PCs & Technology


Troubleshooting: in computers, no one can go very long without being forced to do at least rudimentary attempts, but I’ve found few books or other resources that help teach the mental process. After almost two decades of working with computers, since my first IBM XT at the ripe age of 15, I’ve been dealing with problems of every type. Most of the computer jobs had a large helping of troubleshooting, which was great for me. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I thought I would take the opportunity of my girlfriend’s hard drive crashing to walk through one real-world example, and hopefully provide some insight into this sometimes archaic process.

The Symptoms

So the other day my girlfriend tells me her pc has been locking up at odd times. It’s one she built herself a couple years ago, and has been running well for that time. I asked her what kind of lock-ups they were; typically hardware failures cause things like an instant reboot or power off, or the entire screen locking up and being completely unresponsive. That’s a ‘hard lock’. Continue reading “Failed Hard Drive: Anatomy of the Trobleshooting Process” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or servicing my IT clients, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems.

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Now i’m not the first to predict that soon we’ll be seeing pcs with an operating system made by Google, and there’s still quite a bit of debate on the topic. Officially Google denied it, but in such a vague way that it’s not even an answer. For those of us who don’t balk at speculation, let’s see what we can come up with:

  1. First and foremost, Google’s profit comes from pay per click ads on their search pages & adsense content sites. Google has offered lots of free tools & applications, all with the only real benefit for them being market share/mind share/branding/popularity. It all serves to drive up their main revenue source. Imagine a Google-infused PC that takes advantage of all their services & offerings. You’d have a Googler for life.
  2. Continue reading “The Google PC – Oh It’s Coming” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or servicing my IT clients, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems.

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Offsite Disaster Recovery Made Cheap and Easy

Backing up important data has always been one of those things most people don’t think about until it’s needed and too late. Any good network admin will consider this an important area to address, but are often given insufficient funds. In the end, backups are like security – it’s a balance with cost on one side and benefits on the other. You can always be more secure and have a more robust backup strategy, but as with everything in business, there are limited resources and they need to be justified. Carbonite is a service I’ve found to score very well in the balance, providing a good service at a great price. Read my reviewing policy for more information about my methods.

Quickie Review: Carbonite online backup

Pros:

  • Unlimited data backed up from one machine for $50/year. Very inexpensive.
  • Easy to try, use, and buy.
  • Worry-free. It’s always running in the background, doing its job.
  • Stores your data securely offsite, so even a burned down building isn’t a total disaster.

Cons:

  • You have to sign up for a year at a time.
  • Each computer is a separate $50/year.
  • Restore operations for large amounts of data can take days.
  • You have to trust that your data is safe with them.
  • Currently no ability to schedule backups, or take snapshots. Not recommended for database backups.
  • You can’t backup your Windows folder, or restore your Windows installation

How it works

Continue reading “Carbonite Online Backup Reviewed” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or servicing my IT clients, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems.

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Search Dominance in Your Grandma’s Internet

For almost as long as I’ve been aware there was a Google, I’ve heard people foretelling its imminent demise. Historically this is a smart bet when it comes to search engines – Over the short lifetime of the World Wide Web, quite a few search engines have come and gone. A number of them – Webcrawler, Altavista, Lycos – were the kings of search in their heydey, only to end up losing market share, dwindling in search volume until someone bought them up. They now live out their technological lives on the sidelines, as ‘out to pasture’ as a company can be and still exist. So it’s not hard to see why man people think Google’s time has come. A many search for google jump shark returns almost a million pages – that’s a lot of tongue-wagging.

Well, I’ll just come out and say it. The naysayers are wrong. Google will be king of search for a long time to come, and here’s why:
Continue reading “Why Google Won’t Be ‘Jumping the Shark’ Anytime Soon” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or servicing my IT clients, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems.

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One reality that every computer user has to face is the need for a good anti-virus client for their machine. Almost everyone gets online or shares files with someone, and that opens the door for viruses. It used to be that virues would rewrite your motherboard’s BIOS or delete data, but nowadays the vast majority of viruses just want to replicate themselves and install adware. So the good news is many viruses won’t really hurt your computer much. The bad news is that they are very good at propogating around the ‘net, and you can expect to come across virus-infected files in email and on web sites quite regularly, especially once you’ve got on a few spam lists.

In the 16 years I’ve been using PCs, I’ve used a lot of AV clients. The bottom line is that any major AV client will work fine at detecting viruses. No program will catch them all, but they all catch most of them. The real difference between them comes down to features, interface, performance, and cost.

What about a firewall?

Chances are, you don’t need a firewall at all. Not only do they cause all kinds of weird networking problems by blocking safe traffic, but they have a big tendency to give false positives, making you think they are doing something. Basically a firewall is for blocking access to your machine from someone else who initiates the request. 99% of the pcs out there are either behind some kind of NAT already, so no one can access your machine to begin with. If you have a router, chances are you are behind a NAT. NAT stands for network address translation – it allows pcs with a private address to access other networks. To test if you are behind a NAT, go to start > run and type cmd, then enter. At the dos prompt, type ipconfig and hit enter. It will display your ip address. Then go to whatismyip.com. It will tell you what your Internet address is. If they aren’t the same number, you don’t need a firewall.
Continue reading “AVG Anti-Virus for windows reviewed” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or servicing my IT clients, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems.

More Posts - Website

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