Tech – for Everyone

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

How To Boost Windows Ten’s Performance

Those of you who have ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10, and like to ‘tweak’ their machines for best performance, may want to read the following article —

* 10 Tips to Speed Up Windows 10

Windows 10 is faster than the previous versions of Microsoft’s OS, but you can still speed up your PC with our tricks.Read more…

[ Those of you ‘Power Users’ who have been using Windows for years probably won’t find anything really new here.. ]

Today’s quote:Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.” ~ Victor Hugo

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improve Your Wireless (Signal) Strength For Mere Pennies

How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, in the past few weeks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. A weak signal slows you down, can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”) and – if you have roommates streaming videos/”downloading” – make your “web surfing experience” an exercise in frustration. So I think it’s time to repost this How To article..

Like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer; but, methods for achieving a stronger wireless signal, at a greater distance, include:

  • Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free (some risk).
  • Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
  • Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25 -$50. (ths assumes your WAP has external, removable antennas.)
  • Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100 (or less).

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now (as low as $40). But, if you have some tinfoil, scissors, and glue, I can tell you that a parabolic reflector will improve your signal (aka “gain”) .. in one direction, and it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time to try it!

This short video tutorial demonstrates:

And the template is here, http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/index.html

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these wireless signal boost “hacks” and tips. (No.. I never did try the Pringle’s can..)

Today’s quote:The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Albert Einstein

Am I wrong? Something is kinda funny with that one? A little.. suspicious?

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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March 26, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, how to, Internet, routers and WAPs, tech | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Overclocking For Noobs

Noob: (pronounced like “tube”) = A “newbie”. A novice, or newcomer.

Overclocking can give your PC a speed boost–but you have to be careful.

A while back now I rebuilt a machine into an i7, X58, DDR 3, SLI “gaming rig” (the *latest* hardware technologies) and wrote about my experience and conclusions in a rather popular series of articles.

The title of the series was “The Best CPU? “, which in retrospect was not a good choice, as I did not write solely about the *new* i-series Intel CPU’s, nor did I go into much detail about the over-clocking I did to my i7 920. (But it is a good series. Click the links to read it.)

Fortunately for me, Loyd Case recently wrote a wonderful article for PC World magazine that anyone considering ‘overclocking’ should read first (IMHO).
See, Overclocking for Newbies.
Overclocking your processor can give your PC a significant speed boost–but you have to be careful. Here’s how to overclock your system’s processor without frying it.”


Video On Phones – A Usage Survey

Folks, I want to ask a favor from those readers who own a smart phone. I hope you will answer this one-question survey. Thank you.

Today’s (other) recommended reading:
* FREE Software To Open That Zip or Rar File
Have you ever received an email attachment where the attachment is a zip file or a rar file and you are wondering how to open them? OR wondering what in the world is a zip file or a rar file?

* It’s Time We Called Cyber Criminals What They Really Are – Terrorists
While it may be true that cyber crime doesn’t fit neatly into the restrictive classical definition of terrorism, (motivation is a definitive factor), nevertheless, cyber crime’s effect on Internet users’ is  arguably similar  – intimidation, coercion (think Rogue software), and instilling fear.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 5, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Boost your wireless for 25¢

How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer, but, methods for achieving a stronger wireless signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free (some risk).
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25 -$50.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100 (or less).

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, if you have some tinfoil, scissors, and glue, I can tell you that a parabolic reflector will improve your signal (aka “gain”) .. in one direction, and it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time to try it!

This short video tutorial demonstrates:

And the template is here, http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/index.html

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these “hacks” and tips.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 30, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, networking, performance, routers and WAPs, tech, tweaks, upgrading | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Four Vital Tools You Already Have…

But Might Not Know About

Revitalize and Protect Your PC With Windows’ Utilities

Computers get slower with age. And as we add programs and updates, sometimes little ‘quirks’ develop. The older our machines get and the more we use them, the worse these things become.

Largely, this is simply due to how our machines read and write the 1’s and 0’s to our hard drives, and various “clutter” that builds up. (But some of it is our fault. We humans are curious creatures and we like to install new programs and try them out, and then we just leave them there, unused…)

Windows gives us four tools – called “utilities” – to help us keep our hard drives clean, happy, and running smoothly (sometimes called “optimized”) which you might be unaware of, (or use often enough) as you have to right-click to find them. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?)

These are:
● Disk Cleanup Tool
● Error Checker
● Tool Defragmenter
● Backup

To get started, click on Start >Computer (or, “My Computer” in XP/older).
Comptr
Now right-click on the drive you want to “optimize” (usually, that will be “Local Disk (C:)”, but each drive [“volume”] will have this. C: is your main one), and a context menu will open — click on “Properties”.

gen tab

A new window will open to display the drive properties, and by default it will open to the “General” tab.

On this tab, we’re interested in the Disk Cleanup button. Disk Cleanup is a safe way to “take out the trash” and remove clutter from your disk.

My super-ultra-deluxe article on the in’s-and-out’s of this tool is here, More than you wanted to know about the Disk Cleanup Tool, but the short version is: click the buttons, answer “yes” and let it do its job. I recommend doing this once a week.

Now we dig down one layer, and this is hard work, so you might want to put on your gardening gloves, click on the next tab over.. the “Tools” tab.

———————————————————————

disk propts

Here you find the other three utilities buttons.

The top button is the Error Checking tool. Running this tool is a good way to eliminate those odd ‘glitches’. What it does is, it examines the physical surface of your hard drive looking for “potholes” and marks those areas as “bad” so that the computer won’t try to put your files there.

It also examines your file allocation table (FAT) and makes sure that all your internal roadsigns are pointing at the right streets. Um.. maybe a card-catalog-at-the-library analogy might work better — it makes sure all the index cards are in the proper order and all the Dewey Decimals are correct.
This tool is for use as a repair, and not a maintenance, so use it as needed and not on a schedule.

Next up is the defragmenter. I remind my readers to run this once a month, and to set an automation schedule for it (Vista and Win 7 already have that) in articles like, When was the last time you “defragged”?
Keeping your disk “defragged” is the best way to keep it running like when it was new. (Be sure to run Disk Cleanup tool before the defrag.)

The last — Backup — isn’t an optimizer or age-fighter, but it is probably the most important feature in Windows. I have written probably 30 different articles on just how important making backup copies of your files, photos, records, etc., is, and why you really, really, really want to do it. See How To Use Windows Backup Tool.

I don’t really know why — for all these years — Microsoft has not put these utilities right under our noses and in plain sight as separate entries under Start >Programs… But now that you know where they are, you can use them and get that PC of yours into a more “like new” performance state. Aka, “optimized”!

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 16, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Video Tutorial – WIFI Antenna Boost Pt.2

Reader questions regarding yesterday’s video have indicated that I needed to revisit this topic — How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. And, like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Methods for a stronger signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free.
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100.

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, as I mentioned in If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It*, some people have a need to “tweak” and “hack”, and try to give things “more power” (ala Tim “The Toolman” Taylor). If you’re one of them, check out this video…

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these hacks and tips.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Video Tutorial – WIFI Antenna Boost

How can I boost my signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. And, like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Methods for a stronger signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free.
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free.
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100.

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, as I mentioned in If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It*, some people have a need to “tweak” and “hack”, and try to give things “more power” (ala Tim “The Toolman” Taylor). If you’re one of them, check out this video…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “WIFI Antenna Hack!“, posted with vodpod

.. and should you decide to try this at home, of course, you will be doing so “at your own risk”, and any sane person would have six paragraphs of legalese here. I will simply say that, if you open up your existing antenna, and it is a plain wire as shown in the video, and does NOT have a dipole, you can do this and expect a modest improvement. Which may be all you need– and the price is right!

Today’s free link: watch how to make a tinfoil parabolic reflector in this vide0.  And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these hacks and tips.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 3, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, networking, performance, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments