Tips For Preventing Computer Problems

If you are like most people, technology is an essential part of your daily life both personally and professionally. Deploying it and using it most effectively can pose significant challenges. You depend on technology and when the inevitable happens and something goes wrong, it can be a disaster. An Ounce Of Prevention

If you are connected to the Internet you are under attack, but there are things you can do to lower your risk. See:  Internet Safety 

You can reduce hardware and software problems and keep your computer running faster and more reliably. See:  Problem Prevention 

Falling Hearts Animation

Every year we create Valentine’s content for some of our Digital Signage and Broadcast clients to use. Blender has a particle system that can spawn a large number of instances from a collection of 3D objects. The particle system also simulates Newtonian physics, but it doesn’t support self-collision. Luckily there is a plugin called Molecular which adds self-collision. If you look closely you will see that some of the Falling Hearts in the video are colliding and bouncing off each other. 

The Molecular plugin was originally developed for Blender 2.7 by Github user Pyroevil. It has been ported to Blender 2.8 and is currently maintained by Github user scorpion81.

Design Computer supplies technical support for Digital Signage Systems, Broadcasters, and Content Creators. Can we help you?

Problem Prevention #2, Hard Drive Failure Doesn’t Need To Be A Catastrophe

If your data has value then backing up isn’t optional, it’s mandatory. The plan you choose should take into account how traumatic the loss of access to your computer would be. There are a lot of options to choose from. A business that depends on technology might need full redundancy. While an individual who just uses their personal computer to browse the web might be able to get by using only their smartphone for days.

Recently automated cloud backups have become popular. Storing important data in the cloud has its place, but it isn’t a substitute for a local full disk image backup. Think about how long it would take just to reinstall your operating system with all of its security updates. Do you even have an operating system install disk? It is likely you are using dozens of applications that were installed over time. Imagine having to locate download and reinstall them all. And what about the drivers you need for your printer or scanner. Reinstalling can take hours or even days. Restoring disk images can take minutes. Even if you backup infrequently a disk image you made months ago can save the day.

Essential Backup Tools
First, you need somewhere to store your backup with enough space to store more than just one disk image. Buying a Hard Drive that was originally designed to be mounted inside a computer can be both economical and flexible. Ideally, you want one with at least twice the capacity of the computer you intend to backup.

Second, you need a docking station so that you can connect your new hard drive to your computer.

And third, you need reliable backup software that makes it easy to restore a full disk image quickly in the event of a catastrophic failure.

Do you need more than just the essentials? Design Computer can help with a solution that is tailored to meet your requirements. Just give drop us an email at or give us a call at (561) 588-2705. #DesignComputerProblemPreventionTips

Internet Safety Tip #3, Avoid PUPs

Internet Safety Tip #3

Don’t just click through installing ANY software on your computer or phone. It is important to avoid installing PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). Pay special attention to any “optional” offers that are often selected automatically.

Avoid PUPs

This is one of the easiest ways to avoid installing adware or malware.

You need to slow down and read. You might not be able to install the software you want without installing something else. In this case, just say no.

Difficulty: Easy

Details (AKA The Long Version):
It is almost impossible to purchase a computer today that isn’t already loaded down with adware before you turn it on. Many “free” programs, plug-ins, and phone apps include adware to help fund their development, and some include dangerous malware. Nothing is really “free”.




Safety Tip #2, Verify SSL Connection

Internet Safety Tip #2

Develop a habit of checking for an SSL Connection (Secure Sockets Layer) BEFORE logging in or entering ANY information in a web form.

Verify Your SSL Connection

The information you receive and enter travels over the network encrypted. This usually makes it extremely difficult for others to monitor your communication as it travels between your computer and the website’s server.

You need to learn how your browser shows you that your connection is secure and remember to check for the “https” in the URL Address Bar.

Difficulty: Easy

Details (AKA The Long Version):
When you connect to a website via https versus http, a complicated security handshake occurs. If this handshake is successful the browser will indicate that the connection is SSL Secure. In Google Chrome it does this by adding the word Secure and a Lock image to the Address Bar. Most legitimate websites that require ANY KIND of log-on will use SSL. It is important to remember that if you don’t have a secured connection your web traffic is EASILY READABLE on the Local Area Network as well as other places using a packet sniffer. Many criminals have been caught setting up packet sniffers on free Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, hotels, airports etc.

Having a secure connection is not enough. You also need to learn how to verify you are really connected to who you think you are. More next time.


Packet Sniffers:

How easy is it to capture data on public free Wi-Fi? – Gary explains:…/


Problem Prevention Tip # 1, Room To Breathe

Computer Problem Prevention Tip # 1

Give your computer room to breathe, keep the nearby area clean and the ambient temperature comfortable.

No Room To Breathe
Your computer will likely last much longer and have fewer problems.

You won’t be able to hide your computer in a unventilated cabinet or use the space right around it for storage.

Difficulty: Easy

Details (AKA The Long Version):
One of the most common reasons computers fail is heat. Cooling methods vary, but most desktop computers were designed to draw air in through the front and push it out the back. Laptops usually pull air in from the bottom and three sides then push it out the remaining side. When you set a running laptop down on something soft like a comforter you are likely blocking an air vent.

If the air flow is restricted a computer may run at higher temperatures than it was designed to. Nearby lint, dust and dirt can be pulled into a computer where it builds up in the vents and on the motherboard. These contaminants act just like a blanket. Placing a computer in a cabinet that lacks proper ventilation or running it in a room where the temperature is above the high seventies will likely shorten its life too. Some small computers don’t even have a fan. They use convection alone to stay cool. Extra care needs to be taken with these.


Safety Tip #1, Avoid Microsoft Web Browsers

Internet Safety Tip #1

Avoid the use of Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer web browsers. At Design Computer we recommend Google Chrome.Avoid Microsoft Web Browsers

Better compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium’s standards and much more secure browsing.

Some poorly designed, and usually insecure, websites and plug-ins require Microsoft’s antiquated Internet Explorer.

Difficulty: Easy

Details (AKA The Long Version):

Switching Internet browsers may be the easiest thing you can do to improve your online security. A computer hacking contest called Pwn2Own is held annually at the CanSecWest security conference. For 2017 Microsoft’s Edge came off as the least secure browser and Google Chrome as the best. The 2016 results were the same. How about 2015? If you guessed that a Microsoft browser was the worst and Chrome the best, you’re right.

While the Edge is much more secure than Internet Explorer, Chrome is the clear choice for those who are concerned about security.

So why wouldn’t everyone use Chrome exclusively? There are many old plug-ins and some websites that require Microsoft’s looser security model in order to work. One example of this is some cheap security cameras made in China that require Microsoft’s ActiveX controls. If you absolutely must use a Microsoft browser for one of these applications, then it is best to use it ONLY for that app and use Chrome for everything else.

Get Google Chrome:

A Comparison Of Web Browser:

Read about the hacking contest called Pwn2Own:…/microsoft-edge-comes-last-in-bro……/pwn2own-2016-chrome-edge-and-saf…/