DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

September 19, 2017

Chrome Extensions, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:12 am

For several weeks, we have been looking at some of my favorite Chrome browser extensions. Last week we ended with a couple that could save you money while shopping online. Today we will start with one that makes your startup window better looking and functional too.

Leoh New Tab” is the next extension I will bring to your attention. As with all the others go to the Chrome Web Store and type the name quoted above. When installed it will set up a very picturesque useful page when you open a new tab. Last year I wrote an article entirely related to Leoh so check the site for many details.

Leoh New Tab

Leoh New Tab

Next one of my favorite and most useful Chrome extensions, “Mighty Text” which was one that made my list of favs from years ago. Mighty Text” allows you to send and receive SMS and MMS using your computer. The only prerequisites are that you use Chrome and have an Android phone.

Mighty Text syncs with your phone and actually uses your phone to send and receive the messages, pictures, etc. It pulls in your contacts list from your Gmail account so that you can send messages to people from your list using only their name. It allows you to text message, send pictures, etc. from your phone while at your computer. I do not have to pull my phone out while working to read or answer a message…very convenient.

Mighty Text

Mighty Text

Another valuable extension is “Office Online.” It is so good there are many imitators out there. Make sure you add the one that states, “Office Online Microsoft Corporation.” Basically, it is a free Office cloud version. This is almost as good as the full-blown version. As I have said before it will handle most anything that Office users would ever have a need to perform in Office. (Yes, I know, Google Docs is good too, but my preference is Office.) You can run One Drive, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Once you install OneNote Clipper I wrote about several weeks ago, all the features OneNote are immediately available. This is truly a very useful and productive addition to Chrome.

Office Online

Next up is, “Print Friendly & Pdf.” This extension does a great job of taking any webpage that you want to read, email, save for informational purposes or as one of my friends puts it allows him to read the NY Times without all the “junk” included. When you are on a page click the extension’s button and the magic begins. It will generate another view of the page without ads and other distracting, non-related junk on the page. It will then allow you to print it, create a PDF or email the file to someone. I personally like to save it as a PDF file then email if from my own email account.

Print Friendly & Pdf

September 5, 2017

Chrome Extensions, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:29 am

Before I get started on Chrome extensions, one thing about last week’s article, titled, “Read a Book”.  I received emails from several readers regarding the article on places you can get eBooks, audiobooks, etc.  There were several others that were suggested to me.  They were all good but I just picked a few of the ones that I was familiar with.  There are many others out there including all of the large bookstores; however, I can only afford to try a few.  I do not get free samples from companies like some of the big boys out there (hint, hint to the big companies).  I only mention the ones I have experience with (unless I state otherwise).  I test them before I tell you about them.  Oh yeah, one other thing: I do not get paid to mention them so you get my actual opinion on all that I write to you about.

Now onto Chrome extensions.

image

An extension or plugin for any browser is small software that adds on or extends the capabilities of the “out of the box” browser.  It adds some sort of additional functionality to a browser that was not originally present.  Browser extensions can change a webpage in some way, add a new feature to the browser and give the browser more, “skills”.

I have read many articles over the years, and even written one regarding computer nerds’ favorite extensions.  I figured it is time to give it a go again as mine have changed over the years and some have been replaced.  This week I will start a multipart series listing some I use with a short explanation of each…in alphabetical order so I will not upset anyone.  To hurt a few feelings those I list are for Google’s Chrome browser; however, many are available for the other browsers too.

To get to your extension setting in Chrome, click the menu button (the three dots in the upper right corner of Chrome), then “More tools,” and finally “Extensions.”  Once on that page, scroll to the bottom and click “Get more extensions.”  Or Ron’s quick way – type “chrome://extensions/” in the address bar without the quotes.  When you arrive type the name of the extension given and you will get to the page to install them.

How to get to your Extensions

The first I will share is “Behind the Overlay.”  (Remove the spaces between the words to find it in the store, “BehindtheOverlay)  I have just started using this one.  For advertisements on sties we used to get a popup, then a pop under, next those that pop up when you get to a specific point on the page.  This new advertisement “getter” is the one you have seen recently which pops up a window and greys out the page you were viewing with a clickable ad.  If you search very carefully you may be able to find the “x” that will close it and return you to the original page.  The “x” is not usually very easy to see and next to another clickable link you may not want to use.  Beyond the Overlay ads is a button to Chrome at the top right side, where all of the extension controls will be.  Click the button and the ad page vanishes easily.

image

I have run out of room today so, next week we start with an extension to help secure your browsing security.

June 3, 2014

Try a New Browser

Last week I talked about an issue that was happening with Google’s Chromecast and Chrome browser related to Android tablets and phones.  I stated there, "…you could always try various browsers from time-to-time and find out what you may like.  It is easy to change back at any time."  When I wrote that I did not realize it would generate so much interest.  I received numerous emails asking if it is so easy, how is it done?

So here we go.

MSIE LogoAll windows computers come with Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) built in as the default browser.  Keep in mind that whether you use that browser or not DO NOT try to uninstall it.  It is hard to do but if you get it off of your computer some other things on your computer will not work correctly or not at all.  That browser is tied to other areas of the Microsoft operating system.

The other most popular browsers are, in order of usage, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, (already on your Windows system) Safari (created by Apple – available for both iOS & Windows devices) and Opera.  This information is from 2012 through today, according to W3Schools.com which tracks this data.  In 2011 Chrome and Firefox were swapped. 

Google Chrome                    Apple Safari                    Opera

So let us pretend that you want to try out Chrome and stop using MSIE for a little while.  Go to the site referenced above.  Click the download button and the application will start to download.  Depending on your settings it may ask if you want to run the application and you may also click, "Yes."  If you download it, find the downloaded file and double click it to start the installation.  If you chose to "run" the application you will now be at the installation screen.

It will ask you if you want to make it your default browser.  This means that if you click the check box for it to be default all of your links will open in Chrome after the installation completes instead of MSIE. 

Each of the others will install pretty much the same way.  You could even install all of these browsers at the same time.  Then you will have to choose which one you want to be the default browser. 

Choosing which browser is your default is easy in Windows 7 and 8. You just need to do a quick search.  In W7 click the start button and type, "default programs" and in W8 use the search feature and do the same. To get to search press the Windows key and tap the "S" key.  You may need to select "Set your default programs."  Once in the default program screen your default applications will be listed on the left side.  Find the current default browser and click on it once.  Then, "Choose defaults for this program" and you will see all of the current settings for the default browser.  To change it, choose the other browser you want to use from all of the choices provided.

Set your default programs

In Windows 7 it is sometimes easier to go into the Options of any browser and choose it to make it the default.  This will work with Windows 8 too with the exception of MSIE.

Happy surfing!

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 DoubleClicks.info.

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

  • Dropboxbit.ly/aszzao.   A very good cloud storage app.  Use the supplied link to sign up and get more space.
  • Kill Diskkilldisk.com.  This application will totally wipe your drive clean so that it is almost impossible to retrieve deleted data.
  • Nexus 7 2013bit.ly/1esugJz.  My current favorite Android tablet. 
  • Hulu.com and Hulu.com/plus.  The very popular free and paid TV movie streaming apps. 
  • Google Musicplay.google.com/music.  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.
  • BGCallwww.vieas.com/en.  A wallpaper changer which was less than adequate at the time I wrote about it.
  • Google Keepgoogle.com/keep.  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.
  • Recuvapiriform.com/recuva.  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.
  • Facebook.com and Twitter.com.  Two popular social web sites.
  • PayPal.com. A safe place to pay for online purchases.
  • Device ManagerAndroid.com/devicemanager.  How to locate, send an alert or wipe your data from your Android device(s).
  • Ubuntuubuntu.com.  Operating system which operates as well as Windows; however, this one is free. 
  • Join Mejoin.me.  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 Itshouldiremoveit.com.  A free app that will locate and remove unwanted programs including adware, toolbars, bloat-ware, crap-ware and other junk.
  • AniPet Aquariumbit.ly/anifree. A nice live wallpaper for Android devices. Also similar for Windows and OSX is Serene Screen at serenescreen.com. 
  • Glympseglympse.com and Waze.com.  A good and much better GPS navigation app for your mobile devices. 
  • Chromegoogle.com/chrome, Firefoxfirefox.com, Internet Explorer – search at Microsoft.com, Operaopera.com and Safariapple.com/safari.  The five most popular web browsers.
  • OpenOffice (openoffice.org) and LibreOffice (libreoffice.org) 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! 

December 17, 2013

Android Browsers

Last week I wrote about the browser I favor most.  I received many emails from folks telling me their thoughts on the matter.  Thanks for the emails as I always appreciate hearing from you!  There was a repeated theme from those emails regarding my favorite Android browser.  This demonstrated to me that you readers know me pretty well since no one mentioned iPhones or iPads.

So, today I will look at some Android browsers I prefer. 

The default browser which comes with the Android phones and tablets is pretty good all on its own.  So I do not recommend replacing it unless you have enough geek in you to want to play with it.  Also, it is interesting to note the most popular windows browsers are all available for Android. There is one notable exception which is the Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer. 

If you enjoy Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari on your PC my next suggestion would be you should try the same one on your Android device.  There are some similarities with the same named browser between the two platforms; however, they are different in some respects. 

I think the best feature in matching browser between PC and Android is that you can link them.  For instance, if you are using Firefox on your PC and then install it on your tablet you can "sync" them with each other.  You can automatically get all of your saved passwords, browsing history and other items.  These will be synced between the two so that you have everything available and up-to-date between them.  The other browsers mentioned above all have some sort of the comparable syncing capabilities.  

imageBear in mind that as I stated last week the "best" browser for you matches your comfort level and personal preference.  So, in my opinion the best Android browser is the Dolphin browser.  Before you go to the Android store let me give you two tips.  There are two Dolphin browsers available, one is the HD version and the other is the Mini.  They are made for tablets and phones respectively. It has been my experience that the Mini works well on tablets; however, it lacks some of the "extras" you get on the HD version.      

SonarOne reason I enjoy Dolphin is that it works very well and is pretty easy to use.  It also has two neat features called "sonar" and "gestures."  With sonar you can speak commands to Dolphin and it will carry out most of them very well.  For instance, you can say, "Find the closest pizza shop" and it does a good job, depending on your devices’ settings.  It isn’t perfect since I tried, "Who is Robin Doyle" and it gave me a list of "Robert" Doyles. 

 

GesturesGestures are interesting too.  If you start them you can draw on your screen and particular actions will occur in the browser.  For instance, if you draw a "G" on the screen it will immediately open Google.com.  Another is a "Y" for YouTube.com and there are others.  If you have questions about how to use or set up your own Gestures, draw a large question mark.

 

imageAlso, you may want to install the Dolphin "Jet Pack" after you start using the browser.  It is said to speed it up and give you more features; although I am comfortable using it with or without this add-on.

Using Dolphin is a slightly new browser experience.   I think it is worth trying if you like learning a few new tricks.

Let me know which phone/tablet browsers you prefer.

December 10, 2013

My Favored Browser

Apparently there are a few of you getting new computers for Christmas.  (Do not let the kids read this if they do not know about it.)  I have received many questions about what to do to set them up.  I have several suggestions; however, one of the best I have written about before.  If you missed Ninite, go to DoubleClicks.info and search for "Ninite" to read all about it. 

The next most popular question I get is something like, "I can’t afford to pay the $99.99/year for Office 365 or $399.99 for Office Professional."  In my opinion there is one very clear answer, "Libre Office."  If you have not read my information regarding it before go to the site and search for "libre."

Finally, there is the question I don’t believe I have tackled before.  The question is usually stated as, "Ron, what is the best browser for me to use?"  The answer is easy, "I have no idea, thanks for asking."

Now on to a slightly more helpful answer, since for you personally, I have no idea what you would favor.  There are many excellent browsers out there and they all have some features which may be better or worse than one of the others.  To me it is sort of like brands of cars.  One person would say that a particular car manufacturer has the only good cars available…the best in the world.  The next person will tell you why they hate those cars with good reasons.  It is all a matter of personal taste and preference.

So the following is my personal opinion concerning browsers.  Keep in mind that when I started out on the internet, the browser everyone wanted was called, "Netscape" and would cost you around $50.  Now owned by AOL, it has pretty much disappeared from the scene and is free.  All browsers are now free so the cost barriers are gone.

Here are the top five in use today in alpha order.  I have included a short description, my opinion and the percentage of people using this on average this year as of the end of October.  

image

  • Chrome, "Get a fast, free web browser, one browser for your computer, phone and tablet."  You can tell who owns this puppy by the link.  I think this is an excellent browser and my #2 favorite.  It is fast and does allow you to have the same bookmarks, etc. between your devices. 52.08%
  • Firefox, "Different by Design, Proudly non-profit, Innovating for you, Fast, Flexible, Secure." OK, this is my favorite, again it is a preference since I am used to it and have been using it for years.  It has more "plug-ins" than the others which are added features allowing you to do different tasks online.  28.49%
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, included with each and every Windows computer sold and must be left on your computer for other things to work properly.  I use this for work only as our company makes all of its software for MSIE only; however, with some Firefox plugins I can make most things work on FF instead.  12.55%
  • Opera, advertised as the smallest and fastest browser in the world!  For me this is an OK browser but just doesn’t have the snap and pizazz of others.  1.73%
  • Safari, you can tell by the URL who owns it.  My opinion on this one is the same as Opera, so again personal preference.  3.95%

The top three here have always been the top three by percentage for many years; however, they have jumped back and forth in order for a few years.  Google’s Chrome browser is excellent and if you do not have a preference yet, try it or any of the others and form you own opinion.  They are all able to do what you need, so enjoy the variety.

April 23, 2013

Office 2013-Outlook

Well, not all of the Office 2013 applications have a lot new going for them and Outlook is one of them.  It really has not changed that much.  It is cleaner, which is the Windows 8 "look."  As I stated in the past it is, in my opinion, boring.  As with the other Office apps we have reviewed it is just pale white and even the "themes" do not do much for it.

Where Word and Excel (in particular) have new features going for them, Outlook has few.

Pop up calendar, Outlook 2013The one thing I really like is that when you are in email you can see the other Outlook items, like Calendar, Tasks, etc. at the bottom-left side of the window.  When you hover over the large word "Calendar" while reading email, it shows a calendar of the current month with the current day’s appointments listed.  You can change dates while in this view too, so that could be helpful for quickly finding available appointment dates and times.  Clicking the other large words will go to those areas of Outlook.  I used the word, "large" because they are.  Why did they change that instead of using the small icons they used to use in Outlook?  I have no idea.   But I think they should have left it alone. 

Speaking of hovering and moving around Outlook, it now appears to operate more smoothly.  Instead of just popping items open they sort of flow into view.  Yes, I know that is a little artsy sounding for me, but it looks polished.  Gee, it sounds like I may start going to the Opera and the Ballet…not.   

There is another neat feature in the Calendar; however, it depends on your screen size and resolution as to how much you will see.  When you look at the week view in the calendar you will see today’s current weather forecast above the date.  If enough room is available you will also see the next couple of days’ forecast.  Now the default weather on my system was New York, NY but it was easy to click the link and change it.  Pretty slick, but how much is it needed?  Well, that is up to you.

Outlook 2013 Weather

Another neat feature is that an "X" appears next to an email when you hover over it.  You can click it to delete the email.  Not a big deal since in the olden days you could right click and delete it, but it is convenient.

The bad news is there is one thing in the new Outlook that I really do not appreciate.  In the previous versions of Outlook when you hit the Reply, Reply to All or Forward buttons it opened a new window with that email in it.  Now it opens it in the current location of the email view.  As in the past it is either below the email or beside the email list.  When you hit reply it does not open in a new window, but right where it was in the preview area.  This is very disorienting if you used previous versions.  If you need to go read some info off of another email in your list when you click on it, the one you were replying to closes down.   Now when you go back to your replying email you can click on it and see either the "draft" copy you were working on or the original.  From there you may continue editing.   It just seems like a step backwards and rather clunky to me. 

Outlook 2013 iconI found from emails related to the last few columns many of you are now using Office 2013.  If you are using Outlook 2013 what do you think?  I would like to hear what you like and dislike about Office 2013.

July 31, 2012

Got Software To Install? Try Ninite

In a column last year, I mentioned in passing an application that has come to my attention (through my own research and a few emails from readers). Today, we will take a look at a delightful little program named, “Ninite,” found online at ninite.com.
 
This is a freeware offering from the developer and, of course, the developer is also offering a pro version for a fee. I would not worry too much about the pro version, which appears to be geared toward users who have multiple computers to take care of, which usually isn’t the case for individuals like you and me.
 
SNAGHTML3a45b7If you go over to the Ninite, you can choose programs you want installed on your computer. This is especially useful if you get a new computer and know of several applications that you want to install. This will keep you from having to print out a list of all the programs currently on your computer.
 
Not all of the world’s programs are on the site, but the ones you hear about most often are available. At last count (and, yes, I really did count them) there were 91 applications listed.
 
If you want one that is not on the site, you are out of luck …  this time. However, you can ask for the missing app to be added to the list and it may be there next time you visit.
 
imageTo get your combined installation file, check off each application that you would like to install. After you have finished selecting the proper applications, click the “Get Installer” button. The next screen will ask if you want to share your experience online (Facebook or Twitter) or sign up for their newsletter. After that, you get a popup (depending on your computer’s settings) that asks you to download your new file.
 
Once you download the file (one single, executable file) make sure you know where it is so you can easily find it later. Double click the file and the installs will begin. The applications will automatically be installed onto your new computer. Ninite includes an installation list and, as it installs, shows you each application so you can easily keep up with the progress.
 
Since I just received a new work computer and had to set it up, I learned one thing that was very interesting: The installs go much quicker using Ninite than they do individually. I installed 24 of the 91 available applications. I did not time the installation process, but the “feels like” index was basically … really fast (yeah, a high-end computer engineering term).
 
When I wrote about Ninite in days-gone-by, I mentioned something that I did not like about it at that time. When I ran the installation file, it would install some applications in an older version than the one I was using and I could get on each individual program’s homepage.
 
I would now like to tell you, “Not so any longer.” I got the most recent versions of every application I chose and they installed smoothly and with absolutely no problems.
 
Ninite is truly a great app and I highly recommend it if you need something like this!

February 1, 2011

Power of the Broom, Part 2

Last week I introduced you to Ubuntu which is a free operating system, but I asked you to wait until today before installing and running it on your computer.

Ubuntu is licensed as Open Source software, which means that it can be used, distributed, shared and edited by anyone, at no cost. Here are some of the other neat things that Ubuntu offers.

Let us pretend that you would like to try out Ubuntu but are a little apprehensive about installing it on your computer and then finding out that you hate it. Ubuntu has that situation well in hand.

Once you have downloaded it for free from “ubuntu.com” and burned it to a CD (or ordered a free CD, they request a $10 donation) you can run it on your computer without installing it. That way you can see if you like it before it is installed. There are instructions on how to do all of this on the site. However, to run it from the CD, without touching your computer’s current system, get your computer to boot to the CD and choose to try it directly from the CD. This will give you the opportunity to see what it will look like and exactly how it will run – all from the CD. Once you remove the CD from your PC and restart your system it will run just like it did before you ever heard about Ubuntu.

imageI will tell you that it works great from the CD but it will be much faster and more efficient once it is installed. There is another option you can choose for installing this operating system. You can set it up to run alongside your Windows system. It will walk you through the set up, which takes about 15 minutes. When you reboot you will be asked if you want to start Windows or Ubuntu. This will allow you to use either system at your discretion.

I also mentioned last week that you get Firefox automatically installed. If you currently use Firefox you will see very little difference. If you don’t currently use FF…Why not? In my opinion it is far superior to any other browser software out there today. I have used it on windows for years and you can get it free at mozilla.com.

The last thing I will mention today is that OpenOffice (openoffice.org) comes preinstalled with Ubuntu also. That means you get a word processor, electronic spreadsheet app and a presentation software that all mix seamlessly with Microsoft Office products. Not only do they blend with MS Office, you have almost the same functionality. This is also free!

This column was written and emailed to the DNR using Ubuntu. Did I mention it is free?

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