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On Its Way…

Congratulations! You’ve just successfully sent another email.

What?

You didn’t mean to? You were not finished? The attachment was not attached? Uh-oh.

If you have ever sent an email before you meant to, you know how annoying it is. If you have never done it, you are, well, alone.

You know it the second you click the “Send” button, and there is nothing you can do about it. In one email program, the “New” button becomes the “Send” button after a new email is created and if your mouse is still lingering there, you can easily click “Send” and off goes your unfinished email. Ugh.

Here is my 100% guaranteed way to ensure this never happens to you again: address the email LAST, not first.

Really. Just because the cursor in a blank email is blinking in the “To” box and tempting you to “Address me now! Address me now!” you do not have to.

Without an email address in the “To” box, the email cannot be sent. In some email programs the “Send” button will be dimmed if there is no address. In other programs you can click “Send” but you will get an error message telling you there must be at least one address in the “To” box.

I recommend that you create your new emails from the bottom up:

  1. Click “Attach” to attach any files you mean to send
  2. Click in the Message box and type your email
  3. Click in the “Subject” box and type the subject that sums up what you’ve written
  4. Click in the “To” box to address the email
  5. Click “Send”

Ok. But what about “Reply” emails that already have the return address in the “To” box? Easy. Once you hit “Reply” and your new email is created, delete the email address from the “To” box, complete your reply, add the address back in, and click “Send.”

You and your emails are good to go.

What is a Blog?

In this email, you will learn what a blog is, and you will learn about a new blog created just for you. Really? Read on.

A blog (short for “web log”) is an internet-based journal usually (but not always) written by one person, and usually (but not always) written about one subject. It has the look and feel of a website, complete with sponsor advertisements (but not always).

However, unlike a traditional website where information flows in one direction (from the site owner to you), a blog can be a dialogue; you can respond to what has been posted and others can respond to you.

There are blogs about almost everything: chocolate, fitness, nail polish, snowboarding, living in New York City, crayons, parallel parking, traveling, grandmothers, etc. You get the idea.

There are also blogs that don’t offer the opinions of the creator, but allow others to express their opinions on a certain topic. This is the kind of blog that I have created for you.

Introducing (drum roll, please) …

SKIDAWARE:

A homeowner blog about life on Skidaway Island

This independent, no-ad blog is a forum for sharing ideas and information about living on Skidaway Island. There is nothing to join and no new passwords to remember.

Check it out by clicking here: www.skidaware.com

Click through the pages, comment on the posts that have already been offered, or suggest a new post. The directions are easy to follow.

If you like the idea, forward this email to your friends so they can check it out. The success of this blog depends on the participation of homeowners.

Enjoy.

Isn’t Java Coffee?

If you routinely click “Later” instead of “Install” when that pesky “Java Update” windows pops up, you are not alone.

Is it safe? Is it a virus? The computer seems to work just fine when I ignore it. Isn’t Java coffee anyway?

Java is also a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) in 1995. The Java Runtime Environment — the software that requires frequent updating — powers the programs and utilities on your computer written in Java. The updates improve performance, stability, and security of Java-based software.

It’s ok — in fact, it’s recommended — that you install the update. If you click “Install,” an InstallShield wizard will appear and the installation process will begin.

(Note that recently the update process has begun to offer a free “Ask.com toolbar” on your computer. Much to the annoyance of many, the toolbar will be added to your computer unless you un-check the option. If the offer appears, you can click the checked box to uncheck the offer. Java will still update as needed).

When the installation is complete, a dialogue box will appear. Click “Close.” There is no need to restart your computer.

If you routinely choose not to update the Java software, you should uninstall the software from your computer completely. Running it without updating is the least desirable of the scenarios. Of course uninstalling the software will prohibit your computer from running Java-based programs.

Your choice: update or uninstall. Don’t ignore.

Just Google It

It’s true. You can learn almost anything on the internet. From home. In your bunny slippers.

Where to start? Google.

Google is both the “yellow pages” and the encyclopedia, and nothing gets you where you want to go quite like it.

What can Google help you find?

  • Information about a person, product, or service
  • A particular website
  • Recipes (my husband’s favorite!)
  • “How-to” instructions on almost everything
  • Images to enhance a project
  • Maps of any geographic area
  • Sports scores
  • Everything else

That one lone empty search box in the middle of your screen is about as powerful a tool as you own. Use it wisely.

Here’s how:

  • Put a shortcut to www.google.com on your favorites bar so you can get to the Google homepage in one click.
  • Use a few key words to get the search results you seek; enter “red wine carpet” and you will be cleaning in no time.
  • Be as precise as possible: “microsoft word 2010 change margins” is preferable to “change margins” or even “microsoft word change margins.” Including the program name and software version will ensure that the directions you get apply to you.
  • Type “define” before a word and you will get the word’s definition.
  • Type “weather” or “movies” before a zip code and you will get the local information.
  • Type a mathematical equation and hit the “return” or “enter” key to get the answer.

Unlike entering a full web address, searching Google will not take you to a specific website. It will return search results of websites that match your key words. From these results, you can determine which site(s) get you the information you are looking for.

And don’t forget, not everything you read on the internet is true/helpful/advisable; carefully evaluate what you discover.

Please search responsibly.

Let’s Chat!

In one episode during its run from 1967 until 1978, The Carol Burnett Show featured a skit about a phone that allowed you to see the person you were talking to. How futuristic!

In the skit, Harvey Korman called his wife, Carol Burnett, at home from his office. Not only could Korman see his wife in the phone, he could also see all that was in the background, including Tim Conway, whom we presume should not have been there. While Burnett nervously chatted with her husband, Conway did his best not to be seen by Korman: he hid behind a plant, slithered under the rug, pretended to be furniture. You get the idea.

And thus we have stumbled upon one — and maybe the only — downside to video conferencing.

In most cases, seeing those in the room you are calling is a welcome experience and has made video conferencing one of the most enjoyable advances in technology. Ask any far-away grandparent!

To video conference with someone through a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone requires specific software. Four such programs are “Skype,” “iChat,” “Facetime,” and “GoogleTalk.” Video chatting is now available through Facebook as well.

Skype is free software. It is easily downloaded from the internet, and it can be used by Windows and Apple users alike. iChat and FaceTime, which are proprietary to Apple devices, come preinstalled by Apple or are free to download from the Apple App Store. GoogleTalk can be used on computers or in Android Phones.

There are differences among these programs but their purpose is the same: to allow you to see the person/people you are talking to on your screen, and to allow them to see you.

To video chat, you will need:

  • A device with a webcam and microphone (if you computer does not have a built-in webcam, you can purchase an external webcam. (You cannot video chat from the original iPad. There is no built-in camera and you cannot add one)
  • One of the video chat software programs
  • An internet connection (a network connection is preferable to a 3G connection)
  • Someone to chat with

Some tips for quality video conferencing:

  • The camera is at the top of your screen but the images of the person you are chatting with might be in the middle of the screen. Don’t forget to look up at the camera every once in a while or your friends will only see the top of your head. You should also move your chat window as high up on your screen (as close to the camera) as possible.
  • Plan ahead by phone, text, or email to chat at a specific time. Video conferencing does not often happen randomly, nor is it always a welcome intrusion.
  • Don’t spend too much time on your hair, makeup, or outfit in preparation for video chatting; despite your effort, you — and everyone else — will look pretty distorted. Don’t be disappointed.

Unless you are Carol Burnett hiding Tim Conway from Harvey Korman, enjoy the wonders of video chatting!