Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Unibody MacBook Gets Educational Price Drop

Apple Unibody MacBookWhen the polycarbonate, unibody MacBook was first released by Apple, many people were turned away from it. It wasn't that the laptop itself was horrible, despite a few shortcomings. The problem many people had with it was that device itself didn't seem to warrant a $999 price tag. Well good news, for some of you out there, has just been seen on Apple's website. The unibody MacBook has just seen a price drop to $728. But there is a catch. The $728 price is only available to students and educators and for a limited time only.

The MacBook is a good laptop all around. It comes with a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 250GB hard drive. Along with that you get 8x double-layer SuperDrive, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card and a built-in battery with an expected 7hr life.

Students and educators should take advantage of this deal as soon as possible because there is no word on when the sale will end and if you are looking at getting a MacBook you have no time to waste. Looking at Apple's website it appears you also get free shipping as well, another great deal to take advantage of as long as it lasts.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Google Gboard

gboardSo Gmail has always had keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate around your e-mail, but they aren’t exactly what most people would call easy to learn. Well now, the Google e-mail service is introducing the Gboard that will solve this problem. It is just being released today and can be purchased for the very reasonable price of $19.99.

The Gboard is the size of a standard numberpad keyboard and features 19 brightly colored keys. These keys all allow you to utilize shortcuts dealing with your Gmail. Gmail-specific features include starring messages, starting a search, and jumping between message threads. When the Gboard is not used with Gmail, the buttons will simply act like normal keyboard buttons and type whatever letter or number that corresponds with the shortcut.

Conveniently, the Gboard is powered through a USB port. This means that you will not need any special software or driver. You will have to enable keyboard shortcuts under Gmail’s settings before utilizing your Gboard, but that isn’t any difficult task.

This device was interestingly enough not created by Google. It was actually though up by a film producer from Venice, CA named Charlie Mason. This is his first development involving computer hardware.

People are either going to love or hate the Gboard. If people have already mastered all the shortcuts that are utilized with Gmail, then they will find it completely unnecessary and have no need for it. It could be very useful to people who have not or have been unable to master the shortcuts though.

With a total of 69 shortcuts and many more to come if Google releases some of their experimental features that are currently being tested in the labs, the Gboard could be the first step to developing a full-sized version with more than 100 keys. For now though, the Gboard should satisfy Gmail users who have had issues with figuring out the shortcuts, and the low price tag just can’t be beat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Onkyo's DX Dual-Screen Laptop

Onkyo's DX dual-screen laptopNot too long ago I posted a story here about Japanese company Kohjinsha's prototype dual-screen swivel netbook. Well in response to the innovative new technology, the designers over at Onkyo have developed their own dual screened laptop and while Kohjinsha did come out with one first, Onkyo, it seems, has significantly raised the bar.

As promised at CEATEC, Onkyo's laptop offers dual 10.1-inch 1,366x768 pixel LCD displays as opposed to the 10.1-inch 1,024x600 pixel LCD displays seen on Kohjinsha's laptop. But what is impressive about Onkyo's screens is that they make them better than Kohjinsha's without increasing the overall size of the device.

Onkyo's laptop contains a 1.6 GHz Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU similar to the AMD Athlon MV-40 in Kohjinsha's laptop. Onkyo's has an ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and 3 USB jacks. Starting off you will get 2GB of memory which is expandable to 4GB. Onkyo's device also comes with a 320GB 5,400rpm disk, Gigabit Ethernet and the 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.

What makes Onkyo's dual-screen laptop even more desirable than Kohjinsha's is the price. Onkyo's laptop comes under a price tag of 84,000 Yen which translates to roughly $966 US. Kohjinsha's device comes in at 79,000 Yen which transfers to about $909 US. while this price is less than Onkyo's, you will only get it if you but it directly from Kohjinsha's retail site. If you don't, then you will be hit with a price of 100,800 Yen or about $1,148 US. Overall the DX from Onkyo looks to be a much better deal than Kohjinsha's device. Look for this one to hit the market by late February 2010.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Best Free Antivirus Protection Programs for Your Computer

antivirus protection programI understand how sometimes money is tight and you don’t have the extra cash to spend on nonessential things. Things like protection for your computer don’t really make the top of the list, but it is still very important. The Internet is full of brilliant ideas, research material, news, incredible software, and about everything you could imagine, but there is also a huge amount of content that can be incredibly harmful for your computer. It is absolutely 100% necessary to use antivirus and antispyware protection if your computer is connected to the internet. Even if you have your computer locked in a WiFi-proof Faraday cage with no connection to the outside world, you still run the risk of being intruded by threats like the Conficker worm that can slip onto your computer via a removable drive. You simply must have security software on your computer. So you say that you don’t have the cash to put out for virus protection? No problem! You can get reasonably good protection for your computer without paying a cent.

If you do decide to put out some money towards virus protection software, Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 2010 and Prevx 3.0 are both great option. If you’re okay with putting out a little more money to purchase a full suite, you will get even better protection. Norton Internet Security 2010 is considered the best by many reviewers. BitDefender Internet Security 2010 and ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 are both also considered great options. If you really can’t afford to put out some cash for computer security software though, there are still plenty of options out there for you.

Most of the good, free products out there offer a full range of protection from malware (this includes virus, spyware, rootkits, etc). These programs will remove any malware that is already present on your computer and will prevent any new malware from installing itself on your computer. A program called HouseCall 7.1 takes a very different approach. HouseCall 7.1 will only scan your computer. It offers no real-time protection. The free edition of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware 1.36 is also a scan-only program. You have to pay if you want real-time protection. The way that programs such as these can be used is as a second opinion. It can help identify anything that your protection program might overlook.

IObit Security 360, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0, and avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 beta all offer free editions of their programs. AVG’s paid edition offers a more comprehensive type of protection, but the other two program’s free editions are fully functional.

The nice thing about using free protection services is that you can keep trying different ones until you find one that you really like. You can even install a combination of programs that will cover real-time protection and “second opinion” scanning. The only thing that I can say is don’t leave your computer unprotected. Even if you don’t have the funds to purchase a program, there is plenty of free protection out there that can keep your computer clean. Check out some of these programs below and find out which one works best for you.

avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 beta
avast! offers a very good protection program. It specializes in malware removal and rootkit removal tests. It has easy to use control settings and detailed reporting.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0

AVG honestly believes that everyone should have a free basic protection against the threats of the Internet. The company therefore offers a great free protection program that is much better than Microsoft’s free program.

Trend Micro HouseCall 7.1
This program utilizes a cloud-based malware database to quickly detect viruses and threats. It serves as a second opinion program that should be used in addition to a real-time protection program. It should not be your only anti-malware solution.

IObit Security 360
This program is easy to install and quickly scans and identifies problems, but the issue is that Iobit doesn’t remove or prevent any malware installation.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware 1.36
With this protection program, it does a very good job of cleaning up any malware, especially those terribly annoying rogue security programs, but it is not effective against commercial keyloggers or rootkits.

Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0
With Microsoft Security, you will receive some protection from malware, but honestly a lot of the other protection programs will satisfy your computer’s need much more efficiently.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Disney's Netpal Netbook: A Little Princess's Dream Come True

disney netpal by asusThe new Disney Netpal by ASUS is any kids dream come true. It truly is a netbook that is designed specifically for children. Everything that is included with the netbook is incredibly kid-oriented and the price is definitely parent-friendly.

The laptop itself is absolutely adorable. The Princess design is exactly what any girl that loves the Disney Princesses is looking for. Like I said, this is a little girls ideal netbook. The design of netbook is definitely not gender-neutral like the Dell Mini Nickelodeon Edition, but Disney has released a plain blue version that may appeal more to boys. The floral pattern of the Princess design swirls together the shapes of princesses, tiaras, and hearts that are found on the lid and the palm rest area.

The Netpal is based off of the ASUS EeePC1008HA (Seashell). The most obvious differences between the netbooks would be keyboard that was shrunk from 92% to 89% and the screen that was downsized from 10-inches to 8.9-inches. It also weighs a mere 2.4 pounds. ASUS does all this to make the netbook as child-friendly as they possibly can. Every single key on the keyboard is positioned according to the traditional keyboard standards. The chrome mouse button may be slightly difficult for your child to press, but they will quickly adjust.

Parents will appreciate the bundled software that comes standard with the Netpal. The Mini Nickelodeon offers a 15-month trial subscription of McAfee’s Family Security Center, but the Netpal comes with Disney’s own parental controls that don’t expire. The software goes above and beyond what most parental control programs provide though. Your child basically gets their own Windows user account which logs into the Disney environment and allows them to access a custom Web browser, their calendar app, an email account, and a variety of games. You, as the parent, have a separate account, locked by a password, that allows you to control everything that your child is allowed to do or see on their netbook.

The parental controls for the Netpal are quite extensive. Parents have the ability to choose which e-mail addresses their children can receive e-mail from, block any Website, and add or remove any type of application on an approved list. You are also given the power to decide when your child may access the Web or certain games or applications.

The features on the Netpal are pretty standard for a netbook. It includes a 160GB hard drive, three USB ports, a built-in Webcam, 4-in-1 card reader, VGA-out, and an Ethernet port. Honestly, I don’t think your child will need anything else.

Although it is a kid-focused netbook, ASUS made sure not to skimp on the processing aspects. The use of a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor and 1GB of memory can be found in most netbook. The Netpal’s battery is made out of Lithium Polymer, and according to MobileMark 2007, it scored 5 hours and 30 minutes of battery life. The battery is not removable, which should be appreciated as it can be a fire hazard.
This netbook is definitely not designed for an adult, but it is perfect for your little princess. It has numerous features that will keep your child happy and parental controls that will keep you happy knowing what your child is up to. This netbook can be found as low as $339.00. I would not be surprised if the Disney Netpal is at the top of many little princess’s Christmas lists.