Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm Giving Away Microsoft Software!

This is the last week before my Bark in the Park charity walk and I've decided to pull out all the stops! With 3 dogs of my own, 2 grand puppies and 2 cats...I'm determined to raise the most money for needy dogs/ I'm adding MORE FREE MICROSOFT SOFTWARE to the pot! Feel free to spread the word!

Anyone who donates to my Bark in the Park charity walk (minimum $10) will be in the running for these prizes [winners 1-4 each choosing what's left in the pot, in winning order of name's drawn]. You can click each item to learn more if you're unfamiliar with any of this software...

* Microsoft Office 2003 Pro w/OneNote
* Microsoft Office 2003 Pro w/OneNote
* Microsoft's NEW Expression Web
* Microsoft Digital Photo Suite 2006

(NOTE! Those who donated a minimum of $5 prior to 4/29 WILL still be in the running for all 4 drawings. I upped the ante from this point forward since the odds of winning are greater.)

But you have to act fast must have your funds in by the end of the day 5/4 as the walk is Sat 5/5 to qualify for this drawing.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly. However, you can read all the credit card, PayPal or paper check donation options and details on our Bark site here:

Winners will be posted here in this MouseDroppings blog on 5/6/07, the day after the walk when I'll draw the winners from the pool of those who donated.

Big thanks to all of you who have donated so far...and good luck!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Office 2007 Compatibility Pack

If you're not using Office 2007, but someone with whom you communicate is and you need to be able to access information in documents they send you, you can install an update that will allow you to open 2007 files.

Granted, if you have the latest updates in your older version, you should receive a message when attempting to open 2007 files. The message will tell you that you need the compatibility pack and where to obtain it. But just in case you're lost, you can find the download by clicking on this link: Microsoft 2007 Compatibility Pack

Download the file and save it to your hard drive. Then open the file to install it. It will give you the ability to work with 2007 Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, which have been converted to a newer file format for 2007.

An alternative to using this conversion on your end is to ask the 2007 user to save out the files you need in the older format. They can easily do this by clicking the save as type dropdown in the Save As dialog box, prior to saving the file, as shown below.

And yes, another method to opening a 2007 file is to download the trial version of Office 2007 and installing that. But, unless you want to try Office 2007, that's a lot of effort just to open a file. And the trial version times out after a few months if you don't purchase it. Then you must uninstall it.

Finally, if you're curious about Office 2007 or new to it and want to get tips on using it, be sure to hit my ezine, TechTrax. There you can click the Archives link within the magazine, enter "2007" in the search and you'll find several articles on Office 2007...with many more to come.

Friday, April 27, 2007's up, it's down, it's up again

If you were trying to get into TechTrax, (my very popular free technical ezine) this week, chances are you may have gotten a Page Not Found error. Although later the error was upgraded to Page Unable to be Displayed. Also, if you've been trying to use any of my article links to get to any of my additional free tutorials in Computor Companion, you're still getting errors.

Not to worry, the sites will be back. But a server went belly up this week. However, thankfully, Susan Daffron has great backups running so she was able to restore TechTrax after two days of being offline. But then, under the heading of things only go wrong when you leave town, the server just happened to go down right after they were finally able to sneak away for a little R&R this week.

They were able to get a few band-aid IPs to run minimal sites, so wonderful folks that Susan and James are (owners of, they took one IP for their own email just to keep in touch with the outside world while away, but gave TechTrax the other one! So TechTrax is now up and fact by now they've also restored it to a shiny, new server. But all their own Logical Expresssion sites are still down until they return this weekend and are able to restore those sites.

Thanks for all the hard work restoring TechTrax this week, Suz & James. HA...but then again I bet you won't go rubbing in the fact that you're off to Hawaii next time! Hope you had a few moments to enjoy your vacation.

And to those of you who were unable to access the articles you needed...we're very sorry! TechTrax is back up now. Although I'm still unable to get into the backend software to post the April edition of TechTrax. But I will as soon as James gets that part rolling early next week.

Thanks for your understanding, folks!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You MUST Watch This Video!

If you've never been scammed on the Internet, it may only mean that your time has not yet come. And if you think you're too smart to be taken in…know that they even got me a couple years ago! I've been using the Internet since 1993 and am a computer/Internet professional. Yet one day I ventured into new territory, was in a hurry and wasn't paying attention…and they got me!

Feel free to read all the gory details in my article: Confessions of an Identity Theft Victim

I was lucky and definitely learned to always pay attention and always go to any master site to login and never use email links. But more importantly than my little tale of woe…you really MUST view this video (link below) from ABC investigative reporter, Brian Ross. Here he exposes some of the thousands of scams currently on the web. Every day, hundreds of people are still being taken in and end up losing thousands of dollars or even their identity, because they are innocent and don't realize that there are so many scams out there just waiting for them and their money or credentials.

Don't let it happen to you! View this video report so you can be empowered by knowledge.

Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Moment of Silence

With heartfelt sorrow…I send my personal sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives, as well as those who were wounded and also those who were terrorized in the tragedy yesterday at Virginia Tech. {tears & hugs}

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My New Software LOVE!

Okay, saying I'm in love with software is a bit extreme<smile>…but I must admit that one software program once did literally change my life. Microsoft Word came into my world back in 1994 when I was forced to learn it. Which I did…kicking and screaming! I'd been a Word Perfect guru and instructor when my boss dumped a 1,300 page Word developer's book on my desk and asked me how fast I could learn it. Begrudgingly, I quickly did learn it and that fact changed my life.

Within months I got a promotion from graphic designer to developer…a few months after that I became a Microsoft MVP…a couple months later I went to my first Microsoft Summit…where I met Greg Chapman…came home, divorced my (miserable<eg>) husband…started an amazing new life with Greg…and soon moved from the corporate world into a cool career as a Word developer, instructor, web dev, writer and editor. All thanks to learning a software program!

Now I don't expect my new love to change my life as drastically, but I'm suddenly feeling much more organized and seeing a brighter light at the end of that so much to do tunnel. What's this amazing software that could quite possibly change the way I live my life?

Microsoft OneNote!

Yup. It's actually been sitting on my computer for years now, although I've never gotten around to learning it. I used it a few times. "Humm, nice software." But I never experimented with using it on a regular basis. The version I'd tried was OneNote 2003, which is a good program. But I've been studying and using OneNote 2007 for about a week now and I'm realizing…it is amazing!

If you enjoy being organized or wish you could be, don't miss the next issues of TechTrax, my ezine, because I'll be adding training articles and videos on Microsoft OneNote.

This program is just too cool to keep to myself!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Beware of Tax Time Identity Thieves!

Tax time is of particular interest to identity thieves because they know a lot of people are dealing with their last minute forms, are anxiously awaiting refunds, or would be highly susceptible to emails appearing to be from the IRS.

Don't be fooled!

The IRS would NOT contact you via email. They would write or possibly phone you. So any email you get saying it's from the IRS is bogus. Thieves are attempting to get you to click phony links and provide them with your personal identification information. Don't click any links that ever request your personal information or matter who it is from!

For more details, check out this article from MSNBC: Tax time starting a new phishing season

And to see how easy it can be for even a professional to be duped into giving away a password, read my confession, here: Confessions of an Identity Theft Victim

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

'nuff said!

Dian ~

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quiet Those Dog Tags

If you have a dog, you may not even notice how much jingling those dog tags do. With three dogs, and a couple of grand-puppies who also come by for their weekly doggie-daycare play date in my home, all those tags can make you crazy.

I also create a lot of free computer training videos . There I am sitting at my desk trying to concentrate on what I'm teaching users and hoping for a few minutes of quiet as I record technical instructions, and here comes the noise...jingle, jingle, jingle! One of the dogs innocently walks into the room and their dog tags are jingling away. Very distracting.

But about a year ago, I found a fantastic cure...Quiet Spot Pet Tag Silencers!

These are simple, little tag pouches that stop all that jingling. You just slip it over the tags on your pet's collar, wrap the tiny velcro straps around the tag ring on the collar and they're good to go. A bonus is that the logo on the pouch is imprinted in light sensitive ink to help your pet be seen at night.

Even if the jingling doesn't really bother you, tags can easily become worn causing that important identification information to be lost over the years as the tags rub against each other. The Quiet Spot Pet Tag Silencers help protect tags because it holds them securely so they don't rub against each other helping to ensure that ID tags remain readable for years.

Know that I have no personal connection to this company or this product. I just have a lot of pets and am thrilled that I no longer have to listen to all that jingling!

You can purchase these pouches on their web site at Or go to their web site and find a retail pet store in your area that sells them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Did Google…Get Ya?

The popular search engine, Google, has become the much anticipated April Fool's jokester. Several years ago, Google came out with its first April Fool's bogus web site promotion. Since then, Google fans watch to see what spoof those comedians at Google will come up with each year.

You may have noticed that Google occasionally promotes their latest beta (in testing) offering. These can be incredibly useful tools. But come April 1st, they like to slip in a link that seems like it might be plausible. Well, that is until you actually read the information on the link and consider reality!

Here are links to explain each of the past Google spoofs…for your enjoyment.

April 1, 2007 =

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