Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #28 - Geeky Tips

Since I'm solely a Windows user at home and at work, these tips are heavily Windows-centric. Still, these are ones that I swear by and you may not know of.
  1. If you don't have voice notes on your phone, or even if you do, use Jott to have your voice notes transcribed to an email to yourself (or even a blog or twitter post).
  2. In Microsoft Word, if you double-click the Format Painter toolbar button, it stays on and you can format paint to your heart's delight.
  3. On a windows computer, use the Windows-e key to bring up Windows Explorer. You can also use Windows-r for the Run command, Windows-m to minimize all windows and Windows-M to maximize. There are others, but those are the main ones I use.
  4. Use the Back button on the mouse. On a mouse that has more than three buttons (left, right, scroll wheel), it is usually a button near your thumb. My Logitech wireless mouse actually uses push left and right on the scroll wheel as extra buttons, so I program those to be Back and Forward (Alt-Left Arrow and Alt-Right Arrow). Supposedly they were preprogrammed with Back and Forward, but it didn't work in Firefox. The Back button works in many other programs as well.
  5. Use Ctrl-Shift-Esc to bring up the Task Manager. Being a developer I use this one A LOT and not many people know about it.
  6. When using the Task Manager, Processes tab, go to View, Select Columns and check Virtual Memory size. That'll really show you the processes that are bringing down your system because they are hitting your HDD for memory purposes. On the Performance tab, go to View and select Show Kernel Times to see how much time the CPU is dealing with drivers and hardware.
  7. Use Process Explorer to find which programs are locking specific files. This solves the pesky problem of not being able to delete a file because it is being used. You can search for file use or DLL use and kill processes at will. Note: not for the lightweight geek.
  8. Use WinDirStat to see cool visual representation of all the files on your disks. It is a great way to find directory and file hogs if you are cleaning up your hard drive.
  9. Use ToolbarCop to manage your browser toolbar extensions and also your Windows start-up items. Warning, use at your own risk, as I think I deleted something critical which eventually led me to reload the OS. Disable instead of delete!
  10. Use SyncToy to manage backups to an external drive, or even synchronize with a thumb drive. I use this every day for my thumb drive!
  11. Use Slickr as your screen saver to cycle through pictures on your local hard drive. This program is normally used for getting Flickr pictures, but it works just as well with local pictures.
  12. Download open source firmware for your router from DD-WRT. This is only for the complete geek and is not for the faint of heart. I had to be hand held through setting up a VPN for home and now I can finally access all those blocked sites at work by VPNing to my home router. Of course I only do this judiciously as I don't want to slapped by the IT police.
  13. A good alternative to setting up a home VPN is using LogMeIn. You set up a service that runs on your home computer and you can access it remotely through the web for free. They have premium services, but the free one had been fine for my purposes.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these tips; I didn't know about a lot of these and it will definitely come in useful (and is duly bookmarked!)

Mine: T13 #11 |  Pictures from the Earth--"Closed for Winter"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those. I had been using Word for years, literally, before I discovered the format painter! So much trouble I could have saved myself.

Nadiah Alwi - Write at Home Mom said...

Trying #2 right away...


SJ Reidhead said...

I am now a smug Mac user!
The Pink Flamingo

Melanie said...

Very useful list! Thanks for sharing!

Deb said...

Thanks so much for the tips - I can't wait to try them out! :)

Zenmomma said...

These are so much more than I'll probably ever understand. I bow to your knowledge!

Open Grove Claudia said...

Great tips. Boy these would make my life so much easier. Some of them I knew (we have had Slikr for a while). I'm also glad I don't have a "back" button on my mouse. I'd bollocks up so much more stuff!

Thanks so much for the information!

Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

I just use what works... until I stumble upon an angel like you who explains how much better it COULD work.

You earned your wings with this one. Thanks.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

The Tour Manager will dig a lot of the tips on here -- the ones he doesn't know! (cue the geeky laughter)

Happy TT!