Monthly Archives: May 2009

4 Simple Steps to Speed Up A Sluggish PC

Has your hard drive been slowing down lately … tasks that once only took a second now seem to take much longer?  Even getting a web page to load or e-mail to download seems like it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r?

Here’s a few actions you can take to speed it up:

1.  Delete the cookies and other digital bits that get stored in your computer’s “cache” memory as you’re surfing and what not.  From cookies to temporary internet files – it all can go!   You can use the internal functions of your connecting device to clean out this digital flotsam.  For PC’s that would be running a “Disk Clean” from the Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools menu or download the free and safe utility CCleaner from www.ccleaner.com.

2.  Defrag your hard drive.   Different bits of information are stored on different parts of your hard drive – making it spin more.  Running a defrag basically reorganizes what is on your hard drive into a more compact footprint.  Less spinning = increased speed.  Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, “Disk Defragmenter”.   Note that an initial defrag (especially of a large hard drive) can take  a while so do it when you don’t otherwise have to be using the PC for a few hours.

3.  Limit the number of processes you have actively open.  The applications which stay open all the time can be seen by clicking the left arrow next to the clock on the lower right side of your PC.  Anything which you are not actively using or which is not necessary to have open and running at all times (such as anti-spam/virus software), should be closed.  You can right click on the image in the start tray and select “close” from the drop down menu.  Please note the next time you reboot or restart, those applications will reopen.   To permanently remove these items, here are instructions from Cnet.

4.  Remove any programs you don’t use.  Many PCs come “pre-installed” with tons of useless software.  To see it all, Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.  A list will populate.  Once it does, you see every software installed on your PC.  Go ahead and delete anything that has not been used – but be careful not to remove anything which may help another program.

For a more detailed look at what makes up your entire PC (the soft and hard ware), download and run Belarc Advisor.  It will provide an extensive list on the PC’s screen which you can print out to put in your IT folder/binder or tape to the actual PC for future reference.

Remember, your computer is a machine and like any other machine, requires routine maintenance.  If you set up a process to clean out your temp files and run Ccleaner or Disk Cleaner about every week – defrag about once per month and close/remove any applications you are not actively using, you are much more likely to have a PC that performs at optimal speed.

2 Little Words I Should Never See On Your Professional Services Website

“Skip this”

There, I said it. If you don’t have “Skip This” anywhere on your site, feel free to go back to your regularly scheduled day… unless you want to find out why, in my opinion, you should NEVER publish such words.

If you have the words “Skip this” published on your site, chances are you have a pop up window running some type of commercial – for a product or about your own practice or service.  This commercial, if professionally compiled, can be a great piece to your overall digital marketing campaign, but it does not belong as an “intro” on your website.  Why?

First the tech:  In most instances website intros are created using Adobe’s Flash.  Intro’s and pop ups created using Flash have security issues.  In February 2009 Adobe sent out a patch for Flash which allegedly took care of 5 known security flaws.  According to Brian Krebs, author of the Security Fix blog for The Washington Post: “A few of the flaws are critical, meaning users could have malicious software installed on their system merely by visiting a Web page that features a booby-trapped Flash movie.”

Next, using the words “skip this” means you obviously have content on your website that is so irrelevant you don’t care if your visitors see it.  Big Tip: that means it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Moreover, why would you make visitors have to actively do something to get away from what you obviously perceive as something that they may not want to have to suffer through in the first place?  I say, if you are going to inspire clicking from your website, it shouldn’t be to get away from your annoying intro/commercial!

Last, you only have about 7 seconds to capture a website visitor’s attention – that 7 seconds shouldn’t be spent deciding if they need to see or close out of your intro.  Chances are if they chose “skip this” – they’ll just as likely select the red “x” and navigate away from your site altogether.

I say always consider your website’s visitors and never annoy them by placing anything on your site which requires you also to publish the words “Skip this”.

***

Join The Legal Connection for Working the Web Wednesdays

June 3 – Networking the Net

June 10 – Domains

Get more information and register for these FREE events here

***

#1 Question to Ask Yourself Before Publishing An E-zine

Certainly, there is quite a lot that goes into the successful creation and launch of an e-zine – the look, the content, the schedule – these are all very important considerations.  However, before you can even get to the sum and substance, you need to ask yourself:

Do I want my subscribers to be able to print and go; or only read it on a screen?

Why?

Because everything else you decide from that point forward will be different.

If You Choose Not To Print:

You can use an on line service to create and deliver your e-zine.  The reason your subscribers will not be able to print your ezine “as is” is because these newsletters are created using HTML code.   Printers don’t know HTML code, so they act just as they do when you print any web page, printing whatever is on screen on as many pages as is needed to capture the text and images.

You may also send out HTML e-zines from desktop resident software, but I do not recommend Outlook for this process.  Some ISPs believe that if you send out a message to a list of say… 2,000… you MUST be a spammer and will automatically shut down your account, turning off your internet connection.  Instead turn to software created for newsletter distribution, such as GroupMail by infacta.

If  You Choose To Print:

The best possible file type to deliver an e-zine which your users have the option to print is a .pdf.

This is because each of your subscribers has a different printer and unless you provide your file as a .pdf (which is the digital equivalent of a photocopy) – the printer definitions of the subscriber’s printer will take over the formatting of your e-zine, in most instances ruining it’s “look”.  If you’ve ever downloaded a Word form from the internet, and wondered why the text/formatting was all messed up, same reason.

You can still deliver your .pdf’ed e-zine electronically through e-mail, you merely contain some teaser/intro language and a link to the .pdf file (which you load to your website).

Want to see the difference?  Here’s one of my favorite Long Island attorney’s “on line” e-zine:  Law Office of Jeena R. Belil, PC Newsletter and here’s a recent issue of The Legal Connection E-zine, which is a .pdf.

Both are digital and delivered electronically, but Jeena’s is meant to be viewed on line whereas The Legal Connection is to both view and print.

***

attlcxn

Tired of working all the time?  We know!  Learn how to locate and work with a legal virtual assistant, set up your domain, or use technology to your advantage (all for FREE):  http://www.legaltypist.com/events

***

E-mail A Group The Right Way

You want to send a message to 24 different people.  What do you do?  If you are like most newbies, you enter each person’s e-mail address into the “To” field and let ‘er rip.

The problem?  Not only have you exposed the e-mail address and potential identity of all 24 people to each other, you may have also exposed them to automatic e-mail harvesting technology and thereby increased spam.

To top it off, if you’ve asked for a reply and one of your peeps hits  “Reply All”  by accident – such reply will be sent to all 23 other recipients + you.  Not such a big deal when the reply is “I’ll be there” but if your peep responds with personal details or any information not meant for the group, a potentially embarrassing situation could ensue.

So how do you send out a group e-mail the right way? It’s easy!

You place your own e-mail address in the “To” field and you place the 24 recipients into the “Bcc” field (Outlook 2007 users click on “Options” and “Show BCC”).  FYI, BCC means “blind carbon copy”.

By placing the recipients in the BCC field – not only can they not see each other, but any replies (including “Reply All”) will be sent only to you.  This also means you will receive a copy and be able to check if travelling through the net caused any issues with your formatting or message – which can sometimes happen.

Don’t chance exposing your friends and contacts.  Use the BCC function when mailing a message to a group.

Fans/volunteers create "new" The Lord of the Rings movie

NPR is running a very interesting story entitled High-Def ‘Hunt For Gollum,’ New Lord Of The Fanvids.  The story is about a 40 minute long movie written and otherwise created by approximately 150 volunteers over the course of 2 years.  According to the first trailer, it is a story “inspired” by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was created “by fans for fans”. The Hunt for Gollum is scheduled for release on May 3rd, only through the internet.  You can watch both trailers and find out more here: http://www.thehuntforgollum.com/trailers.htm

I found this NPR story interesting because I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan and I think the trailers look really good.  I know Peter Jackson did his best to squeeze in as much as he could, but sadly so much was still left out of his movies.  Off the top of my head, there was no mention of Tom Bombidil, very little background on or time spent in Lothlorian and  I also recall thinking if you hadn’t read the book you had no idea why the Steward of Gondor goes bonkers or the significance of the Tree of Gondor.  Anyway, obviously anything Lord of the Ring-ish, I’m in! lol

So along with being a huge fan, something else about this story piqued my interest – according to the NPR, no one from the Tolkien heirs to Peter Jackson has anything to do with the project.  My days as a legal assistant in a NYC patent/trademark firm made me instantly think “copyright infringement” – or is it?

The Hunt for Gollum is not the actual work of J.R.R. Tolkien only “inspired” by his works.  From watching the trailers, the movie appears to be about the Rangers of the North, chronicling their vigilant watch over Middle Earth and never ending search for the wretched yet so pitiful Gollum.  I assume all this takes place prior to Bilbo Baggins and the book of The Hobbit (which is not a part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Also, according to the NPR story, this movie was never intended to make a profit.  Of course, saying the movie was never “intended” to make a profit is not technically the same as saying it won’t make a profit and saying it was made by fans for fans does not say it will be “free” to fans.   My bet is there will be a small fee to watch it; and, if successful, lots of on line ad money being thrown at the creators.

Whether or not my assumptions are correct, I’m thinking we may also see a law suit or two.  Can one interject a chapter into the J.R.R. Tolkien created Middle Earth, using the same characters and plot lines, maps and languages and NOT be in violation of copyright?

As I continue to follow the release of The Hunt for Gollum, I will update my blog and twitter for those who do not subscribe via RSS.   Of course, if you have additional thoughts or insights to add to the conversation, please comment.

**My personal thanks to Kevin W. Grierson, Esq. a registered patent attorney from Hampton, VA and fellow member of the ABA’s Solosez list serv for bringing this to my attention. **