Screen Resolution Changes

Question:
When I started my computer a few days ago, the desktop icons and text were smaller, as well as title bars, etc. in all applications. I have tried everything that is under “Control Panel,” “Display,” but nothing seems to work.

Answer:
This does sound like it is an issue with the Display properties in Control Panel.  Try this:

Right Click on a free area of your desktop and click on “properties”  This will bring you to the “Display Properties” window.

Then click on the “Settings” tab to make changes to the resolution.  There is a little selector pointing to the current resolution.  If you move it to the left it will show smaller resolution for the monitor (making everything appear big) and vise versa to the right.

Click “Apply” to see your changes.  If you do not like what you see, try a different one.

If you accidentally chose one that your monitor cannot display, DO NOT PANIC.  There is a timer that will bring it back to normal in 15 seconds. Just leave it alone until it comes back. THAT IS WHY IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU USE THE “Apply” BUTTON INSTEAD OF THE “OK” BUTTON. (The OK button will make the change permanently)

If this does not work, let me know and I will guide you in changing the DPI of the fonts which is in the “Advanced” button in that screen. -Juan-

Digital Junk Mail

When I was a kid, I ordered a gadget from the back of a magazine. Shortly after that, I began to receive “exclusive offers” from would-be mail order marketers. I was pretty excited to receive these letters in the mail. I thought it was cool. That is how I got my first credit card, and my first music CD, and countless other things offered to me as a special buy from what we call junk mail. I still get junk mail, but I don’t think it’s cool anymore. SPAM, is the digital equivalent of junk mail. Usually unsolicited, emails bombard us everyday in hopes of selling more vi@Gr* or get rich quick schemes. In this article, I will offer a number of solutions for this nuisance; assuming you think of spam as a nuisance.

Solution 1: Using email rules

Most email clients (applications or programs that let you read electronic email) have a way of sorting emails based on some rules. For example, you can create a folder within your email program and call it “family.” Then, you can create a rule that checks your incoming emails “from” field for unklejoe@yahoo.com. If the mail is indeed from your uncle Joe, then the email will get sorted out to the “family” folder. In the same way, you can create a folder, and a rule or set of rules that would sort out spam by checking the subject for specific words or phrases such as *doctor, *pharmaceutical, etc. and sending the suspected email to the “spam” folder. Once there, you can quickly glance in the spam folder in case an innocent email has met the rule. Another more drastic measure would be to create a rule that sends these offending emails directly to the trash. But, I don’t recommend this because some important emails do get mistaken as spam sometimes.

Solution 2: Using a disposable email address

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sometimes grant the use of more than one email account. Usually, a main email account that cannot change and a small number of piggyback email accounts. If you have this option, you can create disposable email account that you can destroy when you start receiving too much spam. Then, create another disposable email address. You can use the main email account to communicate with your family, friends, and reputable companies, and use the disposable email address to enter sweepstakes, drawings, or surveys that require you to have an email address to participate (and later sell your email address to spam for a profit.) Just remember never to give your main email address to anyone other than those you trust.

Solution 3: Get your own domain and email service

For about $10 per month, you can own your own email service with a personal name like juan@myemailservice.com or me@theruizfamily.net. Once you own your own domain and email service, you call the shots. Consider the following scenario: Juan decides he needs to take control of his spam situation. So, he buys the domain “askjuan.net.” Now, Juan can create email addresses that are easier to use than the standard juanru3456@yahoo.com. In addition, Juan now has complete control over his email and spam by using a combination of a tool called Spam Assassin and employing rules in his email client. Spam Assassin is a very easy to use free program that scores and tags each possible spam email. Juan’s email rules sort all the tagged email to a special folder for quick inspection. Juan has complete control of his spam situation. Juan is happy. In addition, with your own mail service, you can create an unlimited number of virtual email aliases. What that means is you can create an email address to subscribe to newsletters or jokes, and you can monitor who sells your email to spam. Say you subscribe to the Educate PC newsletter. You can just make up something like epcnews@myemailservice.com. Since the epcnews email does not exist it will be forwarded to your actual email account. Now, if you start getting email addressed to epcnewswith content not related to the Educate PC newsletter, you’ll know that Educate PC sold or shared your email address to others. At this point you can create a rule to “trash” all mail coming for epc, and tell others not to subscribe to the offending service. Problem solved.

Conclusion

Spam is a nuisance, but it can be controlled. Using resources you already own, you can sort your mail so that you only read wanted emails. Some of you are lucky enough to have the “extra” email addresses you can use right from your ISP. But owning your own email service is affordable and the most effective way to defend yourself from that pesky spam. The best news is, I can help you set it up.

Trimming Excess Cells in Excel

Question: I use Excel for the church accounts. I have several worksheets for one workbook/file. On one of the worksheets there have somehow got over 14,000 rows below the area I actually use. I have tried to delete them by highlighting the unwanted rows and selecting delete rows to no avail. It makes it very tricky using the slide bar accurately, so how can I get rid of the unwanted lines please? Thank you. Kind regards, Mary

Answer: Mary, let me tell you there is no magic bullet for this one. But there is a way to get rid of the extra empty space at the end of your workbook. This is the solution I know works.

Let me review a few short-cut keys I use all the time and how I used them to work this issue out. The first one is Ctrl+End. This keyboard combination will take you to the “end” of the worksheet, however far it may be. Ctrl+Home will bring you right back to the beginning of the worksheet. Cell A1. Armed with this information, add the Shift key and you have a powerful tool for selecting a wide range of cells all at once.

For example, if you want to select the range of cells A1 to the end (or all the cells that occupy space in your worksheet, place your cursor at A1 by clicking on it or hitting Ctrl+Home. Now hit Shift+Ctrl+End and you will notice that ALL your work is highlighted – including the seemingly empty cells at the end of your document.

Unfortunately, highlighting the empty cells and deleting them or emptying them does not bring the end of the document to the end of your work. Excel for some reason keeps track of the space you have used and stretches your worksheet each time you insert cells, rows or columns, but it does not shrink to size once you’ve deleted content.

Here’s what I suggest you do. First insert a new worksheet in your workbook by clicking on Insert then Worksheet . Come back to your original worksheet and place your cursor at the end of your work. You can either mouse over to the last column and row, or you can use your arrow keys to move to that cell. Now click Shift+Ctrl+Home and all your work will be selected. Now press Ctrl+c. This command copies the selected area.

Finally, move to the new worksheet. You will notice that the cursor is on A1 by default. Press Ctrl+v. This command will paste the content copied from the previous worksheet starting at A1. The good news is no extra empty space will exist at the end of this worksheet. Your scroll bars will be thick and manageable.

To get the column widths exactly like your previous spreadsheet, do the following operation: click on edit, then paste special.  At the pop-up menu select column widths and click ok.

Once you are satisfied with your new worksheet. You can delete the old one by right-clicking on its tab at the bottom of your workbook and selecting Delete.

This operation takes a little bit of work, actually, but well worth it.

The “Blue” Troubled Waters of Color-Calibration

The faculty here is moving, well kicking and screaming, actually, toward teaching with digital images instead of 35mm slides. One of their favorite arguments used to stave off converting to digital is that the image quality isn’t high enough.

Last week, one professor who is interested in teaching with PowerPoint approached me to express his concern. His complaint? He said he had tried teaching a lecture in PowerPoint, but that the images had looked so terrible, that he switched immediately back to slides. I asked him for the specifics of the term “terrible.” It turns out his complaint was that the images were all yellowish-green, as though someone had slimed the entire area of the screen where the projector was projecting images.

Ah ha! A problem I could fix, not just the rhetorical “I-don’t-wanna-give-up-my-slides” rant. I took him, his Mac iBook, and my flash stick into the classroom in which he is assigned to teach. The flash stick impressed him. Why wouldn’t it? A 1 GB tiny device (barely larger than a human finger) that works like an external hard drive! (Stock up now, the holidays are coming and they make great stocking stuffers).

This little stick can hold about 20 PowerPoint lectures, filled with high resolution images. While he was learning about flash sticks, I connected his computer to the LCD projector with the VGA cord. I selected, from my flash stick, a demonstration PowerPoint lecture I had put together. The images are particularly bright in color when viewed under the correct circumstances. Indeed, they looked a sort of murky-green color as we stood there testing the machine.

The professor looked pleased that I, too, felt that the images were skewed the wrong color – and even more pleased that I told him it was an easy fix. On a Macintosh, you can click on the “Apple” menu in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Click on “system preferences” and then “displays.” In the middle of that menu screen there is a tab that says “color.” In the lower right of that screen there is a “calibrate” option. This will lead you through a series of screens – make sure you select “expert options” it will give you much more control in your selections.

There are various test pages that ask you to slide the bar up or down to increase or decrease the light amounts. There is one that asks for you to select the white point as well. Then there are a series of grids that allow you to shift the color balance. These allow you to adjust the hue and saturation.

While doing these tests, the Professor was able to find the adjustment that allowed his images to show up the way they should. The LCD projector in that classroom is the oldest, and is not quite as “true” to color as some of the newer ones. However, I created a profile for that room’s projector in his laptop and he can use that setting anytime he uses that classroom.

There are 4 art history classrooms and it would make a great deal of sense to have a setting profile for each of the classrooms allowing the user to select that room’s color settings each time they teach there. In addition, we can supply a computer for each projector and have it set up correctly.

The only caveat with this is that many will want to bring their own laptops. Either way, it will be more difficult in the future to use the “oh, but the color isn’t as good” excuse to avoid switching to teaching with digital images.

The Amish Virus

You have just received the Amish virus. As the Amish don’t have any technology or programming experience, this virus works on the honor system.

Please delete all the files from your hard drive and manually forward this virus to everyone on your mailing list.

Thank you for your cooperation.