John’s Background Switcher (revisited)…

October 31, 2008

I recently featured “John’s Background Switcher” on the blog on September 6, 2008 [ Click Here ].  Since that post, the author John Conners, has made additional changes and improvements to the software that makes it sound choice to post it a second time.  This is one piece of software that I encourage you to follow.  The author, John Conners, is dedicated in making this right.

“John’s Background Switcher” is “FREEware” software that will automatically and periodically change the background (wallpaper) image on your computer (like every hour or every day) to images that you preselect. There are numerous wallpaper changers out there, but this one is different in that there are numerous configuration options packaged in the software for you to choose to get the results that you want. If you are like me, and have numerous digital pictures on your computer, this is a great piece of software to show off and make use of those pictures…  

Pictures can be acquired from any of the below sources:

  • Individual pictures on your computer.
  • Folders containing pictures on your computer such as ‘My Pictures’.
  • Flickr photo sharing – selecting pictures by person, tags, sets or just plain random. You never know what you’re going to get next!
  • Phanfare web albums – keep up to date with your friends and family.
  • smugmug photo galleries – yours, your friends, anybody’s!
  • Picasa Web Albums – choose from specific albums or any search text.
  • Facebook – your friends photos on your desktop!
  • Yahoo! image search – the internet is your oyster!
  • Any Media RSS feed – choose pictures from sites like DeviantArt, Photobucket, LOLCats and Zooomr amongst many others!

The screen shot below is an idea of what types of layouts you can select to display your pics (from a single background, to thumbnail mosaics, to scrapbook montages).  I currently have my background switcher configured to show a montage of approximately 20 pictures (on a 19″ widescreen), every 10 minutes. 

After you install the program, an icon for the “John’s Background Switcher” will appear in the tray at the bottom of your screen.  To get to the programs setting, “right” mouse click on the icon and select “Settings”.  You can also, double click the icon in the tray to manually change the background once you have everything setup.  My wife enjoys that feature and spends alot of time looking at batches of pictures we have taken.  

For your convenience I have reflected below a screenshot of what the program looks like once you bring up the initial settings; plus you will see an arrow pointing to the “More Settings” button.

After you click on the “More Settings” button, you will be taken to the “More Settings” dialogue box that provides various selections to customize the program to meet your needs. 

 

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Should I shut “OFF” my PC or leave it “ON”?

October 29, 2008

There has been a lot of debate over the years whether you should power down your computer daily or just leave it “on” all of the time. I’ve always been a firm believer of powering the computer”off” when finished using it at the end of the day. When I was managing a computer network, the standard I had in place required all users to power down their PC’s prior to going home. If I found a PC “on”, then I remotely powered it “off”. I still use this same practice at home. During the day, I turn the computer “on”, and all peripheral components (i.e. drives, router, etc…), via a power strip (surge protector); then, I power the computer “off” at the end of the day (prior to going to bed) or if I leave the house for an extended period of time. My theories and reasonings for this practice are as follows:

 

  1. A computer that is left “on” all the time, is a potential security risk and is an open invitation internally (by other people) and externally (by hackers and such). (Especially when your network is connected to the outside world AND due to the fact the majority of people, and businesses, do not keep their security software up to date.)
  2. Extends the life of the computer. (A common debate is that turning the PC “on” and “off” promotes a negative impact on the “service life” of the computer. I personally can attest that most computers, with today’s advanced technology, will reach the end of their “useful life” prior to their actual “service life”, even if you turn them “on” and “off” multiple times.);
  3. Could be a potential fire hazard. (I’ve seen computers and monitors go up in smoke.);
  4. Can save electricity. (See U.S. Department of Energy – “When To Turn Off Personal Computers“);
  5. Refreshes the memory and the memory resident programs and services in the computer when you completely do a “cold restart” of the computer. (Many people let their PC’s go into a “sleep/standy mode” or “hibernate” mode. I still prefer what is called a “cold” restart.);
  6. Will keep the internal components of the computer cleaner. (When a computer is “on”, the fans are pushing and pulling air to keep components cool; however, this air flow is a dust magnet.); AND FINALLY,
  7. Your icons on the computer screen, over the life of the computer, will start to war with each other. (Watch what actually can happen – click on the graphic, “Icon’s Story” for a demo. The demo is in Adobe Flash.)

 

DEMO – Watch What Happens to Your Icons At Night If You Leave Your Computer “ON”
(click on the logo, then wait for it to load)

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BLOG UPDATE (new additions)…

October 28, 2008

Welcome to the “What’s On My PC…” blog. The following has been added to the blog:  

  1. A “Welcome” introduction to the right side of the blog that gives a brief summary of what the blog is about.
  2. A “Category” listing to the right side of the blog which categorizes articles posted up to this date.  As the blog continues to grow, the “Category” listing will enhance your ability to navigate the site.  

Thank you!

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Microsoft Office Templates…

October 26, 2008

The Microsoft Office suite has established itself as the benchmark standard for office (software) suites that is used in businesses, government entities, educational institutions and homes around the world.  If you are someone who uses Microsoft Office, then you have to know about the wide array of “Free” templates that is available for download from Microsoft.  If not, you do not know what you are missing. I have been following the template’s list, for years, and it continues to grow and improve.  I have personally used some of these templates and have found that they can save you a considerable amount of time, depending on what you are looking for. All of templates can be edited, meaning once you download a template, you can change whatever you desire, to meet your project needs. Reflected below is a sampling of the template categories that are currently available at Microsoft Online. Click on any of the categories below and you will be delivered to that category at the Microsoft Online website.

Main Categories

Agendas Award certificates Brochures

Budgets Business cards Calendars

Content slides Contracts Databases

Design slides Diagrams Envelopes

Expense reports Faxes Flyers

Forms Gift certificates Greeting cards

Inventories Invitations Invoices

Labels Letters Lists

Memos Minutes Newsletters

Plans Planners Postcards

Presentations Purchase orders Receipts

Reports Resumes and CVs Schedules

Statements Stationery Time sheets

More categories

Address books Advertisements Analysis worksheets

Announcements Applications Balance sheets

Ballots Banners Bills of sale

Binder inserts Bookmarks Books

Bylaws, policies, and rules Calculators

Case inserts Catalogs Charts

Coupons Dividers E-mails

Estimates Evaluations Flash cards

Forecasts Games Identification cards

Instructions Itineraries Job descriptions

Journals Ledgers Logs

Maps Math and science tables Menus

Name and place cards Note cards

Notes Office document themes

OneNote notebooks OneNote pages

OneNote sections Outlines

Paper folding projects Papers

Petitions Photo albums Posters

Press releases Programs Proposals

Quizzes and tests Quotes

Recipes Records Reply cards

Scorecards Sign-in and sign-up sheets

Signs SmartArt Graphics Stickers

Surveys Tags Tickets

Tournament brackets Trackers

Web pages Wills With compliments cards

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Burn Baby Burn…

October 26, 2008

If you are looking to replace the CD/DVD burning software that shipped with your PC or you are looking for something with less bloat, than the commercial paid versions, then give CDBurnerXP a try. I recently found myself in a mode where I was testing a variety of the free burners out there and I finally decided on CDBurnerXP. It is a good program for people just learning to burn CDs/DVDs; AND is also great for those who are seasoned users. The program just plain gets the job done and does it very well. The program is under constant development and improvement AND is totally FREE, even for commercial use. CDBurnerXP will burn CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD’s and includes a feature to create and burn ISO files. CDBurnerXP has met my needs and is now “What’s On My PC”.  There is also a portable version available, that can be run from your flash drive.  You can get the portable version from [ HERE ].

Key Features (as indicated on the CDBurnerXP site):

  • burn all kinds of discs
  • audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
  • burn and create ISO files
  • data verification after burning process
  • create bootable discs
  • multi-language interface
  • bin/nrg ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!
  • Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista
  • Startup Screen

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    What’s On My PC… BLOG UPDATES!

    October 25, 2008

    The following sites or blogs have been added to the “What’s On My PC… LAUNCH PAD” (located on the right side of the blog posts).

    Shell Extension City

    DonationCoder.com

    Raymond.cc

    Smashing Magazine

    The Launch Pad can be used to visit the numerous quality web sites and blogs that are listed. It is conveniently setup so that if you click on a link it will open in a new separate window. That way you can click on a link, a separate window will open, which will allow you to conveniently return to the “Launch Pad” when you are finished visiting the site. The Sites and Blogs reflected in the listing are all maintained and updated on a regular basis. If you are someone who is into open source software, freeware applications and technology information, I encourage you to use the “Launch Pad”.

    I am slowly adding to the “Portable Apps” tab located at the top of the blog. The applications I have listed are applications that I personally use on my portable USB flash drives. Also, under the “Freebies” tab, I added a couple more goodies.  You will also notice at the top of each page there is a search box that will allow you to search the blog for specific information that has been posted.  This is a nice “add-on” provided by WordPress to enhance the efficiency of the blog.  A big “THANK YOU” to WordPress for this enhancement (widget).

    Thank you for visiting and I hope you continue to come back.

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    Clickjacking – Something to be concerned about…

    October 25, 2008

    (From TechRepublic – 10/19/2008) – “Clickjacking – Potentially harmful web browser exploitClickjacking has the potential to redirect unknowing users to malicious Web sites or even spy on them. We all need to be aware of clickjacking and how to avoid its trappings.”

    I am encouraging my “techie friends” to read the TechRepublic blog post about clickjacking and learn more by “Googling Clickjacking“. There is a whole lot of buzz and concern about this potential problem which ultimately could call for a complete redesign in all browsers. Currently if this exploit takes off, there is no effective solution known at this time. Basically in a nutshell, what you think you may be clicking on in a web page, may in fact end up being malicious code that is transparent to the naked eye, that carries out a malicious operation without your knowledge (i.e. stealing an account number, turning “on” your web camera or microphone).

    What is clickjacking? (From Wikipedia) – Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking web users into revealing confidential information or taking control of their computer while clicking on seemingly innocuous web pages. A vulnerability across a variety of browsers and platforms, a clickjacking takes the form of embedded code or script that can execute without the user’s knowledge, such as clicking on a button that appears to perform another function.

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