DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

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!

August 16, 2016

Live Writer by Any Other Name

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:47 am

Several years ago I wrote an article about a specific piece of software which was for a specific group of people.  I did not think it would be very popular; however, I received a large number of emails regarding that software. 

There have been some major changes regarding "Windows Live Writer" so I thought it was time to revisit this great app…or the lack thereof.

Windows Live Writer was part of a Microsoft Suite of products called "Windows Live Essentials" and all components could be installed with one file.  Microsoft created Live Writer for posting to your own blog many years ago.  If you are a blog owner who uses a WordPress site I highly recommended this for you.  It is much easier to create pages, posts, etc. for your WordPress site using Live Writer.

However, just like Google, in 2012 Microsoft decided to no longer support any of the Essentials programs.  So I guess they were not so essential.

You can still find it on the Microsoft site for download; but it is exactly the same as it was in 2012.  The web changes a lot and so should the way you maintain your site.  Other than possible security issues with old software you may not be able to perform some new functions. 

WordPress is a content management system for building websites.  I use it on all of mine, including DoubleClicks.info.  It is so popular that as of a few months ago it was found that WP is used by 59.5% of all the websites who use content management systems.  This is 26.6% of all websites.  That is a lot of websites!

So you can still get Live Writer but it is outdated, what to do? 

This post in Open Live WriterEnter the new kid on the block "Open Live Writer."  Open LW was created from the original LW code.  Several Microsoft employees who loved LW got together.  They asked for, got permission from MS to proceed and took over development for LW.  They then changed the name to Open Live Writer.  Since December, 2015, you can now get this free application from OpenLiveWriter.org.

It is every bit as good as the original which seems obvious since it started life as the same application.  It is actually getting much better than the original since the developers really care about improving it.  They have added several new features but to be honest the one I like the best is a Spell Checker which MS put off for years.

So if you do not have your own WordPress site you can skip through this article pretty quickly.  But if you do you should definitely use Open Live Writer as, IMHO it is much better than the default editor in WordPress.

Happy posting!

August 15, 2016

2016-08-15 Show Notes with WSVA

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 11:17 am

Welcome back to the site for the podcast and show notes from today’s show.

Tech News

OK, Google: 160 valuable voice commands for Android

Android has actually had a robust voice command system in place for ages — and the number of things it can do for you is expanding all the time.

In fact, Google may be preparing to unveil a newly rebranded and even more conversational version of its virtual assistant later this year, but you don’t have to wait to start making the most of your mobile device’s listening smarts.

  • Enable/disable [battery saver mode] (and other system features, such as mute)
  • Take a photo/selfie
  • Record a video
  • What time zone is [most any city] in?
  • Do I need an umbrella today?
  • Where’s the closest [bowling alley]? (or most any other business)
  • When’s the sunrise in [anywhere]?
  • Set a timer for [10 minutes]
  • Call [anyone in your Google address book], mobile/home/work
  • When is the sunset tonight?

Nintendo’s NES Classic Targets Gaming Geezers

Nintendo ..recently.. unveiled its latest gaming console: the NES Classic Edition, a mini replica of the original home console that can connect directly to a TV via an HDMI cable.

The system features 30 built-in games from the 8-bit era, including fan favorites such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN and Kirby’s Adventure.

“We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America.

“The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES, or who wants to pass on those nostalgic memories to the next generation of gamers,” he added.

The system, which will be available this fall for US$59.99, will ship with a newly designed NES Classic Controller patterned after the original NES controller. It will include an HDMI cable and an AC adapter.


Historical Software
Did you have an old Atari game console or one of the many others from back in the day? Go to this site and play them again, just like when you were a kid.

This collection contains selected historically important software packages from the Internet Archive’s software archives. Through the use of in-browser emulators, it is possible to try out these items and experiment with using them, without the additional burdens of installing emulator software or tracking down the programs. Many of these software products were the first of their kind, or utilized features and approaches that have been copied or recreated on many programs since.


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.)

Google Opinion Rewards

Answer quick surveys and earn Google Play credits with Google Opinion Rewards.

Getting started is easy. Download the app and answer basic questions about yourself. We’ll then send you surveys around once a week, although it may be more or less frequent. You’ll get a notification on your phone when a short and relevant survey is ready for you, and can receive up to $1.00 in Play credits for completing it. Questions can range from, “Which logo is best?” and “Which promotion is most compelling?” to “When do you plan on traveling next?”

Availalbe for Android devices only.


I hope you enjoyed this month’s show. Come back the third Monday of September to find out what is going on in Tech then!

Ron

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

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