Cloud Storage

What is it…

the-cloud

Finding enough storage space to hold all the data that is acquired can be a real challenge to a computer user. Some people invest in larger Hard Drives. Others prefer external storage devices like USB drives or CD’s. Desperate computer owners might delete entire folders worth of old files in order to make space for new information. But some are choosing to rely on a growing trend: cloud storage.

While cloud storage sounds like it has something to do with weather fronts and storm systems,(contrary to what a certain Connemara politician thought recently, later revealed to be a hoax!!) it really refers to saving data (e.g. word documents, photos, music files etc.) to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. Instead of storing information to your computer’s hard drive or other external storage device, (e.g. External hard drive) you save it to a remote database. The Internet provides the connection between your computer and the database.

Basically a cloud storage system needs just one data server connected to the Internet. When a computer user subscribes or signs on to a cloud storage service, copies of files are send over the internet to the data server which records the information. Then when the client wants to retrieve the information they access the data server through a Web-based interface (e.g. An Icon or simply layout) to retrieve the data or it allows the client to access and work on the files on the server itself.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

In many ways cloud storage has several advantages over traditional data storage. For example, if you store your data on a cloud storage system, you’ll be able to get to that data from any location that has Internet access using your smartphone, laptop or tablet. You wouldn’t need to carry around a Hard Drive or USB key or use the same computer to save and retrieve your information. With the right storage system, you could even allow other people to access  data, turning a personal project into a joint effort by a group of people who has access to the password of the cloud storage.  So cloud storage seems to be more convenient and offers more flexibility, but be aware, one issue with cloud storage is the concept of data ownership. Opinions vary on does it belong to the client who originally saved the data, or to the company that owns the equipment storing the date. What happens when a client goes out of business or no longer uses it? Who can delete the former client’s data?

Types of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage can vary from storing emails messages (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc.) to storing digital images (e.g. Photos, video etc.). Computer users use cloud storage as a way to create backups of data or share folders.  If something happens to the user’s computer system, the data survives off-site. It’s a digital-age variation of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Cloud storage is increasing every day, not only the companies providing the storage but the amount of free and paid storage each company is offering seems to grow steadily. Many providers of cloud storage will probably be familiar to you even though you did not realize that it was cloud storage they provide.

Examples of some well-known companies that offer cloud storage:

Google Docs: users upload documents such as spread-sheets, presentations & word documents. Files can be edited using an application provided by Google. Documents can be published to allow other users to read and edit them which is called cloud computing.

Web e-mail providers as previously mentioned:Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo , etc. Store email messages on their servers. Users can access their e-mails from other computers etc. connected to the internet.

Flickr , Picasa , and Photobucket can store millions of digital photos. Online albums can be created to share the images.

You Tube store millions of uploaded video files on their servers.

Social network sites e.g. Facebook , MySpace etc. allow users to post pictures and other contents that is stored on their site’s servers.

CloudOn is a free app for the iPad and Android tablets.  It allows you to open, view, edit and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your iPad.  What’s more the interface IS Microsoft Office 2010.  Therefore it really is Microsoft Office on your iPad!

The sites listed above are free to use while others charge a fee for a certain amount of storage, while others offer a certain amount of storage free but charge for larger storage. There are many more out there way too many to mention here, but some of the most popular are listed below.

TIP: Do remember that Cloud Storage should be only used for a back-up plan, still keep a copy of the documents on your home Pc or External Storage Hard-drive.  Technology after all is still prone to problems and always at the times we need it the most, Sods Law!

Other examples of Free Cloud Storage:

1, MEGA.NZ : New Cloud storage offering 50gb of Free online storage.   It’s available for Windows, Macs and Android and Apple mobile phones.

2.  OneDrive.   The service offers 15 GB of free storage for old users but unless you sign in it will be reduced to 5GB in 2016.  Additional storage is available for purchase.   It is part of the Windows Live range of online services and allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public.  OneDrive is available to anyone by signing in with their Hotmail or Live.ie email address and password.  A Desktop app is also available to download.

A bonus to using OneDrive is the availability to use the New and Improved Office Web Apps.  Once logged in check out the top toolbar and click on Create ,  a drop-down menu will appear with the options to create a: Word document, Excel workbook, Powerpoint Presentation, Onenote notebook and an Excel Survey all done on the cloud, in other words you do not need the programs on your computer once you have Internet access.  Multiple people in different places can work on the same document, at the same time.  Share only the documents that you choose, with whomever you choose, and set the rest to remain private.  All documents can be shared with your Dropbox, Google Drive and OneNote accounts.  OneNotes is also available for your mobile devices from Ipad, Iphone to Android.  

3. New on the market Amazon Cloud Drive: A few months ago, Amazon launched a cloud-based storage system. It scored a point over market leading Dropbox by offering 5 GB of free storage. The app will create a Cloud Drive folder on your PC. Now just copy stuff to the folder and it gets synced to the cloud, and also to any other PC on which you’ve installed the program. Did not noticed any apps yet for the iphone or Android to use it, but since its just a matter of logging in using your Amazon details its an easy matter to access in a browser.

The download, which works on all recent versions of Windows, is only 0.5 MB, which is clean according to VirusTotal. However, be aware that this is only a setup loader, which will then download another 61 MB of programs.

4.  Flipdrive: is another new cloud storage system on the market.  It also offers 5 GB of free  storage and it has an App for the iphone or iPad available from iTunes.  The app secures your data stored within your FlipDrive App by creating a four-digit passcode to open the application.  It also uses secure connection options to access and share critical and private data. Whenever this option will be turned ON, all data will be encrypted and transferred in a secure way. FlipDrive also lets you share all your data and control who has access to it. Share your files, photo albums, favourite sites, and any other data virtually with anyone. You chose which data to share and with whom.

5.  Dropbox account comes with 2GB of space that you can use for as long as you like and you can also earn up to 16 GB of additional free storage by referring Dropbox to your friends, 500mb at a time.  Dropbox can sync documents between all your computers whether they be Windows, Mac, or Linux, it also allows you access using your iPhone, iPod Touch, Ipad or Android phone . Con: files are not password protected on the computer. Dropbox has been criticized by independent security researchers who have argued that Dropbox’s authentication architecture is inherently insecure. On 20 June 2011, all Dropbox accounts could be accessed without password for 4 hours as reported by TechCrunch.

6. SpiderOak: Pros: Like Dropbox this free Cloud storage account comes with 2 GB of space that you can use for as long as you like,also if you referral you will get another 1 GB free. Again SpiderOak can sync between all your PC,s and smartphones with apps for Android,IOS and macs.

7. If you need more storage than 2Gb offered by Dropbox and you do not require mobile access, the 5GB of free cloud storage available with LaCie Wuala may be just the ticket. Along with syncing your files between multiple pcs and shared folders with friends it also has security by encrypting all files before they leave your hard drive.

8. Just tried Pogoplug. Free to use for 5 GB storage with a download link for a desktop backup that shows up under Computer like a thumb drive using the letter P . Also free mobile version for your smartphone or Ipad 2. Pogoplug lets you post your photos and videos to the most popular social sites with a single click. Your friends can watch your videos and view your photo albums instantly. You own your data, not the social networks. Free 5GB or upgrade to a 30GB, 100GB or 1000GB Pogoplug Cloud.

9. Get 5 GB FREE and browse your files on the go with box.net. Box provides simple, secure sharing from anywhere – letting users easily store files online, send big files fast, access content on their mobile devices, ipad and collaborate with others. Box has far more features than Dropbox. Box is geared towards enterprise businesses while Dropbox is streamlined for small business and consumer use.

10.  CometDocs is a very neat web-based system that allows you to store document files online. You can then convert those files to different formats, or make them available to others for sharing. If you need a web-based document conversion utility (Word to PDF, say), then it’s a handy system to use. And if you want to share a file with someone that’s too large for your email account to accept, then you’ll also find CometDocs indispensable.

11. Sync.com: Sync makes it easy to store, share and access your files from anywhere. Your privacy, guaranteed. Get started with 5 GB storage – always free, with the option of purchasing up to 2 TB.

 

 

More information on Cloud Storage can be found at this website: Real Simple/technology

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Download An Entire Web Site To Your PC

Free program called HTTrack can be used to browse a website offline on your own PC.

You can download the program from
http://www.httrack.com and it’s around 4 MB.  The program is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.  Once downloaded (I recommend the portable “without installer” version), unzip the file and double-click on WinHTTrack.exe to run it.  You’ll be asked to pick a name and category for your project, and to specify the URL of the site.  That’s really all there is to it.  The program will then attempt to download all of the files that make up the site, so you can browse and search them on your own PC.

Depending on the site you try to download, you may not get a perfectly usable or complete copy.  But for casual browsing or searching of the full text of the site, it’s a useful feature to have.  Just be sure not to try to download a huge site such as Wikipedia!

One point worth noting is that, when you’re asked for a folder in which to store the downloaded site, don’t choose any folder that already contains other folders.  If you do, and you don’t pay careful attention to the program’s prompts, it will delete all of those other folders when you exit the program because it thinks they are remnants of previous downloaded sites.  But as long as you watch out for the prompts to delete those folders, the program is very useful indeed.


 

Readers for your PC and free eBooks

Readers for your PC

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There are a number of applications out there designed to help avoid problems with reading in front of your monitor, by making reading ebooks – or any kind of lengthy texts online – safer and easier. Here’s a selection of the best:

NOOK for Windows 8 is an ebook reading app and library for Windows 8 and Windows RT.   Also available to download for your Ipad or Android Tablet. Suitable to read ePub, PDF formats.   Want to get some free ebooks for your Nook, this is a good website to go : 6 Places to Get Free Nook Books. Another good website is : 10 sites where you can find and download them. 

Kindle for PC Remember you have to register on Amazon.com to purchase ebooks. This software is only suitable to read Mobi format ebooks. This also can be used to read free Mobi books(links to sites for free books are below) . NEW 3900+ General MOBI Ebooks Collection on DVD for sale, please contact me for details.  The list of places to get free ebooks for your Kindle are listed below.

Kobo also has a Free Kobo eReading Apps that is suitable for your PC, Mac, Android phone, Ipad or Iphone and Blackberry. This reader is suitable to read ePub format ebooks. They also sell a good selection of Epub eBooks.

Free Sony Reader app for your PC, mac, android and iOS devices.

FBReader Useful eReader especially for smaller netbooks because it allows for rotating the text.

Barnes&Noble Nook eReader compatible for iPod, iPhone, Android, NOOK, NOOKcolor, PC & more.

Calibre in not only an eBook Reader but it can also convert from a huge number of formats to a huge number of formats: example: LIT, MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, TXT, PDF. It supports all the major e-book formats including the Kindle Reader & Sony EReader along with many more formats.

Mobipocket Reader for PC has a similar layout to iTunes and gives you a more Kindle-like experience on the Netbook than the actual Kindle for PC software can provide. Where the Kindle for PC software falls flat and Calibre shines with organization, Mobipocket Reader stands out for having all the neat annotation, bookmarking, and interface tweaking aspects you find in the Kindle Reader but brought to Windows without all the DRM-hassle.

uBook is a simple, yet powerful eBook reader for Windows and Pocket PCs that can read HTML, TXT, RTF, PDB and PRC (not secure) eBook files. It can read directly from inside ZIP files, and supports BMP, GIF, PNG and JPG images.

DNL Reader: This simple reader allows you to view digital web books in the .DNL format. Digital Web Books can be produced by using the DeskTop Author software.

Desktop Author sets out with an ambitious promise – to provide you with everything you need to publish your own eBook. Whether you want to create multimedia presentations, newsletters, photo albums or marketing infromation, the program aims to oblige. The published output is designed to be as true to a real book as possible, allowing the reader to flip the pages realistically by clicking on the right side of the page to move forward, and the left side to move back. Besides text, you can adorn the pages of your virtual tome with images, MPEGs and even Flash movies.

WebReader is a handy little application that lets you save web pages and content to a folder on your desktop. When you want to view it later, all you have to do is open up WebReader, locate the folder in which your document was saved, and click to read it. Comes installed with a few full books, Zoom in and out of your reading selections and Auto-scroll at variable speeds.

yBook: If you want the ease of ebooks with the feel of an old-style paperback. This free, lightweight ebook reader takes ebooks from various sources – including straight from a web address – and displays them on an easy-to-read “paper” background that you can browse through with just a click.

Microsoft Reader Pretty limited number of free eBooks.

GonVisor: A special viewer for electronic comics and magazines. FREE COMIC BOOKS ONLINE.

MangaMeeya is a handy image viewer that makes reading manga and other comics much more comfortable – a true must-have for all comic fans! MangaMeeya supports the following formats: ZIP, RAR, CBR, CBZ, BMP, GIF, JPG. No installation required, Support for many formats, Various viewing options, Comfortable mouse and keyboard controls. Cons: Doesn’t include any comics,No management tools.

More Comic Readers are available from this website.

iStonsoft ePub Converter : Build an eBook by converting multiple formats to ePub: Word to ePub, PDF to ePub, Text to ePub, HTML to ePub, MOBI to ePub, etc. – Batch convert more than one file to ePub at one time. – Preserve all the text, columns, tables, images, graphics, hyperlinks, layouts in the imported files. – Output the standard eBook format compatible with most popular e-Readers. Drag and drag files to application directly. – Convert a 500-page document to ePub eBook in less than 1 minute. Good preservation Preserve all the text, columns, tables, images, graphics, hyperlinks, layouts in the imported files. Contents in the output ePub eBooks look the same as they are in the original files.

Cool Read: CoolRead is equipped with a bounty of tools which help you completely customize your reading environment. There are also plenty of options for editing pages, such as copying, pasting and deletion.

Why not check out Adobe-Digital Editions for free downloads to ebooks and reader.

Free ebooks

Kindle

(To put a free ebook into your kindle from amazon.com works the same as a purchased ebook, by taking you to a link next to the title of the ebook and saving it to your device, either kindle for PC, My Kindle reader or Kindle Cloud. Kindle Cloud is online storage for your ebook until you are ready to read it by downloading it to your reader).

Pretty cool Squidoo lens: The Best Free Kindle Books – *Updated Daily* Most Books Are Available Only for 24 – 48 hours.

Also from Amazon.com the best paid and free eBooks of any genre for the kindle.

(The following iPad link will open using the Ipad for the The best Free Kindle Mysteries & Trillers,).

Great new website with links to hundreds of free kindle ebooks: freebookshifter.com. Remember you do not need a kindle reader to read these free books, you can download the software kindle to read them on your PC or tablet, see link above.

Kindle, ePub, PDF and online eBooks

(To put a free ebook in to any other device besides a kindle, you first download it to your PC, (create a folder in Documents makes it easier to keep track of your eBooks) and once the digital reader is plugged into the USB socket it works the same as an USB storage stick. It’s just a case of copy & paste or drag the ebook into the reader which can be seen after you click in to Computer). WiFi readers can usually access directly to a store.

Ebook Blitz: Free eBooks for Kindle and ePub from all over the Web. Great website thanks to Faydra Deon. Check out her other website: The Free Web: Don,t pay for it unless you have to.

Bookworm
Torrents
ExtraTorrent
Millions of Free eBooks and Audio Books Online
List of free ebooks by genre
Open Textbooks by Subject

Other readers! fear not, plenty of free ebooks on this website to either read online or download in many different formats.

Thanks to our friends at Gizmos
:

672 Places for Free eBooks Online – As a Single Page

281 Places To Read Books Online Without Download or Registration.

135 sites that legally offer free audio books, either for online listening or for download.

116 Places For Free Science Fiction & Fantasy eBooks Online

97 Places For Free Kindle eBooks Online (Legally).

41 Places For Free Travel eBooks Online. Some online, some ePub and some Kindle.

88 Places For Free Mystery, Detective, Thriller & Crime (Fiction) eBooks Online

60 Places For Free Computer & Internet eBooks Online

Purchasing ebooks in Ireland:

To purchase (or get free) Mobi ebooks (Kindle)in Ireland for your kindle you have to purchase from the UK Amazon.co.uk website.

To purchase ePub ebooks for all other readers including the Sony reader:
Easons do a great selection of ebooks at reasonable prices, but you will need your Debit or credit card. So far Easons only sell Epub ebooks which can be used in your Sony reader or indeed in the majority of readers except for the Kindle (only use mobi format).

Kobo Ireland has a great selection of ePub eBook to purchase also for any eReader except kindle. You can Create an account to start receiving info on promotions, exclusive offers, new releases and MORE!

Ebookshoppe.com have been been selling eBook downloads for over 10 years and the company now has over 60,000 official version ebooks to purchase and download. Ebookshoppe offers the widest range of eBooks possible and across and as many formats as possible.

EBOOKS.COM sells ebooks in multiple electronic formats in all categories. It claims there are the leading specialist ebook retailer.

Waterstone.com: All eBooks sold on Waterstones.com are in ePUB or PDF format secured with Adobe ADEPT Digital Rights Management. Please note that ePUB eBooks are not compatible with Kindle devices.

Continue reading “Readers for your PC and free eBooks”

Best Free Program’s to install on your PC

Here are twelve of my most used free applications and utilities (in no particular order). By the way, I am not including browsers or security suites because I use a variety of these heavy-duty applications.

1. 7-Zip archive manager

Everybody encounters compressed files and needs an archive manager. I find the native Windows feature to be too limited and slow and have used 7-Zip for years. It is also Gizmo’s choice for Best Free File Archiver and is reviewed here. For some tips on using 7-Zip go to this link. Some people have reported permission problems with 7-Zip 64-bit when using Windows 8.x, 64-bit but I had no trouble with the installation from the download link at http://www.7-zip.org/download.html.

2. VLC Media Player

I don’t use multimedia as much as many video and music fans might nor do I need an editor but like almost everybody I need a media player now and then. VLC comes with a lot of codecs and is much more versatile than Windows Media Player. I can play most formats, including RealMedia and QuickTime. A good review can be found here.

3. IrfanView image viewer and basic editor

This is yet another basic utility that I prefer to one that Windows provides. The IrfanView image viewer and basic editor has been around since Windows 95 but is constantly updated. Photography and graphics experts will want something more powerful but, if you just want to be able to view a large number of different graphics formats or do basic editing like resizing and cropping, IrfanView is hard to beat. Average PC users will find it easy to use and will not get buried in the complexities of more advanced programs. It also comes with a lot of plug-ins. I put a lot of images on the Internet and IrfanViews’s “Save for Web” plug-in is very useful for reducing the size of image files. Gizmo’s has a review at this link.

4. Notepad++ text and code editor

Almost anybody will want to use a text editor at some time and there are a lot of them. Plain old Notepad will do for the simplest tasks but I need something with more features and Notepad++ is an old workhorse for me. I use it in a lot of ways, including editing HTML and other code. It has many features and a number of plug-ins. The developer’s site is at this link.

5. DropBox file synchronizer and backup

Using the cloud to back up or synchronize files is all the rage and there are many services. DropBox was early in the game and is the one I got started with. I still like it. It’s fast and it lets me synchronize across multiple platforms. One thing I don’t do is upload sensitive information. I also don’t need huge amounts of storage since I don’t upload videos or music. Windows 8 users may prefer Microsoft OneDrive but I am sticking with DropBox. The developer’s link is here. Gizmo’s has a review of DropBox on mobile platforms in this article.

6. Malwarebytes anti-malware

This is not my first line of defense against malware but it provides a quick and convenient way to run an additional check of the many files that I download. It puts an entry in the right-click context menu for a quick scan of a file. It is also a favorite of many of Gizmo’s readers. The developer’s site is at this link.

7. Belarc Advisor system information utility

One thing that many people overlook is the need to have a record of what is on their system. Belarc Advisor creates a file that lists a variety of information about your hardware and software, including the product codes. I run it on every new computer and print the file it generates. I then periodically update it. The developers link is here.

8. “Send To Toys”

One feature of Windows that I use constantly is the “Send to” entry in the right-click context menu. A long-time favorite of mine is the utility “Send To Toys” that allows you to augment the “Send to” menu in powerful ways. The description of how to use this highly useful program is here. This utility saves me a lot of time.

9. Ditto clipboard manager

I am constantly copying text, URLs, code, and what-have-you for use elsewhere. That means I must have a clipboard manager that can store and manage multiple clips. I use Ditto constantly. It is a top pick at Gizmo’s and is reviewed here. I prefer this download site but it is sometimes busy.

10. LastPass password manager

Like many PC users, I use a lot of sites and services that require a log in with a password. Complex and different passwords for different sites are an absolute requirement these days and I suspect that only people with total recall can get along without a password manager. My favorite is LastPass. It works on multiple platforms and has served me well. LastPass is a top pick from Gizmo’s and a review can be found here. There is also an article here.

11. PDF-XChange PDF viewer

PDF documents are so ubiquitous that you have to have a PDF reader but here I deviate from listing an app that I have been using for a long time. Over the years I have tried a succession of PDF readers, beginning with Adobe. But Adobe became so bloated and such a security hazard that I ditched it and used Foxit for a while. Then Foxit started trying to foist unwanted components on users so I then tried Sumatra for bare-bones reading with no editing capability. However, the more fully featured PDF-XChange viewer is more versatile and is now my choice. It is a top pick at Gizmo’s and a review can be found here.

12. CCleaner system cleaner

Finding this well-known program on the list will be no surprise to Gizmo’s readers – it is a very popular way to keep a system tidy. I confess that I don’t use CCleaner that often any more but it is still standard on all my systems. It is a top pick at Gizmo’s and a review is here.

The 12 worst Technology-Oriented Habits

We all have bad habits in real life. We bite our nails, we never signal before turning off and we’re always late for an appointment. Using technology does not cure them in fact it often makes things worse. mess Here are 12 of the worst habits when it comes to technology.

1. Leaving equipment in plain sight

The typical gadget is not stolen by thieves who’ve done loads of planning. Most gadget thefts are conceived and executed in seconds because you left the item unattended. Opportunistic theft is common, by developing certain habits, you can reduce the risk of petty theft. That cosy window corner of the restaurant with the free WiFi is great until you need to run to the loo. An opportunistic thief can pop in, grab your device and be gone before you know it. Don’t leave laptops and other gadgets unattended. That means you must either take them to the bathroom with you or leave them with someone you trust. If you at the restaurant on your own it might be helpful to ask the staff if you can leave something behind the counter for a minute. Definitely do not ask” can you watch this for me?” , pointing to your laptop across the room.

The latest trend for gadgetry thefts and becoming more common is from the airport security conveyors (unfortunately often by the security agents themselves) while you’re waiting for your body scan. If you have a companion travelling with you, have them stay behind you while you go through the security check to keep an eye on the stuff on the tray. If travelling alone put the gadgets into a secure pocket in the online case, it might make it slower for the items to be stolen than grabbed from the tray.

2. Oblivious gadget usage in public

Everywhere we look people are using their Smartphones or iPads everywhere, so it doesn’t feel risky to break one out on the train or while walking home in the dark. But electronics gadgets remain some of the most easily fenced items on the black market and it pays to keep your wits about you when using them in public. The thief usually lurks in the corner of the building as you pass or sneak up behind you while you’re relaxing in the outdoor restaurant. Either way, you have no idea they’re there, because your nose is buried in your Smartphone’s Facebook feed. The next thing you know you’ve been punched in the face, or shoved and the thieves are dashing off in a getaway car with your Smartphone or iPad. You can’t identify the suspect because the last thing you saw before it was stolen was a picture of a cute kitten on Facebook.

Make it a policy to limit mobile device usage to areas where you’re completely certain you will not be the victim of a smash-and-grab attack. This goes double for using your phone while you’re driving, outside of the obvious danger and penalty points.

3 Using dirty hands or not cleaning your equipment

Playing Candy Crunch while eating a kebab won’t leave your phone looking fresh. This is not only gross but it brings health risks too. The old adage that your keyboard is dirtier than your toilet applies to your phone as well. Keep electronics cleaning wipes by your desk in plain view or in your bag. Clean your phone, tablet and other touchscreen device daily. Not only is the danger to you, but also to your gadget too. Dirty touchscreen devices are vulnerable to damage from dust and dirt. Grime seeps in through any cracks and crevices. The most affected are machines such as desktops, laptops, and printers which have air-intake vents for cooling. The dust can clog fans, optical-drive mechanisms and other moving parts. This can lead to component failures and over the heat if the fans stop working properly. Clean your equipment regularly before things build up too much. Once or twice a year should do it, try cleaning out your PC at the same time as you do another job such as changing the oil in your car to remind you.

5 Bad posture at the PC

Breaks are essential to good health from the PC. Joints, muscular systems, circulatory system, and eyes all benefit from a change of scenery once in a while. If you remain in a seated position for extended periods of time can cause blood clots ( sometimes even fatal ones). Staring at a screen for hours on end can cause eye-strain which can affect your vision, especially if you drive afterwards. One way to remind you to take a break is to download such program as Scirocco Take a Break, mobile apps or Web browser plug-ins can remind you to step away from your gadget. Stretch your legs, get a drink of water or call it a day on your computer time.

A good way to ensure you take a break regularly is to keep a very large glass of water by your desk ( failure to hydrate is another bad habit). Sipping a gulp from that glass of water regularly will force you to take an occasional break to the bathroom.

6 Working with the laptop on your lap

Using a laptop on your lap can lead to a whole host of problems, many caused by the heat that most laptops expel from their undersides. This can cause maladies from skin dryness and dis-coloration to reduced sperm count and still in dispute: Cancer. Not only is the heat the problem but by placing a heavy objects across your thighs for hours on end can cause nerve damage. Along with the typical laptop posture of hunching over, legs outstretched, neck craned, arthritis can also develop over time.

Use a laptop desk that shields your thighs from the heat and follow the break-taking tips from number 5. Also shift your laptop from one leg to the other may help. Avoid working on your laptop with your legs our stretched on the coffee table. Keeping your knees bent and your feet on the floor will improve the alignment of your nervous and muscular systems.

7 Never backing up your data

Ok if you have read my post on “ Backup your Data” you can skip this one if you like. Everything is zipping along merrily until one day it suddenly stops. Could be a hard-drive crash, maybe a virus, or a stolen laptop. One way or another, your data is gone. ( Remember data includes: family-photos, personal papers, songs etc.). The excuses for not backing up your data are becoming thread bare. There are hundreds of online backup services that will sync ( backup) your files automatically with a cloud-storage system ( skydive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Crash Plan that will automatically backup to an external Hard Drive attached to your PC to name a few) and many are now free to use or charge a small amount. For most backup systems you do not need to do anything except install an app and setting it up. This goes for a PC, a tablet, or a phone. Do not be fooled into thinking that you have nothing important on that device. It could be a forgotten family photo of a relative that is no longer with you or a game saved on the verge of hitting the finishing line, you’ll feel different once it’s gone.

8 Reusing the same password

We are all guilty of this one, reusing a password that works for you time and time again. Password “strength” is a bit illusory. All it takes is one website that doesn’t store passwords securely and gets hacked, or an unencrypted hard drive disposed incorrectly to upset the whole apple cart. The best solution involves coming up with a system so that you can have a unique password based on where you want to use it. One good trick is to use a sentence that is private to you e.g. “I would travel a mile for a slice of my mum’s apple pie “ becomes: “IWTaM4aSommAp” and if its for Facebook put fb8 at the end…( the numerical component is the number of character that site has) for Twitter put tw7 at the end of it…and so on is one example of keeping track. In other words a password that you won,t forget but is harder or impossible to crack.

9 Same account, multiple users

Read my post: “New PC account with a password for instructions on how to do this. A typical move when a parent gives a child or teenager, their laptop to use is to hand it over and hope for the best. Then there are surprised to get it back full of odd and unwanted software. Which, not only is annoying but can also bring in malware and virus that can cause untold damage. Setting up multiple user accounts on windows is not difficult and can prevent accidents happening never mind privacy issues. Accidents can happen even among grown-ups’ sharing a PC. Having more than one person working on different files called “ resume.doc” can only end in heartache.

Security and safety are a bigger concern when it comes to children. Setting up kids with Standard User accounts ( instead of Administrator) is the smart things to do to keep unwanted software from being installed. Parental controls can also be configured as well. So next time your child or teenager wants to use your PC just to “look up something” you can tell him sure and give them their own account.

10 Over-sharing on social media websites.

Banal stories, photos and comments on Facebook and other social media sites have become a major problem of the greatest order. This is especially true considering how social media and the business world have become intertwined. The person likely to suffer the most is the one who does all the blathering. To keep some kind of reasonable appearance in the world try and keep comments unique and unexpected. Dutifully copying the latest “ Post this if you agree “ to “ Follow these instructions or else!” post on Facebook is no better than mailing chain letters to all your friends. Restrict social media chatter to a few posts a day. You can post the rest of your conspiracy theories and nauseam to your blog which is free to create. Instructions and Hosting Websites offering free websites can be seen here.

11 Texting at the table and not using a case

Really? Is it that important? We all love our Smartphones but using them in the company of others, particularly at mealtimes is just plain rude ( also gross: see number 3). Yes, we know the phone is on your lap!!! That goes for any kind of social situation, school, work, or a simple conversation with someone else.

If you must deal with another conversation, voice-or text-based take it to another room or outside. Ensure a “ no phone at the table” rule apply to everyone in the household , including yourself. When you do use your phone at the correct time and place, make sure its in a case. No matter how sure-handed you are, and no matter how carefully you treat your devices, one day they are going to slip out of that pocket, or simply fall to the ground when someone bumps against you. Choose a thick rubber or silicone case that covers every corner of the device.

12 Failing to silence your phone and never rebooting

Every public performance begins with an entreaty to the audience to mute or turn off their phones. Then 30 minutes later, the unmistakable sounds of a mobile phone make its presence and its clueless owner, known. Cell phones that erupt at the most inappropriate times are a cultural epidemic. This might well be because we have heard so many commands to silence our phones that we simply do not hear them at all anymore. One solution is to make your default setting is “ ringer off” and only turn on the ringer when you know you’re are going to need to hear it ring. Use vibrating when it’s in a pocket or within arm’s reach.

Every operating system, whether desktop or mobile, benefits from an occasional reboot. Think of it as a good night’s sleep for your device. A reboot lets it start fresh, free of digital baggage. Sometimes a reboot may improve your device’s battery life. Make rebooting part of the natural downtime of your day, just before you go to bed. Better yet, turn it off completely and save energy.

Useful Links

Looking for a good source of free images and illustrations?
Try this Library of Congress Print and Photographs collection
. The images I looked at didn’t have any restrictions on them, and it’s always a good idea to check the rights to images and illustrations
here.

New Video Guides on How to Use Windows 8:
Here

Best Free Windows 8 Start Menu Replacements

1. ClassicShell

2. StartW8

Excellent website to analysis your questionnaires with results in pie charts or bar charts, free trial. InstantSurvey is the website for you

The Xerte Project provides a full suite of open source tools for elearning developers and content authors producing interactive learning materials

Creating a photo Gallery in WordPress here

Creating a photo Gallery in Dreamweaver or HTML JonDesign’s SmoothGallery  : its Free and OpenSource

Creating a photo Gallery in Dreamweaver or HTML JonDesign’s SmoothGallery  : its Free and OpenSource

Instant WordPress is a standalone, portable WordPress development environment. It turns any Windows machine into a WordPress development server. It will even run from a USB key.

eFront Blog Free and Open Source Authoring Tools for e-Learning

Jan’s Computer Basics computer tutorials

Free Video Downloader FreeMake.com  Download any video from thousands websites! From YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Veoh, Dailymotion and 10,000+ sites. Download MP3 from YouTube, convert any online video to AVI, MKV, MP3, iPhone, iPod, PSP, Android.

Online image Editor here  Great for editing gif images etc.

How to Create Your Own Custom Windows 8 Start Menu  .

Best free Android Apps here  Thanks to the good folks at Gizmo

Microsoft project management instructions with tutorial video here

HTML Codes

Trial Programs with Cracks

E learning Authoring tool, 100% FREE. No time limits, no demo versions.CourseLab v2.4

Free and Open Source Authoring Tools for e-Learning

The Authority on Tech

How-to-Websites:How-To articles that cover a wide variety of topics.

How-to-CNet.com

Online Tech Tips

Acne How to repair tips

Zen Habits

Have some fun with you Facebook timeline image at this

Need help with Photoshop CS5 then this is the website for you

Really useful website for any student doing a thesis and need help referencing Citethisforme.com

A beginners guide to using the Internet WebWise.

HTML Survival Kit HTML text formatting.

Search Box How can I add a Google search box to my Web site?

Create a sitemap for your website XML sitemap generator

NALA: helping you to improve your reading and writing and number skills using Write On.

convert inches & centimeters

Making over a billion long URLs usable! very handy to copy and paste website links to twitter etc.

Tweak Ui: Access hidden settings

Technology Skills Orientation Very useful to learn how to get the best from your Office 2007 and other tutorials, includes print screens..etc.

Neils Toolbox Great for any student doing a theses or just writing an essay.

Download a Free Essay Checkers

Free Downloads

Useful URLS for e-moderators from e-moderators

UCC Chemical Society Eldest lads website in UCC duly noted, keep an eye out for Hammy Hamster I designed.

The Free Country website. ( free download links )

The Teachers.Net Mailring Network

Four NETS for Better Searching

Brain Games Training – Improve Memory While Having Fun!

fun photo box – new effects everyday!

 

TIP FREE DESKTOP EMAIL PROGRAMS: IncrediMail , Thunderbird 2. and Sylpheed . Want to configure your favorite Desktop Email program to access GMail? Click Here. .

Huge collection of Free Microsoft eBooks to download

Free Microsoft eBooks including: Office, Office 365, SharePoint, SQL Server, System Center, Visual Studio, Web Development, Windows, Windows Azure, and Windows Server

. Rainmeter:desktop customization tool

    Rainmeter displays customizable skins like memory and battery power, RSS feeds and weather forecasts, right on your desktop. Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, and control your media player

.6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle

Alternatives to iGoogle While nothing will completely replace iGoogle, there are some alternatives out there

HTML Tutorial

HTML – tutorial– a book by Michael Karbo.

Best Free iPad Apps

the best from the free ones running in full screen on your iPad, while iPhone apps running on the iPad in 1x or 2x mode are excluded from this list.

Best Free Android Apps

the best from the free ones thanks to the good people from Gizmo and Jojoyee.

Best Free Icons

the best from the free ones thanks to the good people from Gizmo

The Emily Post Institute Etipedia®

Online Etiquette EncyclopediaYou can browse the Etipedia® using the content tabs. All of the information in the Etipedia® is organized into sections and sub-sections that are identical to the chapters and sub-chapters in Etiquette, 18th edition.

Businessballs.com

Free Icons Free career help, business training, organizational development – inspirational, innovative ideas, materials, exercises, tools, templates – free and fun.

Recession Busters

Recession Busters for PC Users

piggy bank photo piggy-bank-key-tag-extralarge-209462_zps29b97c69.jpg
Keep Checking back, this Post will be regularly updated. By now, those dreaded electricity bills are coming in, and yes they’re as bad as expected and some are worse than expected. So once again to lighten our load I have decided to mention some more things we can still get for FREE. Check out all the free ebooks available to view and download. Don,t worry you don,t need an eReader (but would recommend one)they can also be read on your laptop or PC. eReaders for your laptop or PC can be found in my post: Free readers & ebooks for your PC.

Watch Movies/TV Online

Couchtuner is a Tv Streaming site.  Stream Tv by Searching your favorite TV series

1channel.ch is another website that will allow you to watch your fav tv show or film.

NB: Be aware if you have limited download watching movies online will quickly use it up.

Free Office and Word Productivity suites

Why pay for Microsoft Office, use OpenOffice 3. This is fully compatible with Microsoft Office.

If a word processor is only required, you can not go wrong with AbiWord . AbiWord is a free Word Processing program. It is an effective free replacement for Microsoft Word, and even better than Microsoft Word in some respects. AbiWord is particularly good in document layout.

LibreOffice is the power-packed free, libre and open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs:

All these and more can be found at I Love Free Software . Both Open Office and AbiWord are excellent for netbooks. The download size of AbiWord is less than 8MB, which also makes it great to carry on your USB storage stick.

Free Music & Edition Programs

Loads of free mp3 music downloads to be found at diffuser.fm website.

So wondering how to get your favourite songs or music on to your Mp3 player or mobile phone from your CD’s, just use FreeRip MP3. it is then easy to load your favorite audio player (e.g. a portable MP3 player or Sony Walkman or phone). Don’t forget to save them in a location on your PC that you can find, such as “My Documents > Music “. Ps. after downloading and extracting FreeRip, make sure to UNTICK options to install things like default page and toolbars, only leave a shortcut on the desktop.

Audacity is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. To save your files to mp3 you need to download a plugin from here. Be sure to save to the same location you saved Audacity. When you select save as mp3 it will ask for the MP3 plug-in.

Internet Tip – Royalty Free Music at No Charge can be found at this website.

Love that song on YouTube and want it on your phone as a MP3 file, easy just copy and paste the URL of the video into this website: YouTubeMp3 Converter

Free Antivirus

Avast the free anti virus represents the best free antivirus protection currently available on the market. This edition is FREE OF CHARGE for non-commercial & home use. Be sure to select the free version. Go to the link on the top right of the page. Always be careful of large big download buttons they might not always be for the software you want.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is trusted antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows available to download for free. In addition, the new included LinkScanner® Active Surf-Shield checks web pages for threats at the only time that matters – when you’re about to click that link. The download link is on the top right of the page.

Free PC Cleanup software

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! 🙂 The bonus is also that if you go to Tools in CClearner you can uninstall any program on your PC you no longer use. It will also allow you to go through your start up programs and disable any program that is preventing your PC from starting faster.

Hundreds of other Popular free Software downloads can be found on FileHippo.com, such as Adobe Reader , Spybot – Search & Destroy etc.

Download Managers.

Faster copier: moving large files or a multitude of files from one drive to another can take up a lot of time, not to mention causing your PC to get bogged down. TeraCopy reduces transfer times by optimizing file data operations. It also lets you pause and resume large file transfers.

The five best download managers can be found on this website.

and finally thanks to Gizmos here is a list of the best free windows Utilities and tools.

Free Cloud Storage

ZoolZz: no longer free but check out my post on Cloud Storage: it has a list of the most popular free Cloud storage services.

All-free-download.com: Is a good website to get free wallpaper, website templates to Photoshop brushes, fonts etc

PDF editor

Debenu PDF Tools Pro– in appreciation of those who have “Liked” their Facebook page there are providing a fully licensed Debenu PDF Tools Pro(normally $59) for … FREE! The pro key is included in the download file. Point your mouse at the PDF file to edit and right-click to bring up Debenu PDF tools, scroll over and down to Applications info and click on register key, put in your name and the key provided in the file to make it pro.

Windows Operation Systems

Windows 8 for €29 is no longer available but fear not, there are other options. If you want to get a free legal copy of a windows 7 installation disk than you can go to this website for more information. You still will need a product key but there are easy enough to pick up anywhere..(hint:YouTube)

The Ubuntu operating system powers millions of desktop PCs, laptops and servers around the world. Ubuntu will work with your existing PC files, printers, cameras, music players and smartphones — and it comes with thousands of free apps. Ubuntu is free to anyone who wants to use it.

Best Free Online (Web) Applications and Services

Once again thanks to the good folks at gizmos we have a very comprehensive list of the best free online applications and services.

FREE Image Editing Programs

Adobe CS2 suite is still available to download for free with the serial numbers, but since it’s over 7 years old it might run in to compatible issues with newer windows operation systems.

Chasys Draw IES is a suite of applications including a layer-based image editor with animation, icon editing support and super-resolution via image stacking, a multi-threaded image file converter a fast image viewer and a RAW camera file processor .

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages

IrfanView 4.35 View, annotate, edit and process all your images with this compact and versatile graphics tool

Online Image Editor is a great program if you do not want to download anything. All the editing is done by uploading your image, editing it and then saving it back to your PC . Great for editing gif images without losing their transparency.

Tinuous: Nifty Free Windows Application for Batch Conversion, Resizing, and Renaming of Image Files. Two ways to download it are available, either an EXE file for automatic installation or a ZIP file that can be used to run the application from anywhere without installation.

Free Ebooks

Free ePub & PDF,s ebooks to download below. No Reader, no problem, use your PC or netbook to read them. Find the best Free Readers for your PC go to my post: Readers for your PC & eBooks

Bookworm
Torrents
ExtraTorrent
Millions of Free eBooks and Audio Books Online
List of free ebooks by genre
Open Textbooks by Subject

Ebook Blitz: Free eBooks for Kindle and ePub from all over the Web. Great website thanks to Faydra Deon. Check out her other website: The Free Web: Don,t pay for it unless you have to.

Free Kindle ebooks

Best of Free & Paid ( just select Top 100 Free)
squidoo
kindlefinds

Big List of Free Windows Utilities and Tools

The site 4sysops has put together a large list that is worth looking at. The author of the list has divided it into categories. Take a look – you may find some useful utilities you didn’t know about.

Please note that these links are not recommendations but are informational only and are for you to explore. Many of the products in these links do in fact appear on one or the other of Gizmo’s Best Free lists but many do not.

Best Free Windows Desktop Software

Gizmo’s Freeware Editors’ Choice List, where you’ll find a collection of the very best freeware for Windows from their site.

Best Free Windows 8 Apps

Before Windows 8 development, you obtained your desktop software from developers. Now however, you can download and install Windows apps directly from the Windows Store, just like the way you do with iOS and Android apps from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store respectively.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

If you do find other useful software be careful when you download it because many of them might have malware included in the download, so be sure to always pick customs install and untick any links to install toolbars etc.

Malware is the universal umbrella term used to describe the many different types of malevolent software that exist. Computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware and adware are all different varieties of malware, each of which interacts with your computer in a different fashion.

Want to get the most out of your netbook, try this website : Netbook: Freeware .

Still have friends who think that good software always costs a lot of money? Show them this !

Also found this website appropriately named: The Free Web: don,t pay for it unless you have to!!

Also check out PC Live Download Centre , they usually have some new free downloads available every month, not to mention keeping up to-date on all things technical happening in Ireland.

Finds of the Week

finding-keywords

Automatic Warning If You’re About To Install Unwanted Software

Unchecky sits silently in the background on your PC, waiting until you install new software.  At which point it springs into action to check that you’re not inadvertently about to install an additional unwanted module ( such as toolbars and other malware).  If it thinks that you are, it pops up a warning.  Unchecky is free, malware-free according to Web of Trust and VirusTotal, and runs on Windows XP and above.

About Me Page

Creating a beautiful, personalized web presence has never been simpler. about me

Build a Wall Online

Add Pictures, Text And Graphics To Create Your Own Wall at Padlet, It’s a web-based online “wall”, onto which you can paste text or pictures.  And the whole system is really easy to use.  To upload a picture, just drag it from your desktop onto your wall and in a few seconds it’s ready online. ( 21st December 2013)

Create your own logo/Homepage

Create your own logo or Google page

How to add a start menu without using third party tools

great Forum for free eBooks
History of Androids Operation Versions – Visual Infograph

Great website to find that special Recipe: bbcgoogfood.com.

12th July 2013

Sherlock Homes: 221B Baker Street has the 48 (of 60) works in the public domain in the USA of the Sherlock Holmes Canon available for free reading online. Some are also available for download in PDF. To read off your computer or laptop monitor remember you can use CTRL + on the keyboard to make the text larger.

Best Free ebooks online : All the links are in alphabet order….thanks to the good people at Gizmos. and mr6n8

13th May 2013

Free Programming Courses for Kids To promote its service, Pluralsight has started to create some online courses for children, which cover various aspects of programming in a child-focused fun way. They’re all free to access, once you’ve registered.

“Today I Found out” is a site whose focus is on learning something new every day. There is a large array of quick facts, articles, infographics etc. that should satisfy the mildest to most intensely curious of souls

Businessballs free online learning
Free career help, business training, organizational development – inspirational, innovative ideas, materials, exercises, tools, templates – free and fun…

The following are thanks to the good folks from Gizmo and Rhiannon)

Three Easy Ways To Backup Your Gmail Account
Wondering why you should back up your Gmail account? One very good example occurred when Google “lost” all email and contacts for thousands of Gmail accounts.

How to Transfer All Contacts from Android to iPhone and Vice Versa
This is a handy tip if you’re moving from one smartphone to the other, or use both platforms. 🙂
(via Tiny Hacker)

Shutdown Windows 8 Easier With the Power Button
I know I’m not the only one who had to hunt around for this. 🙂

Draw Diagrams Online for Free
“draw.io is an online diagramming application built for speed, reliability and simplicity. It works everywhere. It features the full range of visual configuration you expect, as well as web application features such as a full range of export options, a large collection of icons, real-time collaboration and embedded widget sharing. Additional features include unlimited users, unlimited drawings, a large range of shape libraries, export to PNG/JPG/XML/SVG, Google Drive Integration, Real-time collaboration, Any HTML 5 browser, IE 6-8 support, iOS, Android, Confluence® plugin, Google Apps Marketplace, Embeddable Widget, and support in 16 languages.” Unquote..
Commercial support is available for companies that need enterprise class service.

12 Awesome Tips to Improve Your Google Search Skills like learning to recognise sites that aren’t useful.

How to Use the Skydrive Desktop Application in Windows 7 & Windows 8
You can use Microsoft’s cloud storage app Skydrive to store miscellaneous notes. If you would like to use Skydrive or want to check it out, this article gives you clear, step by step directions on setting it up and using it on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

iFixit: Fixing the World, One Piece of Hardware at a Time
This is a site for manuals and how-to’s for Mac’s, iPod’s, iPhones, and Game Consoles to include vehicles, household items, cameras and PC’s. The site has an active community that writes guides and answers questions. The site supports itself selling service parts and tools for Macs, iPods, iPhones and Game Consoles, even better no ads

Big List of Alt Codes
“Alt codes are the symbols, letters, or characters you can create using your keyboard. They are created by holding down the Alt key and entering a particular number on your keypad.” unquote..You can use these alt codes to add various characters to things like email or documents. Arrows, dots, stars are among the codes you can use. This article has a really good selection of them. Alt-Codes.net is another good website because the colors and layout makes the site very readable.

10 Websites for Puzzles, Brain Teasers and Riddles
Here’s a good collection of sites with puzzles, brain teasers and riddles. Jigsaw puzzles. Jigzone is another good website. Browser based Entanglement by Gopherwood Studios is another good way to pass the time.

What is a Torrent and How to use them.

torrentTorrents are the most popular protocol for the transfer of music, videos, ebooks,software and other content on the world wide web.  There is a great deal of content available through torrents.  

Some Well Knows Torrents

The Bittorrent is one of the most popular.  Bittorrent breaks big files down into small pieces. The files are then downloaded, piece by piece, from one or many different sources.  Since the files are broken down into tiny bites, you use less bandwidth. Which means your downloads move a lot faster.   

Bittorrent is a decentralized peer to peer (P2P) distribution of content which uses the upload bandwidth of each individual who is downloading the content, and those who have downloaded, to transfer the content.

  • No central server
  • Content is distributed by active users
  • Transferred content is an exact copy of the original
  • Content associated with a torrent can not be altered
  • Downloads may be stopped and re-started

uTorrent also known as both “u-torrent” and “micro torrent”,  is another popular torrent tool today. uTorrent has all the functions a torrent downloader will ever need, and it only requires 1 MB of hard drive space and memory. uTorrent has all the downloading and seeding performance of its competitors, but with minimal impact to the rest of your computer’s speed.

Deluge Torrent: Linux and OS X people: rejoice! Here is a software that is very friendly towards your operating systems, and many readers say good things about this product. It has a clean metallic-but-soft interface design, and most any statistic and metric you might ever want to see about your uploads and downloads. Like most torrent clients, the product is free, and built/supported by programming enthusiasts who truly believe in file sharing.

 WikiHow has a step by step listing of How to Download Torrents.   About .com is another good website with beginners guides to bittorrent file sharing.  


General Torrent Search Sites

These sites are among the most popular torrent search sites and offer large indexes of torrents and helpful features to verify, filter and sort among search results.  Any one of these sites will serve your goal of finding a clean, real and healthy torrent for the content you want.

Since these are public torrent sites and, for the most part, allow anyone to upload, fakes can make their way into the listings. Make sure your Default Browser has an ad block filter: Chrome ad block add on. Firefox ad block filter.

KAT : is the top pick at Gizmo’s due to its large index of torrents and verified torrents as well as the comment, filter and sort features that they offer.   They index over 9 million torrents, including over 1 million verified torrents.  Tabs on the torrent page allow viewing of the files, trackers and comments.  KAT offers many features to help in your search, they are responsive to user feature requests and are always improving.

TORRENTZ: is another comprehensive search engine that lists over 14.5 million torrents and has almost 3 million  torrents that have been verified to be clean.  Torrentz also has the nice feature of listing all trackers for a torrent, not just the ones embedded in the torrent file, though this is not that important in torrents now.  One drawback is that they do not host the torrent files and one must go to other sites for the download.  Be careful with the sites you choose to go to.

BitSnoop: This is a metasearch site that indexes over 17.8 million torrents from 369 trackers.  Although they do not list a number that I could find, they appear to have a large listing of verified torrents. This site is extremely fast at returning search results.   They also have a TV Finder which lists all shows alphabetically with links to all torrents for each show.

Torlock: advertises that all the torrents there are verified to be clean and real.  Their listing now has over 500,000 verified torrents. A negative is the lack of comments or ratings for the quality of the content.  However, for newer users, this is a good site to start your searches to ensure a clean download.  Caution:  Only click on the word “torrent” on the download page.  The other links are scams.  Also do not choose a “sponsored” result. Thanks to freestuffrocks for this site.

H33t: (204.16.200.51) indexes over 5 million torrents and monitors the torrents that are uploaded through their site.  As long as you stick to the torrents that are h33t uploads, you are pretty safe.  The site looked to be ad free when I disabled ABP, but on one occasion I did get a couple popups and there is a scam download link.  All in all, it is pretty clean, but I would suggest keeping ABP enabled.

The PirateBay: is probably the most well known torrent search site.  They list about 3.7 million torrents.  TPB has an excellent filtering system and clean torrents can be found quickly in the search results by looking for a skull image next to the torrent.  The one drawback now is that they are switching to magnet links only and given the issues that some of the bittorrent clients have with magnet links, this is a negative.

TORRENT US:  is a clean site (no ads and scam links) meta search site that culls results quickly.  They index several of the sites on this page and have over 5.5 million torrents listed.  They also allow filtering of the sites at the user’s discretion.  I found the layout to be very user friendly.  The drawbacks are that they, like Torrentz, only provide links to the sites and do not host the torrents.  So one must be careful at each particular site.

TorrentTo: is a search site that culls results from a large number of torrent search sites.  Nice feature is that you can choose the sites to include in the search (this is saved in the site cookie for future use).  The results show the pages at the sites and the sites can be togggled up top.  Not my personal preference for viewing results as I prefer to see all the results at once, but this type does appeal to some users.  As usual, caution needs to be taken at the sites from which results are shown.  Thanks to Nero  for this site.

ExtraTorrent: has 1.5 million torrent in its listing.  It is not the largest listing, but they seem to have many of releases and no duplicates.  A good number of the torrents I checked were from a trusted or verified uploader.  Unfortunately, this is not shown  in the search results.  This site has gained popularity with a number of users on the web and is a good source.  Avoid the “Direct download” link.

isoHunt.com: is a comprehensive torrent search site and lists over 8 million torrents from its own trackers and 582 other sites.   isoHunt is supposed to be offered only as a “lite” version in the USA  and that does not compare to the real isoHunt or any of these sites.  Many users like the layout and information at isoHunt and it would be a good choice for those that have accesss to the full version.  Note:  I have seen a lot of users around the web have trouble with fakes from isoHunt.

Unique Torrent Search Sites

These sites cater to special niche interests and stand out for their attention to that niche and their clean offerings.

EZTV  (https) is the site for all things television.  It is the biggest and past and easiest to use for TV offerings.  In addition to torrents they have a countdown list as to when shows are to return to original broadcasts, a show list indicating the status of a TV show (ended; pending; airing etc.), TV news and a calendar of shows being broadcast.

Coda.fm is a music albums bittorrent site.  There is a good deal of information on the artists and albums.  All listings are verified to be clean and real.  If you are looking for a public, music only, bittorrent site, then this is the place to look.  It is an ad free site.  The amount of listings is still quite small, being in the thousands.

Take.fm is the sister site to Coda.fm, specializing in movies.  It is similar to Coda in layout and all of its listings are also verified to be clean and real.  At this time there appears to be just shy of 2000 listings.  Hopefully the site listings will grow as time goes by as a clean movie search site is needed in bittorrent.

Podtropolis lists only iPod compatible content.  I could not find statistics, but there appears to be a good amount of content listed (although certainly less than the popular sites above).  This is not available to USA users (where I am).   I was able to access through a proxy service.

YIFY Torrents This is the site of a release group that has an excellent reputation for quality rips with small file size.  All torrents are those of the release group.  All the releases here should be clean and real.

NyaaTorrents is the site to check out for Anime.  The torrent links in blue are A+ in quality, meaning they are the best copy available.  The torrent links in green are from trusted uploaders. Thanks to Capcapper for this site.

Getting the Most Out Of Your Printer

By taking five minutes to assess what functions your existing printer has, you could find some tips and tricks that could help save you money on home materials, and your printer running efficiently, Tipdo not let two weeks to pass without using your printer, other things to look out for are:

Duplex (double-sided printing)

When purchasing a printer it can be well worth your while to check if it has Duplex Printing.  Setting your home printer to print on both sides could considerably reduce the amount of paper used on a daily basis – just think about the number of emails and documents that are printed out, simply to be used internally. If this is set up as default, users don’t need to even think it.

Booklet printing

 Producing your documents in booklet (your A4 documents are sent to the driver and automatically reduced to A5, printed double-sided and pages re-ordered) looks extremely smart and helps you save up to 75% on paper costs.

Wireless/phone apps for printing

Check whether your printer has wireless capability – not only can you print from wherever your in the home, but the rest of the family also have access in seconds.  Now we’re seeing more and more apps to enable you to print directly from smartphones, if you have wireless in the home it makes sense to get a wireless printer. Prices usually from €50 for an all in one wireless printer.

Using DRAFT mode on your inkjet printer

If you have an inkjet printer you may be able to reduce the amount of ink it uses for normal and every-day printing by switching your printer to use “Draft” mode.  Inkjet printers produce output by moving the print cartridge along the page and spraying ink dots to create the printing.  In “Normal” mode, which is what most printers are configured with, the print cartridge makes multiple passes over the same area and sprays multiple coats of ink to make the characters bolder.  In “Draft” mode, the printer makes a single pass and moves to the next line.  This creates characters which are not as bold, but may still be acceptable for everyday printing.  Because the printer does not lay multiple layers of ink on the same space less ink is being used to print your document.  You can always switch later to “Normal” or “Best” mode when you need that extra special touch.

Avoid Chunky Fonts and Bolds

Thick fonts and bolded text require extra ink to print, so skinny up your text and save. Some ink-sipping fonts to try: Arial and new courier.  Want to save even more?  switch to Century Gothic, a font with a thinner print line. It is suggested that it can use 30% less ink than Arial.

Print What you Like 

PrintWhatYouLike lets you print the good parts of any web page while skipping ads and other junk which can save you a bungle on ink and is free to use.

CleanPrint is a free add-in, available for most major web browsers, that changes the way you print a web page.  Instead of clicking the normal Print button, click the CleanPrint button in your browser’s toolbar instead, if you want a simpler and cheaper printing option.

Designed Documents

If you’ve ever tried to produce a “designed” document such as an advert, flyer, invitation, brochure and so on, you probably looked at desktop publishing packages, photoshop or Indesign and then gave up.   They’re all either incredibly complicated and incredibly expensive.   But fear not, once more Gizmo has come to the rescue and brought to our attention this Online Publishing System which is currently Free To Use called LucidPress.   LucidPress has over 75 templates in which you can replace the dummy text and images with your own.  Once done it can be downloaded as a PDF and printed off.  LucidPress is currently free to use, though the company behind it has hinted that certain features may require a paid-for subscription in the future.

From customized napkins and ribbons to making unique artwork for your walls using everyday fabrics, your standard printer is much more than your go-to gadget for printing out forms and receipts.

This guide will outline 10 awesome ways to use your printer.

Quickly Change Your Printer Settings in Chrome

10 ways to get creative with your printer by HP

Top 10 Secret Uses for Your Printer

22 New Ways To Use Your Printer

10 surprising things to do with your printer

10 Ways to Make Use of Your Printer

Fun with your PC

Love to get a Smart TV!!

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No need, just connect your windows Laptop/Desktop to your LCD television using the image on the right.  TIP: if you’re using a HDMI lead to connect your computer to the LCD television you might have to change your default sound to ” Realtek HDMI Output” to have the sound coming from the television speakers.  To make this even easier you can leave a shortcut on the desktop that will allow you to change back to your “speakers” as the default sound when you’re not using the television.   Just go to “Control Panel”  from your start menu, go to” Hardware and Sound” and when the ” Sound”  speaker icon is seen: right-click on it and select “Create Shortcut”.   Great to watch all those Free movies online on the big screen: Recession Busters Post ( ps. watch that limited bandwidth!!).  Or watch your netflix films on the big screen.    For even more fun why not connect your iPad 2 to your television.  Follow the information from my post under the heading: Using the Ipad to do a PowerPoint Presentation on a TV or Using a Projector

Change Size of Desktop Icons

Here’s a very cool trick.  If you have a wheel on your mouse, click on the desktop and then press and hold the Ctrl key while turning the mouse wheel to shrink or enlarge your icons.

Access web pages quickly (Vista & Windows 7)

Visiting a website is a two-stage process: first open a web browser, then type in the address. To speed things up add an address bar to the Windows Taskbar. Right-click an empty section of the taskbar if there is a tick next to ” Lock the Task-bar ” remove it.

If the pop up disappears, just right-click again on the empty space of the taskbar again and just hover the mouse over Toolbars and click on Address. A tiny address bar will appear-type in any website’s address and it will open in your web browser of choice.

Use Flip 3D (VISTA & Windows 7)

Flip 3D is one of Window’s most impressive tricks, but many people don’t even know it exists. With several programs or windows open, hold down the Alt key and push the Tab button a few times-Windows 7 will cycle through the windows in a useful but dull way.

Now, try holding down the Windows key and pushing Tab a few times, Windows 7 will use the impressive-looking Flip 3D system to change between the windows, allowing you to view each one as they change.

Advanced Windows short-cuts (VISTA & Windows 7)

Windows is full of keyboard short-cuts  but there are a few that every user should know. Hold down the Windows Key(on the Keyboard), then try passing these letter keys: E will launch Windows Explorer, R will launch the Run box, F will launch the Find utility, M will minimise all open windows to show the desktop, and L will instantly lock the computer,( pretty useful if you have to leave the pc for any time and don’t want your stuff to be disturbed.).  Holding down the Ctrl button and the + button will make the contents on the screen larger including the text.  Just typed a whole essay in Microsoft Word with caps lock on!! no worries easily changed by holding down the Shift button on the keyboard and F3.  

Restore a docked or maximized window to its original size and position.

Windows 7 and 8.x let you dock an open window to the left side of the screen. This is handy for putting two windows side by side on the desktop. But what if you want to restore a docked window to its former size and location? Just double-click in the title bar and the docked window is back to where it was. (One exception to this that I have noticed is Word 2013, which first maximizes.)

Double-clicking in the title bar can also toggle between a maximized window and a window with the original size and location. Although switching between a maximized window and the original can also be done with the maximize button, the title bar is a much bigger target. On touch screens, this could be useful.

Quick ways to open another instance of a program or feature

 

Sometimes you want to have several instances of something open. For example, it is often convenient to have File Explorer open in two separate windows in order to carry out some file operation. Clicking the usual way on the File Explorer taskbar icon won’t work to open a second window. However, if you use the mouse middle-button to click a taskbar icon of an already open program, a second window will open. Another way is to hold down the Shift key while clicking with the usual left button. Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

Quickly minimize all open windows except the active one

 

It isn’t unusual to end up with quite a few open windows on the desktop. If you want to reduce the clutter, an easy way to minimize all but the active window is use the keyboard shortcut Winkey+Home. To restore all the minimized windows to the desktop, repeat Winkey+Home. Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

Another (but trickier) way to minimize all windows except one is to place the mouse pointer in the title bar of the window you want to stay open, hold down the left click button, and shake the window back and forth several times. For example, try three shakes left-right-left. Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

Using a Single Mouse click on your PC

Want to open files and folders with a single click instead of a double-click? No problem, follow these steps to change your settings in Windows 7 and Vista. (Tip: Just reverse actions to restore to original settings)

When you surf the Web you can click on a link with just one click and your browser takes you where you want to go, so why must you double-click to open files and folders in programs like Windows Explorer or My Computer? Essentially you are doing double the work.

If you want to change this to a single click, here is how to do it.

1. Click Start and then select Computer.

2. Click Tools at the top of the screen, then Folder Options

3. Under the General tab, select “Single-click to open an item,” then click Ok.

Tip:  IF the toolbar is not visible follow the instructions below

1. Click Start and then select Computer

2. Press the Alt key, then Tools, Folder Options

3. Under the General tab, select “Single-click to open an item,” then click Ok.

Change Start menu power button in Windows Vista

By default, the power button in Vista’s Start menu activates sleep mode rather than switching the computer off. To fix this open the Control Panel, ( might need to change to classic view) then Power Options, and click the “Change plan settings” link beneath the currently selected power plan.

Click “Change advanced power setting’s and expand the “Power buttons and lid”entry. Expand the “Start menu power button” entry, click the menu next to Setting and select Shut down before clicking OK.

Take a picture of the computer screen!

Did you finally finish that game that you’ve been working on for two months? Now you can have proof!  Or you just want a copy of a photo from online!!.   Copy and paste a picture of the screen by pressing the “Print Screen – SysRq” key (to the right of “F12”) on your keyboard, opening Paint, and clicking “Paste.”  This button will copy everything on screen, including the task bar. This is also a great way to show off a website design.   See How to Take a Screenshot of the Entire Screen for more ideas.

Plenty more Tips and Tricks Here for Windows 7

Customize your Windows 7 desktop – Full tutorial Here

How to Create a Free Website

Free Web hosting and Free Webspace Providers

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People often use free blog hosting services provided by such companies as WordPress or Blogger ( now owned by Google) for 1-2 years and then realize that they must change the irritating long Blogger subdomains into a professional looking custom domain. This is especially true if you run a business.

So what is the difference between a custom Domain and a Subdomain.

When you create a blog (a blog allows feedback) or a website (usually static pages, can sometimes also includes a blog) using such platforms (Hosting companies) as WordPress, Weebly , Wix and Bravesites to name a few, they attach their trademark in the form of a sub domain to your blog/domain name. If your blog/website title is named mywebsite (can be your name etc) then it will appear like this: mywebsite.blogspot.com, mywebsite.wordpress.com or mywebsite.wix.com etc. depending on the hosting platform and these are free to use. The URL is the extended path. A list of examples is below.

More information and advice can be obtained from this website.

Custom Domain:

A custom domain is your personally owned web URL that is your property and does not belong to someone else. When I purchased the “ loretoweir.com” domain all my loretoweir.wordpress.com pages were replaced with .com. This in other words means domain redirection. It cost less than €12 per year for the domain hosting charges. All my files are stored for free at WordPress. To remove the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com subdomain names from your blog/website and get a full branded customs domain of your own is to simply buy a domain from a good web hosting company. (Don,t worry WordPress users, if you change to a custom domain your old subdomain url will still direct viewers to your blog/website as well.)

Domain hosting can vary in price and can also depend on your domain name extension. For example mywebsite.com might only cost less than €12 per year, while mywebsite.ie (Ireland’s domain extension) might cost over €20 per year. Check out Register365 for more information on prices and availability. Another Irish hosting provider is letshost.ie, like everything else you purchase- please price around. Also keep an eye on the small print, some hosting company’s include privacy on the domains information, while other companies require extra payment for privacy. Privacy is pretty necessary these days as otherwise anyone can Google your domain name and get all your contact information, including your home address and phone number. Another Irish hosting provide is Blacknight’s services. They also offer a free website link on their home page, but when I clicked on the link I was directed to Error 404, not a good start in my book.

Disadvantages of Free Web Hosting subdomains

Most bloggers or new website owners start their careers by signing up for a free blog hosting content management system like WordPress or Wix etc. But there are disadvantages of using a subdomain. When you start a business or a blog with a free subdomain all the people that know you get familiar with your site through that subdomain. As time goes by and you’re ranking (popularity) increases then you realize that you are not receiving sponsorship or earning using advertising. When you finally decide to purchase a custom domain your followers could get confused and you might lose your ranking. Websites or Blogs with .com domains are naturally more respected than ones with sub domains, such as .wordpress.com etc. Advertising services also do not accept subdomains which mean that you could be losing quite a lot of revenue potential. Most people take .com or .net or .org domains as commercial websites and often subscribe to them and follow them vie Twitter, Facebook or Goggle friend etc. Your domain is enough evidence that you are taking your work serious by spending some money on the service that you use.

Another disadvantage is that people often do not link subdomains in their websites because often these sites are created on a temporary basic and once deleted the link on their site becomes a dead/broken link which can affect ranking. If you are harbouring more ambitions and want to take your online business to a higher level to make it a good source of income than free hosting is not for you.

Advantages of services that provide Free Web hosting

  1. Student can learn a lot by hosting a free website to understand the basics of how to design, develop and maintain websites on the internet. They can become familiar with website design and development tools, file management and file upload issues.
  2. Free websites are useful in sharing web content among groups with similar interests but not able to spend money for one reason or the other.
  3. Voluntary organization and non-profit organizations with low capital can use these services to set up a basic website to publish information about news and events or communicate with participants.
  4. Good for family websites, sharing photographs and important family events of general importance. But be careful about privacy issues and placing family information on a website that is accessible to everyone especially scam artists. Please make sure that they are made accessible to only authorized users which mean that you have to place an authentication (login) form to your website if possible, ( see WordPress passwords protected posts). hPage.com, also provides password protected webpages, but I found the website difficult to edit.

You can get a web space of anywhere between 5MB to 300MB. Some hosting companies proved extra feature like guest books, virtual domain names, drag and drop website builder, counters, tracking logs, blogs and more.

Free web hosting is ideal for those who just want to make an online present without incurring a cost.

TIP: Very useful to have all your information for any website or page you are creating typed into a word document and saved and just simply copy and paste into the website to replace the default text. This works great on WordPress too.

Limited service does not mean poor or unstable.

Free hosting is limited that is why is coexists with paid website hosting. There is no problem with a free hosting to be limited once you know the limits and you can decide if this is going to work for you.

WordPress.com

Check out this YouTube tutorial on how to create a free WordPress website using a subdomain URL . This very good tutorial also shows you how to make a static page as the homepage instead as opening the blog posts first. There are also plenty of websites that will also explain how to get a WordPress website, (you do not have to use the hosting or domain providers they mention you can choose your own). WordPress is also great for catching spam and very easy to manage. Here is a video tutorial on how to launch your WordPress Website using your own domain. WordPress provides many links and websites to help the new web user to create a very professional website, this is a link on how to include a contact form to your WordPress website. It is also easy to get a free Yahoo plugin to view a video on your Website and WordPress website. WordPress is not just a Blog anymore it is now very popular to create standard websites from corporate and governmental websites to magazines and online communities. Here is a link to a webpage that will show you how Enable or Disable comments. Using such themes as Digg3, Twenty ten or Twenty eleven all make great websites and not just blogs. I would far and away use WordPress as a CMS (Content management system) for most any site, especially en lieu of Joomla. All the websites are compatible with using an Ipad or mobile phones. The big bonus is the site owner can make their own changes and additions.

Wix.com

This is another great free provider. Here is a sample of a website I did using Wix.com and the information from my business website: www.loretoweir.wix.com/lanpcs only took me 30 minutes and not bad if I do say so myself, even includes a Google map and contact form, no coding required, simply copy and paste. Wix YouTube tutorial videos makes it easy to follow to get your website up and running pretty quickly.

Weebly.com

Named one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites, Weebly has an easy, drag & drop interface to create your own website. It’s free, powerful, and professional. It’s very quick to set up with loads of templates to choose from. Example: kerryvolunteertutors.weebly.com. When you finally want to change from the free domain, it costs from €30 a year or if you go for a longer ownership, such as five years its reduced to €23 a year or a ten year one from €19.50 a year and your free website is automatically directed to it as soon as it’s purchased.

Webs.com

For example this .web YouTube video tutorial shows you how to get a free .webs or a WordPress website up and running.

Bravesites.com

Has an easy-to-use drag and drop website builder! Created this website: www.lanpcs.bravesites.com in less than 30 minutes, of course I already had my information from my business website. Found it very easy to use, and also allowed me to edit using html as well as just typing or pasting in my information. You can choose from hundreds of templates, upload your photos, start a blog, or build a professional website easily. You can add maps, audio players, facebook plugins and much more!

50webs.com

Another example such as a provider like 50webs.com offer quality free services so that when a client need more resources they can simply upgrade to a fully featured package instead of going to another company . Some companies that offer free hosting also put a banner on your site that shows various advertising and that is how they profit from your site. But that should not be a problem since most sites on the internet have ads on them and your website is not going to be any different.

Freehostia.com

If it is crucial that you do not want any forced banners on your site then you can go to Freehostia.com . Usually no configuration skills are required and providers often offer free templates or free WordPress themes such as this that will get your website up and running in no time.

Google Websites

Provides a free and according to them it is an easy way to create and share webpages, looked confusing to me to be honest.

WebNG.com Websites

Providing their members free web site hosting with 350 MB disk space, Photo Album service, access to scripting languages like ASP with MS Access database, image hosting, and many great features absolutely free.

Blogger.com

You now sign in using your Gmail username and password. Very easy to set up and use.

hpage.com

Create your own free website with more than 300 MB storage space and over 300 great design templates. Thats all well and good but I found it very difficult to edit and was not pleased with the final result after 30 minutes compare to how easy it was to create a website using .wix.com .

Other Free Hosting Providers

Here is a list of other free hosting providers not sure if there are all working but have a look through. I am sure there are others out there. Please feel free to mention others you know or have used successfully in comments… Got this list from another friend, feel free to check it out: top 10 Free Web Hosting sites 2011 .

Kidszone

Your Tube for Children 

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Kids love watching your tube videos but all are not child-appropriate. Send them over to Kideos. The site has thousands of child-friendly videos from animations to Pixar shorts to Sesame Street. The free iPhone companion app. is also useful to keep them quite on a journey.

Great Websites for Kids

why not try this website which is full of great sites and learning resources for children. The site is sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Animals, Art, Sciences, and Reference sections are some of what you’ll find there.

Google Scholar : A great resource for students, Google Scholar is essentially a search engine that limits results to educational content appropriate for teens. Ages 15 and up.

Click Here to go to the top ten educational websites for kids

Another cool website for kids here.

BBC-CBeebies  Games, stories and updates on every under-six’s essential viewing

Haring Kids  Wonderful interactive site by Keith Haring, an artist who loved children – activities, stories, animations and an addictive online colouring book.

Habbo Hotel... make friends, play games, and express yourself. Social networking for teens

Seussville : A gentle celebration of all things Cat In The Hat.

Guinness World Records : Searchable database of record-breaking feats – but only some, of course, they still want you to buy the book.

Ask Kids : Safe search engine for children.

Top Marks : Quickly find the best teaching resources, homework help
and educational websites for use in the classroom.

Funology : From Brain Drains to Boredom Busters, jokes, games and interesting factoids – with a little learning along the way.

Nickelodeon : Play games, share your avatar, download screensavers and catch up on your favourite cartoon characters at the Mecca of TV cartoondom

Switch Zoo : From a calligator to a dogophant, create crazy new animals online.

Mr Men : Videos, games, stories and more from 24 of Roger Hargreaves’ unbeatable creations.

Website for Mom

Bad Mothers Club : Meeting the ups and downs of parenting head-on

Help control what your family view online!!

ParentalControl Bar is a simple, powerful and Free tool to help shield your children from explicit websites. Simply activate Child-Mode while your children surf the internet, and the toolbar will block access to adult-oriented websites.

A free public service, ParentalControl Bar is provided free of charge to the public by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

Scams

How do you spot the fakes?

 

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A number of web sites exist to expose fake and fraud emails.

If you are unsure if an email or website is genuine then check these sites to see if it is listed there as a fake. A quick search here could save you a lot of embarrassment!

Snopes is a really great site for checking out anything you think might be an urban legend, hoax or scam. It keeps a huge archive of examples of urban legends, myths and hoaxes – so if you do have suspicions about an email check this site to see if it is a hoax.

Office of Fair Trading: Advice on Scams gives the official line on what to do if you become a victim of Internet fraud and has good advice on how to spot scams and frauds.

Scambusters gives information about how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, or of frauds such as pyramid selling, or money laundering scams.

Urban legends

Urban legends can be harmless but only if you realise they are not actually true!

What are urban legends? These are stories or rumours that have been circulated from person to person. In the past they were spread by word of mouth but now are often spread via email or web sites. Some may originally have contained elements of truth, but have become distorted by mistakes being made in the retelling.
Others have been complete fabrications from the start.

NB. Warning: if an email contains a phrase like: “Please, send this message to as many people possible!!!!” it should alert you to the idea that you may be looking at an urban legend and so the last thing you should do is forward the email to anyone.

The Internet is awash with false information, which people endlessly forward on to others believing it to be true. They become SPAM that clogs up the networks and peoples’ email, misinforms them and wastes their valuable time.

Spam

It’s a rare computer user who hasn’t been bothered by Spam at some stage. By Spam, we mean unsolicited emails that try to sell you things of a dubious nature that you certainly didn’t ask for and, in all probability, don’t need. Everybody hates spam. It can clog up your email box, threaten the security of your PC, try to trick you into opening dangerous attachments, and even render the mail box entirely unusable. Most email programs have a spam filter. Select the spam email and click on “spam” to let the program know its spam email and will block it next time. Do this for all spam email will soon clean up your inbox. NB: Please do not send on emails with other peoples email address attached to it.

Disposable E-mail services

One way to beat spam is to use a disposable e-mail service. These are particular useful If you would like to try some free service that is offered on the Internet but are reluctant to provide your email address because it might lead to spam? Don’t worry, you don,t have to skip that free service – use a disposable email address such as 10 minute mail service, or if you want a it a bit longer you can use Guerrilla Mail – Creates temporary addresses that last 60 minutes. Your real address not required and no registration required. Also check out Spamgourmet which is a free service that can help, the first 3 messages to that address will be delivered to Gmail, and all others will be lost. You can change the limit if you wish.

Came across this website that can create hard to crack passwords ..

Phishing:

Many Internet fraudsters use a technique called “phishing” – sending out hoax emails, which look like they have come from your Bank or other online account such as Ebay or Paypal.
They often say that there has been a problem with unauthorised access to your account, or that you need to reconfirm your details for security reasons. One thing to look out for is there are usually not addressed to you by name and usually just say Dear Customer. Banks have stressed that they do not send out emails. if you do click on a link on the email it will take you to a page that could look like it belongs to your bank, where you will be asked to enter your passwords and personal information.
If you followed these instructions and entered your details you would be enabling the fraudsters to access your accounts.
It might be safer to use a search engine to find the web site of your bank than a link in an unverifiable email.

Backup Your Data!

I am sure you have often heard the phase backup your data and some people know what it means while others might just know it has something to do with a computer and that’s it.  So to clarify: to backup your data simply means you should make a copy of any data/files on your computer because for a great  number of reasons you could easily lose it.  Anyone who has ever used a computer has suffered from data loss one way or another, more often when using a word processing software such as Microsoft Word as from hard-drive damage.  That’s all well and good I hear you say, but what is “Data?”

Data: can include such items as: Photos ,(your priceless Christmas photos, your child’s first step, Holiday snaps etc.) Music, collection (such as your collection of CD’s you have saved on to the computers etc.) Word Documents, (such as copies of your birth cert, driving licence, information on your house/car insurance, letters you have written or maybe just copies of cherished emails.) and maybe even Movies: ( Home movies from that holiday, or just copies of your DVD collections) in other words all the stuff your do not want to lose which is stored on your computers hard-drive.

Now well may you ask how could I lose it on my personal computer?  Well technology is wonderful when it works but like all things man-make it can and more likely fail when you least expect it.  Data lose while using a word processor can simply mean losing that important document that you’ve spend hours creating using word only to lose it because you did not save it as you went along.  Hard-Drive damage can result from such things as knocking or dropping a laptop or a power surge on your desktop (lightening, power cuts etc..) which can fry your hard drive resulting in a lot of damage to the contents.

In the majority of cases recovery of such data is not possible and when it is possible its only partly successful.  There is Data Recover Software  that claims to recover your lost data but not with great success I may add.  So the obvious solution would be to prevent lost of your data in the first place.  In other words do not keep all your eggs in one basket, so the same with your precious data.

One tip that is useful for a laptop that has become corrupted and you can-not access the hard-drive to get some important files from it, is to purchase a  hard-drive enclosure case.  These are usually pretty cheap on eBay and come in two sizes 2.5 for a laptop and 3.5 for a desktop hard-drive.  The hard-drive is easy enough to remove from the laptop usually from an access hatch underneath it and taking off a couple of screws.  The hard-drive slides into the enclosure and it works the same as an external hard-drive by using the supplied USB lead. Very useful to remove important documents before you have to reformat a hard-drive.

So my recommendations to prevent the loss of your data is:

1.  Always try to store your documents ( Data) on a different Hard-Drive as your  operating system ( example windows XP, or windows 7/8 etc.).   Take for example if your personal Computer has a virus, or software failure the majority of computer problems will affect the operating system and often the only solution is to reinstall the operating system after reformatting the hard-drive which will delete everything on it anyway.

Purchasing a 2nd Hard-Drive is inexpensive and easy enough to install on a desktop computer, if that is beyond your technical skills an external hard-drive can be attached easily to any computers using a USB cable.  Fitting a second hard-drive is not possible on a laptop compared to a desktop in which case you will have to use an external hard-drive.   You can pick up an external hard-drive from such places as Argos, Harvey Normans, PC world even Easons very reasonable now.   The external hard-drive for your computer will not be affected if your operating systems is corrupted and can be easily used in different computers in the home.   Backing up your data on to the second hard-drive is very easy to do.   It’s just a case of copy an paste or just drag the files to the hard-drive which will show up under Computer > usually the brand name of the hard-drive > left double-click to open  on your Desktop once its attached by using the USB lead that comes with it.

2. Cloud Storage:  is another way to back up your data.  Cloud storage works much the same way as using an external hard-drive but you will need an internet connections to access it.  It is an advantage to have a good internet connection as sometimes those USB internet connections sticks can be a bit of a hit and miss affair at times.  The advantages of using Cloud Storage to back up your data is that it can be accessed using any computer any place in the world that has internet connection.  You can even use your smartphone with 3G internet connection to accessed your data, very useful if your abroad and need some documents for medical or insurance purposes as long as there are stored using cloud storage.  Examples of the different free cloud storage and the amount of free space they offer are available on my cloud storage post.

A CrashPlan+ account for off-site backups. In addition to local backups, CrashPlan can also back up your files off-site to their servers automatically.  If you don’t want to go with CrashPlan’s suggestions, you can manually choose which files and folders it backs up. To do so, click the Change button.   You can choose simply to use CrashPlan to back up files to an external hard drive (choose the Folders option), to another computer on your home network (choose Computers), to a friend’s computer over the Internet (choose Friends), or to CrashPlan’s servers (choose Online, which is the only one you have to pay for).

3. Burn onto a DVD:  to back up using a blank DVD disk you will need a DVD burner.  Most desktop and even laptops will come with a build in DVD burner. If your computer does not have a build in DVD burner it is easy to purchase an external DVD burner from many of the same places you would purchase an external hard-drive from.   Things to look out for when using DVDs to back up your data is that Rewritable DVD disks can only be burned a limited number of times before they become worn.  Always test the DVD back up after burning.  The disadvantages of using DVD disk is that they can become easily damaged or corrupted by simply dropping them or storing them too near some speakers.

The main lesson from this post is to backup your data regularly.  Just storing your files in a different location than your operating systems isn’t always enough, you need to create regular backups of your data.  No system is fool-proof as even your backup is subject to failure, DVDs get scratched, Hard-drives get dropped and USB keys get erased.  Sometimes to increase your odds of retrieving a file is to have a second backup of it, ( this is aimed especially towards students with final thesis or projects on USB keys).

The fastest way a computer or hard-drive can get a virus is by opening unknowing email attachments.  A good tip is even if your certain the email attachment don,t contain a virus you can still lose data if the document has the same name as one on your hard-drive and your email software saves attachments to the same folder your new file will overwrite the file already there.  In other words think twice before you save an email attachment on your hard-drive, at least make sure its going to an unique location.

In Conclusion if the documents are that important:

4. Keep hard-copies of your documents: it won,t stop you from having to type and format the document again but at least it will ensure you have the contents of the file, and that is better than having nothing at all.

Netbooks Vs Computer Tablets

Update Dec 2012

ultrabook-netbook-tablet

 

I am still enjoying my new iPad2 and I do not regret waiting for the new ipad ( Third generation).  Was up in the big smoke of Dublin City the weekend and got a chance to get my hands on the new iPad to play errrrr I mean test it. Yes the display is lovely and bright and clear ( maybe too bright!!) but it only shows up Ireland’s slow internet speeds and quite a lot of the apps did not suit the new display.  There is little external difference between the new iPad and prior models; most people would be hard-pressed to tell them apart in a lineup. Sure, the most recent iPad is slightly thicker and heavier, but its still beats dragging around a huge laptop. The high resolute camera is pretty clear but also felt kinda silly holding up a 10 inch tablet to use as a video recorder or camera no matter how clear it is.  All in all a nice bit of kit but is it worth paying out extra to upgrade from only a recently developed Ipad2 tablet!!  It still does not have a mini or full USB connection or a memory card slot and with more affordable android tablets arriving on the market with capacitive 5 point touch screens, USB connections etc,  it will have its work cut out for it to stay on top of the tablet market.

While there I also had a chance to check out the new Ipad mini.  I was expecting it to be smaller but it is a  good size screen to work with.  Not that it would be my choice, the larger screen would still be my preference.  The Ipad mini is still very expensive compare ( prices from €330 from Apple website) to the Ipad2 ( from €399 new) which is a tried and tested and reliable computer tablet.  Great bargains to be got buying refurbished iPad tablets with full 12 months warranty from the Apples refurbished online store.   To keep an eye on any new refurbished Apple items available you can leave your email address with a description of  the Apple products you are looking for with this website.

The Netbook

The idea of an incredibly lightweight, portable Netbook was very appealing two years ago, working on one didn’t really deliver. I figured I would be able to use the netbook for everything I had to do in a standard workday, especially since I was still in college at the time. I wanted to update my website, upload video and photos, and so on, and especially word processing for assignments and of course my thesis. It wasn’t easy, though. My first Netbook was a cute little 8 inch screen running windows XP. I have to admit it did run fairly well operating office 2003. But, and it was a big but..first I found it very difficult to view all the screen even with the task bar hidden. Then Office 2003 ran into compatibility issues with the new office 2010 which had become standard now in the majority of places. So that Netbook went the way of eBay and a new Netbook was purchased. The New Netbook was the sexy looking Acer One running Windows 7 Starter. Lovely looking machine,I installed Office 2010, and an anti-virus, Avast, thinking the least amount of stuff on it, the better it should run.

Now the problem was,just because a Windows 7 Netbook is supposed to do everything doesn’t mean it’s actually good at doing anything. Since it’s a Windows PC, you don’t have to worry about not being able to use the applications or Web services you need to get your work done–but you’ll have a hard time getting accustomed to using them on a Netbook.

For example, I rely on Web apps for most of my tasks, which works fine on my desktop PC . But it’s a lot harder to edit a document when I can see only a paragraph or two at a time. Even simple stuff, like reading a Web page or a spreadsheet, was downright frustrating on the Acer One 10.1-inch display. And talk about slow!! So hoping to improve performance I upgraded the Ram to 2GB and upgraded the windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate. But still found the slowness frustrating especially when I needed to perform a PowerPoint presentation for a college assignment it just kept lagging and when I got frustrated, I got less work done. Yes the Acer One Netbook had all the bells and whistles such as 3 USB ports, 2 in 1 media card reader and 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 0.3 MP build in webcam and a decent 10 hour battery. Nice! Pity the performance left it down.

Computer Tablet-IPad2

So finally this year I decided to invest in a computer tablet. I was reluctant to purchase the Apple iPad2 at first as I use an Android HTC mobile phone and I love it. I love the freedom to choose any application I want without restrictions and the fact that the Apple Ipad2 did not have a USB port was a big downside. I did investigate some android tablets and at the time a lot still came from China or Hong Kong and were not really tested. Got my hands on the Eldest Lads iPad2 and found I was pleasantly pleased with its performance and how fast it responded. The ease of use and the ability to carry it around were all selling factors. So after selling off my Acer One I invested in a refurbished Apple iPad2 from the Apple Store with full Apple warranty,( I did have to keep checking back to catch one as soon as its available as they go fast).  Recently realised that you can have your email addressed submitter to keep an eye on any refurbished Apple product from this Link for Irish customers.

The iPad2 arrived within a day or two and within ten minutes I had it up and running and receiving my emails from two different accounts makes it easy to keep business and pleasure apart.  The Tablet is very thin and you will find it easy to hold in your hands comfortably. It has an excellent battery life on continuous playback of videos, music and web browsing. The other advantage of iPad2 is Books. Reading books on iPad2 is a pleasure. With the Books feature, you can have access to iBook, Nook, Kindle and Google Books. I knew about the onscreen typing which made touch typing impossible, so I had ordered a Bluetooth case with a build in keyboard from eBay for 20 euro including P & P. I also wanted a basic case to protect it without the keyboard which I also got from eBay from an Irish Seller for 8 euro, very neat with a fold-able back that can be used as a stand for the iPad while watching a film etc. All of which arrived within the next day or two after receiving the iPad2. The keyboard case worked like a charm, very easy to connect using the Bluetooth and folded up no bigger than my last Netbook and much lighter. Battery is great on the Ipad2, over 8 hours working online and typing up my Blog. Nice One!  The Ipad2 also came with the WordPress Application pre-installed so I can get into to my Blog with one touch.

Using the Ipad to do a PowerPoint Presentation on a TV or Using a Projector:

Now the big question is, can it do a PowerPoint presentation? The answer is..Yes, as long as you use the appropriate adapter and the correct application to run the PowerPoint.  I have recently installed a new application called SlideShark which is FREE and it allows you to view and show presentations for free using either a VGA adapter or a digital AV HDMI adapter, again depends on the type of projector you are using.   Using SlideShark the PowerPoint’s are stored online ( Free 100 MB) available at anytime to use from the Ipad application or the PowerPoint can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Email, and play exactly as created.  The PowerPoint can be saved onto the Ipad before the presentation from the SlideShark website when you have WiFi available and then can be played on a projector or LCD television without the need of an internet connection, very useful.   To actually create a PowerPoint the very good and reasonable Application Docs to Go( 7.99 euro) which is also available for your desktop or mac makes a reasonable PowerPoint.   Another options is keynote ( 7.99 euro) which allows you to create and store your PowerPoint on icloud online ( free 5.0 GB of cloud storage) which comes with all Apple Ipads.   To put your PowerPoint into the Ipad is very easy, all you have to do is to either drop it into your DropboxBoxicloud to name a few, or even just email it to your own email address and pick it up on the Ipad. For more information on cloud storage go to my blog on Cloud Storage.

The disadvantages of the IPad 2 are, it still lacks USB support, Flash support and HDMI Output (thought output is possible via Apple Digital AV adapter).  So to present your PowerPoint you will need to get an adapter, either a VGA adapter for older projectors ( around 20 euro ) or a Digital AV HDMI Adapter ( about 30 euro ) with charging options including on it, which could be handy if your battery is low before a presentation.   The iPad’s lack of USB support is not as essential as it would have been lets say 5 years ago, the companies providing good and often free cloud storage are increasing everyday.  To get more tips and tricks for the iPad go to“The Best iPad Tips and Tricks”“at GIZMO’S FREEWARE website.

UPDATE: Just received the Digital AV HDMI adapter and I am very impressed. I plugged in my HDMI lead from my HD LCD television to the ipad2 using the HDMI adapter and the graphics for the games were as good as the playstation 3, for a fraction of the cost. E.G . mortal combat 3 is €5.49 for the ipad2, while the same game for the PlayStation 3 is nearly €50. The browser also worked perfect and the films on Netflix played on the television from the adapter on the ipad2 were crystal clear. It goes without saying PowerPoint worked perfect from the ipad2 to the LCD television. It is really a pity that the iPad does not come with those connections first day.

One of the biggest draw backs for the Ipad is its lack of Flash support. So, before buying the iPad, just consider whether the web sites you frequently needs flash support. For example: the SlideShare Presentations playing YouTube videos on LinkedIn cannot be viewed via the Ipad. So if you view web sites which requires flash a lot, then it would be a better choice to go for any Android Powered Tablet than the Ipad.  Another option for the Ipad is to download the iSwifter browser onto your iPad from the App Store, this is a flash browser. It works, but I have found it a bit jerky.

The 7 inch Teclast Android Pad

My middle lad in the mean-while had picked up a Teclast 7 inch Android pad with Capacitive 5-Point Touch Screen from Ebay for less than a 100 euro from a seller in the UK ( i.e. no import tax). Now well may you ask what do you mean by a Capacitive Screen!!! Well for example the Ipad has a capacitive screen along with the majority of mobile smart phones. In other words it’s a screen that can be easily navigated using ones fingers and can pinch and zoom images to any size for easy viewing. The alternative is the Resistive touch screen, ( need a stylus/pen or nail to operate the screen) for a good comparison with the pros and cons go to Yamp’s Blog. So I had a chance to examine the Teclast 7 Inch Android 2.3 pad and to my surprise it worked very well indeed. It has full video Skype using the build in camera, over 8Gb storage with the option of adding more using a memory card which the Ipad does not have. Has all the bells and whistles the Ipad has for one-third of the price and it even has a HDMI output which allows viewing of movies or photos on any LCD television using a HDMI lead. Middle lad is very happy with the 7 inch Android pad because he says it makes it very easy to type or text on by holding it in both hands and it fits into his pocket. Again its easy to pick up a case with a keyboard for the 7inch pad on Ebay but this time using a mini USB connection as the smaller pad does not have Bluetooth, pity really as it’s about the only thing that is missing. Have to mention it also plays Angry Birds very well!!. So would I get a 7 inch android pad, the answer is NO, size matters, especially when I want to see the screen I am typing into, but would I get a 9.7 inch or a 10 inch Android pad, the answer would be Yes indeed, Especially after seeing the performance of the Teclast 7 inch pad. Very impressed and very easy to do a PowerPoint presentation using the HDMI output to a Projector. Again Docs to Go or Slideshark will make sure the PowerPoint runs smoothly.

There are many more Computer Tablets out there, so do the research and find the one that will suit you. Has the Computer Tablet made the Netbook obsolete!! It is seriously beginning to look that way. At the end of the day I would seriously consider paying out big money for something that could very easily be dropped and damaged beyond repair. As with all mobile equipment, accidents can and will happen, and not to mention 6 months down the road whatever you have purchased, especially when it comes to technology, it could well be out dated pretty quick. So take performance, price and usability into question before you purchase your computer tablet and above all ask yourself: how much fun is it to use!!.

NOTE: There are a lot of cheap 10 inch Android Computer Tablets for sale on eBay at the moment ( avoid the China and Hong Kong ones or you will be caught for the 21% import duty ) but the majority of them have the Resistive touch screen which is not that much fun and can be quite frustrating to use. Make sure the screen is the Capacitive 5-Point Touch Screen if it’s not mentioned on the description then it means it has the Resistive screen which is much cheaper and does not work as good as the capacitive screen.