So what is a Virtual Assistant?
Let’s break it down a bit. An Assistant as in an Administrative Assistant is someone you delegate tasks to that are of a fairly routine and/or straightforward nature. This can include updating social media or your website with content as well as database management or filling out and sending a template e-mail in response to correspondence. It can include providing front office Customer Service as well as back-office tasks. It can include project management, scheduling trips and more.
But what if I have a home office and no room or even need for a fulltime Administrative Assistant? This is where a Virtual Assistant comes in. They work remotely from their own office providing you with as much or as little help as you specify.
So if you have a Problem, Predicament or Pain Point, after you have defined a solution, a VA (Virtual Assistant) may be the perfect company (aka team) or person to delegate the task(s) to.
After I help you figure out a solution to one of your 3 P’s (Problem, Predicament or Pain Point) you may decide you need me to execute the solution(s). If I can’t, I will help you find a VA solution that can.
This is the first post since I moved this blog from GalensonConsulting.Wordpress.com to Galenson-Consulting.com
In part 1 I addressed some of the most important things you can do by changing your software settings and running utilities to cleanup and defragment your Hard Disk Drive. In this post I will list several common hardware upgrades you could do to reduce your Windows 10 system’s lagging and/or stuttering.
- Increase the available ram/memory. While Windows 10 will run in 4 GB’s of ram. Your system will use “Virtual Memory” aka: Paging File much less often if you are running 8 GB of memory or possibly higher. This is the single BEST way you can speed up your computer.
- Upgrade your HDD to either simply a faster HDD (7200 rpm) or preferably a Solid State Device. A SSD is similar to a Flash drive but much faster, much larger and more reliable under typical HDD conditions.
- If you are running a Desktop machine you may be running an “integrated” video card on the motherboard or in the cpu. You can upgrade your video card for anywhere from a modest $40-$60 to $500 and gain massive improvements in your video display speeds. I don’t recommend spending much more than the $40-$60 range on a video card upgrade without doing a lot of research and/or asking advice from trusted sources.
The question of why Window 10 is laggy or stutters is a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on technical blogs, websites and in Microsoft forums. Anything that is mentioned here will most likely speed up Windows 7/8/8.1 too.
This post addresses possible software fixes. There are also some straight forward hardware fixes that I will address in part 2 of this post.
There are several “choke points” or places that can cause a computer to pause from responding to your keyboard/mouse and/or displaying a change (like the letters you just typed) on its screen.
- If the cpu gets busy, “thinking”, then there will be a pause.
- If you ask for something from your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) there will be a finite pause while first it “finds it” (seeking time) and then reads it. If the file is in pieces in multiple locations on your HDD it will require a find it for each part of that file.
- If the memory (ram) of your computer gets too full, then it will start writing copies of what is in memory out to “virtual storage” aka: Paging File. This is called “Paging.” Then when it needs that part of the memory it will read that part of the memory from the Paging File back into memory. This is massively slower (writing and reading) than accessing anything still in memory.
- The more “useless files” you have on the HDD, the more time it can take for the cpu and operating system to look at and reject using them.
- If the gpu (video card) is busy “thinking” there will be a display pause.
So how can you decrease any or all of the above items from slowing down your computer? There are straight forward actions that you can do, that will (usually) effect more than one of the items above.
For instance, setting the paging file to a fixed size will reduce the amount of time the cpu spends thinking about if it should increase or decrease the file size. Defragmenting the Paging file will speed up the writing and reading from the file. Defragmenting the rest of the HDD will speed up starting up any program, including the operating system. Deleting “junk” files will reduce the amount of time the cpu and HDD spend deciding if some file should be used or not.
All of these “howto’s” are available all over the internet so I am going to link to examples for you to consider and use.
This post from Techlyfe addresses making the Paging file a fixed size as well as the time honored method of speeding up the video display by turning off much of the “eye candy”. Reference #1-#3 and #5 above.
This free system cleaner from Piriform seems to be one of the most comprehensive files and registry cleaners out there. Yes, I use it on all my Windows 7 and Windows 10 machines. Reference #4 above.
This HDD defragging utility includes a “defrag the paging file” in its “settings.” It is another really useful utility from Piriform. Reference #2 and #3 above.
Another time honored method of reducing how busy your cpu is (and incidentally reducing the amount of power used while on a laptop battery) is to turn off background applications.
I also ran across a slightly different Point of View (POV) that talks about how to reduce the Internet Lag of your system. I don’t agree with the 4 letter word in the title but I do agree that many of the early steps he writes and illustrates are very easy to implement.
I hope this helps you.
I have reviewed a book called Zen To Done. I have been exploring increasing personal and corporate productivity. I have studied Lean/Six Sigma. The WordPress powered Blogosphere is a wonderful place to browse, explore or search in. So I ran across this blog post on productivity.
As in ALL situations where you are trying to increase productivity, you are absolutely not trying to cause someone to put “more effort” into their work. You are trying to get either the same production with less effort or get more productive with the same effort. The key is the “Work Smarter, Not Harder” idea.
Lean and Six Sigma both have their roots in manufacturing. There have been enormous successes in manufacturing (see “The Toyota Way” for instance). There have been numerous attempts and perhaps successes in applying Lean/Six Sigma to the service industry and to Knowledge work. Its not easy to do. A major stumbling block is being able to measure your productivity. If you can’t measure it, how can you be sure your changes actually improved your productivity?
Douglas W. Hubbard wrote a book called “How to Measure Anything – Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business.” He has setup a training and certification program to help business people and consultants get a handle on this. Jay Arthur is a consultant in Lean/Six Sigma and has written about using LSS in service industries like hospitals. So it is possible to apply these techniques.
My favorite (lean) story about how to increase productivity in an office process is a “follow the object of the workflow through the process from the object’s point of view”. When you do this you will find that the object spends significant time waiting between activities. If you can locate those wait times and if you can reduce the wait times you can speed up the production of that service without actually making anyone work harder.
“Lean” probably won’t help a pure Knowledge Worker situation but it will help a multi-step service business.
I just noticed that using this WordPress application for posting drops out the spellcheck I am used to having. I need to investigate if I can get this back in, or return to the web interface where I have Grammarly available to grammar/spell check. Hmmm…..
Ever since I got my latest HP laptop I have been “playing” with both my favorite web browser (Chrome) and with Edge.
I have even imported my bookmarks into Edge’s favorite system.
- Some how because of the way Edge offers up it’s favorites, I have to get used to “doing it differently”.
- It certainly has a different “look and feel” from Chrome and the Chromebook I have.
- Edge is claimed to use 35% to 50% less power from my Laptop battery than Chrome.
- This got my attention. It was in the help information provided by Microsoft.
- I am shooting to have at least 6 hours available on my Laptop battery. I was getting 3 1/2 to maybe 4 hours even after I set the “Battery Saver” to start at 80% of my battery level and running the “Power Saver” plan. I had also turned off a lot of “background” tasks to save cpu cycles.
- I discovered that I could track which applications were drawing the most power using settings -> system -> battery -> “battery usage by app”. And Chrome was the “winner” at 35% of my battery. So I went into Chrome’s settings and turned off the “run in the background when Chrome is closed” because I don’t need assorted background services from Chrome.
- I am now trying to get used to using Edge even though I am less than enthusiastic about the way it presents its Favorites. I am used to being able to click on the bookmarks on the bar right below the search box/url box.
- I have been having trouble getting it to “open” links on pages. I have to right click and select “new tab” to get it to open reliably. I really would like to simply double click and be done with it.
Early this morning I discovered that WordPress has app’s for both my PC (Laptop) and my Cellphone that make it possible to more easily write posts from either. Up to this point I have always been using a brower on my computer to create and maintain posts.
As far as I can tell, it now looks like I can record a video (selfy or not) on my Cellphone and have it upload to my Blog. I will be experimenting with that later but probably not today.
One of the questions I have for both the PC-based WordPress app and the Cellphone-based app is will they “work” (eg. record and save) posts, videos etc while I am not hooked up to a network and then upload them when I get connected to a WiFi (usually) network? If the answer is yes, then I have the best of both worlds. A couple of new, useful blogging tools and no need for always on digital network (cellphone modem basically) access.
My cellphone vendor is Republic Wireless who provides me with very low montlhly cost service by routing most of my calls through home, work or other Wifi access points. They do provide calling service and texting when I am not connected to Wifi. When I am connected to Wifi I also have access to the Internet. I get this service for $15/mo plus taxes. For the way I use my cellphone, this is very nearly as convenient as a full service data plan at a much lower cost. Republic Wireless also has full service data plans that you can change to on the fly. You can change your plan twice a month, so you can tailor your plan to your current ussage.
When I was trying out driving for Uber, I changed to a 3 GB/mo full service data plan. When I stopped driving for Uber, for the time being, I dropped back down to the Wifi only data plan. Try them, you might like them 🙂
I just got an HP Laptop with a native installation of Windows 10 on it.
- The scrolling when you use the mouse pad was intuitive if you are used to “dragging the point of view/cursor” on your tablet. Otherwise it was “backwards” to what you are used to.
- I have had 3 different Windows 10 machines so far. Two were upgraded from Windows 8 and later 8.1 to Win10. I am simply trying to get used to a pure Win 10 laptop so I can more easily provide technical support when my Sister calls me 🙂
- Unless I go with say “Light Linux”, Windows 10 is where I will spend at least the next decade, so I need to acquire the same proficiency I had with Ms-Dos, XP/Pro and then Windows 7 with Windows 10.
- In Windows 7 you could easily set up an Administrative account and standard accounts so that the machine was somewhat better protected from accidental or malicious software installations. In Windows 10, any account that you integrate into the Microsoft Infrastructure apparently turns into an Administrative account. Only if you add a “local” account can you get back to the “standard” account.
- It’s too soon for me to determine that the excessively easy way this Laptop will suddenly open a url or other hot button which I was just passing by is a problem of the OS or a problem of how sensitive my mousepad setting is.
This is a report in progress. I will get back to you on it.
I have a range of technical and Informational knowledge that could be useful to you. But you need to say “I need help with…” or “How do you solve…” or “Talk about….” to me.
I recently bought a manufacturer refurbished HP 15-ba009dx laptop from Ebay. It cost less than $200 USD for a 15.4″ laptop. This is the “Desktop Replacement” form factor. Once I got it, they were right. I have never had a laptop with such a large screen. I have had “old iron” laptops that weigh this much (about 5 lbs) but never one so thin and with a seperate 9 key number pad.
I ran across a review of the laptop in “best under $300 gamer laptops” at the Laptop Ninja website. Then a few days later I saw Office Depot/OfficeMax offering it for sale in my area. So I went looking on Ebay to see if I could beat their price. The main thing that the refurbished version didn’t have was a 1 year license of Office/365. This wasn’t a problem, for me, since I have a copy of MS Office 2010 for Home and Professional Office. I also have been using an ASUS Chromebook 300MA which had gotten me very used to using the Google Docs wordprocessor which is available through any modern web browser (http://docs.google.com)
This is not a “high end” machine. It is powerful enough for everyday tasks like Word processing, doing research on the Internet, watching videos, taking the majority of online courses at small and large institutions etc. It doesn’t have the keyboard of a Ibm Thinkpad/Lenovo but who else does? It has 4 logical cpus and a integrated video system (an AMD R4) so it is pretty good at juggling things (lots of tabs open in the Chrome browser while also typing in Word etc. It has a built in DVD drive a reasonable selection of ports (usb, rj-45, hdmi etc) and a SD card reader. In some ways it feels like an “overgrown” Netbook. It’s not very fast (I have been running the Boinc/Seti project on it, believe me, it’s not very fast) but it works nicely for straightforward office tasks. It has the DVD drive and a full sized keyboard with the seperate 9 keypad on the right just like a typical desktop keyboard. Those are not things you find on any Netbook I have used/owned.
Like way too many users once you have had any laptop or laptop appliance (my Chromebook) with a really high level of endurance (like 11-12 hours to a charge) you do get spoiled. This one runs 3-5 hours per charge (depending on how bright I set the screen and how hard I work the machine). Since I have had “old iron” that run 2.5 hours or less per charge having a machine that regularly runs 3+ is nice.
So how can I help you?
Well, it is a new year and I hope you and yours will be happy!!!