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ABC7 On Your Side: Improve old computer

June 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Computers may be one of the few products where we're seeing prices fall. But if you're thinking of upgrading, you may be able to save that money. There are some simple tricks to make your old computer faster.In most instances, saving time means saving money. Computers were supposed to make our lives easier, but in some ways it's added to our workload. But there are a few ideas that might help.

It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.

Michael Ruth is a full-time teacher and coach and a part time DJ. Between synching all his schedules, e-mailing game times, working on his electronic grade book and uploading music, Ruth has no time to waste waiting for his computer to load.

"I would love to find different ways on how to make it a little bit faster," admits Ruth.

Computer guru and PC World senior editor Robert Strohmeyer says a lot of the things we now do online can be done much more efficiently.

For example, don't send photos and video files by e-mail. Use an Internet file sharing service.

"Sharing large files through an online service like YouSendIt, or YouTube, is great because they let you send up to 100 megabytes of information without having to clog up anybody's e-mail," said Strohmeyer.

Need news in a hurry? Instead of visiting a handful of Web sites, sign up for a service like Google Reader or Bloglines.

"It aggregates news from a variety of sources around the world," said Strohmeyer.

Online calendars are a great way to keep track of busy schedules, and you don't even have to fire up your computer to know what's going on. The Outlook and Google calendars can be set up to send text message alerts to your cell phone or mobile device.

"Any old phone, even an older one that doesn't support much in the way of calendar functions, can support calendars, as long as it receives SMS text messages," said Strohmeyer.

Finally, making a music mix for the car can be time-consuming and you transfer all those songs from different playlists onto your MP3 player. But there's a quicker way to get moving.

"By dragging some of your favorite tunes into a single playlist, and then right-clicking on it and choosing 'Burn playlist to CD.'"

That's music to Ruth's ears.

"The quicker I can get things done, the more time I have to do whatever else I want to do," said Ruth.

Strohmeyer says you can even save time in the real world by using virtual tools. He recommends a Web site to help calculate jogging, biking or walking routes before you even lace up those running shoes.

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