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Most people don’t realize GmailIconthat you can use multiple address variations of your basic “yourname@gmail.com” Gmail address. Gmail lets you put a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your name. For example, yourname@gmail.com can become yourname+contests@gmail.com or yourname+hydrobill@gmail.com.
All messages sent to any of these different address variations will end up on your inbox. The benefit of using address variations is that you can easily add a filter to label and/or archive messages in a particular way, depending on different address variations you have created. This can help you better manage the different types of messages coming into your inbox.

 

It is a safe bet that the microphone on your desktop or laptop probably makes you sound like you are under water or in the next room most of the time. If you make a lot of call calls on Skype, regularly participate in Hangouts, or record music or podcasts, a decent can make a world of difference. BlueMic
Lifehacker has a great post that reviews the five of the most popular mics in the $100 price range, as voted by readers of that blog. I and many of my colleagues use one or more of the mics mentioned in this post. If you are thinking about getting a better mic, I guarantee that you will find one that suits your needs among the five listed in the post.

 

Most people wouldn’t think of using keyboard shortcuts as they watch videos on YouTube. However, there are actually several really helpful YouTube keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know and use.

First, while watching a video, remember that you can pause it by pressing the Spacebar once. Press the Spacebar again to make the video play.
youtube-logo
Second, you can increase or decrease the volume by, respectively, pressing the Up or Down keys.

Third, the Left and Right arrows will let you, respectively, rewind or fast forward through a video.

Lastly, the Home key will take back to the beginning of a video, and the End key will jump you to the end.

One small pointer for making these keyboard shortcuts work – the YouTube video must have the focus, or in other words, be the active object on your screen. You make this happen by clicking once on the window that YouTube appears in.

 

I have harped on this before, but nothing like a pending deadline to spur the procrastinators amongst us into action…
As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will cease supporting Windows XP SP3 (Service Pack 3) and Office 2003 (SP3). After this date there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft for either of these products. Your computer will still operate and Office 2003 programs will winxplogostill run, but if you continue to use Windows XP or Office 2003, you will be more vulnerable to security risks including harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information or destroy your data.
Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft’s anti-malware program, will not be available for download on Windows XP after April 8, 2014. But, if you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates through July 14, 2015. Similarly, Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool works in conjunction with the company’s anti-malware engines and signatures, and as such the removal tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015. Despite these continuing updates, PCs running Windows XP or Office 2003 after April 8, 2014 should not be considered to be properly protected from malware.
As support is ending as of April 8, 2014, you should immediately take steps to update all law firm and home computers running Windows XP SP3, and upgrade to a newer version of Office on any computer running Office 2003. You can download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 7 or 8.1. If your current PC meets the system requirements, you can buy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro from a local retailer so you can upgrade your computer. If your PC does not meet system requirements, you will need to purchase a new computer.
Cyber criminals and hackers will specifically be targeting computers that are running XP and Office 2003. The time and expense you will incur if your systems are compromised will be far greater than the cost of purchasing a new computer or updating Office. Please immediately take steps to update any computers running Windows XP or Office 2003. The clock is ticking down.

 

All too frequently, we have all faced the frustrating “printer is low on ink” warning – usually when we are printing something urgent.
Do you need to immediately change LowInk
your cartridge? No. If, despite the low ink warning, you are still getting good quality print jobs (i.e., no fading or streaking), carry on printing. In most cases, you will be able to print a few, several or even more pages without problems. Change your cartridge only when the quality of your print jobs starts to decline.

 

After spending money to buy a new TV, you want to do everything you can to get the best possible picture. One of the tempting additional purchases – often pushed on you by the salesperson – is an expensive gold-plated HDMI cable. HDMIcablesThey come in large fancy packages and with big price tags – up to $100.

Are they worth it? No – save your hard-earned money for something else. You will get a decent picture with the basic $20 cable. For longer runs – 3 or more metres – best to stay away from the real cheap no-name cables, but you should be fine with a basic brand name cable.

 

Not sure if the experts will say this is a scientifically helpful idea for falling asleep (IMHO it seems better than just counting sheep), but sometimes you will want to listen to music as you (hopefully) fall asleep. sleep
But how do you set things up so you aren’t stuck listening to music all night? Just create a playlist for the songs you want to listen to – even if it is just one song. You get silence – and hopefully sleep – when the playlist is done. Here’s to falling asleep faster!
And a bonus tip: If you want a good mellow suggestion for your falling asleep playlist, consider the third movement from the Second Symphony by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. You might recognize it (if you were born before 1960) as the melody of “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” by Eric Carmen (great live version with great hair in this video).

 

Taking a screenshot of your PC desktop is easy – look for the “print screen” key on your keyboard. On PC keyboards it will usually have PrtScn, PRTSC or PRTSCN on it. Often, you will have to press it in combination with the SHIFT key. Doing this will place an image of the entire desktop in the clipboard – a quick paste of the clipboard contents (CTRL+V) gives you an image of your entire desktop.

Adding an ALT to the mix (e.g., SHIFT+ALT+PRTSC) will place an image of the active window (not the entire desktop) into the clipboard.
PrtScn
On a Mac, there are actually four easy ways to get screenshots of all or part of your desktop – but they aren’t as obvious as the ways to do it on a PC.

To take a screenshot of your entire desktop, press SHIFT+COMMAND+3 and an image of the screenshot will automatically appear in a file on your Mac’s desktop.

To copy an image of the entire desktop to your Mac’s clipboard, press CONTROL+SHIFT+ COMMAND+3. Then press the paste command (COMMAND+V) to paste an image of the desktop into a document.

You can also take a screenshot of just a portion of your Mac’s desktop by pressing SHIFT+COMMAND+4. This turns the pointer into a target. Next, click and hold, then drag the target pointer to create a box on your desktop. When you release, the area within your box will appear in an image file on your desktop.

Using CONTROL+SHIFT+COMMAND+4 works in a similar fashion, and pastes the selected area into the Mac’s clipboard. You can then paste the screenshot into a document by pressing the paste command.

 

On at least a few previous occasions(here and here), I have written about the necessity of backing up your personal data, pictures and contacts, regardless of where they reside – your computer, your smartphone, your iPad or other tablet, your camera, etc. It is a fact of life that hard drives and other devices will fail – you want to have your data backed up so you don’t lose it.
backup button
But what about all that data and information you have created on the cloud? Think about all the information you have created in Facebook, LinkedIn, the various Google services, Evernote, Twitter and Yahoo. More than a few cloud services have lost or destroyed data, and some have gone out of business, usually with little or no notice. Your cloud data should be backed up too!

PC Magazine recently published an article that reviews the things you should think about when backing up your cloud data, and it contains specific instructions on downloading data from the cloud services mentioned above. If you use these cloud services, or others, avoid disappointment by taking steps to make sure your cloud data is properly backed up.

 

When you are in low light conditions, a flash can be essential for taking a picture. But, in some circumstances, a flash can also be helpful in broad daylight, especially for portraits.
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When taking pictures while on auto-flash in the daylight, your flash may not trigger. Your smartphone or DSLR simply decides there is enough light and it doesn’t fire the flash. But even in the daytime, you can end up with a dark face if your subject is in front of a bright background, or have shadows on one side of a face if your main light source is coming from one side. Setting your smartphone or camera to fire the flash regardless of the ambient light can help light up a darkened face and/or eliminate shadows on your subject. This is call a “fill flash.”

While you only have the choice of on/off on your smartphone, but there will be tons of flash settings you can play with on a DSLR. Consider trying this trick next time you wanting a bit more light on your subject in a daytime picture. It can yield spectacular results, even on a smartphone.