Use Windows Explorer

Restore Windows Default Zip File Opener

On the newer Windows versions, you can open ZIP files without installing a separate software. It’s quite basic though it works well enough for quick a look. I’m an old dog who still prefers special software but once I installed them, my ZIP files won’t open up inside of Windows Explorer anymore. Instead, I get a message Windows doesn’t know what program to use.

Like I said, I have my reasons to keep opening ZIP files in the default manner. How does one restore it? The answer is simply the same way you’d associate any file extension with a program.

First, you locate a zip file in Windows Explorer. Right click on it, select Open

Choose the Select a program from a list of installed programs option. Click OK.

Click Windows Explorer in the Recommended Programs list. Make sure you check the box to always use this program and click OK.

Voila! Now, your ZIP files will open using the default ZIP File Opener (which by the way is Explorer) and you can simply double click on it to open and review the file contents.

Turn off chat

How Do You Turn Off Facebook Chat?

It’s funny but chat features anywhere always have the uncanny ability to suck all your time. I’m not unsociable but very often, I want pop into Facebook to quickly see updates not stay some days I even have a timer to ensure I don’t go over time. However, the chat feature can ruin that. Always awkward because you want to be polite.

Strangely, it never occurred to me to turn off the chat nor did I even think it was possible but I did it today. Here’s how.

When logged in, at the bottom right corner of your screen which is also the bottom right corner of the sidebar listing all your friends’ status, click on the gear.

Select the Turn Off Chat option at the bottom.

Once that is off, you will see this instead and your friends’ list will be greyed out and you can’t see whether they are online or off. You can still click on their names to start a regular message though.

Loan Kindle eBook 002

How To Loan Kindle Books To Your Friends

When you have a healthy reading appetite, sooner or later, it can be tough on your wallet. Despite eBooks sometimes being priced lower, they still add up. So one of the things I love to ask my friends – if they have a Kindle eBook that I’m interested to lend me. But… how do they do it?

Before you lend…

You need to know a few things…

1. You can loan or borrow from or to anyone who owns a Kindle device or uses a Kindle app (iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry)
2. When you loan a book, the borrower has 7 days to accept if they don’t it’ll be returned to you.
3. When you loan someone a book, it will not be available for you to read – that’s OK because most of the time we would already have finished it (I hope :) )
4. The borrower has 14 days to read it and will be returned (from my understanding) automatically at the end of the 14 days.
5. After the book is returned, you can loan it out again
6. Not all books are lend-able. It’s something the publishers control.
7. You will need the email address of the person you are loaning to. The email does not have to be your Kindle or Amazon account address from what I understand. It’s just the way to notify the borrower you are loaning them a book.

8. I have not checked this on the Fire yet but you cannot loan from the iPad Kindle app.

Now for the how

Log into your Amazon account from your computer. Go to Your Account >> Manage your Kindle

Find your books then there is an actions button to the far right on the book list. Hover over it.


If you see a Loan this title book, then that book can be loaned. If you don’t see it then the book cannot be loaned.

You will be asked to enter your friend’s email address, their name, your name and a short message (optional)

Hit send and that is all you need to do. Your friend will receive an email and if she accepts, she’ll have the book for the next 14 days.

2nd century AD scissors from Turkey by Yannick Trottier

The Fascinating History of 7 Common Gadgets

In this tech’ed-to-the-hilt era we live in, we tend to associate gadgets with some kind of whiz bang technology like smart phones, tablets or the next Star Trek gizmo come alive.

Today however, I am reminded that for people in the past, even a toothbrush was like, hey! New gadget! So, I set out on a path to find out the history of some of the gadgets we consider part of everyday life. First up…

Napoleon’s toothbrush, image by Taco Witte

The Toothbrush

While the toothbrush as we know it did have an inventor, fact is, he simply improved upon the many tools and designs of others over the centuries. People used all sorts of things from powder concoctions and cloth to sticks. Then, the ancient Chinese attached coarse animal hair to ivory handles. Finally, an 18th century Englishman convicted of inciting a riot, spent his time in jail making a toothbrush by drilling holes into a ivory handle, inserting boar bristles in it and held them together with wire.

How he manages to get tools to drill holes and wire in prison, I don’t know. Obviously, prison life is a lot different then.

The Pencil

Did you know that pencils don’t contain lead? Pencils first came into existence sometime in 1565 when a huge graphite deposit was discovered in England. People cut them into sticks and because graphite is soft, people used to wrap it with string or sheepskin. As its popularity began to spread, England had a monopoly on pencils because graphite found elsewhere was not as pure or high a quality. People had to crush the graphite to remove impurities. Then, in 1795, Nicholas Jacques Conte discovered the perfect mixture of graphite and clay that’s used today as the lead of the pencil.

2nd century AD scissors from Turkey by Yannick Trottier


Scissors have been around for a long time, thought to be invented in ancient Egypt around 1500BC. Those scissor design is like a spring where two blades were connected at the ends by a flexible strip of bronze. The scissors we use today where the two blades cross each other were invented in ancient Rome, about 100AD

Can Opener

I had no idea the can opener was only invented 50 years after the cans. So how did people open cans before the can opener? With a hammer and chisel – yikes! Can you imagine how messy that must have been? In 1858, the first can opener was invented by Ezra Warner. Apparently, this opener was used in the store. The clerk had to open each can before people took it home. The can opener we know of today with the wheel that rolls around the rim was invented by William Lyman in 1970.


Whitcomb Judson is credited with inventing the zipper because he first brought it to market. It was similar to an earlier design by Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine and who earlier in 1851 patented something called the “Automatic, continuous clothing closure”. In 1913, Gideon Sundbäck improved on those designs and is the father to what we know as the modern zipper though it wasn’t called that, but patented as the ‘Separable Fastener”.

It was only in 1923 when the B.F. Goodrich Company decided to use Sundbäck’s fastener on rubber boots that it was called the zipper. Guess what? Zippers weren’t even used in clothing then. It was for closing boots and tobacco pouches.

Liquid Paper

Since Liquid Paper is a trademarked name, perhaps the better term to use here is correction fluid, was invented by secretary Bessie Nesmith in 1951 using tempera paint.

World Wide Web

I couldn’t let a list like this end without mentioning the web even though it doesn’t quite fit as a gadget. Such a wonderful thing that has brought me a wonderful husband (and family to follow) plus a great career. What is interesting (I think) about the WWW is, it generated little interest when proposed by Tim Berners-Lee. Even in 1990 when he collaborated with Robert Cailliau and a new proposal was pitched to the European Conference of Hypertext Technology, no vendors found their idea of marrying hypertext with the Internet appealing.

Thank God he persisted because look at what we have today. So, to Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee, thank you!

PhotoScape screen shots

Free Image Editor PhotoScape Proves Itself Functional And Fun

Ever since owning a computer I’ve been a software junkie. In the early days, I spent hours upon hours exploring, trying software, mostly free ones. Little has changed in that respect. I still love checking out apps and now I have more gadgets to explore apps on but that’s whole other story.

I came upon PhotoScape recently while looking for a screen capture software but found it is a whole lot more than that.

PhotoScape is promoted as an image editor but I see it as a collection of little tools. 13 to be exact. Here’s what it has.

Screen Capture. It’s not as feature rich as SnagIt or the likes but it works for screen capture and edit in a pinch

Editor. I’d already mentioned that a minute ago. It looks like a really simple editor at first glance and in some way it is but the object library is surprisingly well stocked. I love the cute icons you get kinda like stickers. You can also add some creative speech balloons and rich text. Draw as well as shapes. There’s also cropping. Love the crop round images feature and the quick pre-set size crop. You can also do Red Eye correction and mole removal, basic paint brushing, Jitter and mosaic which is wonderful when you’re doing screen shots for a blog post and need to scrub out sensitive information.

Viewer. This is pretty self explanatory.

Batch Editor. Here, you can apply several things like frames, filters, icon and resize in bulk.

Combine. You can piece together several pictures into one. Great for creating panoramas.

Animated GIF. Self explanatory. Pretty fun. I used to do stuff like these a lot. Ah the days before high speed internet and quality videos.

Print. I like this print tool as well. Wonderful way to output many copies of an image into one sheet of paper.

Paper Print. Lets you create cool printables like ruled sheets, graphing sheets (very handy for the kids’ homework), a variety of calendar and planner formats another plus for moms as we try to keep our kids and ourselves organized. It even lets you print music paper.

Rename. Self explanatory.

Color Picker. Good when working with websites.

Raw Converter. This allows you to convert RAW images to JPG.

Splitter. This is one of the cool ones in the mix you can use to create some really creative images. It lets you slice an image into grids of your choice.

Page. This perhaps is my favorite tool in the collection because it lets me make those nice grid images like what you see in this post. By the way, this image is created with PhotoScape.

PhotoScape is free. Yay! But it is Windows only. I’m still looking for something cool like that on the Mac and will let you know if I find any. Meanwhile, PhotoScape is among my most used software. I think it’s especially good for bloggers too because sometimes you want to break the mold to add interest to your images and not just upload something from the stock.

Ahh bra box

Rhonda Shear Ahh Bra Review

Are you curious about the Ahh Bra? Hey so was I and even started to pick it up several times but didn’t until recently when I found them marked down at a Walmart nearby.

Wait a minute. What’s up with bras in a gadget blog? That question warrants a little history lesson about this blog. True, I wanted to share my love for tech here, but what I wanted to share more is all the stuff we moms utilize on a day to day basis to make our lives for us and our families better, easier, more fun and comfortable. And, a comfortable bra surely rates all the way up there in making mom happy.

Hey, I’m not going to pretend I don’t get cranky when those pesky straps dig into my shoulder.

With that out of the way, back to Rhonda Shear’s Ahh Bra. I must admit this was not the first ‘stretch’ bra I picked up. I got a set of Genie Bras before these, mostly because they were cheaper. The Ahh Bra is $20 for one but you get two for that price when you buy the Genie Bra. It is because of my experience with the Genie Bra that made me pick up the Ahh Bra.

In short, I loved the Genie Bra because it truly was comfortable, although it gets a little warm due to the thickness of the material and the pads. Seeing how both bras were very similar, I figured the Ahh Bra would be the same.

Technically, they are the same type of material but the Ahh Bra doesn’t have padding (at least the one I picked up. I understand they have some with padding). It also has thinner material compared to the Genie Bra. This sounds like a bad thing especially when it doesn’t have padding. However, it is because of its thinner material, it is also somewhat cooler. Still not as cool as a regular bra but butter.

On top of that, the Ahh Bra is also more stretchy. This means it is easier to get into and less bulky when it rolls up. And they both do that rolling. This I believe is unavoidable.

Overall, I say I like it enough to want to wear it over another. Same goes for Genie Bra. Working from home, perhaps influences this. I doubt I’ll be pulling it out that much if I worked outside simply because I’d be dressing up and trendy fashions don’t necessarily go well with these two bras. More on that shortly.

They both give a very nice, smooth appearance under a t-shirt. Because of the padding the Genie Bra gets a little extra points there. So far, the only thing I don’t like about both these bras, is the neckline. They both have fairly high neckline and a lot of tops I get these days tend to have lower necks. They aren’t plunging of course, I pride myself of being modest but the bra I’ve found works bets under t-shirts. For my favorite tops, I sadly have to revert back to the old stuff.

Find largest files and folders visually

Find Largest Files On Your Computer Visually

Need to find largest files on your computer? So did I when my hard drive ran out of space unexpectedly and I couldn’t save a webinar recording. That is not good and I needed to be able to find the largest files so they can be either deleted or archived on an external disk.

Almost immediately, I found this neat little tool called WinDirStat.

Find largest files and folders visually
Image courtesy of WinDirStat

Not only does it find the largest files it also tells me where the largest directories are which makes more sense because rarely do the largest files on your computer eat up a chunk of your hard drive. It is the largest folders that do that.

As if that isn’t sweet enough, WinDirStat can show me these files and and folders visually. The cherry on top – WinDirStat is opensource, meaning we can put that wallet away. Yay!

WinDirStat as the name suggests is a Windows application. There is a Mac version too called Disk Inventory X

Mac large file finder

As our children use the computer more often and begin downloading and saving files, this should come in very handy as well to weed out all that junk they have accumulated.