Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Question (and More)

Well, for the first time in a while, there was a new one on me..

A reader wrote in..
Q:My archived bank statements download as .daa files.  What’s that and how do I open?  Do I need to convert them to something else to be sure to be able to view them in the future?

Thanks,
D

A: I have never met a .daa file, nor heard of it (I confess) and had to look it up (I understand it is common in the world of Torrents, which I do not do).

Direct Access Archive, or DAA, is a proprietary file format developed by PowerISO Computing for disk image files. The format supports features such as compression, password protection, and splitting to multiple volumes. Popular disk image mounting programs such as Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools currently do not support the mounting of DAA images.

Currently there is no published information about the format. Among mainstream applications, it can be opened or converted with PowerISO, MagicISO, AnyToISO and UltraISO. Various free open source packages are also available to convert DAA to ISO images.”

I believe the programs mentioned retail for $30, so I would be inclined to research that last sentence were I required to deal with .daa’s (you might try daa2iso, but I cannot vouch for that). But more likely, I would be having a word with my bank, and looking on their website for another format to download (such as PDF). It is my humble opinion that your bank is doing you no favors by choosing to use this format.

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Some reading 4 u:

Feds Want To Take Your Phone Out of Your Car

The National Transportation Board doesn’t want you calling or texting behind the wheel and has called on states to ban the use of cellphones and other gadgets while driving.” Read more..

SMS Fraud Is Not Unique to Android

Google is yanking a number of apps from the Android Market after discovering that they are fraudulent. Although such apps are more likely to be found with Android than on rival platforms, the concept of fraud is an equal …Read more..

Liberate Your Flash Drive with LiberKey

Managing apps on a flash drive can be a real challenge even for the polished IT professional. Flash Drives have given us the liberty to transport files from PC to PC and the ability to run apps (software applications) directly from these little buggers. .” Read more..

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Today’s quote:Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.” ~ Saint Vincent de Paul

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 14, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reader Asks, What Is “Thumbs.db”?

Reader Question Answered

Q:Hi Paul. I have a quick question. Sometimes when I am copying my files from one place to another I get stopped by a message about a file called thumbs.db. I have seen this file sometimes and often wondered what it is because I did not put it there. Is it safe to delete it? Thank you

A: Sir or Ms,
The Thumbs is short for “thumbnails”, and the .db is short for “database”. In Windows XP and older, the operating system will create a Thumbs.db file in any folder containing images – basically a way for the machine to “remember” how to render the ‘thumbnail view’ of that folder, so that the next time you open it the small image previews can load much, much faster (called a “cache”).
In short – it is a performance enhancing “system file”.

If you delete it, the machine will just create a new one. And, it will have to re-figure out how to render the thumbnails the next time you open that folder.. not a “big deal” but it will slow things down for a bit. (So, no, even though it is ‘safe’, deleting Thumbs.db is not recommended.)

When you are copying a folder to another place (say.. you are making a backup), and get a Thumbs.db “what should I do?” message, place a check in the “Do this for all” checkbox and click the “Skip” button. That will allow the copy command ‘batch job’ to complete, and you will get your files copied over.. minus the thumbnail cache (which you don’t need a copy of).

Today’s Tech News Tidbit: Netflix scraps Qwikster.com
In a move that can only be described as a Let’s Remove Our Head From Our Derriere: due to “negative feedback”, Netflix announced yesterday that it’s dropping its plan to split its DVD and streaming services into two separate websites. (aka “no Qwikster”)
Yay!

Today’s free download: Freemake Video Downloader

Download YouTube, Facebook, Megavideo, MTV, Vimeo, Tubeplus and 50+ sites, extract audio from YouTube, convert online videos to AVI, MKV, MP3, iPhone, iPod, PSP, Android with YouTube video downloader from Freemake!

Today’s quotable quote:A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 11, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, free software | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

How To Digitize Your Old (Analog) Movies, Music, and Photos

Digitize Your Analog Life

In researching a client’s question about scanning documents using Optical Character Recognition, (that led to yesterday’s “quick reco” article) I came across a series of articles by Jon L. Jacobi, published by PCWorld, which is a comprehensive How To for converting your analog media into high-quality digital files.

Digitize Your Analog Life includes recommendations for the hardware and/or software you (might) need to get the job done. Here are the articles by category:

  • Digitize Your Music »
    In my lifetime, music has been delivered on vinyl, cassettes, eight-track tapes, CDs, and audio DVDs. How do I listen to it now? Usually with a PC or a smartphone, and occasionally with an MP3 or other media player. I downloaded much of that music or ripped it from CDs, but the rest of it came from LPs and cassettes.
  • Digitize Your Movies »
    Analog movies can be the easiest–or the hardest–medium to digitize, depending on the format you’re working with. While older camcorder and video formats such as 8mm and Hi8 or VHS and Betamax tapes are easy to transfer, digitizing film can be difficult at best.
  • Digitize Your Pictures »
    “Film degrades with time and exposure to the elements, albeit far more slowly than you might imagine. Fortunately for posterity’s sake, it’s easy to digitize and even restore some of the original luster of your film, using today’s flatbed and film scanners, plus appropriate software.”
    [related: How To Scan Slides]

  • Digitize Your Documents »
    Scan your documents into your hard drive. We have tips on scanners, OCR software, Web OCR, and converting your books to e-books.”

There are many advantages to digital over analog, and let’s face it, it is getting harder to find working betamax machines, and needles for the phonograph… If you are ready to take on the project of converting your old media into digital format, reading Jon’s tips are a great place to start.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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May 3, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Digital Images, digital Video, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Online OCR

Folks, I am crazy busy. For now, a quick reco (hopefully I can post more later today).

Free OCR Service Turns Image Files Into (Editable) Text

Free OCR is a free Web-based OCR service that turns any uploaded image file into a text file you can load into Word or your document editor of choice.

Free-OCR.com is a free online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool. You can use this service to extract text from any image you supply.

This service is free, no registration necessary. We also do not need your email address.

Just upload your image files. Free-OCR takes either a JPG, GIF, TIFF, BMP or PDF (only first page).

The only restriction is that the images must not be larger than 2MB, no wider or higher than 5000 pixels and there is a limit of 10 image uploads per hour.”

Today’s quote:There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.” ~ John Mortimer

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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May 2, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, free software, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Restore "Classic View" To Windows 7 Control Panel

When I first got a Vista machine, one of the first thing I did was switch the Control Panel from categorized tasks to the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”. Which was easy, as there was a click-able option there in the upper left.

Windows 7 also comes with the Control Panel preset to a categorized tasks, and I still want the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”, but there is no click-able option to use. In Windows 7, you have to use a different approach to revert, and switch back to Classic View.

1) Open the Control Panel (Start button > Control Panel)
2) Look to the upper right, and click on the drop-down arrow by View by: and change it to “Small icons”.

Win7_CP

That’s it. You’re done. Your Control Panel will now be much more familiar looking if you’ve been using Windows for a while (more “XP like”) as well as providing a more comprehensive list of the Control Panel’s options.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 31, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Web to PDF – Quick Reading Reco

Fellow tech blogger Rick Robinette has discovered a free service I think you, Dear Reader, might like to know about..

Easily Convert Web Pages to a PDF File

“I have always been one where I try to find ways to avoid using the printer by electronically converting and storing my documents on my PC so that they can easily be retrieved later. As a result, I very, very seldom go to the printer to print anything. One example is when I need to print a web page…”

PDFmyURL is a new tool that lets you convert any url / webpage to a .pdf and download it instantly. The online tool is free and easy to use – simply enter the url you want converted, click the button, and receive the .pdf on your desktop.

Please read the rest of Rick’s article, here, and find out more. While you’re there, explore his site a little bit. Discover why What’s On My PC.. is one of my daily reads.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | cloud computing, computers, how to, Internet, PC | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Quick Reader Question Answered

Q: I have some new videos that I cannot get to play. My computer says it cannot open TS.IFO and it does the same with TS.VOB. My friend says I should convert the files, but I have never done that before. How do I convert?

movieclipartA: The “dot IFO” and “dot VOB” are file extensions associated with video DVD’s. You could install a program to convert the files into a format that Windows Media Player recognizes, such as .WMF – but that would be pretty slow. And you could try downloading codecs and try to ’empower’ Windows Media Player to play those movies – but downloading codecs can be a risky business.

So my reco’ is to install a “player” that can handle DVD movie formats, and my reco’ of players is VLC, which is free and you can find it here.

Today’s free link: Folks, when you get a message saying “Windows cannot open .xyz “, that means it doesn’t know which program to use to open that file type, or doesn’t have such a program. The first thing to do is identify what a “.xyz ” is, and the place to do that is FILExt.com.
Enter the file extension into the Search box, and FILExt will tell you what you need to get to open/run it.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 3, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments