Dear B.T.

Dear B.T.

In which I moan about BT...

Dear British Telecom (BT),

Last year I had the pleasure of enjoying BT Infinity. In a student house of five I don't recall ever experiencing slow internet or any outages. Naturally when I moved to a new house I was more than happy to start a contract with you. I was even looking forward to having a landline for the first time.

Chrome Problems

In which Chrome causes some problems for once...

So my work computer has been playing up a lot recently. It's been so slow that I've even had to hard reset several times. I've tried the usual tips and tricks:

  • turning off unnecessary services
  • turning off unnecessary startup programs
  • uninstalling unecessary programs

None of this worked. Starting up Task Manager I found that Chrome was using about 60% of my CPU even when I wasn't actively using it. This was odd so I had a quick Google...

Plugin Problems

Chrome runs plugins as separate processes (which is why there are so many processes in Task Manager called chrome.exe). If one of these has a high CPU usage you can end the process and chrome will give you an error that the plugin has crashed. You can then disable that plugin.

Annoyingly it was Adobe Flash Player causing the problems. Since I use this all the time I couldn't just uninstall it. The problem was luckily easy to solve - I had enabled hardware acceleration to fix a YouTube bug a few weeks back. Turning that off sped the computer up significantly.

Chrome's Malware Feature

Sorting out Flash did reduce the load Chrome was putting on the CPU but didn't remove all of it. It turns out that Chrome has a real time anti-malware protection feature which can use a lot of processing power. You can disable it in Settings>Privacy>Enable phishing and malware protection. This didn't have as much of an effect as the Flash problem but has helped speed up my computer. *

*If you're worried about not having the protection I've found Lavasoft Adaware to be more than ample against malware.

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Tom Out!

(Just over) A fortnight of Windows 8

In which I review the Windows 8 experience so far...

So I installed Windows 8 about two and a half weeks ago. In brief - it's a slightly improved version of Windows 7 with a few quirks and a start-up screen that require getting used to. In more detail:

Good Internet, Bad Internet

In which I discuss poor internet connections.

Slow Internet

Today at work I was using a terribly slow internet connection. What interested me was which programs and websites worked on a slow connection and which ones didn't.

These programs/sites worked well:

These didn't:

  • Outlook
  • Outlook web
  • Wunderlist
  • Ctrl-Alt-Delete

Google Mail & Calendar were intermittent.

Why should this be? I'm not sure and would have hazarded a guess that sites and programs which send less data would work better. However, Wunderlist only needs to send short strings of text (calendar events) when Evernote was syncing complete documents. Also with the websites both CAD and Xkcd require images to load. Xkcd managed it easily but I haven't seen today's CAD yet. Maybe the ones which loaded were just better coded/written!?!

Good Wi-Fi

Currently I'm writing this from the comfort of First Class with a complimentary glass of Merlot :-) The free Wi-Fi is excellent and speedy - the upgrade was definitely worth it (£2 to upgrade which gets me the normally £6 Wi-Fi, free wine and dinner). My new Archos G9 101 tablet is working very well and for a quick trip like this it's so much better than a laptop.*

So my first post written entirely on a tablet has gone well, also having a 250Gb HDD means I've done so to excellent musical accompaniment (LotR and TMBG among others).

*Although I did need to re-calibrate the screen after a recent update.

Tom Out!