Category Archives: Technology

Your old PC: Win-Win Situation

Thanks to Windows 7, a lot of people have purchased new computers or are
planning to. And that leaves them with one of life’s more pleasant problems:
what to do with the old machine.

With prices for used computers so low, reselling an older PC is often more
trouble than its worth, and you can actually get more value out of your old
machine by keeping it and using it for another purpose. Here are some ideas to
get you started.

     

  1. Data Backup Machine: If your old computer is a desktop with a
        decent amount of storage or the capability to hold more storage (hard
        drives) than it currently has, it’s a good candidate for duty as a Windows
        Home Server
    .
     
        Buy an OEM copy of Windows Home Server on a site like Newegg, install it on
        your old machine, hook the computer up to your in-home network, and you’ll
        never again have to be embarrassed when someone asks you whether you back up
        your data. The answer will be ‘yes, every night.’
  2.  

  3. Test Bed: How many times have you installed an application –
        only to regret it later when it causes your computer to become slower or,
        even worse, to crash?
     
        Put your old computer to use as a ‘test‘ machine, and you can say
        goodbye to nightmare installations of new software. Install them first on
        the old machine and see how they work, then you can decide to install them
        on your main machine or to just forget the whole affair.
  4.  

  5. Test another Flavor: Windows isn’t the only operating system out
        there. In fact, many would argue that a lot of the action these days is in OpenSource
        Operating Systems
    . What better way to test all of this out than on an
        old machine?
     
        The Ubuntu operating system (http://www.ubuntu.com/GetUbuntu/download) is
        the hands-down favourite among those who want to get their first exposure to
        Linux- based computing.
     
        Ubuntu is easy to install, as it recognises plenty of hardware
        automatically, just as Windows does. Once installed, you’ll feel pretty much
        at home if you’re familiar with Windows, since Ubuntu follows many of the
        interface conventions to which Windows users are accustomed.
  6.  

  7. Gaming Zone: If you’re into computer games, you already know that multi-player
        action
    is where the fun begins. But without multiple computers in your
        house, there’s no multi-player action. A spare computer clears up that
        problem.
     
        If you’re not a gamer but you’ve always wondered how much fun it would be to
        play multiplayer games (lots), then put that old machine to work on your
        game of choice.
  8.  

  9. Dismantle It: When you hear people talk about hard drives,
        memory, video cards, or motherboards, do you secretly want to run away? Lose
        the fear by taking your old PC apart and seeing what’s in it. A Philips-head
        screwdriver is pretty much the only tool you’ll need.
     
        Find a tutorial online that helps you identify the parts you see
        inside of your computer, and you’ll no longer be at a loss to understand how
        hard drives, graphics cards, memory, and other components are attached.
     
        Plus, when you need to replace or upgrade one of these parts in the future,
        you’ll have a clue about how to do it yourself.
  10.  

  11. Donate It: Your old computer might not be up to the
        task of running Windows 7, but there are people who won’t care and will be
        happy to take it.
     
        Start by surveying members of your family. If your old computer is a
        notebook, chances are good that someone in your clan will love it, even if
        Windows XP Home is the only thing it can run with any degree of success.
     
        If your old computer is a desktop, perhaps a member of your family who needs
        a computer primarily to surf the web or play the occasional game of
        solitaire will be just thrilled to have it. Check around. It’s probably
        worth more in good feelings of being generous than any resale would be.

It’s always a “Win-Win” situation for you. So don’t panic,
enjoy this.

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Work out your brain to keep sharp

Our memory peaks in our 20s and 30s and slowly begins to decline after that. Memory lapses, like losing your keys, arriving at the grocery shop and forgetting what you were supposed to get, trouble remembering where you left your car in the parking lot, or forgetting the name of the person you were introduced to five minutes ago, are common and even normal for adults going into their fourth or fifth decade.

These are episodic memories, which capture the ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘when’ of our daily lives and decline normally with age. Other functions which slow down somewhat include our capacities for learning something new, and shifting focus from one activity to another.

But the ability to recall concepts and general facts or vocabulary and language skills, which fall under semantic memory continue to improve for many older adults.

The human brain works on a ‘use it or lose it’ principle. The more you give your brain a workout, the better you are able to process and remember information. Try some of these.

Brain Gym: Find several brain exercises that you enjoy, and make them a habit. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, lateral thinking puzzles, and even good riddles are a great way to get brain exercise.

Physical Gym: Physical activities and exercise, such as brisk walking, help boost and maintain brain function.

Neurobics: The term was invented by Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin to describe exercises especially designed to keep the brain sharp. The belief is that unusual sensory stimulation breaks the auto-pilot mode that the brain slips into with routine actions and thoughts. Breaking that mould releases certain chemicals that encourage growth of new dendrites and neurons in the brain.

Use your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways to break out of your everyday routines and stimulate your brain. Don’t use the sense you normally use, but rely on other senses to do an ordinary task. Here are a few ways you can go off-beat.

Get dressed for work or take a shower with your eyes closed.

Identify food on your plate only by smell, taste and touch.

Combine senses in unexpected ways – listen to music while smelling a particular aroma.

Take a completely different route to work.

Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, get dressed, etc.

Prepare a meal from another country. Continue to learn new things throughout your life to keep your brain healthy. As we age, we know more, and improve on how to use what we know. Remember, we can get better as we get older!

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