Upgrade Your Hotmail To Outlook.com

July 31, 2012

If you are a Microsoft Office user, I am sure you have heard of Microsoft Outlook.  Well today I learned that Microsoft has launched a preview of their new webmail service called Outlook.com.  As a matter of fact if you have a Hotmail account you can get started using Outlook.com today.

Outlook

If you’re a Hotmail customer and want to upgrade to the Outlook.com preview, just click “Upgrade” in the options menu of Hotmail. Your email address, password, contacts, old email, and rules will remain unchanged, and you can send/receive email from your @hotmail.com or @msn.com or @live.com address. You’ll experience it all in the new Outlook.com preview user interface. You can also add an @Outlook.com email address to your account if you want.

Outlook.com integrates with your other Microsoft services, such as contacts, calendar and the SkyDrive cloud storage service. You can also view Microsoft Office documents from Outlook using the cloud based versions of those applications (called Office Web Apps).

To learn more about Outlook.com, go to the Outlook Blog [HERE] .

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Wallpaper of the Week (#80)

July 28, 2012

This wallpaper background is called Calamari Underwater…  I never thought I would be featuring a squid as a wallpaper, but this one is awesome (especially the HD version).

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

Calamari Wallpaper

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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Install WordWeb As A Portable App On Your Flash Drive

July 27, 2012

I did not realize, until today, that you can install WordWeb as a portable app.  What this means is that I can carry my favorite English thesaurus and dictionary with me.

I have written about WordWeb [ HERE ] and [ HERE ] before and highly recommend it.

WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include:

Definitions and synonyms
Related words
5000 audio pronunciations
65 000 text pronunciations

150 000 root words
120 000 synonym sets
Look up words in almost any program

To install WordWeb to your flashdrive, download the main WordWeb application from [ HERE ]. Make sure your flash drive is plugged in prior to initiating the installation.

During the installation process you will reach a point where you will see the “WordWeb Dictionary/Thesaurus Setup”. Click on the “Browse” button to locate your flash drive and any folders you desire WordWeb to be installed.  After you have designated the install path, click on the “Advanced Options” button.

image

After you click on the “Advanced Options” button, the “Install Options” box will appear. Make sure you place a “check mark” in the box labelled “Install as portable app (e.g. on USB drive).  Then click “OK”, then “Next” to begin the install. WordWeb will now be installed as a portable app on your flash drive.

image

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All It Took Was Unplugging The Computer and Plugging It Back In

July 25, 2012

A tech (and gardening friend) of mine (Puterguy) sent me this story (actually as a comment on the blog), that compelled me to share his experience with you in hope that it will help someone else.

image

Rick: I ran into another first today. I wasn’t sure where to post it so network monitoring sounded kinda close.

Story: The computer was not connecting to the the server and showing a disconnected or low signal.

My first thought was the CAT5 wire was shorting somewhere or a bad network port. After testing the line AND plugging into another CAT5 port that I knew was working, it still failed to connect. I rebooted the computer and the BIOS was set to check for LAN boot and there was a message which said something about Ethernet boot corrupted. Right away I am thinking “bad network card or BIOS corrupted”. I left it boot and logged in to still find the same symptoms. I turned the computer off and started to disconnect everything to swap out the Ethernet card BUT noticed the light on the Ethernet card on. Since the card was “wake on LAN”, I decided to pull the power cord to sorta reboot the Ethernet card. I plugged the computer back in, hit the power button, and TADA, no more issues.

All it took was unplugging the computer and plugging it back in (long story short)…

Be sure to check out Puterguys blog [ click here ] which is a gardening and tech blog mix…  Very unique!

image

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A Google Chrome Calculator Browser Extension With A 5 Star Rating

July 24, 2012

If you are a Google Chrome fan, then you need to install the Calculator browser extension. It gives you easy access to a very nice looking standard calculator (with big buttons) where you can use your keyboard or mouse to input your numerical data. I have found that I use this calculator frequently, due that it is readily accessible in my web browser (where I spend most of my computing time).

This is a standard calculator with a great productivity feature: You can put the result directly into the field you are currently on with a single click. No cutting and pasting required!

When on a field, click on the calculator icon on the toolbar and you will see a basic calculator with a ‘drop’ button (if you’re not on a text field, this button is not available). When finished with the calculation, click the drop button and the value is placed in the field your were on. You no longer need to cut and paste values from your calculator.

Calculator

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Tech Tip #26: My Mouse Doesn’t Work

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Wallpaper of the Week (#79)

July 21, 2012

Check out this “well groomed” wolf…  An awesome background image that looks sensational on a large display!

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

Wolf Wallpaper

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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Use Google Chrome’s Task Manager To Get Details About Specific Running Processes

July 19, 2012

The browser I primarily use is Google Chrome. A feature in Chrome, that is little used and can be quite handy, is the built-in task manager. The Chrome Task Manager can provide you with details about the specific processes that are running (plus CPU, Network bandwidth being consumed, and a multitude of other options).

The easiest and quickest way I found to get to the task manager is simply right mouse click on Chrome’s tab bar (at the top of the screen) and select Task Manager.  You can also get to the Task manager by clicking on the wrenchtools menuon the browser toolbar, by selecting Tools and then Task Manager OR use the shortcut keys Shift+Esc.

Chrome's Task Manager

Chrome’s task manager is quite useful to determine what processes (i.e. tabs, extensions, etc.) is consuming the most memory and CPU cycles. This can be quite helpful when you suspect that there is an errant application or process running that is causing Chrome to misbehave.

To force a webpage or application to close in Google Chrome, select the webpage, then click End process. Sometimes multiple websites might share a single process, depending on how you opened them.

You can also right mouse click within the Task Manager Window to toggle on/off other options that may be helpful when troubleshooting.

Chrome's Task Manager

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Tone The Brightness of Your Monitor Down With PangoBright

July 17, 2012

The illumination factor of the LCD and LED monitors of today, can be quite bright. To manage the illumination on my monitor, I use an automated utility called F.lux to manage the brightness of my monitor to match the indoor lighting.  It has been a keeper on my main PC for the past couple of years.

Today, on the hunt for other monitor related utilities, I came across a very small program (<120kb) that gives you the ability to regulate the brightness of your monitor (or monitors) from the system tray.  It is called PangoBright

PangoBright is a free “screen dimmer” Windows utility for setting the brightness of your main screen as well as external monitors. You can choose which screens will be set to the selected brightness level.

After installation, PangoBright sits in the System Tray at the bottom right of your Windows screen. Just click on the red “P” logo, and the PangoBright pop-up menu appears. Scroll down to your desired brightness level (in percentage increments) and click. That’s it!

Pangobright

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Check Out This Interactive Digital Playground

July 16, 2012

Make sure you check this out…  It is Paul Neave’s digital playground of interactive tools, toys, apps and art! Each one of these components require no installation. Simply visit the links in your browser and enjoy. Amazing collection of work on Mr. Neave’s part.

Neave Interactive (Main Site)

Neave's Interactive

Webcam Toy
Strobe Illusion
Bouncy Balls
Planetarium
Television
Imagination
Fractal Zoomer
Tetris N-Blox
Hexxagon
Simon
Tic-Tac-Toe
Snake
AOL.swarm
Barclay’s Wheel
digitalgraffiti

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Wallpaper of the Week (#78)

July 14, 2012

This wallpaper of a cat, I had in my collection; however, I was unable to find where I downloaded it from, until now.  I urge you to download this one. It is my favorite wallpaper of all time.

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

Cat Wallpaper

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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Read Your Browser’s History File With These NirSoft Utilities

July 13, 2012

imageDid you know that when you visit a site on the internet, your web browser archives the site address? This archival process is commonly referred to as the browser history. The main purpose of the history is that if you forget the site address of a site you may have visited, you can go into the history to find the site. I really do not know many home-based computer users who actually do this; but, it is important to know that it does exist. This is especially helpful to know, if you have children or teenagers accessing the internet.

The browser history can tell a story about a person’s browsing habits and patterns, to include the time and date when a site was visited.  If you are at work and your workplace is strict on what you are accessing on the internet (and when), just remember your tracks can be easily traced. It is not uncommon for an employer, on the server side, to capture what sites a person has visited (and when) on the internet; even if you dump the browser’s history file.

On the basic level of things, like at home, and you have a need to know and you need a quick way of grabbing the browsing history on a Windows based computer, I highly recommend the utilities by NirSoft that specifically specialize in reading the history file of the most popular browsers out there. Simply download any of these, unzip, run and watch the magic.

Internet History View

Mozilla Firefox History View

Google Chrome History View

Safari History View

With each of these utilities, you can easily export the history data to text/HTML/Xml file.

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GEEK SQUEAK: Why You Should Use Bcc In Your Email

July 11, 2012

Bcc = Blind Carbon Copy

Did you know that if you use the Bcc field in your email client to address and send an email to multiple users, the recipients will not see whom you sent the email to?

Many know this trick; however, I still find that many do not. When using the Bccfield to send your emails, the people receiving the email will not know who the other recipients are. It is not a trick of hidden magic. It is that the addresses of the other recipients are simply not shared.

I often receive forwarded chain emails; usually consisting of jokes, humorous movies, prayer requests, etc… Occasionally I will find one of these emails humorous or important enough that I will pass it on; HOWEVER, prior to doing this I perform some housecleaning steps.

I will remove any “FWD” text (usually in the subject line) and will remove any email addresses I find in the body of the email that reflects the email addresses of recipients who have already received the email. After performing these housecleaning steps, I will enter into the the Bcc field, in my email client, the recipient’s email addresses, from my address book, to send (or forward) the email. If the email client requires at least one entry in the “To” field, I simply enter my own email address.

The benefits of using the Bcc field is simply this. You are protecting the privacy of other people. Currently I have approximately (5)-five email accounts that I use for specific purposes, from a variety of email services, with one of those accounts being my primary email account. I am very protective of that primary email account address and do not want it thrown about for the spammers to get hold of or for strangers to see. For example, I have found people’s email addresses in forwarded emails that I know and have not seen for years. They are very surprised when I contact them; and, will often ask, “How did you get my email?”. I explain that I simply pulled it from a forwarded email.

Be courteous to others and learn to use the Bcc field in your email; AND, when possible avoid chain emails all together.

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Create and Customize Your Very Own Quick Access Notepad Using Google Docs

July 9, 2012

One of my favorite note keeping and note collecting apps is Evernote, but there are times where I just need to jot down a thought, web link, reminder, phone number, etc… without having to navigate my large Evernote collection or having to actually use paper. The post-it note concept, whether paper notes or electronic notes, did not really catch on with me due to the notes being scattered about. I needed something that was simple and within immediate reach.

One solution that I came up with to keep these types of notes, where I could quickly access the notes, was to create my very own quick access notepad using Google Docs (aka: Google Drive).  If you have a Gmail account, you can easily gain access to and start using Google Docs (aka: Google Drive). Google Docs consists of a suite of apps such as: Documents, Presentations, Forms, Spreadsheets, Drawings, etc…).  In my case, to create my very own personal notepad, I used the “document” component.

To get you started, simply open up a new Google Drive “document” where you can let your imagination fly in creating and customizing your own quick access notepad.

In my case, I changed the margins on both sides to 0.5 inches (to take full advantage of the document space), I changed the background color to yellow (to emulate the color of a canary yellow notepad); I inserted a table with two columns with blue table borders (to emulate the line color in a yellow notepad); and finished it up by inserting a header with a title of Rick’s Notepad (in a red font). The fun part about all of this is that it can be customized and changed at any time.

Rick's Notepad

After creating and customizing the notepad, we now need to make it where we can quickly access (and even share) the notepad.  To do this, click on the “File” menu and select “Share”. The “Share Settings” dialog box will appear. NOTE: In my case, I kept my notepad private and did not share it.

Share Google Docs

Here is the most important part (or key) to making your notepad quickly accessible.

Under “Link to share (only accessible by collaborators)”, you will see a web address. That address is a direct web link (or shortcut) to your notepad. At this point you can copy that web link to anywhere you desire. In my case I inserted it on my browsers bookmark bar, inserted it into my actual favorite bookmarks, and used the link in my Symbaloo web launcher app (which is very cool). Other places to save the link that is possible is your desktop, the Windows taskbar, the Start Menu, etc… This web link (shortcut) allows you to quickly access your notepad directly from any internet browser enabled device (such as your computer, smartphone, tablet pc, etc…).

Once you have this all customized to your personal taste, you can save text, web links, pictures, etc… to your notepad. You can even search for note entries by holding down the “Ctrl+F” keys on your keyboard. NOTE: I highly recommend that you insert a table when you create your notepad so that it can serve to separate the notes.

I have found that the notepad I created, I use more and more everyday, because it’s just plain simple and it works; plus, it gives me a sense of creativity.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#77)

July 7, 2012

With the heat of summer and the baseball season at its’ mid-point, I thought this wallpaper to be appropriate…

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

MLB Wallpaper

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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