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Showing posts from 2011

Sweet Stuff: To-Do Lists and Task Management

Is your New Year's resolution to become more organized? Manage your time more efficiently and accomplish more things?  Here is a Butterscotch review of three FREE software programs that may help you achieve your goals for 2012. Seems we have technical issues to imbed the video here, so pop over to Butterscotch to see the review of Total Organizer , Debrief Notes , and KnowledgeWorkshop .  

For Your New Computer

It's the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the mouse... click, click, click.. Oh yes, a new PC computer for Christmas! Well, there are some pretty important steps you you need to take with your new Windows system to help the longevity of your computer and to prepare for any future problems. First, setup your wireless or connect wired to the Internet. This is important as you need to download the Windows Updates to be sure your operating system is operating properly. Next, you need a full backup. Most computers don't come with disks, so it is your responsibility to do a complete backup, one that includes the operating system. This most likely will require several DVD disks.  If you have to purchase some, do it quickly. If, for any reason, your computer system needs to be reinstalled, these disks are critical.  Label them for your specific computer model and put them in a safe place in case they are needed. Now you can c

Santa Claus is Coming

Santa is almost here! Kids not sure they believe in the jolly man? You can now watch the reindeer with the Reindeer Cam at Want a more official viewpoint?  NORAD is watching Santa's trip for the 56th time!  He is already at his next checkpoint! Most important, take the time to consider the reason for the season with your family.  Go to church and fellowship with other believers for Christmas Eve and/or Christmas morning.   Meanwhile,  listen to Twas the Night Before Christmas by Gordon Douglas. Merry Christmas!

Online Learning

  Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.  ~Henry L. Doherty The internet provides a vast resource of material to help people learn different skills. Before returning to school locally, I refreshed my "educational skills" by taking a few classes at the University of the People, a tuition free online institute.  Recently MIT announced online-only, graded courses for free. For a small fee students that pass the course can receive a certificate. Another option is ALISON - with free online classes in a wide variety of material. Out of Ireland, Alison has course work in business management to IT skills and provides certificates.  With the world at our fingertips, much of it for free, we have little excuse to let our minds become stagnant.  Some other free learning sites: Free Ed Harva

eCom Etiquette

I am forwarding you onto Judith today where she discusses eCom etiquette.. Especially this time of year, what makes you a "good" customer?

Free Music Download

Sometimes a quick glance takes you through some great rabbit trails online.  So, clicking on a Facebook link from the Comedian, Tim Hawkins , lead me to McPherson Guitars, where I watched a video about the Artist of the Month, another comedian and guitar player, Mike Rayburn.   But down in the corner?  A freebie!  An  entire 'album!', so I popped this one into my Music folder and what great background music!  Hope you enjoy it too.  Go to the Expressions page , you don't need to put it in your cart.. just click the download link, or right click on the download link. Want to see the Mike Rayburn interview? Go to their home page, view the really nice introductory page and see the video at the bottom right as well as the link to the free music. Click here to check out the back Another set of MP3 downloads are from 12 Days of Christmas! Catch these while you still can.. This series include: Day 1 – “Ave Maria” by Celtic Woman Day 2 – “Peace on Earth”

Social Media Flow Chart

Found this great flow chart through another blogger on FB. Tracked down the source to give credit where its due..The image was created by Daryl Lang on ; click to see a larger view.. it is worth the time!

Safe Vacationing on Social Networks

Since I am heading into 'finals' week, I will be posting some links to other great blogs until December 14.  Thanks for your patience as I finish up my classes. Like driving into unsafe neighborhoods, you need to be "street-smart online. Check out this blog at See you next week!

"In Private" Browsing

There is a feature in found in many of our current browsers, called "InPrivate Browsing" in Internet Explorer, "Incognito mode" in Chrome, "Private Browsing" in Firefox and Safari and Private Tab / Private Window for Opera.   Private browsing allows you to surf the web without storing cookies, history items or cached pages.    Now, this feature is not completely private so don't think this will protect you from the FBI if you are browsing for bomb recipes, or your boss if you are on Facebook instead of working but it will hide your tracks if you decide to browse for your husband's Christmas present on the family computer. To start Private Browsing in Firefo x,  click CTL+Shift+P (at the same time) and it will ask if you wish to start browsing privately. While in private mode, it will show a mask in your address bar. In Internet Explorer , you can also start InPrivate Browsing with click CTL+Shift+P (at the same time) In Chrome ,  use th

How often should I reboot or restart my computer?

In theory, you should reboot regularly just to clean up the memory, close down old programs completely and basically gives you a fresh start, but with the newer operating systems, many of the lockups and instabilities have been eliminated. In reality, reboot when you add, update or patch but otherwise, with a newer machine (Windows 7), you really don't need to reboot to improve the computer's operation.  Now there are some benefits to rebooting, so doing it occasionally or at night, will not hurt it at all.  Shutting down will save a few dollars per month in energy costs.  Putting your computer to 'sleep' or 'hibernate' uses very little energy and allows a quicker start up. So, do you NEED to shut down your computer on a regular basis... no. It is your choice for the most part. Isn't that nice?

Toggle Key

Ever go to use the number pad on your keyboard.. typing away but hey.. it's not working?  This little tip is for accessiblity but it sure comes in handy when entering a lot of numbers or when you are not looking at the screen. Here is a great little hint.  It is called the Toggle Key and allows the computer to make a sound when the CAPS, NUM, or SCROLL LOCK keys are pressed. So, how do you turn on this little toggle trick?  In Windows Vista and Windows 7, The keyboard shortcut to turn on/off the Toggle Key is to hold the NUMLOCK key down for 5-8 seconds. or go to Ease of Access section by clicking the Windows logo key +U. You can also go to the 'Start menu, Control Panel\Ease of Access\Ease of Access Center\Make the keyboard easier to use' and turn on the toggle key.  Making your computer easier to use.. until next time! 

Saving Internet Explorer 9 Favorites

In the past, we discussed "pinning" in Firefox . Internet Explorer 8 and 9 also has a pinning feature, which is similar. From the address bar (Microsoft calls it the "One Box"), click on the icon to the left of the URL (web address) and drag it to the task bar, your desktop or even the start menu. Now you can click and pop your way to your favorite site, even if you don't have the browser open. In I.E. 9, if you already have your browser open, click on a new tap and it will show you a selection of your favorite websites.

Search High and Low II

Run into dead ends and rabbit trails when trying to locate something online?  Google really wants to be the best search engine and they strive to figure out the users intentions when they do a search. If you put [Pizza Hut Cartersville GA] into your search, the majority of people are most likely are looking for the restaurant, maybe their hours, menu or actual address or location.  Less relevant would be stock quotes, locations in California or job applications although they may be helpful to a few. In our previous search segment ,  we discussed some of the basics. Now, let's look at some more advanced helpers. Put an asterisk * in a phrase or question you want completed and Google fill in the blanks. For example, you can find the lyrics to a song even if you only remember a few words. For example: [Tie a yellow * around that old *] With my daughter recently going to Japan, this one is really handy. Want to know what time

Storing "History" Online

I want to share with you one of my favorite research resources. Websites come and go, but in many cases, the site was documented before it disappeared.  The WayBackMachine is part of the Internet Archive at .  This digital library contains millions of web pages which you can locate with the URL. (Sites do have the option to not have their site searched and archived by bots such as the ones used by, but most do not use it as it would restrict search engines as well. ) So, while you are searching, you find a perfect match but the site is no longer online? Take the URL and pop it into the WayBackMachine. Most likely, you will find your resulting document ready and waiting for you to stop by.

Disabling Roll Over In Text Advertising

Ever go to a website and see highlighted text that, when your mouse rolls over it, pops up an advertisement?  Obviously many sites use advertising to help pay for their sites, making it available to the public but there are times you really don't want them popping up all the time! So, you can disable them. Roll over and look for the popup. Click the "?" and it will take you to the advertising company that manages the ads. Select disable and it will put a 'cookie' on your machine and the ads are gone. One major website that uses it for advertising is Nicely, they have a post with more details  about disabling  rollover ads.   Click here to go to the website.

Cyber Monday and Bonus Freebie

Wow.. Black Friday had a black eye this year with a woman using pepper spray on other customers for an Xbox, a grandfather bloodied by police while being arrested for alleged shoplifting, shootings , fights , and even looting .  Obviously, these are not the norm which is why they make the news, but it makes a person wonder about heading out for those "super deals". So, we move on to Cyber Monday. Well it started last week with online retailers trying to get a jump on the holiday sales and for some websites, will continue all week with great deals, such as* and . Others are offering great discounts, so scout out your favorite stores, check out the great deals and get your holiday shopping done. With that over, can relax and enjoy a relaxed holiday season.  A bonus!  After you're done cyber shopping, print out these coupons and stop by Waffle House for a free waffle or cup of coffee .  Don't wait, as they will expire shortly! *Small prin

Firefox Tab Tip

As the majority of my readers seem to use Firefox, you should find this tip very handy.  Do you have some favorite websites that you visit regularly? I sure do. I always check Facebook and this blog.  Now, I don't have to type in or click on the bookmark. I can have it up and always available.  It is called "pinning and this feature is called an App Tab . Open the page you wish to pin. Right click on the tab. Select "Pin as App Tab" Want to un-pin the tab? Right-click on the App Tab and select "Unpin Tab" from the menu.  How easy is that?  Just a cool tip!


Wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving filled with love, family and food!   From my family to yours, have a great day!

Word Processing Confusionisms

With the vast amount of word processing programs that are available today, no one should be missing this option on their computer. The problem is when you want to share the file with other people. With Microsoft, we have the 2007 version, then add OpenOffice and their versions.. all with different file extensions at the end of the file name (.doc, .odp, .docx etc.)  Talk about confusing! Generally speaking, you can open these files on various computers with newer software but older versions just don't have the capability to open .odp or .docx files, for example.  If you are unsure about the recipient's software, I suggest you use .doc when you save your file to allow your document to be backwards compatible. If you have a newer word processing program you can use .pdf.  This format can be opened by most computers automatically.  Older computers may need to download a free reader. Office 2007 should have the PDF option when you select "Save As". If it doesn&

Turkey Day Around the Corner

Cleaning, slicing, dicing, stuffing, baking, washing, mixing, cooking.. all for one large, expansive meal of Thanksgiving! But not everyone has family recipes to fall back on during the holiday season, so where do you turn? Lost Aunt Sadie's sweet potato pie recipe? Browsing through hundreds of cookbooks for just the right recipe may take hours or days without results. Turn to the ultimate resource for recipes.. the web.  There are thousands of websites dedicated to recipes, but my preference is a website that has feedback from other users, the option to print without ads and a decent search to locate the perfect recipe.  My all time favorite is / because it has all of the features I prefer with a great many people willing to login and rate the recipes.  Put in the ingredient in the search engine, sort by title, rating or popularity and you have a fantastic recipe database at your finger tips. Didn't find Aunt Sadie's recipe? Well Google makes s

Resumes, Cover Letters and Applications

During tough economic times and high unemployment, the job market becomes a jungle of applications. Now you have to compete with hundreds and maybe thousands of other applicants for one job.  A highly effective resume and cover letter may help you move up into the interview pile where you can make your light shine!  The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides you with effective resume techniques, thank you and follow up letters and much more.   This website also contains resources for writing research papers, APA and MLA bibliographies and so much more.

Searching High and Low!

Have trouble finding things online through the search engine?  Wish your searching could be improved?  Here are a few tips to help you browse better! When searching, every word matters. Generally, all the words you put in the query will be used. Generally speaking, punctuation is ignored,  including all those symbols. !@#$%^&*() Think about how the page would be written. Use words that would be found on that page. For example: use [headache] instead of [my head hurts] since medical websites would use the word headache more frequently on the page. Describe what you need in just a couple of words. If you want the weather in Atlanta, search [weather Atlanta]. When looking for an exact phrase, put quotes around it. ["child care"] You can search for items on a specific website or some types of websites, for example, finding an education page on any government website [education] or searching one website  [presidential debate site:]. Using so

Tracking Time

Ever consider tracking the amount of time you spend doing various tasks?  How about the time you spend online, social networking, games, doing schoolwork or on the job? Toggl is a great tool [FREE] that allows you to briefly comment and track the time you spend on various things.  You can use the online version and time track anywhere on anything: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android.  You can download an application for your computer as well.  The downloaded version allows you to use a feature called 'autopilot', which "studies" your behaviors and memorizes your projects. It actually learns! How cool is that! Simple, easy to use interface has some tips, tricks and more through their blog and find help at their support pages .  A cool little tool.

How Young is Too Young for Social Networking?

Parents have to be computer literate in this day in age to understand the dangers of inappropriate content and sites to illegal activity online.  Facebook monitoring should also be a required parenting skill. Kids as young as 8 and 10 years old are now showing up on Facebook to chat, share and socialize with their friends. As we see this happen more and more, we wonder, at what age is a child too young for Facebook? Obviously this is up to you as a parent but I suggest you proceed with caution. Be aware of the risks involved in allowing your children to be active on social networking sites. Pedophiles Cyber Stalkers Cyber Bullying Identity Theft Third Party Apps Your child's online footprint and reputation Legally, Facebook has a minimum age of 13 years old.  Children with unsupervised access often sign up and falsify their age, often to the point of stating they are, for example, a 19 year old adult. This can create a serious risk to your child. Facebook actually

Back to Basics

Sometimes it is helpful to just learn a few tricks to make working with your computer just a little bit simpler. Watching my husband try and highlight a word to copy and paste can be a little frustrating (for a geek). Here is a little known secret: double click on the word, in a document, email or on the web it will highlight the word. You can now copy (CTR + c) or cut (CTR + x) and paste (CTR + v). You can enlarge the text on any web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the Command key and plus or minus. What are your favorite basics that you thought everyone knew?  Post your comments below.

Great American Smoke Out

Seven years ago on 10/10/2004 at 8:00:00 PM , I had my last smoke, my last puff and a determination to, finally, break the habit after 27 years. I used lozenges, a quiet weekend and a great website called . QuitNet is a free online support group of current, and past smokers sharing and encouraging each other to celebrate being smoke free for just one more day.   I am proud of my stats:  2588 days, 43 minutes and 16 seconds smoke free. 51761 cigarettes not smoked.   $9,058.00 not spent on cigarettes. 13 months, 5 days, 9 hours of my life saved.  Thursday, November 17th is the 36th Annual Great American Smokeout . I encourage smokers to use the date to join QuitNet, and prepare a QUIT plan . There is an incredible amount of valuable information and encouragement at QuitNet.   Don't let cigarettes control your life but take control of yourself and your health. Do it for yourself and no one els

Welcome to the Holidays!

You might think this is premature but Black Friday is just around the corner!  $200 laptops and free photo paper from Staples, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and a $25 credit for Xbox Live from Amazon for $51.99, and special discounts from Sears, JC Penney and more are just waiting for bargain hunters. Happy Holidays! Most of my shopping is completed before the holidays but that doesn't mean I don't watch the great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Two years ago, my computer monitor quit working that Friday morning. Knowing the bargains, I was able to find a great replacement a few hours later! Every year, just in time for the sales, one website seems to collect an incredible amount of ads and hints of deals to come: So, if it is toys, electronics or clothes, you can hit the stores on Black Friday or surf the internet on Cyber Monday. Either way, the discounts will be there for customers this year.

Google Docs

Don't have a word processing program? How about spreadsheets? Don't have time to download the free software OpenOffice ?  Well there is another option.  Google has this available online for free. You will need to create a free Google account.  It will give you access to word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more.  There are even templates available for writing resumes, keeping budgets and calendars. Another feature is to collaborate with others.  For example, you and your husband create a budget online. Now both of you can access this information from home or the office, just be signing in.  Or if you want to send out a  fundraising letter, you can set share it with the public.  You can create flow charts, tables, forms (with the results going to a spreadsheet) and even create credit card payoff calculator. When you download the file, you can even create a PDF of the document, great for emailing, such as a resume.  This is one freeb

Tricksters, Charlatans and Deceivers.

A recent news article described how a concerned grandmother was scammed into wiring $4600 to Canada, believing she was helping her granddaughter. They had enough information to convince her but the reality is that they were savvy enough to gather facts from Facebook accounts. You can read the article here. Similar scams have been accomplished under the guise of a stranded traveler needing money to get back home or pay a hotel bill. We want to help and we don't want to appear hesitant or doubting.  Unfortunately, we can become pawns if we aren't just a little bit cynical. There are many emails that try and spoof you into giving out critical information by 'imitating' your bank, the IRS or eBay., Another 'phishing' fraud with a new twist is to call your home stating they are from your ISP (such as AT&T or Comcast for example) and inform you that your account has been compromised.  If you will verify your access password or username, they will fix the

Urban Legends, Hoaxes and Myths

A little boy needs surgery, sign an email petition and forward it around the world, urgent cell phone directories becoming public, outraged political news or urgent warnings about someone stealing your kidneys. We, in concern, pass these on to our friends and family perpetuating the tale from fiction to fact.  Sometimes these tales are just misinformation, rumors, fallacies and strange news. So how do we know if it is true or a hoax? Most urban legends are too general, don't give enough information for verification or just don't have the capability to be true. For example, the picture (right) was shared via facebook and email ( source ) The story goes on to insist it is absolutely true. This is a true story of Mother’s Sacrifice during the Japan Earthquake. After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a pe

Remember: Daylight Savings Time Ends

Once again its time, in most places, to change the clocks. On Sunday morning at 2 a.m. we will 'fall back' to the normal time and gain an hour of sleep.   And are you sure you have the correct time?  My great-grandfather had a beautiful, old, short wave radio where he checked the Greenwich Mean Time regularly. I know his clocks were accurate.  But I don't have a working short wave radio. I do have the internet!  There are a couple of official websites that can help you set all your clocks: on the stove, coffee maker, alarm clock, microwave and even your computer, if it doesn't change automatically. For the official time in the U.S.A. go to . For the USNO Master Clock Time visit It is also the weekend to check your smoke detector batteries. [ The Daily Mouse Clicks is published Monday through Friday. See you next week! ]

The New Kindle "Library"

I love to read and I love my e-reader/tablet.  It has a browser and email, a few games, weather and a notepad feature. It is small enough to handle and the 7" screen transports easily.  The text can be enlarged with a couple of touches of the screen.  It is extremely beneficial at night as I don't disturb my husband quite as much with my late night reading.  The screen can be converted to a black background and white text which is easier on the eyes at night.  The range of e-books is extensive to purchase through a wide range of online sources.   I can also to 'borrow' e-books from my local library.  I can download, for free, thousands of public domain books available online. Matter of fact, I recently downloaded a free collection of G.A. Henty books that I look forward to reading in the future. My collection of books is growing extensively and it doesn't fill up shelf space in my living room. My tablet is an older model, Velocity Cruz , which I purcha

Creating a Strong Password

Many years ago, my eBay account was hacked and I received a notice via email that someone had posted a classic motorcycle for sale on my account with a ridiculously low price! Yikes! This was not good! With just a few headaches, time spent and crazy twists, I was finally able to get the listing removed, fees removed and my passwords changed.  I learned quickly that a strong password was critical. But was it really that strong? From Steve Gibson's website check out the following:  "Which of the following two passwords is stronger, more secure, and more difficult to crack?" D0g..................... PrXyc.N(n4k77#L!eVdAfp9 According to Steve, the first one is better! I t is one character longer and contains uppercase, lowercase, a number and special characters. This secure website, called Haystack , can help you check out potential passwords.  It is pretty comforting when you see that with a " Massive Cracking Array Scenario: (Assuming one hundre

Happy Birthday!

So, with my husband's birthday yesterday,  and taking the tight budget into consideration, this website could come in handy! lists the many restaurants in your area that have free gifts, desserts and even meals. Although we didn't utilize it for his birthday dinner, Ihop sent an email greeting including a free meal, which we enjoyed this morning. Don't forget the nice birthday song and free ice cream sundae for dessert... all before 11:00 a.m.   Happy Birthday, Dear!

Day One

Welcome!  November 1, 2011 is the official first day of "Daily Mouse Clicks", a fresh new blog for the common man and woman to understand their computers, the internet and the vast world of ever changing electronics. As many of you knew or have figured out, I am a geek.  I never expect to be one nor did I strive to become one.. it just happened.   I enjoy working with the computer and am always amazed at the amount of information, and misinformation, can be found online. I come across so many great ideas, freebies, hints, updates and websites throughout my day.  My goal is to help you become more comfortable with your computer and make it work for you. So, I have found my domain name and my mascot.. isn't he cute?  He probably needs a name so if you have any suggestions, except maybe "Bob", they are welcome.