Tech – for Everyone

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

Just now, Hotmail (oops, I mean Outlook) changed!!

Microsoft just now did one of those things I just simple H-A-T-E! They “modernized” the user interface (no doubt to make it more compatible with ‘mobile devices’) and changed the look of my Inbox.

Thanks a lot Microsoft! Don’t you know we users detest this crap?

Didn’t you learn from the kickback you received from Office’s “Ribbon”? Or Windows 8?

Crap man. At least offer a setting that says, “No thanks. Leave my Inbox the *&^% alone.”

And now to send an email, I have to learn where you moved the buttons and thingies.. Just how I wanted to spend my time! (Not good to change the “insert inline image” to a seperate command button..)

NO. I am not going to start using One Drive just because you always default point to it. Or put shortcuts – for me – to it.


July 14, 2016 Posted by | computers, e-mail, Microsoft | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make XP Look Like Vista or Mac OS X

Free Downloads Transform Your Desktop

In one of my prior articles (see, A Brief Pause/fun with XP Themes) I wrote about using Windows Themes to customize the look and feel of your Desktop, and make it more “you”. I also told you about “wallpaper” and “skins“, which much more radically alter the GUI (“goo-ey”, aka Graphical User Interface), allowing deeper changes.

There is, literally, a whole world of Desktop wallpapers, XP skins, and pre-configured Themes available for you to explore. Do you love kittens? Unicorns? NASCAR? I’m sure there’s a theme/skin for you.
(A couple of quick resources: The official Microsoft XP “Desktop enhancements” webpage, and Witt’sWallpapers.)

It’s a fact — though Microsoft did soften, and modernize the “Windows look” with XP (rounded edges, and a picture background), it looks quite dated to us today.. a bit stodgy and boring. (And to some observers, it kinda says, “we’re too *thrifty* to buy new equipment.”)

Today’s free downloads: By downloading and installing a skin, you can change the face your computer presents to the world, without changing the essential code of the underlying operating system.

So, if you would like the Vista Desktop, Menus, Sidebar widgets and general look and feel, but XP loyalty/Vista hate, program compatibility, etc. means sticking with XP — download the Vista Transformation Pack.

Or, you can really “trip people out” (to use a little California lingo) and put an Apple Mac face on your XP machine with RK Launcher. RK Launcher* gives you a customizable “Dock” to replace the Windows Taskbar.

Kind of hard to believe that both those screenshots are XP machines.. right?

Today’s free link: Gmail users hit by ViddyHo phishing chat attack
The unsolicited instant messages urge Gmail users to “check out this video” by clicking on a link via the TinyURL service. The link, however, directs users to a website called ViddyHo – which asks surfers to enter their Gmail usernames and passwords.

* My thanks to Deb Shindler for mentioning this program.

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

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February 25, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, tweaks, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Make your cursor easier to see

I have excellent eyesight. I am not saying that to brag, I just want that fact out on the table.. so to speak. But, I have an old, everyday-go-everywhere, laptop with a smaller screen and a cursor that likes to wander and drift.. and sometimes I lose track of it (the cursor, not the laptop). Today’s quick tip will help those of you who sometimes lose track of your cursors too.

Tip of the day: It is easy to forget that almost every aspect of our PCs are adjustable (“tweakable”), and we spend our lives using the default settings: our XP desktop is a rolling hillside: our Taskbar is on the bottom.. one row high: etc., just like it came out of the box. But we can change things by finding the settings and adjusting them; often, these settings are found under “Preferences”, sometimes under “Options”, sometimes “Properties”, and even — oddly enough — under “Settings”.

Today I’m going to show you how I made my cursor easier to keep track of than the (default) white arrow. I’m going to make it black, bigger, and add a ‘finder’ tool to it, but you can select other options.. to your liking.
Start by going into your Control Panel (Start >Control Panel, or Start >Settings >Control Panel) and double-click on the “Mouse” icon. (You may have to switch to “Use Classic view”.) This makes sense when you remember that it is the mouse which moves the cursor.

The mouse Properties window will open. The cursor, and its behavior, are adjusted using the two middle tabs — Pointers, and Pointer Options.
On the Pointers tab, use the drop-down arrow to select a “Scheme” for your cursor. For ease of seeing, I have selected “Black, extra large”. Experiment a little to find one you like, as you can see a ‘preview’ of the “Scheme” on the right. When I click on “Apply”, my cursor will change from a smallish white arrow to a decent-sized black arrow.

Because my old, well-worn laptop doesn’t travel well anymore, sometimes my cursor will — with a mind of its own — jump to one corner of my screen and disappear from view. To help me find it on these occasions I have turned on a ‘cursor finder’ tool.
Now, when I hit my Ctrl key, a series of rings (briefly) appear around the cursor’s position.
To turn this feature on, click on the Pointer Options tab, and place a check in the bottom checkbox. Then click on “Apply”.. and then “OK”.

That’s it. You’re done.

Today’s free link: Those of you who do not have such terrific vision may find the Advanced Magnifier a useful addition to your computer.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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February 7, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, keyboards and mice, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , | 4 Comments