All kinds of tips to get you started

1. Carry Your Workspace As we all know an USB drive can be carried with ease and portable applications has made it quite easier to carry any type application that you need for your work. You may refer to some productive portable applications that can make you more productive or you can search for portable applications of your choice on various websites. Some of the most popular ones are listed below: FC Portables Portable Freeware Portable Apps Pendrive Apps >2. Hidden USB Drive : There is a nice step by step tutorial by Windell Oskay describing how to hide your USB drive within a torn USB cable. You can easily shock a couple of your friends while playing a song from a torn USB cable plugged in to your computer. Find the step by step tutorial on Evil Mad Scientist. Link is here: >3. Create an Autorun program: It is really a vital feature while using any USB drive. We use it mostly casually but it can be used for better purposes like launching any program (located on your USB drive) automatically by just inserting the USB drive into your computer. You can follow a detailed guide on Daily Cup of Tech by Tim for creating an autorun file. Link is here: >4. Stop Auto-Runs From USB Drives: A similar list of antidotes on how you could stop auto-running programs from your USB drives can be found here: This is very useful as many threats are reported to start from auto-run menu. My suggestion to anyone would be, start programs (even the “Open to View Files”) from the Auto-run dialog. >5. Recover your lost USB Drive : Portability is what makes the USB drives so indispensable and it is what makes it so forgettable and vulnerable too. There are many occasions when I forget to bring my keys and so is with my USB stick. And back in college, my USB stick got stolen. Only thing that I did then was sulk over my carelessness. Well now, I am quite safe from this misfortunes. Here is a step by step guide from Tim that will increase the chances of recovering your USB drive in case you lose it or get robbed. You can also try Codysafe found here: a free program that also serve the similar purpose. It also comes with a program launcher like Portable Apps and a built-in antivirus (Drive Doctor) for the files saved on your USB drive. Read a detailed review on the tool. Found here: >6. Use your USB drive to Lock or Unlock Your PC: When I first came to know about this trick I simply couldn’t resist myself from using it. The very idea of locking my workspace with my USB drive makes me feel more safe. I have detailed this BIOS hack to lock your Windows XP with USB drive here: Also there is a free program named Predator that also lets you lock your Windows workspace. You can read my detailed how-to on this tool here: >7. Create a Bootable USB Disk One, if your netbook doesn’t have a DVD drive or yours is damaged and you are willing to reinstall an operating system try creating a boot device with your USB drive. Try using free tools like Image Writer found h ere: or WinToFlash to burn, found here: an Windows OS installation image file onto a USB drive. >8. Run an Operating System From USB You already know that a new OS installation can be carried be carried out from a USB disk. Well you can run a OS from USB too very much like the Live CD. Try Puppy Linux, found here: or, XPUD, found here: or, Damn Small Linux, found here: or finally, Webconverger, found here: which may not be that feature-rich as an OS but are good enough to backup dead PCs or troubleshoot the same. Well if you are eager enough to format a USB that can run Windows XP from within it, head over here: >9. Run a Website or Stand Alone Application from USB Disk Server2Go, found here: is a free webserver that can run from write protected media. To ease it up, lemme say, web apps based on Server2Go can be run from a usb stick without the worries of configuring Apache, PHP or MySQL. The app lets you create PHP applications or websites on USB sticks. Some examples listed on the developer website are catalog software, calculation programme, image campaigns (CMS-based), computer based training lessons etc. Many content management systems like Joomla are also supported by this tool. >10. Stay Safe: Get Files on Your USB Device Encrypted Work was never confined to office. And with USB sticks we can carry documents anywhere to work on them when we get more time. So if you are carrying files that may contain sensitive information, you might want to encrypt them since if it falls on wrong hands you can guess the consequences. Try SecurStick, found at: Its a free program that hides your files behind password protected encryption. You can also try the free version of USB Safe Guard for preventing data theft from USB drives. It can be found here: >11. Backup USB Drive ImageUSB, found here: and USB Flash Drive Managerare, found here: two free utilities that will help you create a backup for your USB flash drives. >12. Speed Up Windows Using your USB Drive Windows Vista and Windows 7 has an built-in feature coined as Windows ReadyBoost that you can use to speed up your OS using USB flash drives. Here is a detailed guide on Windows ReadyBoost that you can follow to apply on your PC. 11. Create a password reset Disk For Windows If you are on Windows Vista or Windows 7, use your USB drives for creating a password reset disk. Read a detailed article on how you can create a USB password reset disk on Windows 7 and Vista. >13. Remove Alerts For USB Devices on Windows XP: Follow this step by step tutorial on how you can disable alerts like, “This device can perform faster” in Windows XP. The guide is found here: >14. Hide files or folders in your USB Drive Try Winmend if you are willing to use your USB drive to hide files or folders. Read a detailed guide here: Or you can use a simple trick to hide files within a USB Drive. >15. Completely erase your Computer Hard disk Have you considered erasing all the data on your hard disk before selling it? Manual erasing is quite tiring. Nuke your hard disk with DBAN after burning the tool onto a CD drive or USB drive. >extra. Crazy Looking USB Drives This is not something that will help you tweak your USB drive, but this will definitely ease up this geeky post a bit. Get to see some crazy looking USB drives that are probably really awesome and awful at the same time. Here is a link to crazy looking usb drives. Have you ever imagined of a USB Business card? Witness it here: If you have any questions about the tips posted in Dan’s Tech tips, please contact Dan at the following email address: _________________________ Hacker Masters NOTE: Text for site’s links inserted by Dan Thompson, April 22 2011. More and more I see spam coming from friends when I open my e-mail. In addition to this, people are telling me that they think their e-mail accounts have been hacked. Signs can be friends receiving messages you did not send, mail is marked read that they never saw, settings are changed, or anything else out of the ordinary. In any case, the question is the same: “What do I do?” While many Ghacks readers may know to follow these steps, having a guide handy for others is a useful thing. I can imagine many readers are resources for friends, family, and coworkers. These steps can serve as a checklist to ensure thoroughness. This is a guide on how to reasonably secure your e-mail account. What to do if you lose access to your account is a different problem for another article. This article assumes you still have access, but strange things (as mentioned) are going on. It will cover the three most commonly used e-mail account types: 1. Gmail, 2. Hotmail, 3. Yahoo Mail, While changing the settings is pretty easy, finding them can be less than obvious. Here are links to some screenshots to help you find the general settings page for your account. 1. Yahoo Mail 2. Hotmail 3. Gmail Step 1 : Change Your Password You need to do this immediately. This is akin to changing the locks on your doors. When you do not know exactly who has a key to your home, the locks are a liability. Count yourself lucky that you can get into your account. To change your password, log-in and go to Settings. Then follow the steps appropriate to your account. In Gmail: Mail Settings > Accounts and Imports > Change Password In Hotmail: More Options > Account Details (look for “Change” next to password) In Yahoo Mail: Mail Options > Account Information > Change your password Step 2 : Check Your Recovery E-mail Address Your recovery e-mail address is the one that you use to reset/regain your password. However, if it was changed, it can be used to get the password to your account. Take a look to see if it is set to another account you own. If not, change it immediately. You also may want to follow these steps on that account. In Gmail: Mail Settings > Accounts and Imports > Change Password Recovery Options In Hotmail: More Options > Account Details (look for “Remove” next to an odd e-mail) In Yahoo Mail: Mail Options > Account Information > Update password-reset info Step 3 : Change Your Hints Most people forget about this, but it is a good idea to change your hints. If the hacker knows the answer, they may be able to regain access. This usually requires the recovery e-mail address to be altered, but it is still better to change your hints. Since hints are usually used to reset passwords, they can be used to change your password. In Gmail: Mail Settings > Accounts and Imports > Change Password Recovery Options In Hotmail: More Options > Account Details (look for remove next to a question) In Yahoo Mail: Mail Options > Account Information > Update password-reset info Step 4 : Check Your Forwards Checking your forwards is going to be a tedious process, but it is important. If you only have time to skim them over, then do so, but make a thorough look your next priority. Your bank account may depend on it. Your e-mail account can be set up to send letters to other e-mail accounts. Most websites are set up to send new passwords to your e-mail address. That means that an unscrupulous person could ask the site for your password, set up your account to forward it to an account they have access to, and then get into the site. That could be a bank site, a blog, FaceBook, or anything else. In Gmail: Mail Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP In Hotmail: More Options > Email forwarding In Yahoo Mail: Mail Options > POP & Forwarding (note: a premium service) Step 5 : Change All Your Passwords on Connected Accounts Sadly, you have to assume that your forwards are compromised. You are going to have to go through each site you used your e-mail account to sign up with and change the password and hint. You might even want to associate them with a separate account to isolate critical e-mails. Alternatively, you could just change your password and hint on sensitive sites. Your bank and any financial websites should be first. Social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter should be next. Keep in Mind You should always use a strong password for your accounts: one with uppercase, lowercase, numeric, and symbol characters. Ideally, you should have a different one for each account. At the very least your e-mail, financial, and social networking sites should have separate passwords. Security is not about absolutes, but about making it difficult for others to gain access to your account. It is worth noting that each of these services has an extra security feature. You can actually set up your account to use your phone for e-mail recovery. As I have not used it, it is beyond the scope of this article, but is worth considering. Addendum If you have trouble logging in at all, you may want to take a look at the following guides to resolve the problem: Hotmail Sign In Help Yahoo Mail Signin, Login Help (Yahoomail) MSN Hotmail Sign In Troubleshooting Google Sign In Help, Troubleshooting Gmail Login If you have any questions about the tips posted in Dan’s Tech tips, please contact Dan at the following email address: _________________________ if you know of someone who would like to join Mama’s Corner, please contact me at: _________________________ Top American cities By Donna J. Jodhan at 1. Des Moines Iowa If you are looking to lay down roots in a city that has it all, then look no further than Des Moines Iowa. A city that has been tagged as one of the best in which to do business in America, Des Moines is home to several Fortune 500 companies. Its economy is nicely diversified; manufacturing, health care, communications, and finance. The cost of living is extremely attractive; well below the national average and this makes for very reasonable home prices. Job opportunities abound, friendly neighborhoods await your attention, and Des Moines’s cultural ambiance is one to be experienced. 2. Westminster Colorado Looking for a city where you can live the idyllic life while at the same time you can enjoy all the trappings of a large city? Not possible you may be saying? Think again! Nicely tucked away in one of the corners of Colorado lies the bedroom city of Westminster. With sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains, and close enough to Denver, Westminster makes for the perfect place to be. The cost of living is below the national average. Westminster has been tagged as one of the best cities in America to live. With open spaces, oodles of ponds and lakes, and a plethora of home styles, this thriving city makes for a perfect location to either live or vacation. 3. Washington DC If you enjoy history, culture, the arts, and a flare for the dramatics, then welcome to Washington DC. A city that never sleeps and one where you can learn so much about our country’s affairs. From congressmen to senators and from students to high powered executives, Washington DC is the place to be. This city is blessed with some of the beautiful landscape; lush green parks and broad avenues that closemirror the city of Paris. Washington DC is most beautiful in the spring; the blooming flowers. Come and enjoy a recital at the famous Kennedy Center or take a tour of the White House. 4. Amarillo Texas Welcome to the charming city of Amarillo Texas! A city that is litterally drowned in acres of beautiful yellow flowers! Simply natural beauty. A city where homes stand on lots of land; a lot of space for you to breathe and grow. Homes are extremely affordable; the one storey spanish style dominates. The weather is warm, lots of greenery, and cattle ranches abound. Amarillo is one of the largest cattle ranching centers in the world. For you steak lovers, Amarillo offers the best that America has to offer. I’m Donna J. Jodhan bidding you a happy travel time. Visit me at if you would like to learn more. Or send me an email at If you would like to learn more about Donna J. Jodhan then visit _________________________ Quotes for the day Taken from Melanie mama’s corner Quote For Today: First, recognize that you are not a sheep who will be satisfied with only a few nibbles of dry grass or with following the herd as they wander aimlessly, bleating and whining, all of their days. Separate yourself now from the multitude of humanity so that you will be able to control your own destiny. Remember that what others think and say and do need never influence what you think and say and do. Og Mandino _________________________ Quote For Today: To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can. Sydney Smith _________________________ Quote For Today: Whatever decision we make in life, let us not forget that things do happen for a reason. In a life full of wonders and surprises, we can never expect things to turn out the way we want to all the time. But one thing’s for sure… Let us not look back to the “road of regret” because there’s always some form of “light” in whatever lies ahead. _________________________ Quote For Today: “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Jawaharlal Nehru _________________________ Quote For Today: “Though I might travel afar, I will meet only what I carry with me, for every man is a mirror. We see only ourselves reflected in those around us. Their attitudes and actions are only a reflection of our own. The whole world and its condition has its counter parts within us all. Turn the gaze inward. Correct yourself and your world will change.” Kirsten Zambucka _________________________ Quote For Today: Love is a gift of one’s inner most soul to another so both can be whole. Tea Rose _________________________ In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us. Flora Edwards _________________________ Quote For Today: “Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” Irving Berlin _________________________ Quote For Today: You can tell more about a person from their kindness to strangers than you can from any words they might say. Gail Lynne Goodwin _________________________ Quote For Today: “Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury.” Edwin Hubbel Chapin _________________________ Quote For Today: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson _________________________ Quote For Today: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. _________________________ Quote For Today: Even when the sky appears at its darkest, the sun shines ever upon you, love surrounds you, and the pure Light within you will guide your way home. So trust the process of your life unfolding, and know with certainty, through the peaks and valleys of your journey, that your soul rests safe and secure in the arms of Spirit. Dan Millman _________________________ Quote For Today: I always wanted a happy ending… Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity. Gilda Radner _________________________ Quote For Today: “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller _________________________ if you know of someone who would like to join Mama’s Corner, please contact me at:]]>

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