About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 15, 2013

2012 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

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

  • Google Calendar – This one comes with Gmail but it could be used as a good online calendar with many advanced features.
  • Microsoft – Everything Microsoft, software, hardware, Office, solutions, templates, etc.
  • Ninite – Pick your apps and click Get Installer to install all of your chosen apps in one step for your new/rebuilt Windows computer automatically.
  • Hotmail (slowly becoming Outlook), Gmail & Yahoo mail – The most popular online email services…including many other features.
  • OpenDNS -  Keeps your internet access safe and secure especially for families.
  • – A free site where you can learn about web coding, even if you are just starting out.
  • – If you want to buy it online you can most likely find it here.
  • Google Play – Where all of the "approved" Android apps are found.
  • Google, DropBox, PayPal – These are several of the many sites that offer Two-factor authentication for your security.
  •,, – The three local places around the web where you can read or listen to information from me, Double Clicks.
  • Ubuntu – A free operating system you can install on your computer to totally replace Windows. 
  • Sound Hound – The site for the iOS and Android app which identifies songs by "listening" to them.
  • Password Generator – Go there to get a randomly created password. Be careful since they will be totally unmemorable.  
  • Password Security – Check the strength of your password according to Microsoft.
  • Leet Speak Translator – Do not worry if you have no idea what this is.  Just find my article on it and learn about it first.
  • LastPass – One of the highest rated places for keeping your many, many passwords online.
  • KeePass – Ron’s highest rated applications for keeping your many, many passwords locally.
  • DameWare, Go to Assist, PC Anywhere, LogMeIn – Some of the more popular and more recommended support applications which allow you to log into another user’s system to help them.
  • Join Me -  The same as above but free and very easy to use.
  • Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Carbonite – These all provide online cloud storage for your important files.  Some are free and some are not.  I recommended Dropbox and Carbonite in my column.

I look forward to continuing the discussions about software, computers, the internet and all sorts of technology this year.  I hope that you, your families and friends have a great 2013 and continue to join me in the news, on the radio and on the web! 

January 10, 2012

2011 Sites in Review, Part 1

Thanks to all of you readers who support the "Double Click" column by reading and writing.  It is very much appreciated.  Please keep it up.  I always enjoy hearing from you.

So it is that time of year again when we review all of the sites I have mentioned over the previous year.  As always, have fun remembering, discovering, or rediscovering all the info!  If you prefer to click on links and not type all of these, visit the site and click away.

If the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the, "" app which I have discussed before.  All of these sites should be free (or have a free version) unless marked "nf".  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Open Office is a Microsoft Office clone that works almost as well.
  • Ubuntu a free operating system which you can run alongside of or instead of Microsoft Windows.
  • Ron’s video training I created a couple of videos for fun, it never went any further than these two…maybe one day.
  • Change your User Account Picture one specific Double Click training video.
  • VirtualBox an application that allows you to run multiple operating systems on one computer.
  • Open DNS the best app out there for blocking objectionable sites from the kids.  It is slightly complicated but at the top of the features pile.
  • Facebook you know about this one and if you don’t you won’t be interested.
  • Windows Live Essentials a free suite of applications which do many different things from Microsoft.
  • Create a Panorama an article I wrote for Microsoft about how to join individual pictures together to make a panoramic picture.
  • Double Clicks my site for this column.
  • eBay,,,, online tech stores, the sites are free but the stuff on them is nf.
  • Active KillDisk application to absolutely clean your disk of personal information and everything else.
  • True Crypt folder and/or file (and more) encryption software.
  • XOOM this is Motorola’s entrance into the PC Tablet market, it is a good one, but later in the year I show you the best (IMHO).
  •,,, 1Password are some of the password recording applications around, still I chose KeePass over the rest.
  • Open Wi-Fi leads to False Arrest an article showing why you should lock down your wi-fi network to stay out of jail.
  • Your Home Router ( or the IP Addresses that will most likely get you into your home router.
  • Nook Barnes & Noble’s ebook reader.
  • Project Gutenberg where you can download most any book that is not under copyright any longer.

OK, this took us through June, 2011.  Next week we will visit part 2 of last year’s links.

March 8, 2011

Virtual Box

Several weeks ago I mentioned a application when talking about Ubuntu called, VirtualBox.  I had a couple of people writing asking if there was a program like VirtualBox they could use to run Ubuntu, Windows XP or another operating system on their Windows 7 computer.

imageGuess what?  There is and it is called, "VirtualBox", ( the exact same program.  There are different downloads for Windows, Mac, Linux (Ubuntu) and Solaris (another free operating system) depending on which operating system your uses as its base system.

What VirtualBox does is really simple; however, how it does it is quite complicated.   This article may be for more advanced user so if you feel you are more advanced (not sure what the definition is) then read on.  If you do not feel you are a more advanced user, then come back next week for a more "universal" discussion.

Let us pretend that you run Microsoft Windows XP on your computer.  Over the past month or so you read my articles concerning Ubuntu and you would like to try it out.  You have run it off of a CD and found that it was a little too slow for you.  You would like to run it off of your actual computer to really find out how good/bad it is.  The other, currently more likely scenario is that you use Windows 7 on your system and you would like to run XP for some "trust issue".  Either way, VirtualBox,, is where you need to look.

As long as you have a licensed (if a license is needed although one is not needed for Ubuntu) installation disc of that additional operating system you can install it on your computer.  It will allow you to run that operating system on your computer while your original OS is also running.

Windows 7 running Ubuntu 10.10 in VirtualBoxAt present, VirtualBox runs on Linux (Ubuntu), Windows, , Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports the ability to run Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4, 2.6 and all Ubuntu like OS), Solaris, OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.  If you have never heard or do not care about any of the items mention in this paragraph re-read the last sentence in the third paragraph above.

Basically you start your computer as you normally would.  Next, you start VirtualBox and choose to run the OS you previously installed.  It will open a window that starts what looks like another computer running.  However, this window will be running the "other" OS.  If you go to I have posted a picture showing what it looks like when you are running Windows 7 as your host (native OS) and Ubuntu 10.10. The graphic is provided by with a couple of edits by me.

If you are looking for something like this, give VirtualBox a try.  There are several other free applications out there that offer almost identical features; however, this one is the easiest to set up and use…in my opinion.

[Screenshots are from]

February 1, 2011

Power of the Broom, Part 2

Last week I introduced you to Ubuntu which is a free operating system, but I asked you to wait until today before installing and running it on your computer.

Ubuntu is licensed as Open Source software, which means that it can be used, distributed, shared and edited by anyone, at no cost. Here are some of the other neat things that Ubuntu offers.

Let us pretend that you would like to try out Ubuntu but are a little apprehensive about installing it on your computer and then finding out that you hate it. Ubuntu has that situation well in hand.

Once you have downloaded it for free from “” and burned it to a CD (or ordered a free CD, they request a $10 donation) you can run it on your computer without installing it. That way you can see if you like it before it is installed. There are instructions on how to do all of this on the site. However, to run it from the CD, without touching your computer’s current system, get your computer to boot to the CD and choose to try it directly from the CD. This will give you the opportunity to see what it will look like and exactly how it will run – all from the CD. Once you remove the CD from your PC and restart your system it will run just like it did before you ever heard about Ubuntu.

imageI will tell you that it works great from the CD but it will be much faster and more efficient once it is installed. There is another option you can choose for installing this operating system. You can set it up to run alongside your Windows system. It will walk you through the set up, which takes about 15 minutes. When you reboot you will be asked if you want to start Windows or Ubuntu. This will allow you to use either system at your discretion.

I also mentioned last week that you get Firefox automatically installed. If you currently use Firefox you will see very little difference. If you don’t currently use FF…Why not? In my opinion it is far superior to any other browser software out there today. I have used it on windows for years and you can get it free at

The last thing I will mention today is that OpenOffice ( comes preinstalled with Ubuntu also. That means you get a word processor, electronic spreadsheet app and a presentation software that all mix seamlessly with Microsoft Office products. Not only do they blend with MS Office, you have almost the same functionality. This is also free!

This column was written and emailed to the DNR using Ubuntu. Did I mention it is free?

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