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Book review: Design and Launch an Online Web Design Business

Design and Launch an Online Web Design Business by Jason Rich My rating: 3 of 5 stars My long-term goal is for OptimWise to become a web design firm, creating and promoting websites for small businesses. I've been looking for the best books about succeeding in the web design business. I wasn't very impressed by […]

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Book review: How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business: With Companion CD - ROM by Charlotte Evans My rating: 3 of 5 stars After meeting with a few local web designers a few weeks ago, I was inspired to accelerate my plans to move OptimWise into web design. I know how to […]

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How to write email subject lines

One of my favorite podcasts, Get-It-Done Guy (on the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network), just did an episode about email subject lines. Poorly written (or missing) subject lines are one of my pet peeves. Here are a few points from Get-It-Done Guy, which apply to messages sent by email, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other […]

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Hide friends and apps from Facebook news feed

When you log into Facebook, the first thing you see is the Home page, also known as the News Feed. This is a list of status updates, photos, links, etc. from your friends, pages, and applications. Each of these pieces of news are known in Facebook lingo as a "story". The News Feed is a […]

Read More alternatives to desktop or online software

Looking for an alternative to a program for Windows, Mac, or Linux, or a substitute for a web app? Try Just type in the name of the software you'd like to see alternatives to, and you'll get a list of alternatives ranked by popularity. Let's say you're looking for alternatives to Dropbox, a popular […]

Read More test if a website is up or down

When a website won't load for me, my first question is, "is the site really down, or is it just me?" I use to check. It uses a monitoring network to check the site from several different locations, then determines if the site is actually up or down. provides the same service, but […]

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Best WordPress podcasts

Update: here's my latest list of WordPress podcasts. These are the best WordPress podcasts I've found so far. Please share your favorites in the comments! The WordPress Podcast: Joost de Valk and Frederick Townes interview people from inside and outside the WordPress community on how they use WordPress. Each show features plugin picks of the […]

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Best free software download sites

Where can you get free software for your Windows PC? Ideally, directly from the software creator, such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft. What if you don't know who makes the software? A Google search will likely take you straight to it, but search results can be hijacked. Here are my favorite reputable sites for downloading […]

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Ketarin: keep installers and portable apps updated

I carry a USB drive containing my software toolkit: various programs for removing malware, tuning up Windows, installing updates, etc. Some are installers that install programs to a hard drive, and others are portable applications that run straight from the USB drive without hard drive installation. Because most of these programs are frequently updated, it's […]

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Post audio to

The best way I've found to post audio files (such as MP3s) to sites is to upload the files to the Internet Archive, then link to them from your post. The Internet Archive offers free media hosting, with no file size or bandwidth limits, as far as I could find. You could also […]

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Laptop buying guide

I'm often asked, "I need a laptop. What should I buy?" Although the technical specifications of laptops change constantly, the basics have remained the same for years.  Below are some things to consider when shopping for a laptop (AKA notebook computer). A note about netbooks: these portable computers are smaller than laptops (usually with 9 […]

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Windows startup slow? Change transfer mode from PIO to DMA

I recently helped a client with a laptop that had suddenly become agonizingly slow to start up. The Windows XP loading screen stayed up for longer than normal, and it took several more minutes after that for the desktop to load and be usable; over 7 minutes total. Any hard drive intensive programs ran extremely […]

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