• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Bob Ogus 10 years, 6 months ago


Here are some Technical Tips picked up around the web that can help make your computer more secure perform better and operate more efficently. 



Got a Tech Tip you want to share? Let me know bdodger+gvc@gmail.com  and I'll post it here.




SSD vs HDD What's the Difference?





Google Chrome & Internet TV – Changing the way People Watch


Many people are switching to their Internet browsers to watch television, and many others are using a set-top box (such as Google TV’s platform, Revue) to enjoy their favorite programming. A set top box such as the Logitech Revue with Google TV is only $99.99, and provides a convenient way to watch whatever is of interest – movies, comedies, supernatural, sports – anything that’s available on the Internet or on broadcasting.


This article focuses on the different ways of watching Internet TV, and their pros and cons.

Revue, Roku, and Apple TV

All three of these devices allow the user to use Internet TV right on their television sets in the comfort of their living rooms or bedrooms, rather than sitting at a desk watching streaming content from their computers. These platforms have different features and allow for a multitude of different tastes. Sports lovers, fashion addicts, and news junkies can get their fill with these different platforms.

Some have app store access (the Revue and Roku do – Apple TV uses iTunes), and all three have Netflix. Those who have Hulu subscriptions would be best off with the Roku, and those who want almost all the “bells and whistles” (such as video chat and multiple remote control access via their smartphones, for example) will find that the Revue has everything they want and need.


The biggest complaints that come in for any of these platforms – like any computer system – are that they crash when performing some actions, such as scrolling Facebook photos, or trying to download too many items at once.


Online Streaming Content

For some, the budget is still very tight in their households, and putting down $100 for an Internet TV platform is still a bit too much for them to spend. However, they already have broadband Internet in their homes and a reliable computer, but still want the experience of customizable television. They’re in luck, because doing an online search for “Internet TV” brings a huge return of live, streaming content.

Hulu, USTREAM, XFINITY, and other Internet TV provides hours of content for those who want to watch television while they are in their home office or at their desks (never at work, of course!). These sites allow the user to pick and choose his or her favorite shows. Some are free, and some require a paid subscription for premium content. However, there are plenty of affordable options to keep the user entertained for hours.


No matter how someone chooses to get their favorite shows, movies, and videos, the addition of Internet TV has transformed the way people watch their favorite programming. They are more involved, more interactive, and are able to give instant feedback on what they like, dislike, and able to select highly customizable programming that fits their individual tastes.


Author Box

The post is contributed by Calvin Scott. Calvin loves to fritter on expensive gadgets and new technology. Visit his site for kpn adsl and draadloos internet.








How Does a Router Protect Me?

  Gwyn sent a question about one of the basic functions of a router, and how it protects you on your cable, DSL, Ethernet or other connection to the Internet:

your comment:"But, someone on the Internet side of the router can not initiate a connection to your computer -- they can only respond to your request", by responding to your request, do you mean if you visit their website via the URL bar? I have a cable router and am certain that various websites are able to find out a lot about me and the stuff that's on my pc.

I wrote back to Gwyn to give her a non-technical explaination of how a router works and protects the user.

A router isolates your computer from connection requests from the Internet side of the router. These are particular types of data packets at the Internet Protocol level, not at a level that you or I operate.

For example, when you use your web browser to visit a web site, there are a large number of data packets sent. The first is a "Can I talk to you?" connection request. The web server responds with an acknowledgement. at that point, your web browser sends its request for the specific web page to be sent. Then, the web server sends packets of data that contain the web page's text, layout, images and even videos and music.

The request - the connection request - was the first packet sent. Everything after that continued as replies to the previous connection request.

Anything the server sends back in response to your connection will make it though your router to your computer (unless you have one of the newer models that does some more advanced testing caused Stateful Inspection of the data packets).

So, how does the router block the connection requests originating from the Internet side of the router?

The router actually bridges between two networks. The Internet is one big network. Your local home network, even if you have only one computer on the Local Area Network (LAN) connection of your router, is another network.

The two networks have different IP address ranges. In particular, your LAN probably uses IP addresses in the range of to, since this is defined as a Private Network IP address. Further, the ISP-type routers will not forward data addressed to private network packets. Let's guess that your computer's IP address is

Your router gets an IP address on your LAN (local area network) and also gets an IP address on your ISP's network. The IP address on the ISP's network actually is addressable from anywhere on the Internet (unless, however, your particular ISP is using private network IP addresses for their network). Let's assume your ISP has assigned you the IP address (actually, this IP address is one of the Google Public DNS IP addresses, http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/).


So, as an example, a web server in the U.K. can receive a connnection request from your computer that goes to your router's LAN connection at, is sent to the router's WAN (wide area network, or Internet) side at, is tagged by the router with using a non-standard port number, say 5233 (don't worry about that number that it's non-standard - that's just saying that it's not a port number that is predefined with a special meaning) and then to the web server's IP address.

The web server's response goes in the reverse direction - back to with the TCP port number selected (back to

The magic occurs at your router.

The router gets the response packet, remembers what it needs to do with anything arriving on TCP port 5233. The router bridges the data from the Internet into your local area network - and sends it to your computer


All that happens transparently to you.

But, if a computer, say in China, tries to connect to your computer - it can't. Your router has an accessible IP address, but your computer doesn't., so the connection doesn't happen.

Regarding web sites able to find out information about what's on your PC, there are two possibilities:

  1. web sites can download and run Java or Javascript applications on your computer. Those can display information from your computer - implying that the web site knew the info. when it didn't.
  2. you might actually have a malware infection, but most malware really doesn't want you to know you're infected. I think #1 is more likely.

Gwen wrote back to say:

Many thanks for your excellently comprehensive answer.


The bottom line: I know that there are people who say "I don't need a router; I only have one computer, not a network." I strongly believe that, if you are connecting to the Internet with anything other than a dial-up modem, you should have a router.

Even if you only have one computer, the router will treat the one computer and the router's LAN port as a network, protecting your computer by isolating it from connection attempts from the Internet side of the router.

Courtesy of Terry Stockdale




You're always talking about having a second hard drive on hand and I was thinking about getting an external one, but I'm not sure what to look for. Can you give me some hints? Thank you!



Oh, what a great question! After receiving it, I immediately went and did a search in our archives, because I thought for sure we had done a tip on this before. But, much to my surprise, there was nothing to be found. I couldn't believe we hadn't covered this topic before. I mean, it's definitely one a lot of you could get some good use out of. So, that's exactly why I'm going to take care of this one today. Let's get right down to it!

First of all, you might be wondering why it's a good idea to buy an external hard drive. Well, the main purpose for one is to act as a backup option for your computer. If something were to go wrong with your regular hard drive, you could easily switch over to this one, without losing anything. It also adds a lot of portability to your data. With an external hard drive, you can take your data anywhere you need to go. They're very simple to use and they always seem to come in handy!


With all of that said, here are five tips you can use when buying an external hard drive:


1.) Go With a Brand Name - When it comes to external hard drives, it's best to buy a brand name. Yes, it may cost you a little more, but it will save you in the long run. If you go with a name you don't recognize, you're really only going to get what you pay for. (Yes, the saying is true!) A hard drive made by a "not so well known" company may end up breaking down faster than another brand would and so on. Another good reason to buy a brand name is the warranty that comes with it. If something does go wrong with your drive, you can always have it fixed right away. On the other hand, with other companies, you might have a little trouble contacting them and actually getting your hard drive repaired. So, if you don't want to deal with all of that hassle, go with a brand name. You'll thank me later!


2.) Search It Out - It's best to do some research before you go out and buy a new external hard drive. You can use Google (or any of your other favorite search engines) to do that. You can search out the different brands and model types beforehand, which will really help you when you go to purchase the hard drive. If you have a specific type in mind that you'd like to buy, look for some reviews and any feedback you can find. That information will help you to see how reliable a certain hard drive really is. You may be surprised by some of the things you find, but at least you'll know you're getting the best hard drive for your money!


3.) Check the Connectivity - When you're buying an external hard drive, you'll want to pay attention to the connection type it has. The one you purchase will either connect via USB or Firewire. Now, Firewire is the fastest choice, but your computer may not have that type of connectivity. In that case, you'll need to find one that will work with your computer, which will probably be a USB version (most all computers these days have USB ports). You'll then also need to check on the USB connection you have. Do you have USB 2.0 or 3.0? It's likely you'll have 2.0, but if you only have 1.0, you'll need to find a hard drive that will support that as well. Without the proper connections, the whole thing is pointless, so you really need to pay attention to this aspect of it.


4.) Speed - You don't want a hard drive that runs as slow as molasses, do you? I didn't think so! In that case, you need to look for a hard drive that is going to give you the speed you want. When it comes down to it, the faster your hard drive performs, the faster your data will be transferred to your computer, etc. With that in mind, there are three things you need to check out when you go to buy your drive. First is theseek time. That needs to be 10ms or less. Second is the buffer size. The more of that, the better, but your drive should have at least 8MB of buffer. Third is the RPM. For that, the higher it is, the better. It should be at least 5400rpm, but 7200rpm is preferred. If you stick to those basic tips, your hard drive will work just fine!


5.) Size - The last thing you need to keep in mind when you're buying a new hard drive is the size of it. You knew this one was coming, didn't you?! When it comes to size, you can basically go by the rule of "buy as much as you can afford." When you're talking about data storage space, you can never have too much, so if you can afford 1000 GB, get that. If you think you'll need more space and can handle it, get that. It's all up to you, but it's best to add an extra 50 percent on to the amount you think you're going to need. That way, you'll know for sure you won't run out of space within the first couple of months.

If you follow these five rules, you'll be purchasing the best external hard drive you possibly can. Be sure not to take a purchase like this lightly. It's best to really do your homework and get the best hard drive for yourself and for your computer. Now that you know what to look for, go on and get one!

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