Tech DC Support

D.C. Computer Services:
- PC & Mac Computer Support
- Computer Training
- Computer Maintenance, Diagnostics, Repair, Recovery and Upgrades
- Website Development
- Network Administration
- TV / Home Theater Install
- Music Studio, Video Studio and Photo Studio Set Ups

Email info@techdc.com
or call 202-709-3805 for
home and office tech support
in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland

Use Outlook.com to host your Domain Email

I used to recommend using Google to host your personal domain email (e.g. you@yoursite.com). But since Google started “monetizing” their products, they now charge $50/year/account for the service, quite steep.

Now I recommend Outlook.com, which is still free and a very good service. You can signup here:
https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx

You need an existing outlook.com email account to set up the mail domain account. Just like any change in mail server, you need to update at your registrar your  MX records and your TXT record to prove that you own the domain.

Then you can reach your mail by going to:
http://mail.live.com

Magic Plan Floorplan Creator App

The Magic Plan app for iPad and iPhone deserves to have “Magic” in it’s name.

I recently helped an Arlington, VA, customer who had a new iPad and had just moved. They wanted to build a floorplan of their place. Using Magic Plan allowed us to create a floorplan quickly by clicking on the corners of the rooms. You  align the rooms, add in windows, make a few adjustments to the estimated dimensions if needed, and you’re done. Once you get used to it, you can have a house done in under an hour.

Then you can even add in furniture to your floor plans or see what it looks like if you do a construction project and knock down a wall.

The app is free to use and requires a subscription if you want to export PDF files for use by an architect.

Sync iPhone with Windows

Many people have an iPhone or iPad as well as a Windows computer. While there are ways to sync an iOS device with Outlook or Windows Mail for contacts and calendar, the syncing never displays things the same way as it does on the iPhone or iPad.

iCloud Web Access

The easiest way to give people access to their information is to use iCloud. Use the icloud.com website to give them access to things in the same way it look on their iOS devices.

Create Web Links on the Desktop

Then drag the the weblinks for the specific App to the desktop. (This is usually the icon to the left of the URL and can be dragged to the desktop.)  They’re formatted in the following way:

https://www.icloud.com/#contacts

https://www.icloud.com/#calendar

https://www.icloud.com/#notes

https://www.icloud.com/#reminders

https://www.icloud.com/#iwork

I like to rename the links from “iCloud Contacts” to just just “Contacts”.

Find New Icons

I also like to make the icons look like the Apple icons. You can use any icons you want, but these are my favorite. I download the Multi-Res ICO versions if available. Download them to somewhere that you won’t later delete. I put them in c:\Windows\icons\

Contacts http://findicons.com/icon/131428/address_book?id=131561
Calendar http://findicons.com/icon/19547/calendar?id=19559
Notes http://findicons.com/icon/19548/notes?id=19560
Reminders http://www.iconfinder.com/icondetails/126628/114/reminders_icon
iWork http://www.iconarchive.com/show/colorflow-icons-by-xazac/iWork-08-icon.html
Mail (for @icloud.com email) http://www.iconarchive.com/show/iphone-icons-by-judge/mail-icon.html
iCloud http://www.iconspedia.com/icon/cloud-silver-icon-38589.html

This set of icons is overall good if you want to make an iPhone user feel at home on Windows:
http://www.iconarchive.com/show/iphone-icons-by-judge.html

Change the Web Links to the New Icons

To change the icon:

  1. Right click on the link icon on your desktop
  2. Choose the Web Document tab at the top
  3. Choose Properties
  4. Click Change Icon…
  5. Click Browse… and find the .ico file that you downloaded
  6. Open
  7. OK
  8. Apply
  9. OK

Then you can have a Windows desktop that looks like this. If you check off “Keep me signed in” when you login to iCloud, then you have a quick and simple setup that will be comfortable for iPhone or iPad users.

Upgrading Windows HD

I recently upgraded a client’s computer from an old spinning hard drive to an SSD (solid state drive) to make the machine much faster. A simple disk clone did not work for Windows 7 to make the disk bootable. To make Windows 7 boot properly, the SID (Security Identifier) had to be updated. This is done easily using Paragon Partition Manager by just checking off the option to change the SID after performing the disk copy.

BitTorrent Sync

If you’re looking to sync files between computers, BitTorrent Sync is a great free solution. Previously, I always recommended Dropbox, which is still a great service, especially because it is simple and it keeps a copy on the Dropbox servers, providing extra redundancy. But if you just want computer-to-computer sharing for a couple or many computers, BitTorrent Sync takes out the middleman. It’s fast, encrypted, private, and secure. It’s a great way to move very large files or to create a backup of your files on another computer. Dropbox is sometimes slow and has had security breaches.

BitTorrent Sync is still listed as experimental, but already is quite usable.