Holiday Mixture – Remix

Last year for the holidays I rallied the troops at my office to see if we could come up with tips and trick that you can use every day when using technology and we came up with quite a number of suggestions.

Once again our staff gave generously and here is this year’s list for you to unwrap:

  1. Always be skeptical of an email’s origin, regardless of whether or not it’s from a known sender. In particular, do not open attachments that end in .ZIP or .EXE unless you are sure of what these files are and from whom they came.
  2. If you inadvertently delete a file, chances are you’ll be able to find it in the Recycle Bin.
  3. Speed up your computer by “defragmentation”.  You can find this by double-clicking “My Computer” and then right-clicking on the disk drive, opening the “Tools” tab, and choosing “Properties”.
  4. Make sure your laptop data is backed up in case you damage or lose it. You’d be surprised at the tales of woe I hear all the time. One thing to consider is a small business server, where several people’s files are centralized and backed up. You can synchronize your laptop with the server which means any changes you make on the laptop will be done on the server. This may be cheaper and easier than you think.
  5. When creating PowerPoint presentations, remember “Lucky number 7”. Put no more than seven words per bullet, and seven bullets per slide.
  6. For those using FireFox to surf the Net: Make use of an add-on called “Fast Dial”. Fast Dial replaces blank tabs with a panel of thumbnails of your favorite sites.
  7. Use accelerator keys and pop-ups for repetitive tasks. In almost any window, pressing the right mouse button will present some shortcut options. Pressing one of the underlined letters will cause the corresponding action to take place.
  8. If you win a million dollars, chances are you won’t be informed via email.
  9. Likewise, banks and other institutions will not ask you via email to click on a link and change your account. If you receive such instructions via email and you’re at all inclined to comply, call the institution.
  10. Use the Tab key to hop from field to field on a computer screen, and CTRL-Tab to hop backwards.
  11. For BlackBerry users: If you hit your space bar twice in a row, it gives you a period. Holding a key down a tiny bit longer than usual will capitalize that letter.
  12. If you’re using Outlook, learn about reminder flags that can help keep you – and your colleagues – organized.
  13. Use Excel’s “Paste Special” to save the results of a formula without the calculation itself. You can then delete the formula cells if you want to shrink down the size of a spreadsheet; for presentations for example.
  14. When copying text into your blog or website, first copy it into Notepad, then select it again in Notepad and copy/paste it into where it is to appear. That way, you’ll get rid of all extraneous formatting.
  15. Save a report to PDF before emailing it. Vista has this built-in but you can also download free shareware to do the trick with older operating systems.
  16. Tell your kids: Information Technology is cool. There are lots of jobs and some of the best training in the world right here in Nova Scotia.
  17. Speaking of kids, this one from my daughter: Run as fast as you can. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. Just never give up.

Have a great Holiday season!


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