Email – Less Is More

May 17, 2015

Was reading the USA Today tech article about 8 things you’re still doing wrong with email and there was “one of the eight” that really jumped out at me. That “one” being;  When composing an email “Less Is More” — meaning:

K. I. S. S. — Keep it simple, stupid. Email is not the place to write a novel. With more than 121 emails in a typical inbox a day (source: The Radicati Group), no one wants to read 17 pages of text. Granted, your emails needn’t be as cold and brief as an instant message or text (e.g. “C U @ 10 4 java?”) but be sure what you’re communicating is clear and near the top of the email, as studies have shown our attention span tends to drift as our eyes scan down the page. Friendly is good, but keep your email messages short, simple and concise. — source: USA Today

Oftentimes, especially when emotion is involved, we have a tendency to write lengthy emails. I can tell you from experience, that writing lengthy emails; especially, to the people that manage us at work, will not get you anywhere. If anything, it will have a negative impact.

Also, I have found two concerns, since the inception of email that factors into the equation:

  1. Most people are not good readers… (i.e. cannot accurately interpret or absorb the point being presented due to being too busy; lack good reading skills, short attention span, could care less, etc…)
  2. Most people are not good writers… (cannot accurately provide an interpretation of the point being presented due to poor grammar skills; poor spelling; lack attention to detail, let emotions take over, etc… )

Email is a powerful communicator and can serve as a record of actions, of sorts; however, be very careful of what your intentions are. Once you hit send, retraction of an email is impossible. It is best to keep the content brief and to the point. If you are sending an email, based on your emotions, I highly recommend you wait, really think it out and/or personally meet with or talk to the person.

A trick that has served me well, to make sure my email gets read, is to make the subject line of the email stick out like a sore thumb that is based on what the direct point or content of the email is. For example, instead of a subject line such as “Call Me”; I may insert a subject line “Call Me About the What’s On My PC Contract – ASAP”…

Let me know what some of your advice is when it comes to Email…

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Your Smartphone May Be Tracking You And Everywhere You Go (with Timestamps)

May 13, 2015

Friend of mine pointed me to this NBC News Video that explains in approximately 3 minutes how our smartphones (whether it be an Apple iPhone or Google Android Phone) are configured, by default, to track everywhere you go and keep a history of your movements. If you are not familiar with the settings on your phone that turn “on” this services, I highly recommend you take a moment, watch the video, and learn how to turn “off” these service.

How scary is this?  I have an Android Smartphone and when I purchased the phone, I had turned the Google Location Services to “off”.  I knew full well this was a tracking component; but, what I didn’t know was how powerful it was, until now.

For experimental purposes (and for benefit of this article), I turned the services back “on” and drove my wife to work. When I returned home I went to my desktop computer and went to Google’s Location History web site (you must have a google account in order for this to work). Low and behold my every movement from leaving my house, taking my wife to work, and returning home was tracked.

Also, to visually demontrate this, below is a screenshot (from my smartphone) where this service tracked my movements using Google Maps. I deliberately reduced the screenshot size so as not to reveal my location. If you notice to the left side of the map there is a calendar. If you have the service turned “on”, you can click on any date to determine where you have been (or your cheating lover), with associated timestamps.  You can also export the data to an XML file and most importantly an option to delete the data and the history… Again, watch the video and know how to turn these settings “on” and “off”.

Google Location History

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How To Activate The FM Radio Chip In Your Smartphone

May 9, 2015

I bet you did not know that your smartphone has a FM radio chip built into the phone that has the ability to receive FM radio signal broadcasts, just like any FM radio. Since this technology works off of the radio waves, no internet data connection is required.

So, how do you activate the chip in order to receive FM radio broadcasts? This “how to” article is a little bit more involved than what the title may lead you to believe; but, to activate the chip requires each of us to TAKE ACTION and contact our wireless carriers to request that the FM radio chip technology be activated. From what I have read, carriers in other countries activate the chips (by default).

Free Radio On My Phone

To learn more about the FM Radio chip, please visit Free Radio On My Phone

Contact your wireless carrier today to let them know — as a matter of public safety and consumer fairness for data plans — you want your phone’s FM chip activated for constant access to free FM radio!

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How To Auto Hide Icons On Your Desktop

April 3, 2015

I am real particular when it comes to the organization of icons (if any) on the desktop of my computers. What I have found over the years from assisting others (especially at home) is that people do not remove the icons on their desktop; thus, disorganization and clutter results. I truly believe, for most folks, it is out of fear of not knowing what is OK to delete and what is not OK to delete. Typically, most icons are shortcuts and are safe to delete; however, there are those occasions where you may have saved an important file to the desktop (which I would not do); where if you delete it, it will go to the recycle bin (for future permanent removal). Usually in that case, you need to move the file to another folder on your computer (such as your document folder).  If you want to learn what is safe to delete and what is not I encourage you to read this article from Microsoft — CLICK HERE — titled “Add or Remove Icons From Your Desktop…

If you are someone that adamant about not removing the icons from your desktop or you use the desktop as a launching point for the programs that you use on a regular basis, I encourage you to look at the small utility called AutoHideDesktopIcons.

AutoHideDesktopIcons

This utility, after a period of time it will auto-hide the icons on your desktop so that you have full view of your wallpaper. If you want the icons to show, all you have to do is left mouse click on the desktop and icons will reappear. I typically use AutoHideDesktopIcons on my notebook computer to make launching of my programs easier when using the touchpad. Another feature in the program is that you can set the program to auto-hide the taskbar with the exception of the start button…

AutoHideDesktopIcons is a Windows based program that works on all Windows OS platforms from Windows 98 to Windows 10.

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How Can I Upgrade To Windows 10 For FREE?

March 20, 2015

In the coming months, when Windows 10 is released to the general public, you may be wondering what the upgrade path will be (in order to get it FREE)…

I noticed on Microsoft’s Window 10 web site the following announcement. You can sign up now, via email, to received ongoing information about Windows 10.

“Great News!  We will offer a FREE upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year. And even better, once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time — for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months.”

SOURCE

Windows 10 Upgrade Offer

To read more NEWS on this — CLICK HERE

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If Your Windows 8.1 Computer Is Not Adjusting For Daylight Saving Time

March 10, 2015

When Daylight Saving Time occurred on March 8th, I noticed when I turned on my computer that it did not adjust for Daylight Saving Time. I did not realize, until this experience, that trying to set the time on my Windows 81. computer was a pain in the butt and figured that this experience may end up helping someone else out. I know I am losing my touch from being out of the IT field for awhile, but this was crazy and I can understand why people, not completely familiar with computers, would get frustrated.

I initially, as first thought, went to the taskbar tray, clicked on the time (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Change date and time” button  and manually set the time to account for the time change. Several days later, on a reboot, I noticed that the time reverted again back an hour. On this occasion I went into the time settings, by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Internet Time” tab and I noticed that when I manually performed a sync with one of the online internet servers, after I manually set the time, the time would automatically go back an hour.

I eventually found the solution; and that being once you go into the “Date and Time” settings either by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray or through the Control Panel, you want to click on the “Change time zone” button and make sure you have the “Automatically adjust clock for Daylight Saving Time” box with a check mark inside of it. Once I did that my time adjusted accordingly for my time zone. I have no idea how and why that box was unchecked; when, in my mind that should be checked by default (or I am starting to have one of those senior moments).

Windows 8.1 Time Settings

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GEEK SQUEAK – Avoid A Long Chain Of Mouse Clicks With These 56 Need To Know Windows Commands (featuring my favorite — msinfo32)

January 8, 2015

There are numerous Windows command-line commands available to the power user. I came across 56 WINDOWS COMMANDS EVERY USER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT that jumped out at me at the Chemtable Software Blog… While you are at the Chemtable site, you may want to check out their FREE utility called AUTORUN ORGANIZER – ADVANCED AUTORUN MANAGER FOR WINDOWS (to manage the autorun priorities on your PC).

Doing the same tasks over and over encourages finding a quicker way to accomplish them. Windows has such a thing as the command-line that allows executing certain applications with a single command avoiding a long chain of mouse clicks. You simply need to press the Win + R combination and type the corresponding command. Here is a list of 56 commands you may find useful in your everyday work with Windows… READ MORE

My favorite command-line command is msinfo32 as shown in the Run dialog box below… I typically run this command, especially on any system that I am not familiar with (when troubleshooting) to acquire a comprehensive overview of the OS, hardware, system components and software environment.

If you are new to command-lines, this one is an easy one to run that is quite useful. Simply press the Win + R combination on your keyboard (to bring up the Run dialog box), type msinfo32, and click on OK.

Run Dialog - MSInfo32

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