Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Get A Faster “Boot up” Time With Startup Delayer

Free utility manages program launch at startup. (More rain here. Yippee.)

Folks, one of my most frequently asked questions is some variation of “How can I make my machine faster?” and/or the (usually) directly related complaint of the machine taking forever to start up in the morning.

People don’t like it when I tell them it’s their fault. (Well, at least half their fault.)

I have written several articles about what to do about slow PC’s (enter “speed up”, or “optimize” in my Search widget). I won’t repeat myself. But if you have come here looking for specific tips for faster startup, PLEASE, first read My Startup folder is a clown car (it will open in a new window/tab) and then read Manage Startup programs in Vista. These articles will teach you the thinking behind, and How To methods for, disabling programs from “auto-launching”, and bogging down your machine.

But perhaps you don’t want to completely disable the program autolaunch. That’s when a program that can set a delayed time to auto-launch is key.

When Windows loads it’s Startup file, it attempts to load every program in there at the same time. Therefore if you have quite a lot of programs starting when Windows starts, each program will try and grab CPU time so that it can load. When each program tries to do this at the same time, (which is what happens at boot up) you soon notice the slow down that occurs, due to your CPU trying to help all the programs to load, and your hard disk accessing multiple files.

What is needed is a little “traffic control”.

Startup Delayer utility presents you with a list of all the programs that start when your system does. To set a delay for any of them, just drag it to the white bar at the bottom of the window. You’ll see a line representing the program; drag it left or right to decrease or increase the delay. Repeat this for other programs you want to postpone.

For example, if you have iTunes installed, you’ll see a startup program called iTunesHelper.exe. Unless you plan to connect your iPod or run iTunes the very moment your PC boots, why not delay this applet for two minutes? Same goes for things like Adobe Reader Quick Launch and Google Updater. Delay those for, say, 4 minutes and 5 minutes, respectively. (Do not mess with programs you don’t recognize. They are probably essential Windows system files, and fiddling can cause crashes and/or weird ‘glitches’.).

Startup Delayer is free, and it is one of the best way I know of to speed up a slow-booting PC. It’s a must-have for anyone who installs a lot of software. (Though, I prefer the tactic of keeping my machines “lean and mean”. I uninstall any program I do not use frequently — Step 1 of computer “optimization”. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > Uninstall a program, and let the list “populate”.)

Today’s reco’d reading: Where to Shop for Computers, Computer Parts, Accessories, Electronics and Other IT Products…

Facebook scam alert: Please know (and tell your Facebook friends) there is a scam “program” that steals your private data by claiming to tell you visitor statistics..

From Facebook: “Facebook does not provide applications or groups with the technical means to allow people to track profile views or see statistics on how often a particular piece of content has been viewed and by whom. If an application claims to provide this functionality, please report the application by going to the application’s About page and clicking “Report Application” at the bottom of the page, or by clicking “Report” at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.”

Psst. Hey, you. I got some cool sandals for you..

a world filled with geniuses…

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 24, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Rainy Wednesday…

Dear Reader, I don’t know if you like movies, or Hollywood, but today there was some news that has – with some help from the gray and the rain – put me in a nostalgic mood..

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

Los Angeles Times – Daniel Trotta, John Whitesides – ‎1 hour ago‎
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose violet eyes, tumultuous love life and passion for diamonds became a byword for Hollywood glamour, died on Wednesday at age 79. The star of “Cleopatra” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”…

I also don’t know if you are a “Liz fan”. I’m not, particularly. But there is no doubt in my mind she was beautiful, remarkable woman, and a “Hollywood Legend”. Another great star passes, and it feels to me, the glory days of Hollywood slip farther into the past. For those who are fans, you might also like:

Elizabeth Taylor: Never-before-seen pictures (blog) – ‎1 hour ago‎
In 1948, Mark Kauffman captured the young actress and her home life. Here, she gazes into the distance while wearing an “All America” sweatshirt; the pin she wears belonged to Glenn Davis, a 1946 Heisman Trophy-winning athlete she was dating at the

And now for some tech: You may already know about the ‘alternative browser’ Firefox. And you may already know that a brand new version (v4.0) was released yesterday..

Faster, Sleeker & More Stable: Hands-on With Firefox 4 [REVIEW]

Mashable – Christina Warren – ‎1 hour ago‎
The web browsing landscape has changed significantly since then, with Google’s Chrome browser winning converts left and right, while mobile and tablet browsing gained new ground


Firefox 4 thumps IE9 in first day download contest

Computerworld –
Users downloaded nearly 7 million copies of the new Firefox 4 in the 24 hours since its launch yesterday, Mozilla’s running tally claimed.

That number was almost triple the 2.4 million copies of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) that Microsoft claimed were downloaded in its browser’s first day of availability last week.

Unrelated tech news…

Tablets Overshadow Smartphones

InformationWeek – Eric Zeman – ‎28 minutes ago‎
Samsung, HTC, LG, RIM, and other vendors unveiled the most promising round of iPad competitors yet, pushing phones from the spotlight, at CTIA Wireless.

Motorola Apparently Not Satisfied With Android

InformationWeek – David Berlind – ‎3 hours ago‎
Between the dwindling opportunities for hardware differentiation in the smartphone and tablet markets, and the Windows-like commoditizing effect that Android is having across mobile device makers, Motorola Mobility (like its competitors) have few

And some tips:

Take charge of Windows 7 with these 10 power tips

You can get a lot more mileage out of Windows 7 if you perform a few tweaks and tap into some timesaving tricks. Here’s a collection of 10 popular Windows 7 Quick Tips

Geek Squeak (#108): WinPatrol 2011 is Top Gun

The NEW version of WinPatrol is worthy of the NEW What’s On My PC – Geek Squeak Trophy. If you never experienced WinPatrol, I highly recommend this software as a “must have” install. It is definitely a Top Gun security app.

The Best Security Suites for 2011

Which security suite should you choose? We’ve reviewed 21 of
them to help you chose the one that’s right for you.

Eight free Windows 7 tools you gotta try

Our Windows blogger recently found these utilities, which have made his PC environment that much more capable

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 23, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, Internet, News, Windows 7 | , , | Leave a comment

Internet Outages

The Internet has been acting very strange for me today, starting with a brief, but weird Gmail glitch.. later on, WordPress (which hosts this blog) went into “read only mode” and I could not post anything online all afternoon. Then Netflix went totally offline. I suspect there’s some “hacker” shenanigans afoot (aka Denial of Service attacks [DoS]) causing these outages.

Netflix suffers hour-long outage, fans complain via Twitter

CNET (blog) – Greg Sandoval – ‎1 hour ago‎

Netflix managers were investigating the cause of an hour-long outage that has left millions of subscribers without access to their queue or the ability to stream movies. Visitors to Netflix this evening were greeted by a note that notified

Regardless of what the article states, my Netflix is still “unavailable”. A friend on the Right Coast says his services are normal and the Internet is okay.. so maybe it’s a Lefty Coast thing..

Related: A DDoS attack took WordPress offline just a week or so ago..

WordPress Outage Today: Taken Down By DDoS Attack
Product Reviews – Peter Chubb – ‎Mar 3, 2011‎

“A huge percentage of blogs were shocked to learn that there was a WordPress outage today, as it was taken down by a DDoS attack. Although WordPress managed to get things under control, there are fears that it could happen again..”

Ah. The joys of cloud computing..

[update: as of 7:45pm Pacific, both Netflix and WordPress have returned to service.]

March 22, 2011 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Do You Own A HP Laptop?

Hewlett-Packard expands battery recall program

HP and Compaq laptop owners should check their batteries to see if they qualify for free replacement under an expanded recall program. These batteries may have a defect which can result in overheating and/or rupture — which could lead to personal injury and/or property damage.

The recall program, originally announced in 2009, has been expanded to include more product numbers and models. (So if you checked before, you want to check again against this larger list.)

HP will send affected owners a free replacement battery.

To see if yours is a qualifying battery, click this link to visit the HP Notebook PC Battery Pack Replacement Program page. Here you will find the list, and steps for determining (aka “validating”) if you are eligible. For more information, you can call HP at 1-888-202-4320.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 22, 2011 Posted by | computers | 8 Comments

Tips for Selling Your Old Tech Gear

Strategies for Selling Your Old Tech Equipment

Thanks to Moore’s Law, science and technology are advancing at an exponential rate. Yesterday’s gizmos, gadgets, and doodads become outdated (obsolete, even) in just a couple of years. It seems every time I turn around, something new is in the stores — like, 3D TV.

For many of us, that means closets full of old devices.. maybe perfectly functioning equipment. And maybe some of that gear is still wanted by somebody, while others are destined only for the recyclers’ heap. But how do you tell which is which? And.. how do you find a buyer for the ‘good stuff’?

A man I admire reminded me one time of some profound wisdom, which I have taken to heart: he said, “Paul, don’t reinvent the wheel.” So today I am simply going to tell you that this subject is not a “simple answer” topic. (For one thing, the answer is different depending on whether you are talking about laptops, or printers, or cell phones, or a camera. And your options are far greater than “post it on Ebay”.)

I am also going to tell you that I have a comprehensive resource to recommend to you which breaks down the tips and strategies by categories, and provides detailed answers, as well as places to sell you may not know about.

If you are interested in trying to sell your (old) stuff, I highly recommend reading this article: How to Sell Your PC (and Other Gadgets)

Need cash to buy the latest and greatest? Here’s how to turn your drawer full of old smartphones, cameras, and other tech toys into some brand-new gear.

If you don’t plan properly, you could potentially spend so much time selling your old gear that you’d get a better hourly rate of return by spending 30 minutes taking your tech to a recycling center and picking up a side job washing windshields on the expressway.”

Also: Every time I talk about this subject, I feel compelled to remind you that you need to securely delete (see, What You Need To Know About “Delete”*) any device that “stores” information before you dispose of it. (No, “delete” is not the same as “erase forever”) In this day and age of Identity Theft, I should not have to say that… but.

Today’s (other) recommended reading:

* Fact-checking AT&T’s merger claims

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If you’re skeptical about AT&T’s claims that its purchase of T-Mobile will benefit consumers, you’re not alone.

[see also: AT&T buys T-mobile: The 4G race is on in the US — Deutsche Telekom has agreed to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T for $39 billion, which will help AT&T create America’s largest mobile phone provider. The real news: The 4G race is about to heat up.]

* Did you know your smartphone photos may be giving away your location?

“If you are in the habit of taking photos with your smartphone and posting them online, you may be giving away your location. Embedded in those photos, not visible to the naked eye, are what are called geotags…”

* Google Says China Is Hindering Gmail

“The company’s decision last year to refuse to censor its search results in China continues to have repercussions…”

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 21, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, tech | , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Beauty XXXIV + Download

When searching for today’s “pretty picture”, I stumbled across one that made me chuckle (not 100% certain why) and I decided that maybe you, Dear Reader, might get a chuckle too.
And last I checked, there’s nothing wrong with having a chuckle..

Click on image to see more by this artist

Photo by chelsto, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

Today’s free download: I’ve been using the “cloud-based” Evernote for the past few weeks to take notes, and create To Do lists. (OneNote is the Microsoft app for that purpose.) My primary interest was due to the fact that I learned Evernote worked on Android smartphones. I found it lets me easily add recorded sound, pictures, and videos to my notes, then sync them to my laptop, and to my PCs at home. In fact, you can capture pretty much anything you see or hear in the notes, then access the notes from nearly every computer, smartphone, and tablet on the market: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and so on. And your notes are searchable.. a big “plus”!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 20, 2011 Posted by | Digital Images, tech | Leave a comment

U.S. says five-nation coalition launching Libya strikes

U.S. says five-nation coalition launching Libya strikes

(Reuters) – “A coalition of the United States and four other nations launched military action against Libya on Saturday, officials said, as the West tries to force Muammar Gaddafi from power.

A U.S. official told reporters on condition of anonymity that a coalition including the United States, France, Britain, Canada and Italy had begun launching strikes on Libya designed to cripple Muammar Gaddafi’s air defenses.

For more Internet headlines and video on this breaking story, click here.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Internet, News | , | 2 Comments