DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 8, 2016

Do You Use Multiple Clouds?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:42 am

Floyd wrote this week and asked an excellent question. He has several Cloud storage sites that he often uses.  Floyd has all the most popular ones; Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Drive.  Keep in mind there are many more out there.

He wanted to know if there was any way he could log into all of them in one location instead of jumping back and forth logging into each.  One at a time is a hassle if you use the websites.  It is much easier if you just use each one’s local folder on your computer.  But what if you are on someone else’s computer and need to access one of your cloud pictures or files and you are not sure which location you put them in?

Wouldn’t you know, there is something for that and I have been using it often for several years.

It is called MultCloud (multcloud.com be careful there is no “i” in there) and it will allow you to access all of your cloud storage on one website.  To add one of your Cloud storage areas, click “Add Clouds” at the top.  Next, you can choose the service you want to add.  For instance, select Dropbox.  You will next be directed to log in to your Dropbox account.  This will allow MultCloud to access your account and display your folders and files.  Once you complete that your Dropbox folders and files will appear on the website where they may be easily accessed.

You may now add additional cloud storage on other services.  If you are like me you can also add other accounts from the same provider.  In my case I have two Dropbox, three OneDrive and only one Google Drive folders.  That way I have enough room to store all of my documents.  The reason I have extras from the same provider is that they only allow you a limited amount of storage per email address.  Therefore, if you have multiple email accounts you can also have multiple cloud storage accounts with the same company.

MultCloud

Once you have them set up what can you do?  You can download any file in any of the accounts to the PC you are using and edit away.  You can also delete them, upload additional files and folders, etc.

Once you install and set up MultCloud you can access your files remotely from any computer you are using.  What you would have been able to do on your local computer with any of your files you can now do anywhere including but not limited to photos.  If you travel without a computer and need your files this could be a lifesaver.

Go to the site and look around, not only will you find MutlCloud but you may get other ideas regarding other online cloud services you could use.

Just remember my thought regarding “The Cloud.”  It is as secure as its most displeased employee.  If an employee had the skills they could get into your information.  Yes, doubtful but it is possible.  Also, hackers may work on storage sites like these.  So, my advice is never store items with your SSN or any other personal information in it that you have a problem “getting out.”

October 11, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 2

Last week we looked at several programs I recommend to be good additions to a Windows system.  They are either better than what comes on a PC or those applications may not usually be found on a new computer.  Of course, the apps are free…you know me. From the responses I have received you want more.  So here are some additional applications for you.

You need a good cleaner and CCleaner (piriform.com) is great.  I have previously written about it in length so go check those older articles.   CCleaner can speed up a slow computer and get it to start faster while cleaning up unneeded files. Well worth the $0.00’s. 

ccleaner

Oh boy, now a biggie…antivirus software.  There are several good ones to pick from. Avast (avast.com) and AVG (avg.com) always come to my mind first.  They are closely followed by Avira (avira.com), Bitdefender (bitdefender.com) and Panda (pandasecurity.com).  Take your pick.  They are good and all have a free and paid version.  You may even choose to stick with "Windows Defender" which comes pre-installed on your computer.  It is really pretty good.  Just make sure you run one of them, but only one at a time or they can interfere with each other.  

Avast! site          AVG logo          Avira logo     

Bitdefender logo          Panda logo

Another good protection app you need is Malwarebytes (malwarebytes.com) which takes care of threats.  The free version needs to be run manually by you; whereas, the paid version runs automatically.

Malwarebytes logo

How about the best video/audio player?  There is only one and it will run on most anything you own, PC, iPhone, Android, etc. and that is VLC (videolan.org).  The great thing about this app other than dependability and quality is that it can play every video or audio format you can put on it.  That includes DVDs as well as Blu-Ray discs. 

VideoLAN (VLC) logo
 
Now to online storage or cloud storage.  There is really only one name in this area that I prefer, Dropbox (dropbox.com).  It is solid, works flawlessly and also allows for quite a bit of storage space.  There are others but for free, Dropbox does it for me.  You have files that are important to you and Dropbox is dependable, enough said.

Dropbox logo

Now email apps.  I personally like online email, mainly Gmail; however, you as well as a large percentage of people like an app to take care of email.  Thunderbird (rd.dblclx.com/1ejd3ax) from Mozilla, the Firefox browser people is excellent.  It is reliable, high quality and easy to set up if you pay attention to the instructions.  I would also say the built in email program in Windows 10 is a good basic email app but there are not many advanced features.  Also, with the Windows app you will be on your own setting up your email. 

Thunderbird logo

Next week a few more. 

February 16, 2015

2015-02-16 Show Notes

Here are the Monday morning links and podcast if you missed it live.

Have a great day and see you next time.

Tech News
Windows 10 is a free upgrade for all 7 and 8.1 users
Engadget.com

Wondering how much Windows 10 will set you back? In most cases, nothing. Microsoft has announced that the new operating system will be a free upgrade in the first year for everyone using Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1. The company sees Windows as a service rather than a product, Terry Myerson explains. Yes, Microsoft is partly following in Apple’s footsteps (OS X upgrades have been free since Maverick), but it’s hard to complain about getting a big update for free.


This sounds too good to be true and I’ve read where this is only for OEM (short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a misleading term for a company that has a special relationship with computer producers. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company’s product under their own name and branding.) or for everyone.  Only time will tell for sure.
 
Worst passwords of 2014… …are just as awful as you can imagine

Please sit down. We need to have a talk. It seems some important points about computer safety and security have completely gone over the heads of a certain portion of the population. If you’re one of those people whose passwords look like "9$RxkU#55zx!%winning1," you can go ahead and leave. If your password looks like "1234567890" or "qwerty," it’s time to repent and change your ways.

    Here are the top 10 worst:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. qwerty
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234
  8. baseball
  9. dragon
  10. football

 
Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
WPS Office
VIEW ANY FILE TYPE
WPS Office can open almost any document including PDF, TXT and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This means when you use WPS Office to open a document from email or your favorite cloud service, you can be sure it will look exactly the way it would on your PC.

CREATE AMAZING DOCUMENTS
WPS Office comes loaded with features similar to what you’d find on a PC office solution. This includes advanced text and paragraph formatting options as well as the ability to add and edit images, shapes, tables and charts directly into your presentation or document.

EASY FILE SHARING
With WPS Office you can share your files through email, Evernote and more. You can also share presentations with others over WIFI or directly to other DLNA compatible devices.

CONNECT TO YOUR CLOUD
Using WPS Office you can access and edit documents from your favorite cloud drive. When you are done editing, WPS Office will automatically save them back online.


Quad Core Android PC in a Keyboard Computer in a Keyboard
An entire Android computer in a keyboard?!

Hook up your monitor and a mouse, if needed, and you have a computer. $299 is a bit high but if you think you need one, wait a few months.


See you next month, listen online on WSVA, March 16, Monday from 9-10 am.  If you miss the live broadcast come back here and listen a little later in the day…or next depending on my workload.

Ron

January 6, 2015

2014 Sites in Review, Part 1

Welcome to the beginning of our fourteenth year together with the Double Click column.  Every January we review the sites that we visited in the previous year.  Today is no different.  So as always, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Thanks for reading the column and emailing me with your great questions.  I love writing it and hearing from you! 

  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and ABC – add ".com" to any of those to view TV shows, movies, video clips, etc.
  • Chromecast.com – this Google device allows you to broadcast anything from your Android, iPhone or Windows phones and computers to your TV.
  • Chromebook.com – Computers that run the Chrome OS (Google) and have everything you need in the Cloud. 
  • Google Drive/Docs,  – Google’s Office substitute and a good one it is, with this you may not need to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • McAfee – one of the many antivirus applications available for your computer’s protection.
  • Libre Office and Open Office – the two leaders in the free Microsoft Office replacements.  Both are good; however, fall short in some areas. 
  • Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, IxQuick and StartPage – add ".com" to any of these for search engines, the last three do not track your searches but the first three do.
  • Google Location History – this site will show you where you have been in the recent past on Google Maps. 
  • Copy, bit.ly/roncopy – free online cloud storage, use the link shown and get 20 GB instead of 15 at Copy.com.
  • Dropbox, bit.ly/use-DropBox, same as above; however, you get 2 GB, many people prefer this to all the other online storage options since it was one of the first.
  • Google Drive and OneDrive, (by Microsoft) – Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud storage sites both at 15GB free. 
  • OneNote, Microsoft’s great note taking application, free online.
  • MultCloud, put all of your cloud storage on one site (notice spelling, no "i").

Tune in next week for the last half of the sites we visited in 2014.

February 25, 2014

February 18, 2013

2013-02-18 WSVA Show Notes

Another day of fun in technology with Jim Britt and myself.  Today we hit a bunch of great topics, programs and apps.  Help in traffic, speed traps, the Federal Reserve site getting hacked and more…even the end of life as we know it.  To find out all of the exciting news (well, OK, fun too) check out the podcast from today.

Tech News
Hackers access Federal Reserve website
The Federal Reserve has acknowledged that an outside party gained access to its website and a limited amount of data, raising questions about the central bank’s cyber-security measures.

"The Federal Reserve System is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a Federal Reserve spokesman said in a statement.

"The exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue," the spokesman said. "This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve System."


Microsoft’s SkyDrive now stores 1B documents
Computerworld – Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage service now has one billion Office documents stored in it, the company announced today.

While a billion may seem like a lot, the most popular consumer cloud storage service, Dropbox, has more than 100,000,000 users. According to the company’s information site, users save one billion files to Dropbox every 24 hours.


Windows 8 ekes out 2.2 percent market share
Windows 8 may not be setting the PC landscape on fire, but at least it’s heating up some gains in market share.

The latest flavor of Windows scored a market share of 2.26 percent in January, as recorded by Web tracker Net Applications. That showed a slow but steady rise from 1.72 percent in December and 1.09 percent in November.

  1. Windows 7 – 44.4%
  2. Windows XP – 39.5%
  3. Vista – 5.24%
  4. Windows 8 – 2.26%
  5. Mac OS X 10.6 – 2%
  6. Mac OS X 10.7 – 1.96%

Police Drone
Do you live in a drone zone?
What’s that buzzing through the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a drone aircraft? If you live in one of 81 cities across the US, you might be seeing drone aircraft flying overhead much more before long. The FAA has just released an updated version of the drone application list, as requested under a Freedom of Information Act action from the EFF. Is your hometown on it?


 
Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Waze logo Waze

Waze is a fun, community-based traffic & navigation app, 30 million strong. Join forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time & gas money, and improve everyone’s daily commute.

With community-generated real-time traffic, you’ll always get the best route to your destination. By simply driving around with Waze open, you’re already contributing tons real-time traffic & road info to your local driving community. You can also actively report accidents, hazards, police and other events you see on the road, and get road alerts coming up on your route too. Find the cheapest gas station along your route with community-shared gas prices.


 
Ron’s Firefox Suggestions
(You can find this Firefox addon and all the others at addons.mozilla.org
or by click the orange Firefox tab, then "add-ons"
or finally if you use the menu toolbar choose Tools/Add-ons.)
EPUBReader

For all of you ePub book readers out there you can now put your book on your PC and use EPUBReader to read it in Firefox. It will link your books marks between Firefox on different PC (if you sync them). However, it will not lync them to your eBook reader.

With EPUBReader you can read ePub files just in Firefox. No additional software needed!


Have a great day surfing the net, downloading new addons for Firefox and trying out Wave on your Smart Phones. See you next time and do not forget to visit DoubleClicks.info and WSVAOnline.com for more info and good information.

Thanks!

Ron

July 10, 2012

Google Calendar

If you currently have a Gmail account you most likely already know all about the Google Calendar feature.  Also, if you are one of the many Android smartphone users you are well aware that in order to reap all of the benefits of the phone, you must have Gmail. Google Calendar is automatically added into the mix.

But if you are new to Gmail, (there are many of you out there according to the emails I have received,) today we will look at Google Calendar.  This is another of the excellent free Google features which come with a free Google account.

Once you have logged onto your Gmail/Google account page you can click on "Calendar" in the top Google toolbar to get there. 

Google Toolbar

The calendar will automatically open in a new window or tab.  Where it opens is dependent on your browser and how you have set it up.  You may also go directly to the calendar at "calendar.google.com" or "google.com/calendar."  If you have not already logged into your account you may do so then.  If you have, you will go directly to your main or default calendar. 

There are many views for your calendar so I cannot predict how your calendar will appear.  However in most cases, unless you have previously changed it, you will be in the Month view.  You will see the entire month laid out in a grid format just like the calendar on your wall or in your checkbook register.  You may also switch to Day, Week, Month, 4 Days and Agenda views.  I usually use the Month or Agenda views. 

Calendar View Choices

Most of the views are self-explanatory but I don’t understand why you would want a "4 Day" view.  Yes, I can understand the others or a "5 Day" view but four…oh well.  I like the Agenda view since it shows you a list of all of the appointments you have added to your calendar.  If you have nothing in your calendar for the day, there is nothing there but the following days will be plainly laid out.  Let me mention one last thing about the views.  The view buttons do not hold much weight, since there is a small month thumbnail-view calendar on the far left of the screen. The exception to this would be Agenda.  In the calendar you can click and drag the time range you want to see, so if you click and drag on three days, that is what will be displayed in full size.

Ron's Calendar

If you are an old e-Calendar pro the following items are very standard and have been for quite a while; however, this is for you noobs (Google for that definition if you need it) out there.

You can enter an appointment by clicking on a date/time and typing the specific information, simple.  However, you may also click the "Create" button on the calendar and enter in many extra details about the appointment.  You may even invite people to the appointment via their email address.  They will receive an invite and if they accept the meeting it will be entered into their default calendar program setting a reminder alarm (usually) and you will also receive an email notification saying they have either accepted, declined or tentatively accepted your request.  Slick, and did I mention all of this is free?!

There are many other features found in the Google Calendar.  If you use it let me know what your favorite feature is in this great "cloud app."

November 21, 2011

2011-11-21 WSVA Show Notes

Here you go another exciting (well OK hopefully interesting) thing Jim and I looked at this month on the show. 

Below are all of the applications, sites, etc. we talked about plus here is the podcast for your listening pleasure back at WSVA Online.

Have a great month and I  hope you will be listening and calling next month, Monday, December 19th!

Thanks,
Ron

Tech News
It’s Okay to Unfriend on Facebook, Emily Post Says
The 18th edition of "Emily Post’s Etiquette"; the quintessential guide to modern manners, has been revised to include seven chapters that cover manners in social media and technology.

Can’t remember if the fork goes on the left and the spoon goes on the right? For perfect P’s and Q’s, you know exactly whom to ask: Emily Post.

But what are the rules when you’re talking with a friend and she whips out her cellphone to check her email, or when someone you never liked in high school suddenly wants to be friends on Facebook? Who’s there to tell you the right thing to do?

    Here are a few of Emily’s suggestions:

  • Never interrupt a conversation to answer a call, email or text.
  • the book says you should always respond within a day or two to personal messages, and within 24 hours for business mails.
  • When in a suitable place to use a cellphone, watch your volume, tone and language.
  • The book frowns upon cellphone use in a place of worship, theater, or restaurant, or during a meeting or presentation.
  • If you’re expecting an urgent call, you should set your device to vibrate and check it later, or move to a private space and speak as quietly as possible.
  • You also don’t have to continue contact with a Facebook “friend” after the initial reconnection conversation, and it’s perfectly acceptable to actively unfriend someone, untag yourself from photos, or delete a friend’s comment from your page.


Physicians using tablets to treat patients
Within the next year, almost half of all doctors will be using tablets and other mobile devices to perform everyday tasks, such as accessing patient information in electronic medical records (EMRs), according to the survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a nonprofit group.

Today, a quarter of healthcare providers surveyed say they’re using tablets in their practice. Another 21% indicated they expect to do so within a year.

The study shows that more than half of healthcare professionals currently use a smartphone for work, and about a third use their smartphones or tablets to access EMR systems. Another 20% expect to start mobile usage with Emergency Medical Records within the next year.

Any doctors in our area have any thoughts?

Retail Me Not
http://www.retailmenot.com/
Coupon codes, printable coupons, grocery coupons for Christmas-or any other time!

Advice from the pros: For extra secret sales and discounts, get the company’s store credit card as many promotions are for card holders, only. HOWEVER–don’t be tempted to run up that charge card! Any savings you initially make will be lost if you are paying off a high interest rate.


1 Sale a Day
http://1saleaday.com/
Every 23 hours they run another sale of four or more items. They are categorized as Electronics, Watches, Family and Jewelry.

Be cautious as sometimes they have good deals and other times just so-so deals.


Google Music https://music.google.com
Do you have an iPod, iPad, Tablet PC, SmartPhone and on-and-on that you have music on? If so you have to try Google Music.

I have been using Google Music, during the Beta trail, for the past month or two and it is slick.

I have uploaded all of my music to the site (about 2,500 songs and books) and can play it from most anywhere I can get online. Whether phone, tablet any computer, etc. They have a limit of up to 20,000 songs to be uploaded, stored and streamed (played online) for free.

They also have a store to buy more music at some very good prices. I think Google may have bet the competitors with this one.

See you next month and don’t forget to follow Double Clicks on Twitter and Facebook!

August 16, 2011

Security in the Cloud

I was talking to my friend and realtor, Chris Rooker of Kline May Realty, about security of documents in the "Cloud".  I presented him with a thought that I voice often and that is, at this point in time, I do not put anything confidential online; including in my emails and online storage.  Never do I have my social security number, debit card number, bank usernames or passwords online anywhere.

A very basic definition of the cloud is (when talking computers and technology) the place where companies deliver many services online..  In other words the service is on a server somewhere in cyberspace and not on your local hard drive.  You can access these services from your computer. 

Some of the services include fully developed applications like Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail and even fun things like Pandora.  There are also many cloud storage services, for instance, DropBox (my favorite http://bit.ly/use-DropBox), Windows Life Mesh, Amazon S3, etc. 

There are a tremendous number of cloud services to choose from.  The list grows daily – probably by the minute.  Some of these services are free while others are not.  

One concern I have is where your information stored. I mean where geographically, as in what country?  What if your important data is stored on a junk (not one of the best available) server somewhere in a war-torn country where the costs are much less expensive?  Then what if that country has a military coup or is destroyed by some other country?  How do you get your data and/or what are the new guys doing with your information?

Next, what if the company that has your information goes bankrupt or is sold to someone else?  You would hope that proper provision has been made for continuous service, but what if it hasn’t?

Here is one last thought for you to lay awake at night and consider.  Where is one of the weakest links in any security?  It would be people, plain and simple.  More than likely your password is safe and won’t be compromised by people in the company servicing your online data but that isn’t my people concern.  Think about the "uncrackable safe" scenario for a bank.  Banks want to advertise their vault as one that no one, not even the locksmith can get into.  This gives their customers a great feeling of security.  But think about this…if even a locksmith can’t get into it, what happens during an emergency or some foul-up?   How can they get their money out?   It could be locked up forever.  So there has to be someone with the ability to get into that safe through a "back door".

The same thing is true for cloud storage.  Even though it may be ultimately and inscrutably secure, someone has to be able to get to the data on the servers in case of an emergency. This could quite possibly be their most dissatisfied and disgruntled employee.  Think about that for a minute.

August 6, 2011

Google Does Some Upgrades to Gmail

On my page I first noticed the Scroll Bars on the left (in yellow, shown at bottom of page).  With this feature you don’t have to check which labels you want to see, you have all of them with a simple scroll up or down.  Neat addition.  These are now defaults so if you don’t like them (I can’t imagine why) you cannot set them back to the old GUI.

Another new default change with Gmail. Notice when you scroll down an email page, especially with Vertical/Horizontal view off, the command/control bar scrolls with your view so they are available anywhere while viewing your email. Another great long overdue innovation again by Google.

Gmail email command/control bar

Next, you can now show your emails to the right of the selected email (Vertical) or below it (Horizontal).  However, unlike the scroll bars this must be added through the Labs part of Gmail. To add this feature:

  1. Click the gear in the upper right of the window.
  2. Choose Mail Settings.
  3. Next, Labs.
  4. In the search box type Preview Pane.
  5. Enable it.
  6. Save Changes.
  7. You are done.

Back in Gmail it will be set up Vertically like mine below and sorry for the blurring but hey, its my stuff.

To change it to Horizontal click the down arrow above your email and to the right (orange arrow in graphic) and choose the way you want to view your email.  You can also reset it to the old way by clicking the button or using the arrow again.  Now when you click an email from the list it will open where you want it.

Have fun and thanks Google!

Gmail window in Firefox

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