2 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying A Tablet

We’ve all dreamed about them.  Ever since the iPad was released the market just overflowed with desire for a particular product.  I can only be talking about one thing: the tablet.  A tablet computer would be a great thing to own, what with every model’s slim sizes and small weight, but let’s just face it.  A tablet isn’t a necessity, it’s an indulgence.  Most of the time there is no real need to own one.  Ever wonder if you ever actually need a tablet, or even what tablet to buy?  Here are two things to ask yourself before whipping out your wallet.

1) What purpose would this tablet serve me?

This is an important question to ask yourself if you want to justify buying a tablet for a purpose instead of just buying one for a luxury.  Will your tablet of choice serve you a true purpose, or will or it sit uselessly on your nightstand, subject to your two years old’s playfulness?  (If you have no purpose, buying it for a fun plaything is never out of the question.)

2)  Can you actually afford such a thing?

This is entirely the most important aspect of your purchase, as it will determine what tablet you can buy and the usefulness/efficiency of the tablet.  It makes perfect sense that a person would not want to spend $499 on an iPad 2, but many believe that this tablet is the best to own because of the app selection for the device.  The price of the Kindle Fire is a little more relenting at $199, but it’s not exactly a top of the line tablet.

Do you have a reason for buying a tablet?  Do you even know what tablet you would buy and, if so, what tablet? Let us know in the comments.

-Jared

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Making Your First Web Page

Hi, so we aren’t really going to make a web page that becomes part of the web. What we are going to do is create something called an HTML document. HTML is basically code for your web browser to display sites. HTML also makes it harder for me to make these tutorials; WordPress tries to read my code, and I want you to view it as code.

– Kelly

Start off by opening a simple text editor. I recommend that you use Notepad++ because it is a good text editor used by a large audience. Regular Notepad that comes pre-installed on any Windows PC works fine as well, but doesn’t have any special tools. Do NOT use anything like Microsoft Word or Wordpad, because these are not text editors. OK, now type in the following text into your text editor:

<html>

<h1>Hello world!</h1>

</html>

With that done, save the text with the extension .html. (The name of the document does not matter.) Open the document up from where ever you saved it, and it should open up with your default browser. You should see something like the image below.

Sorry, for some reason the image could not be displayed.

Cool, right? OK, now I shall explain what this all means. HTML is made up of things called tags. “<html>” was our HTML opening tag, and “</html>” was our closing tag. What

ever is between the two tags is part of the HTML. The same rules apply to the header tags; whatever is between the two tags is part of the header. All tags have “<>”. The “/” indicates closing. Simple?

Now make an HTML document with the following code:

<html>

<i><h1>Hello world!</h1></i>

<br/>

<h2>Hello world!</h2>

</html>

Open your document up. Wait, Kelly, what does this all mean? Try to figure it out, and continue reading when you did your best.

So, you should have definitely gotten the “<html>” part. Now, as you probably noticed, the i opening and closing tags make the header inside italic. You probably also noticed that “<br/>” starts a new line. I will tell you that “br” means break line. Since you can’t have anything inside of a break line, it just opens and closes itself. Did you notice that the h2 tag makes a smaller header than the h1 tag? There are six different headers: h1, h2, h3 etc. The larger the number the smaller the header. If you are interested in learning more HTML, here is a link to start:
w3schools

The code for that link, which I typed in for WordPress to read is: <a href=”http://www.w3schools.com/html/”>w3schools</a&gt;

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and plan to continue with your HTML journey.

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C++ Tutorial 0 Part 2: Some Common Knowledge and History

In the previous tutorial, we downloaded and set up our programming environment.  Some common knowledge about the programming environment that you should know is that IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment and is used to write code in.  IDEs are essentially tools that make programming easier.  They differ from a text editor in the fact that they include several tools to help the programmer.  We also downloaded a C++ compiler along with the IDE.  The compiler runs the code we write, so we can actually test our program through the compiler.

The history of C++ is very interesting.  C++ was created to improve upon the C programming language, which was very revolutionary.  C was the standard for a long  time, and it is still the standard in many areas.  There was a thing that C did not support, and that thing was Object Oriented Programming, otherwise known as OOP.  You could only program in the C language structurally and in a straight through based order; that is why C was called a structured programming language.  When big projects were created in C they became very disorganized because of this.  C++ changed all of that.

C++ provides better and cleaner code.  Big projects can now be performed with more organization with C++, and C++ is one of the most powerful programming languages in existence.  An example of its power would be the Windows operating system.  Assembly, C, and C++ are the main languages used in the development of the recent Windows operating systems.  Throughout this tutorial series, you will be learning this very powerful language from the ground up.  Best of all, it will be of no charge to you.

-Jared

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How to use a Flash Drive as RAM

Hello, the title should explain what will be covered here. This tutorial assumes you know how to insert a flash drive, and know the basics of your operating system. If you are an experienced computer user, you shouldn’t even have to bother looking at the images. There is a tutorial for Windows XP after Windows 7 in case anybody still has it.

-Kelly

Windows 7

This should be a breeze. In case you were wondering, I don’t think it matters how much memory your flash drive can hold as long as it has some space. First off, insert your flash drive into your computer. A window should pop up asking you what you would like to do with your flash drive. Click the “Speed up my system” option.

Sorry, the image is not displaying for some reason.

OK, now that you are in the ReadyBoost tab, select “Use this device.”

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Now, just adjust the amount of space you wish to use with the scroll bar.

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Click apply, then OK. Your Done!
If you want to stop using the flash drive as RAM, all you have to do is go to “My computer”, right click on your flash drive’s icon, click properties, click on the ReadyBoost tab, and select “Do not use this device.”

Windows XP

Now, I do not have images for this one. Sorry if you need them, I use Windows 7.
Apparently, the flash drive has to be empty for Windows XP. There are a few things you need to consider for this one, here is a link to a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjFt7wbB72. Check the description. OK, I’m going to keep this one short. Go to your flash drives properties, and in that window rename the flash drive: “RAM Drive”. Once you’re done, in your computer’s properties, go to the “Advanced” tab, and click on “settings” right under performance. Next click on the “advanced” tab. Under “virtual memory” click “Change”. Select “RAM Drive” at the top of the window, then select Custom size to manage it. Note: you want at least 5 MB of free space on the flash drive. Click “Set” then “OK”. A window should pop up telling you to restart your computer so the changes can have an effect. Click “OK”. THEN CLICK APPLY. Go through all the OK’s. Once your computer gets restarted, the RAM should take effect. You’re done!

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Important News Update: New Posting Schedule!

You’ve read the title.  For the first time ever, SpecialTechs is going to have an official posting schedule!  I’ve recruited my friend, Kelly, to help me provide more posts to all of you.  Previously, when it was just me posting, I would just post whenever I felt like with no schedule or timeline to guide me.  This led to disorganization and a large time lapse in between posts.  This will happen no longer!

Kelly and I are going to alternate days for when we post.  For an example, this means that I will post on November 26th and he will post on November 27th, and so on and so forth.  This means that the SpecialTechs blog will receive at least one new post daily!  No more waiting days, weeks, or even months between a post now.  Check back everyday and your eyes will receive the beautiful sight of a fresh new blog post. Best of all, we will even sign the post so you know who was the writer. Enjoy!

(Please keep in mind that I am posting from the U.S. Eastern Standard Time Zone and Kelly is posting from the Honolulu Time Zone, so the days that you view the brand new posts may seem a little off for you.)

-Jared

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Will I Buy a Chromebook?

A user on Lockergnome.net asked this question, so I thought I’d answer it on the SpecialTech blog.

The question was “Have you guys heard about chromebook. If you did will you get it?” And he provided this link to a page to buy a Chromebook.  If you have read my previous post about a Chromebook, then you already know what I think of it.  A Chromebook is basically just the Google Chrome web browser on steroids.  It cannot handle any major computing, but it does evreything in the cloud where almost everyone constantly is when they boot up their PC.  If you want to know more about the Chromebook, go to this blog post.

So the answer to the question is no, I will never buy a Chromebook; I have two reasons for this.  1)$299 is far too expensive just for a web browser on some ineffective steroids.  2)I do far more on my computer than the Chromebook could handle.  Truthfully, the only reason I could imagine even considering buying a Chromebook would be for an entertainment laptop when I’m on the move.  I would NEVER use a Chromebook as my main place of work.  (Which involves programming, testing, etc).

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C++ Tutorial 0 Part 1: What You Need to Know Before You Start

This tutorial series is going to assume that you have no programming experience prior to reading the series, but expects you to have basic knowledge about computers.  An example would be knowing how to type on a keyboard and knowing how to find your way around your operating system.  The programming examples, and all examples for that matter, are going to be done on and for the Windows operating system; more specifically, Windows 7.  The programming concepts discussed should involve the same steps on a different operating system, but your environment setup may be different.

The history of C++ and some common knowledge about it will be covered in a later post, but for now we are going to focus on the setup of your programming environment.  Something you will need is a compiler and an IDE.  A compiler is what we will use to test our code and an IDE is the environment in which we will write our code.  The IDE I prefer is Code::Blocks, which comes bundled with a compiler with it if you download the correct version.  Download Code::Blocks and the compiler bundle here.  (Make sure to download the Code::Blocks and mingw bundle.)

Remember when I said that you should have some basic computer knowledge?  This includes knowing how to install software.  Just install Code::Blocks like you would any other piece of software and you should be ready to go.

(If you need a closer view of these images, just click on them)

When you first start Code::Blocks you will be presented with a screen like this:

To Create a new project just follow along with the following images:

If you follow the images correctly, you should be presented with a screen similar to the final image shown.  That is all for your C++ Tutorial 0!  Feel free to move on to C++ Tutorial 1 when you feel ready.

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