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And don't forget related devices. My cable modem uses 7 watts, my D-Link DI router uses 4. With most devices you can look at the label to see how much energy they use, but that doesn't work so well with computers because the label gives the theoretical maximum, not the typical amount used. A computer whose label or power supply says watts might only use about 70 watts when it's actually running, and only even in peak times with serious number-crunching and all the drives spinning.

You'll save a lot more energy by addressing your heating , cooling , and lighting use rather than obsessing over your computer. For most people, their computers' energy use is not a significant portion of their total use, even if they use their computers a lot.

Of course, you should absolutely make sure your computer is set to sleep automatically when you're not using it, because it's silly to waste energy, but your computer likely isn't even close to being the biggest energy-waster in your home. If you take one thing from this page, it's that you should set your computer to auto-sleep after 15 minutes or so of inactivity.

You use it for two hours a day, five days a week. It really depends on what kind of computer it is, how much you use it, and your local rate for electricity -- and especially whether you turn off the computer when you're not using it or at least sleep it. Both the examples above are extremes.

I used to have only one example somewhere in the middle but then I'd see people on blogs and forums misquoting it by writing, "Mr. I said that was just an example. Your situation is almost certainly different, and you need to consider all the variables listed in the first sentence of this paragraph. Heavy use all drives spinning, processor-intensive task. Light use e. Modern computers automatically go to "sleep" when you haven't used them for a while, drawing only watts.

Putting the computer to sleep also sleeps the monitor, on most models. In the past, turning on the sleep setting was the most important way to save on computer energy use, but now that the sleep option is turned on by default out of the box, that's pretty much done for you. Just make sure you don't override it by turning it off. Of course, you can go the other direction, tweaking your sleep and power usage settings, especially by having your computer sleep sooner after a period of non-use. Here's where to set your options:. There are various flavors of sleep, including Sleep, Standby, and Hibernate.

It's not terribly important to understand the difference between them.

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In a nutshell, hibernate saves your workspace all the open windows and then turns your computer off , so it saves more energy than standby, but a hibernating computer takes longer to wake up. For the curious I have a separate article about the differences between Sleep, Standby, and Hibernate. A screensaver that shows any image on the screen doesn't save any energy at all , on either the monitor or the computer. You save energy only if the monitor goes dark by going to sleep. It's not available for Macs.

Note that Granola isn't a substitute for sleeping your computer, it's a complement to sleep.

If you had to choose one or the other, you'd definitely save more by having your computer auto-sleep rather than using Granola. But you don't have to choose one or the other, you can do both. Here are some figures for some specific models. Don't write to me to ask me how much your particular computer uses, because I didn't make your computer and unlike you, I don't have access to it. Contact the manufacturer or buy a watt-hour meter. Dimension B Pentium 4 Optiplex GX Pentium 4 Dimension E Pentium 4, 2.

Optiplex L Pentium 4, 3. Dimension E Pentium 4 Dimension XPS Pentium 4 Yes, it doesn't make sense that the Dell GX is listed as using more power when it's off than when it's sleeping, but I'm just reprinting the numbers from Dell's specs. Dell Pentium 4's from Dell's website. You won't wear your computer out any faster by cycling it once a day, or even a few times a day. Modern computers just aren't that fragile. I did hardware troubleshooting at Apple, by the way.

If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Jonathan Koomey, a project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who says, "PCs are not hurt by turning them on and off a few times a day. Journal The useful life of a computer these days is only a few years anyway. The computer will become obsolete long before you wear it out, no matter how often you cycle it.

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Bottom line: Turn your computer off when you're done with it or simply Sleep it , and don't worry about it. It also doesn't take more energy to start a computer than to keep it running. The only extra energy it takes to start a computer is the two minutes or so it takes to start up, which is barely different than any other two minutes' of use.

You'll always save energy by turning your computer off when you're not using it. Of course you don't have to turn it off since you can easily use the sleep or standby mode instead. The myth of "turning it off uses more energy than keeping it on all the time" exists for just about every device that exists, and it's wrong in every single case, in practical terms.

The research

While that growth has started to level off as fewer writers have unpublished novels in their closets to publish, you can still expect to go up against thousands of other motivated indie authors. Again, because the barrier to entry is so low, the majority of self-published books are pretty bad. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say less than 5 percent are decent and less than 1 percent are really good. A tiny fraction become monster success stories, but every every few months, you'll hear about someone hitting it big for those who don't know already the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy was initially self-published.

The average print self-published book sells about copies -- or two-thirds to three-quarters of your friends and family combined and don't count on all your Facebook acquaintances buying. I don't have a source for this statistic, but I've seen this stated on several blogs and as a Publishers Weekly article titled " Turning Bad Books into Big Bucks " noted, while traditional publishers aim to publish hundreds of thousands of copies of a few books, self-publishing companies make money by publishing copies of hundreds of thousands of books.

You wonder why "real" books take nine months to produce -- and usually significantly longer. Well, I now know why. It's hard to get everything just right if you're a novice at book formatting, Microsoft Word will become your worst enemy. And once you've finally received that final proof, you feel it could be slightly better.

This will help dictate what service you go with. For instance, if your objective is to create a book for posterity's sake so your friends and family can read it for all eternity , you won't have to invest a lot of time or money to produce something that's quite acceptable. Lulu is probably your best bet. However, if yours is a commercial venture with big aspirations, things get pretty tricky.

If your book is really mediocre, don't expect it to take off.

But even if it's a masterpiece, there's a good chance it won't fly off the shelves and by shelves, I mean virtual shelves, because most self-published books don't make it into brick-and-mortar stores. In other words, quality isn't a guarantee of success. You'll be lucky to make your investment back, let alone have a "hit" that brings in some real income.


Don't quit your day job yet. This seems to be the mantra of self-publishing. Nonfiction books with a well-defined topic and a nice hook to them can do well, especially if they have a target audience that you can focus on. Religious books are a perfect case in point. And fiction? Well, it's tough, but some genres do better than others. Note : If it's any consolation, the majority of fiction books -- even ones from "real" publishers -- struggle in the marketplace. That's why traditional publishers stick with tried-and-true authors with loyal followings. Even if you go with one of the subsidy presses for convenience's sake, there's no reason to have Lulu, CreateSpace, iUniverse , Xlibris , Author House , Outskirts , or whomever listed as your publisher.

The complete list of sellers is here. Note : Most self-publishing operations will provide you with a free ISBN for both your print book and e-book but whatever operation provides you with the ISBN will be listed as the publisher. Your book should be easy to find in a search on Amazon and Google. It should come up in the first couple of search results. Unfortunately, many authors make the mistake of using a title that has too many other products associated it with it -- and it gets buried in search results.

Not good. Basically, you want to get the maximum SEO search engine optimization for your title, so if and when somebody's actually looking to buy it they'll find the link for your book -- not an older one with an identical title. Note : On a more cynical note, some authors are creating titles that are very similar to popular bestsellers.

Also, some authors use pseudonyms that are similar to famous authors' names so they'll show up in search results for that author. Check out this list of Fifty Shades of Grey knockoffs. You've written your book and God knows you'd like to just hand it off to someone, have a team of professionals whip it into shape, and get it out there.

Well, there are a lot of companies that will offer to make just that happen -- and do it in a fraction of the time a traditional publisher could.