Tech Tuesday 8/25/09: Back to School Tech - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tech Tuesday 8/25/09: Back to School Tech

(KHNL) - If you or someone you know is going back to school for the Fall then this episode is for you.  We'll be going over a few products at Best Buy that have good value as well as some tips to help protect your high tech investments.
 
In this segment we will focus around everything portable. After all, as a student portability and price are very important. Since the education system takes advantage of computers for teaching purposes, we will start this Tech Tuesday by talking about laptops.
 
1) HP Pavilion Laptop
 
HP currently has the most market share for desktop and laptop computers. What this means is that people buy HP more than any other brand. The HP laptop we've chosen to feature in this segment is special since is has everything a student might need. The traits to look for in a good student laptop is strong processing power, plenty of memory to run applications, a powerful video processor, integrated webcam and microphone, a long battery life and a compact and lightweight deign. As an added bonus, some laptops (such as this HP) have stylish, modern design elements that can help your student look cool in school.
 
The following products are centered around the laptop and can add value and longevity to your investment.
 
2) Swiss Gear Backpack
 
A good sturdy, stylish backpack is a worthy investment which can provide dependable service for years to come. Swiss product quality is legend and laptop bags and backpacks are no exception. Swiss multimedia backpacks are perfect for the student on the go. They have a protective sleeve with padding for a laptop, space to store your mp3 player and cell phone and plenty of room for books and snacks. It's one of the best student backpacks available and they look good too.
 
2) Logitech Wireless Laptop Mouse
 
Everyone knows what a wireless mouse looks so why bother featuring one? Logitech has brought out some interesting wireless laptop mice designs over the past year and have made their products stand out from the rest. They use stylish and interesting designs to decorate their mice. These unique qualities can really add a personal touch and practical addition to any laptop.
 
3) Protection and Productivity
 
Microsoft Office 2007 has been on the shelves for some years now and is considered the standard for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Usually it's about $150 for the Home and Student version and can be installed on up to three computers. However, it is available at a significant discount if purchased with a new laptop.
 
As for virus and spyware protection, the highest rated software program currently available is Kaspersky Internet Security 2009. Each new laptop purchase at Best Buy entitles you to a half priced discount on Kaspersky, Trend Micro or Webroot's antivirus + antispyware software. Be sure to take this into consideration when shopping for a laptop.

Important!
 
Many of the laptops in for repair at the Geek Squad precinct are relatively new machines without physical problems. However they are severely infected with viruses, trojans and spyware. Often there is a surge of repairs after the school year begins, troubles caused by file sharing applications such as Bearshare, Limewire and Frostwire. These programs allow its users to download music, movies and TV shows off of the Internet without having to pay for them. It's a popular activity amongst students and can unfortunately lead to costly repair for parents.
 
Repairing such an infection may take a student away from their laptop for days and can cost upwards of $300. Antivirus and antispyware programs usually do not protect against infections from file sharing applications as the software creates "back doors" which allow infections to disable a computer's software protection. However, it is understandable that students want to listen to music and there are several free and low-cost alternatives to illegal file sharing which we will discuss in the next section.
 
4) Zune Music Player and On-line Music services.
 
The Zune MP3 player is Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPod. While not as popular, it has many attractive features that warrant it a second look when shopping for a portable music device. Like every music player, it plays MP3's but it also has an integrated FM tuner and the ability to link up with other Zune players over a wireless connection to share digital content.
 
Digital content is defined as music, movies, TV shows and podcasts that can be viewed and listened to on a computer or portable device. The most well known provider is iTunes but there are others. For instance, Napster and Rhapsody are content providers with very reasonable pricing and are a welcome replacement for illegal file sharing. If you own a Zune then you can subscribe to Microsoft's Marketplace which provides unlimited access to music and content for a flat monthly fee.
 
If you're not concerned with taking music with you but would like to listen to music on your computer then pandora.com and grooveshark.com both provide CD quality music on demand. Such online solutions are popular in the home and workplace and may be more convenient than a radio or portable music device.
 
5) Back up your Data

Unfortunately even the most well protected and cared for electronic devices often fail. It is critical that you perform a regular and complete backup of your important data, especially if you are a student or someone who uses your computer for work. It's easy to do and the backup media is cheap. In this segment we will show some interesting usb flash drives that can quickly and effectively store your data. If you have a great deal of data such as music and photos, an external hard drive is a simple solution. However, since these devices are portable they are also easily damaged. If you plan on transporting an external drive with you on a regular basis then be sure to purchase a protective case for the device. It could be very important to preserving your data.
 
Back to school is always a time of excitement and tension in a student's life. It's good to have so much technology out there that can help with the transition.
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