DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 14, 2017

Secret Surfing, Part 1

What is “Private Browsing?” is a question I receive from time-to-time.  People write that they were looking around in their browser and saw it.  In Google Chrome the same thing is named “Incognito Mode.”  In Internet Explorer, it is “InPrivate Browsing” and others have slightly different names.

The Private browser settings are sometimes referred to as “Porn Browser Mode.”

What does Private Mode/Browsing do that normal browsing does not?

Incognito Mode SpyIt does not keep any trace of you on your computer or any website.  When you surf in normal mode everywhere you go is recorded in your browser’s history.  That way you can go back to your history and look where you have been.  This is good if you know you went to a site last week but cannot remember its name.  Search your history and you can go right back to the same page.

Cookies are not stored in private either, so your search information and sites visited are not stored for other sites to pull from your computer to send back info on which news sites you read, where you do all of your online shopping, etc.  When using private mode, it is as if you were never online.  Well, up to a point but more on that next week.

However, there are many other useful reasons you may want to practice it at times.

Setting Google Chrome for IncognitoIn the majority of browsers to open a window in “Private” look to the upper right of the browser and click the gear or three-dot icon.  This is where you get to all of the settings in your browser.  Then look for the private mode.  For instance, in Chrome click the three dots in upper right then choose “New incognito windows.”  You may also utilize the shortcut keys of “Ctrl + Shift + N.”  Once in the private/incognito window you will see some sort of label showing you that your browsing is secret.  In Chrome an icon of a man in a hat with glasses will be in the upper left corner.  All browsers are slightly different so search online for how to set it up and what is displayed on yours.
What other more respectable reasons should you want to use it?  First, pretend you are shopping online for a gift for your significant other, or someone else who may use your computer occasionally.  You search for a “Thingamajig 123” in the regular browsing window.  You find it and read all about it.  Well, cookies from that site will be saved to your browser.  When the other person opens that browser minutes, hours or days later and searches in Google, guess what?  Ads for a “Thingamajig 123” will appear in Google so you are given away.  Cookies are shared from site to site so that is why you see advertisements for things you have been looking for.  It seems spooky until you realize why.

Next week more reasons you may want to consider Secret Surfing.

January 31, 2017

Facebook Safety, Part 2

A long time ago (on the “feels like index”) last year we looked at some Facebook security settings you should check on your account.  If you need a refresher on what I said go here, rd.dblclx.com/2hVbumC, to take a look again.

Today we will take a look at some of the personal things you need to think about before sharing.  First, I will mention your kids, grandkids, you know those little people in your family.  I cannot encourage you enough to not post many pictures of your kids.  You may think they are innocuous and cute but you may be giving away a lot of information. Especially over time.  Take the family whose young son was kidnapped.  They had only posted pictures about him on FB and other sites for his first few years of growing up.  The first day to school.  Many little league shots.  They mentioned a couple of his great teachers in elementary school.  Mom talked about how Wednesdays she had worked out at the local gym with pics of her friends and herself. Over time the kidnapper found out, even though it was never specifically mentioned, the boy’s school, his grade level, what position he played on the team, what days/times he practiced, his friends, his mom and her friends and where he was supposed to go on Wednesdays after school.  Put it together and you know how that worked.  Be very, very careful what you are posting.

Next, do not accept friends you do not know.  Many people are just selling you stuff on FB and will blanket as many people as they can for friend requests.  When you accept, you and all of your friends can be blasted with offers.  Use common sense, if you do not know or remember their names they are not quite up to being a "friend" anyway.  If the guy is from Gondwanaland and you do not know anyone there – ignore him, you will not hurt his feelings.

Keep in mind that if you secure your Facebook site to not allow anyone but friends to see your posts that is good.  However, their friends can see their comments on your posts and their friends can see theirs and on-and-on.  Your posts can end up anywhere.

Now time for one of the biggest no-nos.  Never, never post pictures or talk about your vacation until you are back.  Why?  Because there are sites out there that just look for people talking about  being away from home so that the nefarious bunch out there can remove your TVs, motorcycles or anything else in your home while you are away.  At one time, there was a site, "PleaseRobMe" that had a search going on Twitter and Yelp, letting burglars know what houses were empty.

The last concern is not just limited to what you post on FB, Twitter and Yelp.  Think about when you are out and publicly post about a great restaurant you are at, or how you are meeting some old friends for bowling…or whatever.  You are letting the world know you are out and where you are.  Be safe out there, would you? 

January 24, 2017

2016 Sites in Review, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:42 am

This will be the last week of our look back at the links we talked about in 2016.  After that we get back on track with more good tech news and information.  So here we go with the October through the end of the year columns. 

  • OneNote.com, one of the best (secondary) applications that Microsoft has ever come up with.  If you are researching, planning or taking any type of notes you should check it out.  Online and downloadable versions are available and it comes pre-installed on Windows 10. 
  • Google Keep, keep.google.com – This is a great note-taker for short notes where you can set alarms for times and locations if you also use it with your phone and PC. 
  • iTunes.com, Apple’s music player app and you know it well if you have an iPhone or most any of the other Apple products.  You can also use it on a PC for your music.
  • Amazon.com, Hulu.com, and Netflix.com, three of the most popular video streaming apps/sites for TV shows and movies…current ones, some in the past and some only produced at those sites.  
  • RevoUninstaller.com, a much better program uninstaller for your PC than has ever come built into Windows.  It has extras, too, and I have actually bought this one (you know how I do not like to spend $.) 
  • WinDirStat.net, a program that searches and tracks your hard drive usage helping you decide what you may be able to remove.  Sorts your files by size, number and type.
  • Microsoft Games, rd.dblclx.com/2evl0en – Yes, they make games also and not just for Xbox.
  • Steam, steampowered.com – Probably one of the largest gaming sites out there, some free, some not so shop around.
  • Duolingo.com, a site where they say you can learn a language (choose from over 20) in just a few minutes a day. 
  • MultCloud, multcloud.com – First make sure you spell it correctly, there it is no "I."  This site allows you to combine all of your online cloud storage areas in one site.  Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. All there.
  • The following are silly, unimportant, and relaxing sites. (I posted these after the 2016 Presidential Election).  Take a look at them and see what they do or look back at the November columns and read about them first. Akinator – en.akinator.com, MyFridgeFood.com, Rock-Paper-Scissors-Game.com, WeirdorConfusing.com, PointerPointer.com, ThisIsSand.com, TheInternetFireplace.com, GeoGuessr.com, YouTube.com and hmpg.net.
  • Here is a list of some reputable online sites for purchasing… well just about anything.  I am sure you have heard of them all before.  Audible.com, Ebay.com, Overstock.com, NewEgg.com, PayPal.com, VistaPrint.com, Blinq.com and ShopGoodwill.com.
  • Facebook.com, you know the site and basically what it does.  Last year we looked at some of the security settings you should check on your account.  Next week we continue looking at that topic.  Go here to review with that column, rd.dblclx.com/2hVbumC.  

January 17, 2017

2016 Sites in Review, Part 2

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:30 am

Today I will continue with the start of the 16th year of "Double Click" by providing more of last year’s links. If you missed it last week and would like to catch up use the following link to start at the beginning: rd.dblclx.com/p1-2016. If the site addresses are too long for print, as the previous one, I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app. The links are preceded by "rd.dblclx.com" followed by various letters and numbers. Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites. By visiting DoubleClicks.info you can click the links and go directly to the sites.

Let us begin in order of appearance.

  • Leoh Chrome Extension, leoh.io – a good looking new tab page for your Chrome browser (only), pictures, time, weather, links, etc. with a new picture every time you open a new tab in the browser.
  • Google Maps (maps.google.com) and My Activity on Google (myactivity.google.com) both by Google, both of these are excellent apps. If you have an Android phone or log into a Chrome browser, they will not do much. But if you do, check My Activity and see what they have on you.
  • Google Opinion, rd.dblclx.com/GoogleOpinions – make a little pocket money that you can spend at the Google Play store by answering questions.
  • Open Live Writer, OpenLiveWriter.org – an excellent replacement for the defunct Windows Live Writer (for writing in your WordPress sites), maintained by the same developers.
  • DoubleClicks.info – you know this is my site, come on out and explorer (shameless ad).
  • Unlocker, rd.dblclx.com/unlocker192 – unlocks and allows you to delete those stubborn files that are supposedly in use by another application.
  • Google Duo, play.google.com – found in the Play Store is a decent, newer app that is a communication app by you-know-who.
  • Facebook Messenger, found directly from your phones FB app or your phone’s store. A much better communication app that Google Duo and I am not even a fan of FB but I am of this app.
  • Ninite.com – a site you should use when you set up your new computer which allows you to get many of the free programs you may want in install and more.
  • Google.com/Chrome and FireFox.com – my two favorite browsers in order of preference.
  • Libre Office, libreoffice.org – a free Office Suite which is just about as good as Microsoft Office but free.
  • CCLeaner and Defraggler, piriform.com – two great utilities for your Windows computer and others at the site.
  • Malwarbytes, malwarebytes.com – the malware fighter no computer should be without.
  • VLC, videolan.org – the best video and audio player out there which is far superior to your computer’s default player.
  • Dropbox, rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox – in my opinion this is currently the best cloud file storage out there.
  • Thunderbird, rd.dblclx.com/1ejd3ax – a great free mail application which I prefer over MS Outlook which you will have to pay for.

Last year contained a lot of places to check online so next week we will have a final look at the last of them. See you then!

January 10, 2017

2016 Sites in Review, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:06 am

Welcome to the start of the 16th year of "Double Click."  Thanks so much for reading the hundreds of articles that I have spun up over this time.  Thanks also for the emails I continue to receive regarding every one.  It is very much appreciated so keep them coming. 

This January (as every year) I will be reviewing the sites I wrote about during the previous year.  If the site addresses are too long for print I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app.  The links will be preceded by "rd.dblclx.com" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites.  If you visit DoubleClicks.info you can click the links and go directly to the sites.

So, here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Instance Mail, InstanceMail.com – a place to get a temporary email address, use once and toss it.
  • GO Contact Sync Mod, googlesyncmod.sourceforge.net – the best Google/Outlook Calendar syncing program I can find since the demise of the original Google app.
  • Dropbox, rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox – yes, that same old name I talk about every year.  But if you want to store files online (the Cloud) this is my recommendation.
  • Preventing Windows 10 Updates, rd.dblclx.com/1XpVqHN – MS changes their pages often, this is now for preventing driver updates but was originally for stopping W10 from updating.
  • Google Maps, maps.google.com – the name says it all for this great map app. 
  • Waze, waze.com – the name does not say it all for this one but in my opinion, it is an even better map application than Google Maps; even though they are both owned by Google.
  • Two apps that disappeared in 2016, Google’s Picasa photo editor/viewer and Copy.com a competitor to Dropbox, both are greatly missed.
  • VideoLAN, videolan.org – the best free video player application out there.  I recommend it over the built-in video viewer in Windows 10.
  • What if you do not upgrade, rd.dblclx.com/stopW10 – one of the guesses made as to what would happen if you did not take the Windows 10 free upgrade?  In reality nothing much, you can still get it but you will not be continually bothered by pop ups nagging you to do so.
  • Startup Delayer, rd.dblclx.com/startupdelayer – you can use this app to delay apps which start in the background when you power up your computer.  It could make it boot much more quickly.
  • KeePass, keepass.info and LastPass, lastpass.com – These are both good password keepers or vaults.  I use Keepass for my main password vault; however, LastPass seems an easier choice for many and has many extra features. 
  • Avast!, avast.com – one of my past favorite free (and paid version also) antivirus applications.
  • Avast Clear, rd.dblclx.com/avastuninstaller – this is a link to software you may need if you try to totally uninstall Avast from your computer. Sometimes any of the antivirus apps can be hard to uninstall.
  • Audible, audible.com and Podiobooks, podiobooks.com – these are two audiobook sites for those of you who may have a longer trip to work than most, or are traveling on a trip.  They give you the opportunity to listen to a book.  Audible, not for free, has the most recent titles out.  Podiobooks has authors who have not yet been discovered so you may find a great unheard of author.

See you next week for the last half of 2016 in review. 

December 20, 2016

Facebook Safety – Part 1

I have a few suggestions this week of a few steps you may want to take to make your Facebook account a little more secure.  Just think if someone took over your Facebook account which has been known to happen to people in recent times.  To your friends, it may appear that you have starting posting very inappropriate comments and/or pictures on your account. 

First, I will be giving these settings as they are on a computer.  Yes, you may also get to these settings from a tablet or phone.  However, it is my belief that it is much easier to make settings and entries from a larger screen, the choice is yours.  Also, note that some of these settings may be slightly different on different devices.

Privacy ShortcutsGo ahead and open up Facebook in your browser of choice.  In the upper right corner look for the lock with three lines next to it.  When you hover over it you will see "Privacy Shortcuts." Click it.   There are basically three settings you can work with under "Privacy Checkup." 

Privacy Checkup

First, Posts.  Here you should choose who you want to be able to view your posts.  You can easily choose between the Public, your Friends (you have friended in FB) and Only yourself.  Why you would choose only you could see your posts I have no idea, but it is available.  Next, are Apps.  If you have ever used FB to log into a game it will be listed here. So, if you stopped playing a particular game or no longer wanted to be associated with it you can again choose who can see your scores.  I set it for just me or the "Only Me" option. 

Privacy Checkup Options

The next option is for your Profile which is very important.  Here you can decide who to allow to see very personal things.  First your phone number may be listed here if you gave it to FB when you set up the account.  If you did add your number here you can choose who can see it.  Again, that is either the public, your friends on FB or yourself…yeah go figure on that last one.  As with  all of the choices you can customize it to allow separate groups to see your information, not just the general three choices.  Other items in your Profile area are Email, Birthday and Hometown and who gets to see them. 

Last you can click either Finish Up which is self-explanatory or My About Page.  Clicking on the My About Page link will show you what people can see from your Profile in Facebook.  You can make other adjustments from there if you see changes that need to be edited. 

More next week and have a very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

November 15, 2016

Take a Chill Pill Folks

I have decided to not mention you know…that which has been going on in our country lately that shall not be named.  To relieve some of the stress out there I have decided to give you a few fun sites to visit on the web that may put a smile on your face.

Visit the AkinatorFirst off is one of my favorites, “Akinator” found at en.akinator.com.  To use the site, think of a character, alive, dead, fictional historical, etc.  The only requirement is that they are known to the general public.  Fill in your age, why I have no idea, think about your character and start answering questions.  Today I tried Abraham Lincoln and Peter Pan.  Akinator got them both in (a guess here) less than 15 answers. Give it a try and do not worry.  Although it may seem like it, it is not magic or mindreading but a really well done algorithm   and database combination.  Just the miracle of computing quickly.

Next is one that may be useful for some of you but I think funny, MyFridgeFood.com.  Go to the site and check off the items you have in your refrigerator.  Now click the, “Find Recipes” button and you have a list of dinners to make.  To be honest I tried it and occasionally it will add a general item I did not list, but still interesting.

How about Rock-Paper-Scissors-Game.com.  The name says it all, click the one you want and keep a running total.

How about a handy app that will clean the inside of your computer’s monitor?  Try sanger.dk.

Do you like to shop on Amazon.com and sometimes run out of ideas for gifts?  Go to WeirdOrConfusing.com.  Every click of the. “Please” button will take you to Amazon to show you something – you guessed it, weird or confusing.  How about trying to bounce a few cats at cat-bounce.com.

SNAGHTML1c00a3ef

Try PointerPointer.com and no matter where you hold your mouse pointer someone will find it and point at it.  Now that everyone is pointing your way show them some art. Go to ThisIsSand.com and make some sand art.  It will give you a few easy instructions when you enter the site, make sure to read them on your first visit.  Now create!

image

Would you like to watch a movie by a cozy fire but you do not have a fireplace, try TheInternetFireplace.com.  How about seeing if you can tell where a picture was taken?  Go to GeoGuessr.com and with Google Maps try the single player mode.  The closest I got was about 700 miles.

There are always funny cat videos on YouTube.com, but I am sure many of you have already seen them all.

Finally, and only try hmpg.net last.  Warning only use this site if you are absolutely finished.  Now I bet for a little while you have forgotten all of that stress.

October 25, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 4

Well I need to start with an “Oops” this week.  Last week’s article included an incorrect statement and if you looked for the software in the link provided you would not find Revo Uninstaller.  I stated incorrectly that Revo was by the same company as CCleaner.  This is not correct and I even knew better but my fingers were out of control as I typed.  Of course, I could have been checking to see if you were reading closely…some of you were.

Revo Uninstaller can be found at RevoUninstaller.com; whereas, CCleaner is still found at Piriform.com.  I apologize.

One more useful utility is WinDirStat (windirstat.net).  We will all one day read a message on our PC that says something like, “You are running out of disk space.”  You have cleaned out all the files you can find and still need more space.  Run WinDirStat and it will give you a colorful graphical interface letting you know where your files are located all by size.  So with some clicking and determination you can hunt down and remove worthless files you no longer need.  PLEASE be careful as you could also delete something quite important too.

Below is a WinDirStat representation of all the files on my computer. I can hover my mouse over an area to see information about those files down to an individual file.

WinDirStat Representation of Ron's Files

This will be the last article in this series regarding apps you may want/need to add to a Windows PC.  That being the case I will close with a look at a couple of fun applications.

Windows 10 Games...these are FREE

There are many games made by Microsoft for Windows 10.  But of course, Solitaire which Microsoft came out with over 26 years ago, is the original with the Windows Operating System.  It was originally created to make people more comfortable with two new things that were spreading across the world.  The PC and the Mouse.  It went on fairly unchanged until Windows 8 changed it by requiring you to purchase it to remove ads.  It has become bigger, brighter, and has more versions of the game.  Microsoft has many, many games that you can try out in Windows 10 by going to rd.dblclx.com/2evl0en.

 

SteamNext up, if you like video games you already know about Steam but if not here you go.  Visit Steampowered.com to see the hundreds of games available.  Many of them you have never heard of and many you may have played in the past (Counter Strike, Half-Life, Far Cry) on a game system or PC.  There are all types of games available too, adventure, roleplaying, racing, sports strategy and more.  Prices of games range from free to $25.  There are also a few game creation tools available if you are the inventive type.  New games roll out from Steam too.  Maybe you can meet me online sometime playing, “Star Trek Online” (a freebie of course). To play Steam games you must download a large application to run the games and then each individual game so make sure you have time to wait when you first set it up.

duolingo.comIf games are not your “thing” how about learning a new language with Duolingo?  You can use it either online at Duolingo.com or download it as an application to Windows (Android and iPhones too).  To be honest I have tried it out but do not use it regularly since I do not have the time or want to take the effort to learn a new language now.  But when I do I will definitely use Duolingo to do so.

August 30, 2016

Now You Can Delete That File

It hit me the other day that I have been remiss in sharing a great application with you.  I have been using it for well over five years and have never mentioned it.  So here we go today.

If you have used a Windows PC regularly for more than a few weeks you have run into this issue.  You know the frustrating feeling you get when you go to delete a file, group of files or a folder and you cannot.  You will get some type of notification telling you that it cannot be deleted.  You can right click, delete or try selecting it and pressing your delete key or even dragging it directly to the recycle bin, but it just does not matter.

Sometimes the notice will inform you that another program is using it, there is a sharing violation, etcetera.  You can try my old standby trick to delete them.  Wait for a few minutes and try to delete them again.  Sometimes, but rarely, this will work.

This is usually caused by some other program using the file for some known or unknown reason.  For instance, I have had the issue when working on a Word file typing a document.  I did not need the file and went to delete it from my computer.  It gave the notification that it was being used by another application.  I searched and found, yes, I left it open in Word and did not close the file.  In that case it makes sense and once I close the Word program, the file is released and then can be deleted.

However, way too often for me, I cannot figure out what has the file under its control.  I can look and search and cannot find why the stinking file will not go away!

Now for the application I mentioned earlier.  It is appropriately enough named “Unlocker.” It does just that.  If you have a file/folder that needs to be removed and you cannot delete it, Unlocker will.    After it is installed you will have a new command available when you right click on a file that says, “Unlocker.”  Click it and choose between “No Action,” “Delete,” “Rename” or “Move.”  Choose the one you want to use, usually Delete, and click OK.  It will work for a few seconds and either delete it or ask you if you would like it deleted the next time you start your computer.

You can download it from MajorGeeks here, “rd.dblclx.com/unlocker192.”  Oh, did I mention that it is free?  So it will not delete any money from you.

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July 26, 2016

Make Money with Google?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:37 am

Well, after the turmoil I created worrying you about Google watching you online last week, today you can get’em back! 

I thought today I would show you how to make some money off of Google.  Now be warned.  You will not be able to quit your job or buy a new car but you can make a couple of bucks when you have a minute to kill.

Google Opinion Rewards logoI started using Google Opinion Rewards about two weeks ago (rd.dblclx.com/GoogleOpinions).  I saw a write up on it from an RSS feed about Google which I receive every day.  I thought hmm, sounds like fun. So I gave it a try.

The way it works is occasionally you will get a survey on your Android device, sorry not for any other devices at this time.  For me the survey is usually about something I have never heard of.  I got one asking if I had read a specific magazine in the past week.  Easy answer since I had never heard of the magazine.  It then asked only two more follow up questions.  When I finished it added $0.34 to my Google account. Of course, it is not money to spend anywhere but at the Google Play store for apps, books and movies provided by Google.

The surveys are very consistent never having more than five or six questions and many have less than that.  Being so short you can take one in much less than a minute.  The app write-up says you will get one or more a week.  I got seven the first week, a few more the second week and this week (two days in) I have gotten none. 

Google Opinion RewardsThe questions also interested me concerning the article I wrote last week.  If you did not see it and are interested find last week’s newspaper or visit DoubleClicks.info.  One question I was asked sounded something like, "Have you been to a Honda, Ford, GM or Nissan dealership recently?"  Interestingly, three days before I had been to one of those dealers to have my car repaired.  I responded affirmatively and then it wanted to know how many days before I had gone.  The options were all less than a week except the last one which was, "More than 1 week."

From the information I told you about last week we know that Google knows where I went from my phone.  They previously knew I was at the dealership via that device.  My thought was, "Interesting, they are checking to see if I am honestly taking the survey or not."  They have not asked anything about how much I paid or what something cost.  They are very general questions.

Now what you have all been waiting for…how much money has Ron made with this thing?  OK, first the least money I have made for a survey was $0.10.  The most I made was $0.63.  And the total for the twelve days I have received surveys was an astounding – are you ready for it?  $6.89, which is not that much, but hey, it is technology, it is fun and it is not Pokémon. 

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