Thank You for a Great 2012!

As the first year of The Practical Computer comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who visited and read an article or browsed through our blog. As we approach a new year, we are encouraged by the success we had this past year.

Our mission hasn't changed - We want to help everyday computer users with practical advice and help you get more from your technology. Please help us do it better! Knowing which articles you read the most helps us understand a little about the kinds of information you like, but we love to hear from you directly! Please let us know how we are doing with your comments.

Our goal for 2013 is to make The Practical Computer even more helpful. Thank you for helping us get off to a great start in 2012. We hope you will stay and help us get better in 2013!

Happy New Year!

Windows 8 Start Menu from Pokki

Microsoft has never done anything quite so puzzling as deciding to omit the start menu from their new version of Windows. After enterprises leapfrogged Vista, Microsoft made amends by delivering their best and most widely acclaimed operating system - Windows 7. Why would they risk enterprise adoption of their new OS, Windows 8, by making a such a radical change to the user interface?

Microsoft needed a UI suitable for the touch screens of tablets and smartphones. But why force desktop and laptop computer users to use a UI designed for small touchscreens?

Pokki to the rescue

Twitter Profiles - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Widely accepted Twitter etiquette deems that you follow back those that follow you but, I am not always perfectly polite. 

When you just can't keep up, or you start to reach Twitter's limits for following, you have to be more choosy about who you follow. If you are curating content for your followers, you may want to put the big guys on a list and unfollow them. Don't worry, they probably won't miss you, and you can still see their tweets (I'll explain later). 

The Facebook Rodeo - How to Corral Your News Feed

If you have been adding friends and "Liking" fan pages for a while, it may be getting harder to stay on top of your news feed. Have you ever wondered if your friends' news feeds are as full as yours, and if they even see your posts?

No one can keep up with a busy news feed unless it is organized. Divide and conquer your feed using lists. Once you group your feed into manageable chunks, you can quickly choose the posts you want to see, when you want to see them.

No Excuses! Backup Your Windows Server

There have been many statistics quoted about business continuity and data loss for small businesses, mostly from companies that want to "help" you prevent the tragedy of going out of business.

Mark Twain said, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Regardless of the percentage quoted for business failures, the fact is: many small businesses will not survive long after the the loss of all of their contracts, orders, invoices, and other records.

Customer Service Is Going Social

Many businesses put up Facebook fan pages to reach out to customers. Most were not prepared for their customers to use Facebook to reach out to them. They saw Facebook as a big billboard on the Internet highway - just another way to advertise. What part of  "social" did they not understand?

A post to  Facebook or other social media has potential to be multiplied. If a customer "Likes" a fan page, their Facebook friends may see those fan page posts too. Businesses were giddy with the idea of their posts going viral, but complaints can go viral too. Indeed, complaints are much more likely to go viral than the "spam" being thrown at customers from poorly managed fan pages.