Troubleshooting Computer Speaker Problems

You are in a mood to listen to your favorite music CD or DVD. You start your computer, put on the speakers, play the DVD, and it won’t work. This will certainly be the cause of a lot of irritation for you. There are many problems that may occur in our desktop computer, and the speakers not working is one of them. For troubleshooting problems related to the speakers, you need to perform some very simple checks. The problems can be related to power connection and supply, sound card, or simply the speakers gone bad.

Firstly, you need to check if there is actually a problem in the speakers. They can be times when the computer settings are at fault, like the volume controls and audio setup. The best way to make sure if the problem lies with the speakers is to use the speakers on a different PC or laptop computer. If they work fine, then your computer has some problem. But if they don’t, then you need to take the steps for troubleshooting your computer speakers.

Check Power Connection
If the computer speakers are not working, you need to make sure if they are properly connected to the power switch. Typically, home theater speakers and other portable computer speakers have an LED light that turns on when the speakers are connected to the power source. Check if the light is on, and if it is not, remove the power connection, and plug it back again.

Check Speaker Connection
Another reason is the individual speakers not connected properly to the sub-woofer, or the portable ones not properly connected to the back of the CPU. If you are using home theater speakers, check if every individual speakers is appropriately connected to the back of the main sub-woofer. Remove all the connections and plug them back again. But before getting the connections out, make sure that you know exactly in which format to connect the individual speakers to the sub-woofer. In case of portable speakers, simply remove the connection from the back of the CPU and put it back again.

Check Volume Settings
If the speakers are not playing audio or video, you need to check the volume settings on the computer, as well as on the speakers. On a PC, with Windows operating system, the volume can be adjusted by clicking on ‘Start’, ‘All Programs’, ‘Accessories’, ‘Entertainment’, and then ‘Volume Control’. Also check if the volume is totally muted. If yes, uncheck the ‘Mute’ option. Set the PC and the speaker volume to a suitable level.

Check Sound Card Functionality
There are also times when the sound card may get corrupt. If you have a doubt regarding improper working of the sound card, you can check by connecting another set of speakers to the computer. If the new speakers do not work, then the sound card is at fault. This check can also be performed by using headphones, instead of separate speakers.

If all the above mentioned troubleshooting steps do not work, then probably the speakers themselves have gone defunct. In this case, you would need to call the dealer and get the speakers repaired or replaced.

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How to Fix Blue Screen of Death

The blue screen of death (BSoD) is a problem that occurs in the Windows operating system. This problem can be simply described as a problem which Windows finds difficult to overcome, and hence crashes, causing the BSoD. This problem occurs mainly when Windows gets affected by a hardware, software, or driver error, which results in this infamous screen.

Fixing the Blue Screen of Death
The problem, if minor in nature, can be solved by just restarting the system. Serious problems, however, need proper diagnosis and all operations are halted by Windows till this problem gets fixed. The factors causing this problem could be numerous; one should narrow down the search to find the source of this problem. Solving/fixing problems which are serious in nature requires professional help. This is because the error messages associated with blue screen of death problem can only be understood by those having sufficient knowledge and experience.

Windows XP
The following steps would help in dealing with the problem in most cases; if not, an expert technician needs to be consulted.

Removing New Installations
A newly installed hardware could be the cause of the blue screen of death. A simple step that one can undertake to check if this is the problem is to remove new installations. If the system works properly after the removal of these installations, it becomes easy to understand the problem and proceed further.

Virus Scan in Safe Mode
If the activity of removal of new installations doesn’t sort out the problem, one should try scanning the system in safe mode. A spyware scan too needs to be performed along with the virus scan.

Last Known Good Configuration
If the problem is not solved even after undertaking the above measures, the option of running the system in the ‘last known good configuration’ should be used. If even this does not work, then the problem is more serious, and might require expert help.

Online Search
Searching for help on the basis of error codes is one more option. The Internet provides information about how to deal with specific problems. Online discussion forums could also prove to be a good source of information.

In most cases, the above steps should be helpful in overcoming the problem. Usually, new installations, outdated drivers, and even heating issues can be the main culprits behind the annoying blue screen. Most simple problems can be solved with a restart, while uninstalling newly installed hardware can help in other cases. If these steps are not providing you with a solution, it is better to call in an expert, who will be able to get to the root of the problem.

Windows Vista
The procedure of fixing a BSoD in Windows Vista is more or less similar to that of Windows XP. Let us understand the steps which can be taken to deal with this problem. One can try the method of inserting the Vista DVD in the drive and then booting it. The option of ‘Repair Your Computer’ should be selected in the process. The next step in this process would be to select ‘Startup Repair’ from ‘System Recovery Options’.

There is one more way to deal with this problem in Windows Vista. The ‘Automatic Restart on Fatal Error’ option should be turned off so as to retain the error message long enough to read. This error message can be then be googled to obtain the solution for this problem. Chances are high that someone else has already suffered from the problem, and has posted the solution online. In that case, before you spend money calling in an expert, searching online for solutions is a good idea. However, one also needs to remember that some solutions are posted by experts themselves, and if you have no software or hardware knowledge, it is always advisable to call in the experts.

The blue screen of death is an all too familiar occurrence for people using Windows, and knowing how to fix it can save you not only time, but also money. However, it must be kept in mind that these solutions would only be of help if the problem is minor, and serious problems will still require the help of a professional. All the best!

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How to Start Your Own Computer Repair Business

There are a few important points to consider before starting a computer repair business. You must set the right price for your service. Time is money, and you will probably charge by the hour. You must
identify your clientele by deciding whether you want to sell your services to businesses or to private individuals! Next, you will need to find a niche, so that you can specialize in a particular sector of the market. You may also have to make a decision to quit your day job to be able to run your business full time. If you don’t have any background in the field of finance, you might even have to employ an accountant to record your transactions.

If you have pondered over and decided on the above mentioned points, you are well on your way towards becoming a businessman. However, successfully establishing and running a computer repair business will require you to take care of a number of other significant details too. Presented below are a few tips that can help you in doing this.

Tips on Starting a Computer Repair Business

1) Market Your Business Well
To establish a good customer base, you should market your business well. This can be done by sending mails or by distributing flyers. You can also promote it over the Internet, through SEO (search engine optimization) or by sending emails.

2) Highlight Your Technical Proficiency
Highlight the credentials of technicians working under you, so that clients are assured that the ‘techies can do their job well. Also make sure that their technical skills are up-to-date. You should train your workers well, and also encourage them to get certifications, such as the CompTIA A+. Before interviewing candidates for a job in your organization, make them fill an application form in which they need to list their technology-related skills, so that you know what questions to ask them in order to evaluate their technical proficiency.

3) Hire Employees With Good People Skills
In a computer repair business, there will be a direct interaction between your employees and clients. If the people working under you are able to establish a good rapport with your clientele, it will significantly help boost your business. Hence, you must try and hire employees who have good social skills, and even train them to improve at it.

4) Gain the Client’s Trust
To gain the trust of your clients, first and foremost, you will need to be able to do a good and transparent repair job. Many computers have the user’s Social Security Number, credit card numbers, and other sensitive and private information stored in them. It will be your job to assure them that their data will be safe with you.

5) Work From Home
You can run your business from home itself. For example, your garage could be used as your office cum workplace. This will help you save money, as you won’t have to lease space for your business. With the question of workspace out of the way, all you need to start a business are few desktop computers, and some cabinets or shelves to store all the tools and instruments that you’ll require for your repair work.

6) Diagnostic Fees and Pricing
You can charge a diagnostics fee to test the hardware and software of your client’s computer. As an act of good faith, you can refund the diagnostics fee if you are unable to figure out the problem. After you have determined what the issue is, you can give a written estimate, so that you and your client can agree on the final cost.

7) Repair Over the Internet
If the problem is purely software-related, you can repair your client’s computer by remote access over the Internet. This can be achieved by connecting to the client’s computer online, and controlling it remotely, while the client watches you repair it.

8) Offer On-site Repair Facility
You can provide an on-site computer repair service. This will probably help in increasing your business, as many people would prefer a computer repair service that is provided to them at home, rather than having to go through the trouble of disconnecting and bring their computers to your repair shop.

9) Buy a Franchisee
You will be competing with the likes of Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and big companies such as RadioShack and CompUSA. However, you will have an advantage over these national stores, because you will be focusing at the local level. Some established businesses outsource their PC repair services and maintenance to local companies, while others let you but a franchise of theirs. These are a good ways to start a business, as marketing would become much easier when working under the umbrella of an established and well-known brand name. Among the good companies offering their franchises are Fast-teks and Computer Troubleshooters. You can also buy computer parts from an online retailer such as Newegg, or an auction site such as eBay.

10) Become a Data Doctor
One of the common occurrences in the world of personal computers is hard disk crashes. People usually store a ton of their important data on their computers, without thinking twice or considering backing it up, until the storage device stops working. So, you can consider becoming a drive saver or a data doctor who can recover clients’ data when their hard disk crashes.

Thus, you can go ahead and start you own computer repair business by keeping in mind all the important points mentioned in this article. If you play all the cards right, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to run your business successfully.

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How to Choose a Home PC Repair Service

Suddenly find yourself in a situation where your PC isn’t working? Can’t seem to fix it? And you have tried everything from defragmentation to deleting temporary Internet files, but it still won’t do much for you. You could either have some kind of hardware problem, or a virus in your computer; the bottom line is you do not know what to do and you need to get some urgent work done.

You wouldn’t find yourself in such a bind if you had a PC repair service at your beck and call. So why didn’t you think of getting one before? Probably because you thought you could handle all of it yourself. Well, my friend, there are some technical details that even you don’t know.

Important Things To Consider Before Choosing a Home PC Repair Service

Meet with a computer consultant from a computer service agency and talk to him. If he tries to confuse you with technical jargon, then he is not worth choosing. Look for someone who can simplify and explain the problem to you in layman’s terms. You should also feel comfortable with your repair service ‘guy’, and also gage whether he has your best interests at heart.
Look for a consultant who is willing to listen to you, your problems, and your needs before shooting off solutions to you. The reason you are using this service is so that the person can understand and do what you want them to do, and offer you the best advice and solutions.
Always check for references before choosing a computer repair service. A friend may have referred you to a particular service, or you could have randomly picked it out of the yellow pages; irrespective of that you have to always check for references. Call up about three of their customers and ask if they were satisfied, what kind of service they got, and how everything worked out for them. Based on the answers you get, you can make a choice.
Find out about vendor-consultant relationships. Most computer repair consultants or service agencies will have some kind of tie with vendors that will help them in their work. This could be beneficial to you as a customer.
Check for the agency’s objectivity. Do they have an underlying agenda in recommending a particular product, or are they doing so in your best interest.
Find out about the kind of replacements the computer service agency will offer in the event that they are unable to send anyone for your PC repair. Do they have a tie up with another service for such cases? It is important that you look into details.
Check the rates that these agencies are charging. Are they at par with other agencies or do they seem exorbitant to you? Do not be fooled by an hourly or daily rate, ask for complete rates.
Check for memberships and computer training that do matter at the end of the day. Good agencies should have some kind of membership with computer associations such as the ICCA. The ICCA membership ensures the customer of high business standard and professional liability insurance. Also, the ICCA allows for reference checks to be conducted by the customer. Where training is concerned, it is important that the consultant be trained specifically in computer repairs.

So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a situation where your printer isn’t working, or the monitor doesn’t turn on, you need not go into a state of panic. Just pick up the phone and call your repair service, that you took such pains to choose and employ.

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Tips for Buying a Webcam

When it comes to electronics shopping, one cannot depend on instincts, price or trends. Today’s trend can end up being tomorrow’ bust. Plus callbacks and product returns can happen to any gadget. Pricing is often misleading. You can end up paying a lot more than necessary for something which could be replaced tomorrow. With electrical devices, one needs to be well-versed in specs. Specs or specifications can help you understand whether that device is right for you in the first place.

A camera with a low resolution is of no use to a nature photographer, who needs detailed images. Similarly a high-end camera with enhanced zoom, is not the device for your average soccer mom. One such ambiguous device is the webcam. Capturing video and transmitting it online for someone somewhere else to view is the webcameras basic function. But when buying a webcam, there are certain specs and points to keep in mind. Read on to learn how to pick the best webcam for your PC.

5 Tips for Buying a Webcam

1. Buy Based on Hardware
Based on what they are going to be connected to, webcams can be differently designed. Most laptops nowadays have a built-in webcam but older laptops and some budget models do not. So for laptops, the webcam has a clip to clip on a thin frame, which is the laptop screen. But for desktops, a webcam stand is used to showcase the webcam and is designed, such that a wide and better image is captured. The stand should be designed to sit properly on flat surfaces. This is needed in case of CRT monitors, where the webcam cannot be clipped on and is too heavy to place on the monitor itself. Laptop webcams are designed with portability in mind, so their frame is lighter and more compact. However, many do not allow tilting and panning but this feature is present in most desktop models.

2. Check for connectivity
USB, Firewire and parallel ports are the 3 possible ports that a webcam will connect to. Any recent computer has a USB port, so your computer should ideally connect to a webcam through a USB port. This is a very compatible and popular standard, check for Plug n’ Play compatibility, where you just need to plug in the camera to use it. This avoids setting it up when you need to connect it elsewhere and dealing with driver software is also avoided. Firewire is a rarer type of port, make sure your machine has such a port before buying a webcam with this sort of connecting port. Parallel ports are meant to allow older computers to connect to webcameras, as USB ports are scarce on older machines. But parallel connections are a lot slower than USB connections and can interfere or slow down other computer operations.

3. Ensure Picture Perfect Imaging
Resolution is the amount of detail or quality present in an image. The higher the resolution, the more rich and life-like the image is. So a low resolution in your webcam can mean a grainy, not-at-all clear imaging system. Most webcams have a resolution figure of 320×240 or 640×480 pixels, which allows for decent quality video and images. Some models allow for a higher resolution still imaging capture, with a factor up to 1.3 MP. High-end models allow for High-Definition capture with a resolution of 1600×1200 pixels.

Frame rate is another image factor. Video is made up of different image frames and how fast these frames can be transmitted over the Internet is the frame rate. A low frame rate means a choppy video with freezing images in the middle. Look for a frame rate per second (fps) around 30. There should be a good balance between resolution and frame rate, as it is no use if the image has a high quality but will be transmitted slowly.

The type of lens used in the webcam can make a difference in image quality. Plastic lenses are used in low-end models as they are cheaper but they can produce blurry or slightly warped images. Glass lenses capture crisp and better quality images. Plus they are not as prone to scratches as plastic lenses. The lens focus can be fixed or allow manual and automatic adjustment through software. You will be able for focus on a face or zoom out to include a group. Color or black/white image capture should also be considered.

4. Look for Perks
It’s nice to have an extra helpful feature or ability in your webcam. Automatic light adjustment ability is useful for video capture in dark or low light surroundings or for chatting outdoors. Some cameras allow auto focusing and panning and zooming abilities. If you plan to use your webcam as an amateur security camera, then motion sensing is a perk to look for. Even the webcam stand can be adjustable, so it can be aimed and pointed at from one location. An oft-overlooked perk is of audio capture. If you have a microphone on your computer, then buying a webcam with a built-in microphone is not necessary. Some models have a clip-on microphone, some need a headset to capture audio. Another perk is the bundled software provided with the webcam. Software can be diverse, ranging from sophisticated video editing and capture programs and video conferencing to simple applications like video email or messaging.

5. Consider Pricing & System Requirements
Your computer, be it a laptop or desktop, should be capable of supporting such a device. Installation of a webcam will require a minimal amount of disk space from your computer, as well as support for the bundled software and additional software you may download. The machine’s operating system and the drivers needed for the webcam need to be compatible, so check for OS compatibility at the time of purchasing a camera. Then there is your Internet connection. It is no use, having the world’s most expensive and high-end web camera, if your Internet speed is slow. A slow net connection will not be able to transmit such heavy data at a decent speed.

Price is always the “ick” factor when it comes to gadgets and the webcam is no exception. You need to make sure you get what you paid for. If you want a high-end camera, with maximum perks and features, be prepared to spend more than 100 dollars. Try to get the maximum features for the optimal price. For basic needs and usage, do not overspend, keep a budget between $50-$100. Low-end models, keep your expectations at a minimum and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Do your research well to ensure you have the ideal webcam for you. Remember to ask for warranties and store return policies prior to purchase. Don’t be dazzled by brands or fancy sales talk, keep your needs and budget firmly in mind and shop.

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Instructions to Install a Liquid Cooling System

Liquid cooling systems have been used to cool cars since eons and seemingly, it also happens to be the way to cool your computer. Yes, it is true that computers today are designed to emit less heat, but integrated circuits are integrated circuits; they are bound to radiate heat in generous proportions. The joys of overclocking are way too many to be caged under the restriction of heat generation. Having yawned over air coolers, it is time to move on to a slicker option – that is liquid cooling.

Components of a Liquid Cooling System

The liquid coolant comes first, and a popular option is distilled water. Chemical additives (antifreeze solutions) give it that snazzy color and help lower the temperature of the water, increasing its effectiveness. An interesting variant is liquid nitrogen. With a boiling temperature of -196°C, it beats water in every aspect. But the recommended use of liquid nitrogen is strictly for smaller overclocking sessions. A reservoir is the tank that stores the coolant. You need a pump that helps the liquid to flow smoothly. This pump is available in variations that help you fix it outside the reservoir, or submerge it. The radiator is used to absorb the heat from the coolant and dispel it outside the unit. The tubes connect the reservoir to the water blocks. Water blocks are attached to the CPU, or if you wish, to the chipset and the GPU. These blocks hold the cool liquid, and their base is made of metal. Position them on top of the part that needs cooling, and apply a layer of thermal paste in between to accelerate heat transfer.

Here’s how it works. The reservoir contains the coolant, which is pumped to the cooling block attached to the CPU and/or GPU. Having cooled the part, the heated liquid will flow through the outlet, back into the reservoir to be re-cooled for the second cycle. Before you begin, note that there are two methods of cooling.

The internal method, as the name suggests, has the cooling system installed inside the PC case. Your PC case must obviously be big enough to accommodate all the components and avoid any cramping.
The external method is the exact opposite, so you’ll have to deal with a system that will be eating up a lot of space on your desk, and will seem tedious for those of you who keep shifting their computers. It is, however, perfect for extremists who are looking to push all boundaries.

How to Install a Liquid Cooling System

Having understood the components and the working principles, let’s look at the step-by-step instructions to install a liquid cooling system for your PC.

Draw a Design
As mentioned before, an ideal way to create a cooling system is to customize it. What works for a computer can’t necessarily suit another. So, the very first step would be to gauge your requirements and draw a basic design that covers all your needs.

Attach the Radiator and Reservoir
The radiator is installed on a large fan grate, just like a regular fan case. All you need to ensure is that the fans blow the hot air outside the PC case. The reservoir is next. You are free to install it inside the case on top of the drive bay, or outside. You must keep your refilling convenience in mind.

Install the Cooling Block
The cooling block sits on a support bracket behind the CPU. You must now remove the motherboard and detach the heat sink from it. Install the mounting units that will hold the cooling blocks for the CPU and the chipset. Clean the area of any residual thermal paste. Before you mount the cooling blocks, you need to decide if you want to attach the pipes right away or after. Be very cautious when you mount the water blocks, make sure they sit nice and easy, as applying extra pressure can cause damage. Similarly with the GPU, you must remove the heat sink before installing the water block. You have to start connecting the pipes as per your design, keeping the direction of the flowing coolant in mind.

Bring in More Pipes
Cooling the CPU remains a priority for most, but here we’re looking at a scenario where you would be cooling the chipset and the GPU too. If you have one pipe that takes the coolant to every part, the one that is last in line will perpetually receive heated liquid, and this is unfortunate. Ideally, separate pipes should lead to every component, negating the risk of the last part being heated instead of cooled.

Final Touches
As you’re done with the installation, it is time to fill the reservoir with the coolant of your choice. Follow the instructions meticulously, avoid spilling or over filling at all costs. In any case, keeping a stack of tissues is a good idea for emergency mopping. Now start the system and monitor the flow of liquid. Air bubbles can cause problems at this stage, so you need to sway your PC slightly to get rid of them. If it all appears to be dry, it is time to boot your computer.

What Makes Liquid Cooling Special

Liquid cooling scores on the grounds of excellent thermal conductivity and high heat capacity. With a heating capacity that is four times that of air, water as a coolant, wins hands down. Unlike air, when you have a substance that sops in the heat without heating itself too much, you don’t have to think too much before installing it. But before you get down to installing a system like this, it would be prudent to keep certain factors in mind.

For starters, a liquid cooling system is expensive. These days, they thankfully come in kits, a far cry from the times when one needed to source individual spares that matched the computer’s specifications.
Maintaining a system like this requires a great degree of dedication as liquids and electrical devices are not the best of friends. With so many components in place, you need to watch out for trouble.
If you happen to be one of those ill-fated ones who have any liquid spill on the motherboard, the entire nerd community’s sympathies would rest with you.
A cooling system is unique to every PC, and the user is in the best position to configure the one that suits it best. While the CPU is the undisputed heat generator, it would be a good idea to include the GPU and the motherboard chipset as well.

All said and done, liquid cooling rules and it is instrumental in keeping your PC happy even when it’s overworked, sans the whirring fans.

Installing a liquid cooling system would, once upon a time, win you a place in the upper echelons of geekdom. The availability of ready kits has dimmed the significance of it of late, but a true geek always reaches out to the customized versions. Also, new age processors are not furnaces like they used to be. But for those who overclock, a liquid cooling system is a blessing, and a ‘quiet’ one at that.

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TV Tuner Card for PC

Imagine if you could catch your favorite show while chatting with your friends about it. Wouldn’t it be great? Well, a TV tuner card can make this happen for you. Now, you don’t have to fight with your family member for the TV remote anymore. Just plug in an external TV tuner card or install an internal one and enjoy watching the idiot box right in the comforts of your bedroom. And that too, without letting anyone know. If someone happens to catch you watching something on your computer screen, then just say, it’s downloaded stuff or something that you are watching online. Now you must wondering what this TV tuner card thing is all about and how soon can you get your hands on it. So here’s some important information that you should know before purchasing a TV tuner card.

Till the 20th century, a computer was thought of an analytical machine. Gradually, a few entertainment features were added to it, therefore enhancing its capability and use. A TV tuner card is one such invention that has changed the definition of a computer. It is a processing machine, but also extends further to provide more entertainment than a television set. For choosing the right TV tuner for computer, one has to know the exact configuration of the computer system.

What is a TV Tuner Card?

A TV tuner card enables the computer to capture the television signals. An external source of TV signal has to be essentially plugged in the TV tuner card so that it can receive the TV signals. This external source can be an antenna, a cable or satellite receiver box. The tuner card is an assembly of tuner, receiver, demodulator and an analogue-to-digital converter.

How Does a TV Tuner Card Work?

The tuner tunes the receiver to the correct frequency for receiving TV signals. The receiver receives the signal from the external source and transfers it to the demodulator. The demodulator separates and extracts the relevant signals from the carrier signal. The analog-to-digital converter, as the name suggests, converts the analog signal to the digital signal. In order to watch TV on PC, a suitable TV tuner software has to be installed on the PC. The TV tuner software renders an interface for the PC that provides all the features of a normal television and also allows you to change the channels using a remote. If you have a satellite TV service, install a satellite TV software to avail this facility on your personal computer. Some TV tuner cards also function as video capture tuner cards and save the TV programs on the hard drive.

Difference Between an External and Internal TV Tuner Card

There are internal as well as external TV tuner cards. The internal TV tuner card is fitted inside the CPU, onto the motherboard. The external TV tuner card is a removable device such as the USB (Universal Serial Bus) device. An external TV tuner card is easy to handle as it can be attached to a peripheral port using wires. An internal tuner card has to be fitted by opening the CPU and inserting the tuner card in the PCI slot. However, an internal TV tuner card is preferred, as it is faster and gives better performance as compared to the external tuner card.

Types of TV Tuner Cards

Analog TV Tuner: They are the most cost-effective tuner cards available in the market. They output raw video stream, hence some tuners require a compression technique to be implemented to improve the quality of the picture. Some analog tuners can also capture FM radio waves.
Digital TV Tuner: It outputs MPEG-2 video stream, which displays high quality video and the quality of audio is also good. There is no need of any encoding, hence there are no encoder chips on the tuner card.
Hybrid TV Tuner: It can be transfigured to act as an analog tuner or a digital tuner. However, after transfiguration, the changes do not take effect immediately.
Combo TV Tuner: They are similar to hybrid tuners in functionality. However, the analog tuner is physically separate from the digital tuner, though they are embedded on the same card. Both tuners can function simultaneously without obstructing each other. While the digital tuner is broadcasting, the analog tuner can record; the vice versa is also possible.

By the use of a simple TV tuner card, it is possible to get all the facilities of a cable television as well as the added features of a computer in your desktop. All you need to do is to select the right TV tuner card and have fun watching TV day and night in your own room, without anyone getting wise up to it. Get a pair of headphones too which will take care of the TV sound. But remember watching TV from too close can lead to eye problems. So, be safe and enjoy!

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Information about Computer I/O Devices

Fast Fact:
Devices, like USB drives, CD-ROMs, modems, and network cards are the ones that possess the properties of accepting input as well as transferring output.
The computer is no more a luxury, but a necessity in the 21st century. In fact, science has expanded its horizons to such an extent that the desktop computer could be added amongst the list of outdated technology!! Today, operating systems and software configurations are available on smartphones and tablets, while LED monitor screens, laptops, and better microprocessor technology has replaced the desktop computer. Despite the improvement, one still requires input and output devices to communicate with this machine. The article below explains the use and functionality of these devices in detail.

An Introduction

I/O is a collection of interfaces that different units of an operational processing system used to communicate to each other.
Inputs are the signals received by those units, while outputs are the sent signals.
I/O devices are used by people or by other systems to communicate with the computer.
Usually, these outputs are called ‘results’ and they can be addressed to people or can be used for guiding some other machines and robots.
For instance, in the industrial robot’s case, the most important output device is the one that sends all the detailed signals about the mechanical signals to the robot – signals which the robot understands and moves according to them.
The first generation of computers were equipped with a limited range of i/o devices; reading data and instructions was possible with a perforated card reader or something similar, and for showing the results a printer was used, usually a teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY for TeleTYpe/TeleTYpewriter).
The modern teletypewriters are used by deaf for typed communication over a telephone.
Technically, i/o devices are the ones that are bi-directional, i.e., they can function as input as well as output devices.
They are mostly referred to as storage or communications devices.
In general though, the term ‘i/o’ refers to input as well as output devices and those that can perform the functionality of both input and output.

Input Devices

The Keyboard

The keyboard is a vital input device with the help of which we can enter text, symbols, codes, alphanumeric characters, etc., on the screen.
The system has a built-in virtual keyboard, but it is highly irritating to use the mouse buttons to input data through this keyboard.
There are innumerable shortcuts to various functions that can be achieved via the keyboard.
Prior to its invention, typewriters, and punch cards were in vogue; following their decline, the keyboard became the most vital input device.
Laptops and notebooks have an attached keyboard – it is a part of the piece.
Smartphones and tablets come with virtual keyboards of course – with the same pattern as that of the actual keyboard, and are operated exactly the same way how we operate regular keyboards. They are called thumb-sized keyboards.
This device consists of the alphabets arranged in the center, with the spacebar key.
The numerical bar along with special characters is arranged above this section, and above this, you will find the function keys ranging from F1 to F12.
With rapidly advanced technology, keyboards are likely to undergo further change and be made more user-friendly and quick.

The Mouse

Mouse device

The mouse is a small, haphazardly oval-shaped device with two or three buttons, which are clicked to input data on to the screen.
Nowadays, the device has two buttons only, one on the left and one on the right, and a scroll roller in between, to scroll up and down the screen.
The underside of this device consists of a small roller ball with the help of which the user is able to roll the mouse on the mouse pad (if you turnover the mouse, you will see the ball rotating beneath a small hole).
This device is used for clicking the options you require from a list of selected options.
It is used in 3D graphics as well, to orient the figure as per the user’s dimensions and requirements.

Other Composite Devices

Other input devices include options, like the joystick, scanner, etc.
The joystick is a device that is generally used to play games.
You may have also hear of the game controller or the wii remote – both are used for gaming purposes.
Initially, the joystick was more like a mike-shaped knob over a rectangular box attached to a movable level. The design has considerably changed since then.
The scanner is a device that is used to scan hard copies and convert the same to an image format on the computer.
There are several other input devices used for imaging purposes – the digital camera, media player, fingerprint scanner, webcam, etc.

Output Devices

The Monitor

The monitor is one of the most important output devices – it is where one views the output.
The initial monitors were called CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) that had quite a few limitations as compared to the modern ones we have today.
The LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) arrived next. They were lightweight, clear, easy-to-use, and consumed lesser power.
As of today, one prefers using the LED (Light Emitting Diode) monitors that are based on very advanced technology, though they use considerably higher power and are expensive.
Laptops, palmtops, tablets, smartphones, etc., obviously do not need the monitor, the screen serves as the output device, and has a high resolution.

The Printer

The printer, as the name suggests, is used to print hard copies of various documents, images, etc.
There are various types of printers – one of the earliest ones used was the dot matrix and the daisy wheel printer, which is obsolete as of today.
The dot matrix used a small pin matrix to get ink printed on the paper.
Next, we had the typewriter-based and solid ink printers.
Today, we have laser printers, that have the best functionality, design, and output quality.

The Sound System

The sound system of the computer involves the devices related to the audio.
The sound devices primarily include the speaker system, headphones, etc.
Initially, the speakers that came along with the computer system were humongous and had sound-adjusting buttons right on the device.
The design and functionality of the speakers have vastly improved since then.
Laptops have speakers installed right on the console.
The sound can be adjusted from the options available on the computer, in the ‘Control Panel’ section.
The headphones are used to hear sound without disturbing others around.

I/O Devices

CD-ROM Drives

CD-ROM devices function as input as well as output devices.
It is a compact disc, and is used to store important information – documents, songs, images, movies, etc.
CD-ROM stands for ‘Compact Disc – Read Only Memory’. This is an important point you need to remember. These CDs are readable only – the computer can read data from them, but you cannot copy the data.
For this purpose, you need to use a re-writable CD-ROM. Using this, you can read data into the computer, copy or transfer data from the PC to the CD, even erase the data and store/replace with new data, which is not possible on a ‘Read only’ device.

USB Flash drives

The USB flash drive is a small device with considerable storage space, ranging from 1 GB to 8GB.
Using this flash drive, you can directly transfer data to and from the computer.
You can use the USB on various computers and laptops, thus enabling information transfer from one computer to another.
In fact, off late, bluetooth technology has made it possible to have wireless transfer of data within a specific range.
Prior to the invention of the USB, floppy disks were in great demand; as of now though, no CPUs are even manufactured with floppy disk drives.

Hard Disk Drives

A hard disk is typically stored inside the processor.
Your hard disk is where all your data is stored – it is the memory section of the computer.
Sometimes, we have so much of data to be stored and worked upon, that the computer/laptop memory proves insufficient.
Often, excess data storage may cause the machine to hang or crash altogether. This problem is solved using an external hard disk.
This device is like a heavy rectangular box with an attached cable for inserting in the other machine.
It contains extensive storage memory – you can store a huge amount of data.
It facilitates easy transfer of information from one computer to another without having to resort to means like formatting the machine due to excess data usage, etc.

When the perspective changes, the designations of the input/ output devices change as well. The physical movement we as humans do on the mouse or keyboards is perceived as an output by the computer, and it is transformed in specific language/signals that the computer deciphers. Therefore, the output from a mouse or from the keyboard is perceived as input by the computer. When it comes to the printer or a monitor, these devices receive the input what the computer sends as output, which is afterwards translated into a language the human factor can understand. Once more, a person takes as input the output of the computer, namely, the directions on the screen. Thus, each transfer represents an output from a certain device and an input into a different one.

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Choosing the Best Church Management Software

Nowadays, managing an organization cannot be done using a heap of files and traditional methods. This is true especially when activities of the organization are carried out on a large scale and have many practices to be recorded. Can this workload be handled using a software? Today, you will find software for almost all tasks such as data management, time management, financial management, resource management, and so on that are the responsibilities of an organizations like a church. These computer applications certainly reduce the hassle of managing and recording each task individually. These software are not only used for business management, but also for carrying out the administration of large churches.

What is a Church Management Software?

Just like businesses, large churches also have to be administered. Big churches are kind of non-profit entities wherein personnel details, finances, and expenses needs to be recorded. Software that are specifically intended to be used for church administration purposes are known as church management software. These software are like an ERP, and consist of various packages for handling membership, events, songs and music management, and other tasks that are associated to strategic planning for churches. They are mainly handled by church administrators and pastors.

Choosing Church Management Software

When it comes to choosing the right kind of software for church administration, you need to opt for one which has additional facilities over traditional ones. Choose a software that has accounting facilities as well as automated databases for tracking membership and their contributions and monthly tithes. Some software even have web mapping features to get proper directions to a member’s house.

Another feature to look at is program management. Using this package, you are able to schedule occasional events efficiently like, recording attendance, contribution, expenses, speakers and pastors, etc. Good software for churches will also have inventory modules which will enable administrators to track daily expenses and the supplies available and required. There are a few applications which enable backup reports to be stored directly to a set destination.

These applications may even have email and SMS integration which makes it easier to send messages to church groups. For example, to inform about a young people’s meet, the person can just choose a particular group in the membership database and send the message across. It is better if you know the details of how the church works to decide on the modules to opt for. You can check for the feature which allows automated notifications to be sent to all members in case of a special occasion of any members.

Most software come with a demo version, which can be used before buying it. You can use the demo versions of different software to know which one suits your needs the best. Select a software which is powerful and at the same time has an easy-to-use interface. Make sure it is a permission-based software, which will keep data privacy. In this way, a young choir member would not have access to the financial records of tithes.

You can choose from two types of software such as web and desktop oriented. If you choose one that runs on an online database, you can access it from any computer connected to the web. However, make sure the database is secure and reliable. On the other hand, if you choose a desktop oriented application for church management, you can only access it from specific systems which have it installed. Here, you will get utmost data privacy and security. The following part of the article gives you a list of the best software for churches.

Best Church Management Software

Church Helpmate
ParishSOFT
Logos II
Acolyte Church Management
ChurchSoft
Church Secretary Pro
Bellwether Church Administration Software
Church Partner
ChurchInsight
ChurchLedger

To choose the best software, you first need to discuss with the pastors about the requirements and expectations. There are even specific software available for handling the operations of ministries, youth, worship, and presentation separately. Choose a software which along with the above mentioned features would offer you customizable options. In this way, you can set the application to be used as per the needs of the church.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Application Software

Our computers and mobile devices are all loaded with all kinds of software, and each software has a different purpose to fulfill. It is important to first understand the differences between application software and system software. System software is the programming and the coding that is utilized by the various components in the device to communicate with each other. There are millions of commands and instructions that are transferred from one component to another with every passing second, and the system software enables this flow of communication. Additionally, the person using the device does not directly interact with or use the system software, since it is all happening inside the device itself.

On the other hand, application software is that which is used directly by the user for the sole purpose of completing a certain task. This type of software needs to be installed separately on a device, and it regularly has interfaces that enables communication between the machine and the user, hence giving rise to many different advantages and disadvantages. For instance, consider a program that allows you to work with databases. This is a software that is used for a specific application, so it falls under this category. It is universally assumed that they have many advantages, and you will be hard pressed to find disadvantages for the same because ultimately, the purpose of all these devices is to perform many tasks with their help.

Common Types of Application Software

The different types of application software are used by individual users and business enterprises as well, and they have many benefits of doing so. This includes word processing software, database software, multimedia software, editing software, and many other different kinds as well. All these software are either provided individually, or they are packaged together and sold by business to business sellers. When a whole variety of them are integrated collectively and sold to a business, they can take up the form of enterprise software, educational software, simulation software, information worker software, etc.

Advantages

When you begin to compare, you will find that the pros outweigh the cons very easily. With that in mind, here are some of their most popular and widely accepted benefits. Note that in this scenario, we are speaking of application software that is designed for a specific purpose, to be used either by individuals or by businesses.

Their single biggest advantage is that they meet the exact needs of the user. Since they are designed specifically with one purpose in mind, the user knows that he has to use one specific software to accomplish his task.
The threat of viruses invading custom-made applications is very small, since any business that incorporates it can restrict access and can come up with means to protect their network as well.
Licensed application software gets regular updates from the developer for security reasons. Additionally, the developer also regularly sends personnel to correct any problems that may arise from time to time.

Disadvantages

As is the case with all such matters, there are certain disadvantages of such software as well. Though these are not spoken about very often, nor are they highlighted, the fact is that they do exist and affect certain users. But people have accepted these misgivings and still continue to use such software because their utility and importance is much more profound than their weaknesses.

Developing application software designed to meet specific purposes can prove to be quite costly for developers. This can affect their budget and their revenue flow, especially if too much time is spent developing a software that is not generally acceptable.
Some software that are designed specifically for a certain business, may not be compatible with other general software. This is something that can prove to be a major stumbling block for many corporations.
Developing them is something that takes a lot of time, because it needs constant communication between the developer and the customer. This delays the entire production process, which can prove to be harmful in some cases.
Application software that is used commonly by many people, and then shared online, carries a very real threat of infection by a computer virus or other malicious programs.

So, whether you are buying them off the shelf, or whether you are hiring a developer to build specific software for you, all of these points will seem pertinent to you. Many individuals and businesses have regularly found the need and the requirement for such software, and the fact remains that any computing device will be utterly useless without such software running on it.

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