Friday, December 31, 2010

Printing Your Holiday Snaps

If you are taking a heap of photos over the Christmas/Summer Holidays, don't just leave them on your camera, consider the following to share your memorys beyond the day you captured them.

Digital Picture frames
From as little as A$30 you can buy a digital picture frame [retail stores are a bit dearer so check on line].   I picked a 7" one up from http://www.citysoftware.com.au/ for $29.95, plugged a $11 4GB USB stick [picked up from Woolworths supermarket] loaded it with photos and gave it to my mum and dad for Christmas.  They LOVE the frame and it has pride of place in the lounge room.  It is something they look at and remember special times without having to get dusty old albums out.

Internet Photo Sharing
If your family and friends are interstate or overseas you may want to share your photos over the internet.  You can use free sights such as http://www.flickr.com/ and http://www.photobucket.com/ but I prefer sites such as http://www.dropbox.com/ where you can invite friends to look at documents and pics in folders - up to 2GB it is free.  The benefit of Dropbox is that if you refer friends you can get more space for yourself but it automatically syncronises your files so it is easy to drag and drop photos into folders once you have set it up.  You don't even have to remember your log in!!!

Physical Pics - the old fashioned way
There might be some photos you physically want to print out.  You could buy yourself a photo printer [who knows your current PC printer may be able to print if loaded with photo paper], but the cheapest way to print out some snaps is to load them onto a USB stick or take your memory card to your local Harvey Norman, KMart, Big W or Officeworks type store.  Shop around as some have specials where you can print photos for as low as 9c each!  Most major shopping centres will have at least 1-2 places where you can print out photos.

So don't let your wonderful Christmas holiday memories gather dust....get them reminding you of the fun you had.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grease was the “Word” – Now the Word is Skype® & IT’S FREE!

In 1978 we all wanted to be cool like Sandy & Danny – Grease WAS the word.
At the end of the Noughties, Skype® is the word!

With Christmas less than a few days away, Skype® will be working overtime allowing people to connect with friends and relatives across the country and the world to call each other for FREE!

What is Skype®?
It’s a FREE piece of software that when downloaded to your computer allows you to voice and video call ANY computer in the world running Skype® for $0.  No more massive phone bills when family and friends are overseas, with Skype® you can call them and talk for as long as you like.  All you need is a computer with a headset and microphone [pick one up for around $40 at many office supplies or department stores] and an internet connection.

So How Does it Work?
Skype® uses VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol – this is the computer “language” it uses] to process your voice and transmit it over the internet.  Unlike standard landline or mobile calls, Skype® utilises the internet, so there are no call costs.  Simply download the software from www.skype.com plug in your headset and microphone, test it with Skype® and you can be calling AND SEEING your friends and family on their computer around the corner or around the world.

Can I call a mobile or landline in another country?
Buying Skype® credits – generally in US$ enables you to call any landline or mobile number in the world.  When in the US recently, from the comfort of my hotel room, I made a calls to Australia for just US$0.02 per minute, if the people I wanted to call were on Skype® I could call them Skype® to Skype® for FREE.  I didn’t have to purchase a phone card that I may never use again, nor did I have to find a working pay phone from which to make my call. 

So what’s the catch?
There really aren’t any “catches” just a few points to note.  The quality of your calls, voice delay or slow video update may be unpredictable depending on internet traffic and the speed of your internet connection.  For most users, this is fine as you can always hang up your call and dial again hopefully getting a better line - just like you would with a  crossed telephone line. 

By default when you download Skype® it sets up to start automatically when you start your computer.  I recommend switching feature off and then when you want to use Skype® simply open it the same way you would any other program.

NOTE: Switch it off by going to Skype® -> Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> and untick "Start Skype® when I start Windows®". 

I’ve got Skype® on my mobile phone, can I use it to make free calls to other Skype® users?
If you have Skype® on your mobile phone BE AWARE that the ONLY time you will be able to make free Skype® to Skype® calls is when you are connected to the internet. 

This means your mobile is picking up internet access from your home/office computer network or you are in a free WiFi zone such as McDonalds, some shopping centre food courts or some airport lounges. 

If you are connected to the internet via your mobile and you see 3G displaying, it means you are connected to the internet VIA YOUR MOBILE and cost associated with that is being charged [or may be part of] your mobile phone bill. 

If it has a symbol looks like a wave, it means you are wirelessly connected and if you are in a free WiFi hotspot like McDonalds etc, you can call Skype® to Skype® at no cost.  If you aren’t sure how to wirelessly connect your mobile or where to find the symbol, chat with your mobile phone company or ask a teenager……after all, they know EVERYTHING [insert a cheeky grin here]!

I know on every trip I make in Australia and overseas, my laptop with it’s built in camera and my headset are the first things packed in my hand luggage.  As a wife, mother, daughter and friend, I want to make sure I can always connect and share my travels with everyone back home.

Hope you and your family have a safe and happy Christmas period

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Technology Gifts for Christmas 2010

Time's running out....only 10 days till Christmas!

Stuck for something to buy this Christmas?
Technology NEVER goes astray.  It doesn’t matter if the gift is for a techno-savvy teenager or eighty year old grandparents…there’s something for everyone!

These are my picks for the top technology gifts to give this Christmas in no particular order and at a variety of price points.

1.    iphone/ipad/ipod in fact i-anything!
With the release of the iPad and iPhone 4 in 2010, these two babies are still the hottest property in the technology market.  iPad is now available via most electrical resellers such as Big W, Dick Smith and Harvey Norman.  Lowest prices options for i-anything is an iTunes card available at Woolworths, Coles and Australia Post outlets.  Perfect for last minute gifts
2.    Kinect for Xbox 360 – The latest in the Xbox 260 from Microsoft, released last month utilises sensors for a whole body experience.
3.    Ninetendo Wii – still a great product for Christmas with it’s Wii Fit and Resort games. 

If buying Kinect or Wii, bundled offers are still the best value but shop around

4.    In August, EA Sports made Soccer Star David Beckham Ambassador for EA SPORTS Active 2.  Available for multiple consoles AS well as iPhone, and iPod touch, EA Sports Active 2 focuses on fitness and combines a heart rate monitor and motion tracking data to deliver a fitness experience that achieves authentic, measurable results.
5.    Quick Cameras – in a market let by the Flip HD and Sony Bloggie, these little flip cameras capture still photographs, record video and enable you to upload them to share via sites such as Windows Live, YouTube or just amongst family for under $250.  Available from standard camera outlets and some major retailers
6.    Charger mats – Products such as Duracell MyGrid®, a mat on which you can place up to 4 devices for instant charging.
7.    Digital Picture frames – great for grandparents but make sure you load a USB stick with photos and give that with the digital picture frame….they will LOVE it!
8.    E-Book reader – for the family member who LOVES to read but is running out of space on their bookshelf.  Shop around as there are various types.  Great for people who like to read multiple books at a time.
9.    USB TV Tuner – retailing for around $30, plug it into your computer or laptop to get TV channels – including High Definition via your laptop [you will need internet access]
10. Video to DVD maker – convert your old videos into DVD using a USB Video to DVD converter, retailing for around $70, this is great for ensuring your precious memories aren’t lost.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Christmas period

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working with Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word

I am often asked about headers and footers in Word.
Most people are ok with the basics, but sometime you need to do something different such as a different header on the first page or on odd and even pages – useful for when you have a document that will be printed double sided with staples in the middle – you might want the header on odd pages left aligned but right aligned on even pages.

Download the pdf quick reference sheets




Or view the video clip – in 2007

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Monday, November 29, 2010

5 Tips to Clear Your Computer Clutter

Start this month with a commitment to living in harmony with your computer.


1.       Check Your Files & Folders.
Are all your files in folders or are they filed loosely in My Documents or a network drive?  Now is the time to check over where your files are stored and see if your computer filing cabinet needs a revamp to keep pace with your business or personal needs.  Start by writing down categories for your documents and plan what you will put where.  You can always move files around later, but the important thing is to have some structure to make them easier to find when you need them.
        
         If filing isn’t your strong point, get some help to get re-organised.  There are many small businesses that provide office support that will come to you! If you are in a larger organisation, ask colleagues how they store their files.

2.      Delete or Archive Files
Are there files on your computer that you no longer need?  Delete them.
Are there files on your computer that you need but not that often?  Archive them by moving/copying them to a CD or external hard drive.
        
3.      Clear the computer desktop
Do you have unnecessary icons or files on the computer desktop?
         Clear up your desktop by moving any you no longer use to the recycle bin.

4.      Empty your Recycle Bin
         Even if you are on a network, from time to time items you delete may end up in the recycle bin.  Empty it out by right clicking on the Recycle Bin and choosing Empty Recycle Bin.

5.      Clean your computer
         Give your computer the once over with a soft cotton cloth and specialty wipes for your computer screen.  Do this with the computer off, clean the mouse by undoing the casing, taking the ball out and blowing the dust out (close your eyes first!).  Don’t forget to clean the keyboard too.

Wishing you increased productivity and harmony with your computer.