Tech – for Everyone

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

45 Windows Tricks, Free Wallpaper, More!

Today is Saturday and I have decided I am going to let others do the heavy lifting for me. Below are some collections of tweaks, tricks, tips, and fun customizations for your computer.

First up: Essential Windows Tricks
Whether you run Windows 7, Vista, or XP, these 25 tricks will make your PC faster, safer, and even more fun to work with.”

* The verdict is in: Windows 7 is Microsoft’s best operating system yet. For those of you who have a Win7 machine: 20 Windows 7 quick tips and tricks for IT admins
Make working in Windows 7 even easier with these easy-to-miss tricks.”

(It’s okay you’re not an “IT admin”, just skip over tips #17, 18, and 19.)

* And spruce up your PC’s appearance with wallpaper: FREE High Resolution Wallpapers
Today, I want to tell you about a wallpaper site that I use that is not only safe, but provides a great collection of high resolution wallpapers.

* Is a Web mail (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) your primary e-mail? Want to fix your “mailto:”? Default to Web Mail
Patrick wants a Web-based mail service to be his default email.”

So have some fun with your computer. Read these, and then try some “tweaks” and customizations yourself. Make your PC (Personal Computer) more “personal”.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 19, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Thank You, Tech – for Everyone Readers | One Million!

The old odometer has just clicked over the 1,000,000th visitor to my humble tech Tips, Tricks, and Advice site, Tech – for Everyone.

Since I first published article #1, The first Tech Paul Post: secure your web connection, in June of 2007, I have learned a good deal, made some very 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…

thank_you

A few other T4E stats:

# of articles posted: 1,056 (roughly 93.56% original, 6.44% re-postings.) Use my “Search widget” to browse prior tips & answers by keywords, or browse my writings by month.

# of Reader Comments: 3,892 (almost exactly half of those are my replies.. so lets say, 2,000 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 (115,584 page views)

Most downloaded program (referral): Security Task Manager (928)

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

I never intended to write so many posts, nor write for so long.. my intention was simply to publish a few How-To’s so I could say “read this”, instead of repeating myself (when people find out you’re a tech.. they ask you questions!). But let’s see if we can’t make it through another three years together – shall we?

If you are looking for who won my latest contest drawing, click here.

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


>> 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. <<


May 28, 2010 Posted by | blogging, computers, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Get More Out Of Your Browser – Learn How To Use Tabs And Favorites

I am doing a big on-site job today, and so I must re-post a prior article. This article describes how to get more out of IE 7 with the use of bookmarks (“Favorites” ) and tabs. Though Internet Explorer 7 debuted some time ago, the basic lessons are the same for the current version, IE 8; and the principles apply to other Web browsers, such as Firefox, as well.ie icon

Once again, I am reminded that the simple things often make the best topics. I showed my screen to a client during a support session, and they asked me “how do you do that?”

I didn’t know what they meant, and was startled to learn that what they wanted to know was how did I have Internet Explorer “pre-set” to several of my mailboxes, and Google’s search page. To be more specific — they didn’t know about tabbed browsing, and weren’t real sure what Favorites were either.

Tip of the day: Stop repeating yourself, get the hang of IE 7’s features. New to IE (but not to Firefox, Opera, Netscape, and others) is a feature called “tabbed browsing” which allows you to open multiple websites within a single window, and quickly switch back-and-forth between them. In this screenshot you can see how my IE usually appears.

ie-tabs.jpg

As you can see, I typically have five “tabs” open: my Google home page, an online dictionary, Tech–for Everyone, Hotmail (now “Windows Live Hotmail”), and my ISP’s home page. When I shut down at night, I click IE’s red “X” — the big red one in the upper-right corner –and am presented with the window (You may see “You are about to close multiple tabs. Do you..?” Click on the “Show Options” link.) shown below.

opentabs.jpg

and I select (check) “Open these tabs the next time I use Internet Explorer”. This option allows me to skip having to open five tabs and navigating to each of my regular websites each morning.

To open a new tab, and this works in every browser I’m familiar with, press Ctrl+T. Depending on your Settings selection (under “Tabs” in Internet Options) this new tab will open to your current Home Page, or to a “blank page”, as shown below.

blankie.jpg

Now I can type “http://www.mychoiceofsite.com” (no quotes) into the browser bar, and there I am. Or I can click on the gold star for my list of Favorites, and launch (open) a site from there.

“Favorites” is Microsoft’s word for “bookmarks”, and in the world of PC’s the two words are interchangeable. If I stumble across a particularly interesting and/or useful Website that I know I will be returning to frequently, I can “bookmark it” by clicking on the green + on-top-of-the-gold-star icon and select “Add to Favorites” (or hit Ctrl+D). My mailboxes, my favorite tech websites, Google, and an online dictionary are in my Favorites list, so I can launch (open) them with a click — which saves on my typing.

To close a tab, simply click on its “x”; which is not red but grey. The tab must be “active” (selected) to be closed.

tabs.jpg

Now set your Tabs options to keep all your browsing in one instance of IE (instead of opening another IE, a new tab will open). In the upper right corner, click on the “Tools” menu and select “Internet Options”. Look down to the Tabs area and click on the Settings button.

tabs2.jpg

Now select the radio buttons to change “in a new window” to “in a new tab”, as shown below.

tabs3.jpg

Related articles:

Restore Missing Favorites In IE*

Internet Explorer Runtime Error!!*

Quick Tip: Turn on ClearType in Internet Explorer

Can’t Download? Reset IE

How To Clear Your Cache

View Multiple Mail Identities in One Browser

Extracting text from Web pages*

Precautions for your Internet privacy*

Quick Tip: Customize new tabs behavior

IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*

Internet/E-mail Troubleshooting – JavaScript

What is a “homepage”?

How to use tabs in IE 7

Saving webpages as files

Today’s free download: (You knew this was coming … right?) An application that has gained quite a name for itself is the “alternative” browser called Firefox. If you haven’t tried this powerful, free program, nor learned about its nifty “Add ons”, I suggest you give it a test drive now. Click here to download Firefox and then click the Tools menu and then Add ons. I suggest you start with NoScript and AdBlock Plus, and then explore the vast assortment.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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February 4, 2010 Posted by | browsers, computers, how to, IE 7, ie 8, Internet, performance, tech, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Would You Recognize A Scam? Are You Sure?

Scammers, Frauds, Conmen, ID Thieves, Cybercriminals, “Phish“-ers – call them what you will, but they all are attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. (This is called “social engineering” in today’s vernacular.)

The methods they use to trick us are many and varied — would you recognize a well-crafted scam? Could you spot a fake “look-alike” website? What if they mentioned your supervisor’s name and put you on hold and you heard the company musak?

Social Engineering: Eight Common Tactics

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick helped popularize the term ’social engineering’ in the ’90s, but the simple idea itself (tricking someone into doing something or divulging sensitive information) has been around for ages. And experts say hackers today continue to steal password, install malware or grab profits by employing a mix of old and new tactics.

Here’s a refresher course on some of the most prevalent social engineering tricks used by phone, email and Web.”

Folks, a quick reading recommendation today. This article by Joan Goodchild describes and explains how the cyber-criminals try to trick us. Please Click here to read this terrific primer. (And if you are an employer, you may want to ask your employees to read this too…)

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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February 1, 2010 Posted by | cyber crime, how to, Internet scam | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Add Festivity to Your Holiday Letters

Word Trick Makes Letters Merrier

It is the Holiday time of year. (Is it just me, or did 2009 pass-by rather quickly?) Today I’m going to demonstrate some tricks to make your Season’s Greetings letters more joyous, and your documents more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. I’ll use Word for this demo, but you can do this in most text editors, and e-mail programs.

Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun. By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text. 1.jpg

As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn! So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone. 2.jpg

I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18. I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more. 3.jpg

I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red. I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter. 4.jpg I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”…. 5.jpg
… and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps. 6.jpg

Much more jolly! But, something’s missing… 9.jpg

Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…10.jpg

Voila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ’spice up’ your documents.

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

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December 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eight Common Cybercriminal Tactics

Folks, a quick reading recommendation today. This article by Joan Goodchild describes and explains how the cyber-criminals try to trick us into clicking on links and/or revealing our personal information. Forewarned is forearmed, so learn to spot these ruses now…

Social Engineering: Eight Common Tactics

 

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick helped popularize the term ’social engineering’ in the ’90s, but the simple idea itself (tricking someone into doing something or divulging sensitive information) has been around for ages. And experts say hackers today continue to steal password, install malware or grab profits by employing a mix of old and new tactics.

Here’s a refresher course on some of the most prevalent social engineering tricks used by phone, email and Web.” Click here to read.

See how many you recognize.

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

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October 27, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gmail Quick Tip — Keyboard Shortcuts

The reason I am as fast on a computer as I am is my use of keyboard shortcuts to navigate, edit, and control the machine. (And, in the Realm of the Geek, one measure of your skilz is how much you can do without touching your mouse. Reaching for the mouse slows you down, and makes you look like a newb.)

I have a Gmail account (I think one or two of you may have one too) and one of the first things I did was to go into my account settings and enable keyboard shortcuts. Gmail always allows the standard editing shortcuts when you are composing (Ctrl + U for underscore, etc.), but many more are available.

To enable keyboard shortcuts, click “Settings” (upper right), and click on “enable”, and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Save changes” button. That’s it. Done.
Gmail_opts

Now you can navigate, mark, flag, reply, etc. with a keystroke. Any time you need to refresh your memory of the various commands, enter a “?” and the list will open. To see the list of available shortcut commands now, click here.

Related:
Using Your Keyboard Instead Of Your Mouse*

Shortcuts for Word

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

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October 6, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, Google, how to | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments