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14 simple tips to improve your computing life

All the tricks you need to know, but don't like to ask about

I had an epiphany the other day. Not a Pauline, Damascene moment of stunning clarity, granted, but a vague, momentary sense of eyebrow-lifting disquiet. As I was helping my dad set up his blog it occurred to me that, for many people, technology is a barrier to convenience.

Just because PC software and hardware has the potential to make life easier, it doesn't mean it always does. In this age of rapid technological change, if you miss out on one development you can find yourself trailing behind everyone else. And asking for help isn't easy if you feel your query is a simple one. No one likes to feel stupid.

For Mr Egan senior, a lifetime of working in an office meant that email and the internet held no terrors, but cutting and pasting were alien concepts. It sounds simple - and indeed it is. After five minutes of Egan skill-sharing the old boy was posting like a good 'un. But it's only easy if you know how.

Of course, PCA readers are a tech-savvy bunch. And I'm not about to patronise you with that level of advice. But the fact remains that simple tech tips are often the best, and life is tough enough without having to do anything the hard way.

Thankfully, the web is good for providing answers and time-saving tricks. The following tips, suggested by Lifehacker.com editor Gina Trapani, are designed to help simplify the way you work, save you the odd headache and help you become more organised.

We're not just talking dull task lists and time-management tools, either. Over the following pages, you'll find tips to help save you money and add a little home-entertainment colour to your life. Each tip is simple to follow, won't cost you a penny and can be implemented right now.

Not every piece of advice will work for every person, of course. One man's time-saver can be the next man's nightmare. But with advice on making email and printing more efficient, sourcing free TV and digital audio gems and getting fit in both mind and wallet, we guarantee to help you enjoy the easy life.

1. Cut your commute by working at home and accessing the PC in your office with free remote-control software such as LogMeIn and TightVNC. You can save on petrol, claim tax relief on home IT kit and convince your boss you'll be more productive without leaving home.

Get an easy computing life: Step 1

2. Backing up files is dull but crucial, so set up software to do it for you. SyncBack schedules backups to external storage. To protect your data against fire, lightning or theft, back up online. Carbonite and Mozy Home offer affordable web space.

Get an easy computing life: Step 2


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