TUCOWS ARTICLE

Tips On Buying Computer Accessories

The final part of our holiday shopping series. Get some tips on keyboards, mice, and more.
Published: Dec 21, 2006
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows
Tucows Editorial Feature

Tips On Buying Computer Accessories

by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder


As part of our series designed to help you with your shopping during theholidays, today we're looking at computer accessories. Up to thispoint we've looked at desktop PC's, laptops, PDA's, smartphones,printers, external storage, MP3 players, and iPods. Today I'm going tolook at things like keyboards, mice, and other things that you canconnect to your computer. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Keyboards

The keyboard is the basic input device for your computer. Keyboards havegotten quite a bit fancier than they were in the early days ofcomputers. Today you'll even find specialized keyboards for things likegaming.

The screen shot shows a lighted keyboard manufactured by Saitek. In somemodels you can even change the color of the lighting. Another thing toconsider is the number of keys. Remember, the original PC keyboard hadeighty-four (84)keys. Most keyboards today, however, have 101. You'llalso find the different keyboards will have slightly different keyboardlayouts. You'll also find that some have programmable keys for gettingyour email, bringing up your Web browser, listening to music, and so on.

Another type of keyboard is the ergonomic keyboard, picturedabove. These keyboards are especially designed to help preventrepetitive motion problems and conditions like carpal tunnelsyndrome. These keyboards seem unusual at first, but once you getused to them it's hard to use a regular keyboard.

You might be amazed at the variety available in keyboards. One thing tokeep in mind is key layout. You'll find that some manufacturers willmove certain keys around. If you're buying a keyboard for yourself youmay want to look closely at a new keyboard to make sure the layout isthe same.

Another decision you face with keyboards, and mice, is wired orwireless? Wired keyboards don't require batteries whereaswireless keyboards do. Wireless keyboards work very well and can help toeliminate some of the cords running over your desktop. If you don't havea preference then my suggestion is always to buy the keyboard you likebest whether it's wired or wireless. If you feel you have to have onetype over another then you've already limited the number of keyboardsyou have to pick from.

Computer Mice

Newer computer users may not realize that computer mice havenot been around forever. In fact, in the early days of computersthere weren't any. As the "mouse" did start to become availablemany software programs didn't even support the mouse. Today, however,just about everyone has a mouse for their computer and they comebuilt-in with laptops.

Just as with keyboards, you'll find a huge assortment of mice available.Once again they come in wired and wireless varieties. Rememberthe fact that the device is wired or wireless is only talking about theconnection to the computer. So, buy the mouse that suits youbest.

You'll find there are 2-button mice, 3-button mice, mice with scrollwheels, and mice that user roller balls. Each individual is going tolike a different type. It also depends on what you're used to. Forexample, I use a Logitech Trackman that has two buttons, a scroll wheel,and a roller ball that's controlled with the thumb. I don't like usinganything else, but obviously I can. So, if you're buying a mouse for afriend you might want to covertly find out what kind of mouse they'reusing currently.

Mice also come in a variety of sizes and that's also a consideration.Some mice are very small and are generally intended for use whiletraveling. Another factor is that some mice are meant to be moved andother mice are not. For example, the Logitech Trackman that I use isstationary. I control all the movement with my thumb. This results inless repetitive motion of my elbow. So, a number of things to thinkabout if you're looking for a computer mouse.

Other Devices

Since the arrival of the USB (Universal Serial Bus) port a greatnumber of devices can be connected to the computer quite easily. It usedto be that modems and some printers used serial ports and themajority of printers used parallel ports. Today most modems areinternal and many printers connect via USB.

In addition, you can find a wide range of devices that can be connectedto your computer. This includes things like scanners, fingerprintreaders, photo printers, card readers, and much, much, more.

Summing It Up!

There are a huge number of peripheral devices that you can connect toyour computer. The most common are keyboards and mice. Today there is awide assortment available and a number of things to consider. Pickbetween regular or ergonomic, wired or wireless, small or large, and soon. With keyboards that light up and mice that remain stationary youhave lots of things to choose from. Enjoy!


For your convenience I've put links to the other articles inthis series. Happy shopping!



About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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