MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

September, 2011 - Vol. 2011c

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way. For more topics on other newsletters, check out MadMod Computing Newsletters.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.   Second use a software firewall and/or a router if using broadband.   Last, obtain all the critical Windows updates.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Using the PogoPlug in the Private Cloud
2. Documents for the e-Book Reader
3.     Prey (website)

1.    Using the PogoPlug in the Private Cloud
In my office, connected via Ethernet cable to my router is a device called the Pogoplug. (my version: Pogoplug Pro for about $99.)  Inserted to one of four slots of the Pogoplug is one of my USB memory keys.  Any external disk drive that can connect via USB could also connect to the Pogoplug.  The Pogoplug website has a video which explains how it works.

What this gives me is my own private cloud where I own and have access to all the equipment and files.  I'm able to access from my computer using the Internet my USB memory key simply by logging into my account at the Pogoplug website.  Once logged in, the website connects to my Pogoplug and makes my files available.

Once logged in, I can then move files between my computer and the USB memory key or USB drive or simply display them.  This is especially useful if I'm out of my office and need a file or want to store one.  In my case I can call my wife and she can insert into the Pogoplug what memory key I need.  Memory keys with photos is a good use for the Pogoplug.

One of the possibilities that the Pogoplug allows is the sharing of files between two computers at different locations.  One person moves the file to the Pogoplug and the other person logs into the account and downloads the file.  The computers could be anywhere in the world with Internet access to both computers.

2. Documents for the e-Book Reader has a nifty feature: it can export documents from Writer, Calc or Presentation in PDF formats which can be then used in the Nook or Kindle e-book reader.  I'll describe the procedure I use to get an Presentation into my Nook Color.  The procedure for other e-book readers is similar.

First:  Using's Presentation, generate the slides you want to display.  When you are sure that your presentation is ready, save it normally.  Then from the File pull-down menu, select 'Export as PDF' and complete the steps to get the document saved.

Second: Connect your e-book reader via USB cable to your computer and turn the e-book reader on.  The computer's file manager should then open the directory on the e-book reader and allow you to navigate to the folder where you want the presentation to go.  My Nook Color has a Documents folder in My Library which I use.  Then drag and drop the presentation in PDF format directly into the e-book's directory that you chose.

Third: Dismount or dismiss the e-book reader from the computer.  If you're not sure, just turn the e-book off and the computer will dismiss the reader automatically.

Finally: Disconnect the USB cable between the computer and the e-book reader, and then turn on the e-book reader.  Navigate to the presentation and open it.  It should display as you would expect it to.

My only recommendation in this whole process is to make your fonts and images large on your slides because the e-book reader shrinks them quite a bit.  This recommendation also goes for Writer or Calc documents converted to PDF.

3.    Prey (website)
Prey at is a free application to track your Windows/Mac/Linux/Android devices and reveal its location were the device to be stolen or missing.  On the main page click on the button "Watch how it works" to watch a video with sound on your computer.  This program may be your best tool for finding a missing computer.

Basically when connected to the Internet, the computer sends out periodic signals to the main website of Prey which then figures out where your computer is and records the data.  If you ever need to locate your computer, just log into your free account at the Prey website and get the reports of where your computer last sent in its signal.  In all likelihood, you would need to have the police further trace your computer by getting the records from the ISP that the computer last used.

Advanced features of Prey also allow the video cam to be turned on and pictures taken of the location which can then be retrieved, along with snapshots of the computer's screen.

For a person who travels a lot with their computer, this utility for their computer might be the best recovery tool.

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