Optimizing your PC will allow you to get more out of your games. Even if you don’t own a gaming PC, you can still perform some basic tasks to boost performance. Changing a few settings could help games run smoothly on a budget or older PC model. Perform optimization tasks regularly since the longer you use the PC, the more clutter will accumulate.
Preparing for Gaming Optimization
Before performing any optimization tasks, confirm that your computer has the latest Windows update installed. Check for updates under the “Settings” menu by choosing the “Update & Security” tab. They will appear under the “Windows Update” menu if any updates are available. Select the update and reboot the PC once installed. You may also want to create a restore point before proceeding with any other setting changes. A restore point allows you to easily reset any settings that may have interfered with how well your PC is working.
Enable Gaming Mode
Windows has conveniently built-in gaming optimization settings for users. Instead of making manual changes, you can type in “Game” through the search bar in the “Start” menu. Select “Game Mode Settings” when it appears as an option. Toggle to turn on “Gaming Mode.”
You will also want to turn off notifications after enabling Gaming Mode. Under the “System” menu, you will see a “Notifications” menu. Choose “Turn on Do Not Disturb Automatically” and mark the checkbox for “When Playing a Game.” With the setting, you won’t receive annoying popups during gameplay.
Fix Mouse Settings
Microsoft’s Enhance Pointer Precision can cause significant issues while gaming. The setting aims to change the speed of your cursor based on how fast you’re moving the mouse. To turn off the option, visit the “Control Panel” from your “Start” menu. Under “Hardware and Sound,” you’ll find “Devices and Printers.” Once you click on “Mouse,” go to the “Pointer Options” tab. From there, you can uncheck the box for “Enhance Printer Precision.”
Closing Background Programs
Too many programs in your PC’s background can substantially slow gaming performance. If too many processes are running, older PCs and budget models will have difficulty keeping up with your games. Open the “Task Manager” to see the apps running and close the appropriate ones before launching any games.
Updating drivers is especially important when it comes to graphics cards. The latest drivers confirm your cards have the updates needed to work correctly. Well-known manufacturers such as Nvidia and AMD will routinely offer graphic card driver updates to support the latest game releases. Visit the manufacturer page to check for driver downloads. Select manufacturers are now offering the chance for customers to opt into automatic updates.
Overlays can cause significant performance issues, the most common culprit being the Microsoft Xbox Game Bar. Start by visiting the “Settings” menu on your PC. Navigate to “Gaming” and choose “Xbox Game Bar.” Toggle the option to off as a way to stop the overlay from appearing.
Every Black Friday, there seems to be one item in particular that has people busting down the doors as soon as they unlock. While more of the focus has been online for retailers and selling televisions in-store on Black Friday, there are still some toys that a lot of people want. Over the history of Black Friday, these 10 toys in particular, though, drove people to near madness and caused a lot of fighting in the aisles.
1. Tickle Me Elmo
Who can forget the Tickle Me Elmo craze in 1996 when people were piling on top of each other to grab the “Sesame Street” character plush doll that giggled and vibrated? Scalpers that could grab one were selling them online for over $1,000 as there was a shortage of supplies in the stores.
Two years after the Tickle Me Elmo craze, a similar toy came around that was smaller and more intuitive called the Furby. Furby would talk to you, answering questions and speaking in its own cute little language. Furby sold hand over fist upon its release in 1998, with new editions being made in the following years.
3. Nintendo Wii
Nintendo products are always hot commodities around the holiday time, but the Nintendo Wii was on another level. Released just in time for Christmas in 2006, the Nintendo Wii was the first motion control console to be available, and everybody wanted one. Another aspect that made it so popular was the price, as it was only $249.99 upon release.
4. Beanie Babies
Anybody that was around in the 1990s remembers just how popular Beanie Babies were throughout a chunk of the decade. The small little plushies were collector’s items that we all thought were going to be worth something in the future. However, Beanie Babies proved to ultimately be worth next to nothing just a few years after their debut.
Every child in the 1990s wanted a handheld device where you took care of a little creature called a Tamagotchi. Essentially a virtual pet on a keychain, the Tamagotchi was a great gift for parents since it was affordable, but they were extremely hard to find at the height of their popularity in 1997.
6. Razor Scooters
In the early 2000s, just about everyone between the ages of 8 and 15 years old wanted a scooter because of how cool the commercials made them look. The top brand was Razor, a company that started in California in 2000. Razor scooters were in almost every household, and were known to bruise a lot of ankles.
7. PlayStation 2
Just like the Nintendo Wii, there was another level of hype for this video game console that was released in the 2000 holiday season. The Sony PlayStation was successful, but the buildup to the follow-up console was unparalleled at the time. The console would also end up being the longest-lasting, was affordable for its time, and was the first console to have a DVD player.
8. Teddy Ruxpin
Before Tickle Me Elmo and Furby came around, Teddy Ruxpin was the toy that every child wanted that could talk back to its owner. Teddy Ruxpin was the best-selling toy for two years in a row in the mid-1980s, featuring a cassette tape slot so that the cute little bear could read stories to children.
9. ZhuZhu Pets
It’s hard to really tell why ZhuZhu pets were so popular in 2009 when they were first released. After all, they seemed to be standard plush toys that didn’t really do anything. They were also cheap at under $10, which made demand far outweigh the supply. ZhuZhu Pets went on the secondary market, selling for $100 each in some circles.
Apple products seem to be a little watered down now since they’re so numerous and come out every year, but who can forget the craze of the first iPod when it was released just before Black Friday in 2001? The music player was the top of the line, selling millions of units in its first holiday season and becoming a staple of MP3 players before the iPhone came around.
All of us want to save money every day, but we’re not quite sure how when we’re at the store. Sometimes we see a new gadget that we could use in our household, but it could end up costing well over $100. Thankfully, there are some nifty lifestyle gadgets that won’t break the bank. Even if you think you don’t need any of these gadgets, they could make the perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, or just for fun occasions.
Check out these five best lifestyle gadgets that cost less than $20. Some are practical, some are and some are just downright fun. You can pick these up at local retailers or shop online adding convenience to your savings.
Bidets have been around for quite some time, but haven’t really made their way into the average household up until the recent pandemic. Since 2020 bidet sales have been on the rise and are quickly becoming a popular household tool used in place of toilet paper, or as an aid to reduce toilet paper use.
They come in handy when paper products are difficult to come by, they’re more environmentally friendly and do a better job of cleaning those hard to reach places. You can get one yourself from a range of prices, but most standard bidets cost less than $20.
Rapid Egg Cooker
For around $16-$20, you can get yourself the Dash rapid egg cooker that does exactly what you think it does. It’s a fun little gadget that any egg-loving household should have. You place the eggs into the machine and it does all of the work for you.
It takes hardly any time for the rapid egg cooker to do its thing, even less time than it takes to boil the water you’d normally use to cook the eggs in. The product has an automatic shut-off feature to prevent overcooking of the eggs and delivers a perfectly cooked egg every time.
Another curious, yet incredibly useful product created by Rick L. Ziemer is the gloves that are equipped with LED flashlights located on the top of the hand and the fingertips. What do you do when you’re out shoveling a cold, dark day, or night and you can’t juggle a phone, or flashlight while holding the shovel?
What about when you’re out for a chilly stroll and want to ensure nearby vehicles know you’re there? For those situations and more, these gloves are sure to literally come in very handy. They’re around $16 on Amazon.
Toilet Bowl LED Light – Illumibowl
One cool product we all need in our lives is a toilet bowl LED light. Who would have thought? Matt Alexander and Michael Kannely did. They came up with the innovative product in 2014 and it’s been a strange, but welcome addition to many homes since then. So what exactly is this intriguing invention?
The Illumibowl is a small LED light that attaches to the inside rim of the toilet bowl and has a variety of colors to choose from. It’s a surprisingly useful tool for those who constantly wake in the middle of the night and want to go to the bathroom without stubbing their toe and bumping into things.
For as little as $3 you can get yourself a fun, easy, and safe way to clean hard-to-reach messes in your car, on your keyboard, and other electronics. The cleaning gel, or putty is a simple product, but it works. It uses its sticky, but mess-free texture to grab hold of pesky little crumb and dust that is nearly impossible to get out of those difficult places. It’s a safe way to clean electronics without the use of chemicals and liquids as well.
Some of us need all the health-improving gadgets we can get, primarily when delivered pizza, and streaming shows tend to sound more fun than the gym. It’s just too easy to let bad habits win sometimes, which can accelerate aging and illness.
Some cool gadgets help improve overall health, from dental health to taking your vitamins. Once you start getting on track, it gets easier and easier to stay on track. Here are five that can make a difference.
For those unfamiliar with planking, it is a simple way to strengthen your core by using your body weight.
The Plankpad Pro is an inexpensive balance board that only takes a few minutes a day to strengthen your core and back. It has an app with games you can play while planking to get even more benefits across more muscle groups. Using their 30-day planking challenge, you slowly ramp up to longer and longer periods each day.
For those living in a smaller space, a size of 20” x 14” means very little space is taken.
Find it online; usually on sale for $65.
Mouth health is also whole body health. Plaque buildup in your teeth can cause unnecessary inflammation, resulting in premature aging and systemic disease because it chronically activates the immune system. Gum disease is another severe symptom that can result in impacts on both dental and whole body health.
Dentists almost universally recommend the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush because it is the most effective at removing plaque with its 31,000 brush strokes per minute.
Depending on the unit, online prices can range from $25 to $269.
Oblio Phone Sanitizer and Wireless Charger
Your phone is carrying around all kinds of funky little creatures that like to make you sick. Phones are also rarely cleaned, so it’s 24/7 bacteria party time. The Lexon Oblio is a wireless phone charger that UV sanitizes your phone while it charges. Drop in your phone to charge at night or while at your desk, and the bacteria dance party is over.
This is especially beneficial during cold and flu season when your smartphone can be carrying some nasty stuff.
The Oblio is $29.99 online and well worth it.
Vitastiq 2 Vitamin Tracker
It used to be the only way to check for vitamin deficiency was a blood draw from your doctor. The Vitastiq 2 ends that need as this tiny, pen-like gadget detects vitamin levels through your skin. Painlessly detecting electrical resistance inside some of the body’s acupuncture points detects vitamin levels and trends. If you’re deficient in any vitamins, it’ll let you know.
Online it is $150
Muse 2 Headband
The Muse 2 tracks your brain activity and is an immersive meditation device worn during guided meditations to provide feedback on your mental well-being. During soothing mediations, your brain activity is recorded on a smartphone app to result in better relaxation and mental health, with many users reporting better focus and emotional regulation.
You can find Muse 2 online for $200.
These are just a few of the neat gadgets out there that can improve or protect your health beyond what your standard smartwatch already provides. Check them out. You might be more peaceful, be taking your vitamins, and brushing your teeth better before you know it.
The next time you’re in public, take a look around and you’ll probably notice that most of the people around you are wearing smart watches. If you don’t have one already, you may not be convinced that you need one. After all, what can a smart watch do that you can’t already do on your smartphone?
In reality, there are a handful of reasons to get a smart watch if you haven’t made the leap already.
1. Health and Fitness Features
First and foremost, because you wear a smart watch directly on your wrist, you can enjoy a number of health and fitness features that you simply cannot on a smartphone. Today’s smart watches come with sensors to monitor everything from your heart rate to your oxygen saturation and everything in between. Some smart watches can even track your sleep patterns, REM cycles, and the like.
From there, you can receive detailed reporting on these metrics, which you can use (in conjunction with your doctor) to make more informed decisions about your own health and wellness.
2. Find Your Device
How frustrating is it when you’ve misplaced your phone? With a smart watch that’s linked to your phone, this frustration can be a thing of the past. Specifically, most smart watches these days have a feature that allows you to press a button or even use a voice command to pinpoint the location of your missing phone. This is a feature that can come in handy more often than you might think.
3. Get Emergency Help
Some smart watches these days are also equipped with technology to help you in the event of an emergency. Newer Apple Watches, for example, have drop sensors that can detect hard falls and even make emergency calls automatically. Even watches without fall detection can be used to place an emergency phone call even if your smart phone is in your pocket or somewhere else nearby.
4. Stay Connected
Smart watches also make it easier to stay connected and in touch without having to physically remove your phone from your pocket. This can come in handy, especially in social situations where it may be awkward or cumbersome to pull out your phone. Many smart watches can sync with your phone’s messages, email, and even social media to keep you in-the-loop everywhere you go. Meanwhile, you can customize your notifications to suit your preferences and even place your watch on “silent” or “do not disturb” mode as needed.
5. Get Directions
Getting navigation while you’re biking or even walking around town can be difficult when you constantly have to be staring at your phone to await the next turn. With GPS and turn-by-turn directions on your smart watch, you can simply glance at your watch to get the directions you need to your destination. Some watches will even vibrate to alert you of an upcoming turn. How convenient is that?
Which Smart Watch is Right For You?
If you don’t already own a smart watch, these are just a few of the most popular reasons to buy one. Whether you prefer a trendy model like the Apple Watch or something a little more affordable and practical, there are plenty of options to suit your needs.
Whether you’re looking to replace an older model or are shopping for a TV for a new home, there’s a lot to keep in mind when choosing a big-screen TV. By following some practical steps, however, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your favorite movie, show, or sports match-up on your new big-screen television in no time!
Decide on Screen Size
So, just how big are we talking, here? When people refer to a “big-screen” TV, they’re generally talking about a TV with a screen that’s 55″ or larger. Of course, the exact size screen that’s right for you will depend on your personal preferences and the size of your room. In general, you can do this by measuring the viewing distance for your new TV and then dividing that number by 1.6.
For example, if you’ll be sitting eight feet (96 inches) from your TV, then your TV screen should be about 60 inches.
Smart TV or Not?
These days, there’s a big push for “smart” TVs that have all kinds of built-in apps and other capabilities. You will pay a premium for a smart TV, though, so you’ll want to decide whether it’s worth the price. To save some money, you might consider buying a traditional TV and then connecting a device like an Amazon Firestick or Roku to it. This will give your TV many of the same abilities of a smart TV without the price tag. Plus, you’ll be able to move the device to other televisions as needed.
Don’t Overlook Resolution
If you’re spending money on a big-screen TV, then of course picture quality matters. When shopping for a big-screen TV, then, look for something that offers 4K or Ultra HD with HDR. This is the best way to ensure the best picture quality no matter what you’re watching. Likewise, be sure that the HDMI cable(s) you use with your TV is from a trusted brand. Believe it or not, this can make quite a difference.
Choose the Right Brand
Speaking of brands, stick with reputable brands when you’re spending the money on a big-screen TV. Not only will these brands typically deliver the best quality picture and sound, but they’ll also stand behind their products with things like warranties and round-the-clock service/support. Some top TV brands to consider as you shop include Sony, Samsung, and LG.
Where You Buy Matters
Last but not least, don’t overlook the importance of buying your big-screen TV from an authorized dealer. You’ll usually find the best pricing from these sellers. Plus, their staff will have the knowledge and experience needed to answer your questions and ultimately help you make a decision. An authorized dealer may even be able to throw in extras, such as a free HDMI cable or installation/mounting of your new TV.
Enjoy Your New TV!
There’s a lot to keep in mind when buying a big-screen TV, but with these tips in mind, you’ll have your decision made in no time. From there, it’s just a matter of snagging a great deal and deciding where in your home you want your new TV mounted. Enjoy!
Rest and relaxation are just around the corner when you have these nifty gadgets right at home.
#1 – A bathtub pillow
Dreaming of a relaxing soak in the tub but dreading the cold, hard porcelain on your back?
The first self-care gadget you can’t live without is a bathtub pillow. Averaging around $30 on Amazon, bathtub pillows give you a soft, supportive neck and back rest in the bath tub. Now you can light a few candles, lean back, and relax in complete comfort.
Most tub pillows include a hanger so you can hang it over the tub to dry when you’re done.
#2 – An acupressure mat
The second self-care gadget you needed yesterday is an acupuncture mat.
Simply unroll your mat and lie on it for improved circulation, rejuvenation of your skin, and relieve stress and tension. Use your acupressure mat to fight headaches, migraines, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and stress.
When you’re done, roll it back up and store in a drawer or closet. It’s that easy!
As an added bonus, most mats are under $100 and include a small acupressure pillow, too!
#3 – An aromatherapy diffuser
Most aromatherapy diffusers are under $50 and transform your home, bedroom, or bathroom into a resort-like oasis. Simply add water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil for focus, stress relief, stimulation, and health benefits. You can also use your diffuser to promote relaxation during a yoga session or sleep at the end of the day.
You can choose from a variety of colors, designs, and aesthetics. Find the diffuser that compliments your space and creates the ambience you’re looking for in your room.
#4 – A self-care planner
Using a self-care planner can help you give your wellness the same attention you give your bills and meetings. You can expect a great self-care planner to remind you to:
- hydrate your body by drinking enough water
- move your body throughout the day
- pay attention to how you feel, what caused it, and what helps
- be more mindful
- complete small tasks that improve your life, space, or wellness
- choose foods that nourish your body, and more.
#5 – A derma roller
Derma rollers include hundreds of microneedles that puncture the outermost layers of skin. These tiny, almost painless punctures have a dramatic effect behind the scenes. Your body goes into healing mode,increasing the production of collagen-rich tissue. This new tissue gives you brighter, healthier skin.
A derma roller is one way to get spa-level care right at home for less than $20. For catapulted results, add a well-reviewed serum to your derma rolling routine.
Alright, that’s it! These five affordable gadgets can give you a day at the spa without ever leaving your home, so you can tackle life rested and recharged.