What’s On My PC – Top Ten Most Popular Articles for 2010

December 31, 2010

We are within hours of closing out another timeframe in our lives. Time is like a vapor! Make the best use of it that you can.

To close out the year at my blog I decided to post the top ten “most popular” articles for 2010, here at What’s On My PC… 

animated-happy-new-year2

2010
Top Ten Most Popular

  1. If you experience Windows Vista Service Pack 2 installation issues…
  2. Locating Your Software License Keys
  3. How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…
  4. Motorola SBG901 SURFboard Wireless Cable Modem Gateway
  5. When Vista will not boot…
  6. bing – Microsoft’s New Search Engine
  7. Creating an AOL Install CD… (if you must:)
  8. Adding a “Watermark” in Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007
  9. Write Your Name in the Snow with Penguin Show
  10. Go Incognito with Firefox…

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#92)

December 29, 2010

If you have a desire and passion to learn about information technology then you need to be following these blogs. Each week What’s On My PC features recent articles from the blogs that are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll.  Enjoy this weeks’ roundup!

Geek Squeaks'

Bookmarks4Techs
486 Bookmarked Tech Sites

Awesome Wallpapers
Mac Wallpaper Set 41

My Technology Guide
How To Use Kaspersky Rescue Disk to Clean Infected Computer

Snakebytez
Beware: SBI Fraudulent email
to Steal Personal and Financial Information

TTC Shelbyville
How to breakdown and repair your laptop

404 Tech Support
Before You Throw Out Your Old Gadgets,
You Need To Know This E-cycling Information

I Want Ice Water
In Today’s Episode

I Love Free Software
Chrome Extension to See WordPress Stats

Netbook Freeware
AVI.NET: Free Application To Convert Video To AVI

Worthy Tips
Withdraw Funds to Bank Account from PayPal

AKSGEEK Live
Samsung to Unveil World’s Thinnest 3D Blu-ray Player

Online Storage Reviews
Storing Your Important Personal Data

Malware Removal Instructions
How to Remove HDD Low (Uninstall Guide)

Chicago Mac/PC Support
2010 in review: The year for creatives
Software Creative Notes Macworld

PC Optimization Secrets
Most Internet Surfers Use Personal Info As Their Passwords

Gadgetsholic
Merry Christmas from Gadgetsholic

Websites, Internet, Software Tips, and Reviews
Fluther Teams Joins Twitter

Tech-for Everyone
Special Holiday Edition: Goodies Grab-Bag

Rarst.net
Fix “This Operation Has Been Cancelled” error
when launching applications

Lifehacker
Most Popular iPhone Posts and Free Apps of 2010

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Happy Holidays from TuneUp!

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
How-To Corner: Publish a Newsletter
for Your Organization, Business or Family

RGdot
Clipboard Master: Freeware Clipboard Enhancement

Carol’s Vault
“An accountable world with WikiLeaks” – That would be wonderful

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove HDD Low

Plato On-Line
Sue Spammers for a Living

Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
Antivirus Update: Microsoft Security Essentials updated to version 2.0

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
5 Fully Licensed Applications FREE From Ashampoo – Value $129.95!

Right Science
U.S. Navy goes Electromagnetic with Railgun and Fighter Catapult

thePC Security
VPS Hosting vs Shared Server – Which One Do You Need

Canadian Tech Blogger
Samsung Galaxy 550 Review (Virgin Mobile)

What’s On My PC
A Fantastic FREE 3D Online Chess Game

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Send a Text Message to Google to Get Search Results

December 28, 2010

Data plans for mobile phones are typically not in the range of affordability for everyone.  If you do not have a data plan and you wish you could have at least the capability of getting the weather, movies, product information, driving directions, phone listings, and more; THEN you are in for a surprise.  Almost all mobile phone plans offer text messaging as an included or add-on service. Text Messaging is typically the common term used for SMS (Short Message Service).  With your text messaging service did you know that you can text message Google to conduct a search query and Google will determine the information and text the top results back to you?  Once you get the hang of it; it is nearly as quick as lightning.

Here’s how it works…  Enter this number into your mobile phone: 466453 . It is the number to Google SMS. Then follow the instructions at the Google SMS website [ HERE ] .  I think you will be quite surprised to what information you can pull down using Google SMS. With Google’s SMS Service and Microsoft’s FREE 411 Service, that was recently featured here, you will be amazing your friends and family in no time.

Google SMS

Reminder: Handset must be SMS capable and user must be authorized to use this device. This service is free from Google but message & data rates may apply.

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My Personal Experience with a Craigslist Scam Attempt

December 26, 2010

I recently took the plunge and actually posted (and sold), for the first time, several items on Craigslist. As a result of this new experience I soon learned, like any other service on the internet where you are socially connecting to (and actually meeting) other people, the cybercriminal and real-time criminal both can be lurking nearby.

Craigslist

If you are unfamiliar with Craigslist:

Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums – Wikipedia

I posted “locally” an ad for a camera that I had for sale and indicated that “cash” payment was required. Within 24 hours I received the following email from someone with an email name of “Josephus Kokotu” (female) that was using a Yahoo email address that had a male’s name in it (Stanford).

Email #1: Hey I’m intersted for sure is it still available ?

I immediately became suspicious due most respondents will cut to the chase and provide further details, such as a phone number or email address; PLUS, the female name “Josephus Kokotu” did not set well with me and the fact there was male’s name in the Yahoo email address. Now, I know I may be over diagnosing this, but they spelled the word “interested” incorrectly; however, from my experience scam emails often consist of intentional misspellings.

I decided at this point to see where this was going. I deliberately responded back, using a temporary email account.

Yes Camera is still available…

Are you local?  Please provide number to contact you.

Thank you

Josephus Kokotu responded back:

Email #2: I’m off for the rest of the week so I can meet up pretty much anytime, just let me know what works for you. Cash ok ? By the way, do you have a certificate number from verifycraigslist.com ? If you don’t I’d really prefer you get one before we meet. It’s totally free, only takes a minute, and it proves your not a sex offender or violent felon. As a single woman xmas shopper it helps me feel better about meeting random people off the Internet. Anyways see you soon.

After receiving this response I noticed Josephus wanted me to visit a website to acquire a Craigslist certificate number so that I could prove to Josephus that I was not a criminal. I knew right then and there this was a phlishing scam. Folks, verifycraigslist.com, is not a legitimate site and was down when I last checked. This site, masquerading as being legitimate, is (was) used to steal sensitive information from the unsuspecting public who enter data at the site. Another clue that this was a scam email is that, I already stipulated, “cash only”, yet Josephus is asking me, “Cask OK?”.

Phlishing

I responded back to Josephus and informed her that she has no worry about me being a criminal; that I am retired Law Enforcement.  You know, I never heard back from Josephus.

In the end, most of my experience with Craigslist has been a good experience; however, it is important that you use common sense and do not fall for that false sense of security that the Craigslist service (or any service for that matter) is protecting you. It is not and they will tell you that; however, Craigslist does provide some common sense rules to follow:

  • DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
  • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”
  • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.

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Google Docs or Microsoft Web Apps?

December 25, 2010

Steve at Scoroncocolo has written a very good article on the comparisons between Google Docs and Microsoft Web Apps. As a matter of fact his article is perfect timing. I personally have been intensely exploring and using Google Docs.

Office Web Apps vs. Google Docs

Both of these online applications offer you the ability to create documents online inside your web browser; whether it be a letter, a spreadsheet, a presentation, etc… Why spend hundreds of dollars when all you may need is what is being offered (online for FREE) by Google and Microsoft.

My concerns in all of this is is the privacy factor; so, always keep that in mind when posting sensitive in nature documents. I realize our accounts to these online apps are password protected; however, I would like to see both entities offer password protection and encryption options for each file being stored online. Any files you store online, make sure you back them up at the PC level.

Read Steve’s Article: Microsoft Office Web Apps Versus Google Docs

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Software To Sync a Folder On Your PC with Google Docs

December 23, 2010

I have been using and testing Google Docs to determine if it is a practical resource and solution for the everyday home computer user.

Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. – Wikipedia

During my testing I have been creating documents, primarily using the word processor and spreadsheet components of Google Docs. I am finding that for what the home based computer user would need, Google Docs is a practical FREE solution. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office, give Google Docs a try.  As a matter fact, Google Docs and Microsoft Office (i.e. Word and Excel), at the basic level of document formatting, work together nicely.

As a result of my testing, one feature that I believe is needed is the ability to automatically sync (or backup) your Google Docs to your PC. Google has yet to address this concern; however, if I know their strategy, this is something that we will eventually see happen. Keep in mind Google Docs is in constant development and when advancements are made, they are very noticeable. You can give Google Docs a try with Google’s online demo [HERE]

In the meantime, the best solution I could find (for FREE) that allows  you to sync your online Google Docs to your PC is an application called Syncplicity.

Syncplicity

Syncplicity instantly syncs files across your Macs, PCs and Google Docs, so that your files are always available across all the computers you use and the Web. Instant sync with automatic back-up to our cloud ensures you have access to your data wherever you are, and that your days of worrying about manual back-ups and data loss are over. Our instant restore means you can recover deleted or lost files immediately.

Once you install and setup your online Syncplicity account, you will see in the file browser of Syncplicity a tab titled, “Google Docs”.  This is where you begin the process to setup the sync between Google Docs and your PC.

Once you have everything setup, it may take awhile for any Google Docs that you have stored online to show up on your PC. Now that I have Syncplicity up and working, any Google Doc files I work on, from any location in the world, will now sync with the folder I have setup on my PC.  Same goes, with any Google Docs I work with from the PC level will automatically be synced with my online account.

Syncplicity

To learn more about Syncplicity and what it can do, click [HERE] . For my situation Syncplicity has worked seamlessly and gets the job done. Who knows, this may be the next cloud app on Google’s payroll.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#91)

December 22, 2010

As we celebrate the Christmas season, now is the time to relax and read some good tech news. Reflected are recent articles that have been posted by the authors of the blogs that are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll. Enjoy and have a great holiday season!

Geek Squeaks'

PC Optimization Secrets
Is IE 9 The Best Browser At Fighting Malware?

Chicago Mac/PC Support
All media app for iPad

Malware Removal Instructions
How to Remove Internet Security 2011 (Uninstall Guide)

Online Storage Reviews
Latest Trends in Data Storage

AKSGEEK Live
Read Twitter and Facebook as Daily Newspaper

Worthy Tips
Gymgym Chair Keep You Healthy In front of Desk

Netbook Freeware
ZapWallPaper Classic: Free Wallpaper Manager for Netbooks

I Love Free Software
Belarc Advisor: Free PC Auditing Tool

404 Tech Support
Is Mall Of America A High Tech Paradise Or A Tech Hell?

TTC Shelbyville
Backup your license numbers on your computer

Snakebytez
Make Free Calls to U.S and Canada

My Technology Guide
Find Out What’s New in Microsoft Security Essentials 2

Awesome Wallpapers
Windows Se7en Wallpaper Set 35

Gadgetsholic
Bringrr Makes Sure You Don’t Leave The House Without Your Phone

Tech-for Everyone
Quik Thots 4 U

Rarst.net
Opera 11 gets extension add-ons

Lifehacker
Add Events to Google Calendar From Your Browser’s Address Bar

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Three Great Ways to Recover Your Data

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Facebook’s New User Profile: Be Careful!

Bookmarks4Techs
486 Listed Tech Sites

Canadian Tech Blogger
Opera 11 Now Out For Windows, Mac, Linux

Internet Security Blog
PCRisk.com – Malware and Spyware Removal

thePC Security
Monitor, Track iPhone Data Usage – 3G, EDGE, GPRS or Wifi – Freeware

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Panda Safe Browser – Just Released As A Free Application

Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
Back up your blogger.com blog: Blogger Backup Utility 1.0.9.23

Plato On-Line
Touchpad Blocker

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove System Tool 2.20

Carol’s Vault
Abuse of international power: That’s US expecting hugs and kisses

RGdot
MadAppLauncher: Minimize Mouse Clicks When Launching Applications

What’s On My PC
Make An Exact Copy of Your Hard Drive

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Windows Double Explorer for Windows 7

December 20, 2010

I could never figure out why Microsoft never offered a dual paned or tabbed view interface option in Windows Explorer. Managing your files and folders in those types of interfaces are so much easier to use; especially if you are a power user.

There are numerous third party options available; however, none really mimic the Windows Explorer interface, until Windows Double Explorer came on the scene. Windows Double Explorer is an open source utilitly that is engineered (for Windows 7) to manage two or more Windows Explorer interfaces in one application.

Windows Double Explorer

Windows Double Explorer also features a vertical or horizontal dual pane interface in conjunction with a tabbed interface. Once you have Windows Double Explorer up and running; and configured to your liking, I think you will become hooked.

Windows Double Explorer is currently in the beta stage of development and is engineered to work as a Windows 7 application.  There is no install to this application.  Simply download and run with it.

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A FREE Desktop Reminder Utility for Google Calendar

December 19, 2010

As I continue to experiment with the various cloud based applications that are available through Google, I recently began using Google Calendar to schedule the events in my life. I have used (and tested) numerous personal information managers and must say if you are looking for a way to manage your life events, on the cheap, then consider Google Calendar as an option.

There are many ways to sync your Google Calendar with apps that are available, say for mobile phones, but there really is not much I could find that allows me to sync my Google Calendar straight away from my computer’s desktop. In other words I was looking for something, hopefully a portable app, that I could use offline to add or delete events; however, when I went back online, my events would automatically become synced with my Google Calendar. I also like the idea of having an offline app that would serve as a backup to my calendar in the event the Google service or my account suddenly went south.

One app that I found, that works very nicely and meets the criteria l had set forth of being FREE, PORTABLE, with SYNCHRONIZATION features is a small application called GMinder.

GMinder

GMinder is a reminder program that waits in your system tray and alerts you when you have an upcoming Google Calendar event. GMinder supports multiple calendars and allows you to configure how you want to be alerted. Since it downloads your events, it works offline and enables you to preview your agenda of events. New events can be added to your Google Calendars using a Quick Add feature.

I am still testing GMinder and found that it is really a nice utility that really serves a good purpose; however, my only concern at this point is whether the development cycle of GMinder is continuing or not. The last release was July 2009.  Irregardless, at the moment, it is working for me and serves a real purpose.

If you are aware of any FREE apps out there that will sync with Google Calendar, let us know by leaving a comment below.  As always, to my readers, thank you and comment often.  I love hearing from you!

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Guard Against Viruses, Spyware, and Other Malicious Software

December 18, 2010

If you are looking for security software to protect your PC that runs quietly and efficiently in the background (AND IS FREE), then look no further than Microsoft Security Essentials.

If you are a current user of Microsoft Security Essentials, be advised that Version 2.0 has been released. You can upgrade by either waiting for the upgrade to come to you (via the automatic updates) or you can download and manually install the upgraded version from [ HERE ] . If you go the manual route, the installation will automatically detect if you are upgrading or performing a full install.

The good about Microsoft Security Essentials is that it is a Microsoft based product that provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. I have been using Microsoft Security Essentials since its’ inception and I can personally attest that it is doing an excellent job in protecting my PCs.  It is very easy to use (and understand) and performs in a manner where it will not bog (slow) down your PC.

Microsoft Security Essentials

If you have a desire to give Microsoft Security Essentials a try, I highly recommend you remove the antivirus software you currently have installed on your PC.  To assist with the complete removal of any exisiting security software on your PC, I recommend using AppRemover to assist with the uninstall and removal process.

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Google Body Browser – Coolest Web App Yet

December 17, 2010

Steve over at TTC Shelbyville came across one of the coolest web apps yet. It is a Google Lab experiment called Google Body Browser.  If you are studying anatomy or just want to see what the underpinnings of your body consists of, then you need to see this. Steve’s article [HERE] explains what is required to see this 3D marvel and how Google Body Browser is another great example of cloud computing.

TTC Shelbyville - Google Body Browser

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Make Using Your Flash Drive Easier with a USB Extension Cable

December 16, 2010

If you are someone that uses a USB flash drive on a regular basis, like I do, I highly recommend that you purchase a USB extension cable.  The extension cable makes it much easier to plug in your flash drive; plus, it prevents wear and tear on your computer’s USB port(s).

For example, I have the “male” end of my extension cable plugged into one of the ports at the rear of my PC (which is on the floor) and the “female” end of the cable lying on top of my desk.  Unlike USB desktop hubs, where again you have to fumble around and search for and plug in the flash drive, I simply lift the female end of the cable and plug in the drive.  It is the ultimate way to make using your flash drive an enjoyable experience.  I also use it to plug in a digital camera to download my pics from the camera to the PC.  The good part is that these cables are inexpensive (click here)

What type of cable to look for…

You can get these at just about any electronics store  (Amazon, Belkin, USB Gear, Circuit City, Radio Shack, Best Buy, etc…) and in various lengths.  Keep in mind, the USB standard limits the length of a USB cable to 5 meters (about 16.5 ft.).  You want Hi-Speed USB Revision 2.0 Shielded, USB Extension Cable USB Connector Type A Male to Type A Female. Don’t spend more than $10 bucks for one of these.

Example of a 9.8 ft/3.0 meter “USB Extension Cable”

USB Extension Cable

It’s the simple things that can make your computing life enjoyable!

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#90)

December 15, 2010

How about that?  Ninety weeks of Geek Squeaks’ – Shooting for a hundred.  Folks, if you have a desire to learn about computers and information technology, then let your education begin here.

image

Discobytes
Google Chrome : New version of Google Chrome 8.0.552.224

Gadgetsholic
Rogers now offering the White BlackBerry Bold 9780 for $149.99

Tech-for Everyone
Is That Email Legitimate?

Rarst.net
When freeware runs out of free

Lifehacker
Most Popular DIY Projects of 2010

Crazy World of G
Google Chrome PDF Viewer

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Windows Live Writer, Dual postings

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Wanna Know: How Computer Viruses Work?

Laptop Reviews Central
Asus shows off U36JC

Bookmarks4Techs
Listing of 485 Tech Sites

Canadian Tech Blogger
Chrome OS Demo

Mrintech
Assemble/Build a Cheap Computer with High Performance

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Weak Password Control – A Self Inflicted Injury

Plato On-Line
Year’s Most Popular on YouTube: ‘Hide Your Wife’

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove HDD Rescue

Carol’s Vault
Sothink All-in-One Free Video Converter

RGdot
Todomoo: Open Source To Do List

PC Optimization Secrets
How To Check The Security Of Your Internet Connection

Chicago Mac/PC Support
Create a table of contents – Word – Microsoft Office

Malware Removal Instructions
How to Remove Smart HDD (Uninstall Guide)

Online Storage Reviews
Preserving Your Memories Online

AKSGEEK Live
T-Mobile to launch ‘4G’ Tablet in 2011

Worthy Tips
Customize Windows Media Center Easily With Media Center Studio

Netbook Freeware
Hide Desktop Icons on Netbook with ZapIcones

I Love Free Software
5 Free Tools to Check Google Search Position Online

404 Tech Support
Google Launches Website To Simplify Answering Your Parents’ Computer Questions

TTC Shelbyville
Protect Yourself with HotSpot Shield

Snakebytez
Image Resizer For Windows

Awesome Wallpapers
Space/Fantasy Wallpaper Set 40

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Save Anything You Want to Remember On Your Phone or Computer with SpringPad

December 13, 2010

Here of late I have been on a roll with applications that are cloud based; or in other words applications that you run directly from the internet. Recently I have been testing an online note keeping application called SpringPad.

SpringPad

If you are an Evernote user then you will be able to relate to SpringPad; and I must say, if you are an Evernote user, then you need take a look at SpringPad. This app has come a long ways.

In summary SpringPad is a totally FREE powerful online application that gives you the ability to store information. Look at it as your personal database of everything that’s of interest to you that can be accessed anywhere in the world where you can get to the internet.

SpringPad

For example, I use SpringPad to bookmark web sites, keep notes, maintain to do lists, clip information from web pages, reflect my thoughts, etc…  All this information can be organized in notebooks or posted on your own digital bulletin board.  There are also mobile uses for SpringPad available such as barcode scanning, locating nearby places and businesses and photo saving.

Think of Springpad as your own place in the cloud – a high-powered internet-connected personal database of everything that’s of interest to you, even if you’re not ready to do something about it right away. Everything is automatically synced between your mobile devices and the web for instant and universal access.

The one feature that is most important to me is the SpringPad Google Chrome Browser Extension. With this extension installed you can instantly save information you want to save without leaving the site you are browsing. If you are not a Google Chrome user, there is a bookmarklet available that will let you do the same thing.

After testing SpringPad, I can honestly say it has found a home on my PC. I encourage you to give this application a try. It is FREE, requires no installation on your computer and has so many features I cannot begin to mention them all here.

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Cloud Computing is More Than A Buzzword When It Comes to CloudShare

December 11, 2010

imageSteve Mallard, the lead Computer Information Technology Instructor at The Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville shared with me a phenomenal online service called CloudShare , that allows users (like you and me) and businesses to run full enterprise applications (and operating systems) on demand.

CloudShare is a self-service cloud platform that enables businesses to create, collaborate on and run full enterprise applications instantly and on-demand. Individuals, small teams and large enterprises use CloudShare to create virtual data centers for application development and testing,sales demos, proofs of concept, and training.

How many techies and geeksters out there have heard of virtual machines where software (installed on your PC) emulates and executes instructions like a real computer? It is like running a virtual computer inside of your physical computer. To the everyday computer user this may sound confusing and it is.

What Steve is sharing with us [click here] , through CloudShare, is the ability (for FREE) to run up to three virtual machines, in our web browser, across the internet (or in the cloud).  If you are a techie, you have to give this a try and experience this. It is phenomenal…

For example, I have not had the opportunity to play around with Microsoft Office 2010. That all changed after I signed up (for FREE) with CloudShare. One of the virtual machines I had option of selecting was a virtual machine with the Windows XP Pro operating system and Microsoft Office 2010. Through my CloudShare environment, I can actually see the Windows XP Pro desktop inside my browser and can actually run Microsoft Office 2010. Wow…

There is a whole lot more to this and I do not want to spoil what Steve has already posted.  If you are a tech I suggest to hop over to the TTC Shelbyville site and read Steve’s article, “CloudShare gives users hands-on experience for free” .

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