Category: Business applications

Use Open Office

open Office

I received this question from a client recently and I thought you should know about it.

Client:  I purchased (for only $6.99/mo?) Office 365 in order to open a timely and important Excel spread sheet last week. Did I make a mistake by doing this? I really don’t use any of the other applications in the bundle. Thoughts please?

Mardi:  You could have used OpenOffice for free.  Google docs is free too but it takes a little getting used to.

They both include all the same programs as Microsoft Office.  You can just use the program you need.  I would recommend cancelling Microsoft and downloading Open Office here http://www.openoffice.org/download/

Client:  Mardi, thank you again for your wonderful guidance. I downloaded OpenOffice and cancelled my Microsoft 365 @ $6.99/mo. All I occasionally need is to open Excel. Hard to believe Apache can offer apparently a free alternative to Windows?  Oh well….live and learn.

Conversations like this make my day!  I love being able to share what I’ve learned, save people money and see them so happy!

I hope you will find this helpful and that you will pay it forward by sharing this article and encouraging your friends to follow this blog to receive all my tips.

If you ever have a question, let me know.  Chances are that other people have the same question.  If I don’t know the answer, I will find it and we will all benefit.

Enjoy!

Mardi

Facing Fears and Moving Forward

Victory laptopLearning new computer and gadget skills is as much about overcoming “fears” as it is about learning skills. Most of my clients express some version of “I feel so stupid, or I’m afraid I’ll break it, or I’m too old to be able to do this.” When we try new things for the first time we often experience fear of failure, but my clients inspire me everyday as they “step up to the plate,” face their fears and move forward! As they learn new skills they are empowered to take their personal lives and businesses to the next level:
  • consultants learn to use video conferencing

  • authors learn to blog

  • real estate agents learn to send contracts to clients for digital signatures,

  • coaches learn how to use Facebook groups to motivate and inspire their clients

  • Grandmothers learn how get grandkids photos from their smartphones to Costco for prints

These victories fuel my passion for my work and I’m so grateful for the opportunity!

Enjoy!

Mardi

Plan Your Year

Great tools here…especially for business owners that already have a lot “on their plates” and more they want to contribute.  Sometimes paper is as better than digital.  Yes,  I did say that.  LOL  However they will have “an app for that” too.

​Do You Use Skype or Face Time?

Why Use Skype?

Skype is an app that lets you connect with people using the video camera on your computer or mobile device.

Face Time does the same thing, but only works with Apple products. Even if you use Face Time, it’s a good idea to know how to use Skype as well. They are both very simple and easy to use and they are truly one of the best benefits of modern technology.

A friend of mine uses Skype to play checkers with her 9 yr. old grandson who lives out of state.

Parents use it to stay in touch with their children when they have to be away on business trips or vacations. They can read the children a bedtime story, watch them get tucked into bed, and throw them a kiss goodnight.

Several clients have had me show them how to use Skype for important job interviews. We practiced calling each other, chose the most flattering camera angle, picked the most attractive background, and discussed what to wear. It is so rewarding to see people gain confidence and be optimistic about getting the job!

Video chat is great for online dating and long-distance relationships too.

Businesses use Skype for video conferencing because they can have multiple people on a video call. They save a lot of money on air travel, hotels and meals.

On an internet enabled big screen TV, it can feel like you’re actually in the room with distant family members. You can even watch each other open Christmas presents!

On mobile phones, you can only use audio for group calls, but on your computer or internet enabled TV you can do video conference calls.

Skype also supports audio calls to traditional phones. Using Skype on your tablet or smartphone, you can call somebody on a regular telephone. This is really handy if you are traveling and don’t have access to phone service but do have access to wifi.

One of my clients who is retired from the Foreign Service, learned how to use Skype so he could stay in touch with his friends all over the world for free.

All of the features of Skype are free, except calling people on regular telephones. However, Skype phone calls are a lot less expensive than traditional long distance calls.

How to Use Skype

Skype is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store and is already installed with Windows 10 and Window phones. (It’s owned by Microsoft.)

You need to have an account to use Skype. You can set up a free account or, if you already have a Microsoft account, you can just log in with that.

On iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and Android tablets, each version of Skype will look a little different but the functionality is the same. There are just a few minor differences on each device

When you login you will see three screens

  1. RECENT- shows the most list of people most recently talked to
  2. FAVORITES – shows the contacts you have marked as favorites
  3. PEOPLE – is your list of people you can call on Skype. They have to have an account also and they have to agree to be connected with you.

To Add a Contact

Search for the person in the Skype database. There are millions of people in the Skype database and lots of people with the same name…even unusual names. It’s amazing!

Therefore, the quickest and easiest way to find people is to search for their unique Skype name. Email address work sometimes too because there aren’t duplicates of those but it’s really easier to ask your person for their skype name.

When you find them, tap the button that says “add people.” Then tap “send a contact request.”

The person’s name will show up on your contact list but, they will not show up as online and accessible until they have accepted your request.

After they accept your request, you will be able to see their status next to their name, which lets you know when they are online for you to call them.

Note: some people leave the Skype app open all the time to receive calls. Other people text or email each other to set a time and then open the app. It depends on how often they use it.

To make a call

Select a contact and you will see buttons at the bottom of the screen. You can choose to do a video call or an audio call. They both work pretty much the same. Tap on the button for audio or video. The camera starts running right away so you can frame up your shot while you wait for the other person to pick up.

After you start talking, the buttons at the bottom of the screen will fade out of the way, but when you tap on the screen, they’ll pop up again.

You can mute and unmute your audio by hitting the mute button.

You can disable the camera by hitting the camera button if you want to talk and see them without them seeing you.

When you’re done, just hit the red hang up button.

To receive an incoming call

The app will make a sound and you will see a choice of buttons.

If you don’t want to answer a call, you can just hit the red button.

If you want to answer but only want to use audio, then hit the green button in the middle.

To see video and hear audio, hit the camera button.

To hang up, tap on the screen to bring up the controls and hit the red button

You can also use Skype to have a text chat.

On the screen, with a contact’s information, tap on the field that says “type a message”. Type and then hit the Send button. When he responds, you’ll see his response pop up.

Calling regular telephones

This feature is particularly useful when you’re traveling to a place where you won’t have a cellular phone connection, but you will have wifi.

This is called Voice Over IP, or VOIP. Using this feature, you can call a regular phone as long as you can connect to Skype on your mobile device.

This is the one feature that is not free but Skype is much less expensive than traditional long distance rates. To get an idea of the pricing options, check out their website. http://www.skype.com/en/

You can login to your Skype account on the website and add Skype credit to your account.

Or in the app on your mobile device, you can hit the “my account” button (top right), and there’s an option for “Skype credit”. This way, it’s an “in-app” purchase and it will be charged to your iTunes account or Play Store account. It will ask for your password for confirmation. Then hit “Buy”.

To make a call to a regular phone

At the bottom of the screen, there’s a dialer button and you can just dial a regular phone number. Also, there’s a button at the top that links directly to the address book on your device so you can find the person and tap on the number. When you hit the phone button at the bottom, it will dial. When he answers, you will be having a conversation just as if you were using a regular telephone. To hang up, just hit the red button at the bottom

Skype is a great app for video and audio calls because it runs on all mobile devices and computers no matter what platform. Group video calls are not available on mobile devices but video calls to individuals work.

I hope you will try this and enjoy it. If you need help, just let me know.

Please share this with your friends and relatives. Your referrals are the heart of my business and my mission is to help people more fully enjoy the many benefits of modern technology.

Thanks,

Mardi

This is a great workshop by Dominique Fruchtman. I’ve taken it several times. I wish everybody would take it. Networking would be so much more fun for all of us.

Source: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/How-s-YOUR-Elevator-Speech–.html?soid=1109091350109&aid=LE_7yWEfxxg

See Your Computer on “The Big Screen”

Have you ever wished you could see your computer screen on a TV?  Would you like to see emails, web pages, photos slideshows, YouTube videos and movies on a big screen or display presentations for your business?

Well you can….and it can be pretty simple and inexpensive to set up.

The simplest method is Chromecast because you don’t have to know about ports and screen resolution settings.

chromeCast

A $35 Chromecast plugs into the TV and connects it to your Wi-Fi network. Then you can see video, images and pages from the Chrome web browser from any computer, smartphone or tablet that’s also on the network.  This is a very inexpensive solution and very easy to set up.  You can use Chromecast with a Mac too.  You will just need to use the chrome browser instead of Safari when connected to the TV.

If you want to see everything on your computer rather than just what’s shown in Google Chrome, you can do a direct connection.

DIRECT CONNECTION

There are four kinds of ports for direct connections.  HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and VGA.

All newer TVs have HDMI, and that’s the one you ideally want to use because it supports HD (high definition).

Unfortunately, many computers don’t support HDMI

Computers that don’t have HDMI, will have either DVI or DisplayPort. If your computer has one of these, you can get an adapter to connect it to the HDMI port on your TV.

Inexpensive computers might have only VGA and it cannot do HD (high definition) images so you might want to use a better computer if you plan to stream movies online.

GETTING THE RESOLUTION RIGHT

Modern computers should be smart enough to figure out the right resolution, when you plug into a TV, especially if you’re using the HDMI port.

However, if you’re using an adapter or an older version of Windows, it might have to adjust the resolution.

Right-click on the computer desktop and select “Screen Resolution.” Select the TV and change the Resolution to 1920×1080 (unless you’re using a smaller or older TV, in which case it might be 1280×720).

You might be tempted to push the resolution higher, but don’t. Not only will it look terrible but a higher resolution actually makes everything on the screen look smaller.

video calls

PICKING A TV SIZE 

If you’re going to use a TV in a larger room, you want to make sure it’s easy to see. This handy chart will give you an idea of the size you’ll want based on the room length.

Distance Minimum size Maximum size
6 feet 24-inch screen 36-inch screen
8 feet 32-inch screen 48-inch screen
10 feet 40-inch screen 60-inch screen
12 feet 48-inch screen 72-inch screen

Even with a large TV, you might still have a hard time seeing smaller computer text from a distance. You can use CTRL + + (plus sign) in most programs to zoom in text and images. CTRL + – (minus sign) zooms back out, and CTRL + 0 (zero) resets the zoom. This is a great trick for watching on your regular computer monitor as well.

CONTROLLING THE COMPUTER

You can use a wired mouse and keyboard, but it’s more convenient to use a wireless mouse and keyboard so you can pass it around or give it to whomever is running a meeting in your office.

Be sure everyone knows how to turn off the mouse when it isn’t in use so you don’t waste the batteries. For business use, you might keep several on hand so you don’t have to interrupt a meeting to change batteries.

If you need help doing any of this, just call me for an appointment.  760-348-8867

If you have found this information helpful, please share it with others and encourage them to contact me to receive my Techie Tips on a regular basis.

Enjoy!

Mardi

No More Password Hassles with LastPass

No More Password Hassles!

Treat your password like your toothbrush.
Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.

Clifford Stoll                                      Read more at brainyquote.com

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Are you ready to put your password hassles to rest once and for all?  I’ve got a great solution for you!   Get LastPass password manager.  It’s free! It will generate secure passwords for all your accounts and insert them automatically. You only need to remember one master password.  Everything is encrypted and safe.

No more updating pages and pages of accounts and passwords or going through a bazillion steps to reset the ones you forgot!  LastPass even let’s you know if you have an account with a company whose data base has been compromised so you can change your password immediately.

I’ve been using the basic features of LastPass for years, but I just took a class on it to learn more and I am very impressed.  I had the opportunity to teach a client how to use it this week and she is so happy and relieved that she’s telling all her friends.

You can learn more about it here  www.lastpass.com  I urge you to use it.  The little bit of time it takes to install and learn how to use it, will be minimal compared to the time it takes to clean up a mess if someone hacks any of your accounts.

Please share this with everyone you know so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident with their computers and techie gadgets.

Please post your thoughts or comments below….

Thanks!

Looking for Work On Craigslist – Safety Tips

CRAIGSLIST-large570

Hi Mardi,

I am still in Brazil.

I am trying to put an add for a new job on craigslist and I can’t do it.

I open the craigslist page but I can’t find the right place.

Could you help me doing that?

I will try to call you.

I recently received this message from a client and it reminded me to let you know about a couple of hazards to avoid when you, or someone you know, is looking for work online.

When I first moved to the Desert, I was looking for work on Craigslist and encountered two potentially dangerous scams.

The first and most obvious scam, was an email from a company offering me an interview and requiring that I get a credit report to bring to the interview.  They said I needed to get it from the company they recommended and the link to the website was included in the email.

I couldn’t imagine why someone would need a credit report before an interview or expect me to divulge financial information to a company I didn’t know, so I knew it was a scam.

facebook login

The second scam almost got me!  A company said they were interested in me and I could learn more about them at their Facebook page.  At first, I thought it was strange that they didn’t send me to their company website, but then I thought they might be trying to be hip and leading-edge by having a company Facebook page.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a page that looked exactly like the Facebook sign-in page.  I signed in, but had a weird feeling that something was off.  I looked up at the address bar to see exactly where I was and it said “fakebook.com/….”  I thought oh my gosh, they just captured my Facebook login and password!

I immediately opened a new window and went to my Facebook page and changed my password.  Luckily I got there, before they were able to changed my password and lock me out.  Whew!

craigslist banner

There are good jobs available on Craigslist and I actually found one at that time.

You just need to be careful and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Please forward this to everyone you know who is looking for work so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident while using Craigslist.

Thoughts or comments about this topic?  Please share in comments below.

Great Apps for Computers and

Apps are not just for smartphones and tablets. Many apps are web based and accessed through your web browser. You don’t have to have a smart phone or tablet to use some of the most popular apps.

However, when people buy smartphones or tablets, they often ask me what apps they should know about.  I’m always happy to make suggestions based on antheir lifestyle and interests.

Since you may have received a gadget as a holiday gift, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few of my favorites apps and programs. You may already be using some of these but you may discover some new ones to try. Enjoy!

Entertainment and Media:   

NetflixNetflix let’s you watch an unlimited number movies and television shows online for only $8.95 mo. You can train it to make suggestions for you based on the movies you watch and how you rate them.  You can even set up separate profiles for individual family members!  And, there are no commercials!!!

You can connect your gadget to your TV and watch movies on it too.

chromeCast

 

Chromecast from Google $35


roku

Roku Streaming Stick $50

 

appleTvApple TV $99


spotify

 

Spotify let’s you listen to music for free.  It even has playlists by subject or genre. The variety is astounding and there are no commercials!!!

 

YouTube

 

YouTube is a must for doing research on any topic that can be best explained with a video.  Think recipes, repairing things, movie previews, songs, lyrics, instructional videos, and answers to absolutely any question under the sun.

shazam

Shazam listens to songs on the radio, TV or movies. It identifies the song title, shows you the performer, album, lyrics and links you to sites where you can purchase.

 

 

Productivity:

dropboxDropbox is a great app for cloud storage and sharing.  When you put files in there, you can access them from anygadget or computer.  I use the phone app to play audio files of lectures and seminars. It’s super easy to learn and you get 2GB of storage for free.  By referring your friends to Dropbox, you can earn up to 16GB of additional space.  Sign up here

 

office 365

One of the most popular productivity tools for home and business is Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, Office documents don’t always play nice with third-party apps. Now Microsoft has released the Microsoft Office Mobile app.   It lets you open, create and perform basic editing on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files no matter where you are.

 

mintMint.com and its app  (Free, and available for Android and iOS) links to your all your bank accounts, credit card accounts and loans so you always know just how much money you have and how you are spending it. You can set up spending categories and create a budget for each category. I love it for keeping track of my income and expenses for paying my taxes.

 

The weather channelThe Weather Channel app and weather.com show you the current temperature, the hourly forecast and the next 10 days of weather.  Also you get a customizable radar map, video clips, severe weather alerts and beach conditions. It’s better than your gadget’s built-in weather app.

 

 

free wifi finder

You don’t want to burn through your cellular data plan when you are out and about or on a trip, so you need to useWi-Fi whenever possible. You can find free Wi-Fi locations with the Free Wi-Fi Finder app.

 

Dating:

match

 

Match.com app has earned the top spot in dating apps and is my favorite.

 

 

pof-logo

 

POF.com (Plenty of Fish) is very popular here in the desert and is free.

 

google mapsNavigation:

Google Maps is my favorite navigation app.  I especially appreciate that it invites you to submit corrections.  Youget an email thanking you for your help and then a follow up email when the corrections have been made.

uberUber is an app-based transportation network that uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests, and then sends these trip requests to their drivers. Customers love using the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.  Uber’s drivers use their own cars and there is a variety of types of vehicles available, from Town Cars to SUVs and more.  One of my friends is a driver for Uber and just loves it.  It’s a win-win for everybody.

Other Popular Apps

Here are some other popular apps that I don’t find the time to use very often, but you might enjoy.

Save Money  

RetailmenotThe RetailMeNot app helps you find promo codes and coupons for more than 50,000 physical and online stores, including grocery stores. You can save and store coupons for later, and share the savings with your friends through social media.

 

 

Photo EditingSnapseed-icon-medium

Snapseed is the top app for photo-editing and VSCO Cam is gaining ground in popularity.

Social and Sharing

Pinterest

 

Pinterest, WhatsApp and Snapchat are the top apps in messaging and texting.

 

instagram

 

Instagram and Facebook are considered the must-haves for social sharing. The Facebook app got me interestedin using Facebook more often because it is so easy to use.

Sports

watchESPN

 

WatchESPN.com is the most popular app for sports fans.

 

 

 

Fitness

MyFitnessPal is the top fitness app.my fitness pal

 

 

 

 

Do you have any favorite apps to share?

There are thousands of apps and recommendations from friends is the best way to sort through the maze.  Do you have some favorite apps not mentioned here?  Post your comments below so everyone can benefit from your ideas.

The Joys of Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode for Travel

 

Many of us will be traveling and visiting family this time of year.  Here are some tips to enhance the peace and joy of your holiday season.

Using Airplane Mode on your smartphone isn’t only useful for flights. The feature can prolong your battery life or allow you to unplug and enjoy some uninterrupted family time. Here are some surprising ways you might want to use it.

1: During a flight

Screen shot of Settings for Android

If you have been on a flight in the last few years, you have heard the constant reminders from the flight attendants to turn off all electronic devices. Once the plane has reached an altitude of 10,000 feet, cell phones can be used in airplane mode.

To activate Airplane Mode on your phone, simply go into the Settings app and turn it on.  There are shortcuts to do this, depending on the type of phone, (ask me to show you on yours next time we see each other) but this method will work for everyone reading this article.

Once Airplane Mode is activated, your phone turns off both the Wi-Fi and cellular connections. This means you will no longer be able to make or receive calls, texts, or e-mails, or browse the Internet — anything that requires a data connection will not work while Airplane Mode is activated.

Wi-Fi can be turned back on and connected to a network while phone is in Airplane Mode.  If you are lucky enough to be on a flight with Wi-Fi, you can turn just the Wi-Fi connection back on and send emails, browse the Internet, or send instant messages.  (Again, just go into the settings app and turn the wifi on.)

 

Screen shot of Settings for iPhone

2: To unplug for awhile

Airplane Mode is a great way to unplug in order to spend some quality time with your family or just take a break from the beeps that seem to control our lives sometimes.

Putting your phone in Airplane Mode puts you back in control. You may be surprised how quickly you forget that your connection is turned off, and how peaceful your evening can be.

This is also a great way to silence your phone during important meetings. Don’t worry, all of your messages will be waiting and will download as soon as you turn Airplane Mode off.

 

 

3: While traveling internationally

Screen shot of Airplane mode on iPhone

Traveling across borders can be an expensive affair for you and your wireless carrier. International roaming charges are very pricey. One way to avoid the extra roaming fees is to activate airplane mode on your phone and only use Wi-Fi hotspots while you travel. You won’t be able to receive text messages or phone calls, but you will still be able to check your e-mail, use instant messaging, and browse the Internet over a Wi-Fi-only connection.  (You can let people know you will be out of town and suggest they communicate by email until you get back.)

 

 

 

 

screen shot of movie on phone

4: While the kids play games or movies

Your smartphone can provide a welcome distraction for your young kids or grand kids. However, as you can imagine, kids will start pushing and tapping anything they see on the screen.  You don’t want them accidentally dialing phone numbers or sending random texts. If you are going to let your favorite little people play games or watch a movie on your phone, turn on Airplane Mode before you give your phone to them. This not only prevents them from calling anyone, but it also stops push alerts from interrupting their game or movie.

 

5: To save battery

screen shot of battery status on iPhone

We have all been in a situation where we suddenly have a low battery and no access to a charger. One way to help slow down battery drain is to turn Airplane Mode on. When your phone is on, even with the screen off, it is constantly searching for and monitoring data connections. Turning those connections off with Airplane Mode will save battery, allowing you to make calls only when you absolutely need to.

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