Archive for the 'Smarter Computing Tips' Category

 

Why surge boards don’t work on computer equipment

You don’t need to wait for a power blackout or a thunderstorm to damage your computer, power fluctuations and unseen surges through the mains power or through ADSL /Phone lines can do incremental damage or catastrophic damage to delicate computer electronics, hard drives and network cards.

One of the issues with power boards is that in a surge event they will shut off the power to the board, causing the computer to shutdown.  In technical circles this is known as “unexpected shutdown” and is a common causes of disk failure or data loss. The event is logged in the systems error reporting  and is an important area of risk management for data.

Surge boards are not cheap and the high cost can give you a false sense of security. If it costs this much it must work, right? Wrong. Surge boards that suddenly interrupt power to your computer often cause problems rather than the intended purpose of protecting sensitive computer electronics.

The solution for the office and home.

An uninterruptable power supply that offers true sine wave technology was something that only large enterprise could afford, but units have now become smaller and affordable. The most important part of good UPS technology is the line interactive capability. This straightens out the sine wave to deliver clean power, along with the ability to switch to backup battery when the power fails. If the power is not restored within a specified time you can shut down your computer gracefully.

UPS for home and small office

Protect Computer & ADSL Line to 750VA

 

There are many brands of UPS for the office or home available through technology outlets such as computer stores but few with capable and reliable Line Interactive Technology.

You can protect your PC equipment and ADSL line with a good quality UPS for around the same cost as a premium priced power board. We can install a UPS with Line Interactive Technology  (for $171 at the time of writing) during a standard service call.

Book an onsite computer service today and ask for a Upsonic Line Interactive UPS installation. It takes around 10 minutes and could save you from unnecessary power related data loss or component failure.

 
 
 

Dropbox Shell Tools give you right click menu

Dropbox

Dropbox file sharing

 

Dropbox is a great free tool for retrieving your documents and files on another PC or laptop anywhere there is a network connection.

Like the name implies, it is a drag and drop operation which can be a little time waster you don’t need. So our friends over in Germany made this free tool called Dropbox Shell Tools so you can have a right click menu to add files quickly.

Why are the best tools always the free ones? Download Shell Tools here.

 
 
 

Managing laptop temperature

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Here in Australia summer temperatures can reach into the high 30’s and low 40’s (C) and as the ambient temperature climbs so does the temp of the hard disk. So it’s a concern when the running temp of a laptop is 50+ when the outside temp is only 25 degrees. We would expect the temp of the disk to rise to critical levels on a 35+ degree day.

Apart from the tangible heat you can feel with the palm of your hand or on your lap, many laptops have no early warning about overheating. Heat is something that must be managed otherwise:

  • your laptop could spontaneously shutdown or restart
  • your hard disk could die
  • raises the risk of data loss and file table corruption
  • you could lose access to the master file table and your data permanently

Active Hard Disk Monitor is a free tool to monitor the temp of your drives. After downloading and  installing a temp monitor icon is loaded into the system tray and a mousover will reveal the current temperature. Temp is read from the S.M.A.R.T interface on the drive and may need to be activated in the bios.

If the temp is 50+ you are in the warning area and would be advised to buy a laptop cooler. One of our preferences is the Zalman NC-2000 with very quiet dual centrifugal fans, which may reduce your temp by a critical 5 degrees and bring it into a safe working temp.