New Year’s Resolutions (For Computer Users)

computer resolutions for usersIt’s that time of year again.  We are deep in the holiday season and the New Year is only hours away.  Resolutions are being prepared and contemplated by many, and unfortunately most will break their goals at some point over the next 365 days.  The following are some easy-to-follow resolutions which will improve your technical experience for those of you who use your computer on a regular basis:

1)      Back Up Your Data

Backing up important files is crucial to their safety.  Unforeseen catastrophes can occur at a moment’s notice, and the time to consider data storage isn’t after it has been compromised.  There are simple cloud-based internet solutions as well as physical external hard drives which almost always cost under $100.  It is recommended that you backup your mission-critical files once per week.

2)      Delete/Organize Files

Old files can clutter computer memory like boxes in an attic.  Take some time to sift through old files, organize the important ones and eliminate the irrelevant.  Your computer will thank you, and you will see faster speeds and increased memory available.

3)      Email Management

Similar to organizing computer files, it is a good idea to sort out email inbox messages.  Spam and automated newsletters can clutter an inbox and use a ton of memory- manage your account by organizing important messages and deleting spam and old email addresses from your contact list.

4)      Protect Against Viruses

Machines are always susceptible to virus infections.  It is vitally crucial that you ensure your computer is protected from malware and other harmful bugs that can creep into your system and corrupt files.  Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and be weary of suspicious emails or alert messages on the monitor.

5)      Ensure Wireless Network Security

Hackers can easily gain access to your personal information, files and other private material if your wireless network is not properly secured.  Come up with an extensive password and put it in a safe location.  Older routers are easier to hack than more recent models, so do a bit of research to see if an upgrade may be a good decision for the new year.

6)      Keep Your Computer Cool

Computers run most efficiently in cooler environments.  Be certain that your ventilation system to the machine is free of dust (wiping parts down with a soft cloth or using a can of compressed air are good options) and running cleanly.  If you use a laptop, propping it on a stand to let the underside cool and ventilate is a great option.

7)      Try Something New

Switch it up.  Most computer users get familiar with a program or software and stick to it for as long as they can.  In the New Year, challenge yourself to utilize a new browser such as Google’s Chrome or download a different social media platform.  It can be rewarding to try new things!

8)      Spend Time Away

As much as we love to talk about computers, it is important to not let your life revolve around them.  Remember that these machines are only here to aid our work and entertain us- so don’t let them become your life.  Do some outdoor activities, spend more time with your family, or perhaps just limit your time spent in front of the glowing screen each day.

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Project Spotlight: Vision Brothers Construction

Custom Website BuildiPoint recently designed a unique and interactive website for Vision Brothers Construction.  The first and probably most attention-grabbing aspect of the site is the homepage.  We developed an interactive menu using images that resize and crop according to where the mouse is hovered.  This visually captivating element allows the user to clearly navigate the website while viewing clean-cut images of the company’s past construction projects.  It is a great add-on to the site, and a must-have for businesses that want to bring attention to their work.  Below are some screenshots of the homepage and how it changes when the cursor hovers over an image:

Vision Brothers Construction Vision Brothers Construction

The website is also responsive.  This means that the webpages will format differently according to the specific device in which they are being viewed.  Navigation is simplified and the layout is restructured across mobile phones, laptops, tablets and PC devices.

Image uploading on the administrator side is also very seamless and easy to use.  Image files which are uploaded to the gallery are automatically resized and cropped to fit within the thumbnail parameters, creating a consistent feel across the entire media gallery.

Vision Brothers are also an Ultimate SEO client.  This mid-grade package provides all the necessary optimization measures to get their website ranked across a number of keyword terms specific to the construction industry.  Within the first week of launching their SEO campaign, Vision Brothers received over 300 unique visits to their website, which is phenomenal.  Check out the Vision Brother’s custom home builder website.

Work Performed:

-Website Design

-SEO

-Hosting

-Responsive

-Custom Image Gallery

Cold Weather Effects on Computers

avoid frozen computerSince the weather lately has been so excruciatingly cold, it seemed fitting to write a post on the effects that excessive cold can have on computers- laptops in particular.  Computers generally fare well in low-temperature environments because they naturally produce a lot of heat when in operation.  It is when the environment is excessively cold or when they are quickly transferred from a frigid to warm environment that internal damage can occur.

Have you ever noticed the fog that develops on the surface of a CD or pair of sunglasses when you bring them indoors after they have been sitting outside in the cold all night?  The same concept happens to the internal mechanics of a laptop computer.  Condensation can develop on the hard drive surface or circuit board interface which may lead to some nasty short-circuiting when the device is booted up.  This is especially true for more environments with high humidity.

Disk drives can also be affected by extreme winter conditions.  Most laptops today utilize FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearings) opposed to the traditional ball bearings in their disk drives.  The advantage of FDB is that they produce less noise and are able to rotate at a higher velocity.  However, the fluid in these drives can thicken as the temperature dips below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  This causes the platter to spin at a lower speed and may cause boot-up failure, further damaging the machine.

The laptop screen and display tube can also become compromised in the cold.  LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Device, and they follow suit with FDB’s when the temperature drops low enough – it can actually freeze the innards of the screen display and dim the fluorescent tube backlight in severe conditions.  These are only temporary effects, but should be avoided as it may shorten the life of the device’s display.

There are two simple options to avoid all of the above dilemmas.  The most obvious is to avoid exposing your laptop to these harsh conditions (i.e. leaving it in the car overnight).  If this has happened, do not worry.  Be sure to warm the laptop up before you try and reboot it from a long frosty night.  This can be done by sliding the machine into a laptop sleeve, or simply allowing it to warm in an acclimated environment for 10-20 minutes so that the internal components revert back to their normal state.  Chances are that if the laptop feels room temperature to the touch, then it should be OK to go ahead and boot up without damage.