About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

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.

+ 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
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 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 

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


January 29, 2013

Music on the Go

I receive questions every now-and-then about listening to music online.  Questions like whether you can listen on a computer or a phone, free or paid music, rock or classical, etc.

There are many, many streaming music options out there so you can listen to your favorite group or genre of music.  Some of the more popular ones are, "Slacker Radio", "Spotify", "Maestro", and the one I like best…Pandora.

I would check each site individually to see the slight differences.  Some are more "social," meaning that they have built-in designs which allow you to more easily share your music and/or playlists with others. They all have free streaming; however, you can get paid versions which give you more options and features.  They also have options for use on smartphones, tablets and of course computers. 

imageI have had a free Pandora account for several years.  You start off by adding a couple of favorite songs or artists, rate a few of the songs you hear and then Pandora will find you "similar" music.  Sometimes the choices are good and sometimes not so good but you can always grade the songs with a thumbs up or down.  Thumbs up will allow the song to play more often; a down vote will remove the song from your Pandora account so you won’t have to hear it again. 

You can then create your own "stations" from your music choices.  I have Country, Christian, Classic Rock and Celtic Music (yes, including the Celtic Women). 

Again, Pandora is my personal favorite but all of the ones I have mentioned are good.  Try a couple and see which one you like best.  You will be able to discover new artists and have the ability to purchase songs if you wish.

Now the question comes up: How can I store my music online if I already own many MP3s?  If you do not want to use streaming since you already have a lot of music you enjoy, how can you listen to them online when you do not have your MP3 player? 

Musical notesThe answer is Google once again.  Google Play/Google Music helps you bring your iTunes library or any music specifically to your Android devices.  There are also applications out there that will allow you to use Google Play with your iPhones, too. 

A side note here.  I prefer to call it Google Music since Google Play is the Android App store name and it gets confusing, so excuse my relabeling.  Also, the site is found at and the original name of this feature was Google Music.     

Google Music has a neat feature.  You install it on the computer that has your music and show the application where your music is located.  It then uploads your music to the site over time; lots of time.  I had about 2,500 songs in my library and it took over a day to upload it all to Google Music.  Since you can upload up to 20,000 of your songs to Google for free it could take much longer.

Once you have uploaded your music, it is instantly available at on the web and your Android phone or tablet.

You have many options.  Pick a couple and enjoy them whenever you want to hear some good music.  Or new music since most of these sites will give you “unpublished” musicians that you can help discover.

March 19, 2012

2012-03-19 WSVA Show Notes

Here you go the show notes from Monday, March 19, along with the podcast.  Enjoy to fun and games and let me know what you think.

Have fun with your new iPods if you an owner of the “new” iPod.

Tech News
The newest iPad is out
I don’t need to say much just Google for ipadand seen the bazillions of articles. There is one I read where a lady got in line several days before they went on sale (she was #3 in line) and sold her place to a guy for $5,000. Proof that some people are truly insane.Windows 8 Consumer Preview
The next Windows Operating System, cleverly named, “Windows 8” has a consumer preview available to anyone who wants to give it a whirl. This is ONLY for you if you are geeky enough to install it virtually on an existing computer or you have a computer you don’t mind installing it on and then running W8 as your main system.

I have been using it for a week or so and so far I’m not that impressed…unless it is on a tablet PC. For a notebook or desktop I would stick with W7 at least as it stands now.

It bothers me that their online video shows media galore, email and not much else. Why don’t they push some office compatibility.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(this app can be found on the android market from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Moon ReaderIn my opinion this is the best book reader out there for non-DRM (Digital Rights Management [copyright protection]) e-books. Read thousands of ebooks for free, supports online ebook libraries.

  • Read local books with smooth scroll and tons of innovation.
  • Support txt, html, epub, umd, fb2, chm, zip or OPDS, key features:
  • Full visual options: line space, font scale, bold, italic, shadow, justified alignment, alpha colors, fading edge etc.
  • 10+ themes embedded, includes Day & Night mode switcher.

Save your Smartphone from becoming a Dumbphone (or any other electronic device) when they get dropped in water.

Water damage has threatened our devices for far too long. Liquipel protects every feature of your device with a revolutionary waterproof shield.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

At this point in time to use it you must request an invite to the program. Without a “membership” you can only browse a little of the content.

True Crypt
If you carry around free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Thanks for looking, listening and I hope to see you back next month, Monday, April 16 @ 10:00o am on WSVA Radio with Jim Britt.

March 31, 2010

To iPad or not to iPad

Filed under: Tech Info — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 8:16 am

I say, “Not”!  And this article from TechRepublic writer, Debra Littlejohn Shinder gives my reasoning exactly.  I am especially in agreement with the even numbered items in the list.

image I would add an 11th reason to the mix and that is I never want the first version of anything.  That includes tech stuff, cars, phones, etc.

The engineers and developers never consider every option and everything you and I can do with the device.  I have found that the 1st of anything is usually the poorest of the versions with more issues.

I would like to add that even though I have been reading the TechRepublic site for years to great techie benefit, I will have one of my articles appearing there within the next month or so.  It does require a membership to read all of the information and articles there.  However, it is free and I have never gotten spammed from them.

They send me updates on the specific parts of the site that I want to receive them for.

January 26, 2010

Portable Programs

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:33 am

Several of you continued the USB line of thought from the last column and mentioned portable applications.  I thought I had written about these years ago.  However, after a search of over 750 columns I’ve written I realized that I had not mentioned them, so here we go.

A quick definition is needed here for what portable applications are and how are they used.

A portable application is a “stand alone” program that does not need to be installed on a computer’s hard drive.  When you install a regular program there are files that are written all over your computer.  For instance, many entries may be made in your windows’ registry file along with other folders somewhere else.  A portable application is installed in one main folder and no other entries are written anywhere else on the system.  This is like a step back in time.  In the DOS days and the originating days of windows all programs were installed like this; however, things are now different.

The first and predominate portable applications site is called, appropriately enough, “Portable Apps“.  If you go there you can install the basic program on your USB stick and it will provide a lot of good “little” programs.  It creates a menu system so that when you plug your USB stick in it will pop up and you can run your portable applications from there.

There are three different Portable Apps from which to choose.  The differences are in size and  what programs you get with each one.  The first choice, “Platform Only” will only install the basic program.  I don’t find this one to be very useful.  It  is only 1.3MB in size but it doesn’t do much to help you out.

The other two installs are called “Suite Lite” and “Suite Standard”.  These two are respectivelyimage 150MB and 355MB in size.  The minimum recommended sizes for your USB device is 256MB and 512MB, again depending on which version you choose.

Each of the larger versions include most of the Mozilla apps like the FireFox browser, Thunderbird email, a messaging program, an antivirus program and several other apps.  The difference between the two is that the larger version includes Open Office Portable version.  That is an excellent substitute for Microsoft Office on a budget…it is free as are all of these apps.  You can look for other portable programs online too.

Why would you want to install these or a USB stick?  You go to a friend’s house and want to do some work on your newspaper column or your personal budget.  You can perform everything you need to on your USB stick after plugging it into their computer.  None of your information is left behind on their computer since you have used your portable “system” to do your work and store your files.  You can check your email, surf the web, etc. without leaving behind any of your private information on someone else’s system.

It provides a good use for your USB thumb drive other than using it for storage only.  There are other portable app sites online – Google for them.  Even so; “Portable Apps” is the first, and in my opinion the best.

January 5, 2010

2009 Links in Review, Part 1

This is the first Double Click column of 2010!  It is hard for me to believe but this is the beginning of the ninth year I have had the honor and pleasure of writing Double Click for all of my readers.  I am happy to continue as long as you like.  Please shoot me an email occasionally to let me know!  As usual…for my first column of the year and at the request of many emails I received, we will look at all of the Internet sites I mentioned last year.  So sit back and get your fingers ready.  By-the-way, if you are a clicker you can go to the site and read the column the 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.

Next week we will visit part 2 of last year’s links.

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