Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Techie awesomeness - Part 1 - Shortcuts

Hi all,

My sister recently posted this blog article.  For those who aren't inclined to read it, that's really too bad, you're missing out, but here's the major takeaway for me:

People don't understand technology because it's easy to not know.

The author, both a teacher and network admin (amazing job, in my opinion), discusses a few awesome things, one is that he often encounters people with technical problems, and instead of them attempting to learn how to fix it, they give up. Also, kids who are supposed to know how to use computers, in his opinion, don't.  I think both of these points are absolutely correct, and until reading the article, I kinda thought the opposite of them.  After reading, I am now a changed man.

Since you're reading this post on a computer, or phone, or whatever, you're using technology already.  There are a few things everyone should know about this technology to make their lives better.  The author of the article gave his, and now I give mine:

1 - Shortcuts

If you're using a mobile device (BlackBerry, iOS, Android, etc) as your primary means of tech interaction, these vary depending on what your device is, but shortcuts that are built into your technology will make your life better.

If you're using a computer with Windows, here are my two absolute favourites:

ALT-TAB - pressing these two keys together unleashes some amazing wizardry that allows you to switch between applications very quickly.  By default, you'll end up switching to the application you used last, which is awesome, but what's even more awesome is...
Bonus points - if you hold down ALT, a screen will appear showing you which applications are open, and if you tap on the TAB key, you can switch between all of these displayed.
Bonus BONUS points - if you hold down ALT, then hold SHIFT and then tap on the TAB key, you will reverse the direction you're switching in.

And my second favourite, which is hard to describe:

"WINDOWS-D" - Some people call the "WINDOWS" key, the START key, and they're probably right.

Here's a picture of what I mean:

Yours might not look like that - the Windows logo might not have a circle around it, if you've got a new keyboard it might show the incredibly awesome new Windows logo with all squares instead of wavy whatsits. Either way, it's on the bottom of your keyboard, to the left of the space bar.
Anyway - if you hit the WINDOWS key and D at the same time, you are invoking a shortcut to display the desktop of the computer, just like if you were to hit the icon called Show Desktop.
Bonus Points - hitting this combination again once you're done on the Desktop, brings back everything you were working on before.

The amount of Windows shortcuts is incredible - if you'd like more, check it out from Microsoft themselves.

What are your favourite shortcuts? Mac and mobile users, you've got some right?

Next thing I'll talk about - PLAYING!

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