Tech Tip: Choosing the right computer solution for you

#TechTip Find the tech solution that works for you. A Chromebook isn’t for everyone but for those always online it’s a great option.

There are now many more options out there for you instead of the traditional computers from the past.  Desktops and Laptops used to be the only real choice in your computer, but now you can choose between desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or Chromebook.  In addition there is also Smartphones and media centres and gaming platforms which do much of the work of computers for you as well.

How do you choose what is right for you?

Lets take a quick look at where each computer could be useful to help you make an informed decision:

Desktop: Yes, you have heard many times about the end of the desktop, but they are not dead yet.  Why would you want a desktop?  There are a few reasons.  First is how customizable desktops are.  You can purchase a decent desktop and add whatever additions you want, or you can build from scratch everything from the processor to hard drive to graphics processors.  If you wanted multiple media drives, DVD Burners, Blu-Ray players, additional hard drives, you can install them all in a desktop.  If you had software that you needed to run all the time, a desktop or server can be left on all the time and provide significant cooling to keep it running properly.  Yes they are fixed in a location,  but if you work in one spot all the time then there isn’t much of a difference.

Laptops:  Still popular are laptops.  Between Laptops, Ultrabooks and Netbooks, a portable computer with all the power of a desktop still is the go to computer for getting work done.  While not as customizable as desktops, the ability to do all your work everywhere and anywhere you want is still appealing.  Businesses have not had time to adjust to the shift to tablet computers, so for business, laptops are still pretty much required in order to get a lot of work done.

Tablets:  Becoming more popular over the last few years, Tablets have the ability to be more portable than a laptop and provide many of the features that a laptop would require.  Originally its acceptance was for entertainment and personal use as the iPad made it popular for watching shows and playing games on a bigger screen than could be seen on a smaller iPhone.   Businesses have started the shift to tablets, but as mentioned, many businesses are not there yet, and some software still works better on a laptop.  The trend from both personal and business is to shift to screens of all sizes either through responsive web design or apps for specific platforms.  The future is most definitely in the Tablet world.

Chromebook: The Chromebook, which is based on Google’s Chrome Operating system is a shift from the traditional laptop.  While it maintains the look and feel of a laptop, there is very little in the way of storage on the device.  Instead, the system boots up quickly and uses Google’s interface to access everything.  Essentially it needs to be connected to the Internet at all times to really work.  While not for everyone, it definitely serves a market of those needing to stay connected online with a device that has a fast boot up and automatic virus protection.  Its cost is also a huge draw as it is usually cheaper than most laptops.  Using Google’s array of services, you can do everything including email, web browsing, file management and document management all through Google’s core group of web apps.  It’s definitely worth a look if you want an inexpensive system and use Google’s products.

There is a growing list of Smartphones and media centres that can also manage some of the tasks normally associated with a computer.  For example, Smart TV’s have become common instead of the exception in new TV purchases.  For those that have  a Netflix subscription, or enjoy browsing YouTube for content, a Smart TV could be a great add in.  similar, Google’s Chromecast can add computing power to a TV, as well as most new gaming systems, including the XBOX One and PS4.

There is also the growing field of wearable technology, but that is in itself a whole other blog posting.  When you make a choice in the new year about a new computer, look at your lifestyle, your needs and wants, as well as budget requirements.  May your 2014 be wonderful as well as connected!

 

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Tech Tip: Using Technology to Prepare those Holiday Lists

#TechTip: Technology can help prepare those holiday shopping lists. @evernote for lists or#Pintarest for gift and decoration ideas

Its not secret that I am a big fan of Evernote.  For those that don’t know what it is, Evernote is a note taking app that syncs across all your mobile devices and computers while making everything searchable.  It even incorporates traditional paper note taking and is able to bring it in to your electronic world.

When its time to make your shopping lists, I would recommend using either Evernote, or if you have a note taking program you are comfortable with, to make your holiday shopping lists.  Here’s why:

  • Don’t worry about losing your paper list with everyone’s gift ideas on it.  not only would it be hard to remember what you are getting everyone, but leaving it lying around may come under the scrutiny of those who’s names are on the list.
  • Add items to your list while working on your computer, and then easily access them while on the go
  • Use the camera function to take pictures of gift ideas and add them to your note, so everything is in one location. (Try adding a picture to the back of the envelope you wrote your list down on!)

On the topic of using your camera phone for gift ideas, another tool you can use this holiday season is Social Media.  Pinterest is a newer social media platform that has gained quite a bit of attraction since its launch.  Its purpose it to share images on a board, much like a bulletin board.  Once you log on, you can create a board where you can scour the internet for pictures of gift ideas, or use your camera to take pictures while out shopping.  This is great for making your preliminary list of things to get people, as well as making your own holiday wish list.  You can share your list or keep it private.  (Just know that once you make a private board public you can’t undo it).  Pinterest is also great for finding lots of holiday decorating ideas.

The holidays can be a stressful time, but hopefully if you start early, and use your connected technology properly, you can get through it quickly and stress free.