Faster, better ; TECHconnection
up your PC
By Marc Saltzman
SHOPPING FOR A new computer can be an intimidating endeavor. Not only are there many models
to choose from, but there are different form factors
to consider (netbook, laptop, desktop, tablet), competing operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux)
and a number of confusing specs, too, such as how
much RAM is enough, processor speed, hard drive
capacity and more.
The good news, at least, is that prices are dropping all the time, just as computers are becoming
more powerful and easier to use. And there are two
new features worth noting, if you’re in the market
for a new computer, so let’s cover what they are and
why they’re significant.
Faster transfers: USB 3.0. One notable new
development is USB 3.0, the latest plug-and-play
solution for connecting devices—such as a smart-phone, hard drive, thumb drive, Web camera, cam-corder, printer, keyboard, mouse, game controller
and so forth—to your computer.
USB 3.0 looks exactly like your existing USB
(Universal Serial Bus) port, a thin slit on the side of
or behind your computer, but this new technology is
capable of transferring data between devices about
10 times as fast as USB 2.0.
This is especially important when you’re transferring high-definition video from, say, an HD cam-corder to your computer, or perhaps from your
computer to an external hard drive. What might’ve
taken a few minutes before could now be handled in
a fraction of the time.
And yes, new computers with USB 3.0 ports are
backward-compatible, so they’ll still work with your
older USB- or USB 2.0–based devices. There will
likely be at least two or three USB 3.0 ports on a
laptop and even more on a desktop tower.
You’ll see more and more USB 3.0 stickers on
new computers in the next several months.
From laptop to TV: Wi-Di. Another new tech-
nology to keep in mind is referred to as Wi-Di (pro-
nounced “why die”), short for “wireless display.”
This handy Intel-backed technology lets your
laptop communicate with your television over your
wireless (“Wi-Fi”) network—via a small adapter box
(sold separately) that’s con-
nected to your TV.
Back it up!
As Joni Mitchell sang, you don’t know what
you’ve got till it’s gone—so be sure to back up your
files on a regular basis in case of theft, fire, flood, a
virus or a power surge.
Examples of the kinds of files you should back
up include irreplaceable digital photos, documents,
e-mail addresses, calendar appointments, favorite
Web bookmarks and so forth. You can burn a disc
with these files, copy and paste them onto an inexpensive USB memory stick or, if you’re a digital pack
rat, invest in a hard drive that can store a lot of files.
Alternatively, as a backup, upload your important files online to one of the many password-protected storage sites. Windows Live SkyDrive, for
example, gives you 25 gigabytes at no cost. C
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? E-mail them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
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Costco and Costco.com offer a variety of computers to meet all your computing needs. Also available in the warehouses and online are a variety
of storage devices to back up your data. Your
purchase includes free tech support from Costco
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