Category: Tech Tip

Tips on using computers, other technology and devices.


Tech Tip: Modify laptop power settings for longer battery life

By Nathan Vidal,

Tech Tip Save Battery

Laptop Battery SettingsGone are the days of the domination of desktop computers as laptop and mobile computing has become more popular than their predecessor. One of the main advantages of a laptop is that you can use it on the go and it’s battery life determines how long this convenience can last without needing an external power source. Fortunately you can tweak your laptop’s power settings to conserve your battery. This tip shows you how to change power settings in Windows 7 but the process is similar for other versions of Windows.

  1. Battery IconClick the battery icon in the taskbar and click on  More power options . Alternatively, click on the Start button then click on the Control Panel. You can find Power Options in the Systems and Security or Hardware and Sound section of the Control Panel.
  2. In the Power Options window  click on Change Plan Settings to modify your power settings.
  3. In the Edit Plan Settings window you can modify settings for when your laptop is on battery power and when it is plugged in. The lower your display brightness and power saving settings the longer your battery life will be. Set these settings to the lowest levels you are comfortable with  on battery to maximize the amount of time you can use your laptop without it being plugged in.

 

 

Tech Tip: VLC media player plays various video formats

By Nathan Vidal,

VLC Media PlayerWhen it comes to playing videos on your computer VLC media player is a popular option due to its wide support for various video formats out of the box. Unlike other media players, including those that come bundled with your computer,  it can play most common digital video formats without the need to download additional video codecs. This makes it a great video player for those who just want to start watching the video without having to worry about configurations and third party software.

VLC is open source so it is free to use and its simplistic interface also makes it easy to use. The VLC media player is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and can be downloaded here.

Related Links

VideoLAN Organization

Tech Tip: Follow topics of interest with Google Alerts

By Nathan Vidal,

Google Alerts TEch Tip

Google AlertsYour time is precious and it is difficult to follow all the topics that interest you with so much information available on the web. Google Alerts can help you by sending email alerts when information  about the topics you choose become available. Think of it as your own personal assistant doing Google searches for you and emailing relevant results to you so that you do not have to waste time doing the searches yourself.

You can get email notifications any time that Google finds new results on a topic you’re interested in. For example, you could get updates about a product you like, find out when people post content about you on the web, or keep up with news stories. – How Google Alerts Work

You use Google Alerts the same way you use a normal search engine by entering a search term. You then enter your email address so that results will be emailed to you. By clicking on the Show options link you can configure the frequency of these emails, limit the sources of information, choose language and region, and choose whether you want to receive all results or only the best ones. Finally, simply wait for the alerts to start coming to your email in accordance to the options you set.

Tech Tip: Gather data with Google Forms

By Nathan Vidal,

Tech Tip: Google Forms

Google Docs is well known for its online word processing and spreadsheet capabilities but it can also be used to quickly gather data from friends or coworkers. Google Forms allows you to create basic forms and save responses in either a spreadsheet or as a text file that can be downloaded. You can simply email the link to the form to all intended recipients. Their responses will then be saved in Google Drive.

Google Form Screenshot

Example of a Google Form being designed

There are many use cases for a Google form. A few examples are:

  • To share a menu with a group so everyone can order meals to be catered
  • To gather responses from a customer survey
  • To obtain feedback on a project
  • To brainstorm ideas with a group

Tech Tip: Use a URL shortener to share long links

By Nathan Vidal,

URL Shortener
url_shortener

There are many instances when you would like to share a website link with someone else. You might come across something interesting, informative or entertaining but the original link may be long and not very presentable. While social media sites like Twitter and Facebook automatically shorten links you may want to manually shorten a link to include in an email for instance . There are many URL shorteners that you can choose from.

  • Bit.ly – Bit.ly allows you to create your shortened link and provides statistics about these links
  • Ow.ly – Ow.ly is another URL shortener which you can use after verifying that you are human with a graphical captcha

With most of these URL shorteners you can access more features if you actually sign up for the service. This may include being able to track how many times your link has been clicked and other basic statistics.

Tech Tip: Check Google PageRank of websites

By Nathan Vidal,

PageRank status

Google PageRankUpdate: April 12, 2019

These tools to monitor your Google page rank are no longer viable. You are better off just following search engine optimization best practices.

If you are interested in knowing how a website you visit (or a website you manage) is ranked by Google you can use the the Open SEO Stats (formerly PageRank Status) extension for Google Chrome. These tools allow you to see the PageRank of the page you are visiting in the toolbar of the browser. They also give the Alexa rating of the website – with the Chrome extension giving more detailed information.

The PageRank is one of the systems that Google uses to weigh the popularity and relevance of websites. The higher your PageRank, the more likely you are to appear at the top of Google search results. Smaller websites may find it more difficult to increase PageRank but a low rating does not necessarily mean poor content. It may just be an indication that better search engine optimization is necessary.

Tech Tip: Use TeamViewer to remotely control devices

By Nathan Vidal,

Teamviewer Website

TeamViewerTeamViewer is a handy program that can be used for remotely controlling your devices via the internet. The program is cross platform and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It is also compatible with mobile devices and works on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8.

There are many different uses for TeamViewer and a few of the common ones are:

  • Providing technical support to customers remotely
  • Remotely accessing files on a device in another location
  • Hosting or joining a meeting

TeamViewer Screenshot

The software does not just give unrestricted access to your devices.You need to provide your partner with the ID you are assigned and the  password before your device can be accessed by the partner. You can also choose to use a personal password instead of using the default password generated by the program.

TeamViewer is free for personal use with various licensing options for business use.

Tech Tip: Use two instances of Skype simultaneously in Windows

By Nathan Vidal,

2 Instances of Skype

Skype logoSkype is a popular software for video chats, VOIP calls and instant messaging which replaced Windows Live Messenger. The versatility of Skype makes it suitable for both business and personal use. If you have more than one Skype account it is possible to use them simultaneously on the same Windows computer.

From the Skype support website the steps for running two instances of Skype at the same time on Windows are:

  1. Click the Start button > Run (or press the Windows and R keys on your keyboard at the same time)
  2. In the Run window for 32-bit operating systems type: “C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary
  3. In the Run window for  64-bit operating systems type: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary
  4. Be aware that if you’ve changed the installation path for Skype, then you’ll need to enter the correct path for the Skype.exe file.

Related Links::

How can I run multiple Skype accounts on Windows desktop?

Tech Tip: Monitor your social and website activity with Cyfe

By Nathan Vidal,

Cyfe IconSocial media is such a popular channel for marketers that many businesses are looking to benefit from a simpler way to monitor activity on various social networks. The same can be said for monitoring website statistics for website developers. Cyfe provides a customizable dashboard of useful information from many different popular online services that can satisfy both groups.

You can use Cyfe’s configurable widgets to get an overview of metrics for networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Webmasters can also benefit from metrics from Google Analytics, Alexa, Chartbeat and many other services.

You will have to grant Cyfe the permission to access information from the various services that you want it to be connect with. You can also separate your widgets by dashboards to group related widgets together. If you are looking for an all-in-one overview of metrics for social media or website  analysis feel free to give Cyfe a try.

 

Tech Tip: Change your Google Chrome theme

By Nathan Vidal,

Change theme in Google Chrome

You can change your Google Chrome theme to customize the way that the browser looks for a more personalized browsing experience. There are many themes available for you to choose from made by both Google and independent artists. Changing your theme is a simple 4 step process.

1. Go to Settings in Google Chrome

Chrome Change Theme 1

2. Click on the “Get themes” button

Chrome Change Theme 2

3. Click on the theme you like from the Google Chrome Store

Chrome Change Theme 3

4. Click on the “Free” button to download and apply the theme

Chrome Change Theme 4

If you do not like the new theme you can always go back int Google Chrome’s settings and click the Reset to default theme button.