Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

How to upgrade memory on an Acer Aspire One

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

My Acer Aspire One came with 1GB of memory, and after installing Windows 7 on it, that 1GB has become inadequate. I bought 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory on Newegg for just over $20. This is great value for the money, and improved the overall performance of the netbook significantly. This quick guide will show you how to upgrade the RAM on an Acer Aspire One AO751h, but it might apply to many other laptops as well.

NOTE: Follow this guide at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damages or injuries caused by following these instructions. Your laptop may differ from mine.

1. Buy the correct RAM for your laptop. For my Acer, I bought one 2GB stick of Corsair 800MHz DDR2. Make sure you’re buying laptop memory, not desktop memory. The laptop RAM is obviously a lot smaller.

2. Shut down the laptop. Disconnect your power supply and remove the battery. Ground yourself by touching something metal. I touched my steel computer case. This should dissipate any static electricity that is on you.

3. Get a small phillips screwdriver and unscrew the two screws holding the memory bay on. Then gently pry it off – it is still held in by plastic clips.

4. Remove your RAM by pulling the two tabs on the sides apart, and pulling the RAM up and out. Be gentle.

5. Install the new RAM by pulling the two tabs on the sides apart, and gently inserting the RAM into the slot. Once it starts going in, release the tabs, and when fully inserted the memory module should snap into place.

6. Screw the cover back on and push down on it a bit to get it to clip in. Reinstall your battery and power on the laptop. Right click on “Computer” on your desktop or in your start menu, and click “Properties”. If you see 2GB of memory indicated, the install was a success!

Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Hardware, Performance, Tutorials | No Comments »

How to make text on a laptop screen easier to read

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

If you have a small laptop screen or are using a netbook, the text on your screen is probably difficult to read. There is an easy way to make the text more visible, and it’s called ClearType. I have covered how to use ClearType text on Windows XP, so here is the updated version for Windows 7.

ClearType is very easy to use in Windows 7 because it comes built into the operating system. Just follow these steps to turn it on:

1. Open Control Panel by clicking Start > Control Panel

2. Click on Appearance and Personalization

3. Click on Adjust ClearType text

4. Check the box for Turn on ClearType, and then click Next as you follow the instructions to pick the best looking text for your screen

And that’s all there is to it. I recommend picking the darkest setting during the last step, especially if you are on a netbook.

Posted in Operating Systems, Tutorials | No Comments »

How to change an iPod Nano battery

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

This very simple tutorial will show you how to change the battery in a first-generation iPod Nano. It should also work for other models in a general way, even though some steps and parts might be a bit different.

The bare minimum required tools for this job are:

  • replacement battery
  • scissors
  • tape
  • knife

Recommended tools are:

  • replacement battery and prying tool
  • soldering iron
  • wire stripper or scissors
  • utility knife (X-Acto)
  • electrical tape

A note before you begin: this may damage your iPod. You may injure yourself in this process. This will void your warranty. We are not responsible for anything that happens as a result of you following these directions. Use your head.

The purpose of replacing the battery in your iPod Nano by yourself is to avoid the absurd costs of having Apple do it for you. They love to make loads of money replacing batteries, and refuse to implement user-replaceable batteries in their electronics, even though 99% of other MP3 players let you change the battery with the press of a button. Of course, the reason for replacing the battery in the first place is because it can’t hold a charge anymore. All batteries lose their charge over time and won’t recharge anymore. Follow the steps below to replace your iPod Nano first-generation battery. If you have any questions, ask in the comments below.

1. Buy a replacement battery

This should be very easy and inexpensive. If you go on eBay and search for “ipod nano 1st gen battery” you should see what you’re looking for. Make sure the battery you get is for the first generation Nano (or whichever iPod you are using). They are different in physical size and will not fit if you get the wrong version. You also want a higher capacity battery. The stock battery is 340mAh. eBay has batteries that are 400mAh. These will last significantly longer than the stock battery. This battery should cost you around $5 and most come with tools to help open your iPod. I cannot comment on brands of batteries, as most seem generic. Beware of the risk of fire, leakage, explosion, or any other risks that come with all batteries.

2. Pry apart your iPod

Before you take apart your iPod, discharge any static electricity from yourself by touching a metal object. Also, you should put it on Hold so you don’t accidentally turn it on while it’s open. Now.. The first gen iPod Nano is held together by plastic clips which are located on the inside of the case. To open your iPod, you just need to pry apart the plastic front from the chrome rear. You can use the tool provided with the battery, or a dull X-Acto knife (or anything similar). I found the plastic tool to be no better than using a knife. Either way, you might break pieces of plastic off the case and scratch it. As you can see in the photos, my iPod is in such a bad shape cosmetically that I absolutely didn’t care about getting it scratched. Take your time when you pry it open. It might take a while. You might need to use force.

3. Cut the wires

Very carefully pry the battery out of the iPod using your fingernails. Cut the three wires that connect your current battery to the circuit board. Cut as close to the battery as you can. Don’t worry, the extra wire won’t prevent the case from closing.

4. Strip the wires

You need to strip the wires that are connected to the circuit board, assuming the wires on your new battery came stripped from the factory. If you really don’t know what you’re doing, you need to cut the insulation off the wire, but leave the wire itself uncut. You can use a wire stripper, but due to the small size of the wire, I found it much easier to use scissors. Be careful not to rip the wires from the circuit board. If you still can’t figure out how to strip wires, watch a YouTube video or something.

5. Solder the wires

Now time to insert the new battery into the iPod and twist the wires together. Make sure to match the right colors to each other, and do not let any wires from the battery touch any part of the circuit board, or themselves. This will create a short and will fry your iPod. Now, if you don’t have a soldering iron and really don’t want to spend the $20 to buy one, you might be fine just leaving the wires twisted together for this step. However, this has a decent chance of resulting in a loose connection that might come apart for fractions of a second, cutting power to your iPod. Soldering is highly recommended. If you don’t know how, watch some YouTube videos and Google it to learn the proper technique.

6. Tape up the exposed wires

If you want to test your new battery and its connection at this point, you can plug your iPod into your computer. If you do this, be very, very careful not to let the exposed wires touch anything or short anything out.

Now you need to tape up the exposed connections. If you don’t have electrical tape, regular tape should work. Electrical tape is recommended. Wrap each exposed wire individually and make sure all parts are covered well. Then tape all three together to help with straightening them out and making them fit.

7. Put it back together

Make sure the wires are out of the way of the two connectors to the right. Push them as far left as possible, and make sure they are flat against the circuit board like in the photo above. Now carefully put the other half of the iPod Nano case on. Make sure the Hold switch on the iPod is lined up to the position you left it in. This might take some time if you don’t want to scratch your iPod. Be careful not to bend it too much, as it’s much easier to bend without the two sides connected. This might take some force. Just push the two together until the two sides clip onto each other all the way around. If it doesn’t work when you try to turn it on, the battery probably needs to be charged. Plug it into your computer and it should start charging as usual.

And that’s it, you should now have an iPod Nano with a brand new battery, for less than $5.

Posted in Gadgets, Hardware, Tutorials | No Comments »

How to Make a Disk Brake Rotor Wall Clock

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Here is a simple tutorial on how to create a functional clock using a disk brake rotor. The rotor was taken off a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ). When completed, this project can compliment your man cave very nicely.

Supplies needed:

-Disk brake rotor

-Functioning clock

-Silicone glue (or another flexible adhesive)

-Rubbing alcohol or another quick drying cleaning product

Tools needed:

-Cutting tool (like a Dremel or Jigsaw)


Step 1:

clock step 1

Set down your disk brake rotor.

Step 2:

clock step 2

Drill a hole in the back of the rotor which will enable you to hang it up.

Step 3:

Cut out the center of the clock (a Dremel with a cutting disk works best for this).

Step 4:

clock step 4

Clean the inside of the center of the rotor. Glue the clock into the center of the disk brake rotor using silicone or some other kind of flexible adhesive. Be sure the clock is centered, and let the glue dry with the clock placed with its face down (as in the picture).

Step 5:

clock step 5

Set the time and hang up the clock!

Posted in Auto & Motorcycle Tech, Tutorials | 1 Comment »

How to Access Blocked Websites Without Using Proxies

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Most employers block websites such as Facebook and Youtube from being accessed while you’re working. And when they do that, they also block proxy websites that would allow you to access blocked websites. Here is how to get past most filters without the use of any software or proxy-like web services.

Web filter software only filters the URL of websites – its address. However, websites have another address – the IP address. If you enter a website’s IP address into the address field in your browser, it will take you to the website, just like the normal .com address would.

All you have to do is find a website that tells you the IP address of a website. To do this, simply type “website ip lookup” into Google or any search engine, without the quotes. The first result here is Self SEO’s website IP lookup page. If this site gets blocked by your IT department, just find another one.

Now just type in the website you want to visit and get its IP address. For example, using Self SEO’s service, typing in gives the IP address All you need to do now is copy the IP address and paste it into your browser’s address bar, and hit Enter. You should now be on the website you wanted to visit, without the need for a proxy.

This simple method works most of the time. It probably won’t work if it’s a small website on a shared server – the IP address will take you to the hosting company’s home page. For Youtube, this method won’t work for watching most videos, because Youtube calls each video from a different server using the address – this problem can exist in other websites as well. is not responsible for anyone being fired from their job as a result of visiting websites they were not supposed to.

Posted in Internet, Tutorials | 1 Comment »

How to Clean Your LCD Screen Without any Special Cleaning Products

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

You most likely have a dirty laptop screen. Lots of people like to touch their LCD screens for some reason. This makes them disgusting to look at after a while, and they can get really dirty. Yet people still don’t clean them until it’s so dirty that the dirt distorts the colors.

So you don’t want to buy any LCD cleaners because they cost over $10? Good, because there is no reason you should. All you need to clean your screen is your fingernail, a napkin, and your breath.

First off, a warning: if you are not extra careful, you will damage your screen. Try this at your own risk.

When following these steps, be extra gentle and use your brain. LCD screens are easy to damage, so don’t wipe it as if you were cleaning your windshield. Apply almost no pressure – it will take longer to clean, but you won’t crack your screen.

  1. Turn off the screen.
  2. Get a napkin (a better alternative is a microfiber cloth, like those for cleaning glasses) and make sure it is an extra soft napkin with absolutely no dirt on it. A tissue or toilet paper might work, but a lot of the time they leave behind tiny pieces.
  3. Put your mouth a few inches from the screen, and breathe warm air onto it so it fogs up, then gently wipe that area of the LCD. Repeat this until you cover the whole screen.
  4. Now look at the screen from an angle so you can see if there’s any spots left. If you can’t clean them off with the napkin, use your fingernail to gently scrape the debris off the screen. Then breathe on and wipe that area.
  5. Look at the LCD at an angle again and repeat until the screen is completely clean.

It’s that simple, and works 99.9% of the time. Save money on LCD cleaning solutions, or better yet, stop touching your screen.

Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Tutorials | 1 Comment »

Is your new hard drive not showing up in Windows Vista?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

If your new hard drive is not showing up in Windows, it simply needs to be formatted. Here is how to format your new (or existing) hard drive from Windows Vista, without using any third party software.

Right click on Computer (which can also be found in your Start Menu if you don’t have it on your desktop). Click Manage.

The Computer Management window should open. When it does, select Disk Management from the left hand drop-down menu.

After selecting Disk Management, you should get a list of your hard disks. Right click on the hard drive that you need to format, and click Format. Note: you can also format and partition existing drives here. You can change any partition except the one which Windows is installed on.

In the Format window, give your new hard drive a name and choose the file system. For most purposes, you would want this to be NTFS. A full format is always recommended, meaning the “perform a quick format” box should be unchecked. Leave everything else as it is, and click OK. If you’re formatting an existing drive, all the data on it will be erased.

After it’s done formatting, your new hard drive should appear in “Computer”.

Posted in Hardware, Operating Systems, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials | 13 Comments »

How to use torrents

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Have you ever asked a friend where to get the latest Linux distro, and you were told to download it from a torrent and didn’t know what that meant? Well here is my guide on how to use torrents.

First, you will need a torrent website. If you are reading this you probably aren’t a member of any private sites, so use something like The Pirate Bay or Mini Nova.

Second, you need a program to use the torrents. I highly recommend uTorrent. Download and install the program. Now configure it properly by setting your internet connection speed and anything else it asks for.

Now do a search for what you are looking for on a torrent site, in this example being a Linux distro. Download the torrent and open it. uTorrent will open and begin downloading the torrent.

Here’s the tricky part for most people. The download might be going very slow. If it is, you need to open up your router configuration and unblock the port the torrent program is using. This will be different for every router and torrent application, so I can’t really help you here. Try a Google search if you’re not sure how to unblock a port in your router.

After your port is unblocked, the torrent should be going full speed, unless you picked a bad torrent. Try to pick the torrent with the most seeds. If it has a low number of seeds, like 20, it will go slow. Most of the time 50 or more seeds will be fast. Seeds are the number of people uploading the files.

Make sure you pick a torrent with good comments. Most torrent sites have comments for each torrent, so see what people are saying. People usually comment if there is a virus or if it’s a bad torrent. However, even if the comments are all good, you still need to scan what you download.

Make sure not to seed too fast. Configure your “up” speed to be around half of your real up speed. If you’re not sure what your upload speed is, for DSL set it to 10kbps, and for cable set it to 100kbps. You should seed until it shows 100% or more, and then you can stop seeding and delete the .torrent file. If you seed too fast, it will slow down your entire internet connection and your download.

Many torrents are compressed and split up into multiple files. You might find around 50 files with unknown extensions, such as .000. You need to open up the first of these with a program like 7-zip or Winrar. Then it will open the other files automatically.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other small things that you can do to make your torrent experience better. These are the basic tips that should get you downloading your first torrent.

Posted in Internet, Software, Tutorials | No Comments »

How to resize multiple images in Photoshop

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Digital cameras take pictures in huge resolutions. If you’re going to email your photos, post them in forums, or do things like that, you should resize your images so they’re not huge. This also makes them anywhere from 30% – 80% smaller in file size, so it will be much faster uploading them. It will also be easier for people to download them if they have slower internet connections. This short tutorial will show you how to resize multiple images in Adobe Photoshop with a few clicks. I’m using Photoshop CS3 for this tutorial.

  1. Once you have Photoshop opened, click on File > Scripts > Image Processor… (click here for a screenshot)
  2. In the Image Processor window, select the folder your images are in by clicking Select Folder… (click here for a screenshot)
  3. You can save in the current folder, or choose a different folder. If you save in the current folder, it will create a new folder inside it called JPEG and put the processed images there. It will not overwrite your original images.
  4. File Type – I recommend saving as JPEG with a quality of 10. Your photos will be reduced in file size noticeably and will remain good quality.
  5. If you want to resize your images, which I recommend for posting them online, select Resize to Fit and enter the dimensions you want. Note: you need to keep the aspect ratio of your images. Make sure your original images are the same dimensions (they should be if they’re from the same camera) and divide the height and width separately by the same number to keep the ratio. My photos are originally 2592 x 1944, so I resize them to 1296 x 972. This is half of the original size, keeping the aspect ratio.
  6. Click Run and Photoshop will start processing your images. Wait for it to finish, then you can close it.

And that’s all. Now you can resize thousands of images with a few clicks.

Posted in Graphics / Design, Software, Tutorials, Web publishing | 116 Comments »