Monday, January 19, 2009

Computer Tips [ Cure Your Crashes + 10 Ways To Better Pictures + MySpace Tracking ] 01/20/09

Computer No, this isn't Steve. You can tell because Steve never wears a suit :-)

Quick Tips

Printing Background Images

When you send an e-mail, do you sometimes include stationery or other background images along with it? You know, just to give it a little extra jazz. Or, maybe you receive e-mails like that. Either way, isn't it sometimes tempting to print those e-mails out and save them for later use? But when you do that, the images don't print! What do you do then? Well, allow me to give you one easy and quick option!

If you use Outlook Express, you're getting the print settings that are in place for Internet Explorer as well. And by default, IE is not set up to print background images. That's done because most images take up a lot of extra ink, but if you want to do it, no one should be able to stop you. Lucky for all of us, there's a way to change the setting so that you can print the background images as you wish. Here's how!

In Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options and click on the Advanced tab. Find the Printing section and then checkmark the choice that says "Print background images and colors." Click OK when you're done. Now, go back and print the e-mail you want just like you normally would (File, Print or Ctrl + P). When the job is done, you'll have the e-mail fully intact and you can save it for another time. Or, if it's pretty enough, hang it on your refrigerator. That way, you can look at it everyday. Yes!

~ Erin

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Make sure you keep reading to learn all about MySpace tracking and how you can keep yourself as safe as possible on that Web site, find out how to remove the logo in MS Word and learn about some possible reasons for game crashing and how you can prevent it from happening. Also, find out what it takes to be a good photographer with today's digital photography tip and as always, don't miss out on Amanda's Cool Site of the Day. Enjoy!


It's Finally Time For YOU To Get An MP3 Player!

Easy To Use, Plays ALL MP3s - Get Songs From Anywhere!

Stop Buying CDs And Save HUNDREDS With This Fantastic Player!

Keep All Your Songs With You Anywhere - No More Cases Full Of CDs!

Hold Nearly 700 Songs - And It's Expandable! WOW!

This is so cool! We just got a limited quantity of these amazing little RCA MP3 players! If you've been thinking about jumping into the MP3 world - or just want a better MP3 player, this is one you've absolutely got to check out!RCA Pearl Gem Line 2GB USB 2.0 MP3 Player

First off, you're gonna LOVE how much memory this player has built right in! We're talking a whoppin' 2GB worth of MP3 storin' bliss! That's enough for nearly 700 songs! Know what's really cool though? Most little MP3 players like this only have a fixed amount of memory - what's included is what you're stuck with. Well, the people designing this had an absolutely ingenious idea - they put in a microSD card slot so if you ever want to add even more memory to it, you can! Now THAT'S great thinking!

One thing you're really going to love about using this MP3 player is that you can save a TON of money on music! Not only is there a lot of free stuff around, but regular albums can often be found for about half of what you'd spend for the CD - or you can buy individual songs, paying only for what you want! PLUS - once you have all your music on this little device you can take anywhere with you - you'll seriously wonder how you got along with just CDs for all those years!

People new to MP3 players often wonder (and worry about) where they can download MP3s that will work with their new players. Well, just type in "MP3 Downloads" in Google and watch what happens! TONS of places to get downloads, both free and paid sites! And you don't have to worry one bit - this will play ANY MP3 file! Want another hint? Check out - they have some of the best prices on MP3s around :) Oh, and working with your downloaded MP3s is easier than fallin' off a digital log! Just save them to a folder, then use the included software to transfer the songs to your new player! EZ!

Psst - here's a few "extra" features your new MP3 player will have that most MP3 players don't. First, this is designed to do double-duty as a flash drive! I mean, think about how handy that's going to be - you're getting ready to go and you need to take a few files along. Just stick 'em on your MP3 player along with your music! How cool is that? Oh, and this is awesome - need to take a note and don't have any paper? This has a built-in voice recording feature too! Talk about an all-in-one gadget huh?

RCA Pearl Gem Line 2GB USB 2.0 MP3 Player

Of course, none of the above really matters unless it's easy to use - and this has you covered! This little guy has a really simple layout and requires about 5 minutes to master! Nothin' to it!

Oh, did I mention it also includes a fantastic set of earbuds too? I know, you're probably thinking "cheapo ear buds" but just wait till you feast your ears on these! We're talking great quality construction and absolutely amazing sound! You won't believe your ears!

Your cost of all this musical bliss? Just $26.97 and US shipping is FREE! Stop blowing money on CDs, forget spending a fortune on an iPod - give this a try - easy to use, sounds great, records voice, doubles as a flash drive, and it's even expandable! Don't spend $50 on a similar player from your local big box store - give this a try - you'll love it too!

PS - Please note this really and truly is a limited quantity deal! At this price, these are bound to fly outta here so make sure you get to the site early!

Slimy!!! Yuck!!! Gross!!!

Never Squeeze Wet, Nasty Soap Through Your Fingers Again!!

Check Out This Neat Soap Dish!!!

Don't you just hate it when you reach over to grab the soap and end up with a handful of slimy, cold, wet goo? There's just nothin' nastier than a bar of soap that's been sitting in a wet soap dish for awhile.

Well, someone hated it even more than you and I and came up with an ingenious way of solving the problem! Drain the water from the dish! 

Check this out - the dish is actually at an angle and the soap kind of sits on a couple tapered sides - basically causing all the water to drain to the center, and off into your sink! Simple idea, but works brilliantly!

With this ingenious little dish by your sink, next time you go to grab the soap, it's nice and dry - the way a good bar of soap should be!

This design looks and works great anywhere too! Grab one for all your sinks and give it a try for your bathtub too! (I've got one for my camper as well)

Your cost? Just $9.97 and US shipping is Free gets you nice dry soap for years to come!

PS: Have you checked out how much a soap dish costs these days? Yikes! I was in the store looking for one to match my bathroom set and was shocked at it's price of $12.99, and it will still keep my soap all wet and gross. Get the next generation of soap dishes! Grab this today!

You'll NEVER, EVER Edit Your Photos With Your Mouse Again!

The Absolute BEST Way To Work With Graphics & Photos!

Amazing Tablet & Pen Allows You To "Draw" On Your Screen!

Just Try This Once - You'll Never Go Back!


I'mDigiPro 4x3 so excited - I can't wait to share this one with you! We just got this amazing deal on these fantastic Graphics Tablets! Check this out - once you discover how these work, you'll want one for sure!

First off, if you're not familiar with a graphics tablet, it's something that anyone doing any kind of photo editing or graphics work will absolutely LOVE!

Basically, it allows you to use a "pen" to "draw" on your screen!

See, this cool little tablet sits next to your keyboard like a mousepad, then you grab the included pen, and as you "draw" on the tablet, the mouse follows along on the monitor! The pen becomes the mouse for your graphics program! (Don't worry, it doesn't replace your mouse, just supplements it).

PLUS, this works with EVERY program out there since the pen is the "mouse"! If you're program can use a mouse, then this will work!

Once upon a time, in the bad old days, I used a mouse in Photoshop (and other photo editing programs) to make my selections, use brushes, erase - pretty much everything. If you've ever used a mouse to make a tricky selection, you know how incredibly frustrating that can be! 

Well, this tablet comes to the rescue! Instead of trying to trace, brush, select, etc with your mouse, this allows you to "draw" or "paint" with a pen! If that sounds like a great idea, just wait till you try it! What a surprise - tracing and brushing with a pen is easier than a mouse!! Honestly, I don't know how I could ever go back to editing photos using a mouse after using this - difference is night and day.

PLUS - this is a pressure sensitive pad! If your program supports it (Photoshop does - and many others), then you'll really love this! You can generally set the pen to apply "more" as you press harder! So, let's say you're brushing in an area in Photoshop - You can set this so the harder you press, the more "effect" you put down! For example, if you're painting with black, a light touch would only put down a light grey, harder would be a middle grey, and full pressure would be black.

Oh, and did you notice in the photo the "F" keys? Just a tap of the pen gives you instant access to common shortcuts! 

Of course, it's great for other graphics work as well. If you're a digital artist, this will feel like the most wonderful invention you've ever used! When you're drawing on screen with this, it even feels like you're using a real brush or pencil!

Here are some of the features:

  • 4 x 3 Drawing Surface ~ great size for portability and it doesn't take up half your desk!
  • Stylus pen that features the same functions as a mouse (stylus pen holder included).
  • USB interface ~ USB cable is connected to the tablet.
  • Soft-tip pen with 512 levels of pressure for drawing programs such as Painter and Photoshop.
  • Capturing signatures and drawing for inserting into documents.
  • Pen commands for control and editing functions.

What about setup? Easy! Just plug it into your USB port! A lot of people worry that they have to use this instead of a mouse, and don't worry - that's not the case at all. You can use your mouse and tablet side by side! Use the tablet when you're doing photo editing or graphics, switch to the mouse for the regular stuff! That's what I do!

Here's the thing - we all do at least a little photo editing anymore - it's the way digital photography works! This makes it sooo much more enjoyable - and sooo much easier! When I first stared using these tables, I was blown away at how simple it was to make a tight selections and tricky brush strokes compared to my mouse - and I never looked back!

Your cost? Well, you can easily spend $300- $500 for a graphics tablet - but not today! We got an amazing deal on this - right now it's on sale for just $28.97 and US shipping is FREE! WOW!!! For that kind of money, you've just gotta try it! You'll be glad you did, that's for sure!

PS - Once you try this, you'll never go back to using a mouse with your graphics or photo program - it's that good! Give it a try, you'll be amazed too!

PRICE WARNING - We're getting these are a special price from our supplier, and I can't guarantee the deal after today. RUN to the site and grab this - the price will increase to $34.97 soon!


Computers 101

I must admit that I have a MySpace profile. I use it to stay in touch with my friends and family and I heard something the other day about a MySpace tracking system. Do you know anything about that? If you have any information, please share it with us!

First, I want to say that I hope you're enjoying your MySpace experience. I know there has been a lot of controversy in the past over this social networking Web site, but all in all, it's a really good way to stay in contact with old friends and relatives who may live far away, etc.

With that said and out of the way, I, too, have heard of the MySpace "tracking system." It's said that you can put a special program into your MySpace profile that will track everyone who views your personal profile. From the tracking program, you'll be able to see who looked at your profile, at what time they visited and so on. It even gives you the link to the other person's profile, so if someone you don't know views your page, you can go and see who they are as well. Now, that may seem like a good idea at first, but keep reading for some more interesting information!

There are many tracking services that can be used with MySpace, including MStracker, HitsLink, ProfileSnitch, Hitslog, TrackMySpace, TheSpaceTracker and another called Trakzor. For this tip, I am going to focus the most on Trakzor, because it seems to be one of the more popular trackers used on MySpace. They just recently designed a new version (2.0) and it seems to be the most sophisticated of the group. It also looks like it's the best designed, which is always a plus.

To put a tracker on your MySpace profile, you just have to download the tracker HMTL code and then insert it onto your page. After you do that, you'll be able to see who all visits your profile, etc. You'll be the only one who can see that information as well. Now, that may all seem a little too good to be true and well, you're right. It is. With most tracking systems, you can only see who views your profile if that person has an account with the same tracking service as you. So, if someone looks at your page and they don't have a tracker in their profile, you won't be able to find anything out about them. Instead, it will be just like any other visitor.

So, as you can see, putting a tracker on your profile doesn't really help out too much. Plus, it's not very safe. All of the tracking programs that I mentioned above have one thing in common and that's their limited Internet security. They also tend to have trouble keeping up with profile views, which pretty much defeats the purpose of the program in the first place. And one more thing: if someone has the same tracking system as you do, they can see when you view their profile as well. It doesn't really keep you any safer and it doesn't keep your information private.

The best thing to do with MySpace (if you're worried about unwanted people viewing your profile) is to set it to a private status. That way, anyone who's not on your "friends list" will not be able to see your page. They will be able to see your picture and when you last logged in, but they cannot see any of your personal details, etc. It's the safest thing to do on MySpace. To do that, log in to your account and click on the My Account link. From there, click on Privacy. Next to the "Profile Viewable By" section, click on the option for "My Friends Only." You can change some other settings while you're in there if you want as well. When you're done, hit the Save All Changes button and you'll be all set.

Now, like I said before, there has been some controversy over how safe MySpace is and while there have been some legitimate arguments, there are a number of ways you can keep yourself safe while using it. Of course, after reading about the trackers, there are some things that may hurt you more than help you, but if you're smart about your MySpace time, you'll be just fine. I hope you find all of this information to be more than helpful!

~ Erin

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MS Office

Removing the Logo

So, a couple weeks ago, I wrote a tip about putting a logo on your envelopes. Specifically, you learned how to add a logo, graphic or text that would appear on all of your MS Word envelopes.

Unfortunately, I didn't address how to undo them, should you change your mind.

First, if you don't want something on a single envelope, you should be able to select it and simply delete it.

Now, for the subject, we really need to address permanently removing the information from your Word envelopes.

Basically, you need to remove the EnvelopeExtra1 AutoText/Quick Parts entry.

If you're using Word 2007, you need to remove a Quick Parts entry.

  • To do that, you need the Insert tab on the ribbon, Quick Parts button, Building Blocks Organizer choice.

  • From the list, locate EnvelopeExtra1, select it and then click on the Delete button.

  • If you need to, click on the title of the Name column and Word will sort the entries alphabetically. Besides scrolling through the really long list, you can use the E key repeatedly to cycle through all the entries that begin with an "e."

  • After you click on the Delete button, Word will ask you to confirm your decision.

  • Click on the Close button to return to your document.
Now, for those of you with older versions of Word, you need to remove the AutoText entry.
  • Start with the Insert menu, AutoText submenu, AutoText choice (at the very top).

  • That should open the AutoCorrect dialogue window, already on the AutoText tab.

  • In the "Enter AutoText entries here" field, put in EnvelopeExtra1. That should bring it up without you having to scroll through the long list.

  • Once you can see it in the list, select it and then click on the Delete button.

  • Click OK to leave the AutoCorrect dialogue window.

Voila! Any new envelope will start out completely blank. It's just like you never had an EnvelopeExtra1!

~ April

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More Cool Stuff

The Smartest 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub EVER!!

Brilliant "Octopus" Design Turns 1 USB Port Into 4!

You'll Never Use A "Regular" Hub Again!!

On Sale Today ONLY!

Special Note - WOW - We had TONS of people grabbing this yesterday, so we thought, hey, why not give you another day with the cheap price? So, if you missed out, check this out - you've never had this much fun adding USB devices to your computer!

Sick of unplugging your hardware just to use a the USB Port? Even more sick of having to crawl around to the back of your computer and playing contortionist to find the free USB port? Well, have I got the cure to all your hardware sickness! This 4 USB 2.0 Hub!!!

Oh, but the big deal with this is the absolutely brilliant octopus-like arms that make plugging in your devices soooo much easier than a normal hub! I mean, you know how it goes - it's a huge hassle to pop a USB plug into a tiny, crowded port. We've all been there - adjusting, jiggling, flipping and pushing the plug just trying to get the stupid thing in.

Well, these arms make it so easy to plug in your USB devices you may find yourself buying computer accessories just so you can use it :-) Yup, finally a way to plug in your USB devices without the hassle! Just grab a free plug, turn it anyway you like, and pop your plug in! It doesn't sound like much, but let me tell ya, once you try it, you'll be hooked! I have one plugged into the front of my computer right now, and anyone who tries to "borrow" it is in for a serious hand-slappin'!!!

Oh, and it's more than just a pretty face too! It provides 4 hi-speed (2.0) USB Ports in a small compact size! This hub takes up almost zero space since it's mostly just cords! It will free up gobs of space your desktop! This guy is so small, that it could easily fit in your pocket!!! Really! You can take it anywhere, making it ideal for both notebook or desktop computers!!! (I can't wait to take this on the road)

Even Better- it even has 100% hot-swappable protection. What does this mean? Hot-swappable means that you can simply plug in your device when you need it, then yank it out when you're done. You don't need to take the time to formally eject it or have to worry about the stuff you have plugged in!!!! Cool :-)

Your price? Get this!! The coolest UBS hub on the planet can be yours today for just $12.97 and US Shipping is Free. I know, hard to believe you can get this much innovation for that kind of money! Run to the site before they sell out (Or before I decide just to keep them all for myself) Check it OUT:

PS: Yup, I love this hub!!! And I am sure you will too! Order one today, this deal is just too good to pass up- You'll be kicking yourself if you wait till tomorrow when the price will increase to $18.97!

It's Time To SUPERCHARGE Your Computer!

Amazing Software Makes Windows Run Up To 300% Faster!

It's The Absolute BEST $8.97 You'll Ever Spend On Your PC!

You're Computer Will Be Smokin' Fast!

Customize, Tweak, Secure, Optimize, And Make 'Er FLY!!

OK, these are STILL going like crazy! Thank YOU to the 1000+ who have ordered! If you don't have it yet, you;re missing out big time! Just wait till you check out this mind-blowing deal on System Mechanic 7

It's by far, the very best program I've ever seen for getting the most out of Windows! You'll be blown away at what this does to your PC - You'll think you got a new computer! I tell ya, personally, I think this is just outstanding! I've seen a ton of software, but the improvements this makes is really nothing short of amazing! It optimizes Windows to be the way it SHOULD have been when you purchased it! Read on - and get ready to be really - and I mean REALLY - impressed!

First, I'm seriously impressed at just how easy this software makes it to really get your computer crankin'! I mean, I don't think there's anything on your computer this can't tweak and optimize!

To test, I installed it on my personal machine and it did a quick scan, and then it scared the poop outta me! it came up with a serious warning about a few security problems and gave me some really helpful speed improvement suggestions. Now here's the cool part - With just a couple mouse clicks, I'm now enjoying a MUCH faster -and much more secure - computer! And I honestly thought I was as tweaked out as I could be! Not even close - this was incredible - and all automatic!

What can it do for you? Let's talk speed - this takes your slow PC and turns it into a Ferrari - you'll think your computer is new again (maybe better than new)! It'll be just flying through programs and impressing the livin' daylights out of ya! This has a whopping 19 different ways to crank up the speed on your machine! In fact, many systems see an absolutely incredible 300% improvement after just some automatic adjusting by this program! WOW - that's worth $8.97 in anyone's book!

Want to surf the internet at up to 300% faster? Oh, man, this can help! Windows isn't necessarily optimized for the fastest connection out of the box, but this program can grab your settings and squeeze out the speed - you'll surf the internet like crazy! Who wouldn't want to surf up to 300% faster?!!? Heck, it even has a speed tool to measure how faster you connection speed is! Just fantastic!

Want more? - Sure ya do! Another thing this does that I'm in absolute love with is it lets you customize over 100 "secret" Windows settings! Stuff that you always wish Windows would let you adjust but there isn't really any direct way to do it. This makes it point-and-click easy!! You can: Optimize the way Windows' Start Menu behaves, speed up networking performance, log in automatically, edit your computer registration data, change multimedia behavior, improve pagefile security, customize explorer's context menus, edit advanced administration options, and much more!!

Oh, and just wait till you point your mouse at the Automatic System Maintenance section! I just love this! This part of the program will watch in the background and wait till the system is idle. As soon as you're not using the computer, it will work in the background tuning your computer for absolute peak performance! Here's the really cool part - just touch your mouse, and it stops what it's doing and gives the system back to you! Really! If you've ever been slowed down by a stubborn anti-virus that insisted on scanning while you were working, you know just how cool this is! Oh, and it even lets you pick and choose what optimizations to run!

Another automatic feature I think is just brilliant is the "One-Click" option! It's just what it sounds like - just click the button and System Mechanic runs all of its system enhancement programs and cranks your system up to the next level! Just a button push away! It makes it easy for EVERYONE to have a smokin' system!

Of course, no utility suite would be complete without some killer security tools - and this has the best! This program will quickly scan your system and help you find all the holes - then just plug them with a mouse click! I was really surprised when it found not one, not two, but THREE major holes on my personal PC! I clicked the mouse and the world was safe again!

Oh, and that's not all! This also includes both a world-class Anti-Virus (one of the easiest, most comprehensive AVs I've ever used) and a really top-notch Firewall! Either one retails for more than we're selling the entire suite for! WOW!

PLUS - it destroys spyware, adware, malware and more. OK, put it this way - if it was made to attack your system, this is going to seek it out and destroy it like a battalion of ticked off Marines!

OK, all that's great, but what if your PC is really messed up - like it won't boot? This software can handle that too! Just pop in a recovery CD and System Mechanic will examine your system and get your computer running right again! If you've ever had that sick "why isn't my computer booting" feeling, you can appreciate how great this will be next time it happens!

One more thing and I'll try to stop! System Mechanic is just fanatical about grabbing up wasted space on your hard drive! This just blew me away when it found a whopping 1.5 GIG of wasted hard drive space! Geeze - I've had whole hard drives that were smaller than that! This made grabbing that space back a mouse click away! I tell ya - you just can't go wrong here!

OK - can ya tell I'm impressed? There's actually a LOT more this can do, but I don't want to write a book on it (OK, maybe I've already come close)! I'm currently running this software and couldn't be happier with it. My system is definitely faster than before it was installed and I just love the performance increase! If you only buy one software program this year - GRAB THIS!

Your price? Get this - just $8.97 and US shipping is FREE! AND - this is a 3 license pack too! WOW!!! We've never had it this cheap!!! When you think of all this can do, for $8.97, it's the biggest no-brainer in software history! Check it out:

PS - Seriously, after just using this for a short time, I wouldn't be without it. If WorldStart wasn't carrying it, I'd happily pay the $70 for it somewhere else - it really is that good! PLEASE - take a look at this one, I've NEVER seen a better, more complete utility program! Blows everything else right out of the water!!

PS - The price will increase to $18.97 very soon (probably like, tomorrow)!

Change Your Desktop

Are you getting a little tired of looking at the same exact desktop every time you boot up your computer? I mean, you have to stare at it all day long, so shouldn't it be something you actually enjoy seeing? I'm talking about your wallpaper, your desktop theme, the colors and all of that fun stuff. Okay, so now that you're in the mood to change things up a bit, where do you start? Well, you can begin by checking out the tip on our homepage today. It will walk you through everything step by step and in no time at all, you'll be staring at a brand new desktop!

The Honey Expert

How many of you like to eat honey? How many of you like to use honey for other purposes, such as giving yourself a facial? I know those uses are extremely different from each other, but if you check out the cool site on our homepage today, you'll see just what I mean. It's called The Honey Expert and it's filled with different recipes and all kinds of other things you can use honey for. It's a definite must see!

Here's the link you need: Enjoy!

Tip of the Day

Preventing Your Games From Crashing

It's a fairly common scenario: you've been looking forward to the release of a new game for months. You run to the store to buy it as soon as it's released, you bring it home and you're anxious to play it, but for some reason or another, you're simply unable to play the game. That's right, it crashes. Time and time again. Even more, in some cases, the game doesn’t even install or if it does install, it doesn’t start up. So, what's the deal? Well, let's look at some possible reasons for game crashes and how you can prevent it from happening again!

Basic Problems

Actually, the game not starting at all is not that bad, because in that case, you can almost certainly say there's a mismatch between the game’s minimum requirements and your computer’s specifications.

In fact, there are many things that could go wrong. You may have the wrong version of the game (you have a PC, but you bought the Mac version), you may have a CD ROM drive and the game version you bought is a DVD, you have a 32-bit operating system, but you purchased the 64-bit version, you don’t have the proper graphics card and so on and so forth.

In each of those cases, the problem is easily avoided by making sure you're aware of your computer’s specifications beforehand. It's a good idea to write them out on a sheet of paper and take it along with you to the store. That way, you can match up everything on the game's packaging as well.

Resource Usage and Memory Problems

Even if you've met the requirements on the box, always remember that those are the bare minimum requirements. Generally, your computer ought to be significantly better for you to experience decent performance.

The reason for that is since you've been using your computer for awhile, there are a number of applications you have installed over time. These days, many of those applications tend to run in the background at all times. While in the background, they inevitably consume computer resources (especially memory) and therefore, reduce the resources that will be available for the game. One way to get around that is to do a performance check and clean up your startup programs. By doing that, you'll free up several resources and decrease your chance of experiencing problems.

In many cases, it may be as simple as the game not finding enough hard disk space. On one hand, that may be due to the fact that there's very little hard disk space available (as a rule of thumb, you should have at least three times the size of your RAM available on your hard disk at all times). On the other hand, there may be a huge amount of hard disk space available, but it could be fragmented (in that case, the best thing to do is defragment your hard drive and try running the game again). Of course, it never hurts to purchase more hard disk space too!

Video Memory and Other Graphics Issues

In some cases, crashes are caused not by main memory or hard disk limitations, but by limited video memory. Even though games coming out nowadays will mention video memory requirements, there are probably some that still don't. You'll just want to make sure you look into that when purchasing a new game.

That's a critical aspect of most contemporary game performances, which rely heavily on high end graphics. Make sure your computer either has a dedicated video memory (as part of an AGP or graphics accelerator card) or has a portion of the main memory that's reserved for video memory. If it's not possible to have as much video memory as required (and purchasing more is out of the question), it makes sense to try to play the game at a lower resolution so that it will consume fewer resources. Lowering the game’s resolution can also solve the problem of crashing in cases where the crash is actually being caused due to the display’s maximum resolution being less than the game’s default.

In some cases, you may need to reduce your screen resolution to the game’s resolution to make it work. Many common graphics issues are also caused by having the wrong kind of graphics card or having no AGP card at all. It's a good idea to invest in an AGP or 3D graphics accelerator card, because most games are likely to require it for those high end graphics.

Other Problems

The video freezing up, the screen blanking out or other graphics crashes are in fact the most common types of game crashes. Other reasons for graphics problems are not having the right drivers installed (update your drivers regularly), issues with your installed version of DirectX (update after researching) and not having enough processing power.

Other problems that may arise are having an incompatible sound card, having faulty hardware and connection problems for games that depend on the Internet or are played online. Software bugs can cause a crash as well, but those will be somewhat random and not repeatable. They can also be checked easily by testing them on other computers or reading up on forums to see if others are experiencing similar problems. Chances are, software bugs are few and when they arise, they are fixed swiftly through a patch or update from the manufacturer.

On higher end CPUs, overheating can also be a problem. When the processor overheats, it causes the system to shut down or worse, misbehave. Overheating can be caused by something as simple as a non-functioning processor fan. In some cases, overheating is caused because the processor is overloaded.

It's also always a good idea to frequently update your computer’s operating system. Even more, do not turn off the automatic updating feature on a Windows PC, but if you must, check for updates at least once a week. Keeping an antivirus suite up to date can block out problems caused by viruses and other malware as well.

Hopefully this has helped you solve some of your gaming issues and you can now go back to having fun!

~ Stephen Davies

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Today's Feature

Characteristics of a Good Photographer

A photograph conveys what a thousand words cannot. But to achieve that, there are a few qualities a photographer needs to possess in order to capture a Kodak moment. Let's check them out!

Go Outdoors

To bring the outside inside, you need to go out and explore the great outdoors. That means travel far and near! It could be your neighborhood marketplace or a nearby park. Or, it could be going out and exploring on one of your vacations. Either way, you need to step out of your normal routine and check out the unknown.

Be Curious

Curiosity can result in great pictures! There’s no virtue as fulfilling as that, because if you're curious, photography doesn’t become a chore. Instead, it's a joyful experience. Also, when it’s all work and all play, you'll end up with a far greater output than a less curious photographer who's doing it only for the money and recognition. Also, curious people see things around them with renewed interest, as if they're seeing it for the first time. You need to perceive things without your mind being in a hurry. That's the main secret! Great photos may come, but being curious itself is greatly enjoyable. Remember, the voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in gaining new eyes.

Make Mistakes

Know no fear! It's okay to mess up a photo by trying out all kinds of exposures, angles, subjects and moods. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The way to take great photographs is to take a lot of them. Learn from the mistakes of others, but don’t be afraid to make your own as well. Some photographers have a weekly ritual of taking approximately 50 photos a day and reviewing them over the weekend. Many have reported that their photography techniques have improved and their level of quality has gone up. It could be their ability to understand light and manipulate the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Or, it could be their creativity that has reached a new high. It could also just be their constant exposure to photography and its elements. Therefore, the lesson here is shoot, shoot, shoot!

Be in Control

I don't mean that in a negative sense. I'm talking about keeping an eye on everything that makes up a good photo every time you're out with your camera. That could mean changing the ISO, aperture value, shutter speed, light, etc. Shooting becomes more fun when you control the settings. That's also when you become more creative. When you can control the settings, you can control anything for a good photo. With control comes your own style. Be brave enough to do something crazy. Shoot what impresses you and you'll impress others!

See Things Differently

A good photographer is one who notices things others are oblivious to. The best way to testify to that is to go through interesting photos on the Flickr Web site every other day. One of the things you'll notice is that most photos are of ordinary subjects, but are taken in an extraordinary manner; be it lighting, angle, contrast, background, foreground, focal length and so on. For example, sometimes a building that appears ordinary by day might end up looking spectacular by night.

Be Different

Great photographers don’t do different things, they just do things differently. So, try and be different in everything you do. Stay away from monotonous angles, subjects and backgrounds. Step out of your comfort zone and push the envelope of creativity to break new ground. Know the rules, but also set out to break them. Just be different!

View and Review

It’s always good to be pals with other photographers taking similar shots. That way, you get to learn from their mistakes and even solve some of the problems you're facing in your photography. Swap ideas, give each other tips and share the lessons you learn. Once a sense of sharing develops between you and other photographers, you'll end up becoming a better photographer through viewing and reviewing.

Resort to Lateral Thinking

Put disconnected ideas together and see where your creativity takes you! Just place random ideas together and find new solutions to problems. Do that regularly and you'll never be short of ideas.

Be Playful

Some of the best photos come about when you're just fooling around with your camera with no agenda whatsoever. Therefore, the key is to play with new angles, with different shooting distances, with shooting from different perspectives and so on. A playful approach to life could very well take your photography to a new level.

Be Patient

Many of us feel happy when we take many photographs, no matter how bad they are. And to achieve that, we end up racing against time and shortening our life cycle. Instead, a better bet would be to give time a break and just relax. Just watch the world go by with no intention of shooting scores of images. At one time or another, you'll end up capturing a Kodak moment. Just wait it out and enjoy life at the same time!

Happy photographing!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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Amanda's Coolsite

Confusing Words

There are a lot of confusing words out there! For example, affect, effect, affluent, effluent, their, they’re and there.

I often have trouble using affect and effect correctly. So much trouble that I often double or triple check to make sure I have the right one. But now, I have a really easy resource I can use to check them out!

On the Confusing Words Web site, you can check out tons of different words. Just type in the word you're unsure about and click Find.

As an example, I looked up affect. Not only does it give the definition for affect, but it gives the definition for effect as well. It also shows examples of how each are used, making it easier for you to see the difference. Also, in the Notes section, it gives you a way of remembering the difference between them. How cool is that?!

I think this is an amazing resource and I hope you enjoy it too!

~ Amanda

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New Titles and Offers


Monthly Wallpaper

January Wallpaper

Here's January's wallpaper. It's all free, so enjoy!

Yellowstone Falls

This was shot just before sunrise at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This amazing falls is always a treat to see and I was early enough, I had the place to myself!

Simple Flower

I don't know about you, but I needed a break from all the snow and ice, so I found this and decided to put a little green into January! Shot last spring in the Smoky Mountains; a Trillium, I think.

Rock and Ice

This abstract looking shot is of thick ice that had formed on some reddish rock in the Smoky Mountains last spring. So, if you want a cold theme for your desktop, this should do it!

All can be found here:





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