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General hints and tips on Computers and Software  Windows Applications, Web Software, Avoiding Spam, DOS, and more.

Always back up important documents. Have one, preferably 2 backup system for your data. A good friend of ours was burgled and the thieves took the backup tapes as well. It is a good idea to keep more than one set of data at more than one location.

Have good virus protection.

If your computer is on for most of the time it is a good idea to replace fans every couple of years.

Always use the "Uninstall" facility, most programs make some changes to your operating system control files, deleting the program files will not remove these changes and quite probably stop the system from working properly.

Use "defrag" frequently, 

Router Locking Up. Our broadband router kept locking up and it was some time before we realised that it was incoming phone calls that were causing the problem. The solution we came up with was to fit a telephone surge suppresser. The model we used was one that was incorporated with a mains suppresser. No problems after that. Our searching the internet on the problem came up with the information that voltage surges and sudden pulses are quite common, most homes and businesses experiencing several very short period pulses that exceed 500 Volts peaks several times a week -- Dare Seely

Yahoo ate my Email. I had almost completed a very detailed email that had taken the better part of a day to do and momentarily looked at another window, when I returned to the browser the entire morning's work had disappeared. Compose in Microsoft 'Text' or Apple TexEdit and save ever so often. I have discovered that such an event is a common occurrence - Katie Reynolds

A Fast Track Method of Learning Software. When learning a new computer software program, a fast track way of learning is to go straight to the keyboard short cuts and learn the top 10 most used features of the software program.

When learning a new computer operating system program like Unix, Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac or Linux, a fast track way of learning is to go straight to the Command Line Interface and use the keyboard short cuts and learn the top 10 most used commands of the operating system. This also prevents repetitive strain injury from using the Graphical User Interface. -- James Snyder, Radlett, UK

Re: Backslash. I think we should rename both slashes as s/ash and s\ash! -- sue hacking  What a brilliant idea Sue. Remember you saw it first on TheTipsBank -- Ed

Address Masking: When the term is used in connection with IP addresses. Its use is similar to making holes in a piece of paper to reveal only that, which one wishes to see and to obscure the remainder. An IP address consists of four numbers, and it may be that only the last number is  to be used in the current network. An example of an address mask of this type is as follows:

255, 255, 255,0

The above set of numbers, resembles an IP address but it is nothing more than an address mask for another number, which is an IP address.  The following link is a really good explanation of IP numbers and the concept of masking.

Davio McDavitt

  Faster browsing. hi friends, You can open your desired web site without entering 'www' and '.com' in the address bar. Simply type the name of the web site and Hold down the CTRL key while pressing the ENTER key. The web browser will automatically add the prefix of www and suffix of .com after the site name and will open it. -- "manas mohapatra" 25 Jun 2003

Computer General Tips Hi One neat tip especially for newbies is to take advantage of all the great and occasionally not so great, lol, freeware and shareware demos available online. Shareware is a great way to try programs be they utilities or gamez before buying them and FREE is always a nice. Some good sites to start with are: zdnet and downloads dot com  The added benefits to these sites is all the computer related information on technology, help files, articles, news, ad infinitum. Barbara Van Sant   

The "back-slash" character.  I would like to start a campaign to rename the "back-slash" to something more easily stated and that could not be confused with just "slash"  When verbally reading a file or web address the "/", forward-slash, character is easily stated as just "slash". However, it seems to me, the "\" back-slash" just doesn't flow as easily. I would suggest using "slish" for "back-slash"- - -Note the comparison to "slash" for "forward-slash" Perhaps I am a Zorro fan and the "slish" and "slash" is the sound of his sword making his "Z" mark? -- DON SHREVE ---

Making your modem dial-up your ISP faster  To make your modem dial your ISP's dial-up number faster, add S11=50 into your modems initialization string. this is the maximum speed that most phone companies can accept the dialled number. To do this, right click on my computer, select properties, device manager, click the plus mark next to your modem, double click on the modem, select connection, and advanced. Type in S11=50 into the extra settings box and apply. You will then need to restart your computer for the setting to take effect.  --  James Amon  Also thanks to Raymondo Watson

  Mouse cleaning: If your mouse misbehaves don't just clean the ball. Clean the 3 rollers as well. A cotton bud dipped in alcohol usually works. If the deposits are really stubborn use the end of a matchstick to scrape them off. --  BJOHNbarker

My first one is one that your site could probably use. There are spiders (internet programs) which collect email addresses by searching all web pages email addresses or for a mailto: link. These are added to the CDs of "over a million internet addresses" which are sent to spammers. A better idea now is to use a form or CGI which does not have the email address on the html page. Another option is to make your email address a gif image so that it can be easily be read by real people but not automatic programs -- Gandalf Parker  

Spamming Can Be Reduced by including "nospam" or something similar inside your e-mail address. I frequently do it on Usenet or when I think that the spiders are likely to scoop me up!!! -- levitator101

Deleting programs from your hard drive (Windows95/98) Better safe than sorry! Always use the Utility that you will find in the “Settings” Panel (Start/Settings/Add-Remove Programs) or the “undelete” utility that came with the program. If you get messages asking if you want to delete components of the program that may be used elsewhere, then in my experience we you should say no and leave them there. They may be taking up some space on your drive but there is a probability that your system will crash if you remove them. You can get rid of all the programs you don’t want the next time you do a low level format on the drive. - Hector Velasquez-Conn,  Perth

Use a Kitchen timer to tell when you have reached the end of your planned session on your PC.  Your productivity will improve if you plan in advance what you intend doing in session. Schedule all of working time spent on your machine -- John Krebs Denver

Slippery mouse? Sometimes it is not enough to just remove the dust from your mouse.  Wash and scrub the ball with detergent and an abrasive pad.  I found that even on poor "mousing surfaces" that there were no more problems with slippage.  Don't you just love the term "mousing surface"?. I found it on one of my partner's computer magazines - had me chuckling all afternoon -- Adele Smith, Darwin Australia

Speed up searching by using "metasearchers" such as As Jeeves, Dogpile or Metacrawler visit the search page on this site to find these and more-- Davie

Sound: You can  made complicated echo sound effects using the pretty basic sound recorder program that comes with Windows . To do this open the WAV file that you want to enhance, and then choose Edit, Copy. When you do this move the slider to the right a little. To get a mild reverberation effect set the slider to about 0.05 seconds (see the exact time in the box). To make a larger echo move the slider even further. Then choose Edit, Paste Mix to finish it. Click the play button to test it out. -- Trev

Tip for Web Design.  A 16th tip to add to to "The Top Fifteen Mistakes of First Time Web Design ": Spend a few minutes testing and debugging your web pages to make certain you don't  have simple yet irritating mistakes such as duplicated paragraphs and text in the content. ;~)  -- Robert McLellan Application Systems Analyst E-Business Solutions/Sales & Logistics I/S Temple-Inland Forest Products Corp. 936.829.7357 

Security: keep all of your computer gear away from prying eyes. Keep it all away from the window to deter burglars. -- R Holson

If using a computer several hours a day you run the risk of developing painful hand and arm troubles, i.e repetitive strain injury.  I managed to recover from an extremely painful right forearm simply by transferring the mouse to the left hand side of the computer and changing over to a left hand mouse on the settings panel. Wrist rests on the keyboard and mouse help too. -- Anna K Levcowicz


Windows: when cutting and pasting text or images in any windows software a quick shortcut is to highlight the text you want to use and then use on of the corresponding keyboard shortcuts. CTRL + X is cut, CTRL + C is COPY, and CTRL + V is paste. -- Anon.

Graphics: to copy an image of the screen onto the clipboard in windows you can press the PRINT SCREEN button (called 'Prt Sc' or something like that on you keyboard). This only works for non-Windows applications only if they are running in text mode. -- Phil D Ramirez 

Windows: Do you get annoyed whenever you insert a compact disk into the CD-ROM drive and it automatically plays. Bypass the auto-play by holding down shift whilst inserting the CD-ROM. -- Gareth Richards, Essex UK

Password Security:

Be original, make it as difficult as possible for the potential intruder.   Don't use obvious ones and do change them frequently. If you find it difficult to remember them don't write them down on a piece of paper you keep in your desk drawer or in an easily accessible file.   Using the one you used last time reduces the security of your information significantly, as does using the same one on more than one system or application.  You are often given a choice about how many letters you can use, use them all.  Letters and numbers are better than just letters.  If you are given the option of using upper and lower case then do so.  Be original.  If you are like me and have a failing memory then if you have them written down then use a code to keep them safe.

Children and Computers AOL has a good Parental Controls.  It is a good idea to take advantage of them and others like it. There is no substitute for good over-the-shoulder supervision, and there are some pretty nasty sites and lots of scary people out there.  Always stay involved with their surfing activities.  Teach them never to share passwords or give out personal information.  Ensure that they only ever go into chat rooms using a screen name that does not accept e-mail.

Some software is available to help you limit what your kids can see.

Mac Tip - To get a 'hash' symbol on Apple keyboards use the 'alt' key and the numerical 3 key together - davidoff

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