Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to school computer ideas 2011

Face it, back to school time is one of the best times to buy a new computer. Whether for a middle schooler, high schooler, or a college student, here are my suggestions for computers as of August 2011.

Netbooks often suffer from poor keyboards, 10" screens, and slooooow processors. The Lenovo ThinkPad X120e is faster than most netbooks (it uses a new AMD dual-core processor that beats the intel atom), has a slightly larger screen (11 inches) and a nice keyboard. You'll pay between $450 and $500 for it.

Need something cheaper? The Samsung NF310 is a good choice. It's under $400 and features an Intel atom 1.5ghz N550 processor and 250 gig hard drive.

Want a full size laptop? The Asus A53 series is nice. 15" screen, 4 gigs of memory, and 320gb hard drive. Under $400.

These recommendations should be good through December, 2011.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Add some NAS to your home network

We take a lot of pictures and have other digital assets that we want to be able to access on any computer in the house or home office.

Putting some network attached storage on the network solves many problems. Which one to buy? One of my favorite is the Synology DS series. Two hard drives so you have redundancy, and it's fast. Buy it for $300 and then add two hard drives. I'd suggest the Samsung F4 2tb. It's fast, cool, and quiet.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Best pocket camera 2011

DSLR users have a dilemma when planning to go out to an event where you want good pictures, but you don't want to bring the big bag with a DSLR and a lens or two that weighs in a 5+ pounds.

2011 brought a new pocket camera that I can honestly say is a significant advancement in many areas. Most pocket cameras take decent pictures in daylight or bright light. Most of them stink indoors when you have low light and moving subjects.

The Canon S95 is a game changer. It's low light shows are fantastic. Colors are great too. It's light weight, fits in a pocket, and comes much closer to the quality you get from a DSLR than any other pocket camera in the past. Pick it up for $400 or less as of July 2011.

Update:  Here's the Canon S110 for 2013 for around $340.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tiny computer builds

I love building computers. Last year it was a small micro atx box that could serve as a backup for audio editing.

I used the in-win BK644 case paired up with an ASRock motherboard. The case worked well; but it seems to be out of stock as of July 2011.

Someone asked if I considered building a mini-ITX. Not yet, but when I do, here's one case that I'm looking at. The Antec ISK 100. It comes with a power supply and is ready for it's tiny slice of your desk.