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 Ancestry.com to Mackiev mackiev.com/ftm/. 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 Makiev.com. 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 Ancestry.com.

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 > apple.com/itunes/.

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.

Everyone
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.

Nobody
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: malwareremove.co/

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.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
Sept 9, 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, 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 $2007.36.

Ron Kenyon gave an explanation of the new DECCA Wi-Fi Hotspots which has been posted on the Oak Run Computer Club website. You must set up a Wi-Fi account with DECCA. (Webmaster's note: The account setup is only for existing DECCA Cable Internet customers so they can have unlimited access. Guest users do not have to set up an account but will have only limited access unless they pay.)

Linda Tingley will handle the food and drink purchases for the Christmas party. Linda will use the summary from last years party that was in the January Board Minutes and adjust for increased membership. Bob Kenlay will contact the DOD for arrangements and assist in preparation for kitchen use and coffee machines.

Bob Norton suggested that we give away 10 - $50 gift cards at the Christmas party. A motion was made and seconded. The motion was passed.

Alan Marcus asked how we can get new Board members. It was suggested that we mention the need for new Board members at our regular Club meetings. We can also mention this in the community newsletter.

Future meeting topics:
Sept 21 Bill Balch - Email address Backups
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
Bill Balch, Don Forgette, and Bob Kenlay will work on the Club activity fair (October 29).

Bob Kenlay will develop survey questions for membership interests to be presented at our future Club meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Flash drive formats explained

Tech News and Views

Some users try to copy videos to flash drives and find the drives, although having large capacities, won't accept the movies. They receive messages that say "The file is too large for the destination file system". Here's why they receive such messages.

By default, flash drives are formatted in FAT32 format. FAT32 has a limit of 4 GB, and most movies are larger. ExFAT format has a limit of 16GB. NTFS (New Technology File System) is the latest format and is found in virtually all modern hard drives.

You can format a flash drive using any of the 3 formats. You should use exFAT if you're in a Windows and Mac environment, and NTFS if you are only using Windows.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

iPhone 7 is Unveiled

Yesterday Apple unveiled the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

You can read all the details on the Apple Users Group website > HERE.

How much computer memory do you really need?

Tech News and Views

There's a lot of confusing information out there about how much memory your computer should have. Here's an excellent article on the subject from ZD Net.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

End of Open Office?

Open Office could be coming to an end, according to the developers. Seems like the volunteer team is dwindling. See the following article > Open Office Shutdown.

Supposedly LibreOffice is still running well, but if volunteers are the cause for the demise of Open Office, how much longer will LibreOffice be a viable alternative to Microsoft Office.

How do you know if your computer is infected with malware?

Tech News and Views

Here's an excellent article from Malwarebytes that tells you how to detect whether or not your computer is infected with malware.


If your computer is infected, Malwarebytes is an excellent program that you can use to clean out the malware. There are both free and paid versions of the software.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Uses for old cell phones

Tech News and Views

Many people trade in cell phones yearly and thus have a few old cell phones lying around gathering dust. Those phones could see use as a a voice recorder, a calculator, an MP3 player or a spare camera. Many people donate the phones to battered women shelters as the phones will still dial 911.

I'd like to hear from you, if you have other suggestions of ways to put the old phones to good use. Just click on the comment section and type in what you think.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Avoid cell phone text charges

Tech News and Views

I know most of you are familiar with Skype, a program than lets users talk to and see each other via computer for free.

Well, there are lots of apps that will let you text to each other via cell phone without incurring charges. I like one in particular. It's called WhatsApp, and it works with most cell phones. www.whatsapp.com. All you have to do is to download the program via the Google Play Store on your phone. and answer a couple of questions. Have your friends do likewise. Click on the phone icon WhatsApp, select the friend you'd like to contact and type the message. You can also click and hold the phone icon and your message will be recorded. The other party can click on the recording play button and hear your message.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How to print from an android phone

Tech News and Views

You may wonder whether or not you can print from an android phone. You can! Here's an article that will show you the steps:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Quick Assist built into Windows 10

Tech News and Views

I have been using Team Viewer (remote control software) for many years and have touted its use for some time. The program lets me assist others , who live far away. in solving computer problems.

If you are using Windows 10, there is a built in program, similar to Team Viewer, that you can use to assist others or to have someone help you. Here's a link to a site that will tell you how to use the program called Quick Assist:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Anti-malware built in to Windows 10

Tech News and Views

Here's an excellent article from Tech Republic which shows how to activate the built in Windows 10 anti-malware program.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Troubleshooting the Internet connection

Tech News and Views

I think more users contact me with Internet connectivity problems than with any other type of computer problem. Here are the steps I tell them to take when they can't connect:

Look at the symbol on the taskbar to see if there is a connection. In Windows 10 the symbol looks like a TV screen. When you run the mouse over the symbol, you should see the words Network and Internet Access. If the text say local access, your computer is not connected to the Internet. If your router listing shows up, you may have to re-enter your router password to connect.

See if most of the lights are on on the modem and router. If there aren't any lights, check to see if they are plugged into an outlet strip and if the strip is on. If the strip is on, call the Internet provider to see if their system is down. If it isn't, unplug the router and modem, wait about 20 seconds and plug them back in. Wait a minute or two for them to sync with each other.

If the problem still isn't solved, you may have a defective modem or router. Call your service provider who can normally check out the equipment through a remote connection.

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