The push for disposable computers

The push for disposable computers in today’s world is a sad fact of life.  More and more computers are being designed as closed systems where you can’t open them and replace or upgrade parts.  For example, as much as I like Microsoft’s Surface, there is no way to open the computer and replace a faulty part.  When my battery went bad I had to replace the entire unit despite the fact that the computer was working just fine save for that one component.

hardware computer desktop recycle industry

I really don’t like this, and it seems at odds with the goal of creating more sustainable and green industry.  The fact that everyone buys new phones and throws out their old ones is bad enough.  But at least with PCs you generally had the option to upgrade parts. 

When I upgraded my video editing desktop computer I purchased new parts – a new motherboard, a new video card, new memory, and new hard disks.  I recycled the case and the other components such as fans and power supply.  I did not need a new monitor, although I bought a new keyboard because the fake rubber material on mine began to degrade.

I sold the old components on Ebay, likely to bitcoin miners looking to run harvesting machines.

If you want to get some more life out of your computer before throwing it out, then you might want to look into a few software solutions designed to help you tune up and clean up your Windows operating system.  Getting rid of temporary files and upgrading drivers can have a massive impact on the performance of a PC.  Many people don’t even know these options exist – the average computer user has no clue what a driver is or why they might need to upgrade.  Having a well operating PC shouldn’t only be for nerds and tech geeks. 

Although Microsoft has come a long way in ensuring that Windows is upgraded automatically (including drivers) it’s not always perfect.  For example, temporary files and memory dumps can end up taking up lots and lots of hard disk space.  On smaller solid state drives this can be negative.

One of the best software tools we’ve reviewed lately is Advanced System Repair Pro.  This software tool is easy to use yet detailed enough to enable us to give it a pretty high rating.  It doesn’t just sweep files without telling you what they are first (a la CCleaner).  It really gives you a detailed account of what it’s going to do and why.

Although we don’t recommend cleaning out the registry anymore, we definitely recommend updating the drivers and ensuring that your computer is clean of any malware and adware.  If you can, we suggest upgrading your system memory.  But in closed systems sometimes your only option is to retune your computer.  This is the second best way to go besides just reinstalling Windows and starting from scratch.

If you can continue to use what components you have before buying something new, I would suggest to do so.  But if you are going to buy a new computer, consider donating your current one to a student in need.

Choosing A Domain Name Can Make Or Break A Website

When selecting a Domain name, the choice of wording can, and often does, make the difference between a highly successful Website and one that is only marginal. Marketing experts who analyze websites and chart their success are quick to say that there are rules that must be observed if a site is to be successful. While not all experts agree on every point, nearly everyone suggests there are a few rules that should not be broken.

First, even though .net and .org are common, businesses should still focus on obtaining a .com domain name. Consumers are familiar with using the .com domains, and relate .com to businesses. While that association may change in the future with the introduction of new choices, those increased options may lead to even more confusion. Keeping things simple and easy for consumers is one of the keys to building a successful website.

When Choosing a Domain Name, keeping it easy to type is also important, as miskeying a name can quickly lead a prospective client to a different site. Experts like those at suggest avoiding hard to type keys like the q, z, x or p whenever possible to avoid input errors that move clients to unintended websites. Once an incorrect site is reached, there is a greater chance that prospective clients will simply give up and move on to another site.

Experts also suggest that the name be as short as possible to make it easier to remember. Easily recalled names are likely to be referred to friends and business associates more frequently than names that cannot be easily brought to mind., for example, would be more difficult to correctly recall than Adding unneeded verbiage is simply confusing for clients and should be avoided.

Carefully check for anyone with a similar name to avoid potential copyright infringements and confusion when selecting a domain name. While doing a quick search for similar names is helpful, it is a far better idea to use a service like before making any commitments. Establishing a unique “brand” is crucial to success, so taking the time to carefully consider a variety of alternative domain names early in the process will help in establishing a web identity that is both unique and easily found.

How Can Malware Affect You?

Stealing a purse through a laptop concept for computer hacker, network security and electronic banking security

Malware is a huge problem these days, with more and more malware programs getting produced daily.  Credit card theft is also on the rise, and this dual problem can be extremely harmful to people.  There are malware programs called keysniffers that can sniff out your key strokes and harvest credit card information as you type it into the computer.  This is extremely dangerous and can endanger your money and your credit.

One great way to protect yourself is to use special software to defend your computer against invasions of malware and spyware.  There are several different malware programs that can help you out with this, including a program called Spyhunter 4.  This program is excellent in the fact that it has active protection against spyware, malware, and rootkits.  Rootkits are especially pernicious as they burrow into the root files of the operating system where it can be rather difficult to remove them.

No matter what you do, it’s important to protect your computer from these things.  There’s a variety of software out there that can help you do this, and it’s just a matter of picking out the right one.  I suggest to most people that you look into various reviews of different software programs to find the right one for you.

A Near Disaster With Outlook

We recently had a near disaster here in the office regarding our email software. We use Microsoft Outlook, and Ron’s computer got a virus that somehow corrupted his .pst file. The .pst file is the file that stores all the email for Outlook. Kind of silly to have all of your eggs in one basket, but nonetheless it was a problem that needed resolving.

We did a bit of research and found that this is a common problem that people tend to run into (if you’re using Outlook – which incidentally is not a bad program by any means) and there are actually some software solutions out there. We were in a time crunch so we checked out a few programs listed on this pst repair website. They offered some help if you wanted to try to “do it yourself” and fix it with the scanpst.exe option that comes with Outlook. However we didn’t want to get into the technicalities as we had to find an email really quickly. So we tried the Stellar Outlook PST Repair program and found that it actually worked quite well.

The lesson learned? We really need to be more vigilant in backing up our computers. There’s really no excuse for not doing it. We are going to investigate and get some good software for this, and we’ll report on the best programs for backing up your computer shortly.

Other than that, not much else to report.

Forum Culture

What do you personally get out of the internet? Does it offer you a source of entertainment? Perhaps it is just an informational resource for yourself. I personally use the internet for a vast variety of things – from connecting to others to giving my opinion on various matters. However, the best thing I use the internet for is to communicate with others and get their opinions. This leads me to my first point: forums.

Internet forums are one of the best ways to communicate on the internet. There are an infinite number of forums out there on every topic imaginable. Forums for new moms, forums for audio engineers, forums for writers. The lists and possibilities are endless. The cultures of each of these forums is relatively similar, but many have their own unique spin on the forum culture. However, the format of the forum necessarily calls for a similar culture based on the “rules” that forums have. Most forums are similar in construction, leading to similar thought processes and similar modes of morality within the forum. “Trolling” is a forum wide word for people who use the forums to bait people into arguments. Basically they are time wasters. Certain forums may play along with Trolls while others are much more strict. Think of a forum of surfers vs. a forum of librarians; the culture of the users bleeds into the culture of the forum itself. Other forums are much more heavy on the usage of animated .gifs as well as other images. Some forums do not even allow the usage of “avatars” for users. It just depends on the forum moderators and the tone of the forum in general. Users will “mold” themselves to the overarching forum culture. Ask Metafilter, for example, has a certain verbiage that seems to pervade the forum, as well as certain terminology that is used widely throughout (some that make no sense, including “snowflakes” and “beanplating”). Users fall right into step usually, and long-time users are strict on usage of the pervading vernacular. It is interesting how certain forums can inspire one to follow the culture, while others allow a more free-formed discussion and varying styles of writing and verbiage.

The thing is, you cannot choose the culture as you must first choose the forum. Certain people may fall in step easier with the particular forum culture, while others may dislike it and eventually leave the forum entirely. It just depends on the particular user’s desires and needs.