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Does your Website Need a Refresh? – 6 Tips for Keeping your Site Relevant and Engaging

by Caron_Beesley on 11-30-2010 07:00 AM http://community2.business.gov/t5/blogs/blogarticleprintpage/blog-id/GovernmentResources/article-id/1052

To the outside world your website is the equivalent of your storefront, and your customers expect it to be eye-catching, well-maintained, and always offering something new. However, when you’re on the inside and are caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business, finding the time to focus on your website is easier said than done.  And, like a neglected storefront, it can quickly become out-of-date, unappealing and, at worst, ignored. Here are some tips to help you keep your website up-to-date, relevant and attracting customers. 1. Does your Site Meet Your Business Objectives? It’s likely that you know your website intimately.  You helped get it started, had a say in the design, content and so on. You might even live and breathe your website. But it’s a good idea every now and again to step back a bit and assess your website in  light of where your business is and where you want it to be. Does your site reflect your brand and corporate culture? If not, it should. For example, when you started your business you may not have had a huge budget to invest online and built a skeleton site that had basic information about your business and its products and services. But does that start-up site still meet your needs? Do you have things to say about your business that you aren’t doing through your website right now? For example, if you hold special events, offer regular specials or discounts, are you using your website to promote these? How do you keep your customers “in the know” using your website? Have you considered a blog, or using social media to help engage with and even educate your customers in a “social” way? Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Do some sites seem to work while others don’t? Where’s does yours fit in the line-up and what do you think you could do differently? 2. What do Your Customers Think? Don’t forget to ask your customers what they think of your site? Do they visit it? Does it appeal to them? What don’t they like? How can it be made more useful to them? 3. Add some Bells and Whistles If you determine that your website meets your needs, but just needs a mini shake-up to help you meet your objectives, consider introducing these elements:
  • Add Lead Capture Devices – Use your website to get more information about your customers, and offer them something in return – whether it’s a newsletter subscription, a white paper, or just another download. Use the data to establish regular communications and outreach to your customers. But be sure to adhere to SPAM laws and customer privacy laws.
  • Start a Blog –A blog isn’t right for every business, but it is a great way of keeping your site fresh and engaging.  And because search engines love new content, a well maintained blog can help boost your rankings. Well written and thoughtful blogs can be a great way to introduce the human element of your business as well as position you as a trusted expert in your field. So whether you offer tips, how-tos, or share success stories of how you’ve helped your customers – just about every business owner has expertise and insights to share. To get you started read: “Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog”.
  • Embrace Social Media – Another great way to generate traffic back to your website and get the word out about your business (what you offer, what’s new, what’s going on) is to get out there on social networking sites.  To help you determine, which social media channel is a good for your business, read “ Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business” and get started with this “Ultimate Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing”. Of course, don’t forget to add links and icons to your website that let people know that you are active on social media.
4. Rearrange Your Site Architecture / Design Whether you need to improve your site navigation to help people find the information they need, or you have new content (such as a blog) that you want to showcase, make sure your site architecture easily supports this. Many content management systems make it easy for site managers to do this without the help of a web developer. But be sure you have that capability before you start out. 5. Get Outside Help If you don’t have experts on staff, consider hiring a consultant to do the job. This one-time investment doesn’t have to break the bank and might be worth it. Remember, to make it easier for you to manage and make changes to your site down the line, make sure your designer builds a site that has a robust and easy-to-use content management system (CMS) on the backend.  This article provides some basic “need-to- knows” about CMS options: “How to Find the Right Content Management System and get More Out of Your Web Site”. 6. Measure Your Improvements As you roll any changes out, use free website analytic tools to measure and monitor site traffic and assess ROI. How are people finding your site? What pages are attracting most interest or otherwise? Why? Read more about web analytics from small business professional, Anita Campbell, in her article:”3 Tools that can Help your Small Business Sell More and do so Profitably”. Related Articles

Microsoft Security Essentials is now available for your small business

Now you can work—and play—on your PC more safely. With Microsoft® Security Essentials, it’s easy to help protect your PC from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software for FREE* with the same award-winning technology used by millions of consumer and enterprise PCs around the world.
Download via http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials
* Microsoft Security Essentials is available at no charge for customers who are verified to have a copy of genuine Windows in select countries. No registration or personal information is required, only automatic verification of your genuine Windows installation.
Note: Below are details of the installation and use rights from Microsoft's Software License Terms: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/eula.aspx#mainNav
 
  1. Home Use. If you are a home user, then you may install and use any number of copies of the software on your personal devices for use by people who reside in your household. As a home user, you may not use the software in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities.
  2. Small Business. If you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to ten (10) devices in your business.
 

Downgrade WordPress 3.0 to 2.9.2

If you've recently upgraded to WordPress 3.0 and have had challenges with either the theme or plugin you're using, you may want to temporarily downgrade.  Here are the steps you can take if you have to downgrade:
  1. Create a full backup of your hosted WordPress files on your local system
  2. Download 2.9.2 from http://wordpress.org/download/release-archive/ Direct Link - http://wordpress.org/wordpress-2.9.2.zip
  3. Transfer all files from extracted 2.9.2 files to hosted WordPress installation Includes  wp-admin, wp-content, wp-includes folders as well as the various .php files
  4. Login to WordPress Admin Site
  5. You will be prompted to upgrade the database.  Click on Yes to upgrade.
That should bring you back to WordPress 2.9.2.  Good Luck!

Logistics of a 1:1 Laptop Initiative

Increasingly, school districts throughout the United States have begun expanding their strategic plans to include 1:1 laptop programs. Some districts are in the exploratory stages, while some have implemented fully pervasive student computing initiatives. There are many examples of initiatives that have not only positively affected student achievement, but also other key educational metrics: attendance, retention, and enrollment. Planning is vital to the success of these initiatives. In order to achieve such positive results and ensure the long-term competitiveness of students, there are eight major aspects to consider during the planning phase.

Goals and Objectives

When starting to think about launching a 1:1 initiative, it is important to confirm that the goals of the school are aligned with the goals of the program. Identifying critical success factors and assessment tools are most vital at this stage of the process.

Financing

With the goals established, the next step is to calculate the cost and secure the funding to implement a successful program. The two base choices institutions must make are: “school vs. parent purchase” and “purchase vs. lease.” There are positive aspects to all scenarios. With the school purchase, the school has the ability to control the technology environment and ensure that each laptop is strictly configured for the school’s standards. With the parent-purchase program, the school reaps the benefit of students with technology without the financial expense of the hardware. The school also retains the ability to recommend a technology partner with guidelines of how the machine is to be used on the school’s network.

The “lease vs. purchase” scenario is dependent upon who will retain ownership of the technology. If the institution is the owner, it would be appropriate to lease so that the school can establish a refresh cycle and upgrade the technology as appropriate to defeat technology obsolescence. In a parent- purchase scenario, it is best to purchase the machine. It will be more cost-effective and the students are likely to handle the equipment with care. When considering financing, it is important to note that every phase of the project, from hardware purchase to faculty development, can be combined within one lease agreement.

Infrastructure

Through programs like E-Rate, most school districts have already invested heavily in a “wired” infrastructure. The new challenge to institutions is wireless infrastructure development. This connectivity provides nomadic students and faculty with access wherever and whenever teaching, learning, homework, collaboration and research is conducted. Thus, when the wireless infrastructure is being planned, it is important to complete a site-survey when creating a wireless campus. Along with networking requirements, power, printing and data storage capacity requirements are also crucial. Consideration of data security for school-specific files should also be a high priority. Finally, for long-term support of the program, it is beneficial to plan for future growth before the program is fully implemented.

Hardware and Software

Although specifying the end-user hardware is the easiest step of the process, selecting the technology partner to provide the hardware should be given great consideration. The term partner can mean manufacturer or reseller -- or both. When the school is providing a standard image for all machines, it is valuable to get a 12 to18-month roadmap of the products being considered to minimize the number of images the school must support. Also, the laptop’s battery life, wireless performance, weight and durability should be considered before selecting any model.

In addition to standard task-oriented software, specialty programs that teachers will be incorporating in their lesson plans should be included in the standard image. The move towards digital textbooks is another consideration. Finally, in order to manage the desktops remotely, an automated process for patch updates, virus scans and software installations is a requirement. The hardware should come with tools that make manageability painless for the IT staff.

Support

In most cases, a three-year on-site warranty should be a requirement for every student or teacher-owned machine. Additional protection for the screen, keyboards, and cases should also be considered. To reduce student downtime, schools have the option of repairing their own machines with training and support from the manufacturers. There are programs available that allow schools to be reimbursed for the time spent on repairing machines that are under warranty. When working with a partner, service level agreements should be set from the start. Additionally, depending on the school’s needs, network and server consulting should be considered.

Marketing and Communications

“Selling” the program internally to teachers and administrators and earning their buy-in is critically important. Without their support, the program will not be allowed to flourish. Through newsletters and surveys, the entire school community should be kept abreast of the upcoming projects, student achievement and personal stories. Parent Nights and Technology Days can be used to inform the parents and get them comfortable with the technology investment. Also, communications with other laptop institutions should be on-going while sharing ideas and critical success factors. The overall goal of communications is that all constituencies – parents, students, teachers and administrators – feel enfranchised and empowered through the 1:1 program.

Faculty Development

The teachers’ comfort-level with the technology will have a major impact on the amount of time teachers and students use the technology in the classroom. In order to effectively increase their comfort level, a pre-assessment of current teacher’s skills should be conducted. Through the pre-assessment, the program administrators will be able to develop individualized learning plans and suggest appropriate training options. Since many teachers are already proficient with basic office applications, specific focus on technology integration into the lesson plan, with specific emphasis on project-based learning, may be beneficial. A mentoring program within the school or with other educators is also an option. Another option for professional development includes off-site training events with a focus on 1:1 computing environments and visits to other laptop schools. A best practice amongst successful initiatives has been to designate a technology facilitator to assist the teachers with curriculum integration on a day-to-day basis. Finally, faculty development with a focus on technology integration should be a scheduled event and a requirement for all teachers.

Campus Integration

Once the infrastructure is in place, the teachers are trained and the technology is deployed, providing teachers and students with web-based resources to effectively use this new tool should be considered. A very useful application is a portal through which teachers can enter grades, students can submit homework, and parents can monitor student performance. Through the portal, student-teacher-parent communications can be effectively enhanced.

It is important to keep in mind that every laptop program is unique; some may choose to start with mobile laptop carts which can be wheeled into each classroom whereas others are ready to pilot a 1:1 program for a complete grade-level. No matter what the approach, one of the best practices of successful initiatives has been to provide the teachers and administrators ample time to become familiar with their new tool. To increase long-term effectiveness of the laptop initiative, it is important to effectively plan the logistics of the program. Once the technology is in the hands of the teachers and students, it will open new doors to learning for everyone involved.

List of keyboard shortcuts for Word 2002, Word 2003, and Word 2007

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290938
The following is a list of keyboard shortcuts that are available in Microsoft Word 2002, in Microsoft Office Word 2003, and in Microsoft Office Word 2007. This list is a compilation of the individual keyboard shortcut lists available in Word 2002 Help and in Word 2003 Help.
Small updates have been made to the shortcuts in Word 2007.  The updates can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926809/
Command Name Shortcut Keys
All Caps CTRL+SHIFT+A
Annotation ALT+CTRL+M
App Maximize ALT+F10
App Restore ALT+F5
Apply Heading1 ALT+CTRL+1
Apply Heading2 ALT+CTRL+2
Apply Heading3 ALT+CTRL+3
Apply List Bullet CTRL+SHIFT+L
Auto Format ALT+CTRL+K
Auto Text F3 or ALT+CTRL+V
Bold CTRL+B or CTRL+SHIFT+B
Bookmark CTRL+SHIFT+F5
Browse Next CTRL+PAGE DOWN
Browse Previous CTRL+PAGE UP
Browse Sel ALT+CTRL+HOME
Cancel ESC
Center Para CTRL+E
Change Case SHIFT+F3
Char Left LEFT
Char Left Extend SHIFT+LEFT
Char Right RIGHT
Char Right Extend SHIFT+RIGHT
Clear DELETE
Close or Exit ALT+F4
Close Pane ALT+SHIFT+C
Column Break CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER
Column Select CTRL+SHIFT+F8
Copy CTRL+C or CTRL+INSERT
Copy Format CTRL+SHIFT+C
Copy Text SHIFT+F2
Create Auto Text ALT+F3
Customize Add Menu ALT+CTRL+=
Customize Keyboard ALT+CTRL+NUM +
Customize Remove Menu ALT+CTRL+-
Cut CTRL+X or SHIFT+DELETE
Date Field ALT+SHIFT+D
Delete Back Word CTRL+BACKSPACE
Delete Word CTRL+DELETE
Dictionary ALT+SHIFT+F7
Do Field Click ALT+SHIFT+F9
Doc Close CTRL+W or CTRL+F4
Doc Maximize CTRL+F10
Doc Move CTRL+F7
Doc Restore CTRL+F5
Doc Size CTRL+F8
Doc Split ALT+CTRL+S
Double Underline CTRL+SHIFT+D
End of Column ALT+PAGE DOWN
End of Column ALT+SHIFT+PAGE DOWN
End of Doc Extend CTRL+SHIFT+END
End of Document CTRL+END
End of Line END
End of Line Extend SHIFT+END
End of Row ALT+END
End of Row ALT+SHIFT+END
End of Window ALT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN
End of Window Extend ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+PAGE DOWN
Endnote Now ALT+CTRL+D
Extend Selection F8
Field Chars CTRL+F9
Field Codes ALT+F9
Find CTRL+F
Font CTRL+D or CTRL+SHIFT+F
Font Size Select CTRL+SHIFT+P
Footnote Now ALT+CTRL+F
Go Back SHIFT+F5 or ALT+CTRL+Z
Go To CTRL+G or F5
Grow Font CTRL+SHIFT+.
Grow Font One Point CTRL+]
Hanging Indent CTRL+T
Header Footer Link ALT+SHIFT+R
Help F1
Hidden CTRL+SHIFT+H
Hyperlink CTRL+K
Indent CTRL+M
Italic CTRL+I or CTRL+SHIFT+I
Justify Para CTRL+J
Left Para CTRL+L
Line Down DOWN
Line Down Extend SHIFT+DOWN
Line Up UP
Line Up Extend SHIFT+UP
List Num Field ALT+CTRL+L
Lock Fields CTRL+3 or CTRL+F11
Macro ALT+F8
Mail Merge Check ALT+SHIFT+K
Mail Merge Edit Data Source ALT+SHIFT+E
Mail Merge to Doc ALT+SHIFT+N
Mail Merge to Printer ALT+SHIFT+M
Mark Citation ALT+SHIFT+I
Mark Index Entry ALT+SHIFT+X
Mark Table of Contents Entry ALT+SHIFT+O
Menu Mode F10
Merge Field ALT+SHIFT+F
Microsoft Script Editor ALT+SHIFT+F11
Microsoft System Info ALT+CTRL+F1
Move Text F2
New CTRL+N
Next Cell TAB
Next Field F11 or ALT+F1
Next Misspelling ALT+F7
Next Object ALT+DOWN
Next Window CTRL+F6 or ALT+F6
Normal ALT+CTRL+N
Normal Style CTRL+SHIFT+N or ALT+SHIFT+CLEAR (NUM 5)
Open CTRL+O or CTRL+F12 or ALT+CTRL+F2
Open or Close Up Para CTRL+0
Other Pane F6 or SHIFT+F6
Outline ALT+CTRL+O
Outline Collapse ALT+SHIFT+- or ALT+SHIFT+NUM -
Outline Demote ALT+SHIFT+RIGHT
Outline Expand ALT+SHIFT+=
Outline Expand ALT+SHIFT+NUM +
Outline Move Down ALT+SHIFT+DOWN
Outline Move Up ALT+SHIFT+UP
Outline Promote ALT+SHIFT+LEFT
Outline Show First Line ALT+SHIFT+L
Overtype INSERT
Page ALT+CTRL+P
Page Break CTRL+ENTER
Page Down PAGE DOWN
Page Down Extend SHIFT+PAGE DOWN
Page Field ALT+SHIFT+P
Page Up PAGE UP
Page Up Extend SHIFT+PAGE UP
Para Down CTRL+DOWN
Para Down Extend CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN
Para Up CTRL+UP
Para Up Extend CTRL+SHIFT+UP
Paste CTRL+V or SHIFT+INSERT
Paste Format CTRL+SHIFT+V
Prev Cell SHIFT+TAB
Prev Field SHIFT+F11 or ALT+SHIFT+F1
Prev Object ALT+UP
Prev Window CTRL+SHIFT+F6 or ALT+SHIFT+F6
Print CTRL+P or CTRL+SHIFT+F12
Print Preview CTRL+F2 or ALT+CTRL+I
Proofing F7
Redo ALT+SHIFT+BACKSPACE
Redo or Repeat CTRL+Y or F4 or ALT+ENTER
Repeat Find SHIFT+F4 or ALT+CTRL+Y
Replace CTRL+H
Reset Char CTRL+SPACE or CTRL+SHIFT+Z
Reset Para CTRL+Q
Revision Marks Toggle CTRL+SHIFT+E
Right Para CTRL+R
Save CTRL+S or SHIFT+F12 or ALT+SHIFT+F2
Save As F12
Select All CTRL+A or CTRL+CLEAR (NUM 5) or CTRL+NUM 5
Select Table ALT+CLEAR (NUM 5)
Show All CTRL+SHIFT+8
Show All Headings ALT+SHIFT+A
Show Heading1 ALT+SHIFT+1
Show Heading2 ALT+SHIFT+2
Show Heading3 ALT+SHIFT+3
Show Heading4 ALT+SHIFT+4
Show Heading5 ALT+SHIFT+5
Show Heading6 ALT+SHIFT+6
Show Heading7 ALT+SHIFT+7
Show Heading8 ALT+SHIFT+8
Show Heading9 ALT+SHIFT+9
Shrink Font CTRL+SHIFT+,
Shrink Font One Point CTRL+[
Small Caps CTRL+SHIFT+K
Space Para1 CTRL+1
Space Para15 CTRL+5
Space Para2 CTRL+2
Spike CTRL+SHIFT+F3 or CTRL+F3
Start of Column ALT+PAGE UP
Start of Column ALT+SHIFT+PAGE UP
Start of Doc Extend CTRL+SHIFT+HOME
Start of Document CTRL+HOME
Start of Line HOME
Start of Line Extend SHIFT+HOME
Start of Row ALT+HOME
Start of Row ALT+SHIFT+HOME
Start of Window ALT+CTRL+PAGE UP
Start of Window Extend ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+PAGE UP
Style CTRL+SHIFT+S
Subscript CTRL+=
Superscript CTRL+SHIFT+=
Symbol Font CTRL+SHIFT+Q
Thesaurus SHIFT+F7
Time Field ALT+SHIFT+T
Toggle Field Display SHIFT+F9
Toggle Master Subdocs CTRL+\
Tool SHIFT+F1
Un Hang CTRL+SHIFT+T
Un Indent CTRL+SHIFT+M
Underline CTRL+U or CTRL+SHIFT+U
Undo CTRL+Z or ALT+BACKSPACE
Unlink Fields CTRL+6 or CTRL+SHIFT+F9
Unlock Fields CTRL+4 or CTRL+SHIFT+F11
Update Auto Format ALT+CTRL+U
Update Fields F9 or ALT+SHIFT+U
Update Source CTRL+SHIFT+F7
VBCode ALT+F11
Web Go Back ALT+LEFT
Web Go Forward ALT+RIGHT
Word Left CTRL+LEFT
Word Left Extend CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT
Word Right CTRL+RIGHT
Word Right Extend CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT
Word Underline CTRL+SHIFT+W

How-To: WordPress Domain Transfer

Over the past few months, we've become a huge fan of using WordPress to create and maintain various websites.  When we were testing the sites, we created them on our main domain but then needed to transfer them to independent domains.  Below are the steps we followed to ensure a successful transfer.
WordPress Domain Transfer Checklist:
  1. Create new domain name
  2. Create new WordPress installation
  3. Login to new WordPress installation
  4. Upgrade the WordPress installation to the same version as the original site Upgrade Automatically (if possible)
  5. Backup Database SQL on Original Site May already be done automatically by WordPress (check your wp-content/backup-db folder)
  6. Download original WordPress site files (include all folders and files)
  7. Login to your original hosting company’s Control Panel
  8. Browse to your MYSQL Database and write down the original database name, username, and password May also be retrieved from your original wp-config.php file
  9. Login to your new hosting company’s Control Panel
  10. Browse to your MYSQL Database
  11. Click on PHPMyAdmin
  12. Click on SQL Tab on top (without clicking any of the tables on the side)
  13. Upload the backup SQL file
  14. Change the Site URL to the new site in the various parts of the database (Site won’t work without this) A superb resource: http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_The_Site_URL
  15. Upload your WordPress Site files (include all folders and files) to the new domain
  16. Update your database name, username, and password in the new wp-config.php file
  17. Test your new site

How-To: Connect your computer to your TV

Playing computer games, watching downloaded movies or anything else done on a computer is great. Wouldn't it be better if you could use your new 42" HDTV as a display instead of your little 17" computer monitor? Its difficult to resist that urge, but connecting a computer to a TV isn't always as easy as you might hope. In fact, "How can I connect my computer to my television" is one of the most common questions we receive on our technical support lines. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a single cable, but more often than not, connecting these two devices requires a converter box. In this article, we'll look at all the options for connecting a PC to a television.
Figure 1: VGA Connector Figure 2: DVI Connector
Generally speaking, your computer is going to have one of two outputs: either a standard SVGA output (figure 1), traditionally used to connect to a computer monitor, or, on higher-end machines, a DVI output (figure 2). Your television, on the other hand, could have one of several video options, each of which we will look at in this article.

Computers with a VGA output

Assuming your computer has a VGA input, then the easiest connection is if your TV also has a PC VGA input. This would be the standard VGA video output from a computer to the same connection on a TV. Many newer televisions, in particular HDTVs, have this connection. If your TV does have this input, then a simple Super VGA cable (male to male) will do the trick, and will give you the best possible video quality.
If your television does not have a VGA input, your next best bet is if the television has a component video input. If so, a converter box is available (our part number 40H1-50200) that will convert your VGA signal into Component video. (Note that this part only works in one direction; if you needed to convert component video back to VGA, you would want part number 40H1-50300). Component video gives you the same high quality picture as VGA, so it's the next best choice after VGA for converting a computer signal. (The other two video options we list below, composite video and s-video, will not deliver as clean a picture, and should only be used when neither VGA nor component video are available.)
VGA to Component Converter
Converting VGA to component video often causes confusion for customers, who wonder why a converter box is needed. This confusion is because there is also a cable out there that looks as though it would do the same job as the VGA to component video conversion box. VGA to component video cables, such as the one shown to the right, are often mistakenly purchased in an attempt to connect a computer's VGA source to a component video display.
VGA to component cable
The reason why this cable will not work to convert a computer's VGA signal into component video is because the VGA signal and component video signal are very different video signal types. It takes more than a simple cable to convert between the two. This cable is actually designed for use with certain projectors that have a 15-pin VGA connection that is specially designed to be capable of accepting the component video signal (often referred to as a Y/Pb/Pr signal). This design is so that the projector doesn't have to have separate jacks for both component video and VGA, thus saving space (and money). This same dual-purpose connector is also found on certain HDTV set-top boxes.
If you have an older television set that has neither a VGA nor a component video input, then it will most likely have a composite video (yellow RCA jack) and / or an S-video connection. To convert your VGA into Composite video or S-video, our part number 41CV-50220 will do the trick. This box gives you the option of converting your computer's VGA signal into either Composite or S-video. It also has an additional VGA output if you would like to have a VGA monitor and your TV hooked up at the same time.
VGA to S-Video / Composite Video Convert

Computers with a DVI output

As we mentioned earlier, higher-end computers are coming equipped with a DVI (digital video) output.
Any new HDTV out recently will have a DVI or HDMI input on it as its digital connection. If this is the case for you, connecting your PC to the television is simply a matter of choosing either a DVI cable (if your TV has a DVI input port on it) or a DVI to HDMI cable (if your TV has an HDMI port on it). So what do you do if your television is not equipped with DVI or HDMI ports? Well, as it turns out, most computer video cards with DVI on them can be readily adapted to a VGA connection using a simple DVI to VGA adaptor to convert the DVI port into a VGA port. From there, you can simply follow the instructions above for connecting a VGA output to your TV.
DVI Digital Video Cable DVI to HDMI Video Cable

What about Audio?

All of the options listed above are for video signals only. Audio will have to be run separately. Fortunately, unlike the video hookup, connecting up audio between a computer and a TV is pretty straightforward. Computer sound cards have a 3.5mm (sometimes also referred to as a 1/8 inch) connection. This is the same connection you would find on headphones or computer speakers. That signal is easily converted to a 2 RCA (Red and White) stereo connection, which can be plugged into the back of your TV, or the back of your receiver if you have one. CableWholesale offers two versions of this cable, depending on your needs; our standard quality and premium quality 3.5mm to two RCA cables are shown in the pictures on the right.
3.5mm to 2RCA Stereo Audio Cable Premium Grade 3.5mm to 2RCA Cable

How-To: Setup A Home Network

Network Interface Card
Ethernet CAT5E Cable
With many homes now having more than one computer, home networks are becoming more and more appealing to the average PC user. Networking your computers together allows you to transfer files amongst the different computers at breakneck speeds, as well as share a printer or scanner or other peripheral.A basic network (LAN or Local Area Network) consists of two computers that are linked in order to share resources (such as printers and CD-ROMs), exchange files, or allow electronic communications. For this article, we will assume that your local cable or phone company has installed a broadband Internet connection on one of your PCs. If they haven't, then that should be your first step. Many new homes are being built pre-wired for Internet. This means that you have network cables running throughout your walls and coming out as jacks in the wall in various rooms. If this is the case then you will have an even easier time setting up your network. If not, that's ok too, as cables can be neatly run under carpets, through attics, or along baseboards.
For the basic network, you will need the following in order to connect two or more computers together (see figure to left):
  • A broadband internet connection (such as cable modem or DSL)
  • A router
  • One CAT-5E network cable for each computer
  • One CAT-5E network cable for modem
  • One network interface card for each computer Note that more and more computers are offering a network card already built in, so check your computer for an Ethernet cable port before purchasing another card.
Flat Network Cable

Plan Your Setup

Next, you need to figure out how and where to run the appropriate length cables to fit your specific needs. We offer special flat Ethernet cables specifically designed for running along baseboards and the floor. This helps in keeping them out of the way and from people tripping over them.Connect one end of a network cable into the back of your DSL/cable modem and the other into the "Internet" port on the back of the router. Connect a network cable in the back of each of your computers and into separate ports in the back of the router. You now have the start of a basic network. Note that the purpose of the network router is to allow multiple computers to share one internet connection, without having to pay for a multiple-connection option from the internet service provider. Most new computers will auto-configure your router and get you connected. You may have to configure your computer to turn on DHCP. This allows your router to differentiate between your different computers.

Enable DHCP

If you have a Windows based computer: Go to Start -> Programs -> Control Panel -> Network Connections. Right click on the connection and select Properties. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click properties. Select Obtain IP Address Automatically and Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically. If you are using a Windows 2000 machine you must then click Advanced and select DHCP Enabled and click OK. You may have to reboot for the settings to take affect.If you have a Mac running OS 10.2: Go to System Preferences -> Network. Click on the TCP/IP tab. In the TCP/IP panel, change Configure Manually to Using DHCP. Delete any Domain Name Servers that are listed in the Domain Name Servers box. Click Apply Now.
Network Router
If you have a Mac running OS 10.3: Go to System Preferences -> Network. From Show, choose Built-in Ethernet. Click on the TCP/IP tab. From Configure, choose Using DHCP. Delete Domain Name Servers. Click Apply Now. Repeat the above steps for each computer on the network.

Setup Sharing

To allow for the other computers to share certain folders or printers: If you are running Windows 2000/XP: Right click on any file folder and go to Sharing and Security... Select Share This Folder. Click OK. The other computers on your network can access anything you put in this folder. To share a printer, on the PC with the printer, go to Start -> Printers and Faxes. Right click on the printer you'd like to share and select Sharing... Select Share this Printer. Click OKIf you have a Mac running OSX: Go to System Preferences (on the Apple menu) and click on Sharing. Select Personal File Sharing. The "Public" folder in your home folder will now be shared automatically. Use the address displayed at the bottom of the Sharing window to access this folder from other computers. Unlike Windows, Mac OSX does not allow you to share any folder you want. To share printers, select Printer Sharing.

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