Category Archives: Articles

Technology Flops

microsoft-bob

I’m not sure if it’s possible to feel sorry for a format, but if it is then I think I might actually feel sorry for the HD DVD standard; after living such a short life it has been consigned to the history books having been trounced by the technically superior BluRay format.In order to ease the pain I thought it might help to take a look at some other technologies that the future looked so promising for, but in reality they failed so spectacularly:

Microsoft Bob – I have only used Microsoft Bob once in my life before immediately deleting it from the PC it came bundled with way back in 1995; by my estimation this would have made me thirteen.Bob was an application which sat on top of your existing Windows installation and was designed for making simple tasks such as deleting a file or writing a letter easier Read the rest

Recycling Computer Equipment

recycling

Considering the majority of IT equipment is practically non biodegradable and can contain substances that are potentially harmful, there is scarce information available to local residents about how to go about effectively recycling their old computers.

I wasn’t particularly surprised to find no reference to such advice on the Torbay Council website.Unfortunately it seems that whilst both national and local government bang on about the importance of public awareness regarding the issues of recycling, they don’t tend to clarify exactly what we should actually be doing.Extending my search to council websites nationwide was just as fruitless, and as such it’s not surprising the public at large are slightly bewildered about the best way to dispose of their IT equipment.

Fortunately there are a number of methods one can use to dispose of their old equipment:

-You could look to reuse the computer yourself and there are a few options Read the rest

CD and DVD Printing

cd_dvd_printer_canon

Last week we looked at the different technologies available when recording data on to removable media such as a writable DVD and I briefly touched on the subject of printing on to the top surface of the disc.Whilst many use a simple glass marker pen, there are of course several other options available should you want give your discs a more professional looking finish.

Disc Labels

Possibly the simplest option, the label route involves literally printing on to an A4 sheet which has two disc shaped labels pre-cut in to it.Once complete you literally peel off the label and apply it to your finished disc.

Unfortunately this technique suffers a number of drawbacks; it looks unprofessional, it is tricky to apply the label to the disc, and unless positioned perfectly the label can physically unbalance the disc, resulting in read errors when spun inside the drive.The only real advantage is Read the rest

Silver Surfers

Silver-Surfers

One of the Switch guys from above Refresh was today talking about Christmas and how his 96 year old grandma who lives in Canada extended her wishes on the day via webcam.Hearing James talk about this made me wonder what kind of difference the Internet can make in the life of someone who would be considered to be of the ‘older generation’.As you might imagine, I look at the Internet through the eyes of a mid-twenty year old man; it’s only when I take a step back and look from a different perspective that I see the benefits for an elderly person are just as obvious.

Without a doubt, the main obstacle in the way of the majority of older people gaining access to the Internet is a working computer knowledge.Unfortunately getting on to the Internet requires the use of a PC, but in a generation that wasn’t bought up Read the rest

The Pitfalls of Refilling

refilling-mess

I do try to keep shameless self promotion out of my Click articles however, as you are probably all aware, I run a business in the computer consumables field and as such there are events in my day to day life that often appear like they would make good computer based reading material.We have recently started offering a refilling service and as such my knowledge of this particular area has increased exponentially over the last couple of months making it the ideal focus of my article today.

Thanks to adverts such as those commissioned several years ago by JR Inkjet (the ones featuring motoring journalist Quentin Wilson), there are a great many people who believe that they are immediately qualified for the task.Whilst refilling is certainly good for both your pocket and the environment, it is also an exact art that when improperly executed can yield terrible results.

Many companies Read the rest

New Years Resolutions

New-Year-resolutions

It’s that time of year that we start making a list of resolutions for the coming year and as such I’d like to be bold enough to suggest a couple of things that you may like to adopt in to your computing lives of 2008.As these are mainly bullet points I’ve included links to previous articles that can be used to obtain further reading material.

To make things more interesting I have decided to separate my readership in to two extremes – one designed for regular computer users, and one for the hardcore.This may prove more beneficial than reading off ‘one size fits all’ list and we’ll start with the ‘regular’ users.

Backup your hard drive – Why not start with the most obvious point which is also the one that’s most likely to be ignored.We all know we should backup but yet none of us do, myself included.Head to Read the rest

Mouse Gestures

magic-mouse-gestures

I’m all for anything that increases my efficiency when using a computer.When you spend eight hours a day using one, even the smallest time saving improvements made to a user interface can make a huge difference.A few months ago I talked about keyboard shortcuts which I have found useful for many years and this week I plan to introduce you to mouse gestures.

Popularized by the Opera browser, the mouse gesture is slowly but surely gaining support from both software developers and users.The idea is that rather than having to click on an icon or use a keyboard shortcut, the user instead holds down a mouse button (usually the right) then moves the mouse in a certain gesture (for example from right to left) and then released the button.This gesture is then converted in to relevant command, for example the commend ‘go back’ in a browser window.Whilst still not big Read the rest

Computing Myths #2

screen-saver

Last week I started a list of my most hated computing myths and began setting the record straight.Unfortunately there were simply too many of them to fit into a 600 word article so we’re back again this week to hopefully complete the list.

Unnecessary Screen Savers

Screen Savers have been redundant for many years now but yet many users still insist on having them on their machines.The idea of a screen saver stemmed from the days of monochrome monitors; these had a tendency to suffer an incurable ‘burn in’ if a still image was left on the screen for an extended period of time.Fortunately modern monitors, especially TFT’s, don’t suffer from this affliction so there is absolutely no reason to have your screen saver turned on.A better idea would be to have your PC automatically switch the monitor to standby mode after a set period of time as this would Read the rest

Computing Myths

myths

Back in the day when I used to repair PC’s I used to hear some fantastically misinformed facts regarding PC’s and thought that when I retired from that industry and switched to selling consumables that these days would be over.Unfortunately, I then invited my good friends at Switch Computer Support to share our building and now I simply hear these myths from their customers rather than mine.

I have heard a great number of these myths in my time so I’m afraid that debunking them will involve a two part article which will continue next week.

Turning off your PC daily to save power shortens its life.

This is possibly the most popular myth floating around and, as such, it’s the one that makes me most irate.The logic behind the argument is that if you turn your PC on and off again on a regular basis that the constant cooling Read the rest

Energy Saving

energy-saving

After receiving a fairly shocking electricity and gas bill, I have all of a sudden become interested in energy saving; it’s funny how often the most efficient way of making a man listen is through his wallet.

The main thing to remember about energy saving is that it isn’t actually difficult; the challenge comes in identifying how you can best achieve savings and then working out how to implement them.Pretty much all the advice you’ll ever receive when it comes to energy saving is common sense but that said there are some things that you simply wouldn’t usually think of unless they’re suggested.

The rather amusingly entitled report ‘The Ampere Strikes Back’. was recently released by the Energy Saving Trust fund which suggested that by the year 2020, home entertainment and computer technology will account for a massive 45% of all household electricity used.To put it another way, this means Read the rest

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