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.

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