Friday, May 31, 2013

Presentation Slides

Answer Man

I would like to give a slide presentation to another club in Oak Run. I don't have Powerpoint and don't want to have to buy it. Is there a free alternative?

There sure is. It's available from: You will actually be downloading a suite of programs. The one you want is sometimes called Impress and sometimes just Libreoffice Presentation. In any case, it is similar to Microsoft's Powerpoint. You will find it almost intuitive to use.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Erase part of a photo

Answer Man

I took a great photograph, but there is a fence in the foreground that I'd like to erase. How do I do it?

You need a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, or the free program; Gimp, etc. Then you will have to learn how to use the feature generally called Clone Stamp Tool. It lets you copy another part of the photo over the part you'd like to remove. It takes a little practice, but you can achieve remarkable results.   

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Printing Costs

Answer Man

What does it cost to run an ink-jet printer?

Many printer companies rate their printers in terms of the number of 4" x 6" prints that the printer can make from one cartridge. I have often seen the number 55 quoted as being typical. If you divide the price of the ink cartridges by 55, you should derive the approximate cost for the ink. Then, you must add the cost of the paper. Special photo paper can be expensive. You might find that it is less expensive to use a photo kiosk, such as those in Wal-Mart and Target. What's more, the kiosk quality is generally better than that produced by low end home printers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Answer Man

I frequently hear the term downloading, but I don't know what it means or how it is done.

Downloading means to copy a file or program from a website to your computer. For example, suppose that you needed the software (driver) to make an old Hewlett Packard printer work, but you misplaced the disk that came with the printer. You could navigate to and click on Support. You would enter the model of your printer and look for the latest driver. You would click on Download. The driver will be copied (downloaded) to your computer. Then, by clicking on the downloaded driver file, you will install the driver and your printer should work.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Virtual Keyboard

Answer Man

What is a virtual keyboard?

A virtual keyboard appears on the monitor and enables the user to be able to click on the on-screen letters, numbers and symbols. The typed characters will then appear on the e-mail or document the user is using. The keyboards are particularly useful for those whose sight is limited.

You can download a virtual keyboard at:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Floppy Disks

Answer Man

I have a box of 3.5" floppy disks. Are they useful, or should I just toss them in the trash?

If you have information on them that you want to retrieve such as medical records, tax information, etc., you may want to save the disks until that information can be either printed or copied to your hard drive. If you don't have any valued info on them, toss the disks in the trash.

The small floppies (minifloppies) each hold 1.44 Megabytes of info. A typical flash drive today holds 16 Gigabytes of info, and many flash drives are only as big as your thumbnail. You can quickly see why the floppies are no longer used.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

E-mail format looks different

Answer Man

My e-mail program used to list all the mail in my inbox all the way down the page. Now, there are just a few, and one opens in a big window underneath. How do I change back to the way it was?

Many e-mail programs have a preview pane, which is the big window underneath the e mail list. There should be a drop down view menu that you can click on to select "Remove preview pane".

Friday, May 24, 2013

Move bookmarks

Answer Man

I just switched from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome. Can I move my favorites to Chrome?

When you are in Google Chrome, click on the three horizontal lines up in the right corner. Click bookmarks. Click Import bookmarks and settings. Click From Internet Explorer. Your favorite sites should transfer seamlessly.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Windows 8 Add Start Menu button and Menu

Search: IOBit Start Menu 8, download and install. Try it, you'll like it! Allows users to skip the Metro page and go directly to a Win 7-like interface with Start Button and Menu.

Print Queue Stuck

Answer Man

Sometimes when I print nothing happens. All the documents get stuck in the print queue and I can't clear them out. Is there any simple solution?

Go to the following site and click Download Here. The program will clear the print queue and let you print a test page to make certain your printer is working.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Router Password

Answer Man

How can I find my router password?

You can type the I.P. address of the router into the address line of your browser. For example, the I.P address of most Belkin routers is If you type those numbers in the address line, all the information about your router will appear on the screen. Each router has an I.P. address. That address should be in the direction book of your router. If you don't have the book, type the name of the router, such as Netgear and I.P. Address in the browser address line and press the Enter key on the keyboard to find out the I.P. address.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Are digital cameras going the way of the dinosaur?

Answer Man

I see that prices of digital cameras are steadily dropping. The other day I saw a 16 megapixel Canon for $59. Are digital cameras on the way out?

That's a good possibility. New smart phones are being produced with better and better cameras built in. A recent Samsung has a 13 megapixel camera. Smart phone GPS are replacing stand alone GPS units. It might not be long before your cell phone will cook your supper.

Monday, May 20, 2013

More Password Managers

We've had several guest speakers at our monthly meetings that have recommended the free password managing software LastPass. You can learn more and download it HERE.

There are a couple of others you may want to look into. KeePass, found HERE and PasswordSafe, found HERE. However, after a quick review, I think that LastPass is still the best choice.

No caps or num lock lights

Answer Man

I bought a new keyboard. It works fine but there are no lights for Caps, Num Lock and Scroll Lock. Is there something wrong with the keyboard?

My guess is that you have a wireless keyboard. Such keyboards do not have lights. You can, however, download an on-screen keyboard indicator that will be of some help.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Turn modem off at night?

Answer Man

A technician with Century Link told me that I should turn off my modem every night. Is that a good idea?

I leave my modem on 24/7 so that the Internet is always available when I want it and so that I don't have to wait until the device is synchronized with my Internet provider. Many people believe that frequently turning on and off an electrical device can cause many problems. Any power saving by doing so would be negligible, and if you are worried about someone hacking into your computer, your firewall should protect you.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Organizing Photos

Answer Man

I have thousands of photos on my hard drive. I want to organize them in some logical order so I can find them easily. Most of the advice I have seen is to organize the photos by date, however, in many instances I forgot to set the date on my camera. I also have photos that were scanned in and show the wrong date. Is there some other way I can organize the photos so I can find what I want?

First, get rid of duplicate and bad pictures. Then create folders that make sense. For example, if you travel quite a bit, you might have folders for locations such as China, New Zealand, etc. Then, using a program such as Picasa, insert several tags that help describe the item. Let's say that you have a photo with tags you created that read: Sarah Smith, Bob Smith, China, Beijing, Great Wall. Even if you have several photos that look similar and are named the same, you could do a search within Picasa and find the photos you want in seconds.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flash drive use

Answer Man

I have several old flash drives lying around. Some have capacities in Megabytes rather than Gigabytes. Are the small ones useless?

With a little imagination, you'll find many uses for small old flash drives. I use my old drives in many ways. I use the smallest to back-up my contacts list. I use another as a recovery disk for my operating system. Another holds a back-up of my photos, and I use one for downloads that I might want to re-install.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is my old computer useless?

Answer Man

My desktop computer, which is 6 years old, got a virus and just froze. System reovery and system restore don't work. I know that I could re-install Windows XP, but I don't have the XP DVD. What can I do? 

You could borrow XP from someone or you could get someone to download an open source operating system such as Ubuntu and save it to DVD. Then you could install Ubuntu. It may take a little time to get used to the new OS, but I think you will be amazed at how well your old computer will work.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Windows 8 thoughts

Answer Man

I know that you purchased Windows 8 when it first came out and even gave a presentation on the operating system. Now that you've had it awhile, what are your thoughts?

I started using the OS when the preview edition first came out. At that time, not much was written on how to use it effectively, so, I learned by trial and error. I originally hated the system. Now, that I am very familiar with many tips and tricks, I think Windows 8 is the best thing since sliced bread. It is considerably faster than previous Windows operating systems. Searching is a breeze. The aps are great. The security is built in. It's very stable. The price has increased greatly since I bought the system, so, my recommendation is that you only obtain Windows 8 now by purchasing a new computer with Windows 8 installed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kindle Dictionary

Answer Man

I have an Amazon Kindle e-reader. It has a built in dictionary, but I hate to have to stop what I'm reading, open the dictionary, type the word and then return to the book. Is there a better way?

There sure is. Use the 5 way controller to move the cursor down and in front of the word you want to define. The definition will appear either at the top or bottom of the screen.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Installing a wireless printer

Answer Man

I am having trouble installing a wireless printer. Have you any suggestions?

Your printer should have come with a printer driver (software on DVD). Insert the DVD into its drive and let the program install. Then follow directions. If, after following the directions, the printer won't print, connect the USB cable and try printing a document. If the printer still will not work, click, Start, Control Panel, Printers. Right click on the printer icon and select remove device. Then click Add Printer and either re-insert the DVD or just click Next. Try printing with USB cable first. If that works, the printer should work wirelessly.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Computer won't boot

Answer Man

My computer won't boot any further than the start screen. Can you tell me why?

There can be many causes including both hardware and software problems. I have a laptop that wouldn't boot any further than the start screen. I searched on the Internet to see if anyone with the same computer had similar problems. You won't believe the solution. As soon as I removed the DVD drive, everything worked. I suggest you do a search for the problem for your particular computer to see what solutions other people have found.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Anti-Virus software

Answer Man

I am thinking of buying a new laptop computer. What anti-virus software should I purchase?

Don't purchase any. Windows 8 includes perhaps the best anti-virus program available. It's call Microsoft Security essentials. Any additional anti-virus software might conflict and would be a waste of money.

Friday, May 10, 2013

ORCC Executive Board Minutes

ORCC Executive Board Minutes – May 10, 2013

In attendance: Linda Tingley, Laura Stein, Elliott Bogart, Ron Kenyon, Frazer Crane and Alan Marcus

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 am by President Alan Marcus. Alan read Bob Norton's report regarding Insight Credit Union charges and suggested that we move our account to Insight. All present agreed.

Frazer Crane moved that we change the name of the club to Oak Run Technology Club (ORTC). Ron Kenyon seconded the motion. The motion passed. Since a name change requires a change in the by-laws, the suggested name will have to be brought before the general membership in May and be voted upon in June. Frazer will prepare the proposed by-laws change draft.

The change to Insight Credit Union will have to wait until the club name change is approved by the general membership. The President, Vice President, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer will have to sign account access cards at the credit union.

Elliott Bogart suggested that we end gift card awards. The other board members voted to keep awarding one gift card per month. Elliott also suggested that we take a straw vote at the meeting to see if the members were in favor of a club name change. Other board members agreed that such a vote should be taken.

Ron Kenyon suggested that we obtain a speaker from a local car dealer to explain the technology being used in late model cars and that we should have the program open to all Oak Run residents. Frazer will obtain the name of the technology instructor at the local Ford dealer.

The meeting ended at 9:45 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

Battery losing power

Answer Man

I have a laptop computer. The battery seems to be losing power and now only lasts a short time even though I just charged it. Is there something wrong with my computer?

There is probably nothing wrong with your computer. Lithium-ion batteries do degrade. Here's an example: I have a 3 year old Toshiba laprtop. Even though the battery is fully charged, the total operating time is now just 1 hr. and 7 minutes. An even older battery I have, for the same computer only holds 37 minutes of operating time when fully charged.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CSV files

Answer Man

My address book will permit me to export files in many different formats. One of those is CSV. What does that mean?

CSV means comma separated values. It is a format common to many address books and it makes exporting and importing files easy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Answer Man

I have heard you talk about bloatware (unnecessary programs added to computers) and the fact that many of these are checked so they start when the computer boots. Will a computer work without any programs being checked to start when the computer boots?

The computer will work fine without any items being checked to start when the computer boots. In fact, the computer will boot faster and work better. You can select "disable all" in the start menu. Note that un-checking the programs stops them from starting but does not remove the programs from the computer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Can't read e-books

Answer Man

I ordered e-books on parrot training. When I try to open the books, nothing happens. Do you know why?

I imagine that you either have been trying to open PDF or Zipped documents. To open PDF files, you must have a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader. You can download it for free from You might however, have received compressed or Zipped files that must be un-compressed or un-zipped before they can be used. Try using the following free program:  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Using computer with TV

Answer Man

I would like to connect my computer to my TV, but whenever I tried it in the past, it didn't work. What am I missing?

You probably forgot to change the TV input. The remote should have a button labeled "input". When the TV is on, press the Input button. The TV should cycle through several types of input such as html1, html2, etc. Keep pushing the remote button until it settles on PC Input. Don't forget to change the input back to the correct html input when you are finished using the PC, or you won't be able to see anything on the TV screen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Backing up data

Answer Man

I hear over and over that I should backup my data and photos, but I have no idea how to do it. Can you give me some hints?

There are many ways to back up or save your documents and photos. Many programs have you back up to the same hard drive. That seems pretty stupid to me. If your hard drive crashes, you have lost the back up as well as the original info. Perhaps the easiest way to back up is to use a flash drive. The drive is inserted into a USB port. Then the info can be copied to that drive. After you have backed up, remove the flash drive and then, even if your hard drive crashes, you will still have the info.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Speakers not working

Answer Man

I just re-installed Windows XP. Now my sound doesn't work. Is there any connection between these two events?

Often, when you re-install an operating system, you remove the sound driver. Navigate to the computer manufacturer's website. Click on support and download and install the driver. There may be several drivers listed, so it may be a matter of guesswork before you locate the correct one.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Stuck backspace key

The backspace key on my laptop doesn't work. The button moves up and down but the cursor won't move. Can it be salvaged before I have to replace it? The computer is 3 years old.

New printer doesn't work

Answer Man

I just bought a new printer. I plugged it in, but it won't print anything. What am I doing wrong?

All printers require software called printer drivers. Your computer should have come with a CD containing the driver. Normally, you insert the CD and follow the directions that appear to load the driver, and get the printer to work. If your printer did not come with a driver, you can download one from the printer manufacturer's website. For example, you might go to, click on support, type in the model of your printer and then click on Download Driver. Click on the downloaded file, and the driver should install.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Multiplying shortcuts

Answer Man

You won't believe this. Every time I double click on the Internet Explore icon it creates another shortcut icon, but doesn't start the browser.  hat now?

Right click on one of the icons. Left click delete to get rid of it. Repeat the process for all of the superfluous icons. Navigate to Computer, C drive, Program Files, Internet Explorer, iexplore. Right click on iexplore and select Create Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to your desktop. Now, Internet Explorer should work without the duplicates.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Forgotten Router Password

Answer Man

I need my router password in order to make my wireless printer work.  I forgot the password.  Am I in deep trouble?

No problemo!  Do a search on the Internet for the name of your router and it's default password.  The site will list the router I.P. (Internet Protocol) address.  For example, Netgear uses an I.P. of  If you type that address into the address line on your browser, all the settings of your router should appear.  If they don't, you can press the re-set button on your router and type in the default username and password.  Netgear uses admin and password.  Enter those in the respective spaces and your good to go.  Then, you can change the settings to those of your choice.

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