DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 10, 2015

May 20, 2014

Google, What are you Telling Me?

As you regular readers know, I like Google.  Google is not perfect but they have many great apps.  In the past I have been disappointed in their corporate decisions to do away with some of their more desirable apps.  For instance iGoogle homepage, Calendar Sync and Google Reader to name a few.

I learned something else disappointing this week.

Over the past year or so I have become a fan of Google’s Chrome browser.  Before any of you run out and switch to Chrome from Firefox, (my old favorite) remember the most important thing when deciding on a browser is, "How do you like it?"  You do not have to change but 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.

I use a Google tablet, the Nexus 7 2013 I also use the Chrome browser as my default browser on the Nexus.  In recent months I have purchased Google’s Chromecast which basically allows you to turn your almost Smart TV into a full fledge Smart TV for $35.  As I originally wrote this past January, it is an excellent device at an excellent price.

Basically, if you are using the Chrome browser on your computer you can play a video in your browser, or music or slideshow which you already know.  If you have a Chromecast device hooked up to your TV you can "send" that media to your TV to enjoy it on a full screen and hear it through better speakers.  This makes it a much more pleasurable experience than watching or listening on a smaller screen. 

Chromecast buttonWhen you have something playing, or getting ready to play, in your computer’s browser you click the Chromecast button and it automatically appears on your TV.  It is a very easy to use and it shows quite a good picture and sound.

So I have three Google products running, their tablet, their browser and their Chromecast.  They are all in excellent working order.  This week my wife and I missed one of our favorite TV shows, "Castle."  If you go to ABC.com you can view their shows shortly after they air on the site.  This is true for most of the networks. 

I started up my tablet, went to ABC.com, got "Castle" running and guess what?  No Chromecast button so I could not send this show to the TV.  Please note:  I could, once I hooked up my notebook computer, but that was not my intention. 

I Googled for what I was doing wrong and there was not a tremendous amount of information about it online.  So I called Google support and guess what?  Even though I am running all Google products in working order they do not yet have a way to "Cast a Tab" with an Android tablet or phone.  I asked if it was being worked on and they "thought so" but there is no expected completion date. 

What are they thinking?  But who am I?  What are your thoughts?

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 "bit.ly" 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" (slacker.com), "Spotify" (spotify.com), "Maestro" (maestro.fm), Last.fm and the one I like best…Pandora (pandora.com).   These are accounts for listening to most any type of music imaginable. 
  • Google Musicmusic.google.com.   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 News-RecordDNROnline.com.  My flagship newspaper, read it often! 
  • Double Clicksdoubleclicks.info.  This column’s site, read it often, too!
  • Portable Appsportableapps.com.  A site where you can get apps that are… well, that’s obvious.  
  • Microsoft Officebit.ly/1kJ3oK4.  You know this one, "The" most popular office suite of programs.
  • Libre Officelibreoffice.org.  One of the two most popular free office suites.
  • Solutosoluto.com.  One of many ways to speed up your computer and keep all of your applications up to date, not just the Microsoft ones. 
  • Lynda.com. A paid online training site for many different applications used today.
  • Microsoft Office Trainingbit.ly/1cBOoM9.  Good free office training.
  • YouTube.com – among millions of other videos you can find excellent Office training videos created by people like you and me.
  • Google.com – the most popular search engine.
  • Gmailgmail.com.  Google’s branded email.
  • A Toy Train in Spacebit.ly/1bHdbc3.  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.
  • Newsblur.com, Feedly.com, TheOldReader.com, Pulse.me and Flipboard.com.  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.

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.

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