About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 11, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 4

Thanks for all of the emails I have received regarding the last few columns on applications and sites I use.

I will answer a few more questions today.

I am often asked how I check my email accounts.  Since I probably have many more than the average user I may operate a little differently than most folks.  For my main Gmail account I use the website and all is well.

Thunderbird logo

However, since I have email for testing, personal, work, columns, and purchasing I also like to keep them in one place so I only have to check one application.  Now this can all be done through Gmail but I prefer using a better (IMHO) application.  That application is Thunderbird ( which was created by Mozilla.  Mozilla is the same company that produced the Firefox browser.

Using Thunderbird I can have all of my email accounts in one location with separate inboxes for each.  It was quite easy to set up with only my email addresses and their corresponding passwords.  So if you have Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc. you can now view them all in one place with access to many advanced features the web sites do not have.

Evernote logoI get this question often from readers, "If you are out and think of something you want to write down or make a note of for later…where do you put it?"  I could be a wise guy and say take paper and pencil with you and write it down.  But unless you are my buddy Shannon you have a phone with you already so you are set.  There are many applications you can take notes with, Evernote ( being one of the leaders. However, the one I use I believe is even better and much more user friendly.   It is Google Keep ( and you can tell by its name who the company in charge is. 

Google Keep logo

With Keep you can, from your phone, tablet or computer, type in a note, create a list, add a photo, copy from a website and paste it in a note or even leave an audio message.  An audio message will be converted to a test message and both will be saved in Keep.  There are many other features that you should check out.  

Another neat feature is that you can set alarms for individual messages if you wish.  The alarms can be set for a date and time or even a location.  If you need to remember to take out the trash when you get home from work you can set your home location for a message to remind you.  If you need to do something at 10:43 AM next Tuesday, set a note with the alarm. 

We will start looking into Windows 10 toward the end of the month.  Keep sending in those W10 questions.

Windows 10 logo

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

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
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.

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.

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.

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.


May 6, 2014


I have mentioned OneNote by Microsoft several times in recent articles.  I have had many emails asking me to do an introduction column regarding this application.  So here it is.

In my opinion OneNote is one of the most overlooked and enigmatic applications in the Microsoft stables today.  MS has not mentioned it much until the last year or so and many people do not want to learn a new program.  However, if you gather information for columns, presentations, or thoughts for anything, OneNote could be your new best friend. 

image First off, you get OneNote from Microsoft.  It is available for most any platform that you have.  So you can install it on a PC, MAC, Android, iPhone, Windows phones, etc.  There is also an excellent version available on the web which will work in any browser.  To download it and learn more about it (I have covered only the tip of the berg) visit  Costs vary from free to whatever your Office version costs since it is part of MS Office.

OneNote uses an organizational process you may be familiar with. Picture a regular old spiral notebook like you used in school…well sort of.  Your notebooks consist of Sections and Pages.  For example, here is the way I use it for article research. 

I have one notebook labeled Columns.  This is where I keep research on articles I write.  I only have one notebook for my published articles; however, you can have as many notebooks in OneNote as you want – until you run out of space on your hard drive.  I then create a Section which is represented by a "tab" at the top of the notebook pages.  For example, for this article I have a tab titled "OneNote."  In that tabbed portion of my notebook I keep all of the information I have thought of and read about related to that tab. 

Next, I have created Pages which also have labels running down the right side of the notebook.  I have one labeled "Thoughts" which are the things I think about writing regarding OneNote.  I have another page titled, "Microsoft" which is information I have found about it at their site.    

When I am finished gathering information on a topic I open OneNote and write about what I have found.

OK, now for the best features of OneNote.  When I read a site that has information regarding something I want I can select text and drag it into a OneNote notebook page.  It copies it over exactly as it appears and adds a link to the webpage so that later I can click that link to return to the original site for more info.  Depending on which browser you use (everything is obviously built for Internet Explorer) you can send the entire webpage to OneNote.  This copies all of the text, graphics, and clickable links over, too. 

There is much more you can do with OneNote.  Along with typing you can draw diagrams, write in your own hand, insert spreadsheets or existing files, share notebooks for collaboration, email entire notebooks or just small portions, etc.  

If you gather anything for business or even recipes you find online you should really consider OneNote.  There are other similar apps online like Google Keep and Evernote but in my opinion none of them compare to the features available in OneNote. 

May 1, 2012

Android Apps, Part 2

Last week I wrote about some of the Android apps I use on my tablet and phone.  I asked you to let me know if you liked what you read.  If so, I would add to the list.  First, thanks for all the comments and second, here are the next ones in my list.

Also, keep in mind that all of the apps I mention here today can be easily found at Play Google using your Android device(s).  If you want to check them first on your computer go to, where you may also install them on devices from your PC.

To review, we covered these last week: Nook for Android, Barcode Scanner, Bible, Evernote, Facebook, Fox News, Moon+ Reader Pro and Office Suite Pro.

Here is the next batch.

Google Reader – This is one of my favorites. It allows you to keep up with all the latest news and information which interests you through RSS feeds.

Seesmic – This is for Twitter and Facebook reading, updating, etc.  It was one of the first. The market says it is still one of the best of these types of apps.  If you use both of these social networks it is good to have them in one place for access.

Soundhound – You are anywhere and hear a song.  You want to know what it is since it brings back fond memories or you want to buy it.  Within a few seconds this app identifies that song! Of course it gives you the lyrics, album cover and where to purchase it online along with other info about it, once the song is found.

StumbleUpon – this is one of the easier ways to discover new and interesting things from across the Web.  Tap the "Stumble!" button or add categories that intrigue you to discover photos, videos, web pages and more.  They are from recommendations of people sharing your interests.

TV Listings – This one’s function should be obvious.  There is also TV Guide; however, I prefer the way this looks.

USA Today – another news magazine app which keeps you up-to-date on their version of the news.  I like the Tech section best.

Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia containing more than 20 million articles in many languages.  Great informational data; however, it can be written and edited by most anyone online, so I don’t recommend it for concrete proof of anything. 

WordPress – this is for only the truly geeky of us out there.  If you have a WordPress blog you can use this app to write new posts, edit content, and manage comments on your site.

Yahoo! Sportacular – for those of you who know me well you may be amazed that I mention anything to do with sports; however, I do have a passing interest in some.  This app allows me to watch the sports and teams which interest me with as much or as little info as I want.

Keep those cards and letters coming! (Ok, emails.)

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