You Can Google Better

On November 30, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Kovalsky09

You think you’re a Google pro, right? After all, you have been using the massively popular search engine for years. What more could there be to learn? A lot, as it so happens. The website How-To Geek and the Atlantic each recently ran stories highlighting ways in which you can better search the Internet with Google. If you desire to find the right information and you want to find it quickly, you’d do well to follow some of these tips.

Operators are key

If you are hoping to find very specific information through a Google search, operators are the best way to find what you are looking for. The example that the How-To Geek site used is as follows. Say a user wishes to find stories only published by the New York Times relating to college test scores. That is very specific and feels like it would take a lot of digging. Not if you utilize operators. By inserting the operator “site:” before the words “,” Google will only search in that site. Then by adding quotation marks around exact phrases they are looking for, in this case “test scores,” Google will search for that specific phrase only. If the user wishes to add a date range, they can add 2008..2010 and it will narrow the search even further.

Google Scholar

The How-To Geek site also recommends Google Scholar. This specific Google search only searches academic and scholarly work. If you would like, as the How-To Geek site shows, find papers focusing on photosynthesis and written by Dr. Ronald Green, you run a search which includes the operator “author:” before “green” followed by the word “photosynthesis” in Google Scholar.

Control F

“Control F” is a great little trick to assist you to narrow your search results. For example, if you are searching for recipes for a theme dinner party, like the 4th of July, but you are most interested in desserts, you can search for 4th of July recipes. After completing your search you can hold down control and hit “F” on your keyboard. This will make a little search bar appear at the top or bottom of your computer screen. Then by keying in desserts, it will narrow the existing search results down highlighting all the desserts!



Some programs that were intended to make your life simpler can actually make it more embarrassing. Autocorrect in text messaging probably pops into your head. But there is also the autocomplete function in Apple’s mail app. When you start typing an address in the “to” line of an email, the app checks your address book and will autocomplete it for you if it begins with the first letters of a name that is already there. This is often good, but it can also create problems.

Autocomplete embarrassments

Before sending your email, the simplest thing to do is to look at the “to” field. Ensure it is addressed to the person you wish. However , it is likely you have a lot more people in your address book than you realize. Because of this, the autocomplete may pull up people you rarely talk to. This is an issue Brian Sawyer discusses in the O’Reilly Answers website. This can lead you to send important work emails to the wrong person. You may not even recognize this because the person probably won’t respond.

Removing autocomplete email addresses

Fortunately, if you are conscious of what emails are getting pulled up regularly, then you can easily remove them from your address book. To do this when you’re in Mail, click the “Window” tab. After you select “Previous Recipients,” look for the email address that you wish to remove, highlight it and click “Remove From List.”

Monitoring is key

Removing an address doesn’t ensure that it won’t return to your address book. Even collaborating with a person on a Google Doc may add the address to your address book. So, the simplest way to ensure that these confusions don’t happen in the future is to make sure you check your address book, and check the “to” field before clicking “Send.”



Neat Features of Windows 8

On November 21, 2012, in Uncategorized, by NorrisLula33

Much of the tech press has reported about Windows 8, even though it has only recently come out. This is good for you, as you can learn a little of the ins and outs before you use it. One article we found particularly interesting was one written by InfoWorld’s J. Peter Bruzzese. It covers several interesting features about Windows 8. We have highlighted a few below.

The charms bar

The charms bar is basically a shortcuts bar that exists on the right side of the screen in Windows 8. An example of a shortcut available to users is that by clicking “settings” then clicking “power” they can put their computer to sleep. The charms bar has several settings for searching, switching to the Windows 7 desktop, if you liked that better, and for sharing.

Retrieving lost files

What’s worse than losing a file? Not much when it comes to computing. Fortunately, Windows 8 can help. The operating system comes with a new way of saving copies of files that lets users recover previous versions if their current file is lost or damaged. This feature works in much the same way as does OS X’s Time Machine utility.

Windows on the go

Here’s a particularly nifty feature: With the Enterprise Edition of Windows 8, users can put their entire Windows environment on a USB drive and then take it with them. They’re able to then pull it up on any PC that is compatible with Windows 7 or 8.


Smarter Traveling With Your Smartphone

On November 17, 2012, in General, Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

You wouldn’t think of traveling around the globe without your smartphone. After all, that little device can help you easily change plane reservations, locate the trendiest new restaurants, and find out just how busy the highway to your hotel is. However, there’s one problem: Using your cell phone outside of the United States can cost you big bucks.

The pain of international texting

The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler blog wrote a recent article concerning just how much an international traveler can get charged. Some of the charges include: 50 cents for every text message sent or received, international call rates can be $2, $3, to even $5 a minute, and as far as getting data, it can cost you up to $15 for every megabyte of data you receive. There are some things you can do to avoid these charges from occurring.

Stay disconnected

This seems obvious, the simplest way to not accumulate charges on your phone is to not use it when over seas, but for many of us that is unthinkable. And it may be more difficult than it sounds. Many hotels do not have in-room phones anymore. However, you may be able to use the hotels free Wi-Fi network. But that is only a solution for checking your email, social media sites, and generally having access to the Internet. One thing you can do to solve this is set up an account on your phone with Skype or Google Voice so you can make calls. This isn’t free, but less costly than the alternative.

International SIM Cards

If your cell phone company allows you to use other providers, you can always buy a SIM card. The Frugal Traveler tried two out, Telestial’s Passport card which costs $19 and OneSimCard’s Standard card costing $30. They reported that both of these work effectively and give you a main phone number that is not from your home country.



It’s Time to Disable Java on Your Computer

On November 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, by x1a3aw8j

You may not realize this but one of the best ways to protect your computers from hackers is to turn off Java, software that runs interactive functions on web pages. Java has developed the reputation for being a backdoor for hackers to get into your system, for example Business Insider recently pointed to the 700,000 Apple computers that were infected earlier this year with the Flashback Trojan malware. These computers were all running an out-of-date add on that enabled their browser to run Java.

Security flaw

In an earlier version of Java there was a security flaw that hackers took advantage of. Luckily, Oracle quickly honed in on the issue and fixed it in a recent version, but not before the damage was done. The ongoing issue is that if you still have an old version you might be vulnerable. The best option is to disable it. This is not a big deal as most websites don’t require Java anymore to work.

Turning off Java

Turning off Java requires different steps depending upon what web browser you use. In Firefox users must first select “tools” from their browser’s main menu. They should then click “add-ons” and the disable buttons next to any Java plug-ins.

Safari users must first click “Safari” in the main menu bar and then “Preferences.” Once they’ve done this, they can select the “security” tab and make sure that the button next to “enable Java” is not checked.

Google Chrome users need to type “Chrome://Plugins” in their browser’s address bar. They can then click the “disable” button listed below any Java plug-ins.

Don’t touch JavaScript

Keep in mind that Java and Javascript are not that same thing. Turning off Javascript won’t protect you from hackers. Since many websites use Javascript, disabling it may ensure some sites don’t run properly.



When we work on a computer all day we are likely to take breaks and visit humorous sites like The Chive, or news sites like CNN. It can be healthy to take breaks, but if you find that you are visiting them often, this could be seriously affecting your productivity. If you work in Chrome a lot, there are some extensions you can use to assist you with your productivity. Recently The Huffington Post wrote a story that showcased several add-ons. We have picked our favorite 4 and discussed them below.

Stay Focused

This neat add-on sets a timer for particular sites. As you visit the sites throughout the day the time counts down. Once it expires the add-on will block the site for the remainder of the day.

Cool Clock

Cool clock is a wonderful add-on for Chrome if you find that you miss meetings or appointments. It comes with a clock, calendar, alarm, timer and hourly desktop time notifications. You can use this for more than just a tool to remind you about meetings. It can also remind you of important tasks you have to complete.

Last Pass

How much time do you waste endeavoring to remember your password to Gmail or to your online banking website? Last Pass, another nifty Chrome add-on, can change all this. This extension enables you to easily manage and monitor the numerous online passwords you have to deal with. You’ll be amazed at how much more time you will have once you eliminate those pesky attempts to remember which passwords have numbers and which ones have capital letters.

Turn off the Lights

Sometimes we have to watch videos for work, and frequently they are boring. This can mean that we can become easily distracted by other projects you are working on. If you find this is the case and you need to commit more of your attention to a video, you can utilize the Chrome add-on Turn off the Lights. It will dim everything on your screen with the exception of your media play so that you are visually forced to observe the video.



Two Tricks to Make Your Computing Life Easier

On November 7, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Sutton33Cherie

Let’s face it: Computer users today need all the help they can get, whatever makes their lives easier. You must appreciate that. This is exactly why we’re happy to give you a pair of helpful hacks that can eliminate at least some stress from your busy days.

Forcing Android to check for system updates

You have probably noticed that your operating system gets updates fairly frequently. But there is no way of knowing when your particular device will receive a specific update. This can be some what annoying as you may be awaiting an update to fix a bug or give you an interesting new service. You can choose to wait for the update to be released to you, or you can force your device to search for updates. The website Ghack explains how you can force your Android to update: First go to the “Settings” menu. Select “Apps” and choice “Show All.” Then find the “Google Services Framework” and click on the “Clear Data” option. Finally, click the “Force Stop” button. Your device will then search for any updates available and retrieve them.

Protecting your eyes

You have probably heard that computer screens are bad for your eyes, and many of us spend considerable time on one device or another. Luckily the Atlantic not too long ago posted a list of tips you can use to aid the prevention of long-term damage to your eyes. Number one, make certain your screens are clean and are the brightest things in the area. Another trick is to take a “20-20-20” break. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes 20 feet in front of you. And lastly, if you can high-five your computer, you are sitting too close.



Which Technology is Best for You

On November 2, 2012, in Uncategorized, by y1xd3x1i

As technology moves faster and faster, bigger and better mobile devices emerge. It wasn’t long ago that tablets were introduced; now they are seen everyday. And most people in the business world have smartphones. As these newer, more robust tablets and smartphones are released to the market, you may feel some pressure to buy these new devices.

Diff’rent folks, diff’rent tech

But, not everybody needs the latest and greatest. Some people might, but others can get by with using the same tech for years. Before buying your next piece of technology it can be useful to analyze your lifestyle to find out what tech is essential.


Tablets can be fun little gadgets, and they’re very handy. But are they necessary for every consumer? If you check your mail, work on excel sheets, or write mostly from home or work, you may not need a tablet. Perhaps you want to avoid working on your commute so you can get some much needed alone time, then you may not want to get a tablet. If you are an individual who works mostly on the go, at coffee shops or from your car between meetings with clients, a tablet can make your life much simpler.

The Smartphone revolution

Smartphones are handy devices that let us send and receive email and surf the web. Many individuals in the business world have them nowadays. But do we all need them? Some people might just need a normal phone. This, again, concerns what you need access to while on the go. If you receive many emails that are time sensitive you will need a device, like a smartphone, that alerts you when you’re getting an email. In contrast if you only check your email while in the office, then it may be beneficial to only have a normal phone so you aren’t reminded of work during your off hours.

Next time you learn about the next version of the iPad, or the newest and fastest smartphone, think about how you live your life. This will help you determine if you need to make the investment.