Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Getting Your Pirated Films to Your Living Room

Written by Karl Bode

As we mentioned Monday, there's a push from hardware vendors like Netgear & D-Link to provide consumers with devices that can stream the content they've downloaded from their PC to their living room, stunted in part by the delay of getting the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard to market. Apple meanwhile promises their iTV service will do the same thing starting in 2007, and Microsoft offers their solution now with their Xbox 360 Media Extender. There's obviously a slew of home-brew options available as well, from modding a first-gen Xbox to MythTV - but the real money will be made by offering a simple device aimed at Joe User.

However thanks to DRM and other industry fears there remains disconnects when it comes to how well many of these mainstream solutions work. Netgear and D-Link's solutions still use 802.11g, making them impractical for users who move a high-volume of high definition content. Microsoft's solution requires the purchase of an Xbox360; impractical for non-gamers. Apple hopes to grab the common man's attention in this market.

But telcos, cable providers, and DBS providers are getting into the game as well, and probably have the best shot at cornering the market, provided they don't shoot themselves in the foot by offering crippled units. Over the next several years AT&T users will get either U-Verse IPTV service or the hybrid DSL/DBS Homezone device. Verizon recently unveiled their multi-room DVR, which the company promises will someday allow the transmission of media from PC to living room.

Now today we're noticing that DirecTV is teaming up with Intel to create the "DirecTV Plus HD DVR" (not to be confused with the new HR20-250), a device that will tie your DirecTV service to a Viiv enabled PC. The company announced yesterday that software updates will turn existing DVRs into digital media adapters. This is coming from a company that for the longest time has forced users to update their DVRs via copper phone line, instead of letting them simply use the included ethernet jack.

The question with all of these services is just how locked down they'll be as the companies struggle with digital rights management. Will customers only be able to view DRM'd content? Will the units allow customers to browse all Internet content freely, or only content from marketing partners (the current case with AT&T's Homezone)? The simplest solution, offering the greatest freedom to consumers, will obviously bring home the mainstream streaming crown. What's your preferred solution?

46 Things I Wish My Mom Taught Me About Money

By Lisa Laprade

Back in the day when I was growing up, my mom taught me all of those
little things that any young lady should know: How to sew a button on a
shirt, knit a scarf, clean a house from top to bottom, and so on. I
thought she had covered everything, but she left out two things that
ended up being of great importance- cooking and money.

As I approach 40, I still can’t make my way around a kitchen, but I did teach myself to make a mean macaroni and cheese, as well as quite a bit about money and finance. Personal finance can sometimes seem maddingly complex, but it doesn't have to be; knowledge of some basic principles will make your life much, much easier.

The Very Basics

  • Spend Less than You Earn.
    This may seem like a bit of common sense to many, but it really is an issue when it comes to trying to save money. The term “Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget” comes from this area of finances, as there are hundreds of thousands of folks that just spend way more money than they bring in, with the help of credit cards, car payments and other personal loans from financial institutions that see you as nothing more than a dollar sign. Cutting spending habits and/or aiming for a large pay increase are the only two options available to help you.

  • Pay Yourself First.
    Financial expert David Bach, author of Start Late, Finish Rich tells everyone to throw out the dreaded “family budget” for this simple reason: It doesn’t work- if it did we’d all be doing it and we’d all be rich. According to Bach, as long we all save a percentage of our pay each month, what the rest is spent on really doesn’t matter. If you “Pay Yourself First”, meaning that before you sit down to pay your monthly expenses, pay yourself in savings/retirement the equivalent of one hour per work-day (or 12.5%) before anything else.

Buying a House/Mortgages

  • Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage before You Begin House Hunting.

    When you put in a bid on a house, the seller looks at more than the amount you are willing to pay. The seller will give more consideration to a lower bid amount that is already pre-approved by the bank than a higher bid without definite financial backing.

  • Pay Your Mortgage First. Sure, your credit can go through the
    ringer, but you’ll at least have a roof over your head. Many
    first-time buyer programs require you to attend classes taught by
    financial experts, and this is one of the first things they will tell

  • Always Try to Pay More than the Minimum Mortgage Payment.
    By paying one additional principle and interest payment (mortgage payment minus any escrow payments) onto your mortgage balance each year, you will knock 7 years off the life of your note. It all adds up- to a lot!

Credit & Debt

  • Don’t Try to Keep Up with the Joneses.
    Yes, the Joneses next door might have a colossal house, landscaped backyard with a kidney-shaped, in ground pool and two 9-series BMW’s parked in the driveway, but they also might have $40,000 in credit card debt and owe on their three cars. Giving into social pressures as an excuse to buy elaborate items is nothing short of silly.

  • Pay Off Credit Cards Before Other Debts.

    The world of compounded interest is alive and well within the credit card industries. While these companies love it when you only pay the minimum, paying a more than the minimum, no matter how much, is better than nothing at all.

  • Know that Credit Scores Affect More Than Interest Rates.
    If your score is less than 620, not only will you pay significantly more money for mortgages and other types of loans, but also more for your insurances. Your car, life and auto policy premiums will all reflect your credit. An adverse score may also keep you from leasing an apartment, or getting your dream job.

  • Keep Credit Card Balances Below Half of the Credit Limit.

    Credit cards below the 50% mark create higher marks on credit reports than those past the half waypoint of the limit. Continuously “maxing-out” you credit cards is considered to be almost as bad as a few late payments.

  • Always Pay Credit Card Bills on Time.
    Not only will you have to pay a late fee (as much as $35) for not making your credit card payment on time, but that new fee could put you over your credit limit, which would, in turn, warrant another fee added to your balance. And don’t forget that your interest rate will most likely increase after all of these tiny instances, which will take it even harder for you to get rid of the balance.


  • Community College Credits Transfer to Big-Name, 4-Year Universities.
    By hitting the college books at a close to home locale, not only are you saving money on the courses, you’re saving a bundle on room & board. After an associate degree is attained from your local CC, transfer the credits to your dream school- your bachelors degree will contain the name of your beloved higher learning institute, and you’ll have saved over $50,000.

  • Take Advantage of National College Savings Programs for FREE Money.
    U-Promise, among others, is a medium between corporate moneymakers looking for tax breaks and you, the consumer looking for ways to save money for college for yourself or your kids. Take advantage of it, but don’t be sucked into buying items that you won’t use, don’t need, or are more expensive than you normally buy. If you habitually buy the soda brand that’s on sale at the supermarket, don’t not-buy it because of the U-Promise tag- it’s just not worth it.

General Spending

  • Avoid the 20% “Fool’s Tax”- Don’t Buy a Brand New Vehicle.
    As soon as you drive a brand new vehicle off the lot, it’s value drops 10-15%. Depending on the make and model of the car, the depreciation will continue to drop an additional 10% by year’s end and each year after for the next two years. By purchasing a previously owned or leased vehicle either a year or two old, you’ll still have a quality auto with available warranty while letting someone else take the major financial hit.

  • Buy Certain Everyday Items Used.

    DVD’s, CD’s, books and sports equipment can each cost significantly less bought used than if purchased new. If you don’t have a good used book or CD shop nearby, there are thousands of them on the Internet. Of course, you’ll need to calculate shipping and handling into the price to be sure if you’re truly saving money.

  • Don't Waste Too Much Time with Coupons.
    Take, for example, coupons. Although these little slips of paper can add up to save you a few dollars a week (ever more if you shop at a store that offers “double coupons”), ask yourself a few questions before busting out the scissors. First, do you need it? Second, is it something that you and/or your family will use? Thirdly, is there a comparable item, possibly generic, that’s cheaper without the coupon? If you were planning on buying an item and have a coupon, great! But if not, don’t even bother- it’s money spent on something you don’t need, which is considered to be a waste.

  • If you NEED to Buy Designer Clothes, Buy them Second Hand.

    Clothes do not increase in value, no matter what anyone tells you. The only millionaires that sport the brand name gear are those who designed it. Celebrities and those in the public eye that are wearing a particular name across their chest are being paid to do so and more than likely received the clothing for free. The designers are hoping that you’ll see your favorite star in their brand and run out and buy some for yourself.

  • Always Shop Off-Season.
    When you want a new patio set, buy it towards the end of the summer (after the 4th of July) and you’ll pay roughly half of what you would have at the beginning of the season. The same goes for clothes and shoes, including for the kids. By stocking up during clearance time, you can save yourself a bundle of cash over purchases at peak times.


  • Don’t Skimp on Healthcare.
    Of all the ways to save money on monthly expenses, cutting your healthcare is the worst idea. Saving a few hundred dollars a year is hardly worth having to pay $50,000 in medical bills a few years down the road.

  • Prescription Coverage Is a Must.
    Even if your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, you just don’t know what could happen- and with the rising costs of medicine, you very well be stuck with $200 of necessary meds at any given moment.

Insurance (Auto & Homeowners)

  • Ask for Discounts.
    Many insurers won’t volunteer discounts like multi-policy, safe driver and good-grade deductions on your premium, but will be “reminded” when you mention it, so don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Don’t File Small Claims on your Homeowners or Auto Insurance Policy.
    Too many small claims on a policy (at or slightly above the deductible) will send up a red flag to your insurer- when renewal time comes around, you might just get a cancellation notice in the mail.

  • Higher Deductibles on Home and Auto Policies are Usually a Good Idea.
    You want to try to save these types of insurance for the “big stuff” like a fire (on either), not a smashed window that will cost less to repair than your deductible (see previous entry). You can figure on about a 25% savings when raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000.

  • Shop Around for New Auto and Homeowner Insurance Every 3 Years.
    Your car is getting older, so the cost to replace it is dropping. Ergo, some parts of your insurance premium should be dropping to coincide. However, some insurers don’t look at it this way and insist on increasing your premium. Shopping around for a new insurance company and policy from a fresh-eyed agent might just yield a lower payment for you.


  • Don’t Even Bother Trying to Pick and Choose Stocks.

    Picking stocks for the sake of picking stocks is a poor investment decision, to say the least, as 80% of fund managers can't beat the S&P after expenses. If you’re going to buy into funds, you need to keep the costs low from every possible angle. Warren Buffet, investment guru, suggests ETFs and index funds to individual investors wanting to maximize their money.

  • Keep Some of Your Investments in Liquid Assets.
    You’re going to need to keep some of your investments somewhat close to home in case of an emergency, like in a Certificate of Deposit or other no-risk investment.

  • Check out Commission Rates for Potential Financial Advisors.
    Some financial products out there come with high costs and commissions- paid by you, the investor, to the fast talking advisors who sell them. The high commissions involved can unfortunately steer some advisors to sell some unworthy products, leaving you, the investor, alone and out in the cold. Ideally, you don't pay a commission to a financial advisor, at all; instead, hire for a fee-only planner.

  • If You Don’t Understand an Investment Product, Avoid It.

    Not understanding where your money is going to go doesn’t mean that you’re stupid. Don’t try and act like you know what’s going on when you really don’t; in the end, you could lose money-and then you’ll be stupid.

  • There’s a Big Difference between Saving and Investing.
    While saving money is something that should be done regardless (rainy day savings, retirement, etc.), investing should be done when you are relatively debt-free, especially when it comes to credit card debt. The 18% annual interest paid by you on credit card balances will be hardly made up for in any investment opportunity.

Life Insurance

  • When Applying for Life Insurance, Answer all Questions Honestly.

    Paying a bit more now to accommodate for your skydiving hobby is much better than having your family’s claim on your policy denied when your chute doesn’t open.

  • Buy Life Insurance with the Hopes of Never Using it
    Life insurance should be purchased to help care for your dependants in the unfortunate event of your untimely passing- and that’s all. Mortgage payments, groceries and a college fund should be the goals, not making your family millionaires.

  • Keep Life Insurance and Investments Separate
    The commissions and fees for “Whole Life” life insurance policies can rack up quickly- and guess who’s paying for it? (Hint: It’s not the insurer). Buy yourself about 5 years salary worth of term-life insurance and take the difference from what you would have paid for a whole policy and invest it into some index funds or ETFs.

Loans & Borrowing Money

  • Shop Around for the Best Interest Rates and Terms.
    Not all financial institutions are created equal, and no two offer the same rates and terms on similar loans.

  • Never, Ever, Under Any Circumstances Take a Cash Advance on a Credit Card.

    Not only will you pay a ridiculous interest rate on the cash you withdraw, you’ll pay fees- and interest on those fees- for the remaining years on your new, giant–sized, credit card balance.

  • Stay Away from Cash Advances/Payday Loans.
    At a national average fee of $18 per $100 borrowed for each 2 week period , the annual interest rate calculates well into the triple digits. To put it another way: it’s cheaper to borrow money from the Mafia.


  • Don’t Count on Social Security.

    By the time the tail-end of the baby-boomers retire in about 25 years (the last of this generation was born in 1968), there isn’t a very good chance that social security will be paying out as much as we have paid in. A solid back-up plan, like a tax-deferred IRA or 401K will help to keep you from living in a shelter.

  • If Your Employer Matches 401K Invesments, Absolutely Get the Entire Match.
    This is FREE money that your employer is giving to you towards your retirement, but they won’t give a dime out until they see you putting money in it, too. Plus, 401K paycheck deductions are usually pre-tax, so you're getting even more free money. And you can raid this money before retirement, without penalty, when you buy your first house.

  • Getting a Part-time Job for Retirement Helps More than Your Finances.

    Besides the fact that you can make up to $17,000 per year without having your Social Security check docked, getting out and earning an income, seeing people each day and basically being a money-making member of society will help your health, happiness and well being (in addition to your wallet!)

  • Don’t Cash Out Your 401K When You Change Jobs.
    No matter how tempting it may be to pay off that credit card balance or car loan, you need to pretend that your hard-earned, 401K-money was never yours to begin with. Otherwise, be prepared to pay heavy taxes and penalties, and work until your dying day.

  • The Feds Give Tax- Breaks for Retirements Savers. The amount that you put away for retirement in an IRA is tax deferred up to a certain amount each year. This means that your money is “hidden” from taxes on your annual income-for now, anyways. You pay the taxes on any money withdrawn from the account only when you retire- and by then your tax rate will probably be minimal, anyway.


  • Saving Money is a Positive Habit, not a Negative Burden. Parents who save money have children who save money, as long as the parents make a positive impression when it comes to the savings part. A habit can also be considered an addiction-and an addiction to watching your hard-earned money grow is not a bad one, either ;-)

  • Save 10 Cents From Every Dollar you Make.

    The 10% rule has been around since my mom’s mom, I think that it was just misplaced along the way. If I would have saved just 10 cents from every dollar that I ever made, well…wow.

  • Always have an Emergency Fund Available Equal to 3 Months Pay.
    Just in case of illness, auto accident or you’re the victim of corporate downsizing, the 3 month rule should be enough for you to get through without having to dip into any long-term investments.


  • Get Receipts for All Charitable Donations.

    Tax deductions come in many shapes and sizes, but none quite as comforting as the one you get for charitable donations. When you head out to donate your used clothing, furniture and knick-knacks, bring them inside of the building and ask for a receipt. Keep all donation receipts together, make sure they total over $500- (anything under that doesn’t require receipts) and come April, you’ll have an extra tax deduction.

  • Keep a Travel Log of All Work-Related Miles Driven in Your Car.
    Any mileage traveled for work-related purposes above and beyond what you normally travel is eligible for a tax deduction. If you normally travel 30 miles each way to work, and a meeting takes you 50 miles away from home, you can deduct the difference in mileage, or 50 miles-30 miles= 20 miles.

  • If You're in a Serious Pinch: For a Fee, the IRS will “Finance” Your Tax Bill.

    Although it’s not the greatest option, it is one if you’re in a financial bind on April 15. By contacting the IRS with a written plan (like $100 monthly until your debt is settled), it will still cost you some serious fees, penalties and interest, but at least you won’t have the feds knocking down your door.

One Final Tip

  • Money is Important, but It Ain’t Everything. Health and happiness are the most important things in life, but that doesn’t mean that you should be foolish with your money. Fighting and worrying about money aren’t going to solve any problems and could, in fact, destroy your health and happiness. A bit of planning, a common goal and some serious focus will help lay the building blocks for a strong and sturdy financial future.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Top 10 Ways to Earn with Google Adsense without Creating Your Own Site

List of websites where you can display your Google AdSense ads
If you don’t have a blog or website to use adsense ads and earn revenue , no need to build one. There are many services that share 100% adsense earnings with users.This is a list of sites where AdSense publisher can use their own AdSense IDs to earn money.

1. Simpy

Simpy is a social bookmarking site.

Simpy has support for Google AdSense as a third party. Each Simpy member has his/her main page on Simpy (e.g. jaleel77 ). Every Simpy member can now enter his/her Google AdSense Id into Simpy, and his/her page will immediately start showing ads with his/her Id. All earnings from such ads go to members, as their Ids are used to display ads .

2. Digital Point Forums

Digital Point Forums is a forum site for webmasters.

This forum displays one advertisement in the upper right area as well is inline when viewing a thread. We use Google AdSense to automatically serve relevant ads for the content on the page. Google pays AdSense publishers on a per click basis as well as per impression.

If a user has an AdSense account, they have the ability to credit their account with the ads served on threads they start or participate in.

3. ArticleMuse is a news article directory.

Sharing Ads Position: The Google Ads beside the main content of the article.
Sharing Ratio: Your ads will be displayed in any articles you have submitted 100% of the time till the end of 2006!

4. XpressIdeas

Xpress Ideas is an article directory.

If you have a Google Adsense ID, you can enter that ID when you register on the site. The Google Ads in the middle of the article will have YOUR Google Adsense ID in, meaning that if anybody who clicks on those ads, even on OUR site, YOU get the revenue!

5. Cybersist

Cybersist is place to share your photos and blog, free webmail, file storage and more.

Your Google ads will be displayed in 7 different locations on your public blog and photo pages. Those ads are specifically optimized to allow better penetration of the ads. Any click on those ads will generate a revenue for you through AdSense.

6. TagTooga

TagTooga is a free directory that anyone can edit.

It is easy to use to earn advertising revenue. There are two ways to do it:

(1) Link to Traffic sent from your link will display Google Ads using your Adsense ID.

(2) Create your own category/tag pages.

7. ForuMatrix

ForuMatrix is a news posting site.

The posts you will make, will display 100% your Adsense Banner. No time limits or banner rotations. It’s simple, your Posts with your banners always

8. Flixya

Flixya is a video sharing site.

Start sharing your videos from Youtube, Google Video, Daily Motion, and other video sharing sites. Our revenue share program is split 50-50. You will make 50% of the Google Adsense revenue generated by the videos you submit. The more traffic your video drives, the more ads will be displayed, and the more money you will make.

9. Swicki

Swicki is a site that allows you to create custom searches

After you have saved your ad program preferences, ads will immediately begin appearing on your swicki’s results pages.
For each active ad program on your swicki, you’ll be credited with 50% of the ad impressions and clicks. The balance will be credited to Eurekster.

10. Senserly is a content hosting website is to provide a place for honest Google AdSense publishers to legitimately increase their daily earnings. As soon as you register, this basically becomes your website, with your AdSense blocks displayed next to your content, and you'll be able to write articles, reviews, and stories about your knowledge and experience with AdSense or any topic you feel confortable with, as well as read, ask questions, and exchange information with other AdSense publishers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A faster Windows XP? Here’s how!

A recent study of our team on how to better our Windows XP systems comissioned to create an eBook on the subject for the main team at MPortela led us to investigate a countless number of details on how to better your performance and machine.

Some of the working tweaks you can do to your Windows XP can really be a blessing to your system’s speed. So I thought about sharing with you the safe tweaks on how to have a faster Windows XP. As a disclaimer do the following tweaks at your own risk, however they were all tested and are in use by most of our team members and friends.


Indexing Services is a small little program that uses large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy. This system process indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer. It does this so that when you do a search for something on your computer, it will search faster by scanning the index lists. If you don’t search your computer often, or even if you do search often, this system service is completely unnecessary. To disable do the following:

1. Go to Start
2. Click Settings
3. Click Control Panel
4. Double-click Add/Remove Programs
5. Click the Add/Remove Window Components
6. Uncheck the Indexing services
7. Click Next


Windows XP can look sexy but displaying all the visual items can waste system resources. To optimise:

1.Go to Start
2. Click Settings
3. Click Control Panel
4. Click System
5. Click Advanced tab
6. In the Performance tab click Settings
7. Leave only the following ticked:
- Show shadows under menus
- Show shadows under mouse pointer
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons


You may have noticed that everytime you open my computer to browse folders that there is a slight delay. This is because Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers everytime you open Windows Explorer. To fix this and to increase browsing significantly:

1. Open My Computer
2. Click on Tools menu
3. Click on Folder Options
4. Click on the View tab.
5. Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box
6. Click Apply
7. Click Ok
8. Reboot your computer


Cacheman Improves the performance of your computer by optimizing the disk cache, memory and a number of other settings.
NOTE: This program is shareware and some features require activation.
Once Installed:

1.Go to Show Wizard and select All
2.Run all the wizards by selecting Next or Finished until you are back to the main menu. Use the defaults unless you know exactly what you are doing.
3.Exit and Save Cacheman
4.Restart Windows


There are lots of ways to do this but by far the easiest is to run TCP/IP Optimizer.

1. Download and install
2. Click the General Settings tab and select your Connection Speed (Kbps)
3. Click Network Adapter and choose the interface you use to connect to the Internet
4. Check Optimal Settings then Apply
5. Reboot


If you give your pagefile a fixed size it saves the operating system from needing to resize the page file.

1. Right click on My Computer and select Properties
2. Select the Advanced tab
3. Under Performance choose the Settings button
4. Select the Advanced tab again and under Virtual Memory select Change
5. Highlight the drive containing your page file and make the initial Size of the file the same as the Maximum Size of the file.

Windows XP sizes the page file to about 1.5X the amount of actual physical memory by default. While this is good for systems with smaller amounts of memory (under 512MB) it is unlikely that a typical XP desktop system will ever need 1.5 X 512MB or more of virtual memory. If you have less than 512MB of memory, leave the page file at its default size. If you have 512MB or more, change the ratio to 1:1 page file size to physical memory size.


If you have a lot of folders and subdirectories on your computer, when you access a directory XP wastes a lot of time updating the time stamp showing the last access time for that directory and for ALL sub directories. To stop XP doing this you need to edit the registry. If you are uncomfortable doing this then please do not attempt.

1. Go to Start and then Run and type “regedit”
2. Click through the file system until you get to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem”
3. Right-click in a blank area of the window on the right and select ‘DWORD Value’
4. Create a new DWORD Value called ‘NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate’
5. Then Right click on the new value and select ‘Modify’
6. Change the Value Data to ‘1′
7. Click ‘OK’


This is one of my favourite tweaks as it makes a huge difference to how fast your machine will ‘feel’. What this tweak does is remove the slight delay between clicking on a menu and XP displaying the menu.

1. Go to Start then Run
2. Type ‘Regedit’ then click ‘Ok’
3. Find “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\”
4. Select “MenuShowDelay”
5. Right click and select “Modify’
6. Reduce the number to around “100″
7. This is the delay time before a menu is opened. You can set it to “0″ but it can make windows really hard to use as menus will open if you just look at them - well move your mouse over them anyway. I tend to go for anywhere between 50-150 depending on my mood


This tweak reduces the time XP waits before automatically closing any running programs when you give it the command to shutdown.

1. Go to Start then select Run
2. Type ‘Regedit’ and click ok
3. Find ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Control Panel\Desktop\’
4. Select ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout’
5. Right click and select ‘Modify’
6. Change the value to ‘1000′
7. Click ‘OK’
8. Now select ‘HungAppTimeout’
9. Right click and select ‘Modify’
10. Change the value to ‘1000′
11. Click ‘OK’
12. Now find ‘HKEY_USERS\ .DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop’
13. Select ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout’
14. Right click and select ‘Modify’
15. Change the value to ‘1000′
16. Click ‘OK’
17. Now find ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\CurrentControlSet\Control\’
18. Select ‘WaitToKillServiceTimeout’
19. Right click and select ‘Modify’
20. Change the value to ‘1000′
21. Click ‘OK’


If you have more than 256MB of RAM this tweak will considerably improve your performance. It basically makes sure that your PC uses every last drop of memory (faster than swap file) before it starts using the swap file.

1. Go to Start then Run
2. Type “msconfig.exe” then ok
3. Click on the System.ini tab
4. Expand the 386enh tab by clicking on the plus sign
5. Click on new then in the blank box type”ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1″
6. Click OK
7. Restart PC


XP enables DMA for Hard-Drives and CD-Roms by default on most ATA or ATAPI (IDE) devices. However, sometimes computers switch to PIO mode which is slower for data transfer - a typical reason is because of a virus. To ensure that your machine is using DMA:

1. Open ‘Device Manager’
2. Double-click ‘IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers’
3. Right-click ‘Primary Channel’ and select ‘Properties’ and then ‘Advanced Settings’
4. In the ‘Current Transfer Mode’ drop-down box, select ‘DMA if Available’ if the current setting is ‘PIO Only’

See more articles on this topic:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Best Computer Upgrade Ever

Forget about a faster processor. Splurge on a bigger screen

By Paul Boutin

Whether you're a PC or Mac user, the humongous 24-inch iMac that Apple unwrapped on Wednesday drives home a point: Speed is good, but spread is better. For the past year, I've been working at two offices. Office A has a fairly new 17-inch Mac I bought so I could crank out more freelance work without having to turn off iTunes. But lately, I find myself making the longer trek to Office B to use an older, slower machine. Why? Because a generous Office B colleague updated the slowpoke with a 23-inch monitor.

Speed freaks are stoked that Intel has finally replaced its aging Pentium processors with a speedier design called Core 2. Apple went for broke and stuffed the new iMac with a dual-core Intel processor and a 24-inch monitor. But it'll cost me $2,000-plus to buy my dream machine. PC users get a choice: Dell will sell you a Core 2-powered PC for $1,200 or a 24-inch flat-panel monitor for around $700. If you're feeling stymied by your computer, buy the monitor now and wait until Windows Vista comes out to upgrade the rest of your PC. You'll get more Core 2 for your money by then, and you'll already have a panoramic screen to let Vista live up to its name.

Don't be fooled by all those Intel commercials: A faster CPU isn't always the best upgrade. Dell hawks its Core 2 Duo PCs as the "ultimate multimedia and gaming experience." What bigger multimedia buzz is there than a giant screen? I'm not a gamer, but I spend a lot of time with Word, Excel, Firefox, and iTunes. I watch a lot of YouTube by day and often slide a DVD into my desktop machine at night. I'm fascinated by Google Maps and Google Earth. For these applications, a faster processor doesn't really help. But you know what's better than a million pixels of Google Earth? Two million pixels of Google Earth.

Prima donna software developers who get anything they want have traditionally awarded themselves second, third, and even fourth monitors. You could cite the industry studies that find increased productivity among multiple monitor users, or you could just accept the formula of computer graphics veteran Jon Peddie: "Can't have too many pixels." Besides, flat-panel displays have gotten so big and so cheap that you no longer need to cable together four screens. Just buy one big one. Thirty-inch mega-monitors first appeared two years ago for $3,300. Today, you can get one for $1,800 that puts more than 4 million pixels on one panel, equivalent to three or four 17-inch monitors or two HDTV screens. A 20-inch model with close to 2 million pixels is only $350.

Apple's Web site flogs a third-party study by Pfeiffer Consulting that concludes 30-inch monitors aren't a luxury. "When working on a computer, we lose much more time than we realize through user-interface manipulations," Pfeiffer's researchers wrote—even if we're handling only e-mail and Web pages and not Photoshop. I dismissed the report as marketing collateral, but after a few weeks at my own widescreen I've reached the same conclusion—it's surprising how much more work I crank out lately. Co-workers praise my newfound motivation. The truth is, I can finally see what I'm doing.

While a faster processor lets you do what you've been doing more quickly, extra display space lets you do things that were previously unthinkable. I can put two versions of an article side by side, editing one while eyeballing the other. I used to squeeze two shrunken windows onto a smaller screen or flip between edit and review windows. That doesn't compare to editing and reading both at actual size at the same time.

A screenshot of the layout on my wide-screen monitor

I bought a faster computer for Office A so I could juggle multiple windows and apps more quickly. On Office B's 1600 x 1200 pixel screen, I don't need to juggle at all. I've even got extra turf to keep background tasks onscreen. If I get an instant message while on deadline, I can scan it in my peripheral vision without moving my hands on the keyboard. If I need to reply, I don't have to shove my work aside. I can keep an eye on inbound e-mail while writing and click to zap an annoying song from iTunes without fumbling for the application. I've even squeezed an analog clock and a weather widget into a spare corner so I needn't remember to check them.

With everything in plain sight and within reach, my computer's desktop finally looks like a real desktop. That wouldn't be possible if it weren't almost the same size as one. Rewriting this article at home on my 17-inch screen, I feel cramped and frustrated. What PC makers call a desktop has been closer in size to the back of a book. Isn't it about time you threw away the book and sprawled out a little bit?