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Guy McDowell

/ Joined 13 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.

163 Articles
816 Comments
Cover Your Tracks With These 3 Unmissable Data Removal Tools

Windows Internet

Cover Your Tracks With These 3 Unmissable Data Removal Tools

Personal privacy is the hot topic these days, at least in the news. It should also be the hot topic in your computing life, as well! What you do online and on your computer says an awful lot about you and, in the hands of the wrong people, can prove disastrous. Oh, fine, at least we have a password on our computers. But let’s say we are doing something where privacy really does matter. Imagine we had a benevolent reason to cover our tracks. On to some tools that will help us do just that!

21-06-2013
Cover Your Tracks With These 3 Unmissable Data Removal Tools
How To Encrypt Data on Your Smartphone

Android iPhone and iPad

How To Encrypt Data on Your Smartphone

With the Prism-Verizon scandal, what allegedly has been happening is that the United States of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has been data mining. That is, they have been going through the call records of Verizon’s approximately 99 million users looking for, well, anything! If the thought of the occasionally overzealous government official isn’t enough reason to encrypt your smartphone, then all the identity thieves and scammers out there ought to be. Today, I’m going to show you a few things you can do to make that information a bit more secure.

18-06-2013
How To Encrypt Data on Your Smartphone
How To Use Your Smartphone To Protect And Uphold Your Civil Rights

Android Internet

How To Use Your Smartphone To Protect And Uphold Your Civil Rights

Can you imagine how much quicker the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s would have come to a head if they had the power that we hold in our pocket? Some would say that the Civil Rights Movement is still going on, and The Arab Spring shows us that it is. Here’s how you can document the challenge and make a difference with just a smartphone, some courage, and compassion.

04-06-2013
How To Use Your Smartphone To Protect And Uphold Your Civil Rights
Which Weather Widget Would You Use? 3D Weather vs. AccuWeather.com [Android]

Android

Which Weather Widget Would You Use? 3D Weather vs. AccuWeather.com [Android]

Since the dawn of media, the weather has sustained publishers of almanacs, sold newspapers when nothing was happening, tuned listeners into the radio, and viewers into the television news. Today, we carry all of this media in the form of our smartphones, yet something as primal as our need to know the weather is still important. Today I want to share with you two ways to get the weather, the 3D Weather widget and the AccuWeather.com widget.

31-05-2013
Which Weather Widget Would You Use? 3D Weather vs. AccuWeather.com [Android]
GIF – The Final Word On How To Pronounce It

Internet

GIF – The Final Word On How To Pronounce It

With the resurgence of the Graphics Interchange Format in its animated incarnation, the HOT debate about how to pronounce that gem of an acronym has also come to the front again. There are two fighters in the ring, here. One that is coached by the man most credited with bringing the GIF to the world, Steve Wilhite and his soft-G approach. The other fighter goes by the name of Vox Populi.

28-05-2013
GIF – The Final Word On How To Pronounce It
Get a Head Start On Your USB Toolkit With Windows System Control Center

Windows

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

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.

21-05-2013
Get a Head Start On Your USB Toolkit With Windows System Control Center
iPaid A Lot: The 10 Most Expensive iOS App Store Downloads

iPhone and iPad

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

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.

17-05-2013
iPaid A Lot: The 10 Most Expensive iOS App Store Downloads
How Can I Fix My Facebook Page So It Doesn’t Look Stupid?

Internet

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

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.

07-05-2013
How Can I Fix My Facebook Page So It Doesn’t Look Stupid?
Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal?

Web Culture

Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal?

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.

03-05-2013
Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal?
Can You Make an iPhone or Other Smartphone Stand From Paper?

Android iPhone and iPad

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

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.

30-04-2013
Can You Make an iPhone or Other Smartphone Stand From Paper?
How To Record Your Own Audiobook

Internet

How To Record Your Own Audiobook

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.

19-04-2013
How To Record Your Own Audiobook
You Just Spilled Water Or Coffee On Your Laptop – Here’s What You Should Do

DIY

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

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.

15-04-2013
You Just Spilled Water Or Coffee On Your Laptop – Here’s What You Should Do
Free Military-Grade Privacy For Your Files: How Bitlocker Works [Windows]

Windows

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

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.

12-04-2013
Free Military-Grade Privacy For Your Files: How Bitlocker Works [Windows]
3 Websites Where Your Experiences Can Help Your Fellow Humans

Internet

3 Websites Where Your Experiences Can Help Your Fellow Humans

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.

09-04-2013
3 Websites Where Your Experiences Can Help Your Fellow Humans
Don’t Pay Up – How To Beat Ransomware!

Windows

Don’t Pay Up – How To Beat Ransomware!

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.

05-04-2013
Don’t Pay Up – How To Beat Ransomware!
How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload

Product Reviews

How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload

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.

02-04-2013
How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload
Keep In Touch With The Big Game On Your Android

Android

Keep In Touch With The Big Game On Your Android

Just recently, I was doing some research on TV Show Apps to Stay In Touch with Your Favourite Characters, and the last thing I included was an app to track my favourite NHL team, the Edmonton Oilers. That might have been a reach as far as the title of the article goes, but sports is definitely full of characters and a large portion of our television watching time is dedicated to sports.

29-03-2013
Keep In Touch With The Big Game On Your Android
Don’t Let Them Scan You: Blocking RFID Chips

Technology Explained

Don’t Let Them Scan You: Blocking RFID Chips

Every convenience in life comes at a cost. That’s why things are so expensive at the corner store compared to the grocery store. They aren’t selling you a carton of milk, they’re selling you a way out of a mistake in not remembering to pick up your milk early at the supermarket. That kind of convenience has a readily tangible cost – more money out of your wallet. The convenience cost of other things, such as technology, might not be so readily apparent.

26-03-2013
Don’t Let Them Scan You: Blocking RFID Chips
Use the Right Battery Type for the Job

Web Culture

Use the Right Battery Type for the Job

Batteries are batteries right? Sure, and computers are computers, and tires are tires. Oh, what’s that? You say there’s a big difference between a Mac and PC, and tractor tires and car tires? Well, so too there are big differences between the different types of batteries that are available. Obviously the physical sizes are different like your AAA’s and your D’s, but the differences go deeper. The construction and composition of the charge generating materials can be significantly different as well.

19-03-2013
Use the Right Battery Type for the Job
Gamer Droid: Video Game Themed Wallpapers For Android

Android

Gamer Droid: Video Game Themed Wallpapers For Android

I love video games! You love video games! The difference between you and I is that you probably actually play with them while I admire them from afar. Fact is, I’m still playing Icewind Dale. But that’s not the point. The point is I can still enjoy the presence of my favourite video games in new and exciting ways on my Samsung Android phone. And you can too! When I first went looking for video game wallpapers for my phone, I was vaguely aware of what a Live Wallpaper was.

15-03-2013
Gamer Droid: Video Game Themed Wallpapers For Android
How To Get The Most From Your Earphones

Technology Explained

How To Get The Most From Your Earphones

The quest for getting the most from your earphones begins well before you ever buy them. You might be swayed by the fact that such-and-such musician has their name on a certain pair of headphones, or that these particular earphones looks really cute, or dashing, or whatever. Those things just aren’t important and won’t enhance your music listening pleasure. This is all about the sounds and how they move you.

12-03-2013
How To Get The Most From Your Earphones