DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

February 19, 2018

2018-02-19 WSVA Show Notes & Podcast

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 10:30 am

Welcome back for this month and thanks to the listeners/readers that caught my, “2017” date from last time, oops.

Here is today’s podcast so if you could not listen this morning, enjoy!   The following are a few of the items we mentioned. 

Tech News

February 19, 2018

Report: Average business user must keep track of 191 passwords
techrepublic.com/article/report-average-business-user-must-keep-track-of-191-passwords/

The average business employee must keep track of 191 passwords, according to a report from password management firm LastPass, released Wednesday. That’s seven times higher than standard industry reports, which report the average is 27 passwords. It’s also a potential security concern, as 81% of all confirmed data breaches are due to weak, reused, or stolen passwords, a recent Verizon report found.

People often underestimate the number of accounts they actually have, according to the report. For example, marketing professionals use several advertising and analytics platforms, while systems administrators manage different services, and sales representatives set up demo accounts on a regular basis.

The average 250-employee company has 47,750 total passwords in use, the report found.


We talked about other items but some dealt with website construction which does not relate to many of you all, so I skipped them.

Enjoy your month and see you back in March!

Ron

January 30, 2018

Information Regarding Your Car

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:33 am

A couple of years ago I bought something for my car that was new on the market.  You know something about me if you have read this column for any amount of time.  That is that I do not like to spend money unless something is really useful or not available for free.  I also like gadgets and new software.  This device covered all those bases for me and I thought you may like it also.

A friend of mine got an Automatic adapter for themselves and really liked it.  After these couple of years, I realized I have never mentioned this device to you, so here we go.

Automatic Pro

The developer, Automatic Labs, a subsidiary of Sirius XM Holdings Inc., developed this adapter that fits in most cars built after 1996.  You can check their site at Automatic.com and see if your car can use it or not.  It is approximately one-fourth the size of your cell phone and probably twice as thick.

It plugs in to the computer port (OBD-II) that your mechanic plugs their computer into to find out if your car is having any issues.  Basically, you plug it in, install the application on your phone and it starts working. There are two versions the Automatic Pro and the Lite adapters.  I will talk about the Pro’s capabilities here.  To compare the two, visit the site.

It will provide you with the same thing your mechanic can find out; however, it not only generates a code but tells you exactly what it means to the welfare of your automobile.  But then it goes beyond that service and provides much more information about your car and even some about you.

You can keep track of your fuel fill-ups, miles per gallon and your trips.  You can choose to separate personal from business miles and expenses.

It is also able to track your car’s location.  That includes where in the huge parking lot you left your car.  Other apps do that too but not with all the extras.

It also has many other apps that could be useful like if you have a serious accident. (I guess that is determined by how hard you get hit.)  Their trained responders will contact you, emergency services, and even someone else you choose if you want them to.

The thing I personally like is that it is watching my driving and gives me a report monthly.  It suggests ways I could change my driving to get better mileage and longer lasting tires, etc.  It also tells me how I compare to their huge database of drivers who use the Automatic devices.  I found that I am a relatively conservative driver who brakes well and does not accelerate too fast.  However, if shows on a map if I exceed the speed limit anywhere by any amount at any time.  Of course, that rarely if ever happens, well maybe once or twice.

I moved it from one of our cars to the other and wanted all the stats reset for the current car. I had to contact the support people by email to do so.  You cannot reset the device yourself.  It did not take long and they were very helpful.  I would have thought you would be able to do that for yourself.

January 16, 2018

2017 Sites in Review, Part 2

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:40 am

Today I will continue with the start of the 16th year of "Double Click" by providing more of last year’s links.  If the site addresses are too long for print, I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app.  The links are preceded by "rd.dblclx.com" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites. 

Let us begin in order of appearance.

Google.com – you know this one as the most used and well-known search engine today.
DuckDuckGo.com – even with the silly name this is another very popular search engine that uses Google and others to get your searches; however, it does not record your searches as the big boys do. 
Dictate.ms – an add-on to the Microsoft Office Suite allowing you to dictate your Word, PowerPoint and Outlook files. 
OneNote 2016, rd.dblclx.com/onenote-ron – download the newest OneNote application from Microsoft if you do not have it already.  This is one of my favorite apps today. 
Feedly, feedly.com – a good place to gather and read all of your RSS feeds from your favorite sites.
Daily News-Record, dnronline.com, CNN, cnn.com and FOX News, foxnews.com – three great news sources, especially the first one!
Overdrive, overdrive.com, Amazon.com, Scribd, scribd.com and Hoopla, hoopladigital.com – several sites where you can get free and paid books and novels to read with a couple allowing audiobooks. 
Gmail.com – of course one of the better free email accounts but last year I showed you several new tricks for using Gmail.
Google Docs, docs.google.com – a good free MS Word replacement for creating documents.
Online OCR, onlineocr.net – an online app that converts a graphic with words printed in it to a text document; Google Docs and OneNote, mentioned above will also perform this task. 
Facebook.com and Google Calendar, calendar.google.com – I showed you how to combine events from FB and put them in your Google calendar and others.
Thunderbird, rd.dblclx.com/1ejd3ax and Firefox, rd.dblclx.com/2iHBvaX – Mozilla’s email application and the third most downloaded browser for 2017. 
GO Contact Sync Mod, rd.dblclx.com/GOSyncMod and Calendar Sync+, calendarsyncplus.codeplex.com – these two applications can be used to sync your Outlook and Google Calendars, also your contacts in the case of the first one. 

Well, there you go from this week and last a review of all of the sites we visited in 2017.  Starting next week, we will be looking at more computer and technology information that will help you have a Happy Tech 2018! 

January 9, 2018

2017 Sites in Review, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:27 am

It seems like it has been a while since the last time I wrote to you but I hope you have had a couple of good 2018 weeks and have about 50 more!

It is hard to believe but today we begin the 17th year of the "Double Click" column.  I want to thank all of you for reading the approximately 800 articles and writing in response.  Again, thanks for the emails I continue to receive.  Not only does it let me know the articles are actually being read but I really enjoy talking to you (and getting new article ideas from you).  So please keep them coming!  

This January (as every year) I will be reviewing the sites I wrote about during the previous year.  If the site addresses are too long for print I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app.  The links will be preceded by "rd.dblclx.com" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites (caps count). 

So, here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Facebook Settings, facebook.com/settings – you can read my article for details but I show you how to make a few important changes to your security in FB.
Facebook Deletion, facebook.com/help/delete_account -  where you go to totally delete your Facebook account…if you have had enough.
Chrome Extensions, chrome://extensions – this works ONL:Y in the Chrome browser – go here to add extensions which allow you do perform specific functions in Chrome. 
Surface Pro Computers, rd.dblclx.com/2BZ3Bag – get information on the latest Microsoft computers sales and data available at Google.
Netflix, netflix.com – you know this one, check out movies, TV and more for monthly fee.  
Amazon, amazon.com – I know you know this one as you have most likely purchased or gotten something from there just a recently.
PayPal, paypal.com – where you can securely make online payments for most anything online.  
FBI (Internet Crime Complaint Center), rd.dblclx.com/fbifrauds – both are places to check and report online problems.
US Government Online Safety, usa.gov/online-safety – get more help and information about online scams.
Pocket, getpocket.com – a place to record sites that you visit and wish to visit again later.
Annotary, annotary.com – similar to Pocket with more features like making notes and highlights to those sites.
Google Maps, maps.google.com – maps and more along with being able to track your friends/family (rd.dblclx.com/2q6A0pi).
Alternative To, alternativeto.net – check this site to find less expensive or free applications for other more expensive ones.
Libre Office, libreoffice.com – one of the top Office applications available for free today.
Dropbox, rd.dblclx.com/use-Dropbox – my favorite online cloud storage site.
Lucid Charting, lucidchart.com – a free alternative app for Visio for making charts, obviously.
7-Zip, 7-zip.org – an application which allows you to combine files into one larger file to store or send where you can also add password protection.
Gimp, gimp.org – a great photo/graphics editor; however, there is a large learning curve.
Belarc Advisor, belarc.com – find out all the information about your computer with this application and probably more than you need to know.

See you next week for the last half of 2017 in review. 

May 16, 2017

Stalking Your Friends in a Good Way

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:06 am

Google has been letting their developers develop and I am glad.  They have come out with some great apps since 1998 when Google was founded.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  A company less than 20 years old and most everyone knows of it.  Did you realize that in 2002, the American Dialect Society chose it as the most useful word of the year?  In 2006 the Oxford English Dictionary as well as the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added it as a verb.  "Have you googled that?" is an actual, correctly structured question.  I think that is pretty significant.  But enough of my fan-boy infatuation – back to the story. 

They recently took an excellent app that most of us have used and added a feature that made it even better.  That app is Google Maps which is available in every platform.  It has apps for all of the smart phones made; Android, iPhone, Windows Phone even Blackberries have the app.  Along with the apps any platform that can access the internet can use maps.google.com and get the features too. 

The feature that has been added is called "Share Location" and has the "New" icon next to it, since it has just recently became available to the public.  Clicking on this feature will give you information; however, to set it up you must have a mobile device.  Go to this link (rd.dblclx.com/2q6A0pi) to see how to set it up on your device.  Before you start you need to check several things.  You both need a Gmail account, also they must be in your Google Contacts and of course, you must both have Google Maps installed on your device. 

Menu ItemsHow long to shareClick the Menu button in the map application then "Share Location" and click "Add People."  Now, select how long you want to share your location with them.  You get to choose from one hour, other increments and finally, "Until you turn this off."  That last one is for my family.  Once you have selected everyone you wish click, Share.

They will get a message that you want to share your location with them.  If they accept they can then choose to share their location with you if they wish.

After everyone has accepted once they log into Google Maps on their device or computer, click the menu button, Location Sharing and see a map with those that are sharing their location with you.   You can click on their name to get an update and a more localized map location on them.

Shared People with Ron

You may think that is a little creepy.  I told my friends about how my wife and I share our locations with each other and that is what they said.  But we like it.  That way she can check and see how close I am to home when coming in from work.  No calls need to be made to find out when I will be there.

Think too if you have a teenager, or the other end of the spectrum, an older grandparent.  If you want to keep up with their whereabouts this is an easy unobtrusive way to do so.  

If you are going to visit someone who may live far away you can share your location with them during your trip by using the "Share trip progress" feature. 

Creepy or not I think it is a great new feature from Google.

May 9, 2017

Web Page Saver and More

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:38 am

For years now I have not had enough time to read all of the interesting things I run into online.  And also, years ago, I wrote about a new app called Pocket (getpocket.com).  Pocket allows you to save webpages from your Chrome browser to view later.  To read them you return to the GetPocket.com site, open the website and read on.

However, over the past couple of years, others have taken the Pocket offering and improved on it.  One of those I have successfully started using is called Annotary. 

Before you install the extension in Chrome go to Annotary.com and sign up for a free account.  This site is where your webpages will be stored and you can come back to visit them at any time.  Then, just as with Pocket, go to the Chrome browser store and look up "Annotary," then finally install the extension like any other.

You will now have a new icon on your Chrome’s extension bar with an "a" in a yellow box.  This is your Annotary icon. Annotary icon

Now surf the web and work, read or research away.  You find an incredibly long, detailed discussion you would like to read but you do not have the time.  You can then click your Annotary icon and save the page to read later at Annotary.com.

However, there is much more you can do with that page.  You can use an electronic highlighter which comes built in.  You can highlight most anything on the page and then add a note regarding your thoughts on the article.   I really appreciate and enjoy using this note taking feature.  When I am reviewing articles for items to write about I use it to add my thoughts about the things I read and want to share with you. 

I make "Collections" for each topic I am researching.  Collections are what Annotary calls a group you create in your site where you can place what you are reading.  The default is Miscellaneous; however, you can create as many as you wish, they are almost like folders. 

Ron's Annotary Public Page

One thing that is not spelled out very clearly in their information is that the default collection setting is public, not private.   So, anyone can read you pages saved, when they visit the main Annotary site.  However, you can easily open a collection and mark them private so no one but you can see them.  Be aware that the default setting is Public so unless you change that setting everyone can see your saved pages. 

You can also share your pages with others and they can add comments to your pages too.  There are many good uses for this app for me for research.  There are also others that are similar to it but this is the one I have settled on.

Give Annotary a try.  Now I have to get back to Pocket and review all those articles I forgot about over the years and maybe move some of them to Annotary. 

March 7, 2017

Surface Pro

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:54 am

I am testing a new type of computer, at least for me.  They first came into the public view in early to mid-2013 depending on where on the globe you are located.  You know the one as the marketing for this “new” computer was worldwide and abundant.  You know all the happy people dancing around to a “snappy” tune, and flipping/closing their small computers in rhythm like they were in a euphoric trance.  Yeah, you have it now, the Microsoft Windows based, “Surface Pro.”

First was the Surface, next the Surface Pro, then a 2, and 3 which has progressed into the current Surface Pro 4.  Of course, that is not all Microsoft now has. The Surface Book, Hub and in December, 2016 the Surface Studio rolled out.

First what is different about it?  It is smaller than a usual notebook, more the size of a tablet with a very thin keyboard.  Approximately 11″ x 7″ x 0.6″.  When the keyboard is attached, it is closer to an inch thick.  There is a foldout section on the back to provide a stand to keep it upright with a couple of positions.  You need that “wedge” to support the actual screen/computer as the keyboard is only a hinge with no support like you may be used to with a regular notebook.

Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 2

The keyboard is slightly smaller than some other brands of notebooks but not significantly.  It also includes a touchpad – similar to all the others.  I choose to use a wireless USB mouse with this one which functions well.  I have been typing on it regularly for a couple of days.  I am having no problem hitting the correct keys – other than caused by my regularly average typing.  (Hallelujah, for auto-spell checking in word processors!)

You have three keyboard options.  First, you can use the keyboard like any other notebook and type on it.  Next, you can fold the keyboard over to become the back surface of the notebook. It then becomes a tablet.  When in tablet mode your screen rotates when tilted like any other tablet and you can use the touchscreen.  Finally, you may choose to detach the keyboard all-the-way and have a Windows tablet.

It has good response and speed although nowhere near as quick as some larger notebooks I have used.  I have been using spreadsheets, word processing, web browsing, email, a very few online games (no pc games or Steam) and everything works as it should.

I cannot really find a lot to nitpick about with this nice little notebook/tablet combo.

Well, OK, there is one major issue for me, the price.  For the top of the line Surface Pro 4 today you may figure about $1,400.  Oh wait, that does not include a keyboard which may be had for an additional $55 – $130.  I am currently testing an older (2014) Surface Pro 2 which again I find to be a very decent system.  The price on one of these is around $550 and again that is without a keyboard.  I pulled these prices off of Amazon so you may be able to find others elsewhere.

Surface Pro 4

Surface Pro 4

My problem is at that price I can find two equally decent regular notebooks or tablets (with Bluetooth keyboards included.  If money were no object, sure, I would not mind owning one.  However, not currently for me.

 

 

February 7, 2017

My Visit to the Dark Side

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:35 am

I recently had the opportunity to test an iPhone, 5S.  Keep in mind as I continue I began this as an Android fan-boy.  But in my new position I have been asked to test specific phones to decide on which one best works for me.

So, several weeks ago, I began my journey to the Apple iPhone.  Before I go on I will say that before I wore it out I had an Apple iPod, Classic 80 and it could not be beat by any other mp3 player on the market.  If they had not been discontinued I would own a newer now but oh well, life goes on.  So, it is not like I absolutely cannot stomach their products, I really liked my iPod.

Since I previously worked in the cell phone industry, I could use most any phone made.  However, I have started out with and remained loyal to Android phones since they came out.  No reason other than the iPhones were more expensive and I didn’t really think the features were worth the extra money.

A few weeks with an iPhone may not be a fair comparison regarding years with Android but here is what I think.

iPhone 5s              Galaxy S6

The iPhone seems to be snappier in execution of applications.  The applications seem to run better and to be more stable than on Android.  I did not time anything. It was just a feeling I got as I used it regarding the “snap.”   I like the size and width of the iPhone, but more on that later.  I liked some of the default apps/abilities loaded on the new iPhone.  Since I now have meetings in many different time zones around the world, I like the system because it let me set phones for any time zone and have them side-by-side which was quite convenient.  I believe this to have been caused by the carriers but I found that I dropped far fewer calls on the iPhone than I had in the past with Google’s OS.

Those were most of the pros, now some cons.  Above, I mentioned the smaller size as a pro.  I did like that a lot at first; however, after a day or so I found that I did not like the screen size.  It is much smaller than the Galaxy S6 I dumped for this phone.  Next, something that has always bothered me about Apple products is the cost.  Not only is the hardware pricier but the applications cost you, too.  Most every Android app I used for free was 99 cents and up for Apple.  Next, the battery life of the 5S was much less than my Android S6.

The largest difference that I grew to dislike on the iPhone was being locked into their “desktop.”  How many ways can you say, “boring?”  You get the round icons to launch the apps, you can rearrange them and move them to different screens but that is all.  No widgets for weather, phone calls, music, video, etc.  The desktop contains the installed apps, the date and time and a search and message bar if you swipe down from the top.  Android allows you to install widgets for most every application running so you get a live preview any time you look.

In my opinion the android system is much more user-friendly and much more useful than the iPhone.  I will stick with my Google based systems.  I will also say that I did not hate the Apple OS as much as I thought I would.  It is a good system and very functional, but just like my computers I will stick with Windows PCs (with some Linux) and Android for my phone.  You may not like what I said but now I have actually tried one out.

Apple vs. Android

November 15, 2016

Take a Chill Pill Folks

I have decided to not mention you know…that which has been going on in our country lately that shall not be named.  To relieve some of the stress out there I have decided to give you a few fun sites to visit on the web that may put a smile on your face.

Visit the AkinatorFirst off is one of my favorites, “Akinator” found at en.akinator.com.  To use the site, think of a character, alive, dead, fictional historical, etc.  The only requirement is that they are known to the general public.  Fill in your age, why I have no idea, think about your character and start answering questions.  Today I tried Abraham Lincoln and Peter Pan.  Akinator got them both in (a guess here) less than 15 answers. Give it a try and do not worry.  Although it may seem like it, it is not magic or mindreading but a really well done algorithm   and database combination.  Just the miracle of computing quickly.

Next is one that may be useful for some of you but I think funny, MyFridgeFood.com.  Go to the site and check off the items you have in your refrigerator.  Now click the, “Find Recipes” button and you have a list of dinners to make.  To be honest I tried it and occasionally it will add a general item I did not list, but still interesting.

How about Rock-Paper-Scissors-Game.com.  The name says it all, click the one you want and keep a running total.

How about a handy app that will clean the inside of your computer’s monitor?  Try sanger.dk.

Do you like to shop on Amazon.com and sometimes run out of ideas for gifts?  Go to WeirdOrConfusing.com.  Every click of the. “Please” button will take you to Amazon to show you something – you guessed it, weird or confusing.  How about trying to bounce a few cats at cat-bounce.com.

SNAGHTML1c00a3ef

Try PointerPointer.com and no matter where you hold your mouse pointer someone will find it and point at it.  Now that everyone is pointing your way show them some art. Go to ThisIsSand.com and make some sand art.  It will give you a few easy instructions when you enter the site, make sure to read them on your first visit.  Now create!

image

Would you like to watch a movie by a cozy fire but you do not have a fireplace, try TheInternetFireplace.com.  How about seeing if you can tell where a picture was taken?  Go to GeoGuessr.com and with Google Maps try the single player mode.  The closest I got was about 700 miles.

There are always funny cat videos on YouTube.com, but I am sure many of you have already seen them all.

Finally, and only try hmpg.net last.  Warning only use this site if you are absolutely finished.  Now I bet for a little while you have forgotten all of that stress.

November 8, 2016

Do You Use Multiple Clouds?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:42 am

Floyd wrote this week and asked an excellent question. He has several Cloud storage sites that he often uses.  Floyd has all the most popular ones; Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Drive.  Keep in mind there are many more out there.

He wanted to know if there was any way he could log into all of them in one location instead of jumping back and forth logging into each.  One at a time is a hassle if you use the websites.  It is much easier if you just use each one’s local folder on your computer.  But what if you are on someone else’s computer and need to access one of your cloud pictures or files and you are not sure which location you put them in?

Wouldn’t you know, there is something for that and I have been using it often for several years.

It is called MultCloud (multcloud.com be careful there is no “i” in there) and it will allow you to access all of your cloud storage on one website.  To add one of your Cloud storage areas, click “Add Clouds” at the top.  Next, you can choose the service you want to add.  For instance, select Dropbox.  You will next be directed to log in to your Dropbox account.  This will allow MultCloud to access your account and display your folders and files.  Once you complete that your Dropbox folders and files will appear on the website where they may be easily accessed.

You may now add additional cloud storage on other services.  If you are like me you can also add other accounts from the same provider.  In my case I have two Dropbox, three OneDrive and only one Google Drive folders.  That way I have enough room to store all of my documents.  The reason I have extras from the same provider is that they only allow you a limited amount of storage per email address.  Therefore, if you have multiple email accounts you can also have multiple cloud storage accounts with the same company.

MultCloud

Once you have them set up what can you do?  You can download any file in any of the accounts to the PC you are using and edit away.  You can also delete them, upload additional files and folders, etc.

Once you install and set up MultCloud you can access your files remotely from any computer you are using.  What you would have been able to do on your local computer with any of your files you can now do anywhere including but not limited to photos.  If you travel without a computer and need your files this could be a lifesaver.

Go to the site and look around, not only will you find MutlCloud but you may get other ideas regarding other online cloud services you could use.

Just remember my thought regarding “The Cloud.”  It is as secure as its most displeased employee.  If an employee had the skills they could get into your information.  Yes, doubtful but it is possible.  Also, hackers may work on storage sites like these.  So, my advice is never store items with your SSN or any other personal information in it that you have a problem “getting out.”

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