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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Windows Keyboard Short Cuts

Microsoft Shortcuts

Nothing makes you look like you know what you are doing on a computer more than simply never touching the mouse.  You can navigate your entire computer much quicker by just using all of these windows short cuts:

Alt and Tab together: This allows you to switch quickly between open applications.

Alt and Tab and Shift together: gets you the same results as above, but going the other direction.

Alt and Space together: this opens up the same drop down on all windows, allowing you to maximize, minimize, restore or move a window.  Sometimes, a window can open up that you can not see anywhere, it might just be way off the visible screen.  Hit Alt+space then M, then arrow key (any direction) then use the mouse to move the window around.

Alt and Space, then N: This will quickly minimize the current window.

Windows Key and Tab: This is the same as the ALT+Tab above, but looks way cooler (only in Windows 7 and up)

For highlighting text.  Hold down the SHIFT key to highlight text, and use the arrows keys to do the selecting.  Now try holding down SHIFT+CONTROL and using the arrow keys, now the cursor will move over whole words.

Need to quickly send an email, hit CRTL+ENTER which hits the send button for you.

Need to quickly close a window, hit ALT and F4 together.

Want to take a “screen shot” to email Kedsey Support with an error message you see, hit the Print Screen button, then paste this into an email (CRTL and V will paste for you).  OR to get just a screen shot of your current window, press ALT+Print Screen.

Windows 7 is great for opening programs quickly: hit the windows key, then just type.  For example, hit Windows Key, then type “paint” and hit enter, this will open up MS paint for you.  I love to take screen shots (ALT+Print Screen) then open paint (Windows key + “paint” then enter) and paste the screen shot (Crtl+V) then add an descriptive arrow or two, then select the graphic, copy it (Crtl+C) and paste that into an email or blog post:

Just Like that.

eReaders

Sony 6inch eReader

eReaders are huge.  And they are getting even more popular.  I have 2,000 titles in my digital library which takes up zero shelf space in my two bedroom apartment.

I have tried all of the eReaders: Kindle, Kobo, Fire, iPad.  But the best by a long shot is the Sony 6″ Touchscreen eReader ($120 at Future Shop today, Feb 2012).  I have had this one for over a year now, and the rest of the ereaders seem laughable to me.  I should note here that I have an iPad too, and since my wife has taken to my Sony eReader I have been reading on the iPad, which is heavy and too bright – but it is not meant to be an eReader.

The biggest reason is that the Sony will play all formats.  The digital ebook revolution is going through the Beta – VCR format war right now (I guess I should say the HDVD vs Blue Ray format wars so that I don’t “date” myself here).  Amazon, who is the biggest player in the market is trying to own the whole monopoly with its proprietary format .AZW, and this can not be viewed on other ebooks.  I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does.  The MP3 file format went through this same process where all sorts of players tried to own the compressed music file format, and all lost out to the free and open MP3 (I know, it’s not exactly free and open, but much more so than m4a’s right?).

The Sony is also fast, light, long lasting, and great to read on.  Get this with the Sony Leather case ($40), and you will find all “real books” clumsy and heavy.  I have always read a lot, but now I read everywhere.  And the ability to select a word and have the definition appear at the bottom of the screen is something I wish I had on all my news papers and web sites – it is great – the dictionary is available on all of the eReaders I have tried.

eLibrary management:

Years ago a fellow named Kovid Goyal developed a great program called Calibre to maintain his ebook library, and it has since become a very successful open source program.  This is a must have to manage your eLibrary: http://calibre-ebook.com/

You can use just this one program to convert eBooks from one format to another, and to put the books on any of your eReading devices.  I use it for both my Sony, iPhone, and iPad.  AND IT’s FREE .

Virus Scanners

Microsoft’s Security Essentials

Norton Anti-virus used to be the best, back in 1998.  Since then they have gone the “bloat ware route,” just like Adobe Acrobat, and Suns Java – all companies who try to continue accelerated growth for their share holders, and instead destroyed the product that made them successful.  Adobe Acrobat used to be great in 500Kb of size, and now it is over 100 megs and requires monthly huge updates.  Norton is even worse, and slows computers down more than the virus’ they try to stop – ah, the irony.  To pay money for something worse than viruses it should protect you from.  And to make that even worse, hackers have had the raw source code for Norton’s PCanywhere and Antivirus since 2006 (See this at CNET).

And, Norton comes by default with most new computers, and takes 15 minutes to remove – which drives me crazy.  A new computer already infected.

Anyway, I have promised my self to not get all “ranty” in these company posts, so that is the end of my Norton rant.

The point of this post is “Microsoft’s Security Essentials”.

Microsoft has taken a huge beating over the decades for being un-secure.  And this is not completely their fault – they try to write software to run on everything and used by everyone, and you can’t make everyone happy all the time.  And, hackers write virus’s to affect (effect?) as many people as possible, they target the 90% population which is the successful PC platform.  Not to mention that the “flag ship” defense was the  bloated Norton Antivirus.  So, Microsoft decided to write their own Virus Scanner called ”Microsoft’s Security Essentials.”

http://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/mse.aspx

How much would you pay for all of this?  How about the one low price of nothing.  You just need to have a genuine version of Windows, and you are all good.  This is a must have, and a must only have.  Do not use any other virus scanner – uninstall Norton, and McAfee as soon as you see them.  And they will keep popping up.  Next time you run a mandatory Sun Java update take notice that it will try to install one of these virus scanner demos (or the ask.com toolbar, barf).

What is a “Man’s Cold”

Ryan, what is the “Man’s Cold?”

Well, not to take away from the still un-curable “common cold” or “women’s edition cold,” the “Man’s cold” is nearly a different animal – or at least a thoroughly evolved distant cousin of the “common cold.”  Much like comparing the current human (homo sapien) to the early Neanderthal (homo neanderthalensis), both originating from the Homo genus, they are vastly different.

It is common knowledge that the base virus enters the house through the prettiest member of the house hold, and just as often, will enter through the slowest member of a 50 yard dash, or someone who would lose a short tennis match (but not a long tennis match).  Once the virus has infected the “lower” or “pretty” host it will then incubate, mutating quickly into the more advanced rhinovirus, or “boy cold” where it will lay siege the temperament and cuteness of the younger males (age 1-4).  If the cold is not stopped here by the use of beer or scotch, the rhinovirus can garner enough strength to jump to the “best cribbage player,” through dirty dishes, or toys that are lying around (best to avoid these at all cost, but not video game controllers).  If a moral, principled, honorable human ignores the warning of an untidy kitchen, or messy play room and still braves his way to performing these chores for the smallest of rewards, he may catch the advanced rhinovirus, or dreaded “man cold.”

The Advanced Rhinovirus infection proliferates predominantly in the upper respiratory system, and also into the lower brain stem where it can cause drastic behavioral changes.  Do not fight these behaviors!  As the “man cold” only gets stronger with the conflict.  The four main characteristics exhibited are: a higher pitched voice, demands for simple pleasures, furrowing of the brow, and pulling the blankets up to just under the nose.  For example, with the blanket pulled up to just under the nose (or over the nose in very bad cases) and in a very high pitched voice, the best arm-wrestler might say “but, I just want some ginger ale!” followed by some leg spasms that look like the common hissy fit to the untrained eye.  Again, do not fight these behaviors or the “man cold” will only get stronger, causing the only true relief, in death.  Stay on the couch, remote in hand, ginger ale on the table, for 6 days at least – eating eggs scrambled with bacon and cheese.  And fresh fruit smoothies!  Avoiding all manual and intellectual labor.  That is all you can do, and God help us all.