ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Computer hang ups (K2 #3)

Question of the Week
My computer hangs up very frequently. It is an Intex machine with a quad core processor and 2GB of RAM. I've tried reformatting the hard-drive but it didn't help. What can be the reason?
-- Rikzen Wangduel, Thimphu

I hate when that happens - it's almost as horrific as Window's infamous "blue screen of death"! Anyway, let's see what we can do. Possible causes can be divided into two broad categories: software and hardware. Let's start with software. Viruses and other malware (malicious software) - the usual suspects - can definitely hang a computer, but by reformatting the hard disk and installing a fresh operating system, you've eliminated these culprits.
Website of the week Sponsored by the UN's World Food Programme, presents you with multiple-choice questions. For each correctly answered question, ten grains of rice will be donated to feed the poor. Answer 600 questions correctly - 6000 grains - and you filled a whole cup of rice! Subjects include English, Math and Art, among others. Now that the children's exams are over and winter is kicking in, the site is a great alternative to video games and Facebook. Better yet, send your kids to play outside.
Another common issue is device drivers. A device driver is a special computer program that enables applications to use a hardware device, such as a webcam, a graphics card or audio card.
Faulty or mismatched device drivers can easily knock down your computer. Usually drivers arrive on a CD, or they can be downloaded from the device or computer manufacturer's website. Make sure you have the correct drivers, and preferably the latest ones. Also, it's a good idea to make sure the operating system is up to date by running Windows Update.

Now let's turn to hardware issues, which can be more difficult to diagnose. First, a component within the computer case (often the processor) might be getting too hot. This often happens due to a broken cooling fan or to dust in the computer case's vents. Second, a component (such as the RAM or a network card) might be faulty. Last, but not least, some parts of the computer that are supposed to "talk" to each other might be mismatched. This rarely happens with branded computers (Lenovo, Dell, HP), since the large manufacturers make sure that the various parts work well together. But if your computer was assembled by a local computer-wallah using individual parts, this may well be the cause. For most of these hardware problems, and some of the more intricate software issues, the help of a professional PC technician is indispensable.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to