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Jun 23 2013

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Tips for portable computer users

During the last decade, the portable computers have replaced most of the the desktop computers. Today some people use portable units like laptops or tablets as their primary computer. If you use these portable devices as your primary units, you should also take precautions to protect your privacy and data security. This is not a how to tutorial. This article is written for those who have no idea on where to start. I may improve some of the explanations over time.

Setup

In order to protect your data, create an administrative account with a very strong password. Your password should be at least eight characters long and should include numeric characters. In addition I recommend using capital and simple letters. But what if you don’t want to enter a long password each and every time you want to log in? The solution to this is to create a secondary account with “limited” privileges. You can use a weaker password for this account because this account will not have the permission requirements for modifications. The administrative account password will be needed every time you want to install (or uninstall) a program. While it will not provide ultimate protection for your personal data, at least it is a good compromise for busy individuals.

Hardcare

Caring for portable hardware similar to caring for desktop hardware. You to keep the electronics clean and in controlled environmental conditions. Both of these are harder to do with portable devices.

Dust

Compressed Gas Duster (oxygen can, air can, etc) is the best way to clean dust on hard to reach area. But dusting off also helps by removing debris around fans and vents intakes. If you decide to use the compressed gas to clean, make sure…

  • not to spry an area over a long period (will form water vapor)
  • not to spry directly into connectors causing the connectors to get lose due to the force of air

Temperature

In countries like Canada where we have a very wide range in temperature, it is difficult to keep the portable devices at ideal conditions. Another problem you will run into is that with our busy lives we take the technology for granted a smallest malfunction due to these environmental elements could bring a catastrophe.

The best practices in controlling temperatures can be easily placed in a list.

  • Do not close your laptop (specially MacBook Pro) right after a long use. The head from the internal parts could damage the screen.
  • Place your electronic devices in protective casings whenever you can. For example, a laptop can be placed in temperature controlled sleeves.
  • The mobile phone/PDAs are most likely exposed to environmental elements because we cannot place them in enclosed cases (what’s the point of having a mobile communication device if it not quickly accessible?.

Liquids

The best solution for this is not to spill anything around your electronics. The measures taken after any liquid damage is not always productive. Almost all liquids we use in our household are electrically conductive and have the ability to increase the process of oxidation of metals.

Repairs

Some of you may be surprised to hear you may be able to repair some mobile devices at home. While most electronics circuity use machines, some parts are made with easy repair in mind. The most common portable device accidents are caused by gravity. To be more specific physical damage to a component caused by a fall.

Screen

Mobile smart phones made by Samsung have screen glued together using a heat sensitive material. Therefore you can remove the damaged screen by applying heat around the plastic front frame. You need to get proper tools which can be brought online. It is very cheap to repair at home than to actually send it out if the unit is not under warranty. So do your research and you might save some money.

Battery

While not all units have removable batteries, most of them have a method to open the battery compartment. This is because battery failures are one of the most common problems in portable electronics. Usually the power supply and the battery is fitted with removable plates. You may require a special tool to open it (such as special screws). I found hobby shops have variety of specialized tools that works for computers.

Power Supply

You cannot replace the power supplies without breaking them on any of the portable devices I know. However, you may want to do more research into your particular model.

RAM

This is the easiest part to replace or upgrade in most computers. Exception to some Netbooks and Ultrabooks, most laptops come with an access window for Random Access Memory (RAM) cards. Check the manual or the model number of the motherboard and verify the maximum amount of RAM it can take. In addition make sure you choose the right type of RAM (DDR2, DDR3, SO-DIMM, etc).

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