Archive for July 2009

Microsoft Works, Word, and WordPress

word_logo

MS Word logo

Wordpress logo

Wordpress logo

MS Works logo

MS Works logo

Yvonne Bisk of the Long Island Business Networking Group asks:

Why does my WordPress blog have a problem with Microsoft Word documents, while Microsoft Works always works??

I’m assuming that you are referring to pasting text from Microsoft Word into WordPress when adding a new post. If I’m wrong, send me more information on what you’re douing when you encounter problems between Microsoft Word and WordPress. (WordPress, for those unfamiliar with the program, is a web based blogging platform, that is, software that is used for publishing blogs. Skylarking, for one, is published using WordPress.) FYI, WordPress is not a Microsoft product.

Microsoft Works versus Microsoft Word

First, I’d like to mention that Microsoft Word is a more elaborate word processing program than Works is. I refer to Works as Word’s kib brother. Works is more family oriented, while Word is more business oriented, so Word has more features and capabilities than Works. Some versions of Works include Microsoft Word as the word processing application.

Pasting from Word to WordPress

When you copy text from Microsoft Word you are also copying a lot of invisible code that Word uses in order to identify the fonts, bolds, italics, quotation marks, dashes, “&” or ampersands, and other information about your text. This code, invisible to us, is specific to Word, and as such, WordPress will not interpret this code properly.

Works, on the other hand, being a less elaborate program, doesn’t have as much of this invisible code, so you have less troubles when you copy and paste from this program into your WordPress blog.

Before you decide to stop using Word when copying to WordPress, read on, WordPress has some tools to help you avoid these problems.

WordPress Tools

When you use WordPress, you may notice this single row of tools when adding a new post to your blog.

wordpress-singleIf you point at the last button on the right hand side you will see a pop-up appears telling you this button is called the “kitchen sink”. Clicking this button will reveal a second row of tools, like so:

wordpress-doubleYou’ll see that I’ve circled two of the tools on the toolbar. The one on the left is called “Paste as Plain Text” and the second is called “Paste from Word”. I prefer to use the “Paste as Plain Text” tool when working with Word and WordPress, but you can experiment on your own and see what results you get.

paste-as-plain-textFor example:

  1. I can copy some text from a Word document.
  2. Then I go to my WordPress application on my blog
  3. Then, while editing or adding a post, I can click the “Paste as Plain Text” tool, and pop-up window (shown at right) will appear that instructs me to “Use CTRL + V on your keyboard to paste text into the window”
  4. So now I hold the “CTRL” key — it’s on the lower left and right of keyboard, it doesn’t matter which you use — with one hand and tap the letter “V” with the other hand. Now my copied text from Word will appear inde the box.
  5. Then I click the Insert button onscreen.

Voila! My Word text has now been pasted into my WordPress post. Any special code and characters from Word that may have been bothersome to WordPress should have been stripped away.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

T-Mobile G1 Battery Life Accessories

I purchased a T-Mobile G1 w/ Google Bronze phone (that’s the G1 in white shown at left) back in February of this year, and I’ve been pretty happy with it. For 2 decades I’ve had run-of-the-mill cellphones. (Have we had cellphones in the mainstream for two decades now?) I like it because the data plan is cheaper than that of the iPhone. (Economy and efficiency all the way). The only disappointment has been the battery life. Some times, when I have a not-so-great Internet connection I can actually watch the battery level decline while phone tries to access the page.

So I’ve been looking for ways to improve my battery life without erasing all my apps and shutting down features I’m not using at the moment to only have to turn them back on again less than 30 minutes later.

I searched here and there online until I turned to Buy.com to make my purchases. Here’s a list of the items I picked up and why.

SEIDIO Innocell 1400 Extended Battery for T-Mobile G1

I decided to get an extra battery: the SEIDIO Innocell 1400 Extended Battery for T-Mobile G1 (shown at left). It’s supposed to provide 15% more power than the stock 1150mAh battery. It’s not a big increase, but I figure carrying an extra battery will help out. I can just swap batteries when one dies.

SEIDIO Innocell 2600 Extended Life Battery for HTC T-Mobile G1 (with Battery Door)

Of course, there is the massive SEIDIO Innocell 2600 Extended Life Battery for HTC T-Mobile G1 (with Battery Door) (shown at right) which provides 125% more power than the stock battery. The drawback, in my opinion, is the added thickness the battery gives to the phone. Some people have said the speakers sounds a bit muffled because the larger battery casing places the speaker opening further away from the speaker. Additionally, I like carrying the phone in its stock sleeve in my pocket, and I don’t need a bulkier phone in my pocket.

T-Mobile HTC G1 by Google Desktop USB Battery Cradle

I also purchased a T-Mobile HTC G1 by Google Desktop USB Battery Cradle (shown at left) so I can charge both the phone and the spare battery in the evening. There’ s a bit of a compromise here since the cradle charges the phone via a USB connection to a computer — the purpose here is to allow you to synch your phone’s data files etc while it charges — while an AC adapter is used to charge the spare battery. I would have liked to charge both phone and spare from the AC adapter, but I guess I’ll have to get a USB power adapter for charging the phone on my night table. Or have both charge in my home office by the computer. Hmm, I’m still mulling this part over.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

Laptops? And Notebooks? and Netbooks. Oh my!

Yvonne Bisk of the Long Island Business Networking Group asks:

“What is the difference between a laptop and a notebook?”

dell-laptop1

Dell Laptop

I know it can be hard to tell the difference between laptops and notebooks since manufacturers and advertisers will blur the distinctions to influence sales based on current trends and consumer demand. Also, since 2007, the rise of the netbook has caused the terms notebook and laptop to be synonymous, but, technically, you could say the difference revolves around processors, battery life, optical drives (DVD/CD), and size, but not necessarily weight due to varying levels or durability and ruggedness.

Furthermore, when discussing the “technical aspects” of laptops and notebooks there is no distinction between Linux, Mac , or Windows based computers.

Last of all, I will discuss what distinguishes the netbooks from the laptops and notebooks.

Processors

intel_logoLaptops will have stronger processors, often the same ones found in desktops. Notebooks will have processors that use less energy to prolong battery life.

amd-logoLaptops will either use Intel’s Pentium, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, or Celeron processors; or they’ll use AMDs Phenom, Athlon, Turion, or Sempron processors. The Core 2s, Pentiums, Athlons and Phenoms are the most powerful, and will use up the most battery power.

Optical Drives

Laptop with integrated DVD drive

Laptop with integrated DVD drive

Laptops include integrated (built-in) optical drives for playing DVDs and CDs. Notebooks, on the other hand, often do not include a DVD or CD drive to save battery life, size, and weight in that order. For the notebook computer the optical drive must either be purchased separately or added as an option.

Battery Life

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

Laptop batteries will hold a charge for 2 or 3 hours of operating time. Notebooks will run for 8 hours or more. How long the battery holds a charge is most affected by hard disk drive and optical drive usage. These devices have motors which spin the disks. Frequent saving and accessing of files on these drives will result in shorter battery life. The same applies to the playing of DVDs or CDs. Since notebooks often do not include a CD or DVD drive, the battery will last a little longer. Additionally, some computers may have heavier batteries than others.

Size, Not Necessarily Weight

Toshiba T-1000 (1985)

Toshiba T-1000 (1985)

Laptop computers are often more 12 inches wide, over 9 inches deep, and over 1.2 inches in height. As mentioned above, leaving out the optical drive allows a notebook to be smaller in all these dimensions. Weight is not necessarily a distinguishing factor. A laptop can weight as little as 5 lbs to as much as 10 lbs. or more. Notebooks can go can be as light as 3 lbs., but, depending on its ruggedness and durability, can weigh as much as 8 lbs. When traveling, a laptop often requires its own carry case, but a notebook could fit into a briefcase or a smaller container with other items.

Laptops versus Notebooks: A Summary

So laptops tend to be larger than notebooks and have a shorter battery life. Laptops also tend to have optical drives and the same processors found in desktop computers. There are many areas where laptops and notebooks overlap; and, since the advent of the netbook in 2007, the term laptop and notebook has become almost synonymous.

Netbooks

Asus Eee netbook

Asus Eee netbook

Netbooks are much smaller and lighter than the laptops or notebooks. Most netbooks have no dimension greater than 10 inches, and their weight is less than 3 lbs.

For processors many netbooks run on Intel’s Atom or Celeron processors.

The lightest, most energy efficient models use Flash drives, instead of hard disk drives, and they don’t have optical drives at all. Flash drives have no motors or moving parts, but are more expensive than traditional hard disk drives. Flash drives are like the memory chips found in digital cameras and some iPods. Flash drives are also called “solid state drives”, abbreviated as SSD.

Whereas laptops and notebooks run programs that are stored on the hard drive, netbooks rely more on Internet based services and web sites.

Overlap

Larger, more powerful, more expensive netbooks resemble notebooks; and larger, more powerful notebooks resemble laptops.

Frankly, if the computer is small enough to fall between my legs when I am sitting comfortably with my knees apart, then it’s not a laptop.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

Help Me Out. Questions Needed.

rfs-facebookHi, folks. Thanks for popping in to read this post. It’s been nice to offer all these special offers and price discount notices here, but I started this blog to answer reader questions. I’m looking to answer your questions on computers, the Internet, and software. I’ll even take your home entertainment system or digital equipment questions for cameras, camcorders, and music players.

In the past I’ve answered several questions on how you can format and print envelopes and labels in Word, connect your iPod to your home stereo system, how to correct wireless router problems, and, of course, your questions about Twitter.

It’s been a while since I received some good questions, so please help me out, and ask me questions. Send me questions from your friends and family, too. You can use the comments space below, or you can use my contact page. Please be sure to include an email address, so that I can ask you questions in case I need more information to answer your question properly.

I always do my best to answer your questions, and you may be surprised to see how fast I answer them.

Thanks! Have a great day, week, month, year!

Factory Refurbished iPods for Sale

Buy.com has some nice prices today for some factory reconditioned and refurbished iPods. These are items that were purchased, but the buyer either changed their mind, or found a few items missing, or brought it back to exchenge for something else. In some cases these were returned gifts. Regardless, they were check and repackaged by the Apple factory for resale.

Check them out, there are some nice savings to be had here. And please use the links here, so Buy.com know Skylarking sent you. And let me remind you, I don’t mention any items or offers that I don’t personally and professionally consider to be worthwhile. This is not a paid promotion.

Apple iPod 60GB Generation 5 Refurbished

apple-ipod-60-refurb60 GB hard drive memory; Holds up to 15,000 songs and full-color album art; Bright 2.5-inch, 320 x 240 pixel TFT display; Up to 20 hours of battery life; Holds up to 25,000 photos; Holds up to 150 hours of video; Enjoy Podcasts and audio books; Apple click wheel; Accessory-compatible dock connector; Charges and syncs via USB; Syncs contacts, calendars and to-do lists; Shuffle songs or albums; Repeat one or all; Adjust audio book reading speed; Sound check on or off; 20 equalizer presets; Backlight timer; Display contrast; Alarms on, off or silent; Sleep timer; Date and time; Display time in menu bar; Contacts sort and display by first or last names; Clicker on or off; Unit dimensions: 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.55-inches; Includes USB cable and Headphones. This item listed for $399.95 when it was new. It’s yours for only $120. Bono not included.

Apple iPod 5th Generation 30GB Refurbished

apple-ipod-30-refurbThis item is factory reconditioned with a 90 day distributor warranty.2.5″ LCD; 30GB Hard Drive; Video: MPEG-4, QuickTime; Dock Connector; Composite Video Output; Mini-phone Stereo Audio Line Out; Holds up to 7,500 Songs; Holds up to 25,000 iPod-viewable photos; Video Player; Holds over 1,000 Videos based on 4 minutes; Audio Player; Audio Formats: AIFF, WAV, AAC, MP3; Includes Ear bud headphones, USB cable, and iTunes software for Mac and Windows; Charging via USB or FireWire to computer system or power adapter; 4.1″ H x 2.4″ W x 0.43″ D; Image Formats: BMP, JPEG, PSD (Mac only), PNG, TIFF, GIF; Weight: 4.8 oz;Customizable main menu; Create multiple On-the-Go playlists; Adjust audiobook playback speed; Clicker playback through headphones; Rate songs; Shuffle songs or albums; Repeat one or all; Sound Check on or off; 20 Equalizer settings; Backlight timer; Alarms on, off or silent; Sleep timer; Date and time; Display time in menu bar; Contacts sort and display by first or last names; Clicker on or off.

I almost overdid it on this post by including language support and charge times, but you can find all that out at Buy.com’s site if interested.

Beat Generation Podblaster – Portable Speakers for your iPod

podblasterTake out the earphones and let everyone listen to your iPod. It’s a lot easier to do with this ultra-light podblaster. This is the all vinyl PodBlaster iPod Stereo Travel Case from LifePod. It comes with a Storage pocket with room for your power charger and cables, firewire connector, FM transmitter and everything you need while traveling. The 3-watt amplifier is powered by four AA batteries (not included) or a USB connector (included!) The speakers are fully integrated, the clear window in the fron t flips open so you can control your iPod. Plus its has a compact and ultraportable design and construction.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

Buy your kid a computer, and save on your tax return

recovery-dot-gov-actHere’s some great news for anyone who wants to cut the costs of sending their kids to college!

Under the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, taxpayers who buy PCs for their children in 2009 and 2010 can claim those Desktops, Notebooks, and Netbooks as qualified higher education expenses.

The Act defines computer-related qualified expenses as “any expense incurred for buying any computer technology and equipment”, as well as Internet access and related services as long as the equipment and technology is used by the student and the student’s family during any of the years the student is enrolled at an eligible educational institution.

1040aAnyone with college-aged kids knows that tuition costs are skyrocketing, so this additional perk will be a welcome benefit for many. Be aware that this tax break is only in effect through 2010, so anyone who will have, or has, children in college need to start shopping for a new PC today.

This post is not to be construed as tax advice, so please consult your tax professional for more info. Applicable to U.S. Tax Filers only.

Need some ideas for new computers for the kids? Take a look at our recommendations in our previous post.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

TigerDirect Best Sellers, Price Drops, Save 50% on Windows 7

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Here are some specials from TigerDirect; and, remember, TigerDirect offers $1.99 for shipping on purchases over $100, but under 200 pounds in the contiguous lower 48 states of the US.

PRE-ORDER Windows 7 and SAVE over 50% at TigerDirect!

Windows 7 is the successor to Windows Vista. Windows 7 is due to be released this fall, with an estimated delivery date of October 22, 2009. Pre-order it now from TigerDirect and save 50%: Get Windows Home 7 Premium Upgrade for only $49.99, or get Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for only $99.99.

TigerDirect Exclusive Deals, Limited Time Offers, Act Now And Save!

Price Drop Alert: Offer ends Wednesday July 8

acer-22-inch-monitorTigerDirect Price Drop Alert: $139 Acer 22 LCD w/ 3yr Warranty (Ends 7/8/09): Th Acer X223WBD 22 inch widescreen monitor sells at Staples for $180, but for the next 24 hours (until July 8, 2009) you can get it at TigerDirect for $140. This monitor features a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels, a contrast ratio of 2500:1, and DVI and VGA connectors. Eligible for $1.99 shipping as described above.

Best Sellers

wifi-n-routerRecertified Linksys WRT160N Ultra RangePlus Wireless N Router. This Wireless-N router also works with your older B or G wireless adpaters, plus it has four ports for wired connections, too. It also supports WPA, WPA2, and WEP security protocols, MAC filtering, URL filtering, and domain blocking services. Get it for only $49.99.

tomtom130SAVE $90Refurbished TomTom One130 GPS with a 3.5″ Touch Screen Display, with North American Maps for the U.S., Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket. It’s battery lasts up to 3 hours. Only $59.99

SAVE $30 – Acer X223Wbd 22″ Widescreen LCD Monitor 1680×1050 WSXGA+ 2500:1 Ratio DVI/VGA $139.99

6 Laptops under $600 — Available while supplies last

athlon-emachineSAVE $150 on an eMachines Notebook — With an AMD64 1.6GHz processor, a generous 3GB of DDR2 RAM (Memory), a 250GB hard drive (storage), and a dual layer rewriteable DVD burner. The screen measures 15.6″ diagonally, and it runs on Windows Vista Basic. Now only $349.99.

SAVE $200 on an Acer Aspire Notebook powered by an AMD Athlon X2 2.1GHz processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM (Memory), a 320GB hard drive, and a dual layer rewriteable DVD burner. Just like the eMachine unit above, the screen measures 15.6″ diagonally, and it comes with Windows Vista Home Premium. Now only $449.99. I must admit, Acer is one of my favorite notebook manufacturers. I’d add a picture, but it looks so much like the eMachine model shown at right that I didn’t think it weas necessary. Just click the Acer Aspire Notebook link for more info and photos.

acer-hdmi-laptopSAVE $110 on an Acer Aspire Laptop (shown at left) with an AMD64 X2 2.1GHz processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM (Memory), 320GB of storage space on the hard drive, a 15.6″ LED display (LED is a newer technology for displays. Newer than LCD,), and it runs on Windows Vista Home Premium. Oh, yes, it also features an  HDMI connection for plugging into your home theatre system or an external hi-def monitor. Now only $479.99.

gateway-laptopSAVE $70 on a Gateway Laptop (shown at right in red) with an AMD64 1.9GHz processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM (Memory), a 320GB hard drive for storing your files, photos, and music, etc., a 14.1″ screen, and its all running on Windows Vista Home Premium. It, too, features an  HDMI connection for plugging into your home theatre system or an external hi-def monitor. Now only $479.99.

SAVE $450 on a refurbished HP Notebook with an AMD Athlon X2 2GHz processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM, a 250GB hard drive, a large 16″ TFT (TFT refers to “thin film transistor” technology for hi-res LCD displays. There is a seperate transistor for each pixel on the screen.) Runs on Windows Vista Home Premium. Now only $499.99.

acer-hdmiSAVE $50 on a refurbished Acer Aspire Laptop (at left) with a Intel Core2Duo T6400 2.0GHz processor, a fantastic 4GB or DDR2 RAM (memory), a 250GB hard drive, a 16″ display, and Windows Vista Home Premium (64 bit edition). Now only $599.99. It has an HDMI connection on it like the  Gateway and Acer units listed above. This makes a great gaming laptop.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.