Tech – for Everyone

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

Quick tweaks improve your monitor, speed

In just a few clicks, you can improve the appearance of items on your screen, make things easier for your eyes, and get peppier performance out of your PC.

Making adjustments to settings, and turning various things on or off, is known as “tweaking”, and sometimes “optimizing”. And being a Geek, I love to tweak my machines until they’re running like a Indy 500 car. Today’s quick tip will take you all of 45 seconds to do, and it will give you noticeable results.

Tip of the Day: Turn on font smoothing, and turn off special effects.
The settings we’re going to tweak are all found on the Appearance tab of your Display Properties: right-click on a blank area of your Desktop and select “Properties”
On the “Appearance” tab, click on the “Effects” button.

Here we’re going to turn one item on, and three off, by placing or removing checkmarks.
1) Turn on the ClearType font smoothing feature by placing a check in its checkbox, and using the drop-down arrow to set it to ClearType. This will make reading easier, and reduce headache-causing eye strain.
2) Turn off the “bells-and-whistles” special effects that, while ‘modern’ and ‘cool’, really only slow things down quite unnecessarily. (aka “waste system resources”)
* uncheck “transition effects”
* uncheck “shadows”
* uncheck “show windows contents while dragging”
3) Click OK, and OK again.

That’s it. You’re done. Easy, right? Right. Should you change your mind someday, undoing these changes is just as easy.. just place a check again. (But I very much doubt you will!)

Today’s free link: Loyal fans of this series know that I am obsessed with advising folks to make backup copies of their computer files in case of a failure; and that I wrote that one option was to use a “online” storage solution (as one of your two locations)(read Online Storage for Data Backup).
There’s a new service out called BackBlaze that is worth checking out. Click here to read a review of the “World’s easiest online backup” (and download link).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I knew there was something about hybrids!

Someday — one day — a hybrid is going to kill a blind person, and so..
BALTIMORE – A bill intended to protect blind people and other pedestrians from the dangers posed by quiet cars will be introduced Wednesday in Congress. (AP)
(To read this news item, click here.)

Yes folks, two of our intrepid Senators are watching out for (some of) us, and so they are going to introduce a bill to enact a law which will require automakers to make hybrids noisy. This law/bill will be debated; printed up in multiple, legallese-filled hard copies (typed and re-typed), and quite probably, passed.. after all the rough edges are hammered out by our professional law makers in Washington. (After all, who wants to be seen as indifferent to the plight of the blind?)
To have this law have any real impact, it will most certainly have to made retro-active.. and owners of Hybrid 1.0’s will have to have noisemakers installed.

Hey! I have a suggestion for the sound hybrids will Have to make– the burb-b-ling sound the aircars from the cartoon The Jetsons make. (To hear what I mean, click here). says that the salary for a Senator is currently $169,300/yr., and that ain’t chickenfeed.
Hey,.. I guess they gotta do something to earn their money…

Now, I don’t want you to think I am unsympathetic to the difficulties faced by people with handicaps, but sheeze! Does this strike anyone else as ludicrous? (I just love that word. When I can’t slip it into my writing occasionally, I get cranky.) Why not just go to the auto manufacturers and suggest that maybe their quiet cars are a little too quiet? Why not encourage an auto parts/upgrades manufacturer to sell a noisemaker kit? And then tell folks that if they run over a blind person with their hybrid, and there wasn’t a noisemaker installed, they’ll get hit with a vehicular homicide charge.. and lose everything they have-ever/will-ever own because of the ‘catch’ of willful negligence and Civil Court?

No. That wouldn’t get any Senator’s names into any papers. And they couldn’t look like a hero to a “community”.
Gotta have a Federal Law.
Bell the hybrid. A Law to “prevent” something that’s never happened yet..

Sometimes.. I get tired.

[a brief aside: I want you to know, Dear Reader, that I have always been a “man ahead of his time”. My first few cars were sporty coupes, and I took the exhausts out so I could put on headers, big pipes, and glass packs and gain a few horses… loud? You betcha.]

Tip of the day: For those of you who are finding it harder to read the words on your computer’s screen (or, if you know someone who’s always leaning in and squinting at their monitor.. ahem), you may find some relief by clicking on this link,, and following the Quick Tip there.
And for those of you who need even more help, and need to make some more impressive changes,
For those with a true vision disability, an article on Windows’ Narrator and Apple’s Speech is on its way soon.

Today’s free link: I found the Jetson car sound effect by visiting and scrolling down to the “TV and Movies” category, but I could have used a keyword search as well. This is the place to go if you ever want to find a particular sound or “sound effect”.
Isn’t the Internet amazing?

PS– If you are a Senator, and want to pass a law that will REALLY help folks, try this one:
1) Members of our goods-transportation industry (trucking & railroads) will not pay more than $1.99 per gallon for diesel.
2) Diesel refinement facilities must meet production quotas as a matter of National Security. If more need to be built, certain exemptions from State and Federal environmental protection laws must be considered.
That’s how you can be hero.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.
jaanix post to jaanix

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April 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, PC, tech, tweaks, Windows | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments