Monday, September 9, 2013

How to be a Better Computer User: The One Basic Thing to Do.

The ONE thing to do for you to be a Better Computer User

Hello World! I am on a mission to make YOU a better user of computer and computing devices. For you humans to be smarter, you must be taught.

My first order of business is to address every computer user in the world: there is ONE important thing to do when you own and operate a computer:  Take care of it!

A few of the readers may be rolling their eyes at this point, but I'm telling you, this one BASIC thing goes virtually unpracticed in most of the homes I visit when I address a problem.  A dirty environment leads to inefficient machine operation and leads to faster hardware degradation.

Let's talk hardware in this post. (I'll address software in next week's post).

Hardware Care: 

  • Wash your hands before you use your computer or device.
    • Sticky and dirty fingers lead to sticky and dirty keys and touchscreens. Ew.
    • Helps reduce germ transmission too (I'm not a doctor but I believe the ones on TV)
  • Do your BEST not to eat around your keyboard or device, especially if you're like me w/ a wireless one that you like to use in your lap.  Why?
    • Crumbs will fall in between the keys (if you're using a PC or laptop).  Eventually enough crumbs means enough gunk to keep your keys from operating properly.  There is a board underneath your keys.  The less junk, the better it is for the keys to make contact with the board. 
    • See above bullet item about washing your hands
    • Oh, by the way, no liquids near electronics.  I don't care if your Mary Poppins careful....Mary Poppins probably wouldn't have liquid near her computers either.  A spoonful of liquid makes the computer go down. (See what I did there?)
  • Wipe down your work area the INSTANT you see dust. 
    • Use Pledge or any other cleaner that you like, just keep the dust away from your machines
    • Keeping dust away reduces the amount of dust being breathed in by the fan (ever notice that whirr?) and hence reduces the amount of dust inside the machine (laptop, or otherwise).  The more dust inside the machine, the higher the risk of overheating and your machine shutting down in the middle of something important (or burning out altogether).  
    • On top of that, if you take it to some "geek" PC fix person, they'll say it's a virus and charge you for something that shouldn't have been done. 
    • If you have to use your device in an environment that has yucky residue as part of the environment (like a restaurant or construction worksite), make sure you clean your device.  This leads me to....


Invest in an anti-static electronic cleaner such as: 3M antistatic electronic equipment cleaner ($5 - $8) and a can of compressed air (about the same price if not less) and some shop towels (from any home improvement store)

How to Clean your Keyboard:
Some people have used the dishwasher method.  Uh, overkill and quite derp.  Hold your keyboard upside down or on its side and blast intermittently with the compressed air in between the keys.  Use a slight sweeping motion when you do it so as to ensure the crumbs get out.  This isn't a 100%, but it'll get the majority of it out.

Using the shop towels, spray some of the electronic equipment cleaner on the towel, just enough to make it damp, then quickly wipe the keyboard down (the cleaner can dissipate quickly) making sure you be thorough with keys that are soiled.

How to clean your monitor and your device (tablet, reader, phone, mouse):
Using the shop towels, spray some of the electronic equipment cleaner on the towel, just enough to make it damp, then quickly wipe the device down (the cleaner can dissipate quickly) making sure you are thorough with keys that are soiled.  MAKE SURE THE DEVICE IS OFF so you don't accidentally send a contact some gibberish text, tweet, facebook status, etc.

How to clean your computer vents:
If you have a tower PC - using the shop towels, spray some of the electronic equipment cleaner on the towel, just enough to make it damp, then quickly wipe the vents down.  Do NOT use the air to try to drive it off.  You risk putting more dust INTO the case.  If you have that much dust, you may have to open the case and use the compressed air on the inside of it.  I would NOT recommend doing that though.  Feel free to contact me to have it cleaned or for specific instructions to do so.

If you have a laptop, there usually is a vent that exudes heat.  Feel free to blow air ADJACENT to the opening as much as possible NEVER into the opening.  Also, there usually is an intake vent, WIPE that vent guard down.  Again, if you have excess dust, contact me or you local shop to have it opened and cleaned.

I think that pretty much covers it.  A lot of people fail to realize the important of environment when it comes to computers.  We often just focus on the work we are doing on the input (screen and keyboards and mouse) and the information we are getting from the output (screen) and not realizing that these are just as much manual tools as a power saw or drill.

As you can see, caring for your device helps provide longevity and value.  Of course, if you have a replacement program, you may think why bother?  Think of how much time you spend going back to replace your device if it does get damaged frequently? It all adds up.

So thank you for stopping by fellow computer users.  Stop by next week for software care: tricks and tips on how to keep the software as effective as (nearly) the first day you bought it.

Be well. Do good work and remember: GIGO.


1 comment:

sager said...

Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.

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