Tutorial: Navigating Windows 8

Windows 8 has been released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Microsoft has a lot riding on this newest operating system and it is certainly not the Windows you are used to. Today, I would like to show you around the new Windows 8, and point out some of the differences you should expect when this becomes the standard starting this fall.

start screen

Pictured above, is the “Start” screen in Windows 8. As you can tell it is a radical departure from the typical Windows you are accustomed to. Windows 8 is designed with the tablet in mind. That is why you see the brightly colored tiles on the main screen. The screen is designed to be easily usable on a tablet or touch screen computer. On the “Start” screen, Microsoft made some assumptions about the type of apps people commonly use.  Your not stuck with these “Tiles” as the start screen is fully customizable. In the upper right corner there is an icon where you can customize it to show your picture. Each corner of the screen has a purpose to help you navigate around. If you put your mouse in any corner it will show you a different menu. You may be accustomed to Windows having a little “Start” button in the lower left corner of the screen. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can kiss that little guy goodbye. Instead of a “Start’ button, you get a start screen. That is the first and fundamental thing you need to grasp when dealing with Window 8.

Below, you can see where I zoomed in a little on the “Start” screen. One of the “Tiles” is labeled “Desktop”. If you click this tile it will put the computer in desktop mode. This is good news for those of you who are used to Windows XP.

Desktop Mode

In the image below, you can see what it looks like when you go into desktop mode. Notice what I I have highlighted. You’ll probably notice more what is missing. The old start menu button is gone!

No Start Menu

So how do you get around? Well, there are lots of ways to get around. I will try to show you a few of them. Microsoft introduced a new menu bar called the “Charm Bar” with Windows 8. You can see this pictured below. To get the “Charm Bar”, you position your mouse in the upper right corner of the screen and the bar will appear. There are several options on the “Charm Bar”. To answer a really big question I know you’re gonna have, if you want to see all your programs, click the “Search” charm on the “Charm Bar”. From the “Search” charm you will see a list of all your “apps” (programs are so 90’s). The “Share” charm can only be used in the “Start” screen mode. For instance, if you’re viewing a web page from the start screen, you can share it using the “Share” charm. The “Start” charm will take you to the “Start Screen” when you click it. The “Devices” charm is also not to be used in “Desktop” mode. It is supposed to be an easy way to send files to a printer or other device. The “Settings” charm is basically the control panel for the computer.

Charm Bar

If you position your mouse in the bottom left corner of the screen, you will get the “Start Screen” button, pictured below. This lets you toggle back and forth between the desktop and the “Start Screen”.

Start Button

Remember the old key combination of Alt + Tab? Well, that works for Windows 8 too, see picture below. It is actually a pretty easy way to go between things you have open.

Alt + Tab

Trying not to overload you here, I will let this be my last explanation for this tutorial. If you position your mouse in the upper left corner of the screen, you will see a small window representing an app window that you have open. If you leave your mouse hugging the left side of the screen and begin to move down, you will see a black bar with all the active apps listed. You can click the active app to go to it. You can right-click the active app and you can close it from there. A picture of what I describe can be seen below.

active app

This is just one of many tutorials to come. I hope you have enjoyed it and please feel free to ask any questions you have. As you can see, Windows 8 is radically different. I feel for all the IT organizations who are facing any kind of large scale deployment of Windows 8 because it is so different. Keep checking back with us as we continue to inform you of all the latest tips and tricks.

How to Enable Two-step Verification for Dropbox

Dropbox has been under fire more than once for their inability to protect user’s data. But now it looks like they are finally improving their security. Dropbox has now added an option to use two step authentication for all of its users. Here’s how to enable it.

First, login to your Dropbox account and open their Security page.

You will find a new option to enable two-step authentication in the bottom as shown below. It will be disabled at the moment. Click Change.

You will have to enter your password to proceed. Then you will see a webpage overlay like shown below. Click Get Started.

You can  choose to receive the authentication codes as text messages to your phone. Alternately, if you own a smartphone, you can use an authenticator app to generate authentication codes locally. Select the desired option and click ‘Next’.

Now if you selected the option to receive code via text message, enter your mobile number or if you chose to use the authenticator app, scan the provided QR code using any supported authenticator app.

When done, click ‘Finish’. You have now enabled two step verification for Dropbox.

You will have to download and install the Dropbox application for your OS again with the latest versions that support 2-factor authentication.

Self Refilling Ink In Printer Cartridges

Inkjet printers, are rather common in households and small scale offices. These printers are cheap because the technology used in them is cheap — ink spraying. There are cartridges filled with ink and an electrical circuit to control which pores are opened and which are not. And it generates the characters and images on the paper.

Why you should refill ink in the cartridges yourself?

Because, it’s cheaper, and you do it properly. A lot of shops can be found offering cartridge refilling services, but they charge like $1 or more for refilling a cartridge and don’t do it properly. I’ve often had to buy new cartridges due them filling poor quality ink and choking or spoiling the electrical circuits.

The refill kit is available for around $10 and half a litre of black ink costs around the same, $10. So if you calculate, you can refill the cartridge 50 times (assuming each refill takes 10mL) and the cost per refill comes out to be $0.4, including the equipment cost as well. If you don’t include that, then it’s $0.2. Very cheap!

Refilling cartridges may void warranty of your printer, so you better check with manufacturer’s terms before attempting this.

For the environment enthusiasts, I would like to point out that refilling cartridges is environment friendly — because every time you buy a new cartridge, the product has gone through various industrial processes, new plastic is used, etc. Also, when you dump your old cartridge in garbage, it simply goes into dumping grounds and as you might be knowing, plastic takes ages to decay, so why not recycle it?

As of writing this, I myself have refilled my printer’s black cartridge about 5 times, which means I saved $15 * 5 – $20 = $55.

Some printers have detachable print heads and others have non-detachable print heads. In printers with detachable print heads, the electrical circuits to control pores along with the ink supply are enclosed in one single detachable part (that’s why detachable head). In printers with non-detachable heads, the electrical circuits to control pores are fixed with the printer, while the ink supply is a different unit and can be replaced.

If you have a printer with a non-detachable print head, make sure that you buy good quality ink, otherwise the pores could get blocked and would cost you a lot to get it repaired. You should be concerned about the ink quality even with detachable print heads, because the print heads cost around $12 or above, depending on the quantity of ink, the make, and other factors. You don’t want to spend on new cartridges because the pores got choked due to bad quality ink, do you? But in general, if you have a printer with a detachable print head, you’re on a safer side, in the sense that you can buy a new original cartridge if for some reason the one you’re using gets choked.

Enough of discussion about print heads and stuff, now let’s come to the point — how do you refill the cartridges?

In this article I’ll be covering the refill process only for detachable heads due to certain limitations, which should give you an idea about refilling non-detachable heads as well. It’s quite simple, there are holes provided to inject ink into the cartridge. The photo below is of a HP 21 cartridge (black). The top sticker has been removed and you can clearly see the hole.

Color cartridges have three holes instead of one, because they contain inks of three different colors – Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. If you want to refill color cartridges, you have to buy inks of all three colors separately. To refill the cartridge, you simply need a syringe, a needle and a bottle of ink. Yes, that’s it! But, as I stated earlier, refill kits are available, which do a much better job. They come with a syringe and a blunt needle, so that you don’t inject ink into yourself! Also, a case (box) to carry out the process so that spilling does not occur. Below is a photo of the ink refill kit I bought from eBay.

The process is very simple. You fill the syringe with ink and then inject it very slowly into the cartridge. If you bought a refill kit, then follow the kit’s instructions.

That’s all, enjoy refilling and saving the money as well the environment :)

How To Reverse Mouse Scroll Direction in Mac OS X

I have been a Windows user for probably all my life, but started using Mac a few years ago. While I never required to use an external mouse with my Mac earlier on, I did find the need for one when I started using the Mac for longer periods.

On Windows, a mouse with a scroller will scroll the page in the direction the mouse wheel is scrolled, for example; the page will scroll down when you scroll the mouse wheel downwards and vice versa. However, Apple uses something called as natural scrolling direction and scrolls the page in the opposite direction.

If you are someone who is annoyed because of this strange scrolling behavior on a Mac, you can change the settings to make the page scroll in the direction you scroll the mouse wheel in.

To make that change, head over to System Preferences -> Mice and then uncheck the box next to “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating” (In older Mac OS X versions, this would be the checkbox next to “Natural” scrolling”.

Once you uncheck the box, the page will scroll in the direction of the mouse wheel and not the opposite direction.

How To Uninstall Office 2013 Consumer Preview

Microsoft revealed the newest version of Office; which is available as a free download (Office 2013 Offline Installer Download). Office 2013 is a souped up version of and uses the Metro interface.

Also Read: Office 2013 Review | Office 2013 Screenshot Tour

While Office 2013 can work simultaneously with earlier versions of Office including Office 2010, there might be reasons where you might want to uninstall it. Uninstalling Office 2013 is pretty simple, however, with Office 2013, Microsoft introduced a new feature where they restrict a single install to 5 computers. So you will also have to deactivate a PC online when you uninstall Office 2013 from your PC.

Deactivate Office 2013 - 365 Online

The first step in uninstalling Office 2013 is to go to https://officepreview.microsoft.com/en-us/MyAccount.aspx (this link will change for future versions) and sign in with your account. Once you have done that, click on the Deactivate link next to the PC you are uninstalling Office 2013. Deactivating the PC will allow  you to install Office 2013 on another PC.

Uninstall Office 2013 365

After you have deactivated the PC, you can open Control Panel -> Programs -> Uninstall a program and look for an entry named “Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Preview” and click on the “Uninstall” button.

Confirm Uninstall for Office 2013 365

Once you have done that, a new dialog will pop up asking you whether you want to really uninstall the product. Click on the “Uninstall” button in that dialog to perform the uninstallation.

After the uninstallation has been complete, you can check if your older Office products work or run the Repair tool accompanying that product to fix the errors.

Find if Your Yahoo/Phandroid Account Was Compromised in Recent Hacks

Of late there have been several instances of big websites being hacked and usernames and passwords being leaked into the wild. The most recent cases being that of Yahoo, where 450K email passwords were hacked released on the internet and the popular forum Phandroid.

Should I Change My Password

While it is annoying that you have to change your passwords for no fault of yours, it is definitely necessary to do it and save yourself from further compromise. If you are someone who wants to only change your password if your account was compromised, a previously mentioned service called “Should I Change My Password” will definitely come in handy.

Should I Change My Password will check your email address against a database of compromised email addresses and let you know if your email has been compromised. The service also provides a feature where they can alert you if your email gets compromised in future attacks.

Should I Change Password

Currently the service has a database of 11.78 million compromised email addresses stored in their database, so there is a good chance that you might find your email there.

If you find your email in their database, you might want to change your password immediately. As an advice, don’t use lousy passwords like these. It only takes a few minutes to create strong passwords. If you need help in creating them, check out how to easily create strong passwords or use tools to generate strong passwords.

(h/t Life Hacker)

Tutorial – PowerPoint 2010 Basics Lesson 8: Building a Logo in PowerPoint

This is lesson 8 in a series of PowerPoint Tutorials I have been doing. If you are interested in the previous lessons and would like to catch up, see the Table of Contents at the bottom of this post. In our last lesson, we played with shapes a little. We learned how to use the rotation handle to turn a text box 90 degrees. We also inserted a horizontal scroll shape and added text to it. Today, I would like to play with shapes a little more, but with a different purpose in mind. Today we’re going to use PowerPoint to create our own custom logo.

Pictured below, you can see the logo that we’re going to build in this lesson. In doing this, you will learn several different concepts when it comes to working with shapes and graphics.

Sample Logo

First, let’s add a new blank slide to our presentation. Now, let’s add some shapes to our slide. From the “Shape” menu on the ribbon, select the “Oval” shape. It should be listed under the heading “Basic Shapes”. Now, by clicking and dragging, draw an oval about half the size of the slide. It should look something like what is pictured below.

first oval

Now, draw a second oval that covers the majority of the slide. Don’t worry about hiding the oval you already have. We’ll get that all straightened out here in a second. You should see something like I have pictured below.

Second Oval

Now I know that you are probably concerned that your little oval is now covered up. This is no big deal as it is still there. You have to think of these shapes as layers, kind of like a sandwich. You can change this order at will. First, let’s change the color of this second oval to something darker. Double-click the middle of the big oval. This should highlight a “Format” tab on the ribbon. Now, find the tool that says “Shape Fill” and select a dark blue color from that dropdown. Under “Shape Outline” select “No Outline”. Now, let’s get our little oval to the front. The way we’re going to do this is by right clicking the big oval, find the menu option that says “Send to Back” and then select “Send to Back”.

send back

Now you should see the lighter colored oval in the front. Now my little oval is way too small so I am going to resize it by clicking it, grabbing the corner dots, and dragging them out to resize the shape. Go ahead and give this a try. Try to make it just slightly smaller than your big oval. Once you do this, the next thing to do is get these two ovals aligned center. If you hold the “CTRL” key on your keyboard and then push the letter “A” on your keyboard, this will select all objects on the slide. Once you have everything selected, choose the “Align” button on the ribbon, as seen below.


We’re going to do this twice. First, we will select “Align” and choose “Align Center”. Then, we will choose “Align” and select “Align Middle”. Now everything is perfectly centered on the slide. Referring back to our logo earlier, you will see we have a globe in it. To get this picture, go to “Insert” on the ribbon and choose “Clip Art”. On the right side of the screen you will get a search box. Type “globe” and check to make sure that “photographs” are selected under the “Selected media file types” box. Once you have this set, click “Go”. Now you will see a variety of globe related images. Find the blue globe with gridlines and click it. This will insert the globe into your slide and will probably cover your ovals. Select the globe and shrink its size by using the resize handles, or dots, and shrink it down.

The next issue we have is the globe has a white background. How do we get rid of that? No problem! Double click the globe and look on the ribbon toolbar for a button labeled “Color”. From the “Color” menu select “set transparent color”. Notice your mouse changes. Click on the white area in the picture. Notice all the white background disappears. Now all we need to do is center the globe. Same concept as with the ovals, just click “Align” and then “Align Middle” and “Align Center”.

Last but not least, let’s add our “Techie Training”. Click the “Insert” tab and choose “WordArt”. Select a style that you like. You will see a text box that says “Your Text Here”. Type “Techie Training” in that box. Now, you will notice in my logo, I have the text arched. To achieve this effect, click “Text Effects”, choose “Transform”, then select the “arch up” effect. Once you have the arch, click the edge of your WordArt shape and drag it to the top of the smaller oval. Once everything is in place, do another select all command or ctrl+a. With everything selected, right click the middle of the logo and choose “Group” and then “Group” again from the submenu, as pictured below. Voila! Now you have all the shapes combined together as one unit that all move together. Right click this logo and select “Save picture as” and you can save your new logo as a file on your computer! How cool is that?


Hope you have enjoyed today’s lesson. As always, please feel free to ask questions or send comments.

PowerPoint Basics Table of Contents

How To Change Monitor Orientation in Mac OS X

I am primarily a Windows 7 user and prefer usually multiple monitors while at work. However, I also work with a Mac Book Pro. While I usually never used the MBP in a multi-monitor setup, I have started doing it now.

Display Options from System Preferences

One of the problems I have faced with both Windows 7 and Mac OS X in a multi-monitor setup is that the orientation of the monitor is usually left to right by default and this is a pain when you are connecting a laptop to an external monitor and want to move your mouse between monitors.

I had written a post to change dual monitor position for Windows 7 earlier, if you are a Mac OS X user, you can follow the instructions below to do it on a Mac as well.

Step 1: Open Finder and open up the “System Preferences” from under “Applications”

Step 2: Click on the “Display” option under in the System Preferences window. This will pop up the display options window on all the multi-monitor.

Change Monitor Orientation in Mac OS X

Step 3: Now on the main monitor, click on the “Arrangement” tab and you will see the monitors you have attached to the Mac. Using this screen you can drag and drop the monitor as per your orientation.

That’s it. You can now move your mouse across monitors the way you have set the orientations of the monitor.

Tutorial – PowerPoint 2010 Basics Lesson 7: Inserting Shapes

This is Lesson 7 in a series of tutorials on Microsoft PowerPoint 2010. If you would like to start from the beginning of the series go to the Table of Contents at the end of this page. Previously, we started a new blank presentation, added a blank slide, and inserted a text box. We played with the fonts and backgrounds on the text box as well. Today, I would like to continue by showing you how to insert shapes and manipulate them in different ways.

Last week we inserted a text box and put a background in it. See mine, pictured below.

Text Box

Notice the green circle directly above my name. This is a rotation handle. You first have to have the text box selected to see this. If you put your mouse over it, the mouse turns into a circular arrow. If you click and hold that green dot, then move the mouse to the left and right, you should notice that the box rotates around. You can always hit the undo button if you don’t like the results. Go ahead and rotate your text box 90 degrees and place your name on the right side of the slide, see below.

Rotated Text

Notice the section on the ribbon labeled “Drawing”. There you will see a variety of shapes in a box with a downward pointing arrow to the right.

Drawing Toolbar

As shown below, click the arrow to drop down a selection of shapes you can add to a slide.


Notice that as you put your mouse over the various shapes that a little description pops up over the shape. The shapes are also categorized. Find the category called “Stars and Banners”. In that category select the shape called “Horizontal Scroll”. Your mouse will change into a cross. You can now click and drag across your slide and a shape will be created where you drag.


Notice in the picture above, the scroll is created and filled with a blue color. I am not real happy with the width so to change the width, I will position my mouse over the center dot on the right side of the scroll. Why the center dot? If I choose one of the corner dots, it will resize the entire shape. By clicking the center dot on the right side, and dragging to the right, I can lengthen the scroll.

Lengthened Scroll

Now I have the scroll covering most of my slide. With the scroll selected, as pictured above, start typing the words “Welcome to My Presentation”. Notice that the words are typed directly on the shape, but are very tiny. If you select the words on the shape, you will get a font box, as pictured below.


Go ahead and select the text and choose a different size, such as 40. Now the words are nice and large across the scroll. Now, let’s add some pizzazz to the words. With the words selected, click the “Text Effects” dropdown on the ribbon toolbar, as pictured below. Under the “Text Effects” menu, choose “Reflection”, then choose a reflection style.


Notice the subtle, yet effective contribution the reflection makes on your text. Let’s go ahead and save our presentation. Our next lesson will go more in depth with shapes. We’ll learn how to arrange and order shapes on a slide as well. As always, please feel free to comment on our tutorials or ask questions.

PowerPoint Basics Table of Contents

Tutorial – PowerPoint 2010 Basics Lesson 6: Working with Slides and Text Boxes

This is Lesson 6 in a series of tutorials on Microsoft PowerPoint 2010. If you would like to start from the beginning of the series go to the Table of Contents at the end of this page. In the previous 5 lessons we worked with a built-in template that comes with PowerPoint. Templates are an easy way to learn PowerPoint and usually have little pointers in them to help you along the way. Today, I would like to start a new presentation and work with slides and layouts.

Let’s open PowerPoint 2010. You should see a window similar to the one below. By default, PowerPoint has no theme applied and is kind of a simple black and white style. You should see one slide like the one below. This is called the “Title Slide” layout. In this layout there are two text placeholders, one for a title and the other for a subtitle.

Main PowerPoint Window

Slides are the fundamental element of the presentation. Just like old slide projectors, you can design slides in PowerPoint that can be clicked through in a certain order to present information. There are many predefined layouts for slides built into PowerPoint. We went over this a little in previous lessons. Let’s take a look at some of the different layouts available to us.

Slide Layouts

If you click the “New Slide” dropdown, you will see the different layouts, pictured above. Each of them are pretty self explanatory. I would like to choose the “Blank” slide layout just for fun. You should now have two slides in your presentation. One with the “Title Slide” layout and one with the “Blank” layout. Click between them and notice the differences. “Blank” pretty much is a clean slate where you can design the layout however you like.

To add content to this slide, let’s click on the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar. There are tons of options here. For now, let’s click the “Text Box” option. Notice your mouse changes into a little cross, as pictured below.

Text Box

When you see this mouse, you can click and drag over the slide and it will create a text box. Go ahead and give it a try. You should now see a rectangular area surrounded by dots. If you click inside the rectangle, you can type text into the box. Go ahead and type your name. You can see what mine looks like below.

Text Box

What happens when you click outside the box? Notice that the little dots disappear and you only see your name. If you click your name, the dots will reappear. Let’s add a border to our text box. With the text box selected click “Shape Outline” on the ribbon toolbar as pictured below. Notice in the picture below, there is a variety of colors as well as, line styles and thicknesses that you can apply. Choose a color you like.

Shape Outline

Now, click outside of your text box and you should see that you have a nice border around your name. Let’s center our name in the box. Click the “Home” tab and choose the “Center” button located in the “Paragraph” group on the ribbon. Once you have your name centered, double-click your text box and notice that it takes you to the “Format Tab”. In the same area that we added the “Shape Outline” we will also find “Shape Fill”. Let’s add a fill color, or background, to the text box. Click the “Shape Fill” dropdown arrow and select a color. Now you will see your box has a background color. Note that if you pick one that is dark, you may need to change your font color to make your name visible. For this example, it might be a good idea to pick a light background.

If you double-click your name in the box, you will get a little font menu box pop up, as pictured below. I highlighted it with a green box.Font Menu

Here you can adjust the font type, size, color, alignment, and much more. Let’s change the font size to something large. Notice in the picture above, the number 18. If you click the arrow beside that you will get a dropdown of numbers. I chose 44. Notice how much bigger your box is now.

Let’s go ahead and save this presentation. Name it “Fun with Slides” or something and we will continue working with these text boxes later on. For now, thanks for reading Techie Buzz, and if you have questions please feel free to email me at [email protected]

PowerPoint Basics Table of Contents