Wireless Issues

Do you have problems with your wireless connection? Here are a couple of things I consider when having reception issues. I learned these from experience and some vague knowledge of physics.

  • keep the router and the receptor at the same height
  • improve the range of the router by not having it at ground level
  • if you have a USB wireless adapter on a computer, make the best effort to not have it directly  connected to the computer; use a USB male to female cable to extend it; it will mimic an antenna
  • keep other radioactive devices such as cell phones away from the wireless receptor
  • change the channel on the router
  • keep general electronics and power extensions away from the receiver and router

Most of these issues are caused by interference ( other devices) or the propagation of the signal. Give it a try! If you have other suggestions, feel free to comment!

Look at the Alternatives

OneTech Tip has addressed alternatives to Windows and Mac OSX but what about the software. There are hundreds if not thousands of software that is free to use without a cost to the user. In some cases the open sourced software is sometime better, more efficient or meets your specific needs in comparison to larger, bloated commercial software.

Open Source Alternative is a great place to start if your looking for some free and open sourced software ranging from office software to games as well. Now, the site I noticed does not have an exhaustive list but it does provide some good suggestions for alternative software. For example, you may search for an alternative to Photoshop and it will yield Gimp.

If you are looking into becoming a more part of the open sourced movement consider this site to help you meet all your needs. Here's a challenge, try only using open source software for a week or a month.

Open Source as Alternative: http://www.osalt.com/

What's my IP Address?

For X reason you need to know your IP address. How do you find it?  Under Windows, go to Run->type 'cmd' without the quotes. Once you get to the command prompt ( black window), type in 'ipconfig' without the quotes again. Hit enter! You should see something like this :

In my case, 192.168.1.106 is my laptop's IP address. If I ever need to configure my router, I just type 192.168.1.1 on any browser and it will take me to a menu to configure my router.

How to for parents

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]My parents.[/caption]

Sometimes our parents need some basic help using the computer. Maybe like

 

  • COPY & PASTE
  • ADJUST THE TIME ON YOUR CLOCK
  • CHANGE YOUR DESKTOP BACKGROUND (MAC)
  • CHANGE YOUR WALLPAPER (PC)
  • MAKE TEXT BIGGER (OR SMALLER)
  • TAKE A SCREENSHOT
  • CHANGE YOUR SCREENSAVER (MAC)
  • CHANGE YOUR SCREENSAVER (PC)
  •  

    or other things but do you have the patience to show them how? Usually not. We usually just tell them "here it's done".  If you are that person send them to www.teachparentstech.org. This site has basic free tutorials that you can send to your parents or just anybody who needs help. Even has an email template you just fill in.  There are no excuses.

    Control Your Computer from a Land Far, Far Away

    Ever needed toaccess your computer to do some work from afar? LogMeIn enables the user to access their computer from another computer with the remote access software LogMeIn. Why would you want to do this? Perhaps your on vacation and you need to access your computer for a business related emergency or you do not want to be carrying your notebook computer everywhere you go.

    LogMeIn Free includes:

    • Access from any Internet-connected web browser
    • Access to a Windows PC or Mac
    • Remote control and desktop viewing
    • Copy and paste between computers
    • Wake on LAN
    • Reboot/reconnect (including safe mode)
    • Basic reports (remote access sessions and user access)
    • Chat
    • AES 256-bit encryption
    • SSL/TLS intrusion detection
    • IP address lockout
    • No need for firewall, router or proxy configuration
    • No requirement for remote PC admin rights

    Subsequently, there is a premium version that enables you to do more while accessing remotely.

    IM From Your Browser Not Your Desktop

    Most users nowadays have two or more e-mails, how do they managed more than two. Typically by forwarding on e-mail to another e-mail address as a central hub of e-mails or using a e-mail client similar to Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook. Subsequently, some users may have more than one screen name across different messenger programs. One way to manage being logged in to multiple screen names in different programs is to utilize a program that lets you chat on Facebook, AIM, Messenger, etc from one window instead of one for each.

    Meebo enables the user to login to multiple accounts at once. Although there is an option to download a Meebo application for your desktop. I highly recommend using their web services  Meebo Messenger to chat from your browser. The reason being that you will be saving space on your hard drive as well as reducing your computer security risk. Each program your install could have an unknown security hole as well as over time an accumulation of programs may make your computer sluggish. In addition, you will reduce the number or likelihood of installing toolbars which is another security risk.

    Meebo is not the only  program that allows you to chat from multiple accounts but the ability to use its services on web will add to convenience.

    Meebo Messenger: http://www.meebo.com/messenger

    Ditch the Discs, the Dish, & the Coaxial

    [caption id="attachment_2368" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Video on Demand"][/caption] To elaborate on an earlier post regarding hooking up your computer with the TV to watch several forms of media, there may be those whom do not always want to be connecting their computer to their TV to view media. There are solutions that offer several features that will convince you to ditch the discs (DVDs & Blu-Ray) , the satellite dish as well as cable TV (coaxial).

    First, I will mention new software that enables the user to instantly discover something to watch online from their couch via a set-top box. Whom is making this software? Google. Yes, this year Google has introduced Google TV which is software that runs specifically on a set-top box (think cable box) but the media is streamed and found online, minimizing the amount of commercials. Let's be honest here, you probably watch more commercials during an entire month than an actual show.

    Apple TV is another competitor looking to take a slice of the video on demand market with capabilities to rent and stream shows from iTunes. It will even allow you to use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote.

    But what if you already have content on a hard drive that you just want to view without turning on your computer. There are several media players out specifically for this such as the Western Digital Media Player, Seagate Freeagent Theater, ASUS O!Play, etc. The aforementioned are probably the top 3 media players on market. Depending on the model you purchase, you could view almost any media format available. In addition, they have HDMI and wireless capabilities. Subsequently, you could just connect your external Harddrive or a regular flash drive and they will automatically identify compatible file formats. At the moment I have not delve into a specific player but I am looking into investing in one. Fortunately, if you get tired of the content that you have, you may connect them to the Internet via an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi and access content from Youtube, Netflix or even Hulu. Although it depends on which respective model you purchase, some have a regular model that plays content from an external HDD while the premium model will enable you to access to online video channels.

    Why you should buy one other than the reasons above? The reason is saving money. In the longer term, you will be saving money from ditching services such as satellite TV and cable TV. Why pay for commercials when you could be paying for entertainment.

    Because of the growing content available online you may want to ditch the discs and the cable all together. Currently, this is where the market is heading; some have even said Blu-ray may be the last physical media format to be popular amongst consumers as more of them are seeking video on demand services. Unfortunately, I have barely touched the surface, I have not discussed the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3!!

    Apply to be a Test Pilot!

    Google is ending 2010 with a BANG!!! This past week Google made several announcements regarding their upcoming Chrome OS, Notebooks, and Android software. The most talked about of these announcements is perhaps the Chrome OS which is an OS that relies heavily on the "cloud" also know as the internet. Utilizing the cloud entails almost being connected all the time to the internet in some form and where information is automatically synced with an online storage space as well as saved locally on your computer. The Chrome OS is meant to be efficient and quick to boot up. In particular, the OS targets consumers who mainly spend the majority of their time online. All certified Chrome OS notebooks come with free 100mb of internet 3g via Verizon wireless each month for the first two years.

    The Chrome OS is not necessarily meant to completely replace your current laptop, at the moment, due to it being in development.  Currently, they are still BETA testing the OS before a full retail launch in the Spring. Although, you could be part of this Beta testing by applying via Pilot Program in which you will get a FREE notebook with Chrome OS. Apply because you may never know if you wake up the next day with a new notebook.

    Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript,etc... From Home!!

    [caption id="attachment_2295" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Image from W3 Schools"][/caption] A couple years ago when MySpace was the place to be, I taught HTML in a course at a youth center in which they created their own myspace profile from scratch. In order to prepare some lessons and teach the kids new codes,  I would reference w3schools, an online tutorial site, that provides the tools to create a website. One specific feature I enjoy is the try it out editor which enables you to view the code and the output on the same screen (as shown below). I recommend this site if your are interested in learning more about web design and creation.

    [caption id="attachment_2296" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Insert Code on the Left see the output on the right"][/caption]

    W3Schools: http://www.w3schools.com/

    Speed up PC by Writing to Your RAM

    With the inertia of my previous post on SDD’s,  they are still high priced compared to hard drives but there does exist a happier and much faster medium, which when used correctly, has the possibility to perform just as well if not better than SSD’s in some scenarios. This happy medium turns out to be your RAM. If you have more than 4GB of RAM, I recommend you download Dataram RAMdisk. Essentially, the utility uses RAM instead of writing the data to your 200X slower hard drive. The program will create a hard drive with a TEMP folder. To configure, simply specify how much RAM should be allocated as the hard drive and individually modify each program to store its temporary files in your RAM hard drive.

    You may wonder how this is useful and not tedious to modify each program altogether? It turns out there are programs that write to the hard drive more frequently than others. The main culprits turn out to be your internet browser and installation executables. Check with your preferred browser. I know for a fact Chrome will not let you change its TEMP folder directly, but as always, if there is a will, there is a way. As for the installation executable, modify the environment variables to point to the RAM hard drive. In my case, “I” is my RAM hard drive.

    The only downside is that because RAM gets deleted at shutdown, so will any temporary files get deleted; in other words, the temporary files that could have speeded up your page loading will not be there. If you think offsetting the cost of slower page browsing is negligible, proceed. If not, simply do not modify the browser's settings.

    RAID, Mechanical Drives Still in the Fight

    Ever heard of RAID? No, I am not talking about pirates getting away with treasure. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  As hard drives approach the Terabyte range (1000 Gigabytes), they have become inexpensive to the point where RAID becomes a consumer level alternative to the trendy Solid State Drives (SSD’s). The advantage over SSD is there no finite amount of data writes but of course mechanical failure is always eminent. To do so, you will need to back up your data, purchase identical drives, most likely have to purchase a RAID controller and be willing to get your hands dirty to install the additional hardware under the assumption your PC system meets the requirements.  You can read more about RAID on your own, but my preferred configuration is a RAID 0+1. My preferred configuration gets the performance boosts by splitting (stripping) the data into two drives as shown below and backs up ( mirrors) the entire data into a third drive.

     

    Lets Make A Deal!!

    That time of the year has arrived once again. The time in which the majority of the population begin spending great amounts of money and causing businesses to make more money. Before going out on Black Friday in hopes of getting a good deal, there are actually several deals on a daily basis going on for different items. Instead of you searching for the best deals, why not let some other people do the searching for you?  Below are some of the sites I frequently search for with good deals in technology, promotion and FREEBIES!!!!!

    Black Friday Ads

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Image by Ian Muttoo via Flickr"]Best Buy, Toronto[/caption]

    Black Friday is around the corner and it's that time of year when people go crazy over low prices. I have some friends who are doing a tailgate to gather some cheap electronics: flat screen TV's, hard drives and much more. I smell some very good deals. How would I know where to go? Some individuals leaked some ads  to some major stores. Below are some:

    Split Your Computer Into Two or More Personalities

    Today's tip focuses on giving your computer more than one identity. Ever felt like being more than just Windows? You could be Penguin (Linux) and/or a Mac. How, you may ask? Partitioning.  When your hard drive is divided into many different pieces or slices it is called partitions. These partitions are what one may call sub-hard drives in your main hard drive. In order to partition a hard drive you will need software to carry out the partitioning. Windows has a built-in program but I'm not a fan of it, so I will use the third-party software called EASEUS Partition Magic.

    NOTE: IT IS RECOMMENDED  THAT YOU BACK UP ALL YOUR FILES BEFORE PROCEEDING.

    First, we shall resize the primary space where the OS is located (as highlighted above).

    Next, we determine the size of the partition you want to create which will use some of the space already set aside for the Windows OS for a new purpose.

    Once you have decided on the partition's size, click OK. A word of advice, the partition you are creating should at most be about the current free space available.  If you go beyond, you may damage your system.

    You should see an additional unused partition which you may use to install another OS when prompted by the new OS.

    Try out Linux via a Flash Drive

    Are you an average computer user that is only aware of  Windows and Mac OS's? If so, I have a revelation for you; these OS's are not the only operating systems available for your computer. For example, there is Linux. Yet with Linux, there are many different versions also know as distros. The most popular of the these distros, in my opinion, are Fedora and Ubunntu. Ubuntu is perhaps the most user friendly.

    On a quick note, I would like to mention that you can run Windows on a Mac and Mac OSX on a typically Window Machine with a bit of work.

    Subsequently, the main focus of today's tip is to allow the average user (or power user)  to try out Linux. The objective is to run an entire OS from a flash drive (or a CD, if you still use those :) ).

    First, one must download a distribution of Linux. Below are a few of them

    Next, install

    The Universal USB Installer

    Once you have downloaded and have the program running,

    install on a 2gb flash drive and

    follow the on-screen instructions.

    This Software automates the entire process for you.

    Once it is completed, you may now boot Linux from your Flash Drive.

    In order to do so, SHUTDOWN your computer and power it on BUT press f2 or which ever message that prompts you to the boot menu, similar to the image below

    Change the boot order to "first be removable drive" or you may also see your flash drive listed there.

    Then once you exit, make sure the flash drive is plugged in. It should boot from your flash drive instead of your hardrive and voila! Linux has appeared.

    Once prompted, select Run and try it out!

    Now you may see what all the fuss is about.

    Tomorrow, I will show you how to use a software program to partition your drive so you may do a full installation without deleting your Windows.

    App Cleaner for your Mac

    image Mac's popularity is rising because numerous number of people are leaving  Windows to the simplistic way, Apple. Many are used to the add/remove program's feature in Windows but in Mac, to uninstall, you simply drag it to the trash. In some ways, I find that it is not enough. Especially on Ant-Viruses and other deep level apps. Lucky,there is an awesome application remover called appcleaner. This application removes all scattered files pertaining to that specific application. Good luck and enjoy it; the Apple way.

    Steps to troubleshoot an ipod

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]These are the current models of the iPods from...[/caption]

    Apple has grown a lot over the years. Their major success that started their popularity was the  ipod. Today's post, is just that, we will focus on how  to fix your ipod. We will provide a list of things you may try. If nothing works, Apple will be the solution.

    Before going down the check list make sure that your device still has battery and if it is in any physical damage and want to fix it yourself. There is a great resource at ifixit.com

    1. If there is a glitch in the system first try restarting it.
    2. If the restart does not work, try doing a hard boot by holding down a combination of buttons.  Here is a link on how to do a hard boot on your type of ipod.
    3. If a hard boot does not work, try plugging into itunes.
    4. If that fails, to try restoring you ipod to back up. (Hopefully you have a back up right?)
    5. If all of the above fails, you have no choice really but to take into Apple.

    Here is another link from apple that might help resolve your problem.

    Convert time!

    Ever wanted to convert something useful or just for fun, but you cant? Well, Clip Converter does it for you. Just simply copy and paste the media url into the box that says media url, and then select the file type you would like to choose, and then click download. That's how simple it is. It has a wide range of file formats that it can convert videos in. Some of them are MP3, WMA, and AAC. So try this converter out now here.

    Log On With A Different Screen

    If you are a fan of user customization this is for you. Have you ever wanted to change the background of the screen that you log into? You know the one where you type your password in (if you have password lock enabled). Well, today's tip I will show share with a software that makes it quick and painless. Yes, there are ways to do this without installing software but this is for the everyday user whom does not want to go through a plethora of steps to change a picture. The software I am describing is LogOn Studio by Stardock. LogOn enables the user to select a picture from their harddrive to be used as the background for the login screen.

    The reason why you should use a program instead of going through a bunch of system files is :

    1. Simplicity/Convenience
    2. You don't risk harming your computer by accidentally deleting something you should not
    3. If you go the system files route your picture has to be a specific size and type. This software does it automatically.

    Note: This assuming you are not comfortable messing around with your computer files that could effect your daily computer operations.

    Once you have selected your picture select open and then save on the following screen and your selected picture should appear as a choice. For example I selected onetechtip logo.

    Once you have selected your picture CLICK APPLY and you are done. :)

    Download @ the Official Site:

    http://www.stardock.com/products/logonstudio/