Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

To All... And to ALL a Good Night!

Mrs. Wizard


Don't forget... I've been writing about Windows for years and there is a ton of information, as well as special 1 page tutorials on just about anything you can think of relating to your computer and Windows at It is organized and indexed by month and year.

Have fun!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

AVG's latest FREEBIE

I have been a serious fan of AVG Antivirus for a few years now, and recommend the free version to anyone who is willing to listen. We have the full version of AVG on our main computer, but I keep the freebie on the laptop and it is more than satisfactory. I noticed while updating to the newest FREE version of AVG Antivirus, they have a FREE spyware offering. I kind of filed the info away a few weeks ago, but decided to download and install it tonight. If it is half as good as the antivirus, you will certainly hear from me! I don't like to recommend anything I don't actually use myself.

It installed great. Seems the installation file is actually a 30 day trial of the full version. Fine... It is scanning it's little fanny off now. At the end of 30 days it is supposed to revert to the free version and a few of the more automatic features will disappear. I have a feeling it will still be fine, but I'll let you know for sure!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Ultimate Test

Anyone who knows old Mrs. Wizard, knows she LOVES listening to audio books via any one of her MP3 players. Several months ago, she gave a cute little pink Zen Nano Plus to her daughter Kelly so she could listen to her favorite music while doing her daily exercise walks. Well, the day after Thanksgiving, the turkey caught up with her and she had a few panicky moments on the trail. When she got home, she peeled off her exercise gear and tossed it all into the washer, then headed for the shower. Later on she noticed a clumping sound in the washer... didn't think too much of it, and when the load was finished, tossed it into the dryer. It wasn't until she heard the same thumping in the dryer that it dawned on her. She had left her little Zen Nano in her pants pocket...

Here's the interesting part, dear readers. When she pulled that little Zen out of the dryer, she plugged in the headset and turned it on (not expecting anything). The darn thing played as though it was brand new!

Now I wouldn't recommend any of you tossing your little Zen Nanos into your washer, much less the dryer, but it is nice to know one more reason they are my favorites!

Monday, December 04, 2006

December issue of CompuQuickTips

Well, it is almost ready, the very last issue of CompuQuickTips. I hope to have it posted in the current newsletter issue of some time today. It has been a wonderful exercise in sharing what I have learned with you, my dear readers, but it is time to move on. There will be lots of updating and rearranging so you can find just what you need. I will be spending 2007 honing my web design skills, paying particular attention to Flash and graphic design.

Keep your browser tuned to this area for lots more QuickTips as I dive into Windows Vista. I'll make sure XP users won't get left behind.

Warmest Regards,
Mrs. Wizard

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hot Springs SeniorNet

Hank Clemente has done a fine job with this new web site. I was proud and happy to be able to help him a little with some FrontPage coaching over the phone and via email and very excited to be hosting on my servers.

SeniorNet is a very active organization and has over 240 Learning Centers throughout the U.S. and in other countries. The Hot Springs group is in Arkansas, not far from my home in Memphis. They have some very interesting classes and their website is full of great tips and tricks.

There ain't nuthin like a little grey hair to make life interesting...

Congratulations Hank!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Create a Drive Menu for My Computer

Instead of clicking your My Computer icon, then clicking the drive you want, wouldn't it be nice to have a nice little menu where you can choose anything in the My Computer area?
Right click the Start button and choose Properties. Click the Customize button in the Start Menu tab area. When the Customize Start Menu box opens, click the Advance tab.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Internet Explorer 7

Where's the EMail button? That's the first question I've had from a reader... To be honest, I had to do a little looking myself to find it. It isn't all that handy. If you are used to clicking a button from your Internet Explorer toolbar to get to your email, you will need to add it to that itty bitty toolbar to the right of your page tabs. Here's how... Right click any empty area above the web pages and choose Customize Command Bar, then click where it says Add or Remove Commands.

A new window will open. Find your email button in the left pane, click it, then click the Add button, then click the Close button. you will see your email button in your itty bitty toolbar then.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Turned on my machine this morning only to find a strange message from my AVG (free version) antivirus software suggesting my version (7.0 something) was about to be discontinued in January 2007. There was a link to more information about the new (not free) version 7.5. Well, I clicked the link thinking, "O Lord! The free ride is over for AVG!"... not so, dear readers... Although I DID have to look for it, there was a link for the FREE version of 7.5... Whew!
Not only is there a new version of AVG FREE Antivirus, but they have a NEW anti spyware software (FREE Edition also) available. I haven't given that a try yet, but will soon.

Thank you AVG! Here is a link to the latest and greatest FREE AVG offerings.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Internet Explorer 7

You should be seeing the latest and greatest (hehehe) Internet Explorer appear in your updates soon. Go ahead and accept it. I just did last night and at first glance, it looks pretty good.... Very "Firefoxy" if I do say so myself... At least it is no longer in Beta stage, so you should have no problems with it messing anything up on your system. Mine seems to be fine so far, and I am looking forward to checking it out.

I have updated my Computer Resources page. Check it out. There is a link to Dave's Computer Tips... really good stuff!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Photoshop and TwistedBrush Magic

More doodling with TwistedBrush (you are going to LOVE the November newsletter!), added the text and frame enhancements with Photoshop and voila!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Great State of Texas

We are having a great trip... One of the most amazing observations I have made while driving through Texas is the miles and miles of nothing but space... Beautiful country! Makes me proud to be an American!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

TwistedBrush Variation

This one is completely with TwistedBrush (frame and all)

Colour Play

Background created with TwistedBrush (I'm loving it more every day). The rest done with Photoshop. ENJOY!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Another TwistedBrush Wallpaper

I am having so much fun with TwistedBrush!
TwistedBrush Wallpaper

Road Trip Prep

We are preparing for a nice road trip across Oklahoma and Texas. Of course little Trixie (the laptop) will be going with us. I've even got a power adaptor for the car so I can hook up in the back seat and fiddle with the machine all I want. A little portable table helps... not sure if I want to try hooking up the tablet while the old man is driving or not... might be a bit much. I do have to say though, working on a computer in the back seat of a car not only brings wierd looks from other vehicles, but it keeps me from giving friendly driving advice to the "road maniac" I have been married to for over 35 years.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


AWESOME! The number of brushes had me drooling right away. I'm reviewing a great painting program for the November issue of CompuQuickTips. Now I've had a few days to actually give it my full attention, I can see so many uses for TwistedBrush. It isn't an image editing program, at least that doesn't seem to be the focus. The focus is more on actually creating art, and it fills your computer with all kinds of nifty tools to do just that.
Here is one of my favorites so far...
*Hint* Click the image to see the full size view. Right click on the larger image and you can save it as your desktop wallpaper.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Monthly Routine

On the first day of every month, this is the cleanup I do to refresh the machines and prepare them for the next month of use and abuse:
  1. JV16 PowerTools (registry cleaner)... It will clean out all those useless and outdated registry entries in a very safe way. I trust it completely.
  2. Thorough Disk Cleanup. Right click My Computer, choose Explore... Then right click the C drive and choose Properties. Then click the Disk Cleanup button. Make sure you also click the More Options button and cleanup your System Restore.
  3. Defragment your hard drive after all the cleaning is done. This will close up any gaps left from deleting all those trash files and make your computer sooooo frisky! Diskeeper is my favorite defragmenting software to date.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I finished the first tips and tricks article for the October issue of CompuQuickTips (due out the end of this month). It is going to be a fascinating ride. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a graphics program, certainly get GIMP. It's free and, very competitive with the likes of PaintShop Pro and Photoshop.
Pick it up at
And make sure you save the next three issues of CompuQuickTips. They will help you cut to the chase and give you a good start.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Customize Your Toolbars

Your right mouse button is good for a lot of things. It gives you choices wherever you use it. Try right clicking on your Internet Explorer Toolbar (at the top of the main window) and choose Customize with a single left click. A new little window will open with extra buttons you may find handy. To add a button, left click on it in the left pane of the window and click the Add button. To remove a button, left click it on the right pane of the window and click the Remove button. You can also rearrange your tool buttons to suit your needs by clicking the button you want to move and clicking the up or down button. When you are finished, click the Close button and enjoy your new toolbar.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Want a nice Sidebar?

Here's a little video that will show you how you can create a nice little retractable toolbar (sidebar) for your screen. You can use it to store all those icons, shortcuts and files you have been gathering and not knowing what to do with. The only thing you want to leave on your desktop is your trash bin. If you have an Internet Explorer or Outlook icon with no shortcut arrow on it, you can't just move those anywhere. They need to be removed a different way, so leave them alone.
New Toolbar Video from Mrs. Wizard

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I have spent the last two days managing updates and nursing a very sick ("Old Faithful") computer. Yesterday I had to remove it from our main office room to my little front office so it could be by itself and I could kick it if I need to. That meant, the laptop (little Trixie) was transferred to Old Faithful's place. Printer drivers had to be installed on little Trixie so we could still print via the network. In the meantime, Old Faithful will probably be hooked up tomorrow and I will see what I can do to ease it's misery. Poor thing has been stalling and freezing lately and I suspect more of a hardware (age related) problem than anything else. I could't even do a defrag on the thing yesterday when I finally gave up and decided to take it out of commission until I could figure out what is going on.

Sure is nice to have a large fambly of computers :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crocs Day

I am so tickled to have received a phone call from Charlie Neidner in Vero Beach today. He is a beloved reader and wanted to ask me about Crocs. I had recently put an Amazon Link to my favorite footwear on the September newsletter sidebar and Charlie wanted to know if I really liked them. Well I spent 20 minutes telling him how they were responsible for saving my feet. I really do love the way they feel. I have 4 pairs to date and can't count the number of miles I have put on them since my first pair. I do three miles a day around our neighborhood lake. I'll have to take the camera with me one day so I can share the beauty of this walk. At any rate, my crocs make my feet feel as though they are walking on sponges... Wonderful! And if the weather is wet, slogging through puddles is no problemo!

My FAVORITE Footwear!

Friday, September 01, 2006


I'm sure my MSGTag STATUS will be talking to me all day, letting me know as soon as each person opens their newsletter. As for me, I'm going to be doing a little maintenance on the main machine today. It is overdue for a nice Defrag and Disk Cleanup.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cabinet of Curiosities

What a day! It was finally cool enough to take a nice long walk and not wilt. I'm listening to the 4th or 5th (they are all great) audio book (mp3 of course) by Preston and Child, Cabinet of Curiosities... they are all soooooo good. I have to keep my earbuds disinfected with Listerine so I don't end up with some kind of fungus in my ears from constantly being plugged in. Geez! I can't put a good book down. I make excuses to iron, do "quiet" cleaning, walking 3 miles a day (that's good for about an hour).

But listening to books is really kind to my eyes :)

It's time to send out the newsletter email. Enjoy folks!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

making Wallpaper

Well! Today is going to be a fun day! I am going to spend the entire day playing with GIMP to see what kind of wallpaper I can create for the Member area. Creating wallpaper images 1020 by 768 is a great way to put a graphics program through its paces and I usually end up with some pretty good results.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It reminds me of a MAC

I neglected to send up the screenshot of GIMP on the desktop. It really reminds me of a Mac type program the way it sort of sits on the desktop with no containing window. I hate to say it, but that's about all the experience I have had with a Mac, just a few peeks. I have never had a lot of interest, and Windows has managed to keep me plenty stimulated.
Anyhow... Here is what GIMP looks like on my desktop!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Almost finished

I just LOVE it! Every month when I am close to finishing the newsletter, I try to think of what I want to write about in the next issue. It is difficult at times. After so many years (over 10) of writing about Windows and computers, one would think I would run out of things to write about. NOT! It is amazing how there has never been a lack of new things to learn.

Just finished the article on GIMP for the September issue of CompuQuickTips and realized I need to spend a lot more time with it, learning and testing so I can share what I learn with YOU, dear readers. So if you like the introduction to GIMP in the September issue, look for much more detail in the next three issues after that. It is an exciting Image Manipulation Program and the more I tinker with it, the more I want to learn. I am as new to it as my dear readers will be, so it should prove to be a fun journey. I hope you all enjoy the journey as much as I will.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Blogger and Firefox

I am happy to read this current version of Blogger works best with Firefox and Internet Explorer. Yes, they mentioned Firefox first! Firefox is slowly becoming a mainstream browser and is a terrific addition to your Internet arsenal. Check it out HERE!
Firefox screenshot

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A learning curve

After lots of thinking, I have decided to feature GIMP as the September Gem. It is certainly not for beginners, but it is a great FREE alternative to Photoshop or PaintShop Pro if anyone wants to spend some time and can tolerate the learning curve. For more information the place to spend a lot of quality time is

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Zen Nano Plus

So much to learn! So little time!
I have ANOTHER Zen Nano Plus on the way. Should be here today. Seems I wore out my little black one (great excuse to order a new one in white this time). The sound when listening to an audio book has gone bad. While it is an intermittent problem, it is still a bit of a nuisance. The player is still good to use as a portable drive, so it will continue to live out its life with all the respect it deserves.