If you would like to insert symbols to something you are typing you can do it with one simple method.  Use the Alt key like a shift key and hold it down while you type any of the following number combinations.  When you release the Alt key you will see the corresponding symbol in your text.

 Alt + 0153….. ™… trademark symbol

 Alt + 0169…. ©…. copyright symbol

 Alt + 0174….. ®….registered ­ trademark symbol

 Alt + 0176 …°……degree symbol

 Alt + 0177 …±….plus-or ­-minus sign

 Alt + 0182 …¶…..paragr­aph mark

 Alt + 0190 …¾….fractio­n, three-fourths

 Alt + 0215 ….×…..multi­plication sign

 Alt + 0162…¢….the ­ cent sign

 Alt + 0161…..¡….. ­.upside down exclamation point

 Alt + 0191…..¿….. ­upside down question mark

 Alt + 1…….….smiley face

 Alt + 2 ……… smiley face   

 Alt + 15…..…..sun

 Alt + 12………..female sign

 Alt + 11…..……m­ale sign

 Alt + 6…….…..spade

 Alt + 5…….…… ­Club

 Alt + 3…….…… ­Heart

 Alt + 4…….…… ­Diamond

 Alt + 13………..e­ighth note

 Alt + 14………… ­beamed eighth note

 Alt + 8721…. …. N-ary summation (auto sum)

 Alt + 251…..…..square root check mark

 Alt + 8236…..….. ­infinity

 Alt + 24…….….. ­up arrow

 Alt + 25………… ­down arrow

 Alt + 26…..…..r­ght arrow

 Alt + 27………..l­eft arrow

 Alt + 18…..……u­p/down arrow

 Alt + 29………lef­t right arrow

For a comprehensive list you could go here:
Facebook Symbols


Windows 10 Virtual Desktop

Like the Mad Hatter in Wonderland, Microsoft now has a built-in way of moving down for clean cups.   If you have even been in the middle of a project with windows open everywhere and suddenly needed to switch to something else but still needed all those lovely windows you will appreciate virtual desktops. They allow you to just switch to a completely clean desktop and start fresh. With the ability to switch back to the cluttered one you were so diligently working on.

Windows 10 taskbar snipitThere is a little symbol at the bottom of your screen that looks like a rectangle with a square on top of it. It sits next to the search window. If you click on this your screen will be put into a window and you will see two (more if you are already using this) miniature desktop screens on the bottom. One will be the cluttered one and the other a clean one. If you click on the clean one, then you will get a clean desktop that you can immediately start cluttering again. You can use this again to switch back to your original one. You will also see off to the right bottom a “+” button that will allow you to add more desktops as many as you desire.

While on this screen you can also drag an open program to any of the desktops you wish. This allows you to even organize all that extra clutter.

And for even quicker access there are keyboard shortcuts that allow you to move and switch without using the (dor)mouse.

Keyboard shortcuts for using Virtual Desktop in Windows 10:

  • WIN + CTRL + LEFT/RIGHT: Switch to previous or next desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + D: Create a new desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + F4: Close the current desktop
  • WIN + TAB: Launch task view

Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz

Why does this affect me?  For two reasons.  First most every device out there is using the 2.4Ghz band for Wi-Fi and some devices such as cordless phones and microwaves (yes the one in your kitchen.) use this frequency.   Second you have routers that transmit on both and devices that also transmit on both.

The first problem is that there are only 12-14 channels available to the 2.4Ghz band width and if you use an app to tell you whom is using what channel next to you, you will likely see a plethora of devices on every channel.  In my experience there are usually 5-7 channels that are overwhelmed since most people let their routers auto decide which channels to use.  There are apps out there that will show you which channels are used and you can pick one for your router that, over time, is used the least.

The second problem is something that doesn’t get addressed that often is devices and routers that can offer both bands (2.4 and 5Ghz).    If you set it up correctly this is not an issue.  But by trying to over-simplify your Wi-Fi you can create your own problem.   If both the router and device (laptop, phone, tablet…) are setup to use both then setup auto connects to both on the device the device is likely to flip flop between the two bands and will result looking like a very unstable internet connection.     Since most newer routers and devices do support both this can be very frustrating.   The simplest way around this is to forget or unsubscribe to one of the two bands.

The pros to using 2.4Ghz are its high availability and ability to go longer distances through walls and other barriers.  

The cons to using 2.4Ghz are so many things that occupy that bandwidth.

The pros to using 5Ghz are less devices clogging the airwaves and better performance and the fact that both 802.11a and 802.11b cannot use it.  See my earlier article about this.

The cons to using 5Ghz are that it doesn’t go through walls and other barriers as easily as 2.4Ghz and therefore range may be a limiting factor.  Also even though it is listed as a pro the fact that 802.11a and 802.11b cannot connect to it may mean that you lose some of your older devices.

End of Free Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft has announced that it will be ending it’s Free upgrade to Windows 10 program as of July 29 this year.   This is no surprise since Microsoft originally announced that It will only last a year.  Times up folks!  It’s either upgrade now or pay for the upgrade after the 29th of July.  So if you have been hesitating do it now.

The good news, for all of you who don’t want to upgrade, Microsoft will phase out the annoying upgrade pop-up after July 29th as well.  It may take a month or two but Microsoft will finally stop nagging you.

As seen on InfoWorld.

As seen on PCWorld.

As seen on the Verge.


Why is my Wi-Fi slow?

One possibility that is not always thought of for your Wi-Fi to being slower than is should be.

Wi-Fi comes in a variety of flavors. There is a, b, g, n and the new ac when buying adaptors or routers for their Wi-Fi. But do you know what they are and what you need to know about them to help your own system? The most significant differences between all these standards is the speed. There are other differences but for the purpose of this article we will focus on speed. The following is the speed ranges for each standard:

• 802.11a – 11mbs with a fallback to 5.5, 2 or even 1mbs
• 802.11b – 11mbs
• 802.11g – 54mbs
• 802.11n – 100mbs with up to 250mbs with special configuration
• 802.11ac – 433mbs up to 1.3gbs with three antenna configurations

Obviously you would want the highest speed you can get but you may not be actually getting it even if you own it. Why wouldn’t you get 433mbs out of your brand new 802.11ac router? Well the first and most obvious reason is that your computer doesn’t have an adaptor that supports it. Both the router and your computer must be able to support the ac standard before you can realize the speed difference.

The other reason may not seem so simple. That is because it doesn’t have anything to do with your relationship between your computer and the router but the relationship between the router and all the other devices around it. If you have an 802.11n router and there is a printer attached to it that can only communicate in 802.11b then the router will be adjusting to the 11mbs b standard and, therefore, force the communications between your computer and itself to comply with b standards of 11mbs. Oh, and it gets worse. If there is a neighbor that doesn’t even connect to your Wi-Fi but is within range and they use 802.11b devices, then the same thing will happen since the devices will communicate even if it is only verifying that the other exists. This happens all the time over Wi-Fi. Routers are inherently programmed to cater to the least common denominator they need to keep compatibility between everything.

Ok, this sucks. But what can be done? Most routers have the ability to fine tune to just one or two of these standards. So you could set your router to only work with g and n networks, for instance, so that your minimum only goes as low as 54mbs. Your only problem with that are devices like your printer that only works on 802.11b. You need to make sure that you only exclude up to your lowest common denominator. (Honestly, what are you still doing with a printer that old anyway?) You can also upgrade your devices to more modern standards before you do this as well. That way if everything was running 802.11n then you can get those fantastic speeds you paid for just by setting your router to only use n.