Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How To Choose A Laptop

Screen size: This is probably one of the most important factors (apart from processor and memory) which should be kept in mind while choosing a laptop. If you are used to having a large monitor for your desktop PC, choosing a fairly large screen size for your laptop becomes even more necessary. The standard screen size of laptops these days is 15" but there are larger sizes available as well. Companies like Dell even offer 19" and 20" screen sizes for certain models. Then, there are wide-screen monitors available for laptops these days. These are especially beneficial if you like to watch movies on your laptop of if you frequently use many applications side by side.

Processor: The CPU is the most important part of a PC or a laptop. This choice is not easy with so many options available to choose from in the market. The only two companies that make processors are Intel and AMD. Based on your requirements, you can choose a processor that is best for you in terms of both price and performance.

Memory: Now, memory is one thing which is never enough. The more you have, the better it is because it is the one thing (after the system processor) which would determine how fast and efficiently your work gets done. Most systems these days come pre-loaded with 1GB of RAM but make sure you can upgrade it later. Also, it is beneficial to know how much maximum amount of memory the laptop supports so that you don't have to go through trouble when you do plan to upgrade the memory.

Storage: This is yet another critical component in a laptop. All the files, folders, etc. that you have will be stored in the hard disk. Hence, choosing a large hard disk is of utmost importance. Go for 100 GB or more at the minimum if you don't want to run out of hard disk space real soon. There are 200-400 GB hard disk drives that are available these days, so, choose according to your requirement. Another thing to keep an eye out for while choosing storage is the speed of the hard disk. The higher the speed the better its performance will be (and the expensive it will be as well). Generally, hard disks come with 5,200 or 7,200 RPMs which is quite okay for everyday use.

Sturdiness: Pick up the laptop physically in your hand to know that you are comfortable with its weight. Also, make sure that it is sturdy, solid and does not feel too heavy. Also, if possible try out the keyboard. This is quite important since you cannot change the keyboard later (unlike in a desktop), so it helps in trying out the keyboard before you actually buy the laptop.

Pointing Device: Apart from checking the sturdiness of the laptop, don't forget to check out the pointing device in the laptop for its functioning. Make sure it's functioning properly and the way it is intended to. Also, see that the track ball and the track pad are in perfect condition. Although, you will be able to connect an external mouse to the laptop but the built-in device is handier when you are moving around.

Expansion Slots: Choose a laptop which has many expansion options. Make sure the laptop you buy has got atleast 3-4 USB2 connections and atleast one Firewire (IEEE 1394) port. USB2 and Firewire are a couple of very popular ways of connecting various devices to a laptop/desktop like digital cameras, mp3 players, cell phones, etc.

Wireless Connectivity: With the advent of wireless networks, it has become almost a necessity that the laptop that you buy has built-in Wi-Fi facility which will help you to surf the web once you are in a Wi-Fi enabled zone. A wireless network card, also called the 802.11 will free you from having to be wired all the time to connect to the internet. It is also beneficial to check whether the laptop has Bluetooth capability or not.

Optical Drives: Optical drives like a DVD-player, DVD-writer and Bluray player/ writer are quite useful when you want to burn your data onto a disc (DVD or BluRay) and keep it safe and secure. The optical devices make backing up your important documents, music files, pictures, etc. very easy because of the high capacity of the discs as well as the usability of these devices.

Battery Life: This might not seem as important as other points but you will surely want to look for a laptop which gives you decent to good battery life. A battery that lasts in the long run will help you once you are mobile. If you want to use your laptop for a long duration of time away from a power source, make sure that your laptop has a battery which lasts really long.


Top 10 Safety Tips for Traveling With Children

Traveling with children, especially infants and toddlers, puts special demands on the adults responsible for their well being. Based on analyses of dozens of aviation incidents and accidents involving children and on my own experience as a traveling parent, here are ten tips that can make the trip safer for the child.
  1. Plan ahead: Ask yourself what supplies you will need to have on hand to take care of any normal or special needs for the child. Remember, it is the airline's responsibility to carry passengers to their destination, but it is the responsibility of the parent or responsible adult to take care of any children.
  2. Use a child restraint system for children under 40 pounds (18.1 kilos): The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommends that children weighing less than 40 pounds be put into a child restraint system appropriate for their weight. Children under the age of two may be carried on the lap of an adult, but the lap child should have some kind of restraint system.
  3. For small children, consider the following recommendations:
    • Find a way to conveniently carry an appropriate child restraint system through airports and into and out of aircraft.
    • If the child is over the age of two and less than 40 pounds (18.1 kilos), follow the FAA recommendations for using child restraint systems.
    • If the child is under two, consider buying a separate seat for the child and use an appropriate restraint system for the seat.
    • If the child is under two and will be traveling on the lap of an adult, consider using an appropriate in-flight child restraint. Also, bring along an appropriate child restraint system for a seat just in case you happen to be next to an unoccupied seat. has further information about using child restraints on aircraft.
  4. Prepare for possible emergencies: Make sure you are aware of emergency equipment or procedures that would apply to your child:
    • Pay attention to the standard preflight emergency briefing
    • Ask a flight attendant if that particular aircraft has emergency equipment like life preservers specifically designed for small children
    • If your child has a medical condition that may become an issue during the flight, make a flight attendant, counter agent, or gate agent aware of that possibility before the flight
  5. Take all essential items for the children in carry-on luggage: Take enough food, diapers, medicine, and other items to last through possible flight delays and lost luggage. Carrying all the child's essentials with you is especially important if your child is on a special diet or on medication.
  6. Keep your children under control at all times: YOU and not the flight attendant is responsible for supervising your child at all times. An unsupervised or unrestrained child could quickly wander way into dangerous areas such as galleys, especially if the responsible adult falls asleep. During a very long flight from Australia to the U.S., I observed a parent traveling alone with a child fall asleep and then saw their toddler wander down the aisle. You should also be careful when walking about the aircraft with your child so that they don't reach for cups of hot coffee, silverware, and other hazards.
  7. Seat your child away from an aisle: Small children enjoy reaching out and exploring, but if they are on the aisle they could get hurt if their little arms get bumped by a person or serving cart passing down the aisle. Ideally, two responsible adults should sit on either side of the child. Also, one can seat the child on a row with a window on one side and a responsible adult on the other.
  8. If emergency oxygen masks deploy, put your mask on first: This advice may seem cruel, but there is a very practical reason for it. If the brain is starved of oxygen (hypoxia), one can get confused or pass out and be unable to help themselves or their child. By putting on their mask first, the parent or responsible adult will reduce their chance of falling victim to hypoxia.
  9. Keep your child belted or in a child restraint system at all times: This is for the same reasons given in my more general Top 10 Air Traveler Safety Tips page. Turbulence can happen at any time and without warning, so keep your child belted in as much as possible. If the child, wants to get up and move around, let them do so only if the seat belt sign is off. The FAA has related information in this brochure about child seats and turbulence.
  10. Bring along safe toys: Try to avoid bringing along toys that are sharp, heavy, or that break easily. If the child has an electronic game, only allow them to use it during the cruise portion of flight. Electronic games may interfere with an aircraft's navigational system during other phases of the flight.
  11. Take extra precautions for children traveling alone::
    • Escort the child onto the aircraft and check the area around the seat for hazards such as heavy carry-on items in the overhead storage bins.
    • Inform the chief flight attendant that the child is traveling alone
    • Ensure that the person meeting the child at the destination will have proper identification.
    • Make it clear to the child that they should report any problems to a flight attendant. This could range from feeling sick to having a suspicious character seated next to them.
    • If the child has to change planes, make arrangements for the child to be escorted between gates. This usually costs extra and is required for small children and is recommended for older children, especially those old enough to do it on their own but not mature enough to deal with potential problems or temptations at a busy airport

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Tip #1 - pre-interview research
  • use the Internet to get the scoop on the company, and
    model yourself into their ideal candidate!

Tip #2 - Predict their questions in advance - and rehearse your answers

  • most interviewers will be focused on seeing how your past responsibilities in other positions relate to the job offered. Since you've studied the company online, you can roll out a prepared answer.

Tip #3 - Dress like an actor (read below for clarification)

Mentally, it's important to dress in a way a casting director would have someone dressed the job interview in a film.
Yes, you got it - men, neatly pressed white shirt, suit, and a tie. Leave the body jewelry at home.

Women, be certain to avoid any item that can raise an eyebrow, including

skirts shorter than an inch above the knee;

very high heeled shoes, sandals, an open toe or heel;

neckline much below the collar bone, make-up that "looks" like make-up instead of an enhanced complexion.

Why? An interview is role playing time for you as well as the interviewer. Play it the way the ritual is intended.

Tip #4 - Plan 6 main points you want to get across in the interview, regardless if you are asked.

Most people think they only have to respond to answers. But there is a way of weaving your answers into their questions.

Rehearse this in advance by predicting their questions
and answering them with key points.

What points should you address? Consider this:

Positive, Powerful, Personal anecdote of glowing achievements in past position:

A list of at least 3 key benefits you offer the company that can solve a known issue (you gleaned on their web, remember?)

A direct statement of how you can help the company achieve their goals.

Tip # 5 - A Positive Attitude, and a smile!

A smile Radiates positive energy. It lifts the mood of the person interviewing you and can get you the job!

So remember these job hunting interview tips, rehearse your interview skills, and you will be fine!

Source: Marisa D'Vari