Archive for the ‘Tech news’ Category

Is a DIY Computer for You?

Posted in Digital Data, laptop, Tech news  by Carol
December 14th, 2015

build your own computerYou may have heard of the latest trend among the tech savvy; it’s become common for people to build their own computers at home.

Obviously they’re not creating microprocessors in their garages, but they are figuring out exactly what kind of each component best suits their particular computing needs and then ordering and assembling them accordingly.

Why? Because when done properly, this allows users to assemble custom-made machines at a lower price, plus it’s a fun learning exercise and experiment for curious DIY enthusiasts.

If you’re interested and want to know more about the process of building your own computer, read on:

The first step in the process is identifying what kind of computer you want to build. Is the computer going to be used by your children for educational games and some internet browsing? In that case, you can save a lot of money by only purchasing the least powerful computing components; you really don’t need much to satisfy a 6 year old. On the other hand, if you’re interested in a machine with the processing power to support your high-end gaming hobby or you need a machine with a huge amount of disk space for your video editing business, you may see fit to splurge on more heavy-duty components.

Ok so let’s start with the motherboard. Motherboards have one of the most diverse ranges of potential of all electrical components.

Cheap motherboards are generally only cost around $50. More mediocre ones may range from $50-100. High-end ones for powerful gaming, computing, and video editing generally cost between $100 and $200. There are, of course, always extreme options that will cost even more because of their extra memory slots, special cooling features, or multiple CPU sockets.

Also worth considering: Are you an Intel or AMD person? What size of a motherboard do you want (i.e. how big of a computer were you planning on?). How many USB ports are you going to need? Do you want FireWire, a PCI Express graphics card, an HDMI port, or a TV tuner?

cheap motherboardAfter you’ve looked deep inside yourself and found the motherboard you need, you’ve opened the door to choosing the rest of your components (which generally need to be the right brand and pin configuration to fit your motherboard). ┬áThat means it’s time to start thinking about the right CPU for you and considering what kind of clock-speed you can afford. Clock speed refers to the amount of instructions that a CPU can execute in a second. That means a faster clock speed is great for high-processing functions like gaming but not as necessary for a computer generally used for Microsoft Word and mild internet browsing.

You’ll also want to look for the RAM that corresponds with your motherboard. If you opted into a motherboard that uses specialty RAM, make sure the additional RAM you purchase matches these requirements.

Then you have to choose a video card, an optical drive, and one or more hard disk drives for memory. Your motherboard will help you determine what options remain available to you in this regard; you might need a SATA 3.0GB/s or SATA 6GB/s.

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Archive for the ‘Tech news’ Category

Is a DIY Computer for You?

Posted in Digital Data, laptop, Tech news  by Carol
December 14th, 2015

internet of things

“The Internet of Things” (IoT) joined the rank of tech buzz phrases when Kevin Ashton (cofounder of MIT’s Auto ID Center) first mentioned it in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble in 1999. One decade later, the forward-thinker continues to elaborate on the concept in an article he wrote for the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Journal:

“Today’s computers- and, therefore, the internet- are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings- by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture of scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet include servers and routers and so on, but they leave out the most numerous and important routers of all: people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy- all of which mean they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world.”

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things- using data they gathered without any help from us- we could be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost,” he continued. “We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory. RFID and sensor technology enable computers to observe, identify, and understand the world- without the limitations of human-entered data.”

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Let’s back up for a second. For the record, a “thing” in the Internet of Things, can be a person, an animal, a vehicle, or anything else man-made or otherwise that has been assigned an IP address (a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network) and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.

For example, take the latest health-craze product known as the Fitbit. The Fitbit is, among other things, a pedometer that tracks the amount of steps taken by the wearer in a day. That information is then immediately sent to the user’s Fitbit account, so the user can track the changes of his or her daily movement. The Fitbit therefore occupies a space in the Internet of Things as it constantly transfers data, over a network, to be accessed by other devices.

Ashton believes that products like the Fitbit scrape only the tip of the Internet of Things iceberg: “It’s not just a ‘bar code on steroids’ or a way to speed up toll roads, and we must never allow our vision to shrink to that scale. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.”

That said, the Internet of Things has already come a long way from its humble beginnings; the first ever internet appliance was a lowly Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University. Its programmers manufactured it in the 1980’s with the intention of always knowing if it was stocked before they got up from their desks.

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