About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 7, 2014

2013 Sites in Review, Part 1

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year since we last talked.  I wanted to say, "Thanks!" to all of you readers who support the "Double Click" column by reading and writing over the past 12 years.  It is very much appreciated.  Please keep it up.  I always enjoy hearing from you.

It is the time of year when I review all of the sites mentioned during the previous year.  As always, have fun remembering, discovering, or rediscovering all the info! 

If the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using "" for print, so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Online music streaming sites;  "Slacker Radio" (, "Spotify" (, "Maestro" (, and the one I like best…Pandora (   These are accounts for listening to most any type of music imaginable. 
  • Google   Google’s music site is similar to above; however, you can also upload up to 20,000 of your own songs and listen to them online from any device.
  • Daily  My flagship newspaper, read it often! 
  • Double  This column’s site, read it often, too!
  • Portable  A site where you can get apps that are… well, that’s obvious.  
  • Microsoft  You know this one, "The" most popular office suite of programs.
  • Libre  One of the two most popular free office suites.
  •  One of many ways to speed up your computer and keep all of your applications up to date, not just the Microsoft ones. 
  • A paid online training site for many different applications used today.
  • Microsoft Office  Good free office training.
  • – among millions of other videos you can find excellent Office training videos created by people like you and me.
  • – the most popular search engine.
  •  Google’s branded email.
  • A Toy Train in  A dad uses a Raspberry Pi computer to take his son’s toy train into space and return with some great video of the ride.
  •,,, and  Several of the many popular RSS feed readers to replace the dead and gone Google Reader.  They vary for mobile platforms and web viewing.

Well that takes us through the middle of 2013.  Check out part two of the year in review next week.

June 25, 2013

Raspberry Pie?

Hey, it is summer time and I do not know about you but I love a good, hot slice of apple pie any old time.  Yes, with ice cream too! 

Back in the first quarter of 2012 they came up with another type of pie in the UK; a Raspberry Pi.  But this one you do not eat.  You plug it in and use it as a computer.

You might think, "Oh well, here he goes talking about another new desktop or notebook computer."  But you would be wrong.  Raspberry Pis are different, really different.

piFirst we will look at the physical description of the Raspberries.  They weigh in at about one and one half ounces, about the same as eight quarters.  Next the dimensions are 3.4 inches long x 2.2 wide inches and 0.83 inches thick.  Mine is a slightly larger since I bought a case to put mine in, so yes, they come stripped down without a case or much else.  My case cost me $7 so that part is not much to worry about.


Now, sit down and relax.  The price may overwhelm you.  There are two versions.  The A version sells for $25 and the B for only $35.  That is pretty much the total price and there is no bigger, better more expensive version to upgrade to.  Now you do need a couple of other things to run it but most likely you have them lying around the house.

Sales first started in February, 2012 and are still going pretty strong.  They were originally created for kids in the UK to learn how to write programs and be creative with computers while investing little money.  I read in the past they originally thought they would sell about 10,000 of the units.  By May, 2012 there were over 40,000 in sales.  By May of this year there were well over 1.2 million in sales worldwide, with India taking the lead.

They have no hard drive so you need to run it off of a SD card, and a 4GB size is recommended.  I run mine on an old 8GB I had left over from an old Android phone.  Speaking of Android, that is what you use to power a Raspberry Pi, your regular old Android phone charger, wire and all.  This is good since they are cheap or usually laying around somewhere and the Pis do not come with a power supply.  Next you need a mouse, keyboard and monitor.  Then you are ready to go.

Now beware, these are not for entry level computer users but more for entry level geeks or higher.  It is a gadget that you cannot just plug in and use because it takes a little bit of setup.  The SD card must first be set up on a regular computer and then it is plugged into the Raspberry Pi to "make it go."

Ron's Pi in the caseWhat can you do with one?  Go to your favorite search engine and look for "What are people doing with Raspberry Pi" or something similar.  You will find that they are using them for cameras, some are using them to experiment with new human prosthetics, many (like me) use theirs hooked up to their TV to watch streaming video, listen to music, surf the net, etc. It is a much smaller, less expensive computer which also uses very little power. 

Check out this video ( where one creative dad launched his son’s favorite toy into space, got video of the ride, and the return to earth. They even found the toy later.  

Obviously the sky is the limit.

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