In a Flash: Flash memory is my top “more for less” pick. Take your old iPod. What if you could insert a 1 GB secure digital (SD) card and double its capacity? Apple won’t let you, but phone vendors will. At Rs500, a 1 GB microSD card is the best upgrade for your phone, to store more music, data and software. New music systems let you plug in a USB flash drive, with thousands of songs. Flash is the future.
The Netbook: It’s small and light and doesn’t cost a lakh. Asus led the way with its Eee PC. A Linux-based entry model is for Rs15,000. But my vote’s for fully- featured 10¨ Windows-and- Atom models under Rs30,000.
The DVR: Tata Sky+ is the first big-splash digital video recorder: good value at Rs6,000 (for current Tata Sky users). And there are new options for vanilla DTH boxes too, such as Airtel’s (Rs3,000).
The Smartphone: This is really about the software, which lets you add dozens of free applications and features to a Rs10,000 phone. Sore point: Battery life goes for a toss.
GPS: GPS will take off in India this year, dropping from Rs20,000-30,000 to sub-Rs15,000 inside the mobile phone.
(Prasanto K. Roy is chief editor at CyberMedia)
Post-it for posterity
If you want to jot those Post-it notes in the browser while you work, try the new Firefox plug-in called ‘List.it’. Once installed (groups.csail.mit.edu/haystack/listit/) and configured, it creates a sidebar panel with a box to type or paste in notes and other bits of information. It can also be synchronized with other copies of Firefox.
©2009/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
Save more on peripherals
When it comes to gadgets, you don’t always need to go in for the high-end ones. Try the following lower—read cheaper— options.
• Setting up your office? Buy an all-in-one device that prints, scans, copies, and even sends fax messages.
• Shopping for a PC for kids? Check out the Novatium netPC Navigator (www.novatium.com/bsnl-nova-netpc.htm), which retails at Rs2,999. Asus Eee Box PC (Rs15,000) is another option.
• For a fast and furious but systematic data backup solution, look at SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus, a USB drive that comes with an automatic online backup for every file copied. Or, try the 64 GB SanDisk Ultra Backup USB Drive for small business files and documents.
• Want to save money on
consumables such as DVDs? Buy spacious pen drives or card readers (these are reusable and fit easily inside pockets) to move data around.
These pen drives come with capacities ranging anywhere between 4-32 GB.
• Don’t throw out your old PC or laptop. You can upgrade or add components instead of getting the machine replaced.
You can supersede the hard disk or add an external one. Want more? You can add RAM or simply swap that old motherboard.
Tweak them, squeeze out more juice
No laptop battery will give you more than a few hours of continuous work. But if you make some tweaks, you can easily squeeze some extra juice out of them. Remember these tricks the next time you are travelling.
• Keep the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in disable mode.
• Drop the screen brightness a few notches. The lower, the better. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference. You can afford to keep screen brightness cranked up when your notebook is plugged into an outlet.
• Keep in mind that DVD drives consume a considerable amount of power. Watch downloads instead.
• Take out unused components such as your removable optical drives, PC cards and USB peripherals, all of which consume power, even when they aren’t in use.
• Add RAM. The more you have, the more headroom Windows has to work with, which will help your machine avoid excessive hard-drive reads. This way, your hard disk can idle more often and reduce power consumption.