Grammarly Review – Absolutely Useless or a Second Pair of Eyes?

Grammarly-reviewedLast week I wrote that the many Grammarly Adsense ads, which kept popping up for a couple of weeks, had been effective at last. My curiosity for the product was piqued. Whenever a software or service offers a free trial I start using it before I read any reviews. After all, it is free, and I rather go into the test as unbiased as possible. I have never heard of Grammarly before, so it was a clean slate for me.

First impression

On their website, you see the big headline “The World’s Best Grammar Checker” and the suggestion to paste your text into a text field, to get it checked by Grammarly.

Grammarly-page1-2-800

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Borrow Ebooks – Connect Your Local Library to OverDrive

Overdrive-appThe local library not only helps saving money on books when you have kids. Who can afford to buy five picture books each week? It is also a great place for me to discover books I would usually not think of. And I get to test books when I am undecided about whether they are worth buying. Although it seems counter intuitive at first, but I actually end up buying more books than I would have without the library, because of that. These are the ones I simply have to own because they are so good.

Borrow Ebooks via OverDrive

One drawback with libraries is when you have to wait for your next read to become available. You also may have a hard time to make the library times or simply prefer ebooks. To my great surprise I just discovered you actually don’t need to go to the library to borrow books if you are o.k. with reading them on a digital device like a tablet, your computer or smartphone. Many local libraries in the U.S.  and so far seven other countries can be added to an app called OverDrive Media Console or short just OverDrive. You can check if there is a local library in your area that cooperates with OverDrive. (more…)

My Favorite Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts

I believe everyone who works a lot on the computer will sooner or later start to replace mouse action with shortcuts. It is faster and everyone who has ever experienced ‘Mouse Pain’ in his hand will understand why I am trying to avoid constant mouse movements as much as possible. So I put this list together for you with my favorite Chrome keyboard shortcuts.

 

Chrome shortcuts

Scroll through Chrome tabs

CTRL + Page Up to browse the tabs from left to right
CTRL + Page Down to browse the tabs from right to left

Opening tabs and windows

Opening a specific tab
CTRL + number to open a specific tab, e.g.
CTRL + 3 to open the third tab

Opening
a new tab : CTRL + T
a new window: CTRL + N
the last closed tab: SHIFT + CTRL + T

the history : CTRL + H
the list with the last downloaded files: CTRL + J

Search within Tab: ‘CTRL + F’ then ‘Enter’ to jump from result to result

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How to use Google Instant search without mouse

Using the mouse all the time can be strenuous for the entire arm up to your shoulders. That is the reason why I love keyboard shortcuts so much. I do a lot of online research and finally realized that there are also shortcuts that work with Google’s instant search.

Here is how you can use the Google Instant search without mouse:

You can always highlight the text in the address/search bar with F6 and then just type to search.

 

On the results page you can do the following:

1) Place cursor in the search window with /. Unfortunately, you’ll have to delete the / with Backspace again, but that is relatively quick.

2) In the search window you can type and browse through the suggestions with the Up and down arrow keys or continue typing.
search suggestions 640
3) Select suggestion with Enter.
4) Press Tab. Then use up and down arrow keys again to browse through results (a little triangle marks the position, see image below). Press Enter to select a search result.
search results
5) Use Arrow keys to scroll up/down to read the article. Press CTRL+F to search for a certain word or expression. You can go back with ALT + left arrow
Note: If you return from a search results you can press tab to be able to browse through the results again.

 

How do I activate the Gmail keyboard shortcuts?

If you want to use the speedy keyboard shortcuts in Gmail then you need to turn them on first. Here is how to do it in 5 steps:

1) Click the Settings gear on the right side in your Gmail toolbar.
settings gear
2) Select Settings from the menu that appears.

Gmail settings1
3) Select the the General tab.

General Tab

 

4) Scroll down until you find Keyboard shortcuts. Check Keyboard shortcuts on.

Keyboard shortcuts on
5) Don’t forget to  click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

 

Read about my favorite Gmail and Chrome shortcuts!

What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

When you want to get into blogging you will automatically stumble over WordPress. It is a free software product that quickly became the most popular blogging tool on the Internet. So far so good, but there is one point of confusion, because you can find two versions  .com and .org and you may wonder what is the difference between WordPress.com  and WordPress.org?

 

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress is an Open Source software meaning it’s free for anyone to use and modify to meet their personal needs (in this case, to create blogs). But there are two versions of Wordpress. WordPress.com used this core software but provides the hosting for you, for example like Blogger. However since they do the hosting for you for free , it does have limitations.

Alternatively, WordPress.org provides the software to create your blog, but does not host your blog on the Internet for you. You need to find and pay a separate hosting provider to obtain a domain name and host your blog online. By using WordPress.org with a paid hosting service you have the most freedom of what you can do with it.

Here are in all briefness the pros and cons for both (more…)

How to edit a password protected Word document

This is the situation: You opened a word document, but then realize you cannot edit it because it is password protected from editing. Now you basically want to crack the password protection for editing in Word or remove the read-only lock for the case that you cannot recover the password. Cracking a password! Sounds highly illegal? That certainly depends on the situation. You can always break into your own house when you lost the keys. Similar case here.


I created a form document years ago and protected it from editing so that only the form fields can be edited. Now I needed to make some updates to the form and – you can guess – cannot remember the old password. So I could either write up the entire 10-page document again or try to remove the password protection. Typing it up would have taken me hours with all the formatting. To find the solution, however, took me only 30 minutes. Time saved, yeah! I want to share this solution with you so that hopefully it takes you less than five minutes: (more…)

More than 50! – Extensive List of Web Hosting Sites

Are you looking for web hosting sites that are able to match your needs? When I was looking for a site to host DarnOffice I searched for “web hosting sites” and noticed that most of the listings or reviews that came up mostly only listed the same ten sites. These ten may be the best web hosts on the internet, but how do I know that all these listings and reviews are independent and unbiased?

The internet is so huge and I like to consider all my options. This is why I went far beyond the first ten Google pages to find my hosting provider. As a result, I present you this list of more than 50 possible candidates. Make your own decision and take the time to compare. The cheapest price is not the only criteria. Read the fine print and if possible try looking into the support forums. They give a great impression of how responsive the staff is.

The market is fierce and full of competition so chances are good you find exactly what you are looking for. This list is purposely in no particular order. I am happy to include more hosts over time. Please leave a comment or contact me. If you are curious which web hosting provider I ended up using, then you can check my resources page. (more…)

How to Remove Query Strings from Static Resources on WordPress Sites

Google has a great tool to analyze and optimize  the speed of your website called PageSpeed insights. One of the recommendations is to “Remove Query Strings from Static Resources“. Those may be in JavaScript and CSS files. In WordPress many scripts and stylesheets include a query string to identify the version. This can cause problems with caching and will lead to increased load times. In your child-themes function.php file add the following code before the closing sign (?>):

 

 
function hide_wp_version($src) {
global $wp_version;
return str_replace("?ver=$wp_version", '', $src);
}
add_filter('script_loader_src', 'hide_wp_version');
add_filter('style_loader_src', 'hide_wp_version');

 

After you’ve done that check your site on PageSpeed insights again to make sure you had no typos. I also attached a screenshot of my functions.php:

remove query strings from static resources

 
 
 
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Remove Field Codes in Word

Field codes link to content inside or outside of documents (e.g. a table of contents). When this content is moved you’ll get a “Error! Reference not found.”, which at this point if you are not the author of the document makes it impossible to guess what the text may have said before. This is why it is advisable to remove field codes entirely before you distribute a final document to make sure important information is not lost.
 

The fastest way to do this is to select all text with CTRL + A and then press CTRL + SHIFT + F9 to remove all field codes. To remove field codes located in headers and footers (e.g. page numbers) you will have to click these separately and repeat the procedure.

 

More about field codes