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Look Up!

This is the week that I usually send out New Year’s resolutions: back up your data, clean up your contact list, delete unwanted emails, etc. Not this year. (But you should do those things anyway).

This week I am the “anti-ITgirl,” sharing a message of moderation:
look up more often!

I am the one always searching for — and promoting — new and interesting ways to use your smartphone, but even I need to remind myself that it’s poor manners to ignore people you are with while you text with others or constantly check your phone.

So, I’ll remind you too: look up more often. (Wow, it’s almost 2016!)

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

e-gift cards

If you need a really last minute gift — this week or any week — consider an electronic gift card.
Purchase it online and the notice will be emailed to the recipient. This gift can happen in a matter of minutes; just have your credit card and the recipient’s email address ready.

The recipient can use the virtual card on the store’s website or print it out and take it to the store.

There should be something for everyone: Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, Apple, Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Amazon, to name a few.

To make this gift more personal, choose a store that you know the recipient likes (ask his/her friends, parents, or siblings for suggestions) and, in the accompanying message, ask your recipient to let you know what he/she bought.

Happ-e shopping.

Paperless Billing

Your credit card companies and other vendors are hoping you will agree to paperless billing — that is, forego the mailed paper bills and accept emailed electronic invoices instead.

Paperless billing is attractive: you receive bills wherever you are, and you eliminate the threat of personal information stolen from your mailbox or seen by others in your home.

However, what I suspect keeps you from embracing paperless billing is the fear that you will forget to pay a bill. When a paper bill sits in a pile on the desk, it’s hard to ignore. (Of course you can print an electronic invoice to have your own paper copy).

If you do choose paperless billing, create email folders called “unpaid” and “paid.” As soon as you receive an electronic invoice, move the email to your “unpaid” folder. When you pay the bill, move the emailed invoice to your “paid” folder. You can even create sub-folders within your “paid” folder to separate “credit cards” from “cable company” from “utilities,” etc.

Are you wondering how you are going to remember to check your “unpaid” folder? Set a reminder or event alarm on your calendar for a certain day (or days) of the month that you need to pay bills.

Open Recent

One of the most convenient features of software programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is the “Open Recent” feature. Once you create and save a file, you can open it later by finding it under “File” and “Open Recent.”

Unless … you moved the file since you last opened it.

If you try to open a file from “Open Recent” and you get a scary-looking error message saying the file is “inaccessible,” don’t panic.

Your computer is trying to find the document in its old location and it is stumped because the file no longer lives there.

Here’s what to do:

  • Open the program in which you created the file (Word, Excel, etc.).
  • Click “File” and “Open.” Your computer’s directory will open.
  • Click your way to the file in its new location. Open it.
  • Now the new location is stored in your “Open Recent” list and you can open it later from there.

Unless you move it again.