Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Great news! Wi-Fi is now available at the Orchid Club

The September, 2016, issue of the Oak Run Newsletter announced that a Wi-Fi hotspot has been established at the Orchid Club and covering all of the surrounding area. That means that you can now access the Internet in the auditorium, by the pool, in the library, card room and the tennis and shuffleboard courts from any device using Wi-Fi.

Revision: As of September, 2017, all facilities have Wi-Fi available.


_________________________     UPDATE     _________________________
Webmaster's note: You must be a DECCA Cable Internet subscriber to have full access. Call (854-3223) or email (deccacablecsr@deccacable.com) to register and set up your Wi-Fi account. Read the complete page 9 article below. "Guest" access does not require account setup and is for a short duration but you can purchase a voucher to extend your usage.

If you email your request be sure to include the following info:
  1. Name, Address, Phone Number, and Billing Account Number (from your monthly services fee statement)
  2. The email you want associated with the Wi-Fi account (any email will work)
  3. The UserName you want to log in with
  4. The Password you want to use (must be seven or more characters with at least one capital and one number)
When connecting to the Hotspot, here are some tips:
  1. If you are a DECCA Cable Internet customer use the "Subscriber Hotspot" otherwise use the "Guest Hotspot"
  2. For subscribers, type your UserName ('@deccacable.local' is no longer needed)
  3. Then type your Password, remember it's always case sensitive
  4. Depending on your device's security settings you may need to "Trust" the Hotspot
  5. For the "Guest Hotspot" you are allowed one hour of free access per week, with the option of purchasing an additional 'time voucher' at the DECCA Cable Office or on the login screen using a credit card. However, the login credit card option is not yet available. A 24-hour voucher is $5.99 and a 72-hour voucher is $9.99
  6. On the "Guest Hotspot" remember to check "Accept the Terms" before selecting the one hour trial button or inputting your voucher code
  7. Signal strength is good in the Library, Billiard Room, Lobby and Gym; it's very good around the Pool and in the Auditorium
  8. Download speeds average about 3.5Mbps for subscribers and 2.1Mbps for guests
  9. If you have any trouble using either Hotspot walk over to the DECCA Cable office with your device and they will get you connected
(select article to enlarge)


Update by R+D

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Use Windows 10 for free

Tech News and Views

Although the free upgrade to Windows 10 has ended, there is still a way to use Windows 10, on most computers without paying for the program.

If you have Windows 10 on a recovery drive or a flash drive, you can install the operating system on any computer that meets minimum requirements. I have installed 10 on XP and Vista machines without difficulty.

Of course, Microsoft would like to have you to pay for the program. If you don't, you will see a constant nag in the lower right of the screen suggesting that you Activate Windows.

If the nag doesn't bother you, you can continue to use Windows 10. The only loss of functionality is some network and screen personalization settings.

Monday, August 29, 2016

HSN & QVC cheaper for Tracfones than Tracfone

Tech News and Views

I know that many residents use Tracfone, the no contract cellular phone service. At the end of each year of service, users must renew their phone service by purchasing a year card. The cost is $99.99 for 400 minutes which triples on most phones, and $125 for a year of service, minutes and data if you have a smart phone.

By purchasing a cell phone and a year service through Home Shopping Network or QVC, the user can get a phone and the card for less money than by purchasing just the card directly from Tracfone.

To see available phones and the cost, click on the following links: hsn.com or qvc.com. Type tracfone in the respective search box and browse through the offerings.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Get Google Earth Pro for Free

Tech News and Views

Yahoo recently ran the following article telling how you can get Google Earth Pro for free:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How can I spot fake product reviews

Tech News and Views

In a previous post I mentioned that when looking at product reviews I usually ignore the 1 and 5 ratings and look at the 2, 3 and 4 as I assume they tend to be more objective. Users might also want to try the following site which analyzes reviews and attempts to spot the fakes:


To use the site, copy and paste the URL (address) of an Amazon product into the Fakespot blank.

Blogmaster note: You can also download their browser extension, for Chrome or Firefox, and thereby check the product while you're shopping without having to copy and paste the product code to the Fakespot website. Use the link above and scroll to the bottom of their page to find the extensions.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Change the speed of YouTube video

Tech News and Views

YouTube has many excellent instructional videos, but sometimes they go so fast that users can't follow all the steps. However, there is a way to slow them down.

Bring up the video. Then click on the settings icon at the bottom of the page (looks like a gear). Click on Speed and then select the speed you'd like.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shortcut for the snipping tool

Tech News and Views

Many users use the snipping tool in Windows to copy and paste selected text from one page to another. But, in order to activate the tool in Windows 10 the user must type snipping tool in the search box and click on the result.

Users can create shortcuts to the snipping tool by typing Snipping Tool in the Search box and then by right clicking on the result and selecting Pin to Taskbar. A tiny icon will appear on the taskbar and can be activated with a single click.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

If you are going to buy a new TV you'd better read this

Tech News and Views

Sometimes the newest and most expensive ideas aren't the best. Here is an article you should read if you are considering the purchase of a new 4K ultra high resolution TV.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to edit scanned text

Tech News and Views

A friend of mine is writing a book. He backs-up the text as he writes, but he wondered if he couldn't scan each page and use the scans if the back-up failed.

What my friend didn't understand is that typically scanned images can not be changed as they are similar to photos of the text. The text can only be edited if the scan was done using OCR (optical character recognition software). Here's a link for free OCR software.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The recycle bin has disappeared

Tech News and Views

A user said that the recycle bin icon had disappeared from the desktop, and she wanted to know how to get it back.

She needs to type "Show common desktop icons" in the search box and click on the result. Then just insert a check in the block adjacent to the recycle bin. Do the same for other items such as computer that you would like to see on the desktop.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Computer monitor blank

Tech News and Views

Recently, I was called to a computer users house because no image appeared on the computer monitor.

Fearing the worst, I brought a replacement monitor with me. I tried the new monitor. No picture. I replaced the cables. No picture. I suspected a bad graphics card and re-started the computer. As soon as I started the computer, the user said that now she could hear the fan. A image appeared on the monitor.

It seems that the user was just tapping the tower power button. It was long enough for the power light to appear on the tower, but it was not long enough to power on the computer. I suggested that henceforth she hold down the button for a count of 2 seconds when turning on the machine.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How did my computer get viruses and malware?

Tech News and Views

Many users wonder where their computers pick up viruses and malware. I have had users tell me that they never open suspicious emails and are amazed that their computers are infected.

Often, users pick up problems by visiting sites they assumed were legitimate but are spoofs of legitimate sites. There are fake Facebook and PayPal sites, fake operating system sites and ads that look as though they came from Amazon, Home Depot and almost any real site that you can imagine.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Be prepared for computer disaster

Tech News and Views

Computer manufacturers haven't provided recovery disks for many years, but instead expect users to create their own. And, while such disks can help  put a computer back in operation, users are better off by having a copy of the complete operating system on disk or USB flash drive.

The process of creating copies of the operating system isn't as daunting as it may seem. Users need to download the correct media creation tool for their operating system by using one of the links below. Then just follow the directions listed on the screen.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7/

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10/

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What's on YouTube is amazing

Tech News and Views

If you haven't explored the offerings that YouTube provides, you should try. There is an amazing assortment of great programs. You can find help for repairing your computer, for making home repairs, music videos and complete operas with English subtitles.

You can enjoy some of these offerings to the fullest extent by connecting a laptop (that has an HDMI connection) to your big screen TV. Then, sit back and watch a fantastic assortment of programming.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ways to increase computer speed

Tech News and Views

Over time, all computers will slow down. There are many ways to return computers to their former speed. Here are a few: Type msconfig in the search box and disable programs that start when the computer starts. Run anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Defragment the hard drive. Replace the hard drive with a solid state version. Increase the amount of memory. Use the disk cleanup feature.

If you have done all or most of the above steps and the computer is still running poorly, it's probably time to do a complete recovery to return the computer to it's original condition.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Problems caused by stopping updates

Tech News and Views

We've all experienced computers that display messages such as "Don't shut down computer, installing updates". But sometime users become impatient and shut down the computer anyway. If a user ignores the warning and shuts down the computer during the updates, some serious problems may result. Often a corruption of the operating system is a result.

Recently I saw the results of premature shutdown. In one instance it wiped out the recovery partition. In another it resulted in loss of control of the browser. In such cases a complete recovery from a recovery disk may be the only solution.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Unusual low tech problem

Tech News and Views

In this column, I normally talk about technology, but today I want to tell you about a low tech occurrence.

My washing machine kept throwing the breaker until the machine just wouldn't turn on any more. I assumed an expensive circuit board or the motor had quit. I called the Samsung repairman. He took one look and said you have a bad electrical plug. Well, the plug is molded on to the end of the wire, and I had never seen one fail despite having done electrical work for many years. So, I cut off the defective plug, wired on a new one, installed a new outlet, and presto, the washing machine was working again.

I mentioned the problem to one of the computer club members, and he had had the same type of plug problem. Whowouldathought?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Unable to add photo to Ocala4sale ad

Tech News and Views

A friend advertised an item for sale on Ocala4sale.com, but did not add a photo as he thought he would do it later after he took a good picture.

When he went to edit the ad and insert a photo, the site wouldn't let him add the picture. The reason is that Ocala4sale will only let you insert photos when you first advertise the item, not when you want to edit an existing ad. The secret is to create a new ad and delete the old one.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

How to change the passwords Chrome remembers

Tech News and Views

If you tell the Chrome Browser to remember passwords, it does. So, how do you remove the passwords you no longer want it to remember?

Click on Chrome. Click on the three horizontal lines at the top right (some people call it the hamburger). Click Settings. Click Show advanced settings. Click Passwords and Forms. Click Manage passwords. Click on the X to the right of any password you wish to delete.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
Aug 12, 2016

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

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

Alan Marcus read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2085.28.

Ron Kenyon would like enhance the blog's “Helpful Links” page. Please send any of your favorite websites to Ron.

Ron Kenyon had these new ideas for meeting presentations:
Home Security
Hi-Tech Windows
Entertainment Electronics
Maximizing your Printer
Future meeting topics:
Aug 17                     Auto dealers Hyundai Marie Pattino (car electronics)
Sept 21                     Bill Balch Email address Backup
Oct 19          ???
Nov 23         ???
Dec 21                     Christmas Party ; Q & A
The meeting adjourned at 9:50AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Access to Cortana is hidden

Tech News and Views

If your computer does not show a link to Cortana (Microsoft's voice assistant) it may be hidden.

In order to make the search box visible, right click on the taskbar, select Cortana, click on the arrow next to Cortana.

Remove the check mark next to the word hidden, and select Show Cortana Icon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How much difference does additional memory make?

Tech News and Views

Most computer users are aware that more memory equates to faster speeds. 32 bit systems generally function well on up to 3 GB of RAM, and 64 bit systems will be faster as more and more memory is added to the system with virtually no limit other that how much memory the computer will accept.

I was curious how much difference there was in virtually identical systems with differing amounts of memory, so I performed a test. One computer had 3 GB of RAM and the other had 6 GB. I downloaded the Windows 10 Anniversary Update into both computers at the same time. The computer with 6 GB of RAM loaded and installed the program 4 times as fast.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How do I know how much memory the computer has?

Tech News and Views

If you click on File Explorer (the manila folder on the taskbar) and then right click on This PC (Windows 10) or Computer(earlier Windows versions), you will see how much memory is in your computer.

If you would like to know how many memory slots there are and what's in those slots, navigate to Crucial (crucial.com) and download Crucial's System Scanner. You will find how much memory there is and will see several examples for replacements and upgrades specifically designed for your computer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Scamming the scammer

Tech News and Views

Hopefully, by now, my readers are well aware of the Microsoft support scam wherein a caller claims to be from Microsoft, tells you your computer has viruses and tries to extract some money from you. The best way do deal with the scam is to immediately hang up, but a computer professional, from the firm HTG, played along with the scammer to detail exactly how the scam works.

If you have the time, read the entire transcript from How-To Geek shown below. It will give you a good idea how the scam works, and make you a wiser consumer.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Get rid of Windows 10 nag on taskbar

Tech News and Views

Windows 10 is no longer a free upgrade, but the little nag reminder to upgrade is still present on the taskbar. Here's how to remove it from your Windows 7 computer.

Click Start, All Programs, Windows Update, Installed updates. Find update kb3035583, click on it and then select uninstall.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

How to modify a CMOS battery

Tech News and Views

In yesterday's post I mentioned that some laptops contain sealed CMOS batteries which are difficult to get to. After you reach the battery, you may be disappointed to find that the battery is in a sealed plastic envelope rather than being in a holder that you can spring open. You normally would need to purchase a new battery assembly consisting of the battery, wires and a tiny plug in order to effect a repair.

The assemblies cost between $10 and $12, and of course you have to order the assembly and receive it before you can re-assemble the laptop. Here's a great video showing how you can easily make your own CMOS battery package:


I am currently using a laptop with a CMOS battery package described in the video. It works well.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Computer shows the year 2007

Tech News and Views

A computer user had a laptop computer that was showing the wrong date. According to the computer, the year was 2007. Any attempt to change the year resulted in failure. Often, when a case such as this occurs, the user can rectify the problem by having the computer synchronize with Internet time. To have the computer sync, click Clock, Adjust date and time, Internet Time and Change settings.

In this users situation, because the year was incorrect, the browser kept showing a certificate failure and would not go to the Internet, so resetting the Internet time was not an option. In such a case, the CMOS battery setting had to be reset or the battery replaced. In many laptops, changing the CMOS battery is a really big deal as much of the computer must be disassembled. In desktops, replacing the CMOS battery consists of snapping out the old battery and snapping in a replacement battery.


Friday, August 5, 2016

What is a personal cloud?

Tech News and Views

When a computer user saves information to the cloud it means that information is saved on a server (big computer) somewhere distant from the user's computer. Many users pay companies such as Carbonite for such storage.

There are many people who are afraid to store important information with cloud services and prefer to store the information on a connected external hard drive. If the user wants to access that stored information from any location, the external hard drive can be connected directly to the router. Then, using special software, the info is easily accessible from almost anywhere. This setup is known as a personal cloud.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Get Windows 10 Anniversary update right away

Tech News and Views

The Windows 10 anniversary update is slowly being rolled out to those who currently are using Windows 10.  If you would like the update immediately, rather than having to wait for it, here are the steps to get there:

Click Start, Settings, Update and Security, Learn More.  Windows update history will appear.  Scroll down the page to "Get Anniversay update now".  The file will quickly download.  Click on the downloaded file, and the update will install.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Scammers hitting Oak Run hard

Tech News and Views

I am amazed by the number of people in our community who have been sucked into a variety of computer scams. Here's a description of one of the most often seen scams.

A resident told me she had seen a pop-up ad telling her that there were all kinds of problems with her computer and that she should call an 800 number to rectify the problem. She called, gave the caller access to her computer and supposedly the caller spent 3-1/2 hours cleaning her computer. What he really did was clean out her credit card. She paid the caller $750 for the privilege. That's way more than the computer cost. She called me afterward to ask if I thought the call was legit.

What the scammers typically do is to have the user go into a section of the computer called the event viewer. The viewer shows all problems encountered by the computer. Note that all computers will show problems in the event viewer, but looking through the list is enough to scare most users.

Then the caller will want to connect to your computer using remote control software, typically a program called Team Viewer (which is often used by legitimate companies). Once in the computer, the caller can access all of your files.

If you see a pop-up asking you to call a number, close the pop-up. If you receive a phone call regarding computer problems, hang up. If you have already called a number on your screen, and have paid by credit card for any product or service, immediately call the credit card company to stop the charges and to change the credit card number.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Look up unknown words while on documents

Tech News and Views

I hate to be reading documents that contain words I don't know. It's such a bother to have to go look in a dictionary even if that dictionary is on line.

Here's a simple free app that makes that look up easy. Its called "WordWeb".
Get it here > wordweb.info/free.

Download and install the program. Then, when you come to a word you don't know hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and right click on the word. A definition will pop up. Here's a definition for definition.

Monday, August 1, 2016

When to complain to your ISP about speed

Tech News and Views

Most computer users in Oak Run are paying the minimum Internet access fee to access the Internet. That fee normally provides up to 5 MPS (megabits per second) speed. If you are paying for 5 MPS and getting a speed that is much slower, you should complain to your provider.

I recently helped a computer user check her computer's Internet speed. I used speedtest.net to measure the download speed. It was 1.29 MPS. That is definitely too slow. She should complain to her provider.

Blogmaster note: You can find all 5 of our speed testing sites on the Helpful Links page tab in the menu bar above.

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