Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to be kind to your computer

Here are 7 tips from PC magazine on how to be kind to your computer (and how we do it at the library):

1. Fight the Dust: Dust is the ultimate enemy of the innards of the PC, causing heat build up that can result in spontaneous reboots or worse. Buy some canned air (i.e. a gas duster) and make sure to blow out the vents. (Boy! you should see the dust at the library collected around our computers!)

2. Stay Off the Floor: We understand that your desk space comes at a premium, but try not to put your PC on the floor. Not only will you avoid the bigger, meaner dust bunnies, but elevation keeps the computer away from overactive feet kicking out the plug, protects it from out of control vacuum cleaner collisions, and guards it from, worst of all, carpet-generated static electricity. (Wow! all the library computers are on the floor!)

3. Out of the Closet: Some computer furniture features a built-in, hideaway cabinet to store a desktop/tower PC. The computer is not Harry Potter! Do not put it in a closet. Heat build up will kill it and you'll miss out on some great tech wizardry. Let your PC breathe. (Again, the library misses the mark by having a computer at the front desk stuck in a cabinet.)

4. Don't Mash the Keys: Guess what? Pushing that elevator button multiple times doesn't help. Neither does bashing your keyboard. (Gee, kids mash the keyboard keys here every day AND the elevator button :)

5. Stop Having Lunch with YouTube: We've all had to work through lunch, or even just spent our lunch enjoying a little YouTube so, odds are, the occasional crumb or spilled soda has made its way onto your keyboard and into your laptops. Keep the messes away from your system. Your computer likes you even more. (Finally, one I don't think we are guilty of.)

6. Keep Inputs Clean: Nothing on a computer gets dirtier than your keyboard and mouse—even if you don't eat lunch at your desk. Crud build-up can prevent decent typing or cursor movement. You should clean them with canned air, or even a vacuum with a brush. You could even try the Cyber Clean compound, a goo that pulls off all your germy grossness. (We do try to clean those every once in awhile.)

7. Shut Down, Don't Power Off: Sorry, computers aren't TVs, and that means when you're done using them, you shouldn't just power them down (or worse, unplug). Until we get the instant on/off computer we all crave, you should follow the proper procedures for shutting down the OS: close all windows, remove CDs/DVDs, Shut Down, and power off. (I don't know how often the patron terminals get a little abuse like this.)

There were 7 more suggestions, but this was getting a little long - I'll give you the other 7 suggestions another day.

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