Countdown to HDTV only

I know TV is not quite within the scope of computer advice, but I’ll branch out a bit with this short article. (I promise not to let it happen too often!)

Feb. 17th is the start of HDTV only broadcasts in the US. Check out https://www.dtv2009.gov/ for details.

If you’re planning on sticking with or even switching back to an antenna, here is a useful site that will help you pick the right one. http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

Want more information on HDTV vs SDTV? Check out Wikipedia’s page on HDTV.

Copy Protection & DRM

If you’re like me you’re a big fan of being able to take your music anywhere. If the rumors are true you will be able to get DRM free music from Apple iTunes soon. I’m at least hoping they do it.

Thanks lifehacker

UPDATE: It’s official iTunes is going DRM Free

8 Million songs now, 11 Million total by the end of the quarter

Also you can now download songs over 3G.

Automatically inserting dummy text into a Word document

Occasionally it is nice when you are laying out a new document to have some dummy filler text that will give you a basic idea of who the page will look once text has been entered. Unfortunately just typing something like “aaaaaa” will not give you the most accurate idea of how that will work.

In Microsoft’s newest version of Office for the PC, Office 2007, you can insert dummy text automatically. just type “=lorem()”

Now you can modify how much text is created by changing the variables “p” and “s” in the following example: “=lorem(p,s)”. In this case “p” stands for the number of paragraphs and “s” for the number of sentences you want in your dummy text.

Thanks to www.howtogeek.com for showing us this tip.

Speed up your computer!

As a computer technician, I often get asked to help people speed up their computers. Many people think it’s some kind of secret process or takes all kinds of special skills, but it really doesn’t, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Rather than try to write pages about how to do it, check out these few webpages from lifehacker.com that really explains how to speed up Windows.

Mythbusting: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths

Top 10: Top 10 Ways To Clean Up Your PC

One thing that I will add that wasn’t included in the Top 10 list or the Mythbusting is concerning Service Packs. Service Packs are released on a regular basis from Microsoft, as well as numerous other updates. They are worth installing for two main reasons. First, the Service Packs can improve performance issues (example: Vista). Second, getting a virus or some other form of malware is an easy way to slow down your computer, and Service Packs and updates from Microsoft along with virus protection and safe internet usage and downloading can help prevent security problems from malware.

And finally, if you are dealing with a stability issue, you can always check if there are updates avaliable for your computer’s hardware. Occasionally the hardware manufacturer will realize that the original software they released needs improvement for many possible reasons, and they will release an update. Frequently they can help, but like Windows updates and Service Packs they can also cause problems. For the scientist’s who might read this blog, it’s like how certain chemicals are fine by themselves but when combined with others, they can create a lethal or toxic combination.

BONUS TIP: BACKUP ALL IMPORTANT FILES! before making any changes to your computer and just on a regular basis. It will save you heartache, the only question is when it will.