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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in nerdy stuff

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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Follow The Future of Technology

rfid-tag

RFID Tags – Making Things Talk to Each Other

Internet of things is going to be the next big thing. According to an estimate, the IoT industry touches $7 - $19 trillion by the 2020 and a report by Gartner says that there will be 26 billion devices connected by Internet of Things by 2020.

RFID technology is going to play a significant role in the boom of this upcoming industry. RFIDs can be the agents of complete digitization.

Lets dig the some of the few areas where this tech will be utilised in future.

Check here -http://greybmusings.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/rfid-tags/

#rfidtags#rfidtechnoloogy#IoT

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Posted by on in Tech News

cloudrain

With all the security concerns about the cloud and Dropbox, is it worth ditching Dropbox and setting up your own personal cloud?


Read more: http://www.bit.com.au/Guide/365066,is-it-time-to-setup-my-own-personal-cloud-instead-of-using-dropbox.aspx#ixzz39ZAqP8Xx
 
.

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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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Reversible USB cable design shown off for first time

Article from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26868531

USB design
 
The new designs will put an end to inserting a USB cable the wrong way round

A new design for USB - a standardised connection for data transfers between electronic devices - has been shown off for the first time.

The new connector will be reversible, bringing an end to the everyday irritant of trying to force a USB cable in the wrong way.

The images were first published by technology news site The Verge.

The USB Implementers Forum anticipates the new designs will be finalised in July.

But rollout of new ports will take some time as manufacturers gradually incorporate them into their products.

New USB socket
 
The smaller port resembles Apple's Lightning port

The new Type-C standard will be similar in size to the current MicroUSB connector, typically used for charging mobile phones and cameras.

The first USB cables were released in the mid-1990s and, until now, could only be plugged into a computer or other device one way round to ensure a data connection.

Other improvements to the new cable include:

  • Support for scalable power charging, allowing the cable to offer up to 100 watts
  • Data speed transfers of up to 10 gigabits per second, double what is possible at the moment
  • A promise that the new design will accommodate further upgrades

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$299 3D printer achieves Kickstarter goal in minutes

Article from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26945020

M3D printer

The 'cheap' M3D printer may be the first one to appeal to a mass market
 

An ultra-cheap 3D printer has hit its Kickstarter goal in just 11 minutes, with some lauding it as the first mass market version of the technology.

Makers M3D have currently raised over $1m (£597,000) well ahead of their $50,000 target with 28 days to go.

Early backers will get the machine for just $199 and other backers can pledge as little as $299.

Dubbed Micro, it comes with easy-to-use software that allows users to search, drag and drop objects to print.

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that has breathed life into a range of technology projects, including the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, which was subsequently bought by Facebook for $2bn.

'Exciting thing'

At just 7.3in (18.5cm) square and weighing 1kg (2.2lbs), the device will be easy to move around. It can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux.

The Micro with software

Users can choose a design to make.

It comes with software that allows users to search and browse objects online. Once they have picked something they would like to print they drag it into the printer and hit print.

"It's our goal to make the Micro accessible to everyday users," reads the pitch on Kickstarter.

The tagline on its Kickstarter page calls it "the first truly consumer 3D printer".

Some believe that it could be a game changer.

"Along with the market entry of New Kinpo I think it's one of the most interesting things to happen in desktop 3D printing," said expert Joris Peels.

"New price points and lower pricing will be key in getting people to buy a 3D printer. Not many people can afford to pay $2,000 for a printer but many more can try one for $500 or $300," he added.

The team hope to be able to start shipping the machines in August.

While those supporting the device on Kickstarter will get it for $299 or below, a retail price has not yet been set although it is expected to be "within the same price bracket" according to a company spokeswoman.

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Posted by on in Tech News

Apple Replaces Ageing iPad 2 With 16GB iPad 4

Apple Replaces Ageing iPad 2 With 16GB iPad 4

Apple has re-introduced the fourth-generation iPad, replacing the ageing iPad 2 with a single 16GB version of the newer tablet.

There aren’t any changes to the re-introduced device: it simply replaces the old tablet which still featured the old 30-pin connector, sitting as a budget option in comparison to the iPad Air . As a refresher, the fourth-gen iPad packed Apple’s custom dual-core A6X processor, a 5 MP iSight camera, and 1.2 MP FaceTime camera.

The iPad 4 will cost $529 for the Wi-Fi model, while the cellular version will set you back $679. Both are available onApple’s website and in retail stores now. [Apple]

 

CAN PC PITSTOP REPAIR IPAD 4's. SURE CAN! CALL OR POP IN TO TALK TO TRISTAN.

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You Might Actually Be Able To Afford A 4K Monitor Soon

4K-monitor

 

Apple iPhone 5s vs 5c: which model should you buy?

5s-vs-5c

 

 

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technology-keeping-us-awake

IF THIS IS YOU, CHEK OUT THE FULL INFOGRAPHIC >>> HERE <<<
 .....and avoid #squareeyes!

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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.*

photo 1

photo 2

pcpitstop moisture cure

 

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This awesome #techgiftguide comes to you from the cool peeps at Design Sponge:

 

Gift Guide: Gadgets, Gizmos & Tech

techgiftsheader

Tech gift guides can sometimes feel like the neglected middle children of Gift Guide Land—too often I see them populated with afterthought items, a perpetuation of the notion that tech can’t be pretty. Well, dear readers and fellow tech obsessives, I am here to tell you that this does not need to be the case! Why choose between form or function when you can have both? From Allied Maker’s wonderfully whimsical cloth-covered extension cord (above) to Karlsson’s retro-fabulous flip clock, these gifts will satisfy both the tech junkies and the design savants on your holiday gift lists! Check out all of these wonderful gizmos, gadgets, and electrical doohickeys after the jump! Power on! —Max

Above image: Allied Maker’s Leather Extension Cord in Red and White. Made to order.

techguide2

Above: 1. Triple C Universal USB Phone Charger | 2. FiftyThree’s Pencil, for use with the iPad “Paper” drawing app | 3.  Poketo Minimalist Watch | 4. Echo Flash Drive | 5. Areaware Wooden Flashlight | 6. DODOcase iPhone cover | 7. Well-Kept Screen-Cleansing Wipes | 8. Bushmills x Grado Labs Headphones |  9. Casamista Portable Humidifier

techguide1_1

1. Arne Jacobsen Station Alarm Clock | 2. Fujifilm Digital Camera | 3. Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracker | 4. Flow Radio + Speaker | 5. Pipe Earphones | 6. LG Portable Projector | 7. Present Time Karlsson Flip Clock

 

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How chic is this for a gadget hideaway and charging booth?!

pcpitstop-blog-cable-management1

pcpitstop-blog-cable-management2

I love! Add to cart >>> HERE <<<

 

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cleaningyourcomputer1 Laptop overheating 3 dustydell5
Furry with dust - common desktop interior Pet hair build-up in drives A nice big ball of removed computer fuzz
pcpitstop moisture cure dustydell4 KMeager Rat Machine 5 640x427
Damp Rid - the coastal computers best friend Oh. More dust. Yep, this is why we all need a cleanup every 6-12mths! This one is interesting. Mouse poop inside a near new machine. But the worst part...the mouse pee shorted the motherboard. Ouch!

pcpitstop before after clean

 

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alltasksIT is our special guest blogger today, with an article that will interest and benefit a lot of forgetful and security conscious households and businesses!

pcpitstop-blog-forgotten-passwords


5 Useful Apps to Help You Remember Your Passwords

Try to count how many different passwords you have. Or more importantly, what these passwords are. Bet you can’t.

If you have a computer or a smart phone, an email address, use online banking or just use the internet for shopping or any other services, you’re bound to have a number of different usernames and passwords. And writing them all down on a piece of paper is not a very smart thing to do.

Although forgetting a password isn’t the end of the world, it is time-consuming and just plain annoying having to click on that ‘have you forgotten your password?’ link and open your email and reset it. (Not to mention the hassle of having to manually type in your username and password every time.) Plus that means there will be one more password floating around in the back of your head.

Luckily there are safe ways to manage your passwords, for example by using one of the following programs:

1.1Password

The name says it all; you only have to remember one master password. 1Password remembers all of your website passwords through a web browser plugin that can log into your favourite sites using only the password you choose for the program. It also keeps track of your passport numbers, medical information, frequent flier numbers, and credit cards. For extra secure data you can add another password – why not use the password generator for this? By linking to Dropbox you can keep 1Password in sync with all your devices.

2. RoboForm

This password manager automatically saves and then enters your username and password. Use the ‘Identities’ feature to securely store your name, email, credit cards etc. and entire web forms will be filled out automatically. You can access your RoboForm logins on all your computers and devices. The program also allows for multiple profiles, which is handy for families and households.

3. LastPass

This program logs into your websites with one click, synchronises across devices, browsers and computers, automatically fills out web forms, encrypts your sensitive data and securely stores any text data you want to keep safe. The premium version gives you even more features, such as the option to import and export data, identify weak passwords and a password generator.

4. PasswordBox

This password manager has a built-in system that takes new users through the features by completing tasks. It smoothly enters login details (for most sites) and offers randomly generated passwords. This app doesn’t fill out forms automatically, but it has a unique feature called ’Password Legacy’ that transfers credentials after your death. Managing up to 25 passwords is free, and if you refer five friends you’ll get a lifetime license.

5. mSecure

As the name suggests, this app is ultra secure as your password is not saved anywhere in the software and there is an auto-lock feature. You can store as many types of passwords as you wish (19 default types), such as website passwords, email logins, bank account and credit card details as well as personal data such as birthdays. What mSecure doesn’t do is to automatically capture and replay your secure site login on the desktop version. Instead you have to enter the URL, username and password manually. You can keep your data in sync via iCloud, Dropbox or Wi-Fi.

There are free and paid versions for the password managers mentioned and all work across devices, browsers and the most common operating systems. There are many more programs out there that will keep your passwords safe and make your life easier, so whatever your criteria is you’re bound to find a program you like.

Author Bio: alltasksIT is an established IT company based in Melbourne that can help you save money by offering secure and stress-free IT support.

Was this article useful? Let us know in the comment space below!

 


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Posted by on in Tech News

This. From our friends at Bit.

optus-pcpitstop-australia-blog

"

Optus has announced it has switched on its 4G Plus network in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. So what does that mean for you?

4G Plus is Optus' spin on 4G TD-LTE network technology, which is something that you will soon see other phone networks such as Telstra and Vodafone also offer sometime in the future.

The technology is designed to ease the data congestion particularly during peak mobile internet traffic times. As Optus describes 4G Plus as adding "more lanes to the Optus 4G super highway, letting more people use our 4G network at the same time". On theory, improved speeds on a more consistent basis.

4g-pcpitstop-australia-blog

So what do you need to take advantage of it?

Since 4G Plus/TD-LTE operates on a different spectrum (2300 Mhz), you will need to purchase a 4G Plus compatible phone to be able to actually use the network. The same goes for mobile broadband dongles and Wi-Fi modems.

Optus says that they have phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4 mini, new version of Galaxy S4), LG (G2 available in November) and Apple (iPhone 5s and 5c) that will be 4G Plus compatible.

The phones will fallback to the regular Optus 3G network when you step outside of 4G Plus or regular 4G zones.

In theory, regular 4G users who don't own a 4G Plus handset should also eventually experience more consistent speeds at peak periods on the Optus network as more people jump to 4G Plus.

"

What do you think? It's a can of worms!

Are you happy on 3G? Is 4G still not enough for you? And do you agree that more competition in the telecommunications industry would be a good thing for consumers?

Tell us in the comment space below.

 

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Posted by on in Helpful Hints

Excel users...this is the one of the best NEED TO KNOW guide I've seen in a long time, thanks to brilliant Bit.

 

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15 basics to know if you use Excel spreadsheets

Don't like that annoying habit Excel has of trying to guess the right format for a cell you're updating? Here's how to turn it off, plus other handy tips.

When it comes to organising data, Excel is tremendously capable. However, the wealth of tools available can be daunting, and many powerful features are easily overlooked. 

Here’s a selection of 15 of our favourite one-click tools and simple features that can help you whip a worksheet into shape in moments. These tips all work in Excel 2007 and later (except where stated), and many are available in earlier versions, too.

Formats and fills

1 Format Painter

The Format Painter tool lets you copy the formatting of a cell onto one or more other cells, leaving the contents unchanged. Place the cursor in your source cell, click Format Painter (under the Home tab), then click in another cell to apply the formatting. You can drag to apply the format to a range of cells at once. 
 
The Format Painter automatically disengages when you release the mouse button: if you double-click its icon, however, it will stay active until you click again to disable it, or press Escape – handy for formatting non-contiguous ranges. 
 

2 Clear Formats 

When you type a number into an empty cell, Excel tries to guess the right format: for example, enter “17/2” or “25%” and your cell will automatically switch to Date or Percentage format. This isn’t always what you want, and it’s annoying if you later change the cell contents, since Excel won’t thereafter update the applied format to suit new data. You can remove all formatting from any cell (or range) via the dropdown labelled Clear, which you’ll find to the right of the Home tab, within the Editing group.
 
Other options under this dropdown let you clear the contents of cells, leaving the formatting untouched, or remove comments or hyperlinks. If you don’t want Excel to automatically format your cells in the first place, you can precede a cell’s contents with an apostrophe to make Excel interpret it as text.
 

3 Quick cell format changes

 
You can set the format of a cell directly from a dropdown menu, or  with the click of a button
 
You can specify a format for any cell or range via the Format Cells window (click the pop-out icon in the Number group under the Home tab). It’s quicker to use the dropdown menu within that icon group, though – you’ll see the default setting is General.
 
The buttons below this dropdown can save time too. The one that looks like a banknote and coins sets a cell to Accounting format (click the dropdown to choose a currency), while the percentage sign does what you’d expect. The comma icon punctuates large numbers to make them easier to read, so 1000000 becomes 1,000,000 (this doesn’t affect your ability to use the number in calculations). Lastly, the decimal icons make the selected cells show more or fewer decimal places, making it easier to deal with calculated values that present an unneeded degree of precision.
 

4 Autofill

Most people know that you can quickly fill a column or row with copies of the same number or text by entering it once, then dragging the marker at the bottom-right corner of that cell to cover the range you want to fill. This works with numerical series, too: if you have two adjacent cells containing “1” and “2”, you can select them both and drag onwards in the same direction to automatically count as high as you like. 
 
This also works with days of the week, calendar dates and other types of data Excel recognises. You can even use numbers that follow simple patterns: drag to extend the series 12, 17, 22 and Excel will correctly fill in the next cells with 27, 32 and so forth.
 

5 Text to columns

If you have to process a mass of imported text, you can split it across multiple columns by clicking Text To Columns in the Data Tools group under the Data tab: the dialog box that opens will allow you to split cell contents according to either character counts or separator characters. 
 
In Excel 2013, you can also extract specific elements from a column of data with a new feature called Flash Fill. To illustrate how it works, let’s imagine you have a column of computer memory capacities such as “2GB”, “1GB”, “4GB” and so on. If you manually enter “2” in an empty cell next to the 2GB value, then drag down to autofill the cells below, Excel will by default fill all the cells with the same value. But if you then click on the Smart Tag that appears at the bottom corner of your new range and select Flash Fill, Excel will use values extracted from the neighbouring column instead, using your originally selected cell as a model: you’ll see that the cell values change to 2, 1, 4 and so on.

Managing your data

6 Remove duplicates

If you’ve imported a large amount of data from another program, you may have any number of duplicate entries. You can get rid of these manually by sorting and deleting cells, but Excel can do it for you: simply select the table, then go to the Data tab and click Remove Duplicates. If you’ve selected a two-dimensional range, you can specify which columns must all match for a row to qualify as a duplicate.
 

7 Name your cells and ranges

In a large spreadsheet, you’re likely to be working with numerous ranges of data, and making sense of your cell references can quickly become confusing. You can make life easier by assigning names to important cells and ranges so that, in place of opaque formulae such as “=SUM(A19:J31)+L16”, you can use readily readable descriptions such as “=SUM(Payments)+Bonus”. You’ll find the Define Name tool under the Formulas tab. Once you’ve created a name, you’ll see it come up as an autocomplete suggestion whenever you type in a formula, although old cell references in existing formulae won’t automatically update.
 

8 Trace precedents and dependents

 
The Trace Precedents feature shows you exactly which cells are referred to by a formula
 
No matter how neatly you organise your spreadsheet, sooner or later you’re likely to come across a confusing formula that seems to draw data from a dozen unexpected places. You can get a visual indication of exactly which cells it’s referring to by selecting the cell, then opening the Formulas tab and selecting Trace Precedents (under Formula Auditing). A handy set of arrows will show exactly which values are used. Similarly, a click on the Trace Dependents button will reveal, at a glance, exactly which cells in a worksheet contain references to the selected cell. Note that if you have a range of cells selected when you click, only the cell that’s actually active (that is, the unshaded one from which you started dragging) will be traced.
 

9 Show formulas

In a large spreadsheet you can lose track of which cells contain raw data and which contain calculated values. A click on Show Formulas – again under the Formulas tab – will expand all cells containing calculations to show their formulae instead of the results. Click again to return to the regular view. In Excel 2013, you can also create a Conditional Formatting rule to highlight cells where “=ISFORMULA(A1)” is true (replace A1 with the reference of the top-left cell of your selected range).
 
Another easy way to find formulae and other types of cell is with the Go To command, which is located on the Home tab under Editing (you can also access it by pressing Ctrl-G or F5). The Go To window shows you a list of named references you can jump to; click “Special...” and you can use it to select cells of many types, including precedents, formulae, blanks and comments.
 

10 Paste Special

 
The Paste Special dialog lets you turn formulae into values, carry out multiple mathematical operations, and switch rows and columns
 
You probably know that you can use the smart tag that appears when you hit “paste” to specify formatting options for pasted data. You may not know about the more powerful “Paste Special” dialog: you can find it under the Paste dropdown on the Home tab, or you can open it directly by pressing Alt-Ctrl-V. The Paste Special window makes it easy to paste only the values of the formulae you’ve copied, or to copy only aspects of the source’s visual style. 
 
You can also use this feature to perform calculations on several cells at once. Select Add and, rather than replacing the destination cells, the source cells’ values will be added to them. As a final trick, try ticking Transpose in the Paste Special window: you’ll see that your pasted cells are flipped around, so columns become rows and rows become columns – something that’s otherwise a pain to achieve.

Views and visuals

11 Freeze panes

When you’re working with large tables of data, row and column headers tend to get pushed off the edges of the window, making it easy to get lost. The answer is the Freeze Panes feature, which you’ll find on the View tab. With one click, you can freeze the top row or the first column of your worksheet, so it will remain visible as you scroll around. 
 
If you want to freeze both at once, simply position your cursor at the top left of your table data (so it’s below and to the right of your column and row headers) and select the general-purpose Freeze Panes option from the dropdown. Now you can scroll around your data to your heart’s content, while your headers remain visible at all times.
 

12 Conditional formatting

Conditional formatting can provide an at-a-glance indication of the highs and lows of a set of figures. To see it in action, select the range of cells you’re interested in, then click the Conditional Formatting dropdown from the Styles group on the Home tab. The top two options let you highlight cells according to a particular rule – such as those greater than a specific value – or choose a Top/Bottom rule to automatically mark the highest or lowest values. 
 
The most powerful conditional formatting options automatically add graphical tags or coloured backgrounds to the cells in your range, to give a clear visual indication of high and low values. Hover your mouse over the various options under Data Bars, Colour Gradients and Icon Sets to see how your data will look with each set of formatting applied. 
 

13 Sparklines (Excel 2010/2013)

 
For Office 2013 users, Sparklines provide a handy visual indicator of trends and trajectories across multiple datasets
 
Conditional formatting is great for comparing a single set of figures, but what if you want an at-a-glance overview of multiple trends? One option is to insert a graph, but a neater solution is to use Sparklines – groups of miniature graphs that each occupy a single cell. To add Sparklines to a worksheet, select a two-dimensional table of data, then go to the Insert tab and select Line, Column or Win/Loss from the Sparklines group. You’ll be prompted to specify where you want the Sparklines to go: drag along an available column or row and click OK and you’ll see Sparklines appear. 
 
You can configure the appearance of a Sparkline group using the Sparkline Tools | Design tab that appears when you click on a Sparkline cell. By default, each Sparkline automatically scales to use the full height and width of the cell; under the Axis dropdown you’ll find options to use the same minimum and maximum values for all Sparklines, so you can compare values directly across an entire Sparkline group. 
 

14 Collapse grouped cells

Many spreadsheets include large tables of figures with summary rows at the top or bottom. Sometimes you just want to work with these summaries, and temporarily ignore the data from which they derive. This can be done easily with Excel’s Outline tools. Select the relevant rows or columns, then go to the Outline group on the Data tab and click the Group icon. You’ll see a new column open at the left or top of the window, bracketing your range together with a minus sign icon. Click this icon and the rows and columns will be temporarily collapsed, so you can get a clean overview of your spreadsheet without having to move or hide your data.
 

15 Print Area 

Excel’s print dialog tries to fit your spreadsheet to the desired number of pages, but it’s fiddly. It’s much easier to use the Page Break Preview, which you’ll find under the View tab. This view overlays thick dashed lines and page numbers onto your worksheet, so you can see exactly what falls where – and if you’re not happy with the layout, you can drag the page boundaries with the mouse to specify precisely what should go on which page. 
 
You can also specify that only a certain area of the worksheet should be printed – useful if, for example, you’ve made notes off to the sides of a table of data. You can do this by dragging the outer page boundaries in Page Break Preview to exclude unwanted cells. Alternatively, while in Page Break Preview, you can select an area of your worksheet, right-click and choose Set Print Area from the contextual menu. You can also do this using the Print Area dropdown from the Page Layout tab.
 
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Posted by on in Helpful Hints

Thanks to Rue, here's what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to minding your technlogy manners!

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Okay. Put down your phone*. It’s time to talk. For the Rue team, Instagram-ing is a way of life, but we realize we can spend our lives a little too glued to the screen. Sometimes, we need to disconnect and actually talk to the person across the table. So when do we indulge and when should we draw the line? It’s a constantly evolving question thanks to technology (Google Glass, anyone?) but it all comes down to what all etiquette is about- being considerate.
(*Unless you are reading this on your phone. Keep reading.)

Do fill your companions in. No one at Rue is confused when I whip out my phone just as they are showing me their newest living room renovations. They know what it’s about, but my mom would be a little more confused. So I try to share what I’m doing with her. “These new curtains are so cute, Mom! I’m going to snap a picture to Instagram later!” Likewise, when you need to take a call or return a text, just let your lunch date know. (And make sure it’s something that truly can’t wait.)

Don’t browse. There is nothing ruder than signaling that you’d rather be somewhere else by casually checking your email or catching up on Twitter. Those are activities for the metro ride home.

Do delay, when possible. Just as I’ll #latergram Mom’s curtains, delay responding to the constant stream of information arriving on your phone. If something’s urgent and the need to respond will distract you then just get it over with, but when possible stay mentally present where you are and save the text for later.

Don’t be distracted. When waiting, technology can help keep us entertained. But when it’s your time to speak to the teller or check out, put away the distraction to keep your transaction quick! Likewise, avoid collisions by not texting and walking. (We know you’d never text and drive!)

Do be aware of your surroundings. Keep volume low on phone conversations either in public places or a shared office. It’s easier for everyone to hear when not shouting over each other.

*Read more Miss Manners stories over here!

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Batteries and Chargers

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. 

pcpitstopaus-laptop-chargerTo prolong battery life and optimize the accuracy of battery charge displays, follow these recommendations:

  • If you are charging a new battery, charge it for a full 12 hours before turning on the computer.
  • Charge the battery until the battery light turns off
  • 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.’
  • DO NOT drop, open, short circuit, burn or allow the battery to get wet. 

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Heard of Google Glass?

Yep, it's kind of amazing.

This infographic explains all.

Medical people...get excited!

 

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