computer http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/323/all en-US Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5183660971_938a7a828c_z.jpg" alt="working on computer" title="working on computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s get real &mdash; the economy isn&rsquo;t in great shape right now. The unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, and companies like DuPont and Kodak keep announcing <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/20121024_DuPont_cites_weak_quarterly_revenue__says_it_will_cut_1_500_jobs.html">more</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/kodak-inkjet-printers-sales-to-end_n_1922528.html?utm_hp_ref=technology">more</a> layoffs. Amidst the doom and gloom, however, there are some positive signs...if you know where to look. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job</a>)</p> <p>In this case, the place to look is the tech industry.</p> <h2>Tech Is Hot</h2> <p>Turns out the <a href="http://mashable.com/2012/07/06/information-technology-unemployment-rate/">unemployment rate for IT workers is 4%</a> &mdash; half the national average! In fact, many employers complain they're having trouble finding candidates to fill tech roles. Software developer (some of you call them programmers) is one of the <a href="http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/06/13530457-hot-jobs-careers-defy-sluggish-economy">hottest jobs out there right now</a>.</p> <p>Does that mean you should abandon your current field and become a developer? If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it. In order to join the tech party, you need a basic understanding of the fundamentals of coding and how developers approach their work. Learning how to be a developer can take years. But there are skills you can learn now that make you immediately more hireable, lay the groundwork if you want to continue pursuing tech, and can apply to any field.</p> <p>You need to learn the foundation of how websites are built. And that means learning&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML">HTML</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_Style_Sheets">CSS</a>.</p> <h2>How Web Development Can Help Your Career</h2> <p>I don't expect you to become a web developer overnight (or at all), but I do believe there are some skills that will make you more valuable at your current job and to any future employer.</p> <p><strong>1. Learning to Think Like a Developer</strong></p> <p>Developer's brains work in a very specific way. They approach problems and projects in a linear, logical fashion. That means less chaos (in work and in life) and more organization. This type of thinking will help you get things done no matter what industry you're in.</p> <p><strong>2. Creativity</strong></p> <p>Most people think coding is like math &mdash; that there is only one right answer. Not true &mdash; developers need to be creative because there are a hundred different ways to solve the same problem. This approach is instrumental no matter what field you&rsquo;re in.</p> <p><strong>3. A Possible New Career</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, it can happen. People who decide to learn coding can wind up with a new career. It&rsquo;s rare, and I wouldn&rsquo;t bank on it, but <a href="http://www.udemy.com/blog/how-to-become-a-web-developer-in-silicon-valley-sonya-eick/">some people are doing it</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Understand the Magic</strong></p> <p>Most people think creating sites and apps is magic. But once you know the basics, you&rsquo;ll have a huge leg up on everyone else...and you&rsquo;ll be in a better position if you decide you have a great app you want to create.</p> <p><strong>5. Stand Out</strong></p> <p>If you aren&rsquo;t in a technical field but you have some tech skills, that can take you a long way. I was a writer who had SEO and analytics skills before they were mainstream, and that impressed a lot of people at former jobs because the two fields (writing and tech) felt so different to them. People took chances on me knowing I had the ability to learn new things quickly.</p> <h2>What About Mobile Apps?</h2> <p>Some of you might be thinking that web development is a waste of time, asking &quot;Aren&rsquo;t apps the hot trend right now? Shouldn&rsquo;t we all be learning to create iOS and Android apps? Aren&rsquo;t people using their phones and tablets more than their computers?&quot;</p> <p>Yes, mobile is very hot right now, and if you&rsquo;re a developer you should absolutely be learning how to develop apps. But if you're reading this, you probably <em>aren&rsquo;t</em> a developer. And learning to code isn&rsquo;t as easy as you might think.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why HTML and CSS are such great places to start &mdash; they are relatively easy to understand, and you interact with them every single day.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you pick them up really quickly and decide you want to go even deeper down the rabbit hole, then by all means take the next step and learn how to develop mobile apps. &nbsp;</p> <p>But for most people, learning HTML and CSS is a better introduction to the world of programming. It&rsquo;s simpler, and there are so many tools out there to help you see how websites you use every day actually work (Firefox&rsquo;s <a href="http://getfirebug.com/">Firebug</a> and Chrome&rsquo;s Inspect Element come to mind).</p> <h2>The Best Places to Learn</h2> <p>Ready to get your learn on? I have great news &mdash; there are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">fantastic learning tools</a> out there for you.</p> <p><strong>Code Academy</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a &ldquo;learn by doing&rdquo; type of person, then you&rsquo;re gonna love <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web">Code Academy</a>. They&rsquo;ve broken down HTML and CSS into bite-sized modules that you complete by actually typing in code and checking your results. I recommend this free course to everyone &mdash; it&rsquo;s easy, it&rsquo;s engaging, and it&rsquo;s fun.</p> <p><strong>Udemy</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.udemy.com/">Udemy</a> is blowing up &mdash; it seems like they&rsquo;re adding more and more courses every day. Most of these aren&rsquo;t free, but if you&rsquo;re into learning by watching videos, this might be a good fit. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.udemy.com/how-to-become-a-web-developer-from-scratch/">How to Become a Web Developer From Scratch</a> ($199) is a great course that covers HTML/CSS and also goes into some additional languages for those of you that want to go a bit further.</p> <p><strong>W3Schools</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re more into traditional reading-and-then-doing type of learning, then <a href="http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp">W3Schools</a> is a good place to do it &mdash; and it&rsquo;s free. W3Schools.com is a reference used by thousands of web developers, but it&rsquo;s also a great place to learn. Not only that, you can get a certificate (for $95) if you want to be a show off about it.</p> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a> and <a href="http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/">iTunes U</a> also have tons of resources devoted to computer science if you still haven't found something that works for you. But if you're having trouble deciding where to start, I really recommend going through Code Academy; it's a fantastic, free place to learn.</p> <h2>Go Forth and Code!</h2> <p>I hope I've made a good case as to why the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-easy-money-and-learn-a-thing-or-two-about-website-design">basics of web development</a> are worth learning. It's a great portal into the world of programming, and who knows &mdash; maybe you'll find yourself getting more and more into it and eventually learning more complex skills.</p> <p>If you already have some coding skills but aren't a developer, please let everyone know in the comments how it's helped you in your career.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-an-internship-as-an-adult">Finding an Internship as an Adult</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-career-advice-sites-you-should-know-about">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-the-most-out-of-salary-comparison-sites">Getting the Most Out of Salary Comparison Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Technology changing jobs computer HTML skills Fri, 26 Oct 2012 09:48:35 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 954804 at http://www.wisebread.com Pianos cost too much? Get a synth! http://www.wisebread.com/pianos-cost-too-much-get-a-synth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pianos-cost-too-much-get-a-synth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/torley-on-piano.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm thankful for a delicious cornucopia of experience with music: I grew up on classical <a href="http://torley.com/piano">piano</a> before moving into electronics, a galaxy — wait, <em>universe</em> of sound at my fingertips! With all that learned, and not just because of the recessed economy but practical factors, if a parent were to ask me:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;What piano would you recommend I buy for my kid to get into music?&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>I'd shake my head, and <strong><em>not</em> suggest a piano at all!</strong></p> <p>Blasphemy? Absolutely not. I've played dozens of epic grand pianos and oodles of uprights with character. But <strong>pound-for-pound, buck-for-buck, synthesizers — synths for short — beat them almost every time</strong>. An initial hurdle to getting into synths is the dizzying array of choices, including &quot;digital pianos&quot; (not strictly synths since they're not focused on sound creation, but performance with a limited array of sounds). But on the whole, synths beat pianos in both the quantity and quality departments.</p> <p><em>Wait, how can I say that?</em></p> <p>Throw away your 80s stereotypes of bleeps and beeps — technology has advanced to where electronically-amplified piano sounds are in many cases indistinguishable from &quot;the real deal&quot;. From <a href="http://www.imperfectsamples.com/website/samples/braunschweig/braunschweiguprightpiano.php">multilayered samples</a> to <a href="http://www.pianoteq.com/">physical modeling</a>, there's a rich sea of options. Yes, a few purists will cry foul, but they're the same people who can't tell the difference in a double-blind test; and if you happen to be <em>that</em> picky, by all means, get a real piano. Like <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;ct=res&amp;cd=1&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-greatest-story-ever-sold-is-a-fantasy-covered-in-blood&amp;ei=BQIsSsrGEaWwtAOqw_3rCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGxCIguW7L4W_IaDwgRAjJrWkjUqA&amp;sig2=7TnuAks23jm87YZ6YmTXqQ">diamonds</a>, they have overpriced charm. But plenty of people who'd be better off with a cheaper, more expansive solution would be wise to try synths first, then <strong>understand firsthand</strong>.</p> <p><div style="padding-bottom: 0px; margin: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; float: none; padding-top: 0px" id="scid:5737277B-5D6D-4f48-ABFC-DD9C333F4C5D:426eca5b-a247-4ce7-b2ff-d9de3e5437a1" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2ZPdiz2qJcw&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></div> </p> <p><em>(That's me playing — sorry, the video is flipped.)</em></p> <p>If you're looking to get yourself, your child, or a friend started on piano, here are 6 solid reasons to consider a synth (or other digital instrument) over an acoustic beast:</p> <h2>1. Playing a synth is the same as a piano… plus bonuses</h2> <p>Synths have same black-and-white keyboard layout, and up to the same number of keys. There are synths with &quot;hammer action&quot; keyboards for the hammer-strike feel of a real piano with robust durability. Good to try these out in-store, words won't do.</p> <p>On top of that, synths usually have additional controls like a pitch-bend wheel (to emulate other instruments) and a modulation wheel (to add expressivity), plus knobs and sliders. These can make a sound duller or sharper, add reverb to make a piano sound like it's in the Grand Canyon, and much, <em>much</em> more.</p> <p>(I'm not getting into alternative controllers like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keytar">keytars</a> and the <a href="http://www.global.yamaha.com/design/tenori-on/">Tenori-On</a> in this article, but yes, they're options once you know the basics!)</p> <h2>2. Synths are cheaper… by far</h2> <p>To really drive this point home, a low-end-yet-decent upright piano can set you back US$2,500. Guess what you could buy with the same money? A high-end synth workstation like the Yamaha MOTIF XS6, which is one of the top performers across the <em>whole</em> synth pantheon. Yes, it's the same parent company that makes Yamaha acoustic pianos and the XS6 only has 61 semi-weighted keys, but the 88 weighted-key version, the XS8, can be had for $3,600. What's more, you're not limited to one sound: you get <strong>thousands of sounds out of the box</strong>, can make your own, and can record yourself on the built-in sequencer, creating song arrangements on the same tool Grammy-winning pros use. It'll teach you a lot more about the sonic universe than a single, limited piano will. (More on that later.)</p> <p>By the way — I'm not referring <em>here</em> to sub-$300 starter keyboards that are sometimes labeled &quot;<a href="http://www.zzounds.com/cat--Personal-Keyboards--2698">personal</a>&quot;. They're fun and can be a worthwhile trial to test if you want to commit further to music, but while they've gotten more powerful over the years, they're easy to outgrow. It's worth paying a few hundred bucks more for something that lasts much longer. And if your wallet still screams for mercy, look local for a rental shop that'll let you try out top synths for a stretch of weeks.</p> <p>But, if that still makes your bank account cringe, do you have a decent computer? You can look into a keyboard controller (like <a href="http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&amp;ID=USBkeyboardcontrollers">M-Audio's</a> or <a href="http://us.novationmusic.com/products/">Novation's</a>), which may contain <em>no</em> sounds of its own, but instead plugs into your computer via USB (like your mouse) or MIDI and uses your computer's existing processing power to play — it's called &quot;software synthesis&quot;. There's a wealth of &quot;software studio&quot; options, and they tend to cost a few hundred dollars at most.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.computermusic.co.uk/"><strong>Computer Music</strong></a></em> is one of the best online-and-offline magazines to learn about this from. There are <a href="http://kvraudio.com/">hundreds of plugins</a> for some of these soft studios, <strong>many free ones</strong>, and many under $100. To discover these tools in addition to mainstays like <strong><a href="http://harmony-central.com/">Harmony Central</a></strong>, a couple of my favorite sites are <strong><a href="http://www.synthtopia.com/">Synthtopia</a></strong> and <a href="http://rekkerd.org/"><strong>Rekkerd</strong></a>, both of which are superb at highlighting all things related to &quot;synth culture&quot;. Learn day-by-day, strange names will soon become familiar.</p> <p><em></p> <object width="480" height="295"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/jytjn_xQe6U&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/jytjn_xQe6U&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="295"></embed></object><p></em></p> <p><em>(Synths make it easy to play along to music you love, facilitating the process of practice or simply jamming!)</em></p> <p>For a controller, I have an <a href="http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Keystation88es.html"><strong>M-Audio Keystation 88es</strong></a>, which cost less than $200 (I got it after <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;ct=res&amp;cd=1&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-buy-it-now-on-ebay-without-using-livecom-cashback&amp;ei=bdwrSqbHCJWatAP96vXwCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNF5n96eFwHFQx2M4IbkIiMWox7ZwA&amp;sig2=HeZtMVezgjV-xDrM_CIrbQ">cashback on eBay</a>) and has 88 semi-weighted keys. I prefer these because it's easier to do quick runs up and down the keybed. I've paired it with the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) called <a href="http://www.ableton.com/"><strong>Ableton Live</strong></a>, which is such an elegant way to put together tracks. Even if you don't need those options now, a computer is far more expandable because as long as software can run on it, you can adapt your configuration. If you had a max. of $2,500 to spend on music gear, including a computer, you can easily include a quality audio interface + mic (to record vocals if you chose) and speakers. But you could just use headphones, which brings me to…</p> <h2>3. Synths let you practice without bothering other people</h2> <p>Guess what's impossible on a traditional piano? Making music without having it invade the room around you. This is good if you're putting on a show, sucks if you have tight living space or your walls are weak — I often ran into the issue of my performance leaking into the kitchen, where sometimes it was welcome, other times my Mom would scream at me to stop.</p> <p>Just about every single digital keyboard/synth can have its output confined to headphones. Even those which simulate the conventional piano form factor, like <a href="http://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/keyboards/silentpianos/">Yamaha's Silent Pianos</a>, have this advantage. There are numerous capable digital pianos which can be found for under $1000 and they all have a headphone jack. Price of a quality pair of &quot;cans&quot;? Easily $150 or less. I've had my <strong>Sony MDR-V900s</strong> for years now, cups over my ears and has big bass; others swear by Sennheiser or Grado. There's something to be said for focus when you can enclose yourself when playing, too.</p> <h2>4. Synths don't go out of tune (unless you want them to) and are easier to carry</h2> <p>There's no need to call a piano tuner. While early analog synths like some <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_synthesizer">Moogs</a> had pitch instabilities, current generations don't suffer that frailty. However, some noted sound designers have deliberately introduced drift and detune into their sounds for that wow-and-flutter-sorta retro sound. (Funny how much we treasure imperfections when we've gained control of how to fix them.)</p> <p>Real pianos, however, are weak against the weather and being moved. Oh yeah, they're also a lot less portable, which is a problem if you want to take your instrument gigging. All worthwhile things to think about as you make a checklist of what's right for <em>you</em>.</p> <h2>5. Synths encourage explorations through sound</h2> <p>I had some mighty piano teachers, but for the most part, they didn't &quot;get&quot; the outer realms I wanted to venture to on my own. And ultimately, that's what counts: if you have goals, your mentors may not appreciate all of it, but they should help you get there. Unfortunately, there are still too many classical music snobs out there who're killing their music by being limited and stuffy. If they balk at you learning music on a synth for no pragmatic reason, I'd caution to stay away — <strong>their mindset isn't progressive enough to help you prosper</strong>.</p> <p>Fingering techniques and other virtuoso fortes can be learned on a 88-key, weighted synth just as well as a &quot;normal piano&quot;, and don't let anyone deceive you otherwise. (To those who say &quot;It's not the same as a real piano&quot;, there are many different pianos with varying feels; they need to substantiate what they mean.)</p> <p>After all, music demands <em>your</em> creativity to make the most of it. No one wants to have memories of lessons they were forced to take, because the <strong>best learning comes when you're enjoying yourself</strong>. I've long been supportive of exploring tonal textures through electronic music. As this video with me playing shows, you can easily emulate guitar and other sounds. (And to extend on that idea, yes, there are synthy equivalents for other instrument families; guitars have the <a href="http://line6.com/variax/">Line 6 Variax</a> to thank.)</p> <p><em></p> <object width="480" height="295"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/TLajokq3nyc&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/TLajokq3nyc&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="295"></embed></object><p></em></p> <p><em>(I heart the <strong><a href="http://www.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=kore2">Native Instruments Kore 2</a></strong> sound libraries — as you can hear, amazing!)</em></p> <h2>6. Learn skills not possible with a &quot;real piano&quot; on a synth</h2> <p>An electronic setup is harder to outgrow than a single real piano, since it can be vastly more flexible. In addition to chords and scales, you can learn all about synthesis: how more complex sounds are formed from simple waveforms, oscillators, filtering, and soforth. And if you intend to take music from a hobby into a career, some of these skills are commonplace must-knows.</p> <p><em></p> <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="277" data="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"> <param name="flashvars" value="intl_lang=en-us&amp;photo_secret=fc258f4d0f&amp;photo_id=3517718845" /> <param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377" /> <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377" bgcolor="#000000" allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&amp;photo_secret=fc258f4d0f&amp;photo_id=3517718845" height="277" width="480"></embed></object><p></em></p> <p><em>(Many surprises await you when browsing sounds!)</em></p> <p>What's relevant <em>now</em>: the distinction between sound engineer and performer has blurred, and if you want to squeeze the most potential out of the time and energy you put in, electronics make this accessible. For example, <a href="http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/">Propellerheads Reason</a>, a &quot;studio-in-a-box&quot;, lets you simulate rackloads of expensive gear and shows how they're routed to and from each other to generate the final sound. While still in their early years, programs like this are being taken increasingly seriously to result in certification programs and courses at distinguished schools like <a href="http://www.berkleemusic.com/school/course?course_item_id=1492069">Berklee</a>.</p> <h2>Still… don't scrimp on a teacher</h2> <p>The above in mind and synth in hand will hopefully save you money you can put forth towards a good teacher. You can pay for lessons, but there's no clear monetary value for the <em>joy of music</em>. <strong>This human element can't be replaced by a machine</strong>, and while there's a wide variance of teaching styles (and online courses beyond the scope of this article), past the obvious &quot;You should get along and grow&#160; together,&quot; if you subscribe to what I've shared above, you should <strong>go with a teacher who understands the connections between styles of music</strong> — the most exciting, potent stuff is cross-disciplinary, and stodgy dinosaurs are dying out.</p> <p>It's time to awake the new breed and destroy old misconceptions. <strong>Learning music needs to be useful <em>and</em> fun… and oh, preferably affordable!</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Have questions about the similarities &amp; differences between pianos &amp; synths? Are you like my parents and think pianos have more &quot;dignity&quot;? Let me know in the comments below!</em></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pianos-cost-too-much-get-a-synth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards">Inside the Shady World of Cheap iTunes Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-indoor-tv-antennas">The 5 Best Indoor TV Antennas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-food-items-to-always-buy-in-bulk">13 Food Items to Always Buy in Bulk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-sites-to-shop-for-affordable-cool-jewelry">10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable, Cool Jewelry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping computer electronic learn lesson m-audio music piano sound synth synthesizer teacher yamaha Sun, 07 Jun 2009 19:09:01 +0000 Torley Wong 3236 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying Shiny New Things Without The Guilt http://www.wisebread.com/buying-shiny-new-things-without-the-guilt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-shiny-new-things-without-the-guilt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5439996103_74727f61a5_z.jpg" alt="computer workstation" title="computer workstation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Around four months ago, I declared I wanted to buy a new computer <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2008/12/17/how-im-going-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-spending-a-cent/trackback/">without spending a cent</a>.</p> <p>Sure, the title was meant to be catchy and a little playful (were you not entertained?), but I&nbsp;had an actual system behind the hype. The idea was to save up all of my alternative income and use that money to save for a new computer. I&nbsp;wouldn't use any money from my paycheck or my savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-making-activities-you-can-do-today">5 Money Making Activities You Can Do Today</a>)</p> <p>In other words, I'd pay for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-desktop-computer">new computer</a> with money I'd never miss.</p> <p>The other rule I&nbsp;set for myself is that I&nbsp;wouldn't pull the trigger until I&nbsp;had enough money banked &mdash; no itchy trigger for me here. I&nbsp;had to wait until the money was there.</p> <h3>What Happened</h3> <p>Setting this goal for myself was great because it gave me a purpose. I started selling a bunch of my old books knowing that all that money would be going towards my new PC. Every time I&nbsp;wrote a new post on my blog, I&nbsp;knew the income I&nbsp;made from the site would go into my computer fund.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-great-goals-and-achieving-them">Setting a goal</a> gave me something to work toward instead of just saving for the sake of saving, which was great.</p> <h3>What's This About Guilt?</h3> <p>I'm guessing other Wise Bread readers share this affliction with me: ponying up large amounts of money to buy stuff isn't easy. Parting with money is super tough for frugal people like ourselves, so whenever I&nbsp;have to (or want to) make a big purchase, I&nbsp;get very uneasy.</p> <p>I&nbsp;feel guilty for spending my hard-earned money. Shouldn't I&nbsp;be investing it?&nbsp;Saving it?&nbsp;Doing <em>anything </em>but spending it?</p> <p>Sure, but we also have to live our lives, and that's what money is for, right?&nbsp;To help us get what we want? To enjoy it?</p> <p>Easier said than done, and this budgeting trick has helped me overcome the guilt.</p> <h3>NMG:&nbsp;No More Guilt</h3> <p>When I got close to my goal, I&nbsp;told my wife that maybe it was all a bad idea. Maybe I didn't really need a new machine and that I&nbsp;could probably cope with my five-year-old laptop for another couple years.</p> <p>The guilt had crept into my foolproof system.</p> <p>But she was having none of it. She wouldn't let me. After all the hard work I&nbsp;had been putting in toward boosting my alternative income selling books and blogging, she said I HAD&nbsp;to buy the new computer. That was the plan and that was the purpose.</p> <p>So I&nbsp;did.</p> <p>And guess what?&nbsp;<strong>It feels awesome.</strong></p> <p>My new machine should be here by the end of the week and I&nbsp;haven't felt guilty at all. Our budget is on track, our savings are on track&mdash;it's like I&nbsp;never spend the money.</p> <p>And the best part is that now I&nbsp;have a system in place whenever I&nbsp;get the itch to buy something else. Until then, I'll go back to being the responsible, frugal (some would say boring), person I&nbsp;am: the side money I&nbsp;make will go into my high-yield savings account, where I'll let it accumulate.</p> <p>I won't be buying anything else anytime soon...I'll be too busy toying around with my brand-spanking new computer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-shiny-new-things-without-the-guilt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-save-50-every-month">9 Easy Ways to Save $50 Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting alternative income budgeting computer extra cash Making Extra Cash saving Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:24:24 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 3049 at http://www.wisebread.com The Make You Wanna Holla Presentation http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Listen baby listen.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="116" height="115" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I can&#39;t speak coherently and I can&#39;t write at all -- let alone stay on topic.</font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">&#160;</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Subsequently, I’m already prepared for the electronic picket signs and the “haterific” rants about selling out, wasting time or &quot;dummy-it’s-called-an-I-pod&quot; responses.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Or maybe I’m just feeling myself and the readers of this post may indeed have imbibed their “acc-rite jooce,” before reading this, in which case I have nothing to worry about.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Today’s subject, kiddies, is how to throw a boss summer patio party or eclectic dinner party in the technological age - I mean really do it up – without digging in the crates.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">It occurred to me, shortly after myself and a then prospective female No. 1 companion were exchanging </font><a href="http://www.youtube.com/"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">YouTube</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> links and trading songs via e-mail. It was a veritable, “well, what do you know about this,&quot; contest where she hit me with everything from the soul stylings of Tyrone Davis to old recordings of Chicago and Muddy Waters. I put her up on Average White Band and hard-to-find Isley Brothers recordings as well as grooves from Marvin Gaye she never heard. Gotta love technology and what Roger Troutman would call &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBeUo9ahnfQ">Computer love</a>.&quot; </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The metaphoric Sylvania danced above my head. Party Time.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The ingredients: a PC or MAC – laptop or desktop will do -- with a plug-in port for a large LCD screen or an up-to-date TV set and Internet access. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I’m not inventing the wheel or even thinking up an original idea here but why get a Bose wave radio and thumb through your I-pod. Like the man James Brown says, “get involved, get into it.” </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">You can go from Beethoven to Coltrane to Snoop Dogg to Eric Clapton with a quick search without digging in the crates, calling XM Radio tech support or getting carpal tunnel syndrome setting up random music joints on a CD changer because the disc holder decided it doesn’t want to slide out for you. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Three keys to a YouTube party.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">1)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">One-Upmanship is the key. Find a unifying theme (i.e. Jazz Night, Vanilla Ice, Retrospective, Tantra, uh John Tesh anyone? ) Have fun wowing and surprising each other. </font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">2)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">B.Y.O.D (Bring your own document with the links to your jams already in it -- Excel and Word files will do).</font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">3)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">Rotate, Rinse Repeat: (The host should have a list, where they designate a typist for 20 minute intervals to jot down their own jams. This is wilding out interactive style to elicit groans or “oh snap” reactions). </font></font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">For you dweebie html-jocky hipsters who wear Converse All-Stars with tweed thrift shop pants (don&#39;t trip, I love the pants), here’s how you can save your links and </font><a href="http://performancing.com/wordpress-tips/wordpress-hacks-using-custom-fields-auto-embed-youtube-videos"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">embed</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> them for repeated use in a prepared file. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">In a realm where the DJ is dead and many spend more time texting and e-mailing than talking, defeat the </font><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistance_is_futile"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Borg</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> with a little bit of imagination. Plus if you&#39;ve got your joint on a reliably-fast free wireless network, it costs no money me hearties. </font></p> <p><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">Have fun, but just don’t let me see anymore headlines like this: <span><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1565953/Family-beaten-after-YouTube-party-invitation.html">Family beaten after YouTube party invitation</a>. That situation -- where a “teenager was airlifted to hospital and his father left with a broken nose after 100 teenagers gate-crashed a party where an invitation appeared on YouTube – was unfortunate.</span></font></font><span><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">War is not the answer, only love can conquer hate. That’s Marvin from the 1971 title track to the seminal soul album “What’s going on?” You might want to get your game right before you try this at home.</font></font></span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Hack a Mac!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throw-a-house-party-for-free">Throw a House Party for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-end-of-youtube">Is this the end of YouTube?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-a-dog-six-bones-free">Give a dog SIX bones...FREE!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary computer free link Mac party PC Snoop Dogg YouTube Tue, 22 Jul 2008 22:36:49 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 2256 at http://www.wisebread.com Cut Computer Waste in Half http://www.wisebread.com/cut-computer-waste-in-half <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cut-computer-waste-in-half" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/do not duplicate.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ve owned my desktop PC for a little over 3 years, and most days I&rsquo;m scared to look into my folders to see what I&rsquo;ve been hoarding.<span> </span>Wading through thousands of pictures, Word documents and PDF&rsquo;s to &ldquo;trim the fat&rdquo; is not something I look forward to.<span> </span>A recently discovered free program, however, has taken that task and made it completely possible.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.pcmag.com/">PC Magazine</a> was the first to introduce me to the wonders of the <a href="http://www.bigbangenterprises.de/en/doublekiller/">Double Killer app</a>.<span> </span>Free for download at several locations, I went directly to the <a href="http://www.bigbangenterprises.de/en/doublekiller/">official site</a> to get my limited copy.<span> </span>This .zip file took little time to download, and I was running in no time.<span> </span>What&rsquo;s it do?<span> </span>Everything I imagined, and more!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">By selecting the folder I want to target, Double Killer scans for files that are similar in name, size, date, and CRC32 Checksum (think unique fingerprint.)<span> </span>Each of these scan criteria are optional, and I had best results with size and CRC32 checksum (which appear to be the default.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Once the scan is complete, a list of all files with duplicates are listed (each grouped with it&rsquo;s &ldquo;twin&rdquo;), and you have the option to go through them one by one, or just select all of the duplicates and trash them.<span> </span>It is recommended that you either select &ldquo;Check first dupes&rdquo; or &ldquo;Check last dupes&rdquo; but NEVER both!<span> </span>This could get rid of all copies of the file &ndash; not what we are intending.<span> </span>The same undesirable outcome will happen if you select &ldquo;Check all.&rdquo;<span> </span>Once you have selected the stuff you want gone, you can choose to send them to a new folder for careful review later (recommended) or delete them permanently.<span> </span>The premium version is $19.99 and allows you to send to a recycle bin, instead.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My first scan rid my Documents folders of over 1106 duplicate files and a 103,801 kb of unnecessary junk.<span> </span>My Pictures folder had even more garbage &ndash; hundreds of duplicate pictures that I downloaded without deleting from my digital camera more than one or two times.<span> </span>And since my FireFox browser is set to put a copy of all downloads directly on my Desktop, I had more duplicate installation files and application shortcuts than one girl should ever have!<span> </span>This cleaned it up in less than a minute!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Double Killer can mess things up if you&rsquo;re not sure what you&rsquo;re doing, but the included help index covers it fairly well.<span> </span>If you&rsquo;re wanting to use the application for commercial purposes, you&rsquo;ll need to spring for the full version.<span> </span>For one private workstation, however, this is one free app I&rsquo;ll use often.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>(I have also heard rumblings of some fantastic Open Source versions of a duplicate file scanner, but I haven&rsquo;t tried them personally. For a good listing of OS options, visit <a href="http://sourceforge.net/">SourceForge</a> and search for &quot;duplicate files&quot;.) </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-computer-waste-in-half">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trent-reznor-giving-away-new-nine-inch-nails-album">Trent Reznor giving away new Nine Inch Nails album</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-norton-antivirus-software-2007-0-after-mir-updated">FREE Norton Antivirus Software 2007 - $0 after MIR - UPDATED!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-handy-uses-for-bobby-pins">30 Handy Uses for Bobby Pins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/52-uses-for-rubber-bands">52 Uses for Rubber Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-a-dog-six-bones-free">Give a dog SIX bones...FREE!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Freebies computer download duplicate files Free software hacks Mon, 30 Jun 2008 03:47:15 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2205 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost your computer's RAM in seconds. Very easy. http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/142887353_d5dc296795.jpg" alt="Zzzzz" title="Zzzzzz" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This may sound like a tech-heavy article but trust me, it&#39;s not. My own technophobic dad could do this one (and he&#39;d better after I tell him). All you need is the good old Notepad accessory and, let&#39;s say, about 30 seconds of your time. Ready? Let&#39;s begin.</p> <p>First up, why do you need a RAM booster? Well, it&#39;s not so much a question of why because we all want a faster PC. This is more a question of when. If you&#39;ve been running a large application (or several large applications, maybe a game, Photoshop, something like that) the RAM can get taken up quickly. Even when you close down these programs, RAM can still be eaten-up. </p> <p>You&#39;ll notice this effect at the end of the day. When you first power-up your PC it&#39;s running smoothly, by the end of the day it&#39;s as sluggish as teenager who&#39;s just eaten a whole pizza. Now, you can get various applications to solve this. Some cost a little, some cost a lot. But personally, I like free. Especially when that free is really quick and easy.</p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/notepad.jpg" alt="NP" title="NP" width="369" height="302" /> </p> <p>So, here&#39;s what you need to do. It works for both Vista and XP. </p> <p><strong>Step One: Open up Notepad (it&#39;s in Accessories)</strong></p> <p><strong>Step Two: Type in MYSTRING=(80000000)</strong></p> <p><strong>Step Three: Save the file as MEMORY.VBE (or RAM.VBE if you like...just remember the .VBE)</strong></p> <p><strong>Step Four: Make sure you save the file to your DESKTOP. </strong></p> <p><strong>Step Five: Just double-click the newly created file on your desktop whenever your PC seems sluggish. It will give your RAM a much needed boost.</strong></p> <p>If you have less than 128mb of RAM (is that possible these days?) change the 80000000 to 160000000 and it should work the same.</p> <p>That&#39;s it. Quick, simple and a real time-saver. By the way, don&#39;t ask me how it works, I have absolutely no idea. A close friend far smarter than myself gave me the tip. I tried it, it worked like a charm. Let&#39;s go to work. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-vista-hack-to-get-you-browsing-at-high-speed-again">Quick Vista Hack to Get You Browsing at High-Speed Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-computer-submerged-in-oil">Build your own computer...submerged in oil.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-self-tanning-lotion-and-5-other-fabulous-diy-tips-from-the-web">Make Your Own Self-tanning Lotion and 5 Other Fabulous DIY Tips from the Web</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Technology computer DIY notepad PC program RAM Thu, 31 Jan 2008 07:28:32 +0000 Paul Michael 1711 at http://www.wisebread.com Asustek launching budget laptops starting at $199. http://www.wisebread.com/asustek-launching-budget-laptops-starting-at-199 <p> <img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Asus_Budget.jpg" alt="asus budget" title="asus budget" width="335" height="304" /></p> <p>You probably already know about the $100 laptop (One Laptop Per Child). But a company called Asustek is launching a new range of low-budget laptops this year...and the starting price is just $199.</p> <p>In a recent report by the <a href="http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2007/04/17/2003357074">Taipei Times</a> , it was revealed that Asustek Computer Inc., the world&#39;s largest maker of computer motherboards, is taking the technology one step further. This time, creating a complete laptop with the help of processor giant Intel.</p> <p>The five budget laptops in development will start at $199 and top out at around $549. The technology that makes them so cheap is the abandonment of regular mechanical hard drives in favor of Intel&#39;s Solid State Disk with flash memory. The operating size of these is anywhere from 1GB to 40GB. So, not exactly a ton of space compared to regular laptops, but then again look at the price.</p> <p>No widescreen displays here either...just standard 7&quot; displays. But for the price and the functionality, plus the reliable Intel name, this is a great deal. No release date details yet, or distribution channels, but I&#39;ll keep you all posted. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/asustek-launching-budget-laptops-starting-at-199">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/restore-your-notebook-battery-quickly-and-cheaply">Restore your notebook battery quickly and cheaply.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-wisebread-helped-me-get-45mpg-out-of-my-28mpg-car">How Wisebread helped me get 45mpg out of my 28mpg car.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Hack a Mac!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks asustek bargain computer budget computer cheap pc cheap technology computer laptop save money Wed, 25 Apr 2007 05:45:40 +0000 Paul Michael 560 at http://www.wisebread.com Hack a Mac! http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/apple.jpg" alt=" " width="256" height="192" /></p> <p>If you&#39;re like me, the closest you get to hacking anything is when you are allowed to carve the turkey at Thanksgiving. But lately, I&#39;ve been inspired to learn how to do all those techy things that my nerdy friends seem so good at. I&#39;m also a sucker for most Mac products, but I had heard bad things about AppleTV.</p> <p>So I was happy to see tech-lovin&#39; geeks at Wired Magazine publish a fun hack that <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2007/04/appletvhacks_0406">turns AppleTV into a full-fledged computer</a>.</p> <p class="blockquote">Apple TV is dead, long live the Mac Nano. Sort of. Just two weeks after Apple released its streaming media box to the public, hackers successfully installed OS X, Apple&#39;s desktop operating system, on the $300 device, making it the cheapest PC Cupertino has ever sold.</p> <p>This hack takes some very <a href="http://www.semthex.com/">serious time and patience</a>, but man, a <a href="http://www.appletvhacks.net/">full-fledged Mac for $300</a>!</p> <p>Picture by <a href="http://www.morguefile.com/forum/profile.php?username=cohdra">Jane M. Sawyer</a>.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/troy-hadley">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-keep-big-brother-out-of-your-bidness">Free Ways to Keep Big Brother Out of Your Bidness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price">New Mac minis: Beware small gains at a big price!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-teenager-started-a-multi-million-dollar-online-business-with-a-parrot">How a Teenager Started A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business with a Parrot. UPDATED</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-deal-every-time-you-shop-with-these-tools">Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks AppleTV computer hacking Mac Mini online technology video Wired Fri, 06 Apr 2007 21:07:45 +0000 Troy Hadley 466 at http://www.wisebread.com Free Ways to Keep Big Brother Out of Your Bidness http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-keep-big-brother-out-of-your-bidness <p class="heading"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/spy_small.jpg" alt=" " width="298" height="197" /></p> <h4>Cell Phone Madness </h4> <p>I just love finding out that the government can find <a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1029-6140191.html">new and unique ways</a> to listen in on our lives. News reports and bloggers are all atwitter today about the news that the <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,114721-page,1/article.html">FBI can listen in on your coversations</a> while your cell phone is off, by tapping into your microphone. It&#39;s like wearing a wireless wire!</p> <p>GPS signals from cell phones and even vehicle-based emergency services like OnStar offer other ways for you to be tracked, and many companies are proud to <a href="http://www.gpsfleetsolutions.com/GPS_Cell_Phone_Tracking.php">discuss the employee-tracking businesses</a> that they run.</p> <p><strong>Free Fix:</strong> Protect yourself from government cell-phone bugging by taking your battery out of your cell when you feel like discussing the 1st Amendment. Or the 4th. Or the Constitution or any kind of rights. I am a little torn about <a href="http://whats.all.this.brouhaha.com/?p=132s">systems like OnStar</a>, because I feel like they can be useful, as can LoJack. I&#39;ve used both, and will continue to do so.</p> <h4>Passport RFID</h4> <p>Got a new government-issued passport recently? Worried about the ebedded RFID chip that can be scanned from a distance, thereby giving all of your information away to any <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/idcards/story/0,,1950226,00.html">tech-savvy scanner</a> in an airport? </p> <p><strong>Free Fix:</strong> <a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.01/start.html?pg=9">Wired.com</a> gives you the heavy-handed lowdown on how to disable the RFID chip and protect your identity, with smashingly successful results.</p> <p class="heading">Your Landline</p> <p>Traditional wiretaps are always fun. It&#39;s very Nancy Drew, but every now and then, when I use a certain relative&#39;s landline, I hear a ticking sound that makes me a little nervous. If I were a titian-haired teenage detective, I might do something about it.</p> <p><strong>Free Fix:</strong> You can figure out if someone is tapping your phone by <a href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question250.htm">looking directly at the wire</a>. Who knew?</p> <h4>Network Traffic</h4> <p>The FBI, NSA, and plenty of even more shadowy government agencies monitor network traffic, read emails, troll chat rooms, and probably get plenty of financial advice from frugal bloggers. </p> <p><strong>Free Fix:</strong> Carnivore, the FBI&#39;s favorite interweb spying tool, <a href="http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs588-fall2001/projects/reports/team6.pdf">can be defeated</a>, and there are <a href="http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2001/05/29/carnivore.html">lots of people</a> out there to help you figure out how.</p> <h4>Snail Mail</h4> <p>It&#39;s really hard to know right now if the government is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/04/AR2007010401702.html">reading your snail mail</a>, and we don&#39;t know quite enough yet to determine if your mail has been <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=962453">tampered</a> with. Because Congress is finally growing a pair and taking the President to task for trampling all over our citizen&#39;s liberties, we&#39;ll just have to see <a href="http://www.usps.com/communications/news/security/mailtampering.htm">how this one plays out.</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-keep-big-brother-out-of-your-bidness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Hack a Mac!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">10 Silly Internet Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">Kick that Cell Phone Contract: Save with a Prepaid Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-vista-hack-to-get-you-browsing-at-high-speed-again">Quick Vista Hack to Get You Browsing at High-Speed Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks cell phones communication privacy computer Constitution fbi Fourth Amendment Internet Mafia network NSA paranoid phone tapping spy surveillance technology United States Postal Service warrantless warrantless mail opening wireless Fri, 02 Mar 2007 00:41:35 +0000 Andrea Karim 312 at http://www.wisebread.com Best free software packaged in one CD http://www.wisebread.com/best-free-software-packaged-in-one-cd <p><a href="http://softwarefor.org"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/discs-blue.jpg" alt="computer discs" width="180" height="240" align="right" />Software for Starving Students</a> (SSS) is a non-profit organization that takes all the best open source and/or free software that college students might need, and makes them available as one downloadable CD.</p> <p>Each included program is available for free download from the Internet, but SSS has done the legwork of putting the most useful apps in one place.</p> <p> The latest edition (2007.01) is available for Mac or Windows. (<a href="http://softwarefor.org/downloads.html">Software for Starving Students download page</a>) </p> <p>I&#39;ve been working as a IT geek for several years now, and I whole-heartedly agree with SSS&#39; choices. Included in the CD are the following 5 programs I use <em>daily</em>: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Firefox (web browser)</strong> -- Hands down the best web browser out there. You&#39;ve heard it from your friends, why not try it for yourself? It makes the Internet a whole lot more tolerable. Open source software is not just for geeks and early adopters anymore. Some open source projects, like Firefox, work better than the commercial (cough, Microsoft) offerings. [<a href="http://getfirefox.com">getfirefox.com</a>]</li> <li><strong>Thunderbird (email)</strong> -- Thunderbird is made by the folks at the Mozilla Foundation, who also bring us Firefox. Judging Thunderbird on its own, as an email client, I have to say it&#39;s pretty good. Comparing it to its high priced cousins (cough, Outlook) there&#39;s just no comparison. I love the Mozilla Foundation&#39;s emphasis on a modular framework, so other developers can write nifty widgets to add additional functionality. Bottom line, I can tweak my Thunderbird to be way more useful (to me) than Outlook, and it&#39;s completely free. [<a href="http://www.mozilla.com/thunderbird/">mozilla.com/thunderbird</a>]</li> <li><strong>Gaim (instant messanger)</strong> - Instant messnging doesn&#39;t require proprietary software to work. That means you can use Gaim to chat on the ICQ, Yahoo, AIM, MSN, and GTalk networks. All at once, all with one program. Open source is cool, huh? [<a href="http://gaim.sf.net">gaim.sf.net</a>] </li> <li><strong>OpenOffice (office apps)</strong> - OO is a collection of office apps that challenges Microsoft Office. OO will happily open and edit Word and Excel documents. Truth be told, there are some functions power users of MS Office might miss, but I think for 90% of us, OO is a suitable replacement for the (very expensive) MS Office suite. [<a href="http://www.openoffice.org/">openoffice.org</a>]</li> <li><strong>Filezilla (FTP)</strong> -- Most people don&#39;t need a dedicated FTP program. (In case you didn&#39;t know, FTP is a protocol for transferring files.) I&#39;ve been recommending Filezilla for years, and in all that time, I haven&#39;t seen anything do its one stated purpose so well. Filezilla should be held up as an example of how a simple (single purpose) program is more useful than a hard-to-use, overly complex office application. [<a href="http://filezilla.sf.net/">filezilla.sf.net</a>]</li> </ul> <p>If you&#39;re a starving student or just savvy enough to not pay for expensive commercial software, check out the <a href="http://softwarefor.org">Software for Starving Students CD</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/jankroemer/232534788/">jankroemer</a> </em> </p> <p><em>via <a href="http://www.lifehacker.com/software/students/download-of-the-day-software-for-starving-students-winmac-225341.php">Lifehacker</a> and <a href="http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/01/02/software-for-starving-students-2007-edition/">Download Squad</a> </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-free-software-packaged-in-one-cd">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Hack a Mac!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/asustek-launching-budget-laptops-starting-at-199">Asustek launching budget laptops starting at $199.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-keep-big-brother-out-of-your-bidness">Free Ways to Keep Big Brother Out of Your Bidness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks computer freeware open source software Software for Starving Students Thu, 04 Jan 2007 05:00:47 +0000 Greg Go 145 at http://www.wisebread.com