Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Class Notes for 2-26-2019

Demonstration of setting up an Amazon Firestick

We started with a new box and walked through every step to set up the firestick and to establish a new Amazon account.

Last week we looked at the Roku box. This is similar in that they give you a menu of many movies and tv shows to watch. And channels to log in to like Netflix and others that require a monthly fee. No fee except to purchase it for the firestick.

If you have a smart TV and just want to get Netlfix and Amazon Prime and Hulu and others that cone built in to the TV, you do not need the firestick or Roku. Your TV does the work.

More on “cutting the cable”
You are not dumping your provider. You are opting out of the telephone and cable package. All you need is the internet and it does not have to be very high speed. Don’t get sold on the need for 100-150 mbps that the cable company says you have to have. I have found that 3-5 mbps streams. Our 4g cell phones can be used as a hotspot at about 5 mbps.

Get a TV antenna for from $10-$50 and plug it into the back of your TV. Go to settings on the TV and scan for TV channels. In this area you will find 30 or more local channels that are free.

Add the firestick or Roku and you have all the movie channels and seasons of TV shows to watch. And music and many other channels to add for free. There is one call pluto.tv that gives you free TV. You can try that out for free on your computer.

Your biggest bill will be your internet and the monthly fee for Netflix and whatever else you subscribe to that is not totally free. Try it.

Eyesight Issues
Win+Plus Turn on
Win+Esc Turn off

This start the magnifier for anyone with sight problems. Try it. It is self explanatory.

The Best Portable Apps That Require No Installation
This runs through a list of apps you can put on a flash drive for use anywhere. Some of my facvortes are on the list--Notepad+, emailstripper, libreoffice, and more

Useful Links from the past
This list was found in an old disk drive and some may no longer work. Give them a try.

What to Do if You Drop Your Android in Water
The first thing everyone tells you to do is to stuff your phone in a jar of rice. However, stuffing your phone in a jar of rice is more likely to accidentally stuff rice grains into your phone than it is to aid the phone's drying process. Rice is not a drying agent. Do not use rice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Computer Club Summary 2-19-2019

Live demonstration of hooking up a Roku box took us about an hour to cover all the questions. Here is a link to Roku.com so you can check them out. You can buy from them or at any of the retails stores locally or on Amazon.

Use Wordle to create a graphic of words. I downloaded the program to my PC and it works great.

As mentioned in the last few classes, I have been using the Brave browser and the search engine duckduckgo. Check their pages for the benefits. I have found them fast and secure.

Have you got a locked iDevice (iPhone, ipad…) and can’t figure out how to unlock it or even to factory reset it to give to someone else? Check Dr.fone. It is a downloadable program from your PC to unlock any iDevice. Not free.

Review the 10 Minute Mail that George demonstrated at the last meeting. Lets you create a temporary email address. Why? You just want to download that delicious recipe and they want your email address. You know what they want it for--to send you junk mail. Instead of using your real one, create a temporary one and use it. They may want to have you confirm your email and this lets you read any emails sent to it. If you need 10 more minutes, you can add it--again and again.

Review the .new links that was explained in the Bytes for February. Simply stated, to create a new document in Google Docs, type doc.new into your address bar and you are taken to a new document in google docs. Spreed.new for a new worksheet. Re-read the article for details.

Have I Been PWNED?
There have been many corporations that have been hacked over the last few years and email addresses have been exposed; sometimes passwords also. This site has a database of all email addresses that have been taken. Type in your address and find out if you have been pwned. If you have, you might want to change your password.

Windows 10 Icon Spacing
Right-click on your desktop and change the size of the icons--small, medium, and large. But that does not change the spacing between them. This article shows you how to make that adjustment. Beware, this is a little technical.

How to Use the Chrome Cleanup Tool
As the article says “Once available as a standalone program, the Chrome Cleanup tool is now a part of the actual browser itself and can detect and remove harmful software along with restoring hijacked settings back to their original state. If you are experiencing undesirable symptoms such as intrusive pop-up ads and unexpected web pages appearing, your search engine and homepage being redirected to services and sites that you've never heard of before or just general slowness in your browser, then you should first check for and remove any unwanted programs.”

New Tool Tells You if Your Password Has Been HackedGoogle Password Checkup functions as a helpful second layer of security, telling you when your passwords have been compromised, and reminding you to change them before it’s too late.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Computer Club Notes 2-12-2019

The cost of Solid State Drives has dropped to affordable prices. 500gb drives are available for less than $100. They are proving to be more reliable than hard disk drives with an expectation of many years of service. They are quiet, easy to install, and much faster than hard drives. The speed gain for the upgrade will be much greater than what you gained by increasing the amount of memory. If you have not increased RAM to at least 4 gb, you might want to do that at the same time.

SSDs are all 2.5” in size and exactly the same size as laptop drives. So the replacement in a laptop is pretty easy. You might need a YouTube video to see how to locate and remove the old drive on your laptop. If you have a desktop with an IDE hard drive, you will not find an SSD in that format. If the motherboard has SATA connection you probably can install the SSD, but more than likely will need a bracket to hold the 2.5” drive. Here is one for less than $5: https://tinyurl.com/y3yln98x

Generate Random Text
Using MS Word, I demonstrated how to generate some random text using a website called http://www.lipsum.com/. You do not need to have Word. It just generates as much text as you need so you can copy and paste it into whatever program you to use it for.

In Word you can just type =RAND() or =RAND(p,s) p for number of paragraphs and s for number of sentences in each paragraph. Leave them out and it auto generates 5,3. The text comes from the help screens in Word.

Download your Google data
Google has a lot of information based on all the Google sites you visit. You can download that data to your own computer easily. This article tells how.

Windows 10 version 1809 rollout is here
As we talked last month, 1809 is working and starting to automatically roll out to all users. I have installed it without a hiccup on three of my machines at home as well. In a few weeks we will be looking at 1903. More on it as we get closer to the actual download date which is unknown at this time.

To check which version of windows you have installed press Win + R, type Winver, press Enter. The latest is 1809. 1803 is ok. Just wait for 1809 to come down on its own. If your machine does not line up with the requirements for 1809 it will not be updated. Some issues with certain processors and video chips.

How to pin to taskbar. On the desktop right- click the icon you want to place on the taskbar. Select pin to taskbar. Or you can just drag the icon to the taskbar. To pace it on the Start Menu, right click and choose Pin to Start.

What cloud?
We talked about the various “clouds” out there for us to use. Remember a cloud is hard drive storage at a location away from your location. It is accessed using the internet. The data stored is encrypted so only you can access it.
  • Windows 10 has OneDrive, a 5 gb cloud
  • Google comes with 15gb
  • Google Photos provides unlimited photo storage
  • Dropbox comes with 2gb
  • Amazon Prime comes with 5gb
  • Amazon Prime Photos provides unlimited photo storage
And there are many more out there

In every case you can purchase more space for a reasonable cost.

I use OneDrive. I found it the easiest. I just save files in my OneDrive folder and Microsoft saves a copy in its cloud. You will need a free Microsoft Account to access it.

For pictures I use Google Photos. It is unlimited and with the app on my cell phone every picture I take is automatically sent to the Google Cloud. If you have a free google account (gMail) you have the Google Drive (drive.google.com).

Ninite is the safest site to install programs from. When you open ninite.com you are presented with a list of program to select from. You check the ones you want and then click the Get Installer button. That does not download any of the programs you have checked, it downloads a tiny program to your computer with a list of the programs you checked.

When you run that installer program it looks over each program selected to see if you have it already installed on your computer. If not, it downloads and installs it. If you already have the program it compares the version on your computer to the available one. If the one you have is already the latest, it does nothing with that program. If the one you have is older, the latest is downloaded and installed for you.

The next time you want to check to see if you have the latest updates you do not have to go to ninite and start over. If you still have the installer program on your computer, just double-click it.

Easy Screen Capture
With 1803 we were given an easy way to capture a screen by pressing Win+Shift+S. Draw a box around what you want to capture and release the mouse. Your image is in the clipboard.

With 1809 the clipboard is no longer a one time clip. Win+V will open the clipboard where you can view every item that has been copied since the last reboot or since you cleared the clipboard.

Stop Background Tasks in Chrome
Menu > Settings > Advanced > System > Continue running background… turn the switch off.

In addition to my own research, I want to give thanks to Harold at the Club, Ghacks, AskLeo, TomsHardware, DavesComputerTips and others for the useful ideas we take a look at each week.