GETTING SMARTER

We previously wrote about “Lumosity” for brain training on your computer for around $5 a month. Now there’s also “Fit Brains Trainer” from FitBrains.com, which is free. There’s also an app for tablets and phones.

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LEARNING THROUGH PICTURES

InPics.net teaches with pictures. They have tutorials for Microsoft Office, web coding (PHP, MySQL, and so on), and OpenOffice.org.

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YOUTUBE PRODUCT REVIEWS

Companies have started paying people to write favorable product reviews on Amazon, so it’s hard to trust them. Looking for the “Real Name” icon next to a review is one solution. If someone is using their real name, it’s a little more likely to be accurate, but it’s no guarantee. Some regular reviewers have turned this kind of writing into a business.

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LEARNING A LANGUAGE

DuoLingo (for iPhone/iPad/Android) offers free language lessons in German, French, Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese. “Como se dice?”

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MICROSOFT WINS, WE LOSE

So Joy decided to upgrade her Windows 7 computer to Windows 8 — figuring how can we serve the readers if we don’t have the latest Microsoft operating system? Just so. Well, let no good deed go unpunished. From the beginning, there were warnings that should have told us we were on dangerous ground. The built-in Windows 8 “Upgrade Assistant” said we’d have to buy extra software if we wanted to continue to play DVDs. (Wait a minute: we had no trouble playing DVDs before.) Then it informed us the Windows Media Center also would no longer be available. But we could buy extra software that would perform those functions, which we had before. Furthermore, one of the Bluetooth utilities […]

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SHORTCUTS IN GOOGLE CHROME

Our favorite web browser is still Google Chrome, though Firefox is a close second and coming up fast on the outside. Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts:

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ONLINE TRAINING

YouTube is a great source for free online training, but sometimes it’s not enough.

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ONLINE TRAINING MADE EASY

Mindflash.com is a web-based service that makes it easy to create online courses. It’s free if you have ten trainees or less.

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TIPS AND TRICKS FOR EXCEL AND WORD

One of our techie friends gave us a tip on how to load Excel files faster. Previously, she said she’s had delays of 30-60 seconds when opening Excel files in Windows 2007. “Now it’s like 20 times faster.” For the fix, go to martin.von-gagern.net

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SOLVING IT TOGETHER

Often you can solve someone’s computer problem if you can just see what they’re talking about. Join.me is a free service from LogMeIn.com that lets you do that.

(CLICK UNDERLINE BELOW HEADING FOR MORE.)

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