Tech – for Everyone

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

Win 8 Part 2 | Restore the Menu Bar | PC Giveaways | More..

After I got Windows 8 DE installed (a quick and – for me – painless process) and got past the (painful) ‘bump’ that was my introduction to the Metro “interface” (see, My First Day With Windows 8 (Part One)) it was time to start doing the post-install steps, and also my “customizations” to make the computer “more me” – things like setting a Desktop wallpaper, and configuring some settings to my liking.

I was able to skip right to “tweaking” (aka “customizing”), as Windows 8 detected all my hardware and installed the appropriate drivers automatically.. even my old webcam (impressive) .. and even the wireless network printer (not directly connected)(even more impressive). There was only one ‘glitch’ – even though the printer was detected and appeared to be “installed”, it would not get out of “offline mode” and actually print. So, I “deleted” it, and then clicked on “Add a printer”, then on the device, rebooted, and badda-bing, badda-boom – working printer. Just too easy.

So the first thing I did was to get rid of a ton of those Metro “secret squares”, as they are utterly irrelevant to me, by right – clicking on each one and either choosing “unpin” or “remove”. Then I simply dragged the remaining squares into an order/arrangement more to my liking. I had found that I had to research on the web how to interact with Metro, so I had read Paul Thurrott’s 8 Is Enough: Post-Setup Configuration.
Learn about the new Task Manager, and more – click the link.

Today’s Quick Tip: I am just “old school” enough that I prefer just having my menu bar visible in Explorer.. having to press Alt is not “cool” and “neato” to me. So.. “tweak that”.

In older versions of Windows, the menu bar was always visible in Explorer. In Vista and Windows 7, the menu bar is now hidden by default, and you must press the ALT key to see it. These simple steps will cause it to always be visible.
(The “menu bar” gives you the familiar File | Edit | View |Tools | Help ‘drop down’ menus)

1) Launch Explorer by opening Computer (or Documents, or Pictures..), then press ALT to access the menu bar.

2) Click on Tools and then on Folder options.

3) In the Folder Options window, click on the View tab, and click to place a check in Always show menus.

menus

4) Click on Apply and then OK.

That’s it. You’re done. (Should you decide you prefer the “more screen real estate” no menu bar look, simply repeat the steps and un-check the box.)

Today’s free download and first giveaway: (an “oldie but a goodie”) It has been a while since I have mentioned one of my fave little computer protection apps – WinPatrol.

Clean up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software. This program puts you back in control of your computer with no need for constant updates.
Download WinPatrol (Window XP, Vista, Windows 7 including x64 support)

To help celebrate Scotty’s 14th birthday, BillP is giving away – PRIZES to Thank you for your support

Happy Birthday Scotty!

On November 19th, 1997 the first release of WinPatrol was made public and generated 1252 downloads. This year is the 14th anniversary of WinPatrol and we’d like to celebrate it with a bang and plenty of prizes.

Click here for the 4-1-1.

Here’s another sweepstakes you might want to know about..

Perhaps we’ve gone a little overboard this holiday season? Nah, we didn’t think so either. Enter the Windows and Southwest Airlines® Holiday Sweepstakes for a chance to win:

  • A Windows 7 PC…every day
  • One of 10 Epson® Artisan® 730 printers
  • Or the grand prize of free flights for a year on Southwest Airlines®

Click here for the 4-1-1.

Sure they did….

Today’s quotable quote:The thoughts of Plato and Machiavelli… don’t seem quite enough armor for a world beset with splitting the atoms, urban guerrillas, nineteen varieties of psychotherapists, amplified guitars, napalm, computers, astronauts, and an atmosphere polluted simultaneously with auto exhaust and TV commercials.” ~ John Fischer

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


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November 16, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, free software, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

Windows 8 Developer Preview available as free download

Netflix Loses 600,000 In Price Hike Revolt

Some of you will want to get your hands on the newest OS in town – Windows 8 – at the first possible moment, and be the first on your block to give it a test drive. You’re in luck. A very early version is now available to download – free.

From Microsoft: The Windows Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers. These downloads include prerelease software that may change without notice. The software is provided as is, and you bear the risk of using it. It may not be stable, operate correctly or work the way the final version of the software will. It should not be used in a production environment ¹. The features and functionality in the prerelease software may not appear in the final version. Some product features and functionality may require advanced or additional hardware, or installation of other software.Read more..

I do not want to dampen any enthusiasm you may be feeling, but if you are thinking this is a way for everyone in the world to get a free copy of Microsoft’s next operating system, so you won’t have to buy it, because someone at that company had a generosity attack, well – wrong.
(Curiously, though, I did not see a mention of an expiration date.. hmmm..)

And I put a superscript ¹ in the quote: “production environment”, to you and me, translates to “your main machine”. They are saying install it on a for-testing (aka “spare”) machine.

The L.A. Times has a good article that, if you are considering downloading and installing this release, you want to read first, here: Windows 8 Developer Preview available as free download

I have not yet had time to download this.. and may (read “probably will”) wait for the beta..
(If a reader has installed this, I think we would all be happy to hear your impressions.)

Netflix In The News: Netflix dims outlook as subscriptions, shares slip

“Netflix’s decision to raise prices by as much as 60 percent is turning into a horror show.

The customer backlash against the higher rates, kicking in this month, has been much harsher than Netflix anticipated.” Read more..

I guess I understand, and even kind of admire certain ‘public protest’, but I think it is misguided here and won’t be joining the revolt, and dropping my Netflix.. in fact, if I had the funds, I think after the price tumble, now might be a good time to pick up some stock.. (no, I don’t know a single thing about the stock market.)

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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September 17, 2011 Posted by | computers, free software, Microsoft, Windows 8 | , , , | Leave a comment

Winners, Top Downloads, and Friday Fun

Here it is, Friday again. My, how time flies, doesn’t it?

Today I will do something a wee bit different. Yes, there is a video… it is “a very basic introduction”, and I hope you will enjoy (and maybe learn something you didn’t know). Also, a second video you downloaders and lovers of freebies will wanna see.

This week I again had the privilege and pleasure of handing out $500 worth of software licenses – ten licenses for a 5-star data backup program. Even better news, it seems every Tech – for Everyone reader already has a backup solution in place, protecting their important documents and images from disappearing forever in some digital disaster. Yay!
(This is quite different then my experience as a technician.. where, in all my years, I have only encountered 4 clients who had a recent backup of their files…)

Well.. every reader except for the 8 who entered the drawing, I guess…

Winners announced: If you entered my Backup4all License Giveaway Drawing, look for an email with the subject Backup4all License Winner in your Inbox (and/or, maybe, check your Junk folder).

… it is probable that this utter lack of interest and participation spells the end of license giveaways. (Though I have never received so many requests for reviews from vendors as I have this week.. Weird, ironic, dichotomy.) And, I’m glad to give up the job. These product testing+review/contests are time consuming work, so, yay for me!

Congratulations to the winners, and my sincere thanks to the folks at Softland for making the Giveaway possible!


Today’s quotable quote:
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Top 5 back to school downloads

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The weekend is almost here.. yay!

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


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August 19, 2011 Posted by | computers, free software, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Quick Tip for Printing Out Web Pages

Free Software Avoids Paper/Ink Waste

A reader comment prompted me to do some quick research, which led me to a good tip on Gizmodo’s (a site I recommend). Which educated me to an option for saving ink and paper (and being “eco-friendly”) I had been unaware of…

It’s a problem that’s all too familiar.  You find a useful web page and you want to print it.  So you hit the “Print” button in your web browser.  But rather than getting a single printed page that contains just the text you want, you also get 15 other pages that you don’t need, containing menus, comments, and other assorted junk. Which costs you real money in wasted paper and ink.

The free tool is called iPrint (and no, it is not an Apple product..) Here is their demo video..

Vodpod videos no longer available.

iPrint Version 6 is free, simple to use and saves your wallet as well as the planet.

Do you want to decrease your printing expenses by up to 60%? Do you want to help protect the environment while also protecting your wallet? iPrint is the solution! Think about how much your organization spends each year on paper and ink costs – iPrint will reduce that number by 30-60% and it costs you nothing!

The iPrint website is here. Thank you Gizmodo!

Previously, I had been recommending a free browser “plug in” from HP, and still do for those who use Internet Explorer. It’s called Smart Web Printing.

“The whole internet just became print friendly.

With a simple plug-in for your browser, quickly Select & Clip or Select & Print web pages just the way you want them, and eliminate all that wasted ink and paper. Download HP Smart Web Printing and get print friendly today!

For Windows XP, Windows Vista® and Windows 7
For Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8

You can download the HP Smart Web Printing add-on here

Today’s quote:One does evil enough when one does nothing good.” ~ German Proverb

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


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August 4, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, printers, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Quick Word About Torrents & DRM-free Music

I received a note from a reader that got me a bit hot under the collar for a moment. It was in regards to a comment I made in yesterday’s Internet radio article (see, Music Radio For Your Phone (or Blackberry)(or PC)) .. specifically, “no, I do not purchase tunes“.

The writer presumed that indicated that I am like everyone else in the free world (apparently) and used a “file sharing” program (commonly called “Torrents”) and they inquired as to which one I liked best and recommend… uTorrent? eDonkey? LimeWire?

My first thought was, clearly they are new to the site. My second was a realization that I have not mentioned this in some time now. Perhaps the time is right to say it again.

  • I cannot tell you the exact number of times, but I can tell you the percentage is quite high, that when I am called in to remove a “virus”, I will find a “file sharing program” installed on that machine. Cyber criminals like to plant trojans in files, and then “seed” the torrent sites with them. And they lose no sleep.. as you are trying to get something for nothing yourself.
  • “File sharing” is (in my mind, anyway) synonymous with “stealing”. I don’t steal.

So there you have it: it’s risky and “quasi-legal” (at best). I don’t do it. And anyone who asks me about torrents will get a copy of this article. (Can you guess? I do not recommend it?)

So where do I get my songs? (aka “today’s free download:”) Well, I “digitized” my records and tapes using a “Y” cable (to my stereo)($3) and the editing program Audacity (free).

“Audacity is an open source audio editor that is available for several platforms (including Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix). It is one of the most popular free audio editors in use today mainly due to its excellent set of tools. As well being compatible with MP3, WAV, AIFF, and OGG file formats you can use Audacity to record live audio, and convert analog audio such as tapes.”

But if I had it to do over again, I would get a USB turntable.

Alternatively, I would use a legal music service. And, I would buy the DRM-free versions of the songs. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will point you to an article, titled: Buy Music Unfettered by Digital Rights Management

Competition is now wide open for these interoperable music files. Besides iTunes, millions of DRM-free files are available from Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, Zune, eMusic, and others. But each store has its own benefits and limitations: price, file quality, selection, and other quirks. Here’s how they all stack up in the DRM-free download world.”  Read more..

I know. 99% of you are LMAO-ing. What?! Buy music???!!!

Yes.

Pay for it if you want it. The fact that “everyone is doing it” (torrents/file “sharing”) does not make it right.

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

Today’s quote:Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~ J.C. Watts

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


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July 27, 2011 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, digital music, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Shocking Free New Music Download (Friday Fun)*

I understand that many of you are looking at today’s title – Shocking Free New Music Download – and wondering if old techpaul hasn’t gone ’round the bend, jumped the rails, and lost all his marbles. Fear not. I am no crazier today than I was last week; and no, I did not bump my head.

The facts are these:
1) I have a website
2) Because of that, I want viewers (aka “eyeballs”, aka “hits”, aka “pageloads”, aka “clicks”)
3) Shocking free music downloads – NEW!

graphOkay. We have the facts, and they’re not unusual. Website owners want clicks and eyeballs — lots of them. There’s nothing shocking or particularly new in this. In the online world, your “success” (aka “ranking”) is based solely on these numbers (which anyone can view for free). Quality of content is irrelevant.

Oops! I omitted a fact:
4) Search engines send you the viewers (if you have “ranking”: catch-22.)
5) NEW! free shocking downloads music

In the online world, much like in RL, your website’s numbers reflect how popular you are and if you’re a website owner, you want MORE.

So site owners need to get the search engines (namely Google, though I have heard that there are indeed others) to notice you, and like you, and be your friend.

If you own a website and are serious about this, you will spend mucho dineros and hire an SEO (search engine optimization) expert — who will analyze your website looking for an elusive and very rare creature called “keywords“, which of course, will need “optimizing”.

Some words are “hot” and some are not.

It turns out that “tech”, “tips”, and “advice” — as search engine keywords — are not very.. well, they simply don’t get lots of clicks. (Yes. I have been aware of this for a long time…) Free, music, downloads, new and shocking are supposed to be HOT! HOT! HOT!
And the more I use them.. the more eyeballs/views/clicks I will get. Yay!

So now you understand today’s title. I am revamping this site with a new strategy, which should propel me to the top with shocking speed.

If this doesn’t work.. I’m told that “sex” and “video” are good keywords too… but the best is “porn”.

Today’s free link: If Your Bank Doesn’t Know Your Name – Maybe That’s A Clue The Email Is Fraud – Huh?

Today’s free download: tinySpell is a small utility that allows you to easily and quickly check and correct the spelling in any Windows application. tinySpell can watch your typing on the fly and alert you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It can also check the spelling of text that you copy to the clipboard.

* Orig post: 6/19/09

Free recommended reading: Stay safe online: 5 secrets every PC (and Mac) owner should know by Ed Bott

My #1 help question of 2011? It’s no contest: “How do I protect myself online?” In this post, I share the five steps I teach to friends, family members, and clients who want to avoid malware, scareware, phishing sites, and other online scams.

Quote for today – free!If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will.” ~ John Atkinson

Thank you for reading. Now .. go outside and play. I am going to sit here and watch all the new eyeballs come in. Can’t wait! I’m going to be popular!

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


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MRS.MIRI JONADA: Check your Inbox.

Shocking Free New Music Download

July 8, 2011 Posted by | blogging, Internet | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment