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Mice, Bugs and Firewalls!

12 Mar

Have you ever wondered about the origin of some of the technical terms we use on a daily basis? If you have, then keep on reading. The funniest thing about using those terms is how disconnected they are from their actual, original meaning. We don’t even think twice about it. And, of course, there are those which are completely new, which doesn’t make them any less interesting.

It’s next to impossible to compile the ultimate list of those which are the most interesting, so we haven’t bothered. Instead, we have just singled out a few which most of us use each day.

Firewall

In real life, a firewall is a wall made to stop the fire from spreading. Its digital counterpart does pretty much the same thing: it stops viruses, worms and malware from spreading throughout your operating system and doing some serious damage.                                          firewall_bugs_more

Hacker

Although the term hacker has a negative connotation, and is used to describe a person who uses their knowledge of computers for malicious purposes, that wasn’t the case at the very beginning, as the term was used for someone who uses their talents to experiment with software.

Even today, members of the hacking community emphasize that their work is positive, and use the term “crackers” for those who use their computer expertise to do harm.

Meme

Meme is used to describe something that spreads on the internet, achieving massive popularity and inspiring a number of imitations. The first mention of the word “meme” was used in the book called The Selfish Gene, written by scientist Richard Dawkins, who discussed the phenomena of cultural imitation. He settled on the Greek word “mimeme”, which means “imitated thing”. He used a shorter version, to make it rhyme with gene. But, “meme” also means “same” in French. Richard Dawkins himself approves the use of the term.

Mouse

The origins of this one are not quite clear. Douglas Engelbart, its inventor, says that even he can’t remember how the name stuck. The mouse was first introduced in 1968, and has been called a mouse ever since. One of the engineers working on the project at the time, Roger Bates, shed some light on the matter, saying that the cursor used to bear the name “CAT”, so it was only fitting to name the new device a “mouse”.

Bug

A bug was named after an actual bug. You see, back in the day when computers used to take up an entire warehouse, bugs would often fly into the machine, causing problems, much like their modern virtual counterparts.

Bit

Every computer is based on a binary system, where information is stored using ones and zeros. Those zeros and ones are called bits. “Bit” is the shortened version of the words “binary digits”.

If you have a favorite term, let me know.

Quick Tip – How to Speed Up Your Firefox Browser

21 May

Firefox is a popular browser with PC users. There are many updates being made to the browser to increase its speed, and it is beginning to catch up to Google’s Chrome in regards to capabilities. For many, Firefox continues to disappoint in the speed category, but there are some things you can do as a user to increase Firefox’s speed. The tips below will help make adjustments to encourage Firefox’s speed, but unfortunately, results can vary. So take that into consideration when approaching this issue.

Download a Speed Booster

Getting a speed booster is probably the best way to increase Firefox’s speed. There a few types of software available, namely, Firefox Booster. It’s good for any version of Firefox, and it quietly works in the background to get you little speed boosts.

The speed booster works with your internet connection to optimize your speed. It does this by changing the amount of speed up firefoxconnections to servers it can connect to at any one time. The slower your speed, the fewer it connects to. The faster your internet connection, the more servers it will connect to. As it stands, Firefox’s default settings aren’t great for many computers since not everyone has an “average” connection.

Additional Changes

Non-Windows users can use the Tweak Network Extension to make some subtle changes to the way Firefox operates. There, you can type in your own numbers manually to suit your preferences. Otherwise, if you have a fast internet speed, you can click the “power” preset for a standard setting.

To Revert to Original Settings

You can remove the booster software to go back to square one. Uninstall it like any normal program. For the Tweak Network Extension, you can click the “default” button to go back to the normal settings.

If you make these changes and things still are not going as fast as you would like, you may already have a fast connection. Otherwise, you could have an internet issue. You may be bottlenecking a lot of server connections. That will slow things like a traffic jam. This calls for system manipulation outside of the browser realm.

Thankfully, Firefox is an open source browser. This means savvy users are always talking about ways to make it better and developers listen. Their latest update has delivered some good speed improvements although it is starting to look a lot like Chrome! You can visit forums, the Firefox website, and other blogs to help you get tips to get the most out of Firefox.

Remember to consider some other things that may be slowing down your browsing – how good is your internet provider and have you checked your PC for viruses? Happy browsing!

Choosing the Right E-Mail Client

13 Feb

It seems that, with the emergence of browser-based email clients, the interest for dedicated email clients has waned. Microsoft even dropped its email client from Windows 7, shipping the system without one. But, that doesn’t mean that dedicated email clients don’t have anything to offer. Requirements that most people have for email clients are fairly simple, and they are mostly limited to its basic function: receiving emails. Of course, every client will do that, but it is preferable if the email is received and display with little fuss and no special effort from the user.  Let’s take a look at a couple of them. Continue Reading

Using Your Keyboard Like a Boss

13 Feb

You’re using a mouse? What a noob! Are these words often directed at you by your friends? If the answer is yes, read on. The truth is, they’re right, even though they are power nerds. Remember when you finally gave up using your mouse to perform simple “copy-paste” or “cut-paste” operations and did it comfortably with a simple keyboard shortcut? Well, you can make a lot of things easier by learning some keyboard shortcuts and tricks. Without much deliberation, we give you our selection of some useful keyboard shortcuts.

Launching Programs

After a while, shuffling through the Start menu may become a bit complicated, as you will probably install a bunch of software, and a lot of useless junk as well, and you will literally spend minutes looking for the program you need. There is a simpler way. Launching a program in Windows can be done by pressing the Windows key, typing its name, and then pressing Enter, and presto! If you have a nice little row of icons on your taskbar, you can launch those programs by using Win+1 through Win+9, which is essentially the same as launching them from left to right. keyboard shortcuts image

Editing and Navigating Text

If you’re using a word processor, you often need to do things like selection, highlighting, deleting, moving, or some other form of text manipulation, and this is done much faster by solely using the keyboard, instead of going back and forth between it and the mouse. Once you get a hang of it, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t done it sooner. Regardless of the application, these key combinations should work just about anywhere:

  • Home: moves cursor to beginning of the current line
  • End: moves cursor to the end of the current line
  • Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right arrow: Select text by whole words.
  • Ctrl+Home: Move cursor to top of the text field
  • Ctrl+End: Move cursor to end of the text field
  • Shift+Left/Right Arrow: Select characters one at a time.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Up/Down: Select paragraphs.
  • Shift+Up/Down arrow: Select text by entire lines
  • Shift+Page Up/Page Down: Select one screen’s height of text
  • Shift+Home/End: Select all the text from the current caret position to the beginning or end of the current line.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Home/End: Select all the text from the current caret position to the beginning or end of the document.
  • Ctrl+A: Select the entire document.

Minimizing, Closing and Switching Between Windows

If you need to switch to another window, it is much easier to use the keyboard, instead of reaching for your mouse. That goes double if you have a bunch of windows already open. By a bunch, we mean more than 2 (okay, your attention span is a bit larger, good for you). Pressing Alt+Tab gives you a great layout of all active windows, and it’s much quicker to access them this way. If you’re using tabs in your browser, you can do the same thing by pressing Ctrl+Tab. Instead of closing a window through pixel hunting for that small X in the upper right corner, press Ctrl+W, or Alt+F4 to quit it altogether. Win+Up/Down maximize and minimize windows, respectively.

Just try some of these for a while – Give it a shot, and give your mouse a rest.