Sunday, October 22, 2017

Search by voice via Google

Tech News and Views

Many computer users seem to be unaware that it is very easy to search the Internet just by using your voice if your computer is equipped with a microphone or a camera containing a microphone. To do so, go to Click on the small microphone icon, and ask for what you want. You might, for examples, say "What is the capitol of Afghanistan". Google will respond with "Kabul is the capitol of Afghanistan.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Users complain that the screen is blank

Tech News and Views

Several users called me in the past week or two complaining that their monitors had quit. Upon examination, it was found that the power settings were configured so the screens went blank in 10 minutes or so.

Unfortunately, most computer manufacturers set the power settings to turn off the computer in just a few minutes. Unsuspecting users think something has gone wrong and they try to get the screen to come back on by pressing the on off button on the monitors.

To change power settings, type "Control Panel" in the search box and click on the result. Then click on Hardware and Sound and then on Power Settings and then change plan settings. I generally set all to Never turn off.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Strange experiences with Creator's Update

Tech News and Views

Microsoft works in mysterious ways. On October 16th they released what is known as the Fall Creator's Update, the latest version of Windows 10. If you are keeping track, that is version 1709. The previous version was 1703 (don't ask about what happened to 1704, 1705, 1706, or 1708).

I tried to update 6 machines. Three updated from 1703 to 1709 without difficulty, although it took a few hours. The others kept telling me they were up-to-date. In desperation, I tried the Windows Insider Program (which lets users try the latest and greatest) on one machine. At this juncture, it is installing ok. The Insider Program is not for the faint of heart as the updates are beta releases. I'll let you know that happens to my Insider Program update (version 16.299.15) in a future post. If my computer crashes, you may not hear from me for another week.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gas engines fading fast

Tech News and Views

If you doubt that the gas engine is doomed and that electric cars will take over, take a look at the following excerpt from Think Progress:

"Unsurprisingly, charging stations are popping up everywhere. In 2016, the UK Guardian reported, “every new or refurbished house in Europe will need to be equipped with an electric vehicle recharging point, under a draft E.U. directive expected to come into effect by 2019.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scams on the rise in Oak Run

Tech News and Views

Many people in our community call me for technical help with their computers, and, much to my surprise, their computer problems are the result of them being scammed. I encountered three users, just last week, who have been cheated out of hundreds of dollars.

One user, whose computer had been hacked, when he called a fake Microsoft site, was told to buy gift cards so the scammer could remove a virus. He did, and then was told the cards did not go through and he should buy more. In total, he was taken for $1000 to fix his $250 computer which, of course, was never fixed.

Please remember: Microsoft will never call you. Any phone number that appears on your screen should not be called. If you need computer help, call a local reputable repair firm or trusted friend.

Be on the lookout for fake web sites. Scammers are imitating legitimate sites such as Amazon, the FBI, AOL, etc. Look carefully at the address of sites to make certain they are the real sites.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Club officers needed for 2018

Each October, nominations are taken for Oak Run Computer Club officers, however, the club seldom receives any nominations. Consequently, the same officers serve year after year. While the current officers have said they will serve again, it is really time for some new officers.

I want to emphasize that no special skills are needed for any office, and new officers will be trained by existing officers.

Here is a brief description of the duties of each office:
  • President - Presides at monthly meetings and at once a month Board meetings
  • Vice President - Presides when the President is absent and makes program arrangements
  • Secretary - Takes minutes at Board meetings and posts the minutes on the Club's blog
  • Treasurer - Keeps the books and reads a report at Board meetings
  • Publicity Chairman - Sees that announcements are published in Oak Run Newsletter, on Channel 12 and in the South Marion Citizen
  • Setup Chairman - Sets up computers, projector, etc. for monthly meetings
  • Board Member - Any Club member can attend, 2nd Friday, Island Club, 9AM

Monday, October 16, 2017

A better mahjong game

Tech News and Views

There are dozens of mahjong games available to users on the Internet, and many of them are free., however, I find many of them are terrible. I particularly like Microsoft Mahjong, which is available for free for PCs via the Microsoft store icon.

What makes the program so good is that it is easily customized through the options menu. Users can turn sound, hints, and available tile settings on and off. If you like mahjong, you'll like Microsoft Mahjong.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Touchpad not working

Tech News and Views

Every so often I encounter a user who says their laptop touchpad is not working. While that is often a symptom of a lacking driver, it can also be the fact that the feature is simply turned off.

Many laptops have a function key switch to turn the touchpad on or off. One Asus laptop that I encountered used the function key and F9 to toggle the feature. I thought that turning off the feature was silly, but I was reminded, by one of our members, that some typists accidentally hit the touchpad when typing and therefore like to have the pad off.

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