Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Answer Man - Sync files to flash drive

Answer Man

I am writing a book and want to easily back up files to a flash drive. Do you have a simple solution.

Microsoft has several solutions, but the easiest to use program I know is their Sync Toy. You can download the program from download.com. Type sync toy in the search box and then click download. The program installs quickly. Then you identify the folder you want to copy and the folder within the flash drive that you want to use to receive the copy. Click Run, and the folders will synchronize. It's very easy, very fast and works well.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Opening a Window Maximized

During the Blog class today we had a question of how to have a program open in a full or maximized window. You can adjust the properties of the shortcut to open the program maximized by following the steps in this tutorial. Click HERE to view it. You can also download a small program call IE New Window Maximizer HERE. This program will automatically maximize anything you open. However, it only works with Windows XP or previous NOT Vista and Win 7.

Answer Man - No Sound

Answer Man

I get no sound from my computer speakers. What should I do?

First, see if the speakers are plugged in to the computer. They normally plug into a green colored 1/8" jack. Make certain the speakers are turned on if they have an on-off switch. Check to see that the volume is up. Check to see if there is a red line through the speaker symbol. If so, the speaker is on mute. Right click on the speaker symbol. Slide the slider to maximum volume.
If earphones are plugged in, un-plug them. You should hear sound now.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Answer Man - Set Clock and Time

Answer Man

How do I set the time on the little clock on the taskbar?

Right click on the time. Left click on adjust date/time. Follow directions.

Note that if the computer clock keeps losing time, it is a strong indication that the computer's internal lithium battery (about the size of a quarter) is defective and must be replaced.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Answer Man - Lost files

Answer Man

I deleted some files and emptied the trash. Is there a way to retrieve the files or are they gone forever?

Here's a free program that you can download that may very well retrieve the lost files for you.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Answer Man - Trip Planning

Answer Man

I'm planning a trip and am looking for software that will show the distance between any two cities in the U.S. Do you know of a program that will do that?

Try the following: Type www.bing.com into your browser address line. Click on Maps. Click on Get Directions. Type in the departure info and the destination info. The program will show the mileage and will list directions to your destination.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Answer Man - Back-ups

Answer Man

I need to back-up my computer and would like to know what method you suggest.

You can't have too many back-ups. If data or photos are of vital importance, I would back them up to CD, to an outboard hard drive and to paper. If you already have a DVD-CD burner, save all of your photos to CD or DVD. Save all of your documents to another CD or DVD. Purchase a large outboard drive. As of this writing, you could purchase a 1 Terabyte outboard hard drive for under $79. Set the software to make an image of your regular hard drive. That way, if you have to replace the drive, you can download programs, operating system and all, back to your new drive. Also set the drive to make incremental back-ups. Thus, whenever you make changes to your computer, the back-up drive echoes those changes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog Classes Are Available

Class #1 - Posting, Commenting and Editing

This is hands-on training using your own laptop computer. You will write your own posts and comment on other posts plus learn how to edit and modify your posts.

You must have an account (be a member of any Oak Run Blog) to attend classes. Learn about setting up an account HERE or click on the "Setting Up Your Account" tab above.

Training will take place at the Orchid Club. Each class takes from 1 to 2 hours. Remember to bring your Blog sign-in email and password to class because all training is done on your Blog. Don't forget your laptop and power supply.

Class #2 - Creating Your Own Blog
(includes Administrator training)

Advanced classes are also available for those who need to administer a Club or Personal Blog or want to create their own blog. This class goes into all aspects of blog design, settings and maintenance.

When you're ready to learn just email ortc.help@gmail.com to request either class.

Classes are FREE!!

Answer Man - Enlarging Print

Answer Man

I often find the print on my computer screen too small to read easily. Is there an easy way to make the print larger?

Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard with one hand as you move the scroll wheel on the mouse toward the screen. The print size will vary as the wheel is turned. Turn the wheel the other way and the print will get smaller.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Answer Man - Ubuntu

Answer Man

Sometime ago, you mentioned another operating system called Ubuntu. Should I have it on my computer?

Ubuntu is an operating system just as is Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Mac's Leopard. You must have an operating system, and virtually all new computers come with one installed. As of this writing, Windows 7 was usually installed. You can have two operating systems at the same time in what is known as a dual-boot machine. I don't recommend dual booting as your system becomes more complex and therefore prone to more problems.

You can download Ubuntu from www.ubuntu.com., burn the image to a CD, and try the program on a Windows machine without installing Ubuntu. If you have an old machine to play around with, you might install Ubuntu on it. I think that you'll find that it is a great operating system.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Answer Man - Blank Screen

Answer Man

Sometimes, when I leave my computer for a few minutes, the screen goes black. I have been holding in the start button to shut off the computer. When I re-start the computer everything works. Am I doing something wrong?

It sounds as though your screen saver has been set to none (or black). After a pre-set time, the screen saver is activated. You can activate the screen again by pressing any key on the keyboard.

I suggest that you change the screen saver to some sort of active display. Click on Start, Control Panel, Display (if using XP) or Appearance if in Vista or Windows 7. Click Screen Saver and then select a design you like. You can also set the number of minutes before the screen saver is activated.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Answer Man - Switched Outlet

Answer Man

My computer won't turn on. There are no lights on the front of the tower. I pushed the button to turn it on, but I don't hear any of the usual start up noises. What do you suggest I do?

There can be many causes for the problem you mention, but, when troubleshooting, always start with the simplest things first. Is the computer plugged in? Is the computer plugged in to an outlet strip that is not on? Is the computer plugged into an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch? Is the monitor turned on?

If none of the aforementioned solve the problem, something more serious may be wrong such as a bad power supply, and you may need professional help.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Answer Man - Printing Costs

Answer Man

Printing costs are astronomical. New cartridges (color and black and white) cost more than I paid for my printer. Is there a less expensive alternative than paying for the very expensive cartridges?

Printer manufacturers are like razor manufacturers. Give away the printer, and soak the users for the ink. One alternative to the high priced ink is using re-manufactured cartridges or loading them your self. I don't like either of these options as I think quality is sacrificed.

You might, however, think of buying an inexpensive laser printer (black and white variety). You can buy them for as little as $99. Re-manufactured toner cartridges for such printers are generally in the $30 - $40 range but print many more copies than ink-jets.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Answer Man - Two Browsers

Answer Man

Does it ever make sense to have more than one browser on your computer?

Many people use more than one browser and some use several browsers. Each browser can be set to open to a different home page. For example, one could be set to open with Yahoo mail, another could be set to open to Google g-mail. Popular browsers include: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari.

Most browser home pages are set by entering Tools, Internet Options and then typing in the address of the home page you wish to use.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Answer Man - E-Reader Alternative

Answer Man

I understand that there are some neat e-reader type programs that I can use on my netbook or laptop. What do they cost, and where do I get them?

Do a search for Kindle reader for PC, or go to Barnes and Noble and download their reader. However, a new reader for the PC that I like best is called the Gooreader. You can find it at gooreader.com (its another Google product). all of these products are free.

Movie Maker 2.6

I have Windows XP and was disappointed to find that Movie Maker 2.6 requires Windows Vista or Windows 7 to operate.  I hope I may have missed something and some one can point me in the right direction.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Answer Man - Cleaning LCD Monitor

Answer Man

What should I use to clean the screen of my flat panel monitor?

If the screen is dusty, use a microfiber cloth, but don't press hard. If there are spots on the screen, you may have to use a soft cloth dampened with a solution of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 distilled water. do not use anything else. Alcohol, petroleum products and other solvents can permanently damage the LCD monitor.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Answer Man - Turn off, or Leave On?

Answer Man

Does it hurt to leave my computer on? Some people suggest I turn it off whenever I am through using it.

The answer to that question has been debated for years. If you are green-minded, turn it off when you are through. Computers use power. Some corporate computers are kept on during the entire operating day and are only turned off at night. The failure rate of those computers doesn't appear to be greater than those that are turned off and on. I suggest that if you leave your computer on for long periods that you turn it off every few days.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Answer Man - How Much RAM?

Answer Man

How can I determine how much RAM is in my computer?

Left click on Start, right click on Computer (My computer in XP), left click on Properties.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Answer Man - Size of Hard Drive

Answer Man

Is there an easy way to determine the size of the hard drive in my computer and how much space is left on it for more data?

Left click on Start. Left Click on Computer (My Computer in XP). Right Click on the C drive. Left click on Properties.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Answer Man - Webcams

Answer Man

I would like to buy a webcam to get on Skype so my friends can see me when we talk. What type of webcam should I buy, and how much should I expect to pay?

Unless your computer is ancient, almost any old webcam will work with Skype. I have seen webcams for $5.00 (including shipping) on E-Bay. I have a $10 model that is acceptable. All modern webcams plug in via the USB port, but some newer ones require USB 2 or 3.

Perhaps the best procedure is to look at webcams within your price range, note the specifications they require, and check to see if your computer meets those specs. Typical specifications include: Windows version (7, Vista, XP), processor speed and amount of RAM.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Answer Man - Twitter Tutorial

Answer Man

Everyone seems to mention Twitter, Tweeting, Re-tweets, etc. Can you tell if this is much ado about nothing?

Some tweets are promotions for products, some are idle chit chat and some are just a way to get messages out to millions of people in very short order. I suggest that you take a look at the following video tutorial about Twitter, and then form your own conclusion as to whether Twitter is right for you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Answer Man - PDF?

Answer Man

Many download sites ask the user to download the documents in PDF. What are they talking about?

PDF stands for portable document format. It is a program developed by the Adobe Corporation in the 1990's to have documents look the same on all computers. Most U.S. Government agencies publish forms and other documents in PDF.

To read PDF documents, you must have a PDF Reader. Free readers are available from www.adobe.com and from www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/ . Be certain that you have the latest version of the software

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Answer Man - Computer Books

Answer Man

I would like to learn more about my computer. Can you suggest some computer books?

My answer may surprise you. I don't recommend sitting down and reading an entire book about computers. It can be overwhelming. I suggest you use books as references. Refer to them when you have a problem. You'll be much more likely to retain the information. Another alternative is learn in small bits from on-line tutorials. Here are some free sources you might want to check out:

www.homeandlearn.co.uk, www.inpics.net, techtutorials.net/tutorials.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Answer Man - Cruise Sites Continued

Yesterday, I was asked how to begin a search for a cruise. Today, I will provide a little more information about cruise sites.

Here are a few good cruise sites: www.crowncruisevacations.com, www.cruisesonly.com, www.onlinevacationcenter.com, www.cruisecritic.com.

Note that all of the cruise lines have web sites and will sell to you directly. Prices at all cruise sites are carefully controlled by ship lines, and you won't find big differences in price between the lines and cruise agencies, but a particular agent might be willing to shave his/her commission slightly.

I suggest you look for reviews of particular cruises to see what past passengers have had to say.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Windows Secrets

I have a longtime subscription to WINDOWS SECRETS, a weekly newsletter devoted to improving and maintaining M$ operating systems. About three years ago, the publisher pulled together several venerated authors of self-help columns on the Net and in magazines who were approaching retirement stage and incorporated their work into a new publication for Windows users. Most of the column's articles are free by subscription, but a Plus Edition, which costs about $12 per year, contains more material.
In this week's edition (April 7 th), one author, Woody Leonhard, says, if you're a Win user, "Don't pay for software you don't need!" [Part 1 of a three part series].
I can't re-print his article, but you can find it here: tinyurl.com/6e5ha7v.
And sign up for the free edition and see how you like it.
Jim Dillman

Answer Man - Travel Sites

Answer Man

I'm thinking of taking a cruise. I'd like to search travel sites, but I don't know quite where to begin? What do you suggest.

I think that your first course of action is to print out a list of popular cruise ships to see how they are rated. Most rating services award 1 to 6 stars to a ship with 6 being the best. When you travel on a 6 star ship, plan to pay between $400 and $700 per day per person. Some 3 star ships may have charges as low as $50 per person, per day. The differences between the classes are based on quality of food, quality of entertainment, newness of ship, itinerary, choice of departure port and much more.

Go to www.vacationstogo.com. Click on Cruise Ships and Ratings. Print and save the list for future reference. You can also use the vacationstogo.com site to price a trip of your choice. Then go to other travel sites to compare prices for the same trip.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Posting From Notepad


This is a test post using text copied and pasted from Notepad.


Can't Copy/Paste blog text from Notepad

I tried to copy and paste text I created in Notepad into the blog and found it not possible. Why is that?
Jim Dillman

Answer Man - Hard Drive Failure

Answer Man

What causes a computer hard drive failure?

The two most likely causes are heat and dirt. If your computer is kept inside a computer hutch or cabinet, make certain that the door is open when you operate the computer. There should be holes in the back of the cabinet to let cool air in and hot air out. Keep the dust out. Make certain that the fan blades are clean. You may remember when big commercial users kept computers in special air conditioned rooms. Guess why.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Answer Man - Sudoku

Answer Man

I seem to recall you mentioning a sudoku game that can be downloaded to a computer. You recommended it highly. What was it, and how do I get it?

The game is Simple Sudoku. It's free and is available from www.angusj.com/sudoku. I like it because you can have it show all of the possibilities, which it calls Candidates. You can select various difficulty levels and can print 8 1/2" x 11" versions if you like. I print a bunch of copies and take them with me when I travel in my RV.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04

Ubuntu 11.04 has been released and is available for download. Ubuntu is a version of the Linux operating system. The new version presents a very simple interface. You can try the program on your present computer or you might want to install the program on an old computer.

Navigate to ubuntu.com. Download version 11.04. Then you must burn a CD from the download.
The CD is then used for either a trial or to be installed in your computer.

I think that you will find the program easy to use and much less complicated than Windows.

Answer Man - Fix it Program

Answer Man

Do you know of a good free computer diagnostic and repair program?

Try Fixit. It's available at www.support.microsoft.com/fixit.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Answer Man - Photo Editing Software

Answer Man

I would like to learn how to do advanced editing of photographs. Most of my friends have suggested that I purchase Photoshop CS for the purpose. It's an expensive program. Are there any good free alternatives.

Gimp is a free photo editing program that is said to be every bit as good as Photoshop. Both programs have a steep learning curve, and you will really have to study to be good with them.
Gimp is obtainable from www.gimp.org.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Answer Man - Calculator with Tape

Answer Man

I'm searching for a computer calculator program that will run a virtual tape so that I can refer back to my calculations. I want the computer to be on the computer desktop and I want it to be free.

You can find a tape calculator at www.moffsoft.com. Be certain that you select the free calculator as they have others that are not free.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Answer Man - Unit Converter

Answer Man

Do you know of a good free program for converting various units, such as inches to meters, or lbs. to kilograms?

You can download a program called Unit Converter from www.quadlock.com. The program is truly amazing. They have units of measure that I didn't know existed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Answer Man - Musical Chords

Answer Man

I am learning how to play the piano by the "EZplay" method, but I have trouble remembering all the chords. Most chord charts are cumbersome. Is there a computer program that could help me quickly identify them.

Fastchordslite is such a program. You can find it at www.softpedia.com. Type in a chord name, and the program will show all of the notes in the chord and will indicate the respective keys on a model piano keyboard.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Answer Man - Free Phone Calls

Answer Man

I understand that many people, throughout the world, are making free phone calls to each other using a program called Skype. Can you explain how they can make calls for free?

The secret is that both parties, the caller and the callee (sic) must have the Skype program installed on their respective computers. A call can only be made when both parties are signed on to the program. The calls are made over the Internet, but not by dialing a number. Each party must have speakers or headphones and a microphone. They can also see each other if each has a webcam installed. Skype also permits dialing numbers directly, but they charge for that service.

If you would like to find out how the program works, navigate to www.skype.com.

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