Monthly Archives: July 2013

Shortcuts save time

Keyboard Shortcuts

Did you ever look at your computer keyboard and wonder about the function of the various “non-typing” keys? Hopefully, this article will take away a bit of the mystery associated with at least a few of these keys.

There are often multiple ways to accomplish the same thing/task using the keyboard and/or mouse on a computer. It might be interesting for you to know that Microsoft Windows comes with a huge set of keyboard “shortcuts”.

NOTE: Although this blog entry is specific to Windows users, the MAC users have similar functionality as well. Check out a list of MAC shortcuts here 🙂

A “shortcut” is usually taken by pressing (and holding) a key (such as Ctrl, Alt, or the Windows Logo Key), and then pressing another key simultaneously to direct the computer to perform a desired action (in lieu of using the computer mouse). You might want to learn just a handful of them to make your computer experience a much more pleasurable task.

Here are a few shortcuts that I find quite useful in my daily computer interaction:

Ctrl+c – Copy the selected item

Ctrl+v – Paste the selected item

Ctrl+a – Select all items in a document or window (usually followed by Ctrl+c)

Ctrl+z – Undo an action

Alt+F4 – Close the active window

Alt+Tab – Switch between open windows

Windows Logo Key+d – Display the desktop

Windows Logo Key+e – Open Windows Explorer (to find files on my computer)

Please note that some shortcuts may be program specific, while others are simply generic in nature, and work the same way for all programs.

When you have some time to spare, please peruse Microsoft’s complete list  to see if there are any shortcuts that are more pertinent to you and how you interact with your computer. If you memorize just a few of these shortcuts, I am confident that you will not only save time, but also save some wear and tear on your computer mouse, hand, and wrist 🙂

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

ETAG Is Now A Charity

ETAG is now a Charity!!

Since 2008, ETAG has helped thousands of adults 55+ learn how to use the common technologies used by today’s digital generations. We’ve connected people with their loved ones around the world using tools like Gmail, Facebook, and Skype. Our amazing volunteer technology coaches have guided boomers/zoomers into the tablet era, helping explain the pros and cons, the ins and outs, the iPads and Androids… There is SO much reward in teaching someone’s Nana and Papa how to use Google to find information or to complete an online form; skills often taken for granted by many. Technology creates unbelievable possibilities for its users. Helping all generations benefit from these possibilities has been a remarkably fruitful adventure for ETAG 🙂

After years of providing seniors with a free and patient way to learn how to use technology, it is with great pleasure to announce that ETAG has been registered as a charitable organization in Canada! ETAG’s team is delighted to enter this new chapter and can’t wait for all the incredible opportunities and good that will follow as a result of this great news. On behalf of myself and the entire ETAG Leadership Team, thanks very much to our volunteer technology coaches, who are an essential part of the programs ETAG organizes. You are all SO supportive and make your communities a better place to live.

There are big things on ETAG’s horizon! As technology continues to change and get better, ETAG will too, helping everyone stay in touch with the essential information we need to enhance our lives by utilizing technology comfortably and confidently. I can’t wait for what’s next!!! Stay tuned 🙂

– Chris Bint

 

Backup your data!

No backup is bad

Most people who own a computer tend to store a multitude of important information on its hard drive disk. It could be things like precious wedding, vacation, or other treasured family photos, your music, your documents, spreadsheets and presentations, or your personal correspondence, just to name a few.

The problem is that many people accumulate this critical (and in many cases irreplaceable) data without a second thought about making regular backup copies of it. It is a sad but unfortunate reality about computer disks that it is not “if” they will fail, but rather, “when” they will fail! So many things (such as hardware malfunction, computer viruses, fire, flood, theft) can happen as part of daily life, making your computer data so very vulnerable to any one of these or other disasters.

The answer to this dilemma is to make proper (and regular) backup copies of your data. There are a variety of backup methods available to make copies of your data onto other media, such as external hard drives, USB drives (also known as a USB key or stick), CDs/DVDs, or the “cloud”, but many people lack the technical knowledge and/or the discipline to protect their valuable data on a regular basis.

One easy to-use-method of computer backup that I have used is called ClickFree: http://www.clickfree.com/

This device can be used by the full range of computer users from the complete novice up to the technical savvy expert alike, by doing nothing more than plugging it into a USB port on their computer. As its name implies, this device has the “smarts” built into it to backup your data without any human intervention. “It is easier than making toast” as one of their earlier advertisements boasted! The ClickFree device does cost a few dollars, but when you think of how valuable the data on your computer might be to you, it may seem very reasonably priced for your peace of mind.

Although somewhat dated, this promotional video illustrates just how simple it is to use the ClickFree device: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e8HeZEUQ2I

The backup story does not end here though… Backups must be done regularly and the backup copy should be securely stored at an “offsite location” away from the computer itself. This could mean taking the backup copy to work or entrusting it to a family member or friend far away from your computer. After all, what good is the backup copy of your data if it becomes destroyed or stolen along with your computer!

PS – I do not work for ClickFree and do not have any affiliation with them, but rather, I simply believe that they have built an excellent and useful product for the masses. Enjoy! 🙂

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)