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.)

View all posts with Mac Tips > HERE.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to eliminate password requirement

Tech News and Views

Many club users purchased the Linux Mint 18.1 XFCE disks and have probably installed the program by now. I think they will enjoy using Mint, but the program does have one annoyance in that it keeps asking for a password. Here's how to log in automatically and eliminate the password requirement.

Click Start. Type Users and Groups in the search box. To the right of the word Password click on the word Change. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Don't ask for passwords on login. Close the window and reboot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mac Tips and Tricks, Part 2 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)

Make a keyboard shortcut for anything

Keyboard shortcuts are great for saving time, but you're not limited to just the shortcuts put in by developers. If there's a particular menu option you use all the time that doesn't have a shortcut, you can create it yourself.

Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts. Click the + button to add a new shortcut. You can choose which app you want to apply it to from the drop-down list, but you must know the exact name of the menu command to type into the next box, including the correct case and any special characters such as ellipses. Lastly, choose a unique key combination to invoke the command, then click Add.

View someone's screen remotely

One really easy way to view someone else's screen or even control their Mac over the internet – which is invaluable if you're helping troubleshoot a relative's computer problems – is to launch Screen Sharing by searching for it with Spotlight then entering the Apple ID of the person you're trying to contact. (If you or they don't know it, just have them look in the iCloud pane of System Preferences. And while they're there, make sure Screen Sharing is enabled in the Sharing pane of System Preferences.)

They'll be asked to grant you permission to view their screen, and they can also then click on the screen sharing icon in the menu bar and grant you the ability to virtually, remotely control their mouse and keyboard too.

Adjust the volume in smaller increments

When you use the volume up and down keys on your Mac's keyboard, the difference between one tap and the next can actually be pretty big – especially if you're driving some meaty external speakers. Hold down ⌥ and ⇧ as you tap those keys, though, and the increments become much smaller.

And here's a bonus tip: if the audible feedback when you change the volume annoys you, you can turn it off in the Sound section of System Preferences, but, and here's the clever bit, you can temporarily toggle it back on by holding ⇧ when you change the volume – handy when you're not sure whether your Mac isn't making a noise because the system output is configured incorrectly or because the app you're trying to use is at fault.

Rename, duplicate and revert files easily

In OS X Lion, Apple introduced some new features for working with files, and a new hidden menu to access them. When you've opened a document, move your cursor over its name to bring up a small black arrow just to the right.

Click this arrow and you bring up a menu with some of these new options. The most useful are the ability to rename and duplicate files, but you can also lock a file to prevent further editing, change it so that the file is stored in iCloud instead of only on your hard drive (though only in compatible apps), or move the file.

The flashiest feature is the ability to revert to a previous version of a file, though, you can choose an older version from what's listed in this menu, or click 'Browse All Versions…' to enter a Time Machine-like interface, where you can scroll through older versions of that file and compare them to the current one.

Cure an insomniac Mac

You might find that occasionally when you close your MacBook's lid or pick Sleep from the Apple menu on your iMac or Mac mini that it refuses to go to sleep.

Happily, getting to the bottom of this problem is easy. Since Yosemite, you can chose from the View > Column menu when you're on Activity Monitor's CPU tab to show a column of processes that are preventing sleep. Click this column header to sort by it, and then you can easily find what apps are keeping your Mac awake, then quit them if necessary.

View all posts with Mac Tips > HERE.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5 ways to recover lost password

Tech News and Views

Tech spot recently ran this excellent article about 5 ways to access a locked Windows account. Although some of the steps look very involved, most users will be able to follow the steps by looking carefully at the examples shown. Click on the link below and then scroll down for the article.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mac Tips and Tricks, Part 1 of 5

Apple Bytes

The Mac is amazing. And, 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.

In many instances these are handy examples of functionality that Apple has sneaked into upgrades you would have otherwise totally missed out on. (select any image to enlarge)

Automatically hide and show the menu bar

The menu bar has been a fixture on the Mac since it launched in 1984, but since OS X El Capitan, you can hide the menu bar. Open System Preferences, go to General, then click "Automatically hide and show the menu bar."

When you tick this box off, the menu bar will reappear as you glide your mouse arrow towards the top of the screen, allowing you to get at all your menus.

Run Windows

O.K. Who wants to run Windows? But sometimes it's handy, whether to play the latest games or run some niche piece of software that has no Mac equivalent.

You can either run Windows alongside macOS with a virtualization app such as VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox, or partition your hard disk to install Windows on to run it full-bore on your hardware using Boot Camp Assistant (in your Utilities folder).

Sign PDFs right in Mail

If you are emailed a PDF to sign, you don't have to worry about printing it, signing it, then scanning it back in, you can actually sign it right in Mail.

Drag a PDF into the email you're sending, hover over it then at the top right you'll see a little button appear, click it, and you get a range of Markup options, including one for signing documents. Best of all, you can either add your signature by holding a signed piece of paper up to the webcam on your Mac – and it does a great job of cutting it out of the background – or by drawing on your trackpad.

Got an iPad stylus? Try using that instead of your finger!

Use Split Screen

Working with two windows or apps side-by-side became much easier since OS X 10.11 El Capitan, thanks to Split Screen view. By holding down a left-click on an app's green maximize button in the top left-hand side, you can then drag it to be positioned on the left or right-hand side of the display.

You'll then need to pick a second open window or app to snap to the opposite side. Split Screen obscures the launcher and OS X's Menu Bar, so you get a bit more screen real-estate and fewer distractions.

Dividing the separating line between the two apps lets you make them smaller or larger, which can come in handy for keeping an eye on live information such as sports scores at one end while being productive on the other.

Quickly import with Image Capture

People sometimes overlook Preview's power features and almost always ignore Image Capture completely. Before you clog up your system with bloatware apps and drivers for digital cameras and scanners, though, try Image Capture – it's in your Utilities folder.

With this you can control most modern scanners (or the scanners in multifunction printers) both wired and wirelessly, and import from digital cameras, including iOS devices.

Pop up the panel at the bottom-left for extra options. It's here, for example, that you tell your Mac what app should launch when you connect each of your devices (including 'none') so you could launch Aperture when you connect your SLR, say, but launch nothing when you dock your iPhone.

View all posts with Mac Tips > HERE.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

How to play music in new cars

Tech News and Views

I just had a call from a snowbird, named Patricia, who bought a new car and discovered the car didn't have a CD player. It seems that Patricia is about to return to Wisconsin and she wants to have music on her trip.

Well Patricia, you just discovered what many others are finding out, and that is that none of the new cars have CD players, and many new computers have done away with the players also.

Here's what you have to do. If your computer has a CD player, insert a CD. Windows Media Player should appear and there will be an option to Rip CDs. That's what you want to do. The player will copy each music track. When it is finished, insert the next CD and repeat the process.

After all the music has been ripped to the computer's music folder, you can copy and paste the music to a flash drive. New cars have USB ports. Insert the flash drive. The car's music player should have an option to play music from the USB device.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Use Audacity to add sound to LibreOffice Impress presentation

Tech News and Views

I recently created a 58 slide LibreOffice Impress presentation. Impress is similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint, but unfortunately does not incorporate a good way to incorporate sound clips with slides.

I wanted to use a mike to narrate sound for the Impress presentation and therefore experimented with several methods to accomplish the goal. Here's the best method I found:

Add sound to LibreOffice Impress Presentation
  • Open the Impress presentation and Audacity (side by side)
  • Click Record in Audacity and record the sound for the first slide. Click Stop to stop recording.
  • Click File Export. And OK. Give file a name or number (such as slide 1) and save as WAV file.
  • When Edit Metadata slide appears, just click OK.
  • Go to LibreOffice and click View. Select Slide Transition
  • Choose None for transition
  • Click down arrow by word Sound
  • Click Other Sound
  • Click the number of the saved sound file that matches the slide
  • Click Open
  • Click Slideshow and slide to preview recording
  • Click X to delete audio track from Audacity, so you can record sound for next slide.
  • Repeat process for remaining slides.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
May 12, 2017

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance:Linda Tingley, Bob Leiner, Bill Balch, Bob Norton, Elliot Bogart, Ron Kenyon, Don Forgette, Bob Kenlay, Bill Cahill, 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 $2152.82. Jim Tromboli also explained that the new Treasure’s Report format combines all revenue and expenses on the same spread sheet.

Ron Kenyon explained changes to scheduled Board & General meetings for 2018. We will revisit these changes next year.

Don Forgette reported that 17 people had interest in Apple products classes at our last general Club Meeting. It was suggested we wait till the fall, when the snowbirds return, to review the possibility of having an apple class if enough people are interested.

Alan Marcus presented a new membership badge scanning program to help identify Club members eligible for the gift card drawing at the general meeting. This program would replace the current badge procedure. We will start this new program at our May 17 membership meeting. The meeting e-mail to members will discuss this new program.

Future meeting topics:
May 17 - Malware Problems & Solutions Bob Kenlay

June 21 -  DECCA Services to Oak Run

July 19 -  Q & A ?

Aug 16 -  Ocala Computer Clinic, Kip Ecklund ?

Sept 20 -  Medical Records on the Internet KathyLee Johnson

Oct 18 - Drones Keith Mackey
The meeting adjourned at 10:25AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Kenlay, Secretary

Maximize Battery Life

Apple Bytes

Battery life of a device can be critical for many individuals. Many consumers want to maximize the battery life and lifespan of these gadgets so they can do more with them.

Apple has devoted a web page laying out a few tips to improve the battery life and battery lifespan of iPhone, iPad and other iDevices. That information also applies to other brands and devices using the lithium-ion battery.

A detailed explanation of the below tips is found on the Apple Users Group website at the following link: appleusersgroup/maximize-battery-life

Maximize Battery Life
  1. Update Your Device To The Latest Software
  2. Avoid Exposing Your Device To High Temperatures
  3. Remove The Device’s Case When Charging
  4. Charge It Around 50 Percent When Storing The Device
  5. Optimize Your Device’s Settings
  6. Activate Your Device’s Low Power Mode
  7. Check Out Your Battery Usage

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Disable Roomba cliff sensors

Tech News and Views

Most of the new robot vacuum cleaners use cliff sensors to prevent the devices from falling down stairs. The sensors work too well. When the robots approach black bordered rugs, the robots won't climb on to the rug or carpet to clean because the darkness appears to be like falling into an abyss.

Many YouTube videos show the solution to the problem. Users can place aluminum foil over the cliff sensors and hold the tape in place with duct tape. If the users have houses that are all on one level, the problem is solved. If the robots are used in multi-story houses, virtual wall barriers can be set near stairs to stop the robots from going over the edge.

You would think that after 13 years of existence that iRobot would have a way to disable the sensors rather than have users apply foil and tape to the expensive devices.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What to do when your Internet is down

Tech News and Views

Can't get on the Internet. Here's an excellent remedy guide from Popular Mechanics:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Run web based program offline

Tech News and Views

Recently, I had the need to run a web-based program when Wi-Fi was not available. By using the free downloadable program HTTrack I was able to run the program.

Download the tracker program. Give your project a name, let's say it's Random Number Generator. Then just follow directions. The saved projects can be found under C:\mywebsites.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mac Tips For Windows Switchers

Apple Bytes

For those of you who have switched from a Windows computer to a Mac, here are some tips to help you make the transition. Many keyboard shortcuts are similar except that instead of the Ctrl key you will use the Command (⌘) key.
  • Cut = command+X
  • Copy = command+C
  • Paste = command+V
  • Undo = command+Z
  • Print = command+P
  • Save = command+S
  • Select All = command+A
  • Close Window = command+W
  • Switch Apps = command+Tab
  • Quit App = command+Q
  • Find Files = command+space bar
  • Screenshot = shift+command+3
More Mac keyboard shortcuts can be found > HERE.

Here are some other tips for using your Mac.
  • Buttons for closing, minimizing, and maximizing a window are in the upper-left corner of the window.
  • Use the volume control in the menu bar, or use the volume keys on your Apple keyboard.
  • Use Spotlight to quickly find and open apps, documents, and other files.
  • You can also use Launchpad and the Dock to open your apps (programs).
  • Looking for Windows File Explorer? Learn about the Finder.
  • Looking for the Control Panel? Use System Preferences instead.
  • Looking for the Recycle Bin? Use the Trash, which is in the Dock.
  • To rename a file, click the file once to select it, then press the Return key and type a new name. Press Return when done.
  • Preview most files on your Mac using Quick Look. Click the file once to select it, then press Space bar.
  • Back-up files: Time Machine keeps a copy of all your files, and it remembers how your system looked on any given day.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Be sure to read about this new scam

Tech News and Views

Be sure to read about this latest scam described by BGR News:

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Using bar codes to make life simpler

Tech News and Views

Now that just about everyone owns a smartphone, many users have tried scanning bar codes to compare prices at the supermarket, but I've found there's a big difference between cell phone scanners and commercial scanners.

I have been experimenting with placing bar codes on club member badges. As members enter the meeting place, their badges can be scanned very quickly, through the use of a hand held scanner. Club administrators can quickly determine who attended the meeting, how many attended and can use the scanned list in a random name generator for club drawings. I am going to demo the system at the next club board meeting, and if board members approve of the system, the club may soon have the system in place.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Designing a database is not very difficult

Tech News and Views

Most of the computer users that I know use their computer to send email, go on social media, Skype with their family or do some Internet searching. Rarely do I find a user who uses spreadsheets, and almost never anyone who uses databases. It's a shame, because databases can be really useful.

Let's suppose that you create a database of all the members of an Oak Run club so you can quickly find all of the members who live in The Preserve. Or maybe you want to create a list of members whose dues haven't been paid. If a database is set up correctly, you could do a query for all female club members who are single, are under age 70, are snowbirds, like to dance and have red hair.

You can download LibreOffice for free at The suite of programs contains one program called Base. It's very easy to use. Just let the Wizards in the program help you design a database.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Computer problem fixed with compressed air

Tech News and Views

One of our members, who shall remain nameless, just told me that he was given a laptop computer that kept displaying a message about a defective internal fan. In desperation, my friend ordered a new fan, but decided to view YouTube videos about the fan problem. One video suggested that the fan could be seen by removing the keyboard. A can of compressed air blew out the fan, and the warning message never appeared again. Now my friend has a spare fan and a working computer because of good housekeeping.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Replace hard drive in all-in-one computer

Tech News and Views

Recently, I had the chore of having to replace the hard drive in a Dell One 2020 all-in-one computer. I was dreading the task. Although I have repaired hundreds of computers, I envisioned the repair of an all-in-one to be akin to that of working on a laptop (a real pain, with dozens of screws, miniature ribbon cables, easily broken connectors, etc.). To my surprise, the whole back snapped off in one piece.

My job was to replace the hard drive. There were just three screws holding down the hard drive enclosure. I had the replacement drive in place in just a few seconds.

So, the moral of this story is, if you have a similar computer to repair, try it. Even if you have never repaired a computer, I think you'll find it easy.

Monday, May 1, 2017

How To Use iPad 'Slide Over', 'Split View' and 'Split Screen'

Apple Bytes

Those of you that regularly use an iPad will find some new features of the recent OS updates very helpful. Multitasking has come to iPad with the introduction of 'Slide Over', 'Split View' and 'Split Screen'.

The website, Apple Users Group of Oak Run, has tutorials for these three features. Use the links below.

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