The ABCs of
; Windows 8
; Memory cards
Q: I’m starting to look for a back-to-school
computer and am researching the thin-
ner laptops. Can you help?
A: You’ve picked a great time to shop for a computer, as prices are always lower just in time for
back-to-school season, and laptops have never been
as thin and light as they are today.
Perhaps feeling the pressure from tablets—with
their svelte frame, instant-on access and a battery
that can last up to 10 hours between charges—
today’s laptops weigh only a couple of pounds, are
slender enough to fit into a cramped backpack and
enjoy all-day performance.
Some ultra-thin laptops are referred to as
Ultrabooks™. These computers are powered by a
fast yet energy-efficient Intel Core processor, plus
they boot up right away and store files on a fast and
durable solid-state drive, using flash memory
instead of a hard drive.
Be aware, however, that Ultrabooks usually
don’t have an optical drive that allows you to play or
burn CDs or DVDs (an issue only if you still use
Whether you go with a thin laptop or an ultra-portable Ultrabook, there are a lot of choices for the
student in your home.
Q: What about Windows 8? Should I wait?
Security is a top priority, so
Windows 8 will include a full-fea-
tured version of Microsoft’s
Other features include fast
start-up times (mere seconds),
smooth search capabilities to
find info or media on your com-
puter or online, and an integrated
connection to the free Microsoft
SkyDrive cloud computing ser-
vice, to store your files in a pass-
word-protected online vault.
While Windows 8 isn’t available until later this year, any
Windows 7 PC purchased at Costco
from now until January 31 qualifies for
a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8
for only $14.99.
Q: I occasionally get a “busy” signal when shooting action shots with my digital SLR (DSLR) camera. Is there a solution you can recommend?
A: Microsoft is about to reboot its Windows operating system—and from what we’ve seen so far you’ll
love the changes. We’ll tackle Windows 8 in greater
depth in an upcoming Tech Connection column,
but here’s a brief overview of what to expect.
The first thing you’ll notice is a fresh new look.
Windows 8 has been radically redesigned from previous versions of Windows, with a new Metro user
interface that looks like large, colorful tiles with
real-time information pushed to them. One tile
might show you the latest photos uploaded to
Facebook by friends, another tile might display the
temperature and weather outside and a third could
show the number of emails waiting for you to read.
This sleek user interface is already on Windows
Phones, and soon tablets too. If you prefer to revert
to the familiar Windows desktop with small, static
icons, you can easily switch to the “classic” look at
A: While most camera users are well aware you can
buy memory cards with different capacities—
referring to how many photos or videos they can hold—
you might not know there are different speed
That is, along with capacity (such as 8 GB, 16
GB, 32 GB and so on), other important considerations are write and read speeds and class designation. The write speed is how quickly the camera
can save information to the card; the read speed
refers to how quickly the camera (or computer) can
access files off the card.
The faster the card speeds, the better. For
example, 80x is better than 40x, and 150x is better
Class relates to video-recording capabilities.
Again, higher means better-quality video recording
( 10 is better than 6).
If you own a DSLR you should opt for faster
cards as you can hold down the shutter button to
take multiple shots at once. And they’re ideal for
shooting video because they can capture the maximum number of frames per second for smoother
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or mail 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
The Costco Connection
Costco features a wide selection of computers
from leading manufacturers in the warehouses
and at Costco.com to equip students for the
school year. You can also find the latest in SanDisk
memory cards in various capacities and speeds in
the warehouses and online.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “Connection”;
at Online Edition, search
a leading high-tech
to dozens of publica-
tions, appears on radio
and TV, and is the
author of 15 books,
including his latest, Siri
for Dummies (Wiley).
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