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com

What can this new digital world do for you

Get Digitized
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Our “Get Digitized eBook” covers the most common and popular topics on todays Computer and Technology related issues geared for everyday people. Our goal is to provide the most relevant information in a compact format that even the most basic user will understand...
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Chapters
•Computer System (3-7) •Operating Systems - OS (8) •PDA’s - Those Small Handheld Calculator looking Things (9-10) •Cellular Phones - GPS - Global Positioning Systems (11) •Monitors & HDTV - Widescreen TV (12-14) •Sound Systems - Amplifiers - Receivers - Speakers (15-16) •TV Tuners & PVR’s - Personal Video Recorder (17) •Digital Pictures (18-20) •Digital Movies - DV (21) •Web-Cams (22) •Digital Music - Audio (23-24) •Applications - Programs (25) •Word Processing (26) •Internet, Email & Networking (27-29) •WiFi & BlueTooth - Wireless Internet-Connectivity (30-31) •VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol or Internet Telephone (32) •Printers, Scanners & AIO’s - All-In-One (33) •Console Games - XBox, PlayStation, Game Cube (34-35) •What these Acronyms mean (36-39)

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Computer Systems
What can a computer do for you?
• Browse the Internet for fun or valuable information. • Email family.friends and business associates. • Play games. • Write letters, reports and presentations. • Keep track of contact information and important meetings and dates. • View, edit, print and organizer film or digital pictures • Money managment and do banking on the Internet. • Download and listen to your favorite music or even make your own. • Watch movies from the Internet or make your own feature film. • Use Web chat to communicate in real-time with anyone in the world.

We will cover the following topics in this Chapter

Memory-Drives-CPU’s-Graphics Cards-Connections-Operating Systems
Memory & Drives
It is best to cover Memory and Drives together because both of these are used for storing information.

The Hard Drive
A Hard Drive is very much like a large filing cabinet for your computer. A Hard Drive can store large amounts of information at one time but this information is like a filing cabinet and needs to be retrieved in order to use it. Hard Drives are measured in Gigabytes (GB). They are used to store all of the programs and files on your computer. The bigger the Hard Drive the bigger the filing cabinet People who need bigger Hard Drives or Hard Drives with more space have large files like video files (Mov’s), music files (MP3’s), picture files (JPG’s) and others. In order for your computer to see all of your valuable information stored on the Hard Drive you need something called Ram.
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Ram
The best Ram analogy is the surface of a desk. In order to see the files in your filing cabinet you need to take them out of your filing cabinet (Hard Drive) and place them on you desk (Ram) in order to see each page of information separately. If you have more Ram then you need a larger desk surface that can fit more pages of information. More pages of information mean fewer trips in and out of the filing cabinet! Ram is usually measured in Megabytes (MB) but a computer can have more than 1 Gigabyte (GB) of Ram Computer users that need large Ram like to work with pictures, music or have many computer programs running at the same time, kind of like having a desk full of paperwork. If you are running low on Ram it will significantly slow down your computer because it is similar to constantly opening and closing a filling cabinet (Hard Drive) looking for and returning information that it needs and doesn’t need.

CD & DVD Drives
There are many variation and combinations of CD & DVD Drives. The most common variations right now are Drives that can both read and write in CD and DVD format all in one unit! The best part about CD/DVD Drives is that you can take the CD/DVD Disks out of the Drive and either store or transfer the information to other computers. CD/DVD Drives are optical based. They use a laser to read and write the information on the disks. CD disks are great for storing music as most CD players read CD format. They can also be used to store information. To help you understand how much information can be stored on a CD disk I will use a digital camera file. An average digital camera image will end up being around 1-2 megabytes (MB) once transferred to your computer. A CD disk can generally hold 700 Megabytes (MB), therefore approximately 450 images can be stored on a CD. Not bad for around 25-50 cents! DVD disks are great for storing large files like movies and can also store other types of information. Using the same digital camera example a DVD can hold around 3000 images. This is because a standard recordable DVD can hold 4700 Megabytes (MB), which by the way is the same as 4.7 Gigabytes (GB). All this for around 50 cents! There are many types of CD and DVD formats available. I would suggest talking to your computer sales person about which is best for your needs. For example, some common formats are: CDR/CDRW/DVDR-/DVDRW+/Dual Layer DVDR/DVDRW and LightScribe versions of these.

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Memory Cards
I wanted to touch base on this last media type many digital cameras and MP3 players use Flash Memory and also because digital cameras and MP3 players are popular right now. We are seeing many computers include slots for Flash Memory. Flash Memory readers (sometimes included with a printer) can be added to a computer via a USB port but it is nice to have it already integrated in a computer.

CPU’s Central Processing Unit
This topic could get complicated so we will stick to the very basics. First, what is a CPU? A CPU is the main brain for the computer and like people; some are faster then others (being fast uses a lot of energy!). Some CPU’s may not be as fast, but can do more things at one time (this is called multitasking) or they may be super efficient and use very little energy (Great for a Laptop that uses a battery). CPU’s can be found in all kinds of devices other then computers such as; PDA’s, Cell Phones, Video Gaming Systems. If it calculates information, it needs a CPU of some sort. You may have heard of a few of these CPU companies like: IBM, AMD, Intel, and Motorola to name some of the most popular ones. Again, I recommend that you advise a computer sales person help you find the most suitable CPU for your needs as the list of possibilities is large! (P4, Athalon, Centrino, Celeron, Power PC, G3, G4, G5)

Graphics Card Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Notice how GPU and CPU look similar? That is because they are very similar except that a Graphics Card (GPU) specifically only calculates Graphics Information. (Hint: the G in GPU stands for Graphics and the C in CPU stands for Computer) In some cases the Graphics Card (GPU) in a computer can be more powerful then the actual CPU! New computer games and programs are requiring more detail and realism then ever before. People who need a powerful Graphics Card would be Gamers, Video Editors, Animators and generally anyone that requires 3D horse power.

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Computer Connections What are all those cables attached to my computer about? What happens if one falls out?
To the untrained eye, it may seem like you need to be a rocket scientist to properly get your computer hooked up. In reality, the only cables that you really need to get your computer up and running are: Power Cable, Monitor Cable, Keyboard Cable, and Mouse Cable. If you have a Laptop and your battery is already charged then you really do not need any cables.

Here are some descriptions to help you find where these cables go!

Power Cable
Usually there is what is called a Three Prong input on the back of a desktop computer that supplies power. This is the same type of cable found in many other household electronic devices (thick black and wider at the ends). If you have a laptop then they usually have a power converter that has a Transformer unit built into the cable either at the wall plug-in or part way in the middle of it. (often referred to as a Wall Wart)

Video Port
This is for your monitor or computer screen. There are several variations of this; the most common is referred to as a VGA port. Other common ports are DVI, ADC, and S-Video.

Ethernet Port
This port is for connecting your high speed Internet when using a cable modem or ADSL modem. It is also used for networking multiple computers together and looks like a phone jack but is bigger and wider. It is sometimes referred to as a Cat-5 cable.

Phone Port
This port connects a dial up Internet connection, fax, and answering machine features of your computer.

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USB Port
This port a very versatile., You will learn to love and appreciate this port because you can plug almost anything into it that is USB based, for example: Mice, Keyboards, Printers, Scanners, Speakers, Microphones, Cameras, External Hard Drives and Web Cams to name a few. There are two USB formats, USB1 and USB2. USB2 is much faster then USB1 and allows very high speed information transferring which is great for external hard drives and video applications.

FireWire or iLink Port
This port is similar to a USB port but is geared towards video and external hard drive devices, most commonly the digital video cameras or DV cameras. This port will allow you to transfer your home movies onto your computer for editing and recording onto DVD disks.

PS2 Port
This is an older port and is used mainly for mice and keyboards that do not have the newer USB connections.

Parallel Port
This is another older port that has been around for a while and is being replaced by USB. It can still be found on some printers and external drive devices.

Audio Input - Output
There are a few types of these ports. The most common is called a Mini Jack Stereo port that looks like the connection that you would find on a set of headphones for a Walkman or MP3 Player. This port is used to hookup a microphone, headphones, and speakers. Some more expensive computers have Digital Audio Ports that look very similar to the Audio Ports on high-end stereo amplifiers (SPDIf and/or COAX)

Wireless Port - Card WiFi
Seriously, a port that needs no wires! This port or connection is primarily for connecting to the Internet or a Network. It is like having a cordless phone verses a corded phone. It allows your computer to communicate wirelessly to a base unit that has a physical wired connection to the Internet. Most new laptops already have Wireless capability built into them. A few ways to add WiFi are via a USB Wireless Adaptor, PC card adaptor or a PCI card adapter. I recommend you ask a computer sales person which one is best for your needs!

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Operating Systems OS Why do you need an Operating System?
• Without an OS your computer will not run. It would be similar to having pots, pans, a stove and ingredients to make a nice meal but no recipe to make it? • An OS will either make or break your system as it is the foundation of everything. In general, people feel most comfortable with the OS they start with and will more than likely purchase a computer system that runs that OS in the future.

Let’s talk about the most popular versions of Operating Systems.

Microsoft’s Windows XP
Microsoft is the Big-Dawg in this arena and they produce Windows XP. This Operating System is on most new computers and has the majority of available software programs, generally geared towards business and gaming. The main downside to Windows XP is that it’s a target for computer viruses because of Microsoft’s dominance and success.

Apple’s OSX
The next major player is Apple’s OSX. Apple’s claim to fame is its user friendliness and ease of use. OSX software programs are geared towards creativity and efficient use of time. There may not be as many programs available for OSX but the ones that are available work extremely well and are usually high in quality. One main advantage for OSX is that Computer Viruses which can wipe out a Windows XP machine will not affect an OSX machine. The down side being that some programs are Windows only and will not run in OSX.

UNIX & Linux
UNIX is a very powerful and stable Operating system that is free! The downside is getting it configured and up and running is not for the novice! Even Computer Geeks find themselves reverting to Windows XP or OSX because UNIX is not a user friendly experience. Linux is a variation of UNIX that is not free but has a more polished installation and operation. By the way, Apple’s OSX is also a variation of UNIX.
• My advice is to keep up to date with your current OS of choice, but just behind a new release. What I mean is this; Keep your OS updated using the built in auto updating software but do not be too eager for new major version updates or you may be in for some grief while all of the bugs get worked out. Version 1.3 © 02.24.2006 Page 8

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PDA’s Personal Digital Assistant
Simply, a PDA is a very small portable computer designed to be small enough to go with you anywhere.

What can a PDA do for you?
• Watch movies - Play games. • Input finances - Find directions. • You can take and view pictures. • Read eBooks, Word documents, Excel Files • The most common use of a PDA is to have valuable information such as phone numbers of important contacts as well as scheduled appointments. • Many people also use them to take a copy of their daily email with them so that they can read and respond to email at any opportune time. • Some PDA’s have built in cellular phone capabilities and some cellular phones have PDA features. • Some can even be used wirelessly for Internet surfing and chat.

We will cover the following PDA related topics in this Module

Popular Formats - Connecting to a PC - Pros & Cons.
Popular Formats

Three main PDA Formats that are widely used

Palm - Pocket PC - Blackberry Palm

Palm was the first company to make the PDA a household name with its Palm Pilot. Not only do they make the actual PDA but also have their own OS (Operating System). The Palm platform has a huge selection of programs that can be purchased or downloaded that will accommodate almost any PDA user’s needs. Palm is credited for efficient use of memory and CPU power.
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Pocket PC
Pocket PC is a Microsoft OS (Operating System), Microsoft does not make computers or PDA’s. Other companies like HP, Toshiba, Samsung, and Dell make the actual devices that use the Pocket PC software. One advantage of Pocket PC is compatibility with Windows, Wireless connectivity and fast, powerful CPU for multimedia tasks.

Blackberry
The Blackberry is quickly becoming the PDA designed for staying connected. It uses a pager like system called the RIM network, emailing is instantaneous and always on. It also doubles as a full-featured cellular phone. Blackberry is best suited in situations where connectivity and low cost solution are required to stay in touch via Cell Phone and email..

Connecting to a PC Personal Computer
Although a PDA can be used without a PC, it becomes an even greater tool when Connected or Synchronized to a PC. First, the big screen and large keyboard of a Computer offer the best environment for inputting and viewing all of your information. Once you have everything in your PC, all you need to do is Connect your PDA and computer together with the included cable/software and in most cases within a few minutes. All of the time consuming valuable information is transferred magically to your PDA. The best part is once they are Synced you can enter or edit information like a phone number on either device and that information will be updated to the other paired device without having to enter it twice. Other documents like pictures, movies, spreadsheets, and Word files can also be selected for Synchronizing back and forth from PDA to PC and vice verse!

PDA Pros
The PDA is small and portable and it will fit into a pocket. It has many of the same features of a full size PC but with a lower cost. PDA’s are great solutions for limited Internet, email, and word processing needs.

PDA Cons
Smaller viewing screen means less information visible at one time. Small keyboards are less efficient for entering large amounts of data. One option is to get a portable foldable keyboard accessory.

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Cellular Phones - GPS
Cellular Phones
I am sure most everyone knows what a Cell Phone is. Many of us have come to depend on them to the point that if we forget it at home we feel like we have just detached ourselves from the world! Cell Phones have evolved tremendously even to the point that everything a PDA can do some Cell Phones can also do. Most new Cell Phones have built in Calendars, Address Books, Games, MP3 players, Cameras, and even Internet browsers. I believe that we will see Cellular Phones, PDA’s, and even Laptops start to share more and more of the same capabilities blurring the line that separates them. Even at this time, some PDA’s and Cell Phones are hard to tell apart.
• Keep your eye on this market as it is developing quickly.

GPS Global Positioning System What can a GPS do for you?
• Find your way in the Wilderness or Cities. • Locate places of interest like Restaurants, Shops and Parks. • Plan Trips and easily calculate Distance and Time.

How does a GPS work?
A GPS picks up the signals from multiple Satellites to pinpoint very accurately its location. This information can be used in conjunction with map and data info that will direct you to where you want to go. In the wilderness, a GPS could save your life by guiding you back home. This is accomplished by saving key points in your GPS that act as markers for your return trip (like dropping bread crumbs along your way), the GPS would then guide you to each marker and safely home. In the Urban jungle a GPS combined with a detailed map and relevant surrounding data combine to give you pinpoint realtime directions to just about any attraction you may be interested in getting to. In some cases a GPS may be built into a devices but can also be added later to a PDA, computer, stand alone navigation system, and even a Cell Phone.
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Monitors & HDTV Widescreen TV
Computer Monitors
If you have a computer, you probably need a monitor to go with it. We will be focusing mainly on the new Flat-screen LCD computer Monitors which for the most part have taken over the market.

Why is this?
• LCD monitors are lighter and small and therefore takes up much less space on your desk. • LCD monitors use much less energy then CRT computer monitors, CRT are the old style thicker TV looking type. • LCD monitors have sharper images for text and graphics. • LCD monitors look really cool!

Why would I purchase the old style CRT?
• CRT monitors are less expensive. • CRT monitors can sometimes be better for photos and games because refresh rates and color depth are very good on a CRT. When purchasing an LCD Monitor, here are some things you should consider Refresh Rate Faster refresh rates will make motion morel fluid for movies and games. Contrast Higher contrast will give you better black and white levels for richer picture quality. Brightness Not all LCD monitors are equal, some have brighter lamps in them for a brighter image.

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DPI Resolution: Here again you can have two 17 inch LCD monitors but one may be much sharper then the other due to a higher resolution or DPI. This translates to more dots/pixels per square inch. For example: 1024 x 768 vs 1280 x 960. Video input Some LCD monitors have high quality DVI in ports for video. If your computer has this DVI video port then you definitely want to mach your LCD monitor up with DVI to maximize quality. Aspect Ratio Do you want a regular 4x3 screen or do you want the Widescreen? The current trend in Laptops is to go Widescreen. Desktop computer monitors seem to be staying primarily with 4x3. TV Tuner You can even use your LCD computer monitor as a TV if it has a built in TV Tuner, this is useful when you want your computer to double as a TV.

HDTV Widescreen TV What can an HDTV do for you?
• It will most definitely increase your viewing pleasure of any DVD movie or high quality broadcast feed. • It will increase the frequency of your friends dropping by to watch the big game or see what DVD rentals you have on the go.

What makes TV HD? High Definition
Is HDTV wider then a normal TV? Wide meaning that it’s aspect ratio is more extreme then a regular non Widescreen TV. Actually, its more.
• Normal TV being (4x3 or ¾ as high as it is wide) • HDTV being (16x9 or in this case almost ½ as high as it is wide)

If you don’t like those ugly bars on the top and bottom of your screen then you need an HDTV but be aware that even HDTV’s will display bars if the movie is in a true 16x9 format. It all depends on how the producer decided to crop the movie.
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Actually, what makes a TV HD is the amount of resolution that it can display. Some times this is referred to as lines of resolution. In the US a standard TV signal will display 525 horizontal lines of resolution and in Europe it can be up to 625. HDTV displays 720p or 1080i Horizontal lines of resolution and because of it’s wide viewing format it displays even more Vertical lines of resolution, up to 1920! The HDTV wide viewing format is excellent for watching movies in their original cinematic mode. Many Digital Cable and Satellite systems are now offering HDTV formatted receivers. Even gaming consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation are gearing future games for HDTV.

The most popular HDTV’s come in the following formats
• Plasma • LCD • CRT • Rear Projection LCD & DLP Be aware that a TV you are purchasing may be wide screen, big, expensive and thin; this does not necessarily mean it is an HDTV. It could be EDTV (Extended Definition Television). EDTV will only support up to 480P. Pricing for the different formats will differ drastically. A good rule of thumb is; the thinner the HDTV the more it will cost. If you are in the market for an HDTV there are many great retail outlets that have all of the different varieties of HDTV’s setup side by side so that you can compare what looks best to you and if the added cost is worth the added quality.

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Sound Systems - Amplifiers - Receivers - Speakers
What can a Sound System do for you?
• Turn your living room into a Movie Theatre like sound experience. • Make your Computer Game Explosions and Car Crashes come alive. • Connect your MP3 player to your stereo for an all day music marathon. • Create the perfect Audio Mood for a romantic evening at home with that someone special. Sound Systems have had many names over the years, Stereo, HiFi System, Ghetto Blaster to name a few. These are all names for variations of Sound Systems.

Lets talk about some of the main components of a Sound System and what they do. The Amplifier
What does an Amplifier do? It takes a very quiet signal or Sound and makes it much louder. For instance the signal or Sound coming out of your headphone jack on an MP3 player Sounds great in your headphones but if you connected this directly to a pair of Speakers then it would barely be audible. This is because your headphones are right beside your ear so they only need very small Speakers that require less power. Regular Sound System Speakers are much larger then headphone Speakers and need a larger or more amplified signal to power them. Amplifiers are found in virtually all Sound Systems and are rated in watts of power, more wattage means more potential volume from your Speakers. Amplifiers can be found in analog and digital form, digital Amplifiers are becoming more and more popular because they are smaller, lighter and more efficient then their analog counterparts.

The Receiver
At the heart and soul of a Receiver is the Amplifier, but to get the most out of an Amplifier you need to add inputs and outputs. Adjustment knobs for volume, tone, bass and panning, radio tuners, stereo and surround Sound options. Inputs and outputs get Sound signals in and out of your Receiver. Some possible inputs and outputs are: CD, VCR, cable TV, DVD, auxiliary, front and surround Speakers, subwoofer.
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Most Receivers can be controlled directly and with a remote control. Controls found on Amplifiers allow you to adjust: volume, panning or placement of sound, Tone or EQ, muting, surround settings, input selection, radio station settings and more...

Speakers
Speakers create Sound waves, the Sound waves we recognizer as Sound. Speakers have to recreate Sound waves for high and low frequencies to give us the experience of realistic and believable Sound. In most situations, Speaker size dictates what kind of frequency it can recreate. Large Speakers recreate low Sounds and Small Speakers recreate high Sounds. For this reason it is best to have a Speaker system that incorporates both large and small Speakers for a full range of Sound.

Amplifiers, Receivers and Speakers can be combined in many ways
• Some Speakers have built-in Amplifiers like in computer Speakers. • Most Receivers have built-in Amplifiers. • Some Receivers even have built-in CD and DVD players and are bundled with Speakers for a full Theater Surround Sound System. • As with Home Sound Systems, Car Sound Systems share many of the same features with the exception of using 12 volts rather then 120 volts.

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TV Tuners & PVR’s Personal Video Recorder
What can a TV Tuner and PVR do for you?
• Turn your computer into a TV. • Download Program Guides to your TV. • Record your favorite TV programs to your computer or PVR. • Burn your recorded programs to DVD or VCD. • Never have to look at your VCR’s blinking 12:00 again!

Turn your Computer into the Ultimate Digital VCR
Since most computers now have amazing high resolution monitors and huge hard drives, why not turn yours into a TV with the ability to also record your favorite programs and movies for later playback or archiving to DVD or VCD Video CD? One of the best parts about a PVR is you can pause your live program and take a bathroom or snack break. You can even fast forward through annoying commercials. Try that with a VCR!

Different types of PVR’s
Not all PVR’s need a computer; some are built into Digital Cable and Satellite boxes. This is done by adding a hard drive for buffering and recording the signal that is going to your TV. Another very popular PVR is the TiVo system, which is a stand alone PVR that makes finding and recording your programs super easy but comes at a monthly subscription cost. For a computer, there are two main types of PVR’s. Internal and External. Internal PVR’s Work very well because they become a part of your computer system and usually have excellent price verses performance features. The down side to an Internal PVR: it can not be used with a Laptop or Computer that does not have an available PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect slot. External PVR’s typically use the FireWire or USB 2 ports found on newer computers. Both of these external ports are fast enough to transfer the video to your computer for viewing and recording and can be used with laptops and other computers that do not have an available PCI slot. Cost verses performance of an external PVR can be a bit more then an Internal one. All PVR’s give you the ability to record with different quality levels just like a VCR. Higher quality settings mean you will need a faster computer with more hard drive space which means less recorded media that will fit on your hard drive. You can customize this to your computer systems speed and available hard drive space.

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Digital Pictures
What can a Digital Camera do for you?
• Instantly view a Picture. • Instantly print a Picture. • Take Pictures for virtually no cost at all. • Easily transfer Pictures to a computer. • Store and organize Pictures digitally. • Edit Pictures to improve them. • Email and save Pictures to a Webpage. Digital Cameras allow you to see instantly the Picture you just took, usually on a small 1 to 3 inch LCD screen. You can then decide if the Picture is worth keeping or delete it right on the Camera. Once you have filled up your memory card or finished a day of taking Pictures you can easily transfer them all to your computer for large scale viewing, organizing, editing, and printing. A computer is not even necessary as many photo printers have memory card slots specifically designed to insert your cameras memory card for viewing and printing. These same memory cards can also be taken to many photo labs where they will be transferred to CD and printed just like film. Best of all, unlike film, a memory card can be used repeatedly. Digital Cameras are best paired with a computer. The computer will allow you the most flexibility by using applications/programs designed for Digital Images.

Generally Picture Programs will do one or both of the following
• Organize your Pictures. • Edit your Pictures. Organization Programs enable you to view and categorize your Pictures to easily find and view in a Digital Photo Album. Editing Programs allow you to make changes to improve your Picture’s appearance.
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For instance
• If a Picture is too dark, you can make it brighter. • If there is too much space around a subject you can remove the space by cropping the image. • You can remove Red-Eye. • You can change color attributes. • You can add text. • You can even take away blemishes and unwanted details.

What about Megapixels?
A MegaPixel refers to how many million pixels are in the image. 1 Megapixel = 1 Million pixels. Megapixels are not the end-all beall to a how good a digital cameras pictures will look. There are many factors involved; lens, CCD, built-in camera software, flash strength.

As a rule of thumb
• 2 Megapixel cameras will make reasonable 4x6 prints. • 3 Megapixel cameras will make reasonable 5x7 prints. • 4-5 Megapixel cameras will make reasonable 8x10 prints. • 6 and up Megapixel camera will make reasonable 13x19 prints or higher. If you plan to do large format printing with a Digital Camera then I would recommend a Digital SLR. The SLR camera can use many types of lenses and has a very large CCD/CMOS chip to capture all of the detail you will need for exceptional quality prints. If this type of high quality photography interests you, I recommend speaking with a sales specialist who can pair you with the best camera for to meet your needs.

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When buying a camera you should consider the following
• Cost, a good Camera does not have to be expensive. • Size, you may want to put it in a pocket, if it is small you will be more likely to take it more places. • Zoom amount, an optical zoom will get you in closer when you are restricted by a physical boundary. • How large of a Picture you may ultimately be printing. Higher Megapixel and an overall higher quality Camera will be needed for larger prints. • Card slot type, SD cards are the most affordable and common and can be used in many types of digital devices, where as other types like Sony Memory Sticks are proprietary and more expensive. • Movie and Voice recording ability. • Included software, memory, batteries, chargers and features.

• Bottom line. Today’s inexpensive point and shoot Digital Cameras are able to take excellent quality photos that will meet the expectations of most everyone. They make viewing, editing and sharing a breeze when used in conjunction with a computer and/or a photo printer. Always make sure you backup all of your photos and of course, other important documents. It is not if but when disaster will strike. Some possible situations that can cause you to lose your important memories are: lost or stolen computer, faulty hard drive, fire or water damage and the number one cause... Human error!

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Digital Movies DV
What can a Digital Video Camera do for you?
• Make your own home Movies at DVD quality. • Easily transfer and edit your Movies on a computer with no quality loss. • Capture still images onto memory cards the same way a digital still camera does. • Become the next Copola or Spielberg. A DV or Digital Video Camcorder is very much the same as a regular Analog Camcorder. The main difference being its ability to records video as a digital source onto DV tapes (in most cases). This gives a better picture due to the higher resolution (720 x 480) then its analog equivalent. Another advantage is the ability to transfer the digital information over a FireWire/iLink cable to your computer without any loss of quality. Once it is on your computer it can be edited and perfected and then either transferred back to the Camcorder or burned to a DVD for viewing on your TV. You will need to pair your camera with software that is able to edit in the same format, in this case DV. HDV or High Definition Camcorders are now on the market and give even higher resolution (1080i like HDTV) than a regular DV Camcorder. HD software would also be needed to edit in this format. Apple’s consumer based iMovie HD movie making software is capable of DV and HDV movie formats and is geared for the novice but is full of features. Many DV cameras also have the ability to be used in the same manor as a digital still camera. They can take MegaPixel images and save them onto a memory card for later transfer into picture editing software or printing on a photo printer. Some DV Cameras even have built in flashes. One great advantage to a DV camera that also takes still pictures is the excellent zoom lenses for extreme close-ups (14X and higher). Note: An Analog Camcorder can also be used to transfer Video to your computer but you will need a Capture Card or interface that can input a regular analog source and convert it into the digital source needed for computer viewing and editing. This is a conversion from analog to digital; and will result in quality loss lower than a DV Camcorder is normally capable of.
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Webcams
What can a Webcam do for you?
• Talk to and see friends and family anywhere in the world! • Keep an eye on your home or business while you are away. • Take pictures and movie clips for email and later viewing. • Act as a motion sensor and video recorder for a security system. A Webcam for the most part is very much like a digital video camera/still camera. One exception is that unlike your digital camera or DV camera, a Webcam usually needs to be hooked up to your computer to work. This is because most Webcams do not have a battery or on board storage, they rely on the computer for this. Webcams are also designed with mounting systems so that you can set them up on a computer monitor or in just the right position on your desk. Do Webcams take as good pictures or videos as a dedicated digital camera or DV camera? Not really, they are limited by the speed of your Internet connection so making the quality higher would also put to much demand on your Internet connection. Webcams generally use USB1 or USB2 connection, a few use Firewire. Webcams can take video up to 640x480 at 30 frames per second and still pictures in the 1 megapixel size. Most Webcams come with their own software, you can also use your Webcam with programs like MSN Messenger for video conferencing. If you want to place your Webcam in an area that is far away from your computer, you could chose a WiFi or Network enabled Webcam. This type of Webcam is great for surveillance or security because it doesn’t even need a computer to send a video feed over the Internet. Just think, a children's nursery could have a Network Webcam setup and the parents could check on their kids form their office computer thru-out the day. Webcams are becoming more and more popular for communication over the Internet.
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Digital Music - Audio
What can Digital Music - Audio do for you?
• Take hours, even days of Music/recorded Audio with you almost anywhere. • Create your own original Music that sounds as good as a CD. • Keep your entire Music library organized and easy to locate. • Convert even old vinyl records to CD without pops and clicks. One of the most successful Digital Music devices that falls into this category is the iPod. The iPod is Apple’s solution on how to make a Portable Music Player that stores all of your songs and keep them organized in your iPod and computer using Apple’s iTunes software. An iPod can hold upwards to 15,000 songs, they come in several formats from very basic models to models that have huge drives and can store and view your pictures and Videos as well. Of course, many other companies sell Portable Music Players, one thing to be aware of is the file format that they use.

File formats designed to compress the size of a song or audio file
• The most common file format of this type is MP3. MP3’s have been around a long time and can take a standard CD song and convert it from its 50-60 megabytes size down to 3-4 megabytes. This is very important when trying to get as many songs stored on your computer or portable MP3 player as possible. Even though the files are much smaller then their original CD files, they sound almost as good. Most people are not even able to tell them apart! • Another popular file format is AAC (this is the default iPod/iTunes choice), which is a newer file format, than MP3 and has the ability to create files the same size as MP3’s but with greater sound quality. • The last most common file format used primarily on Windows based computers is WMA. This is Microsoft’s proprietary format that and is pair with their Windows Media Player software.

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When purchasing a portable Music/Audio player you need to consider the software and formats you are planning to use for that the portable Music/Audio player to be compatible. For example, an iPod can not play WMA files, the solution is to convert your WMA files to either MP3 or AAC so they can be used in iTunes with your iPod. Some people do not want to sacrifice size for quality and would prefer to save their songs in an uncompressed format. File formats designed to retain the original high quality of a song or audio file are WAV and AIFF

What if you want to make or record your own digital music?
Here are two popular options

• Computer Programs

Computer programs take advantage of today’s very powerful systems that can turn your computer into a professional Recording Studio. When going with this option you will have to consider different configurations that include Audio Cards and choice of a Software Program. There will be some initial setup with this choice.

• Portable Digital Audio Recorder

In general, this type of Digital Recorder is ready to go with very little configuration or setup. The downsides are power, expansion and limited updates.

• My favorite setup is a powerful laptop with a good quality external Sound/Audio Interface. The best part is its portability. I can use the entire screen to view and edit my songs as well as use my laptop for many other non music/Audio related tasks.

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Applications

What are Applications or Programs, Also called Software?
A simple analogy would be to compare a computer Application to a Program on a TV, you can have the best TV, but if you do not subscribe to a cable or satellite service then you are probably not getting good value. Not everyone needs the same Programs-Applications, some need very few and others require many. This is similar to a persons TV viewing needs, basic cable is great for some but not all.

What can an Application do for you?
• Word Processing • Internet Browsing • Email • Internet Chat • Picture importing-organizing-editing • Gaming • Calendars-Schedules & Address Books • Data Base • Personal & Business Finance When looking to purchase an Application-Program you need to be aware of a few things. Firstly, what operating system OS will I be using? Secondly, Do I need to be compatible with other people using a similar Program? Just because two Programs are geared towards the same purpose does not mean they save files in the same format. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the bargain Programs. They may seem like a good deal but you may find them inadequate later on and end up purchasing a higher quality Program requiring you to relearn it’s new format-features. Generally speaking, better Programs can be found for most operating systems and share the same file formats, this makes sharing and sending files from one computer to another very easy, even if one is a Mac and one is PC.
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Word Processing
What can a Word Processor do for you?
•Write a Letter. •Design Newsletters. •Make a Presentation. •Organize Data. •Perfect your Resume.

Word Processing is the Meat and Potatoes of Computer Programs.
Desktop Publishing is also a form of Word Processing but usually refers to the design and printing side and in most cases depend highly on Graphics. Desktop Publishers incorporate a combination of writing, graphics and design to create virtually all of the media we see in today’s print like magazines, newspapers, posters, books, manuals and even Web-pages to name a few. Most of the business world is using Microsoft Office for Word Processing, Microsoft Office has definitely set the standard for Word Processing but not everyone needs all of it’s features. If your needs are basic and you will not be presenting or working with data then a program like Microsoft Works would be a great inexpensive, yet still compatible choice. There are also many other programs similar to Microsoft Office that can do most of the same tasks and use the same file formats. For example: most Apple systems come with a version of AppleWorks which is Apple’s easy to use Word Processing application that can do most of what Microsoft Office’s Word Processing suit does. Apple Works can even read and write Microsoft's Office files so computability is not an issue. As with any program, make sure you consider whether you need to have full compatibility with others so sending and reading files with friends, family or business associates will go smoothly. Even different versions of the same program may not be fully compatible.
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Internet, Email & Networking
What can the Internet, Email & Networking do for you?
• INTERNET Find information on anything you can imagine 24/7. Buy-Sell-Shop-Auction from the comfort of home. Monitor bank accounts and pay bills without a teller. • EMAIL Instantly send messages and files anywhere in the world. Check your e-mailbox from any Internet connected computer. Avoid postage and paper related management. • NETWORKING Connect to the Internet with or without wires. Connect and share information with multiple computers at home-business. Connect phones and video cameras to the Internet via your Network.

What Makes up a Network?
A Network occurs when two or more computers are connected together for the purpose of sharing information or resources. This is usually done with an Ethernet cable or by using wireless technology. Networking can be very technical, to keep it simple we will discuss the very basics of a Network. The two main components of a Network are Routers and Hubs. These two items get confused all of the time by people, so lets distinguish them. • If we take an example of an intersection: The Roads represent your Ethernet Cables that come from your computer. The Intersection itself represents a Hub where all the cables are connected. The Traffic Lights represent a Router. It directs traffic! So an intersection (Hub) without traffic lights (Router) would cause a pile up of cars (Data). Most consumer Routers have built in Hubs so all you would need is the one device to complete your Network. So how does the Router manage all of the traffic going thru it? It assigning a unique address to each computer so information can be directed specifically to it. A great analogy is to compare the Internet to a major highway, the Router connects the roads to the highway and all of the (Computers) represent houses within a subdivision controlled by the Router. Each house (Computer) with its own address.
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What about Unwanted Guests?
The most effective way to keep out unwanted Guests is to use a Firewall. A Firewall is similar to a gate like in our Subdivision analogy. The Firewall or Gate keeps hackers and snoops out. Firewalls can be either software based (Using your computer OS software settings) or hardware based (a physical device). A Router has the ability to be used as a hardware based Firewall by turning on this feature.

Lets Talk about the Internet
The Internet is a Network, a really BIG Network! How did we get the Internet? It was developed in the 60’s for use in Military and Scientific information sharing and at that time was called the Arponet. In the 70’s email was developed using the @ sign to link a users name with an address. In the mid 90’s the Internet went public, this is when the World Wide Web explosion all started. How do we tap into this Internet Network? This is done through an ISP (Internet Service Provider). The most common and efficient way is by using a Cable Modem or DSL Modem. Both of these connections are considered high speed and will utilize the Ethernet Port (RJ45) on your computer if using a wired type of connection. It is also possible to connect to your modem wirelessly by using a wireless modem or also by adding a wireless Router. (For more on this go to the chapter on WiFi) If you want to keep the cost down and do not need a fast Internet connection then you can opt for a regular dial up Internet Service Provider (ISP). In this case, you use the regular phone-modem port on your computer and plug directly into the same phone jack that your home phone uses. Most of us are now aware of what the Internet has to offer and if you are reading this document, you more than likely have been using the Internet to some degree for email and Web browsing. Some cool Internet uses. • Internet phones & video calling (low or no cost) - Backup information to a virtual Internet disk - Share digital pictures with auto Website builders - Make a virtual Internet store for your business with built-in shopping carts for online purchasing - Internet user groups and forums. Anything and everything can be found on the Internet so be aware and take the necessary steps to keep inappropriate viewing from minors.

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Email, the Joy and the Sorrow...
Email has made written communication instantaneous. It has enabled us to send digital pictures and even small movies to family and friends across the world. Email is a great way to get support for our many technology based products and services. Some of us can barley wait to get to a computer and check our email several times a day. Email is also a great tool for business; speeding up the whole process and making it possible to archive all of our information for later reference. Sometimes it can all be overwhelming, many people spend hours a day replying to personal and business related email. Do not forget to go outside for some fresh air! Email also brings the threat of virus attach so always be aware of what you are opening, it may not be what it seems? With all of the welcome email, you will also receive the inevitable Junk email, most email programs have filters that try to weed out as many of these uninvited solicitations. A good rule of thumb is never open an email if you do not know the sender.

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WiFi & Bluetooth BT Wireless Internet & Connectivity
What Can WiFi and Bluetooth do for You?
• Eliminate most of your corded Internet and Network Connections. • Give you more access to Internet Connections even away from home. • Wirelessly Control, Sync and send Info between Phones, PDA’s, Computers, Printers and other Devices. • Keep your workstation uncluttered by using a Cordless BT Keyboard and Mouse.

What is WiFi? Wireless-Fidelity
The best way to explain this is by comparing your home wired phone to one that is Wireless. You still need the home phone line but you also need a cordless phone to plug-in to your existing home phone line. The type of cordless phone will determine how far you can roam from the cordless phone base station. What makes WiFi a bit different is that unlike a cordless phone that needs it’s paired base station to work, a WiFi equipped computer can detect WiFi Base Stations/Routers and pair with them as needed. This makes WiFi very flexible, it can be used at home, business, airports, cafe’s and other hotspots. WiFi uses the same RF Radio Frequencies that many cordless phones use, primarily 2.4 Gigahertz. In some situations, you may have to play with the channels on your phone or WiFi system to prevent them from interfering with with each other. The most common WiFi types are 802.11B and 802.11G, B being older and slower then G but both being able to work on either network. If you have an 802.11B WiFi device don’t be concerned about its speed limitations; it is still faster than most Internet connections can achieve. The main advantage to an 802.11G device is its ability to send and receive information between other computer systems almost 4 times faster then an 802.11B device can. WiFi typically has a range of up to 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors which can be extended with the proper antennas. Once you get used to the freedom of having a Wireless enabled computer it is hard to go back to a wired one. Just try going back to a corded phone and see how long you last!

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What is Bluetooth BT?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology designed to replace the cables that traditionally connect devices like computers, PDA’s, cameras, mice, keyboards, cell phones, headphones, earpieces, GPS systems, all to each other. Bluetooth has a maximum range of up to 30 feet which is ideal for these types of devices. Since mice, keyboards and other BT items do not need a fast connection Bluetooth has a slower connection speed then Wifi. Bluetooth is designed so that once devices are paired to each other, they will automatically connect when they are within range. Just imagine being able to have your cell phone in your jacket pocket and still be able to open up your laptop and surf the Web using your cell phones Internet capabilities over BT. The same can be done with a GPS (Global Positioning System). Other advantages of Bluetooth are low power consumption, compatibility and ease of use.

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VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol
What Can VoIP do for You?
• VoIP can be used to replace your home phone and reduce costs. • VoIP can eliminate Long Distance charges. • VoIP phone numbers are portable and move with you. • VoIP can give you out of area phone numbers. VoIP works by linking your phone to your Internet connection. It does this by using a special Router that allows you to plug in a standard analog phone. The Router then converts the analog information into digital information which can then be sent over the Internet to another VoIP or standard phone. You are actually using VoIP when talking to friends and family with programs like MSN Messenger or Skype. These programs take advantage of VoIP technology and can even do it free when tapping into an available Internet connection and computer. What is the main difference between MSN, Skype type VoIP and other dedicated phone based VoIP systems? Dedicated VoIP systems allow other people to call you at a specific assigned phone number just like a conventional phone. With MSN and Skype accounts you can only be contacted to your computer via your user name and only from another computer based caller. This is not always practical for home or business?

VoIP Pros
• Greatly reduced or eliminated long distance charges. • Exceptional value and features when compared to conventional phone services. • Dedicated phone number that is portable and can be used anywhere a high-speed Internet connection is available. • Have the option of choosing a phone number from a different geographical area for business or family related reasons.

VoIP Cons
• If your Internet goes down, so does your phone. • Can have some 911 related calling issues. • Possible issues when calling some Toll-Free and business numbers.

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Printers, Scanners & AIO’s All-In-One
What can a Printer and Scanner do for you?
• Print real copies of those great email jokes you get. • Print photo lab quality photos at home. • Scan photo negatives and slides. • Make Copies and Fax documents. • Print, Copy and Fax without a computer.

What is an AIO All-In-One, why are they so popular?
• An AIO is a combined Printer-Scanner-Copier and sometimes Fax Machine. • AIO’s take up less space on your desk with less complicated cables. • AIO’s cost less then purchasing a separate Printer and Scanner. • Simplified Integration for easier Printing, Scanning, Copying & Faxing.

What should I purchase?
Here is a basic guideline when purchasing a Printer, Scanner or AIO that will work best for your needs. Printers. The two most popular printing technologies are Ink Jet-Ink Based and Laser-Toner Based. Ink Jets are usually less expensive and more versatile then a Laser Printer but can cost more per page when Printing in bulk and will also take longer to Print then a laser. On the other hand Ink Jets will Print amazing photo quality Prints that rival the quality of a photo lab. High end photo Printers can even turn out poster size photo Prints that look like they where Printed professionally at a fraction of the cost. Laser Printers are fast, inexpensive per page to operate and are designed to Print large quantities with little or no interaction or maintenance needed. Laser Printers can also print in color but are best suited for color flyers and brochures rather then photos. Initial cost of a Laser Printer is higher then an Ink Jet but the price gap is closing. If you have a home business this is a great choice for cost effective Print marketing! AIO’s come in both Ink Jet and Laser with pricing ranging from Dirt Cheap to Go Get a Bank Loan. AIO’s will generally not have all of the high end features of a dedicated Printer or Scanner, for the majority of customers there will be more features than you will need with excellent overall quality. Most Printers and AIO’s usually have the ability to Print right form a digital camera using the built in card reader slots. Stand alone Scanners take up a very small market because of the success of AIO’s that have scanners built into them. If you have very specific photo negative or slide Scanning needs then you may want to consider a dedicated stand alone Scanner because of the high DPI (Dots Per Square Inch) scanning ability which is vital for small images that need to be magnified many times their original size for viewing and Printing.
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Console Games XBox - PlayStation - Game Cube
What can a Console Game do for you?
• Turn your TV into your own personal arcade system. • Take out your frustrations on your digital opponents. • Play online with real Gamers Worldwide. • Waste hours and days of potentially productive time Gaming. A Console Gaming System is a computer designed with one purpose, to Game. Many of the internal components are the same as an actual computer but have a more limited usage that generally only includes Gaming functions. Why are Console games so popular when you can also use your home computer for similar Games? Ease of use is a huge advantage to using a Console Game. There is virtually no setup or configuration needed, this means instant uninterrupted Gaming pleasure. When Gaming on a computer system you have to consider if it is fast enough for the Games requirements, you may even need to purchase a higher quality graphics card or your Game will not run fast enough. Computer Games usually also involve more in depth setup and settings adjustment to customize the Game for your computer system. In general Console Gaming takes place from the comfort of your couch and can even take advantage of your large screen HDTV and sound system. On a computer it is usually done from your computer desk and chair. I would rather be on my couch kicking back with some friends! Console Games tend to stay current for several years before a major redesign happens. There is less pressure to upgrade as often for the latest and greatest and you will get more from your investment.

There are three main Gaming Consoles
• Microsoft's XBox XBox is known for its superior graphics and excellent XBox Live game play. (XBox Live is a subscription based Internet Multiplayer option)

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• Sony’s PlayStation 2

PlayStation 2 has a great selection of Game Titles, is well priced and is backwards compatible with earlier PlayStation 1 Games giving you more selection.

• Nintendo’s Game Cube

Game Cube seems to focus more on Game Playability rather then over the top graphics. Game Cube also features more children suitable Games than the other systems that target an adult audience.

As a final Note. If you love gaming and find it hard to break yourself away form your Gaming Console, then you may want to consider an ultra small Portable Game Station like Sony’s PSP or the Nintendo DS. You can put either one in your pocket and play them any time you want.

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What these Acronyms mean
Firstly, what is an Acronym?
An Acronym occurs when you take a series of words that describe something and shorten them into one word or series of letters. For Example the Acronym for Personal Computer is PC

Lets get started!
Computer Systems
Processing CPU Central Processing Unit GPU Graphics Processing Unit MHz Megahertz GHz Gigahertz Memory GB Gigabyte MB Megabyte Ram Random Access Memory Rom Read Only Memory HD Hard Drive CD Compact Disk CDR Compact Disk Recordable CDRW Compact Disk ReWritable DVD Digital Versatile Disc (formerly Digital Video Disc) DVDR Digital Versatile Disc Recordable DVDRW Digital Versatile Disc ReWritable Video VGA Video Graphics Array (640 by 480 pixels; 1.33:1 aspect ratio) SVGA Super Video Graphics Adapter (800 by 600 pixels; 1.33:1 aspect ratio) XGA eXtended Graphics Array (1024 by 768 pixels; 1.33:1 aspect ratio) DVI Digital Visual Interface HDMI High Definition Multimedia Interface S-VIDEO Separated Video (same as Y/C, Luminance and Chrominance)

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Cards PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect (personal computer bus) AGP Accelerated Graphics Port (video card) PCMCIA Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (now called PC Cards) Connections - Ports USB Universal Serial Bus Cat5 Category 5 UTP Cable (used for connecting computer networks) RJ45 Registered Jack - 45 (8 wire connector used in networking) PS2 Personal System 2 (IBM PC and a connector format) WiFi Wireless Fidelity 802.11B Wireless LAN Equipment Standard update (2.4GHz band, nominal 11Mbps data) 802.11G Wireless LAN Equipment Standard update (2.4GHz band, nominal 54Mbps data) 802.11A IEEE Wireless LAN Standard (IP over Ethernet, uses 5GHz band, nominal 54Mbps data) BT BlueTooth (wireless personal area networking technology) Audio -Ports RCA Radio Corporation of America SPDIF Sony-Philips Digital Interface Format COAX Coaxial Cable Software OS Operating System OSX Macintosh Operating System X (Apple Computer, Inc.) XP Experience (Microsoft Windows XP) UNIX Uniplexed Information and Computing System LINUX Linus Torvald's UNIX (flavor of UNIX for PCs) APP Application GUI Graphical User Interface WYSYWIG What You See Is What You Get

Cellular - GPS
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications (cellular phone technology) GPRS General Packet Radio Service CDMA Code Division Multiple Access TDMA Time Division Multiple Access GPS Global Positioning System

Monitors - HDTV - Recorders
LCD Liquid Crystal Display CRT Cathode Ray Tube
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DPI Dots Per Inch PPI Pixels Per Inch TV Television HDTV High Definition Television EDTV Extended Definition Television SDTV Standard Definition Television LDTV Limited Definition Television DLP Digital Light Processing VCR Videocassette Recorder PVR Personal Video Recorder

Pictures & Movies
JPG Graphics file type/extension (lossy compressed 24 bit color image storage format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group) GIF Graphic Interchange Format (file extension) TIF/TIFF Tagged Image File Format (graphics/image file format/extension) BMP Bitmap (file name extension) PICT Photoprotective Iron Chelator Technology PNG Portable Network Graphics (graphic file standard/extension) PDF Portable Document Format (Adobe Acrobat) PSD (Adobe) Photoshop Data file (Extension) DV Digital Video HD High Definition HDV High Definition Video MOV QuickTime Movie (file extension) AVI Audio Video Interleaved MPG MPEG format file (file name extension) MPEG4 Motion Picture Experts Group 4 WMV Windows Media Video ASF Advanced Streaming Format (Microsoft file extension) FPS Frames Per Second CCD Charge-Coupled Device CMOS Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (transistor type) SD Secure Digital MMC Multi Media Card CF Compact Flash (solid state memory technology) XD Extreme Digital (memory card used by Fuji Film and Olympus)

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Audio & Music
MP3 Moving Picture Experts Group Layer-3 Audio (audio file format/extension) AAC Advance Audio Coding WMA Windows Media Audio (Microsoft) WAV Windows Wave (audio format/file extension) AIFF Audio Interchange File Format ADC Analog to Digital Conversion DAC Digital to Analog Converter DAW Digital Audio Workstation

Internet & Networking
ISP Internet Service Provider (most common) DHCP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol TCPIP Transmission Control Protocol Internet Protocol VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol PPP Point-to-Point Protocol (Internet) DSL Digital Subscriber Line ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line email Electronic Mail WWW World Wide Web HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol (World Wide Web protocol) FTP File Transfer Protocol SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (internet email) FAQ Frequently Asked Questions (Common on Websites) RSS Really Simple Syndication Technology

Devices
AIO All in One PDA Personal Digital Assistant (electronic handheld information device)

Geek Talk Connotations
ID10T Idiot PIBCAK Problem is Between Chair and Keyboard

Author: Michael Kaye - Founder - www.switchingtomac.com
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