DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 18, 2016

2016-01-18 Show Notes

Welcome back to the show notes from this morning.  The podcast should be ready tomorrow and I will post it here when I know that it is ready.

I hope you had a chance to listen but if not here is a list of a few of the things we mentioned today.

Tech News
Two great online weather apps, in Jim’s and my opinions.  At the least two of the better ones available today.

AccuWeather

WeatherSpark


Judge says Facebook tagging violates protective orders

You don’t have to physically get close to a person or to call and text them to end up violating a protection order. According to Acting Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci, tagging the victim, which sends them a notification, is enough to breach the order and ultimately land the perpetrator in jail. Capeci made the ruling for a case filed against a woman named Maria Gonzalez who was prohibited by law from contacting her sister-in-law. While she didn’t blow up the sister-in-law’s phone or show up uninvited to her house, she reportedly created a Facebook account and tagged her on some status updates.

One called the sister-in-law, Maribel Calderon, "stupid," and the other allegedly read: "You and your family are sad…You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda." Protection or protective orders, by the way, are sometimes used interchangeably with restraining orders. There is a distinct difference between the two, though: protective orders are the maximum protection the law can grant to victims of family violence.

Gonzalez has been charged with second-degree criminal contempt for the status updates, which could land her in prison. Her side tried to argue that she wasn’t explicitly banned from contacting Calderon via Facebook. The judge, however, pointed out that Gonzalez was ordered not to contact Calderon via "electronic or any other means."

Continue…


Do I stay or do I go now? Google Maps can tell you.

Now Google can even tell you where to go…and when.

Well, Google Maps has good news for you. If you use Google Maps you can find out whether you should hit the road or put in some gym time while you wait out the grid lock. Get information like ETAs, traffic updates, nearby gas prices and quickest routes to familiar places–like home, work and recently searched destinations–all without entering a destination.

If like me you have preset home and work locations along with having location history enabled you will see ETAs at times when you’re likely to be heading to these destinations. These suggestions are based on location data, time of day and day of week. And if you’re logged in, it will suggest destinations based on recent Google Maps and Google searches when you are in the driving.


Stay Safer Online
Ron’s preference for keeping your computer safe beyond anti-virus applications. 
Malwarebytes
 

A caller also recommended "SpyBot Search and Destroy" which is also excellent for the same purpose. Thanks to Dave (I believe, please correct me if I am wrong) for that tidbit!  
SpyBot Search and Destroy


That is it until next month, February 15, 2016.

Have a great time computing!

Ron Doyle, Double Click

February 17, 2015

Google Tricks, Part 1

Looking over my articles, I realized I’ve never written about a few fun — but widely unnecessary — tricks available through Google.

Keep in mind, to use each of these tricks, you must start with a fresh Google.com page, not one from a previous search. You can also use the, “I’m Feeling Lucky” search button, if available; however, it does not usually show once you start typing.

Also, leave out the quotation marks when following the directions for searches below, or they will not work properly.

First, a few silly tricks: Try typing either “tilt” or “askew” and search, watching your Google window carefully. To undo it, type “untilt” and hit enter.

For a real trip, type “do a barrel roll” and press enter.

Do a Barrel Roll now!

Make a bet with a friend and type “flip a coin” in the search bar to see what you get.

Are you one of the many, “Six Degrees of Separation” players out there? If you’ve not heard of it before, people name a celebrity and if their opponent is wise enough, they can come up with no more than six other people to connect that celebrity with Kevin Bacon. Type, “Frank Sinatra bacon number” and see that how Frank and Kevin are related. Yes, in less than six steps: Frank Sinatra and John Lithgow appeared with Johnny Carson; then, John Lithgow and Kevin Bacon appeared in Footloose.

Sinatra's Bacon #

In the mood for a game? Try typing, “Google Pacman,” search and then click the graphic with, “Click to play” in yellow.

For all of you Doctor Who fans out there type, “Google Who” search and click the “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary — Google Doodles” link to play.

Both of these should pop up first in the search results.

Maybe you are dieting and wish to compare foods? Try typing, “banana vs green beans” in to Google (or any other two foods). Omit the period after “vs,” or it will not work.  You will see a graphic of the two foods with some dietary information for each. Directly below that small area, you will see a down arrow which will provide more information for each food when clicked.

If you need to know the weather for most anywhere in the world, try, “forecast Castelsardo” or use a zip code, if you know it.

Try, “sunrise” or “sunset” for any location in the world. Zip codes will work for this, too. If you found this information useful or interesting, let me know via email and I will share a few more for next time. 

Sunrise or Sunset anywhere

January 6, 2015

2014 Sites in Review, Part 1

Welcome to the beginning of our fourteenth year together with the Double Click column.  Every January we review the sites that we visited in the previous year.  Today is no different.  So as always, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Thanks for reading the column and emailing me with your great questions.  I love writing it and hearing from you! 

  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and ABC – add ".com" to any of those to view TV shows, movies, video clips, etc.
  • Chromecast.com – this Google device allows you to broadcast anything from your Android, iPhone or Windows phones and computers to your TV.
  • Chromebook.com – Computers that run the Chrome OS (Google) and have everything you need in the Cloud. 
  • Google Drive/Docs,  – Google’s Office substitute and a good one it is, with this you may not need to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • McAfee – one of the many antivirus applications available for your computer’s protection.
  • Libre Office and Open Office – the two leaders in the free Microsoft Office replacements.  Both are good; however, fall short in some areas. 
  • Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, IxQuick and StartPage – add ".com" to any of these for search engines, the last three do not track your searches but the first three do.
  • Google Location History – this site will show you where you have been in the recent past on Google Maps. 
  • Copy, bit.ly/roncopy – free online cloud storage, use the link shown and get 20 GB instead of 15 at Copy.com.
  • Dropbox, bit.ly/use-DropBox, same as above; however, you get 2 GB, many people prefer this to all the other online storage options since it was one of the first.
  • Google Drive and OneDrive, (by Microsoft) – Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud storage sites both at 15GB free. 
  • OneNote, Microsoft’s great note taking application, free online.
  • MultCloud, put all of your cloud storage on one site (notice spelling, no "i").

Tune in next week for the last half of the sites we visited in 2014.

November 25, 2014

Real Estate Today

As many of you know in past lives I have been a mortgage loan officer and a residential real estate appraiser.  I have also been a buyer and seller of my own homes.  I have quite a bit of knowledge about the topic; however, it is not current since I have been out of that world for the past 16 years.

Well, I got into it again recently by buying a home.  For the past several years we have been renters.  I discovered some very interesting things involving, for me anyway, technology and the purchasing process.  I thought I would share some of that with you today.

First off we talked to our agent, Phillip Updike, and got the ball rolling.  He suggested a few houses and also a website for finding homes.  Realtor.com was the site and fortunately for me they had an Android app of the same name.  We also found another one called Zillow.com, also with an app.

My wife and I used them both on our phones (she has an iPhone) and tablets.  They provided a huge amount of information in a very convenient format.  It stopped the numerous phone calls that would have been done in the past asking us about houses in which we may be interested.  Also it prevented us from calling our realtor with nagging questions like, "Is there anything new on the market today?" 

Both of these programs are very similar.  You can filter the house you may be looking for by location, price range, number of bedrooms and/or baths, etc.  The results are usually very close to what you are seeking.  I will warn you that if you filter by price be careful.  We found that the house we eventually bought was not on our list until I increased the price range by just a little bit.  If I had not done this I would never have found the house; although, I know Phillip would have.

They gave you photos of the house and property in the majority of examples I viewed.  It will also give you a map, places of interest in the surrounding area, the listing agent contact information, area schools, many things you would like to know and some that you never may have considered.  Excellent tool for house finding.

The other thing that surprised me that really should not have is the use of email.  I have sent and received emails regarding the mortgage loan, title insurance, questions from and about all areas, informational emails and the list goes on.  Now in reality I was planning on writing about this after all was said and done, so I have kept almost every email regarding our purchase.  When all was said and done I had about 210 emails, also included Zillow’s pictures of the house, loan documents, closing documents and Title Insurance.

I do not know if it was due to the excellent work done by everyone concerned or the capacity to have everything I could possibly need at hand in email.  But I will say this was the smoothest home purchase I have ever dealt with.  That is as a buyer, seller or banker. Thanks to all who helped!

July 21, 2014

2014-07-21 WSVA Show Notes

Tech News
Russian hackers placed ‘digital bomb’ in Nasdaq
CNN Money – Russian hackers managed to slip a "digital bomb" into the Nasdaq — one with the potential to sabotage the stock market’s computers and wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.

That’s according to an investigative report by Bloomberg Businessweek, which revealed the details of a 2010 cybergrenade that never detonated.


European Cell phone usage
How does the per capita rates of cell phone users compare across the world.  (Depending on where you look you will see different numbers, so this is another approximation.)


Edward Snowden Meets with Hackers
Edward Snowden made an impassioned call on Saturday for hackers and technologists to help would-be whistleblowers spill more government secrets.

Speaking via remote Google Hangouts video feed from Russia, Snowden addressed his comments to an audience at this weekend’s Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York


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.)
Get Pocket (formerly known as Read It Later)

Get Pocket LogoPut articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket. Save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. If it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet or computer. You don’t even need an Internet connection. Basically you can create your own informational magazine. Then go back to the phone/table app or log into GetPocket.com from any computer.

Pocket apps are out there for every smart phone made today. Go to your store and download it for free.


Rainy Mood RainyMood.com
Since I had a lot of feedback from people regarding coffitivity.com from the last show, I figured you would like Rainy Mood too.

Instead of office murmur how about a gentle rain storm for a nice background sound?


Math Way mathway.com
Having trouble with math? Apparantly this site can solve any sort of math problem you have. Calculus, Statistics, Pre-Algebra, Algebra and even plan old Basic Math.

There are even some Practice questions for up to the 8th grade.


Until next time have a great time online but most importatnly everywhere else too!

June 24, 2014

Do Not Do These Things, Part 3

I was not planning on having a "Part 3" to this series; however, Marion recently sent an interesting email. This situation does not have anything to do with the web, email or any other things I usually write about.  Nevertheless, it is a real personal security concern.

Marion emailed about a "Social Engineering" scam which is becoming more of a concern most every day for everyone.  These can hit you even if you do not participate on the internet, email, or any other tech areas.  This one is known as vishing, or voice phishing. 

She said they received a suspicious phone call on the home land line. However, this could also hit your cell phone.  A man with an accent was telling her that their computer was "leaking out information."  This is common line.  Then they ask you questions about your computer, maybe the version of Windows you use, your computer name, or your username and password.  They may ask you anything about your computer, your bank account or any other personal information.  They usually (but not always) have a heavy almost unintelligible accent which will get worse as they go along. 

Marion said, "We gave him no information whatsoever."  That is the absolute best thing you can do.  If you have not contacted any company for help just hang up on them.  They are trying to get info out of you and use it for disreputable reasons.

spam via phone and web (lifehacker.com.au)You would be surprised at how many people go along with this "official" inquiry.  People have given away bank account information and then proceeded to loose thousands of dollars.

Never give anything out to an incoming caller.  If you get a call from any company asking you any information or giving you a website to log on to about your information or accounts, hang up immediately and call the company directly.  Ask them about it and you will get a definite, "Don’t do it!" response from the real people.  Banks and any other reputable company will never contact you to ask for information. 

Microsoft has even put out messages reporting support scams that are supposedly coming from them.  Like all of these scams the scammer may not have a lot of technical information, but rather a smooth talking trickster which plays on the general public’s fear.  They will tell you things like they just received a warning that your computer has been hacked or invaded.

We used to call these folks, "flimflam artists."  In today’s vernacular they would be called scammers.

There is even one for corporate environments called, "tailgating."  Many companies have very strict rules regarding tailgating which can end an employee’s career if they allow it.  This usually involves companies with an electronic keyless entry system; however, it can be used with regular keyed locks too.  You, being regular employee, come to work and use your key to get in.  An honest looking "employee" whom you do not know walks up along behind you and you let them enter the building with you.  You have just been tailgated into the building by someone who should not be there.

Being careful should be everyone’s number one priority today.

March 18, 2014

Windows 8.1, Part 3

W8.1, Part 3

For the past several weeks we have taken a look at Windows 8.1, the latest Operating System out of the gates at Microsoft.

I have been “teasing” you about how you can make it operate more like Windows 7 (my favorite OS yet). I talked about how to find programs and more easily start them. We looked at how you close them down and even how to skip the notorious Start Menu (or Metro Screen) entirely when your computer starts.

Today the big question is finally answered, “How do I get the old Windows 7, ‘Start Button’ which functions properly back on my computer?!” It is fairly easy to do; however, not with Windows 8.1 alone. The old W7 start button and menu that went with it is no longer there. The button that is present in W8.1 does some things but nothing like the previous version. So I would recommend you fix it. I would like to note here that Microsoft is rumored to be coming out with the addition of a “new” W8.1 that will have the functionality of the other but we will not know for sure until it hits.

To get a W7-like start button you will have to install a third-party application and there are way too many to pick from. Keep in mind that some of them cost and some are free…you know what type my favorite will be. All of them are under $10 so you will not need a loan if you decide to buy one.

A couple that I have tried are good and free. StartW8 (areaguard.com/startw8) and Classic Shell (classicshell.net) which is slick but has many more options than you will need and a little more difficult to set up.

Start Menu 8 (iobit.com then it is found under products) is the free one that I like the most. Download it and double click the file to install Start Menu 8. During the install it will ask if you want to install another Iobit application. It is a good program but you most likely will not need it. Once it finishes the new start menu is there, click it and feel good!

imageThere is also a “Settings” window that opens which allows you to customize the start button and menu in several different ways. I suggest leaving them all as the default, but feel free to take a look at them and try options if you like. The only one I would recommend is to click the “Start Button” menu item and change the button’s icon which is just for fun.

If you keep the default settings it will automatically start every time your start your computer. If you wish to get back to the settings for the Start Menu 8 again, click the start button and then “Settings” and change some more settings. You can also delete the desktop icon for the program since you will not need it any longer.

Have fun now that you have a “good” more user friendly version of Windows 8.

March 11, 2014

Windows 8.1, Part 2

Last week I mentioned that I am no longer "afraid" to use Windows 8.1 and that is only 8.1 not 8, about which I still have reservations.  I also said that you need to learn a few new things and make a few "edits" and changes to Windows 8.1 to make it work better for you.  For the following I will figure that you have set up your system to "skip" the W8.1 start screen. 

So today we will look at a few things I think you need to know before you become an 8.1 professional. 

First thing you will notice is that the desktop looks very similar to Windows 7.  One big difference is that there is no longer the familiar, "Start Button" in the lower left-corner.  This feature has been in all Windows OS since Windows 95.  I believe is there largest mistake with 8/8.1 since it was so easy to use and very well accepted by users.  There is a button that resembles the old one but not so helpful, in my opinion.  When clicked it you take you back and forth between the desktop and the start screen.  More on the start key later along with a way to get the old start key and menu back.

image In using 8.1 you will find that when you try to start programs you may have had to hunt for the program for quite a while.  Hopefully, you found it but possibly not…this operating system is not user friendly.   I have found, for me, that the easiest way to find your program is to press the Windows key on your keyboard and start typing what you are looking for.  For instance, I am now typing in Word and need to open an Excel Spreadsheet.  I press the Windows key and type, "excel" and then press enter.  Excel opens up and is ready to roll – easy.  You can search for folders, files, programs, documents containing specific words, etc.  Yes, if you have the word "Doyle" in one file, type "doyle" in the search menu and it will very, very quickly find the file.  Click it to open it. 

To close the program once you are finished, either click File/Close or click the large "X" in the upper right corner, just as in the "old" days.

Not all programs in 8/8.1 close as I said above.  The ones that do not close that way are usually the "native" Windows 8 programs.  Some of them are hard to find out how to close.  That is why I use a quick short-cut key.  This key combo has worked in all of the past versions of Windows OS.  While in the program you want to close, hold down the Alternate key and tap the F4 key (Atl + F4).  It will either ask you to save the current document if needed or shutdown the application automatically.  Be careful that you do not do this while on the desktop or it will ask to shutdown Windows.image

More to come.

March 4, 2014

Let the Party Begin!

~ Or…Windows 8.1, Part 1 ~

Since the beginning of the now infamous Windows 8 in the last quarter of 2012, I have pooh-poohed the notion of ever installing it on any of my computers.  Well, I have fought the good fight and have now succumbed.

I did test W8 several times throughout its premiere period and never really found it to be user friendly.  Even more than that, since the interface significantly changed from Windows 7, you would have no idea how to do some of the more simple things in the operating system.

image I will now make it known to the world that I have installed Windows 8.1 on my Dell notebook.  I have been using it for about 90 days.  I will tell you that there are some things I really appreciate about the new OS, though they are small in number.  Furthermore, there are some things that are in the, “You have got to be kidding me category.”  Other than the few in each of those categories, once you make a few changes and adjustments it works like W7 but is much quicker.

It was recently reported that Microsoft may be offering a free version of W8 to current W7 users just to get people using this “not well received” OS to upgrade.  That is not official but it has been floating around the internet for a little while now.

I would advise most users that upgrading to Windows 8.1 is OK, W8…well not a great idea.  That is because I feel that the large majority of people would not like the original release due to difficulty in the learning curve.  Windows 8.1 is just simpler to use…if you make a few easy edits.

Keep in mind that this is my opinion and I am sure that there are many 8 lovers out there who would disagree.

Let me guide you through a few changes to make the 8.1 experience better than, the “out-of-the-box” version.  First, I suggest again, that you only use W8.1 and not 8.  Next, I suggest that you skip the screen which I call the W8 screen.  In actuality the screen that it boots to is the new W8 start menu.  To me it is a total waste of CPU and screen space since the old start button menu system worked well for all users.

image Go to Control Panel and choose, “Appearance and Personalization” or “Personalization” which depends on where you are and how it is set up.  At the bottom-left corner click “Taskbar and Navigation.”  Click the Navigation tab at the top and look about halfway down the window and put a check mark in “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.”  Finally, click Apply (not required but a good habit to start) and OK.  You will no longer see the W8.1 start screen unless you accidentally get there or hover over the “Charms Bar” and click “Start.”

This is not nearly all you need to know but there will be more to follow.

February 18, 2014

Printing from the Cloud, Part 1

Several weeks ago after a column about Google Chromebooks, I received a great question from a reader and friend of mine, Joe. Joe asked about how he could set up Google Cloud Printer on his Chromebook.  After I researched and set it up I started receiving many other emails concerning the same question, so here we go.

If you have heard about it before, Google’s "Cloud Print" feature sounds great.  It will allow you to print documents to any printer having cloud print set up from anywhere in the world.

Image from Google.comThis is really convenient.  There are several things you must have to do this.  First, you must have a Google/Gmail account.  Next, a computer that is online and physically connected to the destination printer; obviously, they must work together at that location.  Also, for this to work both the destination computer and printer must be on, or you cannot print to them.  The reason for this is that you will actually be sending the file you want to print from your computer to the computer in another location which is connected to the printer, so they must be on and working.  All of this is accomplished through Google Chrome browser on both devices. 

The Google Chrome browser, "Chrome" has to be installed on both computers (the one you are printing from and the one connected to the printer). 

You must start the setup process from the computer which is physically connected to the printer, your destination device.  The first step is to open your Chrome browser, click the small wrench in the upper right-hand corner, (it could also be a small box with horizontal lines) click on Settings and then again on Settings located in the left navigation area of Chrome.

Scroll down to the bottom and click "Show advanced settings…"  Move down that screen until you see "Google Cloud Print."  You could click on "Learn more" for help from Google or read on.  Click the "Manage" button and then "Add printers."  You may need to sign into your Google account, if you have not already been in your Gmail, etc.  You will see a list of printers connected to that computer, click the checkbox for the printer and click "Add Printer."   You will now have a Manage Printer button, click it to see that your printer has been added.  Now that printer will be available on any computer on which you are running the Chrome browser and have logged in with your Google account.

You are now in the Caribbean with your notebook computer or Android tablet.  You want to print your memoirs to your home computer.  Click the Print button in your writing program, Word or Libre Office, or even a webpage.  You must be logged onto your Google account and have Chrome installed.  Next, you will change to the Google Printer previously setup by you at home and hit the print button.  When you get back home your documents will be waiting for you.

But wait, that is not the entire story…tune in next week for a better idea.

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