DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 22, 2016

Another Two Bite the Dust

Google told the world on February 12 it will no longer support, wait are ready for it? 

If you said, "Picasa" you got it right (picasa.google.com).  Now I will not yell too loudly about this one since I was not a big Picasa lover.  It seemed a little convoluted to me; however, many people love(d) Picasa and are very upset to see it go. 

Picasa logoPicasa is/was an image viewer for organizing and editing digital photos.  And yes, it was named after Pablo Picasso and blended with "mi casa" ("my house" in Spanish) and "pic" for pictures.  It was also linked to the cloud so that you could share your photos online with the world…if you wished. It was originally created by a company named Lifescape in 2002.  Google purchased it in mid-2004. 

As of March 16, 2016 it was removed from the web and is no longer "downloadable."  If you downloaded the file before then, you may keep the installation file and install it at any other time. In addition, Google will be archiving Picasa Web Albums data at a later date while encouraging those users to convert to Google Photos instead.  That means that if you still have Picasa you will not be able to upload to the Web Albums in the future since they will be gone.  It also means that Google will not continue to update it for security and other features.  

So, goodbye Picasa, I knew you well… a little bit.  Google is providing a new application called, "Google Photos" (photos.google.com) which rolled out early last summer.  This is the replacement which is lacking a few of Picasa’s features.  One big plus is that if you keep your uploaded photos to HD quality of 16 megapixels (MP) or less per photo, you have unlimited storage.  With higher quality it will use your Google Drive storage limits as did Picasa. 

Copy.com logoNow here is a discontinuation that really bugs me.  A great application that I have supported willingly over the past several years is Copy (copy.com) by Barracuda.  It is similar to Dropbox for storing any files on your computer in the cloud.  It is a great backup solution which would allow a user to start with 15 GB of space (13 GB more that Dropbox).

Well guess what Barracuda announced February 1st?  You guess correctly, it will be shut down as of May 1, 2016.  They commented, "…our business focus has shifted, we had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the Copy and CudaDrive services and allocate those resources elsewhere."  

There is no replacement with that much free space.  Basically Barracuda says put your files somewhere else.  Right this minute I am still a big Dropbox supporter ("rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox" for extra start up storage).  Of course, who knows what the future holds?

January 26, 2016

Retraction – Sort Of

Back last year in November I wrote about something I had received a lot of email requests about.  If you remember or were one of the writers it was regarding an application that could replace Google Calendar Sync.

Google Calendar Sync was a great application for those people who use a Google calendar as well as an Outlook calendar.  Usually that would be a combo between home and work accounts.  I recommended a new application I had discovered, used for the past year or so and found to be a good replacement for Google’s app.  It is called, "Calendar Sync +" (calendarsyncplus.codeplex.com) and is still a good app; however, I have found one that is even better.

As many of you may be aware last week I lost my job of the past 17 years due to a Reduction in Force of approximately ten percent of the employees.  This led me to find new ways to use Google and Outlook together.

Someone recommended a program to me called, "GO Contact Sync Mod." (googlesyncmod.sourceforge.net)  I have tried it and it is excellent.  It syncs calendar appointments very similarly to the one I mentioned before; however, it has one major difference.  As you can see from the title it also will sync your Contacts.  It will also sync Notes but that is not something that I have ever used. 

If you choose to give it a try the site will give you instructions. You basically start it and fill in a couple of blanks.  You start by entering your Gmail address in the upper left quadrant of the page.

The next thing you will need to decide is how you want it to sync the data.  There are five options.  Basically those options are for you to decide which way the sync flows (to which calendar) and which wins in case of differences.  Check the site for details and be careful as some of these settings could cause complications with your calendars if not done correctly.

Toward the end you need to enter your time zone to get everything accurate.  Then how many months in the past and in the future you wish to sync.  The last couple of items are pretty self-explanatory, one being if you want it to run automatically or not. 

If you try this out please let me know if it has been as useful for you as it has for me.  (Also, let me know of any positions that I may be able to fill.)

Ron's setup of GO Contact Sync Mod

October 20, 2015

Windows 10, Part 9–Taskbar

The Taskbar in Windows 10 has some new features some of which we will look at today.

Right click on the start buttonFirst off, right click on your start menu button and get a surprise.  There are more than 15 different windows functions available in a list.  There you will find "Programs and Features" used to uninstall programs and install Windows features.  You will also find "Task Manager" "Control Panel" and "File Explorer" which are some of the more common ones you may use.  To use one left click on that item.

It is easy to add a program to the start menu or the taskbar if you want to.  First click the start button and find the program you wish to "pin", right click it and choose either "Pin to Start" or "Pin to taskbar" according to the location you prefer.  Note that if you choose Start it will appear as a tile on the right side of the menu.  At this point in time you cannot list it on the left side as a text link. 

If you wish to remove a pinned item in either area all you do is right click on the icon or tile and choose, "Unpin…" 

The last taskbar element we will look at is how to hide or display which program icons you want to appear on the right side of the taskbar when they are running.  They are in the notification area next to the time.  Some items like Volume or Network (to see if you are online or not) you may always want to see.  Others like, Bluetooth devices, your security software or "Microsoft Office Document Cache" you may never care about seeing in the taskbar.

To adjust these icons you will need to get into the settings area.  Using, "Ron’s easy way" click the start button, type "notifications" then click on "Notifications & actions settings."  Once there look to the middle of the screen click the text link that states "Select which icons appear on the taskbar."  Then for the ones you want to see click the on/off switch for the application to either on or off to see them.  Once you change one it will immediately appear of vanish from the right side of the taskbar.  If you want to see all programs currently running you can click "Always show all icons in the notification area" to on.  Play with them and see what suits your needs. 

If you miss the "Quick Launch" toolbar from Windows XP, as I do, you can add it back into Windows 10.  It is easy to do.

  1. Right click on the taskbar and make sure it is unlocked. 
  2. Right click on the taskbar again, choose "Toolbars" then "New Toolbar…"
  3. Enter, "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" (without the quotes) and click "Select folder."
  1. Replace "Username" with your login username for windows. 

After completing this the Quick Launch Toolbar will immediately appear on the right side of your taskbar.  If the taskbar is still unlocked you can move it by clicking on the dotted lines and dragging the toolbar where you want it to remain.  If not unlocked you cannot move it. 

Right click on Quick Launch toolbar to remove text and titleTo remove the text on Quick Launch, right click on the dotted lines (at the left edge of the new toolbar) and uncheck "Show Text" as well as "Show Title" from the menu.  Drag programs and folders into QL as you wish. 

Below, screenshot before Text and Title are UNchecked.image

 

Below, screenshot after they have been unchecked.
image

October 13, 2015

Windows 10, Part 8 – Personalization

Windows 10, Part 8 – Personalization

Today we look at personalizing Windows 10 so that it looks and acts the way you want and not the way it arrives.

To start with, how about using another picture or one of your own pictures as your desktop wallpaper?  Things have changed a bit regarding this.  The pictures Microsoft has preloaded are very high quality so let me tell you how to use those first.

You can get there several ways.  From this point on I will give you Ron’s quick way to move around. Just keep in mind that there are several other ways to get to the same place.

To change the background graphic simply right-click on your current desktop picture and click "Personalize."  Now you are in the Personalization Settings menus and the "Background" tab will be selected on the left.  If not click "Background."  

Personalization options

 

Background settings windowYou will see the Preview at the top showing you approximately what your windows theme looks like now.  Below it you will see "Background" and the picture will be below it.  Click one of the MS included pictures below it to change the current wallpaper.  Once you have the one you like simply close the settings window.  Correct, there is no save button.  

To add your own photograph as the wallpaper/background – underneath the MS pictures you will see the word "Browse."  Once the browse button is clicked you will need to navigate to the correct folder which holds the picture you wish to use.  Once found click the graphic you choose and select "Choose picture." 

The last setting is to select the "Choose a fit" option which adjusts the way the graphics fill the screen.  I usually use the "Fit" or "Fill" route but I recommend you play with them until you are happy with the results.  

To try some other wallpaper options go back under the Preview and click the Picture dropdown.  There you will have "Solid Color" or "Slideshow."  Solid color is self-explanatory and many people prefer this.  The slideshow is similar to picking an individual picture; however, instead of selecting one graphic you need to select a folder that contains the pictures you want to use.  Do not open the photo containing folder but only select it, then choose "Choose a folder."  Your pictures will cycle through on your desktop.

While you are in the personalization settings look to the left.  Use "Colors" to change the colors of menus and taskbar, etc. 

"Lock screen" is used to change the picture of your login window. It works just like the background settings without the slideshow choice.   You can also choose to show your appointments and emails on the lock screen along with several other apps.  I do not use this as I do not want my personal information displayed if I walk away from my computer. There are several other minor settings here also.  Next, "Themes" work as they did in days gone by so I won’t explain anything.  Only difference is the look of the menus.

Lastly, under personalization is "Start" where it allows you to pick what you do and do not want to use on your Start Menu.  The only one I avoid is "Use Start full screen" but if you tried it and cannot get out try click the start button and the menu will fill your entire screen then start typing "settings", then press enter, click "Personalization" and finally "Start" then click it off.

September 29, 2015

Windows 10, Part 6

Last week we looked at the new Start Menu in Windows 10.  If you read it you know that we only looked at the left side.  Today we venture on to the right side of the menu system in W10.

The right side of the start menu may send shivers of fear down your spine.  If it does you were almost certainly a former Windows 8 or 8.1 user.  It looks awfully familiar to the “Metro” window of those happy days gone by.

Right side of Ron's Start menuThe right side shows you “Tiles” some of which are live/active and some are not.  For instance, it will come with the default live news and weather tiles.  The news will provide a constantly changing “tile” which updates news during the time you are on your computer.  The weather tile will do the same thing with the weather.  This is of course, when you have started the menu.

You must first set up the weather by clicking on the tile to open it and set your location.  I used my zip code and it found everything very quickly.

The regular, non-live tiles have an icon and the name of the program they connect to.  When you click them the program opens.  These are pretty much the same as the old Windows 7 menu that had text links which opened the specific programs.

You can move the tiles around on the start menu, change their sizes to small, medium, wide and large depending on what the tile allows.  You can also group the tiles.  The default is the group with the news and weather titled, “Life at a glance.”

You can also change the size of the menu.  To do this move your mouse to the top or side edge of the menu and when you see the double headed arrow, click and drag.  Doing so will make the menu larger or smaller as you would like. If you would like, you can go to All Settings, Personalization, Start and cut on “Use Start full screen.”  The menu will then cover your desktop.

If you want to add any program to the start menu all you need to do is find the program in the All Apps area, right click it and then click, “Pin to start.”  In just a second it will appear in the start menu and you may then proceed to size and/or move it as you wish.

Now on to, “The reason Ron really does not like the new menu.”  My reason is I like the old menu since I could add my five or 10 apps to the top of the menu bar and get to them quickly.  In my opinion more quickly than I can in the new W10 menu.  I have started using it; however, I just do not appreciate not being able to put items on the left side of the menu as I want them placed.

I have solved this for myself by adding those particular apps to the right side as tiles and setting them at the small tile size.  I do not like the wasted space when compared to text links but it is doable.

One last thing you can do if you really do not want the new menu is to install IObit’sStart Menu 8” (rd.dblclx.com/1LShmDO).  It brings a very similar Windows 7 start menu back to you and worked well on Windows 10 and 8.1 when I tried it out.

Personally I decided to stick with the W10 menu and get used to it, which is working for me so far. Iobit's Start Menu 8 sample

September 22, 2015

Windows 10, Part 5

Starting today we will look at some of the new features found in Windows 10.  The most anticipated addition to Windows 10 (over 8.1) is the Start Menu.  The start menu has had a big change between W8.1 and W10; however, not so great between W7 and W10.  

The start menu is accessed through the Windows button on the left end of the taskbar as it has been for past generations of Windows.  You can also press the actual Windows key on your keyboard to pop up the menu.

There are two major sections of the new menu, left and right…easy so far. 

Ron's current Windows 10 Start MenuThe left side which is a list area has several sections.  From the top down they are User info, "Most used" apps and "Recently added" apps along with several system settings and search.

User info shows your icon and username for your account if you set it up when you installed Windows 10.  If you click it you get, "Change account settings" "Lock" and "Sign out."   Of course, you can use the keyboard combination of Windows key + L to lock your system.  However, in my opinion it should be in the bottom section near Power.  This is where it always was in the past. 

"Most used" and "Recently added" links’ uses are obvious for your applications.  However, unlike previous versions of windows, you cannot add apps you want to have in that side anywhere or in any way.  There have been many complaints about this online so keep your fingers crossed for a "new" old feature.  

The system settings labeled at the lower left have the defaults of File Explorer, Settings, Power and All apps.  File explorer has not changed much from the previous versions.  Settings is basically the old "Control Panel" with a modern new look. You may click the start button and type, "control panel" and still get to the old one if you prefer.  

When you click the Power link/button, Sleep, Shut down or Restart are found.  These have the same uses as previous versions with a new location.

Next you will find "All apps." This is where all your applications are found.  This was named "All Programs" in W7.

If you click All apps you will get an alphabetized list of all the applications installed on your computer.  Use your mouse, touch screen or up/down arrows to scroll the list.  Click on the application you want to run and it runs.  Another quick way to use the new applications list is to click on any the labeled letters in the list. When you do this a table of all letters will appear. To open Excel, for example, click on E and you will jump to all of the applications on your computer which start with E.  Then click the application name for it to open. 

If you cannot see all of the letters move your mouse to the top edge of the start menu.  When you see a double ended arrow click and drag up/down to resize the menu as needed.

Next week we look at the right side and tiles.

 Click a letter to find apps that start with that letter.        Click a letter to jump to alphabet

September 15, 2015

Windows 10, Part 4

Wi-Fi Sense

I will continue giving Windows 10 information for the next few weeks. I have received many questions, concerns and requests. So if you have W10 questions (or any tech questions) keep them coming.

Today I have one new warning which depending on your point-of-view could be bad.

Several weeks ago I wrote about linked accounts with Windows 10, check that column for details. If you set up W10 with a linked account you have a new feature added which is not explained in much detail after your setup.

It is, “Wi-Fi Sense” which is all about sharing. There is “good” and/or “bad” written all over this new feature. For an example, say your best friend from college comes over to your house. You have kept up with each other through a few calls and emails over the years.

Since they are in your Outlook.com address book and you used that account to link W10 they can immediately access your Wi-Fi network.  The good is that you do not have to type in or tell them your 47 digit password for your Wi-Fi.  That is very convenient; however, what if it is someone you do not want to give access to your Wi-Fi?  Pretend you have a friend who, unknown to you, was wanted by the NSA for being a major hacker.  You would then have shared your connection with them.  Farfetched on that last one but you know what I mean.  How about your curious grandkid that you do not want surfing the net unless you are with them?

(more…)

April 27, 2015

Windows 10 build 10061 under the microscope: Can Microsoft hit its summer launch deadline? | ZDNet

The launch deadline for Windows 10 is approaching fast, perhaps only 90 days away. Yesterday’s release of Technical Preview Build 10061 deserves extra scrutiny. Does it inspire confidence in a solid upgrade this summer?

Source: Windows 10 build 10061 under the microscope: Can Microsoft hit its summer launch deadline? | ZDNet

August 12, 2014

Things Wanted, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:07 am

Following the past two weeks’ columns, I’ve received many responses.

So, I thought I would continue the series addressing common suggestions I offer regarding questions I frequently receive.

For instance, I am often asked, “Which is the best e-reader app?”

I use Android tablets and phones, but my suggestion holds true for most all systems.

10,000 FreeNook AppThe two that I use on my tablet and phone are “Nook” (bn.com/nook) and 10,000+ Free eBooks Reader (eprint-studio.com, Android only).

I still use Nook because the Barnes & Noble Nook eReader was my first reader/tablet. I have several books through Nook that I cannot read on other devices; so, I stick with it.

The reason for my suggestion of 10,000+ Free eBooks Reader should be obvious: It offers free eBooks. Users have likely heard that before and been disappointed, but I’m not talking about classics, boring books or poor sellers.

All of the latest books are available free of charge, a service I believe the company is able to provide by charging for a small advertisement that pops up at random times while you read.

I can handle that just fine, given the positives.

For instance, I read several serialized novels. One Wednesday, I heard that the latest in the series had been released and I wanted to read it.

The next Monday, I checked the app and found the title in full, high quality.

Another question I frequently field is, “Which is the best tablet?”

Nexus 7 (2013)While that question is far too broad, I will say that I am partial to Android tablets. Throughout the years, I’ve owned a couple, and I currently use a Google Nexus 7.

It worked flawlessly until very recently but more about that in a couple of weeks.

So, which is the best tablet? It depends, but  I recommend finding a brand name and searching for reviews for a specific model.

I do not suggest the $49 tablets advertised at the local grocery stores. They are slow, don’t allow users to download many apps, have poor battery life and the touch screens will often have problems.

November 12, 2013

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: