If you ask most people what frustrates them most about the Internet, many of them will tell you "It's the little things!"
It seems like all the great tricks and tips that make people exclaim "STOP! How did you do that?" never make it into any manual (at least where I can find them).
My father (and co-author of "Turn Words Into Traffic") calls it the "reverse oral tradition" of computing, where children teach parents the survival skills of PC life.
Well, if you want to look good to your kids or buddies around the water cooler, check out the following cool web tricks.
~^~ Cool Google Tricks ~^~
Virtually everyone knows that Google.com ranks at the top of most people's search engine lists, but it does a lot more than just tell you where to find vitamins or information on George Washington's wooden teeth!
Need a map to a specific location?
Type in the address, city and state of virtually any location in the US, hit the search button, and Google serves up several different map providers across the Web.
Want to know what software application a certain file goes with on your computer?
Input the file name into Google's search box and a number of reference sites will help you know exactly what purpose a file serves.
I actually used this to feature to identify a piece of "spyware" lurking on my computer.
Want to know who's calling you on the phone in the US?
You can just input the phone number on your caller ID or cell phone display into the Google search box and get information on listed numbers before your answering machine can even pick up!
Log on to http://www.google.com/help/features.html for more cool search features that harness the search power of Google.
~^~ Text Zoom ~^~
Next time you can't see small text clearly on a website, try holding down the "CTRL" key and then moving the scroll wheel on your mouse up and down.
The text in your web browser (and some programs) will increase and decrease in size as you roll the wheel back and forth.
This little trick provides an excellent means of quickly getting what you need from websites with tiny text.
~^~ Slow Surfing? ~^~
If your Internet Explorer web browser starts giving you problems, you might want to clean up your "Temporary Internet Files."
Most people don't realize it, but when you leave a web page, it doesn't leave you!
Most of the time you keep a copy of websites you visit on your hard drive and, over time, they build up.
This collection of old web pages can eventually cause your surfing to slow to a crawl and even cause errors!
Here's one way to clear out those old files. Click your "Start" button, then "All Programs," "Accessories," "System Tools" and "Disk Cleanup."
After an initial check of your hard drive (which can take some time if it's the first time you've ever launched the utility), you can check the boxes of the files you wish to delete.
To speed up your surfing, at a minimum, make sure you delete the "Temporary Internet Files."
~^~ Surfing Shortcuts ~^~
To quickly cycle back and forth through a series of web pages you've visited, hold down the "ALT" key and tap your left and right arrow keys.
Left arrow takes you back while the Right arrow takes you forward.
The Page Up and Page Down buttons allow you to quickly move up and down any web page without struggling to find the scroll bar slider on the right side of the page.
Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist (http://www.TheNetReporter.com) and is the author of several best-selling ebooks, information products and software programs.
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