Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Was it the Dust?

I did a post a couple months ago about networking a couple of computers.

Everything has been working well with the old one during this time.

Until two nights ago.

It just turned itself right off in the middle of using my photoshop program.

I tried to boot it back up, and it would just get past the initial boot, then it would shut off again.

After the third time, I couldn't even get it to boot up anymore.

I tried several times over the last two days to get it to do something - but no go.

I got to thinking, a couple of night before this happened, I heard the hard drive making a high pitched noise as I cycled through some photos in the Windows Photo browser.

I figured now that the hard drive was on its way out.

This computer is almost 10 years old, and it has been used a lot.

So today I decided to take a look at the innards and see if anything was obviously wrong - an unplugged component or maybe something literally "fried".

The only thing that really stood out to me once the casing was off was the amount of dust.

There were even strings of it connecting everything in there.

Out came the vacuum and the can of compressed air.

It certainly looked much better after the cleaning, I was hoping it was feeling just as good too.

So far, so good.

It has booted up and stayed on for a half an hour now.

I can only hope it was the dust!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beware the Versions

Buying computer software really seems to be quite an easy thing.

You check out what program seems to have what you want, and spending some time checking out opinions and reviews in online forums isn't a bad idea either.

But when you are told to purchase a specific program for a certain year and then find the books to accompany it, you had really better look closely.

My son needed a certain program for one of his online college courses.

Keep in mind that he has never "met" the teacher - all correspondence, class work, homework, and projects are all done online and uploaded to the teacher.

We had no problem finding the needed software even though it was three years old.

Still expensive, but it was available.

Now comes the aggravating part.

The textbook to go with it.

The title, copyright year, author, and version were given.

We searched online a lot, and found several issues that started at $60 and up for used.

No problem, we purchased one.

When he went to do the first assignment, it was quite obvious it was the wrong text.

The instructor failed to mention what exact "type" was needed.

There were office, student, home, business, beginner, intermediate, advanced, brief, regular, and expanded types.

We purchased the one that matched the required software, not knowing about brief or expanded.


The book we had had 300 pages.

The one we needed had over 700.

Would have been nice to let us know we needed the expanded one.

Since it was a beginner class, we also went with the beginner edition.


We needed the intermediate.

At least we had the "home" part correct.

Shelling out $110 for another book was ridiculous.

I think the thing that really gets to me, years ago, when you purchased software, you got the books with it.

No more, supposedly everything you need is in the "help" section of the program.

I am not impressed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cold Boot vs Warm Boot

Booting the computer is often referred to as starting the computer up.

It is a series of processes or operations that get the computer up and running when it is powered on.

A "cold boot" is when the computer is powered up from the completely off position.

It is not "sleeping" or "hibernating" as some do to conserve energy - the computer is still powered on for both of those processes to occur.

Most users perform a cold boot each morning when they turn on their system for the day.

A "warm boot" is when the computer is restarted, either from the user telling the operating system to restart or from a program that needs the system to restart in order to use it.

There is also a term called a "random boot".

And we do not like when this happens.

A random boot usually happens when there is a software or hardware conflict or problem in the system which makes the computer reboot.

Finding and fixing what caused that to happen is not fun, so thank goodness it is not something that happens regularly.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


If you have done any kind of work with an html editor, than you have probably run into this term.

I actually first heard about it back in the mid 1980's when computers were still quite basic - mainly a storage system or a spreadsheet program that would make users cry today.

WYSIWYG is an acronym.

It stands for: What You See Is What You Get.

What it means is pretty much this:

When using an editor and choosing the font, colors, alignment, text types, etc - usually from a bar across the top of the editor, all of these choices will be shown as you type along.

Your finished product will look like it does as you prepare it.

No surprises - what you see is what you get.

Without this feature, you better know some basic html and the different names for fonts and colors so you can code the webpage and have it look correct.

WYSIWYG makes our life so much easier, and many computer users today don't know what it is like to not have this feature on an editor.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hex Codes

I had no idea what a hex code was when I first started to learn about coding.

I knew what a hex wrench was - a tool my husband used for certain types of screws.

Couldn't see what that had to do with web pages on computer.

It took some researching, but I was able to find out exactly what it was - and how simple they were to use.

Hex codes are used to design color on web pages.

Any color on a web page has a hex code that defines that color.

It is a six digit series of number and letters.

Each number and letter represents the blue, green, and red colors, and the intensity of it.

When coding in html, and css, there will be a "#" mark before the code so it is easy to find these hex codes.

There are many color hex codes charts on the web, and a small amount of the colors can be found here on the wiki.

The html goodies website also has some helpful info on color codes.

There are basic colors that are considered "safe" for most programs, operating systems, and browsers.

When one starts getting too fancy, the colors sometimes "do not compute" on another person's computer quite the same.

Of course "color management" for a computer monitor is another story all together.