DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 16, 2017

Stalking Your Friends in a Good Way

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:06 am

Google has been letting their developers develop and I am glad.  They have come out with some great apps since 1998 when Google was founded.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  A company less than 20 years old and most everyone knows of it.  Did you realize that in 2002, the American Dialect Society chose it as the most useful word of the year?  In 2006 the Oxford English Dictionary as well as the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added it as a verb.  "Have you googled that?" is an actual, correctly structured question.  I think that is pretty significant.  But enough of my fan-boy infatuation – back to the story. 

They recently took an excellent app that most of us have used and added a feature that made it even better.  That app is Google Maps which is available in every platform.  It has apps for all of the smart phones made; Android, iPhone, Windows Phone even Blackberries have the app.  Along with the apps any platform that can access the internet can use maps.google.com and get the features too. 

The feature that has been added is called "Share Location" and has the "New" icon next to it, since it has just recently became available to the public.  Clicking on this feature will give you information; however, to set it up you must have a mobile device.  Go to this link (rd.dblclx.com/2q6A0pi) to see how to set it up on your device.  Before you start you need to check several things.  You both need a Gmail account, also they must be in your Google Contacts and of course, you must both have Google Maps installed on your device. 

Menu ItemsHow long to shareClick the Menu button in the map application then "Share Location" and click "Add People."  Now, select how long you want to share your location with them.  You get to choose from one hour, other increments and finally, "Until you turn this off."  That last one is for my family.  Once you have selected everyone you wish click, Share.

They will get a message that you want to share your location with them.  If they accept they can then choose to share their location with you if they wish.

After everyone has accepted once they log into Google Maps on their device or computer, click the menu button, Location Sharing and see a map with those that are sharing their location with you.   You can click on their name to get an update and a more localized map location on them.

Shared People with Ron

You may think that is a little creepy.  I told my friends about how my wife and I share our locations with each other and that is what they said.  But we like it.  That way she can check and see how close I am to home when coming in from work.  No calls need to be made to find out when I will be there.

Think too if you have a teenager, or the other end of the spectrum, an older grandparent.  If you want to keep up with their whereabouts this is an easy unobtrusive way to do so.  

If you are going to visit someone who may live far away you can share your location with them during your trip by using the "Share trip progress" feature. 

Creepy or not I think it is a great new feature from Google.

June 28, 2016

Have You Ever Considered Audiobooks?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:38 am

Have you read any good books lately?  I have and there are millions to choose from.  Today I have a recommendation: any book by Harlan Coben if you like a good mystery.  Start with his first, "Tell No One" and you will be hooked (rd.dblclx.com/28Vh6IA).  However, since I write about Tech, enough of the book reviews.

imageI love to read but I am on the road much of the time and it is really difficult to read while driving.  That being said I highly recommend audiobooks.  There are many services out there including a great one called, "Your Public Library," which has many audiobooks, including CDs and other formats.  The library system also is closely linked to Overdrive.com.  Overdrive’s is a global network founded in 1986 and includes more than 27,000 libraries and schools. Go to their site with a valid participating library card (most libraries participate but you can go to the site and see if yours does or ask your librarian) to check out books.  Once there you may check out eBooks or audiobooks for a fixed period of time, just like your library, for free. 

One of the biggest names in audiobooks is, "Audible" found at Audible.com.  These books are not free but if you are an avid reader of current authors try it out.  They have had a deal on it for quite a while with your first book being free then $14.95/month afterward for one book per month.  You can get most authors in a wide range of categories from adventure to science along with occasionally free mp3s.  The quality of these recordings is excellent.

 image

Another site that I endorse is Podiobooks, Podiobooks.com.  All of the audio books here are free, yes absolutely free.  However, I need to give you a couple of caveats. Most likely you will find authors there you have never heard of before.  These writers are just starting out or have written several books and not been published…yet.  Some of the books are excellent and some are so- so.  You can try any you like.

image

You will have to search for them by the types of books you are interested in.  I have found some excellent books at Podiobooks and some that I listened to for 20 minutes and then gave up.  They are all originally done as weekly/monthly podcasts, read by the authors.  Sign up with your email address to be notified each time another "chapter" has been posted to the site.  However, if you are like me and want an entire book right now, search for the "completed" books, download all of the podcasts at once and listen to them at your convenience.

Most of the books there are read by the author which I enjoy.  Again, like the books, some are excellent and some do not have the greatest voices.  So give it a try.  It is well worth the money!

If you have a long commute or a friend who likes to read but can’t see well enough to read any longer, these sites are a great way to go.

August 17, 2015

2015-08-17 Show Notes

Had several callers and lots of talk.  I hope you didn’t miss it.  WSVA has changed ownership and the new podcast format is not ready for prime time, so it is not currently available.  Hopefully next month. 

Enjoy the notes from today.

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.)
Aldiko Reader

This is, in my opinion, currently the best eBook reader for Android. Sorry only available for Android devices at this time.

It has many features that the biggies do not, go to the main website, aldiko.zendesk.com for the FAQ.

The one that I like most is that you can save and access the books you are reading via Dropbox. This allows you to start and stop on the same place in the book no matter which device you are reading from.

Also, it has many, many settings you can adjust to your liking.

One of the only Apps I say are worth paying the $3-$4 to have a premium license for extra features. That being said the freebie is excellent.


BookBub.com
How it works

Book Bub alerts you to limited-time free & discounted eBooks matching your interests. It’s free to join, you can read on any device, and the books are yours to own.

I got my email today and there were 9 books listed.  Two free and the rest from $2.99 to $0.99.  From Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, etc.


A caller asked today if it is possible to change the default search engine from Bing.com to Google.com.  It depends on several things but first is which browser you are using. 

If you are using the new W10 browser, “Edge”, go here, http://rd.dblclx.com/1UOyAbK.

If you are using another browser, say Chrome or Firefox, search for something similar to:

[change default search engine in “Windows 10” for Chrome browser] – do not include the square brackets.

You can also change your search engine for Cortana if you like speaking to your computer. Note: you must use the Chrome browser as your default browser for this to work. http://rd.dblclx.com/1IYEnnI


School Shopping is here and you always need something.  Use, “Retail Me Not” and save some big $$$, http://www.retailmenot.com/.

Basically, you can find discounts and coupons from all the major retailers around the country.  For instance, Kohl’s, Sears, JC Penney, GoDaddy, Wine.com, Disney are on there right now.


Invisible Hand is a browser add in that  discreetly notifies you if the product or flights you’re shopping for is available more cheaply from another retailer or travel site.

The notification provides a convenient button which links you straight through to the relevant page on the competing website. It also provides a drop-down menu, so that you can see the prices at the other sites which sell that product or flight.

http://www.getinvisiblehand.com/


Binder – The New Break Up App
telegraph.co.uk
Too scared to dump your significant other? Now there’s an app for that.

Tinder has helped many a lonely soul find love via their smartphone.

Now there’s an app that does the complete opposite.

"Binder" allows relationship-weary men and women to enter a partner’s gender, name and number and then, like the app that inspired it, swipe right to "bin" them.

The heartbreaker chooses a reason for binning their significant other, such as "It’s like I’m living in some sort of unwakeable nightmare", and they’re away. Within seconds, the unlucky soon-to-be ex then receives a rather indelicate text message and short pre-recorded phone call with one of a number of "hilarious" reasons for breaking up.


That is all from today’s show.  Please take a look at the suggestions above and see what you can find useful.

Join us next month on WSVA Radio (WSVAonline.com) for more.

Thanks,

Ron

May 12, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 2

Last week we started looking at spring cleaning your PC.  We will continue this week with monitors, notebooks and tablets.

Get a soft lint-free cloth.  Use a microfiber cloth like you could use to clean you glasses and maybe some Isopropyl alcohol. 

Do not get any abrasive cleaners, glass cleaners (including none of the blue glass cleaners), no online monitor cleaners no matter how good the price, dish detergent, (well maybe but more on that later) no water, or paper towels. 

Shiny new monitorFirst, and very significantly, disconnect ALL cables/wires, especially the power cable from your monitor.  Electrical shocks are not good for you or the computer!

Use your compressed air can mentioned last week and blow all of the grit and dust off of every part of your monitor.  Now use the microfiber cloth and clean the "glass" part first.  Wipe it well but lightly if there is something stuck to it or something that will not easily go away.  You can do the same with the exterior monitors of your notebook and/or tablet including the glass and Smart TV. 

If you have a spot or an area where you have a smear of something try this.  Get warm water and very lightly moisten one of your microfiber cloths.  You will need a dry one later to dry the surfaces.  Use the slightly moistened cloth and see if that takes care of it.  After it is clean use your dry microfiber to dry it all up.  It should not be a dripping mess with water running down the monitor, if so you could damage the monitor or notebook.  Be sure it is just moist, not wet. Do not spray the water on the monitor either.

But what if you have some real dirt buildup on the monitor, say something the warm moist cloth could not remove?  This calls for a nonabrasive dish detergent.  Dawn and Joy are often recommended.  Fill a cereal bowl with warm water.  Put in one drop of detergent and only one drop, not a squeeze.  Mix it together, slightly moisten the microfiber with the mixture and clean again.  Once you are done, rinse out the cloth very well with clean warm water and get all of the soap out.  Wring it out thoroughly and get as much water out of the clean cloth as possible.  Remember always moist never wet.  Use this cleaned cloth to wipe the gadget down to remove all soap.  Finally use your dry microfiber to buff off the monitor, tablet or Smart TV.  This last step should get rid of any dry swipe marks. 

Your last resort on a bad spot is Isopropyl alcohol.  Very lightly wipe and then dry with microfiber as before.

If you think you see me in a coffee shop using a napkin to clean my notebook…that is most definitely not me! 

November 11, 2014

That Really Bugs Me!

Well, I am going to my soapbox this week.  Being a nerd I get questions from people all the time asking for help on different things, which is fine.  I am always happy to give my two cents worth on technical issues.  But sometimes, when I am an unknown in stores, etcetera, I hear some things that really get my goat.

There was an example just this week.  I was in a very large, service oriented company doing personal business.  One of the guys on the phone was dealing with the customer.  He was apparently done with the conversation but the person on the other end was not. 

The employee told the person that his computer just stopped working and he had to reboot it and would call them back later.  He hung up and then dealt with the in store customer next in line.  Oh yeah, he never rebooted the computer since it was working perfectly.  I wonder if he even called them back, but that is just me. 

Blue Screen of DeathWhy blame the computer? It was a Windows 7 system which hardly ever needs a reboot.  I guess it is just a convenient excuse for his lethargy.  Yes, in the old days, computers were prone to the "blue screen of death" but that is no longer the case.

Something else bugs me on occasion.  I often hear people say, "This phone is stupid!"  However, keep in mind that inanimate objects cannot be stupid (personification).  They can be broken or not working as designed but not stupid. 

I have found that in most cases, the owner does not understand the functions of the phone.  It could be that the phone is an older worn out phone and just doesn’t work, but not in most situations.   

For instance, "My phone is just too loud; I can’t even hold it to my ear."  After about one second I hear the problem…they have the speaker on by mistake.  I show them how to resolve it and all is well, until they hit the speaker button during the next call. 

Phone issuesThen there is the old, "Most of the pictures my phone takes are blurry."  Several things can cause this; dirt, hand oil, makeup on the lens, etc.  A dry microfiber cloth will fix the problem.  Also, they may not have the auto flash on or the full time flash.  I always recommend using the flash as it will usually perk up pictures and fill in some shadows.  Without the flash indoors you may get yellow tints from the room lights, blurring, etc. 

How about this one, "That stinking auto correct is always making mistakes."  I have seen this, "Happy Birthday, my dead husband."  Uh, that should have been "dear" not "dead."  And of course this time of year many times Santa becomes Satan.  "Thanks, autocorrect!"  is a common utterance of many.

OK, this is the phone’s fault.  There is really no way around it other than to disable autocorrect on your phone or being very, very, careful before sending that message.

I am now off to eat some humans now…ah, that should have been hummus.

February 17, 2014

2014-02-17 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the February, 2014 podcast.  Listen to the podcast here and check out some of the sites we talked about below.  Have fun and let me know if you know of something you would like to hear about next month, on March 17, St. Patty’s Day, where I will be wearing my Doyle Tartan Kilt, to bad for you it is radio.

Tech News
The Bacon Bowl
It’s a question that veteran “As Seen on TV” marketer Scott Boilen asked when he was given the opportunity to introduce yet another bacon product to an already crowded marketplace. But Boilen couldn’t resist the invention, a simple gizmo that turns a few strips of bacon into an edible shell. And so the Bacon Bowl was launched by Boilen’s Allstar Products Group via a series of infomercials in late 2013.

In a brief period, Boilen’s New York-based company has sold more than two million units of the $10.99 bacon cooker, making the Bowl a success story potentially on par with the Snuggie, to name Boilen’s biggest “As Seen on TV” hit.


Chromecast by Double Clicks
Chromecast is another great inovation by Google. Get my take on it from a recent article.


NYPD using Google Glass as a crime fighting tool
Google Glass for NYPDTHE New York Police Department is taking a page out of the RoboCop playbook — outfitting cops with Google Glass so a suspect’s life story can flash right before their eyes.

Law enforcement sources told The New York Post department bosses bought a few pairs of the futuristic eyewear and are beta testing them with the hopes of using them out in the field.

“It’s in the early stages,” a source said of the NYPD’s use of the specs. “A handful of people are testing it out.” The high-tech glasses — which integrate a computerised interface into the wearer’s field of vision — could allow cops to instantly see a suspect’s arrest record, mugshot and other key information.


Before Target, they hacked the heating guy
One of the biggest known corporate breaches in U.S. history has been traced to the air-conditioning repairman.

Hackers first broke into Target’s TGT +1.49% network last year by stealing the login credential of a heating-and-air-conditioning contractor, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed Wednesday. The hackers went on to steal 40 million credit and debit card numbers.


There you go for this month. Again, check out the podcast and see if you agree or not with the “Police on Cell Phones” side-track from this morning.

Have a great day!

Ron

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