DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

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. 

December 10, 2013

My Favored Browser

Apparently there are a few of you getting new computers for Christmas.  (Do not let the kids read this if they do not know about it.)  I have received many questions about what to do to set them up.  I have several suggestions; however, one of the best I have written about before.  If you missed Ninite, go to DoubleClicks.info and search for "Ninite" to read all about it. 

The next most popular question I get is something like, "I can’t afford to pay the $99.99/year for Office 365 or $399.99 for Office Professional."  In my opinion there is one very clear answer, "Libre Office."  If you have not read my information regarding it before go to the site and search for "libre."

Finally, there is the question I don’t believe I have tackled before.  The question is usually stated as, "Ron, what is the best browser for me to use?"  The answer is easy, "I have no idea, thanks for asking."

Now on to a slightly more helpful answer, since for you personally, I have no idea what you would favor.  There are many excellent browsers out there and they all have some features which may be better or worse than one of the others.  To me it is sort of like brands of cars.  One person would say that a particular car manufacturer has the only good cars available…the best in the world.  The next person will tell you why they hate those cars with good reasons.  It is all a matter of personal taste and preference.

So the following is my personal opinion concerning browsers.  Keep in mind that when I started out on the internet, the browser everyone wanted was called, "Netscape" and would cost you around $50.  Now owned by AOL, it has pretty much disappeared from the scene and is free.  All browsers are now free so the cost barriers are gone.

Here are the top five in use today in alpha order.  I have included a short description, my opinion and the percentage of people using this on average this year as of the end of October.  

image

  • Chrome, "Get a fast, free web browser, one browser for your computer, phone and tablet."  You can tell who owns this puppy by the link.  I think this is an excellent browser and my #2 favorite.  It is fast and does allow you to have the same bookmarks, etc. between your devices. 52.08%
  • Firefox, "Different by Design, Proudly non-profit, Innovating for you, Fast, Flexible, Secure." OK, this is my favorite, again it is a preference since I am used to it and have been using it for years.  It has more "plug-ins" than the others which are added features allowing you to do different tasks online.  28.49%
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, included with each and every Windows computer sold and must be left on your computer for other things to work properly.  I use this for work only as our company makes all of its software for MSIE only; however, with some Firefox plugins I can make most things work on FF instead.  12.55%
  • Opera, advertised as the smallest and fastest browser in the world!  For me this is an OK browser but just doesn’t have the snap and pizazz of others.  1.73%
  • Safari, you can tell by the URL who owns it.  My opinion on this one is the same as Opera, so again personal preference.  3.95%

The top three here have always been the top three by percentage for many years; however, they have jumped back and forth in order for a few years.  Google’s Chrome browser is excellent and if you do not have a preference yet, try it or any of the others and form you own opinion.  They are all able to do what you need, so enjoy the variety.

May 21, 2013

Wi-Fi Down?

I go to many coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses which offer free Wi-Fi for their customers.  And yes, sometimes the food is not my favorite and the coffee not the best.  However, since I am a geek and like to have the Wi-Fi I visit and use their establishments anyway. 

Wi-Fi HotspotThroughout time I have been to companies whose Guest Network/Wi-Fi is not working.  I always willingly offer my expertise (since I need to do some computer work) in resolving the issue.  A business is not usually like a home network.  A business with have a very secure "wired" network. Or if they do not they are headed for misery.  All guest/wireless networks get cluttered with data occasionally and need to be rebooted.  If a business were running registers and credit card machines on a wireless network (which is not allowed with most card companies) their business would shut down every so often.  I try to remember to reboot mine weekly at home to avoid problems.

Wireless RouterTo reboot the Wi-Fi network you unplug the wireless router only from its power supply, wait for ten seconds to a minute, plug it back in and in another minute or two the Wi-Fi is restored.  This has worked 100% of the time for me in businesses. 

My wife and I visit a restaurant regularly and work with our computers while we are there.  One day there was no Wi-Fi which I mentioned to the owner as they walked by.  They said yes, your computer must be broken, our registers are working.  I explained wireless vs. wired.  It did not affect their opinion.  I told her my wife’s computer, my tablet and neither of our phones could get on it since it was down.  They then said you are at the wrong table.  Of course it did not matter to them that we sit at the exact same table and have for the past 3-4 years!  They walked to the back room and came back saying that their desktop was working fine.  Geesh, great restaurateur, but not a lick of techie…which is fine, but they would not listen.

So we continued on without being able to work.  The next week the same thing, I talked to one of the managers, explained again and asked if he could please go in the back unplug the wireless network, wait 30 seconds and re-plug it to get the guest Wi-Fi working?  They said no since their registers would go down along with their credit card machines and they could not process their bills-WRONG!  This was a college aged person; I thought they were born knowing this stuff.  They said they would do it after they closed for the night.

We made our last trek (and my final for a long while if it was still down) to the place yesterday, the network was back up and all is well…but did they learn anything?  Nope, I really doubt it.

March 16, 2010

Slideshow Wallpaper

Many of you had questions and suggestions about Windows 7 after last week’s column.  Thanks for asking them!  And no, that is not all I will be writing about now.  Since it is the newest and one of the most popular Windows operating systems I will talk about it from time-to-time.  I do realize that not everyone has W7 or plans on upgrading to it so I will continue with other various computer/internet topics too.

Having said that, today we will look at another W7 feature…themes.

For years people have said that you should be able to change your wallpaper automatically (the picture on your desktop).  Windows 7 allows this through the use of themes.  First, we need a definition of themes.  A theme is a collection of digital images, possibly related sounds, coloring and shading to make your desktop environment more personal.  Interestingly enough Microsoft calls it “Personalization”.

Microsoft estimates that one of the first things that imageapproximately 90% of windows users do is to personalize their desktops.  You know you have a picture of your kids, grandkids, dogs, cats, etc. on the desktop in XP.  Windows 7 allows you to use a themed group of graphics that change at a predetermined interval.  You can also personalize your themes even more by including your own collection of pictures in a theme.  That way you can cycle through your own pictures throughout the workday.

To change your computer’s theme simply right click on an empty space on the desktop and click on “Personalize”.  Next, click on one of the available themes, close the personalization window and you are done.  The new set of graphics will start cycling through at a predefined rate which you can speed up or slow down if you wish.

Now I have a secret for you.  There are several themes loaded in to W7 when it is new; however, there are some hidden ones too.

Getting to them is a multi-step process.  Step one is to click the “Orb” (Start button) and type “Show hidden files and folders” (always without the quotes) and press enter when it appears in the menu area.  Next, under the “Hidden files and folders” section select the radio button labeled, “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and then remove the checkmark from the “Hide extensions for known file types” checkbox and also from “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.  The only warning here is that you will now be able to see “secret” windows files that you should never try to edit or delete.  If you do you WILL have major issues.

The final step is much quicker.  Navigate to “C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT” and you will see several other themes.  Once you double click them they will each load into the themes window and be ready for use.

You may also create your own themes if you have artistic abilities…or, if you’re like me, Google or Bing for them.

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