DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 15, 2013

Get Help, Problem Steps Recorder

I have had people tell me many times that sometimes their computer will give them a problem.  No surprise there. But then when they talk to a geek or go to have it fixed they either cannot explain it to the geek clearly enough, they may forget exactly what happened or they cannot get the problem to duplicate itself at that time.  They then feel hopelessly lost.

Never fear, Microsoft thought of you with Windows 7 and continued it in Windows 8 (if you are one of the unfortunates using it) and hopefully from that point on.  The application is called, "Problem Steps Recorder" and is really a miracle of the technology age.

It is very simple to use and will give your computer geek more than enough, maybe even too much information regarding what is going on with your computer.

To get to PSR you can either click on your Start Orb and type Problem Steps Recorder and click the link that reads, "Record steps to reproduce a problem" or just type "PSR", see "psr.exe" and click it to start.  

PSR Start ScreenA rectangular window will pop up on your monitor that is label in-kind.  At that point you have only three options.  First you could close it with the "X" on the upper right.  Next, you can get help by clicking the question mark SNAGHTML3c02deunder the close "X."  Lastly, click on "Start Record."  With the last one you will be recording your screenshots anytime you click your mouse or type.  Each thing you do is recorded along with exactly what page you were on, the X and Y coordinates of the mouse location, exactly what you enter into areas, etc.

While recording, you can also add a comment by clicking the appropriate button on the controller for PSR.  It will open a text box in the recording area and you can type notes or thoughts with regard to the process. They will appear when you play the file back later.

Once you have finished stepping through your process click the "Stop Recording" button and you may then save it.  It will automatically create a "zipped" file to make it easier to email or take to another person for help.  If you would like to experiment try it now.  Save the file, (best to your desktop) and once it completes unzip the file and run the video to be amazed.

This is an excellent help tool and really easy to use.

March 2, 2013

Logitech M310 Wireless Mouse

FACTS:
  • I have owned approximately 7-8 wireless mice over the years, including ones for my wife.  
  • I am currently using the Logitech M310 on my Latitude D620 notebook.
    • I have used it extensively for about two years.
  • I bought it to replace a worn out Microsoft  Wireless 3000, with the big USB receiver shown below in black & white.
  • User Manual.

PICS:

Logitech M310 & USB Plug Logitech M310 bottom open   Microsoft 3000 Wireless Mouse


DESCRIPTION:
  • Starting at the top the first thing you notice is the small receiver which I prefer much more than the older MS mouse…for very obvious reasons. 
  • The M310 is for lefties or righties so if you use either hand or are ambidextrous you are covered. 
  • They come in multiple colors of which mine is blue.
  • The left and right buttons large and have a division down the middle but no back slot since they are flexible and seem to be solidity built.
  • On the bottom you can see that there are the standard drag-pads as with most modern wireless mice.
  • An “On-Off” slider switch.
  • The “Invisible Optic” port that takes the place of the old mouse ball.
  • The battery compartment is opened by pushing and sliding the cover out of the way.
  • One AA battery powers the mouse.
  • A space is provided to store the USB receiver when needed.

PERSONAL OPINION:

Per the list above, you may not care to but I leave the USB receiver in one of my USB ports 24/7/365 with never an issue…other than taking up a port.  I have four ports on this computer so it really has never created a problem for me.

The shape is fine, pretty standard other than the left or right design.  I have issues with carpel tunnel syndrome from time-to-time and this does not bother that any more or less than other mice…I wish there was one that was an anti-CT version (fantasy).

The buttons work well, easy to click but firm.  I have read one review where the person got a little into saying that they were too easy to click.  I think they may just have had very heavy fingers.  As with most the scroll-wheel also allows push click for other uses.  I never change mine from the default so I cannot comment about other uses.

The “On-Off” switch works easily and never by accident.  There is a sleep mode to conserver battery life.  When it has not been used for a period of time the mouse/battery shutdown.  However, I have to say that I have rarely forgotten to turn the mouse off after I use it.  I am not that smart just hyper about batteries.  I would figure that the sleep-mode works but how would you know for sure.  I have never noticed a lag as if it were waking from sleep, so no complaints there.

The battery life on mine is excellent and in the two years I have used it I have replaced the battery once.  I do not use it everyday but I would bet I use it about as much as the average user.


PRICES:

These mice are currently listed on Logitech’s site at $29.99; however, I got mine much less than that when it was on sale at the local Target store.  Look around and see if you are interested. 

I always suggest you look in your local “brick & mortar” stores and buy there to help your local community.  You can sometimes find good deals online too.  Just do not forget to include the cost of shipping and handling.


RATING:

I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10 as it is a good mouse that does exactly what it should.  For me it has performed better than expected.  I always expect some problems or design flaws but this one really works for me. 

I would like to see it improved by having a more positive sleep mode so that you really “know” that your battery is being saved.  Yes, I know this may be a weird issue, but guess I am just an inquiring mind.

Any thoughts?

January 22, 2013

Select Text…Maybe

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:02 am

Demo of selecting text

I recently received an email from Bev which at first seemed very strange.  She said, "Recently, when I select a portion of text to change it such as bold it, delete it, etc. — the selection won’t hold."  At first I thought it was just in Word and figured that possibly her Word documents were opening in "Read Only" mode.  When you have a file that is "Read Only" it basically means you can read the file fine but you cannot edit it.  This was not her issue since she said that it also happened in email, Word and just about anywhere on her computer when trying to select text.  The problem was intermittent; sometimes she could select text, sometimes not, and other times it was a fight to get it to work at all. 

I believe it all came down to the mouse, but why could a mouse cause this weird issue?  First, it depends on the type of mouse you have.

The older wired mouse with a ball built into the bottom, which is used to track the cursor around the screen, has always caused issues.  Think about it, the little weighted ball rolls around the whole time you use your mouse.  It touches whatever surface you are "mousing" on.  Regardless of whether the surface is very clean or very dirty the mouse ball will get grubby over time.  If a dirty surface, the ball picks up dried up coffee spills, grit, toast crumbs, Disassembled mouseetc.  Even if it is a clean surface you are still going to pick up dust and lint over time.  This collection of grime gets pulled up into the mouse and wraps around the little rolling bars which make the cursor move on your screen.  It is fairly easy to clean by turning the mouse over, turning the ring with arrows in a counterclockwise direction, pulling it off, shaking the ball out and with tweezers or a toothpick removing any junk you can see.  I do not recommend using a q-tip swab since they can add a few more particles to the mechanics.

What if you have a wireless mouse and there is no ball?  Dirt can still get on the little window on the bottom of the mouse, which replaced the ball.  Clean it with a lint free cloth or maybe a slightly damp cloth. 

Sometimes, depending on which type of wireless mouse you have, the surface you are mousing on could cause a problem.  If it is a very shiny or glass surface, try putting a piece of paper under it to see if that improves the action.  Sometimes, though not often, it could also be caused by a heavily patterned surface, so check that also.

However, the biggest issue with the wireless mouse and it not working properly is usually the battery.  Batteries in the newer wireless mice last a long time.  I have a couple that have lasted over a year.  Since they are so dependable we sometimes forget about the batteries.  So when you have a "tracking" problem like sometimes being able to select text and sometimes not…check the battery.  I am pretty sure that will be your problem.

March 2, 2010

A Mouse with no Tail!?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 5:16 am

My mouse has no tail! No, I do not mean the little rodent variety, but the ones fitting comfortably under your hand that you poke and prod all the time at your computer.

One of my readers/listeners, Jenny saw me in a local eatery the other day while I was working on something.  I go to several of the fast-food, pastry shops, coffee shops, book stores, etc. in the area that offer free Wi-Fi access to work on columns, etc.   If you ever see me, come over and say, “Hi!” too.

But now back to the story.  Jenny had never seen a netbook and she thought it was a “cute little thingy”.  Uh, thanks Jenny.  She had also never seen a wireless mouse – she did not say that was cute.  She wanted to know about them.  If one person does not know about something there must be plenty of others who do not know about it either, so here we go.

You know how it is when you are intent on something at your computer.  Your mouse slips to the edge of your mouse pad; you pick up the mouse and have to untangle the wire to get it back just where you like it.

mouseA wireless mouse uses a laser instead of a ball on the bottom .  What do they look like?  Look at   the mouse you use now and cut the wire off of it really close to the mouse body.  That’s it, now you have a wireless mouse…NO! STOP! Not really, but that is what one looks like.

They work just as well as a wired mouse, are much easier to keep straight and fit into your backpack for traveling with your notebook.  They have a little USB bar maybe 1.5″ long that plugs into your computer which is how they communicate.

There are two slight drawbacks to the unwired mouse.  First is that they will not work on a glass top.  Before someone out there writes me, yes I know that they do make a type of blue-laser mouse that works on glass.  However, I have a friend who bought one.  He says that it does work, but it does not work as well as advertised.  Also it cost about 3 times as much.

The second little problem is that they use batteries for power.  I have two different brands, a no name that uses two-AA batteries and one from Microsoft that uses one-AA battery.  The one that I use at work five days a week, probably nine hours a day, lasts for approximately six months before needing a new battery.  The other, I would guess even longer.

Now you are asking, “OK, Ron how much?”  You can get the Microsoft mouse for less than $20 in the local area.  Try one out.  You will like it.

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