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.


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".


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.


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.


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.

more of this post ▼

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.



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.

more of this post ▼

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.

more of this post ▼

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.

more of this post ▼

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.


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:
Text credit:

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."


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.


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?


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.


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.

more of this post ▼

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 > 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.


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.

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: and

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.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Announcements From Apple

Apple Bytes

Below are a few press release links to the June 5 announcements from Apple’s 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
  • iOS 11 brings new features to iPhone and iPad this fall > HERE.
  • Apple introduces 10.5-inch iPad Pro, updates 12.9-inch model > HERE.
  • Apple unveils all-new App Store > HERE.
  • macOS High Sierra advances data, video and graphics > HERE.

View all news releases > HERE.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Check those batteries in wireless mouse

Tech News and Views

I recently got a call from someone who said their computer mouse was not working. Since their mouse was of the wireless variety, I asked if they had changed the batteries. They said they had. However, after I had them change the batteries again, the mouse worked fine.

It seems that they were not using alkaline batteries. So often cheap batteries are marked "Heavy Duty" but in reality, they are far inferior to alkaline. So, before you throw away that non-working wireless mouse, try new alkaline batteries.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to receive sound from gym TVs

Tech News and Views

Oak Run Associates, Ltd. recently enabled a sound app for smartphones that will let users receive audio from the TVs in the workout facility. The only announcement of the availability of the app was on a very tiny table top tent on the gym window sill. Here's how to download, install and use the app.

Download the app called Fetch Audio from Google Play or iTunes. Click Install. Click on the icon for Fetch Audio and select the station you want. Stations available include Fox News, Home and Garden TV, Major League Baseball, several music stations, etc.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Favorite Mobile Apps

Apple Bytes

My phone and tablet have these 10 favorite apps. The App Store ratings, shown after the app name, are based on the 5 star system. (may also be available on Google Play)

Calendarium (4-1/2 stars) by Idea Studio
Learn about today and discover interesting things in the past, too. You can easily move forward or backward from today and read through history. Each timeline item has links to various Wikipedia articles.

Daily App Advice (4-1/2 stars) by
Formally called Apps Gone Free, each day they show you a detailed list of the best apps that can be downloaded for free on that day. Their description will link you through to the App Store where you can read more and check the reviews before installing.

Google Earth (3-1/2 stars) by Google, Inc.
If you like maps and satellite views you'll love this app. Fly around the planet with a swipe of your finger. Zero in on your house in Oak Run. Explore distant lands or reacquaint yourself with your childhood home. Search for cities, places and businesses.

Gummy Drop! (4-3/4 stars) by Big Fish Games, Inc.
Way better than Candy Crush. A positively addictive match 3 game with thousands of levels across dozens of cities around the world. Excellent graphics. Warning: you won't want to stop playing!

Jigsaw Puzzle (4-1/2 stars) originally by Critical Hit Software, LLC, now by MobilityWare
The most popular jigsaw puzzle app on the App Store. Numerous settings to customize it just right for you. Plenty of adjustments to make it more challenging. Daily free puzzles and sales on puzzle packs quite often.

Kindle (4-1/2 stars) by AMZN Mobile, LLC
A great way to read your purchased eBooks or the library books you've checked out. Lots of features to make your experience enjoyable. The dictionary is always helpful and font type and size are adjustable. Perfect for a tablet.

Radar HD (4-1/2 stars) by Elecont LLC
Both satellite and radar images are available in high resolution. Fully customizable with predictive (future) radar, too. Color coded precipitation, storm information and weather alerts. You can add place markers for your favorite locations.

Sky Live (5 stars) by Vito Technology, Inc.
A great app for planning star observations. Shows which planets, stars and constellation will be above the horizon, what the weather will be like, the visibility score and much more. Accurate hourly conditions are estimated using seven criteria.

Solitaire (4-1/2 stars) by MobilityWare
The original solitaire. Solve the Daily Challenge and receive a crown each day and a trophy for the month. The Winning Deals feature lets you adjust the percentage of games that are guaranteed to have at least one winning solution.

TV Guide Mobile (3-1/2 stars) by TV Guide
The ultimate TV companion. A great way to see what's on today and for the next week or so. Easy to adjust date, time and provider settings. Listing grid swipes in all directions. You can watch full episodes and get exclusive news.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

You can afford a backup drive

Tech News and Views

I help many people who encounter computer problems. Often, their computers need to be repartitioned and the operating system must be reinstalled. So, my first question to them is: "Is your system backed-up?". I think you know their answers. I'd say 98% of the users have not created a back up and yet have had files on their computers that they can't afford to lose (precious pictures, tax information, etc.).

Today, there is no excuse for not backing-up info. A 16 GB flash drive can be purchased for $5. Yesterday, I purchased a 1 Terabyte Toshiba backup drive and 16 GB flash drive for $24.99 at Sam's Club. Do yourself a favor. Backup your hard drive today.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Reinstall Windows 7

Tech News and Views

Every so often I encounter someone running Windows 7 whose computer software has been corrupted after the user visited suspicious sites. When that happens, sometimes the only good solution is to reinstall Windows 7. The install is easy, but the updating process can take hours. The problem lies in the fact that Windows 7 is several years old and there can be almost 1000 updates that need to be installed. My advice: Be patient.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

You Can Still Get Windows 10 For Free

Rants and Raves

If you thought you'd missed the boat on getting the free upgrade to Windows 10 and now refuse to pay good money for the OS, here's some news for you. Windows 10 is still available for free to those who use assistive technologies.

The Redmond tech giant continues to offer free Windows 10 upgrades to those who use technologies like the screen narrator or magnifier. Techspot reports that “Microsoft isn’t really checking to see whether you are actually using these assistive tools.”

This means, all you need to do to grab a free copy of Windows 10 is to head over to Microsoft’s accessibility website (HERE), say you are using assistive technologies on your Windows 7 or 8 system, and download the program that’s available on their upgrade page. Install it for free and no one will know. Well, Microsoft will know but it doesn’t seem to mind as long as it gets the company even more users on board the new operating system.

There is no information as to when the company will end this free upgrade offer for those who are using assistive tools. But the company did say it will make a public announcement prior to ending the offer. If you use assistive technologies, this is an “official” way of getting Windows 10 Anniversary Update and availing all the new accessibility features that the latest version of Windows 10 has introduced.

For those who don’t use assistive technologies, this is the workaround that could help you install Windows 10 for free – with a little bit of a lie.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Get A Fast SD Memory Card For Your New Camera

The newest cameras have capabilities like 4K video, very fast frame rates (120fps) and very long burst shooting. They'll need a speedy memory card.

At the end of this post is a comparison chart for some of these SD memory cards. The write speed is by far the most important for most camera uses. That tells you how fast you can get data on to the card. The read speed, which is often used in marketing, tells you how fast you can get data off of the card.

It’s important to note when buying a card, you may not get much benefit from the fastest cards. It depends on what you’re putting it in. To take advantage of UHS-II speeds you’ll need a camera or reader that’s compatible with UHS-II. If it’s not, the card will still work, they’re backward compatible usually, but you won’t get the highest speeds the card is capable of.

Understanding the Specs

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Thing I Hate Most About Windows 10

Rants and Raves

Windows 10 isn't all that bad once you get used to it. It can be made to look enough like Windows 7 to keep me happy. Of course, the names of some things have changed and the colors are different and where things have relocated to is a mystery, so that takes a bit of time to adjust to.

What I hate about Windows 10 is the automatic, forced, updates. And I'm not the only one. The forums and blogs are full of horror stories of automatic updates commandeering the CPU and RAM thereby bricking the computer. Or, rebooting a machine and destroying the unsaved work.

I've never been one to allow Windows to update automatically. I've always wanted to control when, where and how the updates take place. Not anymore. Microsoft has taken the ability to control updates away from us. That and a number of other features that we used to be able to adjust and tailor to our style of computing.

From the beginning of the personal computer age the most hated thing was getting a printer to connect reliably to a computer. Printer problems were always the biggest source of headaches for users. Now printers connect rather easily and rarely have issues. But with the introduction of Windows 10 we have something new to hate. Automatic updates.

More about this subject at > HERE.
Photo courtesy of

Monday, May 29, 2017

Convert any video for iPhone / iPad / iPod and Apple TV

Apple Bytes

You should never have to pay for video converters. Handbrake is an open source multi-platform app that converts almost any video to Apple compatible formats. (also available for Windows and other platforms)

Why Handbrake?
  • Handbrake supports almost any video format you can throw at it. It will even rip your DVDs. It’s also crucially supports converting to H.264, which is what we need to play video on iPhone / iPad / iPod and Apple TVs.
  • It’s a multi-threaded application, meaning that your dual core or quad core CPU is put to full use for fastest encoding possible.
  • It’s completely free.

  1. Get Handbrake here.
  3. Open the DMG, drag Handbrake to Applications folder, and open it up.
  5. First you will be asked to select your source file.

    Select source video
  7. If you don’t want to fiddle with encoding settings you can use the handy preset menu on the right which has a selection of optimized settings.

    Choose a video preset.
  9. Take note of the destination location, or change it to your preference.
  10. Click the Start button when you’re happy with encoding settings.Start Handbrake conversion.
  11. Your part is done, now wait for the computer to finish, add the completed video to iTunes or whatever you use to manage your video library.
Converting video formats can take some time even with great software and hardware. If you’re converting more than one video, you may want to queue multipleHandbrake Queue conversion jobs before starting, so you won’t have to sit around and wait. Simply use the Add to Queue button to build your list.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Latest review of iRobot Roomba home vacuum

Tech News and Views

I have been living with a top of the line iRobot Roomba 980 for about a month now (Don't tell my wife). It took some time before I completely understood the Roomba, but now that I have it working very well, I'm quite pleased with the device. Here's how it works.

The homeowner plugs in a docking station that has approximately 4 feet clear in front and to the sides. The Roomba sits in the dock and makes contact with the dock through two contacts on the Roomba's underside. When the Roomba is fully charged, the homeowner can start the device by pushing a big green Clean button on the top side. A tone sounds indicating the Roomba is ready to clean.

When the Clean button is pushed again, the Roomba begins operation. It travels in straight lines to the other end of the room. If it reaches the end, it turns and begins a slightly overlapping course back the same way it came. It continues in this manner unless it encounters an obstruction. Then it works its way around the obstruction or backs out if stuck in a corner.

The Roomba will continue cleaning and will go from one room to another on its own. If it crosses a carpet, the motor will speed up for extra suction. When the battery is low, the vacuum will head back to the docking station for a charge. If the job wasn't completed, the Roomba will start back up after getting sufficient charge and will head back to the area that wasn't finished. My Roomba runs about 1 hour and 45 minutes on a charge.

The Roomba can be controlled from a smartphone app or by the Amazon Echo.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Use inexpensive velcro ties to organize cables

Tech News and Views

I have used many methods to organize cables and to keep wires from keyboards and mice short. The best method I have used involves inexpensive Velcro ties. The ties, available from Walmart for $3.97 for 50 ties (roughly 8 cents each), are much thinner than normal Velcro. They have a hole punched in one end so you can loop the free end through the hole and keep the tie permanently anchored on the cable. The ties help keep your computer room neat.

Friday, May 26, 2017

How to find a saved Wi-Fi password on the Mac

Apple Bytes

Here's a helpful post from

Chances are that you never think of your Wi-Fi password after your set it up. So how can you recover a saved password from your Mac when you forget it? All you need is your administrator account password.
  1. Open the Keychain Access app. It is located in the Applications > Utilities folder.
  3. Select the System keychain in the left menu bar, and select Passwords from the category menu. This will filter the keychains to just your stored passwords.

  5. Double click on the name of the network for which you want to view the password.
  7. This will open a new window specific to that stored password. Click on the ‘Show password’ checkbox.

  9. You will be asked to authenticate with a username and password. This account must have administrator privileges on your Mac.


    If you are unsure what your username is, open up the Finder app and look for the home icon in the Favorites sidebar. Your home folder will called the same as your username.

  11. After successfully authenticating, the wi-fi network password will be revealed in the previous window.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Inexpensive greeting cards

Tech News and Views

I often use Print Shop to design and print greeting cards. In the past I used Royal Brites Greeting card set that consisted of 150 blank cards and 150 envelopes. The set was available from Sam's Club for under $30. But, the price has more than doubled in the last few years, so I found an inexpensive alternative.

You can purchase 100, 5-3/4" x 8-3/4" envelopes, from Office Depot for $11.99. Then, buy card stock (250 cards) for $15.99. If you don't have Print Shop, many other greeting card programs will work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mac Tips and Tricks, Part 5 of 5

Apple Bytes

There are many tips you’ll need in order to use your Mac more efficiently, regardless of your experience. Some of these will require recent versions of the Mac operating system (OS) such as the latest macOS Sierra – but not all of them do. (select any image to enlarge)

Change which app a file is opened with

If you want a file to open in an app other than its default, select the file and press Command+I, to show its information. In the "Open with:" section, use the drop-down menu to choose a new app.

If you just close the window here, that change will only be applied to that one file; if you want other files of that type to use that same app, click "Change All…" beneath the drop-down menu.

Have things ready at log-in

If there are certain apps that you'll always want to have open when you start up your Mac, you can set this up in System Preferences. Go to Users, make sure your user account is highlighted, then click Login Items.

Click the + and you can choose an application, file server or pretty much anything else that should open when you log in. Once you've added something, you can use the checkboxes to opt to hide it, though it will still be running in the background.

Having lots of these set up can make your Mac slower to start up, though, so if you need to speed things up and temporarily don't need them running, hold Shift while OS X or macOS is logging you in to suppress them.

See your Mac activity with Activity Monitor

If you find your Mac is running slow, or the fans are kicking in when you don't appear to be doing anything too intensive, you can see if you can identify what's causing it. Activity Monitor in OS X and macOS shows you how your Mac's resources are being used.

Launch Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder to see current processes, and the resources they take up. The columns show you things such as the CPU usage of a process or the RAM it's taking up. If there's a process that's hogging resources and you're confident it's not needed, you can end it by selecting it, then clicking Quit Process.

If you're just curious about how system resources are being used, click the tabs (CPU, System Memory and so on) to see graphs of your usage over time.

Back up your Mac

Okay, so we know that people haven't actually forgotten they can back up with their Mac, but we also know that so many people don't bother. Please do! Ever since OS X 10.5 Apple has made it easy to back up using Time Machine. Ideally you should be doing other things to back up as well, but at least do Time Machine. You can pick up a 2TB external drive for less than $90.

Partition external hard drives in Disk Utility

One little known fact about Macs is that they use a different file system than Windows computers by default. That means, if you’re planning on sharing an external hard drive between both Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems, you have a few options. While you could format the hard drive to take advantage of the exFAT file system, you would thereby miss out on faster write times.

Luckily, in the Disk Utility app featured in macOS, there’s the option to partition hard drives. In doing so, you can theoretically divide the hard drive in half, with one volume being dedicated to macOS and the other to Windows. Take the hard drive over to your PC and you can format one of those volumes for NTFS, making it the perfect little hybrid device.

View all posts with Mac Tips > HERE.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Add free star chart to Windows

Tech News and Views

If you have an interest in astronomy and want to know what stars and planets are visible in our area, you might want to download the open source (read free) program called Stellarium, It is a complex program, but if you play with the controls for a while, you'll get the hang of it. One of the fascinating aspects of the program is that you can greatly speed up the transition of stars and planets across the sky to see how things change over time.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mac Tips and Tricks, Part 4 of 5

Apple Bytes

There are many tips you’ll need in order to use your Mac more efficiently, regardless of your experience. Some of these will require recent versions of the Mac operating system (OS) such as the latest macOS Sierra – but not all of them do. (select any image to enlarge)

Find menu bar options quickly using Help

Some apps have more menu bar options than you can hope to keep track of, but instead of searching through each drop-down list manually, you can use the last Help menu to speed things up. It contains a search box, where you can type in the name of the option you're looking for.

Results come up underneath it, and hovering over a result will show you which menu it's in, or you can just click the result to select it.

Throw files from your Mac to your iPhone

Don't forget that, if you have a modern Mac that has Bluetooth 4.0 and a recent iOS device (iPhone 5 or later, for example), then you can easily send files from your Mac to your iOS device using AirDrop.

The quickest way to do this is to right-click on the file you want to send then pick AirDrop from the Messages fly-out menu, then pick the device you want to send it to. (You'll have to have AirDrop turned on from the Control Center of the iOS device first.)

Resize your windows like a pro

Since Yosemite, clicking the green button at the top left of a window now takes that window full screen rather than maximizing it, but you can restore the old behavior by holding ⌥ as you hover over the green button.

But, there's more! Hold ⌥ as you resize one side of a window and the window also resizes from the other side as well. Hold ⇧ and the window resizes proportionally, aligned to the opposite edge (which sounds a bit confusing but makes sense when you try it).

Or, hold ⌥ and ⇧ when resizing a window for the whole thing to shrink down proportionally around the center. Put it all together and you could click the green button to make a window fill the screen then resize one edge while holding ⌥ and ⇧ so that you make it smaller but keep it centered.

Take control of your windows

You can be quite flexible when it comes to windows in OS X or macOS – not only can you drag from any side to resize them these days, but you can also hold Option to resize them from two sides at once (the one you're dragging and the opposite one), or hold Shift to resize it while keeping it locked to the same proportions.

And while we're talking about windows, if you want to move any that are in the background without bringing them to the fore, hold Command and then drag them around.

Paste text without keeping its formatting

When you copy text from some applications, and especially from the web, you tend to also copy its formatting, such as the text size, font choice and so on. When you then paste this into some text fields, such as in an email, it looks out of place, and can make things hard to read.

To paste the text without its original formatting (so it just formats in the same way as the rest of what you're pasting into), instead of pressing Command+V, press Option+Shift+Command+V. Microsoft Word actually has a "Paste Special…" (or "Paste and Match Style") menu option to do the same thing.

View all posts with Mac Tips > HERE.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to print airline confirmations

Tech News and Views

For some unknown reason, several airlines have decided to show trip confirmations in pop-up windows. When you try to print the confirmations, they just won't print. Everything else prints.

There are two solutions. The easiest, but least desirable, is to have your browser permit pop-ups. For example, if you're using Chrome as your browser, you can click on Start, Settings, Security, Privacy and click in the box to allow pop-ups (not recommended).

A more complex but safer way is to press the CTRL key and the letter A to select the entire ticket screen. Then press CTRL and the letter C to copy the ticket to the clipboard. Type Notepad in the Windows search window and then click on Notepad which will be highlighted in blue. When Notepad opens, press CTRL and the letter V to paste the ticket into Notepad. Then click on File and then on Print.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Moving contacts from one cell phone to another

Tech News and Views

A friend just purchased a new TracFone and wanted to move the contacts from the old phone to the new one. I moved the contacts for him, and it was very easy to do. I clicked contacts on the old phone and then on export to the SD card. I removed the SD card from the old phone and inserted it into the new phone. As soon as I tapped the contacts icon on the new phone, all of his contacts appeared. The entire procedure took less than two minutes.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mac Tips and Tricks, Part 3 of 5

Apple Bytes

There are many tips you’ll need in order to use your Mac more efficiently, regardless of your experience. Some of these will require recent versions of the Mac operating system (OS) such as the latest macOS Sierra – but not all of them do. (select any image to enlarge)

Annotate PDFs and images

Preview has some fantastic tools built into it for annotating images and PDFs. And, what's best of all is that the annotations it adds to a PDF are based on a standard that's compatible with Adobe's PDF app, Acrobat, which is used by Windows users and companies - so it's easy to share annotated documents with colleagues.

Make sure the Edit Toolbar is visible (from the View menu) and you'll see you've got options for drawing shapes, arrows, speech and thought bubbles and more. There's also the option to highlight text in different colors, strike-through some text, add notes and type some text into boxes.

Get wireless audio and video with AirPlay

AirPlay is Apple's technology for streaming audio and video around your house, and it's available on both iOS devices and Macs. Most Macs can stream audio to AirPlay speakers, while newer Macs can also mirror their displays to an Apple TV, letting you show something on the big screen.

For basic AirPlay output from iTunes, you just need to click its symbol – the rectangle with the triangle cutting into it – next to the volume bar and choose where you want to send the music. If you want all of your system audio to come from the speakers instead of just music, though, hold Option and press a volume control key to open the Sound preferences, where you can choose an output (or use the Menu bar tip already mentioned).

If an Apple TV is on the same network as your Mac, an AirPlay icon will appear automatically in the menu bar. To start mirroring your screen, select it, then click on the name of your Apple TV.

Add a Guest User account to your Mac

As you probably know, you can add multiple users to your Mac, so that every person in your home or office, say, can have their own space to work and to set things up how they like them. But there's another kind of account you can turn on, a Guest account.

Turn it on in System Preferences > Users & Groups, and now you'll be presented with Guest as an option at the login screen. Anyone can use it - no password needed - but once they're finished everything they do will be wiped. This is great not just for Macs in foyers or spare rooms, say, but it's also great if a friend or colleague says, "Can I just borrow your Mac for a minute to do something?"

You probably should turn off Automatic login and set your Security & Privacy settings to require a password after, say, five seconds of sleep or screensaver time. That way you can be sure nobody will be able to access your stuff, but when they try to use your Mac they'll be offered the option of switching users and can then pick Guest.

Cover your tracks in Safari

It used to be in Safari that if you wanted to delete caches and history, you only had the nuclear option, nix everything.

Since Yosemite, though, when you choose Clear History and Website Data from the History menu of Safari, you get the option of covering your tracks by clearing data from the last hour, today, today and yesterday or, as before, from all time.

It clears your history from all devices signed into your iCloud account too.

Email huge files

Email isn't really meant for file transfer, but – let's be honest – we all do it. Problem is, many email providers flat-out won't let you send attachments over a particular size (often only a few megabytes) so sending large files over email is usually a no-no.

With Mail since Yosemite, though (and in fact with the webmail version of Mail at, you can email files up to 5GB in size. What in fact happens is that the attachment really gets uploaded to iCloud, and then a link is sent to your recipient where they have 30 days from which to download it.

(If your recipient is using Mail on Yosemite/, they'll probably just see the attachment in their email client as usual rather than being shown a link.)

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