“I hate printers, but I love what they can do!” That’s the mantra recited by just about anyone who has a printer attached to their computer. Of all the peripherals that connect to our PCs printers seem to be the number one troublemaker. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Paper jams, overpriced ink, print spooler logjams, wasted paper – these are just a few of the hassles whose remedies will be addressed here. If your love/hate relationship with your printer is more hate than love, read on as maybe, just maybe, we can switch that around with these eight printer tips and tricks. How to Print With an ‘Empty’ Inkjet Cartridge When my six page document stopped printing after page three, the reason was an empty blue ink cartridge. I was surprised since I hardly ever print in color and in fact generally print in draft mode with black ink only. So why the hell did the blue ink disappear? The answer is relatively simple and applies to almost all brands of inkjet printers. You are probably well aware of the mechanical noise the printer makes each time you turn it on or right before it processes a print … Read More
Every file and folder on your computer possesses digital DNA – file format, creation date, author, modification date, descriptive tags, etc. These inner attributes follow a file and folder. It doesn’t matter where it moves on your system, or whether it’s copied and forwarded elsewhere — those attributes are coming along with it. The attributes are stored in each file or folder’s Property Manager; that can be accessed by right-clicking on the file name or its icon. Most of time we have no need to examine a file or folder’s properties. But when viewing or editing attributes are required –be it for security or personal reasons– that’s when we need to be our own property manager. Metadata: Exploring the Inner Workings of Files If Groucho Marx was to jokingly refer to metadata he would probably exclaim “I never metadata I didn’t like,” or something like that. But seriously, metadata is usually defined as the data that provides information about other data. In other words metadata is the instruction manual that tells a computer what’s up with a particular file. When security cops are called in to examine, say, a politician’s deleted emails, they can actually glean the origins of the message, … Read More
Faster boot times and power downs are yours — and all you have to do is open the Control Panel System and Security menu, then configure the Power Options settings. Let’s look at them one by one. Turn off your PC with touch of a button, not a bunch of clicks Pop quiz: How many clicks does it take for you to shut down Windows? If it is any more than one, that’s a waste of clicks – and your time. Whether your PC is a desktop or a laptop, Windows Shutdown default has always been a multi-click affair. In Windows 7, you had to open the Start menu by either mouse click or pressing the Windows key on your keyboard. Then you have to click the Shutdown button. In Windows 8 to 10, it is a three click Cha-Cha-Cha: click or press Start, click Power, click Shutdown. There are a couple of ways you can optimize your computer, no matter what the version of Windows, by changing the Power settings with Power Options. With a laptop, type lid in the Start search bar. On a desktop PC, type power but in the Start search bar and select Change what the … Read More
Whether you are rooted to your home office, using your kitchen table as home base, or doing your job while on the road, keeping your computer and mobile devices fully powered is like oxygen — necessary for life. And in our increasing reliance on multiple digital devices, having multiple power outlets has become essential. Here are a couple of indispensable solutions. iClever’s BoostStrip Takes on 12 Devices At Once – Wow! With its six 3-prong electrical outlets and six USB ports, iClever’s BoostStrip Series IC-BS03 provides more than enough juice to handle our various power and charging needs. Built-in surge protection for both computers, appliances, and mobile devices makes the $26 price tag a bargain compared to other power strips on the market. But this power maven has other capabilities that make it stand out for me. Compared with ordinary power strips – you know, the kind you can get for a few bucks at Home Depot, Target, and hardware stores – this one eases the concerns of anyone who’s worried about electrical fires. It has a 1875 watts maximum load, and it’s made with fire proof materials which can handle temperatures up to over 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. This article is part … Read More
Here’s a morsel of what I learned about Web security at this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisco. It’s just another tale of the good, the bad, and the ugly 1.Security in Windows 10 is better than any version before it. That’s because unlike previous versions which had user customizable settings to control how your PC received updates and patches, updates in Windows 10 are by default automatic. Ostensibly this means that Microsoft is staying one step ahead of malware hackers. There’s just one problem with this assumption. Unlike the dozens and dozens of anti-malware/virus software companies which update their malware definitions 24/7, Microsoft offers its updates just once a month on its Patch Tuesday which means any Windows 10 is vulnerable to new malware for possibly a month in between. So installing third party anti-malware/virus software is probably still advisable. 2.Nothing is necessarily safe on the Web even if you have anti-malware installed because the hackers are changing their sinister codes virtually every few seconds. You read that right: every few seconds in a lousy game of digital whack-a-mole. And the bad guys are ever finding new ways to infect your system. 3. Then there’s the increasing rise of … Read More
My old password just got a promotion. The password I used, since deleted, was ‘passw0rd’. Yeah, I thought I was being so clever making the letter o into number 0. No hacker could figure that out, right? It ends up that passw0rd was the 24th most used bad password according to SplashID.com”s worst passwords of 2015, and in 2016 it moved up six slots to number 18 on the top 25. Obviously I am one in a crowd of people creating easily guessed/hacked passwords SplashID [site]offers a free and premium password manager for major browsers so it can easily calculate the easily hacked passwords that its customers are using. Each year it releases is Worst Passwords list and the 2016 list (see below) shows that the problem with hackable passwords is us. But there are quick and easy (okay, easy is open to debate) ways to wrangle the ocean of passwords we all need to log on to the various sites we visit regularly. SplashId and a host of other password managers offer tips to wreck the hacks. So do a bevy of security experts. And so do a host of companies with free and paid security workarounds. Too Many … Read More
There’s no shortage of technology bloggers who are quick with “best” product badges. I make the distinction myself, calling out certain laptops, routers and other computer hardware. But it’s important to know what’s behind the “best” label. Here’s how I make the determination, based on decades of journalistic and user experience, as well as deep exploration of digital devices. I’m outlining how I devise my criteria and why, so that you can apply this sort of assessment to your own technology options. Step 1: Find Possible Review Candidates Each day, I swim through a sea of public relations pitches and new-product news releases. I go to trade shows and sit through vendor demos. And then there is my daily monitoring of the Web for new products, and my incessant visits to product retailers such as Best Buy and Costco. From all these sources, I compile and evaluate the items I think are worth checking out, and then request review samples. Most are sent as loaners, with the expectation that I will conduct hands-on testing within a certain period of time. Some products are sent to me with no expectation that they be returned. At this stage, I eliminate many products. … Read More
Whether you’re looking for that last-minute tech gift or you just want faster PC accessories for the new year, this quartet of power-savvy devices will meet your needs handily.
The sundry gadgets, gizmos, and PC accessories reviewed below make up my personal technology wish list; but they should also appeal to almost any PC aficionado. From a high-end but lightweight notebook, to a device that adds touchscreen capabilities, to USB-C hubs and docks, these products will enhance your computing productivity. They make great gifts for friends and family — and for you.
As most astute PC users know, when you delete a file, it typically remains in Windows’ recycle bin until you empty the bin — or until the bin fills up with newer deleted files. But there are other ways to manage your file deletions — including bypassing the Recycle Bin altogether. These tips and tricks work with all current versions of Windows, unless otherwise noted.