Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tech Column: Four Easy New Year's Computer Resolutions

by Bill Adler

If you want a better performing, more secure computer you can spend several hundred dollars on a new one. Or you can enhance your PC with some tweaks and tips. Here are four for the new year:

Ditch your current ant-virus software and install the totally free Microsoft Security Essentials. You don't have to if you want to keep paying an annual fee to Symantec, McAfee or another company. Once installed, Microsoft Security Essentials is a set-it-and-forget-it program: It will do its duty totally without any human intervention (including entering in your credit card number once a year). Download this gem from Microsoft at http://bit.ly/vOEugL.

Install the Adblock add-on to Firefox or Chrome. Not only does blocking ads make your computer more secure, but it also makes pages load faster. No ads load, so you get right to the meat of what you want to see. The Firefox extension is here: http://bit.ly/uoaao7, and you can download Adblock for Chrome here: http://bit.ly/vr14td

Replace your router. Routers matter and if you're spending your life on the Internet, the fastest router with the greatest range will make your life happier. On the advice of Gizmodo I recently upgraded to the Netgear N900, http://amzn.to/uMz0Cu . The N900's range is about 60 percent greater than my previous router's range (it reaches the entire house, yay!), and it's faster, too.

Back up in the cloud. Seriously. Losing stuff isn't a matter of if, but when. I've experimented with a range of online backup services including Carbonite and Mozy. The best one out there is Crashplan, www.crashplan.com: It's truly unlimited backup. And if the worst happens and your computer does the ultimate crash, Crashplan can send you your data on a hard drive. You can also back up to a designated friend's hard drive. (The backups are encrypted so your friend won't be peeking at your stuff.)

Happy safe and healthy computing in 2012!


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft. He tweets at @billadler.

1 comment:

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