How To Find Icons Hidden Inside of Files

September 30, 2010

image Icons are like eye candy… Without icons we would have a difficult time navigating our computers. Icons provide us with the ability to relate a function with a small graphic. Once that “function to graphic” relationship is established and stored (in our brains) we can quickly carry out the function by mouse clicking on the icon without having to read any text. Whomever came up with the icon concept on computers should be applauded.

When we start up our computers, icons are visible everywhere; on the Start Menu, on the Desktop, in the System Tray, etc… Did you know there are icons on your computer that are not visible and are actually packed inside file types such as EXE, DLL, OCX, CPL (to name a few). For whatever reason, this always fascinated me and I actually know of ways to pull those icons out of these files to use for other purposes. I am not going to go into those “ways” due the explanation would be quite lengthy and boring; HOWEVER, I will tell you of a very small program that you can run that will do all of the work for you. The program is called IconsExtract.

IconsExtract

The IconsExtract utility scans the files and folders on your computer, and extract the icons and cursors stored in EXE, DLL, OCX, CPL, and in other file types. You can save the extracted icons to ICO files (or CUR files for cursors), or copy the image of a single icon into the clipboard.

To use this puppy, and I mean puppy (only 52K) in size, just download and run. No install is required and it is completely portable. IconsExtract will do all of the work for you. Just point the app to a folder and this puppy will hunt. Once it locates icons, they will be displayed in a nice order where the icons can be saved to your computer (or copied to the Windows clipboard).

IconsExtract

When performing the hunt for icons, there are other options available in IconsExtract such as: Include only icons with specific image size and Include only icons with specific color depth.

Nice little app. Useful. Fun to play with. Oh, I failed to mention, IconsExtract will find and extract cursors as well.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#79)

September 29, 2010

Geek Squeaks' We are living in the age of information technology and computers. To keep up with the pace it is important to have credible and reliable sources. Reflected below is this weeks round up of recent information technology and computer news, as posted by the members associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll. It does not get any better than this.

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites September 28

Tech-for Everyone
How To Remove Internet Explorer 9

Rarst.net
PrtScr – cute and streamlined screenshot tool

Lifehacker
Xmarks Bookmark Syncing Service Shutting Down in January 2011

Crazy World of G
Google Chrome

TuneUp Blog about Windows
25 Amazing Windows 7 Themes You will love!

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Internet Security: 7 Practices for Computer Security

Laptops Review Central
Panasonic unveils new ToughBook F5, N9 and S9 rugged notebooks

RGdot
Top 10 Must Have Windows Freeware

Carol’s Vault
Ashampoo gift: 5 full versions to download

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove MyWebSearch

Plato On-Line
Texting and Driving Killed 16K in US

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
How Secure Are Your Software Applications – Not Very, It Seems

Right On Technology
BlackBerry PlayBook 7-inch Tablet Announced, Arrives in 2011

thePC Security
Boot Recovery – Repair Boot Sector,
MBR of Hard Disk With Easeus Fixboot

Mrintech
Interesting Facts about Google: How Big it is?

Canadian Tech Blogger
TV Buying Guide – Rocketboom Tech

Bookmarks4Techs
Iomega eGo USB 2.0 500 GB Compact Portable Hard Drive

Awesome Wallpapers
Space/Fantasy Wallpaper Set 37

My Technology Guide
VLMC: VideoLAN Movie Creator

Snakebytez
Group Windows Start Menu Programs with Handy start Menu

TTC Shelbyville
How many calories does the IT brain use?

404 Tech Support
Set Windows File Type Associations With assoc Command

I Want Ice Water
When The Madness Comes

Techolar
How to Speed up History Navigation in Opera Browser

I Love Free Software
Modify “Send To” Right Click Option: Send To Toys

Netbook Freeware
Portable Universal Viewer:
Best Free Advanced File Viewer For Your Netbook

Worthy Tips
Free Download Ashampoo Home Designer with License Keys

AKSGEEK Live
Intel Updates Mobile Processors and Pricing

Online Storage Reviews
Do You Have Adequate Disk Space to Store Your Files?

Malware Removal Instructions
How to remove Antivirus8 malware (Uninstall Guide)

Chicago Mac/PC Support
The 17 Most Dangerous Places on the Web – PCWorld

What’s On My PC
How to Get Rid of the Data on that Old Computer

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Windows 7 for Seniors

September 27, 2010

You are probably looking at the title and questioning, “Did Microsoft develop another operating system called Windows 7 for Seniors?”. The answer is, NO! The title is referring to the Dummies Series of books that have been in production since 1991, when the first one published was “Dos for Dummies”. As a matter of fact I was a fan of that book and actually purchased several after that. Believe it or not, it was those few books that helped drive my interest in computers.

Today there are more than 150 million of these books in print that show you how to do everything (i.e. cook, garden, manage, finances, run a business, plan a trip, exercise, eat right, etc.). If you don’t believe me, [click here] .

For the sake of this article and to help out my senior friends there is a “Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies” book that I recommend to help you navigate and learn the Windows 7 operating system.

Windows 7 for Seniors

Many people I am associated with have the illusion that our children and grandchildren are the teachers of computers since it is part of their generation. Being someone that has used, taught and managed PC’s, this is far from the truth. If you want to learn the basics and have an edge over your children or grandchildren, the “Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies” is a good place to start.

Learn to:

  • Use the Windows 7 desktop and create your first documents
  • Connect to the Internet and browse the Web
  • View, edit, and print photos
  • Keep in touch by e-mail and play games online
  • Tour the desktop — learn to use menus, the Start menu button, files, and folders
  • Do it — create notes and letters, connect a printer, download photos from your digital camera, and put music on a CD
  • Have some fun — discover Solitaire and other built-in games, listen to music, and watch a movie
  • Use the accessories — display Gadgets on your desktop, draw with Paint, and use the Calculator
  • To keep or not — install additional programs you want and remove those you don’t need
  • Protect your Windows — learn to use the Action Center, download and install virus protection software, and keep it up to date
  • Have it your way — make your screen easier to see, open files with a single click, and even have your computer read to you
  • The wide, wide Web — shop and explore online and learn to stay safe
  • What’s on the taskbar
  • Directions for creating and saving documents
  • Steps for installing a printer and other peripherals
  • How to connect to the Internet anywhere
  • Backgammon and other games you can play online
  • Guidance on protecting your computer from viruses
  • How to send e-mail attachments
  • Advice on backing up documents and photos

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An Incredibly Fast Online Dictionary

September 27, 2010

Recently I posted an article about Google’s dictionary (titled: Did you know Google has a dictionary?) that was quite popular. To add to your dictionary collection, I encourage you take a look at another online dictionary, called Definir.

image

Definr.com is a fast, free dictionary based on Princeton’s open WordNet 2.0.

The website framework is Ruby on Rails. Looking up words in a dictionary is easy, so we do that with MySQL and cache the top 10,000 definitions in memory.

Doing word completion (a.k.a. auto-complete, auto-suggest, globbing) is not easy, at least not when you have to search through 200,000 words for every keystroke. So our word completion is done in a C module for Ruby, and the word completion server is separate from the rest of the site.

With the DefinrBot algorithm, we can do 190,000 word completions per second without caching, and that translates to about 10,000 completions per second once the Ruby layer is factored in.

Definir is available as a Firefox extension or you can drag Definir to your Firefox toolbar, where you can look up words on the fly. I tested the toolbar bookmarklet in Google Chrome, and it worked there, as well.

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Easily Convert Your Photos into Beautiful Paintings, Sketches or Drawings

September 26, 2010

With the power of your computer you can take a personal photo and convert into a beautiful painting, sketch or drawing using FREE software called FotoSketcher.

FotoSketcher

FotoSketcher can either be installed on your computer or used as a portable app on your flash drive. The software is automated and very easy to use. Simply open a photo you desire to convert, select the drawing parameters, and click on “DRAW”. Watch FotoSketcher perform the magic right before your eyes.

FotoSketcher

Different styles are available: pencil sketch, pen and ink drawing, various painting renderings. You can also improve your original photo with simple tools (enhance contrast, sharpen, simplify image, increase luminosity, color saturation, add text, frames, etc…).

FotoSketcher

To demonstrate the power of FotoSketcher, reflected is a photo of a Ford 8N Tractor that my Father recently restored; AND, the same photo converted to a sketch, oil painting and cartoon.

The 8N Ford Tractor debuted in 1947, a largely new machine featuring more power and an improved transmission which proved to be the most popular farm tractor of all time in North America. – [Source: Wikipedia]


Original

8N Ford Tractor

Sketch

8N Ford Tractor

Oil Painting

8N Ford Tractor

Cartoon

8N Ford Tractor

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Use GooReader to Read Google Books

September 25, 2010

Reading on a PC is just not the same as reading from a book or magazine. I guess it is part of the generation that I was raised, but there is something about turning that page and the feel of that book. I always envisioned the day when I could read a book on my computer screen and turn the pages in a similar manner as a real book.

Well today is the day where this vision is coming true. I recently went on the hunt for a reading application that would allow you to read a book (or magazine) on your computer where the pages appeared to actually turn. What I came across, that closely meets my criteria, is a Google Books reader called GooReader.

GooReader

If you are not familiar with Google Books, it is an online collection of millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide using Google Book Search

GooReader provides a sweet interface for reading publicly available books and magazines on Google Books. Instead of awkward page scrolling in your browser you can get pleasure of reading on your desktop in the same way as you read hardcover books or paperback magazines. With natural mouse moves you can turn over pages, zoom in and out, jump to the needed TOC item.

GooReader

You start using GooReader by entering a search criteria in the search box that is directly tied into Google Books Search.  If you notice above, I performed a search for Windows 7 and the books started appearing on the shelf.  You can select a book from the shelf to read full screen if you like, zoom in, zoom out AND turn the pages like a real book. The controls to turn the pages and perform these other functions are located at the bottom of the pages.

In GooReader the search results are represented as 3D book models on a bookshelf. You can setup the number of search results and the scale of the bookshelf. The program can search online books by title, author or keyword that can be used in its description or content. If you want to read or save specific book, you can simply enter its Book_ID and open it in Gooreader.

GooReader

Sometimes you may need to print Google Books or read them offline when you don’t have the internet connection. Besides, most people love to read books on mobile devices (like iPad) or popular e-Book readers (like Sony Reader, Kindle or Nook). In this case the PDF format is a perfect solution. GooReader allows to automatically save publicly available books and magazines to PDF files (please read the FAQ for details). Note that this feature is available in paid version.

To get a good feel about GooReader, I encourage you to take a look at the YouTube video below.

GooReader works only on Windows XP/Vista/7 and requires .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 installed. You do not need a Google login account to access these books; all books and magazines on Google Books are available for unregistered users.

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Nice Buy on an Acer 15.6 Inch Notebook

September 24, 2010

Here at What’s On My PC I have been on the hunt at Amazon to find some great deals.  This one fell into my lap today and may be worth a look-see if you are in the market for a notebook computer.

Acer Aspire AS5251-1805 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black)

$100 off retail

[ click here ]

Acer

5.6-inch CineCrystal LED-backlit widescreen display with native 720p resolution for high-definition viewing. Its widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio is designed to present websites without lots of left-right scrolling, as well as with a smoother line of sight.

2.20 GHz AMD V Series V120 single-core processor with 512 KB L2 cache and 1066 MHz front-side bus for good multi-tasking. And with Vision Technology from AMD, you’ll get a combination of cutting-edge processing and video power that allows you to experience vivid web and video content, sharp photos and crystal-clear music.

250 GB SATA hard drive (5400 RPM)

3 GB of installed DDR3 RAM (1066 MHz; expandable to 8 GB)

ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics (with 256 MB of discrete video memory) is equipped with 40 stream processors and an advanced 3D engine to provide support for hybrid graphics when paired with this system’s Windows operating system. It provides up to 1919 MB of total shared system memory and is compatible with Microsoft DirectX 10.1.

8x SuperMulti DVD±R/RW drive can also write to CD, DVD-RAM, and dual-layer (DL) DVD±R discs–which can hold up to 8.5 GB of data.

Multi-Gesture Touchpad allows you to pinch, flick and swirl your fingers across the touchpad for more natural photo and video viewing as well as intuitive navigation of websites such as Google Earth. It also enables you to scroll, zoom in and out and flip through web pages, photos, spreadsheets and more. (Learn more)

Crystal Eye webcam with a built-in digital microphone that helps keep background noise levels low and minimizes echoes. Acer Video Conference Manager software supports 640 x 480 resolution online video calls.

Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking capability provides up to five times the performance and twice the wireless range using 802.11n-compatible routers as you would with 802.11g networks. It’s also backward compatible with 802.11b/g networks (commonly found at Wi-Fi hotspots and in older home routers).

Fast Ethernet (10/100/1000)

Multi-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader compatible with Secure Digital (SD), MultiMediaCard (MMC), Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick PRO (MS PRO), xD-Picture Card (xD)

Three USB 2.0 ports

HDMI high-definition audio/video output allows a single cable to transmit uncompressed high-definition video to your digital TV or LCD. It also includes a standard VGA video output.

Windows 7 Home Premium makes it easy to create a home network and share all of your favorite photos, videos, and music. And you can watch shows for free when and where you want with Internet TV on Windows Media Center. Get the best entertainment experience with Windows 7 Home Premium.

Get more features with Windows Anytime Upgrade. It’s the best way to add features to Windows 7, takes as few as ten minutes, requires no software or downloads, and you’ll keep your existing programs, files, and settings. Windows will walk you through the simple upgrade process. (Learn more)

Pre-loaded software includes Microsoft Works SE 9.0 for word processing and spreadsheet work. Enjoy a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007.

6-cell battery (4400 mAh)

Weight: 5.74 pounds

Warranty: One-year parts and labor limited warranty with concurrent International Traveler’s Warranty

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A FREE Personal Information Manager Solution

September 23, 2010

I recently had someone ask me; “Are there any software packages out there (for FREE) that I can use to manage events in my life (such as a calendar, task manager, notebook, reminders, etc…)? I was quick to the draw to the answer and immediately blurted out EPIM – Essential Personal Information Manager. I know there are many online options available today to help manage our life; however, there is just something about putting personal (and private) information about myself out there (online) that just does not sit well with me.

Folks, if you are looking for a software download, for FREE, that will help you manage calendar events in your life, help you manage tasks, help you keep notes, and help you keep contact information (addresses); I highly endorse EPIM. There is even an email client built into EPIM, which to be honest, I turned off and do not use.

I have been using EPIM for years and the most impressive feature that I love about this software is the powerful search feature that is built in. The amount of personal information (such as addresses, notes, tasks, events) that I have accumulated since I started using EPIM is quite a bit; however, I can bring up an information in EPIM’s database very, very quickly. As I type in the search box, the information starts to magically appear. Another draw to me about EPIM is the notekeeping component that allows you to keep unlimited notes in a tree-like multi-level structure.

EPIM is available as a full install on your PC or available as a portable application. It is impressive that such quality software is packaged into a file size of less than 10 MBs. I currently use the portable version of EPIM on my flash drive and would be absolutely lost without it. Oh, I forgot to mention, you can password protect access to your information, as well.

Features:

  • Excellent usability. Shortcuts that are fun to use and boost your productivity. Easy, intuitive tools arranged right where you need them. Link any item to any other items. Email to Notes, Contacts to Tasks, etc.
  • Security. All data can be password-protected and the database file is encrypted with multiple encryption algorithms, with the advanced industry standard AES (Rijndael), 128-bit key, and Blowfish 448-bit* key.
  • Versatile import and export capabilities. You can import and export HTML, RTF, CSV, TXT and TreePad. You can perform complete synchronization with Microsoft® Outlook**; and you can import from Outlook Express.
  • Available in many languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.
  • System tray icon with a hotkey for starting and configuring the software.
  • Sticky Notes- place any of your Notes onto Desktop and get rid of yellow paper on your desk!*
  • Open-source Firebird database. Advanced users and system administrators get great flexibility in managing databases.

Scheduler (Tasks):

Scheduled Tasks

  • Color-coded, easy-to-read day, week, month, year schedules, with easy set up of recurring tasks or events.
  • Completion date, priority, and category properties for each task.
  • Integrated synchronization with Microsoft Outlook** and import and export with Outlook Express.
  • Full drag-and-drop support for fast rescheduling.
  • Easy printout by days, weeks or months, with saving to HTML.

To Do List (To Do):

To Do List

  • Tree-like, flexible to do structure that holds category, priority, completion status, due date, and even reminders for you.*
  • Fast and powerful search to find your to do list quickly.
  • Easy sorting and categorizing tools.
  • Printing that gives you exactly what you see on your screen. Take your to do list with you as you run out the door.

Outliner (Notes):

Outliner

  • Tools to organize your data the way you want! Flat, table, tree-like multilevel data structure or any combination you want. Multiple tree and leafs* for each note allow a powerful hierarchical storage.
  • No limit on the number of folders and notes. Don’t worry about running out of room.
  • Inserting photos, drawings, any kind of pictures, tables, any nicely formatted text: fonts, subscripts/superscripts, colored text background, multilevel bullets and numbering, Unicode, background images.
  • Quick searching for any note by its subject, date, word or phrase.
  • Powerful printout and save features.
  • Clickable (active) hyperlinks in any document.

Contact Manager (Contacts):

Contract Manager

  • Number of records that outstrip the Outlook Address Book.
  • Flexible set of fields, allowing you to easily add your own.
  • Complete import/export to and Windows Address Book and CSV format.
  • Powerful and fast search and sort features.
  • Adjustable views so you can see your information the way you want.

Email:

Email

  • Full support for POP3 and IMAP accounts.
  • Integration with Conteacts and other modules.
  • Signatures, mail sorting rules,- everything you need to work efficiently.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#78)

September 22, 2010

Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly roundup of articles that have been posted by other bloggers who are associated by the What’s On My PC blogroll. If your knack in life is information technology, then these blogs are greating starting points to enhance your learning.

Geek Squeaks'

Tech-for Everyone
License Giveaway Contest – SLOW-PCFighter

Bookmarks4Techs
ViewSonic VX2250WM-LED 22-Inch (21.5-Inch Vis) Widescreen Full HD 1080p LED Monitor
with Integrated Stereo Speakers

Canadian Tech Blogger
iPad Halves US Netbook Sales

Mrintech
Reserve your Username NOW on About.me

thePC Security
Video Surveillance Webcam Software –
ISpy Motion Sensor, Detector

Right On Technology
Jupiter Closest to Earth since 1963

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension Handles Locked Files Easily

Plato On-Line
Activists Fume Over Facebook Crackdown

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove Antivirus IS

RGdot
Image Tuner Is Your Basic Image Editor

Laptop Reviews Central
Asus reveals NX90J’s price & release date

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
How To: Improve the Performance of Your
Home Wireless Network (WiFi)

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Boost your Technical Know-how with the TuneUp Glossary

Lifehacker
Know When to Stop Automating to Manage Email More Efficiently

Rarst.net
Faster than Speed Dial – customizing Opera main bar

AskBillFirst
Computer Security for Teens and Their Parents Too

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites September 21

Mister Reiner
Where is Mister Reiner?

Chicago Mac/PC Support
Beautiful Examples of Rainbow photography

Malware Removal Instructions
How to remove Antivirus IS malware (Uninstall Instructions)

Online Storage Reviews
Planning Online Storage and Recovery of Business Data

AKSGEEK Live
Google Voice Returns to the App Store

Worthy Tips
How To Disable Google Instant Search Option?

Netbook Freeware
Play Crush The Castle Online Game on Netbook Free

I Love Free Software
Automatically Run a Program at Scheduled Time: TimerTask

Techolar
The Evolution of Internet Explorer Logos

I Want Ice Water
World War II on Facebook

404 Tech Support
Remove the Facebook Like Button From All Sites

TTC Shelbyville
What processes are secure?

Carputers News and Computer Tips
More Free Online Photo Editors

Snakebytez
Fix common Internet Explorer problems with IE Restorator

My Technology Guide
How to Use a System Repair Disc to Restore Windows 7

Awesome Wallpapers
Nature Wallpaper Set 38

Laptop Computer Reviews
Optical Drives

What’s On My PC
A Great PORTABLE Calculator for FREE

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A Way To Print Web Pages Without Wasting Paper

September 20, 2010

Web pages are made up of numerous blocks of text and images that are not very printer friendly. When Printing web pages the end result can be very disappointing and often results in excessive paper and ink being wasted; just to grab one article or a block of text. Much of this has to do with the complexity and construction of web pages where everything is drafted in blocks that ultimately can result in nightmare print jobs. This is all good for web designers, but bad for the end user when it comes to printing the page.

One way to resolve web page printing issues is to use the FREE browser bookmarklet called PrintWhatYouLike.

PrintWhatYouLike

PrintWhatYouLike is a free online editor that lets you format any web page for printing in seconds!

To use PrintWhatYouLike, simply drag the PrintWhatYouLike browser bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar. When you see a page that contains information you want to print, click on the PrintWhatYouLike bookmarklet and a toolbar (with options) will appear (similar to the screenshot below) on the left side of your browser.

Toolbar

That is not all… Once you see the toolbar, move your mouse pointer around the page and you will see red borders appear around the blocks of text and images. You can select a block of text (or multiple blocks) by simply clicking on a block. The block, at that point, will turn yellow and a horizontal toolbar will appear with other options. I usually click on all of the blocks I want to keep, then I click on “isolate”.  At that point, I will click on “Print” on the toolbar and the end result of the print job is the blocks of text I had selected and isolated. If you are not one to print stuff, there is also an option to save the blocks of information you selected as a PDF file.

Example

I’m not going to write a book on how to use PrintWhatYouLike due to its’ numerous options; instead I encourage you to install the bookmarklet and play around with it. If you don’t like it, simply delete the bookmarklet on your toolbar. I guarantee, once you get a good feel for PintWhatYouLike, you will be using it all of the time and it will become a mainstay printer utility in your browser.

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Speed Up Your Internet Connection: 8 DIY Tips

September 19, 2010

Broadband Compare This is a guest post by Kip Keilty, who is currently writing for a NEW Australian broadband comparison website called Broadband Compare, where users can compare broadband plans and find helpful user guides.

If you’ve kept up with the news, you understand that the United States has average Internet connection speeds that are far below average for the civilized world. Unless you live in California near Berkley or in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, your Internet connection is likely to be less than 30 Mbps. Many Americans have connections of 2 Mbps or less, causing even more of an issue for mobile and online workers. The truth is that Internet users are limited to the type of services available and by their cost, so everyone should be interested in making the most out of what they have. Here you will learn to speed up your Internet connection: 8 DIY tips can make you more accessible and productive by making your browsing and file downloading go faster than ever.

  1. Check for alternative services: Shop around a little bit to see if you can get a faster Internet connection from a different ISP. If you have DSL, see what the cable outfit in town has to offer, etc.
  2. Use Ethernet: Another way to get more from your Internet connection is to connect your computer using an Ethernet cable, rather than using wireless. Remember: wireless networks are good for convenience, but are not even close to being as fast as a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection. The speed difference may not be noticeable for occasional browsing, but if you are trying to push through a lot of work and files, you will be better off with the wired connection.
  3. Dump Internet Explorer: Internet users should beware of Microsoft Internet Explorer. It comes with Windows, but it is notoriously slow because of the way it sucks up resources on your system. For a faster browsing experience, go to the Apple Web site to get its award winning Safari browser or try Google’s Chrome: both deliver impressive speed gains over Microsoft.
  4. Try Opera: If you really want to optimize your Internet experience, download the Opera Web browser which is widely recognized as the fastest around. It even has a turbo mode that uses get Opera and turn on Turbo mode (it’s very fast). Opera turbo will use its servers to fetch Web pages for you, compress them, and then send it down the pipe to your Opera browser. This technology gives even users with dialup connections impressive speed gains.
  5. Get a download manager: Downloads suck up bandwidth more than ordinary Web use, so try to avoid downloading files in the background while you work. A plethora of download managers are out there that allow you to schedule downloads, stop and start downloads, and even accelerate downloads.
  6. Spyware: Check for spyware and other applications that might be hogging system resources by running in the background. Closing your other programs is an easy way to speed up your Internet connection, but spyware might require a specially designed software utility to eradicate.
  7. Do a clear out: Remove the bells and whistles from your browsers. If you keep the same Web browser, get some of those add ons, search bars, social media bars, and other special addons and plugins you’ve installed over the years. These make your browser work harder and clog up your Internet connection by using bandwidth in the background. Some of them may even be spyware.
  8. Secure your network: Put a password on your router’s admin page and enable security on your wireless protocols with a security key that’s hard to guess. Your Internet connection may be slow because your neighbors are downloading files from your wireless router. Get the freeloaders off your network and you’ll be surprised at how fast you surf.

Now you have some good ideas for how to speed up your Internet connection: 8 DIY tips that show how just a few changes to your computer and network can make a big difference in the way you use the Internet.

This is a guest post from the team at BroadbandCompare.com.au, a broadband comparison website offering ADSL, cable and mobile plans.

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Connect Multiple Computers Together For FREE Over The Internet

September 18, 2010

If you need a way to connect multiple computers together over the Internet, without worrying about firewalls, routers, or IP addresses, then checkout LogMeIn Hamachi.

LogMeIn Hamachi

LogMeIn Hamachi uses the technology of Virtual Private Networking (VPN) to tunnel its’ way between connections over the internet. It is like having a local area connection (LAN), between your computers, over the internet.

VPN

Unlike traditional VPNs, LogMeIn Hamachi can be set up in minutes:

  • No hardware required – A quick, simple and easy-to-use VPN that just works
  • Secure communications – Encrypted tunneling across public and private networks
  • Flexible networking – Combines the ease of an SSL VPN with the connectivity of an IP-sec VPN
  • Web-based management – Deploy to anyone, manage from anywhere, access anytime
  • Free for non-commercial usage – Absolutely free for non-commercial use

I am currently testing and using the FREE non-commercial version of LogMeIn Hamachi between my Desktop PC (Windows 7 Home) and my Netbook (Windows XP) over a wireless connection to create my own virtual private network, using a topology model described by the LogMeIn website, as Mesh Networking.

Mesh networking. Connect all of your network clients to each other. Quickly and easily create a simple, virtual, mesh network that allows remote machines to directly connect to each other, thereby giving users basic network access to all the network resources they need.

The install/setup of the client software took me less than 10 minutes for each PC. During the installation on my desktop PC I was prompted to give my PC a network name and then prompted to create a network ID and Password. During the Installation on my Netbook, I was prompted to give the Netbook a network name and then I selected “join an existing network”; at which point I typed in the network ID and password. The LogMeIn Hamachi client software (on the Netbook) started probing (searching) for the Desktop, on the network, and found it very quickly. I then setup a network share on the desktop. From the Netbook side, using the LogMeIn Hamachi client (see below), I clicked on “browse” and the share that I had setup, quickly appeared.  Wow, what an easy way to setup a network.

LogMeIn Hamachi

When downloading the FREE non-commercial version, you have an option of downloading a “managed version” and an “unmanaged version”. For the sake of creating my mini network, I went with the unmanaged mode.

Unmanaged mode allows you and your friends or colleagues to set-up a VPN in a matter of minutes. However you will be limited to a mesh network configuration.

Managed mode gives you the ability to create a VPN in one of three configurations: mesh, hub and spoke or gateway. You will have the ability to deploy clients to your users by emailing them a hyperlink, and you will be able to manage and monitor your networks and their usage centrally from LogMeIn.com.

In the end, LogMeIn Hamachi was pretty easy to setup with minimal networking knowledge. One feature I really liked was that I could turn “off” my network by clicking on a “Power Button” at the top left corner of the LogMeIn Hamachi client software (see screenshot above).

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An Easy Way To Find Out The Exact Time

September 17, 2010

When I was growing up, I can remember only having one main clock in the house. I would venture to say that the time on that clock may have been off by up to 5 minutes or more. Time was used as an approximation and we took our time going wherever we had to go. Those were the days… Today, it is a different story. We are so time driven and consumed, that we depend on the precision of time so that we can do more to make the most of our time (or at least we think we are).

One beauty of the internet is the ability to acquire time settings, for any location in the world, to within the milliseconds. Most clocks out there are synchronized by an atomic clock – the most accurate time source in the world. A web site that I have bookmarked, that I use to get the current (near precision) time (and date) is Time.is

Time.is

Time.is is an online time source that will reflect the current precise time, the date, your location, the time at nine other world locations, the online time compared to your computer’s time, the sunrise/sunset and more info, such as reflected below.  It is even mobile device friendly.

Time.is

On Time.is you can:

Find out what the exact time is right now at any of 7 million locations around the world

Check the accuracy of your clock

Compare time at different locations

You will also find:

Sunrise and sunset times

Information about which time zone a location belongs to

Information about today’s holidays and observances

Latitudes and longitudes

Integrated, full screen Google Maps

Population numbers

Key information about every country in the world

Time.is is friendly to mobile devices. It uses minimal bandwidth and the design is adapted to small screens.

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TTC Shelbyville Makes ComputerWorld Magazine

September 16, 2010

Steve Mallard, IT Manager at the Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville, a regular visitor and supporter of this blog, is featured in ComputerWorld Magazine. Steve (and his students) are contributors of the blog TTC Shelbyville, which I am a (daily) regular visitor.

TTC Shelbyville

To read about Steve and TTC Shelbyville, in ComputerWorld
[ click here ]

The article is titled “IT embraces its new leaner lifestyle”.

But there are also organizations where investments in both technology and staff are at a standstill. Among them is the Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville, one of 27 such centers across the state that along with six universities and 44 community colleges make up Tennessee’s higher education system.

“One of the biggest problems is that there isn’t revenue flowing into the state, and one of the first places they look to cut is education. We’re doing without 20% of the IT budget we had last year, and last year we had 10% less than the year before,” says Steve Mallard, the center’s IT director. [ Source: ComputerWorld ]

Congratulations to Steve and his fine program at TTC Shelbyville.

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Super Buy Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive

September 16, 2010

If you are need of additional drive space or a strategy to backup your files (or your computers hard drive), then check out the buy at Bookmarks4Techs (through Amazon) on the Western Digital External Hard Drive with 2 TB of hard drive space.  Yes, (2)-two terabytes at a very affordable price.

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