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Highlights from the Flying Doctor's logbook

Welcome to the
August issue of highlights from the flights.


The Flying Doctor specialises in fast response to computer problems for homes, people running business from home and in small offices.

Call The Flying Doctor because we will sort out your computer, web and network issues in a businesslike, sensible way. But, if there’s no affordable cure and it’s cheaper for you to buy a new computer, we will say so.

With 30 years’ experience of fixing computers, there isn’t much that we haven’t seen before. But we’re honest too - if we can’t fix it, we’ll tell you!

Remember we offer free email and telephone support and you can read our collection of
free guides

We’re so sure that we’ll sort out your problems that we say:
if The Flying Doctor doesn’t sort your problem then you don’t pay!

Call 01865 748197
for a fast response to your computer problems.


This month we look at:
Looking after printers
Many of us just leave printers on all the time. Not so bad with a modern laser, with standby settings and such but you can still get quite an electricity bill. They can still draw the power of a 40w bulb and usually take just as long to get ready as turning the thing on.

Dust and dirt on the print/imaging path can affect the print quality. But getting to these means stripping the printer – quite fun for me! Dust is OK but toner is bad for you so be careful where it goes.

Leaving an inkjet on though is like leaving the top off a felt-tip pen – or a fountain pen for those of us who remember them. The ink nozzles can start to clog up and then you get uneven printing. So you use a load of ink trying to clean the nozzles. I'd be inclined to turn it off unless you print a lot. Ah yes, by 'turn off' the inkjet I mean press the 'off' button so that the printer enters the shut-down cycle. Just turning the mains off leaves everything hanging.

Computer starting to get a bit slow?
Over time, your computer gets filled up with more and more stuff and just gets slower and slower.
Why? Well, there are multitude of reasons, including:
  • 'helpful' programs that load at startup
  • spyware programs
  • programs that didn't uninstall properly
What happens is that they all take a bit of cpu time and a bit of memory. You've only got so much and they take some away from you. So everything else happens more slowly. A good clue is that the disk light is on a lot and the computer is very sluggish changing programs.

So what can we do? Reduce CPU and memory load.
Helpful programs are those that add a few seconds to your start-up time to save 1/10 of a second if you decide you do want to start it, or just in case you plug a camera in. I find that HP printers, Adobe Reader, Office and Openoffice among others try to sneak stuff in. If you use spybot, you can see how to turn these off and on easily. Use advanced mode.

Spyware programs are secret ones that sit on your computer and you don't want them. Use a good spyware detector like spybot or malwarebytes and run a scan.
programs that didn't uninstall properly affect your start-up time. You need to clean the registry. Try ccleaner and use the registry tab. Run it again and again until it finds nothing.
If you still have a slow computer, then try more memory (suggested minimums XP 1gb, Vista and 7 try 2gb)

Staying safe on the web
Lots of companies out there will sell you technology to keep you 'safe'. But staying safe is really regarding the web as a village square with a market.

In real life, your senses keep you alert from pickpockets, dodgy traders and the like. It's about attitude. And web safety is the same – keep your senses about you.

The same rules apply: what would you say if someone turned up at your door telling you that you had won a lottery that you had never heard of and he only needed £200 in cash to release the money to you? Would you laugh? Slam the door?


So why do so many people who get this sort of email go 'Wow!' and send the money?

Yes, technology can help, like a door lock at home can help. You need both. But what really protects you is yourself. You will know if something doesn't fit the pattern. Like the one email in 1000 without a subject line, or the tacky flashing banner that says your computer is full of problems that looks so different from your normal security software.

Tune your senses to say 'this doesn't look right'. And avoid it.

Useful free software!
Computers are great, but isn't the software to do anything so expensive? What can you do to keep the cost down?
Well, there's a great amount of software that's out there for free or very little. Some are cut-down versions and others are just done by great people.
I've got a book on the flying doctor website just look under 'free stuff'.
But as a taster, everyone needs word processing and other 'office' software. So why not try open office from It reads and writes Microsoft formats and creates PDFs - all for free.
And if you want to be creative with photo-editing or designing posters, then take a look at Free downloads of page layout, web design and drawing software.

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