Friday, February 2, 2007

Before Buying a Digital Camera

As digital cameras continue to grow in popularity, traditional film cameras will become a thing of the past. Many of the people I work with, however, are intimidated by some of the technological advances that these wonderful little gadgets bring about. Therefore people often have difficulty deciding on the right camera to meet their needs.

The fact of the matter is that a good many cameras will meet the needs of an average user. As we learn to navigate through the various screens and utilize the features, we become more and more comfortable with the one we have. So in this article I will try to explain the various important differences between them, and what you should understand when purchasing one.

New cameras come in a variety of megapixels, these days 3 to 8 megapixels are very common. Most people think that a higher megapixel camera means a clearer picture, and although that is true to some extent, it only really matters when you enlarge a picture, it is not necessarily true if you are only printing out 4X6 photo’s. A picture taken with a 3 megapixel camera will look just as good to the human eye as any other. So if you do not intend to print out poster size prints, then an 8 megapixel camera may be beyond your needs.

If you are into scrapbooking, or photo-editing, however you may want to consider a higher megapixel camera, because the picture will stay clearer when you crop out a small piece and enlarge it.

The trade off to a higher megapixel camera is a larger file size per photo. In other words each picture will take up more space on a memory card resulting in the card filling up faster.

Most cameras have two types of zoom, the first is called Optical Zoom, and is the better of the two. Optical zoom is the lens mechanism moving in and out, giving the appearance of a close up. This is the type of zoom you should be more concerned with. Most cameras come with between 3X and 12X Optical Zoom. A higher optical zoom requires a larger lens size, so a camera with 10X or 12X zoom will probably not fit in your pocket.

The second type of zoom is the Digital Zoom. What happens here is this, when the optical zoom is maxed out, the digital zoom takes over by pushing the picture a little closer by expanding the size of the megapixels. This can compromise on the overall clarity of the picture making it look fuzzy or pixilated. Pretty much all cameras have some sort of digital zoom, and less expensive cameras may have no optical zoom at all, but the digital zoom will be there. The clarity difference is less obvious in a higher megapixel camera.

Memory (Flash) Card
When you buy a digital camera you should also be prepared to buy a memory card. Although most cameras come with either a small card or a small amount of internal memory to store pictures on, many will not hold more then 10 or 15 pictures.

Memory cards have come way down in price these days. It is possible, if you watch the sales fliers, to get a 1 gigabyte card for around $20 bucks.

With a 3 megapixel camera, a 1 gigabyte card will hold over 800 pictures. That number goes lower with a higher megapixel camera.

Another important factor in choosing a camera will be what you want to use for batteries. Some camera’s come with a specialized rechargeable battery pack that is designed specifically for that camera. These particular cameras will also come with a charger. Others take AA batteries, however digital cameras are high drain devices, so alkaline batteries don’t tend to last very long in them. Most manufacturers will include a complimentary set of alkaline, but don’t expect them to last very long as many cameras can kill a set of these batteries in 5 or 6 pictures. It would be more beneficial and much less costly to purchase a set of NiMH batteries with a charger for around $30 bucks. These last longer and usually come in packs of four, giving you an extra set to take pictures with.

Many cameras offer a way to lessen the drain on the batteries, by switching off the LCD screen and using the view finder.

Lag Time
For most people, a simple “point and shoot” camera is adequate. Many easily fit in your pocket, and they take great pictures close up. Cameras with a larger optical zoom tend to be larger, and would not fit in your shirt pocket. If you intend to take pictures at your kids basketball game, you may want to consider one of these, not only for the higher zoom resulting in more of a close-up shot, but many of these larger cameras decrease the shutter time. Many of the smaller cameras have a lag time of up to a second between the time you press the button and the time the picture is actually taken. A second can be an eternity at any sporting event.

Photo Editing Software
There is also a range of photo editing software available, the most popular being Adobe’s Photoshop Elements. However there are many other titles available that you may be perfectly happy with, including the less expensive Photo Explosion and Microsoft Digital Image.

Many of these software titles give you the ability to enhance photos as well as a range of creative endeavors from making greeting cards to calendars etc.

Photo Printers
Many new inkjet printers are photo quality, and you would never be able to tell the difference between one from your own printer and one from your local photo shop.

There are now also portable photo printers such as the Epson Picture Mate and Kodak Easy Share which are not inkjet printers, but instead complete photo labs in a small package. These use a dye-sublimation process to print your pictures. The benefit to these is mobility, and the claim is that your pictures will last over a hundred years in a photo album.

Other then that, be sure to read user reviews on any model you would consider purchasing. If some are problematic, people will talk about the defects, ease of use, clarity of pictures, etc. This way you can be sure to get the right camera for your needs.

Recovering Lost Data

So you accidentally put something in the Recycle bin, and clicked on empty recycle bin, and even confirmed it! Or maybe someone else (like a child) without complete knowledge ended up deleting your important data. No problem, recycle bin recovery isn't all that hard! First, check and confirm that the data really is gone. If it's still in the recycle bin, just right click on the file/folder, and use the 'Restore' option to bring it back. However, if it really is gone for good (or so it seems), you can still perform a recycle bin recovery to get back what you lost.

When you delete a file on your computer, it isn't really deleted, it is just removed from your view to give you the illusion that the data is deleted. In reality, the data is marked by the computer as something that can be overwritten. The next time something is added to the computer, such as another document, the previous data is overwritten. The data is overwritten in the reverse order, as in, the last file to be deleted is overwritten first. This means that if you just deleted the file that you're trying to get your hands on, you should make sure that nothing is added to the hard disk, and get a good data recovery software.

When using the recycle bin recovery software, you will want to make sure of a couple of things. First, make sure that you install and use the program from either a different hard-disk, a floppy drive, a USB drive, or something similar. If you ignore doing this, you might end up with lost data, because you overwrote it with the data recovery program! Secondly, make sure that you use a different computer to surf the internet to find solutions. Because using the same computer, with the same hard-disk, can result in the data that you're trying to recover being overwritten with the internet cache, cookies, and other information. More or less, avoid any further use of that hard-drive.

In case that you really have lost the date, and the recycle bin recovery software doesn't seem to work, you will have to enlist the list of a data recovery company. This is an expensive proposition, so make sure that the data you're trying to recover is actually worth it. You could end up spending hundreds, and possibly thousands on a data recovery company. Also keep in mind, that wasting so much money with a data recovery company is not advisable for a simple case of recycle bin recovery. If the hard-disk is damaged, and more loss is suspected, then it is best to skip the software and just go with the data recovery company.

Selecting the right laptop

The corporate life is hectic, so it is important to have a fast, reliable, lightweight notebook that can maximize your daily output by keeping your projects organized and your workflow streamlined.

One of the first things you need to look for in a business laptop is wireless connectivity. A wireless networking card allows you to connect to the Internet via thousands of wireless networks (also called hotspots) located nationwide. This means more convenient and readily available access to your emails and business clientele.

Another great option is a bluetooth card, which will allow you to connect and transfer data between your PDAs and your notebook, without the need for messy wires, which can add weight and clutter to your carrying case.

A third feature to look for in a business notebook would be VGA and S-Video outputs to ensure connectivity with any projectors you may need to utilize for video or slideshow presentations. As far as individual specifications, you really only need a base-line configuration with integrated graphics to handle any word processing or basic programs like email clients, DVD software, web browsers etc. Unless you plan on doing an inordinate amount of multi-tasking or video production, it would be wise to put any extra cash into other accessories like office suite software, which can really help you manage your day-to-day workload.

Whether at home or on the road, a good business laptop can really improve the quality of your work by providing you with all of the essential tools you need to efficiently manage your daily tasks. From planning your appointments and schedules to writing reports, sending email, and staying up-to-date with all of the latest business news and headlines, a business laptop is the only device that can effectively handle all of your work-related duties in one convenient, easy-to-use system.

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