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March 2006

This chapter is from the book

TUESDAY: MARCH 21, 2006

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS: Computer Maintenance

MAINTAINING YOUR SYSTEM UNIT

Your PC system unit has a lot of sensitive electronics inside—everything from memory chips to disk drives to power supplies. Check out these maintenance tips to keep your system unit from flaking out on you:

  • Position your system unit in a clean, dust-free environment. Keep it away from direct sunlight and strong magnetic fields. In addition, be sure your system unit and your monitor have plenty of air flow around them to keep them from overheating. (And would it kill you to dust the thing every once in a while?)

  • Hook up your system unit to a surge suppressor to avoid deadly power spikes.

  • Avoid turning on and off your system unit too often; it’s better to leave it on all the time than incur frequent "power on" stress to all those delicate components. However...

  • Turn off your system unit if you’re going to be away for an extended period—anything longer than a day or two.

  • Check all your cable connections periodically. Make sure that all the connectors are firmly connected and all the screws properly screwed—and make sure that your cables aren’t stretched too tight or bent in ways that could damage the wires inside.

ON THIS DAY: TEACHING OF EVOLUTION PROHIBITED (1925)

On this date in 1925, the Butler Act became state law in Tennessee. This was the law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in all the state’s public schools and universities, and eventually led to the famous Scopes "monkey trial." (Eighty years later, the science of evolution is still being fought as a "theory" by some narrow-minded creationists.)

GADGET OF THE WEEK: TOMTOM NAVIGATOR 2004

The TomTom Navigator is a cool little gizmo that turns your PDA into a full-fledged GPS navigation system. It offers all the features you’d find in a handheld GPS device but routes all the information and maps through your PDA via Bluetooth wireless technology. Buy it for $299 at http://www.tomtom.com.

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