Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Great Ways to See Simple, Text-Only Versions of Websites by Kelly Lynn

Today's all-singing, all-dancing browsers are capable of so much functionality, they are practically self-contained operating systems in their own right. While their features tend to make today's amazing websites possible, these image- and ad-heavy designs tend to be data-intensive, taking minutes to load (if they load at all) on connections any slower than 3G. Anyone who needs to quickly look through a few different websites doing something ordinary like comparing product or destination reviews or gathering news is also likely to drain a mobile 3G package very quickly. Ads and images can be a bother for another reason: when you need to print pages to retain for reference. You'll need a lot more paper when you need to make room for pictures and ads. If you've ever wished that websites … Continue reading

Browsers Can Be a Lot More Interesting If You Know Where to Look by Kelly Lynn

While IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Opera certainly are excellent programs that offer everything you could want for general use around the web, there is so much more that a browser could do to answer specific needs. Dozens of browsers exist, delivering specific functionality for those who need it. Since these tools answer to small markets, they will never feature in one of the top five even twenty browsers. They are fascinating tools, nevertheless. Kirix Strata   If you often need to look up tabulated statistics on the Internet in your line of work, Kirix Strata has just the trick -- it can take static HTML information presented in the form of tables on webpages, and automatically feed it all into an inbuilt spreadsheet. While the inbuilt spreadsheet isn't a … Continue reading

Keeping Your Privacy with Windows 10 by Kelly Lynn

Nationalist Russian politicians have been calling for a ban on Windows 10 in the government. Their concern comes from Microsoft's newly intrusive data collection policy for Windows 10. It's been cause for concern for privacy activists, too. The problem is that Windows 10, by default, takes a great deal of freedom with the data of its users -- contacts, location data and so on. Microsoft intends to use data collected in this way for targeted advertising. If you want to retain your privacy while using Windows 10, you'll need to take several minutes out to turn off every area of data leakage. The collateral damage, unfortunately, can include loss of Cortana, and other attractive features. If you are worried about your privacy, here's what you need to turn off. Taking … Continue reading

New Tricks with Windows 10 Search and the Taskbar by Kelly Lynn

 Windows 10 puts a number of innovations into the simple old Start menu and Taskbar. Here are a few tips to get you started with them. Windows Search   Everyone loves how Windows 10 brings back the simple, straightforward search of Windows 7. It's even better than Window 7, though, putting Web search right in your taskbar, and giving you the Cortana speech recognition interface, as well. The only problem may be that Bing is the default search engine in use. If you would rather have Google, it isn't immediately apparent how to switch. Switching Windows search to Google   The change happens in two steps -- you first need to turn your default browser to Google Chrome, and then make changes to Chrome to help it work with Windows … Continue reading

Windows 10 and Its All-New Keyboard Shortcuts by Kelly Lynn

You don't have to be a power user to learn a few desktop shortcuts in Windows, and get things done faster. Whether you use a computer for fun or work, there are always shortcuts that can make things  faster and smoother. While specific programs tend to have their own internal keyboard shortcuts, Windows offers several global ones that work everywhere. With Windows 10, a few older shortcuts are no longer supported. There are a bunch of new ones in their place, however. Shortcuts to quickly open Windows apps or features   The Windows key is at the center of a range of Windows shortcuts. For the following actions, you need to hold down the Windows key, and press the relevant alphabet key on the keyboard: A: Opens the Action Center … Continue reading

Here's How You Can Have Fun with the Hosts File in Windows by Kelly Lynn

  Every modern operating system, Windows included lets you exercise control over its access to the Internet through a basic record called its Hosts file. You get to edit the Hosts file in a number of ways to achieve different results.     What exactly does the Hosts file do?   When you click on a search engine result or a link on a website, or type a URL into an address bar, your browser translates it into its IP address, the unique numeric code associated with it. In essence, the process is not unlike the one businesses use for commercial phone numbers (1-800-CALL-ATT translated to 1-800-225-5288 would be an example). For the translation process, Windows looks up a service known as a DNS server, whose job it is to translate human friendly web addresses to IP … Continue reading

Setting Network Adapter Priority and the Recent Document Function in Windows by Kelly Lynn

Windows does have plenty of functionality and convenience; unfortunately, much of it is disabled by default. Here are two such problems, and solutions that you can easily get to. Setting Network Adapter Binding Priority Wired networks are usually faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi. They also make programs like Outlook easier to use. If you are using a laptop at home, the office or another location with wired Ethernet, plugging into it is usually a far better way to go than depending on a temperamental Wi-Fi signal that isn't even as fast. Of course, you may want to pick up your laptop, and go sit on the porch, or go to a friend's house; so you do want to be able to quickly switch to Wi-Fi on a whim. The … Continue reading

Do You Have Hyper-V Enabled in Windows? by Kelly Lynn

Sometimes, you need to run an old piece of software designed for an early operating system like Windows 95; your modern operating system won't run it, and you believe you need to find another computer just so that you can run the software. At other times, you may have a thumb drive or something else that you believe is virus-infested (say, a friend wants to watch a movie that he has on a thumb drive, on your computer. You can't plug it into your computer for fear that it'll infect it. Here, too, it would be nice to have an expendable computer. This is where virtualization programs come in A virtualization program is software that creates an independent and fully isolated OS within another OS. For instance, if you were … Continue reading

Using a Virtual Computer to Safely Test Software by Kelly Lynn

In general, it's a good idea to only install software on your computer that you plan to keep. If you like to install different software titles to try the out before you settle on one, uninstalling the rest will leave your computer a mess of broken registry entries, orphaned installation folders and so on. While you certainly can use PC cleaning software such as PC Unleashed to restore your computer to pristine form, prevention would be better. You don't want to put any software on your computer that you aren't completely sure about keeping. There's the problem of malware, too If you aren't very careful about where every last piece software that you put on your computer comes from, you could soon end up with horrible malware. The answer is … Continue reading

Making (File) History with Windows 8 and 10 by Kelly Lynn

Mac users since 2007 have had access to Apple's Time Machine automatic file version backup utility that takes hourly snapshots of every file and folder, and stores them for retrieval. Every time you make a change to a file, a fresh copy of the file in changed form is preserved. Should you ever accidentally make changes that you wish you didn't make, you'll be able to not only get the earlier version, you'll be able to go to any earlier version, too. Ever since Windows 8 in 2012, Windows users have had access to a similar feature -- called File History. It's a more advanced, intuitive and sensible system than the Previous versions feature on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Turning Windows File history on With version 8 (and now … Continue reading