SHCC WYSIWYG Article from December 2001

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This article appeared in the December 2001 WYSIWYG newsletter.

What's Hot For Christmas

by Don VanSyckel

There's so many things going on in the world of computing and there's a lot of cross over between 'personal' computing and 'business' computing products.  With Christmas looming on the horizon, manufacturers and stores are busy preparing for what they hope to be a big year.  If you are planning to treat yourself with or ask Santa for some new computer stuff, you might want to start surveying the scene now.  There's so many choices that you might be interested in, it could take a while to wade through all the choices and come up with just the right one, assuming your budget is limited like mine is.  So many items which used to be available only to businesses because of the price are now commonly available.

Some of the choices you might consider splurging on this Christmas includes some memory to speed up that PC on your desk.  This is probably on of the cheapest upgrades that you'll get the best gain from.  Don't go overboard and make sure to check how many memory modules your PC can take and how large of a memory module is the maximum size.  Speed is also a required parameter; remember PC133 is faster than PC 100 and most of the time you can use faster memory than is required.  For many or us a much much larger hard drive is the second most needed upgrade.  Can you believe 120 Gigabyte IDE hard drives are being advertised at a reasonable price?  From here other upgrades and accessories depend on your use of your PC.  Scanners have gone way down in price.  I can remember just a few years ago they were priced well over $500.  Now there are many models well under $100 and they have better resolution to boot.  Of course there are digital cameras.  I'm sort of in a waiting game here.  I not an expert photographer, I just snap a few pictures here and there to help the ol' memory with what the family has been doing.  I have a nice 'conventional' camera that I have a hard time justifying throwing away.  (Let's face it, if you put it in a drawer and don't touch again, you might as well throw it away.  At least you're not cluttering up your drawers.)  I keep waiting for a digital video/still camera that can hold 'enough', whatever that is.  Or I need a laptop to take along so the camera can be 'dumped'.  Another goodie that makes a digital camera pricey.

Another area to expand in is home networking.  There are several DSL/Cable interface units with a variety of features.  Then inside there is the need for a router / firewall.  Once again there are several choices including using your old PC.  Then you need an Ethernet switch (use a switch instead of a hub) unless one's built into the router.  Another option is one of the 'wireless' switches or hubs that are coming onto the market.  This can ease the effort of making connections within your home but they could be a security risk.

There is all types of software from games for fun to utilities to help make your life easier.  It seems like whatever you can think of, is available.  It's a great time to be around if only the evil people who have darkened the world were not around.

Here's wishing you a joyful holiday season and a happy new year.

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