I am Jason Spiro, a university student based in Toronto, Canada. This is my webpage, a small collection of tidbits for people with computer problems. If you have any questions, contact me at: jasonspiro@
"I could fry an egg on the sidewalk in the time it takes my computer to start up"
If your computer starts up slowly, instead of shutting down, do this: Save all your work. Then, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard. Click "Start", then "Shut down" or "Turn off computer", then double-click "Stand by" or, preferably, "Hibernate". Let go of the Shift key after you double-click. This puts your computer into a power-saving mode instead of shutting it off. Your computer will usually start up again more quickly from power-saving mode. It is best to shut down your computer the old way a couple of times a week, though.
"I could fry an egg on the sidewalk in the time it takes my computer to start Microsoft Word"
If your computer generally runs slower than it used to, perhaps your computer simply has too many programs installed. Or maybe you are using cutting-edge software, such as video editing tools or newer, more-realistic-looking games, and the "minimum system requirements" listed on the bottom of the box the software came in are too steep (check the requirements against the parts list on your computer's receipt, or you can try to phone your computer manufacturer and ask.)
Or, maybe your computer is infected with "spyware".
Spyware can pop up advertisements on your screen when you are not using the Internet, it can use your computer to send spam to thousands of other people while you work, and more. Spyware is often written quickly and badly, so it can make your computer crash more often or cause other computer problems. Spyware often comes hidden with certain free search toolbars, certain free screensavers and mouse cursor changers, and many "peer-to-peer file-sharing" programs. Be careful what companies you download software from.
Unless you visit www.WindowsUpdate.com every month or two and follow the easy instructions to download the latest critical Windows updates, your computer can be silently infected by spyware if you lack a firewall (firewall software is fine; or, buy a high-speed-Internet router; they generally have firewalls built in) or if you even use Internet Explorer at all. You can scan your computer for spyware yourself or hire someone to do it for you. It is risk-free. It may speed up your computer quite a bit. It is far cheaper and easier than buying a new computer and moving your old files, bookmarks, and address book over.
If your computer is still slow or unstable after you run a spyware scan, phone the technical support person at a local computer store or talk with a knowledgeable person in your employer's or school's IT department. Tell them what the problem is, how long ago you bought your computer, and how much you paid to buy it. Ask them about the pros and cons of reinstalling Windows versus buying a new computer.
Removing spyware from your computer
None of these options will ever damage your computer, although they may temporarily stop "peer-to-peer file-sharing software" like Kazaa from working until you reinstall that software. I advise people not to use that type of software unless they are positive it is spyware-free.
If you find your computer is still too slow in the first week or so after you follow Steps 1 to 8, consider reinstalling Windows or purchasing a new computer as described above.
Otherwise, simply repeat Steps 6 to 8 once every couple of months to remove new spyware.
I usually answer simple Linux questions for free over e-mail. For Linux or hal91 technical support, e-mail me at jasonspiro@
gmail.com or ask any of these people who will probably be happy to help:
I am the author of an online article about hal91, a truly ancient piece of software. Because hal91 has gone without updates for so long, I no longer recommend it. There are many better alternatives. If you still want information on hal91, you can easily find my article by doing a Google search. Here are some Linux-based alternatives that do not require you to reformat your computer:
Articles for people people entering the computer-troubleshooting field
Articles for computer experts
remember, the best way to find a job is not by websites, but by friends, family, classmates, people in your church/synagogue/mosque/etc, and old coworkers and teachers. if a person recommends you and passes on your resume to their boss, you're much better off than if you emailed a resume.
also ask your doctor, dentist, lawyer, barber, optician, accountant, and cardiologist/orthodontist/any other specialist you see periodically if applicable. all these kinds of people tend to know a ton of people. ask them: do they know anyone who works in the computer field and could give you advice on the job situation in toronto?
go to http://www.meetup.com and visit all the remotely tech-related meetups in toronto. join the e.a.r.n. networking group - see the "business calendar" in the toronto star on mondays.
most importantly, whenever you give your resume to someone, even if it's just an h.r. dept. employee, get their phone # or e-mail address. a week later, call or e-mail and ask: "did you get my resume?" or "did you look at my resume?" this is crucial. it shows you're interested and it makes sure they think about you.
good luck. with hard work, you'll do fine." --A posting on finding jobs on the TechTV Meetup website
I am confident that all the techniques described above are safe to follow, except reinstalling Windows, which carries certain risks as described above. I provide no warranty, expressed or implied, with my tips, and by using the tips, you accept all liability for any problems that occur.
If the idea of reinstalling Windows scares you, burn all your important files to CD first, then hire an expert to teach you how to reinstall, or have them do it for you. If you encounter any problems at all while running a spyware scan, note that such problems cause no harm to your computer. However, feel free to e-mail me and I can try to help.
In addition, if you have any comments or questions, contact me at the address at the top of this page. I enjoy getting feedback on my webpage. --Jason