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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



Print Perfect The First Time

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

How do you know when the document you’re working on is perfect and ready for printing? Have you ever used the scroll bars to navigate through a large file in the hopes of trying to see if everything is proportioned properly? This can be nearly impossible in a large Excel file. Or are you the person who prints a document over and over, making small adjustments each time, until an… Continue reading

Ahh, I’m losing my mind, I mean, my mouse!

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Ahh, I’m losing my mind, I mean, my mouse!

Yes, I hear that cry daily… You’re typing along, life is good, then you need to click on something and you can’t find your mouse. Despite moving that little critter all over your desk, your eye can’t seem to locate the pointer. Ugh!

Well, here’s a quick solution for you Windows XP users:

Click on Start , select Control Panel … Continue reading

Wheel Mouse Tricks

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

If you have a mouse with a scroll wheel on it, you can do some cool tricks…

Shift & Spin

Ever wonder what happens when you hold down the Shift key on a web page and spin the wheel on your wheel mouse? Explorer goes either back or forward, depending on which direction you spin.

Give it a try. Open up Explorer and follow a few… Continue reading

The difference between DVD-R and DVD+R

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004


Q:
What is the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R?

A:
Short answer? Not much.

Anyone who was around twenty years ago might remember the battle between the two video tape formats: VHS (Victor Home System) and Betamax (Sony). Fast forward to the twenty-first century and we have a similar battle of the formats with DVD.

The… Continue reading

Cranky CDs

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Have you ever been playing a game and it seems like your computer is having a hard time reading the CD? You can hear it speed up, slow down, speed up… you know what I mean.

This can be caused by several different problems.

First off, if it only does it with one CD, you may want to check

CD-ROM drives speeds

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Q:
I see CD-ROM drives speeds listed at 24x, 32x, etc. What does that mean?

A:
It means that the CD-ROM drive is that many times faster than the original Proto-CD-ROM drive from caveman times. Just how fast was that? Well, the original CD drive transferred data at a rate of 153,600 bits per second (bps). If you have a CD-ROM drive that has a read speed of… Continue reading

Two Monitors = Too Fun

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Two Monitors = Too Fun

If one monitor is good, two is better, right?

I’ve been using two monitors simultaneously with my laptop for over 3 years now. Let me tell ya, it’s great having all that desktop real estate to play with. Your mouse moves from screen to screen and you can move open windows from one screen to the other just as if you were using… Continue reading

My mouse is acting funny

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Q:
My mouse is acting funny. Yes, it’s one of those ancient roller-ball mouses and sometimes I have to move it a few inches before the cursor starts to move. Is it time for a new mouse?

A:

I’m guessing the problem is that your mouse guts are dirty. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get in touch with some sort of computer vet to fix the little… Continue reading

Check Available Disk Space

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Check Available Disk Space

We get readers wanting to know how do do this all the time.

To see how much space you have left, open the My Computer icon on your desktop (or under the Start menu for XP users) and right-click the drive you are curious about (for most people, this would be their C: drive, but this trick works with any drive). Select Properties from the resulting… Continue reading

Slow Cable Modem

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
My cable company bragged about how much faster a cable modem was compared to dial-up, so I went with them. It was faster, at first, but sometimes it seems as slow as my old phone line connection. What gives?

A:
Sure cable modems have the potential of reaching speeds of 3Mbps, but keep in mind that you share a wire buried underground with everyone in… Continue reading

The Inkjet Refill Debate

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Cheryl from MI asks:

Should I buy those inkjet refills or budget inks?

You want to save some money by buying ink refills? Well, in general, I recommend not using refills.

They are probably OK for printers with ink nozzles that are NOT built into the cartridge (like Canon

Power Management Setting

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
Why does my monitor go black after about 15 minutes of not using the computer?

A:
Windows has a Power Management setting that will shut your monitor off after a specified amount of time. If you don’t like when it’s shutting the monitor off, you can change it by doing the following:

In Windows XP:

1. Hit the Start>Control Panel , then go to Performance and Maintenance

Stick a paper clip where?!

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Did you ever get a disk stuck in your drive? Nothing seems to work—you’ve pressed the button a million times, tried to open by right-clicking the drive and choosing “eject”, maybe even contemplated using a screw driver to pry the thing open.

Before you take out the drive and try to surgically remove the disk, or worse, buy a new drive, try this simple little trick to manually open your… Continue reading

USB Port Speed

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
How do I know if my USB port is USB 1.0 or 2.0?

A:
USB is a way for your computer to connect to external devices. It’s fast, easy to use, and allows you to use tons of devices all strung together. Most newer computers have one or more USB ports. Older computers have USB 1.0 or 1.1, while newer PCs have the faster… Continue reading

Liven Up Your Mouse

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

I’ve read about the FDA testing the effect of caffeine on laboratory mice, but that won’t help us here. Adjusting the speed of your mouse pointer and buttons can help liven up your mouse.

If you’re using XP, open Mouse in the Control Panel (click Start>Control Panel>Printers and Other Hardware>Mouse) If you’re using Vista or Windows 7, just type mouse into

Left-handed Mouse

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Q:
Is there a way for a left-hander like me to make my mouse easier to use?

A:
Since Windows 98, a feature was included for changing the buttons on your mouse, allowing you to replicate the feel of the right-handed mouse (like having the primary mouse click be your pointer finger).

To switch buttons on your mouse to a left-handed configuration… Continue reading

Keep It Clean

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Keep It Clean

When it comes to our computers, all we tend to think about is the stuff we see on the screen — the software. Most of us tend to neglect the computer itself.

What can you do with your computer to make it run longer? As I just mentioned above, keep it clean.

I can’t tell you the number of computers I’ve opened that have… Continue reading

Surge protector information

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
Why do I need a surge protector for my computers and what should I look for when buying one?

We need surge protectors to keep all the little circuits inside our computers safe from excess voltage peaks. When these power peaks (surges / spikes) occur, it causes the electrical circuit to heat up—kind of

10 digit dialing for modems

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
My area requires ten digit dialing, so every time I try to make an internet connection I have to type in my area code for it to dial. Is there a way to fix this?

A:
As more numbers are needed for cell phones area codes are being broken up and ten-digit dialing is becoming the norm. So, how to get your modem to dial up correctly…… Continue reading

What is LCD?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is LCD?

A:
No, it’s not a mind altering substance from the sixties. LCD stands for “Liquid-Crystal display”. This technology is used in laptop screen, desktop monitors and HDTVs. They are lighter and consume less power than other displays.

Liquid crystals are rod-shaped molecules in the display that spiral when exposed to an electrical… Continue reading

What is a COM port?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is a COM port? How do I know if I have one?

A:
Known also as Serial ports or RS-232 ports, a COM port is an interface to connect serial devices. This is not as popular an interface in today’s technology because of the limitations in data transfer speed. However, the length of the cable can be up to 50 feet, beating out the length restriction… Continue reading

The Future of Floppies

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
I heard that floppy drives are being phased out. Is there a way to copy my floppies to cd?

A:
Most new computers don’t even come with a floppy drive anymore. Many options for data storage are on the market that have larger capacity than our familiar little disk: CD-R/RW, DVD, Flash Memory, portable hard drives, and USB keys (aka “thumb drives”). While a lot of us… Continue reading

Maximize Dial-up Modem Settings

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Maximize Dial-up Modem Settings

Did you know that by changing a few settings you can make your dial-up modem run better? That’s right—you might have a fast modem and a good connection, but you’re not getting the best performance. With a few adjustments, you can get faster connection speeds.

NOTE: Since every PC configuration is different, these adjustments might not work for everyone.

With Windows 95, 98 & ME you’ll… Continue reading

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