DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 17, 2017

2017-17-20 Show Notes @ WSVA

Tech News

BIG news (April 3, 2017) as Android is NOW the world’s most popular operating system as it overtakes Windows

Android has now overtaken Windows to become the world’s most popular operating system, according to data from Statcounter. Looking at combined usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, Android usage hit 37.93%, narrowly edging out Windows’ 37.91%.

“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago.”

First, and more trivially, Statcounter only measures Internet-connected devices, which will exclude a small number of desktop PCs used for specialist tasks. Second, and more significantly, Windows still dominates PCs, both desktop and laptop, with an 84% share.


Congress just obliterated Obama-era rules preventing ISPs from selling your browsing history

Rules preventing internet providers from selling personal information, such as customer browsing histories, will be repealed, following a vote in the US House of Representatives this afternoon.

The Republican-led House voted 215-203 in favor of repealing the rules, implemented just a few months ago under the previous Obama administration.

The bill has been met with considerable controversy and anger from privacy and rights groups, for fear that internet providers, like Comcast and Verizon, would be able to gather and sell data about your browsing history to marketers and other companies, including information on where customers are, as well as information about customers, such as financial or health status, and what people shop and search for.


For internet privacy, a VPN won’t save you

…Congress voted to gut proposed internet privacy rules set out by the outgoing Obama administration that would have prevented your internet provider from selling your browser history to advertisers. President Donald Trump signed the bill a day after, making it law.


General Amazon Scams

Ron's personal Amazon scam
  • Know What Amazon Won’t Ask
  • Review for Grammatical or Typographical Errors
  • Check the Return Address
  • Check the Website Address
  • When in Doubt, Go Directly to the Amazon Website
  • Do not “Unsubscribe”
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Report Spoofed E-mails to Amazon

The Tile App
Where did you leave your phone, wallet, keys, purse, etc.? The tile can help. You can add the small “tile” to most any item, then use your phone to track it with Bluetooth technology. Did you misplace your phone, no problem use one of the tiles to find your phone.

Prices start at around $25 and go up for the more you buy.

Click here to watch how it works.


Have a great month everyone! The podcast was not available this month, so hang in there for next month.

Thanks for reading.

Ron

March 20, 2017

2017-03-20 Show Notes @ WSVA

Welcome back for another month of the WSVA radio talk show!  I hope you enjoyed it if you were able to listen this morning at 9:00 am ET.  If not you can listen to the show here.

These are a couple of the major things we mentioned today.

Have at ‘em.

Tech News

March 20, 2016

5 Technologies That are Making Farms Smarter and More Efficient Than Ever Before

  • Wi-Fi-connected crops
    A modern farm typically has electronic sensors distributed throughout the field that can monitor for different conditions; in some cases the gadgets send data to an on-the-farm server or to the cloud
  • “Liveware” gene editing
    Gene/DNA edits can make some plants more resilient to climate change, consume less water and increase yields, etc.
  • Robot farmers
    The rapid pace of development in self-driving cars is also happening on the farm. Self-driving tractors and robots are becoming more common as a way to control payroll costs by automating time-consuming tasks done by humans. This doesn’t include even more harvesting which has been done mechanically for years.
  • Eyes in the sky
    Mapping technology (along with other uses) is a vital part of data-driven agriculture, and getting those maps is easier and more cost-effective than ever before thanks to the explosive growth in drone technology.
  • Wavelength management
    Urban and vertical indoor farming is becoming more popular, giving growers of specialty crops ways to produce year-round regardless of outdoor weather conditions. But one challenge has been helped by now being able to provide the ideal wavelengths of sunlight that optimize growth in cramped indoor spaces.

Surprising Number Of Americans Would Chop Off A Finger To Stay Online Ouch

Americans love the Internet. Some love it so much that they’d rather chop off a finger than stay offline forever, according to a new survey.

In March, 2016, researchers at AT&T asked over 2,000 Americans what they’d give up to stay connected, and people admitted that they’d part with some pretty essential things. Their answers, which are meant to be more fun than scientific, illustrate the extent to which the Internet has become a nearly indispensable feature of modern life.

A full third of respondents said they would sacrifice a digit. Another third said they’d ditch their sense of taste. More than 15 percent of the people surveyed said they’d forgo human interaction before ditching the Internet, and nearly 20 percent said they’d give up love.

Over half said they would allow a stranger to die if it meant holding onto their Internet connection. And a measly 35 percent said they would give up the Internet if doing so would allow them to cure cancer.


EU authorities demand changes from Facebook, Google, Twitter

Social media companies Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Twitter Inc will have to amend their terms of service for European users within a month or face the risk of fines, a European Commission official said on Friday.

Germany, the most populous EU state, said this week it planned a new law calling for social networks such as Facebook to remove slanderous or threatening online postings quickly or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million).


That is all for today see you next month at 9:00 am on WSVA, April 17!

Ron

December 13, 2016

Several Words of Warning

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:53 pm

I have noticed a lot of scam emails coming to my inbox lately and thought I should mention a few to you.  Since they could very easily hurt your credit, finances, reputation, etc. you should be aware and very careful.

I have received many that were easy to spot.  They were text only, looked very simple, unlike an email you would expect from a big retailer and sometimes sounded if they were written by someone whose native language is not English.  One other very obvious tell with scam emails… there were several spelling errors. 

For instance, I received one this morning which said, "we incorrectly specified your information in the recent invocie #8858345." It went on to say, "please see the revisions, is in the attachment and make corecctions."  This one was text only.  Notice the spelling errors, they addressed it to lowercase "ron" and also notice they attached a file for me to review.

Red Alert! Especially regarding the attached file.  I am pretty sure I have expressed it a million times before and maybe I should again.  NEVER EVER open an attachment from someone you are not expecting an attachment from.  Even a friend or relative.  It could be totally innocent and it could be horrible.  The attachment I received was a zipped file which is even worse as it could contain anything. 

I say again open no attachments unless you know the person was sending it to you. 

Next, during the Christmas season I have received multiple emails from eBay, Amazon and one or two others.  They sadly inform me that my orders cannot be shipped due to some sort of problem.  In reality once a company has your money, especially Amazon, the product is good to go and I do not believe anything could pop up to create a problem. To solve the "problem" I will usually be requested to click a link and fill out some much-needed information.  This is also a scam as the first things they will ask you for on the site is your username, password and possibly your secret question.  The site can look exactly like a real business page so do not let that fool you.  As a matter of fact, I got a scam email from a PayPal look alike one time that had links to the PayPal security information page, home page and all other sorts of actual PayPal affiliated pages.  They can put a link to anything in a professional looking email. 

And the last thing for me, which I suggest for you:  I only transact purchases online with one email account.  That is all I use it for.  You know, presents, items we need at home…you know just stuff.  That way when I get an email concerning a purchase at any other email address but that one I know it is a scam since I have never purchased anything from that address.  Email accounts are free so get one for online purchases only to add one more step to your security path. 

You can report an email scam, hoax, or phishing scheme to several places like the Federal Trade Commission but I imagine they have more than enough to keep them overworked.  However, I do suggest you contact the company who supposedly sent it to you.  I have been successful once or twice but unfortunately most times they seem very nice but do not care.

Stay safe, be careful online.  They are out to get you and they make those fake emails look very good!

November 29, 2016

The Party is Not Quite Over

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:44 am

Santa under packagesI hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and visits to the stores on Black Friday to get the very best deals.  By-the-way, it is said that the phrase “Black Friday” started in Philadelphia when the heavy traffic after Thanksgiving Day disrupted traffic around 1960.  Then in the early ’80s it started being used for the same day but demonstrated the point in the retail year when business owners began making a profit…moving from being into the “red” then moving into the “black.”  I.E., profits were made in many businesses that day and the weeks following for the entire year.

Then yesterday was “Cyber Monday.”  This one was started by Ellen Davis with the National Retail Federation, to influence people to shop online to get even better deals than the Friday before.  Whether that is true or not I cannot say, that is for you to determine.

But now they are both over so I guess you should have finished all of your Christmas shopping by now and not buy anything else. NOT!

The sales will continue on.  Stores both brick and mortar and online have lots of “stuff” they need to get rid of.  But today I have a few techie words of advice for you.

First, continue with most of your shopping in the local stores.  That way the money stays in our area not going to who knows where for the online shop owners.  Online shopping many times will be sending your money to other countries.

Online SantaI think one of the most important things to keep in mind while shopping online, which most all of us do occasionally, is to use major retailers and well-known online retailer sites.   Of course, I cannot mention them all but you know the ones.  The large stores you see in all the shopping centers all have websites and they should be considered safe.  They spend a huge amount of money to make sure that your transactions are performed as safely as possible. They make a lot of money on them and do not want to jeopardize the public trust and lose any time not making more money from the sites.

But what about the “only online” stores?  For instance, Amazon, Audible.com, Ebay, Overstock.com, New Egg, PayPal, Vista Print and many, many more.  Again, these should also be safe and trustworthy.

But what about RonsDeals.xyz?  First thing to do for the “iffy” sites you have never heard of is to search for reviews of them.  I would go to Google.com and search, “review ronsdeals.xyz” then read reviews from other sites – not from the reviews at the actual site. Read them carefully and consider what you see before you purchase…do not impulse buy from unknown online sites, or anywhere else for that matter.

I have discovered a couple of good sites that way.  Blinq.com is a site I found which has some good discounted prices on occasion.  Then ShopGoodwill.com which is pretty much what the name implies.

Last two tips.  Always know what you are looking at and are considering what the retail price usually is so that you will not overpay.  And last, make sure whenever you are dealing with money online that the URL for the site starts with, “https://.”  That “S” is very important meaning that the site is secure and protected from prying eyes.

November 22, 2016

Malware Strikes

Before I start today I will tell you that I run all the security software you normally would on a computer.  I also only run software that I recommend to you when you ask or when I write.  That way I know what you can do for free and how well it works. I have always been satisfied with this arrangement.

Now, back to the story.  I was on my desktop computer and up pops an alert from my antivirus application.  I will not mention the name of it since it is an app that I have been testing for several weeks.  BANG, I had malware!!!

I told it to take care of it by removing the offending malware files as I have done only a couple of times over the years.  Then predictably the warning went away.

After anywhere from 10 seconds to five minutes I get another warning and another and another, etc.  After a dozen or two of them I just let them go to watch what would happen.  I figured my computer was probably already ruined so why worry about it further.

After a hundred or so alerts I ran Malwarebytes to take care of the problem.  That application (which still does a good job in most areas) found them but it could not remove them either.  At this point, I am starting to perspire.

You should turn this on if you have no other antivirus softwareI then shutdown my “now proven worthless” antivirus app and uninstalled it.  I then install a more proven, reputable antivirus app.  After it finished its set up it also found the malware but could do nothing with it either.  I now shutdown this antivirus application and ran Windows Defender.  Always keep in mind that you should run only one antivirus app on your computer at a time.  Also, Windows Defender switches itself off automatically when you install a third party anti-virus app.

Windows Defender is the antivirus application that comes built into Windows 10 and has been available since Windows XP.  For the past years, most geeks say to run a third-party antivirus app in its place since Windows Defender (WD to save space) is not as good as the others.  I trusted the pros as I had never proven it to be good or bad for me.

Windows Defender on Windows 10

The second I started up WD it found the malware and asked if it should remove it.  I responded, “Heck yeah, kill it my new little friend!”  Well not exactly but you know what I mean.

About five minutes later all of the malware was apparently gone and my computer was running smoothly once again. I rebooted it, ran the “dependable” antivirus software again and it said that everything was safe.  I ran Malwarebytes again and it too reported everything as being safe and secure.

Now I have uninstalled all of the antivirus apps and let Windows Defender take over the heavy lifting.  As far as I am concerned that is all I need now along with Malwarebytes.

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.”

November 1, 2016

Why Revo?

So, after the series of articles on applications I think are good additions to Windows, I received several questions.  A couple of which I will answer today.

The first, and my favorite, was regarding my choice of Revo Uninstaller (RevoUninstaller.com).  John wrote and wanted to know why I do not like Microsoft’s “Programs and Features.”  He wondered why he should not use that built in Windows application which is found in the Control Panel?

I have a really good reason, at least in my opinion.  First, they are both made to remove or uninstall applications that have been placed on your computer.  You know the drill.  You have heard from a friend or someone like me that you should try the XYZ program.  You install it and find that it is worthless and you no longer want it on your computer taking up space.  So, you need to uninstall it as soon as you can.

Revo Uninstaller Logo

I have found that when you use the built-in Programs and Features the program is indeed uninstalled; however, nowhere near completely.  When you use that program to do an uninstall it can, and most times does, leave behind many unneeded folders and files.  It may also leave many worthless pieces of information in your Windows Registry.  The last part may never give you any issues and you may be unaware of it altogether but it could cause problems over time.

With Revo Uninstaller you direct it as to how deeply to probe for leftover unnecessary files.  I always get it to run in the Advanced mode.  That way it will first run the regular uninstall process that Windows does normally.  However, it will then do a deep scan for any files left over from that procedure and offer to remove them too.  I always take Revo’s suggestions and delete everything.

This makes for a much more thorough and professional cleaning which gives you back free disk space once it is completed.  I have found some uninstalls where there are thousands of left over files to delete.  I have found very few where it does not delete any files but it has happened to me on rare occasions.

I feel that Microsoft should be ashamed of the sloppy junk they leave behind on your system after a regular uninstall.  And before you ask, Revo is free with a “Pro” version that does a few more things.  I have used the free version for years without any issues and some fine cleaning.

Do you love or hate MS?The last question from another reader was, “Why did I slam Windows built in programs in those last articles?”  I really did not slam them but I do believe you can sometimes get better apps to do the same thing from elsewhere.  The MS programs are actually fine; however, if I can increase my gas mileage a little by using a different gas brand why not do it?

October 25, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 4

Well I need to start with an “Oops” this week.  Last week’s article included an incorrect statement and if you looked for the software in the link provided you would not find Revo Uninstaller.  I stated incorrectly that Revo was by the same company as CCleaner.  This is not correct and I even knew better but my fingers were out of control as I typed.  Of course, I could have been checking to see if you were reading closely…some of you were.

Revo Uninstaller can be found at RevoUninstaller.com; whereas, CCleaner is still found at Piriform.com.  I apologize.

One more useful utility is WinDirStat (windirstat.net).  We will all one day read a message on our PC that says something like, “You are running out of disk space.”  You have cleaned out all the files you can find and still need more space.  Run WinDirStat and it will give you a colorful graphical interface letting you know where your files are located all by size.  So with some clicking and determination you can hunt down and remove worthless files you no longer need.  PLEASE be careful as you could also delete something quite important too.

Below is a WinDirStat representation of all the files on my computer. I can hover my mouse over an area to see information about those files down to an individual file.

WinDirStat Representation of Ron's Files

This will be the last article in this series regarding apps you may want/need to add to a Windows PC.  That being the case I will close with a look at a couple of fun applications.

Windows 10 Games...these are FREE

There are many games made by Microsoft for Windows 10.  But of course, Solitaire which Microsoft came out with over 26 years ago, is the original with the Windows Operating System.  It was originally created to make people more comfortable with two new things that were spreading across the world.  The PC and the Mouse.  It went on fairly unchanged until Windows 8 changed it by requiring you to purchase it to remove ads.  It has become bigger, brighter, and has more versions of the game.  Microsoft has many, many games that you can try out in Windows 10 by going to rd.dblclx.com/2evl0en.

 

SteamNext up, if you like video games you already know about Steam but if not here you go.  Visit Steampowered.com to see the hundreds of games available.  Many of them you have never heard of and many you may have played in the past (Counter Strike, Half-Life, Far Cry) on a game system or PC.  There are all types of games available too, adventure, roleplaying, racing, sports strategy and more.  Prices of games range from free to $25.  There are also a few game creation tools available if you are the inventive type.  New games roll out from Steam too.  Maybe you can meet me online sometime playing, “Star Trek Online” (a freebie of course). To play Steam games you must download a large application to run the games and then each individual game so make sure you have time to wait when you first set it up.

duolingo.comIf games are not your “thing” how about learning a new language with Duolingo?  You can use it either online at Duolingo.com or download it as an application to Windows (Android and iPhones too).  To be honest I have tried it out but do not use it regularly since I do not have the time or want to take the effort to learn a new language now.  But when I do I will definitely use Duolingo to do so.

October 18, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 3

For the last two weeks I have shared with you what I believe are some of the best applications you could add on to a Windows 10 computer.  That goes for Windows 7 back up to and including Windows XP.  By-the-way, just in case you have not heard anyone mention it lately you should not be using Windows XP any longer since it is no longer supported by Microsoft.

This week my favorite note taking app(s):  I have two in this category.  The first is already included on Windows 10 and is for detailed notes, OneNote.  OneNote is the app you should use if you are writing a book or important document with a large amount of research.  OneNote is also found online (onenote.com) and is one of the best of the Microsoft programs though often overlooked.  The second one is for quick notes, voice reminders, lists and more from Google.  Google Keep (keep.google.com) is available for most mobile platforms too.  A quick and convenient way to make simple or not so simple notes.

OK, a very good utility I use to uninstall programs I no longer want or need is called Revo Uninstaller.  This application will remove everything necessary from your computer when uninstalling applications.  You can use the regular Windows uninstall program but it may, and usually does, leave a lot of leftover junk behind.  This takes up space on your hard drive and could slow down your system.  Revo will wipe all of the old program off.

Last week I said to use VLC for your audio/visual needs.  For music and videos, it is a great app.  Then I had a reader write and chastise me regarding iTunes (itunes.com).  I know it is hard for many of you who have listened to me over the years to believe but I like iTunes.  Yes, I know it is an Apple product but it is good; however, you really only “need” it if you have other Apple products to connect to.  So in good conscience I suggest you use iTunes if you have an iPhone, etc.

Next for all of you photo bugs out there:  A very good photo editing software which is easy to use and free is Adobe Photoshop Express.  You can download this one from the Windows Store.  It will allow you to make standard contrast, brightness, etc. settings on a picture or automatically correct it for you.  Go to the DoubleClicks.info site and check out a picture I edited.  You may also use it on your iPhone, Android or Windows phones.

Take a look below at the same picture, before and after
a one button click edit with Adobe Photoshop Express.

Original Photo

Edited Photo

Now for watching TV and movies online if you are so inclined:  Netflix.com is the one I go to.  I have tried Hulu.com (with advertisements even though you pay) and Amazon.com (where you may still pay additional per individual shows/movies).  For those reasons I am sticking with Netflix.  Do not forget they all offer specific applications to download and install which offer a better experience than watching on your browser.  Also, you can get quite a few shows from the stations’ websites, most free but some of them (CBS) charge you to watch their shows.

See you next week!

October 4, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 1

I am asked quite often what programs I would set up on a new computer.  I usually answer these email inquiries individually.  However, today I thought I would start a series of articles regarding the apps I get quizzed on most often.

This is in reference to applications I like better than those supplied with Windows computers.  They are not necessarily the best programs to accomplish their assigned tasks but the ones I like best.  You may certainly go to DoubleClicks.info or email me and share your opinions.  Also, these are all free…you know me.

Ninite logo

When you get a new computer go straight to Ninite.com. Ninite offers almost 90 applications that you can add to Windows in one visit.  You click check box next to the program you want to install and when finished download the resulting executable file.  Run it and all of the programs you chose will be installed to your computer.  It will take a while depending on how many you choose but it is quicker than going to each site, downloading a file and then installing each individually.  Most of the programs I will talk about here may be found at Ninite.  It has always worked flawlessly for me.

Next on my list is a browser since both of the versions of MSIE (Edge included as one) are OK browsers but not the best.  I choose Google Chrome for my favorite and run it as my default browser (google.com/chrome).  My second vote would be for Firefox. (firefox.com

Google Chrome Browser logo                             Mozilla Firefox Browser logo

Now the biggie?!  Do I recommend Microsoft Office? If so which version and if not what office application do I use?  Tough question as I use Microsoft Office 2016 on my main computer.  It is an excellent office suite.  However, when that license expires, and another charge is levied by MS for its continuation (i.e., cloud versions) or whatever else may financially "get" me, I will switch.  I will happily switch to Libre Office (libreoffice.org) which is an Open Source application. (translation = free) 

LibreOffice logo                            Microsoft Office 2016/365 logo

Libre Office is equal to the MS Office Suite is most respects for the largest majority of users.  The main difference between the two is that LO uses a menu driven system like MS Office did up until version 2007 where it switched to the Ribbon.  By-the-way, after almost 10 years of using the Ribbon in Office I still think the menu system was better.  But back to Libre Office as a great replacement for the best known office suite.   For a very detailed comparison between LO and MO go here

The last one for this week is what PDF viewer do I favor?  The most well-known is Adobe Acrobat (get.adobe.com/reader); however, you basically may only view PDF files using that application.  If you need to create or edit them, you need to pay for the application.  Guess what?  Libre Office, as well as Microsoft Office, can view, edit and create PDF files.  So if you have one of them you have no need for another application that does less.

Adobe Acrobat logo

Next we will look at some utilities, a great video player, video chat and more!

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