DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 11, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 2

Last week we looked at several programs I recommend to be good additions to a Windows system.  They are either better than what comes on a PC or those applications may not usually be found on a new computer.  Of course, the apps are free…you know me. From the responses I have received you want more.  So here are some additional applications for you.

You need a good cleaner and CCleaner (piriform.com) is great.  I have previously written about it in length so go check those older articles.   CCleaner can speed up a slow computer and get it to start faster while cleaning up unneeded files. Well worth the $0.00’s. 

ccleaner

Oh boy, now a biggie…antivirus software.  There are several good ones to pick from. Avast (avast.com) and AVG (avg.com) always come to my mind first.  They are closely followed by Avira (avira.com), Bitdefender (bitdefender.com) and Panda (pandasecurity.com).  Take your pick.  They are good and all have a free and paid version.  You may even choose to stick with "Windows Defender" which comes pre-installed on your computer.  It is really pretty good.  Just make sure you run one of them, but only one at a time or they can interfere with each other.  

Avast! site          AVG logo          Avira logo     

Bitdefender logo          Panda logo

Another good protection app you need is Malwarebytes (malwarebytes.com) which takes care of threats.  The free version needs to be run manually by you; whereas, the paid version runs automatically.

Malwarebytes logo

How about the best video/audio player?  There is only one and it will run on most anything you own, PC, iPhone, Android, etc. and that is VLC (videolan.org).  The great thing about this app other than dependability and quality is that it can play every video or audio format you can put on it.  That includes DVDs as well as Blu-Ray discs. 

VideoLAN (VLC) logo
 
Now to online storage or cloud storage.  There is really only one name in this area that I prefer, Dropbox (dropbox.com).  It is solid, works flawlessly and also allows for quite a bit of storage space.  There are others but for free, Dropbox does it for me.  You have files that are important to you and Dropbox is dependable, enough said.

Dropbox logo

Now email apps.  I personally like online email, mainly Gmail; however, you as well as a large percentage of people like an app to take care of email.  Thunderbird (rd.dblclx.com/1ejd3ax) from Mozilla, the Firefox browser people is excellent.  It is reliable, high quality and easy to set up if you pay attention to the instructions.  I would also say the built in email program in Windows 10 is a good basic email app but there are not many advanced features.  Also, with the Windows app you will be on your own setting up your email. 

Thunderbird logo

Next week a few more. 

January 13, 2015

2014 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.

  • CNet and Download (both part of CBS Interactive), great reviews, “how tos”, etc. of most everything tech at the first site and good downloads on the other.  
  • Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo, three popular free email and information providers.
  • Thunderbird – a very good email application for computer that can incorporate all of the above emails on your desktop.
  • Firefox.com – One of the most popular internet browsers.
  • Coffitivity and Rainy Mood  – fun sites which make soothing noises while you work.  
  • Barnes & Noble Nook – the B&N ereader, Nook.
  • 10,000+ Free eBooks – a place to get free ebooks including the most recent of many for Android only.
  • CCleaner, Defraggler, Recuva and Speccy – four great computer utilities from Piriform.
  • iTunes – media player and controller for all Apple products.
  • Mighty Text – enables you to send and receive text messages from your phone in your browser.  You may also dial your phone from this add-on.  
  • SnagIt  and Screenshot Captor – the first is a paid screen shot application with many features. The captor is a free app that is similar but does not have as many abilities.
  • Livescribe – the home of the Livescribe pen that records your meeting’s audio and syncs the audio to your written text. Not free.
  • Cogi – a phone application which allows you to capture, review & share the highlights of meetings and lectures.
  • Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, Five Guys, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Starbuck’s, Wendy’s are just a few of the many fast-food shops having apps so you can order on your phone. 
  • Calorie King – a site for your computer or phone to get dietary information on all the stuff you order from the aforementioned sites.
  • Realtor.com and Zillow.com – two excellent sites to use if you are buying or selling your home. 
  • Fitbit and Ringly and Water Dancing Droplet Speakers, Spreengs and Shoulderpod are several interesting gadgets you can buy for presents for yourself or others.
  • Ninite – a site that lets you get many applications to quickly install them all at one time without stopping all along the way to ask you questions.
  • AVG or Avast! – two of the better free antivirus applications. 
  • Malwarebytes – the best free app which checks your computer for nasty malware.
  • SpeedTest – you may check the speed you are receiving from your service provider at any time. 
  • Typing Web – if you need typing lessons or a refresher course here is the place to get help.
  • Steam Powered – a few free and many for a cost game site. 
  • PayPal – a very secure site for making online purchases.  

Stay tuned for 2015 and have a very Happy New Year!

January 29, 2013

Music on the Go

I receive questions every now-and-then about listening to music online.  Questions like whether you can listen on a computer or a phone, free or paid music, rock or classical, etc.

There are many, many streaming music options out there so you can listen to your favorite group or genre of music.  Some of the more popular ones are, "Slacker Radio", "Spotify", "Maestro", Last.fm and the one I like best…Pandora.

I would check each site individually to see the slight differences.  Some are more "social," meaning that they have built-in designs which allow you to more easily share your music and/or playlists with others. They all have free streaming; however, you can get paid versions which give you more options and features.  They also have options for use on smartphones, tablets and of course computers. 

imageI have had a free Pandora account for several years.  You start off by adding a couple of favorite songs or artists, rate a few of the songs you hear and then Pandora will find you "similar" music.  Sometimes the choices are good and sometimes not so good but you can always grade the songs with a thumbs up or down.  Thumbs up will allow the song to play more often; a down vote will remove the song from your Pandora account so you won’t have to hear it again. 

You can then create your own "stations" from your music choices.  I have Country, Christian, Classic Rock and Celtic Music (yes, including the Celtic Women). 

Again, Pandora is my personal favorite but all of the ones I have mentioned are good.  Try a couple and see which one you like best.  You will be able to discover new artists and have the ability to purchase songs if you wish.

Now the question comes up: How can I store my music online if I already own many MP3s?  If you do not want to use streaming since you already have a lot of music you enjoy, how can you listen to them online when you do not have your MP3 player? 

Musical notesThe answer is Google once again.  Google Play/Google Music helps you bring your iTunes library or any music specifically to your Android devices.  There are also applications out there that will allow you to use Google Play with your iPhones, too. 

A side note here.  I prefer to call it Google Music since Google Play is the Android App store name and it gets confusing, so excuse my relabeling.  Also, the site is found at music.google.com and the original name of this feature was Google Music.     

Google Music has a neat feature.  You install it on the computer that has your music and show the application where your music is located.  It then uploads your music to the site over time; lots of time.  I had about 2,500 songs in my library and it took over a day to upload it all to Google Music.  Since you can upload up to 20,000 of your songs to Google for free it could take much longer.

Once you have uploaded your music, it is instantly available at music.google.com on the web and your Android phone or tablet.

You have many options.  Pick a couple and enjoy them whenever you want to hear some good music.  Or new music since most of these sites will give you “unpublished” musicians that you can help discover.

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