Thursday, April 20, 2017

Which Is More Important: Faster RAM or More RAM?

By  Bertel King, Jr.

Around these parts, we encourage you to upgrade your existing computer rather than buy a new one. It’s easier on your wallet and helps cut down on the amount of ewaste. But as is often the case, saving money can require a bit of knowledge.
The Truth About e-Waste Recycling and Its Effectiveness The Truth About e-Waste Recycling and Its EffectivenessThe world is producing more e-waste than ever before. We should be recycling it, but there are some problems there that you may not be aware of.READ MORE
You’ve narrowed down the source of your PC’s sluggishness to RAM, but what do you do about it? Should you increase the amount of RAM or would you be better off with faster RAM? That question isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Why You Need RAM

You need to be sure you have enough RAM to meet your general requirements. If you’re not sure what RAM is, don’t worry, we have you covered.Everything You Need to Know About RAM & Memory Management Everything You Need to Know About RAM & Memory ManagementRAM is your computer's short term memory. Hence, memory management has a significant impact on system performance. Here we explain how RAM works and whether you can do anything to increase its efficiency.READ MORE
In short, think of RAM as short-term memory that your computer processor uses to store files it needs to access quickly and often. Utilizing this space allows your machine to respond instantly, rather than taking several seconds. This may not sound like much, but it’s often a wait of only a few seconds that makes a PC feel old and underpowered.
When your computer is struggling to open the programs you wish to run, you probably need more RAM. That slowdown comes from your PC having to unload tasks from fast RAM memory onto your hard drive. This general storage area has plenty of space, but its speeds are much slower.

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You may have low RAM if you’re using an older PC that came with enough memory several years ago but no longer meets the demands of today. You’re also likely to run out of RAM if you buy a cheaper laptop that doesn’t come with all that much. These devices tend to be fast initially, but as software changes and programs use more memory, there isn’t any room for future growth.

The Difference Between Capacity and Speed

You can measure RAM capacity in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), or terabytes (TB). Increasing the size of your RAM reduces the likelihood of needing to use your hard drive for these temporary files. But once you have enough to meet your needs, you reach a point where adding more may not be the best way to get the speed improvements you’re looking for. You may benefit more from buying RAM that’s faster than the RAM you already have, even if it’s the same amount.Is Your Virtual Memory Too Low? Here's How to Fix It! Is Your Virtual Memory Too Low? Here's How to Fix It!The curse of Windows is its slowing down over time. Often, low memory is to blame. Here is one more way to virtually unburden your RAM.READ MORE
There are a couple of metrics that determine your RAM’s speed. Frequency affects maximum bandwidth, which is how much data can travel to and from your memory stick at a time. Latency affects how quickly RAM can respond to a request.

Frequency is measured in megahertz (MHz) and you want a bigger number. Latency appears as a series of numbers (such as 5-5-5-12) and you want these to be lower.
Once your capacity needs are met, increasing frequency and reducing latency may yield you a more noticeable result than packing in more RAM. As for how much of a difference you will notice, well, that depends.

How Much (Or How Fast) RAM Do You Need?

Having buckets of RAM is useful if you’re into professional video or audio editing. Yet even then, 8–16 GB of RAM should be enough to handle running several professional applications simultaneously. You likely won’t need to think about upgrading for several years, if that.
If you’re a gamer, you may get some benefits from having 16 GB, but 8 GB can handle most games. Making the leap up to 32 GB is currently unnecessary. At that point, you may be better of getting faster sticks.RAM For Gamers: What Do The Specs Mean And How Do They Alter Performance RAM For Gamers: What Do The Specs Mean And How Do They Alter PerformanceIf you want to experience great performance while playing games, it's important that you use the right hardware that can do the job.READ MORE
Regardless of how you use your PC, speed won’t matter if your motherboard isn’t as fast as your RAM. A 1333 MHz motherboard will limit your 2000 MHz RAM to 1333 MHz.
There are situations where more RAM is needed, but you’re more likely to encounter them if you manage servers. The demands of running applications, games, and websites simply aren’t that high to warrant packing your desktop with all the RAM you can muster.

How Should You Buy or Upgrade RAM?

Are you trying to upgrade or starting from scratch? The first option comes with more limits.How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By Step How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By StepIs your laptop old, slow, and has the hardware never been upgraded? Working on a slow computer can be a real drag. Before you buy a completely new one, however, you should consider ways to...READ MORE
For starters, is your RAM soldered on? In that case, you can’t upgrade. Sorry. If not, how many RAM slots does your machine have? This can determine how much RAM you’re able to have. DDR2 sticks max out at 4 GB. DDR3 sticks can go up to 8 GB. You need two DDR3 RAM sticks if you want 16 GB of RAM. Unless, that is, your machine can handle 16 GB DDR4.
So when there’s only one RAM stick in a machine that has enough slots for two, try adding a second stick rather than replacing your existing one. Dual-channel platforms can offer some benefits depending on the type of strain your computer is under.
Yet if you’re starting from scratch and debating between one 8 GB stick versus two 4 GB sticks, go with the former. That leaves you the option to add a second stick to reach 16 GB in the future, rather than having to replace the two you have. The difference between one and two sticks isn’t so great that you’re likely to regret (or even notice) going with one.

If you want to upgrade your RAM but all of your slots are already at their maximum capacity, then your only choice is to buy faster sticks.

Is Capacity or Speed More Important?

The amount of RAM you have is more important to a point. After that, you start experiencing diminishing returns. Going over 8 GB isn’t really necessary yet unless you’re a more demanding user.
If you are a more demanding user, there isn’t a clear catch all answer. In some instances, you’re better off getting more RAM. In other cases, you will see better results going with a higher frequency and less latency. You may also notice a difference depending on which operating system you run. Switching from one to another may be all the upgrade your computer needs.Does Linux Use Less RAM Than Windows? Does Linux Use Less RAM Than Windows?It depends. Windows and Linux may not use RAM in exactly the same way, but they are ultimately doing the same thing. So which one uses less RAM?READ MORE
Have you upgraded the RAM in your machine? What was your experience? Was there another component that seemed to have more of an effect on speed than RAM? Share your insights with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Valentyna Chukhlyebova/Shutterstock, Richard Peterson/Shutterstock   Source: www.makeuseof.com

Why These 7 Industries Are Spying on Your Social Media Posts

By Briallyn Smith  

On social media, you really never know who’s watching what you post. Despite this, many social media users have become cavalier with the information that they share online.
The availability of this information can lead to problems with friends, family members, and companies you didn’t even know were watching.
Companies want to sell, and they want to sell to you. The best way for them to turn you into a loyal customer is to gather as much information as possible about who you are, where you go, and what you like.
Enter your social media profiles.
Even just your basic information — such as your gender, name, and age — is ideal for targeted advertising. Add a few public images, some geo-linked Instagram posts, and an opinionated Twitter feed, and companies hit a goldmine of opportunity.Why Am I Seeing This Ad? How Social Media Ads Target You Why Am I Seeing This Ad? How Social Media Ads Target YouEvery social media site out there shows us ads. But sometimes, those ads can get very specific towards you, often showing you ads that seem creepy and stalkerish. How do they do that?READ MORE

Who Is Watching You?

If you want to play it safe, assume everyone could be watching anything you post online. But if that feels a bit restrictive, you should know that these seven industries are definitely paying attention.

1. Hotels

Hotels put a lot of effort into impressing customers so they can gain exposure through word of mouth. Online, they use a technique called geofencing to collect information, allowing them to see every public post created within a set geographical area.
Using these posts from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, hotel managers can reach out in targeted ways to individual guests. For example, they may send a free room upgrade to a couple celebrating an anniversary, or offer a free spa experience to someone who receives a lot of social media exposure.

Hotels also use social media to reach out to people who mention the hotel chain (positively or negatively) in their posts. This starts a one-on-one conversation — and research shows a direct link to future bookings.
This might seem like a win-win for everyone involved, but it’s worth considering. Is a massage really worth being used for free advertising without your knowledge?

2. Standardized Testing Companies

In 2015 a New Jersey superintendent learned that Pearson (the standardized testing company responsible for numerous tests performed across the world) was actively monitoring student social media use.
Pearson reached out to the superintendent out of concern that a student shared a test question over Twitter (this was later proven to be false). Why were they monitoring student social media feeds in the first place, though? Especially given that this situation involves minors, it’s more than a little unexpected and concerning.

3. Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are known for being difficult to navigate. Check the wrong box on a form or use the wrong phrase in a conversation, and your claim gets denied. After all, if a piece of evidence can save your insurance company money, they’re going to make sure they use it.

Your social media profiles can act as that evidence (although this may vary slightly based on local laws). Even vague captions about your daily activities can be used as “proof” in contentious claims.
Many times this is done to prevent insurance fraud. Insurers use social media to see if someone claiming a serious injury is out running a marathon, or if a “stolen” object appears in a photograph.Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About YouFacebook knows a surprising amount about us – information we willingly volunteer. From that information you can be slotted into a demographic, your "likes" recorded and relationships monitored. Here are 25 things Facebook knows about...READ MORE
But it can also be used less directly. For example, if someone posts an Instagram of reckless driving behavior, they may see consequences reflected in their insurance rates. As seen in the video above, something as simple as a photo of a beer can may have serious implications.

4. Landlords

Looking to move to a new place? You might want to do a quick scan of your public social media profiles first.
Especially in areas with competitive rental markets, landlords have the upper hand in rental decisions. The amount of information you provide on the average rental application (full name, date of birth, current address, current occupation) is often more than enough to locate you on social media.
If you are looking to rent, it’s worth examining your profile from a landlord’s perspective. Maybe hide any wild house party photos and stop complaining about being broke on Twitter. These simple posts can be pretty illuminating for a landlord — and even if it’s not a true representation of your life, it could still cost you the contract.9 Things You Should Never Share on Social Media 9 Things You Should Never Share on Social MediaBe careful what you share on social media because you never know when something could come back and ruin your life. Even the most innocent posts could be used against you.READ MORE

5. Universities

Many students don’t realize that their online behaviors can have significant repercussions in their offline lives. Universities have a lot riding on the reputations of their students, and they aren’t afraid to cut ties when necessary.
It’s not uncommon for students to post photos that involve illegal activity (such as underage drinking), harassment, or sexual content online. With the popularity of geofilters, geotagging, and university-specific hashtags, universities are regularly associated with these activities — whether or not the students realize it.

Much of this monitoring comes from the university itself, but it can also come from whistleblowers within the student community. Other students may forward screenshots of private posts to administration, and offensive posts with angry commentary often go viral.
When a situation like this occurs, universities can react in a number of different ways to protect their brand. However, these social media posts (whether intended for private conversations or not) can also result in suspensions, expulsions, and/or police involvement.

6. Potential Employers

If you are currently on the job market, your social media profiles need to be squeaky clean.
It’s a good idea to Google your full name (along with any identifying information that you provide on your resume and cover letter). See what results show up, and edit your social media accordingly.How Your Online Reputation Can Get Damaged & How to Fix It How Your Online Reputation Can Get Damaged & How to Fix ItProtecting your online reputation matters more than you think. A single bad mention can ruin a job, a relationship, or your social standing. Here's why you need to guard it with online tools.READ MORE
This level of caution shouldn’t necessarily end when you get a job. Much like students can lose their place at university, employees can also land in hot water due to an online mistake.  It’s always a good idea to keep your private profiles as secure as possible, and to use public social media profiles with caution.
In our connected world, it’s hard to know where to draw the line between your public and private life. As a rule of thumb, though, if you wouldn’t want your boss to read a post, don’t put it online. It’s really as simple as that.

7. The Police

To be clear, it’s not an inherently bad thing for the police to use social media. After all, crime takes place on social media and there’s no other way to investigate it! However, it’s still important to critically examine the way that police forces use social media to investigate and prosecute crime.Crime, Terrorism, and Security: The Dark Side of Social Media Crime, Terrorism, and Security: The Dark Side of Social MediaSocial media isn't just cat memes and prank videos. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr users can just as easily run into darker material distributed by technologically-skilled terrorist groups. What should you do about it?READ MORE
For example, social media can be a useful way to gather evidence surrounding a crime. This is especially true for public social media posts in an environment where a crime occurred. For example, if you took a picture of a crime scene minutes before a theft, your post could help to provide important contextual detail.
Many police forces also see improvement in their community relationships after developing a social media presence. They are able to interact with members of the community in real time by directly addressing concerns that they see trending in their local area.

But are other users’ photos and captions an accurate or complete summary of events? When do social media conversations cross the line into enticing someone to commit a crime? How do you ensure that police conduct social media investigations with a thorough understanding of social media culture? It’s important to consider all of these questions (and more) as police forces continue to develop their social media strategies.

Is This Approach to Gathering Information Ethical?

Technically, there isn’t anything illegal about the majority of the approaches on this list. But, much like someone rummaging through your trash or closely examining your personal belongings, companies spying on your social media posts just feels wrong.
Put in the context of ethics, however, the answer is a little more blurry. Many internet users believe that once something’s online, it’s fair game. This line of reasoning quickly leads to doxing, viral memes, cruel jokes, and cyberstalking.5 Life-Ruining Ways You Can Be Victimized Online 5 Life-Ruining Ways You Can Be Victimized OnlineThe Internet is not as anonymous as you might think it is. If somebody wants to find out who you are and where you live, the tiniest bit of information can lead back to you...READ MORE
However, most of your life happens in the public eye. People can easily see you walk into your home, buy groceries, or accidentally embarrass yourself in public.
Even though you put this information out there, the ethical norms of our society definitely don’t encourage an advertising analyst following someone around their neighborhood or grocery store.

In my mind, there shouldn’t be a distinction between information you share online and the information you share offline. Ethically, your life shouldn’t be a series of data points for corporations to consume at their own will, without consequence.
Sadly, a discussion of ethics is almost besides the point.
The fact of the matter is that there are people out there who do believe that anything on the internet is fair game — and, at the moment, it’s impossible to stop them. Even when something actually is a cyber crime, the damage is often done long before the guilty party is brought to justice.

Protect Your Personal Information Online

It’s definitely unsettling to know that everything you post on your personal pages can affect your life in such serious ways. Every individual will have a different level of comfort with how private their social media pages are. It’s okay to decide to continue sharing your posts and photos publicly, just as long as you are aware of who, exactly, could be watching you.
If you’re worried about your online presence after realizing what companies can learn about youfrom your social media posts, keep the following guidelines in mind:What Happens When Social Networks Know Your Genetic Information? What Happens When Social Networks Know Your Genetic Information?Consider some of the most information-powerful companies on the planet: social networks. What if they had your DNA?READ MORE
  1. Think before you post. No matter how good your security settings are, friends can always take a screenshot of photos, videos, or text you post online.
  2. Privacy settings are there for a reason. Even if they aren’t completely fail-safe, privacy settings are still better than totally public access to your private social media pages! Keep anything even slightly edgy or sensitive locked away behind as many safety settings as possible. Public profiles should be free of nearly all identifying information and used with caution.
  3. Use social media features wisely. Tagging a location, using a fun hashtag, or using a “sign in with Facebook” option may seem fun or easy at the time. However, consider how these actions may deliver your information directly to companies who will use it for their own gain.
Do you know about another industry that follows social media posts to gain insider information? How do you protect your posts? Let me know in the comments!
Source: www.makeuseof.com

5 Easy and Affordable Smart Home Devices You Don’t Want to Miss

By   Brent Dirks  

As the smart home market continues to grow, there are more and more devices that are affordable and easy to use. We’re highlighting five of our favorites, all of which are available for purchase for less than $100.
While building a smart home can make daily living easier, being a newcomer to the market is often an overwhelming experience. As the number of different devices and systems continues to skyrocket, making that first purchase is often the most difficult.What Is A Smart Home? What Is A Smart Home?We recently launched a Smart Home category at MakeUseOf, but what is a smart home?READ MORE
And one of the biggest barriers to smart home adoption, for many users, is cost. But thankfully there are actually affordable and easy-to-use devices on the market. Here are five great options you should check out. While each one is great on its own, they can also easily be used as part of a larger smart home setup if you choose.

1. iHome iSP8 Wi-Fi Smart Plug ($49)

ihome isp8
Using an app-enabled switch is a great way to try out smart home technology and see what it can do for you on a day-to-day basis.
The premise is a simple one: operate any switch in your house using a companion smartphone app.
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Even though there are a number of inexpensive smart switch choices on the market, iHome’s iSP8 stands out for a few reasons.

For one, if you can plug an appliance into a normal outlet, and it draws less than 1,800 watts of power, it’s compatible with this smart outlet. The possibilities are endless, including: lamps, fans, holiday decorations, and many other household appliances.
As well, you can set and customize detailed schedules for the plug using the companion iHome Control app. While the plug works by itself quite nicely, it can easily tie into to any smart home system you can think of including big names like Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon Alexa along with the lesser-known Samsung SmartThings and Wink. Using the app, you can even monitor power consumption stats of the plugged-in device.Getting the Most Out of Apple HomeKit and the iOS 10 Home App Getting the Most Out of Apple HomeKit and the iOS 10 Home AppIn this article, you’ll learn about the growing list of HomeKit-related products and how to control them. You’ll also see how to spot a compatible product in the marketplace.READ MORE
On the hardware side, the plug only takes up one outlet space. That means you’ll have room to put two switches onto a standard outlet plate or use the other plug for something else. And if other members of your household haven’t jumped on the smart home train, iHome even includes a handheld remote that can turn the switch on or off from up to 35 feet away. Users can purchase additional remotes separately. The switch can even be controlled away from home.

2. Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit ($69)

philips hue starter kit
Connected lighting is another big part of any smart home, and can bring many fun and creative options into play.
One of the top systems is the Philips Hue line, and for good reason. Along with the top-of-the-line color changing bulbs, there is also a more affordable version that shows only white light. The A19 starter kit offers both a home hub and two white bulbs.Philips Hue Works With HomeKit: How To Make The Most Of It Philips Hue Works With HomeKit: How To Make The Most Of ItPhilips has finally gotten round to integrating HomeKit into their Hue lighting platform, and it's amazing. Here's what you need to know.READ MORE
Even if the lights aren’t connected to a dimmer switch, you can change the intensity of the light using the well-designed Hue app.

The light gives off a maximum of 800 lumens, which should brighten up any area. While you do need to attach the Hue bridge to your wireless router, the process takes just a few minutes and the app walks you through all of the steps. One bridge can power up to 50 bulbs.
After installing the lights in sockets, the fun can begin. Philips is one of the only smart lighting systems compatible with both HomeKit and Alexa, which definitely makes it useful. Control is also a cinch even away from a home network.
If you’re interested in adding on other bulbs, there are a number of different sizes available, and you can even purchase physical switches and a motion sensor for additional automation.

3. Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor($48)

leeo smart alert smoke alarm
While there are a few smart smoke/CO detectors on the market, installing a full house of the connected devices could easily be cost prohibitive. But Leeo is both an affordable and easy-to-use way to add an extra layer of protection to your home.
As you could probably tell from the image above, Leeo is obviously a color-changing nightlight. But it can do much more than that.

Plug Leeo into a normal outlet, then connect to Wi-Fi and set it up using its companion app. Leeo works by monitoring regular smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and will alert you via the app when you’re away from home if any of the alarms sound. If there is no response to the notification, it will then actually place a call to your phone. If you are unavailable, the device can even call specific friends and family to inform them of a potential emergency.
During an emergency, Leeo will play a short audio clip so you can confirm that an alarm is actually going off, and then you can call emergency services directly from the app.
Leeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor for iOS and AndroidLeeo Smart Alert Smoke/CO Remote Alarm Monitor for iOS and AndroidMonitors your existing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms 24/7 and alerts you via smartphone if your alarms go off BUY NOW AT AMAZON $45.00
And as an extra added bonus, Leeo will also monitor both temperature and humidity. It will then notify you if either value strays out of a customized range.
During a smoke or carbon monoxide event, every second counts. And Leeo adds a simple dose of smart security to your home.

4. Blink Home Security Camera System ($99/£130)

blink home security camera
Security cameras can be great additions to a smart home setup.Practical Uses for Your Home Surveillance Cameras Practical Uses for Your Home Surveillance CamerasHome surveillance cameras are getting more popular with each passing year as technology improves and prices drop. Here are some practical uses for home security cameras, some which may surprise you.READ MORE
And while many of them can connect to the cloud via Wi-Fi technology, there’s one other big issue many users experience. That’s due to the fact that most cameras need power from a wall outlet to operate. You may not have an outlet near where the camera needs to be placed, and most renters or apartment dwellers can’t exactly snake wires through their walls.
But that’s no worry with the Blink Home Security Camera system. Completely wireless, each camera runs on two AA batteries that can last for up to a staggering two years. This means that users can place the cameras virtually anywhere.
That flexibility does come with a few compromises. The camera isn’t recording 24/7 and will only start recording when it senses motion. It will record up to a 60-second clip in HD video. Users will then receive a notification to view the clip. Up to two hours of video resides in the cloud for free. That is a big plus when compared to other systems that usually have some type of monthly subscription fee to store and access footage.
You can also check in on each camera live.

There are a number of different systems available to purchase. But you can easily start with a one-camera system and purchase additional units when needed, including an outdoor version that’s waterproof and features night vision.
I’ve been using the system for more than a year, and it’s truly set-it-and-forget-it technology.

5. Amazon Echo Dot ($49/£50)

amazon echo dot
If you’re looking for a smart home device that can grow with you and provide a huge number of other features, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon’s Echo line of connected speakers.
While the voice-controlled Echo was the first in the series, the almost $200 price tag would make it difficult to fill an entire house with the speakers. But the e-commerce giant recently tackled that issue with the svelte and more affordable Echo Dot.Alexa, How Does Siri Work? Voice Control Explained Alexa, How Does Siri Work? Voice Control ExplainedThe world is moving towards voice commands for everything, but how exactly does voice control work? Why is it so glitchy and restricted? Here's what you need to know as a layman user.READ MORE
Think of the Dot as the Echo’s younger and smaller brother, that still offers all of its features. Even though it can operate as a standalone speaker, the best way to use the Echo Dot is to attach it to any other speaker you have around the house using Bluetooth or a normal 3.5mm cable.

Along with being able to control a growing number of smart home devices, users can use the Echo Dot to order from Amazon, play music, and even take advantage of more than 10,000 “skills”. Skills (actions that the Dot can perform for you) include everything from ordering a pizza from Domino’s to requesting an Uber.
Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - WhiteEcho Dot (2nd Generation) - WhiteEcho Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, and more BUY NOW AT AMAZON $49.99
And since the Echo Dot is fully voice-controlled, every family member can be using the speaker in no time. In my house, the Echo Dot is easily the most popular piece of technology. Even technology neophytes can be playing music and controlling a smart home in no time.

Final Thoughts

As the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And that definitely applies when building a smart home. Selecting an easy-to-use and affordable smart home device is a great way to get a taste of the technology and see first-hand how it can integrate into your daily routine.
What affordable and easy-to-use smart home devices are you using? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Stanisic Vladimir via Shutterstock.com  Source: www.makeuseof.com

The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix

By  Joel Lee   In 2017, one year shy of its 20th anniversary, Netflix announced that it had passed a new milestone:  Netflix now has 10...