Computer Maven Newsletter - June 2005
Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs in the
past. This is my monthly customer newsletter. This month's
topics are Protecting
Your Computer with an Uninterruptible Power Supply, Connecting Multiple Devices With a USB Hub, Saving Money with AOL and a High-Speed Internet Connection,
and Another Recommended Antivirus Program.
Previous issues of this newsletter are
available on the newsletters
page of the Boulder Computer
Maven web site.
If you don't
want to receive this newsletter, please let me know, and I'll remove
name from my mailing list.
If you change your E-mail address, please tell me.
As always, feel free contact me at any time with questions. I
want to help you get the most from your computer.
Steve Winograd, Boulder Computer Maven
Helping People Use Computers in Boulder
for Over 20 Years
Computer with an Uninterruptible Power Supply
summer thunderstorms can cause interruptions in the electrical power
for your home or office. Even a momentary interruption can shut
down your computer and cause problems: losing a document or E-mail
message that you've been writing, corrupting files stored on the
computer, or damaging the computer hardware. The solution is to
use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which can provide power for
several minutes during an outage. The computer will continue to
during a brief outage, and you'll have time to save your work and shut
down the computer normally during a longer one.
Computer and office supply stores have many brands and sizes of
UPS. For a typical desktop computer and monitor, a UPS with a
rating of 500-700 VA is sufficient. The product selectors on the APC and TrippLite
web sites can help you find the right size.
Connecting Multiple Devices With a USB Hub
The USB ports
(Universal Serial Bus) on your computer let you connect devices like
printers, scanners, digital cameras, storage drives, and cable/DSL
modems. Many people have more USB devices than available
ports, and the ports are usually on the back of the computer, where
they're hard to access. A USB hub is a small box that plugs into
a USB port on your computer and provides additional USB ports.
You can place a USB hub where it's easy to access -- I have one on top
of my desk
There are two types of USB devices in common use. USB 1.1 (also
called "Full" speed) is the older, slower type. USB 2.0 (also
called "High" speed) is the newer, faster type. If your computer
has USB 2.0 ports, be sure to get a USB 2.0 hub. To see if your
computer has USB 2.0 ports:
- Right-click My Computer.
- Click Properties.
- If your computer has Windows 2000 or XP, click Hardware.
- Click Device Manager.
- Scroll to the end of the list of devices.
- Double-click "Universal Serial Bus Controllers".
- Look for the words "Enhanced Host Controller" in any of the USB
Saving Money with AOL and a High-Speed Broadband
Many people who used to have a dial-up AOL
account have switched to a high-speed broadband connection, such as DSL
(Qwest, Earthlink) or cable modem (Comcast). With a broadband
connection, you don't have to keep your AOL account -- you can view web
sites using a web browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox, and you
can send and receive E-mail using a program like Outlook Express or Thunderbird.
Your E-mail address would be one provided by your broadband service,
not an AOL E-mail address.
To use an AOL E-mail address after getting a high-speed broadband
connection, you have to keep your AOL account. However, you can
save money by switching from AOL's full-priced plan ($23.90/month) to
the lower-cost broadband plan ($14.95/month). For information or
to switch plans, go to the AOL keyword "Billing".
Another Recommended Antivirus Program
I'm adding avast! 4
to the list of recommended
antivirus programs that I began in last month's
newsletter. There's a free edition for home and
non-commercial users, and a professional edition for commercial
users ($39.95 for a 1-year license, with discounts for multiple
years and multiple licenses). In my tests, avast! 4 has removed
some viruses that other antivirus programs missed.