iTOK Tech Tips: Using Tabs to Browse the Internet

iTOK Tech Tuesday

Learn how to go back and forth between websites with today’s Tech Tip.

Sometimes when you’re using the Internet, you need to go back and forth between more than one website very quickly. Instead of using the back buttons to go back and forth, you can open multiple websites at the same time. Here’s how.

When you are ready to visit the next website, press the key combination of Control together with the letter T. This will open a new tab, ready for you to enter a web address navigate to a new site. And your first tab remains exactly where you left it!

You can have as many tabs open as you like. The name of the page will show on the tab, just as it would on a file folder in a drawer.

All you have to do to go back to a previous tab is move your mouse over the tab you want to visit, and click once.

If you’re done with a tab, you can hit Control together with the letter W, and that website window will disappear. Simple as that.

Check back for more great Tech Tips from your friends at iTOK.

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Beat Traffic with These Apps

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How many times have you been late to an appointment or work assignment because you’re stuck in traffic? It seems to happen more and more often. Thank goodness for interesting bumper stickers or we might go mad. With GPS on every smartphone there are plenty of apps that can help you avoid traffic jams, accidents, and construction—or at least give you an idea of how long you’re going to have to sit and wait. Being stuck in traffic stinks but sometimes just knowing how long you’re going to be stuck can help you cope. Traffic apps are not always reliable, but a good one can save you time and frustration. The app stores are flooded with thousands of mobile navigation apps. Some of them are good while others are just awful. Here are some handy apps that will help you avoid the gridlock, get you to your destination quicker, and (hopefully) prevent you from exploding with road rage.

Waze

Waze – Free – Available for Android, iPhone and Windows phone

Waze is not your typical navigation app. Waze has a social network function that’s really cool. The app counts on input from you and other drivers to give information on real-time traffic conditions, construction, and even speed traps. The app has great maps, which is no surprise since it was bought by Google. Its user interface is very simple with easy-to-read notifications. It provides alerts and warning shared by people in the community traveling on the same roads. This app has voice-guided navigation and will learn your frequent routes. It will direct you to fastest possible route according to road conditions. Another cool function: Waze will find the cheapest gas station along the route to your destination. Downsides: no public transit information, and no speed limit alert. Overall this is a great app that will help you avoid traffic. It’s my personal favorite.

INRIX

INRIX – Free – Available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows phone

INRIX is a great navigation and traffic app. This app gives detailed real time traffic conditions, incidents, construction, police and road closures right at your fingertips. The app allows you to share your arrival times with friends. It also has a largest database of great maps. A cool feature allows you to save daily routes and store them in the cloud so they can be available for you on multiple devices. INRIX allows you to input a destination and the time you need to be there and alerts you to when you should leave and alert you to faster routes, both based on current road conditions. This app provides speed limit alerts. One of the coolest functions of INRIX is that it provides traffic camera feeds so you can see for yourself what the traffic looks like in real time. Downside: no voice-guided navigation, and no public transit information. Overall this is a well-rounded app that helps you avoid trouble spots.

Beat the Traffic

Beat the Traffic – Free – Available for Android and iPhone

Beat the Traffic provides real time alerts to traffic conditions and construction. This app provides email alerts, letting you know about problems on your saved routes. It also boasts detailed maps of the US or Canada. The app does provide turn-by-turn navigation, as well as “smart routes”: the app gives you alternative routes to your destination in avoiding traffic. This app allows you to view real time traffic camera so you can view traffic in real time, and can estimate your arrival time based on current conditions. One of the cool features is integrated weather conditions (the app is owned by the weather network) which suggest routes keeping weather in mind. It also allows you to keep up with local weather without switching apps. Beat the Traffic does provide speed alerts. As a free app, it does have pop-up ads which can be annoying. Downsides: has no voice-guided navigation and no public transit information.

It’s never a bad Idea to try several traffic apps to find the one that works for you the best. Google Maps is installed on just about every phone and is one of the best mapping systems on the market hands down. No one can come close to all its functions. Google Maps, though, doesn’t have all the information I need when it comes to traffic though so these are some cool alternatives. These apps can help you save time and possible prevent you from being late to your next appointment. What was the longest time you were stuck in traffic and how did you pass the time? Tell us in the comments below.

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Friday Linkapalooza — September 26, 2014

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CONSUMER PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Haven is a new smart lock that works at the base of your door instead of the knob.

This cool clock looks like our solar system, using three planets to help you keep time.

Emoticons may have been around a lot longer than we originally thought…

CURRENT EVENTS

Customers have discovered that the aluminum frame of the new iPhone 6 Plus is rather—bendy. And several other brands have bent over backwards to get a laugh at Apple’s expense.

A new social media platform called Ello is making a bid for being the anti-Facebook.

NASA has released photos taken from space of the devastating wildfire burning through California.

HEALTH & MEDICINE

Researchers at MIT are studying how anthrax could contribute to the eradication of cancer.

After more than a decade of work, “the world’s first wearable artificial kidney” is being presented to the FDA for approval later this year.

A 66-year-old woman who has been blind for the last 10 years has been outfitted with surgery and special glasses that now allow her to see.

ARTS & CULTURE

Artist Satoshi Araki has an amazing eye for miniature detail. Check out his work here.

Hong Kong is a city known for its beauty—and for the fact that it is one of the most jam-packed places in the world. Check out these fascinating photos of Hong Kong apartments.

Warning: If you’ve never been to Scotland, watching this gorgeous video may prompt you to buy a ticket.

JUST FOR FUN…

A GoPro camera was left running just outside an owl nest, and the baby owls are rather curious about their new neighbor.

 

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The First Ever Televised Presidential Debate

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In late September of 1960, two presidential hopefuls met to discuss national issues on a relatively new medium. The incumbent vice president, Republican Richard M. Nixon, sat in a Chicago television studio with John F. Kennedy, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, participating in the first ever televised presidential debate.

When I studied U.S. History my junior year of high school, we were taught that Nixon choked under the pressure of being on live television—very much a new and novel thing. That belief is still widely purported today. Despite his advantage as the sitting vice president, Nixon was hugely uncomfortable on camera, nervous and fidgety, and chose not to use the make-up so many television presenters wear to avoid sweat and shine on camera. The younger, more savvy Kennedy, meanwhile, seemed to relish his time on screen, cool, collected and comfortable before a live audience of 70 million Americans. Looking at the photo above, taken from that historic debate, you can see the evident difference in posture—and ease—between the candidates.

The September 26, 1960 debate was only the first of four debates between that election’s major candidates, and though Nixon would improve through the subsequent meetings, Kennedy would indeed maintain his edge and win the election by one of the narrowest margins ever: 49.7% to 49.6%. There’s no doubt that television had forever impacted American politics.

Nixon would return to pursue the presidency several years later, this time abstaining from the debates. He would win the office in 1968 only to be ousted by scandal in 1974.

The debate has been a regular and necessary part of our political process from the beginning. But in our nation’s infancy and through much of its political history, the comings and goings of the government were always distant and almost separate, especially to citizens living on the far-flung frontier.

With the advent of radio and television, however, Americans living outside of the sphere of Washington, D.C. could hear and experience debates for any number of political races from the local to the national level. From the 1970s on, televised debates have been very much a part of the system, and a contemporary presidential candidate could not, like Richard Nixon, decline participation in debates and be elected. Political careers have always required public appearances and personas, and now that public access has grown even more demanding.

Would Nixon be elected today? Would Kennedy? It’s fascinating to think how our connectedness to the world—via television in 1960 and the Internet today—affects our place in it.

You can watch the first Kennedy/Nixon debate in its entirety on YouTube:

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How File Transfers Work

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You may not know it, but anyone that use a computer transfers files every day. A file transfer is simply moving a file of any type. There are many ways files are being transferred you may not even realize are happening. For example, if you get on the Internet you’re transferring files. Each time you update your software, files are transferred.

There are a lot of common instances in which we transfer files. If you’re moving pictures from your digital camera to your computer or moving music tracks from your computer to your MP3 player, you’re transferring files. If you send an email to a friend, you are in essence transferring a file.

As we’ve mentioned in several recent posts, there are also many different ways to transfer files. You can copy a file from a computer with a portable device like a CD, DVD, flash drive, or external hard drive. You can transfer a file over the internet through email attachment, web pages, peer-to-peer servers, instant messengers and cloud services just to name a few.

A file transfer typically involves two parties: the sender and the receiver. If you’re the person or system that is transferring the file, you’re known as the sender while the person or system receiving the file is known as the receiver. Sending and receiving are sometimes referred to as, respectively, uploading and downloading.

File transfers are either push-based or pull-based. In a push-based system, the sender transfers the file to the receiver by uploading the file. In the pull-based system, the receiver downloads the file from the sender. Think about email: if you send an email to a friend, you create your email message and push or upload it onto the Internet. When your friend receives and opens that email, she pulls or downloads in order to read it.

Computers follow specific rules—or protocols—in order to transfer files. We’ll explain those rules further in a future post.

Questions about file transfers? Let us know in the comments below.

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iTOK Tech Tips: Quickly Quit an Open App

iTOK Tech Tuesday

If you need to quit an open app quickly, this video will show you how in one simple step.

All you need to do to quickly quit a program is hold down the Alt key and hit the F4 key—it’s one of the function keys at the very top of your keyboard—and the application will quit, and you’re all done.

If the document you’re working on needs to be saved, a message box will appear, prompting you to save your work. Click OK to save, and then the application will quit. Simple as that.

Check back for more great tech tips from your friends at iTOK.

 

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How to Transfer Data from a Flash Drive

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In response to our What Is a Flash Drive? post last month, Dan asked the following question:

I know how to plug in a flash drive, but what do I do after that to transfer data?

Flash drives drives are great for transferring data. I’ll go through some steps that I hope will help you. Keep in mind there are several ways to do this, but I’ll stick with the simplest for now. These directions are for a Windows PC; for a Mac, the process is just about the same. If it is a Mac you’re using, let me know and will go over those steps as well. First plug in flash drive and follow direction below.

*Note: Sometimes after plugging in the flash drive it will open automatically if so you don’t need to follow the first 4 steps

  1. Click on the Start menu. (see below)
    FD start menu
  2. When start menu opens, click on My Computer. (see above)
  3. When you click on My Computer, a new window will open showing all your available drives, including your hard drive (usually labeled C). In this window you should see a removable disk drive marked with a letter like F.
  4. Click on the Removable Disk Drive. *Note: The Removable Disk Drive on your computer could have a different letter labeling it; that doesn’t really matter. Look for the phrase “Removable Disk” to be sure you’ve got the right drive. (see example below)
    Removable Disk drive
  5. When you double-click on the Removable Disk drive icon, it will launch a new window showing the files contained on your flash drive. Looking at the example below, you can see that I have a folder and two photo files on my flash drive.Removable Disk contents
  6. Click back on the Start menu and click on the location you want to place the new file: for example, My Documents, Pictures, or another personal folder. If you just want to transfer the file to your desktop, all you need to do is drag it to the desktop. I will use my personal file for the example. (see the highlighted section below)destination
  7. Clicking on your file’s destination icon will launch a new window. You should now have two open windows on your screen. (see below)
    personal folder
  8. Select the file you want to transfer and don’t let go of the mouse button for the following step. You’ll notice that the file icon will move around when you move your mouse. (see below)
  9. Drag the file to the destination window and release your mouse button.
  10. The file is now in its new location. It’s a copy, leaving the original intact on your flash drive.

Hopefully these steps will help you in transferring your files to the desired location. You can follow the same steps to transfer a file from your computer to a flash drive if you need to.

Thanks for the great question, Dan! I hope you continue to find our posts useful and informative.

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Friday Linkapalooza — September 19, 2014

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CONSUMER PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

The Apple iPhone 6 and 6+ are available in stores today. A number of critics are weighing in on both phones.

Not to be left out, Amazon has announced two new additions—the Voyage, and a touchscreen Kindle—to it’s line of Kindle e-readers.

Ringly is a line of high fashion rings that can connect to your smartphone and let you know if you have a text or email message.

The Palate smart grill claims to be able to cook just about any kind of food, and can be controlled by your smartphone.

CURRENT EVENTS

“What does the Chief Technology Officer of a country do?”

British schools are beginning to teach kids coding—code is the language programmers use to write computer programs—as young as age five.

Apple has announced that they will no longer unlock customers’ iPhones and iPads at the request of government officials.

HEALTH & MEDICINE

A French biotechnology company called Carmat has announced that they have fabricated the latest artificial heart, the first to combine synthetic and organic materials.

Can technology play a part in the future of chronic disease patients and their disease self-management?

The Sleepio smartphone app hopes to improve users’ sleep patterns.

ARTS & CULTURE

Here are some fascinating images of ordinary objects as they appear under a microscope.

A songwriter has created an original song using the YouTube videos of other musicians. The effect is really cool. Give it a listen:

A flutist playing in a competition successfully completes her performance—even after a butterfly lands on her face mid-song.

JUST FOR FUN…

How about some adorable Dachshund puppies playing with a GoPro camera?

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The Beginnings of CBS

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In the 1920s, the Columbia Phonograph Company also had a branch for manufacturing records: the aptly named Columbia Records. In 1927, Columbia invested in the United Independent Broadcasters network, a new radio network based in Chicago. The network was then renamed the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System; the newly renamed network went live 87 years ago today: September 18, 1927. That first public airing included a performance by the Howard Barlow Orchestra.

Running the network was a costly venture, however, and it was only a matter of months—before Christmas 1927, actually—that the Columbia Phonographic Company wanted to pull out. The network’s founded, Arthur Judson, sold everything to the owners of a another network; those owners placed William Paley as president. Paley shortened the name to “Columbia Broadcasting System”, which we know today as CBS.

In its early years under Paley, CBS would move its headquarters to Brooklyn. Paley was able to stablize the network’s finances as well as its web of affiliates within his first year of leadership: CBS had 47 affiliate stations across the country, and nearly $5,000,000 in gross earnings.

CBS quickly became—and would remain—a mainstay of American radio. In addition to his keen business sense, Paley had a taste for talent and good entertainment. Under his leadership, CBS became a haven for many talented celebrities: George Burns and Grace Allen; Al Jolson; Jack Benny; Kate Smith; and a very young Bing Crosby.

CBS was hugely popular and successful in the 1930s, home to a new brand of serial drama: the soap opera. In an interesting turn of fate, CBS would, 10 years after its creation, purchase the American Record Corporation, who at that time in 1938 was the parent company of Columbia Records. 

CBS would continue its popularity in the 1940s, the golden age of American radio, and even through the 1950s, when radio began to lose its footing to the rise of television. Today, CBS is a network powerhouse, popular with television audiences for its range of drama and comedy, sporting events, and news coverage.

And to think it almost didn’t happen back in September 1927…

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Great Travel Apps for When You’re on the Road

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Over the summer, we’ve introduced you to several great smartphone apps that can be a help when you’re traveling: apps that help you book your trip, as well as apps that keep track of your schedule. As fall approaches, we’ll leave you with just a few more to think about, either if you’re planning a holiday vacation in the upcoming months or, like us, you’re already missing the long, sunny days of summer. Today we’ll look at some free apps that can help you while on the road.

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TripAdvisor – Free – Available on Android, iOS, Windows and Web

TripAdvisor is a must-have travel app. This is one of the most popular apps when it comes to user reviews. Whether you’re in an unfamiliar state or visiting another country, you can find reviews and ratings on hotels, restaurants, transportation, history, architecture and attractions from people who have been there. There is nothing more powerful then learning from someone else experience. I use this app even when I’m not traveling to see if a new restaurant near to me has a good rating. This app provides easy to read, interactive maps that use your mobile device’s GPS to detect your location and point you in the right direction. The app works offline so you can download city information before you leave home base in case you don’t have WiFi or limited data usage. This app covers the most popular attractions a given area, but is not necessarily going to help you find that hidden gem on the road less traveled.

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Foodspotting – Free – Available on Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry and Web

The Foodspotting app allows you to discover popular local dishes or favorite classics. It’s like the Yelp of the food world. It provides photos of the food and rating from other users and food experts. Foodspotting allows you find a restaurant that serves unique cuisine alphabetically, by category or location, or by customer ratings. This app has interactive maps to help you find the food you desires. If you’re in China but have a craving for a good old American cheeseburger, this app can help you find it. You can even see what your friends are eating. If you’re a food lover, this is a must-have app.

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Google Goggles – Free – Available on Android and iOS

Google Goggles lets you search the Web using photos that you’ve taken on your mobile phone. Looking up at a beautiful building, and have no idea what it is? Simply open up Google Goggles and point your camera at the building in question and, within moments, a list of articles will come up touching on your building: its history, ownership, materials, etc. This also works with statues, monuments, parks, fountains, barcodes or QR codes, a product, a popular image, a painting—virtually any object at which you can point your camera. Goggles can also read text in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish, and translate it into other languages in case you’re staring at something in a foreign language. If you’re traveling outside the country, this makes looking up information on just about anything a snap.

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WiFi Finder – Free – Available on Android and iOS

WiFi Finder lets you scan for wireless Internet (WiFi) hotspots near you. You can search for public WiFi anywhere in the world (you’d be surprised how many places have it). This app will give you WiFi hotspot details like location and the provider type. It provides you with call hotspots as well. The app includes a map that will also give directions to the close WiFi. It uses your GPS location to find WiFi locations that are close to you. You might think, “If I can’t get online how am I supposed to use this locating service?” But WiFi Finder has you covered, giving you the ability to download an offline database for the area you’re going to be in. So even if you don’t have a connection you’re still able to find the nearest wireless hotspot. This is a very handy app.

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Google Maps – Free – Available on Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry and Web

Google Maps is easily the best mapping app out there. It features incredibly accurate maps that are extremely detailed. It can also keep you updated on traffic, construction, accidents, or anything else that might cause delays on the road. It can also provide detailed indoor and outdoor images of your destination so you can recognize it upon arrival. Google Maps offers real-time transit information like bus and train routes with timetables. It has voice-guided GPS navigation for walking, biking, and driving. The Explore feature points out places to eat, drink, shop, and sleep, and even suggests entertainment as you travel. This app allows you to save unlimited maps for use offline which can come in handy if you lose cell phone signal. Never lose your way with this app, no matter where in the world you are.

Have questions about a particular app? Or do you have a favorite travel app that has been a lifesaver when you’re on the road? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

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