Category Archives: Make Tech Easier

Keep your computers running smoothly – avoid headaches!

Full article is at https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-keep-your-remote-work-setup-running-smoothly-with-regular-maintenance/

Computers and laptops really do need regular maintenance to keep running. NONE of this is difficult, but will avoid a LOT of headaches.

It does NOT look like this!

EVERY WEEK

  • Check for Updates
  • Shut down the device [don’t just restart]. Wait a few minutes. THEN turn them back on.
    • It REALLY DOES solve a variety of mysterious issues.
  • Clean up – use a cloth to remove dust and fingerprints and all the other ickiness from your device.
    • Most microfiber cloths will do just fine. You do NOT have to go buy something “computer specific”.
    • Clean the webcam as well.

EVERY MONTH

  • Refresh your internet connection – unplug your cable modem, router, switches – any gizmo relating to your internet connection. Wait a couple of minutes, then turn them back on.
    • It will take several minutes for all the device to reconnect and get settled in. Go have a glass of sweet tea while you wait, and take a deep breath.
  • Check your accounts. Go to  Have I Been Pwned to see if any of your accounts have been in a data breach. Apple’s Safari Browser as well as Google Chrome might also prompt you about accounts that have been compromised.
  • Check your backups – you DO have a back up of important data?
    • If you don’t, you’d best get on that right now. Machines DO fail – it is only a matter of time.

EVERY YEAR

  • Review your setup. Retire anything you don’t use.
    • That is a great idea from a security perspective, could save money on your power bill, and will certainly help declutter your space.
  • Document your setup – write it down! How are things connected, what gizmos do you have in the house, serial numbers, etc.

Web Search, part 2 – Take the Time to Get Good at it!

In Part 1, we looked at how to THINK before you start searching. Remember that the goal is to find what you seek in ONE search.

Here are some other ways you can “make Google Dance” as you search the web. MOST of these tips will also work for DuckDuckGo.com, and possibly the other search engines as well.

Note that much of this material is drawn from an article from macsales.com

Site-Specific searching.

If you’d like to search a specific website [macon, com, for example], then add “site:domain_mane” to the end of your search.

For example:

Mount de Sales site:macon.com

should find every mention of the school at the macon.com website.

Getting rid of some results

Let’s say you are researching “fording a river”, but you keep getting results for Ford vehicles. You can use the minus sign to remove articles about the cars, which would make it easier to find what you seek;

ford river -car -truck

Make CERTAIN a search term is in the results

Sometime the search engine gives you results that DON’T contain your search terms, or the results contain SOME of them. You can force the results to contain the terms by using the plus sign.

+ham +sandwich +tees +hamster

Specify an EXACT search term

Use force your results to contain the phrase as is – this is very useful when searching for someone’s name.

“Mickey Mouse”

Leave out results from certain domains.

Let’s say you were looking for info on Apple products, but wanted results that are NOT from apple.com. That is easy by using the minus sign [again].

iPhone -apple.com

The minus sign works with “top level domains” – as in .edu, .com, etc. So you could block out any .com sites in that Apple search.

iPhone -.com

Search just the Title of the page

You can use “intitle:” to search JUST the title of a page.

intitle:Macon

You can use multiple intitles to make sure multiple words are int he title:

intitle:Macon intitle:GA intitle:Music

Search just the text in a result

Have the engine search JUST the text on a site with the intext: option

intext:cavaliers intext:”Mount de Sales” intext:school

Search a sub-area of a site

Suppose you wanted to search JUST the support area of Microsoft site for some info. Use the “inurl:” option to do just that:

surface reinstall site:microsoft.com inurl:support

Wildcards

Use the asterisk to represent ANYTHING. That is useful if you aren’t quite sure of what you are looking for, or if you’d like to know what info is available about something general.

how to * on an iPad

Search a specific date range

If you are looking for info relating to a particular computer, or car, for a specific year, the “after:” and “before:” options will save you some time.

So if you are loking for info about teh Ford Mustand, but only the models from teh late 1960’s, you would search this:

Ford mustang after:1964-01-01 before:1969-12-12

NOTE: you do NOT have to use the entire yerar-month-day format. You could search

Ford mustang after:1964 before:1970

Use the Tools Menu

Tools button Google Search

That is another way to search by date and time.

Boolean Operators

No, these aren’t words that will get you into trouble. They refer to ways to require ALL of your search terms or ANY of them in your search results, by using the words “AND” and “OR”. They can be used with ANY of the above options.

So if I want to search for a Ryobi one+ air compressor, but limited to Homedepot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware:

ryobi one+ air compressor site:homedepot.com OR site:lowes.com OR site:acehardware.com

Notice that the results only give homedepot.com – because neither Lowe’s nor Ace Hardware carry Ryobi.

Use AND if you want to make sure ALL of your terms are included in the results. Again, this can be used with any of the tips above.

Mount de Sales AND Catholic -Macon should give us the Mount de Sales Catholic schools that are not in Macon.

AROUND

This is one that few people know about. You can have the engine look for words that are close to each other, but not necessarily next to each other.

lefty AROUND scissors

Google Advanced Search
Advanced Search – Google

If you are having trouble finding, and have learned to THINK about your search, then dive into advanced search. At the top-right corner, click Settings, then Advanced Search. There are a lot of options here, but most are easy to figure out.

FINAL ADVICE:

  1. DO NOT GIVE UP. There are a gazillion ways to find what you seek on the Web.
  2. THINK about what you are looking for. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Contact Tech, or visit the ARC, to get more advice [but ONLY after you have tried these tips and are just absolutely out of ideas.]

Adding a Voiceover to your Google Slide Deck on your iPad

  • Get in a quiet place.
  • Make sure you are facing the iPad screen, and are decently close to it [so the microphone will get a good recording.]
  • Screen record your presentation  [ https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207935 has the details ].
  • Start the screen recording – making sure to click on the microphone button BEFORE starting th recording..
  • Switch to your Slide deck.
  • Start the presentation.
  • Click through your presentation, and say what you need to say on each slide.
  • When you are done, stop the screen recording.
  • The movie – complete with the audio – will be stored in your photo roll.