Friday, November 26, 2010

Top 10 Holiday tips & tricks with Office 2010

From The Microsoft Office Blog: "The holiday season is upon us! Looking for creative, thoughtful, and inexpensive ways to make friends and loved ones feel special? Want to kick the New Year off with a new job? Here are 10 ways to Do-It-Yourself this holiday season with Office 2010."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Windows 7: Checking USB Device Power Usage

Did you know that there's preset limit on the available amount of power on a USB bus? If you have several USB devices plugged into your computer's USB ports, you need to be aware there is only a small amount power available for them.  Most computers have multiple what are known 'USB root hubs', and each hub can  deliver a maximum of 500 milliamps of power to attached devices. If the energy demands of the connected USB devices exceeds that limit, the USB bus can shutdown.

To check power draw of the USB devices connected to your computer:
  • In the Start menu search field, type: Device Manager and press the Enter key
  • In the Device Manager window, expand the node Universal Serial Bus controllers
  • Double-click on one of the USB Root Hub entries.
  • Click the Power tab. 

This tab displays a listing of attached USB devices, how much power they use and how much is available.  If you have more USB devices then you have available ports or power.  Consider buying a power USB hub that uses energy from the wall socket and not your computer's motherboard.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Software: Adobe Reader X

Over the last few years the Adobe Reader has been plagued with several security exploits. To address this problem, Adobe has released an upgrade called 'Reader X'. This update includes a sandbox design (called 'Protected Mode') to guard users from PDF attacks.

For those that don't know about the security term 'sandbox', it's a technology that tries to isolate system processes, and prevent malware from breaking out and exploiting malicious code.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Windows 7: Windows Explorer - Changing the Icon Views

In Windows Explorer you can quickly change the file and folder icons size and appearance by using the slider in the Views drop-down menu in the toolbar. For example, some of the View menu options include extra large to small icons sizes (from 16x16 to 256x256 pixels), as well List, Details, Tiles, and content views.

Another way to achive the same results is by holding down the CTRL key, then use the scroll wheel on your mouse wheel to resize the icons or change the icon views by moving it up or down.

Windows 7: Resizing Desktop Icons

Want to easily change the size (larger or smaller) of the icons on the desktop? All you have to do is click on an empty part of the desktop, hold down the CTRL key, then using the scroll wheel on your mouse, scroll up or down to re-size the icons.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Firefox: Moving Your Cache to RAM (Performance Tip)

For a long time browsers have kept local copies of web page objects (such as HTML files, graphics, flash, and other files) on the hard drive. This allows the browser to access these files much more quickly if they're needed again without having to download them from the Internet.

Firefox has a setting that allows the browser's cache to be moved to RAM instead of the hard drive. Since RAM can be access much faster then the hard drive, this means that you can see much faster returns on any cache hits from your browser.

  • This tip may cause problems with browser plug-ins.
  • Follow the advice of this tip at you're own risk, if implemented incorrectly it could disable the browser until its reversed.
  • Luanch Firefox
  • In the address bar type: about:config
  • Type browser.cache into the filter bar at the top.
  • Search for: browser.cache.disk.enable and set it to false (double-click it).
  • Search for: browser.cache.memory.enable and set it to true (double-click it).
  • Right-click anywhere, in the menu select New > Integer.
  • For the preference name, type: browser.cache.memory.capacity and press OK button.
  • In the next window, enter the size you want the cache in kilobytes (for example, typing 200000 would create a cache of 200,000 kilobytes or about 200 megabytes). A value of -1 forces Firefox to dynamically determine the cache size depending on the available system RAM.

Note: Since files are no longer stored on the disk, Firefox start-up can take longer. Also fewer objects are generally cached in RAM because of limited available system resources.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Dell Inspiron duo coming soon

A sneak peek at the new Inspiron duo, Dell's first convertible tablet, from touch to type in seconds. It should be available on before the end of the year.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Internet: Using Windows Explorer to Manage Your SkyDrive Files

Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive offers 25GB of free Internet based storage.  However, uploading files via a web browser can be cumbersome.  Without any extra software, there's a way to connect SkyDrive via Windows Explorer. 

Follow the steps below to map a network drive (e.g. X:\ drive) to a SkyDrive folder.
  • Go to in your web browser.
  • Sign in to the site with your Windows Live ID.
  • Copy the UID (highlighted in red) from the displayed URL, e.g.:
  • Open Windows Explorer, in the left sidebar, right-click on Network, and select Map network drive...
  • Enter the following UNC: \\\1234567890abcdef\Document
    • Notes:  
      • Replace highlight the UID in the UNC with the UID from step 3.
      • Replace “Documents” with the folder name with as appropriate.
  • Choose a drive letter, check Connect using different credentials, and press the Finish button
  • You will be prompted for your Windows Live ID.
Note: I am finding you connect and browse the files on the SkyDrive, but I am not finding you can upload to the drive from the Windows Explorer.  Although, I still find this a cool tip.