All posts by Computorials

Ad Block – Say no more. See no more.

Ads! Endless Ads! We are bombarded by them daily. They are in our TVs, radios, internet pages, billboards and even our smart phones.

We can try DVR’ing out the ads from TV, but even then you still have to sit there watching everything run in Fast Forward. You can try switching to a different station on the radio, but now-a-days it seems like every radio station plays their commercials at the same time, so you’re always hearing them.

But there is one place you can get rid of them: The internet. To do so, you’ll need to download either “Firefox” or “Google Chrome” and get extension called “AdBlock Plus.” It’s free, simple, light, and does an amazing job at preventing ads from getting in to your web surfing. AdBlock Plus does not just block ads, but actually prevents them from loading into your system, making your web surfing inherently faster because you won’t have to spend time loading up the huge ads. It also makes your computer safer because some ads also contain the malware that infects millions of PCs a year.

Bonus!  All computers sold by AA Computers come with these programs and adblocking built right in!

Can O’ Air – Not the kind you bring to sporting events

What happens to your car when you leave it out side for too long? It gets dusty. You’ve all seen those cars, the ones with the “Wash me!” written on the back in what appears to be five layers of dust. The same thing happens to your computers, as well!

We’re all guilty of it. We all have that computer that is old, has never been pulled out of its little cubby and just sits there. Unfortunately, as its been sitting there, it’s been collecting dust, hair, and other goodies. The bad news to that is that these dust bunnies can wreak havoc on a computer’s moving parts, such as fans, hard drives, and CD burners.

So, how do you clean out your dirty desktop? You can’t just blow on it, because the vapors inside your mouth will end up on the electronics, and that is just as bad as giving your computer a bath. Also, you should NEVER vacuum the dust out. The vacuum will create static electricity which will zap the electronics dead. There is one thing, however, you can use to clean them out. A can of compressed air. Essentially, they are a mixture of items that produces high pressure C02. They are available any post electronics stores and some office supply stores.

Once you have one of these cans o’ air, there are methods to using it.  The directions explain briefly what NOT to do, but they don’t explain the best method to getting your electronics clean.  The best way to use them is:

1.  Never turn it upside down.  As cool as it is to see instant frost, you will be letting out the stuff that is needed to create the pressure.

2.  Use short bursts on the target.  Doing so will increase efficiency and it’s easier to move something when it’s hit repeatedly rather than one continuous stream (think of how a plunger works.)

3.  Use your fingers to aim the straw as sometimes the straw will move down away from your target dust bunnies. Guiding the can o’ air’s blast will make your cleaning process much more efficient, direct, and effective.

Need to get some air?  Well don’t go outside, click here instead!

Recuva – Save those family photos!

Did your computer die and you had to reformat the hard drive, but you didn’t back up your files before hand?  How do you get your pictures back after they’ve been sent into oblivion?

With a program called Recuva.  This program is created by Piriform, and it’s free! It works just as well as those expensive file recovery programs. It is easy to use, a great tool to have in your computer maintenance folder, and sometimes even fun!  You never know what you’ll find!

The best part?  It’s FREE!

Check them out at http://www.piriform.com/recuva

Surge protectors – Keep those electrons at bay

What is the primary destroyer of electronic gizmos and gadgets besides frat parties and flying Wii-chucks? Interestingly enough, the answer is electricity! Every year, power surges from black outs and brown outs destroy millions of electronic items ranging from your MP3 player to your phone to your Television or even your computer, and repairs can be costly! So how do you protect yourself from this powerful threat of power?

With a little device called a Surge Protector, and every electronic item should be hooked up to one. Surge protectors look like regular power strip, but they protect your electronics against the extra “umph” of power when the power comes back on after a black out, or when lightning strikes your television dish.  Fun fact: most damage occurs not when the power is shut off from a black out, but when the power comes back on.

Protect your electronics.  Surge Protectors range from the small $6 strips to ones that will power your devices for up to 25 minutes after the power has gone out!  Update your power strips to surge protectors and sleep easier at night knowing that in the morning, your alarm clock will actually turn on!

View a valuable assortment here: Surge Protectors

7zip – Stop those WinZip trial boxes

In the world of compression, known as “zipping,” there are many options.  Most people are presented with two:  the standard Windows zipping programs included with the operating system and WinZip, which generally comes pre-loaded on computers from big box manufacturers.  If WinZip is installed, it takes over the functions of the standard Windows zipping program.

This creates an interesting issue, though, as WinZip is not free.  It is known as “trialware”; a program you can try free for 30 days (like many preinstalled programs on a computer) and after the trial period you need to pay for use of the program.  Most people of course, choose not to.

Once this trial has passed, opening a .zip or .rar file will prompt the user to pay for it.  Most people would just close this little box and be on their way but if you open many zip files, this box popping up is a constant annoyance.  So what is someone to do?

Fear not! There is a free alternative that does just as well, if not better! It is called 7-Zip. It is free, open source, and it does not annoy you with ads.

What makes this so special?  First off, it’s free.  That’s always a good plus.  Second, it’s fast.  Very fast.  When you need something compressed, the default functions perform zipping in a quick and… zippy fashion.  Third, it’s got the same functions as the paid stuff… and more.  Want your zip file encrypted with a password?  Done.  Want to zip in a .zip, .rar, .7z or any other compression format?  You got it.

This open source and free program does it, and does it well.

Check it out at http://www.7-zip.org/