Tech – for Everyone

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

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Today’s music video: (Image does not move..)

Today’s quote:Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain

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.)

September 25, 2014 Posted by | Android, Apple, computers, how to, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Google Play (New) | Hotmail = The Best | 200+ Free Games

It happened while I was waiting for an antivirus scan to finish…

Yesterday during a malware removal job, I grew a wee bit bored waiting for an AV scan to finish, and so I clicked some little-noticed links, and did some exploring. Maybe you’ll be glad I did!

This first link you have probably seen – if you ever played any of the games that come with Windows, such as Solitaire, or my fave – Chess.

Get more games online

I must have seen that “Get more games online” link 500 trillion times. Well, I (finally) clicked it and was taken to..

img = "free games from microsoft"

200+ FREE games from Microsoft (Click me)

.. where I found a whole bunch of those online “Flash games” you play in your browser. Fun timewasters and free! Take a look at the selection, here.

The next link is more obscure, and I found it by exploring the pre-configured “Favorites” in Internet Explorer – which I normally do not use to surf the web (I use Firefox with NoScript).

I have mentioned “Microsoft At Home” before – specifically the ‘learn computing’ video tutorials, but it has been a long time since I’ve taken a look myself. While there, I noticed that the much-maligned Hotmail had been named Top Web App of 2011 by PC Magazine.

* Hotmail named best web app of 2011 by PC Magazine

“The Hotmail team got some great (and humbling) news recently – Hotmail was named best web application of 2011 by PC Magazine. We were particularly excited to see that people are taking notice of Hotmail’s war on Graymail and the work we’ve done this year to make Hotmail faster. There are a lot of great web applications out there, and we’re in great company, but it was an honor to make the very top of the list.”

Now.. the reason I use Hotmail is because there was a time before Gmail (and I wouldn’t touch AOL), and I don’t like Yahoo! Mail’s propensity for showing ads. I have ignored all the “Advice columns” advice to not use Hotmail – especially not for business – all these years. Now, I feel somewhat vindicated.
I still use Hotmail as my primary personal email as Gmail creeps me out.. the way they read every word.. and show me ads related to my email. Google As Big Brother. Another topic for another day.

More games: Hey.. what is that???

Click me

Introducing Google Play

Now your favorite music, books, movies, apps, and games are all in one place that’s accessible from the Web and any Android device. Discover, buy and share like never before.

*     *     *

Bonus: The Digital Patent Wars

“In today’s intellectual property environment, patents have evolved into weapons of war. In fact, patent lawsuits have escalated so much that many are debating whether patents should be abolished.

Internet Evolution is examining the situation today in a brand new Big Report, “Digital Patent Wars: How Companies Are Suing Their Way to the Top.” Click here to read the analysis.”

I am out of time. Have a good one, everybody! (And don’t spend too much time on those games… ha!)

.. “Graymail”? A new word for me.

Today’s quote:Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.” ~ Mark Twain

Hey! The United Nations wrote me today…!

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 27, 2012 Posted by | computers, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life Teaches Me Another Lesson

Let me share with you an experience I had the other day. As you probably know, I am an independent Support and Repair technician.. or what you might think of as a “Help Desk” type (but, no, I don’t wear thick-framed dork glasses). And, I have been helping people with their computers for a long time. Since the Early Days, really.

I mention that last part, because I want you to understand that I thought I had come to meet, over the years, pretty much every type of “end user” (aka, you people) there was: from the true beginner, to those who thought they knew their stuff because someone had shown them Ctrl+Alt+Del, to those who really did know enough to make them dangerous, and all the way up to top-tier IT Pro’s.

Anywho, back to my story: the other day I get this call on the phone asking for help getting an update to Flash Player to install. (the installer would download and run, but fail with no error message.) The person’s wording describing the problem, their ability to answer my questions, etc., made me think they were an “average” user type. Due to the fact that it was late, and they wanted me to also look at “other things”, we scheduled a home visit.

So this tale doesn’t go too long.. I’ll try to be brief. I get to the home and we go to their computer, and I ask them to sit at their machine and recreate for me the steps they had used. I look at the client’s screen, and saw a problem right away.

They said, “Okay. Let me get this out of the way..” And they clicked the red X (Close and Exit) button.

Underneath was a huge Word document filling the screen. I watched as they File > Save-ed, and clicked the red X (Close and Exit) button.

Underneath Word was Outlook, opened to their Inbox.
Filling the whole screen.
They clicked the red X (Close and Exit) button.

Underneath Outlook was an Excel spreadsheet.
Filling the whole screen.
I watched as they File > Save-ed, and clicked the red X (Close and Exit) button.

Finally, we were at the Desktop. “Okay. It happened when I went on YouTube“, they said. And they clicked on Internet Explorer’s blue “e” icon. Which Open-ed. Filling the whole screen.

I asked the client to hold up a minute. And I said, “please don’t be offended at such a personal question.. but do you have to wear glasses? Or have trouble seeing smaller things?

No. I have excellent 20/20 vision.

I asked, and received permission, to “try something”. I sat down and right -clicked on a blank area of the Taskbar, and clicked Properties.


And placed one check, in one checkbox, “Keep the Taskbar on top of other windows”.

And changed their world. I gave a tutorial on Taskbar tabs, and switching back and forth between open programs (without have to Exit and re-launch them each time) and told my client they only need to  ‘red X’ a program when they were all finished with it… My client was so delighted at this “miracle”, I went further, and demonstrated ‘windowed mode’, and how they could have Internet Explorer and Word (or two different Word doc’s) open side-by-side. This tickled my client pink, and they grasped right away how that would make Copy > Pasting between applications 100x’s easier.

.. I uninstalled the previous version of Flash Player, rebooted, and this time, the installer worked, and they could watch their YouTubes. And I fixed a few other small things. I left a delighted client.

They were quite surprised when I rang their doorbell a short while later.. and even more surprised when I handed them this..


Don’t be fooled by the title,” I said. “This book is the same as taking a computer class; better, you can learn at your own pace. Think of it as your very own personal tutor.

I think they should be required by Law to issue it with all new computers, because there are so many things about computers we are simply expected to know.. but nobody shows us or tells us.”

I smiled at them and said, “knowledge is power, and the knowledge is in there. I would recommend reading one section a day, skipping the things you know.. they’re little, take 5 minutes. Or using the Index to look up answers as the questions come to you. Enjoy!” …

This person had adapted their computer use to what they believed was how that machine operated.. because it had somehow been set that way. (I was reminded of an article I wrote some time ago now, My Number One Piece Of Tech Advice*.)

I wrote today’s article because maybe I have just described you. And I think you would really benefit from either purchasing such a book, (about $20) or going to your local public library and checking it out. Maybe I’m not describing you — maybe I described one of your family members.. or friends. Maybe this would make a good Holiday gift?
You know.. so they can stop calling you with novice questions, and just look it up themselves?

Related; Quick Tip: How To Change Window Size.

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

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December 2, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments