DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 13, 2015

2014 in Review, Part 2

This week I will continue with the second half of the links we talked about last year at DoubleClicks.info.

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with bit.ly.  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • CNet and Download (both part of CBS Interactive), great reviews, “how tos”, etc. of most everything tech at the first site and good downloads on the other.  
  • Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo, three popular free email and information providers.
  • Thunderbird – a very good email application for computer that can incorporate all of the above emails on your desktop.
  • Firefox.com – One of the most popular internet browsers.
  • Coffitivity and Rainy Mood  – fun sites which make soothing noises while you work.  
  • Barnes & Noble Nook – the B&N ereader, Nook.
  • 10,000+ Free eBooks – a place to get free ebooks including the most recent of many for Android only.
  • CCleaner, Defraggler, Recuva and Speccy – four great computer utilities from Piriform.
  • iTunes – media player and controller for all Apple products.
  • Mighty Text – enables you to send and receive text messages from your phone in your browser.  You may also dial your phone from this add-on.  
  • SnagIt  and Screenshot Captor – the first is a paid screen shot application with many features. The captor is a free app that is similar but does not have as many abilities.
  • Livescribe – the home of the Livescribe pen that records your meeting’s audio and syncs the audio to your written text. Not free.
  • Cogi – a phone application which allows you to capture, review & share the highlights of meetings and lectures.
  • Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, Five Guys, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Starbuck’s, Wendy’s are just a few of the many fast-food shops having apps so you can order on your phone. 
  • Calorie King – a site for your computer or phone to get dietary information on all the stuff you order from the aforementioned sites.
  • Realtor.com and Zillow.com – two excellent sites to use if you are buying or selling your home. 
  • Fitbit and Ringly and Water Dancing Droplet Speakers, Spreengs and Shoulderpod are several interesting gadgets you can buy for presents for yourself or others.
  • Ninite – a site that lets you get many applications to quickly install them all at one time without stopping all along the way to ask you questions.
  • AVG or Avast! – two of the better free antivirus applications. 
  • Malwarebytes – the best free app which checks your computer for nasty malware.
  • SpeedTest – you may check the speed you are receiving from your service provider at any time. 
  • Typing Web – if you need typing lessons or a refresher course here is the place to get help.
  • Steam Powered – a few free and many for a cost game site. 
  • PayPal – a very secure site for making online purchases.  

Stay tuned for 2015 and have a very Happy New Year!

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.

July 23, 2013

My New Tablet

Nexus 7About two years ago I wrote in regard to buying my first tablet, a Toshiba Thrive.  Well time has continued on as it usually does and I have come to the point where I needed a replacement.  So I have recently purchased a Nexus 7 by Google.  Yes, I know I have not been extremely nice to Google over the past couple of months but I am not their enemy.

Please do not misunderstand, the Thrive and its successor the Excite are both excellent tablets.  I still believe for the price and features the Excite is one of the best out there.  However, there are two things that I grew to not like as much with the Thrive, its size (form factor) and weight.  It is a 10.1 inch screen and weight in at 1.7 pound.  Almost two pounds does not sound like very much.  However, after you hold it in your hands for a couple of hours reading the latest novel by your favorite author it gets to be a load.  Even when you are switching back and forth from hand-to-hand, throw in a case of carpel tunnel and it just is not that comfortable.

In steps the Google Nexus 7 made by Asus.  The “7” is for the screen size of seven inches and the weight is a mere .75 of a pound.  Also, not that it matters tremendously but the 0.41 inch thickness is amazing in comparison to my Thrive.

I know I am not really comparing apples to apples here since the Thrive has many more features, some of which I feel should have been on the Nexus but did not make the cut.  The Thrive was much thicker; however, that was so that it could have a multitude of access ports one each for USB, HDMI and for SD Card external storage.  The Nexus has, like most other tablets, none of these niceties.  Nevertheless, after using the Thrive for a couple of years I only used the SD Card but never really needed it that often, the others were good features I experimented with but did not use at any other time.  For me the Nexus 7, actually built by Asus, has all that I need which is a tablet I can do all I need with.

Some of the advertised features from Google say that you get over eight hours of HD video playback, ten hours of web browsing or e-reading, and up to 300 hours of standby time.  For the browsing and e-reading I agree that mine has easily gone that long.  Regarding the standby time, I have not officially tested it but it goes for days without worrying about charging.  I have watch two movies on it in a row and had more that 50% of my battery life left, so I can figure that video playback number from the Nexus marketing team is good too.

You can read more of the advertising about the unbelievably lightweight, the fantastic crisp, clear display and all the other great adjectives used to describe the Nexus 7 but my belief is that generally they are correct.  It is a very nice tablet for the smaller form factor.  Also, prices are now dropping for the Nexus 7 since the Nexus 7 version 2 is supposed to be out in the next couple of weeks.

It was recently announced that the Google Play Store has approximately 1,000,000 applications and over 50 billion downloads.  You will not be alone if you own a Nexus or any other of the great Android devices.

April 17, 2012

My e-Reader holds More e-Books Than Yours

I receive questions similar to the one I got from Donna recently.  It involves something that sounds quite important in picking an e-book reader so let’s take a look and see. 

I own a Toshiba Thrive which is not actually an e-reader but I can also read books on it, so it will qualify.  My wife owns a Barnes & Noble Color Nook.

This question always involves, "which e-book reader can hold the most books?" 

For our two, the Nook advertises that it can hold around five to six thousand e-books.  It seems that all of them can hold at least three thousand and then it goes up from there.  My Thrive could probably hold that many and maybe two or more times that amount.  I’m guessing here, but I really don’t want to find out since I would have to buy a lot of books.  Yes, I know I can get the e-books and add them to my tablet but again, why?

Now all numbers given by manufacturers can vary in either direction from what they say.  No, they aren’t lying but it also depends on how many other items you store on them.  All but the purest e-readers have the ability to add other applications to them.  Those apps take up room too. 

It also gets a little more complicated as far as numbers.  If you buy a book from B&N, Amazon or anywhere else, you do not "have" to download them to your e-reader (no matter which one it is) until you are ready to read it.  You can leave it in your online "library."

I am amused by the advertising which says you can hold 3,000 – 12,000 (plus or minus) books on the various readers because, well, why would a person want to?

Do some math here. If you are my age, in my 50s, you wouldn’t have enough years left to read 3,000 books. 

If you have 3,000 books on your e-reader, pretend you read one book a week per year.  We will also say that you skip two weeks a year and don’t read due to vacation, health, etc.  That would be 3000/50.  The answer is that it will take you 60 years to complete your reading.  If your e-reader will hold 5,000 books, that would yield 100 years of reading.  I hate to be negative here, but I do not believe that the majority of us will make it that long.

These numbers are just a wonderful marketing ploy.  Most people just download a couple of recent purchases and save the rest until they finish the others.  Once a book is read you can remove it from your e-reader and it is still kept in the B&N/Amazon account for you to download and reread later if you want to.

Have a great time no matter which you finally settle on.

January 17, 2012

2011 Sites in Review, Part 2

As I stated last week, I annually provide links to all of the sites we have visited throughout the previous year at DoubleClicks.info.

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with bit.ly.  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Ccleaner use this application to keep your computer clean and running more smoothly.
  • Barnes and Noble the book store for paperbacks, hardbacks, Nooks, e-books and e-magazine plus. 
  • RocketDock an attractive and fun program launcher for Windows.
  • DropBox free cloud storage with auto-syncing, for your files and yes, use this link and I get some extra space, thanks in advance!
  • Windows Live cloud storage, email and many more applications for your online use.
  • e-Sword downloadable Bible for study, reading with commentaries and much more.
  • YouVersion an app that allows you to read, search and study the Bible via your smart phone or online.
  • Stumble Upon shows you categories you are interested in and gives you new sites every time you log on to read and learn about.
  • About.com use this site (among many others) to verify the truth about the Nigerian prince who needs your help and many other online scams.
  • Calorie King go to this site and find out more than you may have wanted to know about all the food you eat…including fast foods.
  • Endomondo Sports Tracker this is installed on your smartphone and then you can track many "workout" things such as your average speed, altitude, length of workout, distance, and other related numbers. Use it with Google maps and see the path you have taken.
  • Fix My Phone check out one way you may be able to resuscitate your drowned cell/smartphone. 
  • Craigslist a site for buying or selling things online; however, I am not at all fond of it. Read the original article at DoubleClicks.info and see why.
  • Help, I’ve Been Scammed check out why I am not fond of Craigslist.
  • WorldLingo Service free professional language translation online. They work in conjunction with Microsoft Office translations.
  • Toshiba Thrive in my opinion the best tablet C currently on the market…yes, including the fruit pads.
  • Netflix watch many movie and TV shows online. You can also order DVDs but you already knew this didn’t you?
  • Swype a smartphone and tablet PC typing program.
  • Skype allows you to call phones and other computers via the internet with the capability to have video along with your audio.  It is a free computer-computer and smartphone-smartphone service but for phone calls check out the rules on their site.
  • Android Market one of the several software sites for your Android phone.
  • Twitter.com, Facebook.com you already know what these are and if not, do not be concerned Google for them and read forever.    B-}
  • Connectify lets you set up your own Wi-Fi Hotspot.
  • PC Decrapifier will scan your system and suggest software you can remove which you most likely do not need. 
  • Ninite is where you can pick most of your favorite applications that you want installed on any computer you own.  Download a file to run on a computer and it will add those programs you picked. Quick and easy installs.

Please do not forget to go to DoubleClicks.info (oh, wait you are reading this here already) for the complete stories, along with many others.  This week and last only contained links I used during last year.  There are many other articles on the site and at DNROnline.com that had no links but some great information.

That’s all for 2011!  I look forward to seeing you in the paper and online in 2012.

July 19, 2011

E-books vs. P-books

(   or Electronic books vs. 
         Paper/Printed books)

Several weeks ago I wrote about my wife’s e-ink Nook from Barnes and Noble.  I was surprised by the number of responses.  I had a small number asking why I did not write about the Amazon Kindle or some of the other e-readers.  The reason is that I do not get demos to test, so I have no experience with them.  (Of course, I would be more than happy to test out any of the others if the manufacturers would like to send them to me-hint, hint.)  We read, talked to people, researched and made an informed educated guess.  We chose the one we thought would be best for our use and pocketbook. 

Most answers were a toss-up : "I couldn’t stand not holding an actual paperback or hardback book…e-books are just a passing fancy, a fad."  Or, "I bought one last (fill in a calendar date) and I think they are great!"  No one wrote to say that they bought one and did not like it, quite the opposite. 

There were many reasons people liked the e-readers.   Take a look at the comments below and see if you agree, disagree, never thought of that or really just do not care. 

Some people said that the small size and being able to include 1,000 plus books was a big reason they liked theirs.  My wife included a couple of her thoughts…if it is windy outside, while reading, you don’t have to fight the wind to keep the pages from turning.  Also, bookmarks can’t fall out losing your place.  Since she has recently had wrist surgery she finds them lighter in weight and much easier to hold (or just laying it on the table to read is good for her). 

Others, like me, who are over 40, can change the font size to a larger or smaller size and even a different font if they wish.  That means that you may not need to use reading glasses to see the e-pages.

One very popular reason is: great convenience.  The convenience is you do not have to travel to the bookstore to get a new novel.  That would not influence my purchase of an e-reader since I love walking around a large bookstore and looking at all the available titles.

In closing, I have often heard that reflected light, like from a paper book, newspaper or e-ink (used with the Barnes and Noble Nook) is better for your eyes than direct light, say from a computer monitor or a color eBook reader shining into your eyes.  I checked with my eye doctor, Dr. Mary Alice Portillo, of Waynesboro, VA, for the validity of this thought. 

Dr. Portillo says that although the eyes are not negatively affected by either type of light, some people’s eyes become tired or more uncomfortable from the direct light of the computer screen.  However, it is really a personal preference for comfort.  So if you aren’t bothered by eye strain/stress from your computer screen, feel free to choose either type of e-book reader.

One last thought from me…I think these are some derivative of them are here to stay, these are not a passing fancy or a fad.  At least not for me since I bought my color Nook last week.

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