Tech – for Everyone

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

Latest News on Windows 10

Many are waiting for the new Windows 10 (as I am not alone in avoiding Windows 8..). And there will be a launch party this week. (So of course the tech pundits are busy. Never mind it’s all speculation..)

* Are you ready for the next chapter of Windows 10?

Microsoft’s next even will be held on January 21, 2015. Greg Shultz speculates about some of the things we might see in the next chapter of Windows 10.Read more..

* What to expect (and what you won’t see) at this week’s Windows 10 launch

What’s next for Windows 10? This week’s unveiling in Redmond should focus on consumer features. It will also reveal how well Microsoft is coping with the unprecedented shift from traditional PCs to mobile computing.Read more..

I’m always amused when I see phrases like “eagerly awaited”. I mean, how many people, really, are “eagerly awaiting” improvements to SkyDrive OneDrive? Six?

Good news for a handful of people: Microsoft will be webcast-ing the launch event live (Microsoft will provide more specific details about the webcast on the Blogging Windows site). I hope their cloud infrastructure will be able to handle the demand…

I only want to know one thing: will Microsoft go to a ‘subscription’ pricing plan (where you basically rent your computer’s ability to operate) like they have with Office? If they do… that’ll be it for me and tech. I’ll ride Windows 7 until the wheels fall off, and then walk away. Go off the grid. (And if the InfoSec headlines remain similar to what they have been, I may walk away sooner than that.)

Beware of your refrigerator

Finally, if you’re like me you look upon the impending so-called Internet of Things with a wary eye at a minimum and possibly full-blown paranoia. Slate has a great article you should check out calledPretty Much Every Smart Home Device You Can Think of Has Been Hacked” which you can read here.

Welcome, SkyNet. I for one welcome our new overlords.” ~ From WServerNews

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Today’s quote:It’s important to have a dream: otherwise you might notice where you really are.” ~ Naomi Alderman

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Microsoft, News, tech, Windows, Windows 10 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Like Fridays Better Than Mondays..

I do not have a lot of time today, but here are a few things..

* MediaFire Launches Android App With 50GB Free Storage

MediaFire is rolling out the red carpet for Android owners, unlocking 50GB of free storage along with its new Android-based storage application.

The app joins its iOS counterpart in providing on-the-go productivity for people who need to access and share files from anywhere.” Read more..

[update: for a review of MediaFire from a man I trust, click here.]

And sometimes, I do not know whether to laugh, or cry.. (but it is an interesting read): Facebook Posts Easier to Remember Than Actual Faces, Books

Your memory of Facebook posts is likely stronger than your recollection of actual faces or actual books, according to a new study.Read more..

After yesterday’s article, a reader wrote and asked..

Q:Hi Paul, How about some discussion on AV availability for smart phones, especially the new Windows phone I got during the holidays.” ~ Jay

A: Jay,
Well.. smartphones and tablets are not my area of expertise; but I have discussed that in the past, (and posted 15 Mobile Security Tools (smart phones/tablets) in my Blogroll links) but it has been a while.

I do not use iGadgets, so I don’t know what is currently available for iOS in the iStore (at one point, there was nothing). Same goes for the Windows Phone. But I use Lookout on my (Android) phone and am trying Norton Mobile Lite on my (Android) tablet (both are free). So far I have no complaints with either. (And I believe they have versions for the other mobiles.)
I haven’t looked to see if anyone has posted any efficacy tests recently, but your comment/question has prompted me to make a mental note to research that.

This may help too: Got a New Phone For Christmas? Don’t Forget These Safety Tips

Perhaps a reader can contribute more on this question..?

* A game-changing lawsuit? Free credit checks sought after ‘unprecedented’ data loss

Class-action lawsuit launched by N.L. lawyer on behalf of 583,000 CanadiansRead more..

(If agencies actually could be held liable for the data they lose… BIG changes will occur..! [Right now, it’s kinda just an “oh, well.”])

* Friday Fun Video

Today’s quote:Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, antivirus, Apple, computers, consumer electronics, gadgets, Internet, Microsoft, Portable Computing, security | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quickly Open Programs With A Keyboard “Shortcut”

All of us have our favorite, and “most used” programs. And we probably have created Desktop (icon) shortcuts for them, and perhaps, added them to our QuickLaunch area, so we can get right to them. This tutorial shows how there’s an easier and faster way to start them. (Works in all versions of Windows.)

I use Microsoft Word rather frequently (but not frequently enough to put in my crowded QuickLaunch) – so I am going to use it as my example. Normally, to get to Word, I have to:

  • Click the Start button
  • Click All Programs
  • Scroll down to and click Microsoft Office
  • And click on Word 2010

That’s too many steps! Let’s fix that.

1) Go to the start menu and right-click on the program for which the keyboard shortcut is to be created. In my case, Word.

2) Click on Properties.

3) Locate the Shortcut key pane, and click once inside it.

4) Press – once – the key you want to become your launcher-shortcut. (In my case, I chose “W”, for “Word”.)

Once the key is selected, ‘Ctrl + Alt’ is automatically added.

5) Click Apply, then OK.

That’s it. From now on, to open Word I simply have to press Ctrl and Alt and the selected key –> W (a modified “three-fingered salute”). You can do this as many times as you like, for as many programs as you like, such as setting Ctrl+Alt+E to open Excel.. but you cannot use the same letter/key (duplication) more than once.

I think you’ll agree, Ctrl+Alt+W is slightly faster and easier than

  • Click the Start button
  • Click All Programs
  • Scroll down to and click Microsoft Office
  • And click on Word 2010

Today’s quotable quote:Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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June 6, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, keyboards and mice, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Get A Faster “Boot up” Time With Startup Delayer

Free utility manages program launch at startup. (More rain here. Yippee.)

Folks, one of my most frequently asked questions is some variation of “How can I make my machine faster?” and/or the (usually) directly related complaint of the machine taking forever to start up in the morning.

People don’t like it when I tell them it’s their fault. (Well, at least half their fault.)

I have written several articles about what to do about slow PC’s (enter “speed up”, or “optimize” in my Search widget). I won’t repeat myself. But if you have come here looking for specific tips for faster startup, PLEASE, first read My Startup folder is a clown car (it will open in a new window/tab) and then read Manage Startup programs in Vista. These articles will teach you the thinking behind, and How To methods for, disabling programs from “auto-launching”, and bogging down your machine.

But perhaps you don’t want to completely disable the program autolaunch. That’s when a program that can set a delayed time to auto-launch is key.

When Windows loads it’s Startup file, it attempts to load every program in there at the same time. Therefore if you have quite a lot of programs starting when Windows starts, each program will try and grab CPU time so that it can load. When each program tries to do this at the same time, (which is what happens at boot up) you soon notice the slow down that occurs, due to your CPU trying to help all the programs to load, and your hard disk accessing multiple files.

What is needed is a little “traffic control”.

Startup Delayer utility presents you with a list of all the programs that start when your system does. To set a delay for any of them, just drag it to the white bar at the bottom of the window. You’ll see a line representing the program; drag it left or right to decrease or increase the delay. Repeat this for other programs you want to postpone.

For example, if you have iTunes installed, you’ll see a startup program called iTunesHelper.exe. Unless you plan to connect your iPod or run iTunes the very moment your PC boots, why not delay this applet for two minutes? Same goes for things like Adobe Reader Quick Launch and Google Updater. Delay those for, say, 4 minutes and 5 minutes, respectively. (Do not mess with programs you don’t recognize. They are probably essential Windows system files, and fiddling can cause crashes and/or weird ‘glitches’.).

Startup Delayer is free, and it is one of the best way I know of to speed up a slow-booting PC. It’s a must-have for anyone who installs a lot of software. (Though, I prefer the tactic of keeping my machines “lean and mean”. I uninstall any program I do not use frequently — Step 1 of computer “optimization”. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > Uninstall a program, and let the list “populate”.)

Today’s reco’d reading: Where to Shop for Computers, Computer Parts, Accessories, Electronics and Other IT Products…

Facebook scam alert: Please know (and tell your Facebook friends) there is a scam “program” that steals your private data by claiming to tell you visitor statistics..

From Facebook: “Facebook does not provide applications or groups with the technical means to allow people to track profile views or see statistics on how often a particular piece of content has been viewed and by whom. If an application claims to provide this functionality, please report the application by going to the application’s About page and clicking “Report Application” at the bottom of the page, or by clicking “Report” at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.”

Psst. Hey, you. I got some cool sandals for you..

a world filled with geniuses…

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

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March 24, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Make Outlook open when Windows starts

Do you have a favorite program that you’d like to start as soon as Windows does — perhaps your email client? I have told you in previous articles about stopping programs from loading at boot, and today I’ll tell you how to reverse the process, and gain further control your computer’s behavior.

Tip of the day: It seems a lot of you have been interested in how to remove unwanted programs from your Startup Folder, and if you’ve done so, you already know how to navigate to and open it. For today’s tip I’m going to use as an example adding Outlook Express, so that it will automatically open for you when you turn on your machine and start your day (simply substitute the program you use). Because if you’re like me, one of the first things you do is check your email…and you like to save steps and time. I will also show you a different way of navigating to the folder.

In the previous articles I told you that when you deleted programs from your Startup Folder you we not deleting the programs — merely shortcuts to the program. Today we’re going to add a shortcut.
In Windows XP, start by opening My Computer, either by Start >My Computer, or double-clicking the My Computer icon on your desktop. Now double-click the Local Drive (C:) icon, [you may get a window saying “these files and folders are hidden”. Just click on the “view these now” link.] and then locate and double-click the Documents and Settings folder.


If you wanted to make a change for all the users of your machine you would open the All Users folder. Since we are customizing the start-up behavior just for ourselves, we open the folder that matches our User Name — in this machine’s case, the folder named “Terry” (sharp-eyed, security-conscious types will notice that the Administrator account hasn’t been renamed on this machine — a “no no”.). Now we look for and open the Start Menu Folder. Open it and then open the Program folder, and finally, Startup.


As you can see, this User Account has no programs at all listed in its Startup folder. That doesn’t mean that no programs launch at boot. The programs I do want, (antivirus, firewall, etc.) I want to have run no matter who is using the machine, so they’re listed in the “All User’s” Startup folder.

In Vista, it is a little different: the Startup folder is listed in Programs, accessed from the Start button. Click Start >Programs and scroll down until you see the folder labeled Startup. Double-click it to open its contents window and drag your shortcuts into there.

Adding a program shortcut is easy, and it’s easiest if there is already an icon on the desktop (which is also a shortcut, btw). Simply right-click on the icon and drag it into the open Startup window, and let go. A menu will open: select “Create shortcut here”. And that’s it. You’re done.
If there isn’t a desktop icon, hover your mouse over the Start button, and then Programs. Now the list of all your programs appears. Again, simply right-click and drag the ones you want, as outlined immediately above. Now the next time you boot Windows, those programs will open for you automatically. A neat little trick.

Today’s free link: Trillion. For those of us who use Instant Messaging. This tool lets you combine your various IMs into a single “control panel”. From Website: “Trillian™ is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.”

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 22, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments