Archive for February, 2011

Screen Capture

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 26th, 2011

Sometimes you need to just take a SNAPSHOT of all or part of your screen, either to get help from someone like us, or if a program won’t let you save what you see.  A GREAT new tool for this was introduced in Win Vista, and WIN 7; it’s called The Snipping Tool.  Just click it, then click-n-drag to highlight what you want to snip.  It will let you save it as a JPG file that you can email or save!  If you want this on Win XP, you must download a separate program and install it.  A freebie we like is called ScreenHunter, and can be downloaded for free from Downloads.com.

Going Paperless

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis February 25th, 2011

How do you Go Paperless?  Like this:  1) Stop printing (save documents, make sure they’re backed up) 2) When you send doc’s, do it via email as an attachment (pdf, jpg, or Word doc are good) 3) Get dual monitors!  Why?  Because a lot of the time when you need to print something it’s because you have to look at it to enter it in a database or some other application that’s up on your screen.  It’s a real pain to switch windows back and forth to do this.  Instead, with dual displays, you can pull up the doc on one screen, and fill in info on the other!  We’ve done this for tax attorneys and lots of other businesses that LOVE it once they’ve gotten used to it.  To set up dual displays you’ll need; 1)  A dual output video card, 2)a second display (of course) and 3) set your windows video properties to EXTEND DESKTOP to the new one (not clone or duplicate).  Once you’ve done it, you’ll never go back!  :-)

HDTV

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 23rd, 2011

Oh Boy!  I just got word that my Ceton InfiniTv 4 tuner card just shipped!  So it took about two months to get it from Fluid Digital.  I’m expecting some hassles with Cox cable to get my cable card installed, but we’ll see.  Otherwise I should be recording up to 4 HD shows at once, very soon!  I’ll keep you posted.

LG Optimus V

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 18th, 2011

Wow, what a killer little phone!  I just transferred my wife’s service to Virgin Mobile.  Now we’ll be saving about $1,000 per year over all other carriers!  This smartphone simply ROCKS.  The new Android (Froyo) is very nice!  No more worries about clearing memory, either.   Now I’m jealous.  :-)  I hope they upgrade the Samsung Intercept soon.  The only thing I don’t like about it so far is the lack of a QWERTY keyboard, but I just read a comment where there’s some kind of SLIDE app that helps.  Stay tuned!

Android…again!

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 14th, 2011

More great news on the Android front!  Now Virgin Mobile has ANOTHER phone!  It’s the LG Optimus V, and it’s a sweet little Smartphone for only $149 US.  Looks like for now it’s a Radio Shack Exclusive…. but I was so hyped about it I went and got my wife one for Valentines’ Day.  It ships with Android 2.2 (Froyo), so I’m hoping all the little headaches that came with previous the previous Android will be gone.  I’ll keep you posted!

Defrag

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis February 11th, 2011

Fragmentation of your hard drive means the files on it (your software) are split and scattered across a wide area.  That means reading the information will be slower.  If you right-click on your C: drive and choose Properties, you’ll find the defragmenting tool under the Tools section.  Windows 7 schedules this automatically for you.  There are also some third party defraggers that will do even more than the Win version (like scrunching all the EXE files together).  We often have clients that believe that defrag is the cure for any slow PC, and this simply isn’t true.  In fact, it’s WAY overrated as a speed boost.  Yes, if you have a slow drive (like some laptops) or a grossly fragmented drive, it can help a LITTLE.  But most of the time I find some other issue that’s causing a slowdown.

Webmail vs Outlook

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 10th, 2011

Because of all the winter weather, a lot of people are stuck trying to work from home.  Many of you have Outlook at work, and are using webmail at home. But everyone needs to know that when you have outlook, it removes the mail from The Cloud so the only copies are on that PC.  So people that want to do web mail need to CLOSE OUTLOOK before they go home.  They also need to understand that this ONLY GIVES ACCESS TO NEW MAIL that comes in, not the stuff that’s already been downloaded to the PC.  For that you’d need something like Teamviewer (remote control of your work PC).

Hardware vs Software

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 9th, 2011

Hardware are electronics, chips, wires, etc.  Software are the zero’s and ones (digital) that the hardware reads and writes.  We often see a cascade of problems from hardware failures.  I just got a call from a client that has a failing power supply, so the PC kept shutting down in the middle of his work.  If we’d caught it early, we could have had an easy fix.  BUT he waited, and every time it shut down, the software got damaged more and more, until the machine was finally unbootable.  How can you tell which (hardware or software) is the problem?  That’s often one of the hardest parts of my job, but a telltale sign is if the problem is RANDOM or CONSISTENT.  If it happens in the same scenario, every time, it could just be a software problem.  If not, it may be a blown chip or other hardware issue.

Windows Registry

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis February 8th, 2011

At the heart of the Windows operating system is a set of files called the Registry.  This critical set of information contains EVERYTHING that Windows needs to run programs, use your hardware, access the network, and so on.  There are lots of tools available to change it (e.g. regedit) or even attempt to repair it (e.g.  ccleaner, Norton tools, etc.) but BE CAREFUL.  One slip and you can make your PC unbootable!  I usually recommend against ANY tampering with the registry unless you know what you’re doing.  And if you decide to be brave, be sure to BACK IT UP first!  If the PC has been around awhile, or we think the registry might be damaged, we prefer to REINSTALL instead.  That will rebuild your registry.

Safe Browsing

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis February 6th, 2011

There are lots of add-ons out there to help keep you safe, like AVG’s Security Toolbar, and similar ones by Norton and McAfee.  They keep lists of the Bad Guys (malicious URL’s) and will flag search results for you to prevent a “drive-by” attack (getting infected just by clicking over to the site).  The problem with these tools is that each site that you pull up in search results must be checked against their list, usually from the company’s web site.  This can sometimes cause things to REALLY slow down, especially if the site is having trouble or high traffic.  McAfee’s seems to have more trouble than most.  If searching suddenly slows to a crawl, try disabling your security toolbar. IF YOU GET ANY WEIRD MESSAGES WHILE SURFING, just press CTRL-ALT-DEL, run task manager, and hit End Task on all browser windows.