TWT Newsletter, Issue #028 – Finding the best computer gear for students
Hello once again! The 10th of the month once more means it’s time for the latest TWT Newsletter, packed with tips, news and this month an exciting special offer too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Heads up! Save money in our back to school sale!
3) The Best Computer Stuff for Students
4) Tip of the Month – Use tags to quickly find your data
5) Free Utility of the Month – Autoruns
6) Ditch IE6, help beat hunger!
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
In early August we finished the roll-out of our new comments and rating system. You can now show us how much you like (or hate!) any video on the site simply by giving it a star rating, out of five. You can also leave comments on our tutorials too, thanks to the new JS-Kit Echo comments system, which lets you use your Google, Twitter, Friendfeed or Yahoo account (or any combination of them at once!) to leave a comment. Of course, you don’t need to have an account to leave us feedback as we accept anonymous comments too.
As for new content, August was all about Windows 7. Gearing up for the release of the new operating system, our new video tutorials start with the basics of the operating system and build from there, exploring its new features and benefits to Windows XP users, Vista users and Windows newcomers alike. They also serve as a great preview of the new operating system. Check them out now by following this link.
We also launched our Youtube channel in August. The main purpose of the Youtube channel is to promote the site and its video content to a wider audience, however we will be uploading some exclusive content there too. So if you have a Youtube account, we highly recommend that you subscribe to our channel. You can visit our Youtube channel by clicking here.
We’ll be bringing you more great new content in September too, including more Windows 7 videos and (we promise) some content for those of you not planning to upgrade to the new version of Windows just yet!
Heads up! Save money in our back to school sale!
Ah September, summer has come and past and children and students all over the world either reluctantly or excitedly make their way back to school, college or university. To ease the pain of going back to the books, we’re reducing the price of the OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide, for one month only, from $20 to $15. This offer is strictly limited and will end on the 10th October. There’s never been a better time to learn how to use OpenOffice.org Writer and produce professional looking essays and school projects. Save time and effort and learn how to automatically create contents pages, bibliographies and page numbers. The guide will show you all this and more in high resolution video lessons backed up with a 70 page PDF e-book for reference. There really is no better way to learn OpenOffice.org Writer than with our Superguide! Check out what one of our customers thought (this is a genuine, verified testimonial):-
“Thanks so much for the OpenOffice CD. It’s great! Being a writer and needing to learn the ins and outs of OpenOffice, this was just the ticket. Very concise and easy to understand. My whole family has gotten use of it. I learned all the tips and ins and outs that I need to help with my writing, my son now is using it for college and my ten year old granddaughter was even able to use it to learn how to add pictures and graphics to her stories, it’s that easy to understand and follow. Can’t say enough good things about this CD. Got my monies worth and then some, thanks” (Laura – USA)
The Best Computer Stuff for Students
Every September we like to think of students new and old who are heading to school, college or university. Last year we rounded up the best hardware for students and the year before we looked at the best software. This year we’re going to take a look at software and hardware essentials for new and returning students. Make sure you’re ready to tackle the new academic year by equipping yourself with the very best computer gear!
Its never been more important for students to get organised! These days, you can’t afford to lose important references and websites that you find online while researching your assignments. It’s time to get yourself a proper research tool! Teachers and lecturers are getting smart too you know, with special anti-cheating software it is more important than ever that you save and quote all your reference material. Diigo is a great tool for researchers that lets you save and easily categorise your bookmarks. Need to quote text from a web page? Highlight it using Diigo and you can always quickly and easily find your references. Add sticky notes to web pages or even send them directly to your friends or to your blog. Diigo is a research tool no web savvy student should be without! Go to the Diigo homepage to find out more.
The one problem with those very handy portable USB flash drives is that they are easy to lose. Imagine working for hours on your assignment and then leaving your USB drive accidentally attached to the computer in the lab. Dropbox solves this problem by providing 2 gigabytes of online storage, accessible from anywhere where there is an internet connection. The Dropbox service was our tip of the month in TWT Newsletter 26. You can see it in action by checking out our tutorials for it here.
OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide
When the pressure is on and you need to complete your assignments, you need the core skills to get the job done with the minimum of fuss. The OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide will show you how, step by step, with the same high quality video tutoring you’ve come to expect from us. To learn more, click here. Don’t forget that the OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide is on special back to school discount until 10th October!
If you need to create or edit image files for any of your school, college or university work then Paint.net is well equipped to handle the needs of many digital artists. This super powerful image editor has features which rival several expensive commercial packages. To find out more, visit the Paint.net homepage.
If you are moving away from home to study, or even if you are not and just need a way of keeping in contact with fellow students, Skype can be invaluable. Chat to friends and family back home all for free, or arrange conferences with other students when working on group projects (If you are planning to use Skype across your college or university network, check that it doesn’t violate their terms and conditions). For more information, check out our Skype tutorials.
USB Flash drives (pen drives)
Although thanks to services like Dropbox, owning a USB flash drive/pen drive is less of a necessity, there are still times when carrying one is useful. If you are studying a course which requires you to work on larger files, perhaps video or audio files, you may find that online file storage services are simply too slow or offer too little space. Luckily, USB drives are constantly going up in capacity and down in price. There are literally hundreds of different brands of USB drives and they are sold in most good computer stores or stationery stores. More expensive flash drives come in a wide range of colours, designs and boast additional features. Some, like the Ironkey, include sophisticated encryption, ideal for storing more sensitive data such as passwords or financial information.
And finally.. Don’t forget to back up!
However you create, store and work with your data, don’t forget to make backups! There really is no excuse for not having a proper back up strategy. Don’t think just because your computer or USB stick is brand new that it can’t fail and don’t expect to get an extension from your teachers/lecturers if you lose your assignment! Use our guide to Windows Backup to help you plan a backup strategy, don’t keep putting it off until it is too late.
Tip of the Month – Use tags to quickly find your data
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you’ll no doubt be used to the instant search facilities available from the Start Menu and in most other places. One of the most powerful and under used features of the new Windows desktop search is tags. Tags can be applied to your photographs and videos to let you find them much quicker. Want to find all the pictures of your family, add a family tag and then finding them is as simple as entering “family” into the search box on the Start Menu.
Tags aren’t limited to Windows either. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer now allow you to tag your bookmarks. If you are working on a project for school or college, download a bookmarking tool like Diigo that lets you tag and organise your bookmarks and access them wherever you connect to the internet.
Free Utility of the Month – Autoruns
We all love to try out new software on our computers and the huge range of software available for Windows is one of the reasons why we love the operating system so much. However, lots of software installs components that start running as soon as your computer powers on. Too many of these components can slow your computer down.
If you want to see exactly what programs are running when your computer starts up, check out Microsoft Technet’s Autoruns. This is an advanced tool that shows you all kinds of information about what programs and services are loading when your computer starts.
Autoruns is a great tool, but please use it with caution! Remember that certain programs do need to start up when your computer first starts. If you want to learn more about the program before trying it yourself, check out our Autoruns Tutorial.
Ditch IE6, help beat hunger!
Last month, a staggering 1,728 of our visitors were still using Internet Explorer 6. That’s 1,728 visitors who are using a browser that is vulnerable to security threats and that is not fully compatible with the latest web standards. Yes Internet Explorer 6 users, we do harp on rather a lot about upgrading your browser, but there really isn’t any excuse. Even Microsoft are keen to see people switch from Internet Explorer 6 on to a more modern, secure and standards compliant browser. Now, thanks to the Browser For the Better campaign you can download Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft will donate 8 meals to the Feeding America campaign. Better still, if you ditch Internet Explorer 6 on your Windows XP machine and move to Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft will double the donation. That sounds like a wonderful reason to upgrade and help out less fortunate people, not that we are trying to guilt-trip Internet Explorer 6 users or anything like that!
If you’re still running an older version of Windows, such as Windows 2000, you cannot upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, but you can still use other more secure browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera. While you won’t be feeding the hungry, you will be getting yourself a faster, more secure and better web browsing experience. So come on loyal readers, lets see if we can make Internet Explorer 6 (and hunger) a thing of the past!
That concludes our Newsletter for September. Thank you to all our subscribers for reading, we hope that you found it informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing.