Thursday, November 29, 2018

Class Notes 11-27-2018

Windows Key Tricks
Try this out on your Windows 10 machine. With a window open, hold down the Windows key and tap any of the arrow keys. Up and the window is maximized, down it is minimize, and the left an right will send it the right half of your screen or the left.

Searching for something?
If you are looking for a “what”, Google it.
If you are looking for “how to”, YouTube it.

Getting a New Computer
This question has come up a few time this month. How do I get my stuff from the old computer to my new one; from Windows X to Windows 10? We talk a lot about making an image backup of your computer on a regular basis.

You cannot take that image and using the recovery disk move it all onto your new computer. You will remove everything on the new and make it look like the old with the old operating system! It might boot but you will have wrong drivers and all the issues you had with the old computer.

Leave the new computer alone. Copy all your data from the old old computer to an external drive and then use that backup to copy the data to the new drive. You can mount the image backup you made of the old computer on the new computer using the same backup program it was made with (EaseUS or Macrium) and drag and drop the folders or files you need onto the new one.

You could also purchase a data transfer cable like the following. It allows you to do a direct transfer from one to the other at over 400Mbps.

We talked again about the simple way of assigning passwords that you can remember. Here are the details of that methods:

Greeting Cards

Tis the season for sending Christmas Cards and all year birthdays and other events in life. I used to spend time and money searching for just the right card at stores around town. Then I was with a friend who create their own cards on their computer. Neat idea.

Scam Phone Calls
If you have not tried it yet, use to stop those annoying phone calls. Only works with VOIP phones (not Centurylink). It is free for home phones but $1.99 / mo for cell phones.

Passwords Simplified

By Dick Evans

Password creation has become a complicated process. We have hundreds of them and remembering them is a disaster for many of us. How about having one that is different for each website and yet always remembered?

Here is an effective way to do that.

Use the first letter of the site you are creating a password for and capitalize it. Use the last letter of that site as the last letter of the password, lower case. So if the site is start with A and end with n.

What you place in between will be the same for any site you use and should be at least 6 characters, contain a special character, and a number. I like to substitute numbers for obvious letters - 3 for E, 0 for o, 1 for i, 8 for B, etc.

Perhaps your dog's name is Snoopy. You could use $n00py which satisfies all the requirements and the password for Amazon would be A$n00pyn. The password for Staples would then be S$n00pys. Simple but useful.

All you need to remember is your 6 character word and you now know the passwords for all the sites you use. They will not change by themselves. You will have to open each site with the old password and locate its change password section to update them.

Greeting Cards

by Dick Evans

We can use templates in Word to create greeting cards. We can even design our own right in Word. But there are some websites where you can print your own and some free software you can install to make the job much easier.

Here are a few I found that do the job:

This one is free to try for 7 days, then you pay $3.99 per month, $19.99 per year, or $29.99 for a 2-year membership. You have to give them your credit card info to do the free trial, so be sure to cancel if you don’t want to buy it!

Print them on your computer and US mail them.

Or create them on your computer and email them

Click to view:

As fun and friendly as its name suggests, Smilebox offers an easy way to create animated slideshows. It also includes templates for creating electronic greeting cards, photo albums, and scrapbooks, too. All you need to do in order to use Smilebox is sign up for a free account with your email address. But Smilebox's free offering is very limited. Many features—including the most popular templates—require the $40/year subscription.

Sounds like a create place to go for free cards. But, free is for 7 days. They are owned by American Greeting (see above) After the free trial you need to pay them the same price as with their parent company. And if you do not cancel within the 7-day trial, you are responsible for the first term of membership that agreed to. Yes, you need to give them your payment information to get the free trial. However, every premium member is given two additional FREE memberships (subaccounts) to be given to family or friends. The subaccount members enjoy all of the features and benefits of membership free of charge!

They do have some free desktop calendars you can actually have for free:

Hallmark Card Studio

This one is not free. I use this to print all my cards using cardstock I purchase at Staples. It is a software product you install on your machine and it’s one time cost is only $29.99.

“For more than 100 years, Hallmark has designed greeting cards for life's special moments. Hallmark Card Studio Special Edition extends that tradition, making it easy to create one-of-a-kind Hallmark cards as unique as the people you care for. In three simple steps, you can add personal photos, sentiments and clipart images of your choosing.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Class Notes 11-20-2018

The Best Windows 10 Apps
An interesting article that outlines what this author likes. Some line up with what we already use and there are a couple of new ones. He starts off with two of the cloud storage programs I already use, DropBox and OneDrive. Fotor is an all-in-one photo editor. It’s a worthy replacement if you don’t like Adobe Photoshop, he says. Sounds interesting as does Adobe Photoshop Express. It’s designed to be an on-the-go photo editor. Features include basic alternations like crop, straighten, rotate, and flip, one-touch adjustments for brightness, exposure, and shadows, and slider controls for exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrance. Others mentioned look worthy to give a try.

6 Ways You Can Use Microsoft Office For FREE
Yes you can access MS Office for free. Log in to with your Microsoft credentials and access all the Office programs online as well as your OneDrive account. Download the cell phone version of Office and use it for free as well. Check out the article for other options as well.

Chromefy turns any PC into a Chromebook. This is not the first Chromebook look-a-like we have seen. It turns an older slower laptop into a viable computer. It uses the real Chromebook OS.

Instead of Tiny…?

Shorten lengthy URLs
Have you ever copied a website address only to find that it seemingly goes on forever? Not only are these addresses difficult to comprehend, they’re difficult to share too. Especially on social media sites or sites that restrict character usage, shortening a URL can help fit it in a space where it otherwise might not be able to. In order to access this tool, all you have to do it right-click on a web page and select “Shorten this page with”. Once this is done, you’ll be provided with a condensed URL and one that is automatically copied to your clipboard so all you have to do is paste to share.

Share better
Not only does URL Shortener Unofficial shorten URLs, it provides users with QR codes that can be scanned to access the website. In many cases, this is even more convenient than a shortened URL, as it can be shared as an image and accessed on smartphones and tablets.

Short URL ( is a free extension for Google Chrome to allowing anyone to take any existing URL and shorten it. You can also find the Google URL Shortener at:

What’s the best replacement for the Windows 10 Snipping Tool?
This article speaks of a few possibles. Of those mentioned I like Greenshot and PicPick. Greenshot can be downloaded at and PicPick at

Both are easy to use screen capture programs. PicPick lets you capture the screen and then opens the image in a Paint like screen. I do understand that the new Snipping Tool coming “soon” in 1809 works in a similar fashion.

Pic Collage
With NEW seasonal stickers, backgrounds, and templates, PicCollage has everything you need to create amazing collages with your photos. Use our powerful web search feature to find the perfect photos to add to your creations, share on social media, or PRINT your collages at home. We installed this one in class and it worked as advertised making a neat collage of some pictures and added some graphs within the program.

Download a YouTube video or just the audio portion easily. Open the video in YouTube and copy the URL. Paste it into the browser address bar adding the letter DL just after the “www.” to open a website giving you the option of downloading it. is a great site to download and install many of the useful programs we use. Today we looked at irfanview and geenshot, both available from Ninite. Irfanview has many functions one of which is to display a slideshow of a series of images.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Non Class Notes 11-13-2018

Sorry I was unable to make it to class yesterday. I trust Lydia did a fine job answering your questions. My Sherri is in the hospital recovering from a surgery last Friday.

I plan to be there for next Tuesday for class as usual. So get those questions written down…

I see 1809 is back with a promise from Microsoft that it will not delete any files this time. I hope not but I am going to wait before letting it into my computer. Just in case I am making an image backup with EaseUS. You should also. And maybe with Macrium if that is your favorite.

Also CCleaner has a new version 5.49. Go to to get the latest free version. You do not have to pay for it.

Here are some windows keyboard shortcuts you might like to use:

Win R opens the Run menu

Win I opens the Settings window

Win Q opens the Type here box

Win P opens the Projector

Win Shift S lets you draw a box and saves it in the clipboard

Win L locks the screen and requires you to enter your credentials to log back in.

Win E opens a new File Explorer window.

There are many more, all to save you steps and keep your fingers on the keyboard.

Remember that you can email me with any questions. And I still do house calls!


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Class Notes 10-30-2018

Cut the cable… This was a long discussion about what you can do to watch what you want and not have to pay the very high cable TV bills.

Comcast or Centurylink. What is the difference? They each have internet access. CL is on a DSL line and the maximum speed you can purchase is up to 25mps at this time. Notice I said up to. Your actual speed depends on how far away from their distribution center you are and how many are on the line at the same time. Do not be surprised if your actual speed is 6mps or less. Check it with a speed checking app like

I am using Comcast and the above screenshot is my speed this morning. It is quite a bit faster than anything Centurylink can provide.

They each are able to provide programming for you to watch. Comcast has there own cable network while Centurylink using Direct TV.

They each provide telephone service. Comcast uses VOIP which uses the internet connection while Centurylink uses a twisted pair landline.

Bill is too high for for? Cut the cable connection. All you need is an internet connection. Either company will do but I think the best price is from Comcast right now.

Get a VOIP phone system like Ooma. It is $99. The only fee is to pay the taxes each month which is less than $5. When you switch you can elect to port your existing number to them so nothing changes. You friends will still call the same number to reach you. Another option is to not have a house phone by porting the house number to a cell phone.

Remember those old rabbit ears we used years ago to watch TV? You can get an antenna for your TV that will allow you to pick up over 30 local channels including news and weather. Just screw the connector into the back of your TV. let your TV scan for channels (right from your remote) and you are done.

What about programming? What about those TV shows I like to watch or movies? I added a Roku box. It plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and hooks to the Internet using WiFi or an ethernet cable. One time charge for the box, just like the Ooma phone. But NO monthly charge. There are thousands of channels, some you pay for with a subscription and many are free. I pay for Netflix and watch many TV shows without commercials. There is a Pandora channel where you can listen to your kind of music all day for free. And much much more.

Now you have Internet access, a phone for under $5 a month, local TV channels, and all the movies and more you want for much less than your provider is charging.

You do not have to accept the default settings for your mouse or touchpad. You can change the size and color of the mouse pointer, the speed the pointer moves at as your mouse the mouse, the function of the wheel, and more. Open settings (Win I).

Click Devices…

In the left column, click Mouse to open the mouse window on the right, Here you can turn your right-handed mouse into a left-handed mouse and adjust the scroll wheel. If you work with multiple windows and go back and forth between them, turn on the “Scroll inactive windows…” option. There are more options under Additional mouse options.

In the Buttons tab you can change the double-click speed and more. The descriptions under each option are very clear.

The Pointer tab is where you change the size and color of the mouse pointer.

The Pointer Options tab lets you fine tune things. The example above is how I have mine set.

When using a browser, Ctrl L brings the cursor to the address line with the entire address selected. Delete or Backspace will remove the selected data, although all you have to do is start typing and the selected data is cleared giving way to what you are typing.

Change the size in the browser
Ctrl + increases the size of a web page allowing you to read the fine print. Ctrl - reduces the size of the page so you can see more of it without scrolling. Ctrl 0 brings the page size back to default.

Printing part of an email or web page
When you place an order from somewhere they send you an email confirming what you ordered or even display it on your screen. When you right-click on the screen and choose Print you can end up with multiple pages with all kinds of advertisements and even fine print. All you want to see is the details.

Quick access to Snipping Tool
Win+Shift+S opens Snipping Tool at the point you drag a box around what you wish to capture. When you drop the drag what you selected is placed in the clipboard to be pasted elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Class Notes 10-23-2018

Edit FB posts when you have made a mistake. Click the three dots in the upper right of the post and click the Edit selection. You can now make corrections to your post. If you had a picture on the post you can also add additional pictures or videos.

Last week we talked about Classic Shell. The checkbox for Classic Start in Ninite is the same program, so select it along with your maintenance options and browsers next time you update them.

Piriform Utilities is where we get CCleaner. They make other useful utilities as well that you might want to check out.
  • Recuva -- Checks for files that have been deleted and removed from the recycle bin. If the file has not been overwritten by Windows, you have a good chance of reviving it.
  • Defraggler -- Although Windows 10 defrags in the background, this tool lets you look at the health of your drives and does a more thorough job of defragging.
  • Speccy -- Gathers a lot of information about your computer. Like Belarc, but different.
JotForm is a program that lets you create a form where you can ask questions, request information, etc. It then sends the results to you in email. Great for small groups, partes, church, clubs...

Win10 KB shortcuts article has one error. It is Alt+F4 that will close an open window, not Ctrl+F4. Otherwise a great list of shortcuts… there are many others.

Cell or Landline? Good article about figuring out if the number you are calling (or receiving) is a cell phone or a landline. We tried out one of the suggestions in class:

Move Word Docs to Google Drive and you will be able to access the documents easily wherever you are through your Google account. However they will be in the .DOC/DOCX format. And they will go against your 15gb of free space. You may view them, but cannot edit them in the original format. You can, however, open them as a Google Doc file. Your document will be converted to a Google Doc where you can edit it. This new file will not be charged against your 15gb limit. When you are satisfied with the conversion, delete the Word formatted file and you will gt back that space in the Google Cloud.

Notepad++ is an expanded Notepad program for Windows. It does everything Windows Notepad does and more.

What is that flower?
Identify plants, flowers, cacti, succulents and mushrooms in seconds with the click of a button on your mobile device.
Download PlantSnap on your cell phone

Google Keep is what I use to keep our shopping list. We each can make entries on our cell phone and use it at the market to get all we want instead of getting there and trying to remember what we need.