Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New computer

Answer Man

I need a new computer, but I don't know whether to buy a desktop, laptop, tablet or a hybrid. Any suggestions?

I suggest that you think about all the uses that you think you will have for the computer. If you travel, you may want something portable. If you do nothing but search the Internet and send and receive emails, a desktop might be fine. Think about size. Will you be happy looking at a very small screen. If not, you probably don't want a tablet or small notebook. Try typing on several computer keyboards to see if you are happy with the key action. Remember, whatever you choose will be a compromise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Laser printers

Answer Man

You once said that you use a laser printer. What does it cost to operate one?

I use an inexpensive Brother laser printer (often available at Office Depot for $50). I purchase refilled toner cartridges online. The last cartridge cost $15, including shipping, and is good for 2500 copies. If you do the math, you'll see that the toner costs just .006 cents per copy. Paper, on sale, can be purchased for approximately .007 cents per sheet. Thus, the total cost is .013 cents per copy. Most ink jet printers produce copies for approximately 8 cents per copy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Answer Man

I'm an avid reader and am thinking about buying an electronic-reader (e-reader). Some e-readers are dedicated to reading only, and many can be used as a tablet. What do you suggest I buy?

If you just need the device for reading, I suggest buying a dedicated e-reader such as the Kindle Paperwhite. It has a back-lit display which helps the user read in dim light. If you need to check your email or want the device to search the Internet, buy something like the Kindle Fire HD. I think I'd stay away from tablets that are not designed as e-readers.

My experience with several recent e-readers and tablets has led me to generally dislike touch screens. Often, the user has to touch the screens several times before the screen responds. A stylus will improve the situation, but still isn't perfect. The older, non touch, e-readers have an advantage in that regard.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

GPS can't find address

Answer Man

I have a brand new GPS. Yesterday I wanted to go to an address, but the GPS didn't recognize the street. Do I have an inferior GPS with an outdated map?

You might have a GPS with outdated maps, but unfortunately, your experience is not that unusual. I suggest, that you use Google Maps to search for the location. Then use the map coordinates that Google Maps has found. It's a little bit of a pain, but it almost always works to get you where you're going.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Windows 9?

Answer Man

I need a new computer, but I don't want Windows 8 because of all the problems they have. What do you suggest? Should I wait for Windows 9 to come out?

I honestly don't understand all of the fuss regarding Windows 8 and for that matter about Windows Vista. I have used Windows 3.1, Millenium, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1, and never had difficulty with any of them. I also use Linux operating systems.

All operating systems have advantages and disadvantages and features which you may or may not like. I suggest that you forget all of the hype you have been reading and try using someone's computer for awhile. After you use it, you will find some things you don't like and many that you do.

Many reviewers praise Windows 7 while dinging Windows 8. However, they fail to mention that 8 is 14 times faster than 7.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wireless adapters

Answer Man

I bought a wireless adapter for my computer. The adapter works, but every time I re-start the computer, I have to re-configure the darn thing. Any suggestions?

This may sound flip, but I'd try a different wireless adapter. I have found that some work well without re-configuration, and some don't. Some work with Linux computers and some don't. The adapters can be purchased for as little as $10 including shipping, so I wouldn't fuss around with an adapter that is giving you headaches.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Solid state drive costs

Answer Man

I understand that solid state drives are faster and more reliable than mechanical drives. Do you think the SSDs are good investments?

You may know that there is a great difference in the price of SSDs and conventional hard drives. I recently checked the price of a 1 Terabyte drive in both configurations. The lowest prices I could find were $55 for the mechanical drive and $469 for the SSD. That's roughly 8 times as much for the SSD. However, you might consider a small SSD if it will fit your needs. I recently purchased a 120 GB SSD for $57 (including shipping).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Can't get into Skype

Answer Man

I have had Skype for a long time, but haven't been using the program lately. I went to sign in and they asked for my Microsoft account. What's going on?

Microsoft bought Skype and decided to change a few things. One of the changes involves how you sign in. If you already have a Microsoft account (Outlook, Hot Mail, Messenger, etc.) you can sign in to Skype using the Microsoft usernames and passwords from those accounts. You may encounter difficulty as Microsoft tries to merge the Skype and Microsoft account info. If so, the easiest way around the difficulty is to create a new Skype account.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Why use a scanner

Answer Man

My multi-function printer is also a scanner, but I have no idea why anyone needs a scanner. Can you tell me why they are used?

Let us suppose that you have a printed 8" x 10" picture that you would like to send to your sister in California. You could mail the picture, but that is time consuming and costly. Instead, place the picture, face down, on the scanner glass, press the scan button and have the computer save the picture to a folder on your computer. Then you can send the picture file as an attachment to your email. Your sister will receive the picture in seconds, and the only cost will be for some electricity.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Image the hard drive

Answer Man

I know that there are many programs that will let you make an exact image of the hard drive, so that all programs and the operating system are saved, but they all involve making an image and then copying that image back to the new hard drive. Do you know a better method?

You can buy a combination hard drive dock/duplicator for as little as $30. The old drive is placed in one compartment, and the new drive is placed in another. To start the cloning process, you simply press a button. I recently cloned a 500 GB drive to a 1 TB drive. The process took 1-1/2 hours. The replacement drive worked perfectly.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Laptop very hot

Answer Man

When I took my laptop out of the carry-on case, the computer was so hot that I thought it would catch fire. What do you suppose happened?

I suspect that the last user forgot to shut down the computer, and put the running laptop in the case. Since the computer was in a closed space, the fan was blocked and the computer had no way to cool.

You are very lucky that the computer did not start a fire.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Printer software not working

Answer Man

I purchased a new HP printer. I tried to install the software by placing the disk into the drive, but a message popped up that said that the install failed and that I had a 64 bit computer and this was 32 bit software. What do I do now?

I have encountered that same problem. The only solution is to download a driver (software) from the HP support site. Go to HP.com. Click on Support. Click on driver download. Type in the model of the printer (such as Officejet 4620). Select 64 bit. Click Download. When the software is finished downloading, click on the downloaded file. The software should install, and your printer should work.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fax won't work

Answer Man

I'm using DECCA phone service and have a printer that is supposed to be able to fax. The printer won't send a fax. Am I doing something wrong?

You can not send a fax because DECCA is a VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) service. The same is true of Vonnage, Magicjack, and OOma. To send a fax, you must have a wired phone line. In Oak Run, your only option is to have Centurylink service. Instead of using the fax, just send the document as an attachment to your email.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wireless adapter turns off

Answer Man

I bought a new wireless adapter to connect to the Internet. The adapter works well, but whenever I restart the computer, the adapter loses the connection. How can I make it stay on?

Click Start, Control Panel, Network and Sharing, Change Adapter Settings, Properties, Configure Adapter, Power Management. Remove the check that reads "Allow computer to turn off this device".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Connection options

Answer Man

My DECCA modem is in my bedroom and is connected to cable, but I moved the computer to a porch and there's no cable connection in the porch. What are my connection options now?

You can have DECCA run a cable directly from the cable box (home run). You could use a wireless adapter which you can purchase for as little as $10 or you can buy a powerline adapter which transfers the signals through the electrical outlet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Locate a specific post

Answer Man

I enjoy reading the information on this blog, but frequently I'd like to refer back to a previous post. Is there a simple way to find what I want to find?

Open the blog and scroll down the page until you encounter the "Index of Post Labels". Then look for what you want. The posts are listed in alphabetical order. Let's assume you are looking for "Can't connect to the Internet". When you find the item in the index, click on the title and all posts with that label will open.

Blogmaster's note: To save you from having to scroll, just click on the page tab titled 'Index of Post Labels' (near the top of the page under the blog header). This goes directly to the list of Labels.

You can also find posts using the Blog Archive located near the bottom of the left sidebar. The small triangles let you expand the list, so click on the 2014 triangle to expand that year then click on any month to expand it's list of post titles. Click on the triangle again to collapse any list.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wired vs Wi-Fi

Answer Man

I was rather surprised to hear the speaker at our last meeting say that a wired connection to the computer is preferable. Was he correct?

Yes he was. A wired connection is not only faster, it is also more reliable. Although I have a wireless router in my home, I only use the Wi-Fi for a small netbook computer that I sometimes use while sitting in my easy chair. My other computers are wired directly from the router so I can get the best possible results. If you don't have any devices that need Wi-Fi, such as tablets, notebooks, phones, etc., directly wire everything and forget the wireless aspect.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Streamline Screenshots

The venerable Print Screen system has always been a bit too convoluted for regular use. The Windows 7 Snipping Tool (learn more HERE) went a long way toward improving the way you snap images of your desktop, letting you crop and annotate images and then choose where to save them.

In addition to the Snipping Tool, Windows 8 offers an extra Print Screen upgrade. Instead of just pressing the PrtSc button, use Win(logo) + PrtSc. This takes a full-screen shot, then automatically saves it to your Pictures library, a real timesaver.

Credit: adapted from pcworld.com

How to buy a router

Answer Man

I want to buy a router, but I don't know what to get. Can you give me some hints?

Routers adhere to what are called 802.11 standards. There is 802.11 b, 802.11 g, 802.l1 n and 802.11 ac versions. The latest versions are ac, but they are fairly pricey and not needed at this time for most home users. Therefore, I would purchase an n router. Routers run at 2.4 or 5 GHz, and some are dual band and run on both frequencies. The 5 GHz models encounter less interference. All ac routers run at 5 GHz. Generally, the more expensive the router, the faster, but for most home users even the low end routers will usually be sufficient.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Board Meeting Minutes - September

Oak Run Computer Club - Executive Board Minutes
September 12, 2014

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Members in attendance were: Elliott Bogart, Richard Bambridge, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Linda Tingley, Bob Leiner and Alan Marcus

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The Treasurer's report showed a balance of $1927.35.

Frazer Crane moved that the ORCC pay ORHA for coffee for the holiday party and that we let ORHA know that coffee should be provided for a planned attendance of 80 people. Motion seconded by Linda Tingley and approved.

The Board members agreed that the Club should purchase 6 dozen doughnuts and 4 dozen bagels for the holiday party.

Bob Leiner moved for the purchase of a Kindle HD for a door prize for the holiday party. Ron Kenyon seconded the motion. The motion was approved. Four gift cards are also to be given as door prizes at the holiday party.

Board members declined a request to contribute to hospice. Elliott Bogart reminded members that we have declined similar requests in the past so as to avoid favoritism to some groups.

Alan Marcus will make an announcement at the next Club meeting regarding the fact that the photography club has folded and other Oak Run Clubs are in the process of folding due to the inability to get people to assume Club officer responsibility. Alan suggested that we try to find members willing to run for office. Bob Lieiner suggested that we invite prospective officers to attend Board meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

GPS update

Answer Man

I bought a new Garmin GPS that has free lifetime updates, but I don't understand how to get those updates. Can you tell me what to do?

Most GPS systems come with USB cables that you use to connect to your computer. Garmin uses Garmin Express software. When you connect the unit to the computer, the GPS will turn on and will install and open the update software. If the GPS maps are up-to-date, you will see a message that shows no update is needed. If an update is needed, it will be downloaded automatically.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Computer Locks Up

Answer Man

My computer works fine for a time and then locks up so I can't do anything. Then sometimes I can re-start the computer and it will work a little longer. What do you suppose is wrong?

It sounds to me as though there are some bad sectors on the hard drive, and as long as the operating system doesn't encounter those sectors, everything works. Once the sectors are encountered, however, everything comes to a screeching halt. Before you replace the drive, try to restore the computer to an earlier point, or do a complete recovery. If neither of those work, replace the drive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Unveils Apple Watch

Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever

Apple® yesterday unveiled Apple Watch™ - its most personal device ever - featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking. Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Digital Crown is Apple’s most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod® Click Wheel and iPhone® Multi-Touch™. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate in new ways right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collections - Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”

Apple Watch introduces a revolutionary design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

Apple Watch comes in three distinct collections - Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition - available in two .... read the rest of the story HERE.

Fast chip, slow computer

Answer Man

I know that Intel makes I-3,-I-5 and I-7 processors, and the I-7 is supposed to be the fastest of the three, but I bought a new computer with an I-7, and the machine is as slow as molasses. What"s up?

Unfortunately, the poor consumer is easily duped. There are many variations of each of the processors you named, and unscrupulous retailers often advertise an I-7 early version chip that is, in reality, slower than many newer I-3s. The only way to know the difference is to consult a processor chart that shows the speed of each sub-group. Even knowing the speed may not help as it is difficult to ascertain from the computer carton exactly which chip is in the computer. You may, however, be able to tell whether the chip is a dual core or quad core.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Announces iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History!

​Apple® today announced iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, featuring two new models with stunning 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, and packed with innovative technologies in an all-new dramatically thin and seamless design. The new iPhones feature a precision unibody enclosure of anodized aluminum that conforms seamlessly with the shaped glass of the display, resulting in a completely smooth and continuous surface. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are engineered to be the thinnest ever, delivering a bigger display in a design that is still comfortable to hold and easy to use.

Packed with innovative new technologies, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus include: the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance and power efficiency; advanced iSight® and FaceTime® HD cameras; ultrafast wireless technologies; and Apple Pay™, an easier way to simply and securely make payments with just the touch of a finger.¹ Both models include iOS 8, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, featuring a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, QuickType™ keyboard, a new Health app, Family Sharing and iCloud Drive℠.

“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.”

For the first time iPhone is available in two new sizes: iPhone 6 features a stunning 4.7-inch Retina® HD display with 1334 x 750 resolution, providing 38 percent more viewing area than iPhone 5s, while iPhone 6 Plus features an even bigger 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, providing 88 percent more viewing area and nearly three times the pixels than iPhone 5s. The Retina HD displays offer advanced technologies including higher contrast for deeper blacks and dual-domain pixels for more accurate colors at wider viewing angles.

With second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, the all-new A8 chip offers ...... read the rest of the story > HERE.

ATT Home Base

Answer Man

You mentioned an alternative phone system at a recent meeting. Can you tell me again what the system was and how it works?

I believe you are referring to the ATT Home Base system. It consists of a device that dials a cell phone tower and enables you to connect both corded and cordless phones. The cost is approximately $25 per month (including taxes). It provides unlimited calling in the USA. The device should be placed near a window so that a strong signal is acquired. The internal home phone wiring is not used. A similar device is available through Verizon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SATA 1, 2 And 3

Answer Man

I know newer hard drives are called SATA or serial ATA, versus PATA, but what's the difference between SATA I, 2 and 3?

The difference is in their transfer speeds. SATA 1 runs at 1.5 Gbps, SATA 2 at up to 3 Gbps and SATA 3 up to 6 Gbps. Changing your hard drive to SATA 3 will greatly speed up your computer.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Insert Mode

Answer Man

I was editing a note I had written using Word, but every time I typed a letter, the program would erase what was there. It is driving me crazy. Is there a simple fix?

There sure is. The Insert key on the computer keyboard is a toggle. In one position it is in overstrike mode (which is what you're experiencing). When you push the key again, the computer goes into insert mode (when you press a key on the keyboard, the existing letters in the line move to the right). The default setting is Insert Mode.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Shortcut To Open Another Copy Of An Application

Need to open a second copy of Explorer or whatever program you're working in? Easy! Hold down Shift and click on the taskbar icon, and a second instance of the application will pop up. 

You can do the same by right-clicking an icon and selecting the application’s name (usually the third option from the bottom of the list). This works the same way in Windows 7 and 8.

Note: Not all applications will allow a second instance to open.

Credit: pcworld.com

Initialize hard drive

Answer Man

I bought a new hard drive, and when I went to use it I received a notice that the drive has to be initialized.  What does that mean, and how do I do it?

A new disk must be partitioned and formatted before use. To do so, take the following steps:

Open the Start menu , type diskpart and press Enter.
Type list disk, and press Enter.
Type select disk X (where X is the number your drive shows up as). Press Enter.
Type Clean and press Enter.
Type Create partition primary and press Enter.
Type format quick fs=ntfs and press Enter.
Type Assign and press Enter.
Type Exit and press Enter.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Desktop gone

Answer Man

I have been using Windows 8. I normally click on the tile labelled "Desktop" to get to all my documents, etc. Suddenly, the desktop tile has vanished. How do I get my desktop tile back again?

Type the word desktop when you are at the Start Menu (the one with all the tiles). Right click on the word "Desktop" that appears first in the list that appears. Select "Pin to Start". A new tile will appear at the right of the start tiles. You can drag that tile to the left to position it where you wish.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clean out the dust

Answer Man

I know that dust should be cleaned out of computers, but I'm technically challenged. Can you tell me an easy, non-technical way, to clean my computer?

First, buy a can of compressed air at any computer store. Then, make a diagram of the position of each cable going into the computer. Unplug the cables. Remove the removable side of the computer. It may be held on by a couple of screws. Move the computer to a garage or outside. Spray the compressed air at the computer fans and anywhere you see dust. Re-assemble the computer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

VGA extension

Answer Man

I just installed a new computer desk that has an opening in the top for the monitor cable. Now the cable won't reach the computer. Will installing an extension cable degrade the signal to the monitor?

It could. There is a big difference in the quality of extension cables. The better ones have ferrite beads molded into the cable. The beads stop outside interference. Many bargain cables do not have the beads.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Computer locks up

Answer Man

I'm baffled. My computer works fine for a few days and then suddenly locks up. The only way I can proceed is to hold down the start button. Then it may start or lock up again.

It sound to me as though your computer's hard drive has too many bad sectors. If you can get the computer started again, back up your data ASAP. Then replace the hard drive.

Ham radio via computer

Answer Man

I understand that a person can use their computer and make it behave just like a ham radio. How can I use my computer to do that?

Yes, it is possible to talk to people all over the world with your computer, however, you must be a licensed ham radio operator to do so. If you would like to read how the service works, go to Echolink.

Becoming a ham is not difficult. If you have an interest in becoming one look at the following site, arrl.org, for information about becoming ham.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Answer Man

I would like to buy on eBay, but most of the selling sites want you to pay using PayPal. Can you explain how PayPal works?

You enroll in PayPal by giving them an email address and a password. Then PayPal wants your bank information (name of bank and routing number). If you have money in your PayPal account, whatever you purchase is deducted from the money in the account. If you have no money in the account or too little to pay for the item, the balance is deducted from your regular bank checking account. You can visit PayPal.com and sign into your account at any time to see your balance.

Blogmaster's note: You can also associate a credit card along with your bank account as a form of payment. Then, when you make a purchase, PayPal gives you the option of using either source of funds.

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