Friday, September 22, 2017

Don't want a puny electric car?

Tech News and Views

Don't want a puny electric car? Here's an electric vehicle that can really haul! Check out this article from Ars Technica:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Robots with sense of touch

Tech News and Views

Robots can now have sense of touch!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tesla stock hits new high

Tech News and Views

If you don't believe electric cars are going to take over the automotive market, take note. Tesla stock just hit a new high of $389.61, now has over 500,000 orders for its Model 3 and has announced that it will be producing an electric short haul truck.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CCleaner problem

Tech News and Views

A hack of the popular computer utility program, CCleaner, has prompted many sites to alert millions of users to upgrade the program to avoid complications from the hack. Here's Technologies take on the problem:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Are electric cars suddenly mainstream?

Tech News and Views

The Motley Fool thinks that finally electric cars are going mainstream.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

No doubt about it, Electric cars on the way

Tech News and Views

This just in from Yahoo Finance: China to ban all fossil fuel vehicles.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
September 8, 2017

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

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

Jim Trimboli read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2038.10.

Future meeting topics:
Sept 20 - Medical Records on the Internet, KathyLee Johnson

Oct 18 - Drones, Keith Mackey

Nov 22 - iPhone and Solar Panels, Mike Kinney

Dec 20 - Xmas Party
The meeting adjourned at 9:50AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Understanding uninterruptible power supplies

Tech News and Views

Here's an excellent YouTube video that will tell you what you need to know about uninterruptible power supplies.



Monday, September 4, 2017

Keep up to date on latest computer news

Tech News and Views

Here's a link to a great site to help you keep up-to-date on the latest computer news:


I have been following Kim Komando's column for years. Kim is a nationally syndicated columnist and her info program is broadcast to hundreds of radio stations.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Running a computer with no third party antivirus software

Tech News and Views

Many people ask me which antivirus software I recommend they use with Windows 10. They are surprised when I tell them that Windows 10 has a built-in antivirus program called Windows Defender, and that they don't need to add Norton, AVG, Avast, McAfee, Bit Defender, Kaspersky or any other 3rd party software.

Here's a c|net article in which the author does what I do in terms of antivirus and deftly explains why his computer does not get viruses, ransomware and malware:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

App that does most everything

Tech News and Views

I like to try different apps for my Android smart phone, and I thought you would like to know about one app that does most everything. It's called Smart Kit. By downloading that one app from the Google Play Store you will have access to 24 neat apps. One, for example, is a language translator that translates words into numerous languages and also pronounces the words. There's a dictionary, a metronome, a stop-watch, a currency converter and lots more.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cummins beats Tesla to punch with electric semi

Tech News and Views

Here's exciting news from the Indy Star about the new Cummins electric semi:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Transfer photos from phone to PC

Tech News and Views

The easiest method to use in transferring photos from a cell phone to PC is to use the share button. The button looks almost like a mathematical less than sign. After you click the button, an email screen appears. Simply address the email to an email address and click Send. The picture will be sent to that address. The method is good for sending a few photos. If you plan to send more, you will probably want to use a cloud service such as Dropbox. Here's a detailed article showing various ways to send multiple photos from Digital Trends:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A great use for a database

Tech News and Views

A friend of mine is writing a novel.  It requires a lot of research, and often, he forgets where he found some of the information and exactly what was contained therein.  I suggested that he use a database to create, store and help locate the information.  Let's look at a very simple example.

Suppose you wanted to create a database about automobiles. You'll need to think about the details you'll want to be able to find in the future. You may want to know data such as make, model, horsepower, date produced, production location, country of origin, body type, CEOs, number of cylinders, etc.

Once your database has been created, you create queries to find what you want. You might want, for example, to know all cars produced before 1924, that had more than 40 horsepower, that were 2 door coupes and were produced in Germany.

You can download a free office suite that contains a database program called Base, from libreoffice.org. The tutorials will help you design what you need.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Finding the mike on messaging app

Tech News and Views

All smart phones have a messaging app, but texting from a phone can be difficult even when using a stylus. You can, however, speak and have the app write the text for you.

If your phone doesn't show the microphone on the keyboard that enables you to say the text, hold down the gear icon on the keyboard until the microphone appears. Then click on the mike and say what you want to put in the message. Then click Send.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Scam alert from Representative Daniel Webster

Tech News and Views

The following alert was sent out by Representative Daniel Webster.

Representative Daniel Webster

I want to make you aware of an IRS scam that we were recently alerted about. Across the country, there are numerous reports of a new IRS impersonation scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), in which the caller claims to be an IRS personnel and demands immediate payment through a prepaid debit card. The impersonator tells the victim about two certified letters allegedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable.

The scammer threatens arrest if the tax payment is not made through a prepaid debit card and tells the targeted taxpayer that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when it’s really controlled by the scammer. The scammer also warns the victim to not contact their tax preparer, an attorney or the local IRS office until after they have made the payment.

If you receive a phone call asking for payment information and threatening the above, immediately HANG UP.

The IRS generally contacts people first by mail, not by phone, about unpaid taxes. The IRS will never ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, money order or wire transfer. Also, the IRS will never ask for your credit card information or bank information over the phone.

If you suspect fraud is occurring, you can contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484. Also, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by visiting https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

If you believe you have fallen victim to identity theft or one of these phone scams, or if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 352-241-9220.

Although I certainly hope you are not targeted by one of these criminals, these scams are happening more frequently, and I wanted you to be aware and to know that my office is here to help. I am honored to serve the people of Florida’s 11th Congressional District as your U.S. Representative.

Your servant,

Daniel Webster

Member of Congress

P.S. If you are having difficulty with a federal agency, my office would be happy to look into your situation. Please visit http://webster.house.gov

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Germany may ban gas and diesel cars

Tech News and Views

It's hard to believe but Germany's may ban the production of gas and diesel cars. Here's the latest on the subject from CNN:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

How much faster is a solid state drive?

Tech News and Views

According to Computer Hope, solid state drives take between 35 and 100 microseconds to access data. Mechanical hard drives take between 5000 and 10000 microseconds to access data.

So, why doesn't everybody switch to SSDs? The answer is cost. SSDs can cost much more than conventional drives. So, if you are in the market for a new desktop computer, my suggestion is to get a relatively small SSD for the operating system and a larger HDD for storage or a back-up drive.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Be ready for computer failure

Tech News and Views

Many computer users remind me of automobile drivers. They both realize, too late, that preventative measures should be taken before disaster strikes. The auto driver knows he is driving on bald tires, but doesn't replace them. After a blow-out on a deserted road, he realizes how stupid he was in not getting new tires.

The computer user doesn't backup the computer and then disaster strikes. He wants the repair shop to recover his photos and files and to save his greeting card program, but they are gone forever.

The message is clear. Backup now!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A cheaper smartphone

Tech News and Views

More and more people are using smartphones today. Many use their phones in place of landlines, and they need expensive calling plans. But for those of you who have a smartphone for emergencies or very limited use, a no-contract phone is the least expensive way to go.

I have used a Tracfone for many years. I purchase the phone which includes a set number of minutes and a year's usage, but I don't buy it from Tracfone. I get the phone and plan from the Home Shopping Network because the phone and the the plan is often less expensive than the year plan alone from Tracfone. A year plan from Tracfone is $125. I just bought an LG smartphone from HSN for $129. I got the phone, a car charger and the year plan. Next year, instead of buying a year extension from Tracfone, I'll just buy another phone and plan from HSN. My new phone has 16 GB of storage, and a 13 Megapixel camera and operates on Android Nougat.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Become a member of several libraries

Tech News and Views

I have mentioned this before, but I think it is worth repeating. Marion County Florida's library system is severely limited in its e-books offering. It seems that the system ended their agreements with Overdrive which is the largest source of e-books. Patrons can still access Overdrive by becoming library patrons of the Alachua and Citrus County library systems since those counties have reciprocal agreements with Marion County. So, if you use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, you might want to obtain a library card at our neighboring libraries.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Activate the operating system to avoid nags

Tech News and Views

I recently got a call from a computer user who complained about seeing constant nags on his computer about an illegal copy of Windows 7 on his computer.

It seems that a friend of his had upgraded the old Vista computer to Windows 7, but failed to enter the product code to properly activate the machine. Thus, Microsoft assumed that the installation was illegal.

The computer, surprisingly enough had two product stickers, one for Vista and one for Windows 7. I clicked on File Explorer in the task bar, Right clicked on Computer and left clicked on properties. There you can click to change the product key. I entered the new product code and was surprised to immediately see that the copy of Windows 7 was genuine and the product was activated. No more nags. The moral of this story is that installers must remember to activate software after installing the operating system.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Want a faster computer?

Tech News and Views

Mashabale.com recently released the following news item regarding much faster computers that should be available very soon. So, if you are in the market for a new computer, you might just want to wait a couple of months for these exciting products.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Access Chrome extensions

Tech News and Views

A user wrote that he saw an article about a Chrome extension that would show if Amazon prices were really the cheapest, but when he went to add the extension to Chrome, the site wanted him to grant access to all his contacts. He became nervous and now wants to know how to remove the extension from Chrome.

Access to extensions in Chrome is gained by clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper right of the Chrome page. Click on "More Tools" and then on "Extensions". You can then un-enable the extension or remove it completely.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

You may be entitled to up to $900 in class action suit.

Tech News and Views

It's all over the news. It seems that a Telemarketing firm, called Resorts Marketing, conspired with Cruise lines Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian to robocall homes about cruises. A class action suit was filed. If you were called by the firm, you may be entitled to $300 per call up to a maximum of $900. Read the story below and check to see if your phone number was included in the settlement. Mine was.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free

Tech News and Views

Techspot just ran the following article showing that you can still upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 for free.


Read the previous post about this topic > HERE.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Small SSDs are just too small

Tech News and Views

There are many inexpensive computers on the market that contain solid state drives. The problem with most of them is that small normally means 32 GB. Windows 10 needs 16 GB on a 32 bit system and 20 GB on a 64 bit system. That means that there is very little space left for any programs. Many people try to make up for the lack of space by installing SD cards, but that is a poor man's solution.

I suggest that you avoid computers with such tiny hard drives. Look for machine that have at least double the 32 GB capacity. Otherwise, you'll find that your computer will be an expensive book end.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Drinks spilled on keyboards can cause real havoc

Tech News and Views

We've all been told not to have coffee, soda and even water around computers, but most of us ignore the advice.

Yesterday, a resident brought an expensive ultra book computer to me. He had spilled a sugary drink on the keyboard, and none of the keys would work. He had the foresight to dry the laptop carefully and embed it in a lot of rice to absorb the moisture, but the computer still wouldn't work. I played with various connectors and eventually got the machine to boot. I copied his important files to a flash drive and was able to copy all to a new computer.

What many people don't realize is that ultrabooks normally have the keyboard and touch pad embedded in the entire computer top, and replacement of the top can be ultra expensive. So, remember, don't drink and drive a computer.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
August 11, 2017

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance: Bob Leiner, Bob Norton, Elliot Bogart, Linda Tingley, Bill Cahill, Bob Kenlay, 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 $2004.03.

A motion was made by Bob Norton and seconded by Bob Leiner to move the membership grace period payment date for 2018 from October to November. The motion was passed.

Future meeting topics:
Aug 16 -  Ocala Computer Clinic & Apple Computer? Kip Ecklund
Sep 20 -  Medical Records on the Internet, KathyLee Johnson
Oct 18 -  Drones, Keith Mackey
Nov 22 -  ????
Dec 20 -  Xmas Party
The meeting adjourned at 9:50AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

How to turn off smooth scrolling in Chrome

Tech News and Views

If you use the Chrome browser and find that scrolling through pages is painfully slow, you may have to disable the smooth scrolling feature. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but the scrolling feature does not work well in some computers and must be disabled.

Start your browser and then type chrome://flags/ in the search window. A page like the following will appear. Scroll down until you find smooth scrolling and click on Disable.

chrome smooth scrolling

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Big 3 US automakers are slow learners

Tech News and Views

Many of you know that I am a big fan of plug in electric cars, and I believe they will completely dominate the automotive market within a very short time, but the domination will come from innovative companies like Tesla not the Big 3. Let's look at what's wrong with the Big 3.

When the U.S. Government and the California Air Resources Board started insisting that car companies produce cars with better mileage, most car companies responded by producing hybrids. The companies didn't make much money on them, but it kept the Feds off the companies backs. Auto companies were making most of their money in service and by selling expensive vehicles like the Hummer and pick-up trucks. The hybrids helped improve over-all mileage for the companies but added little to the bottom line.

You may know that GM has produced very good electric cars in the EV1 and in the Bolt, but they crushed the EV1's. Their not serious about the Bolt either as they are not installing any charging infrastructure.

Several years ago, I went to a local Chevy dealer to test drive a Volt. The dealer had none in stock, couldn't tell me when they'd get one and didn't even take my name. They just were not interested in selling a low profit car that probably would require infrequent repairs.

Tesla, by comparison, has done away with franchised dealers. They do not use repairs as a profit center and they care about more than the bottom line. Will the Big 3 ever learn?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mistakes made in backing up a computer

Tech News and Views

I recently worked with a user who was encountering problems with Windows. I asked him if he would lose much information if I had to wipe the computer hard drive. He said no, he wouldn't lose much because he had been regularly backing-up his data. Since I didn't see a back-up drive or even a flash drive, I asked how he was backing-up his info. He said he was using the hard drive. He had never considered the fact that if the hard drive crashed his data would be wiped out or be very costly to recover.

My suggestion to all users is to back-up to an external drive or flash drive. The drives have come down greatly in price, so you might even consider buying two. Back-up to drive 1 and remove it. Back-up to drive 2 and leave it connected. You can now purchase a 2 terabyte drive for approximately $70.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Many ways to speed up a slow computer

Tech News and Views

One of the complaints I hear most often is "My computer is running slow". I have addressed the issue several times, but I recently ran across the following excellent article on the subject published by Computer Hope. It is the most comprehensive write-up I have seen on the subject.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Great free address book

Tech News and Views

I have been using a computerized address book for years, but as my eyesight worsened I encountered difficulty in reading some of the program's small print. I searched for another free program that had larger print and found one called Efficient Address Book.


The Efficient Address Book can be adjusted to show up to 14 point fonts. The program is a great replacement for the address book program I was using.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Check to see if provider is up or down

Tech News and Views

The website, Computer Hope, has a neat utility program that lets you know whether your Internet provider is down. Simply type the name of your provider in the blank and press the Enter key on the keyboard. You might, for example, type in deccacable.net.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Solar City Roof Tiles and fake news

Tech News and Views

Many of you know that I'm a big fan of all things Tesla and of Elon Musk their CEO. However, I was more than a little dismayed recently about several announcements about the the cost of the new Tesla Solar Roof Tiles. It seems that several reporters had said that the tiles would cost less than conventional roof shingles. It tuns out that the reporters were way off base.

When originally announced by Elon Musk, the tiles were said to be cheaper over a 30 year life span because the excess energy they generated could be sold back to the power companies thus giving a net gain. Somehow the reporters ended up saying the tiles were cheaper even without the sale of excess energy back to the power companies.

Just so you know, conventional shingle roof replacements in our area are averaging between 7 and 8 thousand dollars. It works out to between $2.75 and $7.50 per square foot. The new Tesla tiles are $21.85 per square foot - OUCH.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

10 Tips For Better And Faster Search Results

The problem with search engines isn't that they don't
find the info you want but that they find too much info.

How do search engines work?
Search engines put together a database of sites by sending "spiders" or "robots" to crawl through the Web, going from link to link. When spiders get to a website, they index most of the words on the available pages. When you use a search engine, the engine scans its database of sites to match your keywords to those same words in page locations of the database.

Search Tip #1:
Be specific. The more narrowed down you can get your searches from the beginning, the more successful your search usually will be. For example, if you were searching for coffee, you'd get way more results back than you could use. However, if you narrowed that down to roasted Arabica coffee in Detroit Michigan, you'd be more successful.

Search Tip #2:
One thing that can save you search time is very simple - put your search phrase in quotes.

When you use quotation marks around a phrase, you are telling the search engine to only bring back pages that include these search terms exactly how you typed them in order, proximity, etc. This tip works in almost every search engine and is very successful in bringing back focused results. If you're looking for an exact phrase, put it in quotes. Otherwise, you'll come back with a huge jumble of results.

Here's an example: "long haired cats". Your search will come back with these three words in proximity to each other and in the order you intended them to be.

Search Tip #3:
Another simple trick is using addition and subtraction to make your search results more relevant.

For example, if you're searching for Tom Ford, but you get lots of results for Ford Motors, just combine a couple of web search basics to get better results: "tom ford" -motors. Now your results will come back without all those pesky car results.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

FBI Issues Warning To Parents About Smart Toys

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a PSA warning about the potential dangers of smart toys. The bureau encourages parents to consider cyber security before bringing internet-connect toys into the home because they could risk the privacy and safety of children.

The announcement warns of the potential for personal information to be gathered through such toys. The presence of sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, speech recognition and GPS, coupled with cloud storage of data, is cited as cause for concern, and parents are urged to check privacy agreements.

The IC3 warns: "Consumers should examine toy company user agreement disclosures and privacy practices, and should know where their family’s personal data is sent and stored, including if it’s sent to third-party services. Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use. Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports."

There have already been several incidents around the world where smart toys have been hacked, or they have been banned because of vulnerabilities that could be exploited. The PSA does not hold back in stressing the potential dangers:
The features and functions of different toys vary widely. In some cases, toys with microphones could record and collect conversations within earshot of the device. Information such as the child’s name, school, likes and dislikes, and activities may be disclosed through normal conversation with the toy or in the surrounding environment. The collection of a child’s personal information combined with a toy’s ability to connect to the Internet or other devices raises concerns for privacy and physical safety. Personal information (e.g., name, date of birth, pictures, address) is typically provided when creating user accounts. In addition, companies collect large amounts of additional data, such as voice messages, conversation recordings, past and real-time physical locations, Internet use history, and Internet addresses/IPs. The exposure of such information could create opportunities for child identity fraud. Additionally, the potential misuse of sensitive data such as GPS location information, visual identifiers from pictures or videos, and known interests to garner trust from a child could present exploitation risks.
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dangers Of The Internet of Things (IoT)

Technology-filled smart homes have come a long way since Rosie the robot housekeeper catered to the Jetsons' needs. But one thing the Jetsons never seemed to worry about was Rosie turning on them or being used as a surveillance device.

Smart home mishaps can and do happen. Just ask the German computer science professor who rigged up his house so that everything from lights, music, and TV to heating and cooling was connected to the Internet and could be turned on and off remotely. Sounds great, right? Until the house froze up and stopped responding to his commands.

Was a nefarious hacker to blame? No, the culprit was a light fixture that had burned out and was trying to gain the hub's attention by sending continuous requests that overloaded the network, a classic denial-of-service (DOS) attack.

The professor knew his way around a network and was able to diagnose the problem himself, but are all the consumers of smart home technology -- expected to become a $12 billion annual business by 2020 -- so tech savvy?

Not all solutions to smart home snafus are as simple as changing a light bulb. And millions of Internet-connected devices flooding the market and our homes are less secure than a PC or smartphone. As Daniel Buentello said in a Black Hat tech session in which he needed just 15 seconds to break in and gain remote control over a Nest thermostat: "The more convenient or smart something is, the less secure it is. What are we giving up just for me to be lazy on my couch?"

 more of this post ▼

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Improve Windows 10 Performance, Part 5 of 5

Remove Unwanted Services from Windows Startup

STEP 1: Open the Services Manager using one of the following:

1.a. Press the WIN+X keys together to show the quick access menu and select the "Computer Management" option. Next select "Services and Applications -> Services" in the left panel.

1.b. Or right-click "This PC" icon on the Desktop and select the "Manage" option.

1.c. Or press WIN+R keys together to launch the RUN dialog box and type services.msc and press Enter. It'll directly open the Services Manager.

STEP 2: Services Manager shows a huge list of all Windows services along with their status and startup type. (select image to enlarge)

The Status section shows whether a service is currently running in background or not. The Startup Type section tells you whether a service is set to automatically start with Windows or not. The goal is to set some unnecessary services startup type to MANUAL so that they don't start automatically with Windows and thus don't consume system resources.
NOTE: It's recommended to set a service's startup type to MANUAL and not to DISABLED unless you are sure the service will never be needed. That's because if a service is set to MANUAL start and Windows needs the service, it'll be able to start the service and there will be no affect on OS functionality. But if a service is set to DISABLED and Windows requires that service, it won't be able to start the service and you may have problems.
Here are some services which can be safely set to MANUAL and often DISABLED:
  • Connected User Experiences and Telemetry (To turn off Telemetry and Data Collection) 
  • Diagnostic Policy Service
  • Diagnostic Tracking Service (To turn off Telemetry and Data Collection)
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client (If your computer is not connected to any network)
  • dmwappushsvc (To turn off Telemetry and Data Collection)
  • Downloaded Maps Manager (If you don't use Maps app)
  • IP Helper (If you don't use IPv6 connection)
  • Program Compatibility Assistant Service
  • Print Spooler (If you don't have a printer)
  • Remote Registry (You can set it to DISABLED for Security purposes)
  • Secondary Logon
  • Security Center
  • Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service (If you don't want to use the touch screen keyboard and handwriting features)
  • Windows Defender Service (If you don't use Windows Defender program)
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) (If you don't have a scanner)
  • Windows Search (If you don't use Windows Search feature frequently)

Apart from the above services, you can also set a few other services startup type to MANUAL such as services installed by your graphics card driver (Intel, nVidia, AMD, etc), your sound card driver (Realtek, Creative, etc).

STEP 3: After configuring services startup type, close Services Manager and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

If you have any issues with a software program, you can restore the services startup type to Automatic again using Services Manager to fix the issue.

Note: Be careful not to remove necessary services. Research the name when in doubt.

Credit: askvg.com

Friday, July 28, 2017

Windows wants to update to a flash drive

Tech News and Views

You may receive a message such as the following when trying to update Windows 10: "You can't install Windows on a USB flash drive using Setup"

The way to fix this problem is to change a registry value. Please be careful while working in the registry.
  • From the Desktop screen press Win + R
  • Type in Regedit
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  • Change the value PortableOperatingSystem to “0” from 1.

Once you change the registry value please reboot the system and try to update again.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Improve Windows 10 Performance, Part 4 of 5

Remove Unwanted Programs from Windows Startup

There may be many unnecessary software programs which automatically start with Windows and keep running in the background. You can disable these programs from system startup to improve performance.

1. Right-click on the Taskbar and select the "Task Manager" option. You can also directly open the Task Manager by pressing the "Ctrl+Shift+Esc" keys together.

2. Go to the "Startup" tab and select the unwanted program in the list and click on the "Disable" button to remove it from startup. (You can disable more than one at a time.)

3. Restart your computer and the disabled program(s) will no longer start with Windows and you'll get a faster running system.

Note: Be careful not to remove necessary programs. Research the name when in doubt.

Credit: askvg.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Improve Windows 10 Performance, Part 3 of 5

Disable Transparency on Start Menu, Taskbar and Action Center

Disabling transparency effects can also help in improving system performance. If you don't like the transparency effect on Windows 10 Start Menu, Taskbar and new Action (Notification) Center, you can turn the transparency effect off using these steps:

1. Open Settings app from Start Menu.

2. Go to the "Personalization -> Colors" page and set the option "Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent" to Off.

This will immediately remove the transparency effect and make the Start Menu, Taskbar and Action Center opaque.

Note: Newer Windows 10 versions rename the option "Transparency effects".

Credit: askvg.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You can get viruses on your cell phone!

Tech News and Views

I have heard from an increasing number of users who are seeing questionable pop-ups appear on their smart phones. They wondered if they should respond or delete the messages. As always, I suggest that if you don't know the source of the message, delete the message. Take a look at the following article that appeared in TopTenReviews:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Improve Windows 10 Performance, Part 2 of 5

Turn Off All Animations At Once

There is another way to turn off all animations in Windows 10. Follow these simple steps:

1. Open the Start Menu and click on Settings. Alternatively you can directly open Settings by pressing WIN+I keys together.

2. Go to the "Ease of Access -> Other options" page and set the option "Play animations in Windows" to Off.

It'll turn all animations off in Windows 10 which will improve your computer performance.

Credit: askvg.com

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Improve Windows 10 Performance, Part 1 of 5

Disable Animations and Eye Candy Effects

By default, Windows 10 uses lots of animations and other effects, such as shadows, to provide an attractive user interface but these animations and effects can take up your system resources and can effect computer performance.

You can disable all of these animations and effects to improve Windows 10 performance using the following steps:

1. Press Win+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Type sysdm.cpl and press Enter. The System Properties window will open.

2. Go to Advanced tab and click on the Settings button under the Performance section.

3. In the Options window select Custom and uncheck the following:
  • Animate controls and elements inside windows
  • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
  • Animations in the taskbar
  • Fade or slide menus into view
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
  • Fade out menu items after clicking
  • Save taskbar thumbnail previews
  • Show shadows under mouse pointer
  • Show shadows under windows
  • Show translucent selection rectangle
  • Slide open combo boxes
  • Smooth-scroll list boxes
  • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop

4. Apply the changes and close settings window.

Credit: askvg.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Undo multiple times

Tech News and Views

Most computer users are aware that they can undo the last computer entry they have made, but they may not be aware that the undo command can be done 26 times in sequence. To do so, press the CTRL key and the letter Z at the same time. Each time the combination is pushed, the computer will go back to the previous entry.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bosch's Electric Drive Turbo-boosts New EV Startups

"From rolling chassis to electric vehicle in 12 to 18 months." That was the statement made by Harald Kröger, president of Automotive Electronics at Bosch, during a transportation tech presentation.

Kröger was referring to Bosch's new 48-volt electric drive system, consisting of six components, which can be fitted to a wide range of light vehicles.

The automotive landscape is littered with electric vehicle startups, done in by the prohibitive cost of developing and marketing a new car. Tesla stands out as a success, so far, due to deep-pocketed investors and public enthusiasm. But much of that investment went into years of research and development on an electric drive system.

Bosch's drive system potentially gives startups an edge, taking care of the entire drivetrain and leaving them to develop a rolling chassis ready to accept battery packs and motors.

Electrons meet the road
During demonstrations at a Bosch-sponsored event on its proving grounds in Germany, the company showed how it implemented the system on a scooter, small passenger car and urban delivery truck.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Who killed the electric car?

Tech News and Views

In 1990 several good electric cars began to appear on the American highways. Ten years later they were all gone. What happened? Director, Chris Paine's excellent documentaries include the following.

Text:

Videos:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Save parts of computer image

Tech News and Views

Recently, one of our members asked me how he could capture and enlarge part of a parts diagram. He didn't need the entire diagram, but he did need a greatly enlarged print. Here's the solution to the problem.

Download and install the Duck Capture program:


Capture the part of the diagram or image you want and save it to the clipboard using the Duck Capture icon. Open a word processing program such as Word or LibreOffice Writer. Press Control and the letter V to paste the image from the clipboard into the word processor page. Drag the image handles to enlarge the image and then print the result.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Electric Cars’ Breakout Could Be Near

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected.

As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.

Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies, and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Lucid Air Hits An Unrestricted 235mph During Testing

A prototype for Lucid’s Air electric sedan hit a top speed of 235mph during a recent high-speed test on the banked oval at Ohio’s Transportation Research Center. The achievement follows a test run up to a governed 217mph which the Air prototype conducted in April.

These are speeds faster than what all but a handful of supercars can achieve, and no sedans come close to matching the Air. The electric sedan’s main target, the Tesla Model S, tops out at 155mph.

In a statement, Lucid said that in one of the intended markets for the Air, there is an expectation of high-speed cruising that the company fully intends to meet. That market happens to be in the middle of Europe and has a network of highways with unrestricted speed zones.

It’s for this reason Lucid is testing its prototypes at such high speeds. The engineers are out to evaluate high-speed behaviors, including vehicle stability, tire performance and powertrain thermal management. They’ll use the collected data to finesse thermal and aero computer simulations to ensure optimal performance in the production version.

It’s not clear how fast the Lucid will be in production guise. The final figure will almost certainly be lower since the prototype was fitted with custom aerodynamic elements for high-speed stability. It was also fitted with a parachute to help slow it down faster in case of an emergency stop.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tesla Rolls Out Its First Model 3

Elon Musk flipped the switch on the production line, beginning a new era for electric cars. But it’s a long road to mass production.

How far is Tesla going with Autopilot for the launch? Last October, Musk set some wild timelines for full self-driving capabilities in the Tesla fleet. The company upgraded the hardware suite of its full line-up of cars to eight surround cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a forward radar, and a massively powerful new computer. He said it was all the hardware that will be needed for driverless transport. By the end of 2017, Musk said, he hoped to demonstrate a cross-country trip without any driver interaction.

So far, Tesla hasn’t backed off those predictions. For the past nine months, it’s been charging customers an extra $3,000 for an option called “Full Self-Driving Capability”. However, the software still hasn’t been released to make any new features available, and to date, the pricey option adds no additional functionality.

Musk has dropped a number of hints that those features will start rolling out around the launch of the Model 3. In January, I asked him at what point “Full Self-Driving Capability” will depart from the “Enhanced Autopilot” features. His response, via a post on Twitter: “3 months maybe, 6 months definitely”. Six months would coincide with the July launch.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Corrupted files, run SFC

Tech News and Views

If your computer isn't running well, you might want to run the system file checker. To do so in Windows 10, right click Start and left click Windows Power Shell (administrator). Type sfc /scannow and press the Enter key.

The sfc /scannow command will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache. The %WinDir% placeholder represents the Windows operating system folder.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
July 14, 2017

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

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

Jim Tromboli read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2081.96.

A motion was made by Elliot Bogart and seconded by Bob Kenlay to pay Ron Kenyon $20 for the netbook being donated to the computer club.

Future meeting topics:
July 19   Electric Cars, Alan Marcus with Q & A

Aug 16   Ocala Computer Clinic and Apple Computer? Kip Ecklund

Sept 20   Medical Records on the Internet, KathyLee Johnson

Oct 18   Drones, Keith Mackey

The meeting adjourned at 9:45AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Drone Camp Teaches Kids How To Take To The Skies

Bismarck, ND, 6-8-17

Drones are becoming more common, whether we like it or not and kids are getting in on the fun, too.

Kids are learning important skills when it comes to flying drones. "I figured out on my own how to do barrel rolls. I still can’t figure out how to do flips," said Nathan Vinchattle, camper.

This camp at the Bismarck Career Academy is trying to peak kids interest so they can be ready for a drone industry in the future.

"The kind of things that you can do are kind of limitless. You see a lot in a state like North Dakota with the agriculture. A lot of the oil companies use them as well, so it's one of those things where the uses are kind of limitless," Tim Meyer, Bismarck Career Academy.

Believe it or not some kids are already looking towards possible careers in aviation. "I kind of like the idea of flying and the many different job opportunities that there actually are. I didn't know there were that many different things that you can actually do in flying," said Avery Brousseau, camper.

While the camp is aimed at having fun the instructors make sure kids learn the basics. "Don't fly too high when there's a plane above and don't crash," said James McGrath, camper.

The camp had about 45 kids over the two day session with a second camp starting the following week.

Credit: kfyrtv.com

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to clean the dust from your computer

Tech News and Views

Most of the computer users that I have encountered are nervous about opening desktop computer cases to clean out dust, but the job doesn't have to be nerve wracking.

Most computer cases have one or two screws that must be removed in order to slide out the side panel. Then the computer can be blown out by using a compressed air can, leaf blower or shop vac.

Although many computers run for years without being cleaned, many others clog up, retard the cooling fans, overheat and kill the machines. Cleaning is particularly important when the user has pets or operates the computer in a dusty environment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Computer breadboarding tip

Tech News and Views

Often, when troubleshooting computers, it helps to remove the motherboard from the case to breadboard the circuit. By connecting just the motherboard, power supply, CPU and fan, technicians can often ascertain problems through beep codes or the appearance of an image on the monitor.

But, after each component is tested, the system must be shut down. That normally involves unplugging the power supply. If the technician connects the power supply to a switched outlet strip, power can be started and stopped easily by turning off the strip.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Solar roof tiles to be sold from car showrooms

Tech News and Views

Tesla had announced, back in April, that solar roof tiles (as opposed to solar panels) would be available soon. Here are the company's latest quotes in reference to the product.
“Recently, we tested sales of our solar and storage products in several Tesla stores, and saw sales productivity improve 50% to 100% relative to the best non-Tesla retail locations. Based on these results, we are working towards fully staffing more than 70 Tesla stores in the U.S. and abroad with dedicated Tesla energy sales people over the next two quarters.”
Tesla has previously said it wants its customers to walk into any Tesla store and buy electric cars, energy storage solutions and solar products all under one eco-friendly roof.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Best voice assistants

Tech News and Views

I have used many voice assistants: Amazon Echo Dot, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant. The Dot is the poorest of the bunch. While it now sells for just $39, I guess you get what you pay for. Much of the time, when asked a question, such as what is the Asian dish, curry, Alexa will answer: "Hmmm! I don't know the answer to that". A recent study said that the Dot could answer correctly only 13% of the time. Google's Home Assistant was correct 73% of the time.

Alexa did best with questions about celebrities, geographical features, math and playing music.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Amabrush - World's First Automatic Toothbrush

Amabrush is a revolutionary new toothbrush that brushes your teeth automatically, all at once, in just 10 seconds.

You never have to brush your teeth again!

Amabrush is the world's first, fully automatic toothbrush. This patent pending device brushes all your teeth at once, fully automatic, and finishes in just ten seconds. All you have to do is press a single button, wait ten seconds, and you’ll have perfectly clean teeth!

Read more about it > HERE.

Photo credit: amabrush.com
Text credit: kickstarter.com


Saturday, July 8, 2017

France To End Sale Of Diesel, Gasoline Vehicles By 2040

France plans to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 in a bid to become a carbon-neutral nation, Energy Minister Nicolas Hulot said, effectively promoting electric cars. Presenting the country's Climate Plan in Paris on Thursday, Hulot said France will offer tax incentives to replace diesel autos that are more than 20 years old and gasoline vehicles made before 2001.

The government will also end oil and gas exploration on French territory, eliminate coal-fired power plants by 2022 and encourage home owners to produce their own energy.

"The target is a tough one," Hulot, a former journalist and environmental activist, said. "But France wants to become the No. 1 green economy."

Credit: autonews.com

Friday, July 7, 2017

Every Volvo Introduced From 2019 Will Have an Electric Motor

It won’t be long before Volvo stops offering pure gasoline-powered cars. By 2019, the automaker will only launch EVs, hybrids, and mild hybrid vehicles.

“This is about the customer,” said Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson in a release Wednesday. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”

Moving away from a lineup dominated by pure gas and diesel cars represents a big change for the automaker, which hasn’t yet launched a fully electric vehicle. To make up for lost time, Volvo will introduce five EVs between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which are destined for the high-performance Polestar brand. Although we don’t know much else about Volvo’s plans, we do know the first Volvo EV goes on sale in 2019 and will sit on the Compact Modular Architecture designed for electrification.

In addition to five EVs, Volvo will offer a range of gas and diesel plug-in hybrids throughout the lineup. Mild hybrid cars will also be available, although the timeline surrounding the introduction of these vehicles is unclear.

By 2025, Volvo plans to have sold a cumulative total of 1 million electrified vehicles, just one of the automaker’s ambitious goals for the coming decade. With the help of new autonomous driving features, the automaker vows to end all deaths and serious injuries in its vehicles by 2020.

Credit: motortrend.com

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Only 64-bit Apps Will Work On iOS 11

Apple Bytes

Be sure to think twice before upgrading to iOS 11 when it's released this fall. The new operating system works only as 64-bit architecture and your installed 32-bit apps will no longer function after you upgrade until the apps have also been upgraded to work as 64-bit by their developer. Here's what Apple wrote to app developers.

64-bit Apps on iOS 11

June 28, 2017

App StoreAs a reminder, new iOS apps and updates submitted to the App Store must support 64-bit. Support for 32-bit apps is not available in iOS 11 and all 32-bit apps previously installed on a user’s device will not launch. If you haven’t updated your app on the App Store to support 64-bit, we recommend submitting an update so your users can continue to run your apps on iOS 11, which will be in the hands of hundreds of millions of customers this fall.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Two-Factor Authentication Required For iOS 11

Apple Bytes

Apple will automatically migrate iCloud users to two-factor authentication when they upgrade to iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra.

Apple says its “most advanced” account security is required to use some of the latest features of its operating systems, so it’s no longer optional if you plan on updating your devices.

Apple this week began notifying users who already use two-step verification that they will be migrated to two-factor authentication upon upgrading, MacRumors reports. Although the two systems are similar, two-factor authentication is even safer.

The updated system, launched in 2015, requires you to enter a six-digit code when signing into your iCloud account on a new device. That six-digit code is sent to another trusted device tied to your Apple ID and requires iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, watchOS 2, tvOS or later.

Two-step verification simply sent a four-digit code to any trusted device that could receive an SMS. What’s great about two-factor authentication is that it allows you to view the location of a new device attempting to access your iCloud account.

“If you install the iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra public betas this summer and meet the basic requirements, your Apple ID will be automatically updated to use two-factor authentication,” Apple explains in its email to users.

“This is our most advanced, easy-to-use account security, and it’s required to use some of the latest features of iOS, macOS, and iCloud.

“Once updated, you’ll get the same extra layer of security you enjoy with two-step verification today, but with an even better user experience. Verification codes will be displayed on your trusted devices automatically whenever you sign in, and you will no longer need to keep a printed recovery key to make sure you can reset a forgotten password.”

It’s not totally clear whether two-factor authentication will be required for all users who update to iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra — or whether it’s only necessary for those who already use two-step verification.

Some of the worries mentioned so far:
  • How will schools manage multiple student iPads?
  • What if you live in a country where Two-Factor Authentication is not available?
  • How will I admin my relative's iPad who lives overseas?
  • What if you only have one Apple device?

Credit: cultofmac.com

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Speed up that old PC by installing a solid state drive

Tech News and Views

Ziff Davis Publishing recently wrote an article about speeding up old computers. What they found was that the installation of a solid state drive made a huge difference in the speed of the computers in which the drives were installed. The systems they updated averaged 5 years in age.

In most cases, installation of SSDs is relative easy. If you have any questions about the procedure, leave a comment below this post.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Update maps on GPS

Tech News and Views

I have encountered several users who do not know how to update he maps on their GPS devices. The process is not difficult. Plug the device into a computer and turn it on. Download the software for the device from the manufacturer (i.e. Tom Tom, Garmin). Locate the map you want, and submit payment. Install the download. The download may take a long time so you must be patient.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How hot should the cpu run?

Tech News and Views

Most users are unaware of what the cpu temperatures in their computers should be. Here's an excellent article from Computer Hope that shows different temperatures for various processors.


You can download a free computer temperature monitor from the following site so you can see if your computer's processor is running within specs.


The site is somewhat confusing. To download the program, click on the link on the left side that says:  Setup • English 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Computer shuts down within 3 minutes

Tech News and Views

There can be many reasons for computers starting, running a couple of minutes and then shutting down. One of the most common is a thermal shut down caused by excessive dirt build-up. A can of compressed air can be used to clean out fans, heat sinks, etc, however, I have seen heat sinks so clogged with dirt that I had to use a metal tool to pry the dirt from within the fins.

Some computers use plastic hold-downs to keep the cpu fan and heat sink against the cpu. The hold-downs often break. When that happens, the fan lifts off the heat sink, which lifts off the cpu. The poor contact causes a cpu temperature boost and the whole system shuts down.

Older computers often have dried out thermal paste between the heat sink and the processor. The old paste must be removed with alcohol and new paste must be applied.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to connect more than one computer

Tech News and Views

I recently got a call from a user who bought a 2nd computer and couldn't understand how to connect it to the Internet. He noticed that the modem only had one Ethernet port and wondered if there was some sort of adapter that would enable him to use two cables. What he needed was to buy a router. Routers have several ports that can be used to connect additional computers.

To connect a router, run an Ethernet cable from the modem to the port in the router that is labeled Internet or which is a different color from the rest of the ports. Then computers can be plugged into all of the remaining ports.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Anti-Virus programs stop sites from opening

Tech News and Views

I recently assisted someone who was experiencing an unusual computer problem. He was able to access some Internet sites but not others. He had run anti-virus scans, defragged his computer and deleted temporary files and done disk cleanup. Nothing seemed to solve the situation.

The solution was to eliminate a new advertised computer cleaner (that shall remain nameless). The program blacklisted some sites while allowing others to be accepted. The program allows users to create a whitelist of acceptable programs, but I think the user was better off by removing the entire program from the computer.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Microsoft Issues Surprise Security Patches For XP, Vista, Others

Faced with a continuing barrage of crippling ransomware attacks, Microsoft has stepped up to the plate to issue patches for operating systems that it no longer supports.

Normally, Microsoft stands pretty firm about not offering fixes to out of date operating systems. Windows XP has been without security and bug support since April of 2014. The company normally offers security support for 10 years after an OS launches, but they made an exception with XP and extended it to nearly 14 years. Despite a long campaign warning users to upgrade, many people, and more troubling, businesses and government agencies stuck with the unprotected, outdated operating systems. This made them a sitting duck for hackers.

When Microsoft issued patches for a vulnerability that affected currently supported systems, the crooks simply reverse-engineered those patches to figure out what the issues were. They designed ransomware to attack XP, Vista, and Windows systems that didn’t have the proper security updates. This ransomware nearly crippled the UK’s National Health System.

While Microsoft says they are primarily concerned about attacks on government organizations, they are making the patches available to all customers. If you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, these patches will be included as part of your regular update. If you’re using XP, Vista, Window 8, or Server 2003, you’ll need to manually download the updates.

Click here to go to the security advisory page.

Then scroll down to find your operating system and click on the link to the needed download.

Credit: worldstart.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Entire desktop re-arranged

Tech News and Views

The other day I got a call from a user who said that the entire computer desktop had been re-arranged.

Nothing happened when many of the icons were clicked. I did a restore to an earlier point, but that didn't rectify the problem. On a hunch, I clicked the notification area and found that Tablet Mode was high-lighted. As soon as I clicked the Tablet Mode key, the desktop returned to normal.

Here's what How to Geeks says about tablet mode:
Tablet mode is a new feature that should automatically activate (if you want it to) when you detach a tablet from its base or dock. The Start menu then goes full screen as do Windows Store apps and Settings. It's also important to note that in tablet mode, the Desktop is unavailable.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How to copy photos to Kindle

Tech News and Views

You can easily show off your photos to others by copying the photos to a Kindle, Nook or other tablet. Simply plug the device into a computer via the regular charging cable for the device. When you click on File Explorer the device will show up along with the hard drive and DVD player. If, for example, the device is a Kindle Fire, the word Fire and an image of the device will show up in file explorer. Then just copy and paste from the pictures on the computer to the tablet.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Privacy Concerns Of Windows 10 Creators Update

Rants and Raves

Ever since Microsoft launched Windows 10, privacy advocates and concerned users have loudly argued that the firm needed to improve and clarify its privacy policies. The recent Windows 10 Creators Update did move the ball forward in some meaningful ways. 

Microsoft has finally come clean with privacy settings in the Creators Update. When you're first setting up Windows 10, make sure to select a Custom install so you can modify the privacy settings, instead of going with the Express install. (If you already installed it, don't worry, you can fix it all in Settings).

Everyone who downloads the Creators Update will be presented with a privacy screen showing them what their current device settings are in certain key areas, as shown below:


Previous updates to Windows 10 didn’t present users with the option to adjust their privacy settings, so it's good to see Microsoft deliberately informing current users that they have the option to change settings they may not have been aware of prior to the update.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Flip a picture horizontally or vertically

Tech News and Views

A friend of mine wants to add an extension to his garage. The only plans he had of the house were from the builder of his tract house. The drawing was reversed from the house he had, and the garage was on the wrong side. He asked if there was a way to flip the drawing. There is. Navigate here > pixer.us. Click on Choose file, and then on Upload and Edit. Click Flip. That's it.

I tried the program using a picture of a horse that was facing right. I flipped the picture, and lo and behold he was facing left. The program was that easy to use.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Create a Bootable Install USB Drive of macOS Sierra

Apple Bytes

If you have multiple computers that need the macOS Sierra upgrade, you'll want to create a bootable install flash drive. The download for macOS Sierra is about 5 GB, and could take some time downloading on each computer individually. So downloading it once and making a bootable USB drive is an easier, faster way to go.

1. Download the macOS 10.12 Installer
Download the macOS 10.12 Sierra from the Mac App Store (HERE) - but don't install it when it finishes downloading. If you do, it will auto-erase the file when your system gets back up and running, which means you won't have the file for your USB drive. So, close out any installation screen that pops up.


step 2 thru 6 ▼

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Point-and-Shoot With A SuperZoom

Rants and Raves

I've always enjoyed getting out into nature. When I was younger, much younger, that involved lots of backpacking and very long hikes in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Nowadays walks in nature are shorter, often hotter, and usually in one of Florida's State Parks or the local county and city parks. The backpack has been downsized to an over-the-shoulder man-bag. While the pocket-sized film camera has grown into a telephoto digital camera.

One of the things I work hard to photograph is the great variety of birds we have here in North Central Florida. And, to do that well you need to zoom.

Call it a hobby. Call it a pastime. Call it a sport. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in 2011, more than 47 million Americans are “birders.” Birding ranks as the 15th most popular outdoor recreational activity in the US.

I have two cameras that work well for birding. They are both point-and-shoot types with superzoom lenses, fairly easy to carry and not too terribly expensive to own. I bought the first superzoom a couple of years ago, it's a Canon SX50 HS (MSRP $430). As the name implies it has a 50X optical zoom. The newer SX60 HS (MSRP $550) has 65X zoom. My second superzoom arrived a couple of months ago, it's a Nikon Coolpix P900 (MSRP $600). It can reach a little further with it's 83X optical zoom.

    

With this increased magnification comes increased camera movement. These two cameras come with very capable and aggressive image stabilization systems to allow for photographing at these extreme telephoto lengths. To help further, usually shooting long distance landscapes, I have a telescoping monopod (Walmart, $20).

Even though both cameras come with various manual functions and settings, I usually shoot in one of the auto modes. I like the way the Canon has a zoomed focus window when you press the trigger halfway down. That helps you see if your subject is truly in focus. The Nikon has less tendency to overexpose under certain conditions and it's hand grip style causes fewer accidental button presses. Both cameras have a viewfinder, which is important for birding, a feature that's missing on most compacts today.

If you have a need for long distance photography but you don't want to deplete your retirement savings, you can't go wrong with either the Canon or Nikon superzooms.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Is Apple Giving Up On Your Phone, Tablet or Mac?

Apple Bytes

iOS 11 is on the way this fall. Apple says users can expect some big changes including more smart home uses, a complete redesign of the App Store and the largest update for an iPad that the company has ever done. iPads will also be getting a file manager system.

The company also says that Siri will be getting a more normal sounding voice and start using your Safari searches to make suggestions and also to correct your spelling.

But, as with all change, some things get left behind. In this case, it’s these devices:
  • iPad 4
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5C

You could still use them, just not with the new OS. And if you can’t upgrade to the newest OS, you’re going to soon see the end of security and bug support for these systems.

You’ll need at least an iPad Air or an iPhone 5S to use iOS 11. Remember, support for 32-bit apps is ending soon as well. Thousands of apps won’t work with iOS 11.

There’s also a new operating system on the way for Macs called macOS High Sierra. The good news is that if you’re running macOS Sierra, you can run High Sierra.

Mac Pros, Mac minis, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros from 2010 or later can handle High Sierra, as can MacBooks, iMacs, and iMac Pros made in late 2009 or later.

Credit: worldstart.com

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Uses For Drones

We often hear about the use of large drones by the military and others in the war on terror. Here are some of the ways drones are used by the civilian population.

Real Estate Sales
Originally used for high-end properties, drone video is becoming more and more popular with forward thinking agencies. Drones are used for commercial advertising and for residential MLS listings.

Sports Photography
Extreme sports photography and drone video has focused on skiing and base-jumping activities as well as other action-packed adventures.

Highway Monitoring
With roughly 4 million miles of highways crisscrossing the United States drones can be used for inspecting roads and bridges, surveying land with laser mapping and alerting officials to traffic jams and accidents.

Wildlife Research
Drones can be used to conduct aerial counts of an endangered species or monitor migrating herds which helps with conservation activities.

Atmospheric Research
Drones helped NASA better understand how water vapor and ozone interact above the tropics in their study of how changes in water vapor in the stratosphere can affect global climate.

Hunting
Drones with heat-sensing cameras find feral hogs at night that are destroying crops. The drones save time otherwise wasted wandering muddy fields in the dark. They can also be used to spot illegal hunting.

Disaster Relief
Drones have a wide range of applications for disaster relief, from entering radiation-filled "hot zones" where human access would be dangerous (after a nuclear accident, for example) to searching for survivors across a debris-filled landscape.

Environmental Compliance
Midnight dumping of toxic waste and other surreptitious activities are the bane of environmental law enforcement. But drones may prove to be a cost-effective solution to that problem.

Hurricane Hunting
Larger drones can charge into the heart of a storm, without risking human life and limb, to spy on storms as they evolve. The Global Hawk drones can stay aloft for 30 hours and fly 11,000 miles with their 116-foot wingspans. That lets them reach and stay in stormy areas that manned planes can't, performing valuable surveillance.

3-D Mapping
Small, lightweight drones may look like simple model airplanes, but they can survey landscapes with thousands of digital images that can be stitched together into 3-D maps.

Uses to date have been for Haitian relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, by farmers seeking to manage far-flung crops and fields, by mining companies monitoring changes to open pit mines, and by festivals to monitor crowd size for security reasons.

Down on the Farm
The precision agriculture movement uses technology to monitor fields, increasing yields and saving money. Precision applications of pesticides, water, or fertilizers, which drones can help by identifying exactly where such resources are needed and delivering them there, is better for the environment and for a farmer's bottom line.

Drone cameras that spot where nitrogen levels are low or watch the growth of a specific field section can also help farmers. Drones with infrared light cameras can reveal plant health by reflecting how efficient photosynthesis is in various plants.

Search and Rescue
When Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to a late-night rollover in a remote location, they found that the disoriented driver had wandered off. A ground search and an air ambulance helicopter with night-vision gear failed to find him.

But after a cell phone call from the injured victim gave a hint to his whereabouts, a drone with heat-sensing equipment, launched by the Mounties, found the victim before a potentially fatal night outdoors in subfreezing temperatures.

Credit: cbsnews.com and nationalgeographic.com

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Give technician all of the facts

Tech News and Views

I received a call from a woman who said she needed some computer help. She told me that her computer would not take her password. I took her at her word and asked if she was sure she was putting in the correct password. She assured me that she was. I asked her if her caps lock was on. It wasn't. It wasn't until after 5 minutes of conversation that she let me know that nothing appeared when she typed on the keyboard. It seems that she was using a wireless keyboard and did not realize that it took batteries. She replaced the batteries and now, amazingly, her password works.

The moral of this story is that users should make certain they give technicians the entire story before sending the techies off on a wild goose chase.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
June 9, 2017

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

Secretary’s report read by Bob Kenlay. Ron Kenyon made the following correction for the May 2017, minutes. The schedule changes for the General meetings in 2018 are permanent changes.

Jim Tromboli read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2128.89.

Alan Marcus reviewed the new bar code name tag program. The general consensus was a positive reaction by the membership.

Future meeting topics:
June 21 - DECCA Services to Oak Run

July 19 - Electric Cars, Alan Marcus and Q & A

Aug 16 -  Ocala Computer Clinic and Apple Computer, Kip Ecklund

Sept 20 -  Medical Records on the Internet, KathyLee Johnson

Oct 18 -  Drones, Keith Mackey

The meeting adjourned at 9:40AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

There is no doubt, you will be driving an electric car

Tech News and Views

I drive an electric car, so I am more than a little biased in that direction. I'm convinced that gasoline cars will completely disappear as electric cars take over. Now, I guess I am not alone in that view even though our President decided to pull out of the Paris accord.

You may find, as I did that the following headline is amazing:

The push toward renewables is unbelievable. How about this headline:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Print documents so you can read them

Tech News and Views

I frequently encounter web pages that either won't print or ones in which the font is so tiny that a printed copy requires a high powered microscope if you want to be able to read anything.

The easy way to rectify the situation is to select all the print (either by dragging across it or by pressing CTRL key and the letter A), and then copying the print (CTRL key plus the letter C). Then, open a word processor such as Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, Word Perfect, WordPad, Notepad, etc. and pasting the document there (CTRL key and the letter V). Once in the word processor, you can change the font, make it bold, enlarge it, etc. Then print.

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