Upgrade your laptop!

If you own a laptop that was made within the past year, then listen up! There's a technology out there that's not new, but it's getting cheaper. It's called SSD or Solid State Drive. You know the whirring and clicking sounds your hard drive sometimes makes when it is searching for something or when you first turn it on? Well, you can say goodbye to all of that and goodbye to some of the heat, goodbye to worrying about messing up your hard drive by moving it around too much, and goodbye to some of the time it takes to boot and do other things.

How is this possible, you say? Well, to appreciate the present, you have to know about the past. Normal hard drives have mechanical parts. There are "Platters" that hold the data and spin around, and "arms" that move back and forth to read or write data. The platters are thin pieces of magnetic material in the shape of a circle that rotates like a record. All this movement creates heat. Any abrupt movement can send the arm crashing into the platter and cause physical damage. Plus, all of this stuff makes the hard drive bulky and heavy...especially compared to a SSD.

Ok, so a SSD, solid state drive, is kindof like a thumb drive. Instead of moving parts, you have a smaller device that stores the information on circuits and electronic parts. Since there's no moving parts, you have less heat that's generated and quicker response time. You can move the laptop around without worrying about messing up the hard drive.

Here's the catch, though. The cheapest SSD costs about $170 for 64GB. Honestly, I think that price is worth it if you don't need a ton of storage. If you're a business person on the go, your data is very important. The cost for recovering data from a damaged hard disk drive can be very expensive, so the $170 pays for itself.

In comparison, you can buy a 500GB hard disk drive or hdd for $75. One of the larger ssd's, 256GB, will cost you about $650, so the cost is still a little high and maybe unjustifiable for the larger drives. If you're planning on carrying around a bunch of photos, music and movies on your laptop, you might not want to go with SSD right now, unless you store everything on an external, but then you're just setting yourself up for trouble. External drives are great, but if you're carrying that around with you everywhere with your laptop, you risk damaging it because of all the movement. If did want to go with a SSD and large external HDD, you should just make sure that you turn off or unplug the external HDD whenever you get ready to move it around. And make sure that it is on a flat stable surface.

Here's a link to Crucial where you can find out if your laptop is compatible. Crucial is usually a little higher priced than Newegg.com, but Crucial is great for figuring out what type of memory you need for your computer and what kind of SSD will work with your computer.

http://www.crucial.com/store/ssd.aspxhttp://www.crucial.com/store/ssd.aspx

Also, it's worth mentioning that you can use a SSD with a desktop computer. HDD's will still fail in desktop systems, so if you have the cash for it, it's worth doing. You get the same benefits--less heat, power, risk of failure, and better performance.

weebly and yola

hey ya'll. this is your friend, Chris, lettin' you in on a secret. if you want your own website, and you don't know how to build it, there are some free hosts out there that have some awesome site builders. what's a site builder, you say? well, one definition of a site builder is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) that allows you to "build" your web site so that you can see what it is going to look like before you publish it. often with these types of services, you'll see a drag and drop interface to add widgets and other tools. for example, if you want to add a text widget, you just drag it from their toolbar to wherever you want it to appear on your web page and voila! there are two of these site builders that i'll be telling you about today that I have found to be very useful.

Weebly is a very robust site builder that allows you to add widgets and other elements to your site with little to no effort. if you want a blog, you add a blog page and you are ready to go. you can select a template, build your site, and even change the template if you don't like the look of it. all of your text and widgets you added will stay, but your template or look of the site will change. and if you do know a little about css and html, you can even add your own or edit the code that's already there. some of the templates contain images that can also be changed as well.

Yola is very similar to Weebly. you have templates and widgets and blogging and the WYSIWYG. from what i have seen from just playing with it for a few minutes, it doesn't look like you can edit the html or css files as you can with Weebly. So, you're stuck with their templates. but, on the other hand, their templates look a little better than most of the ones at weebly, so there's a trade-off. If you are willing to fork over about $40, you can purchase one of their more professional-looking templates. overall, this is a great option for people who want a website, but don't know how to code.

In fact, either one is great for people who don't know how to code. some of the widgets that both services offer are appointment scheduling, google maps, contact forms, online polls, picture galleries, and discussion forums. granted, you are kindof limited with some of the widgets unless you pay extra, but for the most part, you can do a lot.

one thing worth mentioning is that with both of these, if you have your own domain name, you can link that domain name to either service. otherwise, you'll have a web address that is a subdomain of either weebly or yola. and in case you didn't know, you can do the same thing with some of the other free services out there that you may already know about, such as blogger and wordpress.

both services, weebly and yola, are free unless you want to use some of their advanced features. so everyone, go out and build your website!

TeamViewer

Found a free remote desktop app a few weeks ago that I thought I would share with my readers. It's called TeamViewer and it is free for non-commercial use, which is always awesome.

So what does it do? Well, let me tell you. TeamViewer is a remote desktop application that allows you do the functions of GoToMyPC without paying a monthly fee. You can share your desktop, allow another user to control it, transfer files, and use it as a VPN.

One of the cool features of this software is that you don't have to install anything ahead of time on the remote PC. I have Logmein Free installed on some family computers and after my pro trial expired, I couldn't create a link for them to use in order to install the necessary software. With TeamView, i send the person a link and they download and install the software. Once it is installed, they give me an ID and password, provided by the software. I enter the data and voila, i am connected to their machine. Each time I connect, it creates a new password making it more secure. Speaking of security, the software also uses 256-bit encryption for the connection so the information that goes across is very safe. If I want to be able to connect to an unattended machine, I can set a permanent password that doesn't change. This is especially handy if I want to use this on a personal computer that I want to access away from home. Or if I want to access my work computer from home.

The only catch with the free version that might affect most people is that you cannot install it on a machine running a server OS. They want you upgrade to the business version for that. I can live with that, though. And you can only install the client-side software 1 time--but you can connect to as many hosts as you want. As long as you only connect from one computer to the host computers, then it is not an issue.

Now, all that being said, I haven't really tested the software. i guess I just like the idea of how it works. I do plan on using it in the future.

http://www.teamviewer.com