Staying Up to Date with Software Patches

Install Software Program Updates Online Computer DownloadsIf you run any kind of business that requires computer software, which is pretty much any business, you’ll need to know all about software patches. These little updates will keep your business running smoothly. Read more

What to do When You Suspect Your Workstation Computer Has a Virus

One of the most nerve wracking things that can happen when you’re working on your computer is to encounter a virus. If this has happened to you before, then you have a good idea of the instantaneous stress that you might feel at that moment. Since most workers, even the most savvy of computer users, encounter this situation at some point, it is worth taking a moment here to review the course of action to take to avoid data loss and other problems. Read more

Firewall Monitoring, Why do I Need It?

Hackers and criminals are out there every day working hard to crack into your network and database.  The best way to protect yourself from these vicious attacks is to have a secure firewall that is effectively monitored.

Simply put, a firewall is a piece of hardware or software that sits between a computer and the internet.  It allows or restricts data to pass through the firewall, depending on how it is configured.  Ideally, it blocks all internet activity except that which was specifically requested.  This can be problematic when certain trustworthy websites or computers try to reach your computer.   Read more

Tips for Boosting Your Personal Computer Skills

Hands typing on a laptopIn these times of modern technology, having computer skills isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. With increased skill and comfort levels, you may have more opportunities in front of you. Here are a few suggestions on how to become just a bit more computer savvy.

Read technical books. One of the best ways to improve your technical skills is by reading technical books. You can try a local bookstore, but you’ll generally find a better selection if you shop online. Look for books with a star rating of at least four out of five stars. Read reviews of past customers to get their take on the book. Read more

Helping Grandparents Stay in Touch Using Technology

Helping Grandparents Stay in Touch Using TechnologyKeeping in contact with friends and family is important to us as people.  If that weren’t true, we wouldn’t have devised so many ways to do it.  We’ve moved beyond the letters our parents and grandparents used to write and the occasional phone call too keep in touch.  Sharing news this way could take several days, or even a couple of weeks.

Today, our big news can be shared in an instant with a status update, tweet, or picture.  The way we keep in touch has shifted so dramatically in such a relatively short amount of time that it’s no wonder grandparents can sometimes get overwhelmed.  Whether you live far away or in the same town, helping your parents learn the technology your kids use to communicate can be rewarding.  Here are a few tips to help you get started: Read more

Looking for a Job? How Tech Savvy Should You Be?

Frustrated woman staring at laptopChances are very high that wherever you work you will need to perform basic computer tasks. Entry level jobs that require computer knowledge include receptionist, data entry, clerk, human resources and customer service.

So you may not be a computer whiz, but you know how to do “some stuff.” How much is enough to get a job? Here is a starter checklist. Read more

Which Device is Right for You?

Collection of tablets, calculators, and other office objects on a table.With all the devices available now, it might seem easy to find the one that fits your lifestyle. But with so many choices, which one will deliver what you need at a price you can afford? Whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, you need a device that can store all your photos, documents, games, etc. So, which one is the best fit for you? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Read more

More Monitors Make You More Productive

How tedious is getting your work done on the computer when you have to constantly flip between documents, email, instant messaging, multiple web tabs, etc? Technology is always being updated to be more convenient and productive. Well you can increase your productivity a lot without any upgrade. Just get another monitor.

What are the advantages of using multiple monitors? Whether you are working between documents and the internet, or running apps side by side, putting everything together on one screen makes every window smaller. Using multiple monitors gives every window more space and is friendlier on your eyes. “It’s the same idea as having a larger desk; If you can spread your work out, you can move from one item to another more easily.” It’s not very costly either since you are only buying the monitor, not the whole computer.

There are really very few disadvantages to having two or more monitors. Because you don’t have to switch between open files and programs so much, you end up saving a lot of time. Multitasking is not the most efficient way to finish a task, but more screen space certainly helps. Most often, users will keep one monitor stable, while they go through documents and files on the other. You can keep your email, data sheet, video, or game up on one while you do research, filter data, video chat or type documents on the other. You can even turn one of them to a portrait orientation so that you don’t need to scroll through the information in a list or document.

Some files and games are actually better suited to multiple monitors. If you are working on family history you can spread out your family tree so it is easier to see where each ancestor fits in. Some games “use your center monitor as the front window of your race car or plane, with monitors on either side acting as your side windows.”

What about my laptop? No worries. You can even get an extra screen for your laptop that plugs into the USB port and props up for easy viewing.

So if more screen space is better, shouldn’t I just get a very large monitor instead of two or three smaller ones? Well, you can but there are some definite advantages to the smaller screens. They are cheaper for one. And then they reserve desk space while being able to “curve” around you. You also don’t have to look up very high, like when you sit in the front rows of the movie theater. If you like to see bigger spreadsheets or work a lot with photos, you may prefer the larger screen. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and budget.

So what are the disadvantages? The taskbar doesn’t stretch across, and neither does the wallpaper. You can, however, pay about $25 to $40 to companies that will give you this convenience. More monitors will take up more desk space, obviously, so plan accordingly.

Try it out for yourself. You will probably not want to go back to only one.

1. PCWorld: Make Multiple Monitors Work for You

2. Windows: Work and play better with multiple monitors

 

How to Choose the Right Equipment for Your Office

Setting up your own business can be an exciting time. Of the many decisions that you need to make – from staff size to logos – one important item is the equipment that you purchase for your office. The right equipment can help boost you abilities and your productivity, while the wrong equipment can turn into a liability. In order to make sure that you have the correct equipment in your office, here are some different factors to consider.

Unless you are running a business that goes back in time, you are most likely going to need a computer system. The first step in getting the right computer system is to assess the needs of your business. Do you do a lot of design work? Do you have secure information that needs to be guarded? Is the fanciest program you need Microsoft Word? The needs of your business will have a huge impact on the type, brand, and price range of your computer equipment. If you are planning a high tech operation, you will need the computer equipment that can both keep up with your vision and give you room to grow and expand. If all you need is a place to write the occasional memo, then you will not need a system with all the latest technology. If you are unsure of what level of computer equipment you will need, or what brands of computers are best suited to the work that you will be doing, consult an IT professional.

Part of the computer equipment includes the accessories, such as printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines. Again, make sure that you pick equipment that will suit your needs and avoid spending money on gadgets that you will not use. When buying accessories, it is imperative that all of your computer equipment is compatible. The last thing you want to do is spend your money on a fancy printer only to learn that it cannot connect to your computer.

The third part of your computer purchasing is your software. There are lots of different software options for all the different aspects of your business, including accounting, databases, sales, etc. To help you make the best decision, contact the manufacturer for a demo version or a free trial. This is important, as it allows you to test the software, making sure that not only can it perform the functions your business needs, but is not full of unnecessary or unwanted programs. You never want to pay for things that will go unused. You also want to make sure that the software comes both with a 24-hour support line and a money back guarantee. If the company does not provide these three options, then you should look elsewhere.

In our next few articles we’ll take a closer look at the things you should consider for each specific type of equipment, helping you to make informed, smart decisions.

Navigating Windows 8 Without a Touch Screen

Windows 8 has upped the traditional desktop operating system. Its colorful tiles are now easily moved and accessed with a touch of your finger.

But for those who have their Windows 8 system installed on a non-touch screen computer, the tiles can, at first, be difficult to use. How do your open the different applications, switch between apps, and zoom in without touching your screen? In this article we’ll take a look at how to navigate through Windows 8 using your traditional keyboard and mouse.

Your Start screen is, forgive the pun, the place to start. With your keyboard, you can access the Start screen by pressing the Windows key. If you are using your mouse, simply move the cursor to the Start screen icon (at your lower-left corner) and click.

The Charms panel is another important place. This thin, vertical panel is where your Share, Settings, and Device icons live.

There are several ways to access these icons with your keyboard. If you want to go into the Charms panel, then hit the Windows key + C on your keyboard. However, you can also go straight to the icons within the Charms panel by hitting Windows+H (Share icon), Windows+I (Settings icon), Windows+K (Device icon).

To get into the Charms panel with your mouse, point your cursor to the top right corner of your screen. The panel will then open, giving you access to the icons inside.

Now you need to be able to open your apps and switch between them. To open the App menu with your keyboard, push Windows+Z. You can jump from app to app by pushing Windows+Tab.

You can open the App menu with your mouse by right clicking anywhere in the window. When you point to the upper left corner of your screen, you will have the ability to move to your next app.

To zoom in or out of a photo, web page, or map with your keyboard, simply push Ctrl+ the (+) or (-). With you mouse, you still must press the Ctrl key, but then you turn your mouse’s scroll key in the appropriate direction.

This beginning guide to the basics features of Windows 8 will allow you to enjoy this operating system without a touch screen, ensuring that you can access all of your necessary programs and functions.