1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A modem transfers data between your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and your home or business.  The router then takes this data and passes it onto all of the devices in your network, ie, smart TV’s, smartphones, tablets, computers.

A modem can only connect a single device, either a PC or a router, to the internet.  A router can connect to a number of devices but it needs a modem to be able to connect to the internet.

Modems and routers are available as separate devices or you can purchase one device that does both jobs, called a Modem Router.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

The best option for connecting your devices to your surround-sound system, HDMI is a digital cable that sends both video and audio signals over a single connector, so you don’t need a whole mass of cords. If possible, use HDMI cables for your entire home theatre setup, so you can achieve the best sound and audio quality available. HDMI cables can also transmit simple commands, such as switching your Blu-ray player off when you hit the power button for your television or surround sound system.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A high-resolution image. An HD television can produce images at higher resolutions than standard definition. Standard definition typically refers to images at resolutions below 720p. High definition is 720p up to 1080p. 1080p is the best resolution quality available (available on a Full HD television or a Blu-ray player).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A form of data compression for transmission or storage onto a medium of limited size, such as a DVD. The term encoding when used in relation to a disc generally refers to the quality of the audio or video on that disc. For example, Blu-ray discs use higher-quality encoding than standard DVDs.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

The translation of an encoded data stream back to its original format.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A speaker mounted inside a cabinet.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A high-definition media designed by Sony to play high-resolution movies. Blu-ray discs hold 25GB on a single layer but dual-layer discs can hold 50GB of data. Blu-ray movies offer 1080p video and 7.1 channel surround sound, and provide the best format for watching high-quality movies using your home theatre setup.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

Also known as a receiver. A device that accepts audio inputs from your TV or media player and outputs audio to your speakers. For example, audio is sent from a Blu-ray player, through the amplifier, to the speakers.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

The most complete surround field available, a 7.1 system has two front speakers, two back speakers, two side speakers, a centre speaker and a subwoofer. The 7.1 channel audio format is ideal for watching Blu-ray movies.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

A surround-sound system made up on two front speakers, two side speakers, a back and front speaker and a subwoofer. This type of surround sound system is quite rare.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

The most common type of surround-sound system, this setup contains two back speakers, two front speakers, a centre speaker and a subwoofer. This surround format is commonly used on DVD movies and high-definition digital television channels.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

Everything around us is getting smarter – we have smart phones, smart TVs, smart watches and smart cars.  So it makes sense that we can now create our very own smart home.

‘Smart home’ is a term commonly used to describe a home that has some or all of its appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely in real-time, from anywhere, via a smartphone, tablet or PC.

Installation of smart products in a home offers its residents various benefits — the same sorts of benefits that those other smart devices have brought us over recent years and even more:

Convenience – smart homes can help to simplify complex tasks, or to automate them completely – just set & forget.

Comfort – climate and lighting systems can be automatically adjusted according to the time of day, the outside temperature or your individual mood.

Efficiency – smart homes can control when things turn on and off, and keep track of exactly where and how much energy is used in your home.

Control – a smart home gives you ultimate control, at the touch of the button no matter where you are.

Security – using sensors and communications technologies, homes can be carefully and constantly monitored from anywhere, to keep an eye on what’s important at all times.

Put simply, a smart home can make home life simpler.  See how …

 

 

Most existing homes don’t have smart systems built into them, so the most common and affordable approach is for the owner to retrofit smart products into their home.  Our partner, Smartify, offer smart home products that are simple and affordable, many of which were created with retrofitting in mind. For a limited time they’re offering tech2home customers an exclusive 15% off their Environexus Starter Pack*, delivered and installed by tech2home.  Click here for all the details.

*Sydney and Melbourne metro customers only.  Offer ends 31 March 2015.

What is a phablet you ask? It’s the marriage of the words ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’ used to describe a device that combines the features & benefits of both a smartphone & tablet, defined by screen size. A device is generally classified as a phablet when its screen size ranges from 5-7 inches.

We were first introduced to phablets in 2007 by HTC with the launch of the 5” Advantage. Big brands such as Nokia, LG, Sony and then Samsung, with their Galaxy Note series, followed suit. But it’s been the recent success of Apple’s 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus that’s firmly cemented the phablet’s place in the smartphone market.

Like all tech, the phablet has its pros and cons. For most consumers its purely screen size that attracts them to a phablet, making it great for e-reading, gaming, entertainment and every day web-surfing – it can remove the need to carry both a smartphone and tablet. Size, however, is also what deters others. Phablets can be seen as clunky and a challenge to hold when making calls.

 

Phablets

A High-Gain Antenna (HGA) is one that emits radio beams in a smaller range than a standard antenna (see image below). It’s generally used as a way to increase signal strength. A high gain antenna is also referred to as a ‘directional antenna’.

HGA
Image: www.coolpctips.com

Because of its narrower range, a high-gain antenna captures a more concentrated signal. In turn, it then transmits more power to the receiver. Because these signals are being passed between sources in a more ‘direct’ way, there is also less chance of interference.

 

Upgrade your antenna to a High-Gain Antenna today and save!  Click here for details.

This is generally one of the most common ‘how do I’ questions we get asked by Mac users. Well, there are 2 ways you can take a screen shot on a Mac ….

Keyboard shortcuts.

By using these simple keyboard shortcuts you can capture a window, screen or just part of the screen:

Command + Shift + 3 – will take a shot of your entire screen.

Command + Shift + 4 – allows you to capture part of your screen. Your cursor will change into crosshairs, like thisCrosshairs. Use the crosshairs to select the area of your screen that you’d like to capture.

Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar – lets you take a shot of any open window or menu. The crosshairs will be replaced by a little camera Camera. Use this camera to choose your shot.

Once you’ve got your shot it will automatically save as an image on your Desktop. However, if you’d like to save your screen shot to your clipboard, simply add the Control key to any of the shortcuts above.

The ‘Grab’ app.

If you generally prefer to use drop-down menus over keyboard shortcuts then the Grab app is for you. The Grab app can be found at /Applications/Utilities/Grab and gives you access to the same options as the keyboard shortcuts via the Capture menu – screen, selection and window.

Screen shots taken using the Grab app need to be saved manually. To do this simply choose File > Save.

Captures on Desktop

 

The acoustic properties of your home theatre room can dramatically affect the sound. If you’re lucky enough to be building a room to match your new system, then you should research the shape, materials and size for the best result. External noise needs to be accounted for and insulated against. Also consider the internal acoustics. Corners are a nightmare when trying to manage sound-wave reflections. The fewer corners you have, the better. If you have carpet the sound will be absorbed, softening it, while hard wood floors will reflect it, potentially causing unwanted echoes. It may be best to get an expert opinion on the acoustic properties of your home theatre room.

Setting the speaker distance to best suit the size of your room and the quality of your sound system is very important. Ideally you will want sounds from every speaker to arrive at your ears at the same time and with the desired intensity (at least when they are intended to do so). If you can’t set the speakers equidistant from the listening position then the next best position should be selected. Try, at least, to keep the speaker distance and positioning in proportion and relation to the rest of the system. The last thing you want is a rogue speaker exiled to the corner because of a coffee table.
You will need to set the distance, size and volume of your speakers within the amplifier settings to allow the amplifier to compensate for speakers that are closer than others. Many home theatre systems come with a calibration microphone. Placing the microphone at each listening point allows the system to automatically calibrate itself to your various seating positions.
Subwoofer placement is a subject of some debate. Subwoofers are not directional, so you won’t need to point them towards your listening position. Certain areas of the room may trap the subwoofer’s sound in what’s called a standing wave. If you find you’re not getting the sound you heard in the shop, try shuffling it around. There’s no precise science for it, but placing your subwoofer in one of the front corners of the room will be a good start. Try moving it up the side wall towards your listening position as a second step, and then apply trial and error until you’re happy with the sound.

 

Setting the speaker distance to best suit the size of your room and the quality of your sound system is very important. Ideally you will want sounds from every speaker to arrive at your ears at the same time and with the desired intensity (at least when they are intended to do so). If you can’t set the speakers equidistant from the listening position then the next best position should be selected. Try, at least, to keep the speaker distance and positioning in proportion and relation to the rest of the system. The last thing you want is a rogue speaker exiled to the corner because of a coffee table.

You will need to set the distance, size and volume of your speakers within the amplifier settings and you may also need to play with settings such as delay, attack and decay to allow the amplifier to compensate for speakers that are closer than others. Many home theatre systems come with a calibration microphone. Placing the microphone at each listening point allows the system to automatically calibrate itself to your various seating positions.

Subwoofer placement is a subject of some debate. Subwoofers are not directional, so you won’t need to point them towards your listening position. Certain areas of the room may trap the subwoofer’s sound in what’s called a standing wave. If you find you’re not getting the sound you heard in the shop, try shuffling it around. There’s no precise science for it, but placing your sub in one of the front corners of the room will be a good start. Try moving it up the side wall towards your listening position as a second step, and then apply trial and error until you’re happy with the sound.

Setting up your home theatre may require some tweaking over time, but the bulk of it you’ll want to do once and once only. The amplifier is the central hub from which you can select your source (CD or MP3 player, Blu-ray disc player, DVD player, personal video recorder [PVR] or game console). Your speakers must all connect to the relevant output ports on the amplifier and your media players should connect to the relevant input ports in the amplifier. You also have to connect the amplifier to the TV itself to allow a video signal to be sent. Depending on your situation you may want to have your cables run under the floors or through the walls, or you may simply need to use some cleverly placed cable runs to conceal the cables going to the side and rear of the speakers. Planning ahead by running cables for future purchases might save you some serious uprooting later. Digital cables should be used between all of your devices and HDMI is the best choice.

The best advice in this situation is to have a professional come and do an evaluation. Everything from the number of corners in a room to the choice of speakers will affect the acoustics of your room and the quality of the sound you get. Before you even begin to think about electrical equipment you need to plan your listening space. Consider how many people will be using the room at a time and how much space you’ll need.

Also consider wall cavity insulation so you don’t get unnecessary external noise and plan your screen positioning to account for sunlight, which can drastically affect projector brightness or cause an annoying glare on your LCD, LED or plasma TV. It’s not only external noise you need to insulate for: the room must also be conditioned to account for reflections and dampening of sound waves as they bounce around the walls and corners. This can be done with simple things like carpet and heavy curtains, but if you want to go to extremes you can also consider materials such as foam, egg cartons, partitions and bass traps.

Once you have the listening space planned it’s time to look at buying the home theatre components. Think about what you want to own now, but also plan for the future. If you’re building a cabinet from scratch you need to leave enough room for future devices. All of your components need to be compatible with each other, as there’s no point having a feature in one that’s not supported by the other. However, there’s nothing wrong with future-proofing one device if you think you might upgrade the other ones later. Plan the cabling for future purchases too, as re-cabling down the line may involve some problems.

Decide whether you’re going to use in-wall or standalone speakers and make sure you have the necessary bracket, cabinet, wall or floor space to accommodate them. A combination of different speaker styles may be the best solution, especially in a big room. Above all, seek expert help whenever you’re not sure.

You may think that having four speakers, two in front and two behind, is surround sound, but that’s not the case. Surround sound involves at least five individually controlled speakers and a subwoofer to create the sensation of audio coming from above, below, front and back seamlessly over 360 degrees, just like it would sound in real life. Up to seven speakers and a subwoofer can be used to great effect with high-quality audio. But this involves a number of different factors for it all to work.

The four key areas you need to consider are the content (such as a Blu-ray movie), the player (such as a Blu-ray disc player), the cables (digital or analogue) and the sound system (amplifier and speakers).

To get surround sound the content needs to have been encoded into multiple channel digital audio, such as Dolby Digital 5.1 or 7.1. To start, check which surround-sound format your media has been encoded with, and that your media player is capable of processing that particular encoding (such as Dolby Digital 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1, or DTS). Not all media players will, though most should at least support 5.1 surround sound. Naturally you will need to have a sufficient number of speakers too. For each channel of sound you need to have a corresponding speaker to play it.
You will also need to consider the cables you choose. CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs have audio that’s digitally encoded, unlike a vinyl record-player for example, which is analogue. The digital recording contains more audio information, which is how you are able to get multiple channels of sound. In order for the digital information from the DVD or Blu-ray disc to reach your ears in the same glorious detail that it was created, it must travel via a digital connection from start to finish. Digital cables are the only cables with the capacity or bandwidth to handle this signal as they use high quality materials to transport it.

There are three digital audio cable choices. Optical digital uses fibre optic wiring to transport the signal, coaxial digital uses an insulated copper wire to prevent signal interference, while HDMI combines digital video and audio signals in a single cable and is generally the best choice.

As with a commercial movie theatre, your home theatre should be designed with you sitting in the centre of the acoustic environment with the screen in the centre of your vision, straight in front of you. Positioning the speakers is equally important – ideally they should be set at ear level, and all an equal distance from you. Some more advanced receivers will allow you to customise the audio delay for each individual speaker to compensate for its distance from you.

The size of the room in which you plan to set up your home theatre will determine the volume and screen size requirements of the home theatre you eventually install. Home theatres in large rooms will benefit from systems that are capable of projecting the sound clearly over longer distances, while small rooms will benefit from a smaller, less space-hungry system that will only need to project sound over short distances. The size of your listening space will determine what kinds of speakers you need to use to fill it. This can be a combination of several options, such as cabinet speakers, wall-mounted speakers or giant standing speakers on the floor.

A home theatre is exactly what it sounds like. Broadly speaking, having a home theatre is all about enjoying the experience of going to a movie theatre – the surround sound, the rumbling bass and the big screen – but doing it within the comfort of your own home. Manufacturers typically sell a set of components under the name home theatre that generally includes the receiver/amplifier, DVD units and speakers. These components, when connected to a television or projector, form a home theatre setup.

In case you missed it, Microsoft will be gracing our techno-filled lives with Windows 10 late July – the 29th to be exact.

Microsoft is well aware that many customers struggled with Windows 8. These customers strongly voiced their opinions on the operating system, often deterring many more from dipping their toes into the Windows 8 pond. They’ve listened. Windows 10 has been developed in conjunction with ‘over 4 million’ real users, just like you and I, and Microsoft are confident they’ve got it right this time. So much so that, for a limited time, they’re offering all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users a free upgrade to Windows 10.

Time will tell if others agree, but we think Microsoft is onto a winner with these new Windows 10 features.

Start Menu
One of the most talked about changes in Windows 8 was the removal of the much-loved Start Menu. Windows 10 hails its return, in a way that combines the best of Windows 7 & 8 start functions. Press on the start button and the most frequently used apps will pop-up just as expected, however, the icing on the cake – the live tiles are there too. And, both the start menu itself and the live tiles within can be fully customised.

device_laptop_mini_start_nocortana (cropped)

 

Microsoft Edge
Personalisation is also a prominent feature of Microsoft’s brand-spanking new web browser, called Microsoft Edge. Touted to eventually replace Internet Explorer entirely, Microsoft Edge really fits in with Microsoft’s approach to ensure a very personal experience, no matter what device you’re using or how you’re interacting with it – touch or a mouse.

You can write or type comments directly onto a web page, save the page for future reference or, grab that page, comments and all, and share it in any number of ways. There’s also a handy new ‘reading view’ which makes reading articles online a much simpler experience, with limited outside ‘noise’.

Cortana*
According to Microsoft, Cortana is ‘the world’s first truly personal digital assistant’ designed to help us mere humans ‘get things done.’ Get to know Cortana and she could be your new best friend. Cortana remembers everything you do, stores it, and then uses that detail to help you. Use it to set reminders, search for files and get handy bits of information, like directions, the weather, etc. in a very timely way.

device_family_cortana

Universal Apps
Just like Windows 8, Windows 10 will feature a range of built-in apps that come as standard, think Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar. With Windows 10, however, these apps have been redesigned to look, feel and work the same way regardless of the device you’re using – PC, Laptop, Tablet, Phone and even your Xbox. And, thanks to OneDrive, your data will sync across devices, so whatever you do on one device, will be available as soon as you switch to the other – a truly ‘seamless’ experience.

This idea of one app for all devices has been termed ‘Universal Apps’. The days of app frustration – where an app that you love has not been made for any other device – will become a thing of the past.

Xbox
One more app to come standard on Windows 10 is the Xbox app. Fans of Xbox One will love some of the changes coming their way, with Microsoft aiming to replicate the Xbox Live experience across other devices. Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
• At home, stream console games to your PC or tablet
• Compete against console users from your PC or tablet
• Record, share & boast about your results across your Xbox live network
• Use the app as a remote control for your Xbox One console

xbox-one-19570

 

* Some Windows 10 features will not be available in Australia at launch.

The start of the year is the perfect time to clean out your inbox and get those emails organised. If it’s important to hold on to some of your older correspondence why not try archiving. Here’s how to manually archive emails using Outlook 2013.

Step 1   Go to File>Info, then click on the ‘Cleanup Tools’ button

  Step1

 

Step 2   Select ‘Archive’ from the drop down menu

Step2

 

Step 3   Choose ‘Archive this folder and all subfolders’ then pick the folder you want to archive first.

Step3

Note: If you’d like to archive all of your folders in one go, then click on the top line (this usually contains your email address).

 

Step 4   Enter a date next to ‘Archive items older than’

Step4

 

Step 5   Click ‘Browse’ if you’d like to change where your archived emails are saved.

 

Step 6 Click OK.

Once you click OK, the emails you chose to archive will no longer appear in your inbox, they will be saved in a pst file in your selected location.

 

Tip
You may have noticed that Outlook frequently prompts you to ‘AutoArchive’ your emails. If you prefer to archive manually you can turn this function off. Simply click on File, go to Options, then select Advanced. Under AutoArchive, click AutoArchive Settings and untick the ‘Run AutoArchive every (x) days’ box.

 

What is a phablet you ask? It’s the marriage of the words ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’ used to describe a device that combines the features & benefits of both a smartphone & tablet, defined by screen size. A device is generally classified as a phablet when its screen size ranges from 5-7 inches.

We were first introduced to phablets in 2007 by HTC with the launch of the 5” Advantage. Big brands such as Nokia, LG, Sony and then Samsung, with their Galaxy Note series, followed suit. But it’s been the recent success of Apple’s 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus that’s firmly cemented the phablet’s place in the smartphone market.

Like all tech, the phablet has its pros and cons. For most consumers its purely screen size that attracts them to a phablet, making it great for e-reading, gaming, entertainment and every day web-surfing – it can remove the need to carry both a smartphone and tablet. Size, however, is also what deters others. Phablets can be seen as clunky and a challenge to hold when making calls.

 

Phablets

If you ever find yourself in a computing pickle, we can help.  Introducing our new range of one-off, over-the-phone computer support services, starting from just $29. From a quick fix to a complete system upgrade, basic set up to networking, we’ve got you covered.

Quick Fix | $29
If the issue is small and fast to fix then this service will have you sorted in next to no time.  We’ll discuss the issue with you and either fix the problem on the spot or explain exactly which service need to fit it.

Installation (HW/SW) | $69
Have you got a new printer or scanner that you need hooked up, or have you bought some exciting new software that you can’t wait to install, then this service is for you.
Hot tip We sell both Microsoft Office 365 and an Anti-Virus software, and if you purchase either of these direct the installation is on us!

Networking | $69
If you’ve decided to switch up your internet setup or simply need help adding a extra devices to your existing home network then we’ve got you covered.   We can help either completely setup a new network or add a few additional devices to your existing home network.

Tutorial | $69
Technology is forever changing, and at such a pace, that it can be difficult to keep up.  Want to learn how to use the internet & email more efficiently, maybe you need help getting to know your way around Windows 8, or simply must understand more about social media (in order) to keep up with your kids. Never fear, our friendly, qualified tech’s are here to share their wealth of knowledge.  They’ll train you for up to an hour on the topic/s of your choice. 

Tablet & Smartphone (Setup or Help) | $69
This one’s a no brainer.  If you’ve got yourself a new tablet or smartphone setting it up the right way from the start can really help you get the most out of your new device.  With this service we can help you out with the intial setup or fix an issue on an existing device.

Computer Setup | $99
Have you just bought a new PC or laptop? We can help you set it up just how you like it, including network connection, two email accounts and internet preferences (and more).

System Upgrade | $99
We can help install & optimise your new operating system if you’ve decided to upgrade, for example, you’re moving from Windows 7 to Window 8.1 or Apple OS X Mountain Line to Yosemite.

Virus Removal | $99
No one wants a nasty virus on their computer; they can make an absolute mess of things.  Call us if you think you’ve got a virus and we can help.  Not only will we remove any existing viruses & spyware we’ll also update your computer & give you some tips on how to reduce the chances of it happening again.

Troubleshoot, Fix & Optimise | $99
Your computer seems clunky, is running slow or things are happening that you just can’t seem to explain/just seems to be acting up every now and then but you can’t seem to identify what the issue is.    Book-in for this service and we’ll figure out what the issue is and offer a solution to fix it.  We’ll dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s!

Data Backup | $99
These days so much of our life is stored on our computers – photo’s, music, bills, budgets, important documents and more.  Consistently backing up is vital.  With this service we help you backup or transfer your data from one device to another (a computer or external hard drive) and, if possible, set up automated future back ups.

Click here for more information about each service.

So keep our details handy and give us a call if you ever need help with your computer, we’ll find the service that suits.

 

OFFER
For a limited time get 10% off your next service.   Simply call 1300 788 071 and quote promo code DEC10.*

*Offer ends 31 Jan 2015.   10% is off the primary service only.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

Here are a few of our favourite gadgets that make great gifts, no matter who you’re buying for or what the occasion! These gadgets just keep on giving…

 

The Tablet

SurfacePro3

Our pick: Surface Pro 3

Features:

- 12 inch touch screen
- 4th Gen Intel Core Processor
- Surface Pen

The Surface Pro 3 sits at the top the tablet world, especially if you’re looking for one that can function as a laptop as well as a tablet.  Use it for regular touch-screen tablet activities such as surfing the net, games and photo’s, or simply add a keyboard and get productive with full-strength desktop software such as Microsoft Office.  The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch multi touch display, 5-megapixel camera and a full sized USB 3.0 port. It also comes with Windows 8.1 Pro and the Surface Pen, handy for all sorts of things.

Prices start at $979rrp for the 64GB (Intel i3) model.

Hint: if you buy one now from the Microsoft Store you get a bonus $100 Microsoft voucher!

 

2-in-1 Phone Case & Charger

 

MophieJuicePack


Our pick: Mophie Juice Pack

Features:

- Up to 120% additional battery life
- Protects and charges at the same time
- Available for Apple/Samsung/HTC

As our smartphones become even smarter, we rely on them more and more, so it’s frustrating that one of their most critical features is struggling to keep up – battery life. That’s where the Mophie Juice pack comes in handy. It’s a battery case and charger in one. Depending on the model you buy you can extend the life of your battery up to 120%.

The iPhone 5s version is available from Harvey Norman for $89.

 

Streaming Media Player

 

WDTVMediaPlayer


Our pick: WD TV Media Player

Features:

- Plays virtually any file type
- Plays media USB devices, network drives and computers
- Access to YouTube, Spotify, ABC iView, Facebook & more

WD TV Live is an accessory that will enhance your HDTV viewing the experience. Users can stream content from popular online services such as Netflix, YouTube and Spotify and watch video’s direct from most USBs, network drives and connected computers. WD TV Live is able to play almost any file type and, with the help of its mobile app, can be controlled by your phone or tablet (iOS 4.0 & Android 2.1 and higher).

The WD TV Media Player is currently available from JB Hi-Fi for $149.

 

Gaming Console

XboxOne

Our pick: Xbox One

Features:

- Exclusive ‘award-winning’ games
- Improved multi-player experience
- Easily switch between games, TV, music & more

The Xbox One is a ‘next-generation’ console that allows for much more than just gaming. With the ability to switch instantly from games to TV, movies or even music, the Xbox One is a complete home entertainment system. The Xbox One boasts many exclusive games and even supports voice and motion control to create new experiences.

There a currently a range of bundles (console, games + Xbox live membership) available from the Microsoft Store, starting at $499.  These consoles are available from a wide range of retailers so make sure you shop around for the best deal.

 

The Small Tablet

 

iPadmini3

Our pick: Apple iPad mini 3

Features:

- Only 331 grams
- 7.9 inch screen
- Touch ID

The iPad mini 3 is the latest in Apple’s smaller iPad range.  Because of its size & simplicity (not to mention the fingerprint resistant coating) it’s a great tablet for kids.   The iPad mini 3 has a 7.9 inch multi-touch display, 5-megapixel camera, 1080p HD video recorder and Touch ID (fingerprint identity) technology. Pair these features with an abundance of apps (regulated by Apple to prevent dodgy ones) available from the iTunes Store and you can’t really go wrong.

Prices start at $499rrp for the 16GB (Wi-Fi only) model.

Hint: if you buy this tablet at Apple’s online store you have the option to have it engraved with a personal message (perfect for gift giving)!

The portability and convenience of a tablet means that it’s the perfect device for entertainment ….. carry it with you and in any moment you can catch up on your favourite TV series, movie or more!

Back at home though and who could bear watching that same TV series on an 8-inch screen when their 60-inch TV is staring right at them.  There’s no need.  Simply stream the show from your tablet to your TV and you can carry on where you left off. 

Here are 2 ways to stream content like movies, games, photo’s & more from your tablet to your TV, without wires.

1. Streaming device  A specialist streaming device is one of the simplest ways to mirror the content from your tablet to your TV.  There’s a wide-range of devices available, varying in features and price, such as the WD TV Media Player, Apple TV or Google Chromecast, available for just $49 from the Google Play store.  Before you purchase any of these devices though make sure the technology is compatible with yours.

2. Via DLNA or Miracast type technology  If these types of technologies are built into your tablet and your TV then you’ll be able to stream content from one to the other using your home Wi-Fi.  If both your tablet and TV are from the same manufacturer, LG or Samsung for example, there’s a good chance they’ll share this type of technology and your content can easily be mirrored from one to the other via an app.

Happy to use wires, then it’s simple.  HDMI (or HDMI type) cables are the answer, just make sure the one you have is compatible with both of your devices.

A High-Gain Antenna (HGA) is one that emits radio beams in a smaller range than a standard antenna (see image below). It’s generally used as a way to increase signal strength. A high gain antenna is also referred to as a ‘directional antenna’.

HGA
Image: www.coolpctips.com

Because of its narrower range, a high-gain antenna captures a more concentrated signal. In turn, it then transmits more power to the receiver. Because these signals are being passed between sources in a more ‘direct’ way, there is also less chance of interference.

 

Upgrade your antenna to a High-Gain Antenna today and save!  Click here for details.

Around tax time it’s hard to avoid thinking about the state of your finances.  If you’ve come to realise that your budget is in dire need of a refresh or, better yet, you’re creating one for the first time ever, there’s a simple way via templates in Microsoft Excel.  Note: our example below follows the 2010 version of Excel, however the process is just a simple with other versions.

 

Step 1 Go to the File tab and click on ‘New’.  Under the Office.com Templates section look for ‘Budgets’ and click on the icon.

Step 1

 

Step 2 Select the template category.  These are pretty self explanatory but if you’re unsure click in each folder and take a look at what’s there. In this example we’re going to create a family budget so we select the ‘Home budgets’ category.

Step 2

 

Step 3 Choose the template that suits you best. Browse through the templates using the ‘preview’ pane to the right to take a closer look at each one.  Once you’ve made your choice, click on the ‘Download’ icon.

Step 3

Remember: these templates are simple to edit so don’t worry if they aren’t ‘exactly’ what you’re after, just pick the one that ticks most the boxes.

 

Step 4 Go to the File tab and click on ‘Save As’.  Save your template in a folder that’s easy to access.

Step 4

 

Step 5 Update the template with your budget information.  You’ll notice that when you make a change to the figures the ‘totals’ update automatically.    Once you’ve finished don’t forget to click ‘Save’ again before you close the file.

Step 5

Now you’re super organised and ready to take control of your finances. If you keep your budget up-to-date there’s a good chance that this time next year there will be nothing to worry about.

Tip
Don’t have Excel? On the government-run Moneysmart website, developed to encourage Australians to reduce their debt and save, there’s a handy and easy-to-use ‘Budget Planner’ which can be saved online. Click here to check it out.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

It’s that time of the year again when we reluctantly have to pay the tax man a visit. Why not get a heads up on whether or not it’s going to be good news, or simply understand how much tax you might pay, with these handy tax apps. Note, the results from these apps are to be used as a guide only, they should not replace professional advice.

my Tax
iOS - $9.99

my Tax is a comprehensive tax app, loaded with features, that may be suitable for both business and personal use. Developed by an accountant, it allows you to calculate personal tax, PAYG, and salary sacrificing (vehicle and super). Other features include a loan calculator, a tax rates summary, a pay calculator, a BAS calculator and a capital gains tax (CGT) calculator. You can also print reports directly from your device and customise the app so the calculators you use the most are on your home screen.

Expense & Tax Manager
Android - $5.00

The expense & tax manager is exactly that. Perfect for use year-round, it tracks as many income items (salary, rent shares, etc) and expenses as you need. It also features instant tax calculations, records tax payments, tracks tax by year, quarter, month, fortnight or week, calculates GST and forecasts future income and expenses. It then turns that data into a statement and/or graph which you can email.

TaxApp – Australian Income Tax Calculator
iOS - $1.29

If you’re after a simple income tax calculator then this may be the app for you. Enter your income and any relevant deductions then let the app tell you how much tax you’re likely to pay. Simple. Includes allowances for super, the Medicare levy and HELP.

Australian Tax Calculator
Android – free

A cut-down version of the Expense & Tax Manager app, the Australian Tax Calculator will calculate your tax payable, net income and the amount of super you’ve earned and display it by year, quarter, month, fortnight or week.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Android – free
iOS – free

If you’re really keen to keep up-to-date on all things tax-related don’t forget to download the ATO’s tax app. They’ve recently released the 2014 version. Features include tax return tracking, a fuel tax calculator, tax rates, an income tax calculator and additional support for small business owners.

Did you know?
If you normally have a fairly straightforward tax return, lodging it this year will be even easier. The ATO has just announced MyTax – a simpler version of eTax that will be available on mobile, tablet, and PC. For more information and to see if MyTax is suitable for you, visit the ATO website.

What is a curved TV?
It’s actually pretty self explanatory – it’s a regular flat-screen TV that’s been bent at the edges to create a curve. Why? To provide a way to truly ‘immerse’ yourself in what you’re watching, by capturing your peripheral vision, much like a cinema screen does.

Advances in LED technology, the same technology that has seen TV’s become super thin, have allowed this vision to become a reality. Soon, we may be seeing curved screens everywhere, including our mobile phones.

The pro’s:
• They look unique.
• They offer an ‘immersive’ viewing experience. The curve wraps around you to draw you further into the content on the screen.
• The contrast. Curved screens can deliver 1.5 – 1.8 times higher contrast than flat-screens.
• The depth. A curved edge pushes the image on the screen towards you, creating the perception of depth.
• Improved viewing angle. The quality of the picture on a flat-screen TV reduces when you watch it from the side, whereas, a curved screen is proven to retain its picture quality. However, the curve of the screen does mean that the viewing angle cuts off sooner than its flat counterpart.

The con’s:
• Reflections. Not only do curved TV’s reflect more of the room but, because of the shape, those reflections are distorted, just like the ‘crazy mirrors’ you see at a theme park.
• They have the effect of making the screen seem smaller. Visually a flat-screen TV of the same size will appear larger.
• Work best at large sizes. It goes without saying that to get that truly cinematic experience your TV needs to be big! Curved TV’s above 65” are still to come.
• The price. For a TV with the exact same specs, the curved version, for now, will cost significantly more than the flat one.
• Wall mounting. Curved TVs can be wall mounted, however, due to their shape they don’t look as sleek as their flat cousins.

Where can I get one?
Harvey Norman offers a range of curved TV’s from both Samsung and LG with various features and in a few sizes, starting from around A$3600. Pop into your local store to experience one for yourself.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

When it’s taking a while to do something in Excel have you ever thought ‘I’m sure there’s a much quicker way to do this’ but you don’t know how? We’ve put together 5 time-saving tips that we hope will help.

1. Changing the Enter key behaviour

When you hit the Enter key you’ll automatically drop down to the cell just below it. But what if you want to enter a lot of data in a row instead of a column? You simply need to change the behaviour of this feature.

Go to Excel Options (which you’ll find under the File tab) and select Options. Then, click on Advanced and under Editing options select your choice from the dropdown box.

Changing enter key  behaviour

2. Display formulas instead of results

A single keystroke lets you switch between Excel’s standard display, which shows the result of a formula, to one that shows the actual formulas. Press it once, and Excel displays formulas instead of results. Press it again, and the results appear again. This is handy if you want to check your workings, or you’ve received a spreadsheet from a colleague and want to check theirs.

 The keystroke is: Ctrl `

 (The ‘open quotes’ key is located on the top left of the keyboard next to the number 1).

3. Formatting a table

For a lengthy list of data, creating a table with some basic formatting can improve legibility and functionality and it’s simple to do with Excel’s Formatting features. The easiest to use is ‘Format a Table’.

Highlight the range of cells or rows or columns that you want to format into a table. Go to the Home tab and select Format a Table which will reveal a drop down menu of options. Click on the style and colour that best suits your data and Excel will automatically format that data.

4. Freeze panes

To keep an area of your spreadsheet visible while you scroll to another area, you can lock specific rows or columns using a function called ‘Freeze Panes’. This is perfect if you need to see row and column headers as you scroll.

First;

  • To lock a row, select the row below the row/s that you want to keep visible when you scroll.
  • To lock a column, select the column to the right of the column or columns that you want to keep visible when you scroll.
  • To lock both a row and column, click the cell below and to the right of the rows and columns that you want to keep visible when you scroll.

 Then, once your row or column is highlighted go to the View tab, click the arrow below Freeze Panes and choose the relevant option:

  • To lock one row only, click Freeze Top Row.
  • To lock one column only, click Freeze First Column.
  • To lock more than one row or column, or to lock both rows and columns at the same time, click Freeze Panes.

 

5. Entering a series of data

Instead of entering data manually on a spreadsheet, you can use the ‘Auto Fill’ feature to fill cells with data that follows a pattern, or series. For example, if you need to enter the numbers 1 to 20, you can simply enter the number 1 then Auto Fill the following cells with numbers 2 to 20.

Select the cell/s that contains the data that you want to fill into adjacent cells. Then, drag the fill handle across the cells you want to fill. To fill the cells with a series of data, click the Auto Fill Options Button , and then click the Fill Series option.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

What are cookies?

Cookies are small plain text files located on your internet’s temporary file storage.  They’re often encrypted for protection against unauthorized access and are generally harmless.

Cookies have multiple uses. Websites store information in a ‘cookie’ on your computer to save space on the site’s server allowing it to run faster and more efficiently. Cookies are also used by web developers to make the websites they create easier to use. Plus they can:

  • Track where you attempt to log in from – is it the same computer? This can help protect against unauthorized access to your email or internet banking for example.
  • Remember your website preferences, such as search options.
  • Remember what items you’ve placed in your ‘shopping cart’ when shopping online.
  • Help limit advertising and prevent pop-ups
  • Help complete online forms by saving the information you’ve already completed, allowing you to go back and continue without re-entering your details all over again

Types of cookies

There are 4 different types of cookies

  • Session cookies – are deleted when you leave a website
  • Persistent/stored cookies – retain information for later use
  • 1st party cookies – come from the ‘domain’ or website you are on at the time
  • 3rd party cookies – come from elsewhere, such as advertising

Are cookies out to get me?

While cookies are not technically viruses (they do not spread themselves or run malicious code) they can be used with malicious intent. Because they store information about your browsing preferences and history on websites, they can be related to spyware.

There are many programs that can offer protection such as Norton 360. Such programs analyse the cookie files, where they came from and remove anything suspicious. They also feature a firewall to help prevent unauthorised access to your computer and your cookie file data.

Disabling cookies all together isn’t recommended as most current websites rely on them to function. Instead we suggest customising your internet browsers cookie handling preferences to a level you’re comfortable with.

Cookies pop-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Explorer privacy settings for cookies, pop ups and user tracking.
To amend go to ‘Tools’, open ‘Internet Options’ then click on the ‘Privacy’ tab.

 

 

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

Studies have shown that most of us no longer watch TV alone; we just can’t seem to put down our smartphones and tablets! So it only makes sense that the TV channels cottoned on to this and found a way to make sure our focus remained on their shows and not on other things.

So, if you’re really, really into your favourite show then you can get closer to the action, and even share your thoughts, opinions and feelings with your fellow fans. Just download the app for that channel and you can get involved as much, or as little, as you’d like. All of the apps are free to download.

Fango

Channel: 7
Available on: iOS and Android

Fango was the first channel-specific social TV app to launch in Australia in late 2011 and started with a bang. With Fango you can check-in with your favourite shows, socialise with other viewers and compete to be the number one fan of your favourite show! Gain points and work your way up the leader board by playing games and participating in various social tasks. You could even win a prize!

Jump-in

Channel: 9
Available on: iOS only (for Android users, they’re ‘working on it’.)

Channel 9 launched Jump-in in mid-2012 in response to its competitors and has actively promoted the app ever since. Jump-in is easy-to-use and offers a variety of features, including tailored content pages for its hottest shows with exclusive news stories and videos, a dedicated Twitter feed, presenter info, blogs and even transcripts. Users are enticed into the app with exclusive content at times during the show, e.g. ‘The Block’ fans get sneak peaks inside the homes being renovated.

Zeebox

Channels: All
Available on: iOS, Android, Kindle & Web

Zeebox hails from the UK and, in conjunction with Channel 10, was one of the first international players to enter the Australian market. It’s super slick and differs from the others by offering content on a wide-range of shows from a variety of channels, including Pay TV channels. Zeebox contains the usual updates and social interaction; however it also includes a handy little feature called Zeetags. ‘Zeetags’ are little tags that pop-up during a show based on the content of that particular show. Click on the tag for more info (think news, links, apps & downloads) than you could ever need on that content.

If you want your TVs’ sound to match it’s sleek look then go no further than the trusty sound bar. Sound bars have been around for more than a few years but have recently taken off in Australia, and with good reason. The right one will not only sound better than your TV alone, but it will generally be cheaper, simpler to use and create less clutter than a full surround-sound system.

Interested? Here are a few things to consider before heading out to buy one …….

Where it’s going

Sound bars (4)

Before buying a sound bar first think about where you’re going to put it. Sound bars generally sit on a TV stand in front of, or under your TV, but they can also be wall mounted. Measure the space you have to work with and go from there. Be sure to measure not just the length, but the depth and the height too. If your TV’s remote sensor sits at the bottom of your TV, allow for this when taking your measurements, you wouldn’t want your brand new sound bar to block the sensor.

You may also want to consider the ‘look’ of your TV or the overall design of the space where it’s going to be placed. Some manufacturer’s offer sound bars to match their TV’s. You don’t have to go this far but your sound bar will look better if it complements your existing technology.

The options

Pedestal sound barThere are 2 main types of sound bars – the original ‘bar’ design and the ‘pedestal’.  The most common is the bar design, which really does look like a bar.  It’s long, thin and generally comes with a sub-woofer. Pedestal sound bars are a bit bigger and are made to sit directly under the TV, creating a ‘pedestal’ for your TV.  They often look more like a part of your TV or TV stand than separate speaker.  

Features, features & more features

The appeal of a sound bar is in its simplicity. As with most technology though, they come with a variety of features. At a minimum you should look out for:

A subwoofer – the bar design generally comes with one however the pedestal design doesn’t. If you go for the pedestal-style sound bar it will be worth the extra investment to purchase a separate subwoofer.

Built-in Bluetooth – will ensure you can use your sound bar to easily play music from your smartphone or tablet. These days, built-in Bluetooth is a non-negotiable.

Fewer inputs – if your TV has a digital optical audio ‘output’ then all your sound bar really needs is a digital optical audio ‘input’. Simply connect all of your other devices to your TV and they will play through the sound bar.

Price

You should be able to get a quality sound bar that suits your needs for less than $500. As always, be prepared and shop around for the best deal to ensure you get the perfect sound bar for you.

Make sure you check out what your local Harvey Norman, Domayne or Joyce Mayne store has to offer.   Then, while you’re there you can make an appointment for us to come and install it!

This is generally one of the most common ‘how do I’ questions we get asked by Mac users. Well, there are 2 ways you can take a screen shot on a Mac ….

Keyboard shortcuts.

By using these simple keyboard shortcuts you can capture a window, screen or just part of the screen:

Command + Shift + 3 – will take a shot of your entire screen.

Command + Shift + 4 – allows you to capture part of your screen. Your cursor will change into crosshairs, like thisCrosshairs. Use the crosshairs to select the area of your screen that you’d like to capture.

Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar – lets you take a shot of any open window or menu. The crosshairs will be replaced by a little camera Camera. Use this camera to choose your shot.

Once you’ve got your shot it will automatically save as an image on your Desktop. However, if you’d like to save your screen shot to your clipboard, simply add the Control key to any of the shortcuts above.

The ‘Grab’ app.

If you generally prefer to use drop-down menus over keyboard shortcuts then the Grab app is for you. The Grab app can be found at /Applications/Utilities/Grab and gives you access to the same options as the keyboard shortcuts via the Capture menu – screen, selection and window.

Screen shots taken using the Grab app need to be saved manually. To do this simply choose File > Save.

Captures on Desktop

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

There’s a wider range of back-up options than ever before so you should always be prepared for that dreaded day when your hard drive decides to have a meltdown. There’s now no reason to lose your precious photos, favourite music, movies and important documents when it does. However, if you are unprepared then how do you chose which solution is right or you?

External hard drives

External hard drive

External hard drives are by far one of the most popular backup solutions, because they’re affordable and easy to use. Combined with automated backup software, they hold onto a copy of your data so it’s ready should you need to transfer it to another computer. And thanks to USB 3.0, they’re now fast; it shouldn’t take more than a few hours, even for the initial backup. On the flipside, because they are so portable they’re more likely to be battered around or dropped so their lifespan might be even less than an internal hard drive. More importantly, you need to remember to plug them in when backup time rolls around. If you forget then you can go for months without backing up, which defeats the purpose of having the hard drive in the first place. We recommend you always store your hard drive in a different place to your computer.

Good:

• It’s cheap.

• It’s easy to use.

• It’s portable.

Not-so-good:

• You need to remember to plug it in when its time to backup.

• Limited capacity.

• Can be stolen.

Network-attached storage (NAS)

NAS

Rather than plug into your computer, NAS devices plug into your network, perfect for households with multiple computers. They range from single-drive devices to multi-bay servers. As a backup medium, a multi-drive NAS beats an external hard drive on most important points; not only can you can back up multiple PCs to it, you can serve media and files to your network media players, it’s always available for all of the computers on your network and some even have built-in cloud features (see below), so you can access your data from anywhere.

However, price is often a deterrent. For home users, a four- or five-bay NAS (1 bay = 1 hard drive) is an outstanding backup solution with tremendous capacity but they can set you back more than $1,000 for a full kit.

Good:

• Multiple-computer access.

• Always on, always available.

• Large capacity.

Not-so-good:

• Expensive to set up initially.

• Can be somewhat technical.

• Can be stolen.

Cloud storage

Cloud

With cloud storage, your data is loaded over the internet to an off-site server. This has huge advantages, the biggest being that even if your house or office burns to the ground, you can recover your data. You can also access that data from anywhere.

The downside is that the initial backup can take a while, sometimes weeks. Subsequent backups are faster, since they only update new and changed files. Recovering that data is a bit quicker, since broadband download is generally faster than upload, but it can still be time-consuming.

Good:

• Almost total data security.

• Data is available from anywhere.

Not-so-good:

• You have to a pay a subscription fee (although these can start from as little as $9.90 per month).

• Slow backups and recovery.

• Possibly limited volumes.

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

Whether you’ve been given a new gadget as a gift, you’re upgrading because you like to have the latest, or your favourite gadget has simply run its course, managing your eWaste is important. With ongoing pressure on the environment, there are some simple steps you can take to limit what ends up in landfill, do your bit for recycling, or help out a fellow Australian.

If your technology still works:

Hand it down. Check if any family member, friend or colleague might be interested.

Make a little money. Try selling it on sites such as eBay or the Trading Post. It’s good practice to disclose why you’re selling it and if there are any known faults. Even if it’s decades behind, there is always a collector out there.

Donate it to charities such as the Salvos or Vinnies.

Look out for any other charities in your state or city, which are in specific need of tech such as Computer Technologies for Schools.

If none of these options suit you, then consider some of the options below.

If your technology no longer (or partially) works:

Check in with your local council to see what their eWaste policy is or go to Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You to discover the range of services available in your area. Items that can be recycled include:

- mobile phones and telephones
- stereo components, DVD and video players
- televisions
- computers & accessories
- printers, faxes & scanners
- batteries
- cartridges

Contact the manufacturer and see if they have a recycling program that allows you to drop off their branded gear (some allow other brands too). Dell, Toshiba & Apple have Australian programs.

Use a managed eWaste provider that will pick up your gadgets for a fee to dispose of it correctly. Some companies will even offer you a rebate if there are any items of value. Here’s an example of a national provider: http://www.ewaste.com.au/

Did you know?

If you purchase one of our TV installation services through a Harvey Norman, Domayne or Joyce Mayne store, when we come to install your new TV, we’ll also collect your old one and drop it back to the store to be recycled.

 

 

 

 

You’re probably thinking, I shop online all-of-the-time, I know what I’m doing! Around this time of year, it’s so frantic that it’s easy to miss something, and there are more people than ever out there preying on innocent shoppers. Here’s a quick refresher on how to stay safe when shopping online:

Be smart.

As a general rule of thumb only shop on sites that you are familiar with or have been recommended by someone you trust. If a site looks unprofessional and/or is full of ‘unbelievable’ bargains then steer clear.

Try and stick to buying brands you know well so that you can be sure of the quality. Because you can’t inspect an item online before you buy it you risk receiving something that might break 5 minutes after you open it.

Do your research. Know the value of the product you’re buying & what’s included so that you don’t get caught paying too much or receive a product that’s different to the one you thought you bought.

Check the detail.

Once you’ve decided what to buy check the detail twice. Make sure you’ve chosen the right colour, size, model, quantity, etc.

Before hitting the checkout read the fine print, including the seller’s shipping, privacy, returns and complaints handling policies. At a minimum be sure to understand how long it will take to deliver your product, where it goes if you’re not home to receive it, how to return or exchange it if it’s not right and who to contact if you’re not happy.

Know exactly how much you’re paying. To avoid being stung by unexpected charges check the currency rates, taxes, postage costs and other/additional costs first.

Make secure payments.

Don’t overshare. Only provide personal information that’s relevant to what you’re buying and stick to the absolute minimum amount required to purchase your item.

When paying, pick a secure method such as PayPal, BPay, or your credit card. Avoid using direct transfers or direct debit, as these are known to be open to abuse. And never send your credit card details via email.

If paying by credit card, before you enter your details make sure they’ll be safe. Check that the site you’re on has an address beginning with https:// (the ‘s’ is the important part, meaning ‘secure’) and/or that an image of a locked padlock appears in your browser.

Always keep a record of your purchase and check when & how much you were charged using the account that you paid from (ie your PayPal account or credit card statement). And don’t forget to hold onto any emails to and from the seller.

And remember that wise old saying, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’.

 

 

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

eBook Readers or ‘eReaders’ seem to be in the spotlight this time of year, as they’re seen as quite an affordable ‘gadget’. Whether you’re buying one for yourself or another person, if you just love the feel & smell of a traditional book then an eReader might not be quite right. But if you have a passion for reading and like to have at least one book with you at all times then read on.

Here we compare 3 major eReaders ranging in price from $150-$220. There are so many to choose from so this is not an exhaustive list, but a starting guide. When choosing an eReader, there are a few things to consider:

Readability & ease-of-use: the latest eReaders all have much better contrast and are designed to read exactly like a book but the lighting does vary. Make sure that downloading & storing your books is relatively simple.

Content: you want to make sure that you have a solid and growing selection to choose from. While most brands of eReaders have their own store, you don’t need to use them exclusively. Learn more about where to buy eBooks here.

Memory and battery life: don’t risk the battery dying just before you get to the peak of your read! While battery life is often sold on number of week or months, try to confirm how many books or time spent reading per day that’s equivalent to.

Extra features: these extra features can include: adjustable light setting for night reading, number of greyscale levels (to help make things easier on your eyes), built-in dictionary, and access to social sites so you can review books and share opinions.

Try reading from a few before you buy to ensure you’re happy with your purchase. If you’re buying from an online store and don’t get to interact with the eReader, user reviews will give you a good gauge. And don’t forget to keep the receipt, especially if you’re buying one as a gift, because what suits you may not suit the person you’re buying for.

 

 

Kobo Aura HD

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Sony Reader PRS-T3

 

 

Kobo Aura HD

Kindle Paperwhite

Sony Reader

Key features

Book- inspired design with a large screen.

No glare in daylight and built-in backlight.

Slim and light with an integrated cover.

Screen size

6.8″

6″

6″

Resolution (pixels)

1440 x 1080

1024 x 768

758 x 1024

Font sizes

24

8

8

Weight (grams)

240

215

200

Memory (internal)

4GB

2GB

2GB

Battery life (up to)

2 months
(30mins reading/day)

3 weeks
(30mins reading/day)

1.5 – 2 months
(approx. 2,500 pages)

Supported formats

ePub, PDF, MOBI, TXT

Kindle (AZW/3), PDF, MOBI

ePub, PDF, TXT

Colours

Espresso, Ivory, Onyx

Black

Black, white & red

Price (RRP)

$219.95

$179

$149


Information correct at 12/12/2013 

We could all do with more time in our busy lives. Often, the amount of emails you receive seem never ending. You want to get to them all, only to find that some aren’t really intended for you to action but simply to keep you in the loop with what’s going on, via Cc (Carbon Copy) emails.  There’s a simple way to manage these Cc emails by using Outlook ‘Rules’.

By creating a Rule, you can automatically move an incoming Cc email to another designated folder which means your actual inbox will only show the emails where you’re email address has been included in the ‘To’ section. Here’s how:

1. In the navigation pane (left of your inbox), create a folder e.g. !My Cc’s. Note that we’ve used an exclamation mark at the beginning of the name. This is so that it appears at the top of the list of folders, making it easy to find.
My-Ccs_Step-1 (2)

2. Open an email where you have been Cc’d. Then, at the top of the navigation pane, select Create Rule.
My-Ccs_Step-2 (2)

3. Select > When I get an email with all of the selected conditions, > check the move the item to folder box.

4. Select the Cc folder you created, then Advanced Options, > followed by which conditions do you want to check?. Check the where my name is in the cc box, box.

5. It’ll prompt you further: what do you want to do with the message? Check the move to the specified folder, box.

6. You can then create a Rule exception e.g. you might still want to see the ones that are coming from your boss or have been marked as high importance. If you want to make certain people the exception, then select the hyper link and type in the relevant email address/es.

7. When you’re happy with the Rules, before selecting OK you can choose to also Run the rule now on messages already in ‘current folder’.

My-Ccs_Step-7 (2)

You’re done!

Caution: Because you won’t be seeing these emails in your main inbox anymore, you will need to remember to actually check the folder! It might be worth scheduling in a calendar reminder to well ‘remind’ you to check the Cc mailbox.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Loading ... Loading ...

So you’ve decided to treat yourself and buy a new TV.  There’s such a vast range of TV’s available, how do you decided what to buy?  42 inch or 100 inch? LCD or Plasma? 3D or not?  The choices can overwhelming.  Here are a few tips on how to  narrow it down and go about picking a TV that’s perfect for you.

Get real about what it’s for.
If it’s a spare TV for the kids room where they might simply watch TV show s and the occasional movie, as opposed to the main TV that may be used for a variety of things like movies nights, gaming, video streaming and sharing photo’s, then you don’t need a large TV with all of the bells and whistles.  IN this instance you’ll need a reliable TV that’s simple to use and has good picture quality.

So, start out by being clear on what the TV’s main purpose is.

Decide on a budget.
Setting a budget will instantly narrow the range of TV’s you can choose from.  When deciding on your budget, keep in mind the reason why you’re buying the TV. Whether you choose to pay for your TV outright or finance it, having a budget will ensure you spend the right amount for the type of TV you need.

Size does matter.
They just keep getting bigger.  But that doesn’t mean you need to go and buy the biggest TV around.  So how do you know which size to go for?  Measure the distance between where the TV will sit and from where it will be watched, also known as the ‘viewing distance’. Then follow the table below to get an idea of the ideal size TV for your viewing distance.

TV viewing distance (2)

Of course, there’s no absolute golden rule about screen size, and the final decision will often be down to your personal preference along with the overall size of your room.

Features, feature and more features.
Now that you know what your TV will be used for, it should be a fairly straightforward process to decided what features you need.  We’ve highlighted a few of the most common questions you’ll need to consider:

LCD/LED LCD vs Plasma – both types of flat screen technology produce great pictures and each has their advantages and disadvantages.  For instance, LCD’s consume around 30% less power than plasma’s. And because the latest LED LCD technology uses LED lighting it consumes even less.  However, plasma’s have the edge when it comes to picture contrast and quality in dark scenes, due to their ability to display deeper blacks.  As a general rule, plasma’s offer better value-for-money for TV’s sized 50 inches and above and LCD’s at the smaller end (46 inches or less) of the market.

3D or not – 3D movies have been around for a long time however 3D technology in TVs is still fairly new.  If the TV you’re buying is for a home theatre then, with all of the 3D movies now available, it may be worthwhile buying a 3D TV.  If you’re mostly going to use your new TV to watch regular free-to-air, then there are probably not enough 3G programs around yet to make it worthwhile.

Smart or not – a smart TV is a lot like a smart phone, it can do more than just play television.  You can connect a smart TV to the internet and browse the web, play music & games, and stream video’s just like you can on a computer without the need of an additional device.  You may pay a premium for a smart TV but if you’re going to use these features regularly, and it’s within your budget, why not.  If it’s not within your budget you can still get a lot of these features on your TV without having to buy a smart TV, through a PVR, Blu-ray player, gaming console, set-top box, etc).

Do your research.
You don’t need to go overboard, just be prepared so when you go into store or online you stay focused and end up with the TV that’s most suitable for you.  Search for TV’s that match your needs then compare pricing & features, read reviews and create a shortlist.  Both choice.com.au and cnet.com.au are good places to start.  Or, for a more personalised service, we recommend popping into you local Harvey Norman, Domayne or Joyce Mayne store.  Armed with this information you’re now ready to buy!

Digital TV is here.

2013 is the year that analogue television is switched off completely and we become a digital-only TV nation.  The government started preparing us for the switchover in 2010 so this is unlikely to be news.  But, that doesn’t mean you’re ready.  Have you put off getting digital ready thinking ‘oh, I’ve got heaps of time to do that’?  Well, there’s not much time left.  If you haven’t upgraded to digital by the time analogue is switched off in your area you will no longer have access to free to air TV.

Most areas across western and northern Australia, Adelaide, the ACT, and Tasmania have already been switched over, with all of the other major cities to follow shortly. You can find out exactly when the switchover is happening in your area by heading to digitalready.gov.au and entering your address.  Here is a general guide to when the switchover will occur in remaining areas across Australia:

Sydney and surrounding areas – 3 Dec
Melbourne and surrounding areas – 10 Dec
Remote central and eastern Australia – 10 Dec

Becoming digital TV ready is relatively simple, just do one of the following:

1.    Buy and install a digital set-top box, OR
2.    Grab a new personal video recorder (PVR), OR
3.    Treat yourself and upgrade to a brand-new digital TV

Any one of these will have you digital ready in no time. Plus, you can start enjoying the benefits that digital TV has to offer including a broader range of channels, electronic TV guide and improved picture quality, just to name a few.

Want to know more? There’s a stack of information at digitalready.gov.au, so head there if have any unanswered questions.  You can also call 1800 201 013.

If you need help to get digital ready, pop into your nearest Harvey Norman, Domayne or Joyce Mayne store and check out the offers from tech2home.

One of the general rules of staying safe online is ensuring that you use secure passwords. You should apply this practice to all your digital passwords.

If you think that using ‘Zeus’ your dog’s name is strong enough (given few people know his name) then you’re wrong.

Most attempts at cracking your password will be the form of someone using sophisticated password cracking software to run every combination possible until a result is given. Make it too easy and its cracked quick smart. The more complex you make it, then the longer it will take and a hacker isn’t going to wait around all that long. If you’re a social media user, then chances are you or someone else has already posted a pic of Zeus at the park and named him in the post.

You may have already come across some sites letting you know the strength of your password as you start typing one in.  It would be silly to leave it at ‘weak’.  ‘Strong’ is what you’re after.

So, how to create a secure one? The more letter, number and symbol combinations you use, the stronger it is. But not just any combination will do either, as you need to remember it after all! And we mean remember, as writing it on a post-it or anywhere for that matter is not an option.

At a minimum, use 8 characters – one of them should be a number (0-9), a capital letter and a symbol. Once you think you’ve got it – ask yourself: can it be found in the dictionary or produce a Wikipedia result if you were to Google it? If so, try again.

Here’s an example:

Tr@8&Kwf

It’s not just random, it’s something that can be remembered everyday: (Tr)ain (@)at (8)o’clock (&)and (K)iss (wf) wifey.

And a final reminder that just like underwear, you should change your password regularly!

5.1 surround sound is the most common home theatre configuration. This is produced by 5 speakers circling the room producing full-range frequency and 1 sub woofer for low frequency (Bass) to make sure the ground rumbles when a car explodes on-screen!
The are two main sound-encoding surround sound formats:

  • DTS
  • Dolby Digital

While most receivers are able to process both DTS & Dolby Digital, DVDs and Video Games are usually encoded with one or the other.

 

Commonly known as an “Amp” or “Amplifier”, the receiver is the central hub and integral element to any home theatre setup. It’s the bridge between your blu-ray player and your TV & speakers. AV Receivers process both the audio and video signals from HD devices (blu-ray, dvd players etc.) and transmit the picture and sound to your TV & speakers.

High Definition Multimedia Interface – HDMI is the best way to get the best possible picture & sound from your HD media device (e.g. Blu-ray player) to your TV screen and home theatre speakers. HDMI cables simplify your home theatre system by connecting media devices via one HDMI cable each and one HDMI cable from your receiver to your TV. This means no more messy cabling behind your TV and you don’t have to worry about where to plug everything in.
HDMI cables carry both Full High Defintion Video AND Digital Audio signals from:

  • Blu-ray players
  • DVD players
  • Video Game Consoles
  • Foxtel HD

Plus many more devices as long as they have an HDMI output.

FOXTEL HDDVDBLU-RAYCAMERAPS3/X360COMPUTERPVR

Lifestyle Systems are Home Theatre Systems which use a DVD/Blu-Ray Player instead of an A/V Receiver. Lifestyle systems are beneficial for their easy setup and affordability however they can be restricted in the number of components/devices that can be connected as well as which speakers are compatible.

Blu-ray is the next generation of DVD. A blu ray disc plays your favourite movie in Full HD. It can hold up to 50GB of information as opposed to 4.7GB on a DVD. This means far superior picture & sound quality. Blu-ray discs can only be played in blu-ray players. BUT THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOUR DVD COLLECTION IS USELESS! Blu-ray players can play DVDs and even upscale the picture quality so they look their best on your Full HD TV.

A PVR is a media device which records your television programs in a digital format. You can most commonly record direct to an in-built hard drive or blank DVD. Some new PVRs can also record to USB sticks and SD memory cards. The most common forms of PVR are DVD Recorders and Hard Disc Drive Recorders which connect to your TV or receiver seamlessly through HDMI.