Tech – for Everyone

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

Changes coming to an Internet near you!

folks, I only have time to day for a quick ‘reading reco’ (that I think you’ll fersher wanna see).

Thanks to Tom Wheeler, the end of the open Internet is nigh

The very fate of a free society rests on enshrining the open Internet — and the FCC chairman seems determined to do the opposite.Read more..

[ um… one question: do we really have a ‘free society (by what definition?)’? Another might be, is that what the Powers That Be want for us? ]

Related (and reco’d): Two-timing Netflix will speed the downfall — and rebirth — of a free Internet

Netflix’s deals with Comcast and Verizon are terrible in the short run, but bring us closer to Net neutrality’s moment of truthRead more..

[ and no. It ain’t just Netflix. The (other) ISP’s and “content providers” are busy screwing things up as well. ]

Yippee yahoo.

(And BTW, I have already had 8 telemarketer calls this morning.. not one for something I would possibly want. So.. I’ll think on today’s quotable quote. Or.. Plan B, disconnect my Internet when I disconnect my phone. Going “off the grid” is sounding better each week, sad to say.) (Read the articles.)

Today’s quote:I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” ~ Martha Washington

Copyright 2007-2014 © “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.
And please, never forget – one person can make a difference.
Find a way to make someone’s day today.
(Best advice I ever heard? Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

May 6, 2014 Posted by | cloud computing, Internet, News, privacy, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reader Question (and More)

Well, for the first time in a while, there was a new one on me..

A reader wrote in..
Q:My archived bank statements download as .daa files.  What’s that and how do I open?  Do I need to convert them to something else to be sure to be able to view them in the future?


A: I have never met a .daa file, nor heard of it (I confess) and had to look it up (I understand it is common in the world of Torrents, which I do not do).

Direct Access Archive, or DAA, is a proprietary file format developed by PowerISO Computing for disk image files. The format supports features such as compression, password protection, and splitting to multiple volumes. Popular disk image mounting programs such as Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools currently do not support the mounting of DAA images.

Currently there is no published information about the format. Among mainstream applications, it can be opened or converted with PowerISO, MagicISO, AnyToISO and UltraISO. Various free open source packages are also available to convert DAA to ISO images.”

I believe the programs mentioned retail for $30, so I would be inclined to research that last sentence were I required to deal with .daa’s (you might try daa2iso, but I cannot vouch for that). But more likely, I would be having a word with my bank, and looking on their website for another format to download (such as PDF). It is my humble opinion that your bank is doing you no favors by choosing to use this format.

*     *     *

Some reading 4 u:

Feds Want To Take Your Phone Out of Your Car

The National Transportation Board doesn’t want you calling or texting behind the wheel and has called on states to ban the use of cellphones and other gadgets while driving.” Read more..

SMS Fraud Is Not Unique to Android

Google is yanking a number of apps from the Android Market after discovering that they are fraudulent. Although such apps are more likely to be found with Android than on rival platforms, the concept of fraud is an equal …Read more..

Liberate Your Flash Drive with LiberKey

Managing apps on a flash drive can be a real challenge even for the polished IT professional. Flash Drives have given us the liberty to transport files from PC to PC and the ability to run apps (software applications) directly from these little buggers. .” Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.” ~ Saint Vincent de Paul

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

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December 14, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 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.

>> 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. <<

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

Open .ppt Slideshows With Free Viewer*

I was reminded of this “quick tip” topic article today, when I got a call for help and I was told that the caller “suddenly couldn’t open pictures in an e-mail they had received”. As I suspected, the “pictures” were not your usual picture files, but a .ppt file — a PowerPoint Presentation (aka “slideshow”).

Normally, opening attachments is no problem: you click on the “view” hyperlink; are asked if you want to “Open” or “Save” the file (since all I wanted to do was read it, I chose “open”). Here is where I was reminded that the machine did not have Office installed — instead open a picture, they saw “Windows cannot open this file:”

You may have seen a window like this in your computer user career…

error.JPG(My article on what to do to resolve this can be read here.)

Fortunately, a quick visit to the Microsoft Download Center is all that’s required to enable my machine to view PowerPoint Presentations without purchasing and installing Microsoft Office.

Tip of the day/Today’s free link: If you are not using the Microsoft Office suite of programs, download and install the free PowerPoint Viewer 2007.

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

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November 17, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, free software, how to, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , | 2 Comments

How can I open a ".odt" ?

Q: Paul, How can I open a “.odt” ?

A: As I discussed in this article, Cannot open attachment…help!, when you run across a file that Windows does not recognize, and doesn’t know how to open, it is due to the fact that some program was used to create the file that you don’t have.

In this case that program was OpenWriter– the word processor in the free OpenOffice Suite.

Basically, when this happens, you have three options:
* Ask your sender to resend the file, only this time ‘Save As’ it to a more common file type. (such as .doc, or .rtf, or even .txt)
* Install the program on your machine yourself.
* Look for “viewer”, or “converter” tool.

I like the first choice myself (and I’m not always so polite in my phrasing), but most of you will probably prefer the third. (This comes up at least once a week for PowerPoint slideshows!)

A free document viewer for all common word processing formats can be found here.

A free file type converter (all types of ‘media’) can be found here.

.. and for the 600,000th time.. the PowerPoint Viewer is here.

[note: when you come across a ‘dot xyz‘ that you’ve never heard of before and have no idea what might of created it.. go to There you will be able to look it up.]

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

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November 10, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Word on your thumb drive*

One of my more popular articles discussed using a thumb drive to run applications (to read it, click here), and my two previous articles discussed Microsoft Word (click on “MS Word” in the Tag Cloud), which led to two reader questions which I think are worth posting — in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: Is there a version of Word I can run on my U3 thumb drive?
A: There are tremendous advantages to running programs from a thumb drive (particularly when using someone-elses’ computer), and there are many programs already developed that are designed to do this, which are called “portable”.
The answer to this question is: no… and yes. Microsoft has not released a portable version of any of the programs in the Office suite, and I have not read of any plans to do so in the future. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot find warez and hacks out there. Loyal friends and true of this blog know that I would never advocate advocate the use of this kind of software; aside from the question of legality, the security risks are simply too great.

That is not to say you cannot run a word processor from your thumb drive. If you have loaded your thumb drive with the Portable Apps suite, palogo.jpg(wildly popular, and previously recommended here) you already have the free Open Source suite of programs called Open Office which includes a “clone” of Word called Write. This works so much like Word that there’s practically a zero learning-curve.
Users of the U3 system of thumb drives u3logo1.jpgneed to download Open Office to add it to the installed programs. To do this manually, visit, which will show you all of the U3 programs available– listed by category. But the easiest way is to plug in your thumb drive and launch the U3 “Launchpad” from the System Tray, and click on the “Add programs>>” link.

You might also want to consider using MS Works, which is Word compatible. For more on that, click here.

Q: Can I use portable Write to read Word documents?
A: The two main portable word processors (and there are others, if you’re the experimental sort) — Open Office’s Write, and the platform-independent AbiWord— allow you to open, and edit MS Word documents. They also allow you to save to HTML, PDF, and Word formats (this step is taken in the Save As menu) which allows you to send your documents to anyone.

Today’s free link(s): You needn’t put these word processors on a thumb drive to use them (and get to know and love them). Click the links in the paragraph above to get free word processing power.

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

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June 27, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, MS Word, PC, Portable Computing, software, tech, thumb drives, USB storage devices, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Office 2007 files with older versions*

A while ago I wrote about solving the problem of opening documents that Windows does not recognize, and used as an example two text documents received as email attachments (click here to read Cannot open attachment…help!). While the point of that article was how to identify unrecognized file types, the fact that I mentioned a .docx (a Word 2007 document) received the most attention from readers.

Tip of the day: Open Office 2007 documents with older versions of Office. Some time ago now, Microsoft released a new version of its Office suite, called Office 2007. Besides having a new “look” and new toolbars, this suite of programs uses a whole new format (a way of encoding) for the documents it produces, which Microsoft calls “Open XML” (for more on this, click here); and to signify this, has added an “x” to the file extension.. so the familiar “.doc” of MS Word has become “.docx”.

This change to the coding does improve the flexibility of the document, and “modernizes” the way machines interact with it, and yet allows Microsoft to maintain proprietary control.. thus ensuring that sales of Office continues. The trouble is, owners of MS Word cannot open the new .docx formats, which produces great dissatisfaction from folks who have shelled out the bucks to own the most commonly used word processor in the world. (And largely done so simply to be able to open other people’s documents.) It also smacks of forcing people to spend a couple hundred bucks to upgrade.

Microsoft swears this is not the intent. Of course they want you to upgrade, but to do so because of the improvements and new features. They do, in fact want current MS Office licensees to be able to read the new Open XML ‘standard’, and so they have made available a tool for the older versions of Office.. which is today’s free link.
As more and more people use the new 2007 suite, the more .docx’s you’re going to run across; so if you’re happy and comfortable with your current version, and aren’t ready to relearn the Excel and Word toolbar, relax. Keep reading and download the Microsoft Office compatibility tool.

[Note: If you are the one using Office 2007, and you know you’re going to be sending your document to folks who are using an older version, use “Save As” to save the file as a Office 97-2003 document (no “x”).]

Today’s free link: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats. Open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.

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

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June 4, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, software, tech, troubleshooting, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments