Tech Tips for Docents - Get more out of Personal Computing and the Internet

Submit technical questions about the Internet, PCs, networking, etc.,
to mike at mikebaird dot com, and the answers will be posted below

Q: Sometimes I don't want to search Google for something because all I get are thousands of links - I just want an "Answer.
A: Try using, and also, if you download their free 1-Click Answers™ utility - then you can Alt-Click on any word in any program on your screen for instant, accurate facts.  Try it - it is amazing!

Q: How do I conduct academic search to find scientific articles on the Internet?
A: Google has a Research Tool at  which returns the academic research most relevant to a search request. Try searching on "snowy plover morro bay" for example and you will see many targeted academic and government references returned . This free Google search capability should be of great assistance to most docents.

Q: Is there a free Anti-Virus program that is as good as Norton or McAfee?
Yes --  AVG Anti-Virus ( offers one free "home user" license for Free Edition (  AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only.  Easy registration is required for access to technical support forums after download.  For your safety, do not download from any other site other than  Certain advanced options related to scheduling of virus scans and handling of problems are not supported in the Free edition.  Another free anti-virus package, one which I have not personally evaluated yet, but I have heard good words for, is It is a "free 60-day demo" download.  After registering online they will e-mail you a key good for another year.

Q: How can I upload and share all of my digital photos online, for free?
A:  There are many ways to do this. describes and compares over a dozen popular free photo-sharing sites.  I highly recommend that first-timers test out , which allows you to rapidly and easily upload 1000's of full-sized images, and your viewers can always see the full-sized versions.  This is a great service that is really taking off! Uploading tools are the best. See my sample

Q: How do I create my own web site?
A: describes
how to create content and publish online.  Here is the best path for most first-timers.  Acquire the Microsoft FrontPage 2003 editing tool (about $170) and install it on a Windows XP computer.   Use FrontPage's built-in Help system to answer questions you may have.  Be sure to update Microsoft Windows and update Microsoft Office.  Acquire a domain name (e.g., from an accredited domain name registrar and sign-up for a "FrontPage extension supported" web-hosting service.  These actions can be done at the same or different vendors, but it may be more convenient for you to simply use the same vendor for both services.  Recommended for both low-cost domain name registration, and for proven low-cost reliable web hosting, are (especially if you want to host multiple domains under one low-cost account) and   If you have choice of choosing a Linux-based versus Windows-based server, and you don't know why you would use one technology over the other, choose the Linux-based system.  Monthly fees are typically between $4 and $20 per month.  The more you pay the more storage space, bandwidth, and features you get.  You can always start out with the least expensive package and upgrade later.  Domain names typically cost between $7 and $12 per year.  You might want to pre-pay for your domain name for several years in advance so you will not have to worry about your domain name expiring sometime in the future by mistake.  Yahoo also offers reasonable domain name service and web hosting services.  Read and follow these domain name naming guidelines.  Follow the instructions at your web hosting service for the next specific steps to take.  More information on alternative domain name registrars and web site hosting vendors is listed at's "unrelated" page.  You can find first-level help regarding PCs and the Internet at's PC Help page.

Q: I just got a new digital camera - how do I take good wildlife and nature photographs?
A: Check out

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