As I've been using computers, there have been a few things
that I have learned and there are some pieces of hardware
that have helped me a lot. I've gathered all of those things
together into this one page. It's not that these things stopped
my computer from crashing or anything like that, it's just
that now that I've used the tip or piece of hardware, I'd
never want to go back to the way it was before.
I'm not prompted to disconnect
when I close my browser...
I would have problems on large downloads that my
Internet connection would be disconnected and I would lose
everything. I went into the Internet settings and changed
the disconnect if idle option to off so that I wouldn't disconnect.
I did that months and moths ago. Recently, I was wondering
why when I disconnect from the Internet, I'm not prompted
to disconnect. I always had to disconnect manually. That is
no problem for me, but when I have younger people over using
the computer, it is hard to explain to them how to disconnect.
That was all solved when I figured out that it was because
the "disconnect if idle.." wasn't checked. To change
this option in Internet Explorer, go to Start--Settings--Control
Panel--Internet Properties--Connection--Properties. From there,
you can change the time to as high as 99 minutes. This will
allow the prompt to come up asking if you want to disconnect.
If you're doing a big download, just disable it.
Connect to the internet faster
I try to be patient with my computer, but one of
the things which just drives me crazy is how long it takes
to connect to the internet. I've done everything I can to
speed it up, but it still isn't instantaneous so it is still
to slow. I recently found a way to speed it up a little bit
more using an initialization string in the modem setup. There
is a hidden default that causes the modem to dial at a certain
speed with a pause between each sound. That is because different
lines and telephone companies have different abilities to
recognize that sound at different speeds. The default can
be changed to dial faster with a shorter pause. Go to Start--Programs--Accessories--Dial
Up Networking. Right click on your ISP icon and choose properties.
Click on the configure tab under the modem list. Then click
on the connection tab and then the advanced button. In the
extra settings box, add S11=36. 36 is the time in ms between
tones. You can try smaller numbers, but depending on your
line quality and your phone company, you might not be able
to dial out. You probably won't notice a difference between
20 and 36 ms anyway.
You've got to get a "Wheel"
Have you ever used a mouse with a wheel on it? They
are the greatest. Microsoft started it with their IntelliMouse,
and other companies, most notably Logitech, copied that shortly
thereafter. I got an IntelliMouse ($89 Cdn.) in December of
1997 and at the time it was the greatest. The only thing I
found frustrating was that it would work with some programs
and not with others. For those of you who don't know what
the wheel does, it allows you to scroll through a page no
matter where the mouse is located on that screen. It is not
necessary to move the mouse over to the scroll bar on the
right hand side of the screen. I found some shareware that
would allow the wheel to be active in any program, but I didn't
feel that I should pay 20 or 30 dollars to use a piece of
hardware so I held out. Then one day I was at the local computer
store and saw the Logitech First Mouse +. For $35 (Cdn,) you
got a great little mouse that ships with a copy of Logitech
MouseWare 8.0. The mouse, along with the great software allows
the mouse wheel to work in any programs. I bought it and have
been using it the past few months with no problems. My IntelliMouse
is now being on a Windows 3.1 computer where the wheel doesn't
Microsoft, not wanting to be outdone in this market, has
released their IntelliMouse Pro ($99 Cdn.), and the Microsoft
Wheel mouse ($35 Cdn.). The Pro model comes with an updated
version of the drivers that lets the mouse work in any program.
It is also shaped so that it fits your hand a little more
naturally. The basic wheel mouse is a lot cheaper, has no
fancy (ergonomic) shape to it and works on in certain Microsoft
programs. I'm not sure why any one would buy it when there
are such better devices on the market, but I guess some
people try to get everything Microsoft.
Now that I have a wheel I wouldn't want to be without one.
When I am helping others with their computers, I automatically
move my fingers to where the wheel might be. It is always
frustrating to have to go to the side scroll bars and scroll
manually. Your computing life will be easier with a wheel
mouse than with any other device!
Do you have a "scuzzy"
I am always reading different industry magazines
and they are full of ads for Gateway computers, Dell, Compaq
and many other computer manufacturers. I browse through with
interest dreaming of being able to always have the fastest
machine. If there is one thing which I have learned from reading
the specs of these machines, and from personally using them,
there is nothing that will make your system seem faster than
having a SCSI (pronounced "scuzzy") system. I recently
bought a scanner that came with a SCSI card. I'm using a Pentium
120 with 48 MB RAM and I find it to be quite slow for the
work that is done on it. I bought the scanner because it was
good price, a good name and, I thought it would be a fun toy
to have. Well, with the SCSI adapter, the scanners work faster
than I ever dreamed it would. It is amazing the difference
in speed in SCSI and even ultra DMA connectors. The speed
is true for hard drives as well. I recently had someone who
was buying a new system e-mail a free help question. I was
envious of him because the whole system was SCSI based. SCSI
Zip drives are faster than anything else like it as well.
If you've got expansion slots left on your computer and you
want to do a bit of an upgrade, contact the dealer and see
what adding some SCSI devices to your system would cost. You'll
be glad you did.