Software-Class 4

18 07 2008

A Global Positioning System (GPS) such as Garmin or TomTom which can be hand held, are portable  receivers and can display through graphics on a screen your exact location on this earth. They have to be used outside but unlike the explorers of the past you don’t have to navigate by the stars in the sky anymore. You just put in your location into the receiver using the touch of your fingers and the satellites will transmits your location in three dimensions diplayed on your GPS screen.

According to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, “GPS operations depend on a very accurate time reference, which is provided by atomic clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Each satellite has atomic clocks on board.” They are usually within a 20 meter accuracy of your location and your destination. The Garmin brand started in 1989, is an American designed GPS that has so many ‘bells and whistles’ on it that is sometimes confusing to use. Like the TomTom designed by a company in Amsterdam and started in 1991, is an intuitive interface touchscreen but costs half the price of the Garmin.  The TomTom’s display screen has less icons than the Garmin. It is really easier to use and takes you less time to figure out. Simplicity is one of their marketing features and they are right.

I visted both web sites for Garmin and TomTom and they were very reflective of their products. The Garmin site was sophicated, with a polished appearance and human models. Whereas, the TomTom site has a bright and colorful graphics design with animated drawings but, yet again the TomTom site was more user friendly. I have had the opportunity to use both these GPS while traveling and I found  that the TomTom gave better value for the dollar.

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Internet and E-Commerce-Class 6

18 07 2008

The major difference that I find between a brick-and-motar store and the website for JOANN Fabrics and Crafts store is the amount of product available.  The on-line site has been informative about product resoures. The same products are also in the store but with additional choices and I use the website to research, by reading the customer ratings for specific products. I recently purchased a sewing machine and the coupon offers were the same whether purchased on-line or in the store but after reading the customer ratings, I went to the store and had a sales person demonstrate the machine and compared it to the customer ratings.

The on-line site is easy to navigate but there is not enough product and when I type in a specific inquiry, it responds but not with consistent information. For example, I was looking for a knit baby sweater pattern and it gave me one response but when I went to the ‘knit and crochet’ tab it gave me 3 chioces different from my first search. I find going on-line is just as time consuming as going to the store and I get a lot more choices at the store. I have been using for so long and it is so easy to get around that I expect other on-line sites to operate in the same user friendly manner. So, my first instinct is to go to the brick-and motar store unless it is for books and then I use, followed by a trip to Books-a-million or Barnes and Noble stores.

Networks and Telecommunications Blog Post-Class 5

17 07 2008

We recently installed FiOS in our home. My husband made all the arrangements and I thought he was so clever to go ditigal before Feburary, 2009. So, for this post I interviewed him using the questions in our topic choices. I was expecting his answers would impress me with his technical knowledge. However, I was totally surprised when he said, “I just wanted to teach ComCast a lesson”! He was motivated by the cost savings he would realize with the Verizon program which offered cable TV, internet, wireless connections in our home and a land line phone for $126.00 a month where as ComCast with cable TV and the internet was $100.00 a month. Both systems are high speed and there was little change in service except we did gain more TV stations. The whole system was installed in just a few hours, it included a router box that sits beside our desktop computer and a small modem box mounted on the wall in our utility room. If we want to use a laptop in another room besides the den in our house we do have to use a password which Verizon provided. Some our children’s friends have been impressed that we are so advanced and they bring their laptops and put in the password and are able to use their laptops while at our house. Now, we can open our own internet cafe!

Hardware Blog Post-Class 3

17 07 2008

This is the most expensive CPU listed at $699.99, the details are Systemax SG 1350 Gaming Desktop computer-Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 genuine Windows Vista(R) Home Premium SPI, Asus PSGC-MX, 2GB, 320GB, DRDRW, 8600GT, Flash Card Reader (9 in 1), 10/100 LAN 500Watts. It has a processor speed of 2.60GHz and a total memory of 2.0GB. It has a 12 month warranty with an additional service plan that is over $100.00 a year. You still need to purchase a keyboard, mouse and possibly a monitor though this tower will hook-up to a TV. I would recommend this computer to someone that is independently wealthy or had a job, or a company that was involved in gaming technology. It would be hard to justify the expense of this computer for only leisure time use at home.


This is the least expensive computer at $199.99 and though you need to purchase a monitor to go with it, at $500.00 less than the Systemax SG 1350 Gaming Desktop computer it is a real bargin. It is listed as an eMachine W3644 Refurbished AMD Desktop Computer-AMD Sempron LE-1200 2.1GHz, 1GB DDR2, 160GB SATA II, DVDRW,NVIDIA GeForce 6100, WindowsXP home. It has a processor of 2.10GHz and a total memory of 1.0GB, though this is only half of the Gaming Computer capacity, it can be expanded to support 2.0GB memory, the same as the Gaming Computer. There is a three month limited warranty on parts and labour with an additional service plan available for about $24.00 a year. With the technology changing at such a rapid rate purchasing this computer for home use would be the most cost effective purchase.

Comparing these two computers reminds me of an old saying, “buy the smallest house in the best neighbourhood” because you will benefit from your neighbours increased property values without your having to make any extra household expenses (like taxes, heating/AC and electricity).