DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

February 20, 2017

2017-02-20 Show Notes @ WSVA

Welcome back, do to holidays, job changing and a variety of other things I have not had the show for a couple of months.

But today you may relax, we are back. Listen in at WSVA’s podcast and enjoy the show now.

Enjoy!

Tech News

February 20, 2016

FORBES: Google’s Chrome Browser Crushes The Desktop Competition In 2016 and keeps crushingA seismic shift occurred in the way the world browses the web in 2016. Google’s Chrome browser supplanted Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the world market-share leader in desktop browsers. That’s a genteel way of putting it. “Google crushed Microsoft as Chrome dominates the desktop browser field” gives a clearer picture of what happened.

The market share numbers reported in this article come from Net Applications’ Net Market Share Report which measures unique visitors from approximately 40,000 global websites. Net Applications weights their results using the CIA’s internet traffic by country data. This reduces distortions caused by differences in a country’s percentage of global internet use and the percentage of its users captured by the websites Net Applications monitors.

IE remained the global market share leader until it fell into a virtual tie with Chrome in March 2016 when IE held 39.1% and Chrome had 39.09% market share. After that it’s been all Chrome. IE began 2016 with a 43.82% share and ended the year with 20.84%. In January, Chrome held a 35.05% share and it rose to 56.43% in December. The pattern continued in January of this year with IE falling to 19.71% share and Chrome rising to 57.94%. Game over.

Edge usage grew in 2016 but not nearly enough to offset IE’s loss. Edge began the year with 3.07% share and ended it at 5.33%. Almost all of the people who abandoned IE moved to Chrome.


Google Search a Specific site
Search for specific words or phrases on only one site and any site you know the URL to. Just type in Google like this –
“potatoes” site:wsvaonline.com
– with the quotes.


See you next month on March 20, 2017. Listen up!

December 1, 2015

A Watch for Christmas, Part 2

Last week I introduced you to Smartwatches.  I think they are terrific gadgets…especially for the more geeky among us.  They provide lots of information as I mentioned last week when I outlined many things the two I have are able to do.  We will compare them today. By the way, the prices listed are for the versions I have (first version of each brand) not the newer versions now available.  Check current prices if you are interested in these and online for other brand names.   

The Moto 360 (original version $250) is a much prettier watch.  It has a very colorful, bright sharp screen and a tremendous number of interesting and useful watch faces.  As a matter of fact I have even made a couple of my own.  I can see very little pixilation unless I get my eyes closer than necessary to the watch. 

When you swing your wrist up to look it lights up so you can see it for a few seconds, then goes back to black.  It stays lit for a very short period of time.  You may have five items you want to check and have time to see two or three. 

There is one button control and touch screen control.  When you get a phone call you can see the number calling, and the picture of the caller if it is in your address book.  You can slide the face one way to answer and another to hang up.  You cannot use the phone to talk to the caller (Dick Tracey would be sad) so you still have to pull your phone out of your pocket or wherever it may be to answer. 

The largest problem that I have with the Moto 360 is the battery life.  It charges so you do not have to replace batteries; however, a max of 12-14 hours on a full charge is not good performance in my book.   

The Pebble (original version $149) watch faces are more limited and not color but consistent with most regular digital watches today.  It has the standard gray/black screen. (See DoubleClicks.info for a few views.)  However, that being said the watch is constantly viewable.  It uses e-ink which allows me to see the watch all the time unless in the dark.  As with the Moto 360 you flip your watch-arm up as you normally would to view the time, then the light comes on.

The Pebble has four button control without touchscreen.  The biggest PLUS for me is that once a week is usually the only charging it needs. 

They are both interesting and good functional gadgets.  Still with the charge time and the constantly visible watch faces I vote for the Pebble, even though it is not as cool and "glamorous" looking as the Moto 360.  Pebble now has some color versions which I have not seen so it may be even better now.  

Below are the Moto 360 (left) and the Pebble (right) with their chargers.

Moto 360 being charged                                Pebble shown with charger

November 24, 2015

A Watch for Christmas, Part 1

A Watch for Christmas

I recently had a chance to test out two smartwatches for an extended period of time: The Moto 360 by Motorola which came out in 2014 and the Pebble from 2012.  The Pebble was a Kickstarter project which raised over $10 million in 30 days by donations from complete strangers who liked the idea.  That was the biggest and quickest of Kickstarter at the time.

What is a “Smartwatch?”  Today “Smart” means connected to the internet like a smart-TV.  A Smart TV allows you to access the internet and watch programs there instead of on cable or broadcast shows.  So basically smartwatches are connected to the internet currently through your smartphone’s apps.  They connect to each other with Bluetooth, some with Wi-Fi, then on to the internet.

They are not quite as “new” as you may think.  The first smartwatch was called the “Wrist Computer” which was released in 1985 under the name of “Seiko Epson.”  There were others of note leading up to the current day selection of many brands and models.

They allow you to see who is calling, answer your phone, read text messages, emails, weather alerts, temperatures, battery strength of the watch or phone and more.  They both allow you to see text messages along with from and subject lines of emails and maybe a few lines of the email.  However, neither will let you answer those emails and texts with anything but prewritten messages.  These are similar to, “OK,” “I’m running late,” “I just left,” etc.  You can also create some of your own canned responses.  The two I have can give you maps that vibrate before you need to turn.  So basically they are gadgets.  Smartwatches seem to be coming out with new “smart” features most every day.  Of course there are apps which allow you to sleep better, wake up gently, count steps you take, inform you of how many calories you have burned by taking those steps and more.

The Pebble has a rectangular portrait shape and the Moto 360 was the first round smartwatch.  But as round as it is, it has what is referred to as a “flat tire.”  The bottom of the screen has a dark, flat area where the ambient light sensor and display drivers are contained.

Pebble Watch Face

Pebble Watch Face

Moto 360 Watch Face

Moto 360 Watch Face

They both have unusual chargers that do not “plug” into the watch but do have a regular USB port on the power end.  The Pebble has a magnetic charging wire with four posts that attach to on the left side of the watch.  The Moto 360 lays in a cradle to charge wirelessly except for the power to the cradle wire.

Next week we will take a look at my comparison between the two types of smart watches as they are different in many ways.

April 20, 2015

2015-04-20 Show Notes

You missed another good show today if you could not join us at 9:00 am on WSVAWSVA but here is the podcast along with a list of some of the things we talked about.  Enjoy reading and listening.

Tech News
Binoculars That Use Digital Trickery to Give You Super-Sight
Wired.comWhether you’re a dedicated bird watcher or a stealthy sniper, you require a quality pair of binoculars to extend and sharpen your visual capabilities. Ricoh’s new peepers pack in a ton of features so that you can spy that short-tailed albatross even if it’s a foggy day and your hands are shakier than Gene “The Waco Kid” Wilder’s in Blazing Saddles.

They will eliminate interference from fog, rain, or snow – magnify distant objects from 6.6 to 13.2 times their original size – keep view steady with image stabilization – have built in infrared mode for use at night – you can record what you’re seeing onto an SD card, either as video or as still images. They are also designed for outdoor use, they’re waterproof and dustproof, and a GPS radio inside lets you record the location of images and videos you take.

Priced at ONLY $4,200.


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.)
Pool Bar
A Game for a Change
Android owners can enjoy the superb 3D Graphics, accurate physics and quality opponents found in our iPad and iPhone games. Works on both phones and tablets!Full touch screen interface, allows for accurate and intuitive control and spin. Easy to use swipe system for aim and shoot.

Features:
+ 9 Ball, 8 Ball US and 8 Ball UK
+ 1 or 2 player
+ 4 Characters to choose from
+ 3 AI difficulty levels
+ Supports both HD and non-HD displays


Wonder How To
wonderhowto.com
Wonder how to use chopsticks, manipulate irrational people, cook the best burger everytime, figure out which you would prefer iPhone or Android?

Go to this site and search to your hearts content learning how to do lots of different things. Although, it seems to be more on the technology side than others.


Stumble Upon
StumbleUpon.com
StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine) that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its features allow users to discover and rate Web pages, photos and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles.


Proxy Settings
A caller had an issue that sounded like it could be related to Windows Proxy settings. Here is what Microsoft suggests for a probable fix.


Laptop Batteries
There is not as much need to be afraid of the cost for laptop batteries as there used to be. The prices on most older (2+ years old) have dropped significantly. I have one that is between 4-5 years old. I bought a new battery for less than $20 from Amazon.

I will warn you to be careful of who you buy it from. Make sure that they have a higher rating for previous sales and check out the comments from other purchasers to see how service was. Usually you will be fine; however, sometimes you may get a bad battery and have a hard time returning it for a replacement.

I do not get paid to endorse Amazon or any other company but if I get a good deal and good service I will certainly share that info.


I hope that you will visit us next month at WSVA or here, at DoubleClicks.info. 

For the May 18, 2015 show we will be looking at a few e-vacation tricks and many other techie things.

Ron

November 4, 2014

Cogi

Livescribe.comThe article last week regarding Livescribe generated many emails from readers, for which I thank you.  I really enjoy reading about your technology thoughts and discoveries, as well as tips like the one I got from Lisa this week.  She told me about an application she uses on her phone and tablet which helps take notes too.  It is a free app named "Cogi – Notes & Voice Recorder." 

I had to find out what Cogi stood for — "cogent idea."  So it is an app that helps you keep track of thoughts and information you gain, usually when attending a lecture or meeting.  It is similar in that respect to Livescribe.

After you install Cogi, just start the app when your lecture begins.  It buffers the audio portion of the talk.  OK, what does buffering mean?  When you buffer audio it means the application actually records the voices but does not save it to the memory card on the device/phone.  It keeps a good portion of the audio in your phone/table’s RAM (temporary) memory.

If you hear someone say something really vital and important to remember or follow-up on, click the "Tap to highlight" button.  It then records the audio portion to a file and continues until you click the, "Tap to stop" button.  You can set it to go back from 15 to 45 seconds.

Visit Cogi.comOnce the lecture is over and you have "highlighted" the important parts tap and hold the button and it stops.  It names the session for the date you recorded.  You can rename the file to something more familiar to you if you wish.

During the recording you can also add photos you take during the lecture.  Say someone draws a diagram on a whiteboard.  You can photograph it and add that into the recorded session.  That way you have any visual information with the audio so you have it all.

You also may add any photo to the recording session if you would like.  In their demo they show that you can even photograph a page of notes to add to the audio lecture. 

At this point Cogi is only available for Android or iPhones.  I imagine they are writing code for Windows phones too, but this remains to be seen.  

They advertise that the concept is simple and I agree. When you hear things that are significant, many times you cannot remember or capture them.  So this makes it easy to remain focused on all that is going on and grab the information you need.

I gave Cogi a spin a few times and found that the WAV sound of the voice recording was nearly 5MB per minute.  A little large but it played very well when I played it back on my phone.  It also gives you the options of emailing the files (pictures included) to someone or saving them to your computer, Copy.com, Dropbox, etc.  The pictures I took looked great too, they were large files; however, that is dependent on your camera not Cogi.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  

July 23, 2014

Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray You

(from TechNewsWorld, http://www.technewsworld.com/)

By Richard Adhikari

Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray YouThat phone you so callously turned over to another may be harboring some of your secrets — and it may be all too willing to spill its guts. An examination of 20 used phones purchased on eBay turned up more than 1,500 family photos of kids, 750 photos of women in various stages of undress, and more than 250 selfies of men’s nether regions, according to Avast.

Doing a factory reset to wipe the data off smartphones does not work, and the data can be recovered, warned Avast .

The company recovered tons of data, including more than 40,000 stored photographs, from 20 used Android phones purchased from eBay.

Device owners need to overwrite their files to make them irretrievable, Avast said, touting one of the applications it offers.

Get more information here and see how to prevent this from happening to you.


April 1, 2014

Better Battery Life for Android

image I hear complaints from people all the time about how their phones’ battery life is poor.  Some say they won’t last an entire day.  Sometimes this is very true especially with older Android devices; however, the newer ones have pretty good strength between charges.  Of course, this depends on how you use your phone.

If you are like some folks I and constantly stare at your phone waiting to respond to the latest text message and/or Facebook item, then yes, you will have battery longevity difficulties.  There is absolutely nothing you can do about it other than talk to people in person.  As a matter-of-fact that is a strong suggestion to all of us.  Be personal with people and stay off of the "social" networks which actually do the opposite of making us more social.  But that is another story.

Other than the above one thing that can help is to go to your settings and change the time out on your screen.  This is the time that it takes for your screen to dim to dark after you use it.  The settings for this can vary by phone, but basically go to Settings/Display/Sleep and lower the time.  If it is set to two minutes change it to 30 seconds.  If that bothers you and you feel it is not good for you, go back and change it again.  No problem.  While is the Display area go to Brightness and set it to Automatic or dim it manually lower.  This is how bright your screen is and you can most likely dim it.  These are two of the larger battery hogs on your phone that you can control.

Anything that operates your phone while you are not using it can usually be changed for better battery consumption.  For instance, if you are not using your map feature to find your way through town cut off GPS which takes a lot of power.  To change it on my phone I go to Settings/Location Services and uncheck the "allow" GPS item.  I will not mention it again but the way I tell you to change all items here may vary by phone.  Another thing while in Settings is to got to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and stop both of them.  The only reason for Bluetooth is if you are using a headset earpiece and then you need it, but if not cut it off.  Wi-fi is a good feature but if you are outside nowhere near Wi-Fi you do not need for your phone to keep searching for it and wear down your power. 

While in the Locations area above look for "Location and Google search" and shut it down. Do you really need Google to know where you are when searching for "Blue Birds?"  Now you may if you are searching for a gas station but you could also just enter the Zip Code of the area you are in with Gas Station and get it that way.  Of course, maybe you do need it, login to your Gmail account and then go to, maps.google.com/locationhistory and let me know.  Muhahaha!  I bet you didn’t know that you were being followed did you?

Go back to Settings, click on Battery to see which apps are using your battery the most.  You may be able to click on the big power users and change their settings from there.  Change them so that you can get the most out of your battery.  Of course, the way I fight short battery life is to have a charger at my desk, bed and car.

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!

Ron

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.

October 29, 2013

Get Help, Join Me

Last week we looked at "Windows Remote Assistance" to see how you could give or receive help with your computer issues.  It works well but as I said there are drawbacks in that you need to be going from a Windows to a Windows computer and could not link with a Mac or Ubuntu (Linux) system.  Today we will look at "Join Me."

There are many programs which do pretty much the same thing.  Some of the more popular applications are "DameWare," "Go to Assist," "PC Anywhere," "LogMeIn" (the parent company of Join.me) and many, many others.  Some of these charge (a lot compared to free) for their services and others are free.  However, I do not believe any are as easy as Join.Me. 

First, the person who needs someone to log onto their computer for help needs to start the process.  It is easy since all you do is open your browser and type in "Join.me" in the address bar.  It will automatically add "https://" (the "s" means a Secure site) and take you to the site.

join.meNow, if this is the first time you have used it go to "Share," "Basic" and click the large orange arrow button.  This will start downloading the small executable file to your computer.  Once the download has finished, find the file and double click it to start "Join.me."  Your browser may also choose to "Run" the file if your browser allows it which is fine. 

 

join.meOnce installed and running you can click the "Share" button and a nine digit code will be generated for you.  It will show something similar to, "join.me/252-743-655." The nine digit number varies each time you use it.  Now give the helping person the nine digit number or email them the generated link.

If you email them the link they can click the link in the email and be instantly logged onto your desktop.  If you read them the number, via phone as most often happens, they log into Join.me just as you did.  But this time they choose the "Join" the meeting after they add the nine digits.  They finally click the green arrow and they are in.  They will go to your machine and you can both see what is going on with your computer.  Do not worry about anyone else using the code.  Once you end the session and close "Join.me" someone else would need a new code, generated only by you, to get into your computer.

You have full control and the "helper" can only view your computer unless you allow them further access.  If you wish to give them permission to actually "drive" your computer go to the meeting tools (pointer) button and click, "share mouse control."  When they are finished take it back.  Easy.

It includes many other neat features such as allowing the people you invite to have voice chats over the Internet using their free VOIP, text chat between all the members in the meeting, transferring files to each other and more. 

There are always updates and changes to this and every other app.  They recently added a couple you may find helpful…if you are a helper.  If you have an Android phone/tablet or an iPhone/iPad you can only view someone’s computer from them.  You cannot share your screen to get help.  It also depends on which version of either OS you have.  For Apple products it must be the latest version and depending on what you need to do it could cost you.  For Android, free…ah, my favorite word.

August 27, 2013

Google Keep

Welcome back to another week of Double Click!  I would like to remind you to shoot me an email with your tech/computer questions when you run into them.  I am always glad to hear from you guys any time. 

If you read the column regularly you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with Google.  I love many of their products but I hate it when they have a really good one that they decide to remove from their cadre of apps.

So let me share a little love and hope that Google does not decide to kill it in the next couple of years.  The app/site is called, "Google Keep" and it works really well.  Google even added a very good feature to it this week, so it will be around for a while…well, I guess.

It is presently available for all Android devices.  Sorry iPhoners, it is not an app yet; however, it is available as a website for one and all. 

imageBasically, Google Keep is a note taker/keeper.  I know you have been doing one thing with your phone/tablet (device from here on out) and think of something you need to get to later.  Yes, you could email yourself, write it on a piece of paper or do it the ancient way…remember it.  But with Keep (yes, I shortened that one too) you open the app with a click and add your note.

There are similar apps out there but they are not as simple to use or available everywhere electronically.  Evernote is one of the others I have used.

You can type in a note, create a list, add a photo with or without notes and even leave an audio message.  The speech to text transformation is smooth and fairly accurate but not perfect.  For instance, with audio I recorded the previous sentence and it was all correct, except for "smooth and" which was changed to "moving."

All of your "notes" are added to your Google Drive so you can log into, "google.com/keep" and see your notes there.  Then you may edit, delete or create new ones online.  In just a few seconds they will be available on your device too. 

Tablet ScreenNow let’s discuss the recently added feature. It can mark an existing or new note to alert me at a specific time.  Yeah, neat but not extraordinary.  However, I can also set it to alert me at a specific location, if I have a data or Wi-Fi connection at that time.  For instance, I set an alert the other day to notify me to write a column about, "Google Keep" the next time I went to my favorite coffee shop.  When I arrived here this morning, ding-ding, I received the reminder to write the article.  I don’t even need a brain anymore.  Hmm. 

Think about this, since you can create lists in Keep, how about your grocery list?  Set it to alert you when you get to the grocery store.  When you arrive at the store, there it is, ready to read from your phone or tablet.

Keep in mind this new feature may not be available to you right this second since they are adding this through the end of the month.  So make sure you do your updates.

Yes, I know the brain and paper are probably just as easy but not as cool…

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