Sunday, December 31, 2017

US Far behind in electric transportation

Tech News and Views

The US is far behind China in electric transportation. The city of Shenzhen just announced that all 16, 359 of its public buses are now electrified. BYD, one of the largest manufacturers of such buses is the supplier. Shenzhen is China's fourth largest city and has a population of 10 million people.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Computer and bifocal reading glasses

Tech News and Views

Perhaps I have been living in the dark ages, but until the other day I was not aware that you can purchase special glasses for computer use and can get inexpensive bifocal (non prescription) reading glasses. Both types are available at Sunglass Alley in the Market of Marion.

The computer glasses are tinted readers to reduce glare. The bifocals are clear glass on top and regular readers (in various diopters) on the bottom. Although most of the readers at Sunglass Alley are $5.95, the two I mentioned are $6.95 each.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Add extension to Chrome to look up words

Tech News and Views

How often do you read an article only to find that you don't know the meaning of some words within that article? I don't know about you, but my mind comes to a screeching halt until I know the meaning of those puzzling words. If you use the Google Chrome browser, here's a quick solution.

Click on this link, google-dictionary, to add an extension to the Chrome browser. Once added, the dictionary places a small red square at the upper right corner of the browser window. Click on that square to configure the dictionary. Then click on Extension Options to set up the dictionary the way you like.

I configured the dictionary to activate when I press the CTRL key and double click the word.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

No way to contact Malwarebytes

Tech News and Views

I have used and liked the free Malwarebytes program. It was highly recommended and worked well for me, but I recently got a call from a person who had a problem with the paid version of the program. It seems that every time she clicked to select real time protection the feature would turn on and immediately turn off. I clicked on Malwarebytes "Frequently Asked Questions" and found out that many others had the same problem, so I decided to contact support.

Be aware that Malwarebytes has no phone support, and most of the time when I clicked on chat support, it was not operational. However, the company still manages to renew subscriptions automatically, so users are billed each year. Supposedly, users can click on "My account" to stop automatic billing, but so far my friend has been unable to stop it. She will probably have to contact her credit card company to refuse payment.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Salvaging an old computer

Tech News and Views

Most computer users that I encounter use their computers to send and receive email, to search the Internet, to keep in touch with their kids via Facebook and to store photos. None of these uses are very demanding on the computer's resources, so even 12 year old computers can work well for such users.

Unfortunately, older computer operating systems, such as Windows XP, are no longer supported by Microsoft and may be prone to viruses and various forms of malware. The solution is to convert old computers to Linux (a free operating system that can take many forms). I recently installed Linux Lite on an old Vista laptop, and the computer worked better than it did when it was new.

When I tell users I want to install Linux on their computers, they become gun shy, but after using Linux for a short time, they find that it is not so different from Windows. Linux Lite comes with the Firefox browser and with LibreOffice, and is very easy to use.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What is a browser?

Tech News and Views

Many computer users seem to be confused by the term "browser" and don't understand browser functions. Browsers are programs that let users access the Internet. Many browsers are available, and all are free.

Popular browsers include Google Chrome, Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi. New computers come with a browser of the manufacturer's choice. Windows 10 computers come with the Microsoft Edge browser (the icon looks like a blue e). Apple computers come with Safari and Linux computers come with Firefox, but users can have more than one browser on their computers.

Browsers can be configured to open to a page of your choice. Some users like their computers to open to MSN, Yahoo, Google or some other page. To change the page that opens, users need to go into the browser settings and change the opening page by typing in the new address. Users might, for example, type something like

Saturday, December 23, 2017

How to overcome a weak wireless signal

Tech News and Views

A friend spends part of the year, staying in a trailer, on her daughter's farm in Wisconsin, and would like to be able to use a laptop computer in the trailer. The daughter has Wi-Fi, but the daughter's house is about 300 feet from the trailer, and the signal is almost non-existent at that distance.

One solution to the problem is to use a range extender. Extenders can be relatively inexpensive. However, another solution might make more sense. If the trailer receives it's electric power from the house, my friend could use a network powerline adapter. The adapters have two parts. One part could be connected to the daughter's router via ethernet cable. Then the adapter is plugged in to an electric outlet. The other adapter is plugged in to an electric outlet in the trailer and an ethernet cable is plugged into it and into the laptop.

Friday, December 22, 2017

How to make bank deposits easily

Tech News and Views

If you want to save a trip to the bank to deposit checks, you can deposit via smartphone. Most banks now offer that service.

Using your smart phone, navigate to your bank's website. Download their on-line banking app. Type in the username and password. Take a picture of the front and back of the check as directed, but be certain that you endorsed the check before taking the picture. After the bank accepts the check, enter the amount in your checkbook register and save the check until your next bank statement arrives so you can be certain that you were credited the correct amount. Note that some banks have differing rules regarding how long you should keep the check and when the funds are available.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What happened to system restore in Windows 10?

Tech News and Views

Recently I had to help someone whose computer went through a Windows update which wiped out documents, pictures, music, downloads and video. I was able to salvage his files by using System Restore. Unfortunately, many computers have System Restore turned off by default. Let's examine why.

Many new computers and tablets have limited storage space. Creating System Restore points takes lots of space. Thus, Microsoft chose to disable the feature. However, you can set it up by doing the following:

Click in the search box and type "System Restore". Then click on "Create a restore point". Click on "Configure" and turn on system protection. Then move the slider. I moved mine to 24%. You can also click "Create a restore point".

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Water from Air

Tech News and Views

We're running out of water, but here are a couple of novel solutions:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How to be notified by the Sheriff

Tech News and Views

Many Oak Run residents were unaware that juvenile escapees had gotten into Oak Run on 12-15-17. Those residents could have been alerted by going to the ORHA website,, and signing up for the Emergency Email List. Residents can also sign up for the Sheriff's Alert Marion notification system,, to receive phone calls, texts or emails for various emergencies.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stop bloatware from starting

Tech News and Views

You can stop bloatware (unwanted programs) from starting by pressing shortcut keys CTRL, Shift, and Esc. Then click on Startup and disable any program you don't want to start when the computer starts. Doing so will not remove the programs, and programs can be re-enabled if you wish.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Why is the monitor screen fuzzy?

Tech News and Views

A friend of mine works from home. She complains that the text on her monitor is fuzzy. She's puzzled because she has a brand new 32" high resolution monitor. What she doesn't know is that the picture is only as good as the weakest link in the system, and she is using a 7 year old computer with a poor built-in graphics card.

Computers with good separate graphics card can be expensive. The cards alone are often in the $250 range. The gist of the matter is that if you want high resolution, you will have to pay big bucks to get it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Get exactly what you want in a new computer

Tech News and Views

It can be difficult to find the exact features you want in a new computer and to determine the cost for those features. Dell computers ( makes the process easy. Go to their site, click on Products and then on the type of computer (such as laptop) and select the features you want. The site will let you know what Dell charges for the configured computer. Even if you don't purchase the machine from Dell, you will have a good basis for comparison.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Save money by purchasing hybrid drives

Tech News and Views

Solid state hard drives (SSDs) have come down greatly in price but are still more costly than mechanical hard drives. Right now, you can purchase a new quality 500GB SSD for approximately $150. A 500GB mechanical drive can be purchased for $25. So, in order to be competitive, in a costly SSD market, manufacturers are selling computers with relatively small SSD's.

One way to get big storage capacity at a reasonable price is to buy an hybrid computer. Hybrids contain a small SSD (say 128GB) and a big mechanical drive (say 1 Terrabyte). The computer boots from the SSD for speed, but saves to the larger mechanical drive.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Echo adds new calling feature

Tech News and Views

They have added a new feature to the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot voice assistants. Now you can use the devices to call anywhere in the U.S., Canada and Mexico via Wi-Fi at no cost. You simply say, Alexa, call Mary (assuming Mary is one of the names in your contact list). The Echo will dial the number and act as a speaker phone.

In order to use previous Echo versions, both parties had to have an Echo device. That is no longer true. Echo users can dial any land-line or mobile number now without the other party having to have an Echo.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Great summary of routers

Tech News and Views

Confused by router terminology? Here's a simple 6 minute explanation:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
December 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, Ron Kenyon, Jim Trimboli, Don Forgette 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 $2101.31.

Linda Tingley suggested that we move our checking account to a closer location to Oak Run since Florida Credit Union had moved to a new location downtown. Jim Trimboli had talked to Campus USA Credit Union who would open a no charge account for the Computer Club. Ron Kenyon made a motion and Linda Tingley seconded the motion to move our account to Campus USA Credit Union. The motion was voted on and carried. Alan Marcus, Bill Cahill and Jim Trimboli will be listed on the account.

Bill Balch will brew the coffee at the Xmas party. Bob Kenlay will assist.

Elliot Bogart asked when we should start passing out the 2018 badges. It was agreed that we will pass out the new badges starting at the December meeting.

Ron Kenyon mentioned that ORHA is working on an email emergency notification system that will be on the ORHA website.
Future meeting topics:
Dec 20, Xmas Party, Mr Number App by Bob Kenlay
Jan 24, Honda of Ocala presentation
Feb 21, Dimenssion Works 3D Printing by Mindy Beegle

The meeting adjourned at 9:45AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Goodbye American Car Companies?

Tech News and Views

This scary article just appeared on Yahoo News from Forbes:

Is The U.S. At Risk Of Losing Its Auto Industry To China?


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another free address book

Tech News and Views

I have used several free address books for the computer. I particularly like the free address book from GAS Softwares. You can put the entire book on a flash drive and take it with you wherever you go. Just plug it into the USB drive of a computer and see the addresses. You don't have to install anything. I particularly like the fact that you can make the fonts as large as you want, so reading the names is easy-peasy.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Erase backup software

Tech News and Views

Many external drives and flash drives come with pre-installed backup software, however, if you are using Windows 10, you don't need the drive programs. I suggest that you highlight the drive software and erase it from the external drive.

Then simply use the Windows 10 built in software to run File History backups. You can do so by clicking Start, Settings, Update and Security, Backups and changing Automatically back up my files to On.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Another scam

Tech News and Views

Here's a report from CBS news regarding a new scam that tries to trick users into buying fake anti-virus software:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Organize your backup files

Tech News and Views

Many people backup files to flash drives. Unfortunately, many users fail to organize the files and so documents, downloads, music, videos and photos all end up in one big folder. That makes it very difficult when trying to find a particular file.

I suggest that you insert the flash drive in a USB port. Then click on the drive letter of the flash drive. Right click in the empty space. Select New and then Folder. Create a folder for each of the categories mentioned above. Then, when you copy files from your computer to the flash drive, copy them to the related folder.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to plug your flash drive into some new computers

Tech News and Views

You may be surprised after buying some new, expensive, ultralight computers to find that there is no USB port for your flash drives. That is because there is a new faster more powerful connector that is quickly becoming standard on new computers.

The connection is known as USB C. It has several advantages over older USB connectors. The new USB cables can be inserted immediately without the user trying to figure if the connection is right side up or not, and the new connection handles much more power (100 watts vs. 2.5 watts).

So how do you insert your flash drive? You have to have a USB C adapter. The adapters generally contain a USB 3 connector and an HDMI connector.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Watch your OOMA bill

Tech News and Views

You may be familiar with OOMA. It's a voice over Internet service. Users pay for the device which currently sells for about $80 on Amazon, and then you only need pay the taxes of roughly $5 each month. OOMA offers unlimited calling and works well if the Internet upload speed is fairly good.

I find the service pretty good and customer service seems better than that of OOMA's competitors. However, you have to watch OOMA's billing practices like a hawk. It appears the company tries to add $10 to users monthly bill by claiming that they ordered the premium service. It happened to me three times and just happened to a neighbor, despite the fact that neither of us opted for the premium service.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Linux Lite solves the problem

Tech News and Views

Some computer problems can drive you right up the wall. Recently, I tried to rectify a problem with an old Vista laptop. It seems that the previous owner had updated it with Windows 7, and it worked, sort of. Sometimes it would restart, and you could hear it running, but there was no display. Other times, it would start and run for hours. I figured that Windows 7 was corrupt and so updated the machine to Windows 10, but after that install the screen went blank again.

I went through all of the normal troubleshooting. Was it a bad power supply, cable, screen, motherboard or graphics card? I decided to try installing Linux Lite so I could dual boot with Windows. Whenever I selected Linux, the computer worked flawlessly. Whenever I selected Windows the screen went black.

I finally decided to wipe the computer clean and just put Linux Lite in. Now the computer works like a champ, and I'm finding that Linux Lite is a joy to use. My thanks to Bob Leiner for telling me about Linux Lite.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Firefox Quantum is here

Tech News and Views

A new much faster Mozilla Firefox browser, called Quantum, is now available. You can download it here:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Project screens from phone to computer or TV

Tech News and Views

You may need to be able to see the screens from your cell phone displayed on your computer or TV. If so, here's the simplest app I have found for the purpose.

The Android app is downloaded and installed on a cell phone from the Google Play Store. The number (IP address that appears on the phone) is then typed into the address line of the computer and a mirrored image appears on the computer. The phone transmits wirelessly to the computer. There is a little bit of a delay, and the user has to put up with some ads, but the program works very well.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Apps are not just for cell phones

Tech News and Views

When I mention the word Apps, I bet you think only of apps for cellphones, but it's easy to forget that thousands of apps are available for PCs.

Suppose you want a free chord finder app for the piano. You can click on the Microsoft store icon on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen (looks like a shopping bag). Type what you are looking for, such as piano chord finder, in the search box. There, you will find many apps that fit your search. Some are free, some are not. Download the one you want and click Install. That's it!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Print when there is no print command

Tech News and Views

Often, you want to print something and no print commands are visible. Normally you would click File and then Print, but if you can't see that menu you can do the following:

Hold down the CTRL key and press the letter P or highlight all of the text, press CTRL and C to copy and then go to Word, Word Pad, Note Pad, LibreOffice Writer or some other word processor and press CTRL and V to paste. Then, you can use the File, Print commands from those applications.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Are you getting the straight answers?

Tech News and Views

I plan to pick up my daughter at the Orlando International Airport, and learned on the airport site that there are two cell phone lots where those picking up passengers can wait for a call from the passenger and then go to the arrival location. However, a friend told me that he went to one of the lots and it was blocked by construction. He circled around the airport and found a bunch of people parked by the side of the road, so he waited for a cell phone call at that location.

I called the airport customer service to ask about the construction. The rep knew nothing about it and said the lot is open, so I googled the problem and found that the South Lot is indeed under construction but that a temporary lot was open across the street from the construction. I guess it pays to do your own Internet research.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Linux Mint connection solved

Tech News and Views

I recently configured a laptop to dual boot with Windows 7 and Linux Mint XFCE. The machine worked well on both operating systems in my home, but it would not connect using Mint at a neighbors. Windows would connect.

I researched the problem on the Internet to find others had the same problem. A simple reset of the router solved the problem. It seems that the router remembered an old IP address. Re-setting wiped out that address and enabled the new one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Electric cars coming on with a vengeance

Tech News and Views

Car and Driver magazine says that 81 electric car models (pure EVs and hybrids) will be on the market in 2018.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Solved: Can't print from computer

Tech News and Views

I have frequently encountered users who tell me their printers will make copies, but will not print documents sent from the computer. Often, the reason is that two versions of the printer have been installed, and the print command is going to the wrong printer.

Imagine two printers, let's call them Photosmart and Photosmart (1). If neither has been selected as the default printer, the print command may go to the wrong printer, and the print queue just builds up but nothing prints. The solution is to go into the Control Panel, Hardware, Printers and delete one printer. New printing commands should go to the remaining printer and the printer should operate.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Windows update cause keyboard failure

Tech News and Views

A recent Windows 10 update has caused a keyboard failure on some computers.

If your keyboard has been working fine and then suddenly fails after a Window's update, this may be the cause. It seems that the update turns the filter keys on when they should be off. To change the filter back to off, click Settings, Ease of Access, Keyboard and click on Filter Keys Off. If, for any reason that does not work, do a Windows reset: Start, Settings, Update and Recovery, Recovery, Reset.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Is all lost when you forget a password?

Tech News and Views

Many users think all is lost when they forget passwords, but that is not the case. Let's look at various scenarios:

A user is using Yahoo Mail. He knows his email address but can't remember the password. He can click Forgot Password. Yahoo may send an unlock code to his phone or to another email that the user has on file. If neither of these work, he may be prompted to answer a security question that was set up when the account was created. If none of these work, the user may have to create a new account and let recipients know his email has changed.

If a user forgets the login to get into the computer, a re-install of the operating system can bring up the computer, and, if login and password info is left blank, the computer will not require a password for start up.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
November 10, 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, Ron Kenyon, Jim Trimboli, Don Forgette 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 $1966.24.

Bill Cahill suggested that the Club look for people that might be interested in becoming an assistant for our club officers positions. Alan Marcus will make an announcement at the November meeting.

Linda Tingley will reduce the bagel count by one dozen for the Xmas party. Everything else will remain the same.

Alan Marcus suggested that we continue the practice of 10 - $25 gift cards. Alan will also purchase some mini-flashlights as a giveaway.

Bob Kenlay presented a new app “Mr Number” and asked Board members to evaluate the app for the next Board meeting. If opinions are favorable, Bob can make a 10 minute presentation on this app at the December meeting.

Future meeting topics:
Nov 22   iPhone and Solar Panels by Mike Kinney
Dec 20   Xmas Party, Mr Number App?
Jan 24   Honda of Ocala presentation
Feb 21   Dimension Works 3D Printing by Mindy Beegle
The meeting adjourned at 10:00AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

A bad image equals a bad backup

Tech News and Views

A few days ago, I encountered a computer problem in which I was unable to save any file. Try as I might, I was not able to solve the problem. Often, in situations like mine, the best procedure is to restore the computer to an earlier time or do a complete recovery.

I had created a system image, so I thought I'd be smart and use that image to do the recovery. What I didn't realize was that the image was made before I noticed the saving problem. So, after a long recovery, the computer was no better off than before.

I had to reset the operating system, re-install all the programs and then, when all was working well, create another system image. The moral of this story is, don't install a bad system image. If you do, you will be no better off than you were before.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Creating a disk image in Windows 10

Tech News and Views

A disk image can use significant disk space, so, if you plan on creating an image, but a fairly large backup drive. I suggest purchasing a minimum of a 1 terabyte drive. Prices for the drives are currently about $60 for a one terabyte drive, $80 for a 2 terabyte and $100 for a 4 terabyte.

Connect the drive to a USB port on the computer. Click Start, Settings (the icon for settings looks like a gear), Update and Security, Backup. Under Backup click More Options. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on See Advanced Settings. Click on System Image Backup. Click on Create a System Image. The computer will find your backup drive.

Image creation can take several hours. When the image is complete, you will be given the option to create a recovery disk. Take that option. A recovery disk is needed to transfer the image to the old drive or a new one.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Difference between computer image and backup

Tech News and Views

Many computer users do not understand the difference between a computer image and a computer backup.

Generally, backups refer to saving documents, pictures, downloads, videos and music. The backups are generally made by saving to an external hard drive, but, since flash drives have increased in size, some users are backing up to them instead.

Since backups do not include programs such as Printshop, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, etc, and don't include the operating system (Such as Windows 10, Windows 7, Linux, etc.), if the computer crashes, all of that missing information has to be re-installed. If the user had created an image (all files and programs from the computer), all could be re-installed in one fell swoop.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Will your next car be made by the Chinese?

Tech News and Views

Perhaps you can recall when cars imported from Japan were called "rice boxes," a derogatory term. The early Datsuns rusted out, and only a few daring people purchased the cars. Then, quality began to improve and for a long while Japanese import quality surpassed that of domestic products.

Fast forward ten or twenty years. Note the presence of Hyundai and Kia. And now, be prepared for the onslaught of the Chinese made car.

You may not be aware that, according to The Motley Fool, GM sells more cars in China then they do in the U.S., but at a lower margin of profit. The Chinese are producing their own cars, and the quality has steadily improved. It won't be long before the Chinese will have manufacturing plants in the U.S.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Turn on anti-ransomware in Windows Creator's update

Tech News and Views

If you have been keeping your Window's computer updated, you should now have the latest update version. The 1709 Creator's update. If so, read the following reprint from ZD Net about eliminating ransomware:

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Is AOL scamming people

Tech News and Views

I have had 4 calls in the last week from users who have been encountering problems with AOL. What's more, they have been billed by AOL for what is a free service.

Here's what PC Magazine had to say about the problem:

Saturday, November 4, 2017

New scary botnet and what to do about it

Tech News and Views

NBC News recently released the following story about a new botnet, the Reaper, that may have infected your computer. Your best defense is to keep your computer updated.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Buses may be electric before most cars

Tech News and Views

This just in from Yahoo News!

Just look at the cities that have pledged to have electric only buses by 2025:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What can you do about missing drivers?

Tech News and Views

While upgrading a computer or computer hardware can have many advantages, there can be disadvantages. One big disadvantage occurs when the manufacturer no longer supports the hardware by providing current drivers.

Here are a couple of examples of obsolete drivers. I had a Samsung laser printer. When I switched the computer from Windows 7 to Windows 10, the printer would no longer work. Samsung would not provide updated drivers, so I had to buy a new laser printer.

Recently, I upgraded an HP Touchsmart 300 to Windows 10, Everything worked except the microphone. I searched for an answer online, but there was no solution. HP did not develop drivers for the built in microphone. When I connected a Logitech camera, with built in microphone, that microphone worked right away. I did not even have to install a driver.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Your home will be powered by batteries sooner than you think

Tech News and Views

Here's a most interesting article from Forbes and Duke Energy about the future of batteries:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Advantage of an image backup

Tech News and Views

Many users do not understand the difference between a file backup and an image backup. When you back up files such as documents, music, photos and downloads, that's all you are backing up. You are not backing up programs or the operating system. If your computer crashes, you probably will have to reinstall Windows and any programs, such as Printshop, Photoshop, Word, etc. But many users do not have the disks needed to install those programs.

If, however, the user has made an image of the hard drive, all of those programs and Windows can be reinstalled in one small swoop from the image.

Most image programs do not make incremental changes, so, if it has been a long time since you made an image, you'll find many things have changed, and a re-installation may not put back all the programs that are currently on your machine.

I think it is a good practice to make a new image at least once every 6 months. It can take several hours to make an image (depending upon how much stuff is in your computer), so making an image more frequently than every few months could become a royal pain.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The ideal backup solution

Tech News and Views

I believe that the ideal backup solution is to have a combination of a file backup and an image backup. Those two backups can be on the same external drive. Create an entire disk image every few months and an incremental file backup daily. Then, when emergencies happen, you'll be prepared.

To create a file backup, follow the directions for using Karen's replicator in my October 29th post. To make an image, follow the directions in my October 25th post.

One improvement you could make upon the above suggestions is to have a 2nd external drive (it could be a flash drive) with a backup of the backup.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Backing up your files using Karen's Replicator

Tech News and Views

Incremental backups are superior to non-incremental because only the latest changes to files are backed up. That saves lots of time. One of the best incremental backup programs that I have used is Karen's Replicator. Although Karen died in 2011, her program lives on and is available free to users. Here's one of the sites where you can find a download:

To use the program, click Edit Settings, and enter the location of the files you want to backup. The rest of the directions should be self explanatory. The first run of the program may take a long time if you have many files that must be backed up.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Selecting an external hard drive for backups

Tech News and Views

In my last post, I discussed using a flash drive for simple backups, but many users have numerous files that require larger drives for backups. There are many external drives available. They come in different capacities, configurations and speeds.

I particularly like Western Digital 2.5" Passport drives. They connect with a single, short USB connector and are easily stored. Current prices are approximately $59 for the 1 TB size and $79 for the 2 TB. Purchase whatever fits your budget, but remember that the capacity of the backup drive must exceed the size of the files be backed up.

Files can be backed up with the simple cut and paste method discussed in my last post, but I think you will prefer an incremental file method wherein only the latest changes to your files are backed up after you've made an initial backup. I'll discuss an incremental method in my next post.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Backing up to a flash drive

Tech News and Views

Perhaps the simplest backup is one made using a flash (thumb) drive. Flash drives have become very inexpensive. The latest drives are USB 3.0 drives, but USB 2.0 are less expensive and will work well as backup drives. 16 GB drives can be purchased for as little as $5 and are large enough for most users. However, for a few dollars more, you can purchase a 32 GB drive.

Insert the drive into any USB port. Locate the files you want to backup. Normally, users backup the following folders: Documents, Downloads, Pictures and Music. Highlight the files in the appropriate folder. If you want all of the files press CTRL and the letter A at the same time to select all files. Then press CTRL and C to copy the files to the clipboard. Click on the file explorer icon on the taskbar (little manilla folder) and then on This PC or Computer. Click on the icon or description of the flash drive. Click CTRL and V to paste the contents to the flash drive. That's it. You have created a simple backup.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

All about backups

Tech News and Views

I frequently get calls from users whose computer systems have experienced problems that require a complete re-installation of Windows, and most of the time the users have not backed up their machines. When the users learn that all of their documents, downloads, pictures and applications will be gone forever, they're not too happy.

Of course, if they had backed up their computer prior to the problem, they wouldn't have to worry. So, in the next few posts, I'm going to discuss several backup methods.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How to do a complete image backup in Windows 10

Tech News and Views

Here's a simple way to create a complete system image (operating system and all files) in Windows 10. Click in the search box and type sdclt (safe docs client). Then click run command. Attach your external drive and click Create a System Image.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Make a fortune in 24 hours

Tech News and Views

Elon Musk of Tesla, Space X, and Solar City fame, is also the brains behind a company called The Boring Company. That company has just secured a contract to start a tunnel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in which the Hyperloop will be installed (750 MPH vacuum train).

Musk recently tweeted about black baseball caps bearing the Boring Company logo. In 24 hours, he sold $80,000 worth of the boring caps.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Adding and installing apps on the Nook

Tech News and Views

If you have a Nook HD or HD plus, you can access the Google Play Store to download apps to your Nook. You can also add the Kindle app to either of those tablets.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Search by voice via Google

Tech News and Views

Many computer users seem to be unaware that it is very easy to search the Internet just by using your voice if your computer is equipped with a microphone or a camera containing a microphone. To do so, go to Click on the small microphone icon, and ask for what you want. You might, for examples, say "What is the capitol of Afghanistan". Google will respond with "Kabul is the capitol of Afghanistan.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Users complain that the screen is blank

Tech News and Views

Several users called me in the past week or two complaining that their monitors had quit. Upon examination, it was found that the power settings were configured so the screens went blank in 10 minutes or so.

Unfortunately, most computer manufacturers set the power settings to turn off the computer in just a few minutes. Unsuspecting users think something has gone wrong and they try to get the screen to come back on by pressing the on off button on the monitors.

To change power settings, type "Control Panel" in the search box and click on the result. Then click on Hardware and Sound and then on Power Settings and then change plan settings. I generally set all to Never turn off.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Strange experiences with Creator's Update

Tech News and Views

Microsoft works in mysterious ways. On October 16th they released what is known as the Fall Creator's Update, the latest version of Windows 10. If you are keeping track, that is version 1709. The previous version was 1703 (don't ask about what happened to 1704, 1705, 1706, or 1708).

I tried to update 6 machines. Three updated from 1703 to 1709 without difficulty, although it took a few hours. The others kept telling me they were up-to-date. In desperation, I tried the Windows Insider Program (which lets users try the latest and greatest) on one machine. At this juncture, it is installing ok. The Insider Program is not for the faint of heart as the updates are beta releases. I'll let you know that happens to my Insider Program update (version 16.299.15) in a future post. If my computer crashes, you may not hear from me for another week.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gas engines fading fast

Tech News and Views

If you doubt that the gas engine is doomed and that electric cars will take over, take a look at the following excerpt from Think Progress:

"Unsurprisingly, charging stations are popping up everywhere. In 2016, the UK Guardian reported, “every new or refurbished house in Europe will need to be equipped with an electric vehicle recharging point, under a draft E.U. directive expected to come into effect by 2019.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scams on the rise in Oak Run

Tech News and Views

Many people in our community call me for technical help with their computers, and, much to my surprise, their computer problems are the result of them being scammed. I encountered three users, just last week, who have been cheated out of hundreds of dollars.

One user, whose computer had been hacked, when he called a fake Microsoft site, was told to buy gift cards so the scammer could remove a virus. He did, and then was told the cards did not go through and he should buy more. In total, he was taken for $1000 to fix his $250 computer which, of course, was never fixed.

Please remember: Microsoft will never call you. Any phone number that appears on your screen should not be called. If you need computer help, call a local reputable repair firm or trusted friend.

Be on the lookout for fake web sites. Scammers are imitating legitimate sites such as Amazon, the FBI, AOL, etc. Look carefully at the address of sites to make certain they are the real sites.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Club officers needed for 2018

Each October, nominations are taken for Oak Run Computer Club officers, however, the club seldom receives any nominations. Consequently, the same officers serve year after year. While the current officers have said they will serve again, it is really time for some new officers.

I want to emphasize that no special skills are needed for any office, and new officers will be trained by existing officers.

Here is a brief description of the duties of each office:
  • President - Presides at monthly meetings and at once a month Board meetings
  • Vice President - Presides when the President is absent and makes program arrangements
  • Secretary - Takes minutes at Board meetings and posts the minutes on the Club's blog
  • Treasurer - Keeps the books and reads a report at Board meetings
  • Publicity Chairman - Sees that announcements are published in Oak Run Newsletter, on Channel 12 and in the South Marion Citizen
  • Setup Chairman - Sets up computers, projector, etc. for monthly meetings
  • Board Member - Any Club member can attend, 2nd Friday, Island Club, 9AM

Monday, October 16, 2017

A better mahjong game

Tech News and Views

There are dozens of mahjong games available to users on the Internet, and many of them are free., however, I find many of them are terrible. I particularly like Microsoft Mahjong, which is available for free for PCs via the Microsoft store icon.

What makes the program so good is that it is easily customized through the options menu. Users can turn sound, hints, and available tile settings on and off. If you like mahjong, you'll like Microsoft Mahjong.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Touchpad not working

Tech News and Views

Every so often I encounter a user who says their laptop touchpad is not working. While that is often a symptom of a lacking driver, it can also be the fact that the feature is simply turned off.

Many laptops have a function key switch to turn the touchpad on or off. One Asus laptop that I encountered used the function key and F9 to toggle the feature. I thought that turning off the feature was silly, but I was reminded, by one of our members, that some typists accidentally hit the touchpad when typing and therefore like to have the pad off.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The electric car revolution really began this year

Tech News and Views

The following article has been reprinted from Evanex:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
October 13, 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, Ron Kenyon, 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 $1932.17.

Bill Cahill suggested that the Club explain to the membership the duties of the officers for the November upcoming elections. Alan Marcus will make an announcement at the October meeting before asking for nominations.

Linda Tingley suggested possible future meeting presentations on various scams being used. The presentations are conducted by someone in the sheriffs department. Bill Cahill will follow up.

Future meeting topics:
Oct 18 - Drones, Keith Mackey
Nov 22 - iPhone And Solar Panels, Mike Kinney
Dec 20 - Christmas Party
Jan 24 - Honda of Ocala presentation
The meeting adjourned at 10:00AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Windows 10 repair disk not compatible between versions

Tech News and Views

If you created a Windows 10 recovery disk on one computer, it will not let you do a repair on a different computer. You will get a message that that option is not available. So, create a recovery disk for each computer you own.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Eliminate the popping noise in Bluetooth speakers

Tech News and Views

I own an Amazon Echo Dot, the wireless voice assistant that answers questions, plays music, etc. The speaker on the Dot is puny, so I used Bluetooth to connect speakers to the Dot.

The speakers were working well, but I started to hear a popping sound every few seconds. I Googled the problem only to find that dozens of others had the same problem. However, I discovered a simple solution that others might try. I connected the speakers to one electrical outlet, and the Bluetooth device to a different outlet. That has solved the problem - no more popping sounds.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Should I leave my computer on or turn it off?

Tech News and Views

Many users want to know whether they should leave their computers on during the day or turn them off when through using them. Part of the answer concerns energy costs. Here's what it costs to run the typical desktop computer and monitor:
According to Griffith University, Australia, an average desktop computer has a power usage of between 80 and 250 watts, depending on graphics cards and additional peripherals. The cost to operate a typical computer and monitor workstation (130 watts @ 11c kW/h) for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year, is $129.73.
You could reduce the cost by having the computer go into sleep mode or by turning the computer off when done using it.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Position mounting holes without difficulty

Tech News and Views

Sometimes it can be very difficult to hang devices on walls because the mounting holes haven't been positioned correctly. Here's an easy way to get the holes in perfect alignment.

Let's assume that you want to mount an outlet strip, with 4 screw openings, on the wall. Take a digital picture of the back of the strip and tape that picture to the wall. Then drill through the paper into the wall. The holes will be perfectly aligned, and you will be able to mount the outlet strip without difficulty.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

No sound coming from computer

Tech News and Views

One method of rectifying the problem of no sound coming from computer speakers is to uninstall the speakers and then re-install them. This is easily done though the Device Manager.

You can access the Device Manager by typing "Device Manager" in the search box, and clicking on the result of the search. Click on the speaker description and then delete the speakers using the red X or the delete key on the keyboard. When you restart the computer, the speakers should re-install.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A 200 mile range battery that recharges in 6 minutes!

Tech News and Views

Toshiba has developed a new lithium car battery that has a range of 200 miles and will recharge in 6 minutes.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Check to see if memory is working

Tech News and Views

If your computer is running slow, you might suspect the memory. You can check to see if the memory is working by typing mdsched.exe in the search box. and then clicking on Windows Memory Diagnostics. You will be given an option to restart the computer and check immediately or check on the next reboot.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Watch out for this Amazon phishing scam

Tech News and Views

Here's one of the latest scams, and it's easier to fall for.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Turn slimline on side to have DVD drive work

Tech News and Views

I have encountered several slimline or small form factor computers in which the DVD drive doesn't open. However, if you place the computer on its side rather than running it vertically, the DVD drive generally opens without difficulty.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Determine make and model when computer has no label

Tech News and Views

If you have been given an old computer that has no labels or product information, you can obtain the information by clicking the Windows Key on the keyboard together with the letter R. Then type msinfo32.exe. Click on system information. You will see detailed info about the entire computer.

Friday, September 29, 2017

See what others are seeing

Tech News and Views

You may have noticed that a panel at the bottom of the Club's blog shows what people are viewing on the site. The panel is titled "Visiting Now" and then "Live Traffic Feed". If you click on any of entries you will see the post that the visitor viewed.

Recently, there were several visitors from Redmond, Washington. Most of the visitors were viewing info about Google. Most interesting!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Another player in electric car field

Tech News and Views

Here's an unlikely player in the electric car field:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sam's Club has auctions

Tech News and Views

I have been a member of Sam's Club for many years but didn't know until today that the company conducts on line auctions. Here is the web address for the auctions:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Extend battery life on your smart phone

Tech News and Views

Are you shortening the battery life of your smart phone? Here's a charging tip from Kim Komando:

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 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

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

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 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

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?"

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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.


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