The Tech Guy Blog

How to Prolong Your Device's Battery

There's a lot of conflicting information about how to properly care for a lithium-ion battery (the kind of battery that is in your smartphone). There are basic things we know are bad for batteries, including extreme temperatures (hot or cold), overcharging, and complete discharging. Fortunately modern devices, including all smartphones today, are built to protect the battery automatically. For example, your phone will shut down before the battery is completely depleted, and it won't allow it to overcharge either.

Put Emergency Info on Your Phone's Lock Screen

If you've been in an accident or have suffered a major medical event that leaves you incapacitated, one of the first things that first responders will check is your phone for medical information or an emergency contact. Modern smartphones have created standards for this, and have made it easy for users to put in their information so that first responders have easy access to it. Here's how to put in your information on iPhone and Android phones:

Run Individual Programs as Administrator

One of the ways you can easily protect yourself against malware and viruses is by running as a "Standard" or "Limited" user in Windows. When you run as administrator, programs can easily get full access to your system, including those that might be installed without your knowledge. But when you run as a standard user, you may run into an issue where a program won't run because it requires more permissions. An example of software that would require additional permissions would be a screen recording program. When this happens, you can elect to run that individual program as administrator.

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

Make the MacBook Pro Touch Bar More Useful

The Touch Bar that replaced the row of function keys on Apple's MacBook Pros as of late has been very controversial. Many users find it annoying to not have hardware keys for volume, brightness, and playback controls that have been on MacBooks up until 2016, and the Touch Bar isn't utilized well in many applications aside from Apple software like Final Cut X or Logic. Apple just updated its MacBook Pros for 2018, however, and they now support 32GB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage, and Intel's Core i9 processors.

Donate Your Computer's Downtime to Science

There are a couple of ways you can donate your computer's downtime, or unused CPU power, to benefit science. One way is SETI @ Home, which is a scientific experiment based at UC Berkeley that uses internet-connected computers to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. You just install it on your computer, kind of like a screen saver. Whenever you're not actively using the computer, it will work to analyze radio signals they're collecting. Find out more at setiathome.berkeley.edu

Reset a Mac User Account Password

If you have an old user account on your Mac that you can no longer access, there's a way you can still get into it as long as you have an "Administrator" account on that Mac. Just get into the System Preferences from the Apple Menu and click "Users & Groups". Then click the lock icon and enter the admin name and password. Select a user, and then click "Reset Password".

Add More Ethernet Ports to Your Router

While Wi-Fi is more popular and prevalent than ever, it's still no match for a hardwired ethernet connection. But many of the new routers, especially mesh routers, don't have many ethernet ports built into them. Fortunately, if you have at least one ethernet port, you can expand that to as many as you need with a "Switch". Netgear makes some quality switches, but any unmanaged networking switch should work just fine. They all are very easy to use, as long as you get an unmanaged Switch.