Monthly Archives: June 2012

How to Boost Your Cell Phone Signal

Cell Tower

Image Credit: .v1ctor.

Do you work in an office or live in a house where the cell signal is so horrible that you often drop calls or miss them all together? Are you tired of running, cell phone in hand, to the one corner of the building where you know signal is good, just so you don’t miss that important call?

You don’t have to succumb to this situation any longer. There are a few things you can do to help boost your cell signal, thereby increasing your phone usability and decreasing your frustration.

A Charged Phone is a Happy Phone

First, make sure your phone is properly charged. Minor signal strength issues can often be solved with a fully charged phone. Sometimes phones can have enough battery life to make a call, but not enough to actively search for a strong signal. To eliminate this issue, make sure your phone is fully charged.

Extend, Repeat, and Boost

If your cell signal is particularly bad, consider utilizing an antenna, extender, or repeater to help boost your signal.

Cellular Antenna /

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Adding an antenna can help greatly reduce signal issues, depending on the type of antenna purchased. Cheaper antennas can be installed on windows, and while the signal boost isn’t as strong, it is a good solution for when you don’t want to install anything permanent. More expensive antennas can dramatically boost your cell signal, but must be mounted on the roof, often by a professional.

A cellular repeater is an antenna that picks up the cell signal, and boosts it over a specific area, like your home or office. Typically installed outside, you can purchase repeaters specific to your carrier, or you can purchase a dual-channel repeater, which improves signal for all carriers.

Network Extender

Many cell carriers are now providing network extenders, small devices which act as both a signal amplifier and repeater. Typically installed inside, these devices often work for more than one carrier, depending on phone and signal type.

DIY Signal Boosters

Want a low-tech DIY way to boost your signal? Try any of these suggestions, like using a paper clip, or several soda cans, to boost your signal.

What did you do to solve your cell phone signal problems? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to provide solutions to make your technology easier to get along with. Email:

4 Windows 7 Problem Solving Tips and Tricks

Windows 7

Image Credit: Pritesh Gupta

Compared to previous versions, Windows 7 is a robust and feature-rich operating system with built-in tools and functions that help make using your computer a whole lot easier, even when it’s acting up.

Instead of getting exasperated and turning off your computer when it doesn’t work, Windows 7 gives you some useful features which allow you to solve problems long before they begin. If you do encounter problems, there are tools and utilities which can help you resolve these issues, often without calling tech support.

Calibrate Your Screen: You just posted a picture online, when your friend messages you saying she’d love to see it, but the picture is too dark. You open it on your screen and it looks fine. What gives?

It could be your screen settings. Every display is slightly different, and as such, not too displays look the same. Windows 7 tries to mitigate these differences by giving you tools to calibrate your screen.

To access these tools, click on Start, type in DCCW, and press Enter. Then, follow the wizard and directions for calibrating your screen. Your settings can sometimes make all the difference between what you see a picture on your screen, versus how the rest of the world sees that same picture.

Power Efficiency Report: Helpful for laptops, the Power Efficiency Report runs a utility to determine your power usage.

To analyze your laptop’s power consumption, click on Start, and type in CMD. When the CMD icon appears, right click on it, and select Run as Administrator. When prompted, say Yes to allow changes.

When the Command Window appears, make sure the root directory is your C: drive*. If it is not, type in cd c:\ and hit enter. The prompt should now say C:\. Then, type in ‘powercfg –energy’ (without quotes) and hit Enter.  After the analysis runs, a report will be generated. Follow the path to review the results, and recommended changes. *Note: The report may not display properly if it is generated in another location, such as C:\Windows\System-32 (the default directory).

To exit the Command Window, type in Exit and hit Enter.

Problem Steps Recorder: If you’ve ever had your computer act up for you, but work fine for tech support, then you need to use the Problem Steps Recorder. This is a small app, which when activated tracks your keystrokes and mouse actions, and records screen shots. It then packages the information up in an easy to email file, so that you can share exactly what’s happening with tech support.

To activate, click on Start, then type in PSR, and hit Enter. Click the down arrow next to the blue question mark to send the recordings to an email recipient.

Troubleshoot Problems: If you want to troubleshoot problems on your own, or if you would like to fix potential problems before they get out of hand, there are some built in utilities which will help. To access these utilities, click on Start, then go to Control Panel, and click on Troubleshooting. Then run through the wizards to troubleshoot all sorts of computer problems.

These are just four ways Windows 7 can help when there’s a problem. Do you have a favorite Windows 7 tip? Leave us a comment and share it with us.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you solve computer problems before they start. Email:

A Sneak Peak at Windows 8

Windows 8

Image Credit: Ceo1O17

On May 31, 2012, Microsoft announced the Release Preview of Windows 8. Although it is still a work in progress, this early release allows users to test out new features and see what the newest version of Windows has to offer.

So what exactly is Windows 8, how does it differ from Windows 7, and what does it mean to you?

Windows 8 looks drastically different than any version of Windows you’ve seen before. Geared for touch-screen devices such as tablets, the desktop is setup with large, colorful, touchable panels, which you can tap, swipe, and move.

However, for devices without touch-screen capabilities, Windows 8 still has the ability to return to the traditional look and feel of windows, complete with regular application icons and a task bar.

One cool new feature is the ability to swipe and “snap” a new app in place next to any app that is currently running, allowing you to view two apps at the same time. This is big news for any tablet users, as most tablets currently do not allow you to place applications side by side.

Additionally, Windows 8 has many features and apps geared at unifying your social networking experience, allowing you to simplify and manage multiple social sites in one location.

Windows 8 didn’t forget about businesses either. Aside from being enterprise ready from the start, Windows 8 includes some great business features, such as DirectAccess, which allows you to connect remotely to your work network, without having to launch a VPN.

The new Windows also gives businesses better file management features, such as being able to cache files, websites, and other content to the server so users can quickly access what they need. There are also updated file and application management features, allowing you to restrict files and apps based upon user or group.

Currently, the final release date for Windows 8 is slated for October, 2012, although that date is still tentative at best.

Want to see a sneak preview? Here’s what Windows 8 looks like.

What do you think? Will you be switching to the new Windows when it comes out? Leave

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us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you enjoy your technology. Email: