Monday, August 31, 2009

How to create a cool slide show with Windows Movie Maker

Sharing just plain pictures can be boring sometimes. Say you like to surprise your grandparents on their anniversary by compiling all their pictures together and presenting it to them. You can spice up the presentation a bit by making a slide show with Windows Movie Maker. This means you can add

How to save data on a CD or DVD using Windows Vista or XP

In a previous article I've explained about the different media you can use to backup your files. If you have chosen to save on a CD or DVD then below videos will help you a lot. The first shows how to save with Windows Vista while the second video will show how to save with Windows XP. Just a trivia, the process of saving on a CD or DVD is called burning so aside from saying 'I will save on a CD/DVD' you may say 'I will burn on a CD/DVD'. The reason behind this is because lasers will be used to burn the impression of the data unto the surface of the CD or DVD.

Burning data with Windows Vista

Burning data with Windows XP

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Backing-up 101: Where should you back-up your files

Sometimes you may have files like pictures or videos you want to share with friends and families or you may have important business files like MS Word documents or MS Excel Sheets you want to backup.

You have actually four options to choose from in backing up your files.
1) usb flash drives
- These are the most portable because they can be as small as the fingernail on your toe but never bigger than your index finger. They are always plug and play and all you have to do is just drag and drop or copy paste the files to the flash drive. With it, you can also easily erase and replace files.


It is available in storage sizes of 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB. (Note: 1GB = 1024MB so nowadays never buy anything less than 1GB like 512MB)

2) usb hard drives
- These can be around 2.5" to 3.5" in length. The real portable small usb hard drives gets power only from the computer while the slightly bigger hard drives would require to be plugged in a power supply. However the larger usb hard drives can boast of lower cost and faster file transfer rates compared to the non-plugged in portable usb hard drives. Like the usb flash drives it is easy to add and replace content, just drag and drop or copy paste files.

They are available is incredibly higher storage size denominations compared to usb flash drives. If you want you can already have 2 Terabyte (TB) but of course it will be pricier than a usb flash drive. (Note: 1TB = 1024GB)

- Prices of CD/DVDs are significantly cheaper compared to a usb flash drive or usb storage drive. But long run cost of storage depends on your use. If you are targeting to distribute content then this is easy if it is okay for you to giveaway CD/DVDs. If you want to share but don't want to pay anything then online storage or distribution would be better.

CDs can only hold around 700MB worth of data while a DVD is around 4.37GB. You might have heard of CD-RW or DVD-RW. RW means that the CD/DVD is special because you can continuously reuse it - erase and add files - much like a usb storage device. DVDs also have other types, if you are interested you can pursue reading from here.

4) Online
- You can actually use your Gmail account to store your data. At the moment they provide around 7GB of storage and they are continuously increasing it. Just compose a draft email and attach all the files you want to back-up here. The good thing about putting your files online is you can immediately access it anywhere on any computer with internet connection. No need to bring any usb storage or cd/dvd with you. Of course this is bad if you think about it in terms of security. So I will not suggest you use this option on company or business files which may contain sensitive information. Even if Google is a big and secure gaint in the IT world, it is still best to be vigilant about security.

If you want to distribute or show your pictures and videos then social networking websites such as Facebook will come in very handy as well. But if your contacts don't have an account there, no need to require them to join. You can always email with Gmail.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to create a new user and add user password

In a household there might be only one computer and many users. If this is the case it makes sense to create an account for each user so they can have more flexibility in organizing their folders and customizing the look of their desktop. It would also be best to add a password to these accounts to increase privacy for each user.

The steps to create a new account and add a password is simple. The steps below would work for both XP and Vista computers. There is also a video tutorial to provide you with a visual guide.
  1. Go to start
  2. Go to control panel
  3. Go to user accounts
  4. (depends) go to user accounts again
  5. Select the user you want to add a password
  6. Click create a new password
  7. Type the new password in (twice - once in the first box and once in the second)
  8. (If you want) Add a password hint (DO NOT put the password itself!)
  9. Click create password

How to open your computer without a password

Sometimes you might forget the password you've set for your computer. Like when you have just have come back from a refreshing two-week long vacation. If this does happen, then don't worry just yet. Try this simple trick below to open your computer again without a password.
  1. when you are at the logon screen click CTRL+ALT+DEL twice
  2. type username Adminsitrator and then click enter

Voila! You should now be inside your computer. All you have to do next is just edit the password of your previous account which is demonstrated in this post. If you are concerned with having an Administrator account without a password then just add a password to this account as well to secure it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to detect invisible contacts in Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo has a neat feature of being able to log in invisible mode. This is beneficial if you want to still be online in YM but do not want to be disturbed because it can't be helped to have friends who don't pay much attention to the busy status you put. And you don't want to ignore them for that may hurt their feelings.

Pictures below show the places where invisible mode can be activated.

However if you are the one who wants to talk to someone 'hidden' (or the avid admirer spying on their crush's online habits) then the functionality becomes a liability. It becomes a necessity during these instances to find a way to confirm if that person is indeed offline or in invisible mode. Luckily, there's a website that can help check the status of your contacts.

The website's name is statusdetect. Check out the video demonstration of how to use it.

How to use Yahoo Messenger 9.0

In one of my previous post, you learned how to install Yahoo Messenger. If you don't have the YM program yet please take a look here first.

At the moment, the latest version of Yahoo Messenger is 9.0 and it has the following features divided in three categories. Communication, Productivity and Fun & Personalization. Picture below provide in detail the different YM features when used on different media (Windows, Mac, Iphone, Web)

However let's focus on using the YM program you have installed on your computer. The video below discusses how YM 9.0 can be used for the following:
  • simplified list
  • chat / call
  • video conferencing
  • quick friend search
  • send files
  • share pictures
  • inline media players (view videos and pictures directly on chat window)
  • change skin
  • forward to mobile phone

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to install Free AVG Antivirus

An antivirus is a program that will help keep your computer safe and clean from malwares. If you don't know what a malware is check out my article, Malware 101.

There are commercialized programs like Norton and Kapersky but there are also free ones like AVG Free and Avira. Free versions are for personal use only and may contain some ads on the vendor's products. The support for free versions are minimal as well. If you have the money get the commercialized antiviruses as they have the added benefit of a 24/7 support staff from the vendor.

Now if you don't have the money or want to save then you may settle with using a free antivirus. Below are two videos that will show you (1) How to download AVG Free from the internet (2) and the step by step process of installing AVG Free

Malware 101 : Keeping your computer safe and clean

There are nasty things from the internet that can mess up your computer. They are programs that are generally categorized as malwares. Wikepedia discusses malwares in detail but for the benefit of simplicity I'll just discuss the top malwares to be wary of.
  1. Spyware - collects information about the user, their computer and browsing habits without their consent and sends it back to a homebase.
  2. Adware - displays advertisements on your computer with or without your consent.
  3. Worms - self-replicating computer program that spreads through computer networks which can have the effect of disrupting or slowing internet connections.
  4. Virus - is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowledge of the owner. Viruses can have nasty effects like erasing precious data from your computer.
  5. Trojan - is a non-replicating computer program which the user allows to run thinking it is beneficial when it fact it is causing undesirable functions for example is allowing other users access to your computer.
The ways for you to get malwares on your computer are:
  1. Opening email attachments whose sender or contents are dubious.
  2. While surfing the web especially if you go to unsafe websites sites.
  3. Installing unknown programs you got from the internet.
  4. Plugging in external devices like flash drives, memory cards, or external hard drives that are infected with malware.
In order to fight and prevent malwares from invading your computer observe the following guidelines:
  1. Do not ever open an email from someone you do not know or whose file names are ending in EXE.
  2. Use Firefox as your web browser and install the plug-in Adblock plus. If you still have not installed Firefox check my earlier posts on installation and plug-ins. Safe websites are those starting with https:// while an example of usually unsafe websites are those about hacking and porn. Please do if not try to stay away from porn :)
  3. Do not immediately install programs especially when free, if their vendor or creator seems untrustworthy as their software may be trojans or contain viruses that will do more harm to you than good.
  4. Before you open the folders or copy files from an external device, make sure to run security checks with an anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program first.
Now that you are aware about the different kinds of malware, what they do and how you get them, just keep your computer safe and clean by following the suggested guidelines above.If you want to learn more about antivirus and how to get one for free you may proceed to this article. I hope you leave a comment if you find this helpful.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to install Microsoft Vista

In a previous article, I discussed about what is Microsoft Vista, provided reasons why upgrade/use and not upgrade/use Vista and finally reminded about the minimum system requirements for installation. If you have already purchased the DVD installer (if not yet you may get one from Amazon) then you may now proceed to intall it in your computer.

Please do not feel intimidated with the installation process because as you will see from the video demonstration below, even a kid can do it.

Microsoft Vista 101

Currently the latest Microsoft Operating System sold in shelves is Microsoft Vista. There are different editions available depending on use. Namely they are
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Business
  • Ultimate
You could view their differences in detail here. However for a normal home or student use the Home Premium edition is sufficient.

If you are using Windows XP, there are reasons why you should get Vista but there are also other reasons why you shouldn't. This site explains it best. Bottomline however , most likely the compelling reason for you to want to upgrade to Windows Vista from XP would be to get that new Aero interface which looks so cool on screen. :)

Before you go about buying Vista, you must take note of the computer specifications. There are minimum system requirements to meet. According to Microsoft for Windows Home Premium they are:
  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
- WDDM Driver
- 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
- Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
- 32 bits per pixel
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Audio Output
  • Internet access

When you have decided to upgrade and start using Microsoft Vista. Buy the DVD first. My suggestion is the Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1 Upgrade, then proceed to the next article on how to install Microsoft Vista.

Get started with emoticons

After knowing some chat slang and abbreviations from here it is best to add more feelings to your text with emoticons. Emoticons are text which convey emotions like happiness, shock, love, sadness, etc. If you are using a chat program like YM and GTalk they automatically translate the emoticons in text to smiley images.

Most Common Emoticons that you will find immediately helpful are
:) happy
:( sad
:D big grin
:-O surprise
:)) laughing
:(( crying

my personal favorite however is the

>:) devil (for those evil plots and schemes)

Emoticons with their corresponding smiley image for YM can be seen from the Yahoo website here. A second list by Yahoo also located here contains more uncommon emoticons that are hidden within YM and will most likely shock your friends, wondering how you were able to use it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Get started with chat slang and acronyms

In previous posts I talked about getting a Yahoo or Google account and using them on Yahoo Messenger or Google Talk so you could begin chatting.

Now let's talk about chatting. In the internet chatting is more text than talk. Because of that there are quite a lot of chat slang and acronyms created and available for use. Below are the most common and likely to be immediately useful in your chat conversations.

If you are just in the introduction part best to use
a/s/l or asl Age/Sex/Location

If something funny is being discussed you could use the following depending on how funny you thought it was.
LMAO Laughing My Ass Off
LOL Laughing Out Loud
ROFL Rolling On Floor, Laughing

If you are chatting a little seriously most likely you'd find these useful
FAQ Frequently Asked Question
FYI For Your Information
IMHO In My Humble Opinion (or In My Honest Opinion)

If the person is talking about something unbelievable you could try
WTF What The F**K (can be used to show disbelievingly funny)
OMG Oh My Gosh (or Oh My God)

If you have to leave below are possible options
AFK Away From the Keyboard
BRB Be Right Back
TTYL Talk To You Later

If you don't find the conversation interesting you could try changing it with
BTW By The Way
OT Off Topic

And when the conversation ends don't forget to say
TY Thank You
TYVM Thank You Very Much

Or if you are the receiving end of the appreciation reply with
NP, np No Problem
UW yoU're Welcome

There are other chat slang and acronyms to use. Read more of them here

Yahoo Messenger from browser with

Sometimes you have to use the internet from another PC. Let's say you are using a computer from the library or through a computer rental shop. Normally you don't have access to install programs on public computers which can be difficult if you like to use Yahoo Messenger. In order for you to still be able to chat with your yahoo account you could try out

Through you can open a browser version of your yahoo messenger program. If you have accounts in other popular websites like MSN, mySpace or AIM, you can access them from here as well. At the moment of writing you can also use this for Facebook, Gtalk, ICQ, Jabber and myYearbook. The video will explain better how to use

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How to Download, Install and Use Google Talk

I mentioned that Google Talk is just like Yahoo Messenger, which you can use to chat with family and friends. To illustrate how to download, install and begin using Google Talk on your computer please view video below.

How to use Google Talk from Gmail

If there Yahoo Messenger(YM) from Yahoo there is also a counterpart for Google which is Google Talk. Like with YM, you can make use of Google Talk to chat in text, audio or video. You can either make use of Google Talk from the Gmail screen or through a separate downloaded application which will be explained better here. Please see video demonstration to learn how to use Google Talk from Gmail.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to speed up your XP computer

If you are using Microsoft XP as your operating system and feel that it is starting to get slow, then you might need to do some system clean-up and performance checks. The best ways to improve performance of your computer running XP is to do the following tasks that is explained better through the video.

1) Run Disk Cleanup
2) Remove unused programs
3) Remove start-up items (Start-up > Run > type msconfig)
4) Edit performance settings
5) Defrag hard drive

How to setup a Twitter account

Twitter is also another way to get updates on what your friends and family is doing. It is simpler than Facebook because in Twitter you only get status messages or links from the people you follow. Check out the video on how to start setting up your own Twitter account.

Games to Play in Facebook

Facebook is not just a way to connect but also a way to have fun. There are lots of Facebooks games to choose from. There are individual games like Bejeweled and games which requires the help of your friends like Restuarant City. There are different types of games from sporty games like bowling on Lucky Strike or War games Paradise Paintpall. To get an idea on how some Facebooks games I've mentioned above looks like, check out the short video below. Other games not highlighted in the video but also worth recommending are Mafia Wars, Mob Wars, Pet Society, and Farmville.

How To Setup a Facebook Account / Profile

Seems like everyone has a Facebook account. Why not, Facebook allows you to link up with family or friends from college, high school, may be even elementary or kindergarten. :) You can see their how their doing through their status messages or through the pictures they upload in their Facebook account. You can also see what they like and dislike based on what they choose to be a fan on or be a group member of. Facebook is also a good way to kill some time through Facebook games. If all that makes you want to have a Facebook more, start looking at the video to see how to create your own Facebook account.

Top 10 Best Firefox Add-ons

Add-ons is what makes Firefox a great browser. Below are just 10 of the best Firefox add-on you can start using.
• Adblock Plus
• Tab Mix Plus
• Tweak Networki
• CustomizeGoogle
• Googlepedia
• Speed Dial
• Hyperwords
• Split Browser
• URL Fixer
• CoolPreviews

How to use add-ons in Firefox

For me, the best browser of all is Firefox. It is not just because it safe for web browsing but also because Firefox gives me the flexibility to put customizations in it. Firefox allows the use of add-ons which enhances the browsing experiences, either through changing the look of your browser or providing you with extra tools that helps you with your internet tasks or activities. Like if your a web developer you can have a web developer add-on. Check out top 10 best add-ons to use here. See video to show how to make use of add-ons in Firefox.

How to install and use Firefox

Microsoft Operating Systems such as XP and Vista come with an internet browser application called Internet Explorer. Despite being a default pre-installed browser is prone to attacks from hackers in the internet. To protect yourself when surfing the internet it is best that you use Firefox. It offers security as well as flexibility of user customizations through add-ons. Learn about add-ons here. For now I'd like to show how to install and use Firefox on your computer.

How To Install Yahoo Messenger

The most important use of having a Yahoo account is to be able to use Yahoo Messenger (YM). Because Yahoo was one of the earliest investors in the internet their chat program called Yahoo Messenger became a widely use application to date.

You can use YM to talk and see your love ones living or working abroad. Which saves you on international phone call bills. Please see video to know how to install Yahoo Messenger on your computer.

Gmail Vs Yahoo Mail

Personally, I like using Gmail over Yahoo Mail. I like how Gmail looks less cluttered and more real-time in receiving emails. If I were to use an email account for business, I'd choose Gmail always. However having Yahoo account does have its benefit as I shall explain here. For now let's focus on the video showing comparison between Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

How to compose email in Gmail

After knowing how to create your Google mail (Gmail) account you can now proceed on composing and sending email. See video below showing in detail how to compose an email in Gmail.

How to login and use Yahoo mail

After knowing how to create your yahoo mail your now you are ready to login and start using it. See video below showing how to login and send an email.

How to create an email account in Yahoo or Google

The first thing you want to do in the internet is get an email. Email means electonic mail. Basically it is a means for people to exchange messages in the internet. There are other ways to exchange messages like chat but that's a different post. For now let's focus on creating emails.

You use email if you want to exchange long messages or transfer files. The internet provides many host for email accounts. Two of the trusted names in this area is Yahoo and Google. If you want to know which one is best to use as a contact email for business you should read this.

View the video below to learn how to create a Yahoo account or Gmail (Google's email) account.