Tech – for Everyone

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

The Absolute Best PC Games in Every Genre

Folks, a few of you may find this guide of interest.

* The Absolute Best PC Games in Every Genre

Whether you’re a fan of critically acclaimed indies or big-budget blockbusters, there’s a PC game for you. Check our list of the 81 best games right now.Read more..

* * *

Today’s quote:Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | advice, Gaming, PC, software | , , , , | 2 Comments

The 15 Best Android Games

Would you believe, the only one of these even mildly interesting to me involves Kim Kardashian?

android_games* The 15 Best Android Games

Your Android device is the portal to an amazing selection of world-class gaming. Here are our favorites.Read more..

[ Pretty liberal use of the term “world class”..! ]

Other Items (of possible interest):

* Angler Exploit Kit pushed in xHamster malvertising campaign

Researchers with Malwarebytes Labs identified a malvertising campaign impacting popular adult website xHamster..” Read more..

[Geekspeak translation: “malvertising” describes when the ads are used to give you viruses.] (One more reasone to use ad blockers.. (as if you need another))

* How to Avoid Sharing Lies, Myths, and Nonsense Online

People share stupid things online. Here’s some steps to take before you circulate the same nonsense.” Read more..

* * *

Today’s quote:Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” ~ Richard Carlson

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 28, 2015 Posted by | advice, Android, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Gaming, hackers, Internet, News, security, software, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Android Games and Apps Giveaway

For a limited time, Amazon is giving away some paid apps for free.

click on image

click on image

which may be worth a look-see. Click on the image to see today’s batch of freebies. (There’ll be a different assortment each day of the giveaway.)

* Someone told me today is the first day of Spring.
Which, if it’s true, is good news to me.
And I always vote For good news.

This Just In: China reveals existence of cyber warfare hacking teams

The country has finally admitted to the existence of units dedicated to cyber warfare.Read more..

[May as well admit it. There’s no one who didn’t already know …] [Still, an important read.] [And in this case, “cyber warfare” includes espionage.]

Today’s quote:We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” ~ Dave Ramsey

Paul’s Tip: Don’t be like that. Be smart.

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | Android, Cyberwarfare, free software, Internet, News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A reading reco, and free games

For your consideration: Though this is a bit of a longer article, I highly recommend getting all the way though it.

Why the U.S. needs better privacy laws, now!

Microsoft recently published an open letter to President Obama, condemning some government surveillance techniques and calling for federal data-privacy legislation.Read more..

* free games (and timewasters).
Today’s free link: offers free puzzles of all sorts (crosswords, sudoku, jigsaw, codebreaker, etc.) and games like checkers and chess. Fit for the whole family. Now, I’ll admit two things: these kinds of games are kind of “old school”, and I cannot do Sudoku.. But is a Bookmark in all my browsers on all my machines. Check it out for yourself.

Today’s Bonus Reading: The electrical grid: A vital yet unsecured part of US infrastructure

A year-long survey of the US power utility infrastructure revealed that it is woefully insecure, and something needs to be done.Read more..

Today’s quote:Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.” ~ Bertolt Brecht

Today’s Guided Meditation: For your inner Goddess

Today’s laugh:


Pay people to like you. Always works!

Copyright 2007-2014 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories. Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of. And please, never forget – one person can make a difference. Find a way to make someone’s day today. (Best advice I ever heard? Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

September 4, 2014 Posted by | consumer electronics, Internet, Microsoft, News, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Troubleshooting Steam

When something goes wrong, and you have trouble getting your Steam games to launch, and play properly, there are many potential causes. Sometimes these “causes” can be “cured” by simply “rebooting” (turn off, then on again (aka “restart”)) your computer.

Other times it will take a bit more effort and research.

And, sometimes, it may take a total re-Install of the Steam Client.. (and, I’ve heard, sometimes that just makes things worse.) Or it might take something in between.

As a good ‘first step’ in resolving your issue you can (should) look in the Steam FAQ’s for Troubleshoot and How-To’s for previously posted answers for your particular trouble (you should be seeing an error message..)

Next, rest assured you are not the first person to have your problem, so use the ‘search feature’ in the Steam User forums. Try to use your error message as your “search term”. You should find others who have experienced your glitch, and others will have posted ‘fixes’ and steps for how they solved the trouble. If you should be unable to find your particular error (highly unlikely) you can post your question (seeking help) there. Other users will/may reply with a cure.
(Here is a good example of a helpful ‘thread’ for “cannot connect” errors:

Of course, you can “google it”, and get results such as: on, someone answered: “To fix steam, you need to restart it every now and then or delete its configurations. This includes the favorite servers and games that you have downloaded in the past.” Which may (or may not) help you cure your glitch.

In those ‘worse case’ situations, you can contact Steam directly for tech support, (here: Steam Support) but be aware you will be waiting for their email reply (of dubious helpfulness..)

Further, you may need to disable, or remove, some “incompatible” programs (or settings in certain programs) which may be causing ‘conflicts’ with the Steam Client software. An alert reader sent me a copy of a list that Steam Support sent them. I am pasting it here.


The list below does not address every firewall application that could cause an issue, nor does it address viruses/spyware. Please see the Using a Firewall with Steam article and the Spyware, Adware, and Viruses Interfering with Steam article for further instructions if the issue persists after checking for the programs listed below.

Any applications running in the background may negatively affect your games or Steam itself. Certain applications can lead to more serious issues such as limited connectivity and game crashes. It is highly recommended that you close all background applications before launching Steam to ensure the best performance and stability. After you are done playing, feel free to re-enable these applications.

The applications listed below have been known to interfere with Steam and Steam games:

Hidden Processes

Certain applications may load when Windows starts and are not obviously indicated. For example, they may not appear in the Windows task bar but they may be among some of your active processes, using your system’s resources. These programs may cause crashes and other difficulties using Steam and playing games.

Please see the How to Disable Background Applications  article to see instructions for disabling non-essential background programs and preventing background applications from silently loading when Windows starts.

 Software to Look For

The following applications have been known to cause issues with Steam and playing games:

Anti-Virus Applications – Any Anti-Virus program could potentially block Steam and Steam game access, especially when not properly configured for use with Steam. Please make sure that Steam and all Steam games are listed as exceptions in these programs. If the issue persists, please try disabling or temporarily uninstalling the program to test the issue.

  • Avast!
  • AVG Anti-virus *
  • BitDefender
  • F-Secure
  • Iobit Advanced System Care *
  • Kaspersky Anti-virus
  • McAfee Anti-virus
  • Nod32 Anti-virus *
  • Norton/Symantec Anti-virus
  • Panda Anti-virus
  • Threatfire
  • Trend Micro
  • VIGuard Anti-virus

Anti-Spyware Applications

  • Ad Aware
  • CA Pest Patrol
  • PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus (may need to disable Full-Screen detection in the Advanced settings)
  • Spybot Search & Destroy
  • Spycatcher Express
  • Spyware Doctor
  • Spyware Terminator
  • Webroot Spy Sweeper *

Firewall/Security Applications

  • CA Internet Security Suite
  • Comodo (With Portal 2 running the firewall in Defense+ in training mode allows the game to run)
  • CYBERsitter
  • ESET Smart Security
  • Netlimiter
  • McAfee Personal Firewall
  • Nvidia Network Access Manager/Firewall *
  • Nvidia ForceWare Intelligent Application Manager
  • Outpost Firewall (Disabling System Guard under Proactive Protection allows Portal 2 to run)
  • Panda Internet Security
  • Peer Guardian
  • PeerBlock
  • Tiny Personal Firewall
  • Verizon Internet Security Suite
  • Zone Alarm
  • Constant Guard by Comcast
  • Online Armor

Other Applications

  • IOBit Advance System Care
  • Airfoil
  • Alcohol 120%
  • AMD External Event Utility
  • AOLacsd.exe (AOL connection driver)
  • ATI Hotkey Poller
  • ATI Tray Tools
  • BitTorrent/uTorrent (all clients)
  • Creative Software (Alchemy, MediaSource 5 on Asus G60VX models specifcally)
  • Catalyst AI
  • Daemon Tools
  • Download Accelerators (all clients)
  • EVGA Precision
  • Garfield Daily Desktop Comic
  • GhostSurf 2007
  • Google Toolbar, Google Updater
  • GSC
  • Hamachi
  • HotSpot Shield
  • HydraVision
  • iZ3D DirectX injection
  • K-Lite Codec Pack
  • LimeWire, BearShare or other Peer 2 Peer applications
  • LogMeIn
  • Microsoft Screen Magnifier in Windows 7 (magnify.exe – may cause in-game cursor issues)
  • MSI Afterburner
  • nProtect GameGuard *
  • PC Time Limit
  • Skype
  • Slysoft AnyDVD
  • StarDock KeepSafe
  • SteamWatch
  • iolo System Mechanic
  • TeamSpeak (can lead to mic issues)
  • Total Recorder
  • Tuneup WinStyler Theme Service
  • UPEK Protector Suite
  • Ventrilo (can lead to mic issues)
  • VirtuaGirl 2
  • Western Digital Backup Anywhere
  • Whitesmoke Translator (may cause the Source engine to crash)
  • WindowBlinds
  • Xfire

* We recommend that applications listed in bold with a ( * ) symbol are fully uninstalled from your system if disabling them does not resolve the issue


Issues related to any of the programs listed below may be resolved by exiting and/or disabling the program and then exiting and restarting Steam. For certain applications, a system reboot may be required after you have shut down or disabled them.

  • Antivirus Software

    Incorrectly configured antivirus software may prevent proper operation of Steam and Steam games.

    • VIGuard anti-virus software has been found to conflict with Steam games – an error message stating “Failed to duplicate pipe handle” will be generated when attempting to load the game. Add the contents of your Steam installation folder to VIGuard’s authorized folder exceptions list to correct this issue. 
    • AVG 7.5, Norton/Symantec and Nod 32 software has been known to cause game crashes. AVG 7.5 must be fully removed from your system in order to prevent these crashes.
    • F-Secure’s “DeepGuard” feature is known to cause Error Code 51 when launching Steam games.
  • Anti-Spyware Software

    Aggressive spyware detection software may block the normal operation of Steam. We have received reports that Spycatcher Express, Webroot Spy Sweeper and CA Pest Patrol (bundled with AOL’s Security Center) may prevent Steam client application updates and connecting to game servers.

    PC Tools ThreatFire software (which is also contained in PC Tools Spyware Doctor) can prevent the normal operation of loading of Steam games, including common errors such as Unable to load filesystem_steam.dll and Engine Error: Could not load library client. If you are encountering Steam errors and have ThreatFire or Spyware Doctor installed, please do the following:

    • Disable Behavior Guard via PC Tools My Account service. Disabling the service through Intelli-Guard will not resolve the issue.
    • If this fails to resolve the issue, fully disabling or uninstalling ThreatFire or Spyware Doctor may be necessary.
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Clients

    P2P programs such as Kazaa, LimeWire, BitTorrent, E-mule, and Exeem can consume a large portion of your bandwidth, which may prevent Steam from connecting. Do not run file sharing applications while you are using Steam.

  • Firewalls

    Newer versions of COMODO Internet Security includes a sandbox feature that may disable services that Steam needs to run on. Make sure important services are not being run in the sandbox mode.

  • FTP and Web Server Applications

    As with P2P programs, these programs are generally very bandwidth-intensive and may generate errors in Steam. Examples include IIS services for Windows, Apache web server and MySQL servers.

  • IP Filtering Programs

    Peer Guardian, CYBERsitter, and Netlimiter have been found to cause Steam connection issues. These programs are not compatible with Steam and must be disabled or permanently removed from the computer in order to avoid conflicts.

  • IP Masking Programs

    Programs designed to mask your IP (GhostSurf 2007, Anonymizer, etc) will impact Steam’s ability to send and receive data.

  • Download “Accelerator” and Download Manager Programs

    These programs may interfere with installing and/or downloading updates through Steam. Download accelerator programs should be disabled while using Steam.

    Additionally, Internet Download Manager has been found to cause crashes when the Steam Storefront is loaded.

  • Windows Theme Editors

    Tuneup WinStyler Theme Service has been found to cause a crash with the Steam client application and WindowBlinds may cause crashes with Source games.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) Software

    VPN software will prevent the Steam client application from accessing the Steam network.

  • Other Applications
    • Look’n’Stop has been reported to cause issues with Steam when its “Unknown UDP Packet” filter is enabled.
    • PowerStrip custom display modes software may cause issues with load time and crashing in games – it is recommended that you select the “Restore to default” setting in PowerStrip before playing (you may resume using PowerStrip normally once you are done).
    • The nVidia Network Access Manager has been found to cause problems as described in the Nothing appears on the Storefront screen in Steam topic.
    • Airfoil will cause the error “Game name failed to start (error code 51).” if “Instant Hijack” is enabled. You will either need to disable “Instant Hijack” (you do not need to restart your computer when prompted) or add Steam and all Steam games to the excluded programs.

In-Game Overlay Application Incompatibility List

  • X-Fire

    The in-game overlay may not function if X-Fire is running and also trying to draw its in-game chat interface on the game you have launched.


    Close X-Fire, or set it to not attempt to run its in-game portion on games not launched via X-Fire.

  • Windows Blinds

    Reported as possibly preventing the in-game overlay from functioning in some games.


    We are currently investigating a solution to this issue. In the mean time, please do not use Window Blinds with Steam.

  • Ventrilo

    Reported that the in-game hot-key bindings for Ventrilo may stop working with the overlay.

    Workaround: This has been reported to be a Vista issue and making the involved apps Run as Administrator solved the problem.

I do hope you get your issue resolved without having too much gnashing of teeth, hair-pulling, etc., as gaming is vital. But please note: I am not a Steam tech support guy, and if you write in with questions seeking help, I will simply refer you to the links and advice in this article. (I have stopped using Steam altogether.)

And thank you, Dear Reader, for sending me that list.

If you made it down this far, here’s a reward: a reading reco: Save our Internet before we go off the digital cliff

The Internet is a public good — indeed, a public necessity — that is being abused by profiteers. Through their greed, they’re driving us off the Internet cliff.Read more..

Today’s quote:I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous – everyone hasn’t met me yet.” ~ Rodney Dangerfield

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 22, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Bargain For Some Games (and Music)

And A Word About “Flame”..

Folks, a helpful reader left a comment telling me about an “indie bundle” deal on (12) games and music you may want to be aware of. These types of deals let you set the price, and your contribution can help charity. [note: Steam is required for most of these..] I quote:

“Here is a Game sale and you give to charity. 5.99 for 12 games plus music…

Indie Gala V is LIVE ! – YouTube

“Gives fans of indie games and indie music a chance to save money on awesome games and albums and contribute to a good cause at the same time!

We believe that there is a close link between music, video games and comics.They are all forms of art that often complement each other. With our initiative we want to give many talented developers and artists the opportunity to have a wider audience.

IndieGala lets customers set their own price for high-quality indie games and music, then donate some or all of the proceeds to Able Gamers and Italian Red Cross for helping Emilia hit by earthquake.”

Web site: The Indie Gala

  • Making History: The Calm & the Storm (Steam key)
  • Beat Hazard (DRM free)
  • Razor 2: Hidden Skies (Steam)
  • Ironclads Collection includes all five games (Steam Key)
  • Space Empires 4 Deluxe (Steam)
  • Battle Mages (DRM free)
  • World Rally Championship Racing (DRM free)
  • Bad Rats: Rats Revenge (Steam)
  • Disciples II: Rise of the Elves (Steam)
  • Puzzle Kingdoms (Steam)
  • Ninja Blade (DRM free)
  • SBK: Superbike World Championship (DRM free)
  • With music tracks to be added later.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for sharing this with us!

Today’s reading reco: (I have been telling you,  for some years now, that {some of} the malware I encounter is military grade..)  Flame Malware: Cybergeddon or Old News?

Over the holiday weekend the online news networks were abuzz with news of a “massive cyber threat” variously called Flame, Flamer, or sKyWIper.” Read more..

(Irresponsible journalism creating hype [for ratings]??? Never happens. Learn the skinny. Click the link.)

(.. but, no. I have not seen Flame/Flamer/sKyWIper.. yet.)

Of possible interest: First time I have seen that.. $1 per Gigabyte.. on a solid-state (hard) drive. (Click here if you don’t believe me..)

Today’s Quotable Quote:Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” ~ Humphry Davy

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Gaming, News, software, tech | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How About Some Friday Fun?

Do you like puzzles?

Okay. I have one for you. Can you explain why a “company” (and I do use the term loosely) which produces not one thing (aka “goods”), has no assets (other than a few employees), and probably is responsible for reducing the GNP (by enhancing worker un-productivity), can be “valued” at $104 BILLION (and climbing)?

Uh.. really?

I don’t really want an answer to that. They make money.. it’s as simple as that. But how? Could it be from all our personal information they’ve been sucking up like a Hoover vacuum?

One day I, too, want to be a 28 year old MULTI-BILLIONAIRE.  So I won’t knock it.

But still.. maybe ask yourself: isn’t there something wrong here? (I never took more than Economics 101, but, maybe.. we need to bring back the Gold Standard..?)


* Facebook IPO Valuation Sets Record: Is It Really Worth $104 Billion

“Facebookfinally set its IPO price Thursday evening: $38 a share, for a record-setting value of $104 billion on the social media giant. Is it worth it?” Read more..

* WOW! Facebook Is Now Worth More Than These 10 Huge

 “That means that the total value of Facebook, an eight-year-old company, is more than some of the largest, most successful companies in the Read more..

Update: Facebook’s IPO fails to live up to all the hype

Facebook shares, which underwriters had priced at $38 late Thursday, opened on the Nasdaq stock market Friday just below $43, and in their first hour of trading sank to as low as $38. The stock then recovered as IPO underwriters stepped in to support its price, according to reports. Facebook’s share price eventually finished the day at $38.23. Read more..

More puzzles (and games):

* JigZone is an online Jigsaw Puzzle where you choose the level of difficulty from a simple 6 piece cut to a challenging 247 piece cut.  A new Puzzle-of-the-day every day.

* Online Puzzle Games – Flash Games Online Games Puzzles. Retro. Arcade. Sudoku. Casino. Racing. Dress Up. Driving. Strategy. Board Games. Action. Adventure. Customize

Fun video:

Today’s quote:

Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of.

I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks.” ~ spambot comment left on yesterday’s article.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 18, 2012 Posted by | computers, Gaming, Internet, News, tech | , , | 6 Comments