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.

April 8, 2014

December 3, 2013

Go Different Waze

Last week I mentioned a trip to the "big city" and using my GPS. 

So today, back to my big city experience. 

image I was going somewhere and had just reinstalled Waze.  I was also running the family GPS.  They both directed me the exact same way on my 25 mile/35 minute trip.  About three quarters of the way to my destination Waze changed and told me to take the next right. 

I ignored it because, well, I do not know for sure… but I did.  OK, still driving along and all is well then Waze "bugged" me again and told me to take the next right…again I ignored it.  All of a sudden I got to the top of a hill and I saw that I was on a highway parking lot.  The cars were sitting still and the people looking rather hostile.

I sat there for almost an hour barely moving until finally traffic started to move.  I have no idea what stopped it.  The Garmin and Waze agreed again, ah, harmony.  When I got to my destination I checked everything out and found that even though the Garmin has a traffic alert function it did not work; however, Waze did.  If I had taken the first right where it told me I would have only been five minutes later instead of almost an hour late.  I also checked the reports in the area and saw a user had submitted a picture of the truck/car wreck.

How does Waze do this?  It tracks all of the GPS signals from its user base and figures, "Hmm, Ron Doyle was going 40 in a 40 mph zone and now he is going 5 mph."  Then other cars near me slow down as well for a few minutes.  Waze then automatically reroutes you the quickest way to get you going. 

It also allows you to let people track you by emailing or texting them a link.  They can follow you on a map to see when you will be there.  It has other fascinating features like posting pictures of the traffic, reporting which lane is going slowly, police sightings (I guess that is for you speeders out there) and several other useful settings.  You can either read this information or supply it.  The choice is yours since no information is taken from you unless you grant Waze permission to do so.

If you ever travel out of the area or even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere locally, try out Waze and see if it helps you avoid traffic problems.

November 26, 2013

Glympse or Waze

A few weeks ago I was on a trip out of town in a large city I did not know very well.  I used our family Garmin GPS to navigate around town.  It worked as it should but I kept getting into big traffic jams. 

There are two excellent apps I have used on my Android phone which perform similarly to a GPS.  They both use the GPS system as does the Garmin, but they have differences you may find useful.

image The first is called, "Glympse." This was the first app I used which would allow you to share your map location along with a map.  You can send your location to someone via text or email so they can keep track of you while you are on your "trip."

It does a very good job as far as mapping and sharing your location.  I do not, however care for one of their informational videos showing the pizza delivery person saying they use Glympse with their customers in order to get bigger tips.  Seems like a great idea but I have not seen anyone implement it yet.

image In previous times I used an Android application named "Waze" which was far superior to the regular GPS.  Waze was/is also available for iPhones and Window phones.  The reason I did not use it any longer comes from the fact that in June, 2013, Google purchased the Israeli application Waze.  A short time after this time it failed for me and continued to be non-functional for a few weeks after that.  So I deleted it and start using the Garmin.

But wait – I was talking to a geek friend in the big city.  He said that, true, it was not working but had recently started back up; better than ever.  Now being purchased by Google will be good for us consumers (unless of course they shut it down in a year or three, but don’t get me going).  They will surely connect it with Google Maps which will be even more excellent. 

The Google Maps app/site is great all alone in my opinion but Waze has total user incorporation making it completely interactive and not only for directions.   Waze takes the mapping app an immense step further.  It does this by allowing Waze users to be tracked by GPS and interpreting that information.  With almost 50 million users (per several estimates) this makes a lot of info available for travelers.  It is your choice whether or not to log in as a user.  Once logged in you can choose to either provide your location via the app or not.  You can also be a "lurker" and get traffic information without giving out any of yours. 

But what is the fun in that?  More ways to use Waze next week.

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