Thursday, January 31, 2013

"iPad Basics" Class for Beginners

The "iPad Basics" class for 'newbies' will be held Friday, Feb 15, at 3PM in the Orchid Club. You must be registered to attend this class. Registration instructions are on the ORHA website HERE. Please read ALL the information and then register. Be sure to bring your checkbook (preferred) or cash if you are not a 2013 Computer Club member.

Computer Trends

Answer Man

I want to buy a new computer, but I see that what was hot yesterday isn't hot today. Right now, tablets seem to be the in thing. Netbooks were the in thing last year.  Before that it was laptops, and before that it was desktops. I don't want to buy something that is obsolete. What should I get?

What you buy depends upon the uses you have for the computer. Whatever you purchase will be a compromise. If you are heavily into content creation (you write letters or books), you save and edit photos or work with videos, you'll probably want a desktop. If you do some of those things, but space is at a premium, get a laptop. If you do little but surf the Internet and check e-mail, get a netbook or a tablet. If you are only going to read books, get an e-reader. If you are wealthy like me (that's a joke!) get one of each.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Open With Command

Answer Man

I have an old copy of Microsoft Office on my computer. I decided to add LibreOffice to the machine. I had created a document in LibreOffice and it was fine until I decided to uninstall Microsoft Office. Now my document won't open. Did I do something wrong?

Each document you create opens with an assigned program. If the program isn't present any longer, the document won't open. You need to right click on your document and select Open With. Then select a program of your choice that is in the computer. In your case, select LibreOffice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saving to a DVD

Answer Man

How do I save to a DVD?

You don't save to a DVD in the actual sense. You burn to a DVD. What's the difference? Well, you can't drag and drop or copy and paste to a DVD. You must use a program called a burner to write info to a DVD. You might realize, however, that DVD drives are disappearing from computers because flash drives are smaller, lighter and hold much more information than even the largest DVDs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Trial Ware

Answer Man

My new computer has several programs described as "trial ware". What does that mean?

Many manufacturers, including Microsoft, insert trial ware into new computers. The hope is that you will like the programs so well that you will want to buy them. Microsoft Office trial ware is often  shipped with new computers.  You normally can use it free for 60 days. Just about the time you are used to it and really like it, you can't use it anymore unless you pay the piper. When I buy a new computer, I immediately uninstall all trial ware.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Restore vs. Recovery

Answer Man

What is the difference between computer restore and computer recovery?

The restore option returns a computer to an earlier point in time. You might use restore if your computer starts behaving badly after you add a new program.  You would use the option to go back to a date before that program was installed. A Recovery wipes away everything you installed and returns your computer to the condition it was in when you bought the machine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Windows 8 Reminder


Microsoft has already started to ship the new higher priced Windows 8 Pro to stores. I was in Target today, and there in front of me was a $199.99 Windows Pro disk box already for sale.

If you are even remotely thinking about purchasing Windows 8, you can download it for just $39.99 if you do so before January 31st. That is just 6 days from now.  

I think you will all like Windows 8. There is a learning curve, but you will find that it is quite an improvement over earlier Windows versions.

Windows 8 on Disk

Answer Man

I know that I have until January 31st to order Windows 8 at a reduced price. The download is much cheaper than buying on disk. Why would I want to buy the disk?

Many people like the security of having a disk just in case there should be a major crash of their system. Having the disk would make it easy to re-install the operating system. If a crash is minor, a user can restore the system using a back-up partition on the hard drive. If the crash is major, the back up partition would be destroyed, and the only way to restore the computer would be to do it from disk.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Can Windows 8 look like Windows 7

Can Windows 8 "morph" into the appearance of Windows 7, with icons (or apps), as we have been used to seeing on the desktop?

Closing App in Windows 8

Answer Man

I don't remember whether or not you covered closing apps in your Windows 8 presentation, but I find that I cannot get out of an app. I have to go back to the start screen to leave the app. Is there another way?

Move your mouse to the top center of the screen. The cursor will look like a person's hand. Drag the hand to the bottom of the screen and the app will close.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dedicated Flash Drives

Answer Man

I see that the price of  flash drives has dropped like a rock. It seems as though there must be some good use for the drives that I don't know about. Any suggestions?

You're correct. Prices of drives have dropped like a rock. You can buy 32 GB drives for $16. Smaller drives are almost given away. Of course you can use a flash drive to back up important data, and you could have a secondary back-up. I also use drives dedicated to single purposes. I have one that contains downloads that I might want to re-install. I have another that contains only the Windows 8 install program, and still another that contains my passwords.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

netgear wireless usb adapter

We bought the wireless adapter for the old computer we bought at computer club last week. How do we get it to work?

Computer Classes for 2013

The 2013 Computer Classes at the Orchid Club, 3PM on Friday afternoons, will begin in February. There are over 2 dozen classes listed with more available upon request.

You must register quickly to attend. To find out more about the classes and registration go to the ORHA Website ( >>> click HERE. Please read ALL information.

Free Kindle App

Answer Man

You have talked about a free Kindle reader that anyone with a computer can use to read books from Kindle. How does it work and how do I get the reader?

The Kindle reader isn't really an app. It is a program that runs in any browser. You sign up for a free Amazon account, download the app, select books (free or paid) and start reading. The books are cloud -based, but each time you click on the Kindle icon the book loads and remembers your last bookmark so that you can start reading where you left off.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Online Learning

Answer Man

When you gave a talk on Windows 8, you mentioned a free online learning source that is highly regarded and presents several subjects. What was the name of that source?

I think you are referring to Khan Academy The academy has courses in math, science, computers and more.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Screen goes blank

Answer Man

Frequently, when I'm working on my computer, the screen will go blank. I can't see anything until I re-start my computer. What am I doing wrong?

My best guess is that you have never changed the power settings in the control panel. By default, most computers are set to conserve power by turning off the monitor, by putting the machine to sleep or in hibernation or by shutting off completely. Click on Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound and Power Options. Go into each setting and change it to Never. Just be careful if you are using a laptop and are running on battery. If you leave the laptop for long periods of time, you will run the battery way down.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - January 11, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Elliott Bogart, Jim Dillman, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, 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 $1,130.98.

As well as the two gift cards given out at the general meeting, it was the decision of the Board to purchase a third gift card to be given from the club’s blog.

Ron Kenyon is in process of setting up February computer classes. Rather than collecting a separate class fee for each class, Ron will collect an annual fee of $10/pp, $15/couple which entitles participant(s) to all classes for a year, plus a one-year membership in the Oak Run Computer Club.

Upcoming Programs: Jan 16 – Donna Currie, from Freedom Scientific, will discuss “Computer Access for the Visually Impaired” as well as a short presentation by Ron Kenyon on the Club’s Blog and classified page; Feb 20 – Paul Higgenbottom, President of Reora, will give a presentation on “Tablet Computers.” Future programs are being researched and will be announced at a later date.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Incomplete Uninstall

Answer Man

I often find that when I use the Windows Uninstall program that some remnants of the program I'm uninstalling are left behind. This was particularly true when I tried to uninstall Norton Antivirus. What can I do about the situation?

Try Revo Uninstaller It will remove everything. Be certain that you get the free version. Click on downloads from their page and then find the free software.

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Windows 8 Prices Announced

I mentioned in my talk on Windows 8 that the price of the the operating system software would increase after January 31st, and those of you who were planning to upgrade should do that before February 1st, as the system was priced at a very low $39.99. I predicted a new price of $170 for the Pro edition of the software, but my prediction was off by almost $30.00.

Microsoft just announced the new prices. The Windows 8 Pro edition will be $199.99. Windows 8 basic, which comes on new computers, will be $119.99.

If you are planning to upgrade your system, you still have a few days left at the bargain price.

Travel Site

Answer Man

I understand that there is a travel site that will let you reserve hotels, provide transportation to cruise ships, has free long term parking and is less expensive than the hotels themselves. Can you give me the web address.

One site that provides what you ask is Navigate to the site. Click on the hotel you want, and see if the rates fit your guidelines.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Print Screen Utility

Answer Man

I'm looking for a good, free, screen capture utility program that will work with Windows 8.

Try duckcapture

The program will let you print a rectangular area or the whole screen. Just hit the print screen button on the keyboard, select a rectangular area and save to the clipboard or send the selection to the printer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Veterans Vision Improvement Services

Donna Currie from Freedom Scientific spoke at our meeting this morning about vision services provided by the Veterans Administration. 

The contact person she mentioned was Bruce Davis at 352-376-1611 ext 5560.

Merge Files

Answer Man

I'm a member of a another club. I want to send the same letter to 50 members of the club. Is there a way that I can send those letters so each has the correct address of the recipients?

Yes there is. It's called a merge file. You create the letter, and a database of the recipients. The merge command inserts the proper address into each letter.  

The merge process differs in Word, Word Perfect, LibreOffice and in other word processing programs. For help with your program, do a search for Merge File.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Create New Folder

Answer Man

I want to create a new folder so I can sort my photos into various topics. How can I make the folders?

Right click on Pictures. Click New. Select Folder. Type in the name for the folder. Let's use China as an example. Press Enter on the keyboard. Once the folder has been created, you can drag the selected pictures to the folder.

Java Update

You may have noticed my previous post about a security problem with Java. In an attempt to correct the problem, Oracle has released the latest fix. It is Version 7, update 11.

To download the update, click on Java. Click on Downloads. Click on Agree and Start Free Download. I suggest you un-check the box that reads: Install the Ask toolbar....Then, continue the installation.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Skype - Talk for Free

Answer Man

I heard that I could talk to my friends and family for free if I had Skype. I tried to call a friend, but the program kept telling me to dial a number and that I would be charged for making the call. What's the gimmick?

Microsoft, which owns Skype, wants to make money by charging you for each call you make. The costs are low, but you can avoid all costs by calling other people who also have Skype. Both you, and the person you call must be up on Skype at the same time for you to be able to call for free. The simplest way to arrange that is to send an e-mail to your friend and tell them when to be up on Skype at a pre-arranged time.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

JAVA Warning

Java Malware Warning

If you have been watching the news, you may know that the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning regarding Java. Java is a cross platform programming language, meaning a computer language that will work across a wide variety of computer systems.

The warning was made in regard to the fact that hackers can easily insert malware into your system, through Java, that may take over your computer and even gain access to your bank, taxes, and other personal information.

Oracle is working on an update to address a flaw in its Java software. The company says it will release a patch to fix vulnerabilities in Java 7 on Tuesday January 15th. There are several fixes shown on the Internet that could be implemented in the interim. I have looked at many of them, and some of the listed fixes show inaccurate information.

One of the better fix sites I have seen is: If you don't feel as though you have the capabilities to follow the instructions on that site, I suggest that you either uninstall Java or wait until Tuesday when Oracle releases the fix. Then, download their solution from Java at

The Gizmodo instructions are also on this blog. Look at the page tabs at the top of the blog and select 'How To Disable Java'.

Spread sheet asterisks

Answer Man

I just created a spreadsheet. One of the cells is filled with asterisks. What happened to the data I just typed in?

Whenever the data exceeds the cell width, spreadsheets insert asterisks in the cell. To see your data, widen the column. Just drag the cell boundries to increase the size of the cell.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Word Processing

Answer Man

My computer contained Microsoft Office. I didn't realize that it was a trial version. Now, 6 weeks later, it doesn't work. I can't afford the high price of the Office Suite.  Is there an inexpensive alternative.

Download LibreOffice at It is a suite of programs very similar to Microsoft Office. It will open Microsoft Office documents and save documents in Microsoft Office formats.

Friday, January 11, 2013

No Wireless

Answer Man

I have an older laptop that has no way to receive wi-fi. Is there an inexpensive way to add that capability?

You can buy a wireless adapter that plugs into a USB port. I have seen many that are available for $10 or less.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Increasing router range

Answer Man

The wi-fi set-up in my house doesn't extend very far. Is there an easy cheap way to extend the range?

The easiest and cheapest is to increase the height of the router by putting it up as high as you can.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Extra Router Ports

Answer Man

My router has several extra ports. What are they used for?

Although most people tend to use a router wirelessly, wired connections are generally faster and more reliable. If you have more than one computer, you can plug each into it's own port in the router.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Second Monitor

Answer Man

Is there a way for me to determine whether I can view multiple monitors from my computer? 

Hold down the Windows key on the keyboard, and then press the letter P on the keyboard. If your computer will not accept a second monitor, you will see the message: "Your PC can not project to a second screen". The message means that either your video card or the driver for it are not up to date.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Forgotten Password

Answer Man

I want to sell my old computer, but I forgot the password. I want to demo the computer to prospective buyers. What can I do?

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to re-install the operating system, or you could do a complete recovery of the computer. Then, you can put in a new password, or no password.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cooling a Laptop Computer

Answer Man

I have a laptop that runs very hot. I'm afraid that it might overheat. How can I keep it cool?

The simplest way would be to put it on a cooling rack normally used for baking. That will suspend it up above the surface and air will be able to circulate under the computer. You can purchase special cooling stands that contain fans, but the racks are simpler and cost less.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Administrator Rights

Answer Man

What are administrator rights? Some programs won't let the user in unless you sign with those rights. How do you do that?

According to Indiana University: On a computer, an administrator account or group has complete access to make system changes on that computer. You should use the administrator account only when it's required for certain tasks, such as modifying other user accounts on the device, installing software, and changing network settings. You need to know the administrator password on your computer to make such changes.

In Windows 7 and Vista, you can access those rights by right clicking on the program shortcut and then clicking on Administrative Rights. In Windows 8, you must right click on a start-up tile.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Smart TV

Answer Man

What is a smart TV?

Smart TVs are those that incorporate various computer functions within the TV. Most often, such TVs are use for media sharing. Typical media services include Hulu, Netflix, a browser, Youtube, Vudu, Skype and Cinema Now. Smart TVs also permit the user to connect a computer via VGA or HDMI cables so that content from the computer can be viewed on the TV.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Answer Man

I keep hearing the term VOIP. What does it mean?

VOIP (voice over Internet protocal) is a means of transmitting speech over the Internet. It is often called broadband phone. Common VOIP services include: Magic Jack, Vontage, Ooma and Decca  phone services. The advantage of these services is the low cost. The disadvantage is that you lose phone service when the Internet goes down.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What is Siri?

Answer Man

What is Siri?

Siri, on Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch lets you use your voice to send messages, make calls, set reminders, and more. You just speak naturally.

You might, for example, ask where the nearest Pizza restaurant is located. Siri might say something like, "There are 6 pizza restaurants within 8 miles. Would you like the closest?"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How does Skype provide free services?

Answer Man

How can Skype afford to provide free calling service throughout the world?

Skype is only free if both parties have Skype and both happen to have Skype service turned on at the same time. If one party has to call another, as in using a phone, there is a charge, though reasonable.

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