Google Tip – A dictionary as close as your browser search bar

While writing, I am often looking for the best word to use. Rather than checking dictionary websites or dare I say, break out a paper dictionary, I turn to Google.

The define keyword allows you to check Google for the definition of a word. To use it, simply type define:wordname and click Google Search. You are then presented with definitions from various internet sources.


So, the next time you are at a loss for words, fire up Google. It’s better than your English teacher.


Google Tip – Narrow search to a single site

I often am looking for particular information on a website. Rather than spend time navigating through the site. I let Google find what I need for me. This is easily accomplised with the Google site command.

The site command let’s you limit your search to a particular URL. For example, recently I found my self needing to contact Verizon. Rather than even going to their website, my first stop was Google.

Typing in the line Pennsylvania contact phone number in the Google search window and view your results.


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Great tip from Better Homes and Garden, found by way of Lifehacker.
Hanging pictures on a blank wall can be rough, especially with all of the hit-and-miss involved in aligning your frames and hammering in your nails. Better Homes and Gardens has a tip for getting your wall hangings right the first time so you don’t end up with three holes side by side while you attempt the perfect hang.

1. Trace pictures onto brown kraft paper and cut out. Label each of the papers with a description of the picture or a corresponding number.
2. Using blue painter’s tape (which won’t pull up wall paint), tape the papers to the wall. Experiment with arrangements until you have one you like.
3. Install picture-hanging hardware directly through the paper. Pull paper away and hang pictures one by one.

The third step is the real kicker; by installing through the paper, you should have a much better idea of exactly where to put your nail than you do when hanging without the paper.

Avoid another unwanted tie for the holidays.

The social bookmarking website Delicious is a great way to organize, share and discover interesting websites. I’ve replaced my standard bookmark list in Firefox with Delicious using the excellent plug in by Yahoo!.

If your family is like mine, they often struggle to find the best gift for you. Rather than risk another unwanted gift, use the power of social bookmarking.

As you’re surfing the internet, if you find something that might make a great gift, tag it. I use the tag wishlist for each item I want.

At some point, someone is bound to ask you what gift you might want. Now, instead of trying to come up with something on the spot, point them to your wishlist tag.

By the way, here is my wishlist 🙂

Dead simple VPN with Hamachi

I recently was looking for a way to get files off of my home PC from my office when I came across Hamachi. Hamachi is a “zero-config” VPN which when installed, allows you to link computers across the internet in a secure, virtual local area network.

I installed the client on my home PC and office PCs. Their claim of zero config is spot on. I merely had to give the PCs my account name and they found each other on the internet.

Once connected, I could do everything to my home machine that I could do on my house local area network. Browse shares, access my Subversion server, even use the Windows remote desktop to operate my home machine from my office.

VPNs used to be the realm of IT departments and businesses looking for a way to connect their road warriors. It was difficult to install and slow. Hamachi has leveled the playing field making it available for consumers.