So here’s the thing – if you are kind enough to invite me round for dinner and afterwards place a cup of coffee before me I will feel bad. I’d appreciate the gesture but I don’t drink coffee so I would either have to drink it (yuk) to avoid upsetting you or cause embarrassment by asking you to throw it away. If only you had put water before me – something that everyone drinks and there’s no problem tossing it down the sink.
It’s the same with email attachments – if you assume that the recipient can read your chosen format you may be wrong. Far better to convert to a universally recognised format such as .PDF - a format that, unlike editable documents (such as Word.DOCx or Ability Write.aww) is very hard to inject an infection into.
Also, it is polite to make it clear whether you are emailing a distribution list (or mail merge) to a large group or just an individual. Replies to an individually addressed person are polite, whereas a mass mailing does not warrant a reply from everyone merely to acknowledge receipt.
Mailing several people ? Use the BCC: field to hide the addresses from other addressees. That way a single virus infected computer cannot harvest all your correspondents’ addresses in preparation for spear phishing attacks.
Wanting to send a few photos to someone ? Have a thought for their time and download capacity. Rather than attaching many individual files just upload them to a free cloud store (e.g. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox) then share the link.
Too busy to reply to a message within 24 hours ? Send an acknowledgement of receipt – save the other side from wondering whether it was lost in transit and having to decide when to send you a pester note.
Please comment below about the above or any that I have missed.
P.S. Although not strictly on topic, when you make a post in a forum think about the subject and how anyone visiting later would be searching. Titles such as "another problem" or "what causes this" give no clue to the subject under discussion, will get far fewer people bothered to go to the trouble of reading through to help in your case, and give no regard to later generations trying to avoid reinventing the wheel.
The regular Google Earth has been free for ages and given users the ability to get views of most places from the Google satellite down to the Google car. It gives 3D images from your street to Mars. Now though the Pro edition has been made free. You still need a license but that comes by email a minute or two after you sign up at
I recommend the flight simulator mode of travel. You can get tutorials from http://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/earth/learn/
This is good for both Windows and Macintosh computers although your experience will be enhanced with a modern good quality computer.
It is sometimes interesting to know how your broadband speed is varying over time, or perhaps check on the quality of your line graphically. Two free tools that help this are
Jack Dinn's AutoSpeedTester available from http://www.gmwsoftware.co.uk/ This displays in bar chart and log table modes the upload and download speeds every few minutes. Also, usefully, the PING and Jitter. There is a performance hit when you use this to think carefully before setting this to run too frequently.
RouterStats available from http://www.vwlowen.co.uk/internet/files.htm This will show the signal to noise ratio and bitloadings - very helpful in checking the network on your side of the router. Not all routers are supported but many are and as long as you know your router credentials it's not hard to set up.
Both these programs need configuration - they are not simple plug and play apps, but this shouldn't be much of a problem for those interested enough to download them in the first place.
It is common for devices to be able to connect with a network either through Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Given that a hard wired Ethernet cable has a theoretical speed of twice Wi-Fi, it make sense to ensure you are passing data over the fastest available connector. To set the priority of Ethernet over Wi-Fi proceed as follows.
For Apple Mac OS X open Network Preferences. From the cog at the bottom left choose Set Service Order... Now drag Ethernet to the top of the list. Click OK then click the Apply button.
For Windows 8 open Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings. If Always show menus is not set in the Folder Options then press the Alt key to get the menu. Choose Advanced > Advances Settings... and in the Adapters and Bindings tab select Ethernet and click the up arrow to get it to the top of the list. OK.
For Linux it varies a lot sepending on which distro you have. Editing /etc/network/interfaces to reduce the network that should have highest priority is a common method on many. FOr others the ifconfig command allws metrick adjustment.
Most printers bought today have a wireless card and so can be used from any device anywhere. This can happen in different ways.
The word on the street is that Windows 9 will, as OS X and Linux have for years, support virtual desktops – the ability to group many programs’ windows and move the whole lot on/off the display together. The functionality is available now free by running Sysinternals Desktops.
But the thrust of this item is virtualisation – the ability to run one operating system inside another. This is often useful for running old programs you don’t have a licence to run on modern versions of Windows, or testing out a possibly virus laden program/website, or running a Windows program side-by-side with an OS X one, or even as a form of image backup.
There are five heavyweight players in this space and each has their pros & cons:
Remember that both host and guest operating systems will need a valid license to work properly; moving a guest to a different physical machine is possible but the hypervisors change the MAC address of the network card so reactivation is usually necessary. Also, you cannot have too much RAM for smooth running virtualisation.
Most email services limit the size of attachments to around 25 MB or less. But sometimes you want to send one-off larger files right ? Here are some options to consider; most free.
There are surely others, please let me know if you find another service or method of sending large files.
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