The Nathans Episode 4: IT Life Hacks Part 1
By: Nathan Frey, feat. Nathan Shannon & Helixstorm Team
Here at Helixstorm we have a pretty awesome moral. Part of our culture involves sharing knowledge so we can perform our jobs better. In the spirit of sharing our culture with you, I thought I’d share some awesome IT Life Hacks for PCs to help you with your day-to-day job. To kick things off, I decided to ask my brother-in-arms Nathan Shannon to lend me some of his expert advice. Let’s see how this goes…
Me: (literally after writing the first paragraph in this Blog) Hey Shannon!
Nathan Shannon: (unusually happy) Hey Frey, what’s up?
Me: What’s your favorite thing to do on the computer that you would consider a “Life Hack”?
Shannon: (pondering for a moment) I think I’d have to say using PowerShell to script.
Me: (putting my hand to my forehead as if to relieve pain from a headache) Well, PowerShell is awesome and all, but I was hoping for something less complicated. You know, like a keyboard shortcut or something.”
Shannon: (seemingly confused) Something… less complicated?
Me: (giggling at his confusion) Yes Shannon, less complicated. Something that can help anyone.
Shannon: (looking down as he thinks, then pops up abruptly) What about, XML scripting for monitoring!
Me: (an emotionless look on my face) Thanks…Nevermind.
Feeling a little unsatisfied with my results I decide to continue my search by roaming the office and spot another fellow engineer Michael on his way to the printer– I quickly cut him off and kindly ask him to supply me with all the cool tricks he uses to work faster on the computer. Thirty minutes later, and after a lengthy discussion about virtual SAN (storage area network), he provides me with some cool tips:
#1 Right-Click Taskbar:
A quick way to get to task manager, along with some other features on a Windows PC, is to simply right-click the task bar (the bar at the bottom of the screen that has all your open icons).
#2 The Ping Command:
Ever wonder how to know if you can connect to something on the internet? It’s simple. On a Windows PC,
#3 Quick Keys:
#4 Control Freak:
Use the Ctrl key with these combinations to make your life easier:
Try playing with these in a word document to really grasp what they can do for you!
#5 Alt Rock:
Here are some nifty Alt + commands to speed things up:
#6 Create your own Secretary:
For those of you using Windows 7 and up, there’s a really cool feature called “task scheduler”. With some simple internet searches and a little Robot-TLC, you can setup Task Scheduler to kick off all sorts of programs and features based upon times, dates, and a whole slew of other actions. My personal favorite is scheduling my Excel to open up my timecard application at 4pm every Friday so I remember to enter my time for the week. This tool is really powerful, and fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. I even named mine “McGee” I love it so much.
Setup Task Scheduler:
#7 Quick Search:
Add a google search feature to your taskbar.
#8 Do a Barrel Roll:
This one’s not really a life hack but you can really impress some of your friends by showing them this trick. Go to www.google.com and type “Do a barrel roll” in the search bar. Hit enter and then thank me later. For additional fun type “zerg rush”. If your bored type “Pacman” and hit play.
Hopefully a few of these things can help make your life easier. I can assure that using them in the beginning may seem a little bulky, but as you use them more often you begin to see how they start to save you time. Here at Helixstorm, we focus on making IT easier for you and neat little tricks like the examples above are just one of many ways we help our customers.