In the very near future you will spend more time talking to your phone than using your phone to talk to other people…

November 30, 2011

Steve over at Scoroncocolo contacted me about an article he posted that may be of great interest to all you smartphone users. The article is about smartphone voice recognition featuring the Siri, the iPhone 4s “personal assistant”.

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Siri on iPhone 4s is one of the most incredible innovations in modern computing technology. This is another of Steve Jobs’ dreams that came true.

Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.

If you are an Android user, Steve will also point you to a couple of apps that are similar to Siri.

Without further ado, I encourage you to visit Scoroncocolo and read Steve’s article,  Smart Phone Voice Recognition Is the Future

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Clean Up The Clutter and Hide Your Windows Desktop Icons Automatically

November 29, 2011

In today’s world of computing I have noticed that most folks will save files and program shortcuts to the Windows desktop, as it was intended for. This is not a bad thing due this makes the files and programs readily available to the user. Where the bad comes in, is that we as humans, through instinct, will packrat the files and shortcuts on the desktop to the point the desktop really becomes a hoarding zone. As a result, those pretty background wallpaper images you have on your desktop never are seen and fully appreciated.

The first thing I will tell you, as an IT person, keep that desktop clutter free and organized. It will make your computing experience an enjoyable one.

The second thing I will tell you, if you are going to save files and program shortcuts to your desktop, use a program to auto arrange your shortcuts and hide them when not in use. In order to do this you will have to download and install a small program called DesktopOK.

There are two things that you can do with DesktopOK. One, you can move your icons around on your desktop in groups or you can even forms shapes with the icons, etc… Once you do this, use DesktopOK to save the arrangement. That way if your icons get all messed up again, you can pull up DesktopOK and restore the arrangment.

DesktopOK

The second thing you can do with DesktopOK, which is sort of hidden in the program, you can tell DesktopOK to hide your desktop icons after a period of time. You will need to start up DesktopOK, by double clicking the DesktopOK icon in the system tray. Once it is up, click on Tools, then click on Use This Feature to activate the icon hiding. You can then, if you want, click on Hide Icons When Mouse option to set a time limit. For example, after 10 seconds my desktop icons will hide when there is no mouse activity on the desktop.  After the icons go into hiding, you can make them appear by simply clicking on the desktop.

DesktopOK

In the end, I will tell you that DesktopOK has really become a favorite program of mine that allows me to manage (and customize) my icon arrangments on my desktop; plus, I always have a good view of my background wallpaper image when the icons go into hiding.

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Set Your Computer’s Sound Volume to Autopilot

November 28, 2011

Setting your computer’s volume to autopilot is not a feature I know of in Windows; however, with Volume Concierge at the helm your sound levels can be automatically regulated and controlled.

Volume Concierge is a sound utility that gives you the ability to control your sound level by applying rules.  For example, you could set a rule in Volume Concierge to turn your sound level down to 20 percent at  8 PM every evening so as not to disturb the neighbors.  I know myself, I am one to forget to turn the volume down and my wife comes running over to the computer room late at night questioning me about what was that loud kaboom…

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So, if you do want a method to put your sound volume on autopilot, then Volume Concierge may be your solution.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#45)

November 27, 2011

To check out some of the coolest pieces of artwork, make sure you visit Vladstudio. This week’s wallpaper features a Vladstudio creation called Jellyfish.

To Get This Wallpaper – [ CLICK HERE ]

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Browse for wallpapers from previous weeks, [CLICK HERE]

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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Analyze The Speed of Your Web Site

November 26, 2011

When you are maintaining a web site it is important that page loads are fast so that your visitors will keep coming back. Recently on my website Bookmarks4Techs.com I made the decision to revamp the design of the site and the reason for the revamping was that the page loads were just too slow. Using a different design, with different coding, I was able to increase page loads dramatically and the reward has been a noticeable increase in visitors. The primary objective of most people visiting a site, including me, is to get in and get out with minimal lag time. I don’t know what the average stay is on a site; but, I do know it is not very long.

If your page loads seem slow and you are looking for a way to analyze and ultimately optimize the performance of your website then take a look at the online application called Pingdom Tools. One of the tools that is available is called Full Page Test that will give you a full scale analysis of where your site stands.

Pingdom Tools

Feature Overview:

Examine all parts of a web page – View file sizes, load times, and other details about every single element of a web page (HTML, JavaScript and CSS files, images, etc.). You can sort and filter this list in different ways to identify performance bottlenecks.

Performance overview – We automatically put together plenty of performance-related statistics for you based on the test result.

Performance grade and tips – See how your website conforms to performance best practices from Google Page Speed (similar to Yahoo’s Yslow). You can get some great tips on how to speed up your website this way.

Trace your performance history – We save each test for you so you can review it later and also see how things change over time (with pretty charts!).

Test from multiple locations – See how fast a website loads in Europe, the United States, etc.

Share your results – We’ve made it easy for you to perform a test and share it with your friends, work colleagues or web host.

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How to Determine What Videos Are Topping The YouTube Charts?

November 25, 2011

When I visit YouTube I am often looking for the videos that are topping the charts (most popular). This can be a challenge; however, there is an easy way to see what videos are topping the charts for the day, week, month and even all time.

Simply visit youtube.com, but add the word charts to the web address.  It will look like this in your web browser:

 http://youtube.com/charts

YouTube Charts

Not only can you determine what is popular at the moment for the most viewed videos, you can also determine what is topping the charts for the Most Discussed Videos, the Most Liked, the Most Viewed HD Videos, and the Top Favorited.  Hmmm… Is favorited a word?

YouTube Charts

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING – Giving Thanks To My Readers

November 24, 2011

Blogging is a lot of work, but there is reward. The reward comes to the author from the readers, their comments and their following.

Today, I am going to do something a little different that is off topic.  It hit me this morning to randomly pick the first reader I could locate and give recognition to that reader as a symbolic gesture of thanks to all the readers that have ever visited my blogs (What’s On My PC and Bookmarks4Techs).

Ironically, the first reader I came across is someone else who enjoys writing, appears to have just started blogging, and goes by the online name of Talin401. I can remember (and will not forget it) when I first started this venture I was under the wings of Bill Mullins (at Tech Thoughts) and TechPaul (at Tech-for Everyone). What they do not know is their gestures really made a change in my life.  So today, I hope to make a difference in this reader’s life.

Talin401, as a symbol to all my readers, I say “Thank You” and as a gesture of thanks I am asking my readers to please take a moment and visit Talin401’s blog. It is called – Talinorfali – Just Another WordPress Blog.

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Talinorfali – Just Another WordPress Blog is not a tech blog; however, I do see some inklings of tech in some of the writings (i.e. How Social Networking & Communication Has Changed The World).  It is a blog where personal inspiration and advice is provided.  What a nice blog to find on Thanksgiving.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ! 

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GEEK SQUEAKS (#64) – Everything Kindle, Clean Your Windows PC, FREE Software, Space Fantasy Wallpaper, and the 25 Worst Passwords

November 24, 2011

Everything Kindle: Kindle Fire, Accessories and Books

Everything Kindle

I recently had the opportunity to play around with the Kindle Fire. It is not an iPad Killer, but it is everything Amazon is saying it is. If you don’t believe me, read the reviews [HERE].  If you are looking for a SOLID tablet computer, that is easy to navigate, that will get you on the internet (on the go), has great screen resolution, and the ability to add apps, then do not hesitate. For the money, you will not go wrong. Great present for Christmas!

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CCleaner

CCleaner

CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

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Big Geek Daddy
Free Software

A Big Geek’s collection of Free Software and websites to help you improve your computer knowledge and experience.  Nearly all of the software linked to is Freeware, however, some is Payware.  You can save a considerable sum of money by using Free Software rather than buying a retail product.  Most of the software that isn’t free has a trial period where you can use the program for free to see if you like it.

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Awesome Wallpapers
Space/Fantasy Wallpaper Set 51

Space Fantasy Wallpaper

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AskBillFirst
25 “Worst Passwords” of 2011 Revealed – Yahoo! Finance

Worst Passwords

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Computers & Accessories Index

Over 600 Bookmarked Tech Sites

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Colorize Your Folders In Windows Explorer

November 23, 2011

I am big into file management and as a result I am often working in Windows Explorer (or Q-Dir) quite frequently.

Windows Explorer displays the hierarchical structure of files, folders, and drives on your computer. It also shows any network drives that have been mapped to drive letters on your computer. Using Windows Explorer, you can copy, move, rename, and search for files and folders. For example, you can open a folder that contains a file you want to copy or move, and then drag the file to another folder or drive. [ source: Microsoft ]

To help me visually navigate the folder structure in Windows Explorer I use a program called Folder Colorizer.

Colorizer

Folder Colorizer is an utility that enables you to add color to any folder you select. For example, I have a folder labelled RickR that I use as a catchall folder for downloaded files (from the internet, external drives, email, etc…). When in Windows Explorer, by colorizing the RickR folder (with Folder Colorizer), I can visually target that folder and immediately pick it out from the other folders.

After installing Folder Colorizer, simply go into Windows Explorer and right click on the folder you desire to work with (or change the color of). You can also pick additional colors than what is reflected.

Colorizer

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A Virtual Pointer Stick To Help You Make Presentations

November 22, 2011

When conducting projector based training presentations there are several ways to point out an object on the screen.  Some presenters will use a laser pointer; whereas others will simply use the mouse pointer or a pointer function that is built into the software (such as Powerpoint).

In the days prior to computers it was not uncommon for a presenter to use an actual stick, called a pointer stick, to point out the specifics. If you are still stuck in the old days of the pointer stick, it is now time for you to advance to the virtual pointer stick.  Yes, virtual in the sense that you can call it up on the screen when you need it or make it disappear. It is a portable app called PointerStick and it actually looks like a pointer stick.  It will definitely make your class taken notice.

PointerStick

  PointerStick

PointerStick is a portable tool that presents on the Windows Desktop a virtual pointer stick, for example for Presentations to highlight the current mouse position and the emphasis on presenting will be better. The use of the virtual pointer stick is ideal for projectors (Beamer) and larger LED/LCD screens.

Features:

Very Small Program
Low CPU usage
Adjustable size of Pointer Stick
Several Pointing-Stick textures (bitmaps)
Optional alpha transparency
Optional deactivation by mouse or keyboard input
Optional translation feature
Portable

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Did You Know About The Microsoft Translator Bookmarklet?

November 21, 2011

Did you know that Microsoft has available a cross browser bookmarklet (or plugin), that will work in just about any browser, that will give you control over translating the language of a web page? I know many of the browsers have translating functions built in, but this plugin is another option that is just plain handy to have around.

Microsoft Translator

When invoked the bookmarklet will automatically detect the original language of any page and translate the page to your native language (without ever leaving the page). To set this up [ CLICK HERE ] . You will be taken to the Microsoft Translator Bookmarklet page.  When you get there, simply select your language, then drag the “translate” text to your browser bookmarks bar.  The bar has to be present in order for this to work.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#44)

November 20, 2011

This week I featured a blog post about ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot; so, I thought it would be neat to post a wallpaper image of ASIMO that you can use as a wallpaper background.

To Get ASIMO [ CLICK HERE ]

ASIMO

Browse for wallpapers from previous weeks, [CLICK HERE]

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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Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day.

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Bookmarks4Techs – New Site Design

November 18, 2011

Bookmarks4Techs

A new site design is in place, at my sister site – Bookmarks4Techs. Page loads are now faster allowing you to grasp as much information as possible in a shorter amount of time. One of the main features of the site are the RSS feeds located on the sidebars, which are feeds from some of the top computer, software and information technology sites on the internet. The new design makes those feeds standout and allows you to read those feeds as separate blocks of text. The older design I was using made those feeds run together and difficult to decipher; also, I was noticing choppy page scrolling due to the amount of information that was being presented.  In other words, the coding of the theme I was using could not handle the load. The new theme design is a simpler interface, with one goal in mind; to handle the ton of information that I am throwing out there to you in a faster and readable manner.

When visiting the site, make sure you click on the Bookmarks4Techs tabat the top of the page. You will be surprised to find links to over 600 computer, software and information technology sites on the internet.  This list continues to grow… All links will open in separate browser tabs allowing you toggle back and forth from the site.

To help support the site and put some butter on my bread, I am currently experimenting with the Amazon.com Affiliate program and will be posting (as I have) links to computer, software, and information technology products that I find to be of excellent quality. One of my passions is looking for the new tech toys…

I hope you bookmark and plan to visit Bookmarks4Techs on a regular basis …  Thank you!

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Three Technological Innovations That Will Blow Your Mind

November 18, 2011

Technology never ceases to amaze me. Check out these three technological innovations that will blow your mind — a spherical flying machine; brain imaging technology that is leading us down the road to mind reading; and, ASIMO, the humanoid robot.

Spherical flying machine developed by Defense Ministry’s Research Department

The world’s first spherical flying machine developed by the Research Department at Japan’s

Ministry of Defense. This machine can hover like a helicopter, and take-off and land vertically. But because it works like a propeller plane standing vertically, it can fly forward at high speed using wings, which a helicopter can’t do. This machine also has three gyro sensors, so even if it hits an obstacle, it can maintain its attitude and keep flying through automatic control. – [ source: DigInfo TV ]

Spherical Flying Machine

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My Take: Keep government out of mind-reading business

The age of mind reading is upon us.

Neuroscience is advancing so rapidly that, under certain conditions, scientists can use sophisticated brain imaging technology to scan your brain and determine whether you can read a particular language, what word you are thinking of, even what you are dreaming about while you are asleep. [ source: CNN Belief Blog ]

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ASIMO – The World’s Most Advanced Humanoid Robot

ASIMO is the culmination of two decades of humanoid robotics research by Honda engineers. ASIMO can run, walk on uneven slopes and surfaces, turn smoothly, climb stairs, and reach for and grasp objects. ASIMO can also comprehend and respond to simple voice commands. ASIMO has the ability to recognize the face of a select group of individuals. Using its camera eyes, ASIMO can map its environment and register stationary objects. ASIMO can also avoid moving obstacles as it moves through its environment.

Watch video to See ASIMO in action!

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You Should Never Use a Vacuum Cleaner to Clean the Inside of Your Computer

November 17, 2011

The interior of a computer case is designed with airflow in mind to keep the internal components from overheating; however, this same airflow, managed by a fan (or fans) can also cause problems in the long term if routine maintenance (or cleaning) is not performed. When your computer is running anything that is airborne can be pulled into the inside of a computer (e.g. smoke, hair, dust, germs).

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How often you clean the inside of your computer is dependent on the environment and factors in the environment. For example, if your computer is at floor level and you have pets, it would be wise to clean the computer more frequently than if you had the computer at desk level with no pets. If you are a smoker, figure on cleaning the inside of the computer even more often. In my home, I clean the inside of my computer in the spring and in the fall.

Once you decide to the clean the inside of your computer the first and foremost step to take is to turn the computer “off” (and completely unplug it). Next, disconnect all cabling, then take the computer to a location where you can safely handle the computer and remove the side from the case of the computer. Wherever you perform this task, please be aware it needs to be somewhere that you do not mind blowing dust around. I typically take a small stand outside my garage (outdoors) to set the computer on.

Once you are setup, DO NOT be tempted to use your vacuum cleaner to clean the components inside the computer. WHY? A vacuum cleaner will generate static electricity that could ultimately damage the internal components (such as the motherboard).

To clean the inside of the computer (to remove the dust), I suggest blowing the dust from the inside of the computer. Please wear a pair of safety glasses when performing this task [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE]. If you are an asthmatic, it may be advisable to wear an air mask, as well [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE] . In my case I have an actual air compressor, which I set at very low pressure, to blow the dust and debris from the inside the computer. The most common method of blowing dust out of the computer is to purchase and use a can of compressed air [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE] .

Can of Compressed Air

When blowing air around the fan components, be aware that the blades on the fans will turn (often at a very high rate of speed) and could cause a potential back voltage condition. It is advisable to use the eraser end of a pencil to hold the fan blades in place. Also, when using compressed air in a can, expel the air in short intervals; not long intervals. WHY? If you continuously expel or blow out the contents of the can, the can will rapidly get cold and generate moisture; especially if you tilt the can. Due to this occurrence, I will often let the computer set for 10 or 15 minutes after the cleaning process to ensure the components are dry.

Cleaning the inside of your computer is not really a difficult process and will become an easily learned process if you do it on a regular basis. The reward to this is that your computer will breath easier and last longer.

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