Feb 14, 2017

4 Software Tools to Help Run and Operate Your PC Like a Pro

We often use cars as analogies for computers, but it's not exactly a 1:1 matchup. With cars, hardware modifications are responsible for improvements, but with computers, both hardware and software can make a difference. Here are four kinds of software tools you can use to run your computer like a pro.

Hardware Monitor Tools

Software tools can help you monitor your hardware to make sure your computer is running smoothly under the hood. Like smartphones, computers generate a lot of heat, with some parts running as hot as boiling water. Heat sinks and fans may be needed to keep your computer from overheating — and if these parts aren’t working correctly, your computer can be at risk of malfunction.

Hardware monitoring tools help you keep your computer’s temperature under control and your machine running right. These tools give you dashboards that display key hardware information, including the voltage and temperature of different parts of your computer, and how well your fans are running. Some of today’s best hardware monitoring tools include HWMonitor, Speed Fan and Open Hardware Monitor.

PC Tune-up Utilities

To keep your computer running at top speed, you need a PC tune-up utility. With constant use, your computer will inevitably start to slow down. Outdated drivers from obsolete apps, archived files you no longer use and large cached data can all slow down your performance.

PC tune-up utilities help fix this problem, automating tasks such as defragging your hard drive, fixing your Windows registry, and deleting duplicate files to free up disk space. Some utilities also have advanced functions such as optimizing your boot process. PC tune-up utilities come in both freeware and premium varieties. CCleaner is a popular free tune-up utility, but PCMag rates iolo System Mechanic as today’s best premium option.

Password Managers

A long password is a strong password, but the downside is that it can be hard to remember. Of course, creating one that's hard to remember makes it tempting to leave that information lying around on a sticky note, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a password altogether. On the other hand, creating a password along the likes of "ABC123" can make it easy to crack.

Password managers overcome these difficulties by automatically generating strong passwords for each site you visit that requires a login. The manager program then saves and inputs your passwords for you the next time you log in, relieving you of the need to type it in each time. Advanced password managers can also remember billing information for credit card purchases. Some managers have other advanced features such as syncing your passwords across all your devices.

Automated Cloud Backups

In an age of rampant cybercrime and ransomware, having reliable backups for your data is a necessity. Without a good backup system, you run the risk of losing all your files at any time. The most efficient way to back up your data is to schedule automated cloud backups. Backing up your data on the cloud allows you an unlimited amount of storage space. Top backup services such as Mozy provide military-grade encryption to ensure your data stays safe in the cloud.

Feb 12, 2017

I admit it. I'm a huge professional wrestling nerd!

PThis isn't going to be a technical post today. It's definitely going to fall in the realm of geekiness though, and it's something I need to get off my chest for some reason. Sort of like alcoholism I guess, one only truly can get help if they admit they have a problem. Then again, like is famously said, it's not a problem if you do it every day!

In all serious though, I love professional wrestling. I am what they say in the business, a huge mark! I am not going to lie and say I've been some super fan my whole life. I obviously enjoyed it when I was a kid in the 80's with Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, The Junkyard Dog, Rowdy Roddy Piper, etc. I stopped watching in the early 90's during my high school years. It was in the late 1998 that got into it again when I was in the Navy. We used to huddle around the TV in our berthing area every Monday and watch Monday Night Raw. It was awesome!

Like an idiot, I got married in 2000, and my wife hated professional wrestling so I stopped watching it for a very long time. When I got divorced in 2014 I decided to see what was going on in the WWE and I was hooked again! Since I became single again, I've also branched out into watching the bigger independent promotions like Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground and most recently WCPW. I can't get enough!

In fact, I am a very active person these days. I like to go jogging every day, and on my jogs I listen to wrestling podcasts like Conversation with The Big Guy, WrestleZone Radio and Talk is Jericho!

Wrestling is Fake

The biggest criticism I hear of professional wrestling is that it's fake. In response to that I always say, it's not fake, it's scripted! In all serious though, everyone knows that matches are pre-determined, the punches are pulled, the kicks are sold, etc. That being said, the risks profession wrestler take to put on their live performance is very real. Jumping off a 20 foot high steel cage and landing on a table hurts. Yes, the table breaks your fall, but it still hurts. Having a 250 pound man land on you from a 20 foot fall also hurts very much. I'll say it again, the risks are real.

Shane McMahon Elbow Drop Off Hell In a Cell at Wrestle Mania 32

Not only do some of these stunts hurt, they also sometimes end careers. Here is a video with a young Steve Austin in Japan performing a pile driver incorrectly and breaking Masahiro Chono's neck in 1992.

The ironic thing about that is that Steve Austin later in his WWE run would also suffer a career ending neck injury when Owen Hart botched the exact same move.

The pile driver has effectively been banned in WWE because of this sort of thing. They still allow a less risky version of the pile driver known as the Tomb Stone pile driver, and it's only allowed to be done by The Undertaker and Kane, two of WWE's biggest and strongest performers.

Just last year during the inaugural Universal Championship match, Seth Rollins threw Finn Balor into the ring barricade and it dislocated Balor's shoulder. Balor popped his shoulder back in and finished the match anyway like a complete bad ass, and went on to be the inaugural Universal Champion only to have to give up his title the next night because he had to go on hiatus due to his injury.

Check it out.

So now we know the risks are real, and the injuries are real there is still a problem with predetermined endings right? Well, not really if you stop thinking of it like fake fighting, and more like you are watching a staged performance. You would never go to a circus and say that the trapeze act, or the tight rope walking acts are fake. They are just as scripted, but the risk is real! Think of it more like a live action stunt spectacular!

Another way to look at it is like watching an action movie, or a TV show like Game of Thrones. You don't watch those things and yell at the screen that it's fake right? It's entertainment, it has a good story, and looks real enough that you can get into it.

Bottom line, it's supposed to be fun.

Some People Think MMA is Better

Some people prefer to watch real fighting. I get that, and I enjoy a good MMA fight myself having grown up taking martial arts classes off and on my whole life. I like watching a great fight! That being said, is MMA better? Not in my opinion, and the reason why is the lack of story and it is hard to follow sometimes.

When you have two random guys rolling on the ground grappling, it can be hard to see exactly what they are doing, and that sometimes makes me lose interest. In wrestling, movements are big, flashy and there is always a cool finishing move like in a good video game! I'd prefer to see Randy Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere a million times than see one fight where Conor McGregor chokes someone out. Real MMA endings are more often than not pretty boring.

The Apparel is Cool

My girlfriend can attest that I have way too many wrestler tshirts. I have some from WWE Shop, some from TNA's Shop, and a few from Pro Wrestling Tees. I like the last one the best because a big portion of the sales go directly to the wrestlers instead of the promoters and that's how most of the independent guys make their money.

I also have a bunch from TeePublic which I like because the fit is perfect, and the designs are super unique because they are made by fans. At the time of this writing, you can take 25% off your order too with code COOLCAT25 at checkout. Here are a few of my favorites:

Tyrus T-Shirt

The Shirt of Jericho - Drink it in!

Moose T-Shirt
Finn Balor T-Shirt

I Prefer Sports Entertainment Over Sport

In the end, I think I just prefer to be entertained over the actual sport of it. You like your favorite football, basketball and baseball teams right? Well, I like my favorite wrestlers and wrestling promotions. It's the story that draws me in, and the whole spectacle of it that makes me stay. It's also really amazing to see these amazing stunts being performed, and if done well, nobody seriously gets hurt doing it. As mentioned above, that's not always the case either, and when a serious injury does happen, it's amazing to see these performers power through it all to put on a good show.

Tonight is a great night for it too because WWE SmackDown Live is having their Elimination Chamber special tonight and WCPW is also having their True Destiny special! Time to get the beer and popcorn ready!

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