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Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User

BK Lick 03 Oct 08 - 01:26 AM
The Villan 03 Oct 08 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,Pavane 03 Oct 08 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 03 Oct 08 - 04:15 AM
Bill D 03 Oct 08 - 09:35 AM
Bill D 03 Oct 08 - 09:48 AM
Mr Red 03 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM
Joe Offer 03 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Suegorgeous (on hols in Greece) 03 Oct 08 - 11:34 AM
Murray MacLeod 03 Oct 08 - 02:08 PM
Mr Red 06 Oct 08 - 07:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Oct 08 - 08:32 AM
Acme 06 Oct 08 - 11:38 PM
pavane 07 Oct 08 - 03:03 AM
pavane 07 Oct 08 - 03:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM
Acme 07 Oct 08 - 10:05 AM
EBarnacle 07 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Oct 08 - 11:20 AM
Nigel Parsons 07 Oct 08 - 11:30 AM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Oct 08 - 05:54 AM
pavane 08 Oct 08 - 06:17 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Oct 08 - 06:25 AM
Andrez 08 Oct 08 - 06:25 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Oct 08 - 12:34 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Oct 08 - 12:32 AM
Acme 09 Oct 08 - 12:49 AM
pavane 09 Oct 08 - 02:15 AM
Andrez 09 Oct 08 - 04:53 AM
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Subject: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: BK Lick
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 01:26 AM

NY Times column by David Pogue

A very useful collection of tips both from Pogue and from his readers in the hundreds of comments they've posted in response to the column.
Betcha you'll find a few nifty ones you didn't know about.
—BK


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 03:13 AM

Good post there BK Lick

I used to teach one day shortcut courses for people who used Windows, Word and Excel for a while, but were basic users (from an experience point of view).
The number of touch typists, who hadn't been shown these shortcuts before, used to leave at the end of the day beaming at the fact that they could now speed up their work dramatically and complaining about the people who taught them in the first place for not knowing how to use shortcuts and thinking that the mouse was the b all for everything.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 03:52 AM

Agreed.
I recently showed someone how to use the Insert Symbol to get accented characters. She had spent years typing stuff in French without knowing this!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 04:15 AM

I note the old one about the number of mega-pixels doesn't determine a camera's picture quality. Well, no ... but having more Mps does allow you to crop photos without too much loss of quality.

I have been engaged in a natural history project lately and have discovered that, in photo editing software, I can zoom into a photo and crop out a detail and still have a decent, useable picture. My digital SLR has a 10 Mp sensor and believe that this sensor size facilitates cropping.

A digital camera is an extremely useful and versatile tool, especially when combined with decent photo editing software. The quality of these devices seems to be increasing all the time and I suspect that improvement in quality is, at least partially, correlated with increases in sensor size - although it would be extremely foolish to point to this as the only determining factor.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 09:35 AM

ths one is important:

"Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn't actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle Bin. (Once a year, I hear about somebody whose hard drive is full, despite having practically no files. It's because over the years, they've put 79 gigabytes' worth of stuff in the Recycle Bin and never emptied it.)"

However, you can actually delete it totally by doing shift + delete. Alternatively, there is a way, if you sure, to tell Windows to bypass the recycle bin on every delete. Do be SURE you want this.

There are also programs which will not only delete, but will do 'wipes'...writing over the deleted files with a prescribed number of null characters.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 09:48 AM

Onet thing I tell ANY novice users is that YOU can control 'almost' any behavior & display properties on your machine.

   For instance, the traybar doesn't need to stay at the bottom..(I like mine at the top, and I have a friend who puts it at the left side and has it set to pop out on mouse-over.
You can control the size of the icons on your desktop, the size of the text....and what the text says. You can also control the pop-up text when you mouse-over of click the icon once. (rt. clicking the icon and choosing 'properties' gives you options)
   If you explore the menus in 'control panel', you will find many ways to make your computer look and behave to suit YOU.

Also, you can set default fonts and their sizes for your browser...and for 'most' of your programs...it's usually in their menus.

   Finally..(for now) you do NOT have to use Microsoft applications for everything you do...and 98% of the time, there is a better alternative which is free. (you don't have to use Adobe Reader for PDFs, or Windows Media Player, or Notepad, or...especially Outlook Express!! Ask around...type 'alternative to' X, Y or Z into Google and be amazed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM

I once suggest to a clerk at the Job Centre (Uni Graduate) how to select all and overtype in one swift movement, (while she was interviewing me). She carried on backspacing over 20/40 characters muttering something about being a luddite.

My next suggestion was that they got a local paper from 20 miles away (commuting distance) instead of the one 45 miles away. She suggested I travelled to a Job Centre 10 miles between and looked at their's. Ignoring the lack of a bus route and the cost, not to mention the lack of benefit to all their "clents"!

How did she got the job? Tick both of the above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM

If you've lost the instruction book for just about anything, don't worry - it's probably available as a PDF document on the Web. Put the manufacturer's name in the address bar and hit CTRL-ENTER, and most likely you'll get right where you want to be.
I found instructions for our office phone system, and an owner's manual for my Honda, along with instructions for stereo equipment I bought at garage sales.
And the installation disk that comes with printers? - It's all on the Web.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: GUEST,Suegorgeous (on hols in Greece)
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 11:34 AM

Yeh, I found the manual online for my 20 year old car's hifi (the seller had lost it). Amazing what you can find these days...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 02:08 PM

I found the manual for my Canon Camcorder online and paid £5.00 for it.

The day after the the CD arrived I found the original printed manual :-(


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 07:55 AM

I bought a s/h keyboard because it was narrower than all the others and hoped to find the installation software for the function keys - no such luck.
It is all out there but you try and find it. Yea Yea 99% of the time but not for obscure with Fujitsu wotsits.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 08:32 AM

I've just acquired an IBM Thinkpad model 2635 -missing charger. - 16V 2,2A. My neighbour wants any data off it - the battery is dead - been unused for 4 years.

Any hints?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Acme
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 11:38 PM

I'll visit the link and read it tomorrow. David Pogue is the keynote speaker at a day-long technology event at my university in a couple of weeks.

Anyone have any questions I can pass along to him?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: pavane
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 03:03 AM

Does a universal laptop charger from Maplin or Radio Shack fit?
Might get away with 15v.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: pavane
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 03:05 AM

If not, then get an external USB 2.5 inch drive case (About 20 quid), extract the HD from the laptop and hook it up to another PC.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM

Although it is old - it may be useful to run DSL (a small Linux variant).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Acme
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 10:05 AM

Great article. There were some things I knew, so I hadn't caught onto. Nice tricks (I have always used the left-button to highlight, necessary when I pick up more than one word, but the one word double click trick is good.)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: EBarnacle
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM

Foolstroupe, The battery can be revived once you have it charged with the generic charger [from an aftermarket supplier such as Radio Shack or on eBay [I like eBay, others don't]]. If the battery will not hold a strong charge and the computer is worth keeping as a computer [P2 or above] stick the battery in the freezer for a week or so and, after removing, allow it to thaw fully before charging. As Dick O'Kane used to say: "Drive on!"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 11:20 AM

Unfortunately, Microsoft has decided that most of these tools are unsafe for you to use, and has DELETED THEM beginning with Office 2007. Most of the quick keys still work, but you cannot access the menus they come from.

In EVERY Microsoft program, prior to Office 2007, you had five main menus: File - Edit - View - Tools - Tools - Help. It was quite easy to learn where to find what you needed to do what you wanted to do.

In Office 2007 (and generally in Vista) the "File" menu is partially found at the COW SPLAT in the top left corner of the view. It contains five sub-menu icons that perform some of the functions you might be accustomed to, but all the names have been changed, and instead of a one-word "command" you have to read a five line paragraph that "explains" that you CAN'T DO WHAT YOU THINK YOU WANT TO DO but you can do something that MIGHT vaguely resemble it.

The main menu bar in Word has nine "tabs" to give you other options:
Home - Insert - Page Layout - References - Mailings - Review - View - Add Ins. The ONLY change you are allowed to make to this setup is to add another tab called "Developer."

Each of the tabs has a sub-menu bar with 50 to 90 indistinguishable icons. Clicking any icon will, as with the COW SPLAT, give you several multi-line paragraphs explaining that you can't do what you are accustomed to do, but that you might be allowed to do something vaguely similar.

If you use one of the shortcuts from an earlier version, using the table menu as an example:

In earlier versions Alt-A opened the table menu so you could choose your next step. In Office 2007 Word, Alt-A shows you a tiny box containing "Alt-A," and the message, "Complete typing the Word 2003 command, or press escape to go back and use the cowsplat and the fuzzy icons to do it like we want you to."

IF YOU REMEMBER that Alt-A,V used to get you the table|convert menu you may still add the V - at which time the little box shows "Alt-A, V" and the same message: "Complete typing the Word 2003 command, or press escape to go back and use the cowsplat and the fuzzy icons to do it like we want you to."

IF YOU REMEMBER that Alt-A, V, X converts text to a table, and Alt-A, V, B converts a table to text, the command sequence still works. In order to find all of the simple functions previously contained in the "Table" menu, you must access THREE SEPARATE TABS on the main menu bar, and on each of them, you have to "drill down" past the 50 odd "choices" (almost all useless) to "additional options" - at which point SOME PART of the menu from earlier versions may actually appear.

Since all the bits and pieces of the previously orderly menus do appear somewhere, it's quite obvious that it would have been very simple for the program to show you the appropriate bit when you enter the beginning of a shortcut sequence, but MICROSOFT BELIEVES THAT YOU ARE AN IDIOT and you should not be permitted to decide what YOU WANT TO DO. You should just click on the fuzzy icons until something happens that you can live with.

According to both personal friends at Microsoft and Industry News Reporters speaking publicly, NO PERSON who was a senior manager for Microsoft and who worked on Vista or on Office 2007 is now a manager at Microsoft, but they try to tell us "it's wonderful?"

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 11:30 AM

My favourite is "Control+Alt+(right arrow)"

Especially useful when staff ignore security and don't 'lock' their workstations!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 05:54 AM

OK - I found the charger - but it doesn't seem to work - sigh....
at nearly AUD$100 for a 'generic' one, I'm not all THAT keen... :-(


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: pavane
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:17 AM

Remind me not to upgrade to Office 2007....

They have also removed the HELP system which means that the HELP for my programs no longer works in VISTA. Has anyone written a replacement?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:25 AM

Foolestroupe -

Your "model 2635" doesn't show up at the Lenova site. (Lenova now owns the "IBM Thinkpad" business.)

It appears that the "real thing" from Lenova might be as cheap as the after market one - Lenova Australia Think Pad.

The "AC Adapter" for most laptops isn't, technically, a charger. It just supplies conditioned DC power to the laptop, and the "battery tending" is taken care of in the innards of the computer. Lenova does have an "external battery charger" that lets you charge a battery without putting it in the computer; but it's about twice the price of the AC Adapter - at least for current models of the Thinkpad.

If the computer was used for a year or so before being on the shelf for 4 years, it's quite likely that the battery is dead; and for an old model you may have difficulty finding a replacement battery. And any "like the original" battery you find likely will cost close to $100.

The idea of putting the HD in an external USB box to get the data off it sounds like your best option for getting the data. The laptop is probably just a toy to experiment on at its present age/condition.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Andrez
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:25 AM

John, can you provide a few industry links on the Office 2007 issue if you have some readily accessible? I am trying to persuade my manager NOT to go for the global upgrade to 2007 next year. I fully concur with your summary above!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 12:34 PM

Andrez -

Unfortunately the flaps over Vista seem to have obscured any significant amount of discussion of Office 2007 - and the Office version was released for WinXP several months before Vista really came on the scene, so discussion is "old news."

Microsoft has obviously assumed that all users are complete idiots, so in true professional fashion they assembled a team of idiots to "re-create" Office. Since the only ones with the "voice" to pass on comment on what they've done are mostly magazine editors, those talking about Office seem to be quite happy with it. (Hint: the implied comment about editors is my own opinion(?))

It's only the few of us who actually used advanced functions in older Office programs - especially Word - who are unable to make it work. I get by just by using the shortcut keys that I remember from older versions, and there are still a few things that I do fairly often that work in Office 2007 - using the now unpublished shortcuts - that I cannot find anywhere in the new menu "system."

If your office manager wants his/her people to waste all their time reading the chatty little descriptions of trivial functions that can be found in the hundreds of pretty icons, instead of clicking a couple of times on well-known simple menus, then Office 2007 is definitely the program to have. If the productive output of the crew is of some significance, then Office 2007 is a complete loser.

Unfortunately, I was forced to switch to Office 2007 because Microsoft OS updates made my previous Office 2002 non-functional. Well known functions gradually "ceased to function." Office 2003 is at "end of life" and the same effect may be expected soon, so there may soon be little choice about "upgrading" to 2007.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 12:32 AM

Thought I had posted previously, but it's vanished.

Found the original receipt. In 2000, ($1,800!!!) secondhand!!! - 380ED (which is different from what it says ) - 166Mhz, 48MbRAM, 2Gb HDD - CDROM, Floppy.

Hmmm - would barely run a Linux then... might run DSL or one of the microlinux series - or the 'DOS replacements'...

It runs, but the battery pack is expired (won't hold charge - trying the frezer!) - and on boot, it gives 2 error nos - which I did post yesterday, but now have forgotten... 00161 & 00163 - then wants the time reset - when that is done, it reboots and the same error nos....

I say the CMOS battery is dead at least... but I might be able to locate and replace it.

But there are 'battery repackers' locally.

Pity...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Acme
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 12:49 AM

Another trick, when you have a browser window open, if you want a new window (that will open with the same page), Control N does it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: pavane
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 02:15 AM

So we will be back to the old method of having a piece of paper stuck to the monitor, which lists the shortcut keys!

Or stay with Win98. (I am still running win95 on one machine).
At least the Help still works there.

I have some programs which were discontinued years ago, still in use on Win98/XP, but on Vista - either no install or no HELP. There is no way that these programs will ever be upgraded, so I have to stay with the old OS.

Similarly, my programs written in VB5 run fine in Vista (Until Microsoft finds some way to block them). But I cannot create a new Vista-compatible version without BUYING a new and incompatible development language (VB.NET), RECODING, and rewriting the HELP.

It is surely a deliberate ploy to make old software obsolete, and force people to buy new versions. Whatever happened to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
From: Andrez
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 04:53 AM

Regrettably, the Manager is the head of the IT Department.

Re Office 2007, I know a lemon when I see one. We have already had "discussions" around why they would "fix" something that wasn't particularly broken.

I certainly dont see any improvements but unfortunately I am one of the bunnies who is going to have to provide the tech support....through clenched and gritted teeth! TechRepublic Pro has had some useful resources (for discussion and support) and I guess I was hoping for a few new leads.

As an aside though the Mac version (Office 2008) is somewhat better at least the traditional menu across the top havent been tampered with the way they did with 2007. But then go and try to do simple basic Word things like inserting a footer. For reasons known only to Microsoft, the process has been "improved" and is no longer intuitive. Entourage insists it wants to protect me from unsafe mail and does so blocking legit mail with NO option for me to overide it decisions. And then there are the most useless help files ever. The package on both platforms suck and thats all there is to it.

Cheers,

Andrez


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