Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The 8th Carnival of Computer Help and Advice

Welcome to the eighth monthly Carnival of Computer Help and Advice. Another collection of blog articles to help you avoid problems and get the most out of your PCs. I would like to thank everyone who contributed. If you would like to host the next carnival leave a comment on this post or use the contact form over at our Blog Carnival page where you can also submit your blog posts for inclusion. If you do wish to host the carnival but don't wish to have the responsibility for selecting articles or writing the carnival post, don't worry I can do that for you.

The first three featured articles this month all share a theme, backing up and restoring data.

Sonny Felker posted Computer Data Recovery Procedures May be Avoided at Find Free Articles - ArticlesBase. In Sonny's own words:
A good disaster recovery plan involves more than just backing up your information, although that is a very critical part of the process, and a great place to start. But simply putting your critical business data on a CD or USB flash drive is not a strong backup process. I could not sleep well at night knowing that the information I use to run my business on, earn money from and feed and support my family with is riding on that very unreliable medium. Once again, something is better than nothing; however, there are certainly better options available.

PreparedPC develops this theme in Backup Your Hard drive Now; While You Still Have Time. Admin writes:
One of the best favors you can do for your computer is to back up the entire hard drive just in case something goes wrong. The software is free, and for the cost of an external hard drive and a couple hours of your time, you can be ready for a hard drive crash.

Jules of gives advice on How to Restore Files from a Damaged CD or DVD:
You did everything right. You made regular CD or DVD copies of your files, kept them at a safe place, and now you can not read the disk anymore! Unfortunately even CD’s and DVD’s can be damaged and deteriorate over time. But that does not mean all is lost, use a simple data recovery program to recover files from damaged CD’s and DVD’s.

Apple Macs now use the same processors as PCs, which means that it is possible to run OSX on PCs. For those of you who don't want to actually change operating systems but want to have the look of OSX, Gravity Blue presents Turn Your Windows XP into Mac OSX.

No matter what your operating system looks like, eye strain is a problem for anyone using their computer for extended periods. Do your eyes a favour and read EyeCare Tips for Computer Users posted by mayursears at The Mega Sears for EveryOne !.

On the subject of eyes, regular contributer, Andrew Edgington, explains Fixing Pet Eye on his site, Edit Your Digital Photos. While most image editing programs have a facility for dealing with red-eye in pictures of people this doesn't work with the variety of colours reflected in the eyes of animals when you take pictures of them using the flash.

In order to make sure that nobody is leaching your Internet bandwidth brennan gives advice on how to Secure Your Wireless Network at Paul Wilcox of Security Manor helps us with another Internet issue with his article, 4 Tips For Avoiding E-mail Spam, and for online gamers, Adam gives a tutorial on Connecting Xbox 360 to Xbox Live Via Vista Using ICS at Computer Tutorials.

Again, I would like to thank all our contributers and remind anyone with an IT themed blog that the carnival needs other hosts. This would not only create a sense of community but also to drive a little more traffic to your site.

More next month.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Keyboard shortcut of the week: a view of Word

There are a number of ways in which you can view a document in MS Word. You can switch between these different layouts by selecting them from the 'View' menu, or you can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly switch between them.

My preferred choice is 'Print layout', which can be selected by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and pressing P.

To select the 'Normal layout' hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys and press N.

To see the 'Overview layout' hold down Ctrl and Alt and press O.

Or if you prefer to see more than one page at a time, go to the 'Reading view' by holding down the Alt key and pressing R.

Finally, although it is not strictly a layout, you can switch the 'Print preview' on and off by holding down Ctrl and Alt keys and pressing I.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Bloody Computer! One Year Old

'Bloody Computer!' reaches its one year anniversary today. So, as I have done for other landmarks, I present another set of 'top 3' lists as well as other facts to go with those marking fifty and one-hundred posts.

In the last year this blog has achieved a Google PageRank of 4; a Technorati ranking of 61; its most recent Alexa traffic rank is 105,543; the blog has had 43,540 visits with 50,661 pageviews from 141 countries; and it now has 82 subscribers.

Thank you all for supporting 'Bloody Computer!' over the past twelve months.

Top 3 Most Read Posts
1. Free Lightweight Alternatives to Bloatware: 1,113 views
2. How to reboot Windows using the keyboard: 881 views
3. Windows Task Manager Explained: Part 1: 700 views
Data from the excellent Google Analytics

Top 3 Most Commented on Posts
1. Keyboard shortcut of the week: Quickly Open Link in New Tab: 17 comments
2. Keyboard shortcut of the week: a few for Firefox: 13 comments
3. Three tips for buying a new printer: 9 comments
Thank you for all your feedback

Top 3 Most Dugg Posts
=1. Tweak UI: free MS Power Toy for Windows XP: 12 diggs
=1. Keyboard shortcut of the week: New, Open, and Save: 12 diggs
2. Bring files back from the dead: 11 diggs
3. Keyboard shortcut of the week: a few for Firefox: 10 diggs
Data from Digg (the whole countdown is here)

Top Five Commenters
1. Drunken Dragon (7)
2. Eerik (5)
=3. jamie (3)
=3. Search engine positioning (3)
=3. jsanderz (3)
Data from the fancy widget by Blogger Buster (now in the left hand column)

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Another three top freeware applications

It has been a while since I suggested any freeware, but I have recently had need to find a decent video converter, a good FTP client, and some way to back-up my blog.

The free version of Any Video Converter is the best tool that I have found for converting between a variety of video formats including MPEG, Flash, AVI, MP4 and WMV. It even supports capturing video from YouTube and Google video. The interface is friendly and easy to use with a variety of output options.

Although it isn't as popular as it once was FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is still used on the Internet. So you may have need of a decent FTP client. The feature-rich FileZilla FTP Client has an old fashioned two-pane file manager style interface. Various servers can be added to the Site Manager or you can quickly type in the details on the main interface.

If you need to make a copy of an entire website, then you could do a lot worse than use the WinHTTrack Website Copier. Behind the simple wizard-based interface is a very powerful piece of software. Create a project for any site you want to download, select a destination directory and let WinHTTrack create a local copy of the entire site. You can use this program to regularly update the local copy too, ideal if you want to back-up a site without having to copy everything across each time.