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If you are a fan of application launchers to quickly launch your favorite applications from the keyboard, you’ll probably want to take a look at a new one from Microsoft Office Labs called Speed Launch.

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This article is part of Mysticgeek’s IT blog, a How-To Geek blog focused on IT geekery.

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Last week we took a look at different options for backing up, storing, and sharing data files with online storage services.  This week we will take a look at services which are more secure.  IDrive uses AES 256 bit encryption for its online storage service.  Transfers of data to the drive is done with 128 SSL encryption.  IDrive allows you to sign up for a free 2GB account.  Their Pro Personal Account is 4.95/month for 150GB of storage.  They also offer accounts for businesses at different rates.

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If you are working on a spreadsheet and want to be able to quickly see differences in numbers at a glance, you should use the new Conditional Cell Formatting in Excel 2007. With this you can change the background of a cell based on the data in the cell, almost like an inline chart.

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There is also a feature called Continuous Backup which will monitor the backed up directories on your computer and update them on IDrive as needed.  IDrive works with Windows and Mac.

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If you are using Office 2007 in an environment where everybody else is using Office 2003, you might have already set Excel or Word to always save to 2003 format, but what about when you create new documents using the New menu? The only choices are now to create files in 2007 format, but we can add the old ones back.

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For this Sunday’s Office tip we are going to look at Vista Sidebar Gadgets that can help you better manage appointments and GTD lists in Outlook 2007.  When Vista first came out I was not a fan of the Sidebar or its gadgets.  At the time, gadgets seemed only to be resource consuming “”eye-candy”.  As this technology has progressed I am finding more useful Gadget applications.   

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Another week of cool articles featuring useful tips and showing off software features.  I started with the Online Storage Series where we will look at most of the services available.  Thanks to all the readers who commented on the fact AOL is selling Xdrive.  Hopefully another company will buy it out so existing users can keep their data and storage space.  In case you missed anything here is a list of what was covered last week.

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After writing about how to create a shortcut or hotkey to mute the speakers in Windows, I got a couple of requests for how to do the same thing in Linux, which turns out to be really simple if you are running the latest version of Ubuntu or Gnome.

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Yesterday a friend pointed out that about every 3 months I go on a quest to find a new music player.   When I think I have found “the perfect one” I end up repeating the same quest.  Those who are regular readers of this blog know I have covered several music players over the past 18 months.  I think my indecisiveness started back when I went on my iTunes rant.  Since then I am still looking for the crown jewel of players.  Well, for now I think it is aTunes which is an Open Source Java based music player.

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