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Friday, November 30, 2012

10 Pack Stylus Set Only $3.00 + FREE Shipping!

 Wouldn't you know it?  After I just bought some, a great deal pops up on Amazon. 10 stylus pens for $3 and free shipping.  What a great stocking stuffer.

10 Pack Stylus Set Only $3.00 (Orig $9.99) + FREE Shipping!

A stylus like this will work with an iPod, iPhone, Nook, PSP, and MORE!  Click on the link below to take advantage of this great deal.

10 Pcs Stylus Set Aqua Blue/Black/Red/Pink/Purple Stylus for Touch Screen Cellphone or Tablet

Friday, October 19, 2012

Can You Fix a Scratched DVD with a Banana? | Upgrade Your Life - Yahoo! News

 Whether it's DVDs, CDs, or game disks for your Xbox or Wii, there are ways to fix and buff out scratches. The Internet is full of solutions — claims that handy products you might have around the house will fix those scratches. So here are the unscientific results of my attempts to fix disk scratches with common household substances  — from best (#1) to worst (#4).


Can You Fix a Scratched DVD with a Banana? | Upgrade Your Life - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New! Facebook Emoticons

Oh, we're going to see a LOT of these soon! Facebook has added emoticons to their website, allowing us to add some very unique cartoons to our posts.
Name Code to enter
Smile :-) :) :] =)
Frown :-( :( :[ =(
Gasp :-O :O :-o :o
Grin :-D :D =D
Tongue :-P :P :-p :p =P
Wink ;-) ;)
Curly lips :3
Kiss :-* :*
Grumpy >:( >:-(
Glasses 8-) 8) B-) B)
Sunglasses 8-| 8| B-| B|
Upset >:O >:-O >:o >:-o
Confused o.O O.o
Shark (^^^)
Pacman :v
Squint -_-
Angel O:) O:-)
Devil 3:) 3:-)
Unsure :/ :-/ :\ :-\
Cry :'(
Chris Putnam :putnam:
Robot :|]
Heart <3
Kiki ^_^
42 :42:
Penguin <(")

























Thursday, October 4, 2012

Digital Eye Strain & Workplace Eye Injuries | Consumers | The Vision Council


Digital Eye Strain & Workplace Eye Injuries

Digital Eye Strain
We are living in an extraordinarily digital age. Thanks to technology often small enough to hold in one hand, we can video chat across oceans, stream lectures online to thousands and read entire books on one screen. It's all shaping the way our world works, learns and socializes. But this digital world poses a potential risk to our eyes.
The issue is digital eye strain, which is caused by the overuse of digital devices. Because computer tablets, smartphones and other hand-held products are designed for reading and close range use, eyes must constantly refocus and reposition to process content like graphics and text. Over time, such efforts can lead to fatigue, irritation and vision problems.
You can learn more about digital eye strain including causes, symptoms, and prevention methods by reading the report Screens, Phones, Tablets and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age now available.

To read more go to:
Digital Eye Strain & Workplace Eye Injuries | Consumers | The Vision Council

Monday, September 24, 2012

Is Windows 8 Right for YOU?

 The retail release is coming soon. Is Windows 8 right for you? Check out this infographic and see if your computer fits before you buy. Courtesy of Tech Republic Windows and Office Blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

� HTG Explains: Why You Shouldn’t Disable UAC

 I have heard people disabling the User Account Control (UAC) but this is a critical security measure and removing it puts your computer at risk.


� HTG Explains: Why You Shouldn’t Disable UAC

Monday, September 10, 2012

Big Kindle Fire HD or an iPad?

 Choices, Choices, Choices.. if you are considering a purchase of the tablet, this may be a very helpful article. The new Kindle Fire has some great features, but is is the tablet for you? This article talks about the Kindle and the iPad, but remember, there are many other tablets on the market as well. Go to the ZDnet.com article by clicking the link below.

How to decide: should you buy a big Kindle Fire HD or an iPad? | ZDNet

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phishing in your Email

What is Phishing? Well, it is where cybercriminals "try to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an e-mail that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization, usually a financial institution, but contains a link to a fake Web site that replicates the real one."  (Thank you reference.com for this definition.)

A prime example was an email that I received today.. There are some hints that will allow you to identify this deception.

Click on image for larger view.
 First, look at the "From" email address.. update+5ds.... @plazatheater.nl. It isn't a Facebook address although sometime they will use an address that has the words in there, such as Facebook so read it carefully.  

Second, I have more than one email address. and this phishing email came to an address that I do not have listed on Facebook.  This may or may not apply to you, but it does make me think about the email being a scam.

Third, when I hover my cursor arrow over the links, your email software will show you the address. The links in this email are not to Facebook but to some other URL address (netrxcialis.be). Since when has Facebook been into Cialis distribution? 

So these red flags let me know that this is garbage designed to try and get me to give away my personal information or try and con me into clicking on the link and going to their website.  This is another a prime example of social engineering.  Play it safe, online and off. The internet is a great place, with tons of information but you need to be "street smart" and don't get scammed. ☺

Another Phishing Email





Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions | TechCrunch

 5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions | TechCrunch

Do you know how many apps access your personal information on Facebook? Check your Facebook apps permissions and get ready for a surprise.

In fact, Facebook keeps “improving” their design so that more of us will add apps on Facebook without realizing we’re granting those apps (and their creators) access to our personal information. After all, this access to our information and identity is the currency Facebook is trading in and what is driving its stock up or down.

It should be no surprise that in the new App Center Facebook made another leap forward in their efforts to get you to expose your personal info without realizing you’re doing so.  [Click the link above to continue reading this article...]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time for a Hiatus


Daily Mouse Clicks is taking a hiatus... a short break while I returned to school and a busier than normal work schedule. 

I want to thank those that have faithfully followed me. Don't give up.. I will be back when things slow down and meanwhile I will continue post articles as I come across them to share. I'll be baaacckk☺

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Want Security and Privacy? Turn Off Your Mobile Devices' GPS | PCWorld

People with smartphones and tablets may be giving Apple and Android apps they download the permission to capture their geo-location data to know where they are, but security experts are making the strong argument to just say no instead -- and turn off that GPS function unless really needed.
"There's the privacy concern, maybe you don't want billions of people to know where you live," says Alan Brill, senior managing director, Kroll Advisory Solutions, who points out that smartphones with GPS chips today will embed geo-tagging information into the photo you upload to social-networking sites. It's fairly simple to use EXIF interpreter software that's freely available online to cull that geolocation data out of your photo, Brill says. In fact, this is happening today in military situations where adversaries watch for photos posted by the other side, he adds. To read more click the link below... ☺

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dangers with Unsecured WiFi


This is a MAJOR concern. If your wireless router connection in your home is not secure, you risk other people using your internet connection.

Just a few weeks ago, a home in Evansville, Indiana home was raided, the front window was broken and the SWAT team threw a flash-bang stun grenades into the living room, with the local TV news cameras rolling (invited by the local police). According to the Evanville Courier and Press, "Police were executing a search warrant for computer equipment, which they said was used to make anonymous and specific online threats against police and their families on the website topix.com." But this family wasn't making threats...a person down the street using their unsecured WiFi was making the posts.

If you don't have a good encrypted password on your wireless router, someone could be stealing your internet service or worse, posing as you online. Documentation to secure your router came with your equipment but if you don't have this information or don't know how to secure your network, contact a reputable computer tech service. ☺

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maintaining your Laptop

Computers get abused quite often with food and liquid on the keyboard, dirty mice and fingerprints on the screen. Our laptops get even more grungy with portability, and/or sitting getting dusty.

So, take the time to take care of your investment. If you aren't using your computer, turn it off. Heat will damage your system, permanently so treat it with care.

If your ports are not getting used, they are collecting dust, which can damage them.  Consider covering unused ports with a first aid adhesive tape (low-residue tape that won't leave behind any residue).

Invest in a small keyboard vacuum to help keep your keys free from dust and occasional cookie crumbs.

Did you know that keeping a disk in the disk tray will help reduce dust and protect the components in your drive?

Keep the computer screen clean with a slightly damp microfiber rag. Be careful not to used cleaners that are not recommended for your screen. You could permanently damage your screen with the wrong liquid.

Don't forget taking care of the battery, one of the more expensive replacement parts! If you haven't already read it, check out the article on batteries published in January.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Facebook Lets Users Announce Pregnancies in Timeline | PCWorld


Facebook users can now announce when they're expecting a baby, using a special “Life Event” description in their Timelines.

Life Events let users denote major happenings on their Facebook profile pages. For example, users can announce when they have moved, gotten a new job, picked up a new hobby or had a baby.

Until now, there has been no way to announce a pregnancy other than to create a generic Life Event. A new “expecting a baby” category lets Facebook users specify a gender (if known) and a due date, along with the usual categories for people involved, location, photos and the story of how it happened. (For pregnancies, that last category should perhaps be left blank.)

Facebook Lets Users Announce Pregnancies in TimelinePregnancy announcements will show up on users' Timeline pages, and they'll also appear under “Celebrations” on users' home pages, along with birthdays and other joyous news.

 To read the rest go to: Facebook Lets Users Announce Pregnancies in Timeline | PCWorld

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Email Etiquette

Yes, even on the Internet, there is etiquette. Experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally. So let's look at the etiquette of email.
  • Avoid Caps Lock in the email and in the subject line.
  • Use punctuation and edit your email for grammar
  • Don't use Return Receipt (RR) on every single email. Doing so is viewed as intrusive, annoying and can be declined by the other side anyway.
  • Use a subject line that reflects what you are saying in the email.
  • Keep your emails brief and to the point. Long emails are often put it aside until they have more time, which may not be too soon.
  • In the same regard, read the entire email and response appropriately, answering all questions even if you don't know the answer.
  • Respond promptly, 24 to 48 hours at the most.
  • Like a letter, it is good form to add a opening and closing salutation.
  • The recipient can change the size of the font if they have trouble reading your message, so keep the text size normal. 
  • Only discuss public matters via email, if it needs to be private, email is not the secure means of transmitting that information. 
  •  Don't use email for sending bad news, reprimands or saying unkind things about your boss. Remember, emails can last forever!
  • Don't send one-line emails of thanks. 
  • If it is a business letter, never use jargon, slang, emoticons or word shortcuts such as "BTW".  Very unprofessional.
  • Do not forward chain letters
  • If it sounds too good to be true don't forward it.
  • If it sounds fishy, don't forward it.
  • If it is a email petition, it has no value, don't forward it. 
  • If it is worth forwarding, clean up the text, remove other people's email addresses and remove all the excessive carrots (>>>). 
This is just a brief look at email etiquette, but you get the idea. Until next time. ☺

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Search and Rescue V

In previous search tips, we have shown how to search a specific website with Google.

This Google search tip is really simple and effective. Looking for a similar website or something related?  Just type "related:" (see the image below). Don't put a space between the colon and the address. This will be extremely handy for looking for similar content.



Are you looking for a quiz answer? Fill in the blank!  Although most punctuation is ignored in Google, this is an exception to that rule. Add an asterisk (*) in place of the part of the sentence or question you want finished. For example, "Leif Erikson discovered *" and your answer will be popping up shortly! 

Search engines are incredible tools that open the world, just like a library did so many years ago.  Learn to use that tool and grab hold of the adventures and knowledge you can discover!


Keeping Kids Safe

Like the author of this article, I too used Edmark Kiddesk software to protect my computer from the kids. Unfortunately, it is no longer available.  Now, another option is available, time to try Peanut Butter PC. Now, it isn't perfect. A savvy computer geek might be able to figure another way around it if you aren't careful) but for young kids, this would be great. You can try Peanut Butter PC for a 15 day trial.  Just a reminder....it cannot be considered a replacement to parental supervision.  So click on the link below to pop on over and read the details at techrepublic.com.

Peanut Butter PC: Trying to keep kids safe

Another option (not reviewed) is Kid Desktop... download a free trial. ☺

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Touch Screen Gadgets

It is hard to take a picture of finger smudges!
Hours (and 60+ levels) of "Jewels Star" has left my (Kindle) tablet looking less than stellar. I am sure this issue is also for anyone that owns a smart phone or other items with a touch sensitive screen. Wiping it with a soft dry cloth just isn't doing much good but how to clean it? Well, the manual says... (Maintaining Your Kindle)

"Clean the screen with a soft cloth; be careful not to wipe it with anything abrasive."

That might work for regular finger prints, but how about that taco sauce?  Ugh!


Keep two things handy for this simple project..
  • microfiber cloth
  • sprayer containing distilled water or an alcohol free lens cleaner solution
Wipe with the microfiber cloth. Most of the time this will do the trick and solve your problem. If you feel you must wipe it down with a liquid, very lightly SPRAY THE CLOTH, not the surface and a  wipe down the screen.  There are many cleaning solutions quite willing to take your money but I wouldn't go that far unless you had eye glasses, then it could become a multi-use product. ☺

Monday, August 6, 2012

Protecting your Tablets and Smart Phones

When you think about your smart phone, tablet or Kindle Fire, do you think about virus and malware protection? Well, you should! A recent article about the high amount of malware showing up during the heavy usage at the Olympics shows an increase in viruses and malware. It is inevitable (just like those Macs) so it is time to protect your technology.

There are a number of antivirus programs out there. Webroot has protection for both Android and iOS both available through your app store. There is a wide range of programs out there and many of them are free. So check them out, download them and get them installed.. Protect your identity, technology and personal information. ☺


Friday, August 3, 2012

Do You Know You're Online Profile?

Have you ever searched online for yourself, your real name, email, phone number or even the screen name you often use?  Have you ever considered how much information someone can actually fine about you, where you live, your hobbies, jobs and even family?

It can be scary (and useful) knowing the information is out there. Of course, it always has been through things like the white pages, but now it is compiled, just through a website search. The search I used was http://pipl.com, although there are other data compilers out there.  I did a search for my name and found a newsgroup post from back in 1997! It is amazing (and a little intimidating) when you consider what can be combined to make an profile of an individual.

Now it might seem like a completely negative thing but consider the benefit if you wanted to do a background type check on someone you were dating or hiring, for example. Or try and track down a loved one.  It could eliminate a lot of heartache.

Bottom line is that if you are online and even if you aren't, your information is more public than you probably ever expected. Once it is posted, your presence most likely will be there forever through archive.org or other cached locations. ☺




Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moo Gives Away Free Facebook Timeline Business Cards

Read the article here at Moo Gives Away Free Facebook Timeline Business Cards

... incorporate elements of the new profile into customized business cards with the help of Moo.com, which is giving away a free set of 50 to the first 200,000 people who sign up.

The business design-services provider announced the integration of timeline into its customized printed business cards offering, allowing Facebook users to add images from their profiles to the cards, along with elements such as favorite quotes or sayings.

Moo.com Founder and Chief Executive Officer Richard Moross said:

It’s clear that consumer habits of sharing business and personal information are evolving, and the lines between online social networking and offline business networking are not just blurring, but vanishing.
This integration places Moo.com and Facebook at the leading edge of this new trend: seamlessly turning your dynamic online presence into a beautifully designed, high-quality offline “social” business card. We’re very excited about this new and unique way to share your contact details, and other profile information, with friends in the real world.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Simplified Package Tracking Online

 You should like this little hint.  Got a package to track? Don't search for the transportation company website, find the tracking field or page and then wait for the results... go the simple route and check with the simple and helpful tool, Google.  Just type the tracking number into the Google search and pop.. it leads you to the correct tracking information. Gotta love Google. ☺

 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Google for Trip planning?

  • Flight Tracking

    To see flight status for arriving and departing U.S. flights, type in the name of the airline and the flight number into the search box.
    Example:
  • Flight Schedules

    To see flight schedules to or from a particular destination, type “flights from” or “flights to” followed by the city or airport of interest. You can also add another location with “to” or “from” and view the schedule for a specific route.

    Flight schedule data is provided by OAG and QuickTrip by Innovata.
    Example:
  • Currency Conversion

    To use our built-in currency converter, simply enter the conversion you’d like done into the Google search box and we’ll provide your answer directly on the results page.
    Example:
    Source: http://www.google.com/help/features.html

Monday, July 30, 2012

Android Phone Tech: Best Apps


If you have an Android phone (not an iPhone or Blackberry) there are some great widgets out there that are good looking, helpful and inexpensive. PC World shares 15 of the coolest and most useful widgets for all sorts of uses. And all but three of them are free. Take that, Apple! ☺

Friday, July 27, 2012

WikiHow: Your DIY Source

WikiHow Categories
There are lots of Wikis out there.. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia explains, "A wiki is a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser.."

Well, I went looking for how to password protect a Microsoft Word Document. I don't used that feature too often and I 'Googled' it.  I found a clean, simple answer on WikiHow.  This is a great resource for how to do a variety of things, step by step and sometimes even with a video.

Matter of fact, they have a wide range of categories from 'Arts' to 'Youth'.  Browsing around I found some interesting topics such as How to Communicate With a Deaf Person Through an Interpreter  or How to Escape from a Sinking Car.  Ok. Some more practical applications might be learning how to drive defensively or how to avoid foods dangerous for your dog.  This is a resource worth bookmarking! ☺

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012 Olympics: Taking it to the Internet

Games of the XXX Olympiad: July 27 - August 12, 2012

When I was a child, the Olympics were in some distant place, to only be dreamed about or watch on TV in pre-recorded shows such as Wide World of Sports.

Now we can watch the 2012 Olympics, follow every aspect online, watch clips, chat with others and even participate in some unique events such as the Tweethletes. Ok, this is just fun but if you are into Tweeting, have you ever considered how far your tweets would take you? 

This year, they are dubbing the 2012 London Olympics as the "Social Media Olympics".  The IOC has opened a hub online where you can join in discussions, tweets, live photo feeds, rewards and more.  What an incredible event and you can now be a part of the action from your desk, tablet or mobile phone. 

A word to the wise, as always, there are tons of scams out there during the Olympics. Use caution and a good antivirus when browsing websites, shopping or even looking for online streaming. Stick to known sources.


Yes, this will be my preferred sport to watch!

TV Scheduling and online streaming IF you have a TV provider that includes MSNBC and CNBC - http://www.nbcolympics.com

Olympic Athletes Hub - http://hub.olympic.org/ 

I have heard that that BBC will be streaming online - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/2012/

Consumer Reports Article on the Olympics - http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/07/how-to-watch-the-london-2012-olympics-anywhere/index.htm

Olympic videos - http://www.olympic.org/videos

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 Olympics Technology

So, how does technology play with the upcoming Olympics? Over the next couple of days, I will post some of the online and technology related aspects.

Well. It is critical and the mobile companies are popping out some really impressive infographics showing some of the anticipated numbers! 

iProspects findings, culled from Nielsen, eMarketer and Forrester, are presented in the infographic below.  Click on the image for a larger view.




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stop Windows' Automatic Updates from Rebooting Your PC

 Nothing like finding your computer has automatically rebooted! Yes, you can change that setting. Head over to PC World and read this easy how-to on changing these settings.  


I'll bet good money this has happened to you: You step away from the computer for a little while, and when you come back, all your windows and work are gone.
What happened? Windows, that's what. Windows Update downloaded some updates and took it upon itself to reboot without your permission.
This should never happen. Never, ever, ever. It doesn't matter that Windows is attempting to keep itself secure and fine-tuned and all that; under no circumstances should an operating system reboot without permission. 
At best, it's a hassle. At worst, you stand to lose any work you haven't saved.
Thankfully, there's an easy fix for this, and I'm kicking myself for not applying it sooner. If you've been plagued by the same problem, here's what you need to do:

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Facebook Features: Editing, Timeline cards and comment buttons

There are some new changes on Facebook. One of them is an 'upgrade'.  You used to be able to edit a comment (not a post) within about 60 seconds of the posting but unfortunately the option disappeared if someone else commented before you decided to edit it.

Now, as of June, 2012, you can edit the comment at any time. It is available on the upper corner of the right hand side of your comment. Once finished, it will show the comment was edited and show the change that was made underneath the comment.  Also, if someone has notifications, they will receive two notices, one for the the original post and one for the edited post, so keep this in mind if you edit, edit, edit! This change really helps when following the flow of the thread as your only option in the past was to delete and re-post, often further down.

Another change you might have noticed is if you are commenting, the comment button has disappeared.  Once you hit enter your comment is posted. If you wish to get long winded and add a paragraph break, press Shift + Enter.

Last but not least, you can now see a change when you hover over someone's profile picture on Facebook. You see a little different view called a "timeline card".  Matter of fact, for a limited time, Moo.com is giving away Facebook Timeline cards for your personal or business use for the cost of shipping... not bad for 50 freebies. 

Now Facebook needs to let you edit your original posts in the same manner instead of only having the option to delete them and start over. Maybe that will be in another set of updates.☺

Friday, July 20, 2012

Downloads: Why can't I find them?

 You download a file and close the download page then, OOPS! Where is it? 

Well, your browser chooses where your downloads are stored but you can take control of the process. If you use more than one browser, you will need to modify the settings of each one individually.

In Firefox: 
Firefox Downloads
  1. Go to "Tools" near the top of your open Firefox browser. Select "Options" from the drop down menu.  
  2. Personally, I have them all go to a folder called "Downloads" but you can choose to have them download to the location of your choice, such as your desktop or have the browser ask you every time where you want to save the file by clicking the circle in front of "Always ask me where to save files."

In Chrome:
  1. Click the wrench on the top right hand side of the browser.
  2. Select "settings" from the drop down menu.
  3. Click the link at the bottom of the page that says "Show Advanced Settings..."
  4. Scroll down to the Download section and again, you can select the location of your choice or have the browser ask each time by clicking the circle in from the "Ask where to save each file before downloading".
Chrome Downloads

In Internet Explorer:
  1. Click on the gear on the upper right hand side of the browser.
  2. Select "View Downloads" from the drop down menu.
  3. You can change the location where the files are saved by browsing. It doesn't give you the option to select the location every time. 
I.E. Downloads


If you come across a link, you can always right-click and "Save as"  or "Save Link as" or "Save image as" and select your choice of locations.  Now you know!☺

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Outbreaks: Pinterest Spam

According to PC World,  "Pinterest has locked an undisclosed number of user accounts as a result of a spam outbreak, the company confirmed in an email on Friday.

The accounts, which "were associated with a specific piece of spam," may have been compromised, Pinterest acknowledged. But the company blamed recent leaks of user log-in credentials from other websites, rather than a data breach of its own."

Bottom Line: Be sure your log-in has a unique ID and a strong password.  ☺

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Malware: Facebook Photo Notification

This type of thing has popped around before but now it is making a revival.  An innocent looking email states you have been tagged in a Facebook picture. Unfortunately, it packs a trojan virus within seconds of seeing an innocent looking facebook page.

Subject: Joe Unknown tagged a photo of you on Facebook
From: Facebook <notification@faceboook.com>
 Security vendor Sophos advise Facebook users to check the spelling in the email, with a misspelled word as a key giveaway.

"If you click on the link in the email, you are not taken immediately to the real Facebook website. Instead, your browser is taken to a website hosting some malicious iFrame script (which takes advantage of the Blackhole exploit kit, and puts your computer at risk of infection by malware)," it said in a blog post.

"Did you notice what was odd about the email? The 'from' address misspells Facebook as 'Faceboook' with three 'o's," it said.

"Even if you didn't notice that 'Faceboook' was spelt incorrectly, you could have seen by hovering your mouse over the link that it wasn't going to take you directly to the genuine Facebook website," it added. ☺

Monday, July 16, 2012

Optimizing Windows: ReadyBoost

This is an interesting tip to speed up your Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer and it is built into your computer.. no additional software needed.  Let Windows borrow space your flash drive and improve the memory of your computer system.

What you do need is a USB flash drive. I had an 4GB and an 8GB in my desk already and you may have one kicking around your office as well.

Now, there are some specifications which I will post here just in case you decide to go out and buy one, but I just tried what I had handy since many don't have read/write specification listings on the device. How much information can you put on a device the size of your thumb or smaller? ☺ The USB Flash Drive must have a capacity of at least 256 MB, with at least 64 kilobytes (KB) of free space. I recommend a larger USB flash drive and they are pretty inexpensive for a 1GB or more. It needs to be at least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads and at least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1MB random writes. 

Screen shot of AutoPlay for USB and ReadyBoost
AutoPlay Screen with ReadyBoost Option
Put plug in the USB flash drive.  The AutoPlay screen will pop up and if available (more details about that below), the option will be shown.  Click the "Speed up my system" link.

Screen Shot of ReadyBoost Details Screen
ReadyBoost Details Screen
The second screen will give you options on dedicating or just using the flash drive for a time. It also asks how much space you wish to reserve. Windows will once again, give you a recommended amount for optimal performance.

Have a bunch of flash drives you wish to dedicate? Windows will allow you up to eight flash drives for a maximum 256 gigabytes (GB) of additional memory. Of course, you would be limited by the number of USB slots you have on your computer.

Screen shot of ReadyBoost not enabled by Windows
ReadyBoost not enabled by Windows
Now, it doesn't work on all computers. Windows will tell you if ReadyBoost can be helpful, so you will know if your system can be improved with ReadyBoost, it won't let you enable it. ☺

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Twitter revolution

 Is Twitter a breakthrough in personal communications or a colossal waste of time?  Are you on the bandwagon?

Thanks to Twitter, millions of people are obsessively updating ‘friends’ on their most mundane activities. Is Twitter a breakthrough in personal communications or a colossal waste of time?

What exactly is Twitter?
It’s a form of electronic networking designed to instantly answer the  timeless question, “What are you doing?” At first glance, Twitter is not much different from e-mail or text messaging; you simply sign up for a free account at Twitter’s website and start sending and receiving “tweets” via computer, cell phone, or other hand-held device. But unlike text messaging or IMs, a tweet can reach potentially thousands of pre­approved “friends” at once, and there is a space limit of no more than 140 characters per tweet. “It’s the water cooler of the 21st century,” says Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power.
Read more at The Twitter revolution

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Technology News: Microsoft to offer Windows 8 upgrades at a discoun...

Considering an upgrade when Windows 8 is released? Good news!

Technology News: Microsoft to offer Windows 8 upgrades at a discount:  Posted by David Bernstein


As you may or may not know, Windows it is on its way and Microsoft is really pushing for it since it will run on PCs as well as tablets. If you are running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then you will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 8 pro for just $39.99...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Compromised: Stolen numbers and passwords

So a call today from my husband's credit card company.. someone tried to use his card number to make a couple of large ticket purchases. Although appropriate steps were taken by the card company, if it had been smaller amounts, would they have noticed?  How about if it was local?

Add to that a recent article I read about stolen passwords from another website that were used to try and access BestBuy customer accounts.

Unfortunately, in this digital age, we have a security risk with corporate computer systems, credit and debit cards. If you have a credit or debit card, your accounts may have been compromised in the past.  

There are steps you can take to protect yourself:
  1. Review all your charges on every bank or charge card statement. If you didn't receive your statement during the month, check online or contact them for a replacement statement. The longer a breach goes undiscovered, the more costly it becomes.
  2. Keep your passwords for each account unique!  If someone get's a hold of your generic password, even if a really good one, you may have given them the combination to your personal "safe" of information and accounts.  The result will be hours, days, and maybe even years trying to clean up the mess.  Don't use your personal information as a password. Mix your password with numbers, upper and lowercase letters.
  3. Protect your computer with antivirus and a firewall. Keep it updated and run the scan regularly.
  4.  Remove all unnecessary cards and information (such as social security cards) from your wallet. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 14% of identity theft is a result of stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit cards.
  5. A recent study suggests that you are in greater danger from identity thieves rummaging for important papers in your trash or breaking into your mailbox. Invest in a shredder. Shred your old mail and lock your mailbox.
For more information on Identity Theft, check out these Federal Trade Commission articles:
Identity Theft: What to Know, What to Do 
Deter: Minimize Your Risk

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SightSeeing: Travel Websites

Considering a vacation? Maybe a get-away to the ocean or a cabin for a weekend?  Well, the best deals can often be found online... if you know where to look.

You can keep tabs on air travel prices via a site like Airfarewatchdog.com or FareCompare.com so you'll know a deal when you see one.


I prefer to read the reviews of destination hotels at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ where you can check pricing at hotels.com, Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com and the hotel chain website if applicable.


For last minute deals check the hotwire.com, and priceline.com.  For some other options to save a few dollars try these new sites:
  1. Hotelsweep.com - Support small businesses. Hotel Sweep scours smaller, independent properties not listed on major online travel agencies. 
  2. Backbid.com  Let hotels know you are looking to book and other hotels can counteroffer, typically saving you over 20% (or getting you upgrades).
  3. Tingo.com checks rates for your reservation after you book. If prices drop for any night of your stay, you get a refund.
 You can get some great deals on cruises these days. They cover food, entertainment and housing at bargain rates. Search SmarterTravel.com and Travelzoo.com for deals.

Ever consider full time travel with your earthly posessions in your travel bag?  Nora Dunn shows that it can be done inexpensively in this interesting article.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Privacy Laws and Twitter

Photo by Alan Cleaver
Judge Sciarrino said, "If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. There is no proprietary interest in your tweets, which you have now gifted to the world..."

Tweeting is very different from a private mail, private chat or other forms of private online communications, Sciarrino wrote.

"Those private dialogues would require a warrant based on probable cause in order to access the relevant information. " The same is not true of public tweets, he noted.

The ruling elicited predictable groans from privacy rights groups. "We think the judge missed the point on the privacy analysis," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

"It's one thing for the police to overhear a person shout an incriminating statement. We agree there would be no expectation of privacy" in those situations, Rotenberg said. "But when the police go to a communications service provider and demand that the company turn over records of a customer, that is a very different scenario."

In an amicus brief filed with the court, EPIC and other groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, noted that prosecutors were not asking just for the content of Harris' tweets -- the subpoena also sought the date, time, and IP address Harris used each time he logged into his Twitter account over a three-month period.

The privacy groups contended that seeking such information without a warrant is a violation of Harris' First and Fourth Amendment rights.


You can read more about it in PC World's recent article, 'Twitter Ruling Disappoints, but Doesn't Surprise Privacy Advocates'.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Teaching with Technology

More and more technology is finding its way into the classroom and into the homeschooler's curriculum.  Today, I found an infographic (a visual representation of information) geared toward education. I always had problems with affect and effect. Now I know! There is a whole new employment opportunity for graphic artists that can put together infographics that are understandable, meaningful and helpful. There is even software now available to help non-designers put together effective instructional tools for visual thinking. 



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

As you can see, I am taking a few days off but I will be back with our regularly scheduled posts and lots of great information. Thanks for standing by!!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Search High and Low III

Last December, I posted the second in a series with tips about searching with Google. Here are some more great search hints to make your searches work for you.

Definitions:  To see a definition for a word or phrase, simply type the word “define” (or "define:" if you want to define a phrase) then a space, then the word(s) you want defined.

Blogs: Want to read up on different opinions? Check out the blog search on Google.

 Sunrise/Sunset:  No, not Fiddler on the Roof but find out what time you will see the sunrise?  Type in "sunrise Rome, GA" (without the quotes) or the city of your choice. Poof... your results.
Time: Anybody know what time it is?  Goggle does, but most like for your nearest larger cities. Type in "time Atlanta" (without the quotes).
Now you know! ☺

Monday, June 25, 2012

Create a Website Shortcut on your Desktop

The icon next to the URL in the address bar.
There are lots of ways to bookmarking, linking and organizing, but sometimes you just want to be able to go to your favorite site quickly and easily from your desktop. Here is a great quick tip that works in I.E., Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.

Make your browser a window, if it is maximized, so you can see your desktop.  This can be done by clicking the two boxes that are right next to the X on the upper right corner of the browser. Now click and drag the small icon next to the URL in the address bar off the browser page to the desktop.  It's that simple! ☺






Friday, June 22, 2012

Internet Hall of Fame

The Internet Society is a non-profit organization that has considerable influence, predominately in standards, public policy, and education. At their 20th anniversary annual meeting in Geneva, The Internet Society added a new award.

Congratulations to the 2012 inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame!

Take a few moments and visit the Hall of Fame Website.  The nominations are very impressive with the incredible impact they have had on the Internet, its development and growth.

Pioneers Circle
Recognizing individuals who were instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet: Paul Baran, Vint Cerf, Danny Cohen, Steve Crocker, Donald Davies, Elizabeth Feinler, Charles Herzfeld, Robert Kahn, Peter Kirstein, Leonard Kleinrock, John Klensin, Jon Postel, Louis Pouzin, and Lawrence Roberts.

Innovators
Recognizing individuals who made outstanding technological, commercial, or policy advances and helped to expand the Internet’s reach: Mitchell Baker, Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, Van Jacobson, Lawrence Landweber, Paul Mockapetris, Craig Newmark, Raymond Tomlinson, Linus Torvalds, and Philip Zimmermann.

Global Connectors
Recognizing individuals from around the world who have made significant contributions to the global growth and use of the Internet: Randy Bush, Kilnam Chon, Al Gore, Nancy Hafkin, Geoff Huston, Brewster Kahle, Daniel Karrenberg, Toru Takahashi, and Tan Tin Wee.☺

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hot Tip: Save Your Computer from Power Surges

When you bought your computer, it probably was suggested that you buy a surge protector (not a power strip which lacks the protection against power fluctuations.  This may protect your computer from disruptions in the flow of power. These disruptions, also called  "surges", "spikes" and "blinks" or "flickers", can be as quick at few nanoseconds (1/100 of a seconds or less) and yet they can do extensive damage.  A in inexpensive surge protector probably will protect your computer from the minor blinks and flickers but during a storm, it could easily let you down, causing damage to your system and your pocketbook.

When storms roll through, another computer related problem can occur, leaving you without a computer. Electricity can be carried through the phone lines and cables, frying modem and computers. You can add a phone surge suppressor at a very low cost, once again saving your system from a meltdown.

For a little more investment, you can purchase a backup UPS system which can give you time to shut down your computer in case of a power outage, phone surges and power fluctuations.

Many of these surge protectors can limit the damage of a power fluctuation, but the best defense from storms and potential direct electrical strikes is to shut down and unplug your computer and peripherals (printers etc) and any phone or cable connections. Note: A surge protector doesn't protect your computer or any electronic device from a direct lightening strike.  You may want to check your homeowners insurance for that coverage. ☺


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What are those F keys at the top of the keyboard?

So what do you use those F-keys on the top of the keyboard?  Well, those are called "function keys" and they are date back to the old days when computers used DOS. We don't use them much now but they can be used to perform shortcuts on your computer.

  • F1 is almost always a default for help in software programs.  If you use the Windows key + F1, it will open the Windows help and support center. 
  • F2 - Highlight an icon on your Windows desktop and press F2 to rename the icon. You can also rename the icon by right-clicking on the icon and then selecting rename, but what's the fun in all those steps?
  • F3 - From the desktop, F3 brings up the "find feature" to search your computer. If your Firefox browser is on-screen, it pops up the "fine feature" of the browser.
  • F4 - In the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, it will open the address bar.
  • F5 - F7 will start the spell check in Word and Outlook. In Word, it will start the "Find and Replace" feature.
  • F6 - Like F4, it goes to the address bar in your browser. On your desktop it will go to various parts of your workspace. Helpful if you loose your mouse and need to move around with your keyboard.  Not something that happens often but trivia that might be useful in the future.
  • F7 - Turns on Caret Browsing in Firefox and I.E. which basically means to navigate the webpage using arrow keys.  Press F7 again to turn this feature off.
  • F8 - Another little used but helpful function. Hold down F8 when you are booting your Windows computer to get into Safe Mode.
  • F9 - No programmed use in Windows but will update selected fields in Microsoft Word.
  • F10 -  Shows or highlights the menu bar in many programs including Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • F11 -  Opens full screen or "Kiosk" mode for your browser.  How cool is that?
  • F12 - No programmed use in Windows but will open the Save As dialog in Microsoft Word. 
Of course, various programs may use the function keys for other purposes. The function keys can also be combined with other keys on the board for keyboard shortcuts. ☺