Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TIP-Everything needs a folder

As I use both Mac and PC computers there is one thing I would have to say is very common and that is the folders. No matter what operating system you use, there are folders that help separate the various system files from user interface files, etc.  As you may find within MY DOCUMENTS (which is now just 'Documents' in Windows 7) which is also found within the 'library' (of windows 7).  

So the tip being, when you are within a common area, such as your documents, it is a good idea to have everything in some folder and anything that is not within a folder is to be considered a 'system file' or 'common file' for the system.  Why is this a good idea? Because from a technical point of view, any file that is not in the folder is quickly identifiable and in the case of any malware (for example) you would more quickly be able to determine just why this file is not in a folder. This could also happen for any new program you have installed.  

I notice this sort of maintenance as being useful for such folders as your 'download' folder within a MAC or any folder you may choose as your 'internet downloads' folder.  

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Twitter-Do you use it and if so, how?

Twitter has become a sort of 'machine language' of it's own, with the api's of so many other programs that now 'share' the data, this data which comes from the Twitter source.  Just as Google is with search and so when you start comparing them, you can understand the reason they may work better apart then as one. When one company purchases another, essentially taking their technology so that it can be their own and utilize it in to making either a product they already own, better, or to enhance the market share they already own.   Someone like Kevin Rose of Digg.com who basically purchased an off-shoot of something of his own creation 'wefollow.com'. When he (Digg)  noticed the data was of so much value that he (Digg) should own it all. Nothing wrong with this, especially in his case because of the way he thinks, he will create or do something even better, to push technology.

So for one company to purchase the other as in Google to purchase Twitter, this would give Google the full rights to that twitter data, which essentially is that machine language.   With Google owning so much of the internet, is that a good thing?  Depends on who you ask and how you think about it.  The fact that Google is pushing technology means this is a good thing and can only help whereas others may argue they have too

Friday, October 23, 2009

Windows 7 RC to RTM work around?

Although I have yet to try this, I don't doubt that it will work, however I'm not quite sure it is worth while since, as it even mentions, performing a clean install is always best as well it takes a lot less time. As well, the time I save can go towards reinstalling the various programs that would have had to be installed again anyway, should you choose to use the update.  

The real work around would be purchasing the Windows 7 Disc and then simply insert the disk and allow it to update the key by agreeing to the license and entering the certification key but this is just not going to be an option unfortunately.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 Install options from Public Release Candidate

So the question has always been, "Will I need to perform a full reinstall of the operating system if I have Windows 7 Ultimate Public Release installed?"  

I am in the process of answering that. To start, I had installed this RC version of Windows 7 to a clean hard drive so there was no previous O/S installed, which means it has been running on a 'free' operating system. Also note it was the 64bit version of RC and the version being installed is Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

I initially inserted the Windows 7 Home Premium DVD with windows running and attempted the install. It recognized the version and told me I could not perform the update. 

I then restarted the computer, booting to the new Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit DVD and started the 'install now'.  Setup is starting, I accept the license agreement and at the Upgrade or Custom prompt I will first try the upgrade. This fails with the "compatibilty report" stating "The computer started using the Windows Installation disc. Remove the installation disc and restart your computer so that Windows starts normally. Then, insert the installation disc and restart the upgrade. (Do not select "Custom (advanced) to perform an upgrade." Custom (advanced)" installs a new copy of Windows and deletes your programs and settings.). I click Close.

Again, I click INSTALL NOW and accept the license agreement. (NOT doing what they suggested as I knew that would get me in a loop since I had already tried the upgrade option from windows already running).

This time I choose 'custom (advanced)'   (even though this is exactly what I was told not to do)

Now I am greeted with the 'Where do you want to install Windows?" prompt with a list of all my hard drives, which I will choose the "c" drive where windows already exists and sure enough I am prompted with "The partition you selected might contain files from a previous Windows installation.  If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named Windows.old. You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will not be able to use your previous version of Windows.

I click "OK" (since I know this is going to basically reinstall windows as a clean install and will save me a little time in transferring my data (documents, etc) since I do have everything backed up, if by no other means, Carbonite (the computers most important product beside the computer itself!)

At this point I have ruled out that you can not get away without at the very minimum, a 'soft install' of the O/S. 

My next mission will be to attempt to change the product key from another computer running the same o/s (windows 7 rc build 7100 64bit) and it doesn't recognize the new key (could this be because it isn't ultimate or does it recognize the installed o/s is actually beta?) .. regardless, this method failed as I do not currently have an ultimate edition to try this out on. 

Back to the computer that is getting Windows 7 Home Premium installed.. the first restart has happened after the windows files had been extracted.  

Windows setup is starting services... and from there it installs normally. After the install I can simply move the old account files to the new account, but since this is basically considered a clean install, you will have to reinstall all your other programs, although the data from them can be found in the oldwindows folder as mentioned in the setup. I typically delete this once I have moved my data across.

TIP-Windows 7 first things to do

As today marks the beginning of the new Windows 7 era there will be many TIPS and tricks I am sure I will be posting. I figured I would start by a no-brainer and that is to turn off the Internet Explorer. Of course you will first want to download two other browsers. Why two? Because you always want to have a back up in case a certain page will not load or looks strange, you can always check it on a different browser. My personal choices would be the Avant Browser as well as the Google Chrome browser as it currently ranks as the fastest browser-great for researching. With all the features of "autofill" and "saved information in your account" that the Avant Browser offers as well as being 100percent "internet explorer emulation compliant" there is no need to have the Internet Explorer and now you have that ability--to turn it off. Go to the control panel and click on PROGRAMS AND FEATURES and then from the top left menu click on "TURN WINDOWS FEATURES ON OR OFF" and from the list, de-select the Internet Explorer and agree to the prompt that you are aware certain programs may not function correctly...

While you are at it, you might want to turn on STICKY NOTES and you do this by confirming the TABLET PC COMPONENTS is checked then download the gadget here.

UPDATE: The above link actually installs the original 'vista gadget' however to use the newer Windows 7 Sticky key the first time read on!

Not only does the windows feature have to be turned on as I learn from the windows help:

What happened to Sticky Notes?

The Sticky Notes program and the Sticky Notes gadget that were available in previous versions of Windows have been replaced in this version. If you used either Sticky Notes or the Sticky Notes gadget in a previous version of Windows and have upgraded your computer, any notes that you had (either ink or text) should be available in the new version of Sticky Notes.

This version of Sticky Notes doesn’t support voice notes. Voice notes created with the previous version of Sticky Notes are saved in the C:\Users\your user name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Sticky Notes folder, where C is the drive that Windows is installed on.

By entering "sticky notes' in the search and clicking on the available 'click to open sticky notes' it was really that simple!

Remember with Windows 7 the first thing and what you will eventually learn is the most thing you will be doing is using the 'start menu button (or windows key) and typing whatever it is you are wanting to use and you will immediately get a list of things as you type. The more you use this the quicker you will learn that you do not need to know where everything is!

Enhanced Google Music Search

Looking for music? Google can help with that, as with most things internet related.


Sent to you by Mike via Google Reader:


via Google Operating System by Alex Chitu on 10/22/09

Google has a small music search engine that shows information about artists, albums and songs. You can use the music: operator in Google's search box to access the service. Unfortunately, the information is outdated, the links to reviews are broken and there's not much to see.

After many years of decay, Google decided to improve the service. CNet reports that Google will launch the new version of Google Music Search next week, in partnership with Lala and iLike. "The way One Box will work is that a person who keys in the names U2 or Coldplay, for example, will find a thumbnail photo of the artists, background information, as well as a listing of the music that they can preview."

"The new Google music offering will allow users to stream an entire song via a link from La La Media Inc.'s Lala.com, or a sample from MySpace's music site iLike.com. The Lala link on the Google page will let users listen to a song once free of charge. In addition to offering a free streaming link, the new arrangement will offer options to pay 10 cents for an online-only version or about $1 to download an MP3," says the Wall Street Journal.

TechCrunch has some screenshots of the OneBox and the interface resembles Yahoo's music artist shortcut. Last year, Yahoo partnered with Rhapsody to allow users to play up to 25 full songs a month.

Here are some screenshots of Google Music Search as it looks today:

Google's most popular music-related service is YouTube and it's surprising that YouTube doesn't offer a better experience for watching music videos. YouTube could easily add information about music artists, lyrics, album arts, music charts. Later this year, YouTube will launch Vevo, a site that will feature Universal's music videos.


Things you can do from here:


Windows 7 Engineers using feedback

Since the early days of computing, when there is a problem that affects that way you use the computer you would typically get somebody to fix it. The problem now doesn't seem to be getting somebody to fix it, rather, how long do you wait until you actually figure it is a problem that needs fixing?

The Windows 7 engineering team utilized the feedback they would get each and every time someone would submit it and it works as ARS Technica reports:

Windows 7 engineers: how feedback shaped the final release

The fact that we now are pretty much tied to the internet all the time (our computers are, not us personally-at least not yet), should also mean your computer can stay optimized all the time instead of waiting until you know you have a problem. This is where the times are changing. You shouldn't have a fast, clean, efficient computer experience only right after the computer tech has cleaned it, not when your technician can help you remotely... are you taking advantage of this service? You should be!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MacBook Gets New Display, Trackpad, and Built-in Battery for Old Price

I have been warned that it is very common to be buying a new apple product only to have a new model be released within days. So it should not be a big surprise for me when my new MacBook pro arrives some time today in my atempt to upgrade what I have already, which is the original MacBook circa 2007/08.

October 20, 2009 9:46 AM
by Charles Jade

MacBook Gets New Display, Trackpad, and Built-in Battery for Old Price

Today Apple announced the release of an updated MacBook and Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller says it best in a press release for the new Macbook.

"The new MacBook includes many of the great features found on the innovative MacBook Pro, such as an LED-backlit display, glass Multi-Touch trackpad and built-in long-life battery."


The new MacBook remains priced at $999, which will disappoint some hoping Apple would compete more aggressively with netbooks. However, the new MacBook does not disappoint on specifications or build quality. Featuring a unibody, polycarbonate enclosure with magnetic latch, the new MacBook weighs in at 4.7 lbs, down from 5.0 pounds, and is 1.08 inches thick. The LED-backlit display is the same as used on the MacBook Pros. Apple is claiming the built-in battery will last up to seven hours.

As for specifications, the new MacBook has a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and integrated graphics with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M. The two DIMM slots support up to 4GB RAM, available for another $100 from Apple. A 320GB or 500GB hard drive is optional, $50 and $150 extra, respectively.

About the only thing missing, besides a price drop, would be the SD card slot included across the MacBook Pro lineup. Nonetheless, even at twice the price of the best netbook, the new MacBook is easily more than twice as fast with double the battery life, and is many times more aesthetically pleasing.

Hardware News macbook update

Monday, October 19, 2009

TIP-Knowing what the program is capable of

You don't have to be an expert to work any program but you can make great strides towards greatness with regards to how to use any program, by getting to know the 'options/preferences/tools'.  From within every program there will be a menu item allowing for the various changes and settings to the program. This can be quite elaborate or very simple,depending on the varied levels of settings provided to you through the menus.  In many cases you may see "advanced" or "custom" quite often with (advanced users only) warning.  This should only provide you with an additional cautionary reminder that you will most likely be prompted with various questions, ones that you may or may not be able to answer... just remember you can always CANCEL your way out, if not with the RED X, which should close the window, if there is no CANCEL button provided.  

The "tools" or "options" or "preferences" section is where you do all of the customizing and changing to the settings that can truly change the way you 'enjoy' the program you are using.  The 'default' settings are how they are shipped from the factory. As you browse through the options/preferences/settings, you will find this to be like a table of contents of any book.  Not only is this where you can make the changes in settings, but learn exactly what the program is capable of doing.  When you click APPLY the changes will be made and the settings window remains open. On the other hand, if you click CANCEL it will close the menu window without making any changes, therefore you should never be afraid to go beyond an area within any program's options that warns of 'advanced users only', just remember you do not have to make changes, and if you think you accidentally did or not sure but to be safe, just click CANCEL.  

If you find yourself getting frustrated, remember you have the power to turn off the computer and walk away from it... it is when that power is questioned by the computer asking you what you are doing is when you should begin to feel concerned!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Polish Chrome With Aluminum Foil and Cola [MacGyver Tip]

Household tips are always good and Lifehacker has truly become a website full of useful tips like these: 

October 16, 2009 10:30 AM
by sarahrae

Polish Chrome With Aluminum Foil and Cola [MacGyver Tip]

Whether you've got rusty chrome on your car or dirty chrome on the faucets on your sink, possibly the quickest and easiest way to get them clean and sparkling again is simple: aluminum foil....
MacGyver Tip Aluminum Foil Cleaning Clever Uses Top

The Average Internet User Spends 68 Hours Online Per Month [User Data]

Hah, I do this in a day!

October 15, 2009 12:30 PM
by Adam Pash

The Average Internet User Spends 68 Hours Online Per Month [User Data]

According to research conducted by the Nielsen company (you know, the TV ratings folks), the average internet user now spends 68 hours online per month. That may sound like a lot, but it only comes...
user data in brief Internet Web Browsing Web surfing

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Twitter Cleanup

As Twitter continues to be an integral part of todays internet, various websites are cropping up providing various useful tools to help manage your followers. I just gave Huitter.com a try as it provides a one-stop cleanup of those non-followers.   

Sunday, October 04, 2009

TIP-Gmail vs Outlook and Windows 7

As I typically try to post any answer that I may have from the various questions I receive when I get the same question more then once, the continuing push to move people to a "better email service", which in my opinion is Googles GMail, I am learning that most of the questions/concerns are all due to the brainwashing of how you use the email program like Outlook or Outlook Express.  As well, since the launch of what I believe is a very successful Windows 7 RC back in May, which I have taken full advantage of for many of my clients, there are also questions that I am finding are a direct result of this same brain washing we have become so accustomed to from Microsoft and that is with regards to the burning of a cd/dvd. 

Therefore I hope this will help clear things up for those still having questions:

I am glad you are slowly finding your way around the computer. Slow is ok when you are managing to retain what it is you are learning..  the simple fact is, what I 'suggest' is in no way 'enforcement', but rather a proven knowledge of methods of increasing productivity and efficiency with regards to what it is you are attempting to do on the computer, and in your case, reading and composing as well as forwarding email; as well as the other basic functions of windows which would include copying of files (or burning them to a cd).. 

The real problem, I have learned over the past few years--pretty much since Google has become such a dominator when it comes to the internet, is within the services they provide (all of which are free of course).  Such things has email has truly become what I say is a 'no brainer' simply because any and all other methods of email are simply antiquated when it comes to safety and security over malware/trojan viruses and that is mainly why I will 'suggest' to my clients, to open a gmail account and use it.  Whether you choose to tell everyone that this is your new email address and to hopefully/eventually have everyone sending you mail only to your gmail account, even though your existing Internet provider account is and can always remain active so long as you are getting the internet service from them, however if/when you were to change to some other service, from your broadband provider to an ADSL provider (should they come up with a screaming good deal and be able to provide the fastest service, which they can't right now), you would lose your email address with the existing provider and would have no choice but to open a new email address, whether it be through that new internet provider or at that time, set up a gmail account.  In the case you now have a gmail account and should wish to not inform people of the new account, that is fine as well, and you can continue on as normal, but the difference technically is that the email accounts (your existing internet provider in this case) are now being retrieved from gmail and so no matter what email program you choose to use, it actually picks up the mail using GMails "IMAP SERVER", which allows for synchronization to/from your computer to the account all the time. Now the problem I am witnessing over these past years is the fact that we have all become pretty much brain washed from Microsoft with regards to how we get our mail, using OUTLOOK EXPRESS or OUTLOOK and as a result the way we manage things are in the fashion that has been laid out for use from the graphical interface of the Outlook program, such as the "inbox" and the "folders" that you can create on the left hand side, allowing you to drag and drop the mail message in the case you wish to save it.  

Along comes Google's GMAIL and from the initial view through the gmail.com website using any web browser, shows the Inbox only, with such items like trash, spam labels on the left hand side.  The method for getting around within this website are to use such items like ARCHIVE, which is how you go about saving mail.  The problem is, when you go to save a message by clicking ARCHIVE, it simply disappears and because our brains tells us that it should be in some folder that you can access to retrieve the message at a later time, this becomes confusing when you can't find it.. and that is because you aren't using the SEARCH method in which Google has become so popular for searching for things on the internet.. but now that your email is on the internet (gmail), you can simply search for whatever it is you wanted to retrieve by simply entering a word or words that pertain to the message you are looking for.  For example, if you have archived all the messages from "John Hancock"  and you know there was an email John had talked about passwords, for example, from the search bar which can always be found at the top of the gmail page, you would simply enter  something like "John Hancock passwords"  and it would bring up resulting email that has those words in it.. probably all of the mail from John, but it would also have to have the word 'passwords' in it, and you can refine your search even further, if you found the results were too many to find that exact message... truly, 'keeping it simple' is the methodology they use and that is, unfortunately as I mentioned earlier, something we have become unable to do, thanks to the brain washing of Microsoft's Outlook email and their infamous 'create a folder and save the messages there'

The next problem was creating mail for multiple users.. again, we are so familiar with Outlook that we click on the address book and start selecting people from the contacts list and moving them to the 'to' column, creating this list of people.... of course if you are sending mail to multiple people, you should be sending mail to yourself as the 'undisclosed recipient' [see the tip "The Correct Way to Send/Forward Email" to multiple people-altough the tip was created way back in the early days of email it is quite accurate as this is the method that should be used for any email composition ] since you always have to send it to at least one person, and then the rest can be sent through the BCC (blind carbon copy) line (or CC-carbon copy if you want everyone you are sending mail to, to actually see the others that will be receiving that message-this method should only be used when sending to a known group you may belong to such as a bridge club-stamp collecting club, etc, otherwise everyone will see the other peoples email address and this is usually very frustrating for the receiver of the email in the case they do not even know the other people, and as a result ,now have given up their email address to complete strangers)..   So with google's GMail, again keeping it very simple, you first must send it to someone so in the 'to' column simply start typing "arthur" and probably after the first few letters you are typing, depending on how many other Arthur's there are in your contact list, you will see your email address--note: if you are using Undisclosed Recipient you would simply start typing "undisclosed" and it should also bring up your email address from your contacts, only it will be listed the way you want (undisclosed recipient).. then go to the BCC and start typing who you want to send the mail to, for example "Betty", "Sue", "Carl", "Roger"  in all these cases, you would probably just type "Be" and Betty would show up, then adding a second, simply type "Car" and Carl would probably show up, etc... if you are unsure of who you want to choose you can type only one letter, such as "a" and it will show you all of your contacts that start with the letter "A".. 

So you see, it is really quite simple.. the problem that isn't simple is de-programming your brain from the "old way of doing things" and I have found the best way to embrace new technology is to not look back, at least not until you are completely familiar with the new way, then when you do go back, in most cases you will agree that the new way is by far more "user friendly" and "efficient"

Now for those of you attempting to "delete" a bunch of messages.. and again, this is NOT what google's gmail recommends... of course you can and probably should delete messages that are dated such as a daily or weekly emailing of the current winning lottery numbers or todays weather forecast, but if the message is from a friend or other newsletter that you may want to refer to down the road (even if you don't think so but it is not a dated item), simply ARCHIVE it and forget about it...  since gmail's storage is so large, the odds of you ever filling it up are very slim... for example, I archive every email message from clients and have been using gmail for about 3-4 years now and (scrolling to the bottom of the gmail window) you can see how much percent you are using..For me it displays [You are currently using 1642 MB (22%) of your 7376 MB] therefore I should be good for at least another 6 years before I run out of room, however Google's gmail server storage is constantly increasing so you see, they are looking out for you as well... and, if you were a heavy user of email and found that you were getting close to your limit you can buy more storage.

Finally, the saving or copying of files to a cd/dvd.. With Windows 7 such programs like "nero" or "roxio" cd/dvd burning software are no longer required and that is simply because (finally) windows 7 no longer requires this... simply placing a blank cd or dvd in the drive (obviously if you have more then one cd or dvd player and are wanting to copy to DVD, you would need to be sure you place the blank DVD in the DVD burner and not the CD burner but on most new computers, there is only one 'cd/dvd burner' as the device can handle either format)   and, once you insert the blank DVD, windows will recognize this and show you as having a dvd with 4.7gb of available storage.. now, simply ask yourself what it is you want to do.. for example, you want to copy all of your documents to a dvd.. the dvd drive happens to be drive D for example, from the documents you want to copy to dvd, simply highlight them and if you were to RIGHT CLICK on this, the menu would have the option to 'copy to cd/dvd' or you can drag and drop to that device.  From window XP and Vista, you could do this for a cd but not a dvd and that is why you required NERO or ROXIO to be installed, but no more.

So, to make this simple.. go to your pictures and from there, you should see near the top of that window, the options of what you can do with each picture.. if you click on a picture, the picture viewer opens and near the top, you will see "email", "copy", "burn", etc...

I am also suggesting for google issues, the gmail for example, to utilize the 'help pages' as they have very simply help and tutorials that may make this even more clear.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Driving on the Autobahn

I haven't done it yet, but hopefully some day I will, as it happens to be one of the many things I want to do in my lifetime.
Image-180px-Zeichen_282.pngDriving on the Autobahn for me isn't about the speed limits or lack there of in some places, but the actual road architecture where the road will go through the mountain (tunnel) or over the valley (bridge), keeping things straight and fast. So finding out the dos and do nots become very important BEFORE you get behind the wheel and start driving on it. These two posts from Wired (post 1) (post 2) should help get you started and remove any frustrations you might have once you are on it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Apple Rant

I believe this will be my first rant about Apple or any Apple product, since I have been asked in the past, which is better Mac or Window. My answer has always been, it would depend on what your computing needs are. But this rant is not as much about Mac products, rather, the updating process for existing Apple products.

It is one thing to have 
ITUNES installed on your computer, but to have it automatically check for updates is something I always suggest turning off (or disabling from windows start up). If you are using a Mac then leave well enough alone when it comes to disabling items on start up (no need since there is never a conflict or loss of performance).  My issues are with the ipod touch/iphone updates whereas once you have updated to the latest build, you now have problems that you never had before, such as the automatic connection to existing wifi connections!  Why must I now wait until a new update comes out that fixes whatever else may show up down the road as a security/bug fix?  This is where, if you must compare Windows to Mac, Microsoft shines, with the ability to individually update patches that become available. 

Apple, you know there is a problem with the latest update build so why must you frustrate everyone with the inability to use, what was a very solid device, without having to roll-back to an earlier build and give up the security/bug fixes for the latest build?

I did purchase the WifiTrak app right after I purchased my ipod touch, back when the second generation unit was bought, since this feature was not something automatic at the time, but with the 3.0 upgrade, which I paid for, fixed this problem, I found I was not having to use the WifiTrak app as often. Now, I can use the WifiTrak app but it doesn't help because after the latest 3.1.1 update, I now have this very frustrating "staying connected" problem.

Please Apple, please do not become another Microsoft, and if you are going to become another Microsoft, at least create a "technet type" website where I can custom patch my device personally....

..... rant complete, you may now return to whatever it was you were doing before you got sidetracked in to allowing me to vent.