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Computer help offered at no charge

| Tuesday, October 12, 2010

USC's chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) will be hosting its first Fix-IT day at the Swearingen Engineering Center on Saturday. From noon to 6 p.m., students of the College of Engineering will be offering free diagnostic and repair services for laptops and desktops using Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

This repair event is open to students and faculty of USC and the general public. While ACM participates in community service and free tutoring for students in introductory computing classes throughout the year, this is the student group's first large-scale community outreach event.

According to third-year computer science student Mark Williams, president of the ACM at USC, volunteers at Fix-IT day will be offering quicker repairs and a wider range of services than University Technology Services, including installing new operating systems, updating software, replacing LCD panels and removing viruses, malware and spyware. While ACM cannot cover the cost of hardware, they can help install it if the proper devices are brought with the computer.

Williams states that some of the most common computer problems for students are spyware and other viruses, incompatibility between programs and having a cluttered hard drive. ACM's vice-president, third-year computer science student Chase Daigle, says that students also need to be careful with the way they handle their computers. Hardware problems occur when laptops are jostled around in students' book bags, Daigle said.

With at least a dozen volunteers available throughout the day, ACM anticipates that students won't have to wait long for assistance. In the meantime, Daigle offers some suggestions for minimizing computer troubles.

"It is important to keep your system up-to-date," Daigle said. "When the developers hear about security holes, they develop patches for the software, and these patches are distributed in software updates. Regardless of the operating system you run, be it Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or something else, keeping your system current will help to protect you from software vulnerabilities."

Williams said he is looking forward to a good student turnout on Saturday. He knows very well the importance of maintaining a healthy operating system.

"Taking care of your computer will keep it from breaking down on you at 3 a.m. when you have a paper due at 8 a.m."

Source: dailygamecock

Fcc Offering Computer Broadband Speed

| Wednesday, October 6, 2010
In a rare effort Fedzilla (federal government) has released a service that is beneficial. It is an accurate broadband speed test for your Internet connection. The service is offered, but not endorsed (per website legal), for demographic measurement of the population.

The FCC is acquiring a survey of Internet broadband speeds throughout the country. The FCC has made a gargantuan proposal for broadband deployment throughout the United States. The gathered information is theoretically for inventorying the current national state of broadband. The FCC barely mentions the proposal is supported via a new tax they are pursuing .

Over the past six weeks our broadband connectivity was sluggish and it almost took an act of Congress to get our provider to look into it. Somehow I don’t think Fedzilla is capable of fixing is the ISP’s reliability. This is another issue for another day.

During our slug speed we checked a number of broadband speed tests and the winner is the FCC. Other contenders included SpeakEasy, SpeedTest, Verizon, and Charter. The attributes of the contenders were so inaccurate they don’t come close. is a joke as it comes down to the speed of the server. We tested the speed with over five servers and in each case the speeds varied from 6 mbps to 16 mbps. Seems a bit ironic considering the domain name is “”

The other contenders tests were so outdated they either didn’t display speeds past 10 mbps or were not programmed to go beyond a speed that was way lower than our ceiling speed of 25 down and three up.

In the end the FCC site rocks for a real-world measurement of your Internet connection. Get on your computer and measure your speed. It will provide you the ammunition necessary to start on the repair of your broadband connection.

Computer Repair Introductory Checklist: First Four Questions

| Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When you do encounter any problem on your PC, make sure all your computer hardware is connected properly. Check all plugs for that. Then reboot your machine.

Before taking help from a computer technology expert, the first question you should ask is when I cleaned my computer last. Was it more than 3 months? Then start from first cleaning the computer. It is easy. By taking a side panel of and using a can of compressed air or air compressor, you can get the dust out. Apply this tip before stopping the fans in CPU from moving and paying special attention to heatsink, the video card, the front case fan, and the power supply. For the first time, it will be advisable to take a demo from your local tech help service provider. .

Second, what was the last thing I did on my computer? Do it again and see if it gives the same problem.

Third, did I replace my driver? If so, change it again. Does it give the same problem?

Fourth, what was the last piece of equipment I installed on my computer? Remove it and see if it fixes the problem.

If all passed, then you may have a hardware-related problem for which you should contact your tech support service provider .

Also, information technology experts remind us time and again to keep all equipments clean and never forget to take backup of data.


Ubuntu Vs. Windows: in a Nutshell

| Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You may recall how Dell dug itself into an almighty hole last month, after proclaiming that Ubuntu was safer than Windows, before swiftly changing its mind and declaring itself more neutral than Switzerland.

Well, now the PC maker’s had time to think the matter through, another page has appeared on the Dell website, condensing the whole Windows vs Ubuntu debate into about 100 words.

From Dell’s perspective the choice is clear. You should choose Windows if (and I swear I’m not paraphrasing here):

  • You are already using WINDOWS programs (e.g. Microsoft Office, iTunes etc) and want to continue using them

  • You are familiar with WINDOWS and do not want to learn new programs for email, word processing etc

  • You are new to using computers

And you should plump for Ubuntu if:

  • You do not plan to use Microsoft WINDOWS

  • You are interested in open source programming

So, just to get this highly complex argument straight: you should use Windows if you’ve already used Windows or have never used Windows. And you should only think about Ubuntu if you’re an open-source programmer. Got it?

By the way, I’m writing a feature on Ubuntu 10.04 vs Windows 7 for the next issue of PC Pro, on sale 21 August. I’m not sure I can match the degree of sophistication in Dell’s carefully thought-out analysis, but I’ll give it a go...


13 Tips Improve Computer Performance

| Monday, June 7, 2010

Along with a number of software / programs that are installed on the computer, we often feel our computer performance becomes increasingly slow. Or sometimes we have him we are getting slow computer performance. This is reasonable especially with the increasing duration of use of computers with various programs therein.

Actually, computer performance can be influenced by many factors, both software and hardware. There are various tips that can be done in order to be better computer performance.

Here are some tips that might be done and maybe some of it is common we do or we hear.

1. Uninstall Program Not Used

Although not implemented, the program that rarely or never used can influence the performance of the computer. Especially programs that save the settings, the settings in the registry. Why? Because every time the computer starts, windows registry will be loaded into memory, so that the greater size, the memory used will be greater.

2. Check the Auto-Run Program in Windows
This can be checked with a program like autoruns. Usually there are some programs that always run that really is not that important or less important.

3. Defragment Hard Drive
This can be done through the Start Menu -> Accesories> System Tools> Disk Defragment. Which aim to reorganize the files according to priorities.

4. Turn off Unused Services
This requires a little knowledge about computers. Services is a program / library computers also run each of living. Can be seen through the Control Panel> Administrative Tools> Services. If the computer is never used an online (internet), there are several services that can disable.
For example the Windows Time and some other service (you can check with his statement). But it also needs to be careful, if one could cause some functions of Windows is not running.

5. Avoid Skin Use windows
Sometimes the use of appearance / skin extra windows can affect performance significantly. Especially the use of additional software. We recommend that if you want a different look just use Windows Themes (windows default).

6. Turn off Some Visual Effects Windows
Also some windows xp effects are not so important can be deadly. Can be done by right-clicking on My Computer and select Properties. On the Advanced tab in the Performance section click the Settings button. Can disable Visual effects are not so important.

7. Additional Limit the Number of Fonts
This effect to applications that use fonts like Microsoft Office options. With many additional fonts will affect the memory used and the loading is rather slow.

8. Delete Icon on the Desktop that Unimportant
Often programs that are installed on the computer will create a new shortcut (icon) on the desktop. If we rarely use this icon, better remove them, can reduce memory consumption.

9. Scan Computers from Viruses, Spyware, Trojan
If your computer is infected with a virus, most of its performance will decrease, might even be a very slow computer. Therefore should always be maintained so that the computer virus free. Moreover, if computers are often connected to the Internet, then about once a month should be computer scanned for spyware, mallware and the like. Do not forget, its download is also updated regularly.

10. Use Alternative Software More Lightweight
Some software is only used to shed a few simple things. ACD See for example using just to look at a picture or photograph. If you just want to see a picture with a standard format, it can use the default windows, because ACD See quite heavy, especially the latest versions.

11. Using TuneUp Software, Defragment
If we are difficulties with the manual system optimization and want an easy way, then we can use the programs TuneUp, Defragment Registry, and the like.

12. Hardware Upgrades
If you have additional funds and specs the computer still can barely get it on hardware upgrades such as Memory, CPU or VGA. The most influential are the Memory and CPU. More influential to display VGA graphics, usually used by the designer or game enthusiast.

13. Install Birthdays
Sometimes the system is very old and full of programs that many do not / rarely used, although already in the optimization still be slow. If like that, maybe re-install is the best solution, because usually with a system that is more "fresh" performance can be maximized.

The above ways only some tips that might be done and many other tips include optimizing hardware settings. If there are additional tips, please. Hopefully useful.

Windows 7 'compatibility Checker' Is a Trojan

| Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Scammers are infecting computers with a Trojan horse program disguised as software that determines whether PCs are compatible with Windows 7.

The attack was first spotted by BitDefender on Sunday and is not yet widespread; the antivirus vendor is receiving reports of about three installs per hour from its users in the U.S. But because the scam is novel, it could end up infecting a lot of people.

The scammers steal their marketing text directly from Microsoft, which offers a legitimate Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor in its Web site.

"Find out if your PC can run Windows 7," the e-mails read, echoing Microsoft's Web page. "This software scans your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and installed programs, and recommends what to do before you upgrade."
Users who try to install the attached, zipped file end up with a back-door Trojan horse program on their computer. BitDefender identifies the program as Trojan.Generic.3783603, the same one that's being used in a fake Facebook password reset campaign.


Microsoft releases free PC fix

| Thursday, April 22, 2010
Microsoft has released "Fix It Center" software designed to act as a personal computer technician that troubleshoots problems with machines.

A test version of the free program available online promised "tools that help solve the issues you have now and prevent new ones."

Fix It Center scans computers to diagnose and repair problems, letting users decide whether to have it tend to fixes and even report the troubles to Microsoft.

Center software, which must be installed on individual computers, makes note of what programs machines are using and tracks updates "to find and fix issues before they become real problems," according to Microsoft.