Computer Work Tips
Computer Work Tips

Computer Work Tips

Tips, Tricks and info
for all of your technology needs

Computer Work Tips
Computer Work Tips

Computer Work Tips

Tips, Tricks and info
for all of your technology needs

Computer Work Tips
Computer Work Tips

Computer Work Tips

Tips, Tricks and info
for all of your technology needs

Gmail – The Best Email In The World

Email GoogleIt may sound like an overstatement at first but once you start using Gmail you will realize that Google has indeed put together the best email service in the world. The best part of course is that it won’t cost you a penny.

Why is Gmail Free?

Well as the old saying goes, nothing in life is free. Gmail isn’t going to cost you any actual dollars, but Google is making money by signing you up for Gmail. They are going to have their¬†algorithm read through the content of your email and it’ll server relevant ads on the top and or side of your screen when you are in Gmail. They are really not invasive on your experience and to be honest I never notice them until I happen to think to look for them. When I do notice them they are usually ads that I have valid interest in because they are somehow relevant to what I was just reading or typing about on email and I do click on the ads quite often because of valid interest.

Why is Gmail So Great?

I don’t own stock in Google so I can say without bias that I just really think Google does everything better. They just seem to be bound by the traditional thinking of how things are normally done. They just break down the things that we do everyday and take for granted and get right to the core of what is needed and how it should really work. To top things off not only do they make things work better (search, email, etc) but they also make every so very user friendly. With very little exception (Google Wave?) every Google product that I’ve set down in front of for the first time I was able to figure out very quickly and easily. If there are times when I stumble a bit it turns out the be because it is so different then what I’m used to, but then once I learn the Google system I realize that it is the way it should have been done all along!

Gmail was exactly that way for me. When I first saw they Gmail tracked email string in what they called conversations it was very confusing because it was so different then anything I had been used to before. But then as I got using Gmail I realized that it just made total sense to do things this way. All you emails back and forth on a subject are in one place. Instead of having a string of 20 emails in your inbox which was just the incoming part of a email conversation (your outgoing emails are in another folder of course with the old way) they are one spot in your inbox. You can click on it and see everything. I must not be the only one that had a little trouble with this concept at first because I noticed later you could turn this functionality on and off. I encourage anyone that has it turned off to turn it back on and use it for one week. I promise you’ll never want to go back to the old way!

Music Download Programs – Apps

free ipod download musicWhen it comes to downloading music there are two major players in the legal category. There are many out there from the Napster days, like limelight and others which aren’t legal (although I heard Napster is legal these days…who knew :). For me it’s not worth the risk, or the guilt of stealing the free music. I mean imagine if you spend years making something that you were hoping to sell and then millions of people came into your garage and took a copy?!

Music Download Programs

Of course the big number one in this industry is the Apple Music Store which is mainly for the Ipod although you can use it for other media too. Digital music had been around for quite a while but it took Steve Jobs to figure out how to make it user friendly for the masses. Once he made the Ipod easy, he then make the music buying easy as well. It was the synergy of those two areas which really made the whole industry flip on end.

The other main player is Amazon. You can get music from the Amazon store just like you can from the Apple Music Store. Typically the songs on Amazon are 99 cents which is cheaper then Apple. Also my understanding is the Amazon files have less restrictions as to how many times you can copy them to your devices. Again, I’m not at all advocating that you buy it and then sell it or give it to others, but if you have multiple Ipods, or would like it on your computers as well then it is your file and you should be able to use it where ever you are!

Not all music downloading programs are created equally of course, but these two really seems to be the most user friendly and cost the least as well (as long as you don’t count stealing the music for free).

How to Transfer Music from Your Computer to Your Ipod

Depending on where you are downloading the music files to they may well end up on your computer, which is handy if that is where you are going to listen to them. More often then not of course you are going to want those files on your Ipod. You may also have an old CD collection from before you had an Ipod that you would also like put on as well. Once you have the software installed and your Ipod linked to your computer it is really easy. It’s just a matter of deciding which songs you want to move and dragging them to the right place. The same is true if you want to move music from Ipod to computer.

What Else Besides Ipod?

Believe it or not there are tons of other devices that play songs out there these days. Sure Ipod was the first and holds the majority of the market share, but most all phones today will play and store music files. I personally have the Droid X and because of that I prefer the Amazon store for my music. The concept really is just the same as with the Ipod though. The point is Ipod was first and they should be acknowledged for it, but don’t be afraid to try something else too. Once something is discovered it can be relatively easy to improve on it by others.

Google Calendar – Keeping Track Of The Family Schedule

Google Calendar AppMy wife and I both have the Droid X. We’ve had them for about a year and a half now and really love them. Sure there are some frustrations that you are going to have with any computer, but over all they are really awesome. Notice that I said computers, and not phones. These things are really little computers that you can carry around that also happen to make phone calls! Both of us came from having flip phones before our Droids and it was like a whole new world!

Google Calendar

One of the really nice perks that we found was the app for Google Calendar. The Droids run on the Android operating system so they all ready came installed with the app. Once we synced them with our gmail accounts we were off and running. We then realized that we could all access to each others Google calendars and life really got easier.

Having a family of four with two young kids life can get really hectic. There is always something going on with school, sports, or some other activity that one or both of us need to attend and be on time. It really used to be a pain to keep track of it all. Don’t get me wrong it can still be hectic of course, but keeping track of it is really much easier now.

Whenever one of us see something that we need to know about we just put it on the Google calendar (which can be easily done right on the phone, or you can do it online if you happen to be at the computer as well). Within minutes, and sometimes less, it is showing on both our phones and online. Also when we have personal meetings, usually for work, where we can’t be available for kid stuff, we make sure to put that on the calendar as well. Then as the days approach and we are trying to figure out the plan we can just take a quick look at the Google Calendar App and know a pretty good idea of what is going to go on. Or if there is a conflict where two things are going on at once, or neither of us is available and need to be, we can see it ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

 

Free Tax Filing Online

Turbo Tax 2011So right now we are all about to celebrate the holidays and its all warm and fuzzy, right? But soon after that the reality of what we really spend is going to sink in and the bills for all that fun is going to come in our mailbox. As we move from the warm and fuzzy to the financial reality the tax man also comes knocking on our door as well. So it’s time to get your mind wrapped around what you tax burden is going to be this year as well. Not to mention if there are things you can do during the year to reduce what you are going to owe then you have just a couple weeks left to do it.

Free Tax Filing Software

When it comes to filling you taxes with your computer online Turbo Tax is king, although there are other competitors out there as well. In recent years it has become popular to offer this tax calculating and filing service for free. Typically as far as I have seen it is just the very basic tax returns which are offered for free. These returns are so very basic that it would be hard to justify charging for them anyway, and I’m sure the software makers hope is that you’ll get working on it and then realize you need to upgrade the software to a pay version because of some complication with your tax picture. It’s the same business model as the garage that offers free inspections on your car in hopes they will find something in need of repair which they can charge for.

So if you are looking for free tax filing online I would highly suggest Turbo Tax. If you are one of the folks that have a very basic return and can get away with the free version then you are in luck. If not then you were going to have to pay anyway, so you are no further behind. The free tax filing year that is coming up with be for calendar year 2011 and is due April of 2012. However if you are looking to file for past years you can search for any of the following:

Free Tax Filing 2009

Free Tax Filing 2010

Free Tax Filing 2011

Data Storage

One really nice perk that Turbo Tax (and other tax software makers) now offer is data storage. So you can put your return together online, print, and send it, but then they will also offer to store your return. This is nice for two reasons. One, if for some reason you need a copy of your return down the line you can just log on and print it out. So no more searching through filing cabinets or piles of paperwork in your basement in hopes of finding a tax return from years ago. Also, if you choose the same tax software maker in future years they will carry you information forward so that you can complete the process of filing much quicker. For example, it’ll carry you address and employers forward on future years returns. This can be very convenient and time saving. Also it might save you some money too as some deductions will depend on past years filings, which the software can catch as well!

Soft Games Data – ZD Soft Game Recorder

soft games downloadVideo games have come a long way since I first started out playing the Atari 2600. Pac Man, Q Bert, and Pitfall were totally awesome, do doubt. But the games of today are about as close to being there as they have ever been. I’d love to see them remake Pitfall on one of the new gaming systems or for the current computer and see what that would look like, but I’m just not too sure it would keep the interest of today’s kids. If they can remake Transformers I won’t give up home yet though.

Record Your Games

There is a new concept though for today’s online and computer based games. Recording your soft games data or basically capturing the game you are playing for future review. Now in fairness this isn’t totally new as I invented in in the late 80’s. Back in my day I was playing around with our home’s cutting edge A/V equipment and put this all together. By this I mean I figure out how to wire the Nintendo through the VCR, and record my game onto a VHS tape. I of course had no real use for this recording other then to say I had done it so it went no where. That’s the difference today though. These games today are just so involved and you can play with people who aren’t even in the room (across the globe for that matter). When you really get into these games it can really be worth recording the game for future review so that you can see where you went wrong and get better.

Proof of How Awesome You Are

Now that I think about it I also remember back in the day the other reason you might want to capture at least one screen of you game. Before home gaming systems we all went to arcade and when we got the high score we could put in our initials for bragging rights. Then once we all started playing at home I remember seeing in magazines how they were having high score contests and to prove that you got the score you claimed you need to take a picture of the screen showing you score. This is of course before the days of digital pictures and photo shop so the picture itself could be trusted.

Ahh the good old days! ūüôā

News Apps – USA Today

When I think about the apps that I use most I have to include the USA today app I downloaded shortly after I got my Droid X. It is a really nice working app which is really well done and is a great reflection of what you think an app should be that would reflect the USA Today newspaper.


Headlines

The main tab which comes up when you load the app is for Headlines. It will scroll through about two screens of the top news stories, usually with a thumbnail pictures. If you click the story it’ll take you to the detailed news story and you can usually blow up the pictures when you click on it as well.

You can also click on any one of a listing of the sections of the newspaper as well to get a detailed list of all the stories for that given section as well.

Scores

The next tab is called scores, and as you can imagine it is for getting the sports scores. Sure there are lots of other apps for getting game scores which do a great job but when I just want to check a specific score or the days results I always find myself going to the USA Today app to find them. Its just a nice basic layout of all the scores which you can flip from screen to screen for the different sports quickly.

Weather

Just like the print version I find that I don’t use this section very much. Not that it’s not good information, it’s just that I don’t travel that often so I don’t need the weather for the whole country. And I live in a big state so I’d rather get the weather for my regional area not the whole state. If I travel though I usually will flip to the weather in the USA Today app to see what to expect.

Pictures

This is a cool section that I’ll check out on¬†occasion¬†when I have some downtime. If you are sitting on the train or waiting in a line and are looking to pass the time this is a great way to do it. You can look at the pictures of the day by category. So you can see all the headline type photos with captions, or space pictures, sports, or pictures of celebrities as well.

Snapshots

This is a great little tab which is an electronic version of the great infographics that USA Today is really known for in their print newspaper. If you choose to have you GPS activated then it’ll also incorporate geographic factors into the results as well.

 

The Groupon App – Don’t Miss Another Good Deal

Deals with AppsSo just in case you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Groupon is, here is a basic definition. Essentially they are a company that finds restaurants, spas, and other companies that are looking to advertise. They they work out a deal with that company which they present to Groupon members. It’s often something like a $20 certificate for food at your local restaurant, which you can buy for $10. They key is that the offer is only good once a certain number of people buy the certificate for $10. This is how Groupon can get advertisers so easily. They say we are going to sell a bunch of certificates to your restaurant for $10, but none of them are good unless we sell 200 of them. The restaurant gets a bunch of people to come in and use the certificates and they get known. It really is a great concept and Groupon is doing quite well. The trick is that it’s not that had a concept to understand so many competitors have entered the market as well, but that is a conversation for another blog.

The Groupon App

So I have the Driod X the Groupon offers an app for the Iphones as well as most of the Android smart phones as well. You download and install it and once it is running on your phone, it is basically a notification system for Groupon. It’ll pop up once a day and let you know that the Groupon of the day is available to view. You can then click in and see what the deal is for today. During your first purchase on the app you will need to enter your credit card information, which you can safe if you like. I did and it makes it so much easier. I can do it on the fly now.

So if the Groupon of the day pops up I’ll hit the botton. If it’s a restaurant I like or know I’ll go to I click to buy button. Since my credit card info is all ready saved it asks if I want to use that card. I say yes, and with one more confirmation it is purchased. Done.

The information is saved, and when I’m ready to go to the restaurant I’ll log in to Groupon at home or work and print out the deal to bring along. There are also options now for some advertisers where you can do everything right on your phone. I haven’t tried this yet but I believe a bar code will come up on your phone and the vendor can just scan it and you are done. Couldn’t be easier.

So if you have a smart phone and like good deals, then you need to download and install the Groupon App. Do it today and you’ll thank me tomorrow!

Soft Download Stuff – Mostly Free Software Online

enter games softI remember when I was young and computers were still kind of a new idea (well lots of people had computers at this point, but they were still rare enough that a family would share one big PC). I’d periodically trek down to the COMPUSA or some other computer store to find some software. Maybe it would be a game that I had in mind, or some application that I needed (OK wanted), or maybe I would just stroll through the long aisles of software boxes (which contained 3.5″ disks) to find something interesting, the same way I’d look for a movie at Blockbuster.

Although I think there is one long aisle of software in the local Staples store, those days are mostly gone. I mean you can find everything you need online and then download it and have it installed by the time you’d warm up the car and leave your driveway!

It’s Usually Free

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all advocating stealing software. If it has a price, then you should be paying it. But there are just so many free options out there that if you are willing to look around a little bit then you can usually find an option that is free for you to download and install. Soft download stuff can really be found with just a quick Google search most of the time. When you get looking, if you are like me, you’ll often end up finding options that will cost you a fee, but as you look into them you decide that they are worth the money.

These downloads are really getting more and more like smart phone apps everyday. Just like on your phone you do a search for some software (app) that will do what you need. When you find it you will find some free options and some pay options. Often the free options will do everything you need just fine. However sometimes you’ll find a pay options that is just so function and slick that it’s worth spending the money.

The Keyword Academy – Make Money With Google Adsense

 

If you have a website then you are interesting in Internet Marketing. What you might not know is that you might be interested in internet marketing even if you don’t have a website currently. There are more and more people that are beginning to create websites and blogs so they have a place to serve Google Adsense ads and can start making a profit. This is where The Keyword Academy comes in.

Passive Internet Marketing

There are two ways to market a website, passive and active. Passive internet marketing is much like old school brick and mortar marketing. If you have a business in the real world that you want people to know about you might buy an ad in a newspaper or a billboard. Passive internet marketing is the same thing basically, where you buy space on another website that you feel has people visiting that would be interested in your site. So for some fee that website will place a banner advertising your site and you hope that people will click it and come to see what you are all about.

Active Internet Marketing

Active internet marketing is a whole other animal all together. This is going to take much more time and thought but has the potential to be much more effective. Once you realize that other then word of mouth, and an occasional banner ad click, search traffic is the way that people find out about sites on the internet, then you realize how powerful active marketing can be! You need to be the search results when people type in keywords that relate to your site.

So the question is how do you get to the first page of the Google results for keywords that relate to your topic? First you need to understand what keywords you need to be chasing, and this is a really important time not to ASSUME! There is much research and stat available to help you with this if you know where to look! You might think you know the search terms that relate to you site but there could be very few people actually typing those terms into Google each month. You need to find popular search terms that relate to your topic in order to start bringing people into your site.

You also want to work you content around so that it is search engine (Google) friendly. This can pretty easily be done without effecting your overall message if you know what you are doing. In other words you are going to have the same message and say the same thing on your site or blog but you are going to get more traffic. That’s never a bad thing!

You also can create backlinks to your site which is a key element in how Google decided which sites appear in what order for search results. The more you know about backlinks the quicker you can move up the results page of Google, which is what is going to bring you traffic in a hurry!

This all sounds really hard and complicated if you haven’t been exposed to the concepts before. The good news is that thekeywordacademy.com is a site dedicated to teaching you these very concepts, and it’s geared toward the beginner.

Build My Rank – The Best Shortcut To Easy Powerful Internet Marketing

There are a lot of reasons that internet website owners would want to market their site. Maybe they are selling a product and want to sell more of it. Maybe they are a charity and want to get the word out and be able to do more good. Maybe they use Google Adsense ads on their site to make extra income. Or maybe its a combination of all of the above. No matter the reason there are a few solid and proven ways to market a website. The online world is different then the real brick and mortar world and therefore the marketing techniques need to be different. The same concepts are at the core, but the methods or applying them are just different.

Word of Mouth

Just like in the real world one great way to get attention for your website is word of mouth. If you are putting out something really great that is just totally useful for the site visitors this will just take care of itself. Think about the last time you saw a really cool website. Maybe it was just so funny, or was really interesting, or really got the core of that question you have been trying to answer for a while. After you enjoyed visiting the site what is the first thing you did? You probably told someone about it right? If you are the website owner you really like this kind of stuff because you now have people out there advertising your site for free!

Backlinks

If you were marketing a business in the real world and you were new and wanted to get the word out, what would you do. One of the easiest ways to get your name out there is to spend a little money and get a few ads in the Yellow Pages. If you are in the online world the electronic equivalent of the Yellow Pages is Google. Sure there are other search engines out there but nothing with the power that Google has. When someone wants to find something on the internet they don’t say, “I’m going to Bing it”, or “I’m going to Ask Jeeves it”! They say, “I’m going to Google it”. End of story.

So there is two ways that you can get some exposure through Google. One way is to actually buy ads through Adwords. This is a system that Google offers that allows you to bid on certain keywords. If you are one of the top bidders and someone types your chosen keyword into Google, then your link will be displayed as an advertised result on the results page. The cost of doing this is going to be highly dependent on what keywords you choose to go after. Some keywords are less popular with less bidders and will therefore be cheaper, and how some are very popular with lots of bidder and they are going to cost you.

The other way to get exposure on Google is to get natural organic results for keywords in Google searches. So this means that Google has decided that a page on your site is a good fit or the search keywords that someone has typed in. If this is the case then you are going to appear on the results page as a link with a very brief description of the page (this is usually a snippet of text from the page). The algorithm that Google uses to make the decisions as to which page is a good fit for a keyword is very long, very complicated, and very secret. From doing research over the years there are certain things that are known about how the decision is made though.

One of the key factors in the Google¬†algorithm¬†is backlinks to your site from other sites. ¬†Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Part of the equation is how many of these backlinks you have, and part of it is how good Google thinks the sites that link to you are. You can’t specifically control how good the sites that link to you are, but you can control how many there are. You can of course start asking sites you link to you which can sometimes work and help out. You can write content for other sites with links to yours and ask that site to post your content which is commonly knows as a guest post. Or you can find a service that will allow you to post short articles with links to your site to a network of sites they own and control. This way you know your work will definitely get posted and you’ll get the link you are after so you can show up in more Google results pages.

This is where Buildmyrank.com comes in. It is a service that you pay a monthly fee for access. You can then submit unlimited posts with links to your site. The posts just have to be intelligible and at least 150 words each. I’m here to tell you that if you think 150 words is a lot, it isn’t. You can often write 150 words just getting set up to talk about a subject. My best advice for these buildmyrank submissions is to just start writing and before you know it you’ll all ready have more then 150 words! Stay at it and submit as many articles as you can partially because you get to do an unlimited amount per month once you are a¬†member, and partially because the more you do the more you will see yourself move up in the Google rankings, and increase your market share!