About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 29, 2017

Read a Book

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:55 am

I wrote a year or so ago about a couple of ways to get eBooks for your reading.  Things change and move on so today I would like to talk about them again.  Today we will discuss three them I have tested.

Just Read!

The first is a freebie with only one easy caveat, you must have an active library card.  The site is Overdrive (  At Overdrive, you can “Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your local public library – anywhere, anytime. All you need is a library card.”  So, you must have a library card and your library must participate with them…which most do.  For instance, I have a library card with the Augusta County Library and they do participate.  Go to Overdrive to see if your library takes part.  If so you can check out eBooks or audiobooks for a fixed period of time for free.  The application is available for most platforms.  Do not forget about your physical library as they have a lot to offer.  The pro of Overdrive is “free” the con is that if the library book is not available at your library, either not there or checked out by someone else, you cannot get it until it is there.

Next is one that I am sure you have heard of,  Amazon has many, many books that are easily read on the Kindle application.  Their application has its own name, “Kindle”, which I am also sure you have heard of before now. This app is available on most platforms too.  You can even get real, paperback or hardback books here including audible books on CDs.  They are offered in every format; however, there is a minimal cost for many eBooks.  Another very interesting fact is that Amazon bought several years ago. is the major audiobook provider online at this time.  You can get a book a month there for $14.95 and listen to it forever as you have purchased it for your account.  With the combination of the two companies there is now “Whispersync for voice.”

Whispersync allows you to purchase an eBook from Amazon and then get the same book in audio format from Audible (much less expensively than the monthly charge).  The neat thing is that you can either read or listen to the book when you would like.  When you “open” the book next time, it will be at the same place in the book.  So, whether listening or reading you will always be up-to-date.  Their slogan is, “Add narration to your Kindle books and switch seamlessly between reading and listening. Best of all, you’ll never lose your place.”

If you are an Amazon Prime member you can even pick up a book for free on occasion.

One that I have not tried yet is called, “Scribd” (  Their pitch is slightly different from others.  It is “…a reading subscription that is available anytime and on any device. Enjoy access to 3 books and 1 audiobook each month – plus unlimited access to magazines and documents – for $8.99 / month.”

There is one other I will give a short remarks about that we have used.  Hoopla (at is another “hooked” to the library system.  You can “Instantly borrow digital movies, music, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your library card.”  You log in with some information, including your library card number, and you have access to many books.  Again, like Overdrive if your library is out, so are you and you cannot get the book (both have the ability to add you to a waiting list.)  This one is useful; however, it has been my experience that the application, though available in most platforms, is not as trustworthy as some of the others.

July 18, 2016

2016-07-18 Show Notes with WSVA

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 12:17 pm

Lots of talk today so check out the podcast if you missed it. Not many links but lots of information…and of course Jim kicks me around about my reading list (which I have to admit he was correct).

Tech News

Facebook cloning scam can steal your identity

If you’ve noticed people you thought were already your friends suddenly requesting to add you on Facebook, watch out: it could be a scam.

According to multiple reports, a roughly month-long fraud has plagued the social network and stolen vital personal information from users. It goes like this: a scammer re-creates someone’s Facebook profile using their default photo, other pictures and “about” section. Then that individual sends friend requests to the targeted person’s friends list.

By adding your new “friend,” you could instead be letting a stranger get access to your personal information.

Not only that, but the person can also pose as you by recreating your profile, and send messages to your friends and plan get-togethers or ask for money.

Some experts recommend thoroughly scanning a user’s profile before adding them as a friend. Also, making your friends list accessible to only other friends can limit a scammer’s access.

If you notice a request by the name of someone you’re already friends with, you can notify that friend that they’ve potentially been hacked.

Windows 10, It’s Now or Never

Microsoft says after July 30, 2016 Windows 10 will no longer be free. $119!


That is all for today, come back in August on the 15th and join in.


February 15, 2016

2016-02-15 Show Notes

Welcome back to the Show Notes to the Talk Show from this morning. Kick back and relax if you are in the snow, rain, sun or wherever.

Listen to the podcast while you read.

Tech News

AT&T jumps into the fast lane with ultraspeedy 5G field trial
5G is coming. Eventually.

The fifth generation of wireless technology heralds a significant speed boost for Internet connections. On a 5G network, you could download the latest "Star Wars" film in seconds, not the minutes needed on today’s networks. Its expected ubiquity will also help connect millions of devices, from lightbulbs to farm gear, allowing them to talk to one another and to you.

Now AT&T has publicly come out with its road map for 5G, which will deliver 10 to 100 times the speed of today’s 4G wireless connections. This follows Verizon’s vow to start field tests this year.

<read more…>

Say Farewell to Google’s Picasa
Google is ending support for Picasa and would love it if you transition over to Google Photos.

Google plans to end support for Picasa and transition users to Google Photos, the company announced today. Picasa, an image-organizing application Google acquired 12 years ago, has seen few updates in recent months as Google focused development efforts on its shiny, new Photos app.

Support for the Picasa desktop album will end on March 15, though it will continue to work for users who already have it installed. Uploaded Picasa photos will be transitioned to Google Photos on May 1.

Originally introduced by Lifescape in 2002, Picasa brought iPhoto-like editing ease to casual photographers on Windows. Google improved the service with its trademark "I’m Feeling Lucky" button, which automatically retouched photos with one click.

<read more…>

Why Google’s self-driving vehicles mean the end of car insurance

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Xerox’s innovation officer Valerie Raburn points to the reams of data Google will gobble, to ask:

Yet consider how all this sifting of auto-insurance rates will position the company: Could Google turn this revenue-generating learning experience into a more lucrative opportunity to underwrite its own insurance policies and displace traditional carriers—especially once driverless cars become a reality?

This broad understanding of how auto-related risks are priced in the competitive market could allow the company to insure tomorrow’s vehicles, or simply roll the cost of insurance into the retail price of Google’s own driverless car once it hits the market.

Raburn’s observation is intriguing, on one hand, because she is probably right:

Google’s massive automobile ambitions, combined with its constant hunger for data, means the company is probably playing a long game that could threaten insurance companies. While this would obviously be unpopular with the insurance industry, it would be a boon for consumers and transport companies like Uber because the costs and headaches associated with insurance would decline dramatically.

The other reason to take note of Raburn’s prediction is because it shows, yet again, how new technologies bring unintended consequences. Specifically, Google’s driverless cars are not only poised to reduce accidents, but could also wipe out a multi-billion dollar industry in just a few years. <read more…>

Arnold’s new game, "Mobile Strike" with an ad from Super Bowl 50.

See you next month!

Do not forget, if you need training, consulting or advice on how to lead a better business see us at Virginia Training and Consulting Group.


September 1, 2015

February 2, 2015

Hide the Ribbon in Microsoft Office

Filed under: Training Videos — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 11:51 am

June 11, 2013

Where Can I Get Office Training?

Several weeks ago I concluded a series of articles with regard to the new Microsoft Office 2013.  Since then I have had several people mention they would like to get Microsoft Office but had never used it before.  They wanted to know how difficult it is to learn. 

Office is not hard to use for most people.  However, I doubt that anyone will ever know everything about Office.  Much of the time at work I use Office.  I also use many features that most people do not know exist, and I am sure there are thousands of things which are contained in the Office applications I have never even thought about. 

So how can you learn how to get the most out of the Office programs?  There are many ways.

My first recommendation is that you peruse the opportunities your local Technical Center, Community College, or University offer under their adult education programs.  I have taught evening courses in these along with other "technology" courses and the materials they provide are very good.  (And of course, the instructors are superior.)  These do have a cost associated with them but you end up with hands on training, a good resource in the instructor and a good manual to use for reference in the future.

Next, online/virtual courses are good; however, only for some people.  I have taken online training as well as taught courses online.  Online courses can be very beneficial since you can usually start and stop them when convenient for you.  Hours, days or weeks later you can go back to them and pick up where you left off – the convenience factor is undeniable. 

The only issue with online training is that unless you are really dedicated to learning the subject matter you will possibly drift off, not pay attention and not get as much out of it as you should.  I do not know if statistics would support supposition or not but I have definitely found it to be true for me.  Now, let me backtrack a little after saying that.  If it is something you really want to learn and find very interesting you may not have this problem.  Students of mine in online classes agree with this.  A recommendation for paid online training is  I highly recommend their technical training for everyday users; however, there is a cost.  Microsoft also offers free online Office training for the 2007, 2010 & 2013 versions ( of Office which is quite good.

Now these are good general courses but what if you have a specific question and you cannot get me right that minute? Try for help.  For instance, one of my favorite things in Excel is "vlookup" so I went to YouTube and searched for, "how to use vlookup in Excel."  I received over 27,000 results.  Are they all good?  Of course not, but how about the first four or five?  Yes they were.  I know since I watched them and each of the people did a good job explaining the process.  Some had much better design, sound, video production quality than others but they all got the "how to" correct.

You have many options for learning how to do just about anything you want to, just seek them out.

February 15, 2013

Change Your Account Picture-Windows 7

January 10, 2012

2011 Sites in Review, Part 1

Thanks to all of you readers who support the "Double Click" column by reading and writing.  It is very much appreciated.  Please keep it up.  I always enjoy hearing from you.

So it is that time of year again when we review all of the sites I have mentioned over the previous year.  As always, have fun remembering, discovering, or rediscovering all the info!  If you prefer to click on links and not type all of these, visit the site and click away.

If the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the, "" app which I have discussed before.  All of these sites should be free (or have a free version) unless marked "nf".  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Open Office is a Microsoft Office clone that works almost as well.
  • Ubuntu a free operating system which you can run alongside of or instead of Microsoft Windows.
  • Ron’s video training I created a couple of videos for fun, it never went any further than these two…maybe one day.
  • Change your User Account Picture one specific Double Click training video.
  • VirtualBox an application that allows you to run multiple operating systems on one computer.
  • Open DNS the best app out there for blocking objectionable sites from the kids.  It is slightly complicated but at the top of the features pile.
  • Facebook you know about this one and if you don’t you won’t be interested.
  • Windows Live Essentials a free suite of applications which do many different things from Microsoft.
  • Create a Panorama an article I wrote for Microsoft about how to join individual pictures together to make a panoramic picture.
  • Double Clicks my site for this column.
  • eBay,,,, online tech stores, the sites are free but the stuff on them is nf.
  • Active KillDisk application to absolutely clean your disk of personal information and everything else.
  • True Crypt folder and/or file (and more) encryption software.
  • XOOM this is Motorola’s entrance into the PC Tablet market, it is a good one, but later in the year I show you the best (IMHO).
  •,,, 1Password are some of the password recording applications around, still I chose KeePass over the rest.
  • Open Wi-Fi leads to False Arrest an article showing why you should lock down your wi-fi network to stay out of jail.
  • Your Home Router ( or the IP Addresses that will most likely get you into your home router.
  • Nook Barnes & Noble’s ebook reader.
  • Project Gutenberg where you can download most any book that is not under copyright any longer.

OK, this took us through June, 2011.  Next week we will visit part 2 of last year’s links.

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