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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in computers

 

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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Posted by on in Repairs

 

Why do computers slow down?

A question that we get asked all the time here at PC Pitstop is why computers get slower over time. This can start to happen within a year after you get a new PC, but usually it happens in just a few short months.

Since we all use our computers for a whole range of different tasks and activities, there isn’t one single reason that pinpoints why this happens.

The thing is, when you first get a new computer and boot it up it works lightning fast. That’s because it doesn’t have anything on it except the bare bones operating system. 

Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time as you download files, install software, add printers and surf the Internet etc, your computer gets bloated with files that hog system resources.

In addition, there are many other things that contribute to a slowdown. Here is the most common issues we find:

1. Hard Drive Corruption

The hard drive is the electronic equivalent of the old office filing cabinet. It's really is an amazing piece of technology that has helped propelled our world forward into the information age. A typical computer can hold anywhere from 150,000 - 300,000 high quality photographs or over a million documents or books.

All of this information is tightly packed ingeniously onto a disk and into a tiny enclosure, which looks suprisingly similar to that of the old record player. The information is stored in magnetic form on top of the disk and this is where the complexity starts to become its own undoing.

The problem is, corruption can occur from power surges (power spikes), brown outs (power dips), static electricity (from carpet, clothes and other fabrics), solar flares, cosmic radiation, vibration, bumps, knocks, computer viruses, software errors and even the layer on the magnetic disk changing over time.

 

2. RAM

Not having enough RAM is like not having a big enough table to work on. You can only have so many items on the table before it get clutted and full. The computer does its best to keep going without crashing - moving things around - but to do so - it slows down even further. Solution - the more RAM the better! RAM is cheap these days and the more you got - the more the computer will be able to use as a super fast temporary storage place.

 3. Spyware, Viruses and Unnecessary Software

These programs all need attention - they run in the background and all want to steal a little bit of time from the CPU/Processor (Think information pump).
This all stacks on top of each other and adds up very quickly. Typically we remove 500+ pieces of spyware and virus related programs on EVERY computer we service (our record is over 20,000!). PC Pitstop have an award winning and unique 5 stage process that removes all spyware, viruses and nasties that even the best AntiVirus protection leaves behind.

4. System and Software Updates

If you are updating your software regularly, this will take up space and more system resources - contributing to the slow down even further. Interestingly enough, if you were to wipe the computer in year 3 and put all the original software back on - it would be as fast as the day you brought it. However this is not exactly secure or feasible way to run your computer. Updates are mostly security and bug fixes that go a long way to protect your computer.

 

5. Mechanical Hard Drives Slow Down With Age

If you have a standard hard drive (not SSD) your hard drive will slow down and fail over time. Being mechanical - this is the nature of their design and cannot be avoided without upgrading to a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Solid state hard drives are reasonably new and more expensive than their mechanical counterparts but wow - they work really really fast. I MEAN REALLY REALLY REALLY FAST. For the single most impressive upgrade you can do for your computer - get a SSD Hard Drive. You will love the difference and never look back.

Now I have painted a picture of why computers slow down - how do you fix a slow computer?

Easy - just like your car goes in for a 10,000Km service - your computer also needs regular tuning up as well. For power users and businesses - minimum every 6 months and for the rest of us - every 12 months. This is what the big department stores will not and do not want to tell you. It is in their best interest for you to get annoyed with your computer to the point of frustration within 18 months - that you go out and buy another one.

 

A tuneup finds and fixes problems, spots bigger problems (before they occur and cost you more time and money), removes virus and spyware infections, scans and repairs your hard disk, installs necessary security updates and is also a perfect time for you to engage a PC Pitstop Trained Technician to ask any questions that have been niggeling at you or to fix other issues that you have been putting off.

Your computer is an investment - and for most of us - a very important tool we use every day. It pays to be proactive with your investments - instead of waiting for the day when everything grinds to a halt and you have lost some or all of your important data. Unfortunately we still see this every day.

SO - drop in and book in for your routine computer tuneup at PC Pitstop - 10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - 02 65 841551.

PC Pitstop Port Macquarie Business Awards

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It is the year Back to the Future II predicted sneakers would lace themselves and kids would fly about on hoverboards.
Technology in 2015 technology may fall short of those lofty goals but there is still much to anticipate, from virtual reality to smart motorcycle helmets and, yes, at least one hoverboard.

We peer into the crystal ball to deliver 10 top technologies to watch next year:

  • Virtual reality headsets
  • Apple Watch
  • Windows 10
  • Hendo Hoverboard
  • Samsung Project Zero
  • Fitbit Surge
  • Skully AR-1 Motocycle Helmet
  • Google Glass Revisited
  • Jawbone Up3
  • Netflix

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/top-technology-to-watch-in-2015-from-hoverboards-to-wearable-tech-and-the-gadgets-we-really-want/story-fnda1lbo-1227159730194

 

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