Make a printable PowerPoint greeting card

July 25, 2010

For a long time I have been making greeting cards on my own computer by using PowerPoint. I have found that PowerPoint is more flexible than many other greeting card editors.

1. Open a new file.

2. Go to File>Page Setup and select Portrait

3. Drag in some WordArt or graphics to the lower right corner- be sure you have the guidelines on, NOT the gridlines so that you can tell where the quadrants are. This will be the front of your card.

4. Create a textbox in the upper left corner and type your message in it- you’ll probably want it to be left, not center formatting.

5. Turn the textbox upside-down: this is very important because otherwise your card won’t have the text readable

6. Check to make sure the text is in the right place. The lower left corner will be the back of the card- you can put something there if you want.

When it’s done, it should look like this:

When you’re done, just click print. Because of the way PowerPoint sizes the page, I would not recommend using a slide background.

If you had trouble following this, download my template and change it as much as you want. download link

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Show Desktop

July 17, 2010

Remember that handy little button on Windows? You click on it and all of your windows are hidden, revealing the desktop. This is one thing that is missing in OSX that windows has, as Everyday Software puts it, “the only good pc feature, now on a macintosh”. Download here.

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Firefox Home: Firefox bookmarks on iPhone (finally!)

July 16, 2010

Have you wanted your Firefox bookmarks on your iPhone? You may have tried several different solutions before today, many of which were probably difficult to use. However, Mozilla recently released a solution.

1- First, install Firefox Sync on your browser and set your username, etc. The encryption code ensures that all of your data is safe from other people seeing it, even firefox employees.

2- Install Firefox Home on your iPhone, iPad, etc. Set your account, and it will start syncing.

Thanks to Mozilla for this great feature, and lifehacker for telling me that it had been approved in the app store.

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Google Docs: A free Alternative to Microsoft Office

June 27, 2010

Google Docs is a simple solution for replacing Microsoft Office. The presentation section gives the user an interface where they can place simple objects, text and images onto a slide. When you are finished with it, you can play the slideshow right from your web-browser, print it, download it as a PowerPoint, or download as PDF. The word processor is very similar, as is the spreadsheet.

What makes it unique is Forms. Google Docs is the ideal platform for creating submit forms. You can create several types of questions such as checkbox, radio button selection, single-line response, paragraph response, etc. Then, send out the URL or use the embed code to put the form on your webpage. Then, view the responses in a summary with graphs and statistics, or in a spreadsheet with more detailed data- all for free @ docs.google.com.

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Jing: A free Screen capture utility

June 17, 2010

If you’re reading this, I’m sure there’s probably been some time that you wanted to demonstrate something on your screen to someone else. It might have been a tutorial for your software, or a how-to demo.

Either way, you could have used Jing. Jing is a lightweight utility that allows you to capture screen videos to SWF format. (Unfortunately, the SWF has a Jing watermark/ad in it- you can remove this and add MP4 support for $19.95)

For some reason, it requires you to sign up for a Screencast.com account (free) in order to run the software.

It also allows you to capture PNG images (no watermarks on these!) and annotate them with its integrated tools. You can download Jing for free @ jingproject.com. If the little sun get annoying, you can switch it to a menubar icon in Jing’s preferences.

It works on Mac and Windows, but for Windows I recommend CamStudio.

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Run Exe Files on a Mac: A few of the Best Options

June 11, 2010

One of the main reasons so many users hesitate before switching to a Mac is because so many of their favorite programs don’t work on a Mac. There are many popular solutions to this: VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, and the old VirtualPC. Unfortunately, these apps all cost money and require a license of Windows to install on them: more money. Today I will mention a few alternatives, some which require a license to windows, some which do not.

1. Virtual Box– Virtual Box is a free, open source alternative to the apps listed above. It is a virtual environment software just like Parallels and VMware Fusion. Virtual Box can also run Linux and ChromeOS if those interest you. I believe it also has a version for Windows.

2. Boot Camp- This is a little too obvious. It comes with all new Macs now, but its main downfall it that it requires you to reboot into your second OS rather than run it in a window.

3. Wine / Wine Bottler – For most, this is perhaps the best of all. It lets you open Windows apps on a Mac within the X11 environment. Wine Bottler can even convert Windows apps into Mac apps that run alone in X11. The main downfall is that this does not work for all Windows apps, especially new ones- it takes the company awhile to add support for them. Winehq.org is the main site for it, but for a Mac-friendly version that includes Bottler, I recommend http://winebottler.kronenberg.org. Best of all, its free.

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Opera Web Browser: Extremely fast load time

June 8, 2010

Opera running on a Mac

Have you ever been annoyed about how slow your internet connection is, or how long some websites take to load? You might have heard about how fast Google Chrome is, but Opera is extremely fast too. It has a special compression tool that allows webpages to load lightning fast.

Opera also has an iPhone app that is built on Opera’s special compression technology. One cool feature of it is the “find on page” button. You could alternatively get Safari bookmarklets to do this, if you like. The iPhone app has different scrolling than Safari, but overall it works quite well- it even has bookmark syncing. You can download Opera Mini here.

Opera Mini on my iPod Touch

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