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.
Writing an email at 12am but don’t want it sent until a reasonable hour? Boomerang is a free plugin for Gmail that allows you to schedule messages to be sent in the future. It can also remind you to follow-up on the email after a set amount of time.
The Amazon Kindle is a fantastic device for reading books. But did you know you can get free library books to read on it? Check with your local library to see if they offer this (usually there will be a link on their website). For example, the Chicago Public Library offers many titles for the Kindle.
The best part about reading library books on your Kindle is that you can keep them for as long as you want by using this secret tip: Your Kindle will remove your books after the loan expires—but only if it can connect to the internet. If you turn off the wireless internet, the Kindle won’t know to delete your books. If you need to transfer more books in the future, just transfer them via your USB cable instead of via wireless.
DayOne is my favorite app for keeping a digital journal. It has a simple interface and is very easy to use. Plus, you can use it on your computer or your phone/iPad. Here are some of its other great features:
Syncs with Dropbox so you can update it from different computers/devices
Upload photos with your entries
Tag your entries so you can easily search them later
Need some artistic inspiration? Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to share a huge collection of art online for free. Take virtual tours of galleries, see artworks in detail, create your own galleries of art, and share pieces you like with your friends.
Want to allow your kids to use your computer, but don’t want them surfing unsafe websites or using the computer for too long? Parental Controls is a feature that allows you to create a separate user account and limit that that user can do. For example, you can create a simplified desktop that’s easier to use, limit application use, limit which websites can be accessed, limit who can be emailed or chatted with, limit time usage, hide certain words using a profanity filter, and more.
Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Users & Groups
Click the lock icon to make changes, and then type in your computer name and password.
Click the plus (+) sign under “Login Options” and choose “Managed with Parental Controls”
Fill out the remaining fields and Create User.
Select the account and then click the “Open Parental Controls” button
If other people in your house (or visiting guests) use your computer, you might not want to allow them to access all of your files and programs on your Mac. It’s easy to set up a guest account that doesn’t require a password and can be restricted to use certain programs/websites (using Parental Controls). Once they log out, all the information and files in the guest account are deleted.
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then type an administrator name and password.
Select Guest User in the list of accounts.
Check the “Allow guests to log in to this computer”
If you let guests log in, you can also set up parental controls for guests by selecting “Enable parental controls” and clicking Open Parental Controls to manage those settings.
To let guests use your shared folders and their contents from another computer on your network, select “Allow guests to connect to shared folders.”