Steve Bass

TechBite: Keyboard Spring Cleaning

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By Steve Bass

My keyboard’s always catching junk — dust, bread crumbs, and unidentifiable schmutz. I know for a fact that a clean keyboard lets me type faster and more intelligently, and more important, lets me finish this newsletter more quickly.

TechBite: 2 Weapons to Fight Spam

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By Steve Bass

I wrote about “plus addressing” years ago in PC World. It’s a trick to spot where spam is coming from and stop it from landing in your inbox. Basically, you use a unique e-mail address when you sign up for a newsletter or Web service. If you start receiving spam at that distinct e-mail address, you know it’s been compromised.

TechBite: JDownloader -Open Source, Free, and Terrific

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By Steve Bass

For years I used FlashGet to download freebie tools and legitimate movies and TV shows. FlashGet works fine, but it just hasn’t kept up with a few innovative — and downright lovely — features in my new favorite…

TechBite: Secret Shopper Scam – Don’t Get Nailed

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By Steve Bass

My mother got a letter from a company in Canada. The cover letter, on decent-looking stationery, and with a real signature, congratulated her for agreeing to be a secret shopper. There were three pages of instructions and an honest-to-goodness Citibank check for $1,500.

The letter said she was to cash the check, use the money to buy items at Sears, Best Buy, and a supermarket, and then rate the stores. On top of that, she could keep whatever she purchased — and get a $300 fee for her time. Sweet, no?

TechBite: 5 Net Tricks to Save You Money

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By Steve Bass

Frugal? Thrifty? No, Cheap!
"You’re a bargain hunter," one of my more polite friends says. My wife’s more to the point: She calls me a cheapskate. I like being frugal, but what do I know? Call me whatever you want (you will anyway), I don’t like paying retail and I’m always looking for a deal, especially when shopping online.

The Internet gives me the chance to comparison shop, see how shipping figures into the price, look over specifications, and feel confident I’ve found the best buy. Here are some of the sites I use.

TechBite: Use the Web to Find Anyone in the World

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By Steve Bass

Find Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime (Almost)

"You find my long-lost buddy and I’ll paint any room in your house." I was talking to a couple of friends about how I had tracked down a wayward YahooGroup moderator.

It was a sweet deal (the kitchen has three colors, lots of cabinets, and needs painting) and I was up for the challenge.

TechBite: 5 Killer Word Tricks

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By Steve Bass

Have It Your Way
Microsoft Word: I can’t think of another application I’d like to have re-written to meet my needs. I’ll kvetch some more another time. Today, I have five tricks to fire up the way you use Word.

TechBite: Stream Movies from Your PC to Your TV

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By Steve Bass

Watch movies on my PC? No way." I was talking to one of my cousins, not one of the brightest bulbs in the family. It took me a few minutes to explain how he could send downloaded movies — as well as other Internet content, such as TV shows — to the TV in his living room.

For the last few months, I’ve tried two devices that sit near your TV and grab video content from your PC. Even in this dreadful economy, neither one I tried is terribly expensive — and there are no monthly charges.

This week I’ll cover the hardware; next week I’ll tell you where to find movies and TV shows on the Internet. I’ll also tell you about a MediaGate portable media player.

TechBite: 14 Smart, Handy & Free Web Sites

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By Steve Bass

I have some Web sites for you that are kick-in-the-butt cool; others are just plain handy, the kind of thing you save for only occasional visits. How about an image resizer and a nifty online walkie-talkie? And I use TimeZone Converter to find out what time it is in Singapore (so I can call my friend at 2:00 a.m. his time to see if he’s in yet from club hopping).

TechBite: 10 More Super-Duper Firefox Extensions

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By Steve Bass

I love it when you write and pass along handy ideas. I received hundreds of messages (okay, 50, but who’s counting) sharing Firefox add-ons, extensions, and tips — and I’m successfully using many of them. Here are some of the most useful of the bunch.

TechBite: 7 Tools to Make Firefox Shine

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By Steve Bass

Firefox users? Clear the decks — I have cool extensions for you to download! Here are a few of the cooler Firefox add-ons I’m using. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think.

TechBite: How’s Your Hard Drive Doing?

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By Steve Bass

Hard drives are about as dependable as a teenager promising to come home by midnight. The more you know about your drive–the brand-specific idiosyncrasies and the diagnostic sounds that drives produce–the better prepared you are for the inevitable crash.

TechBite: Pry Loose Stubborn Programs

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By Steve Bass

You’ve probably noticed that some programs you install never make it to the Windows Add/Remove applet; other apps simply disappear from the list. This week I’ll show you a brute force way to dump those annoying apps into the bit bucket.

TechBite: Save your PCs Bacon – Back up your Registry

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By Steve Bass

System Restore is a recovery tool built into Windows that backs up and restores the Registry. System Restore takes a snapshot of your computer — called a restore point — once a day, as well as before you perform certain tasks, such as installing a new program. If all goes well, you can use a restore point later on to bring your PC back to the state it was in when the snapshot was taken. But remember, we’re talking about computers.