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How to Improve Your Computer’s Performance

Tips for Speeding Up Your PC
Few things are as frustrating as dealing with a slow, sluggish computer. When a computer is brand new, it works wonderfully well. Over time, though, its performance can slowly begin to worsen. This happens for a number of reasons, but the biggest culprits are things like spyware, adware and other computer threats that are unwittingly downloaded along with other content while online. You don’t have to download thousands of MP3s, movies or other items to experience these problems, either – nobody is immune to them. Instead of accepting the situation, there are plenty of techniques and strategies that you can use to make it better – a few of the best ones are outlined below.

Strategy #1: Clean Your Computer’s Windows Registry
The biggest cause of slow, sluggish PC performance is errors and problems within its Windows registry. Adware, spyware and other threats usually target the registry, damaging or misplacing important files within it. When it comes to PC cleaning, a daily Windows registry cleaning should be at the top of your list of priorities. However, this should never be done manually – there are too many opportunities for major errors that could seriously damage your PC’s operating system. Instead, invest in a high-quality Windows registry cleanup program and configure it to run once per day – you won’t believe the difference that it makes.

Strategy #2: Remove Unneeded Files
Every time you log on to the Internet or otherwise use your computer, temporary files are generated. They are usually only needed once; however, they don’t disappear on their own. Instead, they accumulate over time until they are cluttering up your computer’s file system and affecting its performance. While it’s possible to remove these files one-by-one, it’s much easier and quicker to use a PC cleaning tool that’s designed for the purpose. Try to do so about one time per week to keep your computer humming along with ease.

Strategy #3: Remove Unneeded Programs
Like many people, you probably download and try out many different programs each month. How many of them do you actually end up using on a regular basis? Chances are, not very many of them. By getting into the habit of uninstalling unused and unneeded programs, you can keep your computer’s file system a lot less cluttered. In turn, your PC’s performance will improve dramatically. You can optimize your computer in this way by using its Add/Remove Programs feature. Its location varies by operating system, but you should be able to find it somewhere in the Control Panel.

Strategy #4: Empty the Recycle Bin
When you click “delete” on a file or a program, it doesn’t go away for good – not immediately, anyway. Instead, it sits in a kind of purgatory in your computer’s Recycle Bin. As things pile up in the Recycle Bin, your computer can start exhibiting some very annoying problems. If sluggish startups and frequent crashes are occurring with increasing frequency – and your computer’s recycle bin is very full – go ahead and empty it. From then on, get into the habit of doing so about one time per week. This small but important strategy can make a huge difference.

Strategy #5: Perform a Disk Defragmentation
Windows isn’t very efficient when it comes to storing files. It actually splits them up, depositing them into whatever spaces are available. The more spaced apart the pieces of a file are, the harder your computer has to work to make them run. The Windows disk defragmentation system tune-up utility works to piece all of those files back together again. The process is a long one, though, and only needs to be done about four times per year. Set it up to run automatically once every three months. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep your computer running in tiptop shape.

When it comes to keeping your computer running optimally, small but regular maintenance is the best way to go. Protecting your PC only does so much; even the most careful Internet users in the world unintentionally download malicious software from time to time. By using basic system tune-up tools, cleaning your computer’s Windows registry regularly, performing regular file-cleaning maintenance and otherwise optimizing your PC, you should be able to keep it in like-new condition for a lot longer. Even if your computer has been performing slowly for some time, beginning this regimen is sure to produce results. In the end, you’ll be able to enjoy a computer that flies along – instead of one that spins its wheels.

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10 Tips for Good Smartphone Photography

Recently we took a look at the hardware that makes up your smartphone camera. While it’s interesting to know and understand what constitutes a digital camera module, that won’t help much when it comes to actually taking a photo on your smartphone. From a photography enthusiast and mobile hardware reviewer, I’ve put together this guide to tackle that part of the equation.
We’ve laid out ten tips for taking good photos on a smartphone, so hopefully you’ll be well on your way to producing some awesome shots from a fairly limited camera platform.

Know Your Auto Mode

Knowing how the automatic shooting mode on your smartphone camera works can greatly help you take good photos. Take the time to learn when it uses high ISOs, when it uses long shutter speeds, and adjust how you take photos accordingly. It especially helps to know when you decide to…

Override the Defaults

Smartphones can be pretty good when it comes to choosing settings, but not always. Metering can sometimes be pretty shoddy indoors and in cloudy conditions, which is where overriding some of the settings can come in handy.

If you think the white balance is off, change it. If the photo is underexposed, use the sliders found in most camera applications to boost it. If you’d prefer grain to blur, up the ISO used by the camera manually. Don’t forget about the flash either, which is sometimes necessary.

If center-weighted metering isn’t providing the right results, you might also considering switching to spot-metering, which some cameras allow you to do. Center-weighted looks at the entire image and meters according to what it sees, with a preference on the center of the frame. When shooting subjects off-center, it can be a good idea to switch to spot metering so the area around the ‘spot’ you select is exposed perfectly.

Use Good Posture (or Even a Tripod)

A key method for reducing blur is knowing how to hold a smartphone camera in a stable way. Holding your arms outstretched or far away from your body can make them sway more when photographing. Moving your elbows into the sides of your body can give a bit of extra stability where needed, as can physically resting the smartphone on a stable object.

If you want perfect stability, it is possible to get a tripod attachment that you can slot your smartphone into. You’ll probably look a bit silly bringing a tripod out and about to use with your phone, but I have seen and achieved myself some fantastic shots with a tripod in hand.

Harness HDR Mode

Dynamic range – the range of light intensities a camera can capture in the one photo while preserving detail – tends to be a weak point in smartphone cameras. In scenes with both dark and bright areas, such as a shadowed forest, it’s difficult to capture detail in the shadows and highlights at the same time. This is where HDR mode, or high dynamic range mode, comes into play.

HDR mode takes two images of different exposures near-simultaneously, and then combines them to produce one image that has higher dynamic range than the sensor can normally achieve. On most smartphones, this is something you can and should enable when the scene you’re photographing has widely varying contrast. The difference in photos can be vast, especially on Samsung smartphones where the HDR mode is particularly effective.

HDR mode shouldn’t be used all the time, though. As it has to take two photos and combine them, trying to photograph a fast-moving subject in HDR mode can lead to nasty ghosting and other unwanted effects. Using HDR mode in darker conditions can also introduce blur, simply from the combination of two images with slow shutter speeds.

Use the Whole Sensor

Something that really irks me about smartphone OEMs is their choice to always default to a 16:9 image capture ratio even if the sensor itself is not 16:9. You won’t have to do anything if you have a smartphone with a 16:9 sensor like the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8, but if you don’t, switching back to standard 4:3 can be beneficial.

Shooting in 4:3 on a 4:3 sensor not only gives you access to the full resolution of the camera, but it still allows you to crop down to 16:9 after the fact with more pixels to play with. Didn’t frame the shot perfectly the first time? Well if you were shooting in 4:3 and using the whole sensor, you might be able to get a better photo out of your shot.

Edit

The final piece of the puzzle that often stops a photo captured with a smartphone from looking truly awesome is the post-processing stage. All the detail and necessary information has been captured, but it may not look as vibrant as you were after, or as sharp, or as beautiful.

It’s easy to fix this: chuck the photo in an editing program on your computer, like Lightroom, or even use an app on the device itself and begin playing around. After moving a few sliders and ticking a few boxes, the results might astound you and your friends.

Check the App Store

You don’t have to use the default camera application on your smartphone. Check the Google Play Store, App Store or Windows Phone Store on your respective device and look for a standout camera app. Look online to see what people are saying, because there are some gems out there that can add features and controls to the smartphone photography experience.

Camera Zoom FX, as silly as it may sound, is a really solid camera replacement for Android devices. If you’re using a Windows Phone and it’s made by Nokia, make sure you’re using Nokia Camera. As for iOS, Camera+ and ProCamera are some applications to consider.

Never Zoom

Most smartphone cameras have the ability too zoom in while taking a photo. As the overwhelming majority of smartphones don’t have an optical zoom module, this zoom feature digitally zooms, simply enlarging and cropping the output from the sensor before the photo is captured. To get the best photos from your camera, never use the zoom feature.

Zooming before capturing does not allow you to reframe the image after the fact: you’re essentially losing data and reducing quality with no way backwards. Yes, the image will appear to show an image in the distance closer than it would otherwise, but you can very easily take the photo without zooming first, and then crop it afterwards. Taking the photo without zooming provides flexibility and the ability to change your mind later.

 

Go Macro

Smartphone cameras don’t have the best bokeh from their wide-angle lenses, meaning it’s hard to achieve DSLR-like background blur with medium range shots (unless you have some fancy tools like the Duo Camera on the HTC One M8). How do you achieve that pleasant blur? Simply get closer to the subject of your shot, utilizing the close macro range of the focus system.

Some of the best photos I’ve achieved with a smartphone have been macro-style, using the small amount of bokeh that’s achievable to my advantage. On an f/2.4 camera system, like the LG G2 or Nokia Lumia 930, don’t expect anything incredible; but if you’re blessed with an f/2.0 system like the Sony Xperia Z2 results can be surprising.

Light It Right

If you want to get serious about smartphone photography, it’s crucial that your photos are lit well. Small sensors typically found in phones are not very capable when lighting gets poor, so it’s always best to ensure your subject is well lit when taking a shot. If you can use your camera at ISO 100 or lower, you’ll see less grain in the resultant image, and photos will look clearer and more impressive.

One way to achieve better lighting for your smartphone photos is to get strong artificial lights, but this probably isn’t practical or worth it considering it’s not a DSLR. The flash also tends not to be so great, so you can rule that out as well. This leaves natural light as the best source, and there are a few tips to getting the best shots in the lighting you have.

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How to use WhatsApp on Windows

WhatsApp offers a great way to chat with friends for free (well, almost free) from your phone. But did you know you can also use WhatsApp on a Windows PC? Using the BlueStacks App Player for Windows, it’s possible to install WhatsApp on your computer. This gives you the ability to send and receive WhatsApp messages without having to pull your phone out of your pocket.

How to install WhatsApp on a PC

To get WhatsApp on your computer you first need to download and install BlueStacks App Player. This is a free program that emulates Android applications on your PC. You can use it to run many Android apps and games through a windowed interface on your computer. Don’t worry, it’s very easy to use, as you’ll see.

The next thing you’ll need is a mobile phone number. This is used to verify your account and the app looks at your mobile phone contacts to find out which are using WhatsApp. If you already have WhatsApp installed on your phone it won’t work, since you can only run one instance of the app per phone number.

Setting up BlueStacks

Once you’ve installed BlueStacks App Player you’re ready to get WhatsApp onto your Windows PC. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Click on the App Search icon in BlueStacks and perform a search for “WhatsApp”. Click Find.

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2. In the results list you should see WhatsApp Messenger as the top result. Click Install.

 

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3. If you can’t find WhatsApp Messenger in the BlueStacks search, or if it won’t install, go download the WhatsApp APK file from the official site. Right click on the icon once downloaded, select ‘Open with…’ then choose BlueStacks Apk Handler. Click OK and WhatsApp will be installed in BlueStacks.

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4. Once installed, clicked the WhatsApp icon in BlueStacks to launch it. When you run it for the first time you’ll be asked to verify your phone number. Select your country followed by the phone number you want to use for WhatsApp.

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5. When confirmation of your number comes up, make sure the number is right then click on OK to proceed.

 

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6. WhatsApp will now attempt to send you an SMS verification message. This will fail but you need to wait until it’s finished anyway.

 

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7. When the SMS verification fails, you’ll be given the option to be contacted by phone with the verification code. When you click the Call me button your phone will ring after a few seconds and a recorded message will read you the code. Type this code into the space provided.

 

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8. When you’ve correctly entered the code you’ll be prompted to set up your profile information. Enter a name and add a profile picture if you like.

 

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9. You’ll be reminded that WhatsApp is free to try for a month, after which time you need to pay on an annual basis.

 

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10. After clicking Continue your WhatsApp contacts list will be loaded. This is based on your phone contacts (on the number you used) who have WhatsApp installed. Click on a contact to start chatting to them.

 

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11. Now you can chat away to your contact on WhatsApp, in just the same way as you would on a mobile device. You can switch between the keyboard and emoticons using the icon next to the message input box.

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12. It’s possible to use some of the file sharing features of WhatsApp on your PC. In our tests we were able to send photos, video and audio. To send files using WhatsApp click on the paper clip icon in the top-right corner.

 

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Conclusion

There you have it! That’s how you can run WhatsApp on your PC. While it might be a work-around, it performs well and will tide most users over until WhatsApp decides to release a desktop client.

 

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Drop 5 Pounds in a Week

Drink Mainly Water
A sports or energy drink, fruit smoothie, or light beer — each serving contains about 100 calories. Yet these beverages don’t satisfy you the way 100 calories of food does, so they’re a waste. Other liquids may be high in sodium and carbohydrates, which trick your body into retaining water, puffing you out.
Water, on the other hand, has zero calories and carbs and little to no sodium, making it the perfect slim-down drink. And strangely, it actually helps flush out excess water weight as well as jump-starts your metabolism. If it’s just too boring, add lemon wedges or mint leaves.
Ban White Bread and Pasta
Cutting out all white grain products — such as white rice, spaghetti, sandwich rolls — will instantly slim you down because the simple carbs in these foods cause bloating, especially around your belly. “Simple carbohydrates wreak havoc on your weight because they’re digested very quickly, leaving you hungry and more likely to overeat later,” says Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist’s Plan.
To go a step further, instead of replacing them with healthier yet still bloat-triggering whole-grain bread products, substitute vegetables for the week. This way, a chicken sandwich becomes chicken salad, and chips and dip turn into carrots and dip. The complex carbs from vegetables are digested more slowly, so you remain full longer. And because veggies are mostly water, they also help flush out excess water weight.
Do Cardio 30 Minutes a Day
Any workout that gets your heart rate up will burn calories. But you’ll use more calories if you pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously, says Wendy Larkin, personal-training manager at Crunch’s Polk Street gym, in San Francisco.
Three to consider: spinning, cardio kickboxing, and boot-camp workouts. Half an hour of each torches 200 to 300 calories while toning up your arms, legs, and core so everything appears sleeker and tighter.
You’ll burn even more calories per session if your workout incorporates interval training: alternating short bursts of intense cardio with slower activity. Experts aren’t sure why it works, but trainers swear by it.
Drink Coffee an Hour Before Working Out
This is the one exception to the stick-to-water-only rule: Just as a coffee run makes your morning at work more productive, a pre-exercise cup of java with a splash of skim milk (about 11 calories) or black (just 5 calories) will energize your workout, explains Dr. Klauer. “You’ll burn more calories without realizing you’re pushing yourself harder.”
Have Nightly You-on-Top Sex
Not that you needed an excuse to hook up with your guy every night, but the fact is, this position is a fat blaster. Being on top means you do the rocking, and the more active you are, the more calories you burn — up to 144 for 30 minutes.
Sex also pumps levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins, helping you ride out food cravings. Get on top in reverse-cowgirl (i.e., facing away from your guy) to give your thigh and butt muscles an extra push.
Do 36 Push-Ups and Lunges Every Other Day
These gym-class staples will help sculpt muscle, so you’ll sport a more streamlined appearance. Do three sets of 12 of each exercise every other day. “Push-ups target your upper body, while lunges work your butt, hips, and thighs,” says Larkin. Quick tip: Make sure your back and legs remain in a straight line during your push-ups; it’ll improve muscle tone. Also, you can build even more muscle with the lunges if you hold free weights in each hand while doing them.
Sleep 30 Minutes More a Night
That extra half an hour, whether you sleep 5 hours or 8, can refresh you enough that you will make better food choices (in other words, no quick sugar fix for breakfast in search of energy) and won’t feel lethargic and skip the gym, says registered dietician Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous. More restful sleep (7 to 8 hours is best) also boosts your metabolism. And since your body builds muscle while you snooze, getting zzz’s equals better muscle tone.
Make One Food Sacrifice
Cutting out one indulgence — such as the chips you have with lunch or the chocolate dessert you eat after dinner — can subtract a few hundred calories from your diet, which translates into less flab, says Blum. “Your body won’t even notice their absence.”
Don’t Let the Camera Add Pounds
Push your chin forward, hold your arms away from your body, and turn slightly sideways from the camera with one foot in front of the other.
GET THINNER IN HOURS
Really. These slenderizing effects may not be permanent, but they’ll help you look hotter in your skinniest jeans on very short notice.
Eat Salmon for Lunch
It’s packed with nutrients that build muscle tone and give your skin a healthy glow. Some nutritionists claim that consuming a portion (doesn’t matter how it’s cooked) may immediately make your face look a bit more contoured.
Stand Up Straight
Keeping your spine rigid and your shoulders back while sucking in your belly toward your spine gives you a slimmer, more streamlined middle.
Do Squats and Sit-Ups
Bodybuilders use this technique before competitions because it adds definition to muscle. Do three sets of 12 of each exercise to tighten your abs, butt, and legs temporarily.
Pop an Antigas Pill
Take one of these chewable tablets, sold over-the-counter at drugstores, to relieve bloating in your abdomen and break up gas bubbles in your digestive track, leaving you with a flatter tummy.

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How to Lose Weight: 40 Fast, Easy Tips

1. Write down what you eat for one week and you will lose weight. Studies found that people who keep food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. Watch out for weekends: A University of North Carolina study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat. Then cut out or down calories from spreads, dressings, sauces, condiments, drinks, and snacks; they could make the difference between weight gain and loss.
2. Add 10 percent to the amount of daily calories you think you’re eating. If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add another 170 calories to your guesstimate. Chances are, the new number is more accurate. Adjust your eating habits accordingly.
3. Get an online weight loss buddy to lose more weight. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group.
4. Get a mantra. You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you can’t do, like resisting junk food or getting out the door for a daily walk, chances are you won’t do them. Instead (whether you believe it or not) repeat positive thoughts to yourself. “I can lose weight.” “I will get out for my walk today.” “I know I can resist the pastry cart after dinner.” Repeat these phrases and before too long, they will become true for you.
5. After breakfast, stick to water. At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.
6. Eat three fewer bites of your meal, one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year.
7. Watch one less hour of TV. A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead.
8. Wash something thoroughly once a week. Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, or your car, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt.
9. Wait until your stomach rumbles before you reach for food. It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. If you’re hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you’d eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom.
10. Sniff a banana, an apple, or a peppermint when you feel hungry. You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it.
11. Stare at the color blue. There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: it functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating.
12. Eat in front of mirrors and you’ll lose weight. One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.
13. Spend 10 minutes a day walking up and down stairs. The Centers for Disease Control says that’s all it takes to help you shed as much as 10 pounds a year (assuming you don’t start eating more).
14. Walk five minutes for at least every two hours. Stuck at a desk all day? A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day. And getting a break will make you less likely to reach for snacks out of antsiness.
15. You’ll lose weight and fat if you walk 45 minutes a day, not 30. The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.
16. Don’t buy any prepared food that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead! Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories.
17. Put your fork or spoon down between every bite. At the table, sip water frequently. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. If you eat slowly enough, your brain will catch up to tell you that you are no longer in need of food.
18. Throw out your “fat” clothes for good. Once you’ve started losing weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to stay fit.
19. Close the kitchen for 12 hours. After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. Late-evening eating significantly increases the overall number of calories you eat, a University of Texas study found. Stopping late-night snacking can save 300 or more calories a day, or 31 pounds a year.
20. Walk before dinner and you’ll cut calories AND your appetite. In a study of 10 obese women conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking reduced appetite and increased sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal.
21. Make one social outing this week an active one. Pass on the movies and screen the views of a local park instead. Not only will you sit less, but you’ll be saving calories because you won’t chow down on that bucket of popcorn. Other active ideas: a tennis match, a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a bike ride, or bowling.
22. Buy a pedometer, clip it to your belt, and aim for an extra 1,000 steps a day. On average, sedentary people take only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that will help you lose weight.
23. Put less food out and you’ll take less in. Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.
24. Eat 90 percent of your meals at home. You’re more likely to eat more—and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods—when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them.
25. Serve food on your plate instead of on platters. If you eat your dinner restaurant style on your plate rather than family style, helping yourself from bowls and platters on the table, you’ll lose weight. Most of us tend to eat an average of 150 percent more calories in the evening than in the morning. You’ll avoid that now because when your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds.
26. Don’t eat with a large group. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Behavior found that we tend to eat more when we eat with other people, most likely because we spend more time at the table. But eating with your significant other or your family, and using table time for talking in between chewing, can help cut down on calories.
27. Order the smallest portion of everything. If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the 6-inch sandwich. Buy a small popcorn, a small salad, a small hamburger. Again, studies find we tend to eat what’s in front of us, even though we’d feel just as full on less.
28. Eat water-rich foods and you’ll eat fewer calories overall. A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though. Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice).
29. Bulk up your meals with veggies. You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains.
30. Avoid white foods. There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.
31. Switch to ordinary coffee. Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great. You can also try nonfat powdered milk in coffee. You’ll get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does.
32. If you’re going to indulge, choose fat-releasing foods. They should help keep you from feeling deprived and binging on higher-calorie foods. For instance: honey has just 64 fat releasing calories in one tablespoon. Eggs have just 70 calories in one hard-boiled egg, loaded with fat releasing protein. Part-skim ricotta cheese has just 39 calories in one ounce, packed with fat releasing calcium. Dark chocolate has about 168 calories in a one-ounce square, but it’s packed with fat releasers. And a University of Tennessee study found that people who cut 500 calories a day and ate yogurt three times a day for 12 weeks lost more weight and body fat than a group that only cut the calories. The researchers concluded that the calcium in low-fat dairy foods triggers a hormonal response that inhibits the body’s production of fat cells and boosts the breakdown of fat.
33. Enjoy high-calorie treats as the accent, not the centerpiece Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of fruit or salad.
34. Eat cereal for breakfast five days a week. Studies find that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t. They also consume more fiber and calcium—and less fat—than those who eat other breakfast foods. Make oatmeal, or pour out a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal like Total or Grape Nuts.
35. Try hot sauce, salsa, and Cajun seasonings They provide lots of flavor with no fat and few calories, plus they turn up your digestive fires, causing your body to temporarily burn more calories. Choose them over butter and creamy or sugary sauces.
36. Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, orange, and a slice of watermelon. These whole foods will keep you satisfied much longer than that box of apple juice, so you’ll eat less overall.
37. Drop your milk type and you cut calories by about 20 percent. If you drink regular, go to 2%. If you already drink 2%, go down another notch to 1% or skim milk. Each step downward cuts the calories by about 20 percent. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you’ll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by more than 95 percent.
38. Snack on a small handful of nuts. Studies have found that overweight people who ate a moderate-fat diet containing almonds lost more weight than a control group that didn’t eat nuts. Snacking once or twice a day helps stave off hunger and keeps your metabolism stoked. You can also pack up baby carrots or your own trail mix with nuts, raisins, seeds, and dried fruit.
39. Get most of your calories before noon. Studies find that the more you eat in the morning, the less you’ll eat in the evening. And you have more opportunities to burn off those early-day calories than you do to burn off dinner calories.
40. Brush your teeth after every meal, especially dinner. That clean, minty freshness will serve as a cue to your body and brain that mealtime is over.

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PC shortcut keys for Special Characters

Shortcut Keys Special Character
Alt + 0224 à
Alt + 0232 è
Alt + 0236 ì
Alt + 0242 ò
Alt + 0241 ñ
Alt + 0228 ä
Alt + 0246 ö
Alt + 0252 ü
Alt + 0248 ø
Alt + 0223 ß
Alt + 0198 Æ
Alt + 0231 ç
Alt + 0191 ¿
Alt + 0176 ° (degree symbol)
Alt + 0177 ± (plus/minus symbol)
Alt + 0153 ™
Alt + 0169 ©
Alt + 0174 ®
Alt + 0128 € (Euro currency)
Alt + 0162 ¢ (Cent symbol)
Alt + 0163 £ (British Pound currency)
Alt + 0165 ¥ (Japanese Yen currency)

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Basic PC shortcut keys

Shortcut Keys Description
Alt + F File menu options in current program.
Alt + E Edit options in current program
Alt + Tab Switch between open programs
F1 Universal Help in almost every Windows program.
F2 Rename a selected file
F5 Refresh the current program window
Ctrl + N Create a new, blank document in some software programs
Ctrl + O Open a file in current software program
Ctrl + A Select all text.
Ctrl + B Change selected text to be Bold
Ctrl + I Change selected text to be in Italics
Ctrl + U Change selected text to be Underlined
Ctrl + F Open find window for current document or window.
Ctrl + S Save current document file.
Ctrl + X Cut selected item.
Shift + Del Cut selected item.
Ctrl + C Copy selected item.
Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item
Ctrl + V Paste
Shift + Ins Paste
Ctrl + K Insert hyperlink for selected text
Ctrl + P Print the current page or document.
Home Goes to beginning of current line.
Ctrl + Home Goes to beginning of document.
End Goes to end of current line.
Ctrl + End Goes to end of document.
Shift + Home Highlights from current position to beginning of line.
Shift + End Highlights from current position to end of line.
Ctrl + Left arrow Moves one word to the left at a time.
Ctrl + Right arrow Moves one word to the right at a time.
Ctrl + Esc Opens the START menu
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Opens Windows Task Manager
Alt + F4 Close the currently active program
Alt + Enter Open the Properties for the selected item (file, folder, shortcut, etc.)

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Healthy Sleep Tips

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.”
Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
 
Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep.  If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry. 
Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
 
If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
 
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.