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CalendarOctober 1, 2022

October Tip: Email Files as Compressed Archives

Email Files as Compressed ArchivesNeed to email one or more large files to a friend or colleague? Make it easy for them and send a compressed archive.

Emailing a compressed archive has several benefits versus sending the original files:

  1. It reduces the attachment size. The amount of compression varies widely between different file formats, but sometimes you'll reduce the file size by more than 50%. Maximum attachment sizes vary between mail servers, so it's best to keep attached file(s) as small as possible.
  2. It saves disk space. Attachments fill up email accounts much faster than the messages themselves. By keeping them as small as possible, you'll save space in both your recipient's Inbox and your Sent folder.
  3. It reduces clutter. If you're emailing more than two or three files, a single compressed archive is more manageable for the recipient.
  4. It improves deliverability. Mail servers often disallow attachments with certain filenames and file extensions for security purposes. You can bypass most of these filters by sending a single .ZIP archive.

Both Windows and macOS make it easy to create compressed Zip archives.

CalendarSeptember 24, 2022

Review: 2022 Apple MacBook Air with M2 Chip

Review: 2022 Apple MacBook Air with M2 ChipThe 2012 15" MacBook Pro is the best Mac I've ever owned. It's a surprising statement since I don't even like laptops. I prefer my standard desktop computer setup with three 27" monitors, a mechanical keyboard, and two mice. But the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro was so perfectly designed that I grew to love it. After ten years, the screen went dark, and the legendary laptop was laid to rest.

It was finally time to upgrade, and fortunately, Apple had just released the new M2 MacBook Air. I ordered mine with the following specs:

  1. Midnight blue
  2. M2 1-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  3. 16 GB unified memory
  4. 1 TB storage

I've been using the new "MBA" for about two months, which has given me ample time to put it through its paces. How does it measure up to the legendary 15" MBP? Read on to find out.

CalendarSeptember 1, 2022

September Tip: Clean Out Your Downloads Folder

Clean Out Your Downloads FolderHow many files are in your Downloads folder? If you haven't checked in a while, you might be surprised. While a cluttered desktop is easy to spot, a crowded Downloads folder is more insidious, steadily growing behind the scenes.

Just like it's wise to organize your photos monthly, it's also a good idea to clean out your Downloads folder on a regular basis. The default folder for your Internet downloads is likely filled with installers, compressed archives, and other documents.

You can delete most installers since they have already served their purpose. Compressed archives you've expanded are redundant data, so you can remove those as well. If other documents are floating around your Downloads folder, you can manually review them, move the ones you want to keep, and delete the ones you don't need.

CalendarAugust 1, 2022

August Tip: Perfect Punctuation is Not Necessary

Perfect Punctuation is Not NecessaryAs someone who cares about grammatical accuracy, it took me a while to realize perfect punctuation is not always necessary. While having good grammar is essential in resumes and professional emails, it doesn't matter in casual messages and texts. When texting your friends or posting a reply on social media, it may even be better not to include punctuation.

When sending a quick text like, "Sounds good," adding a period might make you sound upset or old. Neither is great. When texting, the period is implied, so you don't need to add it. If your text has a bunch of sentences, you can separate them with periods, but guess what — you still don't need one at the end of the text.

The same holds true on social media. You don't need to punctuate your post when commenting on Facebook or Instagram. Sure, you can add commas to break up long sentences, an exclamation point for emphasis (usually one will suffice!), or a question mark for clarity, but they aren't always necessary. I remember seeing someone's comment "Why am I reading this" a few years ago, and it was somehow funnier without the question mark.

CalendarJuly 1, 2022

July Tip: Clean Out Your PC

Clean Out Your PCSeveral software utilities promise to "clean up" your PC - clearing caches, finding duplicates, and deleting unnecessary files. But no software program can physically "clean out" your computer. That's something you'll need to do yourself.

Over time, dust and debris can build up inside your computer - whether it's a laptop or desktop PC. If too much dust covers the components, it will limit heat dissipation, causing your computer to run hotter. A higher temperature means your CPU might not run at its top speed. Significant debris can even cause short circuits, which may prevent your computer from running at all.

For peak performance, it's essential to clean your PC regularly. Simple maintenance involves using a compressed air canister to blow out the vents in your laptop or the motherboard and fans in your desktop computer.

CalendarJune 1, 2022

June Tip: Choose the Best Video Orientation

Choose the Best Video OrientationIn 2013, I published a tip recommending you record video in landscape mode rather than portrait mode. While landscape (horizontal) videos look best on TVs and computer screens, portrait (vertical) videos are sometimes better for smartphones. With the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, portrait videos have become increasingly common.

If you're recording a short video for Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram, portrait mode is probably best. For videos that you plan to watch on a TV, landscape mode remains the best choice.

The video's content can also inform your orientation decision. For example, portrait mode might work well for recording your golf swing. But it's a poor choice for recording a baseball game since it crops out so much of the action.

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- PC (Per Christensson)

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