Zoom in and out on Web pages

Did you know that with Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) you can make more of a Web page visible or make it easier to read by changing the magnification of the page (zooming in or out).  If you zoom in, everything on the Web page is magnified (including text, images, and controls). Zooming out makes more on the page visible. Zooming changes the magnification of the Web site, regardless of the Web site’s formatting.   Use the Magnifying Glass icon (Zoom control) in the lower right corner of the IE8 window (shown below).

The following three pictures show an IE8 window displaying the same Web page at 100%, 125% and 75% magnification.

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Computer Slow? Could it need memory?

Over time computers often slow down. There are many possible reasons and remedies for the slow-down. One reason may be insufficient memory (RAM – Random Access Memory). It’s easy to check how much RAM you have and whether you can add more. Adding memory is usually easy and economical, and it may speed up your computer. I included information at the end of this article to help you determine an appropriate amount of memory for your PC, as well as links to articles about troubleshooting slow computers.

To scan how much RAM you have and can add, go to www.crucial.com. On the Home page (image on right), you’ll see a link to “Scan your computer”.  Click that link and another page (image below) appears enabling you to Download the Scanner.

Click the checkbox to accept the agreement and then click the Download button. Then follow the instructions to run/install the scanner.

When the scanner finishes running, a window shows how many memory slots your computer has, how much memory is currently in them, and options/costs for adding memory (image below).

How much memory should you have?

There’s no simple answer to this, but you generally can’t have too much. The more programs you run simultaneously, the more memory you should have. If you want to see how much RAM is being used, you can right-click anywhere on the Task Bar to launch Task Manager. You see how much Physical Memory you have and how much is available on the Perfomance Tab of Task Manager (image below).

If you have a small amount of memory available, consider adding memory.  If you’re running Windows XP, I recommend having a minimum of 500 MB of RAM (1GB is even better). If you’re running Windows Vista, I recommend a minimum of 1GB (2GB is better); and for Windows 7, 2GB minimum (4GB is better).

If you go to the your computer’s manufacturer’s website, you can normally download detailed instructions with illustrations for upgrading memory from their Support section.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many things that can slow your computer.  I included links to a couple of good articles on how to diagnose and eliminate problems on a slow computer below.



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Hide Data Files & Folders on a "Secret Disk"

Maybe you’re loaning your PC to a friend, bringing it to the shop for repairs or have data you want to keep private. You’d like to hide some of your data files and folders so that no one but you knows they are on the PC or has access to them. Secret-Disk (http://privacyroot.com/software/SEDE-info.php) can help you do that. The program creates a virtual hard disk on your PC that you can lock and unlock with a password. When unlocked, the drive appears to Windows as a disk drive on My Computer. Use it like any disk drive to store and retrieve the files and folders you wish to hide.

When it is unlocked, you access the Secret-Disk control panel from an icon in the Notification Area (System Tray) to lock it. Once you lock it, it is completely invisible to Windows and users until you unlock it again. When it is locked, you access its control panel from its program icon on the Start menu (in All Programs).

The files stored on the Secret-Disk drive are not encoded, so this does not provide the highest level of security. It simply provides a way to easily hide the files from standard Windows and user access.

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Free PDF Writer – Paperless Printer

If you ever email documents or want to save something you see on your screen, you should have a PDF writer. Portable Document Format (PDF) files are universally used to share and save documents. For example, a page viewed in an Internet browser can be saved by “printing” it as a PDF file. Once created, PDF files are easily viewed and shared. A nice feature of PDF files is they are not easily changed or edited. For example, emailing a Word document assumes the recipient has Word to open it. It also means the document can be changed when it’s opened. A Word document printed as a PDF file can be opened on almost any computer and can’t easily be changed when opened.

Download and install CutePDF (a free application at www.cutepdf.com) to add a new virtual printer to your PC. Be sure to use the “Free Download” link to get everything you need. Once installed, CutePDF appears in your printer list when you select File Print in any program. You indicate where you want to save the PDF file when you click print. Once saved, it remains on your computer and can be opened and shared at any time. It couldn’t be easier, and you can always print the PDF file on a real printer if you need a hard copy.

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Hello World!

For years, I’ve been recommending that clients have blogs on their websites, but I never took the time to add a blog to my own website. Shame on me! Websites are often static. Once your customers visit, there’s not a lot to bring them back. So, it’s easy to get out of touch with them. Blogs enable you to regularly send fresh information to your customers. You can tell them about what’s new in your business or about special current offers. If customers feel your blog is worth following, they can subscribe to receive emails whenever you add new posts.

My excuse for not blogging was I didn’t have a content focus. Yesterday I realized that many problems I solve for clients (and new things I show them how to do) would be of interest to others. For example, I recently helped a client use her smartphone as a broadband modem for her laptop. I realized many other clients might want to do the same thing (if they knew it was possible).  So now I plan to share tips, tricks and other interesting technology-related information in my blog.

Every week, I’ll add a new posting. My goal is to include both informative and how-to information. Sometimes I may discuss a cool application that can increase your efficiency or effectiveness. Other times, I may include brief tutorial videos that show how to perform a task step-by-step.

If you think my blog might contain helpful information for you, please subscribe to it. You can always unsubscribe if you’re no longer finding the information helpful. Thanks. I look forward to keeping in touch with you in cyberspace!

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