Quick Tip: Cleaning Your Smartphone Screen

Long Story Short: Buy a cleaning kit made exclusively to clean the screen on your smartphone.  Smartphones are not cheap and the last thing you want to do is ruin the screen on your phone. You will see various DIY mixtures, but I have found it is best to get a product that is already packaged in a spray bottle that often comes packaged with a lint-free microfibre cloth. You will not regret it and you will find you will be cleaning and sanitizing your phone more often. Always spray the solution on the cloth and not directly on your phone or other devices.

What you don’t want to do: Due to the special coating on many of these smartphones, do not use household cleaners such as window cleaners, aerosol spray cleaners, solvents of any kind, bleach, ammonia, undiluted alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

Where to buy: If you look on Amazon (click here) you will find an array of products made exclusively to clean smartphones. The one that I specifically selected is the WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit. The cleaner is designed to clean eyeglasses, smartphone, laptops, tablets, HDTV’s, and wearable tech, such as smartwatches. The kit is reasonably priced and ships with a large and small (portable) container of the cleaner with Two 6′ x 6′ cloths + BONUS Poo cloth.

WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit – Safe for All Screens

More “Quick Tips” Here

Quick Tip: Save Paper and Use Windows 10’s “Microsoft Print To PDF”

On most occasions, the documents we desire to print do not need to be in paper form. The print jobs are usually something we just want to save (like a packrat). To save paper, when you go to print in Windows 10, select “Microsoft Print To PDF” and save the print result to a folder on your computer. When you do this the end result is saved as a PDF file on your computer and will look just like the print result on paper; except, it is now in electronic form. You can even email the PDF to someone else if need be; and, if you find in the future you do need an actual hard copy of the file, just pull it up and print it to your printer. Great way to save paper and I can guarantee you, if you start doing this, you very seldom will use your printer.

More “Quick Tips” Here

Quick Tip: Using Google Calendar As A Journal To Keep Track of Events In the Past

Typically, when using Google Calendar, we use the calendar to keep track of events that occur in the future and once those events pass, we no longer think about them. I started thinking, why not use Google Calendar to keep track of the events that occurred in the past and be able to add a detailed description of what occurred and/or what actions were taken. With Google Calendar this is absolutely possible and is a good way to document and describe what occurred during a past calendar event. As a matter of fact, I have even started (since I am now retired) using this idea and feature to create a journal using Google Calendar, to document my day.

Here is how this works (very simple)… Open Google Calendar and initiate adding an event to your calendar and you should see the following type of window. In that window, click on “More Options”.

After clicking on “More options”, you should see a window as depicted below where you can add various details for the event. At the very bottom, is where you can add a description with various types of formatting to get creative. Also, note I only added two lines of text. You are not limited to that and can type paragraphs if you want. When done, click on “Save” and that is it. You have now added a description to the event and can go back and edit the description at any time. You can even add attachments and links. As I mentioned, I now schedule an event and will go back to my calendar entry following the event to document what occurred.

More “Quick Tips” Here

Quick Tip: Conceal Your Browsing Habits By Going Incognito In Google Chrome

As you know, browsing with Google Chrome or any browser for that matter, your privacy is compromised to the degree that your browsing habits, etc… leave tracks as to where you have been. This is typically done via cookies (that identifies the user when you visit specific sites) and via your browsing history. This is all fine and dandy to a certain point, but there may be occasions where you do not want this information stored and want to protect your identity.

The solution to this problem, on those certain occasions, is to go “incognito”. If you look up in the dictionary, “incognito” is defined as “having one’s true identity concealed”. Nearly all browsers give you the ability to go into “incognito” mode, but for the sake of this article, I am going to tell you how to get into “incognito” mode using Google Chrome. It is very, very easy…

Simply click the vertical three-dot icon on the top-right of the browser and select “New incognito window.” On mobile, tap the three-dot icon on the bottom-right (iOS) or top-right (Android) and select “New incognito tab.” That is it, simple as that… In Google Chrome, when in incognito mode you will see a darkened browser background and you will obviously see “You’ve gone incognito”. You can also get into “incognito” mode by hitting “Ctrl+Shift+N” in combo, on your keyboard.

Now, something I do want to point out. This does give you some privacy protection to a certain point, but do not think this is keeping you from being seen at work. Incognito mode only is concealing your behavior. On work networks, the network administrator, if necessary can track unusual activity via a workstations or devices IP address.

 

What do browser cookies do?

The purpose of the computer cookie is to help the website keep track of your visits and activity. This isn’t always a bad thing. For example, many online retailers use cookies to keep track of the items in a user’s shopping cart as they explore the site. Without cookies, your shopping cart would reset to zero every time you clicked a new link on the site. That would make it difficult to buy anything online!

A website might also use cookies to keep a record of your most recent visit or to record your login information. Many people find this useful so that they can store passwords on frequently used sites, or simply so they know what they have visited or downloaded in the past.

Different types of cookies keep track of different activities. Session cookies are used only when a person is actively navigating a website; once you leave the site, the session cookie disappears. Tracking cookies may be used to create long-term records of multiple visits to the same site. Authentication cookies track whether a user is logged in, and if so, under what name.

Source: Norton by Symantec

Quick Tip: Lock Down Your Android Smartphone For Peace of Mind

Nothing is more distressing than losing your phone or thinking it has been stolen. For peace of mind, as soon as you set up your new phone, take a moment and lock it down by configuring the lock screen. Most phones during the initial set up prompt you through a process to lock down your phone, either via a PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint and/or facial recognition. My phone, I have set up to use a combination of these, with the fingerprint recognition I feel is the most powerful. My phone also allowed me to pick a 6-digit PIN, which I feel really makes it tougher to overcome.

9-hints-to-secure-your-mobile-phone

If by chance you skipped over the process to secure your phone when you initially set it up or you desire to modify the current settings, you can do this by heading to the system settings. The system settings on most phones can be accessed via an app icon (labeled “system settings or settings”) or by pulling down from the top of the screen and tapping on a “cogged gear icon”. From the system settings, you are looking for the Security Menu. The menus and options may slightly vary from phone to phone but look for anything that is related to “security” and once there you should see various options to lock down your phone.

Just do it for peace of mind… These phones are computers in our pockets and contain a mother load of personal information.

 

 

Quick Tip: If You Use An Android Phone You Have A Google Account (i.e. Gmail)

When you purchase and set up an Android phone, you initially are prompted to establish a Google Account. Many home-based users who are just getting into the Android smartphone arena do not know that. By establishing a Google Account (with a username and password) you now have access to many of Google’s apps and services such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, etc… that can be accessed from any web-based device (i.e. computer and tablet). Anything that is Google related, you will be able to access with your username and password. There is a great benefit to this on the upside, but on the downside, you essentially have sold your soul to Google…

There are workarounds to this, but for most folks at home just want their phones to work and do not think about workarounds. Just want to point that out…

cropped-logo.png

Quick Tip: How To Power “OFF” Your Android Smartphone Or Tablet

One of the first questions I am often asked about Android OS Smartphones and Tablets is: How do you shutdown or power “off” the device (smartphone or tablet)?  

Many folks will often tap the power button thinking they are turning the device “off”, when in fact they are only putting the device in a standby mode only. To really power “off” the device you need to hold down the power button until you see an option to power the device down (varies slightly from device to device, but the process is very similar). Select the “power off” option and the device will shut completely down. To power the device back “on”, hold in on the power button until you see the screen light up (typically with the phone or tablet’s logo).

A good practice to follow is to turn the device completely “off” on occasions. I typically will power my smartphone (off) and back (on) at least once or twice a month. You will find this helps refresh the memory cache and the device will actually run a bit faster.

Quick Tip: How To Set Up Your Computer Work Environment

Work Environment

  • Avoid excessive reaching. Your keyboard, pointing device, files and telephone should be within easy reach.
  • Use a keyboard tray to properly position your keyboard and pointing device.
  • Use a copyholder positioned in line with your monitor and keyboard.
  • When writing at the computer, avoid excessive reaching over the keyboard or work materials. A sturdy in-line copyholder can double as a writing surface if appropriately positioned.
  • Position the monitor so that the viewed part of the screen allows you to keep your neck in a neutral or straight position. The monitor should be centered directly in front of you. The top of the computer screen should be slightly below the top of your head, so that you are looking at it with a slightly downward gaze.
  • Position your monitor to eliminate excessive glare or reflections from windows and lighting.
  • Customize your computer by using your software. The screen font, contrast, pointer size, speed, and color can all be adjusted to maximize your comfort and efficiency.

Source: University of Pittsburgh – Ergonomic Tips for Computer Users

Quick Tip: Lifesaver Keyboard Shortcut To Open A Closed Browser Tab

This is one keyboard shortcut to plug into your memory banks (your brain) when using your web browser. Let’s face it, in today’s world of computing, especially at home, we are nearly 100% of the time using our web browser. What this keyboard shortcut does, is open any browser tabs you may have closed (or accidentally closed). This keyboard shortcut works across most popular browser platforms and can be done multiple times to open tabs that you closed.

Ctrl + Shift + T

Quick Tip: Keyboard Shortcut To Bookmark A Webpage

Want to save some time bookmarking a webpage that you want to save for future reference?

When you are on a website or webpage that you want to bookmark, simply hold down the following keys in combo:

Ctrl + D

This will initiate the bookmark manager in your browser.

How to clean a flat screen TV – Reviewed Televisions

Always use a microfiber cloth or towel—like the ones that come with a new pair of glasses—to clean your TV screen.

Repeat after me: I will never use Windex—or any type of window cleaner—to clean my TV.

Do Not Use Windex or Window Cleaner to Clean a TV Screen

Get the full details on “How to clean a flat screen TV” at the source link reflected below. The same techniques explained work for computer monitors, smartphones, tablets, etc…

Source: How to clean a flat screen TV – Reviewed Televisions

Quick Tip: What is an UPS?

If you own a desktop computer, which is an investment or an appliance of value, you may want to invest in purchasing a UPS (uninterrupted power supply). An uninterruptible power supply (UPS), offers guaranteed power protection for connected electronics. When power is interrupted, or fluctuates outside safe levels, a UPS will instantly provide clean battery backup power and surge protection for plugged-in, sensitive equipment. Typically, during a power outage, the UPS will keep the equipment stable for a prescribed amount of runtime (depending on the type/model UPS you install). The time element gives you enough time to safely shut down the computer to prevent component damage and loss of data.  Many UPS will come with a bank of outlets. For example, I own the APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector 650 which gives me a total of 8 outlets (4 on each side of the UPS). The important part to note here is that 4 of those outlets provide “battery back up & surge protection” and the other 4 provide on (surge protection).  I typically plug in the computer, monitor, router, and modem into the battery backup side and other less significant devices (such as a printer) in the other surge protection outlet. This particular UPS (APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector 650) is rated for approximately a half hour of runtime during a complete outage.

APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector 650

In the end, investing in one of these is like having an insurance policy that will help keep your computer and electronics running smoothly, even during those times when you have power fluctuations and outages.

Quick Tip: Did you know that the Google Chrome browser has a built-in task manager?

Google Chrome has a built-in task manager that will help you troubleshoot what tabs and extensions are causing issues. From the task manager, you can kill or end those processes that may assist you in troubleshooting what may be the culprit. Very, very seldom have I had to use the task manager, but is good to know it is there when things start slowing down.

You can quickly get to the task manager in Google Chrome by hitting the “Shift+Esc” keys together on your keyboard. You can also get to the task manager by accessing Chrome’s menu by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of the browser, then “more tools”, then “task manager”.

10 Tips to Keep Your Online Bank Account Secure | Make Use Of

I encourage my readers to visit “Make Use Of” (source link below) to learn 10 tips to keep your online bank account secure. One of the tips that jumped out at me is that it is safer to log into your bank account using the bank’s app on your smartphone (through your cellular service), versus accessing your bank account from your desktop or laptop computer which is more susceptible to malicious attack.

Online Banking Mobile App

Switching to online banking comes with some security risks. These tips explain how to keep your online bank account safe.

Source: 10 Tips to Keep Your Online Bank Account SecureT

Quick Tip: Most Important Process You Can Learn In Windows is “Cut, Copy and Paste”

To this day, after over 30 years in computing, people still do not know how to “Cut, Copy and Paste”; and, I have found it to be one of the most difficult things to teach people. I consider it the most important process you can learn in order to master the computer that will increase your productivity immensely. I encourage you to learn how to “cut or copy and paste”; you will not regret it.

To explain how this works… In simple terms, when you select text, a graphic, or a file in whatever it is you are working in, you can cut or copy that text, graphic or file from one location to another, by using the paste command. Whatever it is you cut or copy will be saved to the area of the computer (that you do not visually see) called the Windows clipboard. When you go to use the paste command, it will take whatever it was you cut or copied (saved) to the clipboard and allow you to paste (insert) it at another location. When you copy something, it does just that, it makes an exact copy. When you cut something, it removes it from the location you are cutting from.

For example, I could highlight and select text in a document, right mouse click, select copy from the menu; then, go to another document I may be composing, right mouse click and select paste (and the text will be copied or pasted at that location). If you select the cut command, it would remove the text from the source document location, be copied to the clipboard where you can then paste it in the document you are composing. In file management, cut or copy and paste is very useful when moving files from folder to another.

Typically cut or copy and paste can be used from the “right mouse click menu” after you select the text, graphic or file you desire to use.

You can also can use the keyboard commands: Ctrl+X (cut); Ctrl+C (copy) and Ctrl+V (paste)…

As I mentioned, difficult to grasp, but learn how to do this and it will change how you use your computer forever and you will soon see it is actually very easy to master. If anything, learn how to “copy” and “paste” first until you get a good understanding of how this works; then, go to “cut” and “paste’. As an added note, “cut or copy and paste” are used on other operating platforms too, like your Android smartphone…

Quick Tip: How To Force A Computer To Shut Off

Did you ever run into a situation where your computer froze and nothing is working (including CTRL+ALT+DEL)? Typically, this is an indication that an issue is present; especially, if it occurs on a frequent basis. If the computer does freeze or lock up on you, sometimes rebooting may rectify the problem; but,  how do you force the computer to shut off, short of pulling the plug?  On “most” computers, if you hold in on the “power button” on the computer, the computer will shut “off”.  I usually wait about 10 seconds, hit the button again (do not hold in) to reboot (start) the computer.

Did you know that “Windows 10 now lets you pull out USB drives without ‘safely removing’ them”? | The Next Web

Been seeing this on numerous sites where you can now safely yank out that USB drive (so long as the drive is not being written to) on Windows 10.  Most people do not know (prior to now) that you should use the “safely remove hardware” option when yanking out that USB drive so as not to risk data loss and corruption of the drive. Heck, I’ve been yanking those drives out for years and don’t remember any issues. Just have to make sure the drive is not being written to.


We all know that one person who annoyingly reminds you to use “Safely Remove Hardware” before pulling the USB drive out of the slot. They shouldn’t bother you anymore. As Betanews first noted, Microsoft has introduced a new policy that allows you to remove the device without using the Safely Remove Hardware process – as long as you’re not writing data to it.

Source: The Next Web – Windows 10 now lets you pull out USB drives without ‘safely removing’ them

How to Avoid Common Identity Theft Scams | Addictive Tips

This is an excellent posting at “Addictive Tips” that looks at the various common identity theft scams. I especially encourage the readers at home to take a moment and take a look at this (see source link below). There is a lot of criminality out there and the more knowledgeable you are, the safer you (and others) will be.

While there are many things that can expose your personal information (like data breaches), there are precautions you can take to prevent others that are more in your control. But how do you avoid the common identity theft scams that are out there? Today, we’ll be showing you what to look out for, and how to protect yourself.

Source: How to Avoid Common Identity Theft Scams

How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome | Addictive Tips

If you are a Google Chrome browser user, you need to read this article at Addictive Tips (see source link below) on how to install and uninstall extensions. Many folks I know and have helped at home have no idea what a browser extension is. Browser extensions are, in my words, add-ons that you can install that will enhance your computing experience when using your web browser. Most extensions (or add-ons) will show up on the toolbar at the top of your browser. For example, I have an extension installed where I click on an icon on the toolbar and can easily read my incoming email. There are many, many extensions to choose… Right now I have approximately 30 different extensions installed. These extensions, for Google Chrome, can be acquired (for FREE) at the Google Chrome Store.

add to chrome

 

If you’ve never tried an extension out, or you don’t know where to get started, you’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome.

Source: How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome

What Is Wi-Fi? Everything You Need to Know | Digital Trends

One of the goals of my blog is to teach people about computer information technology, a byte at a time… Here is a good article at Digital Trends about “Wi-Fi”. Most people who own computers and other devices know the term “Wi-Fi”, but do not know about “Wi-Fi”. To learn about “Wi-Fi” in under 5 minutes, check out the Digital Trends article by clicking on the source link below.

The term “Wi-Fi” is a marketing name, but it stands for “wireless fidelity.” Similar to other wireless connection types, like Bluetooth, it’s a radio transmission technology that’s built upon a set of standards to allow high-speed and secure communications between a wide variety of digital devices, access points, and hardware. It makes it possible for Wi-Fi capable devices to access the internet without the need for restrictive wires.

what is wi fi whatiswifi02

Source: What Is Wi-Fi? Everything You Need to Know | Digital Trends

How To Open The “Command Prompt” From An Open File Explorer Window

Thanks to MSPoweruser for sharing this power user tip… I love tips like this; plus, I have always been a fan of using the Command Prompt.

Tip: I wish I knew this Windows 10 Command prompt tip years ago – MSPoweruser

To open a CMD window in the same directory as the folder you are viewing, you simply need to type CMD in the directory path area of the File Explorer. There is also a tip which goes in the opposite direction.  If you want to open an File Explorer window in the same directory as your command prompt, merely type Start . with the full stop.

Source: Tip: I wish I knew this Windows 10 Command prompt tip years ago – MSPoweruser

Did you know that you can sort in Microsoft Excel by using colors?

Did you know that you can sort in Microsoft Excel by using colors? For example, Excel can sort by cell color, font color, cell icon, and values. If you want to learn quickly how this works, follow the source link below at PCWorld.

Can Excel Sort by Color? How to Fill Color and use Sort & Filter’s Custom Sort | PCWorld

microsoft excel logo primary resized2

 

Source: Can Excel Sort by Color? How to Fill Color and use Sort & Filter’s Custom Sort | PCWorld

What Is 5G? | PCMag.com

You are probably hearing about all of the hoopla about 5G. Many of you know that it mean’s something faster; but, how fast. This article by PCMag sums it up.

AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers will start to launch 5G networks this year. But what exactly is 5G, and how fast is it compared with 4G? Here are the facts we know so far.

5G

Source: What Is 5G? | PCMag.com

Did you know that “Soon, you might be able to use Google Duo on the web” | Android Authority

Google Duo is a Google product (app) that allows you to make video calls… If you are not using it, I encourage you to give it a try…

So far, using Google Duo has been limited to smartphones, tablets, and the majority of Chromebooks. In the near future though, the Google Duo video chat service could work on your laptop or desktop computer through your internet browser.

Source: Soon, you might be able to use Google Duo on the web – Android Authority

[DID YOU KNOW?] – You Can Move The Windows 7 Taskbar to Make Your Workspace More Productive

The Windows Taskbar, which is the bar located at the bottom of screen can be moved to either side of the screen or to the top.

Windows Taskbar

In today’s world of computing where widescreen displays are the status quo, it only makes sense to move the taskbar from the bottom of the screen to one of the sides of the screen. It is a matter of personal preference, as to what side. Regardless, what this does is give you more vertical space to work with. Yes, years ago when we had the square displays, the taskbar at the bottom made a whole lot of sense (provided more horizontal space).

Initially this change will not feel right at all; however, over a period of time, as you adjust to the change, you will find that by moving the taskbar to the side of the screen will result in a much more proportioned and productive workspace.

To make this even better, once you get the taskbar to the side of the screen, set it to “autohide” and then “lock the taskbar” to prevent it from being accidentally moved.  If, in the end, you just cannot adjust to these change, simply move the taskbar back to the bottom of the screen.

So how do you do all of this?

To Move The Taskbar: Left mouse click an empty space on the taskbar, and then hold down the mouse button as you drag the taskbar to one of the four edges of the desktop. When the taskbar is where you want it, release the mouse button.

To AutoHide The Taskbar: Position the mouse pointer on an empty space on the taskbar.  Right Mouse Click, select “Properties”, then checkbox “Lock The Taskbar”, then click on “Apply”, then “OK”.

To Lock The Taskbar: Right mouse click an empty space on the taskbar. If Lock the Taskbar has a check mark next to it, the taskbar is locked. You can unlock it by clicking Lock the Taskbar, which removes the check mark.

These same instructions will work for Windows Vista and Windows XP, with maybe some slight differences; however, the Windows 7 taskbar was specifically engineered to take in account any taskbar changes and adjust them accordingly.

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[DID YOU KNOW?] – Hotkey to Turn Google Chrome Bookmark Bar On and Off

Recently I was looking for a way to autohide the bookmark bar in the Google Chrome Browser. What I found is that there is no option available to do this; HOWEVER, I did find that the keyboard combination of  Ctrl+Shift+B will toggle the bookmark bar on and off. What I did in my case was program (or assign) one of the buttons on my Logitech mouse to use this hotkey combination.  Now, at the click of the mouse, I can toggle the bookmark bar on and off to easily access my favorite bookmarks.

Ctrl + Shift + B

[DID YOU KNOW?] is something NEW here at What’s On My PC and will be an ongoing project that will give you tidbits or bytes of computer information that I find that is really useful or unique.  If you have anything that you would like to see posted in the future, that may be helpful to others, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below.

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