A Big Fan of Expressions

Mousehelp at Rouzell may soon become Mousehelp Communications

Why the change? It’s a simple and very complex answer. Let’s just say that Mousehelp does so much more than computer support. Communications is so much more.

Searching for the expression about a shoemaker’s children, I found details on several sources. Since I suffer this malady (or some of my websites do), I thought to mention it and perhaps ask other website makers how they manage to maintain their own sites while working on client sites.

As goes the expression, my websites need “new shoes.” This one (Rouzell.net) should be my first target, but it may be relegated to the archives soon. Most likely, Rouzell will fade away and simply be replaced by Mousehelp.

Having run rouzell.net through a speed test, I’ve found it scores well below the majority of sites and one speed test ranks it with a solid “D” for Performance grade. Sheesh!

On the upside, my Mousehelp Web Design is faster than 99% of the sites tested by this service.

Five Favorite Google Chrome Extensions

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Let’s just look at them, left to right, shall we? My Chrome browser has over 40 of these added to it, so I’m just going to discuss those I use most often. You can get extensions that do all kinds of cool things – a couple I haven’t covered here include the ability to record a webinar and another that allows you to capture all images from a website. Handy stuff to have available at the push of a button, would you agree?

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Print Friendly & PDF

That first one is Print Friendly & PDF. I use that to remove the noise from articles where I just want the text. It allows you to download a PDF file that satisfies a minimalist approach. As the name implies, it can also save you some ink or toner and page count on your printer.

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ColorZilla

ColorZilla

Next is ColorZilla and that little eyedropper allows you to take a sample of a color from any webpage. It copies the hex code to your clipboard, so you can use it to color whatever it is you are working on, like backgrounds, fonts, etc. It’s extremely useful when you are trying to match color schemes to colors in images.

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MightText

MightyText – click the image to see the web page. If you are like me, you may struggle a bit to get exactly the text you want into your little smartphone SMS window. With MightText, I’m using my PC to send text, images, website links, whatever…. It is, as the name suggests, one mighty little plugin!

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HubSpot Sales email tracking

The best feature of this plugin from HubSpot is the instant notification you get when someone opens your email message. Now you know they are probably available and you can follow up with a phone call. Of course, some email platforms allow you to turn on notification, but there’s no guarantee you’ll receive that message. So far, this little tool has been very helpful by allowing me to track email messages sent to clients.

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Grammarly

That little green circle with the arrow in it is Grammarly and I’m using the free version. It pops up a message as soon as you misspell anything. This is very handy for me, as I like to think I’m as clear as possible with every word of every sentence. It also checks your punctuation and syntax, so if I add a comma or don’t finish a question with a question mark, it questions the intent of my content!

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Back to the home page.

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice

SM stuffIf you had a simple, “add my social media sites” button you could use whenever some new website asks you for these details, would it save you some time?

I’m working on it!

 

Windows 10 Settings and Control Panels

My issue was that I could not remove the directory “windows.old” after upgrading to Windows 10.

what is cortanaSo, I asked Cortana and got this:
Delete your previous version of Windows
One month after you upgrade to Windows 10, your previous version of Windows will be automatically deleted from your PC. However, if you need to free up disk space, and you’re confident that your files and settings are where you want them to be in Windows 10, you can safely delete it yourself. Keep in mind that you’ll be deleting your Windows.old folder, which contains files that give you the option to go back to your previous version of Windows.
Deleting your previous version of Windows can’t be undone.
Go to Start, enter Settings in the search box, and then select Settings.
Select System > Storage > This PC and then scroll down the list and select Temporary files.
Under Previous version of Windows, select Delete previous versions and then select Delete.

Help from Microsoft – Was this helpful?

Not just, “yes,” but heck yeah!!!Remove Windows Old

Pointing out the difference between Settings and Control Panels seems obvious to me, now. Because of my experience, I’m prone to taking shortcuts with Windows. So, I was thinking that if I was to open the System (settings), why not just click start and type, “system” in the search field – which I did. Then I chose the System control panel and could find no place there that would allow me to get to “storage.” However, if I type “storage” into the search field, I am presented with “Storage, System settings” as the top result. Choosing that puts me on the path to solving the problem, in accordance with the instructions provided by Microsoft.

Do you need help with getting Windows 10 up and running on your computer? Or, maybe your website needs some sprucing up, or you’ve always wanted to start a blog, but you didn’t know where to begin!

Drop me a line or give me a call and I will help you with anything related to communications and computers.

 

Considerations Prior To Your Windows 10 Upgrade

Image source: http://www.komando.com/happening-now/310826/windows-10-worries-7-things-that-wont-work-after-you-upgrade/all

Image source: http://www.komando.com

  1. Is it necessary?
    The simple answer is, no. While that answer assumes you are happy with your current Windows 7 or 8 operating system, the answer is further qualified or disqualified by benefits and the all-important idea – Free (until July of next year), which is a pretty good deal.
  2. What are the benefits?
    Long ago, I learned to use the sage advice of others to answer my questions. It would take several blog posts to fully detail all of the benefits of using the new Windows 10 OS. So, here is a link to several articles others have written. Do your research and decide for yourself. The primary reason for my upgrade is, that’s just how it is with me. I must run Windows 10, so I’ll know how to help you. And, I like it.
  3. What are the drawbacks?

    Advice extracted from this article: “Better the Devil ye ken, than the Devil ye don’t” — those are wise words, born of much pain.

  4. Why not wait?
    If it really doesn’t interest you, or it doesn’t matter in the least, there’s no reason to not simply wait. Watch the dust settle, or just go outside for some fresh air – it’s so nice in the desert, this time of year! Eventually, Microsoft will issue hundreds of patches and probably, “Service Pack 1,” as it has for other versions of Windows. By that time, Windows 10 should be pretty stable. End your waiting prior to July 28, 2016, however, if you want a free Windows 10 upgrade.
  5. Links I’ve used while writing this post:

________________________________________________________

Today, I was going to take the plunge with Margaret’s computer. My wife has little interest in the version of Windows running on her computer. When I asked her if she would like me to upgrade to Windows 10, she laughed (the best result I can get….) and said, “You may as well ask me if I want the X11 refrigerator! Does it keep things cold? Then, yes.”

The answer to your question is, yes. I think a Windows 10 upgrade, for most people, should have little impact. For power users, it is definitely a meaningful upgrade.

Kim Komando is a great source for advice about Windows 10. She is far more paranoid about the “security risks” of having Microsoft track your activities than I am, however. Still, her site provides a wealth of information about things worth considering before you make the leap to Windows 10.
http://www.komando.com/happening-now/310826/windows-10-worries-7-things-that-wont-work-after-you-upgrade/all

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/10/16/microsoft-windows-10-free-upgrade-changes/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/08/02/windows-10-vs-windows-8-vs-windows-7-whats-the-difference/

http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/details-changes-windows-10-activation-threshold-2

Before Windows 10, Clean Up

Maintenance tasks you can do for yourself, which will improve things on your computer, whether you do or don’t upgrade to Windows 10. Here are the first three:
1. Check for malware and clean up junk.
2. Download and run Ccleaner.
3. Run Disk Cleanup and be sure to clean system files.

1. Go to bleepingcomputer.com and download rkill, adwcleaner (AWC), and junkware removal tool (JRT). Run Rkill, to see if you have malware processes running. If it finds none, proceed with running JRT and AWC, in that order. If Rkill does find malware processes running, especially if it finds anything followed by (HEUR), you are going to need to do a bit more work to remove viruses, before you move on. The scope of this article will not cover virus removal tasks.

2. Go to filehippo.com and download Ccleaner. Install it and run it. Here’s an article that will help you with those details.

3. You can run Disk Cleanup (a built in windows utility) by simply pressing the Windows key and typing Disk Cleanup. Click OK and after the first pass, run it again and click on Clean up system files. This will take a few minutes to complete, so be patient.

File-Explorer-Fail-Windows-10If you are reading this last paragraph, please TAKE NOTE! There is no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 10 and most people who provide computer support will tell you to wait. Several months from now, most of the bugs will have been found and squashed. If you have some time off around the holidays, that might be a good time to get this done. Or, if you are up for something a little scary, upgrade on Halloween!

The Advent of Windows 10

File-Explorer-Fail-Windows-10As much as I wish I could tell you about the wonderful success of Microsoft’s new product…

In the words of Carole King: “A-lack! A-day! O-Woe! Oy-Vey!”

Windows 10 successfully installed on two of my computers. Notice I didn’t say I was successful, but I was pleasantly surprised that I ran into no snags along the way, as some people have reported.

However, I’ve been reading about security issues one should address directly after installation and not surprisingly, there are a few. And, a simple task, like telling me what is eating up disk space failed miserably, after so much promise!

Indeed, there is 13.2 GB of data in my documents folder and there are folders in it, too! File-Explorer-properties

 

SumoMe Email List Building Tool

sumomeFinally, I’m on board with building a list. And, I have chosen SumoMe to help me do this. After years of hearing people say, “The money is in the list”, I’ve decided to go for it. For those of you who like to say, “It’s about time”, yes, I agree.

Go ahead and search: “How to Build an Email List” – with or without the quotes, you’ll have quite a bit to peruse. Heck, there’s even advice from Experian, and I quote:

One of a small business’s best marketing assets is a healthy email list. While proper management and use of your email file will drive revenue immensely, it is often a challenge to create the email list itself.

So, with phrases like, “best marketing assets” and “will drive revenue immensely”, you may have to agree, this is something worth doing. If you agree this may be a challenge for you, call or write!

So, how do we get started? Well, that’s where the big question lies. It depends on what you do, how you do it, and what you plan to share with your subscribers. Yes, it is also driven by which service you use to manage all of this electronic communications traffic.

You may already know some of the big names, like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Aweber, or maybe even Infusionsoft. They all want to be your provider for email marketing. Each has its features, levels of complexity, and price. How to make that choice is beyond the scope of this article.

I’ve used three of the four (excluding Infusionsoft) in the past and in the present. Currently, I’m focused on MailChimp, for simplicity’s sake.

When I found SumoMe (by way of a successful Real Estate flipping website in San Antonio, where I did some SEO work), it was a pretty easy sale. Instructions on their website are very straightforward (if you know how to manage your website’s content) and it took about five minutes to install and configure the app. Of course, for me, that’s five minutes times a handful of sites, so I spent the first 20 minutes just dropping code into place. Today, I finally delved into some of the advanced features and other cool things you can do with this tool. It all comes down to one goal, which is to get somebody to give up an email address, so you can send them your stuff. For me, that’s going to be a newsletter, with snippets from my blog articles.

In the interest of brevity, I’m going to wrap this up here. But, you know you can always get in touch with me, if you need more help with email campaigns, newsletters, or a cool tool like SumoMe, to help you get more subscribers and build that list!

 

Run Your Business on Your Second Computer

virus[1]Can you remember when you had only one computer? If your answer is; “What do you mean? I have only one computer now.” You are welcome to stop reading here and start shopping. If you do have a second computer, you are welcome to skip the next two paragraphs, or read them for your edification.

If you need some advice about buying your second computer, here’s something quick and easy. Buy as much processor speed and memory (horsepower) as you can afford. Get a large screen (again – to the limit of your budget.) Excessive horsepower and huge display dimensions translate into satisfaction that lasts a whole lot longer. There’s more to say on this topic, but you are better off running out to buy something now.
So, go. Get something good, and set it up just like your main business computer, same software, same online data storage access, same cloud-based backup system, etc. Yes, there may be exceptions. But, anything you don’t put on this computer now (like, your accounting software, etc.), you’ll have to install later, if disaster strikes.

Assuming we don’t have to go into details about your cloud-based backup plan… You do have that, right? Let’s talk about running your business on the new, “plan B” computer. You really MUST be able to do this, to reap the full benefit of this plan.

If you are wondering what is the point to all of this, I’ll make it for you here. When your main computer fails, you should be able to take it in stride. Or, at least not have it completely ruin your day – given that you can continue to do business on your second computer, while you ponder the cost of repairs to, or replacement of, the original workhorse. Is there an equine theme running through this? Need a break, yet? Now comes the hard part!

You need to make your second computer as close to a clone of your main business computer as possible. Ideally, you would have a second computer in your office that you can simply turn on, if your main computer fails. Yes, that’s pretty difficult to achieve. It can be done, but more likely is the prospect of creating some reasonable facsimile for this purpose. This is where that cloud-based storage comes in handy! If you are not using Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or even Carbonite, let’s talk soon. Backup is essential to the survival of your business.

With your second computer in place, you must now conduct regular fire drills. That means every once in a while, perhaps as often as once a week, or at least, once a month, you have to fire up the “plan B” computer and work with it for as long as it takes to convince you that you could, indeed, run your business there. Yes, I’m serious. You need to run your email, open some files, do what you do, until you feel pretty confident that you could just keep chugging away at what you do.

Full disclosure: At last count, I think I have ten working computers and I could run my business on at least four of the ten. Three of them have the kind of power and speed I need for my work. And, at least three of them could be substituted for the first three (but, I would curse the lack of performance!) An extreme example, to be sure, but I almost cannot remember when I didn’t have at least two computers. You have to decide if you can live (and work) without your main computer. If your answer is “no”, create “plan B.”

StackEdit

stackedit verticalSo funny! I thought the name was, “Stacked IT!” – but I see now it is, “stack edit” – so the laugh’s on me.

I’m always happy to make you laugh, even at my expense. Here’s the thing, though. This product has a free version, which I’ve connected to Google Drive.

All I needed was some simple way to back up some WordPress code for the new Save A Pet Website. What I found was so much more! This wonderful tool is a full featured HTML editor that can connect to your website, save your files in Google Drive and/or DropBox, and publish the same document to a bunch of other sites, including Blogger pages and WordPress. Pretty cool, huh?

Yes, I could go on about this, but you’ll just have to see it for yourself. If you need some help getting it set up for yourself, come on into my website, call me and we’ll set an appointment for computer support. I’m always happy to make things work for you.