both, but they don’t translate back and forth in their heads before using them. It’s like riding a bicycle and driving a car- when you’ve done them enough, you do them without conscious thought. You don’t think every time “Now I have to move my foot from the gas to the brake.” That’s what you want to do in a language- have it be automatic.

Daniel asks…

How to translate the following into German?

I have been working in film/television/commercials production and advertising in NYC for years. Now I am living in Germany and have to translate my resume. Unfortunately a normal translator such as Google Translate does not really translate these types of things properly.

**And before I get yelled at… I just started my German B1 class, however the class does not cover these types of things as well. Any idea on how to translate the following:
•13 years experience working in film, television and commercial production in all major departments.
•Experienced working as an Associate Producer, Segment Producer and Field Producer.
•Skilled in supervising video edit sessions.
•Worked as Stage Manager, 2nd Stage Manager, 1st Assistant Director and 2nd Assistant Director.
•Qualified in Production Management, Coordinating and Production Research.
•Accomplished in working as an Audience Coordinator, Talent/Casting Coordinator and Locations Manager.
•Practiced in setting up and rigging basic lighting for ENG shoots and interviews.
•Fully trained in all administrative duties and procedures.
•Correspondence: Handling high phone and email volume, while managing interoffice and external correspondence.
•Experience working with the Creative Development Department.
•Mastered in Character Development and Design for both print and broadcast.
•Brand Management, Marketing, Advertising, Social Media Experience and Content.
•Schreiben: blogs, scripts, treatments, pitch books, copy and pre production books.
•Trained in pitching and developing stories, segments and pilots.
•Casting principal talent, background, contestants and audience.
•Practiced in conducting man-on-the-street, junket and red carpet interviews.
•Digitale Fotografie: commercial, fashion, travel, photojournalism, portrait and still (on sets).
•Photo editing, manipulation and retouching.
•Illustration: including print work, fashion and apparel design, children’s books, storyboards and on-air.
•Versed in set design, decorating and design trends.
•Working with Prop Department (purchasing, designing, building props, etc.)
•On-camera experience as talent.

PLEASE ONLY SERIOUS HELPFUL REPLIES. I try to help out others by answering questions nicely and hope people will do the same for me.

steve answers:

Normally I’d love to help you but there are so many words that are very hard to translate properly because it’s specialised vocabulary. Maybe you should get a professional translator for that. It’s just one page so it shouldn’t be too expensive and then you can be sure the text is correct.

Michael asks…

How can I translate something from English to Latin?

I want to translate a short quote from English to Latin, but I can’t find any good translators online. So how can I take an English quote and translate it to Latin?

steve answers:

It depends on how complex the quote is. I it is something like ‘ego sum Kate’ (I am Kate) then a translator should be able to do that quite easily. However Latin has a lot (and I mean a lot!) of different things that need to be thought of when translating. This long list includes:
Subjunctives
Tenses of subjunctives (am I boring you already? I’m bored…)
Tenses (Perfect/Imperfect/Pluperfect e.t.c)
Nominative/Accusative/Dative/Ablative e.t.c
Name ending for that particular case
Singular/ Plural


The list goes on. If you gave me the quote I could try and translate it. Internet translators are very inaccurate because most of the words you type in it doesn’t know. Therefore you are left with something like ‘Caecilius is in the garden’ and it comes up with ‘Caecilius est in garden’ when it actually should be ‘Caecilius est in horto’. …and that is just simple stuff. I just tried out ‘Kate is sitting in the atrium’ and it came up with ‘Kate est sitting in atrium’ which isn’t right. Besides an internet translator doesn’t know who is the subject (nom/acc) or if something is being given (dat) so basically computers can’t be trusted.

If I can’t translate the quote I know somebody who might be able to but i wouldn’t be able to ask for a couple of weeks…wait…no…I know somebody else :) so I will try as hard as I can.

Hope I’m able to help :)

p.s. If I can’t help invest in a Latin dictionary…you never know when it might come in handy :)

Betty asks…

How to translate pdf file in japanese to english?

Anyone know any website that can translate a PDF file of Japanese to English? I use google translator but it didn’t work. I need this translation to be done asap or is there anybody good in Japanese who can translate for me? I’ll mail you the file

steve answers:

Sock it to me! Stonerpenguinmamalul@yahoo.com

Why is my answer thumbed down…? I didn’t say anything incorrect, she asked for an email to send it to and I gave her mine D:

EDIT; Dude I sent you an email, did you get it? This was difficult to translate and I’m not perfectly stoked on the idea that I’m gonna spend a long time translating this and you’re not even gonna read it D’: I WILL NOT SEND YOU ANY MORE OF MY WORK UNTIL YOU RESPOND TO MY EMAIL!

Here’s the first page (of a seven page long document! — I don’t have fine reader so I typed this all out myself form the image!!)

Japanese with English translation;
平成22年度 (10月期)北海道大学
The 22nd year of Heisei [2010] (School term starting October) Hokkaido University
水産科学研究院研究生・水産学部研究生 募集要項
Research Students of the Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fishery Science Institute Research Students — Important points on Admissions

1. 出願資格
1. Application Requirements (Eligibility)
大学を卒業した者(卒業見込みの者を含む)又はこれと 同等以の学力があると認められる者。
People who’ve graduated University (including those who will graduate in the future) or those who have an equal level education.
ただし、研究院研究生として出願することのできる者は 次の基準の一つに該当する者とします。
However, who can apply to this research institute as a research student (must) fall under one of the following criteria.
(1)大学院博士前期課程(修士課程)修了(見込みの 者を含む)以上の者
(1) People who’ve completed the first half of graduate school towards getting their PhD (Master’s course), completed (including those who will) or persons of a higher level.
(2)その他、予定する指導教員が本研究院において研 究することが適当と認
めた者。
(2) Others who have been deemed appropriate by the supervisor-to-be to do research at this institute.

2. 出願手続き
2. Application Procedure;
入学を希望する者は、 3に記載の出願書類を取り揃え、予定する指導教員の承認を得て (入学願書の指導教員欄に署名・押印をもらうこと) 教務担当へ提出してください。
Those who wish to enroll must assemble the application documents noted in “3″, obtain the consent of the supervisor-to-be (Obtain signature and stamp in the supervisor’s section on the application form) and submit it to the head of school affairs.

3. 出願書類
3. Application documents
(1)入学願書・履歴書(所定の用紙) ※留学生は留学生用の履歴書に記入してください。
(1 )Application for admittance and resume (the designated forms) ※ Foreign exchange students, please fill out the forms for foreign exchange students.
(2)最終学校の卒業(見込)又は修了(見込)証明書
(2) A certificate / the credentials of the last school you graduated (or will graduate) or completed (or will complete)

※本学部・本学院出身者及び研究生継続志願者は提出不 要
※ Applicants who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree program in this department of the University and the continuing research students need not submit these documents.

Sandra asks…

How to translate the Cube entertainment website?

How can you translate it? Because I know little Korean, and I can’t read it very well. Can somebody tell me how to translate it? Or give me the translation for the Cube entertainment Audition page?

steve answers:

Here’s a link to the translation.. But you might have to make an account or log in with facebook..!! I want to audition.. But I’m too scared to.. But might as well try right..??

Http://www.soompi.com/forums/topic/316030-update-101209-cube-entertainment-audition-translate/

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Your Questions About Inland Products

Betty asks…

What encouraged the building of factories in coastal towns such as New Bedford and even large inland cities?

such as Chicago by the 1840s?

steve answers:

The two main factors in the location of factories is raw materials used in the manufacturing process, and transportation to move the finished products to market.
Available labor is a consideration, but people will move to where the jobs are located.

William asks…

How do I get the right to sell a service on my website?

I am a graphic designer and want to offer a self-portrait illustration service but don’t know how to get the legal right to do so. Does it cost money? Do I need to register as a sole-trader? Do I have to pay tax?

steve answers:

You can set yourself up in business as a sole trader very easily. You will need to register your business with Inland Revenue. Put your ideas together about the products/services you’re offering and who your target market is and get the word out there and contact them.

Your local Business Link is a good source of free help and advice on starting up. We’ve used them over the years that we’ve been in business as they’re also useful for established businesses.

Good luck!

Charles asks…

what happens to a nation’s imports or exports of a product when the world price of the product falls below the?

what happens to a nation’s imports or exports of a product when the world price of the product falls below the domestic price?

steve answers:

This is a trick question.

In theory, if the world price falls below the domestic price, the country will import or (if it is already importing) import more. If it was exporting, it will export less or stop altogether.

In reality, the situation is far different. For example:

1. When you go abroad, you often find goods that are manufactured in country X are more expensive in country X than they are in the U.S. Theory says this should not be possible, but I’ve seen it more than once: electronics from Japan, fruit from Israel, etc.

What causes this can be:

A. Export subsidies on the part of the manufacturing country (China has heavy export subsidies so Chinese goods are often cheaper outside China than inside)

B. Inefficiencies in the local retail market. (Japan has a very inefficient retail sector, with many layers between the manufacturer and the retail store..)

C. Extra costs for addressing smaller markets (translating documentation into the local language, etc.)

D. Transportation costs. (It is cheap to transport in bulk by sea. Transporting inland with no rivers is more expensive, even with good roads and railroads.)

2. Some products in some countries are insulated from the effect of falling world prices because of import restrictions.

For example, the U.S. Imposes quotas on bananas and tariffs on sugar; Japan has tariffs on rice; etc.

Etc.

Mark asks…

What are the environmental problems asssociated with global warming/ climate change?

What are the possible consequences (good or bad) to the environment and to humans if we do nothing?

What are the possible solutions?

steve answers:

“What are the possible consequences (good or bad) to the environment and to humans if we do nothing?”

• Global temperatures will continue to rise

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

• Oceans will continue to warm

http://academics.eckerd.edu/instructor/hastindw/MS2410-001_FA08/handouts/Barnett05.pdf

• Ice sheets wil continue to shrink

http://www.unep.org/geo/geo_ice/PDF/GEO_C6_A_LowRes.pdf

• Sea levels will continue to rise

http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/en/news/ocean-indicators/mean-sea-level/

• Arctic sea ice will continue to decline

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png

Many of the other effects (of AGW) vary from region to region, so I’ve listed the consequences by continent.

•North America: Decreasing snowpack in the western mountains; increased frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.

•Latin America: Gradual replacement of tropical forest by savannah in eastern Amazonia; risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many tropical areas; significant changes in water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.

•Europe: Increased risk of inland flash floods; more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise; glacial retreat in mountainous areas; reduced snow cover and winter tourism; extensive species losses; reductions of crop productivity in southern Europe.

•Africa: By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress; yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some regions by 2020; agricultural production, including access to food, may be severely compromised.

•Asia: Freshwater availability projected to decrease in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia by the 2050s; coastal areas will be at risk due to increased flooding; death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts expected to rise in some regions

http://climate.nasa.gov/effects/

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“What are the possible solutions?”

The obvious solution is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We can do this by reducing our energy consumption and using cleaner energy. The majority of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning fossil fuels for transportation (gasoline) and to produce energy (coal).

Here are some simple steps anyone can take to reduce their energy consumption:

• Dress appropriately
• Lower your thermostat
• Insulate pipes, walls, lofts, doors, etc.
• If you need an appliance, choose an energy star rated unit
• Use energy efficient lightbulbs
• Turn of unnecessary lights
• Unplug unnecessary appliances
• Shut off your computer monitor when it’s not in use
• Eat fewer meat and dairy products
• Recycle and reuse
• Walk or bike when possible
• Use public transport or carpool when you need to drive
• Drive a fuel efficient vehicle

Or – use cleaner energy

• Sign up to a green energy supplier
• Generate your own power – use solar panels or wind turbines, etc.
• If you need a new vehicle, choose an alliterative fuel model

Lizzie asks…

what is a good website to buy things to start a house cleaning business?

i am starting a house celaning business in southern california in the inland empire area and was wondering if anyone knew any good web sites to buy the things that i would need to start my business.

steve answers:

For supplies, you really don’t need anything special. Buy a few plain spray bottles, then buy cheaper cleaning products to put in them. Start with a good, inexpensive vacuum, upgrade as you get more clients. I have tons of tips and resources on my Suidoo lens and blog about starting a cleaning business. The links are in my profile. Check them out!

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Your Questions About Cheap Laptops Under $100

Mandy asks…

What battery should I get for my dell inspiron 1525?

The battery that came with my laptop only lasts for one hour. I really need a battery that lasts anywhere from four to eight hours. What type of battery do I need, and where is the best place to get it? Thanks in advance!

steve answers:

You can look at Dell’s website under accessories for your particular model. They have 12-cell batteries in some cases which are twice as big (last twice as long).
Looks like they’re $100+ but if you look around you might be able to get one for cheaper. I don’t recommend getting a used one though.

Charles asks…

How well would left 4 dead play on my laptop?

I have a dell laptop, running vista. a celeron 2ghz processor, 1 gb of ram, and the problem is i dont know my graphics card. Would this be able to run l4d without laggin? If nyone knows, would this run l4d 2 as well?
soooooooooo wat would happen if i tryed to play it? would it crash?

steve answers:

You probably just have the stock motherboard graphics card. So id say no. I have a Pentium 4 computer 2.8GHz with a ATI X1650 graphics card(quite expensive a couple years old) and it will barely run L4D. If you already own L4D on steam try it but i wouldn’t buy it unless your willing to buy a graphics card or a whole new computer.

The cheapest graphics card i could find was under 100$ and it Ran L4D better than my ATI card. It was called a ZOTAC but ran Nvidia. Bestbuy carries them if your interested.

Richard asks…

Where and for how much can I get a battery for this Alienware m18x laptop?

I am looking at purchasing an Alienware m18x laptop (2010) for $650, even the support people at Alienware/Dell said this is a killer deal, the only issue now is that, it needs a new battery. The factory standard is the 96 Whr 12-Cell Primary Battery for Dell Alienware M18X Laptop. However, I can not find one for under about $130. I have seen a used one for about $60, and a few lower cell/volt ones for about $100. I am hoping someone can give me some links to cheaper equivalents for this battery, or, tell me which lower quality batteries I should get if I do get one, and what the difference will be.

steve answers:

Http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22/179-0468762-8466522?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alienware+m18x+battery&sprefix=alienware+m18x+battery%2Caps%2C216

Ruth asks…

How to build a home recording studio for under $1000.?

I will not be recording a full band. Just one or two tracks at a time. Also I have a laptop with plenty of memory but am I able to use a laptop or does my computer need to be a desktop. I appreciate the help.

steve answers:

Here’s what I did.

I got a great deal on a laptop at Wal-Mart. It had Vista, unfortunately, so that took a while to optimize and trim the fat and actually make it work well, but whatever, it has 2 gigs of memory, a decent hard drive, over a meg of processor. Good. Step one. Less than 500$.

Step two was getting a USB interface. I found the Lexington Alpha, which I really like. It can record two channels at a time at least at 24-bit 48khz, which is what I record at (which is more than enough for most recording, actually). It has line in, mic in, options to record via headphones, and functions as an external sound card, ie, provides line outs. I think I got it for less than 100$, but it was somewhere around there price-wise.

Step three for you would be getting mics and cables (I already had this stuff). I suggest the Shure SM57 for recording guitar and instruments and the Shure SM58 for vocals and some string instruments (violins, etc). Good quality dynamic mics. Around 100$ each. So at least one mic and some cabling. Oh yeah, and some decent quality headphones. Samson makes some decent ones, I believe, just make sure you get the studio-quality… Again, around 100$ at my local music shop.

So now we’re pushing 900$ I think, and we have the basics to do some excellent recording. Add another mic or so, you’re right around a grand, and you can record two mics at once if you wanted, or a guitar and a vocal, or two mics on one instrument, etc.

Using the USB interface is awesome, its portable, has all the quality of a good internal sound card, and all of the same functions. Make sure you get the ASIO drivers for it, though, for the least latency (pause between playing the note and hearing it through your headphones).

So, um, yeah, at this point all you need is the software. I use a multitracking program called Reaper, link below. Essentially free, but cheap to register anyways. If you find or purchase the right plugins it can have all the functionality of more expensive commercial products! As it is its somewhat stripped down, which is perfect for recording, you just need to look for VST plugins to do processing and anything more than basic mixing/mastering, although the included JS and Cuckos plugins are still pretty sweet and highly functional.

So, that’s that. Put down a basic drum track with the MIDI and a VST plugin like Drumatic, set up a second track, hit the record button, make sure the Audio Device is set to pick up inputs from the interface, and you’re ready to rock!

I’ve used this setup exactly as listed to create scratch tracks for the bands that I’ve been in or associated with, and then go through and record over each individual element – ie, familiarize them with their separate parts which are initially recorded scratch or with midi instruments, then have them record over them with the real deal. Makes for some very decent results! And no mic bleed is sooo nice….

So yeah. Links below to Reaper, and to the place I usually look for VSTs and VSTi’s.

There are other multi-tracking programs out there for low-cost or free, like N-Studio and even a free version of Pro Tools I think, but this one actually has full functionality right from the get go, and seems to be very easy to get into once you figure it out. Just don’t get overwhelmed at how configurable it is!

Obviously if you already have a laptop, that leaves more money for better equipment. I like my portable recording setup, I can take it to work and use it on my lunch breaks…. And I don’t need an external mixer, even though I do have one (a cheap Behringer mixer, if you don’t boost or cut anything more than a few db it really does have low noise and decent quality).

Oh yeah, you might want to think about condenser mics too. Some USB interfaces support phantom power, and condenser mics (while more fragile) have superb top end response. I’ve used a Samson CO1 (less than 120$) with good results, especially in conjunction with a dynamic mic like the SM57. Something to think about. If you don’t have any experience with condenser mics or are a recording noob in general, you might want to get some experience with dynamic mics first before you take that leap.

I vastly prefer digital interfaces to analog recorders, even though they have a relatively more pleasant sound. Analog has more noise and far less flexibility in terms of editing, exporting, manipulating the sound, etc. There’s always tape saturation and compression plugins to help warm up the sound, and good mixing practices can really help get “that” sound you may be aiming for. When mixing, for instance, not only do you want to high-pass all non-bass instruments at least at 150 hz (and often much higher… I usually end up high-passing all guitars at 250hz or even 350 hz) but you want to low-pass everything as well at some point, although you want to be a little more careful with that. A bit of roll-off on a guitar around 10khz might be just the ticket to t

Mark asks…

how much does it cost to fix a cracked laptop screen?

i don’t know how my laptop cracked but it did on the right bottom corner and its getting worse and worse everyday. where is the cheapest most reliable place to go to get it fixed? and how much does it usually cost? its a Windows 7 hp. only 9 months old. staples told me 600 dollars but thats more than the computer ugh. what should i do?!?!?
also its not the glass that is cracked, its the pixles and the inside that is, is that any better? or cheaper to fix?

steve answers:

Huh.

9 mos, Staples should know it’s under warranty; call warranty #.

Or maybe a recall on em.

I was told my old Sony lap’s screen or hd needed replacement bc screen images became badly distorted.

But if I squeezed the screen border, images changed.

So I thought prob could be electrical connections.

I removed the keyboard and right away saw elect cable w/ a very loose hold-down screw.

I tightened screw, and screen image went back to normal and has stayed that way.

So, Do It Yourself could be poss if for some reason Warranty doesnt cover it.

I always get upgraded FACTORY/MANUFACTURER, not retailer, warranties for this reason.

Google your brand, model code & cracked screen.

If no warranty/recall, google brand & model code & Disasemble. Maybe ad Screen Shots.

I found great screen shots.

To disassemble, a set of precision screwdrivers are helpful. At Sears, Lowes, etc, <$15.

I also have a Belkin pc tool kit; Radio Shack, etc, sell em too, <$15.

When my keyboard failed under Sony warranty, they fixed it and I got a Paid invoice back for $600.

When it failed outa warranty, I got new one online @ +- $100, and did removal and install myself.

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