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.

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