Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gestures and tips for touchpads

Mouse, trackpad, touchpad....whatever you use there are a range of options to assist your input and control on the screen. 

Head to Settings> Devices>Mouse and Touchpad to investigate the options for your preferred input. There you will find details of how the mouse/touchpad reacts to certain gestures. In Windows 10 choose  Additional mouse options to find the settings for both the mouse and your touchpad device.

Do you like to zoom in to the page you are viewing to enlarge the text or view the details in a photo? On the touchpad place two fingers close together and pinch out to enlarge. Want to return to the normal view, pinch back in. Find out which two and three finger gestures are enabled on your touchpad.

A single tap is equivalent to a left click mouse action. If the touchpad on your laptop does not have a right and left click button, explore the settings to determine the right click options.

Mouse and device settings

I've come across laptop users who complain the touchpad interferes with their typing. In Windows 10 the touchpad can be disabled in Device settings.

Windows 8 and 10 users will find two finger scrolling, three finger swipe down to minimise all open windows and the reverse action to display them again are useful additions.

touchpad options

Friday, 14 October 2016

Lessons learned from a spamathon

A certain person who shall remain nameless, drew my attention to the offer of a free trial of a particular upmarket brand hairdryer. As my 35 year old model had recently expired, I made the mistake of signing up and then realising one had to express an interest in some other products. I scrolled my way through the multiple offers, no I did not want x, y or even z. In fact I think there were close to thirty offers I declined. At this stage I opted out of confirming any further details. Aha, it was too late, I had filled in email and mobile on the previous screen. Luckily I have gmail and within 3 days it had rejected 42 spurious offers as spam.

Then my mobile started to ring. Unrecognised numbers. More spam. After a couple of false starts I answered without speaking, yes these computer generated dialling robots simply hang up if there is no verbal response. After burrowing around in my mobile's settings I found where to block the numbers. So far there are eight numbers I've had to block. Lesson learned after all these years on the net, if the offer looks to good to be true then it probably is!.

Steps to block numbers

- Nexus 5 - These steps will be similar in many Android phones
In the phone app:
  • Locate the number in the log of calls
  • Touch and hold down until copy number appears
  • Choose settings from the phone apps menu (usually three dots, the 'hamburger')
  • Choose Call blocking, Add number and touch and hold down to paste.
Blocked numbers may still be able to leave voicemail, but generally nuisance callers desist when they receive no verbal response.

How to extend ring time on your mobile

Positive outcome: So many times I miss calls on my phone by not answering within the 15 seconds allocated by the Telstra. This constant ringing of my phone made me resolve to pursue the issue, now I have a full 30 seconds before the call switches to voicemail.
Choose your telco for instructions on how to add ring time to your mobile before it diverts to a message bank or voicemail.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Excelling file names

On a recent trip to South Australia, I acquired 319 new digital items to be filed and named. Many of these are scanned photos, images captured from newspapers, photocopied documents, and photographed family memorabilia. What a bonus for a budding family historian to have acquired so much in a short period but how will I process and organise all this information? On looking at my file naming practice I spotted many errors had crept into my system over the past three years. This time, I was determined to stay consistent by using Excel to generate file names.

Spreadsheets have a function useful for this purpose: Concatenate. This simply means that all the information entered into a series of cells will be combined together into one cell. Why use this for file naming? The column headings on the spreadsheet prompt me to enter the different types of information; names, dates, places, and events. Basically, it is a guide to answering questions about files.
  • Who is it about?
  • When did it happen or when was it generated?
  • Where did it take place?
  • What is it about?
So my spreadsheet column headings reflect the type of information I wish to record. Any cell can be left blank if the type of information in that column is not relevant to the file to be named.
In the column where I want the file name compiled, in this case, I3, I added the formula =CONCATENATE(A3,B3,C3,D3,E3,F3,G3,H3) to join together or combine the information from the cells in columns A to H. This creates my completed file name.

Next , I used the fill handle, (drag down from the bottom right-hand corner of cell I3) to copy the formula down into all the cells in column I. Now any information I add in new rows will automatically be compiled in Column I.

I’ve added an underscore in column E to separate the numbers where there are two dates, simply for ease of reading. I’ve used fill down so that I don’t need to type that underscore every time.

If spaces are required between names one could add two double quotes around a space, into the formula. So to get Horgan John rather than HorganJohn I would need to amend part of the formula (A3,B3) to (A3,“ ”,B3)

The second tab on my spreadsheet replicates the formula for photographs, not all of which are related to family history pursuits. The reminder headings may be interpreted differently as the name column may be used to describe the contents of the photo. By keeping the sheets separate I will be able to sort the data in different ways.

I’ve added a Column J which contains a link to the file on my computer. This link is inserted once the file has been renamed using this system.  Now I need to get back to sorting and naming all those files.

This post on GFC Learn Free explains the concatenate function. There are many excellent Excel tutorials on YouTube. Google Sheets or Open Office users will find this function can be replicated in those spreadsheet programs.

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