Saturday, June 30, 2012

Secret to Better Cheeseburgers

If you like preparing cheeseburgers, consider this way to do them: Instead of putting the cheese on top near the end of the cooking cycle, when preparing the burgers, put a slice of cheese between two patties, and "seal" the two patties around the cheese. This way: (i) takes the guess-work out of when to put the cheese on; (ii) eliminates the problem of putting the cheese on too soon or too late; (iii) prevents the cheese from dripping off the burger; (iv) shortens the cooking time because each patty-half is half the size of a whole patty; (v) takes most of the guess-work out of how long to cook the burgers; (vi) makes the burgers taste better; and (vii) produces a pleasant surprise and many compliments when unsuspecting guests take their first bite.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Securing Your Internet Connection


Here's a really neat idea to help improve your security and privacy when you're online. It's a new service from a startup company called Spotflux.
The way you use it is pretty simple.  Download and install the Spotflux driver.  From now on, all your web access goes trhough Spotflux's servers before it reaches you.  Everything happens transparently, so there's nothing complicated that you need to set up.  The benefit is that, as your internet traffic passes through the Spotflux systems, all malware, viruses, cookies, adverts and other unwanted content is removed.
Even the details of your IP address and location, which are normally available to every web page that you request, are hidden and replaced with completely different values. In my case, the sites I visited thought I was now based in the US, rather than the UK.  Plus, all your internet traffic is now encrypted, so no one else can intercept it.
Spotflux runs on all recent versions of Windows, and is a 10 MB download.  You'll also need to download and install Java if you don't already have it.  According to Virus Total, the app itself is free of malware.
Of course, the only potential weak link is Spotflux itself.  Can they be trusted with all your browser data?  For what it's worth, the company seems to be getting favourable reviews at the moment, and surely they are aware that any privacy breach would destroy their business pretty quickly.  So I reckon it's well worth a try.
Spotflux is currently free to use, though the company has implied that it may charge for some aspects of its service in the future.  Find out more, and download the simple installer, at www.spotflux.com.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Checking Your Computer for Windows 8 Readiness

The final build of Windows 8 is due out sometime later this year. If you're considering upgrading your current PC to Windows 8, you might want to get a head start on preparing for the upgrade. Here's how to check your PC for Windows 8 readiness, using the Windows 8 upgrade assistant: To download the upgrade assistant, go to theWindows 8 download site, then click on the blue Download Windows 8 Release Preview button. The file is only 5MB, so it shouldn't take long for the download to complete. To run the upgrade assistant, double-click on Windows8-ReleasePreview-UpgradeAssistant.exe. It will immediately begin checking your PC for compatible apps and devices. Once it's finished, the upgrade assistant will display how many of your apps and devices are compatible, and how many require your attention.

Google Maps for Android Now Allows Offline Viewing

 In its latest update, Google enabled the ability to save a section of a map for offline access. This is a great feature when you are traveling in an area with spotty coverage. To save an area, launch Google Maps and tap on the menu key. Select Make Available Offline from the menu and then narrow down the area you want to save. You'll want to make sure you do this in advance and when you're connected to a strong Wi-Fi network. My download of 66 MB took a little over 10 minutes. Once the download has completed, you'll have full access to that section of the map even when you don't have a data connection.

Apple's New Podcast App

 Earlier this week, Apple released Podcasts. It's free and universal, designed for both the iPhone and iPad. What you will like most about it is the clear differentiation it gives between streaming and downloading. To stream an episode, simply click on the title of an episode and it will begin playing. To download an episode, click the gray download button to the right of its title. Episodes you have downloaded are then listed without the download button. Better yet, when you do not have an Internet connection, episodes you have not previously downloaded are grayed out, giving you an easy-to-scan list of available episodes at your disposal while offline.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire


Comparing the two noteworthy $199 tablets on the market right now -- the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7 (which will ship in July) -- one cannot help but see that the Nexus 7 simply outdoes the Kindle Fire in almost every conceivable way. It's faster, lighter, thinner and it adds a webcam/microphone combination for video calling. With the addition of magazines and TV shows to the Google Play Store, Amazon no longer has an obvious content advantage.  If you're trying to decide between the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, in other words, your mind should already be made up. Instantly, almost every advantage of the Kindle Fire has been erased; the Nexus 7 is that much better, for the same price.

Dangers of Spam Filters

While your desktop email program or your web-based email program might have a spam folder where you can see email that was filtered out as spam, your ISP might be filtering spam as well and you will never see it unless you go to your ISP's webmail site (e.g., Cox Webmail) and look in the spam filter. If you do so, do not be surprised to see legitimate email you would have liked to receive filtered as spam. The best practice is check your ISP's spam folder on a frequent basis (note that filtered spam will stay on the website for a finite time and then automatically be deleted so the more frequently you check, the better).

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

The latest Android operating system (Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS))) just became available for upgrade  for various phones on AT&T and Verizon and perhaps other systems. The one big advantage I see in it is the ability to use the Chrome browser on the phone so that your phone browser and your computer browser are always in sync. Even so, after reading about all the problems people have with ICS and the inability to roll it back, and the very cumbersome process required to install it, and the huge program you have to install on your computer as a prelude, I have decided not to upgrade to ICS. So, I will not be covering it in this blog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Full vs. Left Justification

The reason book publishers and newspapers (and all good lawyers) use full justification instead of left justification is to pack more characters in the same amount of space.

See http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/typelayout/a/justifyleft.htm which explains as follows:


About Fully-Justified Text
  • Often considered more formal, less friendly than left-aligned text.
  • Usually allows for more characters per line, packing more into the same amount of space (than the same text set left-aligned).
  • May require extra attention to word and character spacing and hyphenation to avoid unsightly rivers of white space running through the text.
  • May be more familiar to readers in some types of publications, such as books and newspapers.
  • Some people are naturally drawn to the "neatness" of text that lines up perfectly on the left and right.
Traditionally many books, newsletters, and newspapers use full-justification as a means of packing as much information onto the page as possible to cut down on the number of pages needed. While the alignment was chosen out of necessity, it has become so familiar to us that those same types of publications set in left-aligned text would look odd, even unpleasant.

Outlook Gmail Contacts Sync

There are several free programs for syncing contacts between Outlook and Gmail. The best in my opinion is Outlook4Gmail.

Link: http://scand.com/products/outlook4gmail/install.html

TripIt

I had not heard of it or used it, but I have been told by a very reliable source that the free TripIt app (available for Androids, iPhones and iPads) is worthwhile (and for $3.99 the pro version will be free of ads). Upgrade to TripIt Pro for $49/year and get everything in TripIt plus on-the-go flight alerts, status updates and more while you’re traveling. If anyone has any views on the subscription version, please share them. In the meantime, here is a description of the basic app:

No more searching through your inbox to find your airline reservation. No more scrambling to get directions to your hotel. No more worrying about what time your business dinner starts. With TripIt, everything you need to get you where you’re going and back again is at your fingertips—on your smartphone, tablet or online at tripit.com.

Simply forward all of your hotel, airline, car rental, and restaurant reservations to us and we’ll do the rest. TripIt magically organizes all of your travel plans in one place so you can access them anytime, anywhere—in the airport or on the road (even when you don’t have an Internet connection.) Just hit forward. And sit back.
Want to add a few notes, links, or recommendations? Just click Add Plans and enter away. Need to share your trip with family or colleagues? Consider it done. Your TripIt master itinerary has all the details you need, plus maps, directions and weather, so you can keep calm and carry on.
KEY FEATURES
• Keep all of your travel plans in one spot and stay organized with separate itineraries for every destination—ideal for frequent travelers.
• Access trip details whenever and wherever you need them—on your smartphone, tablet or online at tripit.com.
• Forward travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and never worry about losing them again. (If you use Gmail, it happens automatically.)
• Easily add or edit plans manually right from the app or on tripit.com.
• Share your trip plans with family or colleagues so they know when and where you’re headed.
• Get daily weather forecasts, directions and maps for each destination.
• Use map-based search to find restaurants, businesses and attractions, then add them to your trip itinerary in one click.
• Sync all your trip plans with your calendar.
• Post your destinations to Facebook or Linked In and get travel advice from your social network.

Finding Wi-Fi Spots Automatically

If your phone or tablet does not automatically detect and turn on free wi-fi, there will be an app that will do so for you. With that app, your device will automatically use the wi-fi connection which is free instead of the data network which can be costly. Because these apps vary by provider and device, I am not listing them here. But just go to Play or iTunes or even The Google and put in Smart Wi-Fi for [X device].

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sending Texts From Your Computer or Tablet

MightyText is similar to iMessage, except forAndroid. You can send SMS from your computer or tablet (all you need is a Web browser), and still use your own phone number. You'll also be able to screen incoming calls by seeing the caller information on the computer. This is also a great way to stay in touch with friends and family if you forget your phone at home.

Link: http://mightytext.net/

Alternatives to Paying for Texting


Short messaging services (SMS) are very popular, but can end up costing you a lot if you don't have an unlimited plan for your smartphone. All the apps in this collection offer more features than standard SMS clients, and can often be more fun to use. For instance, some send pictures, show you when a message is read by the recipient, or send videos and voice clips. There's even an app that lets people without smartphones reply to you from a user-selected phone number.
(Credit: Nicole Cozma)

Kik

Kik is a simple yet functional messenger app. No other service can match it for speed. Single-letter notifications on chat bubbles show you when the message is being sent (S), is available on the recipient's device (D, for delivered), and has been read (R). It's supported on several platforms, making staying in touch with people who have different phones and carriers easy. The only flaw is that while you can enable or disable notifications of messages, you are unable to set a custom notification tone for this app.
(Credit: Nicole Cozma)

Google Voice

Google Voice is an interesting choice compared with the other apps shown here. It lacks many of the defining features of the others, such as the capability to share pictures. However, it is powerful in its own right. Google Voice can actually send and receive SMS messages via data by assigning you a Google Voice phone number to use with the app. This means you can use this service to stay in contact with friends who don't have smartphones, without being charged for SMS. There is also a Web management interface available, should you find yourself unable to use your mobile device.
(Credit: Nicole Cozma)

PingChat!

PingChat! is packed with features. On top of the standard picture-sharing option, this app allows you to easily share your location and contacts with the people you're talking to. You can even link your social media accounts to PingChat!, making it easy to find and add your friends for group chats. One downside is that this app is supported by ads, with no paid alternative. However, with all the functions this messenger has, it's easy to forgive it.
(Credit: Nicole Cozma)

LiveProfile

LiveProfile's account system is great for people with multiple devices. Being registered via e-mail rather than phone number means you can switch devices often and quickly without worrying about losing messages or contacts in the process. This service provides you with a status message so you can let all your friends know your whereabouts or activities with one click. This message can also be posted from the app directly to your Twitter of Facebook account. The heavily beveled finish on the app can be a positive or negative, depending on your style.
(Credit: Nicole Cozma)

KakaoTalk

KakaoTalk is a powerful alternative to SMS. Packed full of features such as picture, video, and audio sharing, there isn't much you could want out of a messenger app that KakaoTalk can't do. The app features some customization options for those who like to personalize the way their phone looks. For those who like to keep their messaging history private, there's even an option to password lock your conversations.

Note to Readers

The Google made some changes to its template and format options. Since then, the blog posts were not showing paragraph breaks. I've figured out the solution, so, from now on, paragraphing will return to the posts. I apologize for any inconvenience that was encountered during the pendency of the problem.

It also turns out the Google changed how to have URL links show up as clickable links. So, from now on, they will be clickable again to get to the noted webpage. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience that was encountered during the pendency of this problem.

Three Quick Searches on The Google

Get flight information – Enter the name of an airline followed by the flight number. For example: British Airways 117
You will get flight information and whether the plane is on time.

Check the weather- Get a quick summary of weather conditions anywhere by entering weather followed by a city. For example: weather New Delhi

Get local movie times – This works in the USA but I don’t know about other places. Just enter the term movies followed by your zip code in the Google search bar. For example:movies 29204 You will get a list of movies playing in your area.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin has done fabulous shows. Newsroom is not one of them. It's banal and terrible! It will not make a second season even if it makes a second episode.

Create an Online Cookbook

Cooks are always on the lookout for their new favorite recipe. And there are so many places to discover the best ones - the Internet has millions of them! The problem is that there's no way to keep track of the recipes you've tried or want to try. KeepRecipes is the solution. With a simple click, you can bookmark recipes from any website and save them to your KeepRecipes profile. It's easy to mark them and rate them once you've cooked the recipe. You can even add your own recipes using the recipe composer. And you can share your cookbook with the rest of the KeepRecipes community.

Link: www.keeprecipes.com

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Duplicate File Finder

One of the safest and most efficient ways to free up space on your hard disk is to look for duplicate files. Depending on what you find, and where you find them, you can then delete the duplicates or move them to a quarantine area for deletion at a later date. Anti-Twin is simple to use, very fast, and free. http://www.joerg-rosenthal.com/en/antitwin/download.html

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bride Flight

Bride Flight is a gem of a movie I discovered on my own with no help from anyone including Brian. It is a wonderful story told with a perfectly sculptured screenplay (you will see what I mean when you watch the movie). The cinematography is breath-taking to the point where you will want to take the next plane to New Zealand. And perhaps best of all, in an age where the most accomplished actors of our time (e.g., Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino) cannot resist over-acting, all the actors in this movie turn in A++++ performances. It is available through Netflix and Vudu and likely elsewhere.

User Manuals Online

You shouldn't ever be embarrassed to use a manual for your stuff. They are packed with useful, and oftentimes crucial, information about how to use your product. I always read the user manuals, and you should, too. Unfortunately, if your electronics and appliances do start acting up, what do you do if you can't find the manual? Try looking it up on ManualsOnline. It's a database of manuals for more than 600,000 products, from printers to power tools. All are free to access. You can even read helpful hints and advice from other users. And if you sign in to ManualsOnline using an email address or Facebook account, you can post scans of your own user manuals so you never lose them again. That way, other members of the community can benefit from your user manual. www.manualsonline.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Virtual Lego

Who doesn't love LEGO? These little bricks are the perfect toys for creative people, analytical people and people of any age. Your only limit is your imagination and the number of bricks you have. Or you could download this program and have an infinite number of building blocks. LEGO Digital Designer is an official software program from LEGO that includes 763 types of bricks. You can use a preset building guide or let your brain run wild in Free Build mode. Once you're done, upload your design to the LEGO Factory Gallery, where you can share your creation. You can also buy the exact bricks you use and build your masterpiece for real. Cost: Free Link: ldd.lego.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft's Tablet ... Surface

I have no inside information and no clue whether it will be a great product or a bust, but Microsoft is bringing out its own tablet (called Surface) this year when it makes Windows 8 available. If you are a Windows user and have not yet bought a tablet, there look to be some compelling reasons to wait-and-see and take a serious look at the Surface which should be priced about the same as the iPad, including: its slighter larger screen but hardly any heavier and no thicker; larger memory; built-in magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard; USB ports; printer connection; and ability to run Microsoft Office programs.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wi-Fi Coverage Mapper

Ekahau HeatMapper is a free software tool for quick and easy coverage mapping of Wi-Fi (802.11) networks. It's the only free, easy-to-use tool that shows, on a map, the wireless network coverage in your home or small office. HeatMapper also locates all access points. HeatMapper also provides a real-time view to all access points and their configurations. HeatMapper uses your built-in wireless network adapter, therefore, all you need is a Windows-based laptop with wireless. And it takes just one minute to install. Link: http://www.ekahau.com/products/heatmapper/overview.html

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fixing Scans

If you ever use a scanner to import pages of text into your PC, you've probably encountered situations where everything present, but it needs some tweaking. If you've previously used a standard painting program to tidy up your scans, prepare to be amazed by how easily and quickly you can get the job done with a free Windows program called Scan Tailor. Once you've installed the software, open a new project and point it at a folder containing one or more scanned images. You can then perform the above-mentioned operations quickly and, in most cases, automatically. When you're happy with the results, save them on your hard disk and the job is done. You can get Scan Tailor from http://scantailor.sourceforge.net. It's a 5 MB download. runs on all recent versions of Windows, is free of malware according to VirusTotal, and is completely free.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Protecting Your Laptop and Smartphone From Thieves

The portability of your laptop makes it easy to take anywhere, but this convenience is a double-edged sword. A thief could run off with your laptop in seconds. Common sense says to not leave a laptop unattended for long periods of time! A criminal could just hang out in a coffee shop and take off once you step away. Vigilance is the strongest deterrent from theft. Of course, there are times when you have to step away for a second. With these programs, you'll be more comfortable leaving your computer alone. LAlarm - LAlarm triggers a high-pitched siren if someone tries to take your Windows computer. It's easy to activate, allowing you to grab another cup of coffee or run to the restroom. If your power adapter is unplugged or the laptop is moved, an alarm sounds at full volume. It can’t be turned off without logging back in. LAlarm has some more advanced features as well. You can set safe zones where the alarm won't go off. It can send you a text message if the laptop is stolen. iAlertU - iAlertU presents an awesome way to protect your MacBook. If a thief messes with your machine, it plays an alarm that cranks your speakers to the highest volume. The whole store will know a thief is on the loose. The alarm sounds any time someone touches the keyboard or trackpad. Closing the lid or moving the computer sets it off, as well. Thieves won't be able to come near your computer without you knowing. This sensitivity means you need to set a hotkey that you won't forget to shut it off. You can also turn it off with an Apple remote or any Apple mobile device. It's just like activating a car alarm! Prey - Unlike the previous solutions that can help prevent a theft, Prey is focused on tracking and catching the thief. It runs silently in the background for both PCs and Macs. There's even an app that protects your smartphone! If your laptop is taken, the program broadcasts the laptop's location any time the thief turns it on. If the device isn't connected to the Internet, Prey hunts down the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot and connects. You'll be able to control many of your computer's features remotely, too. You can hide your information or take a screenshot of the screen. Prey even allows you to activate the webcam and take a mug shot of the thief. LAlarm Link: http://www.lalarm.com/en/LAlarm_Laptop_Alarm.htm iAlertU Link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/ialertu/files/ Prey Link: http://preyproject.com/

Home Upkeep Help

If you own a home, it might sometimes feel like it is deliberately sabotaging itself. Fortunately, with some attention, you can convince it to stop. Good home upkeep will save you stacks of cash and reduce your stress. You and your house can be buddies again! BrightNest is a free website packed with tips, tricks and step-by-step instructions for crucial home upkeep. From small, efficiency-maximizing projects to important safety tasks, BrightNest has what you need to keep your house in tip-top shape. Just sign in using an email address and create a profile of your house. BrightNest will suggest new projects. It will also keep track of your work and send you reminders for upcoming maintenance tasks. https://brightnest.com/

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cloud On for the iPad

CloudOn was the first to bring Microsoft Office® to your iPad and link it with your Dropbox account.That’s pretty cool. But, you asked for more – and we listened. In addition to Dropbox, CloudOn now also integrates with Box and Google Drive. Use CloudOn to connect with these services and open, edit and store your files in one place. Want more? Of course you do! We’ve also added Adobe Reader and a File Viewer that lets you open and view virtually any file type, including PDF, PSD, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. Wait…we’re not done. We know your work isn’t always just for you. That’s why we’ve built the ability to share files with your contacts via email. With the ability to access, edit, store, and share your information, CloudOn is the essential productivity tool for your iPad. The CloudOn Workspace allows you to: -Use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on your iPad to create or edit documents. -Rename, delete and manage documents with your Dropbox, Box or Google Drive accounts -View virtually any type of file, including: PDF, PSD, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. -Send files via email directly from the workspace -Display, edit or create charts, change formatting, spell check, insert comments, etc into any Word, Excel or PowerPoint files -Track changes while reviewing Word documents -Use pivot tables and insert formulas in Excel workbooks -Display and edit transitions in PowerPoint slides and present in full PowerPoint mode (not in PDF) -Open files directly from your iPad email accounts as well as Dropbox, Box and Google Drive -Automatically save documents to avoid losing changes http://site.cloudon.com/

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proctor & Gamble Reaction to My Dawn Post

Hi Eugene, Thanks for taking the time to share such kind words! I'm glad that you've had success using Dawn to clean your granite countertop. Your reaction is just what we hoped for -- I can't wait to share your comments with the rest of our team. We don't offer recommendations to use Dawn on granite countertops, because different types of granite require different treatment, so the manufacturers of granite countertops are better equipped to make recommendations about the appropriate product to use for their surfaces. Thanks again for writing! Vered, Dawn Team

Reinstalling Windows 7

There are times when you need to completely reinstall Windows 7. What do you do if your computer didn't come with a Windows installation disc? Or maybe you have a recovery disc but don't want all the bloatware that came with the computer. The answer is to download a new, clean copy of Windows 7. Yes, you can do it for free and legally! There are three versions of Windows 7 available: Home, Professional and Ultimate. Each comes in either 32- or 64-bit. Make sure you download the same version you have on your computer. You'll find the version, along with the product key or product ID, on your Windows license sticker or in the System Properties control panel. Remember, you must have a full or OEM product key for your Windows license in order to legally install Windows. The product key from a Windows 7 upgrade disc will not work. Link: http://www.windows7download.com/win7-windows-7/bzcdfrnu.html

Recovering Lost Files in Windows 7

Did you ever delete a file only to discover later that you wished you hadn’t? Of course, if it’s in the Recycle Bin, there’s no problem. But what if it isn’t there? Since you are a reader of Gizmo’s you probably have a backup or you know how to use one of the free recovery software programs reviewed at this link. But sometimes we don’t have backups or it’s too late for the recovery software because the old file’s disk space has been written over. What then? Maybe it’s time to take advantage of the fact that, as long as System Restore is enabled (see this link), Windows 7 has an automatic file and folder backup called "Shadow Copies" built in. This service creates backup copies called “previous versions”.The only catch is that you have to remember the name of the file you deleted and what folder it was in. Here is one way to get your file back: Choose a previous version of the folder from a date when it still contained the lost file. You can click the button “Copy” to place a copy of the folder as it was in some place convenient and then copy out the file you are interested in back to its previous location. If you click the “Restore” button, all the files in the original location will be replaced by the older versions, something you may not wish. If you click "Copy" a dialog box will open where you can choose the place to put the copy Or if you click the button "Open" instead of "Copy", a list of the files in the backup will be shown. You can drag or copy the file you want from the list to wherever is desired Click “OK” to close the dialog window Here is a second trick that may also work: Create a dummy file with the same name and extension as the lost file and place it in the original folder where the lost file resided. The contents of the file are irrelevant Right-click the dummy file In the context menu, choose “Properties” Click the tab “Previous Versions” With luck, a list of backup copies of your lost file will appear Choose the copy you want (probably the most recent one) and click the “Restore” button Click “OK” to close the dialog window

Sunday, June 10, 2012

No Cost Refinancing

If your mortgage is backed by FannieMae or FreddieMac (and it likely is), you probably are eligible to do a one-time no-cost, no-appraisal refinance. Just ask your mortgage holder or servicer. Here is some info on the matter: http://themortgagereports.com/259/harp-making-home-affordable-guidelines

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Netflix Queue Helper

Netflix Instant is an inexpensive way to watch hundreds of great movies on your computer and even your video game console. You'll never visit the video store again. The problem is that with so many movies to choose from, it's hard to pick! Netflix does its best to recommend movies, but there is a simpler way to find hidden gems. A Better Queue is a cleverly simple site that combines Rotten Tomatoes review ratings with the Netflix Instant list. Just select a minimum Tomatometer score, narrow your list by when a movie was originally released and choose which genres interest you. A Better Queue shows you Netflix Instant movies that match your specifications. Link: http://abetterqueue.com/

Friday, June 8, 2012

Four Handiest Smartphone Apps

1. Bump (Android | iOS) Because I'm not a mover and shaker in the business world (or even the outside world), I rarely had the need to use Bump's cool contact information-swapping capabilities. But last month, the app got an upgrade that makes it crazy-handy: you can now use Bump to quickly and easily transfer photos to your PC. How easily? Nothing-to-install-on-your-PC easily. You just fire up the app, choose the photos you want to transfer, open up the Bu.mp Web site in your browser, and then "bump" your phone on the space bar. Presto: done! What an insanely cool and useful time-saver. 2. Cozi (Android | iOS) About a year ago I named Cozi one of the best apps you've never tried, and today I consider it one of the best apps, period. Honestly, I don't know how my family ever got along without it. The app provides a shared calendar that's color-coded for each member of your family. Thus, you can quickly see who's going where, and when. (This is especially helpful for parents who need to know, say, what time soccer practice is being held and who's supposed to pick up the kids.) There's also a shared shopping list, to-do list, and journal. Put them all together and you've got the ultimate family organizer -- one that works across iDevices, Android devices, and PCs. It even supports outside calendars. Amazingly, Cozi is still free. 3. Pocket (Android | iOS) Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket clips Web content so you can, well, read it later. Though it's useful in any number of scenarios, I find it best for compiling my own mobile magazine. For example, I enjoy reading Entertainment Weekly's "Mad Men" recaps -- but not while I'm sitting at my PC trying to work. As soon as I see that the latest recap has been posted, I simply click the Pocket bookmarklet in my browser. Now I can access it anytime, anywhere via the Pocket app, where it's beautifully formatted for mobile viewing.Pocket is even smart enough to handle articles that continue across multiple pages, meaning you get the entire story, not just the first section. 4. Yelp (Android | iOS) To quote Douglas Adams: "The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question 'How can we eat?' the second by the question 'Why do we eat?' and the third by the question 'Where shall we have lunch?'" Oh, how Adams would have loved Yelp. The app answers not only the question "Where shall we have lunch?", but also "Is that restaurant any good?" and "How can I express my displeasure with the waitstaff?" Yelp finds all manner of nearby businesses, provides user reviews of those businesses, and lets you check in, Foursquare-style, so friends can keep tabs on your dining, shopping, and the like. But mostly it just helps you separate the wheat from the chaff, and for that it's utterly indispensable.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Facebook Update Notifications on Smart Phones

If Facebook came pre-loaded on your cellphone, it cannot be uninstalled. And you cannot stop getting update notifications for the Facebook app. The Google has no solution nor do many supposed tech support people. But I am pleased to announce there is a way to be free of the annoyance of being constantly alerted that a new update for the app is available. Go to the app store for your phone, find Facebook, and check the option to have updates installed automatically. While doing so is useless, at least you won't be annoyed by the notices.

Stopping Spam and Advertising Texts on Smart Phones

If you are annoyed by getting spam and advertising texts on your cell phone, or if your plan charges on a per-text basis and you don't want to pay for them, they can be stopped. Each carrier is different. Here is where to start if you are on AT&T: http://mymessages.wireless.att.com/ Here is where to start if you are on Verizon (go to 25): http://support.verizonwireless.com/clc/faqs/TXT%20messaging/faq.html

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dawn as a Fabulous Granite Cleaner

Here is the text of an email I sent today to Proctor & Gamble regarding Dawn: "I discovered today that Dawn will clean spills on my honed granite counter tops better than any professional granite cleaner. I spilled iced tea on them and I tried cleaning the resulting stains with all the top-rated granite cleaners. None worked. Then, I poured on a small amount of dawn on the stains, and with a few wipes the stains were gone and the counter area looked spotless, so I cleaned the entire counter with Dawn. So not only does Dawn turn out to be a fantastic granite cleaner, it is way less expensive than products purporting to specialize. So, you might consider letting customers know of this use for Dawn or you might re-package it under a granite cleaner label. In all events, thanks for such a wonderful product!"

Dual Monitor Taskbar

If you are using just one monitor, you are short-changing yourself. If you are using two monitors, you likely are using Multi-Mon Taskbar, which has a nice clipboard feature but, in its free version, has some limitations including lack of color. Dual Monitor Taskbar has solved those problems, giving you all the color and functionality of your primary display taskbar. Its only shortcoming is lack of transfer arrows and a clipboard. But, you can keep both it and Muli-Mon installed on your second monitor and have the best of both. Download site: http://sourceforge.net/projects/dualmonitortb/

Tool to Help with Windows 7 Problems

Anybody who has been faced with a misbehaving computer and wanted to describe the problem to someone who was located elsewhere knows this isn’t always easy. Windows is complicated and words can be inadequate. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is apt and Windows 7 has a little-known tool to make pictures of your system in action. The tool is called Problem Steps Recorder (PSR). This tool lets you capture screenshots of the steps that lead to a problem so that someone can review your actions and possibly suggest a solution. You can write comments as you go through the steps. When you have finished recording your problem, the screenshots of the steps and your comments are saved in a single file readable by a browser, together with some additional information. The file is wrapped in zipped form. One annoyance is that the file is in MHT format, which is often associated with Internet Explorer. How to use PSR 1. In the Start search bar, enter “psr” (without quotes) and click psr.exe. The window shown in the figure below will open. 2. Click "Start Record". Then go through the steps on your computer that show the problem. You can pause the recording at any time, and then resume it later. 3. At any time, you can highlight a particular area of the screen and add an explanatory note by clicking "Add Comment". 4. When you’re done, click "Stop Record". 5. In the Save As dialog box that opens, type a name for the file, and then click Save. It will be saved as a zipped MHT file. Open the file in a browser and check the contents. If it is satisfactory, you can email or upload it to someone for help. Not all PC problems will be suitable for this tool but it is an option for getting help that is worth knowing about.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Notepad/Clipboard for Chrome

If you are using Chrome, you will find the Notepad/Clipboard extension to be invaluable. It is the simplest, easiest way to store a small number of text items that you find yourself having to fill in over and over and over again in forms, especially forms that do not allow for auto-fill. With this extension, they are always one click away from being able to copy and paste. So, never again will you have to type your name, email address or any other such item you store in the extension. Here is where you download it from: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/notepad%20clipboard PS: If you are not using Chrome, you should seriously consider switching to it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Test Your Internet Speed

This website will easily and quickly test your upload and download internet speed so you can see if you're getting what's promised by your ISP: http://www.speedtest.net/

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fresh Corn on the Cob Fast and With No Mess

Watch this video and you will be stunned how this way of doing fresh corn on the cob is so easy and neat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnBF6bv4Oe4

Google Calendar Extension

Google calendar is a terrific and free but it has some shortcomings, such as missing a good snooze option. You can rectify that shortcoming and pick up many additional cool features with the Checker Plus extension for Chrome at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hkhggnncdpfibdhinjiegagmopldibha/related