Have you ever been confused by your computer? Are you afraid of your phone? Many of us use powerful technology every day, but we don’t always know how to make the most of it. I write weekly tech tips to educate regular people about the technology they use. I’d like to share my love of technology with you and help you make friends with your software and devices.
If you need a physical document scanned and turned into text, don’t type it up yourself! Online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a free service that will convert PDFs and other image files (TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF) to editable Word, Text and Excel formats.
Just upload your file, choose the format you would like, and the program will convert it so you can download the editable version.
If you read a lot of books, it’s nice to keep track so you know what you’ve read and what you might like to read in the future. GoodReads is a great (free) website that lets you save book lists, write reviews, and share recommendations with friends. They also have a mobile app for updating your book list on the go.
Did you know that you can save videos to a “Watch Later” list in your account? Just log into YouTube and view a video. Click the “Add to” link under the video and then choose Watch Later. The next time you log into YouTube, just click the “Watch Later” link in the left column to see your videos.
Financial information, passwords, account info, and other sensitive data on your computer should be protected securely. Here are a few pieces of software I use to encrypt my important data so only someone with the password can access it:
Knox (Mac): Create a special encrypted drive to store data using either a portion of your local hard drive or an external hard drive or thumb drive.
1Password (Mac/PC): Encrypt passwords, bank account information, and any other secure notes with this amazing Password manager. It also syncs with Dropbox, which enables you to use the software on multiple computers and access your passwords via the web.
Apple FileVault (Mac): Encrypt your entire home directory. Be careful! If you lose your recovery key, you lose all your data.
TrueCrypt (PC): A popular free encryption software for PC. I haven’t used it myself, but it looks similar to Knox.
Sometimes Word files can get corrupted or accidentally deleted. If you write in Word a lot, it might make sense to keep backup copies of your documents just in case. Word has a built in feature to automate this process. Once enabled, it will generate a backup (duplicate) file in the same directory every time you save your document.
Go to Word > Preferences > Save.
Check the Always create backup copy.
Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
Scroll to the Save section, and then select the Always create backup copy check box.
A website wireframe is a lot like a blueprint for a house. It’s a document that shows the framework of how the website might look or function. It will show things like navigational elements, form fields, and content placeholders, but usually does not show typographic style (fonts), colors, or particular graphics. The point is to show how the information will be displayed, the priority of the specific elements on the page, and particular functionality (how parts of a page will work).
If you’re interested in creating a wireframe, here are some great tools for the job: