Tech – for Everyone

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

Glary Utilities Giveaway

Folks,  there’s a limited time giveaway on BitsDuJour today you might wanna grab:

“Glary Utilities PRO is a Swiss Army knife of system optimization suitable for use by novice and professional alike. With Glary Utilities PRO, you’ll have access to registry and disk cleaning, privacy protection, performance acceleration, and amazing multifunctional tools. With just a few clicks, Glary Utilities PRO can repair registry errors, optimize internet speed, recover wasted disk space, safeguard confidential files, and maintain maximum performance.

It’s impossible to overstate the benefits of Glary Utilities PRO. The app fixes what’s wrong with your computer, and whatever isn’t wrong, it just makes better and faster.”

Get it here. [Sorry. Offer has expired.]

Today’s quote:The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~ Albert Einstein

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


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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.)

March 18, 2014 Posted by | free software, PC, software | , , , | Leave a comment

Working with Apples, Part 2

Software

Before we begin, here is a link to Part 1, if you missed it: Working with Apples, Part 1

Okay, so I got the iMac, and swapped out the keyboard and mouse for a set I was much more comfortable with, and it was time to start using it as my “main computer”. Which means, installing programs to actually get stuff done.

The iMac comes with iTunes, for managing music and videos; and iPhoto which gives me basic image editing. It has Safari for surfing the Web. Also Apple Mail, for managing my email; iChat for IM-ing/video conferencing (limited to other iChat users); a quite basic text editor; DVDMaker; and Garage Band.
Which is not a bad set of utilities for an operating system to come with.. but IMHO, the best is Time Machine (I’d sure like to see a Windows version of that!)(Well, Genie Timeline is very close..)

When I was in the gizmo and gadget Superstore looking at keyboards, I also went over to the software aisles — there were three.
One was dedicated to PC games (making it one of my preferred aisles.. ahem).
And a four foot long section, of four shelves, constituted the “Mac Software” section.

A pitifully small selection.. especially when you’re standing in the aisles.

software

This pie chart might be too generous.. to the Mac.

There were two antivirus titles; about three dozen game titles (of those, 12 were “real games”, and not Solitaire); Microsoft Office for Mac; a couple of PDF-related titles, Quicken, iLife and iWork, and the rest were too uninteresting for me to mentally note.
I guess you could call it a “bright spot” — they did have one Call of Duty title…

So, I didn’t buy any (software) programs for the iMac.

  • For Internet Safety, I downloaded Avast! for Mac (free)
  • For Productivity, I downloaded Open Office for Mac, which allows me to handle my Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. (free)
    [Some people prefer Libre Office, also free]
  • For notes/reminders/to do’s, I downloaded Evernote (free)
  • For real chat/video I downloaded Skype (free)
  • For HTML and blogging, I downloaded Komposer (free)
  • For Remote Desktop, I downloaded TeamViewer (free)

I will be browsing CNet’s Download.com Apple software section for more titles when time allows. I didn’t see anything too interesting in the Apple Store..

With those titles, and a few more, I have an actually productive machine.
But I’m kind of out of luck in the gaming department,, though, there’s plenty of Time-waster type games,

Please feel free to suggest other titles you’d like to recommend to me, as a Comment (below)

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


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

February 19, 2013 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, free software, how to, Mac vs PC, software | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Couple of Quick Reco’s..

Folks, I only have time today to direct your attention to two interesting items..

First up, a free software tool..

* A Free Powerful Lightweight Image Editor That Is Portable

To find a good FREE image editor is one thing, but to find one that will run from the stick (your flash drive) is another. One of my favorite all-round system maintenance utilities is Toolwiz Care. While visiting their site, I happened to notice that they also have a product called Toolwiz Pretty Photo. What […]” Read more..

And then, a good commentary..

* How PC makers destroy the Windows experience

Building a PC should be easy. Design great hardware, add an operating system and any specialized tools that your hardware needs, and delight the user. So why do some PC makers insist on screwing things up?Read more..

I hope everyone is having a tolerable Monday.

Today’s quote:The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that can be learned in no other way.” ~ Mark Twain

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


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

November 19, 2012 Posted by | computers, Digital Images, free software, mobile, News, PC, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Tricks (and at least one Treat!)

First up, let me wish you a Happy Halloween!

• Are you interested in making your computer run as fast as it did when it was new?

Okay.. I admit, that was kind of a ‘trick question’. It seems every single human on the planet is looking for some magic answer to the at fact that their computer has gotten slower and slower. (Maybe.. taking all morning just to start up.)

I have said here many times that the reason your computer was as “fast” as it was when it was new is because there was basically nothing on it. (It was “lean and mean”) Now you have installed anywhere from 27 to 270 programs; 1,214 “updates”; amassed 500 songs and movies.. have Skype running.. online backup..
Of course it’s slower: it has more to do and keep track of.

Fortunately there are things you can do and steps you can take to improve your computer’s performance. (We Über Geeks call this “maintenance”.) Some are easy, some are free, and some are free and easy — keep reading! (yes.. there’s a treat coming..)

Step 1 is to open your Control Panel, go to Programs and Features, and uninstall every program you recognize and realize you never use anymore (if you do not recognize it, leave it be .. or research it).

That’s the most important thing to do, but there’s more – much more you can do.

Free: Windows comes with the tools (we Über Geeks call these “utilities”) you need (Windows 7 users have many of these enabled already [by default]). Please see, Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities

Free And Easier: I have found that a few people prefer to download some “optimizer” and do all their “maintenance” with a single click. Fortunately for these folks, there’s a gazillion of these out there. But of these, I recommend the (free) Glary Utilities, or the (free) Advanced SystemCare.

Easiest: The easiest method for keeping your computer “running like new” is a paid, “always running” tune up program — and again, there’s a gazillion of these out there. These programs run in the background, and do all your maintenance work for you. Surprise! I have a reco on this type as well!

Some time ago now, I reviewed (and had a very popular license giveaway) TuneUp Utilities 2010, an award winning tune up program (see my review, here). I have had this running on one of my machines ever since.

Now there’s the brand-new TuneUp Utilities™ 2012! Which includes two new features.

The Most Powerful TuneUp Utilities of All Time!

  • Boosts PC speed by up to 50%, all thanks to Program Deactivator 2012
  • Extends battery life with an all-new TuneUp Economy Mode
  • Saves power by up to 30% and upgrades PCs with an enhanced power management
  • over 30 tools in 1: more speed, better stability, less problems

I received a copy and have been running TU2012 for about a week now, and I have to say I agree with this reviewer’s article, which includes screenshots (and referring you is easier than typing!). And again, my original review is here. TU2012 retails for $50, and a license can be used on 3 machines.

Finally! A Treat! I happen to have an extra license (thank you, TuneUp Utilities!) which I am going to give away to a lucky reader, this week, by means of a random drawing. Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply by leaving a comment – click on “comment” (below), and enter a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification.
Again, the license can be used on up to three PC’s.

Also again, I thank the folks at TuneUp Utilities for making this giveaway possible. A 15-day free trial of TuneUp Utilities can be downloaded here. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..)

*** More Treats ***

BDLot is having a Halloween Sale on their DVD Clone Ultimate and DVD Ripper titles. Act now and save, details here.

• Remember my review of Genie Timeline? You can take advantage of a special 50% off savings here (and, if you like, my review is here).

Today’s quote: “When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.
~ Unknown

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


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October 31, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, performance | , , , , , , , | 53 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

Music Radio For Your Phone (or Blackberry)(or PC)

Loyal readers know that some time ago now, I acquired one of those new-fangled Android “smart” phones. And (they) probably saw my recent mention that I was giving the new (to the USA) Spotify online music service a tryout as well.

image source = engadget.com

By definition, smart phones are more than just phones – they are cameras (movie cameras, even) and, with Internet access, web surfers and music players and GPS navigators and more. They can be mini televisions, and we can watch Netflix.. etc., etc., etc..

I was hoping that Spotify would give my ‘droid added music “streaming” ability – and it would, if I sign up for a premium service level (otherwise, it is PC only). Currently, though, I am not enough of a ‘music person’ (too busy) to justify a monthly fee for music access for my phone, though I can say that my early perusals of Spotify’s “library” lead me to think music lovers will find it a true bargain..

Currently, I plug in my headphones, and use the ‘droid’s FM Radio feature and tune in my fave local stations; or play some songs that I have loaded onto my memory chip (no, I do not purchase tunes). I have the Pandora app, but have found I never use it.. but here are some free music alternatives for you smart phone/Blackberry/iPhone owners:
[note: these can be used on your PC as well.]

Pandora Radio
Pandora radio is the personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites.

FlyCast
FlyCast is the mobile broadcast network that gives you what you really want – choice. Choose what you want from the best music in all genres, talk radio,

Slacker Personal Radio
Slacker Personal Radio is the easiest way to create free radio stations. Listen anywhere to free personalized Internet radio stations playing your favorite music.”

Spotify (currently “invite only”)(Go there and sign up to receive an invite..)

Also, I have heard raves about XM Radio (Sirius), which requires a subscription.

I am sure there are other music services out there in Internet Land, and I hope music lovers will write in with their faves/reco’s. What music apps do you use?

Today’s reading:
Netflix betting on subscriber fallout in Q3, everyone over it in Q4

Netflix posted solid Q2 earnings on Monday, but naturally, all of the attention was focused on the recent price hikes. Nevertheless, Netflix execs feel confident that all the complaining is just hype.Read more..

Great Instructional Videos to Learn the Basics of Windows 7

I am always on the hunt for instructional material for people that use their computers in their homes..Read more..

Today’s quote:Jumping for joy is good exercise.”  ~ Unknown

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


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July 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, Apple, digital music, gadgets, how to, Internet, iPhone, mobile, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tutorial: Using CCleaner

I wouldn’t go anywhere without CCleaner

CCleaner (the “C” stands for ‘crap’) is a free system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up hard disk space. It also protects your privacy by cleaning (erasing) traces of your online activities such as cookies, and your Internet history. Additionally it contains a safe, fully featured registry cleaner.

Cnet_CClnr_rtng

click to read CNet's review/download

I have reco’d CCleaner many times here, and if you surf other geeky sites, you will surely see it mentioned (no doubt, recommended) if you haven’t already. If I could only download 10 tools, one of them would be CCleaner. (If memory serves, it was the first item I recommended here on T4E..) “CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. Keep your privacy safe online, and make your computer faster and more secure. Over 500 million downloads.

Recently, Piriform released CCleaner 3.0, and I have been using this new version for a while. Today I am going to show you how I use it.

How I use CCleaner: If you have not done so already, download and install CCleaner 3.0. Note: during the install process, you will be asked to let CCleaner scan for “good cookies” (good cookies are, like, your email login) – let it (aka answer “OK”).

1) Launch (aka “Open”, aka “Run”) CCleaner.

2) By default, it opens to the crap cleaning tool (the paintbrush), and the “Windows” tab. Here is where you make selections for the “system”, and Internet. My preferences are shown, but you might want to include browsing histories.. (No one else has access to my machines, and use History as a timesaver, to return to previously visited sites, etc.)

Before you begin: Click “Options“, then “Advanced“, and uncheck the “Only delete temp files older than 24 hours” checkbox.

options

We can now go back to the paintbrush.. Note my choices.

settings for cleaner tool

3) Now click the “Applications” tab.

Notice how every “application is checked?

4) Click the “Analyze” button. This will start the cleaning scanner, and generate a report on the items CCleaner will remove. Check this, and make sure nothing you want is accidentally included, then..

5) Click “Run Cleaner”.

Some people do this every night before shutting down. Others, after every “browsing” session. I do it a little more casually than that — I run CCleaner at least once a week, as GP. But I make a point of running it after each time I visit a new website for the first time (which I do several times a day) with a special emphasis on Internet “temp” files. (Those files contain a Trojan.downloader more often than you might think!)
Why not? Running CCleaner’s cleaner tool takes about 30 seconds.. or less.

Now let’s look at the Registry tool: It is very important you understand – so important, in fact, I wrote: Top Tech Tip #2: Leave Registry Cleaners Alone – that one does not fiddle lightly with the Windows Registry. I cannot tell you how many times someone has come to me with messed up systems because they downloaded some “optimizer” hoping for faster Internet, or because their ancient machine crawls along like a turtle. (I reco you take a look at the article now.. it will open in a separate place.)
Registry defraggers/optimizers/”tune ups”/etc. is one of the bigger scams going. And everyone has one for sale. Why? Because the “average computer user” is ignorant of the facts. It’s that simple.

CCleaner is one of the (few) exceptions. And there are certain times when Registry cleaning is advisable (as the article above mentions).

1) Click on the “Registry” icon on the left. Again, note my selections.

—> —> ANSWER “YES”. MAKE A BACKUP!!! <— <—
(I Save directly to C:\, and name the file “regbackup”. To make it easy to find in an emergency.)

Someone will look at this and want to comment on why I have un-checked the first two. Let me answer that now. You do not have to follow my practice. You have made a backup, after all.
But, I do not trust anyone but myself to decide which dynamic link libraries (DLL‘s) I might need; and just because I haven’t used a file extension yet, doesn’t necessarily mean I want to remove a Registry pointer. (And.. I do not think of Help files as “space wasters”.) Yes, CCleaner’s Reg tool is safe, but messing with the Registry can introduce as many ‘glitches’ as it cures, and this habit of mine reduces the chance of that.. IMHO.

My Registry scan shows no “errors”. But yours – most likely – will. Maybe several hundred of them. Go ahead and ‘fix’ them. (I repeat: ANSWER “YES”. MAKE A BACKUP!!!)

2) Run the scanner again. (You do not need to save backups during these additional sweeps, but if you do, label them regbackup2, regbackup3, etc.)

3) Run it again, and again if you have to… until it reports “no errors found.”

This will not turn your turtle into thoroughbred race horse. But it may very well cure those strange “computer oddities” (aka ‘glitches’).

I encourage you to explore CCleaner’s Toolbox as well. I use use the Startup tool instead of msconfig, for example. If you are not already a CCleaner fan, click on the CNet image (top of article): read Seth’s review: download.

I have been using CCleaner for a lot of years, and this new version is everything I’ve come to expect, and more. (I especially like the improved 64-bit support.. one of those invisible “under the hood” items..)
And yes. I meant what I said about ‘go anywhere’. I copy CCleaner from my Program Files folder onto the thumbdrive that is my keychain’s fob.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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November 17, 2010 Posted by | computers, file system, free software, how to, Internet, PC, performance, privacy, security, software, tech, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments