Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Details About the HP Slate

New Details About the HP Slate

If you're a PC person and you've been thinking about making the switch to Apple because you just can't resist those neat little iPads, wait! Hewlett Packard is coming out with its own version of the tablet computer, called the "Slate." Last week, the computer maker released some details about the new computer. The Slate's screen is going to be smaller and have a lower resolution than the iPad but it has more features - from cameras to Adobe Flash Support.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer first mentioned the device at the January Consumer Electronics Show, but of course the constant talk of Apple's iPad drowned out any hype of what could become the device's biggest competitor. But how does it stack up against it?

For starters, the Slate features two cameras, the iPad does not. One works for things such as video conferencing and the other is a high-resolution, three megapixel camera for taking pictures. There's also the SD card reader that holds up to 128GB, a USB 2.0 port (iPad dosn't offer this), audio and HDMI out. And the slate runs on a 1.6 GHz Atom microprocessor compared to the one-GHz A4 on the iPad.

On the downside, the Slate's screen is smaller - 8.9 inches compared to the iPad's 9.7 inches - and the screen resolution is higher: 1024x600 to the iPad's 1024x768. However, the Slate can run higher-def videos 1080p (iPad only goes up to 720p).

The Slate will run an HP-developed touchscreen interface and Windows 7 Home Premium compared to the iPad, which runs the iPhone operating system. But many industry insiders are saying that the real appeal of the iPad isn't the device itself, but instead, the number of apps you can buy from Apple's app store (over 150,000) and with Apple's new deals in the publishing world, you can now or soon read a number magazines, best-selling books, and comics on the the device.

There's no word as to when the Slate will be released, but it looks like the 32GB model (with Wi-Fi) will sell for about $550 and the 64GB model (also with Wi-Fi) will sell for about $599. The entry-level iPad, which is 16GB (with Wi-Fi) sells for about $499. The 32GB model sells for $599 and the 64GB model sells for $699.

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, April 21, 2010

Tips for Protecting your Laptop Data

Tips for Protecting your Laptop Data

Recently, I learned the hard way that it's important to protect your laptop. When a virus wiped out my hard drive, I lost Word documents, work information, personal pictures and videos...well, the list is endless. But even then, I know it could have been much worse. What if my laptop had been stolen or being as forgetful as I am, I left it unattended somewhere? What if someone had hacked into my information? I use my laptop for everything from shopping to paying bills to keeping up with my bank accounts and it would be so easy for someone to steal my identity or gain access to confidential information.

Almost 12,000 laptops are lost each week - yes, week - in United States airports and only about 30% are ever returned to their owners. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to protect your data from the wrong people.

1. Passwords - Both your admin account and the user account should have a unique password, and some laptops allow you to set a boot password in BIOS (this one should be unique from your Windows passwords). These won't keep hard-core criminals out of your data, but they will deter your every day busybody. In both the BIOS and your user account, you can make your settings so that if someone enters the wrong password X amount of times, they get locked out of the account. And of course, don't easily guessed passwords.

2. Fingerprint Recognition - Lots of laptops come with fingerprint scanners these days and it's in your best interest to take advantage of them. It only takes a few minutes to scan each of your fingers into the system. Again, a criminal with extensive knowledge is not going to let fingerprint scans stop him, but the average person won't be able to access your data.

3. Encryption - Encryption is the best way to keep your data under wraps. You can move the drive to a new system and it is still encrypted, making it almost impossible for someone to access your data without access to your key. There are several programs you can use to encrypt your hard drive. These include: BitLocker Drive Encryption and TrueCrypt.

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, April 7, 2010

Redbox Ready to Give Netflix Some Competition

redbox streamingStreaming video is becoming increasingly popular. People can stream movies and televison programs directly to their TV or laptop within seconds. I know that I use my laptop all of the time to watch streaming movies that are included with my Netflix account. Now a recent survey conducted by Redbox has revealed that they might be preparing to give Netflix a run for their money. If the survey is to be believed, Redbox is contemplating streaming movies over the Internet for a small percentage of what Netflix charges.

Before discussing this latest possible development, let’s go back in history a little bit. Netflix first came on the playing field when they began offering essentially unlimited video rental for a fraction of the price that major video-rental chains charged. Netflix forced many different video-rental stores out of business. Why would someone want to pay somewhere around $5 for one single movie when Netflix offered there cheapest plan for just $4.99. Redbox then entered into the realm with their dollar-per-video-per-night rental plan. This caused even more problems for chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. Now Redbox is surveying people to see if they would be interested in a low-cost video streaming service.

The survey that Redbox conducted asked people to rate how interested they would be in a rental service that cost about half of what the same plan would cost from Netflix. The plan that the survey was questioning people’s interest in cost $3.95 a month and included unlimited streaming video access and four free kiosk rentals.

Now don’t think that this new streaming service from Redbox is a done deal or anything yet. A spokesman said, “It's not necessarily an indication of something that Redbox is interested in doing.” Redbox just wanted to get a feel for how people would react to them supplying such a service.

Netflix started their video streaming service in 2007. Their “Watch Instantly” movies were definitely slim pickings. As a Netflix member myself, I’ve noticed that selection is getting better as of late, but it still isn’t great. Hopefully, if Redbox continues with this idea they will provide a better selection of online material than Netflix has. A $3.95 per month unlimited streaming access would really put a dent in Netflix’s side, if Redbox really had a decent selection. To get unlimited streaming access with Netflix, you have to go up to the $8.99 per month plan.

One aspect of all of this that wasn’t discussed was which devices Redbox might stream to. Netflix already streams to three different video game systems, the Apple iPad, and very soon it will be streaming to the iPhone. The spokesman for Redbox said, “Redbox certainly understands that the entertainment model is continually evolving.”

It will be interesting to see where all this goes. All I know is that if Redbox comes out with a $3.95 per month streaming plan with even a half decent selection, I’m going to definitely be switching from Netflix.

Suggested Reading:

Change Your Font. Save Money.

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, April 4, 2010

New Keyboard Dock for the Apple iPad

ipad keyboard dockThere has been quite a bit of hype lately surrounding Apple’s new iPad. Its a very interesting creature. The greatest selling point is definitely it’s sleek appearance. The shiny, brushed aluminum backed gadget is almost elegant looking. One of the reasons for this attractiveness is the absence of a keyboard. The problem with being keyboard-less is that many people will not be able (or maybe not want) to huddle over the device to punch on the on-screen keys for an extended period of time. Even when you set the iPad on a table or desk, there is still an annoying wobble that you must deal with due to the it’s slightly bowed back. Well, for iPad users who miss the traditional keyboard that comes with laptops and desktop computers, Apple has released a solution. There is now a iPad Keyboard Dock that provides you with the comfort of a keyboard while also holding your iPad upright for easy visibility. Those who couldn’t part with their keyboard can now feel completely at home with their new iPad.

The keyboard dock is very conveniently designed. It is small (0.5 x 11 x 4.5 inches HWD) and wireless. It is constructed with a brushed aluminum shell that features 77 fully separated, shallow keys that make typing on the iPad a breeze. The dock has a raised back that allows the keyboard to be slightly angled forward for ease and comfort. At the back of the keyboard, there is a power connector and a Line Out that lets you easily hook up speakers for the iPad. You’ll need a 10-watt power adapter to be able to utilize the dock, but this is included when you purchase the iPad. With that adapter, there is also a detachable USB cable that is included as well. This allows you to connect the keyboard directly to your computer so that you can sync the two devices. You are also able to use a few other accessories with the Keyboard Dock including the iPad Camera Connection Kit and the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter. Another advantage to having the Keyboard Dock is that if you have the iPad docked, the keyboard will charge your device.

If you don’t want to deal with the annoyance of attempting to type for long periods of time on the iPad then the Keyboard Dock is just what you are looking for. It will make you feel right at ease with typing anything. It will be available in late April and will be listed for $69.

To read more about the iPad and mobile technology visit our Working On The Go Blog.

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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Acer's New Aspire Ethos TouchScreen Laptop

Acer's New TouchScreen Laptop

This week, Acer announced its new Aspire Ethos laptops. The laptops have a secondary touchscreen, which doubles as a touchpad. The new technology is meant to help users navigate through multimedia content. The touchscreen is placed below the keyboard where a touchpad would normally be located and it displays movie and music navigation icons. According to spokesperson for the company, the icons allow you to do thing such as adjust volume or go through images.

In a press release, Acer said, "The media console is now combined with the touchpad, providing a set of commands all managed by a single key and a completely new approach to entertainment control." They also stated that the new technology leaves the laptop's surface looking clean and elegant.

According to PC World, Acer is not the only company looking to make touchpads a little fancier. Synaptics is adding gesture functionality, which allows users to perform routine tasks more quickly. They also report that Intel has suggested auxiliary screens that display widgets that allow you to do things such as type Twitter messages replace touchpads.

The new Acer laptops feature Advanced Micro Devices ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards, which are great for watching HD DVDs. They can also be bought with Blu-ray Disc drives and they each run Intel's Core i5 or Core i7 processors. The laptops also include Acer's Arcade Deluxe multimedia management software, which allows users to take more advantage of the touchpad controls and makes it easier to share content through YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr.

The Ethos 8943G will have a 18.4-inch screen and the Ethos 5943G will feature a 15.6-inch screen. Each one will have up to 1.28TB of storage through two 640GB hard drives, as well as including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Release dates and prices are not yet available.

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.