About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 16, 2018

2017 Sites in Review, Part 2

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:40 am

Today I will continue with the start of the 16th year of "Double Click" by providing more of last year’s links.  If the site addresses are too long for print, I have shortened them using the "" app.  The links are preceded by "" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites. 

Let us begin in order of appearance. – you know this one as the most used and well-known search engine today. – even with the silly name this is another very popular search engine that uses Google and others to get your searches; however, it does not record your searches as the big boys do. – an add-on to the Microsoft Office Suite allowing you to dictate your Word, PowerPoint and Outlook files. 
OneNote 2016, – download the newest OneNote application from Microsoft if you do not have it already.  This is one of my favorite apps today. 
Feedly, – a good place to gather and read all of your RSS feeds from your favorite sites.
Daily News-Record,, CNN, and FOX News, – three great news sources, especially the first one!
Overdrive,,, Scribd, and Hoopla, – several sites where you can get free and paid books and novels to read with a couple allowing audiobooks. – of course one of the better free email accounts but last year I showed you several new tricks for using Gmail.
Google Docs, – a good free MS Word replacement for creating documents.
Online OCR, – an online app that converts a graphic with words printed in it to a text document; Google Docs and OneNote, mentioned above will also perform this task. and Google Calendar, – I showed you how to combine events from FB and put them in your Google calendar and others.
Thunderbird, and Firefox, – Mozilla’s email application and the third most downloaded browser for 2017. 
GO Contact Sync Mod, and Calendar Sync+, – these two applications can be used to sync your Outlook and Google Calendars, also your contacts in the case of the first one. 

Well, there you go from this week and last a review of all of the sites we visited in 2017.  Starting next week, we will be looking at more computer and technology information that will help you have a Happy Tech 2018! 

January 9, 2018

2017 Sites in Review, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:27 am

It seems like it has been a while since the last time I wrote to you but I hope you have had a couple of good 2018 weeks and have about 50 more!

It is hard to believe but today we begin the 17th year of the "Double Click" column.  I want to thank all of you for reading the approximately 800 articles and writing in response.  Again, thanks for the emails I continue to receive.  Not only does it let me know the articles are actually being read but I really enjoy talking to you (and getting new article ideas from you).  So please keep them coming!  

This January (as every year) I will be reviewing the sites I wrote about during the previous year.  If the site addresses are too long for print I have shortened them using the "" app.  The links will be preceded by "" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites (caps count). 

So, here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Facebook Settings, – you can read my article for details but I show you how to make a few important changes to your security in FB.
Facebook Deletion, -  where you go to totally delete your Facebook account…if you have had enough.
Chrome Extensions, chrome://extensions – this works ONL:Y in the Chrome browser – go here to add extensions which allow you do perform specific functions in Chrome. 
Surface Pro Computers, – get information on the latest Microsoft computers sales and data available at Google.
Netflix, – you know this one, check out movies, TV and more for monthly fee.  
Amazon, – I know you know this one as you have most likely purchased or gotten something from there just a recently.
PayPal, – where you can securely make online payments for most anything online.  
FBI (Internet Crime Complaint Center), – both are places to check and report online problems.
US Government Online Safety, – get more help and information about online scams.
Pocket, – a place to record sites that you visit and wish to visit again later.
Annotary, – similar to Pocket with more features like making notes and highlights to those sites.
Google Maps, – maps and more along with being able to track your friends/family (
Alternative To, – check this site to find less expensive or free applications for other more expensive ones.
Libre Office, – one of the top Office applications available for free today.
Dropbox, – my favorite online cloud storage site.
Lucid Charting, – a free alternative app for Visio for making charts, obviously.
7-Zip, – an application which allows you to combine files into one larger file to store or send where you can also add password protection.
Gimp, – a great photo/graphics editor; however, there is a large learning curve.
Belarc Advisor, – find out all the information about your computer with this application and probably more than you need to know.

See you next week for the last half of 2017 in review. 

March 8, 2016

Map Follow Up

Last week’s column generated a lot of email questions and comments.  I did not realize there were a lot of Google Maps and Waze users out there.  Some people had never heard of Waze and now are trying it out.  Let me know how you like or dislike it as you experiment. 

One person brought to my attention that there do not appear to be many Waze users.  My experience has been that it depends on where you are traveling.  There are many more Wazers in big cities and fewer in the smaller areas. 

Wazers at nightFor the uninitiated, Waze shows small icons for other Waze users on the map.  You can see when other Wazers are nearby.  However, if you search for it online you find that Wazers on the map do not update in real time.  Their icons and Waze username may be delayed by five minutes or more.  They appear to sit still until you drive past them and they vanish off of the bottom of the map.  They may also vanish and reappear later in a different location.  I have read this is done for several of reasons.  One is that it would take considerably more bandwidth to provide live updates.  Another is they do not want you to be distracted from your driving as you look around trying to figure out which is the other Waze driver.  Also, since it is not live, people cannot be stalked using Waze.


Several wrote about what I have recently heard called the "lazy" search.  Say you are out of the area and want seafood for dinner.  In both Google Maps and Waze you can search "seafood restaurant" and find a list of seafood serving places to eat.  The reason I say, "serving" and not "seafood restaurants" is that it may be a burger joint that also has a fish sandwich, so buyer beware.  You can also search for a type of place near another place.  For instance, "steak restaurant" near XYZ Hotel" and you would get a good local listing around your hotel.  Pretend you went to a place to eat years ago and all you can remember is it was near 17th Street.  Try search for a "restaurant near 17th Street" and chances are very good that you will find it quickly, if it is still open.  Another neat feature a reader gave me; when searching for places like the above if you scroll down you can find Filters.  You can filter by "currently open," "ratings" and several others when available.


Vineyards, Waynesboro, VA

Burger Joints, near me

Search for, “Pizza, Charlottesville, VA”

Search for, “Vineyards, Waynesboro, VA”

Search for, “Burger Joints” near me.




Sabrina wrote about a feature I had not known about before.  If you watched people in the olden days use a map, some would hold it with North always point up.  Others would twist and turn the map along the way so they were always looking the way they were moving.  Well Google Maps allows this too.  See what happens if you tap the compass icon on your map while you are driving.  There you go, either North always up or you are diving the way you are looking (the default setting).

Have fun but please pay more attention to the road than your maps!

March 1, 2016

Google Maps Mobile

A couple of notes.  One, this is for Android Google Maps only unless I mention another format.  Two, I still prefer the Waze application for long trips because it shows accidents and police locations…if you are interested in those particular items.  Three, in June 2013, Google bought Waze for $1.1 billion.  To me #3 is a significant point since currently they have significantly different features.  The two combined would be GREAT!   Hopefully soon Google Maps and Waze will become one.

I discovered some good features on GM (Google Maps).  I recently spent a week in a large city I know absolutely nothing about so I used GM extensively.

First off you can load two specific addresses titled, “Home” and “Work.”  You put in the address and title it appropriately.  That way you can always get to those two locations quickly.  You could also type in addresses each time you use a location and after a few uses they will be memorized in a dropdown list.

At first I was a little frustrated as I traveled to many specific destinations. I searched online to find out how to add more than two locations which would stay in the dropdown list.  As I said above I could travel to them several times, but I did not care to enter the address several times to get it “registered.”  I did find a way.

You type in an address and swipe it up once you find it on the phone.  There you will find a star.  The star turns gold and becomes a favorite.  The next time you need to go there click the address box and these new favorites will be listed under your home and work locations.

Google Maps Restaurant Example

Google Maps Restaurant Example

Another feature, on the desktop version also, is the restaurant listings.  In the address bar type in the name of a restaurant you are looking for, say, “Bubba’s Burgers.”  The restaurant and its address will be found very quickly.  Again, you can swipe up and find ratings by other users, opening/closing times, and my favorite: the busiest times of each day so I could schedule eating around their rush hours.  You may also click call, save (the star) and a link to the website.  Many restaurants also have an online menu link for planning ahead at a new place.

Google Maps, Times of service

Google Maps, Times of service

You can type any business and most of them have the call, save and website along with other information.

I also appreciate the satellite view so that as you ride through a new city you can identify buildings along the way…like new eateries.  OK, so I like to eat.

Regarding the website,  A very nice feature is that you can click your arrival time under options.  So if next Wednesday you need to meet someone at 2:00 pm you can enter that in.  It will take you the best way for arrival at that time.

On the site you can plan multiple destinations, email the link to your email and open it on your phone so you can go place to place on one map.  I have not found a way to do that in the phone app but will continue to look.

Trip through DC                    A few details for DC trip

July 15, 2013

2013-07-15 WSVA Show Notes

Here we are again, over half way through 2013 and I don’t  know about you, but I have not had a vacation yet.  Although, I am considering one.  If you have not gone on one for the summer yet either, kick back, relax and read this or listen to the podcast.

Have fun!

Tech News

One Month With Google Glass: To Return or Not to Return? (check out the video too)
About 30 days ago I went to Google’s headquarters in Chelsea Market in New York City. For weeks I had been not-so-patiently waiting for this day. I was finally picking up my Google Glass.

My enthusiasm was no secret, especially since I decided to pull out my personal credit card and pay $1,500 for connected glasses. I didn’t care — I was finally getting a chance to see what life was like with a small screen in front of my eye.

Last week I went back to Chelsea Market with the very bag and box Google gave me when I picked up Glass. But this time that original excitement was gone – this time I was anxious over whether I should return the glasses and get my money back before the 30-day return window had closed.

Dell eyes wearable computing move as PC business keeps slumping
Computer maker says it is ‘exploring ideas’, as it admits corporate customers are slow to adopt Windows 8 tablets.

Struggling computer maker Dell is considering a move into the "wearable computing" space, as it grapples with the effects of a shrinking PC market.

The idea of computers that can be worn on the body has become one of the hottest spaces in the technology business. Google has thousands of people testing its head-mounted Glass system, while the Californian company Pebble has sold more than 85,000 of its Bluetooth-connected "smart watches".

Mad scientists turn roaches into cyborgs, control them with Kinect, laugh at nature
We’d love to tell you that the researchers at North Carolina State University aren’t monsters who implant circuits on living things so that those living things do their bidding, but we’d be lying. They totally do that, roaches are their primary victim, and now they’re using Microsoft’s Kinect to help them control the insects. Sure, why not!

As Dr. Alper Bozkurt of NCSU says in today’s new release, "Our goal is to be able to guide these roaches as efficiently as possible, and our work with Kinect is helping us do that." Apparently the researchers are employing Kinect for data collection as well, determining how effectively the cyborg survivors respond to electrical impulse-motivated control. They say the end goal is to use the partially mechanized arthropods to, "explore and map disaster sites."

SNL Weekend Update
Randall Meeks, SNL Tech Correspondant’s look at Google Glass
A hilarious Saturday Night Live skit about Google Glass.

Have a laugh and then check this more mundane look at them them for the first time by the actor, Fred Armisen.

Road Trippers
Roadtrippers is a simple and intuitive road trip planner that helps you discover, plan and book the best places and experiences along your way, curated by local experts and travel writers.

Eccentric roadside attractions, breathtaking natural wonders, or mouthwatering foodie feasts. Whatever your interests, you’ll discover your America on Roadtrippers.

At this time it is only available online and with iOS devices, Android should be soon.

That is all I have for you this time, other than I hope you have a better tomorrow than what you did today…even if today was fantastic!


May 8, 2012

Android Apps, Part 3

For the last two weeks I wrote about some Android apps I use on my tablet and phone.  After the last one I received several emails asking what games I play on my Android devices.  Well, I am a modern business person and have no time for such absurdities. 

OK, don’t tell my boss, but I will occasionally play a game or two.  As a matter of fact don’t tell his boss but I play one of them against my boss.

I want to give you one word about games before we start…cost.  Most of the games cost something but some have a "lite" version which is free.  If you want more features and/or levels you have to pay for them.  The cost isn’t horrible; usually from around $0.99 to $3.99 each.  Also, offers many apps for free so go there and check, too.  Now, off to the games.

Air Control – land airplanes, jets, helicopters and even dirigibles at several different airports.  It gets harder as you land each aircraft.  

Angry Birds (all of them) – although AB Space is the latest, they are all good; however, my favorites are Rio and Space.  If you haven’t played them you should really give one a try.

Backgammon – yep, the board game in an e-version.

Hanging with Friends – great quick little word game.  You get to make up words from a few letters, send them to your online friends and they try to solve it (Hangman without the violence, oh wait, you fall into lava if you miss.) This is the one the boss and I play.

Hex Defense – one of the millions of "Castle Defense" games out there.  You know, you have a path the bad guys are going to use and you plant different weapons to try and stop them before they get to the end.

Bejeweled – this is probably one of the most popular e-only games around and has been around almost since the internet started. 

Spades – you can get all of the standard card games for your android, not just solitaire.  This is one of my favorites.  Look for the games you like most, Rook; Uno, Cribbage, Hearts and on-and-on.

Go-Go-Goat – the name is goofy and so is the game but to me it is addictive.  Your mountain goat jumps up the screen from landing areas made of grass, metal, rock or whatever and tries to go as high as he can before he falls back to the beginning.  Of course, you get helpers and hurters along the way up.

Monopoly – there are several but the one by Electronic Arts is an absolutely perfect electronic reproduction of the original board game.  Yes, it can take as long to play as the original; however, you can save your progress and come back to it later.  Also, it allows you to set up some of the rules you used years ago, you know, $400 for landing on GO, etc.

Temple Run – this one is the latest of e-games you may not have seen the likes of anywhere else.  You have to run for your life to escape the Evil Demon Monkeys nipping at your heels. You race down ancient temple walls and along sheer cliffs. Swipe to turn, jump and slide to avoid obstacles, collect coins and buy power ups.  Unlock new characters, and see how far you can run!

Write and let me know what you think and what you would like to see me talk about.

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