Work smarter, not harder

December 7th, 2014

Dang, I'm smurt!And now for something completely different…

The greatest “technology” you own is one you probably never even think about, although you do think with it: your brain!

Your mind is capable of solving all sorts of problems.

Usually, you use your brain the old fashioned way: you brute force your way through a problem.

This typically requires hours of concentration, struggling, and quite often much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And let’s face it, if I tell you a fabulous way to make your computer do more for you, you’ll be happy as a clam.

Why not optimize your brain while you’re at it? So, how do you work smarter, and not harder?

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How Does it Work? ,

Pin folders to the taskbar in Windows

November 16th, 2014

Pin a folder in Windows 7This is one of those Windows tricks that you probably didn’t even know existed.

Usually, the Explorer icon is visible on the Taskbar.

That’s great for opening Explorer and navigating to whatever folder you need.

But what if you want to maintain a list of commonly-used folders without clogging up your desktop with a bunch of shortcuts?

It turns out there’s a quick and easy solution for this very problem.

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Computers , , ,

Repair missing User folders in Windows 7

November 11th, 2014

At some point, you’ll probably run into a problem that doesn’t seem to have an easy solution: one of your default User folders in Windows 7 (My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, My Videos, Downloads, and Desktop) will suddenly disappear.

Try as you might, you won’t be able to restore these user folders, because they are actually “special”. Windows treats them differently than a normal folder you might create yourself, and they even have pretty icons, like so:

There is a lot of info out there on how to fix these built-in Windows 7 folders, but it’s all rather complicated.

So, here’s the boiled-down, anybody-can-do-it version on how to restore your missing User folders – or so I hope!

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Computers ,

Android: Copy everything from one device to another

November 2nd, 2014

My Backup Pro - SHABAM!Let’s say you get a new phone or tablet, and both are running Android. You’d like to copy everything from your old device to your new one. How do you do it?

Well, certainly there are more hardcore methods of migrating all your data. Most of these methods require “rooting” your device, and are probably a bit too involved for most people.

Of course, if you back everything up on the Google Cloud, so to speak, most things will easily transfer from one gizmo to another.

But, not everybody likes Big Brother storing everything and synchronizing it automagically. I certainly don’t!

The easiest option I have found is one you have to pay for – but at only a few dollars, it’s a fabulous deal…

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Gizmos , , ,

Capture Part of your Screen in Windows: Behold the Snipping Tool!

October 26th, 2014

Snipping ToolLet’s say you need to capture all or part of your puter’s screen. You’d like to grab a quick image of your browser window, or maybe you want to capture a frame from a video playing on your puter. Maybe you want to save an image from a web page, but they’ve disabled the right-click menu.

There are lots of ways to do this with fancy software. There are also much, much easier ways that you may not know about.

The first is the “Shift-PrintScrn” trick.

Hold down the Shift key, and then press the Print Screen key on your keyboard (usually to the right of the F12 key, and usually abbreviated as PrtScrn or some other such thing). Shift-PrintScrn will copy your entire desktop – or both desktops if you have multiple monitors – onto the clipboard.

All that’s left is to paste the captured image into Paint, Paint.Net, Photoshop Elements or whatever, and save it as an image.

Okay, but that’s kind of involved… And there is a much easier way!

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Computers , ,

Windows 10 Preview: Yes, they’re fixing everything

October 5th, 2014

Windows 10 Start MenuIf you’ve been anxiously awaiting Windows 9, you’re in for a long wait. But Windows 10 will be coming next year!

You see, the official explanation is apparently that, “7 8 9″ – 7 ate 9 – so Microsoft will be going straight to Windows 10. Isn’t that cute? No, because Windows 8 still sucks.

Furthermore, instead of releasing Windows 10 in April 2015, we now apparently have to wait until the end of next year. Because, ya know, taking Windows 8 and making it not suck takes way, way longer than making that much-hated “Start Screen” in Windows 8.x.

You may recall me ranting about why I left Win 8 and switched back to Windows 7.

So, the question on everybody’s mind is: Will the next version of Windows fix everything wrong with Windows 8?

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Computers , ,

Windows Backup Failed, Part 3: Problem reading file global-messages-db.sqlite

September 27th, 2014

Backups are Good!Sweet mother of pearl!!

Does Windows Backup ever work?!  Well, yes. Sort of… Sometimes…

There are many factors to consider, though, such as the phase of the moon, whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow, sunspot activity, and the extent of the “twerking” performed by the latest raunchy pop star at last night’s performance.

Which reminds me: I’m officially changing my legal name to Lord Gaga Googoo Poopoo. It’ll be a real bother though, because is kind of a long address to remember… SIGH.

But, I digress.

Once again, if you are having problems with your Windows Backup failing, check out my two earlier articles on the subject:

So, you did all that, but it’s still failing on you… And this time, the message is something about being unable to read the file “global-messages-db.sqlite”.

This one’s the easiest fix of them all!

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Computers ,

Network icon disappeared: Fix missing and “disconnected” network icons in Windows

August 10th, 2014

Eek! No Internets!One of the most common problems I’ve seen is missing or “disappeared” network icons in Windows 7.

This problem can take a few different forms.

For example, you may be able to connect to the internet just fine, but your ethernet/WiFi icon in the system tray always claims you are disconnected.

Or, you open up the Network and Sharing Center, click the “Change adapter settings” link, and no network adapters show up – it’s just blank.

But in both cases, everything still works!

There is one fix I have found that actually works, time and time again…

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Computers, Networking , , ,

SSD: How to upgrade your computer with a Solid State Hard Drive

July 16th, 2014

SSD Upgrade HowtoIf you haven’t seen Part 1, it’s here:

SSD: Why you need to upgrade your computer with a Solid State Hard Drive

With Part 1 out of the way, you’ve decided to take the plunge. Great!

How do you actually do the upgrade? Well, that can get a bit complicated.

There are a few things you’ll need to know before you even think of a DIY upgrade.

After covering those, I’ll discuss a few options for the different upgrade cases you might encounter.

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Computers , , ,

SSD: Why you need to upgrade your computer with a Solid State Hard Drive

July 7th, 2014

Why SSDs?Everyone is always looking to make their computer faster, whether they realize it or not. Usually, it’s only after an upgrade that we realize just how pokey our machine was running beforehand.

These days, there isn’t a huge difference between a 2-year-old computer and a brand new one. Oh, sure, newer puters will always be faster… But unless you’re doing something hardcore like video editing or gaming, you probably won’t notice much of a difference.

There is one upgrade, though, that makes a huge difference pretty much across the board: the addition of an SSD.

At this point, you probably have 2 questions:

  • What is an SSD?
  • How do I add one to my puter?

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Computers , , ,