1. PPT - Turn Off Wireless
For those of you who have a wireless connection built in to your laptop (which is anyone who has purchased a laptop in the last two years probably), beware of a problem I saw recently during a presentation. While the presenter was setting up, he commented that he had a wireless connection in the meeting room. This is quite common now that many hotels offer free wireless Internet connections throughout the hotel. He proceeded to set up and later started his presentation. The wireless connection continued to be live during the presentation and it caused a problem about half way through. On top of one of his slides popped up a message that his computer had downloaded an update to his virus software and it was now installed. The only way to get rid of the message was to click on the OK button in the message window. What happened is that since the virus software saw a live Internet connection, it kept checking for updates every few minutes (most virus software packages do this to always have the latest threats covered as soon as possible). When an update was available, it downloaded it and notified him. What the virus software does is pop up over any screen that is there, including on top of your presentation. My advice is that if you have a wireless connection built in, when you are presenting, turn it off by disabling that network connection (you can disable the connection by clicking on Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connections; then right click on your wireless connection and selecting Disable from the sub-menu). This will save you from the virus software popping up a message in the middle of your next presentation. When you are done, enable your wireless connection by using the above instructions and selecting Enable on the sub-menu.
2. Inserting special characters
In Microsoft Word, there are many occasions where you would want to use a graphical character in the text. In my case, it is in writing my book that is going to be published by Prentice Hall next year. I need to insert a right arrow character (like the -> character combination I use in this newsletter, only as a single graphical character). The right arrow is the standard character to indicate a next click in a sequence when describing how to perform a function in a software program (ie. click on File->Open to open a file). To insert any special character in Word, you can click on Insert->Symbol to display a list of characters that can be inserted. Just search for the one you want, click on it and click on the Insert button. But if it is a character that you will need to use often, look down at the bottom of the dialog box displaying the characters. You will see listed the shortcut key or key combination for inserting this character. The default for many characters is to type in a numeric character code and then press the Alt+X key combination. If you want to set your own shortcut key, press the Shortcut Key button at the bottom of this dialog box and you can set up a key combination that is easier for you to remember. For example, I have set up the Alt+Right Arrow key combination to insert the right arrow character so that I don't have to remember the numeric code (which is 2192 in case you are curious). Use this method to set up shortcut keys for the special symbols you need to use in Word.
3. Useful Resource - PC World Supercharge tips
I am always looking for neat ways to enhance my computer experience or to save time in what I do with my computer. I found a collection of more than 65 utilities that can help with a myriad of tasks in a PC World article recently. Check it out and see what tasks you can speed up to make your computing more efficient. The article is at: http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,119982,pg,1,00.asp