Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our post of May 13 2010 for those who did not read it

Here is a post that will be of good help for most of you readers whose computers are getting slower and slower by the day...

It was posted May 13 of this year and it has caught the attention of many of you, therefore I decided to reprint it a second time:

"My friend Harry Studley has a question, which I think hits a subject that is of interest for most of the readers of this blog.

He said:

"Hey George..
lately my notebook (vista 32bit w/dual/core pentium) has been running a good bit slower than in the past. I have used oi bit, ashampoo etc. to perhaps clean it up a bit, with no success.. I went through the config utility and found a ton of "services" most "running" and some "stopped". also in the startup tab there are a LARGE number of pgms. I don't recognize, most from MS but others from various authors.. My Q is: Is there a proscribed/recommended set of "start-up"/"services" settings? I suspect this plethora of things running consuming resources may be the culprit.. What do you think ??

Harry S "

OK Harry, here is my response:

There are many reasons why a computer can run slow, and the longer you use your computer and if you do not take steps to clean it up: defrag the hard drive, restore the registry, check for viruses, spam etc. etc. :

One thing for sure will happen, everything will slow down.

Harry, I don't know what version of Ashampoo you have, but I would upgrade to at least version 6 or 7 which is now available, but I'll get back to this in a moment.

You say you ran msconfig and looked at the tab "services". I suggest you do not mess with that section in the msconfig because it does not tell you whether each service is needed or important and if you deactivate by chance a service that is required, you can get yourself in all kinds of trouble.

The tab under msconfig that tells you which programs automatically run when you turn your computer on is the "start up tab". Here you can deactivate programs that you don't want to start automatically. As you install new programs, most of them install themselves to start up automatically, that being the reason why they show under that "start up tab". You must be careful when you deactivate a program, if you don't know what it is. (It is kinda confusing when you look at the list of all programs that start up automatically).

There is a web site that explains what all these programs are, (showing the exact addresses that pop up under the start up tab), whether you can or should deactivate each one, (some of them are spam or viruses etc.). This site has thousands of entries, all shown alphabetically, therefore you can get to them fast.

Once you find what the program stands for, then you can deactivate it knowing that it is OK.

The address for this very helpful web site is as follows:

Now getting back to Ashampoo:

Go to tab "Modules", select "Optimize Performance" go to "Startup Tuner" and click on it. This section basically does the same as "msconfig" but a lot better because it tells you in detail what the programs and services are.

There are two very important sub selections: "Auto Start" and "Services".

If you click "Auto Start" it shows you all the programs that are started automatically, however you can see where they can be found in your hard drive. Each program has a small square box which is either checked, (on) or unchecked, (off). You can then make your selection of the programs that should be on or off.

If you click "Services" it shows you a list of the services that are "started", "manual" or "disabled".
As you click on each service, it tells you what it does, whether it is required and a recommendation whether you can disable it, start it or put it on manual modes.

Harry, another important matter that can run the computer to a snail's pace is fragmentation. There is a great free defragmentation program, "Defraggler"

Please read my post of May 11 that refers to the above Web address:


Download and use Defraggler as well as CClear and you'll do OK.

Finally, there are two other programs that will clean up all your spy programs, spam etc. They are well known: Ad Aware and Spybot. They are free and can be downloaded just by Googling the names and finding the proper addresses.

If all of the above did not help, call me and we will talk more about your problems.

George Freire "


This post was published earlier this year. For those who did not see it, here is a reprint:

Technology has no limits in just about every field you can think of!

WEATHER UNDERGROUND is a set-up that will display your area, (anywhere in the world ! mind you), in a weather map fashion with present conditions and weekly forecast just like you see it on TV.

All you have to do is to fill in the name of your town and state, (if you are in the USA), or your town and country everywhere else in the world!

I set-up this program on my computer a few days ago and have been trying it out, selecting places all over the world and it is amazing how it works.

If you want to set it up this program in your computer, (it takes only seconds !), go to:

Just click the above or copy and paste to your browser. Once you do it the weather map immediately shows up on your screen. Book mark of set it on your favorites, that is all, you don't even have to download anything!

Have fun and please let me know how it works in your area.

(To our Portuguese viewers, let me tell you I have checked towns such as Braga, Porto, Coimbra, Faro, etc. etc. it all works!)

George Freire


I hope you all readers of my blog had a great and a wonderful Christmas in company of all your dear ones.

May 2011 bring you good health, peace and prosperity.

George Freire

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


On October 28, I wrote a post that I really thought would raise some creative interest in some of you my readers, on how to build your own computer: how to build a quality machine comparable or even better than most of the brand names available for purchase in computer stores and at a very reasonable cost.

I don't know how many of you really enjoyed the post, how many of you thought "well this looks interesting, I'll probably give it a try etc. etc.".

On October 29 I put out another post asking those of you who might be interested, to email me. this is what I said:

"If any of you is planning to build a computer in the near future and enjoyed my post of yesterday, please send your comments or e-mail me.

Even if you have no plans to build a computer, but enjoyed the reading please let me know. I would love to have some feedback on my posts, which as you may imagine take some dedicated work and time to prepare and type.

You Future Computer Builders...
In the next few days PART II will be posted. There will be a more precise detail on how to put it all together successfully. Be on the alert.


Guess what, I did not get one single response. Now to be completely frank, I do not believe that among the hundreds of readers of this blog, there is not one single dude who would not have a sparkle of interest on the subject.


In order to give you a little more "hands on" the subject, I'm going to describe to you how I built my latest computer, the one I'm using to post this on my blog.

This computer is much better and powerful than what you can normally find in a store and to buy something comparable you would have to have order it custom built and of course pay a much higher price.

I used top of the line components both in quality and performance capability, but you do not have to build such a powerful computer, HOWEVER I will also suggest less powerful and expensive components yet they will be top quality in both performance and reliability.

So, let's start:

1- A computer case. THE MOST IMPORTANT considerations when selecting a computer case are solid built body, excellent cooling system, available pace and ease of access for component installation.

In my case I selected a Thermaltake V9 Black Edition Blk Mid-Tower Case VJ400G1N2Z - ATX, mATX . I bought it from TIGER DIRECT,

The item # is T925-1293. This Thermaltake V9 Black Editon VJ400G1N2Z Mid-Tower Case includes a cooling system that includes side and top 23cm, "built-in" silent fans with a front 12cm Red LED fan for optimized air flow! Other features include tool-free PCI slots, easy-access power and reset, two USB ports, and HD audio port. Ideal for Micro ATX and standard ATX motherboards.

I paid $95.00 for this beauty, but it can be now bought from Tiger Direct because of special discounts now offered, for only $65.00!

This is a case far superior to any case you'll find in any production computer available in any store. I recommend you also use this case for your project. If you click the above address you'll be taken directly to the page showing this case, pictures and specifications.

2-The Power Supply. For my project I used an Ultra LSP750 750-Watt Power Supply - ATX, SATA-Ready, SLI-Ready, 135mm Fan, Lifetime warranty. In you case, (mostly), you will not need so much power; I would say 550-watt will be adequate for most of your projects. ULTRA power supplies are top quality and carry a life time warranty if you register your product with them, (free of any cost). I recommend the ULTRA LSP550 550-Watt Power Supply - ATX, SATA-Ready, SLI-Ready, 135mm Fan, item # ULT-LSP550. Regular price for this unit is $90.00 HOWEVER you get an instant discount of $50.00 from Tiger Direct, therefore your cost is only $40.00 and well worth it. Go to the following address to get all the details:

3-The CPU, (Central Processor Unit). I use in my builds AMD processors and in this case I selected an AMD Phenom II X4 (Quad) 965 Black Edition AM3 CPU HDZ965FBGMBOX - 3.40GHz, Socket AM3, 6MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Retail, Processor with cooling fan included. This is a powerful processor, Quad meaning that there are 4 processors built in the unit. It cost $170.00. There are more powerful CPU's however this baby will take care of the most sophisticated applications out there.

This CPU has a little brother, also very powerful, the AMD Athlon II X4 (Quad) 635 Quad Core Processor ADX635WFGIBOX - 2.90GHz, Socket AM3, 2MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) which does an excellent job for a lot less money: $100.00 .Go to the following address to get all the details:

4-The Motherboard. What is a motherboard? Let's say that the CPU is the brain of a computer and the Motherboard is its body. When selecting a motherboard, one has to be careful and make sure that it is compatible with the CPU you have selected, otherwise... nothing will work. I like ASUS motherboards. They are very reliable quality made versatile. For my build I selected a
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 Motherboard - AMD 890GX, AM3, DDR3, USB, RAID, ATX Socket AM3, which of course is compatible with the AMD CPU I used. This motherboard is quite sophisticated and a little pricey, it cost $150.00.

However there other options also excellent selling for less and is absolutely acceptable for most installations a good example is the Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H Motherboard - Socket AM3, AMD 880G, MicroATX, USB, VGA, DVI, PCIe, RAID . It costs $110.00. Go to the following address to get all the information and specs:

This motherboard supports AMD Socket AM3 multi-core processors and delivers better overclocking capabilities with less power consumption. It supports DDR3 memory that features data transfer rates of DDR3 1066/DDR3 1333/DDR3 800/DDR3 1866+ to meet the higher bandwidth requirements of the latest operation system, 3D graphics, multimedia, and Internet applications. It also includes "onboard" integrated graphics support, ATI Radeon HD 4290 GPU. This graphics "video chipset" is capable of delivering high quality graphics on your monitor, even for gaming and a 6 channel ID integrated sound system.

This is enough for today, we have covered 4 of the most important components of a computer and give you the opportunity to munch on this info, go to Tiger direct and see in more detail what we have been talking about.

Soon I'll come back and discuss the remaining components and how to successfully put them all together so that you will be proud of your work.

As always I would very much appreciate your feed back on this post. If you have questions do not hesitate to e-mail me or even better post them right here on the blog.

Have fun,

George Freire

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Guided Tour of Computing History

From PCWorld comes a fascinating article concerning the history of computing.

Here is the link:

I am sure you all will enjoy it.

George Freire