DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 6, 2015

2014 Sites in Review, Part 1

Welcome to the beginning of our fourteenth year together with the Double Click column.  Every January we review the sites that we visited in the previous year.  Today is no different.  So as always, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Thanks for reading the column and emailing me with your great questions.  I love writing it and hearing from you! 

  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and ABC – add ".com" to any of those to view TV shows, movies, video clips, etc.
  • Chromecast.com – this Google device allows you to broadcast anything from your Android, iPhone or Windows phones and computers to your TV.
  • Chromebook.com – Computers that run the Chrome OS (Google) and have everything you need in the Cloud. 
  • Google Drive/Docs,  – Google’s Office substitute and a good one it is, with this you may not need to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • McAfee – one of the many antivirus applications available for your computer’s protection.
  • Libre Office and Open Office – the two leaders in the free Microsoft Office replacements.  Both are good; however, fall short in some areas. 
  • Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, IxQuick and StartPage – add ".com" to any of these for search engines, the last three do not track your searches but the first three do.
  • Google Location History – this site will show you where you have been in the recent past on Google Maps. 
  • Copy, bit.ly/roncopy – free online cloud storage, use the link shown and get 20 GB instead of 15 at Copy.com.
  • Dropbox, bit.ly/use-DropBox, same as above; however, you get 2 GB, many people prefer this to all the other online storage options since it was one of the first.
  • Google Drive and OneDrive, (by Microsoft) – Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud storage sites both at 15GB free. 
  • OneNote, Microsoft’s great note taking application, free online.
  • MultCloud, put all of your cloud storage on one site (notice spelling, no "i").

Tune in next week for the last half of the sites we visited in 2014.

February 4, 2014

Adobe

Adobe makes many products which are used on Windows computers today. Every now and then you are reminded to update Adobe Flash. If you are the normal computer user you probably just click the “Install” button and continue on.

First, let me provide a quick history of Adobe Flash. It started out in the 1990s and was originally called SmartSketch, later turning into FutureSplash. In 1996 it was purchased by Macromedia and became “Macromedia Flash.” In 2005 it was purchased by Adobe. As a side note; Adobe was approached about purchasing the software when known as “FutureSplash” but turned it down. It was rumored that Adobe purchased Macromedia for $3.4 billion in 2005…what a deal they got a few years later.

So what is Adobe Flash /Player? Flash is the code working on your computer and Player is the part that plays the flash files. They are two separate apps but they are basically inseparable. An easy definition of Flash would be that it is coding which allows videos, games and many other types of animations to work on your browser. A large percentage of websites use Flash. Some you may have heard of are YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Plex, most all of the Cable and Broadcast TV streaming sites, a large number of gaming sites, and many actual games which run separate from a browser.

It is rumored that the new version of Web sites, HTML 5, will someday negate the need for Flash but it is not near that point at the current time.

One thing to know about Adobe is that it is a big well-known company in the software market. Look at Adobe.com and check out their product list. You will find over 50 individual products. You have heard of some of them. You know those PDF (Portable Document Format) files you find everywhere on the internet and need to read? Most likely you are using Adobe Reader to open and view them.

See Boggie change...right before your eyes, but not in real life.Another very popular application you may have heard of is Adobe PhotoShop. If you have not heard of it I guarantee you have seen the end products produced by this application. Look at almost any picture of most of the celebrities and models around the world. You know the ones in the magazines with the perfect skin color and texture, the perfect white teeth, no moles anywhere on their skin… you know, the beautiful people. They have been PhotoShopped. Sorry but they are just not that perfect, even the bone structure can be changed with this application. Look at this video (bit.ly/L2WzFI) and be amazed as PhotoShop total “remakes” Boggie, a singer with whom I am not familiar, into an almost unrecognizable version of herself as one of her songs plays. After you watch it tell me what you think. Think too, you just watched it using Adobe Flash through YouTube and created via Adobe PhotoShop.

Installation screenBack to the updates. When you are asked to update Flash, Reader and maybe others, you will either be directed to their site or it will start downloading automatically. Either way, be cautious since it will try to add McAfee Antivirus software to your computer in the background. I have never understood why a strong mainstream company would do that, but they do. If you install from the website, uncheck McAfee on the main page before you download the app. If you run it automatically you will get a “custom” or “standard” setup, choose the custom and “uncheck” McAfee.

Understand that there is nothing wrong with McAfee, it is an excellent antivirus software; however, you should only run one antivirus program on a computer at one time. Hopefully, you already are running something for that purpose.

January 14, 2014

2013 Sites in Review, Part 2

This week I will continue with the second half of the links we talked about last year at DoubleClicks.info.

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

  • Dropboxbit.ly/aszzao.   A very good cloud storage app.  Use the supplied link to sign up and get more space.
  • Kill Diskkilldisk.com.  This application will totally wipe your drive clean so that it is almost impossible to retrieve deleted data.
  • Nexus 7 2013bit.ly/1esugJz.  My current favorite Android tablet. 
  • Hulu.com and Hulu.com/plus.  The very popular free and paid TV movie streaming apps. 
  • Google Musicplay.google.com/music.  Google’s free/paid (depending on what you want) music streaming plus you can upload your own music to it and listen anywhere you have internet connectivity.
  • BGCallwww.vieas.com/en.  A wallpaper changer which was less than adequate at the time I wrote about it.
  • Google Keepgoogle.com/keep.  A very good note taking app where you can add pictures, lists, texts and be alerted by them using the time or location of your mobile device.  I just hope Google does keep this one.
  • Recuvapiriform.com/recuva.  Did you accidentally empty the Recycle Bin and need a file back?  If so try this app which is one of the better ones for recovering deleted files.
  • Facebook.com and Twitter.com.  Two popular social web sites.
  • PayPal.com. A safe place to pay for online purchases.
  • Device ManagerAndroid.com/devicemanager.  How to locate, send an alert or wipe your data from your Android device(s).
  • Ubuntuubuntu.com.  Operating system which operates as well as Windows; however, this one is free. 
  • Join Mejoin.me.  A free application for individuals, which will allow you to log onto someone else’s computer, while they are there.  Great to use for helping and training.
  • Should I Remove Itshouldiremoveit.com.  A free app that will locate and remove unwanted programs including adware, toolbars, bloat-ware, crap-ware and other junk.
  • AniPet Aquariumbit.ly/anifree. A nice live wallpaper for Android devices. Also similar for Windows and OSX is Serene Screen at serenescreen.com. 
  • Glympseglympse.com and Waze.com.  A good and much better GPS navigation app for your mobile devices. 
  • Chromegoogle.com/chrome, Firefoxfirefox.com, Internet Explorer – search at Microsoft.com, Operaopera.com and Safariapple.com/safari.  The five most popular web browsers.
  • OpenOffice (openoffice.org) and LibreOffice (libreoffice.org) are two similar but excellent free replacements for Microsoft Office. 

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 newspaper, on the radio and on the web! 

July 31, 2012

Got Software To Install? Try Ninite

In a column last year, I mentioned in passing an application that has come to my attention (through my own research and a few emails from readers). Today, we will take a look at a delightful little program named, “Ninite,” found online at ninite.com.
 
This is a freeware offering from the developer and, of course, the developer is also offering a pro version for a fee. I would not worry too much about the pro version, which appears to be geared toward users who have multiple computers to take care of, which usually isn’t the case for individuals like you and me.
 
SNAGHTML3a45b7If you go over to the Ninite, you can choose programs you want installed on your computer. This is especially useful if you get a new computer and know of several applications that you want to install. This will keep you from having to print out a list of all the programs currently on your computer.
 
Not all of the world’s programs are on the site, but the ones you hear about most often are available. At last count (and, yes, I really did count them) there were 91 applications listed.
 
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.
 
imageTo get your combined installation file, check off each application that you would like to install. After you have finished selecting the proper applications, click the “Get Installer” button. The next screen will ask if you want to share your experience online (Facebook or Twitter) or sign up for their newsletter. After that, you get a popup (depending on your computer’s settings) that asks you to download your new file.
 
Once you download the file (one single, executable file) make sure you know where it is so you can easily find it later. Double click the file and the installs will begin. The applications will automatically be installed onto your new computer. Ninite includes an installation list and, as it installs, shows you each application so you can easily keep up with the progress.
 
Since I just received a new work computer and had to set it up, I learned one thing that was very interesting: The installs go much quicker using Ninite than they do individually. I installed 24 of the 91 available applications. I did not time the installation process, but the “feels like” index was basically … really fast (yeah, a high-end computer engineering term).
 
When I wrote about Ninite in days-gone-by, I mentioned something that I did not like about it at that time. When I ran the installation file, it would install some applications in an older version than the one I was using and I could get on each individual program’s homepage.
 
I would now like to tell you, “Not so any longer.” I got the most recent versions of every application I chose and they installed smoothly and with absolutely no problems.
 
Ninite is truly a great app and I highly recommend it if you need something like this!

January 12, 2010

2009 Links in Review, Part 2

Today we get to see part two of the 2009, Double Click review.  Sit back, relax and browse the web for the sites that interest you.  As always, if you prefer clicking to typing please visit the DoubleClicks.info site and read the column later the same day it is published in the paper and actually click the links.

Here they are in their order of their appearance with short descriptions if needed.

  • WalMart.com and Costco.com, these need no explanation; although, I wrote about their specific ability to print your vacation photos online.
  • Picnik.com, an online photo editing program.
  • Picasa, a site where you can download a photo organizational tool to edit and store digital pictures but you can also upload them to Picasa online to create photo albums.  (Our vacation photos shortened, http://bit.ly/lJgaF)
  • Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows, an excellent blog about MS Windows products.
  • MSNBC news & information site
  • CrossWalk, a Christian study, blog, information site, etc.
  • RonDoyle.wordpress.com, my boring blog which is pretty much in no way related to my columns.
  • WordPress.com & WordPress.org, two sites for creating your own blog (There are differences between the two.)
  • Hulu.com, an online site where you can view movies and many current TV shows for free.
  • Firefox (mozilla.com), today’s best internet browser (in my opinion).
  • Microsoft Office 2007 discount (TheUltimateSteal.com), the entire MS Office program for students at a much discounted price of $59.95 (as of the date I wrote this…it may not last long).
  • Bing.com, Microsoft’s new online search engine.
  • Google Earth, a great mapping application.
  • MMTaskbar, extend your task bar across multiple monitors.
  • Desk Drive, allows a desktop icon to appear when you plug in an external drive, including thumb drives.
  • MS Live Workspace & Google Docs, two similar but different free online file storage sites.
  • Google Chrome, Google’s internet browser.
  • Evony, free online role playing game.
  • Gutenberg.org, Audible.com & Podiobooks.com, three online books sites which have text and/or audio books for free and/or a price.
  • Medicalert.org.
  • Go to My PC, a site that allows you to login to your home/work computer from another location.
  • Team Viewer, similar to above but free and not as stable.

I hope you have found the two "Year in Review" columns helpful!  Don’t forget to keep those emails coming in 2010.

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