COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The Napa Valley Personal

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The Napa Valley Personal
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
http://www.
nvpcug.org
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 29, No. 9
Sept 2012
Inside This Issue
2
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
will meet
Wednesday, September 19th,
7:00-9:00 P.M.
Southwest Technology and
Computer Conference - Saturday
3 Officers List
4 NVPCUG Calendar
5 I’m thinking about getting a
tablet computer
At the Napa Senior Activity Center,
6 Tablet or Laptop, a Popular Question
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
7 The System Tray Icons
The meeting begins with Random Access, an open8 Text Messaging or “Texting” floor question-and-answer period during which
Have you tried it yet?
attendees can ask questions about computers and
9 VIPRE
computer-related problems and receive helpful
information from other meeting attendees. Questions
10 Apple, Google, & Microsoft Create
may be submitted before the meeting by emailing
Technology Ecosystems
them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown
12 The Tip Corner – July 2012
at [email protected]
13 Webpage Font Size too small? The presenter for the September 19th , 2012
Think about Screen Resolution
meeting will be Ron Dack. How many times have
14 Making Your Computer Easier to Use
you said to yourself “It must be lost in the ethernet”.
16 Where’s the Technology?
Not saying that it is there, but Ron will tell us about
12 Membership Application/Renewal *
the Ultimate Archive Site. You’d be surprised at the secrets this
archive holds. If you have an idea or questions regarding Programs,
Fun Site: Browser Statistics
email Ken Manfree at [email protected]
Schools are a pretty good reflection of
technology use as a whole. This site
looks at schools and tells you which
browsers and operating systems schools
are using, and identifies and analyzes
usage trends.
Browser Statistics can be found at
http://www.w3schools.com/
browsers/browsers_stats.asp.
Reprinted with permission from Smart
Computing.Visit www.SmartComputing.
com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your
user group!
Term From Smart Computing: ubiquity
A quality attributed to anything that seems to be everywhere at
all times. Often used in technology circles to describe
technologies in widespread use. Some may say mobile phones,
for instance, are ubiquitous.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
Could you use some practical information that would help you make
better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always
welcome. Admission is always free.
Interested in becoming a member? See page 18 for
application information.
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012
Southwest Technology and Computer
Conference - Saturday
By Beth Pickering, member of the Napa Valley Personal Computer User’s Group,
www.nvpcug.org, [email protected]
Last month I forgot to mention the door prizes. There are always a lot of them, and everybody is automatically
entered. The drawing use to happen on Sunday, but since the conference has gotten so big, there are drawings at
every meal. You have to be present to win. The winning names are put in a special pile until everyone has won once.,
then it starts all over again. All prizes are given away. Some years people got 3, but this year there was a shortage
and some people missed out.
Saturday morning arrived. My little toe was swollen and I couldn’t wear my shoes. Thank God I took my sandals. Rick
Edwards sat at our table for breakfast. Chatting with Rick is always interesting and fun, but it wasn’t as special as last night.
Wolverine Data (www.wolverinedata.com) provided a full
breakfast buffet followed with a presentation by their President Matt
Mardini. Wolverine has a number of very interesting products. I
already have a hand held scanner, and added how easy it works to the
discussion period. They also have external hard drives, PicPacs
8 MegaPixels
(portable picture back up), speakers, and film to digital image
Film Converter,
converters...more about that later. Door prizes were drawn and
Starting From:
$79.99
everyone was handed a certificate as we exited.
There was a short 15 min. break before the morning sessions began.
From 9:30 to 10:30 I went to “How to Navigate the 14 MegaPixels Photos &
PECIAL NTEREST ROUPS
Ever Changing Landscape of Technology “ by Abby Film Digitizer, Starting
Stokes. She has a new edition of her book “Is This From: $159.99
AC ROUP
In SIG meetings you can learn about Thing On” and talked about smart phones, net books
a subject in greater detail than (keyboards but no disk drives), readers (Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, Sony’s
is feasible at NVPCUG general Reader, and Amazon’s Kindle), Wi-Fi, and Mi-Fi.
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
After another 15 min. break, I joined Jim’s Evans’
everyone. Meeting times and
session on “Facebook Timeline”. Facebook is making
locations occasionally change, so
their site more like a digital scrapbook in hopes
for current meeting information, see people won’t move to other social networking sites. Well they are giving people
our Web site, www.nvpcug.org,
some transition time, using Timeline will become mandatory. He also gave some
or contact the SIG leaders.
good pointers on using Facebook, including:
Investors SIG
1. Don’t give Facebook access to your address book.
2. Use privacy settings to restrict who can see your posts.
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
3. Have Facebook notify you when your account is logged into.
Jerry Brown’s home,
Another short break and it was time for lunch. Each
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
meal includes a presentation by the sponsor.
Leader: Jerry Brown
Microsoft’s Scott Newman gave us a demonstration
(707) 254-9607
of what Windows 8 will be able to do. You can watch
bqandjbb
the video at w w w . t h e s w c c . o r g under
@sbcglobal.net
Presentations. It ended with everyone being called up by table for small goodies
and more of the door prize drawings. As we exited for a short break, we got
Napa Valley Mac User Group
another certificate.
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
The first afternoon session had four choices I was very interested in. My
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
dilemma was solved when I was asked to introduce Gene Barlow for his session
Napa Senior Activity Center
on “How to Succeed at Close-up Photography”. He showed us pictures he had
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
taken while giving us tips on what to do. Of the different types of magnification
Facilitator: Don Crandall
he felt using an macro lens was the best way to go. Some of his tips were:
S
NVPCUG
I
G
&M G
(707) 322-0844
ronrogersnapamug
@gmail.com
Southwest cont. on page 4
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
Officers for 2011
Board of Directors
President
Jim Gray
unlisted
[email protected]
Vice President
Ron Dack
Julie Jerome
unlisted
[email protected]
Secretary
Marcia Waddell
252-2060
[email protected]
Treasurer
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Bernhard Krevet , Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman, Tom
Uboldi, Mel Cohen, Ron Rogers and Jerry Brown
Appointed Positions
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
553-2114
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
252-1506
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman
259-6113
needs an Assistant
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman
259-6113
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
Marcia Waddell
337-3998
252-2060
[email protected]
[email protected]
Programs Director
Ken Manfree
707-224-3722
Bernhard Krevet-asst. (unlisted)
[email protected]
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Mel Cohen
unlisted
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
254-9607
[email protected]
Webmaster
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
needs an Assistant
( All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707)
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 3
NVPCUG
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is published
monthly by the Napa
Valley Personal
Computer Users Group,
Inc. (NVPCUG), P.O.
Box 2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286.
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected] The
material in Computer
News is intended for
noncommercial
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed to
be correct. However, the
NVPCUG can assume
neither responsibility for
errors or omissions nor
liability for any damages
resulting from the use or
misuse of any
information.
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
international
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are taxdeductible as charitable
contributions to the
extent allowed by law.
Copyright © 2012 by
NVPCUG.
Southwest cont. from page 2
1. Slow down your shutter speed.
2. With wind problems-put a box around your
subject.
3. Get a good tripod with a removable center post.
Break time-and boy did I need
it. So did a lot of other people.
The restroom was small and
one toilet wasn’t working, so by
the time I got through the next session had already started.
I planned to g to Orv Beach’s session on Linux, but I have
always had trouble walking into a meeting
late. I did have a report with a deadline
to write and send in, so I decided to use
the cybercafe. I got the report done, but
the last afternoon session had already
started. Well, there were other things I
could do, so I stayed and played the
computer until just before dinner.
Saturday dinner is always a
yummy Mexican buffet,
surrounded by the Vendor Expo.
This year the Expo started before
dinner was served, which gave us a lot more time to
browse the vendor tables. There are goodies to pick up,
knowledgeable people to talk to, and conference only
discounts to take advantage of. This is where you can get
that definitive answer, or find
out if that software will really do
what you need it to. I have some old slides and negatives
that I want to digitalize, so I became the proud owner of
Wolverine’s Film to Digital Image Converter. They had a
larger one that would also do up
to 8 x 10" pictures, but the small
one was just right for my needs. There were many tables
and lots of vendors. Gene Barlow has been to every
conference, Orv Beach did Linux installs, and Abby
Stokes brought the new version of her
book. Among the companies I talked to
were Vipre, Ai Squared, iolo, Topaz,
Acoustica, Dogwaffle, Avast,
SendOutCards, and Applian. At the end
of the evening the vendors were formerly PicPac PicPac
introduced, and names were drawn for 160GB to 500GB
The Perfect
the prizes they brought. The major raffle, Companion to
with prizes like a new computer, was any Digital
Camera backup
held.
thousands of
Susy and I spent some socializing time photos or videos
a
in the hospitality room, then headed for without
computer built-in
bed.
high speed
card
There is one more day, and you will memory
reader, Starting
hear about it next month.
at : $149.99
*
(Pro-Series) The Twin
Rollers Handheld
Personal Copier, Reg.
Price: $129.95
Meeting Locations
NVPCUG Calendar
Sept 19
Oct 8
Oct 11
Oct 17
Nov 3
Nov 8
Nov 12
Nov 21
Dec 10
Dec 13
Dec 19
Jan 16
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
10:00-11:30 am.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
NVPCUG General Meeting, + A
Investors SIG meeting + C
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting, + A
Board of Directors meeting + E
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
Investors SIG meeting + C
NVPCUG General Meeting, + A
Investors SIG meeting + C
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting, + A
NVPCUG General Meeting, + A
A - Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
B - Piner’s Nursing Home,
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
C - Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
D - Peterson’s Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms
Lane, Napa
E - Napa Senior Activity Complex,
1524 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 4
Q&A
I’m thinking about getting a tablet
computer
Bill Armstrong, Treasurer, Lehigh Valley Computer Group, PA
May 2012 issue, LVCG Journal, www.lvcg.org, [email protected]
Question:
I am THINKING about getting one of these tablet
computers, but have oodles of questions so I thought I’d
start here (rather than bugging sales people until I know a
bit more).
Are there any additional costs to use for internet access.
(i.e. like a cell phone on a per minute plan)? Are “apps”
part of the deal using a tablet (we are not into smart phones
either at this point)? Is there a cost to use an App (other
than cost to download if it was not free) … such as
checking mail, weather, interactive games? Would I be
able to get my e-mail? One I am looking at mentions Gmail
… which I do not have? How do I get virus (etc.)
protection? How secure using a wireless hot spot?
Thanks,
Dave
Answer:
I do not have a tablet, but I do have a smart phone
(Android). Internet access through the cellular network
requires a monthly access fee with a carrier, so yes, there
is a continuing cost. That is why most of the tablets sold are
Wi-Fi (not cellular). The Wi-Fi only tablets are less expensive
to purchase initially (since they do not have the circuitry for
cellular communications). My plan with Verizon to get
internet on my phone costs an extra $30.00 per month (over
the cost of the cell phone plan for voice phone calls).
Apps are elective for you. I have some, but not a huge
number. They give me weather info, stock market info,
gasoline prices locally, movie listings, etc. Apps come in
both free and paid versions. Once acquired, there is usually
no additional cost to use them, forever. Most apps that
require a fee up front are low cost, such as $0.99 up to $3.00
or maybe even $5.00.Some, I guess, are more expensive,
but I have never paid for the expensive ones.
If you have Wi-Fi at home, a tablet will work on the WiFi network very nicely. That is how most people use them.
When you go out around town, you will find many businesses
offer free Wi-Fi. I used the free Wi-Fi at Panera Bread
today in Whitehall. You should be able to get your email
when connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi. I’ll bet your
email service has a method of retrieving your email over
the web.
Virus protection is available for the operating systems
(OS) that tablets run. I have such a program for my smart
phone, for which I paid. It’s a good idea to have one. The
app store for your tablet’s OS will offer many. Just search
for anti-virus. Wireless hotspots (public Wi-Fi) are not
secure. Period. That being said, I use them all the time. I
just don’t do any banking or money or credit card
transactions. I wait until I am home, on my password
protected Wi-Fi system.
Be sure to view a few screen sizes, to see what is good
for you. The iPad is about 10.1 inches (measured diagonally),
and many consider that size to be ideal for them. Other
popular sizes are 7.7 and 7.0 inches, and 5 inches. View a
website or two to see how they look.
My smart phone is large for a phone, about 4.65 inches.
It’s small but usable for viewing a website. I have to use
a two-finger spreading action on the screen to enlarge the
view, so I can read it easily. If using the Android OS, I
recommend a tablet that uses Android 4.0 or later (called
Ice Cream Sandwich or ICS). This OS makes scrolling and
making the view larger/smaller very easy and intuitive and
smooth.
I use my phone for getting email, viewing websites,
checking the weather, checking my calendar (where I put
all my appointments and “to do” list), checking facts on
Wikipedia, getting news, reading tech articles, getting
stock market info, etc.
Bill
Fun Site: FunBrain.com
Your kids are probably looking forward to the holiday
break, but there are still tests to take and homework to
finish. If you and your kids find yourself at your wits’ end
trying to figure out those complex math problems, or if
you’d just like to see your kids playing some constructive
computer games, check out FunBrain.com. This Web
site allows your kids to get help on their homework,
play fun learning games, and read about what other
kids are interested in. Check out this site over the
holidays, and you and your kids will be amazed at what
it offers. Funbrain was created for kids ages preschool
through grade 8
FunBrain.com can be found at h t t p : / /
www.funbrain.com/
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 5
Tablet or Laptop, a Popular Question
...and “Cool App Reviews
By Greg West, Advisor, Region 6 and International; Webmaster: Sarnia Computer User’s
Group, www.scug.ca, [email protected]
Unless you are a “hard core” computer gamer, you can
Forester.com researchers predict “Tablets will
now officially say goodbye to the laptop.
cannibalize netbooks, and outselling them starting in 2012.
The day of computer frustration is coming to an end. The In 2015, 23% of all PCs sold to consumers in Happy
answer to pulling your hair out as you are trying to figure hunting. Oh yes, one more thing. The tablet to watch is
out why the laptop is so hard to use is called: “touch pads”. Samsung, once the amazing new Windows 8 “Surface”
I recall clearly, back on the APCUG/FAPCUG hits the streets. Then you will have a tough decision for
technology cruise this past January where 400 plus geeks sure: Do I want to be a “Mac or a PC” lol. Have fun!
Cool App Reviews...”AppZilla 2" won the App or of the
road the seas and clicked on computers in various seminars.
year
award in 2011.
Wait, that’s not correct. It wasn’t computers these everyday
I finally broke down and bought an app for my iPhone,
people were using. No, it was touch screen devices.
Mostly iPads I must admit. This too is strange as the group AppZilla 2, it nicely slid onto my iPad after syncing with my
was 99.9% Windows users. The average age in the 400 iCloud (fodder for a future article on iCloud). Ninety-nine
plus crowd was, shall I say, more than 50+. Most of them cents is a fair price to pay for an app that houses 120 apps
said they cannot believe the difference and ease when with just one click. Some of the Apps within this App
included: Google software, Apple reports this app
they switched from a laptop or desktop to a tablet.
Most people on the tech cruise, who recently bought a “surpasses 3 million downloads to date!” AppZilla 2 works
tablet and still owned a laptop/desktop computer, said that on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Sorry droid users you
they “hardly ever use their computer anymore.” The hot only get 40 Apps right now!
With 150 apps in one App, it will take some time to test drive
topic on the ship was the app. People were constantly
them all. YES, you heard correctly, one software application
sharing newfound apps for their tablets.
So what makes these tablets so popular? Price, ease of houses 150 software applications. Some are kinda corny but
use, two click downloads for software, portability, and low still fun. As a Google user of Docs, now called Google Drive,
price is enticing laptop/desktop are just a few of the factors Gmail and many of Google’s software program, I like the way
enticing people to switch. Here are some tips when this app has corralled all the Google products for ease of use.
They call this the “utility” app and rightfully so, as there are
shopping for a tablet:
levels, app for flashlight mode on your phone, path finder so
1. Test drive several. Ask friends who own them
you never get lost, night vision, password keeper, parking
what they suggest. Do online searches for
meter reminder with alarm, police scanner for many cities,
reviews.
and many more I haven’t tried but sure will. I give this app a
2. Decide what exactly you are going to use it for
10+. For a listing of all the 150Apps you can go here: http:/
then decide on the size. I wouldn’t worry too
/fossilsoftware.com/
much about the hard drive size as most of what
Greg writes a regular
we do on computer is heading to the cloud and
monthly
magazine tech
soon, you won’t need software programs for your
column
about
“Anything
devices.
Tech”
and
new
Apps.
This article was previously published
3. Make sure the tablet of choice as an USB slot for
and
is
now
free
to
distribute.
thumb drives, cameras, and other such devices.
ITworld.com suggests “Decide on the operating
Date & Time
system. The three main choices these days are
Sometime when you’re working hard and fast, you just
iOS, Android or Blackberry Tablet OS. Do a bit
want a shortcut to put in mundane information, such as
of research on all three and pick the one that will
the date and time. In Microsoft Excel, you can do just
work the best for you.”
that by pressing CTRL-; (semicolon) to insert the
One final word...Most people will tell you once they bought
current date or CTRL-SHIFT-; to insert the current time.
a tablet their other computers became lonely. Just ask
Note: Be sure your computer’s date and time are
anyone who owns a tablet and they’ll tell you they “hardly
correctly set before you do this.
use” their computers anymore because the tablet is “so
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
much easier to use and less hassle.”
*
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 6
Back to Basics
The System Tray Icons
Jim Cerny, Director, Sarasota PCUG, Florida, September 2012 issue, Sarasota PC Monitor,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
On all editions of Windows, if you look at the lower right So, if you have external speakers, adjust the volume
corner of your desktop computer screen – next to the clock control on your computer to maximum and then use the
with the time – you will see some small icons. Have you ever controls on the external speakers. If you have a laptop (and
wondered what those icons are and why they are there? do not have external speakers connected to it) then you
Well, this area of the Desktop is called the “System Tray” click on this icon to change the volume. Many laptops have
(or “systray”) and, basically, this area on your taskbar is a small wheel or buttons on the keyboard to also control the
showing what programs are started when your computer is volume. Check your laptop’s manual. If you do have a
laptop and want to enjoy beautiful sound for music or
turned on. Here is a sample shot of my Systray:
movies, a set of external speakers is a great idea.
Your Virus Protection
You should have an active virus protection program running
on your computer. If you do you will see an icon in this area
which represents this program. Naturally your virus
protection program should always be running whenever
you start your computer. Click on its icon here to open a
window to work with your anti-virus program.
The Laptop Icons
Normally you would not change the icons in this area by
deleting them or adding new ones. New icons are added
here automatically when you install programs on your
computer that are intended to be running “in the background”
all the time. But there are a few basic things about these
little icons that are very helpful to know.
The Clock
The time and date for your computer should be correct, if
not you can change the time and date by left-clicking your
mouse on the current time and this will open small window
in which you can set your clock and date. Normally you will
only have to do this once because it will automatically
adjust for daylight savings time. Even when your computer
is unplugged, turned off, or if your laptop has no battery
power left, the clock is probably still running with its own
tiny power supply. The clock is essential to all computer
functions because everything you do is recorded with the
date and time. If you save a new file, for example, the date
and time is recorded with the file.
The Volume Control
This little icon looks like a side view of a speaker. If you
“hover” your mouse on that icon it will show you the
percent volume level. Click on the icon to open the slide
volume control. If you have a desktop computer then you
probably also have a set of two external speakers (plugged
into a wall outlet) that have their own “on/off” switch and
their own volume control. But your external speakers can
only project the volume given to them from your computer.
The systray also shows icons about your laptop’s power
supply. For example, if my laptop is connected to a wall
outlet, I see an icon with a plug symbol. If my laptop is
running on battery, I see a battery symbol with a percentage
of battery power level remaining.
Wireless Signal Strength Level
Since your laptop connects without wires to the internet in your
home (or at McDonald’s or other places) you should have a “bar
indicator” icon here that shows the strength of the wireless (WiFi) signal. The more bars the stronger the signal. “Hovering” the
mouse on this icon will show you the name of the network you
are using. Click on it to see a list of all connections available from
which you can select. Naturally you would want to use the
connection with the strongest signal, but remember that many
wireless networks are secured and require a password to use.
Perhaps there are more icons in this area than can fit into
this part of the Taskbar – if so there will be a small triangle
“arrowhead” for you to click on to see all the icons. Just
hover your mouse over an icon to see a small text box
description. If you don’t know what an icon is for, jot down
the description and enter that text into Google and find out.
You can also Google “systray icons” and get more information.
Remember that the icons you see in your systray will
probably be different from the icons that others have on
their computers. Perhaps you will not need to know all of
them, but if you are a bit curious like me, it could be fun to
find out. Just “hover” your mouse on whatever it is and a
small label should appear with a short name or description.
Then use Google to satisfy your itchy curiosity!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 7
*
Text Messaging or “Texting” - Have you tried it yet?
Phil Sorrentino, Member, Sarasota PCUG, FL, July 2012 issue, PC Monitor, www.spcug.org,
[email protected]
If you’re under 20, you probably know all of this, and if
you’re over 60, you probably think you have no need for
texting (unless you want to keep in contact with someone
who is under 20), so for all of you in between, here goes.
Texting is a very interesting, and relatively easy, way to
communicate with others, using your cell phone.
Texting refers to the exchange of brief text messages
between cell phones, over a network. SMS or Simple Message
Service is what provides the ability to send these messages via
the cell phone network. Today, all the Wireless carriers
provide Texting service, typically at a cost of about 20 cents
per text (both incoming and outgoing), unless you have a
specific texting plan. Texting plans can include unlimited
texting or a specific number of texts per month. Texts, unlike
voice calls, cannot be rejected or dismissed; when a text is
sent to you, you pay for it, whether you wanted it or not.
A text message consists of a series of any of the 26
letters of the alphabet, the 10 numerals, and some special
characters (like the space), up to 160 characters long.
SMS specifies that text messages are to be 160 characters
or less. (You may remember that Twitter, which is based
on SMS, limits its “tweets” to 140 characters; this is
because Twitter uses 20 characters for addressing of
messages.) Most text messages are typically short, and a
sort of “short-hand notation” has developed to allow
abbreviations or short collections of alpha-numeric
characters to convey a longer thought. Some of these may
be familiar and some maybe not so much. For a
comprehensive list see: http://www.netlingo.
com/acronyms.php
Some examples are:
ASAP As soon as
possible, BBFN Bye
Bye for now, BFF Best
Friends Forever, BTW
By the way, CYM Check your mail, NUFF Enough said,
GF Girl Friend, C4N Ciao for now, B4 Before, GTG Got to
go, IDK I don’t know, ILU I Love You, IMHO In my
humble opinion, J/K Just kidding, L8R Later, M4C Meet
for coffee, OMG Oh my god, P911 Parent alert, LOL
Laughing out loud, P2C2E Process too complicated to
explain, C-P Sleepy, SLAP Sounds like a plan, TGIF Thank
god it’s Friday, TG2BT Too good to be true, U2 You too.
Texting can be done from any cell phone that has the
ability to send alpha-numeric characters, but if you don’t
have a phone with a keyboard, texting can be very difficult
and tedious. On a phone with only 16 or so buttons, the
buttons have to be pressed sequentially in a certain pattern
to get the alpha or special characters, (sending a “C” may
require pressing the 2 key 4 times followed by a specific
key), which makes sending even some of the very short
abbreviations very difficult to accomplish with any speed
and accuracy. On a phone with a keyboard, texting becomes
a much simpler activity. Just find the characters on the
keyboard (usually with either of your thumbs), and put
together the message, with or without the short-hand notation,
making sure to stay within the 160 character limitation.
Although texting was originated using only SMS, today
texting can handle pictures, video and sound using the
MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). MMS extends the
SMS capability to include these multimedia file types.
MMS has become the typical way to share pictures and
even videos among cell phones.
Today, text messaging is the most widely used mobile data
service, others being voice and email. In the United States,
in December 2009, there were 286 million US text message
subscribers and they sent 152.7 billion text messages per
month, for an average of 534 messages per subscriber that
month. Another survey found in May 2010 that 72% of U.S.
adult cell phone users have sent or received a text message.
Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers
like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent
and received an average of 2,272 texts per month in the
fourth quarter of 2008, almost 80 messages a day, more than
double the average of a year earlier.
Text messaging is most often used between cell phone
users, as a substitute for voice calls in situations where
voice communication is either, impossible, difficult, or not
necessary. (In some regions of the world, text messaging
is significantly cheaper than placing a phone call to another
cell phone; but in general, text messaging is popular for its
convenience, despite the low cost of voice calls.
One of the unfortunate down sides to texting is texting
while driving. Texting while driving leads to increased
distraction behind the wheel. In 2006, a survey with more
than 900 teens from over 26 high schools showed that 87%
of the students found texting to be “very” or “extremely”
distracting. A later study by AAA discovered that 46% of
teens admitted to being distracted behind the wheel due to
texting. Please: Never Text While Driving.
Texting even has its own etiquette. One example is: “Keep
your message brief.” No one wants to have an entire
conversation by texting when a call would be more appropriate.
Another example is: “Don’t use all Caps.” Typing a text
message in all capital letters will appear as though you are
shouting at the recipient, and should be avoided.And a last one
“Only send texts to people who you think will appreciate them,
otherwise use e-mail, or even voice-mail.”
So B4 I go let me say that IMHO texting is GTK
NUFF LOL
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 8
*
VIPRE
Presented at the Southwest Technology & Computer Conference, San Diego, by Dodi
Glenn, VIPRE Product Manager, GFI Software (with Kathy Wattman, Product Marketing
Manager), By Susan Kennedy, Member, TUGNET, California, www.tugnet.org,
[email protected]
What, you ask, is VIPRE? The name is an acronym for Virus
One threat few recognize is the “lost” flash drive. If you
Intrusion Protection and Remediation Engine. More simply, find a flash drive dropped in a parking lot or lying on a
VIPRE by GFI Software Inc. (formerly Sunbelt Software) is library table, for example, the natural instinct is to plug it in
a product line that includes both a stand-alone antivirus to a) see if the owner’s name is available or b) just to see
program and a more comprehensive internet security suite. what might be on it. Don’t do it! That drive may have been
Dodi Glenn, Product Manager for GFI, started by asking left intentionally because it was deliberately infected with
us “What is malware? What dangers are out there?” malware (such as a keylogger or remote dialer) that will
Malware includes adware, bots, dialer programs, keyloggers, infect your computer when you try to access the info.
rogue anti-virus programs, rootkits, and spyware along with
Dodi then described the steps one should take if your
the usual viruses, worms and Trojans. He described malware
computer becomes infected or you suspect it may be.
as having “gone wild” with a huge increase in recent years.
• Be sure you have a good up-to-date antivirus
The purpose is no longer to damage people’s computers; the
program on all machines before you access the
motive today is almost 100% financial. Cyber criminals
internet.
want access to your computer, your passwords and account
• Scan all your machines if you are on a network.
information, and thus to your money! Besides stealing from
your accounts directly, crooks make fortunes in selling credit
• If you discover a worm or virus on one machine,
card information. Much of this criminal activity originates in
unplug it from your network.
Russia and China.
• Get VIPRE Rescue from http://
Top threats include various forms of Java script. Some
live.sunbeltsoftware.com or
of the threats he named are the System Restore Rogue and
http://live.vipreantivirus.com;
S.M.A.R.T. Repair that may harm your hard disk drive.
then restart your machine in Safe Mode and run
the Rescue program. When the report displays,
A few threats created by governments have escaped into
any entries in red are serious threats that must
the world at large. We probably all know of the Stuxnet virus,
be removed.
believed to have been created to wreak havoc with Iran’s
nuclear program, but coming along today is Duqu, first Some other good anti-malware programs that Dodi
spotted in September 2011. Another is Flame, a program recommends (many free) are
developed by the CIA, NSA and Israeli military, to attack
• Malware Bytes (www.malwarebytes.org)
nukes in the Middle East. For those of you who are fluent in
• Super Anti-Spyware
high-level “geek-speak,” GFI produced a video (33 minutes)
(www.superantispyware.com)
on their analysis of Flame at http://vimeo.com/
•
TDSS
Killer
44382073; it’s pretty heavy on the technical stuff.
(www.super.kaspersky.com/)
Another type of threat involves social engineering, and
• ComboFix (www.bleepingcomputer.com/
many of these come out of India. One example spoofs
download/anti-virus/combofix) and
Microsoft’s tech support center, where a person calls on
• HijackThis (from any of several sites such as
the telephone to tell you of a problem with your computer
www.majorgeeks.com or
that he can fix if you just allow him remote access. The
www.filehippo.com.)
Better Business Bureau published an article you can read
at http://tinyurl.com/7noulky. You can also How can you prevent these threats from getting to
see videos on this threat on YouTube by searching for your computer?
Microsoft Service Support Center.
• Keep Adobe Flash Player and Java updated.
Where does this malware come from? Today it’s mostly
• Disable Java scripts from running in Adobe.
social networking (e.g., Facebook), online games, and
• Disable the function that lets your browser open
email or through “portals” you access either for games or
PDF files automatically.
chatting in forums. Malware (including spam) gets into
•
Keep
your operating system patched and updated.
your email through hacked web sites you visit, instant
• Use a reliable anti-virus program or internet
messages (such as posting on Facebook), and what are
known as “exploits” in valid programs such as PDF, Java
security suite.
script, and Flash Player.
Vipre cont. on page 10
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 9
Vipre cont. from page 10
•
Some other tips Dodi offered include:
• Don’t click links that you find in emails or on web
sites; or at least do so with great caution.
• Be very wary of attachments to emails, even
from people you know. The bad guys may have
“spoofed” your friend’s email address and sent
you malware.
• Use a “site advisor” such as Web of Trust or
MacAfee’s Site Advisor. These program add-ons
check web sites to see if they are safe and
secure for you to visit. Web of Trust (WOT)
(www.mywot.com) is one that works in all
browsers. It is community driven; that is, it is run
by its users. When you are checking a web site, a
red circle means the web site is infected.
Watch your mobile devices (tablets, smart phones,
ebook readers) as carefully as your main
computer. “Lookout” and VIPRE Mobile for
Android are free programs for this. VIPRE
Android also backs up your contacts and has a
locator should you misplace your phone. (Kindle
readers run on Android, but VIPRE Mobile is
currently restricted by Amazon.)
A new threat is those ubiquitous QR codes that are popping
up everywhere. The Norton security program warns of
bad QR codes.
Following these tips will not protect you 100%—nothing
can, but they will go a long way to keep your internet
experience safe.
*
Apple, Google, & Microsoft Create
Technology Ecosystems
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS,www.compukiss.com, [email protected]
Previously we were only talking about computers, but
now we are talking about smartphones, tablets, and cloud
computing. We are talking about entire ecosystems. The
choices are mind-boggling. Each of the above mentioned
companies is trying to get you to buy into their ecosystem.
Each is pretty much proprietary. That means that for the
most part, they are incompatible.
Today’s technology is being separated into ecosystems.
Right now, Apple has the largest ecosystem (I call it an
Will you buy into Apple’s ecosystem? Google’s Ecosystem?
ecosystem because it is an entire network or environment
Amazon’s? or Microsoft’s? Or perhaps you have already
where one thing is dependent on another.) Apple’s iPhone
bought into one or the other without even knowing it? This
and iPads run on the iOS operating system. These devices
is a must read for anyone making purchasing a piece of run apps, which are like mini software programs that are
digital equipment or software.
purchased from the iTunes App store. There are currently
Not only has technology changed over the last few more than 500,000 in Apple’s App store. Some are free, but
years, but the way we use technology has also changed. many are sold for a fee. These can only be used on Apple
There used to be two main camps when it came to devices. If you switch to a Google Android phone or tablet,
technology: PC and Mac. These were built around the two you cannot use the Apple products that you may have
competing computers systems, Microsoft’s Windows PC already purchased. You have to repurchase them from the
operating system and Apple’s Mac operating system. Android Marketplace that has apps similar to those found
Software was written specifically for each of these systems, in the Apple iTunes store.
so you couldn’t use PC software on a Mac or Mac
software on a PC. When you bought a computer, you
pretty much bought into one of these two types of computers.
The PCs and Apple battled it out for years with PC
garnering more than 90% of the market and Apple never
getting out of single digits.
Now, however, things have completely changed. With
the introduction of the iPhone and the iPad, Apple has
soared in popularity. Other large companies have become
technology powerhouses. Google with their Android
operating system and Amazon have both entered the fray,
while Microsoft is struggling to keep up.
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 10
This ecosystem also extends to storage and services in
the cloud (think Internet). Apple has announced a cloud
service, called iCloud that lets you store information on
Apple’s servers and access it from any Internet-connected
device. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google also have cloud
storage systems available. Since many of Microsoft’s
followers use Microsoft Office, Google has also developed
a set of programs that are the equivalent of Microsoft
Office programs, but that can be stored in the cloud and
used from any Internet-connected device.
These companies make money from their hardware
and their App sales. They give you a basic amount of
cloud storage for free, but if you need more storage,
there is a charge. You can see why so many companies
are battling for supremacy of their ecosystem. It is
very profitable.
Each of the current ecosystems is expanding. Apple not
only has the software in its App store, but they also have
the hardware in their iPhone, iPad devices and Mac
computers. Apple recently announced their new cloud
storage system and an App store for their Mac computers.
Their new Lion operating system which is used for their
Mac computers is so similar to the iOS operating system
that you have to wonder just how soon the Mac computer
and the Apple iPhone and iPads will share an operating
system. When that happens, they will have added another
component to their ecosystem.
Microsoft is a slightly different story. They don’t
manufacture smartphones or tablets, but they have a new
mobile operating system called Windows Phone 7, which
runs on hardware from other manufacturers. Microsoft
has an App Marketplace like Apple and Google. They also
have cloud storage. The phones that run the Microsoft
operating system shine at running Microsoft office programs
like Word and Excel. This is a part of their ecosystem. I
expect that when Microsoft comes out with Windows 8, it
will also be able to run on tablets, so we will soon see tablets
running Microsoft software and apps.
Amazon has developed their own app store filled with
Android apps. They also have a cloud storage system
called Amazon Cloud Drive. They are already into the
hardware business with their Kindle e-reader, and I expect
that they will soon release a tablet to compete with the
Apple iPad.
Blackberry and HP have both entered this competition
with operating systems, hardware, and app stores of their
own.
It’s not that you cannot mix products. For instance, my
husband has an Android phone, while we also own an iPad.
He obviously can use both, but to do so, he had to learn two
different operating systems. On top of that, if he wants to
have a certain app on both his phone and our tablet, we may
have to purchase it twice, buying a copy for his phone from
the Android Marketplace and buying a copy for our tablet
from the iTunes store. So not only is it easier to stay within
one ecosystem, it is also more economical.
Knowing about these ecosystems may make purchasing
a tablet or a new smartphone a little more complicated,
because besides assessing the qualities of the hardware,
you also have to stop and think about the ecosystem you
are buying into. Yet, the number of large companies
involved in this rivalry and the constant changes, additions,
and improvements they make to their line-ups makes this
a very exciting time in the history of technology.
*
Tables In Word
Tools such as Microsoft Word 2003 offer a variety of
standard formats that can be applied to tables. Just
click anywhere in your table and then click Table and
Table AutoFormat. A formatting dialog box will appear,
so you can select from a variety of established format
styles. Examples are shown for each format, so you
can experiment with different looks until you find the
one that suits the situation best. When you decide on
a format, click Apply to reformat your table. If you make
a mistake or change your mind, click Undo and repeat
this process to apply another table format.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 11
The Tip Corner – July 2012
Bill Sheff, Novice SIG Coordinator, Lehigh Valley Computer Group, PA, July 2012 issue, The
LVCG Journal, www.lvcg.org, [email protected]
Shift+Space Web Browser Navigation
Here is a way to make navigating pages in your web
browser a little easier. Instead of using the Page Up and
Page Down keys, you achieve the same results by pressing
your Space Bar to go a page down and pressing
Shift+Space to go a page up.
What Is Pinning and how do I do It?
Pinning is keeping items within a window in the same place
for easy access. Programs, applications, web sites, etc.
can all be “Pinned.” For Example: The Windows Start
Menu is divided into two sections. The top half of the menu
is reserved for pinned items. Since I use Excel and Word
almost every day, I keep them pinned, making them
accessible at the click of a mouse at any time.
How does one do this? Simply right-click on an icon on
your desktop and choose “Pin to Start Menu.” That’s it.
The bottom section of the Start Menu is reserved for
frequently used programs or programs that are used on a
regular basis. Though this may sound the same as a pinned
menu, the items on the list change dynamically based on
what I’ve been apt to do lately. So if I’ve been using the
calculator a lot, its icon will show up, but if I stop using it
for a while and make use of something else, that icon will
show up.
What happened to Normal View in
Word 2007 and 2010?
If you’re using either Word 2007 or 2010 and preferred
working in the Normal view, then you’re probably
wondering what happened to it. If you went to the View tab
of the Ribbon it is not there. Well, it was not deleted. They
just renamed it Draft view. Now all those page separations
are gone. Unfortunately when you reopen the file it again
opens in the Print Layout view.
So how do we tame Microsoft to open in the Draft view
every time? Click on File and choose Options then Advanced
on the left. On the right scroll all the way down to the
General section. Locate and select the “Allow opening a
document in Draft view” option. Click OK. When you
open a file that you saved in Draft view it will still be in
Draft view.
Should I use Sleep, Hibernate or Shut
it down?
The answer to this depends on who you talk to. Way back
when, you shut your system down to prevent burn-in. Then
came screensavers. With screensavers and less burn-in on
the LCD screens it is no longer an issue. Before I put in my
two cents worth, let’s pin down these terms once more.
When a computer goes into sleep or standby mode, it
shuts off its display screen, video card, CPU and hard
drive, so processes like anti-virus scans won’t run. It
stores the computer’s last state (software opened on the
desktop, etc.,) to the RAM, and so requires a small amount
of electricity (called a “trickle charge”) to maintain that.
Since RAM is transient memory, once the computer shuts
down completely the computer’s current state is lost,
including any unsaved information. So a word to the wise,
SAVE before you leave.
The advantage to sleep mode is that, when you “wake”
your computer, it comes back to its current state very
quickly - almost instantly. So if you’re only going to be
away from it a couple hours, this is quite convenient.
In hibernation mode, the computer writes everything
from the computer’s RAM, including its current state, to
the hard drive and then shuts down, so it functionally uses
no power while in hibernation. Once the computer is
brought out of hibernation, it goes straight to the computer’s
current state, including all open programs. Although this
takes less time than a full shut-down and start-up, it does
take longer than simply waking it up from sleep, although
it uses no power when hibernating, as opposed to little
when asleep. Again, no programs or scans will run while
a computer is hibernating.
Power off is, duh! Off. The main reason for shutting
your PC down is, of course, power savings. The amount of
money that it takes to run a PC depends on how many
watts you’re actually using to run your PC (this can be
determined by buying a Kill-a-watt or similar device for
about $30), and how much you’re being charged by your
electric company per kilowatt hour. Most estimates seem
to run about ten to twenty dollars per month, running 24
hours per day.
There’s also the question of stress on your computer
components. Whereas having it on is harder on your
components than having it off, the process of shutting
down and starting up your PC puts more stress on these
components than simply leaving them on.
So what it comes down to is personal preference. In my
case, I leave my computer on at night to run virus scans,
hard drive scans and defragging. The monitor is pretty
much off by itself. If you do leave your computer on
overnight, it’s a good idea to do a restart in the morning.
This allows your computer to clear any information in the
memory cache and in your RAM and allows your computer
to run more quickly.
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 12
Windows 7 Autoplay Settings
When you connect a device or media to your computer
(digital cameras, phones, DVDs, CDs, etc.) are you happy
with the choices your computer gives you? For example,
when you insert an audio CD, you may not want iTunes to
load it – maybe you would rather import through Windows
Media Player. And with a DVD should it play automatically,
just like your regular family room DVD player?
Here is how to make your media do exactly what you
expect it to do. Click Start and in the Search Box type,
AutoPlay and hit Enter. A window will pop up. Now simply
go down the list and use the provided drop-down menus to
choose what each media type does when it’s inserted into
your computer. When you are done, press Save. That’s all
there is to it. If for any reason you want to go back to the
default Windows 7 settings, hit the Reset all defaults button
at the bottom.
*
Webpage Font Size too small? Think about Screen Resolution
Phil Sorrentino, Member, Sarasota PCUG, FL, August 2012 issue, PC Monitor,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
Screen Resolution is generally defined in terms of pixels.
Anyone who has taken our basic computer classes knows
that the font size can be changed just by selecting the A pixel is a picture element. (There is a technical difference
appropriate text and then selecting the desired text size, between pixels and dots depending on different displays,
usually from about 8 points to 72 points. And if you were but for simplicity, for this discussion I am going to use the
in one of my classes you know that a point is 1/72nd of an term dot in the place of pixel.) So Screen Resolution, then,
inch. That’s right; a 72 point selection will print text, on a is the number of dots that can be displayed on the screen.
It is usually indicated by two numbers, first the horizontal
printer, one inch high.
But everything you see on the screen is not as easy to number of dots, followed by the vertical number of dots, for
control as the font of the text of a word processing example, 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, or 1920x1080.
document. There are, typically, no font size selections on (Yes, if you multiply the horizontal and vertical numbers,
a webpage when you’re surfing the web; although you can you get the total number of dots displayed on the screen.)
make some font selections if you are using Internet These four resolution settings are also called VGA, SVGA,
Explorer. This selection is made by double clicking Tools, XGA, and HD-1080. (There are a whole host of screen
then selecting Internet Options. The “fonts” selection is resolutions that can potentially be used, and are summarized
toward the bottom of the window. Here you can select at h t t p : / / e n . w i k i p e d i a . o r g / w i k i /
“default” fonts to be used if the webpage does not Display_resolution. The chart shows the most
determine a font. But, practically speaking, you probably common display screen resolutions.) The HD-1080
will never use these fonts, so don’t rush to change these resolution is also the standard used in High Definition
selections. (Other browsers probably have similar Televisions, which is typically referred to as 1080p. So, if
selections.) The size of the font that you see on your you are looking for a display that will show High Definition
monitor is determined by settings that are determined by movies the way they were intended to be shown, make
the webpage, and settings on your display graphics adapter. sure your Display Adapter is capable of showing at least
The webpage settings are determined by the webpage 1920x1080.
designer; the browser just follows the webpage’s direction.
The Screen Resolution control can be reached easily by
The display graphics adapter settings are adjustable and right-clicking in any empty space on the desktop, and then
are located in the “Display” Control Panel.
selecting “Screen Resolution”. (Or by clicking the start
In Windows 7, a quick way to get to the Display control button, followed by selecting “Control Panel”, followed by
panel is to right-click on any empty space on the desktop, selecting “Display”, followed by selecting “Adjust
select “Personalize”, and finally select “Display” (lower resolution” {upper left}.) The current screen resolution is
left). At this point you can select “Smaller” (the default shown as “Screen Resolution:”, in the middle of the Screen
type size), “Medium”, or “Larger”. Because these settings Resolution window. The Screen Resolution slider control
depend on the Screen Resolution that is set, if you choose can be accessed by clicking the downward facing triangle
Medium or Larger you may be alerted that “Some items next to the resolution that is currently selected. The Screen
may not fit on your screen if you choose this setting Resolution slider controls the resolution of the display and
while your display is set to this resolution.” So screen hence the size of text on the screen. The number of
resolution is involved in determining the font size and is an selections on this control is determined by your display
important parameter to understand, so that you can make adapter and your particular monitor. You may have from 2
to many selections. The selections on the slider range from
the best choice.
Webpage Font Size cont. on page 14
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 13
Webpage Font Size cont. from page 13
“Low” to “High”. (Click on a different resolution on the
bar to see a preview of the changed setting in the “Change
the appearance of the display” box, (notice how the box
representing the screen changes size and shape), then if
you like it, click “Apply”, if you don’t like it try another, or
click “Cancel”.) Moving towards “High” puts more “dots”
on the screen; however, this typically makes the size of
objects smaller. Decreasing this setting (moving towards
Low) usually makes things larger, but you might start to
lose the right side of some web pages. (If you can’t easily
read the right side of a webpage, you might increase this
setting, but things will probably get a little smaller. Try a
setting with a few of your favorite web pages and see what
setting is the best compromise.)
If you are still wondering what setting to use, click on
“What display setting shall I choose?” and you will be
treated to a help screen that further discusses screen size
and screen resolution with some recommendations for
appropriate settings for different display sizes. Note also,
that you can easily get to the “Display Font Size” screen
(discussed above) by clicking on “Make text and other
items smaller or larger”.
If you were wondering why the shape of the screen
changes with resolution, it is because the resolutions that
are supported by the display adapter cover the older 4x3
aspect ratio and the more current 16x9 (wide angle) aspect
ratio. The 4x3 aspect ratio is what we inherited from
seventy years of analog TV screens. All TV screens,
before HD, were built with this aspect ratio. Aspect ratio
is typically described by horizontal x vertical. So a 4x3 TV
screen has 3 vertical increments for every 4 horizontal
increments. (Academic observation for math majors: this
always formed a 3x4x5 triangle. A 25 inch TV had a 25
inch diagonal with a 20 inch horizontal and a 15 inch
vertical.) The more current 16x9 wide angle aspect ratio
screens provide more viewing in the horizontal. For every
3 vertical increments there are 16/3 or 5 1/3 horizontal
increments showing a wider angle view.
Screen Resolution is the key to getting a comfortable
view of your favorite web pages. If you need to, try some
different settings. If you still aren’t happy, maybe try
another Graphics Adapter, if we’re talking about a desktop.
If we’re talking about a laptop, you’re probably going to
live with those currently provided. It is just about impossible
to change the graphics adapter on a laptop.
*
Making Your Computer Easier to Use
Nancy DeMarte, Regular Columnist (Office Talk), Sarasota PCUG, Florida, May 2012 issue,
Sarasota PC Monitor, www.spcug.org, [email protected]
In these days when almost everyone is using a computer, window borders to make them easier to see.
there are many features of operating systems and software
A person who is blind can work with a Windows
that can help users with physical limitations. Microsoft has computer through a combination of the Narrator and Voice
enhanced its features in this area, both in Windows 7 and Recognition tools using speakers and a microphone.
recent versions of Microsoft Office. This article gives an Narrator reads text aloud as it appears on the screen and
overview of these features and links to some helpful sites describes things like error messages. The Voice
for people interested in making the tools work for them. In Recognition tool, introduced in Word 2010, translates the
Windows 7, the accessibility tools are found in the Ease of user’s speech into text on the screen. It does need initial
Access Center (Start – Control Panel – Ease of Access setup, involving training the tool to understand the user’s
Center). These tools are designed to help people who have vocal patterns. Another tool, Audio Description, gives oral
problems with vision, hearing, and dexterity.
narration of the action in videos.
Low Vision and Blindness
Limited Dexterity
For the person who finds the computer display hard to
read, changing a few settings in the Ease of Access Center
can make life easier. You can select a High Contrast
theme which shows either white text on a black background
or all bold black text on a white background for all text,
including toolbars and ribbons. This feature is especially
useful for users with conditions like macular degeneration.
The Magnifier tool enlarges the portion of the screen
where the mouse pointer is located, a lifesaver when trying
to read small text in a document or on a webpage. Like
other tools, it can be pinned to the taskbar for easy access.
Other settings let you remove unnecessary background
images or animations, make the flashing cursor thicker and
more visible when typing, and sharpen the appearance of
A number of tools are designed to assist the person with
limited finger dexterity. Turning on the Mouse Keys lets
you move the pointer on the screen using the arrow keys
instead of the mouse. Sticky Keys let you press keystroke
combinations, such as Ctrl+Alt+Del, one key at a time.
Toggle Keys play an alert sound when you press the Caps
Lock, Num Lock or Scroll Lock keys, saving you from
unanticipated results like a sentence in all caps. Filter Keys
can be set to ignore unintentional keystrokes, such as
several in rapid succession or holding down a key for an
unusually long time.
The Voice Recognition tool, besides assisting blind users,
is also useful either for those with limited dexterity or
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 14
inadequate typing skills. The on-screen keyboard lets the
hunt-and-peck typist click letters on a keyboard displayed
on the screen. For those who have trouble maneuvering a
mouse, one solution is to develop the habit of using
keyboard shortcuts in place of mouse clicks. Searching the
Internet will provide lists of standard keystroke shortcuts;
you can also create your own. Windows’ Ease of Access
Center also has features that can help. One option lets you
hover the mouse pointer over a window to open it, rather
than clicking. Other settings for the mouse use can be
found in the Control Panel - Mouse. Here you can change
the speed of the mouse click and create a trail of pointer
images behind the moving pointer to keep it in view. You
can also change the shape and size of pointer icons.
I’m pleased to announce the following advisor
assignments. Information will be sent to the regions with
the next NOOZ; to be sent after the 2012 Summer Virtual
Conference (August 4) e-mail.
Region 1 - Sam Wexler
Region 2 - Gabe Goldberg
Region 3 - Bob Vance
Region 4 - Charlotte Semple (back from a hiatus
from APCUG)
Region 5 - Judy Taylour
Region 6 - Greg West
Region 7 - Roger Tesch
Region 8 - Bill James
Region 9 - Melvin Weekley (back from a hiatus
from APCUG)
Region 10 - Cheryl Wester
Region 11 - Roger Tesch
International - Greg West
Hearing Loss
text descriptions to shapes and images for those who can’t
view them. Enlarging text in Word 2010 is easy with the
zoom slider in the right bottom corner and a new full screen
Reading View option which enlarges and sharpens
document text. PowerPoint 2010 has added the capability
to add closed captions to audio and video and embed them
in a slide presentation.
Windows is compatible with many third party assistive
software programs and devices. MS Office 2003 –2010
users can turn documents into Talking Books by
downloading the “Save As Daisy” add-in. Go to http:/
/sourceforge.net and search for and download/
install “Save As DAISY for Office (your version).” Then
install a DAISY-compatible digital talking book reader,
such as the free AMIS reader. www.DAISY.org/
amis/download. Versions are available for Office
2007/2010 and for Office 2003 with the Office 2007
compatibility pack installed. Other requirements are listed
at the sourceforge.net website.
The number of options to increase accessibility to a
computer can be overwhelming. This overview will make
you aware of some of them, but only you can decide which
ones you want to try. You can complete a short questionnaire
in the Ease of Access Center to help with your decision. A
few of these tools have a learning curve that can be greatly
reduced by watching the video tutorials (some closecaptioned) and reading support documents located at
www.microsoft.com/enable/products/
office. Most can also be accessed directly from links in
the Ease of Access Center. Fortunately, the support and
setup tutorials for most of these tools are numerous and
well done. More information can be found by searching
www.microsoft.com/accessibility.
*
Fun Site: Glamour Dog
Although computers are more visual than auditory, users
with hearing loss need a few tools to assist them. In the
Ease of Access Center, you can change alerts in many
programs from sound to a text alert or a flash on the
screen. Another setting displays text captions for spoken
dialogue in multi media programs.
Accessibility Features in MS Office 2010
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2010 have new
features to help make documents, spreadsheets, and
presentations more accessible to those with limitations.
One is the Accessibility Checker. This tool diagnoses a file
for any areas that might make it difficult to view or use.
The author of the file can review the list and make any
changes he feels are needed. Another new tool is Mini
Translator, which translates a word or phrase from another
language into English when the mouse points to it. Clicking
the Play button lets you hear the word or phrase pronounced.
Another feature new to Office 2010 is the ability to add
Think you have a lot of clothes in
your wardrobe and not enough for
man’s best friend? No worries, now
you can dress up your little pooch
for a brisk walk outside or to the
nines for a social gathering.
Complete with designer dog clothes,
dog carriers, dog beds, collars & leashes, you can fulfill
your furry friends biscuit dreams with all the fine clothes
and accessories. If spending money on clothes for your
pooch doesn’t sound all that enticing, just take a look
at the site and you’ll be sure to bark…ahem, chuckle,
when you see all the adorable little outfits.
Glamour Dog can be found at: h t t p : / /
www.glamourdog.com/index.html
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 15
Where’s the Technology?
Greg Skalka, President, Under the Computer Hood User Group, CA, July 2012 issue, Drive
Light, www.uchug.org, [email protected]
With all the political posturing going on in this election year,
we should be used to promises that go unfulfilled. In the
technical arena, we hear a lot about potential new advances;
though often wait a long time to see the benefits ourselves.
Sometimes the prognosticators are wildly optimistic or the
development proves too difficult, and we never see (or at
least haven’t seen up to this point) the mass application of
a great new product or technology (an example is the
Segway personal transporter). I’ve bought a number of
new computers recently, and have been a little surprised
about some of the features currently available. There are
a few features that I’ve some of the features currently
available. There are a few features that I’ve been hearing
about for a few years that still are not available on most
new PCs. There are also features that I’ve never heard of
that now appear to be standard. All in all, just like the 1980’s
Wendy’s commercials that asked “Where’s the beef?”
I’m left asking “Where’s the technology?”
The entertainment industry has also made its contributions
to our unmet expectations for technology over the years.
Remember the late 1960’s television series “Lost in Space”?
It was scripted to occur in 1997, yet we are still waiting for
interplanetary space travel, talking autonomous robots and
other innovations portrayed as commonplace. The movies
“2001: A Space Odyssey” and “2010” portrayed many
similar technological advances for times we have now
passed. We do have the International Space Station, but it
is not in the same league as the one in “2001”. We never
got the public videophone capability Dr. Heywood Floyd
used to call back to Earth from the station in the film,
though I guess it was really not much better than what we
can do with Skype today. Some might argue it is just as well
we don’t yet have computers as sophisticated (especially
in interaction with humans) as HAL 9000, though maybe
IBM’s Watson is getting close.
The reality of technological advancement in personal
computers is that, though computers are not yet as
sophisticated as HAL or Watson, they are pervasive. Only
cell phones are more common now as tech tools in our
society, and with smart phones the lines between phones
and computers are blurring. There are often examples of
advanced technology available to a few at great price,
such as Watson in computing or the few wealthy individuals
that have bought their way into space on a Russian rocket.
These don’t really portray the true advancement in
technology available to the general public, so I’ve looked
to the computers I’ve bought recently as a better
representation of technology promised and fulfilled.
In the last two years, I’ve bought two new laptops and
two new desktop computers for my wife and myself.
These replace XP computers that were up to seven years
old, and so represent a big step up in computer technology.
The first replacement, and first Windows 7 machine in my
house was an Acer Aspire X3950 mini desktop for my
wife. Last year I bought myself a Lenovo IdeaCentre
K330B desktop, and I bought a 15.6" Fujitsu Lifebook
AH531 notebook for my wife. I liked the laptop so much
I got a 14" Fujitsu Lifebook LH531 laptop for myself this
year. All had Windows 7 and Intel i3 or i5 processors.
These were not the fanciest nor the cheapest computers,
but are ones I thought represented the best in value in the
$400 to $600 price range. It is interesting to review the
features available in these “typical” computers as compared
to the latest technology has to offer.
In networking, we have come a long way. Once, everyone
connected to the Internet through a phone modem. Now
modems are absent from new computers, having been
removed years ago. Wired Ethernet capability became the
replacement, proceeding quickly from 10/100BASE-TX
to Gigabit Ethernet, which is now the standard on all new
computers. All four of my new computers include 10/100/
1000 wired Ethernet capability, though I don’t take
advantage of the increased Gigabit speed, as my router
and switches are all still only 10/100 capable. A survey of
Fry’s items online showed that for new networking gear,
Gigabit has not become the standard that it has for
computers and laptops. Most new switches available are
10/100/1000, but only about half the routers are.
The big push in networking improvement is now in
wireless networking. Wireless computer users started out
in 1999 with 11 Mbit/s 802.11b, and have proceeded up the
alphabet with 802.11g (54 Mbit/s), n (up to 150 Mbit/s) and
finally ac (up to 866 Mbit/s). My two new laptops both are
b/g/n capable, though once again my present router is
limited to 802.11g. Here my home network is again behind
the times, as most new routers only go up to n capability.
Though Fry’s does sell an 802.11ac router, I was not able
to find any of their laptops with that capability. Even the
thin Ultrabook laptops, which don’t have a wired Ethernet
RJ-45 connector, have yet to add 802.11ac to their features.
It is somewhat surprising to me that there has been such
an emphasis on networking speed improvement recently,
when for most people the benefits above 10/100 wired and
802.11g wireless are lost. Since few people have network
hard drives, their network traffic consists exclusively of an
Internet connection, which is often 10 Mbps or less. My
Time Warner Cable plan presently gives me a measured 16
Mbps, but even if I bought the 50 Mbps “Ultimate” plan,
my present network would not be a limiting factor.
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 16
The other typical computer interface is for peripheral
devices. This used to consist of a serial port DB-9 connector,
but computers lost those years ago. USB2 (Universal
Serial Bus, version 2.0, 480 Mbps) became and still is the
replacement peripheral interface standard, though now
USB3 (5 Gbps) is finally appearing on some accessory
devices and computers. USB3 adoption on computers
presently appears to be related to price, with USB3 more
likely on higher-end computers and laptops. None of my
four new computers have USB3 capability, though Fry’s
showed it was available (often one port only, along with a
couple USB2 ports) on some computers in the $500 to
$1000 price range, and appeared to be on most all computers
above $1000. It surprised me to learn that of the two
versions of Microsoft Surface tablet computer announced,
the one based on the ARM processor had a USB2 port,
with USB3 only available on the Windows 8, Intel processor
version. For some reason (perhaps cost), the adoption of
USB3 has not gone as fast as I would have thought.
Another interface I’d thought would become more
popular and prevalent is eSATA, but for some reason it has
not. It provides an external interface for the 3 or 6 Gbps
SATA interface commonly used on hard drives. Though
eSATA interface cards are available to add to computers,
I’ve not seen any new machines come with this interface
built in. Another very new high-speed serial interface that
appears for now to be only available in iMacs is Intel’s
Thunderbolt; it promises 20 Gbps.
A surprise in the other direction is the addition of an
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) video output
to almost every new computer. It is present on all of my
new laptops and desktops. Since HDMI is available on all
new HDTVs as an input, it has become for me the default
way to hook up a laptop to my TV. When I want to show
new photos to my family, the best way is to display them
on our HDTV, using an HDMI connected laptop as the
source. Since there are more and more devices (like set
top boxes, DVD/Blu-ray disc players and HD video
camcorders) already competing for the few TV HDMI
inputs, I think HDMI switches, which allow multiple
devices to use the TV ports, will become popular.
Another new video interface, one I’d never seen before
I bought my laptops, is Intel wireless Display, or WiDi.
Though both my new laptops have it, I’ve yet to try it, as
it requires a compatible TV or monitor, or an adapter.
While the concept sounds good, I was not able to locate
many adapters, and the one I did find on Fry’s site was
around $100. While it looks like Intel has pushed adoption
of this interface on the laptops using their processors,
having a TV to wirelessly broadcast video to will be the
problem for now.
Another wireless interface that now appears to be
implemented on almost all new laptops is Bluetooth.
Typical uses include interface with Bluetooth mice and
keyboards. While Bluetooth is available on both of my new
laptops, I so far have no peripheral devices to use with it.
Blu-ray optical drive technology has been available for
over five years, but it has not displaced the standard DVD
as the most popular optical disc format. I think cost is again
the limiting factor in its acceptance, as Bluray capability
appears more often in higher-cost computers. At the lower
end of the capability spectrum are Blu-ray read-capable
drives, which start to become available in mid to high-cost
computers. Blu-ray writer drives are presently available
only in the upper price tier of computers. None of my new
computers came with any Blu-ray compatibility.
As time goes on, I’d expect costs to come down and
allow greater adoption of some of the new features that
appear limited to high-end computers, such as USB3 and
Blu-ray. Until then, all I can do is pay more, or ask
“Where’s the technology?”
*
Term From Smart Computing:
amateur packet radio
Packet radio technology, which is used to send Internet
data via radio waves, has been standardized since the
1960s and was used to create one of the first wireless
networks in Hawaii (known as Alohanet), but it was not
authorized for use by amateur radio operators in the
United States until 1980. Since that time, many
hobbyists have embraced the technology, using it to
transmit e-mail, documents, and other files wirelessly
through their radio sets.
To connect to a packet radio network, amateur radio
operators must hook a computer and a special packet
radio modem to their radio rig. For years these modems
were limited to speeds between 1200 baud and 9600
baud, but amateur packet radio systems exist today
that can reliably send and receive data at 56Kbps
(kilobits per second).
The system works something like CB radio, as only
one person on a channel can transmit at one time. If
anyone else tuned to that channel tries to transmit at
that same time, the packets collide and both
transmissions are lost. This is called a half-duplex
system, as opposed to a full-duplex system used by
modern dial-up modems and telephones, in which the
parties at both ends can transmit and receive
simultaneously. To compensate for this limitation,
packet radios use a protocol called AX.25 (Amateur
X.25), which monitors a channel and only lets the radio
send packets when no other computers are transmitting.
This cuts down on the overall speed of a packet radio
network, but virtually eliminates packet collisions,
meaning fewer packets must be resent to their
destinations, thereby making the network more efficient.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 17
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley; with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga,
Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
800-869-3557 www.wellsfargo.com
(707) 299-1000
www.napanet.net • [email protected]
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Membership Application/Renewal *
 New
 Renewal
 Information Update
Please Print
Full Name: _____________________________
Nickname: _____________________________________________
Street/PO Box: ___________________________________________________________________________________
City: _______________________________ State: ____________ ZIP Code: ________________ - _______________
Phone (check preferred):
 Home: ____________ ( ____________ ) __________________________________
 Work: _____________ ( ____________ ) __________________________________
E-mail (check preferred):

Home: ________________________________________

 Work: _________________________________________
Ocupation/Profession ______________________________________________________ Retired? _____________
Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists?
 Yes  No
News and announcements:
General discussion of computer-related topics:  Yes  No
If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address published in the NVPCUG Directory,
which is for the exclusive use of NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es):

Do not list phone number

Do not list e-mail address
Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members:
(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their sponsors,
except for receiving newsletters)
Full Name
E-mail Address
______________________________________________
_____________________________________________
______________________________________________
_____________________________________________
Annual Dues:
 $30
Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
 $20
Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate membership.
 $10
Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student member. Associate memberships run concurrently
with sponsors’ memberships.
Make check payable to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Mail application/renewal to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues payment may be tax-deductible as a
charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, Sept 2012, Page 18
Revised 2-14-2010
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