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How to Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

How to Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

Do you have a lot of information stored in your computer? If you’re like most people, I’m sure you have a ton of important documents, records and sensitive information saved on your hard drive. If your computer breaks down, a lot of vital information will be lost. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen, and the best way to do that is to talk about one of the major causes of computer malfunction: power surges.

What is a power surge exactly?

According to HowStuffWorks, “Power surges occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the power lines. This causes an increase in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet.”

What causes this?

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PowerHouse explains that there are two kinds of power surges, internal and external.

Internal Power Surges

More than half of household power surges are internal. These happen dozens of times of day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances. Refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools can also cause problems.

External Power Surges

An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility equipment or a small animal getting into a transformer. Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, and can even come into your home through telephone and cable TV lines.”

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Now that we know what causes this, what do we do to protect our devices from power surges?

How do we protect our devices?

In order to protect our devices, there are surge protectors available in the market today. The inexpensive option is to buy a surge suppressor. This tool is used as an outlet to connect your devices, but unlike a regular outlet, it helps guard the connected devices from power spikes or lightning surges. It helps limit voltage and blocks or shortens unwanted voltage, keeping your computers away from power surges. This typically costs around $20–$50 dollars depending on the brand and the number of outlets.

If you’d like a more heavy-duty power surge protector, you could get yourself an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). This keeps your device running even after the power has gone out so not only does it protect your device from power surges, it also give you ample time to save your work and shut down your computer properly. A typical UPS device can make your computer last for up to 5 minutes, some promising even 10 minutes. Although this is the most expensive option, with units selling for up to $180, it would greatly help in protecting your work and your devices too. It’s a small investment that could save you from potential breakdowns and computer data loss.

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If you simply do not want to have to purchase any of these, then the best way to protect your laptop or computer is to do the basic: unplug it from the socket when it is not in use.

What happens if my laptop is already affected by a Power Surge?

Laptop won’t turn on? Is your computer suddenly slow? Is your PC’s monitor flickering? Chances are, your laptop or computer was affected by a power surge and you didn’t even know it. Joel Lee of MakeUseOf says “Operating systems are complex and they must go through a “shutdown sequence” to make sure all running processes have correctly terminated before powering off. A sudden loss of electricity can interrupt important threads and leave your computer in an inoperable state.” This is the one thing we wouldn’t want to happen to our laptop or computer.

Now that you’re knowledgeable about the pitfalls of power surges and its effects on your electronic devices, get your gadgets protected!

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How about you? Have you ever experienced a power surge affecting one of your gadgets? Let us know your story. If you are like me who does not have time to purchase surge protectors, have your laptop or personal computer insured—not only are you protected from power surges, but in case your laptop or computer breaks for other reasons, your insurance can take care of replacing it.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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