Category Archives: How To

Hate Gmail’s New Interface? Get Old Gmail Interface with This Stylish Script

Just like the new Facebook timeline, also recently forced their new theme on users and apparently many people are not happy with this decision. While Gmail earlier provided a simple way to revert back the Gmail interface, that option is no longer available. This has definitely not gone down too well with Gmail users.

So is there any way in which you could revert back to the old Gmail interface? Well, not officially, but you can still do it thanks to a Stylish script.

Old Gmail Interface

The Return of Old Gmail Stylish script is one which resembles the “Old Gmail” interface the most. Although the overall interface is not as neat (see screenshot above), it definitely is one of the best options if you despise the new Gmail interface. The script in question reverts back some of the Gmail styles to the older one and also reverts back the top navigation in Gmail.

You will also find several other Stylish scripts for Gmail, however, the one listed here seems to be the best alternative to get back the old Gmail interface. You can also try out several other themes for Gmail by using this Stylish search.

Please note that users will have to install the Stylish before using the scripts. users can also install the Stylish extension or install the Stylish script as a script and run it as an .

How to Create a Custom Signature in Outlook 2010

Do you ever get emails from business associates that have really nice signatures at the bottom? They will often include a logo that will take you out to business’ website when you click it. You don’t have to be green with envy over these cool signatures. Creating a signature line in Outlook 2010 is extremely easy. In this post, I will show you how you can accomplish this in a few easy steps!

The first thing we need to do is click on the “File” tab in the upper left corner of Outlook. Once you are there, click the button labeled “Options”. See the arrow pointing in the picture below.

Options

When you click the “Options” button you will get a dialog box like the one pictured below. On the left side of the dialog box you need to click on the option that says “Mail”. Once you have clicked the “Mail” option, click the button on the right side of the page that says “Signatures”.

Mail Tab

You should now see a dialog that allows you to create a new signature. Take a moment to look at the picture below. Let’s explore some of the options available to us. Notice that you can have multiple signatures. In this example, I created the Techie Buzz signature by clicking the button labeled “New”. To the right of that signature you have the option to assign that signature to an account. Remember Outlook has the ability to handle multiple email accounts. It also gives you the ability to assign separate signatures to those accounts as well.

At the bottom of the window, you will notice a blank area. This is where you type the information you would like included in your signature. I decided to include my name, email address, and our company logo. To add a logo, you first need to have an image file saved on your computer. In the picture below, you will see highlighted in red the image button. Click this button.

Image

You will get the dialog box pictured below. Navigate to the folder on your computer that contains the image you want to include in your signature. Then click the picture and click the “Insert” button to insert it into your signature line.

Pic

Now that you have your logo inserted, you can add a hyperlink to it so that when someone clicks it, they are directed to your website. To do this, find the “Hyperlink” button highlighted in red in the picture below.

Signature Window

You will now see the following dialog box, pictured below. At the top you will see the “Text to display” box. What this means is when people put their mouse over the logo, they will get a little description. You can make this say pretty much anything you want. At the bottom of the window, you will see the “Address” box. Type the website address you want the link to go to, then click OK.

Hyperlink Window

Now that you have your information typed and your logo inserted, I would like to warn you about one more pitfall. By default, the font color is set to “Automatic”. Most of the time this will appear black. The problem however, is if you want your signature font to stay a consistent color, you have to set it because the “Automatic” setting will use the default font of any email you reply to. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you hit reply on an email that your words are typed in blue? The same will happen to your signature unless you specify something other than “Automatic”. Picture below, I have highlighted my name and clicked the “Font Color” dropdown menu. This is where you need to go to set your signature’s color.

Font

Once you have followed all these steps, you need to specify on the right side of the window whether you want to use your new signature just for new messages or whether you want to include them in replies as well. Click “OK” at the bottom and you’re all set. When you open a new message to send to someone you will have a nice ready made signature at the bottom of your message. Good luck and if you have any questions about this tutorial feel free to comment.

How To Update to iOS 5.1 From iTunes/Manually

iOS 5.1 brings with it performance and battery life improvements, along with some new features. Upgrading to iOS 5.1 is a easy task and you just need to connect your device to the PC and check for updates.

If you are unsure on how to update your device to iOS 4.3 here are the simple steps to update to the latest OS from Apple.

How To Update to iOS 5.1 Through iTunes

Step 1: Connect your device to iTunes using the USB cable.

Step 2: Once iTunes has detected your device, click on the device name in the left hand menu and click on the “Check for Update” in the device description box.

ios_4_3_update

Step 3: Apple will show you a popup message as seen above if an update for your device is available. Click on the “Download and Update” button.

Step 4: Apple will download the iOS 5.1 update and install it on your device. It is important that you DO NOT disconnect the device from the computer during the process. It is also recommended to keep your computer plugged in to the power outlet during the process.

That’s it. The process might take around 10-30 minutes depending on how long it takes to download the update to your computer and install it. Once iOS 5.1 is installed, iTunes will sync your device and you can use it again.

How To Update to iOS 5.1 Manually

In some cases, the iTunes update process might not work for you for several reasons. In those cases, you can also update your device to iOS 5.1 manually. Here are the steps to manually update your device to iOS 5.1.

Step 1: Download the iOS 5.1 IPSW file for your device using the iOS 5.1 IPSW direct download links.

Step 2: Connect your device to the computer using the USB cable and wait for iTunes to detect it.

Step 3: Once your device has been detected – follow the steps given below for different OS.

  • For Windows – Hold the Shift key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.
  • For Mac OS X – Hold the Option key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.

Step 4: In the next dialog browse to the file that you downloaded from Step 1 and select the IPSW file.

Step 5: iTunes will now use the IPSW file and update your device to iOS 5.1. The process should take around 10-20 minutes.

That’s it. Your device will be updated to iOS 5.1 with ease. Please feel free to post your questions in the comments box below.

How to Get Back the Start Button in Windows 8

As reported earlier, Microsoft is killing off the Start button with Windows 8. Windows 8 Consumer Preview replaces the Start button with a hotspot towards the bottom left corner of the screen.

The Start button is one of the most iconic aspects of Windows, and has been emulated widely since its introduction in Windows 95. It’s impossible to not feel a tinge of sadness as we bid adieu to the Start button. However, to be honest, I don’t really miss the Start button in the new Windows 8 build. The Metro interface, which features a full screen application launcher, is intuitive and efficient, irrespective of the form factor you are using. Nevertheless, if you still want to get the Start button back, there is a simple trick that will serve your purpose. Here’s what you need to do.

Metro-Start

  • Download MetroStart8 from here. This tiny app is available in five different flavors – each having a different Start icon.
  • Extract the zip file to any location on your hard drive.
  • Right click on the Start.exe file, and select “Pin to Taskbar” from the context menu.
  • Drag the icon to the left as shown in the screenshot below.

Start-Button-Windows-8

The button simply simulates a Win key press, and mimics the functionality of the Start button. It’s largely redundant, but is a quick and simple fix for anyone missing the Start button.

Install Windows 8 from a USB Drive

A short while back, Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which features more than 100,000 changes. Go ahead and grab the download link and product key, if you haven’t already. Windows 8 is available as a simple installer, as well as an ISO image. The installer is simpler to use, and it automatically downloads the right version for your system. However, it also requires constant high speed internet connectivity on the system on which you wish to deploy Windows 8. If you want to use the ISO image, but don’t want to go through the hassle of burning it to a DVD, here’s a quick guide for installing Windows 8 from USB media. You will require an USB device with at least 4 GB free space and NTFS file system. Formatting it before proceeding with the creation of a bootable device is recommended, but is generally not necessary.

  • Mount the image using a freeware like SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive or extract it using WinRAR (or other similar software).
  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator. You can do this by typing cmd in the Run dialogue box (Win+R) and pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
  • Type the following commands:
     
    diskpart
    list volume
  • From the list that is displayed, note the volume assigned to your usb device, and select it as shown in the screenshot.
     
    select volume 5
  • Next, we need to mark it as the active volume.
     
    active

Windows-8-Diskpart

  • Now the disk is ready, and we can proceed with the creation of the boot sector. Exit diskpart.
     
    exit
  • Browse to the location where you extracted/mounted the ISO, and open the boot directory, as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows-8-USB-Bootable

  • Execute the following command. In my example, D: is the drive letter of my USB device. Replace it with the appropriate value.
  •  
    bootsect /nt60 d:

    Windows-8-USB-Bootable

Finally, the USB device is ready to be used as a bootable media. All that remains to be done is to copy the contents of the Windows 8 setup directory into your usb device. Once this is completed, reboot the system and enter the BIOS. Change the boot priority to assign highest priority to Removable Device/USB Device. Save changes and restart again to proceed with Windows 8 installation. Don’t forget to reset boot priority settings after Windows 8 installation is completed.

How To Hide Facebook Timeline? Use IE7

recently rolled out the Facebook Timeline to all users. Unfortunately, it does not have any option for users to disable it making several users angry about the fact.

Facebook Timeline

Now there are several scripts and User styles which will allow you to disable the Facebook Timeline. However, most of them require you to perform several actions before you can get back to your old profile. Also, the same solution won’t work for all the browser. So, if you are looking for a simple solution to disable Facebook Timeline with minimal efforts, here is what you can do.

Please note: This trick will only disable Facebook Timeline for yourself. It will not hide your Facebook Timeline from your friends and they will still be able to view it.

The Easiest Solution – Use Internet Explorer 7. Facebook Timeline is not supported on IE7 and probably won’t be in the future too. If you don’t want to browse your profile or your friends profile with Facebook Timeline, just use Internet Explorer 7.

If you use browsers like , or you can still mimic your browser string as Internet Explorer 7 and fool Facebook into believing that you are using IE7 thus disabling or removing the Facebook Timeline for you. You can use the following , and tricks to fool Facebook.

For all purposes below, the user agent string for IE7 is given below:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0;)

Firefox Users – Install the User Agent Switcher add-on and follow the instructions given at this link to add a new IE7 user agent to the add-on and then use the user agent while browsing Facebook.

Google Chrome Users – Create a new shortcut for Google Chrome and name it Facebook or something. Once you have done that, edit the shortcut and add -user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0;)" to it. Once you have done that, use the shortcut while you are browsing Facebook and the timeline will be disabled. (Find Instructions for creating and editing the Chrome shortcut)

Safari Users – Enable Develop mode in Safari by going to Preference -> Advanced and selecting the check box next to "Show Develop menu in menu bar". Once you have done that, select the "User Agent" sub-menu from the Develop menu and select "Internet Explorer 7.0" from the available options.

Internet Explorer Users – If you are using IE7, you don’t need to do anything. If not, you can make use of an IE Add-on called UA Pick. Instructions on changing your user-agent in IE at this link.

Opera users have it a little bit tougher since you will have to modify Opera configuration data so I will leave it out for now and will add that information as a separate post later on and link it from here. In the meantime, you can always use one of the browsers mentioned above.

Fix Green Screen in YouTube Videos

I use a lot and it is my go-to website to listen to music and watch interesting videos. However, recently all the YouTube videos I watched just showed me a green screen while the videos were playing. This happened in all the browser including , , and Internet Explorer 9.

YouTube Green Screen in Videos

Due to the Green screen (pictured above) I was unable to watch any videos. However, I was still able to listen to the audio. It turns out that the above problem was with a recent update to Adobe Flash player. If you are seeing a similar problem, here are the steps to fix it.

YouTube Flash Player Settings Flash Player Display Options

Step 1: Right click on the video player and select Settings from the menu options. Once the options page opens, click on the "Display icon".

Disable Hardware Acceleration Flash

Step 2: Uncheck the box next to "Enable hardware acceleration" to disable hardware acceleration for Flash. Once you have done that close the options box and refresh YouTube.

This should help to resolve your issue with the green screen on YouTube. Alternatively, you can also opt-in to YouTube HTML5 player by visiting http://www.youtube.com/html5. However, not all YouTube videos are so you might still have to follow the steps listed above to get rid of the Green screen in videos on YouTube.

Add a Nice Signature to Your Gmail Messages

Microsoft doesn’t own the patent on all things pretty! If you’re a Gmail user, there are lots of options available to you. Today, I would like to show you how you can add a professional looking signature to your Gmail messages.

In Gmail, look to the far right side of the page and you will see an icon that looks like a cog. You can see this picture below. If you click this cog, you will get a dropdown menu where you will need to select “settings”.

Settings

In Gmail settings find the “General” tab, highlighted below, and click the radio button below “No signature” to turn on the signature feature.

Turn On Signature

Proceed to type in the white box the information that you would like to include in your signature. Notice above the white box that you have a toolbar with a lot of formatting options such as bold, italicize, and underline. Pictured below, you can see that I have highlighted my name selected the “Change Font” button to select a different font.

Toolbar

If you want to add a link to your website just click the two little chain links on the toolbar to insert a link. If you click the square icon that looks like it has two little mountains, this will allow you to insert an image. Unfortunately, this image has to be hosted on the web somewhere. It doesn’t allow you to upload one from your computer. You can see what I am talking about in the image below. I also ran into some issues trying to do this in Internet Explorer 8. Chrome worked fine.

Image

Once you have your image inserted and all of the text is just the way you want it, click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page. Note, you may have to scroll down a ways to see this button.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s tutorial. Gmail can do a lot of the things you may have come to expect from apps such as Outlook. You just have to dig in sometime to find what you’re looking for. As always, we love hearing your feedback. Thanks for reading Techie Buzz.

Create Family Photo Calendar Using Word

Here’s a quick tutorial I hope you will enjoy. Let’s face it, what Grandma doesn’t want a picture of their little pride and joy hanging on their wall? A photo calendar can be both useful and cherished gift. They’re also a breeze to create using Microsoft Word. Just follow these simple instructions.

First open Word. I am using Word 2010 for the purposes of this tutorial. Click the “File” tab, select “New”, and then choose “Calendars” under Office.com Templates heading. See the picture below.File Tab

Next, choose the appropriate year.

2012

For this tutorial I have chosen the “Basic 12 month Photo Calendar”, as pictured below.

12 Month

When you double click the selection, Word will download the template and then present you with 24 pages. You can see an example of this pictured below. Each month has a picture page and a calendar page.Pages

The pictures are just stock photos that sort of act as place holders until you replace them. To replace the pictures with your own, click on them. You will see an example of this pictured below.

Change Picture

When the sample picture is selected, you will get an option in the top left corner to replace the picture. Click the icon in the left corner. This will open up a dialog box which will allow you to choose a picture from your computer. See the example below.

Picture

Select the picture you want to add to the calendar and choose the “Insert” button. Now you will see the selected picture on the page.

Caption

Just below the picture is a caption box. If you click on it, you can add a caption to your picture. Now, all you have to do is repeat these steps on the other calendar pages and you will have a sweet little calendar to give Grandma!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I love hearing from my readers!

 

Grid Lines Missing in Excel Spreadsheet [Tutorial]

I came across an interesting problem with one of my end users the other day. They said they couldn’t see the lines on their spreadsheet anymore. This is usually a pretty easy problem to solve. In the image below, you will notice that by going to the “View” tab and clicking the check box beside “Gridlines”, you can toggle the lines on and off. Unfortunately, this was not the problem in this case.

Grid Lines

When I got to the users PC, I saw a screen similar to what is pictured below. I did the step above only to find that she did have “Gridlines” toggled on.

Spreadsheet

Why weren’t the grid lines showing up? It didn’t make any sense. As is almost always the case, it’s the little things that people forget to tell you they were doing that will point you in the right direction. I discovered that the user had filled the cells with the color white. When you put a fill color in a cell, the gridlines disappear unless you have applied a border to that cell. Once I figured out what they did, the fix was pretty easy. In the picture below, you will see the “Fill Color” button selected from the “Home” tab on the ribbon toolbar. With the cells you want to fix selected, click the “Fill Color” button and choose “No Fill” from the menu. Like magic your gridlines will reappear.

No Fill

I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. If you have any feedback or would like a question answered, please feel free to write. We love hearing from our readers.

For more tutorials, check out http://techie-buzz.com/how-to!

How to Setup and Run Windows Defender Offline Version

Windows_Defender_iconMicrosoft has added another weapon to its arsenal in its fight against malware: an offline version of the Windows Defender software. The software, which is in beta at the moment, scans and removes various forms of malware like its desktop counterpart. But the advantage of the Offline version is that it can be run from an external media such as a CD or USB drive, even when the OS is not running. This makes it easier to remove certain rootkits and advanced malware which otherwise is difficult to remove when the OS is running. Like the version found in Windows 8, Windows Defender comes with both anti-spyware as well as anti-virus solutions.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to setup and run Windows Defender Offline beta.

1) First, download the 32-bit or 64-bit installer of Windows Defender from here, depending on the version of Windows you have.

2) Once the download is finished, open the installer. Click Yeson the UAC window if prompted. Next, you will see the window  below  . Click Next.

clip_image002

3) Now select the media, in which you want to install the tool and click Next.

clip_image004

I recommend installing on a USB drive because, if you install it on a USB drive, you will be able to update the definitions later. If you use a CD/DVD, it will become obsolete pretty soon when new updates are released.

4) You will have to reformat the USB now. Make sure that you don’t have any important data in it before proceeding.

clip_image006

5) Finally, the installer will download the necessary files (about 215MB in size) and setup the USB drive. Click Finishonce the setup is complete.

clip_image008

6) To scan your computer, restart your computer with the USB drive connected. Make sure that USB booting is enabled in your BIOS. Once that is set, you can boot from your USB drive. If you have a dual boot setup, you will have to choose the OS to be scanned. Select the desired Operating System and click OK.

clip_image010

7) Next, you will be taken to the Windows Defender interface. As you can see from the  screenshot  below , it is pretty similar to the Microsoft Security Essentials UI. You can select to do either a Quick Scan, a Complete Scan or even scan specific areas. Just select the desired option and click Scan now.

clip_image012

clip_image014

To update Windows Defender Offline Tool,

just click the installer you used earlier and it will automatically download and install all available updates.

clip_image016

Easily Create a Table of Contents in Word

One of the most frustrating things that I have seen people deal with in Word documents is when they try to work with a Table of Contents. Word has a really nice way to take a document that you have created and automatically generate a Table of Contents. A little planning ahead will make this process a lot simpler. In this tutorial, I will show you how to generate a Table of Contents automatically.

The first thing that you need to know about creating an easy Table of Contents in Word is the use of Style. Word has a Style Gallery on the ribbon where you can apply styles to your text. Take a look at the picture below to see an example of the Style Gallery.

Style Gallery

To make the Table of Contents easy to automate, we need to use Heading styles. You’ll notice in the picture above that I have my chapter Title and I am picking Heading 1 from the Style Gallery. This will guarantee its inclusion in the automatic Table of Contents that I will create later. If I wanted to add a subheading, I would pick Heading 2, instead. Now if you’re following along with this tutorial, you may have noticed that Word 2010 can hide the other heading styles. Here is how you can get them into your Style Gallery. In the bottom right corner of the Styles group on the ribbon, there is a tiny arrow. Click that arrow and you will see the menu pictured below.

Manage Styles

To add the other heading style we need to click the Manage Styles button at the bottom of this menu. You will see the menu pictured below.

Add Headings

Click the heading styles you wish to add. By default they will have “hide until used” selected. To eliminate this, click the “Show” button at the bottom of the window and click OK. You will now have the additional heading options in your Style Gallery. Now you can add the Heading 2 style to your subheadings if you have them.

Once you have all of your headings typed, it is time to insert the Table of Contents. To do this, we have to click the References tab on the ribbon. I recommend making sure that you are in the exact spot where you want this added your document when you start this. Pictured below, you will see that you click the Table of Contents button and then choose from the available Table of Contents options. I chose Automatic Table 2.

Insert Table

You will now see the Table of Contents at the cursor in your document with the fields automatically populated, as pictured below.

Table of ContentsNotice that the words labeled with Heading 1 are aligned left and the Heading 2 words are indented. Word automatically picks up on these headings based on those styles that we picked earlier. One big mistake that I have seen people make when making a Table of Contents is thinking that merely making a word bold will make it show up. This simply isn’t the case. Use the heading styles. It will make life much easier.

There are other ways that you can insert a Table of Contents. One reason you might want to do it differently is if you don’t want the subheadings to show up. This is pretty easy to do. First, let’s remove the Table of Contents. If you click in the table, you will get a little menu at the top of the table. On the left side of the menu, there is a white sheet of paper with an arrow beside it. Click the arrow and then click Remove Table of Contents to remove it. Now, let’s click the Table of Contents button on the ribbon and look way down at the bottom. Pictured below, click the option that says Insert Table of Contents.

Insert Table

You will get the dialog box pictured below.

Options

One thing I would like to point out to you is at the bottom of the dialog box. The “show levels” setting is currently set to 3. If you only want to see the top-level headings in your Table of Contents then set this option to 1. Pictured below, you can see that my table now only shows the Heading 1 text.

TOC

So what if you add more headings later? It is very simple to add those pages to the table. Simply right-click inside the table and choose the “Update Field” option from the menu. A dialog box will ask you whether you want to update the page numbers or the entire table. Choose the option to “Update entire table”, as pictured below.

Update Table

I hope this tutorial will save you some pain down the road. There are other ways to get a Table of Contents into your document, but I have found that this is the simplest way by far. Now you can go write that great novel you’ve been putting off and put your new skills to work. Good luck and thank you for reading Techie Buzz!

The Black Friday Breakdown

I have scoured the web for the last week trying to figure out the best electronic deals for Black Friday. Of course, I can’t do every store in the world, but I will try to focus on a few of the best deals I have found in some of the popular electronics categories. So let’s get started!

Best TV Deal

Sharp – 42″ Class / LCD / 1080p / 60Hz / HDTV from Best Buy

This is a great deal and I am afraid you’re going to have a hard time getting your hands on it because of availability. Hopefully Best Buy will stock a lot of these in their stores because this is a great deal.  What I like about this deal is that it is a large 42 inch screen with a 1080p resolution. Most Black Friday deals are selling 720p resolution. It is also made by Sharp. They are a well established brand. The refresh rate may be a negative to some since it is only 60Hz. Personally I don’t think this is going to be a big deal to the average home TV watcher.

Best TV

Laptops

HP ® 2000-363NR 15.6″ Laptop from Radio Shack

I can hardly believe I am saying this, but Radio Shack has a great deal on a laptop this year. What I like about it is that it is an HP with an i3 processor in it. A lot of the laptop deals out there have been low end “netbook” type processors. It has a built-in webcam, 4GB RAM, and a decent size 320GB hard drive. It also has a DVD burner and SD card slots for your camera cards. For $349 it is a great deal.

Radio Shack

Camera Deals

Nikon L105 Digital Camera

Target has this great zoom camera for $99. This camera has it all. 12 megapixels gives you the ability to take pictures that will print great at big sizes like 8×10. It comes from one the most reputable camera makers in the business, Nikon. A 15x optical zoom which is great. Just be sure you get an SD card for it before you leave because it probably won’t come with one in the box.

TargetBest Blu-Ray Deals

Toshiba Smart Blu-Ray Disc Player from Best Buy

$39 is a ridiculous price for a great Blu-ray disc player. It as Wi-Fi connectivity and will allow you to stream Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and several others. It will up convert DVDs to 1080p. This is a very nice deal.

Best Buy

Best Game System Deal

Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect from Walmart

This was a tough one because there are some really great deals this year. I like this particular deal because it comes with the Kinect package. Your kids are going to love the Kinect which allows them to interact with the games as if they are right there. This is a great price on a great game console bundle.

Walmart

I hope these tips help you out with some of your holiday shopping. I am sure there is plenty more information to come before this week is over so stayed tuned to Techie Buzz for all your Tech info. Most of all be safe and remember that life is short, so make the holidays more about spending time with your loved ones and not so much about spending money on them. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Don’t Let Black Friday Equal a Blue Christmas

Here in America, after we’re all stuffed with turkey and completely worn out from holiday travel, we have this strange ritual we call Black Friday shopping. Retailers love this time of year. They taunt shoppers for weeks with promises of out-of-this-world prices on all of the hot items you could ever want. Then, on the day after Thanksgiving, at the stroke of midnight, the retailers open up their magical realms for countless shoppers to enjoy. It doesn’t take long to feel most of the magic being sucked out of the room when the retailers have only stocked 3 of the items that 1,000 people are looking for. What’s even worse is when you get one of these so-called great deals and it turns out to be a poor quality product.

There is no way that I can educate you on every deal out there in one small article. However, I hope that I can give you a little more insight into some of the things that you’re going to see out there in the open market this weekend. Today, I am dealing with laptops because I am getting a lot of questions about them this year. I am not going to tell you where these deals are because I am not advertising for one store over another. I just want to give you some insight on what to look for in your Black Friday tech.  So let’s get started!

Low End Budget Deals

Let’s start with the low hanging and most enticing fruit. One of the box store giants is offering this incredible deal pictured below.

Compaq AMD C-50

I must agree that this is a fantastic price for a laptop. Let me warn you, however, that there are some down sides to this deal. Highlighted in red, above, you will see that this laptop has an AMD C-50 processor. I don’t want to knock AMD. In fact, I am a fan because they usually perform well at a lower price. The problem that I see here is that a Grandma is going to fight the crowds and get this for her 16 year old grandson. If that boy plays games on his laptop and likes to video chat with his friends, this laptop will fail miserably. The C-50 processor has its limitations. If Grandma is buying this laptop for herself to get on the internet and look at pictures and read the news, then this laptop may be OK. Don’t even think about buying this for an engineering student in college.

Now, from this same store, they are offering a little sweeter deal for about $50 more. This deal is pictured below.

HP e-350

This laptop features the AMD E-350 processor. This is a better deal, for sure. The E-350 will work with HD video and is a step up from the C Series AMD processors. However, if your little Johnny is a big gamer and likes to do a lot of multitasking, then this will still be a bit of a disappointment. The E series processors are energy efficient, but they were designed for the little netbooks. Putting these in a full sized laptop is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. If you are Grandma, and just do a little browsing on the web, then this would be a decent choice for you.

Mid Range Laptop Deals

Let’s take it up a notch! This little Samsung caught my eye because it has a decent price and a decent processor. Pictured below, you will see that it has an Intel Pentium. This is not a mind blowing deal, however, it helps me point out a little something about Intel’s processors. Pentium is better than Celeron. If you see Celeron on the box, then you should think, “low performer”. If you see Intel Atom on the box, then you should think, “netbook” because that processor really wasn’t designed for a full-sized laptop. The laptop below is better than the previous two. I would feel comfortable using this laptop for Office apps and homework. However, this is probably not your engineering student’s laptop, either.Samsung Pentium Laptop

Pictured below, is a bit better of a deal. For $50 more, you get the Intel i3 processor. The i3 is a dual core processor and is a step up from those that I’ve mentioned previously. I like the i3 processors. The i3 processor is meant to be used in a regular-sized laptop. I would feel comfortable using this at work or for college. It is still considered a budget laptop processor. For most people who are just browsing the web and watching videos, this laptop would do quite nicely.

HP i3

Higher Performing Laptop Deals

The last laptop deal that I am going to point out is the one pictured below. This laptop is actually a “decent” deal. First of all, it has the Intel i5 processor in it. The i5 series is pretty powerful and is really good for video and pretty much anything else the “power user” would want to do. This is one of the very few i5 deals I saw on the Black Friday ads so it caught my attention. If you can find a laptop with an Intel  i5 or i7 processor for $500 or less, you have got yourself a deal worth looking at.Acer i5

Hopefully this gives you some idea of what to look for. Notice that I focused mainly on processor in this article. There is a reason for this. Manufacturers are cutting the most corners with processors to get their prices lower. There are, of course, other factors to consider. You might consider whether or not you want a full-sized keyboard with a number pad on the side. Accounting people love these kinds of laptops. The trade off is usually that this requires a bigger screen size which adds more weight. You may also consider whether having a web cam is important to you or not. Also, the amount of RAM should be considered. However, an AMD c-50 laptop with 4GB of RAM is not going to be as good as an Intel i3 with 3GB of RAM. Processor matters more than RAM in this instance.

I hope that this helps you to avoid the Black Friday mistakes that I know some people are going to make. As always, feel free to comment and ask questions. We love to get your feedback. Good luck with your shopping!

How To Get Back Old Gmail Theme

*See updates at bottom to find more ways to restore Gmail Interface

Google recently rolled out a new interface for   to all it’s users. The interface is in line with most of the design changes that have been brought about by Google. It all started when they decided to add a Bing link background to their homepage and continued with a slew of other changes including removing the I am feeling Luckybutton, using a new design for search results and yet more, simplifying the image search results, adding top references to results and more.

However, not many people are actually liking the design and unlike earlier the options to switch back to old Gmail have changed. If you have switched to the new Gmail theme, you can easily switch back to the older theme temporarily.

Revert Gmail Theme

To revert back to the Old Gmail look, click on the “Settings” icon and then select the option to “Revert to old look temporarily”.

Once you do that, Gmail will revert back to the old interface. I am not sure as to how long the older interface will be available before users are forced to switch to the new Gmail interface. However, as always someone might come up with user scripts or which will allow users to go back to the old Gmail interface.

We will update the post with user scripts and extensions to switch back to the old Google interface as we come across them.

Update: 04/20/2012: Check out a new way to restore Old Gmail Interface using a Stylish script.