Guy McDowell

Joined December 2008

With 20+ years of experience in IT, training, and technical trades, it is my desire to share what I've learned with anyone else willing to learn. I strive to do the best job possible in the best manner possible, and with a little humour. Keep in touch: Twitter - Facebook - Google+.

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177 Posts Published
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Guy's Latest Posts


Get a Head Start On Your USB Toolkit With Windows System Control Center

21st May, 2013

I often joke about being the only IT guy with a 36-inch pipe wrench in his toolbox. Funny, but also probably true. But I do carry one IT tool in my kit that is just as powerful and hefty as that pipe wrench – the Windows System Control Center on my Tools USB flash drive. The WSCC is an interface that gives you access to the SysInternals and NirSoft suite of tools. It’s like having a 3 foot pipe wrench in your back pocket! Only considerably more comfortable.


iPaid A Lot: The 10 Most Expensive iOS App Store Downloads

17th May, 2013

Various magazines and TV shows have been dedicated to the finer things in life, or at the very least the more expensive things in life. Are these things really worth that much, or is that just the price they put on them because they know rich people do stupid things too? Who knows. But here at MakeUseOf we’ll keep our extravagant spending somewhat useful. Let’s take a look at the Most Expensive iOS Apps available to those with caviar dreams and champagne wishes.


How To Fix Write Protection Errors On a USB Stick

14th May, 2013

You’ve got your trusty USB flash drive plugged into your computer, and you go to copy some files to it. Then you get this – “The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk.” Then you say, “Whaaaaaa….?!?!” How did this happen? This is your USB stick, you should be able to read, write and do whatever you want with it! Deep breath and stay calm. It is just an error message.


Free Storm Tracking Software To Get Warned Before Everyone Else

10th May, 2013

Finally, the season is upon us where we get the really cool storms! And by ‘cool’ I mean ‘deadly’. Tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, oh freaking my! Okay, I’m not really sure when tsunami season is, but I’ve been through a few tornadoes and hurricanes. And I LOVE THEM! When no one gets hurt of course. That […]


How Can I Fix My Facebook Page So It Doesn’t Look Stupid?

7th May, 2013

Some people might say that having Facebook and Stupid in the same title is a bit redundant. They may be correct. There are definitely a lot of things that qualify as stupid on Facebook, and the harsh reality is that there are a lot of stupid people on Facebook. Come on folks, there’s over half a billion people on Facebook, some of them, statistically speaking, have to be stupid! In fact, at least 49% of us on Facebook are below average intelligence.


Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal?

3rd May, 2013

This is by no means a legal document and don’t think that this substitutes for the opinions of an officer of the court. Let me be clear – I’m going to present to you the research that I’ve done and what it means to me. It is NOT legal advice. Now that is out of the way, lets get to the heart of the matter on whether buying second-hand software legal or illegal.


Can You Make an iPhone or Other Smartphone Stand From Paper?

30th April, 2013

I’m not frugal or thrifty, I’m cheap. My food comes only in yellow and black packaging. My Dad would say that I was “so cheap, he’d skin a fart for the grease.” I will stop in the middle of crossing the road to pick up a penny, and we don’t even use them in Canada anymore. So when I wanted a holder for my Samsung Whizzbang Z 28 and our office budget didn’t really cover that, I got to thinking about using paper instead.

How To Test Your PC For Failing Hardware

26th April, 2013

Good PC ownership is a lot like good car ownership. You do more than just use it, you learn something about how it works. You don’t need to be a PC technician or a mechanic, but you should be able to identify certain signs of trouble so you can get your rig in for maintenance. Unfortunately, checking out your PC for failing hardware isn’t quite as hands-on and easy to do as checking your car for worn tires or dirty oil.


No Sound? Don’t Worry! Troubleshooting Tips For Your Computer Speakers

23rd April, 2013

Using your computer seems like a purely visual experience, but the aural experience is surprisingly important as well. You may not notice how important it is until the sounds disappear suddenly. Then, there’s a sudden recognition that something is not quite right, or if you’re playing a game, that something is terribly wrong. Half of your computing experience just vanished! There’s no sound coming from your speakers. What happened? Where’d it go? Don’t panic.


How To Record Your Own Audiobook

19th April, 2013

We’re going to talk about taking something that you’ve written or read, and putting it into sounds so that you can either listen to it yourself, or share it with others. You may want to take on the formidable, if not rewarding, task of creating an audiobook. As surely as I sit here and type directly to you, as surely as you read this on technology that could have ended Word War II in its infancy, this task IS within your reach.


You Just Spilled Water Or Coffee On Your Laptop – Here’s What You Should Do

15th April, 2013

Okay, let’s take a deep breath and deal with the emergency first. Any emergency requires us to take a moment or two and assess the situation. That way we aren’t just reacting, we are acting with intent. Usually, that works out better in the long run. Time is precious in emergencies, but so is rational thinking and that’s what you came here for, isn’t it? So take another calming breath and answer the following questions.


Free Military-Grade Privacy For Your Files: How Bitlocker Works [Windows]

12th April, 2013

Ever heard that quote about trying to explain how a television works to an ant? I’m not calling you an ant, even though you are hard-working and enjoy the occasional sip of aphid milk. What I am saying is that I’m going to explain how Windows BitLocker works, without you having to have a degree in computer science and cryptography experience.

The Power of Giving - Volunteering Online

3 Websites Where Your Experiences Can Help Your Fellow Humans

9th April, 2013

There are a great number of websites where you can put your life experiences to good use helping other people out. Some you get paid for – those aren’t going to be covered here because this article is about altruism not consumerism. Giving back – not getting, except maybe that warm fuzzy feeling inside. With a lot of these sites, you just volunteer and do what you can.

Ransomware Locked Computer

Don’t Pay Up – How To Beat Ransomware!

5th April, 2013

Just imagine if someone showed up on your doorstep and said, “Hey, there’s mice in your house that you didn’t know about. Give us $100 and we’ll get rid of them.” This is the Ransomware Scam in its original form. There actually used to be people that would go around, let pests into your house and then knock on your door and point them out to you. “Good thing we saw them while driving by!” This scam must be making someone some good money because it’s still going on.


How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload

2nd April, 2013

So much for the paperless office! The integration of information technology has seemingly increased the amount of paper printing we have to do. So pretty much everyone with a computer needs a printer at some point in time. The problem is figuring out which printer is the best one for your budget AND workload. Laser, colour, inkjet, large format, photo quality, all-in-one, WiFi enabled, monochrome…there are a lot of jargon words around printers.