About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

June 17, 2014

January 20, 2014

2014-01-20 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the show for January 2014 and Happy New Year to you and yours!  Below are links to the sites we talked about today and here is the podcast if you missed part of the show.

Have fun looking around.

Tech News
Tablet ownership in U.S. surges
Thirty five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own and e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet {September 2013, 35 percent}. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This article sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It’s also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the U.S. started at age 18 and up.

Chromebooks Enjoy 21% of Notebook Sales in 2013
According to NPD (a major national market research company), Chromebook sales hit a total of 1.76 million units between January and November of this year, which is quite a bit of a jump from the 400,000 units that made it out in 2012. In total, NPD’s figures indicate that Chromebooks jumped from virtually nothing in 2012 to 21 percent of all notebook sales in 2013.A recent press release from Amazon itself confirms that Chromebooks took two of the top three spots for “holiday best sellers” – specifically, a Samsung Chromebook and an Acer Chromebook.

Spiders force Toyota to recall 800,000 vehicles
Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of some 803,000 cars due to airbags inadvertently deploying — and the blame appears to be spiders inside the air conditioning units. Toyota’s recall notice states that some 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza, and Avalon vehicles are experiencing problems with their air conditioning condenser unit housing — apparently, condensation and water has been leaking into the airbag control module. In most cases, that’s just causing the airbag warning light to turn on, but a few times the driver side airbag has deployed without warning.However, according to CNN, the cause of the leak is rather unsettling if you suffer from arachnophobia. Spiders and their webs are apparently responsible for clogging the air conditioner drainage tubes, causing the water spillover onto the airbag control module.

To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create — a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls.

The Door Lock of the Future is Here
Kwikset Kevo
Kwikset has rolled out the Kevo lock. A door lock that receives a signal from your Smartphone (iPhones only right this minute) or a coded key fob and can open when you touch the lock. If you forget your phone it will open with a regular key that you can find buried somewhere on your key chain.

Check out the video and see what you think, especially with a $219 price tag.

Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

Free available to most all types of phone OS’s.

Free Backup Software
Cobian backup,
Allway Sync,
Two good free backup applications for making sure you do not loose your important files.

Browser History
Check Browser History for all Browsers
Sometimes you may want to make a return visit to a website that you saw a day or 20 ago. You may use multiple browsers like many people and do not want to go view the history in each browser. With this app from you can check the histories of all of your browser at the same time and get a report of what has been seen.

If you have cut off your History feature on your browser you will not be able to retrieve this information.

Your Fingerprint may be your new Password
Biometric Scan Comes to Android 2014
The FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) has claimed in a new technology news statement, that the first Android handsets with biometric scanners will be released in the first half of next year, to help to remove the dependency on traditional app and web passwords.

This technology news was meant to be available for any web-based service or manufacturer so that traditional text-based passwords can be replaced with these biometric alternatives. Michael Barrett, the PayPal chief information security officer, and the president of FIDO, has explained that the increasing support and power of the group has meant that it will become possible for the mobile internet to become considerably safer to use in a very short period of time. That way, swiping a finger across the smartphone will be all that is required for the access of an individual’s own online accounts, but that they will remain safe from being accessed by anyone else.

If I Die
This website provides a way for you to write and store letters to your friends. Each letter, when finished, will be stored securely and encrypted with a special password of your choosing. No one will be able to read any of your letters while you’re still alive.

A couple of “safegaurds” are in place to keep them from firing off by mistake.

New ‘Bond gadget’ set to let us breathe under water Bond-like rebreather
It is the James Bond gadget on everyone’s wishlist.

A South Korean designer has taken inspiration from the movie spy’s “rebreather”, which allows the user to breathe under water.

Clipped on a diving face mask, the Triton device acts like a fish gill to extract oxygen from water so that the user can keep breathing while under the sea.

That is all for today.  See you again next month on Monday, February 17.

Keep those cards and letter emails coming!

January 14, 2014

2013 Sites in Review, Part 2

This week I will continue with the second half of the links we talked about last year at

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  •   A very good cloud storage app.  Use the supplied link to sign up and get more space.
  • Kill  This application will totally wipe your drive clean so that it is almost impossible to retrieve deleted data.
  • Nexus 7  My current favorite Android tablet. 
  • and  The very popular free and paid TV movie streaming apps. 
  • Google  Google’s free/paid (depending on what you want) music streaming plus you can upload your own music to it and listen anywhere you have internet connectivity.
  •  A wallpaper changer which was less than adequate at the time I wrote about it.
  • Google  A very good note taking app where you can add pictures, lists, texts and be alerted by them using the time or location of your mobile device.  I just hope Google does keep this one.
  •  Did you accidentally empty the Recycle Bin and need a file back?  If so try this app which is one of the better ones for recovering deleted files.
  • and  Two popular social web sites.
  • A safe place to pay for online purchases.
  • Device  How to locate, send an alert or wipe your data from your Android device(s).
  •  Operating system which operates as well as Windows; however, this one is free. 
  • Join  A free application for individuals, which will allow you to log onto someone else’s computer, while they are there.  Great to use for helping and training.
  • Should I Remove  A free app that will locate and remove unwanted programs including adware, toolbars, bloat-ware, crap-ware and other junk.
  • AniPet A nice live wallpaper for Android devices. Also similar for Windows and OSX is Serene Screen at 
  • and  A good and much better GPS navigation app for your mobile devices. 
  •,, Internet Explorer – search at, and  The five most popular web browsers.
  • OpenOffice ( and LibreOffice ( are two similar but excellent free replacements for Microsoft Office. 

I look forward to continuing the discussions about software, computers, the internet and all sorts of technology this year.  I hope that you, your families and friends have a great 2013 and continue to join me in the newspaper, on the radio and on the web! 

August 17, 2010

Quick Run Pee!

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:55 am

Someone sent me a site with an interestingly appropriate name, but you probably will not believe it.  Once you hear about it you may say, "That is really a very intelligent site."  Of course, you may also respond, "Ron is really weird!"  But either is OK with me…just read on.

First, I need to give you a little history on the "why" of this site.  I, along with many of my readers judging by the emails I receive, like going to movies on occasion.  Since my kids have grown up and left the nest, my wife and I have more time (and very slightly more money) to see movies at the Regal 14.  I won’t give you any more information than you need; however, occasionally when we go to a movie I may need to get up to, ah, you know, go get a popcorn and drink refill.  I never want to run out of the movie because I might miss something important.  Therefore, I wait…

Now enter, Run Pee (  Just as the name suggests, it lets you know when it is safe to run and well, you guessed it; go get a drink and popcorn refill.  Run Pee has a classy mission statement, "- to help you enjoy your movie going experience and relieve your bladder at the same time".  I told you…classy!

imageLet’s say for instance, you want to go see "The Expendables."  If you go to and look in the listing to the left you can see movie lists by date of release or the movie titles.  All you do is click the link for "The Expendables" and you get a page that loads saying the movie is 1 hour, 43 minutes long.   After that movie’s information loads you will see a timeline at the top of that section.  The timeline shows good times to leave the movie at 26, 48, 65 minutes into the movie.  

It also shares information on each "good time" to leave the movie.  At the 26 minute point it says to leave when, "Barney and Christmas are in the plane heading to scout the island."  It goes on to tell you that you have approximately 4 minutes to get back so you will not miss anything.

Run Pee gives you the option of clicking, "Click to view synopsis" for that time-marker; however, it may give away important details about that part of the movie – so proceed at your own risk.

If you try it out let me know what you think.

February 16, 2010

Media Database – Data Crow

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:24 am

Over five years ago I wrote to you about an application that you could use to keep track of your books and DVDs.  I had many of you write back to me and tell me how much you liked it. Over the past year or so I have had several of you write back saying that you could no longer find "Libra" or any updates for it.  I searched the net for it and emailed all of you back telling you what I found, which was that it was no longer in production and I could not even find a forwarding address.  I did find the last version made, but I personally do not like using applications that are no longer in production.

I also told the writers that I could not really find a free replacement anywhere as good and easy to use as Libra was.  Well, now that has all changed…enter Data Crow.

I found this site from a friend who has been using it for the past several months.  Data Crow’s site says, "Data Crow is the ultimate media cataloger and media organiser." (No, that isn’t a typo, the site is registered in the Netherlands and they spell properly.)  I agree with their statement.

Say you have some DVDs or Blue-Ray discs you wish to inventory.  Whether you want this cataloging for insurance, your own personal lists or you are just hyper-organized you should give this software a try.  Data Crow is also free which makes it even easier to try.  By-the-way, the friend who uses it told me that he has over 1,200 music CDs and over 800 DVD movies he has cataloged so it will handle a bunch of data.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well I can just type in my CDs on Word or a spreadsheet program to keep track of them."  That is correct; however, Data Crow can do it much better and supply more information.

For instance, when you start it up you can use the Item Wizard and choose what you want to put in the database.  For instance, I chose DVD then I typed in the movie title I wanted to add to the database.  I entered a movie and in about 5-10 seconds it listed out several that I could choose from.  The items are from different versions of the same movie.   If you type (like I did) the TV show "Alias" it finds each season of that title.  Next, you select the correct version and it enters it into Data Crow.

But not just the name is displayed.  It adds the DVD’s case picture, all of the actors, the date of release, playing time, director, a full description of the title, and a lot more.

I haven’t tried CDs yet since I don’t have that many so I will leave that up to you to test.  If you use this Libra replacement let me know what you think. If you have a bunch of movies to keep track of it may import them from other programs, but I wouldn’t depend on that.  You may just have a lot of typing in titles ahead of you.  But don’t worry, I’m sure it will snow again and you will need something to do after shoveling.

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