Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Get Google to Dance to Your Tune by Kelly Lynn

  Google allows you to use several operators to specify the type of results that you want. The more you know your operators, the more effective your searches will be. Asking a question Here's an example of the kind of complex question that people need to search for: you need to find articles about college entrance tests in the LA Times, but only ones that appeared between the years 1979 and 1999; and you don't want any articles that are about the MCAT medical college tests. How do you specify all of this with one single search? Here's how you would do it. You would put in the following search string: site:latimes.com ~college "entrance tests" -MCAT 1979..1999 . . The site: operator helps you search within the website whose address … Continue reading

Fun Tips to Use on Google Search by Kelly Lynn

  Google Search has plenty of neat tricks up its sleeve. Here are a few tips on how to use them. Remember how Google prioritizes your search terms Whatever you need to search for, you need to type in the generic parts of your search query first, and become more specific as you keep typing. For instance, if you're looking up an issue with your computer where the clock on your Windows won't synchronize itself to keep itself updated, you want to type in "Windows taskbar clock" into Google, and then type in the specific words that Windows uses for such errors. In this case, the error message is "Unable to start the Windows time service. Please try again later." You always want to put the most generic search term … Continue reading

How to Rescue a Laptop with a Broken Screen by Kelly Lynn

  If your laptop screen has just blanked out, or if you've broke it, taking it in to get it fixed can be prohibitively expensive -- it can take as much as $250. This isn't because replacement screens are expensive; they are cheap enough. It's the labor that's expensive. If you can supply the labor with your DIY skills, you could easily get your laptop functioning again for less than $60. If the whole process seems intimidating, it shouldn't -- it's elementary. Here's what you need to do. First, make sure that it's the screen If your laptop screen appears to have died, it could easily be another part that's the source of the problem -- the graphics card, for instance. To make sure that it's the screen, try plugging … Continue reading

Little Tricks to Help You Better Get Along with Windows 8 by Kelly Lynn

  While Windows 8 gets made fun of all the time, it's a very well-thought-out OS for the most part. It's got plenty of surprising features that make your computing life easier. Try semantic zoom The Start screen in Windows 8 stores all your app tiles in groups. If you have more than a handful, though, you'll need to do plenty of scrolling to find an individual one. Here's where the new semantic zoom feature comes in. If you have a touch-enabled monitor, all you need to do is to pinch the Start screen with two fingers; right away, you'll see your entire Start screen show on your screen in compact form. If you don't have a touchscreen, you can do it with your keyboard and mouse, instead. You simply … Continue reading

Secret Word Features That Are Useful, and Fun by Kelly Lynn

  If you just want a few paragraphs of text At times, when you're experimenting with a feature in Word and just want some text to test it on, you'd find some text somewhere, copy it and paste it in. To save you the trouble, Word includes a text generator feature: =rand() . Typing this string in and hitting Enter generates paragraphs of text, usually from the Help manual. You can tweak this feature for more customized results: you need to put two numbers in the brackets and separate them with a comma. For instance, the string =rand(7,5) will result in five paragraphs of seven lines each. When a Word file has become corrupted Sometimes, Word files get corrupted and refuse to open. Your first option should be the automatically … Continue reading

Who You Gonna Call – a Hacker! by Kelly Lynn

  Computer advice columns often try to counsel readers in matters of computer security -- they need to regularly change their banking and other passwords, install antivirus and watch out for signs of odd charges on their credit card statements; there are criminal hackers all around, after all. These days, you need to guard against more than just the off-chance that a criminal gang will target you. Now, it could be a partner, friend, colleague, former employee or competing business. The hacker-for-hire industry makes criminal hacking expertise available to anyone for very little money. Hacking expertise - yours for $100 The world of computing is about to change. Seemingly once every few months, a new hacker-for-hire service opens its doors, and puts hackers around the world in touch with regular … Continue reading

If You Want Your Encrypted Files Safe, Don’t Put Your Computer to Sleep by Kelly Lynn

  Computer security experts tell you that if you want to protect your data, you should encrypt it: no one will be able to spy on your data or steal it then. Encryption is so secure, they tell you, it can take supercomputers years to break into encrypted files. Unfortunately, encryption may not be as secure as it's been built up to be. Here's how hard disk encryption works Consumers have the option of deploying encryption in a number of ways. You can get a feature like Windows BitLocker that is built into your operating system, turn on encryption on your phone or use off-the-shelf encryption software. Whatever method you use, whole-disk encryption has been recommended by experts as the very best in encryption. Data thieves could go as far … Continue reading

If You Steal Your Games, This is What They Do to You by Kelly Lynn

  With most programs, if you have a pirated copy, the worst that can happen is that the crack fails, and the program goes into trial mode. If the crack does work, though, you have a user experience that's virtually indistinguishable from what paid users get. Some video game vendors, though, have decided to approach the piracy problem in a slightly different way -- they mess with your head. It can take users a while to understand why their game seems to do things they'd never expect it to. Sims 4 With the latest version of Sims 4 , Electronic Arts has decided to mess with pirates in a strange way -- each time you start to play a game, you find that slowly and steadily, the pixels become bigger … Continue reading

If You Delete a Dropbox File, Does It Stick Around? by Kelly Lynn

  If you have something on your Dropbox account that you feel is too risky to keep there, how would you delete it? The answer might seem simple enough -- you go into the Dropbox folder that you have on your desktop, and delete the files that you feel are risky. After you do that, though, a copy will remain on your hard drive for three days -- it's a hidden folder that Dropbox uses for file recovery in case you change your mind. If you need to get rid of sensitive information that could get you in trouble, you need to know how to get rid of the Dropbox backup. It's easy to delete them manually. You just need to know where the folder is. It's called the Dropbox … Continue reading

Joining the Read-Later Lifestyle by Kelly Lynn

  The Internet is chock-full of great stuff to read. If you keep having stories about airline accidents and movie star scandals shoved in your face all the time, though, you'll never get any work done. Ignoring them isn't an option either -- fighting temptation takes too much effort. There's a great alternative -- you can quickly save each interesting page that you come across for when you have time on a commute or anything else. It's a great way to stave off temptation -- when you feel that you've done something about a page that you like, the longing usually goes away. Read-later services have been around for two years now. Their basic idea is to let you save a link or a page itself so that you can … Continue reading