I enjoy working with computers and the software that runs them. I will try to have my tips cover both XP and Vista when possible. I know that so many of you are really MAC fans, but I do not have MAC tips, sorry.
If there is something I love more than machine embroidery (and I really love machine embroidery), it is computers. Join me on a journey through some tips and tricks that you will find to be of value for your everyday usage of that machine that makes your life easier and harder at the same time. I hope you will find my tips easy to follow and if not, let me know because it is easy to miss a step.
These tips can be used for both Windows XP and Vista.
Every day it seems like we have less and less time to get everything done. Our grandmothers were able to enjoy time doing things like hand embroidery and chatting at a quilting circle. Now we have machines that do beautiful embroidery and our chatting is done, well for the entire world to see, on the Internet.
If you have enough time in your day, you can pass on reading this article. If you could use some time-saving hints for your computer usage, I have a couple of good ones for you.
Let us start out with accessing the computer items that are the most important to your activities.
Make Use of the Quick Launch toolbar
The Quick Launch toolbar is in the lower left corner on the taskbar including the Start menu. This toolbar stays visible, even when you are working in other programs, for easy access to shortcuts for your most used programs or documents. You can add and delete items quickly as your needs change.
Quick Launch toolbar
You probably already know how to create a shortcut on the desktop, but taking it one step further, you can move that shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar.
It is easy. Simply click and drag any shortcut icon to your Quick Launch toolbar. This creates a copy of the shortcut already on your desktop, so delete the original shortcut on the desktop. When you no longer need that shortcut, drag it from the toolbar where it will become a desktop shortcut. You can then delete it if you choose. Remember, a shortcut is recognized by the small arrow in the lower left hand corner.
If your Icon does NOT have that arrow, NEVER delete it. If the icon does not have an arrow, it indicates that it is an original document or program. If you were to delete a document, a very hazardous option, you may lose your work. If you were to delete a program, it will not be deleted properly and your computer will have left over bits and pieces of a program you no longer use. That will cause problems down the road.
If for some reason your Quick Launch toolbar is not visible, try this:
- Right-click an empty area of the taskbar.
- Select Toolbars.
- Select Quick Launch.
Creating a Strong Password
Nothing is more important to your computer usage than your password.
While strong passwords have always been promoted, many users still feel that a password is just a nuisance and they continue to use weak and ineffective words to secure their information.
In Phoenix, in the 1990s, an ex-boyfriend and stalker, using a password given to him by a Motor Vehicles employee, found the current address for a fearful girlfriend and murdered her. This might be the worst case scenario, but it is not something that is outside of the realm of possibilities.
Your information is very important. Your Social Security Number, something that was once willingly shared, is now cautiously guarded. Identify theft is indeed a significant issue for everyone.
Let me give you one of the easiest methods to create a really strong password. First, here are some things to absolutely avoid:
- Avoid names and dictionary words.
- Too few characters. Use at least eight characters; the more the better.
- Use of just letters. Always include upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols (symbols where possible).
Now, here are the 'Use' types of items:
- A phrase from a song, “put your tiny hand in mine” - or
- A phrase that you make up, “When I go to concerts, I have so much fun” - or
- Something from a favorite book, “three basic colors are a way to enhance your”
The line should be memorable to just you. Let’s take this one step further. I like to use the obvious words with capital letters, but some that are not so apparent for capitalization as well. So, from the first phrase, it will look something like this:
pyThiM. Look at the phrase and see the pattern. Now, let’s get to the next step, adding a number or two.
py7ThiM9. That says you have 7 tiny hands in my 9. Are we done? Yes and No. I use a similar one to this for places that I won't be using my credit card or have any financial dealing, like email or a forum.
However, the last, and most important step, is attachment to a site in which I will have any financial or identification data. These is where I include some site information.
Let’s say we are accessing our account at Washout Bank and Trust. WBT is probably how they use their initials, so it is not a good choice. I might use the last letters, or any other combination of letters that I choose. The last letters, tkt will be used in this example. You can select something that makes sense to you. You will be using 2 or 3 different initials for separate accounts/sites, and use the same format, in this case, the last letters. So, our final password for this site looks like this:
py7TtkthiM9 It looks impossible, which is the objective!!!, and you have a very secure password. After you have chosen your phrase, layout/format and created your password, it will be easy for you to remember. Even if you need a hint, I would use the words "Father Figure" which is the name of the song from which the phrase was taken. Your brain has a wonderful computer, trust it to keep your password for you.
And, here are just a couple of more things about security.
You may live with just another person or two and feel that a computer password is not necessary. Do rethink that because there are other possibilities. For instance, you could have a break in and someone could access your PC. They could be malicious and delete info or remove it altogether. Even a guest who is totally honorable could have a curious bone in their body! A password keeps your PC a bit safer.
When a site requests that you input a “secret answer” for times when you have forgotten your password, make sure you don’t answer it honestly!! Use something like for: Mother’s Maiden Name: S@m@I@t@H. Note that it is Smith with upper and lower case and some symbols mixed in. The system does not need an answer that makes sense, just one that is safe.
Thanks for reading our Computer Tips. If you like them, let us know. If you have recommendations, questions or ideas, I want to hear from you. I cannot answer every question, but I will research and assist you when I am able.