Tech Tips

1) From Old PC to New: File Transfer Made Easy


You've just bought a new notebook   or all-in-one computer and you're excited about its faster   speed, enhanced functionality, and the cool graphics   capabilities. Before you recycle your old computer or notebook,   however, you'll need to get all your important information off   of it and transfer those files to your new system.

Getting Organized

 The first step is to get   organized. You may be surprised at how much you've customized   and personalized your old computer's programs over the years and   how much stuff you've stored on it. You've probably already   considered your important documents, pictures, and music;   however, your old computer or notebook has more valuable   information on it than just these items. Chances are, you've   probably also bookmarked your favorite Web sites, stored   passwords and user account information, and have data associated   with specific programs saved. If you don't capture and transfer   this data now, you might regret it once your old system is   recycled and reduced to scrap metal.   

Preparing to   Transfer Your Data

 The first step is to go through   the programs, files, Web favorites, and any other data on your   old computer thoroughly and then determine what information you   might want to keep. Start by going through the programs on your   Start menu and then check out the Program Files to ensure   there's nothing hiding there, such as stored program data that   might be useful down the road. Do you have financial or tax   files associated with a finance program saved on your computer?   You don't want to lose this historical information, so now is   the time to find and save it to a backup media.   On your old computer, gather all   these data into one location with well-marked folders separating   the information so it doesn't become a jumble of disorganized   information when you transfer it to your new computer. When   preparing this data, review the following data:  

  •  Settings:   To access your e-mail, you have to know your e-mail account   settings. If you use Microsoft® Outlook or Outlook Express,   you can find this information quickly by looking in the   Account Settings menu. Write all the account information   down or save it to a file. If you use a different e-mail   program, look in the Help files to find out how to access   those account settings. You'll also want to save wireless   access passwords or any other settings that give you access   to a network, if you've got them. 
  •  User account info:   If you need a password to get access to any files, Web sites   or programs, make a note of those and make sure you have   that information available when you begin using your new   computer. 
  •  Files, pictures,   video, and music:   Look in your My Documents folder for important files,   pictures, data, and other information, including multimedia.   If you have those files saved in another folder, make a note   of it and, again, try to consolidate them into one   easy-to-find location before you start transferring data to   your new computer. 
  •  Bookmarks:   Every Web browser is a little different so check the Help   files to determine how your browser exports bookmarks.   Regardless of the Web browser, however, your bookmarks   should end up saved as an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)   file that can be imported into the browser on your new   computer

Transferring the   Data

 Now that you have your files in   order and well organized in recognizable folders, it's time to   start the transfer process. There's no hard and fast rule for   the best way to make this transfer possible. In fact, some of it   depends on how much information you need to transfer and what   kind of information it is. Several convenient ways to transfer   data are as follows:  

  •  Transfer software:   Sony makes it really easy to securely transfer your data   using its online data transfer and back-up service.   This password-protected service will transfer your pictures,   music, and data from an old computer to your new VAIO®   computer. Plus, once you've transferred your data over to   your new computer, you'll have the option to use the service   to automatically keep your data backed up. This is a great   way to ensure that you never lose your valuable pictures,   music, and more. For a small monthly fee, the My Memory   Center™ service backs up your data when your computer is in   idle mode and sends it to a secure online server where it is   stored. Only you can access your stored content, and because   it's accessible online, you can download any files, such as   music, no matter where you are 24/7. It's quick to set up,   easy to use, and secure. 
  •  Removable media:   USB memory media, CD, or DVD are easy ways to transfer   information, if you don't exceed the space limit on these   media. USB memory media now hold up to 8 GB of memory and   can be purchased for a little over $100. Your old computer   must have the right drivers to read and save to them,   though, so if your computer is really old, this option might   not work. If your old computer has a CD or DVD burner,   backing up your data to these types of media might be a   better option. 
  •  Easy transfer USB   cable: You can   pick up one of these cables for less than $40 at most   electronics stores. The cable connects the two computers and   enables you to transfer files fairly quickly between the   systems. 
  •  Create a network:   If you've got an Ethernet or wireless network and both   computers have the technology to connect to it, move the   files to a shared folder and then transfer the information   between them. 

 If you use these tips and best   practices, then chances are you new system will be up and   running a lot faster and more efficiently in no time, especially   if you have the information you need from your old computer at   your fingertips as you get familiar your new system. So don't   delay, organize those files first and then transfer them to your   new system for a smooth, clean start. 

2) Keeping Your Notebook Secure

 Notebook computers are easy to use   for everyday business like banking, letter writing, and record   keeping, so it's more important than ever to keep that sensitive   data secure. Discover some tips and tools in the following   article for minimizing risk when using your notebook computer.   

Why Is Notebook   Security Important?

 There are lots of ways your   notebook computer security can be compromised if you don't know   what to look for. Without the right knowledge and systems in   place, a hacker can get access to your personal data and use   this information to potentially steal your identity, empty your   bank account, or run up your credit cards.   To minimize your risk, you should   take advantage of all the tools available to you to provide   system, Internet, e-mail, and wireless access security. Many of   the tools are probably already available on your notebook and   others are easy to find, once you know what to look for.   

Securing Your   System

 In the big picture, one of the   worst things that can happen is that someone steals your   computer, giving them access to everything you've written and   stored. For the most robust defense against physical theft, you   can secure your notebook with a cable lock to a table or a desk.   They're easy to find and don't cost much, though they can be   unwieldy and inconvenient, especially if you want to keep your   notebook portable. Your best bet is simply to never let your   notebook out of your sight when you're out and about.   In the off-chance your notebook   does get stolen, you can still protect your data using more   complex or unique passwords, biometrics, and data encryption.   Start by selecting a unique password for system access. This   generally means creating a password that includes upper- and   lowercase letters and combines letters, numbers, and symbols.   Using numeric and alphabetic combinations decreases the chance   someone can guess, decode, or "hack" the password. For even   stronger security, a biometric fingerprint sensor protects your   information by comparing your stored fingerprint with the   fingerprint of the person trying to access your system. This   prevents unauthorized access—even if your computer is stolen—and   requires just a simple swipe of your finger when you log on (no   typing required and you don't have to remember any passwords).   For extra protection, look for encryption software that can   encode your data so it's unintelligible to someone without the   right authorization. The best tools provide protection at the   hard disk level to protect your disk, partitions, and removable   data.   

Surfing   Safely

 Although protecting your notebook   is important, there are other ways your sensitive information   can be viewed or stolen. The first line of defense is to keep   your operating system up to date. This can be done by accessing   update software on your operating system's website.   Once your operating system is up   to date, make sure you give your notebook extra protection while   surfing the Internet. There are Web sites you'll visit, even   ones that seem fairly innocuous, that drop malware and spyware   onto your notebook. These can monitor anything from your   shopping habits to your Internet search queries. The worst keep   track of every keystroke you make. They can all slow your system   down and expose your data to thieves.   Install highly rated malware and   spyware scanners on your notebook and keep them updated. These   can detect when unwanted files are dropped onto your system and   notify you when you've been attacked. They can't prevent all   kinds of risks from Internet use, but they do offer some   valuable protection.   When you're shopping or giving any   sort of personal information to a Web site, look for a little   padlock icon at the bottom of most browsers to ensure you're on   a secure site. Also look in the navigation bar to make sure the   Web site address starts with https:// (not just http://).   

Securing E-mail

 To secure your e-mail environment,   load antivirus software on your notebook. Because viruses often   come across in links or e-mail attachments, look for antivirus   software that performs real-time scans and monitors both inbound   and outbound traffic.   Get in the habit of not opening   e-mail attachments or clicking links unless you know who they're   from. This goes for institutions and businesses, as well. In   recent years, there have been an increasing number of phishing   incidences that have duped many trusting people into giving   their personal information to false Web sites posing as a   trusted institution.   If you ever receive an e-mail   saying that you need to verify or complete personal information,   don't click the link provided in the e-mail. If it's a   legitimate request, you'll be able to find a link to where you   need to go off the homepage of the business. Manually type in   the Web site address and if you can't find an obvious link,   contact the legitimate business and double-check that they   requested the information, then delete the suspected phishing   e-mail immediately.   

Using WiFi   or a WAN

 WiFi and wireless networks,   although convenient, can also add a level of vulnerability to   your notebook if you don't take a few simple steps to protect   yourself. First, install a firewall. A firewall keeps track of   the applications and devices that are trying to access your   computer. Most operating systems now include a firewall and make   it easy to adjust your settings to allow only those sites and   locations you trust to communicate with your system. You can   verify you have a WiFi firewall by checking your Internet   Options in the Security Center of your Control Panel, found in   the Start menu.   If you're using your notebook for   business, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN   provides a direct, secure tunnel between your notebook and a   larger network so you can safely send and receive files and   receive all the protection afforded to the larger network.   Even at home your wireless network   can introduce some vulnerability. When you're setting up your   wireless router, make sure you use WPA or WPA2 encryption to   secure it. You can use WEP encryption if you've got older   hardware. It's not as secure as WPA or WPA2, but it's better   than nothing.   

Final   Thoughts

 Securing your notebook and your   computing environment really doesn't take a lot. Most of the   time you need to set things up only once and they'll run   automatically from then on. After that, it's simply a matter of   paying attention and being cautious. 

3) Making the Most of Your Notebook's Battery Life

   Have you ever had to finish a   project on-the-go and realized too late that your battery is   dead or dying? In this article, you'll learn how notebooks use   battery power, get tips for saving power, and understand   Hibernate versus Shutdown power ramifications so you can extend   and maximize your notebook's battery life.           

Understanding How Notebooks   Use Battery Power

 Every time you turn on your   notebook computer when   you're not plugged in, you   use battery life. But how   much battery life you   consume is largely up to   you. It helps to understand   which components use a lot   of battery energy, and which   components don't.   Your hard drive, for   example, is a big consumer.   So are your CD or DVD   drives. The more the   notebook uses them, the   faster your battery is going   to drain. Running programs   that are constantly   retrieving or storing   information on your drive   are the biggest culprits.   These include playing games,   watching videos, or   listening to music. Working   on documents or spreadsheets   don't consume the same kind   of power, though features   like auto-save, which saves   your work to a file every   few minutes, can use up your   battery power without you   even realizing it.   The faster a hard drive can   find the information it   wants, the less demand   you're going to put on your   battery. Running a   defragmentation utility can   help with organizing the   files on your hard drive so   they're easier to find and   retrieve. Defragmentation is   a process that reduces the   amount of fragmentation in   file systems, which   naturally occurs over time.   You can access the Windows   Disk Defragmenter from Start   > All Programs > Accessories   > System Tools > Disk   Defragmenter.   Also, if you don't have   plenty of memory, your   system will resort to using   virtual memory to store data   while you work. Virtual data   is stored on the hard drive,   which means your notebook   has to access the drive more   often while you work. Adding   more memory to your notebook   or buying a notebook that   includes a lot of RAM helps.   A notebook battery also   powers the display and all   the ports. Bluetooth,   wireless, USB, and other   ports all use battery power,   even if they're not in use.   Simply having them enabled   is a drain on your system.   Much of the display power   goes toward lighting the   screen. The brighter the   display, the more power it   uses. There are displays   available now that offer low   power consumption with the   same level of brightness. If   you're considering   purchasing a notebook soon,   these kinds of   power-friendly features can   add up to real   battery-consumption savings.   

Five Tips for Saving Power

 There are some simple things   you can do to make the most   of your battery life. For   example, batteries run more   efficiently at cooler   temperatures. Avoid leaving   your notebook in a hot car   or working in the sun for   too long and always use your   notebook on hard, flat   surfaces. Pillows and   blankets help hold in the   heat and make your battery   run less efficiently.   If you're using your   notebook and your battery is   starting to run low, here   are five tips to help   conserve your battery to let   you keep working longer:  

  •   Adjust the screen   brightness:   Most notebooks give you   an option to dim your   screen when you're   running off the battery.   Dim it as low as you can   tolerate to get maximum   battery life. If you   already have a notebook   with a low-power   display, you're way   ahead of the game.
  •   Use power management   software:   Most operating systems   come with power   management software that   lets you control how   your notebook uses   power. Use the default   settings for low-power   mode or manually adjust   the settings to minimize   power consumption.
  •   Disable Wi-Fi and   Bluetooth:   If you're not using   them, turn them off.   They eat up battery   power searching for   networks or other   devices and can chew up   your precious power in a   hurry. 
  •   Unplug external devices:   Everything you have   plugged into your   notebook, including a   printer, external drive,   keyboard, mouse, or   monitor, drains energy   while they're plugged   in. The best way to make   sure they're not   draining your battery is   to unplug everything you   don't need right now.
  •   Run off the hard drive,   not CD or DVD:   That whirring sound you   hear when you use your   hard drive is the sound   of energy draining. But,   the hard drive doesn't   use as much energy as   your CD or DVD players.   When battery life is at   a premium, you'll   benefit from running   your programs or   accessing your files   from the hard drive   instead of external   sources. In fact, take   any DVDs or CDs (or even   memory sticks, for that   matter) completely out   of the drives to save   the most energy. These simple tips can save   you precious minutes, even   hours, of battery life if   you implement them early.

Understanding the Power   Ramifications of Hibernate   versus Shutdown

 Unless you turn your   notebook completely off,   it's still using power. Most   notebooks have a state   called "Hibernate," or some   equivalent. This means that   the notebook saves your work   into memory, then powers off   the display, disks, and so   on. It may take a while   longer to drain the battery   when the notebook is in this   sleep state, but it still   has to maintain enough power   to keep your work in memory   and it's a good bet that   when you reopen your   notebook hours, even minutes   later, there will be a   significant loss of battery   life.   You can manually select to   put your notebook into this   state, usually through the   Shut Down menu. And, your   notebook probably   automatically puts you into   hibernate mode when you   close the lid. It can be   convenient to use this mode   if you're plugged in or   simply moving across a room.   But, it can be a nuisance if   battery life is at a   premium. If you want your   battery to last, shut the   notebook totally down when   you're not using it.   

Consider Purchasing an   Extended-Life Battery

 If you're on the go all the   time and don't want to have   to obsess with power   management to get through   the day, consider purchasing   an extended life battery. If   your notebook doesn't offer   that option, invest in a   second battery. They're not   very expensive and can make   getting through the work day   considerably easier.   That's it for tips on   battery life management,   with minimal effort, you can   keep your system running   while on the go and not miss   a step.    Return to Top of Page         

4) Finding the Perfect Portable PC

Keeping  up with mobile technology is harder than ever. Everywhere you look,  people have not only just a PDA or cell phone, but usually also a  laptop, tablet PC, or other mobile computing device. And now,  ultra-portable PCs are available that deliver full-size computing  capabilities within a pocket-sized system. With all these options, how  do you know which is the right choice for you?   

Maximize Your Mobile Lifestyle

These  days, all types of mobile devices promise to help you manage both your  personal and professional lives from almost anywhere. However, laptops  and tablet PCs can still be cumbersome to carry everywhere, while PDAs  (personal digital assistants) and smart phones don't often provide  desktop capability. This is where micro PCs come in. If what you seek is  an extremely compact device that can handle your computing  requirements, micro PCs put the digital world at your fingertips. With  their ability to consolidate home, office, and entertainment computing  capabilities in a remarkably small form factor, micro PCs such as the  Sony® VAIO® UX series PCs provide the perfect balance of power and  portability. From just about anywhere, you can be connected, effective,  or entertained. Telecommute from the ninth hole, conduct a meeting via  the Web while sitting on the beach,1 or build a digital  scrapbook while on vacation. It's the difference between mere mobile  convenience and mobile empowerment, and it's worth a deeper look.   

Desktop Productivity Away from the Office

With  its go-anywhere portability and full-fledged PC capability, the VAIO®  UX Micro PC adds a new level of productivity to your time outside of the  office. With Microsoft® Windows Vista® Business2 and an  Intel® Core™ 2 Solo ULV (ultra low voltage) processor, you can access  all of your typical office applications, including the Internet and  e-mail with attachments.1 A 4.5" diagonal widescreen SVGA  display with XBRITE™ LCD technology delivers clean, crisp pictures that  make it easy to view and work with business documents and presentations,  as well as digital entertainment. Indeed,  working with just about any application is simple with the VAIO UX  Micro PC. The VAIO UX Micro PC incorporates years of Sony engineering  expertise, from its ergonomically designed keyboard to dedicated control  buttons for zooming and scrolling and a stylus that can be used with  the LCD touch screen. No matter your preference, the VAIO UX Micro PC  gives you the ability to interact with your documents, applications, and  media in the way that works best for you. Plus, the biometric  fingerprint sensor stores your passwords; just swipe your finger for  fast and simple access to applications and secure Web sites.1 The  VAIO UX Micro PC also boasts advanced technologies you won't often find  on much larger-sized notebook PCs. For instance, the VAIO UX Premium  takes PC modernization to a new level by utilizing an SSD (Solid State  Drive). Compared to a traditional hard disk drive found in most PCs, the  SSD on the VAIO UX Premium launches select applications faster and is  more durable (as there are no moving parts). Additionally, the SSD  results in longer battery life for your VAIO® UX PC.   

Connectivity Beyond the Internet

True  mobility is about more than checking email or logging on to the  Internet: it's about broad access to the people, places, and resources  you would normally access from your office or kitchen table. That's why  the VAIO UX Micro PC includes advanced wireless technologies for easy  communication on the go, including Wi-Fi a/b/g wireless LAN (Local Area  Network),1 wireless WAN (Wide Area Network),3 and Bluetooth® technology.4 And with Sony® SmartWi™ technology, you can easily and seamlessly toggle between your wireless connectivity options. While  these wireless connectivity options give you the means to put the world  in your pocket and at your fingertips, the VAIO UX Micro PC's other  communications features really help give you the freedom to do more from  anywhere. Consider the possibilities:  

  • Maximize  your downtime at the airport, while commuting, or virtually anywhere  else with a Wi-Fi connection to use IM (instant messaging) and e-mail.1 
  • Reach beyond the Wi-Fi hotspots by connecting a Bluetooth®-enabled wireless phone4 or tapping into wireless WAN coverage from AT&T.3 
  • Use the VAIO UX Micro PC's two integrated cameras and built-in microphone and speakers to hold videoconferences1  and share all the details, down to the hand gestures and facial  expressions, from any location with Wi-Fi or AT&T wireless WAN  access. 
  • Use the bundled Bluetooth GPS receiver4  along with the pre-installed Microsoft® Street & Trips GPS software  to turn your VAIO UX Premium into a fully functional navigation  assistant. 

Be Entertained On the Go

Of  course, the VAIO® UX Micro PC isn't all business. Just like any other  PC, it's also a capable entertainment platform so you never have to be  bored again. While waiting at the bus stop or the doctor's office, you  can:  

  • Enjoy your music, videos, podcasts, downloaded TV shows, and more. 
  • Stay up to date on your fantasy football, baseball, and hockey leagues.1 
  • Blog, play Sudoku and surf your favorite Web sites.1 

The VAIO UX Micro PC is your MP3 player, PDA, and digital camera all-in-one. You can download,1  store, and play back thousands of your favorite songs. Using two  built-in cameras, you can capture, store, and share digital photos, or  even take part in video chats.1 The VAIO UX Micro PC also  includes a fully functional docking station and VGA adaptor, which saves  your battery life and provides easy access to expansion ports such as  USB 2.0, audio/video, and Ethernet.   

Get More Out of Life

As  a full-functioning PC engineered for serious productivity from a  spectacular, handheld design, the VAIO® UX Micro PC is anything but your  typical PC. In fact, with so much computing power consolidated into  such small device, you might even say that in many ways the VAIO UX  Micro PC is more than your typical PC. You get more performance, battery  life, and reliability from an advanced processor and SSD disk. Add in  more connectivity from multiple wireless options and communications  features. It all adds up to more opportunity to be productive or enjoy  your digital entertainment whenever you choose.   

Additional Information

  1. A broadband connection is required along with third party services which may require a subscription fee and other service fees. 
  2. Certain tablet functions of Microsoft Windows Vista® are unavailable with the VAIO® UX PC. 
  3. Subscription  with AT&T Wireless required. See for complete  offer details, price plans, service terms and conditions, and coverage  map. Call 1-888-739-VAIO (8246) for service activation. 
  4. Ability to use this Bluetooth® enabled product with other devices may vary as not all Bluetooth devices are compatible. 

5) Wireless Simplified


Why Go Wireless?

You've  undoubtedly heard about wireless Internet access -- even if you're not  quite sure what exactly the term means. These days, wireless is  everywhere, enabling business travelers, harried parents, and even  connected teens to send and receive e-mail and surf the Web from  virtually anywhere. It's exactly what it sounds like -- a way to get  online and do all the things you do from your desktop computer in your  home or office but without the confines and constraints of a tangle of  wires under the table. It's  not difficult to find high-speed wireless access when you're out and  about, or to create your own high-speed wireless network at home. Why  would you want to do so? There are several good reasons:  

  • Convenience:  Wireless is easy, mostly because of the lack of, well, wires. If you  want to create a home network to share your Internet connection with  your family, a WLAN (wireless local area network) enables you to get  that connection up and running in just minutes without drilling holes,  laying cable, or worrying about complex configurations. 
  • Cost:  With a WLAN, you can share a single broadband Internet connection with  family members or coworkers instead of paying extra for multiple  accounts. 
  • Flexibility:  Wireless access allows you to integrate many different parts of a  business with very little effort. For example, a business can use  handheld wireless scanners to track warehouse inventory and update its  Web site in real time. You can send and receive important information  from just about anywhere. 
  • Productivity:  With a WLAN, a group of colleagues can meet in a conference room with  their notebook computers to easily and efficiently collaborate on  projects. Your clients can bring their computers and e-mail you files  instantly instead of waiting until they're back at their own offices.  You can get more done even when you're not at your desk. 


Wireless Technologies in Brief

A  traditional, wired network creates a physical link between a group of  computers or other equipment (such as printers and other external  devices) via cables, or wires. It's pretty easy to understand how the  size of a wired network can be limiting -- you have to be within cabling  range if you want to be part of the network. When  you go wireless, you remove those physical boundaries. With all the  benefits of going wireless, you no doubt want to go over the technology  involved in getting you there. In this section, you'll learn about major  wireless technologies and standards. 

WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network)

You're  probably already familiar with wireless networks, even if you don't  realize it. Have you ever used a cell phone? If so, you've taken  advantage of a type of wireless network known as a WWAN. In a WWAN, your  area of coverage is broad. Think about the ads you see for various cell  phone providers. They show you coverage maps with dots across the  United States and around the globe to demonstrate where you can use  their phones. Each dot represents a point on their WWAN. By linking  those thousands of points, the cellular carriers create a vast wireless  network that spans an enormous geographical area. Great, but what does a  cell phone have to do with you and your wireless Internet access? More  than you might realize, actually. The notebook computer you've come to  rely on can, via a simple SIM (security identity module) chip like the  one in your cell phone, gain instant access to a WWAN anytime you're in  range. In other words, you can fire up your notebook and get online  virtually anywhere your cell phone has reception. WWAN connections are a  great choice if you travel frequently for business and need to send and  receive files from your computer just as frequently as you use your  cell phone to make calls. You'll have almost constant connectivity that  works nearly anywhere you go. That level of connectivity can come at a  price, though. WWANs generally operate on a subscription basis, and the  cost and features vary depending on your carrier and the plan you  select. Be sure to conduct some due diligence to make sure you choose a  plan that suits your needs. 

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

A  WLAN is significantly smaller than a WWAN. By definition, it's a local  area network and can be limited to a space no larger than your home  office. Your WLAN can also be extended to encompass an entire office  building or even a business complex, but typical WLANs don't span the  streets of a city and they certainly don't stretch across the nation the  way a WWAN can. Typically, a wireless LAN uses one of two standards commonly known as Wi-Fi®: 802.11b or 802.11g. 


The  802.11b standard is the slightly older of the two protocols, and nearly  any Wi-Fi compatible device supports it. It takes advantage of three  nonoverlapping radio channels in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz (gigahertz)  frequency space, which makes it somewhat susceptible to interference  from other devices that use the same band, such as 2.4 GHz cordless  phones and microwaves. With 802.11b, you can transfer data at speeds of  up to 11 Mbps (megabits per second) over a range of approximately 300  feet. Indoors, your network can extend through walls, but the 300-foot  range varies according to the building materials used. You  may have also heard about the 802.11a standard, which uses the 5.8 GHz  frequency to offer higher data transfer speeds (54 Mbps) than 802.11b.  The main drawbacks? Not only did initial implementations deliver less  range than 802.11b, but 802.11a technology was not widely adopted  overall because the less-expensive 802.11b standard was already widely  adopted. Also, the 802.11a standard isn't always compatible with the  other wireless standards.   


The  802.11g standard claims data transfer speeds of 54 Mbps, but most  real-world users don't ever actually reach that speed. Even in ideal  conditions, you'll probably only achieve speeds of about 26 Mbps --  about half of what the standard theoretically supports. The  802.11g standard operates in the same frequency range as 802.11b, and  the tradeoff for slightly higher data transfer speeds is a slightly  reduced range. The good news is that 802.11g devices are  backward-compatible with 802.11b, so you can mix the two on a single  wireless network. These are the most widely deployed wireless LAN  standards.   


With  the growing demand for higher performing WLANs, a new wireless standard  called 802.11n is in the works. The emerging 802.11n amendment builds  upon previous 802.11 standards by adding MIMO (multiple-input  multiple-output). MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas  to allow for increased data throughput and increased range. With  expected data transfer speeds at least four times, and perhaps eight  times, the data rate of 802.11a or g products, 802.11n may even prove  enough to make wired home networks unnecessary altogether. Although  802.11n hasn't yet received industry certification, that's not stopping  vendors from releasing "draft-n" or pre-802.11n products. The speed  increase is a tempting proposition, but because the protocol is not yet  standardized you're making a gamble if you purchase 802.11n gear based  on the draft version. Not only are 802.11n products potentially  incompatible with your existing Wi-Fi network, but draft 802.11n  products may not even be compatible with gear released using the final  specification.   

Extending the Range of Your WLAN

Even  if you're not willing to take the risk for pre-802.11n gear for the  benefit of greater range, it's possible to extend the range of a WLAN  beyond 300 feet. You can do that by adding additional APs (access  points) -- also referred to as wireless routers or base stations -- or  range extenders to your network. The AP that you add needs to be within  range of your first base station; it can then extend the range of your  network beyond the initial 300 feet. The more APs you add, the bigger  you can make your network's range. Note, however, that you may notice a  slight decrease in speed if you extend your network far beyond its  initial capacity. You'll definitely notice a decrease in speed if you  share a single high-speed Internet connection with more than three  computers, particularly if some of those users are power users.       

Additional Wireless Technologies

Two additional technologies -- Bluetooth® and SmartWi™ -- offer additional options for extending your world without wires.   

Bluetooth® WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network)

Every  once in a while, a group of the best and the brightest competitors come  together for the greater good. When that happens, you can get really  lucky and walk away with something like Bluetooth® technology, a  short-range wireless protocol. Bluetooth®  technology, developed by a consortium of electronics manufacturers who  were kind enough to work together and create a single standard, is often  referred to as a wireless personal area network because it extends only  about 30 feet. It's not designed for high-speed data transfer -- its  top speeds are only about 1 Mbps. Rather, Bluetooth technology is about  convenience, freedom from wires, and moderate mobility. You can use a Bluetooth® connection to:  

  • Send  documents from your notebook computer to the printer on your desk  without having to connect the cable every time you want to print a  one-page note. 
  • Synch your notebook computer and cell phone so you have the most up-to-date calendar and address book listings on both devices. 
  • Share information between two PDAs (personal digital assistants). 
  • Use  a wireless headset with your cell phone that allows you to carry on a  conversation even with your cell phone in your bag -- or the backseat of  your car. 

Use of a Bluetooth®-enabled product with other devices may vary because not all Bluetooth devices are compatible. Bluetooth®  technology, like 802.11b/g technology, is already built into Sony®  VAIO® T or TX Series notebook computers. In other words, you can connect  with compatible Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as wireless headsets,  PDAs, cell phones, printers, and other accessories, such as a mouse,  without installing any additional software and hardware or using  adapters. Toss those cables aside and reduce the number of wires!   

SmartWi™ Technology Offers More Ways to Connect

SmartWi™  technology is the seamless integration of three wireless technologies:  wide area network (WAN), 802.11b/g wireless LAN, and Bluetooth®  technologies. Available on Sony® VAIO® T or TX Series notebook  computers, Sony's exclusive SmartWiTM technology enables you to easily  hop onto a wireless hotspot, connect to a nationwide cellular network,  or quickly connect with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Using SmartWi  technology requires compatible wireless access point(s) and some  features, such as WWAN access using cellular networks, rely on Internet  services that may require a fee. However, by merging the three main  wireless technologies, SmartWi technology cuts the confusion out of  expanding your wireless connectivity beyond your home, local coffee  shop, or airport lounge. In other words, you don't have to figure out  where you are and how to get online -- it'll just work as it should.   

Comparing Wireless Technologies

The following table shows what WWANs, WLANs, and WPANs can and can't do for you.    Network Type  Pros  Cons  Best for    WWAN  Available anywhere on a cellular network; high-speed data transfer  May require long-term contract  Business users who need consistent connectivity on the go    WLAN  Allows flexible mobility within a set space; free hotspots can keep costs down  May not always be available on the go  Prosumers who typically work in an office or from home and occasionally travel on business or for pleasure    WPAN  Clears office clutter; increases productivity  Not designed for large transfers  Home or office users who want to clear cables and connect to multiple devices in a small space   Table 1-1: Comparison of the pros and cons of WWANs, WLANs, and WPANs.       

Make Your Wireless Connection

As  wireless technology has matured, it's become easier than ever to take  advantage of wireless connectivity. If you've recently purchased or are  considering purchasing a new notebook computer, chances are that it  includes built-in technology to access Wi-Fi® WLANs. Increasingly,  notebook PCs include Bluetooth® technology, and some higher end models  even integrate the technology necessary to access WWANs, provided you  secure a wireless access contract with the appropriate provider. Even  if you have a notebook PC that's a few years old, it's likely that you  can install a wireless NIC (network interface card) with a built-in  Wi-Fi antenna. Bluetooth adapters are also available. The technology  isn't just limited to notebook PCs, either; the same adapters can be  installed on a desktop computer without built-in wireless technology.  These are available for purchase at your local electronics store. Just  make sure that you know the make and model of your computer so that you  purchase the proper adapter. To create a WLAN in your home or office, you'll also need the following in addition to a wireless-enabled PC:  

  • High-speed Internet access, such as cable or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), and the appropriate modem. 
  • A  wireless base station or AP. Wireless base stations often also serve as  a wireless router, which you can use to bridge between wired and  wireless devices sharing your network. 

Once you have all of the necessary equipment, here's what you'll do:  

  1. Plug your broadband modem into the wall outlet, either into the phone or cable jack as necessary. 
  2. Plug  your wireless base station into the modem. You'll probably have to run a  short installation -- each base station has its own software, but you  shouldn't have to do much more than name your network and give it a  password. 
  3. If your wireless base station is also a router or hub, plug in any wired computers, such as a desktop that's close by. 
  4. If  necessary, install the appropriate wireless cards in the appropriate  ports or slots on your machines. If your PC includes integrated wireless  technology -- and most notebooks purchased within the last year or so  do -- there's nothing additional to install. 

After you connect the necessary equipment, the process to connect to the wireless world is only a few steps away:  

  1. Turn on your wireless device. 
  2. In  Windows® XP operating system, look in the system tray (the area in the  bottom right corner of your desktop, usually where the clock appears)  and locate the icon that looks like a little computer with three waves  coming out of it. 
  3. Right-click the icon and select View Available Wireless Networks. 
  4. When you see the list of available Wi-Fi access points, look for the name of your home's access point (also known as an SSID). 

Public  hotspots are generally unsecured so users don't need an encryption key  to connect to the hotspot. Narrow down the list by looking at the  options labeled "unsecured."  

  1. After you've selected the right SSID, click Connect. The word "Connected" should appear next to the SSID in the Wireless Network Connection window. 
  2. Close  the Wireless Network Connection window. You can check your connection  at any time by double-clicking the wireless connection icon in your  system tray. 
  3. Now  that you're connected, open a new Internet browser window. You're all  set to surf the Web, send and receive e-mail or instant messages, and  access online content, such as music and video. 

Access on the Go

To  take advantage of public or subscription-based wireless hotspots, you  need the same wireless technology that you use for your home network. If  you're lucky enough to find a free hotspot (search the Wi-Fi-FreespotTM Directory to  find a network near you), you should be able to simply log on to the  network and use e-mail and Internet services as usual. Just locate the  SSID of the network that corresponds to the hotspot provider at that  location. At Starbucks, for instance, the SSID is usually "tmobile,"  because T-Mobile Hotspot is the provider for Starbucks locations. If you  aren't sure, check for a sign near the entrance or service counter for  information that will help you choose the right SSID. If  you're logging on to a fee-based Wi-Fi hotspot (like the ones at  Starbucks® coffee shops and in many shopping malls), you need to launch  your Web browser, which automatically directs you to a signup page.  You'll enter a credit card number and select whether you want access for  one hour, several hours, one day, or several days. Once your card has  been accepted, you can surf until your time is up.   

Constant Connectivity

If  you can't risk the chance that you won't be able to find a Wi-Fi  hotspot, or you know you want always-on access to the Internet and your  e-mail, you should invest in a WWAN plan that allows you to take  advantage of a nationwide network. Most notebook PCs don't yet include  integrated WWAN technology, but each of the three largest nationwide  cellular carriers offer wireless broadband cards that let you enjoy  high-speed wireless access to the Internet and e-mail wherever you go. If  you're interested in WWAN connectivity, start with your current  cellular provider, but don't forget that the best deal may come from  another company. You'll also have to verify that the hardware you  currently have will work with your carrier's network. Finally, you may  have to run an installation package or call a customer service line to  set up your access the first time you try it out.     

Tips and Tricks: Make the Most of Your Wireless Connection

To keep your wireless connections running smoothly, take the time to perform some basic security measures:  

  • Enforce password protection:  On your wireless network, for instance, make sure you have some kind of  password protection or other security measures enabled. 

When  you first set up your wireless network, it defaults to no password and  no security protection. Change this immediately or your neighbors can  hop on your network and choke your data transfer speeds -- and possibly  steal your data.  

  • Close and name your network:  Your wireless base station should have instructions for doing this.  When you close your network, people who want to use it need to know it's  there and specifically request to join it. 
  • Change your password regularly:  Be sure not to use something anyone can guess. The best passwords are  those that use initials from a poem or a song lyric, for example, and  that incorporate numbers (try substituting 2 and 4 for "to" and "for,"  respectively). 
  • Turn off sharing and require passwords for various actions:  This applies to your WLAN or when you're on the go. You don't need to  allow everyone in your home to access all the files on your computer. If  you occasionally need to move files between machines, you can manually  enable sharing. Just remember to disable it when you're done. You  definitely don't need to share your files with everyone else at the  coffee shop where you enjoy WWAN access. 
  • Check your signal:  Take your notebook computer outside and walk around the edges of your  property. Can you still access your network? If you can, others might be  able to as well. If you're broadcasting halfway down the block,  consider moving your base station into the center of a room. 
  • Remember that a notebook computer is pretty easy to steal:  Keep yours secure with a cable lock and never, ever leave your notebook  unattended when you're in public -- not even for a minute. 

Beyond  security, also consider the impact of wireless connectivity on your  mobile devices in particular. Like any other computing process, wireless  technology consumes power. If you plan to stay connected for long  periods of time, it helps to have a spare battery on hand. Your PC's  power adapter is also an essential item whenever you roam. The growing  popularity of wireless has led many locations offering wireless  connectivity, such as coffee shops, to also provide easy access to wall  outlets for their patrons. Whenever possible, plug in so you can keep  the data flowing. That's  wireless connectivity in a nutshell. Now that you've completed this  brief, you should feel more connected -- but much less tethered -- than  you did before. Go out and enjoy your newfound freedom! 

6) Get Into the Ultra-Mobile Lifestyle


What Is an Ultra Mobile PC?

We  live in a mobile world, where everything happens on the go.  Grandparents talk on cell phones, children watch DVDs, and mobile  professionals catch up on work -- all from virtually anywhere. In fact,  being mobile is almost passé. Now, the buzz is about being "ultra  mobile," with a full-fledged PC that can fit easily within your backpack  or purse. In this guide, you'll learn how the new Ultra Mobile PCs can  make a difference in your life, and how to get started enjoying your own  ultra-mobile lifestyle. Ultra  Mobile PCs bridge the gap between laptops and PDAs (personal digital  assistants). What gap, you ask? Well, although laptops provide  incredible performance, they can be too bulky for truly mobile use (say,  during a morning commute or on the sidelines of your child's soccer  game). And although PDAs are portable, they often lack the power to  effectively use office applications. Sometimes  referred to as "lifestyle computers," Ultra Mobile PCs make it easy to  store all of your digital content -- such as photos, videos, and music  -- while also providing anytime access to your e-mail and office  applications. Key features include:  

  • Full-size computing:  Ultra Mobile PCs give you the power of Microsoft® Windows® XP in a  pocket-sized device. And because it's an OS you already know, your  applications are familiar and easy to use; plus, you get full access to  all your electronic documents, including the Internet and e-mail with  attachments. 
  • Screen size:  Measuring between 4 and 7 inches, the display on the Ultra Mobile PC is  larger than what you'll find on most handheld PDAs. The screen can also  produce amazingly crisp images with brilliant colors and contrast. 
  • Input tools:  The display on the Ultra Mobile PC is touch-sensitive, so it works with  stylus input or the occasional fingertip. Typing is usually conducted  using an on-screen keyboard, while some models also add the familiarity  of a physical keyboard. In addition, Ultra Mobile PCs offer control  buttons for zooming or scrolling within your applications. 
  • Wireless connectivity:  Ultra Mobile PCs enable you to connect to the Internet and e-mail from  just about anywhere. Naturally, the devices come with integrated 802.11  a/b/g wireless LAN cards, so you can make the most of wireless networks  and Wi-Fi hotspots. They also include Bluetooth® technology, so you can  easily communicate with Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as wireless  headsets, PDAs, or GPS receivers. In addition, some models have WWAN  (wireless wide area network) capabilities for sending and receiving data  over a service provider's cellular network. 
  • Multimedia tools:  Designed for portable entertainment, Ultra Mobile PCs have the  essential tools for your digital world. Some models include built-in  cameras for capturing digital photos and video, and others even have a  separate camera for video chat. The devices also provide integrated  microphones, built-in speakers, and jacks for headphones. For an extra  layer of functionality, Ultra Mobile PCs may even include an integrated  biometrics fingerprint sensor, adding personal security for your digital  files and the convenience of not having to remember your passwords. 

Wireless  Internet requires a wired broadband connection and/or compatible  wireless access point(s). Some features rely on Internet services which  may require a fee. As with all wireless products, actual performance  will vary depending on environment.  

Using an Ultra Mobile PC

With  the Ultra Mobile PC, the places where you can work and play have  expanded exponentially. You can check e-mail, watch movies, read blogs,  play games, and listen to music from almost anywhere. It's just as easy  to connect to the Internet from a local hotspot -- at an airport, coffee  shop, restaurant, park, or hotel -- as from your home or office. And  this PC is compact enough to fit within your pocket, purse, or  briefcase.  Requires  a wired broadband connection and/or compatible wireless access  point(s). Some features rely on Internet services which may require a  fee. As with all wireless products, actual performance will vary  depending on environment.  Ultra  Mobile PCs are designed to be a companion to your desktop or laptop PC,  rather than a replacement. You can review and modify documents on the  fly, but more heavy-duty tasks -- such as building spreadsheets,  presentations, or word processing documents from scratch -- are better  suited for your primary system. Ultra  Mobile PCs have exactly what you need to stay connected, effective, and  entertained, so why not get more from your time on the go? The next few  sections will help you get up to speed. 

Communicate from Anywhere

Expecting  an important e-mail? With an Ultra Mobile PC, you can check your e-mail  -- and work with attachments -- from anywhere. So, you can close a  business deal from your vacation getaway or finalize a contract in your  dentist's waiting room. It's all a matter of your own convenience. But  your ability to stay in touch anywhere doesn't end with email. Ultra  Mobile PCs provide a wide array of communication options, including:  

  • Instant communication:  Use IM (instant messaging) and e-mail with an applications you already  know, such as Microsoft Outlook and AOL® Messenger. It's easier than  "texting" on a cell phone and less conspicuous than a laptop. Plus, you  can use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services like Skype™ to make  phone calls using your Ultra Mobile PC. 
  • Video conferencing:  After negotiating a big contract with a new client, why wait to get  back to the office to share the good news? With a built-in camera and  video chat, you can share every detail with your colleagues, down to  gestures and facial expressions. 
  • Up-to-date information:  From the airport to the coffee shop, you can surf your favorite Web  sites and stay informed. You can download streaming audio and video  content and catch up on the latest e-books. It's seamless when your PC  is the size of a paperback novel. 
  • Easy collaboration:  As you know, some of the most important conversations take place in  hallways, break rooms, and even the parking lot. Now you can jot down  notes during these impromptu meetings so you can share the details with  your boss or coworkers. 

Travel in Style

Whether  you're traveling for business or pleasure, having an Ultra Mobile PC in  hand means you'll never be bored again. You can entertain yourself --  or your children -- for hours. And you can even be productive during the  downtime. Key features include:  

  • Portable entertainment:  This device is more than a portable PC. It's your MP3 player, your PDA,  and your digital camera all-in-one. You can listen to your favorite  tunes, organize daily activities, and capture photos of family and  friends. Even enjoy all of your content -- movies, photos, downloaded TV  shows -- in landscape or portrait orientations. 
  • Size and weight:  Who needs extra baggage when traveling? Ultra Mobile PCs eliminate the  need for separate gadgets. And the device is so small and lightweight,  you won't believe it's a full-functioning PC. 
  • Digital postcards:  Although digital cameras make it easy to capture the sights and sounds  while traveling, your storage space can quickly evaporate. Now you can  download your digital photos to your PC, and view and edit them on a  larger screen. Even better, why mail a standard postcard you pick up in a  gift shop? With your Ultra Mobile PC, you can create personalized  postcards with your own photos and e-mail them to family and friends  before your vacation is over. 
  • Trip navigation:  Ultra Mobile PCs can connect to an optional GPS (global positioning  system) receivers via Bluetooth technology or a USB port. You can even  use software like Microsoft Streets & Trips for detailed travel  information. This means you can plan your trips electronically and  eliminate the need for cumbersome paper maps. 
  • Special features:  When you can connect to the Internet from anywhere, you have regional  Web sites, online travel guides, and e-books at your fingertips. You can  easily update your blog as you travel, take notes for a conference  report, and stay in touch with everyone back at home. 

Have More Time for Fun

Ultra  Mobile PCs put computing power at your fingertips, so you can savor the  extra minutes you get to yourself everyday. For example, you can check  your e-mail while waiting in line at the bank, or play Sudoku while  sitting at the bus stop. Imagine some of the possibilities:  

  • Ultimate relaxation: Simply synchronize with your primary PC, and you can take your music, videos, podcasts, photos, and TV shows anywhere you go. 
  • New media on the go: Hear a catchy song in the coffee shop? Now you can purchase and download it wirelessly, so you can enjoy it later. 
  • The sporting life:  Use the Ultra Mobile PC to stay up to date on your fantasy football,  baseball, and hockey leagues. You can check scores and stats from  anywhere. 
  • Social networking: With access to the Internet, you can read blogs and update your own. 
  • Online games: The Ultra Mobile PC gives you more time to play PC and Internet games, using the touch-screen, stylus, or hardware controls. 


Tips for Getting Started

Before embarking on your ultra-mobile life, keep the following tips in mind:  

  • Remember  that Ultra Mobile PCs are designed to be companion devices. Your  heavy-duty office tasks still require a desktop or laptop PC. 
  • The  small size of Ultra Mobile PCs makes it easy to toss them into your  purse or briefcase, where they can easily be jostled around. Disk-drive  shock protection can be essential with this form factor. 
  • A  fully functional docking station makes a huge difference -- it can save  your battery life and provide easy access to ports for an external  monitor or wired Internet, as well as slots for expansion cards, storage  device bays, CD/DVD drives, and so on. Your Ultra Mobile PC may have  enough features that would make a docking station overkill, but you  should still consider a port replicator for convenient connection to  external devices such as a full-sized keyboard or a back-up hard drive. 
  • Integration  with a cellular service provider's WWAN network makes the device  extremely mobile with the ability to get Internet access beyond standard  Wi-Fi hot spots. 

The Bottom Line

The  functionality and versatility of Ultra Mobile PCs makes them more than a  fun accessory. They actually bridge the gap between PDAs and laptops,  enabling you to strike a balance between work and play. Now you can  access your office applications, use e-mail, and browse the Web, without  cramped fingers or aching shoulders. As a result, you can be more  productive, informed, and entertained from anywhere. Why wait to begin your ultra-mobile life? Get started today with an Ultra Mobile PC. 

7) Make Your PC Your Ultimate Communications Tool

 How  you communicate with other people, especially in the digital age, can  take many different forms. Learn how your PC can deliver just about  everything you need, all in one place.          

Make Your PC Your Ultimate Communications Tool

Whether  you're running a business, trying to coordinate a dinner gathering with  friends, or just need to check in with the kids after school,  communicating with other people is probably one of your most constant  and important daily activities. If you're like many people, you probably  use a number of different devices each day to place phone calls, send  e-mails, or engage in instant message chat sessions. With  today's PCs (personal computers), though, you may not always need all  of those separate devices to stay in touch with friends, family, and  colleagues. Your computer is already one of your main tools for  accessing and sharing information, and many of those capabilities make  it well-suited to handle all of your communications needs. Using  your PC to communicate with the world around you doesn't take a lot of  work if you know what technology to use. Whether you want to send and  receive text, voice, video, pictures, or other files, all you need to  get started is the right system. 

Internet Connectivity for E-mail, Instant Messaging, and More

With  access to the Internet, your PC becomes a tool for all types of written  communication methods, including e-mail, instant messaging, social  networking sites and blogs, and even online meeting and presentation  applications. In  today's wireless world, Internet connectivity often equates to the  ability to access a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network), commonly  referred to as Wi-Fi®. Not only does Wi-Fi technology give you the  ability to stay connected outside of your own home or office1, but it's a great way to remove the constraints of a tangle of wires under the table. Virtually  all PCs built within the last few years -- especially notebook PCs --  are equipped with built-in Wi-Fi technology based on the 802.11 a/b/g  specifications. That means they're compatible with most existing home  and public Wi-Fi® hotspots, such as those commonly found in airports,  coffee shops, and hotels. For even greater performance, though, some  notebooks also incorporate 802.11n wireless technology. This latest  specification of the Wi-Fi standard delivers greater speed and range  than the Wi-Fi a/b/g specifications, yet it's backward compatible with  existing networks so there's no hassle to connect1. Although Wi-Fi technology is a great way to stay connected from virtually anywhere1,  it isn't the only wireless technology available. For instance, WWAN  (Wireless Wide Area Network) technology extends your wireless coverage  beyond LAN access networks and wireless hotspots. WWAN technology uses  the same wireless network as your cellular phone, so you can access the  Internet on your PC in virtually all the same places that your cell  phone has service2. For instance, Sony® VAIO® TZ and SZ  Series PCs include integrated WWAN technology that can be used with the  Sprint® mobile broadband network3, and Sony VAIO UX Series PCs include WWAN technology for the AT&T national wireless EDGE network4. A third option is Bluetooth® wireless technology5,  which is designed to provide interconnectivity between a wide range of  personal communication devices, such as Bluetooth-enabled PDAs (Personal  Digital Assistants) and wireless headsets. Unlike WLANs and WWANs,  Bluetooth technology isn't intended to help you get online, but it can  help make your communication experience more efficient and enjoyable by  cutting the cord between your PC and other devices5. Note:  Bluetooth® technology was designed to interconnect a wide variety of  electronic devices and peripherals, so it's extremely versatile5.  For instance, you can find Bluetooth technology in wireless headsets  that are perfect for hands-free phone calls, or in wireless mice and  keyboards that give you more freedom to move around when using your PC5. With  all of these different wireless technologies, you might be worried that  switching between them is a confusing maze of software programs,  switches, and keystrokes. That's where Sony exclusive SmartWi™  technology comes in. Sony VAIO PCs with SmartWi technology seamlessly  integrate WLAN, WWAN, and Bluetooth technologies, letting you easily  toggle between your wireless connectivity options. 

Place Phone Calls Without a Phone

E-mails,  instant messaging, and social networking sites are great ways to stay  in touch with the written word, but sometimes you just want to hear  someone's voice. Your first instinct might be to grab your mobile phone,  but did you know that you can use your PC to place voice calls? Using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, your computer can make voice calls around the block or around the world2.  You may already be familiar with VoIP by its other names, such as  Internet telephony, broadband phone, or digital phone. In fact, many  large corporations now use Internet-based phone systems, not to mention  the commercially available services from telecommunications providers. To  place a voice call on your PC, all you need is a microphone, an  Internet connection, and any of a number of free messaging applications  -- AOL® AIM®, Yahoo!® Messenger, Windows® Live Messenger, and Skype® are  just a few of your options. Often, voice calls to other computers can  be made at no charge, while calls to mobile or landline phones can  usually be made for a minimal charge to your account with the provider.  You're not limited to only initiating calls, either; most applications  also include features that allow your PC to receive calls from  traditional telephones. Of  course, if you already have a landline and a mobile phone, you might be  curious why you would want to use VoIP on your PC. One of the benefits  of most VoIP services is that you can forward your other phones to your  computer. As long as you're connected to the Web, your computer will  ring anytime someone is trying to reach you. Better yet, though, is the  ability to set up a local telephone number almost anywhere in the world.  For instance, if you live in New York City but your family lives in  London, you could create a local telephone number in London so your  family only has to pay local rates anytime they want to hear your voice.   This  is a sample of the 'attention' style. Use this style to denote very  important information to your users. To use this use the folllowing  html: 911 and other emergency service numbers  generally cannot be accessed through PC-based phone services. You must  use a traditional phone or mobile phone to access 911 or other emergency  service numbers.    

Talk Face-to-Face, Even When You're Far Away

For  those times when even a phone call won't do, the combination of a  webcam and your PC can completely change your online communication  experiences. When used with any of a number of free video messaging  services, such as those named earlier, you can easily see, hear, and  chat with family, friends, or coworkers2. As  long as you and the person you're calling both have webcams, video chat  goes far beyond a typical instant message session -- it's the next best  thing to being there in person. To make video chat easier, many of the  latest Sony® VAIO® notebooks and desktops feature a MOTION EYE® camera  and a built-in microphone discreetly located above the LCD screen. The  location makes it easy to maintain eye contact with the screen and the  person with whom you're talking. Video  chat isn't the only use for a webcam; you can also send video clips  through cyberspace in the form of a video e-mail. Instead of trying to  convey your thoughts and experiences through words, a video e-mail can  let you show everyone clips of special events like your vacation or a  new baby, or let you deliver a more personal message to celebrate a  friend's birthday. 

Putting It All Together

With  the right PC at your fingertips, you can open the door to a wide range  of unique and expressive ways of connecting with friends, family, or  colleagues. If you want to reconnect with old friends, share special  news with family members, or update business associates on the status of  a big project, when your PC includes the right technology it can be the  hub for all the ways you want to stay in touch with everyone you know  and love. 

Additional Information

  1. Requires  a compatible 802.11a or 802.11b or 802.11g or 802.11n access point.  Some functionality may require Internet services, which may require a  fee. 
  2. Broadband Internet connection required. Some features may rely on Internet service which may require a fee. 
  3. Subscription  with Sprint® Mobile Broadband service required. See  for complete offer details, price plans, service terms and conditions,  and coverage map. Click the Sprint icon on your TZ or SZ Series desktop  or call 1-877-275-VAIO (8246) for service activation. Sprint Mobile  Broadband Network reaches over 160 million people. Coverage not  available everywhere (see coverage map for details). Requires new  activation and one- or two-year subscriber agreement. Credit approval  and $200 early termination fee applies. Service defaults to Nationwide  Sprint PCS Network, where available, if Sprint Mobile Broadband Network  is unavailable. Not available while roaming. Terms & Conditions and  additional restrictions apply. May not be combinable with other offers.  Device model subject to availability. 
  4. Subscription  with AT&T Wireless required. See for complete  offer details, price plans, service terms and conditions, and coverage  map. Call 1-888-739 VAIO (8246) for service activation. See  for coverage maps and service details. International data roaming  services available directly from AT&T Wireless. © 2007 AT&T  Knowledge Ventures. All rights reserved. 
  5. Interoperability among Bluetooth® devices varies.