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Seven Simple Software Troubleshooting Hacks Everyone Needs To Know

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Few things are as frustrating as computer problems. We all rely on technology for work and at home, and if your device isn’t working correctly, it can put a damper on your productivity. 

Figuring out what’s wrong with your computer can be tedious. Is it a Windows problem? Your hard drive? Battery? The good news is, you can often get things working by asking a few questions to limit the variables. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may still need to seek out professional tech assistance. However, this list should get you started on the path to solving the most common problems.

What’s Wrong With Your Computer?

Determine the who, what, and when of the issue you’re experiencing. The better questions that you ask, the more you can eliminate things and get closer to the root of the problem. See if you can replicate the issue. Consider the following questions:

  • Is a specific program causing your computer to lag or shut down?
  • Have you recently downloaded or installed a new program?
  • Are you getting a specific error code?
  • If it’s an issue on a web browser, does the same problem persist on your mobile device?
  • Did a major update occur before your computer failed to boot up?

With that info in mind, you can try the following common troubleshooting steps.

  1. Consult Google

Search engines can be your best friend when it comes to error codes or detailed problems. If you have a vague issue, i.e., ‘my computer is running slowly,’ then it probably won’t offer a clear answer. The more information you’ve gathered and the more efficient your search terms are, the better your chances of finding helpful solutions.

  1. Reboot

We all know the ‘have you tried turning it off and then turning it on again’ trope, but rebooting is a common suggestion because it works. Shut down your computer or, if it’s frozen, force it to power off by holding down the power button.

  1. Check Connections

Take a minute and ensure that everything is properly plugged in. A loose power cable, unplugged keyboard or monitor, or another connection may be to blame.

  1. Look For Program Updates

Check if your operating system is due for an update. The process will vary depending on if you need to complete a Mac or Windows update. If a specific program is causing your computer to crash, check for new versions or uninstall and reinstall the application.

  1. Close Background Tasks

If your computer is lagging, close any programs that you aren’t using. You can also force-quit active programs if they’re frozen. You’ll need to use Task Manager on a Windows PC or the Force Quit window on a Mac.

  1. Clean Your Hard Drive

If you have less than 20% of your total disk space free, then a lack of storage may be to blame for your computer problems. Delete anything that you no longer need, including applications and programs, media, and documents.

  1. Run An Antivirus Program

If you’re still experiencing issues, check for malware and other viruses with a scan. Ensure you’re using the latest version of the antivirus program to catch any new, malicious code.

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Software

The Best Six Chrome Extensions For You

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Google’s Chrome browser is one of the most popular web browsers around. Millions of users across the globe use this browser daily. This browser’s functionality can be enhanced by installing Chrome extensions.

There are hundreds of thousands of Chrome extensions available in the present day, so choosing the right ones for your browser can be tricky. We have reviewed the multiple Chrome extensions to help you find the best ones for different uses.

  1. Google Calendar

Google Calendar remains one of the best calendar tools out there. Users can easily keep track of events, schedule new ones, and share them with co-workers, friends, or family. You can also set up reminders, maintain track of RSVPs, and send invitations. Google Calendar remains one of the best online calendar tools. It is easy to use, yet packs a range of features that just about anyone can use.

  1. Grammarly

Grammarly is one of the most popular Chrome extensions around. It is a spelling and grammar checker with a clean and simple interface. Users can customize their spell-checking settings easily, and check for plagiarism with just one click.

Its premium version offers features for tone adjustment, word choice, and formality levels. Grammarly is the perfect fit for any writer that wants to clean up and optimize their written content. Grammarly’s clean and simple interface makes it both easy and enjoyable to use. Writers of all backgrounds can benefit from using this app for their written content.

  1. Loom

Loom is one of the most essential Chrome extensions. It is a video messaging tool created for the workplace. Users can record their screen, face, or voice and create videos in just a few clicks. This helps save time, as users can get straight to the point by creating and sharing their content.

  1. Hubspot Sales

HubSpot Sales Hub offers a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for large businesses that wish to store and manage customer information. It includes sales engagement and analytics tools to take your business to the next level.

The platform offers businesses better insight into their customers and provides tools to improve customer management efficiency. HubSpot Sales offer a wide range of tools for customer relationship and sales management. This is one of the best extensions for Chrome if you run a growing business that needs to stay on top of operations.

  1. Last Pass

LastPass is a feature-packed password manager with all the tools needed to keep your passwords safe. Users can securely share their passwords with others, and keep themselves safe using the handy dark web monitoring tools. LastPass is a great password manager that can compete with other top-end password managers on the market. Its wide array of features will satisfy even the most cautious users.

  1. Awesome Screenshot

Awesome Screenshot is a Chrome extension designed for designers and casual users needing high-quality screen recording and screenshot capabilities. Users can add annotations and text to their screenshots to provide quick and easy feedback.

The extension allows you to upload captured images in many different ways. This includes uploading via the extension itself, choosing the image from your computer, dragging and dropping the image, and pasting your image via the clipboard.

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Software

Top Five Tech Apps For Your Mental Health

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Most people know they can exercise, eat well, sleep, and stay hydrated to take care of their physical health. But it’s less common for people to pay attention to their mental health. Just like your physical health, support for your mental health helps you feel your best.

There are great ways to nurture and care for the state of your mental health. Some of these include practicing mindfulness and meditation, seeing a therapist, journaling, talking to a friend, lighting some candles and reading a book, or simply taking a nap.

Many mental health apps can give you tools, activities, and support to help you manage your stress. There are apps available to help with general mental health concerns and specific conditions.

  1. MoodKit

MoodKit was developed by two clinical psychologists and is based on the principles and techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It offers over 200 activities designed to boost your mood and help change negative thinking.

Included is a journal feature to help you track your mood, negative thoughts, and how you manage stress.

  1. Talkspace

Talkspace is the most expensive option on this list, but it gives you direct access to a mental health professional. This online therapy option is likely a more affordable option than seeing a therapist in person, and you receive 24/7 access to support.

At any time, you can send your therapist a message in the Talkspace chat room. You also have the option to schedule live video sessions with your therapist.

  1. Headspace

Headspace is a meditation app designed to help you live more mindfully. The app offers a wide range of meditations for beginners and experienced users that range from 3 to 20 minutes.

Meditation offers many benefits, including stress relief, anxiety control, self-awareness and attention span improvement, and even age-related memory loss reduction. So, it could be worth your while to give meditation a try.

In the app, you’ll find standalone meditations for when you need a break and longer courses to help tackle a larger problem. Examples of courses include learning the basics of mindfulness, coping with cravings, dealing with distractions, and better sleep.

  1. Better Stop Suicide

The Better Stop Suicide app is designed with psychological techniques to help people who are having suicidal thoughts by encouraging their minds to slow, calm down, and think rationally. However, if you’re ever in an emergency situation and feel out of control, the best thing you can do is call a suicide hotline or 911.

In the app, you can listen to calming audio files written by mental health professionals, record audio messages for yourself, find audio for falling asleep, and save important contacts for when you need them quickly.

There are also gratitude and mood exercises to help you move negative thoughts to more positive ones.

  1. iBreathe

If you’re looking for a simple way to reduce stress, iBreathe is an easy-to-use app for breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises may help reduce stress and anxiety.

The app is designed with one purpose: simple deep breathing exercises. There’s no clutter in the app to distract or overwhelm you.

Deep breathing exercises provide the best results when done daily, so you can set the app to remind you when it’s time to do your breathing exercises. After any extra stressful moment, you can open the app for a little stress relief.

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Design

Five Ways On How To Transform Your House Into A Smart Home

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There are no specific requirements to make your smart home, well smart. Installing one or more different smart devices into your home would categorize your home as a smart home. You can make your home as smart as you want it to be. There are many different devices that can be installed to enhance your home living.

  1. Choose your smart home assistant

The first step to making your home into a smart home is choosing your assistant. The most popular voice-controlled assistants are the Google Home and Amazon Echo. These devices are similar but still have differences. The assistant will help you to use your other smart devices. Say “O.K Google, turn on the lights” or “Alexa, play music”.  

When selecting other devices for your smart home, make sure that those devices are compatible with your assistant. 

  1. Invest in Smart Lights

With smart lighting you can walk into your home and say “Alexa, I am home” and program which lights you would like to turn on once that is said. Some of the options can dim and have multi-colors. Smart lighting can also be controlled from a phone app which allows you to control your home lights even when you’re not at home. This is a great security feature if you’re away from home or on vacation but don’t want your home to appear empty. Some systems require a bridge to connect the device to Wi-Fi. The bridge allows you to control multiple devices all at once and when you are outside of your home. 

  1. Smart Plug

The smart plug is a great way to start turning your home into a smart home. These plugs can be found for as cheap as $15 a plug. You will be able to use an app to turn on/off what is plugged in or use voice activation from your assistant when you’re at home. For example, the app will allow you to turn off your bedroom light from miles away. You can control when your plugins are using energy or not to stay energy efficient. Schedules can be created to turn on/off certain devices at specific times. There are also smart plugs designed for the outdoor elements so you can conveniently control your patio or holiday lights with ease. 

  1. Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is a great way to be energy efficient by tracking your usage. This thermostat will allow you to improve your energy use by sensing patterns in the home to adjust the temperature based on movement at certain times of the day. You can see on your app the daily and monthly energy history and where you can cut back to save energy and money.

  1. Home Security

Smart cameras can be placed inside or outside of the home. These cameras connect to an app allowing you to watch what is happening inside or outside of your home wherever you are at. The app will notify you when motion is detected on the cameras. If you choose to install cameras, make sure that you are on a secure network to keep your private life confidential.

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