Archive for the ‘How-to’ Category

Protect yourself online | via Phoenix Focus | September 2011


Don’t fall prey to hackers and computer viruses.

By Joe Hutsko

With identity theft rampant, it is more important than ever to know how to protect your online information. From your PC at home to the smartphone you carry with you 24/7, implementing security protection tools and familiarizing yourself with (and practicing) a number of common safer online practices can help ward off nasty computer viruses or intrusive hacker attacks intent on hijacking your personal identity and digital information such as banking logons, photos, private email and messaging conversations, and even your Facebook or Twitter social networking profiles.

via Protect yourself online | September 2011.


Getting Green With Gadgets | Gravy | volume 1, issue 2 | Summer 2011

Getting Green With Gadgets
By Joe Hutsko

Some tips on minimizing your impact on the planet while maximizing the green that stays in your wallet in your wallet.

Turn to pages 104 & 105 in Gravy | volume 1, issue 2 | Summer 2011


View the two-page PDF here: Getting Green With Gadgets | Joe Hutsko | Gravy | Summer 2011.


Smart apps, smarter you | August 2011

Smart apps, smarter you
By Joe Hutsko

Smartphones are called “smart” because they do so much more than ordinary cellphones. Besides making and receiving calls and text messages, or snapping pictures and videos, smartphones let you do things you typically do on your computer—albeit on a Lilliputian scale. Pocketing either of the two most popular mainstream smartphone platforms—iPhone or Android—can often liberate you from having to haul a notebook computer to accomplish everyday tasks using your smartphone’s suite of built-in applications, or apps.

Continue reading: Smart apps, smarter you | August 2011.


Ten Green Gadget Money Savings Tips | Green Gadgets For Dummies

Ten Green Gadget Money Savings Tips

From Green Gadgets For Dummies, by Joe Hutsko

Some quick tips that can help you save money by using gadgets the green way:


  1. Replace single-use disposable batteries in your gadgets with rechargeable ones – then properly dispose of all of those dead single-use cells at your local grocery, hardware or office supplies store
  2. Turn down your TVs brightness and contrast settings to the lowest comfortable level; new TVs leave the factory with all of their picture-related settings cranked to the max to standout on the showroom floor, so adjust yours when you bring it home
  3. Unplug cell phone, MP3 player, and other gadget chargers after the battery is charged, as well as other “energy vampire” devices that go into standby mode when they’re turned off to stop them from sipping power; or plug them all into power strips so you can instantly turn them off all at once
  4. Disable your computer’s screensaver and adjust its power savings settings to turn off the display when you’re not using it for more than five minutes, then switch the computer to standby or sleep mode after ten minutes, then switch to “hibernate” mode after thirty minutes (if the feature is available)
  5. Turn off any energy wasting features and settings you’re not using on cell phones, computers and other gadgets, including wireless (Wi-Fi) networking and Bluetooth, and GPS; also, reduce the screen’s brightness and activate auto-lock or screen dimming and shutoff options on gadgets that offer these options
  6. Read and review documents on the screen instead of printing them on paper – if you must print, reduce your printer’s quality setting to 300 dots-per-inch, print on both sides of the page, print in color only when necessary, and refill inkjet and toner cartridges rather than buy new ones
  7. Reduce fuel consumption and auto emissions by shopping and banking online, and renting or buying downloadable and streaming movies and TV shows instead of renting DVDs at the local video store, or Netflix’s rent-by-mail; instead, choose Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” movies and watch on your computer, TiVo-equipped TV, or other streaming gadget
  8. If your thermostat isn’t programmable get one, then set so it’s only heating or cooling when you’re actually in the house; even inexpensive models can accommodate workweek and weekend turn ons and turn offs based on your schedule
  9. When purchasing new gadgets, look the most energy efficient models by visiting,, and the green gadget-aware websites below to stay up on the latest news, reviews, trends and feature stories that can help you make the eco-friendliest choices possible – the longer term benefit can shave more than a little green off your utility bill
  10. If donating your mobile phone, MP3 player, or computer isn’t an option when you need to replace it, consider selling it locally on Craigslist, or trading it in for cash or credit toward a new, more efficient model by visiting the gadget trading website

Greening your gadgets | Phoenix Focus April 2011

Greening your gadgets | Phoenix Focus April 2011

By Joe Hutsko

Living a greener lifestyle by practicing the “three R’s” of green living—reduce, reuse, recycle—is something most of us pursue incrementally. You start out by implementing a few green practices such as bringing your own shopping bags to the grocer and turning down the thermostat when you leave your home. As those positive changes become part of your routine, you implement a few more. As you make your way toward a greener lifestyle, consider adopting a few green practices with the various electronic devices and gadgets in your life.

Full Story: Greening your gadgets | Phoenix Focus April 2011.


Update boosts ASUS 1005PE, 1001P netbook display brightness

1000PE-0804What a bummer when I discovered I couldn’t run the over-clocking utility eeectl on my new ASUS Eee PC 1005PE to increase the netbook’s display brightness level beyond the limited (and way too-dim) maximum brightness level ASUS enables. ASUS purposely locks out maximum brightness in order to make super-long battery life claims like 11- to 14-hours on its latest 1005PE and 1001P models.

Running eeectl and choosing the “ultrabright” setting on these latest “Pine Trail” Intel Atom N450-based models has no effect on the display.

Thankfully ASUS’s recently released BIOS update (0804 – 02/05/2010) fixed my 1005PE’s dim-bulb brightness limit by installing two tweaks: “Update Brightness table” and “Modify thermal policy” (as shown in figure).

Although the BIOS 0804 update carries an early February release date, the downloadable file is no where to be found on ASUS’s Eee PC support site.

To get the update, run your netbook’s ASUS Update for Eee PC utility, choose and run the BIOS 0804 option, reboot, and low and behold, a brighter display.

(For me, this update came just in the nick of time because I was just about to return the netbook because of the dumbed-down brightness limitation.)


Green Gadgets | Radio Times | WHYY

mosscoane1.jpgTalking about “green-er gadgets” on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane |

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 | Hour 2

What do you do with your old cell phone when you’ve bought your upgrade? Are you using your home computer in the most energy-efficient way? Technology enthusiast JOE HUTSKO explains how to use our home entertainment devices in a more environmentally-friendly way in his new book, Green Gadgets for Dummies.

Listen via Green Gadgets | Radio Times | WHYY.

Had a great time speaking with Marty Moss-Coane about greener gadgets at the WHYY studio in Philadelphia. Special thanks to Patty and Denis for the invite and proper care and feeding of this on-air guest.


iPhone & iPod touch tip: Undo accidental Home button press

It happens all the time: You’re using an iPhone app and you accidentally press the Home button, which takes you home whether you like it or not. Here’s an easy trick to undo an accidental Home key press:

Keep the Home button held down, then touch and hold on the screen for two seconds then let go of the Home button. You stay in the app rather than go home.


One Minute Review: Pomeroy Computing $65 flat-rate laptop DC power jack repair

HP ZT3000

 An old HP workhorse notebook that survived Hurricane Katrina and miscellaneous other hard knocks stopped working on account of a loose power jack, which wiggled and jiggled like a baby tooth ready to say goodbye.

Nearby PC repair shops quoted a minimum of around $150 just to “look at it,” to which they’d stack parts and labor costs to fix the ol’ girl – assuming they could. 

Enter Pomeroy Computing’s $65 flat-rate DC Jack Repair service. I was skeptical at first, exchanged a few emails with Steve, the guy who does the fixes, then decided to give it a go.

I squeezed the hulking HP Z7000 series laptop into a Priority Mail flat-rate box (less than $10 to ship), dropped it at the Post Office, and within four days (owing to the weekend; the site says you can expect 3 – 5 days turnaround) I received the repaired notebook with the new power jack firmly in place.

Conclusion: This guy is like a seasoned dentist, he does so many of these things he could do them with his eyes closed.

Highly recommended.


How-to: Reorder iPhone email accounts to your liking

One thing that bugs me about the iPhone’s email program is the inability to rearrange the order of email accounts to my liking.

Unfortunately there’s no “Edit” button like Phone Favorites to drag names up or down to reorder them.

But there is a way to reorder your email accounts to your satisfaction. Here’s how:

  1. Plug in your iPhone and launch iTunes.
  2. Select your iPhone in the Devices column on the left, then click the Info tab at the top of the screen.
  3. Click “Sync selected mail accounts:” if it isn’t already selected.
  4. Uncheck any mail accounts that may be selected except the mail account you want to appear at the top of your email accounts list.
  5. Click Sync.
  6. When iTunes finishes syncing leave the prior mail account checked then check the mail account you want to appear as the next account on your email accounts list.
  7. Click Sync.
  8. Repeat step 6 for each additional mail account until you’ve synced them all.

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