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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



Mouse Trails

Friday, July 7th, 2006

Mouse Trails

No, no, I’m not talking about that kind of mouse trail! : ) Fortunately, the type I am referring to are also called pointer trails and it only deals with the mouse pointer.

Okay, so have you ever been working away on your computer when all of the sudden, your mouse pointer disappears? You try moving your mouse around as fast as you can to try and find… Continue reading

Subwoofer What?

Friday, July 7th, 2006

Subwoofer What?

Have you been hearing the term subwoofer a lot lately? Maybe you already know what it means and you’ve been experiencing the special effects of it for some time now. If so, that’s great! If not, let me explain the term to you a little more.

The word subwoofer goes along with the word speaker. A subwoofer usually comes with a set of speakers and it is an… Continue reading

Special Keys

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Have you ever owned a keyboard that has special function keys? These are small buttons that run along the very top of the keyboard. Different keyboards have different keys, but the most common ones are an e-mail button, a search button, a connect button (for the Internet) and a calculator button. Some even have a sleep mode function, a volume control right on the keyboard itself

Portable Applications

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Portable Applications

Most of us use our USB memory sticks to transfer files from one computer to another, which is definitely more convenient than using CDs or even worse, floppies. However, what most of us don’t realize is that a USB stick can be used in several efficient ways that can even make our lives much easier. This is especially true for people who are constantly on the move or… Continue reading

Speaker Troubleshooting

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Speaker Troubleshooting

Well, I must have hit a soft spot with some of you, because ever since I mentioned how to hook up a microphone and how to test your computer’s microphone, several of you have been asking about the speakers. I don’t know if you all perked up when you realized that the computer speakers are involved in the process of installing and testing the mic, but I’ve gotten… Continue reading

Testing 1, 2, 3

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Q:
How can I test my microphone to make sure it’s working properly?

A:
That’s a great question, especially since we discussed using your microphone in Wednesday’s newsletter. So, if you want to test either a recently purchased external microphone or if you want to test one you already have (external or internal), this is the tip for you! It’s a good idea to test your… Continue reading

Scanner Basics

Friday, April 7th, 2006

Q:
I just bought a new scanner, but I really have no idea how to use it. Can you give me some basics on it?

A:
To begin, a scanner is much like a copy machine. It has a glass surface under a lid and a motion light that scans the material you place on it. The only difference is that scanners can process color much better and… Continue reading

Cleaning a mouse

Friday, January 27th, 2006

So, you’re finding delicate control with your mouse to be difficult? All you want to do is nudge the arrow on the screen by a fraction of an inch, but for some reason it keeps on jumping all over the place?

Well, here’s a tip that applies to optical mice which emit a red glow and mechanical mice (the older type with a ball in the base). For… Continue reading

Q:
When I click Turn Off Computer, it goes into what I guess is hibernation. A tiny light on my monitor changes from green to amber. Is this off, or what?

A:
No, your computer has powered down, just like it should.

Here’s what’s really happening: You’re shutting off the PC, but there’s still power going to the monitor, which is still on. The… Continue reading

Digital Image RAM and memory

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Digital Image RAM

We all know that digital photos take up gobs of hard drive space, but how much RAM do you need to work on those images? 256MB? 512MB? 1 Gig? More?!

When it comes to RAM, more is always better. How much you need is going to depend on how large your photos are. For example, a Windows XP system with 512 MB of RAM can… Continue reading

Shift to Disable Autorun

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Q:
Whenever I put a CD into my computer it automatically opens Windows Media Player, iTunes, etc. and starts playing. How do I stop this from happening!?

A:
So you want to start the music on your terms, eh? Well, that’s easy enough. Just hold down the Shift key when you insert a CD and you’ll bypass Autorun, allowing you to manually choose when your… Continue reading

Weekly Security Tip: Flash Drive Protection

Yes, you read correctly. This week’s Download and Security Tip go together, but they’ll make more sense in this order. Next week, the schedule will return to usual.

Yesterday, I showcased a couple of applications that run directly form a flash drive (Memory card, MP3 player, or thumb drive). Don’t have one of these little guys yet? We sometimes have really good deals on… Continue reading

Run antivirus on flash memory

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Do you use a flash memory stick, sometimes called a ‘thumb drive”, to carry information between different computers? You can (and probably should) run your antiviral software on that drive. When you open your antivirus program of choice, select that drive as the location to scan. As always, make sure those virus definitions have been recently updated!

~ Chris Fisher… Continue reading

Multisession burning

Friday, September 16th, 2005

When you burn a data CD, most burning software will allow you to add more data to that CD later. It’s called “Multisession burning.” Keep in mind that this won’t work with audio CDs. ~Chris Fisher… Continue reading

Mouse light on

Thursday, September 15th, 2005

If you have a wireless optical mouse you may notice that you still see light underneath when you shut your computer off. You won’t find an off switch or anything. These mice go into a sleep mode that uses very little battery power. I’m not sure why they sleep “with one eye open”—maybe it’s to watch out for cats ;-)Continue reading

What the F-Key?

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Q:
Why won’t my “F” keys work? I try to use F1 for help or F11 to make my browser full screen and nothing happens.

A:
My guess is that you have a newer Microsoft or Logitech keyboard. These have something called an “F Lock” key located just above the number keypad on the right side of the keyboard. It allows your Function keys to… Continue reading

Panic Button vs. Dial-up Modem

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Dial up users—something to think about if you have one of those medical alert panic button devices that dials 9-1-1.

What happens if you are online during an emergency? Make sure the device will clear your phone line before dialing or it’ll get a busy signal and help will never come.

Another solution, if possible, would be to pay the extra money to get a dedicated line for your modem… Continue reading

Clean Your LCD Screen

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

If you have an LCD monitor (that includes laptop screens), then you know how dirty they can get.

It’s a good idea to clean it periodically, but be careful what you use since alcohol, ammonia, and other chemicals can lead to discoloration and even cracking.

Never spray anything directly onto the screen.

You can use water or vinegar and water to clean the screen. Put it on a soft cotton… Continue reading

Wi-Fi Sharing

Saturday, July 16th, 2005

Let’s say you have Wi-Fi (wireless) and you live in an apartment and you want to share your internet connection with a friend who also has wi-fi and can reach your signal. Is it legal for you to share your high-speed DSL connection?

Probably not. Check the contract with your broadband provider—Verizon and AT&T both prohibit sharing.

Some contracts prohibit hooking up more than one computer to the connection (even… Continue reading

Refresh Your LCD

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Q:
My flat screen (LCD) monitor image is distorted and I get this message telling me to change the signal timing. How can I fix this?

A:
When you run some games with Windows XP on an LCD monitor you may get a message that says, “Attention-signal frequency is out of range…change signal timing“.

The fix is to change to… Continue reading

Microphone Won’t Work

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Q:
I plugged in a microphone to my computer but I can’t hear anything. How can I get it to work?

A:
It could be that the microphone is muted or not turned up.

Just double-click the little speaker in the system tray (down by the clock). You may see a slider control for the microphone. If not, then go to Options/Properties and check off “Microphone”. It should… Continue reading

Keep Your Printer Cartridge Fresh

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

If you don’t print that often, or if you’re gone for long periods of time (vacation, travel), your inkjet print head could dry out.

It is a good idea to print something at least every week to keep things flowing smooth. Find a photo, email, article, anything that you might want a hard copy of and print it out.

If you plan on being gone for a long time, see… Continue reading

DVI connector on LCD Monitor

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Those flat screen LCD monitors are showing up on desks everywhere. They save space, have sharper image quality, and look utterly modern, too.

The old CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor is an analog device. That means that your graphics card must convert the computer’s digital signal into a signal that the CRT monitor can understand. Of course, there’s always something lost in the process.

The LCD monitor is… Continue reading

Safely Remove Hardware

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

USB devices are flooding the market. Digital cameras, media players, external drives—all of them use the USB port. Newer computers have a port or two right up front for removable devices.

Even though USB devices are Plug & Play—that is, they’re ready to go upon being plugged in—you shouldn’t just unplug them. A USB port has current running through it, so the power jolt caused by unplugging a “hot” connection… Continue reading

Windows XP Fax info

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

Windows XP has a fax program, but you can’t just plug in a phone line and start using it.

To send and receive faxes you need either a fax device (such as a fax modem) attached to your computer, or a connection to a remote fax device (like an all-in-one printer, scanner, fax).

~ David… Continue reading

Modem Flavors

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Q:
What’s with all the different modems? I see dial-up, DSL, Cable—what does it all mean?

A:
Modem is short form for “demodulator/modulator”. A modem allows a computer to send or receive data/information through a connection. It works by changing the regular analog signal to a digital signal to be used by computers. Different types of modems exist such as dial-up, cable, DSL, and wireless.

Different Types of

Slow DSL & Cable

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Does your DSL or Cable speed seem slower—I mean WAY slower?

Try re-booting your modem—especially if you leave your computer on all the time.

Turn your computer off, unplug the modem (it should be external), then plug it back in.

This may not solve your problem, but it’s the first step to take in troubleshooting.

~ David

David Samuel Thomas… Continue reading

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