Computer Accessories Tips

Read these 19 Computer Accessories Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about PC tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What features can I look forward to with a new mouse?

Not All Mice Are Created Equal

Other than how the mouse feels, there are other features to think about. Some mice can be purchased with more than one button and commands can be attached to the extra buttons. It is also possible to buy a mouse with a scroll wheel located on top. A scroll wheel is ideal for people who spend time surfing the Internet and scroll through lots of pages. Another Web surfer favorite is the optical mouse. An optical mouse does not have a rolling ball to the bottom of it and can be used on almost any surface.

Should I purchase computer speakers?

Computer Speakers Are a Must Have

Even if your computer is a laptop and comes with speakers, it is beneficial to buy another set of computer speakers. Computer speakers can be purchased either online or at your local computer store. Have an idea of where you will place your new computer speakers before selecting them. Since computer speakers vary in size, there might not be enough room on your desk to place them near your computer.

It is definitely recommended that you listen to the sound quality of the speakers before deciding to buy them. It is possible to determine the quality of computer speakers by testing them using music or a CD. Many computer stores will have computer speakers on display, which are hooked up to a radio, so you can judge the sound quality for yourself.

How do surge protectors work?

Protecting Yourself

A surge protector is an efficient way in which to protect your computer and computer accessories from sudden surges in electricity. These surges can send a bolt of electricity throughout your computer resulting in damage to essential parts such as the hard drive or motherboard.

When choosing a good surge protector, look for one that is designed especially for computers with indicators to tell you it is working properly.

How do I choose the right scanner?

Choosing The Right Scanner

There are three basic types of scanners to choose from, and the one that is right for you will depend on how the scanner will be used.

Flatbed scanners are the most well known. They are constructed using a glass plate, and the object to be scanned is placed face down onto this glass plate. The scanner head will scan the book, photo, or document and transmit the scan image to the computer.

The second type of scanner is the Sheet Fed Scanner. This is often used in offices to scan documents or business cards. Instead of placing the document face down on a glass plate, the document is pulled through the scanner and a copy of the document is transmitted to the computer.

Handheld scanners were welcomed with open arms when they were first introduced. Think carefully about buying a handheld scanner when you would like to scan only different parts of a document and not the whole page. This will save time and allow you to compile reports faster. Usually a handheld scanner is quite small and resembles a pen.

Why would I ever need a modem?

Buying a Modem

A modem is needed for anyone wanting to surf the Internet. These days most desktop and laptop computers can be obtained with a modem already included with the unit.

However if you need to buy a modem, there are a number of choices to make. First, it is necessary to decide if you want an external or internal modem. An external modem is usually a little more expensive than an internal modem, but the setup for an external modem is easier.

The second choice you will have to make is the type of modem to purchase. There are basically three types of modems to choose from: dialup, DSL, and cable modems. The modem you select would depend on the type of connection your ISP is providing.

How will my scanner interface with my computer?

Scanner Interface

As with any electronic equipment, it is good idea to make sure it is compatible with whatever you are going to attach it to. Scanners often need a USB cable to attach to the computer case. Some scanners can attach using FireWire, SCSI, or a parallel port. Usually older scanners will have only the ability to attach through a parallel port. Therefore, it is possible to see the different problems that can arise with an old computer without USB and a USB scanner, or a new computer with USB and an old scanner with only parallel port attachment. This is why it is necessary to check the interface before buying your new scanner.

How can I prevent my wrists from hurting while typing?

Ergonomic Keyboard

Repetitive typing on a keyboard is one of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. In order to reduce your chances of developing injury to your wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck, consider purchasing a keyboard that has been designed ergonomically.

A keyboard that has been ergonomically designed will reduce the injury caused by constantly typing. Ergonomic keyboards vary in design from keyboards that are split or bendable, to keyboards that provide a resting area for the wrists. Regardless, of what design you choose, investing in an ergonomic keyboard can reduce injury to the muscles, tendons, and nerves of the hands, arms, and shoulders.

What are the different types of modems available?

Types of Modems

All the latest dial-up modems will connect at a speed of 56K, meaning it can transmit data at 56 kilobytes per second. This type of modem also has the ability to send and receive faxes as well.

If you would like a better ISP package, consider signing up for cable or DSL Internet. Using a DSL or cable modem gives you the ability to surf the Web and still talk on the phone at the same time. This option is not possible with a dial-up connection, which is often slow and blocks you from receiving calls while you are online. A DSL connection will use your existing telephone line, whereas a cable Internet connection will use your existing cable television line.

How would I know if my computer can support a scanner?

Can My Computer Support a Scanner?

Not only is checking how the scanner will connect to your computer important, try to discover if your computer is able to support the use of a scanner. This would include having enough space to install the scanner software, having enough disk space to store the scanned images, possessing a fast enough microprocessor, and having enough memory to run the program. To avoid any problems, write down your computer's specifications and take these specifications with you when looking for a new scanner. All scanners will have the recommended computer specifications in which they work best at, written on the outside of the box.

Do wireless keyboards really exist?

Wireless Keyboards

Eliminating the use of wires dangling from computer cases or other electronics is turning into a very popular trend. Wireless keyboards allow the user to be able to move around the room, but still be able to type information into their computer and watch it show up on the screen.

Wireless keyboards depend on infrared beams for communication between the keyboard and the computer. Wireless keyboards are especially handy for someone who might be bed-ridden or for any other reason in which they are unable to sit in front of the computer.

Do you ever have back or wrist pain after a long day in front of your computer?

Comfortably Computing

If you are a heavy computer user or spend hours each day sitting in front of your PC at work, it may not seem so but it is physically taxing on the human body. The curvature and alignment of the spine can be affected, and you may experience pain in your neck or tendonitis in your wrists from typing all day.

The answer is not to stop using your computer, but to be more comfortable while using it. Check online for an assortment of computer furniture and accessories like wrist pads that are ergonomically designed to support your body while sitting at your computer. These products are designed with comfort and health in mind, allowing you to do your work or use your computer for fun without it causing you pain.

Serious computer users, and even casual ones, should make sure that they are comfortable and fully able to enjoy their computer. No one wants to sit down in front of their computer and stand up with their back looking like it was a crazy straw.

Are a bunch of wires making a mess of your workspace?

Wireless Devices Can Cut Back on the Clutter

It is very easy to let your computer desk get overrun by wires and other devices. Wireless mice and computer keyboards help to limit the clutter at your desk. If your desktop or laptop PC is Bluetooth capable any Bluetooth wireless mouse will work. If your machine does not support Bluetooth you can still use a wireless mouse, but it will be a different type.

You will need a mouse that comes with a small USB attachment. The USB device will plug into your computer, just like a portable flash drive would, and broadcast a signal to the mouse. Mice that are used in this manner often have a secondary function as a remote for controlling PowerPoint slides and other presentation programs.

Wireless technologies are constantly improving, and as this happens the range at which you can operate Bluetooth devices in conjunction with your computer increases. However, some radio frequencies and Bluetooth devices can cause minor disruptions in WiFi signals, so you may have to test devices through trial and error until WiFi signals are no longer susceptible to such interruptions.

Are you looking for computer speakers?

Speaking for Your Computer

Your options for computer speakers cover a pretty wide spectrum. If you have built a multi-media or gaming computer and want the absolute best audio quality, then you are looking at getting a surround sound system. A 5.1 system with a subwoofer is your best bet in that case. If this is what you want make sure that your computer has a sound card equal to the quality of the system you purchase.

If you are not looking for an expensive surround sound system, but would rather decent desktop speakers to listen to a little music and other basic needs, you can find a set on good discount sites for under $15. You will see reliable brands like Creative Labs, Logitech and Bose systems in both the basic models and the higher performance surround sound systems.

If you are looking for something in between those you will not have trouble. There is an audio system designed for every kind of user, from the biggest audiophiles to the most casual computer user.

Having trouble fitting all your computer accessories in one area?

Multi-Function Printers Save Money and Space

Most people will need a printer to go along with their desktop or laptop computer. Whether you are in school, or your kids are, or you need it for work, a printer in your home is very convenient.

An all-in-one printer is a good thing to have in the house no matter what your profession or grade in school. Most of these multi-function printers will have a scanner, copy machine and fax built into them. The price has dropped so much in recent years for these printers that they are no more expensive than regular printers were. For one low price you can several computer accessories in one product.

The all-in-one printer also allows businessmen and women to work from home and stay in touch with their office through the fax. These printers will either come in the inkjet or laser print format. Both produce excellent picture quality at good speeds.

They help to reduce the amount of clutter on your desk by having everything in one small area, too. All-in-one printers will help save you money and space at the same time.

How do I decide if a mouse is comfortable?

How Comfortable Is Your Mouse?

It is encouraged that you see how your new computer mouse feels in your hand before making the purchase. This point is especially important for people suffering for carpal tunnel syndrome, or anyone with arthritis in the hands and shoulders. By holding the mouse and practicing opening documents and dragging files, it is possible to determine if the mouse is comfortable for you to work with. Buying an ergonomic mouse can help increase your level of comfort as well.

Should I buy the cheapest mouse available?

Test Drive Your Mouse

For most people, buying a new computer mouse might seem like a quick task – walk into the computer store and buy the cheapest mouse. However, the cheapest price does not always guarantee quality. It a good idea to spend time test driving a variety of different mice before selecting the right one, which may not be the cheapest one.

I would like to buy new equipment for my computer. Any suggestions?

Web Cameras

Web cameras are great equipment for your computer. They are basically digital cameras that transmit images to the computer. Web cameras have increased in popularity with the higher number of people using them to chat with friends and family around the world.

A Web camera functions by taking a number of frames, or still images, within a short period of time. Using computer software, these frames are then played together quickly to generate the look of streaming video. A frame rate of 30 fps is recommended for any web camera you purchase.

When selecting the right Web camera, it is necessary to think about the resolution that the Web camera offers. If the Web camera is to be used for video conferencing, choosing a camera with the highest resolution, or your image might appear blurry or grainy.

How will my new mouse connect to my computer?

Connecting a Mouse to a Computer

First it is necessary to investigate how the mouse will connect to your computer. All new computers will have USB ports and these ports can be used to connect the mouse to your computer. However, if you have an older computer without any USB ports, and have purchased a new mouse, you might realize there is no way to connect it to your computer. Therefore, it is important to consider how the mouse connects to your computer.

What can I expect when shopping for a printer?

Shopping For a Printer

If you are in the market for a new printer, it is necessary to make a list of the features you would like your printer to have. There are generally two different categories of printers to select from: Ink jet printers and Laser printers.

The Ink jet printers are handy for those of us who do not print all the time, but instead occasionally print documents. There do not cost as much as a Laser printer, and are ideal for people who occasionally print information from the Internet or Word documents.

Laser printers cost more than Ink jet printers and are better suited for people who do a lot of printing on a daily basis, and need a high-end printer. There are quite of number of all-in-one printers available on the market with the ability to fax, copy, print, and scan, all from one device.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer