Category Archives: Computers

Windows Tips: Customize the Quick Access and Status Bars in Office 2007

For those of you who are still adjusting to the new look and tools arsenal of Microsoft Office 2007, here’s a couple of things that you can do to tweak the way Office 2007 looks. Probably another GUI “concept” aside from the Ribbon that you now notice is this thing called the Quick Access Toolbar:

Quick Access Toolbar

It also features a newly tweaked Status Bar at the bottom:

Status Bar

Now, what I like about what they did with Office 2007 is the ease of tweaking and customization that you can do with things. And you can actually do a fairly quick tweaking of these two implements of productivity war. It all starts with a simple click.

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Productivity Tip: Make Windows Vista’s User Account Control Your Watchdog

One of Vista’s security features is a thing called User Account Control (UAC) and one of it’s more family-friendly capabilities is Parental Control. It allows the parent (or administrator) to control what certain accounts in the computer can do – limit surfing capabilities, set program access and control, even set time limits. And what’s best is there’s an activity monitor.

While it’s obvious use is for parents who’d like to keep their kids safe in a virtual safety deposit box, I’ve just figured why not use it for productivity’s sake. I don’t have kids and I’m the only once using my computers so why not put the darned thing to other uses – like make it my little productivity watchdog.

Why not? It’s got the same features that watchdog programs should have. And it’s built-in the OS itself. So get ready for iron-fisted self-imposed lock down.

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Windows Tip: Reclaim Space by Hiding the Ribbon in Office 2007

After a week or so of dealing with Office 2007, I’ve started to be settle with the Ribbon thing. The Ribbon is Office 2007′s replacement for the layers of toolbars that were previously found in 2003 and older. While I do miss the novelty, it now has struck me that the Ribbon has made it more efficient for me to access tools and whatnot.

Other people simply hate the Ribbon. To each his own, but I guess one of the reasons is because the darn Ribbon eats up too much space. I can’t imagine having this thing on any computer running on anything less than a 1280 x 800 screen resolution display. I’ve tried it on 1024 x 768 (which a lot of people still use) and it’s cramped as hell.

Well, at least Microsoft gives you a keyboard shortcut to display and hide the Ribbon in a jiffy. And it’s the magical combination of Ctrl + F1. Just press to hide. Then press to enable. A great way to reclaim space. And it even makes Word 2007 look like a no-nonsense text editor. Just see here:

No Ribbon

YouTube Raid: No More Fat Geeks with WiiFit

Ever since games became more and more interactive, there are now a lot of reasons why gamers should fall into that harsh stereotype of fat and pimply geeks with no lives. Well, save for MMORP gamers. But with the days of Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Sports, we’ve read a lot of reports of people actually getting fit from gaming. And the bonus is, it’s still gaming and no gym memberships required.

Nintendo ups their ante with this release. WiiFit is Nintendo’s fitness program for the Wii. It comes with a pressure sensitive Balance Board (name not final) that lets people do aerobic, toning, and balance exercises. To give you a good idea, here’s a clip from YouTube:

Now, it’s just a wonder why Nintendo featured fit people doing all the stuff there. Would fat people not sell?For more Nintendo Wii features and news, check out our sister blog under the Bloggy Network, Wii Living.

Tech News: Firefox 3 Release Date Pushed Back

Speaking of Firefox, I just can’t wait for the release of Firefox 3. Unfortunately for me, it will still be a few months before I could get hold of the third major incarnation of my favorite browser. But since I trust that Mozilla is gunning for quality over a shippable (shit-able) format, I’m quite fine with it.

The latest alpha release is alpha 6 and alpha 7 is due in about 6 weeks (around September) and so on and so forth until they finally release a beta.

Firefox 3 is going to be a very significant release, and a lot of work has gone into improvements under the hood so far. These delays are hardly surprising and shouldn’t be perceived as a cause for concern. The new roadmap looks like a realistic adjustment to the complexity of the Firefox 3 development process, and it reflects a very clear emphasis on polish and performance.

Via Ars Technica (Forever Geek for the head’s up)

Firefox Quick Tip: Play Pacman in Firefox

Pacman

Now here’s one for a dose of retro. How about some Pacman on your Firefox? Yup, that’s right. You read it. Play Pacman on Firefox. with the Pacman add-on.

It plays pretty much like your good old Pacman game. It’s pretty much straight up (complete with the retro sound effects) only you get to play it with four different speed settings – slow, normal, fast and insane. Plus you get a high score list.

Download the Pacman add-on here.

Via Forever Geek

Download: Be Warned of Homeland Security Threats

Homeland Security Threat Monitor

Ever since that tragic day, the US government has gone through lengths to ensure the safety of its people. Probably one of the most apparent signs of this is the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. It presents a color scheme of five threat levels depending on the level of risk.

Now if you want to be always in the know of any changes in the threat level, you might want to download this Homeland Threat Security Monitor. It’s a small utility that displays the current threat level based on the DHS website. It displays conveniently in your system tray.

While I know that there are people out there who are generally concerned about their nation’s safety, I find this a tad bit more of a toy. And you got to love that little duct tape tray icon. And even the author has this to say:

Okay, I admit, this is a totally silly and pointless piece of software… This program is just for fun, despite its serious theme.

Still, you can have this little monitor to warn you. Just in case. Hehe.

Works with Windows XP and older. Download Homeland Security Threat Monitor here.

How to Protect your Kids from Gaming Violence

ESRB

Video games are so popular these days. With your kid hunched over the PC or console set, determined to destroy the enemies, you can’t be unconcerned if the violence of these video games won’t affect his behavior. It’s really a concern why many kids “have no lives at all” opting to play video games rather than go out and play. In some researches on video games, psychologists highlight increased aggression and hampered social skills as result of too much gaming. Guide child kid towards harmless fun with these tips.

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Windows Tip: Set Word 2007 to Save in Word 97 to 2003 Format

The problem with the latest Microsoft releases is that they aren’t backward compatible. Take Vista for example. There are only a special number of software that run on it. Good thing they weren’t that inconsiderate with Office 2007. At least, there’s still the option for you to save using older document formats. By the way, Office 2007 now, by default, uses a different format. Word 2007 saves its files using the .DOCX format.

However, since the world hasn’t shifted all to the latest Microsoft releases, chances are you might be sending other people documents in .DOCX format which they wouldn’t be able to open in Word 97-2003. You just have to make an effort to make sure the file format and you can do so by making sure that you select the Word 97-2003 format every time. Or just set the darned thing and forget about it.

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Firefox Quick Tip: Purge Your Cache Instantly with Cache Status

Cache Status

One of the things that turn people off from Firefox is it’s tendency to be a resource hog. There are several ways to address this. One is not to max out Firefox – just keepin. Another way is to limit the number of add-ons activated at a given time. Or you can do these RAM tweaks.

Another surefire way to police this tendency is by purging your cache. This can be easily done by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Del that loads up the Clear Private Data window, checking Cache and clear the data. However, one drawback to this is that it clears both Firefox’s disk and memory cache. If disk space isn’t really an issue, it’s the memory cache that you’d want to purge.

Cache Satus is a great add-on that helps you monitor your cache usage by displaying the information in your status bar (much like accessing the about:cache page). What makes it even handier is a feature that allows you to purge your RAM or disk cache or both when you think either one’s hogging too much resource.

You can even set the maximum cache sizes for both RAM and disk. And as for the latest update, it also features automatic cache clearing when it reaches a certain percentage that you set.

Download Cache Status here.