Tag Archives: How To

How to turn any room into a 3D printer

How to turn any room into a 3D printer, 3D-Drucker

Do you have a spare room that you don’t need right now? Why not transform this room in a huge 3D printer by using the “Hangprinter”? Thanks to the Swede Torbjørn Ludvigsen, this might become possible very soon. What’s a Hangprinter? A Hangprinter is a 3D printer which can create furniture-sized objects in any room – and […]

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Digital detox: 5 tips to get your life back!

Digital Detox - Disconnect to reconnect, digitale Entgiftung, détox numérique, disintossicazione digitale

A lot of people get down to work although they’re not in the office. With a smartphone or tablet it’s easily enough and although they’re on their vacation, on the toilet, or in a restaurant people are still reading their working related stuff. That’s not healthy — do you need a digital detox, too?

The post Digital detox: 5 tips to get your life back! appeared first on Avira Blog.

SPF 50 protection for your tech this summer

Make traveling this summer a cool breeze by preparing your tech gadgets for the trip. A few actions prior to leaving will ensure you can enjoy the hard earned vacation.

If your carry-on luggage is like mine, you have a lot of thing that need connecting to the internet.  Between my wife, son and myself it is not unusual for us to carry 3 laptops, 3 phones, an iPad and a gaming tablet – and that doesn’t even include our wearables!  That’s at least 8 devices I need to think about charging and that’s also the first thing I think about when booking a hotel.  I look for those magic words, “unlimited free WiFi”.

Having a safe vacation isn’t just about going online safely but it’s also about securing your finances and your family’s digital life.  And it doesn’t start when you arrive.  See below for my safety tips from start to finish:

Before you go…

  • If you are traveling abroad be sure to let your bank and credit card company know, they look for fraudulent transactions and if your card is used in a different country then it may get blocked until you confirm its actually you. Avoid this with a proactive phone call before you go.
  • If you are bringing a laptop, consider leaving some data at home by removing sensitive documents. In the event someone steals your laptop, then that’s all they get.  This helps safeguard your identity.  Be sure to back-up your data before you leave for the airport.
  • Secure your mobile devices and laptops with strong passwords and if you have not already set up anti-theft software on your smartphone, then download it and register. AVG AntiVirus for Android has this feature.
  • You can avoid running up significant cell phone bills by disabling data roaming. If you don’t want to disable it completely then at least go through your apps and disable it for the non-critical ones. Games and parking apps don’t need to update themselves when you are on the beach!
  • Be cautious not to advertise the fact that you’re away from home by posting your minute-by-minute location on social media sites. You can switch off location services that might automatically check you in somewhere exotic.
  • If you are going to use public wifi, then consider installing a personal VPN product on the devices that you are going to connect. HMA’s VPN products can be installed several devices with a single subscription and they are part of the AVG family of security and privacy apps.
  • Update your security software and applications, this will ensure the latest security patches are installed and reduce the risk of you getting a malware infection. This is more important when traveling as you may not know which sites are reputable when you land in a foreign

Once you’re there…

The minute the plane lands, the mad rush to switch on the phone begins.  What did you miss while flying?  Probably not much.  Airport, coffee shops and hotels are the destinations of choice for those needing a vital connection. How do I stay safe on public WiFi?

  • The first thing to remember may seem obvious but many people don’t think of it. That’s to take a look behind you. Yes, that person behind you on the plane or in the coffee shop has direct visibility of your screen and if you log-in or make a transaction, they may well be watching.
  • When the list of Public WiFi networks is displayed don’t trust them without asking. Make  sure you connect to an official one rather than a fake one that a cyber-criminal may have set up in order to trick you.  If in doubt, ask the manager at the shop.
  • Use a VPN when connected. This encrypts the connection in case any snoopers are watching the data running on a public network and they won’t be able to see what you are doing. Tools to snoop are readily available and easy to use making this a real threat.
  • When possible, leave transactions to the privacy of your hotel room or if I can wait until you get home – that’s the best option. Booking tickets is one task that will not wait, so use a credit card rather than a debit card.  Credit cards have limits and do not give someone access your bank account.

And possibly the best tip of all – disconnect and enjoy your vacation without the interruptions of technology!  Last year, this was forced upon me when we found that the national park we stayed in had no cell service and the nearest WiFi was 50 miles away. It was frustrating to start with, but great once we got used to it.

Receive BIG savings this summer when you download HMA’s VPN  for a limited time only.

How to Speed Up Boot Time on Your PC or Laptop

No one likes a computer that takes forever to start up. Don’t settle for less when it comes to performance – find out how to improve your boot speed now.

Do you wait ages for your PC or laptop to boot? Then there’s clearly something wrong. We’ll show you the most likely causes and the steps you can take to fix them easily!

Why is your PC slow at startup?
First of all, out of the box, Windows should boot blazingly fast, no matter whether you’re using Windows 7, 8, or 10. It’s what you do with your PC that actually causes it to slow to a crawl over time. The top causes of long boot times include:

  • New drivers. Drivers control devices inside your computer. For example, they’re responsible for making sure that your sound chip plays back your favorite MP3 and that your YouTube clips aren’t just silent movies. If drivers aren’t working properly, they could introduce some serious delays in your PC’s boot time.
  • Software. The more applications (such as PhotoShop or iTunes) you install, the slower your computer becomes over time. This is caused by 3rd party start-up items or background services that silently launch every time you turn on your computer. Some of these items you can find in your task bar (see below); others are invisible.

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  • New updates. Many applications check for product updates when you start your PC. Even Microsoft sometimes delivers cumulative updates or even new (Windows 10) builds that can drastically decrease boot time.
  • Malware: Viruses, Trojans, spyware, and other malicious software can make your PC boot up much slower than when you first got it, so make sure you’re running the latest antivirus software.

To figure out what’s causing your PC to boot up slowly, use a Windows tool called Event Viewer. It documents all apps that drastically add to your computer’s boot time. You can then turn off the worst offenders using the Windows startup manager or Task Manager.

All these tools are built in. But using them can be a bit complicated, as you’ll need to jump between them to get what you want. It can be far easier to use a more integrated start-up manager, like the one in AVG PC TuneUp , that shows the impact of all automatically running startup apps and allows you to turn off these resource hogs with a simple click. (Yes, this is a shameless product plug; but our engineers put blood and sweat into this – and we want you to know about it and check out the trial version.)

We’ll cover both methods below.
The do-it-yourself approach

For those who want to get their hands dirty with systems admin tools, figuring out how to speed up boot time can be a great way to better know your PC. Basically, you need to:

Identify slow-boot up times
Hold down the WINDOWS key on your keyboard and press R. This will bring up the Run menu:

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Type in Eventvwr.msc and click OK. Expand the following folders: Applications and Services Logs, Microsoft, Windows, Diagnostics-Performance and Operational.

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Watch for an event ID called 100. This one shows how long your computer takes to start up. In our example, it is 35 seconds. The 101 IDs then show you which applications slow down your computer. For example:

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Here we can see that NVIDIA software took 6.5 seconds to load. This is 1.5 seconds longer than on the last boot, so there’s clearly something wrong. NVIDIA drivers just give you access to some advanced graphics options which can be useful for intensive tasks like gaming. In most cases, you won’t need it at startup, so you can safely turn it off by using the built-in startup manager.

To do that, hold down the WINDOWS key and press R again. This time, type in msconfig, hit ENTER, and go to the Startup tab. Now you can uncheck items or, if you’re running Windows 8 or 10, go to Task Manager and right-click on an item to disable it.

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As you can see here, there may be dozens of entries that you’d have to manually research to determine if they’re important or not.

The automated (and easier) approach

Using Event Viewer and the old-school “msconfig” tool may work, but it’s far from convenient and user friendly. So it takes time. That’s why we built an easier way to turn off slow moving applications when you boot your PC. It is a core part of our AVG PC TuneUp suite (try the trial version and see for yourself).

1. Once you’re running AVG PC TuneUp, head over to the Speed Up section and look at the total optimization progress bar.

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You should see a slice of the bar that says Disable startup programs. Clicking on Show will give you an overview of all startup applications that slow down your computer, including whether they’re actually necessary or optional. Moreover, instead of complicated file names, it shows you full product names, such as Microsoft Office or Skype. It also highlights new applications you may have recently installed.

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2. Flip off the switches. Easy.

And now some bonus tips

Upgrade to Windows 10

If you’re still running Windows Vista, 7, or 8, we recommend moving to Windows 10. In the new OS has managed to reduce boot times by a few seconds when compared to its predecessors.

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Install an SSD or move to a laptop with flash storage

If you’re in the market for a new computer, just make sure that it’s got flash-based storage (SSD, solid state drive), and not a traditional mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). Computers with SSD start dramatically faster and retrieve information that is in regular use almost instantly. The difference in boot times between SSDs and traditional hard disks can be night and day; so this is perhaps the biggest thing you can do to reduce your boot time.

These days, price declines mean even some low-end laptops come with an SSD. If you are bold (and tech-savvy), you can also grab an SSD and install it in your PC or laptop yourself. (But that is another post.)

Cleaning Up Your Online Identity

Spring is here! Out with the old and in with the new – a new opportunity to put winter clothes away .Why not clean up your digital life as well?

In my previous blog, I talked about cleaning up your cell phone.  How about cleaning up your online identity?  It’s an important piece of your digital life.  Here are 5 steps to scrubbing your online identity:

  • Google Yourself – You are your own personal brand image. So what are people saying about you and what have you said that might be public? Google yourself to find out where you’re mentioned and what images have been tagged with your name.  Then you can work to clean up what you find.
  • Delete old email accounts – Are your friends receiving weird emails from you? Sometimes the source is that old email address you used a dozen years ago and never check now.  Your contacts are still in the account and vulnerable to hackers and the password you used back then is probably not as strong as it should be. Deleting old email accounts stops hackers from abusing your identity to attack your friends and family.
  • Review old social media posts – Determine if what you posted when you were 18 is still appropriate for you today and consider what an employer or even your kids might think when they see them. And it’s not just about you, if there are pictures of friends that may have been funny at the time, consider taking them offline as well.
  • Strengthen passwords – Use secure passwords to guard yourself against hackers and other vulnerabilities. There are free tools like Dashlane that help you manage your passwords and guide you to make them stronger.  Use different passwords on sites as you never know when your favorite e-retailer could get compromised and you don’t want your password making your whole digital life vulnerable.  For an added layer of protection, you should also turn on two –factor authentication so your smartphone can identify you with your fingerprint or with face recognition.
  • Scrub your history – your surfing history that is. Safeguard your personal information and your location online with a VPN (virtual private network).  VPN protects your data from snooping by encrypting it and it also stops snoopers on public WiFi networks from grabbing your data. A VPN will also hide your location preventing websites you visit from targeting with unwanted ads.  You can download a free one from HMA! here.
  • Check privacy settings – Now that the past is cleaned up, make sure your future posts are in check by managing the privacy settings across your social media platforms and online accounts. There may have been changes to the settings and privacy policies in recent product updates, so ensure you have the level of privacy protection that matches the level of your online activity.  Go and review the settings today.

Even though your online identity is squeaky clean, don’t wait until next spring to do a digital clean up.

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