March 2006

 

If you pinned me down and forced me to tell you what my favorite month is, the answer would have to be March. It's my birthday month (St. Patrick's Day) and as I get older (57) the annual celebrations are becoming more and more special and certainly lasting longer than just the big day. This year we are spending St. Patrick's Day week in Dublin, Ireland. We are looking forward to a great time wandering around that fine city and soaking up all the Irish-ness. I'm so excited I could POP! 

It looks as though our hotel will have high speed Internet access, so (of course) little Trixie (the faithful laptop) will be making the trip and should be fairly busy enjoying herself too. I'm sure she will have plenty to reveal in the next newsletter, lots of photos of old Mr. and Mrs. Wizard (hopefully sober) and the city of Dublin. Traveling is becoming more and more Internet friendly as time goes by. Just a few years ago it was very difficult to get a connection when traveling. Now it is almost sinfully easy, and most hotels are very accommodating.

This issue of CompuQuickTips is certainly a collaborative one! I have been honored by quite a few Tiny Treasure and Gem finds shared by your fellow readers. All have been great, and more than I have room for this month, but certainly will be sharing with you over the next few issues. Special thanks to all of you who are spotting these goodies and sharing.  The best ones are from readers who actually use the software in question. It's already been tested and enjoyed and favorite features are shared. I love it!

YouSendIt ...

If you have ever needed to send a really large file to someone, this little website is for you. http://yousendit.com lets you send files to an email address, so your email and their email isn't bogged down or choked up by files that may be over the limit (some service providers only allow 2 Mb file transfers) in your email. Your file is sent to the yousendit server and your recipient gets a simple email with a link to download the file at their convenience.  It is wonderful for huge files you could never send by email. I even used it to send "myself" a large folder (zipped) from one computer to another. I can think of all kinds of neat ways to use this. Special thanks to "Aught," your fellow reader who has provided us with so many neat PaintShop Pro Pictures tubes and frames. This is a real goodie too!

WJR ...

On February 4th, my favorite radio station, WJR in Detroit, Michigan celebrated their 8th anniversary. I was so tickled and honored to be asked to participate with a short interview during their first hour. I was on my best behavior and refrained from doing my rendition of Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe style. I KNOW they are happy I spared them my singing voice, hehehe. The Internet Advisor is a great group of wonderfully down to earth techies. You can now listen to Foster Braun, Gary Baker and Ed Rudel LIVE on the Internet or download MP3 files of the shows to listen to any time you want. They are on every Saturday night 7pm till 9pm (central time). They even have a (very simple to use) chat room you can visit during the show. Who knows?  You might even catch old Mrs. Wizard in there from week to week! Visit their website at http://wjr.com/Sectional.asp?id=6427. Oh by the way... I just happened to snatch the podcast from the first hour of that show and have it HERE for you to listen to at your convenience.

Gem ... Wood Workshop

Wood Workshop is a FREE seamless texture editor. It does Wood and it does it very well. If you love playing with Photoshop or PaintShop Pro, you have probably experimented with different textured backgrounds.  This little goodie comes with over 100 presets and lots of tweaking ability. You won't find spyware or ads in this gem, just the good stuff!

Once you finish tweaking your wood (it is sooooo fun), just hit the Render button at the top of the main window. A new, larger rendition of your wood background will appear. You can then export it anywhere you want as a .jpg file and use it as a wonderful seamless background in any graphic program.

Read more and download it at http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/.

Gem ... Mini Minder

This is a little goodie you can thank your fellow reader Ben Carpenter for. I didn't realize just how valuable it could be until I installed it and began using it a few days. It is neat to see special dates with a countdown (how many days until), as well as your appointments and other important schedule items right on your desktop when you start your machine in the morning. Once you have your day in hand, you can close the little program or let it sit there. It is up to you. Cost is absolutely FREE and you will discover no ads or spyware. 

It is very easy to install, just click the downloaded installation file and follow the yellow brick road. It is very easy to add appointments and events. Begin by clicking the Edit button, enter your event or appointment and put 365 in the Adv box if you want to watch the days count down. It is very straightforward and doesn't suck resources or take a lot of room on your desktop if you decide to keep it on all day. Thank you Ben for such a nifty little tool! As of February 28th, only 13 more days until our Ireland Adventure begins!

If you have a busy schedule with a lot of appointments to track, or just special events you want to see the days count down for, Mini Minder is a fun and necessary tool to have.
You can read more about Mini Minder and download it at http://www.vellosoft.com/miniminder/index.html.

Quick Tips

Use Your Wheel ...

The mouse wheel doesn't just sit there for looks. It can be used for quite a few things, like scrolling up and down pages AND making text larger or smaller (zooming in or out) on some of those pages.  The next time you arrive at a website where the text is just too small, try holding down your CTRL key while you move your mouse wheel forward or back... amazing!
This little tip came from a fellow reader, Brian Whitta.  Thanks Brian! It must be making a round on the Internet too, because I also received this goodie from my friend Ricardo (another great Italian). Regardless, it is a great tip and reminds me to remind YOU to use that WHEEL!

Keep Your Desktop Clean ...

The Desktop (Your main computer screen) can easily become a repository for every shortcut and scrap of information known to mankind. It shouldn't be that way. You need to always know where your recycle bin is (so you can delete stuff or go through it to retrieve something), as well as any important icons or shortcuts you feel you absolutely need quick access to. If you have to wade through dozens of little postage stamps all over your screen to find something, you are defeating one of the neatest improvements of Windows XP. A cluttered Desktop is also a good sign your entire PC is cluttered.

Begin by locating your Recycle Bin. Left click on it and (while holding down the left mouse button) drag it to the bottom right corner of your computer screen. This will assure you always know where it is and prevent accidental deleting. Can't move it? Right click any empty area of your Desktop and make sure Auto Arrange is not checked.

Make a Folder ...

Create a folder on your Desktop to save any stray icons you aren't sure you want to delete yet. Right click any empty area of the Desktop and choose New, then Folder. Give your folder a name and drag it to a safe spot over to the side of your Desktop screen. Use this folder to drag your extra shortcuts to. The result will be a cleaner, leaner Desktop. Who knows? You might even want to leap out there and get a fancy image to look at (wallpaper) on your desktop. There is always a nice free one at http://mrswizard.com/current.html. Click the small image so the full sized one appears, then on the large image right click and choose Set as Background. Nice huh? You can always open your folder any time you feel like going through all those shortcuts and really deleting the ones you don't want.

Remember ... There are a lot more QuickTips each month in the Member area. AND I've gathered up all the videos and other goodies in the member area too, so they are nice and handy.  You won't have to dig through old newsletters to find them. All it takes is a one time donation to show you care, and the member area is all yours!  For more information...


Warmest Regards,
Cindy O'Neal (aka Mrs. Wizard)
http://mrswizard.com
http://compuquicktips.com
 
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Acrobat Reader tips: http://mrswizard.com/archives/acrobat_reader_tricks.html (for the older archived newsletters)
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Copyrightę 2006 Cindy L. O'Neal