DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

September 15, 2014

2014-09-15 Show Notes

The September show is up now.  Not many links today but some good talk and calls.  You can listen to the show here.  Have a great week!

Tech News
MakerBot chief believes self-driving cars will spur a need for 3D-printed organs
Self-driving cars are safer by their very nature, since they avoid the mistakes of human drivers. However, that improved safety may create some new problems — at least, according to MakerBot founder Bre Pettis. He tells Fortune that scientists will likely have to step up work on 3D-printed organs if and when robotic vehicles take off, since a significant chunk of organ donations (which are already scarce) come from car accident victims.

Pettis isn’t disputing the value of reducing road fatalities, of course. The issue is more that hospitals have to be ready for possible shortfalls in natural transplants.


You’ve Got Hidden Facebook Messages: Check the Other Folder in Your Inbox
The writer’s "Other" folder, whose messages, by the time he discovered them, were ancient and outdated.

Ordinarily, I try to choose blog topics that might be useful to almost everybody. Today, however, I’d like to offer two tips whose appeal is limited exclusively to one group: the 1.1 billion users of Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted an alarming note. He had discovered a secret folder full of Facebook messages that he’d never seen, called Other. He was shocked to find that it contained important messages from important friends, going back years, with long-since expired offers and condolences and congratulations. He urged his friends to inspect their own Other folders.

Well, I checked mine, and found the same thing: it was teeming with messages, many of them now ancient and irrelevant, that would have been very important to me if I’d known they existed. Potential speaking engagements. Social invitations. Congratulations. Old bosses. School friends from 20 and 40 years ago.

The Times’s technology columnist, David Pogue, keeps you on top of the industry in his free, weekly e-mail newsletter.

If you have no time to read further, here’s the bottom line: Go to your Facebook page. In the left-side panel, click Messages. There, next to the boldfaced word “Inbox,” you see a light gray word “Other.” Click it to see your hidden stash of messages. You might be surprised at how much important stuff has been waiting for you there. Really surprised.


Screenshot from FlightRadar24.comFlight Radar
flightradar24.com
Flightradar24 is a flight tracking service that provides you with real-time info about thousands of aircraft around the world. Our service is currently available online and for your iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) or Android device plus for Windows 8 and your Mac OS computer.

There is a free and paid app. The difference being getting info on any flight costs you, i.e., speed, altitude, destination, etc.


I hope you enjoyed the show, see you next month, please make posts here if you wish and tune in next month, Monday, October 20th.

Please feel free to post this site all over the cyber-world.

Ron

January 20, 2014

2014-01-20 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the show for January 2014 and Happy New Year to you and yours!  Below are links to the sites we talked about today and here is the podcast if you missed part of the show.

Have fun looking around.

Tech News
Tablet ownership in U.S. surges
Thirty five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own and e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet {September 2013, 35 percent}. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This article sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It’s also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the U.S. started at age 18 and up.


Chromebooks Enjoy 21% of Notebook Sales in 2013
According to NPD (a major national market research company), Chromebook sales hit a total of 1.76 million units between January and November of this year, which is quite a bit of a jump from the 400,000 units that made it out in 2012. In total, NPD’s figures indicate that Chromebooks jumped from virtually nothing in 2012 to 21 percent of all notebook sales in 2013.A recent press release from Amazon itself confirms that Chromebooks took two of the top three spots for “holiday best sellers” – specifically, a Samsung Chromebook and an Acer Chromebook.


Spiders force Toyota to recall 800,000 vehicles
Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of some 803,000 cars due to airbags inadvertently deploying — and the blame appears to be spiders inside the air conditioning units. Toyota’s recall notice states that some 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza, and Avalon vehicles are experiencing problems with their air conditioning condenser unit housing — apparently, condensation and water has been leaking into the airbag control module. In most cases, that’s just causing the airbag warning light to turn on, but a few times the driver side airbag has deployed without warning.However, according to CNN, the cause of the leak is rather unsettling if you suffer from arachnophobia. Spiders and their webs are apparently responsible for clogging the air conditioner drainage tubes, causing the water spillover onto the airbag control module.


Government Recalls.gov
rercalls.gov
To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create www.recalls.gov — a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls.


The Door Lock of the Future is Here
Kwikset Kevo
Kwikset has rolled out the Kevo lock. A door lock that receives a signal from your Smartphone (iPhones only right this minute) or a coded key fob and can open when you touch the lock. If you forget your phone it will open with a regular key that you can find buried somewhere on your key chain.

Check out the video and see what you think, especially with a $219 price tag.


Waze
waze.com
Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

Free available to most all types of phone OS’s.


Free Backup Software
Cobian backup, cobiansoft.com
Allway Sync, allwaysync.com
Two good free backup applications for making sure you do not loose your important files.


Browser History
Check Browser History for all Browsers
Sometimes you may want to make a return visit to a website that you saw a day or 20 ago. You may use multiple browsers like many people and do not want to go view the history in each browser. With this app from NirSoft.net you can check the histories of all of your browser at the same time and get a report of what has been seen.

If you have cut off your History feature on your browser you will not be able to retrieve this information.


Your Fingerprint may be your new Password
Biometric Scan Comes to Android 2014
The FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) has claimed in a new technology news statement, that the first Android handsets with biometric scanners will be released in the first half of next year, to help to remove the dependency on traditional app and web passwords.

This technology news was meant to be available for any web-based service or manufacturer so that traditional text-based passwords can be replaced with these biometric alternatives. Michael Barrett, the PayPal chief information security officer, and the president of FIDO, has explained that the increasing support and power of the group has meant that it will become possible for the mobile internet to become considerably safer to use in a very short period of time. That way, swiping a finger across the smartphone will be all that is required for the access of an individual’s own online accounts, but that they will remain safe from being accessed by anyone else.


If I Die
ifidie.org
This website provides a way for you to write and store letters to your friends. Each letter, when finished, will be stored securely and encrypted with a special password of your choosing. No one will be able to read any of your letters while you’re still alive.

A couple of “safegaurds” are in place to keep them from firing off by mistake.


New ‘Bond gadget’ set to let us breathe under water sunshinecoastdaily.com.au Bond-like rebreather
It is the James Bond gadget on everyone’s wishlist.

A South Korean designer has taken inspiration from the movie spy’s “rebreather”, which allows the user to breathe under water.

Clipped on a diving face mask, the Triton device acts like a fish gill to extract oxygen from water so that the user can keep breathing while under the sea.


That is all for today.  See you again next month on Monday, February 17.

Keep those cards and letter emails coming!

December 10, 2013

My Favored Browser

Apparently there are a few of you getting new computers for Christmas.  (Do not let the kids read this if they do not know about it.)  I have received many questions about what to do to set them up.  I have several suggestions; however, one of the best I have written about before.  If you missed Ninite, go to DoubleClicks.info and search for "Ninite" to read all about it. 

The next most popular question I get is something like, "I can’t afford to pay the $99.99/year for Office 365 or $399.99 for Office Professional."  In my opinion there is one very clear answer, "Libre Office."  If you have not read my information regarding it before go to the site and search for "libre."

Finally, there is the question I don’t believe I have tackled before.  The question is usually stated as, "Ron, what is the best browser for me to use?"  The answer is easy, "I have no idea, thanks for asking."

Now on to a slightly more helpful answer, since for you personally, I have no idea what you would favor.  There are many excellent browsers out there and they all have some features which may be better or worse than one of the others.  To me it is sort of like brands of cars.  One person would say that a particular car manufacturer has the only good cars available…the best in the world.  The next person will tell you why they hate those cars with good reasons.  It is all a matter of personal taste and preference.

So the following is my personal opinion concerning browsers.  Keep in mind that when I started out on the internet, the browser everyone wanted was called, "Netscape" and would cost you around $50.  Now owned by AOL, it has pretty much disappeared from the scene and is free.  All browsers are now free so the cost barriers are gone.

Here are the top five in use today in alpha order.  I have included a short description, my opinion and the percentage of people using this on average this year as of the end of October.  

image

  • Chrome, "Get a fast, free web browser, one browser for your computer, phone and tablet."  You can tell who owns this puppy by the link.  I think this is an excellent browser and my #2 favorite.  It is fast and does allow you to have the same bookmarks, etc. between your devices. 52.08%
  • Firefox, "Different by Design, Proudly non-profit, Innovating for you, Fast, Flexible, Secure." OK, this is my favorite, again it is a preference since I am used to it and have been using it for years.  It has more "plug-ins" than the others which are added features allowing you to do different tasks online.  28.49%
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, included with each and every Windows computer sold and must be left on your computer for other things to work properly.  I use this for work only as our company makes all of its software for MSIE only; however, with some Firefox plugins I can make most things work on FF instead.  12.55%
  • Opera, advertised as the smallest and fastest browser in the world!  For me this is an OK browser but just doesn’t have the snap and pizazz of others.  1.73%
  • Safari, you can tell by the URL who owns it.  My opinion on this one is the same as Opera, so again personal preference.  3.95%

The top three here have always been the top three by percentage for many years; however, they have jumped back and forth in order for a few years.  Google’s Chrome browser is excellent and if you do not have a preference yet, try it or any of the others and form you own opinion.  They are all able to do what you need, so enjoy the variety.

December 3, 2013

Go Different Waze

Last week I mentioned a trip to the "big city" and using my GPS. 

So today, back to my big city experience. 

image I was going somewhere and had just reinstalled Waze.  I was also running the family GPS.  They both directed me the exact same way on my 25 mile/35 minute trip.  About three quarters of the way to my destination Waze changed and told me to take the next right. 

I ignored it because, well, I do not know for sure… but I did.  OK, still driving along and all is well then Waze "bugged" me again and told me to take the next right…again I ignored it.  All of a sudden I got to the top of a hill and I saw that I was on a highway parking lot.  The cars were sitting still and the people looking rather hostile.

I sat there for almost an hour barely moving until finally traffic started to move.  I have no idea what stopped it.  The Garmin and Waze agreed again, ah, harmony.  When I got to my destination I checked everything out and found that even though the Garmin has a traffic alert function it did not work; however, Waze did.  If I had taken the first right where it told me I would have only been five minutes later instead of almost an hour late.  I also checked the reports in the area and saw a user had submitted a picture of the truck/car wreck.

How does Waze do this?  It tracks all of the GPS signals from its user base and figures, "Hmm, Ron Doyle was going 40 in a 40 mph zone and now he is going 5 mph."  Then other cars near me slow down as well for a few minutes.  Waze then automatically reroutes you the quickest way to get you going. 

It also allows you to let people track you by emailing or texting them a link.  They can follow you on a map to see when you will be there.  It has other fascinating features like posting pictures of the traffic, reporting which lane is going slowly, police sightings (I guess that is for you speeders out there) and several other useful settings.  You can either read this information or supply it.  The choice is yours since no information is taken from you unless you grant Waze permission to do so.

If you ever travel out of the area or even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere locally, try out Waze and see if it helps you avoid traffic problems.

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