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April 26th, 2007

Diana always seems to have the tips you need-read them!

 Diana Huggins who contributes to Lockgnome’s Windows Fanatics blog always seems to have those tips and how tos that people need.  Whether it’s watermarks in Word or new lines in Excel cells, Diana has posted them.

Sure, you might think they are simple, if you’ve already spent time trying to figure out how to do it through trial and error and Office help, but lots of people haven’t.

Instead of just posting every day her latest tip, just save us both some time and subscribe to the blog and get them via RSS.


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 26th, 2007

Advanced WindowsCare Professional for Free Today Only

As you know I’ve been battling with fixing a machine for Lorraine’s bosses since Friday.  Sunday I thought it was licked and well I was wrong.  Still getting Blue Screen of Death, still unstable (rebooting and shutting down randomly).  I was getting really worried.  If I couldn’t keep the machine stable, then I couldn’t even back up critical files so I could wipe it and start over.

I had to stay up late last night so Jim and I could finish a proposal due this morning, so checking my feeds on a break I caught today’s giveaway of the day from Giveaway of the Day: Advanced WindowsCare Professional

Unleash the full power of your PC now. Advanced WindowsCare Professional provides an Always-On and Automated, All-In-One PC Care Service with anti-spyware, privacy protection, performance tune-ups, and system cleaning features that find errors in your Windows OS that other utilities miss.

With our “Install It and Forget It” feature that works automatically and quietly in the background, you will keep your computer safe, error-free, and running at top speed. We highly recommended this program for your home and/or small business.
Source: Giveaway of the Day » Advanced WindowsCare Professional

Hmm, I thought to myself.  System tweaking.  Hmm, works with Vista.  Okay, let’s give it a shot.  First loaded it on my laptop.  Ran the checks, fixed some minor issues, tweaked some stuff.  Okay.  Next onto the old Dell machine that the kids use.  Yep, good again.  This morning with both machines still good I decided to take a chance running it on the PITA machine.  Well, boy did it work.  The machine is stable enough that I think I can take it back this afternoon.  Okay I couldn’t get AVG to work anymore and had to manually ditch it and use Avast instead (Lorraine did suggest maybe a virus, unlikely, but I checked anyway).

I’m not usually one to get these free apps.  One problem is that if you have to re-install it, you can’t.  The 24-hr activation window is gone so your out of luck.  In this case, it was worth it.  Oh so worth it.

I recommend giving it a try.

By Tris Hussey -- 1 comment

February 20th, 2007

Mindsystems ThemeReader-An exciting new add-on for MindManager

 I got an e-mail from Tom Hodgers today.  Remember him?  Yeah he was one of our contest winners.  It sounds like Tom has been getting into MindMager and told me about a really cool new MM add-on called ThemeReader.  Here is how Mindsystems describes it:

Mindsystems ThemeReader™ is the latest edition to the MindManager® family of products. Offering an advanced new way to scan almost any document type for ideas and common themes. Mindsystems ThemeReader then instantly converts the relevant information in into an easy to understand visual MindManager® Map.
Source: Mindsystems: Mindsystems ThemeReader™

You read this and think “Yeah, right. How can something go through my document and turn it into a useful Mindmap?”  Yeah, I was a skeptic too.  Then I tried it.

First pass was on a simple document from a client laying out the categories for a new blog.  It was pretty darn impressive.  It brought some things to my attention that I had missed on my first pass through the document.

Okay, that was just a simple Word doc.  So I figured it needed a real challenge, let’s try a PDF.  I took Charlene Li’s recent Blogging ROI whitepaper.  Not too long, but lots of info in there.  And …

Wow.  Took less than a minute to process and get the map up.  Now that’s cool.

Tom suggested that this app would be great for students.  I’m going to take it beyond that.  Here’s the best example I could think of.  You’ve been asked to summarize a whitepaper, proposal, or article for your boss.  Instead of reading it and then writing your summary, you read it and let ThemeReader make a map of it.  All the detail is there.  It’s easy to re-organze and edit.  Zap that map off to your boss and the original.  Done.  Maybe edit the map so the ThemeReader info isn’t there.  You don’t want to give away all your secrets do you ;-) (never forget the Scotty Principle)?

Best of all ThemeReader, like MindManager, comes with a 21-day trial so you can really give it a good try before buying it.  ThemeReader is on my wish list already.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 16th, 2007

Download needed to save as PDF or XPS in Office 2007

One of the anticipated features and Microsoft office 2007 is the ability to natively export files as PDF or XPS.  I was looking for this feature today when I needed to send off an invoice but couldn’t find it.  Luckily a quick search in help gave me the answer right away, I needed to download the add-in!

It only took a couple seconds to do this and I didn’t even need to reboot or close Excel, but really bugged me that this wasn’t included by default.

Here’s the link to the page where you can download this pretty essential add-in for office 2007.

Even though Microsoft has been criticized by Adobe for including PDF export in Office 2007, I think it’s a really good thing.  I wonder if the XPS format is gonna catch on and all.  I think we’ll have to wait and see. 


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 15th, 2007

Stuck creating a document? Try using a template

So you need to create a new document.  It doesn’t matter if you’re using Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint (or even OpenOffice), looking at a blank screen is almost as daunting as getting the document done.

Now, when you make this a complex task, like a form letter or invoice, you can waste a lot of time making one from scratch.  My first stop whenever I need to do something like this is to look for the built-in templates that of come with Microsoft office.

Like today, I needed to make a new invoice, my old PDF invoice wasn’t going to work anymore, so I needed something new.  My first stop in Excel, because a knew Excel was the right application for me to make invoices, was to open help, and type invoice template.  I was given a choice of several different styles of templates, I picked one, downloaded it from Microsoft, filled it in, and I was done.

The same goes for Word or PowerPoint, browsing the built in templates can save you a ton of time when you need to make a new document, an especially a complex document.

For instance business cards.  When you buy one of the print yourself business card packs, using a template is critical to making sure the cards come out right.

For those of you who think all stock templates are boring and ugly, you’re wrong.  A lot of the templates are very nice, and all of them can be customized.

One of the best work tips I can give you is to use the resources your computer already has two save you time and effort.  Using templates is one of those tips that everyone should be using.


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments