Friday, February 26, 2016

Save Time with Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts Learning keyboard shortcuts is a great way to boost productivity on the computer, especially if you are on a laptop with no mouse. Here, I created a list of the ones I use the most on Windows. Instead of memorizing this entire list, the best way to learn them is to pick a couple and use them as often as possible while you are working.

Shortcuts For Web-browsing

Function Shortcuts on Windows
Change Windows Size
  • Windows + up (maximize)
  • Windows + down (minimize)
  • Windows + left (move to left)
  • Windows + right (move to right)
Close Windows Ctrl + W
Go to end of page
  • Home (top)
  • End (bottom
Go to last page in history
  • Alt + left (backward)
  • Alt + right (forward)
Find Word Ctrl + F
New Tab Ctrl + T
New Window Ctrl + Windows + N
Reload Ctrl + R
Select Browser's Address Bar Ctrl + L (Windows)
Command + L (Mac)
Switch Tabs (Left)
  • Ctrl + Shift+ Tab (Left)
  • Ctrl + Tab (Right)
  • Ctrl + Tab + Tab_Number (specific)
Switch Programs Ctrl + Alt
Switch Desktops
(For Windows 10)
  1. Windows + Tab
  2. Press Tab until Desktop 1 is highlighted
  3. Use arrow keys to choose desktop
  4. Press Space to select
  5. Press Windows + Tabs to exit
Zoom in Ctrl + +
Zoom out Ctrl + -

Shortcuts for Text-editing

Function Shortcut on Windows
Copy text block Ctrl + Shift + up/down/left/right
Copy Word Ctrl + C
Cut Ctrl + X
New Document Ctrl + N
Open Document Ctrl + O
Paste Word Ctrl + V
Print Page Ctrl + P
Redo Ctrl + Y
Save Page Ctrl + S
Undo Ctrl + Z

Monday, February 15, 2016

Making a Simple Circuit

Breadboarding is something that's easy enough for kids to do, but it has taken me a ridiculous amount of time to understand the concepts well enough to start building a simple circuit from scratch. The problem for me was finding a source that explained everything clearly, but the concepts themselves are easy to learn and will let you build circuits independent of a schematic. For this post, I will use a light switch circuit and go over how each of the major components work.

The Breadboard

Circled in green are the paths where electricity can flow from one spot to another. Not all of the paths are shown, but they follow this general pattern. The two rows at each end are the "power rails", while the rest of the breadboard is divided into columns called "terminal strips". Electricity can flow from one spot to another in the same power rail, but electricity can only flow to another power rail or terminal strip if it is connected by a wire. The same also applies to a terminal strip. In the picture above, the green wire connects the different paths.

The Power Supply

Like batteries, the DC power supply in this picture has a positive and negative terminal. The positive terminal is red and the negative terminal is black. Although the picture here shows the wires from the terminals to both be green, it's better to make the wire color correspond to the terminal to avoid confusion. To connect the power supply, connect the wire of the positive terminal to one power strip and the wire of the negative terminal to a one.  

The Slideswitch

This slideswitch here will allow us to turn our light switch on and off without turning off the power supply. There are three terminals on this one, but only two of them need to be connected to the circuit in order for it to work. The middle terminal circled in black is labeled "COM" or "the common terminal" and it has to be connected to the path that is leading to the negative terminal of the power supply. The two outer terminals are called "Terminal A" or "Terminal B" and they are interchangeable. That means either one can be connected to the path leading to the positive terminal of the power supply.


The LED will show us if we built the circuit correctly by shining a bright light. The straight terminal (circled in black) is the cathode, which ironically is supposed to be connected to the path leading to the negative terminal of the power supply, The forked terminal (circled in red) is the anode which is connected to the path leading to the positive terminal.

Knowing how each one of these has to be connected, you should be able to make a circuit is whatever arrangement you choose. I haven't mentioned resistors here, because it doesn't matter which side the terminals are connected. A final tip is to trace the path of the circuit through the breadboard in order to make sure all of the components are connected on the right side.