DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 21, 2017

Secret Surfing, Part 2

Last week we looked at private browser settings.  If you have any setup questions, go back to last week on DoubleClicks.info and check it out.

Internet Explorer InPrivate Mode

This week a few more good things you can do with the Private Mode on your browser.

If you have ever needed to browse to the same site but different accounts, you can do it with the private mode.  For instance, say you want to look in two different bank accounts at the same bank. You cannot do this in the regular browser.  You could open another browser and do this; however, open a private window in the same browser and you can check in to the other account at the same time.  Or different email accounts, two Netflix accounts, Amazon and on it goes.  Open the account in a regular browser’s tab then open a private window and open the other.  Easy and works since it is totally separated from your system.  When you log off it and close the browser it goes away with no trace of your access.

The same thing will work for some of us on work sites.  If you have a regular account and an Admin account, you can visit both the same way.  It is a very convenient solution.

Now here is a biggie you may have experienced and not realized what was happening.  This seems to happen especially when you go shopping for vacation travel and plane tickets.  You look them up and do not buy them. Then later you come back to purchase and the price is up…I have shopped for web site addresses and found the same thing. Always shop in a private window and go back to find the prices are the same or better.  They are not keeping your browser’s cookies so they do not know that you have been there before.  Now not all sites do this but some do.  I do not like to shop in regular mode on my browser.  Reputable sites like Amazon and other well know sites do not do this.  Just be cautious.

Another thing that cookies perform in your browser in the normal mode is track you online. This is not quite as nefarious as it sounds; however, most sites do know where you were before you came to their site and what you looked at.  Just like the vacation prices, it could be that some site you looked at “Thingamajig 123” at the xyz.com store and saw it for $29.00 so they could (though not likely) reduce theirs to $27.50 and then up your shipping by $5 to cover it.  Again, I imagine that is rare but it has been done. There is no way for you to know or prove it.  However, in private mode no one knows where you came from before you got to them.

Also, think of logging into your bank from a computer that is not yours.  In normal mode your username and password could be easily recorded.  Then someone else “could” access your account.  In Incognito mode (Google Chrome’s name) they could not do this since nothing is left behind.

Note that you are not totally invisible in a private mode.  The internet service provider can make available all of your computer’s activities if it was required of them.  Private Mode only keeps your history off of your local computer and does not allow cookies for tracking.

Chrome Incognito logo

March 14, 2017

Secret Surfing, Part 1

What is “Private Browsing?” is a question I receive from time-to-time.  People write that they were looking around in their browser and saw it.  In Google Chrome the same thing is named “Incognito Mode.”  In Internet Explorer, it is “InPrivate Browsing” and others have slightly different names.

The Private browser settings are sometimes referred to as “Porn Browser Mode.”

What does Private Mode/Browsing do that normal browsing does not?

Incognito Mode SpyIt does not keep any trace of you on your computer or any website.  When you surf in normal mode everywhere you go is recorded in your browser’s history.  That way you can go back to your history and look where you have been.  This is good if you know you went to a site last week but cannot remember its name.  Search your history and you can go right back to the same page.

Cookies are not stored in private either, so your search information and sites visited are not stored for other sites to pull from your computer to send back info on which news sites you read, where you do all of your online shopping, etc.  When using private mode, it is as if you were never online.  Well, up to a point but more on that next week.

However, there are many other useful reasons you may want to practice it at times.

Setting Google Chrome for IncognitoIn the majority of browsers to open a window in “Private” look to the upper right of the browser and click the gear or three-dot icon.  This is where you get to all of the settings in your browser.  Then look for the private mode.  For instance, in Chrome click the three dots in upper right then choose “New incognito windows.”  You may also utilize the shortcut keys of “Ctrl + Shift + N.”  Once in the private/incognito window you will see some sort of label showing you that your browsing is secret.  In Chrome an icon of a man in a hat with glasses will be in the upper left corner.  All browsers are slightly different so search online for how to set it up and what is displayed on yours.
What other more respectable reasons should you want to use it?  First, pretend you are shopping online for a gift for your significant other, or someone else who may use your computer occasionally.  You search for a “Thingamajig 123” in the regular browsing window.  You find it and read all about it.  Well, cookies from that site will be saved to your browser.  When the other person opens that browser minutes, hours or days later and searches in Google, guess what?  Ads for a “Thingamajig 123” will appear in Google so you are given away.  Cookies are shared from site to site so that is why you see advertisements for things you have been looking for.  It seems spooky until you realize why.

Next week more reasons you may want to consider Secret Surfing.

February 28, 2017

IE Tab for Chrome

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:51 am

My friend, John and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about a geek hassle we have all faced.  Usually this happens at work but on occasion anywhere.  Some specific websites are designed to open and function properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer…only.  SharePoint seems to be one of the main offenders.  They may open in other browsers; however, they will not function properly.

Since I am an advocate of the Google Chrome browser I hate when I am working on something in deep thought.  I open a site in anticipation of reading something, completing a process or researching information and poof, it fails to respond properly.  Then we all do the same thing, copy the URL from the failed site and paste it in MSIE to get where we need to be.  What a hassle!  IE Tab logo

Enter IE Tab.  Chrome as well as other browsers, have extensions or add-ins depending on what they are called by each company.  These allow additional features to be added to the browser that were not available originally.  There are many types available which perform a wide variety of functions.  They help you with your shopping, find articles, check the weather, help you navigate in your browser as well as your car and do hundreds, if not thousands of other things.

IE tab was built originally for Chrome but now comes in a version for Firefox as well.  You can get it for Chrome while in the browser.   Go to the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner, when you hover there it will show “Customize and control Google Chrome” and click.  Go down to “More tools” then “Extensions.”  At the very bottom of the window you then click on “Get more extensions” and search for “IE Tab.”  Finally click and install the extension.  (As a shortcut, you can type “chrome://extensions” and skip many of those steps.)  After IE Tab installs and you use it the first time you will be directed to install “IEtabhelper” which is needed to make it work.  Do not worry, this is a safe app too.

Once all is done you will get a dark blue extension icon with an “e” to the right of your address bar.  Right click it and then click on “Options.”  Then scroll down to “Auto URLs” and start by entering an offending URL and click “Add.”  The next time you go to that site which would not work correctly in Chrome it will now function flawlessly.  It will continue working any other time you go there in the future.  The makers of IE Tab say that it will properly use Java, Silverlight, ActiveX, SharePoint, and other Microsoft browser features.

One thing my buddy John mentioned is that he uses the Safari browser.  Yes, even though he is my good friend he uses a MAC!  I found this about Mac’s lack of IE Tab.  It has it built in, sort of.  While in Safari go to Safari, Preferences, Advanced Tab and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”  This will place the Develop tab in the menu where under it you will find “User Agent.”  There is a list of browsers so select the browser you would like Safari to emulate, then go to your web address.  The only problem with this is that you must do this each time you need to visit that site again.

Safari Browser logo

July 12, 2016

Chrome Browser & Leoh

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:29 am

I have a home page I use on all of my browsers.  It is a web page I created a couple of years ago which I update quite often.  It has links to most of the sites I use on a regular or semi-regular basis.

Over the years I have updated, added, and removed links as needed.  Using this home page, I can click direct links that I have created to get to Gmail, Tech Republic, Microsoft, Double Clicks, and all of the other really good sites.  Plus, my bank, the DNR Online.  I also have my own background and a very nice weather station widget so I can always keep up with the most recent guesses from the various weather sites.

Part of Ron's Home PageRon’s Old Home Page

I have realized over the years that I have most of my commonly visited site addresses in my head.  I can type their URL in very quickly from memory.  So I do not really need most of my homepage page links.

So, several weeks ago I read about a new extension for the Google Chrome browser that sounds interesting. Its name is Leoh (leoh.io) and it sets up a very nice useful page when you open a new tab.

The original start page/tab with Chrome is one you are familiar with.  You know, the Google page with eight links to your most visited sites along with a few other Google links, shown below.  With the Leoh extension installed you get many choices on how to personalize your start page.

Original Google Chrome tab

First, it has numerous choices you can make about your new homepage.  You can choose a colorful background as well as your own or others’ photographs.  You can have the time and weather shown in several different formats.  There is also a links section which has Leoh, Google and other common ones which can be added to or removed from.  There is also an eye icon in the upper left of the page where you have your most visited sites just like on the old start page.

To change most anything on the start page look to the lower left corner and click the gear icon.  There you have all of the current settings available for Leoh.  Click around and you will easily figure out how to change your page.  Do not be afraid to experiment to get your own perfect page. Try the “Zen” mode for soothing videos.

Another neat feature that you can take advantage of is syncing Leoh.  If you, like me, have a couple of computers and have set up Google Chrome browser with your Gmail account, you know that it will sync your bookmarks, etc. between computers automatically.

If you have already set that up all information from Leoh is synced so no matter if you are at work or at home, your options and preferences set up on one computer will go out to all.

If you like to spice up your browser’s simple old start page, I highly recommend you take a look at Leoh.io.

Ron's current Leoh tab
Check the arrows on my Leoh page for things to check on yours.

June 21, 2016

Need Your Password?

This column will presuppose you have your browser set up to automatically save your websites’ passwords.  Some people do not but many do save their passwords in their browser so they can very quickly log into websites.  I use it in Google Chrome but you can do the same thing in all of the major browsers. 

One day you may want to see what your password but you cannot due to the asterisks. You know, the, "********" that appears in the password text box.  If you want to see the password in full text you can download special software to do that but it is just as easy to use your browser. 

They are all similarly accessed expect for the newer Microsoft Edge browser.  However, from what I understand not many people us Edge in the real world. 

Manage PasswordsDo view your passwords using Chrome click the "hamburger" (three stacked horizontal lines) in the upper right corner.  Next, "Settings."  In the search box at the top type, "passwords" then scroll to the bottom and click, "Manage passwords."  From the Search Passwords box type the site you are looking for and as you type the site will appear.  Click on the site and then on the right then click, "Show."  You may have to enter your computer’s login password depending on your settings. There you go, you can see your password in Google Chrome.

Password reveal in Chrome

For Firefox it is similar.  Click the same, hamburger, then Options, next Security and finally click, "Saved logins" at the bottom.  Finally follow the similar search process, click the site in the list and at the bottom click, "Show Passwords."  After you say yes to the, "Are you sure…" question you have your password. 

The older versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer are very similar so I bet you can figure them out.  But the later versions and Edge are of course different to reveal passwords.  Thanks MS for that headache!

For newer versions of MSIE and EDGE, click on Start button, type "Control Panel", then User Accounts and select your account if you have more than one on the computer.  Once on your account page, on the left click, "Manage your credentials" and if not select click on the Web Credentials button.  On that page you will see a list of your Web Passwords.  Click the right edge of the one you want to see and you will see the word, "Show" at the bottom of the page.  Done.

This is an easy way to check your passwords. 

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND it is easy for you and it is easy for bad guys too.  Make sure you lock your computer with a complicated password, lock your computer when you are in a coffee shop and you walk away (use Windows key + L).  Always be very careful and extremely circumspect with your computer, phones, tablets, etc.   

October 6, 2015

Windows 10, Part 7

Today we will see how to change the Windows 10 default browser.

I hear many people do not want to use the new Microsoft Edge browser (the replacement for MS Internet Explorer).  I have read online how hard it is to install the default browser either Google Chrome or Firefox, the two more popular browsers.  Well in my opinion it really is not hard.  I have tried it with both and when I installed them they asked if they could be the default choice and I answered yes after each install.  Now, my default is Chrome but it worked with both.

After the install when I chose either for the default the system took me to the “Defaults apps” location to change it.  If you missed it or want to change any of your default applications, say VLC as your media player it is simple.  Click the Start button and type “Default apps” then click on “Default app settings” and scroll to the one you wish to change.  For this example, click on “Music player” and choose the one you wish to use.  Now all of your music will open in whatever app you choose.  Mine for music and video is “VLC Player.”  You can change your browser and other apps there.  VLC can be downloaded from “rd.dblclx.com/1LTJDOH” which is my link, so you cannot go wrong.  The following video shows you how to do this (no sound).

I talked about the pluses and minuses of using Cortana, and I personally chose not to.  There is another step you can perform to shut it all the way down.  So to erase Cortana’s data it may have on you and also turn her off, go to “All Settings”, (found by clicking the lined link next to your time/date on the right of the taskbar) “Privacy”, “Speech, inking & typing”, and click the gray button that says “Stop getting to know me.” If the item says, “Turn off”, click it.  If it says, “Turn on”, click out of it as it is already off.

Speaking of Solitaire, OK I was not, but pretend for me.  You now get a large number of Solitaire games with W10.  The Microsoft Solitaire Collection has the standard version “Klondike” along with Spider, Free Cell, Pyramid and TriPeaks.

These are all free; however, you get advertisements for other Microsoft products, for instance, Xbox and the plethora of games it has.  You will also have to log in with your Microsoft account if you want to save your scores for others to see.  But if you say no to the login a time or two you can play to your heart’s content alone…it is called solitaire for a reason, you know. There are daily challenges and more to come in Solitaire like leader boards, but again you must log in to get the MS money credits.

Windows 10 Solitaire

August 4, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:52 am

For the past two weeks I have answered questions which I regularly receive from readers.  There have been more emails so this week is part three of answers I have given and what I have suggested.

Many people ask, “What is the best browser to use on a PC?”  This is an extremely hard question for me to answer.  I cannot really tell you what is best for you.  The reason is that they are all very similar with some having add-ons that the others may not.  It is really a matter of preference.  Currently the top three on the market, in order of popularity, are Chrome, Firefox and MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer).

Chrome - Firefox - MSIE logos

My current favorite is Chrome, made and maintained by Google.  I just like the way it works and the Extensions (add-ons) available. Extensions give the browser additional capabilities that are not there by default.  I also use Chrome for my Android tablet and phone.  However, this again is personal preference.  I used Firefox exclusively up until a couple of years ago and it would still be my second choice.  When Windows 10 comes out MSIE will go away to be replaced by “Microsoft Edge” and then my preference may change.  Pick one, try it out and if you like it keep it, if not install one of the others.  The only one you cannot uninstall on a PC is MISE as it is basically part of the operating system and needed to run your computer. Microsoft Edge logoNext, “How can I password protect a zipped file in Windows 7 or 8.1?”  Quick answer is you cannot.  With Windows XP you could but not in the following two versions.  Why did they remove that capability…who knows?  Longer answer is that you need to download a third party app.  For the uninitiated a zip file is a file that can contains one or more files combined together which makes them smaller and easier to handle.  I use a zipped file to keep my past tax returns in; therefore, the reason for a password to keep prying eyes out.

The third party app for zipping files I recommend and regularly use is 7-Zip (7-zip.org).  I used to swear by WinZip but it is about $30 for the better version, compared to free, so there is no comparison IMHO.  There are many others but this one has been around for quite a while and is trustworthy from what I have determined.  The size savings can be significant depending on the types of files zipped.  I just tested the theory on a variety of file types, mostly text files.

Zipped file imageI zipped the 52 document files of my 2014 columns at a size of 850kb into one file of 716kb.  I also password protected them all in about five seconds.  I can then delete the original files and have only one smaller file.  As long as I do not forget the password I can retrieve them in another five seconds either minutes or years later having all of the original files.  You may zip any type of file including pictures, text, spreadsheets, videos, etc.  However, they compress at different size savings.  Text files give you the greatest compression with pictures and videos usually the least.

Let me know if you appreciate this series of email answers and I will run a few more next time.

I will be having some upcoming columns about Windows 10; however, I will wait a week or so for you to start formulating your questions and sending them to me.

July 14, 2015

Chromebook Update

Over time I have received emails asking about Chromebooks.  I wrote about mine when I got it almost two years ago.  Since the emails keep coming there must be interest in them.  This is not hard to imagine since they are a very good deal for many people.

Here is a very quick rundown of  Chromebooks (CB from here on out).  They were created by Google and run the Chrome browser operating system, also by Google as is the Android OS. 

Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive usually from $199 to $400.  Microsoft OS notebooks (Windows 8.1 now) run from about $350 to $1500.  Yes, you can find higher and lower prices on both types.  I saw a very nice CB on sale the other day reduced from $199 to $129. 

Chromebook computerChromebooks resemble notebook computers.  They are slimmer and lighter than a regular windows notebook weighting in at around two pounds.  You may perform any online functions the same with either type of computer.  One big difference with a CB is that everything is done online.  So you do need an internet connection to use it at full efficiency. 

You can perform some of the functions without being connected to the internet but for it to operate to the fullest degree you need a web connection.  It is a cloud based device meaning that everything it does is stored on or taken from the web. 

I can do most personal business work from my CB with only a couple of exceptions.  With the free Office Online app Microsoft released a while back (office.live.com) I can work in Office from my CB.  OK, for you Google fans, yes, you can also use Google Docs but I find Office to be much better…online and off.

Office Live           Google Docs

I cannot do all of my corporate work without logging into my business computer; however, for the average users that is fine since you may not work for a large business.

Another difference is they do not have an internal hard drive.  They do have a small internal SSD, Solid State Drive.  The one I have has a 16 GB drive – the same as my old phone.  Well then, where do you put stuff?  The Cloud is the answer.  I put all of mine on Dropbox (use the following link for more space, "rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox"), Copy.com ("rd.dblclx.com/freeCopy" same deal with that link but more space) or Google Drive which you must have to set up your CB.  Yes a Gmail account is required to use your Chromebook. 

image                    image

One of the questions I often get has something to do with people hearing that Chromebooks are outselling regular notebook computers – is that correct?

Well, OK, they are selling a lot of them and many people (myself included) promote them at every turn.  Still when you consider that over 90% of the world’s PC market is made of the Microsoft operating systems nothing can touch them at this point in time.  The remaining 9-10% are split between Apple, Android, Linux, Chrome and others.  The current percentage for the Chrome OS is slightly over 1% and expected, by some, to be 2% by 2017.

Chromebooks are not killing the competition but are part of it and I hope their use grows.    

June 30, 2015

Windows 10, Part 2

Last week we looked at Windows 10 requirements and a few other housekeeping tasks regarding getting it for free.  Today a few questions I have received about it for the last several weeks are answered.Windows 10 logo

First, why is it free for the first year?  The main reason seems to be that Microsoft wants everyone using it.  The money they once made on OS sales has continued to drop over recent years.  Apple stopped charging for upgrades to their OS several years ago.  And as always the Linux operating systems, (mainly Ubuntu) have been free since their inception; though used by few. 

They will even be rolling it out to users with pirated (read illegal) copies of those qualifying versions of Windows. However, these versions will still be unregistered. I do not believe there has been any clarification as to what that means for the users.  MS just wants everyone in the world on Windows.

I have been using W10 for a month or so now and have a few thoughts about it.  You will probably wonder if you should opt to get it for free or not.  I would suggest if you are a normal user, i.e., not a geek like me, you may want to wait for month or two after the original roll out.  The main reason being that some things will most likely have to be ironed out during the first few weeks of the OS.  This is standard.  So wait and get it after all the news stories are over.

Next, will you like it?  I think that for those who loved Windows 7, you will most likely appreciate 10 and for those who hated Windows 8.1, you will most probably like this version. 

The much hated Metro screen is gone.  And yes, the Start Menu from W7 is back as in the past, plus it has a few of the "Live Tiles" on the right side.  Those tiles can be rearranged, added, deleted, etc. so you can pretty much do with them as you would like.  In the test version, you could not totally remove them all but rumors abound for the final version in July.

MSIE 11 to MS Edge logosAnother big change is the default web browser.  Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) has been around for 20 years.  When W8 was released MSIE was, and is, at version 11.  However, this all changes with W10, it has been rebuilt from the bottom up and will been known then as "Microsoft Edge."

Edge has "Page Annotation" built-in meaning you can write notes on a web page with your mouse, or finger if you have a touchscreen device, then you can save the graphics and/or send them in emails, Facebook, Tumbler or any other social network. Also, "Reading Mode" is in Edge which allows you to read a web page more like a magazine.  It will remove ads, extraneous graphics and other junk from the page which does not pertain specifically to the article you are reading.  This is available in other browsers now, but Edge is catching the MS browser up with features offered by others in the past. 

Add info to a web page

More to come next week.

April 14, 2015

A Few Questions Answered

There are several things I have written about through the years which I get questioned about regularly.  I thought today we would look at a few that have evolved into something more as well as some that have vanished from the e-landscape.

Coffitivity pictureOne of them was a site with some fun, soothing sounds.  It is Coffitivity.com.  Go there and listen to murmuring, clinking, you know, regular coffee shop sounds.  Coffitivity now has been upgraded with an Android and Apple app for your phones.  The site promotes that, "Research shows it is pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space."

Rainy Mood logo

Another was RainyMood.com and you can probably guess how it is used.  However, there is a new one out there which does what the previous ones did plus more.  Go check out ASoftMurmur.com for many choices.  There is not only rain, but thunder, wind, birds, coffee shop sounds, crickets and more.  So if you like working with background sounds, go for it.  Just remember ear buds for those sitting around you – unless you want them to look around for the crickets!

I also have readers ask me quite often which browser is the best.  I am very impartial with regard to this question.  For no particular reason other than it is really the users’ opinion.  The top three, in my opinion, are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer in that order from top to bottom.  This is illustrated with my website visitors.  Those are the top three used by those who visit DoubleClicks.info.  The bottom three are the BlackBerry browser followed by Amazon Silk (one I had never heard of but it is made specifically for some Amazon devices) and Opera tied for last place. 

Google Chrome logo                         Firefox logo                         MSIE logo

My personal preference for the past year or two is Google’s Chrome browser.  The reason is I like some of its features and add ins.   

As an aside, which is really funny to me, Apple is the number one Operating System used by folks visiting my site (49% followed by Windows at 33%).  Why, "funny?"  Because I only discuss Windows and hardly ever, if ever, Macs. 

One of the only graphics I could find of Eprint-StudioFinally, here’s one I get many, many questions regarding.  It was called Eprint-Studio.  To jog your memory this Android only app allowed you to download most any recent book on your device to read.  I had one book that was out in hardback one week and available on Eprint the next week.  These books were all free. 

It was advertisement supported, so you got to check out ads every few pages.  I have no idea why, (OK to be honest I can guess) but it no longer works.  I went to the site several months ago to get a new book and, "POOF!" it had vanished with no information.  My guess as to why; I imagine it was not quite legal or was discovered to not be on the up and up.

I have found nothing to free to replace it yet but there are many sites where you can purchase most any book in e-format. 

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