Archive for the 'Tips' Category

How to Circumvent PDF Editing Restrictions

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Tip JarAdobe PDF documents have security settings which can, among other things, prevent anyone from modifying the document. This is helpful, for example, when sending electronic copies of contracts for review. But it can also be a pain when the document needs to be changed but the password has been forgotten or the person who knows the password is no longer working for the company. The linked article has a solution that works in Windows systems: print the PDF to an XPS file (the XPS “printer” is automatically supplied by Microsoft), then open the XPS file and print it to a PDF file. This will give you an identical copy of the original document, but without any security restrictions.


Windows Files That Contain Icons

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Tip JarIf you’ve ever tried to change an icon under Windows (for a folder or shortcut, for example), the icon selection dialog defaults to the shell32.dll file. Admittedly, shell32.dll contains a lot of good icons, but sometimes you just need a better selection. Here’s a list of 17 Windows 7 files that contain an additional 1200+ icons (note: I imagine many of these are valid for other versions of Windows):

  • C:\Windows\explorer.exe
  • C:\Windows\System32\accessibilitycpl.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\ddores.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\gameux.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\moricons.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\mmcndmgr.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\mmres.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\netcenter.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\netshell.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\networkexplorer.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\pifmgr.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\pnidui.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\sensorscpl.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\setupapi.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\wmploc.dll
  • C:\Windows\System32\wpdshext.dll


Erase Personal Data From a Computer, Without Removing Windows

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Tip JarThe linked article explains how to erase personal data from a computer while still keeping the Windows operating system intact. This is useful, for example, when you’re giving an older computer to a friend or family member.


What Format Should You Use For Your Electronic Resume?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Tip JarI guess we’ve reached the twilight of the paper resume, seeing that so many are now submitted electronically. Which brings up the question of which format to use: MS Word or PDF. The linked article addresses the pros and cons of each and says the answer is neither. Instead, the author recommends using Rich Text Format (RTF). Note that all versions of MS Word have the ability to read and write RTF files.


Dealing With a Window That’s Outside the Display Area

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Tip JarSome time ago, I had a computer program that would occasionally glitch and set its location to be somewhere off the screen. The program would run fine and would show up on the taskbar, but I couldn’t access it with my mouse because it was outside the visible area of the Windows desktop. Eventually I discovered the technique described in the linked article. This is a command that’s been around for a long time but isn’t obvious to the casual user, especially the part about using the arrow keys to perform the movement.


Tech Gadgets You Shouldn’t Buy

Monday, December 5th, 2011

ShoppingHere’s a list of tech gadgets that you probably should NOT purchase during the Christmas season, many of them because smartphones and tablets already have the gadget’s functionality. The linked article does allow for exceptions, but generally recommends against purchasing these types of items:

  • Feature Phones (non-smartphones)
  • Standalone GPS Units
  • Netbooks
  • Pocket Camcorders
  • Portable Gaming Consoles
  • Portable Media Players (think iPod)
  • Point-and-Shoot Cameras


Use Nautical Rope As Replacement Shoelaces

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Tips JarThin nautical rope can be a nice replacement for the shoelaces on your sneakers. I got a pair of work boots a few months ago, and the laces are already starting to fray (update: one of the laces broke, just hours after I wrote this post). Nautical rope is more rugged and should last longer. Of course, this isn’t something you can pick up at any department store—you’ll probably need to go to a marine store.


Fixing a Stripped Screw Hole

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Tip JarDid your metal screw strip out the wooden hole? There are many ways to fix it, but a quick and easy method is to line the hole with toothpicks. Depending on the size of the hole, a golf tee may also do the job.


Five Useful Microsoft Word Tips

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Tip JarIt’s been my experience that most lists of Word tips aren’t all that useful. The linked article, however, is an exception. It explains, for example, how to perform a vertical text selection, undo automatic changes, and move table text up or down.


Use Zinc To Treat That Cold

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Tip JarThe mineral zinc, which can be purchased inexpensively in pill form, is very effective at treating the common cold. Take it as soon as symptoms start to appear. This will reduce both the length of the cold and the severity of the symptoms.

(via Lifehacker)

Speed Up SATA Hard Drives by Enabling AHCI

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Hard DriveFor Windows Vista and 7 users, you may be running your SATA hard drives at sub-optimal performance. For compatibility reasons, the default settings on your computer may cause the drives to be accessed in an outdated (and slower) method. The linked article explains how to enable AHCI in Windows with a registry change, and you may also need to enable it in your BIOS setup.


Google Chrome Tips and News

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Google LogoHere at the Chad’s News network command center, Firefox is still the browser of choice. Google Chrome, however, is still improving and trying to become a contender for that top spot. There is the useful Chrome Toolbox extension, which adds functionality and configuration options that have been needed for a long time. Also, Chrome now has a built-in PDF viewer, which appears to be in the latest release version. Lifehacker has a tip on how to refresh the thumbnails shown for your “most visited” sites on the new tab page. Another tip from Lifehacker explains how to configure Chrome such that embedded Flash content is played on demand (versus the default auto play). This change has not yet made it to the release version. And finally, the linked article discusses Google’s decision to drop direct browser support for the popular H.264 video codec. This only affects HTML5 videos—Flash content will still play with no problem.

(via Kim Komando)