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Tag Archives: Computers

Double Your Computer's Speed — For Free

I used to like Norton Utilities for cleaning up my computer … until it became bloatware. I haven’t used Norton Utilities in several years. The ads on the radio touting a computer program that will “double your computer’s speed” … for only $39.98 per year … prompted me to write this post. There are three programs I use to clean up my computer. As you may have guessed from previous computer posts, the products are all free. CCleaner is a free product made by Piriform that does a good job at cleaning up rogue registry entries and junk files on your computer. I don’t think it scans as deeply as the other programs, but a plus is that it can be installed to run on thumb drives, so you don’t have to install it on your computer at all in order for it to work. It is also free for commercial use. Check out Piriform’s site for other useful programs such as a disk defragmenter and a file recovery tool. Comodo is another company that has multiple excellent free computer utilities. I have installed its free internet security tool on most of our computers. I also use Comodo’s System Cleaner to deeply scrub my computer. The program does an great job, but sometimes I find that it pegs too many files for deletion and have had instances where some programs don’t run as quickly after I have run the system cleaner. Fortunately, Comodo has included a registry backup with the System Cleaner, so if you notice problems after running the program, you can restore your registry to its previous state without a problem. Many of Comodo’s programs are free for business use, but check the specs on specific programs to be sure. Glary Utilities is my favorite computer cleaning program. It rivals all the commercial programs without the cost or the bloat. Glary Utilities includes a disk cleaner, a registry cleaner, an uninstall manager, a startup manager, a memory optimizer, a registry defragmenter, several file security functions, and several file management functions. The program is free for personal use, but you’ll have to pay $39 (currently they have the professional version on sale for $28 with a buy one get one free offer) if you want to get added functions or to use the program for your business. If you need to “Double Your Computer’s Speed”, check these programs out first and save yourself some money. For disclosure, I’m not getting any type of kickbacks or revshares for recommending any of the above programs. However, after reading Glary Utilities’ site, I plan to request a free license for the professional version of their program for reviewing their program. That wasn’t my intent when I began writing the post, but in this case, I’ll take the perk.

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Portable Apps

I have a “thumb drive” attached to my keychain. That way, I always have information with me and I don’t leave my drive behind when I leave (since I can’t go anywhere without my keys). I keep two sets of files included on the keychain. First is a set of personal files that are encrypted with TrueCrypt – a free encryption program. I can decrypt them on any computer I want just by running the Portable Mode of the program. The second set of files is my computer geek recommendation for the day: PortableApps.com With this platform, you can run a set of applications from your portable USB drive without ever installing the programs to a computer. When you surf the internet, all the cookies and site information stay on your USB drive. If you want to use a program and it isn’t installed on the computer you are using, you can plug in the USB drive and use the PortableApp application. There is a long list of applications you can use with the platform and all of them are free. I like using Firefox as a browser, but our hospital computer only uses Internet Explorer. So I plug in my USB drive and I’m running Firefox in no time. I can also run Google Chrome if I want. There are also several games you can run, including Sudoku, poker, and a Wolfenstein-like game called AssaultCube. Comes in very handy … and it’s free.

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Why I Dumped Microsoft Office

Its been a while since I did a computer-related post. For those of you who didn’t read my old blog, I’m kind of a computer geek. I used to try to put up something every week or so about computer-related topics. Kind of fell out of that routine for a while, but something that happened to me last week prompted this post. I purchased a computer from an online store several years ago and along with the purchase was included a copy of Microsoft Office 2003. I have since upgraded computers, but still continue to use Microsoft Office 2003 on my computer as it is a decent program and suits my needs for presentations and word processing. I was content with using Office 2003 until I got an updated message via Microsoft’s “validation” process telling me that, after six years of use, Microsoft’s powerful computers and the company’s due diligence had finally determined that my copy of Microsoft Office was … not valid. The serial number that is on the sticker on the CD that came with my computer from the store was really a serial number for a large corporation and somehow Microsoft knew that I didn’t work for the large corporation. I got a countdown of how many days were left until Microsoft was going to tell its Office programs to mark all of the programs I purchased as “not genuine.” Microsoft recommended that I contact the store that sold me the program and “ask for their help” to ensure that the copy of Microsoft Office I purchased was genuine. Of course, since so much time has passed, the receipt for the computer and software I purchased is long gone, so I have no way of proving that I actually purchased the software – other than the disk and serial number sticker which I have kept. How absolutely thoughtful and diligent of Microsoft. Create a “Genuine Advantage” program and make users install it. Have your program call home to check the serial number on my software for the past 4-5 years and certify that the software I purchased is legitimate. Lull me into a false sense of security. Then all of a sudden, after I have long discarded the receipts for my purchase, change your mind and then insinuate that I’m a software pirate, leaving me no way to prove otherwise. But never fear. Microsoft had the answer to make sure that I was “protected against vulnerabilities that may exist in non-genuine copies.” I could “learn more” by clicking on a button in the “not genuine” notification. The link took me to a Microsoft store where Microsoft would gladly let me drop an extra $499.95 to purchase a “genuine” copy of Office Professional 2007 … at least for the next six years until Microsoft’s powerful and diligent computers could determine that the copy I purchased now was not valid and provided me with a button I could click to go to a Microsoft site where I could spend $1500 to purchase a “genuine” copy of Office Professional 2013. Oh, and you can do a search on eBay and get the same Microsoft Office Professional 2007 software for less than $100, but Microsoft’s powerful and diligent computers forgot to mention that. So I did what every self-respecting person who purchased “not genuine” copies of Microsoft Office would do. I told Microsoft to go pound sand. I was going to install an old copy of WordPerfect office that came with another computer I purchased (who knows what Corel’s computers would say), but then I went to OpenOffice.org and looked at ...

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