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Tips Of The Day For April 2000

Tip Of The Day For April 26, 2000: Whenever you buy a hardware device, immediately check on the manufacturer's web site for updated drivers. You may not always need them, but often updated drivers will make the device run better--many peripherals come with driver software that is a year or more old. Read the "what's new" file that comes with the new drivers carefully before using them.

Tip Of The Day For April 23, 2000: Many devices that use the parallel port for data transfer are designed with "passthrough" connectors that are supposed to let you continue to use a parallel printer at the same time. Unfortunately, most modern printers use complex software drivers that often don't like having a device located between the PC and the printer. Be sure to verify the compatibility of parallel-port devices before making any purchases that cannot be returned.

Tip Of The Day For April 19, 2000: A wide variety of peripherals are now being made available for the USB interface on PCs. USB is very useful for many kinds of low-bandwidth I/O devices such as keyboards, mice, joysticks and the like. It can also be used for storage devices and other peripherals that require higher speed. Just remember that the USB bus is limited to a maximum speed of about 1.5 Mbytes/second. If you use a USB hard disk for example, it could be very useful for backup due to its portability, but its performance will be a fraction of that of an IDE/ATA or SCSI hard disk.

Tip Of The Day For April 17, 2000: Some newer, high-quality ink jet printers produce remarkably good output. Some are even capable of printing photographs that are close to indistinguishable from professional printing. When choosing a printer however, consider not just the technology and the cost of the printer, but also the cost of the consumables. Higher-quality prints often mean more ink, and ink jet cartridges can be very expensive.

Tip Of The Day For April 15, 2000: The magnets in regular stereo speakers can magnetize the metal aperture grill of your CRT, causing distorted colors. They can also sometimes cause problems with magnetic storage devices like floppy disks. If using regular speakers for your PC's sound system, keep them far away from the PC and monitor. You may find it more flexible (though more expensive) to use special shielded speakers designed for PC use.

Tip Of The Day For April 13, 2000: Before purchasing a tape drive or other device for backup, be sure to consider the matter of backup software. Ensure that the software you plan to use supports the hardware you plan to use, and is appropriate for your operating system. And don't forget to price the software into the total cost of your chosen backup solution; some software packages can be quite expensive, though most are not.

Tip Of The Day For April 10, 2000: When purchasing a new hard disk, be sure to find out exactly what model you are purchasing. Ask for the specific model number, and then look it up on the Web and verify what the item is. There are several manufacturers today selling very different product lines with similar-sounding names. Going by the size of the drive (e.g., "Maxtor 20 GB") is definitely not sufficient.

Tip Of The Day For April 9, 2000: Don't buy "no name" motherboards. That's it, short and sweet, don't do it. If your motherboard has no name, it generally also has no support, and you stand a good chance of regretting your purchase down the road. Better to spend a few dollars more and get a motherboard from a proper manufacturer, which will allow you some help if you problems, a wide base of users with experience using the hardware, and BIOS upgrades in the future.

Tip Of The Day For April 7, 2000: Older hard disks used crude stepper motor actuators that were quite sensitive to temperature changes and had to be reformatted periodically to ensure reliability. Modern hard disks use voice coil actuators that are highly reliable and not nearly as affected by temperature. There is no need to regularly reformat a modern drive. Read more on this subject here.

Tip Of The Day For April 3, 2000: When removing a jumper from a motherboard, hard disk drive or other component, leave it "dangling" if possible from the unit by pushing one side (only) of the jumper over an unused jumper pin. This will ensure that if you need the jumper again in the future you'll be able to find it. Just make sure it isn't going to make inadvertent contact with anything it shouldn't touch.

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