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20 top tips to improve your tech life

Tricks and downloads to prevent a tech nightmare


We've rounded up 20 of the best apps that will stop a tech meltdown or at least ensure that if a tech nightmare happens, it is salvageable.

17. Reach favourite sites and searches faster with Firefox keywords

You probably hit the same websites and search engines several times a day. Why not get to those pages as quickly as possible? Instead of typing out long URLs by hand or hunting down the right search box, use Firefox keyword bookmarks to navigate to your favourite web haunts instantly.

To search Wikipedia for George Washington, for example, you could key up to Firefox's address bar (Ctrl-L), type 'George Washington', and press Enter to go directly to that topic page. You can use the same technique for webpages that don't involve searches, too - for example, try setting the compose keyword to open a new Gmail message. To associate a keyword to a bookmark, enter a short, easy-to-remember keyword in the bookmark's Properties dialog box. Once you've set up a few keywords, you can use your Firefox address bar as a powerful, customised command line.

Bonus tip: Sync your Firefox bookmarks from home to the office to the laptop using the Foxmarks extension; it will keep your keyword vocabulary up-to-date wherever you're working.

18. Tweak, monitor and extend your Wi-Fi network with a firmware upgrade (or aluminum foil)

Extend your router's signal, throttle your bandwidth, review usage charts and more with an open-source router-firmware upgrade. The free DD-WRT and Tomato firmware each offer advanced features for managing your wireless network, including bandwidth monitors, quality-of-service graphs, and even router overclocking to extend your signal.

Want to make your Wi-Fi router's signal reach the attic and the basement the low-tech way? Some sites say they've achieved gains by fashioning a foil 'windsurfer' parabola and attaching it to the router antenna.

NEXT PAGE: Master search techniques to pinpoint files or websites

  1. Tricks and downloads to prevent a tech nightmare
  2. Lose your mouse and get fit online
  3. Getting rid of messy cables and implementing a to-do list
  4. Use your camera phone as your digital photographic memory
  5. Passwords and encrypting your files
  6. Firefox keywords
  7. Master search techniques to pinpoint files or websites



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