In our very hectic lives, we turn to computers to help simplify them. We make lists, create spreadsheets, fax, email…you name it, we use a computer to do it. Well, except to wash dishes and clothes, which frankly would be phenomenal if someone can figure THAT out.
So what do we do when we’re going to be away from our digital vault of our lives? We load it all onto a USB flash drive. No matter what you call them – flash drives, jump drives, thumb drives- they are the new storage device that we carry with us to access all our important data.
Gone are the days of the floppy disk and diskettes. Even CD’s are becoming obsolete as data storage devices now that flash drives are dropping in price and gaining more storage – all while becoming even smaller than they already are. Some are so tiny; I’m scared they’d get lost!
We can even express our individuality through our flash drives. My husband’s favorite flash drive is his Boba Fett. Mine is my StormTrooper. I also have one that’s kind of fancy looking, that I use if I have a meeting or a presentation to give. No matter what your personal preference, or what you use it for, flash drives are our new best friends!
In my house, technology rules. TV, movies, Internet, games, and music – we have it, and we try to have the best. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t spend hours glued to the TV, but we do enjoy our movies, sit-coms, culinary shows, and HGTV. I can’t live without House Hunters and Property Brothers.
My husband and son are all about their PlayStation 3’s. They play together, so they get father-son time, and they play separately. I read while they do that. Or I watch a TV show on my Kindle or laptop. My external hard drive is where all our movies are stored, and it’s a plug and play so I just have to plug the USB into my laptop and I’m good to go.
Music is the other determining factor in our lives. Between the three of us, we listen to everything! Country, rock, dubstep, hard rock, dance…I could go on and on. For this, we have a really good shelf system with an MP3 dock, so any one of us can just pop in our players and listen to what we want.
Of course, when we watch movies on the TV, we have a great Blu-Ray player, along with a surround sound system. I scoffed at the surround sound (much like I did digital cameras and Blu-Ray players), but it just sounds odd now when I watch TV without it. Plus, when you watch scary movies like I do, surround sound picks up on all those ambient sounds that you wouldn’t hear normally. Which, come to think about it, is a blessing/curse kind of thing…
Just like the digital camera and Blu-Ray revolution, I fought the advent of e-readers and tablets. Why? Well, we have laptops and netbooks and smartphones, so why do we need another electronic device to keep track of? If you want small, you get a netbook. If you want even smaller, you get a Samsung Note II or Galaxy 3, with the added benefit of talking and texting to people. Why get a tablet?
Never mind the fact that I am a bibliophile. I always joke that if I built a house, it would consist of a huge kitchen and a bigger library! I’m a published author, and books have been my life since I was ten years old. Why would I give them up for something digital? Famous last words…
My husband got me a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas, and my reading life has not been the same since! Surprisingly enough, I use it a lot more than I ever thought I would, and that’s just reading. I take it with me everywhere I go, which means I am never without something to read.
And it’s like my phone; I love to dress it up and get accessories for it! Chargers, cases, skins…it doesn’t matter. I know that the iPad has more accessories, but I just love my Kindle. I can play games, watch movies through Netflix and HuluPlus, email, Facebook…everything that I need to do to stay connected! I’ve been brought over to the dark side…
Today’s offices are so efficient that most of them don’t even use paper anymore. Everything is digital, and some are even moving away from CD’s and moving to online cloud storage to communicate with other businesses and clients. USB flash drives have become so inexpensive that they are now the portable storage of choice.
Who remembers typewriters? I remember the sound of an office in full swing, the clickety-clack of typing echoing throughout. Then there were the whispered curses when a mistake was made and the Wite-Out was needed or the correction tape. Oh, and the awesome sound of a dot-matrix printer, slowly going back and forth, printing in black and white dots.
Computers were room sized until the bulky desktops were introduced that used floppy disks and had a whopping 20 megs (MB) of hard drive space! We had copiers that needed their own rooms, that were so intimidating with all their trays and doors. I always hated making copies on them.
Fax machines were equally confounding, and I avoided them at all costs. The loud screeching noise was annoying, and then the machine would beep loudly if I did something wrong (which was usually all the time) and I would walk away, embarrassed that I couldn’t master a stupid machine. I do, however, miss the simple desk phones that were common. This multi-line, many-buttoned phone that we use now never works right for me. I think it hates me. What retro office supplies do you remember?
There’s nothing like tearing open a Christmas gift and seeing that piece of technology that you always wanted. A TV, a camera, a computer tablet…whatever it is, you are excited! The first thing you want to do is hook it up, but then you realize you’re missing something.
When you get a game system or a new Blu-Ray player, you need an HDMI cord to bring out the best features, but these items don’t come with something as necessary as that – because obviously you need to spend more money to get the full effect! Or you get a Kindle or Nook, and the wall charger isn’t included. Lets not forget all the extra batteries you’ll need to buy for remotes and smaller electronics.
Let’s say you got a Playstation 3, which comes with one controller, but there is at least 4 people in the house that want to play at the same time. You need to get extra game controllers! So you spend Christmas day taking turns playing games. That’s no fun! You all want to play the games together! Also, you now have all of these devices that charge via USB but only a certain amount of ports on your computer, so now you need a multi-port USB charger.
With the majority of our electronics have touch screens or delicate LCD screens, you have to be able to maintain them, so you need screen protectors and cleaning cloths, so you don’t create static electricity and short-circuit them! In the end though, you have what you always wanted, and get to enjoy it!
The holidays are coming, and someone on your list wants a new computer. Whether it’s your teenage son who is tired of sharing, or your husband who is just not happy with the current laptop, someone will ask. The question is, how to you pick the perfect PC? Buy or build?
A long time ago in a galaxy much like our own, I dated the quintessential computer nerd. Back then, it wasn’t cool to be a geek, not like now, and we were definitely part of that subculture. This is the time before personal laptops, but he managed to set up his computer on the bedside table and angle it so that he could work on it at night. He was dedicated. He preferred building his own PC and taught me a lot about it, although I’m sure he thought I wasn’t listening. His personal preference was Hewlett Packard, now more commonly known as HP, and it stuck with me.
Building a PC with the right components can be cost efficient and get you more bang for your buck. If you are a serious gamer or do a lot with your PC, then building is a definite option for you. It gives you the freedom to choose component options that most likely won’t come with a pre-built PC. Maybe you don’t need an operating system because you already have one, or you need a superior graphics card and more memory…the list goes on.
Buying a pre-built is what is suitable for most PC owners. Higher graphics, super-fast processors, and great sound always makes the use of a computer nice, but when you’re just surfing the ‘Net, emailing Grandma, and storing photo’s, you don’t have to expend the money on a blazing fast system with HD graphics. A basic desktop would do you just fine, unless you want portability.
Teenagers, like a certain 14 year old that I know, do best with laptops. They have the mobility they want, the guts to do gaming and surfing, and they can take it with them everywhere (except school. A lot of schools still say no to personal computers. Unless its college. I’m digressing) they want to be. School work and research is a breeze, and they can decorate it with skins (not human). Kids love decorating with skins.
Now, there are tablets. I am just scratching that surface and it’s taken me almost two years to decide if I want an iPad, an Android tablet, a Kindle Fire…wow. Guess what? Still can’t decide. I know what I want to do with it, but can’t find one that encompasses it all. Maybe next year I can do a blog on tablets…
It’s the start of the holiday season, folks. Shopping in earnest will commence as soon as the last Jack o’ Lantern is extinguished, and stores will become madhouses. Money will be tithed to the retail houses of worship, and consumers everywhere will drag, pull, shove, and curse bags of merchandise home and stuff them in hiding places until it comes time to wrap them and/or assemble them. In a lot of those cases, you’re going to need…batteries.
Batteries are ubiquitous in our lives. Almost everything we use runs on batteries. Phones, cars, remote controls, toys, toothbrushes, laptops…the list goes on and on. There is nothing more frustrating than the batteries dying in your remote and you don’t have replacements. You actually have to get up and use the controls on the TV!
I stock up on batteries, and Duracell is the brand that we run to. Not just because I can still remember the old Duracell commercials on TV (Dur ∙ A ∙ Cell, the Coppertop battery!) with the snazzy little jingle, but because they just always seem to last the longest and not leak. They last FOREVER! They have batteries for everything, from a professional series to portable phone chargers!
I have huge packs of AA and AAA batteries, and smaller ones of C (because really, not much takes a C) and D’s. A small package of 9V hides in the back corner of the linen closet because nothing in my house takes a 9V anymore, but SOMETHING might be purchased at some point and we’ll need them. I also have a small Tupperware container filled with watch and camera batteries, even though no one in my house owns a watch OR a camera. But, you know, it could happen. I’ve even got a small pack of AA in my fridge.
Batteries are a way of our lives nowadays, and you definitely want one with a great track record and can’t go wrong with Duracell. Always keep spares on hand, and you can’t go wrong. How do you keep your spares?
USB ports and connections have become the norm. Flash drives and external hard drives that hook into your computer make life easier, and make work and storage more portable than ever. Outside of the standards however, there is a breed of items that utilize your computers USB ports, or provide support and expansion, that aim to entertain and delight.
I’m all about entertainment and delight. Goofy hubs and USB powered products really make my day when I see them, and invariably, I need to possess them. Especially if they appeal to my geek side. Give me an R2-D2 USB hub any day and I am grinning from ear to ear. It’s even worse when I find something unique that no one has seen before.
While researching for this blog, I started with my trusty friend Google, and searched for “funky USB items” and was amazed at all the things that came up! Sandwiched in between all the hubs were toys! And movie characters from every movie in Geekdom Heaven! There’s even a fish tank! Can you tell that I am extremely excited?
Going through all the stuff I saw, I realized that even if I bought a fraction of it, I would have to buy two 4-port hubs to run off my existing USB ports on my computer, just to have everything hooked up. Not certain how that would go over here, but my desk would look really cool! How would you decorate your desk with USB gadgets?