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How To: Use A Computer More Efficiently

Some people use computers to type research papers for their Microbiology class.  Others use them to try to find information about their ancestors.  Some even use them to read articles about how they can use them better.  No matter the reason why people use computers, nearly all of them have one thing in common: They take far too long to accomplish their goal…and they don’t even realize it.

Think about your grandfather using one of these things, diligently hunting the “y” key so he can check his stocks on Yahoo.  Bless his heart for trying, but grandpa just isn’t getting the job done.  He’s what we call a Relic of Computing.  Infants born today are more technologically savvy than grandpa, but, since he started the family, we’ll let it slide.

Next, we have your parents.  They’ve probably had to ingest large amounts of technology in the past ten or so years to keep their jobs.  Of course, they’ve never liked doing it and, in many cases, it’s left them with a skeleton of skills, just enough to blindly feel their way through the Internet with a final goal of reading an email or even checking the score of last night’s game.  For barely being on the right side of worthless, they’ve earned the title of The Fat Kid of Computing.  Sure, they get some stuff done, but it takes while and it isn’t very pretty.

Right after your parents come you.  Having computers for a bulk to your existence, you’ve become quite proficient.  You type like the wind and can have Google Images showing you midget porn before you can even unzip your pants.  Because you’ve been cringing at parental computing atrocities since adolescents, you’re quite happy with your relatively sharp set of skills.  I’m sorry to say it, but chances are good that you’re a Dull Knife of Computing and you don’t even realize it.

Sitting atop the Computing Efficiency Pyramid are the people that harness the computer with the control and grace of a third arm.  Watching them perform simple tasks in the blink of an eye makes you say things like, “How’d you do that?” and “Christ.”  Ladies and Gentleman, what I’m describing are the Grandmaster Wizard-Pirates of Computing, and following are four tips that can start your journey of a thousand miles to their land.

Shortcuts, do you use ‘em?

The absolute best way to shave time off of your mundane computing is to employ the use of keyboard shortcuts.  In general, the more you use the keyboard to get wherever the hell you’re going, the quicker you’re going to get there.  Despite a few exceptions, treat the mouse like is has chlamydia.  We’re looking to use that thing as little as possible.

To gracefully sever your relationship with the mouse, you’re going to have to slowly become more and more dependent on a list of hundreds of basic keyboard shortcuts.  Like any ended relationship, the process will be painful at first, but, as you start getting the hang of the keyboard, you’ll start to wonder what you ever saw in the mouse in the first place.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the basic shortcuts from using Word or whatever.  Some of these include Ctrl + C copies, Ctrl + V pastes, etc.  Though these are very helpful, they have a long list of company which, when used together, can start making you feel like you actually know what you’re doing.  Following are a few of the lesser-known yet especially useful keyboard shortcuts:

Ctrl + Z = Undo.  Even if the program you’re working in doesn’t have an Edit => Undo option, this will still sometimes work to save your ass from accidentally deleted hours of work.

Alt + Tab = Change Window.  While holding Alt, keep tapping tab to go to a different window.

Alt + F4 = Close program.  Especially useful when said program has frozen your mouse.

Shift + Delete = Permanently delete something.  Don’t worry about emptying the Recycle Bin.

Windows Key (Bottom Row, 2nd key from the left) = Open Start Menu.

Windows Key + M = Minimize all windows.  Great for hiding porn from your boss.

Windows Key + R = Run dialog.  We’ll get to the value of this later.

Windows Key + E = Open “My Computer”.

…and so on.  You can find an exhaustive list of Windows keyboard shortcuts here.

Looking for shortcuts within other program is as easy as navigating the file menu.  Most items have a keyboard shortcut listing beside each valuable action.  Clicking “File” in Internet Explorer, for instance, shows that Ctrl + N creates a new windows while Ctrl + O takes us to the “Open” dialog.

Knowing all of this, we can now open an Internet Explorer window, highlight any web address, and, while it’s highlighted, hold the Ctrl key and press C, followed by N, followed by O, followed by V, and then press enter.  That would Copy the internet address highlighted (Ctrl + C), open a new Internet Explorer windows (Ctrl + N), take us to the Open dialog (Ctrl + O), paste the copied internet address (Ctrl + V), and then take us to that internet address (Enter).  That’s what I call a Four Combo Shortcut, and it’s worth 1,000 points.

If you want to be really hardcore, you can even set up shortcut keys for any program that you’d like.  Simply create a Shortcut Icon for the program, right click it, and look at the properties.  There you’ll find a field for “Shortcut key.”  Once you create a combination for it, that program can be easily accessed from your keyboard anytime you please.  Simple.

The “Run” Dialog

The run dialog is a little known tool that can save you a decent amount of time.  To get to the run dialog, either click “Start” and then “Run,” or, as stated above, hit Windows Key + R.

Once you’re in the run dialog, you can do whatever the hell you please.  Well, not really, but you do have quite a few options.

The most basic thing to do is open a folder on your computer.  This can be done by simply entering the location you’d like to view.  Now, instead of navigating through My Computer and all of those folders to find your hidden porn, you can just enter, “C:program filessystem stuffhidden system stuffhidden stuff you shouldn’t mess withtreasure”.  Does it get any easier than that?

Along with folders on your computer, you can use this dialog to open internet addresses.  Go ahead and try it.  Enter any URL and the box will open that URL in your default browsing program.

Finally, the most useful quality of the box is its ability to open programs on your computer.  This can be done by either entering the full system path of the program, like "C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe,” or, much more handily, simply entering the name of the program, like “iexplore.”  Though it won’t work with absolutely every program, it is more than worth it for those that it will.  Try typing in things like “Calc,” “mplayer2,” “Sol,” “Winword,” or even “Firefox” (if you’re one of those people).

One Letter Favorites

Because you visit the same ten websites 95% of the time you’re surfing the internet, it’s probably a good idea to add these websites to your Favorites list.  While making a list of your favorite internet sites will certainly cut down on the time it takes to get to those sites, it’s not going to help us out on the #1 rule of efficient computing: Eliminating the mouse.  To the 85% of you using Internet Explorer, there’s a little trick that you can use.

In Internet Explorer, if you have a site in your favorites titled “The foot fetish site mark showed me,” you have two ways of actually getting to that website via your favorites.  The way that you’re probably using now is to click “Favorites” (or hit Ctrl + I to bring up the list…aren’t Shortcuts fun?), and then clicking on the title of the site.  The other way to get to the site would be to either type into your address bar (or the Ctrl + O Open dialog), “The foot fetish site mark showed me.”  Doing this will make Internet Explorer say, “Hey, that’s one of the Favorites.  Maybe I should just go there,” and then it will go to the URL associated with that favorite.  Neat, nice, nifty.

To take complete advantage of this feature, simply rename all of your favorites to one (or two if you must) letters that distinguish it from the others.  For example, instead of having “Google” as a favorite, rename it go “g”.  Now, to get to Google, you can simply type “g” into your address bar (or, again, the open dialog).  Isn’t that nice?

Taking it a step further, you can combine this with the shortcut keys.  Since Ctrl + O shows the open dialog, and entering “g” into the open dialog takes us to Google’s webpage, now you can get to Google anytime you want by simply hitting “Ctrl + O,” “g,” and Enter from inside any Internet Explorer window.  Damn, that was quick.

Now that you’re at Google…

Getting To Know Google

The final step in improving your computing efficiency is to master all of the internet.  Don’t worry, this is a lot easier than it sounds.  With the help of Google, the information superhighway is yours for the taking.  Getting the absolute most out of Google, though, is a topic that has been tackled by many books.  Forget the books, here’s a paragraph:

The first step to making Google your bitch is understanding that it should be your first stop on the internet when you’re dealing with unfamiliar topics.  After this, you just need to figure out what aspect of Google can help you at any given point of time.  Should you be browsing in Google Search, or maybe Images, or should it be Maps, or Local, or even Froogle!?  Not only can Google take care of the internet for you, it can take care of itself.  What better way is there of getting to know someone than to read their autobiography?  Go ahead and check out Google’s.

Now that you have all of the tools of the trade, you just have to find a way of convincing yourself that the “Oh shit, this new stuff doesn’t feel right” feeling will go away and that, when it does, your new tools will leave you a happier person.  I can personally guarantee that, once you start using these four computing principles to their fullest, not only will you have a bigger eCock, you’ll have much more free time to waste.

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