When I started Tech for Luddites back in 2009 (!) it was really just a means for me to share some tech tips that had helped friends that I figured could help other people. There was definitely no structured plan as to what I would write about. Topics fell into three broad categories: things that made my life easier but that weren’t all that easy to find (e.g. how to reopen closed Firefox tabs), things that were becoming popular that I was just learning about (e.g. how to use Bitly to shorten web links), and things that frustrated the $%!$@ out of me but that I had found or figured out a solution to (how to stop animated gifs on a web page).
Some of these posts became very popular (using Twitter hashtags, creating multiple headers in MS-Word, contacting people you don’t know on LinkedIn), one generated more passionate comments than this blog had ever seen before (Google dropping Classic Maps), many have just sat there without a lot of interest (Excel formatting tips, my system for creating passwords, reading Kindle books without a Kindle device), and a whooole bunch have been relegated to the dustbin of T4L history because they just weren’t relevant anymore (saving Office 2007 docs to earlier versions, pretty much anything related to Facebook pre-2015).
Some of the posts sparked series and some of those series turned into full-blown sections of the blog. At the moment, the only one I really focus on is the Streaming Media section, partly because it has garnered the most interest and partly because it’s the one that brings in the most revenue through my ad and affiliate sales, which I need to be able to write all these posts in the first place. (I’ll be revamping the related Cutting the Cable Cord series in 2017, so stay tuned for that!)
As the site has grown and changed, one of my biggest challenges has continued to be figuring out which tips to write about. T4L isn’t a niche site. Readers are interested in all sorts of different tech areas so a lot of tips will only apply to a small percentage of you.
So I’m trying something new here. Every Thursday I’m going to try to write a post with three tips on totally different topics with the hope that the increased volume and variety will make it more likely that you’ll discover something relevant to your life. These won’t be full-on tutorials with screenshots or videos and the like. The tips may be my own or I may link to another site when I find something I think readers may be interested in. They may be brand new or I may resurface something from the T4L archives that you may have missed the first time around. And there may even be some “untech” tips mixed in as well.
I’m also really hoping that I can include more reader tips in these posts, which makes this a super great time to remind you all about the current contest where you can submit your own tip and enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card every week until December 18th. HINT: I haven’t received a lot of submissions yet, so your odds are looking pretty good right now…
And now, with no further ado, here are the first three tips to kick off Three Tip Thursday… Woo-hoo!
1. Filter Google Search Results
When you do a search in Google, the results are sorted by “relevancy” based on Google’s famous algorithm, which may or may not be relevant for your needs. But if you click on Search Tools, a set of dropdown menus appear that let you filter the results based on geography and date range. And if you select a date range, you then get an option to sort the results based on relevancy or date.
I use the time feature all the time (it’s great for researching historical news items) so I don’t know why Google doesn’t just make it permanently visible. But, you know, Google…
2. Change Your Default Printer in Windows 10
Thanks to T4L reader Robert for submitting this tip about a change in how Windows 10 defines your default printer.
This is the kind of thing that makes me crazy as well so, again, thank you Robert!
3. Make Your Own Vanilla
The older I get the more I become a tree hugger. One of my favorite websites about eco-friendly living is Kris Bordessa’s Attainable Sustainable. For today’s edition of T3 (yeah, that’s a thing I’m trying 🙂 ) I’m linking to her how-to for making your own vanilla. As we’re heading into prime baking season, I’m thinking this is a particularly timely piece.
Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for something to use that vanilla in, in addition to being a major tree hugger I’m also a major crème brûlée fanatic. It’s not actually that hard to make but most recipes are somewhat finicky and time-consuming. I’ve come up with my own “quick and dirty” version of the creamy custard concoction, which I’ve published on Grayage, another blog I started a while back but haven’t promoted in any way. (And don’t worry, I don’t plan to do this often. But c’mon… It’s crème brûlée!!!)
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