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We live in an age of the high-powered long-life battery-powered portable device. But it seems that the limitations of the nickel-based batteries that were prevalent in the early '90s still apply to the more modern lithium ion and lithium polymer technologies we use today.

Battery technology may not have changed much in the last couple decades, but common knowledge is even worse.

Here are the most common battery myths we hear at PC Pitstop Port Macquarie.

Myth #1: Leaving your devices plugged in will "overcharge" them

FALSE. Most chargers are smart enough to momentarily stop charging once the device is fully charged. Manufacturers want their batteries to last as long as possible and therefore go to long lengths to design and employ very smart charging systems that even cycle the batteries to make them last longer. 

Leaving the device plugged in like this every single night can have an impact on the lifespan of the battery, but the act of leaving it plugged in isn't as damaging as some people make it out to be.

Manufacturers do recommend you "exercise" the battery every month or so by letting it fully drain before charging it back up again - but really thats about it.

 

Myth #2: You should always let the battery drain completely before recharging

FALSE. Today's Batteries never truly fully discharge. Even when you see 0/Zero percent or evern dead, your laptop or smartphone's battery would still be sitting around 5-10 percent charge. This is why when you press the button to turn it on you still get the message to charge the battery.

If you choose to follow the myth anyway and allow your device to go "dead" everyday, it will reduce the batteries effectiveness over time.

So: top off charge more often to prolong the battery life of your electronics, and stop letting your laptop or smartphone die every day.

Myth #3: Always fully charge your device before its first use

FALSE. But to be fair - it doesn't really matter or hurt anything to fully charge your device's battery before you use it, and it doent't hurt anything either if you miss this step.

So why do manufacturers sometimes tell you to do it? Fully charging the battery before using a device is to kick-start what's known as a "calibration process." This helps the device learn how the individual battery behaves (pretty smart!). Most batteries are self-calibrating, so it's still an unnecessary step.

Myth #4: Store your batteries in the refrigerator

FALSE. DO NOT STORE YOUR BATTERIES IN THE REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER. This is not only bad but dangerous. Extreme temperatures - hot or cold and especially for long periods of time - are not good for any type of battery.

Remember, a battery is a collection of chemicals that store energy. Doing something that upsets those chemicals will have dangerous consequences.

To maximize shelf life, Energizer suggests storing "batteries at normal room temperatures (20 degrees C to 25 degrees C) with moderate humidity levels (35 to 65 percent RH)." This should provide a shelf life of five to 10 years for your standard, cylindrical alkaline cells and 10 to 15 years for cylindrical lithium batteries.

Interesting fact: if you're wondering why your smartphone battery isn't performing as well after just a year or two, that's because the more you use a battery, the less efficient it becomes - batteries have a limit to the amount of times they can be charged (refered to as charging cycles). This charging cycles vary from battery to battery.

 

Battery prices have come down and down over the past 24 months. A laptop battery that used to cost $220 is now arount the $95 mark.

PC Pitstop recommends you replace your laptop battery every 24 - 36 months depending on use to get the best possible use out of it.

Our team order in your replacement (or additional if you want extended use - think airport or long haul flight) and have it delivered to the store usually within 24 - 36 hours.

We wish we could keep in store every battery from every model of device ever manufactured - but to keep the prices low and stock fresh - we order in overnight.

Need a new battery for your device? Drop into the store and the team will identify and quote you on spot -
10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - Phone - 02 65 841 551.

 

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Hard Disk Drives

What does a hard drive do?
Information storage is the hard drive’s main responsibility. Think the electronic version of the old office filing cabinet. Everything you keep on your computer is on a hard drive. Not just documents, emails, contacts, favorites pictures, music and videos. Your programs, your preferences, your printers, your settings, even your operating system—they’re all stored on your computer’s hard drive.

If your hard drive is damaged or fails, you can lose it all. This is the sad truth and unfortunately we still see this 10+ times per week. Which is why most smart people have a backup system. They get another hard drive and copy all their important files onto that.

 

How big of a hard drive do you need?
Everything that can be saved on a hard drive is measured in terms of its size. Text is very small, pictures are larger, music is even bigger, and video is the biggest of them all.

A hard drive is like a scale. It doesn’t know the difference between things that are on it; it only knows their size. But instead of kilograms, a hard drive measures things in terms of megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB.)

Roughly speaking, a megabyte is 1 million bytes, a gigabyte is 1 billion bytes, and a terabyte is 1 trillion bytes.

What does this mean for you?

If you need to transfer files between computers or a drive to back up just some of your files, you can get by with a smaller drive (such as a 500GB External Hard Drive).

If you want to back up your entire computer, or even several computers, or if you store a lot of video and audio files, you’ll want a larger drive (such as a 1TB or larger Network Attached Storeage System - NAS for short).

 

Will your drive work with a PC or a Mac?
Most Hard Drives PC Pitstop sell works with either a PC or a Mac. Some drives are already formatted to work with one or the other. But any drive can be reformatted to work with either type of computer.

IMPORTANT: If you reformat a drive, every single file on that drive is erased. So make sure you copy your files somewhere safe before you reformat.

It’s more difficult to use the same drive on both a PC and a Mac. The short answer is, they’re not really compatible. The more detailed answer is that, in a few specific circumstances, you can do a few specific things. 

What are the different types of hard drive connections?
There are four basic ways to connect your hard drive to your computer:

USB
This is the most common connection type. There’s no set-up at all. Just plug it in. The computer recognises the drive, and you’re able to read and save files almost instantly.

FireWire
Plug-and-play like USB, Firewire 800 is significantly faster, making it popular with those transferring video files.

SATA
This is the standard connection for internal hard drives. Offers the highest file transfer speeds of any format.

eSATA
A less common, high-performance connection most commonly found in PCs. An eSATA connection performs at speeds that most closely resemble an internal drive.

 

How important is hard drive speed?
When you start your computer, open a file, listen to a song, or do just about anything else, you use your hard drive. The discs inside the drive spin. The faster they spin, the more quickly your computer can find the file you want.

So a drive rated at 7,200 rpm will be faster than one rated at 5,400 rpm. What that means for your day-to-day use will vary. With external drives, you’ll hardly notice a difference. With internal drives, the difference will be slight with smaller files and applications, but will be obvious with larger files and applications - and all of this adds up.

Should you choose internal or external?
An internal drive provides built-in storage at top speeds. An external drive gives you greater flexibility and expanded storage whenever you need it.

Each choice has its benefits and drawbacks.

Internal drives have to be physically installed and configured by a PC Pitstop Trained Technician opening up your computer. But your files and programs are stored directly on your computer; they’re always there whenever you need them.

External drives are connected to your computer via plug-in cables. This lets you take files with you, transfer them to other computers, or instantly add storage to your computer or network without too many technical hurdles.

 

How much can I store?

Here are some averages to give an idea of what you can store on which size drive.

  Digital Music (MP3) Digital Photo's (JPG) Digital Video's (MP4)
500Gb 25,000 Songs 160,000 Photo's 500 Hours
1000Gb (1Tb) 50,000 Songs 320,000 Photo's 1000 Hours
2000Gb (2Tb) 100,000 Songs 640,000 Photo's 2000 Hours

 

 

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As the kids head back to school lets take a look at how to stay smart online.

sso-logo

Kids & Teens

While the internet offers an exciting world of experiences for kids and teens, it is important to be mindful that they could:

  • experience cyber-bullying
  • be exposed to inappropriate or harmful content
  • be at risk from contact with strangers
  • unknowingly or deliberately share personal information without realising they may be subject to identity theft, or that they are leaving behind an online footprint that might not reflect well on them in the future.

Many companies check to see if job applicants have online profiles. Be aware that the photos and information you share with your friends may not be what you want a prospective employer to see. 

Resources for Kids and Teens

There are lots of online resources to help kids and teens understand how to stay safe online.

  • Budd:e Primary - Budd:e for primary schools offers fun and engaging games and activities to build unique robots, while introducing basic practices that will equip children to stay safe and secure online. Topics include privacy, password creation, protecting personal details, virus scanning, secure websites, and scams.
  • Budd:e Secondary - Budd:e for secondary schools explores advanced online safety and security topics, including: creating content, file sharing, pop-ups, privacy, sharing, scams, spamspyware, malware,phishing, online transactions and computer viruses. Students can earn points answering questions to 'buy' parts and accessories to build a unique cyborg that can be used as an avatar on social networking sites.
  • Cybersafety help – Information and Cybersafety help button.
  • Cybersmart - Information and education to empower children to be safe online.
  • Hector's World – A fun resource for younger children to learn about internet safety.
  • ThinkUKnow - Internet safety program.

READ MORE >>> http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/kids_and_teens

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Your laptop battery charges whenever your computer is plugged into external power through an AC Adapter, an optional power adapter, or an optional docking device. The battery charges whether the computer is off or in use, but it charges faster when the computer is off. However, charging may take longer if a battery is new, has been unused for 2 weeks or more, or is much warmer or cooler than room temperature.

To prolong battery life and optimize the accuracy of battery charge displays, follow these recommendations:

o   If you are charging a new battery, charge it for a full 12 hours before turning on the computer.

o   Charge the battery until the battery light turns off

o   Allow the battery to discharge below 5 percent of a full charge through normal use before charging it. This is referred to as ‘exercising the battery.’

o             DO NOT drop, open, short circuit, burn or allow the battery to get wet. 

Plus, try these:

  • Dim your screen
  • Shut off unneeded hardware
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Avoid multimedia
  • Know when to sleep and when to hibernate


If unfortunately your battery has completly died we have a solution for that too. Bring your laptop instore and we can fit a Universal Power Supply at the correct voltage and correct fit for most modern laptops for $85 in about 10mins!

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#1. Shut Down The Right Way

Learn how to shutdown your computer correctly. This is very important and is often taken for granted. If you do not shut down the computer correctly it can cause an endless amount of problems. When a computer is shut down suddenly, and without warning, the computer is usually in the middle of an operation. The main problem is that if an operation is interrupted it usually remains unfinished and leaves stray or corrupt files lingering on your computer. Tips to shut down your computer

The same applies when you want to remove a USB flash drive from your computer. You must do this correctly to ensure that the computer has in fact finished with the USB stick. If you remove the USB during a file transfer you might corrupt the USB drive and it’s contents.

#2. Know Where Your Files Are Being Saved

Know where to store your files the files that you create. You should not save files just anywhere on your computer. Everything you save or create should go into your documents folder in Windows XP, Vista and Seven. The Windows XP documents also has other folders in it such as my pictures and my music. On Windows Vista you need to save your files in your username section. For example my username is Mitz. This folder has documents, pictures, music, and so on in it.

where files are saved

To get to your pictures, documents and more, simply click on the start menu at the bottom right of your screen.

You should not save files in C: drive or even in C:Program Files. See How to organize computer files and create new folders and Organize your Computer Files.

#3. Install All Software To The Default Location

Install programs to the correct location on C: drive. This is an easy task, as all program , by default, get installed in C:Program Files. Unfortunately sometimes people presume they need to choose where to install a program and change the default destination.

#4. Don’t Mess With IT

Do not change default settings. “If it is not broke, don’t fix it.” People touch things they are not supposed to and cause problems. Most of the time if you just use your computer, and not fiddle with its settings, then your computer will run smoothly and without problems.

#5. Get Rid Of Trial Programs

Uninstall nagging trial programs and unused programs in the correct way. See how to Remove Programs. It is important to know how to do certain tasks correctly, and removing programs is one of them. Too many people think that if they remove the desktop icon, then the program has been deleted also. This is not true. Each program has files scattered in different locations on your computer hard drive. These need to be removed by correctly and thoroughly.

1: Go to Control Panel through Start Menu, and click on the “Add or Remove Programs” icon. In Windows Vista and Seven it will be called “Programs and Features”.

add or remove programs

2: Select the software you wish to uninstall and click the remove option. In Windows Vista and Seven click on the program and then move up to the top to press the uninstall link.

3: After you click the remove button, a prompt will pop up which will ask you to confirm whether you really want to uninstall the software or not and so you can ultimately remove the program.

#6. Take Some Lessons

Complete a computer basics course. It will save you money on repairs in the end. People can easily rip you off when repairing computers. I have seen people get charged $100 for a tech guy pressing CTRL ALT DEL on the keyboard to bypass the password login section on Windows XP. The customer nearly had a heart attack when she had forgotten her password again, bought the computer to me, watch me start it and press those three keys to get in.

I used to repair computers and I have seen and heard about a lot of rip off’s.

#7. Take Computer Maintenance Seriously

Learn how to perform computer maintenance and stick to a schedule. See Mitz’s computer maintenance checklist There are also some free programs in the Freeware that will help you keep you computer running smoothly.

#8. If You Need Antivirus – GET IT NOW!

top 10 computer tips

Buy an Antivirus program if you plan to be on the internet. Don’t skimp on this one. Getting a virus can crash your entire computer and even damage hardware components. It is not worth risking your computers health by skimping on a an Antivirus program. Free Antivirus programs are OK in some circumstances, however they cannot protect you when you get hit by a serious virus. See my tips for getting the right virus removal software.

#9. Keep Updated

Perform regular updates. This is a great basic computer tip that is often overlooked. This includes downloading and installing Windows updates and Antivirus definition updates. They are both as important as each other. Firstly Windows updates usually contain necessary patches and updates that keep your computer up to date and ready for almost anything. Without these updates, your computer could be vulnerable to attacks and also prone to problems with programs. The updates are there to keep your computer up with the times, not to spy on you, as some people might think. Also updating your virus definitions is a vital process and needs to be performed to keep your computer safe. If you do not update your virus definitions, your virus checker will only be looking for outdated viruses, not the newly developed ones.

#10. Backup or Risk Losing Files

Backup your files. The best thing to do with your files is to store them on a separate partition or hard drive to the operating system. For example if you had C: drive and D: drive you should have Windows installed on C: drive and your saved files D: drive. This way if your computer crashes then the files will still be safe…But this does not mean you do not have to backup important files. You should have two copies of any important files and they should be stored in different locations. For example if you saved a group of photos in C:/users/mitz/pictures you should not store the second copy on C: drive. You could backup the file to an external hard drive or even a disc. See What to Backup

See more computer basics articles.

If you have any more basic computer user tips to share with us, please comment in the section below.

 

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This is such a great article from Smarter Business Ideas...had to share!

the-internet-of-things-hero

If your computers are four or more years old they’re artefacts of earlier technology eras – and they could be costing you big time.

Brought to you by Intel

The computers you bought a few years ago were designed to meet the processing demands of the day – and then some, depending on their specifications. But even the highest spec machine from four years ago can struggle to deliver the performance you need today. 

To find out how a PC refresh can make a big difference to business productivity, Smarter met with Danielle Watts, Intel’s national marketing manager for Australia/New Zealand. What we learned about tired old computers versus the new generation of machines might surprise you.

Some business owners figure that as long as their old machines keep working they can hold off upgrading a little longer. That logic might suit mechanical devices designed to perform simple tasks but even so, the more you use them, the more they suffer wear and tear. 

It also ignores the many competitive advantages and lifestyle-enhancements offered by innovative technologies. “Given they’re running their businesses on those old computers the consequences can be frightening,” ponders Watts. “What if they lost 
all that data?”

Moving business records safely 

While it’s fairly easy to calculate the costs of repairing, upgrading or replacing components in your IT set up [see below: “Maintenance costs add up”], it’s harder to put a value on the data you own.

“Businesses rely so heavily on databases, so it’s understandable you’d be worried about moving them,” Watts acknowledges, “An expert service provider can help transfer accounts, HR and customer records safely and securely – the upgrade decision could include looking at server technology or Cloud-based tools to support and manage the business.”

Adding to the woes of outdated technology are security issues: “If you’re still using Windows XP you really need to upgrade,” advises Watts. “As of April this year technical support and security updates for XP from Microsoft ended, so your laptop or PC is far more vulnerable to malicious attacks.”

SEE ALSO:

Slow machines cost time and productivity 

Older PCs not only cost more to maintain, their performance also diminishes as they age. 

Consider recording the time lost to PCs taking forever to start-up, running slow or not working at all: “That’s a lot of lost productivity,” notes Watts. “If you value your employees you want to provide them with efficient tools. Investing in new technology shows that you value their contribution – and they’ll respect that.”

Can you work three times faster?

If you like spending time making a nice cup of tea or coffee while you wait for your computer to wake up you might want to update your schedule. 

According to system performance benchmarks from Intel the latest Intel processor-based systems running Windows 8.1 Pro typically start-up within a handful of seconds – and when you’re hard at work running your business with them, they’ll run everyday computing processes more than three times faster than a four-year-old system.

Latest devices are fast and ultra-portable

“Start-up time and battery life are especially important for road warriors,” says Watts.

“You don’t want to wait so you can enter an order, start a presentation or check inventory. Devices with fourth generation Intel processors also work for up to 10 hours on battery power – a big advantage over the 2.5 hours of older PCs – and include management tools specifically for businesses.

“We’re running our personal and business lives on them, so it helps that notebooks are lighter (some less than a kilo), thinner and offer powerful multi-tasking. On average they cost $200 less than PCs four years ago, so over time the cost to replace rather than repair becomes a lot more attractive.”

Maintenance costs add up 

All machines need some maintenance but as a machine ages it can break down more often and cost more to repair.

The Techaisle May 2013 whitepaper, “Small Business PC Refresh Study”, reviewed direct and indirect costs of maintaining PCs. The research found:

  1. Direct maintenance costs (repairs and upgrades) – jump more than 33 per cent for older PCs. (Average yearly costs for a PC less than four years old: US$324 to repair and US$95 to upgrade; costs for a PC more than four years old: US$427 to repair and US$134 to upgrade.)
  2. Lost productivity costs (downtime) – double from an average of 21 hours a year of lost work time on a newer PC to 42 hours a year for an older PC.

Did you know?

36% of small businesses use PCs that are four+ years old
Source: Techaisle June 2013 whitepaper, “The Ageing PC Effect – Exposing Financial Impact for Small Business.” 

42 lost work hours on average every year due to an old PC needing repairs
Souce: Techaisle May 2013 white paper, “Small Business PC Refresh Study” 

Older PCs might handle up to 5 applications simultaneously vs newer PCs that easily run 8 applications simultaneously 
Source: Techaisle May 2013 white paper, “Small Business PC Refresh Study” 

Case study: Brightstar

After a successful stint at a big software firm, Jon Yeo set up Brightstar in 2003 to coach businesses on using technology to improve their lives. More recently his passion for ‘ideas worth sharing’ also motivated him to become the licensee and curator for TedxMelbourne.

His studies in information management and organisational behaviour serve him well to help clients embrace more rewarding and productive ways of working: “They often don’t have a technology problem – they know they need it – they have a people and process problem,” he explains. “They aren’t making the most of what is available.” 

And he’s adamant that old technology is demotivating: “Old systems are slow, inaccessible and unresponsive compared to today’s technology. If you’re not thinking about upgrading now you’re making it much harder to compete at all in the next two to three years.”

Yeo suggests that if you’ve accepted your old systems need replacing then you know you have to transfer your valuable business data somewhere. So why not make it easier and faster to access and manage?

“Think about what you really need to convert across – it might not be so complex. Cloud services, ultraportable laptops, mobile devices and integrated communications help us make greater use of our information,” he explains.

“I now have a very small laptop that weighs less than a kilogram and does everything and more that my old desktop and laptop could do combined, faster. Because I’m on the road a lot, I have seven to eight hours of battery time on my new machine versus two hours maximum on my old laptop – there is no competition. 

“I also have a stylus-based tablet so I can take client notes once and they’re stored in the Cloud. I used to have a heavy laptop, a paper compendium and my briefcase full of paperwork – I still smile when I think about hauling it all through airport security.”

Find the right devices for the job

In three simple steps find out the ideal technology mix for your business – and how much your older computers are really costing you: http://smb.intel.com.au/start

 

Call into PC Pitstop today and discuss the best upgrade option for you and your budget!

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fblikes

Getting people to like you is a concept that was around long before the internet – anyone that spent more than a couple of hours in the playground at school can tell you that. In many ways, asking someone to click the Like button on Facebook isn’t so different from those shy moments by the bubblers at school when you’re hoping these new-found people you are talking to are going to like you.

For starters, you have to put yourself out there for strangers to even know you exist. You also have to have something to offer or something interesting to add to an existing conversation in order to get anywhere. A packet of Burger Rings might have cut it at recess, but you’re going to have to try a little harder on Facebook.

Read on >>> http://nett.com.au/technology/getting-more-facebook-likes/

PS. Like us on FB ;)

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E-Waste and Recycling

pcpitstop sustainable

With awareness about the environmental impacts of sending electronic waste (e-waste) to landfill increasing, many households and businesses are keen to dispose of their unwanted electronic equipment in a responsible way.

Computers and other e-waste contain non-renewable resources such as tin, nickel, zinc aluminium and copper, as well as hazardous materials such as lead and mercury. Sending these products to landfill means the resources they contain are potentially lost and there is a risk that the hazardous substances may be released into the environment.

What can you do? Almost 99% of the components that make up a PC can be recycled. By recycling we can avoid serious toxins, chemicals and heavy metals from going to landfill and polluting our environment.

pcpitstop recycle

Talk to your nearest PC Pitstop team about the best recycling option for your equipment in your area.

* Port Macquarie residents can recycle monitors at the local council tip. Laptop computers and desktops however, can be recycled at PC Pitstop, Bay St, Port Macquarie.

 

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Funny Computer Memes & What They're Trying to Tell You

First up. What is a meme?

meme
miːm/
noun
 
  1. 1.
    an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.
  2. 2.
    an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.
     

Thanks Wikipedia.

Now. Here's a few memes created to teach you a lesson. 

PS. It's ok to have a giggle!

1.

7-our-computer-is-slow-funny-meme

LESSON: Less is more. The more unnecessary toolbars you add the slower stuff will happen.

How do they all get there? Not without a little help from you. If you have the Ask toolbar for instance, it might have been installed when you did a Java update and failed to uncheck the optional little box that asked you if you wanted to install that particular toolbar.

If you’ve installed one of the free antivirus programs, like AVG, it will install its own toolbar into your browser. Have you joined an on-line photo sharing site? You probably got another toolbar then as well. You get the idea?

None of those toolbars are absolutely essential and your browser will generally be much happier without them. How many different 'search' buttons do you really need?

2.

IE9-Faster-Downloading-of-Chrome-Or-Firefox-Nerd-Computer-Interwebs-Funny-Motivational-Meme

LESSON: Pretty self-explanitory.

Internet Explorer sucks.

Use Firefox or Chrome as your default internet browser.

Just remove IE9 altogether.

3. 

song-chart-memes-repair-shop

LESSON: Avoid doing the RED.

Really.

Unless 'buddy' agrees to pay the bill and replace all those memories.

Remember 'the poor man pays twice'....know when it's time to call PC Pitstop.

4. 

Mom-Vs.-Normal-Computer-Savy-People

LESSON: Too many unecessary words. Get to the point for a better search result.

Read this >>> ARTICLE <<< to search Google like an expert. It's good.

 

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Computer Induced Medical Problems & How to Avoid Them

It's now common knowledge that posture and ergonmics are a very important part of avoiding RSI and other computer-use related injuries but after a chance search I found out there is a lot more we need to be wary of.

Here's an exert straight from Wikipedia on a few other nasties:

Computer vision syndrome

In many cases, frequent computer users suffer from computer vision syndrome, which is a degenerative eye problem which can result in severely reduced eyesight (Myopia), blurred vision, overall eye tiredness and even Glaucoma. Computer Eye Syndrome is an umbrella term for many problems but the causes of these problems can be easily identified. When using a computer due to the size and setup of the monitor and components it is necessary for the user to be within at least two feet of the monitor when performing any type of computational work. This presents many problems especially in older monitors due to an elevated amount of monitor glare, poor display quality and insufficient picture display refresh rates. Although these problems are more evident in older computers the newer models are not free from these problems either. Studies have been conducted [6] into the correlation between computers and eye problems and it was found that the Ionizing radiation given off by monitors has severe detrimental effects on the eye and eyesight on a whole. They also state “Treatment requires a multidirectional approach combining ocular therapy with adjustment of the workstation”[6] which shows these problems are quite easily solved with minimal investment from computer manufacturers through producing higher quality monitors with better resolution and refresh rates. The most common form of Computer Vision Syndrome is a condition termed Dry Eye, which results in itchy, sore and even the illusion that something is stuck in your eye. This condition is often caused by extensively long period looking at a computer screen

Video screens have a design process for user interface. Video screens can cause eyestrain from prolonged viewing. Cathode ray tubes are what are used to display the information on your computer. These send off radiation. This is a concern that has been taken into account when designing better computer screens for user interface.[4][5]

Musculoskeletal problems

Another medical issue caused by the use of computers is back and posture problems. These problems relate to musculoskeletal disorders caused by the need for the user to be crouched and hunched towards the monitors and computer components due to the design and positioning of these particular computer peripherals. This hunching forward of the user causes posture and back problems but is also the cause of severe and acute pain in the upper back, particularly pain in the neck and or shoulders. A study [7] was conducted where 2146 technical assistants installed a computer program to monitor the musculoskeletal pain they suffered and answered questionnaires on the location and severity of the pain. The study showed interesting results, as it detailed how in the majority of cases any pain suffered was aggravated and exacerbated by the use of computer peripherals like the mouse and keyboard but overall the pain did not originate from using computers. "Moreover, there seems to be no relationship between computer use and prolonged and chronic neck and shoulder pain"[7] This is a positive study for computer manufacturers but although the pain may not originate from computer peripherals there is no doubt that the pain is exacerbated by their use and this revelation alone should lead computer manufacturers to pioneer new technologies that reduce the risk of posture or musculoskeletal problems aggravated by the use of poorly designed and linearly designed computer peripherals.

In another study,[8] It was found that women are at a greater risk than men to suffer from musculoskeletal problems then men. Two explanations given were that "women appear to consistently report more neck and upper extremity symptoms than men.", and that women may assume more taxing positions while working than men do due to differences in anthropometrics.

(Read the whole article HERE)

And from the Better Health Channel website comes more:

Posture-related injuries from computer use

Back and neck pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain are common computer-related injuries. Such muscle and joint problems can be caused or made worse by poor workstation (desk) design, bad posture and sitting for long periods of time.

Although sitting requires less muscular effort than standing, it still causes physical fatigue (tiredness) and you need to hold parts of your body steady for long periods of time. This reduces circulation of blood to your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, sometimes leading to stiffness and pain. If a workstation is not set up properly, these steady positions can put even greater stress on your muscles and joints.

Preventing computer-related muscle and joint injuries

Tips to avoid muscle and joint problems include:

  • Sit at an adjustable desk specially designed for use with computers.
  • Have the computer monitor (screen) either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Have your keyboard at a height that lets your elbows rest comfortably at your sides. Your forearms should be roughly parallel with the floor and level with the keyboard.
  • Adjust your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor, or use a footstool.
  • Use an ergonomic chair, specially designed to help your spine hold its natural curve while sitting.
  • Use an ergonomic keyboard so that your hands and wrists are in a more natural position.
  • Take frequent short breaks and go for a walk, or do stretching exercises at your desk. Stand often.

Computer-related overuse injuries of the hand or arm

Muscles and tendons can become painful with repetitive movements and awkward postures. This is known as ‘overuse injury’ and typically occurs in the elbow, wrist or hand of computer users. Symptoms of these overuse injuries include pain, swelling, stiffness of the joints, weakness and numbness.

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Preventing computer-related overuse injuries

Tips to avoid overuse injuries of the hand or arm include:

  • Have your mouse at the same height as your correctly positioned keyboard.
  • Position the mouse as close as possible to the side of the keyboard.
  • Use your whole arm, not just your wrist, when using the mouse.
  • Type lightly and gently.
  • Mix your tasks to avoid long, uninterrupted stretches of using the computer.
  • Remove your hands from the keyboard when not actively typing, to let your arms relax.

Eyestrain from computer use

Focusing your eyes at the same distance point for long periods of time causes fatigue. The human eye structurally prefers to look at objects more than six metres away, so any work performed close up puts extra demands on your eye muscles.

The illuminated computer screen can also cause eye fatigue. Although there is no evidence that eye fatigue damages your eyesight, computer users may get symptoms such as blurred vision, temporary inability to focus on faraway objects and headaches.

download

Preventing eyestrain from computer use
Tips to avoid eyestrain include:

  • Make sure your main source of light (such as a window) is not shining into your face or directly onto the computer screen.
  • Tilt the screen slightly to avoid reflections or glare.
  • Make sure the screen is not too close to your face.
  • Put the screen either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Reduce the contrast and brightness of your screen by adjusting the controls.
  • Frequently look away from the screen and focus on faraway objects.
  • Have regular eye examinations to check that any blurring, headaches and other associated problems are not caused by any underlying disorders.

Injuries from laptop computers

The growing use of laptop computers has caused more pains, strains and injuries among computer users.

Laptop computers were designed to be used for short periods of time when a person couldn’t access a desktop computer. But these days many people use a laptop all the time.

The problem is that the monitor and keyboard of a laptop are very close together. To position the monitor at the right height for your back and neck causes you to lift your arms and shoulders too high. But to position the keyboard at the best height for your arms and shoulders, you must hunch your shoulders and neck to see the monitor.

Carrying your laptop around can also strain your muscles and joints.

Preventing injury from laptop computers
Tips to reduce laptop dangers include:

  • Use a correctly set-up desktop computer instead of a laptop as often as you can.
  • Use peripheral equipment, such as a docking station, separate keyboard, mouse and laptop stand.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Carry your laptop in a backpack or in wheel-along luggage.

Children and computer-related injuries

Researchers believe that electronic games may be among the causes of childhood obesity (being very overweight). And like adults, children might also get overuse injuries of the hand, and muscle and joint problems such as back and neck pain or headaches.

Some research has shown that playing violent computer games and a large amount of game time may cause aggressive behaviour in some children and may negatively affect a child’s school work. Although computer and video games are fun and offer benefits such as improved spatial awareness, parents should keep in mind that moderation is important in avoiding health problems.

Health risks from computer games
Playing computer games for too long or without correct furniture and posture can lead to health problems such as:

  • Overuse injuries of the hand
  • Obesity
  • Muscle and joint problems
  • Eyestrain
  • Behavioural problems including aggressive behaviour
  • Photosensitive epileptic seizures (caused by flashing or rapidly changing lights – this is rare).

Parents can reduce the risk of children developing computer-related health problems. You can encourage your child to:
Sit at least one metre away from the screen
Take frequent breaks
Pursue other activities. Encourage your child to enjoy different hobbies and interests, particularly sports and physical activities.

You can also:

  • Set sensible time limits on your child’s game playing. Some guidelines recommend no more than two hours of screen time each day
  • Set up the computer, desk, chair and keyboard to suit your child’s height. For example, adjust the chair so that your child’s feet rest flat on the floor
  • Buy an ergonomic chair
  • Buy a smaller mouse, which suits the size of your child’s hand
  • Teach your child to use the keyboard and mouse properly and safely, such as pushing the buttons and other controls gently. Using unnecessary force increases the risk of overuse injury.

Benefits of computer games

  • Playing video and computer games is a lot of fun, and can offer children other important benefits too. Depending on the game, playing can improve:
  • Spatial awareness
  • Iconic skills (reading images or diagrams)
  • Visual attention skills (such as keeping track of various objects at the same time)
  • Attention span in children who have attention problems.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Health and safety officer
  • Australian Physiotherapy Association Tel. (03) 9092 0888 or 1300 306 622

3

Things to remember

  • Working at a computer can cause back, neck and shoulder pains, headache, eyestrain and overuse injuries of the arms and hands.
  • You can help avoid computer-related injuries with proper furniture, better posture and good working habits.
  • Parents should put sensible time limits on their children’s computer use and video-game playing.
  • Your child should take regular breaks from using a computer and should do some physical activities each day.

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Keyboard Shortcuts for the Modern User

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Avoiding Moisture & Corrosion

It is true that salt air will corrode hardware and electronics especially near the ocean/coast.

Whether you prefer a laptop or a desktop your PC is affected by its environment. While overly dry conditions can cause static electricity in your computer's components, excessively humid conditions can cause faster corrosion and internal damage. If your environment is especially humid you should take precautions to protect your computer from malfunction due to moisture. Take note of the general level of humidity and follow these simple steps to stop damage.

  1. Install a dehumidifier in your home or office. Dehumidifiers remove some of the moisture in the air so it's safer to use your desktop, laptop or tablet PC. When using a dehumidifier remember to empty out the reservoir regularly to ensure that the machine works efficiently. Small hippos may work for some, others may need to invest in domestic or commercial stand-alone models.
  2. Situate your computer in an area of the home or office with a controlled temperature. Avoid using your computer in humid areas such as a hot tub room, sauna or the bathroom. Condensation from the humidity can affect the internal components of your computer causing corrosion or sudden malfunction.
  3. Keep your computer stationary whenever possible. One way humidity builds up in your computer is when you experience sudden temperature changes. For instance, going from the cold winter air to a warm office could cause condensation. Transport your computer as little as possible and always use an insulated case to protect it from extreme temperatures if you must travel with it.
  4. Wipe your computer down quickly if you notice moisture on the outside of the case. Use a clean towel to remove outer moisture before it has time to seep into the computer through the keyboard or vents. For this very reason, avoid positioning your computer near windows or external doors.
    *Iron rust is red/brown, aluminium rust is white, copper corrosion is blue/green.*

     
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Exercising your Laptop Battery and Charger

 

Your laptop battery charges whenever your computer is plugged into external power through an AC Adapter, an optional power adapter, or an optional docking device. The battery charges whether the computer is off or in use, but it charges faster when the computer is off. However, charging may take longer if a battery is new, has been unused for 2 weeks or more, or is much warmer or cooler than room temperature.

To prolong battery life and optimize the accuracy of battery charge displays, follow these recommendations:

 

  1. If you are charging a new battery, charge it for a full 12 hours before turning on the computer.
  2. Charge the battery until the battery light turns off
  3. Allow the battery to discharge below 5 percent of a full charge through normal use before charging it. This is referred to as ‘exercising the battery.’
  4. DO NOT drop, open, short circuit, burn or allow the battery to get wet.

 

Need a new laptop charger?
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Laptop Optional Accessories

Laptop Riser/Cooler
Protect your hard drive and components from over-heating and destroying your data. Over-heating is one of the most dangerous things your laptop can do! It also tilts your laptop so you don’t have to tilt.

Mouse
Wired or wireless, feel more in control with a USB mouse.

Protective Bag/Case
Polyurethane or leather. Not just for travellers. Laptop bags protect your investment and keep all your accessories in the one place.

 

USB Hub
4+ ports. Increase your USB ports to connect more devices and never have a lack of USB inputs.

Norton Internet Security
Stay safe with the very best anti-virus software. Do you bank online? Then you need Norton Internet Security!

Backing Up
Invest in back up hard drives and automated backing up software, to avoid the trauma of losing precious photos and data.

 

 

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Desktop Safety Tips

Safely using your desktop will help ensure that the computer works properly and you don't get injured. Improper use or not being aware of safety issues can cause your desktop irreparable damage. These tips will help you stay productive and safe no matter where you are working.

  • Vent Maintenance - Part of your weekly routine should be to inspect and clean the air vents at the back of your desktop. Forced air dusters can be used to keep the air vents clean and free from debris. It's important to know that you should never push anything into the air vents.
  • Secure Transportation - Make sure that if you ever have to transport your desktop that you first unplug all accessories from it and carry it with two hands from the bottom of the case. Secure the desktop in an upright position wherever possible using the vehicles seatbelt for example. Parts may come loose during transport
  • Soft Spots - It's a wise idea to use your desktop in a well-ventilated position with no soft material covering the fans located at the back or side of your machine. Soft materials can block the airflow vents and cause it to overheat.

desktop cleaning case

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Learn the Lingo :: Computing Acronyms

i3, i5, i7: Newer types of Intel Processors, i5 is Dual Core, i7 is Quad Core
ADSL: Home broadband through the phone line, currently the fastest way to access the internet
ADSL2+: A faster version of ADSL
AGP: Accelerated Graphics Port, connection on older motherboards for graphics cards
Blu Ray Drive: Will burn and play CDs and DVDs will only play Blu Ray Discs
Blu Ray Writer: Will burn and play CDs, DVDs and Blu Ray Discs
CPU: Central Processing Unit or Processor, comes in two brands either Intel or AMD. Known as the "brain" of the computer, essential for computer to run. More often than not faster processor = faster computer.
CD Writer: Will burn and play CDs not DVDs
DDR1 DDR2 DDR3: Various types of RAM (memory)
Dual Core/Quad Core: Different types of processor, Quad core mainly used by gamers/ hardcore users.
DVD Reader/CD Burner:
Will play DVDs and burn CDs
DVD Writer: Will burn and play DVDs and CDs
DVI: A higher quality computer to monitor connection, wider than VGA plugs and often white in colour
Ethernet: Cable used to connect computer to a network or modem for broadband
GB: Gigabyte, unit of measurement for hard drive or RAM size, 1GB = 1024MB
HDD: Hard Drive Disk or Hard Drive, used to store data on a computer, size measured in gigabytes or terabytes
HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface, the newest kind of computer to monitor cable, High definition quality, also carries audio, is usually used to plug a computer into Plasma or LCD screens and is used in Game Consoles and Blu Ray players
IDE or PATA: Older connection on motherboards for connecting hard drives or disc drives, wide flat ribbon cable
Mb: Megabyte, unit of measurement for hard drive or RAM size
MB:
Motherboard, the main part of a computer which all other parts plug into, often the most expensive part of a computer to replace
PCI: Connection on motherboard for connection Sound Cards, USB cards, dial up modems etc
PCI Express: Connection on motherboard for Video Cards
PCIMIA or ExpressCard Slot: Slot on the side of laptops for connecting an expansion card, usually wireless or extra USB ports
RAM: Random Access Memory, necessary for computer to function More often than not more RAM = more speed; comes in 512MB, 1GB, 2GB etc
SATA: Newer connection on motherboards for connecting hard drives and DVD or Blu Ray Drives
Serial/Parallel: Older connection for printers, modems etc
SSD: Solid State Hard Drive, newest type of HDD. Contains no moving parts which avoids many of the problems of standard HDDs and runs at faster speeds
TB: Terabyte, unit of measurement for Hard Drive size, 1TB = 1024GB
USB: Universal Serial Bus, used to connect devices such as iPods, Cameras, Printers, Keyboards etc. to computers, is either USB 1.0 (older computers), USB 2.0 (modern computers) or USB 3.0 (newest computers)
VGA or D-SUB: The most basic plug for connecting a computer to a monitor, the two plugs are often blue coloured
Video Card/Graphics Card: Used to send the signal from the computer to the monitor, can be either part of the motherboard or a separate card, the more powerful the video card the more graphics intensive games you can play, plus improved performance from CADD, Video Editing and Photo Editing programs
Wireless (Wi-Fi): Used to connect computers to a modem for broadband
Wireless Broadband: Internet for people on the go using mobile phone signals and networks e.g. Telstra/Optus sticks, mobile phones or other devices

Plus there are thousands more!
We try to SPEEK NO GEEK but if your PC Pitstop Trained Technician uses language you don’t quite understand, just ask him to explain the lingo and he’ll happily talk you through it!


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The Importance of Backing Up

Backing up is crucial. Backing up at the basic level involves the act of copying all your important files to a separate external device that can easily be taken off site with you each day for security measures in business or easily accessible during an evacuation for home users, keeping precious data and memories safe and saving you time, money and tears.

There are a several different backup types and just as many different ways to backup. We will run you through some of the most common. If you are unsure of which backup type you need, speak to one of PC Pitstop’s Trained Technicians for the best solution in your environment.

Basic Data Backup: The basic data backup is the process of backing up the data the program made, not the program or the programs settings. An example here would be backing up a Word or Excel Document but not Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel itself.

USB-backup BackUp-computer-support-port-macquarie backuphdd

How to do a basic data backup:

  1. Insert/plug-in your External Hard Drive (or Flash Memory Drive)
  2. Go to the folder or location of the files you want to backup
  3. To select all the files in that location, use your keyboard to press [CTRL] + [A] (Press Ctrl key then while still holding Ctrl key, press the A Key)
  4. You will now notice all the files in the folder are highlighted, this is telling the computer that you have selected these files and you want to do something with them
  5. Now use your ‘right’ mouse button and click on one of the highlighted files
  6. You will now see a little menu appear, run the mouse over the ‘Send To’ item then click on ‘Backup Disk’ or (E:) disk or similar (Depending on the number of external devices you have running, your hard drive will be assigned a letter to identify it)
  7. Your files will now copy/backup to the external device.

It’s a good idea to always have a copy of your files on at least one another device. Don’t make the mistake of copying your files to an external device then deleting them off your computer.

Remember: Backups can also fail. If you are worried about your computer clogging up with too many files, consider a Hard Drive upgrade – You will keep everything the way it is setup, but with a bigger storage capacity for future storage.

System State backup: The System State backup allows you to make a complete backup of your whole computer – operating system, programs, settings, data, email: the lot. This is great way to recover your system if the Hard Drive fails or you get a particularly nasty virus. The system state backup is only available on Windows 7 and above. For anything else, you will need a separate program like Acronis True Image to complete the task. A great feature of Acronis True Image is the ability to do a backup to dissimilar hardware, very handy when you have a motherboard failure where normally it would require reinstall every program, all your data and settings, even if you have done a system state backup.

Remember: Your data security is only as good as your last backup and backups can and do fail. There is a saying in the IT trade: You haven’t backed up until you have done the backup three times, and one of the backups is stored offsite.

SMEs
NORTON BACKUP EXEC SOFTWARE
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  •         Enterprise backup software
  •         Backup individual workstations
  •         Server backup

Small Office & Home
ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE BACKUP SOFTWARE
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  •         Easy to use interface
  •         Scheduled automatic backups
  •         Peace of mind security

 

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So good I had to share :: 10 Ways to be Computer Literate


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So Justin James from TechRepublic says there are 10 Things you Have to Know to be Computer Literate. Of course there is so much to know and it depends on what your use of the computer is actually for that determines your capabilities, but this little list is pretty handy for general users.

 

1: Search engines

Using a search engine is more than typing in the address, putting a couple of keywords into the big text box, clicking Search, and choosing the first result. While that may work, it won't give you the best results much of the time. Learning the advanced search, Boolean operators, and how to discern good results from bad results goes a long way toward enabling you to use a computer as a powerful research tool.

HOW TO BEST USE GOOGLE: http://searchengineland.com/guide/how-to-use-google-to-search

 

2: Word processing

Word processing is one of the oldest uses for a computer. And it continues to be extremely important, even though in many ways its functions have been put into other applications. (For example, people may write more emails than documents, but the task is nearly identical.) It is tough to claim to be computer literate if the basic functions of word processing -- like spell check, table creation, and working with headers -- are outside your capabilities.

HOW BEST TO USE WORD: http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/word/

 

3: Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets were the killer application that got a lot of people willing to pony up big bucks for a PC in the early 1980s. Spreadsheets offer incredibly powerful analysis possibilities... if you know how to use them for more than storing the holiday card address list. (Okay, I use Excel for that too.) Being able to use formulas, references, and macros can turn a "grid of numbers" into actionable information in the hands of the right person.

HOW BEST TO USE EXCEL: http://spreadsheets.about.com/od/excel101/a/Excel_beg_guide.htm

 

4: Browser basics

It is almost painful to watch some "computer savvy" people operate a Web browser. The most obvious goof is going to a search engine to type in the address of the site they want to go to. But folks are unaware of a lot of other things they do that make the Internet more difficult than it needs to be. Mastering techniques like opening links in new windows, using bookmarks, editing URLs to perform navigation, clearing the browser cache, and understanding common error messages will give you access to a world of unlimited information instead of keeping you stuck with only what Web site designers make obvious.

HOW BEST TO USE YOUR BROWSER: http://www.getconnectedtoday.com/getconnected/browser

TIP: PC Pitstop recommends the use of Google Chrome

 

5: Virus/malware scanning

Much of typical computer maintenance is automated or unneeded at this point, but it is still essential to understand how to check a system for nasty bugs, spyware, and other malicious applications. While the scanning tools come with real-time monitors, something can still slip onto the system before the scanner has the right filter for it. So it's critical to know how to trigger a manual virus/malware scan, as well as how to use alternative systems, spot signs of an infection, and other similar tasks.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S GUIDE TO AVOIDING VIRUSES & SCAMS <<<

 

6: Common keyboard commands

If you do not know how to copy/paste without a mouse, you are not computer literate. Sorry! Every operating system has some universal keyboard commands, and while knowing them won't add 30 minutes back into your day, it will take a lot of the "friction" out of using a computer. Learning these commands is more a matter of routine than anything else; a short tutorial done once a day for a week will probably be enough to put you in the habit, and it will make you a happier user.

HOW BEST TO USE YOUR KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS: http://lifehacker.com/5836288/six-keyboard-shortcuts-every-computer-user-should-know

 

7: Basic hardware terminology

It is tough to have someone help you with a problem when you tell them that your "hard drive" is unplugged, when you really mean "the computer." There are a number of common hardware misunderstandings out there, and while some are understandable (for instance, confusing a NIC with a modem -- the cables look similar and they serve the same purpose, networking), knowing basic hardware terminology is a must-have skill to be a savvy user.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S COMPUTING ACROYNMS <<<

 

8: Simple networking diagnosis

Networking problems create the most common trouble with most computers. While you don't need to be able to program a Cisco router, you should know how to:

   - Determine your IP address
   - Verify physical connectivity to the network
   - Check that you have a logical connection to the network
   - Find out what path network traffic takes to get to its destination
   - Translate from DNS names to IP addresses

HOW BEST TO DIAGNOSE YOUR NETWORK: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-IP-Address-of-Your-PC

TIP: PC Pitstop is here to help with all yur networking issues. Call to book an onsite today: 65841551.

9: How to hook it up

Despite the color coding of connections and the fact that most cords can be plugged into only one hole, tons of people still can't hook up a computer. It is tough to claim to be computer literate if you can't even get it hooked up and turned on without some help.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S DEKSTOP CONNECTION GUIDE <<<

 

10: Security/privacy 101

It is a dangerous world out there! You absolutely must know how to protect yourself from attackers on the Internet and keep your personal data private. Everything from knowing to check a link before you click it to verifying that encryption is being used to transmit sensitive data to researching sites before giving them your personal data are all critical skills for the modern computer user. If you do not know how to keep yourself safe, you need to learn how.

HOW BEST TO SECURE YOUR PRIVACY ONLINE: http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/home_users/protect_yourself2/protect_your_identity

 

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Avoiding Moisture & Corrosion for Your Computers Can Save You Hundreds

It is true that salt air will corrode hardware and electronics especially near the ocean/coast.

Whether you prefer a laptop or a desktop your PC is affected by its environment. While overly dry conditions can cause static electricity in your computer's components, excessively humid conditions can cause faster corrosion and internal damage. If your environment is especially humid you should take precautions to protect your computer from malfunction due to moisture. Take note of the general level of humidity and follow these simple steps to stop damage.

  1. Install a dehumidifier in your home or office. Dehumidifiers remove some of the moisture in the air so it's safer to use your desktop, laptop or tablet PC. When using a dehumidifier remember to empty out the reservoir regularly to ensure that the machine works efficiently. Small 'Hippos' or 'Damp Rid' devices may work for some, others may need to invest in domestic or commercial stand-alone models.
  2. Situate your computer in an area of the home or office with a controlled temperature. Avoid using your computer in humid areas such as a hot tub room, sauna or the bathroom. Condensation from the humidity can affect the internal components of your computer causing corrosion or sudden malfunction.
  3. Keep your computer stationary whenever possible. One way humidity builds up in your computer is when you experience sudden temperature changes. For instance, going from the cold winter air to a warm office could cause condensation. Transport your computer as little as possible and always use an insulated case to protect it from extreme temperatures if you must travel with it.
  4. Wipe your computer down quickly if you notice moisture on the outside of the case. Use a clean towel to remove outer moisture before it has time to seep into the computer through the keyboard or vents. For this very reason, avoid positioning your computer near windows or external doors.


*Iron rust is red/brown, aluminium rust is white, copper corrosion is blue/green.*

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As busy people, especially at this time of year, we often forget to take time out to reflect, rest and reset for the year to come.

Let's do it together.

*Find your Happy Place*

 

STEP 1:: REFLECT

Look at where you've been, what you've achieved and improved. This will help shift your mindset from baggage carrier to positive and light. We all need to feel understood and in some way we all want our achievements recognised. Regulalry practising reflection will allow you focus on the good and help us to feel personally fulfilled for for more instead of dwelling on what went wrong.

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STEP 2:: REST

Simply pause and clear you mind. Rest is a chnace for us to catch our breaths before the next activity. The amount of rest need not be a week in the Bahamas (although that would be AMAZING!), it can be a deep breath between meetings, a yoga class after work or a long walk in nature on the weekend. The clarity of thought that comes with rest helps us to be more composed and the more we take pause the less stressed we can be.

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STEP 3::RESET

This is the time to prepare for the next space, time, task or year. It's a chnace to get clear on what your intentions are and what behaviours you'll exhibit in that next activity. Regain sight of the outcome you're after. Jump off the rollercoaster and heighten your sense of control. This step, if practtised daily shows a remarkable increase in happiness and perfromance and reduction in stress.

Practise all three and enjoy the true meaning of a work/life balance in 2014.

I know we'll certainly try!

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