Prices, DSL speed, and a printer

Prices, DSL speed, and a printer

By Richard Heller

While the prices of gas and cigarettes continue to increase, the prices on computers and their related accessories continue to drop. Over the past year we have seen the speed of CD writers go from 12X up to 52X while the price has come down to $50 or less after rebates. DVD writers have gone from more than $1,000 to $200, while their speed and compatibility has also increased.

Many of you may be lured into buying a new computer from the Dell and Gateway ads that you watch on TV. While the prices are attractive, one of the things that is often omitted from the ad is the shipping expense. Dell charges a minimum of $99 shipping for a desktop PC while a laptop will cost $45. This charge is for standard three to five day delivery, expedited delivery will cost even more. When you figure this charge into the cost of the computer, you may find that you can get a better deal locally. Also, it appears this is a “per computer” charge five PCs for your business may cost you a whopping $500 shipping charge.

If you are using a DSL Internet service, you may find that after a period of time that service seems to slow down. I have discovered that if you configure your router to release the lease at least once a day, that the speed will not drop off. What this does is force the Internet provider to provide you with a new IP address, which appears to remove whatever has caused the slow down.

Microsoft has just released a new combat strategy game named “Incredible Creatures.” This stand-alone or multi-player game allows you to take the parts from some 50 creatures and combine them to produce more than 40,000 combinations of “battle units.” When you combine an elephant with a shark, you create an amphibious tank. There are 15 missions for the single player and 20 multiplayer maps included in the $40 game. A demo is available for download on the Microsoft Web site.

Also available from Microsoft are new versions of Direct X and Windows Media Player. Direct X is used by your computer’s video and sound system to provide compatibility with games and other graphics intensive applications.

Windows Media Player is an application that allows you to play videos and music on your computer. The program will enable you to download music and other multi-media files from the Web. Both of these items are free downloads.

New from Epson is its CX3200 multi-function device. It features a 5760×720 DPI printer, a 600×1200 (9600 enhanced) 48-bit scanner and 14 page per minute black and 10 for color copying, along with the capability to use your computers built-in modem for faxes. The printer offers BorderFree prints in four sizes so pictures or copies print to the edge of the paper. The retail price is $150, and it does not need to be connected to a PC or Mac to function.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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