Make Symbaloo Your Internet Starting Point

November 30, 2009

I don’t know what it is, but I have an obsession for program launchers and web launchers. I guess it comes from my past experience as an IT Manager where I found out early on that customizing an end users PC with shortcut toolbar menus to their apps, saved them and me a whole lot of headaches. Even today, I find myself testing various launchers to see if I can make my PC and internet experience all that more efficient and easier. This is where Symbaloo comes in…

image Symbaloo is an online cloud app that is designed to make your web experience more accessible. From my experience I have found that the everyday home computer user is a big creature of habit and will usually visit the same web sites over and over using their browser bookmarks or favorites. Occasionally, this creature of habit will stray from the comfort zone and visit other places. If you are one of those creatures of habit, then Symbaloo will make your life a whole lot easier.  Symbaloo allows you to customize your very own start page (or home page) that tiles your favorites, rss feeds, etc… in the form of icons, on one page. You can even upload and use your own icons if you desire. If you are familiar with “speed dial” in the Opera and in the Firefox browser (as an extension), then you will relate to Symbaloo. Only difference is that Symbaloo is much more attractive (and configurable) AND can be accessed from any PC where there is internet access.

For example, below is a small screenshot of my Symbaloo desktop page (that is still under construction).  When I launch my browser (Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer), this page is the first page I see. From my Symbaloo desktop page I can easily check all of my email accounts, my blog, perform searches, etc…

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Another cool factor to Symbaloo is that you can make additional sub pages, that are conveniently tabbed across the top of Symbaloo. For example, I am currently working on a second page that will contain RSS feeds to everyone that is on the What’s On My PC blogroll.

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There is a little bit of a learning curve to using Symbaloo, but once you get it down you will not regret it.  One area where I experienced brain lock was on how to edit, delete, or move/copy the tiles.  What you do is drag the tile to the middle of the tiled area (in the white) and it will automatically provide you with options to perform those tasks.

If you are a Firefox user, there is a Symbaloo Bookmarker browser extension that will allow you to rapidly (and automatically) bookmark sites to your Symbaloo desktop.

The only way to give this a try is to visit Symbaloo and play around with it.  Symbaloo is currently in beta; but, don’t let that stop you.  It has worked flawlessly for me. If you like it, sign up for a FREE account and start customizing your very own personalized internet launching point.

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The Futuristic Design of the Notebook Computer

November 29, 2009

Recently a friend and lifelong schoolmate of mine pointed me to this video which very well could be the futuristic design of notebook PC’s; called a Rolltop. The Rolltop in the video, by virtue of the flexible OLED-Display, features a multi-touch screen display. As a result, the keyboard to the Rolltop is integrated into the display. In essence this flexible display technology allows the user to use the Rolltop as a typical 13 inch notebook or can be rolled out to be used as a 17 inch tablet PC.  The 17 inch display can also be used as a primary monitor. The Rolltop is powered from a power supply through the holding belt. On sale now (just kidding)!

I encourage you to watch the YouTube video
of the Rolltop, by clicking on the graphic below.

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A Super Fast and Portable PDF Viewer

November 27, 2009

If you like fast; then you will like Sumatra PDF Viewer (or Reader).  This viewer blows them all of the water when opening and viewing PDF files. Sumatra is open source (FREE), is simplistic in nature (not a lot of bells & whistles), small in file size (<1.2 MB), does not write to the Windows registry, and is available in a full install version (for on your PC) or as a portable version (for on your flash drive).

If you go the full install (setup) route on your PC, you can make Sumatra your default PDF viewer (or reader), in place of Adobe PDF. I actually uninstalled Foxit PDF Reader on my PC, another great PDF viewer, to give Sumatra the lead duty of opening PDF files on my PC.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#38)

November 25, 2009

Another great roundup of articles from the What’s On My PC blogroll community.  If you are a person that is looking to get an edge on the latest in information technology and computers, I highly recommend that you visit these sites on a daily basis.

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Tech-for Everyone
Media Center Recordings Filled Disk

Scoroncocolo Tech Pages
How to Use Google Wave

Snakebytez
FreeCommander : An Advanced File Manager

Carputers News and Computer Tips
Internet Explorer 8 and Compatibility View

TTC Shelbyville
How To: Setting Up Active Directory Group Policies –
Network Computing

The Abbey Rose
Universe Firefox

I Love Free Software
Eraser: Permanently Delete Files from Hard Disk

Technize
Download Yahoo Messenger 10 Final

Worthy Tips
Handy Backup –
A Cost Effective Life Insurance For Your System

Mrintech
Best Collection of Aero Wallpapers for your Desktop!

Freeware Elite
Check whether a blog is down with “IS MY BLOG WORKING?”

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites November 24

AskBillFirst
Online Holiday Shopping Tips

Rarst.net
Run web app in dedicated window of Firefox or Chrome

Lifehacker
Hands-On Look at What’s New in Office 2010 [Screenshot Tour]

Crazy World of G
Gov K. Says No LNG Investigation

Computer Too Slow
How to control a desktop remotely

thePC Security
12 Tips to Avoid Phising –
Protection From Phishing Emails and Sites

AKS-Feel The Change
Resize Images Automatically with Dropresize

Carol’s Vault
Online storage services still around

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove Enterprise Suite

Plato On-Line
Fake Facebook Uncovered

Evilfantasy’s Blog
GoogleGoogleGoogleGoolge

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
5 Free Microsoft Programs – Really!

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Live Photo Gallery v Google Picasa.round 4.

Canadian Tech News Blog
CNET: Top 5 Tech Turkeys

TuneUp Blog
PDC09 – L.A. Day 1 Coverage

Freeware Pharmacy
Essential Apps For…

What’s On My PC…
Microsoft Office Templates

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GUEST POST: Starting a Blog the Right Way

November 23, 2009

Guest Post by Poch Peralta

I encourage you to visit Poch Peralta’s blog, Plato On-Line, to get the scoop on just about anything…  Poch is a regular visitor here at What’s On My PC and recently featured one of my articles on Plato On-Line.  As a courtesy, today I am posting one of Poch’s articles about “Starting a Blog the Right Way”, which was recently featured on the site Million Clues.

Starting a Blog the Right Way

During my first 6 months of blogging, I made a lot of mistakes which is just normal in my humble opinion. Just learning from them made me grateful. And I was lucky I didn’t make the really big ones! (user name, theme). So here is what I learned and my suggestions.

The Right Kick-off

1. Finding the best blog platform or host

Before I found my current host, I left three from which I didn’t get a single comment! So do a research first. Decide if you want a ‘monetized’ or an advertisement-free blog. Some hosts allow monetizing, some don’t. So if you choose to self-host your blog, then it’s better to monetize it to cover your expenses.

2. Choosing your user name (or domain name) carefully.

Some blog platforms do not allow their users to change that so you might be stuck with what you choose. And changing a username is like changing a BRAND name –you’ll probably lose some of your followers who don’t want the change. I suggest you choose one as if it’s a website name because you wouldn’t know if your weblog might someday be a big website. A name which can be ‘verbalized’ is best. See how websurfers turned the proper noun Google into a verb? (It’s just bad that my own would sound bad if verbalized – pochpeed).

3. Choosing your blog Theme

There are specific themes designed for your niche or speciality.

4. Choose your niche carefully

This was my first mistake. At first, I started writing just about everything that floats my boat. Then I learned that you could monetize your blog at least to cover your writing expenses, time and effort. Some professional bloggers even teach that you shouldn’t spend on your blog or site until you’re earning from it. So decide if you want a monetized blog or not –then decide what your blog will be specifically about. Will it be about Technology, Science, Business, etc?

5. Continue search for better blog platforms

Most probably, your first blog host will not be the best.

6. Practice Ethics of blogging/networking

This is the continuing and maybe, the hard part. How do we make sure we’re blogging politically correct?

a. Your content

We have freedom of speech so it’s really up to you what you write even if it’s offensive; which of course I practice but don’t endorse. But if you will write a rant or offensive piece, target specifically so the innocents wouldn’t think they are part of it. You wouldn’t want your followers to think they are part of your target. If you’re after popularity or sales, then you wouldn’t want to offend everyone so be careful what you write.

One way to make sure your piece isn’t offending: have a kind-hearted person or editor read your article then ask if it’s reader-friendly.

b. Your comments

Now this is where most bloggers offend each other the most. I myself have offended through comments without intending to although one or two I admit were careless though innocent; and that is why I’m reluctant to write about this – it would smell hypocrisy. We just really can’t be sure how our words will be interpreted. And that is the reason why we should be extremely careful. Tips:

  1. Never make or reply to an offensive comment when you’re still angry. Most of the time, we will find that it’s not really worth our anger as time passes. What I do is ignore offensive comments if I want someone to stop sending it. You bet it works. We will even sometimes find we can learn something from the offensive comment. The offensive commenter might even become your fan if you befriend the person!
  2. If you think you have made an offensive comment, follow-up at once and apologize before you get a reply. The more time passes, the more damage the comment will do because it spreads.

c. Spamming

This not only apply only to commenting but also to e-mail marketing.  The rule is DON’T SPAM. What do you think your reader will do when the reader learns you spammed him/her? Of course the reader will spread the news which would brand you as a user of your fellowman. I suggest you use a blog host or platform that uses Akismet.

Now there are human spam comments that you really need to spam. Human spam comments are innocent and not dangerous right?

Wrong!

It can be an attempt to steal hits, comments, or hijack your weblog altogether which I have experienced. If comments are not related to the post, it is spam especially if it asks you to click a link. So check the link first before clicking.

A good way to block spam comments manually is this:

Go to your WordPress Dashboard and follow Settings –> Discussion. In the comment blacklist, enter words like porno, gambling, and whatever words, IP’s, and e-mail addresses you think should be banned. Be extra careful who you spam or blacklist!

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Is Owning a Computer Shortening Your Lifespan?

November 21, 2009

I was recently thinking about the entire ownership process of the computer; from the time of shopping around for a PC to the time of disposing of the PC, and arrived at the conclusion that owning a computer can actually be a stressful experience that ultimately may be affecting our health and may be shortening our lifespan.

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Of course I am no doctor and have no data to backup my colorful comments in this article, but I can attest from personal experience of maintaining PC’s and assisting others, that the “computer equals stress” AND that “stress equals health problems”.  I do not want to sound too negative about computer ownership to the point that it discourages you from owning a PC; but, let’s have a little fun and take a look at this process (through a scenario) and list some potential stressors that could be associated with owning a PC, then I will let you be the judge.

I encourage comments and any other stressful experiences that you may have experienced and/or should be included in this list. This list of stressors are examples only and no names are reflected to the protect the innocent; BUT, this is what can happen.

Stressful Experience #1 – Shopping around for a PC

Stressfull Experience #2 – Purchasing the PC (especially if you purchased it online)

Stressful Experience #3 – Setting up the PC.

Stressful Experience #4 – Setting up the PC and realizing you need to buy other things (e.g. printer, surge protector, external drive to backup files, etc.).

Stressful Experience #5 – Contacting Tech Support and spending an hour to talk to a tech in another country.

Stressful Experience #6 – Sending the PC back to the manufacturer due to a defect; which starts the stress process all over again when you get the PC back.

Stressful Experience #7 – Finding an Internet Service Provider and getting your PC on the internet.

Stressful Experience #8 – Starting up the PC for the first time and that “deer in the headlight look” sets in and you are being prompted to install this and buy that, etc…

Stressful Experience #9 – Your taskbar that was at the bottom of screen has now somehow moved to the top of the screen.

Stressful Experience #10 – Contacting Tech Support because of Stress Experience #9 to only hear the other tech’s laughing in the background.

Stressful Experience #11 – Your computer is finally setup and your family is now using the computer.

Stressful Experience #12 – Everyone in the family is using online services such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, ITunes, Babe Pics of the Day, file sharing, instant messaging, different browsers, and on and on…

Stressful Experience #13 – Computer is running slower.  Spyware and virus warnings are popping up informing you your PC is infected.  You pay with your credit card to fix the problem and the problem worsens.

Stressful Experience #14 – You contact tech support because your PC is still running slow only to learn your PC is out of its’ warranty period and you now have to pay for tech support.

Stressful Experience #15 – Tech Support informs you that the PC is beyond cleaning; that you were a victim of an online scam; that your credit card has been compromised and the only way to fix the PC is to do a recovery.

Stressful Experience  #16 – You forgot to make the recovery disks.  You buy the recovery disks through tech support.

Stressful Experience #17 – As a result of Stressful Experiences #13, #14, #15 and #16 you are now back at Stressful Experience #3.

Stressful Experience #18 – As a result of stressful experiences #1 – #17, you learn the value of maintaining your PC and securing your PC; however, you just can’t let your subscription to “Babe Pics of  the Day” go…    “What Momma doesn’t know won’t hurt her!”

Stressful Experience #19 – You have survived numerous experiences over the lifetime of your PC and it is time to get rid of it and you decide to donate it to your Church to use with their projection system.  You are happy that you survived these experiences, handed off the PC to a good cause, and now you are ready to kick back, because you now know everything about a PC.

Stressful Experience #20 – You did not remove the personal data from the PC (that you donated to the Church).  Remember “Babe Pics of the Day”; well, let me tell you…

Stressful Experience #21 – Judgment Day

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Windows 7 Functions and Settings In A Box

November 20, 2009

Have you ever been frustrated with navigating the operating system in an effort to find a specific function or setting?  You know it is there, but just can’t seem to remember where exactly you saw it and how you got there.  With the recent public release of Windows 7 I am sure many of you are finding yourselves in that type of situation.

Today I ran across a program, called Windows 7 In A Box,  that will help you navigate and actually learn many of the most common settings (and functions) that are native to the Windows 7 operating system.

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The really cool factor to Windows 7 In A Box is that it is a portable app and can be carried with you (in your tech toolbox) on your flash drive.  I can see myself using this app to quickly assist other Windows 7 client users without having to go through the navigation process of locating specific settings and functions.  Windows 7 In A Box is one of those apps that basically will save you a whole lot of mouse clicks to get where you want to go.

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