Category: Computer & Tech

Difference Between a Server and a Computer

It is improper to talk about this difference, as , and a computer can be used as a server. However, beginners in the online world commonly make this mistake, and here is why this difference appears.

The first people who build online websites tens of years ago didn’t have the services of at their disposal. Besides the difficulty of building a website entirely in HTML, there was also the problem of keeping the site online. This could only be done with personal computers, which were used as servers for this purpose.

 

Practically, the server had to be on all the time, for the visitors to find the website online. It was pretty challenging to set up such a server and to maintain it, so the hosting companies that appeared a little after this time were surely a blessing for website builders.

A company owns a large number of servers, which are no more than computers that are always online. This way, the web designer will make sure his website is still online and can be found by visitors. These servers are no more than high performing computers with large hard drive capacity. They can host thousands of websites at the same time, offering increased security and solid maintenance as well.

Can I use my computer as a server?

If you ever played a PC game in the Local Network, then you should know how this works. One of the players creates a game, and all the other players can find the match in LAN and connect to it. The central computer is a server in this case, but its role stops at the moment when the multiplayer game ends. This is only an example of how a simple computer can be used as a server.

Today, practically any computer can be used as a server. Your smartphone can be a server when you create a HotSpot for your friends. Your X-box is a server if you host an online game of FIFA with other players. However, as Personal computers are rarely used as servers for online websites, the confusion between computers and servers is not as common as it used to be.

 So what is the difference between a server and a PC today?

Both computers use the same components, such as RAM memory, processors, and sources. However, the rest of the hardware might be completely different between the two devices. Servers have more complicated components, as well as hot-swap elements. Hot-swap hardware is a component that can be replaced while the device is working. It is a handy feature for a server that needs different RAM capabilities at different times of the day.

It is still possible to use PCs as servers today, but it is entirely overrated and inefficient. If you want to build a website that is online all the time, you should consider finding a web hosting company instead of   the site on your computer.…

Custom Built Computer Vs OEM Computer

Since the release of the IBM PC, there has been a debate over prefabricated machines (herein referred to as "OEM") and custom built machines. So which is better? The answer lies with you.

One very common misconception is that custom built machines are cheaper to build than OEM. This is no longer the case. In the 1990's, custom built machines could be had for considerably less than OEM. However, today the difference in cost is nominal.

Before you purchase your next computer, make a plan out what your budget is, and what you are going to use the computer for. If you are a general Internet user, surf the web, use IM and download music, the odds are you'll just need a basic system. Any AMD Sempron 2400+ or higher or Intel Celeron 2.4GHz or higher will be more than adequate for that task.

If you are a gamer, I highly advise you build your own system or have one built for you. The reason being, there is a very small amount of OEM builders who use AMD chips in their systems. For gaming, you want AMD, there is no if ands or buts about it. For the best gaming experience you want an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ or higher or an AMD Athlon 64. Any of the AMD Athlon 64 series will be more than adequate.

There is another reason gamers should build their own systems — modification for LAN parties. No one wants to go to a LAN party with a plain beige tower, do they? No, they want cold cathode tubes and LEDs and clear windows on the side. If your going to be switching the tower your computer is in anyway, why void a perfectly good warranty? On a custom built machine, always save all of your receipts, because the odds are each individual part is covered by some form of a warranty.

If your primary objective is work at home, such as word processing, spreadsheets, database manipulation, desktop publishing, or anything of that sort, you'll want to go with an Intel processor. The Intel Pentium 4 is the right chip for data crunching, due to its larger cache size and deeper pipelining allow for more raw data processing to occur. You can find an Intel Pentium 4 chip in almost any OEM computer.

Another good idea, if you've never seen the inside of a computer tower, you probably would want to buy an OEM system, because custom built systems tend not to come with installation and configuration instructions.

If budget is your primary concern, it is important to know that AMD products tend to be less expensive than Intel products. Also realize that Sempron and Celeron processors are the inexpensive version of Athlons and Pentiums, so if performance is merely a secondary and you are looking to have a functional inexpensive system, go with a Sempron or Celeron.

So, if AMD Athlons are cheaper than Intel Pentiums, why are gaming systems so expensive? There are a lot of graphics cards and sound cards out there that actually cost more than your processor does. Remember that your CPU is only one component of your system.

At most computer shows and online computer hardware stores, you can pick up a combo pack of motherboard and CPU for a very good price, usually less than $200 — much less expensive than buying each individually.

Always keep in mind what your budget is and what you want to do with your system. Don't let others sell you on expanding your budget.…

Computer Review: The Dell Inspiron E1505

As the owner of a small business I know that my company's success is largely determined by how well my computer performs. Over the last five years I have gone through three different computers including two desktops and one notebook. The last computer that I purchased was my Dell Inspiron E1505. I selected this particular notebook because I needed a computer that was portable, and I needed a computer that was capable of handling multi-media presentations. I found these features in my Inspiron.

Specification for the Dell Inspiron E1505

While the basic specifications for this model are probably adequate to meet most people's needs, I needed to customize my computer so that it would be able to handle animation software and video editing software. I upgraded to the highest processing speed of 2.16GHz, I doubled the memory, and I added a wireless card. I also upgraded the software package to include Microsoft Office and the full version of Adobe Acrobat. In addition to the upgrades that I made to my computer Dell also included: a battery, an AC adapter, Photoshop, and a variety of other software programs.

My Experience with the Dell Inspiron E1505

The first thing that I noticed when I first set up my computer is that the picture clarity was superb. I also enjoyed the fact that I could watch a DVD on my computer while working on a data file. The Bluetooth capabilities of the Inspiron E1505 are also fantastic. I think that the wireless keyboard and mouse make this notebook a lot easier to use, especially for word processing.

While I enjoyed all of the perks offered by the Dell Inspiron E1505, I have had a few problems with my machine. The first problem is that it seems to run slower than a 2.16 GHz machine should run. Now this observation could be due to my limited experience working with a notebook, and it could also be due to the animation software that I have loaded on my machine. The second problem that I had was with the Bluetooth wireless drivers. As a result of this problem I have not been able to use my Bluetooth mouse, however, the Bluetooth keyboard works fine. This problem could be a problem with the mouse instead of a problem that the notebook has.

Price

The Dell Inspiron E1505 retails for about $949. However, if you wait for one of Dell's great sales you can save $200 or more off the list price. I bought mine during a special promotion and actually saved about $400 off the entire package. If you have good credit you can also finance your notebook for about $23 per month. Dell also offers special discounts for small businesses, CPAs, teachers, and other professionals.

If you are interested in accessories for your computer then Dell offers a great selection of cameras, cases, tablets, and printers. Dell even selects several prized accessories for your machine and they offer you a great discount on these accessories if you order them when you order your computer. If you don't see what you want on your check out pages then you can also shop at the Dell store. Here you will find wireless devises, tablets, and other high quality digital accessories.…

Product Review: E-Machines Computers

Computers. Is that all there is to say? Does everyone already know how much they can do? Do you cringe at all the possibilities out there with this power at your fingertips? Boy I do. I bought an E-Machines. To the tune of $600 I got 120 GB hard drive, 512 MB RAM, a DVD+/-RW double layer burner, and a whole world of interest to write about, browse about, connect with, and share. I can email family and friends who are 875 miles away, listen to them perform, goof off, and share pictures of everything.

But you can do that too can't you? That's great. Now, what do you do about viruses? Trojans? I can tell you what I did, computer savvy as I am. I called E-Machines 23-hour-7 days a week tech support. And they DID help. Step by step, over the phone, and nothing has been more appreciated in this matter than that. My membership came with the purchase of my computer, as I am sure your tech support service has also.

Big Fix is incorporated with this as well. And naturally, Microsoft has their updates going too. But how many times have you called one of them 2 o'clock in the a.m. and gotten your problem fixed? I mean fixed, not patched. And will replace any faulty equipment, should there be any, free of charge and free of shipping. THAT was nice of them I would say. A real person, first call.

So, I am not really writing about the internet, or all the cool or unsavory things you can do with one, but about the brand of affordable technology, and my experiences with this company and their product. E-Machines went on sale at Wal-Mart for close to $1,000. That was with only 80GB of hard drive. Then newer stuff came out, and the market opened up for bigger, better, faster and naturally companies lowered their prices to compete.

Folks, you gotta take it from me. Sometimes cheaper, with a plan, can be beneficial for the time being. Even rewarding. Look at me, making money with mine. You can't beat that. You can even buy their line of CD-ROM protection software, and eliminate the need of calling them a few more times than necessary. They will keep you on their subscription plan for the first year, and I remember thinking it was quite affordable to renew it if I had a job at the time it ran out. Certainly cheaper than renewing Norton, which I also recommend.

If this computer crashed, burnt, and I was unable to use it anymore, and I went to Wal-Mart and saw this product on the shelf, I would purchase it again. Over any other they advertised. The name is all I need. I trust them completely.…

Are Computer Viruses Really a Threat?

There comes a time when almost everyone thinks twice about laying down the bucks for a Norton or MacAfee Upgrade. Is there really a threat out there, or is it all hype by the software companies trying to scare us into buying their software.

Sadly, the answer is yes, unequivocally yes, there are viruses out there, a lot of them; just last year the London Times reported that the number of active computer viruses had topped one million. And there are a lot of people busily developing new ones as you read this. Recent statistics have shown that as much as thirty percent of all e-mails sent across the Internet are launched by viruses that have taken over someone’s computer and e-mail account, quite often without the owner ever being aware. The situation is so dire that the FBI has set up a cyber division to “address cybercrime in a coordinated and cohesive manner.”

The good news is that most modern viruses are created for the purpose of stealing information, rather than destroying it; if you can call that good news. The bad news is that it has become so easy to create a virus now that virtually anyone can download the necessary tools, create a new virus and release it, all in just a few minutes time. This means, for example, someone visiting your home for a picnic perhaps, could get on your computer, write a virus and release it, leaving a trail back to you.

The question most people ask after finding their computer infected is, why? Why do people write viruses? Why do they unleash them on others? What is their deal?

Well, believe it or not, some studies have been done and it seems there are a variety of reasons a person might have for becoming a virus writer. The biggest seems to be because it gives people who feel they have no control over their lives a way of wresting some control back without having to actually do anything in their real lives. Another reason is because there are people who are politically motivated or are angry at Microsoft or other big software or computer companies. They want to hurt them, by hurting their customers. Finally, there are people out there who just want to feel superior to others by writing viruses that only infect if someone on the other end does something, like click on an attachment to an e-mail, or a picture on a web site. In these scenarios, the person is actually infecting themselves through their own actions.

Next, people generally want to know if they (their computer) are safe. The answer to this one is, it depends on how diligent they are. Just as people who wash their hands a lot and don’t touch stuff that people with biological viruses have touched, are less prone to catching a virus, so too are people who install anti-virus software on their computers, keep them up to date, don’t click on attachments in e-mails from people they don’t know and avoid questionable web sites, particularly those peddling smutty stuff. Also, it should be noted that it is true that those people using computers from Apple or other companies that run operating systems not from Microsoft are relatively safe simply because there are so few of them compared to the standard Windows, which means the virus writer won’t get much of a bang for their efforts.

Finally, what sort of things can happen to you and your computer if you do get infected? The answer depends on what sort of virus or attack you experience. …

Three Places to Buy a Macintosh Computer in Phoenix, Arizona

Right now, Macintosh computers are still nowhere near as common as Windows-based computers. First, they have a higher price of admission. And not as many retail stores carry them. In the Phoenix area, there are few choices. Here's what you can expect from them.

The Apple Store – There are five Apple Stores in the metro Phoenix area. Each shares the same "we're hipper than you and we know it" vibe that was pilloried in an episode of The Simpsons (curiously enough, this episode is not mentioned on the Apple Store Wikipedia page – interesting). The employees are a bit saccharin, but gamely try hard when confronted with a technical challenge beyond a mere sales pitch. Here's where the Apple Store really falls down, though – big crowds can monopolize the sales staff. And guess who has to ring you up? The same people who are occupied trying to sell product. I roamed the store recently for about 10 minutes, searching for someone I could pay (I had a wireless keyboard and a seven-port USB hub in-hand). No dice, no takers, not even a "can I help you?". I re-shelved the products and walked out. I still have yet to buy anything at a Mac store despite a few attempts. It's almost as if people want to be seen at the Apple Store. And Apple seems perfectly content with the spectacle.

Best Buy – The scene here is typical big-box fare. There's also a dearth of software and hardware options for the Mac crowd. Best Buy seems more interested, really, in iPads than in desktop computers. It's scarcely worth mentioning, and will likely appeal only to fans of the anonymous chain store flavor.

MacMedia – This retailer's two locations are scrubbed clean of the wild-eyed evangelism and slickness of the Apple Store. Sales staff members will actually admit to familiarity with the Windows world, and will offer answers beyond "Mac is better." Being a small staff, you might have to wait your turn for other customers. But the staff will acknowledge that you're there, and that they'll help you out as soon as possible. The selection is solid – and a bit more varied. The Biltmore Apple Store is moments from my home and walking distance from work, while MacMedia's Scottsdale location is at least 10 minutes away. So far, I've made all my Mac purchases there. It's not salesmanship and flash like the Apple Store – MacMedia is a more conventional and service-oriented shopping experience.…

Overcoming Fear – Upgrading My Computer

Just the other day I accomplished something that had been nagging at me for the past year. I went out and purchased a memory upgrade for my iBook computer and actually installed it myself, with nobody there to help me.

Now I realize that on the surface this may seem like a minor and insignificant event, but for someone like me, who has always lived in fear of making mistakes and as a consequence, relinquished responsibility for my actions by relying on others to take care of things, doing this with my own two hands was a huge undertaking.

Computers (especially Macs), after all, are expensive machines and should not to be trifled with. If there is a problem and ignoring it is no longer an option, then leave it to the professionals. As far as upgrading the system, forget about it! Just save up and buy a new one.

I use my computer all the time, mainly to write and surf the Web. While I am reasonably competent at installing software or downloading attachments, I am not a techie, not by a long shot. I count on the fact that when I push that power button, my computer turns on without a glitch. If something goes wrong, I’ll simply turn it off and try again.

So for me to take the initiative and actually modify the hardware was nothing short of a revolution. This, of course, got me to thinking – what exactly was I so afraid of? Why am I always making such mountains out of molehills?

Well, at the root of it all is fear of the unknown, coupled with the fear of doing something wrong, not to mention the dire consequences that I’d been conditioned to believe were awaiting my every mistake. Whether or not I actually made the mistake was irrelevant.

So rather than assert myself and take control of the situation, and thus my life, I generally choose to defer responsibility (and thus the blame for any problems) to someone else. Namely an “expert.” What constitutes an expert is often times anybody but myself, regardless of their level of expertise.

When I look around me, I get a sense that I might not be alone. After all, entire industries have sprung up around this concept of fear. It seems to have become socially acceptable to be afraid and, as a consequence, turn to an “expert” for guidance and advice on how to do just about everything.

Bear in mind, I fully acknowledge the importance of an expert in certain areas. I go to the doctor when I’m sick, and when I need legal counseling I talk to a lawyer, even though he’s charging me two hundred dollars an hour.

But I think it’s fair to say that things have gotten a bit out of hand, and in the grand scheme of things, it seems like we’ve simply given up on just thinking for ourselves. This need for expertise has invaded all aspects of our lives, including how we interact with our loved ones, what foods we’re supposed to eat, and which clothes we’re supposed to wear. We even turn to experts to tell us how to be happy.

And of course, let us not forget about parenting.

Marketers have shamelessly targeted the vulnerable parent, praying on their fears, fanning the flames of their anxieties to induce them to spend their money on goods and services that make unfound (and often times ridiculous) claims while undermining their confidence to do even the most basic things. I read about a mother and father who went so …

The Changing Face of Computer Service

The field of servicing computers has changed with time. Previously there were only hardware issues and compatibility problems between various pieces of hardware. Now there are more numbers of software problems. Basically the transition is from ‘something broke’ stage to ‘how do I do this’. The computer industry has changed also. Plug and play technology has resolved major configuration and compatibility issues. The cost of computers has also come down in a big way.

Today’s pieces of software have become complicated and sophisticated while getting bigger and resource-hungry all the time. It has come to a point that the average user is not able to figure out most of the things when using the software. The vendors who sell the software provide lackluster support for their products. These affected users then turn to the local computer repair outfit. The queries range from being unable to sync iPods to unable to login to Gmail.

The local repair shop is able to fix computers physically and they are usually expected to know all the software that is out there. Sometimes the local shops do know about major software, but they cannot keep up with all the available software. It is possible to figure the new software out but time costs money. The software vendors know this, so they charge a per incident cost for support. They thus avoid having to do phone support as many users would go to some other less expensive way of troubleshooting the problems. The software vendors cite controlling support costs as the reason.

That is the next factor, the cost of providing the service. To be able to keep pace with all software that is out there requires constant training and upgradation of systems and all that costs cash. There is also the cost of operating vehicles, insurance, the general business costs and it all adds up quickly. Training and experience is what separates the $15/hr computer technician from the one who charges $100/hr.

The final point this discussion leads to, is the cost of the service or repair. Computers, once they are one to two years old, are not worth more than what a repair would cost. In the case of software, some hours of can cost more than the software itself. So what are the cost options of a computer service company? They can’t afford not to charge for what needs to be charged. They can absorb the costs but not for too long as then they would be out of business. They can cut back on the quality of service and people but that won’t be good for the customers.

As a computer user, your choices are to fix problems yourself in a DIY manner, contact the vendor’s technical support, or pay your local computer repair outfit. It can be a Catch-22 situation for both the technician and the consumer. No matter which way is adopted it will cost them both. This is the modern face of offering computer service as a business.…

Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Windows XP Computer

We all have experienced issues of slowness with our Windows PC's. That, or we've experienced the slowness of our parent's PC's when we visit them and get the dreaded request to fix their problems. While we all know that the first step is to run a virus scan, that isn't always going to fix the issue of a slow PC. With today's powerful anti-virus software, a PC is far more likely to succumb to non-viral malicious software such as spyware and trojans. These aren't normally detected in the virus program you're running. Besides that, installing and uninstalling programs, switching and swapping files, and even simply browsing the internet can add things into you system that slows it down. Your system backbone, the registry, can easily get clogged up, and it is very dangerous to try and clean it up yourself. So what can you do? There are many advanced tutorials on the web that can help, but may be too in depth for some users. Follow these tips to keep your PC running as smooth as it did when you first bought it.

Tip 1: Don't be afraid to wipe out and start over.

Formatting the hard drive and starting over can be one of the most feared processes to the general user. What most don't realize is that when you format your drive and reinstall windows, you're wiping out all acquired spyware, viruses, system errors, and user errors. The PC is being reverted back to the way it was when it was purchased. For those who know how to do it and don't have any critical data, this can be the quickest fix for a slow machine. However, if you have data that is important, it will need to be backed up on a flash drive, or a cd. You will also need to know how your machine is reformatted. Most of the time a quick email to tech support can get you the steps, and they are generally easy for anyone to follow.

Tip 2: Anti-virus, Service Pack 2, Spyware Blocker

These are very basic necessities for a secure system. You need a strong anti-virus running to keep your system intact. What people don't realize is, choosing the wrong security software can slow your computer down in itself. If your computer is 4-5 years old, DO NOT purchase Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet Security. Both of these programs are overkill, and they use too many resources on machines that only have 256 RAM. Simply purchase Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee Anti-Virus. These keep viruses off your system without dragging down your resources. Neither program comes with a firewall, but if you have Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2), you already have a decent firewall.

To find out whether or not you have SP2, right click on the 'My Computer' icon and click Properties. It should tell you that you have Windows XP Home, Pro, or Media Center, as well as what Service Pack you have. It is critical for a machine with an internet connection to have SP2, as it tightens the security of the system. SP2 can be obtained by clicking 'Windows Update' from your programs list, or by visiting microsoft.com.

Last but not least, you should have a spyware program to protect your system. It is possible to download Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Personal for free from download.com. This program does not keep spyware off your machine, but if run once a week it can clean out any acquired spyware. It's great for speeding up a system. However, there are spyware programs that run in …

Windows XP Tricks for Speeding Up Your Computer

Is your computer running slower than it used to, and you're certain you don't have a virus? There can be a lot of common problems behind this. My previous XP article discussed reducing the number of startup programs on your computer; this article will cover a few of the more common issues, such as Some of the effects that slow your PC are:

1–Oddly enough, your own desktop wallpaper can be the culprit. A blank wallpaper will work the best for speed, if not aesthetics. Right-click on the desktop, click the Wallpaper bar and choose this option.

2–Movement or sounds when starting up your computer will also only slow your PC even more–even the startup/shutdown sounds. Removing the unnecessary sounds is another way to speed up your computer. Use the control panel to accomplish this.

3–Also, try getting rid of extraneous shortcuts on your desktop. Removing these will cut down on the startup time of XP. Unlike the programs themselves, the shortcuts are unwanted and safe to remove. Successfully removing the shortcut will give you the following message: "Are you sure you want to delete this shortcut?" This will let you know you're deleting the shortcut and not the program.

4–You may have added too many extensions to your browser (this is especially common in Firefox, where installing addons is so easy.) They add up and slow down your computer's speed, so removing the unnecessary ones will help you give it a boost.

5–For some reason, MS images can end up all over your computer, taking up space you could use and slowing you down. Try to organize your photos, keeping the ones you want and getting rid of the others.

6–Use the built-in search option to look for files you don't want. XP lets you search for files by their type; such as all photos with .gif extensions. You can find all the .gif files on your computer, and remove all the unwanted image files. You can do the same for almost any file type, including sounds and written documents. Just make sure you aren't removing files you need; if you find yourself in doubt, it's better to leave that file alone.

7–One overlooked reason for a slow computer can be simply too many bookmarks in your browser's file, along with the browsing history and cookies. With the "tools" section of the browser you can control these problems and delete any unneeded information. Doing this once a week should help keep your speed maximized.

These seven tips are only meant to improve your computer's performance if you have no virus. Don't use them if you think your PC might be infected, and try to get some anti-virus software ASAP.…