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August 9, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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

If you have not heard, Microsoft has discontinued the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

For those of you that waited due to, “Oops, I forgot” I am sorry for your loss.  Loss of $119 at least.  For those of you that will never give up because of all the issues with Windows 10 — I am also sorry.  Not for the $119 loss, since you knew that would come but sorry that you will not get to enjoy it…until you purchase a new PC.

Of course, you are not alone.  MS shoots to have everyone on Windows 10 but the reality is different.  Looking at all computers in use around the world, W10 is on 21.13% while Windows 7 is still in the lead with 47.01%.  If you care, the breakdown continues as W8.x at 9.17%, XP is 10.34% and finally Mac is in last place of the big boys at 4.69%.  The others that total to 100% are Linux and “Others” that are not used very often.  So basically about one out of every five PCs are running Windows 10 as of August 1st.

All that being said on August 2nd, Microsoft began rolling out the “Windows 10 Anniversary Update”, woohoo!  It is also known as the 1607 update (for the anniversary of 07/16).  It included many changes most of which are on the backend where you will not notice much.  There were some interface changes but minimal.

One change you will notice right off is that the Start Menu has changed.  The entire list of applications now starts directly under the Recently Added and Suggested apps.  From there you can scroll down or you may still click on one of the letter labels to choose the app you want.

The Action Center button has moved to the right side of the time in the Taskbar instead of being on the left as it was before…I have no idea why.  An interesting change which I entirely approve of is if you have set up your email and calendar in Windows 10, including Gmail, when you click the time on the taskbar you will see your scheduled agenda under the time, date and calendar.

Also, if you are an Edge browser user there has been a major change.  You can now add extensions like Google Chrome, Firefox and other browsers have had for a long time. Extensions allow you to do other things with your browser other than surf the net.  Like Adblock, Evernote, Pinterest and others.  Although, there are not many they are being created often now.  When Windows 10 started a year ago there were basically none.

You will be invited to download and install the Anniversary Update when you have your next Windows update.  Mine hit on August 4th so it installed it two days after the rollout.  It was flawless but I would plan on a couple of hours to complete the download and installation, which includes several reboots.  All of it is automatic once you start the first reboot.

Good luck for all you PC users out there whether XP, 7, 8.1 or 10. I hope no one is still dealing with Vista or Millennium!

July 18, 2016

2016-07-18 Show Notes with WSVA

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 12:17 pm

Lots of talk today so check out the podcast if you missed it. Not many links but lots of information…and of course Jim kicks me around about my reading list (which I have to admit he was correct).

Tech News

Facebook cloning scam can steal your identity

If you’ve noticed people you thought were already your friends suddenly requesting to add you on Facebook, watch out: it could be a scam.

According to multiple reports, a roughly month-long fraud has plagued the social network and stolen vital personal information from users. It goes like this: a scammer re-creates someone’s Facebook profile using their default photo, other pictures and “about” section. Then that individual sends friend requests to the targeted person’s friends list.

By adding your new “friend,” you could instead be letting a stranger get access to your personal information.

Not only that, but the person can also pose as you by recreating your profile, and send messages to your friends and plan get-togethers or ask for money.

Some experts recommend thoroughly scanning a user’s profile before adding them as a friend. Also, making your friends list accessible to only other friends can limit a scammer’s access.

If you notice a request by the name of someone you’re already friends with, you can notify that friend that they’ve potentially been hacked.


Windows 10, It’s Now or Never

Microsoft says after July 30, 2016 Windows 10 will no longer be free. $119!


 

That is all for today, come back in August on the 15th and join in.

Ron

May 17, 2016

Microsoft Took Control

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:19 am

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of articles about some Windows 10 tips.  I like Windows 10 just fine; although, I realize some of you out there do not.  But that is fine.   Choices and variety are usually good.

However, after a recent Windows 10 update I found something I was really annoyed with (I am too laid back to get mad, but I was close.)

I opened a link to a website after the update and the Microsoft Edge browser had replaced Google Chrome as my default browser.

No big deal since I am a geek and know how to "fix" Windows stuff when it happens.  So I went to set up Chrome as my default browser again.

Click on the Windows start icon on the lower left then type, "Default app settings."  You should perform that step after your computer has been on for a few minutes.  I have sometimes found that the search does not function well until all of your start up programs have finished.  Click the link to the default app settings at the top.  A new window will open where you will scroll down on the right to "Web browser" and the click "Choose a default." If anything but the preferred browser is shown in that icon you may change it to the browser you want to use when you click on any link.  You may have a grey "+" box which indicates no default is set.

Default apps

This has been the prescribed method to change most all default settings for the recent OS versions.  For instance, I use VLC (VideoLAN) for all of my music and video playing so both of those are set up there. 

But as I stated the last update(s) changed that.  You can set default apps for all except your browser now.  Microsoft took that away from you to make the world use MS Edge.  I do not care for Edge, along with many others. 

Here is the secret way to correct this issue which I found after Googling for quite a while.    While in the default app settings area scroll down a little more and click on "Set defaults by app."  This is where you set them up in older versions of Windows.  It is actually in your Control Panel.

Settings

Finally scroll down the list on the left of all of your applications.  Click the one you want to set as the default and then on the right click "Set this program as default."

Default apps

That "old way" overwrites the settings Microsoft has used to block other browsers from becoming the default in the latest updates for Windows 10.  

One last thought for you Windows 10 haters.  I read this article recently about what will happen after the July 29th cutoff date for getting the free Windows 10 upgrade. Please remember that capitalization counts, "rd.dblclx.com/stopW10". 

May 16, 2016

2016-05-16 Show Notes with WSVA

Welcome back to today’s Show with WSVA, Jim Britt and me, Ron Doyle.  For those of you that missed it live, here is the podcast for your listening pleasure.

Here are a few of the things we talked about today.  More questions?  No worries contact me here.

Tech News

Microsoft is removing its nagging Windows 10 upgrade notifications soon“Details are still being finalized, but on July 29th the Get Windows 10 app that facilitates the easy upgrade to Windows 10 will be disabled and eventually removed from PCs worldwide. Just as it took time to ramp up and roll out the Get Windows 10 app, it will take time to ramp it down.”


10-year-old boy hacks Instagram and wins $10,000 rewardA 10-year-old hacker from Finland won $10,000 from Facebook after alerting the tech giant to a security flaw in its photo-sharing service, Instagram.

The boy, who lives in Helsinki and was identified only as Jani, found he could delete other people’s comments from Instagram using malicious code, according to Finnish newspaper, Iltalehti.

He alerted the service to this flaw and was paid $10,000 as a reward. Instagram said the vulnerability had been fixed.

Facebook operates a “bug bounty” program that rewards those who report vulnerabilities in its services, including Instagram. Facebook has rewarded more than $4.3 million to more than 800 people under the program since it launched in 2011.Jani plans to spend his money on a new bicycle and a football. According to Facebook’s own rules, he is too young to have an Instagram account, for which the recommended minimum age is 13.


Beverly Hills is creating its own fleet of self-driving carsPicture the streets of Beverly Hills and you probably imagine seas of ultra-luxurious cars piloted by celebrities or their chauffeurs. However, you may have to get used to a new sight in the future: hordes of vehicles with no drivers at all.

The city’s council has voted to produce a fleet of self-driving cars that would provide on-demand shuttle service around town. The system would lean on a city-wide fiber optic network, already in the design stages, to keep these driverless rides talking to the neighborhood and each other.

The first phase of the resolution would have Beverly Hills forming partnerships with autonomy-minded car brands like Google and Tesla, so this would be more of a collaboration than a from-scratch project.


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.)
This is one of my all time favorite Google Apps, “Google Keep“.

Quickly capture what’s on your mind and get a reminder later at the right place or time. Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed. Grab a photo of a poster, receipt or document and easily organize or find it later in search. Google Keep makes it easy to capture a thought or list for yourself, and share it with friends and family.

Available everywhere.


 

Ron actually bought this online
Ipow Universal One Touch Installation CD Slot Smartphone Car Mount Holder Cradle

  • Stretchable clamp/bracket can hold up to 3.5 inch wide, rubber pad on clamp can protect your phone not damaged.
  • CD car mount is designed to fit vehicle’s cd slot.
  • Full 360 degree rotation with two ball joints and tilt it for multiple angles – Vertically or Horizontally. Allows you to find that perfect viewing angle with one hand.
  • Easy installation,no need tools to mount your Smartphones front and center in your car and play CD simultaneously.
  • The mount securely keeps your smartphone where you need it most without obstructing your view; Always keep it stay in place.

image

That is the show for now, please come back on June 20, 2016 for the next one.

Keep those emailed questions coming.  I love to answer them and who knows, you may see your question on the DNR or hear about it on WSVA!

Thanks for listening and reading,
Ron

April 26, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 4

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:50 am

This is most likely the last week for Windows 10 tips so grab ’em while you can. It has been fun sharing questions from emails with you about W10 but next week on to an adventure I recently had.

Today I want to talk about the ribbon.  The ribbon first appeared in Microsoft Office 2007.  Basically the ribbon is a wide menu area at the top of the application window below the title bar.  I have never really understood this since it takes up more room and is just as intricate to navigate as the old dropdown menu system.  However, MS did not ever ask my opinion.

To see it in action open File Explorer (same as last week, not Internet Explorer but the folder button in the taskbar near the start menu button).  Explorer will open a window showing Desktop, Documents and many other things depending on your settings.

Notice at the top you will see tabs labeled Home, Share and View.  If you click them, you will see the ribbon below them with commands, which work in that particular area.  Since I commented that the ribbon takes up a lot of space on the screen here is how to “hide” it until you need it again.  Double click on any one of the tabs, say Home for example.  It will appear to fold up and hide and only show the tabs.  To see it and use the commands under it click it once and it will appear again.  Click anywhere off of it and the ribbon will hide again.

File Explorer Window

If you try this and decide you want to have the ribbon on full time like it was, double click a tab again and it will go back to the default setting.  This works on any application having the ribbon like most Microsoft Office products.

The search box is there from older versions but in W10 it is more useful and much quicker.  Pretend for a minute that you have over 1,300 columns you have written over the past 15 years (a real example from my files).  Now suppose you wrote a column on Chromecast sometime during that period.  You can type Chromecast in the search box in the upper right corner and press enter.  In less than a second you get eight results.

Suppose you now want to narrow it down to Google Chromecast so you search for that but you still get the same eight documents.  Put quotation marks around it like this, “Google Chromecast” and press enter.  I find only one document out of all 1,300 that has that exact phrase very, very quickly.  Is there a particular type of file you want to find, say an old PowerPoint presentation you made 5 years ago?  Search for .ppt (the extension for PowerPoint presentation) and find 200 of them you wrote.  Sort by modified date and you are done.

Search File Explorer

OK, I just realized I have at least one more Windows 10 tip from emails, so forget what I said in the beginning of this article…they keep on coming.

April 19, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 3

The last two articles concerning Windows 10 tips have garnered many emails.  Today a few more.  If you remain interested keep those email questions coming in and I will tell more!

Today I will look at a few features of Windows Explorer since I had recent questions regarding it over the past weeks.

First off, Windows Explorer is not Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) which is the Microsoft internet browser that has been around for a long time.  That was replaced by Microsoft Edge. But back to Windows Explorer which is now most often referred to as File Explorer.

SNAGHTML32cf995

File Explorer is easy to get to and is used to browse and find any folders or files on your computer.  To open it look at the taskbar at the bottom of the monitor to the right of the Windows start menu button and you will see a folder with maybe a blue bar on the bottom.  To open Explorer click that folder and there it is.  Another even easier way to open Explorer is to press the Windows button (on your keyboard, the one to the left of your spacebar with the windows logo on it) with the “E” key and Explorer will pop open on your screen.  There are other ways to get it open but those two are the easiest.

Once it is open there will be some folders on the left and right sides.  On the right you may find Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Music and possibly more or less.  How many folders and what they are will depend on how your computer was set up, if you have changed anything or if any programs have put their own folders there.

On the left side is the “Quick access” menu where you can add things quickly to find in another easy area…more about that later.

Pin to Quick accessLet us say that you want add your “O-Check Column” folder which is under “Documents” on your computer to the Quick Access area on the left.  Browse to the O-Check Column folder on the right and when you find O-Check Column, right click the folder.  Now click “Pin to Quick access.”  The columns folder will appear at the bottom of Quick access.  You may have to scroll up a bit to see everything clearly.  If you wish to move the new folder – click and drag it up to where you like it located.

 

Right click on Ron's File ExplorerNow that we have added the O-Check Column folder to QA what can you do with it?  Well, close down your Explorer window.  Right click on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar (not left click) and the items in your Quick access area of File Explorer will appear starting at the top and going down in the order you put them earlier.  Click on the one you want to immediately open that folder.

These are your most used or Favorite folders that you may need to access often.  I have the Pictures folder there also with my Columns so I can get to either very quickly.

More next week.

April 12, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 2

After the column last week I received quite a few emails asking for a few more Windows 10 tips.  Keep in mind that you can email me your questions and I will always answer back. Give me time, and you may see yours appearing here one week.  Keep them coming!

As funny as it may sound to you many people have asked me how to change the colors in Windows 10.  They apparently do not like the default settings.  It is quite easy to do and you have many options you can play with.

Go to Settings by both clicking the start menu and typing “Settings” or click on the box icon with lines in the lower right of your task bar next to the time and click “All Settings.”  Once that window opens click on “Personalization.”

Choose Settings then Personalization

Now click “Colors” on the left and try it out.  You can choose your own accent color.  Scroll down and click on the other two settings for showing that color on the taskbar, start menu and others.  I like the automatically pick the color from your background option and it works well.  Of course, that gives us another setting to play with, your background.

Play with your color setting here - this view is set to pull colors from your wallpaper

In that same area on the left click “Background.”  You can choose a slideshow which works quite well.  You can choose a folder full of your favorite images (you will need to browse to where it is located) and they will display one after the other at the time interval you select.  One note here… if you choose a folder on Dropbox or another online storage area it will not work very well so make sure the graphics are in a local folder on your C Drive.  If you have one picture of your kids or a photograph you are proud of choose “Picture” from the dropdown.  You can also choose a Solid Color which I find pretty boring.

If you choose the color to be picked automatically it will change with each new background picture when it loads.  There are other settings you can play with in this area too.  The only warning here is under “Start.”  Be careful of the “Use Start full screen” which will make your start menu button open a start screen which fills your entire window with the start choices.  You can try them one at a time and cut them off if you do not care for the changes in this area of Windows 10.

Some people are confused on how to shut down the computer and just log off or lock it.  For locking the computer nothing has changed over the last few operating systems. Hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the letter “L” and you are locked.  Sign out and locked have changed in the menu area.  Click the start button, click your user name at the very top and then select either “Change account settings,” “Lock,” or “Sign out.”

  Change account settings, Lock, or Sign out                            Sleep, Shut down, or Restart

Shut down is under the start menu again but go to either “Sleep,” “Shut down” or “Restart” under the “Power” link at the bottom.  More next week upon your request.

April 5, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:48 am

Over the past several months I have received questions from readers asking how to do various things on Windows 10.  Some were quite interesting and some I thought could be useful to other new Windows 10 users.  Since sooner or later I believe we will all be “enjoying” what Windows 10 has to offer I thought I would review a few of them here.  Read last week’s column regarding the coming of W10… ready or not.

One of the things I am often asked is, “Even though the Menu is much better than Windows 8.1 how do I make it more like Windows 7?”

One of the most obvious differences is that the menu in W10 contains many “Live Tiles.”   I do not find them that useful and I have tried.  I feel they give minimal information I usually do not care about and take up a lot of screen space.

Resizing a Live TileYou have a couple of options to change the launch menu.  First, you can resize the live tiles if you wish to keep them but make them smaller.  Right click on the live tile you want to make smaller, then select “resize” and either small, medium, wide or large.  If you really want to get rid of them as I have done, right click on the live tile you want to remove and choose “Unpin from start.”  Easy as that.  You will have to do this to each one you want to remove.

Now you will have a large start menu that is really wide and empty if you remove all the tiles.  You can resize the entire start menu by hovering your mouse pointer at the edge of the menu.  After it is open, you will see a double headed arrow, click and drag to make it narrower or shorter.

If you have decided to keep any of the tiles you can also click them and drag them to different areas on the menu.

I get another common question about not being able to get to applications as quickly as in W7.  I would agree; however, there are a couple of things you can do that will help you out.  First thing is that you can click the start button and then, “All Apps” but you do not have to scroll down the list.  Try typing the name of the application you are looking for and it will usually appear at the top of the list.  If it is not first after you repeat this action a few times it will start rising to the top.

Click a letter to choose apps that start with it

Also, while you are in the all apps area you can click on any of the large letters and a list of all the letters will pop up.  Click the one the application starts with and you will see the app in the list.

One last one which defeats some of what you did in the menu sizing you did earlier, but I like this one.  In all apps find the application you use a lot and want to get to quickly.  Right click on it and choose “Pin to start.”  The application will now appear in the menu area where the live tiles were/are.  You can resize it as you did the other live tiles.

Pin to Start

March 29, 2016

Windows 10, Ready or Not

Over the past few weeks I have received some emails from people saying they are getting warnings on their computers regarding the Windows 10 upgrade.  No, this is not a new virus, a Trojan or any sort of malware hitting the scene.  Our friend – Microsoft.

Many of you who have not converted to Windows 10 yet are getting popups from time-to-time from Microsoft.  It has already been downloaded to most Windows 7 and 8.x computers.  Yes, there is a very high probability that it is lurking in a hidden location waiting to get its command to run.  If you choose to install it by clicking the popup, then you will have it after a couple of restarts.  But what if you choose to never click the OK button?

When MS released W10 for general consumption in July, 2015, they said it would be free for all users of Windows 7 and 8.x.  It was and so far, according to one statistics site I read, about 14.8% of all desktop and notebook computers are running W10.  For comparison it also stated Windows 7 is 46.8%, Windows 8.1 is 11.4% and OS X (Apple) is 9.33%.  They also stated at release time that after one year you would have to pay for W10 if you wanted it on your computer.

One of many Windows 10 Upgrade "Reminders"Now things have apparently changed.  I have read of some people who woke up to find Windows 10 on their computers.  The issue is that when they went to bed the night before they had Windows 7.  I do not know how true that is but I do know that people are getting continual “warnings” about having to install W10.

So it sounds like sooner or later you will get Windows 10.  I do not know if they will auto-install it without your input or allow you to choose “OK,” but I believe you will have it sooner or later.  Oh and MS says the update to W10 is for our own safety.  Yeah right, that was what all the new versions were supposedly for.

One of many Windows 10 Upgrade "Reminders"On to one other related issue.  I received an email from a reader who choose to bite the bullet and install Windows 10 recently.  They immediately had issues connecting to their Wi-Fi and asked me what they could do.  I had not heard this before and looked online…there were many out there with this issue along with a plethora of fixes.  Since I had no experience with this I suggested he go to a local computer shop.  He did and found out that many W10 upgraded computers had this issue.  I found online where it could be related to older drivers on computers but sometimes updating them did not work either.

I am surprised that my computers have had no issue with this.  I have a 2009 desktop, a 2006 and a 2010 notebook and none of them have experienced this issue.  But be warned if you have an older system you could lose Wi-Fi.  I have read on a few sites which say your best bet if that happens and a computer repair shop cannot get you fixed is to toss it and buy a new computer.

Thanks, Microsoft, for the mandatory Windows 10 upgrades, especially if it stops us from getting online.  Very useful feature…not!

One of many Windows 10 Upgrade "Reminders"

One of many Windows 10 Upgrade "Reminders"

March 15, 2016

Updates

Picture of new Waze mapHere is one update to the last two columns I wrote about Google Maps and Waze for Android devices.  Guess what?  Waze released a new version of its excellent product.  It has a couple of nice new features but mostly it was cosmetic with a few navigational changes.  I believe it looks better, is quicker and well worth the time for the upgrade.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

Another update that took place toward the end of 2015 was the Google Chromecast.  This device allows you to view most anything you can watch on your computer on your TV.  Of course, you have to plug it in and do a quick setup.  I had the first version of Chromecast and all was well.  They rolled out the second one and all continued to be well.  Then early this year they did another update which was to work with either the older or newer devices.  It may have been well for some but not me. 

I used an older broken Android phone to "act" as my remote control for our Chromecast.  The phone had not been able to make calls for years.  However, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features functioned perfectly so for those it remained useful. 

After the update the Chromecast app failed.  I could no longer control, start or even make the application run with the old phone.  When I started the application it looked good then a message came up saying it had to restart, over and over again.

I uninstalled it, reinstalled it, rebooted the phone, etc.  You know, all the techie things you should do.  Nothing worked.  I then Googled and found other people with the same or a similar issue.  They suggested downloading the previous version from a now-defunct site.  I did and it all worked well again but within a week or so the new version was pushed back on my phone automatically and it started all over again.

To make all things good once more I installed the new version of Chromecast on my current Android phone and now all is well.  I just do not care for using my phone as my TV remote.

CCleaner main screenNow the Windows 10’s update:  I was basically and still am a W10 supporter with a few caveats you have read from me before now. Here is one more.  

After a recent update Microsoft decided that CCleaner (one of my favorite third party apps) could be a danger to my computer.  So instead of warning me about it and letting me make a decision as to what should be done, guess what?  The programming brains behind W10 decided it should automatically be uninstalled from my system!  All I had to do was reinstall it but what if I had not seen the small warning message when it rebooted?  I would have spent a long time trying to figure out what happened.  W10 can do this to you for a multitude of programs, so be cautious and read all the pop ups.  

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