DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 24, 2015

Android is Not Just for Adults Anymore

Over the years I have put age appropriate apps on my Android tablet for my grandkids to play.  Now, while I am a pretty good grandpa, I do not like letting a small child run around the house swinging the devices around their heads and throwing them to each other.  So at a young age they learned that if you are using grandpa’s stuff, sit down and relax.  They have not had a problem doing that…well, ok, they did at first.

They all like to watch fun videos online.  You know, usually it has to do with a cat or a dog doing something cute.  Sometimes another youngster singing a funny song and on-and-on.  I would go with them to YouTube.com and have to preview almost each video.  I do not know if you noticed YouTube videos or not but they sometimes have videos of some things that you may not want young ones to view.  Also, if your kids are at the age where they can read a little the language sometimes supplied by other viewers is reprehensible to say the least.

YouTube for Kids imageYouTube came out with a new app for Android properly named "YouTube Kids."  You may search for it by name at the Google Play Store or use this link, "bit.ly/1H2lAuF" and caps count in the link.

YouTube Kids provides kid friendly videos including Sesame Street, Super Simple Songs, Thomas and Friends and many other kid videos.  They have also removed all of the comments so they will not see, read or hear anything that many may consider inappropriate.  IT is a slick little app and this grandpa recommends it.

Pitfall! imageAnother that my eight year old loves is "Pitfall!"  It is a remake of the old Atari game I used to play where Pitfall Harry runs and jumps over collapsing bridges, across waterfalls and under and over outcroppings to get to the end.  That being said the graphics are far, far superior to that of the original which makes it an entirely new game.  I will say that I play this one on occasion too.

There are drawing/painting apps, letter games, piano keyboards, "paper dolls," animal pictures and games and even the talking apps like "Talking Ben the Dog" (do not get that one; it becomes tiring to old people but kids love it).  Most of these apps you can find for free and some are for a small fee.

Kids Math imageFor actual learning and not just games look for "Kids Math." It is just like it sounds; it has some simple "games" for youngsters.  Simple addition, subtraction, sequencing and higher/lower number arranging, with lots of graphics are there.  So they may actually learn something along the way. 

Last but not least, lots of children’s books are also available.

March 16, 2015

2015-03-16 Show Notes

Here are the notes from today’s show. Please enjoy reading, learning and clicking.

Also, the podcast is available for you to listen to 365/24/7 so have at it.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Gas Buddy (gasbuddy.com)

Get local Gas prices as you need them 
You can get any grade, including diesel and any brand name of gas you use.

You may also check prices online before you leave or on any phone system used today.

Here is the link for Android devices,


Nest Protect Smoke Alarm helps stop burned toast sirens!
Nest.com
It doesn’t just start yelling at you.

Before turning on a loud, howling alarm, Nest Protect gives you an early warning we call Heads-Up. Nest Protect lights up yellow and speaks with a human voice. It tells you where smoke is or when carbon monoxide levels are rising. This gives you an earlier warning if there’s an emergency, or allows you to silence Nest Protect if it’s just a nuisance alarm, like an overly enthusiastic toaster.

No more frantically swinging towels at the smoke alarm to quiet it down. If there’s a nuisance alarm, just stand under Nest Protect and wave your arm to hush the alert. As you wave, your hand should be 2-8 feet away from the alarm.


Laptop Comparison Chart
productchart.com
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place online that you could go to, tell it what you were looking for in a new laptop and it would tell you. Boom! You are done and it is here.

Take a look at "Laptop Comparison Chart" which is totally interactive at finding the notebook you want. Pick it by screen size, weight, hard drive, ram and more.


Neuskool
neuskool.com
One page with most every search engine featured.

Music, Google, Flickr, YouTube, Weather Channel, Ebay and many more. It also includes most of the top email sites.


Thanks for listening, reading or whatever!  Come back to WSVA for the next show on April 20 to see what’s new in Tech.

And don’t forget to read the article here or on the Daily News Record every Tuesday.

Ron

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.

October 7, 2014

February 4, 2014

Adobe

Adobe makes many products which are used on Windows computers today. Every now and then you are reminded to update Adobe Flash. If you are the normal computer user you probably just click the “Install” button and continue on.

First, let me provide a quick history of Adobe Flash. It started out in the 1990s and was originally called SmartSketch, later turning into FutureSplash. In 1996 it was purchased by Macromedia and became “Macromedia Flash.” In 2005 it was purchased by Adobe. As a side note; Adobe was approached about purchasing the software when known as “FutureSplash” but turned it down. It was rumored that Adobe purchased Macromedia for $3.4 billion in 2005…what a deal they got a few years later.

So what is Adobe Flash /Player? Flash is the code working on your computer and Player is the part that plays the flash files. They are two separate apps but they are basically inseparable. An easy definition of Flash would be that it is coding which allows videos, games and many other types of animations to work on your browser. A large percentage of websites use Flash. Some you may have heard of are YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Plex, most all of the Cable and Broadcast TV streaming sites, a large number of gaming sites, and many actual games which run separate from a browser.

It is rumored that the new version of Web sites, HTML 5, will someday negate the need for Flash but it is not near that point at the current time.

One thing to know about Adobe is that it is a big well-known company in the software market. Look at Adobe.com and check out their product list. You will find over 50 individual products. You have heard of some of them. You know those PDF (Portable Document Format) files you find everywhere on the internet and need to read? Most likely you are using Adobe Reader to open and view them.

See Boggie change...right before your eyes, but not in real life.Another very popular application you may have heard of is Adobe PhotoShop. If you have not heard of it I guarantee you have seen the end products produced by this application. Look at almost any picture of most of the celebrities and models around the world. You know the ones in the magazines with the perfect skin color and texture, the perfect white teeth, no moles anywhere on their skin… you know, the beautiful people. They have been PhotoShopped. Sorry but they are just not that perfect, even the bone structure can be changed with this application. Look at this video (bit.ly/L2WzFI) and be amazed as PhotoShop total “remakes” Boggie, a singer with whom I am not familiar, into an almost unrecognizable version of herself as one of her songs plays. After you watch it tell me what you think. Think too, you just watched it using Adobe Flash through YouTube and created via Adobe PhotoShop.

Installation screenBack to the updates. When you are asked to update Flash, Reader and maybe others, you will either be directed to their site or it will start downloading automatically. Either way, be cautious since it will try to add McAfee Antivirus software to your computer in the background. I have never understood why a strong mainstream company would do that, but they do. If you install from the website, uncheck McAfee on the main page before you download the app. If you run it automatically you will get a “custom” or “standard” setup, choose the custom and “uncheck” McAfee.

Understand that there is nothing wrong with McAfee, it is an excellent antivirus software; however, you should only run one antivirus program on a computer at one time. Hopefully, you already are running something for that purpose.

January 7, 2014

2013 Sites in Review, Part 1

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year since we last talked.  I wanted to say, "Thanks!" to all of you readers who support the "Double Click" column by reading and writing over the past 12 years.  It is very much appreciated.  Please keep it up.  I always enjoy hearing from you.

It is the time of year when I review all of the sites mentioned during the previous year.  As always, have fun remembering, discovering, or rediscovering all the info! 

If the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using "bit.ly" for print, so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Online music streaming sites;  "Slacker Radio" (slacker.com), "Spotify" (spotify.com), "Maestro" (maestro.fm), Last.fm and the one I like best…Pandora (pandora.com).   These are accounts for listening to most any type of music imaginable. 
  • Google Musicmusic.google.com.   Google’s music site is similar to above; however, you can also upload up to 20,000 of your own songs and listen to them online from any device.
  • Daily News-RecordDNROnline.com.  My flagship newspaper, read it often! 
  • Double Clicksdoubleclicks.info.  This column’s site, read it often, too!
  • Portable Appsportableapps.com.  A site where you can get apps that are… well, that’s obvious.  
  • Microsoft Officebit.ly/1kJ3oK4.  You know this one, "The" most popular office suite of programs.
  • Libre Officelibreoffice.org.  One of the two most popular free office suites.
  • Solutosoluto.com.  One of many ways to speed up your computer and keep all of your applications up to date, not just the Microsoft ones. 
  • Lynda.com. A paid online training site for many different applications used today.
  • Microsoft Office Trainingbit.ly/1cBOoM9.  Good free office training.
  • YouTube.com – among millions of other videos you can find excellent Office training videos created by people like you and me.
  • Google.com – the most popular search engine.
  • Gmailgmail.com.  Google’s branded email.
  • A Toy Train in Spacebit.ly/1bHdbc3.  A dad uses a Raspberry Pi computer to take his son’s toy train into space and return with some great video of the ride.
  • Newsblur.com, Feedly.com, TheOldReader.com, Pulse.me and Flipboard.com.  Several of the many popular RSS feed readers to replace the dead and gone Google Reader.  They vary for mobile platforms and web viewing.

Well that takes us through the middle of 2013.  Check out part two of the year in review next week.

December 17, 2013

Android Browsers

Last week I wrote about the browser I favor most.  I received many emails from folks telling me their thoughts on the matter.  Thanks for the emails as I always appreciate hearing from you!  There was a repeated theme from those emails regarding my favorite Android browser.  This demonstrated to me that you readers know me pretty well since no one mentioned iPhones or iPads.

So, today I will look at some Android browsers I prefer. 

The default browser which comes with the Android phones and tablets is pretty good all on its own.  So I do not recommend replacing it unless you have enough geek in you to want to play with it.  Also, it is interesting to note the most popular windows browsers are all available for Android. There is one notable exception which is the Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer. 

If you enjoy Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari on your PC my next suggestion would be you should try the same one on your Android device.  There are some similarities with the same named browser between the two platforms; however, they are different in some respects. 

I think the best feature in matching browser between PC and Android is that you can link them.  For instance, if you are using Firefox on your PC and then install it on your tablet you can "sync" them with each other.  You can automatically get all of your saved passwords, browsing history and other items.  These will be synced between the two so that you have everything available and up-to-date between them.  The other browsers mentioned above all have some sort of the comparable syncing capabilities.  

imageBear in mind that as I stated last week the "best" browser for you matches your comfort level and personal preference.  So, in my opinion the best Android browser is the Dolphin browser.  Before you go to the Android store let me give you two tips.  There are two Dolphin browsers available, one is the HD version and the other is the Mini.  They are made for tablets and phones respectively. It has been my experience that the Mini works well on tablets; however, it lacks some of the "extras" you get on the HD version.      

SonarOne reason I enjoy Dolphin is that it works very well and is pretty easy to use.  It also has two neat features called "sonar" and "gestures."  With sonar you can speak commands to Dolphin and it will carry out most of them very well.  For instance, you can say, "Find the closest pizza shop" and it does a good job, depending on your devices’ settings.  It isn’t perfect since I tried, "Who is Robin Doyle" and it gave me a list of "Robert" Doyles. 

 

GesturesGestures are interesting too.  If you start them you can draw on your screen and particular actions will occur in the browser.  For instance, if you draw a "G" on the screen it will immediately open Google.com.  Another is a "Y" for YouTube.com and there are others.  If you have questions about how to use or set up your own Gestures, draw a large question mark.

 

imageAlso, you may want to install the Dolphin "Jet Pack" after you start using the browser.  It is said to speed it up and give you more features; although I am comfortable using it with or without this add-on.

Using Dolphin is a slightly new browser experience.   I think it is worth trying if you like learning a few new tricks.

Let me know which phone/tablet browsers you prefer.

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?

April 15, 2013

2013-04-15 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to this month’s show and sorry but it is also TAX DAY in the U.S.A.  So today more about that.  We had several callers and didn’t get to report on much new stuff around the net.

Read some info from sites mentioned and/or listen to the entire show’s podcast here.

Have a great day and see you next month.

Tech News
57 Year Anniversary of Commercial Videotape Recording
You could be forgiven for not having the 57th anniversary of commercial videotape recording marked in your diary, but YouTube is here with a reminder. Certain videos on the site now give you the option to watch them in "tape mode," bringing all the fun of static and fuzz to your modern viewing experience. It’s all in memory of the Ampex VRX-1000, which is commonly considered the world’s first practical videotape recorder and blew competitors away when it was shown off on April 14th, 1956 at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention. If you’d like to know more about the device’s place in history, LabGuy’s World has a transcript of lead engineer Charles P. Ginsburg’s presentation on its development.


Tax Time
http://irs.gov
Yes, that time of year again and I hope you are done with your 2012 taxes, but if not or you have questions about scams and on-and-on.  Check it out here.


Free TV shows for a price?
https://www.aereo.com/
Access your local over-the-air channels – all the major broadcast networks and over 20 other channels – in HD quality.

Would you give it a try?


The Galaxy Mega and 6 Other Massive Phones
PCMag.com
"…you can’t help but wonder what (if anything) would make someone consider holding a phone larger than a paperback to their ear for any length of time."

Consumers, however, embraced the larger screen and a year later, Samsung went even bigger – upping the Galaxy Note from 5 to 5.3 inches with the Galaxy Note II. Although a few other hardware manufacturers have followed suit, the Koreans continue to lead the charge, with the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega representing the latest iteration of the design trend.


See you later.

Ron Doyle

April 18, 2011

2011-04-18 WSVA Show Notes

Listen to the podcast online if you missed it live.

Tech News Microsoft To Phase Out Zune
Bob, Clippy, Windows Me, the Kin mobile phone and now MS does in the Zune. What’s next Windows Phone 7? They will keep the Zune music store going but basically they will make it like iTunes for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7. 

Zune launched in November 2006 with a lot of hype to beat Apple’s iPod. But sales never came close to reaching the iPods.


Google Video Shutting Down May 13
Since Google bought YouTube in 2006, it seems about time they shutdown the similar, older service, "Google Video".

The strange thing is they aren’t allowign people to automatically transfer their videos from one to the other. They have to download them and then upload them to YouTube.com…just seems strange.


Recharging Batteries in Phone & Notebooks
Battery-centric web site Battery University explains the real relationship behind battery life and charging. Lithium-ion batteries—the batteries present in most modern smartphones and laptops—don’t need to be fully discharged every once in a while to retain battery life, as many of us have been told. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

  • We used to be told to discharge a devices battery all the way and then recharge…
  • Today–> If at all possible, avoid frequent full discharges and charge more often between uses.

  1. Auction Sniper

    http://www.auctionsniper.com/
    Auction Sniper is an eBay sniper that automates the process of placing your eBay bid in the closing seconds of any eBay bidding auction.

    They charge 1% of the final auction price with a minimum of $0.25 and maximum of $9.95 only for the auctions that you win

  2. Google Alerts

    http://www.google.com/alerts
    Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (everything which is –> news, blogs, realtime (quote, "real time situational awareness" my estimate is in the last few minutes), video, discussion) based on your choice of query or topic.

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