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  • Frys electronics is closing

    Posted on February 24th, 2021 at 00:08 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (USA centric post)

    Well the news has it that Frys Electronics, a place that before Amazon came into our lives, was THE place where us geeks on the West Coast would go to check out computer equipment that we really didn’t need, but positively HAD to have. In my various geek conference travels, if there was a Frys in the close vicinity of where I was at, we’d organize a trip to the location. I’ve been to one in Las Vegas, several in the bay area, several in the Los Angeles area and one that was close to Redmond Washington. Yes, I was up in Redmond for a Microsoft conference and we just HAD to go to the local Frys. Imagine a group of geeks from around the world being let loose in what we all considered a near candy store. And unique about the locations, each one had a “theme”.

    The smell of the store as you walked in the doors had a…. it’s hard to explain it…… similar to how the Pep Boys had a distinctive rubber smell throughout the store, Frys had a smell of electronics and cardboard boxes.  You’d stop in the doorway and breathe in that geek computer smell.  The smell would make us geeks giddy.

    Rumor had it that the stores still listed itself in the Standard Industrial Classification code as a grocery store even though it long got out of the business of groceries. Reportedly that’s how it started out – as a grocery store. We’d always call the checkout line as running the “gauntlet” as there was all sorts of snacks, geek things you just had to have and all sorts of things to entice you as you checked out. And never go into the store wearing black slacks and a white shirt – shoppers would think you worked for the store. Many a fellow geek would talk about how they’d go into Fry’s and help their fellow shoppers out by advising them on what to buy.

    I’m positive there are still hard drives, memory chips, and old dvds I have around my house that came from Frys.

    Ah, good memories, good times.

  • Master your printer – not the other way around

    Posted on February 8th, 2021 at 01:40 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    HARDWARE

    Master your printer – not the other way around

    By Michael Lasky

    “I hate printers, but I love what they can do!”

    That’s the mantra recited by just about anyone who has a printer attached to their computer. Of all the peripherals that connect to our PCs, printers seem to be the number-one troublemaker.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. Paper jams, overpriced ink, print spooler logjams, wasted paper – these are just a few of the hassles whose remedies are addressed here. If your love/hate relationship with your printer is more hate than love, read on — and maybe, just maybe, we can flip that around with these expert printer tips and tricks.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.5.0 (2021-02-08).

  • Will the chip shortage impact you?

    Posted on February 4th, 2021 at 23:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen this in the news – a shortage in chips will impact cars and other technology. Earlier this year it was near impossible to find workstations, laptops and chromebooks.

    What are you seeing in your purchasing? Are key tech items starting to be backlogged?

  • Excess heat during laptop recharging?

    Posted on January 25th, 2021 at 01:30 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    Excess heat during laptop recharging?

    By Fred Langa

    A reader is concerned: His laptop’s CPU temperature rises during battery-charging sessions. Why would the CPU heat up?

    Relatedly, what are normal CPU temperatures, anyway? What’s a safe temperature rise?

    Plus: A tiny freeware app that prevents PC overheating!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.3.0 (2021-01-25).

  • Four GB of RAM vanishes … but then reappears

    Posted on January 18th, 2021 at 02:35 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    Four GB of RAM vanishes … but then reappears

    By Fred Langa

    A long-stable Win10 PC with 12GB of RAM suddenly crashes after losing track of a full third of its memory — only to have the missing RAM later reappear and work fine!

    The other symptoms seem to rule out simple RAM-chip failures or software-caused glitches. What the heck is going on here?

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.2.0 (2021-01-18).

  • Tasks for the weekend – December 26, 2020

    Posted on December 26th, 2020 at 22:29 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube video here

    Like Amy, I use the end of the year to take stock, clean up and possibly upgrade.  It’s that time of the year that I ask myself if my computer is running okay or if it needs a bit of help.  Does it need a bigger hard drive?  More ram memory?  CAN it be easily upgraded or if it’s a laptop, it’s so hard to pry it apart that they expect you to just by a new one.  You can typically search online for someone’s youtube video on how easy – or hard – it is to open up a laptop or desktop and change out parts.

    I typically go to www.crucial.com and see if I can upgrade a part that is easy to change out.  This allows me to review the pricing and see if it’s worth the cost.  If I can’t easily upgrade something I will spend the time reviewing software installed and if anything should be removed.  I’ll use something like treesize free to review what is the hard drive hog on my machine.

    So do you use this time to review your computer?

    (note that computer shortages are still being seen, so consider upgrading what you have)

  • Versatile gadget gifts for stuffing stockings large and small

    Posted on December 6th, 2020 at 21:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    BEST HARDWARE

    By Michael Lasky

    Christmas stocking stuffers are usually thought of as small, whimsical, and not necessarily practical.

    But relatively inexpensive tech gadgets can be both useful and appealing to your favorite digital denizen. You might even secretly covet them for yourself.

    If your holiday list is still missing something, and you’re down to last-minute shopping, consider picking up one or more of the following devices.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.48.0 (2020-12-07).

  • How old is your router?

    Posted on November 27th, 2020 at 12:27 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I saw a recommendation yesterday that you should review your router and if it was older than two years, consider replacing it.

    I think that’s a bit extreme, but I do believe that you should review if your router’s firmware is up to date.  Some models have automatic updating enabled on the router to ensure that it’s up to date.  Consumerreports list several router models to review.

    Michael Horowitz has an entire site devoted to the security of home routers.    As we do more and more online shopping, make sure your home network is as secure as it can be!