Extend Your Smart Phone Battery

The tips in the video above apply to all smart phones.  She has additional tips for iPhones in this article:  http://www.komando.com/toolbox.aspx?mode=print&id=12719
If this is all too technical and makes your eyes glaze over and your brain lock up, just call me for help. 
In Joy,

See The Wonders of the World From Your Armchair in 3D!

Again, thanks to Kim Komando’s e newsletter (see www.komando.com ) for alerting me to The Google World Wonders Project  It is truly awesome.  Besides touring the world and learning history and geography from your computer, you could use this for planning vacation trips.  It’s also a great resource for educating children and grandchildren.   Kim pointed out that:

This list of 936 places includes Angkor Wat, the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu. If you were to spend one day at each site, and two days traveling to and from, it would take almost eight years to visit them all!

You can browse by location or theme and read information about each site. If you’re a teacher, you can download free lesson plans and study guides from the “Education” tab.

What a beautiful thing to do.  Here is a description of it from the website and a link to see it for yourself:  http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/worldwonders/

The Google World Wonders Project is a platform which brings world heritage sites of the modern and ancient world online. Using Street View, 3D modeling and other Google technologies, we have made these amazing sites accessible to everyone across the globe. With videos, photos and in-depth information, you can now explore the world wonders from your armchair just as if you were there.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. With this project we want to make the world heritage sites available to everyone and to digitally preserve them for future generations. We believe that the World Wonders Project can be especially useful for students, scholars and teachers to engage in an innovative and interactive way of learning.

We are working with partners including UNESCO and World Monuments Fund to support us in providing valuable information to our users.

Start exploring world heritage sites by either flicking through the picture carousel on the homepage or play with the globe to discover random sites from all over the world. You can also find places by themes or locations chosen over the drop-down panel on the top of the homepage. For more guidance, please watch the website demo that can be found when you click on the “i”-icon on the homepage.

Enjoy, In Joy,


Introducing the Week Chart

Kim Komando showed me this blog post by Dave Lee and it’s a really useful tool.  It isn’t a new idea, but I love the way Dave describes it and is so passionate about it.  It does really work too.  I’ve used something similar in the past and was amazed at the results.  Why don’t we do it more often?

You can use it for manifesting anything you want…not just for business stuff.  It’s just a matter of intention and focus.

Some of you will find it really amusing that he advocates printing it on paper instead of using the computer.   But you shouldn’t be surprised that I would share it.  As I always say, I’m committed to helping people learn the technology that serves them well.  You don’t have to learn everything.  And….sometimes paper is good enough…or better.

For the complete article on Dave’s blog go to http://heydave.org/post/24857123736/intr…

What in “the bleep” is “The Cloud” anyway?

“The cloud” is just a fancy term for the Internet. “Cloud computing takes place on the Internet. It doesn’t take place on your computer. Your computer is just used to view the result.  Most of you have used web mail like yahoo, hotmail, gmail, roadrunner, etc; so you have already been doing “cloud computing.”   See you are so leading-edge-techie and didn’t even know it!

This actually isn’t a new concept. Back in the old days it was called a client-server system. And many businesses still use this model today.  One powerful computer is the server. Servers can also be a collection of computers hooked together. The server runs all the company’s programs and stores all its data.

Connected to the server are client computers called terminals. These terminals let people access the server. Terminals are inexpensive, basic computers. All they do is access information on the server. They don’t have to process or store much.

The benefit to business is that terminals are inexpensive. You can add as many as you need at little cost. Plus, they don’t store any information. A terminal can die and you don’t lose any data.

Now with broadband Internet home computers can operate the same as businesses. The Internet acts as the server. And a home computer acts as the terminal.  Actually your electronic gadgets like smart phones, iPads, tablets and netbooks act as terminals too.

The benefits are that processing and storage are done on the Internet. That means you don’t need an expensive stand-alone computer. You just need an inexpensive gadget with a fast Internet connection.

Everything is accomplished online. When the gadget breaks, it is inexpensive to replace…well inexpensive is a relative term.   Anyway, you don’t lose any of your data and you can access your data from multiple gadgets.

So what are some examples of cloud computing? There are hundreds available. Here are a few common ones.

Besides web-based email, there are many other exciting uses.  There office programs like Google Docs and Office Web Apps that let you create, store and share documents online and you can access the documents from anywhere.

There are full graphics suites and places to upload, store and share photos.  You may have heard of iPhoto and Picasa, flicker and Snapfish.  There are video editors, audio programs and presentation creators popping up.

There are also back-up programs like Carbonite, Mozy, and idrive where you can have backups off-site and  access your data from anywhere.

Now there are gadgets like Apple TV and Google TV which both stream content from the Internet directly to your TV.

The possibilities are endless and this  is the direction most of the computer industry is headed.

Of course, there are potential drawbacks.  The first one is privacy and security. You are  entrusting your information to another party. How do you know the company isn’t going to  abuse it? Or how do you know their security procedures are adequate?  At this point, there is no easy answer. Even Facebook, with 500 million users, has security and privacy issues.

What happens when you can’t connect?  What if your Internet goes down? What if the service’s server is temporarily unavailable? How do you access your data? Unless you have a local file backed up, you’re out of luck.

These issues are being addressed and things are certainly better than they were a few years ago.  Web services used to go out of business overnight. And security procedures were really poor.

These days Web services tend to be much more stable. And most are implementing proper security.

I recommend giving cloud services a try. They can be incredibly useful for storing your data safely and sharing with friends and family. Just take into account the potential drawbacks and plan accordingly.  And if you have any questions or concerns, just let me know.

On cloud 9 with the joy of techie tools and toys,


Blog Your Vacation–Yes You Can!

Did you know that “blog” is short for “weblog”?  Yes it is, and now you can do a web based journal of your summer vacation.  It’s all set up for you so all you have to do is upload your photos and write your journal.

You can send your family and friends a link to the site and they can follow your travel adventures.  It even tracks your location on a world map!  How fun it that!

But the best part is….you can have them publish your blog as a hardcover or paper back book!  What a treasure that will be.

Check out the site here  http://www.offexploring.com/

Of course, if you need a little tutoring to practice before your trip, I’d love to help…I’ve never used it and I’m just itching to try it out.  But, in any case, please send me a link if you use it so I can share your joy.

Happy summer exploring to you,


Where Are Your Passwords? You don’t use the same one for everything, Right?

I know passwords are a big nuisance.  If everybody would “play nice” we wouldn’t need them.  However, until the world has been totally restored to love and peace, we need to get a grip on passwords.

If you use the same one for everything and someone figures it out or gets access to it, they will try your other accounts and may cause you a lot of grief.


Here are a couple of solutions:  Think of a phrase that you can associate with an account and easily remember.  It could be a line from a poem, a song, a quote or a book title, etc.  Use the first letter of each word in the phrase instead of the words themselves.  Add in a number or two and a symbol like #, or @ or !.  I worked with one clever client this week that used the number 0 for the Os and 3 for the Es 1 for the Ls.  Really a neat idea!

I know they say not to write them down, but do it anyway.  I can’t tell you how much computer tutoring time is wasted, trying to figure out forgotten passwords.  Just don’t store the list right next to your machine, where a burglar might find it.  If you want to take the list on vacation,  hide the identity of the sites that the passwords belong to, by using abbreviations.  This sounds like a lot to do when you read it, but actually you only do it once, and you will avoid a heap of stress and wasted time later.

If somebody figures out your email password, they can log in as you and send bad emails to everyone in your address book. If they are able to change the password, you will not be able to get in and you will have to abandon that account and start all over with a new one.  That means getting all your friends to switch to your new email address and, even worse, having to tell them that somebody they don’t know has access to their email addresses.  So it you won’t take my advise for yourself, at least do it for your friends.

Another option that I like, is a free application called Last Pass.  It generates mega-secure passwords and stores them in a vault on your computer that can only be accessed by a master password.  I use it and love it.  It may be too involved for some of you, but I’d be happy to show you how it works so you can decide.

In any case, take a few minutes to get organized with the password thing, so we can spend our tutoring time on more fun activities…like learning new productivity tricks and playing with new gadgets.

In peace and joy,


What’s the deal with Word 2007/2010 line spacing?

Several clients have asked me about this one lately, so I did a little research.

Microsoft Office Word 2010 has wide spacing as the default.   It seems that Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, decided we could all do with a more online-friendly line spacing scheme.

So they made line spacing in the Normal template 1.15 instead of 1.  By default.

If you want to change the default back to that single line spacing that looks good on paper, then here’s what you do:

  • On the home tab of the ribbon, find the Styles section (on the right).  You’ll see a drop-down called Change Styles.  Click it, then choose Style Set, then click on Word 2003 (which will change the default styles for that document to the ones where Normal paragraphs have single spacing with no extra space after paragraphs.
  • To make this change effective for all new documents based on the Normal template, drop this menu down again, and choose Set as Default.

Ah! That’s better!

Thanks to the Microsoft Office Knowledge Base and http://legalofficeguru.com for this.

And….if you want to avoid the whole issue altogether…use Google Docs.

Google Docs are free, they’re online so you have automatic backups, and there’s nothing to synchronize!

So dad, how do you like the iPad we got you?

Have you seen this?     http://www.wimp.com/dadipad/

My sister sent it to me and it’s a hoot. (Actually it kind of hurt–you know how I love the gadgets.)

But seriously, if you gift someone an iPad and can’t show them how to use it, gift them some computer tutoring to get them started. It doesn’t take long, and they will love you for it.

Improve Your Typing Skills

If you want to really enjoy your computing experience, it really helps to be able to type.  Here is a great website where you can learn or improve your typing skills.   For a free online typing course go to  http://www.goodtyping.com/

Español - cursomeca.com Français - dactylocours.com Deutsch - zehnfinger.com Italiano - dattilocorso.com Português - digicurso.com

Free online typing course

Car Maintenance Made Easy

Do you have trouble keeping track of the maintenance schedule for your car?

Well here is a simple techie solution.  http://www.carcare.org/

There’s nothing to download, you just set up a free account, input a little info about your car and voila! you will receive emails whenever something needs to be done.  The website also has informative articles too.

It makes my little techie-loving heart just flutter with joy!   Sign up for your Online Garage and then let me know what you think.

Your Online Garage is a place on the web to track everything about your car. It offers:

Service History
Ownership Tools
Service Reminders

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