We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, July 1. 2017
Side note: I still haven't found a place to live. If you didn't catch my about-to-be-homeless post, it's here. I had a couple of promising leads in the comments, but they both flamed out. I have a couple more I'm still pursuing, but if you have something offer, that would be very appreciated.
First off, for those of you using windows 7, I have a fairly comprehensive Win7 site here. The 'Setup' page is really somethin' else. It solves a number of pesky problems, like those annoying thumbnails that pop up when the pointer's over an entry on the Task Bar.
If you want to record streaming video like TV shows, I found a terrific program called Debut. It's commercialware, and the price bounces all over the place (it's usually $39.99), but I figured out a way to get the upgrade for only $20. Details are here. The demo is fully-functioning.
And then there's backing up one's system the way the pros do. That whole "file backup" routine is silly. The proper way is to make a 'disc image' file, which converts the entire C Drive into one big file. If your system ever melts down because a driver went corrupt or you got hit with some nasty virus, you'll be back up and running within minutes. Details are here.
On the subject, have you read about the 'ransomware' making the rounds? It locks up your computer until you pay them off. Here's the latest:
Following is a typical message that the ransomware puts on the victim's computer. With what you've already read in this post, spot the one line that's incorrect:
There is no way to restore your data without a special key.
What's that? You've just seen the above message displayed on your computer and all of your files are inaccessible?
1. Slip the Acronis TrueImage disc into your disc drive
And you're back up and running again.
What's that? The latest slick ransomware is so clever that it overwrote the 'boot block' of the hard drive, a section that contains technical info about the drive so that Windows can read it? A good image program like TrueImage also makes a copy of the boot block, so you rewrite that along with the main image file and presto, goodbye clever ransomware.
Moving on, one fun thing that's easy to do is inserting special fonts into a comment or web article. For example, last year we read a lot about the big El Niño that was occurring, and it was somewhat amazing how many articles just spelled it "Nino". Tsk-tsk. Pretty lame, guys. Details are here.
The biggest discovery I've made in the past few years is how incredibly faster the new solid state hard drives are over the old spinning-disc types. The comparison numbers are just startling. Details are here.
Another fun discovery was the 'hard drive caddy', so you can put a second hard drive in a laptop without using the slow USB port. Details are here.
Back to Windows, while I can't speak for Win 8 or 10, I've always thought that the most appreciated tool on Windows is the 'Send To' feature. I use it all the time.
So, a couple of months ago, I was horsing around on my laptop when suddenly...
Black screen, dead laptop. Hit the power button — nothing.
I first figured the power supply had died, but that didn't make any sense. The battery should have kicked in as soon as the AC power went off. I spent a few minutes checking power cords and such, hit the power button again, and this time it started right up. As it turned out, the CPU had overheated, which shuts down the rig until things cool off. And the reason the CPU chip overheated?
Not only were the little air intake holes half-clogged, but, as it turned out, so was the little tunnel that supplies the cooling air to the CPU chip, and the cooling fan, itself, was a mess. If your laptop is older than a year, and especially if you live in a dusty environment, you might want to check out this page.
One thing that's a little annoying — if not downright unnerving — is popping over to Amazon, checking something out, then drifting over to a different site and seeing the item you just looked at in sidebar and banner ads. Yes, they're tracking your every move. The solution is here.
If you're using multiple email addresses and are tired of logging and re-logging into a site like GMail, the answer is to use a wonderful program called Thunderbird. It's put out by the Firefox people, so it's pretty solid. Details are here.
If you want to get into the intriguing world of computer video, I have a number of tutorials here. There are tools and instructions on how to make a copy of a Netflix or RedBox disc, how to convert DVDs to computer files and vice versa, putting videos online, progs to grab most YouTube-type videos with, and even a few snazzy things, like making that scrolling text you see at the beginning of Star Wars movies using the (not cheap) Adobe After Effects program. There's also a fairly easy way add selectable subtitles to computer movies, which I like, because it seems like there's always a mumbled line or two in every movie.
Ten, if you're wondering.
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I'm using Windows 10 but there is good information for everybody here. Thanks, Doc!
Glad to help, muds. I started getting curious about how the "innards" of Win 10 match up with Win 7, so I've grabbed an evaluation copy from MSoft and will play with that tomorrow. My best bud, RadioHowie, swears by Win 10, so I'll give it a fair evaluation.
Thanks for the link, bud. Most of that I knew (which is one of the main reasons I'm still using Win 7), but the really helpful article was the first one, "Broken Windows Theory", which is full of helpful tips, especially during the installation process, which I'll be doing tomorrow.
And from Slate, no less. :/
I'll report back on my Win 10 experience in the next Computin' Tips.
"Never ask a man what kind of computer he has. If it's a Mac, he'll tell you -- and if it's not, why embarrass him?" (Tom Clancy)
And if it's an Ubuntu or Linux, he'll scream it from the top of his lungs, heh.
It's an excellent post Doc. Lotsa stuff here that even I can make use of. Some of it I already knew about, like dust and the cc cleaner. You had recommended the CC Cleaner a long time ago and I stubbornly resisted but when I finally put it in, I wished I had done it when you first suggested it.
I am also bookmarking a couple of your other links for future reference.
re Acronis TrueImage disc
I checked it out. $35 one time payment plus $40 a year. It's a lotta money to a country boy.
Like all insurance it's a waste until ya need it. It's all about assessing the risk.
I am told you have to click on an infected email to get these ransom viruses and my ISP's spam filter keeps virtually all of them out and the ones that slip through just get deleted.
Are there ways you can passively get infected with ransomware?
And how often are these ransom attacks going to come at us? Daily, weekly, monthly?
As of now, it is a worry, but it does not rise to spending money to fix the damage.
I back my stuff up on this little rectangular thingy once a week. My PC is at least 5 years old so it's probably time for another anyway.
I'll probably continue on my merry way and when my machine gets locked up, throw it away and get another one. And then worry about protection.
I am sure that's not the proper way to go about it but then I am not the smartest guy at Maggie's. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' with it.
Read the article on ransomware in the post. It'll answer your questions. According to the article, you can now get infected just by looking at an online picture.
As for True Image, $40 a year? Are you sure about that? Shit, it used to be you just bought the dang thing and that was the end of it. On that note, though, there's also the Windows backup routine, which I believe my article links to. It's not as snazzy, but it works.
Guardian: Windows 10: should privacy problems worry me?
If you are using Windows 7, it’s optional. You can leave the free upgrade until July 2016, or stick with Windows 7 until April 2020. The main reasons to upgrade include Cortana, access to new apps from the Windows Store, and – if you play games – the huge improvements in Direct X12 graphics.Summary: no reason for me to upgrade. Cortana a reason to upgrade to Windows 10? For me, Cortana was a reason to NOT use Windows 10.
I installed Win 10 today, and I'm proud to admit I lasted a whole ten minutes. I'll look at it again tomorrow, fortitude and stamina depending.
Welcome back, Doc!
Of all the wonderful posts you've made in the past, the most appreciated was the "Family Blog" one. Remember that? I come from a fairly large family (six brothers and sisters and now six grown children), and we all did the family blog thing. We'd post videos of "baby's first steps", videos of us water skiing on vacation, and everything in between. It really drew the family together like nothing else could. You should post it again, it might inspire others.
Ta-ta for now!
Yep, I remember that post quite well. As I recall, a number of people were going to give it a shot. Glad it worked out so well for you and the gang. And WordPress really is marvelous stuff. Easy to use, and the 'themes' are just wonderful. One mouse click and everything looks completely different.
As for reposting it, yeah, I think I'll do that Wednesday afternoon. Thanks much for the reminder.