Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What brand computer should I buy?

Answer Man

I want to buy a new computer. What's the best brand to buy?

I think that I would buy a new computer based on price, availability, service capability of the manufacturer and machine features rather than on brand name. Manufacturers of most products produce good models and poor models. Computers are similar inside. Parts are made in Malaysia, China, Korea, Mexico and a few other countries for all computers. Get a computer that has the features you want at a price you're willing to pay.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Locate Photos in large photo collection

Answer Man

I have about 7000 photos on my hard drive. I have tried to organize them into folders, but whenever I try to locate a particular photo, I find it difficult. Can you suggest a good way to find what I want.

Well, it will take a little work on your part, but, when you are done, I think you'll have what you want. Download Picasa at It's a free photo organizing program. Follow directions to put Tags (descriptive names) with each photo. If you have a photo of you on a motorcycle in Tallahassee, you might put your name, Tallahassee and motorcycle in as tags. When you are finished entering tags for each photo, a search for just the word motorcycle should let you quickly find the photo.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Netflix slowing down

Answer Man

I get streaming videos through Netflix. Lately, the videos have been slowing down and in some cases stopping completely. Is there anything I can do?

The answer to this problem is much too complex to be answered in a few sentences here. There can be multiple causes and many solutions. I suggest that you click on the following link to gain a good understanding of the problem and possible solutions:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Document Cameras

Answer Man

I would like to take some close-up pictures and save them to my computer. Do you have any suggestions about how to proceed?

The old way to do that was by using a camera, tripod and lights. A newer, neater, way is to purchase a document camera. The camera and support are all one. Document cameras come with software that lets you snap pictures by using the camera software. The pictures are saved directly to your hard drive. The cameras operate in low light and with high resolution.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

All-in- One Computer

Answer Man

I'm thinking of purchasing a new computer and want to know what you think of an all-in-one type.

They eliminate some wires, but they have the same disadvantage as laptops in that if one part such as the screen, goes bad, you can't easily replace just that part. I still prefer conventional  desktop computers for most uses.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Copying from Desktop to Flash Drive

Answer Man

I want to copy files from my desktop to a flash drive. How do I do that?

To copy an item from the desktop, left click once on the item. Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and press the letter C with your other hand. That places the copied item into an invisible place called the clipboard.

Find the location of the flash drive by left clicking on the Start and then on Computer. Then left click on that drive. Hold down the CTRL key and press the letter V with your other hand to paste the information that was in the clipboard on to the flash drive.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Searching in Windows 8

Answer Man

Is there an easy way to do a search when using Windows 8?

All you have to do is start typing the term you are searching for (on the start screen). Let's say, for example, that you are looking to find the location of the photo organizing program called Picasa. When you start typing by entering the letter "P", all items beginning with P show up. As you type more letters, the search is narrowed. The search is very effective. I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No CD in Laptop

Answer Man

Is it my imagination, or are they making new laptops without DVD drives?

It's not your imagination. New flash drives hold much more information than DVDs and can be used in place of the dvds, and DVD drives add weight to computers. Efforts are being made to make laptops lighter and lighter. I would venture to say that DVDs will be completely gone within the next two years.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Too much RAM?

Answer Man

Can a computer have too much memory (RAM)?

Let's say that more might be added than can be used. Older computers have 32 bit busses and can utilize a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. Buying more than 4 GB of RAM for those systems is overkill and a complete waste of money. Newer 64 bit systems can use all the RAM you care to add.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Certificate not authenticated

Answer Man

My computer keeps showing a warning that various certificates are not authenticated. I cant seem to get past the warnings to do anything with the computer.

In some cases, programs that are not approved to work with particular operating systems, will cause such a message. However, if you are seeing the message constantly, it probably means the date in the BIOS is set way off the current date., and needs to be changed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Internet slowdown

Answer Man

I don't know if it's my imagination but some Internet sites seem much slower than others. Is it something I'm doing?

There can be many reasons for site slowdown. Sites that use more graphics will be slower. Some sites may be very popular and be overloaded. You may be using an old outmoded browser that works better with some sites. Google, Yahoo and other sites that are very popular normally have hundreds of servers (computers) to help speed you on your way. Smaller sites will have fewer servers and are therefore more easily overloaded.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cloud storage for home inventory

Answer Man

Yesterday, someone asked about creating home inventory lists. I can create an inventory, but if my house burns down, the list will go with it. Any suggestions?

You need to store the lists and photos off site. One way to do that is with free cloud storage. You can use paces like: Dropbox, Google Drive and Amzaon Cloud. Then, if your house burns down, you can access the info from most anywhere in the world.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Home Inventory

Answer Man

Many insurance companies say that it is a good idea to create home inventories so losses can be substantiated for insurance claims. Can you suggest a good home inventory program?

I have looked at several and found the ones I looked at to be overly complex. The programs I examined wanted the user to include receipts for items, tell when the item was purchased, list it's current value, etc. I think an easy alternative is to create spreadsheets that list the items and tell the approximate purchase cost. The lists, accompanied by photos of the items, should be sufficient proof for most insurance companies. If you haven't used a spreadsheet, I suggest you download LibreOffice, click on Calc (their spreadsheet program) and then click help.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good prices on electronic gear

Answer Man

Do you have a favorite source for electronic gear such as cables?

I like Their prices are low, and so far, I have found the quality to be very good.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Microsoft Technical Support

Answer Man

I keep getting calls from Microsoft Technical Support telling me I have viruses on my computer. Is this a scam?

It sure is. Microsoft will not call anyone. If you really press the caller, they will tell you that they're really not from Microsoft, but that they are Microsoft certified. That means nothing. You could become Microsoft certified if you take and pass some Microsoft tests. Tell the callers which bus they can take out of town.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Answer Man

I don't know where they came from, but suddenly I have several toolbars such as Ask, Google, Babylon, etc appearing in my browser. They taking up half the page. How did I get them, and how can I get rid of them?

Often, as you download a legitimate program, you'll see prompts to add a toolbar and a check box to eliminate one if you don't want it. Most of us are in a hurry and don't read all the fine print. Hence we get all kinds of toolbars and programs we really don't want or need. You may be able to go into your browser's tools or setting menu where you can disable the unwanted toolbars.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - July 12, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.  Members in attendance: Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, 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.

Bob Norton, Treasurer, gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,547.61.

Ron Kenyon made motion, seconded by Bob Norton, and carried, to offer introductory half price 2014 membership to NEW Oak Run residents beginning the month of September thru January 2014. Current membership cost is $10/person, $15/couple.

Elliott Bogart made motion, seconded by Ron Kenyon, and carried, for the purchase of an additional club microphone and body pack to be utilized at the general meetings. Purchase price not to exceed $300.

The month of December was decided for the $25 gift card drawing for all registered individuals who submit their current email address for future club updates. An email account,, has been created for this purpose. Type one’s name in the subject line and click “send.”

Upcoming Programs: July 17 – Due to cancellation of scheduled speaker, Alan Marcus will present a slide presentation entitled "POTS, Cellphones and VOIP." The presentation will show advantages and disadvantages of using various phone systems; August 21 - Paul Higgbenbottom, President of Reora, will return with his topic of discussion, “Viruses, Malware, and Spam”; September 18 – a speaker from Marion County Public Library will discuss Ebooks, Emagazines, etc.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Using another person's network

Answer Man

I notice that when I click Network Connections that I see man other computer networks in my neighborhood. What's to prevent me from clicking on someone else's network and avoiding having to pay Century Link or Decca?

You will notice that some networks will have the word Secure next to the network name. That means the owner has put a password on their network so that hackers can't get into their network and change things. You could get into an unsecure network, but I don't think that would make the owners of that network too happy. Thus, you see the importance of creating a secure password for your network.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monitor Connections

Answer Man

I just bought a new monitor, and am I confused? There are three connections on the back and I have only one cable. Am I missing something?

Some newer monitors have connections for 3 different types of cables, but you only need to connect your computer to one of them. The monitor manufacturers are trying to provide connections that will satisfy all users. The oldest type connector is the VGA. It is a D shaped shell with many pins inside. The next newer connection is the DVI, and the newest is the HDMI which permits sound and video to travel in the same cable.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Laser toner cartridges

Answer Man

I have a laser printer. The print is getting lighter and lighter. Does that mean it's time to replace the cartridge?

Not necessarily.  You can remove the cartridge. Hold it over a trash can or sink and give it a good shaking. That distributes the toner and you may get as many as 200 more good copies from the cartridge. If that doesn't work, replace the cartridge with a new one.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Multiple printers

Answer Man

I have heard you say that you have two printers and that you can access either of them from a second computer or even from a tablet while you're sitting in your easy chair. How do you accomplish that feat?

If you have a computer and router, you have a network. To be able access your printers from anywhere on that network, you must enable print sharing. Click Start, Control Panel, Network and Internet, Sharing. Click in the box to enable print sharing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is a font?

Answer Man

I keep seeing reference to fonts. What is a font, and do I need one?

A font is a style of type of a particular shape and size. Fonts are given names and sizes in point values. Perhaps the most common font is Times Roman. Most common font sizes are 10 point and 12 point. Other common font names include Ariel, Courier New and Gothic. Fonts may be italic, bold and thin and have many different characteristics.When you type a letter in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, a default font is usually set. It will probably be Times New Roman 10 pt. You can use a drop down menu to change the font type and point size.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another Milestone Reached

Yesterday the blog recorded it's 20,000th pageview. Our thanks to all who visit regularly.

Enlarging Text

Answer Man

The text size on my computer is so tiny that I have difficulty seeing much. Are there any ways to enlarge the text?

There are many ways. Perhaps the simplest is to hold down the CTRL key and tap the plus sign on the keyboard. You can also hold down the CTRL key and move the scroll wheel on the mouse. You could change the screen resolution to a lower setting. You could change the choice of font, and you could bring up a magnifier (usually found under Start, Accessories).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Remote Control of My PC

Answer Man

Many computer repair shops want to connect to your computer remotely using programs like Go to my PC and Team Viewer. If I give the shops permission to repair a problem, can they get back in my computer whenever they choose?

The way most remote programs work is that they generate a new password every time you start the program. You must let the shop know the current password for them to be able to access your computer.

Monday, July 8, 2013

No iPad Directions

Answer Man

I just bought a new iPad2 and was amazed that it came without any directions. It doesn't even tell you how to turn the device on. What do I do now?

You can find the directions to most tablets and computers on-line, so you might have to search using another computer. The guide for the Ipad can be found at the following site.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Storing DVDs

Answer Man

Have you a good way to store and locate DVDs?

I like the soft plastic milky colored boxes that Wal-Mart sells. I use a label maker to make large labels for the spine of each box. Then, I store the boxes in alphabetical order. I made a very simple narrow shelf that will hold one row of boxes over another. Although I have approximately 100 CD's and DVDs, I have no trouble finding the one I want.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Windows 8 Best Features

Answer Man

You have said that Windows 8 is fantastic. What features do you like best?

I love the search feature. You can type what you are looking for when you are on the start screen. Let's say that you took a picture at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Type Temple of Heaven and you will be taken directly to the picture. Even if you only know one part of the file or picture description, you will probably be able to find what you want. In a similar vein, suppose you want to find the location of your Print Shop program. Type Print Shop and you will be taken to the program.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Certificate Error

Answer Man

I bought a rebuilt computer. Every time I try to download a program I see a warning about a certificate error. I've tried every security fix I can find, and none work. Any suggestions?

I would guess that the system clock in the bios is set to the wrong date, so the computer figures that all software certificates have expired. You'll have to enter the BIOS. You can do that on most computers by pressing F2 as the computer boots. Look through the various menus until you see a date. Update that item to show the current date and time.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Milestone Has Been Reached !!

The post below this one is the 1000th post on the blog.

For the record, Alan has posted 871 of those 1000. Thank you, Alan, for keeping us so well informed.


Answer Man

I had to re-install my operating system, but I didn't have a OS disk. I borrowed one, and now my computer says "30 days to Activate". What does that mean?

Microsoft wants to make certain that your copy of the OS is legitimate. When you install a disk other than the one that came with the computer, Microsoft wants to check to see if you are entitled to use the OS you installed. If you click on the screen where it says "Activation", a place will be provided where you can type in the 25 digit product code to activate. If you are successful, a message will pop up saying "Successful Activation". The product code is found on a Microsoft sticker on the side or back of the computer.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

USB Modem

Answer Man

I'm thinking of purchasing a Verizon LG 600 modem, so I can connect to the Internet at home and on the road. What do you think about such a purchase.

In my experience the signal you receive will vary greatly depending upon your distance from the nearest cell tower. In one test, the modem only received a .30 MBPS score in Fairway Oaks, and almost 12 MBPS in neighborhood 4. You might make your decision based upon your distance from the nearest cell tower.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Connect to the Internet away from home

Answer Man

Is there an easy way to connect to the Internet when I'm away from Oak Run?

You can connect via free WI-Fi at most McDonald's, Starbucks, libraries, etc. You could also purchase a USB Modem. It's a device that plugs into a USB port and calls cell phone towers. Of course you will pay for each call, but some phone company bundled rates are fairly reasonable.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Headset for Skype

Answer Man

Do I need a boom mike headset to work with Skype?

Headsets and boom mikes can slightly improve the sound quality of Skype conversations, but most new webcams have adequate mikes and should be fine unless you are a sophisticated audiophile.

For Your Information

Posts are presented in a stack with the most recent post at the top. Clicking Older Posts will show the next # older posts and so forth. Clicking Newer Posts will show the previous # newer posts. Clicking Home will display the top # most recent posts. When viewing a single post, clicking Older Post or Newer Post shows a single post each time, but, clicking Home displays the top # most recent posts. There are 2,754 posts in the stack as of 4-27-18.