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Tricks & Tips

Archive for August, 2008

Best Freebies

August 28th, 2008

Kiplinger’s 2008 Freebie Roundup

Free movies online, free ATMs, free junk mail control, and much more. This is a great list to review and ensure you’re familiar with all the free services/alternatives.  Just click the link above.


MS Office 2010 – $59.95

August 26th, 2008

(students only)

Microsoft reintroduced its huge discount for students to purchase Office 2007 Ultimate for $59.95.  Normally almost $700, this is real hard to pass up.  You must have a .edu address at the school you are enrolled in.

Office 2007 Ultimate includes a huge list of the latest Office applications:

Although Office 2007 is a bit different from 2003, and has a good learning curve, I’ve grown use to it and like it a lot now.  I highly recommend the upgrade.

UPDATE:  MS Office 2010 for Students just $79.95:  http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/


Document, Document, Document

August 21st, 2008

I don’t mean MS Word.  I mean your day.  I write everything down (or I’ll forget).  But I’ve always heard, “details make the difference”.  And, they do in most aspects of life, but specifically when getting things done.

Record details of most all phone calls. Date and time are obvious, but I also get the name of the person I spoke with.  I record the reason I called, and the resolution made.  If I expect a call back or to wait on something, I ask for a specific timeframe and record that also.  Often that makes it to my calendar for follow up.

For your business, or just at home, when some top-heavy, fortune 500 company promises you something but doesn’t come through, you can quickly reference your notes.   Knowing the details is often ammo enough to get things done.

MS Outlook makes a great place to store notes for each contact.  If you can sync to your cell phone, they’ll be even easier to reference or update.  However, whatever contact management application you’re already using is fine.  Find a system that works best for you and stick to it.


Highlight Text on WebPages

August 19th, 2008

Use www.awesomehighlighter.com to highlight content within a webpage.

I send links to friends all the time when I find a neat article or useful site. AwesomeHighlighter creates a new link for you, after you highlight specific text. This is a great aid in pointing right to the important stuff you want your friend to see first.

Here’s an example of something I just highlighted (click the image to get a clearer view):




There are times when you need to resend an email.  I’ve always done it the hard way and just recently found there is a function in Outlook to do this for you!

Outlook 2007:

  1. Go to your Sent Items and open the message you want to resend.
  2. Across the top on the Actions section of the ribbon click Other Actions
  3. Click Resend This Message

Outlook 2003:

  1. Go to your Sent Items and open the message you want to resend.
  2. Click on the Actions menu down
  3. Click Resend This Message

Get More From AVG Anti-Virus 8

August 12th, 2008

Contributed by Terry Kirby

We talked about customizing AVG back in February.  But now you should be using the new AVG Free 8 and the instructions change a bit.  Here’s an update for you.

Turn off those annoying signatures in your email by AVG:
– Double click the AVG icon located on your taskbar near your clock
– Select the “Tools” drop-down menu at the top of the box
– Select “Advanced Settings”
– Select “Email Scanner” (halfway down the list on the left)
– Uncheck the “Certify email” box at the top of the screen
– Click “OK”

Set the time AVG will scan your computer:
– Double click the AVG icon located on your taskbar near your clock
– Select “Computer Scanner” on the list to the left
– Click once on “Scheduled scan” located in the center of the screen so it is highlighted
– Click on the “Edit scan schedule” button at the bottom of the box
(It’s best to choose a time when you are normally away from your PC for at least an hour.)

AVG Linkscanner shows the green star for links to indicate safety prior to loading.  These can be annoying.  Although not the safest idea, here’s how to disable them:
– Open Internet Explorer
– Click on the “Tools” drop-down menu at the top of your browser
– Select “Manage Add-ons”
– Select “AVG Safe Search” in the list
– Click “Disable” towards the bottom of the box
– Click “OK”


Speed Up Your Computer

August 7th, 2008

– Contributed by Terry Kirby

Speed things up by running Disk Defragmenter periodically.

It’s easy to forget simple things when there are so many third party cleaning programs out there.  As routine maintenance on your PC, you should defragment your files periodically.  Over time, accessing files and programs, installing new programs, and even uninstalling programs can disrupt the flow of data on your hard drive.  A simple fix is to run Disk Defragmenter.

To run, simply follow these steps:

  • Click the Start menu
  • Select  All Programs
  • Select  Accessories
  • Select  System Tools
  • Select Disk Defragmenter
  • To start, click Defragment

Defrag Example

This process can take an hour or more, depending on the size of your drive.  This tool should be used periodically as a routine maintenance, once every 3 months or so.

If you notice your PC is running slower than usual, let Disk Defragmenter analyze your drive and get you back into shape.


OpenDNS - Filtering Example

Open DNS - Recent Activity Example

Block access to specified websites, block ads/spyware, block adult websites, get reports on which sites your computers are visiting, and much more with OpenDNS: www.opendns.com

We’ve been using OpenDNS for quite a while now and it has some amazing capabilities.  I’ve been reluctant to send this out as a tip as it isn’t the easiest thing to setup.  However, I want to make you aware of its options in case this is something you need.  This is a great solution for schools, churches, small offices, or public computers. It can also be used for individual computers at home.

OpenDNS is well respected and used by many fortune 500 companies.  However, please note, this method is not 100% secure against a savvy IT individual, but is a free alternative to hardware applications that can be costly.

Visit www.opendns.com for more information.  They have a great walk through setup guide.  Or, here s a 3rd party’s review and setup guide: http://www.webmonkey.com/tutorial/Set_Up_OpenDNS/