#414 Learning What You Want & Need For Free With Grovo

When I run into something I don’t know, I usually do quick web search and after a couple of websites or videos, I’m all set and can keep on trucking.  I realize that for some people, like my Dad, that process can be a big challenge and not always quite so intuitive. That is one reason I started this whole tip of the week thing — for sharing quick and easy to apply tricks for upgrading how you work and get things done.

Grovo

If you like these tips, you’ll definitely like Grovo, a free (for individuals) website that teaches you how to use different websites and services via video tutorials. Grovo topics include everything from basic navigation and functionality of helpful websites (Facebook, Feedly, etc) , manage your work (Evernote, Gmail, Google Drive), or just get by in life (Skype, Flickr, Dropbox, Google Hangouts, etc).

How To Use Grovo

Test Drive These Great Topics:

If you like what you see, sign up for a free account at Grovo.com and let the learning begin!

#398 Do You Know How to Get Instant Answers From Google?

If you’ve been following these tips for very long you probably know How to be a better Googler by using some of the advanced search options.

But you may not have known about the super nifty instant answer tricks. If not, today is your day to find out about a few of them.

1. Time Zone

If  you ever need to know what time it is in another city, just type in time and the city to get the current time there.

Google Time Zone

2. Weather

This one is similar to the time zone trick. You can check the weather anywhere by just entering the city and weather.

Google Weather

3. Calculator

Use Google as a calculator – type in a calculation and Google give you the answer. When you use Google to do a calculation, you’ll get a handy calculator interface with some pretty advanced capability.

GoogleCalculator

4. Dictionary Definitions

Seems like I’m always looking up definitions and Google makes that super fast and easy. Just type in define and the word you want to look up.

Google Define

 

5. Unit Conversions

Google can also do conversions for a wide variety of units. Just type a search in the form X unit to unit. For example, 40 degrees f to c converts 40 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius or 5 kilometers to miles.

Google Conversion

There are a lot more things you can do with Google’s Instant Answers including:

  • finding your IP address
  • currency conversions
  • find the time for today’s sunrise or sunset
  • flight tracking
  • flight schedules
  • package tracking
  • movie schedules
  • stock information
  • and all kinds of data

Check them out over at How To Geek.

#388 Build Your Own Start Page

I’m always curious what people set as their browser start page. Often, work computers are defaulted to the company intranet page and many people never change it from that.

Click to respond

WhatsYourStartPage

If you’re looking to swap your start page for something better here are a couple of good options to consider.  There seem to be about a zillion options but these are two of my favorites because I can customize them and I can access them from any web browser and any device. Think of these as speed dial for the web.

Symbaloo

Start.me

Start.me is similar to Symbaloo but also lets you add some information like news, weather and just about anything else you’d like to have served up when you open your browser.

startDOTme

If you’re looking for more even options you might want to check out 5 Brilliant Start Page Extentions,  9 Ways to Customize the Google Chrome Start Tab or How to Make Firefox Tabs More Useful

post by Mike Taylor

#383 Great Way to Tame Out of Control Chrome Browser Tabs

If you’re like me you may times when you have managed to open 120 zillion different browser tabs. If you use Google’s Chrome browser and open a lot of tabs, you’ve probably noticed that the more tabs you have open the more memory you’re using and your computer’s performance can suffer.  One Tab is a handy app you can add to Chrome that will save all your open tabs a single page for easy access anytime you want to come back to them. While that is nice, the best part is that is reduces memory usage by 95% and keeps you zooming along without getting bogged down my memory issues. 

[ Click image below to view full size ]

OneTab

Check it out…you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.

#378 Tweak Your Windows Taskbar

You probably give very little, if any thought to your Windows taskbar.  We all use it differently but one thing we have in common is that usually it just sits there taking up space. Although it doesn’t take up much space if you want to maximize your screen real estate you can  set your taskbar so that its only there when you need it.

Autohide Your Taskbar

Here’s how to set it to autohide:

1. Right-click on the taskbar

2. In the menu that appears, select Properties.

3. Under the Taskbar tab—which should be the first open tab you see—check the box next to Auto-hide the taskbar.

4. Then click Apply and OK.

After you’ve done this your taskbar should disappear into the bottom of your screen. But don’t worry it is still there – it is just waiting in the wings until you need it.

To bring the taskbar back, just move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and it’ll pop back up ready for action.

Another good option, especially for those of you with wide-screen monitors is to drag it over and dock it to the left side of your screen instead of having it down at the bottom. (That’s what I do.)

Bringing back the Windows XP’s taskbar

In Windows 7, the taskbar merges all the open windows of  each program under a single icon called a taskbar button.  So ff you have four Excel worksheets open, you’ll only see one Excel button. When you mouse over that icon you’ll see four mini-previews – one for each window.

These combined buttons are a good way to keep your taskbar uncluttered, but if you  prefer the old XP approach of having individual taskbar buttons for each open window it is easy to change back. Here’s how:

1. Right-click on the taskbar and select Properties.

2. Under the Taskbar tab look for the Taskbar buttons setting. Click the drop-down menu to the right of that setting and select Never combine, or Combine when taskbar is full for a more practical approach.

3. Then click Apply and OK and you’re all set.

NeverCombine

#377 Sharex: A Good Free Screen Capture Tool

As we’ve mentioned before, almost everyone at some point or another needs to take a screenshot or record the activity on their screen. There are a lot of options but I’d like to share a good one that I recently discovered.

Take a screenshot, have it uploaded and get the URL copied to your clipboard with a single hotkey.

Take a screenshot, have it uploaded and get the URL copied to your clipboard with a single hotkey with Sharex.

ShareX is an open source program that lets you take screenshots of any selected area with a single key, save them to your clipboard, hard drive or upload them to your favorite file sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. ShareX is packed with a lot of features including all the basics you’d expect and many more that you won’t even find in paid screen capture tools.

Check out the full list of features here.  Or to give it a spin you can download it here.

#376 Sorting Your Files Can Help You Find What You’re Looking For Faster

Search is great when you’re looking for a specific file by name, but sometimes you  don’t know what it is. For times like that  you can use the Windows File Explorer to sort your files and find the largest video file in your collection, or the most recently modified Word document in your work folder, etc.

By default, File Explorer lists your files and folders in alphabetical order from A to Z. But let’s say you want to group all the files in your Documents folder another way. For example, maybe you want to find a particular PowerPoint presentation.  Instead of browsing among all the different types of files you have in there you can simply group them by type of document, which will put all your presentations together in a nice, neat grouping for you automatically.

In the Windows 7 File Explorer you can right-click in an empty space and get several options for organizing your files. The first one you might try is grouping. 

Grouping Files

GroupBy

This will organize everything this folder by the type document. As you can see you’ll get all your Word documents grouped together along with a count of how many of each type there are.

GroupByType

You can group your files just about any way you like. By name, date, author etc etc. Select the More… option to see a complete list of grouping options.

Sorting Files

Another helpful way to locate files is by sorting them.  This works exactly the same way as grouping does. Right-click an empty space in your File Explorer window and choose your sorting method.

You can even use Grouping and Sorting together to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

How do you use grouping and sorting to manage your files?

#367 Unroll.me: Tame Junk Mail With a Single Click

The odds are pretty good that you’re getting way too many unwanted emails. They seem to appear out of nowhere and the process of unsubscribing from each individual one can be difficult and way too time consuming.  If you’re feeling like you and your inbox could benefit from a good purge, you should check out Unroll.me.  Unroll.me makes it easy for you to get rid of unwanted junk emails.

After you sign up, see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want. Then after you’re up and running you’ll get one email a day that has all your  subscription emails neatly list for you.  Yes, you read that right…a single email with all your email subscriptions.

unrollme

If you choose you can enable the Auto- Add feature which will notify you of the number of new subscriptions Unroll.me has detected in your inbox. With the Auto- Add feature enabled, these new subscriptions will be added automatically to your Rollup after 1 week.

You can give unroll.me a try if you use any of these email services:  Outlook.com (including Hotmail, MSN, & Windows Live), Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, and iCloud.

Curious? Check out these FAQ’s

Why not start your year off with a fresh slate and a clean (or at least cleaner) inbox!?

#363 Mouse Wheel Tricks

Savvy users know that the mouse wheel can do more than just scroll up and down in a document or Web page. For example, in your Web browser, if you hold down the Ctrl key while you spin the wheel, you can quickly change the font size.

Other places you can use the CTRL + Mouse wheel trick include on your Windows 7 desktop to change the size of your desktop icons and in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel & PowerPoint) to zoom in/out.

Do you know any where else that trick works for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

#362 ShareX: A Nice Free Screen Capture App

At some time or another, just about everyone needs to capture what they see on their screens. There are a lot of options ranging from the simple PrtScrn key all the way up to full features software like SnagIt.

ShareX is a free screen capturing tool for Windows worth checking out. It has a ton of useful features and it is portable too so you can run it from a USB drive without needing to install it.

Sharex screenshot

ShareX has all the features you need in a screen capturing tool. You can capture fixed areas on the screen, full application windows or even freehand regions. Plus, there’s a built-in editor to help you annotate screenshot images. And you can even set it up to automaticaly upload your screen captures to online storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Picasa, Box, Flickr, and many more. When the image is uploaded, the shared URL is copied to the clipboard for quick sharing on social networks.

As if that’s not enough, ShareX also includes a video screen recorder for creating screencasts that can be either saved as video (MP4) files or as animated GIFs.

So if you’re looking for a great, free option to capture what is on your screen, you should definitely give Sharex a look.