Category Archives: Software

  • 1

Cleaning and Organizing your Computer

It is a good idea to think of your PC as an office. It stores files, programs, pictures. This can be compared to an actual office’s files, machines and decorations. The operating system is the boss. With this image in mind, think of an office you’ve visited that was slow and inefficient. There were probably many different reasons for the inefficiency. This is the same with a computer. There can be many items that slow down your computer. Perhaps the one most commonly overlooked is disorganization and clutter.

Disk Cleanup

An office can accumulate a lot of unnecessary files, machines, and decorations. This is the same with your computer. One of the best ways to keep this clutter under control is to perform a cleaning utility periodically. In Windows this cleaning utility will be called a “disk cleanup.” It removes a variety of unnecessary files depending on the options you have selected.

To perform a disk cleanup on Windows XP you can simply click on “my computer” under the start menu. Than right click on your “c drive” or “hard disk” and choose properties. Than click “disk cleanup” and follow the prompts. When selecting files to clean up, or delete, Windows will give you information to help you decide. When looking over the list of file types, you would simple click on the name of the file type and read the description placed below in the description area. This will let you know if the files can be safely deleted. To select the file group just check the box next to the group name. When finished selecting press “OK” to finish.

Now, performing a disk cleanup is not very time consuming, just a couple minutes, and it may save more time in the end by making your computer run faster. However, a disk cleanup should be run periodically rather than just once in a great while. One way to make this run periodically is to make it a scheduled task. This will allow your computer to run it automatically with intervals and time of day determined by you. Yet, you can always run it yourself periodically without creating a scheduled task.

Add or Remove Programs

The information given above can help you get rid of some unnecessary files, but you may also need to clean out some unnecessary programs as well. This can be done using the “add or remove programs” utility in Windows. This is located in the control panel and lists all of your currently installed programs along with an option to uninstall them. It is a good idea to browse through the add or remove programs utility every once in a while just to make sure that all programs are of usefulness.

If there are programs listed that are no longer used, you can simply highlight the program and click the uninstall button. Windows will than begin the process to uninstall the program. In most cases, to finish uninstalling a program, it is wise to restart your computer. This will dump and files that are held temporarily.

The add or remove programs utility is very useful, but not all of the programs are listed up front. Programs that come pre-installed on your computer and the Windows operating system can also be uninstalled. For instance, Outlook Express is a default e-mail program that comes with the Windows XP operating system. If you do not use this e-mail program you can uninstall it. Click “add or remove windows components” found in the add or remove programs utility and simply follow the instructions.

Defragment

Many offices contain a large number of files and programs that are valuable and cannot be thrown away. In fact, they may contain files that are not even used, but still have to be retained for some reason. Although these files must remain in the office, they need to be organized. This is why we create file folders that hold groups of files that are related. Than we store them in cabinets that are arranged in alphabetic order.

In a computer, the files that are saved are placed on the hard drive. However, they are placed according to the time that they were saved. So, if you open a word document and save the file as “file A” and than open another document and save it as “file B”, you have a “file A” placed next to “file B.” This is fine, but if you open “file A” later on and save it again, than the added information is saved next to “file B.”

When files are broken up this way it is referred to as a fragmented file. This means that the computer must find the first part of the file and then find the second part of the file to open that one word document. This can make your computer run slower. However, Windows has created a utility that is meant to rearrange files so that they are no longer fragmented but sit right next to each other.

You can run the disk defragmenter by selecting “all programs” under the start button. Next, select “accessories” and “system tools” and you will see “disk defragmenter.” In fact, this is also an alternative way to select the disk cleanup mentioned earlier. Before starting the defragmenter you can analyze your hard drive to see if Windows recommends performing the defragmenter. It will either say that you should or should not defragment at this time.

If you need to defragment your computer, simply hit the defragment button. It may take your computer a while to finish this task depending on the speed of your computer and the amount of defragmented files. It could take from about 15-30 minutes or more. However, you can still use the computer while the disk defragmenter is working.


  • 0

How to Find Information Online

With so many different ways today to find information online, it can sometimes be hard to know where to go to first. I want to look at the major and most effective ways to find information online.
The biggest and most commonly used method is to use a search engine such as Google or Bing. All  of these search engines offer similar features. Text search, Image search, Local search, Product search, are a few of the services they offer. It used to be only a few years ago where Google dominated the Search Engine market. Due largely to the fact that their search technology was the most advanced. Because of the huge investment other companies have put into their search technology, it’s getting harder and harder every day to say which one is really the best. With this in mind I think it comes down more now to which company do you prefer or which layout you like the most.

Another method used to find information is through what is called a Web Directory. Web directories will usually either be relative or general:

Relative – A relative web directory will contain information and links to websites that are all to do with one topic. An example would be a Weight Loss directory that contains only information and links to sites that have something to do with Weight Loss.

General – A general web directory is a site that will contain links and information to do with all types of categories. It will usually be arranged topically to allow ease of use in finding exactly what you want. The biggest and one of the most used directories is dmoz.org, which contains links and information to thousands of different sites, all arranged into categories.

I would recommend checking out a few of these sites, and really trying them out for yourself to see which one will be suit your needs. I’ve found that each site can be used most effectively in different situations. Happy information finding!


  • 1

Computer Slow? Fix It Yourself!

Why does it seem like every time you get a new computer it operates at lightning fast speeds for only a few months before becoming slow and laborious over its tasks? Is this just something that we have to live with or can we do something to keep our computers running at optimum speeds?

The truth is that computers do not get slower as they age. A slow computer is a sign that something is literally holding your PC back and affecting its performance. And the good news is that you can do something about it.

There are many things that can affect your computer’s performance, from low memory to a fragmented hard drive and everything in between. The small errors or resource-heavy programs that can affect your computer’s performance are usually of your own doing. Each time we download a program or delete a program, we affect the way our computer operates. This change in operation can leave holes in our PCs operating procedures or may even leave behind programs that can affect our computer’s performance.

Here are just a few things that could be making your computer slow:

· Running Background Programs – These programs are software applications that are running behind the scenes even when they are not in use. You may not even know that they are running, but they can zap precious memory and slow down your other tasks considerably. To see if you have programs running in the background, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete at the same time. The box that pops up will show you all applications that are running.

· Full Hard Drive – If your hard drive is too full of data, it will not have enough space to perform chores. Your hard drive should have at lease 2GB to 3GB in free space.

· Fragmented Hard Drive – When you download and delete programs, you create holes in your hard drive. These holes mean that your PC has to search for the files it needs over greater distance and not necessarily in the order that it needs them.

· Left Over Parts – When you install and uninstall Windows programs, they leave behind parts or applications that can slow down your computer. You may even unknowingly delete a file needed for other software applications. (Note: Spyware and viruses can also slow down your PC’s performance, but for the purpose of this article we are assuming that the problem lies in application errors.)

Make Your PC Run Like New

While it’s not rocket science, making your computer lightning fast once again will take a little work from you. Sometimes, this is as easy as running your Windows System Tools program. You can find these programs by clicking “start,” “all programs,” “accessories,” and “system tools.” Here you will find several system optimizers to help you free up your disk space, defragment your PC, and detect and repair disk errors.

In addition to tools already installed on your PC, you can opt to download additional programs to optimize your computer’s performance. These optimizers can be either  purchased as a set or downloaded for free individually off the web. These optimizers, along with other software programs can help you get the best out of your computer. Here are just a few of the extra optimization programs that you may want for your PC:

· Memory Optimizer – When you are using your computer, it takes several programs and application to handle everything that you are doing. Each of these programs uses memory. When memory is short, computer response time is slow. Memory Optimizer helps to make the allotment of memory to each program more efficient. This can help you eliminate slow PC execution time, Windows hang up or crashing, loss of data and unwanted shutdowns.

· Registry Deffrager and Optimizer – As mentioned before, a registry with holes results in slow response times as your PC searches for the data it needs. This program improves the system response time and saves memory by creating a smaller registry.

· Windows Optimizer – We all use our computers differently. Some use their computer as a media and entertainment centerpiece while others use their PC for data storage and business purposes. Windows Optimizer allows you to tweak program settings so that they will perform in line with your needs.

Granted, a slow computer is a nuisance and it may leave you wanting to go out and purchase a new model. But before you give up on your current model, make sure that you have optimized it first. You may be surprised by how much life is still in your PC.


  • 0

What is Adware?

Category : Software

Adware is advertising delivered directly to your computer. Generally, a program puts ads on the screen at some regular interval. In some cases, this program can be installed without the user’s knowledge, but not always. Many programs clearly state on install that “this program is supported by advertising, and if you turn off the advertising, you also shut down the program.”

Adware tends to be a “grey area” in the malware family. Yes, it can run without the user’s knowledge, and yes, it can bog down the system (especially when the adware program goes online to retrieve new ads to display). At the same time, adware is generally more open about what it does, giving the user the choice to install the program the adware is attached to.

Adware is most often tied into Internet Explorer somehow. The ads that appear are browser windows.

When it’s installed above-board, adware is generally accepted by the internet community as a valid marketing system, even though it can include elements of spyware (ie, it tracks information, and uses that information to deliver targeted ads to the user). If one user of a system installs adware on a system, and another user is then tracked, then the program crosses the line from adware to spyware–because the second user is being tracked without their consent.

Some other forms of adware have used sneaky programming tricks to hide or cover website advertising. For example, an adware program can read an incoming website, and learn the location of a banner ad on that page. Then, the program can use that information to put an ad of it’s own in the exact same spot, hiding the legitimate ad. This deceptive use of adware is often called “stealware” because it steals the advertising space from the original website.


  • 0

AirPrint on Any Printer!

Category : Software

In this project, I will show you how to make ANY printer in your house AirPrint Compatible. AirPrint is the service that allows all of the i-Devices to print to an actual printer without having to put the file on Google docs and print it from there. So Lets get to it!

What you Need:

  • iTunes 10.1 or better
  • A Windows PC (Preferably Windows 7, as this is what the tutorial is written for)
  • A Printer that is installed on the computer

How to do this:

  1. Be Sure that you are an administrator on your computer. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User accounts, and on the right hand side, you will see a box with your account information. Make sure that it says Administrator under your name.
  2. Make your printer Shared. Go to Devices and Printers, and Right Click on the printer you want to make AirPrint Compatible, and click Printer Properties. Then Click the ‘Printer Properties’ Option That will bring up a window, and you want to click the tab on the top that says sharing. Check both checkboxes, and click apply.
  3. Now go to My Computer > C Program Files (x86), and create a new folder there called AirPrint with the same capitalization as I wrote it.
  4. Download AirPrint.zip from Here and unzip it into the c:/Program Files (x86)/ Airprint Folder
  5. Click the start Menu, and type cmd tn the search box and press enter. This will bring up a command prompt window
  6. Type sc.exe create AirPrint binPath=”C:\Program Files (x86)\AirPrint\airprint.exe -R _ipp._tcp,_universal -s” depend= “Bonjour Service” start=auto sc.exe start AirPrint

You will see a little bit of flashing on the screen, and there will be a firewall window coming up. You want to click Allow Access.
Now go onto your iPad. Go to Photos > Export (The Box with an arrow)>Print, and you should see your printer there!
Happy Printing!


  • 0

Musical Floppy Drives

Musical Floppy Drive
In this project, I took an old floppy drive, and created a musical instrument out of it. 
The entire theme of the project is based off of arduino and a floppy drive. 
more details to come!


  • 0

Raspberry Pi FM Transmitter

In this project, I turned my raspberry pi into a fully featured FM transmitter that allows you to broadcast on any frequency. 
What you need:
Raspberry Pi

Ethernet cord to connect to your internet connection

A relatively long length of wire

That’s it! Now lets get started!
Connect the wire that you have to GPIO pin 4 of your raspberry pi. Here is the pinout of the Pi GPIO:Look for the 4

Put the wire on the pin that says “4”
Boot up your Pi and connect to it via SSH with Putty. 
Type “wget www.icrobotics.co.uk/wiki/images/c/c3/Pifm.tar.gz” (Pay attention to capitalization)(Without the quotes)
Type “ls”, that is LS in lowercase
Type “tar -xvf Pifm.tar.gz”
You are done with the software apsect of the initialization, now onto using the software!
To play the fie “sound.wav”, type sudo ./pifm sound.wav 100.1
To play the sound on a different frequency, change the ending number, like sudo ./pifm sound.wav 102.5
To upload your own files to play, convert the files specifically to the following factorsUpload the files to the root directory of your pi and change the sound.wav to the name of your one-word file. 
PCM Uncompressed

22050 Hertz

.wav

Happy Broadcasting!
By the way, the FCC permits low-power transmitters like the one you made here. 


  • 0

Thewbot!

Category : Projects , Software

Say Hello to Thewbot!

Thewbot is our own Artificial Intelligence Help Bot


Thewbot was created based on the A.L.I.C.E. Artificial Intelligence Framework and has been expanding ever since its incarnation in 2012. Thewbot is still not complete, though. It is always learning. Please correct the bot if it says something back to you that does not make a lot of sense. I try to do my best, but I can never predict just what A person will say to the robot. So challenge the robot– ask it tough questions! The robot can only get better here on out.


  • 0

No Cost Reprogrammable Percussion Pad

Category : Hardware , Software

I built this helpful percussion assistant on one Saturday morning. It is a real help, and it encompasses a $600 percussion synthesizer that you would find at a music store. This device has a lot more freedom for programming and how many pads you can have on the unit.

Materials:

  1. An old keyboard (ps2/usb doesn’t matter)
  2. a music stand
  3. duct tape
  4. cardboard
  5. screwdriver
  6. paper towels

Got everything together? Let’s get started!
Procedure:

  1. Designate how many pads you want. (I have 22)
  2. mark the keys that you want to place a pad on
  3. Take apart the keyboard until you see the backs of the keys.
  4. Pop out every other key that you didn’t mark. 
  5. Reassemble the keyboard.
  6. cut pieces of cardboard to fill the regions that you marked for a pad to be. 
  7. Take the paper towel and fold it hamburger style twice.
  8. cut the paper towels to fill the pads you cut and duct tape over the paper towel onto the pad.
  9. attatch the pad to the key that you didn’t punch out with duct tape. 
  10. attatch down the corners, bt be sue that they aren’t too tight to where the button is always pushed down. 
  11. download fleximusic orchestra from here: Download FlexiMusic Orchestra Mar2004
  12. Place a MIDI sound over each of the buttons that you designated a pad on.
  13. Click the drum option and pick a sound.
  14. Repeat this for each pad.
  15. Plug in your keyboard into the computer and click the on button in the top left corner of fleximusic orchestra
  16. Attach your drum pad to the music stand with duct tape.

And that’s it! You can play the pad as if it were another drum!