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10 Reasons Computer Rental is Smart

Computer rental is a growing trend due to the convenience and affordability of this smart option. Buying a computer just isn't the best choice for everyone. Sometimes your technology needs dictate another solution. To determine whether computer rental might be a better option for you, check out these reasons to rent!

Avoid the Big Price Tag: Perhaps the most obvious reason to avoid buying a new computer is the amount of money you need to pay for a new machine. Buying a new laptop or desktop will cost you hundreds of dollars up front, money you could save by renting rather than buying.

Don't Watch Your Investment Depreciate: When you invest money in something, you expect that money to pay off. However, most computers last for three to five years, meaning the money you pay for the machine now will be gone for good in no time at all. Why not rent a computer and put your extra money in a savings account?

Maintaining Your Machine: When you rent a computer, the maintenance of the equipment is the responsibility of the rental company. However, when you buy computer equipment, you're often stuck paying expensive repair bills and struggling with difficult-to-understand manuals. Keep it simple and rent instead.

Don't Worry About Storage: Storing unused computer equipment takes up a lot of valuable space, not to mention the fees for storage rental. Instead of hassling with finding safe storage and watching your investment sit on a shelf, look into rental instead. When you aren't using a machine, you can simply send it back.

No Need for Taxes: When you buy computer equipment, you have to pay taxes and licensing fees. For individuals and small businesses, these fees can eat into your bottom line. When you rent a computer, you aren't responsible for licensing fees or taxes, and that can add up to a significant cost savings.

Avoid the Cost of Obsolescence: Technology is constantly evolving, and as soon as you buy a computer, it is out of date. Why spend good money for something that won't be top of the line in a couple of months? Instead, computer rental offers a great alternative. When you don't own the machine, obsolescence isn't your problem.

Don't Pay for Disposal: You're probably heard that you can't just throw a computer in the garbage. These machines contain hazardous materials that can hurt the environment if they are not properly recycled. Fees are charged for this service. If you rent, rather than buy, you avoid this added expense.

Don't Deal with Downtime: When equipment breaks down, you can't use it for business. This is one hidden cost of owning your own computer equipment. When you rent a computer, you can simply alert the provider to your problem and have a new computer sent out right away.

Great Technical Support: Computer rental makes good sense when you think about the technical support you will receive. Owning your own computer means owning your own support issues. When you rent, you have a team of experts standing by to help you understand the ins and outs of the machine. This has a major impact on productivity and dramatically reduces your level of frustration.

Perfect for Temporary Employees: Having a lot of temporary employees can make it difficult to predict the number of computer stations you will need. Stocking technical equipment for a fluctuating staff can be a nightmare. Instead, rent work stations for these employees and eliminate the difficult task of predicting needs and stocking equipment.

 


How Do You Add Music Videos from Your Hard Drive to Your iPod?

Getting a music video that you have saved on your computer's hard drive on to your new iPod is not as simple as you might think. Apple has done an excellent job of making it difficult to put non-iTunes products onto their devices. The goal, of course, is to force you to buy your videos from iTunes and increase their bottom line, but there are, of course, ways around this problem. You just need some specific software and a little bit of patience.

The Specs

The first step towards getting that music video onto your iPod is making sure it is in the right specs. The iPod supports MOV, M4V, and MP4 formats, and the video must be no more than 768 Kbps, 30 fps, and 320-by-240 pixels. If your video has an audio track, it must be AAC-LC and must be 160 Kbps or smaller. If you downloaded the video off of the Internet, it is probably in the correct format, although some downloads are WMV format. However, if the video came from a video sharing site, you may have a video that is in MPG or AVI format. You are going to have to encode the video to use on your iPod.

Encoding the Video

You will need to use QuickTime 7.0.3 (or a later version) as the codec to code your video. This is available to download for free from the Apple website. It may take quite a while to encode the video, so if it is a large file, you may want to let it work overnight, or your computer will be out of commission for a while.

The File Transfer Using QuickTime Pro

One of the easiest ways to get the video to your iPod is to use QuickTime Pro. It combines the codec you need with a simple uploading interface that makes it easy to get the file into iTunes and onto your iPod. This program works with Windows or Mac. It is not free, however, but it is the easiest to use. You will pay $30 for it, and you will have to pay $30 again when Apple upgrades the program.

With QuickTime Pro, all you need to do to upload the video is open the movie, select "file" and then "export," and choose the option for "Movie to iPod." The program will then automatically create a 320-by-240 M4V file with the correctly coded audio tract and place it on your desktop. The default settings in the program work well for most music videos, but you can fine-tune them if you want to change the way the video displays.

There are other third-party programs you can use to convert the video to the correct file format, but this one works the best. If you are going to try a free program, be sure to practice with a small video first to make sure there are no bugs in the program.

Getting the Video onto the iPod

Once the video is converted to the correct file format, you will need to import it to iTunes. To do this, open iTunes, choose "Movies" and choose "File" and then "Import." Select the movie, click on it once, and select "Advanced, Convert Selection for iPod." This will create a new file in your iTunes library. Once the new file is there, simply sync your iPod with iTunes the video will download to the device.

If you do all of these steps and find that the file has no sound, there is a problem with the original music video file. This is called having a muxed sound file. If the format on the original video is MPEG1 Muxed or MPEG2 Muxed, it will not play sound on your iPod. The only fix is to find a third party application that can convert this file to an AAC-LC file.

 


Using Speech Recognition Software as a Corporate Solution

Over the years, companies have searched for many solutions that would help them keep up with emerging technology. During that time, there have been many software packages developed specifically for corporations that deal with a high volume of customers over a short period of time. That is one reason why speech recognition is now being used in a variety of settings to help customers obtain answers to questions, pay bills, and conduct numerous other business-related tasks that traditionally required a live person.

While speech recognition still has a long way to go before it is even close to being perfected, it has been improved upon immensely over the past several years, and is now a very effective means for many types of business transactions, especially where customers are concerned. Because it is still quite volatile in nature, speech recognition technology is most commonly used in situations where only a few pieces of information are necessary, i.e. one's name, phone number, and account number. Still, it has helped to expedite business quickly, and guide customers to the right live person for further assistance.

Another area where speech recognition software is becoming widely used is through unified messaging. This type of system allows employ to retrieve a wealth of information while giving them more than one option for doing so. For example, through unified messaging, you will now be able to retrieve voice mail messages via E-mail, and E-mails messages via the phone. This makes it easier to keep up with important incoming messages you don't want to miss, and do so literally from any location.

There are several benefits to using unified messaging. The first is that it allows you and your employees the ability to gain flexibility through a wide variety of options. Because of this, it can also help increase the response time for returning important calls or messages. This makes it quite effective.

Unified messaging also helps to increase mobile staff productivity. Even when your employees travel, they will still be able to easily retrieve messages, and return them before even setting foot back in the home office. It also makes them more available should any problems occur that require their immediate attention.

Unified messaging also helps to keep high-value, third-level workers connected. This also decreases the amount of time in which problems are solved, and insures that someone is on it at all times. It also means that more problems can be solved in a shorter amount of time.

Unified messaging also helps to build more effective communication not only between you and your employees, but also between you, your employees, and your customers. This also helps to promote the security your customers have come to depend on, and makes it a viable technological choice for you and your flourishing business.

 


Spyware & Adware The War against it

Spyware and Adware are not only an ever-increasing nuisance for computer users everywhere, but also a booming industry.

According to Webroot Software, Inc., the distribution of online advertisements through spyware and adware has become a whopping $2 billion industry.

The aggressive advertising and spying tactics demonstrated by some of these programs, require an equally aggressive response from a seasoned eradicator. Sunbelt Software is such a company. A leader in Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam, Network Security and System Management tools, they gave consistently remained on the cutting-edge of anti-spyware programming since 1994.

So you might be asking:

Why do I feel as if somebody watching me?

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These unobtrusive, malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without the users knowledge.

Once embedded in a computer, it can wreak havoc on the systems performance while gathering your personal information. Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not usually self-replicate.

Where Does It Come From?

Typically, spyware originates in three ways. The first and most common way is when the user installs it. In this scenario, spyware is embedded, attached, or bundled with a freeware or shareware program without the users knowledge. The user downloads the program to their computer.

Once downloaded, the spyware program goes to work collecting data for the spyware authors personal use or to sell to a third-party. Beware of many P2P file-sharing programs. They are notorious for downloads that posses spyware programs.

The user of a downloadable program should pay extra attention to the accompanying licensing agreement. Often the software publisher will warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested program.

Unfortunately, we do not always take the time to read the fine print.

Some agreements may provide special opt-out boxes that the user can click to stop the spyware from being included in the download. Be sure to review the document before signing off on the download.

Another way that spyware can access your computer is by tricking you into manipulating the security features designed to prevent any unwanted installations. The Internet Explorer Web browser was designed not to allow websites to start any unwanted downloads. That is why the user has to initiate a download by clicking on a link. These links can prove deceptive.

For example: a pop-up modeled after a standard Windows dialog box, may appear on your screen. The message may ask you if you would like to optimize your Internet access. It provides yes or no answer buttons, but, no matter which button you push, a download containing the spyware program will commence. Newer versions of Internet Explorer are now making this spyware pathway a little more difficult.

Finally, some spyware applications infect a system by attacking security holes in the Web browser or other software. When the user navigates a webpage controlled by a spyware author, the page contains code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of the spyware program.

What Can Spyware Programs Do?

Spyware programs can accomplish a multitude of malicious tasks. Some of their deeds are simply annoying for the user; others can become downright aggressive in nature.

Spyware can:

Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
Scan files located on your hard drive.
Snoop through applications on our desktop.
Install other spyware programs into your computer.
Read your cookies.
Steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
Change the default settings on your home page web browser.
Mutate into a second generation of spyware thus making it more difficult to eradicate.
Cause your computer to run slower.
Deliver annoying pop up advertisements.
Add advertising links to web pages for which the author does not get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the spyware programmer that changed the original affiliates settings.
Provide the user with no uninstall option and places itself in unexpected or hidden places within your computer making it difficult to remove.

Examples of Spyware

Here are a few examples of commonly seen spyware programs:

(Please note that while researchers will often give names to spyware programs, they may not match the names the spyware-writers use.)

CoolWebSearch, a group of programs, that install through holes found in Internet Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on Web sites including coolwebsearch This spyware nuisance displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and alters the computer host file to direct the Domain Name System (DNS) to lookup preselected sites.

Internet Optimizer (a/k/a DyFuCa), likes to redirect Internet Explorer error pages to advertisements. When the user follows the broken link or enters an erroneous URL, a page of advertisements pop up.

180 Solutions reports extensive information to advertisers about the Web sites which you visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked from a Web site. Therefore the 180 Solutions Company makes an unearned profit off of the click through advertisements theyve altered.

HuntBar (a/k/a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch, is distributed by Traffic Syndicate and is installed by ActiveX drive-by downloading at affiliate websites or by advertisements displayed by other spyware programs. Its a prime example of how spyware can install more spyware. These programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, track Web browsing behavior, and display advertisements.

How Can I Prevent or Combat Spyware?

There are a couple things you can do to prevent spyware from infecting your computer system. First, invest in a reliable commercial anti-spyware program. There are several currently on the market including stand alone software packages such as Lavasofts Ad-Aware or Windows Antispyware. Other options provide the anti-spyware software as part of an anti-virus package.

This type of option is offered by companies such as Sophos, Symantec, and McAfee. Anti-spyware programs can combat spyware by providing real-time protection, scanning, and removal of any found spyware software. As with most programs, update your anti virus software frequently.

As discussed, the Internet Explorer (IE) is often a contributor to the spyware problem because spyware programs like to attach themselves to its functionality.

Because of this, many users have switched to non-IE browsers. However, if you prefer to stick with Internet Explorer, be sure to update the security patches regularly, and only download programs from reputable sources. This will help reduce your chances of a spyware infiltration.

And, When All Else Fails?

Noticed I said when and not if? As spyware is growing in destruction and it covers easily more than 90% of the computers (thats you and me, 9 in 10!), the only solution you may have is backing up your data, and performing a complete reinstall of the operating system!

 


The Benefits Of Canvas Laptop Bags

Laptop computer bags come in all sizes, patterns, and styles. Designers understand that people from all walks of life use laptops and have done their best to offer everyone a stylish way to transport their computer. Those looking for a versatile bag that is affordable, great looking and easy to care for will love canvas laptop bags. These durable, lightweight bags are available in a variety of colors and patterns, so even the pickiest of shoppers can find a bag to suit their taste.

Canvas laptop bags are the perfect way to carry your computer. Bags that are made of leather and other materials are often expensive and difficult to care for. Spending a lot of money on cleaning a leather bag that was expensive to begin with is frustrating, so most people look for an alternative choice. Though some love the look of leather, others are willing to forgo the materials for something that is more economical.

Laptop computer bags made of canvas are also very stylish. The benefit to carrying a canvas bag is the variety of styles from which you can choose. Instead of being stuck with black or brown, you have the option of choosing canvas laptop bags in every color of the rainbow. Some even feature decorative patterns and designs. If you are unable to find exactly what you want, you can use fabric dye, transfers, or paint to create a one-of-a-kind style. The bags provide a great deal of versatility, which is a lot more fun that being stuck with a boring leather bag.

Another thing that makes a canvas laptop bag is how easy it is to carry. Most are very lightweight, so the only weight on your should is that of the computer and any books and accessories you stash in the bag. Leather bags are often bulky and heavy. Computer cases made of plastic or hard materials are difficult to carry and weight down your should. Canvas laptops bags are considered one of the healthiest and least physically damaging bags on the market. Too many people these days are lugging around bags that are damaging their posture and their neck and shoulder muscles. Canvas bags offer protection from many business and travel related injuries.

Canvas laptop computer bags usually feature adjustable straps, making it easy to carry your bag no matter your height or strength. Shorter straps are handy for carrying a bag just below your armpit. This enables you to place your forearm and hand under the bag and support some of the computer's weight. A longer strap is ideal for when you are carrying more than one bag. This frees up space along your side and hip for the multiple items you need with you.

Most of the canvas laptop bags on the market come with a variety of pockets, enabling you to organize your computer accessories, work-related documents, and other paraphernalia. The laptop computer bags are great for busy executives, students, and people who work outside of a traditional office environment. Moving your laptop computer, pens, notebooks, manuals, and other materials from place to place is easy when you carry them in a canvas laptop computer bag.

 


Get Identity Theft Help!

Identity theft crimes are not new, but they have become more pervasive in the past decade. One of the most insidious forms of white-collar crime, identity theft is a federal offense under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. It occurs when someone deliberately assumes your personal identity to impersonate you in a legal sense. There are people out there who are malicious and want to mess your life simply because they can. Businesses and financial institutions that lose $52.6 billion each year are under tremendous pressure from consumers to tackle this problem.

Last year, identity fraud crimes topped the list of complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the leading governmental agency offering identity theft help, for the fourth consecutive year. The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from consumers who have been victimized. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, it can offer identity theft help by providing information to assist the victims in resolving the financial and other problems that can result from this crime. As additional identity theft help, the FTC also refers victims complaints to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. The support of these knowledgeable resources expedites recovery, while enhancing your peace-of-mind.

Accurate and up-to-date information is the most critical element to minimize risk. For this reason, Federal Trade Commission recently launched an identity theft help web site called annualcreditreport where all consumers are eligible for a free copy of their credit reports. In order to effectively respond to suspected ID fraud you should place an identity theft alert in one of the three consumer reporting agencies and that agency will notify the other remaining two. These agencies are: Equifax at 1-800-525-6285, TransUnion at 1-800-397-3742 and Experian at 1-800-680-7289. These credit reporting agencies can also be found online.

The ID Theft Clearinghouse managed by the FTC is a tool designed to coordinate law enforcement efforts in the United States. But, in the end, local law enforcement agencies like the police and district attorney end up dealing with most identity fraud cases. If you have been a victim of identity fraud, it's these local agencies that will mostly likely offer identity theft help.

It would also be a good idea to study some of the different methods of identity theft so that you can effectively combat them. Do things like shredding your important documents with any account information or identifying information.

 




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