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More How-To

  • How-Tos: Take Night Photos, Understand Focal Lengths, and More

    Have a question about digital photography? Send it to me. I reply to as many as I can--though given the quantity of e-mails that I get, I can't promise a personal reply to each one. I round up the most interesting questions about once a month here in Digital Focus. For more frequently asked questions, read my newsletters from January, February, March, and April.

  • How-Tos: Preview the print queue with Quick Look

    When you print documents with your Mac, they show up in your printer's queue. You can view that queue by clicking the printer icon in your Dock. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to tell exactly which documents are which in that queue--especially if you're printing a bunch of untitled or similarly-named files. Hints reader ppinheiro76 figured out a delightfully simple way to get quick previews of the files you're printing.

  • How-Tos: Can I Wirelessly Connect My PC to My HDTV?

    Ernest Valdez, Jr. asked how he could wirelessly send a video signal from his computer to his HDTV.

  • How-Tos: Keep Your Data in Sync Across Platforms and Devices

    People are no longer tied to any specific location or device as they roam about getting work done on laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. The challenge is to keep everything synced so you can access the same data from each of those platforms.

  • How-Tos: Acer Iconia A500 Tablet Pairs Nicely with Any USB PC Keyboard

    I'm writing today's post on my Android-based Acer Iconia A500 tablet. But no, I'm not tapping slowly around an on-screen keyboard. Instead, I grabbed an old USB keyboard that was laying at the bottom of a junk drawer in my closet, and I'm typing as fast as I would on my desk-bound machine. For tablet-based productivity, this is an awesome experience.

  • How-Tos: Solve printing problems with Preview

    Sometimes documents just don't print properly. My latest example: After filling out an expense report in Microsoft Excel, I tried to print it, but the document came out cut off on all four sides. I tried printing it again, specifying in the printer dialog that I wanted to scale the document to fit on one page; it still didn't work. I didn't know where the fault lay: Was it an Excel issue, a printer issue, or something else? But I didn't have time to investigate; I needed to get that expense report in the mail. My solution: I remembered a recent hint about opening two copies of a PDF at once, and used a variation on that to get the report to print.

  • How-Tos: How to prevent Windows Security Center switching itself off

    I'm having problems with Windows Security Center, which keeps switching itself off. I get a warning flag pop-up in the Taskbar, but when I try to activate the service Action Center reports that 'The Windows Security Center service can't be started'. When I restart it in Control Panel Services, Action Center immediately reports it's off again.

  • How-Tos: How to create an email signature in Hotmail

    We've already shown you how to access the signature function, which allows the same piece of text to be automatically pasted that the end of every email created, in Google's Gmail. However, Microsoft's rival webmail service, Hotmail, also offer the same function. Here's how to add signatures to any emails you create in Hotmail.

  • How-Tos: How to reinstall Windows

    You've tried everything, and only one option remains: reinstall Windows and start from scratch. Here's how to do it.

  • How-Tos: How to spring clean a dusty PC

    If you allow your PC's case to get dirty over time, grime can clog the fans that keep the internal parts cool. Here's how to avoid disaster.

  • How-Tos: How to restore Windows without the restore CD

    When Windows misbehaves, restoring the operating system via your restore CD may be the last resort. So what do you do if you can't find the disc?

  • How-Tos: How to create an email signature in Gmail

    Free webmail services, such as Google's Gmail, are just as good as using an email address from your ISP coupled with an email client such as Microsoft's Outlook. They ensure users can access the same functions, such as email forwarding and even the ability to add a signature to every message that's sent.

  • How-Tos: How to make an XP PC default to the correct Wi-Fi connection

    My wife's laptop and my internet radio happily talk to our Belkin N modem router on our wireless network, but my Windows XP PC insists on first connecting to a nearby unsecured BT network when waking from Hibernate mode. Sometimes it refuses to connect to our own network until I reboot the router.

  • How-Tos: Boost Your Productivity By Blocking Distracting Sites

    When it comes to online distractions, we all have a childish streak. So why not borrow a strategy from the Net Nanny playbook and put yourself on a little Web restriction? By using a browser plug-in to block sites that you know you can hardly resist, you can reduce the threat of Facebook or Failblog sucking up half-hour chunks of your workday.

  • How-Tos: Add lyrics to your iTunes tracks

    Music and lyrics—there’s a reason you hear those two items discussed together, because they are equally important parts in the composition of a song. While you can tap your foot or strum along with a tune on your air guitar, you can’t sing along if you don’t know the words. And how frustrating is that?

  • How-Tos: How to stop a Facebook app posting to your wall

    Third-party apps for Facebook can give the social network plenty of extra functionality. However, many apps insist of posting content, such as gaming updates , on your wall, which can get a little annoying. However, you can remove the app's right to post on your wall.

  • How-Tos: PlayBook Quick Tip: How to Type Special Characters

    The other day, while sipping a latte at the café and attempting to share my caffeine consumption with friends and colleagues via Twitter, I realized that though I've become fairly proficient with my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's touch-screen keyboard, I didn't know how to type that accented "e" in "café."

  • How-Tos: Overclock Your CPU, GPU, and RAM

    You want the best performance possible from your computer, but you can't afford any hardware upgrades. No problem--we'll show you how to safely overclock your existing desktop PC's CPU, GPU, and RAM and give it an extra shot in the arm.

  • How-Tos: How to speed up your PC: 24 performance tweaks

    We look at ways to give your PC a definitive boost of power, covering hardware upgrades, software tweaks and networking tricks.

  • How-Tos: How to automatically forward messages sent to Hotmail to other email accounts

    Like many web users, you've probably got more than one webmail account. However, it can certainly be a chore remembering to regularly check all of these email accounts.


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