How to do everything faster

More speed, more haste!

Copy your events calendar to your not-so-smart phone

Even if your cell phone doesn't qualify as "smart" by today's standards, you can use it to track your busy schedule. From Outlook or Google Calendar, you can send appointment reminders to your cell phone as text messages.

When creating an appointment in Outlook, click the Invite Attendees button (Forward in Office 2007). In the To field, enter your phone's e-mail address, such as 2135551234@vtext.com (the @ portion of the address, of course, will vary from carrier to carrier).

Alternatively, Outlook 2007 users can work with SMS Link for Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, which permits them to send appointments, contacts, and tasks to their cell phone as text messages.

Google Calendar directly supports SMS, so you don't have to pretend that your phone is an e-mail account. To set the feature up, just click Settings, Mobile Setup and follow the instructions.

When you're in the process of setting up an appointment, select SMS as your reminder. You can arrange to have more than one reminder scheduled, and you can set them to alert you up to a week ahead of the actual appointment time.

Scan for malware with online tools

The best way to keep your PC free from viruses and spyware is to run a good antivirus application and keep it updated. But if you've been bad and left your computer exposed to the depredations of the malevolent, you can quickly find and eliminate skulking intruders either by running a portable security program--one that doesn't have to be installed onto your system--or by using a Web-based scanner.

Conveniently, Ewido Networks (now part of Grisoft, which produces the AVG antivirus utility) provides excellent tools in each category--and both of them are free. Try the online Ewido scanner (which works only with Internet Explorer) or the free stand-alone program, which is available for downloading. Both versions update their definitions when you use them. Other good options are ClamWin Portable and Kaspersky Lab's Web scanner.

Find the mileage of your hiking/jogging/biking route

It's easy to figure out the mileage for a car trip: Just go to Google Maps or MapQuest and ask for directions. But those services ignore footpaths and bike paths, and they won't direct you to go against traffic on a one-way street, though such routes are perfectly fine for pedestrians. And let's face it, getting the exact mileage is important when you're moving under your own muscle power.

That's where the Gmaps Pedometer comes in. This Google Maps mashup allows you to trace your route and get mileage figures. To use it, go to gmap-pedometer.com and zoom in on your location. Since Google's map view doesn't show paths, click the Hybrid button to combine the map with a satellite photo. Click Start Recording, and double-click on the starting point of your journey. Then double-click on points along the route as you watch the distance, which is displayed on the left, grow.

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Lincoln Spector

PC World
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