Quick Tip: How to use the “Windows Snap” feature with the keyboard…

Snap with the keyboard

Aero Snap Windows Side by Side

To snap a window with the keyboard:

  • Select the window you want to snap and press the Windows Logo Key  + Left Arrow to snap that window to the left of your screen or the Windows Logo Key  + Right Arrow to snap that window to the right.
  • If you want to move it to a corner after snapping it, then with the window selected, press the Windows Logo Key  + Up Arrow or the Windows Logo Key  + Down Arrow to get it into the desired corner.
  • After you move the window to a corner, the window is in its smallest possible state, which is a quarter of the screen. Then you can use the Windows Logo Key  + Arrow Keys to move it wherever you want.

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 Use “Tell Me” In Microsoft Office 2016 and Microsoft Office 365

I captured this tidbit “quick tip” directly from Microsoft. It is a tip on how to use “Tell Me” in the suite of Microsoft Office 2016 (i.e. Word, Powerpoint, Excel) and Microsoft Office 365. Many folks fail to use this readily available feature that will save you time and help you get answers to specific features you want to use.

Do things quickly with Tell MeYou‘ll notice a text box on the ribbon in Office 2016 and Office 365 apps that says Tell me what you want to do. This is a text field where you can enter words and phrases about what you want to do next and quickly get to features you want to use or actions you want to perform.

Shows the "tell me" search box on the ribbon in Word.

Source: Microsoft – Do things quickly with Tell Me

Quick Tip: Did you know you can perform a search from your browser’s address bar?

I have found that many folks at home do not know that you can perform an internet search by typing what you are looking for in the browser’s address bar. For example, I use Google Chrome. I can perform a Google Search by going to the address bar (at the top) and typing in what I am looking for. This saves me from having to go to Google.com to perform a search. This also works in the browsers on your smartphones and tablets, as well.

Depending on your browser, the default search engine or provider can be changed in your browser’s settings.  Some people like Google, other’s like Bing (and so forth).

 

 

Quick Tip: Learn About Browser Tabs

When you open your web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera, etc…) you initially open up to a page that is your designated home page. At the top of the browser window, you will see what is called a “Tab”. The “Tab” will look like a tab that you may have seen on a file folder that you place into a file cabinet. The “Tab” to a file folder in the file cabinet lets you know the contents of the file folder. The same principle applies with “Tabs” in a web browser. You can open another web page by adding another tab, in conjunction with others; therefore, you could have multiple “Tabs” open. You can switch between these tabs anytime, which is helpful and productive. What I have found with basic computer users they are unaware of browser tabs and often have a hard time grasping the concept. I usually can tell this when I go to help them and they have multiple tabs open. The “Tabs” are easy to close, by clicking on the “X”,  and should be closed when not in use,  in order to conserve computer memory.

Below is a screenshot of the browser tabs that I had open while I was composing this article… If you noticed at the last tab labeled “Facebook” there is a “+” sign. If you click on that plus sign in your browser at home, you can add another tab. Also, notice the “X” at each browser tab, that will close the selected tab, if you click on it. Also, some links you click on when web browsing will open additional tabs. Again, a good idea to close down tabs that you are not using.

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: How To Get Amazon Shipment Updates Via Text

Most folks these days shop Amazon and most folks carry a cell phone (or smartphone). Did you know when you buy from Amazon you can subscribe to receive text alerts on your cell phone (or smartphone) as to when your package is shipped; when your package is out for delivery; and when your package is delivered or encounters a problem?

To subscribe, simply visit the Shipment Updates via Text page and follow the instructions. You will need to log into your Amazon account to make this work.

Quick Tip: Adding Fonts In Google Docs

To add additional fonts in Google Docs, above and beyond what you are seeing on the dropdown menu on the toolbar, simply click on “More fonts” and you will see that there are many more fonts to choose from (see illustrations below).

How to search in Windows 10. Ten tips to become a Pro | Digital Citizen

In Windows 10, the search field found on your taskbar lets you look for apps, settings, documents, settings, music, and so on. To start searching, click or tap on the search field first. When you do that, the search home screen shows up. The search home screen lets you filter the search right from the start, by selecting to look for Apps, Documents, Settings, Email, Folders, Music, People, Photos, or Videos.

The Search home screen from Windows 10

Learn More @ Digital Citizen

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.

Quick Tip: How To ‘Quickly’ Select A Range of Text or Paragraph Of Text With Your Mouse

I typically use the following process in my web browser to copy and paste blocks of information I come across. This will also work in other applications, as well; and, has come in very handy when posting articles here on ‘What’s On My PC’…

To Select a range of text or paragraph(s) of text that you desire to copy and paste, hold down the shift key and left mouse click at the beginning of the sentence or paragraph; then go to the end of the paragraph or sentence, hold down the shift key and left mouse click at the end of the sentence or paragraph. The block of text that you have highlighted can then be copied and pasted elsewhere.

Quick Tip: 3 Tips To Follow To Avoid Handheld Phone Use While Driving

Memorial Day weekend is here… Hooray! During this time many, many people will be on the road and many, many people will commit the ultimate driving sin; AND, that is using your handheld phone while driving.

It only takes that millisecond of distraction
that ultimately can change your life and the life of others; sometimes, forever…

Texting and phone use are the leading causes of distracted driving. The laws in many States prohibit the use of a handheld phone while driving. This includes the writing, sending or reading of a text or electronic message. Avoid a fine and park the phone before you drive.

Here are 3 tips to follow:

  • Pull over in a “safe” location if you need to call or text
  • Use your passenger as your designated texter and caller
  • Secure your phone in the trunk, glove box or back seat while you drive

All distractions endanger drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Most distractions involve cognitive and sensory distraction. When you make a call on a hand-held phone you are not only holding and looking at the phone, you are also dialing, listening and thinking about the conversation.

Driver distractions include:

Texting
Using a cell phone or smartphone
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Grooming
Reading, including maps
Using a navigation system
Watching a video
Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Remember distractions are:

Visual – looking at something other than the road
Auditory – hearing something not related to driving
Manual – manipulating something other than the wheel
Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving

Quick Tip: How to “Pin To Taskbar” In Windows 10

I like to keep the desktop on my Windows 10 computer pretty much clear of any icons. Typically, if a program icon shows up on the desktop that I need to use frequently or get to quickly, I will pin it to the taskbar (the bar located at the bottom of the screen); then, once I know the program icon is on the taskbar, I will delete the program icon on the desktop.  I do this so that I can access the program from anywhere on the computer without having to go back to the desktop or go to the Start Menu. So, how do you pin a program icon (or folder, etc…) to the taskbar?

It is actually pretty basic. If you “right mouse click” the icon item, you will see an option to “Pin to taskbar”. Click on that option and the icon item will then be seen on the taskbar. To delete a pinned item on the taskbar, “right mouse click” the icon and click on “unpin from taskbar”. This same process will work on many program items that are on your Windows “Start Menu”, as well.

 

How to properly update device drivers on Windows 10 | Windows Central

Usually, Windows 10 can detect and install drivers automatically using the array of product drivers built into the system and Windows Update. However, on occasion, you may have to update a device manually for a number of reasons. For instance, when a particular piece of hardware isn’t recognized automatically, stops working after an upgrade, Windows Update installs a generic package, or you need to access a new feature or bug fix.

Source: How to properly update device drivers on Windows 10 | Windows Central

Quick Tip: Basic Steps For Setting Up A Wireless Router

I have found that you can follow the basic steps below when setting up and connecting a wireless router to the modem supplied by your internet service provider.

  1. Turn off the modem that was supplied by your internet service provider.
  2. Unplug the modem’s Ethernet cable from the back of your PC (This cable has a connection that is similar to a connection you would find on a landline phone, but slightly larger).
  3. Connect that cable to the WAN or internet port on your new wireless router,
  4. Power on your modem (wait for a minute or two),
  5. Next power on your router (wait for a minute or two),
  6. Now use another Ethernet cable to connect the PC to one of the LAN ports on the wireless router.
  7. Turn on your PC and you should be back online.
  8. To access the wireless router from your wireless devices, such as a laptop, smartphone, tablet, smart-home device, etc…, go into your wireless settings on the device and you should see the name of the wireless router that you just set up. At this point, you will have to enter the wireless password provided by the manufacturer in order to wirelessly access the router and get online.

Example: Back Side View of A Router

Image result for wireless router

I do encourage you to read the instruction manual for any deviations from the above steps and to learn how to change the admin password and how to change the wireless access password key (that you use to connect your wireless devices.).

If you are interested in purchasing a wireless router  CLICK HERE, to see Amazon’s Best Sellers.

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: The Power Of The “Right Mouse Click” Context Menu In Gmail

Gmail has become a very powerful web email application that has many features that we often fail to use. One such feature is the “right mouse click” context menu.

When Gmail is open, if you “right mouse click” on any email that is listed you will be presented with a context menu that is very powerful and will be of great benefit to you productivity-wise.

You can do such things, on the fly, such as:

  • Reply to, or forward, an email in one click from the main page
  • Archive, Delete, Mark as unread, Snooze emails
  • Move, Label or Mute emails
  • Search for all emails with the same subject (if conversation view is turned off)

You can also use this menu when selecting multiple emails at a time to perform batch operations. For example, you could select 5 emails, right mouse click and label them all the same; or move them all together into a specific folder…

Quick Tip: How To Create Web-Based Desktop Shortcuts In Google Chrome

If you were at my Windows 10 based desktop computer you would notice various icons on the desktop (and taskbar) for web-based applications such as my personal start page, my email, my calendar, my contacts, my notes, solitaire, etc… These are all shortcuts to the various web-based applications that I use frequently. For example, instead of opening of my Google Chrome browser, then going to the actual web page that hosts my email, I simply click on the shortcut and it will take me directly to the page. These shortcuts are easy to create and will improve your productivity immensely; also, shortcuts can be made to give the illusion they are like an installed software app on your PC.

So, how do you create a desktop shortcut in Google Chrome:

  • Open the Chrome web browser and go to the web page that you want to create the shortcut for.
  • Go to the Chrome menu, located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser and click on the three vertically aligned dots and a menu will open up.
  • Click on “Select More tools” and  then click on “Create shortcut”
  • The following type window will appear and if you notice there is an option to “Open as window”.

    By selecting this option, when the shortcut is created, the web page will open like a normal window that you typically see in Windows. If you do not select this option, the web page will open in Google Chrome as it normally does. In our case, for demo purposes, do not check that option (leave it blank).

  • Next, click on “Create” and voila’, your shortcut should now be on your Windows 10 desktop. By simply clicking on that shortcut, you will be taken directly to the web page that you created the shortcut for.

As an added option, in Windows 10, you can right click on the shortcut icon and select, “Pin to taskbar” and the shortcut will be created on the taskbar at the bottom of your desktop. Typically, I do this, then I delete the shortcut icon on the desktop. It is safe to delete these shortcuts at any time.

What is fun in working computers is trying different things. I encourage you to give this try and I think you will find that this is a great timesaver.

Quick Tip: How To Stop Facebook Videos From Auto Playing

Have you ever noticed when scrolling your Facebook timeline. and you come across a post that consists of a video; that the video will autoplay? This may seem like a real convenience; but, if you are like me, I find it a real nuisance.

To turn the video autoplay feature “off”, follow these steps:

  1. From the top right of Facebook, click on the “” (down arrow) and select Settings.
  2. Click Videos on the menu located at the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the dropdown menu next to Auto-Play Videos and select Off.

Quick Tip: How to block a Nuisance Gmail Sender

Getting a rampant amount of email from a specific sender in Gmail?  If so, simply block them. When you block the nuisance sender, their emails sent to you will land in your spam folder.

Follow the instructions below to block a sender in Gmail. You can use the same steps to unblock them, as well.

When you block a sender, messages they send will go to your Spam folder.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open the message.
  3. In the top right, click More More.
  4. Click Block [sender].

Quick Tip: How To Find, Lock Or Erase A Stolen or Lost Android Device

There is nothing more distressful than losing your smartphone… If you own an Android device, such as a smartphone, tablet or Chromebook, you most likely performed the initial set up using a Google Account (i.e. Gmail account). As a result, you have a feature where you can remotely find, lock or erase the device in the event the phone is stolen or lost (Note: The phone must be turned “on” in order for this to work). You can even ring the phone and send information to the phone requesting that the phone be returned. You will need to go to a computer, log into your Google account, in order to make this work. Follow the steps below to put you on the road of recovery. You can go ahead and practice this…

  1. Open a browser, like Chrome Chrome. If you’re using someone else’s device, use private browsing mode.
  2. Open your Google Account.
  3. In the “Security” section, select Find a lost or stolen phone.
  4. Select the lost phone, tablet, or Chromebook.
  5. Follow the step-by-step suggestions to help find and secure the device.

ADDED TIP: Also, did you know, if you have a Google Account, and you are logged in, you can perform a Google Search, type in “Find My Phone” and Google (with a map) will find your phone within about 50 feet.

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”.

Quick Tip: How To Power “Off” and Power “On” Your Android Phone

How do I turn the darn thing off and on?  Typically your Android Smartphone and other Android devices (like your tablet) are made to remain “on” and will go to sleep after a prescribed amount of time; however, it is a good idea (every so often) to turn the phone “off”, then back “on”. This is good to refresh the memory, dump any cached files, etc… Couple other situations where you may need to turn the phone “off” is a situation where you do not want the phone to cause a disturbance (like in Church, at a funeral, at a wedding, a meeting, etc…) OR you may need to turn it “off” when the phone has locked up.

On most Android devices if you do the following, you can turn the device (phone or tablet) “off”:

Press and hold in on the power button. Typically an option will appear that will allow you to select power “off” the device.

Samsung Power Off Restart

On most Android devices if you do the following, you can turn the device (phone or tablet) “on”:

Press and hold in on the power button. Be patient, it may take a bit of time for the boot screen to appear to indicate the device is powered “on”. Also, give the device a minute or more to fully boot up.

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 Go Incognito In Google Chrome

I bet you did not know you could go “Incognito” in Google Chrome, where your browsing history and cookies are not stored, where your privacy is protected? Typically, when browsing the web your browser tracks you with cookies. Have you ever noticed when looking for a specific product that this product or products in similarity start popping up in the ads? If you were in “incognito mode” this would not occur. Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms while in incognito mode. In other words, your “activity” is not tracked and stored.

How do you get to “incognito mode” in Google Chrome?

It is actually very simple. To open an incognito window in Chrome, click the three-dot icon on the top-right corner of the browser and select “New incognito window.” You can also get into “incognito mode” by using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+N (while Google Chrome is open).

Please know, that “incognito mode” does not hide the sites you visit from your place of employment, your internet service provider, etc… Even though your browsing history is private, on the computer that you are working from, your IP address can still be logged to indicate where you go and have been on the internet.

34 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for the Windows Command Prompt | How-To Geek

The Command Prompt is a powerful tool in Windows, giving you access to all kinds of useful commands you can’t get any other way. By its very nature, the Windows Command Prompt relies on a lot of keyboard use–and with that comes handy shortcuts. Most of these shortcuts have been around since the Command Prompt’s early days. Some are new with Windows 10 (especially some of those that use the Ctrl key) and you’ll need to enable them before you can use them. When you’ve done that, you’re ready to unleash your full-fingered keyboard fury.

cmds_top

To learn more, click on the source link below to go to “How-To Geek”…

Source: 34 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for the Windows Command Prompt

Quick Tip: Don’t Panic If Your Internet Service Is Disrupted; Be Prepared

Recently, during the evening hours, I lost my internet service connection. Our internet is provided by the local cable company and has been exceptionally dependable. Initial reboots/resets of my modem and router failed to recover the service. My gut instinct told me this was not a typical loss of service. Many folks in my neighborhood also lost their digital phone service, which caused panic to set in. I later learned the attack affected over 40 percent of their customer base (including businesses). After several days, the service was eventually restored. The culprit was a  “malicious and targeted attack from outside our network,” in a DDos attack (distributed denial of service) where the service was intentionally flooded with data sent simultaneously from many individual computers. I knew something to this effect was going on due that it got to a point I could reboot the equipment and regain service for a short period of time; then, it would drop out again.

Image result for ddos meaning

All in all, when done, and the service was restored, I learned some things:

DON’T PANIC… We live in a digital world that we are dependent on, where the source of service if attacked, can bring down the whole house, affecting many people and many types of internet-connected devices. BE PREPARED… Learn how to reboot your equipment.  Communicate with the neighbors or family to determine if they have service. A cell phone, in this case for many people, provided phone AND internet service. If you have a neighbor who has no cell phone, be the good neighbor. Follow the local news to see if it is widespread. Learn where (online) you can determine the status of the network you are connected to. In my case, I used my cell phone to get updates online from the cable company, instead of calling them on their overwhelmed customer service lines. I then passed this information on to my neighbors. When the service is restored, help each other to get the equipment back up and running. I ended up helping others reset their modems and testing to make sure they had their phone and internet service back; thus, saving them the expense of a service call (which may have taken days to get an onsite response).

In the end, I think what bothered me the most was seeing sneering comments online where people were complaining of the service going down. Having managed a computer network for a government agency, I had visions of IT people working (24/7) stressing out over this to bring back service; which, they eventually did. Also, this is concerning from the standpoint, and has to be questioned, “Is our country really prepared for these cyber attacks and is the proper funding being provided to provide the necessary defense measures?”.

Source: Antietam Broadband says all service back after widespread outage

 

 

 

Quick Tip: How To Quickly Switch Between Multiple Gmail Accounts

Today, many of us have multiple Gmail Accounts (i.e. personal account, work account, account for shopping purposes, etc…).  Here is a line of instruction that will help you toggle between these accounts while in your default (main) account without having to go through the task of signing in and out of each account.

  • Open your browser and sign into your Gmail account.
  • Click on your profile picture, located in the upper right-hand side of your Gmail dashboard screen. If you do not have a profile picture setup, what you will be looking for is the circular icon at the top right side of the Gmail window. When you click on this a new window will pop up.
  • Click on the “add account” button within that new window.
  • Enter your second Gmail address in the box and type in that account’s password.
  • Click on “sign in.”
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.

multiple gmail accounts in web

Once all of your Gmail accounts are linked, you can switch between your accounts by clicking on your profile picture and selecting the account you wish to access from the drop-down menu that appears.

 

Quick Tip: How To Find What Version Of Windows 10 Is On Your Computer

With Microsoft periodically sending out major Windows 10 updates (i.e. spring and fall) it is a good idea to learn how to find what version of Windows 10 is on your computer.

To do this:

  1. Right mouse click on the “Start Button” at the bottom left corner of your screen.
  2. On the menu that pops up, click on “System”
  3. When the “System” window appears, click on “About” (if it is not already showing).
  4. On the right side of this window, under “About”, scroll down and you will see “‘System Specifications” where you will find the version of Windows 10 you are running. For example, on my PC, I am running version 1809 of the Windows 10 Home Edition.  You will also find the install date and the OS build.

How To Shop For Your Computer and Information Technology (IT) Needs At Amazon

Here is how I shop for my computer and information technology needs at Amazon (including laptopsdesktopsmonitors, tabletsPC gaminghard drives & storageaccessoriescomponentsnetworking, and Amazon’s Choice).

Image result for tech products

I use Amazon on a regular basis to research and shop for information technology products. The main reason is to research the products that are available and to research what other people are saying (via customer reviews). If you see a low number of reviews, the product may be relatively new to their listings; whereas, if you see a very large number of reviews, good chance the product has been around for a while and has real-world consumer testing.

After finding a selection for a specific item, Google that item for price comparisons elsewhere. You may end up buying from somewhere else other than Amazon. If that is the case, I typically will look at the customer reviews again.

Another option, when looking at products. Typically, right below the product picture, you will see a link “Used & New”. Always check that… I look for “Used – Acceptable” items that have cosmetic imperfections, etc… The cosmetic imperfections often are items where the packaging is not perfect.  I have purchased items this way and haven’t had to return anything as of yet.

Especially pay attention to “Amazon’s Choice” where Amazon makes their selection for specific products. Their choices are typically right on and are good choices.

If you have any tips or tricks for shopping at Amazon, let us know in the comments below.

 

Quick Tip: Crop and Edit Images in Google Docs

You can crop and edit images in Google Docs. To do this, click on the image in your document, then click on the “Format” menu (at the top), and select “Image”. You will then find the cropping option as well as “Image Options” where you can perform recoloring and adjustments for transparency, brightness and contrast. “Reset” will return the image to its’ original format.

 

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