Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

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Windows 7 lag when using dual monitors with different refresh rates

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

I have recently installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with Service Pack 1, coming from Vista (in which I had no problems). After the installation, the first thing I did was install the graphics card driver for my AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB card. I then noticed that when I drag windows around the desktop, scroll through windows, and especially drag windows from the secondary monitor to the primary, there was very noticeable lag. However, there was no lag in games – just the Windows desktop and its windows. This was a completely fresh install. I have dual monitors – the primary is a 19″ widescreen Acer X191W, and the secondary is a 15″ Sony LCD. I am using them in extended desktop mode.

What happened at first was Windows locked the primary monitor to 75Hz, and would not let me change it to 60Hz.  For some reason the first time I installed the video drivers, I think there was a conflict with the default Windows display drivers, causing my main monitor to be stuck at 75Hz. I had to uninstall and wipe the display driver to reinstall it, after which the option to set it to 60Hz appeared. I used ATIMAN Uninstaller to wipe the driver. After setting the display to 60Hz, the lag disappeared completely.

So it seemed there was a conflict somewhere with my specific hardware configuration that caused lag when two monitors were set to different refresh rates. However, then I tried to recreate the problem on a different system. This system has a Radeon HD 4870 and different dual displays. It had the same problem when one of the monitors was set to refresh at 60Hz and the other at 75Hz. And again, putting them both to 60Hz resolved the lag issue.

I could not find any information about this issue online. It can’t be the monitors as between the two systems there were four different monitors that had the same problem. It can’t be the hardware, because my computer has a 6870 and the other has a 4870. It can’t be interfering software, as this was a clean install of Windows. It has to be either the AMD driver, or an issue with Windows.

The point of this post is to let people know how to fix this issue, as well as ask if anyone else has experienced this, especially with a different graphics card. It took me two weeks to find the cause of this. I haven’t found anyone online with this issue. Both the video cards I tested should handle different refresh rates without a problem. Although I have fixed the issue, I still want to know what caused it.


Posted in Operating Systems, Performance, Software | 3 Comments »

10 Free Useful Android Apps

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Wifi File Explorer

This app lets you browse files on your phone without plugging it in or removing the SD card. It works through wifi, letting you connect directly to your phone through your router. It’s as easy as opening the app, opening the web browser on your computer, and typing in the local IP address of your phone. There is an option to set a password, and your phone is only accessible when the app is open, so the security is good as well.

Amazon Appstore

It’s an app store from Amazon. There is an app of the day, which is always an app that costs money, but on that day, it’s free. So you get free apps that you would otherwise have to pay for. Not much more to say.

Advanced Ruler

Just as the name of the app suggests, this is a ruler for your phone. Ever need to measure something but didn’t have a ruler around? This app makes measuring small items as simple as putting them next to your phone’s screen. The ruler can be adjusted for any resolution so it should work with all phones.

ConvertPad

While not very polished in terms of visuals, this app is the best free converter I have seen. There are options for almost anything that you can possibly convert, and it lists multiple results at once so you don’t need to switch back and forth between units.

Andie Graph

This amazing app lets you have a graphing calculator right on your phone. It is an emulator, so you must get your own ROM, but that isn’t a problem. Now if I forget my actual TI calculator at home, I don’t have to worry because it is right on my phone. It’s really a perfect emulator and you’ll feel as if your phone is a real TI calculator.

TeslaLED

This little app lets you do many things with your phone’s built-in camera flash. There is the option of using it as a normal flashlight, as a strobe light, as a morse code beacon, as a timed light that turns off after a set amount of time, and as a hold-to-light flashlight. Plus it can use your screen to display hazard lights and police lights, which is just a cool bonus. It also comes with a widget so you can activate your LED without even opening the app. Very convenient.

SiMi Folder

This is the best folder organizer I have found. You can create many different types of folder widgets and customize them in many ways. It’s the best way to organize all your apps, rather than having them in one giant list where it’s hard to find anything. Just make some folders for a few different categories of apps and games, and suddenly your phone becomes much more useful because you can actually find the app you’re looking for.

Alarm Clock Xtreme

This is a very cool alarm clock. There are many features, such as having to solve a math problem to turn the alarm off, for those of us who tend to hit snooze while still being completely asleep. You can also customize the vibration and ringing, making it gradual, you can make a large snooze button, and so on. You can even set it so it turns off only when the GPS senses that you are moving. It also comes with a cool clock widget.

Embiggen

This simple and very polished app lets you enlarge text on your screen. You type a message, and it displays the words as big as possible. This can have many uses, such as communicating with people in cars without having to open your window, talking to someone next to you when you can’t actually speak, such as at a lecture or at school, and I’m sure people will find even better uses for this app. It might not seem useful, but it has potential to create funny situations, and might even come in useful sometimes for something important.

Parcels

If you buy a lot of stuff online, which you should because 99% of the time it’s way cheaper, then this app will keep track of all your shipments. You can customize which carriers show on the add list, and you can point your phone at a QR code so you don’t have to actually type in the tracking number. Very good way to stay organized and to know when to expect your packages.


Posted in Mobile, Software | 1 Comment »

Why you should defragment your hard drive

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

For those of you still using Windows XP or any earlier version of Windows, you need to manually defragment your hard drive. Windows Vista and later versions do it automatically, unless you disable the option to auto-defragment on a set schedule.

Defragmenting your hard drive will make a noticeable difference in your computer’s speed. Programs will open faster and the whole system will run quicker, as disk cache access will speed up after a defragment. What defragmenting does is reorganize fragments of files that spread out through the disk over time. Each time your computer accesses the hard drive, files get fragmented. Defragmenting your hard drive will also increase free space.

A program I highly recommend is Defraggler, made by the same company that makes CCleaner (another great program for speeding up your computer). To give you an example of what Defraggler or a similar defragmenting program can accomplish: my 320GB drive had 10GB of free space left before the defragment, and it was 23% fragmented. After running Defraggler and getting that figure down to 10% fragmented, I now have 55GB free space. So defragmenting my hard drive by only 13% gave me 45GB of free space, plus of course it made my computer faster.

All modern versions of Windows include a defragmenting program standard, and this includes Windows XP. To access the stock program, at least in Vista, open up Computer, right click on the hard drive, click properties. Click the Tools tab up top, and click Defragment Now. But again, I recommend Defraggler. It has more options and seems to get the job done better, and it’s also free.

So there you have it. Defrag your drives. Some people such as myself disable the auto-defrag option in Windows because it can start defragging when you don’t want it to. You should defragment your hard drive about once a month, depending on how you use your computer.


Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Performance, Software | No Comments »

How to make text on your netbook or other small screen more visible and easier to read

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

If you are using Windows XP and are on a netbook or using a laptop with a small screen, text might seem difficult to read. The fix for this is to download ClearType Tuner from Microsoft’s XP PowerToys website. This is Microsoft’s own tool for using ClearType text on Windows XP. ClearType is a technology that makes text easier to read by using special antialiasing methods on text (just how video games use it to fix jagged edges.

Below are two screenshots of how ClearType works on the Acer Aspire One netbook.

Before:

After:

The difference this makes on an 11.6″ 1366×768 display is huge. And I also recommend to set the slider to the darkest option, otherwise the text looks a bit blue:


Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Software, Tips & Tricks | 1 Comment »

Google Chrome has a long way to go

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Google Chrome was released only a few days ago and it has already gained more than 1% market share. But all this means is that people downloaded it to try it out, not to make it their new browser. This also shows why Chrome took away from Firefox’s market share and not Internet Explorer’s – because only tech-savvy users downloaded it, since Chrome is just a beta, and we all know IE users aren’t as tech-savvy (no offense if you’re using IE because of personal preference).

So the point here is that Chrome was downloaded and used so much in such a short time because people wanted to try it out. It doesn’t mean it’s better than Firefox or any other browser. It’s a beta with almost no features.

Chrome has a very high potential to become a superior browser. It is fast and very lightweight. But this might be because of its lack of features. It doesn’t even have middle click scrolling yet. Chrome is no where near ready for full time use. And by the time it gets features and addons, and goes out of beta, Firefox will probably be on version 4.

Final review – Chrome has lots of potential, but it’s not ready to be your everyday browser. It has gained significant market share because mostly Firefox users wanted to give it a try, since it’s from Google, so it has to be good. I will be trying Chrome again in a few months, after it gets patched and updated more. I don’t expect it to go out of beta for at least two years.

And for most people disliking the blue theme, this is how it looks in Vista:


Posted in Internet, Reviews, Software | No Comments »

Download Firefox 3, today is Download Day

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Download Day 2008

Today is Download Day 2008 for Firefox 3. So download Firefox 3 today to help try achieve the world record for most software downloads in 24 hours.


Posted in Internet, News, Software | No Comments »

Firefox 3 RC 3 still not ready

Friday, June 13th, 2008

A lot of people are praising Firefox 3 and have been using it since the first beta. I recommended not to use it before. But now, the final version of Firefox 3 is only four days away, so the final version will be mostly the same as Release Candidate 3. However, RC 3 is still not ready, and made me go back to Firefox 2.

I installed Firefox 3 Release Candidate 3 yesterday, and have been using it most of yesterday and most of today. During these two days, I have found obvious and very annoying bugs that make it impossible for me to use it. Actually come to think of it, I don’t know if they are obvious, because I haven’t seen anyone else report these problems. But I don’t think they’re exclusive to my computer.

My first problem was with Google. Firefox 3 RC 3 didn’t seem to be accepting cookies from Google. How strange, because I haven’t changed absolutely anything on my computer except installing FF3. I checked on my other computer running FF2, and all was fine. The problem was that I had to log in each time I opened Firefox. It wouldn’t keep me logged in, it kept logging me out. And it was forgetting that my home page was set to iGoogle, as it wouldn’t load iGoogle unless I clicked the link from the Google classic home page. Every time I navigated away from Google and then back to it, it logged me out and took me to Google classic.

Another thing was plugins not working. I installed a beta version of FireFTP, but there was no replacement for Fasterfox. Firefox became notably slower without Fasterfox, even after tweaking the about:config settings.

Speaking of speed, it didn’t seem any faster in loading online apps like Gmail. It took the same amount of time to load Gmail, Digg, and other script-heavy sites. Add to this the lack of Fasterfox, and Firefox 3 RC3 became slower than Firefox 2, the opposite of what was supposed to happen.

Continuing on with the problems, when writing the previous post here on Wordplop, I noticed there was no spell check. They certainly didn’t take out the feature, which so many people praise and depend on, so it must be a bug. Once again I don’t know if it’s only happening on my computer or others’ too, but I haven’t seen any other complaints like this. I also found spell check not working on forums and basically anywhere where there is a text box. It was working in all of these places with FF2, so it’s definitely Firefox 3’s problem.

The last bug I took note of before I decided to uninstall RC3 was that pressing the “Enter” (or “Return”) key while in a text field makes the entire page scroll to the top. So when I was making that last post here, every time I hit “Enter” to make a new paragraph, the page jumped up. This was the last straw – I downloaded Firefox 2 and reinstalled it, deleting Firefox 3 RC 3.

These weren’t the only bugs or annoyances I found. There were also problems with history not being saved, toolbar clicks not registering, and toolbar submenus not opening on mouse hover.

I hope it’s not just me having these bugs, because then they will get fixed faster. These problems make it impossible to use Firefox daily. I really hope all of this gets fixed before release date, or I won’t be downloading Firefox 3.


Posted in Internet, Reviews, Software | 4 Comments »

Speed up your web browsing with the click of a button

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

No, this isn’t a program you download that pretends to make your internet faster (and installs some malware as a bonus). I’m talking about using a button on your mouse to make your browsing many times faster.

All (I hope) computer mice these days come with a scroll wheel. Of course that scroll wheel is also a button. If you installed mouse drivers, this middle button can be configured to do anything you want, almost. So if you do have drivers installed, set the middle click to the “middle click” or “standard” (it will be different for different mice) option. If you don’t have drivers installed, you don’t need to change this.

So what is this all about? If you’re doing heavy web browsing, you can set your middle mouse button to open links in a background tab. How does this help with speed? The new pages you open load in the background, so when you’re done reading a page, you can just switch to the next tab and continue reading whatever you clicked on, without having to wait for it to load. Genius? I think so.

To do this in Firefox, simply click Tools > Options, click on the Tabs tab, and uncheck When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately.

This will make new links open in background tabs, which also means they’re loading in the background. As for your middle mouse button, the default action for Firefox to take when you click a link with the middle mouse button is to open it in a new tab.

So now when you click a link with your middle mouse button, it will load in the background. This comes in really handy when browsing sites like Digg or just browsing forums. New pages or threads will load in the background as you are uninterruptedly browsing the home page, looking for more stuff to open.

Be sure to comment with any other quick and easy browsing tips.


Posted in Internet, Performance, Software, Tips & Tricks | No Comments »

Mozilla comes out with Firefox 3 RC 3

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Mozilla has just released Firefox 3 Release Candidate 3, available here. It looks like Firefox 3 is nearing completion and will be released very soon. There were predictions that Release Candidate 2 would be the last one before the final version, but it turns out it isn’t.

Seems that Mozilla is ironing out each and every single bug, meaning the final release of Firefox 3 will be stable and bug-free. Don’t forget to download the final version of Firefox 3 when it comes out on Firefox Download Day 2008.


Posted in Internet, News, Software | No Comments »

Firefox will soon grab 20% of the browser market share

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Net Applications says that Firefox can have 20% of the browser market share as early as next month. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer’s market share continues to drop steadily.

This will be a major milestone for Firefox. If this 20% takeover will happen soon, it might as well happen on Download Day for Firefox. If Download Day succeeds, Firefox will also grab the world record for most software downloads in 24 hours.

Here at Wordplop, 49% of visitors use Firefox, 35% use Internet Explorer, 5% use Opera, and the remaining 11% use a variety of other browsers. These statistics are from the previous 16,000 unique visitors.

This will be good news for web developers as well. Firefox is much more standards compliant than Internet Explorer. Some standard code that works in all browsers just will not work in Internet Explorer. Most web developers hate Internet Explorer for that reason, so the more people that use Firefox, the better.

The only downside to this milestone might be that hackers will try harder to write malicious code that works with Firefox. Right now Firefox is much safer than Internet Explorer, but as it gains market share, it might become more vulnerable as more malicious code will be written for it. However, this is inevitable with all software, so it shouldn’t be worried about.

Congratulations to Mozilla and all Firefox developers for this soon-to-be milestone.


Posted in Internet, News, Software | 1 Comment »

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