Monday, December 31, 2012

Cruise site bargains

Answer Man

I know you like to travel and I'm wondering if you have found any great travel sites with great prices.

There are oodles of good travel sites, but, unfortunately, cruise prices are very well regulated by the cruise lines. If you navigate from site to site, you will find that all agencies are asking the identical price for the same cruise. This is done so no agency can undercut the cruise line price. However, some agencies may give you some small incentive to go with them. It might be a free specialty restaurant, cabin credit or a break on the price of excursions. Don't expect much.

Laser printer advantages

Answer Man

I know you have mentioned having a laser printer. What advantages does that type of printer have? What disadvantages?

Black and white laser printers are much less expensive to operate, produce higher quality results and the toner lasts much longer than ink cartridges. The disadvantage is they usually don't print in color (Color lasers require several toner cartridges, thus, the cost goes up). The best of all worlds is to have both a laser printer and an ink jet printer.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Abnormal shut down

Answer Man

My computer has been shutting down by itself. I have to keep re-setting the time. What should I do?

It appears that you have a Windows corruption issue. I would first try a restore to an earlier point. If that does not work, I would do a re-install of Windows. If that doesn't solve the problem, you may have some type of hardware issue.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blue Screen of Death

Answer Man

What is the Blue Screen of Death?

The term is used to describe a Windows screen that appears, in blue, on a computer that is experiencing difficulty and is being purposely shut down by the Windows system. The idea is to protect the computer from further harm. The underlying problem is often caused by a bad Windows update, a software glitch or improper shut down.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Answer Man

I see that many new computers, TVs and other devices are using a different type of connector called HDMI. Do HDMI connections have any advantages?

HDMI, meaning high definition media interface, is a connector that combines audio and video in a single cable, thus eliminating many wires. It is a new standard that was formed by a consortium of 10 companies and has numerous technical advantages over previous type connections.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Windows Activation

Answer Man

I noticed that when I right click Computer and select properties that specs about my computer are displayed. On that page I can see a sentence that says Windows is not activated. What does that mean?

It means that a replacement copy of Windows has been installed but that Microsoft has not been notified of the replacement. If you don't click where it says activate, Windows may not work after a set period of days, or, if it does work, you will be nagged continually about activation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Answer Man

What is Carbonite?

Carbonite is an on-line back-up service.  Users pay a monthly fee to have files stored in the cloud.  If the user's computer should crash, files can be retrieved from Carbonite to be downloaded to a replacement computer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Windows 8 - Shortcut Keys

Answer Man

I just bought Windows 8. What do you think would be the most useful keyboard shortcut keys to learn in using the system?

The most important key is the Windows key on the keyboard. Press it once and you will see the desktop. Press it a second time, and you will see the start menu (all of the tiles). Press it and the letter C to see the charms menu, so you can get to Settings and Power Off. Press it and the letter X to see the Control Panel and much more.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Optical vs. Digital Zoom

Answer Man

I am planning on buying a digital camera. I'm confused by the terms optical and digital zoom. What's the difference?

Digital zoom is not very meaningful. It refers to the apparent gain in picture size after you crop a picture. Optical zoom is similar to using a telephoto lens to show a closer view of the subject.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mini-SD cards

Answer Man

I bought an mp3 player with 2GB of storage. The directions say I can expand the offerings by adding a mini SD card. What are they talking about?

SD means secure digital. It is a common size flash card used in cameras and digital picture frames. Mini SD cards are about 1/3 as big. The mini cards often slide into standard SD holders so they can be used as regular SD cards, but phones generally use the smaller card without the holder.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Will Your Computer Upgrade To Windows 8?

Many of you have asked, "How do I know if my computer will work with Windows 8 if I upgrade?" The best way to find out is to go to the Microsoft website and use their Upgrade Assistant. Download the Assistant HERE. After saving the file, Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.exe to your computer, go to your download location (by default the folder labeled Downloads) and double click on the file. Then simply follow the prompts. If you have any problems or questions just email a guru or comment below.

Tablet Computers

Answer Man

My desktop computer died, so I'm thinking about replacing it with a tablet computer. What do you think of the idea?

Realize that any computer you buy will be a compromise. Tablets mainly offer portability, but small solid state drives on them hold little info. Do not even think about buying a tablet with 4 GB or even 8 GB hard drives. You'll run out of space before you can blink. I have a netbook with a 32 GB drive, and it's too small. If you want a tablet just for e-mail and some Internet searching, it will serve the purpose. If you store many documents, photos and videos, you'd better get a laptop or desktop computer.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Computer Recovery Disks

Answer Man

My computer crashed and I tried to do a complete system recovery using HP recovery disks. Every time I tried, the recovery got about 95% done and the system would hang. The message on the screen was something about having to try another recovery set. What do I do now?

I have had a similar experience. An acquaintance purchased recovery disks, at a cost of $16. They didn't work.  I had to install another copy of Windows 7. That mean't that any missing drivers had to be downloaded from the HP web site. A recovery is supposed to return a computer to factory settings, but sometime, that just doesn't work.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

E-Bay Costs

Answer Man

What does it cost to sell an item on Ebay?

The costs vary greatly. You generally will have to pay a final value fee, a fee if you use their Buy It Now service, a fee for Pay Pal and fees for extra services (such as adding many photos).

I recently sold a 3D DVD of Sleeping Beauty at auction for $26. The final value fee was $2.32. The Pay Pal fee was $1.05. The total cost was $3.37. Detailed costs are available through the link below:

Ebay costs

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Party

Our annual Holiday Party was a fun and informative event. Plenty of bagels and donuts were available along with the usual beverages. Alan gave a great presentation on Windows 8. There were 10 Flash Drives given away plus a special prize and the 50/50.

Don't forget to keep your white member ticket and check the Giveaway Zone at the top of the left sidebar. We have more Flash Drives and other prizes to give away, right here on the blog, until next meeting. The number will change every couple of days so check back often. If you see your number you must email, before the new number displays, in order to claim your prize.

Below are some pictures from the party.

(select any image to enlarge)

Router Password

Answer Man

My new tablet computer won't work on my network unless I type in a router password. I don't remember the password. Is there anything I can do?

You can re-set your router password. Go to the router manufacturer's web site. Find the default IP address. It will be something like Enter that number into your browser's address line. A web page will appear with a default login and password. Netgear routers typically use Admin and Password. You could use those, but that gives open access to your network. Somewhere on the page you will be given an opportunity to re-set the login and password as you choose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Executive Board Minutes - December 14, 2012

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Laurence Bauer, Elliott Bogart, Jim Dillman, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Bob Norton, Laura Stein, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary.

Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,287.69.

The Oak Run Computer Club Holiday Party will be held at the December 19 general meeting, with coffee, donuts, bagels and cream cheese being provided. Alan Marcus will give a short demo of Windows 8 on the club’s computer. Ten flash drives have been purchased to be given away at this meeting.

Motion was made by Jim Dillman, seconded by Bob Leiner, and approved to purchase a new Windows 8 laptop for the club. A $500 limit was set for purchase. Alan Marcus and Bob Leiner accepted responsibility for the selection and purchase.

Elliott Bogart accepted responsibility advertising for sale the club’s current computer, a Dell 1501 w/2GB RAM, Windows 7 operating system, asking price $100 - $200. The Windows 8 disc will be auctioned off to club members at a later date.

Upcoming Programs: Jan 16 – Donna Currie, from Freedom Scientific, will discuss “Computer Access for the Visually Impaired”; Feb 20 – Paul Higgenbottom, President of Reora, will give a presentation on “Tablet Computers.” Future programs are being researched to be announced at a later date.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Monitor Resolution

Answer Man

My monitor isn't as sharp as I'd like. How can I make it look better?

Of course you can adjust brightness, contrast and sharpness, but sometimes even that will not do. Monitors are best set to their native resolutions. Check with the manufacturer to find what that is for your monitor. Normally, that setting is the highest one listed for your monitor. While CRT monitors can usually display images at various resolutions, and LCD monitor has to rely on interpolation (scaling of the image), which causes a loss of image quality.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Answer Man

I keep hearing about Apps. I know it means applications and that you can add them to a smartphone. Can you add them to home computers?

Most of the newer operating systems will let you take advantage of Apps. In Windows 8, you can click on the tile labeled Store. There you will find hundreds of free Apps. Free Apps in Windows 8 include some great ones on cooking, games, Windows Utilities, and education (such as Khan Academy).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Salvaging an old printer

Answer Man

I have a 7 year old Samsung laser printer that I used with Windows Vista. I just installed Windows 8 on my computer only to find that there are no new drivers available for the printer. Is my printer useless?

If you can get your hands on an old computer that works, you can install the old printer drivers on it, and network the printer. Do that by setting up the old computer to print. Then go into the control panel and networks and turn on printer sharing. Click Add Printers on the newer machine, and you're good to go.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Create a Folder

Answer Man

How do I create a folder on the desktop?

Right click in an empty spot on the desktop. Click New. Click Folder. Name the folder. Press the Enter key on the keyboard.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Uninstall a program

Answer Man

How do I remove a program that I no longer want or need?

Click Start, Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features, Uninstall a Program. Click on the program you want to remove and click Uninstall.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Installing an Operating System

Answer Man

My computer has Windows XP. How can I install Windows 8?

There are two ways. You can download the program from Microsoft and follow the prompts, or, you can purchase the program on disk. If you purchase the disk, insert it in the DVD drive while the computer is on. Click on re-start to have your computer shut down and then re-open from the DVD. Follow the prompts. The install will take a couple of hours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Photo organization

Answer Man

I notice that my digital camera assigns numbers to photos. I would like the photos to have names. How do I name the pictures?

Right click on a number. Click Rename. Type in the new name and press the Enter key on the keyboard. If you have many photos from the same location, you might name them something like: Niagra Falls 1, Niagra Falls 2, etc.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Flash Drives

Answer Man

How do you use those little drives that fit into USB ports?

You're talking about flash drives. They are also called thumb drives, finger sticks, pen drives, disk on key, memory sticks and jump drives. They function like small hard drives. You insert one in a USB port. Then click, Start, Computer and the letter of the drive that appears. You can then copy files to the flash drive the same way you would copy to hard drives.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Marion County Library Offerings

I just received the following note from Lauren Brosnihan of the Marion County Library:

Hello Mr. Marcus:

I wanted to let you and the members of the Oak Run Computer Club know that we have Freading 20,000 e-books) and Freegal (up to 3 songs/week) up and running. To find the links please go to this page,, and then click on Digital Media. Links to Open Library and Project Gutenberg are also listed.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Best wishes,

Soft Boot

Answer Man

My computer sometimes locks up. I can't seem to do anything but turn it off. Is there something else I can do?

You might try a soft boot. That means to press CTRL, ALT and DEL keys on the keyboard at the same time. Then click on the Task Manager tab. Click on the running process and then click End Task. Then you should be able to access other programs.


Answer Man

Where can I find the Wordpad program?

Click Start, Programs, Accessories, Word Pad.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Deleting Selected Emails

Answer Man

I have more than 80 emails in my inbox. I want to delete selected ones. Is there a quick way to do it?

There are a couple of methods. One is to hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard as you left click on each email you wish to delete. Then press the DEL key on the keyboard and all of the selected emails will be deleted. The other method is to click in the selection boxes adjacent to each email you wish to delete and then press the DEL key on the keyboard.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monitor Inputs

Answer Man

I'm a little confused. I bought a new monitor, but it didn't have a way to connect to my computer. Did something change while I was napping?

It sure did. The VGA type connection (uses a a d shaped connector) has been around for about 25 years. Now manufacturers are using DVI, HDMI and Display Port connections. If your computer doesn't have similar connectors, you may be out of luck. Fortunately, some monitors may have more than one type of connector.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Change Desktop Background

Answer Man

I would like to have one of my photographs used as a background for my computer. How can I put one of  my favorite pictures on the desktop?

Click Start, Control Panel, Appearance and Personaliation, Change Desktop Background. Then click Browse to get to the photo you plan to use, and click on the proper approvals.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monitor Resolution

Answer Man

What do monitor resolution numbers mean?  

Resolution is measured in pixels (picture elements). Let's say the resolution is 1280 x 1024. That means the screen is 1280 pixels wide and 1024 high. The greater the numbers, the higher the resolution. Higher resolution screens appear to be sharper, but the icons and other elements will appear smaller.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Using Computer Projectors

Answer Man

I tried to set up a slide presentation by hooking up my computer to a projector. The slides showed up on the big screen but not on my laptop. How can I rectify the situation?

One of the function keys on the laptop works as a toggle switch. Each time you push the key it changes the options. You may see just the screen, just the laptop or both depending how many times you press the key. Most laptops have a diagram on the proper function key to accomplish this goal.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Create a shortcut

Answer Man

How do I create an icon on the desktop?

Desktop icons, or shortcuts, are easily created. Right click in an empty space on the desktop. Click New. Click Shortcut. Type in the location of the item you want the shortcut to open. Click Next. Type a name for the shortcut and click Finish. Let's suppose we want a shortcut for the Oak Run Computer Club. Right click on the desktop, choose New. Choose Shortcut. Type in Click next. Type in ORCC and click Finish.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Open Source

Answer Man

I keep hearing the term Open Source. What does it mean?

Computer programs, browsers and operating systems are designed from source code. When companies sell software, they keep the source code to themselves so no one can copy the product. Some software's source code is available to anyone, thus the software is generally free. Libre Office, Mozilla Firefox and Ubuntu are examples of open source products. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

ISO File

Answer Man

What is an ISO file and what do I do with one?

ISO stands for International Standards Organization. An ISO file is an image of an optical disk. Think of it as a box that holds a bunch of items.  

When you download an ISO file, you need to burn it to a disk. You need a burner that burns ISO files. I like CDburnerxp for burning ISO files.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cut and Paste

Answer Man

Would you please explain the difference between copy and paste and cut and paste?

Copy and paste leaves the item you copied from. Thus, when you copy and paste you have 2 items that are alike. When you cut and paste, the original just moves to another location.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Content Creation

Answer Man

I frequently see a comment stating that some kinds of computers are not good for content creation? What does that mean?

Content creation refers to the use of word processing, spreadsheets, data bases, presentations, etc. in which the user is creating documents more complex than simple text messages and e-mails.

Tablet computers are generally not viewed as being good for content creation because they have only virtual or abbreviated keyboards and they are extremely limited in hard drive space. If you were writing a book, you'd need a computer with much greater capability than most tablet computers have.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Windows 8 Scrolling

Answer Man

I know you can scroll quickly in Windows 8 if you have a touch screen. What do you do if you don't have a touch screen?

You can turn the scroll wheel on the mouse to scroll horizontally. You can also move the mouse from side to side.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Linux Mint

Answer Man

I heard about an operating system called Linux Mint. Can you tell me anything about it?

Linux Mint is open source softwared based on Ubuntu. Mint is the 4th most popular operating system available. The top 3 are Microsoft, Apple and Ubuntu systems. All editions of Mint are named after females. The latest edition is called Maya. Mint includes many programs such as Libre Office. The operating system works well on netbooks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Windows 8 Charm

Answer Man

The new Windows 8 charms are difficult to get to with a mouse. Is there a keyboard shortcut for the purpose?

Press the Windows key on the keyboard and the letter C at the same time. The charms menu will appear.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Copy Screensaver

Answer Man

I had a neat screensaver on an old computer. I'd like to transfer it to a new computer that has a newer operating system. Can I do it?

Do a search on the old computer by looking for files with the extension .scr. Find the name of the file you want to transfer and copy that file. Paste the file into the scr location on the new computer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Answer Man

I tried to run a screensaver. The preview works, but the screensaver does not turn on automatically. What's wrong?

I have experienced that problem. As soon as I ran the latest Microsoft update the problem was rectified.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oak Run Computer Club Holiday Party

The Oak Run Computer Club Holiday Party will be held on Wednesday, Dec 19th, in the Orchid Club at 9:00 AM. This Holiday Party is only for members that are current with their dues. Refreshments will be provided. That is, coffee by the ORHA, the club will buy an assortment of mixed bagels and cream cheese with an assortment of doughnuts from the local bakery of Publix.

The average attendance for the last six months has been 57. To round it off to an even dozen, we will purchase 5 units to equal 60. Since bagels seem more popular, we will purchase 3 units of bagels, and balance out the difference in doughnuts. For tea drinkers, we will have tea bags and hot water - if that is provided by ORHA.

Your Party Planner - Frazer

Windows 8

Answer Man

I have Windows 7. Would I gain anything by installing Windows 8?

The main advantage would be speed. Windows 8 is 33% faster than Windows 7.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Answer Man

I just bought a Garmin GPS for  $88  that includes lifetime updates. I opened the package and there are no directions. There is just a website and a bunch of ads. What do I do now?

Unfortunately, Garmin made a big mistake by not including instructions. People who are computer illiterates will have a difficult time. Here are the steps to make the gadget work.  Attach the unit to the computer by using the included USB cable. Type in the web address for the life-time updater. Select the download maps option. It may take up to 2 hours to download the maps to the device. Unplug the USB cable. When the download is complete, push the on-off button on the device to turn the unit on. You're now good to go.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Windows 8 Start Menu

Answer Man

I understand that there is no start menu in Windows 8. Is that true?

Many people are saying that, but it isn't true. The start menu is just different. In Windows 7 and Vista users clicked on the globe icon in the lower left of the screen and then clicked on the next item of their choice. In Windows 8 users see a series of tiles. The tiles are the start menu. Users simply click on the tile of their choice, let's say it is one labeled weather. Users are taken directly to the weather page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Windows 8 Editions

Answer Man

Can you tell me about the various Windows 8 editions?

Windows 8 is available in just 4 editions. Window 8, sometimes called basic; Windows Pro, which has a few added features; Windows RT which only works with ARM processors and with limited applications; Windows Enterprise, meant for businesses (permits volume licensing).  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Answer Man

I don't understand the differences between an operating system and a browser. Can you explain those differences?

In general, the operating system is the first layer of software loaded into computer memory when it starts up. As the first software layer, all other software that gets loaded after it depends on this software to provide them with various common core services. Examples include Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, Linux and Mac OS.

Browser, short for Web browser, is a software application used to locate, retrieve and also display content on the World Wide Web, including Web pages, images, video and other files. Examples include Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Compressed Files

Answer Man

I recently received a file that doesn't open. It ends in a .zip extension. How do I open it?

The zip extension means that the file has been compressed or zipped. To open it, you need a program that will un-zip the file or decompress it. There are many unzip programs on the web. Here's one of those programs that you might try.

Executive Board Minutes - November 16, 2012

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Bill Balch, Elliott Bogart, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Laura Stein, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton.  

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary. 
Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,330.62.                       .

Ron Kenyon will present a tour of the Club’s website, with instructions how to join, post, and comment at the general meeting on November 21. Members are encouraged to bring a laptop in order to set up an account and practice using the website. 

The Oak Run Computer Club Holiday Party will be held at the December 19 general meeting, with coffee, donuts, bagels and cream cheese being provided. Alan Marcus  installed Windows 8 on the club’s computer and will give a short presentation on the new software.

Motion was made by Bob Leiner, seconded by Ron Kenyon, and approved to purchase 15 collapsible flash drives, 10 to be given out at the December 19 Holiday Party, with the remaining five to be given away from the club’s website. Bill Balch accepted responsibility for purchasing the flash drives. The continuation of raffling Wal-Mart gift cards to members was also approved.

The meeting adjourned at 10:05 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton                                    

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Print Screen Program

Answer Man

I know the Print Screen key on the keyboard will save a screen to the clipboard so that I can copy what's on the screen and print the page. Is there a way for me to select just a portion of the page rather than the whole thing?

I recently discovered a program called Screen Captor that will do just what you want from a print screen program. It's very powerful, but basic functions are easy to use. Find the program at the following link:

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Answer Man

Is there a quick way to scroll horizontally?

Yes there is. Hold down the shift key on the keyboard as you move the scroll wheel on the mouse.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Screen Saver

Answer Man

I re-installed Windows and now my screen saver won't turn on. Any suggestions?

If you have a wireless keyboard and mouse, you might have to install the software that comes with them before the screen saver will work. You can also change the amount of time before the screen saver starts.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Answer Man

I hear everyone talking about routers. Do I need one?

Routers are primarily used to provide wireless connectivity or WiFi in your home. Let us suppose that you want to be able to use a laptop computer while sitting in your easy chair without any wired connections. Then you would need a wireless router. If you have only one wired computer, you don't need a router.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ISO Files

Answer Man

I have a netbook that doesn't have a CD/DVD drive. I want to put Windows 8 on the hard drive, but all the downloads say that they are ISO files. What is an ISO file and what do you do with it?

An ISO file is an image that must be burned on a CD or DVD. It requires software that will burn ISO images. You can use a free download called Windows 7 USB/DVD (available from Microsoft) to write the ISO to a flash drive. Then, insert the flash drive into the netbook and re-boot the computer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Windows 8

Answer Man

What do you think about Windows 8 now that the release preview has been out for awhile?

I like it. It is faster than Windows 7 and seems reliable. I am not too fond of the so called metro interface which is a bunch of tiles or apps that update themselves, but once you get beyond that interface the system works much like Windows 7. Perhaps the worst part of the operating system is the way you have to shut the system down, but that could change as Microsoft modifies the program.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Split Screen

Microsoft's Surface tablet computer may have some issues. Dick Eastman writes a genealogy newsletter and has an interesting article. Click on "Split Screen" and read it for yourself.

Cellphones And Tablets Are Great For ......

...... Sharing Photos And Bacteria!

We love our smart phones and tablets a lot. But the next time you take your phone to lunch, hand it to a coworker to share photos, or bring it to the gym, consider this, bacteria from a phone can cause flu, pinkeye or diarrhea. Yuck. 

People are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from handles of the bathroom. That's according to a physician interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the hazards of taking your cell phone everywhere, and then passing it to friends to share an image or message. You don't have to be a germophobe to dread that bit of news. 

A lab tested eight randomly selected phones from a Chicago office and all phones showed abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria that indicates fecal contamination. Of the eight phones tested, there were between 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria. In drinking water, the limit is less than 1 unit per 100 ml of water.

The tricky part? Most household cleaners and disinfectants can harm your phone's screen or case. The WSJ has the full report and some suggestions for avoiding the worst of it. Worth a read as we enter the flu season.

Credit:, October 25, 2012


Answer Man

I bought a new Netgear Router just 3 months ago. Recently, I find that every day I have to uplug and then plug in the router to make it work. What should I do?

It sounds to me as if the router has failed. I would call the manufacturer for a replacement. In recent weeks, I have heard from several people who have experienced router failures. I guess things are not being made as well as they were a few years ago.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All In One Computer

Answer Man

I'm considering buying one of those all-in-one computers. What's your take on them?

The advantage is that you eliminate some wires and the computer takes up less real-estate. The disadvantages are the slightly higher cost and if one component, such as the monitor, goes south, you have to replace the entire set-up. Of course that is also true in purchasing a lap top computer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Flash Drives

Answer Man

What should I look for when purchasing a flash drive?

Considerations include: Price, storage capacity and design. I would not purchase one that has a separate cap. It's too easy to lose.  I like the type that fold like a pocket knife. Currently, you can buy a 16 GB folding flash drive from Lexar in the $10 to $12 range.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Solid State Drives

Answer Man

I am planning to buy a new computer. Some come with solid state drives (SSDs). What do you think of SSDs?

The advantages are that they are faster, lighter and more durable than drives with moving parts. The disadvantage of owning them is the cost. Although prices are coming down, you currently have to pay roughly $1.00 per gigabyte of storage. Thus, a 128 gig drive would be about $130. The new, expensive, ultra books have SSDs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cleaning Monitor Screen

Answer Man

What can I use to clean my monitor screen?

I use either a microfiber cloth or Zeiss Len's Cloths (meant for eyeglasses) that you can buy at Wal-mart or Sam's Club. You can use any soft dampened cloth if you don't saturate the cloth and rub gently. I would avoid using paper towels or any material that is abrasive.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Computer Shut Down

Answer Man

Is it ever OK to shut down the computer by using the on/off button rather than by going through the start menu?

You shouldn't shut down the computer that way unless you have no choice. If the normal way doesn't work, try pressing CTRL, ALT and DEL keys all at the same time. Then click shut down. If that doesn't work, you have no choice. Hold in the on/off button for approximately 8 seconds. When you restart the computer it should start in normal mode. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Answer Man

Every once and a while I encounter sites that want me to write down a weird code of slanted and jumbled letters. I find them impossible to read. Why do they use those things?

You are referring to Captchas.  They were designed to foil computer spammers and scammers. The Captchas can't be easily interpreted by computers, while humans have little or no trouble interpreting them.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

QR Codes

Answer Man

Can you tell me anything about those new bar codes you see in the papers. I know you need a smart phone to read them. I don't have a smart phone. Is there any other way to read them?

You are referring to a new two dimensional bar code system. The codes are called QR for quick response. They were invented by a subsidiary of Toyota for automotive inventory purposes. You can read them without a smart phone by downloading apps to your computer. Click on the following link, unzip the application and install it. Center the code in the window of the app and decode it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PDF Attachments

Answer Man

Is there something wrong with my computer? I can't open attachments that say PDF at the end.

PDF (portable document files) are files designed to be opened by any computer. They can be opened on a PC, a MAC and on Linux based computers.  However, you must have PDF reader software installed on your computer in order to open the files. The most popular reader is Adobe. There are many other readers on the market, and programs such as Libre Office (known as converters)  will open them

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Can't get into My e-mail

Answer Man

I have used Hotmail for years, but I guess something is wrong with my computer because none of the e-mails will open. What's wrong?

Many users don't realize that e-mail providers can have computer problems that don't really differ from those experienced by home users. All of the providers experience down time, and often they shut down their computers for maintenance. I suggest you wait a day or maybe even two and then try the e-mail again. If you still experience problems, it could be a problem with your browser or computer, but I'm willing to bet that your e-mail provider is having problems and that the situation will soon be rectified.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Recovery Problems

Answer Man

I had all kinds of problems with my computer, so I did a complete recovery.  Now, when I click on Internet Explorer, I can't open many sites that I could access before.  What's wrong?

When you perform a recovery, the computer reverts to the way it was when it was new.  That means that you have installed an old version of the browser which may or may not work with current applications.  Try updating the browser to the latest version your computer will accept or download another browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Answer Man

What is a database and how is one used?

A database is stored information that is divided into a series of categories called fields. Let's suppose that we created a database that contained information about Oak Run residents that included the following fields:
First Name, Last Name, Address, Neighborhood, Phone #, Age of residents, Marriage Status and State of Origin. Now, let us suppose we wanted to form a singles club in a particular neighborhood for residents from Pennsylvania. We would perform a query that reads, Give me all the residents who are single, live in the Fountains, are from Pennsylvania and are under age 60. A list containing only that information would be returned.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Answer Man

You often talk about the free program called Libre Office. I know that it is a suite of programs and one of those programs is a spreadsheet program. What are spreadsheets used for, and do I need one?

Spreadsheets are commonly used by CPAs for a variety of uses including company payrolls. Their real forte' is in doing many calculations quickly. However, you can find some nifty personal uses such as tallying your golf league's scores, quickly creating and organizing an address book or creating a simple travel itinerary. The data sort function will instantly alphabetize any list you enter.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Infrared Repeaters

Answer Man

I access the Internet via Smart TV, but many of the devices I use, such as the receiver for sound, are behind dark black glass doors. I hate to have to open the doors so the remotes will work. Is there a way around this problem?

Yes, you can use a device called an infrared repeater. It's an inexpensive device that has a sensor in clean view. The sensor is connected to a small box that repeats the remote signals for several devices. I bought one for approximately $20, including shipping, from Monoprice that includes enough sensors to control 8 distinct pieces of equipment.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

TV Internet Access

Answer Man

I know some people can access the Internet through their TV. How is that possible?

New TV sets, known as Smart TVs, can connect to the Internet if the house already has a broadband connection. If the home has a router, the user can browse from the TV wirelessly.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Internet Connection

Answer Man

I'm a snowbird, so I don't want to have to pay for an Internet connection in Oak Run. Where can I use the Internet for free?

Freedom Library provides both the computers and the Internet connection. If you have a laptop computer, netbook or tablet, you can connect at a Wi-Fi hot spot such as McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Computer

Answer Man

I am thinking of buying a new computer, but prices and specs run all over the place. How do I decide what to get?

If you are an avid gamer or do a lot with video editing you need a high powered computer with lots of memory, a large hard drive and a powerful separate video card. If you are not, you can usually get by with minimal requirements. A 320 GB hard drive should be large enough, 2 to 4 GB of memory should be fine, and an integrated video card is OK.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Speed Test

Answer Man

Is there a good way to find out if my Internet provider is giving me the speed I paid for?

Sure! Here are a couple of sites where you can check the speed:   and

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Drawing Programs

Answer Man

I am planning on buying a new TV and surround system. There are so many cables and connections that I want to plan out how to connect them before I actually do the job. Can you suggest a good way to make my diagram?

The Libre Office drawing program is very easy to use, and best of all, it's free. You simply click on boxes and drag to enlarge them on the screen. Then, connect them with lines representing the cables and enter some text. I did that before I got my stereo system, and it saved lots of time. Now I have a record if I should ever have to make changes. Find Libre Office at:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Compressed Files

Answer Man

I've sent you some picture files that I can't open, and I can't understand why. Can you tell me what the problem is?

If you run your mouse over the files, they are normal jpeg or jpg compressed picture files. Normally, they would open with most photo viewer programs. However, whoever sent them to you decided to compress the folder they were in, in what are called Zip files. When you run a mouse over the folder, the word Zip appears. The folder has to be un-zipped with one of the many un-zip utilities. Then, you can print the pictures.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Facebook Spam

Answer Man

My e-mail is being flooded with some type of spam from Facebook. What can I do about the problem?

Most e-mail providers have a way you can use to identify spam and have it directed to a spam folder which you can delete or preview and delete. Look on your e-mail site under spam to find out how your provider handles the problem.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


The Kim Komando Show
Last week, I warned you about a dangerous scam email with the subject line "CNN Breaking News -- Mitt Romney Almost President."

Well, this week 3 new scam emails have appeared that are just as dangerous. Clicking on the links in these emails can take you to Canadian online pharmacy sites or sites that can take control of your computer.

Email isn't the only way scammers try to trick you. Visit my site to learn how to spot scams in text messages, on job sites and on dating sites. You'll be glad you did!

You can be in danger from hackers, scammers and thieves even when you aren't on the Internet. My store has plenty of items that can keep you safe. From IP security cameras to RFID-blocking wallets, I bring you the best products for your protection. Click here to start shopping. New security threats can appear daily. Don't find out about them too late. Sign up for my daily email newsletters so you know exactly what is going on.

I also post regular security updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Like my Facebook page and Follow me on Twitter so you're always informed. Reminder, I'm live in the studio Saturday morning, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific time ready to take your questions. My toll-free number is 1-888-825-5254. So join me for the show! Click here to find the radio station nearest you.

Have a safe and fun weekend!

DVD writer failure

Answer Man

I know you like CDwriterxp to burn CDs and DVDs, but I used the program in a new computer and it won't recognize the burner hardware. What now?

You are correct. Some software does not seem to get along with some burners. Here's an alternative program that may correct your problem: Ashampoo, Navigate to Downloads and look for ashampoo burning studio 6.  It's free.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Answer Man

I've been on some sites such as, and without thinking, I checked a box that said install an Ask toolbar. Unfortunately, I've done the same thing with other sites and now have several toolbars taking up space. Can I get rid of them?

Right click in the bar near the top of the screen. Click Toolbars and then un-check the ones you don't want. You are really better off with no toolbars as they track your movements and slow down your computer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Multi-cartridge printers

Answer Man

I am about to purchase a printer. I see some have many print cartridges of differing colors and others have just two. Is one type better than the other?

Multi-cartridge printers have the advantage that if just one color quits, you can replace just that cartridge. The disadvantage is that the small cartridges don't hold much ink and have to be replaced frequently. Printers with 6 or 7 cartridges are generally better in color registration and are used by professionals.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mini SD Card

Answer Man

My Kodak digital camera uses little tiny flash cards to store the pictures. How do I get them off the card and into my computer?

The mini SD cards slide into holders that can be placed in computers and printers. However, you can download pictures from your Kodak via USB cable connected to the computer. After making the connection, turn on the camera. A pop-up notice will appear on the screen. Follow the directions in the pop-up to save the pictures to the computer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Executive Board Minutes - October 12, 2012

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Elliott Bogart, Jim Dillman, Bob Leiner, Laura Stein, and Carol Norton. Guests in attendance: Bill Balch, Bob Norton and Laura Tingley.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary.

Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,301.26.

Board meetings for 2013 will be held in the Island Club on the second Friday of each month thus freeing the room on remaining Fridays for other clubs/activities.

A slate of officers was presented for Year 2013:

President – Alan Marcus
Vice President – Bob Leiner
Secretary – Carol Norton
Treasurer – Laura Stein; backup Bob Norton
Publicity – Linda Tingley
Bill Balch (Where Needed)

Nominations will also be accepted at the General Meeting on October 17.

Dennis Rubacha, Event Coordinator for Verizon, will be the presenter at the October 17 general meeting. Topic to be discussed, “What Smart Phones Can Do.” A Kindle e-reader will be given out at this meeting.

Upcoming Programs: Nov 21 – Ron Kenyon will present a tour of the Club’s website, with instructions how to join, post, and comment. Members are encouraged to bring a laptop in order to set up an account and practice using the website. Dec 19 – Holiday Party and program on Windows 8.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Dedicated Photo Printer

Answer Man

I want to print a bunch of photos. Do you see any advantage in buying dedicated photo printers such as the HP Photosmart line?

The dedicated photo printers are generally made for just one purpose, and they therefore make the printers simple to use for that purpose. The paper slot is normally 4" x 6" to take pre-cut photo paper. When you insert a flash card, a slide show appears and you can print one or many pictures. The main disadvantage is that you will probably need another printer to print documents.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saving e-mails

Answer Man

There are several hundred e-mails in my Yahoo mail folders. How can I save them to a flash drive?

The short answer is that you can't without great difficulty. You see Yahoo is web-based email. That means all your e-mails are actually on Yahoo's computers (servers). You just have links to that mail. If you want to go to a lot of work, you can open each e-mail, highlight the message and copy it to Microsoft Word or some other word processor and then save the Word file. Several hundred messages will take a long time. Are you sure you want copies of your e-mails?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Keyboard Shortcuts

Answer Man

Is there a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts for common commands such as copy or paste?

Here is a list of all keyboard shortcuts:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What is spoofing?

Answer Man

What is spoofing?

Spoofing is assuming someone's e-mail address and pretending to be be that person. It is the hijacking of an e-mail account. It may be harmless, or it might be a way to gain control of someone's computer or to acquire a list of names and e-mail addresses. My computer was spoofed a few months ago and a false ad for some diet drug was sent out to many people in my contact list. If such a thing happens to you, immediately change your e-mail password.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Security Threat

This notice was just published on Kim Komando


There's a dangerous phishing email going around with the subject line: "CNN Breaking News -- Mitt Romney Almost President."

If you receive this email, I recommend you delete the email immediately!

Inside the email are legitimate-looking links that will take you to a malicious website. This site will put a virus on your computer that leaves it wide open for hackers. They can steal your information, including online passwords and financial data.

This is a good reminder to be cautious when opening unsolicited email, especially one containing links. If you have doubts about an email, visit the site referenced in the email manually instead of clicking the links in the email.

This malicious email isn't the only threat out there, so it's also a good idea to have up-to-date security software installed. You can find great, free security software on my site at this address:

Stay on your guard and have a fantastic weekend!

Icon won't go away

Answer Man

I uninstalled a program I no longer want, but the icon wouldn't go away. When I right click on the icon to delete it I get a message that it can't find the file. How do I get rid of the darn icon?

Re-start the computer and the icon will magically disappear.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Piano Chord Finder

Answer Man

I am learning to play piano and wonder if there is any good free chord finder on the Internet.

Try Chord Finder Lite at the following address. I think it is one terrific program.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Answer Man

Some time ago you mentioned a sudoku game that could be downloaded to the computer. Where can I find the site?

Try This version will allow you to see the candidates (possibilities) and you can print puzzles for later.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Removing Folders

Answer Man

How do I remove folders or files?

Right click the mouse on the folder. Left click on Delete. Left click on Yes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Battery Life

Answer Man

How long should the battery in a laptop last?

If you are talking about how long a charge should last you will find a great variance from battery to battery. Some of the new laptops claim a 6 hour life. If you are talking about years, that also varies. I have seen batteries last anywhere from 1 year to 6 years, but all of them will last for fewer and fewer hours over the years until they finally die.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rename Folder

Answer Man

How can I rename a photo, folder or file?

Right click the mouse on the item. Click rename. Type the new name and press the Enter key on the keyboard.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transfer Photos

Answer Man

I bought a new digital camera but am not sure I understand how to transfer the pictures from my camera to my computer. How's it done?

There are three methods. You can use a USB cable that comes with the camera. The small end of the cable plugs into the camera and the other end in the USB port of the computer. When you turn on the camera, a folder will appear with several options. One is to open the folder containing the pictures. Once you see the pictures, you can save them to your computer. The other methods include removing the picture card from the camera and inserting it in the card slot in the computer. Some cameras come with a docking station that will automatically transfer the pictures.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Read e-books on PC

Answer Man

E-readers on the market have tiny screens. My eyesight isn't very good. Any suggestions?

Most e-readers have an option to enlarge print greatly. That, of course, means that there are fewer words per page. You can also download e-reading software to a laptop or PC and would therefore have a much larger screen to read. Do a search for Calibre or Kindle for PC

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

E-books from Library

Answer Man

How do I check out e-books from Freedom Library?

Click on the following link: Click on E-books. Select the books you want. Enter your card number and pin, and follow directions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Password Manager

Answer Man
The computer club recently had a speaker who mentioned a password manager program. Do you recall the name of the program?

Yes, it's Last Pass

Monday, October 1, 2012

Credit Card Safety

Answer Man

Is it wise to use credit cards when ordering on the Internet?

It's quite safe if you follow sensible precautions. Only order if you call up the website and initiate the order. Only use sites whose reputation you know or are referred to by people you trust. I have ordered dozens of items and have never incurred a problem.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Drag and Drop

Answer Man

What is meant by drag and drop?

Let us assume that there are two windows open on the desktop. You wish to move a photo from the right folder to the left folder. You left click on the photo and continue to hold down the left mouse button as you move the mouse into the other window. You let go of the left mouse button and the photo will now appear in the window into which you dragged the photo.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Re-size Windows

Answer Man

How do you re-size windows?

You can restore down by clicking on the overlapping squares at the top right of the screen. You can move the cursor to either side of the window until it turns into a double headed arrow and can drag in the side by holding down the left mouse button and moving the mouse. You can left click on the corner of a window until you get the double headed arrow and then drag the window on a diagonal.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Learn a Language

Answer Man

I would like to learn Spanish, but all of the programs such as Rosetta Stone come with a high price tag. Do you know of any Internet language programs that are free?

There's a very good free program called Duolingo It is limited to English, Spanish, German

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Print Queue

Answer Man

I have tried to print several times, but nothing is happening. What should I do?

No doubt you have several items waiting to be printed in what is called the print queue. New prints won't occur until the old ones are cleared out. To clear out all documents being printed, click Start, Control Panel, Printers. Click on the printer you want to clear. Click Printing and click Cancel All documents. If the documents don't clear, you may have to re-start your computer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Old Printer, New Computer

Answer Man

I bought a new computer and have an old printer. The printer doesn't seem to work. What do I need to do to make it work?

Printers require software called drivers. If you have the original software disk for your printer you can insert it in the CD drive and re-start your computer to install the software. If that doesn't work, you probably need an updated driver which you can obtain from the printer manufacturer"s website. If no updated driver is available, it means that your old printer is not compatible with the operating system you are using. If that's the case, you will have to bite the bullet and purchase a new printer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Multiple e-mails

Answer Man

I want to send an e-mail to several people. How can I do that?

You enter the first address in the TO line. Then insert a comma. Enter the 2nd address and a comma. Enter the 3rd address and so on.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cost of E-Mail

Answer Man

I have been on dial-up Internet with AOL for years. I want to switch to DECCA Broadband. What will e-mail with another provider cost?

You pay quite a bit to Century Link or DECCA Cable for a broadband connection, but e-mail through all of the providers I know is free. That includes: Hotmail, G-Mail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail and lots more. If you switch to Century Link or DECCA you can still keep your old AOL e-mail account without incurring costs from AOL.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Answer Man

I know you mentioned a great free downloadable dictionary. What's the address?

No doubt you mean Wordweb What makes this dictionary/thesaurus so great is that no matter what program or web site you are on, you can press CTRL and right click the mouse to instantly see the definition or synonym. There is some nutty disclaimer about users not making more than one  commercial jet flight a year to keep the program for free, but otherwise it is a terrific site. Try any word in this message to see what a great program this is.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Classical Music

Answer Man

I am a fan of classical music.  Can you suggest a good Internet radio station?

Try the following

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recovery Disks

Answer Man

I just bought a new Toshiba laptop and tried to create recovery disks. I kept getting an error on the 2nd disk and couldn't continue. Any suggestions?

When you start the process, look for a box that says Verify. Click in that box to remove the check so that there is no verification. That will speed up the process and you shouldn't get the error.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scanner Software

Answer Man

My HP scanner software stopped working.  I tried a re-installation but that didn't work. I used to use their Solutions Center to Scan. Is there anything I can substitute.

There are several things you can do, but perhaps the easiest is to use MS Paint which comes with Windows. Click Start, Accessories, MS Paint, File, From Scanner or Camera. Then click Scan.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Browsers are Free

Answer Man

Is it true that browsers are free?

All the browsers I know of are free.  That includes:  Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera.  All you have to do is to download them and start using them.


Many of the blog readers have asked  how we can rid our computers of annoying toolbars such as Babylon Search, Ask.Com, Bleko and others. The answers to the problem have just been beautifully addressed by Kim Komando in her daily column. I suggest you click on the following link to her site if you are bothered by those irksome toolbars.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Executive Board Minutes - September 14, 2012

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Laurence Bauer, Frazer Crane, Jim Dillman, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Laura Stein, and Carol Norton. 

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. August treasury balance corrected to reflect $1,305.25.
Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,236.26.

Frazer Crane volunteered to accept responsibility for the December 19 Holiday party, purchasing assorted donuts, bagels, cream cheese, etc.

Bob Leiner made motion, seconded by Laurence Bauer, and approved to purchase Windows 8 for installation on the club’s computer. Alan Marcus to purchase and Bob Leiner will install. Windows 8 will be available for sale on October 25.

Frazer Crane volunteered to handle Channel 12 publicity thru December 2012. Ron Kenyon volunteered to handle Oak Run Newsletter information for the remainder of 2012.

On September 19, Lauren Brosnihen from the Marion County Public Library will join us and give a presentation on the library system’s e-book collection. A Kindle e-reader will be given out at this meeting.

Upcoming Programs: Oct 17 – Dennis Rubacha, Event Coordinator for Verizon, will discuss “What Smart Phones Can Do”; Nov 21 – Ron Kenyon will present a tour of the Club’s website, with instructions how to join, post, and comment. Members are encouraged to bring a laptop in order to set up an account and practice using the website. Dec 19 – Holiday Party and program on Windows 8. 

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton                                    

Photo Degradation

Answer Man

Is it true that each time you copy a photo the picture degrades?

If the photo is a compressed photo (such as a jpeg) each time the copy is copied the picture will be a compression of a compression and you will indeed lose quality. However, if the picture is shot in RAW format and is therefore not compressed, you could copy copies time and time again with virtually no loss.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Folders and sub folders

Answer Man

Is there a limit to how many folders and sub folders you can have?

Not any that I know of. You might, for example, have a Pictures folder, with a sub folder Travel, with a sub folder China, with a sub folder Beijing, with a sub folder Great Wall. You could continue the process on ad infinitum if you needed to, but it might be much more than you need.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Using a Flash Drive

Answer Man

How do you use a flash drive?

A flash drive is a storage device and as such can be used to store files, photos and documents. One end is inserted in a USB port. Then, if you navigate to My Computer and click on it you will see all the drives in your computer. One of those drives will be labeled "Flash Drive". Click on that drive and you will see a blank space into which you can drag or copy files. Since the flash drive is portable, you can remove it and use it to restore files back to your computer should you lose them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Floppy Disks

Answer Man

Are floppy disks worth keeping?

Yes, they make great frisbees. On a more serious note, you may have some old programs that are no longer available and you may be able to use the programs if you have a floppy drive in your computer. However, the very limited storage capacity of a floppy (1.4 MB) is extremely limiting. Flash drive holding 4, 8 and 16 Gigabytes are very common today, and the prices have been steadily falling.

Friday, September 14, 2012

10 Year Old Computer

Answer Man

I have a 10 year old computer. Is it worth keeping?

The answer depends a great deal upon what you plan to do with the computer. If the computer is very slow, it probably has too little memory, and it just doesn't pay to add any. You may, however, be able to put in a different operating system that uses little memory. I particularly like Ubuntu. It is a free operating system, and if you get one of the earlier versions such as 9.04, you will find that the computer may be quite useful.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Answer Man

What is a computer kickstand?

It's a relatively new term that refers to a panel that swings out (usually from a tablet computer) to hold the machine upright or at a slight angle to make it easy to read without you having to hold the machine. The new Microsoft Surface tablet comes with a kickstand built in.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Virus locks up computer

Answer Man

I keep getting pop-up messages about viruses on my computer. I know better than to click on the message because they probably want money, but it's preventing me from doing anything with the machine. What can I do?

In most cases that I have encountered, you can restore your computer to an earlier point so that the messages no longer appear. Once you have done that, run your anti-virus program. If that doesn't succeed you will probably have to do a complete recovery of your computer which means that all your personal stuff will be erased and the computer will be as it was when new.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Computer Class - "Working With Photos In Picasa" - Part 2

The ORHA Computer Class, "Working With Photos in Google's Picasa", Part 2, will take place on Friday, Sept 14, at 3PM in the Orchid Club.

Download and use Picasa to index and edit your photos. Learn how to create collages and slideshows. Share photos with friends and family using Picasa Web Albums.

The cost is $2 per person for each class. Computer Club members can attend for free. To learn more click HERE or email Ron at

Meaning of Default

Answer Man

I keep encountering the word default in relation to computing. What is the meaning of the word when referring to computers?

The word refers to a setting that you want to always occur unless replaced by a different one of your choosing. For example, let's say you have two printers. One is a Samsung laser and the other is an HP ink-jet. You want to use the laser about 90% of the time, so you select the Samsung to be the default printer. All printing will now go to the Samsung unless you change the printer settings.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Copying Disks

Answer Man

My computer has just one DVD drive. How can I copy a DVD when there's no place for the copy to go?

Good DVD writer programs, such as CDburnerXP, will create an image from the original disk. After the image has been created, you will be prompted to remove the original disk and to insert a blank disk. The program will resume and will complete the copying process.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Answer Man

Can a laptop user have both a touch pad and a mouse be operational at the same time?

They certainly can.  Many people don't like the touch pads (sometimes called glide points) and prefer to use a mouse. Simply plug the mouse into a USB port and you're good to go.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tax Software

Answer Man

What do you think of tax preparation programs for computers?

I have used Turbo-Tax for many years and think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I am able to do my taxes in 30 minutes. The program picks up information from past year filings and enters it in the new return so that you don't have to enter the same information each time. The program lets you e-file. I normally have the program be accepted within 24 hours and have gotten a refund in as little as 8 days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tiny hard drive

Answer Man

I have an old old old computer that only has a 10 Gigabyte hard drive. Is the computer useful for anything?

It certainly is. I own a netbook with an 8 Gigabyte hard drive and use the computer for many things. You can always add an external hard drive to your system to get as much storage space as you need. I took an 80 Gigabyte hard drive from an old computer someone threw away and put the drive in a cheap drive enclosure. Now, I have 90 Gigabytes available on my original 8 Gigabyte computer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Credit Card Safety

Answer Man

I have never ordered anything on-line. Is it safe to use a credit card to order?

If you are careful in which sites you order from it should be quite safe. However, I would use a credit card, not a debit card. If a bad source acquires your debit card number they can empty your entire bank account in seconds. Credit card companies, on the other hand, look out for suspicious behavior and will put holds on accounts until problems are rectified. I once got gas for an RV.  The gas pump shut off after $75. I started the pump again and put in another $75. The credit card company thought that the gas station was pulling tricks and the account was frozen until I assured the credit card company that everything was on the up and up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Picasa Class

The ORHA Computer Class, "Working With Photos in Google's Picasa", a 2-part series, will take place on Fridays, Sept 7 and 14, at 3PM in the Orchid Club.

Download and use Picasa to index and edit your photos. Learn how to create collages and slideshows. Share photos with friends and family using Picasa Web Albums.

The cost is $2 per person for each class. Computer Club members can attend for free. To learn more click HERE or email Ron at

2 Printers

Answer Man

I want to use 2 printers, one is a laser and the other is an inkjet. How do I switch between them?

If the printers are installed correctly, both will show up in your list of printers. One printer will be set up as the default printer. All printing will come from that printer unless you select a different printer. After you start the print process, there will be a place to select a different printer (that place differs from browser to browser). Click on the printer you wish to use. If you return to print sometime later, the computer will switch back to the default printer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cheap Ink

Answer Man

I'm amazed by the high cost of ink for my inkjet printer. Do you know of a good place on-line that has relatively cheap ink?

I like Adorama. Their prices are good and usually include free shipping.

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