DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 10, 2015

Calendar Sync +

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:24 am

I have written before about Google having rolled out many very good applications over time. I have also remarked that unfortunately they also kill many very good applications off when they should not. I have listed several of my favorites in earlier columns so I will not again. If you are interested read this for a history lesson.

Deceased Google Calendar Sync sign inSince I have received many emails from readers since 2013 when Google did away with “Google Calendar Sync” asking what to do, I have something to mention today.

Google Calendar Sync was a great app which allowed users of Microsoft Outlook to sync their work calendar with their personal Google calendar. That way they could keep track of their appointments no matter where they were. Many people do not want to put their personal calendar (Google) in with their work calendar (usually Outlook). That way they can keep their personal appointments away from the possibly prying eyes of coworkers.

You could set GCS to sync from one calendar to the other or make them both match.

I have had people ask me over time for a replacement for that application. But after searching for a long time, since I used it all the time too, I thought all was lost. I had even tried a few paid apps and found they did not function as well as Google’s product. The free ones were pretty much useless.

Calendar Sync+ syncing screenOver a month ago I read an article about Calendar Sync + which was apparently created in February of this year. It sounded just like what we have been waiting for and I have been trying it out since that day.

I am here to tell you that the Google replacement has arrived and it works as well as and does more than Google did.

Calendar Sync + is available at calendarsyncplus.codeplex.com.

Calendar Sync+ Preferences/Setup screenThey have very good installation instructions. Click on the Documentation tab and read on. You basically first choose which way you want it to sync; from Outlook to Google, from Google to Outlook or both ways. Next, you choose a range of time; the entire calendar for 10 years, specific number of days in the past and future, or a date range. I went for the second one and told it to get 31 days in the past and 365 days in the future. Then you select calendars, log into your Google calendar and you are pretty much done. You can also sync it on a schedule or manually. It is all up to you.

I used it first on Windows 8.1 and now on Windows 10 without any problems. I have purposely tried to break it and could not. I need to enter the date this article will be published but in which calendar…oh yeah, it does not matter any longer!


 

Here is a video I did for you to see how to setup Calendar Sync+ if you are interested.  Feel free to give me constructive criticisms on the video.  I have not done many so appreciate your comments on how they could be better next time.




 

 

September 9, 2014

Google Hero and Yet?

As you regular readers know I am a fan of Google and yet on occasion they fail me totally.  Mostly this is due to them doing away with applications I use and enjoy: Google Reader, Calendar Sync, iGoogle, Google Notebook just to name a few.

But I enjoy their products so much that I have purchased hardware from them.  Namely the Nexus 7, 2013.  They always add the "2013"; however, it should have been named Nexus 7.2.  Alas, they did not ask me.  It had been working very well until 90 days ago or so. 

Occasionally when I turned it from portrait to landscape the screen would not always, "flip" to match.  It was a bother at first and I ignored it for a while.  I could always start a program that must run in the correct alignment and then it would lock there.  That would be good until the next time I turned it.  I do not play many games but one day I had a few minutes and fired up, "Go-Go-Goat!"  You are required to tilt the tablet to make the goat jump in the correct direction.  Since the gyroscopic feature in the Nexus was dead he jumped straight up and died every time.   

I contacted Google and the nice folks there gave me three things to try as a solution.  They also told me that since I was under warrantee they would replace it with a rebuilt unit if these fixes did not work. 

Two of the resolutions were easy but regrettably did not work.  The third was easy to do but basically it was to reset my Nexus to the factory settings and rebuild it.  That takes a while and is quite a pain.  After putting it off for 2-3 weeks I did it and guess what?  That did not resolve the issue either.

I called tech support at Google again and they assured me my refurbished unit would arrive the following Monday.  Tuesday then Wednesday — I called again.  I was told by the first rep that it was already delivered…to Austin, TX.  What?!  I asked him to check my order and it was correctly set up with my address in Virginia.  He passed me along to a shipping person.  They were also pleasant and helpful. 

There was a problem with the shipment and he would check it and email me the next day.  You guessed this correctly too, nothing but the sound of crickets the next two days.  The next time I called I was apologized to and handed to a supervisory rep. 

Samantha was her name and I got a voice mail which assured me that she would return my message as quickly as possible.  She really did.  That afternoon I got an email from her saying she would investigate and let me know what was up within 24 hours. Sure?!

The next morning I received an email from her stating that she was sorry for the mix up.  She had found the problem, shipped out the correct unit which I should have by the end of the week.  She also gave me a credit to my Google account for having the hassle.

I got the Nexus Thursday, a day earlier than she had predicted.  Though it had taken three weeks instead of the initial, "couple of days" they did right by me.  I shipped mine back immediately and the replacement has been working fine. 

I will continue to be a Google Fan-boy for now.  Until they do away with a few more apps that I use.

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?

April 15, 2014

Copy That

Over three years ago I mentioned an excellent product named Dropbox. Dropbox is a “cloud” storage program which allows you to save all sorts of files on a site located on the web. It allows you to “sync” your files without you doing anything to your free 2 GB container of online storage. If you have a file in your local computer’s Dropbox folder and edit it, it is automatically transferred to the online location. Pretty much an auto-backup utility. Dropbox has been and still is an outstanding product.

image However, I have found another that is very similar but it has several distinct advantages. I have been using “Copy” for several months now and cannot find any shortcomings. The site is copy.com. Please go there to visit but if you are interested in signing up use this link, “bit.ly/roncopy” to get extra storage. If you use that link both you and I get an additional 5 GB of storage.

image One large advantage is easy to see from the very beginning. It is that you get 15 GB of free storage. If you use my link above you get an extra 5 GB so you start with 20 GB of free storage.

For those of you who use Dropbox but would like more space please give it a try. I strongly urge all of you to use the training information they suggest once your signup, download and install is complete. It is very helpful and most of it is easy to understand.

Other than the amount of storage you get with Copy they have another neat feature called, “Fair Storage." For instance, my wife and I both have an account. We both have many pictures we want to store at Copy. If I have 6 GB of pictures on Copy and I share that folder with my wife it counts as only 3 GB each; it splits the difference. If you have 20 GB of files and share it with four other people only 4 GB would be counted for each of you. That is slick!

Here is another interesting feature I like. With Dropbox you have to sync the Dropbox folder which means that each folder and file you sync must be in that folder. With Copy you can do the same thing or create a shortcut in the Copy folder on your computer to the original folder/file on your computer. That way you get to leave the original files where you have always had them and sync to Copy.com. This makes it even easier to manage for me.

Many other features are available which you can find out about once you sign up. One final thought… Copy.com is owned by Barracuda Networks which is a well-respected company and has been around for over 10 years. They deliver security, networking and storage products based on network appliances and cloud services mainly for businesses. I have contacted them and they say that Copy.com is very successful and should be around for a long time.

January 20, 2014

2014-01-20 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the show for January 2014 and Happy New Year to you and yours!  Below are links to the sites we talked about today and here is the podcast if you missed part of the show.

Have fun looking around.

Tech News
Tablet ownership in U.S. surges
Thirty five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own and e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet {September 2013, 35 percent}. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This article sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It’s also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the U.S. started at age 18 and up.


Chromebooks Enjoy 21% of Notebook Sales in 2013
According to NPD (a major national market research company), Chromebook sales hit a total of 1.76 million units between January and November of this year, which is quite a bit of a jump from the 400,000 units that made it out in 2012. In total, NPD’s figures indicate that Chromebooks jumped from virtually nothing in 2012 to 21 percent of all notebook sales in 2013.A recent press release from Amazon itself confirms that Chromebooks took two of the top three spots for “holiday best sellers” – specifically, a Samsung Chromebook and an Acer Chromebook.


Spiders force Toyota to recall 800,000 vehicles
Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of some 803,000 cars due to airbags inadvertently deploying — and the blame appears to be spiders inside the air conditioning units. Toyota’s recall notice states that some 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza, and Avalon vehicles are experiencing problems with their air conditioning condenser unit housing — apparently, condensation and water has been leaking into the airbag control module. In most cases, that’s just causing the airbag warning light to turn on, but a few times the driver side airbag has deployed without warning.However, according to CNN, the cause of the leak is rather unsettling if you suffer from arachnophobia. Spiders and their webs are apparently responsible for clogging the air conditioner drainage tubes, causing the water spillover onto the airbag control module.


Government Recalls.gov
rercalls.gov
To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create www.recalls.gov — a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls.


The Door Lock of the Future is Here
Kwikset Kevo
Kwikset has rolled out the Kevo lock. A door lock that receives a signal from your Smartphone (iPhones only right this minute) or a coded key fob and can open when you touch the lock. If you forget your phone it will open with a regular key that you can find buried somewhere on your key chain.

Check out the video and see what you think, especially with a $219 price tag.


Waze
waze.com
Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

Free available to most all types of phone OS’s.


Free Backup Software
Cobian backup, cobiansoft.com
Allway Sync, allwaysync.com
Two good free backup applications for making sure you do not loose your important files.


Browser History
Check Browser History for all Browsers
Sometimes you may want to make a return visit to a website that you saw a day or 20 ago. You may use multiple browsers like many people and do not want to go view the history in each browser. With this app from NirSoft.net you can check the histories of all of your browser at the same time and get a report of what has been seen.

If you have cut off your History feature on your browser you will not be able to retrieve this information.


Your Fingerprint may be your new Password
Biometric Scan Comes to Android 2014
The FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) has claimed in a new technology news statement, that the first Android handsets with biometric scanners will be released in the first half of next year, to help to remove the dependency on traditional app and web passwords.

This technology news was meant to be available for any web-based service or manufacturer so that traditional text-based passwords can be replaced with these biometric alternatives. Michael Barrett, the PayPal chief information security officer, and the president of FIDO, has explained that the increasing support and power of the group has meant that it will become possible for the mobile internet to become considerably safer to use in a very short period of time. That way, swiping a finger across the smartphone will be all that is required for the access of an individual’s own online accounts, but that they will remain safe from being accessed by anyone else.


If I Die
ifidie.org
This website provides a way for you to write and store letters to your friends. Each letter, when finished, will be stored securely and encrypted with a special password of your choosing. No one will be able to read any of your letters while you’re still alive.

A couple of “safegaurds” are in place to keep them from firing off by mistake.


New ‘Bond gadget’ set to let us breathe under water sunshinecoastdaily.com.au Bond-like rebreather
It is the James Bond gadget on everyone’s wishlist.

A South Korean designer has taken inspiration from the movie spy’s “rebreather”, which allows the user to breathe under water.

Clipped on a diving face mask, the Triton device acts like a fish gill to extract oxygen from water so that the user can keep breathing while under the sea.


That is all for today.  See you again next month on Monday, February 17.

Keep those cards and letter emails coming!

March 19, 2013

Google, Are You Kidding Me?

I have always been a big fan, supporter, promoter, etc. of Google.  That is until recently and here is why they are starting to work their way off of my radar. 

Google is performing what is termed "Spring Cleaning" on several of their products.  They shut down services/apps which they do not believe are being supported by users.  Two that were announced last year were Google Calendar Sync which basically ended December 14, 2012 and iGoogle which is scheduled to shut down on November 1, 2013.

Google Calendar Sync Option ScreenPersonally, I used those two extensively, especially Calendar Sync.  Calendar Sync performed an extremely important function for me.  It matched up my Outlook calendar at work to my personal Google calendar online.  Using this syncing process then allowed me to share my Google calendar with my wife so she could keep up with when I was going on trips, meetings after work, etc.  I could also choose to share it with anyone else I chose. 

It was a painless process since you set it up once and never look back.  It automatically "synced" the two calendars immediately when changes were made.  Since the Google calendar is online you can get to it anywhere you have a computer.

It was a very good application for the seven or eight years I had it Google.  Of course, they do say if you are currently using it you may continue…on that computer.  I conclude that means, "Once you have a new computer Calendar Sync is kaput!"

iGoogle was bad news to many people, too.  This was basically a Google home page you could use on your browser.  You could arrange "widgets" to show weather, local movie listings, news articles from specific sites, maps/directions, games, etc.  It essentially served as a geek’s morning paper where you could get the news you really wanted to read. 

Now this week Google made another announcement concerning spring cleaning.  Another of my beloved apps and many other peoples’… (According to the uproar online) Google Reader bites the dust.  Google Reader will be gone as of July 1, 2013.  Gee, Google, thanks for the big advance notice!  If you want to sign a petition to keep GR around visit: http://chn.ge/ZeVrkp and cast your vote.  You may join the other over 114, 500 people who had signed up within four days after the announcement was made.

Google Reader is and was in my opinion one of the best RSS Feed readers around.  We have talked before about RSS (Real Simple Syndication) so I will not belabor it.  Nevertheless, here it is in a nutshell.  It allows you to link to sites which offer RSS feeds (most sties) and get updates whenever they add comments or any content to the site. 

Google Reader logoGoogle Reader is simple to set up, is easy to use and has a very clean and user friendly interface.  I just recommended it to a group I spoke to a couple of weeks ago because it is so easy to use.

There are many other readers out there which have been recommended to be good replacements for Reader.  I have tried numerous quantities of them.  I will not mention those which failed my examination totally; however, there are two which are OK.  I need to state: they are still not as clean as Google Reader.  I would say the first runner-up is "feedly" (feedly.com) and at this point in my research, the closest one is "Newsblur" (newsblur.com).  Let me know as you continue the hunt for the best replacement.

Thanks, Google.

July 17, 2012

Google Calendar Sync

After last week’s column about Google’s calendar I could not believe the number of emails I received.  The great majority of them were asking about tying that calendar to others, mainly Outlook for people who use Microsoft products in the office.  I wrote about this several years ago but the response deserves it again, along with some updates.

It would be really brainy to combine calendars in Gmail and Microsoft Outlook and someone has.  I believe they have done a very good job of it, too!

For instance, I use Outlook for my main business email application and have for many years.  For the majority of my personal email I use Gmail.com.  Many great features serve to recommend Gmail.  To see what I have recommended, read a few of my most recent articles at DoubleClicks.info

OK, now back to the calendars.  I use Outlook’s calendar for all of my appointments and scheduling both for work and home.  Whether it is a meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment I post it there so that I will be alerted/alarmed/reminded at a time of my choosing.  I also use an Android phone which will sync to my Outlook calendar.  If you have a smart phone you need to check with your cell provider or phone manufacturer to find out how to do this (if you don’t already know.)

However, when I am online on a computer without Outlook on it or surfing the net and don’t want to start up Outlook, it would be good to be able to use my calendar.  In steps a free application, Google Calendar Sync (bit.ly/google-cal-sync).  Once installed GCS will allow your two separate calendars to communicate with each other and to "sync."

It is fairly easy to set up.  Follow the instructions on the site and you will be up and running in no time.  There are basically three settings you need to apply.  First, your Gmail account name and password (to access your online calendar) need to be entered.  Next, you will need to enter how you want to sync the two calendars (see the next paragraph) and how often you wish to sync them during the day.

Link OptionsThe Sync Options have three choices.  First, would you like to sync the calendars both ways so that if you make a change on one it is updated on the other?  The next way syncs the changes from your Gmail calendar up to your Outlook calendar.  The final way is to sync all of your Outlook appointments to your Gmail calendar, which is the option I use.

I run this application on several computers and they are all tied to my main calendar in Outlook.  Please note: currently Google Calendar Sync is only compatible with Microsoft Outlook versions 2003, 2007, 2010 and operating systems Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

April 24, 2012

Android Tablet Apps

I always receive emails from Android users asking what apps I like to run on my phone and tablet.  I always have to insert when I mention phones that I work for NTELOS Wireless, so there you go.

Anyway, I thought instead of writing each person individually for a while I would tell you all here.  I know many in world like iPhones and all they offer, but I am an Android lover so I won’t mention them much.  However, NTELOS started carrying iPhones just last week so when I get a hold of one my opinion may change slightly… nah.

imageI wrote an article about some apps back in January of this year but these are always changing.  For instance, then it was called the Android Market;s now it is named Google Play and found at a different URL: play.google.com.  I guess one of the reasons the name changed is now you can purchase more than just Android apps.

OK, here is my list of apps I use and like most.  There are others that may do the same things but I like these or have not heard of the others yet. So if you have suggestions please shoot me an email and let me know.

All of these can be found on Google play if you search for them.

Nook for Android – if you are a Barnes and Noble e-book reader you can use this app to read on your phone or tablet PC instead of your nook.

Barcode Scanner – Scan barcodes on products and look up prices and reviews. Also QR for websites, information, contact, etc.

Bible – (by LifeChurch) great bible app with many versions.  You can study; use an annual reading plan and more.

Evernote – this app lets you take notes, photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, etc.  You can then make them searchable and sync them across most platforms so you can find them anywhere.

Facebook -I cringe recommending this since I am not a fan, but lots of people use it, even me on rare occasions. 

Fox News – I am not much into news but this app works well and that’s the news for now.

Moon+ Reader Pro – You know me; I don’t like to pay for apps, but pay for this one I did. It reads all non-DRM e-books.  There is also a free version to try out.

Office Suite Pro – OK, here’s another I like so well I actually pay for the full version. This replaces Microsoft Office on your Android devices. It does a better than average job of it, too.

See you next week with a few more.  Remember let me know if you have some favorites!

August 31, 2010

Google Calendar Sync

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 4:36 am

I do not like to write columns that relate to only a small segment of my readers but sometimes it is necessary.  Because of email requests these things pop up from time to time.  I have received several requests about this over the last couple of months.  So today I will explain an online application that will relate to people who use two products and wish to combine them.  Wouldn’t it be clever to combine calendars in Gmail and Microsoft Outlook?  For the past few years we have been able to do just that with this product.

For instance, I use Outlook for my main email application and have for many years.  For the majority of my personal email I use Gmail.com.  There is a lot to recommend Gmail.  Although I have written about Microsoft Live, my personal preference is Gmail.  That could be due more to familiarity with it and not that it is significantly better.  But if you care, try both and form your own opinion.  It is mostly personal preference.  And yes, before I get a bunch of emails from you other geeks, I know that I can read Gmail and all other email in Outlook.  That is what I do. 

OK, now back to the calendars.  I use Outlook’s calendar for all of my appointments and scheduling both for work and home.  Whether it is a meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment I post it there so that I will be notified at a time of my choosing.  I also use a BlackBerry which will sync to my Outlook calendar.  If you have a smart phone you need to check with your cell provider or phone manufacturer to find out how to do it( if you don’t already know.)

However, when I am online on a computer without Outlook on it or surfing the net and don’t want to start up Outlook it would be good to be able to use my calendar while online.  In steps a free application, Google Calendar Sync (bit.ly/google-cal-sync).  Once installed it will allow your two separate calendars to communicate with each other.

SNAGHTML50be6fIt is fairly easy to set up.  Follow the instructions on the site and you will be up and running in no time.  There are basically three settings you need to apply.  First, your Gmail account name and password (to access your online calendar) need to be entered.  Next, you will need to enter how you want to sync the two calendars (see the next paragraph) and how often you wish to sync them during the day.

The Sync Options have three choices.  First, would you like to sync the calendars both ways so that if you make a change on one it is updated on the other?  The next way syncs changes on your Gmail calendar up to your Outlook calendar.  The final way is to sync all of your Outlook appointments to your Gmail calendar but not to Outlook.

I run this application on several computers and they are all tied in to my main calendar in Outlook.  If you use Outlook 2010 there is an extra step that you will need to Google for a "how to" – isn’t that appropriate?

April 20, 2010

File Storage in the Clouds

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 4:55 am

I often receive questions about where you can save your documents in the cloud (online).  In the past I have written about Mesh.com and Google Docs.  However, I have found another one which, I believe is even better.  Over the past several months I have started to depend on Dropbox.com.

With Dropbox you get 2GB of free storage or more if you meet certain criteria.  If you decide to sign up for Dropbox use this link, http://bit.ly/aszzao. If you use this link, they give me 250 MB of additional free storage, so thanks in advance.  If you want more storage you can get 50 GB for $9.99/month or 100 GB for $19.99 per month.

First, let me supply some info about file sizes.  I have stored all of my columns from the past nine years on Dropbox.  That is about 750 columns and research documents.  They take up about 50 MB.  With the total of 2 GB of storage in Dropbox I could store another 40 years worth of columns. You could also store about 750 digital photos, depending on the resolution.

image

It is easy to use.  Install the software and sign up with an email address and password.  Then you will have a “My Dropbox” folder in your “My Documents” files.  Any files or folders you put in that folder are automatically transferred to the Dropbox cloud.  If you make a change to any file in that new folder it will automatically be updated to the cloud.  Smooth… and it takes no extra input or thought from you.

In my case I moved my “Columns” folder into the newly created “My Dropbox” folder.  After about three or four minutes all of those files were online.  As I type this column today and save it, the new version is online almost instantly.  By-the-way, as you try it keep in mind that the file will not be uploaded until you close it on your local computer.

That is not all it does for you.  Let’s say you have a desktop, a notebook and a netbook computer.  You can install Dropbox on all three systems. The entire contents of the “My Dropbox” folder will be duplicated on all three.  That way your important files are always available a few seconds after you start your computer.  If you only have one computer it is still a good thing since the files are safely backed up online in case your hard drive fails.

There is one last feature I will mention.  If you have a file you want to share with an individual or a group of people go into Dropbox.com and share it with them using their email address.

If this sounds like something you could use why not give it a shot?  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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