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Meanwhile, back in the real world...
Computers are with us, whether we like them, love them, or hate them. Our
approach at Computers In Plain English, Inc. is that, regardless of our
emotions, the first fact does not change. We feel it's better to save our
emotions for humans and others, and take a curious, problem solving
attitude towards the depredations of our electronic tools.
This site is a place where we share with
you our experiences, our best guesses about problems and future
developments, amused perceptions of computers (and the world), and
directions to other places where you might get help.
• AverKey iMicro
The iMicro is one of several “scan converters.” These hardware items allow
you to put your computer screen display on the TV. Why would you want to do that? You could have you laptop connected
to the TV and to the Internet, and show your browsing to a bigger
audience. You might have
downloaded a movie, or other video clip to the computer and want to show it
on the TV. [This is the
opposite of something else you might want to do: show the TV on the
computer screen. Another
hardware set, and programs.]
The cost of this is about
$99. The hardware is a small,
paper-back book sized, box.
From it wires run to a) power; b) the TV – either a single S-Video
wire, or three RCA (left/right/video) wires; c) the computer – single 15
pin video cable. So there is a
mess of wire and the wire is typically short. This means you can’t sit across the room with your
laptop and get this to work.
Browsing the internet and
watching on TV had a lot of vertical jitter on the horizontal lines. Text was all right, but with the
lines bouncing up and down it was hard to read.
A video clip captured in
Windows Media player are all right, as well. However, the clip plays inside all the Media Player
frames, which show up on the TV.
We ran the Media Player at full screen on the computer and while
that was tolerable the inherent fuzziness of such a screening translated to
the TV. Watching from 6 feet
away the image on the TV was good enough for short shows – not a whole
There are other scan
converters available, and AverKey has more expensive ones. Don’t know that any of them would improve
W Kirkland 10/10/03
• Color Printers
General: Look for USB connections, even if you don't have one on your
current computer --you will on the next. Before you put your money down
look at reviews (not just prices)in magazines or on-line. (e.g.
Think about your actual output. If you
print text in batches of 2 and 3, no more than 10 pages at a time, an
ink-jet will be alright. If you do longer batches you will want a laser
Recommended for color: HP DeskJet 882c at
about $300. Good speed for text. Pretty decent speed for graphics. Epson
740 about $250. Lexmark is also getting very favorable reviews