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Artifacting While Playing 3D Games 

by on December 29, 2006

Q: I am having a lot of problems with my games artifacting (pieces of the graphics staying on the screen when they should not). I took it to a local tech, but they promptly uninstalled most of my programs and told me that would fix it. Well it might have, but I couldn’t use my computer without my programs so I reinstalled them. I have updated my graphics drivers but that did nothing to help the problem either.

A: One of the biggest causes for artifacting in games is overheating, especially if it is happening with many different games. Make sure the cooling fan on your video card is spinning, and that the video card and other components are free of dust. If you are still having a problem, you might want to try running your PC with the side open and having a box fan blow air into it. If you still notice a problem then the card may be defective. Try another video card or contact the manufacturer if the card is still under warranty.


Copying Files From An Old Hard Drive 

by on December 28, 2006

Q: I have a hard drive that was the master in another computer, before the processor quit. Now that I have a new computer (with its own master hard drive) I would like to install the old hard drive to get the files off of it. The problem is, the files that I need to retrieve were either on the desktop or in My Documents and I am not sure how to go about locating these files.

A: The files you’re looking for are still available on your old hard drive. The trick is knowing where to look. If you’re running Windows XP, the default path for My Documents is X:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\My Documents. You should find your old desktop at X:\Documents and Settings\{Username}\Desktop. Change X to whatever the drive letter is for your old slave drive, and replace {username} with what your username was on the old Windows install.


Setting Up A Laptop Email Client For Multiple Locations 

by on December 27, 2006

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I take my laptop with me to work and when I try to send e-mail using Microsoft Outlook I have to change my outgoing mail server since my job has a different ISP. When I get home I have to change it back so that I can send mail from there. Is there any way to keep from having to constantly change my outgoing mail server?

A: Yes, Microsoft Outlook has a feature called ‘profiles’ which can take care of this problem. You can read more about it, including instructions at this web page.


Free Utilities To Convert PowerPoint Presentations To Video 

by on December 26, 2006

Q: How can I play a PowerPoint presentation as a movie without buying any products? I would like to convert the PowerPoint presentation to a video so I can burn it to a DVD and watch it on my TV using a DVD player.

A: There is a utility from Microsoft called Microsoft Producer that’s free. It does exactly what you are looking to do by converting it to an MPEG, which you can then use any DVD burning application to convert and burn the video so that it plays on a standalone player.

The only requirement is that you are a licensed user in either PowerPoint 2002 or PowerPoint 2003.


Received “You’re infected” E-mail 

by on December 26, 2006

Q: On my Yahoo webmail I received an email simply saying, “You’re infected”, no originating address or any other information. I deleted it. Was this the best procedure to follow? What do you suggest I do in this kind of situation?

A: This is a SPAM mail that likely was trying to exploit your browser through JavaScript or other embedded code. Typically these messages will have a reference embedded that’s undetectable (such as a single pixel of white) that also points to some nasty code on a server somewhere on the Internet.

With that being said, Yahoo should strip this kind of attack out of the message provided it’s not a “Zero Day Exploit”; meaning that the attack is brand new.

As always delete messages from people that you don’t recognize (especially those without a subject line that makes sense) without opening them. Keep your computer free of viruses and spyware with regular updates and scans, and continuously patch your Windows system with the latest security updates. Combine all of that with a software firewall and a router (if you are on Broadband) and you should be able to limit your exposure while surfing the Internet and checking your e-mail.


Why Are Some Websites Different Widths? 

by on December 22, 2006

Q: I upgraded from a 17″ to a 19″ monitor. When I go to some websites there is about a 4″ wide strip on the right of the screen that has nothing on it. However, when I go to other websites the screen is completely covered with information. Why does this happen?

A: All web pages are designed differently. Some web page authors will use % constraints (i.e. My page will take up 90% of available screen size) where others will hard set the resolution for viewing so they will take up X number of pixels no matter how large your screen is. With your newfound monitor you have a higher resolution, which means you can fit more data on your screen. This is why pages that are set to only show X number of pixels have extra space around them as you have seen.


AOL OpenRide Or 9.0 Security Edition And AOL Suite 

by on December 21, 2006

Q: I want to download the new free AOL software, but what one would I download, the security one or the new OpenRide one. I have wireless, and wanted to know if they are any good.

A: According to the FAQ on AOL’s Website:

What is the Difference Between AOL OpenRide and the previously released AOL software, 9.0 Security Edition and AOL® Suite?With AOL OpenRide software, all your internet applications – email, address book, instant messaging, Web browsing, search, and media player, are combined in one integrated program, and displayed with a 4-pane user interface that keeps them all in front of you for easy access. AOL OpenRide also does not require the user to sign in to AOL before browsing the web or playing media. With AOL 9.0 Security Edition and earlier versions, all of your online functions are combined into a single integrated product, but the user interface allows them to be layered on the screen. AOL 9.0 and earlier versions also required the user to sign in to the AOL® service before using the software.Like AOL Suite, AOL OpenRide is a set of integrated internet applications, and includes some of the new application features that were included in AOL Suite. However, with AOL OpenRide, the integrated applications are organized in a quad pane design that keeps them all within easy reach on your screen.

Basically OpenRide is a revamp of the interface. If you really want to use AOL software I would recommend going with the latest version which is OpenRide.


Options For Internet Security 

by on December 19, 2006

Q: What other programs besides Norton Internet Security provide online privacy protection – keep your email address, or other information from being sent?
Many sites try to snag your email or other information, the privacy part of NIS blocks this. Do any other programs block this?

A: Most of the major anti virus vendors have packages similar to this. McAfee has a 10-in-1-protection package you can try that provides similar protection.

On another note, you should be aware a lot of these security suites are very resource intensive and invasive to day-to-day PC activity. My recommendations for a clean system with minimal expenditures is:

1. A nice lightweight antivirus solution (My preference is Nod32 from ESET Software). Set it up to update every few hours, and schedule nightly automated scans of your system.

2. A software firewall (Zone Alarm, even the free edition works well) that’s configured to block traffic you didn’t initiate.

3. Surf behind a router (and don’t use the DMZ mode on routers, it negates the protection it offers you) with limited (or ideally no) port forwarding.

4. Download and install Spybot Search and Destroy. Once it’s installed, update it off the servers and then proceed to immunize your PC and scan for spyware. Do this weekly. (Note: Spybot is free)

That should provide a safe surfing environment, while keeping the bloat ware off your system.


Multiple Computers Sharing One Internet Connection 

by on December 18, 2006

Q: We have a computer that is connected to a broadband Internet connection and I am thinking of getting a computer for my room but I want both of the computers to be able to access the Internet. If I get a router, is it possible to be paying for one Internet connection while having two computers use it? Also will a router split the half the speed to each computer?

A: A router will allow you to easily share the single connection between two computers (or even more if you want). It will not cut the Internet speed in half, however you will be in contention for the bandwidth if both of you are using it at the same time.

For example, if right now you download at 1000Kb/s when you are plugged in. After you install the router, you will still download at the same speed. However, if your computer and the other computer are both downloading from fast sites you might both see around 500Kb/s throughput.

For the most part you won’t notice a difference unless both computers are downloading heavily. Even then with today’s broadband speeds it shouldn’t affect you too much.


Replace The CPU In My Laptop 

by on December 15, 2006

Q: I have a Dell laptop and want to know if I can put a Dual-Core chip in it. Sorry I am not savvy in this field, but my PC runs so slow, and I want to speed it up.

A: Unfortunately no. Most laptops (yours included) do not allow for CPU upgrades; you essentially have to purchase an entirely new laptop to take advantage of the latest technologies.

With that said there are a few things you can do to improve performance on your system:

1. Upgrade the RAM! More memory will make a large difference in how long it takes to boot, load applications, and how fast the computer responds to your commands in general.

2. Defragment that hard drive! Go to C: in My Computer and right click it. Select “Properties” then click on the “Tools”. From here you will want to click on the “Defragment now…” button. You will receive a few prompts after clicking the button; simply follow the prompts to initiate the defragmentation of your hard drive.

That should help increase your performance, however if you have already done this and you need more speed your only option really is to purchase a new computer.