Thursday, May 31, 2012

Answer Man - Music download sites

Answer Man

One of my friends swears by the beemp3 music download site. What's your opinion of the service?

I don't like it. You are constantly bombarded with pop-ups, requests to install toolbars, etc. I think it opens up your computer to all kinds of spam. Look at it this way. How can those sites be profitable? The answer is by advertisements or selling name lists to others.  I don't want to open my computer to such tomfoolery. If you want music for your mp3, copy it from music CD disks that you own.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Answer Man - iPad non-replaceable battery

Answer Man

Is it true that you cannot replace the battery in the iPad?

That is true. The company will send you a new or refurbished iPad for $105.95. Your data will be gone, unless you have backed it up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Answer Man - Start Menu

Answer Man

Every time I download a program it asks if I want to have it put in the start menu. Should I say yes or no?

You should say no. Most manufacturers of software want their programs to start when the computer starts (bloatware). Having many programs in the start menu will slow down your computer. Your computer will run fine even when all programs in the start menu are disabled.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Answer Man - Toolbars

Answer Man

I keep running into sites that want to add a toolbar to my browser. Are toolbars okay to use?

Toolbars used to give some advantage to accessing sites, but in today's world of tabbed browsing, toolbars are superfluous. What's more, they may slow down your computer. I would not have any add-on toolbars on my computer.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Answer Man - Finding Florida vacation spots

Answer Man

I know you like to travel. Can you name some good spots within Florida where I might spend some time camping?

One of my favorites is the Gulf Islands National Seashore. I particularly like the park near Pensacola, Fl. There are miles of white sand beaches and a very accommodating staff.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Answer Man - Scaleable Fonts

Answer Man

I want to use a font point size that is not in the drop down list. Is that possible?

You can type in any point size you like in the box where the point size shows up. Let's say you want 47 point. Just type in 47. That's all there is to it. It's called a scaleable font.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Answer Man - Windows 8 Computer

Answer Man

I am thinking of purchasing a new computer. Should I wait until next year so that it comes with Windows 8?

Windows 8 works best with a touch screen. Most new computers will be all-in-ones with touch screen capability. If touch screens and apps are important to you, I'd wait. Windows 8 does start and stop faster. Otherwise, Windows 8 has no real advantages over Windows 7. Windows 8 does work with a mouse, but I find it to be a little awkward to use that way.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Answer Man - Anti-Virus software

Answer Man

I was looking for a new computer at a local electronics store. The salesman wanted to sell me some anti-virus software that I had never heard of.  What do you recommend?

I'm partial to free software. Remember, salespeople are trained to up-sell. They will try to sell extended warranties, service contracts and software. That's big money for the store, but of little value to you. Look into Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG and  AVAST to obtain free but very good programs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Answer Man - Apple Immune to Virus?

Answer Man

I am thinking of buying an Apple computer because they're immune to viruses. What do you think of the idea?

Who told you they're immune. On April 11th, Bloomberg news stated the following:

The Flashback trojan is estimated to have affected around 600,000 computers, and can serve as a reminder to Mac users that their machines aren’t impenetrable. While Macs have enjoyed the reputation of being far less open to viruses than PCs, as Apple’s market share has grown, some hackers have started to take notice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Answer Man - Special Characters

Answer Man

I often write to somebody in Germany. How do I type an umlaut on my keyboard?

Go to the following site: Turn on the NUM Lock key. Then hold down the ALT key and type the code on the number keypad for umlaut: ALT 0196. (Ä) In like manner, you can type in dozens of special characters by knowing the associated code. To type the symbol for Euro, for example,( €), hold ALT and type 0128.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Answer Man - I Phone

Answer Man

I have an Apple 4G cell phone. Whenever I send pictures to my friends the pics lean left or right or are upside down. How can they open them and have them be right side up?

Apple uses a proprietary format, and many programs can't deal with it. I have found that Photoshop will open the html photos in a .jpg format, and the pictures will be right side up.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Answer Man - Folders

Answer Man

I saw, in one of your computer club demonstrations, that you have all of your travel photos organized in folders by destination, such as China, Japan, Australia, State Parks, etc. How can I organize my photos that way?

Click on Computer, Pictures, Organize, New Folder. Name the new folder by clicking in the blank and typing what you want, such as China. Drag and drop the China pictures on to that folder. Then create folders for the rest of your locations and drag the appropriate pictures to each folder.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Answer Man -Solitaire

Answer Man

I like to play solitaire, but the games built into Windows don't seem very good. Can you suggest a good alternative?

I like the games at They are nice and large and make some great sounds when you win a game.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Answer Man Craig's List

Answer Man

I would like to sell something on the local CraigslList. How do I get started?

Go to Click Post to Classified. Click Sign up for an account. Enter your e-mail address and a password you have chosen and compose your ad. Be aware that Craigslist is like a blog. Only the latest postings stay on top. You can keep renewing your ad to keep it on the latest date. There is no charge for personal listings on Craigslist.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Answer Man - Pay Pal

Answer Man

I would like to buy something on E-Bay. The site says they only accept Pay Pal. What does that mean?

Pay Pal is essentially an on-line bank. You register with them on-line. When you purchase an item on E-Bay, the cost of the item is deducted from either a credit card or your checking account. Pay Pal charges the sellers, but not the buyers. Money left in a Pay Pal account will gain interest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Answer Man - GPS Set-up

Answer Man

I purchased a new Tom Tom GPS, but it can't find the satellites. Can you help?

Years ago GPS units came with software in the form of CD disks. Now the manufacturers are saving money by omitting the disks. The software has to be downloaded from the Tom Tom web site. Plug the GPS into a USB port on the computer. Then follow directions on the GPS to download the software to your computer. When that is done, take the unit outside in an unobstructed view of the sky. It may take up to 5 minutes to find the satellites. Then the unit should work in normal fashion.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Answer Man - No Internet

Answer Man

A friend can operate his computer on my network but my computer will not connect to the Internet. Any suggestions?

Often a corrupted file may prevent the connection. I suggest you restore the computer to an earlier date. If that doesn't solve the problem it may be because of some hardware issue.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Answer Man - Business Cards

Answer Man

I would like to print my own business cards.  Are there any free programs that will help me make them?

Try Spring Publisher - or Scribus -

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Answer Man - Keyboard stick-ons

Answer Man

The letters on several keys of my computer keyboard have worn off. I know they sell stick-on replacements, as you mentioned in the last post, but most of them cost as much as a new keyboard. Is there a less expensive replacement?

Try this: Open a word processor such as Microsoft Word. Select Arial Font, 20 pt. type. Put on the Caps Lock on the keyboard. Type each letter of the alphabet followed by two spaces (use the spacebar). Then change the background color to black. Print what you have done. Coat the letters with Krylon, polyurethane or some other clear coating. Cut out the letters and adhere them to the keys with Elmer's glue or something similar.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Answer Man - Stick on Keyboard Letters

Answer Man

I learned typing by the Dvorak method. Where can I buy a Dvorak keyboard?

I suggest that instead of buying an entire keyboard that you instead purchase self adhesive stick on letters that can be pasted over the letters on a standard keyboard. You can also purchase stick-on letters in Korean, Russian, Hebrew and many other languages. E-bay is a good source for such letters, but there are hundreds of other sites that sell the products. Do a search for keyboard stick-on letters.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Answer Man - Selling on-line

Answer Man

I would like to sell some items on-line, but I don't want to spend much. What do you suggest?

You can advertise on or on at no cost. E-bay does charge the seller, and the rates vary with the type of item sold and the final selling price.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Answer Man - Out of USB Ports

Answer Man

My laptop only has 2 USB ports. I have a mouse, printer and flash drive. How do I get three items in two ports?

You can purchase a device called a USB Hub. You should be able to purchase one for under $15 if you do some searching on the Internet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Answer Man - Unplug Back-Up Drive

Answer Man

I have been told to un-plug my back-up drive when I'm not using it. Is there any good reason for that suggestion.

There is the possibility that your system could be hit by lightning. If the back-up was connected at that time, you could lose both the main computer and the back-up. I think it is a good idea to only plug in the back-up when you are saving data to that drive.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Answer Man - Reset Router Password

Answer Man

I had to do a recovery of my computer. The computer was configured to remember my password for the router. Now it doesn't remember the password, and I forgot it. Is my situation hopeless? I can't get back on the Internet.

Many routers have a reset button. On a Linksys router, holding in the button for 20 seconds or so will cause the router to default back to the situation when you had no password. You can type in a new password, but be certain to write it down so that you don't have to repeat this whole scenario.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Answer Man - Selling on E-Bay

Answer Man

I am thinking of selling something on e-bay. Do you have any idea of the cost to sell on their site?

The costs vary depending upon the type of item and the final selling price. Here's an example: Let us suppose you sell an I Pad for $200, and you charge $10 for shipping to the customer. The e-bay fee will be $18.90.

More expensive items such as an RV that sells for $68,000, will cost approximately $1600 in fees. If you use PayPal to accept payment, it will cost you another 2% of the selling price.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Answer Man - ISO Files

Answer Man

I downloaded a program that I want to install, but it says it is an ISO file. What do I do with it?

ISO stands for International Standards Organization. An ISO file must be burned to a CD or DVD by using a program that will burn ISO files. One of my favorite burning programs is CDburnerxp. You can download it from Just type CDburnerxp in the search box.

When using the program, click on burn ISO. Tell the program where your downloaded file is located and the program will burn the file to a CD or DVD that you can use to install the program in question.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Answer Man - Boot from Flash Drive

Answer Man

My computer doesn't have a DVD/CD drive. I have a printer driver on a CD. Is there any way I can save the program and have it boot from a flash drive so I can install my printer?

Go to Download the program Koala.  Install the program. Put the CD and the flash drive in the computer. Click scan to find the files on the CD and then click the 2nd scan to show the location of the flash drive. Click Start. The program will copy what was on the CD and make your flash drive bootable.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Answer Man - Magic Jack Plus

Answer Man

I know that you have had the Magic Jack Plus for a couple of months. What do you think of the system?

It's not quite the quality of Century Link. I find the call waiting feature most annoying. You can't turn it off, and there are loud continuous beeps while you are on a call. Once in a great while a call will drop. However, Magic Jack saves me $26 per month in regular phone charges and quite a bit on long distance charges. Would I go this way again. Absolutely.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Answer Man - Craig's List

Answer Man

I understand that Craig's List doesn't charge for ads placed on their site. Can that possibly be true?

Well, it's partially true. They only charge for some help wanted advertisements. Everything else is indeed free. Forbe's Magazine recently wrote an article wondering how Craig's List could make much money with that scheme, but evidently the system works.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Answer Man - E-Reader special offer

Answer Man

Amazon advertises an e-reader called Kindle-Special Offers. What are the special offers?

The special offers are advertisements.  The Kindle - special offers edition normally sells for about $79. An e-reader without the ads will cost you substantially more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Answer Man - Chrome/Chromium

Answer Man

I like the Chrome browser that is used with Windows machines. Is there a Chrome browser for Ubuntu and other Linux machines?

Yes there is. It's called Chromium and is very similar to Chrome.

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