Practical Tips

#FridayFive: 5 cool tricks with Windows 10 you need to try

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10 Windows 10 tricks to try right now

So, Windows 10 has been out for a while and you have probably also downloaded the recent update. But have you tried everything Windows 10 has to offer? We’ve put together 5 tricks you might not know about, give them a try.

1. Windows Key + Left/Right Key: split the screen in two. How cool and easy is this? You know, when you have to write something down from another page or a document and you have to constantly minimize or maximize it? Also, you can talk to your friend on Facebook while checking the news on another window, but we didn’t tell you to do that 😉

2. Alt + Tab: another way to see all of the windows open in your tab. Need to switch to another application easily? Just Press Alt+Tab and then use Left/Right mouse buttons to navigate.

3. See what’s taking up space: press the “looking glass” icon on your tab, enter “storage” into the search bar and double-click “This PC” to see which files are taking up most space on your computer. Perhaps, it’s time for a cleanup?

4. Change the color of the start menu: go to Settings > Personalization > Colors & pick the color of the start menu (that will also re-color the bottom tab).

5. Resize the start menu: just click on the menu and drag the edges up or down to resize it the way you want.

Find these handy? Do you have any good tips or trick you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below.

#FridayFive: 5 tips to recognizing a spam email

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The spam emails get trickier to recognise. You might even be already familiar with some ways to tell them apart from other emails, and if you have a good email agent it might actually sort through that Spam for you.

Some of the mails can be a bit more sneaky and so well-composed that they eventually make it into your inbox. So, here are 5 go-to tips to recognise the Spam emails.

1. If the email is from Apple, Google or Microsoft; ask yourself – have you used these services recently? If yes, perhaps it is the real email. And if not – most probably it’s a spam concealing itself as an email from a big company.

2. Check the email address. So, you think that you should receive an email from Microsoft because of something you did, check the email address it came from. Here’s an example below:

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See the address line? The emails from the legitimate companies would come from something like @whatsapp.com or other.

3. Check the link. Right, so the email seems legitimate, and the email also seems right. Now, check the link without clicking it to see if it leads you to the place you should be at. Right-click on the link and select “Copy link address”, now paste it into a word document and see if it looks like it’s going to take you to the company website like “whatsapp.com/something-something” or it doesn’t even mention the company name anywhere in the link. It doesn’t? Most likely email is spam.

4. Check in the app. So, this particular example is about WhatsApp. Usually, an app like this will send you notification in the app itself to say that they have sent you an email. Open the app and check if there’s a notification somewhere in the settings. And if it’s Google, Apple or Microsoft you can also check for any Desktop or phone notifications on your computer.

5. Use common sense. Does it sound dodgy? It most likely is. Most of the services mentioned here wouldn’t contact you directly: on email or by phone. Just try to make yourself aware of these things and be alert the next time you get a new message.

In any case, if you ever have a doubt, you can give us a quick call and we can help you tell suspicious content from the legitimate mail or phonecall.

#FridayFive: 5 keyboard shortcuts you’re not using

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Keyboard shortcuts can save you tonns of time, and you probably know of and are using the likes of Ctrl+P & Ctrl+F, but there are some of the keyboard shortcuts you’re likely not using just yet but that will save you time with something you’re using often. Here’s our favourite five:

1. CTRL+Shift+T (or CMND+Shift+T on Mac) – Close the tab you have accidentally closed in your browser.

2. WINDOWS + M (or CMND+Option+M) – Minimize all open windows at once. Want to bring them back up? Just hit Windows+Shift+M.

3. ALT+Left Arrow (CMND+Left Arrow) – go to the previous page on your browser without a need to scroll all way up to the back button on your browser. ALT+Right Arrow will bring you forward.

4. Select a file and press F2 (select a file and press ENTER) – a super quick way for you to rename the file on the PC or Mac.

5. WINDOWS+P (CMND+F1) to extend your screen to the external monitor without the need to go through the monitor settings or when you can’t see the screen in the first place.

Hope you find these tips helpful. Got a keyboard with sticky keys? Perhaps you need a new one. We have a great offer on the Microsoft Wireless Keyboard for just €49.99 right now.

#FridayFive: 5 tools to make your Instagram (FB, Twitter) pictures look better

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How many of you use Instagram? And how many of you use any filters to make them look great? Or you might have a bunch of photos you’d like to post to Facebook but want to brush them up a little before doing so. Well, today I have a list of some great apps you could use to brush up on the photos and make them look amazing. I use most of these every time I post a picture to my Instagram and I use one particular app both on my phone and computer to edit holiday photos. Most of the take just a click.

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1. VSCO Cam. This is my all-time favorite. This app is packed with great filters you won’t find on the free apps and most of the peeps you follow on Instagram prefer this particular app. It comes with a few filters as a preset and you can then add some “packs” for more filters – some of them are free and some you have to pay a bit but they also do promotions every now and then releasing new packs for free.

And if you’re using Lightroom on your computer you can download their free developer pack with amazing Lightroom presets that will all the work for you with really good color combinations.

The app is available for both iOs and Android.

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2. Whitegram. Although Instagram now allows you to upload your pictures in full (rather than crop them) some people prefer to use an app to show a picture in its entirety. Sometimes I like to share pictures I posted on Snapchat and they’re just too big for Instagram even with the recent update, so I can use Whitegram to share a full picture in a smaller format with the borders on each side. It’s free for iOS and Android.

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3. Over is a fun little application if you want to add some text or symbols to your photos on the go. There are plenty of free things to choose from but you can also purchase extra packs (like with VSCO). You can see my little example above and it could be quite addictive in time creating these pictures. It’s €3.99 on iOS and Android.

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4. Phoster is a bit more sophisticated than Over but it’s super handy if you don’t have a budget (or time) for a graphic designer but you want to create an amazing looking leaflet or a poster. It’s a bit fidgety as some of the text is very small but it’s incredibly easy to use; just choose a template, add a picture and edit your own text in and you’ll end up with an amazing looking poster in just 10 minutes. Get it for €1.99 on iOS only.

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5. Insta Emoji. When you want to have a bit of fun with your photos give this app a try. Place Emojis all over your pictures, add Meme-like text or attach glasses, moustaches and much more. Free on iOS only.

Have fun with your pictures!

Alex @ MicroPro

#FridayFive: 5 tips for safer surfing (on the Internet)

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Safe Internet Surfing by MicroPro Computers

We all might think we know what it takes to roam the Internet safely. But there are some bits and peices that we often forget until it’s too late and we end up with a virus or worse – get scammed. So, here are five practical tips for staying safe when you’re surfing the deep waters of the Internet.

1. Make sure you’re on the right website. Especially, when you’re about to make an online purchase. Make sure that the website you’re buying your stuff from is really the right one. If you’re in doubt when paying – make sure to check for a “lock” symbol in the address bar indicating that the website is secure.

Also, if you’re purchasing something from a website like Ebay or Amazon you want to read some feedback on the seller to make sure you’re getting a right product and that the seller indeed exists.

2. Avoid paying over Internet in public places. If possible try not to purchase anything over a public WiFi, say, if you’re in a coffee shop for example. We’re talking about using your phone or computer to make a purchase and tapping in your credit card details. Most of the time it’s quite safe to do so but you’re never sure when there could be a danger of your data being stored, so just make a habit of not doing so at all.

3. Email safe. Don’t open an email you don’t expect and don’t provide any of your personal information over the email without confirming the identity of the person who’s asking and making sure it’s an official request. We’re all familiar with the requests for money transfers etc. that are quite commonly familiar as spam email at this point. Unfortunately, spammers got more skilful and can really write a good believable email. So, be careful who you reply to.

4. Install new programs safely. When you’re installing a new program, especially when it’s free, make sure that you read through every step of the installation and untick the boxes when you notice something you don’t need. Many program installations come with the “freebies” – free optional software pieces that sit in your browser or computer and come up with annoying pop ups or change your search routines. Most of the time these little freebies are harmless but they do become annoying. To avoid these, just untick the boxes when you see them coming up in the installation prompt.

 5. Install AdBlock for your browser. There are many AdBlocks available for different browsers and you can just use Google to find the best for you. What these little add-ons do they not only block the unwanted ads that appear on YouTube, Google or on the side of your Facebook search. They also prevent the malicious pop-ups from spreading on your computer unnoticed.

If you need any more tips like this or you’re concerned with your Internet or computer safety – give us a call. Safe surfing!

#FirdayFive: 5 things to know about your Facebook posts

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MicroPro Computers Facebook Posting tips

Facebook has been around for a little over 11 years (can you believe it?) and you’ve probably been on it for quite a while too. It’s hard to believe someone when they say they are not on Facebook.

It seems that the privacy policy, the way we create posts and view posts are changing every week or so and it’s hard to follow them sometimes. But there are some common practices that you should know and consider before you create your next post. Here are 5 that we could think of for now:

1. Choose your audience. We posted this in our Tuesday Tip category this Tuesday. Basically, think about who’d you like to see your next post. Some people like to post little rants to Facebook, some like to post pictures of pub shenanigans from the weekend – and are you really sure you want everyone to see these posts? If there’s something you really don’t want a particular person to see you can now exclude individuals from your posts. We’d recommend to limit your posts to “Friends Only” unless it’s something you’re not concerned to share on a public platform.

2. Be careful when you post. A lot of us are tempted to check Facebook during the working day. Some even work with Facebook and it’s totally fine if it’s constantly open on the screen. But the truth is, most of the employers like to see people working on what they’re paid to do and not wasting time on Facebook. You never know where life can take you next, and some of the employers actually check your social media to check if your stellar description of yourself compares to your social activity.

3. Filter your content. Following from the above post, it’s not only important when you post, it’s also important what you post. Do you really need a picture with all those empty shot glasses on your wall? is your little rant about your roommate going to hold up in 15 minutes? A lot of times when you want to post a rant about something on Facebook, in general, you start feeling different once you’ve posted or once the heat from being annoyed passes. So, let it sit for 30 minutes and if you still feel like posting something along these lines – post it, taking into consideration the two points above.

4. Don’t tag your friends. This also ties into above points. When you post a picture of someone or a group picture to Facebook and you tag them, this picture appears on their wall. Are you sure that your friend will like this picture being posted at that time, place and with those people? What if they’r not supposed to be where they are or they don’t like the way the look on the picture? Really want to post a picture? Do it, but ask your friends to tag themselves if they like instead.

5. Go through your settings. Ever wondered what your page looks like to strangers? Log out or use your browser’s “private” mode to see your profile when you’re not logged into Facebook. Remember – that’s the page everyone sees. If all your posts, personal, work and friend information is visible you might want to go through your Facebook settings. It might be a tedious and time-consuming venture (Facebook has a lot of setting options right now) but it’s worth it on the long run.

Perhaps, you already know all of these and perhaps you’re thinking different. Either way, the next time you want to post something to Facebook just think about who could possibly find this post and what they could possibly think about it.

#FridayFive: 5 YouTube tricks you should try right now

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You don’t have to be a YouTube Pro or a YouTube “creator” to use these tricks. Everyone who uses YouTube to view and share videos can use these. Believe us, we were chuffed when we found these.

1. Create a GIF from a video

Want to share a piece of a funny video on Tumblr or even Facebook (yes, Facebook now supports GIFs for personal profiles). Then this is the way to go about it:

– choose the video you want to turn into GIF

– type “gif” in front of “youtube” part in the address bar

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– choose the part you want to turn into GIF

– hit “create GIF” and use one of your social logins to post it online.

You’ll then get the share links for Facebook & other medias to share your GIF on.

2. Use YouTube for your next karaoke party. 

If you use Google Chrome browser, you can install Musixmatch add-on for Chrome. Now, when you search for a video on YouTube the add-on will automatically add lyrics on top of it. This app has a very extensive library for most of the popular songs.

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3. Want to find out what song is playing?

Sometimes you watch a YouTube video with a great soundtrack that doesn’t mention an artist in the description. Now, you can easily find the name of the song just by pasting the link to the video into another site called Moom.ash. It doesn’t always find exactly what you want, but it’s quite accurate most of the time.

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4. YouTube just for kids

Need to find something for your children to watch while you’re busy? Just download YouTube for Kids app on your iOS or Android device and it will show you only the content suitable for children with a great selection of full-length cartoons and shows.

5. Hot keys. 

Here are some of the keys to help you operate YouTube like a master Yoda:

 

  • K — play/pause
  • J — 10 second rewind
  • L — fast forward 10 seconds
  • M — mute
  • press 0 – to go to the start of the video
  • “+” make font bigger
  • “-” make font smaller

Hope these were helpful. For any questions & suggestions – get in touch.

Original source: Adme.ru

 

 

#FridayFive: 5 tips for backing up your data right now

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This is one of our most discussed topics in the shop. We cannot highlight well enough how important it is to keep copies of your photos, documents and other valuable things as there’s never a 100% assurance that your internal computer hard drive is going to last forever. And accidents happen, unfortunately. So, hopefully, after reading these five tips you’d want to dust off that external hard drive you got some time ago with good intentions and back up.

1. Make good memories last forever.

You holiday pictures, Birthday videos, confirmation pictures – you really want to keep these for a long time. Considering that most of us don’t print pictures anymore, you don’t want to lose these for future generations to come. So, back up photos from special events as soon as you get them and…[to the next point]

2. Back up once. Back up twice.

The things that are most important to you. You might want to have a drive that you back up to and also another drive that you copy that backup to every now and them but keep it safely away from the possible accidents (like dropping it). Again, for things you truly want to keep for a long time, you’d want to do this.

3. Prioritise your backup

Some people just copy the entire content of their computer hard drive to the external hard drive. This creates mess, and also takes a lot of space you could have used for the things that really matter. Backup only things you can’t reproduce: pictures, your own videos, rare music. If you purchased some tunes in iTunes or by other digital means – you can always download it again from the cloud – so need to download them on your backup drive.

4. Keep copies of important documents

Old payslips, copies of official documents, bills and so on – but things you don’t get digitally mostly. Scan the documents that you think are important as you never know when you’ll need them in the future.

5. Back up regularly when working on an important project

So many times we’ve seen people come through the door with a desperation written across their face asking to possibly retrieve their thesis/exam paper/other long form document from a hard drive that’s either crashed or riddled by viruses. So. Many. Times. When you’re working on such a document you should be thinking of saving it it first hand. Make a habit of pressing CTRL+S after finishing a sentence and make a habit of saving the document on an external drive or even emailing to yourself when you’re done. Possibly as a separate document each time – you never know what you can pick up from a previous version.

 

So, we hope you’re inspired to get your back up on. If you don’t have an external drive – we suggest you get one. We’ve got a good selection of different drives in right now starting at €6.99 (for a memory stick).

#FridayFive: 5 great things about Windows 10

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Since Wednesday you can download Windows 10 on your computer in a few easy steps. And either you have already done so, still considering or hearing about this for the first time we’ve found 5 great reasons for you to enjoy the new update.

1. It’s free. As easy as that, and if you don’t know how to get it now just use these handy guidelines from Microsoft.

2. The Start Menu is back to the bottom-left side as per the previous Windows versions. It combines a handy on-screen menu with the block app selection of the Windows 8 so you can find a program easier, especially if you still can’t get used to that menu that covers the entire screen.windows-start-menu

3. Notifications Centre aka Action Centre. Want to get notifications from your news, email or social apps as they happen, you can now enable these in the Action Centre and get pop-up notifications on the right of the screen, or review them later in bulk. To do that just follow simple steps over here.

4. The Edge – the new Microsoft web browser. It’s more simple, has a new super dynamic search option and comes with a possibility to doodle or add notes right to the page and send it off to someone.

5. Cortana allows you to speak to your computer. From the computer search to the search on the Internet, just tell Cortana (Window’s browsing system) what you’re looking for an it will find it. It might not always be 100% accurate, but it’s sure fun to imagine you have your own Jarvis at home. It can schedule your meetings, sync your tasks with your phone (if you have a Windows phone it’s easier, but there’s a way to do things with other phones too) and much more. Just give it a try.

Bonus: Windows Hello will soon allow you to use face or eye iris recognition technology to access your computer instead of typing in the password the boring non-sci-fi-y way. Actually, you can already do it, if, you have the right computer with the 3D infrared camera installed, of which there are very few on the market at the moment.

Extra bonus: you just have to see how the new Windows 10 Desktop picture was made. It will get you to appreciate it a tad bit more.

You can register to get the Windows 10 on your computer by clicking the Windows logo on the botttom-right corner of your computer screen. Alternatively you can follow this link for a more manual install with no waiting time required.

Cloud Storage: why, where & how?

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Have you ever heard of the Cloud? We bet you have at this stage heard about cloud technology, cloud services & cloud storage. What the word “cloud” refers to in this context is the storage & services on the Internet – which mean that you can save your files on the Internet, access them wherever and whenever you like and use everything from your computer to your smart MP3 player to do so.

In this article we’d like to introduce you to Cloud storage. Why should you save your files in the cloud and not on your trusty 1TB external Hard Drive? Well, we like to repeat over and over that you should backup your files twice. It’s not going to do any harm if you save the most important files on your external HDD and in a “cloud” folder.

Here are some pros to cloud storage:

  • Accessibility – you can save your files on your computer & then open them on your phone, laptop or tablet even if you’re away from the laptop.
  • Shareability – share your files with whomever you like easily by providing a secure link. If you have party photos or important work files that are too large to send by email for example.
  • Safety – your external hard drive or computer can give up any time – it can suddenly stop working or it can actually be physically damaged (dropped). Sometimes it’s hard to extract data from the damaged drive. If you save it in the cloud – you can just open all your files on a different computer

And there are many more advantages to this. You have to believe us when we say that one of the most common requests come examination season is “My computer stopped working and my entire thesis is on it, I haven’t saved it anywhere else, please get it”. So, here are 5 of our most preferred services that would help you avoid stress over such request.

1. GOOGLE DRIVE 

If you have a Gmail account (just a Gmail email address) you already have a 15GB of free storage on the Google Drive that’s connected to your Gmail address. You can easily find it, just see the picture below.

Google Drive on Gmail MicroPro COmputers TutorialGoogle Drive is extremely easy to use – just click on the “New” button in the folder and choose if you want to upload a file or a whole folder from your computer. It’s a great place to have your photos backed up on your Android device and it even works with iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod).

In addition to storage you can also create a Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and share them with other people – and all of the people can work on these files at the same time. It’s super handy for club schedules, big written projects etc.

And if you’re after to more than 15GB storage you can pay a monthly fee for quite a good deal on 500Gb or 1TB storage – you can save all of your files then.

2. DROPBOX 

You’re possibly more familiar with Dropbox if you have heard of the storage in the “cloud” before. Dropbox is an inexpensive and simple cloud storage solution that gives you an option to upload your files (2GB of free storage) and share it with other people by sending a simple link.

It works in pretty much the same way that Google Drive does, however if you run a business and need several people to be able to share files using a single folder it would probably be the best option for you – it’s also one of the cheapest for this kind of sharing option.

3. ONEDRIVE

Possibly the best of the online “cloud” storage options out there at the moment, simply because it’s…. unlimited (potentially)! There’s a bit of a catch in this deal though, you’d have to sign up as one of the first people to try this feature (provided you’re an existent Office 365 subscriber). Think of it: your videos, photos, Word & Excel files, presentations & music all available at any time on any of your devices. Want to show a wedding video to all of your friends? You can do so on your phone, your laptop and any other device – provided you have Internet (3G or 4G will do as well). How cool is this? Don’t have Office 365? We’ve got a great deal going on it at the moment at just €99 – and you’re getting a 1TB guaranteed storage with it as it is (which is the same price as Drive or Dropbox).

4. MEGA

This service is not as widely known. However, one of reasons we’ve included it in here is because you get a free 50GB storage with Mega. There’s no trial period – it’s a guaranteed 50GB storage online that you can access any time. It’s handy of you have to send a large amount of information to someone. The rest of the plans are a little more expensive than the previous we have mentions, but, this service provides an excellent speed for the file transfer – if that’s your thing. So, if you’re looking to transfer large files fast – Mega is the service for you.

5. iCLOUD

This is a standard backup service for your iOS device. You can sync files easily between your iPhone, iPad & MacBook. You get 5GB free with your iOS profile and then you can expand to more plans that can only be purchased through the Apple store. It’s handy if you are an Apple addict as you can see your pictures & music synched without you even connecting your devices together (that moment is popularly illustrated in the latest Cameron Diaz movie “Sex Tape”). However, we found that other services above provide a more competitive pricing for larger storage.

A little extra, and one of our favourites when we need to share a simple file with someone – WeTransfer. It’s quick, easy and allows you share just one file with a few people. No need to sign up to anything, pay a fee or store a file. It will keep your file for 14 days after which the link will expire.

How safe is Cloud storage? “Very” – is the easiest answer here. Cloud storage have come the long way since its inception and it’s been around for a while. Your files will be protected by the latest advances in file encryption that are hard to decode. However, we do encourage for you to choose your password wisely. You can read our blog post about passwords and how to maintain a safe password here.