Monday, March 23, 2009

Computer Tips [ The Danger Of Jpegs + Make Your Mouse Better + Driver Basics ] 03/24/2009

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

Quick Tips

Do You Know the Menu Key?

I made a new friend today. It was there all along and I never noticed it on the right side of my keyboard between the Window Key and the Control Key. I don't even know it's true name, so I'll call it the "Menu Key". Why? Because when you press it, it opens up a drop-down menu for whatever program you're in. The menu includes all the information you would see if you right clicked, so I guess you could also call it the "Right-Click" Key.

So, next time you're typing away and need an edit menu or some other feature that you normally right-click to get, just head down to the Menu Key. Pretty soon it'll be your friend too.

~ David

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As always, the rest of today's newsletter is chock-full of the best deals on the Internet, accompanied by a discussion on drivers, some PowerPoint pointers from our resident office master, April, and some veiled mouse pointer innuendo! We're also going to get the skinny on jpegs and some really, REALLY tiny houses! Make no mistake, though; there's nothing small about this Tuesday, so take advantage of it while it lasts!



Launch And Then Grow Your Business The Right Way

Get the important legal tools you need to help start and run your business.

So you've started your own business (or you're thinking about it) and you need a form or a contract. What do you do? Well you COULD call an attorney. You want it done right but: Ka-CHING! THAT can get expensive! Especially when you consider that there are literally HUNDREDS of forms you may need. So, what do yo do?

That's where, "Quicken Legal Business Pro 2008 - Contracts & Forms" comes in.

Here's just one example of how you can use this.

Let's say you want to sell a piece of equipment or machinery to raise some capital. Open up Quicken Legal Business Pro, click on "Bill of Sale for Business Assets", click on "Create Document" and then just follow the prompts. And how about this: You don't even need to know what to include IN the form, because you're shown every step of the way! From "Legal Name of the Buyer" to "How The Business Is Organized", "Seller's Information" , "Form of Payment" and on and on and on!

PLUS, each form has an on-screen guide that shows you HOW to use it, WHEN to use it and, get this - even WHEN NOT to use it! (How's THAT for being thorough?) And there are DOZENS of other contracts and documents (actually over 140!) that can add up to BIG savings adding to your bottom line!

Take a look at just SOME of the contracts and forms you'll be able to create:

My favorite part of the program is the Checklist section or, as I call it, "Checklists To Success". This is a complete compilation of "How To" checklists that will give you a GREAT overview of some of the key small business tasks. And, when you find the ones that you need, you can complete them right then and there using Quicken Legal Business Pro!

Ask yourself: How many of these sections can you put into play right now?

Also included with the program is an extensive library of small business legal books from NOLO, one of the best known (and most reputable) sources of legal publications available anywhere. Here you can look up information when you need to know more on virtually any business topic!

Don't let the high cost of attorneys stand in the way of protecting you and your business. Effortlessly create custom business contracts and start saving time and money. Make a smart business decision today and order "Quicken Legal Business Pro 2008 - Contracts & Forms" . Your cost is just $12.97 and US shipping is FREE! That's what, like 5 minutes in your attorney's office and it's paid for?

"WOW - Now THAT'S A Great Idea!!"

HUGE 2 GIG Flash Drive - Just $12.97!!

"Flip Top Cover" Is GREAT!

WOW! We just received a really FANTASTIC price on some killer 2 Gig Flash Drives! These are so great, I honestly don't know what I'd do without mine!

It's so easy! All you have to do is just plug it into any USB port and then locate it as a drive under "My Computer". You can now drag and drop files or copy and paste them onto your Flash Drive. It works much the same as a regular hard drive. In addition, you can create folders, delete items, and edit stuff. You use it just like a floppy drive only it's MUCH easier!

I love these! They're perfect for transferring files from one computer to another (office to home or home to school are two great examples). If you have XP or Vista, setup is a breeze! Just plug it in and in a matter of seconds it's ready to go. It's so much faster and more reliable than a floppy (if you even have a floppy drive anymore). You definitely want to get yours hands on one of these!

Check this out - let's say you just had a really fun vacation and you want to show your family and friends all your wonderful digital photographs! Just copy your pictures on here and take it to their place with ya. Don't hassle with e-mail or waste time trying to burn them all on a disc. Also, a great way to transport your favorite tunes!

Plus, this is 2GB, that's a TON of space. Way more than your average floppy! USB Flash drives are just so much better, I can't recommend 'em enough! It really makes it so quick and easy to move files around.

These are just $12.97 and US shipping is FREE! These are no tiny flash drives - these are 2GB!! These normally list anywhere from $30-$40 retail! WOW! You better get to the site quick, because these will sell out in no time! HURRY!

PS - Get to the site and get yours ordered right away! With this great price I know they're going to go fast!

This Week's Hottest Sellers!!

Did you miss any of these? well, you better head over to the site and take a look! These are ALL selling like crazy, but some of the prices WILL be going up tomorrow! Don't wait - get to the site today!!

Computers 101

Can you tell me what drivers do?

Drivers are basically instructions that tell your computer how to use its hardware. Each hardware device in your computer has a driver.

Some, like drivers for a keyboard or mouse, are built into the computer / operating system itself. Others, like video card drivers or network drivers, need to be installed when you get a the new hardware device. Without the proper driver, your stuff won't work, that is, unless you have a newer operating system like Windows Vista that can search for certain kinds of drivers.

If you're having trouble with a particular hardware device, chances are that an updated driver may solve your problem. These can be found at the website for the company that made your equipment.

Two good sources to help you locate updated drivers are Windrivers and DriverGuide .

~ Steve

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MS Office

Getting the "Right Order"

When you use MS PowerPoint do you use animations for the entrance and exit of specific items on your slides?

Do you use a lot of them?

I know that sometimes I'm left with a list of 20 or 30 different animations. It can get rather confusing and there's nothing more aggravating than previewing my work only to find that things are making their entrances and exits all out of my intended order.

Sometimes it seems like an impossible task to sort it all out - unless you know about the visual clues PowerPoint is giving you while you work on animations.

Visual clues?

Yep. Did you ever notice all the little numbers found all over your slide while the Custom Animations pane is open?

(By the way, don't panic if you don't see these as soon as you open your presentation for editing. They're only visible when the Custom Animation pane is open. If the pane is open and you still don't see them then you haven't set any animations yet.)

Well, those numbers can be more helpful than they first appear.

Each one is linked to a different animation in your list.

If animations are set to happen in sequence "With Previous" or "After Previous" then all elements in the sequence get the same number - like this:

When you click on a specific animation in the list you'll find that the animation number attached to the object in the slide will be highlighted so that you're sure of what it belongs with.

This can really help sort out the order when many of your objects are generically named. I mean, after all, who really knows which item is rectangle 53 versus rectangle 52?

Anyway, my point is that the combination of these features can really help you sort it all out efficiently.

If you see that something is out of place based on its numbering then simply drag it to the correct location in the animation list.

The dark horizontal line lets you know exactly where it will be placed in the sequence should you release the mouse button right then.

Or, the other option is to select and animation and use the Re-Order buttons at the bottom of the list.

I personally never use those - I find it way easier to drag and drop animations - but to each his own. I'm sure that someone prefers the buttons.

At any rate, with this little bit of knowledge about the visual clues PowerPoint is giving you just might be able to save yourself a lot of frustration while trying to get things in the "right order".

~ April

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More Cool Stuff

AMAZING DEAL - 512MB For $5.12!!

Really - 512Meg SD Card For $5.12!!!!

Don't Pay $35 Somewhere else!

This Deal Is For TODAY ONLY (03-24-2009)!!

WOW - We just landed an amazing deal on 512 Meg SD cards so we decided to sell them for 1 penny per meg! If your camera or MP3 player uses SD (and most do), then you've gotta get in on this one! WOW! I've seen these in stores for $35+!! For $5.12 you should buy some for yourself and your friends! 

Oh, and these are great quality too - they're from Sandisk, so you know they're gonna be good!! These are really built to last! They even have a built-in write-protection switch to prevent accidental data loss! They are compatible with digital cameras, MP3 players, digital camcorders, handheld PCs and everything else that uses an SD card!

Here's the deal: We're talking a 512 meg SD Card - $5.12 and US shipping is FREE (Today only, 03-24-2009)! Go ahead, look at your local store for 512 meg SD cards - they can go for as much as $35! It's crazy not to grab this one! Get 'em while you can - I'm not sure how long we'll be able to get this price!

PS - If your digital camera (or any other of your electronics devices) use SD cards, this is a no-brainer! VERY limited quantities available, so get to the site and grab as many as you can - I would :-)

This price will increase to $14.97 soon!

Protect Your Screens From Scratches!

Fantastic New Screen Protectors Work On:

Cell Phones
Digital Cameras
Portable Game Systems

Don't Ruin Your Expensive LCD Screens!

Don't Pay $20 Somewhere Else!

Grab This 5 Pack Of Screen Protectors - Dirt Cheap!!

Special Price - Today ONLY!

Got a cell phone? PDA? iPod? Portable Game System? Digital Camera? Want to make that LCD screen last a good long time? Want to keep it from getting all scratched up? Want something that even helps take the glare away? Well, have I got a deal for you!

We just came across these absolutely AWESOME Fellowes Screen Protectors! This is a 5 pack and will fit screens up to 3" x 4" - I checked and that's WAY bigger than my iPod Touch, so it should cover EVERY cell phone, PDA, and iPod out there! It should also cover the screens on 99% of digital cameras and those little portable game systems!

  • How's it work? It's ingenious really - they give you 5 full size sheets (3" x 4") and they print a little grid on the "peel off" part. Just set the cover on your cell phone, PDA, iPod, etc, and note the measurements. Next, simply cut down to size with a pair of scissors! You've just made a custom fit screen cover in a matter of minutes! 

    Applying it is REALLY easy too! Just peel the backing off and place the cover on your device. It even includes a fantastic little "Squeegee-Card" applicator so you can get rid of any "bubbles" that might show up during application! They thought of everything! Also, this is NOT a sticker, so it's not going to leave any sticky gunk on your screen - peels off perfectly clean every time! They're FANTASTIC!

    Oh, what's that? You have a touch screen device? No worries - this will work fine with it - you won't even know it's there once it's applied!

    Your cost? Just $5.97 and US shipping is FREE! Go on, check out your local store for stuff like this. I was at one of the big chain stores when I first got my iPod Touch looking for a screen protector - $20 for a 3 pack! Really they wanted twenty bucks for the thing - and it only had 3 sheets - this has 5! It's an amazing deal - you gotta check it out:

    Red, Green and Blue Squiggles?

    Typing at a furious pace can have some undesirable effects, let me tell you. I've often finished a page or two, only to look back and see a variety of colorful and revealing mistake warnings that MS Word has left behind in an attempt to correct my incorrectness. The hope comes in today's featured tip on the WS site. Step over the squiggles and make a visit!

    Old Version

    I'll be honest, I might have already put this site up here, but that's no excuse for it being any less awesome! is for those who don't like to progress the same as the other followers of technology out there. If you liked, say, and older version of a program like MusicMatch Jukebox or MSN Messenger then go to the Worldstart site and check out our featured Cool Site! You won't be sorry!!

    Here's the link you need: Enjoy!

    Tip of the Day

    My, What a Big Mouse You Have!

    Do you find the standard Windows mouse cursor is a bit too small? If so, you may want to select a larger cursor scheme from your Mouse Properties. Here's how:

    1 . Hit the Start button, Settings, Control Panel. (In Windows Vista just go to Start>Control Panel)

    2 . Open your Mouse icon, then go to the Pointers tab .

    3 . From here, you should see a drop box labeled " Scheme ." You're looking for an item labeled either:

    Windows Standard (extra large) (system scheme)


    Windows Standard (large) (system scheme)

    Either one of those will give you a larger than standard mouse cursor.

    Depending on the computer and version of Windows, you may find you have a lot of other options, too. Check 'em out, you may find you like certain cursor schemes better than others.

    Have fun!

    ~ Steve

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    Today's Feature

    Watch Those JPEGs!

    JPEG is a great format, ya know? They can take a huge 30 meg file and make it look great at 3 meg - if only my diet worked so well :-)

    However, there is a hidden danger behind all that digital dexterity. JPEGs are a "lossy" compression scheme. What they do is "dump" unnecessary information when they are created. The higher the compression rate, the more unnecessary information they tend to find. Before you lose too much sleep over that little fact, let's take a closer look.

    First off, a JPEG really does an incredible job at getting rid of information we either can't see, or that's easy to re-create when it's opened.

    For instance, let's say you're hangin' out in Montana and happen to catch some of that big sky they have with your digital camera. You end up with a photo that's just chock full of blue pixels. Since most of these blue pixels are exactly the same, JPEG compression dumps the look-alikes and recreates them when the photo is reopened.

    It's not a perfect process though, and if you zoom in with your imaging program you may notice that some areas seem "jaggy". (Hey, something had to give with all that pixel dumping.) So here's the rule:

    Avoid re-saving JPEGs at all costs (OK, not "all costs". If someone with a gun is demanding you re-save a JPEG, go ahead and do it - but only once! :-)

    See, each time you resave the photo (not open and close, but resave it) you sacrifice some image quality on the alter of high compression. Every time a JPEG is re-compressed, some of the "imperfect" information that was created when the photo was previously compressed is made even more "imperfect". Bottom line, the more you re-save a JPEG image, the more it's going to deteriorate.

    Here's a sample:

    Let' start with this eagle:

    Here's a close-up of a wing from the original:

    Now, after some repeated re-saving:

    I know what you're thinking - you have a gazillion JPEGS and now the idea of doing a little retouching scares the you-know-what outta ya. Well, that was the whole point :-) (kidding)

    Actually, here's how you work with JPEGs - save them in another format.

    Open the JPEG you want to retouch in your imaging software, then Save As a TIFF file. Since TIFFs don't lose info when they are saved (it's a lossless format), you can edit, open, and save them all you want with no ill effects. Go ahead, spend an afternoon doing it and you'll see I'm not just makin' it up.

    Sure, you'll still have all of the "compression artifacts" from the original JPEG file, but they aren't going to get any worse. To minimize the effect, be sure you have your digital camera set to save the highest quality JPEG possible.

    Anyhow, once you're done with your retouching, keep the TIF as your "original". Then if you need a smaller file, you can always re-save the TIF as a JPEG and you're all set.

    Sneaky huh?

    ~ Steve

    Are things clear now? Still a little blurry? Let us know by rating this tip here:

    Amanda's Coolsite

    Tiny Houses

    I had the privilege to stay in a house much like some of these shown on the site back in Thanksgiving of 2003 and it was quite an adventure. It also made me realize that my tastes run to spacious, well laid out homes where everything flows well. I personally am not made for one room living, but I find these tiny houses charming anyways.

    Pictures — this link takes you directly to a page full of pictures. Underneath the photo is a title for the image—if you click the image you can see more of that house and learn about what goes on there. They all has such varying stories that it was hard to pick the one I liked the best, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do, and I chose Vlada's House as my favorite. Why? I loved the hand made stained glass windows and the vibrant house paint.

    Artwork — see tiny houses in artwork, and learn all about the artist Grant Wood. This section has some great paintings of tiny houses. Choosing my favorite painting was a lot easier than choosing a favorite tiny house. My favorite painting is the middle painting in the top row. I just love those rounded trees and sweeping hills, I'll be honest, at first I didn't even notice the tiny house in that painting.

    Definitions — this section has the definitions of terms used frequently on the house so that you can get an accurate definition of what a "tiny" house is.

    The last section I want to talk to you about is the "Town Sign" section. I'm not sure how it ties into the tiny houses, but I loved this section. My favorite sign is for Northport, Michigan. It's so lovely. It's a painted wooden sign with a lovely ship on it. When you click the pictures you get information about the town as well.

    Like this cool site? Feel a little cramped? Let us know by rating it here:

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


    New Titles and Offers


    Monthly Wallpaper

    March Wallpaper!

    Here's this month's free calendar wallpaper! As always, it's 100% free, so head on over and grab one!

    Yellowstone Rainbow

    This was taken in my favorite park right as a storm blew past. I was driving along and couldn't believe the intensity of the light and this rainbow.

    Yellow Flower

    This was last spring in the Smoky Mtns. The light was soft and just right,so I spent an hour or so shooting flowers just like this one.

    Antelope Canyon Light Beam

    This is from the famous Antelope Slot Canyon in AZ. In summer, these fantastic light beams shine down from above, and I loved the look of this one.

    All can be found 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.