TechnoMedia Corner

Richard Crosthwaite Picture

Welcome.

My name is Richard Crosthwaite and I am the Media Services Specialist for the Library Media Center.  The goal of the TechnoMedia Corner will be to update you on current and future trends in media and technology.  The scope of my contributions to this page will be to give you a basic and general overview of a particular subject in order to expand your knowledge.  I hope you find my write-ups enjoyable and informative.  For further questions on any of my write-ups, or if you want to suggest a topic for me to cover, please contact me at:


Richard A. Crosthwaite

Media Services Specialist

(714)375-5108

BLU-RAY: THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Blu-ray Pic


You see it on shelves at Best Buy and you see it slowly taking over at your local rental store; Blu-ray.  Pretty and trendy in its small blue box and bombarded with accolades Blu-ray on the surface appears to be the next big technology craze, but despite its allure, this new technology is still relatively misunderstood by most people. 

For this reason, I will present this segment in a FAQ style in order to address specific questions you might have.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLU-RAY AND STANDARD DVD?
The main difference is that Blu-ray delivers superior picture and sound.  The best comparison is watching a standard TV program and then watching one on HD!  Yes, there is that kind of difference! 

WILL MY DVD PLAYER PLAY BLU-RAY?
No.  Blu-ray DVDs can only be played back on specially marked Blu-ray DVD players and Playstation 3 gaming consoles.

DO I NOW NEED TO HAVE TWO DVD PLAYERS; ONE TO PLAY EACH FORMAT?
No, the best part about Blu-ray, is that it will play standard DVDs as well!  This means you can keep your current collection of movies.

I HEAR ABOUT NEEDING A HOME THEATER; WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?
In order to get the full benefit of Blu-ray technology, you have to entertain committing yourself to a full home theater upgrade, as old tube television sets will not be able to give you a noticeably improved picture.  And if you do not have a stereo system to enhance sound, you will not hear the superior sound offered by this technology.  For all intents and purposes, Blu-ray is optimized for the HD home theater that includes a good stereo surround system with sub-woofer and an HD capable monitor or TV.

DO I NEED TO EMBRACE BLU-RAY NOW?

No!

The best part about Blu-ray is that is still very much in its infancy, so like when DVDs first hit the market in the late 90’s, there is plenty of time to let the price on the Blu-ray players go down and for the discs to go down. 

 

 

TOPIC: FLASH DRIVE

Flash Drive Pic

WAVE OF THE FUTURE

Flash drive, USB drive, thumb drive, nano drice, memory stick, call it what you want, it is all the same.  For many, the various names given to this wonder device is still a bit confusing so this article will hopefully demystify this revolutionary device to give you a better perspective on its capabilities and how it will eventually succeed all other mediums of small file data storage such as documents, pictures and even music.

SO WHAT IS A FLASH DRIVE?
In a nutshell, the flash drive is a self-contained hard drive that performs like a hard drive but transports like a floppy or a CD. 

DO I NEED SPECIAL SOFTWARE?
No.  Perhaps the best part of the flash drive is that it is literally plug and play.  There are options within the flash drive to install security programs which password protect your flash drive but essentially, the device can be used immediately upon opening.

IS THIS JUST A CATCHY TREND?
No.  If there is one piece of technology that is here to stay, it is this one.  In the future, most computers, to include the ones the library will upgrade to within a year or so, will no longer come equipped with a floppy drive.  Even now, most computers at retail stores no longer carry floppy drives and are instead coming equipped with more USB slots to facilitate devices such as the flash drive.

HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?
This is a hard one, as prices change almost overnight, but at the time of this writing, the standard price is between $9-20 for 2-4GB and up to as much as $40-$60 for 8-16GB.  The manufacturer has a lot to do with the price, so shop around.  The Huntington Beach Public Library System sells a 2GB drive for $10 (No tax). 

HOW DO I GET STARTED AND OR HOW DO I USE IT?
Luckily, library staff is familiar with flash drives so if you purchase one from our branches, you can ask our friendly staff to get you started.  Otherwise, you can start using the device at home by following the easy to read instructions on the package.

So there you have it; a brief look at the flash drive.  If you still have any questions or would like to know more, please ask any of our knowledgeable staff at our branch libraries.