Issue #53 March 2, 2004

1. High-Speed Internet at Hotels - part 3

We have looked at the type of service you will get at hotels and how to connect, now let's see what things we have to keep in mind when using the service. Depending on what service they use, you may or may not have a true IP address. Why does this matter? Because if you want to do a video conference through a web cam or do a web conference with application sharing, an external IP address is essential. To tell if you have an external IP address in Windows, click on the Start button and then on the Control Panel. Click on Network Connections and open your Ethernet connection. On the Support tab or the Properties item, it should tell you your IP address. If it starts with 192.168, then you do not have an external IP address and web conferencing will not work (The 192.168 indicates a router device between you at the Internet). You also need to make sure that you have an up-to- date virus package running at all times because worm viruses can be transmitted between hotel guests depending on how the system is configured. This happened to me once at a hotel. I was working away and all of a sudden, Norton popped up saying a virus had tried to attack my system. I spent an hour and a half confirming that no damage was done. I also recommend that you turn off hard drive sharing before connecting because you don't want anybody to see or write to your hard drive. Next, make sure that whenever you leave the room, you shut down your computer. Do not leave it running while you are out of the room because you won't be able to see any messages that come up on the screen and you leave yourself more vulnerable to someone trying to hack into your laptop. Overall, I have been very pleased with my hotel high-speed internet experiences and will continue to recommend that the boost in productivity is worth the cost that these services add to our travel bill.

2. Switching between applications during a presentation

Many times during a presentation, I switch to another application in order to show an example. In fact during the presentation I did this past weekend at the NSA Eastern Educational Workshop in St. Louis, I switched between PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook and Internet Explorer during the one hour that I spoke. There is an elegant way to do this and then there is the method I saw recently at a symposium. The presenter wanted to switch from PowerPoint to Excel, so he hit the Escape key to drop out of Slide Show mode back to the program mode, then clicked on Excel and showed his example. Then he clicked back on PowerPoint, and started the slide show again. It looked clumsy and it hurt his credibility. A much more elegant way to switch between applications is to use the Alt+Tab key combination. Hold the Alt key down and press the Tab key. Each time you press the Alt+Tab key combination, it switches to the next running application and will keep switching in a circular order each time. If you have the Power Toys for Windows XP installed, it even shows you a preview of the application you are about to go to, which is a great help. Once you go to the new application and show what you need to show, you can then press Alt+Tab again and this time it starts with the previous application, which makes it quicker to get back to your PowerPoint show. One trick I use is that before the projector gets turned on, I Alt+Tab to the application I will be going to, then Alt+Tab back to my slide show. This way, I know that the first Alt+Tab will take me to the desired application because it will be the last application I switched from. If you have to switch applications during a presentation, do it the right way and your presentation will look much more professional.

3. Useful Resource - Spam Information

I don't know about you, but I have found the volume of spam increasing the past few months. I guess that comes from my e- mail address being on more computers as the subscriber list grows for this newsletter. I am always looking for good information on stemming this tide of unwanted e-mail and PC World magazine's web site has a new section dedicated to information on fighting spam. It has some good strategies and ideas that could help you reduce the volume of unwanted e-mail. Check it out at: http://www.pcworld.com/resource/spamwatch.asp