Archive for the ‘Tech Tips’ Category

Christmas Screensavers

Monday, December 14th, 2009

This time of year many people download Christmas screen savers, including the favorites with snow falling and a nice warm fireplace near the Christmas tree with lights twinkling. Well just be warned, before you download that ‘cute’ screensaver, know this, bad things can be wrapped in pretty packages. Often these screen savers or other ‘cute’ little applications are just a wrapper for gaining access to your computer, allowing for spyware and even trojans and viruses to be installed. Back in college I remember as I was working for the SPC (Student Provided Computer) service on campus, I made extra money during the holiday season, because I had to clean computers after screen savers where downloaded.

How do you avoid this? Well first don’t download that cute screen saver. Do you really need it? If you are the one that answered yes to that question then be prepared to read all the fine print. Even after you are done reading all the fine print, know that you computer still may not be safe.

Now I’m not going to preach doom and gloom to your computer, but just be aware of the malicious attacks that can be done through the innocence of downloading a ‘cute’ screensaver.

Benefits of a Website

Monday, July 27th, 2009

A website is a tool that provides simple and effective advertising that has the ability to reach potential customers within your target market whether local or global. Websites can come in all shapes and sizes, but they all boil down to providing information to the public. Here is a quick list of how a website can be beneficial to a growing or already established company.

* Worldwide Exposure
* 24/7 Advertising
* Extremely Cost Efficient Advertising
* Dynamic Content Marketing
* E-commerce Solutions
* Potential customers gain easy access to your business

In today’s tough economical times, gaining every possible customer is crucial to survival, and a good well designed website will help you reach that goal. With a website that is easy to navigate (with any browser), full of good information and pleasing to look at, you gain a greater customer rate of return! Professional web developers are experienced in designing and coding websites that support multiple browsers and search engine optimized. Too many companies try to use homemade (Microsoft Frontpage) websites that frustrate visitors and drive away potential customers. A little side note… According to http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp as of June 2009 IE versions 6-8 hold 40.7% of the market share. Firefox holds 47.3%! Are you sure you want to use a cookie cutter Microsoft Frontpage website that probably won’t display properly in Firefox? If so you could be loosing up to 47% of your customers. Pure Custom Solutions specializing in developing websites that support all of the major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Netscape…).

Another big importance to website design, and somewhat becoming a cliche in the web industry is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In developing a website there are best coding practices and content setups that improve where you website is found on search engines.

So before you go and think you can design a website yourself with a cookie cutter (FREE Website Builder), think again. You get what you pay for!

Num-Lock

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The ‘Num Lock’ button is usually located over by the keypad on the right side of the keyboard. What’s it for? Well it locks the number functions on the keypad. When ‘Num Lock’ is on, using the keypad will produce the numeric functions (0-9, .). With ‘Num Lock’ turned off, you have access to the navigation keys on the keypad (Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, arrow keys, delete, insert). So next time you use your keypad and get an unexpected result, check ‘Num lock’!

Firefox 3.5 vs Internet Explorer 8

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Recently Mozilla has released their newest and fastest browser yet, Firefox 3.5. Around the same time Microsoft released IE 8. Which browser is faster, and why should I care?

Before we start talking about the results of the browser test, first we must discuss the importance of browser speed. In order for you to view the internet there are several factors that play into that webpage showing up on your computer screen. In it’s simplest form, a website is hosted on a web server (files on a computer with internet access through port 80 or 443 [ssl]), then the IP address to this computer (where the server lives) is stored on a DNS (domain name server, like a phone book). When you type in a URL (web address / domain name), your internet connection has DNS addresses registered, that it looks up what address that domain name lives at, and connects to that computer through the appropriate IP address. Now data (html) is returned from this computer to your computer, and you now have the web page on your computer. So that’s the watered down version, to help make sense of this issue. Each connection between your computer, the DNS and the webserver are all limited by the speed of the internet connection (DSL, Cable, Dial-up – all of these connections can have different speeds). You can make these connections faster by paying more money and your ISP (internet service provider) will increase your bandwidth (Mbps – mega bits per second – how fast data travels). But your faster connection may not necessarily allow you to view your webpage any faster. How come? That would be annoying if you paid more money to view a webpage faster, and it still takes a while to load.

The final stage that was left out in displaying a website is your internet browser. An internet browser in it’s simplest form is a software application that reads the data (html) sent from the webserver and interprets it according to set rules and displays the information in a visible format. This is where browser speed comes into play. How fast can a browser interpret the data received and display it, determines the browser’s performance. Granted your computer hardware can affect the speed of the browser (more RAM, faster CPU, larger chache, ect), but for this comparison the test was run on the same computer under the same circumstances with the same internet connection (16Mbps according to http://speakeasy.net/speedtest/).

The test was conducted using the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark (http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.html). This bench mark does a comparison of tests testing the performance of JavaScript interpretation for a certain browser. JavaScript is a client-side scripting language used in most website code to allow for more user interaction to a web page.

The Results

Firefox 3.5 is 1.78x faster than IE 8!

That’s a significant difference.  In today’s microwave society whow wants to wait around almost twice as long as is necessary.  However there are some limitations to Firefox over IE.  They are called ActiveX controls.  ActiveX controls are small applications built into Microsoft that allow web devlopers to access local system resources when you visit a webpage.  How brilliant, let’s give a way for a website to interact with a user more personally, hey we could even steal your information and install viruses and spyware on your system for you so you don’t have to go through the hassle of doing it yourself. IE explorer because it is built into the core of Microsoft Windows poses security threats by potentially opening up holes for unwanted guests to have their way with your computer. Firefox however, can’t run ActiveX controls. So what happens when you visit a site that requires ActiveX and you’re using Firefox, well you get forced to go use IE, because you won’t be able to use the website in Firefox.

Final note: Most websites today if they are credible, are developed by developers who take into account the security of the end user (you), and develop websites that will work with any browser (Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome, ect.). So go download Firefox 3.5 right now, and start browsing the internet faster and more secure. No, I’m not paid or nor am I endorsed by Mozilla, Firefox is free and fast. http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/upgrade.html

Windows Shortcuts

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Many computer users still use their mouse way too much. Built
into Windows are many default keyboard shortcuts that allow for
quick and easy navigation without pulling your hand off of the
keyboard to find the mouse. The following list are only a few of
the many shortcuts available, but some that I find are more
common, and I use on a regular basis.

Formatting Shortcuts
Ctrl+C Copy
Ctrl+X Cut
Ctrl+V Paste
Ctrl+I Italics
Ctrl+B Bold
Ctrl+U Underline
Navigation Shortcuts
Win+D Shows Desktop (minimizes all open windows) 
Win+L Lock your computer 
Win Opens Start Menu 
Win+L   
Win+TAB Cycles through open applciations 
Alt-TAB Switch between open applications 




Off course there are many other shortcuts that are commonly
used, but these are a few to get you started.  Other common
shortcuts include Ctrl+Z for ‘Undo’ and Ctrl+Y for ‘Redo’. 

Knowing shortcuts like this help you navigate and operate your
computer more efficiently, allowing you to maximize your
production.

PCS – Tech Tips

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Welcome to PCS – Tech Tips.

This blog is designed to provide you with current technology tips and news.  Stay posted for more information.

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