A hodgepodge of Internet tips for lost surfers
CYBERSPACE – Our lesson today is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge – a bit of a this-and-that collection of odds and ends and useful tips related to our friend the Internet.
First off, let’s address an issue several people ran into following last week’s tip on setting your desktop wallpaper. Some Web-surfers noticed that, occasionally, right-clicking on certain images did not bring up a list of options that included “Set Image As Wallpaper.” In fact, they noticed that sometimes the options that appeared upon right-clicking seemed very different altogether.
Why the occasional weird options upon right-clicking? It turns out, these people were clicking on special types of images created by Flash. Flash is a program Web designers use to create special effects on Web sites such as animations, fades and fancy rollovers.
Flash files are different than most image files used in Web sites (remember those .gifs and .jpgs we talked about?); therefore, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to set Flash files as your wallpaper. To determine if an image was made with Flash, examine the options that appear when you right-click on it; if one of the options reads “About Macromedia Flash Player,” it was made in Flash and you’re out of luck; you won’t be able to set that particular image as your wallpaper.
Your favorite tip
Moving on. Let’s save some time, shall we? This tip is for you if you find yourself typing in the same Web site addresses over and over each time you connect to the Internet.
Stop that nonsense right away.
As a wise woman once told me, “If you find yourself thinking “There must be an easier way’ while using your computer, you can be pretty darn sure there IS an easier way.”
Really, though: There’s no need to type in the exact same Web site addresses each time you go online. Instead, try using your Web browser’s “Favorites” feature.
Let’s say that each morning you log onto the Internet and visit the Summit Daily News Web site (www.summitdaily.com) as well as the Weird Fact of the Day Web site (www.
theweirdsite.com/fact.htm). If you mark these two sites as “Favorites,” then you simply have to open your Favorites list each morning and click on the name of the site that you’d like to visit – no typing whatsoever.
The great thing about Favorites is that you can set as many as you’d like.
Marking a Web site as a Favorite is a piece of cake. Next time you’re at a Web site you visit often, simply click on the “Favorites” menu item at the top of the screen, then select “Add to Favorites.” That’s it.
That Web site is now officially considered one of your favorites. To view your list of favorite sites, either click on the “Favorites” menu item again at the top of the screen or on the “Favorites” button that should be located on your browser’s toolbar.
Important note: Internet Explorer uses the term “Favorites.”
If you use Netscape to browse the Internet, keep in mind that the people over at Netscape decided to complicate us all and use the term “Bookmarks” instead of “Favorites.”
But don’t worry – they’re the exact same things. Depending on what version of Netscape you use, you’ll find your Bookmarks list as well as your “Add to Bookmarks” feature underneath either the “Communicator” or the “Bookmarks” menu option.
More than meets the eye
Ahem. I would now like to share a few of Google’s lesser-known, yet, super-cool features with you.
First, you’ll notice on Google’s main page (www.google.com) that the “Web” tab above the search box is highlighted. This is because, by default, Google searches the web. But take a look to the right. You’ll notice an “Images” tab.
Clicking this will take you to a page where you can type in a search … and Google will provide you with image results only. Looking for photos of presidents? Curious what a famous painting looks like? Google’s image search is here to help.
Head back over to Google’s main page. This time, try clicking on the “News” tab. You’ll be taken to the Google news page, where you’ll find not only the latest in breaking news but also a search box where you can search for specific news stories.
Want to learn more about last month’s abominable snowman sightings in Nevada? Curious about the different stances presidential candidates are taking on gay rights? If it’s been in the news, Google’s news search will find it for you.
Finally, I think you should know about … Froogle.
Nope, it’s not a typo. It’s Froogle – a relatively new service from Google that “makes it easy to find information about products for sale online.” Head over to froogle.google.com and give it a shot.
Just type in the name of a product you’re interested in, click the “Froogle Search” button, and you’ll be supplied with descriptions of the product as well as a list of merchants and their best prices. To learn more about this cool service, try the short (and fun) FAQ located at http://froogle.google.com/
Have fun out there. I mean that. You really should be having fun. This stuff isn’t so hard.
Have any questions about how technology is affecting your life? Contact eRin pheiL. Based in Frisco, eRin pheiL is the primary creative of timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com). She can be reached via phone at (970) 668-0709 or e-mail at
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