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r"PI Review: Password Genie p.28 DIY Project: Add An Extra Hard Drive p.40 



smartcomputing.com 



& consumer electronic: s 




In Plain Enqlish 



Sandhills 
Publishing 



Vol. 22 Iss. 05 
$5.99 U.S. 
$799 Canada 






STOtYour Presence On The Web 




Build A S0H0 PC Part 3 

Install The Operating System p.42 

Business Plan Pro 
Premier Edition 

From Idea To Strategy p.26 

Windows For Business 

Restore Previous File Versions p.38 




How To Install 

An All-in-One Printer p.83 




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Volume 22 .May 2011 . Issue 5 




Your Web Site 



Boost Your Presence On The Web 



58 Update Your Web Site 

A Fresh Look May Be What The Customer Ordered 

60 The Modern Web Site 

The Indispensable Elements Of A Great Web Site 

63 Web-Friendly Graphics 

Make Your Site Look Great On A Budget 

66 Hire A Web Design Service 

Let The Experts Create Your Unique Site 

69 Click Your Way To A Web Site 

No Special Skills Or Software Required 





Copyright 2011 by Sandhills Publishing Company. Smart Computing is a 
registered trademark of Sandhills Publishing Company. All rights reserved. 
Reproduction of material appearing in Smart Computing is strictly prohibited 
without written permission. Printed in the U.S.A. GST # 123482788RT0001 
Smart Computing USPS 005-665 (ISSN 1093-4170) is published monthly 
for $29 per year by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West Grand Drive, 
P.O. Box 82545, Lincoln, NE 68501. Subscriber Services: (800) 424-7900. 
Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE. POSTMASTER: Send address 
changes to Smart Computing, P.O. Box 82545, Lincoln, NE 68501. 



News & Notes 

8 Technology News & Notes 

14 News From The Help Desk: Our Most 
Common Tech Calls 

We tell you the most common problems 
we're hearing about each month and 
provide straightforward solutions for 
each one. 

16 Small Business Resources 

1 7 Small Business Development Centers 

Assistance For Entrepreneurs 

Reviews 

18 Tech Diaries 

Our Smart Computing columnists spent 
some quality time with computer and 
computer-related hardware and soft- 
ware to get beyond the benchmark 
scores, statistics, and marketing hype. 
Find out what they liked and disliked 
about their choices. 



18 


Marty Sems: All The Fixin's 


{ 19 


Blaine Flamig: Microsoft Express 
Mouse & Comfort Mouse 3000 




&6000 


20 


Tara Simmons Bantam: 




Canon Pixma MX882 


K 


Andrew Leibman: Samsung Focus 
With Windows Phone 7 


i \ 


22 Roundup: Search Engines 




We review Bing, Google, and 
other handy search engines. 


26 Software Reviews 


26 


Business Plan Pro Premier Edition 




From Idea To Strategy 


28 


Password Genie 




Security & Convenience 


28 


Dr.Batcher 




Create Batch Files 


29 Advertisement: SecurityCoverage 
Password Genie 2.0 


Password Management Done Securely 



Windows Central 



Mac Corner 



Plugged In 



32 Windows News, Views & Tips 

Microsoft debuts Windows Intune 

^C Windows* Internet 

AS Explorer9 

34 How To Reinstall Windows XP 

A Fresh Start Can Rejuvenate Your 
Computer 

38 Windows For Business 

Restore Previous File Versions 

Computers & Electronics 

40 DIY Project 

Add An Extra Hard Drive 

43 Build A SOHO PC, Part 3 

Install The Operating System 



47 Save Time With Shortcuts 

Who Needs A Mouse? 

50 Fresh Fruit 

Great Business Apps For iPad/iPhone/iPod 




52 Web Tips 





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55 Pep Up Your Browser With Plug-Ins 

Easy Ways To Add The Functionality You 
Want 

Personal Technology 

78 Readers' Tips 

Our readers share great ways to solve 
problems and accomplish PC-related tasks. 



79 Ovation 

This month, we feature these products: 

• CarMD Vehicle Health System 

• Creative Live! Cam Chat HD 

• Centon MLB-Branded DataStick 
Keychain 



Tech Support 



80 Solve Problems With 

Communication Software 

Video chatting is a handy tool — when it works. If you're having trouble with 
your communication software, we'll help you get things back on track. 

83 How To Install 

An All-in-One Printer 

86 Software Updates 

88 Q&A 

90 Tech Talk: Motherboards 

94 Action Editor 

Can't seem to get a response from a vendor or 
manufacturer? If you need help, we're here for you. 

95 Tales From The Trenches: Working On The Web 

Real-world tech support advice from PC guru Gregory Anderson. 
This month, he adds his two cents to our Web site building coverage. 





Quick Studies 



93 OpenOffice.org 3 

Create An Advertising Flyer 

30 ■ Adobe Acrobat X Pro 

The Power Of A Portfolio 

73 ■ Corel WordPerfect 
Office X5 

Scrapbook: Working With 
Media Files 

54 ■ Intuit QuickBooks 
Premier Edition 2011 

How To Import Data 

76 Quick Tips 



1 



Find Duplicate Files Easily! 




Features include: 

IU Duplicate Photo Finder 
%±) Duplicate Song Finder 

Duplicate Outlook Email Finder 
|EJ Duplicate Documents Finder 
J^ Automated Scanning Wizard 
i Comprehensive Reports 
g] Easy to Use Interface 
(f Duplicate Selection Manager 



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find or recognize, and no one has time to find them all. By not maintaining files on your hard drive, your computer's performance will 
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Windows XR Window Vista, Windows 7 are registered trademarks of Microsoft, Easy Duplicate Finder and Duplicate Photo Finder are trademarks of Webminds, inc. 



Editor's Note 



The days of clunky animated graphics are over. Now, it's so easy to do 
exciting things with your Web site that even home users and small 
businesses are getting onboard. In fact, as you'll see in our cover stories, 
high-tech Web sites are so common that they are expected by many of the 
people who visit them. 

From the perspective of a customer or client, updated technology means a 
better shopping (or information-gathering) experience. He can see 
products clearly, thanks to new tools for displaying large, clear (and 
sometimes interactive) graphics. He can easily view his past orders and 
track the shipment of his latest order. He can likely even set up a product 
return— all without picking up the phone. If he's simply trying to learn 
more about a company, he can read the company's history, find contact 
information, and browse descriptions of its services. 

From the business' perspective, a Web site is a chance to provide all of these 
great features and information. It's a chance to shape the company's image and 
to help customers make buying decisions. Updating your Web site (or finding 
someone to do it for you at a reasonable price) isn't a difficult undertaking. This 
month, we'll get you started. 



%£fa* $ <Q4<4 



Joshua Gulick 




SmartPeople 

Computer Support 1 



SmartPeople Computer Support 
(800) 368-8304 

Online Request: 

www.smartcomputing.com/techsupport/contact.aspx 

Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST) 



Customer Service 

(For questions about your subscription or 

to place an order or change an address.) 

customer-service@smartcomputing.com 

(800) 733-3809 

FAX: (402) 479-2193 

To make a payment 

Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 85673 

Lincoln, NE 68501 -5380 

General inquiries 

Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 82545 

Lincoln, NE 68501 -5380 

Authorization For Reprints 

(800) 247-4880 

Hours 

Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CST) 

Online Customer Service 

& Subscription Center 

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Product Coverage Inquiries 

products@smartcomputing.com 

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Lincoln, NE 68521 

Reader Feedback 

editor@smartcomputing.com 



Sandhills 
Publishing- 



Smart 



Computing 

1 -■"""-:•■ I In Plain English ** 



Corrections/Clarifications 

On page 8 of the April issue, we listed the sequential 

read/write speeds of the Plextor 256GB PX-256M2S 

SSD (solid-state drive) as 480MBps and 310MBps. In 

fact, they are 480MBps and 330MBps. 

Our review of the Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC (on 

page 20 of the April issue) should have included a 

price of $349, rather than $389. 



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Technology News & Notes 



Compiled by Christian Perry 



INTERNET 



New Owner Brings Big 
ChangeToMail.com 



With a long, interesting history 
dating back to 1995, the mail, 
com domain has once again found 
a new owner, and this one is mak- 
ing big, positive changes to the free 
email service. Acquired by l&l Mail 
& Media Inc. in September 2010, 
mail.com (www.mail.com) now fea- 
tures an optimized email client for 
both new users and previously reg- 
istered accounts. 

"Mail.com has provided a depend- 
able service where users were given a 
unique opportunity to fine-tune their 
email experience with various do- 
mains. With the new e-mail client, we 
are now incorporating even more in- 
novative email technology," says Jan 
Oetjen, CEO of l&l Mail & Media 
Inc. "Moving forward, new and cur- 
rent users will utilize an innovative 
platform supported by our state-of- 
the-art technology and professional 
antivirus protection. I'm convinced 
this will boost mail. corn's continued 
growth in the market as a rich com- 
munication platform." 

The site's new GMX (Global Mail 
Exchange) client is designed to ri- 
val traditional client-based applica- 
tions, such as Microsoft Outlook. 
For example, this client includes 
keyboard shortcuts, drag-and-drop 
functionality, and an address book 
and contact list. Also included is a 
Mail Collector, which pushes mail 
from third-party accounts into 
the mail.com inbox, and a multi- 
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Under the guidance of a new owner, the mail.com domain is undergoing significant changes that provide 
more flexibility and security to holders of the domain's free email accounts. 



more than one file to email mes- 
sages. Mail.com users also have un- 
limited mail storage and the option 
to integrate a personal Facebook 
profile into the inbox. 

Security is also a priority with l&l 
Mail & Media, which has worked 
extensively to ensure its mail.com 
accounts remain protected from 
malware and other threats. For ex- 
ample, seven sophisticated antispam 
modules are used to block unwant- 
ed incoming emails before they hit 



the inbox. Further, the company's 
system automatically scans every 
incoming and outgoing email mes- 
sage and attachment for viruses and 
Trojans. (No emails are scanned for 
advertising purposes, according to 
the company.) 

All of these email features are 
also available to subscribers who 
want a more personalized experi- 
ence with customer domains such 
as consultant.com, doctor.com, usa. 
com, and others. I 



8 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



STORAGE 



Dual-Drive Design Delivers Massive Capacity 



Whether you routinely work with high-quality multimedia 
content or are simply a fan of digital video, storage ca- 
pacity can diminish quickly as you accumulate files. The good 
news is that storage manufacturers such as Western Digital 
continue to ramp up the size of drives to accommodate all of 
that space-gobbling content. 

For example, the new WD My Book Studio Edition II 
($549.99; www.wdstore.com) combines two drives into 
a single external case to provide a stunning 6TB (tera- 
bytes) of storage capacity. For the ultimate in connection 
flexibility, this drive includes four interfaces: FireWire 
400/800, USB 2.0, and eSATA (external Serial Advanced 
Technology Attachment). 

"Thanks to advancements in HD [high-definition] 
video devices, including digital SLR [single-lens reflex] 
cameras and HD video cameras, the quality and quan- 
tity of video content being produced by professionals 
and enthusiasts alike has grown at an astounding pace," 
says Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD's 
branded products group. "[This drive] provides creative 
individuals with the expanded storage and bandwidth 
they need to effectively shoot, edit, and safely store 
their video productions without the need to compress 
their videos or reduce the overall quality of them for the 
sake of available space." 



Along with automatic and continuous backup soft- 
ware, the My Book Studio Edition II includes WD's 
GreenPower technology that helps the drive consume 
roughly a third less power than other dual-drive external 
storage systems. This technology also lets the drive run 
cool, even without the help of a fan. I 



Western Digital's 
My Book Studio 
Edition II, which 
offers 6TB of 
storage in a 
dual-drive design, 
is an instant 
storage solution 
for creative 




professionals and 
small businesses. 



DISPLAYS 



Portable LCD Targets The Mobile Market 

If your laptop's display isn't quite big enough for your needs, 
1 



I there traditionally hasn't been an alternative other than 
buying a bigger laptop— after all, you can't reasonably lug 
around an LCD monitor on your travels. Toshiba recognizes 
this problem and has released a solution designed to accom- 
modate mobile users with a desire for more screen space. 

The Toshiba USB Mobile LCD Monitor ($199.99; us.tosh 
iba.com) is a stowaway, 14-inch LCD that simply plugs into 
the USB port of your laptop or PC to add an additional 
screen. We know what you're thinking— who wants to carry 
around another display and all the cables that come with it? 
Toshiba has that covered, as this monitor weighs only 2.8 
pounds including the case and bundled USB cable. 

Further, thanks to the unit's integrated DisplayLink tech- 
nology, both the display signal and power are delivered 
through the USB cable, so you won't need a separate power 
cable. This 1 -inch-thick widescreen monitor has a resolution 
of 1,366 x 768, and its black vinyl carrying case folds into an 



adjustable stand that can be set to various viewing angles and 
includes space for the monitor's USB cable. I 




Thanks to its integrated DisplayLink technology, this portable LCD monitor 
from Toshiba sends both the display signal and necessary power through 
the included USB cable. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 9 



Technology News & Notes 



PRINTERS & PERIPHERALS 



This Laser Has Your Wallet In Mind 



Your small or home office might need the 
efficiency and reliability of a laser printer, 
but perhaps you have concerns about the 
hefty costs of supplies and energy needed 
to use one of these devices. Ricoh has ad- 
dressed these concerns with a new printer 
that strikes a balance between performance 
and conservation. 

The Aficio SP C320DN (about $600; www 
.ricoh-usa.com) color laser printer includes 
an ECO Night Sensor that lets users preset an 
amount of time for the printer to shut down 
automatically after the lights are turned off 
in the office. The sensor automatically detects 
darkness and physically flicks the printer's 
power switch to the "off" position. If you dis- 
cover you flipped those lights too hastily, not 
to worry — the SP C320DN can come back to 
a ready condition in 20 seconds or less. 

This printer also includes automatic du- 
plexing to reduce paper usage, along with an 
Economy Color Mode that uses a more cost- 
effective amount of toner than the standard 
mode. Also onboard are security features in- 
cluding user authentication to restrict access 
only to authorized users, as well as built-in 
network encryption. I 




This Ricoh color laser printer has cost-conscious features including a night sensor that 
automatically senses when the lights are turned off in the office and physically flicks off the 
printer's power switch. 



CPUs, CHIPS & CARDS 



New Chips Set To Bulldoze The Competition 



Now that Intel's speedy Sandy Bridge mi- 
croarchitecture is out, AMD is under 
the gun to play catch-up to its long- 
time competitor. However, with its 
upcoming Bulldozer architecture, it 
might not just catch up to Intel but 
perhaps even surpass it in terms 
of performance. 

As a rare major overhaul of 
AMD's chip architecture, Bull- 
dozer will include multithreaded, 
3 2 -nanometer chips with four, six, 
or even eight cores, as well as other 
chips with even more cores. Accord- 
ing to AMD, Bulldozer chips use two 
integer cores that each have four pipelines, 




AMD 



and these are combined in a module with 

shared L2 cache. This architecture uses 

dedicated schedulers and integer units 

for each thread, while chips using 

Intel's HyperThreading technology 

have threads that share available 

resources. 

The first of these processors is 
expected to appear this summer 
under the code name Zambezi, as 
part of AMD's FX series. Although 
not yet official, these processors are 
anticipated to include overclocked 
cores and dual graphics capabilities. 
Processors using Intel's Sandy Bridge ar- 
chitecture also have integrated graphics. I 



10 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



When a computer breaks down, everyone looks to you for the solution. 

That's why you look to Smart Computing. Each issue is packed with troubleshooting information that will 
help you spot the source of the problem and get your system humming again. Our plain-English tutorials 
and large, clear pictures give you the confidence and the knowledge you need when repairing an ailing PC. 
And once your computer is running again, Smart Computing's software and hardware maintenance tips will 
help you keep it that way. Plus, you'll find info on all the new products you'll need for your home and office. 



Smarti 



.omputing 



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Get Your Business Apps Back On Track 



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In Plain English 



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Technology News & Notes 



MISCELLANEOUS 



Nvidia Aims For Graphics Sweet Spot 

Integrated graphics have come a long 
way in recent years, but discrete 
graphics cards still stand alone when 
it comes to pure processing power. 
Like CPUs, big advancements in 
circuitry have helped to push down 
the cost of high-performance cards, 
as seen with a new midrange model 
from Nvidia. 

The GeForce GTX 550 Ti ($149; 
www.nvidia.com) takes advantage of 
DirectX 11, PhysX, and other technolo- 
gies designed to handle the latest games 
and other graphics-intensive software. 
Available from several manufacturers, 
the card also supports Nvidia's 3D Vi- 
sion, which delivers stereoscopic 3D 

when combined with compatible wireless glasses and 3D-enabled 
software. Nvidia also now sells a 3D Vision Kit that includes 3D 
Vision active shutter wireless glasses, a USB IR (infrared) emitter, 
and cables, also for $149. 

The GTX 550 Ti has a 900MHz graphics clock, a 1,800MHz 
processor clock, and 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 
4,100Gbps (gigabits per second). Maximum resolutions up 
to 2,560 x 1,600 pixels are supported, along with SLI (Scalable 




The GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics card takes advantage of advanced 
technologies, such as DirectX 11, PhysX, and Nvidia's 3D Vision, at a price 
point that won't break the bank. 

Link Interface) for dual-card usage and dual-monitor con- 
figurations through the included two dual-link DVI-I (Digi- 
tal Visual Interface) ports. The card also has a mini-HDMI 
(High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port. I 



PROBLEM-SOLVER: TROUBLESHOOTING THE NEWS 



My external hard drive constantly dis- 
connects and reconnects on its own. 

If this external drive disconnects 
when you attempt to open certain 
files or run programs installed on 
the drive, there's a good chance the 
drive is suffering from corruption 
or is otherwise failing. Download 
CrystalDisklnfo (bit.ly/UKztO) and 
run a scan on the drive. If the scan 
reveals any major problems, immedi- 
ately back up the drive's contents and 
seek a replacement. 
Static images from my Windows 
Desktop appear in programs and 
movies on my LCD monitor. 

If the Windows Taskbar or oth- 
er static images from your Win- 
dows Desktop appear in a place they 
shouldn't be appearing, the monitor is 
suffering from a phenomenon known 



as image persistence. Try turning off 
your monitor for a few hours. If the 
images disappear but reappear later, 
download an all-white wallpaper and 
move the Taskbar to another location. 
Remove as many icons as possible from 
the Desktop and place the remaining 
icons in a different location on the 
Desktop. Leave the LCD on for several 
hours to remove the image persistence. 
Note also that analog connections tend 
to suffer from image persistence more 
often than digital connections. 
My keyboard seems to be typing the 
wrong characters for certain keys. 

Try using the keyboard on a differ- 
ent PC. If it outputs the right char- 
acters for these keys, there's likely a 
problem with the USB port you're us- 
ing on the original PC. If you're using a 
Microsoft PC and you're not sure which 



keys are causing problems, download 
and install Microsoft IntelliType (bit 
.ly/UwQdc) and use the software's 
Microsoft Keyboard Diagnostics (also 
called MS Key) utility to verify that 
the output matches (or doesn't match) 
pressed keys. 

My motherboard's temperature util- 
ity indicates my CPU is overheating. 
Before you dig into your PC and 
root for potential cooling problems, 
try using a third-party temperature 
utility. Not all utilities monitor the 
same sensors, so it's possible that 
your utility is extracting data from a 
malfunctioning sensor or an other- 
wise unimportant sensor. Use Core- 
Temp (bit.ly/lralJ2), which accesses 
your CPU's digital thermal sensor 
(generally regarded as the most ac- 
curate CPU sensor). 



12 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



MOBILE TECHNOLOGY 



Expand Your Smartphone Horizons 



Need faster data speeds on your 
smartphone? Or how about almost 
double the average smartphone display 
real estate? New models from HTC and 
Kyocera will aim to satisfy the need for 
speed and desire for display 

The aptly named HTC Thunderbolt 
($249.99 with two-year contract; www 
.htc.com) is the first 4G LTE device on 
the Verizon Wireless network, deliver- 
ing download speeds of up to 12Mbps 
(megabits per second) and down- 
load speeds of up to 5Mbps — in other 
words, this device and Verizon's con- 
nection could rival the typical high- 
speed home broadband connection. 
This Android 2.2-powered device isn't 
just about speed, though, as the smart- 
phone bundles an impressive selection 
of multimedia and other functions to 
help create a mobile office on the go. 

The Thunderbolt includes a 1GHz 
Snapdragon processor; a 4.3 -inch WVGA 
(Wide Video Graphic Array) display; sur- 
round sound; an 8MP (megapixel) rear- 
facing camera and a 1.3MP front-facing 
camera with LED (light-emitting diode) 
flash and in-camera effects; and a 720p 
HD (high-definition) camcorder. Also in- 
cluded is a built-in kickstand that allows 
for easy viewing of media content, and 
home-theater enthusiasts will appreciate 
the Thunderbolt's built-in DLNA (Digi- 
tal Living Network Alliance) support that 
lets users send music, movies, and pho- 
tos directly from the phone to a DLNA- 
compatible television or media player. 




With the big-bandwidth speeds the 
Thunderbolt can access on Verizon's 
network, customers might be inter- 
ested in Verizon's Mobile Hotspot ser- 
vice. This service will let users share 
the Thunderbolt's 4G connection with 
up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices for 
an extra $20 monthly. However, the 
service has a monthly data limit of just 
2GB, which could be reached fairly 
quickly when multiple users are access- 
ing the connection. 

If you're more in the market for a big 
display than big speeds, Kyocera might 
have the phone for you. The unique 
Echo ($199.99 with two-year Sprint 
contract; www.echobykyocera.com) is 
a 3G, Android 2.2-powered clamshell 



The Kyocera Echo might look like a 
tablet at first glance, but this is a 
smartphone with two separate screens 
that can serve as one big display or 
show distinct apps on each. 

smartphone that includes two 
3. 5 -inch WVGA touchscreens 
connected by a pivot hinge. 
This design gives users the op- 
tion of having two independent 
screens or one single display 
across both screens. The idea, 
according to Kyocera, was to 
create a pocket-sized multi- 
tasking handset that delivers a 
tablet-like experience. 

The Echo includes several 
display modes designed to take ad- 
vantage of this dual- screen concept, 
including a Tablet Mode that acts as 
a single oversized display; a "Simul- 
Task" mode that lets you choose two 
of the Echo's core apps and run one on 
each display simultaneously; and an 
Optimized Mode that uses two apps 
that complement each other, such as 
email and a virtual keyboard. 

The Echo also includes a 1GHz Snap- 
dragon processor; a 5MP camera with 
flash and a 720p HD camcorder; Wi-Fi 
with hotspot capability (this carries a 
monthly surcharge, similar to Verizon's 
service); corporate (Exchange Active- 
Sync) and personal email applications; 
Bluetooth 2.1; and an extra battery. I 



DU LY QUOTED 



"Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may 

have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with 

our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves." 

— Cornell University associate professor Jeffrey Hancock comments on the results of a study that found 

people gave more positive feedback about themselves after looking at their Facebook page 

compared to people who looked at a blank screen or a mirror. 

Source: ZDNet 



Smart Computing / May 2011 13 



Technology News & Notes 



News From The Help Desk 

Our Most Common Tech Calls 



Compiled by Rod Scher 



QMy main drive is running low on space. I'd like 
to move some of the files from there to another 
drive, but I don't know what is essential and what is not. 
Can I move files from drive C: to another drive without 
causing any problems? 

A You can certainly move data files (such as those 
usually saved in your My Documents folder) to a 
different drive. Video, audio, and photo files tend to be 
especially large, so if you have a great many of them in 
your My Documents folder on drive Q, you can free up 
quite a bit of space by moving them to another drive. 
Generally, you're safe moving files whose names end in 
the suffix typical of data created by your applications. For 
example, if you use Microsoft Word, you can move DOC 
and DOCX files; if you use Photoshop, you can safely 
move PSP files. Remember that, having moved the ap- 
plications' data files, the programs that utilize a "recently 
used" file list to access those files will no longer be able to 
find them, and may therefore report errors when attempting 
to load any recently used documents, images, etc. You'll have 
to start up the programs and then manually point them at the 
new file locations. In the programs' Settings or Options menus, 
you may be able to indicate that the new location should now 
be considered the default directory for saving files. 



I Saarct} My Dropbox 



Fil* Edit Via* Tools H*lp 

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I 9 



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Machirvery.pps Date imdJIted: iz/23|/a>w *oi 

Microsoft PowerRo?nt 57 2003 Slirtc Show Size: 30.1 MB 

Date crested; 1/3/30H S23AI 




Windows Live Movie Maker, a free download for Windows 7 (tinyurl.com/34spql60), can be useful 
for importing large video files and resaving them in more efficient formats. 



You can usually free up space on your main drive by moving files from your My 
Documents folder over to a drive that has more available space. 



QAII of a sudden, I can't import pictures from my cam- 
era. When I plug the camera into the computer's USB 
port, it's not showing up as being connected. 

A Camera (and other) drivers occasionally get cor- 
rupted, so it's best to begin addressing this sort of 
problem by reinstalling the most up-to- 
date drivers. (In fact, it's a good idea to 
periodically check on the manufacturer's 
Web site to see if any updated drivers 
have been released.) Just go to the cam- 
era manufacturer's site and look under 
Support for listings of such materials as 
drivers, manuals, or related downloads. 
Download and then install the latest ap- 
plication software and device drivers. Af- 
ter installing new drivers, you may need 
to reboot your system. 



Ql used my video camera to create 
an AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved) 
video, which I then tried to email. Be- 
cause the file is over 100MB, I was un- 
able to send it. Can I reduce the size of 
the file? Or is there a better way to send 
a large file? 



14 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



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Create An Account button, but you don't 
need to create an account; you already have 
one, and now all you need to do is sign in 
to it. Just go to Gmail's sign-in page (mail 
.google.com) and sign in with your existing 
username and password. 

Ql just received a warning from System 
Tool that my computer is infected. The 
warning went away after I paid a fee, but 
now it's returned. 



A 



System Tool is a rogue application that purports to scan and then — for a fee — clean your system of mal ware. 
Don't believe it; no legitimate anti-mal ware application would hold your system hostage in that fashion. 



A The answer to both of your questions is yes. You can 
probably reduce the size of the file by converting it to a 
more efficient file format, such as MPEG (Moving Picture Ex- 
perts Group) or WMV (Windows Media Video). If you have 
the appropriate software (Windows Live Movie Maker — 
available as a free download for Windows 7 — might do the 
job, but there are many others, including some very simple, 
free converters), load the file and then export or resave it as 
a different format. At the same time, the software may allow 
you to reduce the image size and resolution, which would 
also further reduce the file size. Another option is to use a 
file-transfer service such as youSENDit (free; wwwyousend 
it.com). Many of these services are free, although you may 
be limited to a maximum file size or number of downloads. 

QWhen I moved, I had to change my email address, so I 
signed up for a Gmail account. I'd like to have the same 
account active on both of my computers, but when I click 
Create An Account and enter the same email address I have 
on my other computer, the site tells me that the address is not 
available. It then lists some available addresses, but I don't 
want those; I want the same address on both computers. 

A Here's where the confusion lies: The system is telling 
you that the address is already in use because it is in 
use — by you. If you already have an account established on 
one computer, you don't need to do anything on the other 
computer. (Or on any other computer you might decide to 
use to access your Gmail account, anywhere in the world.) 
You're attempting to sign up for Gmail by clicking Gmail's 



You've almost certainly been scammed. 
System Tool is a rogue security program 
that pretends to scan your system and uncov- 
er malware. In fact, System Tool is malware. 
And if you paid a fee using your credit card, 
that information has now been compromised. 
You need to do two things, and you need to 
do them immediately: First, call your bank, 
inform them of the situation, dispute the 
charge (and look carefully for any suspicious 
additional charges), and cancel that credit 
card. The bank will be happy to issue you 
a new one. Then, download and run a good anti-malware 
program, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free; www 
.malwarebytes.org). I 



FEATURE PACKAGE TOPICS 



Each Smart Computing issue includes tips, reviews, and 
information about a variety of topics. However, each issue 
also has a featured group of articles about a selected topic. 
Below is a list of the Feature Packages from the previous 
year. As a Smart Computing subscriber, you have access to 
all of our archived articles at www.smartcomputing.com. 



i 



March 



2010 



Troubleshoot Windows 7 



April 


2010 


Clean Your Computer 


May 


2010 


Solve PC Errors 


June 


2010 


Troubleshoot Your Network 


July 


2010 


Give Windows A Tune-Up 


August 


2010 


Recover Lost Files 


September 


2010 


First Aid For Your Gadgets 


October 


2010 


Do More With Your Network 



November 


2010 


41 Windows Tips & Tricks 


December 


2010 


Search Engine Optimization 


January 


2011 


Solve Printer Problems 


February 


2011 


Social Networking & Your Business 


March 


2011 


Backup For Home & Office 


April 


2011 


Solve Software Errors 



Smart Computing / May 2011 15 



Small-BusinessResources 



The Web has a trove of resources for SOHOs (small and home offices) and 
small businesses— if you know where to look. Find an association that can 
help you meet your goals; get information from the government about 
loans, grants, and taxes; and stay up-to-date with the best small-business 
newsletters and blogs. If you have a pressing question, pose it on a forum to 
see what your peers have to say. 



SCORE 

www.score.org 
(800) 634-0245 
(703) 487-3612 
1175 Herndon Pkwy 
STE 900 
Herndon, VA 20170 




Associations 
& Support 

Better Business Bureau 

www.bbb.org 

(703) 276-0100 

4200 Wilson Blvd. 

STE 800 

Arlington, VA 22203-1838 

Main Street Alliance 

(MSA) 

mainstreetalliance.org 

info@mainstreetalliance 

.org 

(603)831-1835 

3518 S.Edmunds St. 

Seattle, WA 98118 

National Federation of 
Independent Businesses 
(NFIB) 

www.nfib.com 
(800) 634-2669 
(615) 872-5800 
53 Century Blvd. 
STE 250 
Nashville, TN 37214 

National Small Business 
Association (NSBA) 

nsba.biz 

(202) 293-8830 

1156 15th St., STE 1100 

Washington, DC 20005 



Small Business 
Development Centers 
Network (SBDCNET) 

www.sbdcnet.org 
(800) 689-1912 
501 W Durango Blvd. 
San Antonio, TX 78207 




The Entrepreneurial 
Mind 

www.drjerTcornwall.com 




Blogs 



Signal vs. Noise 

37signals.com/svn/posts 

Small Business Search 
Marketing 

wwwsmallbusinesssem 



Small Biz Bee 

smallbizbee.com 

Small Business Trends 

smallbiztrends.com 

The Small Business Blog 

www.sme-blog.com 




Forums 



Small Business 

Administration 

Community 

www.sba.gov/community 

The Small Business 
Community Forums 

wwwsmallbusiness 
forums.org 

Small Business 
Ideas Forum 

wwwsmallbusinessbrief 
.com/forum 

The Young Entrepreneur 

wwwyoungentrepreneur 
.com/forum 




Government 

Grants.gov 

House Committee On 
Small Business 

smallbusiness.house.gov 

Small Business and Self- 
Employed Tax Center 

www.irs.gov/businesses 
/small 

Small Business Adminis- 
tration (SBA) 
sba.gov 

U.S. Copyright Office 

copyright.gov 

U.S. Department of Labor 

dol.gov 

U.S. Senate Committee 
on Small Business & 
Entrepreneurship 

sbc.senate.gov 



16 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



SMALL BUSINESS 

Development 

Centers 

Assistance For Entrepreneurs 



Haven't the foggiest idea how to har- 
ness your entrepreneurial spirit, 
pull yourself anywhere using 
bootstraps, or think in or out of a box? 
Starting and running your own business 
is tough, but fortunately for prospec- 
tive and current small business owners, 
SBDCs (Small Business Development 
Centers; asbdc-us.org) dispense with the 
cliche and offer training, counseling, and 
other assistance to help you craft your vi- 
sion into a real- world success. 

Run A Small Business 

Pooling resources from federal, state, 
and local governments, as well as the 
private sector and the educational com- 
munity, The Association of Small Busi- 
ness Development Centers is truly a 
joint venture with a vested interest in 
fostering small business growth. For an 
overview of what the SBDC can offer 
you and your small business, visit bit.ly 
/dKYe2a. The SBA (Small Business Ad- 
ministration; www.sba.gov) is partnered 
with SBDCs. 

Help On Your Turf 

You may be surprised to learn that 
there's probably an SBDC branch near- 
by; there are locations in all 50 states, in 
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 
and even in the U.S. territories. There 
are 63 nationwide Lead Small Business 
Development Centers coordinating 
program services for every sub -center 
and satellite location in each state. Cen- 
ters are made up of directors, full-time 




staff members, and various part-time 
staff and volunteers. 

The best way to contact your nearest 
SBDC is to visit the Association of Small 
Business Development Centers' Web site 
(asbdc-us.org), input your ZIP code into 
the Find Your Nearest Small Business De- 
velopment Center text box, and then click 
Go. The results page will highlight Lead 
Centers but rank centers in order of those 
closest to your location. Often, SBDCs 
partner with universities and colleges, and 

Online Training 

The SBA also offers a database of online 
training courses and resources so you can 
get tips for running and improving your 
business on your schedule. To find infor- 
mation on classes covering contracting, 
managing your business, and other topics, 
visit bit.ly/fxRHcq. Then just click a topic to 
explore podcasts, how-to articles, videos, 
and in-depth training. 

tend to be found on campuses across the 
country. On the search results page, you'll 
also find a link to the local office's Web 
page, email address, phone number, a fax 
number if available, and address. 

The Closest Thing To A Free Lunch 

The services offered may vary by loca- 
tion, but all SBDCs offer many services 
free of charge. Some typical services you 
can expect from your nearest SBDC 
include help with financial, marketing, 



production, organization, engineer- 
ing, and technical problems and access 
to feasibility studies that can flesh out a 
fledgling business plan. Some SBDCs 
also offer affordable training seminars 
to help with various aspects of running 
a business. You can also rest assured 
that your business with the SBDC will re- 
main confidential. 

Women's Business Centers 

The SBA offers WBCs (Women's 
Business Centers), which directly serve 
female entrepreneurs through nearly 
100 educational centers nationwide. This 
organization strives to assist women in 
overcoming the hurdles they face in 
today's business environment by offer- 
ing business management training and 
technical assistance to all women, with 
a special emphasis on economically or 
socially disadvantaged women. The ser- 
vices and training programs are also 
commonly offered in multiple languages 
to enable those who speak English as 
a second language or are still learn- 
ing English. To find your nearest WBC, 
visit bit.ly/hs3st2. 

Small Business, Big Payoff 

Small business owners know that 
achieving success is about taking risks, 
innovating, and making tough deci- 
sions day in and day out. Thanks to 
the services offered at the SBA, SBDCs, 
and WBCs, you're not on your own. I 

by Andrew Leibman 



Smart Computing / May 2011 17 



AIIThe Fixin's 

Notes From 
A Lost Weekend 



Marty Sems 



Send your comments to 
marty@smartcomputing.com 



If you've ever been asked to fix anyone's ail- 
ing PC, you can probably relate to some of 
the "Family Tech Support Guy" posters on 
the Web (don't go looking for them if you're 
easily offended). Over an image of a twenty- 
something dude, people type funny captions 
such as "Fix Mom's computer once; all future 
problems your fault," and "Commence family 
PC defrag; return in six weeks." 

I recently spent a weekend troubleshoot- 
ing a couple of PCs for other people. One was 
my mom's desktop. Her antivirus program 
wouldn't update, and she couldn't uninstall it. 
Fortunately, it was an easy fix: The software 
company knew that this issue could happen 
sometimes, so it offered an alternate uninstall 
utility. I downloaded it, and it worked. 




Small screwdrivers, online 
disassembly how-tos, and 
labeled parts bins all helped 
me replace this notebook's 
motherboard. 



To be honest, I don't mind solving minor 
problems for my mom and upgrading her 
PC once in a while. She uses common sense 
when she's computing, and she's usually tried 
several troubleshooting steps before I suggest 
them. And really, computers are just about 
the only hobby we have left in common, so it's 
nice to have something to talk about besides 
the medical problems of shoestring relatives. 



The other PC problem was completely dif- 
ferent. A friend of mine asked me to replace the 
motherboard in his daughter's HP Pavilion. "Not 
a problem," I told him, not realizing that some- 
time in the past decade, HP started using the Pa- 
vilion name on notebooks as well as desktops. It's 
been awhile since I bought a prebuilt PC. 

In any case, replacing a laptop mainboard 
is a world of difference from swapping out a 
desktop board. I'm writing about it here not 
so much to encourage you to try it, necessar- 
ily, but more to give you an understanding of 
why repair shops charge so much to do it. 

For one thing, notebooks are bolted together 
with scores of tiny screws, most of which are 
held in place by thread-locking compound. Said 
screws vary in length and thread pitch, so you 
have to keep track of their origins so you can put 
them back in the correct holes. I used muffin tins 
and sticky notes to keep the screws organized. 

For another thing, it's incredibly easy to 
break stuff in a typical laptop. Some things 
snap into place with plastic tabs, which 
means you'll have to separate them and then 
reseat them later without busting anything. 

Even worse are all the tiny, delicate cables. 
Some don't even have connectors — they're mere 
ribbons with conductive traces printed on them. 
You have to figure out how to make the moth- 
erboard connectors let go of them and slip and 
clamp them back into place upon reassembly. 

And reassembly must be exact. Everything 
in a notebook is a tight fit, so all of its teensy 
little parts need to fit back together perfectly. 
My muffin tins helped here, as I could go back 
through the screw collection in reverse order 
to make sure I didn't leave anything out. 

All in all, it took me about three hours to 
replace the motherboard, thanks to a model- 
specific tutorial I found online. I took the 
opportunity to blow the dust bunnies out of 
the fan and upgrade the thermal compound 
under the heatpipe. And wonder of wonders, 
everything worked after reassembly. 

Really, it's amazing that laptops don't fail 
more often. Most have pretty marginal ventila- 
tion, especially when used on a lap, ironically. 
We carry our notebooks around without pro- 
tective cases, banging them into things and 
dropping them on car seats. We step on their 
cords when we're not tripping over them. 

If you have to fix your own laptop, or pay to 
have it done, you'll probably treat it a little more 
gently afterward. Please, think of the laptops. I 



18 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Microsoft Express Mouse & 
Comfort Mouse 3000 & 6000 

Good Performance 
At A Great Price 



Blaine Flamig 



Send your comments to 
blaine@smartcomputing.com 



i 




Ve been an unabashed fan of Microsoft's mice 
for many years due to the engineering and 
construction quality the company pours into 
seemingly every model. More importantly, vir- 
tually every mouse I've used from the company 
(and I've used many) has provided generally 
excellent button configuration options, as well 
as tracking, precision, and speed performance. 
If you're stocking a new office or buying new 
equipment for an existing one, you might con- 
sider Microsoft's new Express Mouse, Comfort 
Mouse 3000, and Comfort Mouse 6000, which 



< Express Mouse 
$19.95 




Microsoft 

(800)642-7676 

www.microsoft.com 



Comfort Mouse 3000 
$19.95 



are all wired models (meaning no need to re- 
place batteries) and plug-and-playable. 

Express Mouse 

The Express Mouse bears a strong resem- 
blance to Apple's Magic Mouse, albeit with a 
scroll wheel. Depending on where you use it 
primarily, its white, hard-plastic exterior could 
take on some discoloration over time but should 
stand up nicely against dirt and dust. Suitable for 
right- or left-handers, the mouse's cord attaches 
to the left front, which doesn't pose any prob- 
lems per se. The cord measures roughly 3 feet 
and meant doing some rearranging of my desk 
to accommodate. A rubber grip encompassing 
the lower base provides a secure feel. 

Size-wise, the Express Mouse is on the small 
side. My largish-sized hand completely engulfs 
the mouse, which is extremely lightweight. The 



mouse provides left and right button function- 
ality and a scroll wheel. As with the Comfort 
Mouse 3000 and 6000, the Express Mouse in- 
tegrates Microsoft's excellent BlueTrack tech- 
nology, which essentially makes it possible to 
operate the mouse on pretty much any surface. 
Out of the box, the Express Mouse does its 
name proud, jetting a mouse cursor across 
the screen very quickly, so knocking its speed 
down via software (Microsoft's IntelliPoint 
software is a free download at wwwmicro 
soft.com/hardware/downloads) is advisable. 
Elsewhere, the Express Mouse provides three 
customizable buttons. 

Comfort Mouse 3000 & 6000 

Grayish black and sporting cords about 
double the length of the Express Mouse's cord, 
the Comfort Mouse 3000 and 6000 both feature 
hard plastic exteriors that should hold up to 
wear and tear across a variety of work environ- 
ments. Of the two models, the 6000's indented 
and contoured design is more comfortable 




Comfort Mouse 6000 
$29.95 



(Microsoft states it "fits like a glove") than the 
3000's oval shape, though the 6000 is limited to 
only right-handed use, whereas the 3000 is suit- 
able for use with either hand. Both mice offer a 
scroll wheel, but the 6000 provides five custom- 
izable buttons vs. just three with the 3000. 

Size-wise, the 3000 isn't as small as the Ex- 
press Mouse, but my hand still covered the 
mouse completely. The 6000, meanwhile, put 
my hand at a slightly angled position. Com- 
pared to the Express Mouse, the 3000 is just 
as light if not lighter. In fact, it's too light for 
my preference, as homing in on an exact URL 
or text in a word processing document took 
some practice and patience. Both mice, how- 
ever, offer great performance for the prices, 
with the 6000 in particular being a great 
long-term investment for less than $30 — if 
you're right-handed, that is. I 



Smart Computing / May 2011 19 



An All-ln-One Printer Fit For The Office 

Canon Pixma MX882 



Tara Simmons Bantam 



Send your comments to 
tara@smartcomputing.com 



The new Pixma MX882 from Canon can 
handle just about any task you throw at it. 
With print, fax, scan, and copy capabilities, 
this wireless all-in-one inkjet is just the sort 
of assistant I need in my home office. 

A Handy Display 

The MX882 takes up some desk space at 8.6 x 
19.4 x 17.7 (HxWxD) inches (25.7 pounds), but 
it's reasonably sized considering all the capabili- 
ties it houses. With a shiny black finish, slightly 
tapered cover, and slick input buttons, the overall 
design is sleek, not bulky. And between simple 
instructions in the included setup guide and 
visual tutorials on the MX882's built-in 3-inch 
color LCD, setting it up, from installing the ink 




Pixma MX882 

$199.99 

Canon 

(800)652-2666 

www.usa.canon.com 



cartridges to adding it to my wireless network, 
was clear-cut and trouble-free. 

That 3 -inch LCD also lets you change set- 
tings such as print quality. Thanks to this func- 
tionality and the inclusion of a multiformat 
media card reader, PictBridge capabilities, and 
a USB port, many tasks can be performed with- 
out even powering up a computer. For instance, 
I printed photos I hadn't gotten around to load- 
ing on my computer right from my camera's SD 
(Secure Digital) card and saved scanned items 
directly to a thumb drive. 

The options on the LCD change depending 
on which of the four large buttons to the left of 



the screen you press (Copy, Fax, Scan, or Card). 
Similarly, the buttons to the right of the screen 
also change depending on what type of task 
you're completing. Opt to copy a brochure, and 
the low-profile buttons light up with options to 
increase or decrease the number of copies and 
directional arrows to navigate on-screen menus. 
When I chose the fax option, these same backlit 
keys changed to a numeric keypad. All of this is 
located on the angled side of the scanner cover, 
so I could easily access them even when scan- 
ning oversized items. 

Strong Performance 

The MX882 was ready to go shortly after 
I powered it up, and it ably handled com- 
mon tasks. In my tests at its fastest mode, the 
MX882 printed about 13 single-sided, black- 
and-white text-only pages per minute, and 
even at that quality level, text was very crisp 
and clear. It can also perform more compli- 
cated tasks such as automatically scanning 
both sides of a document and producing a 
double -sided copy. Auto -duplex isn't light- 
ning fast (about 1.75 pages per minute for 
double- sided prints at the lowest quality), 
but there were no misfeeds, jams, or crinkled 
papers, even with big jobs, meaning I could 
set it up and let it go to work without watch- 
ing over it. The auto-duplex document feeder 
can hold up to 35 sheets at once, so you can 
leave it to do fairly large tasks. 

The MX882 is also an excellent photo 
printer and can produce pictures with a 
resolution up to 9,600 x 2,400 dpi (dots per 
inch). Photos I printed were bright and clear, 
and colors were accurate. Print speeds for 
standard- quality photos were fair at about 30 
seconds for a borderless 4- x 6-inch photo. 
The MX882 also features five separate ink 
cartridges (two are black), so you can replace 
them as they run out rather than changing 
out all the colors when, for instance, the black 
ink well runs dry. This Pixma can also make 
prints from HD (high- definition) movie clips 
shot with compatible Canon cameras. 

Elsewhere, the MX882 can store up to 
100 fax speed dial numbers and has a 250- 
page memory buffer for faxes. The combi- 
nation of these business-centric bonuses 
plus quality photo printing makes this 
device a great fit for the many offices that 
need a printer to fulfill the varied needs of 
both home and business users. I 



20 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Samsung Focus With Windows Phone 7 

A Windows Phone 
For The Modern Era 



Andrew Leibman 



Send your comments to 
andrew@smartcomputing.com 




Focus With Windows Phone 7 
$99.99 (with two-year contract) 
Samsung 
(800) 726-7864 
www.samsung.com 



The first piece of hardware I ever reviewed 
was a Windows Mobile 2003 -equipped 
Asus MyPal A620BT. Seven years later, PDAs 
(personal digital assistants) have given way 
to smartphones, the stylus is once again best- 
suited to cuneiform, capacitive touchscreens 
have become ubiquitous, and the appli- 
cation store is the killer app. With the 
Windows Phone 7-based Samsung Focus 
from AT&T (www.att.com), it's clear that 
Microsoft is more than up-to-speed with 
the modern smartphone. 

The Harder Side 

The standout feature of the Samsung 
Focus is its 4-inch (480 x 800) Super 
AMOLED (active-matrix organic light- 
emitting diode) touchscreen, which is 
bright, responsive, and according to Sam- 
sung, capable of displaying finer details 
and producing significantly less sun glare 
than first-generation AMOLED screens. 
The backside of the Focus features a 5MP 
(megapixel) camera and camcorder with 
autofocus, flash, and 4X digital zoom 
capabilities. 
Connectivity options include Blue- 
tooth, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and 3G Web. 
The phone has 8GB of onboard data storage, 
but the microSD slot lets you add a memory 
card as large as 32GB. The screen supports 
multitouch, but the Samsung Focus had not 
received the copy/paste update that was roll- 
ing out as we went to press. There are physi- 
cal power, camera, and volume buttons, but 
the Search, Windows, and Back buttons 
on the bottom edge of the touchscreen are 
touch-sensitive. 

The Softer Side 

WP7's interface is a real departure from 
that of the dominant players, Apple iOS and 
Google Android. The Start screen features 
tiles for different applications, such as Phone, 



Messaging, Music + Videos, and Marketplace 
(Microsoft's app store). These tiles consist of 
simple white icons on a colored background 
(you can change the color in the Settings 
menu). A quick swipe to the left reveals a 
single column of apps listed in alphabetical 
order. Tap and hold any app here and select 
Pin To Start to add a shortcut to the Start 
screen. You can also pin contacts, Web pages, 
and Maps locations. 

Many apps also support what Microsoft 
refers to as Live Tiles, which display a num- 
ber right on the tile, for instance, missed 
calls on the Phone tile, unread messages on 
the Messaging tile, and unread emails on the 
Outlook tile. 

Another big design departure (from other 
smartphones) is only apparent in apps. Mi- 
crosoft's solution to the problem of having 
to display loads of information on a small 
screen is to enable both vertical and horizon- 
tal scrolling. I really grew to appreciate how 
intuitive horizontal scrolling made navigat- 
ing data-heavy apps, such as Samsung's ex- 
clusive Now weather/news/stocks app. 

App Momentum 

As we went to press, the Marketplace had 
just reached the 10,000 apps milestone, and it 
got there in less time than both Google and 
Apple. Microsoft also has two things that 
Apple and Android don't have: Office and 
Xbox Live. I tried out several apps that are 
common to all three platforms and found 
(with few exceptions) that the Windows 
Phone 7 versions were either easier to navi- 
gate or more visually interesting. The Netflix 
app on WP7 beats the iPhone's version hands 
down, especially when trying to pick some- 
thing from an Instant Queue as long as mine. 
The Marketplace does have a couple glaring 
omissions, however, including Angry Birds 
and Pandora. 

Final Thoughts 

The Samsung Focus has left me with a very 
positive first impression of Windows Phone 
7. It's evident that usability drove Microsoft's 
major UI (user interface) departures from 
iOS and Android, and I like what I see. At 
this stage, Microsoft has to convince the 
smartphone buying populace that Windows 
Phone 7 isn't just a warmed-over Windows 
Mobile 6.5. 1 



Smart Computing / May 2011 21 



Roundup: Search Engines 

Find What You Need 



When Google was launched in 1998, 
it indexed 26 million pages. The 
company no longer reports the size of its 
index, but according to its official blog, it 
indexed over a trillion pages as of 2008. 
In the face of those numbers, its shock- 
ing that Internet search works at all, let 
alone works so well, and although Google 
still accounts for a huge percentage of all 
search traffic, there are many more op- 
tions these days for finding information 
that can help you and your business. 

We tested a number of general and 
specialty search engines to see which 
offer the best set of features and, most 
importantly, return relevant results. 



General Search Engines 



Its important to note that we didn't 
include Yahoo! Search because its now 
powered by Bing, meaning both sites re- 
turn the same search results, and Yahoo! 
offers very little in the way of advanced 
search, while Bing has all sorts of options. 

Bing 
www.bing.com 

Bing is Microsoft's latest entry in the 
search engine game and has quickly 
become a contender for the most pop- 
ular general search engine. The site is 
straightforward but includes a lot of 
options, and it does a great job of re- 
turning relevant links. 

If you don't mind the site maintain- 
ing a search history, it works really well. 
You can click a Search History link on 
the main search page to access a slick 
calendar that displays searches by date, 
along with the links you clicked after the 
search completed. Anyone who has ever 
had his computer crash while research- 
ing something with a lot of pages or tabs 
open at once knows how handy this 
would be for finding your place again. 

Bing's real strengths are in the propri- 
etary Microsoft services it pulls from to 




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Bing is a compelling 
alternative to other general 
search engines and has a lot of 
great proprietary content. 



power many of its search results. Bing 
Maps provides clean, useful maps, and its 
Streetside street level photos are incredibly 
sharp and detailed (unfortunately, Street- 
side is only available for very limited met- 
ropolitan areas right now). Bing Travel 
search features are also fantastic thanks to 
Microsoft-specific tools such as Farecast, 
which helps you find the best day to buy 
airfare for the lowest price. Thanks to tools 
such as these, Bing always deserves a look 
when you're searching. 

Blekko 
www.blekko.com 

Blekko (in beta at press time) is a 
new and interesting search engine that 



uses what it calls slashtags to help users 
prune search results so that only relevant 
links appear. To use slashtags, you enter 
a search term and then a forward slash 
followed by a tag that establishes the pa- 
rameters of the search. For example, if 
you want to see what bloggers are saying 
about Microsoft, type Microsoft /blogs 
and only results from the Web's top rel- 
evant blogs appear. Alternatively, you can 
use a backslash before the tag to remove 
all results related to that tag, so if you type 
Microsoft \blogs, no blog-related results 
appear. You can also combine slashtags to 
further hone results. 

By default, results are sorted by rel- 
evance, but unlike most sites, you can 



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great way to quickly 
refine searches. 



22 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Most sites have a syntax you can use to refine search results. Using Google, for example, you can put quotes around a 
phrase to search for that exact phrase, put a minus sign (-) directly in front of a term to exclude results containing it, 
or put a plus sign (+) directly in front of a term to make sure Google uses that precise term. 



sort them by date if you add /date in 
the search. If a slashtag that you need 
doesn't exist, you can create it yourself, 
store it for future use, and even share it 
with colleagues. (You'll need to create 
an account to use the slashtag creation 
feature.) Once it's created, you associate 
sites with it that you know are relevant, 
and other people who use the slashtag 
benefit from your knowledge. This site 
is already useful and has a ton of po- 
tential, especially for teams willing to 
create and share custom slashtags. 

Dogpile 
www.dogpile.com 

Searching via more than one search 
engine means you may spot great results 
that your first-choice search engine 
missed, but it's a pain to repeat searches 
at multiple sites. Dogpile eliminates that 
pain by aggregating results from mul- 
tiple search engines, dumping duplicate 
links and ranking results mainly based 
on how many other search engines 
also ranked them highly. All results are 
tagged with "Found On" info, letting 
you know what search engines returned 
it. Sponsored results are included but of- 
ten are relevant and are clearly marked. 

This metasearch site aggregates re- 
sults from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and 
Ask.com. The site does a great job 
of sorting results by relevance. Dog- 
pile may not offer much in the way of 



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DuckDuckGo is shaping 

up to be a useful, popular 
search engine. 



features, but it's definitely worthy of 
your attention in terms of convenience. 

DuckDuckGo 
www.duckduckgo.com 

DuckDuckGo takes the minimalist 
search approach to the logical extreme 
with a very clean search results page. In 
our tests, results were uniform. 

In a little touch that makes a huge 
difference, a Web site's favicon appears 
next to search results related to that 
site, making it easy to see where the 
link is from without having to read any 
text. (A favicon is a small icon that is 
associated with a particular site; if a site 
has one, it usually appears next to the 
site URL in the Address Bar.) Clicking 
the icon performs a domain- specific 
search at that site. This is handy for 
quickly finding all press releases and 
whitepapers on a particular topic from 
a particular company. 




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Dogpile lets you 
search many sites at 
the same time. 



DuckDuckGo also presents some 
search results in interesting ways. For 
example, when we used the search term 
"Microsoft Employees," it returned a 
virtual Rolodex of people who work for 
Microsoft (or have in the past), com- 
plete with a thumbnail image when 
one was available. Some searches also 
return what the company calls Zero- 
Click Info Sources. These are pulled 
directly from a trusted source of infor- 
mation related to the search and appear 
in a red box at the top of the search re- 
sults page so you don't even need to 
click a search result to get the informa- 
tion you searched for. 

Those are the basics, but this search en- 
gine has plenty of other features going for 
it. It doesn't collect or share your personal 
information; there are plenty of syntax 
commands available to refine searches; 
and it includes a number of calculators, 
converters, and fact-finding tools that 
make it easy to quickly get some basic 
information. This site deserves a spot on 
your search engine shortlist. 

Google 
www.google.com 

Now that the term "google" is used 
as a verb and has become the gold stan- 
dard by which all other search sites are 
judged, it is impossible to imagine an In- 
ternet without it. It's blazing fast because 
it maintains its vast database on its own 
cutting-edge hardware. It's up-to-date 



Smart Computing / May 2011 23 



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Google constantly improves its search tools so it 
can deliver relevant search results. 



because its spiders crawl the entire Inter- 
net constantly, bringing back fresh infor- 
mation. Its also accurate because it uses a 
variety of algorithms to rank pages based 
mainly on what trusted sources of infor- 
mation think about them. 

Above all, Google is powerful be- 
cause so many tools lurk beneath its 
Spartan interface. On the search results 
page, clicking the magnifying glass next 
to an entry gives you a visual preview of 
the page so you can literally look before 
you leap. Multiple search results from 
a single source are often accessible by 
clicking a small plus sign (+) beneath 
the first result, reducing clutter. Tools 
on the left side of the page let you limit 
searches by how recent the links are, 
sort results by date instead of relevance, 
or choose a number of other options. 

The main downside to Google is that it 
is so popular. Unscrupulous SEO (Search 
Engine Optimization) tactics are often de- 
veloped to game Google's ranking system, 
floating irrelevant links to the top of the 
search results at the expense of relevant 
links. In early 2011, the effects of this be- 
came obvious as we noticed a lot of what 
Google calls "low-quality" sites turning 
up in the first few pages of search results. 
Google fought back by releasing some up- 
dates to its ranking algorithm that have 
once again turned it into arguably the 
most accurate search engine on the Web. 



Specialty Search Engines 



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lot of secondary sources to get to primary 
sources, or they just get so cluttered up 
with results that a critical piece of infor- 
mation you're looking for remains bur- 
ied. Try some of these specially search 
engines when the general ones fail you. 

DeepDyve 
www.deepdyve.com 

Sometimes the information you 
need is hidden away in academic or 
trade journals that are shielded from 
traditional search engines. DeepDyve 
provides a convenient way to search 
these types of publications, read brief 
previews of each returned article, and 
then rent articles for reading in the 
site's proprietary reader for as little 



as 99 cents. Once rented, the arti- 
cles can be viewed from between 24 
hours to an unlimited period of time, 
depending on what type of account 
you set up and publisher restrictions. 
This is often much less than it would 
cost to purchase the article as a PDF 
(Portable Document Format) from 
the journal's Web site. It's a terrific 
and inexpensive compromise relative 
to purchasing a complete article that 
you'll potentially only read once and 
never reference again. 

The Internet Archive 
www.archive.org 

As the Internet grows, old and aban- 
doned sites are shed like snakeskin. 



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24 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Sadly, a lot of great content disappears 
into the ether when that happens, and 
The Internet Archive exists to preserve 
as much of that as possible. You can use 
its Wayback Machine to search snap- 
shot versions of various sites taken as far 
back as the mid-1990s, which is great 
for looking up old articles, predictions, 
statistics, and other content that is often 
difficult to pin down on the Web. 

Google Scholar 
scholar.google.com 

This service, in beta as of press time, 
brings Google's terrific search tools 
and speed to scholarly articles, patents, 
legal opinions, and legal journals. We 
recommend heading directly to the 
Advanced Scholar Search tool where 
you can easily craft a good search query 
and narrow down the type of publica- 
tions you want to search. 

WolframAlpha 
www.wolframalpha.com 

This is more a computation en- 
gine than search engine, but it quali- 
fies for this article because it not 



SEARCH TIPS 



If you care about privacy, look for options that let you turn off search histories, 
prevent sites from tracking you, and otherwise search incognito. Some sites 
such as DuckDuckGo are explicitly designed to maintain your privacy. 



only puts so many statistics at your 
fingertips, but it also lets you easily 
compare and manipulate them using 
a slick interface. For example, typing 
the query San Francisco spits out all 
sorts of useful info, such as its popu- 
lation density, cost of living index, 
median home price, sales tax rate, 
and unemployment rate. Change the 
query to San Francisco San Diego 
and you get a nice side-by-side view 
of all that information, making it easy 
to compare the two cities. Change it 
again to Relocate San Francisco San 
Diego and it immediately compares 
San Diego to San Francisco in terms 
of everything from equivalent sala- 
ries and average traffic congestion to 
climate charts and relative grocery 
costs. Everything is presented in a 
clean interface that allows for a lot of 
interaction with the data. 



The Search Is Never Over 

Although there are no perfect search 
tools for every need, its amazing how far 
this category has come and how many 
different approaches are viable. Google 
is very useful, but we also really liked the 
power and simplicity of DuckDuckGo, 
and in a perfect world, Blekkos brilliant 
slashtags would be standard features at 
every site. WolframAlpha is an indis- 
pensible tool for finding and manipu- 
lating sourced data, and DeepDyve is a 
great way to save money while looking 
through academic or trade publications. 
It would be great if the best parts of every 
search engine could somehow be com- 
bined into the ultimate search tool, but 
until that happens, make sure you take 
advantage of multiple search sites instead 
of always relying on one of them. I 

by Tracy Baker 



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Google Scholar's stripped-down interface works great for searching scholarly 
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WolframAlpha puts statistics at your fingertips and lets you compare them 
using a slick interface. 



SEARCH TIPS 



Search sites are getting better at weeding out search results linking to scam businesses and malware-ridden sites, but always 
exercise caution. Pay close attention to the word that comes before .com or .org in links. For example, XYZ.smartcomputing.com 
would link to Smart Computings Web site, but smartcomputing.[web site name].com would likely link to [web site name].com and 
would fool people into thinking the link goes to Smart Computings Web site. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 25 



Business Plan Pro Premier Edition 

From Idea To Strategy 



$199.95 (see pg. 27 for an additional discount) | Palo Alto Software 
sales@paloalto.com | (800)229-7526 | www.paloalto.com 

Systems Supported 
[jy Windows 2000 1 XP | Vista 1 7 



Economic experts frequently cite 
business plans as one of the most 
fundamental documents for any busi- 
ness, yet many small business owners 
have no idea how to create one. Busi- 
ness Plan Pro Premier goes a long way 
to fill the information gap with a user- 
friendly product that's comprehensive 
and quite helpful. 

Out Of The Box 

Business Plan Pro Premier installs 
quickly, and if you opt for the down- 
load, the file is only 34.2MB in size. 
Options at installation are minimal, 
limited to such basics as where to store 
the program file, as well as whether to 
launch the product after setup. Upon 
first launch, you are also asked if you 
wish to enable the Update Manager 
and join the Customer Driven Im- 
provement Program. 

When you launch Business Plan Pro 
Premier, you can start a new business 
plan, open an existing one, or browse 
the ready-made templates. The Sam- 
ple Plan Browser organizes the tem- 
plates alphabetically, but you can also 
sort them by category to find one that 
works for you. 

The plans are rewardingly complete, 
right down to sales charts, market anal- 
ysis, company milestones, and more. 

There are many options, including 
a wide selection of business types in 
the Personal Services and Professional 
Services categories. (Nearly every com- 
mon business type appears to have at 
least one sample plan.) These plans are 
not intended for wholesale copying 
(Palo Alto strictly forbids it) but rath- 
er are a departure point for your own 
commentary and creativity. 

In Action 

If you opt to create a business plan 
from scratch, Business Plan Pro Premier 



File Edit Insert View Tools Help g) How Do I? 


; n d & <s a & isp& *& 8* <\ $ 

; Plan Setup Save Print Print Preview Reports Sample Plans Tasks Outline Dashboard Cash Pilot Plan Review Resources 


Tasks 


Welcome 

Start fast and finish fast. The Tasks list will guide you through your plan from 
start to finish. Click Next Task below to get started. 

You can use the Toolbar buttons (above) for quick access to major features in 
Business Plan Pro. There's the obvious and more: 

*Hj Plan Setup - change the settings that J Tasks - use the step-by-step list of Tasks 
affect the way your plan fa set up. to complete the plan 

im Sample Plans - access our library of j A Outline - view your plan outline - the 
sample plans. A great place to start. tables, charts, and topics that make up 
your plan, 
) Plan Review - review your plan for 

completeness and accuracy. [ijjjl Reports - print select portions of your 
plan 
£| - Resources - additional content and tools 
to help you plan and run your business. 

$ Help Resources 


Welcome 
_j Concept Kick-start 
jj Your Company 
_j What You 're Selling 
3 Your Market 
_j The Business You'rein 
9 Your Sales Forecast 
Jj Your Marketing Plan 
Jj Your Web Plan 
3 Your Management Team 
_^j The Bottom Line 
_j Cash is King 
|3 Financial Plan 
3 Finish and Polish 


Books Tutorials Training Support 

Getting Started Guide Intro Movie d min} Online Seminars Contact Support 

Help File Online Tutorials *ft Webinar Archives A F.A.O. 

Hurdle Online Support Articles A 


SO Tasks Remaining 


.', i Previous Task Next Tas< □, Full Screen 



Key Features: Business Plan Pro Premier offers more than 500 templates and support for Excel data 
import. Excellent wizards and tutorials simplify the process of creating a business plan. 



will ask you to choose a level of com- 
plexity (and tell you how many tasks 
each level requires for completion). 
You'll then make such choices as Eng- 
lish or Spanish (Business Plan Pro Pre- 
mier can translate headers and some 
other text); start-up or existing business; 
nonprofit or for-profit; provider of ser- 
vices, products, or both; and more. 

When you click Finish, Business 
Plan Pro Premier opens a new window 
with a laundry list of sections on the 
left and an introduction to important 
Toolbar icons (such as Resources, Re- 
ports, Tasks, Outline, etc.) on the right. 
At the bottom, a Next Task button 
flashes, prompting you to get going. 

Using the Next Task button, you can 
move step -by- step through the pro- 
cess, or you can jump from one section 
to another by clicking a title in the left 



pane. Each section contains helpful 
information and links intended to in- 
form and empower you, with the end 
result being a successful plan. 

Two especially helpful button op- 
tions are Outline, which displays a 
document- style outline of your plan, 
and Plan Review, which checks to see 
if you have made any major omissions. 
The software even provides data from 
other businesses that you can use for 
comparative purposes. 

With Business Plan Pro Premier, 
you'll gain a powerful ally in quan- 
tifying, structuring, and illustrating 
that strategy with professional finesse. 
(Smart Computing readers can also 
turn to page 27 for a $50 discount from 
Palo Alto.) I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



26 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 




busi 
>wner expects their 
business to succeed. 







But success doesn't just happen. It takes hard 
work, good management, and smart decisions. With 
a good business plan, you'll find making the right 
decisions easier. For a great business plan, choose 
Business Plan Pro Premier. 



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^3 PaloAltoSoftware 

Success starts with Business Plan Pro Premier 



Password Genie 



Security & Convenience 



$15 (see pg. 29for an additional discount) | SecurityCoverage 
(319)298-4700 | www.mypasswordgenie.com 

Systems Supported 
^L Mac OS X (1 0.5 or greater) [jy Windows XP | Vista 1 7 



Passwords have become the bug- 
bear of computer users. Many 
Web sites require complex strings of 
letters, numbers, and symbols, and 
some make you change passwords fre- 
quently or restrict certain characters. 
You end up tracking them on paper, in 
your head, or (at your peril) in a file on 
your computer. 

Password Genie fixes this problem 
by letting you choose a master pass- 
word and then storing your Internet 
usernames and passwords for you. You 
can enter passwords manually or let 
Password Genie search your computer 
for stored passwords. 

When you start an Internet brows- 
ing session, Password Genie will 
prompt you to log in, or you can log 
in to the Password Genie software 



Key Features: Password 

Genie offers robust 

security and support for 

major browsers. 



directly. Go to a site 
and enter your user- 
name, and Password 
Genie will offer to 
store it and the pass- 
word. On subsequent 
visits, Password Ge- 
nie can drop both the 
username and pas- 
word in place if you 
choose. You can tweak exactly how 
Password Genie works (and other 
settings) at its main interface. 

Give the 30-day trial a spin and 
see what you think. Smart Computing 



a 



jj Saved Logins 



k* 



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Q|||g 



readers can also turn to page 29 to get 
details about an additional 30% discount 
from SecurityCoverage. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Dr.Batcher 

Create Batch Files 



$39.95 | Mental Works Computing Software 
sales@m-w-c-s.com | www.drbatcher.com 

Systems Supported 
tjy Windows 2000 1 XP | Vista 1 7 



In the days of MS-DOS, a popular tool 
among PC users was the batch file. These 
text-based files aggregate sequential com- 
mands into a grouping the PC can run at 
once. The best example of a batch file is 
Autoexec.bat, the boot file used for MS- 
DOS and early Windows startup. 

Today, batch files are still useful. 
They can make backups of important 
files, create playlists outside your me- 
dia player, clean out temporary files, 
rename groups of media files based on 
attributes, and much more. Nearly any 
operation that requires sequential steps 
can be handled through a batch file. 

Dr.Batcher is a simple applet for cre- 
ating and editing batch files. It can then 
compile them into an executable (EXE 
file) you can place on your Desktop (or 
elsewhere) and run with a double-click 



Key Features: Dr.Batcher 

automates multistep operations 

and compiles them into an 

executable file. 



12/20/2010 

Dr.liatcher 2.1.2 fs 
released. Added: 
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of the mouse. Once 
you install Dr.Batcher, 
the program opens and 
presents an icon-based 
list of helpful batch 
files to use as is or be 
the basis for your own 
efforts. It also provides 
links to help with the 
program as well as in- 
formation on what batch files do. 

If you've ever performed a tedious 
multistep process in Windows, you 
may love Dr.Batcher. However, even 
with Dr.Batcher, you may find the 



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bugflxes. 




concept of batch files mystifying, at 
first. A 30-day free trial lets you deter- 
mine if this is a solution you'll use. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



28 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



SecurityCoverage 
Password Genie 2.0 

Password Management Done Securely 



JJ Password Gonic 
^] Saved Websites 



a 






Sjvrd Loom and Booknurin 



Snveci Login 

google.com 



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< 

Password Genie 
2.0 from Security- 
Coverage keeps 
your passwords 
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Scan enough headlines and you'll 
soon understand the importance 
of practicing good password habits. 
To the rescue is Password Genie 2.0 ($15 
annually; www.mypasswordgenie.com), 
a headache-free, highly secure password 
manager offering scores of automatic and 
manual features to make password man- 
agement a cinch. (NOTE: SecurityCover- 
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Easy Goes It 

Password Genie automatically recog- 
nizes when you enter a username and 
password at a Web site. After inquiring if 
you'd like to save login information for the 
site, Password Genie stores it as a Saved 
Login that you can view anytime from 
the Password Genie console. The next 
time you return to the Web site, Password 
Genie automatically enters your user- 
name and password, and you're on your 
way — that easily. Later, if you decide or are 
forced to change the password for the site, 



Password Genie recognizes the change 
and lets you save the new login informa- 
tion with one click. 

Elsewhere, Password Genie adapts to 
the fact that many people use multiple 
computers by enabling installation of the 
software on up to five systems and in- 
stantly synchronizing password changes 
among them. Further, beyond Windows 
XP/Vista/7 and Mac OS 10.5+ support, 
Password Genie works with Internet Ex- 
plorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari Web 
browsers. Additionally, you can access 
your Password Genie information from 
each browser via a browser add-on. Multi- 
user support, meanwhile, means Pass- 
word Genie can store unique profiles for 
multiple users, securely storing each per- 
son's Saved Logins without others having 
access to them. 

Control & Convenience 

Thanks to a streamlined, intuitive in- 
terface, Password Genie makes it easy for 
anyone to tap into such other powerful 
features as: 



• Recognizing and remembering log- 
in information associated with com- 
plex and multiple -page logins that 
banks and other financial institu- 
tions often use 

• Generating strong, secure passwords 
in just a few steps both from within 
the Password Genie console or a 
Web browser 

• Saving all bookmarks with or without 
login information in the console and 
accessing them from a Web browser 

• Importing passwords from Web 
browsers and exporting Saved Log- 
ins to a USB flash drive for secure 
access anywhere 

• Choosing among multiple options 
for automatically submitting a user- 
name and password, including via 
user-created keyboard shortcuts 

• Free 24/7 phone and chat support, 
including chat support available from 
within the Password Genie console 

A Stickler For Security 

All the password features in the 
world don't mean much if your pass- 
words aren't safe. To that end, Pass- 
word Genie provides: 

• A master password that only you 
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• The assurance that Password Genie 
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Quick Studies 



Adobe Acrobat X Pro 

The Power Of A Portfolio 



Document 
Management 

Intermediate 

How-To 



The PDF Portfolio feature in Acrobat X is a 
convenient way to gather various types of 
files, multimedia, and email into one document 
so that it's easier to send to clients or business as- 
sociates. You can get started creating your own 
portfolio upon first opening Acrobat. From the 
programs opening screen, click the Create PDF 
Portfolio link under Getting Started. You can 
also create a portfolio by clicking the Create but- 
ton or the File menu on Acrobats Menu Bar and 
choosing PDF Portfolio from the menu list. 



tj cr«« ' 30^0 



Mi - Layout Details iharc 




Acrobat X lets you embed Web pages to your portfolio so that 
when clients double-click the page, they are taken directly to 
the site. 

In the Create PDF Portfolio dialog box, choose 
the layout you want to use and then add your 
files. Note that when selecting files for inclusion, 
you don't need to deal with converting the files 
to PDF first. You can include any files in their 
native formats. But remember that if the people 
to whom you are sending these files don't have 
the program the file was created in (they would 
need Microsoft Excel to open an Excel file, for 
example), they will only be able to see a preview 
of that file. 

Personal Touch 

Now that you have the files in your portfolio, 
you are ready to massage the details to create a 
polished final product. The Layout tab on the 



right side of the screen makes it easy to change 
your portfolio content. From there, you can add 
additional files, change the look of the files, and 
choose a different layout. 

Acrobat X's new "skin" capability lets business- 
es create a portfolio brimming with personality, 
making the communication just as much a mar- 
keting tool as an informational mailing. There are 
five standard "skins," or Visual Themes, available 
in the Layout section. You can either choose one 
of these or add your own by clicking the Import 
Custom Theme button. 

In addition to the 
theme, you can add a 
background image, such 
as a company logo or wa- 
termark, which can work 
to further identify your 
brand. The Background 
menu lets you choose the 
background image from a 
file, change the position- 
ing and color of the image, 
and also adjust the image's 
opacity and scale. 

Instant Access 

Another feature in Ac- 
robat X's portfolio reper- 
toire is the ability to embed a Web page. Click 
Add Web Content in the Layout menu, enter a 
name for the file, and add the URL. Click OK 
when you're done. 

In order to view the page, you'll have to 
switch over to Preview mode by clicking the 
Preview button in the Menu Bar at the top of 
the page. Now you can either go directly to that 
Web page by double-clicking the file or save it 
to your computer by clicking the down arrow 
next to the file page. 

If you need to make more tweaks after pre- 
viewing the portfolio, click the Edit button in 
the Menu Bar at the top of the page. If you 
are done editing, you can use the command 
buttons at the top of the page to save, print, 
or send your portfolio on to your colleagues 
and customers. I 

by Jennie Schlueter 



[omputing.com 






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Windows Central © 



News, Views & Tips 



Windows 



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The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown 



Explorer 





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MICROSOFT NEWS 
Internet Explorer 6 Must Go 

If you're one of the many people still using IE6, Mi- 
crosoft would really, really like you to stop. The archaic, 
nearly decade-old browser (it debuted with Windows 
XP in late 2001) still represents a small but significant 
portion of Web browser usage (around 12% worldwide 
as of February 2011, according to Net Applications). 
As a result, many Web sites continue supporting IE6 
despite its limited security features and lack of compat- 
ibility with modern Web standards. 

Microsoft's goal is to get IE6's worldwide share down 
below 1%, and the company has set up a Web site, 
ie6countdown.com, to spread the word among Web 
developers, IT admins, and users that it's time to move 
on— preferably to a newer version of IE. 

Internet Explorer 9 Launched 

In other Web browser news, Internet Explorer 9 was of- 
ficially launched on March 14 and is now available through 
Windows Update and from www.beautyoftheweb.com. 

IE9's new features include a simplified UI (user inter- 
face), integration with Windows 7 features, improved 



f 



^ 



Windows* Internet 

Explorer9 



privacy protection, hardware-accelerated graphics, and 
support for HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language). 

IE9 works with Win7 and Windows Vista only (some- 
thing to keep in mind if you're still running WinXP). 

WINDOWS TIPS 
Readability Statistics 

If you want to know how easy to understand that 
document or email you just wrote is, you can find out 
by turning on readability statistics in Word and Out- 
look. To enable the feature in Word 2010, click the File 
tab and select Options. Next, select Proofing, make 
sure Check Grammar With Spelling is checked, and 
then check Show Readability Statistics. Click OK. 

(NOTE: The readability statistics feature isnt avail- 
able with Word 2010 Starter, the version that comes pre- 
installed on many PCs.) 

To enable readability statistics in Outlook 2010, click 
the File tab and then click Options and Mail. Under 
Compose Messages, click the Spelling And Autocorrect 
button. Finally, click Proofing. As with Word, first make 
sure Check Grammar With Spelling is enabled and then 
do the same for Show Readability Statistics. Click OK. To 
view readability stats for a document or email, run a spell 
check on it. When it's finished, you'll see scores for Flesch 



Windows Central © 



WINDOWS NEWS 



Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. The for- 
mer is a 100-point scale test (generally speaking, higher 
is better) based on the number of words per sentence and 
syllables per word, while the latter score reports an ap- 
proximate grade level — for example, a 9.0 would indicate 
that a ninth-grader could understand the writing. 

Back Up Saved Windows Passwords 

In Win7, if you check the Remember My Creden- 
tials checkbox when entering a network username and 
password, the information is stored in a special loca- 
tion called the Windows Vault. In Win7, you can back 
up this vault so its stored account information will be 
safe and accessible in case you need it. 

To access the Windows Vault, click Start and type cred 
in the Search box. Click Credential Manager, which will 
display a list of all the credentials Windows is remember- 
ing for you. This will generally include login info for other 
computers on your network (such as in a HomeGroup), as 
well as login info used by certain programs such as Micro- 
soft Outlook or Windows Live Essentials applications. 

Click Back Up Vault and specify a location for the back- 
up file — preferably a flash drive or other removable storage 
device. You'll be prompted to press CTRL- ALT-DELETE 
before assigning a password to the backup file, which is in 
Managed Information Card format (with a .CRD exten- 
sion). To restore from a backup, choose the Restore Vault 
option and point the wizard to the backup file (this will 
overwrite any credentials currently stored on the system). 
You can also restore the file to another Win7 computer. I 



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Windows Vault via Credential Manager. 



Microsoft Debuts Windows Intune 

Microsoft released Windows Intune, a cloud-based man- 
agement and security service for Windows PCs. Designed for 
businesses, Windows Intune includes malware protection as 
well as a Web-based interface from which an administrator can 









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Windows Intune provides malware protection as well as remote monitoring 
and management of business PCs. 

monitor the health and status of PCs, centrally distribute up- 
dates and service packs, and provide remote assistance to users. 

Windows Intune works with business versions of Windows 
XP/Vista/7 (Professional, Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate 
editions). In addition to the security and management features, 
Windows Intune, which costs $11 per PC per month, includes 
license rights to upgrade PCs to Windows 7 Enterprise. 

More information and a 30-day free trial of Windows 
Intune are available at tinyurl.com/4frzpbc. 

Kinect Support Coming To Windows 

Microsoft will release the Kinect for Windows SDK (Soft- 
ware Development Kit) for its Xbox 360 Kinect motion 
sensor accessory this spring. 




< A forthcoming SDK will 

allow Windows software 

to work with the Xbox 



360's Kinect motion controller. 



The SDK, which will be a free download, is targeted at 
the enthusiast and academic researcher communities and 
will allow them to create software for Windows PCs that 
utilizes Kinect for hands-free control, known as Natural 
User Interface, or NUI. A commercial version of the SDK 
is also planned for the future. 

The market for Kinect-enabled Windows software 
could prove substantial; Microsoft recently reported sales of 
more than 10 million Kinect devices to date, setting a Guinness 
book record for the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 




Windows Central Q 



How To Reinstall 
Windows XP 

A Fresh Start Can Rejuvenate Your Computer 



t happens to all of us, and also to our computers: The 
Windows XP system that seemed so snappy when 
you first got it is running more and more slowly as 
time goes on. At some point, it begins to feel as if it 
couldn't possibly slow down any more without stop- 
ping outright. When that happens, when your comput- 
er has basically ground to a halt and there is seemingly 
no other answer, the cleanest solution may be to rein- 
stall your OS (operating system). We'll help you un- 
derstand the ins and outs of that seemingly daunting 
process (and we'll point out some things you should 
have on hand before you start), and then we'll guide 
you through it, step -by- step. 

Not Always The Right Thing 

Let's start by reminding you that reinstalling Windows 
is not always the best solution, especially if you're deal- 
ing with issues that a reinstallation 
simply will not address: hardware 
or user account problems, for in- 
stance. See the "When Reinstalling 
Isn't Enough" sidebar in this article 
for more on that. Also, keep in mind 
that reinstalling Windows typically 
erases all of the files on your system, 
which means you'll lose all of your 
data, including documents, photos, 
videos, and programs. Back up any- 
thing that you want to keep before 
you reinstall Windows. 

Planning Is Everything 

Planning is the key to a smooth, 
trouble-free Windows reinstalla- 
tion. Before you jump into com- 
pletely reconfiguring your system, 
make sure you have everything you 
need: The most important compo- 
nents are a WinXP CD and the 
product key that came with it. If 
your computer came with WinXP 



preinstalled, you may not have the CD (although the 
WinXP product key may be on a sticker on your PC's 
case). If you don't have— or cannot find— the WinXP 
CD, it's best to contact the manufacturer; the company 
may be able send you a CD. It may be that the instal- 
lation files you need are in a hidden directory on your 
hard drive, in which case the manufacturer can let you 
know how to access them. 

You'll also need your application CDs or installa- 
tion files and any necessary drivers for devices such as 
graphic cards, printers, sound cards, displays, and oth- 
er such peripherals. This is especially true if you have 
SATA drives, the drivers for which are usually required 
during the WinXP installation. If you don't have the 
drivers you need, you can download them from the 
manufacturers' Web sites and save them to a CD; it's 
best to do that before you reinstall the OS. (And it's not 







. Jindows I 

What do ycRi want to do? 

[^J Learn more about the setup process 
g] Perform additional tasks 



g] Check system compatibility 




If you insert the Windows XP CD in a PC that's already running Windows, the system may not allow 
you to reinstall if the installed version of Windows is newer than what's on the disc. If that's the 
case, boot your system from the disc and then reinstall Windows. 



Windows Central © 



Uelcone to Setup. 



portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft <R) 
iws(R> XP to run on your computer . 



To set up Windows XP now, press Em^.. 

To repair a Windows XP installation using 
Recovery Console, press fi. 

To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3. 



Once you see the Welcome To 
Setup menu, press ENTER to 
continue or F3 to exit. 



ENTER=Continue R^Repair F3=Quit 



a bad idea to check for updated drivers on a regular 
basis, in any case.) 

NOTE: If you have Internet Explorer 7 or newer in- 
stalled on your XP system, Microsoft recommends that 
you uninstall the newer browser prior to reinstalling the 
OS. If you need help uninstalling Internet Explorer, see 
Microsoft Knowledge Base article #917964 at tinyurl 
xom/6ytqse. 

The Reinstallation Process: Two Choices 

There are actually two ways to go about reinstalling 
WinXP. The first is to start your computer (and thus 
Windows) normally and then insert the Windows 
CD once the current installation of Windows is actu- 
ally running. The disc will display a menu from which 
you can begin the reinstallation. The other approach 
is to actually boot from the Windows CD and then 
run the install from the installation CD's (somewhat 
different) menu. 

Which approach is better? It doesn't much matter 
except that Windows may not allow a reinstall except 
from a boot, if you've updated certain system compo- 
nents. (Which makes sense, actually: Windows looks 
at the version on the disc and at the updated version 
running on the PC and sees that the latter is newer 
than what's on the disc. It may then refuse to update 
a system with what it sees as an "older" version.) Also, 
if corrupt settings (or malware of some sort) is part 
of your problem, then that type of reinstallation may 
not completely resolve your problems. So, for a com- 
plete system refresh, there's much to be said for simply 
booting from the WinXP CD and starting the reinstal- 
lation that way. 



We'll take you through the steps required for both 
types of reinstallation. 

Hunt and gather. Before starting, make sure you 
have everything you need: WinXP CD, the product 
key, application CDs, drivers, etc. (No WinXP disc? 
Check with the system manufacturer.) Don't forget 
to record your computer's network settings so that 



The following list shows the existing partitions and 
impart i tinned space on this computer. 

Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an it en in the list. 

• To set up Windows XP on the selected item, press ENTER. 

• To create a partition in the un partitioned space, press C. 

• To delete the selected partition, press D. 



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ENTER-Install D=Delete Partition 



If you've booted from the WinXP CD, the installer will need to know which hard drive 
partition to format. You may only have one partition, of course. 

they can easily be available if needed, including the 
computer name, workgroup or domain, and TCP/IP 
settings. Also make note of your Internet service pro- 
vider information, including username, password, and 
names of incoming and outgoing mail servers. 



Windows Central © 



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Once the actual installer starts, it will display its progress and estimate how much 
longer the installation will take. 




As part of the installation process, Windows will attempt to set up Internet access for 
you. 



Back it up. If you're planning to do a fresh in- 
stallation, make extra- sure that you've backed up 
any important data and that you have on hand your 
original program CDs or downloaded installation 
files so that you can reinstall your apps after you re- 
install Windows. 

Drive setup. If you intend to boot from the WinXP 
disc and your system is not set up to boot from your 
optical drive, you'll need to go into the BIOS (Basic 
Input/Output System) to change the startup sequence. 
Access to the BIOS varies with each system; typically, 
one would boot the PC and then press ESC, Fl, F2, 



DELETE, or some other key during the initial boot. 
If you're not sure how to access your system's BIOS, 
check your users manual. 

Reinstall from within Windows. Start your com- 
puter normally. After it's completely booted up, insert 
your Windows CD. If Auto Run is on, the menu will 
appear. Select Upgrade as the installation type. (Yeah, 
we know. It's not really an upgrade. See earlier snide 
remark about "in-place upgrades.") Accept the instal- 
lation agreement and enter the 25-character product 
key. At this point, you're not too far from completing 
the reinstallation of WinXP. Follow the remaining in- 
structions to complete the reinstallation. The instal- 
lation portion of the process can take 15 minutes or 
more, so be patient. 

Reinstall by booting from the WinXP disc. Re- 
member that this is probably the cleanest approach, 
but it will wipe out all of your data and settings. This 
type of installation requires that your system be set to 
boot from your optical drive, so that may necessitate 
going into your system's BIOS and changing the boot 
order, as previously described. 

Obviously, the first thing to do here is to shut down 
your computer so that you can reboot it. Now, if you 
managed to shut the PC down without first placing the 
WinXP CD in the drive, use your handy little paper- 
clip (Aha! So that's what happened to Clippy!) to open 
the drive by inserting the end in the tiny hole on the 
front of the drive. Then insert the CD, close the drive, 
and power up the computer. 

As your system begins to boot, you should see 
a "Press any key to boot from CD" message on the 
screen; press a key to start your computer from the 
WinXP CD. Press ENTER to begin the WinXP set- 
up. You'll need to agree to the terms of the EULA 
(End-User License Agreement); press F8 to do so. 
Follow the remaining on-screen instructions. Re- 
member that the installation itself can take several 
minutes, so be patient. 

Note that you may have to reactivate your fresh copy 
of Windows, once you have it running. Activating the 
operating system shouldn't pose much of a problem. 
We discuss Windows activation further in this article 
in more detail. 

Cleanup. You know what they say: No job is really 
finished until the paperwork is done. Well, there's no 
actual paperwork here, but there is some last-minute 
cleanup to do after you've installed Windows. 

If you collected a disc full of device drivers, as we 
recommended, now is the time to install them. Until 
you do, some of your peripherals may not work or may 
work erratically. In some cases, Windows Update may 
find drivers that will work for your hardware. That 
said, we prefer to find the drivers ourselves, so that we 



Windows Central Q 



know we have the drivers specific to our gadgets and 
components. 

Then make sure you have Internet access. You may 
not have to do anything — just open up Internet Ex- 
plorer (it'll be IE6, as that's what's on the WinXP CD) 
and see if you can connect. If not, you may need to 
reconfigure your Internet access by re-entering your 
ISP info, as described earlier. If you need to set up 
the PC on your home network, remember to assign 
it to the same workgroup as your other machines. 
Otherwise, although it may access the Web with no 
problem, it will not see your other computers or net- 
worked peripherals. 

Product Key 

Once you have Web access, you can finish off the 
remaining cleanup tasks. First, install SP2: You can ei- 
ther download it (prepare for a long wait, even using a 
broadband connection), or you can install it via a CD 
you acquired or created prior to the reinstallation. Re- 
install any other updates; you can find them by going 
to update.microsoft.com. 

Finally, we've already mentioned possibly having to 
reactivate your copy of Windows. That's generally no 
big deal: Just click the Activate Windows menu option 
(or select Yes when asked if you'd like to activate Win- 
dows), and as long as you have Internet access, your 
system will (re) activate your copy of Windows. (In 
theory, there should be no problem doing so, unless 
you've recently replaced your motherboard or other 
major system components. Even then, Microsoft has 
been pretty good about allowing reactivations; just call 
the 800 number listed under Activation and explain 




I or corrupted operating system, reinstalling Windows may 
not resolve your problem. Keep in mind that as software 
evolves and becomes more powerful, it also demands more of 
your hardware. You may simply be running applications that 
demand more (more CPU power, more graphics processing 
power, more memory, more storage, more bandwidth) than 
your computer has to offer. In cases like that, it's best to ad- 
dress those issues before resorting to a Windows reinstallation. 
This is especially true when it comes to storage and memory, 
because both can be quickly, easily, and affordably upgraded. 
Make sure you have enough RAM and hard drive space before 
assuming that Windows itself is the cause of your problems. 
And if you're running Web applications or doing any heavy- 
duty photo or video editing, take a good, hard look at your 
graphics card and Internet throughput; upgrading those may 
do more for you than reinstalling Windows. 



that you had to reinstall Windows and now need to 
activate it again.) 

Enjoy A Digital Do-Over 

It's a bit of a radical move, but sometimes reinstall- 
ing Windows is the best thing. Your computer should 
be back to its pristine and speedy original state, and all 
you have to do now is try to keep it that way. I 

by RodScher 




Product Key: You will need the Product 
Key to complete the installation. It will 
be on the CD, the CD's jewel case, or on a 
sticker on your computer's case. 




Windows Central Q 



Windows 
For Business 



Restore Previous File Versions 



Though it's hard to admit, people sometimes pose a 
greater threat to their data than software glitches 
or power surges. No one wants to experience the 
wave of panic that results from the realization that 
you've accidentally modified a document and saved 
the file with those changes. And it's equally unpleasant 
if you delete a folder unintentionally. To resolve these 
unfortunate scenarios, Microsoft has incorporated a 
restoration feature in Windows 7 called Restore Previ- 
ous Versions. Depending on the type of file or folder 
in question, the Restore Previous Versions function 
may let you open or even restore an old version of your 




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You can locate Restore Previous Versions by right-clicking a file or folder. 

damaged file. We'll show you how to use the feature 
and explain what happens when you can't restore a file. 

Find Previous Versions 

You might have already stumbled across Restore Pre- 
vious Versions when you were right- clicking a docu- 
ment in Windows Explorer or making a change in a 
folder's Properties. To see whether any previous versions 



To restore a previous file 

or folder in Windows 7, 

right-click the folder or 

file you would like to 

restore, select it in the 

Previous Versions tab, 

and click Restore. 



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of a file (or folder) are available, right- click it and click 
Restore Previous Versions in the context menu. 

At this point, the document's (or folder's) Properties 
menu opens and displays the Previous Versions tab. The 
tab includes a list of available file or folder versions. Pri- 
or to restoring any content, you will want to open the file 
or folder to ensure that it is indeed the one you would 
like to restore. To open a previous version, select the file 
or folder and then click Open. Once you have found the 
correct version to restore, select the file or folder and 
click the Restore button. (NOTE: Microsoft warns that 
your current file or folder version will be deleted when you 
restore a previous version, unless you copy it to another 
location. To prevent deletion, click Copy and copy the ver- 
sion elsewhere on your drive.) 

Some of your documents or folders may have been 
saved during a backup to an external drive. If you've 
saved documents or folders to an external drive using 
Windows Backup, the restoration process is slightly 
different in this case, because you must walk through 
a wizard. To restore a file or folder from a backup, you 
will first connect your external drive. Next, select the 
previous version in the File Versions box (after you 
right-click the file or folder icon) and then click Re- 
store. A Restore Files wizard will appear; follow the 
wizard to retrieve the backup content from the drive. 

System Protection & Restore Points 

The Restore Previous Versions feature revolves 
around a restore point that Windows creates one time 
per day, generally speaking. The restore point relates 
to the status of your PC's System Protection feature. 



Windows Central © 



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Turn off system protection 



When System Protection is turned on, Windows will 
make a previous version automatically based on the 
most recently modified file or folder version. 

By default, System Protection is turned on for the drive 
on which Windows is installed. If you have installed ad- 
ditional drives, you can turn on System Protection manu- 
ally. To turn on System Protection, click Start, right-click 
Computer, and select Properties. 
When the System window opens, 
click System Protection in the left 
column. In System Properties, go 
to Protection Settings and look for 
the drives listed under Available 
Drives. Click the drive you would 
like to turn on and then click the 
Configure button. 

Now you can enable System 
Protection by clicking Only 
Restore Previous Versions Of 
Files. (To keep copies of your 
system settings and previous file 
versions, you can click Restore 
System Settings And Previous 
Versions Of Files.) If you prefer 
to turn off System Protection and 
prevent Windows from keeping 
previous versions of files, you can 
click Turn Off System Protection 
in the System Protection window 
for the selected drive. After mak- 
ing your selection, click OK and 
then click OK in System Proper- 
ties to exit. 



You can adjust the maximum disk space used for system protection. As 
space fills up, older restore points will be deleted to make room for new 
ones, 



Current Usage: 317.5 

Max Usage: 



Delete all restore points (this includes system settings 
and previous versions of files). 



Previous Versions Not Available 

In certain circumstances, you might not be able 
to find previous versions of files or folders. There are 
several reasons this may be true. If a file hasn't been 
modified, you won't be able to access any former 
versions because they do not exist yet. Also, Windows 
gets previous file and folder versions from restore 
points and Windows Backup. If 
neither of these features is en- 
abled, you may not have any 
previous versions. Also, Sys- 
tem Protection could be turned 
off; therefore, previous versions 
aren't getting saved. If you dis- 
cover that this is the problem, 
refer to the aforementioned in- 
structions about how to turn on 
System Protection. 



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Restore Deleted Files & Folders 

The Restore Previous Versions 
feature can retrieve a file or folder 
that was mistakenly deleted or 
renamed. In order to get the file or 
folder back, you need to remem- 
ber where it was saved. Click the 
Start button and click Computer. 
Find the folder in which you 
stored the original file or folder, 
right-click that folder, and select 
Restore Previous Versions from 
the context menu. Next, double- 
click an old version of the folder 
that contains the file or folder you need. Click and drag 
the original file or folder to a different location on your 
PC, such as My Documents, to avoid losing your file or 
folder. Now you can find your restored file or folder in 
the new location. 



Windows creates previous versions of folders or files 
when System Protection is turned on. You can turn 
on this feature in the System Protection tab within 
System Properties. 



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have system protection turned on. 



System Restore reverts your system files without 
affecting other documents. 



How To Perform A 
System Restore 

Keep in mind that Restore 
Previous Versions restores only 
one file or folder at a time. In the 
event that your computer crashes, 
or if a driver update causes Win- 
dows to respond unpredictably, 
System Restore is the tool you'll 
need. It can reset your system to 
a restore point that was created 
before a major change occurred 
in the OS (a date and time before 
problems started). System Re- 
store doesn't change documents, 
photos, and other files; only op- 
erating system files and settings. 
To open System Restore, click 
Start, type System Restore in the 
Search box, and press ENTER. In 
the System Restore wizard, click 
Next. Click an available restore 
point in the list and click Next. 
Or, select the Show More Restore 
Points box and click Scan For Af- 
fected Programs to have System 
Restore sift through your OS for 
relevant issues. After you select a 
restore point, click Next. System 
Restore will list the time, description, and drive of your 
restore point. Close all files and folders and click Finish 
to restart your PC and automatically "roll back" your 
system to the selected restore point. I 

by Joanna Clay 



Protection 
On 



[] I Cancel | Appry 



Computers & Electronics 



DIY Project: 

Add An Extra Hard Drive 



Spring cleaning only goes so far. 
You can donate, recycle, or throw 
away the unwanted stuff in your 
basement, but the data on your com- 
puter just keeps growing and growing. 

Some of us have a digital photo accu- 
mulation problem, especially now that 
todays multi-megapixel cameras churn 
out multi-megabyte shots. Other us- 
ers collect so much music that it would 
overflow their shelves in CD form. And 
heaven help the souls who love to down- 
load and save video clips instead of just 
streaming them. 

Media files aren't always the reason 
to consider adding storage capac- 
ity with a new hard drive, however. 
Office suites and OSes seem to bal- 
loon with every new version. Games 
are getting bigger, too, just like the 
themes, menus, templates, and sam- 
ple content that come with video - 
editing software. 

Follow along as we install a new 
SATA (Serial Advanced Technol- 
ogy Attachment) internal hard drive 
in a desktop PC running Windows 7. 
It's a simple procedure that's roughly 
the same for WinXP/ 
Vista PCs. 

Installation 

Once you've ac- 
quired a new hard 
drive, make sure that 
you treat it kindly. 
Don't drop it or 
knock it against any- 
thing. Also, dispel 
any static buildup in 
your body by touch- 



ing a metal desk or lamp 
(or similar) before you 
touch the drive or your 
computer. 

1. Shut off the PC. 
Unplug its power cord 
and then open its case by 
removing its side or top 
panel. 

Near your exist- 
ing hard drive or SSD 
(solid-state drive),look 
for an unused bay 
sized for a 3.5-inch or 
2.5-inch (wide) drive. 
That's where your new drive can 
go. If you need to, you can adapt a 
drive to fit in a 5.25-inch CD/DVD 
bay with some inexpensive brackets. 
And in a pinch, an SSD should be 
light enough and resilient enough to 
be mountable with Velcro or double- 
sided tape. 

Speaking of SSDs, falling prices 
are making these a more attrac- 
tive option in a non-booting role. 
You can put an SSD's modest but 




The rear edge of this 
power connection is 



hard drive shows its L-shaped SATA connectors. The 
the longer one on the left. 



This computer case has 

plenty of unused bays for 

3.5-inch drives. 




whip-quick capacity to best use as a 
place to put apps, demanding games, 
video-editing workspace folders, and 
even the OS's swap file (virtual 
memory). Alternatively, a hybrid 
drive can yield much of an SSD's 
benefits with a hard drive's bigger 
storage space. 

Finally, if you bought an Advanced 
Format and/or 3TB (terabyte) hard 
drive, read the sidebar in this article 
before you proceed. 



2. Gently slide the 
new hard drive into the 
spare drive bay. Its data 
and power connectors 
should be facing the 
PC's motherboard. If 
possible, mount the 
drive so that there's 
some ventilation space 
between it and other 
objects, such as your 
boot drive or the drive 
bay floor. 

Next, secure the 
drive in place with its 
four included screws. 
If you're using screws 



40 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 




Some motherboards color-code their SATA connectors to make faster 
3Gbps or 6Gbps ports easier to spot. 




These power supply cables have SATA (top) and 4-pin Molex (bottom) connectors. 



from an electronics store or an old 
computer component, take care not 
to strip the aluminum threads. Some 
PC screws have different thread 
pitches, so don't force a stubborn one 
if it doesn't want to turn. 

3. Now connect a power cable to the 
drive from the PC's power supply unit. 
If your PSU doesn't have a free SATA 
power connector — these are flat and 
have an L-shaped center — use an inex- 
pensive adapter to connect the drive to 
a 4-pin Molex style connector. 

A word of caution: Don't break the 
drive's SATA ports. If you don't get the 
cable end started straight, forcing the 
connection may snap off the L- 
shaped part of the connector. 



4. Time to install 
the thin data cable. 
If a SATA cable 
didn't come with 
your new drive, 
spend a few dollars 
on one at an elec- 
tronics store. 

Connect one end 
of the data cable to 
a SATA port on the 
PC's motherboard. 
The other end of the 
cable fits into the 
data connector on 
the back of the drive. 
Again, take care not 
to break anything; 
some SATA ports 
are fragile. 

In some cases, 
you'll need to con- 
nect the data cable 
to an expansion 
card instead of the 
motherboard. Your 
board might not 
have enough SATA 
headers, for ex- 
ample, or it might 
have only 1.5Gbps 
(gigabits per sec- 
ond) ports, which 
may slow down 
the new drive. 
Also, some new drives come with 
a SATA card that lets you use 
all of their capacity and features (see 
the "3TB & Advanced Format Drives" 
sidebar). Follow the manufacturer's 
instructions to install the card and 
its drivers. 

5. Next, plug in the PC's power 
cord and then turn on the system. If 
the system boots into Windows, skip 
ahead to the next step. 

If the PC gives you an error mes- 
sage that there's no system disk or 
boot device detected, however, don't 
panic. You haven't hosed your com- 
puter. You simply need to go into 
the BIOS (Basic Input/Output Sys- 
tem) settings to move your new hard 



drive below your old one in the boot 
drive priority list. 

To do this, restart the computer and 
watch the screen for a brief prompt 
such as "Press DEL for Setup." You'll 
only have a few seconds to tap DE- 
LETE, F2, Fl, or some other key, so re- 
boot and try again if necessary. 

In Setup, which lets you tweak 
BIOS settings, press the keys indi- 
cated on the screen to move through 
the menus. On our test system, for 
instance, we found the boot drive 
priority list under Advanced BIOS 
Features and Boot Sequence. 

Use the keyboard to adjust the list, 
which tells the BIOS the order in which 
it should look for a bootable OS on 
each drive. We recommend putting the 
CD/DVD drive first in case you need 
to use a bootable utility disc, followed 
by the old hard drive with Windows 
on it. Save your changes and exit (F10 
is the traditional button to press here). 

6. We strongly recommend using 
Seagate's SeaTools (bit.ly/do8he) or 




We had to insert our screwdriver into holes such as 
this to secure our new drive in its bay. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 41 



Computers & Electronics 



another hard drive diagnostic utility to 
test your drive before you commit data 
to it. Sure, it can take several hours to 
fully scan a drive, but it's infinitely pref- 
erable to detect any flaws in the drive's 
operation now rather than later when it 
loses some of your data. 

There's a version of SeaTools you can 
run in Windows, but if you have trou- 
ble with it, try using SeaTools for DOS. 
With the DOS edition, you'll need to 
follow the instructions to create a 
bootable CD. (Step 5 tells you how to ad- 
just boot device priority settings in the 
BIOS if your PC doesn't want to boot 
from a CD.) If SeaTools uncovers any de- 
fects, return the drive for an exchange 
or refund. 

7. In Windows, click Start, Control 
Panel, System And Security, and Cre- 
ate And Format Hard Disk Partitions. 
This will bring up Disk Management, 
where you can prep the new drive for 
use. 

First, initialize the drive by right- 
clicking it and selecting Initialize 
Disk. The new drive may be labeled 
as Disk 1 or similar. Before you tackle 
the next steps, however, be certain to 
double-check that you're clicking the 




Like notebook hard drives, 2.5-inch SSDs such as this Plextor have different mounting hole patterns than 
3.5-inch drives. Since SSDs started to gain popularity, however, some newer cases started to include 
mounting holes for the smaller drives. 



blank new drive and not your old one 
that's filled with data. 

Next, you'll partition the drive, 
meaning to create one or more sections 
of storage on it, each with its own drive 
letter. Right- click the new drive and 
choose New Simple Volume. 

You can click through the wizard 
that appears at its default settings if you 
simply want a single, large partition 



on the new drive. However, feel free to 
change the partition's drive letter and 
label, which can help you decide where 
to put files later on. You can also create 
multiple partitions if you like. 

Once you click Finish, the wizard will 
partition and format the drive. Your new 
drive should now be ready for use. I 

by Marty Sems 



3TB & Advanced Format Drives 



Nowadays, there's a new wrinkle in the hard drive fabric. 
Some advancements have made it possible for drives 
from Western Digital (www.wdc.com) and others to be bigger, 
faster, more reliable, and more efficient with their storage space. 
Such drives, called Advanced Format models, use sectors (units 
of data storage) that are eight times larger (4KB) than legacy 
drives (512 bytes). Among other things, 4KB sectors maintain a 
much healthier ratio of actual data to administrative bytes such 
as ECC (Error-Correcting Code). 

A somewhat related development, a shift to using 
GPT (GUID partition table) for large drive sector 
addressing instead of the traditional MBR (master 
boot record), breaks a 2.19TB barrier in capacity so 
that today's drives with 3TB capacities can exist. Note 
that although the resulting capacity gains wouldn't 
really be feasible with the old 512-byte sectors, some 
Advanced Format drives are currently sold in smaller 
capacities such as 1TB and 2TB, too. 



Owing to this new technology, most Advanced Format 
drives require you to install an expansion card and/or software 
in your computer to unlock their full benefits. (There may be 
more benefits to come in future drives and OSes, however.) For 
instance, a SATA card bundled with an AF drive may make the 
drive bootable so you can install an OS on it. Meanwhile, run- 
ning the manufacturer's utility after installation of the drive may 
speed up future reads and writes by aligning data traffic com- 
mands with an AF drive's different sector layout. Such software 
may also allow your PC to access a big, new drive's full capacity. 

Win7 supports Advanced Format drives better than 
earlier versions of Windows. Likewise, some motherboard 
manufacturers have made certain boards more compat- 
ible with the new drive technologies by using UEFI (Uni- 
fied Extensible Firmware Interface) instead of a BIOS, or at 
least incorporating elements of the former into the latter. 
UEFI may gradually replace the BIOS as the prime interface 
between motherboards and OSes. 



42 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 



Build A SOHO PC 

Part III: Install The Operating System 



This is the third article in a three-part series that will show you how to 
buy, build, and configure a PC designed for small or home office use. In 
the first two articles, we selected the components for our new system 
and showed you how to install the parts in the case. Here, we'll walk 
you through the installation of Windows 7 and driver configuration. 



Choose A Windows License 

If you'll need five or more licenses of 
Windows for your small office, you can 
invest in volume licenses with Microsoft, 
which makes it easier and more afford- 
able to run the software on multiple com- 
puters in an organization or business. 



Value, and Open Value Subscription. 
With Open License, you'll pay for all the 
software up front, but you'll be able to 
change the program as the business grows 
and pay as you go. You can also invest in 
a program called Software Assurance, in 
which Microsoft will automatically up- 





Qualifying Editions of Windows for Volume Licensing 






Ente^nse EntefnL ^'sSert^ ° pen Academic 
Qualifying Operating Systems Agreement/ Agreement/ Ucense OrZTJL 2i^™ 

=* * Program Programs 
Open value Open Value Program 




Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit) • ••*/%/ 
Enterprise (N,K t KN}* %/%/•*/ %/ 

Professional (N f K, KN, Diskless) %/%/•%/%/ 
Ultimate */%/*/%/%/" 

Home Premium %/ 
Home Basic %/ 
Starter Edition *S 




The Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows 7 are available under volume licensing, 
which you may want to invest in if you need five licenses or more. 



Volume licensing is a program where 
you only pay for the software license, 
rather than receiving the retail packaging 
and DVD for each copy. Prices vary by 
the number of licenses you invest in, how 
you will use the software, and the type of 
license program you opt to use. 

Microsoft offers three volume licens- 
ing programs for businesses that need less 
than 250 licenses: Open License, Open 



grade you with the newest editions, as 
well as provide technical support for the 
duration of your contract. Open Value is a 
plan where you make an annual payment 
to offset up-front costs, and it comes with 
Software Assurance. Open Value Sub- 
scription is a system where you subscribe 
to the software, rather than owning "x" 
number of licenses, to pay only for licens- 
es you need at a given time. It also offers 



the lowest up -front cost and comes with 
Software Assurance. 

For Windows 7, only the Professional, 
Ultimate, and Enterprise editions qualify 
for volume licensing agreements, and 
the Enterprise edition is only available 
for those who opt to invest in Software 
Assurance. If you require fewer than five 
licenses, you can invest in any edition 
and purchase the software from a local 
electronics retailer. In our system, we'll be 
installing Win7 Enterprise, but the steps 
to installing it would be the same as any 
other edition of Windows. For SOHO 
(small office/home office) buyers looking 
for advice about which edition to install, 
Microsoft recommends Win7 Profession- 
al for business use; Windows Enterprise 
includes all the features found in Ultimate. 
The primary difference between the Pro- 
fessional and Enterprise/Ultimate editions 
is that Professional doesn't include Bit- 
Locker encryption, which helps prevent 
unauthorized access to the data on your 
PC and portable storage devices. 

Installation 

With your Win7 disc in hand, we can 
now begin installing Windows. Note that 
those with a volume license will need to 
talk with the IT department about re- 
ceiving a copy and license key. We start- 
ed by pressing the Power button on the 
PC, inserting the disc into the Lite-On 
iHAS424 optical drive, and loading the 
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) by 
pressing the DELETE key. Once inside 
the BIOS, we used the arrow keys on the 
keyboard to move among the on-screen 
items. We selected Advanced BIOS Fea- 
tures and arrowed down to First Boot 
Device. A pop-up menu displayed op- 
tions for a variety of devices, such as 
Floppy, Hard Disk, and CDROM. 

Because the Lite-On iHAS424 would 
be considered a CDROM (note that an 
optical drive, whether it be a Blu-ray 
burner or CD player, is categorized under 
CDROM in boot-up environments), we 
selected CDROM. With the boot order 
successfully changed, we pressed ESC on 
the keyboard, which took us back to the 
main menu. Then, we arrowed over to 
Save & Exit Setup and pressed ENTER. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 43 



Computers & Electronics 



A pop-up window asked 
Save To CMOS And 
Exit (Y/N?). We pressed Y 
and ENTER. 

When the computer 
rebooted, we saw the 
BIOS splash screen fol- 
lowed by a prompt that 
read "Press any key to 
boot from CD or DVD." 
Pressing a key launched 
the Windows installation 
environment. We only 
had a few seconds to press 
a key before Windows 
moved on to the second- 
ary boot option, which, 
in our case, would have attempted to 
load Windows from the hard drive. First, 
a screen appeared that said "Windows is 




, Install Windows 



Which type of installation do you want? 



j i' 



* 



Upgrade 

Upgrade tc a newer '/e:'s : c'- of /vindc.s ano keep your files, settings, and prcgi 
e option tc upgrade is c " a ■■ : ersicn cf Windows is 

running. We recommend backing up ycur files before ycu proceed. 



Custom (advanced] 

Install a ne\ cop or . ndc s, This option does not keep your files., settings, and 
programs. The cpti , to make changes tc d - le hen you 

start ycur computer using the installation disc, Vve recommend backing up ycurfiles 
befcreycu proceed, 



We selected the Custom (Advanced) option, because we wanted to 
install a fresh copy of Windows onto the hard drive. 



loading files." Once the files were loaded, 
we saw the familiar Windows loading 
screen followed by the Install Windows 
menu, which provided drop -down menus 
for Language To Install, Time And Cur- 
rency Format, and Keyboard Or Input 
Method. The default options were Eng- 
lish, English (United States), and US — so 
we didn't need to change any settings. 

Clicking Next moved us to a window 
with three options: Install Now, What To 
Know Before Installing Windows, and 
Repair Your Computer. The What To 
Know Before Installing Windows link 
covered the difference between an Up- 
grade (one where you keep your files, 



In the motherboard's BIOS, you'll need to switch the first boot device to CDROM, so you can 
boot from the computer's optical drive. 



settings, and programs from a previous 
version of Windows) and Custom instal- 
lation (one where everything is erased 
and a fresh copy of Windows 
is installed). The information 
also listed things we should do 
if performing an Upgrade in- 
stallation. Because we wanted 
to install Windows, we clicked 
the Install Now button. 

Windows loaded a license 
terms screen where we select- 
ed the I Accept The License 
Terms checkbox and clicked 
Next. The Install Windows 
wizard then asked Which 
Type Of Installation Do You 
Want? We selected Custom 
(Advanced), rather than Up- 
grade, because we wanted 
a clean copy of Win7. Next, 
Windows asked us Where Do You Want 
To Install Windows? Because there's only 
one hard drive on our 
computer, the 128GB 
Crucial Real SSD C300, 
only one option was 
available. We selected it 
and clicked Next. 

After a few seconds, 
a screen popped up that 
showed us what step 
the Windows installa- 
tion was at. Completed 
percentages were listed 
for Copying Windows 
Files, Expanding Win- 



dows Files, Installing Fea- 
tures, Installing Updates, 
and Completing Installa- 
tion. During the process, 
our computer rebooted 
twice (it automatically 
went back into the instal- 
lation process each time) 
and took 15 minutes to 
install. Note that when 
the PC reboots it will 
prompt "Press any key to 
boot from CD or DVD," 
but you should not press 
a key until Windows is 
finished installing. De- 
pending on the type of 
installation and your hardware, Win- 
dows may reboot several times and take 
up to 30 minutes to install. 

When Windows first boots up, it asked 
us what country we were from, what key- 
board layout we prefer, and other informa- 
tion to determine the language it will use. 
We kept the U.S. defaults and clicked Next. 
Then, we were prompted to enter a user- 
name and password, which we did and 
clicked Next. A screen appeared where 
we could type the 25 -character product 
key associated with our Enterprise license. 
After entering the product key, we clicked 
Next and were met with a screen where we 
could set our security options (we selected 
Use Recommended Settings), as well as set 
our time zone and time. 

Clicking Next brought up the Win- 
dows network settings with options for 
Home Network, Work Network, and 
Public Network. Because we set up the 
PC at work, we selected Work Network, 




With Gigabyte's installation utility, it was easy to install the set of drivers 
for the components built into the motherboard. 



44 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 




We used MSI's Live Update 5 utility to install the newest driver for our 
graphics card. 



which means that we trust all the com- 
puters connected to the network. The 
Home Network is similar, assuming 
that you trust all the PCs connected to 
the network in your house. Youd select 
Public Network in situations where you 
don't know the other computers on the 
network, such as at a coffee shop. 
Finally, Win7 displayed the familiar 
Desktop background, which meant 
our Windows setup was finished. 



Necessary drivers in- 
cluded the INF Update 
Utility (provides the driv- 
ers that tell the operat- 
ing system how to work 
with the interfaces on the 
motherboards, such as the 
PCI-E [Peripheral Compo- 
nent Interconnect Express] 
slots and SATA [Serial 
Advanced Technology At- 
tachment] ports), Realtek 
HD Audio Driver (files 
to run the motherboards 
integrated audio), Realtek 
LAN Driver (files to allow 
network access through the 
motherboards Ethernet port), and NEC 
USB Driver (configures the USB 3.0 ports 
for use with the operating system). Once 
we made our selections, we clicked the In- 
stall All button in the Gigabyte utility. After 
each driver was installed, the installation 
wizard asked us if we wanted to restart to 



*?^' 



II Search Control Pa 



Install Drivers 

The drivers for the motherboard's 
chipset are the most important 
drivers to install, because other- 
wise you may not be able to transfer 
files and download updates. For in- 
stance, after you install the network 
driver, the computer will be able to 
download Windows updates and 
other drivers for the computer. We 
inserted the driver disc that came 
with the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3 
into the optical drive, and the Auto- 
Play feature of Windows automatically 
detected the disc. 

We selected Run.exe in the AutoPlay 
window to load the Gigabyte utility for 
installing drivers. The Gigabyte installa- 
tion utility began by examining our com- 
puter to see which drivers were already 
installed, and based on the results, we 
were able to see which drivers we needed 
to install. Because we installed a fresh 
copy of Windows, we placed checkboxes 
in most of the listings. 



1 The updates were successfully installed 



Restore hidden update 
Updates: frequently as 



>ft products. Find cut m 



When we finished installing updates, we restarted the computer. 



allow the driver changes to take effect. We 
selected No and waited until the last driver 
was installed to restart the computer. 

When the computer rebooted, we saw 
the Networking and Audio icons show 
successful connections in the Notifica- 
tions Area, which is in the right corner of 
the Taskbar. The Notifications Area also 
displayed a pop -up that told us drivers 
were successfully installed for USB 3.0 
ports, as well as a number of other moth- 
erboard components. Next, we opted 



to install the driver for the MSI R5570- 
MD1G graphics card, so that we could 
view on-screen content at the native 
resolution of the Asus VH196T-P moni- 
tor, rather than the 800 x 600 resolution 
provided by the generic Windows driver. 
We inserted the disc that came with the 
graphics card and selected Run.exe from 
the AutoPlay pop-up, which brought up 
an MSI installation utility. There were 
options for installing MSI's Live Update 
(which automatically updates the driv- 
er and firmware for the graphics card) 
and MSI Afterburner (software that lets 
you overclock the speed of the graphics 
card). We selected MSI's Live Update and 
allowed the utility to install the newest 
driver on our system. Similar to the moth- 
erboard's driver processes, we restarted 
the PC after the driver was installed. 

For many hardware components, 
such as the processor, memory, hard 
drive, power supply, monitor, and case, 
the drivers are automatically installed 
with Windows, because otherwise 
the computer wouldn't work. With 
some devices, such as the mouse, 
keyboard, and optical drive, it's of- 
ten a good idea to insert the discs 
that came with the devices, so you 
can utilize the special features. For 
example, we inserted the disc that 
came with the Microsoft Wireless 
Comfort Desktop 5000 and select- 
ed Run Setup.exe from the pop-up 
window. After accepting the agree- 
ment, we selected the keyboard and 
mouse that matched our compo- 
nents. The Microsoft IntelliType 
utility installed software that let us 
configure the keyboard's customiz- 
able top-row keys, use media play- 
back controls, and create hotkeys. We 
performed similar steps with the Intelli- 
Point software for the Microsoft mouse. 
Next, we installed Microsoft's LifeCam 
Studio, which is an HD-quality Web cam. 
Microsoft recommends that you start by 
installing the included software, so we in- 
serted the disc into the drive and clicked 
Run Setup.exe. We clicked Next at the 
Welcome To LifeCam screen, selected 
I Accept This Agreement, and clicked 
Next at the Microsoft Software License 



Smart Computing / May 2011 45 



Computers & Electronics 




This system boasts all the power a SOHO user 
needs to get work done quickly. 




Microsoft's 
LifeCam Studio 
added videoconferencing 
capabilities to our PC. 



Terms window. Microsoft LifeCam Setup 
then installed the necessary files and told 
us to connect the LifeCam Studio. After 
we connected it to a free USB port, we 
clicked Next and selected Finish. 

We also needed an application to 
videoconference with the Microsoft Life- 
Cam Studio, so we downloaded Win- 
dows Live Messenger (explore.live.com 
/windows-live-messenger), which is an 
instant message and video chat applica- 
tion that supports HD video quality. Once 
Windows Live Messenger was installed, 
we signed in with our Windows Live ID, 
selected the Tools menu, and clicked Set 
Up Audio And Video Devices. First, we 
selected the speakers and microphone 
we wanted to use and clicked Next. Then, 
we selected Web cam settings to set up 
our video quality, and we were ready to 
videoconference. 

Windows Updates & Other Software 

Now that we've installed the driv- 
ers for the hardware and the component 
programs, we can take the time to install 
Windows updates and focus on install- 
ing productivity software for our SOHO 
needs. To begin downloading and install- 
ing Windows Updates, we clicked the Start 
button, selected Windows Update, and 
clicked Check For Updates. We selected 
every Important update and let them 
download and install. While the computer 
was downloading updates, we had time to 
install a few programs and tailor the appli- 
cations' settings to suit our needs. 



Final Thoughts 

In this three-part series, we've taken 
you through the process of selecting 
parts, putting together the compo- 
nents, and installing the OS and other 



software. In the end, we ended up with 
a well-rounded system that provides 
SOHO users with solid performance 
for the money they spend. I 

by Nathan Lake 



Our SOHO PC 

We balanced price and performance to build an affordable system that 
can handle office programs and tasks now and down the road. 


PARTS LIST 


MANUFACTURER 
& MODEL 


PRICE 


WEB SITE 


Processor 


Intel Core i5-655K 


$216 


www.intel.com 


Motherboard 


Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 


$139.99 
$65.99 

$249.99 


www.gigabyte.com 
www.patriotmemory.com 


Memory 


Patriot 4GB Viper II 
Sector 5 Series 


Hard Drive 
Graphics Card 


Crucial 128GB RealSSD C300 


www.crucial.com 


MSI R5570-MD1G 


$94.99 
$59.99 


www.msi.com 


Power Supply 


OCZ 500W 
StealthXStream 2 


www.ocz.com 


Case 


Corsair Graphite Series 600T 


$159.99 
$22.99 


www.corsair.com 


Optical Drive 


Lite-On iHAS424 24x 
Internal DVD Writer with 
Label Dtag 


www.liteonit.com 


Mouse & 
Keyboard 


Microsoft Wireless 
Comfort Desktop 5000 


$79.95 


www.microsoft.com 


Monitor 


AsusVH196T-P 


$114.99 


www.asus.com 


Web cam 


Microsoft LifeCam Studio 


$99.95 


www.m icrosoft.com 




Total Price 


$1304.82 




V 






j 



46 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner # 



Save Time With Shortcuts 



Who Needs A Mouse? 




Although using the mouse is an ef- 
ficient way to navigate your com- 
puter, keyboard shortcuts are 
even faster for many tasks. Sure, you no 
doubt are familiar with some basic key- 
board shortcuts, such as Copy (COM- 
MAND-C), Paste (COMMAND-V), 
and others, but there are hundreds of 
possible keyboard shortcuts you can 
use for almost anything. 

Important Things To Know 

For some reason, Apple assigns sym- 
bols to many of its important keys— but 
those symbols are printed on the keys 
themselves. It makes for a nice short- 
hand when listing shortcut commands, 
but it can be terribly confusing to fig- 
ure out and remember which symbols 
go with which keys. 

For example, could you guess what 
the ^ symbol stands for? Or this one: 
A ? Give up? They stand for OPTION 
(or ALT) and CONTROL, respectively. 
And there are plenty more where those 
came from. You'd have to ask Steve Jobs 
exactly why Apple did this, but there 
you have it. For help deciphering and 
keeping a handy reference to these hi- 
eroglyphics, see the Where's The "TC" 
Key? sidebar below. For the rest of this 



: s 





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App- emo-i windows 


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■v 


Actinic ifttiti 


ft 


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a 


5witcJh u Sput 1 


A « -. 




5wi:t i (e Spjce Z 


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V Acp)lu[lo4i Shorauu. 




<Lwilch la Soirr 1 
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+ - _ S»i0fW(rt<Ji< 



a Tin [o move keytHurd focui tv 



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If you're looking for a few good shortcuts, you can 
just open the Keyboard area of System Preferences 
and click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 47 



Mac Corner (| 



article, we'll refer to the name on the 
key as opposed to the symbol. 

Apple keyboards, like Windows key- 
boards, have F keys (Fl through F12), 
although they serve different functions 
on Macs than on PCs. Further, because 
on Macs those F keys serve double 
duty for other functions, you have to 
press and hold FN before pressing an 
F key. For example, if you want to see 
the desktop and hide all open windows, 
press and hold FN and then press Fl 1. 

There are several one-key actions 
most Macs have; these are quite con- 
venient, but it's important to note that 
they're located in different places de- 
pending on which version of a Mac 
you have. For example, on some Macs, 
the Eject button and the F12 button 
share a key, but on others, they're sep- 
arate keys. These keys include Escape 
(ESC), brightness controls, volume 
and mute controls, play/pause func- 
tions, Expose (which lets you see all 
open windows in a single view), Dash- 
board (which includes widgets such as 
a clock, calculator, and the weather), 
and the Eject button. 

Basics 

On Macs, many keyboard shortcuts 
include the COMMAND key; this 
functions similarly to the CONTROL 
key on PCs, even though Macs also 



Handy Mac OS X Shortcuts 

There are lots of commands most people use on a regular basis; here are 
several keyboard shortcuts that you'll quickly learn to rely on. 

Copy COMMAND-C 

Cut COMMAND-X 

Paste COMMANDS 

Undo COMMAND-Z 

Redo COMMAND~SH I FT-Z 

Select All COMMAND-A 

See Desktop FN-F11 

Force Quit OPTION -COMMAND- ESC 

Get Info COMMAND-! 

Screenshot (full screen) Up arrow-COMMAND-3 

Open Spotlight Search Field COMMAND-SPACE 

Open Applications Window SHIFT-COMMAND-A 

Open A New Finder Window COMMAND-N 

Move To Trash COMMAND-DELETE 

Forward delete FN-DELETE 

Cycle through open applications COMMAND-Tab 

Escape ESC 



have a CONTROL key. Another key 
commonly included in keyboard short- 
cuts is the OPTION/ ALT key; the Shift 
key also makes regular appearances. 

If you've recently begun using a Mac 
after a long stint as a PC user, you may 
be surprised to learn that a lot of basic 
shortcuts are the same as on a PC, but 
with COMMAND instead of CTRL. For 
example, on a PC, Copy is CTRL-C; on 
a Mac, its COMMAND-C. The same 




Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts 



fortuquEx [Bruiq 



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Startup Manager appear!, or 5hfft anbi "Safe Bool" a| 

snnect an *|>ple keyboard and 



Apple has a lengthy list 
of keyboard shortcuts 
available on its Web site 
atsupport.apple.com/kb 
/ht1343. 



goes for the likes of Cut (COMMAND- 
X), Paste (COMMAND-V), and more. 

If you know a simple shortcut from 
your PC use, give it a try on the Mac us- 
ing the COMMAND key— you might 
be surprised what works. One anomaly, 
however, is Undo and Redo; Undo on a 
Mac is predictably COMMAND-Z, but 
Redo is SHIFT-COMMAND-Z, in- 
stead of the COMMAND-Y you might 
have expected. 

One extremely useful shortcut is Get 
Info (COMMAND-I). If you click any 
item on your Mac — a file, folder, appli- 
cation, or drive— press COMMAND-I 
to pull up a window with lots of impor- 
tant information about that item. 

From The Desktop 

So, you've booted your Mac and are 
looking at a blank desktop. There are 
plenty of things you may like to do at 
this point — open an application, open 
the Finder, launch Front Row (the 
built-in media center), and so on. 

A lot of what you'll want to do is 
from either the Finder or Spotlight. 
To open a new Finder window, from 
which you can access all your files 
and applications, press COMMAND- 
N. This action will open your personal 



48 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner 



user area of Finder. If you want to in- 
stead open just the Applications area, 
press SHIFT-COMMAND-A. 

If you want to search for an item 
on your computer, you'll want to use 
Spotlight. Press COMMAND-SPACE 
to open a Spotlight search box. 

To access Front Row, press COM- 
MAND -ESC; from there, you can use 
the keyboard arrows and the ENTER/ 
RETURN key to navigate through 
and select from the various Front Row 
menus and submenus. When you're 
done, press ESC to close Front Row. 

If you have Desktop items you wish 
to open, simply press any of the arrows 
on the keyboard to highlight some- 
thing on the Desktop, and then con- 
tinue to use the arrow keys to move 
around to the item you wish to open. 
Then, press ENTER/RETURN. 

Within Applications 

You'll find several shortcuts that tend 
to work within many applications for 
frequent commands, such as opening a 
file or embellishing text. To quit, press 
COMMAND-Q; COMMAND-W clos- 
es a window. COMMAND-O opens a 
file, and COMMAND-P prints. When 
working with text, use COMMAND-I, 
COMMAND-B, and COMMAND-U 
to italicize, bold, or underline text. 

Here's one you'll find especially use- 
ful: FN-DELETE. If you're used to a 
PC, you probably regularly use the DE- 
LETE key and the BACKSPACE key; 
on a Mac, the DELETE key actually 
does what the BACKSPACE key does 
on a PC. If you want to forward- delete 
(what the DELETE key does on a PC), 
press FN and DELETE. 

One shortcut that every Mac user 
should know is Force Quit, which will 
kill an application if it freezes up on you. 
Press COMMAND-OPTION-ESC; a 
little window will appear with a list of 
open applications (similar to Windows' 
Task Manager). Select the application 
you want to quit and click Force Quit. 

There are a number of ways to take 
screenshots on a Mac, and they're 
all possible with keyboard shortcuts. 
For example, sometimes you want to 



Where's The "X" Key? 

ror some reason, Apple decided to 
F use symbols for some of its keys. 
Here's a list of those symbols and 
which keys they're assigned to. 


X 


Command; also sometimes 
labeled with the Apple logo 


A 


Control 


t 


Option; sometimes ALT is 
also listed on the key 


ft 


Shift 


£ 


Caps lock 


Fn 


Function 


-M 


Tab 


<a 


Delete 


O 


Escape 


$ 


Page Up 


t 


Page Down 


\ 


Home 


\ 


End 



snag a shot of the entire screen, but 
sometimes you may just want to cap- 
ture a small area or just a single win- 
dow. To take a full screenshot, press 
COMMAND-SHIFT-3. Press COM- 
MAND-SHIFT-4; you'll then see a 
little crosshairs mouse cursor. Click 
and drag to cover the area you want to 
take a screenshot of. To take a screen- 
shot of just a particular window, press 
COMMAND-SHIFT-4-SPACE. That 
will bring up a camera icon; position 




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You can easily create your own keyboard shortcuts 
from the Keyboard Shortcuts area of the System 
Preferences menu. 



the camera icon over the window you 
want and click the mouse 

Create Your Own Shortcuts 

Although there are hundreds of dif- 
ferent keyboard shortcuts already, you 
can create your own very easily. Click 
the Apple logo in the upper-left corner 
of the screen and select System Prefer- 
ences. When the window appears, click 
Keyboard under the Hardware section. 
Click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. 

Next, you can select any area to add 
a shortcut — Dashboard & Dock, Screen 
Shots, Spotlight, Applications, and so 
on. Under the area you select, you can 
add a keyboard shortcut for any com- 
mand available in the application. As an 
example, lets say you want to create a 
shortcut to open the System Preferences 
window. Click Application Shortcuts, and 
then click the plus sign just below it. 

When the dialog box appears, be sure 
All Applications is selected from the Ap- 
plication drop-down menu. In the Menu 
Title box, enter the name of the menu 
item exactly as it appears in the programs 
menu; in this case, under the Apple menu, 
we want "System Preferences. . .", complete 
with the ellipses. (Note that you should ac- 
tually use the shortcut OPTION-: to enter 
the ellipses instead of just using three pe- 
riods.) Click the Keyboard Shortcut space 
and press the key combination you wish to 
use. In this case, lets use COMMAND-D. 
You'll see the buttons you pressed repre- 
sented in the Keyboard Shortcut window. 
Next, click Add; note that our shortcut is 
now listed under All Applications under 
the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. 

To delete any shortcut, simply select 
one from the list and click the minus sign. 

Nimble Fingers 

Although most keyboard shortcuts 
require you to press multiple keys at 
once, you'll be surprised at how quick- 
ly you can enter commands this way. 
Your fingers fly fast, especially if you're 
a good typist — faster, in many cases, 
than you can drag the mouse icon to 
the requisite area and click. I 

bySeth Colaner 



Smart Computing / May 2011 49 



Mac Corner 



Fresh Fruit 



Great Business Apps For Your iPad/iPod/iPhone 

by Rod Scher 




There's no shortage of impressive appli- 
cations — some of them free — for Ap- 
ple's popular family of mobile devices, and 
many of them are perfect for the home 
office worker or entrepreneur. Here 
are our favorite business-related 
mobile apps for the month. (Unless 
otherwise indicated, see the Apple 
App Store to purchase these.) 



Recorder 



iPod touch 



Frankly, Recorder (99 cents) 
doesn't do much. But the one thing 
it does, it does very well. This is the 
most straightforward and usable 



voice recorder we've seen on an Apple de- 
vice. There's one main button. Push it to 
record. Push it again to stop. That's about 
it. Record for five minutes or five hours; 
as long as you have enough 
free space on your device, 
the app will keep record- 
ing. You can even record 
outgoing iPhone calls, al- 
though since that involves 
the phone company, you'll 
have to pay a fee to make an 
in-app purchase of one- or 
eight-hour blocks of phone 
recording time. Once you're 
finished recording the call 
or voice memo, you can 




trim the recording and email it or sync it 
via Wi-Fi. 

TickerPicker 




TickerPicker ($4.99) is a great way to 
check on your stocks and mutual funds, 
set up watch lists of stocks in multiple 
(U.S. and foreign) exchanges, view per- 
formance graphs and charts (Bollinger 
bands, MACD, RSI, and Stochastic), 
and keep an eye on real-time intra-day 
quotes for NYSE and Nasdaq stocks. 
You can even set up nested groups of 
watch lists. TickerPicker can help you 
decide when to buy and sell and let you 
know how your portfolio is performing, 
all for about the price of one trade. A 
fast, useful, and intuitive app. 



OmniFocus 



iPod touch 



OmniFocus ($19.99) is one of those 
apps that sounds a bit weird at first. You 
think, "Urn, why would anyone want 
that?" But after you use the app for a 



50 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner «t 




while — especially if you're the one who 
takes care of the shopping and other fam- 
ily or business errands — you start to see 
its usefulness. After awhile, you'll wonder 
how you got along without it. Essentially 
OmniFocus is a location-based task man- 
ager that uses your device's positioning 
capabilities to help you organize your 
tasks based on their locations. Unusual, 
but think about it: If you have a number 
of tasks to perform, now there's a way for 
your device to say, basically, "Hey, weren't 
you going to drop off the dry cleaning this 
morning? Because the dry cleaner's shop 
is up here on the left; wanna stop?" An 
odd — but oddly handy — little app. 

SignMyPad 




If you've ever needed to sign and re- 
turn a PDF document, you've probably 
suffered through the tedious process of 
printing out the PDF, signing it, and 



then scanning it back into some digi- 
tal format — very possibly right back to 
PDF, in fact — so that you can then turn 
around and email it back to whomever 
is awaiting the signed document. It's a 
pain. And it's a process that's rife with 
opportunities for error. SignMyPad 
($3.99) is a basic PDF reader and an- 
notation tool that lets you load a PDF 
onto your iPad (via email, Dropbox, or 
an iTunes sync, for example), and then 
sign it, add comments or dates, and then 
send it right back to whomever's wait- 
ing for it. It takes practice to fashion a 
decent signature, but especially for folks 
involved in law, real estate, contracts, or 
finance, SignMyPad is a handy little tool 
that will save time and trees. 



The Daily 

The Daily (99 cents/week or $39.99/yr) 
is a slick multimedia daily newsmagazine 
brought to us by a partnership between 
Apple and News Corporation. The Daily 
is truly a thing of beauty. Still in its forma- 
tive stage, no one is yet sure whether peo- 
ple will pay that kind of money (though 
there is a free two-week preview period) 
for a digital newspaper. Reviews are mixed 
at the moment, with some saying that it's 
a "digital McPaper," with too much gossip 
and fluffy celeb stories, and offering little 
substance. Then again, that's what some 
said about USA Today, and it seems to be 
doing pretty well. Regardless, The Daily is 
worth checking out because of the slick 
multimedia content and clever interface. I 



una daily 



Noteworthy App 
Of The Month 



Conference Pad 



iPhone I iPod touch 





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If you make presentations (and 
what sales, marketing, or busi- 
ness type doesn't?) and you own an 
iPad, then you need Conference Pad 
($4.99). The app allows you to con- 
trol a presentation on any number 
of iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches 
from your device over Bluetooth or 
Wi-Fi. You can display and control a 
PDF-based presentation on one or 
more external screens or on projec- 
tors attached to any number of iPad 
and iPhone 4 devices. Conference 
Pad isn't the answer to your every 
presentation need (after all, you're 
pretty much limited to displaying 
PDFs — although you can convert 
PowerPoint and Keynote presenta- 
tions to PDF, of course), but for $5 
per device, it's pretty impressive. 




THE EBQl 

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ii HILL 



fcMe of Contents 




Smart Computing / May 2011 51 



Plugged In 



Web Tips 

Enhance Your Time Online 



Recycling Options 

Problem: I know it's a good 
idea to recycle my old elec- 
tronics, but I don't know 
where to go to do so. 



recycling devices in other 
categories. Compare options 
with details such as ratings, 
any associated costs, and 
logistics (drop off or mail 
in). It's a great tool to help 



a place online to do what 
we've done in kitchens and at 
dinner parties and potlucks 
for years: finding out what 
friends and others who have 
used the recipe think of 




Create Account 



ecosQu 



.com 



Sell+Recycle Earn Points Shop Rewards How It Works Share 





Simply sell or recycle your gadgets* 

Instantly compare cash offers and recycling options 
from across the web in one easy search. 


0+O ReseM ° r Recycle 

Cell Phones 


MP3 Plavers 

More products coning eg an 

%f Recycle Only 


Cables 


Rechargeable Batteries 


Monitors 


Enter your product name, brand, or model here Search 


Laptops 




Inkjet Cartridaes 

and more s 

See EcoSquid featured or: 


RRnmr 









Solution: If you need to 
secure funding, look to 
Kickstarter (www.kick 
starter.com). This site brings 
people with creative ideas 
and those who want to fi- 
nance them together. If you 
need to find sponsorship for 
a great documentary film, 
book, or music album, this 
is the place to go. Sign up 
for a Kickstarter account to 
feature your creative idea. 
You'll set a funding goal and 
a deadline to meet it. If you 



EcoSquid helps electronics users 
assess their recycling options. 



TK 



% 



Free 

- = :■; : - : 







Get a free Account Earn Points 




Solution: EcoSquid (www 
.ecosquid.com) helps you 
quickly and easily compare 
recycling options for your 
old cell phones, digital audio 
players, laptops, monitors, 
and more. Enter the model 
name and then choose your 
product or browse by cate- 
gory to find it and then click 
the Find Matching Offers 
button, and EcoSquid will 
detail the various options. 
Some cell phones and digital 
audio players generate cash 
offers, and you'll find free 
and low-cost choices for 



you do your part to keep 
electronics out of landfills. 

Recipe Recommendations 

Problem: There are so many 
recipes online that it can be 
overwhelming. Is there a 
way to sort through the pile 
to find a great recipe? 
Solution: Trying recipes you 
find online can be fun, but 
it also contains an element 
of risk. Foodily (wwwfood 
ily.com) provides a huge 
database of recipes, and it 
also helps reduce the peril 
of trying one by providing 



it. Search for a recipe, and 
Foodily returns results from 
across the Web in a visual, 
easy- to -navigate layout. Con- 
nect with Facebook, and 
you can comment on the 
recipes and see which ones 
your friends like. The ratings 
and comments will help you 
separate the flops from the 
new family favorites. 

Find Funding 

Problem: I have a great cre- 
ative idea, but I need some 
outside support to bring it 
to fruition. 



don't receive the necessary 
pledges in the given time, 
no money changes hands, 
and you aren't required to 
complete the project. It's a 
great way to gauge inter- 
est in a project, and the 
low-on-money-no-project 
format means you won't be 
trying to complete a $10,000 
venture on a $5,000 budget. 
Project starters are required 
to offer rewards in exchange 
for monetary pledges. While 
you're seeking funding 
for your idea, take a look 
around to see what other 
people have in the works. 

Manage Health Records 

Problem: My health records 
are spread across file 
cabinets in several offices. 
I'd like to be able to access 
them more easily. 
Solution: You can organize 
and track your medical 



52 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Plugged In 



information with Google 
Health (www.google.com 
/health). Import records from 
select sources and create a 



about the drug, who shouldn't 
take it, what you should tell 
your doctor before taking 
the medication, dosage 



FOODILY 



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who receives a call will be 
given the option to opt out 
of future calls. This do-not- 
call opportunity protects 
against pranksters. 

Save Energy At Home 

Problem: How can I cut my 
utility bills and save energy? 
Solution: Check out Energy- 
Savvy (www.energysawy 




1 



Foodily offers a library of recipes 
from around the Web, plus ratings. 






health profile complete with 
information such as a list of 
the medications you're taking, 
immunizations, procedures 
you've had, allergies, and in- 
surance information. You can 
create a profile for anyone you 
care for, such as your children, 
as well. Google pledges to 
keep your information private, 
while letting you opt to share 
it with a healthcare provider 
as necessary. You can also 
track personal health goals 
and progress. 

Prescription Drug 
Information 

Problem: I'd like to know 
more about the medica- 
tions I'm taking. Is there a 
reliable source I can look to 
for information? 
Solution: The publishers of the 
"Physicians' Desk Reference" 
have created an online 
database of prescriptions. 
Check out PDRhealth (www 
.pdrhealth.com) for easy-to- 
understand info about the 
medicines you take. Search 
for a drug, and you'll find data 
in categories, including the 
most important thing to know 



information, and side effects. 
The site also has areas dedicat- 
ed to diseases and conditions, 
clinical trials, and surgery. 

Reminder Calls 

Problem: I need help re- 
membering to run errands 
on the weekends. 
Solution: Wakerupper (www 
.wakerupper.com) is a Web- 
based service that will call you 
with short voice reminders. 
You can use it to remember 
to buy eggs after work or to 
ensure you'll wake up in time 
for that big meeting while on 
the road. Enter your phone 



com). This site's goal is to 
help users make smart energy 
choices by educating them 
about how much energy 
they use and how they could 
cut energy bills. Start out by 
taking a survey to assess your 
home's current energy usage. 
EnergySawy then offers 



started is overwhelming. 
Where can I get helpful 
advice? 

Solution: The National Gar- 
dening Association (www 
.garden.org) is a solid 
gardening resource with 
pages and pages of advice 
and information. From 
video tutorials on design- 
ing a container garden to a 
plant finder, NGA has the 
basics, and more, covered. 
The How- To Projects sec- 
tion offers detailed instruc- 
tions complete with a list of 
materials and necessary tools 
for projects such as making a 
raised-bed garden or plant- 
ing a window box. A link on 
the main page leads to NGA's 
site that focuses on helping 
kids get involved in garden- 
ing (wwwkidsgardening 
.org). Parents and teachers 
can find project ideas here 



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KICK TARTER 



A NEW WAY TO 



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number, the date and time 
you'd like to receive the call, 
and a brief message, and 
Wakerupper will call you at 
the designated time, deliv- 
ering your message free of 
charge. Premium features, 
such as recurring calls and 
snooze, are fee-based. It's also 
worth noting that anyone 




PROJECTOFTHEDAY 

Daniel _:esKe's Wonrworti 
Saga is a free online comic 

accidentally discovers a 
portal to another world. With 
the Worrmvorld Saga app, 
he's offering readers a 
whole new way to 

• Tie comic 
, i ii i he ability to see 
earlier versions of the story 
and art. 



ART 

Corina Dross and he - 
friendswere having a rough 
go of things a few years 
ago. so she started malting 
sKexnes 'or them — 
"portable fortitude" — to 
keep them safe. Those 




The Last Shuttle 



A team of professional 
photographers, 

diie-iatographers. pro 5 rani me re. 
ana historians documenting the 



Carolina 
Ground 



+ baker = IJC grown bi 



BLOG FAQ SIGNUP LOG If 



' - J3I1CI J <A 



DOCUMENTARY 

A group of photographers 
and cinema:::raphe-s have 
come together to tell the 
story of the end of the 
space shuttle era. For its 
final launch. NASA's 
supportive of this group's 
mission to show how it all 
happens Expect 3D video, 
infrared. 360-degree 
footage, and crazy-cool 



FOOD 

Afer an unexpected rise in 
the cost of wheat, a group of 
farmers, bakers and mule's 
from North Carolina banded 
together to create L3C, a 
cooperative collection of 
bakers dedicated to 



suggestions for ways to trim 
the total. There's also a section 
that outlines energy rebates 
and tax credits in your area. 

Get Gardening 

Problem: I'd like to begin 
gardening, but getting 



as well as garden safety tips. 
There are also applications 
for grants for community 
and school gardens, a pest 
control library, and informa- 
tion about online courses. I 

by Tara Simmons Bantam 



Smart Computing / May 2011 53 



Quick Studies 



Intuit QuickBooks 
Premier Edition 201 1 

How To Import Data 



Business Finance 



How-To 



If you're new to QuickBooks, chances are you 
have data stored elsewhere that you'd like to im- 
port. This month, we look at two ways to import 
list data (such as a list of customers, vendors, or 
accounts) into QuickBooks. 

The appropriate importing technique de- 
pends first and foremost upon the data type. 
If the information is a transaction, such as an 
invoice, you will use an "import transaction" 
method, which we do not cover this month. But 
if the information is a list, such as a customer 
list, you will use one of QuickBooks' "import 
data" methods. 

Method One 

Using this method, you will import data via 
a Quicken-formatted Microsoft Excel spread- 
sheet. First, open an Excel spreadsheet contain- 
ing data exported from another program. From 




spreadsheet: Use this to add your Customers to QuickBooks 



1 . Copy 



2. Fix 



your data into the all errors in 

columns below, the yellow 

starting in row 8 cells 



3. Add 

to QuickBooks 

and review 



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You can use a Quicken-formatted Excel spreadsheet to add your 
customer information into QuickBooks. 



the QuickBooks File menu, select Utilities, Im- 
port, and Excel Files. In the Add Your Excel Data 
To QuickBooks window, click the Customers 
button. (If a wizard appears, ignore it for now.) 
QuickBooks opens a new Excel spreadsheet with 
some information (headers, formatting info, etc.) 
already filled in. 



Next, copy and paste each appropriate col- 
umn from your Excel spreadsheet into this 
new QuickBooks Excel spreadsheet. If you 
don't have the exported data for a particular 
column, or if you have additional data with no 
matching QuickBooks column, you will add it 
manually later. 

After your data is copied, a message may ap- 
pear saying the spreadsheet contains errors. We 
encountered this frequently with names, because 
some columns limit the number of characters. 
Select each cell with a red triangle and use the 
error message to guide you in fixing the error. 

Lastly, click the Add My Data Now button. 
In the Add To QuickBooks dialog box, click 
the Save 6V Add My Data Now button. Save the 
file and the wizard appears again. It lists how 
many records were added, and you may click 
View Customer List to confirm the customer list 
inside QuickBooks. 

Method Two 

This method involves a bit more copying and 
pasting, but it can still be more efficient than 
copying (or retyping) individual customer re- 
cords because you copy and paste in bulk. 

As in the other method, open an Excel spread- 
sheet containing data exported from another 
program. In QuickBooks, choose Add/Edit Mul- 
tiple List Entries from the Lists menu. In the Ex- 
cel spreadsheet, highlight a column and copy and 
paste it into the appropriate column in the Add/ 
Edit Multiple List Entries window. You can use 
this technique to add data from scratch, or you 
can edit data by copying and pasting onto already 
existing data. Continue for as many columns as 
you wish. 

Click Save Changes. If there are any errors, 
they will appear in red (all the other records will 
close). Place your pointer over the error, fix it us- 
ing the help provided, and continue to the next 
error. Repeat until the errors are eliminated and 
then click Save Changes. I 

by Heidi V.Anderson 



lomputing.com 



Plugged In 



Pep Up Your Browser With Plug-Ins 

Easy Ways To Add The Functionality You Want 



You've no doubt encountered cer- 
tain frustrations when it comes 
to using software. A program 
can t always do everything you want, of 
course— and certainly it can't do every- 
thing in exactly the fashion you wish. 
So, naturally you find yourself think- 
ing, "Why does it act this way instead 
of that? Why doesn't it do such-and- 
such? Why didn't they add this feature? 
Why doesn't this feature work better or 
differently?" Well, there are limits; soft- 
ware engineers can't run around add- 
ing random functionality to existing 
programs just because you happen to 
want a specific feature. 

Except that sometimes they can, 
and the way they do it is with plug- 
ins. A plug- in is a small software 
component that, once installed, adds 
functionality to an 
existing, larger appli- 
cation. There are plug- 
ins for many types of 
applications— email 
clients, photo -editing 
suites, media players, 
and more— but the 
plug- ins with which 
you may be most 
familiar are browser 
plug-ins: small ap- 
plets that latch on 
to Internet Explorer, 
Firefox, Chrome, or 
other browsers to add 
specific functionality 
that's lacking in the 
browser itself. 

Some browser plug- 
ins are so popular that 
they're almost a ne- 
cessity: Adobe Flash, 
which plays multime- 
dia content within a 






CEC 



ESQ 



browser, is one example. Some of these 
actually come with browsers or are so 
ubiquitous that they're added as a matter 
of course. Other plug-ins provide more 
specialized functionality and are some- 
what less common. The vast majority of 
plug-ins are free. 

We'll explain a bit about how brows- 
er plug- ins work and tell you how to 
use your favorite browser to install 
(and uninstall) them. 

Now You See It, Now You . . . Might Not 

Although the various Web browsers 
use slightly different mechanisms and 
terminology for installing and unin- 
stalling plug-ins, they're all essentially 
doing the same thing: installing a piece 
of code that, once installed, becomes a 
semi-permanent part of your browser. 



After installing a particular plug- in, 
you may see a minor modification to 
the browser's user interface— perhaps 
a new button or menu option will be 
available or possibly more options ap- 
pear when you right-click an on-screen 
object. Sometimes, though, you won't 
see any difference. When you install 
the Flash plug- in, for example, nothing 
changes visually, except that the brows- 
er can now play Flash movies, games, 
and presentations. 

Of course, if there are no visible 
changes to the interface, it's easy to 
forget that you even have a particu- 
lar plug-in installed. (Which is as 
it should be, really; good software 
tends to be transparent, and it does 
its job with as little bother and dis- 
ruption as possible.) 



This page is updated and used only for Inclement Weather and other Emergency Closing 
information. 

For informatio n on the normal operati onal calendar at the College, please see the Student and or 
Faculty 

Last up 



LOC/ 



Copy 

Paste 

Select All 

Print,. 

Print Preview... 



2011 & :50 PM 



Blog with Windows Live 

'1 Define with Google 

BEAT * E-mail with Windows Live 

477 i v i 3 Map with Bing 
Beatrio „ - - — _ 

si] Search with Google 

a Jfj Translate with Bing 

All Accelerators 



Add to Evernote 4.0 
Search Image on TinEye 






ark Dr 



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ENERGY SQJL^ife LOCATION 
1111 "O" Street, 
Lincoln, NE 



ENTREPRENEURSH1P CENTER 
285 S. 68th Street Place, 
Lincoln, NE 






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Bing For Maps is a typically useful plug-in, allowing the user to select an address and immediately see the location on a map. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 55 



Plugged In 



Find & Install 
Plug-Ins 

You don't always 
have to seek out plug- 
ins; sometimes they 
find you. For exam- 
ple, if you were to 
access a Flash-based 
Web site without hav- 
ing the Flash plug-in 
installed, the site will 
usually inform you 
that you need the 
plug-in in order to 
view the content on 
that page. Normally, 
you'll see a link to the 
site from which you 
can download the 
plug-in. (For exam- 
ple, you can down- 
load the Flash plug-in 
from get.adobe.com 
/flashplayer.) 

In other cases, 
you'll have to seek 



Top 10 Business Plug-Ins 



Among the many millions of browser extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins are hundreds of tools 
that would be appropriate for home office or small business use. Here are just a few of our 
favorites. Note that some plug-ins can be found in your browser's plug-in gallery or add-ons list, 
while others are more easily acquired directly from the publisher's Web site. If you can't find one in 
the gallery or add-on listing, be sure to check the publisher's site. 



Adobe Flash 

Adobe PDF 

Bing Maps 

Evernote 

Finance From Bing 

InvisibleHand 

QuickTime 

Snaglt 

Tin Eye 

Xmarks 



Remarks 



Play Flash animations, movies, and activities 

Save pages as PDF; read/display PDFs in browser 

Map info for any selected address/location 

Keep notes synced across devices, including image and audio files, etc. 

Get stock info; keep watch lists 

Automatic price comparisons on equipment, supplies, etc. 

Play QuickTime movies and audio 

Grab quick screenshots; some editing available 

A search engine but for images; finds identical and similar images 

Sync bookmarks across devices and browsers 



Keep A Backup 
Browser Handy 

Not all plug-ins work with 
all browsers, and you never 
know what you might run into 
when making a presentation 
at a meeting. It's a good idea 
to keep an alternate browser 
handy— and an even better 
idea to keep it fully stocked 
with up-to-date plug-ins. 
That way if your presentation 
flounders due to a plug-in-re- 
lated problem, you can quickly 
switch browsers and be back 
on track in no time. (And, like a 
guitar player changing a broken 
string in the middle of a song, 
your versatility and ability to 
keep your cool under pressure 
will impress your audience. Of 
course, what they don't realize 
is that it's easy to stay cool 
when you're prepared.) 



out a specific plug-in in order to 
add the desired functionality to your 
browser. For example, you may have 
decided that it would be helpful if 
you could quickly map any address 
you might come across on a Web 
page. If you're running IE, Bing Maps 
sounds like a good bet: It allows you 
to select any address, click the blue 
Accelerator icon, and then select 
Map With Bing. The plug-in (or add- 
on, as some are called) then displays 
a map of the selected address, with 
options to get directions or to find 
nearby businesses. To add this sort 
of functionality, you have to go to the 
browser's add-on list and find and in- 
stall the plug-in as described below. 

Microsoft Internet Explorer add- 
ons. As noted, the easiest way to find 
IE add-ons is via the browser's Tools 
menu. Just select Tools, Manage Add- 
Ons, and then the appropriate Find 
More option in the lower-left corner. 
Find the plug-in in which you're in- 
terested and click the Add To Inter- 
net Explorer button. 



Mozilla Firefox add-ons. Finding 
add-ons in Firefox is similar to the 
process used with IE. Select Firefox's 
Tools menu and then click Add- 
Ons. On the Get Add-Ons tab, select 
Browse All Add-Ons. Firefox is an 
open-source application, so almost 
anyone can develop add-ons for it; 
as a result, there are literally millions 
of add-ons available. Select the ap- 
propriate category or, if you know the 
name of the add-on, enter it in the 
Search box. Once you find the plug- 
in, theme, or other add-on, click the 
Add To Firefox button. 

Google Chrome add-ons. Chrome 
offers many add-ons in the form of 
themes, functionality plug-ins, and 
Web apps. To find them, click the 
wrench icon at upper right, and then 
select Tools and Extensions. Click 
the Browse The Gallery link. (Or go 
directly to the Chrome Web Store at 
tinyurl.com/2foe7wd.) From here, 
you can drill down by category or 
use the Search box to find the plug- 
in you want. 



56 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Plugged In 




Catalina Camia anchors the On 
Politics community. Catalina has 
focused on politics as a reporter or 
editor for much of her career She 



To save information using the Evernote plug-in, just select some text in your browser and then click the 
Add To Evernote button. 



Opera add-ons. Opera calls its 
in-browser add-ons Extensions, and 
you can access them by clicking the 
Menu button, Extensions, and 
Get Extensions. (Or go directly 
to the Extensions list at tinyurl 
.com/2u3dtcz.) Again, use the 
Categories list or the Search 
box to find the Extension in 
which you're interested — or just 
browse to see what's available. 

Safari add-ons. Accessing Safari 
add-ons (which, like Opera, it calls 
Extensions) is simple: Click the Ac- 
tion menu icon at upper right (it 
looks like a gear) and select Safari 
Extensions Gallery. Select a catego- 
ry or just scroll down and browse 
through them. 



same add-on manager you use to 
find and install plug-ins can be used 
to list your installed add-ons — and to 



uninstall any that you didn't care 
for or that you're finished using. 
In general, uninstalling a plug- 
in (or other add-on) is as simple 
as going to the browser's add-on 
manager as previously described, 
selecting the item, and clicking 
the Delete, Disable, or similar 
button. In some cases, you can 
right- click the item and then se- 
lect Delete or Uninstall. 

Time To Go Shopping 

Software engineers can't 
think of everything. But if your 
browser is lacking a feature 
that's truly in demand, you can 
be sure that, if it's at all possible, 
dedicated third-party develop- 
ers are working on — or have 
already developed — plug-ins to 
add the functionality you have 
in mind. Now, you just have to 
go shopping for those special 
features you'd like to add to 



your browser. I 



by Rod Scher 



chrome web store 



rod304 1 @gmai!.com v 



*l 



Manage Your Plug-Ins 

There are literally millions 
of plug-ins and add-ons avail- 
able, including themes, video 
grabbers, mapping applets, so- 
cial networking tools, fitness 
trackers, news feeds, and more. 
It's easy to lose track of which 
ones you've installed, but the 



Education 

Entertainment 

Family 

Games 

Lifestyle 

News & weather 

Productivity 

Shopping 

Social & 

communication 

Uti Sties 



Extensions ► Productivity 



Featured 



*? X 



1^1 Send from Gmail (fix for 



AutoPager 
Chrome 



Xmarks 

Bookmark 

Sync 



Wikinvest 

Portfolio At-A- 

G la nee 



Google 

Dictionary {by 
Google] 



Taskforce 

Free 
6,525 users 



Convert emails into tasks wiltiout missing a 
beat. 



& B 13 



— / — 



by Tyrant, Inc 

.— , ....jntfor 



Blogging 

Developer tools 

Fun 

Shopping 

Sports 

by Google 

Accessibility 

News & weather 

Photos 

Productivity 

Search tools 

Social & 

communication 



Ait & Design 

Books 

Favnnte Paid Anns 



Chrome 

Toolbox (by 

Google) 



Productive 

Start Page for 

Chrome! 



Send from 
Gmail {by 
Google) 



Popular 



B 



App Launcher 

Search tools 
Free 



Schools 

Photos 

Free 



m 



Print Plus 
Productivity 
Free 



Gantter Project 

Productivity 
Free 



Apps list from 

context menu 

Productivity 

Free 



Chromium 

Scrap bo ok 
Productivity 
Free 






Nagios Checker 
Productivity 



Sexy Undo Close 
Tab 

Productivity 
Free 



Gmail and Google Apps 

Productivity 

"Dashboard for Chrome* 
Productivity 

YouTube Hover 
Productivity 

Website Blocker (Beta) 

Productivity 

ezLinkPreview 

Productivity 

A Bit Better RTM 
Productivity 



Q. 



^ 



Search tools 
Free 



Head for the Chrome Web Store to find extensions, themes, and other add-ons for Google's Chrome browser. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 57 







P |S |- I 













^ IS 










A Fresh Look May Be What The Customer Ordered 




60 The Modern Web Site 

The Indispensable Elements Of A Great Web Site 

63 Web-Friendly Graphics 

Make Your site Look Great On A Budget 



66 Hire A Web Design Service 

Let The Experts Create Your Unique Site 

69 Click Your Way To A Web Site 

No Special Skills Or Software Required 



58 May 2011 / 





UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 



con^tf 



us 



Ten years ago or so, businesses made it a 
priority to place a phone number in the 
Yellow Pages, if not an ad offering further 
details about the company. Why? Because 
customers seeking specific products or 
services knew the Yellow Pages was the place to go 
to find businesses that sold them. Conversely, 10 
years ago, many businesses saw little if any point in 
creating a company presence online with a Web site, 
and the ones that did weren't always good about up- 
dating and maintaining them. 

Much has changed since. Today, even one-man 
operations selling just one product or service are 
likely to have a Web site because unlike thumbing 
through Yellow Pages, going online is how a great 
many shoppers now scout out products, locate 
companies selling them, and ultimately finalize 
purchases. Still, it's not enough to just have a Web 
site; it's imperative today that the company also reg- 
ularly maintains and updates it to project a modern, 
competent, cutting-edge, and thorough appearance 
suited to meeting such modern-day customer de- 
mands as easily obtaining product information, 
technical support, and multiple buying options. 
The alternative is presenting a Web site that's static, 
outdated, and projects the company as antiquated, 
amateurish, underpowered, and overmatched. 

Create A Better Web Site 

The first contact a company has with potential 
customers today is often via its Web site. If the 
site's home page also serves as a storefront, this is 
the first opportunity to make a sale. Knowing this, 
take a good look at your company's Web site. Does 
it visually project the image you want the company 
to possess? Is it obvious what the company sells? Is 
pertinent product and company information easily 
accessible? Are the latest Web technologies in use 
to highlight products and other site content? Are 
keywords being used and placed properly to better 
optimize the site for search engines? 

The fact is that how a Web site appears and interacts 
can instantly determine whether a customer both- 
ers to stick around. Display products with poorly lit, 
low-resolution photos, for example, and customers 
may get a sense the company lacks professionalism. 
Require customers to scroll through long Web pages 
overloaded with product serial numbers and specifi- 
cations and the customer may bolt for a competitor's 
site that neatly organizes products behind tabs and 
uses sharp, stylistic video to detail a product's features. 



Knowing all the elements that can help create a bet- 
ter Web site isn't always obvious. The articles in this 
section, however, help detail how to spruce up an ag- 
ing Web site by implementing revisions yourself or 
hiring a Web site designer. In "The Modern Web Site" 
(page 62), for example, you'll find advantages to using 
video on Web sites, along with other must-have ele- 
ments that are key to presenting a modern design, in- 
cluding Contact Us, About Us, and Site Map elements. 
You'll also find details concerning the importance of 
using Flash, and other technologies and enlisting ele- 
ments that make a site easier to use and stand out. 

"Web-Friendly Graphics" (page 65), meanwhile, 
details how to graphically update a Web site, the dif- 
ferences between stock vs. product photos, 
how to use and find royalty-free im- 
1 ^A ages, and how to best present 

product shots. If over- 
hauling a Web 





site seems too difficult or time-consuming to tackle 
alone, "Hire A Web Design Service" (page 68) offers 
advice on hiring and working with a designer and 
what services and support to expect. Finally, because 
some business owners will deem it wiser to ditch an 
old Web site and start from the ground up, we'll in- 
struct you on how to build a new site yourself in "Click 
Your Way To A Web Site" (page 71), including choos- 
ing and using design tools aimed at small businesses 
and finding a hosting service. 




f HOME 



Smart Computing / May 2011 59 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 





The Indispensable Elements Of A Great Web Site 



Time was, simply having a Web site of any 
kind meant that your business was cool and 
tech-sawy, no matter if it was a simple bit of 
HTML code and a few photos. These days, 
however, having a Web site is an indispensable part 
of any business, just as being in the phone book 
was many years ago. As Richard Huffaker, head of 
customer satisfaction at Weebly.com (wwwweebly 
.com) says, "In this 





of Asari Solutions. 



• 




day and age, if as a small business you don't have a 
Web site, you don't exist." 

And it's not enough to have just any old site slapped 
up on the Internet anymore. Your site should be pol- 
ished and have a tasteful color palette, attractive fonts, 
and be well-organized. A site made of simple text and 
hyperlinks with plain (usually very loud) background 
colors is kids' stuff, no longer suitable for a business site. 

Building A Site 

There are plenty of ways to build a site these days. 
You can of course hire a Web designer (and should, 
in many cases), but there are also numerous easy-to- 
use tools out there. Many sites, such as Weebly.com, 
are services that have ample Web site-building tools 
for the novice, complete with simple drag-and- 
drop functionality, that let you add elements and 
fill them in with text, images, and more. Weebly 
also has a service called Build It For Me, wherein 
users can get assistance in creating a site. 

There are also plenty of WYSIWYG (what- 
you-see-is-what-you-get) applications that let 
you build a site visually, instead of by entering 
lines of code. Further, templates for Web sites 
and Web pages abound online, giving the in- 
experienced Web designer some easy starting 
points for creating a Web site. 
However you go about building your site, be it 
a DIY option or by hiring a professional, there are 
several basic elements and design considerations 
that should go into every Web site. 



60 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 




UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 



Basic Elements 

The most basic navigational elements you'll find on 
almost any page — located in the main navigational 
menu — is Home, About, Contact, and something 
linking to the main product or service the site offers. 
Links to these pages will be easily accessible no matter 
what page on a given Web site you're currently on. 

"Home" is simply the site's home page, or the page 
one first sees when visiting a given Web site. For ex- 
ample, when you visit www. [mysite] .com, the page 
that comes up is the home page. This is a place to give 
visitors a snapshot of who you are and what you do 
and provide links to the other pages they'll want to see. 

The home page is also a good place to add some 
extra pizzazz to your site with useful items such 




Artscene.org is one of Emir Plicanic's client sites. Note the simple 
navigational links at the upper-right corner of the page. 

as the latest company news or a brief slideshow of 
products wherein visitors can click the photos to 
view the respective product pages. 

It's important to have an "About" page, too; this page 
is where you can describe your business in more detail 
and provide any pertinent information that will help 
customers understand you better. For example, you 
may want to mention where your office is located geo- 
graphically, especially if you reach customers in other 
regions. You may also want to provide a bit of back- 
ground on your company, such as when it was founded 
and by whom, as well as frame your company's mission, 
briefly describe what the company does or makes, and 
introduce some key employees. 

A "Contact" page is essential; this is 

simply an area where you can provide 

a physical address, phone number, 

and email address. You may also find it 




mm 



beneficial to include a contact form so people can send 
you messages directly through the Web site, a sign-up 
form if you want to collect members or distribute a 
newsletter, and a company blog, which is an excellent 
platform for disseminating important new informa- 
tion about your company or its products and services 
in a conversational yet informative way. 

You need at least one page that describes your 
product or service. This will obviously take differ- 
ent forms depending on your particular business, 
but in general, you should provide enough informa- 
tion for your visitors to make an informed decision 
about using your product or service. For example, if 
you're selling widgets, include a couple of product 
shots, specifications, and possibly pricing or ordering 



^JHBWDfflHSS 



Weebly (www.weebly.com) is a service that offers easy-to-use 
Web site-building tools as well as hosting. 

information; if you have a restaurant, include your 
menus. If you offer a professional service, describe 
what you can do for the customer. 

Huffaker puts it succinctly: "Really, what's key are 
the most basic things, and that is describing who you 
are and giving people an easy way to contact you and 
find you. Describe what you have and show what it is." 

Although the link to it is usually tucked away at the 
bottom of a Web page, often in small text, a sitemap is 
actually a crucial element to your Web site, because it's 
the key to your site appearing in Internet searches. 

"[A sitemap] is definitely important for SEO [search 
engine optimization] purposes, even on the small 
sites," says Emir Plicanic, senior interactive designer at 
Nelnet (www.nelnet.com) and co-owner of Asari So- 
lutions (asarisolutions.com). "You can actually submit 
your sitemap page to Google, and Google will index 
the whole site that way." In other words, a sitemap will 










Smart Computing / May 2011 61 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




If you want to include video on your Web site, using YouTube 
(www.youtube.com) as a host is free and easy. 

help your Web site be more visible, thereby driving 
traffic your way. Its a simple page composed of hyper- 
links to all your pages, organized as main pages and 
subpages, but it can be enormously beneficial to your 
Web site. 

Bells & Whistles 

Beyond the basic elements you should include on 
your Web site, there are many extras you can include 
if you so choose, including Flash animations, HTML5 
(hypertext markup language) elements, video, and 
more. You've no doubt seen Web sites awash in amaz- 
ing graphics, but although those things are certainly 
attractive, you should only plan on implementing 
them if they really contribute something meaningful. 

"To me, it has to do with the goal of the site," says 
Plicanic. "But just to put something on the site be- 
cause it's nice to have is not really the goal." In other 
words, flashy for the sake of flashy is something to 
avoid, but if there's a need for something such as 
Flash animations, they can be useful. 

Video is something that can potentially enhance 
your Web site, and there are plenty of uses for it, 
from promotional videos to user tutorials. There are 
a number of video -sharing sites out there, the most 
popular of which is YouTube (www.youtube.com). 
Regardless of which one you use, it's typically very 
easy to make an account, upload video to the ser- 
vice, and embed a video on any of your Web pages. 

Plicanic noted that "definitely for small sites, 
I would prefer [something more like] YouTube, 
because they have all the infrastructure ready for 
streaming, and you upload it there. Plus if it's a pub- 
lic video, it gives you an additional way to promote 
your business — on YouTube and on your Web site." 
He goes on to point out that if you host the video on 



Mobile Site 



your own (meaning the actual video files reside on 
a Web server you maintain) you can quickly bump 
into resource management problems. 

You can further dress up your site and make it stand 
out with some very simple tweaks. For example, choose 
a pleasing color scheme with background colors that 
provide a pleasant backdrop. Also, be sure you have text 
colors that are easy to read. Web fonts are also a smart 
way to go; in times past, if you used a certain font on 
your Web site, that font also 
had to be installed on the view- 
er's computer. Otherwise, the 
site's fonts would fall back to 
the default font of the site visi- 
tor's computer. 

Web fonts are different be- 
cause they're pushed out from 
the Web server, so the end 
user doesn't have to have that 
particular font on his own ma- 
chine. It's a handy innovation. 
"Now you have HTML fonts, 
allowing you more style con- 
trol over how your site looks 
without having to worry about 
whether or not the individual 
person has that font," said 
Huffaker. "It lets you add a 
little more of your personality 
and style to the site." 

Another simple tweak is in- 
cluding drop-down menus. For 
example, when you point to a 
link in the main navigational 
toolbar for, say, your product 
listing, a list of all your product 
families, each with their own 
product pages, pops up. 

When you're designing a 
Web site for your business, 
remember that it's something 
that requires careful planning 
and solid execution. Making 
some simple but effective de- 
sign decisions will go a long 
way toward making your Web 
site (or update) a success. I 



by Seth Colaner 



Having a mobile version 
of your Web site can 
be a wise move for a busi- 
ness. Said Huffaker, "I think 
having an easy-to-navigate 
option is a huge deal be- 
cause so many people are 
on the Web through their 
phones, whether it be an 
iPhone, an iPod, Android, 
or BlackBerry— there's a 
significant percentage of 
Web browsing being done 
from mobile browsers." 

But the minimal screen 
real estate requires some 
careful design, and if 
someone accesses your 
site from a mobile device 
and can't really navigate it 
easily, that may discourage 
them from coming back. 

Plicanic noted that with 
a mobile site, you need 
to remove a lot of clut- 
ter and just focus on the 
task at hand: "The call to 
action has to be even more 
obvious." For example, if 
you're a retail location or 
restaurant, it may be best to 
place your address, phone 
number, and hours front 
and center, because chances 
are if someone is looking up 
your site on a mobile device, 
they'd like to drop by or see 
if you're currently open. 




62 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




Make Your Site Look Great On A Budget 



// 



MB how, don't tell." This writing maxim also 
^^^ applies to images at Web sites, where the 
^^ perfect shot can do more to project profes- 
mlU sionalism, build trust, and make visitors 
want something than any amount of text could 
manage. Bad images do the opposite, giving poten- 
tial customers a bad first impression even if your 
business is otherwise excellent. 

A great way to get perfect images for your Web site 
is to hire a photographer, but that's an extravagance 
not within the budget of most small business own- 
ers. Doing it inexpensively requires learning a little bit 
about stock photography and a lot about how to create 
great product shots using inexpensive equipment. 

Stock Photography 

Millions of images for use at your Web site are 
available at dozens of stock photography sites, but 
there are many pitfalls to take into consideration 
when going this route. 

Check The License 

When choosing stock photographs, the first thing 
to consider is the usage license. Some images are free 
to use with no restrictions, but many are royalty-free. 
This means you pay an upfront or subscription fee for 
the image and can then use it without having to pay an 
additional royalty fee each time you use it. There also 
are rights-managed images, which are expensive and 
often allow for exclusive usage, which we'll discuss in 
more detail in the next section. 



ABOUT US 



The Licenses 



SSJ 



EH] 



~- 



lets others distribute, remix, tweak, 
and build upon your work, even commercially. 
33 : ■ : • 3:- -3. : ;: .: . : . : : "3 : : -3 
creation This is the ~cst acco — odating of 
licenses offered Recommended for maximum 
jse of license:: -.3:3 3 3 



;e Deed | Vie;. Lej?: Code 



This license lets others remix, tweak, and build 
upon your work even for commercial purposes, 
as long as they credit you and license their new 
: f;: : '? . -: 3 3-3 ::•=■•-; :.= :-. "j ~~ .3 :3 33 
is often compared to "copyleft" free and open 
source software licen:-3; -■ ne : :■ 1333:: 
on yours will carry the same license, so any 
derivatives will also allow commercial use. This 
3 :. _ 3 33-33 . 333 : . - 333 s 3-; 3 
recommended for materials that would benefit 
from incorporating content from Wikic-edia and 
:- ■' ? . 33-331: : -y3-::s 



I I View Legal Cod 



ass 



Attribution -MoDerk 
CC BY-ND 



3 :■-;: unchanged and in whole, in 



Vie- License Deed I Vie- Leaal Code 



fT\ © I Attribution-NonCi 
CC BY-NC 



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:•■■= ■ -e : 1 " .", 3 :: ?: -: . 33:3 .:. ;■■-■■ 
ial. they don't have to license 



Creative Commons has many types of licenses, so be sure you 
understand and comply with them. 

Some licenses restrict the types of projects you are al- 
lowed to use them on. For example, an image could be 
free for non-commercial use but require payment for 
commercial use, meaning you can't use it free on your 
business site. There are also an increasing number of 
editorial use only images, which can be used for things 
such as magazine articles but not for most commercial 
projects. Most Editorial Use Only licenses also do not 
allow you to edit the image substantially. 

Creative Commons (creativecommons.org) is an- 
other increasingly popular type of license that comes 
in six flavors. For example, there's CC BY (Attribution), 
meaning others can do anything with the image as long 
as they give attribution to the owner, and CC BY-ND 




Smart Computing / May 2011 63 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




CONTACT US 



(Attribution, No Derivatives) that re- 
quire attribution and that the image 
not be modified in any way. Be sure 
to read about and understand all six 
license types before working with im- 
ages protected by Creative Commons. 
Never use a graphic unless you 
know what license it uses. Its tempt- 
ing to use things from photo sharing 
sites, but never do so unless the im- 
age is properly licensed. 

Beware Lookalikes 

There are countless free images 
available that look great, but never 
forget that everyone else has access 
to them. It is especially embarrass- 
ing to use an image of employees on 
your site and discover that a com- 
petitor has used the same image on 
its site. If you think this will be a 
problem, look into rights-managed 
images, which grant exclusive us- 
age rights in a certain geographic 
area, for a certain period of time, or 
for a certain use (such as Web sites 
or email campaigns). 

One of the best ways to see if 
someone else is using your stock image is TinEye Re- 
verse Image Search (www.tineye.com). Just upload 
your image and the site provides a list of other sites 
using the same thing. This is also a great tool to see if 
someone else is using an image you paid for or took 
yourself and have exclusive rights to. 

Vector Images vs. Bitmaps 

Most stock photography sites offer images in 
JPEG, GIF, and PNG bitmap formats, and also in 
vector formats such as EPS and SVG. Bitmap im- 
ages are fixed in resolution, and although you can 
shrink them in an image editor without losing qual- 
ity, they lose quality quickly when you make them 
larger. Vector graphics are not fixed in size but in- 
stead are rendered mathematically so you can make 
them any size you wish and they scale up and down 
without losing any quality at all. Be aware when 
purchasing vector graphics that you need a pro- 
gram that can open and edit them. You also need to 
convert the edited file to JPEG, GIF, or PNG format 
before using it on the Web, as browsers do not na- 
tively support vector formats. 



Track Down Photos 



If you're looking for images 
that will spruce up your site, 
you don't have to look far. 
There are plenty of online ser- 
vices that have large libraries 
of photos. Start your search 
with these photo sites. 



Commercial Stock Image Sites 

> Shutterstock 
www.sh utterstock.com 

> Getty Images 
www.gettyi mages.com 

> iStockphoto 
www.istockphoto.com 

Free Stock Image Sites 

> Stock.Xchng 
www.sxc.hu 

Commercial Vector Images 

> VectorStock 
www.vectorstock.com 



Size & Quality 

Many stock photography sites let 



you pay a small amount for a small 
version of an image and increas- 
ingly larger amounts for increas- 
ingly larger sizes. These images are 
often listed in terms of their resolu- 
tion (such as 800 x 600) and their 
dpi (dots per inch), which typically 
is either 72dpi or 300dpi. 

Computers display images us- 
ing a grid of colored lights called 
pixels (picture elements), and an 
images resolution tells you how 
many pixels it uses when dis- 
played. For example, an 800 x 600 
image uses a rectangle that is 800 
pixels wide by 600 pixels high. 

According to StatCounter Glob- 
al Stats (www.statcounter.com), a 
little more than 28% of computer 
users still have monitors set to 
display 1,024 x 768 pixels, so any 
images larger than that are useless 
for most Web sites. Figure out how 
wide your site design is (few are 
wider than 960 pixels) and never 
pay for images larger than that. 
Similarly, if you need a picture for a sidebar, determine 
how wide the sidebar is and pay only for the image clos- 
est to that in width. You can always reduce the size of the 
image to match later. Remember that for product shots 
you'll need a large image so customers can zoom, and 



stock.xchng° 




VIEWS TOO GOOD TO IGNORE 



Get 10% off now. 

kurivrriVmd 



I I 

|ph.«»M ^m Welcome to Stock.XCHNG, 

the leading FREE stock photo site! 



s^y^^ J 

:hT Randomizer^ Lightboxes T. Statistics' 




Free stock photo sites such as StockXchng are terrific, but be aware that 
thousands of other people might be using the same images at their sites. 



64 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 







UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 



%-TinEyel 



Hji I inL'i-L' Lirai ififlJIo fOuVI so, pfciiy.' diauli: 1 



gjjj Results 

Searched aver 1 .9135 billion images in 2.651 & 



id ftmoflidil TlnEye extension for Firefoii 



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Share Results 



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Diparimnil 5lnm 



TinEye reverse image search is an invaluable tool for finding out 
who is using the same art you use. 

you can reduce that to a thumbnail for browsing using 
virtually any image-editing software. 

As for , this measures how many dots per inch of 
image size are used when printing. Images at 72dpi 
work well on the Web. If you also plan to use the im- 
age in print work, such as brochures, then get 300dpi 
images. (Otherwise, your prints will look terrible.) 

DIY Web Photography 

Obviously, no stock photography site will have em- 
ployee portraits or shots of your particular products, 
so you might consider taking the pictures yourself. 
Most people make the mistake of thinking they need 
to buy a lot of equipment to take good photos, but ex- 
perience, skill, and lighting trump even the most ex- 
pensive gear in terms of importance. This is especially 
true for Web images, as they don't require the clarity or 
high resolution needed for creating sharp prints. They 
are displayed at small sizes on low-resolution (relative 
to print) monitors, so you don't need a fancy camera 
for this kind of work. 

We spoke with Dan Templeton, owner of Tem- 
pleton Studios (www.templetonstudios.com), about 
tips for photographers who have basic camera 
equipment and are on a limited budget. 

"Go somewhere where there's a lot of light," he 
says, citing dark images as one of the biggest mis- 
takes he sees and one of the most difficult to fix. 
"In the long run [clients] end up paying me more 
for post-production than if I'd just gone and shot 
the thing." For close-up (macro) product shots on a 
budget, he suggests you "buy focusing mirrors— the 
kind ladies use to put on their makeup. You can use 
those to bounce light onto your products and light 
up little areas, and that will really help." 

Once lighting is taken care of, "turn your flash off, 
use the available light, and as far as settings at that 




point, I pretty much put the camera 
on auto and let it do what it's going to 
do." He suggests you take two or three shots so 
you can choose the best one and use a tripod whenev- 
er possible. "In a worst-case scenario, put your elbows 
on the table and brace really well." 

Another suggestion that won't cost you a dime 
is to, "get close to your subject. You're not talking 
about the desk and all that other stuff— show people 
what you're talking about." 

Finally, consider taking classes, which are available 
at most community colleges and don't cost a fortune. 
There are basic photography courses, naturally, but al- 
ways look for related courses that tie into your particu- 
lar business. For example, Templeton teaches a course 
in food styling that might be invaluable for restaurant 
owners wanting to take their own product photos. 

Go Pro 

Before buying any equipment or signing up for class- 
es, do some math. Think about how many shots you'll 
need to take now and in the future, consider how much 
your time is worth in terms of training, and work out 
the price per picture. If you're always taking shots of 





(single), 

v -iiii-=ntal . 
■ :. Valentines 
la-, . Grunge 
Business+Finance, 
Beauty+Fashion, 
Sports+Recreation, 

Transportation, 
Document template, 



Sites such as VectorStock sell vector images, which work much 
differently than photos and require different editing software. 





new things, the price per picture may be low enough 
to justify the cost of equipment, but in other cases you 
can save time and money by contracting a commercial 
photographer. They have better equipment, are experts 
at image editing, and in most cases are better than you 
at taking great pictures. That way you can spend more 
time minding your own business, literally. I 



Smart Computing / May 2011 65 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




-?i'A -VST: r^s T^l 2£.f 



Let The Experts Create Your Unique Site 




Y 



ou've put it off long 
enough. It's time to 
update your compa- 
ny's Web site. 
As much as you might like to 
hire your friend who tinkers with 
Web design programs or give in to 
a family member who volunteers to 
help out with the business, there is no substi- 
tute for a professional design service. 

Free Web site building applications that let you 
customize templates typically don't give you enough 
creative control. You may end up with a site that 
looks much like a competitor's site because another 
business has selected the same template you have 
and simply tweaked it just enough to suit its needs. 
Amy Ebbeka, vice president and creative director 
of Ebbeka Design, Inc. (www.ebbekadesign.com), 
explains why a design service is beneficial to busy 
entrepreneurs. "Most free site builders are some- 
what rigid in their customization, therefore when 
looking to do a custom Web site, a Web design ser- 
vice would be essential to complete the process," 
says Ebbeka. 

What You Need & Want 

Once you decide to outsource a Web design ser- 
vice, it's time to strategize. To begin, research and 
compare sites that offer a similar product to yours. 
Consider what causes you to explore the site fur- 
ther—and what doesn't. 



When searching for a design service, you may 
want to reach out to several local design businesses 
and ask your business colleagues about which de- 
sign firms are getting buzz or have a reputation for 
following through on the final product. 

If you have a general idea of what you would like 
your site to communicate, take notes about social 
media integration, layout, functionality, and other 
content you absolutely must include. There are 
a number of visual components that can set your 
site apart from competitors (plus a handful that 
you can't do without), but a design service will ul- 
timately help you decide which features are best for 
your site. For instance, plenty business sites feature 
a regularly updated blog, but would it be better if 
you streamed your Twitter feed instead? 

A strategic Web presence plan consists of your 
goals, audience, and content. Although likely to in- 
volve branding and marketing, your goal must be spe- 
cific, such as "I want to sell my new widget by doing A, 
B, and C." What about a target: To whom are you send- 
ing this message? Take into account the demograph- 
ics of your target groups— location, habits, economic 
status, etc.— and what appeals to each of them. Lastly, 
although it's a given that your content ought to be 
unique to your service or product, never lose sight of 
each detail on every Web page within the larger vision. 

What You See Is What You Get 

Web design services should always have an im- 
pressive Web site. Examining a Web design service's 



66 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.corT 



HOME J 





UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 



TUS 




Brody Dorland, co-founder and 
online marketing consultant at 
Allure New Media, says "every 
new Web site project should 
include an initial consultation 
that I consider to be a 'Web site 
strategy engagement.'" 



"Some firms or 
freelancers will charge 
fof meetings and 
others won't, and if it 
''s a concern, they may 
^nt to inquire about 
that prior to choosing 

a company to work 

M'th; says Amy 

H>beka,vice president 

Md creative director of 

Ebbeka Design, Inc. 




Web site is a good place to start evaluating the 
service's capabilities. If the site makes you think "I 
want my site to look exactly like that," then you may 
have found a match. 

Every legitimate Web site design service should in- 
clude a section dedicated to the specific services it offers 
or the means by which it can help you accomplish your 
goals. For instance, a services page might highlight cus- 
tom Web site design, branding, logo development, ad- 
vertising materials, and site hosting. Take a look at the 
services online portfolio, which will give you a preview 
of the range of creative sites the firm can build. Many 
portfolios will include thumbnails or sample pages of 
sites it created for other customers. Look for links to the 
sites: Are the sites still live? Are they interactive? How 
easy are they to navigate? Request references and read 
any posted testimonials. There's nothing wrong with 
having a skeptical eye, at first, before you entrust your 
business site to one Web design firm. 

Small business owners need to learn upfront about 
the major benefits of a design firm as they get esti- 
mates and continue researching a service's plan execu- 
tion, professional design capabilities, and familiarity 
with the latest Web technologies. "Most experienced 






SITE MAP 



Web site developers these days are going to have a 
pretty good handle on how to work with the business 
owner to identify their target audiences, flush out the 
sales and marketing objectives of the company, and 
translate those insights into a Web site's content ar- 
chitecture and Web site design," says Brody Dorland, 
co-founder and online marketing consultant at Allure 
New Media (www.allurenewmedia.com). 

A knowledgeable outsourced development service, 
says Dorland, will understand that the quality of your 
site's design will equate to a prospect's perception of 
the quality of your brand, company, products, and 
services. "Your Web site is your digital storefront and 
making a good first impression is key. Poor or low- 
quality design may force prospects to turn around and 
walk right out the door," says Dorland. 

"As Web site developers, we have to keep up with 
the latest technological advances in Web site technol- 
ogy. Based on the functional requirements of a par- 
ticular Web site, Web site developers will utilize the 
technology platforms and programming standards 
that are best-suited for the project," Dorland explains. 

It's common to ask for a 
contract. In this contract, 
request detailed descrip- 
tions of the Web pages (and 
their respective features), 
payment schedule, and a 
tentative finish date. 

There's No "Me" 
In "Designer" 

Because the Web de- 
signer is an extension of 
the business, in a sense, 
the level of creative con- 
trol that a business owner 
has in the design process 
is dependent upon the 
type of partnership he or she 
has with the designer. In other 
words, everything should be a 
collaborative effort. Even so, 
business owners should re- 
member they are not design- 
ers and that they can hand 
over the virtual reigns to the 
consultant, knowing that this 
is a flexible process. 

According to the lead designer at Three Pillars 
Media (www.threepillarsmedia.com), Erik Miller, 








According to Three Pillars 
Media designer, Erik Miller, 
"a professional Web designer 
is not only able to dedicate 
the proper time, but also 
has experience and the tools 
necessary to design a quality 
Web presence." 






9H3^^BHHI^H^HIHB_ 



Smart Computing / May 2011 67 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




RELATED BLOG POETS 



When you're researching design firms, look for information about 
the methods and strategies the service uses to build Web sites for 
its clientele. 



Web design is one area in which it seems everybody 
wants to contribute. "There is a reason why you're 
hiring a designer to build you a quality Web pres- 
ence. Because you can't do it yourself. Having said 
that, each designer is different, as is each business 
owner," Miller says. 

"A good designer talks with the business owner in 
depth about the business, researches [similar] busi- 
nesses, and gets an overall feel for the direction of 
the business. Consistent consultation and construc- 
tive feedback is great for designers," adds Miller. 

In the initial stages, the designer learns about 
what the business owner 
envisions, often by having 
a face-to-face (or phone) 
consultation. A new Web 
site project would include a 
"Web site strategy engage- 
ment session," says Dor- 
land. At Allure New Media, 
this session includes "a dis- 
covery period where we 
define the objectives of the 
Web site, a buyer profiling 
exercise, a content architec- 
ture process (a.k.a. sitemap 
development), and a page 
wire framing exercise that 
creates a rough blueprint of 
key pages on the site." 



A thorough first meeting should include discussion 
about how the business owner envisions the site as an 
effective marketing tool. It also helps ensure that there 
are no surprises during the design process. 

Continuation Costs & Content Management 

To keep track of your overall budget, plan for 
frequent, fee-based meetings during which you will 
review the design process. Ebbeka says pricing will 
depend dramatically on the policy of the firm or the 
individual the client chooses to work with. These 
are details a business owner needs to inquire about 
before committing to a specific design service. "In 
many cases a bid is made on a project with an esti- 
mated number of consultations and any extra meet- 
ings are usually on the designer's dime," says Miller. 

As you make ongoing payments and the site build 
nears its finish date, don't make the final payment 
until you know what kind of access you will have 
to the site's content, if (or how) you should main- 
tain it, and what type of software you would need to 
roll out updates. The answers are contingent upon 
how the designer has developed the site, says Miller. 
Business owners can modify a high-quality site that 
is built using a CMS (content management system), 
making it possible for someone with a base-level 
knowledge of maintenance to make changes to the 
site. Web developers may also offer maintenance 
service packages that might include, but are not 
limited to, new Web graphics, technology develop- 
ment, and security updates. I 



by Joanna Clay 




CKA About 

Services 
Portfolio 
Contacl 



To learn about a Web design service's capabilities, preview its portfolio section. 
These are sites built by DKA designs (www.dkadesigns.com). 



68 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



CONTACTUS 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 






No Special Skills Or Software Required 



f i 




Its your storefront. Its potentially 
your clients first contact with 
your business. It's an important 
sales tool. It's your Web site, and 
it's an integral part of helping your 
company to be successful. 

"During the past decade, the Inter- 
net has proven to be a necessity in ev- 
ery aspect of daily life, from business 
and consumer purchasing to com- 
munication and research. The pro- 
found popularity of the Web makes 
it crucial for any business to have a 
presence and identity online," says 
Oliver Mauss, chief executive officer of 
l&l Internet Inc. (www.landl.com), a 
Web hosting company that provides an array of Web 
site-related services. 

"Potential customers require companies to be 
represented on the Internet either through a Web 
site, directory listing, or visual advertisements. In 
the end, if they cannot find a company on the Web, 
they will find its competitors," he says. 

Certainly, you want your customers to find you and 
not the other guy. But, you're thinking: A good Web 



Oliver Mauss, 
1&1 Internet 



.CEO, 
Inc. 



4* 



site costs money, it takes time to build, and it requires 
a talented computer programmer who can design an 
effective product. All of these issues may seem a little 
overwhelming and even prohibitive. In fact, creating an 
attractive Web site doesn't require much time or skill. 

Help Is On The Web 

Companies such as l&l Internet Inc. provide on- 
line services to help small businesses create a Web 



ABOUT US 





Smart Computing / May 2011 69 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




' st^ cH 



1 



presence, l&ls MyBusiness Site services offer a 
Web site builder, meaning that the company pro- 
vides a predesigned template (tailored to your busi- 
ness segment) that forms the starting point for your 
site. You fill in the details. 

MyBusiness Site offers three levels of Web build- 
ing services: Basic, Plus, and Advanced. Check 
l&l s Web site for information about what is in- 
cluded at each level of service, as well as pricing in- 
formation for each. 

The Basic package lets you choose from a variety 
of templates so you can find one that best fits your 
business category. You can also select the style, font, 
color, images, and text. Also included are a Web site 
address (with a unique domain name) and an email 
address connected with your site. Guestbooks, visi- 
tor counters, and the capacity to imbed YouTube 
videos and link to social media such as Facebook 
and Twitter are also package features. 

Upgraded packages include product catalogs, 
event calendars, shopping functions, email market- 
ing tools and newsletters, document viewers, and 
access to a large archive of photos and images. 

Create Your Site With 1&1 

You don't need much to get started building your 
site: a business name, contact information, and a 
payment method. 

Start by visiting www.landl.com. Click MyBusi- 
ness Site. This page describes in detail what services 
you'll be receiving. 

The site asks you to enter your business category. 
As you type, the search field will suggest categories. 
Click View All Business types for a list of choices 
that includes areas such as construction and real 
estate, cleaning services, event planning, education, 
sports clubs, health care, hotels, restaurants, manu- 
facturing, vehicle, travel, and professional services 
such as advertising, investments, accounting, and 
others. If you don't see a category that fits your busi- 
ness type, there's a generic template, as well. 

You'll also have the opportunity to choose a color 
scheme and fill in details such as your contact in- 
formation and hours of operation. What you enter 
here becomes the foundation of your Web site. 

The builder offers a list of possible domain 
names; one free domain name is included in the ba- 
sic package, l&l also gives you the option of trans- 
ferring a domain name that you already own. Once 
you complete the process, you'll receive a welcome 
email with information about accessing your new 



Web site, making changes, and setting up an email 
address, among other tasks. 

Making It Yours 

When you enter your site for the first time, you'll 
find that it has your company name and informa- 
tion and the color scheme you selected. It includes 
generic text and images appropriate for a business 
in the category you indicated. This way, your site 
looks complete, and you won't have to include a 




1&1 Internet Inc., a Web hosting company, provides an array of 
Web-related services, including a Web site building function to 
help small businesses produce a Web site. 

"This site is under construction," message. You have 
the ability to personalize any or all of the informa- 
tion on the site now or any time in the future. 

You'll receive a Quick Start Guide email that 
provides detailed instructions for configuring your 
Web site's features. Technical assistance is also avail- 
able via email or a toll-free telephone call 24 hours a 
day, seven days a week. 

If you don't have the time or energy to create 
your own Web site through the self-builder service, 
l&l's designers can help you with that task. 

Build It With Intuit 

Intuit is another company that offers Web site 
design services geared to the small business owner. 
"Studies tell us that 93% of people find local busi- 
nesses online, so getting online creates a vital front 
door for many small businesses to get customers," 



70 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 




UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 




Build a Website and Get Found by Customers 



I Quick Tour: 

Haw Tn HrpatP A Website 






How it works 

Q Choose a design 

Pick from 2,000 pp' - eb sites 

Q Customize it (or let us do it for you] 

Quickly add your own logo, graphics, text and 

© Show the world 

Click one button to publish your site to the web 



Try It FREE ! 



30 DAY 



•s 



Intuit Websites uses a template-based service to help small 
businesses easily create professional-looking Web sites. 



says Ralph Matlack, group product manager for 
Intuit Websites (www.intuit.com/website-building- 
software). "In addition to attracting customers," says 
Matlack, "a Web site also provides a platform for 
small businesses to engage with 
and retain existing customers." 

Matlack explains that, for 
small businesses, building a 
Web site can be affordable. 
(Visit Intuit Websites for specif- 
ic pricing details and informa- 
tion about the types of packages 
available.) "Our service pro- 
vides an easy-to-use platform 
that gets small businesses on- 
line quickly and effortlessly and 
helps them attract customers," 
Matlack says. 

When creating and hosting 
a site through Intuit Websites, 
you can select from premade 
designs targeted to an array of 
industries. The basic, or starter 
package, includes a five-page 
Web site that you're able to 
customize with your own text, 
links, logo, graphics, videos, 
and photos. Or you may use 
any of the 250,000 library im- 
ages. Add maps and Facebook 
and Twitter buttons to your site, 
utilize a guestbook, create a photo album, and track 
your visitors with site statistics. 

Upgrade features can include a personalized Web 
address and matching email address, the option to 



YOUR WEBSITE DATA 



■ ■DLB»lDDL 



This screen shows how easy it is to get started 
building your own Web site through 1&1 
Internet's MyBusiness Site Web building service 
The information you fill in here becomes the 
basic bones of your Web site. 



write a blog, and the ability to add payment capa- 
bilities. Upgrades can also provide an opportunity 
for you to add pages and get your site listed in local 
search engines to drive traffic to your site. 

And, if you just don't have the time to add text 
and photos to build your own site, Intuits designers 
can work with you to produce a product that works 
for you. You'll need to call or email the company for 
an initial consultation. 

What's Next? 

You're now online. Thanks to a Web site builder, 
you've created a way for your customers to find you 
and your product on the Internet. But what elements 
are essential to maintaining an effective Web site? 

"With the need for people to collect information 
as quickly as possible, it is important for businesses 
to keep their Web site simple, informative, and up- 
to-date," says l&l's Mauss. "Though special ele- 
ments like video and Flash may seem interesting for 
consumers, it is important to 
keep in mind how they can af- 
fect the online visitor's experi- 
ence on the Web site. Limiting 
busy features and images to 
one or two small applications 
will improve loading time and 
keep the visitors interested in 
the business itself." 

Mauss says a typical Web 
site has only three seconds to 
draw visitors in and keep them 
interested. "It is crucial to pro- 
vide potential customers with 
relevant information clearly 
and as quickly as possible," 
says Mauss. 

He also suggests avoiding 
lengthy text on the home page, 
updating the content regularly 
so it is accurate and current, 
and tending to the site on a 
regular basis to give visitors a 
positive first impression. 

Intuits Matlack also says it's 
important to keep the content 
on a Web site fresh because 
search engines favor frequently updated sites. "A 
blog is a good way to continuously add new content 
to a Web site while also continuing to engage exist- 
ing customers," he says. 







Smart Computing / May 2011 71 



UPDATE YOUR WEB SITE 





L 



CONTACT US 




"From posting social media contact informa- 
tion to embedding a Facebook Like button for the 
business, incorporating social media elements into 
a Web site helps market a small business and im- 
proves engagement with customers," Matlack says. 

When in doubt, he says, "Err on the side of sim- 
plicity. Clean, simple, easy- to -navigate designs set up 
customers for a positive experience on the Web site." 

A New Host 

If you're thinking about building your site from 
scratch, it might be a good time to consider a new 
host. Mauss says there are many factors to consid- 
er when making this important decision for your 
Web site. 

"It is important for a small business to know what 
to look for when evaluating a good hosting pro- 
vider," he says. "Since each company has different 
technology requirements and Web site objectives, it 
can help to create a list of things they feel are neces- 
sary to have both on their Web site and from their 
Web host." 

Businesses, Mauss says, should consider the fol- 
lowing: 

All-in-one packages. Does the company offer all 
of the tools you need? To avoid unexpected bills, 
make sure that a number of domains are included 
and Web site traffic is unlimited. 

Technical support. Does the provider offer 24/7 
technical support in case unexpected issues arise or 
questions need to be answered? 

Email. "An email account that is specific to the 
company will open up a direct communication avenue 
to help build business relationships," Mauss says. 
Its a good idea to consider Web hosts 
that offer email solutions alongside 
their Web site packages." 

Cloud Options. A relatively 
new strategy, cloud options allow 
^ business owners to access docu- 
ments, files, emails, and services 
%with just an Internet connec- 
tion. "The ability to access, edit, 
and store documents online 
can improve organization and 
efficiency of the business," Mauss says. 

Price. "Especially in today's economy, businesses 
need to explore different options in an effort to save 
on costs associated with e-business," Mauss says. 
"Comparing resources between Web hosts can have 
a positive impact on a company's bottom line." 






When considering a new Web site host, Matlack 
encourages users to look beyond the initial design 
process. "Think about how you will maintain, up- 
date, and improve your Web site over time," says 
Matlack. "Successful small businesses are continu- 
ously adapting to the needs of the market. A Web 






, !l 




Tip of the Week 



Morgan Estates: For Better Living 

We are a full-service real estate agency in the Wayne area. Our experienced and 
licensed brokers specialize in the purchase, sale and rental of residential 
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Got Questions? 

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contact us directly. 



Here are some great properties we Feel you should know about: 

Suburban Retreat 
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HL5#: 123^567 

Price: $ 960,000 
Description/ Features: Quie 
home, L200 sq. feet, 2 flooi 



floor 
bedro 



is, 2 baths, ga 



hire ;;;: 
ns,3 
i g e, ya rd , 




'ownhou.Ee Paradise 
Wayne, PA 1 9DS7 

ML5#: L234567 

Type: Multi-Unit 

Rent: $ S75/mo. plus utilities, 

Description/ Features: Central Wayne 

location in upscale neighborhood. 800 sq. 

ft,, 2 bedrooms, 1,5 baths, garage. 



-.i = 



ajk 









* 



This is just one example of the variety of Web sites that can be 
created using 1&1 Internet's Web site building services. 

site is not fire and forget. Being successful online re- 
quires the ability to make updates and adjustments 
on an ongoing basis." 

"Make your (hosting) decision based on how you 
will maintain your site, not how you'll get the initial 
design up and running," Matlack says. 

In today's technology-based world, a Web site 
is an important facet of your business. Many de- 
cisions are involved in designing a new Web site 
and securing a host for it. But online Web builder 
services ease the workload and the cost by pro- 
viding predesigned templates with prefilled text 
that you can edit and enhance at any time. "The 
impact of an Internet presence is unrivalled when 
it comes to reaching out to new markets and 
building brand awareness in the current tech- 
driven era," Mauss says. I 



by Kim Quade 



72 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



Corel WordPerfect Office X5 

Scrapbook: Working With Media Files 



Office Suite 
Intermediate 



How-To 



WordPerfect Office provides a tool for orga- 
nizing and inserting media files (clipart, 
photos, audio, and video) into your documents. 
The tool is called Scrapbook. It's accessible di- 
rectly from each Office X5 application: WordPer- 
fect, Quattro Pro, and Presentations. If you want 
to use media files in your documents, here's how 
to find and use Scrapbook. 

Find & Start Scrapbook 

To start Scrapbook, click Insert on the main 
menu bar. Select Graphics/Pictures from the 
drop -down menu, then select Clipart. This 
might lead you to believe you'll only be accessing 
WordPerfect Office stock clipart, but it actually 
brings up the Scrapbook media tool, providing 
you with access to all types of media. 



I Q Scrapbook 



1M 



Gipart | Photoa [ Sounds | Movies ] 



[My Favorites] 






r 



L 



WP0G1291.wpfl WPQ01302.WP3 WP00130S.wpg WPO0131O™pg WPQ0l3l4.wp g WP0Q132Q.wpg 



[ Import Ops-H 
[ Options... | 



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i=— .i 



WP001323.wpg WP0Q1324.wpg WPQQ1329wpg WP001333.wpg WP001348.wpg WP0Q1 349.wpg 



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WP00135E.«pg WPO0l3S3.wpg WP00l377,wpg WPD01 379,^3 WP002190.wpy WP002198.wpg 



Afc 



,U i U 



*. 




Scrapbook organizes your media files into clipart, photos, sounds, 
and movies. You can add your own media files by using Import. 



Work With Scrapbook Media Files 

Inserting a media file into your document 
from Scrapbook is simple. With Scrapbook 
open, click the appropriate tab: Clipart, Photos, 
Sounds, or Movies. Select the media file you want 
to add to your document. Then, click the Insert 
button in the lower right corner of the Scrapbook 
window. Double -clicking on the selected file also 
inserts it into your document. 

The thumbnails of clipart and photo files are 
enough to help you recognize what they are, but 



you might want to preview your sound and movie 
files before you insert them in your documents. To 
preview a sound or movie file, right- click the file 
and select Play from the pop -up menu. 

Once your media file is inserted in your docu- 
ment, you can resize it, reposition it, and change 
other properties specific to the media type. 

Add Media Files To Scrapbook 

There are two ways to add your own media 
files to Scrapbook. You can select media from a 
document or import select media files from your 
hard drive. 

To take media from an existing document, 
open the document in the appropriate application 
(WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, or Presentations). Se- 
lect the media file you want to copy to Scrapbook 
by clicking it in the document. With the file select- 
ed, click Edit on the main menu bar, then select 
Copy or Cut from the drop -down menu. Open 
Scrapbook. Select the appropriate tab for the me- 
dia file. Right-click anywhere in the icon window 
and select Paste from the pop-up menu. CTRL-V 
can also be used to insert the file. 

To import your own media files, select the 
Clipart, Photo, Sound, or Movie tab, depending 
on the type of media you want to import. Click 
Import Clips on the right side of the Scrapbook 
window. This opens a file navigation window. 
Notice that the file types (such as AVI, JPEG, and 
WPG) correspond to the type of media file appro- 
priate for the tab you selected. Navigate to the files 
you want to import, select them, and click Open. 

Organize Your Scrapbook 

Once you have all your files in Scrapbook, you 
might want to further categorize them. Click any 
one of the four Scrapbook tabs. Click Options 
on the right side of the Scrapbook window, then 
select Create Category. Type your new category 
name in the Display Name field and click OK. 
This will create a new category for your media 
files within the Scrapbook tab you selected. 

Every office uses media of various types in its 
documents. Scrapbook helps you organize those 
media files, making them easier to find and work 
with. I 

by Ron Keith 



Smart Computing / May 2011 73 



Quick Studies 



Quick Tips 



SECRETS FOR SUCCEEDING IN COMMON TASKS 



by Stephen J. Bigelow 



■ Heatsink Installation 

Question: The CPU heatsink fan 
stopped running so I'm taking the 
opportunity to install a new heatsink 
on my CPU. Do I really need the 
thermal grease between the CPU and 
heatsink? How much should I use? 

Answer: Yes, follow the installation 
directions that accompany the new 



□ Microsoft Word 2010 



heatsink and thermal compound. 
Here's what happens: In order to 
carry away the maximum amount of 
heat from the CPU to the heatsink, 
you need the maximum amount of 
surface area in contact between the 
CPU and heatsink. The problem is 
that even though the two surfaces 
may seem smooth and flush, there 
are countless microscopic pits or im- 
perfections on both surfaces 
that actually reduce the total 
contact surface area. 

A thin layer of thermal 
grease between the CPU 



Question: I just upgraded to Microsoft 
Word 2010, but it's a pretty different 
interface. Where are the options now, 
and how can I stop Word from flagging 
repeated words? 

Answer: The Word Options menu for 
Microsoft Word 2010 is actually easier to 
find than in earlier versions. Start Word and 
click the blue File tab. Now click Options 
on the left menu. (It's near the bottom of the 
list.) Select Proofing in the Word Options 
menu and then uncheck the Flag Repeated 
Words checkbox. Finally, click OK to save 
your changes. You can repeat this process 
to recheck the box and check for repeated 
words in the future. Remember to use Mi- 
crosoft Word Help 
(click the ques- 
tion mark icon 
in Word's upper- 
right corner) for 
more information 
about Word 20 10's 
new options. 



and heatsink will fill in those 
microscopic imperfections and ef- 
fectively increase the contact surface 
area. The trick is to use just a little 
grease. Remember that you want a 
fine layer to fill in those tiny gaps; 
you're not trying to spackle the two 
pieces together. 

If you install the heatsink cor- 
rectly, the new heatsink will be hotter 
than it would be without the thermal 
grease. You want this to happen. 
Think about it: The more heat carried 
into the heatsink, the less heat is left 
in the CPU. 



You can change the way 

that Word points out 

common errors, such as 

repeated words. 



^ 


y"j Changs how Word corrects and formats 


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■ Uninterruptible Power Supplies 

Question: I bought a small UPS for my PC, but the PC reboots 
when the power goes out, anyway. Is there a problem with the UPS 
or PC? How can I fix this? 

Answer: The UPS (uninterruptible power supply) switching time 
is probably too slow. When utility power fails, the UPS system must 
start converting battery power to AC and switch that "inverted" 
power to the PC. 

The problem is that switching takes time; it's a short period 
when there is no power to the PC. In most cases, switching takes 
just a few milliseconds (thousandths of a second), and the PC's 
power supply can power the system for that duration until the 

UPS battery power kicks in. However, defec- 
tive or underpowered UPS systems may take 
too long to switch or stabilize, and this al- 
lows the PC's power to drop off just enough 
to crash the system. 

First, take a look at what's attached to the 
UPS. Try to "lighten the load" on the UPS 
by unplugging laser printers, hard drives, 
and other accessories so that just the PC and 
monitor are connected. If the problem per- 
sists, the UPS may simply be poorly designed 
or undersized for the load it's being asked to 
handle. In that case, there's little choice but to 
select a more powerful UPS. 






I <* l l 



74 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



QUICK TIPS: SECRETS FOR SUCCEEDING IN COMMON TASKS 



■ Windows 7 Password 

Question: How can I make Win- 
dows 7 require a password each time I 
open the lid on my laptop? I don't want 
anyone snooping while I step away 

Answer: It's a good idea to require 
a password each time the PC comes 



back from a standby or hibernate 
mode. If your Win7 system isn't 
already configured to require a pass- 
word, click Start, Control Panel, and 
then Hardware And Sound. In the 
Power Options area, click Change 
What The Power Buttons Do. In the 
Password Protection 



On Wakeup area, select the Require 
A Password radio button. Then just 
click the Save Changes button to 
set your changes. Now, each time 
the system returns from a sleep or 
hibernate mode, you'll need to enter 
that user's password. 



■ Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 

Question: How do I stop Micro- 
soft PowerPoint 2010 from show- 
ing a black screen at the end of 
the presentation? 

Answer: Many users don't like 
that black screen, but you can stop 
it with a simple checkbox. Start 
PowerPoint 2010, click the blue File 
tab, and then select Options on the 
left menu. (It's near the bottom of 
the list.) Select the Advanced option 
in the PowerPoint Options menu, 
scroll down to the Slide Show area 



Cable Management 



and uncheck the End 
With Black Slide 
checkbox. Click OK 
to save your changes. 
You can always turn 
the feature back 
on later. 

PowerPoint lets you adjust 

the way that slideshows are 

displayed or cycled. 



□ Windows Media Player 




Question: I'm putting a new hard 
drive into my PC. Does it matter 
how I route the cables? Should they 
run along the chassis or over expan- 
sion cards? Any advice? 

Answer: You don't say what kind of 
hard drives or cabling you're working 
with, but there are a couple of guide- 
lines to follow. If you're working with 
traditional SCSI (Small Computer 
System Interface) or ATA (Advanced 
Technology Attachment) parallel 

cables, problems such as crosstalk and electrical interference 
from other devices in the PC can be a real problem. In this 
case, keep the cables short and route them away from the 
motherboard, power supply, fans, and other high-energy 
devices in the enclosure. 

Today's SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attach- 
ment) and Serial Attached SCSI hard drives use shielded 



Question: My Windows Media Player often drops frames when playing 
DVDs because I'm always running a bunch of applications. How can I keep 
the audio and video in sync? 

Answer: Today's PCs generally offer plenty of processing power, and 
audio/video de-synchronization problems are quite rare now. If your DVDs 
are de- synchronizing on a PC that's less than a few years old, you're probably 
running a battery of extremely demanding applications. If that's the case, 
you should seriously consider closing some of those applications, or perhaps 
think about watching your DVDs on another system or DVD player. 

In the meantime, launch Windows Media Player, click Organize, select 
Options, and then click the Performance tab. In the DVD And Video Play- 
back Area, check the Drop Frames To Keep Audio And Video Synchronized 
checkbox and then click OK to save your changes. 



V. 



serial cables, which are a lot more tolerant to electrical 
noise, interference, and length. In this case, you needn't 
worry about the drive cabling as much. It doesn't hurt to 
keep the box neat, but don't bother tying things back. It's 
actually more important to keep cables away from moving 
fan blades and pinch points that can damage or sever the 
drive cables. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 75 



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Personal Technology 



Readers'Tips 



Have you come across 
a fast, easy way to 
solve a computing 
problem? We'd love 
to hear about it! If you 
have a great tip you'd 
like to share with 
Smart Computing's 
readers, just email it 
to us at readerstips@ 
smartcomputing.com. 
Please include your 
first name, last name, 
and address so that 
we can give you credit 
if we print the tip. Try 
to limit your tip to 
200 words or fewer. 
Not all tips received 
will be printed, and 
tips will be edited for 
length and clarity. 



Short & Simple Tips 
To Make Things Easier 



Compiled by Nathan Lake 



Move Paragraphs 

In a recent daily tip, Smart Computing discussed 
how to shift paragraphs in Microsoft Word by 
highlighting the block of text, pressing ALT- 
SHIFT, and using the Up or Down arrow keys 
to move the paragraph around. I've found that 
it's easier to highlight the text, choose the high- 
lighted section, and hold the left mouse button 
while I move the cursor to the section where I 
want it to appear. The result is the same as using 
the keyboard without the extra keystrokes. 

Bob B., Carlisle, Pa. 



Cable Ties 

I save the ribbon lock seals from bags of coffee 
for securing my cables and other wires. Com- 
pared to wire ties with sharp edges that can 
damage the insulation on the wire, the ribbon 
locks are soft and flexible. I also like that the 
ribbon locks can be reused. 

Walter O., Austell, Ga. 




Email Text Readability 

If you find that text in a received email is 
too small to comfortably read, select the 
Forward option in your email client and 
edit the font size or font style to suit your 
needs. For printing, you can forward the 
email to yourself, so you can have a copy 
of the email in the larger and more read- 
able font size. You don't even need to 
wait for your Internet service provider to 
send it back to you. Just visit your Sent 
folder, open the forwarded message, 
and print it. 

Bill C, Alfred Station, N.Y. 



Cookie Removal 

I place a shortcut on my Desktop for each of 
the hidden folders where cookies are stored 
in Windows Vista. This way, it only takes 



me a second to delete the cookies, and I can 
easily check to see if a Web site left a cookie 
behind. Here are the folder locations for the 
shortcuts on my computer that runs Win- 
dows Vista Ultimate: 

C:\USERS\< Your 2Vame>\ APPDAIAAROAM- 
ING\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\Cookies 
C:\USERS\< Your Name>\APPDATA\ROAM- 
ING\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\COOK- 
IES\Low 

David C, Clearwater, Fla. 



Event Viewer To The Rescue 

In an effort to discover why my computer 
took so long to start up, I opened Windows' 
Event Viewer (click the Start button, type 
Event Viewer in the Search box, and click 
Event Viewer) and found a system error was 
occurring every time I started the computer. 
When I opened the recurring error mes- 
sage, the description said "The CUE Device- 
Discovery Service hung on starting." 

I searched for "CUE DeviceDiscovery" on the 
Web and found that the service goes along with 
my all-in-one printer. To my surprise, when I 
looked for CUE DeviceDiscovery in the Start- 
up tab of MSCONFIG (type msconfig.EXE 
into the Start Search box and click Msconfig. 
EXE), the manufacturer of CUE DeviceDiscov- 
ery service was listed as Microsoft Corpora- 
tion, instead of my printer manufacturer. Thus, 
it disappeared when I would click the Hide All 
Microsoft Services checkbox. To fix the issue, 
I used the Services.MSC feature of Windows 
(type Services.MSC into the Start Search box 
and click Services.MSC) to stop and disable the 
CUE DeviceDiscovery service. Now, my com- 
puter starts in half the time, and I was able to fix 
the same issue on our other computer running 
Windows XP. 

Gaetan D., Mont-St-Hilaire, QC, Canada 



78 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Personal Technology 



Ovat 



1^^ IA Each month, the Smart Computing staff gets to work with all kinds of new computing and 
^J I consumer electronics products. Here are some of the most exciting products to cross our desks. 



Compiled by Joshua Culick 



CarMD Vehicle Health System 

$119.85 I CarMD I www.carmd.com 




Software error messages are very specific. Sure, they often have 
nearly indecipherable descriptions, but if you can figure out what the 
message is saying, it will usually point you to a particular problem and 
a particular cause. Your car's Check Engine light, on the other hand, 
alerts you only that something (out of a pile of possibilities) is wrong. 
To find the problem, you'll need to take it to the mechanic — unless you 

have CarMD. Connect CarMD to 
your car and you'll immediately 
know whether a problem 
exists (thanks to built-in 
indicators). Connect it to 
your computer and CarMD 
will tell you exactly what the 
problem is. It can also help you 
determine a fair price for the repair. 
CarMD supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 
and Mac OS X 1 0.4 and newer. 



MLB-Branded DataStick Keychain 

$22.99 (2GB) | Centon Electronics | www.centon.com/branded/mlb 

If there's one thing I don't like about flash drives, it's that they're so easy 
to lose. First, I misplace the cap, which means the drive's USB connec- 
tor is exposed to the elements (not to mention pocket lint). But the 
cap is the least of my worries, because I typically lose the drive before 
I manage to break it. Centon's MLB-Branded DataStick Keychain is the 
answer for people who are as hard on their flash drives as I am. The 
drive's USB connector retracts into 
the keychain (thanks to a switch 
on its back), so it's safe amongst 
your keys. Speaking of keys, the 
keychain aspect of the drive 
makes it tough to lose. (If I lose 
my keys, I have bigger problems 
than a lost drive.) And the icing 
on the cake: The drive sports 
the logo of your favorite Major 
League Baseball team. Take your 
pick from 2-, 4-, 8-, or 1 6GB drives. 





Live! Cam Chat HD 

$49.99 | Creative Technology 
us.store.creative.com 



It takes two to video chat, which can be 
a problem if one of you lacks the tech 
savvy to set up a Web cam. How many 
people would you love to video chat 
with — but never do, because they'll have 
trouble installing the camera? They are 
perfect candidates for Creative's new 
Live! Cam Chat HD, because it doesn't 
require you to install drivers. (It uses 
drivers already in Windows.) As soon as 
I plugged the camera (which provides a 
high-definition, 720p resolution during 
video chats) into my computer's USB 
2.0 port, I was able to use it with Gmail's 
chat feature (www.gmail.com) and Skype 
(www.skype.com). That's right — I didn't 

install any software; I plugged the 
camera in, and it worked. Voice 
and video quality were excel- 
lent, and the camera handled my 
dimly lit room without trouble. 
Later, I downloaded Creative's 
handy (and free) Live! Central 3 
Lite software so I could record 
videos of myself. The camera 
supports WinXP/Vista/7 (I tested 
it on Win7), Mac OS X 1 0.5 and 
Linux 2.6. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 79 



Tech Support 



Solve Problems With 

Communication 
Software 




These days, it's hard to imagine 
having business or personal com- 
munications without instant mes- 
saging. The market is filled with scores 
if not hundreds of feature -rich options, 
from single -network clients such as 
Skype to enterprise social software 
such as Yammer. Unfortunately, with 
more features and complexity comes 
more propensity for occasional techni- 
cal hiccups. We'll walk through several 
of the major IM (instant messaging) 
apps and help you clear up some of the 
most common glitches. 

Problem: Skype reports a message 
that it "can't hear you very well." 



Solution: Often, the most common 
problems are the simplest to solve, and 
this one is no exception. It's very likely 
that the computer is not receiving au- 
dio signals from your microphone. The 
challenge is to figure out where in the 
chain from mic to Skype the break has 
happened, so follow the chain. Many 
people find that they've accidentally 
muted or dialed down the input level 
on the headset's inline controller. Some- 
times the microphone cable will come 
loose from where it plugs into the PC, 
so check that connection. Within Skype, 
go to Tools, Options, General, and Au- 
dio Settings. Next, make sure that the 



correct microphone input source is se- 
lected. You can also try unchecking the 
Automatically Adjust Microphone Set- 
tings option and setting the microphone 
volume slider to High. If your mic de- 
vice is not shown in the Microphone 
drop -down menu, then you may have 
a driver issue with your sound adapter. 
Try uninstalling and then reinstalling 
your audio adapter's driver software. 

Problem: Skype consistently exhib- 
its poor sound quality. 

Solution: There are many possible 
causes for this, starting with your ISP 
(Internet service provider) and pos- 
sible data traffic congestion in your 
neighborhood. Obviously, you have no 
control over this. You can make sure 
you're using the latest software versions 
possible, including for Skype and your 
sound drivers, as newer versions may 
include some audio stream quality op- 
timizations. Also examine what other 
applications you have open. If compet- 
ing apps are sucking up a lot of CPU or 
network bandwidth, this can definitely 
impact audio performance. Close all 
apps possible and see if this makes a 
difference to your audio. 

Skype also recommends deleting 
your Windows system's Shared.xml file. 
To do this, close Skype, then right-click 
the Skype icon in the System Tray and 
select Quit. Next, go into Control Pan- 
el's Folder Options area (view by small 
icons if you don't immediately see 
this). Select the View tab and, under 
Advanced settings, select Show Hidden 
Files, Folders, And Drives. Click Ap- 
ply and OK. Now go to this folder: C:\ 
USERS\<yowr username>\APPDATA\ 
ROAMING\Skype. Find the Shared, 
xml file within this folder and delete it. 
Restart Skype. 

Problem: There is no video shown 
from your Web cam in Skype. 

Solution: Before anything else, use the 
same device-to-system thought process 
for your Web cam as previously outlined 
regarding microphones. Is there a lens 
cover still on? Is the camera plugged in 
and turned on? If you unplug and re- 
plug the Web cam, does Windows sud- 



80 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Most microphone 

problems originate 

either with the 

inline mic control or 

the system's audio 

driver, both of which 

are easy to remedy. 




denly recognize the device and utilize 
it properly? 

After the obvious, things get trickier. 
You could have a conflict with another 
program also trying to use the Web cam. 
This could include everything from a 
Web site to a video editor. If in doubt, 
reboot the system and try Skype before 
starting any other programs. Next, click 
a contact and select Skype's Check Set- 
tings button, go to the Webcam tab of 
the pop-up, and, if necessary, use the 
Check Call Quality Guide to guide you 
through some possible solutions. 

Quite often, Web cam problems stem 
from using an outdated version of Di- 
rectX. Use the Windows Update feature 
of your system and make sure that no 
newer DirectX versions are available. If 
this seems in order, proceed to the Con- 
trol Panel, click Hardware And Sound, 
and select the Device Manager under 
Devices And Printers. Open the Imaging 
Devices item and confirm that your Web 
cam is listed and does not have an error 
exclamation mark next to it. If it does, 
or if it's not listed, reinstall your Web 
cams drivers. 

Problem: When trying to sign 
in to Google Talk, you receive this 
error message (or similar): "Con- 
necting to Google Talk network has 
failed due to an expired authentica- 
tion certificate. The common cause 
of this expired certificate is due to 
time differences between your com- 
puter and the Google Talk network." 

Solution: Telling time is straightfor- 
ward enough, but there are three things 
to check for to make sure your systems 
time is really correct. First, click the 



time on your Taskbar and then click the 
Change Date And Time Settings link. If 
Windows isn't showing the correct time, 
use the Change Date And Time button 
to modify the time setting. Next, con- 
firm that you have the correct time zone 
selected for your location. (This can be 
a surprise gotcha for mobile systems.) 
Lastly, while in the Time Zone Settings 
window, make sure that the Automati- 
cally Adjust Clock For Daylight Saving 
Time option is checked. 

Problem: Google Talk won't con- 
nect to the network after you config- 
ure the service in a third-party client. 

Solution: Many third-party clients 
can manage Google Talk traffic, but oc- 
casionally, you may run afoul of some 
network restrictions caused by network 
or system firewalls. To see if this is the 



case, click Start and in the Search field, 
type cmd and press ENTER. At the com- 
mand prompt, type telnet talk.google 
.com 5222 and then press ENTER. If the 
screen clears, then you don't have a con- 
nection problem caused by a firewall. If 
the screen doesn't clear or if you get a 
connection error, you do have a prob- 
lem. In this case, consult your firewall's 
documentation and configure a manual 
rule for permitting Google Talk traffic. 

Problem: The Yammer desktop app 
is nowhere to be seen while the tool is 
open and running within Windows. 

Solution: Yammer runs on Adobe's 
AIR engine, and sometimes AIR apps 
are prone to disappearing in areas 
that aren't viewable on the Windows 
Desktop. Yammer Support notes that 
this is especially observed on systems 
with two or more displays. Fortunately, 
there's an easy fix: Right- click Yam- 
mer's System Tray icon and select Reset 
Window. The app should return to its 
default position in plain sight. 

Problem: Running AIM (AOL Instant 
Messenger) in Windows Vista generates 
the error message: "Connection Status 
Unknown: Server Execution Failed." 

Solution: First, uninstall AIM through 
the Control Panel's Uninstall A Program 
area. (You may keep Personal Data and 









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Smart Computing / May 2011 81 



Tech Support 



A little glitch in 

Windows Vista 

can cause AIM 

to not function 

properly, but a 

little UAC tweak 

and an OS patch 

should remedy 

matters. 

Runtime software 
and Windows 
Vista don't always 
play well together, 
and in the fray, 
Yahoo! Messenger 
sometimes suf- 
fers. Fortunately, 
reinstallations 
often solve the 
problem. 



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t Microsoft Windows 



Yahoo.Messenger.YmApp has stopped working 

A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. 
Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is 
available. 



I fefajiia.. 



Close program 



IM Archives if you like.) When done, 
reboot the system. Now, go back into the 
Control Panel. Under User Accounts And 
Family Safety, click User Accounts and 
click the Turn User Account Control On 
Or Off link. You want to have the Use User 
Account Control option checked. Click 
OK and then restart. 

Next, you'll need a Windows Vista 
patch called KB929451. (Go to www 
.microsoft.com/downloads and search 
for "929451.") This remedies a bug that 
can cause network adapters to register 
an invalid IP (Internet Protocol) address. 
If you're prompted to download a plug- 
in for Windows Genuine Advantage, go 
ahead and do that. Once the Vista patch is 
installed, perform a new AIM download 
and installation via www.aim.com. 

Problem: The following error mes- 
sage appears while using Yahoo! 
Messenger in Windows Vista: "Ya- 
hoo.Messenger.YmApp has stopped 
working. A problem has caused the 
program to stop working correctly." 

Solution: This maddeningly vague 
error occurs in many programs, but 
with Yahoo! Messenger, the cause is 
typically related to faulty or conflicting 
runtime components. Usually, a little 
updating will set matters right. From 



the Control Panel, select Uninstall A 
Program and remove every version 
of the following titles: Java, Microsoft 
.NET Framework, and Microsoft Vi- 
sual C++. When done, reboot the PC. 

Now it's time to find and download 
the following software items. Begin with 
using Windows Update and, if necessary, 
perform Web searches to find the rest: 

Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista 



Internet Explorer 8 or later 
Visual C++ Runtime 2005 
Visual C++ Runtime 2010 
Microsoft .NET Framework 4 
DirectX Runtime Web Installer 
Java Runtime Environment 
When all installations are com- 
plete, reboot again and then restart 
Yahoo! Messenger. 

Problem: ICQ loses its connection 
to the Internet or ICQ's servers. 

Solution: As you would suspect, if the 
problem rests with the Internet connec- 
tion, causes could range from your ISP 
to your network adapter and all points in 
between. Fortunately, if other Internet- 
connected apps are still working nor- 
mally, you can rule this out. If you shut 
down and restart ICQ and it still resists 
holding a connection, click Main and 
select Options. Under Advanced, click 
Connections and Manual Settings. Un- 
der ICQ Server, change the 5190 default 
setting to 443. Click OK. 

Note that ICQ, like many other com- 
munications programs, may be blocked 
by firewall software. ICQ, for example, 
can trigger some firewalls to ask for ap- 
proval on "Icqlite.exe" connections. You 
may need to approve these manually. I 

by William Van Winkle 



Google Talk 



talP 



urn 

Inbox | Settings 1 Help 
@gmail.com 



Connecting t 



Gmaii usen 



Password 



0Rememfc 



Connecting to Google Talk servers has failed due to an expired 
authentication certificate. The common cause of this expired 
certificate is due to time differences between your computer and the 
Google Talk servers. Please verify your computer's clock settings 
and then press Retry, 



Retry 



Forgot your password? 

Pom have Cmaii? 
Sign up using your mobile phone 



Differences in clock time 
between your system 
and Google's servers can 
cause certificate errors. 
Make sure your settings 
are correct. 



82 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



How To Install 



An All-in-One Printer 




The office printer is often the cen- 
tral hub for any SOHO (small of- 
fice/home office) or small business 
setting. All-in-one printers are great 
for these environments because they 
have multiple functions and can be 
used for a variety of tasks. However, 
because these printers have so many 
features, the setup and installation pro- 
cess involves a few extra steps to com- 
plete. Using the Epson WorkForce 840 
($299.99; www.epson.com) as an ex- 
ample, we'll show you how to set up the 
printing, copying, scanning, and faxing 
features of your printer, as well as show 
you how to connect your printer to a 
wired or wireless network so every em- 
ployee can have access to it. 




The Epson WorkForce 
840 all-in-one printer 
prints, scans, copies, 
and faxes. It supports a 
wired network 
connection with an 
Ethernet cable or 
wireless connection 
via built-in Wi-Fi. The 
touchscreen lets you 
navigate the menu to 
check ink levels and 
access other features. 



Step 1 : Check Your Components 

Open the printer s box and make sure 
you have all of the components that are 
supposed to be included. Most packages 
come with the printer itself and its power 
cable, starter ink cartridges (that some- 
times have less capacity than cartridges 
that are sold separately), a software disc, 
and a users guide or other set of instruc- 
tions. Note that printers don't normally 
come with a USB or Ethernet cable, so 
you'll need to purchase one separately, 
depending on how you want to connect 
your printer. Epson printed a "What's In 
The Box" list on the side of the box so 
we were able to check and make sure all 
of the necessary components were in- 
cluded. After you make sure you aren't 
missing anything and you have a USB 
or Ethernet cable, you're ready to move 
onto the next step. 

Step 2: Basic Setup 

Take the printer out of the box 
and start the basic setup process. You 
should look at the manual or instruc- 
tions that come with the printer be- 
cause it will tell you in what order you 



should complete the following tasks. 
First, remove any tape or protective 
covering from the outside of the print- 
er. Then, plug the printer into a power 
source and press the Power button 
(don't connect the USB or Ethernet 
cable yet). After the printer finishes its 
startup process, find the ink cartridges 
and install them. The WorkForce 840 
had four separate cartridges, one for 
black ink and three for color. The ink 
bay should be color-coded so you'll 
know where each cartridge fits. Before 
you install them, remove any plastic 
covering or tape. The manual will tell 
you what you should remove so you 
don't damage the cartridges. When 
finished, you can close the ink bay. 
The printer will run through a prim- 
ing process so it will be ready to print. 

Step 3: Install & Connect 

You can now install the software and 
connect the printer to your wired or wire- 
less network. The software included with 
your printer contains multiple drivers, as 
well as additional programs that will make 
the printer easier to use. Put the disc in 
your computer, and an installation menu 



Smart Computing / May 2011 83 



Tech Support 



WorkForce 840 Series 



Select Your Connection 



r Wireless connection 

Add the printer to my existing network, or set up 
this computer to print over my network. 

f" Direct USB connection 

Connect the printer directly to my computer 
with a USB cable (not included). 

C Wired network connection 

Add the printer to my existing Ethernet network, 
or set up this computer to print over my network. 



© Bock O Next 



The Select Your Connection screen lets you 
choose a wireless, direct USB, or wired network 
connection. Remember that neither an Ethernet 
nor a USB cable is included, so you'll need to 
purchase one separately. 

should pop up. Click Install and follow 
the on-screen prompts. The first choice 
you have to make is what type of connec- 
tion you need. The options are direct USB 
connection (which will only let you print 
from that specific computer), wireless 
connection, and wired network connec- 
tion. Because this printer will be used for 
your business, we'll show you how to set 
up both a wired and wireless connection. 
Remember that you shouldn't connect the 
USB or Ethernet cable until the software 
tells you to do so. 

Wireless network. For a wireless 
network, click the radio button next 
to Wireless Connection and click 
Next. Then, select Set Up Printer For 
The First Time and click Next. Here, 
you have two choices: You can either 
choose Using Temporary USB Cable 
Connection or Using Printer Buttons. 
We recommend the first option so you 
don't have to enter your network infor- 
mation directly into the printer. The 
software will now install the drivers 
and other utilities. Eventually, the soft- 
ware will prompt you to connect the 
USB cable. After you do this, the instal- 
lation will continue. Click Next to start 
the network setup process. EpsonNet 
Setup should automatically discover 
the network you are connected to, so 
once this box pops up, click Yes. If you 
have security settings on your wireless 
network, you'll need to enter your se- 
curity key or password now. Click Next 
to connect the printer to your network. 



You can then load paper into the paper 
tray and click Print Test Page to make 
sure the printer is working correctly. If 
the test page looks good, click Finish. 

The software will then ask you if you 
want to set up the fax functionality of the 
printer. Click No, as we will show you how 
to do this later. The Epson software gave 
us the option to install bonus software, 
which included a photo printing program 
as well as a few others. You should look 
through these extras and see if they are 
relevant to your business needs. 



Wired network. For wired connec- 
tions, insert the software disc and click 
Install. On the Select Connection screen, 
click the radio button next to Wired Net- 
work Connection and click Next. Click 
Set Up Printer For The First Time and 
click Next. The software will ask you to 
connect the printer to your wired router, 
and then the rest of the installation pro- 
cess is the same as previously described. 

For both wired and wireless connec- 
tions, you'll need to install the software 
on each computer that needs access to the 




It's important to print a test page to make sure the printer is working correctly. If the test page doesn't look 
right, you may need to use the Maintenance tool in the printer's Setup menu to solve the problem. 



84 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 




If you need to connect the printer to a 
different wireless network or reconnect 
it to your current one, you can use the 
touchscreen menu to find an available 
network, enter the password, and 
connect to it. 



printer. (NOTE: If you ever need to down- 
load new drivers for this specific printer, 
you can visit Epsons Web site at tinyurl 
xom/workforce840 and select a download 
from the list. You can also update drivers 
using Epsons software. Click Start and All 
Programs. Click Epson, Epson WorkForce 
840 Series, and then Driver Update.) 

Step 4: Test The Copier & Scanner 

Your device should now be printing 
properly, but that is only one of its func- 
tions. We recommend making a copy 
of the test page in color and black-and- 
white to make sure the copier function 
works. Compare the copy to the original 
and check to see if there are any major 
differences between the two. Next, scan 
the same test page and make sure this 
process works, as well. If there are any 
problems, you can find support in the 
Epson software you installed to your 
computer. Click Start, All Programs, 
and Epson. Here, you'll find scanner- 
specific support, online support, and a 
digital version of the users guide. 

Step 5: Set Up Fax Capabilities 

You'll first need to connect your 
printer to your phone line before 
starting the setup process. Now you're 
ready to customize your printer's fax 



settings using the included software. 
Click Start, All Programs, and Epson. 
Next, click Epson Software and Fax 
Utility. This menu lets you view past 
fax transmissions as well as change 
settings related to your printer's fax 
function. First, click Fax Settings For 
Printer next to Fax Settings. Then, 
select the printer in the drop -down 
menu and click Fax Settings next to 



Photo Printing & More 

" any all-in-one printers have 
photo printing capabilities so this 
is another feature you should set up 
and test during the printer installation 
process. Photo printing is great for busi- 
nesses that want to print brochures or 
other resources that need to be higher 
quality than regular prints. The Work- 
Force 840 has memory card slots and a 
USB port so you can print directly from 
your camera's memory card and mobile 
devices, but you can also print photos 
from your computer or use the copier 
function to make copies of photos. You 
should consider purchasing specially 
designed photo paper if you want the 
highest quality prints. Remember that 
the higher the quality, the more ink 
your printer will use. 



Tool. Click Next and enter your fax 
information. When you're finished, 
you should go back to the Fax Settings 
For Printer menu and click Check Fax 
Connection. This will send a test page 
through fax to make sure the phone 
line and printer are connected and 
working correctly. 

Tips For The Future 

Even though your printer is set up, 
installed, and ready to use, there are 
still a few things you should keep in 
mind for the future. If the printing 
quality degrades for any reason, you 
can check some of the components to 
see if they are causing the problem. For 
instance, in the WorkForce 840's touch- 
screen menu, press Setup and then 
Maintenance. You can perform an ink 
nozzle check, clean or align the print 
head, or safely replace ink cartridges 
using the available menu options. You 
can also check your ink levels by press- 
ing Setup and Ink Levels. You should 
become familiar with how quickly your 
printer uses ink so you can always have 
extra cartridges on hand, especially if 
you plan on frequently printing color 
documents and photos. I 

by Josh Compton 



Smart Computing / May 2011 85 



Tech Support 



SOFTWARE UPDATES 



When it comes to protecting your software, installing the latest updates is one of the most 

important steps you can take. Software updates fix bugs, plug security holes, and sometimes 

even add new features. Here are the updates you should know about this month. 

Compiled by Heidi V. Anderson 



Windows 7 

UPDATE: SP1 (Service Pack 1) 
includes security, performance, and 
stability updates for Windows 7, along 
with improvements such as restoring 
folders in Windows Explorer after 
restarting your system. 
INSTALLATION: Microsoft recom- 
mends you install SP1 through the auto- 
matic Windows Update tool. To turn on 
Windows Update (or verify it is on), go 
to the Start menu, select Control Panel, 
and click the System And Security link. 
Click the Windows Update link. In the 
left pane, click Change Settings. In the 
Important Updates drop-down menu, 
make sure the Install Updates Automati- 
cally (Recommended) option is selected. 
Click OK. Windows 7 will let you know 
when SP1 is ready to install. 

If you are not prompted to install 
SP1, open Windows Update and click 
Check For Updates. Click the [X] Im- 
portant Up date (s) Is Available link and 
place a check mark in the box next to 



Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Click OK. 
The update may take about half an 
hour; you will be prompted to restart 
your computer during installation. 

Acrobat & Adobe Reader 10 

UPDATE: Acrobat and Adobe Reader 
10.0.1 is a quarterly update that con- 
tains more than a dozen security and 
stability fixes and improvements to 
features including Flash, QTP inte- 
gration, and enhanced signed PDF 
(Portable Document Format) files. 
INSTALLATION: Point your browser 
to www.adobe.com. Select the Down- 
loads tab and click the Product Updates 
link on the right side of the page. In 
the Find Product Updates drop-down 
menu, select Adobe Reader or Acrobat 
(whichever program you wish to up- 
date — the following steps are the same 
for both) for your OS and click the Go 
button. Locate version 10.0.1 for Tier 1 
languages (which are English, French, 
German, and Japanese) and click it. 





^ ^ 


^J3^- )» tl M Windows Update ► Seiect updates to install w 4-f | Search Control Panel P 




Select the updates you want to install 


Name Size Windows 7 Service 










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Optional (3) windows 7 (1) ^ Windows 7 Service Pack 


W\ Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for x&4-based Svs... 73.6 MB - 892.6... : IS a recommerded | 




collection of updates 




and improvements to 




Windows that are 




combined into a single 




installable update. The 




service pack can help 




make your computer 




safer and more reliable. 




A typical installation will 




take about 30 minutes 




to complete, and you 


will have to restart your 


computer about halfway T 








Total selected: 2 important updates [ OK [ Cancel | 



If you choose not to use 
the automatic Windows 
Update tool, you can 
manually install critical 
updates such as 
Windows 7 SP1. 



Click the Proceed To Download button. 
Click the Download Now button. In 
the dialog box, click Save File. After the 
MSP file has downloaded, double-click 
it and click Open to begin installation. 

0pen0ffice.0rg 3 

UPDATE: You'll find more than two 
dozen enhancements in the Open- 
OfTice.org 3.3 update, such as en- 
hanced fonts, improved charting 
capabilities, a common search toolbar, 
and a revamped print interface. 
INSTALLATION: Go to download 
.openoffice.org and click Download 
OpenOffice.org 3.3.0. A dialog box 
will appear in a few moments. In the 
dialog box, click Save File. After the 
file has downloaded to your computer, 
double-click the EXE file. In the User 
Account Control dialog box, click Yes 
to start the installation process. 

Office 2010 

UPDATE: This update for 32-bit and 
64-bit editions of Microsoft Office 
2010 is designed to fix problems with 
updates for Microsoft Office 2010 that 
you attempt via Windows Update or 
Microsoft Update. 

INSTALLATION: Open your browser 
to support.microsoft.com/kb/2494 1 50. 
Click either Download The 32-Bit Ver- 
sion Of The Microsoft Office 2010 Up- 
date Package Now or Download The 
64-Bit Version Of The Microsoft Office 
2010 Update Package Now. Click the 
Download button and save the file to 
your hard drive. Then, double-click it 
to begin installing the update. 



86 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



SOFTWARE UPDATES 



Quicken 2011 

UPDATE: The R8 update for Quicken 
201 1 fixes a variety of issues related to 
registers and online banking. It corrects 
problems with deleting and cutting 
transactions as well as selecting file 
attachments. It resolves inconsistencies 
with online transfers being incorrectly 
recorded in Quicken, and it improves 
the associated error messages. Plus, it 
helps pinpoint why transactions may be 
missing in Schedule C reports. 
INSTALLATION: Before you install the 
update, confirm you have completed all 
previous online sessions (via the Online 
Center under the Tools menu in the 
Quicken software). Then, if you do not 
have Quicken configured to alert you to 
updates, you can install updates manu- 
ally. Head to quicken.intuit.com and 
click the Support tab at the top of the 
page. In the Answers To Top Questions 
section, select the Installing/Updating 
Quicken tab. Click the Quicken Update 
Files link. Then, click the Quicken 201 1 
link. We recommend you carefully read 
the "Before you update" information 
at the top of the Release Notes page, 
because it contains special instructions 
to prepare your system for the manual 
update. Then, select the Click Here link 




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The Safari 5.0.4 
Windows update fixes 
previous problems in 
the layout of printed 
Web pages. 



in the Instructions section to begin 
installing the update. 

Safari 5 

UPDATE: The Safari 5.0.4 for Windows 
update improves stability, compatibility, 
accessibility, and security. It fixes issues 
that cause Web pages to print incor- 
rectly, prevent HTML5 video from 
playing on YouTube, and display content 
improperly on Web pages with plug-ins. 
INSTALLATION: Visit www.apple 
.com and click the Support tab. In the 
search field, type DL1070 to call up the 
Safari 5.0.4 page. Click the Download 
button. Next, choose the radio button 



for Safari 5.0.4 or Safari 5.0.4+Quick- 
Time (for Windows XP, Vista, or 7), and 
click Download Now. Save the file and 
double-click it to begin installation. 

Thunderbird 3 

UPDATE: This 3.1.9 update to Mozillas 
Thunderbird email client fixes a possible 
crash after updating to Thunderbird 3.1.8. 
INSTALLATION: You can manually 
install the update via the Web by heading 
to www.mozillamessaging.com. Click the 
Download Thunderbird button. Once 
the Thunderbird 3.1.9 file is downloaded, 
locate it on your hard drive and double- 
click to start the installation process. I 



Update Of The Month 



Internet Explorer 9 

UPDATE: This latest version of Internet Explorer has a 
slew of new features and enhancements, including Web 
sites that load more quickly, color-coded tabs, Windows 
7 integration, built-in filters, streamlined navigation, load 
times for add-ons, and much more. 

INSTALLATION: Go to www.microsoft.com, click the 
Products tab, and select Internet Explorer 9 from the 
context menu. What you see next will depend upon your 
browser or system. If you see a Select Your Version drop- 
down menu, select your version and click the Download 
Now button on the IE home page. Or, you may see a page 
with a version already chosen for you. In that case, click 



the Download Now button on the IE home page. If the 
version chosen for you is incorrect (or you're on another 
operating system), click the Other Versions link, select 
your setup from the Windows Version drop-down menu, 
and click the Download button. (NOTE: To determine 
whether you re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version, go to the 
Start menu, right-click Computer, and select Properties. In 
the right pane, look for the System Type information.) 

Then, in the File Download dialog box, click the Run 
button. In the User Account Control dialog box, click 
Continue. Click Restart Now to restart your computer and 
complete the installation, or click Restart Later to continue 
working. In the latter case, IE9 will finish installing the 
next time you start your computer. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 87 



Tech Support 




Need help with your hardware or software? Looking for simple 
explanations on technical subjects? Send us your questions! 

Get straight answers to your technical questions from Smart Computing. Send your questions, 
along with a phone and/or fax number, so we can call you if necessary, to: Smart Computing Q&A, 
P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501, or email us at q&a@smartcomputing.com. Please include all 
version numbers for the software about which you're inquiring, operating system information, and 
any relevant information about your system. (Volume prohibits individual replies.) 



Multimedia 




Hardware 



m 



I use a Canon HD video camera for my home 
videos. To edit my home videos, I use Corel 
VideoStudio software. I add all my video files 
to the timeline edit as needed. When done, 
I click the Share tab and then Create Disc. 
There are two project formats to choose 
from: DVD-Video and AVCHD. I'm assuming 
that the AVCHD is the better quality format. 
Should AVCHD be burned onto a BD (Blu- 
ray Disc) instead of a regular DVD? When I 
burn onto a regular DVD DL (double layer), it 
freezes up when watching it. 

A Whenever you have the option to choose 
AVCHD over DVD-Video, choose 
AVCHD. AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding 



High Definition) was designed for recording 
and playing HD video you capture with your 
HD video camera. AVCHD can be used for 
all of the versions of HD: 720p, 1080i, and 
1080p. It can also be used for SD (standard- 
definition) video. If you choose DVD-Video in 
Corel VideoStudio, you'll be converting your 
HD footage into SD video, with a correspond- 
ing loss of picture quality 

The AVCHD format can be used with both 
traditional DVDs as well as BDs. We normally 
recommend burning HD video onto a BD, as 
most Blu-ray players can easily play this video 
format. If you use a DVD with the AVCHD 
format, you'll need an AVCHD-compatible 
DVD player for viewing. 



I am unable to burn a disc using Adobe Photo- 
shop Elements. After installation, the program 
did not recognize my CD/ DVD drive. Now I am 
stuck with thousands of pictures I cannot move 
or copy. Is there a fix for this? Or is there another 
way I can move all my pictures off my computer? 

A You may encounter this problem when 
installing certain Adobe software. It results 
in damaging the drivers used for your CD/DVD 
drive. Remedying the problem involves editing the 
Registry, which poses a risk to Windows' stability. 

First, uninstall Adobe Photoshop Elements 
via the Control Panel. Next, launch your Reg- 
istry Editor by clicking Start, typing regedit in 
the Search box, and pressing ENTER. (NOTE: 
Be extremely careful when making changes to the 
Windows Registry; before modifying anything in 
the Registry, be sure to perform a backup.) 

In the Registry Editor, find HKEY_LO- 
CAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ 
Control\Class and select the {4D36E965-E325- 
11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} key. 

Select File and Export. In the Export Registry 
File dialog box, choose Selected Branch under 



Export Range. Name the file CDDRIVEkeyreg 
and click Save to save the file on your Desktop. 

On the right side of the Registry Editor window, 
select the LowerFilters line and then choose Edit 
and Delete. Click Yes in the Confirm Key Delete 
dialog box. Next, select the UpperFilters line and 
follow the same steps. Close your Registry Editor. 

Now open Device Manager (click Start, 
Control Panel, System, and Device Manager). 
Double-click the DVD/CD-ROM Drives entry 
to expand it. For every DVD-ROM and CD- 
ROM listed, select the icon and then choose 
Action and Uninstall. Finally, restart Windows. 

As your computer restarts, Windows will 
automatically detect and reinstall your DVD and 
CD-ROM drives. If Windows fails to detect your 
drives, you can manually scan for them with De- 
vice Manager; open Device Manager and choose 
Actions and Scan For Hardware Changes. 

Now it's time to reinstall Adobe Photoshop 
Elements. When finished, restart Windows; 
you should be able to burn your pictures to 
disc now. In addition to burning your photos 
to disc, you can also copy them onto a USB 
flash drive or external hard drive. 



88 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Online 




Multimedia 




Hardware 



f* 



Recently, I noticed that Outlook 2007 
stopped allowing me to click embedded links 
within an email. I have scoured the 'Net for 
solutions and found several that involve 
making changes to the Windows Registry 
and/or resetting default programs (mainly 
Internet Explorer). I recently uninstalled 
Google Chrome, and that is when the prob- 
lems started. I have made all the changes 
I can think of that involve setting IE as the 
default Web browser and still have the prob- 
lem. It is only occurring on one computer. 

A Outlook 2007 uses your default browser to 
process Web links embedded in emails. It 
appears that when you uninstalled Chrome from 
your system, Windows became confused about 
which programs should manage Web links. 



There are many Registry hacks that can be 
used to solve this problem, but we inadvertent- 
ly stumbled upon what we consider the easiest 
and safest method to restore your system's 
browser preference when the normal route of 
setting IE as the default browser fails. 

First, download and install Mozilla Firefox 
(free; www.mozilla.com). During the installa- 
tion process, you may be asked if you want to 
make Firefox your default browser. Select Yes. 
(If you're not prompted, simply wait until the 
installation is complete and then launch Firefox. 
Now you will be prompted to set Firefox as your 
default browser; be sure to click Yes.) 

Next, launch IE and it will detect that it isn't 
your default browser and ask you if you want to 
set IE as your default. Select Yes and you should 
now be able to click to open embedded links. 



I have an ION TTUSB record player for copy- 
ing my vinyl records to my computer. Un- 
fortunately, I have no associated software to 
accomplish this task. I am using Win7 with 
6GB of RAM and ample hard drive avail- 
ability. What software do you recommend to 
accomplish this task? 



A The ION TTUSB should have shipped with 
EZ Vinyl Converter, but if you've lost your 
copy, you can download it free from wwwion 
audio.com/iontrusb. Click the Documents & 
Downloads tab and then click the link to EZ 
Converter. There is also a free QuickStart Guide 
available for download on the same Web page. 



My son is spending a semester abroad and chose 
to leave his laptop at home. This computer will 
not be in use during his six-month absence. It is 
a 2008 laptop running Windows Vista. Should 
the battery be removed for this interval? 

A Notebook batteries need good care to 
ensure a long life. You didn't mention 
what type of battery your son's notebook 
uses, but based on the year it was manufac- 
tured, it is probably a NiMH (nickel-metal 
hydride) battery. 

First, if you won't be using or charging 
the notebook while your son is away, you'll 
want to remove the battery from the note- 
book and store it in a cool, dry place. Over 
time, the battery will discharge completely, 
and when your son returns from his trip, 
he can recharge and discharge it completely 
several times. This will help return the bat- 
tery to its original, "fresh" state. 

If you can periodically use his note- 
book, you'll want to leave the battery in the 



notebook and follow some steps that will keep 
the battery in tip -top shape. First, keep the 
battery clean. About once a month, remove the 
battery from the notebook and make sure the 
metal contacts where the battery connects to 
the notebook are clean and free of any grime. 
You can clean these contacts with a cotton 
swab and isopropyl alcohol. 

Next, fully discharge the battery every 
three weeks. Once the battery is completely 
discharged, let it recharge to 100%. Many 
notebook batteries now include a series of 
indicator lights showing the current charge 
retained by the battery. Using this dis- 
charge/recharge pattern will help prevent 
your son's battery from suffering from 
memory effect, where it "thinks" that it 
can only store a reduced amount of power. 
The easiest way to discharge the notebook's 
battery is by disabling any power-saving 
features on your notebook and operating 
it without a power cord until the battery is 
fully dissipated. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 89 



Tech Support 



Tech Talk 



Answers to users' most common questions about Motherboards 



The chipset 

helps the 

processor 

communicate 

with all other 

devices and 

peripherals. 




Motherboards supporting 

2nd-generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 

processors for the LGA 1,155 socket went 

on temporary hiatus while Intel corrected a USB 

2.0 issue with its P67 and H67 Express chipsets. Here's MSI's 

P67A C45 (B3) motherboard, which has the updated technology 

(us.msi.com). 



Q 



What is a motherboard? 

Also called a mainboard or mobo, a mother- 
board is the primary circuit board in a PC. Ev- 
erything connects to it by socket, slot, or cable. 

A motherboards is marketed by its CPU 
socket type, such as LGA (land grid array) 1 155 
for Intel or AM3 for AMD. (See last month's 
"Tech Talk" for information on processors.) 

In this article, we'll talk about boards for 
desktop computers used by consumers and 
SOHO (small and home office) users. These 
mainboards support either AMD or Intel pro- 
cessors, according to their chipsets. 



Q 



What is a chipset? 

This is a main core logic chip or pair of chips 
that supports the CPU. The chipset helps the 
processor communicate with all other devic- 
es and peripherals. AMD's and Intel's official 
names for the chip(s) in a chipset have come 
and gone, but they can be generically called the 
NB (northbridge) and SB (southbridge). 

The northbridge, sometimes called an IGP (in- 
tegrated graphics processor) and once known as an 
MCH (memory controller hub), is the closer to the 
CPU socket. Besides being a highway to the south- 
bridge, the NB may handle data transfers between 
the processor and the graphics adapter, whether 



the adapter is a discrete card or is integrated into 
the northbridge. The exception is in recent Intel 
2nd-generation Core processors and AMD Fusion 
chips, which have graphics built into the processor 
dies. If either type of integrated graphics is pres- 
ent, the motherboard may have one or more video 
outputs among its rear ports. The northbridge once 
controlled the CPU's communication with the 
RAM, too; however, processors now come with 
their own memory controllers built-in. 

The southbridge, when present, handles I/O 
(input/output) to the rest of the devices con- 
nected to the motherboard. Also called an IOH 
(input/output hub) or ICH (I/O control hub), the 
SB communicates with the storage drives, opti- 
cal drives, input devices, network port(s), non- 
graphics expansion cards, and onboard audio. 

QWhat are the basic features of a current 
motherboard? 

The CPU socket is the most prominent land- 
mark on a mainboard. Intel sockets feature 
hundreds of tiny metal springs; AMD sockets, 
hundreds of holes. The socket has some space 
around it to make room for the processor's heat- 
sink, abutted by VRMs (voltage regulation mod- 
ules) and other CPU power support components. 

Chipset. The chipset comprises the second 
largest chip or chips on the board. These are not 
removable. The SB and especially the NB may 



90 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



have their own heatsinks with or with- 
out heatpipes (metal tubes partially 
filled with liquid that conveys heat to 
cooler areas). 

RAM slots. Four to six DIMM 
(dual in-line memory module) slots 
are typical. Current boards support 
DDR3 (double-data rate 3) memory 
rated for l,066MTps (megatransfers 
per second), l,333MTps, or more. 

Expansion slots. Several PCI-E 
(Peripheral Component Interconnect- 
Express) slots of varying length and 
throughput (xl lane [4Gbps] to xl6 
[64Gbps] at PCI-E 2.x speeds) are 
common. The motherboard often has 
some legacy PCI slots, too. 

Rear I/O. These ports are accessible 
from the back of the computer. They 
usually support Ethernet network- 
ing, audio input/output (analog and 
digital), USB 2.0/3.0 devices, keyboards 
and mice, and sometimes digital video 
output(s) and/or eSATA (external Serial 
Advanced Technology Attachment). 

Drive ports. These include SATA 
connectors for hard drives, optical 
drives, and SSDs (solid-state drives). 
You may also find IDE (Integrated 
Drive Electronics) connections for 
older drives and/or a floppy port. 

Other items. Also present are a BIOS 
(Basiclnput/Output System) chip or 
two; a battery to maintain time, date, 
and BIOS settings; and headers (pin 
connectors) for fans, front panel lights 
and buttons, and additional USB and 
audio ports. Some boards even have er- 
ror code readouts, plus buttons to reset 
the computer, power it on/off, and re- 
turn the BIOS to default settings. 

QWhat are ATX, mini-ATX, and 
soon? 

These form factors describe the max- 
imum physical size of a motherboard. 
The longstanding ATX (Advanced 
Technology Extended) standard (12 
inches high x 9.6 inches wide) accounts 
for the vast majority of desktop boards. 
The smaller mini-ATX form factor 
(11.2 inches high x 8.2 inches wide) fits 



in more compact cases, but has fewer 
expansion slots and sometimes lower 
power ceilings than ATX boards. 

Finally, a few enthusiast boards ex- 
ceed ATX's physical size limits to sup- 
port three or four large graphics cards 
at a time. These nonstandard models 
require compatible computer cases. 

QWhat benefits would I get from 
a new mainboard? 

This depends largely on how old your 
existing motherboard is. Summed up, 
however, a new board can support the 
latest technologies, such as six-core pro- 
cessors or CPUs with built-in video and 
graphics acceleration. 

A new board may also support 
higher memory transfer speeds, such 
as 2,000MTps, and/or additional 
memory modes, such as triple-chan- 
nel addressing. An example of the last 
point is a board that supports first- 
generation Core i7s, which can "talk" 
with three DDR3 sticks or pairs of 
DDR3 modules simultaneously. 




The M4A89TD PR0/USB3 ($179.99 online; www 
.asus.com) from ASUS lets you install a six-core 
AMD Phenom II processor and DDR3 memory. 

Virtually all new motherboard tech- 
nologies add performance in one way or 
another, at least when used with compo- 
nents that fully support them. In other 
words, your performance gains will 
vary depending on your devices, as well 
as the type of computing you do. More 
cores means you can simultaneously 
run more demanding apps, while faster 



CPU and memory performance means 
shorter waits during video encoding 
and the like. 

QWill buying a new motherboard 
force me into other purchases, 
too? 

If your PC is a few years old, odds 
are that getting a new mainboard will 
oblige you to buy a new processor, 
new memory, and other components. 
However, you might be able to con- 
tinue to use some of your existing de- 
vices on a new board, even including 
your CPU in certain cases. 

Don't count on reusing your In- 
tel processor— the company changes 
sockets regularly If you're moving from 
an AMD-based board with an AM2, 
AM2+, or AM3 socket to a newer one, 
however, your CPU should carry over. 
(Note that ports, slots, and sockets that 
are backward-compatible with older de- 
vices won't make them run any faster.) 

Finally, watch out for disappearing 
legacy ports. For instance, if you use an 
old parallel port printer or a keyboard 
with a PS/2 connector, your new moth- 
erboard might not support it. 

QWhat should I look for in a new 
motherboard? 

First, shop for a board with one of 
the latest chipsets from Intel or AMD, 
now that third parties such as Nvidia 
have stopped making compatible core 
logic for those companies' processors. 
(If you're hoping to reuse your CPU, 
look for a mainboard with the newest 
chipset that supports your processor's 
socket type.) 

Intel's latest chipsets include the 
P67 and H67 chip families, for exam- 
ple; compatible boards may be widely 
available by the time you read this. 
(Available again, that is; Intel recalled 
the chipsets in February to fix a USB 
2.0 glitch.) AMD fields its 890, 880, 
and 870 core logic today. Both compa- 
nies sell chipsets to third-party main- 
board manufacturers. Intel also makes 
some boards of its own, unlike AMD. 



Smart Computing / May 2011 91 



Tech Support 



New mobos feature USB 3.0, which 
won't limit the data transfer speeds 
of compatible external hard drives as 
USB 2.0 did. In fact, it's even faster 
than eSATA in real-world usage. In 
short: faster backups. 

SATA 3 (6Gbps) lets compatible SSDs 
live up to their potential. Some can even 
reach 550MBps, nearly twice the read 
speed of a 3Gbps SATA 2 SSD. SATA 3 
can also have a slightly positive effect on 
6Gbps hard drive performance. 

PCI-E 2.0/2.1 slots are more than fast 
enough for today's hardware. That said, 
motherboards with more future-proof 
PCI-E 3.0 slots may appear sometime 
this year to double the performance 
ceiling for SSD RAIDs (redundant ar- 
rays of independent drives), multi-card 
graphics, and so on. 

There's been a shift to industrial- 
level motherboard components, such 
as solid capacitors that can tolerate 
high temperatures during operation. 
After a chemical transistor quality 
scandal that affected many users in 
the mid-2000s, these more reliable 
components are welcome, indeed. 

Support for booting from any hard 
drive larger than 2.3TB (terabytes) or 
so, such as a 3TB model, requires a new 
type of BIOS. Some recent boards in- 
corporate elements of UEFI (Universal 
Extensible Firmware Interface), a pos- 
sible successor to BIOS technology, to 
support 3TB drives without losing com- 
patibility with traditional hardware. 

Many portable devices now re- 
charge via USB cable. Hence, mother- 
board vendors have started to include 
software and hardware support for 
them, such as USB ports with more 
power and ports that remain powered 
when the PC is shut down. 

Other recent mobo features in- 
clude high-def onboard audio and the 
ability to more quickly boot into a 
non- Windows environment for Web 
access, instant messaging, and the 
like. Another trend is support for 
both major technologies for combin- 
ing graphics cards (Nvidia's SLI and 



AMD's CrossfireX) instead of just one 
or the other. 

Finally, consult reviews you trust 
before you buy. Also bear in mind that 
it's smart to wait until a mainboard 
is a few months old. Occasionally, 



your OS installation disc or system re- 
covery partition may not work with 
the new board because it's tied to the 
BIOS of the old board. Consider buy- 
ing some reputable migration soft- 
ware to help you make the move. 



PCI Express* 2.0 
Graphics 



PCI Express* 2.0 
Graphics 



PCI Express* 2.0 
Graphics 



1 1 6 lanes 



14 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Ports; 
Dual EHCI; USB Port Disable 



Intel* Integrated 
10/100/1000 MAC 



PCIe*xl SMBus 



Intel' Gigabit LAN Connect 




6 Gb/s z 



Intel* ME Firmware 
and BIOS Support 



Intel* Extreme Tuning 

Support 



DDR3 
1333 MHz 



DDR3 
1333 MHz 



Intel" High 
Definition Audio 



8 PCI Express* 2.0 



6 Serial ATA Ports; eSATA; 
Port Disable 



Inter Rapid 
Storage Technology 



• Optional 



1 Compatible with 2 nf1 generation Intel* Core"" processor family 
All SATA ports capable of 3 Gb/s. 2 ports capable of 6 Gb/s. 



Intel* P67 Express Chipset Platform Block Diagram 

This diagram of Intel's P67 Express chipset, which consists of a single chip, shows 
how a 2nd-generation Core processor and the P67 split the duties of communication 
to and from other devices connected to the motherboard. 



manufacturers need time to issue 
BIOS updates to fix bugs or even to 
issue an entirely new revision of a 
motherboard (such as rev 1.1 or 2.0). 

QWhat should I know about the 
installation process? 

After you install a new motherboard 
(and possibly new CPU, graphics card, 
and so on), its best to perform a clean 
installation of your OS, applications, 
and personal data. 

That said, a clean install may not 
be feasible in your situation. For ex- 
ample, if you bought your PC prebuilt, 



Download the latest drivers from 
the motherboard manufacturer and 
burn them to a CD or DVD. Use these 
instead of the (likely outdated) drivers 
that came with the board. 

Finally, be sure to knock out the old 
mobos I/O shield— the silver plate in the 
rear of the PC with cutouts for the vari- 
ous ports— and replace it with the new 
I/O shield included with the new moth- 
erboard. It will help the cases ventilation 
fans to work more efficiently, and it will 
also assist in proper grounding. I 

by Marty Sems 



92 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



OpenOffice.org 3 

Create An Advertising Flyer 



Office Suite 

Beginner 

How-To 



|402-4S4-6837 

^402^34-6837 
I 

|402^S4^SS37 
|402-*e4-6S37 
9402-434-6S37 



-C2-E--^Z?7 
|402-4 34-6837 
|*02-*S4-6S37 
|402-4 84-683 7 
jW-itflH-SSS T 
^402-434-6837 



They're hanging on public bulletin boards ev- 
erywhere advertising everything from dog 
walking services to cars for sale. These popu- 
lar 8.5- x 11 -inch flyers feature a row of tear-off 
strips at the bottom listing contact information 
and phone numbers. Interested parties can rip 
a piece of paper off the flyer and contact the 
seller or business at a later time. Creating one 
of these leaflets can be accomplished using 
OpenOffice.org 3. 

From the OpenOffice.org home page, se- 
lect Drawing. A blank page appears. For this 
particular project, it is best to divide the sheet 
into two text boxes: one large box, most likely 
accompanied by strong vi- 
suals, that communicates 
the product or service you 
are offering and a second 
smaller text box that will 
serve as the tear-off portion 
of the flyer. 



This is how the 
phone numbers 
appear on the 
poster before the 
text box is rotated. 





% 10 IO Sv_ N) W M ro 10 U K) 10 M K> 


5* 




^ 88 S S S3 SSS&8KSSS383SS 


1 

4 


|-?----' 8 -'- s -'-'- 









By clicking Modify 
on the top toolbar 
and selecting 
Rotate, you can 
rotate the text into 
this position. 



Main Message 

To create the large text 
box, click the blue Text but- 
ton located on the bottom- 
left side of the toolbar. Move 
the cursor to the blank page. 
Click at the point where you 
want the text box to begin. 
In this case, begin in the up- 
per-left corner. Hold the left 
mouse button and drag your 
cursor until the box is the 
desired size and then release 
the mouse button. A dotted 
line outlines the shape and 
size of your box. 

For this project, you may 
want this large text box to 
consume about three-quar- 
ters of the page, or about 
7 or 8 inches from the top 
margin (use the ruler on 
the left side of the screen for 
guidance). 

Now that you've created 
this box, you can design 
your advertising message 



using many of the tools available in the 
Draw program. 

Tear-Off Strips 

To create the tear-off strips for the bottom 
of the flyer, format a smaller text box directly 
below the first large box, repeating the previ- 
ous directions. Select the font (Times or Arial 
works well for readability) and the size (16 pt 
to 18 pt font size might be a good start) from 
the toolbar at the top of the screen and begin 
typing in the contact phone number. Leave at 
least one space by pressing ENTER between 
each phone number entry. Depending on 
the font size, 13 to 14 phone numbers will fit 
comfortably and allow adequate space for cre- 
ating tear-off tabs once the flyer is properly 
formatted. The text box expands as you type 
and will most likely run off the bottom of the 
page. This is OK. 

There are two ways to rotate the contact 
information. The first option is to click Modi- 
fy on the top menu bar and click Rotate (make 
sure your text box is selected first). A box, 
accented with red dots, appears around 
your text. With your mouse pointer, grab 
a red dot on any of the four corners and 
carefully rotate the text to the desired posi- 
tion. This same action can be duplicated 
by clicking the Effects button on the bottom 
toolbar; it's the symbol that resembles a 
curved arrow. 

Post It 

After the box has been rotated to the de- 
sired position, with the phone numbers now 
reading vertically instead of horizontally, you 
are able to tweak the text box size to fit your 
page. Click inside the text box; a box with 
aqua-colored squares appears. Click any of the 
squares and drag the sides to adjust the box 
up, down, left, or right to fit your flyer size. 

Print the document and use scissor cuts 
between each phone number to create the 
tear-off strips. You are now ready to post your 
advertisement at the local coffee shop, conve- 
nience store, or restaurant. I 

by Kim Quade 



Smart Computing / May 2011 93 



Tech Support 



Action Editor 



Are you having trouble 
finding a product or 
getting adequate service 
from a manufacturer? 
If so, we want to help 
solve your problem. 
Send us a description 
of the product you're 
seeking or the problem 
you're having with 
customer service. In 
billing disputes, include 
relevant information 
(such as account num- 
bers or screen names 
for online services) and 
photocopies of checks. 
Include your phone 
number in case we need 
to contact you. 

Letters may be edited 
for length and clarity; 
volume prohibits 
individual replies. 



Write to: 

Action Editor 
P.O. Box 85380 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380 

Or send an email to: 

actioneditor@smart 
computing.com 

Or fax us at: 

(402)479-2104 



Asus Repairs & HP Upgrades 




LETTER: On July 27, 2010, I purchased 
an Asus G73Jh notebook computer. I was 
happy with the notebook until recently. I 
was experiencing a number of issues with 
the graphics drivers: the fans not respond- 
ing properly and system freezes when cer- 
tain keys were pressed. These issues were to 
be resolved by the new BIOS (Basic Input/ 
Output System) posted on the Asus down- 
loads Web page. I began to flash my BIOS 
following the proper procedures. The BIOS 
appeared to update properly. Once the unit 
powered down, though, it could not be pow- 
ered back on again. After running through 
some diagnostics with the Asus Notebook 
Technical Support rep on the phone, it was 
determined that my PC needed to be sent 
in to a servicing facility in Indiana. I paid 
$64.55 for two-day service, as I was hoping 
to get my notebook fixed and shipped back 
to me as soon as possible. At this point, I 
was informed by a technician that my 
warranty was void because I flashed 
the BIOS on my notebook. I was 
told I would have to pay for the re- 
pairs. To this date, the Asus Web 
site has no record of my note- 
book being in its possession, 
and I have not received any 
word from Asus as to when I 
can expect the notebook back. 
All I am asking is that Asus honor 
the warranty and repair the laptop, or 
refund the full amount I spent on it. 

Wayne F. 
Vineland, N.J. 



EDITOR: We reached out to our Asus con- 
tact, who responded less than an hour after 
we emailed her. She communicated with two 
contacts in Asus' notebook customer service 
support, who both confirmed that the ser- 
vice rep was mistaken in telling Wayne that 
flashing the BIOS had voided his warranty. 



His laptop would be fixed for free within 
the next seven to 10 business days, accord- 
ing to one representative. Wayne emailed us 
later to report that he'd received his repaired 
notebook with a new motherboard, video 
card, and LCD. 

LETTER: In May 2010, I purchased an HP 
touchscreen printer. It took a level II tech- 
nician two days and three hours to make it 
connect wirelessly to my two laptops and my 
router. If the printer is not used every day, 
it will lose its wireless capabilities. I have 
to turn it off, turn it back on, and manu- 
ally input the router's name and passphrase 
numbers. Then it will work until it goes into 
the power-saving/sleep mode, and it will not 
come out of it until I do a new reset. Four 
high-level technicians told me that it was a 
defective unit and even suggested that I ask 
for an upgrade. However, I called the case 
manager and was told that HP was unable to 
exchange this defective printer or upgrade 
it, even though I paid for an extended three- 
year warranty. No reason was given. I called 
the corporate office and was escalated to a 
higher-up. I was told that since 2003, 1 have 
had several printers exchanged, to which I 
replied that I did not ask for replacements, 
their technical department did. Is there any- 
thing you can do? 

Manny P. 
Toutle, Wash. 

EDITOR: Over the course of several months, 
Manny had made no progress with more than 
20 calls to HP. Fortunately, we had an HP con- 
tact who had been very helpful in the past. She 
brought Manny's case to the attention of the 
company's escalation team. Eleven days later, 
Manny emailed with good news. "You are the 
best. After almost a year arguing with every- 
body in HP, you make a phone call and I re- 
ceived an upgraded model." I 



94 May 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Tales From The Trenches 



Working On The Web 



by Gregory Anderson 




Every business needs a 
Web site. Without any 
online presence how 
will people find you, or 
know when you're open, 
or learn how to reach 
you? I'm still amazed 
every time I try and 
look up something 
about a local company 
or service and can't 
find them online. There was a time 
when a company site was merely a 
"nice-to-have" for anyone except big 
companies and dotcom startups. Those 
days are gone. When was the last time 
you saw somebody pick up a phonebook? I 
know from experience, though, that any "must 
have" is easier said than done for small businesses and solo 
entrepreneurs. You're probably the sales, managerial, janito- 
rial, and technology staff all in one. So who's going to code 
the pages, manage the servers, and provide updates? I've 
seen a lot of small and home-based businesses struggle with 
creating and maintaining an effective presence on the Web, 
and I've even helped a couple of them. With the right ap- 
proach and right tools it doesn't take a large commitment to 
manage a simple and useful Web presence. 

It's not as hard as you might think to go the DIY route. I re- 
member the days of acquiring IP addresses, coding HTML, 
and using FTP to transfer files just in order to get a college 
football fan site or fraternity home page up and running. 
These days, though, many companies sell commercial Web 
site packages at very reasonable cost. I've worked with sev- 
eral small businesses and (intentional) non-profits who just 
need a page or two, on their own URL, for providing a quick 
overview of what they do, who they serve, where they're at, 
and how to reach them. Many of these packages have page 
templates and other tools that let you click and drag to lay 
out your page and type in your text— no programming re- 
quired. If you have the inclination to go further, you can also 
add online stores with shopping carts and credit card pro- 
cessing, discussion boards, and other features. 

Even the easier- than-ever DIY sites aren't the only options 
anymore. If your business relies on local or retail trade, you 
can acquire an invaluable Web presence on local small busi- 
ness sites like Yelp! (www.yelp.com) or Angie's List (www. 
angieslist.com) and on social networking sites like Facebook 



(www.facebook.com) or Twitter (www. 
twitter.com). You won't get to create 
your own design or site struc- 
ture, but these sites make get- 
ting your basic information 
out there even easier. The 
big bonus is that these sites 
offer, and are often built 
around, tools for engag- 
ing with customers 
and prospects in 
an online com- 
munity where they 
can deepen their in- 
volvement with your 
products or services. Of 
course, they also mean that 
the larger community will 
wrest some control over your 
image away from you and 
share their views— good or 
bad— with the wider world. 
But they're already doing it, 
one way or another. Your par- 
ticipation will only help a good 
business get better. 

Finally, depending on the 
nature of what you do, a blog 
might be just as useful as a Web site. There are dozens of 
free blogging services, and many, such as Google's Blogspot 
(www.blogspot.com) let you make money off of advertising. 
If you have a small storefront or rely mostly on one-time 
transactional business, working to start an ongoing conver- 
sation about your areas of interest may not help. But if your 
work relies on your credibility in a specific area of expertise, 
or benefits from ongoing consultative relationships, a blog 
may help more than a simple Web page with your logo and 
phone number. Blogging sites make customizing your site, 
updating the content, and signing up subscribers incredibly 
easy— all without you managing a single server. I 





Smart Computing / May 2011 95 




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