Control Your Computer’s Sound Volume and Balance From the System Tray

January 31, 2013

Many of us depend on controlling the sound volume on our computers by adjusting the knob on the speakers themselves or through a dedicated controller on the keyboard.

Today, I want to share with you a small utility, called SimpleSndVol, that installs an icon in the system tray where you can, with minimal effort, manage the sound volume and balance to your speakers. Simply click on the icon and the following interface pops up with sliders that you can move around to make volume and balance adjustments.

SimpleSndVol

What I especially like about SimpleSndVol, is that you can hover the mouse pointer over the icon and use the mousewheel to raise or lower the volume; plus, by performing a middle click will cause the sound to mute.

If you right mouse click on the SimpleSndVol tray icon, you will presented with a menu where you can open various system sound controller utilities on your computer (such as the volume mixer, sound applet and volume control options), the SimpleSndVol settings, and an IconSet that give you the ability to change the tray icon. My favorite icon is the one labelled “Triangl [Update]”. There are also some optional hotkey functions built-in if you prefer controlling the sound volume through the keyboard.

  SimpleSndVol

All-in-All, SimpleSndVol is one of my favorite sound utilities that is a work in progress that works nicely on Windows XP/7 and 8.

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Tech Product of the Week: U32 ShadowTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

January 30, 2013

How would you like a 1TB (terabyte) external drive that is economically priced; carries a 3 year warranty; is the thinnest on the market; can be easily carried in your pocket; can dissipate heat by design; is USB bus powered (no power adapter required);, and, when connected to a USB 3.0 port is 5 times faster than USB 2.0?

Is so, then you need to check out the U32 ShadownTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive. These little drives are made by a company, based in St. Paul Minnesota, called Oyen Digital.

A drive such as this is a perfect backup strategy device to backup your personal files and then store the drive off-site.

Get the specs from the manufacturer - [ HERE ]

U32 ShadowTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

Oyen Digital is an innovative developer and manufacturer in the portable storage industry, specializing in professional A/V and RAID storage.

Customer Reviews: See what other people are saying about the U32 ShadownTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive[CLICK HERE]

Readers: To keep the blog interesting, I plan to feature a tech product of the week that will feature a direct link to the manufacturer for specifications and a link to Amazon to see the customer reviews (and how the product is being rated).

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A Must Have Cleaner App For Android Users

January 29, 2013

404 Tech Support, a member of the What’s On My PC blogroll, posted an article CCleaner-like app for Android that caught my attention; BUT, the real attention grabber in the article was one of the apps he recommended, called Clean Master.

I downloaded Clean Master and installed it on my Android smartphone (Sony Xperia X10) and installed it on my Android Tablet (Toshiba Thrive). Clean Master is an approximately 1.8 mb install that is worth its’ weight in gold.

Clean Master

After using Android for quite some time now and after installing (and uninstalling) numerous apps, I often wondered just how much data pollution was occurring on these devices. The term data pollution is a term I made up to describe leftover files and hidden files that you, the user, is totally unaware of.  These files on an Android device can include history files, cache files, residual files and the app packages (.apk files) that Android uses to install apps.

What I soon discovered, after installing and running Clean Master, is that the accumulation of these files can easily run into hundreds of megabytes. On my phone, which is an older powerhouse Android phone (Sony Xperia X10), space is precious to me.  After running Clean Master, I regained 35 MB’s of space. On my tablet (Toshiba Thrive), which I call my Android workhorse, I was able to reclaim nearly a gigabyte of space. I found Clean Master to be safe and did not alter or effect the operation of either of these devices.

404 Tech Support was correct in comparing Clean Master to CCleaner, the popular computer optimization and cleaning tool. This is a must have cleaner app for Android Users…

Key Features

History Eraser
Clean cache Files
Clean unused files
Manage and clean app packages
Remind unused files when app installed
Kill running tasks/release RAM

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Wallpaper of the Week (#106) – When You Are In Love

January 26, 2013

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I figured I better post a wallpaper to put on your computer before the day arrives.  This wallpaper, titled “When You Are In Love” is by the famous Vladstudio

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

When You Are In Love

Windows 7 (and 8) Users: If you are using Windows 7 (or 8), did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [CLICK HERE].

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A Home For ALL Of Your Favorite Websites, Links, Recipes, Images, Podcasts, Videos And MORE!

January 25, 2013

Ever hear of QuickLinkr? I never heard of QuickLinkr, until NOW…

QuickLinkr is a cloud based bookmarking service that gives you the ability to keep all of your bookmarks in one place, that is available from any device, any where, any time! QuickLinkr is currently in beta!

QuickLinkr

What separates QuickLinkr from many of the other bookmarking services is that once you add an URL (web site), QuickLinkr will capture and create a mini version of the bookmarked page (larger than a thumbnail) which creates a tiled type interface that is quite visually appealing.

I suggest you create an account with QuickLinkr so that you can customize your own Quickboard where you can create folders, make folders private or public, use a background image, view your bookmarked sites directly from QuickLinkr, etc… There are no ads, no social logins and no forced registration with QuickLinkr. A browser bookmarklet is also available that allows you to capture the URL of a site and send it directly to your QuickLinkr Quickboard.

To see a demo QuickLinkr in action, [CLICK HERE] .

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Try Norton Power Eraser If You Think Your Antivirus May Be Missing Something

January 24, 2013

I know during all my years of operating a computer there has been those isolated occasions where I suspected something was not right with the performance of the computer, that it suddenly slowed down and that viral activity may be present.  To troubleshoot a problem such as this, I would perform a virus and malware scan of the computer to see if something was amiss.  Oftentimes, the scanners would come up clean; yet, I was still not satisfied and was left wondering, did my antivirus scanner(s) miss something?

In instances, such as I described, it is good to get a second opinion. Recently, I started exploring a FREE standalone rescue tool called Norton Power Eraser (by Symantec) that is specially designed to aggressively target scamware, rootkits and eliminate threats that traditional virus scanning doesn’t always detect.

Screenshot - Norton Power Eraser

This is very important…  Only use Power Eraser as a last resort. As described it is designed to aggressively identify any potential culprits on your computer. For example, when I performed a scan, Power Eraser identified a shortcut on my PC and a process on my PC as being BAD and prompted me to remove them. The two items Power Eraser picked up are third party software applications and are perfectly OK.  It also identified a gamut of unknown files (as potential suspect files).

Screenshot - Norton Power Eraser

This is not to mean that Power Eraser does not do its’ job. It is to the contrary, it is designed to aggressively identify any potential culprits on your PC.  In conclusion, I see Power Eraser as a really good troubleshooting tool in picking up suspect files and processes that your normal scanner may not pick up.  It is up to you (or get professional assistance) to determine if those files and processes are good or bad.  With Power Eraser (by default), a System Restore Point is created before a fix is implemented.

See the tutorial for using Norton Power Eraser [HERE] .

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Tech Product of the Week: Kindle Fire HD 7 Inch Tablet Computer

January 23, 2013

Looking for a tablet computer reminds me of the day when desktops started to flourish and everyone wanted one. It is like shopping for a car and by the end of the day you are more confused than you were at the beginning of the day.

Here is my take on Tablet Computers…  For the home based computer user, buy a reasonably priced Android OS based tablet, such as the Kindle Fire HD (7 inch). I cannot see putting out large amounts of money for a tablet; especially, when the next latest and greatest is just around the corner. We are only seeing the beginning of this type of technology.

I recently got my hands on the Kindle Fire HD and was very impressed. With the Kindle Fire you are really getting a great tablet that features a high definition display, great sound (Dolby Audio), dual-antenna Wi-Fi, a massive selection of Android Apps and much, much more for under $200…  I especially liked that the Fire has a Micro USB 2.0 port (for connection of a PC) and a Micro-HDMI port for high definition video output to a television. Many of the other 7 inch tablets lack these external connectivity options.  All-In-All, for the home based computer user, the Kindle Fire HD is a tablet to consider.

Get the specs from the manufacturer - [ HERE ]

Kindle Fire HD

Customer Reviews: See what other people are saying about the Kindle Fire HD Tablet Computer – [ CLICK HERE ]

Readers: To keep the blog interesting, I plan to feature a tech product of the week that will feature a direct link to the manufacturer for specifications and a link to Amazon to see the customer reviews (and how the product is being rated).

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