Handy computer tips and advice
The size of computer screens has made huge leaps and monitors now come in a variety of sizes to suit all users and their needs.
The size of a computer monitor is spoken of in inches, even in countries that use the metric system. These "inches" refer to the size of the entire monitor and not the screen itself – to get the measurement of the screen, subtract one or two inches from the "monitor size" to account for the casing around the edges. So how many inches do you need?
Bigger is not always better. Computer monitors are now commercially available in sizes of up to 30". For most users, a screen that big would be impractical and cumbersome. The average monitor is 15", though most users would prefer a size between 17 and 20 inches.
When looking for your ideal computer monitor, ask yourself these questions:
What will you use your screen for?
If you work in industry that deals with visual media, a large screen may be necessary. If you are mainly using your computer for word processing and surfing the web, a smaller screen would be better suited to your needs. However, large monitors can be used as secondary screens, set aside for viewing films, online video content and other media.
Do you require high resolution?
Generally speaking, larger screens have higher resolution. While average users won't notice the difference, graphic designers, animators and other visual artists will benefit from the shaper image thanks to a higher number of pixels per inch.
Before you buy, check that the monitor allows you to decrease the resolution when necessary.
What kind of space do you have?
Is your desk already cramped? Measure the space you have available and ensure that your desk will be strong enough to hold the monitor's weight. Check that your set up won't create back strain– will you be bending your neck to see your screen? Also take into consideration how far from the monitor you will be able to sit – using a large screen up close can cause eye-strain, as can using a small screen from far away. Ergonomics says that your screen should be at least 25 inches away from your eyes and no more than 35 inches (though farther is always better).
Where to buy?
We recommend Dell, we use a variety of Dell monitors at Quick Backup HQ, they have excellent quality products at very reasonable prices.
If your PC has recently shut down for good, or if you've just upgraded to a new computer, you will find yourself with a useless pile of plastic that will steadily accumulate dust. Instead, here are the five top things you can do with it. Most importantly remember to firstly backup your important files.
Use the parts.
This is the most economical and environmentally friendly option, but also the least fun. If you are purchasing a custom computer, take your old PC to the technicians and ask if they can salvage any parts to use in your new machine. RAM and hard drives are usually transferable. If your old parts aren't compatible with your new motherboard, see if the computer store will buy them from you!
Smash it up.
This is the most fun and the least economical and environmentally friendly option. A sledgehammer, a pair of heavy boots, a baseball bat or thrown from the top of a building – is there a more cathartic way to rid yourself of your dead PC? Invite some friends over for the "funeral" and take turns giving the boot to your old workhorse. Be sure to clean up the pieces and dispose of them responsibly! Never smash anything made of glass.
Create a Media Centre.
If the computer still functions, install extra hard drives, fill them with films and music and attach some high-end speakers and a flat-screen HD television. Invest in a beanbag, a week's worth of snacks and chill out with the new incarnation of your old computer.
If you're interested in learning how to network computers, this is the perfect opportunity to take some self-tutoring. Once networked, a LAN gaming party is a good way to celebrate. If hardware is more of your thing, learn about its insides by pulling apart your PC, piece by piece and try reassembling it. You can find tutorials and safety guides on the web.
Schools and charities will always be happy to take a fully functioning computer off your hands, and your karma points will go up. A computer-less friend may be in need of an outdated model. Be sure to delete all of your personal information before you pass it on!
Hardware is the umbrella term for everything physical that makes your computer work. Software refers to the programs loaded onto your hard drive – and your hard drive is a piece of hardware. Without each other, your computer would be lifeless. Hardware without software is pile of plastic and copper, and software without hardware is just a disc inside a cardboard box.
Here are the main pieces of hardware required to make your computer run:
The hard drive remembers everything, even when the computer is shut down. Your data is written onto a series of magnetic platters. When the computer is running, these platters spin and are read by a sensor. The faster these platters spin (measured in RPM or "revolutions per minute"), the quicker your computer will be. The larger the hard drive space (measured in gigs), the more data (files and programs) you can store.
The motherboard is the nervous system to which every other piece of hardware is attached. It is responsible for moving information between the hardware attached to it and the speeds at which it does this can vary between models. The type of motherboard you buy determines and restricts what kinds of other hardware and how many USB ports you can have. If you are going to use your computer for gaming or anything involving 3D rendering, you will want to invest in the most modern motherboard.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU is the hub of computer that does the math and controls all of the other components. Everything you do with your software is run through the CPU, which performs millions of calculations and commands per second to control your computer. You may have heard the term "dual core processor", which refers to a CPU chip that is essentially two processors in one, and allows your computer to split the work between the two of them without overheating.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Random Access Memory is essentially a notepad where your computer jots down things it needs to remember. The information stored in RAM is disposed when it's no longer required, and never stored once the computer is shut down. It is accessed quicker than the hard drive and the more memory you have, the faster your computer will run. Most home users don't need more than 1gig of RAM, while high-performance programs can require up to 4gig's worth!
Video and Sound Cards
The video card is responsible for taking information and translating it so that your monitor will know how to display it. The soundcard does exactly the same thing for your speakers. The higher quality (and generally more expensive) these are, the better – and faster – they will translate the information, resulting in a better picture and a clearer sound.
All of these pieces must be cooled with a series of fans – if your computer overheats, it will simply stop working. This is especially true of the CPU, which is the most likely component to overheat. If you put your ear against your computer, you will hear your fans and hard drives spinning.
Most users are well aware of the basic functions of Google and tricks you can use to refine your searches – eg. using quotation marks for "exact phrases", or putting an addition symbol (+) before important words in your search. But Google has some amazing advanced features you can play around with. Here is the top 10:
Track your Flight
Enter "[name of airline] flight [flight number]" into the Google search bar and it will display the flight status, including time of departure, estimated time of arrival and if it has been delayed!
Get Around Blocks
Type "cache:[website.com]" into the search bar and you will be automatically redirected to Google's cached version of the website in question – great for getting around blocks that your employer may have put on "time-wasting" sites.
While using Google's Image Search function for pictures of celebrities, you may find a bunch of results that aren't what you're looking for – Paris Hilton becomes the Eiffel Tower, for example. Simply add "&imgtype=face" to the end of the URL after creating an image search and Google will only display images containing faces.
What Time Is It?
If you're wondering what time it is in NYC, type "time New York City" and your query will be answered in the first result, without having to click on any links!
How's the Weather?
By typing in "weather:[city]", Google will provide you with a four-day forecast and the current temperature. If you need to, refine your search by adding the state, eg. "weather:melbourne fl"
Find some Music
Include "filetype:mp3" in the search bar with the name of the band you're looking for and your search results will be limited to music files.
Input "[number] kg in tons", or "[number] cm in inches" for a quick conversion. Google will even give you the current conversion rate for currency: "[number] USD in [currency]".
Who's Linking You?
Google makes it easy to do market research and find out who is linking to your site. Input "link:[yourwebsite.com]" for a list of websites that contain a hyperlink to your page.
Type in the name of the movie and the city or postcode that you're in (eg. "terminator los angeles"), and the first result will be a list of movie times at your local cinemas!
Get a Number
phonebook:[name] will show a list of all phone numbers under that name (but only within the USA). Phonebook:[name] [state] will refine your search further. This works for residential and commercial numbers, but you can change to "rphonebook" to restrict the results to residential numbers only.
Backing up your data is critical to the safety of your business. Unless you ensure your data is backed up correctly, you could be placing your business at risk. Here are a few tips to implement a backup procedure for your business:
- Assign an individual responsibility for the companies backup
- They should review files to be backed up on a regular basis
- Ensure the backup is running daily or to your requirements
We feel strongly about the safety of your files. Quick Backup has been designed to be quick and easy to setup. We pride ourselves on our level of support to make certain that your business data is safe and secure.
Last month Quick Backup was featured in the business section of the Gold Coast Bulletin which highlighted the importance of protecting your computer data.
Here's a snippet..
"Data loss can be costly for small business. A recent survey from Symantec revealed that almost 80% of Australian organisations have experienced data loss in the past five years with an average incident costing the business $5,000 to recover... A local company is offering a solution to the problem. The Quick Backup service ensures a company's valuable files are secure."
Alt – Tab
Flick between screens
Ctrl - C
Crtl - X
Ctrl - V
Crtl – A
Windows – E
Open Windows File Explorer
Windows – M
Minimise all windows, show the desktop
Refresh page (in browser)
Ctrl – Z
Ctrl – N
Opens new window
Crtl – S
Save the current document
* note the Windows key is in-between Alt and Ctrl
Quick Backup is actually backup software, however it's not the stand alone backup software which has previously been popular. With the increase in broadband technology and growing internet usage online backup is now possible.
Stand alone backup software helps you backup your files by copying your data to another source such as another hard drive, a usb drive or cd/dvd disks. This type of a backup was most common, however as it is a manual process the backup would then have to be taken off site for safe storage.
Online backup software adds a new dimension to allow the software to automatically backup files off site by transferring the them over the internet. The process is streamlined by a technology called 'incremental backup' which means only the files that have changed will be uploaded, saving time and bandwidth.
We offer a free 14 day trial with Quick Backup if you would like a risk free evaluation. Also view another blog post with an online backup comparison of Quick Backup and other providers.
Below is an online backup comparison of Quick Backup and other backup services. We feel we truly offer the best backup solution for small and medium businesses. Although our software's feature comparison is superior, what we pride ourselves on is that our solution is firstly; extremely easy to use and secondly; our Quick Support team offers personal service and take pride in monitoring our clients backups.Read More
Looking for a new computer for your business? There are many options when buying a new PC and many different places to purchase one which can make the overall process quote confusing.
We've tried lots of different computers over the years, from known brand computer packages to 'no name' computers that you can piece together quite cheaply.
We recommend Dell computers, which you can purchase online or from stores like Office Works. We have found their computers to be reliable and very cost effective. Dell is a trusted brand and provide great support.
For general use a small business can spend under $1000 on a complete computer package, and quite easily run all necessary programs such as word processing, accounting packages and internet browsers.
Visit www.dell.com.au for more info.