Counter the effects of aging and get along with your PC.

Do you know that you can use Windows to personalize and customize your computer to make it easier to see, hear, and more comfortably use. As we rack up birthdays, sooner or later we all experience some loss of vision, hearing, or physical dexterity. Fortunately, personalization options in Windows make it easy to adjust your PC. Here are a few tips on how to counter the effects of aging to make your computer more comfortable to use.
Do you often find yourself fighting the urge to press your nose against the screen because you can’t see text and objects clearly? Have you considered changing your monitor display settings to increase the size of icons or text for documents and Web pages?
All you need to do is:

1. Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search)

2. Enter “Make text larger” in the search box, and then tap or click “Make text and other items larger or smaller”.

3. Drag the slider until the items in the preview image are the size you want them to be.

4. Finally, tap or click Apply.

Having trouble seeing things that are close up? Magnifier, one of the accessibility utilities in Microsoft Windows, opens a window that enlarges all or parts of the screen you choose, just like a magnifying glass. Magnifier enlarges different parts of the screen and is part of the Ease of Access Center. To open it quickly, click Start, and then type Magnifier.

There are three Magnifier modes:

• Full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, your entire screen is magnified. Depending on the size of your screen and the zoom level you choose, you might not be able to see the entire screen at the same time.

• Lens mode. In lens mode, the area around the mouse pointer is magnified. When you move the mouse pointer, the area of the screen that’s magnified moves along with it.

• Docked mode. In docked mode, only a portion of the screen is magnified, leaving the rest of your desktop unchanged. You can then control which area of the screen is magnified.

You can also change the screen resolution, which adjusts the clarity, size, and amount of things that fit on your computer monitor.
If you find yourself searching for mouse pointer more often than you search the Web, you can change the size, appearance, width, speed, color and blink rate of your cursor, or the appearance of your pointer.

Also, to maximize mouse comfort, try a Microsoft mouse that is designed for maximum comfort.

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you!

Is Blackphone the New Security Wonder Phone?

Have you heard of the Blackphone? If you haven’t, they’ve probably done half of their job right!

This is the new Android based cell phone that is built and designed around protecting your privacy. Some tech analysts even called it the NSA-proof phone! But, what does it do? Why is that relevant? And more importantly, how much does it cost me?

Well, to start answering that last question, this new marvel of modern technology costs $630. That includes a 4.7 inches HD screen, 16 GB of storage, LTE capabilities and a 8 megapixels camera, with flash. It also includes a year subscription to its security/privacy service, which is frankly the main attraction here. After the first year, you’ll have to cough up $10 a month to maintain the encryption service, or go back to the world of surrendering your personal information unknowingly.

You may ask yourself, why do I want pay an extra $120 dollars a year when I can get privacy apps on my phone for free?

This is where the Blackphone makes the first small difference, because the truth is that if a privacy program or app is free, then it doesn’t really work. Paying for an encryption service will guarantee a level of protection that free apps and programs can’t offer.
It’s estimated that a mobile phone was lost in the U.S. every 3.5 seconds – and that nearly all who found lost devices tried to access the information on the phone.  That alone is a great reason to encrypt your personal information from the get go. We love to browse the web on the go, but did you know this activity opens up phones to serious security risks? The problem is that users cannot see the full URL or link, much less verify whether the link or URL is safe. That means that users could easily browse their way into a phishing-related attack. Last year alone, for example, the number of malicious software aimed at mobile devices has reportedly risen from about 14,000 to 40,000 or about 185%.

So, what does it do?  The Blackphone’s service includes a wide array of privacy features. These goes preventing designated apps from connecting to the internet at will and transmitting information without any warning, encrypted contacts, texts, emails and calls, firewall options and even a smart WiFi manager.

Finally, while Blackphone is the first security and privacy focused smart phone, you shouldn’t expect it to be the only one for long, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see bigger players making their way in.
On top of that, this is a new handset running a new operating system, which makes the scope for teething troubles and bugs high at this stage. So, if you have any doubt or concerns about your smartphone’s or your computer’s security features, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

 

 

Tips for Buying the Perfect Computer for You!

Computers have become a part of our everyday life. As a result, computer sales have gone through the roof. But despite their growing numbers, most people are unaware of the requirements needed in order to achieve the expected performance.

With the holidays in mind, here are some tips on how you can choose the appropriate parts yourself when you’re going to buy a new computer.

Customer service is everything, and the first choice you’ll make in this matter, is where you want to buy your computer. You should choose a store with a good reputation and good reviews on their customer service. You can easily find used hardware on the market. I wouldn’t recommend doing this, especially if you are not an expert. In fact, I would strongly recommend to get your processor, main board, RAM, ODD and casing from the same store. They can also assemble it for you and configure it properly.

 

Here are some things you should keep in mind when you choose your computer’s hardware.

 

Processor:

This is the most important piece of hardware in your computer. Intel and AMD are the two brands you have available today. Both are good, but Intel processor is more advanced, and therefore popular. Always try to buy the latest version. The most recent version of Intel processors is Intel Core i7.

Depending on your budget your needs, you can make some concessions, but again, always go for the most up to date processor you can get.

Here’s a brief explanation of the processor series available:

Pentium, Celeron, Core and Core i are the main models.

From Pentium 1 through 4, and up to Core i7 extreme, always look at the core and thread number. You  will get better performance if the core and thread numbers are higher.

Also pay attention to the Cache Memory. More Cache Memory means better performance and more speed. The latest type of Cache memory is L3 Cache Memory. Turbo boost technology is also available on Intel processors, and is something you should consider.

 

Main board / Motherboard:

This is the board where all hardware is connected. Intel, Gigabyte and Asus are some of the most reliable brands in this area. You should also consider buying the latest model available in this case.

Be aware of much RAM memory you want in your computer, and choose a motherboard that can support that, along with your processor.

USB ports are also a fundamental part of your motherboard. Try to buy a motherboard with the latest USB version, which in this case is USB 3.0.

 

Monitor:

The monitor is the main output device of a computer.  Now, you have a wide array of choices. From old CRT monitors, to LED and LCD. When you choose a monitor, you should look at the contrast ratio, response time, and of course, image quality. LED monitors are the latest in technology, and have the best image quality.  Dell, Samsung, Asus and Phillips are among the best brands.

 

RAM:

RAM means Random access memory, and it’s function is to keep data while your computer performs a complicated process. So the more RAM you have available, the faster your computer will perform. The latest type of RAM is DDR-3. Keep in mind that the RAM you want must be supported by your motherboard. Your RAM will also perform better if the BUS frequency is higher.

 

Hard Disk Drive (HDD):

Your hard drive is where all of your files are stored.

Today, hard drives can store from 160 GB to 3 TB of files, and sometimes even more. -If RPM of your hard drive is higher, you will get a better data transfer rate. If your motherboard specifies that it has a SATA port, you have to buy a hard drive for this kind of port.

 

Casing:

Casing is the body of your computer, if you will. All your hardware goes inside the casing. Casing prices depend, mainly, on Watt of Power Supply wattage. You should choose PSU wattage according to your needs. If you have a big monitor and your computer deals with more graphics, you have to buy a casing with more PSU wattage. The ventilation system of the casing is very important, because this is what keeps your computer cool.

 

ODD (CD/DVD):

ODD means Optical Disk Drive. This is the unit where you pop discs in, and you have a few different options in this area. A CD-R unit can only read CDs but it can’t write on them. A CD-RW unit can read and record data on a cd. A DVD-RW can read and record on CDs or DVDs. The best brands of ODD’s are Samsung, Asus and Lite-On. If the speed of your ODD is higher, it can read and write data in less time

 

Keyboard and Mouse:

Keyboard and mouse are both very important input devices. It’s always better to buy a keyboard with bangle interface support. Nowadays optical mice are better than ball point mice. Look up that the mouse’s DPI.  The higher DPI, the more efficient your mouse is. Best keyboard and mice brands are A4-Tech, Deluxe, Mercury and Logitech

 

If this article didn’t quite make it for you, Call Us! We will help you make the best decision!

(718)459-9477

(212)682-6878

 

 

 

 

More juice for your laptop’s batteries

Are you worried about your PC laptop’s battery life? You want to roam free around the room without having to plug your computer unless it’s absolutely necessary? Here are a few tips you can follow to max out the juice you can get out of your laptop’s battery before having to resource to the electric cord.

  1. Change your power plan. This is the easiest way to save battery life. On the bottom right corner, you can left click on the battery icon and go for the balanced option. Or, if you really feel like saving, right click on the icon and go to power options. There, you can choose a better power plan or make your own.
  2. Nowadays, most laptops have LCD screens. These are great because they allow a better definition and a sharper image, but they are responsible for 43% of your computer’s energy usage. Don’t worry though. There are ways you can save some battery life just by tweaking on your screen settings a little bit. First of all, adjust the screen brightness. Of everything you can tweak to improve your battery life, this one change alone can dramatically improve your battery life. Also, try to avoid any fancy screensavers that overuse the graphics capabilities of your laptop.
  3. Bluetooth and USB devices are also an unwanted power drain when extra minutes of battery life are precious. Each of these devices consumes power just by being enabled, and if you aren’t using them, you may as well disable them.
  4. Avoid overheating your computer.  Laptop batteries are always going to slowly lose their ability to charge over time, but when a laptop is constantly overheating or used in a very hot environment, your battery is going to die very quickly.
  5. Today’s laptops use Lithium batteries instead of nickel, but there’s a lot of incorrect information about how to charge or drain your batteries, so let’s set the record straight. Nickel batteries required being fully drained before a recharge to optimize your battery life, but Lithium batteries are the opposite—you do not need to fully discharge it before recharging, and in fact, if you fully deplete a lithium battery and don’t recharge for a while, it can become incapable of holding a charge.
  6. You’ll also want to make sure that your battery is not always fully charged. If your lithium battery is fully charged all the time, you will lose up to 20% of your capacity every year, no matter what you do. Make sure to discharge the battery sometimes, and if you spend most of your time plugged in at a desk, you would be better off running the battery down to half, and then simply removing the battery and storing it in a cool place.

Now that you are better informed, start taking actions towards a healthier computer. If it’s too late, We Are Here To Help You! Call Us Today!

Yes, We All Hate this Heat Wave…

(Prevent your Computer from Overheating)

Just the same way it happens to all of us, when a heat wave hits, it is very hard (if not impossible) for your computer to function properly.

Overheating will not only make a computer slower, but it could also damage the integral parts of what makes it work, possibly destroying or shortening the lifespan of the hardware. But this is not the worse part. When this happens you are in danger or losing all your data!

It is recommended that a computer’s temperature is never over 154°F. And even if you can’t be that accurate, sticking your hand over the computer’s ventilation system or case will give you an idea.

To prevent overheating, the first thing you should do is to keep your computer clean (view our previews posting on the matter).
Also you should try to avoid hot neighbors, meaning that a computer should never be close to the heater or a fireplace. Keep it rather in a place where temperature is as low as possible and air flows.

Now, if it’s already too late and feeling it with your hand can’t seem to do it anymore, the real way to check the temperature is as follows.

You should first restart your computer, and on the boot screen, you should have an option to press a key (often Delete) to enter the BIOS. Once you enter Setup, navigate the BIOS menu using the on-screen instructions. You should be able to find a menu that deals with the computer’s hardware monitors and CPU. There should be a field that lists your CPU temperature.

There are too some tools that would allow you to do the same without restarting your computer. But unfortunately those can only read certain sensors, so you’ll have to make sure your hardware is supported. Some of those could be the cross-platform GKrellM (Windows/Mac/Linux), RealTemp, CoreTemp and SpeedFan.

If you don’t feel comfortable with any of these methods, or you find that the temperature is too high, it might be time to get professional help.

Give us a call! At PcMac Express we are pro’s and know what to do to keep you and your computer chilled and happy!