Archive for June, 2011

Encryption

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis June 30th, 2011

Encryption is a way to scramble your stuff so that no one can read it unless they have the password.  In some cases, like stored credit card info, the law REQUIRES that businesses encrypt the info.  There are lots of encryption standards, but in general the more BITS of encryption, the harder it would be to steal.  For example, 128-bit is twice as strong as 64-bit.  One of my favorite free encryption tools is called TrueCrypt, and can be found here.  It’s easy to use, and you can create a mapped drive that contains all your private stuff.  One of the things I like best about it is that it will warn you if your password for scrambling is too weak.  WARNING:  DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD or you may never get your stuff back!

Stats n such

News | Posted by Dennis June 29th, 2011

A screen shot of the Facebook Feed statsYep, that’s Okie again!¬† ūüėȬ† For those of you reading these, just wanted you to know:¬† There are three ways this blog gets blasted to the world – 1) the blog itself at TPCD.com, 2) the Facebook feed and 3) the Twitter feed.¬† The Blog page is getting 8,000 + hits per month.¬† (Wooo-hooo!).¬† ¬†The Facebook page tells me which article got the most IMPRESSIONS, which is the number of times someone clicked through to the full article.¬† It’s REALLY interesting to see which ones were most popular, and it ALWAYS surprises me.¬† For example, the latest article with the best impression was the Missing Menu blog.¬† Not at all what I expected.¬† Anyway, thanks to all of you for your support, and please tell all your freinds.¬† We just need 3 more LIKES on the Facebook page and we get our own URL!¬† :-)

Video

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis June 28th, 2011

Three ways to hook up video on your PCBig TV’s are all the rage, but people don’t realize that High Definition has been around for a long time – on your PC!¬† There are lots of ways to connect your monitor/TV to a computer.¬† The old (analog) way was VGA.¬† But if you have a new LCD or other display, chances are it will have one or two of the newer DIGITAL hookups.¬† One is called HDMI, the other is DVI (see photo).¬† I like¬†HDMI because 1) it’s bi-directional (two-way traffic) 2) it’s digital video and 3) it also carries the AUDIO signal.¬† This is a first for a video interface, and simplifies things a lot if you’re trying to set up a home theatre.

Ugly Monster TV’s

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis June 23rd, 2011

Green Blob TVBig HDTV’s have gotten relatively cheap these days, and there are lots of choices.¬† I¬†like LCD for its fairly low power consumption and great picture quality.¬† Recently¬†a customer’s¬†big Sony Grand Wega LCD turned ugly.¬† It got a big green blob (picture shown is supposed to be WHITE) in the middle of the screen.¬† Turns out it was a common problem in early Sony LCD’s, and there were at least two different class action suits over a part called the Optical Engine (OE).¬† At first we were mad because the OE¬†part was expensive, and warranty extensions had ended in Summer of ’09.¬† But when I contacted Sony they gave¬†her a $1000 off a new Sony Bravia LCD!¬† Needless to say,¬†she’s a happy camper.¬† :-)¬†¬† YEAH SONY!

Commercial Skip

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis June 22nd, 2011

Screenshot of DVRMS ToolboxOne of the best things about recording TV with Windows Media Center (WMC) is that you can program your PC to automatically skip commercials.¬† Granted, it’s not that hard to¬†fast forward through each set, but once you’ve experienced Auto Skip I think you’ll be hooked. ¬†It’s not too difficult, and I’ve been able to do this on both the old WMC (2005) and the new one (Win 7).¬† There are lots of instructions out there to do this, but the key is a program by Babgvant called DVRMS Toolbox.¬† It can be found here.¬† It has a lot of other cool features as well, but its popularity has been driven by the commercial skip feature.¬† I gotta tell ya, it’s AWESOME to watch HDTV with no advertising!

Snap To it!

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis June 20th, 2011

There are lots of options for your mouse that make daily work a little easier.¬† One of my favorites is called SNAP TO.¬† It automatically moves your cursor to the¬† current dialog box when it pops up.¬† It takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll find that you’re moving the mouse around about half as much as before.¬† Another thing I like to do is change the pointer scheme to WINDOWS INVERTED LARGE.¬†¬† You’ll NEVER lose sight of the mouse in a white background using this option.

Sync or swim

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis June 18th, 2011

Sometimes we don’t just need to back up our stuff, we need to synchronize two sets (aka Sync).¬† This can be really handy in a lot of cases.¬† I use a sync tool to keep a copy of all my software tools and doc’s on a memory stick.¬† Any time I need my stuff, it’s on my main computer, but it’s also in my pocket wherever I go.¬† I can make changes to EITHER SET, and my sync tool makes sure that both copies are updated.¬† I’ve tried a lot of the sync gizmos, but the one I like the best is called Allway Sync.¬† It’s free for limited use, and has a TON of options to automate the process.