Byte Me Article 409 – Refining the Home Setup

Bring Cables Under Control

Today you are reading another article in our A-Z of computer purchase mini-series which is currently focusing on the setup of a new computer once you get it home.  As a result, we have some more cable tips and we will start to touch on software setup. 

First off, I need to mention the desire for a lack of the unsightly cables that often plaque computer desks.  One hot tip here is to purchase a computer screen that has built in speakers.  Don’t expect these to run a disco however they will be more than adequate for a documentary and save having extra desktop speakers and extra cables. 

Most screen manufacturers now provide built-in speakers and most noteworthy examples in this area are Philips & Viewsonic.  Screens from these companies come with built-in speakers, 3-year warranties and some of the latest picture reproduction innovations such as IPS panels.  Teamed with a Display Port or HDMI cable you will get both video and sound down the one cable – and see what you have previously been missing.  Another screen Byte Me article is also just around the corner! 

While talking cables, you cannot overlook the convenience and importance of modern USB cables.  The ‘old school’ nearly defunct CD-ROM or DVD-ROM has near disappeared in favour of Internet downloaded content or files transferred from USB based memory sticks or external drives.  USB transfer rates have also sped up considerably with modern computers having USB 2.0 and now USB 3.0 connectors. 

These faster and more recent USB ports need a modern USB cable and device to take full advantage of the increased transfer speeds however for compatibility sakes all previous devices will still work – simply at whatever speed is deemed the weakest link.  For example, an original USB 1.0 external drive will only work at USB 1.0 speeds regardless if the rest of the system and cable is USB 3.0 compliant. 

Another tip if you don’t have your computer tower at a handy desktop level, is to have some short USB 3.0 extension cables which can route from the back of the PC to a place on the desk where a simple bit of duct tape can place them in an easily accessible location.  This works well for future plugging in of the plethora of USB based devices which are appearing on the market every day. 

Having a few USB outlets at desk level is also great for the receiver unit if you have a cordless keyboard and mouse.  We have seen plenty of ‘problem’ wireless kits start to work flawlessly as soon as the receiver/transmitter module is close to the keyboard and mouse.

Lastly today and verging onto the subject of software is the best tip I can offer for printer / scanner / multifunction installation. Whatever you do make sure that you start running the installation software BEFORE you plug in any USB device.  The software will instruct you when the time is right to plug the device in.  Failure to follow this simple step can result in absolute mayhem with a process which should only take a few minutes.

Next week I will take a leap into the world of modern computer software and some it its pitfalls. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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