Laptop as second screen

Posted on July 19, 2018. Filed under: Everything, Techniques, Windows 10 | Tags: , , , |

HowToGeek has a post on how to use Windows 10 and your laptop as a second monitor screen.

“In order to take advantage of this trick, you’ll need two Windows 10 machines that support the Miracast streaming video standard. Most newer laptops and tablets have this built in, as do some desktops.” They will need to be on the same local wi-fi network.

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Five tips for extending lithium-ion battery life

Posted on March 7, 2011. Filed under: Hardware | Tags: , , , , |

Laptop and pad owners, listen up!

TechRepublic has Five tips for extending lithium-ion battery life.

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MagSafe for the Rest of Us: A DIY Magnetic Power Adaptor

Posted on February 14, 2011. Filed under: Hardware | Tags: , , , , , , |

Instructables has a MagSafe for the Rest of Us: A DIY Magnetic Power Adaptor.

The power connector for a laptop is one of the most vulnerable points, and also makes it possible for a passerby to trip on the cord and drag your laptop away.

Here’s a do-it-yourself answer inspired by the magnetic power adapter patented by Apple.

(you can view all the steps with the “View All Steps” without becoming a “Pro Member” if you prefer — it’s just easier for Pro Members.)

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How to Track and (Potentially) Recover Your Stolen Laptop or Android with Prey

Posted on October 25, 2010. Filed under: Freeware/Shareware, Security | Tags: , , , , , , |

Lifehacker suggests How to Track and (Potentially) Recover Your Stolen Laptop or Android with Prey.

Like any app, it may or may not work well on your device.  Use at your own risk and CHECK THE REVIEWS first — apps may be changed after being included in the store so later updates include malware.

Prey is freeware tracking software that “tattles” on the thief’s activities and even sends a webcam picture of the culprit!

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How to Replace Your CPU

Posted on March 1, 2010. Filed under: Hardware | Tags: , , , , , |

How to Replace Your CPU is intended for a laptop but much of the advice also works for the motherboard of a desktop unit.

By Laptop Magazine.

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Optimize Your Windows with a SSD

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Hardware, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , |

Maximum PC has a post on How-To: Optimize Your Windows Profile and Media Storage with a SSD.

“We’re going to show you how to set up your Windows install like a Linux setup—with the OS and primary apps on the SSD [solid state drive], and your user profile and space-hogging games on a traditional hard disk. This gives us the best of both worlds—the folders we write to most frequently are on a traditional disk, while our boot and app load times can benefit greatly from the fast read speed and low random-access time of an SSD. Best of all, you can use even a tiny 64GB SSD without having to constantly manage disk space—picking and choosing which apps and media will be stored on the small drive.”

Many laptops have multiple hard drives (a 320 GB hard drive is often really two — cheaper — 160 GB drives, for example) so by using the solid state drive, which is less vulnerable to damage and sometimes faster, combined with a larger standard hard drive for data, you can have the advantages of both: durability/speed and large storage.

Be sure to check your warranty before modifying your laptop.

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Laptop security – it’s on you

Posted on June 3, 2008. Filed under: Freeware/Shareware, Hardware, Security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

[updated 2008.10.13]

While this blog normally prefers to stick to free and low-cost services, there are things worth paying for.

Your laptop wasn’t free, for example, and hanging on to it — or getting it back — is likely to be worth something to you.  Here are some free and pay services.

Adeona is a free Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there’s no need to rely on a single third party. What’s more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner’s choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop.

Adeona is designed to use the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service to store location updates sent by a small software client installed on an owner’s laptop. The client continually monitors the current location of the laptop, gathering information (such as IP addresses and local network topology) that can be used to identify its current location. The client then uses strong cryptographic mechanisms to not only encrypt the location data, but also ensure that the ciphertexts stored within OpenDHT are anonymous and unlinkable. At the same time, it is easy for an owner to retrieve location information.

While the following is not an endorsement, these links are for services which add a measure of security to your laptop.  HOWEVER – they have limitations, and the best defense is to keep it with you at all times, even in the Library and elsewhere on campus.

Laptop Alarm: “Did you ever hesitate to leave your laptop for a few minutes in a public space like a library? Afraid that someone will take your laptop? Now there is a simple and free solution to this problem! Laptop Alarm will emit a loud alarm whenever someone tries to steal your laptop!”

This is freeware.  However, it depends on certain things happening:

1. A/C Power Removal
2. Mouse Removal
3. Mouse Movement
4. Shutdown / Suspend

So, if some jerk simply takes the laptop without bothering to shut it down, no alarm.  And it also depends on others taking the trouble to either stop or remember and identify the thief.  Still, this is better than nothing.

A free service (which may or may not start charging a fee in the future) is LaptopLock.

LaptopLock protects the data and aids in the recovery process of a computer if it’s stolen. The LaptopLock can:

  • Delete files (secure data wiping now available)
  • Encrypt files
  • Show a message to the user
  • Execute a program
  • Play a sound
  • Visible or hidden from user

“If the computer is stolen, login into your account, mark the computer status as stolen. As soon as that machine connects to the Internet, the actions you set during setup will execute. The LaptopLock will also try to find out as much as possible about the connection to help in recovery of the machine. THE LAPTOPLOCK DOES NOT MONITOR OR RECORD USER ACTIONS. THE LAPTOPLOCK DOES NOT ALLOW ANYONE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER OR DATA. THE LAPTOPLOCK CAN ONLY EXECUTE ACTIONS THE USER HAS PRE-PROGRAMMED IT WITH.”

This is a good bit stronger, provided that you have some kind of notice on your laptop that you have this installed and what it does.  On the other hand, somebody might take it simply to sell it rather than use it, and that means they don’t care if it “phones home” for the previous owner.

Remember that some people just like to cause trouble, and stealing a laptop is one way to do that — whether or not it sounds an alarm, or is harder for somebody else to use.

Protect your property!

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Laptop: no spin, minimum drain

Posted on May 16, 2008. Filed under: Hardware | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Spinning the hard drive on your laptop is one of the things that runs down your battery.

So, if you load files, movies, etc., onto a solid state device — such as a USB Flash drive — you’re not spinning anything, and cut your battery drain by that much.  Just moving electrons through the wires isn’t as much work for your laptop!

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11 ways to fix your laptop

Posted on April 20, 2008. Filed under: Anti-Virus, Hardware, repair | Tags: , , , |

Wasn’t that a Paul Simon song?  “11 ways to fix your… ” no, wait, that’s “11 ways to leave your laptop”… no, it’s “11 ways to leave your lover”…

Never mind.

Laptop Magazine does have 11 ways to fix your laptop.  It covers overheating, a slow hard drive, battery not holding a charge, needing more memory, hard drive failure, a bad keyboard, not connecting to a wireless network, stuck pixels on the screen, system crash, virus or spyware infestation, and outdated video drivers.

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You dropped it in the what??????

Posted on March 14, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, repair | Tags: , , , , , |

Okay, so you didn’t mean to drop your cell phone in that puddle… or your handheld in the water fountain when you bent over it… or let the rain leak into your backpack and get to your laptop….

But now that your electronic device is wet, what do you do now?

Windows Secrets has an article on how to handle the situation, called “How to fix that gizmo you dropped in the loo” (‘loo’ is British for ‘toilet’).

All may not be lost!

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NetSwitcher for laptop use many places

Posted on November 26, 2007. Filed under: Everything, Freeware/Shareware, Hardware, Techniques, Utilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

NetSwitcher is NOT freeware; it is shareware with a 30-day trial.

It saves your network settings for a particular place. Save your laptop settings for home, for the campus, for the internet cafe, and use whichever one you need when you need it, without having to go through all the setup every time.

Recommended by PC Annoyances

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Notebooks and laptops sites

Posted on November 9, 2007. Filed under: Buying, Hardware | Tags: , , , , |

Notebook and Laptop Reviews can offer you information on your computer buying, Dell discounts and pricing.

Notebookforums has reviews, pricing and possible discount coupons.

Both recommended by Coolsites newsletter.

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