Saturday, June 30, 2012

Answer Man - High megapixel cameras

Answer Man

I am planning to buy a digital camera. Is there any disadvantage to having a high megapixel cameras over lower megapixel ones?

Just one. If you shoot at the highest resolution, the pictures take up more room on the camera card, and therefore you can take fewer pictures than you could with a camera with fewer megapixels. I still use a 4 megapixel camera. It will take 760 pictures on a 1 gigabyte camera card. The same card will only have room for 1/3 that many pictures if the shots are taken at 12 megapixels. Of course you can purchase another card or a larger card to overcome the capacity shortcoming.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Answer Man - Phone Interference

Answer Man

My wireless phones seem to get a lot of interference from my router. Could that be the case?

Yes it could. Most phones and routers use the same frequency: 2.4 GHz. You can solve the problem by purchasing a dual band router that operates at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Answer Man - Wired and Wireless

Answer Man

Can I have use both  wired and wireless devices on my home network at the same time?

Certainly! Most routers have Ethernet jacks or sockets into which you can plug in wired devices, but the routers also broadcast to wireless devices. You might, for example, have a desktop computer that you keep wired to the router because that connection will be faster and more reliable than a wireless connection, but, at the same time, you can pick up the wireless signal on your laptop as you sit in your easy chair.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Answer Man - Substitute for Word

Answer Man

You once mentioned a substitute for Microsoft Word, but I forget what it was. Would you repeat it?

LibreOffice is a free suite of programs that contains substitutes for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and it will open up those documents. It also contains a drawing program, database program, a formula program and a math program. Here's the link to their site:
>>>   LibreOffice   <<<

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Answer Man - Free E-Mail

Answer Man

Are there any free e-mail programs I can use?

All of the e-mail programs I can think of are free. They include but are not limited to: AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail, Hot Mail, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail and GMail.

Answer Man - How many megapixels do I need?

Answer Man

I have an 8 megapixel camera, and it takes good pictures. I see they keep coming out with higher megapixel cameras. Are they any better?

It's a case of one-upmanship. More megapixels might be needed if you are making a humongous enlargement of a picture, but most of the pixel race is an attempt to sell a new device. Nokia recently announced a cell phone with a 41 megapixel camera. You might ask why. I have taken perfectly good pictures, all over the world, using a 4 megapixel point and shoot camera. I'm more than happy with the results.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Answer Man - Attaching several files at once

Answer Man

Can I attach a second file to an e-mail before the first one finishes loading?

Yes you can. You can attach several, but each one you add slows down the loading process.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Answer Man - Anti-Virus updates

Answer Man

How often should anti-virus files be updated?

If possible, as soon as a new anti-virus signature file is created for your anti-virus program. Since, you don't know when that will be, you should set the program for automatic updates. If your program doesn't offer that option, update daily. If you don't, your computer is wide open to infection.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Answer Man - PDF

Answer Man

What are PDF files?

PDF stands for portable document format. It is software invented by the Adobe Corporation that enables any type of computer to open the same document. Thus, a PC and a Mac can both open such a file. Today, many other software manufacturers produce PDF file creators and readers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Answer Man - Photosmart printer

Answer Man

I have an HP Photosmart printer. The picture color doesn't seem accurate. Gray color in the actual picture is coming out a muddy brown. What can I do to correct the colors.

Most Photosmart printers have an edit command. Click Edit and then select brightness. A slider can be used to make the picture brighter. I suggest making it much brighter. I think you will be happy with the results.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Answer Man - Routers

Answer Man

I know there are different standards for routers. The G router was popular. Now it's the N standard. Should I buy an N router?

If you can hold off a few months, you will be able to purchase a much faster better router: It conforms to the new IEEE 802.11ac standard. One of the manufacturers is Broadcom.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Help For Beginners

As most of you know, we've always had a page tab (above) called Help For Beginners. There you'll find the names and emails of people that are willing to help when you have a computing problem. And that help was there for everyone, not just beginners.

Now we have classes for those who are just beginning with computers or those who want to freshen up their basic skills. The ORHA Web Team and the Computer Club will be offering these $2 classes (free to ORCC members) on the third Friday of each month starting in July (room availability and holidays permitting).

We will help you learn and understand the basics of computing, including how to use your Windows 7 operating system and web browsers, among other things. The goal of these classes is to give your computing experience a boost and to give you the confidence you'll need to master this incredible machine.

Classes take place in the Orchid Club starting at 3:00PM on those scheduled Fridays. An introductory class will be held on June 29. To see a list of all scheduled classes go to the ORHA Website, and click on the "uLearn Classes" button. Or look in the left sidebar, here, under the topic Computer Classes and click on the provided link.
If you have a laptop please bring it to class along with your power supply. If you don't have a laptop join us anyway and take notes. The classes are very relaxed with lots of time for questions. Remember, you don't have to sign up, just show up! See you there.

Answer Man - Outlet Strips

Answer Man

Several of my computer gadgets have those big block transformer plugs. None of the outlet strips seem to have enough room to plug in all the gadgets. Any suggestions?

My solution isn't cheap, but it will work very nicely. Many stores now sell an As Advertised on Television articulating outlet strip. You can bend the strip into several configurations so that the plug blocks will not interfere with each other. Unfortunately, the ones I have seen sell for approximately $30.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Answer Man - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Answer Man

I use my computer many hours a day. I use my right hand to operate the mouse. Now my hand aches. What can I do about the problem?

I have had the same problem. I have learned to use the mouse with either hand, and frequently change hands. Other options include using voice recognition software to type for you or switch to a touch screen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Executive Board Minutes - June 15, 2012

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

Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $3,024.16

The projector purchase was discussed.  Elliott Bogart made motion, seconded by Ron Kenyon, and carried to spend up to $2K on an Optima projector.  Ron Kenyon to order and be reimbursed from the treasury.

Regarding the club’s two remaining projectors,  Ron Kenyon made motion, seconded by John Baccoli, and carried to sell the Sony projector to Frazer Crane for $25.  The club will retain the Epson projector as a spare.

Discussion of E-readers was brought before the Board.  Bob Leiner made motion, seconded by Frazer Crane, and carried to purchase five Kindle E-readers to be given out starting in July thru November at the general meeting.  Bob Leiner to purchase and be reimbursed by the treasury.  The continuation of two Walmart gift cards will be distributed  as usual. 

Ron Kenyon will email DECCA/ORHA inquiring about possible purchase of boom microphones which will enhance reception at the general meetings.  Ron will give report at the next meeting.  In the meantime Frazer Crane will purchase (1) AA pack and (2) 9-volt pack of alkaline batteries as spares to be used in conjunction with DECCA’s wireless microphones.

Ron Kenyon was appointed to investigate the possibility of downsizing the computer club storage cabinet in the Orchid Club.  He is to present his investigative report  next month.

Ordering of customized club items to be given out in December was discussed in length.  Ron Kenyon will assume responsibility for researching and report his findings to the Board next month.

Dr. John Rogacki, Associate Director of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, will be the June 20 speaker.  His presentation title is “Inventing the Future”. 

Upcoming Programs:  July 18 – Salvaging an Old Computer by Alan Marcus; August 22 – Basics and Guru Q & A Session; Sept 19 – E-Book Collection by Lauren Bosnihen, Marion County Library; October 17 – TBA; November 21 – TBA; December 19 – Holiday Party.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H Norton                                    

Special Presentation

Oak Run residents are invited to attend a presentation by Dr. John Rogacki, Associate Director of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) on Wednesday, June 20, at 9:00 AM in the Orchid Club. The presentation title is “Inventing the Future”.

This presentation is sponsored by the Computer Club, and will be held at the Club's regular meeting time and place. You need not be a member of the club to attend this special meeting.

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System and is affiliated with several Florida universities. If you would like to know more about IHMC, visit the organization's website:

Dr. Rogacki

Prior to joining IHMC, Dr. Rogacki served from 2004 to 2010 as Director of the University of Florida’s Research and Engineering Education Facility (REEF).

Among his past experiences, Dr. Rogacki has served as NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Transportation Technology (in charge of the Space Launch Initiative) and Program Director for the Orbital Space Plane and Next Generation Launch Technology Programs

Answer Man - Laptop Heat

Answer Man

I often place my laptop on my lap to operate the computer. I assume that's why they call those computers laptops. But, I notice that the computer gets quite hot, as do my thighs.  Am I doing something wrong?

Many laptops have the built in fans facing downward. Tiny feet normally support the laptop above a surface so that there is some clearance between the fan and the surface. When you place the computer on your lap or on soft material, that clearance is no longer there and the computer can overheat. I suggest that you purchase a laptop desk, that has a hard surface under the computer and a soft side will be toward your lap. An excess of heat could destroy your computer.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The End of LINUX

In doing some genealogical research this morning, I ran across an article having to do with LINUX and Ubuntu. Click on Is LINUX Dead to go to the web page and read on.

Answer Man - Screen Locks Up

Answer Man

Sometimes my screen freezes and I can't do anything with the computer except turn it off. Is there a better way?

The next time it happens, press CTRL, ALT and DEL keys on the keyboard, all at the same time. That's called a soft boot. Then select a task to stop by clicking on the name of the task. If that doesn't work, click on the same window where it says shut down. You should only turn off the power if nothing else works.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Answer Man - Upload photos from camera

Answer Man

I bought a new digital camera. I took a bunch of pictures, but I don't know how to get them out of the camera. What do I do?

There are two ways to transfer the pictures. One method use a USB cable that came with the camera. To use that method, plug the cable into the camera and the other end into the USB port on the computer. A pop up window will appear with several options. Select view files and then click on the files. Click Organize and Select All. Then drag the pictures into My Pictures. The other method involves removing the image card from the camera and inserting it into a card slot in the computer, if there is one. Then follow the steps above after pop up window.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Answer Man - Send newspaper clipping

Answer Man

I clipped out an article from the newspaper that I'd like to send as an e-mail attachment. How can I send it?

If you have a flat bed scanner, place the clipping face down on the scanner and press scan on the printer or select scan in the software that came with the printer. Make note of the location where the scan is stored in your computer, such as in My Scans. Compose your e-mail. Click attach and then the location of my scans or wherever the scan is located. Wait for the attachment to finish loading and click Send to send the e-mail.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Answer Man - Print Drivers

Answer Man

I recently bought a new computer. The software that drove the printer was in the old computer, and now I can't get the printer to work. I don't have the original disk.  Is there anything I can do to make the printer work?

The software, or printer driver, is probably available for download from the printer's website. Let's say that the printer was HP. You would go to the website, click on support and then on drivers. Enter the name and model of your printer and download the driver to your new computer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Answer Man - Organizing Photos

Answer Man

The photos I take with my digital camera all have some obscure numbers to identify them. Isn't there some way to give them some identifying name?

The photos are normally identified by the camera with the word image and then a long number. Right click on the number and then click Rename. Type in a name of your choice such as Great Wall of China, and press the Enter key on the keyboard. If you have many similar pictures, you may have to name them Great Wall 1, Great Wall 2, Great Wall 3, for example.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Answer Man - Bloatware

Answer Man

You have often talked about Bloatware or unnecessary programs clogging up a computer. Can you give a few examples?

Bloatware, sometimes called crapware, is often added by the computer manufacturer as a source of extra income that can be gotten from the software manufacturer. Some of the worst offenders are: Wild Tangent Games, Microsoft Office trial ware (good for 60 days), trial anti-virus software and Yahoo and Google toolbars. These programs are not dangerous, but they take up space on your hard drive you could use for other purposes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Answer Man - Slow Computer

Answer Man

I have an external hard drive that I use for backing-up my computer. I notice that my computer operates very slowly when the back-up is plugged in. Should I keep the back-up unplugged?

Yes you should. It's a good idea for another reason. If you should experience a lightning strike, both the computer and the back up could be taken out. Plug in the back-up only when you are backing up the computer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Answer Man - Skype

Answer Man

I have never used Skype, but would like to get started. How do I begin?

Skype is a program that enables users who each have the software to communicate with each other in various ways for free. The program requires that you have a microphone and speakers, and perhaps a webcam. If your computer does not have a built in mike, I suggest you purchase a combination headset-mike. The headsets are available from Wal-mart for under $20. Download the program from and follow directions.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Answer Man - Greeting Cards

Answer Man

I know many people design their own greeting cards. Do you have any suggestions as a way to get started?

I have been printing my own greeting cards for years. Making your own is not only less expensive than buying cards, it also has the advantage of allowing you to customize the cards. I like Print Shop software, and you don't have to have the latest version. Amazon sells an older version, #23, for approximately $10, including shipping. You can purchase a large box of card stock and envelopes from Sam's Club. Then all you need is an inkjet printer. It will take a little time to get used to the program and how to load the card stock in the printer to print both sides of the card stock, but you will be very happy with the results.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Answer Man - Default Printer

Answer Man

I have two printers, a laser and an ink jet. I use the laser most of the time. How do I arrange it so that printer is selected automatically so I won't have to continually select one or the other?

Click Start, Control Panel, Printers. Click on the laser printer description. Click on the word Printer. Click Set as Default Printer. A check will appear next to that printer's description. Your computer will always print to the laser unless you select a different printer in the list.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Answer Man - Battery Life

Answer Man

How can I get maximum life from my laptop battery?

Defragment  the computer on a regular basis. The faster the computer works, the less battery needed. Dim the screen. Reduce the number of programs running in background such as I Tunes. Add memory. That will reduce the amount of time the hard drive runs in what is called virtual memory. Clean the battery contacts with alcohol.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Answer Man - Reserve price auctions

Answer Man

I have been looking at e-bay auctions. Several sites say "no reserve". What does that mean?

Let us suppose that you see an expensive motor home for sale on e-bay. For argument's sake, we'll say it is worth $100,000. The seller could just put that price on the site. That is called the Buy It Now price. Or, they could put the coach up for auction. In an auction, the high bidder wins. Let us suppose that the high bid is $200. Certainly the seller doesn't want the coach to sell for that little, so he has a hidden or reserve price in mind, and he won't sell the coach until that reserve price has been met. If he just wants to sell for the high bid, he will state in the ad that there is no reserve. Some sites will list both Buy It Now and Auction amounts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Answer Man - Magic Jack Plus

Answer Man

I know that you have been using Magic Jack Plus for a while now. What's your opinion of the device?

I began using Magic Jack Plus in October of 2011, so I have been using it more than 6 months. Unfortunately, I changed to new wireless phones at the same time. So I really don't know if the quality of the calls is related to the phones or the Magic Jack. The pluses of the Magic Jack are all related to cost. I opted for the 1 year payment plan, so I pay $29.95 a year for service. That saves me about $350 a year in Century Link charges and I can make all of my calls in the U.S. and Canada without incurring any other charges. The only downsides I see are that once in a great while I will have a dropped call and a very annoying call waiting that will emit loud tones while you are talking to someone else (there is no way to disable that feature). Would I install Magic Jack if I had to do it again?- absolutely.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Answer Man - Salvage an old computer

Answer Man

You have talked about salvaging old computers by installing a new free operating system such as Ubuntu or Joli. I want to keep my XP. Can't I make it faster and better?

It generally doesn't pay to add memory or a larger hard drive to an old computer, but you can make it faster. Do that by reducing the number of programs in the start menu, running disk clean-up, running defragmentation and by uninstalling programs you no longer need.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Answer Man - Blurry photos

Answer Man

My daughter sends pictures to me from her new Apple 4GS phone. The phone is supposed to have an 8 megapixel camera, but the pictures I get are huge and blurry. What's wrong?

Your daughter is probably choosing an option of sending the largest photo she can because she thinks it will be better quality. The opposite is true. She should send a small picture which will open faster on your computer and be much sharper.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Answer Man - Enlarging Print

Answer Man

You mentioned a method of enlarging the print on a page, but I forgot what it was. Would you repeat the information?

Sure. Here are two methods. One is to hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard as you move the scroll wheel on the mouse. Move the wheel toward the screen to enlarge print, backward to make print smaller.

Another method is to hold down the CTRL key as you push the plus symbol key on the keyboard. CTRL and the minus key makes the type smaller.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Answer Man - Windows 8

Answer Man

I understand that there is a new release of the Windows 8 Preview. Where can I find it?

Go to the following site. It's a big download and will take quite a bit of time.

Anwer Man - State Park Reservations

Answer Man

I would like to camp in a Florida State Park in the Florida Keys. I have heard that they may be booked up to a year in advance. How do I make reservations?

Most state parks (including Florida's parks) and national parks take reservations through Reserve America a division of Ticketmaster. The site will keep track of all of your reservations.

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