Bob Bernhardt Bob Bernhardt

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More and more I find that I am living in a wireless world. Laptops, iPhones, sound systems, TV-DVD devices, headphones, printers, security systems, and more. And in this world of accelerated technoligical advancement new devices and applications are emerging daily.

And this convenience is not just available at home! At the homes of family members, trusted friends, regular workplaces, and even at church my phone and laptop are automatically connected and ready for action. All this and I still consider myself to be a relatively low end user of technology. Who can visualize what another decade of development will bring?

In Praise of Evernote
My life is both fragmented and eclectic. My interests are many and varied. When I read or roam the Internet I encounter snippets of information that I want to retain. No folder system that I have yet been able to devise has been adequate to impose order on this chaos. Consequently some of the collected information has almost immediately become right on my own computer. Then I discovered Evernote and a bright beam of light shone into this darkness. It is perfect for my world and is amongst my most frequently utilized programs.

Evernote is a fully searchable, cloud based, multi-device compatible information storage and retrieval system that really works. It handles text, web shots, graphics, scans, documents, audio clips, video clips and even e-mail messages all without stumbling. I can access it from my desktop PC, my laptop and my iPhone. It even bridges the great Apple - Microsoft divide. And, as a bonus, it can be configured to search the contents of all my Evernote entries whenever I launch a Google search inquiry. It is truly phenomenal what it can do.

There are admittedly two challenges to using Evernote. The first challenge is that it takes a bit of effort to grasp the variety of functions that Evernote is able to perform. You get impressed by the "Wow!" factor of one of its many capacities and forget for a moment that this is only one of its features. The second challenge is to discover how best to apply these capacities to one's own specific information management needs. At the outset of my journey with Evernote I listened to video clips of how others were using Evernote in their personal and professional worlds. Then I began to create effective ways that fit my personal needs.

Many computer tools amaze you when you first discover them. However, Evernote continues to amaze and excite me almost daily. And, did I happen to mention that Evernote is FREE. There are upscale service packages that you can purchase but I use Evernote almost daily and find the free version to be more than adequate for all my needs. Any Google search will bring up lots of testimonies and tutorials. One link that may help you appreciate what Evernote could do for you is "The Ten Most Important Features of Evernote".

The Power of Visualization  For a powerful demonstration of what computerized visual statistics can do, take a look at this. Statistics come to life when Swedish academic superstar Hans Rosling graphically illustrates global development over the last 200 years. 200 Countries in 200 Years

A Great Introduction This is not a site for "experts" but even experts do well to see the world through the eyes of those who are just learning. Besides, most "experts" have around them a number of people who are always asking rather basic questions and this is a great place to help them find some answers. The site is called 20 Things I Learned and is a very clever and informative introduction to the Internet and web browsers. Even "experts", should you think that you are one, should check this site out.

The latest in computer security You know that awkward feeling you get when using a laptop in a public setting (especially someplace as cramped as the middle seat on an airplane). Well, the problem has been noted and a solution has been developed. As a bonus this can also serve as a turtle neck sweater when you are not using your computer.

A Useful Tool  We are aware that some websites can be dangerous in terms of viruses and malware. There is however a way to check the status of a website without actually having to log on to it. This free tool allows you to run a check of any website without actually going to it. If someone sends you a link and you want to check it out without risk then try URLVoid.

PowerPoint 2007  Though this is not strictly an Internet matter I have found what looks like a good tutorial on PowerPoint 2007 that I am going to work my way through. It is available at PowerPoint 2007. Like many others I sometimes find myself struggling to be able to do in PowerPoint 2007 what seemed relatively easy in PowerPoint 2003. Grrrr!

Windows 7 and those "extra" keys  I am trying to break myself of being so dependent on my mouse. That involves becoming familiar with those "extra" keys that were not on that old Underwood on which I first learned to type. There is that cute "Windows" key that on my keyboard is not labeled with mysterious letters (like Alt and Ctrl) but is simply adorned with a little Microsoft banner symbol. Apparently it is not just there for esthetic reasons as I first thought. If you actually press it your start window pops open without resorting to your mouse. Intrigued? Experiment a little further. If you press the Windows key and the spacebar down at the same time and keep them depressed then it makes all your open windows fade so that you can see your desktop. I am not exactly sure the value of that but it is certainly cool and I am eagerly trying to think of applications for it. OK, how's this? Hold down your Windows key and then press the "Home" key (assuming that you can find it) and all your open windows will be minimized except for the one in which you are actively working. Try it! Oh, and there's more! Hold down the Window key and press the "f" key and a search box opens. No, I don't know why it is the "f" key rather than the "s" key - maybe someone just has a rude sense of humour. And, I saved the best until last. Hold down the Windows key and press the "r" key and a run box opens. No, this is not a secret Microsoft exercise program. If, for example, you type "documents" into the run box it will open your "My Documents" folder or type in "pictures" and you will go directly to that massive collection of digital photos that you have stored in your "My Pictures" folder, etc., etc., etc. - at least it does on my computer. How cool, and possibly even convenient, is that? And here you were thinking that computers are all just about entertainment and not really designed for serious work. Think again! Now I just have to remember all this so that I can play with it later.

A handy tip
Here is a keyboard shortcut that may prove useful. If you are looking at a website and the print is too small then simply hold down Ctrl and pres +. Presto the print is enlarged. If it is still too small for comfort do it again. In a similar way use the minus sign to reduce magnification. If you want to return everything to normal hold down Ctrl and pres 0. This, of course, is not specifically an Internet thing, but that is where I find it most useful. It seems to work anywhere in either XP or Windows 7. After being all thrilled with this I learned about another very similar wrinkle. If you use a mouse with a scroll wheel then simply hold down the"Ctrl" key and move the scroll wheel on your mouse and presto things go smaller or larger.