A short history about blogging

7 August 2009

Blogging over the last few years has increased immensely and is now taking over the use of online bulletin boards.

Originally used as online journals blog stood for weblog. As it became more popular and more used weblog got shortened to just blog.

People blog about personal experiences, interests, latest news and just anything that’s on their mind at that moment in time when they start typing!

There are many blog platforms out there, the most popular that you may have heard of include TypePad, Blogger, WordPress and Live Journal.

Blogger is completely free and can be setup as a subdomain of Blogger, e.g.
myblogname.blogger.com WordPress is a platform that can be downloaded for free, and then needs to be uploaded and installed on your own web server, meaning that although the platform is free, you will still need to buy a domain name and web hosting space to host it all.

TypePad is a paid for blogging platform that again needs to be setup as a subdomain, but then also allows website parking, so that you can have www.myblog.com which just shows myblog.typepad.com or you can just leave it on the TypePad subdomain and not need to buy a domain name and web hosting space.

So if Blogger is completely free and you don’t even need to buy a domain name, why do people still pick the other 2 blogging platforms?

WordPress is often used, not only for blogging, but for complete website builds.

It has lots of additional plugins for extensible functionality, and also allows editing of all the code and layout.

TypePad is often bought because of it’s functionality and search engine optimisation techniques.

TypePad allows trackbacks, whereas, Blogger doesn’t – and trackbacks are really good to get more visibility on the Internet, to keep a trail of threads, to share common interests and to form a web ring between blogs.

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Windows Update

3 August 2009

Windows updates are necessary as they put correct small errors within Windows.

Windows updates can be anything from minor Windows fixes to driver updates.

To configure your Windows updates click “Start”, then “All programs” and then select “Windows update”.

If it's the first time you're doing this then there's likely to be a lot of updates to install.Or if there's only a few then don't panic – once you install the first batch of updates and restart your computer there will be more to download.

This could happen several times to get you back up-to-date.

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Defragment Hard Drive

2 August 2009

Go to “My computer” and right click on your primary hard drive (usually C drive), then from the menu select “Properties”.

  • Click on the “Tools” tab at the top and then select “Defragment now...”
  • Click the button “Defragment now...”
  • Select your hard drive(s) to defrayment and then click “Ok”.

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Disk Cleanup

1 August 2009

A disk cleanup is an easy process that will empty your recycle bin, clear your temporary files and delete other un-needed files to make some more space on your hard drive.

Go to “My computer” and then right click on your primary hard drive (usually C drive). From the menu select “Properties” and it will show the hard drive capacity and how much free storage space is still available.

Just to the right of the pie chart you will see a button named “Disk cleanup”, click it.

It will take a little while, sometimes as long as a couple of minutes (especially if it's the first time), and then it will show you a list of tick boxes which are all areas of your computer that can be cleaned up.

If you know what you're doing then tick the ones that you need, if you're not too sure then it's probably worth ticking them all (it will show how much hard drive space you're going to gain once the process is finished, just underneath the list) – and then click “Ok”.

Again, depending how many files needed to be cleaned up, it may take quite a while.

Check your hard drive storage now and you should have gained additional storage space.

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System Tray

27 July 2009

The system tray is the area found in the bottom right hand corner where you'll normally find your clock.

Displayed in the system tray are icons of the applications/processes that are currently running in the background. All of these act differently, but most you can right click on and click exit to remove them. Or alternatively, try right clicking and viewing “Preferences”, “Options”, “Tools” or something similar where you can select for the program not to run on Windows start up.

A lot of these you can uninstall from the “Add and remove program” from the “Control panel” as well so that the un-needed applications won't run next time you start Windows.

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Visual Effects - Windows Vista

26 July 2009

Windows Vista has many visual effects that may slow down your computer. It won't be very noticeable, but all of them put together will make a difference. Also the time it takes to start-up may also be faster once we've removed some un-needed visual effects.

I will list all the ways of speeding up performance, however a lot of these are down to user preference and so you may chose not to follow all of them.

To start with go to your desktop. Now right click and from the menu click “Personalize”

  1. Click the link saying “Window colour and appearance”

    • Click the button saying “Effects”
    • Un-tick “Show shadows under menus”
    • Un-tick “Show window contents while dragging”

  2. Click the link saying “Desktop background”

    • From the “Location” drop down, select “Solid colours”
    • Select a solid colour
    • Click “Ok”

  3. Click the link saying “Screen saver”

    • From the “Wait” dialogue box, select at least 6 minutes

  4. Click the link saying “Mouse pointers”

    • Click the button saying “Use default”
    • Un-tick “Enable pointer shadow”
    • Go to the “Pointer options” tab
    • Un-tick “Display pointer trails”

  5. Click the link saying “Taskbar and start menu properties” (found in the bottom left)

    • Un-tick “Auto-hide taskbar”
    • Un-tick “Show quick launch”
    • Click the “Notification area” tab
    • Un-tick every setting
    • Click the “Toolbars” tab
    • Un-tick every setting

From the address bar at the top go up one level to “Control PanelAppearance and Personalisation”

  1. Click the link saying “Windows sidebar properties”

    • Un-tick every setting

  2. Click the link saying “Folder options”

    • Click the “View” tab
    • Tick “Always show icons, never thumbnails”
    • Un-tick “Always show menus”
    • Un-tick “Launch folder windows in a separate process”
    • Un-tick “Remember each folder's view settings”

  3. Click the link saying “Network and Internet”

    • Click the link saying “Delete browsing history and cookies”
    • Under the heading “Browsing history” click the button “Delete...”
    • Read the options and if you no longer need your history and saved passwords then click the button “Delete all...”

  4. Click the link saying “Programs”

    • Click the link saying “Uninstall a program”
    • Select programs from the list that you no longer use (make sure you know what they are in case they're Windows updates or alike) then uninstall them

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Visual Effects - Windows XP

25 July 2009

Removing un-needed visual effects with Windows XP will increase the overall performance and speed of you computer, not dramatically, but it gives Window’s less to worry about if it doesn’t have to add all the special visual effects that aren’t needed.

This is down to personal preference and so if there’s any visual effects that I mention that you want to leave on then just skip it and move on to the next.

  1. Go to your desktop

    • Right click and then click “Properties” from the menu
    • Select the “Desktop” tab
    • From the list select “None”
    • Click “Apply” and then “Ok”

  2. Click “Start” and then click “Control panel”

    • Click the link “Appearance and themes”
    • Click the “View” tab
    • Un-tick “Launch folder windows in a separate process”

  3. Click “Start” and then click “Control panel”

    • Click the link “Add or remove programs”
    • Go down the list and remove any programs that you no longer use, if you’re unsure what a program is then check first in case it’s a system file or Windows update

  4. Click “Start” and then click “Control panel”

    • Click the link “Printers and Other Hardware”
    • Click the link “Mouse”
    • Click the “Pointers” tab
    • From the “Scheme” drop down select “Windows default (system scheme)”
    • Un-tick “Enable pointer shadow”
    • Click “Apply”
    • Click the “Pointer options” tab
    • Un-tick “Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box”
    • Un-tick “Display pointer trails”
    • Click “Apply” and then “Ok”

  5. Click “Start” and then click “Control panel”

    • Click the link “Performance and maintenance”
    • Click the link “Adjust visual effects”
    • Select the “Adjust for best performance” radio button
    • Click “Apply” and then click “Ok”

  6. Right click the “Start” button

    • Click “Properties” from the menu
    • Click the “Taskbar” tab
    • Un-tick “Auto-hide the taskbar”
    • Un-tick “Show quick launch”Un-tick “Show the clock”
    • Un-tick “Hide inactive icons”

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Free Tools - Windows Defender

24 July 2009

Windows Defender is included within Windows Vista and can be found by clicking “Start” on your taskbar and then clicking “All programs” and it's somewhere near the top.

Windows Defender by default runs in the background, however this can be turned off.

Windows Defender, again, is an anti spyware application.

If you're not running Windows Vista then you can also download Windows Defender for “Windows XP Service Pack 2” from www.download.com/Microsoft-Windows-Defender/3000-8022_4-55082.html?tag=mncol

If Windows Defender is not running in the background then it is worth running once a month as this will minimise any risks to your computer.

Upon opening the application search for updates and then run a full scan.

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Free Tools - Windows Firewall

23 July 2009

Since the launch of “Windows XP Service Pack 2” Windows has had a built in firewall, Windows Firewall.

To get to your firewall's settings click “Start”, then “Control Panel” and click “Windows firewall”.

Open the firewall's settings and make sure that it is turned on.

If applications you're trying to run don't work as you are expecting (such as Internet Explorer, or other programmes that need to connect to the Internet) then you can make sure that the application has permission to run or the Internet port is open for Internet activity.

To grant permission for a program - go to the “Exceptions” tab and click “Add program”.

Select the program from the list and then click “Ok”.

If the program is not found in the list then click the “Browse” button to locate the program your self.

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Free Tools - AML Registry Cleaner

22 July 2009

AML Registry Cleaner is another exceptional application to keep your computer in excellent condition.

Although the website doesn't look legitimate, I have used this application extensively on 4 different computers and it's now been several months and I have found no problems with any of them.

You can download AML Registry Cleaner from www.amltools.com/download/regcleaner.exe

Once downloaded please install and then run the application.

The application offers a registry back-up so that if anything does happen to go wrong for you - then you can restore your old settings with ease.

The registry cleaner will remove any registry entries that no longer exist, that contain errors or that are harmful to your computer.

You will be faced with a list of the registry entries that can be cleaned up.

If you know what you're doing then you should pick and chose from the list and remove the registry entries that you no longer need.

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