Tuesday, August 28, 2007

3 Ways to Print Wireless

As a wifi laptop user, I often carry my computer to various places around the house to do work. But I only have one printer which is in my office. I often find it frustrating to have to carry my laptop into the office when I just want to print something quickly. Here are three solutions to that problem.

  1. Buy a printer with built-in ethernet or wifi.
  2. Get a router with a built in printer port.
  3. Buy a wireless print server.
If you just bought a printer recently and you don't want to upgrade to a wireless model, your best bet would be to upgrade your router or get a wireless print server.

However, if it is time to upgrade that printer, do yourself a favor and get these features built in. Its an simpler and cleaner solution to wireless printing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Set up a Cheap THX Certified Sound System

A room busting THX Certified Home theater system doesn't have to completely bust your budget. Although some THX certified theaters can easily sell in the $10,000 + range, a smart consumer can put together a great sound system for under $1000.

The home theater in a boxonkyo hts990thx system is one of the best values in home theater on the market. Here are a few of the details.

  • 110 Watts per Channel Minimum into 8 Ohms, 2 Channels Driven, FTC
  • HDTV-Capable (50 MHz) Component Video Switching (3 Inputs/1 Output)
  • Color-Coded 7.1-Multichannel Inputs (Receive 7.1 Surround Sound from Compatible Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD Players)
  • XM Ready with XMHD Surround

The best part about this system is the price...currently $799.00 at Amazon. And the consumer reviews I've seen have been pretty positive. One of the few complaints is the absence of HDMI inputs.........which may not be necessary if your TV already has HDMI inputs.

Everything you need is in the box. And although its not on par with top of the line systems, it will be very pleasing for most users and you won't have to worry about all the extra work, money and research that comes with a high-end system.

How to Soundproof your Home Theatre

Sound and Vision is currently running a nice article on soundproofing your home theater. Some of the recommendations include double-stacking drywall, installing a dense acoustic matting material or use natural soundproofing materials, beefing up windows and doors and sealing gaps.

The ultimate goal is to increase the STC (sound transmission class) rating which describes a material's ability to affect sound transfer. A rating of 65 or higher usually results in a great soundproof theater.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How to get free anti virus software and spyware

For those of you unable or unwilling to pay the pricey annual subscriptions for the of Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee, there is another option. AVG offers totally free anti virus programs for non-business users. It is not quite as full-featured as Norton or McAfee, but it is a quality program that can be downloaded for free at download.com. You can use AVG for real-time anti virus protection and to run scheduled daily scans. AVG regularly updates its virus definitions which you can download for free.

While you are there, make sure to download a copy of Ad-Aware 2007, a free anti spy program that is widely used on the Internet.

With these programs, you get anti virus spyware free software that will protect your computer from threats without threatening your wallet.

5 Ways to Listen to Mp3's in Your Car

Mp3 players allow you to carry your entire music collection with you wherever you go. But listening to those tracks on your car stereo isn't always easy and straightforward. Here are 5 ways to get those mp3's playing in your car.

  1. iPod dock - If you have an ipod, this is a great option available in some new cars like the Scion line. Plug in your iPod and browse your tracks through your stereo interface.
  2. Auxiliary jack - Most new cars are now including an aux jack as a standard feature on their car stereo systems. You connect your mp3 player to the aux jack via an audio cable and use your players interface to select tracks. If your car doesn't have this, you can buy a relatively inexpensive new car stereo with an aux jack and replace your current system. Discount mp3 players such as an ipod shuffle or a creative zen stone will work great with this option.
  3. Fm transmitter - This option allows your mp3 player to transmit an FM signal that your car stereo can pick up with its fm tuner. I've tried this option and found the quality to be inconsistent, but it may be an option.
  4. Cassette adapter. This is an old fashioned option that allows you to transmit a signal from your mp3 players line-out to a car stereo tape deck. Again, not the best quality, but it works.
  5. Travel speakers - The final and crudest option is to use a pair of travel speakers that are designed to work with an mp3 player. It bypasses your audio system altogether........but at least you get your own music.

Friday, August 24, 2007

How to Calibrate your HDTV Yourself

HDTV's are becoming increasingly better calibrated out of the box. However, if you are a person who is particularly picky about your HDTV picture, but you don't want to pay big bucks for a professional calibration, then you can try the Digital Video Essentials Calibration DVD.......newly available on HD-DVD.

I tried the DVD version of the disc and I must admit that I learned a lot, although much of the material can be very technical for the average user. However, taking some time to run through some of the calibration steps should improve your overall picture. The video takes you through a series of test screens and then gives you an opportunity to pause the disc to calibrate your TV. You will get a brief explanation of each test screen and instructions on what to look for.

Its an interesting DVD to watch if you are a techy geek with extra time on your hands. And although its not a professional calibration, you will learn a lot and should get some improvement in your picture.

Spyware Removal - Free Computer Security Software - Spyware

A lot of people I know do a poor job of performing regular spyware removal. Free computer security software for spyware is easy to find at reputable sites like download.com. One of the more popular free programs is Ad-Aware, but plenty of other programs like Yahoo Anti-Spy will also get the job done. In fact, it doesn't hurt to regularly run 2 anti-spy software programs just in case one program detects a problem that another program does not catch.

After you install it, all you need to do is keep the software updated with the latest spyware definitions and run the program regularly (running it daily is recommended). Some programs will even schedule regular scans for you......although you may need to upgrade to a paid subscription for this service.

It is important not to take this too lightly. A nasty spyware program can create havoc on your system and even steal valuable information like passwords and credit card numbers. Scanning regularly has become essential computer maintenance.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How to Watch the NFL in HD for Free

It's NFL season, and if you have an HDTV then you will have an opportunity to watch the games as they were meant to be seen.

But don't worry if you don't have the pricey NFL Sunday Ticket with Superfan. If you are able to receive regular HDTV broadcasts, then all you need is an HDTV with a built-in tuner and a old antenna. Many Fox and CBS stations broadcast NFL games weekly over-the-air in high definition. And you can pick up these broadcasts with an old VHF/UHF antenna. You may need to play around with the location of the antenna, depending on where you live, but I don't have a problem receiving HD signals in my basement where I live.

Many people don't realize that the quality of HDTV through a regular antenna can often exceed the quality of satellite or cable. The broadcasts are usually completely uncompressed. So grab that old antenna out of the garage and enjoy the NFL for free in beautiful high definition.

Connecting HD TV to DVD player - How to Select the Best Video Cable

If you have just purchased your first HDTV, you will want to do some research on what cables to use when connecting your hd tv to your dvd player.

Most likely, your old DVD player was connected to your old TV via a composite video cable or an s-video cable. You can use these cables to connect your DVD player to your new HDTV, however you will not achieve the highest quality.

Many DVD players have a component cable-out connection that you probably didn't use or weren't able to use with your old tube TV. It is a cable with 3 video cables (red, blue, and green) instead of one yellow cable.

Using this component cable with give you a significantly higher quality picture that will look great on your new hdtv.

Another less common option is an HDMI cable. Some higher quality DVD players have this connection. If it is available, use it. It offers the highest quality and passes both video and audio signals though a single cable.

Most of these cables can be purchased for a relatively low cost at a local store or on the internet (be careful.......some places can charge in excess of $100 for HDMI cables that are probably more expensive than you need). Its a great way to get a picture quality upgrade with very little effot.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How to Set Up an Webcam Video Conference?

If you don't have a webcam set up on your computer, you are missing out on an amazing communication tool that allows you to have video conferences with your friends and family for free. Here's what you need:

Webcam with built in microphone
Broadband internet connection
Computer less than 5-6 years old
MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger

This is such a simple thing to set up that its a wonder that more people do not take advantage of it. Both MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger allow you to video conference with anyone in the country who is a member of their messenger service. Anyone can join and it doesn't cost anything. Simply download the software from either Yahoo or Microsoft, install it, and sign up for an account if you do not already have one. (If you use Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, then you can use your existing username and password for your messenger account.........its all connected).

Most webcams come with built-in microphones and plug into your computers USB port. Just follow the setup disc that comes with the camera to install the hardware.

To start a video conversation in MSN Messenger, simply click on any one of your "buddies" and select "start video conversation." If its your first time attempting this, MSN messenger will take you through a few simple steps to configure your webcam and microphone. Once that is set up, your "buddy" will be notified that you want to start a conversation. After they accept your invitation, your be having a video conversation within a few seconds.

Yahoo works a little different. You first need to call your "buddy" in a voice-only conversation. Then, you invite your friend to view your webcam separately.

In my experience, MSN provides a higher quality video conference than Yahoo. But they both work great and its mostly a matter of preference.

That's all there is too it. Now get that webcam set up and start communicating like its 2007.