Lounge Life

Cleaning a PC demands a delicate touch


Periodically cleaning the innards of your computer is a necessary task. Accumulated dust and detritus can cause overheating and component failure. But safely removing dirt from the delicate parts of a motherboard requires more finesse than simply blasting them with canned air.

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Password security in Firefox and other browsers

Popular Web browsers will often remember passwords to visited sites — but at what cost to security?

Keeping track of the dozens of passwords we use is a hassle, so most of us blithely trust the password managers built into almost every browser.

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When is a script or batch file copyrighted?

Freeware, shareware, and independently written scripts fall into a legal gray area that’s easily overlooked by most users.

It gets especially murky with scripts and batch files as they are modified, combined, and redistributed across the Net.

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Untimely USB drive disconnect causes data loss

Even the most conscientious PC users disconnect their USB devices before it’s “safe” to do so.

Accidents happen — a hand reaching for a cup of coffee knocks out the USB cord connecting an external drive, and critical data get lost. It could even cause hardware damage.

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Perplexing print-preview problems with browsers

Reviewing Web documents with print preview can be deceiving.

Often, what looks fine in the preview emerges from the printer as a disjointed and difficult-to-read mess — if anything emerges at all.

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Dead language becomes dated placeholder

Although placeholder text has been used in word processing for decades, it’s rarely the subject of scrutiny.

Lorem ipsum is the Latin-derived placeholder text used by graphic designers and layout specialists. But in this age of sophisticated digital-document product, is it time for an updated version?

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Keep your computer cool in the summer heat

It’s the peak of summer, and staying cool isn’t just a question of comfort: it can mean survival.

In homes and offices without air conditioning, that fact can be just as pertinent to personal computers as it is to us.

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Audio conversion project stopped by Win7 upgrade

Microsoft has done a reasonably good job of making the Windows XP-to-Win7 upgrade process as painless as possible.

But as with most operating system changes, it’s the legacy drivers for audio and video that cause the most problems.

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At some point, you just have to move on

When I say it’s time to move on, I’m not talking to the millions of PC users who continue to use Windows XP and refuse, for now, to upgrade to Windows 7.

No, I’m talking to those procrastinators who cling to Windows XP SP2 in spite of Microsoft’s July 13 support cutoff date.

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What’s the best choice for a novice Linux user?

It’s unlikely that Linux will ever be on every desktop PC, but there’s a growing and dedicated corps of PC users that find it far more than a curiosity.

Linux use ranges from simple desktop terminals to super computers, and advocates point to its flexibility and open-source coding as just some of the reasons it makes a superior development platform.

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