O’Reilly Bloggers

September 15th, 2011

If you blog, you can review books for O’Reilly Media. See oreilly.com/bloggers.

Why is my computer running so slow? Part 1

December 15th, 2009

The usual recommendation for slow computers is to buy more RAM. But is that really the problem? The performance tab in Windows Task Manger (Crtl-Alt-Del) gives some clues but the terms like “Total Commit Charge” are pretty hard to grasp. Even Googling the terms didn’t educate me much. I just found a good resource form Microsoft at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555223. It is still very technical but at least it tries to define terms and how they relate to slow computers. It suggests using Performance Monitor (Start > Administrative Tools > Performance) which can give quite a bit more information than Windows Task Manger.

What I learned so far is that the “Page File” is hard drive space that the computer uses when it runs out of RAM.

The “PF Usage” window on the Windows Task Manger performance tab shows graphically how much of the page file is in use. The lower the better. 70% is a slow computer. 90% is an almost frozen computer.

There’s a lot more to this subject. Stay tuned for:

  • How much RAM can I add?
  • How do I reduce Page File usage?
  • Why is my hard drive light on all the time when my computer is running slow?

Techniques for Balance

December 1st, 2009

I like this. Chicken soup for the busy person…

The express train to get through your day:

  • Solve it, decide about it, or cope with it. Don’t whine, don’t let it fester. Either correct what’s bothering you, make a decision about options facing you, or simply live with the issue. “To fret” is a rather archaic verb and a rather archaic response.
  • Never allow someone to claim “an hour of your time,” or “20 minutes of your time” for that matter. Agree to talk to them, but don’t commit to arbitrary time frames or the conversation will ineffably expand to fill the void.
  • Learn to say, “Sorry, no.” If someone says, “Got time for a quick question?” respond, “Sorry, no, bad time, try me later.” They’ll get their question answered elsewhere.
  • Never schedule back to back social or business meetings. You need time to reflect, to allow for traffic jams or surprises, and to prepare yourself for what’s coming. Endless meetings form a cincture that can squeeze the life out of you.
  • Do things when the spirit moves you whenever you can. If you feel like writing the article, or reading the book, or paying the bills, do it. You’re better, more motivated, and more efficient when you’re doing things “in the mood.”
  • Act only on patterns, not random events. Once is an accident, twice a coincidence, three times a pattern. Whether positive or negative, don’t bounce around in the feedback pinball machine. There is usually a systolic cadence to reliable issues and events.
  • Perform an act of unrequested good will. Hold a door, give up your seat, put $10 in the charity box, buy the coffee. Like working out, you’ll feel emotionally better for having done it.
  • Prepare yourself for experiences you know will be painful. It’s never going to be fun to call a credit card company’s customer service line, or to deal with the electric company, or try to cash in frequent flyer points. We all know this. Have a drink, get something to read, use your cell phone, and make the best of it. If you’re still getting upset at immigration procedures or airport security lines, it’s you who have the problem.
  • Ask yourself how your day went. Did you learn anything? Is the end of the day one of accomplishment and happiness, or frustration and lassitude? What should you change in the patterns?
  • Remember that the test of a true friend is that they’ll tell you when you have lettuce stuck in your teeth, as well as when you look better in an outfit than they do!

From Balancing Act: The Newsletter by Alan Weiss., PhD.

Using HTML in Blog Replies

November 8th, 2009

You can add italics to your comments by adding <i> before and </i> after the phrase you want to italicize.

So when you type “this is <i> very </i> important” in a reply, it looks like “this is very improtant” when it is published on the blog.

Other HTML codes work too. Thanks to Sharisax Is Out There for helping me figure that out.

Easy secure passwords

October 20th, 2009

This tip is worth passing on. From Andrew on Retrevo blog:
“I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR and they were interviewing Farhad Manjoo, Slate’s, technology columnist. Farhad described a very clever technique for creating a very secure password. It’s as simple as this; think of a phrase and then use the first letters of the words as your password. For example, “I work at Plug and Play Technologies in Sunnyvale,” so my password becomes “Iw@p&ptis” What could be simpler? As Farhad points out, “These mnemonic passwords are hard to forget, but they contain no guessable English words.””

Hello world!

October 13th, 2009

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!