Wallpaper of the Week (#28)

July 31, 2011

I don’t know why I like this wallpaper of an Ostrich, but I do.  Maybe it is because it is so ugly that it is cute. The detail in this image is superior…

To get this wallpaper [CLICK HERE] .

Windows Wallpaper - Ostrich

Browse for wallpapers from previous weeks, [CLICK HERE]

Need wallpaper software to show off your wallpaper collection? Try one of these:

John’s Background Switcher

Walyk Wallpaper Changer

Wallpaper Updater

Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, 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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Deal of the Day @ Amazon.com

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Easy Timer – An Easy To Use Alarm Clock and Timer

July 30, 2011

Many occasions when I find myself getting tired I will take a power nap to rejuvenate this half century old body. Oftentimes I will use my computer as an alarm clock to wake me up. On the other end of the spectrum when I exercise to increase my energy level I will use the computer to time down my exercise session.

There are numerous software options and web apps available that you can find that will serve as an alarm clock and/or a timer. One option that I use as my “go to” alarm clock and timer is the portable app called Easy Timer.

Easy Timer

Easy Timer is small in file size; but, do not let that fool you. This portable app is less than 400KB and packed inside is a fully customizable (and resizable) alarm clock and timer with over 35 pre-installed alarm sounds. One neat way I found to resize Easy Timer was to rotate the scroll wheel on my mouse.

Main Features

  • Set up an alarm timer with just a few clicks
  • Separate analog desktop clock
  • Really easy and intuitive interface
  • Over 35 pre-installed alarm sounds
  • Multilingual: CA, DE, EN, ES, FR, IT, PT, SE
  • Portable: Just one executable, no need for installation

To download Easy Timer [ CLICK HERE ] . When you get to the web site, scroll to the bottom for the FREE version.

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[DID YOU KNOW?] Two YouTube Interfaces Optimized for Your TV That Works On Your Computer As Well

July 29, 2011

YouTube If you are into YouTube, I am sure you are familiar with YouTube’s typical web interface that you access through your desktop computer; BUT, did you know there are two other ways to access YouTube content that is pretty darn attractive?

YouTube XL

 

YouTube Leanback

Both of these interfaces were designed and optimized for viewing on your television; however, with widescreen monitors being very popular, both YouTube XL and YouTube Leanback may be worth considering.

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Free Word Processor, Norton Online Backup, Internet TV, 13″ MacBook Problem and the ASUS Eee Tablet PC

July 27, 2011

Geek Squeaks'

Jarte
A free word processor based on the Microsoft WordPad word processing engine built into Windows.

A Consumer Overview Of Norton Online Back-Up
@ Computer Training For You

Why Pay For Internet TV When There Is Free Internet TV?
@ Computer How To Guide and Tips

The Problem With 13″ MacBook Pros — What Blag?
@  Chicago Mac/PC Support

Geek Deal of the Day @ Amazon

image

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-A1 10.1-Inch Tablet Computer

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MORE Geek Squeaks’…

Computers & Accessories Index

Over 600 Bookmarked Tech Sites

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Get Extensive Weather Results at MyWeather.com

July 27, 2011

As you well know, I love my weather apps; and, more and more of them keep cropping up.  Just came across a new one (to me) called MyWeather.com.

MyWeather.com

From what I am seeing, MyWeather.com is currently in beta and generates their own weather results (current and future) and is not dependent on the repackaging of the government weather data.  The site is very nicely layed out, easy to navigate and uses Microsoft Bing mapping technology to display various weather condition layers. Appears it has the ability to load weather results for various worldwide locations; however, would like to hear from my readers on this.

Best bet on this one is to get in there, enter your location, and start playing around.  I find something different everytime I visit the site.  Keep in mind, the site is in beta, therefore bug-a-boos are expected.

History of how the MyWeather.com site launched is as follows:

In the early days of television, meteorologists used magnetic chalkboards to show viewers the weather conditions. Presenting a forecast meant moving magnets around the board, then drawing frontal boundaries and temperatures by hand. This method was the standard for broadcasting weather, even into the ’60s and ’70s.

In 1974, an enterprising meteorologist in Madison, Wisconsin suggested that computer technology might be useful in the forecasting business. Terry Kelly and his collaborator bought an Apple II, and their company, Weather Central, ushered in a new era of computerized weather information.

Weather Central continues to innovate in the broadcasting arena, and now brings MyWeather.com directly to you.

Features:

What makes the MyWeather.com approach to online weather different?

Personalization – Save the locations you care about most.

Customized alerts – Get the severe weather notifications you choose, for your exact position, sent the way you prefer (SMS, smartphone, desktop).

Immediacy – Weather is front and center.

Portability – Sync your settings with our iPhone, Android and desktop apps (coming soon).

Detail – Patented approach to hourly forecasts includes an animated map with frame-by-frame specifics.

Dependability – Accurate, informative forecasts for anywhere on Earth, and we’ve earned the trust of meteorologists worldwide.

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Great Instructional Videos to Learn the Basics of Windows 7

July 26, 2011

I am always on the hunt for instructional material for people that use their computers in their homes. With Windows 7, Microsoft has done a pretty good job with providing help and assistance; however, if you are not familiar with computers and Microsoft Windows, then locating these helpful tips can be a chore in itself. Also factor in the point that most people today do not have time to sit and read something that will not hold their attention span and is difficult to understand.

Windows 7 Basics

To resolve this issue, one solution is through video instruction,. I went on the hunt and found a nice array of FREE instructional videos on learning Windows 7 Basics at a website called Mahalo.

Mahalo - Windows 7 Basics

The videos are provided by Sean Hewitt, a Mahalo’s Windows expert.  The videos are very nicely organized and broken down into categories with a listing of videos under each category. The videos themselves are approximately 1-4 minutes or less in duration. When you launch a video, note that below the video window there is also provided easy to understand textual and pictorial descriptions of the material being presented. You can easily move from lesson to lesson following any video you have completed.

Follow this course and you will be able to use some of the more advanced Windows features. The curriculum consists of visual lessons starting at the basics and moving up to advanced. Although each lesson is taught in a manner that anyone can follow, even advanced users are guaranteed to learn some new tricks. The only thing you need for this course is to be ready to learn!

Category topics available are:

Windows 7 Navigation 25:06

System Settings 27:27

Browsing the Internet 31:45

Customize Windows 24:24

Basic Programs 30:28

Windows Media Center 11:32

Advanced Features 22:03

Test Your Knowledge 5:27

To visit, Mahalo and to watch the videos Learn Windows 7 Basics [CLICK HERE]

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Notepad Replacement, Easy Read Domain Name, Speed Up Your PC, PC Tricks and Camcorder Deal

July 25, 2011

Geek Squeaks'

Notepad ++
A Free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) Source Code Editor and Notepad Replacement

Daily Blog Scoop
Make Your Domain Name Easy to Read

Computer Too Slow
Speed Up A PC

Computer Tips
10 Basic Computer Tips And Tricks For New Computer Users

Geek Deal of the Day @ Amazon
Samsung HMX-Q10 HD Camcorder
Ultra Compact with 10x Optical Zoom (Dark Blue)

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MORE Geek Squeaks’…

Computers & Accessories Index

Over 600 Bookmarked Tech Sites

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Wallpaper of the Week (#27)

July 24, 2011

With this wallpaper, you can take a hot air balloon ride and take in all of the landscape. Very nicely done wallpaper!

To get this wallpaper [CLICK HERE] .

Wallpaper

Browse for wallpapers from previous weeks, [CLICK HERE]

Need wallpaper software to show off your wallpaper collection? Try one of these:

John’s Background Switcher

Walyk Wallpaper Changer

Wallpaper Updater

Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, 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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 Deal of the Day @ Amazon.com

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Kindle with FREE 3G + Wireless

July 23, 2011

The best selling item on Amazon, for 2 years running, has been the Kindle. Ironically, the Kindle is made by Amazon and is described as Amazon’s revolutionary wireless reading device. When it first hit the market, the Kindle immediately became popular. Finally, there was an electronic device that made sense with us middle aged folks (and older) that is straight from something you would have seen on “The Jetsons”.

Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

[CLICK HERE]

Kindle

If you are new to the Kindle, let me tell you what the rave is all about. The Kindle is a wireless (tablet style) reading device, lighter than a paperback book, that gives you the ability to download books (electronically) via 3G or Wi-Fi. The cool part about the Kindle is that there is no monthly subscription fee or cost to connect to 3G. The cost factors in when you select and download a book. The last time I checked Amazon [CLICK HERE] , there was 1,006,663 books in the Kindle Bookstore.

If you are looking for a convenient way to satisfy that book reading addiction, then the Kindle may be your fix.

Feature Set of the most recent model of Kindle 3G and Wireless:

  • All-New, High-Contrast E Ink Screen– 50% better contrast with latest E Ink Pearl technology
  • Read in Bright Sunlight– No glare
  • New and Improved Fonts– New crisper, darker fonts
  • New Sleek Design– 21% smaller body while keeping the same 6″ size reading area
  • 17% Lighter– Only 8.7 ounces, weighs less than a paperback
  • Battery Life of Up to Two Months– A single charge lasts up to two months with wireless off
  • Double the Storage– Up to 3,500 books
  • Books in 60 Seconds– Download books anytime, anywhere
  • Free 3G Wireless– No monthly payments, no annual contracts
  • Built-In Wi-Fi– In addition to the 3G wireless, you can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots
  • 20% Faster Page Turns– Seamless reading
  • Enhanced PDF Reader– With dictionary lookup, notes, and highlights
  • New WebKit-Based Browser– Browse the web over Wi-Fi (experimental)
  • Special Offers – Special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen—they don’t interrupt reading

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Free PDF Reader, New ThinkPad Tablet, Facebook Danger, Photos Gone Missing and SanDisk Flash Drive Bargain

July 22, 2011

image

Sumatra PDF
Free PDF, XPS, DjVu, CBZ and CBR reader for Windows

Gadgetsholic
Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Available in the US

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
Don’t Click that
“This girl must be Out of her Mind” Facebook Video

Data Recovery Blog
5 Reasons Why Your Digital Photos Gone Missing

Geek Deal of the Day @ Amazon
SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive

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MORE Geek Squeaks’…

Computers & Accessories Index

Over 600 Bookmarked Tech Sites

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[DID YOU KNOW?] – You Can Move The Windows 7 Taskbar to Make Your Workspace More Productive

July 22, 2011

The Windows Taskbar, which is the bar located at the bottom of screen can be moved to either side of the screen or to the top.

Windows Taskbar

In today’s world of computing where widescreen displays are the status quo, it only makes sense to move the taskbar from the bottom of the screen to one of the sides of the screen. It is a matter of personal preference, as to what side. Regardless, what this does is give you more vertical space to work with. Yes, years ago when we had the square displays, the taskbar at the bottom made a whole lot of sense (provided more horizontal space).

Initially this change will not feel right at all; however, over a period of time, as you adjust to the change, you will find that by moving the taskbar to the side of the screen will result in a much more proportioned and productive workspace.

To make this even better, once you get the taskbar to the side of the screen, set it to “autohide” and then “lock the taskbar” to prevent it from being accidentally moved.  If, in the end, you just cannot adjust to these change, simply move the taskbar back to the bottom of the screen.

So how do you do all of this?

To Move The Taskbar: Left mouse click an empty space on the taskbar, and then hold down the mouse button as you drag the taskbar to one of the four edges of the desktop. When the taskbar is where you want it, release the mouse button.

To AutoHide The Taskbar: Position the mouse pointer on an empty space on the taskbar.  Right Mouse Click, select “Properties”, then checkbox “Lock The Taskbar”, then click on “Apply”, then “OK”.

To Lock The Taskbar: Right mouse click an empty space on the taskbar. If Lock the Taskbar has a check mark next to it, the taskbar is locked. You can unlock it by clicking Lock the Taskbar, which removes the check mark.

These same instructions will work for Windows Vista and Windows XP, with maybe some slight differences; however, the Windows 7 taskbar was specifically engineered to take in account any taskbar changes and adjust them accordingly.

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Access Your Windows Live SkyDrive Files from Windows Explorer

July 21, 2011

Windows Live SkyDrive is the 25 GB online (cloud) storage space that is available (FREE) to anyone who has a  Windows Live Account (e.g. Hotmail Account). 25 GB’s of FREE online storage space is nothing to sneeze about and is worth its’ weight in gold. The advantage to using an online service such as SkyDrive is that you can upload your files then share or access them from anywhere on the internet; PLUS, you can create, edit, and share Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files online—even if you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your PC.

The only complaint that I have with SkyDrive is that it is limited in functionality when it comes to the file management aspect of the application.  Sure, you can rename, copy, delete, etc. individual files; but trying to perform these operations in bulk is not possible.

imageA solution to this problem is a software application, called SDExplorer, that will give you the ability to access your Windows Live SkyDrive files directly from Windows Explorer.

Windows Live SkyDrive

In other words, after you install SDExplorer you will be able to access your SkyDrive files directly from Windows Explorer and perform the same file operations that you typically perform (such as cut, copy, paste, delete) – as if the files were on your computer.

The real beauty to SDExplorer is that you can perform bulk file operations, as well, such as: Renaming objects; Deleting objects; Copying folders with files and subfolders; and, Changing folder share types.

If you are worried about security with SDExplorer…

SDExplorer uses the standard Microsoft library for working with Windows Live ID™ services. Your personal information does not leave this library and is not even passed to the SDExplorer engine. Additionally, all of your online storage-related traffic is transmitted using the HTTPS protocol, protecting your data from snoopers.

There is a FREE Base Edition of SDExplorer and an Advanced Edition of SDExplorer.  [CLICK HERE] to compare the editions and I think you will find that the FREE Base Edition is all you will need to access your SkyDrive files from your home computer.

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Mobile TV, ASUS Netbooks, James Bond, Download Google Books, and a Wireless-N Router

July 20, 2011

Geek Squeaks'

MobileTV
Live TV | On Demand

Laptop Reviews
ASUS U Series Netbooks Have Arrived

I Want Ice Water
Where’s James Bond When We Need Him?

I Love Free Software
Google Books Downloader: Get Your Own Free Book Collection

Geek Toy of the Day @ Amazon
Linksys E2500 Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router

MORE Geek Squeaks’…

Computers & Accessories Index

Over 500 Bookmarked Tech Sites

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I Need A Hacker -The Importance of Securing Your Wi-Fi Connection

July 20, 2011

Hacker Wanted

I Need a Hacker…

This is actually a request that was published on Craigslist today, in my region, under the “Computer Services” category…

Here is exactly, word-for-word, with typos and everything, the service this nut was publicly requesting:

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I Need A Hacker

I need someone who can come to my apt, unlock one of my neibors wifi connections and give me the password so i can mooch off of it. two of the signals are wep type wivh i hear is simple to unlock if you know how. i dont have the skill or expertise but will pay you to come do it.

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What was ironic about finding this real world post at Craigslist is that I had just read an article at How To Geek titled, How To Secure Your Wi-Fi Network Against Intrusion.  In that article the following statements jumped out at me:

“In a perfect world you could leave your Wi-Fi networks wide open to share with any passing Wi-Fi starved travelers who desperately needed to check their email or lightly use your network. In reality leaving your Wi-Fi network open create unnecessary vulnerability wherein non-malicious users can sponge up lots of our bandwidth inadvertently and malicious users can pirate using our IP as cover, probe your network and potentially get access to your personal files, or even worse. What does even worse look like?  In the case of Matt Kostolnikit looks like a year of hell as your crazy neighbor, via your hacked Wi-Fi network, uploads child pornography in your name using your IP address and sends death threats to the Vice President of the United States.”.

The point here is this, the Craiglist posting I have reflected demonstrates how imperfect this world truly is. If you are using Wi-Fi, then lock it down. 

Here are some good reads on wireless networking security:

What’s On My PC: Protecting your wireless network…

Many of today’s wireless routers have the capability to reach great distances outside the walls of the home, which allows outside intruders to easily connect to your network/router. [READ MORE]

Paul’s Home Computing Blog: Wireless Networks: Is Yours Secure?

For those of you who have wireless networks in your home: here’s some bad news. Half of them are vulnerable to be hacked…in 5 seconds! So states an article in NetworkWorld. But take heart in the fact that it’s not difficult to secure your home wireless network. – [READ MORE]

TTC Shelbyville: One in four wireless networks are still unsecure

Home users are still setting up their wireless wrong by not providing a WPA2 (AES) form of encryption.  Approximately 23% of home users still have open internet that neighbors or anyone passing by can use.   (22 million are secure and 9 million remain unsecure!) [READ MORE]

Tech-for Everyone: How to secure your wireless network

This is a simple process, and once you have completed the steps only the people who know the password you set (namely, you!) can use your Internet connection. Not only will this prevent freeloaders from surfing the Web on your dime (stealing your bandwidth), but because encryption scrambles the data, it will prevent hackers from reading the ‘packets’ your computer transmits (ie, “reading your mail”), and prevent them from easily accessing the computers on your home network. [READ MORE]

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts: Your Electric Wiring Is A Wi-Fi Network Alternative

Power Line Communications (PLC) is a technology that uses the electrical wiring in your home, or your office, to provide network and Internet communication between attached devices, including computers, digital media devices such as a Tivo/Slingbox, and gaming consoles like the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii. [READ MORE]

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FREE – Instant Access Weather App

July 19, 2011

Anyone who visits the blog knows that I love clocks and weather apps. Today I bring to you a web app that gets right to the point with the weather.  It is called Sunlikely .

Sunlikely, offers a very easy to use and very attractive interface, that provides you with the current temperature, doppler radar, the hourly forecast and the daily forecast. If you have a tablet pc, this app would be a great app to include.

I contacted the developer of Sunlikely to encourage further development and to possibly also include the time and date in the interface. The developer was very receptive to my input and indicated they were working on that feature.  In the end, in my opinion, very nice web app.

Sunlikely is a weather application designed to give you instant access to the weather around you, without the clutter of other sites.

Sunlikely


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