Weekly Roundup: Test your typing, frugal speech-to-text alternatives, Gmail in Outlook, and more

In this week’s Roundup of the reading file: a quick (and really fun and challenging) online typing test (how long has it been since you took a typing test?), how to configure Outlook 2010 for your Gmail account, some inexpensive speech-to-text alternatives for those who want to dictate to their PC, yet another reason to use Microsoft Word’s Style feature, and what those little black boxes next to your Microsoft Word text mean, particularly for your document’s pagination.

10 Fast Fingers — This link is apparently flying all over the Internet, and it’s no wonder — this is a really cool, fun typing test (who ever thought the words “fun” and “typing test” would appear in the same sentence?). Warning: this thing moves fast, so you’d better be prepared, and it’s cleverly engineered to keep your brain from cheating. Set aside about a minute of your time and click here to start.

Configure Gmail in Outlook 2010 — If you’re using your Gmail account at work, and you want to synchronize it with Outlook 2010, Help Desk Geek has a great tutorial on how to set that up. Click here for the full illustrated article.

Speech–to–Text Alternatives to Dragon NaturallySpeaking — If you want to start experimenting with using your PC to dictate text, Jack Wallen of TechRepublic’s DIY IT Guy has some inexpensive alternatives in Windows XP and 7 and in Linux. They may not be as accurate and flexible as Dragon NaturallySpeaking (which, coincidentally, is what I’m using to write this blog post), but they’ll give you a good introduction to some of the quirks of text-to-speech. Click here for Jack’s tips.

What are Those Black Boxes? — Vivian Manning’s ongoing training efforts in connection with her law firm merger are continuing to yield some really great tips. The latest is yet another question one of her trainees asked: “What are those black boxes to the left of my text?” As Vivian explains in her post, Microsoft Word’s Show/Hide feature can occasionally show you some confusing things. Click here to clear up the confusion.

Avoid Unnecessary Page Breaks by Using Word Styles — On a somewhat similar note, Susan Harkins at TechRepublic gives us yet another reason to use Microsoft Word’s Styles feature: it helps control pagination. I’m personally a big fan of Microsoft Word’s Styles feature, and controlling the way that pages break is yet another great reason to learn how to use it. Click here for Susan’s tips.

About the Author

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.