Tech – for Everyone

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

Topics Of Interest

Busy day here, but I found some good articles whose topics I hope you will find interesting, and the info provided, valuable. Some “recommended reading”, if you will.

How The New ‘Protecting Children’ Bill Puts You At Risk

A bill now makes the online activity of every American available to authorities upon request under the guise of protecting children from pornography..

“Protecting Children” forces ISPs to retain customer names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and dynamic IP addresses..

It’s like having your wallet plus the web sites you visit tracked and handed over on request. These logs are now going to be retained for the scope of one and a half years.Read more..

(Those of you with a brain might wanna make a point of reading this one.. This is just plain wrong [IMHO]. The article contains a link for voicing your opposition.)

• 10 ways to safeguard your college-bound student’s computer

You protect your corporate systems, but what about that back-to-school laptop you just bought your kid? Here are some things you can do to keep your student safe from cyber dangers.Read more..

Five reasons Android is superior to the iPhone

While on vacation, I was reminded (yet again) how superior the Android platform is to the iPhone.Read more..

Creating Shortcuts to Google’s Gmail, Docs, Tasks, Calendar and Contacts

I am a big Gmail user and have come to depend on Google’s Gmail and many of the other Google apps as an online personal information manager.Read more..

Three things Chromebooks need to fix to win buyers

While Chromebooks have the potential to win corporate customers, I still think three things need to happen before Chromebooks will attract consumers and businesses in large numbers.Read more..

The 10 Best Apps Of July From The Daily App

From Google+ for iPhone to Firefox for Android, here’s a glimpse at the best mobile apps we’ve featured in July on The Daily App blog.Read more..

10 things you should still do to every Windows PC

There are at least 10 things you should take a few minutes to do to every new Windows PC to get it ready for daily use. Don’t let your back-to-school PC drag your first semester down. Read more..

10 Cool Security Features In Mac OS X Lion

No doubt, when it comes to security, Apple’s new Mac OS X Lion is shedding its spots and is ready to roar. As the dust has settled on the release of Apple’s Mac OS X Lion, unveiled July 20, experts have started asking, “Yes, but is it secure?”Read more..

And for the super-Geeky.. (Here at T4E Headquarters, “geek” is a compliment.)

i-NVMM: Securing non-volatile memory on the fly

Computer memory is a treasure of unencrypted information. Fortunately, power off and it disappears. That’s not the case with next-generation memory.Read more..

10 Biggest Cyber Attacks Of July

The lazy days of summer were anything but for hackers this month. If anything, hackers were ramping up their efforts under increased pressure from international and domestic law enforcement agencies.Read more..

(Hmmm.. maybe you all should look at this one also..)

Today’s quote:I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Have a great day, everybody. And what do you say, let’s do the right thing.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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August 2, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, Apple, computers, cyber crime, Google, Internet, Microsoft, mobile, News, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

How To Quickly View A Calendar

Sometimes I need just a quick glance at a clock or a calendar.

Yes, I have clocks and calendars all over the place, and even on my phone (I have stopped wearing a wristwatch these days). And I have “calendar” apps and programs. I don’t know about you, but I spend enough time in front of a computer that the first place I look for the time is in the lower right corner — the clock in my Taskbar.
This has been true for years.

Should I just need today’s date, I hover the cursor over the Taskbar clock. If that is not showing, I press the Windows key, then “B”, and then the <– left arrow key. Which “unhides” the Taskbar and produces a pop-open window..

Should it be that I need a quick glance at the month’s calendar, I add one more key-press.

Press the Windows key, then “B“, and then the <– left arrow key, and then Enter.

I admit that is kind of a convoluted, and hard to remember keyboard shortcut. (Mainly for use when “Autohide the Taskbar” is enabled) So usually what I do to quickly see a calendar is one mouse click on the Taskbar clock.

Simple enough.

Today’s quote:Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” ~ Peter Marshall

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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July 5, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syncing Your Devices – Calendars, Email, Contacts, oh my!

My job as a support and repair technician is evolving — which is only natural, as tech itself is evolving. At an exponential rate.

Years ago, my job consisted mainly of trying to cure non-booting Windows installations (remember “Error: ntldr.exe is missing or corrupt”?), getting a recalcitrant printer to ‘install’, crawling in attics and under houses “pulling” Ethernet cable, and removing the occasional virus.

Around 2007, the explosion of cybercrime forced me to become a virus removal specialist, and accounted for the majority of my hires. Affordable Wireless G networking gear pretty much ended my need for coveralls and flashlights, and I had to learn about (and master) RF ‘spectrum’, interference, and wireless security. Plug and Play’s finally maturing to functionality greatly reduced my printer install calls; but now there was “home entertainment centers” (with Dolby Surround Sound!) and “nanny cams” to install.

Today, the call coming into my shop – it seems – has a 50/50 shot of either being a nasty virus, or something like “I just synced my iPhone, and now I have three copies of each of my Contacts.” (or, “I just synced my iPhone, and now my Inbox is empty!“) We are transitioning to “cloud computing” – like it or not – and “mobile computing”.

People used to know better than to mix Apples and Windows (for one thing, it didn’t work), but today.. well most people seem to have at least one iGadget, maybe an Android phone (perhaps a BlackBerry), and their PC at home is Windows. And they expect them all to play together in some Utopian sense of “I paid for it, it should work.” Like.. the folks at Apple and the folks up in Redmond like each other, and go on picnics together.. and join hands and sing kumbaya, and the folks at Google just show up and join in. One big happy family. (I just made myself “lol”.)

People are no longer tied to any specific location or device as they roam about getting work done on laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. The challenge is to keep everything synced so you can access the same data from each of those platforms.

Well, here’s the real truth: it is not in Apple’s or Microsoft’s best interest to play well together, and in fact it profits them to try to “lock you into’ their products. Google? Yeah, it profits them to play nicely (and move you into the cloud) as their purpose is -> they want to learn every-single-thing they can about us, and then show us ads we don’t want to see.
Yippee.

Okay. So it’s 2011, and you want to keep your Outlook, iPad, and Blackberry all in “sync”, and you want it so, when you enter a new phone number for a Contact on one device, the Contact ‘merges’ seamlessly on your other devices with no errors, duplications, and do it in real time.
Good luck with that.

This is fledgling technology (learning to crawl), and everyone under the sun is selling some product which they claim can do this. But know this, (and I quote) “No perfect, seamless solution exists yet”.
Of course it doesn’t: this is all too new. This stuff isn’t even to version 1.0 yet, it sure seems to me. And there’s other agendas and cross-purposes in play as well (think “sales”).

But there are methods. Imperfect methods. But.. better than none, right?

For Outlook user who want syncing with iPads and/or iPhones, my (admittedly limited) experiences tell me you have two routes, really. And probably the best one is a $100/yr MobileMe account. Which, guess what? Is now closed for new sign ups (as of today?)(again, I made myself ‘lol’). But, coming this Fall, if you can wait that long, there will be a new version – called “iCloud“. Which probably will work.. and probably will stick around longer than MobileMe did… The other route is to ‘go Google’.. basically installing things so you can use Google’s (“cloud”) servers and services as your ‘middleman’. (So they can learn all your habits..)

What I suggest – if this topic is relevant to you – is you read this great PC World article: How to Keep Your Data in Sync Across Platforms and Devices

Keeping your contacts, calendars, and other data synced across all your mobile devices and PC platforms isn’t as difficult as it seems.

One thing about tech.. you have to constantly keep learning.. it isn’t sitting still! (TCP/IP v6 is here..)

Today’s (other) reading reco: Here is a Very Nice and Useful Firefox Add-On and Chrome Extension That Will Save You Paper

“Here is a nice Firefox add-on and Chrome extension, called iWeb2X,  that is engineered to convert a web page to a printer friendly PDF, image snapshot, or high resolution wallpaper. What sets this iWeb2X apart from the other PDF utilities out there is that no sign-up account is required and you get the following features: […]”

Today’s quote:Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!~ Theodore Roosevelt

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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June 7, 2011 Posted by | advice, Apple, cloud computing, computers, Google, how to, Internet, iPhone, Microsoft, mobile, MS Office, PC, Portable Computing, Simple File Sharing, software, tech, Web 2.0, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Software License Giveaway: SYNCING.NET

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at SYNCING.NET have generously donated six Professional Edition licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter”. The contest will end midnight Thursday, and the winners announced Friday.

syncingdotnet logo SYNCING.NET is a Business Class program which enables users to sync their Microsoft Outlook data on multiple computers. Contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, email, and Outlook features will be displayed the same on all your synchronized computers. The program provides secure, encrypted syncing (that doesn’t require a server), offline editing of files, and automatic document or file syncing of designated folders. SYNCING.NET keeps all your data in ‘real-time’ sync, which is automatically maintained.

Publisher’s description:
SYNCING.NET offers powerful Outlook synchronization, backup and file sharing tools for professional and personal use. By providing unique, secure peer-to-peer synchronization with integrated Outlook syncing and comprehensive file sharing, you can access your data anytime and any place. No additional software or expensive server hardware are needed to use our tools. SYNCING.NET gives you a powerful solution that is simple, secure and affordable.

“Syncing without Thinking. We offer the most comprehensive syncing software with the highest security and best value.

  • Real-time, seamless synchronization
  • Automatic, background functionality
  • No server or IT staff needed

Be aware, this software is pricey (it is “enterprise grade”) but if you are a “road warrior” and you’re tied to Outlook, I agree with PC World magazine reviewer Preston Gralla’s summation, “if you need to use Outlook on more than one PC regularly, you’ll find Syncing.net is well worth the price.” (See, Editorial Review of SYNCING.NET Home Edition)

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter a name and valid e-mail (so I can send you the keys) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems I do — multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

Note: Because a license is required for each machine to be synced, I am bundling the six into three prizes of a 2-license ‘pack’ (thus, a winner will be able to sync two machines).

While this contest is for the ultra-deluxe “Pro” Edition (which has some very kewl collaboration features) I believe that the majority of readers of this site will find the Home Edition more appropriate for their needs.
A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of SYNCING.NET can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial (which includes features of the Business Edition) Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!) Again, I thank the folks at SYNCING.NET for making this giveaway possible.

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 3 results will be the winners (of two licenses each).

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


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May 17, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, mobile, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Easy Way To Sync Outlook, Google Calendar

Two-way Synchronize Your Contacts and Appointments

Many of my clients are sticking with Microsoft Outlook as their e-mail client, but have migrated to the online Google Calendar for their day planning needs. When I am asked for help with this transition, I recommend that they download and install Google’s syncing tool, called (appropriately enough) Google Calendar Sync, as it allows you to automatically sync events between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

Currently, Google Calendar Sync is only compatible with Microsoft Outlook versions 2003 and 2007, and operating systems Windows XP and Windows Vista.  Windows XP 64-bit Edition is not compatible with Google Calendar Sync at this time.

To expand this capability onto your mobile devices, smart phones, and PDA’s, download and install Google’s sync-ing app for that, called (appropriately enough) Google Mobile Sync.

Using these free tools makes managing your busy life much smoother by keeping your information updated regardless of when, how, or where you need it.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 21, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, Google, how to, Internet, Microsoft, mobile, Portable Computing, Simple File Sharing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments