Thursday, June 16, 2011

Windows Live Office Web Applications Tutorial

Windows Live Office Web Applications Tutorial

Microsoft provides a free (for personal use only) suite of online applications that are easy to use and accessible on any computer online.

This tutorial will help you get started using the PowerPoint application.

Step 1: Obtain Windows Live ID

Visit this site to register for a free username and password for your Windows Live account:

The registration screen will require basic information:

Step 2: Sign in

After you confirm your email address, your account will be activated. Re-visit the home page and sign in with your Windows Live ID:

Windows Live will open with a screen showing several links available to you.

Step 3: Open Office

In the upper left-hand corner, hover your cursor over "Windows Life". Select "All services in the drop-down menu.

Windows Live provides you access to dozens of free services.

For now, select "Office".

Click on the menu item, "New", and select "PowerPoint presentation".

Step 4: Enter the title

Enter a title for your presentation. Notice that the file will be saved in "pptx" format. This is a "read-only" version of PowerPoint. It can be edited only online or with a desktop version of PowerPoint. A PPTX file can be opened by anyone, but edited only by someone using a genuine, desktop version of PowerPoint.

After saving your PPTX file, you'll be able to download it to your computer, print it, or share it online with anyone.

After entering a title for your presentation, click "Save".

Step 5: Create your presentation

Select a theme for your presentation.

Your first slide will have a title layout.

You'll need to click TWICE on "Click To Add Title". If you only click once, here's how it will respond:

Strangely, the cursor will vanish, and nothing you type will appear.

So, you'll need to click TWICE to enter the title or text. If you click TWICE, the cursor will appear, and anything you type will show up.

Click on the menu item, "File", and the drop-down list will reveal ten different items. Notice that there is no "Save" option. This online version of PowerPoint automatically saves every slide, every change, every time. Nice!

For now, select "Share".

Step 6: Share your file

You can select the level of sharing you desire, and even enter someone's email address. They will receive an email message with a direct link to your file. Nice!

Step 7: Options

Look back at the File options:

You can print the presentation, change properties, give feedback to Microsoft about what you think, change your privacy settings, and more.

Step 8: Close your file

For now, select "Close".

You can see your new document listed. Hover your cursor over your new presentation, click on "More", and select "Download".

Select the location on your computer to which you wish to download and save your presentation. It is not necessary to download your files. Microsoft keeps a copy of your documents available anytime, from any computer online, in your Windows Live account. But it is nice to be able to download a copy of the file.

The downloaded file will be view-only. If you own a desktop version of PowerPoint, you'll be able to open and edit the presentation. But otherwise, you'll only be able to view the presentation.

Microsoft provides a free desktop version of a PowerPoint viewer. It allows you to open and view any version of PowerPoint. It will NOT allow you to edit or make changes. The desktop viewer is nice to have because it doesn't require an internet connection to use.

You can download the free viewer here:

That's it! I'm looking forward to learning more about using Windows Web Applications. How about you?

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pencil Holder

Pencil Holder

This Instructable will describe how to create a roll-up pencil-holder made of fabric.

I wanted to go to the park and sketch wildflowers.

Simple desire, easy goal.

It was a nice day, my day off work.

I like wildflowers.

First, however, I needed a way to carry my set of colored artist pencils. I wanted it portable and simple, something like one of those roll-up tool kits, with a pocket for each wrench. I wanted a roll-up pencil kit, with a pocket for each pencil.

Here's what I did.

Step 1: Cut fabric

I cut a piece of fabric, 10-1/2 inches wide, by 41 inches long. I tried to be accurate, using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, with a 36-inch straightedge.

Step 2: Hem all edges

I folded each edge twice, 1/4-inch for each fold. After each fold I pressed it flat with a hot iron. This type of hem completely encloses the raveled edge of the fabric.

After pressing the hems flat, I used a sewing machine to straight-stitch down the length of each hemmed edge.

After hemming all edges, the piece measured about 9-1/2 inches by 40 inches.

Note: It's possible that you'll catch me in a lie. The piece of fabric that I found in my wife's scrapbox already had one edge that did not need had a selvage, an edge that was self-finished from the factory. My instructions here assume that you'll need to hem all four edges.

Step 3: Form pocket section

I folded one long edge up about 2-1/2 inches, pinned it in place, and ironed it flat. This long fold will form the section in which I would soon sew one-inch pockets.

I chose a 2-1/2 inch fold as a compromise...I really should have chosen a wider piece to start with. The longest pencil I found was about 7-inches long. the 2-1/2inch fold provided an adequate size for a pocket to hold the pencil, and the remaining 7-inches of fabric would just barely cover the tips of the pencils.

Were I to make another pencil holder, I think I would make the width a total of 5-inches more than the length of my longest pencil. This would provide a 2-1/2" flap that I could loosely fold over the pencils prior to rolling them up, protecting a securing the pencils better.

Oh, well.

Step 4: Sew both ends

I sewed the long fold at both ends, reinforcing all corners with an inch or so of heavy zig-zag stitching.

Step 5: Sew pockets

I created one-inch wide pockets down the entire length of the long 2-1/2" folded edge. One-inch wide pockets allow two pencils to be placed in each pocket, or one jumbo pencil per pocket.

After the first dozen pockets, I finally realized that a strip of tape, marked at one-inch intervals, would make the process easier!

If you're new to sewing, don't be alarmed or confused by the photograph showing lazy diagonal thread lines from one pocket to the next. Rather than clipping the thread after each pocket, I just raised the foot of the sewing maching, moved to the next pocket, and continued sewing. The loose threads will be snipped away after all the pockets are sewn.

Again, were I to make another, I think I would make the pockets a bit more narrow. My pencils seem to be quite loose, even with two per pocket. Maybe 1/2-inch pockets?

My pocket-holder turned out to be plenty long. I'd recommend that you consider making it only 24-inches long. I still might cut mine shorter and re-hem it. Shouldn't be hard to do.

Step 6: Finished!

I clipped all loose threads, placed pencils in the pockets, admired my work, and rolled it up for a trek to the park. Come sketch some wildflowers with me!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Bikin' It

5 miles! On a bicycle!

Now, before you discount that out of hand as measley and mediocre (as many of you certainly could do with deserved impugnity), please consider extenutating circumstances.

1. I Don't Like to Exercise.

Many of you speak of the "rush" of exercise, the "glow" of health and vigor, "getting past the wall" and other terms of which I cannot fathom. Right now I'm feeling bushed, hot, sweaty and thirsty. Those words all imply loss and pain, am I not right? My body is crying out for retribution in the form of water, rest and my recliner, right?

So, despite the potential for injury and distress to my body, I completed a five-mile bicycle ride today.

2. It was Five, Full Miles.

I have a digital speedometer, odometer and distance meter. It was five miles, uphill most of both ways, against the wind most of both ways.

3. The Sun was Shining.

Potential for heat exhaustion and eye injury was massive, or at least possible. Perhaps.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that almost one mile of the total distance covered was due to forgetfulness. I did not intend to ride five miles. But my plan required me to execute two errands, paying for each purchase with cash money. I hopped on my bicycle and rode almost a half-mile to my first destination and then remembered I'd left my cash money at home. It is to my credit that I sucked it up and rode home rather than use plastic money. Thus, an added mile (almost) to my trek.


I feel quite virtuous right now.

Is that part of the "rush"?

Image courtesy of Fernando Weberich,

Modified by GIMP

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.