26 April 2013

Free Stuff Friday - Pocket

Pocket is celebrating its first anniversary today.  If you haven’t discovered Pocket yet you are really missing something wonderful. 

Pocket is a web site and a free app for your iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Android phone or tablet that allows you to save articles or pages that you find on the web.  Rather than just bookmarking or adding a site to your favourites list in your browser, you add the entire article to Pocket.  Then, when you have time you can read it later.  It also syncs across all your devices, so you can catch up on reading your articles whenever or wherever you are.

I have the Pocket extension for Google Chrome installed on my computer (get it at the Chrome web store) and the bookmarklet for Chrome on my iPad, so that if I find an article I want to keep I just click the button on the Chrome toolbar and it is added to Pocket.  You can also get the bookmarklet for Safari and Firefox.  Alternatively, you can just copy a URL and when you then go to Pocket you click on a link at the bottom of the page to save that clipping.

I read Pocket on my iPad and for most pages it’s not the same format as on the webpage – Pocket changes it to a much easier to read format, no ads, no extra stuff – just like reading a magazine article.  Once read I can delete it, or, if I want to keep it for future reference I can send it to Evernote.  If there’s an article I think one of my friends would like I can email it to them, or share it on Facebook or Twitter, right from a link on the article in Pocket.  There’s also a link to go back to the original article – especially useful if you want to read more on that site.

Since I started using Pocket I've found it so much easier to keep up with all the digital information I'm bombarded with each day.  Whenever I find an article I want to read, on Facebook, an email newsletter, the web, I just add it to Pocket and then I can forget about it until I have the time to really read it.

Click here to go to the Pocket page where you’ll find links to get Pocket for all your devices.  The page that this link takes you to will change depending on which browser you open it in – it changes to display the correct bookmarklet or app for that browser – how clever is that!

24 April 2013

Data never sleeps

Every minute of every day....

204,166,667 email messages are sent

Google processes over 2,000,000 search enquiries

571 new websites are created

There are more interesting facts on this great Infographic from Domo 

17 April 2013

Do you need to 'Safely Remove' a USB device?

When you use a USB device – do you just pull it out when you’re done?  
You've probably been told that you should ‘safely remove’ the device from your computer – but is it really necessary?


Data Corruption Danger

If you unplug your USB device while data is being written to it – for example, while you’re moving files to it or while you’re saving a file to it – this can result in data corruption. You need to make sure your USB device isn't in use before you unplug it.  Some USB sticks have lights on them to indicate that they are still in use.

However, even if your USB device doesn't appear to be in-use, it still may be. A program in the background may be writing to the drive – so data corruption could result if you unplugged it. If your USB stick doesn't appear to be in-use, you can probably unplug it without any data corruption occurring – however, to be safe, it’s still a good idea to use the Safely Remove Hardware option. When you eject a device, Windows will tell you when it’s safe to remove – ensuring all programs are done with it.

If you’re not familiar with it, the Safely Remove Hardware icon is found at the right hand end of your Windows task bar. It may be a separate icon on the task tar, or it may appear in the collection of icons when you click on the up-arrow.

  • Select the Safely Remove Hardware icon
  • Click on the device you want to remove

  • Wait for the response from Windows advising that it is safe to remove before you unplug it


You can also right-click the device in the Computer window and select Eject.

15 April 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 Review - Part 4 Excel

Just like the new version of Word, Excel opens with a Start Screen, where you can start a new blank workbook, create a new spreadsheet based on a template, and open an existing Excel file.  At first glance Excel 2013 looks the same as 2010, just with some slight cosmetic changes to the Ribbon.  What is hidden is that Excel is now even easier to use with lots of intuitive tools – here’s just a few of them….


In previous versions of Excel you had to decide which chart you wanted and switch between each before you found the right one.  Excel 2013 has a great new feature for those who are a bit confused by all the different styles of charts – Recommended Charts.  Just select the data for the chart and click Insert > Recommended Chart to see the different options that would suit your data.  Click each chart to preview what your data will look like in that style.  Once you've chosen your preferred chart, small icons will appear outside the top right corner when you select it, giving you access to tools for working with the chart’s elements, styles, and colours.


One workbook – one window

In Excel 2013 each workbook opens in its own window, which makes it much easier if you often work on two or more workbooks at the same time.

Quick analysis

If you’re not sure what’s the best way to display your data so that it shows what you want, Quick Analysis should help you decide.  Just select the cells that contain the data you want to work with, then click the Quick Analysis button that appears next to your selected data.  Depending on the type of data, you’ll be given a choice of different options for displaying that data.  Would you like to display your data as a chart or a table; would you like to change the format to show colours; the top or bottom 10%?  Just select the option you want, or point to it and you’ll see a preview.

Pivot Tables

If you've ever struggled with Pivot Tables, Excel 2013 makes it so much easier with Recommended Pivot Tables.  Just select your headings and data, then Insert > Recommended Pivot Tables. You’ll be shown a series of Pivot Tables with explanations of what they show. You just need to select the table that shows what you want to see, click OK, and your Pivot Table is automatically drawn for you.

Did you miss the other reviews in this series?  Just click these links to read:

11 April 2013

Social meOWdia explained

I've seen a few different variations of this theme, but this is my favourite.....

Thanks to Avalaunch for the laugh