DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

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

May 3, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 5

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:49 am

Two last Windows 10 tips today. 

When you upgrade your operating system (OS) it has a setting to roll back to your previous version of Windows.  So if you did not like W10 you can roll back to your former Windows 7 or 8 operating system.  I personally have only known a couple of people to do this and it was successful; however, I do not recommend it.

Once you have advanced to W10 and have the ability to roll it back to the previous version you will have a lot of hard drive space taken up by the old OS.  If you have decided you like W10 you can delete that data from your system.  It is about 20 GB of space used up for nothing if you do not intend to move back to the old world.

Start/Disk CleanupTo get that space back start by clicking the start button and type, "Disk Cleanup", click it and choose your C drive.  A window will start saying that it is calculating how much space you will save after it finishes.  This may take several minutes depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of applications on your computer.  Be patient.

Disk Cleanup

The next window has a list of items it can clean and will tell you the total savings you will get after it runs.  I advise you to check them all to get maximum effect.  Now click the button on the lower left labeled "Clean up system files" which is where the restore data you want to remove is located.  The "Disk Cleanup" window will return and it will run through the original process again; however, it may not take as long to complete.

Clean up system files

After it has ended make sure all of the check boxes are checked again.  Then notice you now have one that says, "Previous Windows installation(s)" which is larger than the others.  That is unless you have a full Recycle Bin.  On my computer it was about 17 GB but yours could be larger or smaller. 

Click OK and let it go.  Once done you will have a fairly good chunk of your hard drive space back.  Be sure that you do not intend to roll back to your previous version of Windows before you click OK.  Once you do so the old version is gone.  

And now for the absolutely best feature in Windows 10. (Well, OK in my opinion.)  In previous versions of windows when you have multiple windows opened at the same time you could only scroll the active window.  You know if you were browsing a recipe online in your browser and typing it into a text document.  Then if you wanted to scroll down the page in your browser while you were typing you had to click the browser window to make it active in order to do so.  No longer.

All you do now is hover your mouse over the window and scroll.  Wherever the mouse is becomes the active window without clicking.  If your cursor was in your text document, you may even continue typing while scrolling in another application.  That is very useful to me.

Settings for this are available going to Start and typing, “Mouse and touchpad settings” and shown below.  This is only if you are interested in looking or need to change the settings.

Hover Scroll

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.  

July 14, 2015

Chromebook Update

Over time I have received emails asking about Chromebooks.  I wrote about mine when I got it almost two years ago.  Since the emails keep coming there must be interest in them.  This is not hard to imagine since they are a very good deal for many people.

Here is a very quick rundown of  Chromebooks (CB from here on out).  They were created by Google and run the Chrome browser operating system, also by Google as is the Android OS. 

Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive usually from $199 to $400.  Microsoft OS notebooks (Windows 8.1 now) run from about $350 to $1500.  Yes, you can find higher and lower prices on both types.  I saw a very nice CB on sale the other day reduced from $199 to $129. 

Chromebook computerChromebooks resemble notebook computers.  They are slimmer and lighter than a regular windows notebook weighting in at around two pounds.  You may perform any online functions the same with either type of computer.  One big difference with a CB is that everything is done online.  So you do need an internet connection to use it at full efficiency. 

You can perform some of the functions without being connected to the internet but for it to operate to the fullest degree you need a web connection.  It is a cloud based device meaning that everything it does is stored on or taken from the web. 

I can do most personal business work from my CB with only a couple of exceptions.  With the free Office Online app Microsoft released a while back (office.live.com) I can work in Office from my CB.  OK, for you Google fans, yes, you can also use Google Docs but I find Office to be much better…online and off.

Office Live           Google Docs

I cannot do all of my corporate work without logging into my business computer; however, for the average users that is fine since you may not work for a large business.

Another difference is they do not have an internal hard drive.  They do have a small internal SSD, Solid State Drive.  The one I have has a 16 GB drive – the same as my old phone.  Well then, where do you put stuff?  The Cloud is the answer.  I put all of mine on Dropbox (use the following link for more space, "rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox"), Copy.com ("rd.dblclx.com/freeCopy" same deal with that link but more space) or Google Drive which you must have to set up your CB.  Yes a Gmail account is required to use your Chromebook. 

image                    image

One of the questions I often get has something to do with people hearing that Chromebooks are outselling regular notebook computers – is that correct?

Well, OK, they are selling a lot of them and many people (myself included) promote them at every turn.  Still when you consider that over 90% of the world’s PC market is made of the Microsoft operating systems nothing can touch them at this point in time.  The remaining 9-10% are split between Apple, Android, Linux, Chrome and others.  The current percentage for the Chrome OS is slightly over 1% and expected, by some, to be 2% by 2017.

Chromebooks are not killing the competition but are part of it and I hope their use grows.    

July 1, 2015

Windows 10 Upgrade Info from MS

Filed under: ALERTS,Columns,Tech Info — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 11:43 am

Here you go a link to answer many of your questions about the Windows 10 upgrade coming on July 29th…if nothing changes.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-faq

image

June 30, 2015

Windows 10, Part 2

Last week we looked at Windows 10 requirements and a few other housekeeping tasks regarding getting it for free.  Today a few questions I have received about it for the last several weeks are answered.Windows 10 logo

First, why is it free for the first year?  The main reason seems to be that Microsoft wants everyone using it.  The money they once made on OS sales has continued to drop over recent years.  Apple stopped charging for upgrades to their OS several years ago.  And as always the Linux operating systems, (mainly Ubuntu) have been free since their inception; though used by few. 

They will even be rolling it out to users with pirated (read illegal) copies of those qualifying versions of Windows. However, these versions will still be unregistered. I do not believe there has been any clarification as to what that means for the users.  MS just wants everyone in the world on Windows.

I have been using W10 for a month or so now and have a few thoughts about it.  You will probably wonder if you should opt to get it for free or not.  I would suggest if you are a normal user, i.e., not a geek like me, you may want to wait for month or two after the original roll out.  The main reason being that some things will most likely have to be ironed out during the first few weeks of the OS.  This is standard.  So wait and get it after all the news stories are over.

Next, will you like it?  I think that for those who loved Windows 7, you will most likely appreciate 10 and for those who hated Windows 8.1, you will most probably like this version. 

The much hated Metro screen is gone.  And yes, the Start Menu from W7 is back as in the past, plus it has a few of the "Live Tiles" on the right side.  Those tiles can be rearranged, added, deleted, etc. so you can pretty much do with them as you would like.  In the test version, you could not totally remove them all but rumors abound for the final version in July.

MSIE 11 to MS Edge logosAnother big change is the default web browser.  Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) has been around for 20 years.  When W8 was released MSIE was, and is, at version 11.  However, this all changes with W10, it has been rebuilt from the bottom up and will been known then as "Microsoft Edge."

Edge has "Page Annotation" built-in meaning you can write notes on a web page with your mouse, or finger if you have a touchscreen device, then you can save the graphics and/or send them in emails, Facebook, Tumbler or any other social network. Also, "Reading Mode" is in Edge which allows you to read a web page more like a magazine.  It will remove ads, extraneous graphics and other junk from the page which does not pertain specifically to the article you are reading.  This is available in other browsers now, but Edge is catching the MS browser up with features offered by others in the past. 

Add info to a web page

More to come next week.

June 23, 2015

Windows 10

For a while now I have put off installing Windows 10 which also led to me not writing about it; however, this has now changed.

I installed the "Windows 10 Insider Preview" several months ago and have been putting it through some paces.

Windows 10 logo

Windows 10 will be given away free to people who have a computer with specific Windows Operating Systems on them.  If your computer has Windows 7.1 SP1, 8.1 (Windows phones too) then you will get the free upgrade.  If you are running 8, upgrade for free to 8.1 and you will be covered. 

The version of the OS you have affects which version of W10 you will receive.  If you have Windows 7 "Starter," "Home Basic" or "Home Premium" versions you will get W10 "Home."  If Windows 7 "Professional" or "Ultimate" you get W10 "Pro."  For W8.1 you get W10 "Home" edition.  For 8.1 "Pro," "Pro Student" and "Pro WMC" you will get W10 "Pro."

Your computer must meet the following minimum criteria.  A 1GHz, for 32-bit computers 1GB of RAM or for 64-bit 2GB, 20GB of space on the hard drive, and at least a DirectX 9 graphics card and a 1024 x 600 pixel display.  Basically most any modern computer today will meet those requirements.  Even my nine year old Netbook could run W10. 

Next, why is it called W10 when W8.1 was the one before?  Well first off a short history of their naming conventions. They started with "Windows 1" through "Windows 3," then Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, W7, W8, W8.1 and now W10.  They are not very orderly in their naming.  I have heard reasons such as possible programming confusion between the "9" in W9 and the nines in Windows 95 and 98.  Although, that sounds unlikely to me; I guess it could be possible. 

I have also read that the Japanese consider nine to be unlucky because in Japanese the word for nine sounds similar to the word for "pain" or "anguish" and MS did not want them to feel uncomfortable about Windows.  The bottom line is, only a few at MS know the real reason and right now they are not sharing. 

Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade iconNow if you qualify and want Windows 10 for free you must download and install it within a year of its official release date.  At this moment the date for release is July 29, 2015.  If you have a qualifying computer you will see a small Windows icon on your taskbar near the time.  To get W10 click the icon (shown in the graphic on right). 

You will be asked to enter your email address if you want to receive notifications of its arrival and several advertisements about how great it will be.  You do not have to enter your email but you do have to click the, "Reserve your free upgrade" link.  It will then be downloaded sometime around Wednesday, July 29. 

May 19, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 3

The last two weeks we looked at some of the ways you need to physically clean your computer for spring or any other time of the year.

Today we will clean your computer’s software.

First, make sure that you are regularly checking your Operating Systems upgrades, i.e. HaWindows 7, 8.1, etc.  Yes, you may have it set to automatically run updates; however, you need to make sure you have the latest every now and then.  Check your update settings by going to Start and typing, "Windows Update," then clicking the "Change Settings."  Check the appropriate choices.  They will make sense to you.  If not, Google for a description.  Mine is set to check for important updates, but let me choose to download and install, give me recommended updates and finally, give me updates for other MS updates.  I am comfortable with those choices but you may not be. Change them and nothing will hurt you, unless you never update.

Windows Update

The funny thing is there is no choice to download and install optional updates.  To get all offered updates for your devices, occasionally check Windows Update for all available updates, including optional updates. I always install those too; however, that is your choice.  This is why you should manually run Windows Updates monthly.  I also suggest you do this after the second week of the month due to, "Patch Tuesday."  Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month in North America.  This is when Microsoft sends out all of the items for download to your system for updates.  Wait until after that time and you will get them all.

All of your other software is harder to update but you should take a stab at it on occasion.  You could check most every application you have on your computer by opening the app, going to "Help" then either "Check for Updates" or "About" which is where they are usually found.  Then run the recommended update.

There are also several applications you can get to check your other applications’ updates.  However, none of them are perfect.  I regularly compare several of the main ones and usually get varying results.

  • FileHippo App Manager (filehippo.com) – the one I use most often and is quick and easy. Use the "Download our free app manager" link only.Kaspersky Software Updater (kaspersky.com/free-tools) – good and can be set to run on a schedule of your choosing.
  • Secunia PSI (secunia.com/psi) – I have used this the longest, if you run the scan manually it takes a good while. It also appears to search more apps than the others.
  • SUMo (kcsoftwares.com) – finds many apps; however is the hardest to use of all I have tested.
  • Update Notifier (cleansofts.org) – a simple one but still finds many. Check settings to not get beta updates. 

I ran all of these as well as a couple of others today.  I got varying results and none of them match.  So I guess you could run all of them for better coverage.  I alternate between FileHippo (quick and thorough) and Secunia (slow but very thorough) but they both find apps the other one misses…go figure.

FileHippo

Secunia-PSI

August 13, 2013

Passcode, What Passcode?

Robert wrote me recently with a question I had never received before.  It was an excellent question. I am sure some of you have bumped up against before, too. 

He wrote saying that he had just gotten back from a vacation out of the country and had not wanted to be bothered by work.  To help facilitate that last part he left his Android phone at home and had a great time.  The problem started when he realized he had changed his passcode right before leaving and could not remember his new code when he got back home. 

Here is what happens when you forget either your passcode or pattern on an Android phone.  (iPhones also have a recovery but I will let you iPhone users talk about that on DoubleClicks.info.)

Notification ScreenFirst, you get five tries to log in with the proper code (this is the same for codes and patterns).  If you fail the fifth time you will get a message saying something like, "You have tried to log into your phone 5 times incorrectly, try again in 30 seconds."  The tagline varies between phone manufacturers and Android versions.

You have to wait the full 30 seconds which (other than making you nuts) is used to discourage a thief that may have your phone.  If you try unsuccessfully again, five times, you get the same thing over and over.

Forgot Password?However, the first time you miss the five tries a link will also appear at the top of the screen indicating that you can click it if you have forgotten your code.  If you choose that option you will be asked to enter your Google/Gmail account’s username and password.  As we all know you must have a Gmail account to fully use an Android device.  If you enter this info successfully you will be asked to create a new code.  This was the point at which Robert was successful and began to have a nice day. 

If you cannot remember your Gmail login info you are going to a bad place but hopefully it is recoverable.  All that is left for you is to get to a computer and go to "google.com/accounts/recovery."  They will guide you through many questions and try to get your info for you. 

One additional suggestion here:  Go to Google and search for "Google recovery phone number," to find the Google page where it is explained.  Set up your phone number it that area.  It is used to send your login information to your phone in the event of this situation.  It is much more convenient than having to go to the site for help.

This is totally another topic, but have any of you gone "offline" for an extended length of time?  I have not but would just like to know if you have tried it.  Not if you are "unaddicted to technology" but are a hardcore tech-lover.

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