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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



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

Router Logs & Firewall Hits

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

So you got broadband—congratulations. Now there are three PCs all online in your house, and guess who the Network Administrator is? Everyone’s enjoying the connection, but now you have three people online at once and you want to make sure that you network remains securely sound. I’m going to discuss how to view your router log which, in case you’re not familiar, is a list of what’s going on out… Continue reading

IM Audio & Video Chat

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

By using the Audio Chat and Video Chat features found in most Instant Messaging programs you can keep in touch with friends over the internet.

All you need is a microphone and/or a web cam on each end to enjoy real-time conversations without the long-distance phone rates (not to mention that video chat makes you feel like George Jetson).

~ David… Continue reading

Wireless Router Hangs Up

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Q:
Here’s a weird one for you. I have a wireless network and when I answer my cordless phone it messes with my router.

A:
Sounds like your phone is on the same frequency as the router. It may not happen all the time since many phones automatically switch channels to find the best one.

One thing you can do is change the channel on your router. This… Continue reading

Scanning Glossy Paper

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Glossy paper can cause problems when scanning since it affects the light bouncing off the page.

Check your scanner interface to see if there is a setting for glossy paper or photos. This will give you better results.

For text that you will scan with OCR software you may want to photocopy onto plain paper first to have a “flat” finish to work with.… Continue reading

Lost Dial-Up Connection

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Q:
I have a dial-up internet connection and it hangs up all the time when I’m online. Why does this happen and what can I do about it?

A:
Some dial-up ISPs will disconnect if you are idle too long, but my guess is that you have call waiting. When a call comes in the call waiting disconnects your modem.

Fortunately you can disable call waiting in your… Continue reading

Bluetooth

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

What is Bluetooth technology? Get some answers here! Continue reading

Digital Audio Player Basics

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Q:
What should I look for in a digital audio player?

A:
As MP3 players and iPods gain in popularity you may be dizzy from the amount of choices as you consider jumping on the bandwagon. To help you along, here are some features to consider:

1. Does it allow multiple formats? Sure you primarily download MP3 files, but you may have WMA (Windows Media) or Ogg Vorbis… Continue reading

Unplug your Wi-Fi

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

If you have wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) on your laptop but often switch over to a “land line” connection, be sure to turn off your Wi-Fi.

This helps keep you secure.

Your laptop may have a function key for this (looks like an antennae) but all brands are different—check your owner’s manual.… Continue reading

More than computer with wireless mouse

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

If you have two or more computers in close proximity and plan on getting a wireless mouse for each you may run into conflicts. One way to avoid the likelihood of crossed signals is to buy different brands

Change Your Wireless Mouse Batteries

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

If you have a wireless mouse it’s a good idea to change your batteries ever month or two. Even better, get rechargeable batteries and make charging them part of your regular maintenance routine… Continue reading

USB Ports in Front & Back

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

Some PCs have USB ports in the front and back. For best results, use the back ports for hardware such as printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, card readers, or digital camera docks—things you never or rarely unplug. Save the front USB ports for things you plug in/unplug often like digital cameras, mp3 players, “thumb drives”, etc… Continue reading

Name your Thumb Drive

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

Q:
I have one of those USB “thumb drives” and when I plug it in Windows assigns a drive letter. Is there a way I can give it a name instead?

A:
USB “thumb drives” are becoming more popular (and more affordable). Some are the size of your finger and can hold the same amount of data as a DVD or even more!

Each time you plug it… Continue reading

Degauss

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

Q:
My monitor has a “Degauss” button and when I press it my screen gets zapped for a second. Is that what it’s supposed to do?

A:
By pressing that button you scare the bad magnetism out of your monitor. OK, let’s get more technical.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors aim electrons onto the display screen by creating magnetic fields inside. Outside magnetic forces—for instance, the Earth’s magnetic… Continue reading

USB Keyboards in DOS Mode

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

If you have a USB keyboard, you may find that if you boot to a system prompt it refuses to work. Seems no amount of key pounding solves the problem—it’s like the computer doesn’t even know the keyboard is there.

You see, USB sometimes won’t work outside the Windows environment. However, all is not lost—sometimes there is an option to enable USB keyboard and mice buried deep within the mysterious… Continue reading

Wireless Mouse Reset Buttons

Saturday, January 8th, 2005

If your wireless mouse stops working, and you already changed the battery, you may need to reset the channel.

On the bottom of your mouse and the receiver you’ll find a little button. It may be small and require a paperclip to depress, or it may be a good size with the word “connect” near it.

Plugging in Digital Camera

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Q:
I have a digital camera that plugs into my computer. Do I have to shut the computer off each time I plug / unplug it?

A:
Yup. Never plug (or unplug) any component into (or out of) a running computer unless it connects via a USB cable. In theory, USB devices are designed to be plugged in and out when a computer is powered on. The rest… Continue reading

Speaker Arrangements

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Are you a sound fanatic? Do you have your computer hooked up for surround sound or at least have multiple speakers? Well, if you tell Windows about your sound configuration, you’ll probably enjoy your speakers even more. Here’s how:

1. Click the Start button, Control Panel , then open the Sounds & Audio Devices icon.

2. Under the Audio tab, click the Advanced button… Continue reading

Choosing Computer Speakers

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

It used to be that choosing speakers for your computer was an easy task because there weren’t really any options to choose from. Sound was typically an afterthought and most speakers made for computer use weren’t exactly what you would call “ear candy”.

That has all changed now. Many well-respected audio/video speaker manufacturers have gotten into the computer speaker game. It is

Upgrading Memory–Installing RAM

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Q:
How do I upgrade memory?

A:
Memory is usually an easy one. Here’s how to do it, step by step.

Note that the procedure is only slightly different on computers using older RAM (72 pin EDO type). Usually these machines are 233 MHz or less.

1. Check the manual that came with your computer to find out how much memory your particular machine can upgrade to. It… Continue reading

Having modem problems?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Having modem problems?

This simple test will help you determine where exactly your modem problem lies. You may want to try this before you take your computer in for repair.

Go to the Start menu, Settings, Control Panel , and click on Modems . Then in the Modems Properties window, click on the Diagnostics tab at the top of the window.

Select your modem’s port.

Click… Continue reading

Troubleshooting Video problems

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Does your display flicker? Are your animations not working correctly? Have you been notified that you have “display problems. This program can’t continue”? This tip will help you solve those video problems.

Hold the Windows key and press the R key (Win+R). This will bring the Run command. Type, or copy, the following devmgmt.msc into the field in Run.

What is TWAIN

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Q:
I just got a digital camera and was trying to download my photos on to my computer when I received a “not TWAIN compliant” error? What is TWAIN?

A:
TWAIN is an industry wide standard that allows a computer to communicate with a graphic device, such as a scanner or digital camera. Nearly all scanners, digital cameras, and web cams are TWAIN compliant.

Devices that are not… Continue reading

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