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A Guide to USB Flash Drives: What Are They, Their Uses and Advantages
August 5, 2021

  What do you need to know about USB flash drives? Here is the thing about USB flash drives. They may be small but they can store a lot of data. They are so common that you've likely used one to backup and transport files between computers. But on top of storing data, there is much more you can do with a USB stick. This includes some cool things you did not know about. Hint: just like in the movies. USB flash drives have become a huge part of the storage device industry today. You would be surprised what these thumb drives can do for you, too! If you are interested in knowing more about what a USB flash drive is, including its components, uses, and advantages, read ahead. We have a good deal of information to share with you today. A USB flash drive is a device used for data storage that plugs into a USB port. It includes a flash memory and an integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface—hence the name. All operating systems can support USB drives, making it a universal tool. Physically, they are small yet durable, reliable, and capable of storing a large quantity of data. The larger their storage space, the faster they operate. For one, a USB flash drive with a memory chip that can hold up to a terabyte can function like a hard drive. They are commonly used for auxiliary storage, backup, and data transfer between computers. Trivia: In 2013, Kingston Technology first introduced the 1TB drive. And in 2017, it increased to 2TB. USB drives can also hold an operating system and be used to boot a computer as they contain a bootable program (disk), which takes control of the computer. According to the Universal Serial Bus mass storage standard, a USB flash drive is supported by all operating systems and BIOS (basic input/output system). Unlike other optical disk drives and floppy disks, USB drives can store more data and transfer it at a faster rate. A USB flash drive is also known by many names. In addition to 'USB drive' and 'flash drive', there are other monikers, including: Flash disk Thumb stick USB stick Jump drive Pen drive Note: JumpDrive and ThumbDrive are brands from Lexar and Trek 2000 International. Whereas the Memory Stick is Sony's trade name for its digital camera memory cards, not a USB drive. The components A typical USB drive consists of a USB connector protected and electrically insulated inside a plastic or rubber case. A small printed circuit board with surface-mounted built-in circuits are found within the casing. Listed below are the main components of a USB flash drive: Standard USB plug. This feature enables the flash drive to connect to a device, e.g., a computer or mobile phone. USB mass storage controller. This acts as the microcontroller. It has a small amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read-Only Memory). NAND flash memory chip. Stands for Not And, a NAND flash memory chip is where the data is stored. Crystal oscillator. This component is what controls the data output. Transfer Speed The USB transfer speed has been upgraded twice since the standard was introduced in 1996. The original standard (USB 1.0/1.1) can only handle 1.5MBps data-transfer speed. Meanwhile, the 2.0 can handle up to 60MBps and 3.0 tops out at 600MBps. USB drive manufacturers use the data transfer ratings of CD-ROMs where each "x" is equivalent to 150KB per second. For instance, a 90x drive is 13.5MB/sec (90 x 150). Note: A USB flash drive can only transfer data as quickly as the device's USB standard will allow. Where is a USB flash drive used? Computers, gaming consoles, and digital devices (e.g. keyboard, mouse, cameras, smartphones, and tablets) are all equipped with USB technology. It is one of the most commonly used interfaces for connecting peripherals. In a nutshell, a USB flash drive can be used almost anywhere as it is everywhere! USB drives are all small in size and lightweight, making them highly portable. Their portability is one of their top advantages. But on top of that, we listed below the other biggest benefits, which you won't find as often with other types of storage devices. 1. The cost: inexpensive Comparing to most external storage devices on the market, such as a hard drive, USB drives are relatively inexpensive. For one, they can be done at a very low cost since they can be easily scaled. But the price can vary depending on the storage capacity. Still, a USB flash drive is an affordable and reliable option for those with a low budget. 2. High-speed transfer rate Since USB flash drives do not require any form of internet connection, most have high-speed transfer rates. Keep in mind, though, that speed is determined by a few factors. This includes the USB version, hardware bus and USB controller device. But overall, their transfer rate is one of their additional benefits. For one, today's USB 3.x devices have a transfer rate of up to 4.8GB per second. It is the speed that other storage devices cannot match. Even the fastest hard-disk drives can only reach transfer speeds of up to 150MB. 3. Increased durability USB flash drives lack moving parts, which is an advantage as they are less vulnerable to damage from drops or shocks. Once you insert them into the USB port, they become solid-state. Traditional hard-disk drives are vulnerable to damage due to parts made of aluminium or glass. 4. Maximum portability As mentioned earlier, USB drives are smaller than other types of data storage devices. This makes them easy to store in convenient places, such as pockets and keychains. With external hard drives, considering their bulky appearance, bringing them along can be a bit of a challenge. For one, they are a bit heavy and they take up more space. 5. Compatibility Many operating systems and devices support USB drives. Be it a laptop, a computer, or a gaming console, these platforms are all equipped with ports for three or more USD drives to plug in. The USB interface has become one of the best ways to connect flash drives to nearly any device. This is far better than old-school SD memory cards, for which most computers do not have compatible slots. There are surprising ways you can use a USB flash drive and we compiled a few of them below.  If you are interested to know what these are, just read ahead. Lock and unlock a computer. You might have seen this in movies, but you can actually do it in real life! With the free Predator security software, you can lock and unlock a computer with a physical key, a.k.a. a USB drive. Run portable apps anywhere. With a USB stick, you can easily copy portable apps and run them from any suitable device. This also includes browsers, email tools, and messaging apps. Stay secure online. A USB drive can be used to keep your online activity private. With an operating system (OS) like Tails, you can stay secure online. Each time you use Tails on your USB flash drive, it starts a whole new session; no logs are kept. See how powerful a small storage device like a USB drive can be? Note: Predator is one of the most popular software to turn your USB drive into a security control device. It is a free Windows program that turns your flash drive into a key that can lock/unlock your computer. By now, you should have an idea of what a USB flash drive is, including its components, uses, and advantages. The affordability and versatility of USB drives make them a great investment. Whether it is for work, school, or personal use, this small yet powerful device always comes in handy. If you are looking for USB flash drives for holding all your photos, videos, music and other files, check out our Swivel-Type USB Flash Drives. They are great for bringing files to and from work or school, or for personal use. They are available in storage capacities from 8GB to 128GB. Even better, these sticks have rotating swivel covers for protecting the USB drive – no more lost lids!

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How Do Smart Plugs Work and How To Best Use Them at Home
August 3, 2021

  Have you ever wanted to have a convenient home setup where your appliances could do the thinking for you? Having your home run itself just sounds amazing, right? Finally, there is an easy way to build your dream smart home: smart plugs. These affordable and easy to use devices are your perfect solution to equip your home with smart home technology. You do not have to walk around the house to switch on and off the lights and power points every day. But you might be wondering what a smart plug is and what makes it smart? If you want to know more about smart plugs and get some ideas on the best ways to use them, this article has everything you need to know! With our fast-paced lives, convenience is crucial—and smart plugs can be one of our great assets. Investing in a smart plug is a good starting point to build your dream smart home. For one, you will have a home that helps you with your everyday living by automating technology not only for convenience but also for: Security Comfort Entertainment Basically, a smart plug is a small adaptor that can be plugged into a regular electrical wall outlet. It also connects to a Wi-Fi network and can be controlled remotely through an application installed on smartphones. Smart plugs make it easy to automate and control appliances and devices in your home. They are low cost, too, which makes them an affordable option to achieve an automated home. You can buy them individually or in packs of two or more. Some units are available as power strips ideal to use for multiple devices. But the question is: how do they work? A smart plug is like a power-point adapter that can fit into a regular power socket. At its most basic level,  it turns home appliances on and off. But when connected to a smart home platform (e.g. smartphone), it becomes a nifty device. You can take any ordinary electrical outlet in your home and put a smart plug on it. Just plug any device that you want to control on your smartphone into the smart plug. Then you should be able to turn the appliance on or off using your phone. Simple as that! The cool thing about smart plugs is they can convert ordinary devices in your home into "smart" ones. They are considered smart because they let you control your appliances from your smartphone anywhere you are at home. There are also apps that let you set schedules for your smart plugs, enabling you to turn on and off your gadgets at set times and on specific days. While other smart plugs can collect information about how much energy your appliance is consuming. If you are energy-conscious, this is an excellent and very useful feature that you can benefit from. Most of these apps are available through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Furthermore, there are smart plugs that can be connected to the Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. With this option, you can take control of your home with simple voice commands. For instance, a voice command like, "Alexa, turn on the speaker." Your Bluetooth speaker will be automatically turned on; there is no need for you to get out of the bed to do so. To use your smart plug, you need a stable Wi-Fi connection. A smart plug should be connected to a smartphone through wifi so they can communicate with each other. Without wifi, you won't be able to control your smart plug device with your phone. You have to ensure there are no disruptions to your service or internet connection. If you are looking for a solution to boost your WiFi to the obscured areas of your home, check out this WiFi Range Extender (JYN8374). There are so many ways you can utilise a smart plug. Here are just a few to get your imagination going with all the possibilities and get your creative juices flowing: 1. Turn on the lights before you get home from work at night Guess what? You can turn your lights on with a simple tap on your smartphone even before you walk into your house. With a smart plug, you won't have to stumble into a dark house again. 2. Limit the amount of time for the TV and gaming consoles Another thing we like about a smart plug is it also lets you control the TV—no remote control is needed. You can choose a schedule that limits the time the television is turned on. Program it into your smartphone app and let your smart plug do the work for you! This trick also works for gaming consoles, including a home entertainment setup. 3. Control your AC unit or space heater without leaving your chair When working from home, it can be a challenge to get out of the chair, especially when you have tons of paper works to finish. For one, turning on your portable heater in the living room or the AC unit in your bedroom. If your home office is located somewhere far, you do not have to take the stairs or leave your chair anymore to do so. With a smart plug connect to your smartphone, the control is in your hands. 4. Control your appliances at home while you are on vacation You can control your home devices plugged into your smart plug even when you are miles away. You can be confident and feel secure knowing that you can monitor energy and usage at any time through your smartphone. Plus, this can help you see if you forgot to unplug a certain device. With your phone, you can check if there is any; if so, you can turn it off with just a tap. You can also turn on lights to deter burglars. Phew! Some other ideas for how you can use smart plugs: Dim the lights Schedule your coffee maker for the next day Turn on your holiday lights with a voice command To make sure you are getting the right smart plug for your home needs, there are a few things you need to consider before making your purchase. Voice assistant compatibility You will want to make sure the smart plug you buy is compatible with any type of voice command system. For one, you should not get a unit that is limited to Alexa only if you have Google Assistant, and vice versa. Keep in mind that not all plugs are compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Ensure the model you choose supports your voice command preference. You can find smart plugs on the market that support both and more. Energy monitoring A feature like this is a great benefit as it lets you learn how much energy your device (plugged into the smart plug) uses. This is also useful if you are planning on upgrading to more energy-efficient home electronics. The smart plug also sends a report to the app installed on your smartphone. Reports vary from app to app,  but most lets you see peak energy use hours and energy used over time. Some plug models have the option to turn on and off a specific appliance or device automatically on a schedule. This is perfect for saving electricity in the long run. Extra outlets If you are shorts on outlets around the house, a smart plug with extra ports is a great alternative solution. You can expand the number of ports on your outlet with a small yet handy device. The more ports/outlets, the more devices and appliances you can take control over at home. Smart plugs take a wired home to a new level! They can turn a simple device, such as a coffee maker or a table lamp, into a smart one. Not only is a smart plug perfect for adding more convenience at home, but also it works wonders in improving your energy usage. If you are looking for a great smart plug model for starters, we have some recommendations for you!   Have a look at this Smart Plug WiFi Controlled Main Switch and Energy Monitoring (JMS6104). It allows you to monitor power usage and control your mains powered devices over the internet through: Smartphone Voice command Setting it up is easy, too! Just download the free Smartlife app that is available on Google Play and the App Store, and you are good to go. Other amazing features include: Voice Control using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices Remote Access using a Smartphone over the Internet Scheduling to automatically power electronics on and off as needed Real-time and historical current, voltage, power, and energy consumption Timer function to turn your devices on and off with a countdown timer Get it for only $34.95!   You might also like this Smart Wifi Plug Controlled Mains Switch (JMS6106). This tiny smart device is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It controls the main appliances in your home or small office using an App or voice command. Plus, it also features voice control/command. You can set up multiple schedules to turn appliances on automatically at different times. A smart timer or delay is also useful to turn devices on or off. It also has environmental protection by conserving energy. Get it for only $19.95! Are you ready to equip your home with smart home technology?

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GPS Trackers: Importance of GPS Tracking in the 21st Century
July 29, 2021

  How can GPS tracking help you? Is this device even necessary? For someone who values safety and security, there are many situations where a GPS tracker can come in handy. It's a popular navigation device that can work in various ways. For one, if you are busy or not at home, the GPS tracking allows you to keep tabs on things as well as people. But how does it work and how do you use it? Here, we will explain the basis of GPS tracking, including its importance in the 21st century. So the next time you encounter this device, you already know how it can improve your life and why you need one. GPS refers to Global Positioning System. It is a radio-navigation system of 24 satellites in orbit and ground stations. Moreover, it tracks three separate data sets, including: Positioning Navigation Timing A GPS tracking system was initially designed for the U. S. military in the 1960s. In 1983, it was first introduced to the market—from there, the technology has grown and is widely used. A GPS tracker is an ideal tool for fleet tracking and monitoring of people, such as children and the elderly. It is especially becoming more popular among families and individuals looking for peace of mind. How does GPS tracking work? GPS requires the use of satellites orbiting on Earth using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. This network provides positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services to GPS devices. GPS consists of 27 Earth-orbiting GPS satellites: 24 operational and 3 extra in case of failures. These satellites move around the planet every 12 hours and send radio signals from space. These signals are received by a GPS device on Earth, mapping a particular location for tracking. This is computed in 3D views with the help of four GPS satellite signals, providing accurate location reading. Moreover, GPS receivers can both track the exact location and compute velocity and time. To ensure accuracy and proper function, this is monitored by the Master Control Station and other stations here on the ground. These monitoring stations help in tracking signals from the GPS satellites. The Master Control Station is liable for the overall management of the remote monitoring and transmission sites. What it is used for? You likely encounter GPS technology at work or in your daily life. Chances are, you are familiar with some of the common uses for GPS tracking systems. Yet, there are others you may have never considered. From military to our first responders, to commercial and personal use, GPS has become an important part of all sorts of operations in the 21st century. Basically, a GPS tracking system works out exactly where something is. It can be placed in a vehicle, on a cellphone, or on special GPS devices. Its versatility enables a user to track the movement of a person, as well. This feature is great for parents who want to check on the location of their child or venerable elderly person. GPS tracking is also used for recording the position of vehicles as they make their journeys. You may come across these terms when you find yourself interested in purchasing a GPS tracker. There are two types of tracking for GPS: active and passive tracking. Both are beneficial and have helped users in many ways, but they differ in the way they work. To help you decide which one to get, you need to know their purposes and how each type can be advantageous for you. Let's start with passive GPS trackers. Passive GPS trackers Also known as a data logger, passive GPS monitors the location and stores the data within the tracking system itself. Meaning you do not get real-time updates. Passive GPS trackers work by storing information through an internal memory, memory card, or a USB stick. This include distance travelled, time and date, active driving time, including speed or acceleration. For instance, a data logger may log data where you (your vehicle) has travelled in the past 12 hours. The data stored can be downloaded to a computer at a later date for analysis. Who can take advantage of passive GPS trackers? Most passive trackers do not need a monthly fee. This makes them a more economical option compared to their active counterparts. Moreover, passive trackers are ideal for: Fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. Many joggers and mountaineers use data loggers to calculate the distance they covered. Parents. Parents may use this to monitor their teenager's driving habits. Fleet managers. This is great for monitoring employees' and drivers' behaviour, by checking the data gathered by the tracker. If you are one of them, a passive tracker can be a worthwhile investment for you! Active GPS trackers Also known as 2-way GPS and real-time system, active GPS trackers send information to a centralised database through a modem regularly. Meaning you can process and deliver data in real-time, unlike passive trackers. Active GPS trackers work by monitoring the location, then storing the data on journeys based on certain types of events. So proctor/observers may receive notifications and alerts anywhere. This gives them a bird's eye view of movement. This kind of system is a better option for commercial purposes, such as fleet tracking and monitoring people. Who can take advantage of active GPS trackers? Caregivers. For this kind of profession, having active GPS technology can help track the elderly, ensuring they are within a safe perimeter. With the device, caregivers can also track them down easily in case they wander off. Parents. Active GPS trackers are great tools for helping parents track or monitor their children's whereabouts. Especially during emergencies. Further, these devices can also notify parents of any distress signals sent by teenage drivers. Pet owners. A missing pet is every fur parents/pet owner's worst nightmare. More and more dog owners have started investing in active GPS trackers to locate their wandering fur friends. Drone enthusiasts. Attaching real-time GPS trackers on drones is an effective way to track them easily in case they lose control and fly away. To summarise, passive GPS trackers focus more on recording and storing tracking information. Meanwhile, active trackers send the same kind of tracking information but in real-time. In today's fast-paced world, managing a demanding lifestyle can be hard, especially for those in the corporate world. With a loaded plate at work, many tend to be very busy and on the move. But no matter how occupied most are in their profession, safety and security for their loved ones and valuables are their top priority. The good news is today's technologies can help us keep tabs on our family's safety and well-being, as well as our assets even if we are not around. One popular device that we can utilise and take advantage of is a GPS tracker. Investing in a GPS tracking tool is especially handy in the 21st century. For one, putting a vehicle tracking device in your car. This can help you: Locate where your vehicle is at any given time. Get help or aid in case of emergency. Monitor your teens behind the wheel. Recover a stolen vehicle. Give you insight into the driving habits of yourself or your family members. Get diagnostics on your vehicle. Notify if your car is moved, towed, or even bumped in the parking lot. Deter a thief or vandal by triggering your security system, e.g. a dash camera.   If you are looking for a vehicle GPS tracker, this 4G GPS tracking device (JLA9038) can be your best bet! It tracks the whereabouts of your vehicle in real-time via the internet on a computer or a smartphone. This tool works by sending the vehicle's GPS coordinates via the 4G LTE network to the free online tracking service. This is where it shows the place on Google Maps and provides information on the exact spot. Other features include: 2G/3G/4G capable GPS & GSM module Monitor via PC, smartphone or tablet Rechargeable battery SMS location & tracking return Geo-fence alarm iOS, Android and web tracking For more, you can check out our range of GPS trackers here. Given how much we rely and spend on our vehicles, we should protect our investments. You should also protect the ones driving, such as yourself or a family member. With a GPS tracker, you can do both.

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Event Recorders: What is a Dash Camera and Why Do You Need One
July 27, 2021

  Why do you need a dashcam? The use of event recorders like dash cameras on vehicles is escalating—and for good reasons. If you are still undecided whether you should get one, hear us out. You need it. Road accidents can occur anytime; it is the most unwanted thing to happen to road users. The causes can vary but the consequences are often the same: vehicular damage to serious injuries. But let us suppose you are the driver. Having a dashcam onboard will record all actions around your vehicle while driving. This reliable device may be small but it can back you up in any accidents which you happen to witness or be involved in. It can be your "silent witness" and supporting evidence at your fingertips. Learn the basics of event recorders, mainly dash cameras, here to get you informed. A dashcam or a dashboard camera is a small camera device that is usually mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle. It is designed to carefully and accurately record every detail that takes place on the road. Its basic nature is to act as a silent witness for on-road and off-road incidents. It provides first-hand evidence about what happened and/or who was at fault for the crash. Dashcams are meant to be discreet. They should be mounted to a precise location without obstructing the driver's view. The ideal set-up is on the passenger side of the windshield, behind the rear-view mirror. They can also be coupled with different onboard technologies, such as GPS devices. These types of event recorders are widely used around the world. They are essential for most regular drivers, driving instructors, taxi and bus drivers, and so on. So why should you consider buying a dashcam? Dashcams are more useful than you think. The upfront cost may seem expensive, but they have proven to help drivers save money in the long run. Knowing that you and your means of transport are protected is priceless. Listed below are some of the notable reasons why you should invest in a dashcam and install it in your vehicle. 1. It provides you with first-hand evidence in case of a car accident This is the main reason drivers have dashcams mounted on their vehicles. A dashcam will start recording as soon as you start the engine. It provides real-time and efficient proof in case of an accident. So, if a car crash took place and your vehicle was involved, you can send the video from your dashcam as evidence and prove your innocence. This is especially helpful if the cause or person at fault is in contention. It could save you hefty fines or court costs or even get you the compensation you need to recover. Overall, a dashcam can be the strongest proof you have for defending yourself, in case of a road accident. 2. Reduced insurance premiums In addition to the first benefit, event recorders can help reduce car insurance. In the event of an accident where you were involved, a dashcam can provide you with independent evidence. This proof can be presented to your insurer and the police to see who was really at fault and what happened. What's more, even when you're not in your car, your dashcam can still do its job. While dash cams normally turn on and off with the engine, some can be set to continue recording even when the car is off. It can record any bumps or damage sustained from a third party, continually protecting your vehicle. This works even if your car is parked and you're nowhere near it. 3. A perfect solution for undisciplined drivers Have you ever encountered a bad driver? Or worse than that, an aggressive or road rage inclined driver who disregards the safety of others? Not only are these irresponsible drivers annoying, but they might also put the lives of other drivers and innocent passengers at risk. The best way to help improve this kind of behaviour is to report them. But the thing is, reporting can be daunting as it needs proof. If you do not have an eyewitness to testify on your behalf, things might go wrong. This is where a dashcam can be of use and be beneficial. Your dash cam can step in and provide the ultimate proof against bad drivers. You can also use your event recorder for reporting road rage accidents. Note: Do not put yourself at risk when trying to gather evidence. 4. High-quality models come with GPS systems and other useful features and functions Event recorders like dashboard cameras have evolved over the years. Modern units are now being equipped with GPS systems. They also come with a plethora of advantageous features that can benefit you on many levels. Let's start with the GPS. A GPS system does not only provide assistance in case of an emergency, but it also serves as a sat-nav system and tracks vehicle speed. This feature can also help you record your destination onto a log file. That way, you can manage your journey in a fast, efficient, and hassle-free way. Further, most of these cameras come with audible notifications along with status updates. This can keep you stay up to date with the recording process while keeping you notified in real-time. The cameras come with low battery usage, as well. And with a high-tech LCD screen, you can have full control over your road trip and your recording experience. 5. You might be amazed at what a dashcam can capture Never underestimate the power of vehicle event recorders! Dashcams can literally record anything you pass through, including some unexpected phenomena. A lot of videos have gone viral online about car accidents and unforgettable road events. Most of them have been 'accidentally' caught on dashcams. Simply put, a dash cam can capture the things that you least expect them to. From accidents involving other cars to bizarre activity and rare animals crossing the road! Considering what a dashcam can do, including its fantastic features and benefits, it's truly a great investment. It can be installed or mounted on your car's dashboard or on the windshield within seconds. You also have a wide range of dash cameras to choose from. If you're currently looking for one, browse through our top picks below! Some of the best dashcams to protect you and your vehicle!   First is this 7-inch 1080p LCD monitoring/surveillance system (JQV3500). The screen aspect ratio is 16:9, and the contrast ratio is 500:1. It also has an integrated digital video recorder, making it an ideal accessory for your vehicle. Other features include: Cameras are position adjustable 4 ways Image can be switched to mirror reverse Will revert to black/white night vision when light is insufficient for colour Get it for $399.00   The next one is this Dual Dash Cam (JQV3866). It features forward and rear-facing cameras with 190° wide-angle lenses. This dashcam unit can capture a 360° view of any accidents that might occur within or outside your car. You can also record video with audio on a microSD card (sold separately) in 1080p high definition. Other features include: G-sensor collision detection Loop recording Parking sentry mode Sony IMX323 Camera Sensors 6 Layer Glass Lens F/2.0 Aperture Electronic Shutter Get it for $249.00   Looking for another high-end dashcam? Then look no further than this Dual Band WiFi Car Event Camera (2.5K) (JQV6004). The Dual Band Wifi, Dash View 30, is one of the first of the next generation series of smart dash cameras introduced by Uniden. It features a 2.5K Video Resolution Front Camera with a 140-degree wide-angle lens. Sony's Starvis Image Sensor adds back-illuminated pixel technology for optimum video quality. Also, WDR allows you to capture a clear vision in both bright and low light environments. This premium technology ensures it provides high-quality video in visible and near-infrared areas. Get it for $399.00 For more, you can check out our range of dashcams here.

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LCD vs LED: What’s the Difference Between LCD and LED TV?
July 23, 2021

  When shopping for televisions, LCD and LED are common options available on the market. But which is better for your eyes: LCD vs LED? Technically speaking, an LED TV is an LCD TV. Despite having a different acronym, their basic technology is the same—meaning, both are liquid crystal displays. Both of these television types have two layers of polarized glass through which the liquid crystals block and pass light. Thus, making LED TVs a subset of LCD TVs. Considering both are based around LCD technology, the question remains: what is the difference between the two? Depending on your budget, energy concerns, and watching habits, each has its own strengths. If you are interested, lets figure out which is right for your needs, shall we? First things first, let's start with the acronyms and their meanings. LCD stands for liquid crystal display, whereas LED stands for light-emitting diodes. As noted above, an LED television is a specific type of LCD TV. For one, it uses a liquid crystal display panel to control where light is displayed on the screen, producing images. Both have panels that are composed of two sheets of polarising material with liquid crystal between them. Liquid crystal displays use thin, polarised glass to create a picture. When an electric current passes through the liquid, it causes the crystal to align. This allows the light to either pass through or be blocked out. They may be almost identical products, but then again, they are not the same. For starters, how a picture is made from an LCD is different from an LED. The main difference between the two is how they produce light behind the scene. Older LCD television units used CCFLs, which stands for cold cathode fluorescent lamps, to provide lighting. But modern LCD TVs now use a highly efficient fluorescent tube behind the display. This produces light that illuminates the changing pixels on the screen. LED units, in contrast, do not have a fluorescent tube. Instead, they use more efficient light-emitting diode bulbs to illuminate the screen. This allows for more control over where light is broadcast in the display. Moreover, due to their smaller size, LEDs can be placed behind the screen and around the edges of the display. Unlike with LCD, the lights are always behind the screen. Therefore, LED TVs produce brighter and crisper images. When it comes to the sharpness of a television picture, this depends on the refresh rate. Refresh rate refers to how many times per second the display is able to draw a new image. It is usually measured in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. LED TVs tend to have higher refresh rates than traditional LCD units, which means LEDs can provide a clearer, better picture. Another factor that makes LED more competitive is it works with RGB-coloured lights. Other than red, green, and blue, it also works with a colour wheel to produce more realistic and sharper colours. LED TV models have better dimming and brightness control than LCDs. For one, light-emitting diodes can be dimmed. The dimming capability of LEDs allows for faster darkness and lightness control, creating truer blacks and brighter whites. LCD televisions, in contrast, must darken parts of the screen by blocking light within the display. LED television models are more energy-efficient than LCDs. Light-emitting diodes are a more efficient light source than heated fluorescent tubes. Thus, reducing energy expenditure. LED TVs consume less power. They can work with low power sources and are compatible with generators and solar panels. This makes them 20 to 30 per cent more energy-efficient than their LCD counterparts. Speaking of energy efficiency, take a look at how energy-efficient electronics work here. We've talked about the use of electricity at home and some energy-saving tips. It's a great read, especially if you and your family are using LED devices, such as TVs and computer monitors. LCD An LCD is considered a passive device. This means it does not deliver any light to display characters, animations, and videos. It uses fluorescent tubes to lighten the picture but not as clearly as LED delivers. LCD provides good colour accuracy, but LED offers better. Advantages: Consumes less power Includes millions of colours Lighter than LED Disadvantages: Needs extra light sources Its speed is very slow LED LED is a type of LCD that accompanies the advancement of technology. Instead of a fluorescent tube, it uses backlight technology to produce a clearer picture. It has a wider viewing angle than the LCD, but limited. LED TV units also have better black levels and contrast. They deliver better colour accuracy in comparison to an LCD display. Advantages: A longer lifespan Low maintenance Doesn't produce heat Energy-efficient Disadvantages: More costly Has a limited viewing angle So, which one do you think is better for your needs?

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A Guide to Monitors: How Does a Computer Monitor Work?
July 19, 2021

  Monitors are a major contributor to the operation of desktop computers. We may not even realise it, but there are several things we need to learn about them. Imagine your personal computer (PC) without a monitor. Sure, the keyboard and mouse will still work, the same goes for the speakers and the CPU. But how are you going to see what you are doing? It is impossible to get the job done without it—let alone call it a desktop computer or a PC. So, why and how is it important? How does a computer monitor work? A monitor is the primary output hardware of a computer. It displays pictures, text, and videos in real-time, allowing the user to interact with the computer. It comes with a screen, a power supply, a button to adjust screen settings, and a casing that holds these components. But these are not the only features of a monitor. How does a computer monitor work? Monitors work by displaying information processed by the computer's video card. The result of the processing displayed by the monitor is called output. The output provides instant feedback by showing you text and graphic images as you work or play. Older computer monitors used cathode ray tube (CRT) technology. A CRT tube type monitor utilises an electron beam to generate images on the screen. The viewing end of the tube is coated with phosphors, which emit light when struck by electrons. In colour monitors, CRT has three separate guns, one for each phosphor colour. The combinations of red, green, and blue phosphors can create the illusion of millions of colours. We will get to more modern monitors later. When it comes to monochrome monitors, each phosphor is a single dot that varies in intensity. This creates a grayscale image using a series of single monochrome phosphors. To darken a phosphor dot, we apply fewer electrons to it. But if we want to have a lighter phosphor, we do the opposite; we apply a high-intensity electron stream to it. A computer monitor has various characteristics, this includes: Size. Monitors come in different sizes, ranging from 19 to 34 inches (and sometimes even greater). They are measured diagonally from corner to corner. The average user will be happy with 21-24" screens. Resolution. The number of pixels on the screen; the image sharpness of the monitor. Bandwidth. The amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time. It is the network's capacity to transfer data between devices or the internet within a span of time. Refresh rate. This refers to how many times per second the display is able to draw a new image. Refresh rate is usually measured in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. Interlaced or non-interlaced. The technique for doubling the perceived frame rate of a video display without consuming extra bandwidth. Dot pitch. The distance between the phosphorus dots creates a single pixel. There are two primary types of computer monitors: Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitor CRT is a lot cheaper, more durable and has a better gradation between colours. LCD, in contrast, is lighter and more compact and tends to have better resolution. Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor As mentioned earlier, the formerly common type of monitor is CRT technology. To explain further, a CRT has a large vacuum tube in the back. Most people with recognise these as the box monitors which taper in the back, as opposed to the flat-panel monitors we use today. It has a cathode that contains a heated filament which becomes an electron gun. These electron guns fire off streams of electrons in response to the visual signal it receives from the computer. Ahead of the cathode, is a set of electromagnets that activate in response to the same signal, altering the course of the electron stream. The back of the glass plate contains millions of tiny phosphor dots divided into three groups: red, blue, and green. These are the pixels. When the electron stream touches the pixels, the correct combination of the phosphors will create any colour in the spectrum. The stream passes over the monitor at a rate of 50 to 100 times per second, creating a continuous interactive image. Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor As the name suggests, this type of monitor uses LCD technology. A liquid crystal display (LCD) has replaced traditional CRT monitors, which used to be the standard. With the continuous improvement of LCD technology, LCD monitors are far more competitive over CRT, in terms of: Colour Picture quality Capabilities for larger resolutions Moreover, LCD is a type of flat panel monitor, meaning it is designed to be thin instead of curved like CRT. An LCD screen is also composed of two treated plates of polarised glass pressed together. Between these plates is where the liquid crystal material lies, responding to an electrical current. This also allows different wavelengths of light to pass through at various points across its surface. Meaning, it blocks out the majority of light, enabling only specific wavelengths. You might also have heard of LED, OLED, and QLED monitors. These are all forms of LCD displays, with the difference being the type of back-lighting. Monitors referred to / advertised as LCD have florescent back-lighting. All kinds of monitors have a resolution type for displaying images. For one, the inch sizes of LCDs tell what their resolution type is. A 17-inch display can have a resolution of 1024x768, whereas a 20-inch display can have 1600x1200. Keep in mind that the number in inches is the diagonal size of the monitor's screen. The resolution, meanwhile, is the pixel width by pixel height. Video display adapters A monitor should have a video display adapter attached to the computer to display graphics. These adapters are also called video graphics cards. There are three types of graphic cards: VGA (Video Graphics Array). This type of graphic card supports 16-256 colours depending on the screen resolution. For instance, it can support 15 colours at 320x200 pixels and 256 colours at 640x840 pixels. VGA is also called a 4-bit colour. SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array). This graphic card supports 256 colours at a higher resolution than VGA. It also comes with two graphic modes: 800x600 pixels and 1024x768. It is the most common standard used today and is also known as 8-bit colour. XGA (Extended Graphics Array). XGA can support up to 16.7 million colours at a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. It supports 256, 65536 or 16,777,216 colours depending on the video display adapter memory chip. This type of graphic card provides the most sophisticated standard for colour and resolution. It is also called the 24-bit colour or true colour. In the world of computing, the role of a monitor is to display the programs, software or video to the user accurately and clearly. In other words, it is the video output device that displays text, video, and other information. It completes the system of a desktop computer. And with a video card, the computer will display the results on the monitor.   If you are currently looking for the right computer monitor for your WFH or at-home school needs, take a look at this Samsung 21.5” LED Monitor. What we like about this model is it features a sharp, high contrast LED display. It is ideal for any computer with HDMI or VGA out, including the Raspberry Pi microcomputer. This monitor also has a very wide viewing angle thanks to Samsung’s Magic Angle technology. What's more, it automatically adjusts the brightness of your monitor to save energy. Experience amazing new levels of colour, brilliance and picture quality through the very latest in Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratio!

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