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Are You Making Optimal Use of Your Software?

by Brett M. Christensen

You’re in Tech HS. Tech HS is the technical wing of Hoax-Slayer. Not all material in this section is specifically related to scams, hoaxes, or computer security issues. Read More 

Get more productive by ramping up your software skill set

Software is everywhere. We carry it with us on our smartphones and tablets. It’s on our laptop and desktop computers. We wear it on our wrists. It’s in our cameras and cars. Increasingly it’s even in our kitchen and laundry appliances.

Much of the software that we use every day works in the background without much input from us.

But other software applications that we regularly use are complex and have a range of options and functionality that we might not even be aware of.

Often, we’ll jump right in and start using new software immediately after we install it, learning as we go to the best of our ability. And, that’s fine! We’ll quickly get the basics. But, we probably won’t be using the software in the most efficient or optimal way.

Software allows us to achieve complex tasks more efficiently and effectively. We can create and manipulate images, videos and presentations. We can write, edit, format, and publish virtually any sort of document. We can build professional websites. We can store and manipulate data and display it in countless ways. And much more.

But, if you learned how to use a complex software application as you went, you are likely missing out on a lot of the software’s functionality.

I know this from my own experience.

I use the WordPress platform to create and publish websites, but some years after I started, I got more serious about web development and completed a WordPress essential training course. Sure, I already knew a lot of the material. But, I was surprised at how many shortcuts and interface tweaks that I learned along the way.

I also gained a much deeper insight into the underlying nuts and bolts of the platform and this core knowledge has helped me extend the functionality of sites I build with WordPress in various ways.

I’ve now incorporated these into my WordPress workflow, and it has significantly increased my productivity.

And, right now, I’m doing a comprehensive Adobe Photoshop course. Again, even though I’ve used Photoshop for years to prepare images for web articles and process my photographs, I’ve already learned a lot of new ways to achieve tasks and get things done faster. I’m also starting to understand how Photoshop masters use the software to create such magical images, and this is firing my imagination.

You might already know how to use your spreadsheet application to record data and do basic number crunching. But, dig down into formulas and formatting, and you can make your bland data sheets do amazing things that save you time and help you professionally present your information.

Sure, you could take an ad hoc approach and learn just the formula or process that you needed on the day. But, take the time to do a course on spreadsheet fundamentals, and you’ll come away with the underlying knowledge that you need to achieve great results in much less time.

So, it’s worth learning how to get the best out of the software you use every day. You’ll most likely see a return on this time outlay as you increase the efficiency of your workflows.

I’ve found the best way to learn software is to do professionally presented video-based courses. Video is perfect for teaching software because you can see exactly what the tutor is doing and follow along.

But, if you prefer to learn via written tutorials rather than video, there are plenty available on Amazon, your local bookstore, or even your library.

When you do a course, it’s worthwhile starting from the basics even if you use the software all the time. Often, it is among these basics, which you might think that you know pretty well already, that you pick up a lot of time-saving tweaks and tips.

There are professional courses available for just about any software you can think of. Do an online search, and you’ll find a host of high-quality software course providers.

When choosing a course, opt for one that is professionally presented, comprehensive, and is provided by a verifiable expert in the field. Do some research and read some reviews. Often, the provider will offer a free trial or some free content so that you can test the waters and see if it’s a good fit.

Full access to excellent quality courses usually requires a fee, but it’s worth the price for what you get.

These courses will likely pay for themselves because you’ll get more done in less time.

And, if the budget is tight, there are plenty of good software tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere that are available for free.

So, again, even if you’ve been using an application for years, it’s worth taking the time to ensure that you are using the software as efficiently as you can.

Sign up for a course and see how you go. You might be quite surprised at how much you get out of it.

Young Couple Using Tech devices

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,