The best part of being an IT consultant is that you pick up little tricks that can save you time, or avoid a lot of headaches (and expenses…)! Here are some quick tips that will make your tech life easier!
1 – Does your wireless connection keep dropping? It could be a sign of a router going bad or not handling all the connected devices, or, it may just be in need of a reboot. Just unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in. This will power-cycle it, and may fix connectivity issues that happen with intense activity over a period of time, or odd behavior after a power outage.
2 – If you have a Gmail account, add a plus sign (+) after your name, and before the @. What this does is enable you to easily filter emails into folders. For example, my contact email for the Whyte Ridge Community Centre uses this nifty little trick. Now, instead of having to filter by keywords or titles or senders, I can just filter by that email, with the plus sign, and everything will be neatly organized into folders. Use this trick on websites that ask for your email for offers, and keep your inbox clutter free!
3 – Clean your laptop’s air vents regularly with compressed air cans. Turn the laptop off, remove the battery, and follow the instructions on the can. If you’ve never done it, go do it right now. I have been called many times for computers that were “freezing, running hot and/or running slow”, only to arrive there, blow out huge clumps of dust, and fix the issue. Additionally, the accumulated dust will damage the computer over time, perhaps even forcing an early replacement.
4 – Have an up-to-date Antivirus/Antimalware. Even if you’re on a Mac. Macs are especially vulnerable to viruses, due to the unfounded belief they aren’t. If you are on Windows, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials from the Microsoft Website, which will give you basic protection free of charge. If you’re on a Mac, consider running Avast, if you’re on a budget. It is always advisable, however, to not skimp on security. Kaspersky and Symantec have excellent, full-feature solutions at minimal cost.
(This article was originally published in the Whyte Ridge/Linden Ridge community newsletter, Spring 2013 Edition, page 15: http://whyteridge.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Spirit-Summer-2013_web.pdf)