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10 Forums You Can Go to For Technology Help

10 Forums You Can Go to For Technology Help

    Christmas is fast approaching, and alongside the most famous holiday of the year comes a fresh batch of very confused people. Very confused people gifted with strange gadgets the likes of which they’ve only seen in catalogues and sci-fi reruns. Perhaps we’re talking about a grandmother with a new digital camera she can’t figure out how to turn on, and perhaps we’re talking about someone pretty tech literate who needs to know something more advanced. It doesn’t matter — the only prerequisite for getting value out of this list is that the individual knows how to post a question on a forum, as this is a list of places you can go to for help when your electricity-sucking gifts start taking on a mind of their own.

    1. PC Hardware

    Can’t find your new PC’s “On” switch or need to figure out how to get a few memory slots upgraded? Popular tech hardware site, HotHardware, has a forum with a section dedicated to free tech support on all things to do with PC guts. Judging by the number of “my PC won’t turn on!” posts, it could be that time of year already. Be clear about your computer’s symptoms and what steps you are taking in order to try and achieve the desired result when asking for help.

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    2. Apple Hardware

    If you’ve got a new iMac or Macbook for Christmas and need some assistance, the most logical place to go would probably be the very helpful Apple Support Forums. Unfortunately my past experience with certain other companies taught me to ignore the manufacturer’s own forums as a source of good information, so I found that Mac Rumors had a helpful hardware forum, but now I’m inclined to believe that this is one of few situations where the official forums are the best forums.

    3. Windows

    So you went to some suspiciously NSFW website and came out with a bad rash and a bucketload of spyware, or you’re using Windows Vista (enough said). Or you need help with network configuration, which seems to be one area where any version of Windows is a real pain in situations that involve anything more than one modem and an Ethernet cable. Tech Support Guy has Vista and XP forums, and heck, even Windows 95 and 98 forums (though I won’t link to them, simply because I think you’re due for a better Christmas present!).

    4. Mac OS X

    Like I said before, Apple runs decent forums, but the forums at Mac OS X Hints are great, too. The site’s membership has a higher ratio of geeks-to-newbs because of the blog’s type of content that tricky questions can be ironed out in a jiffy. While you’re over there, I think any new OS X user really should subscribe to the blog, since there are so many great ideas there and often there are answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, but needed to know.

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    5. Linux

    Linux can be tricky for the newbie, but it’s also becoming more popular as a pre-loaded option on many computers, including the EeePC—exactly the type of computer that is likely to end up in the stocking thanks to its price range. For those of you giving one of the many flavors—or “distributions”—of the open source operating system a shot, then Linux Questions is a good place to start, since it makes a strong effort to cater to absolute beginners.

    6. iPod and iPhone

    Apple’s iPod and iPhone have become increasingly popular gifts over the years, especially from that relative who seems to be hoarding a hidden wealth that pops out for a visit around this time of year. They’re not the cheapest gifts but they do make good ones. There are many places to go for help regarding these devices, but perhaps the best belong to the venerable iLounge, long the most popular website pertaining to such devices. iLounge’s forum section is here.

    7. Xbox and Playstation

    I’m willing to bet there will be more than a few consoles under the tree for boys aged 8 to 80 this year, and most likely they’ll be either the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3. The reputable gaming network IGN’s Xbox-oriented site, TeamXbox, has a very active forum, while those with new Playstations can head to PS3Forums which is equally active.

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    8. HDTV

    If you got a HDTV for Christmas, it was probably a gift from yourself, or an angry spouse who wanted an excuse to use your high interest credit card. CNET has a forum for home audio and video which is mostly focused on HDTVs, since these days it’s hard to get an old CRT clunker anywhere except a second-hand store. There’s also a dedicated Samsung forum, which seems to be the most commonly purchased brand of HDTV (there are no survey numbers involved in that statement — just an eyeball of my own and my friend’s living rooms).

    9. Digital Cameras

    A digital camera is something we intend to get over the next few weeks, since we’ve decided that taking iPhone pictures of our two kids is not going to provide warm fuzzies ten years down the track, but rather pixelated fuzzies. It can be a confusing market when it comes to the purchase alone, and though I’m at home when it comes to technology in general, controlling cameras and microwaves have a strange tendency to throw me off. Lurking at Digital Camera Resource’s forum has proven helpful enough, and I imagine posting your questions there would be helpful too.

    10. Networking

    So routers and modems are not usually the first thing on your list when you rush out to get someone a gift, but considering the fact that just about any device you bring into your home these days will have some sort of networking capability—whether it’s the Ethernet on a wifi-crippled Xbox or an Apple TV’s wireless networking—problems are waiting to happen. Networking is one of those areas where the average consumer is, by and large, just as confused as ever. PracticallyNetworked is a useful and oft-referred website with a helpful forum that might prove helpful when you just can’t get the damned (insert device) to acquire an IP address.

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    Search is Your Friend

    I always try to seek out answers to my problems without posting a question on a forum. Sometimes I’m stubborn enough to search for days before caving, and I ask questions only two or three times a year when I have to.

    Part of that is just me being a stubborn male. Part of that, however, is simple etiquette. Search, with Google or some other search engine, to see if there’s an answer out there on the web already. If that fails, once you’ve found a forum, search there and see if Google missed anything from the archives.

    It’s considered rude and ignorant to ask a question that has been answered many times before, but mostly it’s just lazy, and a bad habit to pick up. Don’t be afraid to exercise some resourcefulness and find the answers to your questions on your own before piping up for yourself.

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    Published on September 20, 2018

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

    Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

    In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

    Minimizing Tabs

    Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

    Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

    Incognito Mode

    Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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    1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
    2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
    3. Download extension New Incognito Window

    This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

    Save Webpages as PDF Files

    Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

    Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

    Open Recently-closed Tabs

    Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

    One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

    The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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    Solve Mathematical Problems

    Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

    For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

    Play Media Files

    Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

    In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

    Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

    With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

    Stay Focus(e)d

    Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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    Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

    With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

    This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

    Grammarly for Editing

    Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

    You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

    Loom

    There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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    There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

    With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

    Chrome Calendar Extension

    No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

    Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

    Final Thoughts

    Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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