We get lots of questions, and we don’t have all the answers. But we do know how to find them: Google them.
Almost without exception, if you simply type a computer problem in the Google search field and hit return, up will come experts and whole forums of people who have dealt with this very thing before. No matter how much a columnist or any expert knows. It is as nothing to what 50 or 60 million people know.
Let’s say a program running in the background has some cryptic name no human could ever decipher. Type those letters and numbers in a search field, and you’ll find out what it is.
Last week we wrote about using “msconfig” to reconfigure which programs load into your Windows computer at start-up. A reader then wrote to say he tried that with Windows 2000 and got a screen message saying, “path not found.” The solution: Joy typed “msconfig for Windows 2000” in the Google search field; up came 12 forums with helpful advice. Technical support is out there!
You’re on the air!
Sign on with the new BlogTalkRadio.com and you can record your own radio show from your telephone. We did, and it was easy and free. You can find our maiden broadcast by searching on our name or “computers” at the BlogTalkRadio Web site. You can listen in whether you have a Windows or Mac computer.
You can listen to hundreds of broadcasts already up there and arranged by category. Subjects include art, books, dreams, hobbies, computers, technology, writing, photography, jobs, etc. Some broadcasts are updated regularly, some just once in a while. You can record as many broadcast segments as you want, and they can be up to two hours at a time.
The key convenience here is that you can do the broadcast from your telephone – no special equipment required. You decide on a time for your broadcast, and that time will be listed in the BlogTalkRadio program guide. At the appropriate time you call in to a special number provided by BlogTalk and … talk. There’s an additional number available for people who want to call in and talk with you. They can call from any phone, including cell phones. You can screen those calls, and you can also provide listeners an address for instant messaging.
BlogTalkRadio plans to make its money selling ads. We didn’t see or hear any ads, but it’s still the early days.
A browser that sticks with you
A new free Web browser is our new favorite. It’s called Maxthon. This browser keeps a record of where you’ve been. When you reopen it, a message asks if you want to start again where you left off in the last session. If you had a dozen Web sites open, they’ll all be there again, each with its own tab.
The new version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE 7) also has tabbed browsing and a lot of new features, and should be able to hold its overwhelming market share. But there’s a lot to like about Maxthon. It has a new free service called Access that allows you to remotely access your home or office computer from another Internet-connected computer. And it uses less memory, saving on system resources.
Maxthon looks like IE to the Web sites you visit. This is important because nearly all sites accept a connection with IE, but not necessarily with other Web browsers. You can find Maxthon at Maxthon.com, which notes that so far, 70.6 million people have snapped it up.
It’s been a couple of years since we last visited Lynda.com, and a whole lot has happened. Lynda is the queen of Web tutorials, and now you can try out more than 1,700 of them for free. They cover instruction for 75 major software titles. Many of the videos also include closed-captioning for the hearing impaired.
We took a look at instructional videos for Adobe Illustrator and one titled “Effective Email,” and both were the best teaching videos we’ve ever seen. The lessons on e-mail covered a lot of bases most people don’t think about when they compose and send off a message.
The first two chapters on any topic are free, and if you want to continue, there is a charge of US$25 a month or US$250 a year. This provides access to all the videos. For an additional charge you can get exercises to work on offline.
Scrapbook Flair is a free program that creates really lovely scrapbook pages. We had this program around for months, but never took a look at it until one day we moved a pile of papers and the disk literally fell into Joy’s lap. What a lucky break!
You start up the program and drop in photos like pasting them into a physical scrapbook. Later when you print it, it will be a physical scrapbook. You can put them in pages of various sizes, from 4-by-6 inches to letter size or 12-by-12, print the pages out and bind them. You can download the software for free at scrapbookflair.com.
When you go to the Web site, you can sign up for a scrapbook community. You can share scrapbooks with as few or as many people as you like, and you can also post to public galleries. There are scrapbook clubs, too, like the “Scrappin’ Mamas and Papas” and “Puppy Love.” The groups are international and fun.