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March 2006

This chapter is from the book

WEDNESDAY: MARCH 22, 2006

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS: Computer Maintenance

MAINTAINING YOUR KEYBOARD

Even something as simple as your keyboard requires a little preventive maintenance from time to time. Check out these tips:

  • Keep your keyboard away from young children and pets—they can get dirt and hair and Silly Putty all over the place, and they have a tendency to put way too much pressure on the keys.

  • Keep your keyboard away from dust, dirt, smoke, direct sunlight, and other harmful environmental stuff. You might even consider putting a dust cover on your keyboard when it’s not in use.

  • Use a small vacuum cleaner to periodically sweep the dirt from your keyboard. Alternatively, you can use compressed air to blow the dirt away. Use a cotton swab or soft cloth to clean between the keys. If necessary, remove the keycaps to clean the switches underneath. (And make sure you do this with your PC turned off; fiddling with a live keyboard can put all sorts of nonsense on your computer screen!)

  • If you spill something on your keyboard, disconnect it immediately and wipe up the spill. Use a soft cloth to get between the keys; if necessary, use a screwdriver to pop off the keycaps and wipe up any seepage underneath. Let the keyboard dry thoroughly before trying to use it again.

ON THIS DAY: PENTIUM CHIP SHIPS (1993)

Before 1993, Intel’s chips were numbered—80236, 80386, 80486, and so on. Intel abandoned the numbering when it released the Pentium microprocessor, which sharp-eyed readers will recognize as relating to the number "five," as in 80586—the natural successor to the 80486. In any case, March 22, 1993 is when the first Pentium chip was shipped.

HARDWARE OF THE WEEK: IOGEAR MINIVIEW MICRO KVM SWITCH

When you need to share USB devices between two PCs (or between a PC and Mac Mini), you need a KVM switch. (KVM stands for "keyboard, video, and mouse.") IOGEAR’s MiniView Micro offers connections for audio, USB keyboard and mouse, and video monitor; just flip a switch to make all these peripherals work on one or another PC. Buy it for $69.95 from http://www.iogear.com.

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