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5 tips for using Priority Inbox


It’s been a week since Gmail launched Priority Inbox, and now that you’ve hopefully had a chance to try it out, Gmail Blog wanted to share some tips to help you manage your email more efficiently. Here are five ways you can make Priority Inbox work even better for you:

1. Customize your sections
By default, Priority Inbox has three sections: “Important and Unread,” “Starred” and “Everything Else.” But that doesn’t mean you have to leave them that way. You can make a section show messages from a particular label (like your “Action” or “To-do” label), add a fourth section, or change the maximum size of any section. Visit the Priority Inbox tab under Settings to customize your sections, or do it right from the inline menus.

2. Train the system
If Gmail makes a mistake, you can help it learn to better categorize your messages. Select the misclassified message, then use the importance buttons at the top of your inbox to correctly mark it as important or not important.

For those of you who can’t live without keyboard shortcuts, don’t worry, you can use the “+” and “-” keys to adjust importance as well.

3. See the best of your filtered messages
You can set up Priority Inbox to show you not just the best of your inbox, but also the best of messages you filter out of your inbox and might otherwise miss. Just change your Priority Inbox settings to “Override filters” and Gmail will surface any important messages that would otherwise skip your inbox.

With this option turned on, you can use filters to archive more aggressively and worry less about missing an important message.

4. Use filters to guarantee certain messages get marked important (or not)
If you read and reply to a lot of messages from your mom, Gmail should automatically put incoming messages from her in the “Important and unread” section. But if you want to be 100% sure that all messages from your mom (or your boss, boyfriend, client, landlord, etc.) are marked important, you can create a filter for messages from that sender and select “Always mark as important.” Similarly, if you regularly read messages from your favorite magazine, they should automatically get marked as important. If you’d rather they end up in the “Everything else” section, you can create a filter to never mark them as important.

5. Archive unimportant messages quickly
One of the features that can help make you more efficient is the ability to archive all of the visible messages in the “Everything Else” section at once. Just click on the down arrow next to “Everything Else” and select the “Archive all visible items” option. If you want to be able to archive even more messages at once, you can increase the maximum number of messages that show in that section from the same drop-down.

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How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook


How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook With Facebook’s ever-growing popularity, it’s not surprising that fake accounts are after your online friendship. Here are some tips for detecting and avoiding friend spam.

Check Recent Activity

How to Avoid Friend Spam on FacebookWhen you receive a friend request and you’re not sure if it’s real, check the person’s profile to see their recent activity. If they’ve added an inordinate amount of friends very recently, there’s a good chance they’re spam.

Do You Have Friends in Common?

How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook One good thing Facebook does to help you out is let you know who else is friends with anybody else. If you don’t know who someone is but your friend approved the request, send them a message to find out before you add this person to your list. Perhaps your friends know them and can give you some background information, or maybe they just added him or her arbitrarily. Either way, it’s a quick means of finding out who might be at the other end of the request.

Be Wary of Suggested Friends

How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook
People You May Know is Facebook’s way of identifying some possibly worthwhile friends. While it’s been pretty accurate for me about half the time, the other half is filled with people who seem to have sprouted out of nowhere. Inevitably you’re going to have a friend who has a friend who’s really just spam. As a result, you’re going to get friend spam suggestions here and there. Be sure to check out people you don’t know before you add them.

Be Wary of Actual Friends

How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook
While a lot less common, spammers have actually taken data from real people and repurposed it in a fake account. When you receive a friend request from somebody you know, it takes about ten seconds to visit their page and see if anything looks a little off. If it does, send them a message first and make sure it’s really them. Chances are this isn’t going to be an issue you run into very often, if ever, but it’s always a good idea to check out friend requests before you approve them.

Validate Your Identity

How to Avoid Friend Spam on Facebook
A more extreme measure, mysafeFriend is a Facebook app that lets you validate your identity so friends know it’s you. Of course, they can’t truly know for sure, but it’s a more secure way of proving your identity. You just add the app to Facebook, click the big red “Validate Your Identity Now” button, and go through the first three levels. To validate further will cost some money, which seems to be their business model, but the first three levels are free and should be sufficient to prove that you are who you are. If your friends do this as well, you can be more confident that you’re dealing with real people. Of course, this is quite a bit of work on everyone’s part and is a pretty extreme measure for avoiding friend spam.


Got any great tips for avoiding Facebook friend spam? Let’s hear ’em in the comments.

PC health check


An essential guide to improving your computer’s performance.

A computer hard drive

Clearing out your computer’s hard drive can improve its performance

As time goes by, your computer’s performance can start to suffer as lots of different programs and websites fill up its working areas, and every so often they need a good clear-out.

It is just like servicing a car, and as such there can be quite a bit to remember.

All operating systems work best when at least 20% of the drive is kept free. You can make room by deleting unwanted photos, music and documents or by archiving your data on to removable storage like writable CDs.

Alternatively, with the cost of hard drives falling all the time, try buying a second drive to store your documents separately to the operating system.

DEFRAGGING YOUR HARD-DRIVE

Over time your hard drive can become disorganised with some files split into several chunks and stored in different locations on the disc. Defragging will shuffle the data around to store it more efficiently and improve access times.

Microsoft Windows has a good defrag tool built in, but make sure you have quit all other applications before hitting the Defragment button. This is a long and boring process, so have a cup of tea at the ready.

Apple says that its systems are less susceptible to disc fragmentation but nevertheless there are commercial defrag programmes available for the Apple Mac.

CACHE CLEAN-UP

Every time you load a webpage your browser will save it to your hard drive, meaning it is quicker to load on your next visit.

But this dump of pictures and text can become very large so follow your browser’s options to delete the cache or, as Microsoft Internet Explorer prefers to call it, your Temporary Internet Files.

MEMORY MANAGEMENT

To run smoothly, applications need plenty of short term memory – or RAM – so investing in another gigabyte or two will give you an instant boost.

But because the amount of RAM you have is finite, keep an eye on how many applications you have got open at any one time and quit any you are not using.

And on that note, check which programmes run automatically when your machine starts up.

In Microsoft Windows this is set in the System Configuration Utility. You can find this by going into the Help and Support Centre and selecting Tools. On an Apple Mac, right-click an icon in the dock and un-tick Open at Login.

SPYWARE

Not only does spyware put your personal data at serious risk but it also hijacks some of your processing power.

Windows users can use Microsoft’s Defender to clear out these dodgy programmes. but other spyware detectors are available for both the Apple Mac and PC.

They all work in the same way by searching your system and removing any offending data.

DRIVER UPDATES

Downloading the latest drivers for your hardware could give you a noticeable speed boost, especially if you have not done it since your machine left the shop.

POWER DOWN

Despite what you might think, the off button on the front of your machine is unlikely to be connected to the power supply, so pressing it might send your system to sleep rather than turning it off.

To change this, go into the Control Panel where you can find Power Options. In here you can configure what a thumb to the off button actually does: sleep or shutdown.

Get Notified When Your Facebook Account Gets Hacked


These days hackers and some other are so smart that may steal your account passwords and you never get to know about it, as they keep on logging to your account from other computers without your knowledge and peek into your account without your permission.

facebook allows larger pictures

In order to get rid to this worry that whether some one else is using your Facebook account, you should better enable the security option in Facebook which allows you to register your computers and mobile phone from where you access your Facebook account.

So, if any one else login to your account from some other computer other than the registered one or the some other mobile phone other than your registered mobile phone you will get notified via email.

Follow the procedure below which shows how to enable this security feature in Facebook

1. Login to Facebook in any Internet browser

2. Go to Facebook Account Settings

3. Locate Account Security under Settings and click Change and the check yes to enable this feature and click submit button.

4. Next time you login to Facebook it will ask you register your computer, you will need to enter your PC name.

Note: Now when someone else login to your account, you will get notified via email and via SMS also if you are subscribed for it.

Create Synchronicity Is a Tiny, Portable Backup and Sync Utility


Create Synchronicity Is a Tiny, Portable Backup and Sync Utility Windows only: Portable, open-source backup utility Create Synchronicity is a tiny but powerful way to run backups or synchronize folders on your system, an external drive, or to another PC on your network.

Once you’ve launched the utility, you’ll need to click on the New Profile icon and type in a name for the profile, which will open up the settings window where you can choose the source and destination folders and choose the other options you might want. Once you’re done, you can easily run the backup profile, or setup scheduling options to happen automatically. Create Synchronicity is free and open source, works on Windows systems only.

Thumb drive tips and tricks


Any ordinary USB memory device can do a lot more than you probably thought it could. It can carry programs, encryption and even a full installation of Windows XP! Here is our list for the ten coolest things you can do with a USB thumb drive:

Take your programs with you

We all know how frustrating it is when we take your files to another computer just to discover that the software required to read the files is not installed.

Here’s the simplest solution – take your programs with you – on your USB thumb drive. Here’s how to do it with Portable Apps:

1. Go to the Portable Apps website and download the installer, choosing the software you want to carry along.

2. Run the installer and install the software to the root of your USB thumb drive.

And you’re done! As soon as you connect your thumb drive into a computer, Portable Apps will open up automatically.


Surf anonymously

With Portable Apps and Firefox, you can surf the web without leaving any trace on the computer you are using. If you want extra security, install a Firefox security plugin such as FoxyProxy. To put Firefox onto the drive, just copy-paste the Firefox folder from you computer, or install Firefox onto the thumb drive.

Set a program to run automatically (autorun)

Using autorun, you can set a program to start-up automatically when you connect the drive to a computer. You can also use the same script for a data CD-ROM. Note that some computers have autorun disabled for security purposes. [Here’s how to disable autorun.]

Open up notepad and paste the following script:

[autorun]

ShellExecute=filename

Label=description

UseAutoPlay=1

Make sure you replace filename with the full path to the file. For example, a file called program.exe in a folder called “programs” on the thumb drive would be /programs/program.exe

Replace description with a short description of the program, for example, My Jukebox or Mozilla Firefox.

Save the file as autorun.inf, making sure you select “All Programs” from the save menu, not “Text document”!

Help! I’m lost!

Ever lost a USB drive? Even if you haven’t, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll lose a few during your life. And with all the important information on it, it could be a disaster to have it fall into someone’s hands.

A good idea is to encrypt all the information on the drive, but you would still want it back, wouldn’t you? Luckily, the folks at the Daily Cup Of Tech have come up with a solution.

Save a program called “Help! I’m Lost!” on the drive, that a finder just can’t get around opening. The program opens a message box with your personal “I’m lost” message. It’s a good idea to offer the finder a bigger reward than the drive itself, so that they’ll be interested in contacting you.

Hide the drive inside something

Why not surprise your friends and co-workers by sticking something that looks like a broken USB cable into the computer’s USB drive?

You’ll be sure to get a few shocked faces when you start to play a movie from it.

The guys from Technobuzz.net show us how to do it. (You are gonna need an unbelievably small thumb drive for this…)

Secure your PC

Just like with an RFID badge, you can use a USB drive to lock and unlock a PC. Insert it to begin working and pull it out when you’ve finished, locking the computer. There are several programs for this . Rohos, a commercial program and WiKID, a semi-open source one.

If you really need to secure your computer with a USB drive, I suggest you give Rohos a try, as WiKID is rather complicated.

Portable jukebox

Don’t just carry the music with you, also carry the player! You can install audio programs such as WinAmp and CoolPlayer+ on your thumb drive. Just extract the ZIP folders to the USB drive.

If you want the jukebox to start-up automatically when you connect the memory stick to the computer, use the autorun feature shown tip 3 and point it to the .exe of your audio player.

Encrypt your data

If you carry any sensitive information on your USB memory stick, a good idea is to encrypt it. Hardware-level encryption will help, but it will cost extra. You can get a free program to encrypt your data just as securely. For this I recommend TrueCrypt, but most others will also do.

You will need admin access on the computer you want to use your encrypted thumb drive on, so this it’s usability a little.

Run a standalone OS for dedicated tasks

The easiest OS to boot from a USB drive is probably Linux. There are many small capacity Linux versions out there that will fit on your drive. The best 3 are Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Webconverger.

Make sure you select a version that needs less space than your USB drive’s maximum, so you have room for files and software.

And this leads us nicely to the final tip…

Run Windows itself from a USB thumb drive
Modifying Windows to work on a USB drive is quite difficult, but luckily there are some tools that will do it for us. Note that you will need a separate Windows license for this, as Microsoft only lets you use one for each single computer, and a USB drive is treated by them like a computer…

What you’ll need:

  1. A licensed copy of Windows
  2. A USB device, min. 1GB (We recommend a USB hard disk, as a flash memory stick will become unusable after 100000 writing processes. Assuming that only 2 processes are used per second, the drive will last only 60 days with 8 hours of work each day… A hard disk doesn’t have this problem.)

Here is the link to the full tutorial, translated from German.

No more “Send report to microsoft”.


Ever wondered how to get rid of a big dialog box which says “Send error report to Microsoft”. Thanks to a very good fellow of mine for sharing a way to disable this stupid feature of windows XP.

Open control panel

Click on performance and Maintenance.

Click on System.

Then click on the Advanced tab

Click on the error reporting button on the bottom of the window.

Select Disable error reporting.

Click OK
and then again
Click OK .

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