Turning Off the Technology: How a tech unplugs

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Being a tech is hard on the mind and the body.  A majority of the job keeps you connected the computer for a large portion of your day. Whether it is working issues or researching more about an industry that is ever-changing and evolving every week, being so connected is a blessing and a curse. Keeping up with technology is like trying to win a marathon on a treadmill.  You are definitely making progress on improving yourself, but it is a race that has no end.  Living in world full of social media websites, blogs from all your favorite personalities, or just finding that next cat video to share with your office, it can easily turn from a way to pass the time into a routine that you don’t even know you have.

Until you miss a few days.

I often find it beneficial to “disconnect,” a term I mean to be synonymous with turning off your gadgets, disconnecting from the internet, and looking out a window instead of a pc monitor.  Otherwise, eventually, you will get burned out.

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I enjoy hiking, camping, and just working up a sweat in the mountains.  My personal disconnect is going backpacking.  Backpacking is essentially just planning a hike that will take days, weeks, or even months to finish.  I am still very new to it, but it is quickly turning into a well-looked-forward-to event every year.

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James, standing – third from left, with fellow hikers on a 4-day/25-mile/tech-free hike in July 2014. The only electronics they bring on these trips are a gps and walkie talkie for emergencies and a flashlight.

Ironically, the guys I plan the trip with are also in tech fields. They are just as eager to wander around in the woods as I am. There is just something about staring at the stars from the tops of mountains that can really re-align you. Looking around at the world (instead of at your mobile every minute to check your emails, text, and notification) is jarring and strange at first for the tech junkie, but a few days into it you could care less.

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That is just my way of disconnecting.  Yours doesn’t have to be as drastic, by any means.  Small things count, too. Plan to take a walk or run around a lake once a week, maybe even  twice a month have a “No Power” family day where you turn off the mobiles, televisions, computer and play board games.  Reclaim your imagination!

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Microsoft Surface Hidden Keyboard Commands

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The Microsoft Surface is a truly powerful and portable device. However the surface type cover is definitely created to be a portable accessory.  It is a compact and space-saving keyboard; and anyone who is used to a regular sized keyboard will immediately notice it is missing common keys.

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Some compromises had to be made for the Surface Pro and Surface RT’s keyboards. As is the case with many portable devices, space is at a premium, and certain non-essential keys had to be shifted to secondary function positions or dropped altogether.

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Using the FN key you have access to a lot of the functions that are not immediately apparent. The FN key will allow to access the functions on the “F” keys that will give options such as search, charm bar, and volume control, however there are more option than you may know.

 

Fn + Del – Increase screen brightness

Fn + Backspace – Decrease screen brightness

Fn + Left – Home

Fn + Right – End

Fn + Up – Page Up

Fn + Down – Page Down

 

ARGH Java update pop up go away!

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The problem when you go to the control panel and disable Java updates when you close the window if you go back it is re-enabled, not sure why they would even have that if it doesn’t work.
I manage a lot of computers that reset themselves when the user logs of or the computer is rebooted, the java update popup is just an annoying waste of time for those users. For these I need to update when I say.
Also some of my equipment that I manage works best with old java and browser, I know there are work rounds but I have my own, I have a virtual desktop that I run what I need and it is okay since I only use it for certain task. Otherwise you should probably keep things up to date.

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Using Explorer locate the java control panel (javacpl.exe)

The javacpl.exe file for 32-bit Windows Vista and higher is located at.

C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\javacpl.exe, or
C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\bin\javacpl.exe, depending on the Java release   you’re using.

For Windows Vista x64, Windows 7 x64 or Windows 8 x64 you should instead   look for:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre6\bin\javacpl.exe, or
C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin\javacpl.exe
Now
Right click the javacpl.exe and run with admin privileges.
Uncheck java update, save and then reopen it to check that the setting is   sticking.

 

iPhone LED Flash alerts for an On-call phone

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If you have an important iPhone that requires constant attention, then this feature is for you! You can now enable LED Flash Alerts to bring in 3 senses into notifications. You can now hear, feel, and see all notifications for calls, texts, and alarms. I am posting this information because a friend showed me and I didn’t know about it….and I know everything.

Tired of keeping track of paper receipts for business travel?

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NeatReceipts, is a really cool tool that can help out any traveling business person. The companies name is Neat, and their products are amazing! Personally, I don’t know how anyone who travels on business can live without one of these. What is all the fuss about?

NeatReceipts is a digital filing system. The paper world can be cluttered with receipts, contracts, billings, files, etc…. What NeatReceipts offers is a way to help keep track of everything in a convenient digital filling system. The device is slim and lightweight, and will fit easily into a briefcase, bag, or carry-on. This device does not require AC power, just plug its USB into your computer and it’s good to go. The company Neat brings scanned documents to life, using intelligent text recognition technology to read and understand key information, and then automatically organizes what it sees. The resulting digital files are useful and useable, very easy to find and extremely easy to access including sharing.

Neat can read and extract information from whatever you scan. Recipts then become digital records with vendors and amounts, business cards become digital contacts, and documents become fully keyword searchable. This software is also able to create tax or expense reports with your receipt data, or even export to Excel, Turbotax and Quicken. Also, this can sync with your contacts or address book. You can easily find what you need with a keyword, and organize it however you like.

Scanner Specs:
Scans in color, greyscale, or B&W CIS
USB powered, no external power supply needed
600 dpi maximum resolution
Scans approximately 3-4 receipts per minute
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) + Intelligent Text Recognition (ITR)
Accepts paper sizes from 1” x 1” to 8.5” x 30”
Scanner Dimensions: 10.8”W x 1.6”D x 1.3”H
Weight: 10.6 oz

System Requirements:

For Windows:
Microsoft® Windows® XP , Vista® or Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)
Pentium® IV 2.0+ GHz or faster (Dual Core recommended)
1 GB RAM; 2 GB highly recommended
1 GB hard disk space to install
CD-ROM drive or DVD drive required for installation
Available USB port For Mac:
Mac computer
1 GB of RAM; 4 GB recommended
Mac OS X v10.6 or later
650 MB of available disk space for installation, 1 GB recommended for
user data
CD-ROM or DVD drive required for installation
Available USB port