Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flip It

Here is a new one for you. Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow on some video cards will flip you screen 180* -- turns it upside down! Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow turns it back. Does not work with all video cards, but will not hurt anything by  trying. Useful? Probably not, but fun to try. Might make your neighbor at work really confused when you flip his/her screen when they are not looking... LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Free eBook

In addition to these tips, I write a daily Inspirational Thought as part of our ministry--The Evans Ministries. You can download one month of ITs that I recently put into book form. I hope you enjoy each of these writings and comment on them in this blog or directly to me in an email. I know this is not a technical post, but it is an important piece of what I do.

Download the FREE eBook from

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Simple Temperature Conversion

With the temperatures diving down under freezing this winter, the subject of Fahrenheit versus Celsius comes up. In the USA we use F and other countries use C. When we are at 32F they are at 0C. So in the Celsius world zero is freezing and anything above zero or + is above freezing. Anything in the minus like -10C is below freezing or really cold!

There are other calculators out there and Excel can do the job as well. Here are the formulas for Excel:

F to C: =5/9*(temp-32)
C to F: =temp*9/5+32

Note: temp should point to the cell where the inputed degrees is located.

Do it right off the Web by linking to

Friday, January 08, 2010

Task Manager and More

Hardly a day goes by when I do not learn something more about something. You may have known this, but I did not and it is very useful.

I know Ctrl+Alt+Del usually opens the Task Manager. You can even right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager, but these do not always work. There is another way. To open the Task manager simply Shift+Ctrl+Esc.

Who cares, you say. What is the Task Manager anyway? Well it is a utility process in Windows and it shows what is happening inside your computer; in RAM. RAM stands for Random Access Memory and this is where the OS or operating system resides. When you start up Windows, or “boot” the OS loads from the hard disk into RAM. When you click to open an application, the OS finds it on your hard disk and loads it into RAM.

How much RAM do I have?
When you bought your computer there were three numbers that were important. The computer I am on right now has a 2.26 GHz processor, 2.0 GB of RAM, and an 80 GB hard drive. GHz has to do with speed. The bigger that number, the better. The smaller of the other two GB numbers indicates how much RAM you have. In today’s world, 2 GB or more is best but 1 GB will do. The last number indicates the size of the hard disk drive. This is where the OS, all your applications, and all your documents including pictures and movie files are located. Nowadays, the hard drives are usually 160GB or greater.

To see the first two numbers on your keyboard press Win+Pause. This will open the Systems Properties window in the General Tab. The numbers are under the Computer section near the bottom of the window. To see the size of the hard drive, Start > My Computer and then mouse over drive C: and a popup will display the used and total size.

Back to the Task Manager. There are five tabs on the window: Applications, Processes, Performance, Networking, and Users. Let’s look at the first three.

This list shows the open applications. These are the applications you have opened like MS Word, FireFox, etc. If one of those is stuck, this is where you can select it and then click End Task to close it down. I have found that using Switch To sometimes gets it going again, so try that first.

This is a list of the behind the scenes programs that are running in RAM. Some are OS related, some are pieces of the applications you have active, and some could be the result of malware on your computer. Malware is a generic term a that refers to a Virus, a Trojan, Spyware, a Worm, etc. Malware is short for Malicious Software. Right now I have 87 processes running and I do not know what most of them are. Some are obvious by their name, but most names are cryptic.

This displays a neat graphical representation of how hard the CPU or Central Processing Unit is working. If it is at 100%, the machine is going very slow. Typically this number is less than 10%. It moves up when you are moving data or applications in and out of RAM and when heavy processing is happening.

There are four sections below the graphs that show Totals, Commit Charge, Physical Memory, and Kernel Memory.

These numbers relate to the number of different things going on within RAM. Threads are portions of processes that are running. One process may have any number of Threads. Handles are reference points the processes use to jump around to locate what they need next to run the job. Kind of like using a door handle to get from one room to the next.

Commit Charge

This is the amount of RAM + Disk Cache that is currently in use. Disk Cache is storage (like RAM) associated with the hard disk drive and used to hold frequently accessed data from the hard drive to improve access times. This is graphed in real time on the second set of graphs and listed as PF Usage or Page File Usage

Physical Memory
This shows the actual amount of available memory. The Total should always be larger than the Total Commit Charge. If it is not, then the hard disk drive is being used as temporary storage or pretend RAM and your machine starts to crawl.

Kernel Memory
This is memory used by the OS. Paged can be used by other programs if needed. Non-paged can only be used by the OS.

So what’s the bottom line? When your system says you are out of memory, it does not mean you have to add more RAM or get a bigger hard drive. It means the processes currently running are taking too much available RAM. Solution is to close some processes from the taskbar and perhaps even to restart the machine. Sometimes applications do not handle garbage collection (the removal of all work space when the program is closed) very well and pieces of memory are locked so other processes cannot use them. Restarting is the only way to correct this issue.