With the winter holidays rapidly approaching, it is time to think about what you can do with sending out the annual greeting cards.

Sure you can head to the store and buy some generic Christmas cards, but why settle for something just anyone can purchase?  With printers getting fancier, and cheaper, why not print out your own?  Yes, they will have fronts that anyone can purchase, but all of the wording can be 100% your creation.

By using companies such as Paper Direct, you can order blank cards that you can customize to your heart’s content by using templates they provide you with for your computer.  As color inkjet and laser printers have gotten cheaper, you can print cards that are barely discernible from pre-printed ones that you buy in the store.

The other bonus to going with this method is that you can print just as many cards as you need, saving the blanks for future years or other purposes.  If you buy three or four different designs, you can cycle through them for years, rotating through them.  (Bonus note: buy more cards after Christmas as they will be heavily discounted and you can be ready for next year.)

You can do this not just with Christmas cards, but postcards, birthday cards, Valentines Day and so on.  Make your printer in to a personal print shop, it’s not nearly as difficult as you may think.

 

With Windows 7 moving towards a touch-screen interface, people are already thinking the end of the mouse as a means of interface with your computer may be coming to an end.

A researcher at Gartner has proclaimed that within five years we will no longer be using the 40-year-old mouse to interface with our computers.  He feels the touch screens, facial recognition and possibly even thought control will take over from the trusty mouse.  He also points to the fact that laptops have already done away with the necessity by incorporating the touch pad into their systems.

While this is all very interesting, I find it doubtful we will ever see the mouse go away completely.  There are too many things that it is still better to be precise with yout pointing than fat fingers pressing on a screen.  Graphic illustrators would probably flip out without a mouse.  When you need to move just one pixel, the precision you get with a mouse is essential.

It’s a nice dream to have one less thing on your desk, and it may very well take a bit of a back seat to its current status, but to totally go away is highly doubtful.

Categories: Green Computing   
 

computer graveyardIf you’re anything like the StarterTech crew, you’re building a small pile of outdated or dead equipment.  Computers, laptops, VCRs, TVs, video games and more are cluttering up your life, just taking up space.  We actually have a shelf in our office building we call “The Graveyard” as it holds nothing but dead computer parts.

As this problem has gained momentum due to the number of computers in the world, more and more companies have tried finding solutions to help consumers.  Many computer manufacturers now offer some sort of trade-in program, and companies such as Staples offer a program where they will take nearly anything you have.

If the items are in working order, I always think it’s always a good idea to donate them to a school, a home for wayward youth or anything where access to a computer may very well change someone one’s life.  If it isn’t working, than I always recommend going with a recycling program.  Quite often these programs will offer you some sort of credit with their company, admittedly not much, but it’s better than getting nothing at all and helping to fill our landfills faster.  You also have to remember there are many dangerous items in many gadgets if they should leak into the soil.  Rechargeable batteries are always a worry, so cell phones and MP3 players are never a good idea to throw out as they will eventually leak.

In short, yes, it will take a little work on your part, but recycling of electronics is always the best idea.

Categories: Green Computing   
 
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