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TECHNOLOGY Q&A
Five iPad questions  
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
May 2013

1. Print Screen on an iPad

Q: I know how to create an image of my computer screen simply by pressing the PrintScreen button, but is there a way to do this on my iPad or iPhone?

A: Holding down the Home button and pressing the Power button will create an image of an iPad’s or iPhone’s screen (which is displayed in your camera roll), and then you can paste that image into a multitude of applications, such as Word, Excel, Evernote, etc.

2. Close Apps on an iPad

Q: How do I close the unnecessary apps running on my iPad?

A: Double-tap the Home button, then press and hold one app until they all start shaking on the screen. Next, press the red circle icon in the upper-left corner of the app’s icon to close the app. Tap the Home button when you have closed all unwanted apps.

3. Disable Your iPad’s Screen Rotation

Q: When I’m using an iPad to demonstrate product images to my customers, it constantly switches from portrait to landscapeview depending on which way I lean the tablet. This action is distracting. Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

A: From the iPad’s main screen, select Settings, General, and set the Use Side Switch to setting to Lock Rotation (in either portrait or landscape mode). Thereafter, your iPad will no longer auto-rotate as you tilt it from side to side.

4. Secure Your iPad

Q: I allow others to use my iPad, but I want to prevent them from installing new apps or making purchases under my Apple account. Is there a way to prevent others from doing these things on my iPad?

A: From the iPad’s main screen, select Settings, General, Restrictions, Enable Restrictions. When prompted, enter a four-digit Restrictions Passcode in the Set Passcode screen, then slide the Installing Apps and In-App Purchases On/Off selector buttons to Off to prevent others from performing these functions.

5. Custom Shortcuts

Q: I am tired of constantly reentering my long email address and other frequent phrases into my iPad. Is there a way to make my iPad remember those phrases in the future?

A: The iPad does not provide an option for memorizing field content, but you can create a customized shortcut, which is almost as good. To do this, from the iPad’s main screen, select Settings, General, Keyboard, and under Shortcuts tap Add New Shortcut…, then enter a phrase (such as carlton@asaresearch.com) and a shortcut name (such as jcc). Thereafter, entering the shortcut phrase into any iPad field will return the full text for that shortcut.


TECHNOLOGY Q&A
Use Excel 2013 this instance!  
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
May 2013

Q: When I open two Excel files in two instances of Excel and display them on two monitors, I find that I cannot then copy formulas back and forth between the files—only the formula’s calculated value is pasted to the other instance of Excel. What’s happening here, and what can I do about it?

A: This particular question was asked and answered in the May 2011 topic “An Excellent Arrangement,” (page 70) but I am revisiting this topic to inform you that Excel 2013 now opens each Excel file in its own instance of Excel (just like Word has always done), making it easier to display separate Excel files on separate monitors and to copy data back and forth between files with formulas intact.


TECHNOLOGY Q&A
Good vibrations  
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
May 2013

Q: Most of the decent portable speakers available in stores are too bulky to carry as portable speakers, and the few small ones I’ve tried aren’t loud enough. Can you recommend a small portable speaker that actually works well?

A: As a CPE presenter, I typically play a few video clips during class to help educate the audience; hence, I, too, find small portable speakers to be an essential accessory. The portable speaker I currently use is the PowerPod360 vibration speaker ($120 suggested retail price, but I found several priced as low as $38 on Amazon). This small, cylinder-shaped speaker is approximately 2 inches high by 2 inches wide, and I find it works well in a room of up to 75 people. Interestingly, this device emits heavy vibrations to turn any solid object it is placed upon into a bass speaker. Held in the air, the speaker doesn’t produce much sound, but when you place it on a solid table or cardboard box, that table or cardboard box becomes a subwoofer bass, and the room comes alive with some serious sound.

The speaker unit is powered by a USB cord, so it does not take up a valuable electrical outlet in my seven-outlet surge-protected PowerSquid. Further, a built-in micro SD slot allows the unit to operate as a stand-alone mp3 player. Note: Don’t get this speaker confused with the lower-end PowerPod Jr., which is less powerful.


TECHNOLOGY Q&A
Restore Windows 8 Start button  
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
May 2013

Q: I recently upgraded my computer to a Windows 8 system, and so far I like the new operating system. As suggested by many articles, I find that I can do most everything on Windows 8 without the old Start button, but I still would like to have the Windows 7-style Start button appear as an option. Can you please tell me if this can be done, and if so, how?

Windows 8A: Microsoft decided to remove the Start button from Windows 8 after research showed that users seldom used the Start button, except to launch common tools such as Control Panel and Accessories, which can be launched via other common methods. For example, many users prefer to launch their applications via the Windows Quick Launch menu or via icon-based shortcuts set up on the desktop or in various folders. Windows 8 aptly accommodates these alternative launch methods.

However, if you would still like to restore the old Start button on your Windows 8 computer, you can do so by installing the third-party solution Classic Shell 3.6.5 for Windows 8 (classicshell.sourceforge.net). Classic Shell is a free utility that restores your Start button and provides many options for customizing your Windows 8 menus and toolbars. To use this utility, visit the Classic Shell website and click the Download Now! button. When prompted, select Save and Run and then click through the installation dialog boxes to complete the installation.

Once installed, a shell-shaped Start button (pictured above) appears, and it works similar to the Windows 7 Start button. As options, Classic Shell also offers setting adjustments for displaying Windows Vista- or XP-style Start buttons, and for controlling other visual effects and menus related to Windows folders, Explorer windows, and the Internet Explorer browser. I admit that I struggled a bit navigating Windows 8 until I installed Classic Shell; this utility helped me transition to the new operating system with minimal effort. Note: As alternatives, you could also restore the Windows 8 Start button by installing StartButton for Windows 8 (free) (windows8startbutton.com) or Start8 from Stardock ($4.99) (stardock.com/products/start8).

 


TECHNOLOGY Q&A
Time to stock up  
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
May 2013

Q: Can you tell me where to find good, free internet-based resources and information that will help me analyze my stock portfolio?

A: A plethora of web-based resources is available to help you analyze investments and investment options, and I am certainly not familiar with them all. However, over the years I have found that the Yahoo! Finance website offers a generous amount of free stock, mutual fund, and bond investment resources. I can’t address all of Yahoo! Finance’s resources in this article, but I will highlight four that I find helpful, as follows:

1. Insider transactions. Insider transactions are considered crucial information that many people monitor for the stocks they own (or are about to buy). (Note: Insider transactions are not the same as “insider trading.” Insiders are legally allowed to sell or buy shares provided they give proper advance notice.) As an example, the numerous gray bubble icons on the Yahoo! Finance chart pictured below depict all of the insider transactions for Netflix Inc. (NFLX) over the previous five years. You can clearly see that insiders started selling shares heavily approximately six months before the stock value tumbled more than 70%. Of course, this notable amount of insider transactions prior to such a massive tumble could have just been a coincidence, or perhaps the intense insider trading triggered the stock value’s decline. The reality is that we may never know exactly why insiders buy or sell their shares, but some people believe that heavy insider transactions can be a warning sign that for better or worse, the insiders know something you don’t.

To view the insider activity for a publicly traded company, visit finance.yahoo.com, enter a ticker symbol in the Get Quotes text box, and press the Get Quotes button. Below the thumbnail chart image, select a chart duration (5y for five years as shown below), then from the menu located above the chart, select Events, Insider Transactions, as pictured.

Note that hovering the mouse pointer above each insider transaction icon temporarily displays each transaction’s details.

2. Stock screener. Yahoo! Finance offers stock screener tools that help identify investments that meet criteria you specify. To use this tool, visit screener.finance.yahoo.com/newscreener.html and click the link labeled Launch Yahoo! Finance Stock Screener. When prompted, agree to the terms and click Run. Once the Stock Screener appears, enter criteria information in the Criteria, Conditions, and Values columns. (For example, in the screenshot at right I arbitrarily entered criteria to search for stocks in the Communication Equipment sector, with more than 30% of the outstanding shares held by institutions, where the company pays at least a minimal dividend and the P/E ratio is between 8 and 22.) Click the Run Screen button.

The stock screening tool returns a table of stock investments that meet the criteria. (In this example the stock screener returned two investments—Qualcomm Inc. and Adtran Inc., as shown below.)

At this point, you could then use Yahoo! Finance to begin an in-depth study of these two investment alternatives to learn about their profile, financial statements, stock price history, dividend history, market capitalization, competitors, key statistics, corporate filings, analyst opinions, press releases, news stories, and so on. Note: Yahoo! Finance offers separate tools for screening stocks, mutual funds, and bonds.

3. Portfolio management. Your brokerage investment account most likely offers portfolio tools that enable you to view your holdings, but often these tools fall short in that they don’t reflect trades until the following day, they don’t allow you to add watched stocks, or they don’t allow you to set buy or sell triggers. Yahoo!’s portfolio tool offers these functions and more. To create a Yahoo! Finance portfolio, visit finance.yahoo.com and click the New User? Register link and follow the instructions for setting up a free Yahoo! account.

Sign in to your Yahoo! account and click the dropdown menu labeled My Portfolios, then select Create Portfolio. Enter a name in the Portfolio Name box. Enter ticker symbols in the Manage Symbols box and click the Add Symbols button. Choose a view, such as Performance View, from the Default View dropdown option’s box. Adjust other settings as desired and click the Save button in the lower-left corner. A fictitious example of the Yahoo! Finance portfolio is shown below.

Once your portfolio appears, click the Add/edit holdings menu option to add the number of shares, purchase price, and other information if desired. Click the Set alerts menu option to have Yahoo! alert you via email, Yahoo! Messenger, or mobile phone in the event a watched stock exceeds the preset limits you specify.

4. Other investment research. Yahoo! Finance offers an assortment of stock, mutual fund, and investment analysis tools at biz.yahoo.com/r (below).

These tools include Earnings Dates, which list the dates companies will announce their quarterly earnings; Conference Calls, which provide links to listen in to the management discussion of quarterly earnings reports; Surprises, which lists the instances when companies significantly exceed or miss their consensus earnings estimates; and Initial Public Offerings, which summarizes past IPOs (those floated and canceled) by day, including price, filings, and withdrawal information.

If analyzing your stock investments using these tools fails to work for you, try visiting the Ask 8 Ball website ask8ball.net for more specific guidance.


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