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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



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 ;-)

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

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

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