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computer tips by WorldStart.com
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This week: In the News (this week in technology) learn about the new Apple iPad, and latest Skype version; The difference between Windows XP Home and XP Pro; Tips on MS Office; learn more about cell ranges in Excel formulas; Learn how to Auto-Forward Emails to Multiple Email Addresses; and how do Restrict Unwanted Web Sites...
The Week in Technology
Apple began selling the iPad in the United States on April 3. In just two months, Apple has already sold 2 million of the tablet devices. Apple has stated that they intend to launch the iPad in nine additional countries before July and will continue to release the tablet in other countries around the globe as the year progresses. The company also stated that 12 million iPad apps and 1.5 million eBooks were purchased from the iTunes store since the tablet's release.
The success which the Apple iPad has gained has brought multiple competitors to release their own version of the iPad. Asus announced the release of their Asus Eee Pad, a device which will complete against eBook Readers and the Apple iPad. The device runs Windows 7 with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 10-inch or 12-inch touch-sensitive capacitive screen. The device has the power to play video, function as a eBook Reader, surf the Internet and even connect to a keyboard docking station to function as a typical computer. Asus has not announced the product's release date.
An updated version of Skype has been released for the iPhone, allowing users to make Skype calls over 3G. Skype 2.0 for iPhone is a much needed upgrade to the popular VoIP application, removing the restriction to WiFi only calling. Skype-to-Skype calls over AT&T's 3G network are free until September. Skype has stated that they will begin charging users for these calls beginning in September, in addition to the current fees users pay for their calling and data plan with AT&T. It is unknown if this fee is a requirement of the network operators or Skype's own decision as additional information has yet to be released to the public. Skype-to-Skype calls over WiFi connections will continue to be free. Verizon smartphone users who have Skype installed on their device will not be affected due to the partnership between Skype and Verizon in February.
~Bryan Scheiber is a Systems Administrator in Metro Detroit.
Q: What's the difference between Windows XP Home and XP Pro?
A: Both flavors of Win XP have the same applications and multimedia features, but
Pro also includes corporate network support, backup , and security like those found in Windows 2000 Pro. Every feature found in Home Edition should be found in Pro, but since Pro is designed primarily for corporate networking it expands on many features found in Home.Since it is designed for business use, the user interface in Pro is different (it wears a suit and tie while home wears jeans with a T-shirt :-) The default setting are different as well.
Remote Desktop is a neat feature that functions differently between the two types. It allows an XP Home Computer to control an XP Pro computer from another location, allowing you to work away from the office. The Home computer can only act as the controlling computer and the Pro system can only act as the "controlee".
A cool feature of Pro is the Roaming User Profile. On a network this lets you access all your documents and settings from any computer no matter where you log on at.
So, basically, XP Home is just that—a version designed especially for Home users. XP Pro, meanwhile, is geared toward business and "advanced" networking (you can create a network with XP Home, but you don't have as much control as Pro).
Most tips we give for XP should work on both versions unless noted otherwise.
Now you finally know the difference! Rate or add to this tip here! The printer-friendly version is here!
Q: OK, call me crazy, but I like my messy desktop. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't seem to understand this and every now and then makes me run the Desktop Cleanup on my Windows XP machine. Sure, I click the little "X" on the reminder balloon to make it go away, but nooooooo—within seconds it's back. No amount of screaming seems to help, so I'm forced to go though their stupid wizard. Is there any hope for me?
A: Wow, I know how you feel. Only it's my wife who's after me to clean up my desk all the time (my real desktop, not the one on my computer). Although I haven't figured out a way to disable her requests, I do have a way for you to eject the MS neat freak from your machine.
right-click your desktop, then select "
Properties" from the resulting menu. The "Display Properties" screen will pop up.
Now, just click the "
Desktop" tab, then tap the "
CustomizeDesktop" button. A new screen will pop up, labeled appropriately enough, "Desktop Items".
Look towards the bottom of that screen and
uncheck the "
Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days" checkbox. Smile as you click
OK and end the career of Mr. Clean-up Wizard.
That was super easy! Rate or add to this tip here! Printer-friendly version is here!
Time to Wrap It Up If you're an MS Word table user then it's quite possible that you've spent some time trying figure out how to wrap the text of your document around the table.
There isn't an overly obvious answer so I'm sure that many of you have just given up on truly wrapping the text around the table.
For those of you who have unsuccessfully searched here's what you need to know.
As always, before you can wrap text you must already have the table in the document. Once it is there then
right-click on the table.
From the menu that opens choose
(For those of you with
Word 2007… you can also find reach the Table Properties dialog box using the
Layout tab of the Ribbon,
Table Properties button.)
Now that everyone is in the Table Properties dialog window you need the
The bottom section is where you'll find your two text wrapping choices.
If you select
Around and click
OK you'll find that the text in your document has nicely wrapped itself well…
around the table.
This works the same way text wrapping works with graphics - you move the table and the text readjusts to wrap around its new location.
Time for me to "wrap it up"!
Playing the Excel Range Game Do you find that referring to cell ranges in Excel formulas is a difficult task? Confused by the use of the colons, commas and spaces?
These characters are definitely a part of formula writing and if they aren't used correctly, you'll probably run into some problems.
So, here's the information that can make formula writing with ranges a much more manageable task.
names a single range.
A1:C2 names the range of cells from A1 to C2. Like this:
comma between two cell ranges will result in the
union of two ranges. (A union will be all cells in both ranges named).
A1:C2, B1:B4 will result in this:
* Special Note: When I did a sum formula using the union it used any overlapping cell values twice - once for each range they're in. So as a friendly warning, be careful and double check that it's doing what you intend it to do.
space between to cell ranges will result in the
intersection of the ranges. (An intersection will include only the cells where the named ranges overlap).
A1:C2 B1:B4 will result in this:
I've shown you the results of the identified ranges as highlighted cells, but obviously, when you actually go to use them in formulas, it's the values within those cells that are put to work.
Now, go forward and confidently use ranges in your formulas to your heart's content!
How to Auto-forward Emails to Multiple Email Addresses
Managing email accounts becomes really difficult when you have multiple email accounts to consider. Maybe you have emails accounts at Gmail, Yahoo, MSN and it becomes tiring to log into each account, check and reply to emails, log out, check another email account and so on.
It’s a good practice to automatically forward emails from a particular email account to another email account you own. This idea has a couple of advantages and can save you hours of work.
The first advantage is that you can read and reply to messages from a single email account and do not have to repeatedly log in and log out from the browser. Second, you can set custom rules depending on email subject lines, sender address and decide where the email should be forwarded.
Let’s take an example to understand the situation.
Suppose you are the manager of a company and have 4 email accounts as described below:
- email@example.com – people who want to work in your company send their CV’s to this email address.
Your primary contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org and people use this email address to get in touch with your organization. You can set up some rules and automatically forward specific emails to multiple email addresses.
Following are the steps to consolidate your email accounts and set up auto forwarding rules:
1. Log in to your primary email account. Click “
settings” and go to “
Forwarding and Pop/IMAP” tab.
2.Select the radio button
“Forward a copy of incoming mail to” and Gmail will prompt you to enter an email address, as shown below:
3. Enter the email address where you would like to forward emails from this email account and hit “
4. Gmail will now send a confirmation code to the email account you just entered. This is done to verify ownership and seek the necessary permissions required for forwarding emails.
5. Log out from your primary email account and log in to the secondary email account which you entered in step 3.
6. You will see a new email containing a confirmatory link and a verification code as shown below:
7. Click the confirmatory link to complete the verification process.
This verifies you as the owner of both the above email addresses and now you can start adding rules for email forwarding. Following are the steps involved:
1. Log in to your primary email account. This is the email account from where you would want to forward specific emails to another email account you own.
2. Click “
Settings” and go to the “
Filters” tab as shown below:
3.Click the link “
Create a new filter”.
4. Let's suppose you want to forward emails, which contains the word “job” in the subject line. Enter “
jobs” in the Subject field and hit “
5.Select the email address where you would want to forward those emails which contains the word “Jobs” in the subject line.
6. Hit “
Create Filter” and you are done.
As long as this “Filter” is active, any email received at your primary email address which contains the word jobs will be forwarded to email@example.com. Isn’t that useful?
Let's take another example of forwarding emails. Suppose you want to automatically forward all the emails of a particular sender, say Bob@gmail.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. To do that, you need to create another filter and set up the rules. Following are the steps involved:
1. As usual verify the email account where you would want to forward the selected emails. We have discussed the procedure earlier in this article.
2. Once verified, login to your primary email account, click “
settings” and go to the “
3. Click the link “
Create a new filter”.
4. Enter the email address email@example.com in the “From:” text field.
This is done to check incoming emails from firstname.lastname@example.org and auto forward it to another email address of your choice.
Next Step” and you are done with setting up the auto forwarding rule.
This is how Email filters work. It’s a really easy way to clear the clutter and define rules for selected emails, senders and even discussions.
Do you manage email with Gmail filters?
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Restricting Unwanted Web Sites
Everyone knows there are a ton of Web sites out there that can be harmful to your computer, unsafe for your children and just simply unwanted by everyone. I'm sure all of you have come across a site you wish you would have never seen. People are always asking me how they can filter their Internet access so that those sites are blocked from their computer. While there are many ways to do that, from installing programs to using filters provided by your ISP, there's one way I came across a couple of days ago that makes more sense and it's so simple to set up. It doesn't require you to install any software and it can be put in place by simply following the steps on the Web site. You'll be up and running in just a few short minutes. Let's check it out!
The filtering option I'm talking about is called
OpenDNS. It's a company that provides free filtered DNS services to residential and educational users. So that you'll have a better understanding of how it all works, I'll need to explain what DNS is.
DNS stands for Domain Name Resolution. When you visit a Web site, you type the name of the site into your Web browser. That name is called the domain name. For WorldStart, our domain name is worldstart.com. Now, the part most people don't know is that without DNS, you would never even get to worldstart.com. Computers and the Internet don't understand names. Instead, they understand IP addresses. When you tell your Web browser to go to www.worldstart.com, it has to figure out what the IP address of worldstart.com is. And that's when DNS comes into play. When you tell your Web browser to go to www.worldstart.com, it asks a DNS server to tell it what the IP address of worldstart.com is. The DNS then tells the computer the IP address of WorldStart is 220.127.116.11 (for example). After your computer gets that information, it then connects to 18.104.22.168 and the WorldStart homepage appears.
I know that may seem a bit confusing, but here's the point I'm trying to make: if the DNS your computer connects to knows a list of bad Web sites, it can restrict your computer from going to them. That's exactly what OpenDNS does. If you configure your computer to use OpenDNS for its DNS services, the OpenDNS servers will know which Web sites your computer is trying to reach. It can then block the bad ones.
All in all, if you want to filter your Web use and block unwanted and potentially bad Web sites, try OpenDNS. It's very easy to use, even if the explanation is complicated. I promise! You can check it all out right here. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!