Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pictures in Documents

It is a wonderful change having digital cameras that take such high resolution pictures. Years ago we used 35mm film and it is costly and time consuming. You paid for the film, took your limited number of shots, then dropped the exposed film off to be printed. A week or so later, you picked up the prints and found a few worth saving. Then to make more prints you returned to the store and ordered additional ones from the negatives. Okay, some of you are not old enough to even remember doing that!

Back to the future. We can take as many shots as our SD card will hold. Even then all we have to do is pop in another to continue shooting. We get home and pop the card into our computer and get to see them right away. We can edit them, crop them, change the lighting, and even print them out in as good a quality as we used to see with the 35mm camera from years ago. And we can print as many as we need right in our own home.

The best thing is that we can send them to others in emails, post them on Facebook, include them in a Web page, and include them in writings created in our favorite word processing app.

To get that 35mm quality, the images are saved as pretty large files. Most are over 1mb and some more than 5mb. With hard drives of 320gb and more today, that is not a big problem. Even the SD cards for our camera are up to 32gb at reasonable prices. Size only becomes an issue when we want to email them to someone, post them on Facebook, or include them in a document.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Downloaded LibreOffice this afternoon. The download was 220mb and it installed in a few minutes. When you open it from the shortcut it places on the desktop, it opens a window for you to choose the app you want to work with. The word processor is called Text Document.

You can save documents in its native format (.odf) or in a number of others including .doc and .docx. Yes, it support the new format for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010. No, it does not have ribbons like Microsoft and that may be a plus or a minus for you. But the toolbars are familiar and easy to work with.

Although I have only used the text document app, I can say it is fast and easy to use. It includes the ability to output as a PDF and as an HTML file. Of course there is a spell checker and those familiar red squiggly lines when you spell something wrong. No green or blue squiggles, though.

Why would I even try out a non-Microsoft app like this? Well, I have more than one computer and to upgrade all of them with the latest Office 2010 app is expensive. I used Google Docs quite a bit, but that requires an Internet connection. This app installs locally and is free.

Oh, it also does mail-merge, which is an important feature for me.

What other apps are included? A spreadsheet app, a presentation app, a drawing app, and a database app. Pretty much all you need for home or office work. And there are versions for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.

Give it a try at

Another Excel Shortcut

Easy way to open a new sheet in an Excel workbook is to press Shift+F11

A New tab will appear at the bottom of the workbook with the name Sheet n with n being the next available sheet number.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Online Storage

Yesterday I registered for They are an online storage site offering 5gb free for personal use and a reasonable monthly charge for more. In addition to having a place to store files up to 25mb each, you can share and collaborate on those files easily.

Here is an overview I wrote on signing up for Once I dragged and dropped it to the site using the easy web interface, I clicked Share and was given this address:

All I have to do is share that address with anybody and they have access to view it, download it, or share the link with others. And I can see how many people have opened it by signing into my account. I can also have email me each time the file is accessed.

Don’t like that strange link address? Use to turn it into something else like:

Another Cloud Application worthy of mention. Give it a try.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Shortened URL’s

I have been messing around with a couple of other short URL Web sites, and there are a number of them out there. has been around for quite a while. No registration to be bothered with and you can get a randomly generated address like or something like that. Or you can enter the address you want and if available that is what you will get like http://tinyurl/mypicture. That is it. Pretty simple.

I wrote about Google’s last time, and it works a lot like tinyurl. But it tracks the URLs you have created and give you a chart of how often they have been clicked on. Of course you need a Google account to get this information, but that is free.

Then I found It works like both of the above sites and generates random addresses. But, if you register you have access to two other features and registration is free. First you get to edit the address and request one that people can remember easily like tinyurl does. Second you can a number of reports on activity occurring when someone clicks on your links. Not just how many opens, but where it was opened from and more.

Give them all a try and let me know which one you like best.

Friday, April 01, 2011

URL Shortener

I am sure you have seen the funny looking URL’s showing up on Facebook and other places. They look like this

Google has given us another great tool.

When you have a long URL of any length and want to pass it on to someone else, go to and get a shorter one!

For example here is a YouTube URL to a talk my wife recently gave:

Using by simply entering that URL into the box and hitting Shorten, I get this url to use:

A lot shorter and easy to type when Copy/Paste doesn’t work.

Using Windows Live

Have you tried Window's Live? I have had a Hotmail account for years. I don't use it much because I have my own domains. Every once in a while I may use the address when asked for an email address at a site I do not know well so any junk emails fall to my Hotmail account. Hotmail is much more than a free email account. Now it is a piece of this new Cloud App called Windows Live.

You get 25gb of free storage on SkyDrive and a Cloud version of Microsoft Office 2010 that works for 99% of my writing. In addition to Word, you get Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Add to that a calendar, contact manager, integration with Messenger and MSN, and storage to upload and manage your pictures!

All you need is a computer with Internet access and a browser. All the apps you need are in the CLOUD. Don't get me wrong, some need to purchase Microsoft Office to do more complicated tasks like MailMerge in Word. But for everyday writing and spreadsheets the cloud app works great.

Check it out today at and choose what cloud app to run or at the old address of and start at your email.

Keyboard Froze!

Recently I had to rebuild my main notebook. All of a sudden it the keyboard and mouse pad stopped working! I tried an external keyboard and mouse and they worked. It seemed software related, but I could not find the issue causing it. So back to basics I went.

I backed up all my files to an external drive and double checked that I could read them. Then I used my notebooks built in system restore option and back to factory specs I went. Everything worked great. No more keyboard or mouse pad problems.

But now I had to reload the applications I wanted on the “new” machine. Bad news is I had to reload them. Good news is I could leave off all those apps I had installed in the past and no longer used.

I came across this Web site that allows you to pick and choose the apps you want to install. It downloads them all at once and installs them. This is much quicker than locating them online one at a time, downloading, and installing. Great site. Check it out at

Oh, the piece that took the longest was getting all the Windows updates. But now I have a clean machine running a lot faster then before. Took some time to finish, but it was worth it.