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Three Tip Thursday: 12/08/16

Today’s T3 includes tips for cooling down your PC, using Google Maps when you don’t have an Internet connection, and a source for finding unique gifts (whether for others or yourself!).

1. Reduce Laptop Heat

I have owned several laptops over the years and I’ve had the same problem with most of them: A device that gets too hot and therefore a fan that runs too often. It’s especially annoying because I actually like to use my laptop on my lap!

However recently I noticed the fan on my current laptop (a Lenovo Yoga 900, which I otherwise love) was running virtually all the time. So I finally decided to do a little Googling and learned that one potential problem was having certain programs running in the background because they were set up to automatically start running as soon as I started up the computer. I turned some of them off and set them to turn on manually so now they only run when I’m actually using them.

If you want to try this yourself, you need to open Task Manager (this is Windows-only solution) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete and choosing Task Manager from the list. Once it’s open, click on the Services tab and then click the Open Services link at the bottom of the dialog. This will open a list of services currently running. Click on them to see the description of what they do. If you think you don’t need one running all the time, double-click to open another dialog, where you can Stop it from currently running and use the dropdown box to change it from Automatic to Manual.

NOTE: There are a lot of services that are critical to the basic operation of Windows, so don’t just shut them down willy-nilly. Make sure you know what the program is that will be affected. Out of a couple of dozen programs I had on the list, I was only able to stop about three of them. But it has actually made a big difference in the CPU usage on my computer and therefore the heat output.

If you can’t find any services you can stop, you can also look into one various trays with built-in fans that can help prevent your laptop from overheating.

2. Use Google Maps Offline

If you use Google Maps as a navigation aid, you may have found yourself limited by the need to have an Internet connection to use the app while you’re actually on the road. To help overcome that limitation, you can actually download areas to your phone or tablet in advance while you have a connection and then use them offline. Learn how in this Google Maps Hupport article:

Download areas and navigate offline

3. Find Unusual Gifts at The Grommet

Tired of the same-old, same-old gift options? Check out The Grommet, a company that sells products that you’re not going to find in the usual places. From their website:

“We launch undiscovered products and help them succeed; we call them Grommets. Grommets aren’t just things. Grommets are products with a purpose invented by people with stories. Buy differently.”

Their products fall under multiple categories: Crowdfunded, Made in the USA, Sustainable Living, Handcrafted, Philanthropy, Independent Maker, Tech & Innovation, Underrepresented Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprises, Made for a Lifetime. Most products are accompanied by a video story from its creator.

I recently purchased a PopSocket from them, a collapsible rubber phone grip that I can attest makes taking selfies WAY easier and that you can use to prop up your phone on a table. They come in different colors and designs; I got a pretty giraffe face!

Deal Alert! Take $10 off $50+ plus free shipping for new customers.

You may also be interested in:

Turn Your Computer into a Wi-Fi Hotspot with Connectify Software

Google Maps Brings Back Split-Screen Street View

The Tech for Luddites Online Shopping Guide

Elizabeth Kricfalusi

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