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Pimp Your Work

April 26th, 2007

Test your router to see if supports all of Vista’s networking features

 This is more of a tip for those of us who work at home so we manage our own networks and routers and were brave enough to leap to Vista already.

Many of you have read that the whole TCP/IP and networking stack for Vista was re-written from the ground up and because of this there are significant performance gains to be had with it.  I have seen for myself that this is more that true.  I’m getting much faster sustained download speeds under Vista than I was under XP.

Now your laptop or desktop machine is, often, only half of the equation.  If you’re like most of us and have a router at home.  Whether it’s to connect multiple computers to the network to share a connection or just use WiFi, a router is between you and the Internet.  A poorly configured or just plain inefficient router can really hamstring you and cause a ton of frustration.

I’m not going to get into all the steps you can take to configure or troubleshoot your router, but I will point you at Microsoft’s Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool .  This handy online tool just tests to see if your router is configured to take advantage of all the improved networking power Vista has to offer.

I ran the check and my router passed.  What about yours?  Are you missing out?


By Tris Hussey -- 1 comment

March 6th, 2007

Tappity, a way to find stuff on the go

Don’t know about you, but when I’m out and about, the number of times I need to find some info on something is just nuts.  Usually I’d just hop online and do some quick searches.  Well, that isn’t always fun, even on my Blackberry.  I’m going to check out this Tappity service and see how it looks:

Logging on to Tappity with a mobile device browser gives you a drop down with your pre-set mobile search locations. It’s certainly a great time saver having all of your main search locations in one area. Another great feature that makes Tappity worth bookmarking on your device is its list of mobile-capable websites. Its always hard to locate a site that’s compatible with mobile devices, and remembering that mobile version of a website can be tough; Tappity has them all listed out for easy visiting.
Source: Find things on your mobile device with Tappity - Download Squad

Love to hear from you all about it as well.  Use it, lose it?


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

March 5th, 2007

Online file format converter reviewed

It happens to all of us.  We get a file from someone and it isn’t in a format you can use.  Or the reverse where you want to send a file to someone and they don’t have x application.  Maddening as it is, there are ways to deal with this.  For simple stuff sometimes you can just use Save As… or Export functions in the app you created the file in.  Sometime it isn’t that simple and you need some help.  Back in the day there was a must-have add on for Macs called MacLink Plus (I think).  It offered hundreds of converters.  You could pretty much open and save to any format known to computerdom.  Those days are gone, thankfully, because MacLink Plus gave support folks like me headaches at times.  Any way frantic industries has done a review of five online file converters.  The results are quite mixed so the article is a good read if you are in this game:

Online file format conversion is a tiny niche within the huge Web 2.0 space, where startups base their hopes of success on the fact that most users don’t know how to convert a file from one format to another. This is not a bad idea. How to convert an MP3 to a ringtone, or how to convert a DVD to DivX are questions asked by millions every day, and with a reason: converting video files from one format to another, and doing it well, can be a complicated task.
Source: 5 online file format converters reviewed - franticindustries.

Me I really try to stick to simple file formats.  Boring, maybe, but easier.  For complex things, I like to have software local. In a pinch it might be good if you’re at a client site or something.


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

March 5th, 2007

Tips to make Gmail better

 Matt Cutts has some cool tips for Gmail addicts like me.  Okay almost like me since I’m not into Firefox anymore and so I don’t use Greasemonkey either.  However, if you do, then these tips are for you: Three solid Gmail productivity tips


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By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 21st, 2007

PDF file links don’t have to open in your browser

PDF files are great.  I use the all the time and when I have a government form to fill out, I try to see if they have  a PDF version.  Well that’s great, but the most annoying features of Acrobat is that by default it opens PDF links you click on within your browser.  Firefox has a handy extension to take care of this.  For us IE/Maxthon users all you have to do is open Acrobat, go to preferences on the Edit menu, select Internet options and uncheck the open in browser option.

Isn’t it annoying when you accidentally click on a link to a PDF document? Then your system stalls for about 20 seconds as it tries to open Acrobat Reader?
Source: Don’t Let PDF Files Freeze Your Browser at The Blog Herald

Not only should this speed up your surfing, but it should also reduce your browser’s memory load and keep it from hanging.

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By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 19th, 2007

A hard lesson in passwords learned early

We all know how important making secure password is, and if we all know about keeping them secret but sometimes we don’t learn the lesson early enough.  My daughter had an experience this weekend that really drives home the importance of keeping your password secret.

My daughter is really into the online community WebKins.  If you know know the WebKins this is a community where you buy a small stuffed animal, and then connect it with the website.  On the website you earn virtual dollars to buy your virtual pad, food and other nice things like couches and beds. Of course, your whole account is controlled by a username and password.  Well, this Saturday my daughter log into her account and found that almost all her money was gone and a lot of horror the furniture from her virtual house.  This was a very traumatic experience for her shoes very upset she didn’t know how this is happened.  We suspect that at one friend who knew her password gave it to a less reliable friend who then used it to gain access to her account.

As traumatic as this was, both Lorraine and I reminded her how important it wise to keep her password secret, and this was a really good lesson to learn early in life. 

So let this be a reminder to you, make the good passwords (and in fact my daughter makes excellent passwords) and keep them secret.  My daughter’s loss was virtual, but your loss could be a real and expensive.


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By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 8th, 2007

Which web mail service is better?

 Most of us are pretty set in our ways as far as e-mail goes.  If you use a free e-mail service like Yahoo, Gmail or Live Mail I doubt if you’ll change any time soon, but have you ever wondered which one is better?  Vikas at Digital Inspiration has done the work for you.  He looked at all the services and has gone through each of the pluses and minuses.  His bottom line is mixed:

Final Thoughts - Although all three email providers have significantly spruced up the email offerings, Yahoo and Gmail are definitely better products.
Yahoo has the best interface - simple, elegant, very easy to use and resembles your desktop software. Like Outlook, you can preview message in the lower third pane without leaving the Inbox view. You can drag and drop messages into folders, messages open as tabs in the same window plus there’s an integrated RSS reader that’s connected to your MyYahoo! account. Very impressive overall.
Gmail has a simple no-frills interface but offers loads of storage, excellent search capabilities, seamless integration with Google Docs, POP access and powerful labels. This is for geeks and power users.

Source: Yahoo! Mail vs GMail vs Windows Live Mail at Digital Inspiration

Personally I like Gmail because I can download mail to Outlook, get it on my Berry, and manage it online.  I used Yahoo for a long time, but dropped it when I kinda fell off the net for a couple years.  I haven’t looked at it lately so I can’t say if I’d make the switch.

Again, I’m not expecting that you’ll switch, but you might have a friend or family member who is just getting started online and needs one.

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By Tris Hussey -- 2 comments

January 9th, 2007


OK, OK, I’m LinkedIn. Nine million of us are. I’m building a fair number of contacts there and have even declined invitations from people I don’t know. So what?

Outside of recruiters viewing the site looking for potential candidates, what have you gotten out of LinkedIn?

I’m missing out on the pimpalicious work tips that must be coming from the site…

By Scot Herrick -- 1 comment

January 4th, 2007

Really want to speed up your browsing? Switch to Maxthon.

Maxthon is one of those browsers built using the IE engine, but it’s different.  It had tabbed browsing long before IE (even with Yahoo’s toolbar).  Oh, it’s Chris Pirillo’s fav too.   I tried it a while ago, but I ditched for Firefox after a while, well Scoble did an interview with the guys behind Maxthon and a demo of Maxthon 2 b2.  Truth be told, I haven’t even watched the videos yet (bad Tris, bad), but I felt that I should give it another shot.  Maxthon is supposed to be faster, safer, and you can use most of your IE plugins with it (this isn’t working in the beta yet).  And … you ask.  Yep, sure it.  Faster?  Man is it faster.  New tabs, switching tabs, closing tabs.  IE favourites, history, passwords?  All there.  No issues.

Yep, I’m liking Maxthon and not looking back.  It has a ton more features than I’ve talked about here, but really what’s going to count is speed and ease of switching.  While I am trying the beta, the latest stable release is great too (I have it installed as well).  Most of my IE plugins work with it.  Attensa kinda flips it out, but I’m not surprised.

Feature requests?  Support the Common Feed List so I can use Maxthon’s feed subscribing tools to add to Attensa without copying and pasting.

This is certainly worth a try.  Check out the Maxthon blog too

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By Tris Hussey -- 2 comments

October 19th, 2006

Remote access software. is it worth using?

LifeHacker suggests remote control software to help friends and family with computer problems, which makes some sense.  They point to a new player LogMeIn which offers one free version and several pay options.  The pay options seem a tad steep to me, but let’s think about this from the PYW perspective for a moment.

Should you set up this kind of remote access to your work PC?  We’ve all seen the GoToMyPC ads talking about accessing your machine from home, printing, sending e-mails, etc.  The question is, is this a good thing?  Is this a work pimp or a work punk?  My vote is for the latter.  Why?  Security and network load. I know I’m wussing out, but really I’m not convinced that these are good ideas.  I’m open to suggestions though … what do you think?


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments