Monthly Archives: December 2015

Most people in the market for a new computer don’t know any better than to buy a laptop that, in its unchangeable entirety, will make them look outdated and silly in only a few years. They don’t realize that it’s possible to build your own computer that, so long as you make the right choices, can last you much longer and allow you to swap out parts as needed.

futureThis technique is called future-proofing, which means making sure that your computer has an amalgamation of the most newly released technology and hardware that are chosen with the intention of ensuring that your computer lasts longer and requires fewer updates.

But in this world of ever-changing technology and ever-disrupted markets, is it really possible to future proof any one device? Yes, but admittedly you can only do so to a certain extent. All technology becomes obsolete at some point. Here’s how you can get a little more bang for your buck computer-wise, and stay up-to-date for longer without buying a whole new laptop.

So say you opt into the build your own computer process; where do you begin? First off, you’re going to want to invest in a state-of-the-art motherboard and processor, because though it will set you back a good amount money-wise, these components are updated extremely slowly and will accordingly keep up with future software well over time.

From there, you have to keep in mind exactly what you plan on using your computer for. People who want to future-proof their computers (i.e. those using advanced software and resources) are unfortunately among the least likely to be successful in preparing their computers for future use. This is because the tech-savvy are likely to always want the next best program that necessitates the next best processor, and it will be hard to find any kind of computer that can keep up without replacing parts.

RAM2If you just use your computer to connect to the internet and use Microsoft Word and Excel, you’re likely in luck. Your computer will probably last for along time since you’re not asking much of it on a daily basis, plus computers have basically been doing those functions since 1996.

Another reason why the tech savvy have issues future-proofing their computers is because the industry keeps changing and technology often makes what was once difficult and expensive to install into something much cheaper and more easily acquired. Take RAM (random-access memory) for example. If you bought a computer five years ago and purchased a bunch of RAM for it in an attempt to future-proof it, you’d be totally screwed today. The price of RAM has dropped by huge margins, so paying for an upgrade now is actually much cheaper than it was five years ago.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to future-proof anything because no one can predict what the future holds. Keep your eyes on the tech industry if you’re wondering what gadgets to invest in now as opposed to later, but still you’ll have to accept that wherever tech goes, we’re all along for the ride.

Internet cookies are commonly discussed, but most people are pretty ill-informed in terms of what a cookie actually is and what affect it can have on you and your device. Here’s a quick rundown on everything you need to know to make the right cookie decisions for you.

Internet cookies can be broken down into pieces of text that a Web server can store on a user’s hard disk. Websites use cookies to store information on the devices that access the website and retrieve it later. This information is typically stored in the form of name-value pairs (implying that a website stores ID numbers on each user’s machine).

delete cookiesMicrosoft’s Internet Explorer allows you to view all of the cookies stored on your machine. They generally reside in a directory called c:windowscookies. You may find hundreds of files there, each a text file from a web site that has affixed my machine with name-value pairs.

The file name tells you what website stored what cookie on your device. To open it, click on the file. You’ll see anything from a UserID and a website URL to a list of session ID times. This is simply data and cannot do anything on your machine other than be present.

When you return to a website that left cookie data on your machine, that website can access that data again, but cannot access data stored on another website’s cookie. When you enter a targeted URL into your browser, it sends a web page request to the web server for that website. When your browser does this, it will also send along the cookie data that was left by that website (if a cookie was left at all). The website then can use that data or, if it generally dolls out cookies but did not receive any data back this time because you have never visited the website, it will send you your first name-value pair. It can then change name-value pairs or add more whenever you visit the site.

Along with this pair, websites may send expiration dates or path histories.

shopping cartThis all sounds kind of strange and snoopy, so if you don’t want cookies to be saved on your computer or sent out to websites you can always set an option in your browser that informs you every time a sit sends name-value pairs to you. You can then accept or deny the values.

But why do websites even do this? Cookies help websites to store state information on your machine, meaning a website can then remember what state your browser was in the last time you visited. This can be helpful in a variety of ways; websites can then detect how many people are visiting the site (as opposed to how many times a site has been viewed). They can also store user preferences so that different visitors see slightly different versions of the sites, either based on the preferences that the user consciously chose or the preferences that the website has guessed from the information it received. Cookies also allow for users on ecommerce sites to have sustained shopping carts and quick check out options.