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Issue 398: Mar 8-14, 2015

Q: I hate my new computer. It’s a Lenovo G50 with Windows 8.1, AMD A6 and 12g RAM. I use Webroot as my security software. I am using a program Pokki, that restores the look of Windows 7 and hides the all the “charming” crap that should be reserved for tablets. But I digress.

I cannot run a browser without it crashing. It seems to happen when I have multiple tabs open, which was never a problem on my old Vista notebook. I also have periods where my Internet speed is slow (it tested at 79mg download speed) but of course, Century Link can find nothing wrong (they are my only ISP option; I live in a swamps and my HP printer has all of a sudden been going offline and staying offline. It comes back when I restart it but it never did this prior to two weeks ago. My speed also normalizes after I restart the router/modem but the browser problem does not ever resolve. Suggestions?

– Gwen B.
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

A: I think I can see part of your problem just from the description of your setup, Gwen. The hardware you describe is an entry-level laptop, not high-end at all. I would be very surprised to find it sporting 12 gigs of RAM. Two or four gigs would be more likely. That’s pushing it if you’re trying to browse with “multiple” tabs, depending on just how many you mean. I’ve noticed that IE seems to have a tendency to chew up memory the longer you leave it running, until eventually you have to completely close it to free-up enough memory for the system to be able to function. I haven’t had that problem with Chrome so far. Now, you say that your browser is “crashing”. Do you actually mean “freezing” or “locking up” (or appearing that way)? What I’ve described above would account for that. If it’s actually crashing (terminating unexpectedly and/or abnormally) then there is some sort of problem with the browser installation, or with a loaded browser helper object (BHO). Regardless, you should be able to get me an error message that describes the circumstances of the crash.

As for your Internet speed, I have no idea how you’re measuring it, but I see two problems. First, connection speeds are not measured in milligrams (the unit for which “mg” is the abbreviation), and assuming that you meant “mb” or “mbps” (megabytes, or more accurate for a speed measurement, megabits per second) a measurement of 79 would be insanely, ridiculously, screaming fast considering your description of where you live. I’m afraid that CenturyLink’s service speed tends to top-out at around 10 mbps, and you only get that if that’s the tier you’re paying for. That’s still reasonably fast, however. It’s fast enough to do lightning-quick web browsing, and fast enough to stream high-definition video from sites like YouTube, Hulu or Netflix. If you are sharing the bandwidth among multiple users you might be crowding each other though.

The problem with your printer is very likely related to modem/router that you describe having to frequently reset. How old is your modem/router hardware? If you have an older model, CenturyLink will usually replace it for you at no cost, and it could very well be the source of your problem.

The February contest is over, and the winners have been randomly selected from among all the entrants. Visit for the results.

The Geek’s Website of the Week!

Name: Days of the Year

Nominated By: The Geek


Description: You didn’t miss International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day did you?  How about Gumdrop Day?  Bird-Feeding Month?  Oh, how could you have missed Bird-Feeding Month? (It was February.)  You probably missed them because you either didn’t know when they were, or didn’t even know they existed.  These are problems with solutions!  In this case, this week’s Geek’s Website of the Week!

This fairly simple website packs a lot of information in its easy-to-navigate interface.  You can search by topic, or head to the month of your choice to see all the “special” days that month.  If you register, you can even receive notifications right in your mailbox.

No, I don’t know who designated these various days, or if they’re actually recognized by anyone, but if you look, you will see some well-known favorites there, such as Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sep 19th) and Middle Child’s Day (Aug 12th).

By the way, don’t forget that Embrace Your Geekness Day is coming up on July 13th, and Columnists Day is June 26th.  Yes, I do shamelessly accept gifts.

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