November 8, 2010

Setting up your DLink DIR-300 Router for Hidden Wireless and connecting your Vista Laptop to it

If you have a Vista laptop connecting to a DLink DIR-300 wireless router, you have an option of preventing the router from broadcasting your home network name. This option is called hidden wireless or SSID broadcast in your router's lingo. Enabling hidden wireless in your router provides an added layer of protection from people who might otherwise use your wireless network to connect to the Internet or eavesdrop on computers that you're using at home.

When hidden broadcast is not enabled, your home computers are able to find and get all the information needed to join your home network. You need enter only the network password and the computer and the router automatically set up how they are going to communicate with each other. But when your wireless router operates on a hidden wireless mode, your home computers are not going to receive those information from your wireless router. This is how your home network is made more secure. Someone needs to provide these information to your home computers manually so that they can be saved and used the next time the computers are turned on.

Important Note

You should note that by changing this security setting, all computers being used by your family members will have to be manually set up to connect to your newly configured wireless router again for the first time. However you can set up the connection to be automatically run whenever the laptop computer is turned on.

Before setting up your wireless router for hidden wireless, you should preferably work with two computers, one being directly connected to the router through a LAN Cable. This is to ensure that you can still connect to your router to change any of its settings if you find it difficult to connect your laptop manually after setting this security option. You might want to revert back the router to its previous settings if you find the configuration task a bit tedious and not worth the effort.

Setup the Router for Hidden Wireless

You can setup your DLink DIR-300 to stop broadcasting your network name by accessing the router from the computer directly connected to the router. In the Internet browser of the computer, type the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the router and enter the router's administrator name and password. Click on the Setup button at the upper part of the DLink configuration page and on the left hand portion, click on the Wireless Setup. At the bottom part of the page, click on the Manual Wireless Connection Setup. Look for the checkbox beside Enable Hidden Wireless and put a check mark on it by clicking it with your mouse. Click on the Save Setting button either on the upper or lower part of the configuration page and wait for the page to come back. Make note of the security mode, the type of encryption, and the network key that are shown.

Set up the Vista Laptop

Go the Vista laptop that is to be set up and open its control panel window. Click on Network and Internet, and then click on Network and Sharing Center which are both on the right panes of the window. On the left pane, click on Setup a connection or network. Click on manually connect to a wireless network, and then click on the next button at the bottom of the window.

On the next window that will come up, enter all the information that you made note of in the earlier step. Be sure to enter all the information correctly and double check if the data are all correct. Click on the Display characters checkbox to make sure that you enter the network password correctly. Click back on the button again to hide the characters once you're sure that the password is correct.

Click also in the checkbox labelled Start this connection automatically so the owner of the laptop will not have to enter the wireless settings again when he turns his computer on later. Click on the next button and finish your connection setup work. If you encounter a problem, go back to the manual connection window and correct any mistake on the data entered. Check if the laptop is able to connect to the Internet by opening its browser and accessing a web page.

All Future Computers to be Manually Set Up

From now on, all computers that need to access the Internet will have to be manually set up first before they are able to join your wireless home network. However, if access control is also set up in your router, you have to make the necessary configuration for the access control first on the Vista laptop before you manually configure its wireless connection settings.

This mode of operation is a bit of a hassle because of the tedious configuration work that needs to be made on every computer that wants to access your wireless network. You should do this only if your wireless network is under a serious security threat. If you have set up access control in your network and you're still not satisfied with the security protection that it affords, then maybe this option can make your network more impervious to threats from outside.

Read my other article on using DHCP reservation to minimize unauthorized connections to your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2012/01/use-dhcp-reservation-to-minimize.html.

Read my other article on troubleshooting Vista connection problems in wireless home environment at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2012/01/troubleshooting-vista-connection.html

Read another article on setting up access control in your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/how-to-set-up-access-control-in-your-dir-300-d-link-wireless-router

Read an article on tips on how to stay safe on the Internet at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/tips-for-staying-safe-on-the-internet

Read my other article on surfing the Internet faster by using OpenDNS on your DLink DIR-300 wireless at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/surf-internet-faster-by-using-opendns.html.



November 6, 2010

Why your Gateway Vista Laptop Using a DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router can't connect to the Internet

Most households today connect to the Internet through a broadband modem connected to a wireless home router. The laptop computers owned by family members connect to the router using the laptop's wireless adapter. This kind of setup brings about a number of possible connection breakdowns that may sometimes be difficult to find out. A little background knowledge on the workings of the Internet communication protocol could go a long way in helping you solve your Internet connection problems.

I have a Gateway laptop running on Vista with a wireless connection to a DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router which in turn is connected to a DSL modem. I have been using this setup for quite some time now and so far I have experienced very few problems in with it. Maybe I'm just lucky that I happen to be physically near the telephone central so I get a pretty good signal in my telephone line.

I will be writing as I think about what problems I have encountered and possibly on how I was able to resolve them. I must remind you that some problems are beyond your capacity to resolve and you just have to wait until those responsible have resolved the problems at their end. Once you are confident that there is nothing wrong with your settings and your hardware are functioning well, it could be that your Internet Service Provider is experiencing some problems.

First Symptom

The first symptom of a lost connection is that nothing is displayed on your browser except an error message that the page you are requesting cannot be displayed. When this happens, look down toward the right hand bottom part of your screen and check the status of your connection. If the two computer icons are in blue color, then you have a good wireless connection with your router. If you notice a big red dot on the icon, then there is a problem with your router. Your router is most probably turned off.

If the icon is of blue color, hover your mouse over the icon and make sure that the balloon message says local and Internet. This means that your wireless router is still in contact with the Internet gateway of your service provider. If it says local only, that means most probably that it has stopped exchanging Internet protocol (IP) packets with the gateway.

This happens because the gateway was unable to provide your router with a valid Internet protocol address which it can use to exchange IP packets with other Internet routers. You see your home router is given an IP address by your provider gateway which is valid for a certain period of time only. Your router informs the gateway when its IP address is nearing the end of its life but if there is congestion in the network and packets are getting lost, then a new IP address might not be forthcoming and so when the life of the address comes to an end, your router changes its address to 0.0.0.0 which is not a valid IP address. You cannot do anything in this situation but wait until your router receives a valid IP address from your provider's gateway.

Something Amiss has Happened

If your router is off and your Vista laptop is already running, something amiss has happened and your computer was not able to get a valid local address from your router. Your laptop may inform you that there are available networks that you could connect with. If you click on the small icon at the right hand bottom part of your screen, you may be given an option of connecting to a network near you. But not as savvy as you are when it comes to these things, you might find yourself doing tasks that you don't fully understand. My suggestion at this point is just close whatever it is that you're working on and restart your Vista laptop.

When computers are turned on, they automatically look for networks that they know and have connected previously. When routers are turned on, they announce the availability of the networks outside that they have connection and invite computers to join their local network. If you turned on your laptop when your router is already up and running, it asks your router for a local address and is promptly given the next available address by your router. But if the situation is the other way around, then this important exchange can no longer be performed and so your computer is left in the cold with no one to talk with. Your options then are to connect manually with your router or just let your computer connect automatically by restarting it.

Your wireless connection icon at the bottom right hand corner of you screen should now be in blue color and when you hover your mousse over it, the message will hopefully say local and Internet. But what if your browser says it still cannot display the page that you want?

Go to a Different Website

Try accessing another page from another website and see if you can successfully get the page. If yes, then something is probably not well with the server hosting the first web page. But the most probable cause would be that your computer is unable to get the IP address of the server that is hosting the web page. Your service provider is running a Domain Name Server (DNS) that serves as a directory of IP addresses for Internet domains.

A domain is just a concept that defines to whom does a web page belong or in other words who is responsible for providing a particular bit of information regarding a specific topic. For everything to work perfectly in the Internet, each domain must be associated with a unique IP address. This is what makes the Internet works. Everyone is sharing in the work of making this pairing of domain and IP address alive throughout the cyberspace. Your service provider is participating in this task by providing you with a domain name association with an IP address service.

However, the Internet is not perfect and problems are bound to arise. Your service provider's DNS server might be experiencing too much load that some packets that cannot be serviced at time period threshold that has been set are simply dropped. But don't worry because there is a solution for this and that is to use another DNS service. You can google for a free domain name service available at the Internet and let your computer avail of a faster resolution of domain names to IP addresses. Google is offering its free DNS to anyone who is interested so why don't you try using it. Other organizations are doing the same so you have a choice on which free service to avail of.

What you will do is to override your automatic network setting which is to avail of your service provider's DNS service. You can do this by manually setting the DNS service for your network connection to an alternative IP address. You can do this using the control panel of your Vista laptop. Look for the connection settings of your wireless connection and set the IP version 4 DNS server to the address which you found earlier from researching on the Internet. These free DNS providers may be using technologies that can make IP address resolution faster. Or, maybe they just have more powerful servers and more available domain-address pairings on their data bases that they don't have to verify with domain owners each time a request comes in.

Another Situation

Now here is another situation. You have just logged on to your Vista laptop, you look at your screen and noticed that there is a red mark on your wireless networking icon at the right hand bottom part of your screen. When you open your Internet browser, an error message is displayed saying the page was not found. You are prompted to enter a network security key so you can be connected to your home wireless network. And when you hover your mouse over the icon, it says wireless networks are available. What could have happened?

Again timing is very important when two entities would like to start a connection relationship. Your laptop again missed the introduction to each other that is so vital when two end points would like to set up an Internet protocol session with each other. You can enter your wireless home network key to connect to your DLink DIR-300 router or if that is not possible you can use your Vista control panel to connect to your home network. I can go on and enumerate the steps that you need to take to perform this task but I would just suggest that you restart your computer and let it do the connection automatically.

If you have done these workarounds and you're now back on track with your Internet surfing, then I'm glad to be of help. If not, well, try others who might have a solution for your particular problem. But generally, these are the main reasons why you can't see a page displayed on your Internet browser. The Internet Protocol has been designed to be a fault-tolerant system, but it may not be able to recover smoothly from some faults.

Read my other article on how to connect a laptop to an access-protected wireless network at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-connect-friends-laptop-computer.html

Read an article on using Google DNS to speed up your Internet connection at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/use-the-google-dns-service-to-speed-up-internet-on-your-vista-laptop

Read an article on how you can turn your old desktop equipment into peripherals for your new laptop at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/turn-your-old-desktop-equipment-into-peripherals-for-your-laptop.



February 17, 2010

How to Setup Parental Controls in your Vista Laptop

To setup parental controls in your Vista laptop, you must use an administrator account or you must know the password for an administrator account. Administrator account passwords should never be divulged to the children otherwise, they can easily change the parental control settings or use the administrator account in doing activities for which they are not allowed.

For you to be able to control the activities of your child while using your Vista laptop, you must give the child her own user name which she must always use to log on to the computer. If you want to add a user name, you can open your control panel and click on the User Accounts and Family Safety link. Under User Accounts of the next window, click on Add or Remove User Accounts and in the Manage Accounts window, click on Create a New Account. Type in the user name that you want your child to use and click on the button Create Account.

To start setting up parental controls, open the control panel of your Vista laptop. Click on the User Accounts and Family Safety link on the control panel home page. Click on parental controls then select the user name of the child whose use of the Vista laptop you want to control.

On the User Control window, click the On radio buttons under both the Parental controls and the Activity Reporting headings. To control what web sites the child can visit, click on the Windows Vista Web Filter link. To specify the only web sites that the child can visit, click on the Edit the Allow and Block List link, then type in the URL of the web site and click on the Allow button. After entering all the URLs of web sites that the child is allowed to visit, click on the check box Only Allow websites which are on the allow list.

You may alternatively choose to block content automatically for the child by clicking on a restriction level below the heading Block Web Content Automatically. If you choose either the high or medium level, you will be shown a description of the categories that will be blocked. If you click on the None radio button, be sure to edit the Allow and Block list and to add the URLs of the sites that you don't want your child to be allowed to visit. If you click on the Custom radio button, you will be allowed to check the categories of content that you don't want your child to be exposed to. If you want to disable your child from downloading files from the Internet, click on Block File Downloads checkbox in the Web Restrictions page of the control panel. Don't forget to click on the OK button to enable the settings to be applied.

To set the time limits on which the child can use the Vista laptop, open your control panel, click on User Accounts and Family Safety link on the control panel, click on Setup Parental Control for Any User then click on the user name of the child for whom you want to limit the time for using the Vista laptop. On the User Controls window, click on the Time Limits link then click on the time for the days that the child will not be allowed to use the Vista laptop. Click the OK button once you have completed blocking off all the times that the child won't be allowed to use the laptop.

To specify which computer games the child will be allowed to play, go to the Parental Controls window of your Control Panel and select the user name of the child for whom you want to control access to computer games. On the User Controls window, click on the Games link and on the Games Control window, click on Set Game Ratings. On the next window, click on the radio button of the rating that is suitable for your child. Additionally, you could block the game from being played by your child even if the game has an allowed rating if the game contains scenes where various content types are involved. Click on the check boxes of the type of content for allowed games that you want to additionally block. Click on OK to enable the settings.

If you want to block specific games from being played by the child, you can click on Block or Allow Specific Games on the Game Controls window for that particular user in your Control Panel. In the Games Overrides window, click on the radio buttons pertaining to your choice of whether to apply the user rating setting, always allow or always block the user from playing the specific game. Click on the OK button to enable the settings.

If you want to control which computer programs in the Vista laptop your child can use, go to the Parental Controls window of your Control Panel and choose the user name of the child for whom you want to control the use of specific programs in your computer. In the User Controls window, click on the Allow and Block Specific Programs link. Click on the radio button opposite the phrase User Name Can Only Use the Programs I Allow. Click on the check boxes opposite the programs that you would like your child to be allowed to use. Click on the OK button on the page to enable the settings.

You can view a weekly report on the child's activity on the Vista laptop by clicking on the View Activity Reports link on the User Controls window of the user name of your child. On the report, you can see the most visited and the most recently visited web sites, the programs used and the games played by the child for the week.

Those are the detailed steps that you need to undertake for you to be able to setup parental controls in your Vista laptop. You can control what web sites the child can visit, the times on which your child is allowed to use the Vista laptop, the computer games that the child is allowed to play and the computer programs that the child is allowed to use. You can also review the weekly computer activities of your child.

You can also read my article on how you can do some useful tasks with your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-do-some-useful-things-with-your.html.

You can also read my article on how you can use the desktop features of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-your-vista-computers-desktop.html.

You can also read my article on how the magnifier and the narrator of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-magnifier-and-narrator-of.html.

Read my other article on working quickly and taking care of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/working-quickly-while-taking-care-of.html.



February 14, 2010

How to Perform Some Setup Tasks for your DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router

Here are some useful steps for performing setup tasks for your DLink DIR-300 wireless router.

Access your DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router from your Computer

Open your Internet browser. Type the Internet Protocol (IP) address of your DIR-300 on the address bar of the browser and press the enter key.

Specify your DIR-300's Internet Protocol Address

This is the IP address of your router inside your wireless home network. The default is 192.168.0.1. Enter the IP address and the subnet mask that you want your router to use and click on the Enable DNS Relay check box to enable it. Click on the Save Settings button.

Stop DLink DIR-300 from Broadcasting your Network Name

Do this if you don't want your neighbors to know that you're using a wireless router for connecting your computers to the Internet. To stop your router from broadcasting your wireless network name, Click on Setup at the top portion of the router's configuration window. Click on Wireless Setup at the top left hand portion of the web-based router setup interface. Under Wireless Network Settings, click on the check box opposite Enable Hidden Wireless. Click on the Save Settings button. Now when you want to allow a new computer to access your router, the computer won't be able to find your wireless home network. You have to manually enter the name and password of your network on the network setup of the new computer.

Change your Home Wireless Network Password

Click on Setup at the top portion of your wireless router's configuration window. Click on Wireless Setup at the top left hand portion of the page. Find the space opposite the phrase Network Key and change it. Click the Save Settings button on the page.

Enable DHCP Service on your DLink DIR-300

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is enabled by default in your wireless router. To disable it, Click on Setup at the top portion of the web-based configuration window. Click on the LAN Setup at the left hand portion of the window. Click on the check box opposite Enable DHCP Server to remove the check mark and disable it. Do the opposite to re-enable it. Input the range of IP addresses that you want your wireless router to distribute to computers that will use your wireless connection.

Reserve an IP address for a Computer in your Home Wireless Network

This step is needed if you want that one or more computers in your network will always receive a particular IP address when the computer boots. Click on Setup at the top of the configuration window. Click on LAN Setup at the left hand side of the window. Under DHCP Reservation, enter the computer name, the IP address that you want to reserve and the machine address of the wireless adapter of the computer that will use that IP address. Click on the Save Settings button on the page.

Synchronize your Router's Time with DLink's Internet Time Server

Click on Setup at the top of the router's configuration window. Click on Time and Date on the left hand side of the window. Under Automatic Time and Date Configuration, click the check box opposite Automatically synchronize with D-Link's Internet time server to enable it. Click on the button Update Now and then click on the Save Settings button on the page.

Enable Access Control in your DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router

Click on Advanced at the topmost portion of the router configuration page. Click Access Control on the left hand part of the page. Choose from the drop-down box what type of access control you want to implement in your wireless network. Enter the machine addresses of computers that you want to be affected by your access control rule. Click on the check box to enable the access control rule to be applied to that particular computer. Click on the Save Settings button on the page.

Stop your Router from Responding to Ping Requests

Ping is a computer command that checks if a computer with a certain IP address exists in a netwrok. It can be used by malicious people to locate a computer in your network. DLink recommends that this feature be disabled in your router. To disable it, click on Advanced at the top of the configuration page. Click on Advanced Network at the top left portion of the page. Under WAN Ping, click on the check box opposite Enable WAN Ping Respond to disable it. Click on the Save Settings button on the page.

Change your User Name and Password

Click on Maintenance at the upper portion of the window. Under Administrator, type in your new user name or password or both. Click the button Save Settings at the upper portion of the web-based interface.

Update your Wireless Router's Firmware

Click on Maintenance at the upper portion of the web interface. Under Current Firmware Info, click on the Check Now button. Follow on screen instructions if your firmware needs upgrade.

Setup Dynamic DNS Host Name for your Wireless Router

Click on Maintenance at the upper portion of the configuration window. Click on DDNS Setting at the left hand portion of the window. Enter your host name plus period plus dynamic DNS domain name. Enter your user name and password for the dynamic DNS service provider. Click on the DDNS Account Testing. Correct erroneous input if there is a problem and repeat the procedure.

Check if your Router has been given IP Address by your Internet Service Provider

Your DLink DIR-300 wireless router will not work without a valid IP address that is routable in the Internet. If you have been given a static address by your Internet service provider, you don't have to do this because your router will always have a routable IP address. Most commonly, your router is getting its address from the DHCP server of your Internet service provider. To check if your router has a routable IP address, click on Status at the top portion of the router configuration page. At the top left portion of the window, click on Device Info. Under Internet, check that the IP address and subnet mask are not all zeros. If they are, click on the DHCP Renew button to tell your router to get a new IP address from your Internet provider's DHCP server.

View your Router's Log

To view the messages made by your wireless router, click on Status at the top of the configuration window. Click on Log at the left hand side of the window.

Check which Computers are connecting with your DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router

Click on Status at the top portion of the DIR-300 configuration page. Click on Active Session at the left hand side of the page. Under the NAPT Session, you will have a number of IP addresses that are connected to your wireless router. If you know that you have a certain number of computers and cell phones that are connecting to your router right now, you should see the same number of entries here. If you have more, then probably someone out there is using your Internet connection for free.

Find out the Machine Addresses of Computers that are connecting with your Router

If you know all the wireless machine addresses of computers, PDAs and cell phones that are using your Internet connection, it is easy to find out if someone outside is connecting with your router. Click on Status at the top portion of the configuration page. Click on Wireless at the top left hand portion of the page. Under Connected Wireless Client List, you will see all the machine addresses of computers that use your Internet connection. If there is a machine address here that you don't know, then it is probably someone outside who is piggybacking on your Internet connection for free. Immediately change the Administrator user name and password for your DIR-300 wireless router. Change also your wireless home network's password. Make up long and difficult to guess passwords for both the router Administrator and the wireless network.

Read my article on how you can access your DLink DIR-300 wireless router from the Internet at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-you-can-access-your-dlink-dir-300.html.

Read my other article on Internet Protocol addressing for setting up DHCP on your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/internet-protocol-addressing-for.html.

Read an article on how to make up a more secure Windows password at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/how-secure-is-your-windows-password.

January 30, 2010

How you can Modify your XML Blogger Template to Make the most of your AdSense Ads

So you have found a really nice XML Blogger template that you want to use in your blog. You just have grown tired of your old worn out template that had been used by a lot of bloggers. You want your blog to have a unique look and you want it to grab the readers' attention. You've finally found a stunning design that you want to use in your blog.

But will it work? How do you use it? Will it support all the gadgets that you're using in your blog? What if the new template messes up your blog thoroughly, can you still go back to your old template?

Template designers are creative artists who make beautiful homepage designs that are pleasing to the eyes and that grab your attention. You need also to be concerned with the mechanics of the structure underneath the design. You are primarily interested in putting more and better ads in your blog so you have to check on the page elements inside the template to see if they meet your requirements.

To be able to understand the XML Blogger template, you need to have an adequate knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML). A lot of CSS and HTML tutorials are available in the Internet so search for them and learn how CSS and HTML are used to specify the look and feel of your web page.

Understand that all of the XML Blogger templates are adapted from the original standard developed by Blogger so they follow a consistent pattern set by Blogger when it designed the basic template. From the XML Blogger template's perspective, your blog's page basically consists of the header, the content portion which includes your post and the sidebars, and the footer where copyrights and other information about your blog are placed. The XML template describes how the elements of your blog's page will look and behave and it provides for an outline on how your web page is to be constructed.

The first rule that you must always remember when changing XML Blogger templates is to always save your old template in your computer before uploading your new template on the Edit HTML page of the Blogger Layout tool. You may already have added some modifications to your old template which you don't want to do all over again if you're going to use the same template as before.

Also, you might have some Google tools HTML code that you have manually included in the template that you want to be preserved so it is imperative that you save a copy of the latest status of your template in your computer. Then, if you soon find out that the new template will never work well with your blog, you can always upload your old template file and your blog will work fine as it had before.

When you make your first look at the Blogger XML template that you like, imagine already where you want to put your AdSense ads. Decide how big your ads are going to be and visually check the design if your size will fit in. If you're not sure if a 250 pixel ads can fit on the sidebar, download the template and look at the CSS code behind the template. The Blogger XML template provides for the width of the header and of the content part of your web page.

When changing the widths of the elements in your web page, always make sure that any change that you make is compensated with corresponding changes on the related elements. For example, if you change the left margin of the main content element, you have to make a corresponding change on the size of the right margin. You cannot just get some pixels from thin air. If you want to add more pixels just to one side of a pair of elements, then you have to add corresponding pixels to all elements that contain the particular element that you're changing.

You are allowed to place three AdSense for Contents ads and three AdSense link units on your page. You may also want to place Amazon products ads on your web page so there must be some extra space where you could place them. You would want your web page not to look boring so you may want to place a variety of ads designs on your web page. Is there for example a way by which you could place long ads directly after the header?

The original XML Blogger template provides for a means by which you could place long ads on the space directly below the header but it is turned off by default. You have to tweak the HTML code behind the template to turn it on. Look for the crosscolumn switch on the template and change this setting by removing it and thereby turning on this very valuable feature. This is the only way by which you can place 728 pixel wide banner AdSense ads on your web page.

You may want to place 250 pixel wide ads on your sidebar also so check how wide the sidebar is by looking for the width of the sidebar on the CSS style sheet included in the Blogger XML template. You don't just add pixels to the sidebar if they fall short of your requirements. You have to increase the overall width of the page by increasing the width of the element that contains both the sidebar and the content of the page. You need to maintain the proportion set by the original designer of the template.

If you will not be putting a menu bar on your web page don't choose a template that has a menu bar on them. I mistakenly used a template with a menu bar in it and I found that the menu bar is not easily removed so I just let it sit there but I did not set the links up so nothing happens when you click them. My CSS and HTML know-how somehow felt short to resolve this simple issue. But I know I would be able to resolve this in time.

In one template that I used, there was no blank line between the older and newer pager and the link to view the Atom feed of the blog. If this is true with your template, then you have to add a one em margin at the bottom of the pager element.

If you're using long banners and link lists on your blog, there is no automatic provision to place a blank line between them. They won't look good without that horizontal line in between so what you can do is to insert a text gadget with only blanks in them. This will make sure that a white space appears between the banners and link lists.

The XML Blogger template contains some legacy codes that today interfere in the printing of your web page. I found this out when I researched this issue a long time ago. There were some codes that were placed on the original template to account for how the different browsers display documents. But now, they interfere in the correct printing of the web page. So if you're having some problems with printing your web page, just remove all mentions of overflow: auto or overflow: hidden on the CSS code of your template.

There may be some copyright notice and links to the designer's web site at the bottom of your XML Blogger template. As per the provisions of the Creative Commons license, you can make changes on the template to suit your needs but you cannot remove any copyright notice or links to the web site of the template's designer. We have been given this wonderful opportunity to make use of a creative work done for us by these designers. The most we can do for them is to respect this provision and retain all text at the bottom of your XML Blogger template.

For you to be able to modify your XML Blogger template, you need to have a good enough knowledge of CSS and HTML. There is a lot of information on the Internet for learning these two vital web standards. You can more confidently change your Blogger XML template if you have gained an adequate know-how on both of these languages. I hope you have learned something on how you can modify your XML Blogger template so that you can fit in more ads on your blog.

Read my article on what you need to know and how you can use the XML Blogger templates in your blog at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-you-need-to-know-about-and-how-you.html.

Read my other article on how to use the law of thirds in composing your photographs at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/how-to-use-the-law-of-thirds-in-framing-a-good-photo-shot.



What you need to Know About and How you can Use the XML Blogger Templates

There's a lot of Blogger XML templates that you can download and use for your Blogger blogs. However not all of them can be used as is. They don't come perfectly suited for your needs. Oftentimes, you have to tweak them to suit your particular requirements.

The templates come in XML files that include both Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) codes. XML stands for Extensible Mark-up Language and it is a standard way of defining the characteristics and properties of an object for use in exchanging information across the Internet. All Internet browsers know how to extract and use the contents of an XML file.

CSS is a language for specifying the properties of HTML elements in a web page. It is a powerful language for defining the characteristics and behaviors of similar HTML elements so that you don't have to repeat the formatting characteristics of an element every time it is used in the web page. HTML is a language for structuring the different elements that comprise the web page. It uses the CSS formatting elements to properly construct the web page inside an Internet browser.

It will be obvious that you need to be skilled in both CSS and HTML for you to be able to tweak the Blogger template to suit your requirements. However, you don't have to be an expert on both to be able to perform minor tweaking of the template. I do not consider myself an expert on CSS or HTML but I was able to change the code on my templates so I can put in more AdSense Ads on my web pages.

Blogger has standardized the contents of a Blogger blog and developed an application programming interface for assembling the contents of a blog page before sending it to the user. It gets the formatting information from the XML file and the contents from the data base of blog posts to prepare the page before sending it over to the Internet. Blogger has also developed a standard XML template that the template designers use as basis for customizing the appearance of a web page that uses the template.

A Blogger web page basically consists of the header, the body which includes the post contents and the sidebars, and the footer. HTML tags are used to position the elements on the page and CSS specifications are used for determining how and where exactly the elements should be placed. The HTML DIV tag is used to build the web page from top to bottom and from left to right.

The XML template is divided into two basic parts: the CSS codes for specifying how the page elements are to be displayed and the HTML code for building the page using the HTML DIV tag. The template is actually a special kind of HTML file that contains the formatting specifications and the outline of how the web page is to be constructed. Blogger looks at the display plan contained in the template and combines it with the post that the blog author has submitted to build the actual HTML page that will be sent to the user.

It used to be that only HTML was used to format and assemble the web pages with the content intermingled with the HTML codes. The HTML table tag was used to position the different elements of the document on the web page. However, it was soon found out that this was a very inefficient way of coding web pages.

CSS was invented to separate the formatting codes from the substantive content of the web page. Most of the formatting tags in HTML have been deprecated and integrated into the CSS for styling the appearance of the web pages on a site-wide basis. Basic formatting elements, however, still remains with HTML. But formatting with CSS was truly more powerful than what HTML can accomplish. Unlike the HTML table tag where you can only approximate the placement of the element on the page, CSS was able to pinpoint exactly with pixel measurement where the element should be placed.

HTML alone can still format and build a page but only to a limited extent. When you start studying HTML, you will undoubtedly have to go beyond the basics and finish with the study of CSS. I believe that bloggers should make a special effort to learn HTML and to master CSS formatting. This is the only way by which you can tweak the Blogger XML template so that you can precisely control how your web page will look when displayed on the Internet browser.

Before you can modify the XML template, you must already have designed an HTML page using the CSS specifications. This means that you can code a CSS style sheet and the HTML code that will use the style sheet to build the web page. Once you're comfortable doing this, then you can easily modify an XML template.

The most important thing that you have to know is where to find the CSS code that you need to change and how you are going to change it. For example, you should know where to look if you want to increase or decrease the width of the web page. If you want to insert a horizontal line between two elements, you should know what property of which element you should be changing.

There are a lot of different ways of coding the CSS style sheet so you cannot tell beforehand without looking at the actual style sheet where the changes should be made. Thankfully, with the Blogger XML template, everything is in their proper places since all Blogger templates are based on the standard template developed by Blogger.

The fastest way to learn the Blogger XML template is to get the codes of three templates and to compare each with the other two. By doing this, you will have a general idea of how the original template designed by Blogger looked like. All the XML templates that you can download from the Internet descended from the standard template developed by Blogger. After looking at some templates, you can develop an idea of how you can design a template of your own if you have the artistic skill to create a visually appealing home page.

One reason why you would want to change the template is if you want to include more elements in the page than what is provided for in the template. You may want for example to have more places where you could put advertisements on your web page. Another reason would be to remove some elements that you don't intend to use in your web page. If you have a really simple blog for example, you won't need to have a menu bar on top of the page. And if your template has that provision, you should know exactly what portion of the HTML code to comment out in the template.

There are also legacy codes that were placed on the template at a time when Internet browsers were still perfecting how they handle CSS Style specifications that today can cause problems when printing the page. There are also a few workarounds that you can do to address a few issues related to the use of Blogger's XML template. By researching on these issues using the search engines, you gain a lot of tips and tricks that you can adapt to more effectively tweak the Blogger XML template.

The basic procedure for using a new template is for you to prepare your site by removing first the gadgets that can cause problems for the new template like HTML codes and advertisements which you can easily add back later. Next, you backup your old template just in case the new template does not work out well with your contents. Then you download and unpack the new template on your computer.

Next, you need to sign in to Blogger and go the layout page where you would upload the XML template from your computer. You will then view how your pages look using the new template and make the necessary adjustments. Then you can add back the gadgets that you have removed before using the new template.

The Blogger layout tool can only be used for adding and removing gadgets on your pages. Most of the problems that would crop up require that you modify the code behind the page. This is where your knowledge of HTML and CSS would come in handy. Most of the templates do not exactly fit the particular needs of your web page. In these cases. you have to modify the CSS and HTML codes on the template.

These are some of the things that you need to know about the Blogger XML templates and how you can use them in your blogs.

Read my article on how you can modify your XML Blogger template to make the most of your AdSense ads at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-you-can-modify-your-xml-blogger.html.

Read my article on download, modify and use a free Blogger XML template in your blog and learn CSS and HTML along the way at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/02/download-modify-and-use-free-blogger.html.



January 27, 2010

How you can Access your DLink DIR-300 Wireless Router from the Internet

It can happen that someone in your house just called and told you he has a friend with him in your house who would like to access the Internet though your wireless Internet connection. However, you have setup your wireless router with access control so your child or your wife's visitor could not just easily connect to your wireless home network.

But there is a way by which you can access your DLink DIR-300 wireless router from the Internet. You might want to setup your wireless router so that you can access its web-based configuration interface from anywhere there is an Internet connection. DLink is providing free dynamic domain name service that can enable you to setup a virtual host that can be associated with your wireless router back home so that whenever someone uses that URL in the Internet, it will be referred back to your wireless router at home.

Servers that are hosting web pages on the Internet normally have fixed Internet Protocol addresses that the domain name servers around the world know about. Your Internet browser knows where these domain name servers are and it queries them first to know the Internet Protocol address of the page they are about to visit.

However, your Internet Protocol address is not normally fixed if you are a home Internet user. It changes every time and your Internet service provider just gives you one that is not being used at the moment whenever you turn on your DIR-300 wireless router. It would be impossible to access a web page with a constantly changing Internet Protocol address and that is why dynamic domain name service has been invented. It is a service that regularly updates the Internet Protocol address assigned to your wireless router.

To set up your wireless router at home so that it can be accessed from the Internet, you have to create a host name that can be used to refer to your DIR-300 at home at the DLink dynamic domain name service web site. You have to sign up for an account and after signing up, you can create a host name which you will use to refer to your wireless home connection. Then you will configure your wireless router to regularly check your Internet Protocol address and update the address associated with your DIR-300 at the DLink dynamic domain name service web site. Optionally, you can also setup your wireless router to enable remote configuration and use a port that is not normally used for serving content in the Internet.

Log on to your DLink DIR-300 wireless router and click on the Maintenance link at the top of the page. On the left hand portion of the page, click on DDNS Setting and on this page click on the link Sign up for DLink's free DDNS service. A new window will open and here, look for new users and click on the Start link. That will bring you to a new page where you would sign up for the service.

At this point, think of a good host name that you can use to refer to your wireless router at home. You would not want to get stuck on the DLink host name setup page agonizing over what name are you going to use for your DIR-300 wireless router so it would be best to have something ready before you go there.

Fill out all the blanks in the sign-up page and click on the Create Account link at the bottom of the page. For the Internet Protocol address, just copy the address that has been detected by the host name configuration page. Wait a little while then open a new window and sign in to your email account and look for the email message from DLink. Click on the link that you will find in the email message and you will be brought back to the DLink web site. You can close now the old DLink web site window that you used for signing up with the service.

Once your email address had been validated, your account is good to go so DLink will ask you to create a dynamic domain name service host name. Once your host name is accepted, you will now have a URL with which you can access your DLink DIR-300 wireless router in your house. The URL will be yourhostname.dlinkddns.com.

You can now log off at the DLink dynamic domain name service page and go back to your wireless router's web-based interface. Just log in again if you have been automatically logged out. Go back to where you were before you went to the DLink web site, that is, click on Maintenance at the top of the page then click on DDNS setting at the left hand portion of the page. At the lower part of the page, make sure that dlinkddns.com is selected on the first blank, enter your full URL on the host name blank, then enter the user name and password that you used to sign up with DLink's free dynamic domain name service.

Click on the button that says DDNS Account Testing and wait for the results. After a little while, it should say Successfully updated. If the update failed, re-check the data that you have entered and repeat the procedure until all errors are corrected. When you get the message successfully updated, it means that your DIR-300 wireless router is able to update your host name with whatever is the new Internet Protocol address that was given to you by your Internet service provider. Save the new configuration and wait a little while for the DIR-300 interface to come back.

Click on the Maintenance link at the top of the page and at the bottom of the page, choose any port number that you like, check the box that says Enable Remote Management and leave the IP Allowed to Access blank. Save the wireless router's configuration and open a new tab or window in your Internet browser. Type in the full URL of your host name at the address bar of the browser and press the enter key on your keyboard.

If you followed all the steps correctly, you would see the web-based configuration interface of your DIR-300 wireless router. If there is a problem, go back and repeat the procedure, making sure that you enter the correct information at every step. If you saw your wireless router's web interface, then you have configured your DIR-300 wireless router correctly for access anywhere in the Internet.

Log off of your wireless router's web based interface that you were accessing locally and close your Internet browser. Test again if you can access your wireless router using the URL of your host name. Call a friend and ask him to try to access your DIR-300 wireless router from his house. If he can access it, then you have successfully set up your DIR-300 for access from the Internet.

Read my article on how you can connect your friend's laptop with a wireless router that is setup with access control at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-connect-friends-laptop-computer.html.

Read an article on how you can turn your old desktop computer equipment into peripherals for your laptop at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/turn-your-old-desktop-equipment-into-peripherals-for-your-laptop

Read my other article on Internet Protocol addressing for setting up DHCP on your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/internet-protocol-addressing-for.html.



January 22, 2010

How to Connect a Laptop to your Access Protected Wireless Home Network

So you were able to successfully setup your wireless router to implement access control in your wireless home network thanks to the help of useful information that you were able to get from the Internet. Now comes a friend with his laptop computer who unfortunately could not make an Internet connection using your wireless network. You tell your friend politely that your wireless router is setup to control which computer will be able to use your Internet connection.

But how would you allow your friend's laptop computer to access your wireless network? Well, you have already made your own desktop and a few of your family's laptop computers to access your Internet connection so there won't be a problem to add your friend's laptop computer to the list of computers allowed to access your wireless network.

But since you really did not make an effort to memorize how the procedure is implemented, you wonder how you would be able to connect your friend's laptop computer now to your acces control protected wireless home network. You used some web sites from the Internet to guide you on how you included your family's computers to the list of those allowed to make use of your Internet connection. Unfortunately, you forgot to bookmark the links to those web sites so now you're at a loss on where to find a similar guidance to help you make your wireless network accessible to your friend's laptop computer.

So this article is just to refresh your memory on how you add a friend's laptop computer to the list of computers in your wireless router that are allowed to make an Internet connection using your home wireless network. There are basically three major steps that you need to take to ensure that your friend's laptop computer will be able to access your wireless network. You get the machine address of your friend's laptop computer, access your wireless router and add the machine address to the list of computers allowed to access your network, and you setup your friend's laptop computer with the name and password of your wireless network.

Get hold of your friend's laptop computer and open a command prompt window by typing the word command on the search box on top of the computer's start button. At the command prompt window, type the command ipconfig /all and press the enter key. Look for the information regarding the computer's wireless adapter and get its machine address. The command prompt calls this data the physical address of the wireless adapter and it contains six pairs of numbers and letters. Copy this data on a piece of paper so that you can refer to it in the next step.

Access your wireless router from your computer using the Internet Protocol address that you type on the address bar of your router. If your wireless router is a DLink DIR-300 router, then you need to type http://192.168.0.1 and press the enter key. Type in your user name and password to open the wireless router's setup pages. Look for the page where you type the machine addresses of your family's computers. In the DIR-300, you would need to click on the Advanced link at the top of the page and then click on Access Control on the sidebar.

Add the machine address of your friend's laptop computer to the list of computers allowed to access your wireless network. On the DLink DIR-300, don't forget to put a check mark beside the machine address that you have just added. Double check that you have entered the machine address correctly and then save the settings. You can now exit from your wireless router configuration interface.

Get hold of your friend's laptop computer and find where wireless network connection is setup. For Vista computers, open the control panel and click on the Network and Internet link. Click on the Connect to a network link and select the name of your wireless home network. Enter the password for your wireless network and go on completing the setup by following the flow of the setup wizard. Test if your friend's laptop computer can now access the Internet.

If there is a problem go back to your friend's laptop computer and check again if you have the correct physical address number. Compare the number with what is typed on the access control setup page of your wireless router. Correct the entry if you have mistyped the numbers and letters on the setup page. For DIR-300 wireless router, you should have included a colon between the pairs of numbers and letters.

So that is how you connect your friend's laptop computer to your access control protected wireless home network.

Read my other article on how to surf the Internet faster by using OpenDNS on your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at : http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/surf-internet-faster-by-using-opendns.html.

Read my article on how secure are your Windows passwords at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/how-secure-is-your-windows-password.

Read my article on what you can do if your Vista password stops working and you have only one log on account in your laptop at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/what-to-do-if-your-vista-password-stops-working-and-you-only-have-one-log-on-account.

Read my article on how you can access your DLink DIR-300 wireless router from the Internet at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-you-can-access-your-dlink-dir-300.html.  

Read my other article on how come your Vista laptop using a DLink DIR-300 wireless router cannot connect to the Internet at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-gateway-vista-laptop-using-dlink-dir.html.

Read an article on using sensible accessories to extend the useful life of your laptop at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/01/use-sensible-accessories-to-extend.html.

Read an article on how you can recover seamlessly from your laptop's hard disk crash at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-you-can-recover-seamlessly-from.html.

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January 21, 2010

Place a Link to your Feedburner Feed on your Blogger Blog to Get More AdSense Exposure

The use of feeds has been around for a long time already but it did really took off when XML came to the scene and standardized all data exchanges in the Internet. Feeds have evolved as a standard way of distributing content in the Internet by packaging the content and moving it expeditiously and accurately on the highways and byways of the Internet. And as long as the feeds follow an acceptable format, it can be read and displayed easily by Internet browsers or specially designed feed readers.

Feeds are a convenient way of distributing the contents of your blog to your readers without them having to actually visit your blog. Readers love to read content on their favorite feed readers as they are given only one location from where they can get updated on new contents on their favorite blogs.

If you are displaying AdSense ads on your blog and did not setup AdSense for your feeds, you stand to lose a great number of impressions and possible clicks on your AdSense ads. As a writer and content developer, I have come to accept the presence of feeds so rather than lose the chance to earn from ads on my blogs, I just decided to manage my feeds well and place AdSense ads on them. This way, even if my readers read my blog on their favorite feed readers, I still maintain a level of exposure for my AdSense ads.

There are web sites that enable readers to read blog contents using feeds and Internet browsers also enable the readers to subscribe to a blog feed, I have tried subscribing to my blog using my Mozilla Firefox browser but the feed that it displays does not include the AdSense ads that I have setup for my feeds. The same is true with the Internet Explorer browser which fails to show the AdSense ads on the feeds from my blogs.

So it is best to include a link in your blog to the AdSense enabled feeds generated by Google Feedburner. It would also be good practice to redirect your standard Blogger Atom feed to Feedburner so that anyone who will subscribe to your feed using the Atom feed generator will receive the feed with Google AdSense ads on them.

But before you can use AdSense ads on your feeds from your Blogger blogs, you have to convert the default feeds generated by Atom to the Google Feedburner format. This is actually done as a step in setting up AdSense ads on your feeds but you can also do it manually by visiting the Google Feedburner web site and entering the URL of your blog.

From the point of view of the readers, feeds are an alternative way of reading the contents of your blog. Feed creators like the Google Feedburner take the contents of your blog and format them in such a way that they will be readable by feed readers. There is technology behind feeds called RSS that makes everything run smoothly and without a glitch.

I have been writing articles for my blogs for quite a while and have not been paying any attention to the so-called feeds until I discovered that you can place AdSense ads on them. Only when I started setting up AdSense ads for my feeds did I really come to know what feeds are.

I discovered that my feeds needed to be converted into Google's Feedburner format before I would be able to place AdSense ads on them. And so I had to perform that step while I was setting up AdSense ads for my feeds. And since my Blogger blogs had a default feed generator called Atom, I had to connect it with Feedburner so I would be sure that all my feeds will appear with AdSense ads on them. Once I set this up by identifying my Feedburner feed URL on my Blogger blog settings, the feed's AdSense statistics started to appear on the AdSense reports.

Google has a feed reader called Google Reader and you can search for it and sign up to use its service using your Google email address. In Google Reader, you can subscribe to any blog as long as you know the URL of that blog.

I have been using Google Reader before I decided to put AdSense ads on my feeds and tried subscribing to my blogs to test what Google Reader can do. At that time, I was using Google Reader to take a look at the contents of my blogs without actually going to the URL addresses of my blogs. There was no AdSense ads displayed then so I can read my blog contents without any distractions from the ads that were displayed if I were to actually read my contents on my blogs. But now that I have placed AdSense ads on my feeds, I will have to contend with reading the contents of my blogs in Google Reader with advertisements on them.

So it would be best for your readers to subscribe to your feed using the Google Feedburner link that you can place conspicuously on your blog. You should also redirect the default Atom feed generator in your blog to the Google Feedburner generated feed by putting your Feedburner feed's URL on the Site Feed setting of your Blogger blog.

Read an article on how to get started with Google AdSense at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-get-started-with-google-adsense.html.

Read an article on how to add AdSense ads on your Blogger blog's feeds at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-add-adsense-ads-on-your-blogger.html.

Read an article on how to use feeds to promote your personal website or blog at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-use-feeds-to-promote-your.html.

Read an article on lessons learned on using AdSense on blogs and websites at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/03/lessons-learned-on-using-adsense-on.html.



January 14, 2010

How to Use Google Insights for Search to Help you Plan What Topics to Write on

Google Insights for Search is a planning tool that writers can use to find the relevant topics that the web community is building interest on. It presents the historical data on the interest shown by the Internet users as evidenced by searches made on the Google search engine. It also presents the top ten searches and the top ten rising searches for the term entered by the user.

Google Insights for Search operates on two modes. You can use it without you signing in which gives only the line and bar charts with no figures. To see the figures that the lines and bars represent, you have to sign in to Google Insights for Search with your Google email address. It is important to note that the figures shown on the charts are not absolute search numbers but a percentage of searches made on the term as compared with the total number of searches made.

Google Insights for Search presents four categories of information including worldwide interest over time, regional interest, the top ten searches as well as the top ten rising searches for the terms entered in the search box. Interest over time would be useful in planning the topics on what to write on. As a writer, you would not want to write on subjects that nobody would be interested in. So you should choose to write on topics that are on the uptrend for the coming year. You can sharpen your grasp on what the readers are looking for by looking at the top ten searches and the top ten rising searches. You would want to write about topics that are building huge interest in the Internet community.

If you want to know what the top searches and rising searches about the Internet are, just select the Internet as the filter category, leave the search term box blank and click on the search button. You can do the same for some of the other categories to find out whether searches for a particular category are going up or coming down. As of today, January 2010, for example interest in automotive is on the downtrend although by a very marginal rate.

You can compare the statistics for a few search terms by clicking on the add search term below the top search term box. AS many lines and bars as the number of items that you're comparing will then be shown on the results. For example, if you compare the desktop and laptop search terms, you will notice a declining trend on the desktop and a rising trend for the laptop. With this data on hand, you could probably decide to write more articles focusing on laptops rather than on the more general term computer.

You can filter the results four different ways such as by type of search, by geographical region, by time frame and by categories. By type of search filtering includes web search, image search, news search and product search. Choices for the time frame filter include from 2004 to present, last number of days or months this year, and for only the particular year from 2004 to the present.

You may at this point ask what the difference between Google Insights for Search and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Well, both of these tools are based on actual searches made on the Google search engine so naturally, they are both concerned with keywords used by the searchers. However, Google Insights for Search focus only on the topmost ten statistics while the Google Adwords Keyword Tool includes most of the searches made related to the keywords of interest to the researcher.

Google Insights for Search takes the winning statistics on the terms you entered and shows you the historical figures including the projection for the coming year. On the other hand, the Google Adwords Keyword Tool includes as many permutations it can make including the synonyms of the terms that the user has entered. But more importantly, the Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides data for advertisers and marketing professionals like average cost per click and how high advertiser competition is for the search term.

Google Insights for Search would really be of great help to the writer in choosing the general topics that she should be writing on. It gives a glimpse of what user interests are going up and what interests are on the wane. We could almost say that Google Insights for Search would really be useful for planning the subject matter strategy for the writer. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool would come in handy in the implementation stage as a tactical tool for selecting the actual keywords to use in the article.

There are so many uses that you can make of the Google Insights for Search. You could think of really creative questions by mixing and matching different keywords. It's a great way to get to know what information the users have been looking for and what would likely catch their fancy in the coming year. The more you know about your readers, the more focused your topics for articles would be. Search Google for the Google Insights for Search web site and try using it. You will be amazed at the unexpected realizations you're going to have.

Read my article on how to get started and use Google Analytics for your personal web site at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-get-started-and-use-google.html.

Read my article on get started with Google Webmaster Tools for your personal web site at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/01/get-started-and-use-google-webmaster.html.




January 13, 2010

How to Properly Delete a Page from your Personal Web Site

There is a proper and responsible way of how to delete a page from your personal web site that does not impact negatively on the surfing experience of your readers. You don't want your readers to be clicking on a URL on the Google search page results just to be told that the page cannot be found. That negligence on your part is simply not acceptable.

Removing a page from your personal web site is unlike deleting a file from your computer where you simply get rid of the files that you no longer need. Your page may have been indexed by search engines so you have to make sure that you will be able to remove the URL of your page from the index of the search engines.

Before deleting a page from your personal web site, be sure to check first if the URL of the page is in the index of the search engines. For Google, just go to the Google search page and type the word info followed by a colon and then followed by the URL of the web page that you are deleting. If the URL is indexed by Google, save the URL somewhere where you can get it back later. If not, then you can just go ahead and delete the web page.

After deleting the page, you can now request Google to remove the page's URL in the Google index. You do this step by making a page removal request within or outside of the Google Webmaster Tools. You can search Google for the web page where request for removal is made. You will need a Google email address if you will be requesting the removal outside of Google Webmaster Tools. It takes a number of days before the URL's data on the index are removed and you can monitor the status of your removal request.

If you would be including a page that has the same title and URL as the one that you have just deleted, you should delay posting the replacement article until after the old web page had been removed from the search engine's index. If the citations of the old page is still present at the search engine's index, then your article will be seen as duplicate and may still be indexed but the old citation may be the one that will be shown on the search engine's search results page. And when the user clicks on the old citation, she will be presented with a page not found result.

If you are making a big change on the page and you even plan to change the title, it would be better just to delete the whole page and replace it with a new one. We know that Google looks at the domain name when assessing the relevance of web page but I'm not sure if a search engine friendly file name is included in the assessment of page relevance. In any case, it would be best to have a file name that is consistent with the title of the page.

If you have already deleted a number of pages from your personal web site without saving the URLs of those pages and requesting that they be removed from the search engine's index, you may still be able to retrieve the URLs if you want to remove them from Google's index. I have made this mistake in the past and deleted a number of pages from one of my Blogger blogs. But when I tried subscribing to the feeds of that particular blog using the Google Reader, I found out that the web pages I deleted were still in Google's index. That gave me an opportunity to request for their removal.

So the lesson that I want to point out is that simply deleting a page from your personal web site is not a good and responsible practice. To prevent your readers from having to deal with page not found responses, make sure that you also remove the web page's citations on the index of the search engines.

Read an article on how you can permanently remove your web page from the Google search engine at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-you-can-permanently-remove-your-web.html.



January 7, 2010

How to Use the Magnifier and Narrator of your Vista Computer

Microsoft has included a host of ease of access features in the Vista operating system two of which are the Magnifier and the Narrator. This article shows how you can use the Magnifier and the Narrator features in your Vista computer.

The Magnifier when started opens a number of magnifier windows on top of your monitor depending of the number of windows that are open in your desktop. So as not to clutter the top portion of your desktop, ensure that you have only a few windows open in your desktop. Close those windows that you are not concerned with at the moment.

Using your mouse, hover over the portion of any window that you want magnified and you will see a magnified image of that particular portion of the window. This will be very useful if you are somewhat visually impaired and you want to read the text on the window that you are working on.

To start the Magnifier, open a few windows in your desktop then click on the Vista start button then click on All Programs. Click on Accessories then click on Ease of Use then click on Magnifier. Focus your eyes on the magnified windows at the top portion of your desktop as you move your mouse around the windows that you want magnified. To close Magnifier, click on File then Exit on the Magnifier control window.

The Narrator can read to you the text on an open window on your desktop. However, not all windows can be read by the Narrator. I have tried using it and what I found is that the Narrator is unable to read web pages on an Internet browser and even documents opened on Microsoft Word.

What you can do is to copy the text you're interested in from the browser or Microsoft Word window and paste it onto a blank Notepad window. If the Narrator is already activated, it will immediately read the text that you have pasted on the blank Notepad window. You can stop the Narrator from reading further by pressing the Control key on your keyboard or by just clicking on any space on the Notepad window.

To resume reading the text on the Notepad window, you can just click on the title bar of any open window and click again on the title bar of the Notepad window that the Narrator is reading. However, the Narrator will start reading again from the beginning of the text. The same effect can be achieved by pressing Insert then F7 or F8 on your keyboard.

Adobe Reader has its own narrator so if you want the text on Adobe Reader to be read, just click on View, hover your mouse on Read Out Loud, then click on Activate Read Out Loud. Click on View again, hover your mouse on Read Out Loud, then click on Read to End of Document. To stop the reading of the text aloud, repeat the procedure and click on either Pause or Stop. After you're done, repeat the procedure and click on Deactivate Read out Loud.

To use the Narrator in talking verbally with someone, just start the Narrator, then open a blank Notepad window and type the sentence that you want to say. Move the cursor to the beginning of the sentence using the left arrow key of your keyboard, move the cursor one line up using the up arrow on your keyboard, then move the cursor back to the beginning of the sentence using the down arrow key on your keyboard. Repeat the procedure for other sentences that you want to say.

You can also type a full paragraph and to begin reading it, just click on the title bar of any open window then click on the title bar of the Notepad window that you want to read. When you have many paragraphs already typed, just position the cursor on the beginning of the paragraph you want to read and press the Insert key and then F6 on your keyboard. You can press the control key on your keyboard anytime to stop the Narrator from reading anything on any window.

To start the Narrator, just click on the Vista start button then click on All Programs, then click on Accessories. Click on the Ease of Access and click on the Narrator. To close the Narrator, click on the Exit button on the Narrator window and click Yes on the confirmation window. You can control how fast the Narrator reads, how loud the voice is and how high or low the pitch of the voice is by clicking on the Voice Settings on the Narrator control window.

Even if you don't need to use the Magnifier and the Narrator features of your Vista computer, it pays to know how to use them for you'll never know when the time may come that you might need to help someone use them. The Magnifier and the Narrator features are indispensable tools to help the handicapped make better use of computers.

Read my article on how to use your Vista computer's desktop features at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-your-vista-computers-desktop.html.

Read my other article on how to do some useful tasks with your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-do-some-useful-things-with-your.html

Read my other article on how to setup parental controls in your Vista laptop at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-setup-parental-controls-in-your.html

Read an article on working quickly and taking care of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/working-quickly-while-taking-care-of.html.



January 5, 2010

How to Do Some Useful Tasks with your Vista Computer

Microsoft has designed the Vista operating system to make it easy for the user to personalize a lot of different settings and perform various tasks easily and quickly. Here are some notes on how you can do some tasks with your Vista computer.

Make Mouse Pointer more Visible

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on Ease of Access. On the right hand side of the control panel window, click on Change how your mouse works. On the table shown, click on the radio button beside Regular Black. Click on the Save button below and close the control panel window.

Brighten Display of your Vista Laptop

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on Mobile PC. Click on Adjust screen brightness under the Windows Mobility Center. On the Display brightness slide, drag the upward pointing arrow all the way to the right using your mouse. close all opened windows.

Turn Off your Wireless Adapter

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on Mobile PC. On the right hand side of the control panel window, click on Windows Mobility Center. On the Wireless Network slide, click on the Turn wireless off button. Close all opened windows.

Conserve Power on your Vista Laptop's Battery

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on Change battery settings under Mobile PC. Select the Power Saver radio button on the Plans shown on the battery meter. Close the control panel window.

Know What Version of Vista your Computer is Using

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on System and Maintenance. Click on Find which version of Windows you are using under the Welcome Center. Note the Vista version displayed then close the control panel window.

Check What Hardware Components are Included in your Computer

Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on Hardware and Sound. Click on View hardware and devices under Device Manager and click on the plus sign opposite the hardware category you're interested in. Note the specific hardware shown then close the Device Manager and the control panel windows.

Remove Unnecessary Files from your Vista Computer

As you use your Vista computer, some files are automatically created and not removed by the programs you're using. To remove these files and increase free space on your hard disk, click on your Vista computer's Start button, then click on All Programs then click on Accessories. Click on System Tools then click on Disk Cleanup. Select my files only on the small window that opens then click on OK to start the cleanup process.

Take a Snapshot of a Portion of your Desktop

Open the window you would like to take a snapshot of. Click on your Vista computer's start button then click on All Programs then click on Accessories. Click on Snipping Tool then drag your mouse around the area you would like to take snapshot of. Save the picture file on your Pictures folder by giving it a descriptive name.

Create a Restore Point for your Vista Computer's Settings

When you install software that you are unsure of performing correctly on your Vista computer, it's a good practice to create a restore point to which you can go back in case you're unable to uninstall the software completely. Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on System and Maintenance. Click on Backup and Restore Center and on the left hand portion, click on Create a restore point or change settings. Follow the instructions then close all opened windows when you're finished.

Undo Erroneous Changes on your Vista Computer's Settings

When you make a mistake on the settings of your Vista computer and you're at a loss on how to bring the settings back to where it was before, you can use System Restore to revert back the settings to what they were previously provided you have created a restore point beforehand. Open your Vista computer's control panel and click on System and Maintenance. Click on Backup and Restore Center and click on Use System Restore to fix problems and undo changes to windows. Follow the instructions then close all opened windows when you're finished.

You should note that these are not the only ways to do the tasks that need to be done. Microsoft has designed the Vista operating system in such a way that you could find the tools that you need from different locations. You can do some explorations on the control panel to know what the different settings are and how they work. But before doing that be sure that you have created a restore point just in case something unexpected happens and you want to revert back to the original settings.

Read an article on working quickly while taking care of your Vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/working-quickly-while-taking-care-of.html.

Read an article on what to do if your Vista password stops working at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/what-to-do-if-your-vista-password-stops-working-and-you-only-have-one-log-on-account.

Read an article on how to use the Google DNS to speed up Internet in your Vista laptop at: http://sites.google.com/site/ournewapproach/use-the-google-dns-service-to-speed-up-internet-on-your-vista-laptop.

Read my article on how to use the mobility and power features of your Vista laptop at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-mobility-and-power-features.html.

Read my article on how to use the magnifier and the narrator features of your vista computer at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-magnifier-and-narrator-of.html.