Accessories can make your
Here are some items to be used as accessories for your computer programs which you may find useful. Some of them will make your computer run more smoothly. Others will make your life run more smoothly.
The most valuable thing that First Aid does is trap GPFs. GPF stands for "general protection fault." Windows gives you a GPF message when it cannot figure out what went wrong. Often, a GPF makes the computer freeze, and you have to reboot -- which means you lose your work. First Aid gives you a message when the computer is about to crash, but it gives you a chance to close your applications and shut down Windows.
First Aid also can check your Windows setup, tell you what is wrong and fix it. It does not work 100 percent of the time, but I have found it very useful. I have found no downside to using it.
You probably can get this at your local software store. You also can get information by phone at 310/581-4700.
The publisher of SpinRite recently released the fourth generation of this program. The program extensively tests your hard disk and finds sectors which are going bad before they cause your computer to crash. The program moves data in those sectors to good sectors.
Besides using SpinRite to check my hard disk, I use it a lot on floppy disks. Quite often, as I am loading a new program, the computer tells me it cannot read the floppy. I have SpinRite do its thing, and the floppy works great.
Unlike many diagnostic and repair programs, this one is really simple to use. It will keep your hard disk in good shape. I have used it many times with no problems. However, before you use any software like this which may make changes to your disk, you must back up in case something goes wrong.
For more information, call 714/348-7100 or look on the web at SpinRite2 grc.com.
Take a look at Iomega's Ditto Backup units. The one I use stores up to 800 megabytes of data, cost me less than $150 and is very compact. The Windows backup software is the most intuitive I have ever used.
I also like having their DOS backup software because I travel with my notebook computer all over the country, giving presentations and meeting with clients. If the disk crashes, I don't have to re-install Windows before I can restore my files.
You can get Ditto units at your local computer store or from mail order catalogs.
If you are going to get a computer, get a name-brand computer. A no-name desktop computer probably can be fixed at your local computer repair shop. If your notebook breaks, you usually have to send it back to the manufacturer. One of the reasons I like Texas Instrument computers (I use a TravelMate 4000M) is that their technical support is terrific. They have 24-hour free technical support. I had to send the notebook to them twice for small problems. They send Federal Express to pick it up one day, and Federal Express returned it two days later good as new.
I need to project what is on my notebook computer both during consulting appointments and when I give seminars. I currently use a Proxima 5100 projector. It plugs directly into the VGA port (where I usually plug my monitor).
I have used other Proxima projectors in the past and have been very happy with them. The 5100 projects a very bright image. Most of the time, I can project what I am demonstrating without having to dim the lights.
This kind of technology is very useful for showing exhibits in court.
For more information about Proxima's products, call 619/457-5500.
Alan Alberts is a computer consultant, writer and speaker. He can be reached by phone, 916/621-4447; fax, 916/621-4472; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.