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August 12 2022 3:57 PM ˚
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End-of-year high-tech treats

Jean Claude Elias
Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.
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in this end-of-year holiday season, improving your computer setup, treating yourself to extra hardware or software, without necessarily buying a new computer, is more justified than ever. What may have appeared yesterday as mere gadgets, or luxury items, today became truly useful additional tools, digital products you would get without any feeling of guilt. Quite the opposite actually; it would all be money well spent and would contribute to making the experience more pleasurable.اضافة اعلان


“Whether yours is a laptop or a desktop machine, adding a second display to your fixed desk setup is now the norm,” writes Jordan News columnist Jean-Claude Elias. (Photo: Pxhere)

The most obvious product to add to your computer, if you do not already have one, is a second screen. Whether yours is a laptop or a desktop machine, adding a second display to your fixed desk setup is now the norm. It is justified by the fact that we now run several applications at one time, side by side, and need to see them simultaneously, with as few mouse movements and clicks as possible.

Meeting on Zoom or Teams with screen sharing, comparing two large documents or Excel sheets, keeping an eye on the email page while enhancing photos with Photoshop are some usages where two large displays will make a significant difference. It is a matter of comfort and efficiency, versus frustration and time wasted.

Quality high-definition screens have become affordable and at the same time easy to connect. Technically speaking, the operation is child’s play. Even if your computer does not have multiple screen ports, a simple and inexpensive USB adapter, like for instance Cable Matters’ DisplayLink, will do the trick. The typical 24-inch model is at about JD180 at retailers in Amman. The days when you needed complicated and expensive docking stations are gone.

An external USB disk with solid-state drive technology, for ultrafast copying, should also be on your priority shopping list. Here, too, prices have gone down and performance up. A 2 terabyte model would cost about JD90 and would duplicate the entire contents of your computer, and even more, at lightning speed. Despite the wide availability of cloud storage of all kinds, and the increased reliability of the new computers, an external disk remains the best data security solution you can think of.

To accompany the external disk, a backup or synchronization software application is also necessary. Indeed, when it comes to maintaining the integrity and the safety of large collections of saved files, only good software can take care of keeping track of all the copies, ensuring they are up to date and complete. Performing the operation manually and trying to remember what you copied and what you did not, is impossible.

ViceVersa by the TGRMN company is one of the more popular and trusted backup ad synchronization software application products. At about JD40 for downloading an original and licensed copy on the web, and with extended automation features for unattended operation, it nicely complements an external disk and will give you peace of mind.

Digital scanners can be very useful. However, now that almost everything is already in digital format, consumers find that spending money on A4-size flatbed scanners is not necessary anymore, not to mention the place that such a rarely used product would occupy on your desk. This is where the IRIScan mouse comes in handy. As the name says, the device is small, unobtrusive, can be used as a mouse, and when needed, it will duplicate as a scanner. The amazing quality and the high resolution of the resulting scans belie the small size and the humble price of the item — about JD35.

Android smartphones have 70 percent of the world market share (Google stats). For those who use them, installing SamsungDex software will prove particularly rewarding. The application can be installed on Windows and on MacOS devices and is free. SamsungDex allows you to connect your Android phone to the computer, via cable or wirelessly, and then manage the phone from the comfort of the large screen and with the mouse. It is only after using it that you realize what you have been missing before. It truly provides the ultimate convenience if you are working at your desk.

There is another digital product that is particularly attractive to have and to use, though it is not directly linked to computers, but to your home network: it is Google’s 4th Generation ChromeCast dongle for TV. The JD100 Wi-Fi device connects to your TV set via HDMI and provides ultra-high-resolution (4K) images, bringing with it a set of services such as Netflix, YouTube, PrimeVideo, AppleTV, Spotify and other such networks. The remote control allows for very handy voice control through Google Assistant. It will also automatically detect the other Wi-Fi services that could be running on your other devices at home, like computers and others, and will run these services on the TV it is attached to.

Google’s 4th Generation ChromeCast will turn any old (i.e., not-smart) TV into a smart one, and it will even make an already smart set smarter.

Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.

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