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Leo Laporte's 2006 Technology Almanac: A Look into March

This chapter is from the book
This chapter features an article a day for the month of March to help you keep current on the latest technology with a focus on home-based technology.

March 2006

WEDNESDAY: MARCH 1, 2006

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS: Upgrading Your PC

Adding New Ports

Let’s say you want to add a second printer to your system. Most PCs come with only a single parallel port, to which you probably have your existing printer connected. The answer, of course, is to add a second parallel port to your system. (Another solution is to buy a USB printer and connect to a free USB port; let’s not ignore easy fixes!)

Or maybe you’ve become enamored of USB devices and completely filled all your system’s USB connections. Buy one more USB-compatible peripheral, and then what do you do? Here you have a choice: You can increase the number of connections available by adding an external USB hub, or you can add an extra USB card to your system.

Here’s another one. You want to connect your new digital video camcorder to your PC to edit your home movies but your camcorder connects via FireWire, and your PC doesn’t have a FireWire connector. The solution? Add a FireWire port to your system unit.

Adding ports of any kind to your system is a simple internal upgrade. Just head down to your local computer store and purchase the appropriate port expansion card. (All different types are available.) Then power down your PC, remove the case, and insert the new card into any open card slot. Put it all back together and boot it up, and you have new ports available to use. Easy!

On This Day: Direct-Dial Transatlantic Phone Service (1970)

On this day in 1970, direct-dial transatlantic phone service was initiated between the U.S. and Britain. The service was a joint effort between America’s AT&T and the British Post Office (which at that time also handled the British telephone system).

HARDWARE OF THE WEEK: SUNBEAM 20-IN-1 SUPERIOR PANEL

Sunbeam’s 20-in-1 Superior Panel lets you add some extra connections to the front panel of your system unit. It takes up a normal 5.25-inch drive bay and offers a combination of card readers (all popular formats), FireWire, USB (2), SATA 2, RCA audio, and headphone connections, along with a fan controller and cool blue LCD display. Buy it for $34.99 at http://www.sunbeamtech.com.

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