Sunday, 5 September 2010

Is your computer a little sluggish?

We all know the feeling, you've had your computer for a few months or so and performance is starting to decline. This article will contain a few tips I have found useful for keeping my laptop which I have had for a year and a half and is pretty standard, running smoothly. 

Some tools which are useful
Both these tools come from piriform, a company which is a microsoft certified partner, so you know you're in safe hands - when it comes to system maintence for free these are two tools I couldn't imagine coping without!

Steps for a better computer

Remove unnessecery files / programs
Even if it may sound like a chore looking through old files can be enjoyable when you find an old picture that you forgot about etc. But yes, delete files you no longer require to free up space and remove programmes you no longer use for the same reason.

Keep a clean and minimal desktop
I personally find that having minimal items on the desktop leads to a faster system start up and it is also easier on the eye!

Organise your files
If you have a seperate partition it is a good idea to keep the majority of the bulky data i.e. movies, albums and games etc, in the partition seperate from the operating system.
Also you will be amazed how much easier it is to find what you're looking for once you have put files where you want them.
I was never a fan of my documents / pictures / videos / music - I always had all my files on my desktop or in a single folder on the desktop with my name on, I got this filing system from when I had a shared computer around 6-7 years ago. And I just kept it until I decided to try something new and trust me orginising your files this way is the best way to go.

Time to clean the crap!
It's not hard to see how to run a clean, the first window that opens when you launch ccleaner has 'run cleaner' in the bottom right corner. The check boxes on the left hand side are to indicate what you want to delete, I select them all personally - once you're ready run the cleaner, wow how much removed?! 
After that I'd recomend a registry scan, you can back up any changes you make to your registry when you 'fix issues' after the scan, I don't bother with this i've never had any problems occur after using this feature.
A good feature of this software is you can wipe the free space on your hard drive, if you're selling your computer and dont want personal details to be discovered / statements / bank details etc, as we keep our whole lives on our computer now. To do this, on the first page when the application launches scroll to the bottom and it will say 'Wipe Free Space' select that, then go to options > settings - Then under secure deletion select 'Secure file deletion (slower), then the drop down box select 'Gutmann (35 passes)', then the box under it check the drives you want to wipe the free space of, and then also check 'Wipe MFT free space', back to cleaner, and run cleaner. Simples!

Start up items are a bitch
You can sometimes massively increase the speed of your system start up by disabling most of the start up items, this should be a no brainer just sometimes people don't know how to do this! Luckilly ccleaner has a feature that lets you do this, go to Tools > Start up and there will be a list, it should be obvious what ones are which and you can play around with them to see which work best I only have the sidebar, msn and my antivirus start up. Remember only disable them, don't delete them incase you need to enable them later on! 

Defragment your messy drive
Your hard drive is a lazy peice of hardware and will throw data in random places at times, so use 'defraggler' to run a defragment on your drive(s) and then FINALLY! Restart! Your computer may start up slow the first time or 2 but afterwards you should notice a great difference.

I hope this article is of use to you, these steps work wonders for me. Good luck!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Drinking Age - 18 vs 21

I have lived in the UK all my life and complain every now and again about various problems with the country, but as far as the laws are concerned I don't see that many problems, specifically for this article the drinking age being 18. 18 is when you're classed as an adult you can legally sign a contract, get a loan, a morgage and vote. So I think that you should be able to purchase alcohol to 'have a good time' etc, and I'm sure most people reading this will agree with me, and also like me most people drank alcohol before the age of 18. 

It's just what teenagers do they go to a friends, have a drink and have a laugh for the night even before the age of 18.

However in the US the drinking age is 21, I personally think this is a joke - I am 19 just now and I was capable of making the decision to drink when I was 16, and able to be sensible with it and not over-do it. Of course from time to time we all over do it but we regret it the day after this shouldn't be an argument for the drinking age to be 21. 
I'm sure just like in the UK, US teens also drink alcohol before the joke of a 'legal drinking age' there but it's just like a huge 'buzz kill' while UK students enjoy university life with an attitude of 'work hard party hard' the US college students are not able to 'legally' have this attitude, besides... what 18 year old would want to 'party hard' with fizzy drinks and cake? It's not really the ideal party at that age, loud music and drinking makes a good party. 
Are students meant to have that party life style after they finish university, when they're meant to be looking for jobs? I don't know it just seems a big mistake to me, what somebody should reverse. Come on Obama do something you'll be a legend for! 

I talk to a few Americans and I have American relatives all of which I've talked to think the drinking age should be lowered, one says:
"I strongly believe the drinking age in America should be lowered to 18 rather than 21. Americans have many more freedoms at 18 than all years before. This includes having the ability to vote, join the army, and purchase cigarettes. How come we can determine the outcome of the world by voting which president the United States will have for the next 4 years, yet not be able to make poor decisions that only harm ourselves when done in excess"

And I think that sums it all up, what are your views on it? Feel free to comment!