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How high-tech are you really?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Nov 22,2012 - Last updated at Nov 22,2012

It takes more than a flashy smartphone and a fast ADSL line to be trendy — that is in the high-tech world at least.

So you got one of these classy and expensive smartphones, say an Apple iPhone 5 or a Samsung Galaxy S3, and your home ADSL subscription is a good 24 megabits. Is it enough to put you at the forefront of high-tech or to let you show off? Maybe not.

There’s a set of other indicators that are more relevant to tell how high-tech you really are. You don’t have necessary to own or use all of these devices and services, but it sure helps to get most of them. In the worst-case scenario make sure you know about them and are able to discuss the subject in public.

More and more laptops now come fitted with SSD (Solid State Drive) disks, instead of the conventional hard disk drive model. SSDs have no mechanical moving parts and therefore work silently and at lightning speed, what’s more. Acquiring a laptop with SSD is a good way to tell your friends that you know where technology is going to — no argument about that.

SSD prices have significantly dropped over the last two years. Currently the cost per gigabyte is about $0.50. In comparison, the cost per gigabyte of a conventional HDD is $0.10 — still five times less expensive than SSD.

To sound absolutely in, you can also mention the upcoming hybrid systems, yes like cars in a certain way. Hybrid computers will be sporting an SSD for the main operating system (Windows, iOS, Linux…) as well as for the applications and all these programmes that need to be quickly loaded in memory and running. Another drive, an HDD, will be used for your own data, so as to ensure higher reliability of storage for it. SSD is to HDD what electric battery is to gasoline.

Despite the pros and cons of cloud storage and service, there seems to be no way to escape the trend. You may trust the concept or not, you may like it or you may fear it, you should be using it by now even if in a conservative way. Users of smartphones in particular find it very convenient to have a copy of the handset’s contents in the cloud, in case of loss, theft or accident.

Storing your data in the cloud and then being able to access it from any machine, anywhere, is a benefit than cannot be overlooked.

Dye sublimation printers and USB3.0 connection are now two well-established standards. Both make a significant different when used. Dye sublimation technology produces photo prints that no inkjet can surpass in terms of realism, and USB3.0 external hard disks move your data so fast that you’ll be glad you saved precious time.

Do you still “type” your phone text messages? Voice recognition has been greatly improved since it started and now does wonders on portable devices. Even in a noisy environment, I found the one I use on my smartphone to be very convenient and a valued time saver.

A sometimes neglected aspect of technology, especially amongst non-technical users, is the remote access to other computers. There are several products that let you nicely connect to another computer over the Internet, whether it is to help a friend fix a problem without going to him, to transfer files from machine to machine, or simply to work remotely, for example, on your office computer while staying at home.

TeamViewer, VNC, and of course Microsoft’s Remote Desktop that is built in Windows, are some of the excellent products that can be used for remote computer access. Naturally the faster your Internet connection and the more pleasurable the experience.

Last but not least comes the question, the almost taboo subject of “The Latest Version” of whatever software you may be using. Whereas some make it a point to run the very latest version of a given software product, others stay way behind. I do not think it is important to have the very latest, but being more than one or two versions behind would be too much!

For instance, Microsoft’s latest upcoming Office Suite is version 2013. You may be using the previous one, Office 2010, it would be commendable. Even running the one before, that is Office 2007, would still be acceptable. But using Office 2003... it would like watching TV programmes on a black and white CRT set.

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