About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 21, 2017

December 11, 2013

2013-12-11 WSVA Show Notes

Hey there I hope you are ready for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Today we discussed some presents you may want to put under the tree in a week or so.

You can listen to the podcast here and check the actual links below.

I hope your families are able to get together and enjoy the Season!


Christmas 2013
Most popular items this year are predicted to be Tablets, with starting prices

You can get free eBooks for Android.

Popular Gadgets

  • AR.Drone2, quad-copter with video you can watch and record it on your phone. Has a front and a bottom camera. $370.
  • OtterBox, this is the ultimate protective case shop anywhere around. Whether you have a phone, tablet, headset or just need a different sized INDESTRUCTABLE case.
  • PowerUp Electric Paper Airplane Conversion kit can help a paper airplane stay airborne for at least 30 seconds. Of course, you’ll need to fold the paper into a plane yourself, the “engine” is just $16.99.

How to find better pricesUse your smartphones and their perspective App Stores to look for:

  • Amazon Price Check
  • BuyVia
  • Consumr
  • RedLaser
  • The Find

Some have scanners, some you can order from the stores, some check local advertisements, etc. Try them out.

Geek and Gadget Online Stores

  • Dude I Want That, one of a kind products. This site also has a Gift Guide arranged by categories.
  • ThinkGeek, Ron’s favorite geek, junk store. Of course, tons of Doctor Who items.

April 16, 2013

Office 2013-Excel, Part 2

If you have been following along with this review of Office 2013 you know that today is Excel Part 2.  So we will jump in now.

The next most impressive feature to me is the new Excel start screen.  When you start up Excel, on the left side you will find your most recently opened worksheets listed.  They will slowly move down the list until they reach the bottom and then will "disappear" off of the list.  If you want one to remain at the top you can "pin" it by hovering over the filename with your mouse (or finger with a touchscreen computer) and clicking the pin.  This file will now remain at the top and never rotate off. 

The default number of recent workbooks is set to 25; however, you can easily increase or decrease that amount.  Edit this number by going to the File tab, then Options, Advanced, Display and change the number under, "Show this number of Recent Workbooks."  Click OK and you are done.  I find 25 to be too many for me and set mine at seven to ten, give it a try.

Some of Excel's TemplatesThe start area also gives you a list of templates you may choose to use.  For instance, there are "Receipt Tracker," "Cash Flow Projection," "Medication Schedule," calendars with holidays for any year and several more.  If you cannot find a template relating to what you need, move to the top of the page and enter what you are looking for in the search area.  For instance, I searched for "checkbook register" and found three types I could download and run on Excel. 

If you want to skip the start screen and get into Excel slightly quicker, once it starts tap your ESC key once and you open a blank Workbook, ready to work for you.  If you want to, the start screen may also be disabled under General Options.

How about "Quick Analysis" for a new feature?  This is very slick.  To start this one select an entire table or the data in the spreadsheet you wish to analyze.  Once you select the last cell on the lower right of the data you will see a small icon there.  It is the Quick Analysis button which when clicked will give you a small box with Formatting, Charts Totals Tables and Sparklines.  When you click each of these links you will be presented with more choices.  This really speeds up many processes in Excel.  If you are a user you will appreciate this tremendously. 

Recommended ChartsThe last item for today is similar to "Insert Recommended Pivot Tables" from last week but it is now Charts.  You may have already figured it out but select the data for which you wish to create a chart, click the Insert tab, then the "Recommended Charts" command button and you get to scroll through suggested charts from Excel.  They are all formatted using your real data so you can review each.  All you do is click the one you want, send it to your boss and get a big raise.

OK, that last part may be a stretch but hey, it sure could not hurt.

December 20, 2011

Christmas Geek Tips

This will be the last you hear from me in the DNR until 2012 so I thought I would give you some Christmas geek tips and sites to tide you over through the holidays.

First, I figure a few of my readers are getting new computers for Christmas.  Yes, from your emails I realize some of you wanted a column about picking new computers.  I only do those every couple of years so you will have to wait on that.  However, I do have a couple of suggestions on applications you should use on your new computer.

What exactly does Decrapifier do?Before you go anywhere online with your new computer MAKE SURE you have an antivirus application working.  After your new computer is online go to to download Decrapifier.  Geeks call the free apps that come preinstalled on a new computer "Crapware" since most of it is junk and unnecessary.  I will not list them here but there are many.  I even suggest removing the free antivirus app that comes preloaded and getting one those you can get for free.  Most likely the free antivirus software is free for a short period of time.  Then you have to purchase it to keep it going.

Decrapifier scans your system and suggests software you can remove which you most likely do not need.  You can choose which ones to get rid of and keep the ones you like.  Just follow the directions and you will be fine.

After you remove the programs you may never use it is time to install all of your favorites.  You know the apps I am talking about.  For example the applications I always want on my computer are Firefox as my browser, Thunderbird for email, Skype, iTunes, VLC, Microsoft Security Essentials and several others.  I count these as my personal default applications.

imageIf you go over to the Ninite site at you can choose programs you want installed on your computer.  Now not all of the programs in the world are on the site, but the major ones you hear about and use are available.  If you want one that is not on the site you are out-of-luck this time.  However, you can ask for the missing app to be added to the list and it may be there next time you visit.  Once your list is complete click the, "Get Installer" link, download it and run it.  The applications will automatically be installed on your new computer.

I have run Ninite several times over the past few years and it works very well.  However, the last time I ran it; one application could not be installed.  So for that one, I had to go to the application’s site and install it there as I did in the "old" days.

OK, I know this is the Christmas column so I cannot leave without giving you the link to Norad so you can follow Santa on his flight later this week.  Surf to the Norad Santa Tracker at and follow the man.

November 29, 2011

Get Connected

OK, the holidays have started and you may be traveling to visit the relatives in a faraway or unfamiliar location.

You take your computer so that you can keep up with email, Facebook, your Tweets and your news and sports information.  Gee, first of all what happened to the "good ole days" when you visited your relatives?  Oh well, I guess we are more civilized now but don’t get me going on that.

Or let us say that you really are a "family-visiting" sort of person and you do want to visit and not spend your entire time with them texting and online.  On your way to visit you go to a hotel and you need a Wi-Fi connection.  You have your notebook and your Wi-Fi enabled and Wi-Fi tablet PC with you.  When you get to the hotel you find they only have a wired connection.  Well unless you are geekier than I am, you will not have a network cable with Network Cableyou.  But since you need to connect you hope that they have a cable to lend you.  An aside here; I experienced this very thing a year or two ago and they would "lend" me a cable…for $7.50 a night.  What a rip-off, but don’t get me going on that one either.  In that case you could connect your notebook but most likely not your tablet, phone or other non-cable ready devices.

The program we will look at today is Connectify ( It will help to resolve this and some other situations for you.  You can install Connectify on your Windows 7 PC or XP but it doesn’t work nearly as well with XP and has fewer features available.  Once installed, you can set up your own Wi-Fi Hotspot.

Visit ConnectifyThis means after you plug into the network and download and install Connectify you can set up your own private wireless network.  Yes, this makes it just like home with your Wireless setup.  You will have a SSID (a network name) then you can use all of your other wireless devices to connect to your computer’s network and get online.  This shares the connection all around with multiple devices.

There are other features available with Connectify but the one that interests me the most is only in the paid version.  Check online for the price.  (I once quoted a price in a column and when it was published the prices had gone up so go check it on the site.)

This other feature can be used to extend the local wireless router you are using, even your home’s router.  OK, now I just lost some of you but here is the situation.  Your wireless router is located in the, oh let’s say, Northeast corner of the basement.  You can keep it hidden there and out of the way.  

Wi-Fi symbolYou notice every time you sit on your back porch (on the second floor, southwest corner of the house) to read a book, check email, surf the net, etc. your Wi-Fi connection is either gone or so weak you cannot do much.  This is because the farther away from the wireless router you are, the weaker the signal.  If you use Connectify Pro you can use your notebook computer as a signal extender.  With that set up you can get much farther from your router since the notebook computer is now "extending" the distance of the broadcast signal.  You could go way across the street or out to the backyard and still receive a strong signal.

As always, make sure you secure your wireless network to keep your connection yours.

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