DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 13, 2015

2014 in Review, Part 2

This week I will continue with the second half of the links we talked about last year at DoubleClicks.info.

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with bit.ly.  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • CNet and Download (both part of CBS Interactive), great reviews, “how tos”, etc. of most everything tech at the first site and good downloads on the other.  
  • Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo, three popular free email and information providers.
  • Thunderbird – a very good email application for computer that can incorporate all of the above emails on your desktop.
  • Firefox.com – One of the most popular internet browsers.
  • Coffitivity and Rainy Mood  – fun sites which make soothing noises while you work.  
  • Barnes & Noble Nook – the B&N ereader, Nook.
  • 10,000+ Free eBooks – a place to get free ebooks including the most recent of many for Android only.
  • CCleaner, Defraggler, Recuva and Speccy – four great computer utilities from Piriform.
  • iTunes – media player and controller for all Apple products.
  • Mighty Text – enables you to send and receive text messages from your phone in your browser.  You may also dial your phone from this add-on.  
  • SnagIt  and Screenshot Captor – the first is a paid screen shot application with many features. The captor is a free app that is similar but does not have as many abilities.
  • Livescribe – the home of the Livescribe pen that records your meeting’s audio and syncs the audio to your written text. Not free.
  • Cogi – a phone application which allows you to capture, review & share the highlights of meetings and lectures.
  • Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, Five Guys, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Starbuck’s, Wendy’s are just a few of the many fast-food shops having apps so you can order on your phone. 
  • Calorie King – a site for your computer or phone to get dietary information on all the stuff you order from the aforementioned sites.
  • Realtor.com and Zillow.com – two excellent sites to use if you are buying or selling your home. 
  • Fitbit and Ringly and Water Dancing Droplet Speakers, Spreengs and Shoulderpod are several interesting gadgets you can buy for presents for yourself or others.
  • Ninite – a site that lets you get many applications to quickly install them all at one time without stopping all along the way to ask you questions.
  • AVG or Avast! – two of the better free antivirus applications. 
  • Malwarebytes – the best free app which checks your computer for nasty malware.
  • SpeedTest – you may check the speed you are receiving from your service provider at any time. 
  • Typing Web – if you need typing lessons or a refresher course here is the place to get help.
  • Steam Powered – a few free and many for a cost game site. 
  • PayPal – a very secure site for making online purchases.  

Stay tuned for 2015 and have a very Happy New Year!

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.

June 17, 2014

April 29, 2014

Online Docs May Be the Answer

Last week we looked at the confusion regarding the many choices with Microsoft Office.  I said I would have another solution for Lindsey and you this week.   

imageHere are two more good options.  Office Live or OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) depending on where you read about it or Google Drive (drive.google.com or just get there from any Google product you are logged into.)  Either of these are very good online solutions.  There are many ways to get Office Live.  I suggest using Live.com.  There you can sign up for a free Outlook.com email account which gives you access to everything you need.  You can also sign up with Yahoo! or Gmail accounts; although I have not experimented with those.  If you already signed in to other MS devices like a Windows PC, tablet, phone, Xbox Live, Outlook.com, or OneDrive, use that account to sign in.  Once there you can view and use your email, address book, calendar, online drive Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. To get to these click the labeled down arrow in the upper-left corner of the window.  Any of the files created can be stored in OneDrive so that you can retrieve them from any online computer.  They are all saved in the default MS Office formats so you can easily share them via email, etc.

imageVery similar products are available with a Google/Gmail account.  Setup a free account or you can use one you already have. Once logged in click the "Apps" button in the upper-right corner that looks like a small tic-tac-toe pattern, and then select "Drive."  You have a create button on this screen where you may choose from Document, Presentation, Spreadsheet, Form and several others depending on what you normally use with Google.  The files you create here are saved on your Google Drive for later retrieval just as in Live.com.

Even though I am a Google fan boy, Google is not quite friendly to Microsoft Office file types.  That being said they work with MS products; they just take an extra step or two.  There are several ways to do this but they all require you to download the file to your local computer.  I suggest finding your file in the file list, right click on it and choose download.  You will be presented with a choice of what file type you want to use, so choose "Microsoft Word. (.docx) You will then have it in your downloaded files to share as a standard Word doc.

Another note regarding Google docs.  When right clicked you may also choose to "Share" the file.  If you choose email as an attachment you once again can choose the file format and MS Word is one of the choices.

Now the final note.  OneNote is a terrific app available only with the Microsoft suite.  If you are interested let me know via email and I will share that with you in the future.

There are many other options and features in both Microsoft and Google online offerings.  Lindsey chose to try both and make a final decision later.  How about you?

October 8, 2013

Smartphone Info

Since I get many questions about Smartphones here are some interesting statistics which may answer some of your inquiries.

Generic Smartphone imageThe top five smartphone operating systems, according to comscore.com stack up like this. Android is number one with 52.0% of the market followed not very closely by Apple with 39.2%. Next were Blackberry, Microsoft with 5.1% and 3.0% respectively. The final was Symbian with 0.5%. Symbian, as you may well know (not) was the leading operating system for smartphones for many of the phone manufacturers worldwide. That was until around the end of 2010 when Android’s system blew it away. Now it is used on a very few Nokia phones and I imagine it will soon be in the same boat as Windows 3; a great starting system but not as popular as newer shinier systems that perform much better.

Percent signHow about the top five Smartphone applications as scored by percent of total users? The order included a surprise or two for me, how about you? Number one was Facebook (76.1% of the top 15 apps) which was absolutely no surprise to me. One other interesting fact is that research shows that 50 percent of smartphone users check Facebook at the movies. In my opinion movies cost enough that if I go to one, I am giving it my full attention. I see people on it all the time when walking around a restaurant or other gathering place. It is sad to see a family eating out when the husband and wife both either texting or posting/reading Facebook and ignoring the youngster(s). Of course, many of the kids are either on their own phone, playing a portable gaming system or watching a movie. But I digress.

Number two would be YouTube at 53.7%. Next, to my surprise comes Google Play (53.6%). I am not surprised it is a very good app, but I did not realize that many people knew about it. If you are interested check it out at the Play Store or email me and maybe I will do an article about it in the future. Finally, come Google Search with 53.5% and Google Maps at 46.2%.

I thought Google Search would have been at the top of that heap, but the users in the world fooled me again.

Here are another couple of interesting Smartphone stats for you to consider from a recent IDC survey (International Data Corporation). They say that four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. The next group which I unfortunately fall into says that 80% of us report it is the first thing we do in the morning…oops on me.

IDC also found that 79% of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of their waking day with 63% saying their phone is with them for all but one hour. Another embarrassing stat which fits me is that a fourth of all owners could not remember a time during the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room as them. A personal statistic for me; it is usually on me during the day and at night it is on the bedside table charging. Since we do not own a home phone/landline phone smartphones are our total phone systems.

Where do you fall in these stats?

January 15, 2013

2012 Sites in Review, Part 2

As I stated last week, I annually provide links to all of the sites we have visited throughout the previous year at DoubleClicks.info.

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with bit.ly.  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Google Calendar – This one comes with Gmail but it could be used as a good online calendar with many advanced features.
  • Microsoft – Everything Microsoft, software, hardware, Office, solutions, templates, etc.
  • Ninite – Pick your apps and click Get Installer to install all of your chosen apps in one step for your new/rebuilt Windows computer automatically.
  • Hotmail (slowly becoming Outlook), Gmail & Yahoo mail – The most popular online email services…including many other features.
  • OpenDNS -  Keeps your internet access safe and secure especially for families.
  • W3Schools.com – A free site where you can learn about web coding, even if you are just starting out.
  • Amazon.com – If you want to buy it online you can most likely find it here.
  • Google Play – Where all of the "approved" Android apps are found.
  • Google, DropBox, PayPal – These are several of the many sites that offer Two-factor authentication for your security.
  • DNROnline.com, DoubleClicks.info, WSVAOnline.com – The three local places around the web where you can read or listen to information from me, Double Clicks.
  • Ubuntu – A free operating system you can install on your computer to totally replace Windows. 
  • Sound Hound – The site for the iOS and Android app which identifies songs by "listening" to them.
  • Password Generator – Go there to get a randomly created password. Be careful since they will be totally unmemorable.  
  • Password Security – Check the strength of your password according to Microsoft.
  • Leet Speak Translator – Do not worry if you have no idea what this is.  Just find my article on it and learn about it first.
  • LastPass – One of the highest rated places for keeping your many, many passwords online.
  • KeePass – Ron’s highest rated applications for keeping your many, many passwords locally.
  • DameWare, Go to Assist, PC Anywhere, LogMeIn – Some of the more popular and more recommended support applications which allow you to log into another user’s system to help them.
  • Join Me -  The same as above but free and very easy to use.
  • Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Carbonite – These all provide online cloud storage for your important files.  Some are free and some are not.  I recommended Dropbox and Carbonite in my column.

I look forward to continuing the discussions about software, computers, the internet and all sorts of technology this year.  I hope that you, your families and friends have a great 2013 and continue to join me in the news, on the radio and on the web! 

August 7, 2012

January 18, 2011

July 13, 2010

Gmail vs. Windows Live Mail

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:35 am

Last week we talked about the top online email programs.  Today I will discuss the top two I have heard about from readers and others in the area.

Although, Yahoo! Mail was listed as number one around the world, those I have heard from put Gmail and Windows Live Mail as their favorites.  Mine is not a very scientific poll since I used emails from you all and asked people I work with.  Keep in mind, the majority of my coworkers are geeks which could be skewing the results. 

Windows Live Mail (WLM from here on out) has two different address formats.  In 1996 there was Hotmail.com.  Then in 2005 Microsoft decided to revamp the name and add more functionality so Live Mail was born. Therefore, if you have an older account you have a "hotmail.com" address, while the newer members have "live.com" as their address.  Being the geek tester that I am, I have one of each but rarely use either.

With Gmail everyone has the same domain in their address.  They are all formatted as, name@gmail.com.  Gmail started in 2004 by invitation only and then went public for everyone in 2007. 

WLM  will very shortly (maybe by the time you read this) be expanding storage on the site to 25GB.  They will allow this for email and all other types of files with their "Live Sky Drive" app.  Gmail started out with 1 GB of storage and continues to expand daily.  It is now at approximately 7.5 GB.  The issue I have with Gmail is that the storage is not contained in one location.

As stated above Gmail provides an ever increasing 7.5 GB of storage for email only.  Google’s Picasa Web Albums offers 1 GB of storage for photos and videos only. Google Docs gives you 1 GB for everything else; all of your docs, spreadsheets, presentations etc.  You should know this free storage is not transferable from one product or application to another.  My belief is that Google will be merging them together sooner or later. It will most likely be sooner, once Microsoft finishes rolling out their 25 GB.

Both WLM and Gmail offer calendars, address books and more online.  One very important factor is that it is all free.  Of course, both offer upgrades in storage size for a charge.  The basics should be more than enough for the average user.

After doing a review of the two I found that even though I exclusively use Gmail; Live Mail has a lot to offer.  Of course, there is Google Voice but more on that another time.

July 6, 2010

Online Email Accounts

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 5:40 am

I get a lot of questions about online email programs.  I hear: Which one is safest?  Which one is best?  Which one has the better features?  Etcetera, etcetera.  I have to say that I believe a lot of those questions can best be answered by each individual.  You may have to try out several if you don’t use one as your main email program now.

I prowled around the net looking for the most popular programs and found the following as of May, 2010.  At that time, the most popular email websites according to “Email Marketing Reports” were Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail and AOL Mail.  This data is based on US Internet usage and is in descending order of popularity. image image imageimage First of all I wonder who does not have an email account by now.  However, I am sure new users hit the net every day.  Toward the end of 2009 there were a reported 1.4 Billion active email accounts in the world.  That works out to about one for every five people on earth.  So there are still many out there that have none.

Many users have multiple email accounts.  For instance, I have one specifically for this column.  I have another one for friends and family, an extra for online purchases and a final one acts as a “throwaway” account.  The last one is used when I have to sign up on a site for something and I know that it will create more spam.  I use it for what I need and then check it every week or so and delete all of the junk mail.

In some respects I realize that I am not that much different from other geeks.  I imagine that in reality less than 1/5 people have email accounts.  As an example, my wife, a non-geek, has two email accounts – one for personal use and the other for work.  I would imagine that is more the norm.

As for me I have tried them all.  However, some I haven’t looked at in years.  In the past I have  used all of the top four and still have those accounts active.  I know they are because I checked them this week.  Over the long haul I have chosen to go with Gmail.com as my main online email provider.  They have other extras I really appreciate although Windows Live mail is looking good.  Maybe we will look at that next week.

Let me know which online email services you use and like best.

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