Saturday, December 31, 2016

Genealogy program changes from one computer to the next

Tech News and Views

Most genealogy software programs generate unique numbers to identify each individual,  and some programs also generate marriage record identification numbers (MRINs) that aid in filing records.

The numbers work well on one computer, however, if you install the program on another computer and import records, you may find, as I did, that many of the numbers change at the whim of the computer software.  I can hear the computer saying (as in 2001 a Space Odyssey) "I wouldn't do that Dave".   

The change in numbers will completely foul up your filing system, so install the software on one computer and don't put it on another machine.  Don't ask me what would happen if the hard drive quit and you had to re-install the software.  I don't even want to think about that.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Turn off that cell phone to keep it running smoothly

Tech News and Views

It sounds counter-intuitive, but turning off your cell phone every day or two will keep it running more smoothly.

Cell phones, after all, are computers. Remnants of programs can interfere with smooth operation in all computers. By turning off the phone and turning it back on, those remnants are cleared out.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blurry pictures because of digital zoom

Tech News and Views

I have received many blurry digital pictures taken by people using digital cameras. In most cases, the blur was caused by users inadvertently activating digital zoom.

Cameras may have optical zoom, digital zoom or both. Optical zoom is far superior. Digital zoom essentially crops the picture and spreads out the pixels, thus causing a less sharp picture.

Let's assume the user has a camera with a 5X zoom. The number refers to the optical zoom. However, if the user holds the zoom control past the optical zoom capability, the camera starts zooming in digitally. The screen will start displaying 6x, 7x, etc. The display screen will display pictures that become less and less distinct.

The solution to the blurry image problem is to only zoom to the end of the optical capability or move closer to the subject.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Editing documents in LibreOffice

Tech News and Views

If you ever need to edit a document for others, there is an easy way to do that in LibreOffice.

Let's suppose your daughter has written a job resume' and wants you to make changes that you think will improve the document. Open the resume'. Click Edit, Track Changes and Record Changes.

Start making your changes. You will note that all new text passages that you enter are underlined in color, will all text that you delete remains visible but is crossed out and shown in color.

The edited document may be saved as a Word document or a LibreOffice document.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Control cell phone from computer or visa-versa

Tech News and Views

Some of our computer club members wondered how I was able to show an image of my smartphone on my computer and to the screen via the club's projector. Here's the answer.

You need to download an app called Airdroid from the Google Play Store or Apple Store. The app must be installed on both the phone and the computer. Connect the computer and phone using a USB to micro USB cable. Then sign in to your Google or Apple account on both devices.

Once connected, an image of the phone will appear on the computer screen. Each device can control the other.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Is the print too small on our smartphone?

Tech News and Views

As we age, it becomes more difficult to see fine print. Smartphone fonts can be particularly hard to see. Here's how you can make the font (on Android phones) more readable.

Click the Settings icon (looks like a gear). Click Accessibility, Vision, Font size. Then drag the slider to the font size you prefer.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

How to take better pictures with your smartphone

Tech News and Views

I find it difficult to take a picture with an Android smartphone because you normally have to hold the phone with one hand, aim the camera and press the shutter button with the other hand. That procedure can often cause your hands to shake and will most likely result in a blurry picture.

Here's a better way. Click on the camera icon. Find the settings icon (looks like a gear). Find "Voice Control" and turn it on. Once you do, you will have the option of saying Smile, Cheese, Capture or Shoot to take the picture. Your pictures will be much improved.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ccleaner suddenly stopped working

Tech News and Views

Many of you may be using the temporary file cleaning utility Ccleaner. I find the program very useful, however I recently encountered two users of the program who have experienced a situation wherein the program stopped working.

I assume that the problem was caused by a recent Windows update. In both cases I downloaded the program again and Ccleaner is working fine in both cases. You can find the program through the following link. Choose the free program unless you want the paid version.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Change your flash drive formats

Tech News and Views

Flash drives are formatted using the FAT 32 format at the time of purchase, but the NTFS format is much better for users of Windows computers. NTFS supports larger capacity disks, is more reliable and more stable.

You can easily change the format of a blank drive by going to Computer or This PC (Windows 10). Right click on the drive you want to format, and click Format. Click the down arrow next to format type to read NTFS and then click Start. The quick format is fine.

You can format a drive that has information on it without erasing that information by using the following method: Press the Windows key and the letter R on the keyboard. Type CMD. Click OK.Type Convert F: /fs:NTFS (where F should be replaced by the letter of your drive). Type Exit to get out of CMD mode.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

How to organize your genealogy files

Tech News and Views

I know many computer users who use genealogy software programs such as Roots Magic, Family Search and Family Tree Maker. While most users know how to use the programs, they may not be aware of a feature that will help them organize their genealogy files.

The feature is called MRIN. It stands for Marriage Record Identification Number. Such a number can be very useful in organizing genealogical records.

Here is a detailed explanation of the process courtesy of Genealogical Research Associates.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Suggestion for a speedy computer

Tech News and Views

One of the best ways to speed up a computer is to install a solid state drive or to buy a new computer with a solid state drive already installed. Prices for new computers with SSDs have been dropping, and recently I saw an ad for a computer with pretty good specs and a 128 GB SSD for under $400.

If you're in the market for a new computer, consider going solid state. I think you will be very glad that you did.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New twist on old scam

Tech News and Views

By now, most of you know the scam wherein a caller tells you that your Windows computer is infected with viruses and the caller can help you get rid of them for a not so small fee.

In order to combat the scam, more people are letting answering machines answer the phone. When that happened in the past, most scammers simply hung up. Now they are leaving messages and call back numbers, and in some cases leaving pop up warnings on the users computer screen.

Unfortunately, some people are falling for the revised scam. Please remember, Microsoft will not contact you. They will not leave a number for you to call. They will not leave messages on your computer screen. They cannot tell if your computer has viruses unless you let them have access to the computer.

Monday, December 19, 2016

How much does printer ink cost?

Tech News and Views

We all know that printer ink is expensive, but I'll bet you don't know how expensive it is in relation to perfume. Here's what Consumer Reports had to say about the subject.
How much does printer ink cost?

It's enough that printer ink might be the most expensive liquid you buy. Even the cheapest ink, at about $13 an ounce, costs more than, say, fine Champagne, while the priciest, at about $75 an ounce, is more costly than, say, Chanel No. 5 perfume.

The Cost of Printer Ink - Consumer Reports Magazine

Sunday, December 18, 2016

How to use Google's bookmark bar

Tech News and Views

I'm generally not fond of toolbars. They tend to slow down computers and take up some of the screen real estate. I do, however, like Google's Bookmark bar. Here's how to use the bar.

Click the Google Chrome icon to open Google. Click on the three vertical dots at the upper right of the screen (if you hover the mouse over the dots a tab comes up which shows the message: "Customize and control Google Chrome"). Click "Bookmarks" and then "Show Bookmarks Bar".

Whenever you come across a web page you like, click the star icon at the right end of the address line, and "Done". That will add the bookmark (same as a favorite) to the bookmark bar.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Save battery power on you iPhone

Tech News and Views

The Worldstart website recently printed this neat trick to save iPhone battery power. It's really clever.

Friday, December 16, 2016

You can get some money back from Walmart

Tech News and Views

My thanks to the ORCC Vice President, Bill Cahill, for this great tip.

Walmart has an app called Savings Catcher. Android users can download the app from Google Play or you can download it to your computer When you shop at Walmart, save your receipt and either enter the receipt numbers and date or scan the bar code into the app.

Walmart will compare the price you paid for each item to those available at nearby stores. If the Walmart price was higher, Walmart will credit your account with the difference. Then Walmart will issue a card you can use to buy other items at Walmart. Bill says that he currently has $29 in savings, and he has only been using the app for a short time.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Modem and router good, but still no Internet

Tech News and Views

On rare occasions, a Windows update will corrupt the wireless adapter settings in a computer. In such cases, the adapter has to be re-configured. To do so, follow these steps:

Type CMD in the search box. Right click on the result of the search and left click Run as Administrator. Type netsh winsock reset catalog. Press the enter key. Type netsh int ip reset reset.log hit and press the enter key. Restart the computer. Check to make sure the computer will connect to the Internet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Users can't open Microsoft Office

Tech News and Views

Many users have told me they couldn't open Microsoft Office software that came with their computers. What the users did not know is that most Office programs that ship with new computers are just trial versions. The programs may work for 30 or 90 days but then will stop working until the user pays for the program.

If you have a trial version, you'll either have to pay for Office or use a free substitute such as LibreOffice

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Increase application size with scaleable fonts

Tech News and Views

I recently downloaded a random number generator program. The program works fine, but I could find no way to increase the size of the small window displaying the generator. Then inspiration hit and I was able to increase the window size using the scaleable font capability.

Many software programs display a font size window. You scroll down to select the size you like. The sizes shown, however, aren't the only ones you are able to use. You can type in any number you like. The program I was using stopped at a 72 point font. You can, however, type over the point size to insert a font size of your choice. I typed in 200, and immediately the window size increased to accommodate the larger font.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Use your smart phone as a scanner

Tech News and Views

No scanner, no problem! You can easily use your Android smart phone as a scanner.

Here's how: Select the Google Play store icon. Tap the microphone image and tell Google to look for the Google Photoscan app. Download the app and click install. The app will show you how to scan and then straighten the scanned picture.

After the picture is scanned you will be asked where you wish to store the scan and will be give a couple of choices. Select one to store the photo. Then, you can click the sharing icon to send the scan to your email or to other sites.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Easy way to print address labels

Tech News and Views

Avery Labels has dozens of free templates you can use to print your own address labels. The following template is one of the most common. Click on the link. Then scroll down the page to the 30 labels per page diagram for label 5160 - 1" x 2 5/8". Click on View Details and then on Download. Then just follow the instructions to create your own labels.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Consider "Refurbished" For Your Next Apple Purchase

Apple Bytes

You don't always have to spend top dollar for the latest Apple devices. If you don't mind getting something that's one generation older you should check out Apple Certified Refurbished > HERE.

Your savings is about $30 on an iPod to over $200 on an iPad. Each pre-owned Apple product undergoes Apple's stringent refurbishment process > HERE. This is what they say about each device:
  • is fully tested (including full burn-in testing).
  • is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing.
  • is put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
  • is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.).
  • includes either the Operating System originally shipped with the unit or, in some cases, a more recent version.
  • is placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being offered for sale.

As an example, here's what you'll get with the purchase of a refurbished iPad:
  • 1-year warranty
  • new battery
  • new outer shell
  • new manual
  • new accessories
  • new white box
All refurbished products also come with FREE shipping!

If you have an old Apple product you no longer want or need they will recycle it for free, and if it qualifies, they’ll send you a gift card. They even provide a prepaid mailing label. Read more about the recycling program > HERE.

Moving phone apps to SD storage

Tech News and Views

If you have an Android phone with low storage capacity, you can purchase an SD card and move some of the apps to the card to free up main storage.

Here's how: Click Settings, Application, Application Manager. Click on the app you would like to move. You will see a choice to move to SD card, or if the app is already in the SD card you can click on the main storage option. That's it!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
Dec 9, 2016

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance: Bill Cahill, Bob Leiner, Elliot Bogart, Bob Norton, Linda Tingley, Jim Trimboli, Bob Kenlay, Don Forgette and Alan Marcus.

Secretary’s report read by Bob Kenlay. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2424.56.

Future meeting topics:
Dec 21 - Christmas Party ; Q & A Quiz Program

Jan 25 - Sierra Club, solar presentation

Feb 15 - Century Link

Mar 15 - Keith Mackey “Drones”

Apr 19 - Ocala Computer Clinic
Bob Kenlay gave a summary of the Computer Club Survey for 2017. Results were similar to the 2016 Survey. At future Club meetings we can address these questions.

Alan Marcus will do the Smartphone Apps at our regular December meetings.

Bill Cahill will do the Smartphone Apps at our regular January meetings.

Bob Kenlay will coordinate the opening of the kitchen with the DOD for Xmas party. Linda Tingley will pick up and bring the donuts and party supplies to the party.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Another source for E-books

Tech News and Views

Some time ago, I posted an article telling how you might join the Alachua County Library in order to check out e-books not available in Marion County. The books are ordered through Overdrive, one of the most popular sources of e-books.

I have since found out that the Citrus County Library also subscribes to Overdrive and the library also has reciprocal agreements with Marion County. You must, however, have a Citrus Library Card. You can get one in the Beverly Hills branch and then you will have access to Citrus County Library holdings.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Clearing browser cache initiates email verification

Tech News and Views

Did you ever become annoyed when your email program asked for a 2nd verification step? It recently happened to me, and it was my own fault. Here's what happened:

I had been doing a lot of shopping on the Internet. Places where I shopped kept targeting me with ads. The ads drove me crazy, so I cleared the browser cache. That simply means to go into the browser settings menu and delete the history.

Unfortunately, when you delete the history you also delete remembered passwords and have to enter them all over again. My Yahoo email account wanted verification from either my cell phone or another email account. I was about to scream at Yahoo for making me jump through their hoops when I remembered I had cleared the browser cache. So, I jumped through the hoops and am now back in business.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Try a different backup software

Tech News and Views

Years ago I used Karen's Replicator as my backup software. I always liked the program but got away from it when Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 came out. I have made many posts on the current Windows 10 backup program called 'File History'. I think that users will find, however, that Karen's Replicator is easier to use and accomplishes virtually the same goals as File History.

Karen Kenworthy, who developed the software, passed away in 2011, but the program is still available at Major Geeks, and I believe that Karen's family is still maintaining the program.

I think most users will like the program and will appreciate how easy it is to use.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How can I measure CPU temperature?

Tech News and Views

If you suspect that your computer is running hot, you can use this free program to check various temperatures. The CPU temperature is probably the most important.

In general you should consider 60 degrees Celsius the absolute maximum for long periods, but aim for 45-50 degrees to be safe.

HWmonitor can be found here:

Monday, December 5, 2016

iPod update removes voice over capability

Tech News and Views

Recently there have been a slew of problems caused by software updates. One I recently experienced had to do with an iPod Shuffle.

Some iPods have a voice over button. When pushed, the button enables a vocal announcement of the song being played. However, after an iTunes update, the voice over function stopped working. Most Apple sites offered no help in solving the problem. In fact, any solutions the sites offered, mentioned a Summary tab that was not present in the current version of iTunes.

The correct solution is to click on a tiny square icon, near the top of the iTunes screen, under the word Account. The square is not labeled. Scroll down to access voice over settings. Click in square to enable voice over.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Great free music player

Tech News and Views

I have been very happy with Windows 10 except for their new music player - Groove Music. I find the player difficult to work with and certainly not as good as Windows Media Player.

Fortunately, I have found a great free alternative: Music Bee has a simple interface, will import your music and just works, and it is completely free.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advantages of solid state drives

Tech News and Views

A solid state drive has many advantages over a typical mechanical hard drive. One of the greatest advantages is access speed.

An SSD has access speeds of 35 to 100 micro-seconds, which is nearly 100 times faster than an HDD. That means that an SSD can access programs faster, and run them more quickly.

A typical HDD takes about 5,000 to 10,000 micro-seconds to access data.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What is thermal paste (compound) and do I need it?

Tech News and Views

The CPU (central processing unit) in a computer can get very hot. A heat sink (looks like a radiator with lots of fins) is placed atop the CPU to draw that heat away and radiate it into the air.

There may be gaps between the CPU and the heat sink. A thin layer of thermal paste is placed between the two items to fill in the gaps and more effectively transfer the heat.

Over time, the paste may dry out. If the CPU runs very hot, new paste should be applied. It is a simple procedure as the heat sink is held down with a clamp which is easily released.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How do I edit or rename a read only file?

Tech News and Views

To edit or rename a read only file:

Some read-only files can be changed to allow for edits by removing the read-only attribute in the file properties.
  1. Right-click on the file and select Properties.
  2. Uncheck the box for Read-only and click OK.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How to start a new line in a spreadsheet cell

Tech News and Views

In order to start a new line in a spreadsheet cell, follow one of these procedures:

In the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, press Alt + Enter to create a new line within the same cell. You can create many new lines in a cell by repeatedly pressing the Alt + Enter key combination.

In the OpenOffice or LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet program, press Ctrl + Enter to create a new line within the same cell. You can create many new lines in a cell by repeatedly pressing the Ctrl + Enter key combination.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Windows 10 - Accessing safe mode

Tech News and Views

Most users know that pressing F8 will enable the computer's safe mode. Unfortunately, that method will not work when using Windows 10.

Here's one way to enter safe mode when using Windows 10.
  1. Press the Windows key and the R key together to access the Run option.
  2. Type msconfig in the Open: field.
  3. In the System Configuration window, click on the Boot tab.
  4. On the bottom left, in the Boot options section, check the box for Safe boot.
  5. Select the Minimal option, then Apply, and then the OK.
  6. Restart the computer and it should load into Safe Mode.
Note: If you use the above option to access Safe Mode, you need to follow the same steps and uncheck the Safe boot option when you're done. Otherwise, your computer will continue to automatically boot into Safe Mode each time you restart it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

What are Android launchers?

Tech News and Views

The world of cell phones is just like the world of computers - Lots of buzz words. One of these is Android launcher. A launcher is an app that lets you redesign the phone desktop to make it simpler or to customize it to your tastes. The app is downloaded from the Google Play Store.

One such app is called Phonotto. It's designed for seniors and reminds me of the phone Jitterbug

Cell phones are incredibly complex and anything that helps simplify them is welcome.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Opening and operating the alarms and clocks in Windows 10

Tech News and Views

Many users have reported difficulty in opening and using the alarm and clock feature in Windows 10. Here's how to operate the feature. We'll use the Timer feature as an example.

Click Start, All Apps, Alarms and Clock. Click Timer. Click the + sign at the bottom of the screen. Set the timer. Let's set it for 1 minute. Click the Save icon at the bottom of the screen (looks like a floppy disk). Click the double headed arrow to increase the size. Click the right headed arrow to run the timer. An alarm will ring when the minute is up. Click Dismiss to stop the alarm.

If you would like to run the timer again, click the symbol that looks like an arrow going around in a circle. It will reset the time to 1 minute. Click the arrow and you're off and running again.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sam's Club starts a new quick check out system with a new app

Tech News and Views

Sam's Club has created a new app that enables those with smart phones to check out much faster. Here's how it works for Android users.

Navigate to the Google Play store. Do a search for 'Scan & Go'. Download and install the app. Enter the requested information to finish installing the app. After the app is installed, you click a button that lets you scan each item you are going to purchase. You can do this as you shop. When you are done shopping, click done. You can delete any or all of the items before you finish and get ready to pay.

Enter the payment method (such as PayPal or credit card) and end the transaction. A bar code will appear on your phone. Show the bar code when you exit the store. A receipt will appear on your phone and you can send it to your email account.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Compact fluorescent bulb not working in post lantern

Tech News and Views

Many people make the mistake of trying to use compact fluorescent bulbs in post lanterns in Oak Run only to find out that the bulbs burn out every couple of days.

The problem lies in the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs require a different type of photocell. The solution is to buy the correct type of photocell or change back to use an incandescent light. The photocell unit is just beneath the bulb and screws into the lamp socket below.

The lamp can be tested in daylight by covering the photo cell window with your finger.

Webmaster's note: The correct photocell unit will look something like this.
(click or tap image to enlarge)

Read more about this problem on the Oak Run Ocala website > HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Create PDF files to export to Kindle

Tech News and Views

Some time ago I posted an article about sending PDF files to a Kindle e-reader. The process involved sending an email to the Amazon Kindle account with the PDF as an attachment.

But what happens if the document you would like to read on the Kindle isn't in PDF? The solution is easy. If you have LibreOffice you can simply click File, Export as PDF. If you don't have LibreOffice, you can get it here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How do I run a program as an administrator in Windows 10:

Tech News and Views

In order to run a program as an administrator in Windows 10:

When you are running a program from the Start Menu in Windows 10, right-click the program in the list, select More, then click Run as administrator.

How do you know if the computer has a virus?

Tech News and Views

5 signs you have a computer virus

1. If pop-ups are coming at you when your browser isn't even open, it's likely you have a virus. This is especially true if the pop-ups advertise some magic cure-all to your "virus woes"

2. Messages you didn't send - Most viruses have one goal in mind once they infect your computer: to make the virus as widespread as possible. An easy way to do that is to send messages to as many of your friends as possible in hopes they'll get infected.

3. You're locked out of your computer - You're surfing the Web when suddenly, a scary message appears saying you're locked out of your computer. It may claim to be from law enforcement or an anonymous blackmailer.

4. Programs and tools are out of reach - More often than not, a computer user will rely on one simple command when their computer starts misbehaving: Ctrl + Alt + Del. The "three-finger salute" opens up Task Manager, which can tell you so much about your computer.

5. You're not seeing any symptoms at all - No news isn't always good news when it comes to viruses. Powerful viruses can hide deep in your computer without causing any red flags. They'll just go about their business without you even knowing they're there. The only clue in these cases might be a slower Internet connection.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My scanner won't recognize my computer

Tech News and Views

If whenever you try to scan a picture or document, you receive a message that there is no connection to the computer, try this:

Get to the Control Panel. If you are using Windows 10, just right click on the start button and then left click on Control Panel. Click Hardware and Sound and then Devices and Printers. Right click on the icon of your printer and select Printer Properties. Click on the Sharing tab. Click in the box that reads Share this printer. Click OK. That's it. Your scanner should now work.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Situations that can be improved with proper training

Tech News and Views

Those of you who have been using computers for awhile will get a kick out of this.
A guy called me this morning to ask if I could fix a laptop that was displaying half a screen. I immediately thought of all kinds of scenarios. I thought he might need an inverter, backlight or new screen. I was thinking about hooking the laptop up to an external monitor. I did some research on the Internet to see what other situations might cause the problem.

Then, he brought the laptop to me. It seems he didn't know what the maximize, minimize buttons do. I hit maximize and he stood there in amazement. I solved his entire problem in 1/2 a second.

Since I am a retired corporate trainer, the situation reminded me of all the CEOs who, when times get tough, lay off their training departments when what they really need is to do more training.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Watch a car drive itself

Tech News and Views

My thanks to Bob Leiner for sending the following video of a completely autonomous car. I think you'll enjoy the video but will find the prospect of your car taking control a little unnerving.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Remember to put labels on separate lines on spreadsheets

Tech News and Views

A recent caller complained that the note she was trying to write within a spreadsheet ran across the row and way past the margin so that the entire note could not be read.

The problem lies in the fact that labels (text) in spreadsheets don't word wrap the way Word, LibreOffice Writer and similar word processing programs do. Thus, the words continue on and on and on in the same row. The solution is to only write in one row what is legible. Then, drop down to the next row and start typing again. Continue in this manner until you have completed the paragraph, so that what was on one row is now on several.

Webmaster's note: You can also format the spreadsheet cell to wrap the text, which will increase the row height but maintain the column width. This works well if the text is not too long! You can also merge adjacent cells and then format to wrap the text.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Wondering what to do with those old cell phones?

Tech News and Views

Wondering what to do with those old cell phones? Are they gathering dust in some drawer? Here's a site, sponsored by Verizon, that will distribute your old phones to victims of domestic violence.

You can use the link to get a prepaid label to ship the phones or you can take them to a Verizon store. Local stores that will accept the phones include Walmart and Best Buy.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Change image size when posting to

Tech News and Views

Newer cameras take pictures that are many megapixels in size. Such pictures upload to sites such as, very slowly if at all.

Users need to reduce the size of the images before uploading. Pixresizer is an excellent free utility to help you reduce the image size to something more manageable. Go to the site, shown below, but don't click on the green download icon (that's for something else). Look for the words "Download current version 2.08". Just below that is a download button. The download is a ZIP file. After it downloads, click Extract All. Then run the program. The reduction process will be self explanatory.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

OOMA prices have come down

Tech News and Views

Some time ago I wrote about an alternative phone service provided by OOMA. OOMA is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) type phone like Magic Jack and Vonage. It connects using the internet.

I have used OOMA since June, 2015, and am very happy with the service. It is not perfect, but is far superior to Magic Jack (which I owned for the same length of time). OOMA, unlike Magic Jack, provides excellent customer service.

To get started with OOMA, you can purchase the device, which is available on line, at Walmart for $99.95, or you can get a refurbished unit from Groupon for $59.95. You connect the device to your router or between the modem and the router. The monthly cost is just the local phone taxes. My costs average $4.15 per month.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Roofing of the future

Tech News and Views

Most insurers won't insure homes that have roofs over 20 years old. Unfortunately, many of the homes in Oak Run are just about that age.

We'd all like to have the latest and greatest roofs on our homes, and the video (link below) shows the type of roof most people will have in the future (solar tiles rather than asphalt shingles).

It's too bad that most Oak Run residents won't be able to benefit from the new type of roof because the initial cost is high and the payback is too long in the future. Nonetheless, I think all of you will enjoy seeing the futuristic roofs shown in the video.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

HP backtracks on ink cartridge security

Tech News and Views

If you have been using refilled 3rd party ink cartridges in your HP printers, you may have encountered a problem whereby the cartridges will not work. Some users ignored the warnings from HP of illegal cartridges being used and went and used the cartridges anyway.

HP clamped down even harder so some cartridges wouldn't work at all. However, there were so many complaints that HP backtracked somewhat and issued the following statement:

We can confirm that an optional firmware update to remove dynamic security is now available. For more information and direct links to the firmware updates, see Dynamic Security Feature Affecting Use of Non-HP Cartridges. Our COO has also updated his blog to communicate this as well, which can be found here.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to register for MyHealtheVet

Tech News and Views

In June I posted some info about a Veterans Admin. site called Myhealthevet. The site gives access to veterans regarding appointments, medical records, pharmacy orders and much more. If you want to see what the site provides use this link >

If you want to access the personal information the site provides, you must register. Use this form to become a registered member > myhealthevet/user-registration

I have used Myhealthevet many times to re-order medicines, send messages to my doctor, and to review and retrieve records.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club - Executive Board Minutes - November 11, 2016

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance: Bill Cahill, Don Forgette, Bob Leiner, Elliot Bogart, Bob Kenlay, Bob Norton, Bill Balch and Alan Marcus.

Secretary’s report read by Bob Kenlay. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2133.97.

Future meeting topics:
Nov 16 - Bob Kenlay, “The Helpful Internet”

Dec 21 - Christmas Party ; Q & A

Jan 25 - Sierra Club, solar presentation

Feb 15 - Century Link

Mar 15 - Keith Mackey, “Drones”
Elliot Bogart suggested that the gift cards will be for members only. Bob Kenlay will make a sign to be placed where the tickets will be distributed “For members only”.

Bill Balch gave a summary for the Club Fair event. The general consensus was that it went well. We might want to use some additional TV’s at future events.

Bob Leiner suggested that we do Smartphone Apps at our regular meetings. Bill Cahill was willing to do a presentation on the “Golf Pad” App.

It was suggested that we get better descriptions for the meeting topics.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review of non-stick fry pans

Tech News and Views

I don't know about you, but I have always been leery of those TV infomercials that show non-stick pans. The host just slides eggs out of the pan and doesn't use any oil. It just sounds too good to be true.

I recently purchased the T-Fal giant fry pan with a non stick coating, seasoned it as suggested, and made grilled cheese sandwiches using tortillas and Swiss cheese. Nothing stuck, and clean-up was as simple as wiping the pan with a paper towel. I use wooden utensils when using the pan.

The secret to successful use was summarized by an Amazon reviewer. His suggestions were:

1. Never use high heat. A non-stick pan is not designed for searing food at very high heat. For that you need stainless or cast iron. You need to use the pan that's designed for what you are cooking. Using high heat will screw up the coating and burn the pan.

2. Never put them in the dishwasher. This pan cleans up so easily in the sink anyway because the coating is so non-stick.

3. Always allow the pan to cool before washing, otherwise they get warped.

4. Never use cooking sprays, they leave a residue in the pan which builds up and you can never get rid of it. Just use a bit of oil if you need to, a little goes a long way.

5. This is obvious but people do it anyway - only use wooden/plastic/silicone utensils. ALWAYS. One little nick in the coating will only get bigger over time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Outlook problems with Yahoo

Tech News and Views

New users of Outlook are experiencing problems with Yahoo accounts since Yahoo prevented forwarding of emails to other email providers. Other accounts, such as those from Gmail, work fine.

The problem was caused by the recent large scale hack of Yahoo mail. Yahoo has responded by stopping forwarding. The situation may change in the future, but for now, users will have to go into Yahoo directly rather than through sites such as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The clever grandpa, grandma scam operation

Tech News and Views

I had heard about the scam wherein you receive a call from a fake granddaughter or grandson who needs money right away, but I had never received such a call. But, the other day I heard from the scammers. Here's how the scam took place.

I received a call from a female who, when I said hello, said "Hi grandpa". She then said, "you know who this is don't you?" I said, "Brynn?", although it didn't sound like my granddaughter. She told me how she went on a trip to Connecticut, was in an auto accident and needed money right away.

Since I knew about the scam, I said, "Brynn, what is your middle name". Interestingly enough, the caller immediately hung up.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dealing with fake support pop-ups

Tech News and Views

Recently there has been a great increase in pop-up ads for fake computer support. The ad wants you to call a listed phone number. Of course the object is to suck some money out of your bank account.

The easiest way to get rid of the pop-up is to close your browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Bing, etc.). If that doesn't get rid of the pop-up, hold down CTRL, ALT and DEL keys all together and then end the running task.

Only as a last resort should you kill the power to the computer. Such action can corrupt files.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Want to watch that computer on a 70" screen?

Tech News and Views

Have a laptop? How large is the screen: 15.6"? 17.3" Too small! How about 70 or 80 inches? All you need is an HDMI cable, a laptop that has an HDMI port and a TV that has HDMI inputs (all new TV's do).

After you plug the cable into the TV and laptop, simply press the Input button on the remote, and scroll through the TV menu until you come to PC or something similar. That's it!

Remember to change the input back to TV when you are done with the computer, otherwise you will have other household members screaming at you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

That old keyboard and mouse may be useless

Tech News and Views

Many users of old computers may be unaware that the mouse and keyboard of those old computers had 6 pin mini Din connectors that plugged into ports like those shown below. The connections are known as PS2 connections and derived their names from the old IBM PS/2 computers to which they were connected.

Newer computers have keyboards and mice that plug into USB ports such as those shown below. While USB plugs can plug into old PS/2 ports via an adapter, the old plugs just won't work in newer computers. Unfortunately, the old keyboard and mouse will prove virtually useless.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Essential keyboard shortcuts for every user

Tech News and Views

There are dozens of keyboard shortcuts, and just looking at the list of them can be overwhelming, but there a a few that I believe are essential for every user.

Most users know how to copy and paste using an edit menu, but often sites do not include an edit menu, and you will want to copy information. The easy way is to highlight the selection and use CTRL & C. The info stays hidden in the clipboard until you want to paste it somewhere. CTRL & V will let you paste the info. CTRL & P is not used because that is the shortcut for print.

You might also want to use CTRL & X to cut instead of copy. That will remove the item you want to copy from its original location.

Webmaster's note: View many more keyboard shortcuts > HERE.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Establish a new email address

Tech News and Views

I frequently meet with users who have forgotten their email passwords. And, while there are several ways to recover passwords (Text, phone, etc.), none is more convenient than having a note sent to a second email address. You might establish a Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook or other account in addition to your first account. The 2nd account can also be useful to access sites that you suspect as being suspicious or that send out lots of spam.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Don't struggle with an old printer, buy a new one

Tech News and Views

I know many users who struggle with old printers. Perhaps the print heads constantly clog, or the printer jams frequently. Some of these same people ask about the cost of repairs, but playing with an old printer is foolhardy. New printers can be purchased for as low as $20.

I often recommend that users buy inexpensive black and white laser printers. Just yesterday, Best Buy was advertising a Brother laser printer for $59, and rather than buy a Brother toner cartridge, I suggest buying a cartridge from The cartridge with shipping included is just $14.95.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Save that DVD writer from the old computer

Tech News and Views

Many users dispose of old computers when they purchase new machines without giving a thought about the value of some of the old parts. One part that can often be used in a new machine is a DVD writer. It can be very convenient to have two DVD's. Having two makes the process of duplicating disks much easier than having just one.

Other parts that might prove useful include the power supply and memory, and if you like to rebuild computers, you might save some of the SATA connectors.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Easy way to speed up your computer

Tech News and Views

Solid state drives have come way down in price, and by using one, you can greatly speed up your computer. You can purchase an SSD on-line from stores like Newegg and Tiger Direct at low prices that include shipping.

In almost all cases, installation of SSD's is very easy. The only difficulty users may encounter is with some rare laptops that do not use the typical mounting under an easily accessible panel. So examine your laptop before ordering a drive.

If you have any questions about SSD's, contact me on this site.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Get a free phone if your hearing impaired

Tech News and Views

I attended the recent health fair held in Oak Run. One of the booths was run by the Florida Telecommunication Relay Inc. group out of Tallahassee. When I approached the booth, I was asked if I had a hearing loss. I do. They said they would give me a free phone if I qualified. To qualify, I had to answer a series of questions about my hearing and be a Florida resident. I completed a form with my name, address, date of birth, phone number, etc.

The attendant then asked me to listen to each of several phones placed on the table in front of me. I chose one. I signed a receipt and they gave me a phone (actually they loaned me a phone which I must return when I no longer need the phone).

If you have a hearing loss and would like a free amplified phone, go online to, or call 800-222-3448.

You may wonder who pays for the program. The answer is that you do. Eleven cents of each phone bill is used to run the non-profit organization that supplies the phones.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Laptop power failure

Tech News and Views

I recently spent several days repairing a laptop computer. It seems that there was no power getting to the machine. I tried a substitute power supply to no avail. I checked the power connector and the on-off switch. They were both good.

What I found after hours of searching is that the owner probably gave the computer some rough treatment. The motherboard had a connector, on the underside of the board, that was supposed to snap into a socket. The connector was partly in the socket even though there were screws on the top of the board that were supposed to keep the connector and socket firmly together.

As soon as the motherboard was pushed firmly down into the socket, the computer powered on and worked perfectly. I guess the moral of the story is that laptops should be treated with care.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Why do they hide the laptop CMOS battery?

Tech News and Views

Many people are unaware that all computers have batteries. That's right! Even desktop computers have batteries, but not the kind you are probably thinking about.

Computers have CMOS (complimentary, metal, oxide, silicon) batteries that keep the BIOS settings and run the time clock. If the clock in your computer is slow, you probably need a new CMOS battery. The batteries are typically the CR 2032 variety. They are a little larger than a nickel and are often used in watches.

I have replaced many CMOS batteries. It's a task taking about 2 minutes if the battery is in a desktop computer. It's probably an hour task in a laptop. For some odd reason, manufacturers like to mount the batteries under the laptop motherboard. The entire computer has to be taken apart to remove the motherboard and reach the battery. I have often connected wires to the battery mount and run those wires to another spot in the computer. Then I attached a battery. Why couldn't the manufacturer do that?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Get an estimate of solar costs in 2 seconds

Tech News and Views

Did you ever wonder what it might cost to put solar cells on your roof and what the payback would be? Here's a nifty sight that will tell you in 2 seconds. I was amazed at how much detail was provided. All you have to do is enter your address. The program does the rest. It's called Project sunroof.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Do I need an Uninterruptible Power Supply?

Tech News and Views

Some readers have asked whether or not they need a UPS. A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is essentially a battery back-up system that supplies power to the computer for a relatively short time whenever the normal electric power shuts down. UPS devices are most common in industry because users may be working on critical business information which would be lost if the power suddenly went off.

A typical UPS has several surge protection outlets for computers and allied equipment, telephone ports, and an alarm system to notify the user when regular power is lost. If the user has a laptop computer with a battery, and it is plugged into a surge protector, the computer switches to battery and a UPS isn't really needed. Desktop computer users could use UPS's to prevent loss of information and to safeguard the computer from surges, and the effects of sudden shut downs.

Remember, a UPS is only as good as the battery inside. If users forget to replace the batteries in a timely fashion, the UPS is useless.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

When is a computer a server?

Tech News and Views

Users often ask about the differences between computers and servers. A server is a computer, but servers are generally more robust, normally used in businesses and have specific purposes such as being a mail server or domain name server.

A typical server will have a multi-core processor, several hard drives in RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) to mirror each other thereby preventing loss of information. The drives are normally SAS (serial attached SCSI) rather than SATA drives to improve performance. Some servers have hot swapable drives (can be inserted and removed with power on). The memory in servers is generally faster than in a typical computer. Some servers have redundant power supplies, and servers run using special server operating systems.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Info from Nick Burke's presentation on freeware

Tech News and Views

Some of you have asked for a list of freeware presented by Nick Burke at the last Oak Run Computer Club meeting.  The sources for the freeware are on the blog under "Helpful Links".  The programs Nick discussed were::

Driver Booster
Wise Registry Cleaner
Wise Disk Cleaner

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Optimize image program benefits

Tech News and Views

When we take pictures using digital cameras, the resulting images may be so large that they can't be attached to our e-mails because of size limitations imposed by the e-mail provider.  The solution is to use an image optimizer.

An image optimizer makes images load faster by resizing/rescaling and then compressing the images.

If you would like to try using an optimizer, click on the following link and follow the directions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Open taskbar items without mouse

Tech News and Views

If your computer mouse has quit, you can still open taskbar Apps by holding down the Windows key on the keyboard and pressing a number key. If the App you want to open is 4th from the left, press the Windows key and number 4. That's it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Learn foreign language while waiting for the doctor

Tech News and Views

I recently downloaded a nifty App that I think most of you would like. It's a language learning App called Duolingo, The program is free and makes it easy to learn a foreign language. There are many languages to choose from. The program will run on Android, IOS and Windows. Users learn in short segments such as 5 or 10 minutes per day. The program keeps track of your progress.

Install the program on your smart phone so that the next time you are waiting in the Doctor's office you can use the time wisely by learning a language while you wait.

Monday, October 17, 2016

File History Back-up saves all versions

Tech News and Views

Many file back-up systems do incremental back-ups, but they usually save just the latest version of files. Windows 10 File History is different. While the latest version of a file is saved so are all the previous versions unless the drive runs out of space.

Recently, I did a check of my back-up drive to see if my latest genealogy files had been backed-up. Not only did I see the file from 10/16/2016, I also saw files from several previous back-ups. The early back-ups could prove useful if I need to verify or retrieve information that was inadvertently deleted in the last version.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hard drive too small for Windows 10

Tech News and Views

I have had several calls from people who are unable to install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. All of the calls were from people who are using budget laptops having 32 GB hard drives.

What the callers don't realize is that Windows 10 requires 16 GB of hard drive space and the Anniversary Update requires another 20 GB. As you can see, the total exceeds the drive capacity, and I understand that a flash card can not be used to gain additional capacity for the update.

The only solutions I see are to ignore the update or install a Linux distribution instead of Windows.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Music in the car the easy way

Tech News and Views

If your car is a few years old, you probably use a CD player to provide music in the auto. If you have a newer car, you don't have a CD player. Such players have gone the way of the Dodo. If you want custom music today, the way to provide it is through use of a flash drive.

Virtually every recent car has USB ports. So, if you have recorded music on a flash drive, you can plug the drive into one of the USB ports and hear all the recorded music you like. I use a 16 GB drive in my car and have hundreds of recorded songs on the drive. The music, and the accompanying album art work have only taken up 3 GB of space. If your partner or spouse likes a different kind of music, put their music on a different flash drive that they can plug in when they're in the car.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
Oct 14, 2016

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance: Bill Cahill, Don Forgette, Bob Leiner, Elliot Bogart, Bob Kenlay, Bob Norton, Linda Tingley and Alan Marcus.

Secretary’s report read by Bob Kenlay. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2,065.89.

Future meeting topics:
Oct 19 - Nick Burke to present "Freeware"
Nov 16 - Bob Kenlay to present “The Helpful Internet”
Dec 21 - Christmas Party; Q & A
Jan 25 - Sierra Club, solar presentation
Feb 15 - Century Link
Mar 15 - Keith Mackey, “Drones”
Alan Marcus asked how we can get new Board members. It was suggested that we continue to mention the need for new Board members at our regular Club meetings. We could also try to question new members if they have a interest on being on the Board.

Bill Balch had a request for a 25’ HDMI cable for the Club activity fair (October 29). The Board approved a motion to purchase a cable for the Club.

Linda Tingley would like to know what supplies are available in the kitchen in the Orchid Club. Bob Kenlay will contact the DOD to find out what is available (cups, stirs, sugar, filters, etc.) and report to Linda Tingley.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

My thoughts after owning an electric car for a year

Tech News and Views

Almost a year ago, I gave a presentation to the club in regard to my new electric car. Now, a year later, having had lots of experience with the car, I want to give you my thoughts about all electric cars.

I think what I like most about an electric car is what it doesn't have: It doesn't  have spark plugs, radiators, anti-freeze, injectors, tune-ups, trips to gas stations, mufflers, starters, fuel filters, air filters, transmissions or noise.

Electric cars accelerate very quickly with tremendous torque. My car is at the slow end of the acceleration curve of Tesla cars, and mine does 0-60 MPH in 5.6 seconds. The take-off is incredibly smooth. There are only two buttons on the dash, one for the 4 way flashers and the other for the glove box. All functions are controlled via a touch screen. Although the car weighs nearly 5000 lbs, it handles better than any car I have ever owned, and I have owned more than 30 cars (including the Henry J, Ford Anglia, Opel Rallye Cadet, and a Packard Patrician).

I know many people are concerned over range (range anxiety). I haven't gone further than Orlando, and on each Orlando trip, I charged the car at Turkey Lake Plaza on the turnpike. There is no cost for the "fill-up" to Tesla owners. Would I be concerned on a longer trip? I don't think so. The U.S. now has several hundred Superchargers, and several thousand destination chargers, and more are being installed daily.

If you have been reading the news, you know that virtually every car company is jumping into the production of electric cars (some are hybrids). Ford alone has 14 varieties of electric cars. I predict that all of my readers will be driving electric cars within the next 15 years.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Use Linux in live mode

Tech News and Views

You may have wanted to try one of the many Linux operating systems, but didn't have a computer you could dedicate for the process. It may come as a surprise that you can run the system on a Windows machine without installing Linux. It is known as "Live" mode.

You simply insert the Linux disk and run the program. Just be careful not to click "Install". When you remove the disk, the computer still runs the Windows operating system that was installed before you inserted the Linux disk.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Send product directions to your Kindle

Tech News and Views

If you own a Kindle e-reader, you may know that Amazon has set up an email account for you. If your email account is, your Kindle account becomes

You can send emails to your Kindle account and can attach PDF files. I have PDF manuals for my cell phone, my car, organizing genealogy files, and building a website.

All manuals show up under DOCS. It is great to have such easy access to the manuals.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eliminate that greasy barbecue

Tech News and Views

A friend of mine recently mentioned the use of grill mats. I had never heard of them, but they sure sound like space age technology and something I want to try.

My friend places the mats on top of the barbecue grate and cooks many different items directly on top of the mat. The grease is absorbed into the mat and the grill stays clean. I'm certainly going to try the product.

Here's the Amazon brand of mat, and what Amazon has to say about the product:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Really save on printing

Tech News and Views

I have often mentioned that I use two printers. Most of my printing is done on an inexpensive Brother laser printer. On rare occasions, I use a color HP printer.

This week, Office Depot advertised a Brother HL2320d printer for $59.99. Toner cartridges from Brother can be expensive, but you can buy a TN450 high yield cartridge from for the printer for just $14.99 including shipping. That cartridge will yield 2600 copies. If my math is correct, that equates to little more than half a cent per page. Add the cost of paper (approx. 1 cent per page) and the total cost is under 2 cents per page. By contrast, ink jet printing will run approximately 8 cents per page.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

iPod screen turns black

Tech News and Views

An iPod user called to tell me that the screen on the device turned completely black and would not come back on. She said the device was fully charged.

The answer I gave her was to reset the device. To do so, the user must press the sleep and home buttons at the same time and hold them in for 20 seconds. When the Apple logo appears, let go of the buttons.

The user did as I advised, and all is working.

Friday, October 7, 2016

My DVD from England won't play on my machine

Tech News and Views

I recently got a call from a friend who ordered a copy of the show Northern Exposure from an English supplier. The DVD won't play, and he wondered why. The answer is rather complicated, but here's an excellent site that explains the situation:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How do you get apps?

Tech News and Views

A caller, who recently bought her first smart phone, wanted to know what apps are and how to get them. Here's a brief answer:

Apps are programs designed for a specific purpose. You can, for example, install a pedometer app on your phone to measure your steps. You can get apps that will convert measurements, show nearby Wi-Fi locations, measure objects, let you read e-books, do graphic design, and handle your finances.

If you have an Android phone, you access apps through the Google Play Store, if you have an Apple product through the Apple Store and from Amazon through the Appstore.

Many apps are free. You simply click on the ones you want to download to your device and then once it installs, you click to open it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Find out what others think of local doctors

Tech News and Views

Many people I have met are unaware that doctors receive ratings from individuals and health groups, and any actions taken against the physicians can be found on line. If you want to find such information, check out the following sites:            

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Genealogy programs revisited

Tech News and Views

I recently reviewed several genealogy programs to try and find which I liked best. Since then, I have reviewed another program which is now my current favorite. It's called Legacy, What I like is the clear easy to read screens and the vast number of reports and charts available. Legacy has free and paid versions. At this juncture, I am using the free software version and do not see a need, as yet, to pay for an upgrade ($29.95).

My previous favorite was Heritage Family Tree Builder. It's quite good, but the free version is limited to 250 names and I already have 283 in my family. The paid version of FTB is almost 3 times more expensive than the paid version of Legacy.

Monday, October 3, 2016

How do I access Wi-Fi from a smart phone?

Tech News and Views

A reader of this column, new to smartphones, wonders how she can turn on the Wi-Fi setting on her smart phone.

Most smart phones major controls are under a settings menu. Look for an icon that looks like a gear. The icon usually has a settings label. Then look for Wi-Fi. Next to the Wi-Fi label there is usually a button that can be clicked to turn the Wi-Fi off or on. If the button is not turned on, the user will burn through data units fairly quickly.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Legacy program defined

Tech News and Views

I know many people are puzzled by the term legacy in regard to computers. Here's how Wikipedia defines the term:

In computing, a legacy system is an old method, technology, computer system, or application program, "of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system." Often a pejorative term, referencing a system as "legacy" often implies that the system is out of date or in need of replacement

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Use Linux as a boot disk

Tech News and Views

If you are unable to boot your computer, and don't have a recovery disk, you will find that almost any variety of Linux will boot the machine. I'm partial to Linux Mint. You can download a copy at Mint can run in live mode (it doesn't install) and won't cause you to lose any files. If you do decide to install the program, you can click that option.

If your computer is more than 5 or 6 years old, the latest versions of Mint may not run.  If that occurs, just download and use an earlier version.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hotels charging resort fees

Tech News and Views

If you decide to travel and book your stay at hotels on the Internet, you may not know about the biggest ripoff around. It seems that since the 1990's hotels in some resort areas, such as Las Vegas, have been tacking on ridiculous fees (read extra profit) called resort fees.

I recently found a very reasonable flight and hotel vacation for Las Vegas. That was until I read the fine print. Like many Las Vegas hotels they are charging $32.47 per day extra for a "Daily Resort Fee".

It seems that everyone is getting into the gouge the customer act. Airlines charge for baggage and take away meals and give you a great fare one way and then hit you for 5 times as much to return. Cruise lines charge for soda and automatically bill you for tips. Restaurants charge 20% more for large party tips. Gasoline stations advertise low prices, and it isn't until you pay that you read the fine print that says the price is for those paying in cash. Many products are sold in tins that appear to be a pound but are 11 ounces. Don't even get me started on disappearing chocolate bars. Is truth in advertising a thing of the past?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Check monitor connections before buying monitor

Tech News and Views

A resident purchased a computer, and later purchased a monitor. Unfortunately, he found the two were not compatible. The monitor, which was newer, only had an HDMI connection. The computer had VGA and DVI connections, but, alas, there was no HDMI. It is possible to purchase adapters, but the resident would have been better off to obtain a compatible monitor at the outset.

I suggest that users make certain, at the time of purchase, that they are buying compatible pieces. Most computer store clerks are knowledgeable in this regard and should be able to steer the purchaser in the correct direction.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Evaluating genealogy programs

Tech News and Views

If you are thinking of getting into genealogy and are looking for computer programs to host the family tree, here is some advice.

Checking available programs -
There is a comprehensive list at Comparison_of_genealogy_software

Choosing the program -
You may ask, "What is the best genealogy program"? As one reviewer said, "The best genealogy program is the one that works best for you". Bearing that in mind, I downloaded and tried Gramps (public license), Roots Magic Essentials (Proprietary), Heritage Family Tree Builder (Proprietary), and My Family Tree (Freeware) and Ahnenblatt (Freeware).

In the past I had used Personal Ancestral File (but support for that ended in 2014), and Family Tree Maker (Proprietary) was sold by to Mackiev I had used a 2009 version of Family Tree Maker but opted out of buying the new version.

Although Gramps is free and was rated highly by several reviewers, I found the print on many screens difficult to read. My Family Tree worked okay but was more difficult to navigate than either Roots Magic Essentials or Heritage Family Tree Builder (each of which try to pressure to upgrade to a version with more features). Ahnenblatt was easy to use but lacks many report formats.

My conclusion was that Family Tree Builder was the most user friendly, but, after entering all my information, I learned that there is a limit of 250 people in the program. You must pay for an upgrade to accommodate more people, and the program is costly. I plan to evaluate some more programs. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The importance of creating recovery disks or drives

Tech News and Views

The other day, a resident came to me with a computer that started to boot and then just hung.  It wouldn't recognize the DVD drive or the USB drives. It seems that the resident had been fooling around with the BIOS. By changing the settings to Legacy software he was able to have the computer recognize the USB, but the computer would do very little.

If he had made a recovery disk or drive, the resident could have gone into the recovery mode and salvaged the computer. I loaned him a recovery flash drive and he was able to bring his computer back to life.

The moral of this story is that all computer users should create recovery media so that their computer sagas have happy endings.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review of free genealogy programs

Tech News and Views

Many avid genealogists have used Family Tree Maker for years but were upset when Ancestry decided to sell the program to Users may want to get the latest version from Makiev or obtain another genealogy program.

Wikipedia has an excellent compilation of free genealogy programs. You can access the list through the following link:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Avoid the forwarding of emails with multiple contacts

Tech News and Views

Many users forward jokes and other info. That might be acceptable but for the fact that the forwarded emails have been forwarded time and time again and often show multiple recipients. The problem therein is that viruses are easily spread, and hackers may gain access to a slew of contacts.

If you choose to forward, scan the email for viruses. Then hi-light the information in the body of the email by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse across and down the text. Hold down the CTRL key and tap the letter C to copy the info to the clipboard. Start a new email. Click in the body of the email and press CTRL and V to paste the info.

Address the email to your own email address. Click BCC (blind carbon copy) and select the recipients. Send the email.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why do YouTube and other videos hesitate

Tech News and Views

I have had many calls from users who can't understand why their videos freeze or stop and start as if the movies are stuttering. the process, called buffering, is certainly annoying.

Buffering has many causes. One cause is slow Internet download speed. Many computer experts say that 5 Mbps (5 Megabits per second) should be the minimum speed, but here, in Oak Run, that is the maximum speed users get for basic Internet service.

Slowdowns are also caused by old slow computers, too many users accessing the same videos and by users using wireless rather than Ethernet connections.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Genealogy resources at Marion County Library

Tech News and Views

If you are into genealogy, but don't want to fork over the bucks for genealogical databases, you can check into the Marion County library. Here are their current offerings. If you can visit the Alachua County library system, you can have in library access to

America's Obituaries and Death NoticesAmerica's Obituaries and Death Notices
Easily search a collection of over 40 million recent records from hundreds of U.S. newspapers. Updated daily, it incorporates over 75 million records from the Social Security Death Index (1937-present) organized by state.

heritageQuestHeritage Quest: In-Library Use or Home Use
Research your family history by using the complete U.S.Federal Census Records from 1790-1930. Search PERSI, an index with more than two million genealogy and local history articles, plus more. This resource includes Freedman’s Bank and Revolutionary War records.

Historic Marion County Digital CollectionHistoric Marion County Digital Collection
The entire collection, pulled from the Marion County Public Library System’s collection of historic photographs, postcards and prints, includes more than 1,000 items relating to Marion County and Florida dating from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The collection is growing all the time, as library staff continues to make new images available. Please check back to see what’s new!

Ocala Star BannerOcala Star Banner
Find full-text articles on local news, issues, events, people and much more from current and archived issues of The Ocala Star Banner. Updated daily, it includes obituaries, editorials, sports, announcements, real estate and other sections.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Minimum specs to look for when buying a new computer

Tech News and Views

I recently talked to several residents who purchased new computers they shouldn't have bought. The specs on those computers were so bad that it is almost a wonder the computers worked. Price should not have been their only consideration. If you need a car, you don't buy a golf cart.

Minimum specs that I think purchasers should look for include: a multi-core processor, at least 4 GB of RAM (more is better), at least 320 GB of storage, a SATA hard drive (there is SATA I, II and III, III is best). Look for a computer with a minimum of bloatware, and take the computer for a test drive at your local emporium.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scams proliferating in Oak Run

Tech News and Views

It seems that I am saying the same thing over and over - Be scam conscious.

Many people in the community contact me to tell about problems they are encountering. Almost weekly, I get calls from someone who has called a number on their computer screen because of supposed computer problems. The perpetrators of these scams want one thing - Your money.

PLEASE remember:
  • Hang up on anyone who claims they have spotted problems on your computer. It's a scam.
  • No one will call you from Windows or Microsoft - Hang up! It's a scam.
  • Do not let anyone control your computer remotely unless they are a close friend or technician you trust. If an unscrupulous person controls your computer they can destroy your data and lock up your computer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What to do if you forgot the network password

Tech News and Views

If your memory is failing and you forgot your router password, the easiest solution is to reset the router and use the router's default login and password. Once you are again connected to the Internet, you can change the password to one you prefer.

To reset most routers, insert a pen point or straightened out paper clip into the reset hole and keep the reset held down for 15 seconds or so. Unplug the modem and router, wait another 20 seconds and plug them back in. Wait a minute or two and you should be able to get back on the Internet by using the default username and password (usually shown on the back or underneath the router).

Webmaster's note: To find the default info for your brand of router you can look on our "Helpful Links" page tab above and scroll to find "Router Setup Help and Info".

Monday, September 19, 2016

Windows update problem solved

Tech News and Views

If you try to update Windows and the process just hangs (often at 99%) it can be very frustrating.

There are many fixes shown in various web sites, but I have found that the simplest solution and one that normally works when others fail, is the Windows Update Troubleshooter.

The Troubleshooter usually finds and fixes the problems.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Changing font size

Tech News and Views

Many users complain about email fonts being too large or too small. The easiest way to change the font size is to hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard while you move the mouse scroll wheel backward or forward. If the mouse does not have a scroll wheel, hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and press the plus key to make fonts larger or the minus key to make them smaller.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

How to get music from an iPad and load it on PC

Tech News and Views

The easiest way to download music from an iPad and on to a PC is to use iTunes.

Download and install iTunes on the PC free at >

Connect the iPad to the PC via the Apple/USB cable. Click on the file folder icon (file explorer) on the taskbar of the the PC. Click on the icon for the iPad. Click on the music folder and rip the music to the PC.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Help solve some of the World's most difficult problems

Tech News and Views

I have been a member of World Community Grid since 2008, and since then I have asked my readers to join me in supporting this most worthwhile of causes. Please join me in this effort.

World Community Grid enables anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability. Through the contributions of over 650,000 individuals and 460 organizations, World Community Grid has supported 27 research projects to date, including searches for more effective treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases. Other projects are looking for low-cost water filtration systems and new materials for capturing solar energy efficiently.

Started in 2004, World Community Grid is a philanthropic initiative of IBM Corporate Citizenship, the corporate social responsibility and philanthropy division of IBM. Through Corporate Citizenship, IBM donates its technology and talent to address some of the world's most pressing social and environmental issues.

I want to emphasize that you will not see any slow down of your computer and that you are not opening up the computer to any malware.

To join, click on the following link and then on the Join Now button:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What are Blockchains and why are they important?

Tech News and Views

You may not have encountered the term "Blockchain", but I'm relatively certain that you have heard of Bitcoins. The technology behind Bitcoins is suddenly becoming very important to the business world.

The following video, from Yahoo Finance, explains just what blockchains are and why they are growing in importance. You will have to endure a couple of ads before you see the Bitcoin explanation.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Change security settings in WhatsApp.

Tech News and Views

Not long ago I mentioned how people may want to use and Android app called WhatsApp in order to send texts without incurring unit charges. What I neglected to tell you is that recently WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook, and some of the apps settings may be seen by Facebook users and let people know too much about the app user. To change the settings, follow these steps:

Open WhatsApp, and change your privacy settings.

Go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > Account > Privacy.

You can change to the following options. I prefer the Nobody setting.

Your last seen, profile photo and/or status will be available to all WhatsApp users.

My Contacts
Your last seen, profile photo and/or status will be available to your contacts from your address book only.

Your last seen, profile photo and/or status will not be available to anyone.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to move pictures from camera to computer

Tech News and Views

Many users have asked how they can get the pictures out of their digital cameras and in to their computers. There are several methods, but the simplest is to connect the camera to the computer using the USB cable that came with the camera.
  • Plug one end of the cable into the camera mini USB port and the other end into any of the computer's USB ports.
  • Turn on the camera.
  • Click on the manila folder on the taskbar (file explorer).
  • Click on This PC if in Windows 10 or on Computer if on Windows 7, Vista or XP.
  • Find the camera icon or description and click on it.
  • Find DCIM (digital camera images) and click on it.
  • Select the images you want to copy by holding the CTRL key and clicking on the images one after another.
  • Then press CTRL and C to copy the images to the clipboard.
  • Click on the folder where you would like to place the images.
  • Then press CTRL and V to paste the images into that folder.
You can disconnect the camera from the computer since a copy of the camera photos is now in the computer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How do I pair my phone with my car?

Tech News and Views

Many new cars are Bluetooth enabled. That means you can pair the phone with the car and talk hands-free while in the car.

In order to pair the devices you need to turn on the phone and see that Bluetooth is enabled. Then click the phone icon in the car. A pairing number should appear on the car display screen. Enter that number into the appropriate space on the phone and the devices will be able to communicate.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Windows scam with audible alarm

Tech News and Views

The scammers are upping the ante. Now the fake Windows repair scam not only has a scary pop-up that locks the screen, it also has a deafening audible alarm. The scam has appeared most recently with the new Microsoft Edge browser. If it pops up on your screen, turn off the speakers and press CTRL, ALT and DEL keys at the same time and then click to stop the running Edge Browser.

You may find that other browsers, such as Chrome, are not affected by the scam. If you don't have a 2nd browser, you might get a friend to install one from a flash drive.

The best way to get rid of the problem is to run an anti-malware scan. Here's a tool you might try:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Get a SSD when you buy that new computer

Tech News and Views

Solid state hard drives (SSD's) have dropped in price and are now in 33% of all new computers being sold. While they are still more expensive than mechanical drives, it is worth paying the difference unless you need some humongous drive (most of us don't). I doubt that any of the readers of this forum are using more than 250 GB of storage. So, pay the difference and get a drive that is faster when turning on, faster in loading apps and faster in storing files.

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