Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Connecting with Deepak - I'm a PC

A insightful commentary from Deepak Chopra.

Multiple Application Bars In Windows

This was a neat feature that I didn't know about. I did try it out(XP Pro) and it does work. Pretty cool.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple Mac Music Video

Yes I'm a PC guy but I couldn't help but share this video. Things you can do with a MAC to the tune of "Again and again" by The Bird and The Bee. Another cool thing you can do with a computer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to build a gaming computer

I couldn't help but be amazed at this kid. Very knowledgeable. I didn't get into building PC's until I was much older(in my 30's). I do find it fun though. Never too old or young to build a PC I believe. Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Microsoft Word quick tip #1

Recently I downloaded the trial version Microsoft Office 2007 which I do like so far. I figured what better way to test was to do a short school assignment. Which I did with no problem. I had to go to a different computer (using Open office and/or Word 2000) to print it out. Unfortunately being new to the program(Word 2007) I didn't realize it now saves it (by default) in a new format called .docx instead of the previous .doc . I was a bit frustrated and had to cut and paste it into another program to print it out because I was under a time constraint(I guess that's my fault for waiting until the last minute, but anyway).

I've since found that there are some work arounds for this. One is that you can download a compatibility pack for previous versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint which you can download here.

A second method is to turn on Compatibility Mode in Word 2007. To do that you open Word first before creating a new document.
Click on the Office Symbol in the top left corner.

When the drop down menu comes up select "save as Word 97-2003 document". After which you'll be prompted to name the file and save it. This will disable some of the new features that are incompatible to previous versions of Word.For more info you can visit here at the Office website.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Applian flvplayer

Now after we download our movies using DownloadHelper how do we view them? DownloadHelper saves them as Flash Video(.flv)file which we need an player. Applian FLVPlayer is one such option. This player can be found at the Applian website .

After downloading and installing we can now go to the folder where we saved our video.

Right-click on our selection and choose flvplayer.

We now can view our video. It's a very simple and easy to use player that does the job very nicely.I like it and I do recommend it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crossloop impresses the Wall Street Journal

My recommended remote access program Crossloop is featured in a new column by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. He explains how Crossloop works and how simple and easy it is to use. He also has a short video telling of his experience. Though I haven't tried it yet the program now features a chat feature also to aid in communication between users which is an excellent idea. You can checkout my profile page here. Be sure and check it out.

Firefox extension: DownloadHelper

If you ever seen a cool video on YouTube and wished you could save it. I've found a program that will do just that. The only requirement is that you use Firefox as a browser. DownloadHelper is a FireFox extension which will do just that. What it does is download the video through your browser(Firefox) and saves it as a .flv(flash) file. Which you can view through a flash player or convert it into another format using a separate program. I find this feature addicting and easy to use. Here is a quick overview of how to use it:

After downloading and installing the program from DownloadHelper.net you open Firefox and look for the DownloadHelper icom in your toolbar(up top). Go to a web site such as YouTube and go surfing away.

Hover over the colored icon and choose the right side of the icon with the small arrow and click on that. A small pop out window will appear with the video title(or titles) that appear on the page.

When you click on the video title another window will appear asking you where you'd like to save your video. Click on Save and your download will proceed.

A quick observation is that I've gotten a couple of partial downloads. I think this is because I surfed away from the page before it was finished. Though I'm not positive about this to be sure I usually leave that window open and if you'd like to continue surfing just open another window or Tab in your browser. Like I said this can be addicting and is probably my most used Firefox extension. Next I'll show you how to view your videos in part 2. Thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Auslogics Disk Defrag

I liken disk defragging like changing the oil in your car. It may not seem glamorous or see immediate performance results. It does go a long way in keeping your engine running smooth and dependable. A hard drive isn't to much different. In the day in or day out use of your hard drive files inevitably become fragmented. Making your drive work harder for you. Not unlike if you have dirty oil your engine works harder thus shortening it's life. A regular defragmenting can help your hard drive work little less harder thus extending it's life.

You gotta have pie charts..

A nice little freeware program called Auslogics Disk Defrag is a nice program that does this for you. It's easy to use and does a decent job.

When your defraging you'll get a nice little display showing your progress.

When your done you'll get a nice report telling you how much you've improved your performance. Now if changing your oil in your car was as easy. Like I said you may not see blazing fast results but if done on a regular basis can help your drive work a little less harder and therefore last longer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The castaways

HP Pavilion a705w

It's amazing what people throw away. A few weeks ago a friend of mine spots a PC tower outside to go to the trash. Being a computer guy he picks it up. He thought it look fairly new and worth checking out. He asked me if I was interested and I said sure. So I check it out and it's a HP Pavilion a705w in a little rough shape but not too bad. At first it didn't work but I soon breathed new life into it. Everything was there hard drive,dvd drive,CPU and so on. After I got it running of course I cleaned it out of the previous owners stuff. Yes they had left it with stuff on there. Very careless of them. Of course it was loaded with virus's and spyware and some really horrible pictures of early teen girls wanting to be tough rappers. Kind of sad but anyway. Not a bad machine with a 2.93Ghz Intel Celeron, 256mb RAM, 40Gb drive,DVD/Cd combo and Windows XP Home. Maybe be not a blazing machine but actually better than what I had.

eMachine 15" e15Tr LCD monitor

The second part of the story is that yesterday coming home from work I drive by a house and see a LCD monitor sitting against a fence. I turn around and pick it up. I thought what the heck if it doesn't work I lose nothing. It's 15 " eMachines LCD e15Tr monitor. It was missing the power cord so I substituted my wife's laptop plug and it worked. It's got some lite scratch's on the housing but the screen looks in good condition(that's what counts anyway). So now I've got an almost complete computer setup for zero dollars. Like I said it's amazing what people throw away.

I do plan on upgrading the HP with more RAM(up to 2Gb), video card and larger drive in the future. Now I just got to reconfigure my work area to accommodate it. It made my weekend.

References: HP Pavilion a705w
eMachine 15" Monitor e15T (Specs, Manual)

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'M A PC Microsoft Commercial - Windows Not Walls

Apparently the Seinfeld thing wasn't working out and Microsoft starting a new campaign reminiscent the "I'm a MAC". I like it better than the Seinfeld stuff. Makes a bit more sense and is to the point. And yeah I'm a PC too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Windows tip: Keyboard Shortcuts

I'm currently enrolled in a course called "Introduction to computers"(three credit college course). Now some may think that a veteran computer guy(compared to some) that what more could I learn or that it'll be boring? The thing with computers is that you should always be looking for something to learn. One thing that I've often overlooked or just got lazy using the mouse is keyboard shortcuts. Some consider them quicker than using a mous. Of course most of us know the CTRL+ALT+DEL to shutdown or restart your PC when frozen but beyond that I'm a bit lacking. So here's a few Windows keyboard shortcuts that may be useful to you. This is by no means a total comprehensive list but I believe it covers the basics. Many applications have there own shortcuts. If you know of more leave a comment to share.

  • Ctrl + W - Closes window
  • Ctrl + C - Copy
  • Ctrl + X - Cut
  • Del key - Delete
  • Esc - Exit window
  • Ctrl + F3 - Find
  • F1 - Help
  • Windows key + M - Minimizes window
  • Ctrl + Del - Move to Recycling bin
  • Ctrl + N - Create New Folder or document
  • Ctrl + O - Open
  • Windows Key - Opens Start menu
  • Ctrl + V - Paste
  • Ctrl + P - Print
  • Alt + Print Scrn - Print screen
  • Ctrl + Alt + Del - Reboot/Restart
  • Ctrl + S - Save
  • Ctrl + A - Select all
  • Ctrl + Z - Undo
For a more comprehensive list you can check the Microsoft list of shortcuts here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

PC Magazine video reviews Pentium 120 & 133!

It's amazing how fast technology advances. What are now considered antiques and yard sale material in the PC world were once considered leading edge hardware. What will the machines be like 10-15 years from now?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We'll never forget.....

As Dan Rather said in one these videos "You will remember this day for as long as you live". I know I will. May God bless the victims and heroes of that day. Take a moment to remember them today as we carry on with our lives.

Avast! Antivirus

An antivirus software program is one of those things that no one who surfs the Internet should be without. For those without a big budget(then again who is these days) freeware choices can be a life(or PC) saver. Avast! is an excellent choice for those fans of freeware. I use it on all my machines(except my Linux one). I did come across this article from The How-to Geek blog on the installation and use of this program. It's an excellent read for those that are interested and would like a preview of what to expect. To download Avast! go to there website here. They do have pay versions if you'd like a few more bells and whistles.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Video: Google Chrome

I did this video about Google's new browser Chrome. It's a nice browser but to be labeled as a "Windows killer" is a bit premature if you ask me. It's worth checking out though. It stays with "spartan and to the point" style of Google. with some nice features. It'd be hard to pry me away from Firefox though. Enjoy the video.

How to: Forgotten Password (XP Home)

Recently I was trying to log on to a PC(recent gift) that had Windows XP Home Edition that had password protected accounts. I was a bit baffled at first but after some research I found a relatively easy work around.

First you reboot the computer and log onto "Safe Mode" (usually by pressing F8 but some PC's differ). This will log you on as an "Administrator". Go to "Control Panel" then "User Accounts". From that point you can change or add/remove any password on any account. This could be a great way to to play a joke on a loved one/friend too (but you didn't get that from me of course). This only works in Windows XP Home Edition and not XP Professional which has tighter security. With XP Pro you'd probably need some third party software to crack the password like Ophcrack or something similar. I've not tried this so I can't vouch for it. Good luck and have a great day.

Bill and Jerry

Though I was never a huge fan of Jerry's show I do find him funny at times. The commercial is kind of like his show. It's doesn't make sense on the surface but the humor is there. It kind of makes you wonder what it has to do about Microsoft but then again that was the purpose I think. We'll see if it works.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ubuntu wireless woes

A friend of mine was encouraging me to write about how I got my wireless card to work in Ubuntu. Unfortunately I didn't take notes and some of it was trial and error(lots of that). If I do it again I'll take some notes. I did find a few guides that were very helpful. One was through Ubuntu Documentation which gives an excellent tutorial on how to install and use Ndiswrapper to configure your wireless card. Another was through Ubuntuguide.org which had some excellent beginner stuff. I'm still enjoying Ubuntu and hope you do too!Good luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lightscribe update

While attempting to print a label using using Lightscribe the software apparently had trouble reading my drive. At first I restarted my PC thinking perhaps it's just glitch. After restarting I had the same result. I went to the Lightscribe website to try there diagnostic software. It found that I had no service. I was a bit puzzled at first so I downloaded the new version (August 29, 2008) and guess what ? It worked. Apparently you have to keep this software updated for it to work. So if you run into problems try updating your service software from Lightscribe. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Exploring ubuntu

After using and exploring ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) the more I'm beginning to like it. I just thought I'd share a few thoughts on it here. The interface and usability has out shined my expectations of it. I'm getting used to using the command line for certain items though a lot has been automated by the shell(gui) which makes it less intimidating. Though I'm getting over my initial fear of using the command line. I've been playing catch up on Linux terminology. So far there hasn't been a whole lot I haven't been able to use as far a functions and features compared to Windows XP. Somethings are even easier. I like it so far enough to consider it for my next PC build as my OS of choice. For the price you pay ($0.00) it may be worth checking out.

On another note a friend of my is visiting with us let me explore his new Acer laptop with Windows Vista. He recently upgraded his memory and it now works blazingly fast (despite Vista being a resource hog). Some of the features are nice and seemed to work fine while I was using it. Worth upgrading from XP is debatable. Much of it was nice eye candy but worth the money to upgrade from XP is debatable