Tag Archives: usb

Portable apps for the Personal Computer

portableappPortable apps are application that are small enough to work off a flash drive, which enables users a means to work off an external drive.

Why use a portable drive? I own a Windows Pro tablet, which doesn’t have a very large hard drive. Portable apps allow me to use programs without having to install them because I’m working off the flash drive.

I can also share programs with multiple systems. I can switch between the tablet and my desktop PC.

Since the programs are smaller, you can also use these versions if you don’t like the software taking up lots of space on your hard drive.


Some suggested apps:

Portable browsers. You can use Chrome or Firefox easily off a drive, so you can store  your book marks and settings.

Chrome by Google

Firefox by Mozilla

Office Suites. Similar to MS Office, LibreOffice and OpenOffice offer word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation within the software suite. All fits on a flash drive too.

OpenOffice

LibreOffice

Messaging. Need to chat online? Use the following program to chat and manage your network of online social messaging service.

Pidgin– Chat with AOL Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ users in a single app.

Security.  Use this to scan computers with a flash drive.

ClamWin  On the go anti-virus software.

KeePass securely stores passwords.

Graphic Image Editing or Viewing. On the go editing of photos and images.

FotoGrafix is lightweight editor. Easy to learn too.

Infranview works with lots of formats, so you can view the graphic. This includes a few editing features as well.

Sound, music, and video. Here are some apps to create and edit sound as well as video.

Audacity is an easy to use sound recorder and editor.

VLC video player. This doesn’t edit or create, but allows you to view many different format of videos. If you have problems opening a video file, this can help.

There are so many more portable apps you can use, there are only ones I’ve used and can verify are useful, but if you visit PortableApps.com, you can find many more programs to select.

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The USB Hub- an under rated tool

017When I mention a USB hub to my clients, I often get blank stares, or an expression of intrigue. “What a USB hub?” I’m asked.

A USB hug is that little do-hicky you see in the photo, connected to my tablet- it includes four USB ports so I can plug in things like printers, keyboards, computer mice, cameras, my iPhone charger, and any other USB plug.

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus which is the industry standard for many computer peripherals. You find them on printers, cameras, phone chargers, flash drives and tons of other technology stuff.

The hub enables you to plug in MORE USB stuff on a single USB port. For instance, my tablet has only one port. This would make it otherwise impossible to have a wireless keyboard and mouse plugged in at the same time. This hub, like magic, lets me plug in up to four devices.

Hubs come in many shapes and sizes, but more importantly, they also include even more ports. You can find 4, 8, and even 10 port hubs. You can also ‘daisy chain’ hubs, so you can add up to 127 devices on a single port. Your only drawback would be powering that many devices. But still….that’s impressive, right?

They are also cheap. Mine cost around $5 at an office store. Even the 10 port hub you see in the graphic costs around $24. (click image to buy if interested).

USB plugs look like flat, rectangle shaped plugs. The other end looks different depending on its function such as iPhone cords or printers look very different.

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The port looks similar to where you’d stick in the memory card of a camera, but fits the cord. It also bears the USB symbol (seen on the plug above photo). My laptop has two ports here;

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If you want to learn more, or need help with your computer, you can contact me via my web site, learnthepc.net

Buying a tablet? Consider this…

 When purchasing a computer tablet for mobile computer, you should weigh the pros and cons of functionality versus cost. I’ve made this list of some things to consider when buying a tablet;

First question to ask: What will you use it for? Is the tablet for business, to show spreadsheets, presentations, or graphics? Is this for personal work or school? What do you imagine you’ll be using the tablet with programs?

Cost Prices will vary on dependability, name brand, and available functions, but consider how much you’re willing to pay for what you need the tablet to do, and what comes with the tablet. Some cost as low as $200, like Acer Iconia A3, while the

Pre-installed Software and Compatibility. Tablets vary with the type of operating system they run, as well as apps. Operating systems include Android, Fire, Windows 8, and IOS 7. Not all apps and programs work well with the other, so ask when purchasing. Also consider what program you’ll need, and what you need the program for. An example would be having spreadsheets you can email or include the ability to sign documents.

Size and weight. Size varies with the tablets. They can come in 7 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch and 11 inch sizes. Some are thin, lightweight, and offer the personal workspace, while choosing a wider, heavier tablet provides compatibility to show off your work to groups. Don’t be shy in picking the tablets up to check weight and see how they feel in your hands. If you’ll be using it in your hands rather than set on a desk, you can find weight will be important to consider. Screen size also matter to some consumer depending on their purpose.

Screen Display. This is important if you hope to use as a presenting tablet, but remember if you have the available port, you can often plug in a projector, if need be. Depending on what you’ll be using the tablet for, ask yourself if you need the screen size and quality for your needs. You often need a HDMI port for VGA monitors

USB ports. I’m still not sure why some tablets offer no USB port whatsoever being they are incredibly useful in transferring data, adding cameras, keyboards, mouse, or even printer. Some depend on wireless capability. If you do end up purchasing a tablet with no USB, sign up with cloud drive. This is how you can share files between computers. You will need wireless. Many printers are also now include wireless function.

Keyboard. Many tablets include a touchscreen keyboard while others expand to a removable keyboard. Even keyboards will vary from a touch pad style to the clickable keys similar to laptop keyboards. I often plug in a full keyboard and mouse via a USB hub when I need to do a lot of typing on the tablet. I can then pull out the hub and plug into the laptop.

Camera. Many tablets include a camera either forward facing (for video conferencing) or rear cameras to take pictures as you travel. Some models include both. Many also include photo but also video capability. Is this something you need? Will you talk on Skype or Google+ Hangout? Ask about quality of the picture/video, and can you edit on the tablet?

Microphone and speakers. Many tablets include a built in microphone so you can chat online, and speakers to hear sound. This also allows to record meetings, or record your voice for presentations, or listen to music. I prefer the ability to use a headset, however. Not all come with a headset port, so ask if this is something you want.

Don’t be shy about asking about the specifications, and telling the sales person what you want to do with the tablet. Its important to also ask about return policies, warrantees, and upgrades. Also ask about repairs. Some places like Best Buy and other computer shops might be able to repair them at their location, otherwise, you’ll need to ship the tablet back to the manufacturer for repairs.

I hope this article helps you. If you enjoyed it, please share, comment, and link. Winking smile