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The Most Popular Computer Accessories of All Time

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;Computers are like outfits. Yep, you read that right—just like with choosing an outfit, accessories can make or break a computer. Just like accessories for your outfit, there are plenty you can do without, but some are absolutely necessary—imagine having a brand new, state-of-the-art iMac desktop computer with no monitor. Or no keyboard. Or no mouse.

You need certain accessories to operate your system, back up and share data, or work faster, smarter or collaboratively across machines. Others are less vital, and help you maximize the fun you can have on your computer or online. Keeping up to date with the latest accessories can keep even the most dated of systems running with the new breed, at a fraction of the cost of the next state-of-the-art model. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular computer accessories of all time.

00:58
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Before Douglas Engelbart invented the mouse, computers received input through typed commands - but that all changed once this handy pointer hit the scene. Learn more about Engelbart's Stuff of Genius in this video podcast from HowStuffWorks.com. Stuff of Genius tells the story behind everyday inventions. From the bikini to super wheat and everything in between. Viewers will learn the stories of unsung inventor heroes and their trials, tribulations and successes. Check out new episodes every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Please subscribe to Stuff of Genius: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=HiddenGeniusShow Watch more episodes here: http://www.youtube.com/hiddengeniusshow Twitter https://twitter.com/stuffofgenius Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenGenius Google+ http://plus.google.com/u/0/111317301186502572272/
00:41
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A wireless keyboard is a computer keyboard that does not have to be plugged directly into a computer, but uses a USB receiver to send signals between the computer and the keyboard. Make sure to keep batteries on hand for a wireless keyboard with tips from a media and electronics specialist in this free video on computer keyboards.
01:53
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How to use different types of speakers for your computer; learn more about audio for computers in this free instructional video. Expert: Tony Ramirez Bio: Electronics and media guru Tony Ramirez is known among his friends, family, and clients as "Inspector Gadget. Filmmaker: Adolph Ramirez
02:28
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Fix sticking laptop computer keys by spraying compressed air in the keyboard or using a cotton swab dipped in a little alcohol. Remove debris and crumbs to improve laptop keyboard performance with advice from an IT professional in this free video on computers. Expert: Eric White Bio: Eric White currently works as a Workflow manager managing a global operations team for a software development company in Austin, Texas. Filmmaker: Todd Green
01:57
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A webcam can be set up and installed on a computer using the manufacturer's disc or following the instructions on the manufacturer's website to download the drivers needed to load the camera. Learn how to set up your webcam with the advice of a computer hardware professional in this free video on computer hardware basics. Expert: Ron Chase Contact: www.paurumpauction.com Bio: Ron Chase has been in the computer industry for nearly two decades and is a certified Microsoft Network Engineer and owner of PahrumpAuctions.com. Filmmaker: Lew Gitlin
03:12
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A flash drive is a small piece of equipment used to store and transfer information for computers using a USB. Use the USB end of a flash drive to store music, photos or other documents from a computer with information from a certified computer technician in this free video on computers. Expert: Jonathan Ayres Bio: Jonathan Ayres has more than 25 years of computer industry experience with all types of computer hardware and operating systems. Filmmaker: Todd Green
01:35
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Watch more How to Set Up a Printer videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/290460-How-to-Set-Your-Default-Printer-on-a-Mac Is your old printer smoking and spitting toner dust? It may be time to buy a new one. Step 1: Establish a budget Establish a budget; then choose between color or black and white options. Color printers won't produce photo-quality pictures and are more expensive than the black and white alternative. Tip If you plan on printing pictures, consider an ink jet printer. They offer higher quality color and resolution. Step 2: Consider toner cost Consider toner cartridge cost versus the cost of a printer. A laser printer that's on sale but has the most expensive toner will cost more in the long run. Step 3: Decide connectivity Decide if you want the printer on a network. Networking a printer requires Ethernet and wireless routers. Step 4: Determine memory needs Determine your memory requirements. Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers have onboard memory for large and complex files. Step 5: Choose features Choose between an all-in-one or a single-purpose printer. If you plan on scanning, faxing, and copying documents, the all-in-one printer is the best choice for you. Tip If you need a high-quality scanner with a tabloid-size flatbed, consider buying a separate scanner instead of a multifunction printer. Step 6: Shop Decide on the printer you want, and then comparison shop for the at electronics and supply stores. Make sure to get the accessories you need to start printing right away. Did You Know? If you were to fill an Olympic swimming pool with name-brand ink, it would cost an estimated $6.5 billion.
01:12
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Install a wireless modem on a laptop computer by making sure the laptop does not already have a wireless card, finding the PCMCIA slot and carefully sliding the wireless card into the appropriate slot. Consider using a USB wireless card into a laptop if there is no PCMCIA slot with help from a media and electronics specialist in this free video on laptop computers.
02:40
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External hard drives for laptops usually are available with a USB connection, and they can store up to 300 gigabytes of information, which makes them great for backing up large amounts of work. Find out how to use an external hard drive on a laptop with IT help from a software developer in this free video on computers. Expert: Dave Andrews Contact: www.daveandrews.org Bio: Dave Andrews is a software developer that holds a degree in computer science. Currently, he is employed by a government IT department. Filmmaker: Tim Brown