Tech Talk #68 – Jan. 6, 2018

Helping your new gadgets live a long life

Here are four things you can do to give your new gadget, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer, a long life.


Keep it clean and protected

Keeping dirt and grime out of your devices helps keep them running. Getting your computer up off the floor will help it breathe cleaner air and last longer. Getting a sleeve or carrying case for your laptop will help keep it clean and secure while traveling. Getting a case and a screen protector for your tablet or phone may save your device in the event of a spill or a drop.

A can of compressed air will help you clean the ports and grills on your new device. Use a lint-free cloth and distilled water to keep your screen clean.


Do your updates

Yes, do your updates. Even if you hate change in every other part of your life, do the updates on your devices. Software updates often include bug fixes, stability improvements, and optimizations as well as upgrading the security of your devices.


Watch your charging

Internal batteries are often the first things to go bad on older devices. By changing your charging habits, you’ll be able to get your new device’s battery to last longer. Modern devices respond best to short and shallow charging rather than keeping it plugged in constantly (overnight, for example) or letting it drain all the way down.

And watch out for temperature extremes. If you let your device get too hot or too cold, it can cut your battery’s runtime way down.


Manage your storage

Right now, while your gadget is new, think about how you’re going to keep from running out of space.

Use any (or more than one) of the cloud apps; OneDrive on Windows, iCloud on macOS and iOS, Google Drive, Google Photos, and Dropbox. All of these services now include options for storing files solely in the cloud and only downloading local copies when needed, though to be safe you should keep separate copies of your most important files somewhere else (on an external hard drive, for instance).




New phone? Consider these free apps

If it’s not your first smartphone, you’ve probably already installed your favorite social media and streaming apps. Here are some other apps to consider.


Google Drive and Dropbox

Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer free cloud storage for photos and documents. Get their computer-based equivalents, and you can move files from your phone to your computer and back. Both services also make it easy to share files or directories with other folks. For Android and IOS. Free.



Swiftkey makes typing (and emojis) easy on your smartphone keyboard. Swiftkey’s AI-powered autocorrect, an option of swipe-to-type, and lots of customizations help make your smartphone’s keyboard your own. Swiftkey also offers support for more than 150 languages. We both know you’ll be spending lots of time on your phone updating your status, posting to Insta and sending out Tweets like a boss, might as well make it easy on yourself with an easier to use keyboard. For Android and IOS. Free.


Microsoft Word

Hey, isn’t that a computer app? Yes, but Word also comes in a very good mobile edition, too. Great for being able to read attachments, taking notes, and maybe actually starting your screenplay or novel while you sit there in Starbucks. For Android and IOS. Free.


Google Photos

While there’s nothing wrong with the native Windows or Apple photo app, Google Photos works perfectly across Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Google Photos has smart image recognition and a few neat editing tools. For Android and IOS. Free.



Way back in 2002

Microsoft has a new version out, Windows XP, which according to everybody is the ‘most reliable Windows ever.‘  To me, this is like saying that asparagus is ‘the most articulate vegetable ever.‘” – Dave Barry, Miami-Herald columnist.

The whole column is great, read it here:



Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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