DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

July 25, 2017

A Flashback and the Future

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 5:23 am

Before I start on today’s column I have a little flashback to last week.  I mentioned other voice recognition apps like Office’s new Dictate.ms last week.  I received an email from a couple of readers last week chatting about Google Docs.  Yes, Google Docs has speech-to-text capabilities also.   However, I have never tested it.  I would imagine it is no better or worse than the others.

If you wish to try it go to your Google Docs online, choose Add-ons and click, “Speech recognition SoundWriter.”  Then go for it.  Let me know how it works for you…better or worse than any others you have tried?  And thanks for keeping me on my toes with the emails…keep them coming.

Google SoundWriter setup

Today I want talk to you a bit about something that many of my readers can be encouraged by.  I have lost count of the number of emails and conversations I have gotten into regarding how someone can get broadband coverage in rural areas.  Yes, they can get satellite TV, yes, rural areas can get internet through phone lines (slow speeds) … but what about real fairly reliable high-speed internet?

Within the past month Microsoft came up with a plan.  Around the first of this month MS talked about an idea to bring broadband internet connectivity to rural areas of the U.S.A.  The Microsoft Rural Broadband Initiative involves using the portion of UHV television bands that allow wireless signals to make it around blockages like buildings, hills and even travel longer distances.  With that and some other technologies they can get high speed to most all areas in the US.

This graphic shows current connection areas.This graphic shows current connection areas, click for detail.

At this point in time they are talking relative high speeds of 25Mbps.  The FCC states that 25 megabits per second is the definition of high speed broadband.  I have also read that means that approximately 23 million people in rural areas cannot get that speed.  For comparison, it has been said that you have to have a minimum of 8Mbps to stream video decently.  So, folks can easily watch Hulu, Netflix and all the other streaming services and broadcast channels that stream if they get this service.

OK, how long will you have to wait?  Currently they say that it should start rolling out in 2018 and be finished in 2022.  Is that true? Well only time will tell but I imagine they are a little overly aggressive at first.

Even the politicos are getting onboard thinking about the necessity of localities for emergency services, doctors, businesses and more that could benefit from this.   President Trump has put some money into the latest infrastructure budget to include funding to enhance Broadband access in rural communities. The politicians on Capitol Hill are also calling on federal agencies to help reduce costs on both sides of the aisles.

The reality is that it will most likely be here in the not too distant future.  It will cost a bundle to set up.  Even then not everyone will be able to access it.  However, it will be much better than the alternatives we currently have.

December 24, 2013

Office – Which Office?

I received a great question today from one of my regular readers and writers, so thanks Ivan for turning me around.  I was going to have an entirely different theme today but it will have to wait.

Ivan asked, "What choices do I have beside Microsoft Office to install on my computer?" 

I thought that I would send him to one of my previous articles and then I realized I had mentioned this before but never specifically addressed it.  So, the answer is, "Yes, there are two freebies which are excellent replacements for MS Office. I have tested both and I do have a preference.

image First, off let me state that Microsoft Office is the "King of the World" when it comes to office suites being used by people all over the world.  However, I will also state that OpenOffice and LibreOffice are excellent and mimic most of the functionality of the "King."  Please, note that they both merge the two names. That is not my typo. 

There are people who swear by both of them and both are excellent.  However, my personal opinion is that LibreOffice is slightly better.  The main reason is the same people were originally working on this application and it was only known as "OpenOffice."  Apparently there was a developer/designer conflict.  Some of the folks wanted to move in a slightly new direction and others wanted to remain on course.  A "spilt" resulted with the new group forming LibreOffice.

I believe LibreOffice is slightly better mainly because they provide updates to the entire office suite as well as individual features a little more often than OpenOffice. 

image imageLet me share more good news.  Either OO or LO have suite members which do most of the same things found in MSO.  You can create and edit text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and more.  Another very nice feature is the ability to open and save in the Microsoft formats.  That way if you use one of these two to create a file (or edit one you received from a MS Office user) it can be saved in the MSO format.  You can even set the default document types the same as MS types.      

If you want to take them for a spin, do as I did and install both.  Try them out and decide for yourself if one is better than the other.

Be warned that when you download either they are very large files.  This means that it could take quite a while to download them depending on your internet speed.  There are also many online tutorials for them so you will not be at a loss as to how to do tasks with either.  

November 27, 2012

Join Me

Several weeks ago I was technologically surprised by a non-geek.  Over the phone, a good friend of mine and I were discussing a problem with his home PC.  For some strange reason he could not get a particular Microsoft Excel formula to work properly. 

At work I use an application that must first be installed on our work computers and allows IT people to take a look at the other computer while the person shows us what is wrong.  Another geek way to access a computer is built into MS Windows called "Remote Desktop Protocol." However RDP only allows the person logging into the computer to see the screen. This makes it useless in helping to solve problems.  I suggested to Steve that he install a program I use on a regular basis, "Team Viewer."  I have written about that previously. 

Steve said, "Why don’t you just use "Join me?"  Since I am the uber-geek I responded with, "Huh?"  Steve said that "Join.me" is a very quick remote connection he has used before when showing his kids something on their computers while he was out of town.  Since I always like to learn new things, I asked for a demo.

There are many programs which do pretty much the same thing.  Some of the more popular "remote computer access" applications are "DameWare," "Go to Assist," "PC Anywhere," "LogMeIn" and many, many others.  Some of these charge for their services and others are free. 

When Steve showed me how easily and flawlessly "Join.me" works I decided to give it a try. 

First, if you are the person who needs someone to log onto your computer and take a look, open your browser and type in "Join.me" in the address bar.  It will automatically add "https://" and take you to the site.

image

Now, if this is the first time you have used it go to "Share," "Basic" and the large orange arrow button.  This will start downloading the small executable file to your computer.  Once the download has finished, find the file and double click it to start "Join.me."

Once installed and running you can click the "Share" button and a nine digit code will be generated for you.  It will show something similar to, "join.me/123-456-789." The nine digit number varies each time you use it.  All you have to do now is give the number to the person you want to invite to your computer.

image

They go to "https://join.me,” add the code to the "Join" text box and click the green arrow.  They will go to your machine and you can both see what is going on with your computer.  Do not worry about anyone else using the code.  Once you end the session and close "Join.me" someone else would need a new code, generated only by you, to get into your computer.

It includes many other neat features such as allowing the people you invite to have voice chats over the Internet using their free VOIP, text chat between all the members in the meeting, transferring files to each other and more. 

There you go. Next time you have to give or receive help on your computer I hope you remember to give "Join.me" a try.  This is another free application provided by "LogMeIn.com." Keep in mind there is a "pro" version which offers more.

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