Laptop and Desktop Accessories That Help You Stay in Touch

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Laptop and Desktop Accessories That Help You Stay in Touch With Friends and Family

In today's society, having a computer, whether it is a laptop or a desktop computer, is basically a necessity. Computers are used for work, for school, and for recreation. However, most people do not stop with the purchase of a computer alone. Rather, they go on to buy many accessories that are compatible with their computer so as to make it an even bigger part of their lives. Some of these accessories are purely for fun, while others are quite practical.

Many laptop and desktop accessories make it easier to stay in contact with friends and family, even if those people do not live in close proximity. All manner of laptop and desktop accessories are available from electronics retailers as well as online from eBay. While there is a seemingly endless variety of accessories and peripherals for any type of computer, these accessories are specifically useful when it comes to reach out to friends and family around the world.

Connectivity Accessories

The Internet has made it possible and even easy to stay in touch with friends and family around the world. To take advantage of this technology, it is essential to have a proper internet connection. This means purchasing those accessories that are necessary for a laptop or desktop to actually get online, thereby allowing any user of the computer to send messages, photos, and videos to his or her loved ones.

Modems

In order to connect to the internet, a computer needs to be hooked up to a modem. This device allows computers to send and receive information via the internet. The following table lists the different types of Internet connections that are available as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages.

Type of Connections

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dial-Up or 56k

Extremely cost-effective

Very slow, not able to stream video

DSL

Faster than dial-up but less expensive than other options

Not as fast as cable or T1

Cable

Fast enough for easy video streaming and generally reliable

More costly than other options, building or neighbourhood must be cable-ready

T1

Extremely fast

Very costly and not available in all areas

The right type of Internet connection for any individual depends on that person's needs as well as his or her budget. Any internet connection can help you stay in touch with friends and family in some ways, but not every type makes it possible to stream video or otherwise interact using the computer.

Internet Cables

Many modems come packaged with the necessary cables to connect to a wall jack and a computer or wireless modem. When purchasing a used modem, however, it may be necessary to purchase those cables separately. It may also be that the cables that came with the modem are not long enough to make it possible to place the modem in a convenient spot. Luckily, DSL and Ethernet cables are fairly inexpensive, even if they are very long.

Teleconferencing Accessories

One way that people use their computers to stay in touch with friends and family is through video conferencing. This technology allows users to have face to face conversations with each other over an Internet connection. While some computers are set-up to do this type of conferencing out of the box, others may require additional accessories, such as webcams, headsets, and microphones.

Webcams

A webcam is a device that attaches to a computer and transfers still pictures or videos directly to the computer. These images can then be uploaded or streamed to another user. Many modern computers have a webcam built into their monitor, particularly laptops.

However, not all computers come with webcams and therefore purchasing one separately is necessary for those who want to have video conferences with friends or family. Be sure to find a webcam that is compatible with the laptop or desktop with which it is intended to be used.

HD Webcams

One potential problem with webcams is that the images they produce are often rather low quality. For people who want to really be able to see their family members who are on another coast, it may be a good idea to invest in a high definition or HD webcam. While an HD webcam is likely to cost a bit more than a standard webcam, there is a noticeable difference in performance.

Headsets

Another important video conferencing tool is a headset, which makes it easier to hear the people to whom the user is talking. Most conferencing software uses the speakers of the computer to broadcast the voice of the other party. Computer speakers, particularly on a laptop, can be quite tinny or may even be broken. A headset that can plug into the computer, using a headphone jack or a USB port, solves the problem of unreliable speakers.

Microphones

For those people that choose not to invest in a headset that includes both an earpiece and a microphone, it can still be a good idea to choose an external microphone. The microphone that is built into a computer, if there is one, is not always of the greatest quality. This can lead to phone calls where the user is forced to shout or speak very loudly just to be heard. Purchasing a USB microphone that is more sensitive can make conferences and phone calls with loved ones much easier on both sides of the call.

Computer Peripherals

Aside from video conferencing, there are many other ways to stay in touch with friends and family using a computer. Many people stay up-to-date with family members using social networking sites, or even simply sending emails. Still, there are some computer peripherals that make it easier to share and connect with friends and family.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are fairly ubiquitous. Nearly every cell phone has a digital camera built in. But investing in a high quality digital camera can make a huge difference in the photos that you are able to post and share online. A camera does not have to be large or expensive to take beautiful photos, and every digital camera can be connected to basically any laptop or desktop, meaning compatibility is not a concern. Because there is no developing for digital cameras, photos can be uploaded directly to the computer and easily sent and shared online.

Gaming Controllers

One way to stay in touch with friends and family that may be a little less orthodox than video calls or photographs is through online gaming. Many friendships have been found or strengthened by using gaming technology to play with people on the other side of the world. In order to successfully use a computer for this purpose, it is usually a good idea to have a gaming controller that hooks up to the computer. This makes gameplay easier than it may be when using a keyboard for controls. Computer gaming controllers come in a few different designs, so be sure to choose the one that is most comfortable.

How to Buy Laptop and Desktop Accessories on eBay

No matter what type of laptop or desktop accessories you settle on, it is easy to search, browse, shop for, and purchase them on eBay. To begin your search, just enter some keywords into the search box that is located on every page of the site. A search for "used webcams" returns more results than a more specific search like "Plantronics USB headset" so be sure to keep that in mind. It is also a good idea to carefully examine the condition of any item, using the listing photos, before completing your purchase so that you can be sure you know what you are buying.

Once you have examined the item and decide that you do want to purchase it, be sure that all of your questions are answered before proceeding. Fortunately, eBay makes this easy to do by allowing you to contact the seller directly using the eBay interface. Assuming the seller gives you satisfactory answers to your questions, you can complete your purchase with confidence.

Conclusion

There was a time when family units remained close not only emotionally but also geographically. This meant that staying in touch with family members and friends was as simple as going to visit regularly. Today, families are spread around the world and many friends are people from faraway places that have never even met each other. Technology, particularly the Internet, allows people to stay in touch with friends and family member like never before.

Having a computer that is capable of accessing the Internet is just the first step in maintaining regular communications with those people who are important. Computer accessories like webcams, microphones, and even digital cameras can improve the process, no matter where one is in the world. Because there are so many accessories available for both laptops and desktops, it is a good idea to shop around and find the right ones. With the right laptop and desktop accessories, it is easier than ever to stay close with loved ones, even if they are very far away.

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