Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Restore "Classic View" To Windows 7 Control Panel

When I first got a Vista machine, one of the first thing I did was switch the Control Panel from categorized tasks to the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”. Which was easy, as there was a click-able option there in the upper left.

Windows 7 also comes with the Control Panel preset to a categorized tasks, and I still want the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”, but there is no click-able option to use. In Windows 7, you have to use a different approach to revert, and switch back to Classic View.

1) Open the Control Panel (Start button > Control Panel)
2) Look to the upper right, and click on the drop-down arrow by View by: and change it to “Small icons”.

Win7_CP

That’s it. You’re done. Your Control Panel will now be much more familiar looking if you’ve been using Windows for a while (more “XP like”) as well as providing a more comprehensive list of the Control Panel’s options.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 31, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Boost your wireless for 25¢

How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer, but, methods for achieving a stronger wireless signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free (some risk).
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25 -$50.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100 (or less).

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, if you have some tinfoil, scissors, and glue, I can tell you that a parabolic reflector will improve your signal (aka “gain”) .. in one direction, and it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time to try it!

This short video tutorial demonstrates:

And the template is here, http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/index.html

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these “hacks” and tips.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 30, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, networking, performance, routers and WAPs, tech, tweaks, upgrading | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

10 Ways To Dodge The Latest Online Scams

Folks, a quick reading reco today. This article reiterates some very sound advice for you to be aware of while online, and offers advice on how to protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim. Here are some highlights…

“The internet is a big part of our everyday lives—and the con artists know it. Cyber crooks are coming up with more and more ways to use the web to run their scams and cheat unsuspecting people out of their money.

Fortunately, with just a few easy steps, you can fight back and keep your hard-earned cash out of the hands of these criminals. To follow are the latest online frauds making the rounds, along with some advice on how you can protect yourself.

Social networking frauds
Thieves are devising increasingly clever ways to use these popular sites to run their cons. They’ll hack into an account, pass themselves off as your friend, and then trick you into downloading malicious software….or they’ll make a desperate, emergency plea for you to send them cash to a mail box…or they’ll lead you to a fake web site that asks you for your private banking information.

Another ploy are the quizzes and games that ask for your cell phone number so that the results can be sent to you—and you don’t know you’ve been conned until you see mysterious charges on your next phone bill.

Online charity hoaxes
… Most hoaxes are designed to take advantage of people’s desire to help, and online charity fraud is a perfect example of this tactic. The National White Collar Crime Center reports that in 2009 alone, more than $122 million was lost in donations to fraudulent internet charities.

Scareware scams
Here’s how it works: you’re surfing the web and a pop-up window says your computer has a virus. You download the scanning tool—it’s free, after all—and you’re alarmed to see the long list of dangerous files found on your computer. But luckily all can be fixed with a simple purchase,”

To read the entire article, and see the 10 tips for How To avoid these risks, please click here. I highly recommend you do.. even if you think you already know the answers. It’s a quick read, and the advice is 100% valid.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 29, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, security, social networking, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funnies

They say it’s a cat’s life. Today’s my last day of “mental vacation”, and I am going to try to be like this Siamese…

sinjin

Chillaxin'

Synjin” “Syngin”. Photo courtesy of J. Winsor.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | computers | 6 Comments

Winding Down…

The final days of my “mental vacation” are upon me. I must say that it was very healthy for me to take a break, and recharge my batteries; and I must also say that I hope that you, Dear Reader, will get a chance to take a break and unwind too. Stop. And smell the roses. As they say.

toucanModern life is hectic, and there are “never enough hours in the day”. More than half of us live in over-crowded, noisy, cities. Thanks to cellular phones, we can be interrupted and distracted no matter where we happen to be or what we happen to be doing… We live in the age of Xtreme, Always-on, Instant, Drive-Thru.

Stop. Smell the roses. Unwind. Turn off the cell and the TV. Try it. You just might like it.

Have a great weekend folks

March 27, 2010 Posted by | advice | 6 Comments

Congratulations License Winners

Folks, I am pleased to announce the winners of my software license giveaway. The 10 winners of the LAlarm random-drawing giveaway are:

Cappydawg Ramblinrick
Vanessa Rich
Ridwan Jeff
Adrian Coast32
Rahul Stanley A. Morris

Laptop theft is common and a constant threat. Thwart thieves with the free (for personal use) program – LAlarm – which emits a loud siren sound when a thief tries to steal your laptop. More importantly (IMHO) it can destroy selected data (and also retrieve it ¹) if the laptop is stolen — which is an important step in protecting your “identity”, and personal information.

Winners should receive an email from me with their key code shortly. Again, my thanks to the folks at LAlarm for making this contest possible.

¹ requires a Gmail account.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | computers | 6 Comments

How To Get Free Tax-prep Programs & e-Filing

IRS Program Lets Taxpayers Use Tax Preparation Software and e-File For Free

I am like many Americans in that I have become somewhat reliant on my computer to help me do my Federal taxes. It all started with a CD I received in the mail — a free copy of H&R Block’s TaxCut. I tried it. And I found it just a wee bit easier to use and figure out than the 1040A user manual our government provides.

The following year, I received a CD, and the year after that.. and sure enough, I became “hooked” on TaxCut. (I understand that the other tax prep software player(s) did the same in other locations.)

Last year, however, H&R Block neglected to send me a free TaxCut CD.

Well, NBD, I figured. I’ll just go to the H&R Block website and download a copy.
Wrong.
On the site, H&R Block wants to sell me a copy.

By now, I was “jonesing” for my TaxCut “fix”… I almost paid. But with a little further research I found out that to access the free version of TaxCut, I had to first go to to the IRS website.

IRS banner

On the IRS site, there is a page called “FreeFile”, and here you will find the “partnership links” to the free versions of 19 accepted tax prep programs — of which TaxCut (and also TurboTax) is one.
To qualify, you must have an Adjusted Gross Income of $56,000 or less.

Today’s free link: FreeFile at the IRS
Note: there’s two buttons on the page; “I will choose” and “help me choose”. Though all of the programs there are accepted by the IRS, I would recommend clicking the “I will choose”, and then selecting either TaxCut or TurboTax.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 26, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, free software | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment