Sunday, September 27, 2009

Merge Multiple PowerPoint Presentations into one File

Below are the steps that I use to merge multiple PowerPoint presentations into one single presentation. Their are a few different ways to accomplish this task, but the steps listed below are the ones that have worked well for me in the past.

Here are the steps...

1) First open up all the PowerPoint presentations that you want to merge into one show. After you have opened all your presentations you can either choose to create a new PowerPoint file or merge them into an existing file.

2) Open up any of your other presentations and select the "View" tab and select the "slide sorter" view.




3) Once in slide sorter, select the slides you wish to copy or press "Ctrl+A" to select all the slides.




4) Open the merged PowerPoint file.

5) Select where you want the new slides to go and press "Ctrl-V" to paste in the new slides. The copied slides will now be pasted into your new merged presentation, but if the slides have different templates or backgrounds you will notice that the newly pasted slides did not retain their original formatting. To maintain the pasted slides original formatting, select the small clipboard icon located in the bottom right hand corner of one of the newly pasted slides (see the screenshot below) and select the "maintain source formatting" radio button.




6) Repeat steps 2 to 5 until you have merged all your presentations into a single PowerPoint file. That's it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Setup Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound in VLC

Here's how to setup VLC media player for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound output through your computer's coaxial or optical digital audio output:

1) Launch VLC and click on the "Tools" menu and select "Preferences".




2) Once on the "Preferences" page select the "Audio" tab on the left hand side of the page.



3) Place a check mark next to "Enable audio" and "Use S/PDIF when available".  For the "Force detection of Dolby Surround" setting choose Auto and under the "Output" section, choose "Win32 waveOut extension output" as output type. The rest of the settings are optional.                                                                                                      

4) Restart VLC and your done.

Add Speed Dial Button to Opera Toolbar

One of the best features of Opera is the speed dial page.  Unfortunately you can not set the speed dial page as your homepage, but you can set the speed dial to open when you start up the Opera browser or when you open a new tab. However, sometimes you may want to open the speed dial page from an existing tab without having to open a new one. You can easily accomplish this by adding a custom button to Opera's toolbar.

To add a custom speed dial to Opera's toolbar, do the following:

1.) Navigate your browser to the Drag'n'drop buttons for Opera webpage.

2.) Scroll down to the example section of the webpage where you will see two choices for a speed dial button. Either button will work, so the choice is yours.




3.) Click and drag one of the speed dial buttons to the Opera toolbar, click "ok" and you're done.





Sources:

Customizing Opera

Monday, September 21, 2009

Check Yahoo's Ymail Mail in Gmail by enabling POP3 for Free

In a previous post I talked about how to access Microsofts Hotmail in Gmail. Today I would like to show you how to check your Yahoo Ymail email using Gmail. Notice how I said "ymail" and not "yahoo.com" email addresses, this is because  this tip works for Yahoo's Ymail email accounts but not with their "yahoo.com"(or Yahoo's Rocketmail email service) email accounts.

When I tried it with a new "yahoo.com"  and a new "rocketmail.com" address I could not get it to work. Even if I tried the "channge Yahoo's regional settings for free POP3 access" trick, it still would not work. Yahoo would not give me the necessary POP3 access unless I signed up for their premium mail service and paid the $20 annual fee.

The good news is that Yahoo seems to have enabled pop3 access by default for Ymail.com email addresses. So here is how to access your Yahoo Ymail.com email for free in Gmail.

1.) Log into your Gmail account

2.) Click on "Settings" located in the top right hand corner of your Gmail page.



3.) Click on "Accounts and Import" and then click on the "Add POP3 email" button located in the "Check mail using POP3 section.




4.) A new window will pop up, enter your Yahoo Ymail address and click "Next Step".





5.) In this window enter the following settings, replacing "yourusername" with your full Ymail email address and "youruserpassword" with your password:

     Username: yourusername@ymail.com
     Password: youruserpassword
     Pop Server: pop.mail.yahoo.com
     Port: 995

Check the box next to "Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail. All the other options are optional. After entering the above settings click the "Add Account" button.







6.) You will next be greeted by a screen asking you if you want to "send mail as" your new  "ymail.com" email address. If you click "No" then you are all done and you can now retrieve your Yahoo Ymail email using Gmail. If you click yes, then scroll down to step 7.




7.) Enter any name you wish in the name field, and click "Next Step"




8.) You will now come up to a screen giving you two options. Choose the first option "send through Gmail (easier to set up) and click "Next Step"




9.) Finally you will see a verification screen asking you to verify that you own the Yahoo Ymail address. Click on the "Send Verification button, and Google will send a verification email to your Yahoo Ymail email address.

10.) Log in to your Yahoo Ymail email address and look for the verification email that Google just sent. Open it and click the link in the email or copy the number listed in the body of the email, and paste this number into the verification box in Gmail and click the "Verify" button.

That's it, you can now check your Yahoo Ymail email in Gmail for free.


Sources:

Sajeev Nair

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sync Bookmarks in Google Chrome

For all you Google Chrome users, I saw this tip on the Google Operating System Blog, on how you can sync Google Chromes bookmarks. I tried this tip on two computers and the sync feature in Google Chrome worked perfectly. Please visit this blog post on the Google operating system blog for instructions.

Please note that this tip only works with the development version of Google Chrome. You can download the dev channel version of Google Chrome here.

Sources:

Google Operating System Blog

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Legal Use of Software or Website Screenshots

Since I have started writing this blog and publishing to the "public" internet, questions that I never really thought of before and took for granted have started to enter my mind. One of the questions I had was concerning the legal use of software screenshots in a blog or other public publication. I am not a lawyer and I do not really have the means to hire my own copyright lawyer so I headed off to Google to do some research into the use of  screenshots.

Generally screenshots of software or websites are covered by copyright, however in the U.S. there is a rule called "Fair Use" which allows for the criticism, review, news reporting, teaching and research of a copyrighted work without getting permission from the copyright holder. Wikipedia has an excellent entry about "Fair Use", and there is also a mention of copyright issues in regards to screenshots on the Wikipedia entry for screenshots.

Now copyright law is full of shades of grey and one persons interpretation of a law could be completely different from another, so if you want to play it really safe, just ask the copyright owner for permission to use their screenshots.  If you are using the screenshots as part of a "how to" tutorial then most of the time they would be thrilled for the free publicity, just be sure to be honest in how you will be using their screenshots.

If you do some searching on the internet then you may not necessarily have to go through the hassle of contacting the copyright owners for permission (especially larger software/internet companies). A lot of wise companies do not want to waste time on answering copyright requests and have posted guidelines for the acceptable use of screenshots on their websites. Below I have posted some summaries of Google's, Microsofts, Yahoo's and Abobe's screenshot policy.

Google Screenshot Policy:

Google takes a liberal common sense approach to use of their screenshots. Basically you can use them for illustrative or instructional purposes. From their website examples it appears that some minor alterations are acceptable (eg: you want to circle an area of a Google screenshot to highlight a feature).  You can not use them in a way that implies that Google endorses yourself or your products.  This is common sense. Their policy is fair for everyone and is another reason why I believe Google is a well run company.

Microsoft Screenshot Policy:

The guys from Redmond have a slightly more restrictive policy than Google. You are allowed to use their screenshots except if the use is obscene or pornographic and you can not use Microsoft screenshots for comparative advertising.  This is fair enough, but as you drill down further into their screenshot policy you find some more restrictions. You are not allowed to use screenshots of beta software. You can not use portions of a screenshot (this seems to be a common policy - why not?), you must include an attribution statement, stating Microsoft gave you permission to use your screenshots and you can not use screenshots that contain an image of an identifiable person (that's a good policy I think). Their are other restrictions as well and you can click the link above to read Microsoft's full policy.

Yahoo Screenshot Policy:

In a nutshell is very restrictive. You can not use screenshots of Yahoo products without first filling out their permission request form, and asking for their permission. Boo on Yahoo.

Adobe's Screenshot Policy:

Adobe's policy is very similar to Microsofts (maybe they hired the same law firm). According to Adobe's guidelines you can't use portions of a screenshot (again - why not?) without Adobe's permission. You can not use screenshots that contain third party images. The obvious no pornographic or obscene use.  You must attribute the image to Adobe, and you can not imply that Adobe sponsors you or supports you. Again their are others restrictions and you can click the link above for their full policy.

Now remember that corporate policy is not the same as legal law. Meaning that just because a company does not want you to do something does not mean that you can not legally do it.

I am definitely not a lawyer but I believe that most uses of screenshots on a blog that are used for instructional, illustrative or review purposes would fall under the "Fair Use" guidelines and requesting copyright permission is not required. This is just my laymen's interpretation. You should use your own judgement

Basically trust your gut and your morals. If your gut tells you are stealing someone else's work than save yourself the anxiety and don't publish it or ask the company for permission.

Hope this information was helpful.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How to remove old versions of Java

I heard a great tip on the MikeTechShow podcast and his sister podcast Tech-Vets on how to easily and quickly remove old versions of Java from your Windows computer using a simple little program called JavaRa.

To remove old versions of Java you can follow the Sun Microsystems Java removal instructions but all they basically say is to go into the Windows Add/Remove programs and uninstall it that way, but if you have several old versions of Java this can be a real pain. There is an easier way....

1.) Go to the RaProducts webpage and download the JavaRa Application. Find the downloaded application and unzip it.

2.) Click on the JavaRa program file (no installation is required), and a window with a selection of tasks will appear. Click on the "Remove Older Versions" button. A warning window will pop up, click "Yes" if you are sure you want to remove older versions of Java.

3.) Another window will open asking you to close Internet Explorer (this will appear even if IE is not open), just click "OK".

4.) A window will appear telling you what Java files it found and deleted, again click "OK" and JavaRa will tell you it will be opening a log file, though I have never seen a log file open., but thats ok...it's seems to get rid of most of the old versions of Java.

On my system it left a couple of Java files in my program list which I believe are the main Java program and the latest update. This is fine with me, and it beats having six or seven old versions of Java hanging out on your system.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Move Google Calendar to new Google Account

Over the past few weeks I have been setting up a new Google account to be used as my central hub for everything Google in my life. My old Google account was fine, it's just that I wanted a more professional user name and a username that more reflected my website. So I opened a new Google account and started investigating ways to transfer my contacts, my Picasa Web Albums and Google calendar over to the new account.

A few days ago I wrote a tutorial on how to transfer a Picasa Web Album account to a new Google account, and today I am going to show you how to move a calendar over to a new Google account.

Here is how to move a Google Calendar from one account to another:

1.) Sign into your old Google Calendar using your old Google account

2.) Click on the "Settings" tab.


3.) Under the "Settings" tab select the "Calendars" tab.


4.) Choose the calendar you wish to share, and select the "Share this calendar" link under the "Sharing" heading.

5.) Move down to the "Share with specific people" section and enter the email address of your new Google account. Under the "Permission settings" select "Make changes AND manage sharing" if you want your new Google account to have full administration privilages for this calendar, otherwise choose one of the more restrictive choices. Click "Save" to save your changes.


6.) Logout of your old Google account and login to your new Google account.

7.) If you wish to keep administration access for the calendar with the old account then you are done. Just go to the calendar section of your new Google account and the calendar will have automatically loaded in. If you wish to delete the old Google account from this calendar then you will have to go into your calendar settings in your new Google account, select the Calendars tab and then select the "Shared: Edit Settings" for the new calendar that you just transfered from the old account.


8.) Move down to the "Share with specific people"  section and click on the trash can next to your old Google account. That's it, you have now fully transfered your Google calendar to your new Google account.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Add the Weather to Google Calendar

I had seen this weather feature a few times in the settings section of Google Calendar, but I had never bothered enabling it, until today, and I wish I had done it earlier, it works great.

It gives you 4 days of weather for whatever city you specify (most likely your home town, but you can set it for anywhere you wish). The widget places a small weather icon on your calendar for the next 4 days and if you hover over the icon it gives you  more detailed weather information. If you click on the icon it gives you an even more detailed weather outlook. In a nut shell I like it....

Here is how you enable it for your Google Calendar.

1.) Click on the Google Calendar Setting button.

 


2.) Scroll down to the "Show weather based on my location" section and select "C" or "F" depending on what type of temperature system you use. Make sure you enter your location in the "location" section above the "Weather" section.

 


3.) Click the "Save" button located at the bottom of the Settings page and your done. Your calendar will now display the weather.

Add "Save as" PDF option to Microsoft Office

It's free and easy to add a "save as" pdf option to all Micorosft Office products. Here's how to add the pdf option to your Microsoft Office software.

1.) Open any Microsoft Office application such as Word or Excel.

2.) Click on the Office ball located in the upper left hand corner of the program. Move your cursor down to the "Save As" menu item and click it.

3.) Look for "Find add-ins for other file formats" in the menu selection (see image below) and click on it.

4.) A new window will pop up. In the section titled "What do you want to do?" select the "Install and use the Save as PDF or XPS add-in from Microsoft" link.

 

5.)  Yet another dialog box pops up. This time select the first menu item from the first section, under the link of "Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS Add-in for 2007".



6.)  After clicking the link it should take you to Microsoft Office's download page for the PDF writer add on. Click the download button on this page. When the Save dialog box pops up just instruct it to save it to wherever you wish on your local hard drive.

7.) After the PDF Microsoft Office Add on has finished downloading, find the file called "SaveAsPDF" and double click on it. If you are running Vista then click through the security warning.

8.) After clicking on the file you just finished downloading, a new window will pop up asking you to accept Microsoft's user aggreement.  Add a checkmark to the question at the bottom of the window telling Micosoft that you accept their user agreement.

9.) A new dialogue box will pop up telling you that the installation is complete, just click "ok" and your done.

Creating PDF's in Office 

Now that you have added the pdf plugin to Microsoft the next step is actually creating a pdf. This is the easy part and the only strange part is you don't use the "print" menu like you usually do when creating a pdf from a document, instead you use the "Save as" menu item.

Just go to the "Save as" menu and select "PDF or XPS" from the choices, save your file, and your done.

Feel free to email me with any questions.....

* Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Transfer Picasa Albums to another Google Picasa Account

If you ever create a new Google/Gmail account and want to make this new account link up with your old Picasa Web Albums account from your old Google account than you will soon find out that it is not possible to transfer your Picasa account to a new google account....It is the same thing with Youtube. With Blogger it is easy to transfer blogs to a new Gmail accounts, same thing with Google Calendars. Even Yahoo lets you transfer a Flickr account to a new Yahoo account.

There is however an easy workaround to move your Picasa Web Albums to a new Google/Picasa account.

Here's how:

1.) If you have a Picasa account then you might have already installed the desktop version of Picasa. If not then you will need to download and install Picasa on your computer. You can download Picasa here.

2.) Startup your web browser and login to you old Picasa Web Albums account.

3.) Click on the Album you wish to transfer

4.) Click on the download tab located right above the photos, and select "Download to Picasa"

5.) Depending on the browser a dialogue box may pop up warning you that an external application must be launched. Just click agree, or yes, or launch application, to startup Picasa

6.) A new window will pop up from Picasa asking you if you want to download this album to your computer. Click "Download" and Picasa will open up and start downloading the album

7.) After Picasa has finished downloading the album it should automatically go to the album. If not you can find the downloaded Album in your Pictures folder under "Downloaded Albums" followed by your old Google username and then finally the albums title.

8.) To upload the album to your new Picasa account logout of your old account on both your browser and your desktop Picasa programs. On the desktop program you can see which account, if any you are logged into by looking at the far right hand corner of the application.

9.) Login to your new Picasa account in the Picasa desktop software.

10.) Find the album you just downloaded in the Album list on the left side of the program.

11.) Right click on the album and select "Upload to Web Albums"

12.) A dialogue box will pop up giving you a couple of choices....you can choose to upload the album as is or give the album a new name. I usually just keep the original name, but the choice is yours. You can also choose the image size, again the choice is yours. Finally you can choose from three different privacy options for your albums, Public, Unlisted, and Sign-in required to view.

13.) Click the Upload button and Picasa will upload the photos to your new Picasa account.

That's it....I have found that this method keeps all the original location data, titles and captions. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Add Gmail to Opera's Webmail "Mail to:" feature

I have used Opera for about a year or so, and the new Opera 10 is amazing. One of the neat features of Opera 10 is the way it handles mailto: links....you know those sometimes annoying links that you click and then the browser loads your default Email program....problem is a lot of people use webmail as their primary email client. So when you click one of those mailto: links instead of your webmail program opening up (which is what you want) a program like Windows Mail that you never use pops up, forcing you to copy and paste the address and then open your webmail program.

The way Opera handles mailto: links is, on the first email link you click on after a clean install of Opera the program will ask you if you want to use the default mail program, Opera mail or a webmail service like hotmail. Once you make your selection all the mailto: links you click to in the future will open up in your preferred email or webmail client.

The problem is Gmail is not among the list of web mail providers, but luckily you can add Gmail to the list by making a minor edit to a .ini file....

Here's how:

1.) Shut down Opera

2.) Navigate to C:\Program Files\Opera\defaults

3.) find the file "webmailproviders.ini" and open it in a text editor like notepad

4.) below the final line of text add these lines of code:

           [Gmail.com]
           ID=8
           URL=Https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&to=%t&su=%j&body=%m
           ICON=http://mail.google.com/mail/images/favicon.ico



           [Gmail]
           ID=8
           URL=https://mail.google.com/mail/?
           source=mailto&tf=1&view=cm&fs=1&to=%t&su=%j&body=%m&cc=%k&bcc=%l                 
           ICON=http://mail.google.com/favicon.ico


*I updated this code after getting some feedback that the original code would lock up. This new code came from user "eydaimon" who posted the fix for Gmail to Opera's mailto: feature on Jamie Martin's blog. Thank you Jamie & "eydaimon"

5.) Save the file and restart Opera....now you should be able to select Gmail as your defualt mail provider and whenever you select a mailto: link Opera will automatically open a compose mail page in gmail.

Sources:

misa.ufb.cz - Gmail as a webmail service in Opera 10 blog post
Jamie Martin's - Make Gmail The Default Mailto: Handler In Opera 10 blog postlog post

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Check Hotmail in Gmail

A few people who have migrated  from Gmail to hotmail have wondered if it was possible to have their old hotmail email's forwarded to their gmail account. Unfortunately hotmail can only forward email to other hotmail addresses, but there is another solution.

Recently Microsoft quietly enabled POP3 access for hotmail.....This means you can use Gmails mail fetch feature to go into your hotmail account and fetch your hotmail's email so you can check them in Gmail.

Here's how:

1.) Go into your gmails  settings, by clicking the settings link on the top right hand corner






2.) Click the Accounts and Import tab




3.) Scroll down to "Check mail with POP3" and click the "Add POP3 email account" button




4.) A pop-up window should appear, enter your hotmail address here and push "Next Step"




5.)  A new window will appear. Keep the username as is. Input your hotmail account password. Leave the use SSL box checked. The other check boxes are completely optional select them if you wish.




7.) Click the add account button

8.) A final window will pop up asking you if you want to send mail as your hotmail.com so that emails you reply to from your hotmail will partly look they came from your hotmail address and not your gmail...again the choice is yours






9.) If you select "no" than you can press the finish button....If you choose yes than you will have to follow the usual send mail as instructions...




10.) That's it....over the next few minutes you will slowly see your hotmail emails appearing in your gmail.  Hope this helps...send me an email if you have any questions....


My First Post and Intro

Hello World:

Before I start publishing I just wanted to make a short intro post.

I have a strong desire to share some of some of my knowledge that I have gained from working over the past 14 years in a tech related field with people around the world, and I felt a blog might be the best way to do it. Hopefully a few people out there get to see it.

Overtime I hope my writing skills will improve but for now please understand that I am new to this and I am a tech guy so my writing style might leave a bit to be desired....but I am confident that it will improve.

Also if you have a tech tip that you want to share, but don't know where to share it...then please send me your tips and I will post it...giving you full credit of course and any contact info, web links or whatever credit you desire. You can send your tech tips and questions to the email located in my profile.

Hope you enjoy....

Cheers,

MichaelonTech!