Don’t be so cheap: Five reasons you should spend more on your next laptop

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Low-cost laptops may look tempting, but the sacrifices you make to get there will often come back to bite you in the years of ownership ahead.

Sales figures from the last five years consistently show average laptop buyers spending about $600 dollars their new machines. this means that some people spend more, but it also means that a sizable number spend less.

Six Benjamin Franklins are not a ton of money for a laptop, although $600 may seem so when you’re at the store. for that money you’re limited to categories such as netbooks, multimedia laptops and a handful of ultraportables. many of the laptops available at this price at adequate, but they’re just that. Adequate. OK. Usable. They are computers, and they will do computing stuff.

Cheaping out forces you to give up many tangible benefits, which means inexpensive laptops are often a poor value. You can’t get what you don’t pay for. Here’s why you should pay for more.

Durable goods

One of the first concepts you’ll learn in any basic economics or business class is that of durable goods. a durable good is an item that provides utility over a long period of time. Paying more for these items is justified if it can increase your productivity. a laptop is an example of such an item. a better, faster, more usable laptop can decrease the time you spend waiting for a video encode, increase your typing accuracy and eliminate wasting time waiting for programs to open.

This argument comes first because it’s the most important. Spending less money on a laptop can be tempting, but think about how often you use it. The American time use survey found that average computer owners use their computers for leisure about 25 minutes every day. If average users kept their laptops for just three years, they would use them for a total of 450 hours. And that includes no time working.

This is more time than an average American spends reading, relaxing or exercising. Suddenly, sacrificing a laptop’s quality to save a few hundred bucks seems like a poor value.

Eye on the warranty

One added benefit hiding in some expensive laptops is a better warranty. Asus throws in a two-year warranty against defects on its most expensive laptops. Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and HP sometimes throw in an extended two- or three-year warranty to sweeten more expensive products. this is particularly common with business-oriented laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad, Dell Precision and Toshiba Portege.

Manufacturers don’t do this as a kindness. Squaretrade, a third-party warranty company, found that more expensive laptops have a small but measurable reliability advantage over their cheaper brethren. Netbooks, the cheapest of all laptops, have the highest failure rate by far. “Premium laptops,” defined as those selling for more than $1,000, are the least likely to fail.

Entertainment value

We’ve already established that average users will enjoy about 450 hours of laptop leisure time over three years. They will spend much of this time engaging in just-for-fun activities such as gaming or watching video.

Your laptop’s display serves as a window for all of this content, yet cheap laptops offer the worst displays among all modern consumer electronic devices. The resolution usually will be 1366 x 768, which is less than some modern tablets with much smaller displays. Contrast and viewing angles suffer as well.

You can do better only by spending more. some cheap laptops offer a better display as an upgrade, but only premium laptops commonly come with high-quality displays as standard equipment.

The graphics processor is also a concern. Intel integrated graphics are fine for older games but work poorly with new 3D titles. You’ll want to upgrade to a discrete GPU from AMD or Nvidia to play new games, an option inexpensive laptops rarely offer.

Good on the go

Companies often slash battery life to make sure they can sell a laptop at a low price. Batteries are expensive, and no standards exist for validating battery life claims. this means a manufacturer can sell a laptop with a small battery while still advertising endurance that seems reasonable.

We’ve recorded this story time and time again. almost every laptop we’ve received that seemed to be a great hardware value has achieved this goal by axing the battery. We rarely find a laptop under $600 that offers more than five hours of real-world battery life, and some will struggle to last a minute beyond four.

Spending for solid state

Dedicated readers of our laptop reviews may have noticed that one benchmark, PCMark 7, varies wildly between laptops that seem to have similar specifications.

The hard drive is the culprit. PCMark 7 tests all of a system’s components, and in the storage section of the test, laptops that have a solid-state drive dominate those which don’t. Equipping an SSD can bump the combined score by 1,000 to 2,000 points.

This is not merely an artifact of our benchmark. Systems with SSDs feel much more responsive because the drive responds more quickly to user input. These computers also enjoy much lower load times for both the operating system and the software.

You’ll only find an SSD in an expensive laptop, but it’s well worth the extra cash. Alternatively, you can buy a solid-state drive and upgrade it yourself. this will be cheaper but requires that you partially disassemble your laptop and re-install the operating system.


Our laptop reviews tell a consistent story. Expensive laptops often receive high scores. only a few cheap laptops have ever managed a 9/10 or higher, and most laptops in such esteemed company sell for $800 or more.

We remember value when reviewing premium laptops. Our scores reflect that expensive laptops provide more for your money. for example, buying the 11.6-inch MacBook Air ($999) instead of the 11.6-inch Acer Aspire V5 ($549) will net you a better display, a much better user interface and slightly better battery life.

Some will argue that you could almost buy two Acers for the price of the Apple. That’s true, but we’re unaware of anyone capable of using two laptops at the same time.

We think that the $800 to $1,000 range is where you’ll find the best laptop value. this amount of money can’t buy you everything, but it can buy you a laptop that’s excellent in important areas. You only have to spend more if you want a gaming laptop. in that case, we recommend budgeting at least $1,500.

We don’t recommend buying something you can’t afford, but for most people, the difference between a great laptop and an OK one is just a few hundred dollars. That’s a couple nice dinners, a single weekend vacation or a couple months of going to Starbucks every day. If you need perspective, open your calculator and multiply the daily time you spend on your computer by 1,095 (the number of days in three years). The result should remind you why spending more on a laptop is worthwhilesmart.

The Mini Notebook – A Perfect Student & Children’s Computer

August 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Mini notebook computers, which are also called mini netbooks, may be seen all over at the moment, even in a lot of classrooms. it might seem that the mini laptop has materialized and turned out to be the most prevalent variety of pc effectively straight away. The novel mini laptop computer gives maximum functionality contained in an exceedingly condensed profile.

Screen Size

The lone objection certain purchasers state with these mini notebook computers is the miniature screen size however it changes depending to some amount on the version and make that you pay money for. Right away, there will be selected makes on the market that include bigger screen sizes whilst maintaining the condensed size. these minis are also lightweight and easily portable, with nearly all tipping the scales at a little more than a pound to about three pounds with screen sizes varying from seven to ten inches. Should you have already seen a mini laptop computer it follows that you will already understand how appealing these little laptops are. Most industry professionals already have one of these mini notebook computers. Professionals like them because of the condensed size and their functionality.


Mini notebook computers have become inexpensive especially once compared with ordinary laptop computers. because these minis are much smaller, the price of production is cut, and so the cheaper purchase price. This has made the existing mini notebooks an instantaneous hit particularly with the current economic climate. There are currently brands to buy that exhibit a similar purchase price to a modern cellular phone. with compelling and innovative knowledge all contained in such a small package, the mini notebook computer has captured the attention of knowledge aware folks everywhere. Even though lesser in size, the functionality of the mini laptop has not been sacrificed. Speedy hard disk drives, contemporary processors, together with a realistically sized keyboard are now available features with mini laptop computers. Access to contemporary expertise for our children must be an absolute necessity. But, the price of computers can be so excessive that many parents may be unable to purchase a normal pc. using the option of the mini notebook, virtually everyone can now enjoy the benefits of online access.

For Children & Students

Laptop computers for school children ought to be lightweight, easily portable and durable with a condensed size that will definitely squeeze into their bag. Moreover, think about the functionality of the laptop computer. If your pc is to be made use of in the college or a distance from your home frequently, then assess the length of the battery life. The perfect laptop computer has to hold a rechargeable battery that will work for a few hours without charging up. In addition, ensure that the computer will have an satisfactory wireless connection, as the web has nowadays developed into the most useful means to educate. Another feature to include when selecting your student pc may be that you will require a piece of word processing software to write and edit your assignments. The normal version of Microsoft Office will probably be sufficient for nearly all of your requirements, but, whenever you mean to do any type of slide-show presentations or website construction, you will most likely want to purchase Office Pro.

When you need a really discounted pc, in that case you possibly will think about looking for a refurbished laptop and not a new one. There are various benefits to doing this but the huge one will be the low purchase price. An extra advantage that a large amount of purchasers will disregard is the fact that a refurbished laptop will have been already screened for defects, at the same time as someone else will have been making use of it.

Now, buying first-rate, inexpensive laptop computers for school children is possible if you discover one of the hosts of locations that there will be refurbished laptop computers to be had. If you’re on a budget, as on the whole college students will be, you should save a lot of cash by buying carefully. But, purchasing a reduced pc might result in going for something shoddy. when you’re investing a lot of money for an education, you may need to also supply the best technology in the form of a first-rate laptop computer which should keep going several years. So now have this in your thoughts as you buy that perfect student laptop computer.

An extra reason these mini notebooks are the ‘just what the doctor ordered’ student laptop computers is their wallet friendly price. a lot of college students are as a rule on a strict budget and these mini laptops are a seamless match. Most first-rate mini notebooks are nowadays priced in the $300 to $500 price range, whilst many other entirely passable ones go for well below $300. In addition, price tickets are now constantly falling, so virtually any student can nowadays buy a mini laptop.

Where to find a Deal

Firstly you may take a look at one of the inexpensive laptop computers offered from all of the foremost computer designers. The majority will have varieties that will supply the components college students require, but also with a lower cost. these inexpensive laptop computers may not include some desirable software, but initially for nearly all college students, these uncomplicated laptop computers are spot on. Most may even incorporate gigantic hard disk storage space and modern cases. it is thought that during next year most computer manufacturers should be able to sell mini notebook computers for less than $100. these designers also expect to drop their weight to under a pound. Whether you mean to send e-mail, make videos, keep in touch, or simply use the net, mini notebook computers are innovative even before having these measures.

Shouldn’t Replace a Normal Computer

You must understand however, that these mini notebooks aren’t planned to supplant the PC. Whilst mini notebook computers are getting better, many makes are still finding it challenging to squeeze the quick functionality together with the great memory on the market into such condensed pieces. as a result, most mini laptop computers are not as efficient as a normal laptop computer. Mini notebook computers, however, can be modified and improved to suit the requirements of the consumer. There will be various admirable mini laptop options these days. The laptop manufacturers like Asus, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and others provide a extensive array of features and makes. when you’re looking for a capable computer, you’ll absolutely want to have a good look at these mini notebooks.

An extra grounds for acquiring a mini laptop is the array of options they confer. The best habitually have 3 USB ports together with many internet options. unlike hand held devices, that may cost just as much or even more. Mini notebook computers allow a more potent processor, extra memory together with improved desirable software options.


Possibly, one of your top priorities while selecting laptop computers for school children ought to be theft. you may at the moment find many different anti-theft extras as fingerprint entry and maybe even receive facial recognizing software within some of the brand new laptop computers. you can also purchase a useful cable lock which will keep the computer a little safer. In addition, you could assess anti-theft software as LoJack which is able to follow and trace your stolen computer with the unique IP identification whenever it is made use of to connect to the web.

Guide to Upgrading Your Business Information Systems

August 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Upgrading your business information system is a necessary process that every successful organization should implement. this process could exist in a formal or an informal way wherever a business uses information technology. since this will require you to become a customer to a number of different vendors, the process of upgrading your information systems becomes a lot about management skills, and requires that one is knowledgeable about the subject before taking it on.

Information systems in your business involve more than just hardware and include operating systems, telecommunication service providers, equipment and applications procured from outside providers.

Given the technical knowledge and managerial skill sets that are required to successfully upgrade your business information systems constantly, many businesses often end up spending more than they should while performing this operation because of insufficient planning. in this age when the economy is recovering from a financial crisis, it is important to optimize the upgrading process and save money by planning well. Managers of large corporations in charge of the upgrading process concern themselves with making the process more efficient, and with this aim in mind will use tools like procurement cards and EDI. in addition to this, they work to reduce the cycle time of their contracts and use various tracking systems to manage business assets.

In smaller businesses, these measures may be unnecessary; however if an organization is considering upgrading their business information system, it might be a good idea to have one or more dedicated staff members oversee the process. this person, or team, will be required to maintain an inventory of all the assets owned by the business, and perform routine checks on the equipment. in addition to this, they will need to identify the equipment that needs upgrading, and the level of urgency. they will also need to interact with vendors to ensure that you get the best value for your new procurements, and that the new equipment meets all the requirement of your business.

Since business information systems need constant upgrading, it is important to develop a working relationship with certain vendors, and maintain this relationship to ensure better service and more efficient processes. it is also important to ensure that there is a strict benchmark maintained in performance standards, and all equipment and assets in the company. this will affect all further procurements and discards. You will also need to constantly update your plan for upgrading with an eye on your current business model and goals.

Laptop Cases – Is an Aluminum Case the Right Choice For You?

August 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

A laptop case made of aluminum is one of the most durable cases to protect the laptop. it is easy understand why a lot of people choose the aluminum case because it has many advantages and it is a very popular choice.

In addition to aluminum, there are other kinds of laptop cases made from man made materials such as nylon or natural materials such as leather. However, an aluminum case is the most economical. the cost of an aluminum case is affordable and usually includes an extended warranty of at least 6 months or longer. Also, depending on how big your case is, the style of the case and the amount of storage area, the sale price could be cheaper. For example, if you only want a small basic laptop case with a plain design, you will pay less.

You will find out that you will get your money’s worth, after you have used your aluminum laptop case for a long time. These cases are very strong, long lasting and keep same hue of color as when you first bought it. When you purchase an aluminum case you will probably realize you have made the best choice.

An aluminum case is very good for people who do a lot of traveling around. whether you travel by plane, bus or train, you have the choice of either hanging up the case or storing the case under your seat and your laptop computer will be protected no matter what. you can relax and enjoy your trip without worrying.

You can usually find laptop cases in the same store where you bought your computer and also in other stores that sell handbags or briefcases. Be sure to look around, consider all your options and take your time before you make your choice about what kind of laptop case you want to buy. not only should the case be durable, but also the color of the case should be the same as the color of the computer laptop, or the ensemble will look strange. you should try to create a professional look.

We have discussed the process of buying the best laptop case for your computer. An aluminum case is the best choice for most situations, but some people have different lifestyles, prefer other materials, colors and various styles for a laptop case. in the end, only you can decide what kind of laptop case is best for you because you have to be comfortable with your choice.

Cheap Gaming Laptop – Three Critical Hardware Areas to Address When Buying a Cheap Gaming Notebook

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Cheap Gaming Laptops are continuing to grow in popularity thanks to the continued growth of video games. now people want to be able to play their favorite games while they travel or even go to the local coffee shop. in order to have this mobile gaming capability, gamers need to find laptops that can run their favorite games while not costing an arm and a leg. here are some hazards to avoid when trying to find a laptop that will suit your gaming needs.

First of all, any cheap gaming laptop should start with a fast, powerful processor. This is the engine that runs your gaming experience. Do not try to save money on the processor because it will come back to bite you. Check out the recommended (not the minimum) specifications for the games you are wanting to play and make sure you get a processor that easily meets the recommended level.

RAM for a cheap gaming laptop can be expensive, but if you’re smart, you’ll get enough RAM to run your games without getting too much. Obviously, the more RAM you have, the better off things will be, but after a certain point, the excess RAM isn’t improving your gaming experience. Recommendation are to get at least 2GB of RAM to start with, but you can always go a little higher if you want. two gigabytess should be plenty to run most of the current games available.

The final must have component for a great cheap gaming laptop is a good video card. almost all games now require some sort of video card with on board video memory. Again, this is an item that you want to get the recommended specification level if at all possible as it will keep the laptop able to play games much longer than if you go with a lesser video card. you don’t want to only get six months of time out of the card before it becomes obsolete.

A few places you can save money on a cheap gaming laptop are the sound card and screen size. if you are going to be playing in crowded areas, you are more than likely going to be using headphones or ear buds to hear the game. Getting a laptop with an awesome sound card might seem like a good idea, but unless you are going to play with speakers, then it’s not a great area to invest money. in terms of screen size, you don’t want to go too small, but you don’t need a huge screen either. fifteen to seventeen inch screens are good for just about all gaming done on a laptop.

Used And Refurbished Computers – What To Look For?

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Nowadays desktops and laptops are much more durable and dependable that they were just five years ago. Therefore, buying a used or refurbished computer is becoming more of a trend.

Suppliers replace their computers on average every 6 months and companies frequently upgrade their equipment. Buying one of these used or refurbished computers can save you a lot of money while still using a quite up to date technology. this is even more relevant if you are not a heavy user (i.e. most of your time on a computer is spent online, you may use a few standard applications once in a while). even modestly priced computers will more than suffice for these types of demand.

Thinking about buying a used or refurbished desktop or laptop?

Buying a computer is not at all an easy job, one has look get detailed information of the available computers of good and reputed brands. one must take into consideration the size, color, configurations, features etc. While your computer should correspond to your personality and lifestyle, you should always keep in mind the reputation of the brand in the market. Brand counts a lot; you can render good service by the manufacturer if your computer is damaged.

Important handy Tips before buying a computer.

  • Verify if the brand is reputed and always buy a good reputed brand. Read about customer service experience for that specific computer issues
  • Check the warranty/guarantee of the computer (seek out computers which still have warranty/guarantee remaining)
  • Compare the price of the new model in the market with what price your buying your used computer, try to get the best bargain. i.e. a two year old computer should not be bought for more than half of its original price.
  • Check if the computer is outdated (if out of production it is difficult to get spare parts)
  • Is the operating system current (Windows Vista/Windows XP). Earlier versions probably run slower (windows 2000) and would not be advisable unless your needs are limited (i.e. web surfing, Word.). in any event, stay away with computers running on Windows 98 (granted you don’t find many anymore). also be aware of Windows Vista. Many users are reverting back to XP and that is even more obvious in the corporate world. Why? Vista looks nice but doesn’t bring many technical improvements; therefore IT managers are not willing to implement something new when what they have works just fine. some domestic users just don’t like the new way of navigation within the Vista Operating system.
  • Check if the configuration of the computer you are buying is good.
  • Check the speed of the processor. if possible start the computer and see how long it takes to fully turn on. if its slow just turning on, imagine the lack of speed once you start adding software..

Additional Tips for laptops

  • Is the battery life good? (search for the computers with a very good battery backup (2 hours minimum).
  • Check for the screen size of the computer your buying and see to it that it is not exceeding the Normal (normally the screen size should be between 15-17). Less than that generally translates in older computers and increases the chance of age failure. once the screen breaks, you are often better of changing the whole computer.
  • Review the connectivity of the computer (Network, USB, Video, Audio.) look to it that it has a good connectivity including wireless
  • Check out the weight. Ensure the computer is light enough for you to carry (light 7pounds)

Where to buy used computers:

  • Online auctions. Pro: Often offer the best prices. Cons: Cannot validate the accuracy of the described item. No warranty. Tip 1: some companies will offer warranty for up to two years, the cost is about 12% to 18% of the purchase price. Tip2: buy from sellers with great feedback, do not hesitate to contact the seller with questions prior to bidding
  • Online marketplaces: Pro: Set prices and quantities – Sometime warranty is available. Cons: Prices can vary a lot, do your homework
  • Contacting sellers on in your local area gives you a chance to meet with the owner and physically test the computer before the purchase

Where to buy refurbished computers:

Refurbished computers can be a great way to buy as they have warranties and are generally sold by manufacturers or companies affiliated with them.

Manufacturers websites will tell you how to buy directly from them or from their authorized sellers. Pros: Warranty, established companies. Cons: Prices are higher than regular auctions (you pay more for peace of mind)

Buying a used or refurbished computer can be a great way to save money. if you use some of the advice discussed above you can avoid many pitfalls. one last thing concerning laptops, make sure you have a good bag to protect your computer from a fatal accident. Your bag should be big enough for a 17 inch screen computer as it is rapidly becoming the norm, you will probably change your computer within a few years, the bag you may keep a lot longer.

Computer Troubleshooting Tips

August 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

In addition to being informative, your online computer repair session can save you both the efforts and money. As a sincere computer enthusiast, you cannot compromise your PC’s safety. when it comes to pesky technical errors, the ideal way to make sure your PC is protected against virus, spyware and other security threats.

Computer support technicians working with these online support resources are certified and hold immense expertise to offer you with computer help for your desktops, laptops, software, hardware and peripherals. this is why they are gaining in popularity with computer users as well as small businesses. these techs opt for the safest, easiest way to provide technical support right over the internet.

One of the biggest advantages of choosing online service is the convenience. you get everything done right before your eyes within minutes. No waiting around for your PC or taking appointments.

Well you need to be highly meticulous while choosing your computer support provider. Your choice should be according to your business needs and personal computing requirements. However, every other computer support company provides same service. the only difference is the quality and the price. make note of each and every detail before you subscribe.

Also, ensure to take a route of the vendor’s website before subscribing for the service. this will help you to have a fair idea about their services. Checking out the section containing frequently asked questions is also a good idea. often, there are some questions which can be similar to your problem. you will get a ready made answer there.

If you are seriously thinking about buying online computer support services, think about pricing, delivery, and features offered. then put them with your technology requirements. Don’t ignore the idea of shopping around and compare the services & prices. some vendors may offer you a better and more cost effective support package, while some might rather charge additional for the same features and benefits.

If you know your requirements, you will be able to narrow down on the best. so be watchful while choosing your computer support partner. make a thorough search on the Internet. Keywords like online computer support, online PC repair, PC repair services, troubleshoot PC online, and fix my PC etc can be highly useful.

How To Survive Without A DVD Drive In Your Laptop

July 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

A lot of laptops come without DVD drives these days, including super-thin ultrabooks and Apple’s new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. if you’re worried about getting by, don’t: with these tips, you’ll never even realise it’s gone.

Ultra-thin laptops are great. They’re light, portable, and can handle almost any modern task you throw at them. They don’t come with DVD drives inside, but the fact of the matter is that most of us rarely use disc drives these days, since online stores like iTunes provide us with much of our media. that said, there are still a few situations in which they can come in handy — such as when you’re ripping one of your own CDs, or when you want to watch a movie on your laptop. Here are the best ways to do those things without an internal disc drive.

OK, this may seem a little obvious, but the first thing you’ll need is an external DVD drive. even if you have a Mac, don’t waste your money on Apple’s $90 model — you can get one for a lot less at retailers like JB Hi-Fi. Just plug it into your USB drive, pop in whatever CD or DVD you need, and you’re good to go. you can rip CDs to iTunes, play DVDs in your favourite DVD player, and even boot from the drive if you need to run Linux or reinstall Windows.

Everyone I know that’s nervous about getting an ultrabook or MacBook Air is worried about one thing: watching movies while on-the-go, since no one wants to lug around an external drive with them. Luckily, you have a much better option: ripping those DVDs to your hard drive as movie files. It’s very easy to do, and when you’re done, you’ll be able to watch your movies on a plane, in a coffee shop, or wherever you go. Not only will you be able to buy that ultra-thin laptop (which is easier to travel with), but watching a movie file will save your laptop’s battery too.

You have a few options when it comes to ripping DVDs. We recommend the Handbrake method, which works on both Windows and Mac. it takes a bit of initial setup and a longer time to rip, but you’ll be able to play the movies on anything, even your smartphone or tablet, and they won’t take up a lot of space. Alternatively, you can use a program called MakeMKV, which is much faster and easier to use, but the files will take up much more space, and you’ll need a program like VLC to play them. if you have the space to spare though, MakeMKV is a fantastic, easy option.

Lastly, if you don’t already have one, you may want to get yourself a flash drive. It’s the perfect way to share media with your friends, store one or two of those movies you just ripped for the plane ride, or even boot into Linux, if you ever need to. if you find you’re burning CDs often, a flash drive will likely do a much better job of storing that data for you, so it’s worth spending a couple of bucks on one.

It may take some getting used to at first, but you might be surprised at how easy it is to survive without a DVD drive in your computer — plus, you’ll then be able to enjoy all the other benefits of a light, ultra-thin laptop. Got any other tips for living without a disc drive? Share them with us in the comments.

Motley Fool: June 30, 2012

July 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Ask the Fool

Price Matters

Q: What’s wrong with buying overvalued stock in a great company, as long as the price eventually rises? — S.L., Bradenton, Fla.

A: it may not rise. You’re right to think of the long run, but the price you buy at matters, too.

Imagine McDonald Farms inc. (ticker: EIEIO), trading at $10 per share. If it’s expected to grow at 12 percent per year for the next 10 years, it should trade around $31 per share in a decade.

If you buy it at $10 per share, your total gain over the decade will be 210 percent. However, if you have to pay $15 per share for it now, it will return only a total of 107 percent on its way to $31. That’s about 7.6 percent per year.

Worse still would be buying it at $20 per share. sure, you’d make money, but your total gain would be just 55 percent, or roughly 4.5 percent annually.

Making matters worse, EIEIO might not perform as well as expected. Buying at steep prices offers little margin of safety.

Learn about valuing stocks with books such as “The Little Book that still Beats the Market” by Joel Greenblatt or “The Little Book of Value Investing” by Christopher Browne (both from Wiley, $20).

Q: please explain the daily fluctuations in the stock market. — H.L. Crawford Jr., Broken Arrow, Okla.

A: the market may seem to be a single entity, but it’s made up of thousands of companies’ stocks, each of which goes up and down according to what millions of investors think of it.

If, often due to some news, there are more buyers than sellers, a stock’s price will likely rise — and vice versa.

Fool’s School

Dealing with a Volatile Market

The stock market doesn’t just sit there, slowly rising over time. On June 6, for example, it surged some 287 points, or 2.4 percent. (It’s vital to consider such moves in terms of percentages — 50 points might seem like a lot until you realize it’s just 0.4 percent.) On May 30, it fell 161 points, or 1.3 percent — and on Aug. 8, 2011, it dropped 635 points, or a whopping 5.6 percent!

Don’t let it give you whiplash, or lead you to make mistakes. keep the following thoughts in mind:

First, know that “the Dow” is an average representing just 30 companies out of many thousands on the American markets. for a better measure of our stock market, look at the S&P 500 (with 500 of America’s biggest firms) or the Wilshire 5000, which represents the “total stock market” and encompasses thousands of companies. that can be volatile, too, though.

But a falling market isn’t necessarily bad. it can present great opportunities, when stock in many great companies is suddenly on sale.

If you’re 20 years away from retirement, for example, how much does it really matter that your holdings fell 2 percent this week? what really matters is how they’re valued in 20 years, or whenever you want to sell them. the prices at which you buy and sell are the only ones that give you a profit or loss. As superinvestor Warren Buffett has explained, if you’re going to be buying more shares of stocks in the coming years, you should be happy to see falling prices.

Money you expect to need in the coming few years, though, should not be in stocks, where anything can happen in the short term.

Investors err when they succumb to fear or greed. They buy or hold on to overvalued stocks out of greed, and they sell in a panic when stocks fall. Don’t do that. Expect healthy stocks to fall sometimes and to recover eventually. the stock market may be volatile, but over long periods, its trend has been up.

My Dumbest Investment

Sambo’s Implosion

Growing up, I witnessed my dad’s great success as an investment banker and knew friends came to him for investment advice. More than 30 years ago, when I was in my late 20s, I begged him for a stock tip. He resisted — strongly — as he didn’t want to be responsible if it didn’t work out. But he finally gave in.

The company he recommended was Sambo’s. My first-ever stock purchase was 100 shares at $4 per share. it wasn’t long after that purchase that the company went bust. My dad had lots of personal stock-investing success — outside of the Sambo’s mistake. — K.S., Register, Ga.

The Fool responds: your successful dad is a perfect example of a seasoned investor — they all have both winners and losers in their portfolio’s past. the key is simply to keep learning, from your mistakes as well as from books and smarter investors, so that your winners more than make up for your losers. It’s fine to get tips from others, but always do your own research too, so that you make your own informed decision.

Foolish Trivia

Name that Company

I began as Quantum Computer Services in 1985, offering an online service called Q-Link on the Commodore 64. by 1995, I had a million members. I introduced Buddy Lists and provided an early home for the Motley Fool. Today I’m a key web services company, offering premium and niche content. My advertising network reaches more than 180 million people monthly. I merged with Time Warner in 2001, but we’ve since split up. I bought the Huffington Post in 2011. My brands include Moviefone, MapQuest, TechCrunch and Patch, which covers more than 850 towns. I offer 1,500 free games online. Who am I?

Last Week’s Trivia Answer

I trace my roots back to 1927, when two cousins founded me in Michigan. Today I’m a premier residential furniture maker. My early work included novelties such as the “Gossiper” chair for sitting, chatting on the phone and storing things. in 1928, I swept folks off their feet with an innovative and relaxing chair design. (A rejected name for it: the Sit-N-Snooze.) along with my flagship brand, my other names include Bauhaus, American Drew, Kincaid, Lea, Hammary and England Furniture. I can help you live life comfortably. My name may be an insult, but my reputation is sound. Who am I? (Answer: La-Z-Boy)

The Motley Fool Take

A Hefty Dividend to Consider

If you’re in the market for a solid dividend payer, consider Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY), which recently sported a yield of 13 percent.

Annaly is a mortgage REIT (real estate investment trust), profiting from the difference between the rate at which it borrows, which is currently near a record low, and the rate at which it re-lends.

Like its peers, which also invest in mortgages, it enhances its returns by working with borrowed money. that carries some risk, since rapidly rising interest rates can throw a wrench into the process.

One attractive feature of Annaly is that it’s been reducing its debt. that can dampen the dividend it pays its shareholders, but probably not by a lot. the company’s free cash flow generation has been strong.

Annaly and its peers may be less compelling when interest rates rise, but the Federal Reserve has said that it expects to keep rates low at least through most of 2014. thus, a few more years of double-digit dividend yields seem quite possible, though they’re far from guaranteed.

Annaly doesn’t fit the typical mold of dividend stocks, as it doesn’t have set payouts. They can rise and fall from quarter to quarter. still, it does have a history of outperforming inflation and appears to be a safer mortgage REIT than most of its peers.

Cheap Old Computers

July 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

It may seem as though cheap old computers no longer have any use, however there could be many circumstances in which they could prove the perfect machine for you. An older computer is unlikely to have top-notch specifications like newer models, but you will find that they run standard word processing or email programs fine. And they are a fraction of the price

The first place you can look when it comes to older computers is the manufacturers direct. Many will have a number of older models that have been repaired and refurbished and are available to buy at lower prices. This is probably the safest way to get your hands on an older computer as it comes with a manufacturer warranty should anything go wrong. Additionally, these computers are only a few months old.

Refurbished computers are generally more affordable than new computers, though you can save even more money by looking for older computers in different places. Online auction websites are a great place to search, and the quality of machines will vary considerably. This is why it’s important to do your research and find a seller you can trust. also have a look at some reviews of the model you are planning to purchase. This will help you determine whether the particular model is reliable.

Finding cheap old computers is not difficult, especially in these times where most people choose to upgrade their computers every few years. Many are desperate to get rid of their computers, and will often offer extremely low prices if the computer system is very old. Take advantage of this fact and you find a bargain machine

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