Recently an associate whose PC lacked Adobe Acrobat sent me a Word file via e-mail, asking if I could convert it to PDF and e-mail it back to her. Since the process took all of about 30 seconds, I was delighted to help. Then the next day she sent two more files in need of conversion to PDF, and a couple of days after than another. After her fourth request of the week I felt compelled to tell her about two ways she could have converted the files herself for free: Adobe's own Create Adobe PDF Online free trial, … Read more
The other day I heard a radio commercial claim that more than half of all health-related Web sites are fronts for law firms trolling for potential malpractice-suit clients. I immediately doubted the ad's claim. First, it didn't cite a source for the high percentage of illegitimate health sites it stated. Second, it was an ad itself (for a law firm trolling for potential malpractice-suit clients, of all things). And third, it glossed over the actual name of the firm, but repeated its toll-free number over and over.
Still, the ad got me thinking about all the bogus Web … Read more
The only reason I've opened Microsoft Outlook or any other desktop e-mail program in the last year is to test tips. Since I added my ISP account to my Gmail in-box, and moved my Outlook appointments to Google Calendar, I get all the information I need in my browser.
Now I'm getting ready to boot Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for their Web alternatives, but before I bail on Office entirely, I stuck a toe in the Web-apps water by using the free ThinkFree Online service irregularly over the past few weeks. So far, I haven't missed Word, … Read more
When e-mail was young (and dinosaurs ruled the earth), no doubt some IT managers swore that there was no way the people in their organization were ever going to have access to that time-waster. "Haven't we already provided them with telephones?" Same for Web browsers, which some workplaces still ban, or at least restrict severely.
I'm sure they have their reasons, but for most workers it would be difficult to deny the productivity boost these new technologies provide. Now the same restrictive IT mentality may be blocking the playback and recording of video. Yes, much corporate … Read more
Browsers just naturally seem to slow down over time. Maybe it's because the add-ons start to accumulate, or because you forget to clear their cache and perform other standard maintenance via Windows Disk Cleanup app. But there are also some simple settings changes you can make to keep Internet Explorer and Firefox running at top speed.
Increase the number of simultaneous connections in Internet Explorer: This tip has been around for a while, but if you haven't implemented it yet, you can see a real boost to your browsing speed. It entails a Registry edit, so create a … Read more
One of the first things I noticed after using Ubuntu for a while was how snappy the OS is, especially compared to Windows Vista (which in my experience can't even keep up with its predecessor XP). Then I poked around the Linux forums a little bit and found out that I could work even faster in Ubuntu by changing some default settings, and using a few of the OS's unique keyboard shortcuts.
Start at the beginning by disabling the auto-start Ubuntu apps that you don't need. For example, the ancient laptop I run Ubuntu on has no … Read more
About five years ago I installed the family version of Symantec's Norton Internet Security software on one of my PCs, rendering the machine unusable. Not only couldn't I get any access to the Internet, it was impossible to uninstall the program. I ended up having to reinstall the operating system and all my applications--except Norton Internet Security. At the time I said I would never again install a Symantec security program on any PC, but about a year ago I bought a PC that came with 90 days of Norton 360, and the program won me over. When … Read more
The tech community's love affair with the Mozilla Firefox browser shows no signs of waning, but the fact is, most people still use Internet Explorer. If it's such a terrible browser, why does it remain so popular? Part of the reason may be that it's so tightly integrated with Windows: It takes an effort to download Firefox or another alternative browser, while the little blue "e" icon is omnipresent on the desktop, start menu, quick launch toolbar, and elsewhere in Windows.
Never in a million years would I try to talk you out of using … Read more
I've been using Firefox as my primary browser for so long that Internet Explorer looks strange to me on those odd occasions when Windows Update or some other automatic Windows setting opens it. There are lots of reasons Firefox is my browser of choice, not the least of which are the great free add-ons for the program that neither IE nor any other browser can match.
I'm starting to wonder if anything about Linux is going to be easy. But I remain undaunted in my efforts to use Ubuntu 7.10, or Gutsy Gibbon, to accomplish the same computing tasks for which I use Windows. Now that I've got Flash and QuickTime working in Ubuntu, I feel like I'm nearly there.
I say "nearly" because I'm still running into some glitches, this week relating to getting the full suite of updates available for Gutsy installed. The update failure is a minor inconvenience compared to the crashes I experienced last week … Read more