GEEK SQUEAKS – Using Software To Change Your Computer DNS Fast (and Safe)

When you type in a web address from your browser, your computer connects to a DNS server (through your internet service provider) that takes that address (which is in a human readable form) and translates it to a IP address (which is a set of numbers). In the end, computers connect to each other on the network by their technical internet addresses called IPs: IP (v4) or IP (v6).

The DNS is typically transparent to most of us, but it is important to know that you can alter the DNS settings on your computer to serve specific purposes (such as to protect your kids from porn sites). Manually performing these changes is something most people will not do, fearing they may mess up their computers.

An automated solution or way to pick and choose a DNS is through software that is engineered to help you make the changes and to understand those changes.

One solution I use is Chris PC DNS Switch…

Chris PC DNS Switch

Chris PC DNS Switch has built-in preset groups of servers in its DNS database, ChrisPC DNS Switch offers you the freedom to conveniently manage your DNS settings for all the network adapters belonging to your PC/laptop running Windows. End result is that you can pick and choose a DNS that is suitable for your situation (such as protecting the kids from porn).

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MORE GEEK SQUEAKS
FROM AROUND NET

WhatPulse Is A PC Usage Monitor With Network, Mouse, Keyboard Stats & Heat Maps – Have you ever wanted to find out how much time you spend on the internet, how many words you typed in a day, or where you clicked on your screen? WhatPulse for Windows does all that and more. It’s a feature-rich program that monitors your keyboard and mouse usage, network bandwidth, and sends these statistics to a web portal, allowing you to analyze your computing life in the simplest way… @addictivetips

OneDrive is Now Available Worldwide: Free Cloud Storage for Microsoft, iOS, and Android Devices – For our existing SkyDrive customers, you are all set; your files are ready in the new OneDrive experience. All you have to do is head over to www.OneDrive.com and log in. For those of you hearing about the service for the first time, OneDrive gives you one place for all of your files, including photos, videos, and documents, and it’s available across the devices you use every day… @The OneDrive Blog

Headphone ReviewsNo music device is complete without the right pair of headphones. So express yourself with the best headphones from popular brands like Beats, Sennheiser, Monster, Sony, V-MODA, Bose, and more. Lightweight earbuds and in-ear headphones are great for MP3 players and mobile devices for the person on the move. Or enjoy high quality sound at home and at your convenience with wireless and comfortable over-the-ear headphones… @Amazon

Collaborate with Office Online (NEW LOOK) – Save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, in OneDrive. Share them with others and work together at the same time. Get started now, it’s free!… @Office.com

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 20, 2014 – Lighting Can Track Your Position in Stores;  Website helps users opt out of smartphone tracking;  Five free tools to help brainstorm solutions and spark innovation;  Laptops for work and play: the differences that matter;  10 tips to help you make the most of Google Apps;  ‘Fix it’ patch for IE9 and IE10 exploit;  Malware-infected Android apps spike;Facebook’s $19 Billion WhatsApp Acquisition;  3D printing: 10 factors still holding it back;  Twitter lie detector is in development; DOOM lives!… @Bill Mullins’ Weblog Tech Thoughts

WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messenger available for Android and other smartphones – NO HIDDEN COST: Once you and your friends download the application, you can use it to chat as much as you want. Send a million messages a day to your friends for free! WhatsApp uses your Internet connection: 3G/EDGE or Wi-Fi when available… @Google Play

Wallpaper – Bible Background@PicHost

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MS Windows 8 Tutorial – Confused or scared about MS Windows 8? Then check out this (Windows 8 in 18 minutes)…

MS Windows 8 Tutorial

Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

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Today’s Geek Squeaks – August 29, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1: Bing Powered OCR (optical character resolution) is a new feature in SkyDrive that gives you the ability to extract text from photos. This is useful in the event you snap a photo of a document and you need to capture the text from that document for printing and/or saving to another format.  Very cool stuff (see below);

Squeak #2: Today I am featuring a portable app that I highly recommend.  It is called WinScanPDF; which gives you the ability to scan documents and convert them to the Adobe PDF format.  Very handy (see below);

Squeak #3: 404 Tech Support has pointed out something bad about the trial antivirus software that is installed on new computers. We are actually setting ourselves up for a fall once the trial expired. The article also explains, “how to” return the computer to the default state of using the antivirus software that is already installed (Microsoft Defender); AND,

Squeak #4: Here of late I have featured several bluetooth speakers. Today this one is from BOSE and it is awesome (good customer reviews)…

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Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]


NEW – Bing Powered OCR

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Make your SkyDrive photos smarter by using OCR (optical character recognition) to extract the text from photos in your camera roll when you view them on SkyDrive.com… READ MORE


Scan Documents And Save Them On Your Computer
As A PDF

WinScan2PDF

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Are you one of those who only occasionally has to send a signed document to someone by e-mail? So you don’t need a PDF printer driver or some other complex program. With WinScan2PDF it is no longer necessary! Simply save the scanned documents into PDF and save them to a file on your computer. The program is very simple to use… GET IT HERE


Antivirus trials on Windows 8 decreases its security

@ 404 Tech Support

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Unfortunately, it seems PC manufacturers are compromising this native improvement in Windows 8 through bloatware. I have seen several clients computers recently that came with Windows 8. However, primarily HP notebooks, come with a Norton 360 antivirus 30-day trial installed on them. When the trial expires, the Norton AntiVirus stops updating its definitions. The longer this goes on, the more users are put at risk… READ MORE


The Most Compact Mobile Speaker From Bose
Easily Goes Where You Go

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  • Advanced audio performance delivers a full-range listening experience
  • The most compact speaker from Bose easily goes where you go
  • Wirelessly connects to your Bluetooth device
  • Rechargeable battery plays up to 7 hours

MORE HERE

[ see customer reviews ]


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Today’s Geek Squeaks–August 3, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

  • WaveShop – A FREE audio editor that is easy to use and gets the job done;
  • An online calculator that is my personal favorite;
  • Uh-Oh!  Microsoft has no choice; they have to change the name of SkyDrive; AND,
  • SanDisk does it again with their new wireless media drive.

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Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!


A Bit-Perfect Audio Editor
That Doesn’t Modify Samples Needlessly

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WaveShop is a free, open-source audio editor for Windows XP/Vista/7/8. WaveShop is fast, lightweight, and bit-perfect, meaning samples aren’t altered unless they need to be… GET IT HERE


Online Calculator With Basic and Advanced Mathematical Functions

Calculatoria.com

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The online scientific calculator with advanced functions is displayed primarily, clicking on the standard calculator link will display the free online mathematical calculator… GET IT HERE


HOT TOPIC – Microsoft Has To Rename SkyDrive

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This has been a hot topic this week.  Microsoft has to rename Skydrive due to a trademark infringement… SEE THE SEARCH RESULTS


SanDisk Connect 64G Wireless Media Drive
Streaming On the Go

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The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive is a portable storage device that streams high-definition movies, photos, and music on mobile devices and computers. This compact drive allows you to wirelessly stream up to five HD movies and connect up to eight mobile devices, all without an Internet connection… SEE IT HERE


 

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Remotely Fetch Files On Your PC With SkyDrive

Many people are unaware of a very powerful remote access option that is available with Microsoft’s online file storage and sharing solution called SkyDrive.

If you have the SkyDrive desktop app for Windows installed on a PC, you can use the Fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer by going to your account at SkyDrive.com. You can even access network locations if they’re included in the PC’s libraries or mapped as drives. When you browse a PC’s files remotely, you can download copies of them to work on. You can also stream video and view photos in a slide show. To access files on your PC remotely, make sure the PC you want to access is turned on and connected to the Internet. SkyDrive also needs to be running on that PC, and the Fetch files setting must be selected.

SkyDrive

I have mentioned this feature before here on the blog and can attest to using it frequently (without problem) from my work location to access the files on my computer at home (including external drives).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download SkyDrive for Windows.
  2. Make sure you leave the box checked during setup that will allow you to “Fetch your files from anywhere.” (You can also choose this later by clicking the SkyDrive icon (SkyDrive icon) in the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar, and clicking Settings. On the General tab, under Fetch files, select Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices, and then click OK.)
  3. Open your browser and sign in to SkyDrive.com.
  4. Your PCs that have SkyDrive for Windows installed will appear in the Computers menu. Choose the computer that has the file you want, and you can view, print, or download the file you forgot.

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CLICK HERE FOR TODAY’S TECH TOY

Today's Tech Toy

CloudOn brings Microsoft Office® to your Tablet Computer and Phone for FREE

Appears in today’s world of computing we are definitely moving away from the desktop form of computing to the more mobile form of computing, such as tablets and smartphones. In the end, no matter which direction we go, we still need to use the computer, whether it be in the form of desktop or tablet, to get our work done.

Working on a Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint  file on a tablet vs. a desktop can be a real challenge. As we continue to move toward the tablet form of computing I am seeing more and more applications that are trying to emulate the desktop experience of using Word, Excel or Powerpoint on the tablet. As a matter of fact, I have many of these types of apps installed on my tablet and really in the end I am not using them to edit or create documents; instead, I use them more or less as a document viewers.

This past week I happened across another Android and iPad app, called CloudOn that really looks promising and is very close to emulating the desktop when it comes to creating, reviewing and editing your Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files. Not only that, CloudOn can connect directly to your Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive Accounts; AND, the real topper is that CloudOn’s file viewer can view virtually any type of file (including PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.).

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So far, what I am experiencing, is a pretty darn good app that seems to have the right fine tuning in place for working with my Microsoft Office files; PLUS, CloudOn with its’ powerful viewing capabilities will replace many of the separate apps I have installed for those purposes.

The CloudOn Workspace allows you to:

• Use Microsoft Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint® on your Android Tablet and Phone to create, review and edit documents.
• Rename, delete and manage documents with your Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts.
• View virtually any type of file, including: PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.
• Share files as links or attachments via email directly from the workspace.
• Display, edit or create charts, change formatting, spell check, insert comments, etc into any Word, Excel or PowerPoint files.
• Use the FileSpace to see a log of all the activity on file including edits, notifications and notes.
• Track changes while reviewing Word documents.
• Use pivot tables and insert formulas in Excel workbooks.
• Display and edit transitions in PowerPoint slides and present in full presentation mode.
• Open files directly from your device email accounts as well as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive.
• Automatically save documents to avoid losing changes.

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Different uses for Internet Telephony

Robotic Warfare

A Search Engine that shows devices on the web

Portable Fold-Up Stand for Apple iPad, Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire, Playbook, Xoom, Toshiba, Acer, Nook and Other Tablets

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Wallpaper of the Week (#116) – A Galaxy On Your Desktop

I have always found that wallpapers that have a blue tint or color are good at showing off the icons better than other colors. Just my opinion…  To demo my opinion, here is a blue starry (galaxy) background that will enhance the appearance of the your desktop and at the same time make those icons really stand out.

To Get This Wallpaper – [ CLICK HERE ]

A Galaxy On Your Desktop

Windows 7 (and 8) Users: If you are using Windows 7 (or 8), did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [CLICK HERE].

GEEK BONUS AREA

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Remove Mixi Dj Claro Search – mixidj.claro-search.com
Removal Instructions

Get Office 365 Free for Three Months and
20 GB of SkyDrive Storage

Free Sotware to convert PDF to word:
Free PDF to Word Doc Converter

Position Your Notebook Screen
At An Ergonomically Correct Height

3M Vertical Notebook Riser

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Evernote To SpringPad Converter

Evernote and SpringPad are the top guns out there when it comes to storing notes, thoughts, images, articles, etc… I currently lean toward Evernote, calling it my supplemental brain; however, SpringPad always has my eye. I encourage you to look at either of these online note keeping services. You will not regret it…

As I mentioned, SpringPad has my eye and recently I decided to give it another good look. What had me concerned is that I could not find any easy way, within SpringPad, to import my notes from Evernote.

After doing some futile searching, I did come across an Evernote to Springpad Converter site that gives you the ability to convert the Evernote “enex” notebook files to the SpringPad format.

Evernote to Springpad

In order to do this, you will have to install the desktop version of Evernote so that you can export each notebook to a file (enex format) that can be uploaded to the converter.

Anyway, after getting my notebooks transferred to SpringPad, and really playing around with it, I am still hooked on my supplemental brain (Evernote). SpringPad is still developing, looks very nice; but, what I experienced is that the search feature for a specific note or specific text in a note was not as robust as in Evernote.

In the end, after going through all of this, I decided to share the information about the Evernote to SpringPad Converter in case you want to make the switch or you wanted to give SpringPad a try.

GEEK BONUS AREA

Bookmarks4Techs.com

Remove Chitka pop up ads, removal instructions

Get Office 365 Free for Three Months
and 20 GB of SkyDrive Storage

Free Online Game: Saloon Brawl

Kensington KeyFolio Expert Multi-Angle Folio and Bluetooth Keyboard Case For iPad 4 with Retina Display and New iPad (3rd Gen)

Kensington KeyFolio Expert Multi-Angle Folio and Bluetooth Keyboard Case For iPad 4

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Use PDFProtect to Password Protect Your PDF Files

A couple days back I featured an article titled, “Storing and Opening Password Protected PDF Files Online Using Google Drive and SkyDrive”, that explained how Google Drive and SkyDrive have the ability to open password protected PDF files. The problem is, you may not have the software or may be in a situation away from your computer where you cannot perform this task. This is where the online service called PDFProtect can help you.

PDFProtect

Simply visit PDFProtect, upload your PDF file, create a password to protect your PDF file, select the encryption strength and if your file contains personal or confidential information select secure connection. Once the file has been uploaded and the password protection has been added, you will be prompted to download the PDF file that is now password protected. PDFProtect allows a file size up to 50 MB…

GEEK BONUS AREA

Bookmarks4Techs

Mailbox (iPhone/iPad) – Promises to change email forever

Web Developer Cheat Sheets

One Million Hits–Wow

Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 16GB USB 2.0

Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 16GB USB 2.0


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FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

This week my posts have been focused exclusively on Windows 8; due in part I just installed Windows 8 and I am like a kid in a candy shop.

As I continue to learn more about Windows 8 and customize my computer the more I realized that I needed to create a backup of my system. Yes, I could take the risk and hope all goes well and simply reinstall Windows if all fails, but that (especially in my case) would be a very time consuming process. This is where a good disk imaging program comes into play. In this case, by circumstance, Paragon’s FREE Disk Imaging Software for Windows 8 fell onto my plate.

FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

When you see FREE for disk imaging software, I become skeptical; however, when I see FREE in conjunction with Paragon I know I am getting a good product. What this software does is walk you through the process of creating an exact image of your entire system. Like any imaging program and depending on the file content and disk size of your system, creating an image is not a fast process; BUT, it is definitely worth the wait. Also, you should use an external drive to make the backup to. Paragon will walk you through the entire process of selecting the volume you desire to backup, to rebooting your system to begin the backup, to rebooting your system back into your Windows environment.  To restore your system you must create a Paragon boot CD so that when your PC goes belly up you can insert the CD in the CD Drive and boot your computer into Paragon’s powerful Linux/DOS environment. From that environment you simply select the image you backed up to restore your computer back to the same level it was when you created the backup image.

Paragon’s Image Backup for Windows 8 is a disk-imaging tool for Windows 8 and Server 2012. It employs Microsoft VSS and Paragon’s patent-pending technologies for consistent point-in-time copies of the whole disk system or separate volumes. For recovery purposes it includes a powerful Linux/DOS environment. But its power is its support of the innovative ReFS.

Key Product Benefits

  • Support of the latest Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Support of the brand-new ReFS (Resilient File System)for backup, restore, and browsing under Windows and Linux
  • Live Windows backup. Create an image-based copy of the whole disk system, or separate volumes and place it locally, to CD/DVD/BD, or on the net. The use of the disk-imaging mechanism and Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) tackles the problem of backing up running applications and system locked files
  • Flexible recovery. Restore the whole backup image, or only particular files under Windows or from the Linux/DOS recovery environment
  • Additional maintenance functions. The Linux/DOS recovery environment includes basic functions for initializing, partitioning and formatting hard disks

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Technology News, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products and MORE… Featuring TigerDirect’s Official Coupon Feed

Right Click SendTo SkyDrive

5 Uses for Hard Drives Old and New
(That you may not have thought of)

New Security Apps For Windows 8

TECH DEALS

Laptops, Tablets & Netbooks

Desktops & Servers

Computer Accessories & Peripherals

Computer Parts & Components

Software

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Move Your Stuff From One Cloud Based File Storage Service To Another With Backup Box

I happened across this service called Backup Box that gives you the ability to backup and transfer files (and folders) from one cloud based file storage site to another.  For example, let’s say you want to move from Dropbox to Box, then Backup Box is a service that can make the transfer happen in a seamless manner. You can also use Backup Box to schedule and automate backing up files from one service to another.

Backup Box helps you transfer anything to anywhere. We support transfers between cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, and things like (S)FTP servers and databases!

Switch cloud storage providers

Feel like moving from Dropbox to Box? Or from Google Drive to SkyDrive? Use Backup Box to make the process a snap!

From anywhere to anything

Like from your website to Dropbox. We support FTP, SFTP, Dropbox, and many more.

Backup your entire web site

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, databases? No problem, back it all up!

Automate your transfers

Easily create schedules to handle transfers when you’re not around.

Iterated transfers

Archive and timestamp your transfers to keep historical data.

Never install a thing!

No plugin, scripts, or any nonsense to worry about. Manage everything from our awesome web interface.

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iPad, Surface, the Future of Wireless (and other headlines)

Clip and save web pages to Dropbox, Google Drive or Box with CleanSave for Chrome

Featured Weekly Offers

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Access Your FTP, SkyDrive, DropBox, GoogleDrive, Box, and SugarSync Accounts From Your Flash Drive

I’ve said it before, “If you can think it, someone else has done it!”. Recently I was thinking that it would be nice to have a portable app that would allow me to access my my SkyDrive, Box and GoogleDrive accounts from my flash drive.  This scenario would allow me to quickly access these accounts, perform file and folder operations, from any internet enabled computer, without going through the normal browser login process to do the same.

CarotDAVSure enough, after some searching, I  came across a portable WebDav client, called CarotDAV, that gives you the ability to access your web based FTP, SkyDrive, DropBox, GoogleDrive, Box, and SugarSync accounts.

CarotDAV

CarotDAV is a Simple WebDAV / FTP / SkyDrive / DropBox / GoogleDrive / Box / SugarSync client for Windows OS, available free of charge. It is also able to read GoogleDocs or IMAP.

Don’t let the term WebDav client turn you away in thinking that this is some high tech process; when in fact it is not. This is as simple as downloading the CarotDav portable software, installing it to your flashdrive and entering the settings to your online accounts. The only problem I encountered was that I was not able to access my GoogleDrive account (which  may be an issue on my part); however, I am able to access my Box and SkyDrive accounts with ease. Regardless, CarotDAV has given me a good way to get to my online files without performing a browser login (which, in itself can be a security issue on another computer).  I also like the fact that I can password protect access to CarotDAV.

CarotDAV is available both as a portable program and installation package that works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

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A FREE software resource FOR YOU that changes daily!

Reasons Not to Root Your Android Phones

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Access SkyDrive From Any Android Smartphone And Tablet Running Android 2.3+ Or Later.

Folks, if you are looking for a nice, dependable and easy to use online file storing (and sharing) service, I am highly recommending Microsoft’s SkyDrive. With SkyDrive you will get 7 GBs of space for FREE and can opt in to purchasing additional space if need be. This service continues to get better and better all the time and has become my main online file storage service.  I encourage you to visit the link above to learn more about SkyDrive.

As this service continues to evolve, Microsoft recently made announcement that a SkyDrive app has been developed exclusively for Android 2.3 or later.

SkyDrive for Android

SkyDrive for Android

So, if you have an Android based phone or tablet AND you are a SkyDrive user, this app is a must-have app.  I have been testing it on my Toshiba Thrive Tablet and it has performed flawlessly. I even have SkyDrive setup to access the files (and drives) on my main PC anywhere I have internet access (see recent article, Access Any File You Need From Your PC From Anywhere With The NEW SkyDrive). This option alone is like having my main PC tethered to my tablet.

With SkyDrive for Android, you can now easily access and share files on the go. You can also upload photos or videos from your phone to SkyDrive.

• Access all of your SkyDrive content including files shared with you.
• View recently used documents.
• Choose multiple photos or videos to upload from your phone.
• Share your files and photos – send a link in email or in another app.
• Open your SkyDrive files in other Android apps.
• Manage your files – delete, or create new folders.

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Technology News, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products and MORE… FEATURING Windows Valley

Internet Speed Test

Nature Wallpaper Set 59

Next generation Wi-Fi

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Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day.

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Access Any File You Need From Your PC From Anywhere With The NEW SkyDrive

A hot news item this week in the world of computers and information technology has been the re-design of Microsoft’s SkyDrive from its’ standard file management interface to the more metro look (that is the defacto Windows 8 GUI). If you have a Hotmail (or Outlook.com) account, then you can easily get access to SkyDrive. I highly recommend you take advantage of SkyDrive, because Microsoft is really getting this right.

With SkyDrive, you get 7 GB of free storage with SkyDrive—that’s enough for over 20,000 Office documents or 7,000 photos. For most people, this is plenty of space. But if 7 GB isn’t enough, you can add even more storage for a low yearly fee.

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It was not the metro look that captured my attention or that you can now upload and store any type of file; instead, it is a very powerful feature in SkyDrive that allows you to remotely access your files and folders on your Windows (or Mac) computer from anywhere you have internet access. For example, if I am at work and I need a document file from my computer at home, I simply log onto SkyDrive account where I am able to see my entire file/folder/drive(s) structure on my computer at home. This sort of reminds me when I used to manage network attached storage devices (NAS), with the end user interface being quite similar to this.

As long as your home computer is “on” and is running the SkyDrive software, you can access any file you need from your home computer—from anywhere.

In fact, you can browse through files just like you would if you were sitting in front of that PC. Want to show someone a photo on that home PC? You can view photo slide shows and videos on that PC from any browser, from any computer.

Fetch files from your Windows PC from anywhere

Here’s how it works, straight from the horses’ mouth:

  1. Download SkyDrive for Windows.
  2. Make sure you leave the box checked during setup that will allow you to “Fetch your files from anywhere.” (You can also choose this later by clicking the SkyDrive icon (SkyDrive icon) in the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar, and clicking Settings. On the General tab, under Fetch files, select Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices, and then click OK.)
  3. Open your browser and sign in to SkyDrive.com.
  4. Your PCs that have SkyDrive for Windows installed will appear in the Computers menu. Choose the computer that has the file you want, and you can view, print, or download the file you forgot.

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and MORE…

Digital Sheep – Grazing on the Internet

3 Tips to Keep Your Online File Storage Secure

New to technology? Follow my classes

A Super Keyboard and Mouse Combo

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Windows Essentials 2012 – FREE Software From Microsoft

When I post a blog article on WordPress, I use software to draft the article and upload it to my WordPress account. The software I use to perform this task is called Live Writer, which is FREE from Microsoft and is part of the Windows Essentials suite of software. What caught my attention was that I noticed that there was a 2012 version of Live Writer available that I promptly downloaded and installed. This prompted me to explore the other software options that are available (for FREE) in the Windows Essentials suite. I encourage you to take a look at these software options and if you are into blogging, I highly recommend Live Writer.  As a matter of fact, I would not know what to do without it.

To keep this simple, the Windows Essentials Suite consists of Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Family Safety, Writer, Outlook Connector Pack and Skydrive. A brief summary of each and links to each are provided below. To get any of these you simply download a setup file and select which software package you desire to install.  Again, each of these software options are FREE and are produced by Microsoft.

When you initiate the setup for Windows Essentials, you will see the following Windows Essentials 2012 dialog box. Choose the option, “Choose the programs you want to install” to make sure you are selecting what you specifically want to install.  Select the other option and you get the whole works.

Windows Essentials

After you click on “Choose the programs you want to install”, you will see another Windows Essentials 2012 dialog box that allows you to select what programs to install. Also notice in the screenshot that on my computer it picked up that I already had SkyDrive, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Writer installed. In my case, as I progressed through the installation process, I was informed that the software I already had installed would be upgraded to the 2012 version.

Windows Essentials

To give you a brief summary about each of these software applications :

Photo Gallery – tools to help you organize and edit your photos, then share them online.

Movie Maker – tools to help you be your own movie director. Quickly add photos and footage from your PC or camera into Movie Maker. Then fine tune your movie just the way you want it.

Messenger – this is Microsoft’s messaging client that has been around for years.  It has grown up to include video calls, instant messaging, that will keep you socially connected on a variety of platforms (including Android).

Live Mail – an email client that you install on your computer that is actually pretty good; however, I personally depend on the online webmail options. With Live Mail, you can manage multiple email accounts, calendars, and your contacts, even when you’re offline.

Family Safety – if you have kids and you are teaching your kids internet safety and/or you need a way to monitor their online activity, then Family Safety is a must have install. Activity reports are built int to monitor your kids’ computer activity.  You can even choose what they can and can’t access on the internet AND set time periods.

Live Writer – my favorite (and most used software application on my PC). With Live Writer you can quickly create and publish blog posts with photos, videos, maps, and more. Live Writer makes blogging easy!

Outlook Connector Pack – gives you the ability to manage your Hotmail account (now being called Outlook.com) from Microsoft Outlook. If you have the Microsoft Outlook software installed on your computer, then the connector pack is something that may interest you.

Microsoft Skydrive – another favorite of mine. This allows you to access and sync your Skydrive account from your computer.

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Read Your Browser’s History File With These NirSoft Utilities

imageDid you know that when you visit a site on the internet, your web browser archives the site address? This archival process is commonly referred to as the browser history. The main purpose of the history is that if you forget the site address of a site you may have visited, you can go into the history to find the site. I really do not know many home-based computer users who actually do this; but, it is important to know that it does exist. This is especially helpful to know, if you have children or teenagers accessing the internet.

The browser history can tell a story about a person’s browsing habits and patterns, to include the time and date when a site was visited.  If you are at work and your workplace is strict on what you are accessing on the internet (and when), just remember your tracks can be easily traced. It is not uncommon for an employer, on the server side, to capture what sites a person has visited (and when) on the internet; even if you dump the browser’s history file.

On the basic level of things, like at home, and you have a need to know and you need a quick way of grabbing the browsing history on a Windows based computer, I highly recommend the utilities by NirSoft that specifically specialize in reading the history file of the most popular browsers out there. Simply download any of these, unzip, run and watch the magic.

Internet History View

Mozilla Firefox History View

Google Chrome History View

Safari History View

With each of these utilities, you can easily export the history data to text/HTML/Xml file.

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Alert! Existing SkyDrive Users – Sign In To Keep Your 25 GBs

If you are an existing Microsoft SkyDrive User it is important that you sign into your account and acknowledge that you desire to keep your 25GBs of online storage space. Failure to do so could result in your 25GBs being reduced down to 7GBs of space.

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Any registered SkyDrive user *who has uploaded files to SkyDrive* as of April 22nd can opt in to keep 25GB of free storage while still getting all of the benefits of the new service.

If you are already using 4GBs of space on SkyDrive you will automatically keep your 25GBs.

This all may sound like a dirty trick, but Microsoft is working toward making SkyDrive better (with new apps) and making SkyDrive accessible from Windows Explorer. For example, they recently came out with a preview of SkyDrive for the Windows Desktop which gives you the ability to seamlessly sync your files (from Windows Explorer).

Here’s where you go to try SkyDrive today:

As a result of these new changes I suspect Microsoft is gearing up for an anticipated increase of people using SkyDrive (thus the reduction in the online storage space). According to Microsoft, currently 99.4 percent of current SkyDrive subscribers use 7GBs of space or less (thus the reasoning for the 7GB level). If 7GBs of space is not enough for your situation, they are offering a tiered pricing model to increase that space.

You can read more about these changes [HERE]

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Ways to Sync Your SkyDrive Files To Your Computer, Tablet and Smartphone

Yesterday’s article I talked about, SkyDrive – Your Password Protected Hard Drive in the Cloud, that is available for FREE (from Microsoft). SkyDrive gives you 25 GB’s of of storage space that you can use to store files online (in the cloud) that can be accessed from anywhere there is internet access.

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Following the posting of that article, I started to wonder what FREE options are there available to sync the files on my computer or tablet or smartphone with my SkyDrive Account.  As a result I went on the hunt and found the following options available that will help you take full advantage of SkyDrive:

SDExplorer (to sync and access your SkyDrive Files from the Windows platform – your desktop or notebook computer):

SDExplorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SDExplorer you can perform all everyday operations with your documents on Microsoft Live SkyDrive™ using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer itself.

SkyDrive Browser (to sync and access your SkyDrive Files from the Android platform – such as tablets and smartphones):

Microsoft’s SkyDrive service is a nice chunk of cloud storage—25 GB, to be exact. Now you can view, download, and send your files in SkyDrive from your Android phone with SkyDrive Browser.

SkyDrive on your Windows Phone:

With SkyDrive on your Windows’s phone, it’s like having a thousand wallets for photos and hundreds of briefcases with your latest files. You can keep files to yourself or share them. Add photos from your camera phone manually or automatically. SkyDrive will also synchronize notes you take in OneNote.

SkyDrive on your iPhone:

With SkyDrive for the iPhone, you can now easily access, manage and share files on the go. You can also upload photos or videos from your iPhone to SkyDrive.

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Use Windows Explorer to Access Your Windows Live SkyDrive Files

If you have a Windows Live account (e.g. Hotmail) I am sure you are taking advantage of the Microsoft’s Windows SkyDrive service, which offers 25 GB’s of FREE password protected online storage space that can be used to store, access and share files.

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Normally, to copy files to and from your PC to your online SkyDrive space, you are required to log into the SkyDrive service through your web browser. Today I want to expose you to a new utility, called SkyDrive Explorer, that will allow you to access and manage your SkyDrive files through Windows Explorer.

Now the thing I want directly point out here is that SkyDrive Explorer is currently in beta, was a little buggy (during my testing), and is developed by a third party developer (not Microsoft).  This app looks very promising and could change the way you manage your SkyDrive space from within Windows Explorer. I recommend you keep an eye on this one.

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Features (as described by the developers):

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer.

SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and even is not passed to SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.

SkyDrive Explorer works both in 32- and 64-bit Microsoft® Windows OS. Minimal required OS is Windows XP, and SkyDrive Explorer will successfully work in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7.

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Windows Live…

I’ve recently did a post about “Blogging with Microsoft Word 2007…” Following that post, a fellow blogger whom I’ve come to know at “Tech-for Everyone” told me to give Window’s Live Writer a try to edit and post my blog articles…  I did and there has been no going back.  The Window’s Live Writer (by Microsoft) is one of the best “FREE” blogging tools I have since experienced.  If you currently have a Windows Live ID or Windows Live Hotmail or Windows Messenger account, then you are already setup to take advantage of Live Writer and a whole gamut of other “FREE” services (and software) which Microsoft has cooked up…  If you don’t have an account, you can easily setup an account by clicking on the “Get Windows Live” button at the end of this post. 

Following the advice I received from “Tech-for Everyone”, I noticed he posted a great article about Windows Live Writer and Window’s Live Mail.  I encourage you to read the post titled “The Live Line” [Click Here].

After reading the “Tech-for Everyone” article, I started exploring deeper into some of the Window’s Live Services such as Live Mail (email client) and Window’s SkyDrive (online storage).  I have found both to be awesome and likely will be mainstays on my computer…  I also learned that SkyDrive currently provide 5 GB’s of online storage and will be expanding that to 25 GB’s in the near future (click here to read that announcement).

I really think Microsoft is heading in a good direction with the Window’s Live Services.  Reflected below is a screenshot from the Windows Live website which depicts the services currently available.  You can click on “Get Windows Live” to visit Microsoft’s Windows Live site.

Windows Live

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