Tech Tips

| May 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

A few Tech Tips

…. or IT Information learned along the way

Text Expanders are Cool if you do a lot of regular typing

I respond to a lot of emails and have found that  I need to maintain a library of what I call snippets, the is little bits of text that I type quite regularly. Apple for what ever reason seem to have more of these “text expanders” than windows. The father of all text expanders in Appleland is one called TypeIT4Me though I think more recently I prefer to use one called aText – for three reasons

  • It is very simple and easy to use and I love elegance.
  • It’s the cheapest of all the paid Text Expanders
  • Its available in the App Store, – though I understand that this version is less functional that the one downloaded directly from the Atex website

Manage and share your bookmarks

I have long ago given up any desire to index the web, but being able to find website’s and articles which I have previously read is essential. Bookmarks are a little like personal book collections, it so nice to browse through someone else’s bookshelf, especially if they share a similar interest to yourself. My book mark requirements are as follows

  • Update from anywhere.
  • Easily maintained
  • Easily Shared and Published – a free bookmark manager / publisher which allows you to easily add and maintain links online. These links are then tagged, by yourself, using keywords, which can be easily modified and updated. provides a number of way to collect and search through your link collection using html , javascript or RSS feeds. This make it especially easy for yourself and others find, access and publish links on your website or blogg, or simply from your web browser.

My link collection is available at

Education – Fun and Games

A collection of really useful software, if I find a software product or game really useful, it finds it way to this page I hope you find some use for these in Education or plain old Fun and Games


An interactive periodic table –
Periodic Library is an interactive periodic table of the elements. But it is more than simply a computerised version of the standard periodic table. It takes full advantage of your computer’s capabilities to give you an in-depth look at the elements that make up our earth, the solar system, the galaxy… well, let’s just say everything.


Fun Free Games

A Fun Game called Dangerous Dave Dave, for some reason is fun and addictive. The graphics are terrible and the sound is annoying, yet the game still seems to pull you towards it. The object of the game is to collect gold cups to advance to the next level. Considering how small this game is, give it a try.

School Networks and Software Management

I am personaly interested in school networks or more accurately “Education Networks” as related to Information Technology. Below you will find a collection of info related to education networks and related software managment.

An eductators guide to school networks

Building the Grid (search for sotware) or look at the following link

 Cool Software Programs

Linux in the home, the office and in Education

Linux is a very able operating system and a suitable platform for the home office and education environments, it is also suitable for playing games. There is a wide choice of distributions and a fairly steep learning curve once you have selected a distribution. One advantage of Linux is that having learned how to do something once, that rule pretty much applies to all other versions and distributions.

There is no harm in trying out each of the top three distributions. I’m not an operating system fascist but I do question the motives of the leading distro providers and for this reason Debian is my personal favourite although I also use RedHat, SuSE in the workplace and at home.

Linux will co-exist with microsoft, however I like the “clean break” approach. Get hold of a reasonably decent specification PC and install Linux, or install a few versions of Linux, I suggest the clean break approach because it’s hardly fair to run Windows for the past few years on its own and then to evaluate Linux on a dual boot PC. Also please don’t scrimp and save on your Linux hardware, give it good quality high specification hardware. I am confident that Linux will make better use of your electronic equipment than competing propriety brands will.

Reasons to Learn to Touch Type

It is, I think, very important to learn to touch type for the following two reasons. Touch typing can save you a lot of time, instead of fumbling about and searching for keys, you simply know where they are. The second reason to learn to touch type is that you can think clearly and be more creative as you touch type, because you are able to quickly drop words and sentences on a page, before your sentence structure and idea is lost.

Learning to touch type helped me tremendously, as an IT person I often have people sitting with me or watching what I do on computer or during training. I found it difficult to think about what I was doing, talk about what I was doing and search for keys while I finger typed. ( Ha, I guess I cant walk an chew gum at the same time) anyway I bought a Mavis Beacon Teaches typing floppy disk and have never looked back, all I have to do now is learn how to spell.

Unfortunately, learning to touch type is fairly boring, so I suggest you try and get it over and done as quickly as possible, and also choose a Typing Tutor with decent games and simi lair distractions. (After all why else do we have computers, except for games) Online Typing Tutors

There are some very nice online typing tutors available, so have a quick look at see if you can find one you feel comfortable

Cool Software Programs

A collection of cool software programs suitable for homeschoolers


Keeping Home Accounts with Moneydance

For those interested in a simple to use home accounting software that will balance your records and automatically connect to bank and collect journal records you can’t do much better than MONEYDANCE.

MONEYDANCE works with both Windows XP and Linux because it runs as a Java application.

I have searched high and low for financial software for both home and business. I have used Quicken, MYOB, gnucash and web applications and have not found something as cost affective and as easy to use as MONEYDANCE. It is a no nonsense, simple to use, feature rich, affordable financial software which will probably do most things you need it to do and you won’t have to relearn everything each time you use MONEYDANCE.

As I have said elsewhere I have no problem paying money for software which works well, is affordable where I believe the developers of the software will not release irrelevant versions simply to generate revenue. I also prefer software where you don’t have to relearn everything each time to do an upgrade. An good example of this is Linux where once you have learnt a command or function it operates the same way on any other distribution of Linux compared to Windows who change many of their commands with each release.

MONEYDANCE is very cheap, have a look at their website, I think they have a 30-day free trial and the price is around $30.

Screen Capture


However, for myself I prefer to use Snagit. This is the most versatile screen capture programme I have ever come across. It cost me about $60 and allows free upgrades within the version number. It captures video, full pages or windows, scrolling windows and video

If you are a homeschooler and you want a programme that all the family can use and will see you through your education years I think this is the best choice. It also has a versitiel edit and annotation studio so that you use to label and anotate nything you capture and print it off.

Snagit has a 30-day trial and is available at the following web site

Linux Information- “Linux for everyone!”

Dedicated to the Open Software in the Home, Office and Enterprise, this page is about using Free and Open Software in the home and office.

Open Source/Software refers to the fact that the source code of Free/Open Software is open to and for the world to take, to modify and to reuse, more specifically I bring you information about the application of open software in your home business or enterprise. Open-source software is an idea whose time has finally come, for twenty years it has been building momentum in the technical cultures that built the Internet and the World Wide Web, now it’s breaking out into the commercial world, and that’s changing all the rules. Are you ready?

High-Availability Linux Project
Linux Gazette
Linux Banners
Linux Documentation Project
Linux Links Softpanorama: (slightly skeptical) Open Source Software Educational Society

UK Linux User Group resources

Linux on Laptops This is an index of information and documentation of interest to those who now use or are considering using the Linux operating system on a notebook or laptop computer. This resource is available on the World Wide Web at its original North American location,

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