Tuesday, August 2, 2016
An open computer with wires boards being fixed.

Few computer problems are more vexing than when your computer won’t even start. Often there are hardly any clues and too many reasons why a computer won’t turn on. Add to that the fear that something expensive needs to be replaced and you may rightly feel stressed.

Most people fear that all of their data is gone forever when their computer won’t start. A piece of hardware may have failed or be causing a problem but that hardware isn’t usually with the hard drive, the part of your computer that stores your files. Your music, documents, emails and videos are more than likely safe, if unavailable at the moment.

There’s a good chance you can figure out what the problem is and get your computer up and running again. The following troubleshooting guide applies to all PC devices and may help you to fix a computer that won’t turn on.

Fixes for No Sign of Power

If your computer won’t turn on and shows no sign at all of receiving power, (fans, lights), it’s rarely a worst case scenario. Try these steps:

  • Make sure you’ve turned on every power switch and power button
  • Check for disconnected power cable connections
  • Plug your computer directly into the wall, removing any power strips, battery backups or other distribution devices between the computer and the wall outlet
  • Plug a lamp into the wall outlet you use for your computer to verify that the outlet is indeed working
  • If you’re using a desktop, check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly. If the input voltage for the power supply unit doesn’t match the correct setting for your country, the computer may not power on at all
  • For a tablet or laptop, remove the main battery to see if it will run without it. If it does, you need to replace the battery
  • Check the power receptacle on the laptop or tablet for broken or bent pins and bits of debris that might be preventing it from getting power. You may need the services of a professional to fix anything more that’s wrong with the receptacle
  • Replace the computer’s power cable or AC adapter – a common reason why tablets and laptops won’t turn on. This isn’t a common problem with a desktop but it does happen
  • If your computer is more than a few years old, you may need to replace the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) It’s a battery-powered chip that provides start up information like Hardware settings and costs very little to replace
  • The power button may not be properly connected to the motherboard
  • In most cases, related to a desktop that’s not receiving power, a faulty power supply is to blame. It will need to be tested and replaced, if necessary. However, an ozone smell or very high-pitched noise in combination with no power at all is a sure sign that the power supply is bad. Unplug the computer immediately.+50

Computer Turns on Then Shuts Off

If your computer is turning itself off before the operating system loads, it may be anything from an electrical short to a serious hardware issue. Try these steps:

  • Check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly (see above)
  • Inspect the inside of your computer for issues that can cause shorting. It’s very important not to miss a simple electrical short or you might replace costly hardware unnecessarily
  • Test your power supply
  • If the power button on the front of your computer's case is shorting out or even just sticking, replace it
  • Reseat all internal data and power cable, memory modules and any expansion cards. (Reseating means to unplug or remove something and then plug it back in or reinstall it) Although the keyboard and mouse are rarely the problem, unplug and reattach them as well.
  • Start the computer with essential hardware only to see if it stays on. If it does, reinstall each piece of nonessential hardware, one component at a time and test to see if your computer comes on to see what hardware is causing the problem
  • If your computer continues to turn itself off with nothing but essential PC hardware installed, a POST (Power On Self-Test) card will help identify which piece of remaining hardware is to blame.

PC Comes on but Nothing Happens

If your PC comes on but you don’t see anything on the monitor, try these easy troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure the monitor is turned on
  • Check for disconnected or loose monitor power or data cable connections
  • Make sure that your computer is coming on from a completely powered-off state
  • Turn the monitor’s brightness and contrast settings all the way up
  • If it still doesn’t work, get help!

The Blue Screen of Death

A STOP error is when your computer starts to load Windows but suddenly stops and displays a blue screen with information on it. It’s more commonly referred to as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and is a common reason why a computer won’t turn on.

  • If you just made a change to the computer, such as installing a new program, there’s a good chance that this change caused the BSOD
  • Undo the change using Last Known Good Configuration or System Restore, or Roll Back the device drive to a version prior to the update
  • Scan for viruses
  • Ask a techy friend for help
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
New Computer System With Six Computers

When you’re a non-techy, buying a new computer with a new operating system is only exciting up to the point where you have to start using it. A computer’s job is to simplify your life, not complicate it and an operating system change shouldn’t be the equivalent of a mid-life crisis. Still, most of us “regular” folks do tend to get a bit flustered and frustrated when dealing with such changes.

If it was up to this writer, all computers would have the same operating system for eternity. As this will never be the case, here are 5 simple steps for adapting to a new computer and/or operating system.

Read all About It

You’ll actually have to start using a new operating system to become really familiar with it, but you should also read about it. Simply using a new operating system, like Windows 8, won’t teach you everything you need to know about it and all the hidden gestures and shortcuts. Even with a more intuitive OS like Apple’s iOS, you will learn more tricks by reading about it than you would otherwise.

Familiarity Breeds Content

There’s no substitute for actually using a new operating system. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the screens and User Interface layout on your new computer. Before you can start making the best use of the new OS, it’s important to learn about new or different features. If you need to, make notes as you go along.

Big electronic brick and mortar stores are great places to go to ask questions about the latest hardware and to play around with it. These stores will have a variety of different devices for you to try out that will be running everything from Windows 8 to MacBook. You could also visit an Apple or Microsoft Store to try out the hardware and ask questions of the knowledgeable salespeople.

Transfer Your Files

If you haven’t already done so, back up the files from your old computer and transfer them to the new computer. If you’ve never backed up your files before (shame on you!) there are a few different ways to do it.

 

  • Bootable Backup – This type of backup is sometimes called a "clone." It’s like a spare tire for your car. If the primary drive on your computer dies, you can hook up the clone and reboot the computer from it. The downside is your computer will run slower when booted from an external drive.
  • External hard drive – An external hard drive works by creating an archive of your changed and deleted files and keeps you backed up as you work, provided you remember to plug it in to a port regularly.
  • Cloud Backups – This type of backup is the easiest to create and maintain. After the initial setup the software will automatically keep your computer backed up any time it is turned on and connected to the Internet.

Save Your Bookmarks, etc.

If you use Chrome on the old computer, sign in to your account and save your bookmarks, apps and extensions. When you sign in to the same browser on the new computer, your settings will show up automatically. Any changes made to your settings will be synced across all your devices. However, if you use another browser, you’ll have to sync your bookmarks manually by searching the folders were they are stored.

Update the Antivirus Program

Almost all new Windows computers now come with an antimalware program preinstalled but it probably won’t be updated and it won’t be the best there is, so you’ll need to update it and check the features it has. A good antimalware program should include the following:

  • On-demand malware scan
  • On-access malware scan
  • Website rating
  • Malicious URL blocking
  • Phishing protection
  • Behaviour-based detection

These days, antivirus services handle Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware and more. If you’re not happy with the program that came with the computer, uninstall it install one of your own choosing. PC Magazine rates some of the antimalware programs available, as well as some of the free antivirus tools available.

For the uninitiated, here’s a glossary of some of the terms:

  • Malware – is software intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems
  • Trojans – are often disguised as legitimate software and can be used by cyber-thieves and hackers trying to gain access to your system
  • Phishing – is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy individual or business
  • Rootkits – are a collection of computer software, usually malicious, designed to enable access to a computer or areas of its software that would not otherwise be allowed
  • Spyware – a type of malware that is installed on a computer without your knowledge in order to collect your private information
  • Adware – is software that automatically displays or downloads unwanted advertising material when you’re online
  • Ransomware – a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Old Desktop Computer

A survey by Statistics Canada in 2011 showed that 46 percent of Canadians and 43 percent of Ontarians had e-waste to dispose of. Naturally, since then these figures have only increased, with some statistics stating that as many as 90 percent of Ontarians have out-of-use electronic devices and only about 40 percent recycle these old devices.

The reasons vary, but you have to wonder how many old computers end up in a landfill. Instead of disposing of your old computer, what if could give it a new life? Try one of these 14 ways to upcycle your old computer into something useful.

Make a Digital Photo Frame

If your old laptop screen is ok and if either the hard drive or CD/DVD drive is working, you can turn your old PC into a digital photo frame using a free app like Familiar. Similar apps like Flickr Slideshow or Picasa are other options that are handy for this task. If you have a wireless connection, you could even display your Flickr photos.

External Portable Storage

If only the hard drive is still working in the old computer, you can turn it into a portable external storage, if you invest in a USB caddy. A USB caddy can be used in two different ways:

  • To retrieve data from an old hard drive and then reuse the hard drive in the caddy as a back-up
  • To create your own back-up solution cheaper than buying a packaged solution from a leading brand

A Second Monitor

If you’re a web professional, have more than one display monitor is very useful. Certainly, reusing your old PC monitor for this purpose is cheaper than buying a new one.

Donate It

A working computer that’s no longer of use to you might be a great help to someone else. Offer it on Freecycle or donate it to charitable organizations like Computers with Causes or Donate Your PC.

Add Extra Firewall Protection

With the right set of tools, you can actually use your old PC as a firewall to stand between your new PC and the Internet. Several Linux-based firewall versions are available as free downloads, including one that requires minimum configuration called SmoothWall Express. You don’t have to know anything about Linux to use it; just download the installation files, create a bootable CD and install the application.

Media Station

Buy a wireless headset and turn your PC into a media player. There are plenty of free and versatile media players and online streaming services and using your old computer for your music library will allow you to keep your new PC or Laptop just for work.

Game Server

If you love playing games, you can configure your old computer to handle web traffic while you enjoy playing on your gaming system.

Printing or File Server

If you have or administer a network of computers, you can use your old PC as a remote print or file server. Alternately, you can use the old laptop storage as the file server for the network.

Video Recorder or TV

Invest in a TV tuner card. A TV tuner card is a kind of television tuner that lets television signals be received by a computer. Most also function as video capture cards that allow them to record television programs onto a disk, much like a DVR does.

Granny Guide

Your grandmother may want to try her hand at the computer but, if you don’t want to trust her with your new PC, your old computer is a good one for a novice to start on. She’ll be happy to browse the internet on the older computer and your young children will be able to play classic games on it, too.

Try New Software

Use your old computer to test new apps before installing them on your work PC. If you’ve wanted to try new software, this is a good way to put your old computer to use, providing it meets the software requirements.

Try Linux

If you use Windows, having an extra computer to play with is a great chance to try Linux. Linux demands much less power, so you may be surprised by how smoothly it runs on your old machine.

Make Money

Dismantle the broken computer or laptop and sell the working parts on eBay. You can get cash for a hard drive, A/C adapters, motherboards, RAM, graphics and audio cards and even an undamaged case.

Donate CPU Time

If you would like to donate to science, you can hook up the old computer to the internet, install a program such as SETI@home to run all the time. The computer just sits in an unused corner of your house and requires a monitor only occasionally. Your investment is only a little electricity and bandwidth.

We’re already living in a time where e-junk is creating landfill shortages, so even if you don’t want to use any of the above ideas, at least recycle or donate your old computer so we can all enjoy a greener future.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Technology has quickly become a key part of learning in the 21st century. Modern schools are now equipped with computer labs and student laptops. Technology plays a role in every aspect of education as students, teachers and administrators use their computers to gather information, create and express themselves, communicate, work together and track learning outcomes.

Here’s how computer education helps improve student success.

The Future Next Exit

Preparing for the Future

Computers make it easier for students to keep up, while helping teachers improve the way lessons are planned and taught. Students who use computers learn to use word processors for school work, learn computer jargon and strengthen grammatical skills. They can also look up lessons on websites or through email, instead of carting heavy textbooks around with them.

Computers not only improve the way students are taught, but they also prepare them for the future. Even the most basic jobs involve computers. Today’s students will be prepared to fill future job openings because they will be computer literate and classes based on computer education get even more specific. Students can learn to use office suite programs, create presentations and data sheets and learn programming languages.

Improved Student Accomplishments

Students from all grade levels, who use computers, have been shown to attend school more regularly and perform better than students who don’t use computers. They get higher marks on exams and feel more involved with lessons when they use a computer. Computer use at home also helps students to become more focused on their homework, whether collaborating on projects with other students or on their own.

Keep it Simple

Simple and Efficient

The learning process becomes a lot more simple and efficient, as computers give students access to tools and methods of communication that are unavailable offline. For instance, students can check their grades or lesson plans online, communicate directly with their teachers through email or other platforms and they can send work to their teachers from home or anywhere else.

Research

Because of computers, research is far easier than it was in the past. Many of the history books and encyclopedias found in libraries are now available online. As the Internet grows, so does the amount of research that’s available. Students can now research topics in a matter of minutes, rather than the hours it used to take.

Encyclopedias offer vast amounts of information enhanced by appealing multimedia and interactive links. E-book collections offer thousands of texts and a countless number of online articles and journals devoted to every imaginable topic make research efficient and rewarding.

An online resource encourages students to follow pathways of information according to their own interests and so, using a computer also helps to develops self-directed learning.

Teachers, too, have access to thousands of images, diagrams, videos, maps, animation, games and much more, so they can appeal to the different learning styles of individual students.

Creativity and Self-Expression

Computers also play a role in how students express themselves and reflect on their learning. Because of the digital recording functions that are integrated into tablets and other electronic devices, students are able to catalogue the world the way they see it and then add their own viewpoint to already existing collections of knowledge to make their own original creations.

Audio, photo and video editing software and the different ways to post self-created media on the Internet, allows students to contribute to the creation of information, as well as simply access it. This allows their work a broader significance and affirmation and makes students active members of the learning community, either on the small scale of a school’s social media site or in the larger context of the World Wide Web.

Communication and Teamwork

Computers provide students and teachers more opportunities to communicate and work as a team. Learning management systems, such as Blackboard and Moodle, have space to participate in discussion threads and forums, chats and video conferences.

Students and teachers can use the shared functions in office applications to view revisions and add comments in real time, which makes the process of giving feedback more efficient.

Computers also transcend the traditional brick-and-mortar school by provide working adults and parents taking care of children, geographically isolated students and the underprivileged the opportunity to connect and interact with learning communities through online schools and other educational networks.

Student Success Toolbox

Student Learning Outcomes

Computer technology plays a role in how administrators assess student achievements and learning outcomes. Assessment tools such as standardized tests, student portfolios, document headings and surveys, produce information that can be collectively examined by an educational institution to find areas in which a student could improve.

Charts and graphs are generated as information is entered into databases, which allows administrators to identify patterns and make decisions involving changes in the curriculum and budget requirements.

Posted in
Monday, April 4, 2016
Graphics Card

A graphics card is what makes your computer the versatile performer and entertainer it is. It’s the component that makes your computer a gaming console. A graphics card not only comes equipped with a dedicated video memory – a sine quo non of any video game, but also a processing unit which makes every piece of the gaming action look real.

So how does a graphics card work?

It translates data into those millions of pixels (or tiny dots) that come together to make the images you see on your computer monitor. Simply put, it takes all the binary data from the CPU and converts it into images. So a fast, effective and efficient graphics card can make all the difference to your computer gaming experience.

While the motherboard with integrated graphics is good enough for ordinary computer functions such as internet browsing, word processing, email etc, casual gaming requires a separate graphics card that’s not very high-end. Designers engaged in 3D graphic work as well as people who are heavily into gaming needs an exceptionally powerful graphics card.

Go for performance

Performance, naturally, is a key indicator to the efficiency of a graphics card. Loads of memory and a super-fast processor are what make for an excellent high-end graphics card.  A graphics card’s performance is measured by its frame rate or by the frames per second (FPS). In layman terms, it means the number of images it can show per second.

Though the natural FPS for the human eye is 25, majority of the powerful, fast and action-packed games need an FPS of 60. Within the FPS, you also need to look for vertices per second and pixel fill rate of the card. While vertices per second (also known as triangles per second) underlines the speed of creating a wire-frame image, the pixel fill rate is an indicator of the number of pixels the card can process in a second.

Check for hardware requirements

Since the speed of a graphics card is a reflection of the quality of its hardware, you need to check out the specifications of the card’s hardware before deciding on the one best suited for your requirements. The hardware includes memory bits, memory clock rate, bandwidth and speed (both GPU clock speed and RAMDAC speed).

The model number of the card is indicative of this data as it is a combination of GPU, clock rates as well as memory bandwidth. The memory of the card, or its bandwidth as it’s called, is really important to the selection of a good and powerful graphics card. Talking of memory, it’s not the size or RAM that makes a difference but the bandwidth that’s a vital parameter.

The compatibility factor

Display is also critical to your final choice. Like other factors, this also depends on your needs. A really high-end graphics card would perform well only with a high-resolution monitor. Most fast-paced, action-packed games of today would be compatible only with a high-quality monitor. The compatibility of the graphics card with the CPU and the motherboard are also material factors in gauging its hardware efficiency.

It would not be incorrect to say that the compatibility of the video card with all computer related systems needs to be carefully checked out before deciding on a graphics card. Will it physically fit into the CPU, or is too large or small? Then there’s the question of power. How many power connectors does the graphics card have, and how much energy does it need to function smoothly? These points need to be kept in mind while choosing a suitable graphics card.

Look at the cooling capacity

Some graphics cards, especially the powerful ones, generate a lot of heat that can cause damage unless backed by a cooling system. While the inexpensive variety of cards comes with a reference cooler (which causes the excess heat to flow out from the back), the better ones are generally equipped with custom or aftermarket coolers.

The latter are unique to individual manufacturers and designed for the specific cooling needs of a particular graphics card. The custom coolers work silently and effectively but have the disadvantage of recycling the hot air emerging from the card into the case. This, in turn, lowers the ability of the card to get rid of excess heat.

Generally speaking, high-end graphics cards are more expensive than those delivering average performance. In other words, the costlier a graphics or video card, the more efficient it is. Cost apart, the specific requirements of the user are a critical factor in deciding on a good graphics card. If you don’t really need to go in for a lot of gaming or graphic designing, there’s really no point in spending a lot of money on a high-end card, which may also necessitate up gradation of your PC in other ways.

On the other hand, if your requirements are high-end then it’s better to buy a high-end graphics card to match, even if that entails an additional expense in making it compatible with your system.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When it comes to alternative PC operating systems, contrary to popular opinion, Linux is the not the sole choice in the woods. A few alternatives are coded by large companies and a few others are projects made by hobbyists.

It is recommended that you install virtual machine programs like Vmware Player or VirtualBox to test and enjoy them.

Linux and more

If there is a list of alternate operating systems, Linux will invariably find a place. It is at the pinnacle of the alternative PC OS world. It comes in a number of flavors, termed Linux distributions. Mint and Ubuntu are the most well-known and used. In case you wish to install any non-Windows OS on the PC- and use it- the sensible thing to do is to install Linux. It is like UNIX as a operating system.

Other than Linux, there is also FreeBSD. It utilizes a dissimilar kernel. However, it uses a majority of the same software you will use on general Linux distributions. Both Linux and FreeBSD provide similar user experiences.

Chrome OS

The Google coded Chrome OS is created on Linux kernel. However, it substitutes the user level software and desktop with specialized desktop which exclusively runs Chrome browser and the Chrome apps. The OS is not an all-purpose PC OS. It is purposefully designed so that it can be pre-installed on Google made specialized laptops, termed Chromebooks. The good news is that you can install the Chrome OS in your PC.

SteamOS

SteamOS is created by Valve and is presently in its beta stage. In pure technical terms, SteamOS is simply a Linux distribution. It includes a majority of standard Linux software. There is one small thing though: this operating system is now positioned as the new gaming operating system in PCs. Underneath the new version is older Linux. The computer, however, boots up to a distinct Steam interface purposely created for living rooms. Personal computers that are shipped with preinstalled Steam OS are termed as Steam Machines.

Android

The Linux kernel also founds its place in Android. However, everything else is extremely different from the typical Linux distributions. It was originally crafted for Smartphones, but it is now also found on Android desktops and laptops. It should not come as a surprise that a number of projects aim to run Android on standard PCs. To put in perspective, even Intel develops their own Android port to the PC hardware. All in all, Android is not the best operating system for the PC. There are reasons for it -like you cannot employ multiple apps at same time. There is no bar to installing it if you need it.

Mac OS X

The Mac OS X comes preinstalled on Mac Apple computers. The Mac is a standard PC with a standard hardware. The only barrier to installing Mac OS on a standard PC is the license agreement dished out by Apple. The company also restricts their software. If you can bypass these limitations, Mac OS X can run smoothly in any typical PC. Many individuals do exactly that- leading to the term hackintoshes.

Haiku

In 1998, BeOS was the PC operating system. It was lightweight and in 1998 ported to Intel x86 platform. However, it was not successful against the then power of Microsoft Windows.  Be Inc. then initiated a court battle against Microsoft, on charges of pressuring the likes of Compaq and Hitachi to stop BeOS hardware release. The matter was finally settled out of court, with Microsoft paying about $23.5 billion to Be without the admittance of guilt. Palm Inc. eventually acquired Be Inc. Haiku is the open source BeOS reimplementation. It is an alternative view of what would have happened if Microsoft desisted from using brutal business practices during the 1990s.

EcomStation

IBM and Microsoft were the original creators of OS/2 operating system. The latter left it, but IBM continued its development. OS/2 finally competed with MS-DOS and early stage versions of Windows. Even after Microsoft won the battle, there continued to be old PCs and ATMs along with a large number of old machines continuing to use this OS/2. IBM now no longer develops this OS, but Serenity Systems-another company- has rights of its distribution. They call this operating system eComStation. This OS is modeled on OS/2 of IBM and includes extra applications like drivers along with a number of other enhancements. Incidentally, you have to pay for this OS. If you want, you can download a demo version.

ReactOS

ReactOS

It is an open source and free reimplementation of Windows NT architecture. It is one of the many attempts to re-implement Windows as the open source operating system compatible with Windows servers and applications. ReactOS has no similarity with Linux, with coding similar to Windows NT.

You can always rent a computer with these operating systems to determine which option works the best for you, before you buy one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Computer CPU

You seem to find that your system has stopped functioning well. It has gone slow, applications have lately been crashing and you are also facing the problem of ‘Blue Screen’. You might wonder whether it is the computer’s hardware that has been failing or it is a software related problem that can by fixed on your own. It may not be simple to figure that out. This is because software problems, as well as, hardware problems can often show similar symptoms. For instance, often you might encounter blue screen problem that might have been occurring due to hardware or software problems.

Your computer has become slow

You must have heard about all such stories about slowing down of a computer over a period as the user had installed too many software that started functioning at startup or because it was attacked by a malware. The user eventually came to a conclusion that his system had become slow as it was an old one and so he got it replaced.

However, the belief was not correct. In case, you encounter a situation where your system has slowed down, it might be having a problem in software that can be easily taken care of.  You must note here that your computer does not slow down due to hardware problems. It is true that there are a few exceptions to this rule when the CPU has got overheated and has been down clocking itself and running at a slower speed to remain cooler. However, most of the times, your system becomes slow due to software issues.

Blue screen problem

Present versions of Microsoft Windows are quite stable as compared to the earlier versions. If the drivers of your system are well programmed and makes use of reliable hardware, a windows based PC should not throw the issue of blue screen. However, if you are experiencing frequent blue screen related problems, there is a probability that the hardware of your PC is failing.

However, it is also true that if your hardware drivers are not programmed well, your computer can witness blue-screen related issues. In case you have recently upgraded or installed your hardware drivers and then the occurrences of blue screen problem have started, uninstall the driver. You can also use the system restore option. However, if you have not touched your drivers lately and still face this problem, there is a great likelihood that it is a hardware related issue.

Your computer is not booting

In case you find that your computer fails to boot, it can be having either a hardware issue or a software-related problem. Have you observed whether Windows has been trying to boot but failed midway during the booting process? Does your system unable to identify its hard drive or not getting powered on at all? You need to consult the troubleshooting guide in such a scenario.

What happens when hardware components start failing?

CPU:  If the CPU has failed, your system may not boot at all. On the other hand, if your CPU has got overheated, your system may enter ‘Blue Screen’ problem when it is under stress.
Hard Drive: In case the hard drive of your system has begun to fail, the files might get corrupted. You can then experience delays whenever you try to access a file or save files in your hard drive. There may be scenarios when even the operating system might stop booting.

RAM: You must be aware that RAM is the location where data gets written by the various applications. It is used to store data for a short-term. In case, your system’s RAM is about to fail, an application may have written its data to RAM but while trying to retrieve it later, it might get a wrong value. This would ultimately crash the application and lead to other problems like file corruption and blue screens.

Motherboard: Problems associated with your system’s motherboard night be quite tough to detect. You might occasionally encounter blue screens or similar issues.

Other problems: In case a computer slows down, it can be due to software -related issues.
However, you just cannot rule out the occurrences of several of these symptoms due to software-related issues. Harmful malware might invade the kernel of your Windows Operating system and cause blue screen problem. Though some ideas have been explained to show the differences between the two types of problems, but it is not quite easy to diagnose at times. So often troubleshooting is done using a trial and error method.

For possible attacks on your system by a harmful malware, your computer should be scanned at regular intervals. The sure-shot method of ascertaining if the problem is hardware or software related is to try restoring your system’s software status to the default state. You can check if the issue still exists after restoring the OS to its original state. If the problem still persists, there could a hardware issue.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Old Personal Computer

The word ‘computer’ refers to a device or person that possesses the capability to compute. The earliest computer was invented a little more than half a century ago. In fact, the term PC or Personal Computer, which we are all used to by now, did not exist until the first home computer hit the commercial markets.

Our generation is so used to the PC; we practically use it for everything today. But, did you know that the modern PC is the result of a spectrum of technological evolution that occurred over decades. Well, if you didn’t, here’s a brief look at all the technologies that have led to the enhanced version of the PC as we know it today.

Magnetic drums and vacuum tubes

The first “computers” were very different from what we use now. They were fed power using vacuum tubes and storage was handled using magnetic drums. The vacuum tubes were used to control the flow of electricity via a sealed container. The container was composed of transparent glass and shaped roughly similar to a cylinder. The magnetic drums used for storage were basically cylinders coated with metal and a material called magnetic iron-oxide.

The first computer was called the ENIAC (Electric Numerical Integrator and Computer) and John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly invented it. The ENIAC’s construction included 70,000 resistors, 17,458 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, 10,000 capacitors, 6000 manual switches, and 5,000,000 soldered joints. It was a massive machine that covered the 1800 square feet and weighed over 25 tons. The ENIAC could carry out large-scale calculations within a second. To be more precise, that included 38 divisions, 357 multiplications or 5,000 additions.

However, due to the complex parts involved, re-programming the computer would take up to a week and maintenance was required round the clock. ENIAC was also an expensive machine to run and its application was limited to very specific tasks. Other problems included overheating and extremely high electricity consumption.

The advent of transistors

By 1956, vacuum tubes were replaced by a new technology that allowed computers to run transistors. Transistors had a significant impact on how electronics were developed and they were mich more dependable than vacuum tubes. Thanks to transistor, computers became more efficient, smaller, cheaper, and also, faster. This was also the time symbolic language like FORTRAN and COBOL came into play. These languages would eventually build the foundation for advanced programming languages of the future.

Eventually, even transistors had to be replaced with something better because they were causing drastic heating issues that led to internal damages.

Integrated circuits


By 1964, transistors were on the way out and being replaced by integrated circuits. Integrated circuits were a huge advancement in the field of semi-conductor technology. They paved the way for miniature transistors to be mounted on silicon chips. Some would say that this was the beginning of the modern computer. These integrated circuits improved things in a major way. Speeds improved and computers became way more efficient. Added to that, computers became smaller and could be accessed by a larger audience. Eventually, keyboards replaced punch cards and the monitor display was integrated into the system. This phase also saw operating systems come into play, allowing the execution of multiple applications on a single system.

The PC is born

The 4th generation saw the rise of the personal computer. This phase in the evolution of computers saw the development of microprocessors and it happened during the year 1971. Intel developed the first chip and it was called the 4004. Microprocessors consist of several integrated circuits on a single silicon chip. The chip played host to the CPU, input controls, output controls, and memory. The technology was simple leaps and bounds ahead of the previous generations.

A decade from this point, the world saw the launch of the first home computer or PC, which was introduced into the market by IBM. Apple with its signature Macintosh or the Mac soon followed IBM, as we refer to it now.

From here on, several iterations of the PC began to evolve, including the portable laptop.

The Internet and GUI

The next phase saw the creation of computer networks, which eventually led to the development of what we now refer to as the ‘internet’. This was also the same time advanced versions of GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) came into being. GUIs are what allow us to use mice and keyboards to navigate our respective operating systems.

The Internet, on the other hand, needs very little introduction. Thanks to the Internet, our PCs today are more than just computing machines. They serve every task imaginable from allowing us to communicate with several people across the globe to even choosing our favorite kind of entertainment. 

Today’s PCs still run on microprocessors, however, on versions that are highly advanced compared to their predecessors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Often, running a business takes us outside the traditional office setting. Perhaps, you even have employees or associates that work from home in different parts of the country or even other countries. If that’s the case, you need tools that can help you to stay connected with them. The following tools will help you to run your business from anywhere in the world.

Basecamp Logo

Basecamp is a web-based project-management tool that lets you communicate with your employees wherever you or they are.

Boomerang lets you schedule Gmail emails to go out at specific times using Chrome, Firefox or Safari when you’re working overseas and time zones aren’t the same. You don’t even need to be online for the message to be sent. Track messages to be sure you get a reply and program reminders right inside Gmail.

Dropbox is a virtual location to safely store your documents and makes them easy to share. With Dropbox you can take you files with you anywhere and never lose a document again.

Join.me is a reliable virtual meeting and screen-sharing software that doesn’t require any downloads or subscriptions from you or your employees and clients. It’s free, simple and fast.

Narrow.io provides a targeted Twitter following and makes it easy to engage with them. It uses modern Twitter marketing methods to help you build a targeted audience.

Trello is a good tool for tracking a project visually. It helps to clearly lay out where you are in a project and what the next step is. Create tasks in several lists, drag tasks from one list to another and assign jobs to team members. With Trello, you can keep track of everything from the overall picture to the smallest detail. 

Toggl helps you keep track of your time in real time so you never lose a minute of your billable time. Your whole team can be set up and running in minutes and it’s as easy to use as Twitter.

Skype is a well-known tool but one that’s essential for communicating affordably from anywhere in the world.

Trade Ability makes moving products easy, even if you just need to ship once. It’s a free UPS tool that helps you estimate costs and informs you of duty fees and/or international trade restrictions.

Evernote precludes the need to have papers everywhere and prevents the loss of key documents. You can even clip notes from webpages and emails.

Freemind is free mind-mapping software that lets you plan your work graphically. If you learn visually, this is a great tool.

Infusionsoft is a small business email provider that allows you to automate large sections of your business with tailored channels, email chains and more.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Though it might appear that the good old desktop maybe on its way out, thanks to the growing proliferation of mobile devices and technology, the truth is actually quite contrary. Desktops are here to stay and will, most likely, continue to do so. If you find that hard to believe, just take a look around any office environment.

To make things more interesting, the world of desktop innovation is charging ahead with the development of several tools oriented towards PC use. Whether it's file editing or accounting, there has been a massive inflow of desktop applications for multiple purposes in the past couple of years. Here is a list of some of the applications that are actually worth taking a look at, if you still happen to be a hardcore desktop fan.

Free Commander XE

Free Commander XE

If you are getting too tired of the same old windows explorer layout, then the Free Commander XE is the answer to all your prayers. The application lets you divide your layout into two independent panes making navigation and multi-tasking much easier. Plus, you also get a nice add-on package containing very useful single-click features. Installation is also quite smooth and problem free.

SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey

The SeaMonkey is Mozilla's product suite that comes with applications such as the Thunderbird email client, Firefox web browser, and HTML editor. The HTML editor, especially, is quite a stand-out product. Though it cannot compete with the likes of professional programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver, it does get the job done. From basic HTML assembly to tag structure examination, the Mozilla HTML editor takes care of it all.

GIMP

The GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Product. It is a free application that is gaining widespread appreciation as a viable alternative to the big boss, Adobe Photoshop. In fact, it provides almost the same level of functionality and features that can be found on Photoshop. It offers support for multiple image formats and even Photoshop brushes. Apart from that, GIMP uses the same layer-based approach and editing features you'll find on Adobe's flagship image editing program. Added to that, there are tons of third party scripts and add-ons available for use.

7-Zip

7-Zip

If you are tired of file compressing programs such as WinRAR or WinZip, then 7-Zip is here to save the day. The application is absolutely free and supports several compression formats. It is pretty much a one-stop solution that can very well replace WinZip and WinRAR altogether.

AbiWord

AbiWord

If OpenOffice does not satisfy your need for an alternative to Microsoft Word, then AbiWord is what you are looking for. Designed to emulate most of the MSWord features and functionalities, AbiWord serves as a perfect free of cost replacement to the original Windows product. It even lets you collaborate with other AbiWord users through a network allowing real-time execution on the same document.

Pages