Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An all-rounder



A snazzy looking notebook, the HP Pavilion dm3 is great for working on the go.

WE HAVE been wanting to test Windows 7 on a notebook and finally got our hands on the Pavilion dm3, the latest ultra portable notebook to grace HP’s lightweight category.

Slim, slick and sexy are some words you can use to describe the Pavilion dm3. We liked the brushed aluminium frame which nicely contrasted with the black bezel surrounding the LCD screen on the inside.

This is one tough looking notebook with a solid body. And as it is also very compact and slim, you could easily lug it everywhere you go.

Due to the notebook’s extremely thin frame — it is only a fraction thicker than a standard USB port — it does away with a built-in optical drive.

But there is nothing to worry about as the notebook still comes with an external DVD writer for burning CDs and intalling software.

Alternatively, HP is also selling a Blu-ray combo drive which is great if you are planning to watch HD movies.

Though the Pavilion dm3 is compact, it weighs 1.9kg which is a little on the heavy side for an ultraportable. For a notebook that lacks a built-in optical drive, we would have preferred it lighter as well.

The Pavilion dm3 comes with lots of connectivity options — you’ll find four USB ports, a HDMI port for hooking it up to a larger display, an Ethernet port, a VGA out and a multi-format card reader.

It’s handy to have so many USB ports because one may eventually be taken up by the external optical drive, leaving another three for other devices.

SLIM PROFILE: The notebook does away with the optical drive but it has a lot of ports.

One thing odd about Pavilion dm3’s design is the power switch which is located at the side of the notebook — though not a bad thing but it took us a few minutes to locate it.

The Pavilion dm3 has a gorgeous 13.3in LCD screen with a resolution of 1,366 x 768-pixels. The screen is well illuminated which makes it great for viewing pictures and videos.

However, the glossy black bezel’s reflective surface is rather distracting and especially so if you use it outdoors.

Below the display sits the Pavilion dm3’s cool looking chicklet-style keyboard which is comfortable to type on.

There aren’t any dedicated keys for media functions, so you’ll have to use the standard function keys.

The Pavilion dm3 has a decent-size trackpad that is so shiny that it could double up as a mirror. The drawback is that it is a fingerprint magnet and becomes smudgy and dirty after in use for only awhile.


Looks aren’t everything, so it’s great that the notebook packs a 1.6GHz Athlon Neo X2 dual-core processor, 4GB RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 4330 graphics processor.

Performance-wise, the notebook holds up well when it comes to multitasking with several different applications running at once.

We tested the Pavilion dm3 by playing a 720p video while using a heavy duty application like Adobe Photoshop. Much to our surprise the notebook didn’t skip a frame when playing the video.

Like most modern notebooks, it runs relatively quiet when in use. It does, however, emit a considerable amount of heat along the underside of the notebook, making it uncomfortable to use for long periods.

The notebook ships with Windows 7 Home Premium which is a lot more efficient than Vista, so start up and shut down times were relatively short.

Space isn’t an issue with the Pavilion dm3 as it has a huge 500GB hard drive which should be more than enough for storing all your programs and media.

HP has included preinstalled software though they aren’t that impressive.

For instance, the HP MediaSmart program acts as the default media player for handling pictures, songs and videos. But because it takes 12 seconds to start up it is way too sluggish to be used for even viewing photos as Windows Photo Viewer takes just a second to launch.

Fun and games

The Pavilion dm3 also doubles as a functional media machine for watching HD movies while on the go.

The notebook handled 720p HD movies really well — even fast moving and action scenes looked smooth without any frame drops.

Also, if you find the screen too small, you can always hook up the Pavilion dm3 to a bigger screen via the HDMI port.

The only thing that ruined our movie viewing experience was the speakers. Although the sound quality was pretty decent considering it’s a notebook but it could be better.

The built-in Altec Lansing speakers are too soft and you’ll definitely want to get a pair of external speakers or headphones.

If you’re into games, you’ll be disappointed to know that the Pavilion dm3 isn’t that great a gaming machine. We tried installing first-person shooter games like Modern Warfare 2 but the notebook could barely handle the game.

Only at fairly low settings and resolution was the game playable. But even then the frame rate was so jittery and graphics so ugly that we didn’t really enjoy playing it.

In terms of battery life, the notebook’s 6-cell battery lasts about five hours when used for web surfing, photo editing and light gaming.


The HP Pavilion dm3 is by no means a perfect machine as it has its share of ups and downs.

As an entertainment machine, the notebook is capable of playing HD content smoothly and it has a large 500GB hard drive which is perfect for storing lots of media.

The notebook has a slick aluminium frame and a compact design but unfortunately it is a little on the heavy side. Plus, you will also need to carry an external optical drive which adds to the bulk.

Another problem are the built-in speakers which were incredibly soft and lacked punch. Also, the notebook isn’t really great for gaming.

Overall, the HP Pavilion dm3 is great for handling productivity apps and watching HD movies. Plus, with its long battery life of five hours, you can use it for an entire day on the go.

Pros: Slick aluminium design; nice keyboard; decent battery life.

Cons: Heavy even without an optical drive; speakers are too soft; can’t handle 3D games.


Ultra-portable notebook
Processor: AMD Turion Neo X2 (1.6GHz)
Memory: 4GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 512MB VRAM
Display: 13.3in widescreen LCD (1,366 x 768-pixels)
Storage: 500GB SATA hard disk
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g, Ethernet port, Bluetooth
I/O Ports: Four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, VGA out, headphone and microphone jacks
Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium
Other features: webcam, card reader
Battery: Six-cell lithium-ion
Dimensions (W x H x D): 326 x 230 x 24.3mm
Weight: 1.9kg
Price: Starts from RM2,699 depending on configuration
Review unit courtesy of AMD. For more product information, contact 1-800-88-4848.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The new iMac. A stunning display of brilliance.
21.5-inch and 27-inch displays.
The new iMac has come a long way from the first 15-inch iMac. Take one look and you'll see just how far. A 21.5-inch or 27-inch display with edge-to-edge glass covers nearly the entire front of the enclosure. When all you see is the display, nothing gets between you and what's onscreen. Movies, TV shows, websites, photoseverything looks stunning on the new 16:9 widescreen iMac display. Learn more
More pixels. Higher resolution.
The new 21.5-inch iMac features 1920-by-1080 HD resolution. Our engineers could simply have stretched that resolution up and out for the 27-inch iMac. Instead, they took the display well beyond HD with 2560-by-1440 resolution. That's 78 percent more pixels than the 21.5-inch iMac. Learn more
LED backlighting.
When a display has more pixels, you need to push more light through them to achieve the best picture possible. LED backlighting in the new iMac does exactly that, with remarkable brightness and efficiency. Because the LED backlight doesn't take up much space, the iMac enclosure stays thin—even with all the high-performance components inside. Learn more
IPS technology.
The iMac display is designed to look great from almost any angle. A technology called in-plane switching (IPS) makes this possible. Whether you're sitting in front of the display or standing off to the side, you'll get a perfect picture with superb color consistency and no loss of detail.Learn more
The fastest iMac yet.
Now with dual-core Intel processorsstarting at 3.06GHz and available quad-core processors that boost performance up to 2x.* Learn more
Wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse standard.
iMac declutters your desktop with a wireless keyboard and new Magic Mouse: the world's first Multi-Touch mouse. Learn more
Environmentally friendly.
The new iMac meets ENERGY STAR 5.0 and EPEAT Gold requirements, is free of many harmful toxins, and is made from highly recyclable materials.Learn more
Why you'll love a Mac.
The first time you use a Mac, you'll quickly discover the benefits of a single company making the hardware, software, and operating system. A Mac comes fully loaded with all the software you need for everyday stuff like email and fun stuff like photos and movies. It's all simple to use and powered by the world's most advanced operating system. See why so many people choose Mac
Great reasons to shop online.
Take iMac home today.
Custom-build your iMac.
Make it yours. Add a faster processor, more memory, bigger hard drive, preinstalled software, and more. Learn more
Get free shipping and 12 months of same-as-cash financing when you order your iMac at the Apple Online Store or call 1-866-456-0030.
There's no better way to see just how amazing the new iMac is than to come try it for yourself. Visit your favorite Apple Retail Storeand let a Specialist show you everything iMac can do and help you take one home today.
*Based on testing conducted by Apple in October 2009 using preproduction 27-inch 2.66GHz Intel Core i5-based iMac units and shipping 24-inch 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based iMac units.
Some products or promotions are not available outside the U.S. Product specifications are subject to change.
The iTunes Store is available only to persons age 13 or older in the U.S. and many other countries; seewww.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/ for a list of countries. Requires iTunes, compatible hardware and software, and Internet access (fees may apply). Terms apply. See www.apple.com/itunes/whats-on/ for more information.
Content sold separately. Available on iTunes. Title availability is subject to change.
Star Trek © 2009 Paramount Pictures. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All rights reserved. Star Trek will be available on iTunes beginning November 17, 2009, in the U.S. and Canada.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

P1 WiMAX ke Sabah, Sarawak

PENGENDALI rangkaian WiMAX pertama Malaysia, Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (P1) mendapat kebenaran daripada pihak berkuasa untuk menyediakan perkhidmatan P1 WiMAX di Sabah dan Sarawak.

Ketua Eksekutifnya, Michael Lai, berkata guna pakai jalur lebar WiMAX amat penting bagi mencapai kadar penembusan sehingga 50 peratus isi rumah di negara ini menjelang akhir tahun depan.

"Sebagai penyedia perkhidmatan, kami bertanggungjawab dan memainkan peranan penting bagi merealisasikan atau mencapai matlamat itu."

"Dengan semangat 1Malaysia dan wawasan P1 untuk mendapatkan seberapa ramai pelanggan WiMAX, P1W1MAX akan melebarkan sayapnya ke Sabah dan Sarawak serentak pada suku tahun pertama 2010," katanya.

Menurut Micheal, bandar utama seperti Kuching, Miri, Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan dan Tawau adalah yang pertama bakal menikmati perkhidmatan jalur lebar P1W1MAX seawal tahun depan.

"Pantai timur adalah pasaran penting bagi P1 dan kami berjanji memenuhi keperluan jalur lebar berkualiti. Kadar penembusan sedia ada ialah 13.6 peratus di Sarawak dan 9.5 peratus di Sabah pada akhir 2008."

"Ia masih terlalu rendah. Oleh itu, pasarannya mesti diutamakan bukan sekadar ke atas penyediaan jalur lebar tanpa wayar berkualiti, malah menyumbang peningkatan ekonomi terutama di kalangan komuniti perniagaan kecil dan sederhana (PKS) serta industri pelancongan di kedua-dua negeri itu," katanya.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blueberry-i mirip Blackberry


Pada harga RM438 anda mampu memiliki telefon bimbit yang menyediakan pelbagai kemudahan asas dan kelihatan eksklusif seperti Blackberry Bold.

SESETENGAH orang lebih mementingkan papan kekunci setiap kali ingin membeli telefon bimbit. Ini kerana ciri selesa dan mudah ketika menekan papan kekunci untuk mengirim khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS) mahupun membuat panggilan boleh mempengaruhi pengalaman menggunakan sesebuah telefon bimbit.

Trend menggunakan telefon bimbit yang mempunyai papan kekunci Qwerty seolah-olah semakin digemari oleh semua peringkat umur pada hari ini.

Malah syarikat pengeluar telefon bimbit kian giat memasukkan elemen terbaru itu untuk keluaran produk masing-masing.

Begitu juga dengan syarikat tempatan CSL Manufacturing (M) Sdn. Bhd. Mereka tidak mahu ketinggalan untuk memasarkan telefon bimbit jenamanya dengan papan kekunci Qwerty.

Papan kekunci

Sejak Blueberry-i dipasarkan baru-baru ini, banyak maklum balas daripada pengguna yang mengatakan mereka menggemari papan kekunci telefon tersebut.

Ini kerana jarak papan kekunci telefon tersebut tidak terlalu rapat sekali gus membuatkan penggunaan satu tangan sahaja sudah memadai.

Dalam pada itu, dengan mempunyai cahaya lampu putih pada papan kekunci tersebut, para pengguna boleh menggunakannya meskipun berada di tempat yang gelap.

Blueberry-i juga didatangkan dengan kemudahan kamera Video Graphics Array (VGA) iaitu sistem yang mampu memberikan hasil gambar yang menarik tidak kira sama ada pengguna berada di dalam persekitaran gelap atau cerah.

Dengan adanya kemudahan VGA, pengguna boleh merakam video dan hasilnya tidak mengecewakan.

Kantanya pula turut dilengkapi dengan penutup yang tahan lasak. Malah, anda boleh membersihkan permukaannya daripada kesan cap jari atau habuk dengan mudah tanpa sebarang sensitiviti.

KAMERA yang dilengkapi teknologi VGA mampu memberi hasil grafik yang menarik.


Rekaannya nampak eksklusif seperti telefon-telefon bimbit yang mempunyai pelbagai kemudahan terkini.

Namun, jika diteliti Blueberry-i sebenarnya direka bagi pengguna yang kerap membuat panggilan telefon.

Ia kurang sesuai digunakan oleh pengguna yang menggunakan telefon untuk bermain permainan.

Dilengkapi dengan kabel mini USB yang terletak di sebelah bawah telefon, pengguna boleh menggunakannya untuk membuat sambungan bagi mengecas, memasang aksesori, kabel penyimpanan data-data dan fon telinga.

Pembaharuan lain yang ditonjolkan menerusi telefon itu ialah Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). Ia merupakan sistem data yang diterima secara langsung tanpa wayar bagi memudahkan anda mendapat maklumat terkini.

Aplikasi seterusnya pula ialah GPRS dan Bluetooth yang menggunakan Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). Teknologi streaming baru itu menyokong stereo bagi menikmati muzik dengan bunyi yang kuat, bertenaga dan berkualiti.

Pengguna juga diberi kebebasan untuk membuat pilihan bahasa sama ada bahasa Melayu, Cina dan Inggeris.

Ia turut menyediakan fungsi berbentuk Islamik apabila telefon itu mengetengahkan sistem pelbagai guna seperti laungan azan setiap kali masuk waktu solat.

Bagi mereka yang sering mengembara, anda tidak perlu bimbang berhubung arah kiblat kerana Blueberry-i turut menyediakan kemudahan tersebut.

Dua dalam satu

Satu lagi keistimewaan telefon itu ialah pengguna boleh menggunakan dua kad SIM serentak.

Bagaimanapun, ia membolehkan pengguna untuk menggunakan hanya satu kad SIM sahaja.

Caranya ialah hanya mengunci sahaja kad SIM yang tidak digunakan.

Anda tidak perlu menyimpan kad SIM yang tidak digunakan di tempat lain yang mungkin hilang, rosak, dicuri atau sebagainya.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vietnam masih dicemari dioksin

Kerajaan AS dan Vietnam kini bekerjasama melaksanakan projek pembersihan lapangan terbang Danang kerana lokasi tersebut disifatkan paling tercemar dengan racun perosak.

MAI Khai gembira dengan tanaman ubi kentang dan buah tembikai yang diusahakannya berlatar belakang sebuah dinding bata. Dinding itu mengelilingi sebuah bekas lapangan terbang milik kerajaan Amerika Syarikat (AS) di Danang yang masih disifatkan sebagai lokasi paling tercemar.

Sudah hampir empat dekad berlalu selepas insiden penyemburan Agen Oren dan racun perosak yang lain dihentikan di situ oleh pasukan tentera AS. Racun-racun perosak tersebut mengandungi bahan penyebab kanser dan dioksin. Kini, kerajaan AS dan Vietnam bekerjasama melaksanakan projek pembersihan peringkat awal di Lapangan Terbang Danang.

Bahan tercemar

Proses penyingkiran bahan-bahan tercemar berskala besar bagaimanapun belum dimulakan lagi. Ia mungkin memakan masa bertahun-tahun lamanya.

Pakar-pakar dari Vietnam dan negara luar berkata, kerja-kerja pembersihan yang berterusan itu tidak terlalu membahayakan Khai dan tanamannya.

Biarpun begitu, penduduk yang tinggal berdekatan lapangan terbang tersebut secara amnya memang terdedah kepada risiko dioksin.

Satu kajian oleh penyelidik Kanada mendapati, terdapat peningkatan paras dioksin di dalam tubuh mereka yang tinggal berdekatan lingkungan utara dan timur lapangan terbang itu. Biarpun begitu, bilangan orang yang terdedah kepada risiko pencemaran itu tidak dapat dikenal pasti.

"Kami sebulat suara bersetuju dioksin adalah tidak baik," kata Koos Neefjes, seorang penasihat tentang dioksin untuk Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu (PBB) di Hanoi.

Khai yang berusia 76 tahun bagaimanapun tidak berasa bimbang.

"Di sini, mana ada pencemaran? Tengok, saya pun masih hidup lagi," ujar seorang penduduk tetap di kawasan tersebut.


Sepanjang perang Vietnam, pasukan tentera AS telah menyimpan sejenis racun rumput-rampai, Agen Oren di Danang dan pangkalan lain sebelum dimuatkan ke dalam pesawat untuk tujuan meranggas.

Presiden pakar-pakar Perunding Persekitaran Hatfield, Kanada, Thomas Boivin berkata, kawasan hutan yang terkena semburan racun perosak itu bagaimanapun tidak mengandungi paras dioksin yang tinggi hari ini. Boivin telah menghabiskan masa bertahun-tahun lamanya untuk mengkaji pencemaran dioksin di Vietnam.

Walaupun begitu, kerajaan AS dan Vietnam telah mengenal pasti bekas lapangan terbang AS di Danang, Bien Hoa dan Phu Cat sebagai lokasi pencemaran utama. Di situ, tumpahan dan proses memuatkan racun-racun perosak itu ke dalam pesawat telah menyumbang kepada pencemaran bertoksik.

Boivin berkata, paras kandungan dioksin di Lapangan Terbang Danang kini 300 hingga 400 lebih tinggi berbanding tahap yang dibenarkan di peringkat antarabangsa.

Kira-kira dua tahun lalu, kerajaan Vietnam dengan bantuan AS telah memasang sebuah penutup di lokasi penyimpanan Agen Oren selain memperbaiki sistem perparitan. Proses menapis mendapan tasik di dalam kawasan lapangan terbang Danang turut dijalankan.

Pegawai kedua-dua pihak memberitahu, langkah-langkah bersifat sementara itu berjaya mencegah sebaran pencemaran tersebut.

Destinasi pelancongan

Kawasan yang terjejas itu berada di bawah pengawasan pasukan tentera Vietnam dan dalam perancangan kerajaan untuk dipromosikan sebagai sebuah destinasi pelancongan. Ia juga terpisah daripada terminal penumpang di bandar raya keempat terbesar di Vietnam itu.

Dalam beberapa sesi ceramah mengenai sebaran Agen Oren pada bulan ini, Neefjes berkata, tanpa tindakan lanjut, bahan-bahan tercemar di lokasi 'tenat' itu akan terus tersebar menerusi partikel-partikel tanah, aliran air, hidupan liar dan udara. Sesi ceramah tahunan itu telah diadakan di antara pihak berkuasa Vietnam dan AS.

Dioksin boleh merebak menerusi rantaian makanan seperti melalui ikan atau ayam.

Biarpun bantuan terus diterima, AS memberi tumpuan kepada lokasi Danang atas permintaan kerajaan Vietnam.

Para pegawai AS berkata, isu yang kompleks dan sensitif dari aspek politik seperti itu memerlukan persetujuan sebulat suara daripada kerajaan AS sendiri selain persefahaman antara AS dan Vietnam.

Duta AS, Michael Michalak berkata, kerajaan AS telah bertindak pantas dalam menggerakkan projek tersebut. Beliau mengulas aduan seorang pegawai kanan kerajaan Vietnam yang mendakwa dana daripada kerajaan AS tidak disalurkan dengan pantas.


Michalak sebaliknya memberitahu, pelbagai tawaran telah diterima dan satu kontrak untuk penilaian alam sekitar serta kerja-kerja persediaan di Danang akan diumumkan dalam masa terdekat. Malah, pada Jun lalu kedua-dua kerajaan telah mula mencuba satu kaedah penyingkiran dioksin menggunakan organisma biologikal, bioremediasi.

Pengarah Office 33 yang mengendalikan isu Agen Oren di Vietnam, Lai Minh Hien berkata, proses penyingkiran bahan-bahan tercemar itu dilakukan menerusi teknologi bio atau kaedah lain.

Proses penyingkiran bahan pencemaran di tiga bekas lapangan terbang tersebut mungkin mencecah kos perbelanjaan bernilai AS$60 juta dolar (RM209 juta). Dalam satu temu bual bersama agensi beritaAFP, Hien telah meminta bantuan dana tambahan daripada kerajaan AS.

"Kami mahu kerajaan AS menggandakan usaha mereka," kata Hien.

Meskipun begitu, Michalak memberitahu, adalah terlalu awal untuk menganggarkan kos sebenar proses pembersihan tersebut.

Sementara itu, pengerusi bersama dalam ceramah bersifat bilateral itu, Le Ke Son berkata, pencemaran di Bien Hoa misalnya adalah satu contoh terbaik.

"Skop pencemaran di sana adalah jauh lebih luas daripada jangkaan dan memerlukan kajian baru," jelasnya.

Biarpun Perang Vietnam berakhir pada 1975, hubungan antara AS dan Vietnam hanya berjaya dipulihkan sekitar tahun 1995. - AFP


Monday, September 28, 2009

10 Surprising Minimum-Wage Jobs

The U.S. federal minimum wage recently increased 70 cents from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. Who will be affected by this boost? Cashiers and fast food workers? Yes, but some minimum wage jobs also come with surprisingly hefty responsibilities.

From preschool teachers to hospitals aides, there are many people in critical roles whose salaries don't necessarily reflect the importance of their professional contributions. You may be surprised to find out who's making the bare minimum.

1. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Bottom 10% earn: $8.79 per hour
U.S. median salary: $11.41 per hour
Job description: Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.

An EMT may pull you from a car wreck and keep you alive on your way to the hospital -- and maybe for as little as $9 an hour? New EMTs must be brave, decisive, compassionate, and knowledgeable. Fortunately, their salaries go up after they get some experience under their belts.

2. Pharmacy Technician

Bottom 10% earn: $7.88 per hour
U.S. median salary: $9.93 per hour
Job description: Assist pharmacist in preparing and dispensing medication. Prepare dosage medications for dispensing into bottles and unit dose packaging. Collect patient information for prescription and billing. Select, prepare and stock medications.

Do you find all of those little pills confusing when you have more than one to take? Your local pharmacy technician processes hundreds of prescriptions a day and absolutely must keep the blue ones separate from the green ones. The wrong dose or medication can have possibly fatal consequences. These folks deserve a big thank-you for the work they do, but they'd likely settle for a raise.

3. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Bottom 10% earn: $8.12 per hour
U.S. median salary: $9.81 per hour
Job description: Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties, such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens.

When grandpa or grandma requires full-time care in a facility, or you end up in the hospital for surgery or an extended stay, a CNA might be the person you interact with most and rely upon for your essential needs. Plus, these dedicated individuals also often provide a little human interaction when the hours in the hospital seem too long.

4. Preschool Teacher

Bottom 10% earn: $8.19 per hour
U.S. median salary: $10.50 per hour
Job description: Instruct children in activities designed to promote social, physical, and intellectual growth needed for primary school in preschool,daycare center, or other child development facility. May be required to hold state certification.

Have you ever been at a preschool or daycare facility and thought, "Wow, that teacher is so patient and caring." That's because preschool teachers are responsible for a group of active, inquisitive kids who get hungry, have occasional meltdowns, or don't feel like sitting down -- all day long. These folks are critical to your child's development and education. And, they may not make enough to support themselves without a second job or income.

5. Amusement Park Ride Operator

Bottom 10% earn: $7.49 per hour
U.S. median salary: $8.74 per hour
Job description: Perform variety of attending duties at amusement facility. May operate amusement concessions and rides.

You wouldn't be surprised to buy a hot dog at the fair from a young person making close to minimum wage, but what about the person running your favorite ride -- the one with all the loop-dee-loops, drops and spins? It's surprising that these workers don't make much more than their concession-stand counterparts considering the complexity of some of the rides they're operating.

6. Line Cook

Bottom 10% earn: $7.25 per hour
U.S. median salary: $8.98 per hour
Job description: Prepare and cook food in a restaurant. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

In the fast-paced work environment of a restaurant kitchen, line cooks ensure that meals are prepared to the chefs' exacting standards. Often these folks have completed pricey degrees at culinary schools and this is their first job after graduation. They're skilled with knives and the finer points of making a cream sauce. Yet, their wage is sometimes better suited to heating up a frozen dinner.

7. Lifeguard

Bottom 10% earn: $6.89 per hour
U.S. median salary: $8.18 per hour
Job description: Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

Do you have the strength and skill to pull a drowning person from a crowded lake and resuscitate them? Lifeguards must be able to perform this important task, plus spend long hours getting kids to stop running on the edge of the pool and make sure lap swimmers share their lanes properly. Lifeguards literally help everyone stay alive.

8. Nanny

Bottom 10% earn: $7.51 per hour
U.S. median salary: $10.31 per hour
Job description: Attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and child-care institutions. Perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play.

Most people agree that you can't put a price tag on a parent's work because it takes full focus and energy to do well. So why is it that nannies often earn so little for taking care of those same children? From getting kids up, dressed and fed in the morning to making sure they arrive on time to piano lessons and soccer practice, nannies often exhibit the exceptional patience and resourcefulness needed to keep a family running.

9. Automobile Mechanic

Bottom 10% earn: $7.78 per hour
U.S. median salary: $10.95 per hour
Job description: Repair automobiles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.

When you take your car in to be repaired, you expect the mechanic -- whether brand new or a seasoned pro -- to quickly identify the problem and get your car back on the road again. It's complicated work that requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and attention to detail. In time, most mechanics earn more for their toil.

10. Tax Preparer

Bottom 10% earn: $7.16 per hour
U.S. median salary: $9.15 per hour
Job description: Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses without the background or responsibilities of an accredited or certified public accountant.

What you do or do not tell Uncle Sam during tax season is very important for your bank account and your peace of mind. Maybe you do your own taxes, but many people trust their tax returns to someone else. A tax preparer enters all of your data into your forms before an accountant double-checks their work. It's an important job that needs to be done right.

NOTE: While pay rates vary from state to state, the jobs listed generally pay at or near minimum wage. Included, as well, is a job description from PayScale.com that lists job duties and the national median hourly rate a person makes in their first year on the job, according to PayScale.com. Some people earn less than this rate.

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