Tech – for Everyone

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

4 Quick Tips: Get More From Google

Iolo has posted this handy Quick Tip list I think everyone should know:

  • Google Get the latest weather. To quickly get the current weather conditions and a three-day forecast, type the word weather followed by a zip code or city and state and then press ENTER (or click Search).
  • Track airline flights. A helpful feature when you’re picking up a friend from the airport or rushing to catch a flight yourself: to get real-time flight information, type in the airline name followed by the flight number and press ENTER. You’ll then see the status of the flight (like “on-time” or “30 minutes late”) and its estimated arrival or departure time.
  • Track packages. To track a UPS, FedEx, or US Postal Service package, type or paste in the tracking number and press ENTER; Google will display a direct link to a web page with more information.
  • Calculate math. Whether balancing your check box or calculating a tip, Google’s calculator function can come in handy. Simply type in the math problem and press ENTER; for example, entering 900+50 will display 950; entering 38.55*20% will display 7.71.

They also have some Quick Tips for Word, and Facebook, here.

Today’s quote:Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” ~ Lance Armstrong

Hope you enjoy your weekend, everybody!

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

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September 3, 2011 Posted by | advice, Google, how to, Internet, tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Quickie…

Crazy busy here, and time has not allowed me my regular posting. Today, I only have a moment, and will add something in relation to Monday’s article on Firefox 6, as it seems that (once again) I am not alone:

“… In other news, Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox browser, found itself in the unfavorable position of having to defend its rapid-release program. With the new six-week release schedule causing some corporate indigestion, Mozilla chair Mitchell Baker issued a statement on why she believes the pros outweigh the cons. You can read her argument here.”

What do you think? Are you a fan of the new release cycle?

Hope I can get back on track soon, and I thank you for your patience.

Today’s quote:It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.” ~ Baltasar Gracian

August 31, 2011 Posted by | computers | , , , | 3 Comments

Firefox 6 Reviewed, iPhone Tips, Facebook, Chatter, And More

Loyal readers know that I use Mozilla’s Firefox as my web browser. And they know I have chosen it simply because of the many Add-ons available – mainly Internet Safety (privacy and security) tools. If these “Add ons” were not available, I would not use Firefox. It’s that simple. (To see my choice of Firefox security add-ons, click here.)

What they may not know is, like many people, I got really turned off by Firefox’s new policy of a rapid release cycle and constant updates and ‘upgrades’ to new versions. And, I did not like the “minimalist look” of version 4, which is a direct rip-off of Google’s Chrome browser (if I wanted Chrome, I would have installed Chrome. Duh.)

Every time I turned around, Firefox wanted to update.. and, in fact, since I wrote Firefox 3, or 4 (or 5)? + Turn Off the “Upgrade” Nag back in May, they are now up to version 6. Let you in on a secret: I am still using version 3.

Yesterday, though, I read a detailed review by FOTIS-winning Seth Rosenblatt of version 6, which most Firefox users (if they agreed to the upgrades) already have. This has me rethinking, particularly what he said about Firefox 6 on Android, and I will be putting it to the test this week. In the meantime, you can read his review and analysis of the latest release here, (Find out why it earns 5 stars..) and if you already have it, learn some new features.

5 awesome Mozilla Firefox secrets (photos)

Firefox is packed with useful, built-in features you might have missed. Customize Firefox with these five helpful tips. View images

Further Brain Food:

Salesforce abuzz over social networking software

“Metallica playing a trade show? It’s the kind of deliciously strange bit of news a person might share on Facebook – but would rather see it posted on Chatter.Read more..
(Never heard of Chatter? Me neither. Read the article.)

The complete list of Windows Logo keyboard shortcuts

The Windows Logo key can be a powerful tool if you know the right shortcuts.Read more..

10 wacky IT office pranks

An office without practical jokes would be a mighty dull place to work. Luckily, legions of IT pranksters have kept things lively over the years.Read more..

• Tips and tricks to improve your iPhone experience

A few simple tricks can make a big difference in how well your iPhone serves your needs. Calvin Sun shares some basic tips he’s discovered.Read more..

Can you tell a real Facebook e-mail from a phishing attempt?

Notification e-mails from social networking sites like Facebook can be dangerous; if you’re fooled by a phisher, you can click your way into big trouble.Read more..

• Recently, Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple. I wrote about that (see my Steve Jobs Steps Down, if you missed it) the day after. Since then, many more articles have been published, and the speculation continues. Probably the best of these I saw is Without Jobs as CEO, five reasons Apple won’t be the same

Lots of people are talking about why Apple will continue its momentum even without Steve Jobs as CEO. Here’s the counterpoint.Read more..

Related: Only one minor, teensy-weensy, little problem.. 

I never joined Facebook..!

Yeah. It’s Monday again… yippee.

Today’s quotable quote:Make somebody happy today. Mind your own business.” ~ Ann Landers

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

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August 29, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, Apple, browsers, computers, Firefox, Internet, iPhone, mobile, privacy, security, social networking, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

7 features to boost your productivity in Windows 7

Windows 7 has many new features that can speed up your work. Some are obvious, but others are more like ‘hidden jewels’. Tony Bradley’s article over on ComputerWorld is a great place for you to find out about 7 of these new efficiency-boosters and learn good advice for best using them.

Here is the direct link: Windows 7 efficiency tips “Master these features to boost your productivity in Windows 7.”

Or.. you can click on the sections of interest..

  1. Get the most out of Jump Lists
  2. Beef up context menus
  3. Enable AHCI
  4. Navigate with the Aero interface
  5. Organize your files with libraries
  6. Use keyboard shortcuts
  7. Windows search trumps all

Raise your Geek Quotient, click a link or two!

Related: And for those of you who aren’t interested in these – because you are still using Windows XP – see, It is time to face facts and finally dump Windows XP

I have been saying this for a while now; but, sometimes people want to know what other professionals are saying..

Unrelated: (But hopefully fun) I have been meaning to mention this for some time now, and perhaps it is no longer relevant, but I have been hearing from many, many places that it has been hot and humid and insufferable. Quite different from here, where we have had days that did not break 70° (though today is nice and warm) and I thought I was going to get jobbed out of summer…

Today’s quote:If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.”  ~ Joey Adams

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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

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July 30, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fix Missing Volume Control*

Tech Paul’s Fix for When Clock, Volume, Battery Power or Network Icons are Missing and/or Grayed Out in Windows Vista

Sometimes, unexpected (and unwanted) changes can happen to our computers that we professional repair technicians call ‘glitches’. You install some new program, and some other program you have stops working, for example. Or you uninstall a CD burning program, and find your DVD-RW is now missing. The wonderful world of PC’s! (See, Restore A Missing CD Drive*)

As a tech, solving ‘glitches’ is my game (it’s what I do), and over the years I have seen a few. One such ‘glitch’ I used to see occasionally in XP, and fairly routinely in Vista, is the “missing volume control” (or “network connection”) icon, which is a handy way to control your sound level.

Today, I will tell you the fix that not only restores the missing icon, but keeps it there.

Better still — I won’t have you mucking around in the Registry.

Simple ones first

Fix It #1) Press Ctrl+D to bookmark this page and Reboot (restart).
Make sure this isn’t a “temp glitch”. 9 times out of 10 restarting your computer solves your ‘glitch’. If you have already tried that, keep reading.

Fix It #2) Normally you can re-enable the icons by right-clicking on the Taskbar, choosing Properties and going to the Notification Area tab — place checks in the checkboxes for the icons you want displayed.
If you already tried that, or the checkboxes are “grayed out”, keep reading.

Fix It #3) Restart explorer.exe

  • Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shft+Esc)
  • Click the Processes tab
  • Find explorer.exe in the list and click on it (turn it blue), then click “End process” button
  • Restart it. Click File > New Task(Run…) then type in explorer.exe and hit Enter

Alternative: Open Control Panel > Taskbar and Start Menu — place checks in the checkboxes for the icons you want displayed.

Now Let’s Keep The Glitch Gone!

If this problem keeps recurring:

  • Open Control Panel >Sound
  • Double-click on your “Playback device” (aka “speaker”)
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Un-check “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device”

Click “Apply” and then OK.

Okay. That’s it. Your missing icon should be back in its proper place in the Notification Area and should stay there.

Note: When I am called upon to fix this particular problem, I usually (like, 99% of the time) find that the person’s machine is not up-to-date with all the Windows Updates – usually a missing Service Pack. I do not know that there is a direct cause > effect there.. But.
Fact: you want Updates. Install them PLEASE. Pretty please with sugar on top? (See, What’s With All These Updates?!*)

Today’s free download: iMapMyRun (health and fitness app) makes running fun and easy, turning your smart phone into a social training partner while tracking your pace, distance, and route using GPS.With 2.5 million users, you’ll definitely be able to find your friend and connect and motivate via this app.
Apps available for Apple, Blackberry, and Android devices.

Today’s reading reco(s):

Today’s quotable quote:Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”  ~ Bruce Barton

* Orig post: 4/22/11

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

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June 21, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What a long strange trip it’s been…

In the middle of last year, this site passed a major website milestone, having had one million visitors. (Naturally, I wrote an article on that.) I noticed this morning that The ‘ole odometer has just clicked over the 1.5 millionth visitor to my humble tech Tips, Tricks, and Advice site, Tech – for Everyone.

I have copy>pasted the previous article, and updated it, to reflect what’s happened in intervening months.

*     *     *

Since I published my first article (The first Tech Paul Post: secure your web connection) in June of 2007, I have learned a thing or two, made some important friendships, and – hopefully – helped a few folks learn a few things, solve a few problems, and better enjoy technology along the way.

To you – Dear Reader – I say…


A few other T4E stats:

# of articles posted: 1,056 1,423 (roughly 95.56% original, 4.44% re-postings.) Note: Use my “Search widget” to browse prior tips & answers by keywords, or browse my writings by month.

# of Reader Comments: 3,892 6,955 (almost exactly half of those are my replies.. so lets say, 2,000 3,500 readers have asked questions/commented. I welcome your comments on my articles and questions about computers and “tech”. Dialogue is what keeps the Web relevant and dynamic.)

Most popular article: Manage Startup programs in Vista

Most downloaded program (referral): Microsoft’s PowerPoint Viewer is tops, with 2,065.
The previous winner here, Security Task Manager (928 1,238) has dropped to #3.  (Panda’s Cloud Antivirus is #2, with 1,292.)

# of cups of coffee consumed by Tech Paul while writing all these articles: 16 26 (… but, they were Olympic swimming pool-sized cups. Ha!)

WordPress rated this blog a “Wow” (see, WordPress Rates Tech – for Everyone)

It was never my intention to write so many articles, nor write for so long. My intention was simply to publish a few How-To’s – so I could say “Here, read this”, instead of constantly repeating myself (when people find out you’re a tech.. they ask you questions!).

Thanks for being a part of it all, and I hope you all have a tolerably fair-to-middlin’ week!

Today’s quotable quote:It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”  ~ W.C. Fields

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

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May 25, 2011 Posted by | blogging, tech | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments