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Tricks & Tips

Archive for November, 2008

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You can now send and receive picture messages (MMS)!  ATT finally stepped up to the plate.  You do need a quick update:  Step by step guide with photos…

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PC World has 15 great tips to smooth out your travels:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/154343/mobile_tech_tricks.html

Here’s an excerpt-  Save the Cost of a 411 Call:
“… Traditional 411 services charge you for every look-up. But now there’s an alternative: GOOG-411, a free 411 service from search giant Google. Just dial 1-800-GOOG-411, follow the automated voice prompts, and let GOOG-411’s voice recognition program take care of you for free.”

(If you don’t travel, and just need some fun, Turkey Day trivia, go here:  http://home.aristotle.net/Thanksgiving/trivia.asp)

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A reader asked, “How do I permanently change my view when I open documents? Meaning, when I open an attached document, it always opens in “reading layout” and I just like to see a normal piece of paper, not a book layout. I can’t figure out how to make that change to “normal” and stay that way!”

MS Word can be annoying by always opening email attachments in their Reading Layout.  This gives you a nice overview, but isn’t “comfortable” and doesn’t allow you to edit the document.  Follow the image guide above, or the steps below:

Word 2003:
1.  Click on the Tools menu and select Options
2.  Click on the General tab
3.  Uncheck “Allow starting in the Reading Layout”
4.  Hit OK

Word 2007:
1.  Click on the Office Button / “Orb” at the top left
2.  Click Word Options at the bottom
3.  Click Popular in the left column
4.  Uncheck “Open e-mail attachments in Full Screen Reading View”

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2 Minute Video: To start, click here or on the above image.

This video is a basic introduction on how to search the Internet.

Summary: Use words just like you might ask anyone else:
•    “How large is a killer whale?
•    “How do you make Christmas bows video?
•    “Time in united kingdom

… want to learn more?  Previous tip:  How to Search the Internet

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How to Protect Your Laptop Screen

November 18th, 2008
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It is easy to damage your screen, or loosen the hinges, by improperly opening and closing the lid.   Follow this simple guide to ensure a long, secure life of your laptop’s screen:

Things to remember:
1.    Open and close the lid by holding both sides of the screen, or from the center. Closing the lid from just one side causes increased pressure on that hinge and it will bend or break over time.

2.    Lift or hold a laptop from the base, not the screen directly. This also will cause damage to the hinges.

3.    Avoid exposing your laptop to extreme temperatures, like leaving it in the car.  Extreme temperatures can damage the screen and/or other hardware in the laptop.  It can also shorten the battery life.

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Your Computer Knows Where You Are

November 13th, 2008
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New location-aware services, such as with maps on iPhones or BlackBerry’s, are moving to your computer.  Soon your computer will know where it is physically located and offer services based on this information.

A few examples might include…

  • Loading weather.com to see weather without having to enter city information
  • Finding coffee shops nearby
  • Exact driving directions from your from porch
  • Now, “They Know.”   😉

Technology
Right now the technology uses nearby wireless signals, not GPS.  But soon new options will be upon us.  Services will be built in to the next version of Firefox (3.1).  And Microsoft officially stated the next version of Windows will include geo-location tools.

Testing
I was skeptical.  So I tried installing pre-release extensions to make my web browser instantly locate me.  I was amazed!  I headed to Google Maps and clicked Current Position.  It zeroed right down on me in the very building I was in.  Google loaded a Street View and Flickr images for the area.  Nice.

Learn more?
You need Firefox + Greasemonkey + Geode:  http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/10/introducing-geode/

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Add Today’s Date to Your Tray

November 11th, 2008
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Here’s an easy way to include the date in your system tray on your task bar.  Download this small, free utility:  http://www.rcis.co.za/dale/tclockex/.

Windows only shows the time in the tray.  Although you can hover your mouse over the time to get the date, some might prefer it permanently attached.

This application requires little resources, so your system still runs fast.  You can customize it to display a simple date + time, or change the font and go wild with colors.  Very configurable.  Very easy.

For example:

Or…

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Here’s a great article I read in the NY Times. The writer lists several simple, but smart tips for the basic computer user.

A few examples:
* You can open the Start menu by tapping the key with the Windows logo on it.

* Google is also a units-of-measurement and currency converter. Type “teaspoons in 1.3 gallons,” for example, or “euros in 17 dollars.” Click Search to see the answer.

* You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screenful. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.

Continue reading…

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Learn how your vote is tallied and how the election process works:
4 minute video: www.commoncraft.com/election – By The CommonCraft Show

Or…. tired of hearing about politics?
Get free brewed coffee refills at Starbucks when you register your gift card online.

Vote responsibly. =)

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