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Office for iPad

At last… Microsoft Office for the iPad!

This past Thursday Microsoft announced the presence of its long-awaited, industry-standard Office programs — Word, Excel, and Powerpoint — in the Apple App Store. The apps are free; to use them is not.

Here is the deal:

  • You can download the free apps from from the App Store. Each program is a separate download.
  • With the free version, you can open and look at documents that are emailed to you, or documents you access from your OneDrive account. That’s about it. (And, by the way, you can do that now, without any new apps.)
  • If you want to edit a document, create a new document, or save a document to OneDrive, you need to purchase a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365, which is currently $99/year. (Download any of the apps and you can purchase the subscription right from within the app itself. One subscription gives you access to all of the downloaded Office apps.)
  • If you purchase the subscription, you will get a pretty complete version of the computer-based programs; all of the popular templates, tabs, and formatting options are there.
  • You cannot store files on the iPad itself; you store them in your free cloud-based OneDrive account and them access them anytime on your iPad, or from any other device.

iPad users have long asked for Office and now they have it, for a price. But if it makes your iPad even that much more invaluable to you, it’s worth it.

Note that the not-new equivalent app for the iPhone is called “Office Mobile” and it is genuinely free to use, but it is a watered-down version of the full app. Good luck writing the next Great American Novel on your iPhone!

Want to read more about Office for iPad?

Click here: Office for iPad

Windows XP Help

For those of you who still have a computer running the Windows XP operating system, you most likely know that Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th.

What does this mean?

In short, you will still be able to use your computer, but it will not be as safe to do so.

Some internet security programs are stepping up to help protect you in the short run, as described in the well-written and informative article from USATODAY (link below).

This article, however, does still suggest that it is time for you to buy a new computer.

So do I.

Click this link to read the article:
Band-Aid for Windows XP Machines

Note: In some cases it is possible to upgrade your XP machine to Windows 7 or 8, but it is not simple, or necessarily recommended. Here is a link to a step by step guide from Microsoft. Read it carefully as you consider this option.

Click this link to read the article:
Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

Mail Shot

If you have an iPad or iPhone and wish to send group emails, you are probably as surprised as I am that Apple has no built-in system for creating address lists. Fortunately, you can purchase ($3.99) a great app that affords you this convenience: Mail Shot Pro.

Purchase Mail Shot Pro from the App Store. (There is also a free version — Mail Shot — but it has limitations; you can download it to see if you like it before deciding to buy the in-app upgrade).

Once you agree to the terms, you must agree to let the app access your contact list — that’s the whole point. Now you can create a new group, name it, and then select its members from your existing contact list.

Then, from your email program, address a new email to this group by typing the group name or choosing the group from your list of contacts.

A few suggestions/notes:

  • Clean up your contacts (correct names, email addresses, etc.) in your contact list before creating a Mail Shot group.
  • If you have an Apple computer with mail groups already set up in your Contact list, you can import the whole group into a newly-formed Mail Shot group.
  • If you change a name or address in your contact list, you will need to delete the name from the Mail Shot group and re-add it to the group. There is no direct connection that will change it for you automatically.
  • The free version does everything the paid version does but it only allows you to create up to three groups, with a maximum of five contacts in each.

Until Apple adds this feature to its own iPad and iPhone programs, Mail Shot Pro is a great convenience.


The first time I called a business and got a “phone tree,” I thought the automated instructions and button-pushing choices were quite cool. That thrill is long gone. Now I just want to get to a human quickly.

Here’s how I do it:

Visit this website, type in the name of the company you wish to call, and see how to shorten — or bypass — the automated steps between you and a live being.

If you liked this ITmail, press 1.

Life Support

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 2.12.48 PM

Probably best not to follow this advice for people, but certainly a good idea for your misbehaving computer, modem, router, or printer.

Unplugging a device, plugging it back in and turning it back on causes the machine to re-initialize, often repairing its own abberant behavior. It’s not always the fix, but trying it can’t hurt.

To re-initialize laptops, smartphones and tablets that run on battery, power down the machine and restart it.

If your machine is frozen and cannot be powered down properly, hold down the power button (sometimes in tandem with the “home” button) and wait until the machine goes dark.

Sometimes rebooting is all the “life support” you need.

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