My Chromecast Saga

For once the “Getting started” documentation was clear and correct.

I plugged the Chromecast #1 (upstairs) into my TV via HDMI; then I had to go online on my smartphone to do the “Setup”, this involved downloading and installing “Google Home” this was so beautifully easy. Before the Chromecast could be used it needed to update its software. I was prompted to link it to my router; and after that, it didn’t take long before it was up and running.

While I was at it I also installed “Google Home” on my live smartphone (Samsung S4) and on my tablet (Samsung Tab 4), great, the Chromecast can now be controlled by any of the 3 gadgets.

I then wanted to install another Chromecast #2 downstairs. It hooked up ok, but the update just looped – it stayed on 0% for hours on end until I “x’ed” the upgrade. Thinking about it decided that maybe the “Google Home” apps needed to be re-installed, so I uninstalled “Google Home”, cleared the cache and data in “Play Store” – but alas – my Wi-Fi network is now refusing to let me install anything from “Google Play Store”. It was a faulty “Chromecast” and it has been returned and refunded.

It was not my applications/gadgets that were faulty; because when I went to my neighbour and use their Wi-Fi to download from “Play Store” it worked fine. It took about 3 weeks before my Wi-Fi was working correctly again.

 




My pc-muse never arrived

My pc-muse never visited me for the first U3A meeting after the summer break; but I managed to talk about emails and virus “pass-on” when replying, thanks to one member sending in a question about it.

This led to talking about Office Outlook 2010 and Microsoft forcing users to change to MS-Exchange Server. By telling them about my experiences, I touched on a couple of features in Outlook 2010 that the members were not aware of: Filters, Task, Appointments and recurrence. This will now become a topic for the next U3A meeting.

I also talked about backup; because I was annoyed that some backup programs don’t warn the user NOT to backup onto the same device where the data is held. This led to questions about how to backup Outlook 2010 and a physical demo of said as a topic for the next meeting.

When I was talking about my email system I demonstrated the way I had managed to move my system from Outlook 2010 to Mozilla Thunderbird; and vaguely touched on the difficulties of syncing the calendar from my PC to my mobile phone and tablet. Some members were interested in Thunderbird; like how to get started, download, install, and setup the email accounts. So here is another topic for a later U3A meeting.

I can’t remember how it came about; but somehow we managed to talk about OCR and I stated that most three-in-one printers came with some sort of OCR software; most members were not aware of this; so I requested they send me the name of their printer and I would check their software packages. This will become a short topic for another U3A meeting.

While talking OCR I also mentioned that the software I am using (OmniPage Pro) will let me open a picture of text, scan it and create text that can be imported into Word or Excel. This is quite a snazzy feature but I think one has to pay for that feature.

Somewhere along the many thoughts that were flying about we also spoke about using “Google Translate” to capture speech and convert it into text for Word. I tried it on the laptop but the microphone wasn’t available. Why? Because some laptops don’t have microphones installed. But if you add an external microphone to the laptop; Google Translate will display the mic-symbol.

I promised that I would find some Win10 problems pages:
First something positive about Win10: http://windows.about.com/

http://betanews.com/2016/04/25/windows-10-update-problems/

How to Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates (Updated September 08, 2016)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/fix-problems-caused-by-windows-updates.htm

How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC (Updated November 19, 2015)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/prevent-windows-update-problems.htm

Windows 10 Update Fail (Updated August 20, 2015)
http://windows.about.com/od/securityprivacy/fl/Windows-10-Update-Fail.htm




I have just installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

It all started after I successfully installed Ubuntu on a XP laptop; it’s cd/dvd player didn’t work and because of the way Ubuntu installs (from boot up) I couldn’t use an external dvd player; but had to make a bootable flash drive and tell Ubuntu help me installing (this meant that Ubuntu created a dos bat file telling where the software could be found). After that I could perform a total installation.

So being rather of an inquisitive nature, I just had to install Ubuntu onto one of my win7 learning pcs (it kindly comes with “Libra Office”, “Firefox” and much more software, that I still haven’t worked out how to use and access). I installed it as a dual-boot system; and found that Ubuntu is the controller of which environment to boot. There are 15 seconds to decide whether to boot Ubuntu or win7.

The choice is displayed on an Ubuntu coloured screen. Ubuntu is the norm and unless win7 is required this will be loaded; it’s a matter of moving the cursor down to win7 & hit the [enter] key to load windows. Loading Ubuntu is way faster than loading win7.

I have managed to change the normal background to something grey and easy to look at. I have also managed to look at and use documents from my windows directory. That was easier than I had anticipated.

It was so easy to install my Wi-Fi Canon printer, way easier than onto a win7 pc

All I needed to do to access to my Dropbox was a quick installation and all my files are now available in Ubuntu. The same applied for Twitter; it was so easy and quick.




Just a Snippet I came across

How many times have you wanted to be able to cut just a little piece out of a screen display, be it from an advert, an internet picture or just some text somewhere on your screen?

 

Up till now I had to: take a screenshot (using either [Print Screen] {whole screen} or [Alt]+[Print screen] {active window only}) and paste it into a picture manipulation program; then cut out the bit I was interested in and save that bit.

 

Once, while I was fixing a customers PC I saw an icon of “Snipping Tool” and ask my customer what it was, he didn’t quite know as his daughter might have put it there. So I made a note and checked when I got home; this is what I found.

What is the Microsoft snipping tool?

clip_image002
Snipping Tool is a screen shooting utility included in Windows Vista and later.

    It can be found in “All Programs” -> “Accessories”.

  • If you want it on your desktop:
  • Right-Click it and “Send to” -> “Desktop (create shortcut)”

clip_image002[4]

You can use Snipping Tool to capture a screen shot, or snip, of any object on your screen, and then annotate, save, or share the image.

    It can take screenshots of an open window using:

  1. “Free-Form Snip”
  2. “Rectangular Snip”
  3. “Window Snip”
  4. “Full Screen Snip”

 

    Snips can then be annotated using a mouse, then:

  1. Save As: a PNG, GIF, JPEG or MHT file,
  2. Send To: as e-mail attachment or part of e-mail body.

 




My bad start to 2016

Happy 2016 – I wish you all a successful and prosperous year.

Now that I have started ‘working’ again – IT-buddy at the library today was a waste of time as nobody turned up. So my two hours reserved for the library was in vain;
and tomorrows two hours has already been cut to just one; but that’s ok because I know.

Aggie, my supervisor, is getting me two new students for Wednesdays.

On the positive side; I fixed a laptop that didn’t want to start, and it only took two hours.




Just another week as an IT-buddy

My first student on Wednesday was a partial sighted young man who had problems with the settings on his laptop. Especially as he could/can only sit at the laptop for about an hour at the most. I was auto-upgraded to Win10; but it also had Office 2013 installed, and the poor lad was used to Office 2003. So I went through the settings of 2013 with him showing where it was and how to change things. Next time we will look at styles and how to create quick stiles, save them and re-use them when required. A very interesting session.

My next session was with an elderly lady who inherited a smart phone (a layoff from her son) she has been a couple of times and is very good at writing down all her questions; so we spend the time sorting out what she can’t do from the last session. This is such a nice non stressed and satisfying session.

On Wednesday my first (and theoretically only session) came with her laptop, she still has difficulties with Gmail she thinks she can’t write an email nor can she reply to one. So we spend the whole session going over “creating”, “replying” and checking her folders. I asked her to create an email to herself, and then to respond to said by replying. I also asked her to reply a second time to the same email and adding extra text on the subject line to indicate a change of heart.

I packed my thing and was ready to leave when Aggie asked if I could please help this lady who had some problems with her iPad. Of course I could and did. We didn’t finish in the hour that is allocated, so I said why don’t we finish at my workshop? And told her the cost. She agreed and that was it.

Posted on




Microsoft Movie Maker

Have you ever on your smart-phone or your camera shot a whole movie upside down or sideways?
When you came to look at it you could have cried! What do you do now?
Don’t worry; Microsoft can help you here. Download and install from the Microsoft download site: Movie Maker.
Read about it here.
For a Microsoft software it’s quite user-friendly, you can even publish direct to YouTube



Check for duplicated files

How many duplicated files have you got?
Have you ever wondered if you have backed-up or copied a file to somewhere?
Have you ever wondered if and how many versions of the same file you have stored on your pc?

You don’t have to wonder anymore!

A student of mine was asking if I knew a way to find all the duplicated files stored on his computer.
I didn’t, but goggled for it, and yes, I did find a very useful small program dupeGuru (hardcoded.net);
which is a tool to find duplicate files on your computer. It can scan either filenames or contents.




Easy merge of PDF files

I was scanning a booklet into PDF formatted files; but I really only wanted one file and couldn’t remember how to make the scanner do the work.

So I looked around and found this easy and free software: PDFbinder (and downloaded it from CNET).
Wow it worked, it wasn’t intrusive to install, and it was quick; all I had to do was adding the files I wanted to merge; move them around into sequence and press “Bind” then tell it the new name and where to save it.

That was all. Great stuff.




Further progress moving to another site host

There were some widgets missing that I had to find and install.
I like the Image widget & and as you can see I found it.
I also wanted something for WordPress to automatic Tweet my posts when published and
I think I might have found that one as well and this post will prove if it works.

The last one I was after was for a friend who wanted a horizontal scrolling feature for his pictures and or text-boxes. I might have found it and will try to use it in a new tab (page) for said.