5 Good Habits To Get Into While Using Your PC

Like any tool, a computer should be used correctly and maintained to ensure maximum performance. Here are some tips to better use your PC: 1: Empty recycle bin and clear out downloads and documents. Normally anything in your downloads is only used once, while files in recycle bin are already condemned, and if left unchecked the folder will just fill up needlessly. Save whatever you need to documents or some other safe place and remove everything else. 2: Update Windows and crucial software. While the bugfixes and improvements are much desired, the true beauty of updates are the security patches they add. Keep your software up to date to avoid security breaches. 3: Install and manage an anti-virus software. This is pretty common knowledge, but more often than not, it is overlooked. Even the most seemingly safe sites can have malware hidden in it, so keep your protection running. 4: Keep the area around your computer clean and cooled by not obstructing the airflow and cleaning up dust that collects behind and around the machine. 5: Restart the machine every so often. A complete reboot will refresh the RAM and give it a moment to breathe before powering up...

HoloLens: What It Can Do & What It’s Good For

Recently, gaming and computer businesses alike are creating newer, more advanced technology. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two such things: the prior  is a headset in which you can play games, watch movies, or use your computer, all right before your eyes; the latter allows you to see 3-D screens in front of you, and you can manipulate them with your hands and voice. HoloLens is the most developed AR hardware, and while still in development, they are shipping out test products for people to use. It costs quite a bit ($3000) but for what it can do, the price is easily justified. So, what can it do? HoloLens is, I believe the shortened name for “holographic lens”, and it does just that. Using specialized components and high tech sensors, the visor creates holographic images that you can not only just see directly in front of you, but can be altered using voice commands and your own two hands, similar to the screens Iron Man uses but inside of the visor instead of out in the open (for now). With built in speakers added, you can move freely around your environment and still hear, and be able to interact, with the HoloLens, even while moving around. HoloLens is most exciting in its potential: imagine an architect designing a building in HoloLens and then being able to go to the site and place his 3-D blueprint on the site, seeing it as if it were actually there. A friend that I spoke to exhibited interest in being able to design cosplay costumes with more ease, and gamers will be...

New Year, Clean PC

Over the course of a year your computer undoubtedly suffers wear and tear from use, and there aren’t many better ways to start off the new year than to clean it up so it runs at peak performance! Step 1: Back-up As reliable and useful as they are, computers are not infallible, and they do break down. Backing up information and data prepares you for any catastrophe so that you lose a minimal amount of work in the event that your system fails. Windows has a back-up manager included, and many more can be found online. Step 2: Monitor Machine Health The hard drive is the hardest working part of a computer, and while each part has an important function to the performance of the machine, the hard drive is probably the most important. Using both a physical health scanner (a SMART subsystem) and a logical health scanner, which is the chkdsk process on Windows machines, you can evaluate whether or not your hard drive needs to be retired. Step 3: Patching/Updating Software Despite the fact we will never have a perfect computer, we continue to make our systems and programs better, and for both security and performance reasons, it’s wise to update your files often. Now, for some people (AKA myself) you do this every day. But not everyone has that much time on their hands. But automating the process can also mean inconvenient system reboots, so it is best to set aside time to do it all at once every so often, or just update your files as you need to access them. Most update histories for programs...

Cortana Tricks

Ever since she was introduced, Apple’s Siri has been the best known mobile device AI. From answering basic questions to being able to give accurate destinations, along with having access to every app on your device, Siri is the multipurpose tool that does your work for you at a simple command. Because of this, it’s no surprise that Microsoft wanted to do something similar. Affectionately named after Master Chief’s AI from Halo, Cortana has many of the capabilities of Siri and some, and with access to the web, there isn’t much that she can’t do. Here are some helpful and even fun tips and tricks you can use with Cortana. -She can open Windows apps and even some applications on command -On PC (running on Windows 10) she will respond to the phrase “Hey, Cortana” without you needing to touch your keyboard! This is imperfect, however, as she will often hear that in other statements and open the Cortana window, minimizing whatever it is that you are doing at the time. -If she does not have an answer, she will immediately open your browser and Bing (yes, it is regrettably not Google) your statement or question for you -If you tell her to, “Beam me up, Scotty” she will respond with a variety of Star Trek related lines. -If you ask her about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs she will give responses like “He’s like a father to me” or (my personal favorite) when you ask her to compare the two she will say “That is like comparing Apples to Windows!” And many more! ~Chris Watson, Technical...

The Nature of RAM

Regardless of how long you’ve worked with something (in this case, computers) you learn something new every day. I just finished a college course on networking, related to Cisco, and one of the things we had to do was set up a router configuration. In so doing, one of the important steps was to save the configuration file so that it wasn’t lost upon reboot, because the current settings were running on RAM. Now for the post 4 or 5 months, I’ve taken to rebooting my PC once a day. Not shutting down and turning it back on, but restarting, because I noticed that the longer I went without a reboot, the more RAM the base Windows processes would consume, which chopped my performance down noticeably. Now, I finally understand why restarting it deals with it. RAM is only stored while it is active, and if you reboot, that wipes the slate clean. ~Chris Watson, Technical...