Access Files on your Computer from Anywhere

The problem: You have documents, photos, music and other important files on the home computer. How can you “remotely access” these files from your office computer or, when you are travelling, from your mobile phone?

The solution: The simplest solution would be that you copy all your data from the home computer on to a portable hard drive and carry it around but this is obviously a bit cumbersome approach as it requires you to manually sync the home computer and your portable disk.
Access Files on your Computer over the Internet

There are couple of ways by which you can retrieve files stored on your home computer from anywhere else using a regular Internet connection.

Option 1: Using Online Backup

You can use an online backup service like SugarSync, Carbonite, SkyDrive or even Dropbox – they provide desktop utilities that will automatically upload files on your home computer to the Internet and you can then access these files through the web browser of any other Internet connected computer.

The upside is that your files will always be available to you even if the home computer is not running. SugarSync and Carbonite have a mobile optimized website so you can access files from any mobile phone as  well.

The downside is that if you are using any of these services for the first time, you’ll to wait until they upload all your data to the cloud and this process may take long if you have too many files on the home computer.

Option 2: Using Desktop Sharing Software

There are free desktop sharing software like TeamViewer and UltraVNC that also let you remotely access your computer files from anywhere else. LogMeIn Pro and CrossLoop Home are some other good options for transferring files from a remote computer but these are paid services.

If all your computers are running Windows, you can use the built-in remote desktop connection feature of Windows (available in XP and later) to access your home computer from another Window computer over the Internet.

With Desktop Sharing software, you’ll always have access to all your files but one big limitation is that it requires that the remote computer stays on. Also, none of these options will help you access files on a mobile phone except LogMeIn which has an iPhone app.

Option 3: Access Files Directly through the Browser

Online backup services, discussed above, will copy files to their own servers before you can access them for anywhere else. Screen sharing services are often slow and they won’t work on most mobile devices. Let’s now explore another set of services that allow you download files directly from the home computer.

Copernic, like Google Desktop, is a popular desktop search software that you may use to find emails, documents and other files on your Windows computer. They have a paid component called myCopernic on the Go that lets you remotely search for content stored on the home or office computer. You can preview the search results and then download them to your mobile phone or remote PC.

With Opera Unite, you can easily turn your computer into a web server and instantly access files and folders on that computer from any other web browser (including that of mobile phones). Opera Unite is a standard web server and therefore you’ll be downloading files directly from the computer – they’re not uploaded anywhere else.

Another option is GBridge that lets you setup a virtual private network using your existing Google Account. Companies use VPNs to let employees access corporate data over a public network (Internet) and with GBridge, even home users can build their own VPNs to access remote files more securely.

Windows Live Sync at is another great choice for remotely accessing files over the Internet. Just install the Live Sync client on your computer and you can then access the entire hard drive of that computer simply through the Windows Live Sync website.

Live Sync is available for both Mac and Windows. The new version of Live Sync is even better and it has integrated online storage (Live Mesh) so you’ll be able to access your important file even if the remote computer is off.

Finally, you may also want to check out HomePipe – this is an extremely easy and free service that lets you access your home files and media from any other computer or mobile phone. Install the HomePipe Agent and all files on that computer will instantly become available through the web. They also have apps for iPhone and Android phones.

Do More with your Browser’s Search Box

The search box is located in the upper right corner of IE and Firefox while Chrome has this thing integrated in the address bar itself. The function is however the same – it offers you a convenient way to search using your favorite search engine.

Other than search, there are some more interesting uses of the search bar as well.

1. Avoid Spelling Mistakes
spelling suggestionsIf you writing an email inside the browser and are unsure about the spelling of some word, you can simply type that misspelled word in the search box. Google will immediately offer you the correct spelling as a query suggestion that you can copy-paste into your email message.

2. Clean-up Formatting from Copied Text
When copying content from a web page into an email message, you can first paste that text into your browser’s search box and then copy it to the clipboard.
This will automatically convert the rich text into plain text removing all the hyperlinks and other formatting that you don’t want to add to your email message.

3. Correct Grammar Errors
The search box can also help you fix grammatical errors in your sentences.

grammar errors

Say you sometimes get confused between words like ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ or between ‘advise’ and ‘advice.’ In that case, just type the whole sentence in the search box and it should save you from making that silly grammatical error again.

4. Search Box as a Notepad
The search bar can be used like a notepad as it automatically stores all your search queries until you clear them manually. This is so useful because you can easily save pieces of text in the search bar that you may repeatedly need inside your browser later.
For instance, I have an airway bill number of a package that I can store in the search box by performing a search only once. Later, when I am on the shipping company’s website to track the package status, I can easily retrieve that number by simply typing the first few characters in the search box -- there’s no need for me to hunt for the email that has that tracking number.

5. As your Password Manager

save password

Ever since my Gmail account got hacked, I have switched to a very long and complex password. Now it may be hard for someone to guess that password but it is equally hard for me to type that lengthy string correctly especially when everything in a password field is represented as asterisk characters.

Top Rated Android Apps

This article will tell you about some of the top rated Android apps that are available in the Android market today. You can spend many hours each day browsing through the various categories, and you will soon find some wonderful apps that you will love.
Top Rated Android Apps
If you are the proud owner of one of the top 10 Android phones that are available in the market today, then these top rated Android apps are going to prove very useful to you. Android is a mobile phone operating system released by Google and it is growing at a supremely rapid pace. In the last quarter that went by, Android based smartphones constituted 44% of sales, and this number is only going to grow further.

As more and more people are turning to smartphones on a worldwide basis, a distinct divide is surfacing between users of Android and iOS (Apple Inc's mobile operating system), and more and more people are beginning to take sides now. Android is a Linux based OS that is completely open sourced, and this is what endears it to so many people all around the globe.

What this means is that the manufacturers of the hardware of mobile phones are free to tweak the User Interface (UI) of their Android running phones in any way they want. This has culminated in the fact that no two Android phones are the same. Apple says that this problem of fragmentation will be Android's biggest weakness, but the truth is that this is in fact, its biggest strength. Samsung mobile phones come with their Touchwiz 3.0 UI, HTC phones come with HTC Sense UI, Motorola phones come with the MotoBlur UI and Sony Ericsson phones come with the Rachael UI.

Applications and Games

The nature of top rated Android apps available is what separates it from other operating systems around. Though Apple has many more apps available (300,000), the number of apps on Android are only growing. On October 25, 2010 the Market crossed the 100,000 mark and in November 2010 this number stands at 160,000. This is a phenomenal growth rate, and it is only a matter of time before the Apple App Store is surpassed.

Operating systems for cell phones are defined by the nature and number of apps and games that are available on them, and this is the primary reason behind Androids success. Out of all the mobile platforms that are available today, only Android and iOS come close to offering the user some excellent apps with a number of features to choose from.

Top Rated Android Apps 2010

With that being said, here are some of the best Android apps that are available for download in the market today. Any list of top 10 Android apps would be incomplete without the mention of any of the apps mentioned here. Some of them are paid and some of them are free, but they all offer unbelievable utility and productivity.
  • Layar - An Augmented Reality technology app that gives you real time information about any object or place that you point your phone at.
  • Google Sky Map - Another AR app that is one of the best Android apps 2010. It gives you real time information about the constellations that you see in the night sky, as you point your phone at the sky.
  • AnyCut - A great app that gets any setting toggle on your phone to the homescreen so that you can access it with one single touch.
  • Advanced Task Killer - One of the top rated Android apps that lets you close any unwanted apps that are running in the background, and eating the battery and the RAM.
  • Weather Channel - Provides you with constant updates about the weather conditions for any specified location.
  • Opera Mini - A great mobile version of the much loved web browser, Opera.
  • FXCamera - A very useful camera app that lets you take pictures in 5 different settings.
  • DoodleDroid - A great app that does for your phone what MS Paint does for your PC. You can draw some great colored doodles and share them with your friends or set them as your wallpaper.
  • Angry Birds - The best selling mobile phone game ever made, period.
  • Pandora Radio - One of the top rated free Android apps that emulates Pandora Internet radio on your smartphone.
  • Amazon Kindle - Access the world's biggest collection of Ebooks that you can read on your Android phone.
  • Seesmic - The best Twitter client app that can be used on Android.
  • Bump - This app is a great way to share files with another Android phone that has the same app functioning. All you need to do is bump the two devices together.
  • Barcode Scanner - Lets you scan the barcodes on any product that you see, and relays the information to you.
  • RingDroid - One of the most useful Android apps that lets you cut out a snippet of any song and makes it into your ringtone.
  • GoChat - An interesting app that lets you access your Facebook Chat account.
These were just a few of the many top rated Android apps that you can make use of. You can find tons of apps in various different categories and you can even search for the most popular apps once you are in the Android Market. There is something for everyone here, and one can spend hours browsing through the many great apps that are available.

How to Copy and Paste in the Windows Command Prompt

Sometimes it is convenient to copy something from a document or file and paste it into the Windows command line. Long commands are easily mistyped and a copy-and-paste operation is often the best way to proceed, The usual keyboard shortcutCtrl+V doesn’t work but there is an easy way to enable copying and pasting into the command line. Here is the procedure:

  • Open a command prompt.
  • Click the little icon in the upper left corner of the command prompt window (outlined in white in example figure on right)
  • In the menu that opens, choose “Properties” (Example shown in figure on right)
  • In the dialog box that opens, make sure the "Options" tab is selected and then place a check by “QuickEdit Mode” (Shown in figure below)
  • Click the “OK” button (not shown in figure)

Now whenever you want to paste some text into the command prompt, copy it to the clipboard the usual way and then right-click on the desired location in the command line. The copied text will be pasted.

This tip applies to Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8. And there you have it - no more struggling with trying to type long complicated commands.