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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tech Check: Online Office Applications
On Fox6 Birmingham tonight, Sam and I talked about the shift from running office applications on your computer to running them online through a browser.

To understand more about online office programs, I recommend that you read this article: Web Office Week by ReadWriteWeb. You might also check out their article called: 10 must have online office apps.

The biggest player in the Online Office program sweepstakes is Google, of course. You can find their Office Suite here: Google Docs

Of course Microsoft also has their version of Office online called Microsoft Office Live.

We also mentioned, which has a great collection of online apps, including a free online CRM program and other goodies.

Thinkfree is also worth checking out, and bills itself as an online competitor to Microsoft Office.

Thanks for watching tonight's Fox6 Tech Check!
posted by Chase Thompson @ 8:07 AM   0 comments

Thursday, July 05, 2007
Web efficiency through Personalized home pages!
If your internet service provider's page is the first thing you see when you open your web browser, then chances are you're not being as efficient as you can be.

Tonight's TechCheck, we'll show you how to maximize your time on the web with a personalized home page.

How can personalizing my home page make me more efficient on the web? EASY! Imagine you clicking on that blue E on your desktop or that Firefox (which we hope you use) icon and ...BAM! With one glance you can get a preview of your e-mail, see the top headlines from your favorite news sources, see what's on TV or playing at the movies tonight, check the weather in your area, learn a new word and its definition..... you get the idea.

Personalized home pages are a great way to put your frequent things you do online summarized on the first page you see. Very handy if you ask me.... now... where are the best ones?

Well, here are four we've used, still use, or hear great things about.

MYWAY.COM has been around for a long time ... in cyber years that is ;) It has an e-mail client that incorporates into its personalized homepage. You can put all of your common routines laid out on the page before you. It's not completely content order friendly, but does the job. It's what I used for a long time until.... Google came out with a fantastic one.

iGOOGLE.COM is wonderful especially if you already use their calender, e-mail, and other online resources. I use this currently and it is more customizable than you can... well customize. You can place any of your personalized content any where on any of the 3 columns they provide you... and their add-ons are almost endless! The all in one ness that iGOOGLE provides is worth switching to for sure.... However there are other 3rd party home pages just as cool and even trying to be cooler.

Pageflakes, Chase's favorite, can work with even your gmail if you so choose not to use iGoogle. It is also, feature rich and completely customizable, and probably the sharpest design of all of the personal homepages.

MY.YAHOO.COM is the other internet giant's personalized home page and if your main e-mail acct. is yahoo, you might tend towards this one... that's okay.

The bottom line is: It takes a little effort to set a personalized home page up just the way you like it, but that time invested is quickly returned - with interest - once you start using it.
posted by The Knowles Family @ 7:47 PM   0 comments

Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tech Check: Cell phones and iPhone info
On tonight's Fox6 Tech Check, Sam and Chase talked about the various types of cell phones you can buy. We also mentioned the upcoming iPhone and all of the buzz surrounding it.

Sam showcased two types of phones - The LG 9800 - which has a qwerty keyboard and is excellent for text messaging - and the Casio G'zone, which is a very rugged, waterproof phone that takes decent pictures, and has a very good screen. Chase talked about a Pocket Pc based phone (with portable office apps like Word and Excel), these type cell phones can do almost everything - but they are quite bulky and heavy. The best choice for those who just need a phone, is either the cheapest and smallest model sold by your cell provider, or a phone like Motorola's Razr, which is very thin and lightweight, and also includes a camera.

C-net has a very good cell phone buyers guide with a video - it's a good starting place if you are looking to replace your old cell phone: CLICK HERE

Want to know more about the iPhone? Check out Wikipedia's article for a start, and then read - why you might not want an iPhone (CLICK HERE) And how to get one if you decide you do: CLICK HERE

Nutritional Supplements
posted by Chase Thompson @ 9:34 PM   0 comments

Thursday, May 03, 2007
Blogging: Fun, Informative, and Easy
Hope you enjoyed this week's TechCheck, and are excited about starting your own Blog (Web Log).

As mentioned the two most popular free blogging tools are :

- Blogger - This is the program Google offers and it can have your thoughts and opinions up on the net in 3 easy steps! It is the easiest of the two, but a lot of more serious bloggers use the second program we mentioned.

- Word Press - This program has a very different setup, but it has detailed instructions to get you up and running. The best thing to do is check out some great blogs and see which one you like best.

Here are some very popular (or ones we personally like) blogs that gives you an understanding of how people use this powerful internet tool:

- Everyday life

- Religion

- News
posted by The Knowles Family @ 6:17 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Clean Duplicate Files Off Of Your Hard Drive
NOTE: (added Friday) PLEASE read the instructions located at this site before you run the program: CLICK HERE

Tonight's TechCheck will help in getting your hard drive running smoothly. If your hard drive is over 85% full it can create a significant slow down to your system.

One very useful tool you should use in clearing up some space is called Duplicate File Finder. It can be downloaded from PcWorld here, but please note the listed warnings when using the program: CLICK HERE This program will search your hard drive for duplicate files (and believe me you have them). I found probably 20 different files that I had saved 3 times! in different locations.

Another thing that having duplicate files can do is cause certain programs that use the duplicate files to act strangely.

CLICK HERE to download Duplicate File Finder and begin the process of getting your hard drive in better shape.

NOTE: (added Friday) PLEASE read the instructions located at this site before you run the program: CLICK HERE
posted by The Knowles Family @ 1:29 PM  

Thursday, April 12, 2007
The Open CD
Tonight on Tech Check we talk about a cd that has programs galore for FREE... that's right no dinero... no money... zip zippo... you get the idea.

The reality is a lot of the programs we pay hundreds of dollars for... have an "open source" version that is free! The Open CD has compiled a lot of these programs together and put them onto one cd. And the beautiful thing is... they still offer it for free!!! Here's what they say on their website:

"TheOpenCD is a collection of high quality Free and Open Source Software. The programs run in Windows and cover the most common tasks such as word processing, presentations, e-mail, web browsing, web design, and image manipulation. We include only the highest quality programs, which have been carefully tested for stability and which we consider appropriate for a wide audience."

Open Source is a concept on the web that has been around as long as ... well.... the web (and some say even before). It is basically a consortium of software developers that believe the best programs should be created by the collective and not one source. CLICK HERE to read more about what open source is.

Now back to The Open CD. This thing has web design software, graphic design software, a complete office suite (instead of Microsoft Office which alone costs hundreds of dollars), a remote access program (like PC Anywhere), and a TON more!

How do you get this? Well there are a few options. You can download the cd from The Open CD's website; You can download individual applications from their website; Or if you don't want to mess with the download side of things and/or you're on dial-up... Then there are places around town to pick up the cd for FREE!!!

One place we know well and recommend is Hack of All Trades in Homewood. Larry Owen is the owner and a big advocate of Open Source. -tell him we sent you ;) -
posted by The Knowles Family @ 6:47 AM   0 comments

Friday, March 30, 2007
How to improve your Wireless internet connection
On tonight's Tech Check, Chase and Sam talked about improving your WiFi internet connection. Here are the four tips we gave:

1. Have your router in a central location, elevated off the floor, and away from potential sources of interference, like metal filing cabinets, wireless phones, etc.

2. It is best to use wireless equipment manufactured by the same company - i.e., use a Belkin router with a Belkin wireless card, etc - this doesn't make a huge difference, and you shouldn't replace a piece of equipment that is working well - but it's a good tip if you are buying new wireless equipment.

3. If you are continually losing your wireless signal, or it fluctuates from low to high, then enter into your routers settings and change the channel. Don't know how to do this? Go to the router manufacturer's homepage to look for instructions, or simply google it.

4. Finally, consider using a wireless repeater, or a high gain antenna. More information about all of these steps can be found in the links below:

Microsoft: 10 tips for improving your wireless connection.

Wikihow: How to improve WiFi connection.

Cnet: How to improve router signal strength.

We hope this information improves your wireless computing experience!
posted by Chase Thompson @ 9:40 AM   0 comments

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