Find out which Web services are down at Downrightnow

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Facebook, Twitter, even Gmail -- all major Web services experience outages from time to time.

Of course, if you're not sure what's happening, you can pull your hair out trying to figure out what's wrong with your computer.

Maybe something is, and maybe something isn't. The key is to find out where the problem lies. And that's where Downrightnow comes in: This handy site monitors the status of over a dozen major services, everything from Blogger to Yahoo.

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Can you record a Netflix stream for offline viewing?

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Reader Thom wrote in with this question:

Is there a way to download the movies from Netflix permanently to my hard drive?

Sometimes the transmission suffers in my area and it would be advantageous to download them and then play them from my hard drive offline.

That's what I call a loaded question, Thom! But it's a good one, because I'm sure there are many people in your same boat: wanting to watch a Netflix movie, but unable to because of a slow or intermittent connection.

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How non-Dropbox users can send files to your Dropbox account

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Dbinbox.

As any Dropbox user knows, it's pretty easy to share a cloud-stored file with someone; just click the share icon to get a link you can distribute as needed.

Ah, but what about the other way around? What if someone wants to send a file to you via Dropbox? Unless they have Dropbox accounts of their own, they can't.

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Learn which startup programs are safe to remove

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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The longer you run your computer, the more clutter it accumulates. This takes the form of programs you no longer need, bloatware you never wanted in the first place, and/or adware you didn't intend to install.

The result: slow booting, slow operation, slow everything.

To improve the situation, you can uninstall unwanted, unneeded programs. And if you're a little more tech-savvy, you can venture into msconfig to prevent system-dragging software from running at startup.

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Why I'm turning over password management to Dashlane

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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I'm a creature of habit, and for as long as I can remember, that habit has included generating and managing my own passwords. In other words, I've used a fairly fundamental system of password creation, then manually recorded each new one in a management utility.

Obviously I'm aware of solutions like Keepass, LastPass, and Roboform, and I've tried them sporadically over the years. But for various reasons I never really took to any of them.

Then I tried Dashlane, and at the risk of gushing, I'm a convert. This Windows-based password manager offers a gorgeous interface, seamless integration with my Web browser, and storage for other data I like to keep accessible and protected: credit card numbers, software registration codes, and so on.

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How to change the default font in Microsoft Excel

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Reader Jackolyn wrote in with this question:

"I am the newsletter editor for our church newsletter and Excel is driving me crazy with its KARTIKA font. Each time I try to type info in a calendar cell, Excel defaults to KARTIKA."

Vexing! Somehow, Excel's default font setting got changed. Obviously you can manually choose your desired font each time you start a new worksheet, but that's a hassle.

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How to sidestep accidental mouse clicks

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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There's a downside to being adept with computers: Sometimes you work so fast, you get yourself into trouble.

For example, I routinely keep lots of tabs open in my browser (Google Chrome, in case you're wondering). When I mouse up to click a particular tab, my cursor lands very close to the "x" in the adjacent tab.

If I'm in a rush or just not being very careful, I'll sometimes click that "x" by mistake, closing that adjacent tab instead of switching to the one I wanted to view. D'oh!

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