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Through everyday use, PC's accumulate dirt, dust, grime and germs. There are two major contributors to this - the people that use them (The Human Element) and the machines themselves (The Mechanical Element)Consider these in detail...

Why Should A PC Be Valeted?

Why Should A PC Be Valeted?So we'll start with the Mechanical Element. On every PC, there are air vents and cooling fans. The area within the casing of a computer gets hot, so fans are used to suck cool air into the machine to keep the temperature low. This prevents overheating. However, the problem is this: when the fans breath in cool air, they are also breathing in the dust and paper particles that are all around us - and more so if we work in an office. These particles settle on the fan itself, and other vital components. The dust and dirt build up, and start to clog the fan, reducing its effectiveness and creating noise. This means that vital components - such as the processor - the brain of the PC - are subject to overheating. Not to mention the possibility of the buildup of dust causing components to short out by static electricity. In essence, the procedures in place to protect the PC are slowly destroying it...We'll move on to the Human Element - you and me. Right now, you are at your machine, perhaps with one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the mouse. Or perhaps holding a bag of crisps, or an apple if you are healthier! But think of the germs that are currently on your hands. The crumbs that slip between the keys as you type. The apple juice residue that clings to the keys, making them sticky. These become breeding grounds for germs - so much so, that research has proved that there are 400x more germs per square inch on your keyboard than in your toilet bowl. Disgusting! But think about it. How often does your toilet bowl get cleaned? Regularly. How often does your keyboard get cleaned - but not just cleaned - sanitised? Now there's food for thought. Not to mention the swabs that have been taken from computer keyboards that have shown up hair, skin and nail particles, food remnants and insects! All lurking and rotting half a centimeter below where your fingers are now!Yes, right now, the PC that you are working at now could be an overheating, germ infested, food riddled machine on the verge of mechanical breakdown!It is for this reason that CompuClean offers commercial and domestic customers alike the Full System Valet. A comprehensive, all inclusive system 'makeover', getting to the root of the problems - completely removing the dirt and dust build-up from within the PC's casing. Meticulous cleaning of the keyboard - not just on the surface, but underneath too. Complete removal of the greasy fingerprints that mar the screen that you are looking at. And finally, sanitisation of the mouse.Is this a necessary service? Well, think of that word service. Do you service your car? Yes. Why? Not because it is broken no, but to keep it in good working order, and to prevent it from breaking down. The same is true with computer valeting its all about preventative maintenance. Regularly valeting your PC so that it doesnt break down. You service your car regularly. Why neglect your PC?For more information, and prices on Computer Valeting, please visit our website www.computervaleting.co.uk

Buying a Gaming Notebook

Buying a Gaming Notebook

Buying a gaming notebook is a little different to buying a general purpose one. There are certain things that need to be looked at to ensure you get a notebook that will meet your gaming needs. Be warned gaming laptops can be rather pricy and is not for those that are budget conscious.The most obvious consideration when buying a "gaming notebook" would of course be the quality of the video card. General purpose notebooks have minimal graphics processing power and therefore cannot cater to most modern games. The video card will need to have at least 128mb of RAM and have a fairly good processing speed. The video card is the heart of a gaming notebook so the getting a notebook with a good video card is important.Another consideration would be the amount of system RAM the notebook has. For general purposes such as browsing the internet or word processing 256mb is enough. However for a decent gaming notebook you will need 1gb of RAM or more if possible. Most modern games will use 1gb where some will use even more. A good amount of RAM is essential to play todays modern games.Battery power is also essential. With a good video card and a fair amount of system RAM the notebook will need enough power to run all these components. Getting a high quality battery will ensure you wont be searching for a power-point everywhere you go. If possible it is best to get a notebook accommodates a second battery. Gaming uses a lot of power compared to other mundane tasks so ensuring your notebook has ample power is not to be overlooked.Buying a gaming laptop can be simple if you watch out for the points mentioned above. Most manufacturers have pre-built gaming configurations. These configurations can end up costing less compared to custom built notebooks but can also be lacking in some aspects.

Better Typography and More Readable Text in PowerPoint

Better Typography and More Readable Text in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is, fundamentally, a tool for communication, and the heart of that communication is written words. As many charts, videos and illustrations a presentation might have, without text these add up to little more than a collection of disjointed elements pasted between slide transitions.Words remain the glue that ties information together. Because of this, good typography is as important -- if not more so -- than any visual element in a presenter's PowerPoint file. (This not to say good presentation is a substitute for weak content; after all, content is king.)"Typography" is a medium-independent term used to describe how type is presented. This includes everything from mixing fonts to choosing colors and point sizes to laying elements on a page in certain relation to other objects.Good typography doesn't happen by accident -- it is a skill that is developed through practice and experimentation. Just as there are some general, fundamental guidelines that are as applicable to presentation software as they are to billboards and annual reports, there are a few typographical principles that relate directly to PowerPoint alone. Adhering to these simple strategies can result in a much more polished and professional-looking piece.1. Fonts should never be less than 12 points in size. Even with substantial magnification over a projection system, people have difficulty focusing on smaller type. This really works against you anytime the audience needs to carefully read something, since most of their effort is spent squinting and leaning forward and not on actually understanding the content. The only exception to the 12-point rule would be small copyright information, dates or watermarks that are not related to the primary content.2. Bigger is better. Headlines should float around 20-24 pt, larger if needed. Body copy generally works well in the 16-18 range, although 14-point is not uncommon for squeezing a few extra lines in. Headline point size should never be smaller than the content size.3. Don't be afraid of leading. "Leading" is the term for adjusting the space between lines, and can be found under Format > Line Spacing. This does not have to be drastic; often, a subtle 1.1 - 1.5 can really open up the design on a page and make long blocks of text much easier to read.4. Stick with the standard font faces that are included on a typical Windows machine. These include Times New Roman, Impact, Arial, Verdana, Georgia and Trebuchet. Using off-beaten fonts that you've installed may make your presentation more visually interesting, but it will cause numerous problems when moving the piece between different computers. While these non-standard fonts can conceivably be moved with your file, the end product is rarely worth the resulting headaches.5. When choosing fonts, it is often better to stay with sans-serif typefaces like Arial and Verdana. Their blocky, minimal nature makes them ideal for headline applications, where they can be displayed at larger sizes and still retain maximum readability. In PowerPoint, it is even more important to use sans-serif fonts in bullets, paragraphs and other small point size applications. Serif fonts like Times New Roman and Georgia are more decorative, and while they perform superbly in the printed realm (look no further than The New York Times for endless columns of the Times face), study after study demonstrate they hinder reading speed and comprehension when presented on screen.6. Pick font colors that contrast with the background:* For white backgrounds, black and dark versions of red and blue work exceptionally well.* For dark backgrounds, like black or rich blues, white is ideal, but options such as yellow or very pale, icy blues can achieve interesting and often captivating color combinations.* A good visual trick is to use a background color that accepts both white and black font colors. Dark oranges, rich greens (apple green especially) and even certain blues can be excellent choices for the design-adventurous.* Color combinations to avoid: Black and red, in any situation. Color-similar combinations, such as orange text on yellow backgrounds, or light blue text on dark blue backgrounds.7. Since PowerPoint works so well with bullet points, it is a presentation technique widely adopted as a means of displaying important information in bite-sized chunks. But consider exploring different typographic solutions for bullets; small changes can often encourage better readability and audience interest. There are several techniques that I have successfully used.* Consider making the actual bullet a different color than the text. For instance, if your text is black, a medium gray bullet might work well. They serve to primarily guide the eye from line to line, so it is not always critical to make them as visually important as the text.* Also, making the active bullet line a different color might be a good way to reinforce what you are saying. If each bullet appears manually, dependent on where you are in your speech, this can be a subtle but powerful means of reminding the audience what you are talking about.* Also, try using different shapes for bullets! PowerPoint's flexible options allows a variety of pre-installed symbols, or even an imported graphic, to be used in place of the rather dry default circles.8. Consistency. This is, without a doubt, the most important typographic tip in any medium, PowerPoint or other. Design your master template and stick to it. If you use 24-point Arial as a headline font, 16-point Verdana as the body font and a customized set of bullets that change color, use that combination through the entire presentation. And not just sizes and colors, but also positioning. The first sign of amateur PowerPoint is text fields jumping from spot to spot across different slides.

Touchscreen Technology: A New Gateway to Products, Services

Touchscreen Technology: A New Gateway to Products, Services

Frequent fliers know that checking in for flights is much easier and quicker today thanks to self-serve kiosks that enable users to zip through the process with the touch of a finger.From car infotainment systems to the most advanced communication devices, touchscreens are becoming increasingly popular, converting everyday tasks into fast and fun experiences. Whether they are stopping by the ATM or casting their vote in the latest election, touchscreen technology is enabling people to do so with speed and ease.An intuitive and interactive quality makes touchscreens appealing to all ages and in a variety of industries. Without the learning or physical limitations of a mouse and keyboard, touch technology is open to everyone, even young children or people with disabilities. Toy manufacturers, for instance, are taking advantage of touch technology to provide entertaining, yet educational, toys for children that are too young to have developed the motor skills required for a regular computer.At retail outlets, store merchandisers are using touch technology as a new marketing strategy to engage consumers, while delivering product information at the touch of a finger. For instance, FAO Schwarz has installed 17-inch Planar touchscreens as a consumer design center for the Hot Wheels Custom Car Factory in its New York store. Using the Planar touchscreen kiosk, shoppers can customize their own Hot Wheels car with special colors, designs, wheels and rims.The restaurant industry also is seeing the benefits of touch-integrated POS systems to improve order-processing time. Easy-to-use touchscreen devices enable servers to enter food orders faster and more accurately, enhancing the overall dining experience. Tableside units provide customers with a variety of entertainment and information options, such as playing video games or surfing the Web.Other industries embracing touchscreen technology include automotive (car rental information portals, GPS systems), industrial (ATMs, gas station service pumps) and health care (outpatient information kiosks).Receptive consumers and falling prices have enabled touch to spread its reach across a wide range of markets. As a result, this technology is making strong inroads as a primary way for consumers to get products, services and information. - NU

Cheat Codes: Ethical?

The main purpose in this article is to evaluate the ethics of cheat codes to decide whether or not this is something that we want to promote in this society. So first what are "cheat codes" ? Well for the purposes of this exposition I will define a cheat code as any sort of input that one can use in a video game whether it be on a computer or a dedicated gaming system, in order to advance further than they would normally in the game by their own skill. These codes will advance them to new levels, or give them better equipment whether it be a vehicle or a weapon that will help them (give them a better chance) to beat the level or the game depending on what the code is.How do people get cheat codes? Well depending on your definition, some cheat codes are built into the game. Others are sold on the internet by the company that produced the game, and others are found in publications that are put out by the video gaming industry as yet another source of revenue for an already fantastically successful mogul in entertainment.Are they ethical? Well they are called cheat codes and the name seems to confer an unethical method to be successful in a game. They are allowing you to get beyond place that you deserve to get according to your skill and therefore are not teaching the valuable lesson of hard work equaling reward. One might argue that it is just another reflection of the societys addiction to instant gratification. However since they are actually produced by the programmers of the game and sold for revenue by them one can hardly call their use unethical by the standard of morality that condemns the use of something if it hurts another. It really is hurting no one at all.I therefore propose that cheat codes no longer be called that but rather bonus secret codes. This still gives them the mystique that is critical for their marketing and no longer makes the player feel good about something that at least in the name is wrong. There is no problem with people marketing and desiring these codes and actually it can often make the game interesting when you come to a standstill and need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My other point is that video games arent necessarily good for the mind and if a cheat code causes the game to take less time to play than I am all for it.

It Facility Management - Reasons To Outsource

A typical IT Equipment Room has around eight different types of machinery as part of the rooms infrastructure. The operation of the computers and systems within the IT room, is dependant upon all of the supporting systems operating correctly. Most, or all of the systems will be sold with a Maintenance Contract covering routine maintenance and breakdown cover.The infrastructure equipment supporting an IT Equipment Room can be made up of some or all of the following:Standby Generator, UPS system, Electrical Switchgear and distribution, Fire Suppressant system, Air Conditioning, Building Monitoring System, Data Cabling, Building Services and general cleaning.The handling of the day-to-day administration of all of these maintenance contracts, placed with different suppliers, is time consuming and a distraction from the individual's role within their organisation. Contract renewals, maintenance visits and break down situations, for each supplier need to be arranged and supervised. Most site visits are usually outside of normal working hours.This is the reason that companies are increasingly outsourcing their IT Facility Management. A good contractor will be able to carry out all of the above on your organisations behalf. You should be given a 24/7 single point of contact for all of your maintenance and break down contracts.The outside contractor assumes responsibilities for existing contracts, or will be able to recommend a Service Provider from their database of approved suppliers.Take, for example the UPS system for the computers. The external IT facilities management contractor will help you specify the correct level of protection for your systemModern processors in computers are very vulnerable to voltage spikes in the mains power supply. The processor may even fail, through overheating if a properly regulated supply is not in place.People think that because they are paying for a 115v or 230v (UK) supply that that is what they get. No way. The quality and consistency of the electricity supply depends on the load and load variations being placed on the supply by local businesses.You can protect your computers and the systems that depend on them by fitting a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) System. UPS systems range from a simple plug in device for a few dollars to complete standby generators for many thousands.The simple plug-in devices are a waste of time and money if your business computer crashes. These low cost "UPS" systems are really just basic mains filters that remove the worst of the voltage spikes.If you want any protection at all you need to consider a system that has sufficient battery power as a backup to allow you to close your system down manually if the power fails. The cost of UPS systems largely varies with the amount of backup battery power available.

Summary

Through everyday use, PC's accumulate dirt, dust, grime and germs. There are two major contributors to this - the people that use them (The Human Element) and the machines themselves (The Mechanical Element)Consider these in detail...