Archive for September, 2012

Techie Tip of the Week: Windows Users – Save Frequently Implemented Searches!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

A few weeks ago, we talked about how Mac users can saved frequently implemented searches using Smart Folders. This week, we’ll explore how you can perform a similar function on Windows.

To save a search for future use on a Windows machine:

  1. Open Windows Explorer (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer).
  2. Perform your search by entering the keywords, filename, or the other criteria you are searching in the Search box.
  3. In the Windows Explorer toolbar, click Save search.
  4. In the Filename field, enter a name for your search.
  5. Click Save.

Your saved search will now appear in your Favorites section in Windows Explorer.

To perform a saved search, click the name in the Favorites section.

Techie Tip of the Week: Show Hidden Files

Friday, September 21st, 2012

By default, your operating system hides certain files — generally related to the system operations, user preferences, and other files that most users would not need (or want) to see in a particular folder.

Suppose you DO want to view these hidden files. Maybe you want to edit the .htaccess file used to manipulate web servers (e.g., restricting access) on your Mac or Windows machine. Or you want to see or edit the library files used by the programs installed on your computer. Or you want to make sure that malicious users haven’t sneaked in a virus by making it hidden. How do you change your computer’s settings to allow users to view hidden files?

Windows Users

To view hidden files on Windows 7/Vista/XP:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. In Windows 7 or Vista, click Appearance and Personalization.
    In Windows XP, click Appearance and Themes.
  4. Click Folder Options.
  5. Click the View tab.
  6. In Windows 7 or Vista, in Advanced settings, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    In Windows XP, in Hidden Files and Folders, click Show hidden files and folders.
  7. Click OK.

Mac Users

To view hidden files on a machine running Mac OS X (including Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion):

  1. Launch the Terminal application (Application >; Utilities >; Terminal).
  2. Enter the following command and press return:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
  3. Enter the following command and press return:
    killall Finder
Note: To re-hide hidden files, enter the following command and press return:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Techie Tip of the Week: Mac Users – Save Searches Using Smart Folders!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Mac OS X makes it relatively simple to save a search for later reuse.

Why would you want to save a search? Suppose you find yourself wishing to quickly and easily find all of the photos you took within the last week, or the MS word docs you’ve opened within the last 2 days, or you want to easily find every file your boss has written. By saving that search you’ll save time and energy the next time you want to find similar items.

Note: on a Mac, a saved search is known as a “Smart Folder”

To set up a Smart Folder:

  1. In Finder, click File, and then click New Smart Folder.
  2. Refine the criteria for your search by clicking the + button to add a criterion or the button to delete one
  3. Check Add to Sidebar.
  4. Click Save.

The smart folder appears in the sidebar (in any Finder window, on the left side). Click it to view the files on your computer that match the criteria you had entered.

Techie Tip of the Week: LibreOffice and OpenOffice – Open Source Alternatives to MS Office

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Last summer, we talked about as a viable alternative to the Microsoft Office near-monopoly on office software.

This week, we’d thought we’d revisit and let you know about a particularly great version of OpenOffice – LibreOffice!

As they say on their website, LibreOffice is the power-packed free, libre and open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs.

Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base all look, feel, and work the same way that their Office 2003 equivalents did. And they can open, edit, and save all Office file formats, including the new 2007/2010 versions. You can save your documents in any office format, including PDF!

Some of the newest features:


LibreOffice /OpenOffice Equivalent Microsoft Office Equivalent
Writer Word
Calc Excel
Impress PowerPoint
Base Access
Draw An All-Purpose Diagramming and Charting Tool (no real MS Office Equivalent – similar to the drawing tools in PowerPoint)
Math MS Equation Editor

Watch a Tech Briefing video Open Source Tools, including OpenOffice and LibreOffice.