Ever wonder why your computer warns you about ejecting those USB drives before you remove them? It’s because computers use something called write caching to improve performance: if you copy something to your drive, it’ll tell you it’s completed the task, but it’s actually waiting until it has a few other tasks to perform so it can do them all at once. Efficient, right? When you press eject, your PC finishes anything in the queue to make sure you don’t incur any data loss. Windows does a better job of avoiding problems than OS X and Linux, but we recommend ejecting all your drives anyway. It’s small price to pay for keeping your data safe.
What’s Wrong with Using Public Wi-Fi?
Most of us put a lot of effort into finding free Wi-Fi, but public Wi-Fi networks have their own share of problems—particularly that it’s very insecure. Even if a Wi-Fi network has a password, other people on the network could see what you’re doing, or—if they were so inclinded—steal personal information and passwords. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to stay safe: make sure sharing is turned off, use HTTPS whenever possible, and run your traffic through a VPN. How to stay safe
What do Viruses, Trojans, and Other Malware Actually Do?
Everyone knows viruses and trojans are bad, but a lot of people don’t know how exactly they work. Viruses, for example, are programs that copy themselves and infect a computer, spreading from one to another—just like, well, a real life virus. Trojans, on the other hand, are applications that look normal, but secretly have code that’s doing something else—like letting someone else control your computer. We highly recommend reading this explanation for more detail on the different types of malware, as well as the biggest myths surrounding them. And, as always, make sure you’re running a good antivirus program—even if you have good browsing habits. This is why we take security very seriously at PAGC IT. Info about Viruses
How Can I Tell if an Email Is Spam?
Some spam is obvious (“I lost 30 pounds and made $24356 in five hours by taking this special pill!”), but other messages are more subtle. A lot of spam relies oh “phishing,” in which a spammer will try to make their email look like it’s coming from a legitimate source in order to get your information. They may tell you to click a link that looks like it’s going to paypal.com, but if you hover over it, you’ll see that it’s really going somewhere else—likely a PayPal-disguised site where you willingly type in your information. Luckily, you can usually avoid those tricks by checking the URL and typing it in yourself instead. Be careful, too—sometimes those links will cause you to unknowingly spam one of your friends, which only spreads the scam.
The great thing about computers is that they can do a lot of things much faster than a human. Say you’re looking for a specific word on a web page. Instead of scanning it yourself, all you need to do is press Ctrl+F and type the word you’re looking for. There are mountains of shortcut like this, from pressing Ctrl+S to instantly save the file you’re working on, Ctrl+P to print it out, or Ctrl+T to open a new tab in your web browser. It may seem like more trouble than its worth at first, but after you use a shortcut one or two times, you’ll wonder why you ever did anything with the mouse. Check out our list of six shortcuts everyone should know, as well as our shortcut of the day series for even more tricks. Simple Shortcuts
Tips & Tricks
-Accidentally closed a tab? Simply press Ctrl + Shift + T to reopen the most recently closed tab and get back to what you were doing (Cmd + Shift + T on Macs)
-Undo everywhere to fix those little mistakes. Did you know you can undo almost any action? Ctrl + Z is the ultimate hot key, and for sure you knew about it already, however note that undo doesn’t just apply to typing. If you accidentally delete or move a file, you can hit Ctrl + Z to bring it right back to where it was (Ctrl + Y will redo whatever you undid)
-YouTube keyboard shortcuts If you thought using the space bar to pause a YouTube video was effective (except when focus is elsewhere and it doesn’t work), instead try using K for pausing, while J and L will step backward/forward 10 seconds. M works for mute. Super handy.
Tips & Tricks
-Easily repeat your last command in Excel. If you press the F4 button in Excel, it repeats the last command. Here’s an example given on Reddit: “If you select a cell and highlight it yellow, you can then highlight any other selected cell(s) yellow by pressing F4.”
-Open a link in a new browser tab with one click. If you click the “middle” button on your mouse, you will open the link in a new browser tab. And if you middle-click an open tab, it will close it.
-Reverse search an image in Chrome. In Google Chrome, if you press “S” while you right click on an image it will do a reverse Google search. That means you’ll be able to see where that photo is and where it potentially originated.