Tech lifestyle

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Upgrading a low end laptop–What a difference an SSD can make!

I upgraded my daughter’s laptop this weekend, with some incredible results. We bought this laptop three years ago for general home use and over time it became my daughter’s. We only spent $350 on it from Best Buy, where it was one of their back to school summer specials. For the price, it had decent specs and has proven to be rather solid. It’s a Lenovo B570 with 4GB ram, Intel Pentium processor, 720p 15” screen, and a 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive. It’s still running Windows 7 x64 ......

Firewire drive slow in Windows 7

I rebuilt my laptop this week (it was time) and I ran into this issue again, so I’m documenting it here for my next rebuild. When I installed Windows 7, my external Firewire hard drive (Seagate 500gb) is slow, for whatever reason, but there is a fix. You can revert to the legacy driver. (!) I’ve seen a significant reduction in the time it takes to copy files. I found this answer here: http://social.technet.micro... Here ......

Living without a laptop, Part II, aka: Why I cried uncle

About this time last spring, I wrote how I was going to start Living without a laptop. I had just switched jobs and had to turn in a good work laptop, which was replaced by a desktop at my new job. After living and working like this for a year, I have finally caved in and ordered a laptop for work. So how did I get here? Well, for the last year my main computing devices have been: an HP desktop (z400) at work, a custom built AMD desktop at home, and an original Surface RT tablet. Whenever I was away ......

Rebuilding a Mac Mini (early 2009) --- Update

A couple of months ago I rebuilt the family’s Mac Mini (you can read the details in this post). Things had gone pretty smoothly until a few weeks ago. That’s when my wife mentioned that different applications would spontaneously crash. She kept track for a few days, and it turned out to be any or all of the applications that she uses (Safari, Quicken, Entourage, etc.) . I did some online research and didn’t really find too much – but then how do you do a proper Google search for “Mac OS 10.5.8 applications ......

How to have Windows 7 remember a password for a Domain

About eighteen months ago, I wrote a post covering how to clear saved passwords in Windows XP. This week at work I was reminded how useful it is to not only deleted saved passwords, but to also setup wildcard credentials using this same interface. The scenario that I run into as consultant working at a client site, is that my laptop is not a member of the Windows Domain that my client uses to secure their network. So, when I need to access file shares, shared printers, or even the clients internal ......

Plugged in, not charging–Windows 7

Just a quick post on something I ran into lately with my Dell Precision M4500 laptop (monster laptop!). I noticed the little icon in the system tray for the power options was stating that it was “plugged in, not charging”. I don’t know why it was stating this, but I quickly found a fix for it on the net. I found the fix in this forum on CNET. Here’s the fix: In order to correct problems with the battery's power management software, follow the steps below. 1. Click Start and type device in the search ......

Rebuilding a Mac Mini (early 2009)

This weekend I decided to rebuild the family’s Mac Mini. It’s the early 2009 model and I hadn’t done it since we got it in March of 2009. Even worse, I had done the import data step (or whatever Apple calls it) which brought over all of the data files and apps from our previous Mac. AND that install goes back to before 2005, as far as I can remember. SO, to say that “cruft” had built up in the operating system, is probably a bit of an understatement. The rebuild went pretty smoothly, especially since ......

How to organize your desktop and keep it that way

I’ve been using a utility for the last couple of years that organizes my desktop – Stardock Fences – and I was going to write up a review saying how cool and useful it is. However, others have already done that here and here (and many more via Google). So instead of rehashing those reviews, I’ll just say this: I find that the hiding icons feature and the screen resize features are great when I’m using my laptop for presentations. I’ve used this utility on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 R2, and Windows ......

Google Search tips & tricks

Over the course of using Google for the past ten years, I’ve found several tips and tricks to using the search engine. This post covers the ones that I’ve found most useful. Limit your search to one site Have you ever tried to find something that you know must exist on a particular site? This happens to me when I’m looking for info on Microsoft’s site. So, I’ll often enter a search term into Google and then add “site:microsoft.com” . Google will then only return hits that are on the *.microsoft.com ......

Windows Live Sync….being renamed to Windows Live Mesh

Microsoft announced that they going to change the Windows Live Sync service in the future, answering one of my complaints from my earlier post. After the beta, Microsoft is going to rename Windows Live Sync to Windows Live Mesh, but more importantly, increase the size of the SkyDrive size from 2GB to 5! (Courtesy of Paul Thurrott and the Inside Windows Live blog) ......

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