Easy laptop upgrades

Lenovo X201I’ve just had to go through a full install of Windows 7 on my refurbished laptop in the process of upgrading it, and either I’ve become more competent, or it’s a lot easier than it ever was previously (with earlier versions of Windows and other laptops). After years of swearing by desktops and the ease of replacing components as a means of upgrading and squeezing that extra period of life out of the machines, I opted for a refurbished laptop earlier this year. I’ve actually bought exactly the same model as the laptop I use at work, a Lenovo X201, as I’ve been so impressed with its robustness and balance of size, speed and performance. But I knew, from some casual research online that it was also relatively easy to upgrade.

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Online marketing planning case study

chessMy blog so far has been a place for me to share things that I find interesting as well as helpful tips and information that I’ll often refer back to myself. It’s almost like having a personal set of bookmarks that are accessible everywhere I go without having to use any bespoke service.

However, a friend has asked me for some advice regarding their newly launched online business and since I happen to work predominantly in the online / media / marketing world, I thought this blog is as good a place as any to write up my suggestions.

Although I’ve intentionally kept the name of the company anonymous, the principles behind maximising online opportunities for an online retailer apply can be applied by anyone.

The background

The company my friend works for is a niche SME online retailer that has decided to branch out in to a new range of products (home accessories and home gifts) outside of its existing offering (beauty products). Rather than expand the existing successful brand, a new separate entity has been created. A good, well designed web site has been constructed; an expansive range of over 400 niche products has been selected and available from launch at competitive prices; and some initial social media activities have been undertaken. So far, so good – they’re sounding like they’re doing a lot of the right things – but what can they do to take things to the next level?

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Free anti virus and firewall software

There are lots of different packages available that offer anti virus and/or firewall protection, often with many other products and protection elements bundled in as well… but sorting out which is any good and which can be relied upon is important for all computer users.

The is my list of free ant virus and firewall software. It’s not an exhaustive list – and I’m open to receive recommendations or suggestions for additions… but it’s a useful list of free resources.

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What is Social Media?

The phrase ‘social media’ is a broad concept, incorporating many different formats; including tools and services such as: social networking sites, blogs and micro-blogs, podcasts, professional networking sites, and online video. Collectively, they’re often referred to as Web 2.0 technologies.

This phrase “Web 2.0” is closely associated with Tim O’Reilly, after he used it in a 2004 conference. It broadly relates to the second generation of Internet-based services.

The 1st phase or generation of sites, were typically static sites or web pages that had minimal interaction between the visitor, other visitors and the site. This second generation of web sites are much more dynamic, allowing for individual content generation, sharing information, participation in online discussions and conversations, and web sites that can generate new pages and content automatically, on the fly.

I plan on expanding on this initial explanation of Social Media in my subsequent posts, building up a small knowledgebase and publishing guides about what services are out there and how they can best be utilised.

What is Open Source?

Open Source is simply defined as a collaboration, predominantly online, whereby source code and software is made available under an open licensing structure with the aim of encouraging other developers and users to test it, tweak it and develop it further, reposting their achievements back to the community so that others can benefit from it.

What this actually means is that most generally available commercial software has an Open Source alternative – with the added benefit that these are available freely for anyone to download from the Internet.

Some of the good Open Source software available includes: WordPress, Joomla, Star Office, Open Office, Freemind… these are the obvious ones that spring to mind, that I’ve used, but there are far more!

Wikipedia define Open Source as:

Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials—typically, their source code. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. Subsequently, a new, three-word phrase “open source software” was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.

 A main principle and practice of open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product (and source-material) available at no cost to the public.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

A good list of available Open Source software (top 20)  is available from Trip Wire magazine, HERE.

Custom built PCs

Why would you want to buy an expensive PC from the likes of PC World or Dell, when you can use a specialist, custom PC builder to produce a more powerful, better specification machine – and all for less money?!

After my old desktop PC started literally falling apart at the seams, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and purchase a new one. After a detailed online search – I came across Dino PC.

Two weeks after ordering, I have taken delivery of my new desktop system – all for around the same price as an average netbook.

They’re well worth a look if you’re in the market for a new machine.