Friday, October 10, 2014

Class Summary 10-9-2014

We started with questions about Netflix. I use it all the time for my “television” watching. I cannot see the current seasons shows, but I can see the last season of many shows. It is nice watching the entire episode with no commercials. I can watch them one after another nonstop if I want to or one or two in an evening. A one hour show on regular TV runs about 42 minutes without commercials.

How do you see them? You can watch them right on your computer or using a newer TV with Netflix built in. I have an older set and use a Roku box (see

If your PC has an HDMI port you can connect your TV set as an external monitor and watch your computer on the BIG screen. Another approach is to purchase a Google Chromecast device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and links to your PC via your WiFi network in your house.

You can also watch from a library thousands of movies, old and current. To view the latest releases you do have to sign up for their DVD package and get them shipped free to you as DVDs.

Someone asked about watching live TV on the computer. Cannot do it live as far as I know, but most networks will give you the option of watching many popular shows the next day or so off their web site. And without all those commercials. So if you are into current series and miss one this is a good way to catch up. I just wait for them when they come out on Netflix.

How do we check our Internet connection speed to see what we are getting? I use a site called Wait for the BEGIN TEST button to appear on the picture of the laptop. DO NOT click any of the other buttons or you will download stuff you may not want. After a short while you will see the results: Ping, Download Speed, and Upload Speed. The ping is the time it took for a request from your computer to get to the Internet server and back to your PC. Mine runs around 29 ms.  Your download and upload speeds should be what you are paying for. Mine runs 3.59 Mbps down and .91 Mbps up. Mbps stands for megabits per second and it takes 8 bits to make a byte which stores 1 character of data like the letter A. I am paying for 3 Mbps and it is fast enough for streaming movies and doing Internet browsing and downloading software. Upload speed is always a lot slower, but we upload very little. Most of our activity is getting things down from the Internet.

Next we gave a quick demonstration of using eBay to purchase things and to check the value of things. There have been a few classes in the past about eBay and selling things on it. Check back in the class notes for those handouts. We also talked about using PayPal and that you do not need an account to pay for something using it. When you give them your credit card or bank account information it stays at PayPal. The person you are buying from never see it. They get their money from PayPal.

I demonstrated a free word processor I have been using called AbiWord. Works great and is a small program. Has many of the features found in expensive programs such as Word. Yes, it has a spell checker and will read and write Word (.doc and .docx) files. You can download it at:

I was asked how to get a program from an older computer to a new one when you do not have the original CD. Some can be directly copied from the old to a USB flash drive and then up to the new computer. I suggest finding the Program Files folder and in it the folder containing the program you want to move. Save the entire folder to the flash drive. Then copy it up to the new computer in it’s Program Files folder. Then locate the program within that folder and double-click it to see if it will run. If it runs, you can then create a shortcut to it on your desktop.

If not, remove the folder. Try a program like PCmover (not a free program) that claims to be able to move a program from one PC to another. I have not tried it myself, but I understand it works well and even moves some XP programs to PC with a newer OS.

Find out more about it at:

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