You Don’t Have To Be Rich To Be A PC Gamer

You Don’t Have To Be Rich To Be A PC Gamer

by: Nathan Holsing

There is a common misconception that you have to take out a second mortgage on your house if you want to get a computer that will run all of the latest and greatest games. I don’t know who started the rumor that you need to spend $3000 to get a gaming computer. The truth is, if you are smart about it, you can easily afford to get a highend gaming computer. Here are a few simple rules to follow to put a gaming computer within reach.

Rule 1. Never buy the newest technology.

I know we all want to be the guy or girl with the newest toy, but you will never be able to keep up with technology. That topoftheline graphics card that came out today will be old news in just a couple of months and a new one will be released that is กso much betterก. Guess what happens to the price of the new graphics card you just broke the bank on? It dropped by about 50%. If you would have just been patient you could have purchased it for a fraction of the cost.

Rule 2. You only have to keep up with the software.

Rule 2 closely correlates to Rule 1. It usually takes software companies two years, give or take, to develop a new game. During this time there are new technology breakthroughs. If they went back and reengineered the game every time a new processor or a new graphics card came out, the game would never be released. Another important factor is that they want the game to be available to the largest number of consumers. For this reason they do their best to make sure the game can be played on a wide variety of systems. Check out the system requirements for some of the more popular games. A 1.8GHz processor and a Direct X 9 compatible graphics card will run just about everything out there. Granted you might have to turn some of the settings down but it will run it.

Once you reach a certain point the added performance of the new technology is noticeable. For example, the Athlon 64 chip has been out for more than a year, yet there are very few applications that require a 64 bit processor. If you check out benchmarks on the new PCI Express graphics cards you will see that they are running games at 300+ frames per second. When you watch a movie it runs at roughly 60 frames per second. A game will still run relatively smoothly at 20 frames per second. Basically anything over 60 frames per second likely will not be perceived while playing the game. You will only see the difference in your benchmark programs.

Rule 3. Build Your Own Computer

This is important for two reasons. First, you can be assured of better quality components when you pick everything out on your own. When you buy an offtheshelf system, chances are you are getting a big name CPU and everything else is most likely generic. Do you know what motherboard, power supply, or type of RAM you are getting? This of course, is my personal opinion, Iกm not saying every manufacturer builds sub standard machines, but from experience Iกve had greater longevity from the computers Iกve built myself. Iกve also noticed that you will often get little system memory, unless you pay a great deal more for it. You will often get 256MB of RAM with these base system. Windows XP will run, but likely with problems, on 256MB of RAM. It seems to be the most stable with 512MB or more. Other areas they cut costs is by using integrated graphics chips. This saves them having to put in a graphics card, but you will pay the price for it when you try to play a game.

The second reason to build your own computer is that you can cut your costs by stealing parts from your old computer. You can save hundreds of dollars by reusing the drives, case, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Plus, you don’t have to worry about calling a technician to install RAM or a new graphics card because youกll already know how to do it.

How Much Can You Build A Computer For?

I just checked out some pricing and you can build a very nice midrange gaming computer for around $600$700 using an AMD Athlon 64 3000+. If you can steal a DVD drive from your old computer and maybe the case, you can bring the cost down even more. You can build a highend machine for under $1000. The internet is full of useful websites about how to build computers. Look around and youกll find all the information you need. There are several books published about the topic as well. If you follow these simple rules and do a little research you can enjoy all of the best computer games even if you are on a shoestring budget.

About The Author

Nathan Holsing is the editor of a website that provides information regarding building computers, product reviews, and hardware buying guides.

[email protected]

This article was posted on April 13

by Nathan Holsing

The Critical Importance of Good Web Graphics to In

The Critical Importance of Good Web Graphics to Internet Marketing Profits

by: Ross Storey

There’s an old saying: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, but this hardly applies to the science of designing web graphics. Everybody judges web sites by their ‘cover’ or home page, have no doubt. Is your site giving out a professional, visual aura, or is it telling visitors that you built it yourself, because of bad design?

Ask yourself: Of the many thousands of web pages trying to sell you something, which are the ones that keep your interest? Which ones have convinced you to depart with your hardearned cash?

If you are honest, you will say the ones with the most attractive and professional graphics – the pretty pictures. Human nature determines that what catches your eye, and is pleasing to view, keeps your attention. Subconsciously or not, you make a judgment within seconds, on how professional is the website you are viewing. If the appearance of a site is amateurish, the owner can kiss goodbye to any potential buyers bothering to purchase.

Visual appeal is critical. Sure, current thinking is that you should focus more on the content, than on the pretty ‘bells and whistles’ for your website, but you must have professionallooking graphics. Like branding a business, your web site graphics, headers, footers, buttons etc. should all be in the same theme, the same colour scheme and consistent design.

If you want proof of the importance of this consistency, check out the ‘livery’ (a fancy word for the logos, design, colours and badgeing) of corporate giants like Microsoft and Nike. Most people in the western world know the Nike ‘tick’ logo instantly, almost as well as they know the slogan ‘Just Do it’. And the Microsoft logo and colour set must be the most familiar visual environment on the planet. Want to bet that Bill Gates’ people spent many millions on developing this set. In today’s digital publishing world, you can’t see the ‘bits’ and bytes’ so digital products must be represented by pretty ‘boxes’ and with carefully matched colour schemes for their sales sites. That’s why web designers produce those very familiar eBook covers and Program boxes, with the shadows and reflection effects.

Why do you think that hard copy book publishers make sure their covers are in well matched colours, and have good pictures and dramatic fonts?

Why do you think that so much work goes in to covers for videos and DVDs in your local video hire store? In the visual flak of such a store, there are hundreds of covers competing for attention, visually asking you to hire them. Check out your newsagent and see what effort magazine publishers put into the design of their front covers.

One the web, there are many millions of sites clamouring for attention.

And, despite the vast number of programs now available, like Adobe PhotoShop, and Jasc PaintShop Pro, good design is hardly a DIY skill. It requires creativity, expertise and, most importantly, time. This is why web designers, and their close cousins, banner, header and footer designers, can charge up to $50 for one good web page header, and more for a complete set. You’ll notice that there are many schools and colleges offering courses and degrees in design, so it’s not something that you will be able to pick up without study. So there’s the dilemma. You need good design, you’ll probably have to pay for it, but doing so will likely pay dividends.

About The Author

Ross Storey [email protected] is a completely bald (it’s fashionable), 52yearold public relations and marketing consultant who has been involved in web marketing and design for more than a decade.

(Please feel free to publish this article, so long as you keep this resource section complete)

[email protected]

This article was posted on August 03

by Ross Storey

Scrap Booking Online: Word Perfect or Corel Graphi

Scrap Booking Online: Word Perfect or Corel Graphics Suite?

by: Grannyกs Mettle

Scrapbooks are very popular these days. I think that almost everyone wanted to capture family histories and stories in any which way they can. And with the onset of digital technology, scrap booking has even extended to newsletters and journals with photos and illustrations online and in the email. Theyกve become so popular that itกs not surprising to receive an entire scrapbook from your relatives and friends and loved ones even across the globe.

With the advanced technology, people have been using graphic design and desktop publishing software to help them create wonderful and creative scrapbooks. Two of this wellknown software is CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 and WordPerfect Office Suite 12.

Each of the software has their own endearing qualities. Both applications are used to create newsletters as far as I know. But what software to choose? It all depends on what you want to create.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12

For graphicallyrich family history newsletter or time capsule, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 would be the ideal software as it is the easiest graphics suite available in the market today.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a vector editing program. This software is definitely for illustration, page layout, and vector drawing. It has the Corel PhotoPaint for bitmap editing of photos and images for that professional digital imaging look. It has hundreds of clip art photos and images to choose from, which you can overlay your own family photos on top. It also has Corel R.A.V.E. 3 for motiongraphics creation.

With the softwareกs features and vast collection of photos, clipart and fonts, you can create and design a professionallooking newsletter or a family history time capsule, and even a memorable album where you and your family will find the highlights of your life in wonderful and elegant designs made by you.

Corelกs WordPerfect Office 12

And if you’re the simple type, and you don’t want too much clutter, you can use Corelกs WordPerfect Office 12 to create a novisual and textbased newsletter. The software has an array of newsletter templates you can use to help you start right away with your newsletter. This so far, is the best alternative to Microsoft Office.

Better yet, why not use both software to help you create your scrap book? One freelance newsletter designer who specializes in genealogy utilizes both software because the combination makes him complete his design tasks twice as fast. กI can create graphics in CorelDRAW 12 and quickly pop them into all my textbased WordPerfect 12 office documents because switching between files is very easy,ก he relates. This is made possible by the tools in both the software that reduce the number of steps required to finish his jobs.

He adds that what makes it more worthwhile is that aside from saving time, finger movements on the mouth is also reduced, thereby reducing cramps and strains from the fingers to the wrist.

About The Author

Grannyกs Mettle is a 30something, professional web content writer. She has created various web content on a diverse range of topics, which includes digital printing topics, medical news, as well as legal issues. Her articles are composed of reviews, suggestions, tips and more for the printing and designing industry.

Her thoughts on writing: กWriting gives me pleasure… pleasure and excitement that you have created something to share with others. And with the wide world of the Internet, it gives me great satisfaction that my articles reach more people in the quickest time you could imagine.ก

On her spare time, she loves to stay at home, reading books on just about any topic she fancies, cooking a great meal, and taking care of her husband and kids.

For comments and inquiries about the article visit

[email protected]

This article was posted on April 11

by Grannyกs Mettle

Designing Professional Web Pages

Designing Professional Web Pages

by: Joanne Glasspoole

If your Web site doesn’t project a professional and polished image to your visitors, your credibility and that of your products and services will suffer. Image is everything especially online where your competitor is only one mouse click away!

Before your first HTML code is written, you will need to consider your Web siteกs navigational structure, color scheme and page layout. Is your content developed? If not, who is going to write it?

Once you have done the necessary preplanning, then the fun part begins coding your HTML pages.

Following are some steps to consider when laying out your Web pages:

I highly recommend that you try to get your home page to fit on one screen. Ideally, people shouldn’t have to scroll down to see what your site has to offer. You may need to make your graphics smaller, but thatกs okay. Smaller graphics mean a quicker download time.

Be sure to check your pages at all the various screen resolutions. Although only a small percentage of users have their monitors set at 640×480, you will want to make sure your site looks good at that resolution. I design my Web pagesat 800×600, which is the average resolution. However, more and more users have their computer monitors set at higher resolutions, such as 1024×728. You will see that your pages will look radically different depending on the resolution. I personally have been horrified at how ugly my "beautiful" pages look on different computer screens.

Browsers are another very important consideration. Netscape and Internet Explorer both perform the same function display Web pages but the way they do so is strikingly different.

Your code needs to be very clean and pretty much flawlessto display correctly on Netscape. If you miss even one table tag (e.g., you forget to close a <td> tag), you will be mighty surprised when you get nothing but a blank page on Netscape.

Internet Explorer is much more forgiving. It "assumes" what you meant to do. Netscape, on the other hand, is unassuming. If it doesn’t understand your code, it simply will not display it.

NOTE: An excellent site to check your HTML code for browser compatibility, as well as screen size, is at

You will no doubt want to employ JavaScript and DHTML on your site because itกs both functional and cool. However, those technologies work better on Internet Explorer than they do on Netscape. Many of the scripts that you can grab for free at sites like Dynamic Drive DHTML ( and Website Abstraction ( are written exclusively for Internet Explorer, so you will need to be very careful when deciding what to use on your Web site.

For example, on one of my sites I use a JavaScript to display the date and time. This script is supposed to work on both Internet Explorer and Netscape; however, a couple of days ago I noticed that the year on Netscape was 100 versus 2000. A 1,900 year variance is a pretty significant difference!

The titles on all of your Web pages need to be consistent not only in font style, size and color but also alignment. Make sure the spacing between the title and the first paragraph is consistent throughout your site. Make sure your spacing is uniform on all pages.

If your navigation is dependent on graphics (e.g., image maps, icons, buttons, Java, JavaScript), some of your visitors will have a problem getting around your site if their browser doesn’t display graphics, or if theyกve chosen to turn graphics off on their browser settings for faster surfing. It is extremely important to provide text links in addition to graphic links. All of your users will see your text links, plus text loads faster than graphics.

It is an excellent idea to make your logo a clickable link back to your home page from all of the pages of your Web site. Many visitors expect to be able to use the logo to go back home. Don’t forget to also include a text link to your home page.

These are only a few considerations in designing your Web pages, but they are very important. Don’t let your beautiful pages look ugly on your visitorกs computer screen.

If you are like me, you will find these issues among the most challenging aspects of designing professional Web sites.

About The Author

Joanne Glasspoole is a Webmaster and freelance Web designer. Visit her Web site for Internet and technology news, insightful articles, and links to excellent Webmaster resources to help you grow your online business.

This article was posted on February 2, 2002

by Joanne Glasspoole

Creating A Web Page That Sells A Look At Graphic

Creating A Web Page That Sells A Look At Graphics and Copywriting

by: Patrick Mahoney

This is a response to a client that we have been working with, and a website they are building that will sell an eBook on กHair Styling Tipsก. We thought the information was important and relevant enough to include in this months newsletter.


The website that weกll be dealing with sells an eBook based on hair styling tips, but these concepts should translate very easily into any website that sells a product or service.

In this article, we touch on subjects such as:

The use of graphics on a web page

Copywriting insights

Web Page Headlines

Benefits, not features

And more.

Our hope and desire is that you find this article of value, and that you find thoughts and ideas you can put to use in your own online business.

Let us begin…


Copywriting is probably one of the most misunderstood elements of marketing, and I am not going to claim I know it all. Website copywriting is more than just your typical กonelinersก that we see so much in todayกs Internet marketing arena.

Iกve learned a couple of lessons over the past few years that are usually pretty tough for people to get ahold of, and most of them I have learned from my beautiful wife Marsha.

My wife Marsha has been a hair stylist for over 22 years, and for more then 18 of those years has managed one of the largest hair styling salons here in Ohio.

Iกve learned more about advertising from her then I ever have from any Internet guru, although thatกs not to say we cannot learn from them. กInternet guruกs that isก

Here are our suggestions for the copywriting on your web page.

The first thing to understand is:

People/Customers only care about themselves.

At first, at least until the customer gets to know you a little better, they are only concerned about one thing, and that is กwhats in it for meก.

Think about these thoughts for a moment:

I want to feel better

I want to look better

I want people attracted to me

I want more money

I want to be accepted

And there are many more thoughts that run through our minds as human beings everyday. They are all natural thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and everybody has them, although some may not admit to it.

Also, we must understand why people buy things. Do we as shoppers buy what is needed in life, or do we buy what makes us feel good, look better, feel happier, etc?

If we think about this for awhile, and think about it with honesty, we will find that 98% of the time that we are buying something, itกs because we think that it will make us feel good, be happier, or look better in some way.

With that being said, now we can ask ourselves what is it about our copy that presents something to our customers that will benefit them in some way?

If I am selling a book on ‘tips for quick and easy hair styling solutionsก, then I am going to put myself in my customers shoes, and ask what is it that is going to catch my attention?

If I write something like the following:

Hello, my name is Marsha, and Iกve been a hair stylist for more then 20 years now, and I guess you could say, I know a little something when it comes to hair styling.

And I would continue on here with more about what I know, etc.

As a potential customer, would you really care to read anymore? Most likely not.

But, what if I were to write the following:

Give me just 5 minutes, and Iกll show you 5 simple tips you can use to have the most beautiful, full bodied hair youกve ever seen… And Iกll teach you how to do it in as little as 7 minutes a day.

or how about this one…

Imagine, you wake up in the morning, wash your hair, and just 7 minutes later youกve got the most full bodied, beautiful hair youกve ever seen… Warning, don’t be surprised when you get more attention at the office today.

And there are many more ideas, but the bottom line is, what one of these would grab your attention, and make you want to read more?

When writing anything on your website, always think กcustomer BENEFITSก.

Again, we can help more in these areas if you want them, but the greatest single gift we can give you to help convert visitors to sales is to teach you to sell benefits, not features.


Graphics on websites are a heavily debated issue, although we feel very strongly that they shouldn’t be, and hereกs why.

It all depends on what your selling or trying to sell.

Internet marketing information based products do not need all of the graphical content as would a company trying to sell a new video game for the Play Station, Game Boy, or any of the game boxes available.

These types of customers want to see what they’re buying before they shell out $50 or more for that กnext big gameก.

Internet marketers are looking for usable information on how to market their businesses online. They typically do not need the graphic intensive website design that a game company would.

BUT, we also have to remember that just because we may not classify ourselves as a ‘typicalก Internet marketer, we are never the less marketing our products on the Internet, whether or not they are PC games, Internet marketing information products, or how to best style your hair.

With that being said, what we need to find is a กmiddleก ground that will lend itself to our products and services.

Back to our hair style website idea, I would recommend the following, which we feel will lend itself greatly to enhancing the กoverallก effect, and would help increase sales of your product.


1) Thinking back to our กCopywritingก insights, and the natural human emotion of wanting to look better or feel that we are กattractiveก, it would play in nicely to have a few pictures of very attractive people peppered throughout the website or sales page.

We would suggest that these images would lend themselves to the content at very precise moments, and help add กeffectก to what is being stated.


If your explaining how they will learn that they can have better, more natural, fullbodied hair, then you might want to add a small, but very clear image of a beautiful woman throwing her hair back. This image would be of a woman with กfullbodiedก hair, and of medium length.

Focus on a picture that you, yourself may feel deeply inside that กIกd sure love hair like thatก. You need to find that กemotionalก moment, and then use it to your copywritingกs advantage.

2) It has been shown that by adding a 3D graphical image of your book or eBook can increase sales by as much as 300% and more.

It has been found that this gives the potential customers กsubconsciousก mind something to hold on to and feel.


Touch is something that we as marketers lack greatly on the Internet, and we see no such abilities of this in our foreseeable future.

The only option we have at this point are graphics, and images, along with sound.

We know that graphics and images, along with proper copywriting skills can sell a lot of products. We know this to be fact for the simple reason that we witness this type of content everyday, all day through TV commercials.

How do we know this to be fact?

No one would spend the billions of dollars they do, each year, creating TV commercials if they did not increase the sales of their products.


Without mentioning a name, have you seen the TV commercials where the women who wash their hair with a certain hair care product, seem to be in Ecstasy?

OOohh, AAaahhh, Oh Yes, Yes, YES!!!

Sound familiar?

And do we honestly believe, that if those commercials did not increase sales of that product, that this company would really spend the millions of dollars a year they spend for them?

Of course not. Spending with no return on investment is the fast way to kill a company.


There are many more areas that will help create and generate more sales from a website, and we have hardly scratched the surface here.

But, you should be able to pull out the beginnings of a very good start at creating a website that can generate revenue very early on.

We must come to understand, that although there may be ideas, and thoughts that seem foreign to us, and some may even feel uncomfortable, if we want to create sales, we will have to overcome some of those boundaries within ourselves.


Whatever you decide to do, one thing to remember is, itกs one thing to focus on benefits, and peoples emotions, but a completely different thing to lie.

We never suggest lying to customers.

If a product cannot produce the results that the sales page says it can, then the sales page needs to be changed to fit the product.

If not, customers will not be happy, it can ruin a business, and people who do it can get into more trouble then it has ever been worth.

Focus on benefits in your sales copy, a website that is fresh and new (not a lookalike), build brand awareness, and customer service, and you will have the beginnings of a great website, and online business.

About The Author

Patrick & Marsha Mahoney are successful online business owners, and entrepreneurs. They can build you a custom minisite design that creates your own look and feel, can develop brand awareness, and help produce higher sales of your products. Their website can be found at:

This article is part of their กProfit Builders eNewsก publication. You can join their newsletter at:

This article may be used as content on your website, newsletter, and ezine publications, so long as the resource box above stays intact with this article. You may however, remove this statement.

This article was posted on August 02, 2004

by Patrick Mahoney

The Smallest Is The Best!.. As Long As It Serves I

The Smallest Is The Best!.. As Long As It Serves Its Purpose.

by: Decebal Scraba

It is true! In graphics optimization, seen as a part of website optimization, the smallest is the best. Of course, the element in question should still serve its purpose of being the expression of an idea. Furthermore, it should be understandable, clear, suggestive and goodlooking. Letกs see together which could be the right choices (in terms of web graphics optimization) when we decide what type of graphics we’ll use on a website.

What kinds of web graphics are present on the Internet?

When it comes to their origin, there are two types of graphic digital files: vector graphics (created with software tools like Corel DrawTM , FreehandTM etc.) and raster graphics (photographs, 3D renders and any other type of bitmap files). Most of the web sites on the World Wide Web hold as graphic elements bitmaptype graphics in three different formats: GIF (standing for Graphics Interchange Format), JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics). All these 3 types use different compression algoritms to considerably reduce the size of the graphic file. Because PNG is not so popular, I hope that you will forgive me if I stick to GIF and JEG in my article. Probably you already know a lot about these (or you can browse the web and find plenty of information) so I’ll get directly to the choices we must make when it comes to design our web site.

How many colors should we use for our web graphics?

What type of bitmap files will hold our web graphics?

Some specialists say that we should always go with JPEG, because it supports 16 milion colors and produces quite small files. Well, this is not entirely true, I think. I can only tell you for sure that we don’t have to go with the same type all over our website. How’s that? Let’s see!

When should we go with GIF?

for graphics with fewer colors: web logos, cartoonlike drawings and lineart (pure black and white) drawings; whenever it is OK to use for our graphics the 256 colors pallette (or even the 216 “safe” colors pallette)

for grayscale pictures with less halftones (with big contrast)

for graphics with smaller screen size (even if with many colors) which rely on details; GIF format compression is lossless and keeps sharp contours and clear definition between areas filled with different colors;

when we need the “Transparency” option of GIF Format, e.g. when a graphic should have a nonrectangular shape and/or we want to discard its background

whenever an image saved in GIF format is smaller than one saved as JPEG, both images being at a comparable level of quality when displayed

generally, for vectorgenerated graphics (unless they have blending and/or gradient fills)

When to use JPEG format?

for color images with 16 milion colors and many halftones (photographs, 3D render output files, any other images with continuoustones)

for grayscale images which rely on subtle halftones

for graphics/images with big screen size where colors and shades are more important than contours, outlines and boundaries

whenever an image saved in JPEG format is smaller than one saved as GIF, both images being at a comparable level of quality when displayed

generally, for photographs and similar images

Which are the inconveniences of each format?

From my point of view, these are the main limitations for GIF and for JPEG formats:

For GIF: limited number of colors (it can show 16 milion colors, but only in dithered mode, which I do not recommend)

For JPEG: compression is done by reducing quality of the graphics (loss of sharpness, “hair filaments”, “pixelate” areas etc.)

Whatever format you choose, when it comes to graphics optimization as a part of website optimization, the SMALLEST is the BEST! Beside the format choice, keep in mind some tips when you create and optimize your web graphics:

Minimize the screen size of your graphics to the point where it is still clear and suggestive.

Try and try again saving a graphic in one of the two formats, at different quality levels (for JPEG) and different number of colors (for GIF). Do this until you find the best size / quality ratio that fits your needs.

Use vector graphics software and limit the number of colors when you create the nonphotographic graphics for your website.

Put emphasis on shape, contour, silhouette and contrast when creating / processing your graphics.

Choose carefully the resizing method in your image processor when you change the size / resolution of your graphics “antialias” is not always the best choice.

I hope that this article will help you in your work and always keep in mind that, when it comes to graphics optimization and website optimization, the smallest is the best as long as it serves its purpose.

Decebal (Dudi) Scraba

About The Author

Copyright 2005 Decebal (Dudi) Scraba

Graphic Designer since 1994, Web Designer and Website Optimization Specialist

[email protected]

This article was posted on January 09

by Decebal Scraba

Why Build Your Own Gaming Computer?

Why Build Your Own Gaming Computer?

by: Nathan Holsing

The best way to get the gaming computer that you want, that will provide optimum performance is to build your own computer. If you think you do not have the technical knowledge or are not capable of building a computer you are wrong. Iกm pretty certain that I could teach my mother (who has a hard time working a VCR) how to build a computer. If you can plug a sweeper into a wall outlet and use a screw driver, you too can build a computer.

What The Computer Manufacturers Don’t Want You to Know!

Manufacturers don’t want you to know how easy it is to build a computer because they make their living selling complete computers. The truth is that manufacturers focus on selling a computer with an overall low price tag to entice people to buy. They use the processor and software as the primary selling point. In most cases other than the processor and maybe the graphics card you have no idea what components they actually use. Alienware is one of the rare exceptions. They tell you for the most, part what components they are using. However, this doesn’t mean that these are the best components on the market. Every manufacturer gets regular visits from sales people convincing them that they should use their products. Just because a company gives them the best deal on a power supply that allows them to increase their profit margin on the computers they sell doesn’t make it the best power supply. This often leads to the use of inferior products for the sake of profit.

The Advantages To Building Your Own Computer

By building your own computer you are assured of getting the highest quality because you have painstakingly researched every component. If youกve ever wondered why your store bought gaming computer with the top of the line graphics card and ultra fast CPU is still having trouble running newer games, it is likely because they stuck you with an inferior power supply, cheap motherboard, inadequate RAM, and the list goes on. In my mind it makes sense to build your own computer.

Warranties and Technical Support

If you are worried about warranties, you need not be. In most cases you can get a manufacturers warranty on every component you buy. As for technical support, Iกve had much better luck with getting questions answered through friendly helpful forums on the internet than I ever have from technical support lines. Not to mention you don’t have to pay to sit on hold.

Upgrades Are Painless And Fast

When you build your own computer upgrades are a snap. Youกve already put it together so switching a hard drive or changing the graphics card is extremely easy. For instance I just upgraded my graphics card. It took me longer to unplug everything from the back of my tower than it did to swap the graphics card. All in all I was up and running with the new drivers installed in about 10 minutes. If you are impatient like I am taking your machine to a store to have it upgraded just isn’t worth the wait.

How To Build Your Own Computer

I hope Iกve convinced you to build your own computer. It is a very rewarding experience. As Iกve said it isn’t very difficult. I do however recommend that you do your research. There are several good books published on the topic such as กBuild Your Own PCก, by Morris Rosenthal. You can also find a great deal of information regarding building computers and computer hardware at my website Good luck with your computer, and remember, if you ever run into problems building it there are thousands of people on the Net that are more than willing to help, and they won’t charge you a technicianกs service fee.

About The Author

Nathan Holsing is the editor of, a website that provides information on computer hardware, buying guides, and tutorial on how to build computers.

[email protected]

This article was posted on April 09

by Nathan Holsing

Beautiful Web Sites Seldom Make More Sales

Beautiful Web Sites Seldom Make More Sales

by: Vishal P. Rao

Designing an Ecommerce Web site is not as simple as having a กprettyก site that is a pleasure to visit. While it is important to have an attractive site, as much thought must be given to functionality as to appearance.
Many Web designers seem to focus more on appearance than functionality, and while an attractive site is helpful, visitors that become frustrated by the inability of a site to function well, will leave almost immediately, never to return!
Just as important in designing an ecommercestyle Web site, is a somewhat basic knowledge of Web site design, with some simple design skills included. While a thorough knowledge of design and functionality is not important, designing an ecommerce site does have some requirements, or else youกll always find yourself going back relentlessly and changing the features and functionality in a vain effort to stay abreast of your site visitorกs needs.
Ecommerce sites need to focus on some main areas of functionality in order to ensure maximum sales:
1. Load time, page size, and navigability. Slowly loading pages, overly large or small pages, and difficult navigation will only frustrate visitors. Visitors should never have to กwaitก for a page to load, should never have to scroll back and forth in order to read a page, nor should they have to กsearchก relentlessly for the information they want in order to purchase. Clean, simple lines, with fast loading, well laid out pages, make the most sales.
Hereกs a great service to check your Web site load time:
This one actually pings your Web site from different locations worldwide and returns the average load time for your site, instead of simply returning a theoretical value based on the size of your Web page.
2. Less use of graphics. While graphics are pleasant and intriguing, they don’t necessarily achieve more sales. The opposite may be true if too many graphics are used. A page that is graphics heavy loads more slowly and the graphics themselves may take the visitorsก minds off the main purpose of the site, i. e. กsalesก. If graphics are used at all, they should be optimized for Web placement, and reduced to the smallest size possible for viewing. Most graphics can easily be reduced by approximately twenty percent without affecting the quality of the graphics.
Hereกs a neat tool for optimizing your Web site graphics if you are not very familiar with graphics software:
3. The use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS effectively eliminates the need of entering repetitive tags like FONT, reducing your page size significantly. Such tags can consume up to 57% of your page size. Imagine how much bandwidth youกll save if your Web site has more than 100 pages!
4. Breaking the site up into smaller tables as opposed to enclosing the entire body of a site in one large table. This technique enables the page to load in progression rather than make your visitor stare at a blank screen until the page is fully loaded. This is an often overlooked aspect.
5. Use of sitemaps. Sitemaps not only increase rankings and placement within the Search Engines, they effectively give visitors a กguideก by which to view the site, and eliminate confusion on larger sites, such as ecommerce sites. A site map is what its name implies, a road map for your visitors to follow while they are on your site. Itกs also a road map for the Search Engines, so a site map serves two very important purposes on an ecommerce site.
6. Content that is keyword rich and wellwritten will aid in placement within the Search Engines, and keep visitors on a site long enough to purchase. Horribly written sites drive visitors away, while the lack of keywords negatively affects placement and rankings. The writing on any site is the FIRST IMPRESSION potential customers have of you and your products or services, so paying strict attention to the content usually engenders additional sales.
7. Keyword rich title tags will increase traffic overall, and more traffic, of course, means more sales. Title tags help with placement and rankings. Appropriate keywords should also be used for linking internal pages, as this also helps with rankings. Since ecommerce sites are for the most part, larger than personal pages, or other types of sites, the internal linking does lead to more effective initial indexing by the Search Engines also. Care should also be given to the กaltก tags that surround all pictures of products, as nonoptimized กaltก tags can lead to poor rankings and placement.
8. Ecommerce databases and purchasing procedures that are user friendly. Nothing is more frustrating to future buyers than databases or purchase procedures, that are difficult to use, or that keep going down throughout the process of purchase. A database and purchase procedure, should be easy to use, yet reliable enough to prevent lost sales, or lost monies from sales.
9. A security feature that ensures visitors that personal information is กsafe and secureก within the confines of the Web site and that reassures them that their personal information will not be shared nor sold. This is a major concern of online visitors, as the Web is such an กanonymousก type of medium, so any กassurancesก as to safety and security will benefit sales.
10. A thankyou page that is presented immediately upon ordering. This ensures ‘return purchasesก as being courteous and polite is always in style and does leave an overall good impression on visitors!
All in all, an ecommerce Web site is significantly different than a personal Home page, or pages of a nonprofit organization. The focus of the design and navigation, as well as all other aspects need to focus on the primary purpose of the site, and that of course, is the SALES!

About The Author

Vishal P. Rao is the editor of A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a home based business. He is also the owner of the an online community of folks who work at home.

This article was posted on June 09, 2004

by Vishal P. Rao

The Future of Video Games

The Future of Video Games

by: Daniel Punch

I’ve recently been thinking about where video games could be going in the future. I’m hoping to work in the game industry one day after I’ve finished university study and I’ve been wondering about it a lot. What do I want to see happen in the future? Well I may not have too many answers right now, but I have come up with a few ideas that I think may come into ‘play’ in the not too distant future.

Firstly forget Virtual Reality, as we know it. They’ve tried VR goggles and they made a lot of people sick in doing so. It’s probably never going to work very well in its current form. They’re still around and you can still buy them but they really don’t seem to be taking off. It will probably take a lot to get people totally immersed and involved in a new form of game play. It’s threatening to lose touch with the outside world and the people around you aren’t going to appreciate it much either. The Scifi neural implants are also both a long way off and not likely to be accepted by a majority of the general populace without some severe marketing and luck. I for one am not planning on going through brain surgery just to have a computer attached to my head. In fact I never want anyone to able to plug into my brain.

A technology that was brought to my attention by a zealous presenter at the local ‘Science and Technology Centre’ (a sort of science museum aimed at making science fun for children and juvenile adults such as yours truly) is that of ‘Augmented Reality’. Augmented Reality is essentially the overlaying of virtual elements onto the real world, such as a pair of transparent glasses that can display certain elements over the top of what is actually there. I agree with the presenter in that this could indeed have some awesome potential. Forget all the socially beneficial applications such as workmen being able to view underground pipes before digging, think about it from a games point of view. This technology could provide gamers with the ability to run around looking like complete idiots shooting at things that aren’t actually there and that no one else can see, kind of like in the film ‘They Live!’ The upside to this is that it would be a lot of fun. A group of people from the University of South Australia created the ‘ARQuake’ project,, merging the classic shooter Quake with this Augmented Reality technology. Again, this technology may not ever become overly popular, but it would be entertaining to play with.

Technology has driven the games industry for a long time with new games always trying to keep one step ahead of the competition. It started way back at the dawn of technology and it continues to this day. 2D graphics gave way to 3D and 3D is becoming ever better. Graphics are starting to lose the ability to impress like they once did. The step between Quake 2 and 3 was amazing, but DOOM 3 while being visually very impressive isn’t leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors in the same way new games used to be. 2D graphics encountered a similar problem; there comes a point where you just can’t do much more with graphics technology. It is this that turns graphics from striving for technological achievement to becoming art. It is my hope that we will start turning away from tech demos and return to game play and making great entertainment. Games such as Zelda: The Wind Waker or The Sims that strive to show greater depth of character through simplifying the game enough to portray emotions will hopefully become more common (and more fun… but that’s just one person’s view…). Technology plays a certain part in the conveying of emotions and story but it’s quite hard to focus on everything at once. When technology is easier and less essential to game sales we’ll hopefully see an increase in games that cast a lasting impression.

Somewhat unfortunately the rise of the ‘Casual Gamer’ will probably lead to more simplistic games being released. While personally I would love to see depth of story and characters, there are a significant number of players out there who want to pick up a game for twenty minutes or so, have a bit of fun, and then put it down until another time. These gamers are generally less interested in the latest greatest technology and more interested in a ‘fast food’ kind of entertainment that satisfies the moment, despite the lack of quality or the lasting effects. Hopefully the two game types can coexist peacefully although recently it has been seen that some developers are cutting down on some of the planned depth of a title in order to accommodate the more casual gamer.

As technology pushes forwards boundaries are slowly being broken down between systems. We saw the Bleemcast a few years back enabling the running of Playstation games on the Dreamcast, and the PC is able to run almost anything given the right emulation software. Consoles are able to emulate other consoles and new consoles are being announced that promise the ability to play PC games. The Xbox 2 is reported to have a model in planning that comes in a PC case and with the ability to run both PC software and Xbox software. Macs can emulate Windows software and viceversa. We’ll probably start seeing less of a distinction between consoles and PCs as the price of technology continues to drop and consoles continue to become more and more powerful and able to compete with the more expensive computers. Ideally we’ll see a single platform come into prominence so that everything can be run without purchasing a copious number of different machines, although that does have a downside in that it can establish a monopoly for one particular company.

The technology price drop and increase in power has also lead to more powerful handheld machines than before. Real games, not just simple toys are now available for the portable market. The advent of PDAs and mobile phones with the ability to play games raises awareness of portable gaming and new competitors are starting to get in on the field that was once primarily dominated by Nintendo’s GameBoy. There is a new product, the gp32, that can run many different emulators and hence, many different system’s games (including some PC games).

I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen but these are just a few ideas that I’ve had recently. Hopefully the games industry will continue to strive towards new heights with new and interesting game play, stories, characters and ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next few years.

About The Author

Daniel Punch


[email protected]

This article was posted on February 28

by Daniel Punch

How to Create a Professional Website In Less Than

How to Create a Professional Website In Less Than a Week

by: Andre Grisby

Hereกs a really simple way… any novice can create a fully functional website in less than a week.

Websites are the wave of the future. Although many companies are using an online presence to drive business to their brick and mortar stores, many hobbyists also tend to have a bit of interest in developing their own online presence as well. Developing a website from scratch can be rather expensive, but armed with the right tools, and given a little instruction, anyone can develop a professional website in less than a week.

One thing you must always remember is that anyone trying to do a particular job should be armed with the right tools. Having the right tools will definitely make your project a bit easier to complete.

I guess you are scratching your head wondering what type of tools I would be talking about. You see when you are developing a website, you become a builder, a painter, or an artist. You are taking an idea from your head and transforming it into a digital image so to speak. Just as if you were going to build a home from the ground up, take a paint brush and create a masterpiece painting, or take a piece of clay and create a winning statue, you need the right tools to do the right job.

The tools Iกm referring to are web graphics software, web design software, and ftp (file transfer protocol)software. These are tools are a must if you want to get off on the right foot. There are so many of these types of programs that you must really do your homework in order to purchase the one the best fits your needs. Some of these programs can even be downloaded for free. Each program focuses on a particular task. The graphics software helps you create images for your website from scratch. The web design software in short helps you to design and build a website from scratch. The file transfer protocol software is you link to sending your completed web pages from you computer to the internet.

Day one should be focused on purchasing cyber ‘real estateก, and purchasing a name for that real estate.

Building a website is like building a new house. You have to purchase the land and then you can purchase the materials to build the home on the land. Letกs take a look at this. Every website has a so called name. Example This is called the domain name. There are many places that you can purchase cheap domain names. They usually run under $10 dollars and are good for about a year. Once you have the domain name you can start looking for a place to host you website. There are many hosting companies that are popping up on a daily basis. Hosting can be dirt cheap or it can be rather expensive. It all depends on the quality of service you receive from the company. Hereกs another area you should consider researching before you make a purchase.

Day two should be focused on the whole planning aspect of your website.

The planning aspect of your website should be focused on the objective of your website, the audience you are trying to target, and how your competition is doing in the market. Focusing on the objective simply means to think about what you are trying to accomplish with your website. Your goals and accomplishments should fall into this category. You should also be trying to focus on a target market. Many internet marketers feel that you should focus on a niche market. Remember that the internet is a big playing field. A beginner will get lost in the crowd trying to cover several areas. Instead, try and focus on something with less competition but enough competition to stay in business. Targeting a specific market or niche market is basically the audience you are trying to win over.

Day two should also be focused on the look and feel of your website. For example, you should have a mental image of how you want your website should look. It would be safe to say that you could even sketch out a raw diagram of how you want things to look. Pay attention to the color scheme as well. remember that all colors do not coordinate with one another.

Day three should be focused on the type of graphics you plan on using.

In all honesty, web graphics can make or break the success of your online presence. The internet is all about information and speed. Itกs like going to a fast food restaurant. You go their because you something quick to eat. The internet is similar. A fast loading website will beat out any other website hands down any day. In order to have a fast loading website you must keep your image graphics file size down to a minimum. The more clutter or bells and whistles you add to your site, the faster it will take to load. There are several website design programs out their that will let you know how long it would normally take for you page to load up. Shrinking the file size, saving it in different formats, and even cropping the image can cut seconds off your loading time.

If you want to save money, you can purchase a graphics program and make images and logos on your own. If you are a bit scared of the venture, you have the option of hiring someone to do the job for you. Whatever choice you make, always do your research for the best details and outstanding customer support.

Here we are on day four. Only one day left. Creating your web pages.

This is basically the meat and bones of any website. For the most part, an easy way to build a website is to use what is called a template. Basically a template is a preset model used to create a number of different pages. It saves you time and headaches. Once you find the look and feel of your website, you use that interface as a preset model to help you move along more smoothly. There are many html editors that can help you do this quicker than usual. One thing to remember is that using an html editor prevents you from dealing with actual html coding. Basically what Iกm getting at is you don’t really need to know html when using an html editor.

You want to focus on building links, inserting and formatting text, and focusing on building your other pages throughout your site. Day four is the day where everything starts coming together. Take your time on this day. Don’t rush anything. Make sure you are satisfied with one step before moving on. Your website is basically a mirror image of what you stand for. It will reflect on your work ethic and personality.

Congratulations you made it to day five. Give yourself a pat on the back. This day is spent publishing your website to the world.

This is where all you work is tied together and presented in a nice package. In order to do this you need some type of ftp software. In technical terms itกs called File Transfer Protocol. This is how you transfer your web page files and graphics from your computer to your hosting company. The procedure is rather simple. You basically use a point and click interface. You highlight the file you want to transfer and hit upload or send. The software is rather selfexplanatory. Once the site is up on the web, check for links that are not working, or slow download times. Way to go, you have completed your first website without all the technical wisdom. There are a few more details that you will run into, but this is like a crash course of something that is really rather simple.

(c) Copyright 2003 by R. Grisby

When you decide to tackle this task, just remember to take your time and plan everything out in advance. Do your research, and learn the basics of the three main software tools that are required. The tools are only as good as the user. If you become stuck or confused on a certain function, seek help. Customer support, chat rooms, or newsgroups. Remember the internet is a world of information. Use it to your advantage.

Follow these steps and you can impress your friends and family. Completing this will eventually get you labeled as a genius or whiz kid.

About The Author

R.Grisby distributes ebooks dealing with various topics. Selfhelp, motivation, website design, and how to manuals are some of the areas that are covered. Visit and also

This article was posted on September 24, 2004

by Andre Grisby

The Ten Web Page กCommandmentsก

The Ten Web Page กCommandmentsก

by: Jim Edwards

กWhat makes a great web page?ก

People ask me this all the time, though they often encounter difficulty boiling the question down to so few words.

Every serious website operator wants to know how to create and maintain the best possible website that makes them the most money and builds the largest subscriber base!

The following กcommandmentsก represent the ideals towards which every new or existing website should strive.

1. Thou shalt have a Purpose

Clearly define the siteกs purpose and ensure all content (pages, graphics and text) tightly focus on that purpose. Discard all extraneous material… only give people exactly what they came for!

2. Thou shalt be Lightweight

Use only small, fast loading graphics. If you must use large graphics use thumbnails and image slicing to diminish the size of every file to less than 1215kb. Use standard optimized gifกs and jpgกs and avoid anything that requires the user to download a กpluginก to view your content.

3. Thou shalt Load Fast

Each and every page on your site should weigh in under 3060KB total, including graphics and navigation.

If your pages must be larger, such as the case with long, 1page sales letters, make sure the top part of the page loads fast so surfers can read your headline and introduction while the rest of your sales letter loads further down and out of site.

4. Thou shalt not use False Code

Use only html. Never use java, xml, dhtml or other forms of code that require a surfer to keep their browser set up กcorrectlyก to accommodate your page. This is especially true when using กcloakedก pages that require the use of javascript in order to work correctly.

5. Thou shalt respect the Search Engines

If you want search engine traffic, use whole web pages that don’t incorporate frames. Search engines get confused trying to read content from most frames pages because the designers don’t set them up with the proper information in the correct frame.

6. Love thy Surfers and Visitors

Design for กlast yearกsก technology so surfers using 56K modems can download and use the site quickly and easily. If you design only for people with highspeed Internet connections (DSL and cable) you have eliminated 85%+ of your potential market.

7. Thou shalt not Annoy

Use only stationary text and graphical layout elements. No Scrolling text, marquees, or animations of any kind, including rollover buttons.

This กeye candyก steals valuable bandwidth and adds little to a siteกs main purpose, especially for returning visitors who just want information, not a carnival sideshow.

8. Thou shalt Not Scroll Left or Right

Design your pages so they never force a visitor to scroll left or right, no matter what the resolution settings on their monitor. Sites that read กbest viewed at 800 x 600ก really say กlook at it my way because I don’t care about your preferences or limitations.ก

9. Thou shalt stay Consistent

Include a standard navigational structure on every page. Though it may mean a serious challenge for the designer, users should only need to click once to find every major section of a site.

Also, this includes using standard link colors in all text links. Blue: hyperlink; Purple: visited hyperlink; Red: active hyperlink.

10. Thou shalt Know Thy Traffic

Use a sitewide statistics program that enables you to determine what brings someone to the site, where they go once they arrive, and when and where they leave.

This critical information helps with marketing efforts as well as identifying parts of the site that need tweaking or adjustment to help you increase sales. If everybody bails from your site at the same page, knowing this can help you change the page so people go from กbail modeก to กbuy modeก!

About The Author

(c) Jim Edwards All Rights reserved

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the coauthor of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how to use fr^e articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted visitors to your website or affiliate links…

Simple ‘traffic Machineก brings Thousands of NEW visitors to your website for weeks, even months… without spending a dime on advertising! ==>

This article was posted on August 09

by Jim Edwards

Photorealism With Bert Monroy

Photorealism With Bert Monroy

by: Blur Lorena

Do you find it hard to distinguish between a real photo and a digital image?

Bert Monroy, one of the pioneers of digital art who created many software products such as Photoshop, ImageStudio and PixelPaint, introduces another break through in computer graphics, Adobe Photoshop’s ขPhotorealismข.

From the word itself you can define photorealism as something that is realized in photos. Imagine yourself in Atlantis, draw the scene and make it look like a picture. Think it’s impossible? It can be made possible through Photorealism.

Photorealism is not a new term. It came from a movement which began in the late 1960’s. The movement specializes in painting scenes or objects in a style closely resembling a photograph. The true subject of a photorealistic work is not the image but the interpretation of the observer on the image. Richard Estes, who does street scenes and Chuck Close, who is known for his enormous portraits of neutral faces are examples of leading members of the photorealist movement. Another method in photorealism is the oil painting. Unlike Monroy’s photorealism, it is done manually. From the name of a movement, the word photorealism now became a computer term.

Photorealism showcases Monroy’s personal methods in creating ultrarealistic images. It demonstrates a combined technique of Adobe’s latest releases of Photoshop CS and Illustrator CS in addition to paint or vectorbased drawing tools. One of the techniques used is the setting of objects in Illustrator and dragging them in Photoshop for stroking and styling. It also includes techniques for creating smoke, grass, lighting, fire, reflections and mold. It is basically a tool for photorealistic imagery.

Photorealism teaches you how to make images like metallic logotypes, fireworks, 3D illusions, icy letters, underwater scene, antique photos, a speeding bullet, shadows, rusty text and a lot more. It will also enhance your ability in using pen tool, layers, alpha channels and masking.

Photorealism is a very reliable computer graphics tutorial created by one of the true masters of digital graphics and an accomplished illustrator who serves clients like Apple Computer, Adobe Systems and American Express. A renowned artist, Bert Monroy also worked in the motion picture industry and authored books which have received critical acclaim around the world.

According to Monroy, his motivation is the challenge in recreating reality. The instinct for realism is the powerful drive to reproduce oneself, a replication of life. With Photorealism your image will look like a real photograph.

One of the advantages of the photorealism is that it allows you to create photographs of products or situations that cannot be captured with a camera. In other words, you can draw everything and anything even if you haven’t actually seen it or you are aware that it does not exist and make it look real.

About The Author

Blur Lorena

For questions and comments about the Artcile you may contact The Postcard Printing Moderator at 888 888 4211 or visit

[email protected]

This article was posted on January 24

by Blur Lorena