Inside the brain of a Geek: Crop Pictures to Shape in Word

I’m always looking for ways to add a little more visual interest to my newsletter.  I poked around in Word and found “Crop to Shape”. I had never used it before and had fun learning and playing. Today I’m going to show you how I used crop to shape created the pictures below. My example is a picture of Duke our Customer Relations Vice President hard at work.



First insert the picture. Select the Insert tab – Picture


Select the picture then click Insert.

Select the picture then click on the Format tab. Select CropCrop to Shape.  Pick a shape

Finished picture is below.

Your suggestions and questions are always welcome.  Please email me using the form on this website.

Inside the brain of a Geek: Exercise with Me! (No Burpees, I Promise)

Sitting in front of a computer typing and click for hours cause pain and stiffness.  Doing this for years can cause repetitive stress injuries (RSI). I developed pain in my hands about a year ago and I use simple stretching exercise to help me alleviate it.  I now do these exercises several times a day as a preventative.



Wrists: With opposite hand, gently pull your fingers back allowing the wrist to bend. Hold for three seconds. Switch hands. Repeat three to five times.

Hands: Refresh your fingers by first making a tight fist with both hands and then spreading your fingers as far apart as they can go. Hold this for five seconds then repeat three more times.


Princeton University Ergonomics and Computer Use

Carnegie Mellon RSI Web Site


Your suggestions and questions are always welcome.  Please email me using the form on this website. You can google Burpee and see what I mean in the title.

Inside the brain of a Geek: More Juice Please!

How often do you get to the end of the workday with more work than battery life?  I went on a Google quest to find tips to improve the battery life on my iPhone and found several great articles from Below is a trick from each article. Click the links to read the full articles. 

Windows Laptop


“Today's laptops use Lithium batteries instead of nickel, but there's a lot of incorrect information out there about how to charge or drain your batteries, so let's set the record straight: Nickel batteries required being fully drained before a recharge to optimize your battery life, but Lithium batteries are the opposite—you do not need to fully discharge it before recharging, and in fact, if you fully deplete a lithium battery and don't recharge for a while, it can become incapable of holding a charge.”




Clear the multitasking queue so you don't have an endless trail of open apps. Even though Apple designed multitasking to be battery-friendly, suspending a ton of apps still takes its toll. It can be frustrating to manually close a bunch of apps in the multitasking queue, but doing this on a weekly basis can help reduce unwanted battery drain.”


Access the multitasking queue by double tapping the home button, press and holding any app in the queue, and then tap the “-“in the corner of the app. 



Your screen, especially if it's one of the new beautiful Super AMOLED or Super LCD displays, draws by far the most battery from your device. The best way to minimize your screen's battery usage is to turn the brightness down. By default, your phone should be on "Auto" brightness, which works, but might still use up more juice than you'd like.

If you head to Settings > Display > Brightness, you can uncheck "Automatic Brightness" and put it on something like 10%. It'll be a little harder to see in direct sunlight, but you'll be better off everywhere else. Putting the Power Control widget on your home screen makes toggling between low and high brightness a lot easier, too, so that's a widget I highly recommend you use if you don't already. To add it, press and hold on an empty section of your screen, choose Widgets, and pick the Power Control option.”

Inside the brain of a Geek: Multiple actions in one Quick Step

Quick Steps is a feature in Outlook 2010 that applies multiple actions in one-step. I have a Quick Step setup to start my reminder emails. It takes me one click to start a new email with the To, Bcc, Subject, and partial text already filled in.  Other options:  Move to folder and mark the email as read or Forwards the email to specific address or addresses.


Click Home Quick Steps click Create New

Type in a Name:

Choose an Action – New Message.  Add the email address

You can add additional actions by clicking Add Action.

Click Finish.

You can find more information about Quick Steps from Microsoft at

Inside the brain of a Geek: Take out the Trash


I’m looking forward to the day that we have a robot named “Rosie” who can remember trash day.  Luckily for us taking out email trash is an easy task to automate.  No robot needed!


File – Options


Advanced – Check the box Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook.

Done!  Now you will be taking out the trash every time you exit Outlook. 


Your suggestions and questions are always welcome.  Please email me using the contact form on this website. 


Inside the brain of a Geek: How to Clean up Your Conversations in Outlook 2010

Conversation Clean Up is a great time and space saver, because it can delete a wave of older messages from a conversation while preserving all the information.  I found an instructional video that does a good job explaining the use of this feature.



Inside the brain of a Geek: Exploring the Search options in Outlook 2010

In the past I used about 80 subfolders to keep my Inbox organized. The advancement of the Search features in Outlook makes finding emails so easy and accurate that I no longer worry about putting emails in the right subfolder. But there is a lot more to searching in Outlook than the Search field. Today I’m going to highlight just a few of the more advanced options available.


When you click on the Search field, the Ribbon opens a new tab labeled Search Tools.

The Search Tools tab has many options that can speed up your searches.  I often use the From and Recent Search options.

For even more options go to Search ToolsAdvanced Find. Keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F)

Below I used the Advanced Find feature to locate all the Reminder emails I sent last month.

Your suggestions and questions are always welcome.  Please email me at

Inside the brain of a Geek: Quick Access to your Favorite Folders


Does the desktop pictured below look familiar? There is a better way to get quick access to the folders you access the most. Today I will show how you can quickly access your favorite folders without cluttering your desktop.  In Windows 7, you have a Favorites section in Windows Explorer and adding folders is easy. 


Follow the directions below to add folders to your Favorites in Windows Explorer.

Open Windows Explorer (+E)   


Open the folder you want to add to your Favorites.


Right Click on Favorites and the select Add current location to Favorites.


My folder Inside the brain of a Geek is now in my Favorites.

Want to suggest a topic or submit a question?  Please email me using the contact form of the site!


Inside the brain of a Geek: Taming your paper headache with your smartphone


I have an iPhone , and get asked the question “What apps do you have?” a lot.  I have tons of apps, but the real question that should be asked is “What apps do you use?”  CamScanner is an app I use daily to tame my paper headache.  What does this app do for me?


  1. With advertisements, PDF files created with watermark, limitation of 50 documents, 10 pages per document, and up to 3 scans every time in batch mode.”  The licenses version is $4.99.
  2. It is available for iPhone and Android.


 “CamScanner turns your phone into a scanner. With CamScanner, you are able to digitize any paper documents by photo shooting. Simply take a picture of any paper documents such as receipts, whiteboards, notes, agreement and so forth, and CamScanner can auto-crop image, enhance image quality and create an industry standard PDF file. And you can easily upload documents to cloud like Dropbox, Google Doc,, and manage them by tagging or searching.

With CamScanner You Can Scan
* Receipt, Bill, Tax Roll
* Business Card, Membership Card, VIP card
* Agreement, PPT and Whiteboard
* Note, Memo, Script, Letter
* Books, Magazines, Newspaper, Poster, Coupon
* Courier Sheet, Resumes