Monthly Archives: May 2009

4 Simple Steps to Speed Up A Sluggish PC

Has your hard drive been slowing down lately … tasks that once only took a second now seem to take much longer?  Even getting a web page to load or e-mail to download seems like it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r?

Here’s a few actions you can take to speed it up:

1.  Delete the cookies and other digital bits that get stored in your computer’s “cache” memory as you’re surfing and what not.  From cookies to temporary internet files – it all can go!   You can use the internal functions of your connecting device to clean out this digital flotsam.  For PC’s that would be running a “Disk Clean” from the Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools menu or download the free and safe utility CCleaner from

2.  Defrag your hard drive.   Different bits of information are stored on different parts of your hard drive – making it spin more.  Running a defrag basically reorganizes what is on your hard drive into a more compact footprint.  Less spinning = increased speed.  Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, “Disk Defragmenter”.   Note that an initial defrag (especially of a large hard drive) can take  a while so do it when you don’t otherwise have to be using the PC for a few hours.

3.  Limit the number of processes you have actively open.  The applications which stay open all the time can be seen by clicking the left arrow next to the clock on the lower right side of your PC.  Anything which you are not actively using or which is not necessary to have open and running at all times (such as anti-spam/virus software), should be closed.  You can right click on the image in the start tray and select “close” from the drop down menu.  Please note the next time you reboot or restart, those applications will reopen.   To permanently remove these items, here are instructions from Cnet.

4.  Remove any programs you don’t use.  Many PCs come “pre-installed” with tons of useless software.  To see it all, Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.  A list will populate.  Once it does, you see every software installed on your PC.  Go ahead and delete anything that has not been used – but be careful not to remove anything which may help another program.

For a more detailed look at what makes up your entire PC (the soft and hard ware), download and run Belarc Advisor.  It will provide an extensive list on the PC’s screen which you can print out to put in your IT folder/binder or tape to the actual PC for future reference.

Remember, your computer is a machine and like any other machine, requires routine maintenance.  If you set up a process to clean out your temp files and run Ccleaner or Disk Cleaner about every week – defrag about once per month and close/remove any applications you are not actively using, you are much more likely to have a PC that performs at optimal speed.

2 Little Words I Should Never See On Your Professional Services Website

“Skip this”

There, I said it. If you don’t have “Skip This” anywhere on your site, feel free to go back to your regularly scheduled day… unless you want to find out why, in my opinion, you should NEVER publish such words.

If you have the words “Skip this” published on your site, chances are you have a pop up window running some type of commercial – for a product or about your own practice or service.  This commercial, if professionally compiled, can be a great piece to your overall digital marketing campaign, but it does not belong as an “intro” on your website.  Why?

First the tech:  In most instances website intros are created using Adobe’s Flash.  Intro’s and pop ups created using Flash have security issues.  In February 2009 Adobe sent out a patch for Flash which allegedly took care of 5 known security flaws.  According to Brian Krebs, author of the Security Fix blog for The Washington Post: “A few of the flaws are critical, meaning users could have malicious software installed on their system merely by visiting a Web page that features a booby-trapped Flash movie.”

Next, using the words “skip this” means you obviously have content on your website that is so irrelevant you don’t care if your visitors see it.  Big Tip: that means it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Moreover, why would you make visitors have to actively do something to get away from what you obviously perceive as something that they may not want to have to suffer through in the first place?  I say, if you are going to inspire clicking from your website, it shouldn’t be to get away from your annoying intro/commercial!

Last, you only have about 7 seconds to capture a website visitor’s attention – that 7 seconds shouldn’t be spent deciding if they need to see or close out of your intro.  Chances are if they chose “skip this” – they’ll just as likely select the red “x” and navigate away from your site altogether.

I say always consider your website’s visitors and never annoy them by placing anything on your site which requires you also to publish the words “Skip this”.


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#1 Question to Ask Yourself Before Publishing An E-zine

Certainly, there is quite a lot that goes into the successful creation and launch of an e-zine – the look, the content, the schedule – these are all very important considerations.  However, before you can even get to the sum and substance, you need to ask yourself:

Do I want my subscribers to be able to print and go; or only read it on a screen?


Because everything else you decide from that point forward will be different.

If You Choose Not To Print:

You can use an on line service to create and deliver your e-zine.  The reason your subscribers will not be able to print your ezine “as is” is because these newsletters are created using HTML code.   Printers don’t know HTML code, so they act just as they do when you print any web page, printing whatever is on screen on as many pages as is needed to capture the text and images.

You may also send out HTML e-zines from desktop resident software, but I do not recommend Outlook for this process.  Some ISPs believe that if you send out a message to a list of say… 2,000… you MUST be a spammer and will automatically shut down your account, turning off your internet connection.  Instead turn to software created for newsletter distribution, such as GroupMail by infacta.

If  You Choose To Print:

The best possible file type to deliver an e-zine which your users have the option to print is a .pdf.

This is because each of your subscribers has a different printer and unless you provide your file as a .pdf (which is the digital equivalent of a photocopy) – the printer definitions of the subscriber’s printer will take over the formatting of your e-zine, in most instances ruining it’s “look”.  If you’ve ever downloaded a Word form from the internet, and wondered why the text/formatting was all messed up, same reason.

You can still deliver your .pdf’ed e-zine electronically through e-mail, you merely contain some teaser/intro language and a link to the .pdf file (which you load to your website).

Want to see the difference?  Here’s one of my favorite Long Island attorney’s “on line” e-zine:  Law Office of Jeena R. Belil, PC Newsletter and here’s a recent issue of The Legal Connection E-zine, which is a .pdf.

Both are digital and delivered electronically, but Jeena’s is meant to be viewed on line whereas The Legal Connection is to both view and print.



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