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Long Distance - ZoneLD

Long Distance

Best deal on long distance I have found on the Internet: ZoneLD.
4.5 cents anywhere in the U.S (including Puerto Rico).  4.0 cents to any 5 states you pick.  6 second billing increments.  Ridiculously low Int'l rates.  All Int'l calls have a 30 second minimum with 6 second increments thereafter.  They even have a calling card with great rates.  Here's a sample of ZoneLD's Int'l rates:

Under 10 cents a minute
United Kingdom
South Korea

Under 15 cents a minute

Under 20 cents a minute
Dominican Republic

Under 25 cents a minute

Under 35 cents a minute

Under 55 cents a minute

Cuba is a $1 a minute



I've saved the best for last.  As great as using is for finding what you need on the Internet, Google is even more useful when you install the Google Toolbar.  You download it from Google by going to:

After you install the Google Toolbar, a toolbar will appear in Internet Explorer that provides an always-present search box for Google.  With the Toolbar installed, you don't need to leave the website you are visiting to initiate a search.  Type your search terms in the box, and then click on one of the five options to the right of the box.  The options are:

Search Web -    Search the entire Internet for the terms you entered.
Search Site -           Search ONLY the particular website you happen to be visiting at that moment for the terms you entered.
Search Images -         Search the Internet for pictures matching the terms you entered.
                        Can't remember what Ross Perot looks like? Type "Ross Perot" and click on Search Images!.
Search Groups -         Search Newsgroups  for the terms you entered.  Newsgroups are discussion threads grouped by particular topics. 
                        I will cover them in a  future "Tip."
Search Directory -      Search the Google directory (sort of like the table of contents) for the terms you entered.

News -  Google searches hundreds (thousands) of news outlets on the Internet every few minutes and culls together the latest headlines. 
                It is like on steroids.  Give it a try.

PAGE INFO:  Several options under this, but the two most useful are:
   Similar Pages -              Google finds websites similar to the on you are looking at.  I've never actually used this, but I can see where it would be useful.
   Translate into English -     VERY useful.  If you find a website that seems to have the info you need, but its written in one of the world's
                                major languages, click on this link and it does a fair job of translating.  You can at least get the gist of
                                what is written on the page.
Highlight-      Will highlight where the search terms are located on the page you are viewing.  Each term is highlighted in a different color.

Experiment with the Google Toolbar.  If you don't like it, you can always remove it.  I must use it 10 to 15 times a day.

Google Searching Part 2

Google Searching (Part 2)

Search By Category
The Google Web Directory (located at <> is a good place to start if you're not exactly sure which search keywords to use. For example,
searching for [ Saturn ] within the Science > Astronomy category of the
Google Web Directory returns only pages about the planet Saturn, while
searching for [ Saturn ] within the Automotive category returns only pages
about Saturn cars. Searching within a category of interest allows you to
quickly narrow in on only the most relevant pages to you.

"OR" Searches
Google supports the logical "OR" operator. To retrieve pages that include
either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms.

For example, to search for a vacation in either London, panama city or
newark, type:  vacation london OR "panama city" OR newark  (NOTE: The "OR"
must be all caps)

Advanced Search Made Easy
Most of the options listed on this page can be entered directly into the
Google search box or selected from Google's
<>Advanced Search page.

         Other Advanced Search Features
    * Language: specify which language you would like your results returned
    * Date: restrict your results to the past three, six, or twelve months.
    * Occurrences: specify where your search terms occur on the page -
anywhere on the page, in the title, or in the url.
    * Domains: search only a specific website or exclude that site
completely from your search.
    * SafeSearch: Google's SafeSearch screens for sites that contain a
particular type of information (such as adult sites) and eliminates them
from search results.


Google Searching (Part 1)

Google Searching (Part 1)

The key to getting the most out of the Web is being able to effectively mine it for information.  The best search engine on the Internet is Google (  If you want to find information on anything, just type in the words you think will be included in your results.  The key is to use the best possible keywords for the search and to use as few keywords as possible.  If you are lucky or have used the correct combination of keywords, you will find what your looking for on the first Google page of results. 

Choosing Keywords
For best results, it's important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Try the obvious first. If you're looking for information on Picasso, enter "Picasso" rather than "painters".
  • Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you want. "Luxury hotel dubuque" gets better results than "really nice places to spend the night in Dubuque".
  • Make keywords as specific as possible. "Antique lead soldiers" gets more relevant results than "old metal toys".
For example, if you wanted to know the results of the lawsuit against Tommy Lee for the drowning death of a young boy attending his son's birthday party (and who wouldn't?), you would type: TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT POOL.  If you only entered TOMMY LEE, you'd turn up fan websites for Tommy Lee, Motley Crue drummer, and Tommy Lee Jones, actor and college roommate of Al Gore's.  If you entered TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT, you'd pull up numerous lawsuits filed by and against both Tommy Lee and Tommy Lee Jones.  But if you type TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT POOL, the very first result will inform you that Mr. Lee was found to not be liable for the death in his pool.  The key to a good Google search is enough terms to narrow down the search, but not too many search terms because you could exclude a relevant result.

A few more tips:
By default, Google only returns pages that include all of your search terms.
  There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results.
Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "george washington", "George Washington", and "gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN" will all return the same results.
Put quotes around words that should appear as a phrase in your results, such as names.  Using the example above, you'd want your search to read as follows: "tommy lee" lawsuit pool.  Another example, if I don't put quotes around my last name, I'd end up with results which include a large number of websites using the words de and la and o.
Google searches for exactly the words that you enter in the search box.  Searching for "book," will not yield "books" or "bookstore".  If in doubt, try both forms: "airline" and "airlines," for instance.

- " Searches
Sometimes what you're searching for has more than one meaning; "bass" can refer to fishing or music. You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign ("-") immediately in front of the term you want to avoid. (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign.)
For example, to find web pages about bass that do not contain the word "music", type:  BASS -MUSIC

PERSONAL NOTE:  The response to this idea of sending a Tip of the Day has been overwhelmingly positive.  There have even been a few requests for future tips, although most concerned downloading porn.  If any of you have a question or request, send it to me.  Chances are that if you have a question about a computer issue, one of the other 300+ readers of this list will have the same question.

Introduction & the Winkey

Introduction & the Winkey

I have decided to start a quasi-daily email with a computer/Internet tip of the day.  Sometimes it will be a hardware tip, sometimes a software tip, sometimes it will alert you to a great deal on the Internet -- basically whatever catches my fancy on that particular day which I think would be helpful to lots of people.  I am sending it to most of my friends, colleagues and clients.  If you don't want to be on this mailing list, let me know and I will promptly remove you.  I am creating these daily emails with the assistance of our Firm's computer consultants, Data Network Consultants.  I encourage you to contact them for any computer needs, they are good guys and very talented.

Today we begin with a tip everyone can use to speed up various tasks on a Windows PC.  Some of you may wonder what the key between the Alt and the Ctrl  keys, the one with the Windows logo, does.  It is -- once again demonstrating how Microsoft's billions do not necessary buy them any imagination-- called the "Windows Key" or "Winkey" if you want to save yourself a syllable.  Combine this key with particular keys and you get many shortcuts.  Here's a list of the useful ones:

WINKEY + D      Minimizes all windows and returns the user to the desktop.
WINKEY + M Minimizes all windows.
WINKEY + E      Open Microsoft Explorer.
WINKEY + F      Display the Windows Search / Find feature.
WINKEY + F1 Display the Microsoft Windows help.
WINKEY + Pause / Break key Open the system properties window.
WINKEY + L      Lock the computer (Windows XP and above only)

That's it for today.  Hope you find it useful.
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