Forgot your password

Your password is your keyI fixed a friend’s computer the other night.  It was simple work as far as computers go except for one bit: She didn’t remember her password.

Fixing that is not simple.

Passwords are tricky; they need to be simple enough to remember and complicated enough to be secure.  Luckily most password systems give you some help – a password hint.

crosswordLike your password, your hints should be clever enough to remind you what your password is but complicated enough to prevent others from guessing. Like a personal crossword clue

“not see through this Mess!”

Above all; you should ALWAYS enter a hint when it’s offered. Treat your password like a key to your stuff and keep it safe, and make sure and give yourself a way to find your “key” when it gets lots.


BONUS: Take a stab at figuring out the password from the hint – “see through this Mess!”; There may be a prize in it for the first correct guess!

Have a great weekend!

Get an “F”

FIf you lost something on your computer don’t panic; “F” = find.  It’s incredibly handy once you get comfortable using it.  Whether you’re looking for a word on a web page or a file in a folder. It’s simple to use…

Help-PC Hit Ctrl+F.  You should see a window open with a space to start searching.  In some programs like Firefox the window opens on the bottom of the screen; other programs give you a pop up window.

Help-MacThe behavior is exactly the same on the mac except you hit +F (command+F).  On both Mac and PC this works on most programs.

The F key is the Fastest way to Find what you’re looking for; Give it a try!


BONUS: If you need to find a file just click on empty space on your desktop and Ctrl /  + F; you’ll see a window open ready to find files!

When gmail went down…

GmailGmail – google’s email service – was down for over an hour yesterday. The question I got from several coworkers and friends was “Is my Email Safe?”

Yes.  But it’s a good idea to back it up anyway.

Like anything else; when I trust my (whatever) to someone else I run the risk that it’ll never come back to me.  The same is true for email; if something happened and my email was lost by google that would be that.  That’s why I have a backup.

email_client_iconsThe simplest way to have a “back up” is to use Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird or another “Email Client” to access mail.  Not all the time, but if I open Outlook once a day and it goes and gets my mail I then have a copy on my computer in case something happens.

Using web email like gmail, yahoo or hotmail is simple and convenient; using Outlook or Mail once in a while is smart.

If you would like help managing your personal or company email give me a call. I’d love to help.

Space Bar bliss

ScrollI don’t like to scroll while I read web pages, it’s too disorienting.  Instead, when I get to the bottom of the screen I hit the spacebar to move down the page. Each tap does a quick scroll of the screen so that what was on the bottom of the screen becomes the top.  It’s a simple way to read a long article on a web page without having to scroll all the time.

Wanna move back up the page? Just hit Shift+Spacebar (shift key and the spacebar) to move up a page the same way… backwards!

Shut down for the enviornment

Go GreenI’m going to be away from the office all next week.  I usually let my computer run overnight a few nights a week so it can get updates, but I try to shut it down most evenings and  over the weekend.  I can save hundreds of dollars a year in electric bills with is good for me and use less juice which is good for everyone.

PowerStripI’m shutting down since I’ll be gone for a long time.  It’s a simple way to help the environment.  Have a great weekend!

P.S. Want a little extra power savings? Try using a power strip that stops appliances and electronics from “sipping” electricity while they’re turned off.  Get one here!


Dropbox for multiple computers

logoI use several computers and need to move files between them often. I could use a USB drive or email, but the simple solution for me is Dropbox.

Dropbox a program that runs on each of my computers – home, laptop and work. It creates a folder where I can store documents, images, other folders or whatever. Anything that’s put it a folder on one of my computers is copied by Dropbox to that same folder on all my other computers. Once it’s installed this happens automatically.  Simple.

If i’m not at my one of my computers I can access my Dropbox files online or on my phone. And If I screw something up on a file they keep revisions for me so I can recover.

Help-PC-SmallHelp-Mac-SmallDropbox works on my PC and My Mac.  A “basic” account is free for 2 gigabytes of storage, so give Dropbox a try if you need a simple way to use multiple computers.

Undo before anything else

I’ve talked about this A LOT; but “Undo” is my first stop on almost every “oops” moment on the computer.

  • If I accidentally delete, move or rename files I didn’t mean to
  • If text moves or changes in an email or document that I want back
  • if something seems different on my computer but I’m not sure what

“Undo” isn’t just for typing; it works on almost everything you do on your computer.  Here’s how.

Help-PC-SmallIf something happens on your computer you didn’t expect or want – anything really – hit CTRL+Z (that’s the control key and the Z key at the same time). You can also find “Undo” in the edit menu of most programs.

Help-Mac-SmallThe same holds true on the Mac only hit Command+Z (that’s the “Apple” key and the Z key at the same time).

I know it seems strange but I’ve screwed a lot of things up on my computer that were repaired by hitting “Undo” – from little typos to deleted backups.  And if it didn’t help it really didn’t hurt anything either.  Give “Undo” a shot before you panic.

BONUS TIP: If you hit “Undo” and realize it’s not what you wanted hit Shift+CTRL+Z (Windows) or Shift+Command+Z (Mac) to “Redo” your Undo and get back to where you were

Rename a file

I rename more files than I care to count. And it takes a lot of time when I have to use a mouse. Thankfully there’s a really, really fast way to rename a file with the keyboard

Help-PCHighlight the file you want to rename and hit the F2 key on your keyboard.   You’ll notice that the file name is highlighted.  You can start typing the new name of your file.

Help-MacThe process is exactly the same on the mac except instead of F2, hit the Return key.  You’ll see the text of the file name highlighted and ready to be replaced.

A quick way to rename files may seem silly, but five seconds every time times 25 files a day times…. Well, you get the point.

BONUS TIP: If you need to name a file with the date (for reports or newsletters) try this: Name each file with the date in YEAR-MONTH-DAY format – “2009-08-18 Sales Report.xls” this month and “2008-09-18 Sales Report.xls” next month.  That way when you have a whole directory full of sales reports you can sort them by their respective dates