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20-20-20 rule, Windows 10 coming, computer performance tricks

The 20/20/20 rule is important to learn for better eye health. Every 20 minutes you should look off 20 feet or so, for 20 seconds. Even better is getting up and moving around. Having a window to stare out of helps. If you have trouble keeping to some kind of schedule there is software that can help you, Time Out for the Mac (from dejal.com) or PYV at protectyourvision.org are some of the free programs with options to customize break frequency, duration and actions.

With Windows 10 due to come out this summer and as Microsoft is offering free upgrades for Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers, you might want to check if your PC can handle it. The short answer is that if you are already running Windows 8.1 you should be fine and most all Windows 7 computers I have seen will also work. The free upgrade path only lasts for the first year Windows 10 is out and so you have to decide when you want it. My usual advice is to wait for all the early adopters to find the faults for Microsoft to fix and then jump on the bandwagon in early 2016.

Cut down Facebook notifications to reduce being constantly “annoyed” even though you feel you need to plug into FB all the time. Check under your settings or click on the Notifications “globe” icon and then click settings to find and click on Notifications. Then edit each Notification and set it how you want. If you have a smart phone and use its Facebook app, you should also look at its push notification settings.

Regardless of how fast your computer is, how well you have matched your software to your needs, or how many monitors you have, there are things you can do to improve your computer performance. Pay attention to your body position and take frequent breaks. At night, use f.lux (justgetflux.com) to reduce the “keep you awake” blue part of the spectrum. Try a standing desk. Improve your typing; even though you may be self-taught, touch-typing is still likely to be faster. There are quite a few online tutoring sites. The other part is to speed up your reading speed and learn how to bookmark sites you want to come back or don’t have time right now to read. Memorize shortcuts for any task or action you do repeatedly and frequently. You don’t have to learn all of them, just figure out the most common ones. Finally, there are some tasks that are still faster with paper and pen, not everything must be done on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Browsers slow down as you keep more tabs open, and there are add-ins to help you with those tabs without just bookmarking them. One that I like is OneTab for Chrome or Firefox, and find it wonderful for keeping available site that I plan to get back to but don’t really want to bookmark as I only plan to read those articles once.