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October 23 2013

How to Record your iPhone or iPad’s Screen using AirPlay Mirroring

Display your iPhone or iPad Screen on your Computer using AirPlay Mirroring

Reflector App Tutorial

Reflector App Tutorial

Did you ever have something really cool on your iPhone or iPad that you wanted to see on your computer screen?


Maybe you want to:

  • Play a game
  • Watch a video or photo show
  • Demo cool new apps for people
  • Share a presentation

Well, you can and it’s really easy. I’m going to show how to display everything happening on your iPhone or iPad on your computer in real-time.

If you have an Apple TV, you may have used Airplay to share pictures, movies, or music with your TV. Well, an app called Reflector allows you to do the same thing with your Mac or Windows computer.

Installing Reflector Application on your Computer

Start by going to their website and buying the software ($12.99) from AIRSQUIRRELS.com

Reflector Website to purchase and download Reflector App

Reflector Website to purchase and download Reflector App.

Once you have the software installed and running, you’re ready to go.

Enabling AirPlay Mirroring on your iOS Device

You don’t need to install anything on your iOS device, Airplay mirroring is built right into the operating system.

Connect your iOS device to your wifi network.

Swipe your iOS 7 device up from the bottom of the screen.

Air Play link in iOS 7 Control Center

Air Play link in iOS 7 Control Center

Tap the AirPlay icon toward the bottom of the screen.

You will see a list of available AirPlay devices.

Select AirPlay Mirroring Device in iOS 7

Select AirPlay Mirroring Device in iOS 7

Select the name that you gave your computer in Reflector (Mine is NEW-MBP)

Select AirPlay Mirroring Device in iOS 7

Select AirPlay Mirroring Device in iOS 7

Then, slide the Mirroring switch to the right.

AirPlay Mirroring Enabled from iOS 7 Control Center

AirPlay Mirroring Enabled from iOS 7 Control Center

Tap the Done link.

Now, your device’s screen will appear on your computer.

When it opens up you can see whatever is on your devices screen displayed in real-time on your computer monitor.

If I open an app like Twitter, you can see it in real-time.

If I show a photo or video you can see it on the screen.

If I open up a Slide presentation I can deliver it on screen.

For things like Video or Slides, you will want to switch to Full Screen Mode

Select Device, then Full Screen from the menu.

You can also control how the device frame looks.

Select Device, then Frame Skin from the menu.

See the Reflector App Video Tutorial

The video tutorial below shows how to do all of the steps listed above.

So, that’s Reflector and some of the cool things you can do with it.

October 02 2013

How to Shut Down Background Apps in iOS 7

Save your Battery Life, Data Usage, and Processing Power by Killing Background Apps

Goal:Learn how to shut down applications running in the background in iOS 7.

Shut Down Background Apps iOS 7

Shut Down Background Apps iOS 7

First, the Bad News

When you launch an app on your iPhone, it runs even after you click the Home button to close it. Actually, you really just minimized the app – you didn’t close it. After using several apps (or dozens), you will have a big pile of crap running in the background.

“So what?” you say. Here’s what; many of those apps do a few not-so-great things unbeknownst to you.

  1. They download data
  2. They run background process which use CPU and Memory
  3. They wear your battery down

All of these things make your awesome little friend a lot less awesome.


Here’s What You Can Do About It

You can shut down any apps that are running in the background using the Multitasking menu. Double tap the Home button.

This will open the Multitasking menu. You will see a thumbnail preview of the app you were most recently in, as well the rest of your running applications. Swipe to the left to see the rest of your open apps.

iOS 7 Multitask Screen

iOS 7 Multitask Screen

Closing Running Apps

You can activate the App Killing Mode by holding your finder on one of the app thumbnails for a few seconds.

Swipe an app up and off the screen to fully shut it down. Scroll left and right and repeat the upward swipe to close any or all running apps.

Swipe up to Close an App

Swipe up to Close an App

How to Reboot your iOS Device

Once you kill all of the apps that you want closed, you can/should reboot your device.

Hold down the Home button and the Screen Lock button.

How to Reboot iOS 7

How to Reboot iOS 7

The screen will go black in about 5 seconds, then the Apple icon will appear in another 4 seconds.

iPhone reboot screen

iPhone Reboot Screen

Now you can release the Home and Screen Lock buttons. In a few more seconds you will see your Home screen.

That’s it, all of your background apps are closed and your device should run a little better.

Watch the Video Tutorial to See How it’s Done

The post How to Shut Down Background Apps in iOS 7 appeared first on VitaminCM.com.

July 11 2013

How to Add Reminders in Evernote – Video Tutorial

Goal: Learn how to add reminder notifications in Evernote to manage your to do list tasks.

How to Add Reminders in Evernote

How to Add Reminders in Evernote

Manage your To Do List from Evernote

It’s been a loooong time coming, but Evernote finally added to-do list management capabilities to my favorite software/service.

You can add Notifications to notes and manage them like a typical to-do list. The process is pretty simple:

Create a new note

Click the Notification (alarm clock) icon

Assign a Date and Time for the Notification to go off

That’s it!

When the Notification goes off on your desktop or mobile device, you just open it and view the entire note. Then, you can postpone, complete, and/or delete it. Simple and practical.

View the video tutorial below to see how to create and manage Notifications in Evernote.

How to Add Reminders in Evernote – Video Tutorial

When you get a notification on your mobile device, you can just touch or swipe it to open the entire note.

iPhone Evernote Notification

iPhone Evernote Notification

When the note opens, you can manage the notification.

iPhone Evernote Note - Notification

iPhone Evernote Note – Notification

January 06 2013

Excel Pivot Table Tutorial

Slice and Dice your Excel Data like a Magician

Excel Pivot Table Tutorial

Excel Pivot Table Tutorial


Excel spreadsheets are handy tools for tracking and analyzing data. However, they do have some limitations. If you build a spreadsheet in a certain layout, it will often take a fair amount of time and work to provide alternate views of the data.

That’s where Pivot Tables come to the rescue. Pivot Tables allow you to take a large block of Excel data and slice & dice it in numerous useful ways. The best thing is that you don’t ever have to risk damaging your source data to produce these alternate views.

The spreadsheet below tracks product sales by day for a Fruit stand. We’ll see how a Pivot table can give us lots of different insights into this data.

Excel pivot table tutorial 01

Creating the Pivot Table from Existing Data

Go to the Insert tab and click the Pivot Table button.

Excel pivot table tutorial 02

The Create Pivot Table window will open.

Excel pivot table tutorial 03

You can pull  in data from an external source if you want, but typically you will just use the data in the sheet you are on.

You can also put the pivot table in the existing sheet or in a new one. It’s a little bit cleaner to put the pivot table in its own tab.

Click the OK button.

Your Pivot Table will open in a new tab. There will be no data displayed, but all of the fields in your original tab will be displayed in the Pivot Table Field List on the right side of the screen. You can arrange these fields in numerous useful combinations.

Excel pivot table tutorial 04

Drag the fields into their buckets at the bottom of the Pivot Table Field List.

Your Pivot Table’s data will be displayed based on your settings. The image below shows where the fields appear on the actual table.

Excel pivot table tutorial 05

The values in your table may need to have a particular number formatting. This data is money, so I’m going to set the format to Currency.

Click the Sum of Sales field in the Values box.

A menu will appear.

Excel pivot table tutorial 06

Select Value Field Settings from the menu.

The Value Field Settings menu will open.

Excel pivot table tutorial 07

You can change the Values to other formulas (count, average, etc.) if you need to.

Click the Number Format button.

The Format Cells menu will open.

Excel pivot table tutorial 08

Select Currency from the Category  list and click the OK button.

You will see the pivot table

Excel pivot table tutorial 09

Filtering and Sorting Your Data

The data in all of the fields in your new Pivot Table can be filtered and sorted to display or hide any data. Use the dropdown buttons on any field to pull up the Filter options.

Excel pivot table tutorial 10

You can sort the values of a field A to Z or Z to A or use more advanced options. Let’s see the Filtering options.

You will see all of the values for the selected field. You can check and uncheck any combination of values to show or hide those values. The field below contains all of the products in listed. I only want to see results for Apples and Oranges.

Excel pivot table tutorial 11

Check the values that you want to see and click the OK button.

Now you will only see those values (Apples and Oranges) displayed. You will also see the Filter icon displayed on the dropdown button.

Excel pivot table tutorial 12

Rearranging (Pivoting) Your data

You can completely rearrange the layout of the data on report by dragging the fields around the areas of the Pivot Table Fields List in the lower right corner of the screen. I currently have the report displaying Products down the rows and Days across the columns. I want the switch it so that the Days go down the rows and the Products go across the columns.

Excel pivot table tutorial 13

Drag the Day field into the Row Labels box and drag the Products field into the Column Labels field and click the Updated button.

Now you can see the report updated to the new layout.

Excel pivot table tutorial 14

Nesting Fields of Data

You can “nest” one field inside of another field in a pivot table. If you drag more than one field into one of the report areas the lower field will be grouped inside of the higher one.

Let’s see what it looks like if we move the Origin field above the Products field in the Column Labels area.

Excel pivot table tutorial 15

Drag Origin over and above Products and click the OK button.

You will see the values in the Origin field (Imported and Local) with the Imported or Local products grouped below.

Excel pivot table tutorial 16

You can drag the Products field ABOVE the Origin field to reverse the grouping.

Now you will see any Imported and Local data grouped inside of each Product.

Excel pivot table tutorial 17

This technique works the same way on the Row Labels.

Pulling in New Data

If you go back to the original worksheet where your source data is contained, you can make changes to the underlying data. You can have these changes reflected on your Pivot Table very easily.

Go back to the Pivot Table and right click in one of the cells.

An option menu will open.

Excel pivot table tutorial 18

Select Refresh.

The data in your pivot table will update to reflect any changes made in the underlying source data.

See the Video Tutorial for Using Excel Pivot Tables

The following video shows how to create and manipulate a Pivot Table in Microsoft Excel.

 

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October 16 2012

Fixing Windows 8 – How to Add a Start Button

Getting Rid of Metro and Adding a Start Button

Add start button windows 8

When you get a new computer or upgrade your old one to Windows 8, you are in for a jolt to the interface that you’ve come accustomed to. For starters, you don’t boot up to a Desktop. You start on the Metro screen.

Windows 8 metro screen


The Metro screen uses Tiles that display information and launch applications. If you’re on a phone or tablet with a touch screen, this is a pretty handy way of navigating. However, many people do not like it as a way of navigating a desktop computer with a keyboard and mouse.

You can access the “Desktop” of Windows 8 by clicking the Desktop tile.

Windows 8 Does Not Have a Start Button

Once you reach the Desktop you will also be surprised to know that there is one very familiar thing missing. The Start button!

Windows 8 no start button

You’re not setting things, it’s just GONE. This is nuts. It drives me (and millions of others) crazy. I know that they wanted to break the mold, but some things have been around forever because they work.

How to Add a Start Button Back to Windows 8

Fortunately, there’s a quick, easy, free way to add that old familiar Start button back to Windows 8. Download ClassicShell from their website and install it on your computer.

Once you have ClassicShell installed, you can configure it to your liking.

Classicshell start button

Click the Start button to begin.

The Settings menu will open.

Classicshell start menu tab

Start by selecting the style of your Start menu.

Then, click the Basic Settings tab.

Classicshell skip metro screen

There are many settings that you can make on this tab. Scroll to the bottom to Enable the Start Button. You can also check the Skip Metro screen box if you want to bypass it altogether. (My choice)

Then, click the Skin tab.

Classic shell skin tab

Configure the look and feel of the new Start menu.

Click the OK button.

That’s it, you have a fully functional Start button/menu just like previous versions of Windows.

Classicshell start menu

See the Video Tutorial to See it in Action

The video tutorial below shows how to install, configure, and use ClassicShell to add a Start button back to Windows 8 and skip the Metro screen on Startup.

What do you think?

How do you feel about Windows 8 Metro screen and No Start Menu?

Did you Like this Article?

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August 14 2012

How To Track Your Lost iPhone? – Guest Post

How to Track your Lost iPhone

How to Track your Lost iPhone

You may come across different emotions, such as anxiety, anger and so on when you lose your
iPhone. Well, rather than moping over the loss, you should act wisely to make sure that you find
your lost iPhone. Consider the following steps which can help you locate and recover your lost
iPhone.


Lodge a Police Complaint

The first and foremost thing you should do when you lose iPhone is to inform and report the
nearby police station about your lost phone. Either they may recover the iPhone, or in case if
they cannot recover the phone, at least the documentation comes always handy to you to deal
with your tracking process. You can take help of the police if you get even a slightest hint on
your lost iPhone.

Update Your Employer

If the iPhone you have been using is actually issued by your employer, then you should keep
informed them soon after the theft/misplace has taken place. You can do this even before lodging
a report at the police This will help your IT department to try to block the access to any outsider
to view your personal and business information saved on the lost iPhone.

Change Passwords

To ensure that the thief does not get a chance to access your accounts wherein your passwords
of the accounts have been stored on your iPhone, you should change all your passwords, such as
email account, bank accounts, and so on.

Update Your Service Provider

You should keep your service provider informed on the theft/loss so that they will block your
SIM temporarily/permanently as per your request. However, most of the service providers ask
for police report documentation before they take any further step.

Monitor and Track Your iPhone

You can take help of the inbuilt GPS feature of your iPhone, and monitor and track it time to
time through an authorize online account. Apple offers its users with an app known as Find My
iPhone which lets you track the iPhone through GPS. Additionally, there are other third party
mobile monitoring apps available in the market which can help you monitor each and every
activity that takes place on your lost iPhone including calls, SMSs, browsing history, GPS
location and so on.

Also, these mobile monitoring apps let you lock the phone and wipe the data remotely. Once
you find the GPS location of the phone on a Google map, you can take help of the police and

recover your phone. However, meanwhile it is a wise idea to wipe of the confidential data from
your phone remotely. Mobile Spy is one of the best mobile monitoring apps available in today’s
market.

If you can follow the above mentioned steps thoroughly, you will surely succeed in tracking
and recovering your lost iPhone. In case, if you cannot recover the phone, at least you can
delete important personal and business data stored on your iPhone using Cell Phone Spy apps. But make sure you seek help from
the police while recovering the phone instead of going alone to recover the phone from the thief,
because the thief may be dangerous that he can harm you physically. Hence, it is a good idea to
take help from the police.

About the Author

Sharon Stouffer is an active blogger who loves to blog on latest Mobile Technology. She is
passionate about the new and innovative mobile applications


August 08 2012

Going The Extra Mile By Improving Laptop’s Battery Life – Guest Post

Saving Your Laptop's Battery Life

Saving Your Laptop’s Battery Life

Although manufacturers of laptops, like Dell and other companies, try their best to offer
the longest battery life possible, sometimes we find cases when laptop batteries don’t
last as long as we expect. Have you ever scrambled to find a power outlet because your
laptop was losing battery? Were you in the middle of an important conversation when
your laptop warned you of low battery? Well most of us have faced this problem at some
time. The portability is lost if the battery life cannot see the laptop through for even a few hours at a stretch.


So what are the main culprits responsible for low battery life? One major problem
is relayed to the unnecessary programs running in the background. Other common
culprits are always active Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. So how can we handle these
miscreants?

  • Identify and uninstall programs that you do not use. Also, once a program has
    served its purpose you can quit it. Such programs are not only eating up your
    laptop’s memory but are also eating away the battery.
  • Many people are in the habit of working with maximum brightness on their
    laptop’s screen. This also contributes to low battery. You can dim the brightness
    to the level that is appreciable to your eyes. Most laptops these days can
    automatically adjust the screen brightness.
  • Do not leave a battery dormant. Whenever you do a full charge make sure to use
    your laptop’s battery. This exercise is good for the health of the battery.
    Whenever you need to take a break from work, try to put your laptop on hibernate
    instead of standby mode. Hibernate does the exact function as standby and is
    known to save battery life.
  • Whenever your wireless or Bluetooth connection is not in use, turn them off. An
    active connection is known to drain the battery. This rule is applicable to other
    software and hardware like USB or mouse that are not being used.
  • Try not to hinder the airflow of the laptop. Keep it in a ventilated place. The more
    cramped up the space is, the harder it is for laptop fans to function. In such cases
    the fans derive their power from the battery and hence affect the battery life.

When you are on low battery and there is no power outlet in sight, then never multitask.
Prioritize your work to make the most out of your battery. Windows OS gives you an
option to manually optimize your laptop’s power. Mac OSX is known for handling
defragmentation automatically, which is a life savior for your battery.

Even after addressing the above issues, if you continue to face battery problems, then
you can add more RAM. Maybe you are running memory intensive programs that will
perform better with additional RAM. If your work demands multitasking, but your laptop
is unable to support you, then you must revisit your requirements and run them against
your laptop’s configuration. Maybe it is time for you to invest in a more efficient laptop.
To make the most out of a laptop, a good battery life is the most important ingredient.
Thus working to improve the battery’s efficiency is extremely important.

About the Author

Edwin Sun is a devoted technology and gadgets blogger, and has written articles on various topics, such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, printers and monitors. I am always willing to share ideas with those who want to learn more about the new cool gadgets.


August 07 2012

Setting up a VPN – Guest Post

 vpn set up a vpn networking cloud computing

How to Set Up a VPN

Setting up a VPN might be the only solution for travelers in Asia who want to safely and

securely access websites. Many websites are blocked by regional Internet service providers or by

the host(s) of the sites themselves. Location based IP blocking places geographic restrictions on

the internet for both residents and travelers alike. An Asian VPN solution essentially solves these

problems by creating a digital tunnel through which data will filter and flow in both directions.

Understanding how the system works is crucial to determining whether a Chinese VPN is right

for you.


It’s all about security: How it all works

A China VPN solution establishes a secure connection with a server in a remote country.

Instead of routing all traffic through the normal path a local ISP provides, the traffic is

routed to and from the remote server. Since the virtual tunnel that routes the data from the

computer to the remote terminus is encrypted, it provides a strong additional layer of security.

Additional security is also gained because data no longer flows through potentially compromised

equipment.

Data is encrypted and flows through a network that will report its location as the terminus so

location-aware websites (such as banking and corporate-secured networks) will not automatically

reject and/or disable a login. Sites view the user of an Asian VPN as a local user and grant

access.

Added bonus: No more censors

Finally, the alternate path that the data takes completely circumvents ISP and government

roadblocks designed to filter content or disallow access to specific services. This means a

Chinese VPN restores access to everything from news to social media sites and more.

By contrast, life abroad without a VPN solution in place can be a very limiting experience, and

it is far from safe. Hackers can steal information when you use your mobile device in public

hotspots or on unsecured Wifi. A VPN will thwart these hackers’ attempts and keep all of your

personal data secure. Premium VPN providers offer 256 bit encryption and multiple protocol

options including PPTP, L2TP/Ipsec, and OpenVPN. Combined, these options allow for secure

access on both desktops and mobile devices. Access your favorite websites safely from anywhere

in the world.

About the Author

Jessica Black writes articles about VPN security and the Android OS. Using the VPN above she is able

to access his favorite sites securely, even on public Wifi. Her articles help explain issues concerning

technology and security.

Share and Enjoy

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July 31 2012

Sharing a Printer Using Google Cloud Print – Guest Post

google cloud print tutorial 525x373 sharing printers mobile printing google cloud print tutorial google cloud print cloud printing

Google Cloud Printing Tutorial

Today printers are a necessity for both office and home uses, and there are many types of printers offered to meet varied uses, such as the Dell inkjet printers and wireless printers. However, there are cases when you want to have something printed, but printers are not available at hand. The good news is that this problem might be solved with Google Cloud Print. Google Cloud Print brings a revolution in printer sharing. With this awesome technology you can not only share the printer with your friend, family members and colleagues over the Internet, but you can also use your own printer remotely. You can connect your home and office printers to Google Cloud Print and let the others print what they want. Google Cloud Print is available for your smartphone, tablet computer, desktop PCs and laptop computers including Chromebook. If you have other devices that can be connected to the web and can send a printable file over the web, then Google Cloud Print will also work on that device.


Google Cloud Print has made the printer sharing over the Internet quite easy. Now we will talk about how to take advantage of this technology for your benefits.

Using Google Chrome To Setup A Cloud Print

We will be using Google Chrome to setup Google Cloud Print. First of all launch Google Chrome and click the wrench on the top-right. Choose “options” and the options page will open. In the left sidebar, click “Under the Hood”. A new page will open, then find Google Cloud Print at the lower part of that page. Click on “Sign into Google Cloud Print”. After that you will be prompted to register your PC’s printers with your Google Account. This step may require verification. It is very good to see that Google account requires verification before any of our information is retrieved or related to our Google Account.

Sharing Printer With Your Friends, Family Members Or Colleagues

Once you have clicked the “Finish printer registration” at the end of the previous step, then you will be able to see ‘Manage Your Printers’ link. If you don’t see this button click on the top-right wrench of the Google Chrome, then find “options”, then “Under the hood” and scroll down the page to see it.

After that you will be taken to the Google Cloud Print administration area where you can see Print Jobs and Printers in the left sidebar. Click Printers and you will be able to see all the printers connected to your PC. Now, you can share your printer by simply clicking the green “share” at the top of the list.

A dialogue box will open. Here enter the name of the people to whom you want to share the printer. Simply start typing the name and it will show you the suggestions through retrieving the contacts from your Gmail.

How To Accept Shared Printer And Send A Print Job

That was all you have to do to share your printer with your friends. Now, we will move on to how to accept a printer and send a print job to your printer.

  1. Once your friend has shared a printer then you need to visit Google Cloud Print website.
  2. You will see that you have a printer request in the left sidebar.
  3. Click on “Printers” and you will be able to see theprinter request.
  4. Click on “Accept” to accept the printer.

Now you have a printer!

To send a print job to your friend’s printer click on the (red) Print button and then click upload file to print. Currently Google Cloud Print supports only PDF and DOC formats. Choose a file and upload it.

Besides using web, applications of Google Cloud Printer are also available for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.

Things You Should Know:

  • The request from the person (to whom you shared the printer) will first come to the Google Cloud Print, then it will go to your Google Chrome web browser and then it will be passed to the printer.
  • If your printer is turned on but your computer is turned off or Google Chrome is not running on your computer, then the requests won’t proceed from Google Cloud Print to your printer. Not only your computer must be turned on but Google Chrome must also be running in order to pass the print jobs from Google Cloud Print to your printer.
  • If your PC is turned off or Chrome is not running, the print jobs will not be wasted. They will be queued at Google Cloud Print. Whenever you turn your PC on and launch Google Chrome the print jobs will start moving to your printer.
  • It is very interesting to see that few printers come with built-in support for Google Cloud Print, so you just need to connect them with the Internet. More information on that could be found on the Google Cloud Print website.

Google Cloud Print provides an easy way to allow your friends to remotely use your printer. This also helps you in remotely using your printer. As we can see that Google Cloud Print is in beta but still it is very useful. We hope to see more features in the future. While there are applications for Windows and Mac PC users, a bad news for Linux PC users is that they can’t share their printer with Google Cloud Print. Currently there is no official support for Linux. We hope to see its support for Linux in the future.

About the Author

Edwin Sun is a devoted technology and gadgets blogger, and has written articles on various topics, such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, printers and monitors. I am always willing to share ideas with those who want to learn more about the new cool gadgets.

Share and Enjoy

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July 30 2012

Create a Content Marketing Campaign – Quickly, Easily, and Free

Leverage Your Existing Content to Grow Your Marketing Funnel

Overview: This tutorial shows how to create a quick, simple, free Content Marketing Campaign to draw people to your product or service.

content marketing tutorial 525x313

Content Marketing Tutorial Diagram

Every marketing site will tell you that “You have to do Content Marketing“. They all say how it’s the next great wave in attracting customers to your site, but precious few ever really SHOW you exactly how it’s done.This tutorial will show you how to quickly and easily execute a content marketing campaign for a page or product on your site.

Let’s say I have an Ebook that I want to sell. The Ebook contains a bunch of tips and tricks for using Microsoft Excel. I need a way to get visitors to my sales page and convert them to customers.

I will deploy a content marketing campaign that starts on my site and branches out to several social media locations. The campaign will use the following techniques:

  • Blogging/Article Marketing
  • Video Sharing
  • Photo Sharing
  • Document Sharing (Slides and Text)

Blogging / Article Marketing

I started by writing a very basic tutorial on how to do a Vlookup in Excel. This article has step-by-step instructions with screen shots that show how do this process. I placed a link in the article that goes to my Ebook sales page. I took the content and research for this article and repurposed it in several other quick and easy ways. I started out by recording a video screencast of the steps I covered in the article.

Video Sharing

I use a program called Camtasia by Techsmith ($300 Windows – $100 Mac). There are several free alternatives that you can also use. (http://alternativeto.net/software/camtasia-studio/) I took the video and shared it to sites like YouTube, 5min, x, x, etc. When I published the video I made sure to include a link back to the article with thorough title, description, and tags.

Finally, I embedded the video in the tutorial to make it that much more useful.

What does this do? Well, it puts a very useful/helpful piece of information out in the world that demonstrates my credibility and leads viewers directly back to my site.

Photo Sharing

Then I took the “feature image” from the article and share it on a number of image sharing sites like (Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, etc.) Again, when I publish the image on these sites I included a link back to the article with the accompanying title, description, and tags.Since I have a feature image for the article, I pinned the article on Pinterest. Make sure to include a graphic with text explaining the post in your Pinterest post. These really attract visitors well.

Document Sharing

Next, I took the text and images from my tutorial and pasted them into a PowerPoint presentation. Site’s like Slideshare have a ton of users looking for useful information. Make sure to add a link back to your site in TWO places: the description of the presentation and the footer of the slides. I also embedded the Slideshare presentation in the article to add even more value and interaction.There are a bunch of other places that you can post your slides: LinkedIn, Google Docs, Zoho, etc.

You can also take the information in you article and put it into a Word document that can be similarly shared on sites like Docstoc, X, X, etc.

Finally, you can post links to your article (and all of the places you posted the content) on your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr profiles.

There you have it. We created one useful piece of content, then repurposed it into several smaller pieces that can be published all over the web. All of these little pieces point back to your home base which funnels visitors to your sales page where they can be turned into customers.

See the Content Marketing Vide Tutorial

See how it’s done in the video tutorial below.

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July 10 2012

Master the Excel VLookup with this Simple Tutorial

Become an Office Hero with the Vlookup Function in Excel

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Over the years I have been the Excel tips guy in my office. There are so many amazing things that Excel can do, but the one thing I get asked more than every other feature combined is: “How do I do a Vlookup”. Mastery of the Vlookup seems to be the one Excel trick that people use to separate experts from novices. Well, guess what? It’s really not hard at all.

What Exactly is a Vlookup?

The Vlookup function in Excel is used to see if a value in one cell (or list of cells) is in another group of cells. (“V” is for vertical – you can use th Hlookup function to check horizontally too) Looks for a value in the leftmost column of a table, and then returns a value in the same row from a column you specify. Take a look at the data below. Column A has a list of people who have already paid their bill. Column B has a list of customers who received services. We want to find out which customers have paid and which still owe payments. This is a typical Vlookup scenario: compare two lists and identify the differences.


Naming a Range in Excel

Before you actually create your Vlookup formula, you should create a “Named Range”. Excel can take a range of cells and assign a name to it that can be referenced in functions and formulas throughout the workbook.

Select the range of cells that contain the values that you want to check against.

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TIP: If you have a list of values that may be added to, select a range that is bigger than your existing list. This way, when the list grows, the new values will still be included in your named range. After you select your range of cells, you are ready to give it a name. Right click on the highlighted cells and select Name a Range from the menu.

The New Name menu will open. Type a name in the Name field. You can modify the actual range of cells (now or later) in the Refers to field.

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Click the OK button.

Now you can refer to this range (Paid) anywhere in this workbook.

Creating the Vlookup Formula

Now that we have a range of data to check against, we are ready to build our formula.

Click to the right of the first value that you want to check.

Click the formula builder button (fx) to search for the Vlookup function.

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Select the Lookup & Reference category and scroll down to the VLOOKUP function.

Click the OK button.

The Function Arguments wizard will open.

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The Function Arguments wizard lists what the overall function does below the fields. When you click in one of the fields an explanation of what goes into that field is displayed. There are four fields to populate:

  • Lookup Value
  • Table Array
  • Column Index
  • Number Range Lookup

Click in the Lookup Value field and enter the cell for the value that you want to check against the range (B2 – Allan).

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Click in the Table Array field and enter the name of the range that we want to search for the Lookup Value.

Type “paid” in the Table Array field to reference the named range of values. Notice how the values in the named range appear to the right of the Table Array field.

Click in the Column Index Number field.

The range that we named contained all of the values in one column (A). If we had a range of data that resided in more than one consecutive column, we could specify which column’s value that we wanted to return to the formula cell. Since we only have one column, type “1” in the field.

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Click in the Range Lookup field.

There are two values that you can use in the Range Lookup field: TRUE or FALSE. True will find the “closest” value in the range and False will only find EXACT matches. Typically I want an exact match.

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Type “FALSE” in the field and click the OK button.

If the value is in the range the value from column 1 will be displayed in our cell.

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Extending the formula down the rest of the list

Just copy and paste the formula you built (C2) and paste it down the rest of the list.

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All of the remaining values will be checked against the range.

If a value is not found “#NA” will be displayed. In our case, we will know that those people did not pay yet.

Since we made our named range a little bigger that the existing data, we can add more data to the empty cells in the range and have them rechecked.

The example below shows that as long as we type into the range that we created it will be included in the formulas that reference it.

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Using a Multi Column Named Range to Extend your Vlookup

We used a single column range in the example above. Multi Column named ranges allow you to do some more interesting things with your Vlookups. I added an extra column to the spreadsheet that lists the amount that each person paid.

Then, I edited the range (Formulas tab> Name Manager> Select Paid> Edit button> Change range from “A29” to B29”)

This included the Amount column as the second column in the range. You can add several columns if you like. Now, when I find someone that already paid, I don’t want to return their name (I already know their name) I want to know how much they actually paid. (Column 2)

Reopen the Function Arguments wizard and click in the Column Index Number field.

Type “2” in the field and click the OK button.

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Re-copy the formula down the list.

Now, you’ll see who paid, how much they paid, and who still owes money.

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That’s it – you can do the Vlookup with the rest of the Excel gurus out there.

Excel VLOOKUP Video Tutorial

See how to do all of the steps listed above in this video tutorial:

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May 01 2012

Using Parallels to Ease the Transition from Windows to Mac

Parallels Windows Virtualization Needed for the New Mac User

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How to Run Windows Software on a Mac Using Parallels

So you’ve upgraded to a Mac. You’ve been sworn into the revered fraternity of Apple. Now what? How do you function in a world so captivated by Microsoft? How do you use your old Word documents, your Excel files, and your PowerPoint presentations? What happens to all the Microsoft software you’ve poured your money into over the years? Do you have to just buy everything all over again?

Not at all; for this very reason the computer virtuosos of the universe created Parallels windows virtualization virtual machine run windows on mac parallels paralells tutorial mac utilities . What the heck is Parallels? Parallels is a way to use Windows software on your Mac. It is a program that deciphers what you already have set up on your Windows computer and makes it available to use on your new Mac. Using this program, both Mac and Windows software can run concurrently.


Not only does Parallel allow you to conserve your software, it also allows you become gradually adapted to your new Mac. There are many alterations in Mac software versus Windows,and Parallel allows you to incorporate new learning experiences gradually instead of being immediately swamped by all new software. This will permit you to maintain your productivity,even in the chaos of such a radical change.

Additionally, Parallels are vital when it comes to matters like virtual private networks. VPNs often run with Windows-only software, so owning a Mac could cut you out of the loop. Avoid this issue by adding Parallels to your arsenal.

How to Install a Windows Virtual Machine – Video Tutorial

One of the paybacks of having a Mac with Parallels is the facility to run the beloved Mac OS,Snow Leopard, and have the capacity to run others, such as most versions of Linux and really all versions of Windows. Sure, you can use Boot Camp, which has been distributed as part of the Mac OS for some time, and merely load Windows separately; however, a lot of the time it makes more sense to run Windows and OS X simultaneously. Times like when the Mac version of Adobe’s CS suite is running, and perhaps some Mac exclusive software, but you still need to work with Windows only software, such as Visio, Visual Studio, or SQL.

There are different types of compatibility programs, besides Parallels, with VMware Fusion windows virtualization virtual machine run windows on mac parallels paralells tutorial mac utilities being the most popular. VMware does get the job done; however it does have problems. If you useMicrosoft’s Virtual PC (for Windows), and have to transfer virtual images into your Mac so you can work and search at home or on the go, you would be incapable of moving the images and using them with VMware. Parallels, however, is able to identify and receive images that have been used with Virtual PC without any issues. Parallels accepts every single OS and configuration without problems; the only thing you might uncover is that many of the virtual images request to be reactivated or, at times, even for the product key; which is not a problem since you should already have that information.

Not only is Parallels able to recognize those virtual images, but it also takes advantage of more of the Mac’s hardware, such as the GPU (graphics) therefore causing improved CPU performance, without slowing down the virtual machine nor the native OS.

VMwre and Parallels both get the job done. However if you’re in the technology industry and need to move virtual images from computer to computer repeatedly, than Parallels would be the top choice. A parallel is a very useful instrument for new Mac owners, particularly if you’ve never had or used a Mac before. Do your research and uncover which system will work best for your new Mac’s needs.

About the Author

This Guest post is by Christine Kane, a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects including internet service for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @ gmail.com


March 08 2012

Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less – Part 3 Finishing Up

Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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This is the 3rd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

OK, so you have your new hard drives and ram in your computer, so you’re done right? Almost, but not yet. The SSD drive has fairly limited space, so you probably don’t want to store your data there. You’re going to need to move the Home directory to the mechanical hard drive.

  1. Turn your computer back on.
  2. Open Finder and copy the Users folder from the SSD drive to the SATA drive.
  3. Open your System Preferences app.
  4. Click on the Users & Groups icon under the System heading.
  5. Click the Lockicon in the lower left corner of the menu to unlock this user profile
    1. You will need to enter your system password to continue
  6. Right click on your profile and select Advanced Options.
  7. Click the Choose button next to the Home Directory field.
  8. Browse to the Users folder that you just pasted to the SATA drive.
  9. Click the OK button.
  10. You will be prompted to restart your computer. Do this.
  11. When your computer comes back on, your Home drive will be relocated.
  12. One last thing, delete the old Home drive from the SSD drive.

Video Tutorial – See it in Action

The video tutorial below shows you all of the steps listed above.

This is the 2nd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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March 07 2012

Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less – Part 2 Installing the Upgraded Components

Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro

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This is the 2nd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

Step 1 – Cloning the Hard Drive to the SSD Drive

Now that you have your new Macbook Pro and all of your upgraded components, you are ready to get your hands dirty. You will learn how to replace the hard drive, add a second drive, and replace the memory chips.

Here are the specs before we get started.

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Before your install the SSD drive, you’ll need to clone the Operating System from the Hard Drive (boot drive).

  1. Start up your new Mac and install SuperDuper, the FREE backup/cloning software. (Free hard drive cloning software.)
  2. Connect the SSD drive to your computer using a SATA to USB cable upgrade mac ram upgrade mac memory upgrad mac hard drive tutorial replace hardware apple . (You can get a Cable for about $15 or a USB External Enclosure upgrade mac ram upgrade mac memory upgrad mac hard drive tutorial replace hardware apple $15.)
  3. Make a clone of the entire Hard Drive to the SSD drive using SuperDuper.
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  4. Shut your computer down and unplug the power cable.

Video Tutorial – See it in Action

The video tutorial below shows you all of the steps listed above.

Step 2 – Swapping the Hard Drivies

  1. Open your laptop’s case.
    1. Flip it over
    2. Unscrew the 10 screws around the case’s perimiter
    3. Lift off the case bottom
  2. Before you touch anyting, REMOVE THE BATTERY CABLE.
  3. Remove the Hard Drive.
    1. Unscrew the mounting bracket
    2. Remove the SATA cable
  4. Connect the SSD where the Hard Drive used to be.
    1. Reattach the SATA cable.
    2. Place the drive in the empty space.
    3. Screw the mounting bracket back on.
  5. Remove the DVD drive.
    1. Remove the three cables attached and push them back out of the way.
    2. Unscrew the three phillips screws
    3. Unscrew the three torque screws
    4. Pull the DVD drive caddy out.
  6. Place the Hard Drive into the mounting caddy upgrade mac ram upgrade mac memory upgrad mac hard drive tutorial replace hardware apple ($15 +/-) and connect it where the DVD was located.
    1. Place the old hard drive into the caddy
    2. Attach it to the SATA adapter
    3. Place the caddy into the empty space
    4. Screw the caddy back down to the case.
    5. Reattach the three cables.

Step 3 – Upgrading the Memory in your Macbook Pro

Now that the drive are in place, you’re ready to install the new memory chips.

  1. Open your laptop’s case.
    1. Flip it over
    2. Unscrew the 10 screws around the case’s perimiter
    3. Lift off the case bottom
  2. Remove the two existing Memory chips.
    1. Pop the clips off the sides of the chips
    2. Gently tilt the chips up on a 45 degree angle.
    3. Slide the chips out of their slots.
  3. Place the two new Memory chips into the empty slots.
    1. Check for the alignment slits.
    2. Gently slide the chips into the empty at a 45 degree angle.
    3. Push them down flat.
    4. Clamp the side clips back down.
  4. Reattach the battery cable.
  5. Close the case back up and Restart the machine.

Video Tutorial – See it in Action

The video tutorial below shows you all of the steps listed above.

Here are the specs when we are done.

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What Should You Do Next?

This is the 2nd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

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Everybody knows that the Macbook Pro is the most beautiful, powerful, and stable laptop in the world (for Mac or Windows). The problem is that they are not cheap and Apple’s limited upgrades are ridiculously overpriced.

If you’re willing to invest a few hours and a little elbow grease, you can get yourself a real Macbook Pro that will crush anything that Apple sells and save hundreds of dollars.

The best specked Macbook Pro that you can buy from Apple has the following: (I’m pricing the 15 inch model because the 17 inch model is barely a portable laptop.)

CPU: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7

Memory: 8 GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB

Storage: 256 GB Solid State Drive

Display: 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display

Price: $3,299.00 (Yikes!!!)

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The system I’m going to build has the following specs:

CPU: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7

Memory: 16 GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2 x 8GB (Twice as much as Apple offers.)

Storage: 128 GB Solid State Drive + 750GB Serial ATA Drive (That’s right, TWO hard drives.)

Display: 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display

Price: $2,509.00 (That’s $790 less!)

There are three keys to saving all of this money:

  1. Buy a Refurbished Macbook Pro (More on this below)
  2. Buy the Superior upgraded components from a better, cheaper vendor
  3. Install the upgraded components yourself

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Step 1 – Buying your Machine

Isn’t Buying a Refurbished Computer Risky?

No, not at all. Apple’s refurbishing program is amazing. They reinstall the Operating System, replace any worn out parts, and fully inspect the entire machine. Then, they cover it with the exact same one year warranty that the ones in the store get. You can purchase Apple Care (extended warranty) too; if you’re a worry wart.


So what’s missing?

The super cool, cardboard Apple box and about 30% of the price. Seriously, that’s it. If you can possibly stand to skip that magical 10 seconds of unboxing, you get a great deal.

Step 2 – Buying the Upgraded Components

Once you have the machine, you need to order your upgraded components. You can shop around, but save yourself some time and go to either NewEgg.com or Amazon.com. They have the best combination of price and selection you’ll probably find.

Memory – Apple maxes out at 8 GB for a $200. You can buy a 16 GB kit for $140 upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro . (Twice the memory for $60 less.)

Storage – Apple includes a 750 GB mechanical hard drive, but will upgrade you to a 256 GB SSD for a whopping $500. Here’s where we’ll get creative. You can buy a 128 GB SSD upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro . But 128 gigs is not enough storage, right? No, it’s not. Don’t forget, we still have the 750 GB drive that came with the machine. (If you let Apple do the upgrade, they keep the original parts.) We’re going to use the SSD for the Operating System and Applications and put the mechanical Hard Drive in place of the DVD drive. This gives us the speed of the SSD and the massive Hard Drive storage for a fraction of the cost.

What Should You Do Next?

This is the 1st article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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January 31 2012

Create a Windows, Mac, Linux Super Computer Using Synergy

This tutorial will show you how to use Synergy to Control Multiple Computers with One Keyboard and Mouse

control multiple computers using synergy

OVERVIEW: You will learn how to use Synergy, a free software application to control multiple computers with one keyboard and mouse. These computers can all be running different operating systems.

What Is Synergy?

Synergy is an open source software application used for sharing a single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers. One user can control several computers in the same physical area, with a monitor connected to each. The “server” software runs on the computer with the keyboard and mouse connected and the “client” software runs on the computers that are being controlled. Synergy can run on all of the popular operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX) at the same time. This means that you can move your cursor from your Windows desktop to control a Mac, and a Linux machine without batting an eye.


Why I Use Synergy

I constantly need to use and document applications in Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. This requires me to have at least one machine set up running each of those operating systems. I currently have three laptops on the desk in my office running each of those systems. Synergy allows me to line them up next to each other and use my mouse to bounce back and forth between them as if I was using a single, very diverse computer. The best part of it is that there is a common clipboard that allows me to copy pictures and text from any machine and paste it on any other machine, as if I was pasting from MS Word to PowerPoint on the same computer. (Regardless of which operating systems.) I could also see this being powerful for someone running a computer room at a data center.

Getting Synergy on your Computers

If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming that this sound kind of interesting to you. Well, enough sales, let’s see how to make it happen. Start off by downloading and installing the software on all of your machines. FYI – there are a few different variations of the Synergy software/project available, but they all play fairly well together, so just pick one that you’re happy with.

Windows: Synergy, Synergy-Plus, Synergy KM, Quick Synergy

Mac: Synergy, Synergy-Plus, Synergy KM, Quick Synergy

Linux: Go to your distribution’s Applications installer, then search for and install Synergy and Quick Synergy. (Synergy is the service and Quick Synergy is the GUI that let’s you configure the service.)

The steps differ slightly based on the specific software installed on each operating system, but the concepts are the same. I will include links for each application’s specific instructions below.

Configuring Synergy

Once you have the software installed on all of your machines, you are ready to begin configuring your systems. The biggest decision is which computer will have the keyboard and mouse physically connected. This will probably be based on some sort of unique personal preferences. The computer with the keyboard and mouse physically connected will be the “Server”.

selecting the synergy server

Before you go any further, find the Internal IP Address and Computer Name of all of the machines that you are going to control.

Configuring the Server (Computer sharing its keyboard and mouse)

You need to tell the server which computers it is going to be controlling and where they will be physically located (to the left, right, above, diagonally above, etc.).

Enter the computer names of each machine and place them where they belong. As you can see in the image below, I have three computers set up, with “christopher” in the center, “Laptop” on the left, and “cm-mac” on the right.

synergy sever client machine arrangement

The interface will look slightly different on each OS, but they are conceptually alike.

Configuring the Clients (Computers “borrowing” the Server’s keyboard)

Now that your server knows about the other clients and where they are located, you need to tell the clients to allow the server to take control of them.

Select the Use Another Computer’s Keyboard and Mouse option on the client machine. Then, add in the Server’s Internal IP Address. If you set a password on the Server, enter it on each client machine. (Use the Advanced button below.)

configuring synergy client machine

Once you have your client(s) configured, click the Start button to give control to the Server’s keyboard and mouse. That’s it! Now, just move your cursor across the edge of your monitor onto the next machine. The cursor will instantly start to move on the client machine and anything that you type will be happening on the client machine. If you want, you can select and copy text on that machine and then move your cursor to one of the other machines and paste it in seamlessly. Pretty cool and simple, right?

See Synergy in Action

The following video shows how to configure Synergy to share a keyboard across Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It also shows you a simple example of what you can do once you have everything set up.

Alternatives

There are of course a several available options for working with multiple operating systems. I actually do use a few of them when the situation lends itself, but none of them give you the most power and features of each OS all at the same time. Let’s take a look at some of the alternatives and their pros and cons.

Option Description Tools Pros Cons VNC Virutal Network Computing- Use VNC to remotely connect to and control other computers (typically not in the same physical location). Chicken of the VNC, RealVNC, Remote Desktop Protocol, TightVNC, UltraVNC, Virtual private network, X Window System, X11vnc,  Comparison of remote desktop software Can connect from anywhere in the world.
Uses very little resources on either machine. Can’t copy and paste between machines.
Multiple computers share one monitor’s space.
Can be a “glitchy” user experience. Virtual Machine This creates additional “virtual” computers on a computer so that multiple computers and operating systems can run on the same machine. Parallels, VMware Fusion, VirtualBox, Windows Virtual PC You only need to have one machine.
Cheap and space efficient. Puts a HEAVY bourdon on your computer.
Physical and Virtual systems run slow.
Two machines sharing one monitor’s space.
Takes up a lot of one machine’s hard drive. Dual Boot/Multi Boot Partition the hard drive on one computer so that multiple operating systems can be installed. When the machine is started, you can select which operating system to “boot”. Boot Camp (Mac), Dual Boot Runs at the machine’s full speed. Can’t work simultaneously on multiple OS’s.
Too much time watching the rebooting screens.
Takes up a lot of one machine’s hard drive.

What are your thoughts?

What do you do when you need to work on multiple machines and operating systems? Please let me know in the comments. If you have a cool solution, I would love to feature it in a future article.

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January 22 2012

Sync Files on Multiple Computers Using DropBox

Always Have Your Important Files

Overview: Learn how to keep your files in sync across multiple computers with this Dropbox Tutorial.

sync files with dropboxDo you work on multiple computers during the day? Perhaps one at work and one at home? Maybe one is a Mac and another is a PC? Well there are a lot of files that you may create or update on one machine that you suddenly need on the other. Sure, you could use a USB drive, but that is very manual and error prone.
If you need to have a common collection of files that are synchronized and instantly available everywhere, you should use Dropbox – Secure online file sync
. DropBox is a service that allows you to sync files between multiple computers via their servers.

I have a few computers in my house: A windows desktop in my Office, Windows laptop downstairs, a Linux Laptop in our Bedroom (My Wife’s) and a new MacBook Pro where I do most of my writing now. I have some files on my old Windows desktop and laptop that I need on my MacBook and newly created files that I want back on my PCs. The other problem is that I need to work with certain Windows or Mac only apps at different times. This allows me to move all of the files that I need back and forth to the machine where I need to work in “real-time”.

If I do a Screencast on my PC, I just put it into my DropBox and upload it from my Mac when I’m ready. If I make something in iMovie on my Mac, I just drop it in and open it on my PC later.

What exactly is Dropbox?

This is how DropBox describes their service:

Dropbox is the easiest way to share and store your files online.
Works like you do
No complicated interface to learn. Dropbox runs in the background on your desktop.
Worry-free syncing
Sync your files automatically to your computers and the web.
It’s everywhere you are
Sign in and access your files from any browser or mobile device.
Easy sharing
Sharing files with your friends and family is just two clicks away.
Photos
View your photos in a gallery and share them easily with anyone.

How to Use DropBox


  1. The entire process is incredibly quick and simple.
  2. Create an Account on www.DropBox.com
  3. Download and Install the DropBox software on your computer.
  4. Select a location for your DropBox folder. (I use the Desktop)
  5. Move the desired files/folders into your DropBox.
  6. Wait for blue arrow icons to stop spinning and turn into a green check icon.
  7. Move any desired files/folders from your other computer(s) into your DropBox.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 5 on all of your computers.

There is a free account which limits your DropBox capacity to 2 gigs. You can add more capacity incrementally with a paid account.

Sharing Files via DropBox:

You can share your DropBox with other DropBox users via your “shared” folder.

  1. Log in to your DropBox account on their site
  2. Click on the Share tab at the top of the page
  3. Give the share a name
  4. Enter the email addres(es) of the people you are sharing with
  5. Go back to your File Manager and drag files into the “share” folder
  6. The recipients will receive an email allowing them to access the the shared files
  7. You can delete the “share” when you want to stop sharing

This is very convenient if you’re working with a client or coordinating on a project with a colleague, client, or friend.

See How to Use DropBox in this Video

Conlclusion:

I use DropBox every day on both of my computers at home. This is about the simplest way to synchronize files between your computers, no matter which Operating System(s) you use.

Note: May not work behind some firewalls.

The past few articles have covered using some web/computer based productivity tools. Stay tuned for the next article where I show you how to extend these systems by using your phone and Dial2Do to get things done.

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January 19 2012

Make If This Then That Your Cloud Butler

Automate Tasks to Save Time

Overview: You will learn how to create automated tasks using web service If This Then That in this software tutorial.

If this then that tutorial

Did you ever wish that you had a robot in the cloud that could take care of simple, repetitive tasks? You know, things like:

  • Keeping your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures in sync
  • Posting Instagram photos to your Flickr account
  • Texting you when certain things happen

That’s where the new service If This Then That comes in. You can use IFTTT.com as your personal butler. The service is both simple and powerful at the same time.

How Simple? Just click a few buttons and you have an automated task working on your behalf.

How Powerful? You can automate tasks on 31 services based on events that happen almost anywhere. You can create over 3,500 combinations of “Triggers” that do things like:

  • Date, Time of Day, Email, Phone Calls, Text Messages, Stock Prices, Weather Conditions
  • Post Statuses to Social Networks
  • Uploads to Social Media sites
  • Add files to services like Dropbox or Evernote
  • Even daisy-chain these events together

Services and Events Supported by IFTTT

Here is a list of the services and events that you can use to create you automated tasks:

Ifttt supported service

Sample Tasks

Here are some of the types of things that you can do to make life a little more simple:

  • Send yourself a text or phone call at a predefined time to escape a nightmare date.
  • Send a text or email if it’s going to rain/snow tomorrow.
  • Post a copy of your Twitter status to Facebook or Google+
  • Send an alert if a stock hits a certain price

If This Then That Task Building Tutorial

Let’s build a simple task that will post a copy of your Instagram pictures to your Flickr account. Then, we’ll see if we can create a more complex process that daisy-chains simple tasks like this together.

Enabling your Services

Triggers are the starting or ending point of your tasks. Most of the triggers that IFTTT.com can use are the services to which you belong. Before we build any taks, you will need to enable any of the services that you want to use. Once you do this, you are ready to start building tasks.

Creating an IFFTT.com Task

  1. Click the Create a task button.

Ifttt create task buttonIMAGE

  1. Click the this link.

Ifttt this link

  1. Click the Instagram icon as your trigger.

Ifttt choose trigger

  1. Select the Instagram event that will be your trigger. “A new photo by you

Ifttt instapaper action

  1. Click the Create a new trigger button.

Ifttt create triggerIMAGE

  1. Select the that link.

Ifttt click that

  1. Select the Flickr icon as your “action channel“.

Ifttt chose action

  1. Click “Upload public phot from URL” as your action.

Ifttt choose action

  1. Populate the action fields and click the Create action button.

Ifttt flickr actions

  1. Give your task a description and click the Create Task button.

Ifttt task description

The completed task will be available to edit.

Ifttt completed task

That’s it, your task is created. Now, the next time you post a picture to Instagram, a copy of it will automatically get posted to Flickr.

Connecting Tasks Together

One of the other Triggers that you can use when creating a tasks is another IFTTT.com task. This opens up the possibility to create complex automated workflows. You could take the task that we just created and use it to drive other tasks. For instance; every time that task runs, it could also place a copy of the photo in your Dropbox, then create a photo post to your WordPress blog.

Let’s say you are a blogger at an event. You could take a picture and post it to Instagram with your tags and commentary. If you placed a link to your site in the Description that would be even better. Now, you can go on your merry way knowing that in the background that image will go to your Flickr page, get downloaded to your computer, and create a post on your blog. All automagically while you are on to your next move. Pretty cool!

If This Then That Video Tutorial

The following video walks you through the process of building an IFTTT.com task.

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January 18 2012

Connect your SmartPhone to Any Device in your Home

Overview: Learn how to connect your smartphone to your computer, television, and DVR.
connect smartphone computer tv

This is the third article in a three part series on Sharing Files Between Any Devices in your Home.

Your Phone is Smarter than You!

More and more people have smartphones with increasing ability to connect to things. You can use a variety of tools to connect your super gadget to your just about everything in your house.


Connect your Computer to your Mobile Phone

Smartphones usually connect to your computer through USB cables. There are many other ways that you can use to get documents, music, pictures, and video to your phone. One of my favorite ways to move files between your computer and phone is DropBox.com. This file sync tool allows you to place any files into a folder and have them go up to the web and back down to any computer. Guess what, it will also allow you to get your files from your phone. See how to Sync Files on Multiple Computers Using DropBox.

You can use Orb.com to install a server on your computer that will allow you to stream your media and documents any internet connected device. You can even get apps for your phone that will make it work beautifully.

  1. Install it on your computer
  2. Log into your account from any device with internet access
  3. Access your media

Here is a full list of supported phones.

Opera Unite is a new feature in Opera’s browser that streams Music, Photos, and Files from Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The one catch is that the “viewer” machines need to be running Opera’s browser. That’s not a huge catch now that you can even run it on iPhones. By the way, it’s an awesome mobile browser on just about every phone I have ever seen.

If you just want to stream your music from your computer to your phone there are a few good options:

AudioBox.fm is a service to let you securely store, manage and stream audio files online. If you have an internet connection, you have your music library.

Sockso stream music from Windows, Mac, and Linux computers to any internet connected device.

Connect your Mobile Phone to your Computer FIles

You can actually use your mobile phone to control your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) with a software called VNC. This lets one computer (or phone) view and control another over a Local Area Network or the Internet. You just install the server software on your computer and the viewer software on your phone. Then, you can access view and control your computer right from your phone.

Here are instructions for setting VNC up inside your home network.

Here are instructions on using VNC from outside your home via the internet.

My favorite VNC client for mobile phones is MochaSoft. They have free and paid apps for BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm, and Android. The following video shows you how to set up VNC software on your computer.

Schedule your DVR from your Phone

Everybody loves their DVR, but what happens when you were going to go home to watch TV on a Tuesday, but you get invited to happy hour instead? You didn’t have your DVR set and you don’t want to miss anything. Well, luckily just about every DVR provider lets you schedule recordings over the internet/phone now. Here are some tips on controlling your from your phone. (I got a bunch of the big boys. Just google for yours if it’s mising.)

  1. Comcast iPhone app gets remote DVR control | MacNN

  2. Control Your FiOS DVR From a Phone

  3. Optimum – iO TV - DVR

DIRECTV: DVR Scheduler

TiVo Enables Remote Wireless DVR Control

 

Send your TV to your Phone

If you are on the road a lot, one of the coolest gadgets in the last few years has to be the Slingbox TV Streamer. You hook up a slingbox to your TV,/Cable Box/DVR combo and stream them over the internet to wherever you may be. Wanna watch your favorite local sports team from Taiwan, no problem. Wanna watch all of your Lost recordings from your DVR in Prague, no problem. They even have SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone and BlackBerry phones.

Extra Credit – Stream your TV to your Phone and Project it Anywhere

If you have one of the computer or TV stream options listed above, you need to grab a Pico Projector. These cell phone sized projects will connect to your phone and project its screen onto a wall. Bam! Portable movie theater.

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December 27 2011

How to Create a Bulk Software Installer

The Super Fast Way to Set Up a New PC

OVERVIEW: You will learn how to install dozens of awesome, free applications on your computer in 5 simple steps. No money, 200 Point IQ, or Back-Breaking Labor required!

bulk software installer

Once you get past the excitement of getting a new computer, then the aggravation sets in. You have to download and install all of the software that you need. This can take hours and hours even if you’re organized.

You can spare yourself so much of the pain involved with this process by using a bulk software installation tool. I recently found a tool that creates an installer that automates the process of installing multiple applications.

Ninite.com gives you a selection of close to 100 free or open source applications that can be added to a 1-click installer. Some of these are my absolute favorite apps of all time. (Firefox, Skype, Digsby, Notepad++, DropBox, Evernote, and many more.)

Follow the steps below to create and run a Bulk Software Installer.

UPDATE: Wanna see how to do something very similar for Mac OS computers? Click here to see The Quickest Way to Set Up Your New Mac. (Jan. 5, 2011)

Creating the Installer

Open your browser and go to http://ninite.com.


You will be able to select from a large collection of free/open source applications that are grouped into several categories.

Select the checkbox next to all of the applications that you want to include in your installer.

selecting-applicaitons.jpg

After you select all of the applications that you want to include in your installer, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button.

You will see the Download page. This page will display all the icons for all of the applications that you selected for inclusion in the installer. The click here to change apps link will return you to the previous page, where you can add or remove applications.

Your download should begin automatically. Use the click here to retry the download link if your download does not begin right away.

You can use the permanent link to get a link to the installer download page. This is convenient if you want to share this collection of apps with other users or computers.

Installing Your Collection of Applications

You can either save the installer file to your computer and launch it, or let it run automatically from your browser.

Saving the Installer to Your Computer

The installer’s file name will include the applications that you selected.

Double click the installer file when it has finished downloading.

Automatically Running the Installer When it Finishes Downloading

If you elected to automatically run the installer when the download finishes, you will see the following window.

Click the button to launch the installer.

This is actually the last action that you are absolutely required to take. Everything else runs on its own.

Monitoring the Installation Process

The installer file does not actually contain each applications installation files. It downloads them when it is run.

Click the Show details link to monitor the progress of your installation process.

You will see the list of applications that you included in the installer. You will be able to follow along and see which applications have been downloaded and installed.

When all of your applications have been installed, you will see the following confirmation.

Click the button to exit the installer.

That’s it, all of your applications are installed and working as if they were each installed manually.

Printable Instrucitons

Click to Download a Printable Version of these Instructions.

See How it’s Done

The following video tutorial shows how to Install Multiple Applications using a Bulk Software Installer.

What Applications Do I Bundle?

I put a huge list of applications by category at the bottom of this article. (I didn’t want to break up the flow with a huge list.) You can also check out one of my lists of my favorite free applications:

22 Most Useful Free Applications for your PC (2009)

26 Best Free Mac Applications (2009)

32 Free Applications that I Could Not Live Without (2008)

What Applications Would You Put in your Installer Bundle?

I would love to hear what you think. Let me know what applications would you include in a Bulk Software Installer in the comments below. (List OS, then Apps.)


List of Suggested Applications to Include

Here is a list of some of the availabe applications that I highly reccomend:

Web Browsers

Google Chrome

Opera

Firefox

Messaging

Skype

Pidgin IM

Digsby

Mozilla Thunderbird

Media

iTunes

Songbird

Hulu Desktop

VLC

Winamp Lite

Audacity

Spotify

Imaging

Paint.NET

Google Picasa

GIMP

IrfanView

Inkscape

Documents

OpenOffice

Foxit Reader

CutePDF Writer

Security

Microsoft Security Essentials

Avast

AVG Free Anti-Virus

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Spybot – Search & Destroy

Runtimes

Flash

Flash Player 10 for other browsers

Flash Player 10 for Internet Explorer

Java JRE

Microsoft .NET

Microsoft Silverlight

File Sharing

uTorrent

eMule

Utilities

ImgBurn

CCleaner

Launchy

Revo Uninstaller

Defraggler

RealVNC

TeraCopy?

CDBurnerXP

7-Zip

Dropbox

Evernote

Google Earth

Steam?

Developer Tools

FileZilla

Notepad++

UPDATE April 29th, 2010

Just found out about another very similar service AllMyApps.com. They have a nice collection of apps for Windows and Linux.

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