DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 15, 2017

OneNote & Clipper

In 2014, I wrote about a newer Microsoft application called OneNote.  It was and is still an excellent free program.  Even if you do not have Office you can still get OneNote for free.  Go to OneNote.com to read all about it.  Also note that OneNote comes with a preinstalled version in Windows 10.  It is not quite the full version but you can get the entire thing by going to this much shortened link, rd.dblclx.com/onenote-ron.  It is also available for most smartphones, PCs, Macs and most any device that can connect to the internet.  Yes, both OneNote (also most of the Office apps) and Clipper are available on the cloud at Office.com.

Visit Office online

If you gather information for any reason, i.e. article research, recipes, sports, or simply thoughts, OneNote is something at which you should take a serious look.

OneNote uses an organizational process you may be familiar with – a paper notebook, like you used in school…no matter when you graduated.  Your OneNote notebooks consist of Sections and Pages.  I research columns and put related ideas, files, pictures, links and entire webpages in a section for each specific article idea.  Over time I have built up a lot of information.

I can copy and paste most anything into OneNote, including pictures of any kind.  Something interesting to mention is that most graphics you put in OneNote which have text on them are searchable.  It takes a while converting the graphic text to actual text in the background.  Think how helpful that could be.  You can paste the link to YouTube and most any other video site into a page and the video will be added to the page in OneNote and be fully playable on that page, with a link back to the original.

You can get much more detail on OneNote online, Google for it.  But now onto OneNote Clipper (also easy to find more about online).

Clipper is a browser add-on that started out about three years ago which makes OneNote even more productive.  Add it to your browser which is a very simple process in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, which are the ones I tested it on.  It can also be installed on Edge but in my opinion, it was too convoluted to mess with.  It does not work on all browsers.  Next, you must have a free Microsoft account.  If you do not have one, go to Office.com and signup for an email account. Then you get all of Office online.

OneNote for Chrome page

Clipper allows you to “clip” anything you see on a website and add it automatically to a notebook.  You see a site you want to include in your research, click the Clipper icon in your favorites bar then choose either “Full Page“, “Region“, “Article” or “Bookmark.”   Full Page gives you a screen shot of the entire web page, however links do not work. A link to the original page is provided. Region allows you to convert a selected area of the page to a graphic.  Article grabs the textual information making all links active in the page.  Finally, Bookmark, which will add a link to the original page and a few words from the site.

Screenshot of OneNote Clipper in use

Your choice is then added to a notebook you select. Go check it out and enjoy!

August 8, 2017

Read to Me

Over several of the past weeks we have talked about talking to your devices.  Whether asking for them to give you directions, the temperature, local movies playing, the time, etc.  We also spoke about dictating to some of your devices and word processors.  For some it could, and does, make it much easier to type documents.  Those articles generated many emails, which I appreciate so keep them coming.  So today we move on to something similar but different.  

Today we look at the other side of the spectrum…getting them to "start" and complete the conversation, sort of.

Microsoft Office online and Office 365 (online) have both come out with a recent addition, "Immersive Reader."  It is also available for the local office clients if you have joined the Office Insider program and have the Windows 10 operating system.  Personally, I have not joined because you get software that is not ready for primetime and may have some issues.  Since I use my computer for day-to-day work I do not want to take any chances.  Although, thinking about it does sound interesting!?

Immersive Reader is part of Microsoft’s Learning Tools for Education.  They are looking for ways to help students who need help in particular areas to get it.  So far it is all free too, thanks MS!  

Immersive Reader has several fascinating features built in. 

You must first get into your Office online account, which is also free.  If you have not created an account it is quite easy.  You can get there via several different URLs but to keep it simple I would use "office.com."  You can use a new or existing MS free email account (outlook.com or live.com) or create one with any email address you already have.  I use an Outlook.com account to keep things straight between MS and my Google accounts. 

Once there open an existing Word (or OneNote so far at this time) and click the "View" button in the ribbon.  A new ribbon will open and one of the first few on the left is the "Immersive Reader" button, so click it.  It will open the file in a different view.  The letters will be larger, to assist people who are vision impaired and they are spaced farther apart than you may be used to which is for those who are dyslexic. 

Immersive Reader button

At the bottom of the screen you will have a Play/Pause button with very short instructions and three icons in the upper right corner, see below.  They are letters, books and a face.  Once you click the play button a pleasant slightly computerized sounding lady will start reading the document and highlighting the words read as it proceeds.  This can help significantly improve many peoples’ reading skills in various areas. 

View of Immersive Reader screen

The icon with letters allows you to increase or decrease the size of fonts and spacing between letters or lines.  The icon of books will let you look at syllables and highlight different parts of speech as it reads…I need this one.  The last icon, the face allows the reader to control the speed of the voice reading back the words.

If you wish to start reading at a different location in the document click the word with your mouse and start it playing again.  The reader will start there and continue. 

Neat addition to office and they will be improving it as time goes by.

July 25, 2017

A Flashback and the Future

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 5:23 am

Before I start on today’s column I have a little flashback to last week.  I mentioned other voice recognition apps like Office’s new Dictate.ms last week.  I received an email from a couple of readers last week chatting about Google Docs.  Yes, Google Docs has speech-to-text capabilities also.   However, I have never tested it.  I would imagine it is no better or worse than the others.

If you wish to try it go to your Google Docs online, choose Add-ons and click, “Speech recognition SoundWriter.”  Then go for it.  Let me know how it works for you…better or worse than any others you have tried?  And thanks for keeping me on my toes with the emails…keep them coming.

Google SoundWriter setup

Today I want talk to you a bit about something that many of my readers can be encouraged by.  I have lost count of the number of emails and conversations I have gotten into regarding how someone can get broadband coverage in rural areas.  Yes, they can get satellite TV, yes, rural areas can get internet through phone lines (slow speeds) … but what about real fairly reliable high-speed internet?

Within the past month Microsoft came up with a plan.  Around the first of this month MS talked about an idea to bring broadband internet connectivity to rural areas of the U.S.A.  The Microsoft Rural Broadband Initiative involves using the portion of UHV television bands that allow wireless signals to make it around blockages like buildings, hills and even travel longer distances.  With that and some other technologies they can get high speed to most all areas in the US.

This graphic shows current connection areas.This graphic shows current connection areas, click for detail.

At this point in time they are talking relative high speeds of 25Mbps.  The FCC states that 25 megabits per second is the definition of high speed broadband.  I have also read that means that approximately 23 million people in rural areas cannot get that speed.  For comparison, it has been said that you have to have a minimum of 8Mbps to stream video decently.  So, folks can easily watch Hulu, Netflix and all the other streaming services and broadcast channels that stream if they get this service.

OK, how long will you have to wait?  Currently they say that it should start rolling out in 2018 and be finished in 2022.  Is that true? Well only time will tell but I imagine they are a little overly aggressive at first.

Even the politicos are getting onboard thinking about the necessity of localities for emergency services, doctors, businesses and more that could benefit from this.   President Trump has put some money into the latest infrastructure budget to include funding to enhance Broadband access in rural communities. The politicians on Capitol Hill are also calling on federal agencies to help reduce costs on both sides of the aisles.

The reality is that it will most likely be here in the not too distant future.  It will cost a bundle to set up.  Even then not everyone will be able to access it.  However, it will be much better than the alternatives we currently have.

July 18, 2017

Dictation

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:18 am

From a column a few weeks ago regarding speaking to voice activated devices, Microsoft came to mind.  You are in all likelihood aware of Cortana the voice search that comes built into Windows 10 but there is more.

It all started many versions ago in Microsoft Word where you had the ability to speak to Word and it would type what you said.  Well sort of.  You had to first train it to recognize your voice.  I remember testing it and having to read several sample texts to your computer for it to learn.  If memory serves me correctly I had to read paragraph excerpts from Shakespeare, a couple of well-known novels and even a paragraph or two from The Wizard of Oz.  Once that was completed it could clearly understand your speech patterns, accent, etc.

Then you could start it up in Word and start dictating your work.  It would do a poor job nowhere near what it should be.  You would get quite a few errors with grammar, punctuation, misunderstood words, with plurality always a mess.  The last time I checked it, several years ago, it was not very good.

Microsoft recently announced a new foray into the dictation arena which is a free add in that works with Word, Outlook and PowerPoint.  Other than a microphone and speaker on your computer you need a couple of other things.  A minimum of Windows 8.1, Office 2013 and .Net Framework 4.5.0 (.Net will be automatically installed if needed).

You can easily install this add in and get much more information at “Dictate.ms.”  You no longer have to read sample text for “Dictate” to understand you.  It uses data pulled from speech recognition in Cortana to convert speech to text on all Windows 10 devices.  All the millions of Cortana users are contributing in all languages, dialects, accents, etc.

Dictate.ms

Now to my testing for accuracy.  I read several paragraphs from the old Bard and from The Wizard of Oz.  I tested the first time by reading aloud at my normal pace, not over enunciating or adding commas, question marks, etc.  I got an accuracy rating, which includes all of the missed items from years ago, mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, of about 65%.  Again, not fantastic.

The next way I tested was to speak more slowly, clearly and properly, especially when I used the word, “but” which it missed every time it was used in the first test.  This time I got a better score at 87%.  Much better; however, still not what I feel like it should be.  However, I can see usages where it could be very helpful.

If you are not a great typist you could use Dictate to more quickly put the words on the “paper” and then carefully correct it.  Or if you we unable to type it could be useful.  But in my opinion for day-to-day work I do not believe it is up to speed…yet.

I dictated the above paragraph which you can see below and has about 88% accuracy.

“You are not a great typist. You could use dictate more quickly put the words on the paper and then carefully corrected. Or if you are unable to type that could be useful. But in my opinion for day to day work. I do not believe it is up to speed dot, dot, dot yet.”

I could have said, “period” three times and the ellipsis above would have worked.

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!

November 22, 2016

Malware Strikes

Before I start today I will tell you that I run all the security software you normally would on a computer.  I also only run software that I recommend to you when you ask or when I write.  That way I know what you can do for free and how well it works. I have always been satisfied with this arrangement.

Now, back to the story.  I was on my desktop computer and up pops an alert from my antivirus application.  I will not mention the name of it since it is an app that I have been testing for several weeks.  BANG, I had malware!!!

I told it to take care of it by removing the offending malware files as I have done only a couple of times over the years.  Then predictably the warning went away.

After anywhere from 10 seconds to five minutes I get another warning and another and another, etc.  After a dozen or two of them I just let them go to watch what would happen.  I figured my computer was probably already ruined so why worry about it further.

After a hundred or so alerts I ran Malwarebytes to take care of the problem.  That application (which still does a good job in most areas) found them but it could not remove them either.  At this point, I am starting to perspire.

You should turn this on if you have no other antivirus softwareI then shutdown my “now proven worthless” antivirus app and uninstalled it.  I then install a more proven, reputable antivirus app.  After it finished its set up it also found the malware but could do nothing with it either.  I now shutdown this antivirus application and ran Windows Defender.  Always keep in mind that you should run only one antivirus app on your computer at a time.  Also, Windows Defender switches itself off automatically when you install a third party anti-virus app.

Windows Defender is the antivirus application that comes built into Windows 10 and has been available since Windows XP.  For the past years, most geeks say to run a third-party antivirus app in its place since Windows Defender (WD to save space) is not as good as the others.  I trusted the pros as I had never proven it to be good or bad for me.

Windows Defender on Windows 10

The second I started up WD it found the malware and asked if it should remove it.  I responded, “Heck yeah, kill it my new little friend!”  Well not exactly but you know what I mean.

About five minutes later all of the malware was apparently gone and my computer was running smoothly once again. I rebooted it, ran the “dependable” antivirus software again and it said that everything was safe.  I ran Malwarebytes again and it too reported everything as being safe and secure.

Now I have uninstalled all of the antivirus apps and let Windows Defender take over the heavy lifting.  As far as I am concerned that is all I need now along with Malwarebytes.

November 1, 2016

Why Revo?

So, after the series of articles on applications I think are good additions to Windows, I received several questions.  A couple of which I will answer today.

The first, and my favorite, was regarding my choice of Revo Uninstaller (RevoUninstaller.com).  John wrote and wanted to know why I do not like Microsoft’s “Programs and Features.”  He wondered why he should not use that built in Windows application which is found in the Control Panel?

I have a really good reason, at least in my opinion.  First, they are both made to remove or uninstall applications that have been placed on your computer.  You know the drill.  You have heard from a friend or someone like me that you should try the XYZ program.  You install it and find that it is worthless and you no longer want it on your computer taking up space.  So, you need to uninstall it as soon as you can.

Revo Uninstaller Logo

I have found that when you use the built-in Programs and Features the program is indeed uninstalled; however, nowhere near completely.  When you use that program to do an uninstall it can, and most times does, leave behind many unneeded folders and files.  It may also leave many worthless pieces of information in your Windows Registry.  The last part may never give you any issues and you may be unaware of it altogether but it could cause problems over time.

With Revo Uninstaller you direct it as to how deeply to probe for leftover unnecessary files.  I always get it to run in the Advanced mode.  That way it will first run the regular uninstall process that Windows does normally.  However, it will then do a deep scan for any files left over from that procedure and offer to remove them too.  I always take Revo’s suggestions and delete everything.

This makes for a much more thorough and professional cleaning which gives you back free disk space once it is completed.  I have found some uninstalls where there are thousands of left over files to delete.  I have found very few where it does not delete any files but it has happened to me on rare occasions.

I feel that Microsoft should be ashamed of the sloppy junk they leave behind on your system after a regular uninstall.  And before you ask, Revo is free with a “Pro” version that does a few more things.  I have used the free version for years without any issues and some fine cleaning.

Do you love or hate MS?The last question from another reader was, “Why did I slam Windows built in programs in those last articles?”  I really did not slam them but I do believe you can sometimes get better apps to do the same thing from elsewhere.  The MS programs are actually fine; however, if I can increase my gas mileage a little by using a different gas brand why not do it?

October 25, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 4

Well I need to start with an “Oops” this week.  Last week’s article included an incorrect statement and if you looked for the software in the link provided you would not find Revo Uninstaller.  I stated incorrectly that Revo was by the same company as CCleaner.  This is not correct and I even knew better but my fingers were out of control as I typed.  Of course, I could have been checking to see if you were reading closely…some of you were.

Revo Uninstaller can be found at RevoUninstaller.com; whereas, CCleaner is still found at Piriform.com.  I apologize.

One more useful utility is WinDirStat (windirstat.net).  We will all one day read a message on our PC that says something like, “You are running out of disk space.”  You have cleaned out all the files you can find and still need more space.  Run WinDirStat and it will give you a colorful graphical interface letting you know where your files are located all by size.  So with some clicking and determination you can hunt down and remove worthless files you no longer need.  PLEASE be careful as you could also delete something quite important too.

Below is a WinDirStat representation of all the files on my computer. I can hover my mouse over an area to see information about those files down to an individual file.

WinDirStat Representation of Ron's Files

This will be the last article in this series regarding apps you may want/need to add to a Windows PC.  That being the case I will close with a look at a couple of fun applications.

Windows 10 Games...these are FREE

There are many games made by Microsoft for Windows 10.  But of course, Solitaire which Microsoft came out with over 26 years ago, is the original with the Windows Operating System.  It was originally created to make people more comfortable with two new things that were spreading across the world.  The PC and the Mouse.  It went on fairly unchanged until Windows 8 changed it by requiring you to purchase it to remove ads.  It has become bigger, brighter, and has more versions of the game.  Microsoft has many, many games that you can try out in Windows 10 by going to rd.dblclx.com/2evl0en.

 

SteamNext up, if you like video games you already know about Steam but if not here you go.  Visit Steampowered.com to see the hundreds of games available.  Many of them you have never heard of and many you may have played in the past (Counter Strike, Half-Life, Far Cry) on a game system or PC.  There are all types of games available too, adventure, roleplaying, racing, sports strategy and more.  Prices of games range from free to $25.  There are also a few game creation tools available if you are the inventive type.  New games roll out from Steam too.  Maybe you can meet me online sometime playing, “Star Trek Online” (a freebie of course). To play Steam games you must download a large application to run the games and then each individual game so make sure you have time to wait when you first set it up.

duolingo.comIf games are not your “thing” how about learning a new language with Duolingo?  You can use it either online at Duolingo.com or download it as an application to Windows (Android and iPhones too).  To be honest I have tried it out but do not use it regularly since I do not have the time or want to take the effort to learn a new language now.  But when I do I will definitely use Duolingo to do so.

October 18, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 3

For the last two weeks I have shared with you what I believe are some of the best applications you could add on to a Windows 10 computer.  That goes for Windows 7 back up to and including Windows XP.  By-the-way, just in case you have not heard anyone mention it lately you should not be using Windows XP any longer since it is no longer supported by Microsoft.

This week my favorite note taking app(s):  I have two in this category.  The first is already included on Windows 10 and is for detailed notes, OneNote.  OneNote is the app you should use if you are writing a book or important document with a large amount of research.  OneNote is also found online (onenote.com) and is one of the best of the Microsoft programs though often overlooked.  The second one is for quick notes, voice reminders, lists and more from Google.  Google Keep (keep.google.com) is available for most mobile platforms too.  A quick and convenient way to make simple or not so simple notes.

OK, a very good utility I use to uninstall programs I no longer want or need is called Revo Uninstaller.  This application will remove everything necessary from your computer when uninstalling applications.  You can use the regular Windows uninstall program but it may, and usually does, leave a lot of leftover junk behind.  This takes up space on your hard drive and could slow down your system.  Revo will wipe all of the old program off.

Last week I said to use VLC for your audio/visual needs.  For music and videos, it is a great app.  Then I had a reader write and chastise me regarding iTunes (itunes.com).  I know it is hard for many of you who have listened to me over the years to believe but I like iTunes.  Yes, I know it is an Apple product but it is good; however, you really only “need” it if you have other Apple products to connect to.  So in good conscience I suggest you use iTunes if you have an iPhone, etc.

Next for all of you photo bugs out there:  A very good photo editing software which is easy to use and free is Adobe Photoshop Express.  You can download this one from the Windows Store.  It will allow you to make standard contrast, brightness, etc. settings on a picture or automatically correct it for you.  Go to the DoubleClicks.info site and check out a picture I edited.  You may also use it on your iPhone, Android or Windows phones.

Take a look below at the same picture, before and after
a one button click edit with Adobe Photoshop Express.

Original Photo

Edited Photo

Now for watching TV and movies online if you are so inclined:  Netflix.com is the one I go to.  I have tried Hulu.com (with advertisements even though you pay) and Amazon.com (where you may still pay additional per individual shows/movies).  For those reasons I am sticking with Netflix.  Do not forget they all offer specific applications to download and install which offer a better experience than watching on your browser.  Also, you can get quite a few shows from the stations’ websites, most free but some of them (CBS) charge you to watch their shows.

See you next week!

October 4, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 1

I am asked quite often what programs I would set up on a new computer.  I usually answer these email inquiries individually.  However, today I thought I would start a series of articles regarding the apps I get quizzed on most often.

This is in reference to applications I like better than those supplied with Windows computers.  They are not necessarily the best programs to accomplish their assigned tasks but the ones I like best.  You may certainly go to DoubleClicks.info or email me and share your opinions.  Also, these are all free…you know me.

Ninite logo

When you get a new computer go straight to Ninite.com. Ninite offers almost 90 applications that you can add to Windows in one visit.  You click check box next to the program you want to install and when finished download the resulting executable file.  Run it and all of the programs you chose will be installed to your computer.  It will take a while depending on how many you choose but it is quicker than going to each site, downloading a file and then installing each individually.  Most of the programs I will talk about here may be found at Ninite.  It has always worked flawlessly for me.

Next on my list is a browser since both of the versions of MSIE (Edge included as one) are OK browsers but not the best.  I choose Google Chrome for my favorite and run it as my default browser (google.com/chrome).  My second vote would be for Firefox. (firefox.com

Google Chrome Browser logo                             Mozilla Firefox Browser logo

Now the biggie?!  Do I recommend Microsoft Office? If so which version and if not what office application do I use?  Tough question as I use Microsoft Office 2016 on my main computer.  It is an excellent office suite.  However, when that license expires, and another charge is levied by MS for its continuation (i.e., cloud versions) or whatever else may financially "get" me, I will switch.  I will happily switch to Libre Office (libreoffice.org) which is an Open Source application. (translation = free) 

LibreOffice logo                            Microsoft Office 2016/365 logo

Libre Office is equal to the MS Office Suite is most respects for the largest majority of users.  The main difference between the two is that LO uses a menu driven system like MS Office did up until version 2007 where it switched to the Ribbon.  By-the-way, after almost 10 years of using the Ribbon in Office I still think the menu system was better.  But back to Libre Office as a great replacement for the best known office suite.   For a very detailed comparison between LO and MO go here

The last one for this week is what PDF viewer do I favor?  The most well-known is Adobe Acrobat (get.adobe.com/reader); however, you basically may only view PDF files using that application.  If you need to create or edit them, you need to pay for the application.  Guess what?  Libre Office, as well as Microsoft Office, can view, edit and create PDF files.  So if you have one of them you have no need for another application that does less.

Adobe Acrobat logo

Next we will look at some utilities, a great video player, video chat and more!

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