I’m Martin Heller, one of the founders of PC Pitstop, and one of the site programmers. I’m thrilled that you’ve chosen to visit us, and hope that you will find the site useful.
Before PC Pitstop, I was the Programming Windows and Web Dev columnist at Windows Magazine. I’m still a Senior Contributing Editor and columnist at Byte.com.
I’ve programmed for Windows on and off since the Windows 1.0 alpha test period in the early 1980s. In those days, the best Windows development machine available was an IBM PC/XT with a 5 MHz 8088 processor, 640 KB of memory, a video card that could only go to 640×480 mode in black and white, a 10 MB hard disk, and the original Microsoft mouse with a steel ball. We’ve come a long way since then, both in terms of hardware and software.
In the late 1980s I wrote several commercial DOS and Windows applications, mostly for the scientific and engineering communities. I also did a brief stint as a software publisher in the days when putting a floppy and a sheet of paper in a plastic bag was acceptable packaging, although “real” programs came in miniature 3-ring binders with slipcases.
In 1991 I was the Beyond DOS columnist in Byte Magazine. In 1992 I wrote the book Advanced Windows Programming, which was praised by no less than Hugh Kenner for its “deft exposition” and by Jeff Duntemann as the book to read “once you’ve wrestled the SDK documentation to the mat…before you begin putting your first real application together.” In 1993 I wrote a sequel, Advanced Win32 Programming, to cover the then-new topics of Windows NT, 32-bit programming, and C++ Windows programming.
I wrote the monthly Programming Windows column in Windows Magazine from 1992 until mid-1997, and the Web Dev column in the balance of 1997 and 1998. As a demonstration project for one of my early columns, I wrote a benchmarking application called NTHell. Later on, this evolved into Wintune, then Wintune 2, Wintune 97, and then, as a Web application, WinTune 98. I’ve taken a lot of the know-how I acquired developing WinTune and put it into the PC Pitstop ActiveX control and website. I’m still learning more, and you’re getting the benefits every time you come to the site.
What benefits? Right now, we can tell you if your PC is running as fast as it should be, or whether it has a problem that is slowing it down. We can tell you if your computer is vulnerable to any of a dozen security risks, and we can fix most of those automatically with your permission. We can tell you if your computer needs more memory for what you’re doing, and whether it has slots free for you to add more. We can tell you if your disk is getting cluttered, and clear out “junk” files automatically with your permission. We can remind you when it’s time to run the various maintenance utilities that you already have on your computer.
The list goes on, and gets longer almost daily. Please check back at least every few weeks: we’re constantly adding new tips to help you to make your PC run faster and crash less.
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