About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 16, 2016

Live Writer by Any Other Name

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:47 am

Several years ago I wrote an article about a specific piece of software which was for a specific group of people.  I did not think it would be very popular; however, I received a large number of emails regarding that software. 

There have been some major changes regarding "Windows Live Writer" so I thought it was time to revisit this great app…or the lack thereof.

Windows Live Writer was part of a Microsoft Suite of products called "Windows Live Essentials" and all components could be installed with one file.  Microsoft created Live Writer for posting to your own blog many years ago.  If you are a blog owner who uses a WordPress site I highly recommended this for you.  It is much easier to create pages, posts, etc. for your WordPress site using Live Writer.

However, just like Google, in 2012 Microsoft decided to no longer support any of the Essentials programs.  So I guess they were not so essential.

You can still find it on the Microsoft site for download; but it is exactly the same as it was in 2012.  The web changes a lot and so should the way you maintain your site.  Other than possible security issues with old software you may not be able to perform some new functions. 

WordPress is a content management system for building websites.  I use it on all of mine, including  It is so popular that as of a few months ago it was found that WP is used by 59.5% of all the websites who use content management systems.  This is 26.6% of all websites.  That is a lot of websites!

So you can still get Live Writer but it is outdated, what to do? 

This post in Open Live WriterEnter the new kid on the block "Open Live Writer."  Open LW was created from the original LW code.  Several Microsoft employees who loved LW got together.  They asked for, got permission from MS to proceed and took over development for LW.  They then changed the name to Open Live Writer.  Since December, 2015, you can now get this free application from

It is every bit as good as the original which seems obvious since it started life as the same application.  It is actually getting much better than the original since the developers really care about improving it.  They have added several new features but to be honest the one I like the best is a Spell Checker which MS put off for years.

So if you do not have your own WordPress site you can skip through this article pretty quickly.  But if you do you should definitely use Open Live Writer as, IMHO it is much better than the default editor in WordPress.

Happy posting!

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.

February 5, 2013

Browser Tricks, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:22 am

I have a couple of tricks for your browsers today.  These questions came in emails from Ivan and a couple of other readers recently.  Today we will look at some of them.  Please remember to send me your questions because I like to write about some of them from time-to-time.

First, Ivan asked about putting website links on his desktop.  I know many people use bookmarks in their browsers but apparently some like Ivan and me enjoy a few on our desktops.  There are several ways to do this; however, I like the easy way so here it is…

Open your browser and go to the site you would like to save to your desktop.  Make sure your browser is sized so that you can see your desktop (best to the left of the browser window).

Icon on address barDirectly to the left of "http://" in the URL you will see a small icon for the site, a  globe or some other small placeholder.  Left click on that icon and drag it to your desktop.  There you go; you now have an icon on your desktop for that site.  Close your browser and double click on the icon to test it out.  You should go directly to the page you were on.

For the more adventurous of you try right clicking on the icon and select properties.  Click on the tabs and look around.  You will find a place to change the icon, (graphic) the web address, the text on the link and a couple of other items.  Go ahead and try. If you really mess it up you can just delete it and create it all over again.

Next is one that I just found out about a week or so ago and have been using very often.  I might call this one, "The Super Browser Trick."

Have you ever been browsing the web and just wanted to take a quick note?  You may open Notepad, WordPad or even Word to type it in.  This could take a lot of time – minimizing and clicking, so it would be neat if you could just type a note in your browser and save it for later.  Well, you can!

Copy this exactly, "data:text/html, <html contenteditable>" except DO NOT include the quote marks. Do include all of the other characters and symbols.  Paste the text you copied into your browser’s address bar and press the, "Enter" key on your keyboard.

You will now be presented with an empty white page.  Click on the page and start typing all the notes you like. Hopefully you are using a tabbed browser and can click back and forth from one page and back to this one to write ideas.  You can also copy text from another site and go back and paste it in this page.  Once you are done and want to save the notes, you can.  Depending on which browser you use, find the "Save" command in its menu and save the file.  You cannot save it by dragging the icon to the desktop as we discussed before.

This was created by a developer named Jose Jesus Perez Aguinaga.  Finally, I have read it works in all browsers except Microsoft Internet Explorer.  I have found it very useful in Firefox and Google Chrome; however, like they say, it will not work in MSIE for me.

April 5, 2011

Windows Live Essentials

Last week I mentioned that Family Safety is one of the applications you get if you choose to install Windows Live Essentials (WLE). Here is a very short description of all the apps which come with a full installation of WLE. If any of them sound appealing try it, if not ignore them.

First go to “,” scroll down the page and click, “Windows Live Essentials” then you will be taken to the main page. Here you will see each of the applications available and a short blurb on each.

Explore Windows Live Essentials

Messenger is Microsoft’s “chat” or messaging client which is used to send text messages in real-time to other people who are online. They can be online via either their computers or phones.

Live Photo Gallery allows you to edit photos, share those photos, and even movies, online. I wrote an article for Microsoft last year about using Photo Gallery to create panoramas at

Movie Maker is a neat little app that will let you take your digital pictures and turn them into a movie with music, sound effects, and transitions. You can also do a little movie editing and publish them online. I have used this along with other programs to create a couple of YouTube videos. Search there for “dblclx” to find them.

Next is Live Mesh which I have written about several times over the past three years. It provides “cloud” storage and auto-backup capabilities for your files.

Live Writer is a program mainly for bloggers and there is Family Safety, both of which I have covered in detail over the past several months.

Live Mail is the replacement program for Outlook Express. It is a good application for email. I highly recommend it if you don’t have Outlook or Thunderbird already in place for your personal email access.

The last four parts of Live Essentials are really just add-ons for other programs. First is Messenger Companion, which adds a couple of extra features to Messenger’s chat program. The most appealing one gives you the ability to add comments directly from within Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE). I am not an online “chatter” so I have not really used this other than to test for a short period. The second add-on is Bing Bar which adds a toolbar to MSIE for searching, checking your email, etcetera while surfing the web.

Finally, the last two are Outlook Connector Pack and Silverlight. The connector pack allows you to add, email accounts and Messenger to the full version of Outlook. Silverlight is an add-on which allows special video, audio and/or interactivity to be run on your MSIE browser. Silverlight is worthwhile if you go to a site requiring it. However, so far it isn’t widely accepted throughout the net-world.

Note: When you start the install for WLE select the link that says, “Choose the programs you want to install.” You can then select ANY of the above applications. If you choose the other link you will install all of the applications on your system.

November 30, 2010

Live Writer

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 5:11 am

Several weeks ago I was talking to one of my old friends, Mitch.  Mitch and I first met many years ago when I was teaching a computer course he took at Massanutten Technical Center.  We later became friends as a result of our mutual appreciation for cigars and computers.

He was saying that he has created a blog that had 10,000 views as of November 9th.  We proceeded to talk about blogging and some of the tips and tricks of the trade.  He supplied me with many.
He mentioned that it was very hard to post to his account, "Heritage Basket Weaving & Chair Caning.”  He told me how difficult it is to add new posts to his blog using the WordPress Dashboard and I agreed.  The geek in me knew a better way.

Microsoft created a tool for posting to your own blog several years ago called "Live Writer." If you are a blog owner I highly recommend it to you.  It is actually a portion of a larger MS suite called "Windows Live Essentials."  You can find out all about it at the MS site, or you may search for it using its name.

At this time there are a total of 11 applications which may be installed with Live Writer. You may find some of them to be beneficial.  After you download the small installer file from the site and you are ready to install "Live Essentials" select, "Choose the programs you want to install."  If you choose the other option you will install all 11 applications which include Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety (good if you have little ones in the house who are sometimes online), and Live Mail to name a few.  Most of them are excellent apps but you may not need them all.

If you are a blog owner you know the hassle it can be to post using the dashboard but with the writer application it is much, much easier.  There are a few setup questions to get started but after that you will be on posting "easy street."  I use "Live Writer" to post all of my articles to the Double Clicks site and you know me…all of these apps are free.

imageYou can add graphics (just like the one on the left) to your blog just by pasting them where you want them.  You can easily resize them and place them on the page.  The text will appear exactly as you put it on the page and not "jump" around after your post is online.  Another very useful feature is that you can write the post and tell it a time to actually put it on your site, whether it is hours, days, weeks or even longer.  There are a number of other great features included in the application.

I found after an article several weeks ago that there are a lot of you out there blogging.  If you are a blog owner you simply have to try this out.  I am sure you will not be disappointed.

As always, if you try it, let me know how you like it.

This column in Live Writer, click to view lareger size.

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