Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CRT Monitors

Answer Man

Are CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors worth anything?

If you already have one, and it works, and space is not at a premium, keep using it. They can work well for years. However, if you have purchased a new system, with a flat panel display, you may want to re-cycle the CRT. We have tried, on several occasions, to give away CRT monitors, but we couldn't find anyone who was willing to take one.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Giveaway Zone Winners Hall Of Fame

The Giveaway Zone had a great bunch of winners for 2012-2013. Congratulations to all.

Winners Hall of Fame

April Winner
John S

March Winner
Larry D

February Winners
Linda T .......... Phil B

January Winners
Elliott B ........... Bill C

Muriel K

December Winners
Barb S ........... Jim D

Mae B ............. Len B

Magic Jack

Answer Man

The ads for Magic Jack Plus say that you do not need a computer to use the service.  Is that true?

It's partially true.  In order to install the service, you must plug the Magic Jack Plus into your computer.  Once the software has downloaded and you have typed in the needed info, you will be able to relocate the device to an open port on your router.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Skype Requirements

Answer Man

What do I have to do to get on Skype?

You have to download the program from skype.com. Then, follow the directions to install Skype on your computer. You must have a microphone, and it would be desirable to also have a web cam.

Test your settings of mike and camera by clicking on the Echo sound testing service. Click on the drop down menu labeled Contacts and click Add a contact. If you don't know the other person's Skype name, click on Search Directory. Remember that both parties have to be on Skype at the same time in order for you to be able to contact each other.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

World Community Grid

Answer Man

You once mentioned that you donate some of your computer resources to a shared world-wide computer system that helps fight disease, provides clean water and does many other beneficial chores. What is the address of that site?


Friday, April 26, 2013


Answer Man

I keep hearing about the computer's bios.  What does it mean and should it concern me?

Bios stands for Basic Input Output System.  You can enter the Bios when your system starts by pressing a key on the keyboard as the system boots.  The key varies from one manufacturer to another,  It might be the DEL key or the F2 key or pehaps the F11 key.  The Bios contains default settings that the computer will use.  The boot sequence is one of those settings.  It tells the computer to start with a particular device.  It might start with the DVD drive, the USB drive, the Hard Drive or a floppy drive.  When you are re-installing the operating system from a DVD, you want the computer to start from the DVD drive.  You can make that happen by the boot sequence in the Bios.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Forgotten Router Password

Answer Man

I've forgotten my network password & can't make my wireless printer work. What should I do?

Look in your router directions for the default SSID (router name) and password. Most routers use something like Admin and Password. Re-set your router by pressing the little re-set button. Enter the defaults and then you will be able to choose a new password of your choice.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Much Memory?

Answer Man

How can I find out how much memory is in my computer?

Left click on Start. Right click on Computer. Left click on Properties. Look on the page under Installed Memory (RAM).  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Slow Computer

Answer Man

What causes a computer to slow down?

Some common causes include: Too many items in the start menu; Accumulated temporary files; Need of defragmentation; Memory failure; Hard drive too full; Viruses and older and slower operating systems.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ebay postage

Answer Man

I sometimes sell items on Ebay. I see that they have a way to print shipping labels. Do they charge for that service?

It's an excellent service. If you select Print Labels, a label is printed out with your name and the name of the buyer. The postage is calculated and you only pay the normal post office charges. Your Pay Pal account is billed accordingly. I recently mailed a DVD using the service. The total first class postage charge was $1.69.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

E-Reader Specifications

Answer Man

I am thinking about purchasing an e-reader. Can you tell me something about them?

The specifications vary from model to model, so I'll just tell you about one, the least expensive Kindle. It has room for approximately 1000 books, will hold a charge for about a month, has adjustable fonts from very small to very large, will download books via Wi-Fi from your own router or through a public network, will read audio books to you, will let you search the Internet, has a built in dictionary and will shut off automatically when you are not using it. At $69, it's a genuine bargain.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Laser Printer Costs

Answer Man

You said that you use a laser printer most of the time. Is it much cheaper to run?

It certainly is. I can buy a generic toner cartridge that prints 2500 copies for $20.00. That means I'm printing at 8/10 of a cent per page for the toner plus the cost of the paper. My HP all-in-one (which prints in color) costs approximately 8 cents per page plus the cost of the paper. I use the laser 98% of the time and only use the ink-jet for color greeting cards and the like.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Laptop Cooler

Answer Man

Several stores sell fan coolers that go under laptop computers. Do I need one?

Computer manufacturers take heat into consideration when they design computers. In most cases, the coolers are not needed. However, some computers seem to run much hotter than others. I have run across several Toshiba models that probably could use coolers. Just remember to place your laptop on a hard surface when you are running it. Don't run it while it on your lap or on a soft surface such as a blanket.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Portable Apps

During the April 17th meeting our guest speaker, Grant Booth, mentioned Portable Apps. His brief review of the software platform was intriguing. A quick look at their website, portableapps.com, shows over 300 applications created and supported for this open source platform.

Here's what they say. "PortableApps.com lets you carry all your favorite apps on a portable device or cloud drive and use them on any PC. Now you can have your own browser with all your bookmarks and extensions, your full office suite, your photo editor, your whole music collection, your favorite games, your development tools and more. You can have everything you need for work and play with you on every PC you use. At work, at home, at school, visiting family and friends, even while traveling. And all your bookmarks, emails, personal files and settings stay right on your drive, too. Now, every PC becomes your PC."

We'll talk more about this during the ORHA computer classes and in future ORCC meetings.

Buying a new computer

Answer Man

I need a new computer and can't decide whether I should buy a tablet, a notebook or a desktop. Can you help me decide?

If you do much content creation (writing long letters or documents, photo editing, file organization, etc., and need lots of storage)  purchase a desktop. If you just check your e-mail, do an occasional search on the Internet and require portability, a tablet is probably good for you. If your needs are somewhat in between those two  extremes, purchase a laptop.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Computer keeps updating

Answer Man

I had to re-install Windows Vista, and now every time I turn on the computer it is installing more updates. Is something wrong?

I think everything is probably fine. Don't forget that Vista is several years old. It has been replaced by both Windows 7 and Windows 8. The computer has to install hundreds of updates that have been created over the years. It will install a couple of service packs and hundreds of individual updates.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Portable Wi-FI

Answer Man

I'm a snowbird. I want wi-fi in both of my locations but hate to have to pay yearly contracts in each. Is there a less expensive way for me to connect?

You might consider a wi-fi hotspot such as Verizon's Jetpack. It is very small, and you can take it with you wherever you go. It will let you connect as many as 10 wireless devices.

Monday, April 15, 2013

E-Reader Charger

Answer Man

A friend gave me his old e-reader, but he couldn't find the charger. Can I use something else to charge the device?

Most e-readers are charged using a cable that ends in a micro-usb connector. Many cell phone chargers have that connector and will charge your e-reader. You can also buy cables that have a regular usb connector on one end and assorted connectors on the other end. You can use such cables to charge the device from the usb connector on your computer, but the charge will take longer.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mouse not working

Answer Man

My computer mouse suddenly stopped working.  Can you tell me why?

I would guess that you have a wireless mouse and that either the switch on the mouse is off or that the battery  in the mouse needs to be replaced.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Should I upgrade my computer?

Answer Man

I have an old Windows XP computer that has 1 GB of memory and an 80 GB hard drive. I use the computer for e-mail, playing hearts on-line and some Internet searching. Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

If the computer does what you want and is fast enough to avoid putting you to sleep, I would leave everything just the way it is. A Windows 8 upgrade is now $119.95. You can buy a new computer that has Windows 8 installed in it for approximately $300.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
April 12, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Those in attendance were: Jim Dillman, Frazer Crane, Bob Norton, Ron Kenyon, Linda Tingley, Bill Balch, Elliott Bogart and Alan Marcus.

The minutes of the previous board meeting were not read as the secretary was not present.

Laura Stein gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1538.01. There were 12 new members in March.

After a long discussion on charges assessed by various banks and credit unions to maintain checking accounts, the group decided to check the fees assessed by the Insight Credit Union. Bob Norton will report on Insight's charges at our next meeting.

Board members unanimously agreed to limit the awarding of gift cards to one per meeting and to end the awarding of cards via the club blog.

Fund raising ideas, such as auctions, acquisition of a table at the white elephant sale, etc. were discussed. The group decided that we don't have need for additional funds and that 50/50 monies, and dues, provided enough money for club needs.

Future program topic suggestions included: Apple computers and devices; networking (routers, wi-fi, IP addresses, and network security); smart phones; photo organization; downloading; VOIP and Decca Cable. Ron Kenyon said that Richard Bainbridge might be a good Apple products presenter.

Jim Dillman reported on his experience with OOMA, a VOIP system. He said that the system is available for $139; porting of his phone number was $40 and his only continuing expenses are a few dollars in taxes. Jim is quite happy with the quality of the system.

The meeting adjourned at 10 am.

Respectfully submitted,
Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

Duplicate files

Answer Man

For some unknown reason, I have dozens of duplicate photos on my hard drive. Is there an easy way to get rid of the duplicates?

Try Duplicate Cleaner.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to use Windows 8's new backup, File History.

M$ has change the procedure for backing up Windows with Version 8. It is now called "File History". Read all about it HERE:

Free Books for Kindle

Answer Man

I have a Kindle e-reader.  Amazon has some free books, but they charge for most of their stuff. I know that sites like Project Gutenberg have tons of free books. Is there an easy way to get the free books from various sites and install them into my Kindle?

Kindle assigns a user name to each Kindle owner. You can use that user name with @kindle.com to e-mail books, as attachments,  to your reader. First, navigate to www.projectgutenberg.org. Find the book you want and save it in mobi format. Then, create an e-mail. Address it to: yourusername@kindle.com. Click on attachments and attach each book you want to transfer to your Kindle. In a few moments, the selected books will appear in your Kindle reader.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vista Service Pack

Answer Man

I had to re-install the Vista operating system. When I tried to upgrade it by adding Service Pack 1, I kept getting error messages. How can I get the service pack to install.

I suggest that you download Fix-it from Microsoft, navigate to problems with updates and let the program diagnose the problem. Then, try the update again.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Find a word within a document

Answer Man

Is there a quick way I can use to find a particular word within a document?

In most text documents you can click on the menu word Edit. Then look for Find and click on it. A blank space will be provided for you to type the word you are seeking. Let's say the word was "Transmission". You mind find that 5 uses of the word are shown. There are arrows provided to use to go up or down in the document to reach various occurrences of the word.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Answer Man

I joined PayPal and recently sold an item on eBay. How do I get my money from PayPal?

Whenever you accept PayPal payments as an eBay seller, you have a waiting period that may last up to 21 days. PayPal and eBay want to be certain that the buyer is satisfied (the product was as described and has arrived undamaged). When you log on to your PayPal account, you will see a notification when your funds are available. Then, you have to request the funds. You will get the money faster if you have PayPal send the money to your bank account.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Computer Hangs on Update

Answer Man

I let my computer attempt to install a Windows update, but the computer just hangs and does nothing. What do you suppose the problem might be?

Some updates, such as service packs that contain dozens or hundreds of files, may take an hour or more. Do not stop an update in progress. It could cause serious trouble in which you may have to do a complete recovery of the operating system. In that case you will lose all files and will have to re-install all programs.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Task Manager Shortcut

Answer Man

I was told that there is a quick way to get to the Task Manager to stop a computer that hangs up. I have been using CTRL, ALT and DEL keys all at the same time.

What you are doing is fine. Another way to get there is with CTRL+Shift+ESC. The two methods take about the same time in my estimation.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Router Password

Answer Man

I need my router password to set up my wireless printer. I forgot the password. How can I discover what it was?

You can type the IP address in the address line of your browser and press the enter key on the keyboard. The name of the router and the password should appear. Many routers use the IP address If that doesn't work for your router, do a search for the name of the router and IP and enter that number in the address line.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Software Won't Install

Answer Man

I have a calendar creator program I've used for years. It's great, but I tried to install it in my new computer and it just won't work. Can you offer any help?

Many older programs won't work in new computers that have new operating systems. If you look on the software box, it will generally list system requirements. It might say something like: "Compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista. Requires 1 GB of Memory and 2 GB on hard drive." If your computer is fairly new, you are probably running Windows 7, and the chances are your program won't work with the new operating system.  

You might try EZ Calendar. It's a free easy to use program downloadable from cnet.com 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Answer Man

I have heard the term persistence. What does it mean?

If your computer has no hard drive and  you boot from a flash drive, any changes you make, such as adding a program, will not be saved unless the drive has persistence. Some programs, that install an operating system on flash drives, create a special persistence partition on the flash drive where added items can be saved. The next time you boot the computer, the new items will appear.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Run computer that has no hard drive

Answer Man

Is it possible to run a computer that has no hard drive?

It certainly is possible. Many operating systems can be run from a CD or DVD or from a flash drive. I run Ubuntu 12.10 on a laptop from a 16 GB flash drive. There is no hard drive in the system.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Adding Memory

Answer Man

I have a 3 year old computer and I would like to increase the memory. The machine will take 8 GB and now has 1 GB of RAM. Should I put in as much as I can?

A 3 year old computer probably has a 32 bit operating system which can access no more than 4 GB of memory. If you have a 64 bit machine, put in as much memory as you can afford. If you click Start, and then right click on Computer, you will see whether you have a 32 bit or 64 bit machine.

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