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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Things you DON'T want on your website

Now, this admission will reveal my age.  I have been a part of designing websites through ~every single aspect~ shown on this infographic chart from Who Is Hosting This.

Click here to view the infographic. You may need to click
again on the image to make it large enough to read.


From gradients to web counters, I have done them all. Take my advice and do not ask me to add these things to your website unless you are wanting a "retro" look. Except maybe drop shadows, I like drop shadows. They may have their place depending on the design.☺



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Digital Marketing for the Small Business

OutMarket has put out in interesting white paper on "15 Ideas to Grow with Digital Marketing".  Online marketing is not just for the big guys but is easily available for small businesses and you need to take advantage of that opportunity to level the playing field in your industry. The article provides some of the first steps in developing your online marketing plan and well worth reading.

Some small business owners want to save funds and do it themselves but you might want to consider hiring this out to an online marketing specialist so you can focus on YOUR business. Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics and social media monitoring can monopolize your time, taking you away from running your business.

Shameless plug, McAllister Park Design can help you with your online marketing and increase your exposure online to potential clients. We will work with you as a consultant to help you develop a plan or as your regular marketing guru, your choice.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Favorite Apps/Software

Do you know the difference between an app and software?  Well, if you try and look it up online, you will get a variety of answers. What we do know is that "app" is short for "application".  Past that point, the line is pretty blurred as we often use the word "software" pretty extensively for any "application" that runs on a computer.  But there is a definition.

An app is computer software that is designed to help the user perform various light weight
tasks on the computer (but more often referred to an application on a phone or tablet) while software is usually things like your operating system and system files on your computer.   Does it matter? Probably not.

With that out of the way, I want to list a couple of my favorite apps.  Hopefully, you will find them helpful in your business as well.  The great part is that they are low cost and free since I tend to be frugal when it comes to business "apps".  I also want the app to cross all my platforms for the most part (which includes Windows 8.1, Windows Phone and Kindle HD).

Evernote - How could you not function with this wonderful notebook style application.   It allows me to keep notes, articles clipped from the internet, lists, ideas and journal.  It helps you stay organized and helps you remember. This they do quite well.  You can use the application for free or the premium version (with offline notes, more security and search capabilities) for $45 per year.  What a bargain.

Toggl.com  - I need to keep track of my time for various clients and different projects. What better way than Toggl which is available for Windows, iOS and Android (and will sync together as well).  I have used this for the last year, replacing an older program (Time Is Money) I used to use before the world of the cloud applications.  Now I can track not only my time on my computer but when I am in a meeting, a phone call or consulting with a client.  I can report hours for each project or a detailed report for the last year. This is important to me business. Free with subscription upgrades for $5 per month.

Live.com Calendar - Honestly, I use the Google Calender for various Non-profit websites but I use the live.com calender on my phone and computers. It captures events off of Facebook, it is easy to add events and always with me.  With connectivity through all my electronics, I no longer use my paper calendar. I also appreciate that it notifies me of upcoming events. It is a great babysitter for me as I don't keep track of dates quite as well as I used to when my memory was younger.   I haven't used many of the other features such as Word, One Note and Excel but I am glad to have that option.

LastPass - I keep all my passwords safe and secure across my systems. Save yourself the hassle of remembering to write down your passwords, changing them regularly and "which password did I use?" nightmare. It allows you to save online form information as well saving you time and energy of typing your name and address over and over again. 




So, these are a few of my favorite things... until next time! ☺

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Should I Hire a Professional Web Designer?


Well, to tell you the truth, there are many reasons to hire a professional but there are
Your nephew might know computer games
but that doesn't make him a web designer.
times that you can settle with a DIY website. But avoid your geeky nephew that can throw up that a bargain website. Unless he is a professional, that is one situation I suggest you avoid.

Companies need a web presence. They need to have their information available to their customers such as products, services, hours, contact information, ordering, menus, specials, and much more. With a simple site, this might be workable on your own. There is no doubt that software and websites with templates and stock images makes it much easier today than even just a few years ago.  But if it is too much, call a professional.   If you are looking at e-commerce, call a professional. If you want custom features, call a professional. Just my suggestion.

You might also consider just doing a consultation with a designer. They might be able to help you organize your site plan and make sure you are marketing yourself online appropriately. A few dollars spent up front could save you considerable headaches in the future.

As a small business owner, I know that spending time on building a website will take the owner away from other important aspects of  their business. You might be surprised at the cost of a basic website even from a designer. Look at their work, ask their other customers and talk to them about your ideas. Their experience and expertise just might make the difference between success and frustration. :)






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

School's Out and DMC is Back!

Good Morning, Daily Mouse Readers!

I am back and ready to go, sharing information for your business, your online presence, marketing, social media and using your computer productively and effectively for your business.

Building your business online is just as important as your personal presentation, sales pitch and branding. Do you have your information online to support your customers coming to your location?  Do you provide them with your products, menus, specials, hours and directions?  Do you want to encourage them to contact you or to look elsewhere? Let me give you an example.

Coffee is a morning ritual.
I need my coffee in the morning!
I love coffee and my coffee maker died last week. I went looking for a new one that had the features I wanted.  Yes, I am a little finicky about my coffee maker. I prefer a thermal pot so I don't burn the coffee. My experience is that coffee makes last longer if they don't have a burner running for hours daily, not to mention keeping the cost down for electricity.  I wanted at least a 10 cup capacity (none of that individual cups or pods, please) and I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg. I saw that a big store (starts with a W) showed online that the model I was consider was in stock nearby.  So, I went out of my way to find it. But they were wrong. Not only did they not have that brand, it wasn't even marked in that aisle that they ever had that brand in-store. The clerk, that wasn't from that department, said that they often didn't have what the inventory said online but I could order it.  REALLY??  If they don't know their inventory, why would I trust them with an order?  If I am going to order it, I can get it cheaper from Amazon and know that it will arrive promptly.  Three other local stores were less than helpful finding the perfect coffee maker.  Amazon got my order.

Melitta 46894A 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker

Building your presence online is more than just providing an online brochure. Be sure you provide the information your customer needs and wants. This  may be their first impression of your company and your product or service. Is your website a reflection of how you want your company to be portrayed? Do you want to talk it over?  Consultations are available (shameless plug!).

Friday, May 30, 2014

Taking a Hiatus

Due to a heavy work project load, an internship and homework (I will be graduating in the fall), I am taking a hiatus from the DMC for the summer.  I will still post links on occasion and write articles as I find time but it won't be daily until September.  I promise to come back with new information, great tips and maybe even some audio and video blogging to mix things up a bit.

Blessings! <><
Becky


You can now ask Google to remove links about you - CNET

You can now ask Google to remove links about you - CNET

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Net Neutrality

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

I am an advocate for Net Neutrality where the startups, and the little guy has as much of a chance at success at the big guys such as Amazon, ESPN or Google The fact is that without that neutrality this tiny speck of a blog may never see the light of day.   This is a big BIG issue and you need to be aware of the potential changes to the Internet that could be happening. Voice your opinion, let them know.

Please send your thoughts to openinternet@fcc.gov or post your comment on the form: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=p0e2m


More on the hearings can be found here: http://mashable.com/2014/05/15/fcc-net-neutrality-live/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getting a Higher Education at a Lower Cost

This morning I was in "dialog" with a friend on Facebook about higher education. In Finland, people have universal "free" access to higher education* and also receive a monthly grant while attending school.  So, now I will get on my soapbox.

Unless you are going for a doctor or lawyer, a liberal arts degree should be purchased within your financial means. And there are exceptions here with less expensive school, Peace Corps, military nursing loan repayment and medical loan forgiveness programs. If you can't afford to attend a high cost college, don't take out a loan! Find a way to get an education that fits your budget. 

If you are low income, you have access to the PELL Grants. In Georgia (my state) there is the HOPE grant and HOPE scholarship.  If you don't have money to pay for going away to school, do your first two years at a community college or technical college where your grant money will go much farther and pay for all those core classes at a much lower cost per credit.

You can also get credit for studying a subject on your own. CBE (Credit by Exam) is a great way to take classes,  and the tests are less expensive than a class, you don't need an expensive book and you can work at your own pace (faster or slower).  There are tons of free resources online for studying a wide range of subjects and many, MANY schools do accept the DSST and CLEP exams.  There is also Mooc credit which is now becoming available through ACE (American Council on Education) and other ACE coursework.

And when you find you really can work better on your own you can even do the majority of the degree at a fraction of the cost at legitimate acredited colleges such as Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College.  Self motivation is an incredibly valuable skill to have in life.  Distant learning saves considerable housing funds and allows students to actually save for their future home or family instead of spending or borrowing.

There are also work colleges that  require academics and work. What a way to gain experience!  Check out the Work College Consortium. Berea College, for example, doesn't charge for tuition, so the only expenses are living expenses if your teen wishes to go away to college. Even our local college, Berry College, has the the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship which allows lower income students to work, cover tuition and gain experience.


None of this is new information, but it does have a lot to do with our values as a society. We are so used to having what we want "right now" that we will borrow ourselves into a hole they can never climb out of in their lifetime (including bankruptcy). We need to think about higher education in a different, more affordable and realistic manner. Only then will higher education truly become valuable.

This just scratches the surface of the options for higher education, but it can be done. ☺

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Government paid education is not FREE!  It is paid for by the citizens that pay taxes.   In Finland, the tax rate is 49.2% on income over $87,222

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Typical Tuesday: Busy

This has been an extremely busy day with clients, a real estate closing and more, so I am passing on a little bit of fun instead of some computer tip. Hey, we have to have fun sometimes!  I was a courier for 10 years and this one just struck me as absolutely funny.  Enjoy! ☺

Monday, May 12, 2014

Maintenance Monday: Keep it cool!

Cooling is so important!
One of the biggest dangers to your computer is heat.  Too much heat reduces the life of your computer.   Today's tip is to keep your computer cool.

One of the biggest threats to keeping your desktop cool is dust. Because of the fans on your computer dust will collect in and around the vents and even on the inside if kept on the floor, near pets or in a room with the windows open or even just a warm environment.  With a dry cloth, wipe down the vent panels of your computer. If you are in a very dusty location use a can of bottled air to blow out the dust on the inside of your system. If you aren't comfortable with doing this, contact a professional.

Make sure there is plenty of room around the computer!  Airflow helps keep your system cool and if it is blocked, you are raising the temperature inside your computer and putting it at risk. If your computer desktop inside a desk slot, be sure to keep the door open while it is running.

Laptops are notorious for having overheating problems and it truly does reduce the life of your laptop. Never use your laptop where it doesn't get airflow to the bottom, such as "on your lap" or on the bed. Remember that they can still get hot on a desktop which is why I recommend investing in a laptop cooling fan. Many can be found for less than $10 online.  Most laptop fans are powered by the USB on the laptop.

Keeping your computer cool will extend the life of your computer and less problems for you in the long run.  ☺

Monday, May 5, 2014

Look Up and See

This is why Daily Mouse Clicks is usually only four days a week.  Enjoy the world, enjoy the day, spend real time with your family or make a new friend. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Microsoft had to patch Windows XP | ZDNet

There are still people out there running XP even with the various suggestions to upgrade or change (see our previous article).  If you are still running Windows XP, there actually is a new patch out there for your system. 



Read More Here: Microsoft had to patch Windows XP

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cut the Cable Cord and Save!

As I believe I have written about in the past, we no longer have satellite or cable television.  We gave it up a number of years ago when we realized we were paying about $10 per show since we didn't watch that much TV. And the shows were were watching were shows such as Alton Brown's Good Eats, Mythbusters and the Andy Griffith Show!  For a while my husband and son did watch Braves ball games but with their busy schedule, that fell by the wayside.  We did consider downgrading our package but then we wouldn't have any of the channels we wanted to watch.  Yes, I am aware that we could be considered boring old fogies.

So, I after a failed experiment with creating a media computer,  I decided to purchase a Roku.  There are many similar boxes out there, such as the Apple TV or Chromecast.  I like our Roku boxes and with YouTube being added recently to our newer streaming box, it is an added bonus as there is a lot of material on YouTube to follow and enjoy.  The cost of the box was a fraction of our yearly satellite bill which ran around $65 per month at the time.

Now, I pay for Netflix streaming which as some 9,381 movies and 4500 TV shows. Then there is my  Amazon prime account which I keep for the shipping and have the added benefit of an additional 40,000 streaming movies and TV shows.  My son pays for Hulu Plus, but my husband and I have plenty with the channels plus the new YouTube channel.  For example, we just finished watching a Hasta Alaska where some young people are driving from Chile to Alaska in a VW bus. A little insane but hey, what a road trip!

So, with the streaming boxes paid in full and the streaming less than $20 per month, we have more than enough TV/movie entertainment. If we need a baseball fix, we head over to the Rome Braves Stadium and enjoy some sunshine, hot dogs and ice cream.

Don't have a streaming box?  Well check out this article  about a laptop and streaming from your computer.  Poof! You have just saved a bundle! ☺




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Washable Computer Keyboards

There is almost always a cup of coffee on my desk. Yes, ALWAYS.  But there is a risk. Once a keyboard is wet, it is a gonner.. toast, terminated.

When my daughter was much younger, in elementary school, she was home after school and wanted to help clean house so she took my proprietary keyboard from my Amstrad 8086 Dual Floppy computer (now a museum piece). and washed it.  As in, put it in a sink of soapy dish water and washed it.  It was very expensive to replace the micro-controller for that keyboard let me tell you!

Well, it isn't really new but there are some washable keyboards on the market now.  Logitech has a the scrubbable, submersible, spill-proof, K310 Keyboard that has pretty good reviews.  Kensington K64407US Pro also has a washable keyboard with anti-microbial protection for a little bit less money.  There are also washable mice but those are usually covered in silicone which I personally would prefer to not hold onto throughout the day. I did find the Seal Shield Mouse that has rave reviews for wet environments and quite a bargain for under $30.

So, if you have kids, are a little bit sloppy or clumsy, this may be your best bet for the future of your computer peripherals. ☺

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Write yourself in the future.

Here is a cute freebie...  OhLife will send you an email in the distant future.  Might be a great opportunity for high school grads to send themselves a letter or new parents to their children. The possibilities are endless.

Just pop over to OhLife's website and add your email. They say they don't spam. 

Oh and what else does OhLife have? They allow you to write yourself a private blog, probably more like a diary, just for you.  Write the story of your life!☺

Monday, April 28, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day Outside



You have reached the very last page of the Internet.

We hope you have enjoyed your browsing.

Now turn off your computer and go outside.

See you tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Remotely Log out of Gmail

This PC World Tech Tip is well worth checking out if you use a Gmail account. ☺

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More on Passwords

Once again. You are much better off using a password management program that using the same password on multiple websites.  Here is a good video to help you come up with a GREAT master password. Take THAT hackers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Insurance Inventory

We recently changed insurance companies (USAA is highly recommended, if you qualify).  That started to make me think... we have "replacement cost" coverage on our homeowners policy instead of a "actual cash value policy". In that manner, it saves us from getting a pro-rated replacement cost instead of a true replacement cost.  It also got me thinking.  Do I actually KNOW what I own?  We walk through our home daily. Do you know what you have in the closets or how much software is on your computer?    We pay for insurance to replace the contents of our home in case of a disaster or theft, but if we can't identify the contents,we might end up getting less of a settlement than we would otherwise, because we just didn’t report everything. 

A software program wouldn't necessarily help if you don't keep the results offline or away from your home, so I recommend a cloud-based program.  Know Your Stuff  is a free online program to record your home inventory.   It has full instructions and videos to help you.

There are also home inventory apps you can get for your phone. One advantage is that you can use the barcode to record books and movies for example.

Screenshots courtesy of Visual Inventory/MoveInsure via iTunes.
Visual Home Inventory lets you take pictures and tag your items. It records a large amount of data including the name, type, purchase place, support phone number, important dates and serial numbers.  It is available free for Android and iOSFree is good!



Get Belongings is another free online cloud app which allows you to record your home inventory and manage your belongings.  According to the website,
"Belongings is a cloud-based smart phone application that allows you to keep track of everything you own." 


Some insurance companies even offer their customers various online or app inventory options which I would prefer over actually paying for a service but if you change insurance companies, that could be messy and time consuming. Independent services might be better in this instance.

Best practices include updating your inventory yearly, and be sure to record large ticket items promptly. During your yearly inventory, remove items you no longer own. Consider adding a room by room video to "show" that you actually own the items you are claiming. You never know, you might realize that you are under insured after taking a complete inventory. Better to know that information before the disaster strikes!  ☺

Monday, April 21, 2014

Maintenance Monday: The Recycle Bin

While working on a unprotected PC computer plagued with viruses (which is content for another blog entirely), one thing I noticed about the user. They never cleaned out their recycle bin. EVER! Is that really a good decision?

You can set it up to bypass the recycle bin automatically, but I really don't recommend that. There are a times that you need to rescue something you accidentally deleted.

Bottom Line: If you intended to delete it, why use the recycle bin as a storage area when it could be filed properly on your computer and less likely to be accidentally erased.  After all, emptying the Recycle Bin permanently deletes all items in just a couple of clicks.

So you need to clean out your recycle bin to open up space on your computer and improve performance.So, for Maintenance Monday, clean out your recycle bin, usually found on your desktop. Right click and select "Empty Recycle Bin".

But what if you don't have a recycle bin on your desktop?  Well, let's go find it!

In Windows Vista,
  1. Click Start, and then click the "Control Panel".
  2. Click "Appearance and Personalization", click "Personalization", and then click "Change desktop icons".
  3. Click to select the "Recycle Bin" check box, and then click OK
With Windows 7:
  1. Click the Start button, type "desktop icons" into the search box, and then click Show or hide common icons on the desktop.
  2. In the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box, do one of the following:
    • To hide the Recycle Bin, clear the Recycle Bin check box.
    • To show the Recycle Bin, select the Recycle Bin check box.
  3. Click OK.

With Windows 8:

  1. Go to the Desktop app from the start menu. 
  2. Right click on the desktop. 
  3. Click on "Personalize"
  4. Select "Change desktop icons" on the left.
  5. Click to select the "Recycle Bin" check box, and then click OK.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Funny: Google

My husband's comment was, "Do you think Google has too much time on their hands?" Well, even geeks need to play.. so check out. These are called Google Easter Eggs and it is a lot of fun going on this Easter egg hunt.

  1. Go to google.com and type in the word "tilt" (without the quotes) and check out what happens. 
  2. Want to see what google looked like in 1998? Type in "Google in 1998" and see what happens. 
  3. Do you know what recursion means?  Well Google does.  Type in "recursion"
  4. Type in ‘zerg rush’ into Google and shoot the o's with your cursor before they clear the page.
  5. Now look for the next one in Google images.  Type in "atari breakout" and you get to play this old, addictive game.  
So, now you know... Geeks have an interesting sense of humor.  ☺

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Protect Yourself from the HeartBleed Bug

The big internet news is the HeartBleed bug that isn't on your computer but a security risk found on some websites that use a certain type of encryption called OpenSSL. As I suggested last week, you might want to change your passwords on the websites you use, especially if you use the same password for many of your sites (that is a NO-NO!). But which sites are still affected? Are your passwords still at risk? Hopefully, I can help you with some of these issues to give you a little peace of mind.

So, how do you know if the website you are visiting used the OpenSSL or has updated their security? Browser helpers called extensions are now popping up to alert you to websites that have not updated. For the Chrome browser you can ChromeBleed extension and with the FireFox browser, you can get the HeartBleed Checker or the FoxBleed Add-on. As of this writing, Internet Explorer and Safari have yet to have an add-on, so I encourage you to consider using a browser with the extension for a little while. 

Of course, changing your password on a site that hasn't updated their security means your information is still vulnerable. There may be situations where you just wish to remove your information. That may not be as easy as you think. Sometimes you may have to search and search a website trying to find out how to remove your information.  Just Delete Me is a directory that gives you removal information on a wide range of websites just in case you cannot find out where to delete your account. At the very least, change the password to something unique to that website only so your sign in information on other websites is not at risk.

The last thing is something I have already blogged about in the past. Many people have the browser save their passwords but there are some issues related to this. If your computer dies or the hard drive fails, you are out of luck and all your passwords are gone, as in totally GONE!  Then there is the security issue. If someone has access to your computer, they have access to ALL your passwords in a couple of clicks. You can also choose to write down your passwords (which isn't a bad thing if you can lock it up to protect it from theft) but if there is a fire, your book may not be available when you need it most. Also, weeding through hundreds of passwords can be time consuming in a book.  I recommend using a software program like Last Pass, Password Genie, SplashID or many of the other password management options that are available these days. With hundreds of websites and all of them with different passwords, a manager is a must. It also encrypts and saves your information so it can be accessed with ONE, hopefully very strong, master password from any computer. If you are concerned about the security of a password manager, the companies can't open your password data.☺

Monday, April 14, 2014

Basic Computer Security | Staying safe on Facebook

"Be cautious about using Facebook apps. Many of these Facebook apps
require access to your personal information. Do you really want to hand
this information over to a complete stranger who might be an identity
thief?"  Click the link below.

Basic Computer Security | Staying safe on Facebook

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't be Bamboozled! Dwayne Johnson is not Dead.


It is so easy to get bamboozled online and this "death hoax" is just one way of duping you into clicking, liking and sharing. Meanwhile in the background, you may be giving permission to download malware, pesky software or rogue Facebook apps. 

How can you avoid these?  Check legitimate news sources or check hoax sources to be sure it is legitimate.  If you have already shared, ‘liked’ or commented on the hoax, please remove the shared post, comment or unlike it, because this will help stop this hoax from spreading to other social networking users. ☺

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Protect Yourself: Heartbleed Bug

The Heartbleed Bug a nasty flaw that is VERY bad and could effect your personal data. Unfortunately, this isn't something on your personal computer but on the software the provides your online services.  At the very least, you should change your online passwords, especially for services where privacy and security are major concerns. Please see previous articles on securing your passwords or using a password program to help you remember the tougher passwords.

The good news is that "most major service providers should already be updating their sites, so the bug will be less prevalent over coming weeks."

If you have a website, you can check to see if your site is vulnerable by going to HostGators tester.
http://www.businessinsider.com/heartbleed-bug-explainer-2014-4

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Basic Computer Security | Permanently removing data

If you are considering giving away your computer, be sure to take the time to clean the hard drive. Check out this college student's blog post about wiping your drives.

Basic Computer Security | Permanently removing data

Monday, April 7, 2014

Clean up files on your Android device - CNET

I know my Android seems to be having some issues and it is time to give it a good cleaning! How? You ask? Check it out! Clean up files on your Android device - CNET

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seven Red Lines

I am an expert and yes, I have days like this.


Have a great April Fool's Day!☺

Monday, March 31, 2014

Recent Facebook Changes




So, when I opened up my Facebook the other day, I noticed things looked different. Of course that was just after I wrote a tutorial on changing the settings for game requests on Facebook which is not not absolutely correct. Ugh!  So, what did they change?  Well, just a few things which are mostly cosmetic in nature.
  • The made the pictures in the news feed larger.  Woohoo!
  • The font is larger.  (Well, we could do that manually with Zoom In and Zoom Out, right?)
  • Some minor design style or size changes with a few of the icons such as "Add Photos/Videos" and “People You May Know” sections. 
  • Added a little bit of color (blue) on the side panels which used to be white.
All of the changes were visual so it had no impact on how things show up in your news feeds. I like the new look, not a major overhaul but minor improvements. This mixed with the recent decision to drop "Sponsored Stories" from hogging my news feed is also a good move even if it did take a lawsuit to bring it to an end. ☺
  • Larger images that span the entire news feed (who doesn’t like larger photos)
  • New font that they made a little larger (and easier to read)
  • Slight design tweaks to icons on the “update status” and the “add photos/videos” tabs across the top
  • Minor color changes for the background
  • Larger buttons added to the “people you may know” section along the right rail

  • Read more at http://www.business2community.com/facebook/facebook-changes-news-feed-0827821#AOxlEEd8muSkFw54.99

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Blocking Facebook Game Requests

    Block Apps on Facebook
    Not a fan of Candy Crushville or Farm/City Life? Are you tired of your friends asking you to play games via Facebook?  Well, in defense of those that do play, the game will encourage the player to "invite their friends" and will automatically hit their friend list.  Although I don't usually do the invites if I can help it, there are occasions that it accidentally happens.  The good new is that you can block those apps from sending you messages forever in just a few steps.
    1. On your desktop or laptop, sign into Facebook. 
    2. Grab the name of the app you want to block (I just copy the title with Ctrl/c).
    3. Click the gear on the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page. 
    4. Go to "Settings" on the drop-down menu. 
    5. In "General Settings" , then go to "Blocking" listed on the left hand side.
    6. Scroll down to the category, "Block apps".
    7.  Enter the name of the app in the text box and hit the enter key.
    Once you block an app, it can no longer contact you or get non-public information about you through Facebook. It can always be unblocked by clicking the "Unblock" link beside each app.  Poof!  All done! ☺

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Happy Anniversary, Internet!

    "According to Pew, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Lee wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web.  He eventually released the code for his system—for free—to the world on Christmas Day in 1990."   Pew Research Internet Project
    The fact is that the Internet has become an important part of our lives, expanding our communication, our knowledge and our entertainment.   I know my first computer, an Amstrad 8086, dual floppy drive opened my universe through the Prodigy system.  Around 1994, with the purchase of an upgraded computer, we moved to AOL and almost immediately went to the Internet filled with millions of pages even at that time.   My first website was created shortly thereafter and moved the site to my first domain, autumnwinds.com on July 1st, 1996.

    We have come a long way since that time although social networks were there, even back in the Prodigy days. There are still many challenges that face the Internet to keep it a private, secure, neutral location. Happy Anniversary, Internet! ☺

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Don't Wait Until it's Too Late

    Often backups are considered when it is too late. Be proactive and save your important documents.

    A friend of my son's has put together an article about your options on backing up your important computer files.  Check out this Tumblr article, Basic Computer Security: Have a Backup Plan!

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    Maintainance Monday: Facebook Apps

    My cousin, who shall remain nameless, has some sort of app that keeps asking me my birthday. I have decided I don't really want the app as I know she has access to my birthday in a couple of different locations.  My thought processes (which can be very bouncy at times) took me to the list of  my FB apps that actually do have access to my information in some way or another.  Yikes! What a list!  Where did some of these come from?  I don't truly know, but I am going to do some "spring cleaning" today.

    App Settings

    Location of App link in Settings
    General Account Settings
    1. On your desktop or laptop, sign into Facebook. 
    2. Click the gear on the upper right hand corner. 
    3. Go to "Settings" on the drop-down menu.
    4. Click on the Apps on the left side menu (see image)
    5. Click the "X" on the right to remove the app you don't use. 
    6. Click the "Edit" to find out more about the app
    7. You can change the "Visibility of app" by selecting who sees the posts, Public, Friends or even Only Me.  You can customize this as well, maybe only friends that are playing your favorite game can see the game posts, for example.

    So, this little project took me about 15 minutes and I removed about half of the apps that I had in my FB account.  I also changed some settings so things weren't so public.  I feel like I was semi-productive.   Oh, and about that app that keeps trying to add me? Grab the name of the app, then go to "Blocking" on the left hand side of the General Account Settings (see image above). Enter in the name of the app you wish to block. Hit enter and boom. No more access requests. Give it a try! ☺


    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Shameless Plug: Get Your Business Online

    I am a web designer. I blog on the side (often it is even less than "on the side"), so I want to encourage you to get your business online. The State of Georgia wants you to have an online presence.  Google wants to encourage you to do the same.  So, get your business online (and I can help accomplish that goal).


    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    A New Google Tool: Google Keep

    Google Keep is a simple, basic note/list maker, kept on your Google Drive which makes it available to your desktop and your Android phone. This means that your lists and notes are synced and easily accessible at your computer or on the road. 

    You can add pictures, colors, set alarms and even archive your notes. At this point, it doesn't seem to be integrated with other apps, but I have a feeling that won't be long. After all, it is a newly released application.

    Will it replace apps like Evernote?  Probably not but not every individual needs the vast functionality of Evernote.  So, make your grocery list, your reminders and tasks. Google Keep will do the job just fine, ready and waiting in your Google Drive.

    Google Keep is currently available for devices running Android (4.0.3 and up) or through the Google Keep Web site. Notes will automatically sync between the Web site and the Android app.

    Cons: Well, for some reason, Google Keep is not listed in the apps on my desktop's Google home screen so to find it you must go to the Keep website for some reason.  Again, hopefully this, too, will change soon.



    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Did You Know? Keyboard Shortcuts

    Click here to see the full infographic.
    When you get to the link, use your
    mouse to click for larger view.
    Social analytics firm Quintly compiled a list of shortcuts for Facebook — as well as Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus — in the infographic below. Click on this infographic link and you will find some really neat shortcuts that might just ease your social media time.  Don't forget to read some of the little comments. Did you know that you can play "snake" with every youtube video? I didn't know that!☺

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    How to clean a TV screen | How To - CNET



    I took a closer look at my TV screen the other day. Yikes! Obviously the dog didn't shake until she was in front of the television.  So, off I went to do my research. How do I clean this thing? 



    How to clean a TV screen | How To - CNET

    Friday, February 28, 2014

    Workrave Review: Avoid RSI and Eye Strain

    For those of that that spend hours at hour computer working, playing or social networking, we need to take regular breaks for our eyes, wrists, joints and back. We also should limit the amount of time we spend on the computer for our health and well being.  For people that work at the computer from home, this is very important.

    Workrave is a FREE software program available for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows.  You can set the preferences to remind you about micro-breaks, rest breaks, your daily limits and even can monitor your network if you work on multiple  computers. One of my favorite parts of Workrave is the exercises that in recommends to keep you moving and reduce the risk of injury.

    So how long is too long to be on the computer? Our bodies can only take so much, so make 8 hours an absolute limit of your computer face time, and yes, that means your phone too.

    Note: If you receive an error message while trying to install it (as I did when installing it on my Windows 8 system), right click on the icon and select "Run as Administrator".  

    All in all, you can't go wrong with this freebie. Give your body a break and install this program today. ☺

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Backing Up Your Computer Files

    Well, my computer is running just a little slower today as I write this, not because I am playing some high graphics game, but because I have been lax at backing up my files. My 1TB secondary hard drive is kept for business purposes but hard drive .  I spent yesterday archiving and deleting older files that I no longer need to DVDs and today, I am backing up the rest of the business drive to a flash drive for easy access.

    Now, most people don't have 98GB of files and documents on their drive but if you did, you might consider a PNY 128 GB flash drive like I just picked up, for about $40.  I remember the days when I was excited to get a 5MB hard drive for $100 but I digress.
    There are also online services and cloud (see yesterday's post) that will automatically sync or back up specific folders on your system that you select. There are a number of paid online backup services like Mozy, Carbonite, which would be quicker to restore to your computer in case of a catastrophe. 

    You can also use a wide range of backup software options. It has been said that important information should be stored in two or more physical locations, so cloud backups are a great deal without having to deal with safe deposit boxes or asking Mom to put the DVDs in her closet. So what do you need to back up?  All your documents, photos, videos, emails, bookmarks (if not already synced) and application settings. We will go into that more in the near future. ☺


    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Are you Prepared?

    I heard about a lady that had her wallet stolen the other day. Not only did she have thousands of dollars charged to her credit cards but she lost old photographs in the wallet that can never be replaced.  What can you do to protect yourself?  First, get digital scans of any old photographs that you want to preserve. In this digital age, this should not be a problem. Copy those photographs to a cloud storage such as Google, Dropbox or Flickr. If you decide you don't want to rely on other servers, copy them to a disk and store them in a safe deposit box with your important documents. In case of fire or a computer crash, it would be best not to keep it at home.

    Now, take everything out of your wallet and take inventory!  Most of us could not come up with everything in their wallet or purse. Write down the 1-800 # for your card in case of loss or theft. Don't include the card number!  Make copies of any important business cards or other information you want to keep or is irreplaceable.  You can store this information through a cloud storage or there is a website that is designed specifically to store this information called Wallet Garden. Again, I would think twice about leaving it on your computer or a thumb drive stored at your home. If you lost your wallet or purse due to a house fire, it would be so much easier to get your information online which would give you access any time or a safe deposit box would work as well but not as quick to gain access which would be important for a theft.

    Donna Freedman wrote about being mugged and the steps she had to take after her wallet was stolen.  Stop by "Get Rich Slowly" to read about the steps she took after the fact and her other suggestions for being prepared for the worse case situation.  ☺

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    The Day We Fight Back

    Please see the notice below. It is self explanatory.

    Today, February 11th, 2014 is The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance.

    The government can "claim" that this is to make you safer, but the collection of data is NOT making you safer.

    NSA surveillance does little to prevent terrorism, says think-tank report”: “there was only one case out of the 225 that was initiated by NSA evidence. The case involved a cab driver named Basaaly Moalin who was convicted of sending money to Somalian terrorist groups. While successful, the case did not involve any direct threat of attack”

    Please take a moment and contact your legislators.  This is VERY important for our security and freedom.

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Gates Spends Entire First Day Back in Office Trying to Install Windows 8.1 : The New Yorker

    I have not personally installed Windows 8.1 on any of my systems but I find this tremendously interesting.  What do you think?



    Gates Spends Entire First Day Back in Office Trying to Install Windows 8.1 : The New Yorker

    More Spring Cleaning: Cleaning your Keyboard

    Nasty, Dirty Keyboard!
    Morguefile by By Alvimann
    Snack crumbs, a layer of dust, dirty fingers... take a glance down at your keyboard and you will know right away that it needs a cleaning. Unless you have a washable keyboard, it will be beneficial and necessary to clean your keyboard with a little more finesse .

    What you will need: Can of compressed air or keyboard vacuum, melamime foam (brand name Magic Eraser or an off brand sponge eraser), cotton swabs (Q-Tip brand name is best as the cotton is secure) and some  isopropyl alcohol. Do not use ethyl-based rubbing alcohol. Lint-free cloth.

    1.  Disconnect your keyboard from your computer. If you are not using a USB keyboard, shut down the computer first before disconnecting the keyboard.
    2.  Shake the keyboard upside down to get as much out as possible.
    3. Vacuum or use compressed air (while keyboard is upside down) to remove as much dust and crumbs as possible.  You can also use your hairdryer (NO HEAT) to blow the crumbs if you don't have compressed air.
    4. Wet the eraser sponge with water or isopropyl alcohol then squeeze/wring it out as much as possible. You should not be able to get any liquid out of the sponge. It will fry your keyboard to get liquid under the keys. This is critical so you don't mess up the electronics. Use this to clean off the keys. Be VERY gentle or you could erase the letters.
    5.  Now use the swabs and alcohol to get in between and around the keys. Again, make sure you squeeze out the liquid before touching the keyboard.
    6. Wipe with a lint-free cloth. 
    7. Let the keyboard sit, upside down, for a while just to be sure it is very dry before reconnecting the keyboard to the computer.
    Happy cleaning! ☺


    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    How to Clean the TV Screen

    Husband comes in from the garage with dirty hand and turns on the TV. Your child with sticky hands tries to reach the balloon on the cartoon he is watching. There are numerous ways the television screen gets dirty and messy, but STOP, don't haul out the glass cleaner!  The new televisions aren't the same as the old style. Learn how to clean them properly and protect your expensive electronics.  Click the link below.

    How to clean a TV screen


    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Is the website down?

    You are trying to get to a website but you keep getting an error message! Ugh! Well let's see if we can figure out what is going on.
    1. Can you get to another website? Try Google.com or Yahoo.com.  If they answer is no, your problem is probably your connection. You will need to troubleshoot your internet connection and possibly contact your ISP. If the answer is yes, you can see the search engine website, move onto the next step.
    2. What is the error message you are receiving?
      - The webpage cannot be found (HTTP 404) - This means this page is no longer there. Try going to the website's home page. Were you able to view the home page? Yes? Great. If the answer is no, move onto the next step.
      - The website cannot display the page (HTTP 500) - If you get this message, the website is having server problems. The website could be having server problems or it may be shut down.  Try again later and see if your results are the same.
      - Is the website requiring some sort of plugin or additional software (such as FLASH) to view the site? Install the software needed to view the site. Can you see it? Yes! Great!
    3. On rare occasions, you might need to try another browser.  Do you see the webpage in another browser? Yes? Great! No, move onto the next step.
    4. You might need to clean your browsers cache. This is different for various browsers but usually found in the options section of your browser.  Do a search for your particular browser to find this answer as there are so many versions and configurations and not enough room to list them all here. Did this work?  Yes? Great! No, move onto the next step.
    5. Do you have parental software or security software that is blocking the site? You might want to reconsider viewing the site. If you absolutely know it is ok, contact the software company to let them know about the problem.
    6. On some rare occasions, the ISP will block websites. Try accessing the website through a proxy server.  go to a proxy server such as http://www.unblock-proxy.net/. Can you see the website? Great!  If not, move onto the next step.
    7. If after all these attempts, the website most likely isn't accessible. You might want to contact the company via phone and let them know about the problem. You might also want to talk to a web professional that might be able to do even more detailed research on the problem.

      Happy Surfing! ☺

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Motherboard Meets Tim Wu: On Net Neutrality, Information Empires and Freedom | Motherboard

     This case is so incredibly important in the freedom we have with the Internet as we know it now. Make yourself aware of the changes that may happen through heavy lobbyists in Washington, D.C.


    LINK: Motherboard Meets Tim Wu: On Net Neutrality, Information Empires and Freedom | Motherboard

    Friday, January 17, 2014

    Netflix exposed as net neutrality rules gutted

    Netflix exposed as net neutrality rules gutted: "The Internet Association supports enforceable rules that ensure an open Internet, free from government control or discriminatory, anti-competitive actions by gatekeepers," Michael Beckerman, president of the group, said.

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Free Christian E-books

    I am willing to shout this from the mountain tops. I am a Christian, not because I am perfect,  or by any 'good' thing that I ever did. I am saved because I accepted the free gift of salvation from God.

    That being said, I prefer clean, decent books to read. I don't require them to always be about God or Jesus but I dislike swearing, lustful sex, violence, drugs, excessive alcohol et al. in my reading material. Some might consider that wimpy but hey,  I read for pleasure and enjoyment, so that is my criteria for reading material. Of course, I also enjoy reading computer and technology books so I am wimpy and geeky. ☺

    I use my Kindle Fire HD (a gift at Christmas) almost exclusively for reading and I am cheap,
    cheap, cheap (in other words, broke, poor, just shy of being a vagrant.)

    So, I used to watch come dedicated bloggers that look through the stacks on Amazon looking for those freebies, many of which are quite good, but hey.. 1 out of 20 are Christian or clean reading.  Ugh!

    Did you know that you don't need a blogger to find the freebies?

    Religious and Inspirational Books - Keep in mind that this includes ALL religious books, not just Christian titles.

    Christian Fiction - Narrow down your selection by clicking on the department on the left side and find Historical fiction, Mysteries, Romance or Contemporary.

    Computer and Technology Books

    Just watch before you click. Prices can change hourly!

    Happy Reading!

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    How to Charge Your iPhone Faster

     You forgot to charge your phone and you have to leave shortly?  What can you do? Check out this really good article (and fun photos) on How to Charge Your iPhone Faster.

    Monday, January 6, 2014

    How to Minimize Your Risk of Password Theft - Techlicious

    Happy frosty Monday here in Northwest Georgia. It is 21º here  with a wind child down to 9º. This is really nothing compared to farther north with sub-zero temperatures.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to others in colder and snowier areas.

    Let's start out the week protecting ourselves from password theft. What can you do about it? Check out this article from Techlicious.com.


    How to Minimize Your Risk of Password Theft - Techlicious