Posted - August 18 2011 : 21:01:01
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Question: Liz asks, "Which is better for my computer: shutdown, hibernate, or sleep?"
Answer: Good question, Liz. I'm often asked whether or not to leave the computer on all the time. This is a question that has changed somewhat over time, but like most things, it depends on how you use your computer. If your computer is on all the time, you can set up defrag, updates, and virus scans so they happen during the middle of the night, so you can use your computer immediately when you walk up. On the other hand, you can choose one of the three methods to turn your computer off. Shutdown turns the computer completely off, and requires a full reboot to start back up, so it takes the most time. When you put your computer to sleep (which closing the lid on a laptop usually does), your computer restarts the fastest, but isn't completely off, either. It just kind of freezes, stops, and keeps power flowing to memory. So if the power goes off, either because your laptop's battery runs down, or you have a power outage, you're still stuck doing a full reboot. If you choose to hibernate instead, your computer will shut off completely, but before that happens, Windows will copy the entire contents of memory to one file. When you turn it back on, it'll reload memory from that file. This takes longer than waking it up from sleep mode, but not generally as long as a full reboot. As for me, I normally tend to put the computer to sleep. I'll hibernate it if the battery is very low and I don't want to turn it off. And I just reserve turning the computer off for when I'm about to turn it right back on.
Cool Site: simplee.com: Medical bills aren't easy to understand. There are charges and fees and co-pays and deductibles and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Plus, your health insurance policy may include benefits you never take advantage of because you don't remember you have them or when the deadline is to use the benefits. Well this week's cool site is simplee.com and it helps you keep track of all this information. Now, don't worry about privacy because simplee is HIPAA-compliant. Not only that, it's free to create an account. Then simplee will guide you through the process of getting your health care accounts set up. That way simplee can access your health plan information and present it to you in a more meaningful way. When you return to the site, you'll find a dashboard that tells you things like how much deductible you have left to pay, how many doctor visits you've made, how many transactions you've had, including pharmacy, how much you've spent and how much your medical care has cost. If you have an FSA or HSA, you can see your balances in simplee. The page also includes a message area so you don't miss important deadlines. Simplee will even check your medical bills and alert you to miscalculations, potentially saving you money. When you visit a doctor, simplee will store the billing details of that event online – remember, HIPAA-compliant – and it will organize that information so you can see what you owe, how it was calculated, what the visit was for, and whether it's paid for yet. There's more, but just visit their website simplee.com.
Cool Gadget: Logitech K400 Touch Keyboard: There's a class of computer called the Home Theater PC. My wife built one for our house. Not only that, you can connect most any laptop to a flat screen TV and play videos or stream Netflix movies to the TV using Media Center in Windows Vista or 7. In any case, you'll need a wireless keyboard and mouse, and that's where this week's gadget comes in: the Logitech K400 Touch Keyboard. It's a smallish keyboard that has a touch pad, like a laptop has, built right in, except this one supports multi-touch so you can use gestures like pinching. It even stores standing up, which I have to say, is how we store our keyboard at home. This keyboard includes multimedia keys, so you really don't need a wireless mouse unless you just really hate the trackpad. The keys have large, bold lettering on them so they're easier to see by the light of the screen. The review I read at everything USB mentioned that it would be better if the keys were backlit. But Logitech estimates the battery life at a year, and the keyboard has a ten-meter range (that's 33 feet to you and me), though I suspect that this is only with fresh batteries. As the battery gets low, the range will decrease. It also includes Logitech's unifying receiver that supports up to six wireless devices, and runs about $49.
It's All "Geek" To Me: OOF: Today's term sounds more like what you'd see on Batman during a fight. Our term is OOF. It's an acronym used in some businesses to mean Out Of Facility. Microsoft uses this term internally, for instance. Another meaning I found was Out of Office, and you may see this term in your email program. When you're out, you can enable the Out Of Office message so that people who email you will know you're out and won't answer immediately. That way, if there's an issue that really needs looking into, they'll know to try to get hold of you some other way. Businesses generally do this, but I don't recommend this type message for home users, because it broadcasts to everyone that you're not home.
Tech Tip Friday's Show Notes RSS Feed:
Simplee at MakeUseOf:
Logitech K400 Touch Keyboard:
Logitech K400 Touch Keyboard at Everything USB:
OOF at Acronymfinder:
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