How to Speed Up Your PC's Slowest Component: You

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ervit

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I use a gaming mouse with programmable buttons and profiles to do copy/paste, home/end and previous/next with one click. In games the mouse uses dedicated profiles, so there is no interference. I only need to use the keyboard to type words now, haven't figured out how do this with the mouse :D
 
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so ironic that I only read this article through a (distracting) notification. Good article though.
 
Another shortcut I only found out about in the last couple years that can be really handy:

Windows Key + arrow key

You can snap your current window to either side of the screen using the left and right arrows, while up and down can maximize and un-maximize (or minimize) respectively. It also allows you to snap a window to the inside edge(s) of a multi monitor setup, something I don't know how to do any other way.
 

phenomiix6

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About macros, be extra careful if you play Rust, because the amateurs at FacePunch and Easy Anti Cheat have been summarily banning people for using them - both keyboard and mouse macros - even if they don't have any relation at all with the game. Some people have been banned simply for having a macro program installed - including programs that come with the devices like Razer Synapse and Logitech Gaming Software (LGS) - even if they weren't using any macros at all.
 

zodiacfml

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It was only recently that I was able to work on a desktop with two monitors. After a few months of work, I realized that it is isn't much productive at all. Turning your head between the two monitors is also inconvenient and less faster than an alt-tab or a switching between virtual desktops.

It seems to me that it multiple monitors were more useful back then when monitors were quite small, less than 20 inches.

Multiple displays though is still useful for monitoring such as stocks or CCTV cameras.
 

bit_user

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Uh, for that you need quad-brain, which is a rather extreme mod. And much like EPYC's 8-channel memory, you'll need 8 eyeballs to keep all those brains busy.
 

Dosflores

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Dual monitors is the cheapest way to increase your screen real estate. Investing in a 34'' 3440x1440 monitor is the best way.

I find that it's best to invest in great I/O devices rather than in great CPUs. You don't know how much nicer a Cherry MX Blue keyboard makes your typing experience until you use it. A good mouse is also a must. You don't need the greatest gaming mouse; just one with at least four nice-feeling buttons.

I can't believe that I didn't know about application keyboard shortcuts until now. It's too late, though. I'm used to the Windows quick search to launch the application I need. If I press Windows Key, F, Enter, then I'll get Firefox open, since Firefox is the first result that comes up as soon as I press F in the search field.

There are two Windows keyboard shortcuts worth mentioning, in case newbies don't know them:
Alt + Tab: Switch between windows.
Ctrl + Tab: Switch between tabs. This will be really useful for the next version of Windows 10, when Windows Sets are available for everyone.

BTW, macOS really sucks in this regard. Command + Tab switches between applications, not between individual windows. If anyone knows how to change this behavior, I'd be grateful to know.

The recommendation to learn to type at least 80 words per minute is overkill. First things first: buy a good mechanical keyboard. Then learn to leverage it until you're happy about your performance.

Finally, the "use a fingerprint or facial login" and "use a pasword manager" recommendations are indeed useful to work faster, but only if you don't care about security and privacy at all. The more convenient an authentication system is, the less secure it is.
 

bit_user

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I tried dual-monitor with CRTs, back in the day. I ended up leaving one turned off, because I quickly noticed the difference of 250 W additional heat in my small office.

Fast forward to now, and I'm still a one-big-monitor-to-rule-them-all guy. My dream is a 4k 32" 16:9 or 16:10. But I'm waiting on a gfx card for that, so still at 2560x1440 @ 27".


When I used two, I'd put docs on one and my code on the other. I could still imagine having a smaller, secondary monitor for watching the progress of builds or tests.
 

bloodroses

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A lot of useful common things suggested there. Most of which I've used at work (outside password/ fingerprint scanners). The macros are most definitely handy; as well as multi monitor setups (I was using 3 at one point for Matlab/Simulink). Windows+arrow keys become extremely useful for moving windows around between corners and different screens.

As for a mechanical blue keyboard like someone had suggested, it does indeed speed up typing once you get used to it. I have one at home. However, I know better than to use one at work since the clacking noise will cause it to either disappear or be busted over my head... lol

I did noticed one thing missed that is quite useful, and that is staying organized against clutter. There's nothing worse than tons of icons scattered all over my desktop and files stored all over the place. Setting up and organization folder scheme really does help trying to find that backed up file from 3 months ago. With the desktop, I ended up using a 3rd party program called Fences; which made it easy to group icons together.

Lastly, I'm rather surprised coffee or Red Bull wasn't mentioned as it's really hard for me to be any form of productive in the morning without my morning dose of caffeine. :)
 

bit_user

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Or try green tea, fish oil, and B vitamins. If that doesn't do it, try eating more protein and fewer carbs.

I stopped drinking energy drinks years ago. I pour a cup of black coffee in the morning, but usually can't be bothered to finish it by the end of the day. And I sleep less than most people I know.
 

martinch

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I guess it depends on what you're doing and how your brain works. I have 2x 25" 2560x1440 monitors at work, and one at home - when working from home, I really miss the second monitor. It's really handy to have the primary application (Visual Studio) full-screen on one monitor, and secondary applications (requirements document and Git) on the other - ALT-TABing doesn't work for me in this situation


Depends what you're doing, but I prefer two monitors, if only for Aero "snap" working to easily give you 4 equally-sized windows (also, 2x 2560x1440 monitors gives you more pixels...).


This is true. :)


Nonsense. Done badly, they're a very big issue, but done well, they increase security. Using a password manager means you can easily have unique strong logins for every system/web site you use - looking at mine, there's about 200 in there - there's absolutely no way I'm remembering that many unique 20+ character passwords! Using a single strong password plus secondary authentication to access the password database should be absolutely fine. There's a reason why security authorities like Bruce Schneier recommend them. ;)

 

Dosflores

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Why would you want 4 equally-sized windows? That would only be useful if you use 4 equally-important applications/documents. I think screen real estate is far more important than pixels unless you're an artist or video editor. With a big 3440x1440 monitor, you can have Visual Studio on the center of the screen, and it will be the larger window. Then you can have the requirements document to its left and Git to its right. You don't have to turn your neck when using your main window; only the few times that you use a secondary window.



I'd rather think about the issue than follow recommendations. The basic rule is: there isn't a single system that is fully secure. And hackers have lots of time to research and lots of crazy ideas. Just take a look at all the Meltdown/Spectre debacle. If you use a password database, and it gets hacked, then all your passwords will be stolen. Your whole security chain will rely on a single link. It doesn't matter how strong that link seems; any link can be broken. I'd trust anyone telling me that an authentication system is absolutely fine as much as I'd trust Zuckerberg telling me that they're going to protect my data absolutely fine.
 
If you use a password database, and it gets hacked, then all your passwords will be stolen. Your whole security chain will rely on a single link. It doesn't matter how strong that link seems; any link can be broken.
In my experience, the vast majority of websites let you reset your password via email. So your security still relies on a single link: your email.
 

Dosflores

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Websites like Tom's Hardware do. Websites that offer important services and care about security offer two-factor authentication. E-mail services are one of them. In order to get your e-mail hacked, both your password and your phone are required. SMS-based two-factor authentication can be hacked remotely, but it requires a keen interest in doing so. Unless you're an important person, no one will bother trying. Authentication app-based two-factor authentication requires stealing your phone and hacking it.

Convenient password managers are the very greatest security risk. All your passwords are stored in their databases in a way that allows decryption. They're an appealing target for hacking. Unix-like systems disable the root account by default nowadays for that very same reason: hackers know every Unix-like system has a root account that has full access to the system, and it's protected by a single password. So trying to find that password is the most effective way to hack the full system. Trying to hack a password database would be the most effective way to hack lots of systems and accounts.
 
@Dosflores
Password managers also offer 2FA.

For LastPass at least, your passwords are encrypted locally with symmetric encryption. So even if the LastPass servers/databases are compromised in some way, a hacker can't gain gain access to your passwords unless they know your LastPass password. In which case they'd still need your 2FA device.
 

Dosflores

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2FA is useless if the database is hacked.

How does LastPass' multi-device sync work? If the encryption key is stored locally, you won't be able to use your passwords from other devices.
 
For Lastpass, a decryption key and hash are generated from your password. When logging in, your hashed password is sent to lastpass, which then sends you your encrypted password vault. It's then decrypted locally using the key generated from your password, which never leaves your device.

You're right about the 2FA being worthless if Lastpass gets hacked. But that still means that someone would have to hack Lastpass and obtain your Lastpass password in order to compromise your accounts.

As an aside, what you said earlier about individual sites "that offer important services" offering 2FA isn't always true. Like all Canadian banks, as far as I can tell.
 

Dosflores

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So in case of a hack, your security depends exclusively on the strength of your Lastpass password. I still don't see why I should pay for that instead of using different passwords for different important services. It's more convenient; not more secure.

And I literally said "that offer important services and care about security". Banks don't care about security. If your money gets stolen, you can sue them and eventually you'll get it back. It's not convenient, but banks rely on your need for them, no matter how convenient they are.
 
And if your email gets hacked, your security depends exclusively on the security of your 2FA device. You use a very strong password for your manager, which is the point of having a manager in the first place (only having to remember one password, thus allowing you to make it very strong).

I never said password managers were more secure. You're the one who equated using a password manager as "you don't care about security and privacy at all". I'm pointing out that a password manager can be plenty secure if used properly. Also, some are free.

Regarding banks: you're saying that if someone managed to get my password and gain access to my account (without the bank's servers being compromised in any way), and then transferred out all my money or something, I could sue them (and win)?
 

Dosflores

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If my e-mail and its 2FA gets hacked, the only security that is compromised is that e-mail account (since I have several different ones, each with its own password and 2FA) and any service I use that e-mail account for. If "the last password you'll ever need" and its 2FA gets hacked, every service you use is compromised.

The password manager is plenty secure if it is used properly and it doesn't get hacked. Just the same as remembering lots of passwords and enabling 2FA wherever you can. The latter is more secure because you reduce the breadth of possible damage, which is one of the pillars of security. The former is a lot more convenient. But I would never rely my security on a company willing to provide security for free.

Regarding banks: it depends on your country's laws. Modern laws will obviously let you win easily, since a password can't be equated to a signature.
 
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