Monday, December 1, 2008

Computer Tips [ Airport X-Rays - Destroying Electronics? Passwords - What You Must Know Now + Cleaner Mousing ] 12/02/08

Computer No, this isn't Steve. You can tell because Steve never wears a suit :-)

Quick Tips

Passwords Should Be...

Do you often have trouble coming up with the perfect password? Whether you're purchasing something online or you're signing up for some kind of newsletter, etc., a password is usually required. Plus, we all know (well, we should) that it's best to use a different password for each thing we do online. And with more and more services being added everyday, it can sometimes be hard to come up with new passwords to use. So, I thought I would take some time today and try to help you out. What do you say we create some passwords?!

According to security experts, there are six rules you should follow when making up your passwords. First of all, they should be random. By that, I mean you should choose a series of characters that are completely random to everyone else, but make complete sense to you. The second rule follows up with that by saying passwords should be unique. Again, just try to create a password that no one else will be able to easily guess. The third rule states that a password should be, at the very least, eight characters long, but the longer it is, the better. If you can come up with a password that's 14 characters or more, go for it!

The next rule says that a password should be a combination of upper and lowercase letters and there should be at least one number or symbol included in there somewhere. The more variety you add to your password, the better it will be. The fifth rule simply states that you should change your password regularly and frequently. The longer you leave the same password in place, the easier it will be for a hacker to grab it. And lastly, you should type your password out manually each and every time you're asked for it. Yes, the "Remember Password" feature is nice, but it's really best to enter it in each time. If you follow these six simple rules, you will have the most secure and perfect passwords in town. That's something to be proud of!

~ Erin

Make sure you keep reading to learn what airport security is like for certain devices like flash drives and CDs, find out how to do a little long distance scrolling in MS Excel and learn how you can easily clean up your mousepad. Also, find out all you need to know about digital image RAM with today's digital photography tip and as always, don't miss out on Amanda's Cool Site of the Day!


Smartest Idea I've Seen All Year!

Amazing Money Jar Counts & Sorts Your Change!

What A Brilliant Gadget!

Even Keeps A Running Total!

The Best Money You'll Ever Spend On, Well, Money!!

How many times have you emptied out your pockets, purse or wallet and discovered a handful of loose change? You probably have a nice jar collecting all that extra coin, and I'll just bet you've wanted to go cash it in, but you're holding off 'cuz sorting it is such an amazing hassle! Counting out all the little nickels, dimes and quarters, putting them neatly into piles - takes half the day!

Well, we have just the gadget for you! This is officially my favorite gadget this year! It's called the Money Machine and this new version actually counts and sorts all that loose change for you! How awesome is that?!?

With this Money Machine you get to say goodbye to all the hassle of counting your loose change! It electronically sorts and counts every coin as you deposit it. Just slide them into the slot and it starts working!  Once the jar is full, just take your change out and hit the reset button to start it over! It's fantastic! Look how nicely it sorts your change! Talk about making it easy to wrap!

Wish I would have thought of this:

 What's even cooler is that this machine will actually keep a running total of all the money you have currently deposited! In a quick glance, you will be able to see how much money you have saved! Check out this shot of the awesome counter!

I tell ya, I snagged one of these as soon as they came in and started looking for change. I had a jar that sat on my dresser full of change, pulled the extra change out of my jeep, even found a bunch in my luggage! I had it sorted in no time and rolled a whoppin' $315.50 - way more than I thought I had! Thanks to this machine, my Christmas budget went WAY up! How much money do you have just laying around? Use this machine and cash it in! What are you waiting for??

This gadget is going to put a big 'ol grin on your face every time you use it! You'll be just like me - searching your house, digging in between the couch cushions looking for extra change just to see your money being sorted and counted! Oh yeah - You are going to love this machine!

And the cost is amazing too! (Seriously, I'll bet this "pays for itself" - and then some - with just one filling of the machine!) Today only get this amazing money machine for just $16.97 and US SHIPPING IS FREE! Order now!

PS: We have a very limited supply of these, so please order now before they are gone!

WOW! Best Headlamp I've Ever Seen!

Awesome Hands Free Headlight!

Super-Tough -> Works In Extreme Conditions!

High-Intensity Light Is Blindingly Bright!

You're Going To Love This!

OK, this is just a killer deal and I'm really excited we found these! We just landed some top of the line, heavy duty, built to last forever Pelican HeadsUp LED Headlamps!

Let me tell ya, once you try a good headlamp, you'll wonder how you did without it! I use them for just about any lighting situation! Really great for camping or backpacking, but I also use mine around the house. From under the sink to under the car - I've got my headlamp! And even better - from now on I get to use this really comfortable, top notch Pelican headlamp!!!

Oh, if you're not familiar with Pelican, they manufacture all kinds of super-heavy-duty cases and lights. If you want something that's going to last forever, these are the people you see. I have a camera case from them that's been used for over 20 years and it's still in great shape! When I saw this headlamp, I knew I had to grab one!

Now, if you're just interested in a cheapo, second class lamp with a disappointingly dim bulb that probably won't last for more than a handful of outings, you might as well stop reading now. This lamp isn't for you.

However - if you like great quality, you're gonna absolutely LOVE this! First off, it's built like a tank! Super tough ABS plastic, so it's light weight, strong, and even corrosion proof! It's tough enough to be used in extreme cold or extreme heat - this can take more abuse then I can, that's for sure! Take it to the desert, pack it for the arctic, venture into caves, repel down a cliff, explore a slot cavern, beat it, drop it, abuse it - who cares? It'll still be tossin' light for ya! Beat the heck out of it on your next outing- it won't disappoint! I'm soooo taking this on my next backpacking trip!

Oh, and it's really bright too! This has a high-intensity 1 Watt LED lamp. Yeah, I know, 1 Watt doesn't sound like much if you're talking regular lights, but LEDs are much more efficient and 1 watt throws a TON of blinding light - more then most 12 or 19 LED flashlights (just look into it, you'll be a believer)! Plus, the light has 3 power levels - so you get to pick the amount of light you want it to throw! Even has an extra mode that turns it into an emergency flasher!

Oh, and get this - the lamp is on a 90 degree pivoting head - you can actually point the light where you want it to go! I've never seen that on a headlamp before! Very cool!

Plus, battery life is just mind-blowin! We're talking up to 24 hours on one set of "AA" batteries (includes batteries too)! That's a TON of time! Worried your batteries are getting low? Don't be! This has a battery charge indicator too! See why I'm so excited about this one?

Sure all this is great, but what about comfort? Glad you asked - that's what was the most impressive! This is soooo light on your head you'll forget you're wearing it after awhile!

And your cost is pretty cool too! I checked and this high-end light retails for $60 and sells online for between $45-60 (Plus another $5+ for shipping). Guess what we got 'em for? Just 28.97 and US Shipping is Free! This is the last headlamp you'll ever buy - you gotta grab one! Hey, if you don't love it like I do - send it back within 2 months and I'll give you a refund! Nothin' to lose - and you know you're gonna love it!

PS: Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, need a little extra light while you do maintenance work, or a crafter who needs some extra light- this fantastic light will be perfect for you! This is one item that won't sit around collecting dust. Order now!


Computers 101

You've talked about laptops going through airport security before, but what about other electronic devices, such as flash drives and CDs? Can those be damaged when going through the security line?

That's a great question and it couldn't have come at a better time! With Christmas and New Year's right around the corner, I'm sure a lot of you will be traveling via airplane to go visit your family and friends. And along with everything else, you'll probably be taking certain devices, such as your digital camera, cell phone, MP3 player or even possibly a flash drive. No matter what you take with you, it's vital to know what you need to do to keep all of those things safe while you travel. Keep reading for some helpful suggestions!

The biggest concern when it comes to traveling with your electronic devices is the airport security line. It's always been a fear that when you send your media through the X-ray machine, everything you have saved will be erased or damaged. For example, if you send your digital camera through, will all of the pictures you have saved be demolished? Or, how about your MP3 player or iPod? Will all of your songs be erased with one quick swipe? It's scary to think about that happening, but luckily, it rarely does.

Fortunately, most airports think about that kind of thing beforehand. Airport X-ray machines actually emit an electromagnetic energy, which is not magnetic at all. Therefore, they cannot damage or destroy any electrical equipment. This goes for laptops, CDs, DVDs, PDAs, memory cards, floppy disks, flash drives, external hard drives, MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, cell phones and just about anything else you can think of. So, just to make sure we're clear, let's go over all of those in a little more detail. Here we go!

CDs, DVDs - This includes all of the different types of CDs and DVDs, including R and RW. Any type of optical disk cannot be affected by an X-ray machine and they will not be damaged or erased when passing through.

Laptop, PDA, other types of computers - These types of devices are not sensitive to X-rays, which means they will not be affected. The same goes for all of the components within them as well (motherboard, graphics card, video card, etc).

Flash media - This includes any type of storage device you may use for your digital camera. Memory cards are not sensitive to light, which means they will not be affected when passing through an X-ray machine. As you probably know, film can be damaged when hit with light, so if you were to X-ray a film camera, the images would be erased. (You do remember traditional film cameras, don't you?!)

Floppy disks - Floppies are affected by magnetic charges, but since airport X-ray machines don't carry any magnetic energy at all, they will be safe. Unless you run a magnet over the metal area on your floppy disk, the data you have saved will not be destroyed.

Hard disk drives - This category includes flash drives, thumb drives, external hard drives, etc. These all work very similarly to a floppy drive, so even though they're sensitive to magnetic charges, an X-ray machine will not affect the material you have saved on them.

Other electronics - Finishing up, this one includes MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, cell phones and any other devices you can think of. Unless the manufacturer of your device states an item is affected by X-rays, the data you have saved will not be lost. Certain products may be different, so make sure you read through your user manual before taking anything like this through an airport X-ray machine.

Now, before I end, I want to make sure everyone knows we're talking about an X-ray machine and not a metal detector. They are two different things and airports usually have both. Metal detectors can sometimes damage electronic devices, so you'll want to make sure you let the security personnel at your airport know you're carrying a sensitive device. If you do that, they should be able to hand check your items for you so that you don't have to risk putting them in danger. Make sure you're always aware of which machine you're going through and how it will affect the items you brought with you. If you do that, your flying experience will be as smooth as silk. Happy holiday traveling, my friends!

~ Erin

Have a question for the newsletter? Submit it at the link below:

MS Office

Long Distance Scrolling in Excel

You all know how the scrolling works in MS Excel, right? The scroll bar basically allows for easy movement in the vicinity of the columns and rows that are already in use.

But, what if you're looking to scroll well beyond that?

You could use the Page Up, Page Down and arrow keys to make your journey, but you may just prefer scrolling. So, what can you do?

Well, there is a quick solution to your problem and it's called the Shift key!

If you hold down the Shift key and then click on the scroll box, you'll find you can do some very rapid and very extended scrolling through your worksheet.

Taking a long distance scroll in Excel just became a little bit easier, wouldn't you say?!

~ April

More Cool Stuff

Running Windows XP?

Then You Gotta Read This!

Are you a Windows XP user? Want to learn how to run it better? Faster? With less headaches? Do you want to learn about all the great features and take full advantage of them?

Then I have a must have program for you.

It's called Learning Windows XP and it's just fantastic. I was surprised at all the tricks I picked up during testing.

This software uses multimedia presentations to show you exactly how everything works. You can scroll through topics in order, or jump to a topic index and select the exact presentation you want to see.

And the presentations are absolutely fantastic. By using audio and video, they teach you exactly how to do just about anything you'd ever need to do in Windows. Every step is shown on a sample screen within the program. It's like having Bill Gates sitting down and showing you - step by step - how to operate Windows! Every mouse move, every click is shown. No guesswork required!

As for topics, it covers it all! Some of the more popular are CD burning, performance, remote desktop, remote use, security, using the built in firewall, troubleshooting, automatic updates, running older software, networking, digital music, user switching, file transfers, offline viewing, working with files and folders, reliability, safe mode, search companion, file encryption, taskbar, windows messenger, and tons more:

Using and Customizing the Desktop
The Basics of File Management
New Internet Explorer 6 Basics
In Home Networking and Internet Connection Sharing 
Web Publishing, Scanner and Camera Wizard Walk Through  
My Music and My Pictures Step-by-Step  
Take advantage of the new Windows Engine
Tips for Customizing and Personalizing Windows XP  


If you're running Windows XP, this is simply a must have program. Even if you've been using XP for awhile like I have, you'll be surprised how much you may have missed (I was)!

Your price on this today only (03-02-2008) is only $5.97 and US shipping is free! And yes, it has our 60 day satisfaction guarantee - if you're not happy, return it for a refund. Nothing to lose, but lots to gain! Here's the link:

PS - Considering how expensive computers and operating systems are, isn't it worth $5.97 to be able to make the most of your XP eXPerience? Give it a try, you'll be glad you did :-) The price will increase to $9.97 on Wednesday so don't wait to order!!!


Killer 8 Gig Micro Hard Drive!

Just $21.97 Today ONLY (12-02-2008)!!!

You Gotta Try This!!

Best Price EVER For 8 Whoppin' Gigs Of Storage!

Oh, did we get a deal for you with this one! It's an 8 Gig Mini Hard Drive and you're really gonna love it!

This works just like a flash drive - only it doesn't set you back as much money! Just plug it into your computer and it will show up as an external drive under My Computer. From there, simply drag and drop your files! Works on any XP or Vista computer - no drivers required! WOW!

These are fantastic for any kind of files! Office documents, spreadsheets, music, photos, backup - whatever! Just pop it into your computer and drag and drop! You can even install programs on it if you like! This has the same amount of storage of 11, yes 11 CD ROMs!

The really fantastic thing about these is that you're getting a TON of storage space for a LOT less than the price of a comparable flash drive! You can easily drop $70 or more for an 8 Gig flash drive - this gives you the same storage for just $21.97! WOW!

PLUS these are super-fast USB 2.0 drives! You'll be amazed at the file transfer speed! Wait till you try it!

Want one too? I don't blame ya! Head to the link below and get in on this deal before they're gone! For just $21.97 (free US shipping), you can't go wrong! Only a limited number available!

PS - Don't miss out! These are just GREAT! Built to last, quick, and extremely portable! Not really much bigger than a flash drive, but not nearly as expensive! Get 'em before they're sold out!

WARNING - This price WILL increase to $28.97 Wednesday!

Google Tips

So, tell me, are you a huge fan of Google? Do you use it to do all of your important searching on the Internet? It's okay to admit it. Trust me, you're not the only one! Now, do you have the Google searching strategy down to a tee? You know, do you know what to type in the search box to get exactly what you're looking for? Not quite sure if you do or not? Then you've got to check out the tip we're showcasing on our homepage today. It's called Google Tips and it will tell you everything you need to know about searching the right way with Google!

Back to College

Have you been thinking about going back to college lately? Perhaps it's something you never got to finish and you'd really like to go back and complete your degree. Of course, it's fine if you don't want to do that, but it is a huge accomplishment and it means a lot to some people. Well, if you're doing some serious thinking about it, you're going to want to check out the cool site on our homepage today. It's simply called Back to College and it has a lot of tips for anyone who's considering going back to school. It's a must see!

Here's the link you need: Enjoy!

Tip of the Day

Mousepad Clean Up

Another reader asks: I know this is a little silly, but can you give me some tips on cleaning a mousepad? Mine is awful looking, but I don't want to ruin it in the process. Please help!

That's not a silly question at all! We all clean our mice, right? So, why not give the mousepad a little touch up too? Also, it's imperative to have a mousepad underneath your mouse when you're using it, so why wouldn't you take good care of it? After you clean your mouse, you might as well make the mousepad your next project. And here are some tips that can help you do just that!

Just like a mouse, the mousepad can easily collect dirt, dead skin and oil. After all of that sits in place for awhile, it can start to make your mousepad look a little grimy and gross. Listed below are the steps you need to follow to keep your mousepad looking spic and span!

1.) Most of the mousepads out there today have a spongy, foamy material in them. Then on top of that, they are usually covered with a thin fabric or a plastic top. Investigate as to which material yours is made out of before you go any further. That will determine which way you can clean your mousepad.

2.) If the material is a fabric, you can use a slightly moist washcloth and a little bit of shampoo. (Make sure you're using a cloth you don't mind getting dirty). This works out well, because chances are, you already have shampoo on hand and it's a gentle cleaner that works perfectly on different fabrics.

3.) On the other hand, if your mousepad has a plastic top, spray a bit of your household cleaner on it. Make sure it's a mild kind and you only need to use a small amount. Use a piece of cloth or a sponge to then clean the pad. Even dish soap or some shampoo would work for this type of mousepad too.

4.) Once you choose which method you'd like to use, go ahead and clean the mousepad as best you can. When you're done, make sure all of the cleaners get rinsed off.

5.) When the whole thing is rinsed, use a towel to dry the mousepad. Just pat the towel gently until the surface feels dry.

6.) Now, even though it may feel dry, there's probably still some water soaked in, so let it sit overnight or as long as you need to. Make sure it is completely dry (even all the way into the foam) before you start using it again. Also, if your desk is wooden, you'll want the mousepad to be 100 percent dry, because the water could ruin the surface of your desk as well.

The only other thing you want to be careful of when you're cleaning your mousepad is the color of it. If you think the water might ruin the colors, test it out first. Just moisten a corner of the mousepad to see what it does. It's better to ruin just a corner, rather than the whole thing. Also, if your mousepad is coming apart at the seams or if it is stained pretty badly, you may just want to go out and purchase a new one. They're relatively inexpensive and it's better to have a good place for your mouse to sit than to keep an old mousepad hanging around.

One more thing! While you're waiting for your mousepad to dry, you might as well clean that mouse of yours too. You can read here and here for some help with that, depending on the type of mouse you have. Wow, who knew I could write so much about cleaning a mousepad?! I bet you'll also be surprised at how much dirt and grime you clean off of yours. Give it a shot today!

~ Erin

If you enjoy our tips, tell your friends. That's what keeps this newsletter growing.


Today's Feature

Digital Image RAM

We all know that digital photos take up gobs of hard drive space, but how much RAM do you need in order to work on those images? Say 1 GB? 2GB? More?!

When it comes to RAM, more is always better, but how much you need is going to depend on how large your photos are. For example, a Windows XP system with 1GB of RAM is probably going to be able to handle 3-6 megapixel images without breaking much of a sweat. However, ask it to work with an 8 megapixel image and it may slow down a bit.

Here's my advice: if you're going to do a lot of digital imaging with a 8 megapixel camera or higher, seriously consider at least 2 GB of RAM, particularly with Windows XP - 3GB is evne better and almost a must with Vista. On the plus side, memory is cheap and the more of it you have, the better off you'll be in the end!

Once you get your new memory installed, you'll be amazed at how much faster all your digital imaging work goes! (For that matter, you'll probably notice an increase in speed across the board).

Naturally, you'll need to confirm with your computer's manufacturer that it can handle all the extra RAM you want to install. If it's a newer computer (say two years old or less), you should be able to install at least 3 GB with no problem at all.

For some RAM installation guidelines, you can check out this tip. Or, if you already have a lot of memory in your computer, but it still seems to be running slow, you may want to read here. It's an article telling you how to clear up excess startup programs. If you have too much junk running at your startup, you'll take a big hit in performance. There's no sense in having all that shiny new RAM getting used up by software you don't even need running all the time.

Happy memory saving!

~ Steve

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Amanda's Coolsite

Science Hack

Do you enjoy science? Do you like learning about scientific topics? Do you like watching videos? Well, now you can combine your love of videos and science here at Science Hack!

The video categories are: Latest Videos, Physics, Chemistry, Space, Psychology, Robotics, Biology, How It Is Made, Mathematics, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Green Energy and Nature.

Lots of topics, huh?! I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the options as well, so I’d recommend going to the topic you’re the most passionate about first. Or, maybe you have something you want to know about, like clouds. If so, just type that into the search engine and see what comes up.

Something even more interesting about this site is that every video you watch has been viewed by a scientist to make sure it's accurate information. How cool is that?!

I’m a huge nature lover, so I thought I’d duck into that topic and see what was there. I found the most incredible video about icebergs floating off the coast of New Zealand. They even sent reporters out to the iceberg and they stood on it and reported what it was like. There were also a lot of animal videos, plant and water videos. I even learned what a Pororoca (tidal bore/wave) and a Kinkajou (very nifty animal) are!

I must have spent two or three hours here watching different videos, so be warned! It is very addicting, but quite enjoyable and not to mention, educational. I think this is an awesome science resource for all ages. Have fun!

~ Amanda

Do you have a cool, non-commercial site that you want to share?
Send it to Amanda at


New Titles and Offers


Monthly Wallpaper

December Wallpaper

Can you believe it's December already?! Well, you know what that means. Yep, new wallpaper is here! You can check it all out here:





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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.