It's back-to-school shopping season, and for a lot of students that
means stocking up on tech gear: laptops, flash drives, and maybe
even a new phone.
Of course, you're probably the one footing the bill for all
this stuff, so it makes sense to seek out the best deals you
With that in mind, I've assembled three tips to help you get
the most bang for your back-to-school buck.
1. Don't Go Overboard on a Laptop
I'm often asked for laptop buying advice, and my response is
always the same: "What do you plan to do with it?"
Students have fairly modest needs--often little more than word
processing, Web browsing, and e-mail. Of course, moving beyond mere
needs, they'll also want to use their machines for things like
music, movies, and games.
Thankfully, these activities don't require a lot of
horsepower. At minimum you'll want a dual-core processor, 4GB of
RAM, and 320GB hard drive.
I read the news this fall about the floods in Thailand with about
the same level of interest that I suspect you all gave it. Natural
disasters always make me sad for the victims, but unless I knew
someone in the area it usually slips from my brain pretty quickly
afterward. The thing that I failed to realize was that Thailand is
a major manufacturing center for a lot of products that come
straight here to the US to be sold.
Unintentionally hilarious photo courtesy of Backify's Web site
About a month ago I told you about Backify, a new Web service offering a whopping 512 gigabytes of cloud storage absolutely free.
It sounded too good to be true, especially considering that established services like Dropbox and SugarSync limit their freebie accounts to 2GB and 5GB, respectively. Even Microsoft's Windows Live SkyDrive tops out at a comparatively anemic 25GB.
In case the name doesn't ring a bell, the company makes cool gizmos that let you plug ordinary USB hard drives and flash drives into your router, thereby turning them into network- and Web-accessible storage.
You read the headline right: 512 gigabytes of free online storage. In the past I've written about services like SugarSync and Windows Live SkyDrive, which give you 5GB and 25GB, respectively. But this is a whole new ballgame.
If you own a computer, be it a desktop, laptop, or netbook, an external hard drive is a must-have accessory. They're great not only for providing extra storage space, but also for backing up your primary drive, moving large files between PCs, and archiving all your prized photos and videos.
Indeed, if you followed my advice of a couple weeks ago and turned your PC into a DVR, you'll be glad to have extra storage for all your TV shows and movies. A single one-hour show recorded in HD can consume around 6 gigabytes (GB) of space.
So, how much storage space do you really need? A good rule of thumb: as much as you can afford.
This is the beginning of one of the best movie franchises of all time--one that certainly has a special place in all of our hearts. Star Wars continues to inspire sci-fi nerd imaginations everywhere. Especially relevant lately--because of the new Star Tours: The Adventure Continues ride out here in Disneyland (Yes, I'm a Disney freak and yes, it's awesome. I've ridden it four times already!)--Star Wars merchandise is hotter than Alderaan during the Death Star blast.
SugarSync is a fantastic storage service that syncs files from your PC to the Web, other PCs, and various mobile devices. Don't think you need it? Read the following TRUE HORROR STORY before you decide.
Earlier this week, Amazon rolled out an interesting new service: Cloud Drive. It's like an online hard drive, a place where you can store music, photos, documents, and other files. That not only gives you a Web-based backup for important stuff, but also lets you access your data on the go (like from a mobile phone or friend's PC).