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.

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