iPad Classroom Help – all iPad topics now!!

Please send me your favourite Apps

Sharing is the best way to learn more about our iPads.

Please send me your iPad tips & tricks you have found, and some of those amazing Apps!! I will create iPad App reviews as well a providing free iPad tutorials. gregwest (at) AlternateCloud.com 20140307-095940.jpg

beyond bullet points – Create Top PowerPoints

learn to create effective slides iPowerPointReview: by Gregory West
gregory@alternatecloud.com
VP of the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
scug.ca
APCUG Advisor apcug.net

beyond bullet points
by Cliff Atkinson

Published by Microsoft Press
ISBN– 978-0-7356-275-2
Pages: 330
USA: $29.99 / CDA: $34.99
Website: http://bit.ly/beyondbulletpoints

All of us have had, or were forced, to sit through a PowerPoint presentation wishing we were somewhere else. The speaker was so boring, the presentation slides were cheesy and extremely confusing, and our insides screamed for us to get up and leave the room.

Beyond bullet points is designed in such a way that this will never happen when you give your next presentation. This book takes us through the proper steps in creating  the most interesting and very definitive presentation possible. Here is where we learn the importance of telling a story with our slides. Layout is another import issue that is fully covered in Chapter 4: “Planning Your First Five Slides”. This is where you learn how to grab your audience right away and keep them focused on your presentation.

You will learn why graphics are so important and how they can make or break a presentation. Chapter 8 is where the fun begins as you learn how to  add graphics to various areas within your slides. You will learn how to use the graphics you already have on your computer, and how to get graphics from “Stock Photography Web Sites”.

Your PowerPoint presentation comes together in Chapter 9: “Delivering Your…Presentation”. The amateur presenters are separated from the professionals. This chapter prepares you for the delivery of your presentation. Here you are shown the basic ground rules for removing distractions, prompting a dialogue and how to enhance your presentation effectively.

A real treat is found in Appendix A where ground rules and checklists act as an overview  ensuring you have created a very professional presentation.

Added features: This book comes with website links for “Companion Content” with key tools and a bonus Chapter 11, introducing a “Visual Improv”, PDF version of the ground rules and checklists. You also get a voucher for your free online version of this book. For anyone who is serious about their presentations, this book is a keeper.

A New Year – A …

A New Year – A New Column
Introducing “APP Yap”

by Gregory West

Are you ready for change? I am introducing a “smart phone” section in this column, along with the current computer tips talk. This column will be in two parts: Computer Tips and APP Yap. APP Yap will cover all things “smart phone” APPs (software applications for the phone).

Computer use is changing rapidly. In 1970, futurist Alvin Toffler wrote his book: “Future Shock” and in it he discussed the “rate of change” and that people would not be able to handle the many new advancements. He stated there would be “too much change in too short a period of time”.

Well, I don’t know about the “too much”, but I believe we have handled change quite well, from monster computer desktops to thin Macbook Air laptops to touch-screen tablets and now to smart phones that can do much more than your computer and then some.

My prediction for 2012: Cloud computing will make a huge appearance in 2012. Smart phones will be everywhere and people of all ages will be on them. Everyone will understand the “Cloud”, unless live in a cave on the South Pacific island of Niue. We will be a truly “connected” society, online, and in the cloud. My very first presentation on “Cloud Computing” was to the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group (scug.ca) and Lambton Toastmasters back in October of 2008 (http://bit.ly/scug-cloudcomputing). 

COMPUTER TIPS: Protect your laptop. Do not drink or eat near it…you do not get a second chance on spills – I know first hand! Do not run your laptop HOT. Videos and games increase the heat on your laptop and can quickly cause major problems in extended periods of time. Learn more about how to monitor the temperature of your laptop and get a free gage: (http://bit.ly/watchtemp) for both MACs and PCs.

What if your laptop is stolen? Get yourself a free program that can locate your computer’s exact  location on a map, take a picture of the thief while they are using your computer and also take a screen shot of what the thief is looking at on your computer. As well, you can set a siren to go off every twenty minutes to drive the thief nuts. This is an amazing free tool to help you find who stole your laptop and where it is right now! Go here to get your free program: http://preyproject.com – make sure you watch the how it works video.

APP Yap: GET READY FOR THE APPS STORES WARS
If you are like me and are new to the iPhone make sure you check out APPLE’s iPhone website to get yourself going: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/
APP Yap is a new part of this column and like before please send in your own tips and questions about iPhones and apps for other phones as well. Don’t forget other app stores for your computer too:
Google: http://bit.ly/appsforgoogle
Apple’s Computer apps store: http://www.apple.com/mac/app-store/
Microsoft’s new Apps store challenges Apple: http://bit.ly/microsoft-apps
Don’t forget to keep emailing your questions and answers…Next month should prove very interesting in the world of APPS. You can also visit 

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
Visit the free website for 50+ learning computers: http://alternatecloud.com
Free Basic Computer Help Workshops: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

Free computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

GEEK CRUISE January 2012

geeks at sea

GEEKS at SEA

GEEKS @ SEA can you imagine?

computer convention at sea

The Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) is presenting its Third Technology Conference@Sea January 23, 2012 to Friday, January 27, 2012. APCUG plans to team up with FACUG and hold the 2012 Annual Meeting on the cruise.

There is no better vacation bargain than a cruise and no better cruise bargain than this one. Add to it a full-fledged Computer and Technology Conference on the high seas, add an Association of Personal Computer User Groups component (APCUG) and it becomes an outstanding event not to be missed. Do you want to be part of FACUG’s 3rd annual Conference@Sea on what promises to be another outstanding Sail-a-bration.

The cost of the 5 day/4 nights (interior cabin) is $249/person + tips including the FACUG $45 early-bird incentive refund; ocean-view is $299/person + tips. The Technology Conference Bahamas Cruise will be on the Norwegian Sky: Sailing on Monday, January 23, 2012 to Friday, January 27, 2012. FACUG is doing the work and dealing directly with Norwegian Cruise Line, since no travel agent allows us to offer this outstanding rate and some amenities.

Sailing from the Port of Miami, calling on the Grand Bahamas Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay then returning to the Port of Miami. The $249 rate includes fare, port charges and taxes minus $45 early-bird refund. This offer is valid only for conference attendees until May 15 or until we run out of cabins allocated to us; whichever occurs first. The Technology Conference@Sea registration fee is $75 ($100 for non-members). The first person in the cabin must be a member of an FACUG or APCUG club and $25 for the second person, who need not be a club member. Included in the conference fee are many extra perks, including a Welcome Bag full of goodies, two Meet & Greet cocktail parties which were a big hit last year and a few additional surprises.

There will be buses from several locations around Palm Beach County to the Port of Miami and back for about $15/person each way. We will look into buses from other points in Florida if there is sufficient demand.

Last year, we had 175 occupied cabins with 350 people. After the cruise, a survey was taken and 3/4 of the responders, including spouses, rated the event an “A”. It was called a great balance between conference time and party time. Ask your friends who were there.

If you are interested in sailing with us at the above early-bird rates, you first need to go to the FACUG website (www.facug.org) to register for the conference. You will then be directed to NCL directly, using the access information on the website to book your cabin. Remember, May 15 is the deadline whereby a $100/person deposit, will hold your cabin. It is refundable until 70 days prior to sailing. The balance is due 90 days prior to sailing. So get on board now and click this link www.facug.org to start this wonderful journey.

Our ship

Imagine this conversation 15 years ago…

"Use anti virus software for safe computing."

"Use anti virus software for safe computing."

Beginning Drupal – an amazing book!

Review: by Gregory West
gregory@alternatecloud.com
VP Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
CEO AlternateCloud.com

Learn Drupal the easy way

This book is a must have for everyone webmaster

Beginning Drupal

by Jacob Redding
Published by O’Reilly Media Inc
ISBN: 978-0-596-80660-6
Pages: 480
Formats: ePub, Mobi
Price for eBook: $25.99

There is no question that Drupal web creation software has a steep learning curve. I personally can vouch for this statement. While in the very early days of learning Drupal I quickly came across a stumbling block where I found myself stuck. I could not create links to any of my webpages.

I have taken online Drupal courses, checked out YouTube video tutorials and I regularly visit the Drupal community and its forum for ideas and help. This time, even with the help on a fellow Drupal user in the forum, I came close to fixing my problem, however I just did not understand what it was the forum people were suggesting.

Armed with a bit on knowledge know, I opened up Redding’s “Beginning Drupal” book, went to the third and fifth chapters with the ease of keyboard click in this eBook and there it was…Step-by-step to get me back on track with my website using Drupal.

The book itself is very well laid out for beginners like me who know very little about Drupal software. The author explains this book is for “people who want a robust website and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.” The book begins with a history and full explanation of what exactly Drupal is and where you can get extra help. From there Chapter 2 takes us right into the install stage. The final chapters cover advanced topics and a “preflight checklist” to ensure you are on track.

What I really enjoy about this book is two-fold. The first is at the beginning of each chapter is a list of “What you will learn” and at the end there is an exercise of questions to make sure you got what the author was explaining. Also, there is a final statement of “What you have learned in this chapter.”

This book is well thought out and is the perfect reference book to keep beside your computer as it is definitely geared to ensure your Drupal journey is a smooth ride.

FREE Kindle eReaders Available Online

FREE Kindle eReaders Available Online
“Turn Your Computer Into an eReader”

by Gregory West

It just keeps on getting better in Cyberspace!

“WOW,” I hollered  when I learned I could get a free app (software program) that turns my computer into the Kindle eReader. It was a fluke coming across this beauty.

I ordered a technology book to review from OReilly Media. Usually my review books get emailed as a PDF or a real paper book. This particular book came as a an attachment in an email that my computer did not recognize, nor open. I tried and tried to open the file without success. Finally, after emailing OReilly’s back, they explained about the free app to run the Kindle eReader on a computer.

Marsee Henon, from O’Reilly Media (www.oreilly.com/ebooks), explained that “our ebooks work not only on a Kindle, but also on the Kindle app offered on Macs, PCs, iPads, and other devices.”

At first I didn’t believe it would actually work. I clicked to the amazon website (listed below) and downloaded the program, all the while, still thinking it probably won’t work. Even when I had the program downloaded, it wasn’t until I clicked on the ebook attachment in OReilly’s email when a miracle happened. The ebook opened on my computer and I had my very own Kindle on my laptop. Amazon also through in several free books too. Yeah!

Marsee sent me the links (listed below) for the free download. If you have a Windows computer less than 12 years old, or a Mac computer with an Intel chip, you should have no problem using your computer as a Kindle eReader. You can check the required specs on the following websites.

Choose one of the links below and download the Kindle app for your computer.

Windows PC computer users:

http://amzn.to/windows_kindle

Mac computer users: Snow Leopard and Lion
http://amzn.to/snowleopard_lion_kindle

Mac computer users: Leopard
http://bit.ly/leopard_only

The Kindle application for your computer offers many functions, “including functionality such as zoom and pan, highlighting, note taking, dictionary lookup, and bookmarks,” according to Amazon.com.

Once you get your free Kindle eReader app  visit the Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) where there are over 30,000 book titles. These books are free as the copyrights have run out. There are some real gems to be had here. Treat yourself this free eReader; you will be amazed with this easy-to-use technology. I know I enjoy my new free Kindle.

PROBLEM – Last month a reader emailed me that he had a problem after downloading the anti malware program (Superantispyware.com) I wrote about in the June issue called: “Make Your Computer Run Brand New Again”. He said the program worked fine then “it began asking for $19.95”. He also said he had an difficult time trying to remove this program.
SOLUTION -After several emails and a telephone conversation it was discovered this reader clicked the “UPGRADE” button. This took him away from his free version to the paid version. Moral of the story: Be careful what you click. “UPGRADE” usually means a better program and one that costs. The reader was thinking he was getting an “UPDATE”. Therein lies the difference: UPDATE is when a program fixes or makes it better or safer to use. UPGRADE is taking you to the paid version.

PROBLEM –  Another reader said his computer had a virus. This nasty thing disabled his anti virus program and he could not get rid it. The virus warned him if he paid for their anti virus his computer would be fixed. His computer had been “hijacked” and he was being held for ransom. This is quite common and usually simple to fix.

SOLUTION – I told the reader to start his computer in “SAFE MODE”, then run his own anti virus program. This caught the nasty virus, deleted it and now he is a happy computer user. Be careful what you click on in Cyberspace…It may cost you!

If you have a computer problem or a great tip, please pass it along to Greg at First Monday and he will post it in the next issue.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
A website for Seniors learning technology: http://alternatecloud.com
For more tips visit his Blog: https://gregorywest.wordpress.com
Free Computer Help Seminars: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

“Facebook Changes – Why”

change

“Facebook Changes – Why”
by Gregory West

Cyberspace is alit with flareups from all of us using Facebook this past while. People are screaming that they are quitting Facebook and going to Google Plus (many are doing just that) while others have already switched to other social media spots such as Twitter and LinkedIn. I personally believe, even though the Internet is amass with complaints about Facebook’s new changes, people will stay with Facebook. They will click their way into learning the new Facebook and any other changes they may throw at us. Why?

The adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t hold water anymore, at least not in the online world where many of us now reside much of the time.  Like it or not, we necessitate change online. We demand things work faster, easier and are activated from anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Plus, these online companies are no different than “brick and mortar” businesses: they all need to make money to survive. Facebook is moving into a new arena where they can make even more money. “The company is expected to bring in $3.8 billion in worldwide advertising revenue this year and $5.8 billion in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer.” (Washington Post)

While discussing Facebook, people admit that it is the first website they check when going on the Internet in the morning, even before any news sites or email programs – Facebook is many people’s first choice for keeping up; keeping connected is very important to many of the 800 million users who now use Facebook. The Post says that, “Facebook is a technology company that wants to keep improving its products so that people keep using it and it doesn’t grow stale.”

I remember reading a book in college by Alvin Toffler: “Future Shock” wherein Toffler described how people would not be able to accept the rate of change. Toffler wrote, “too much change in too short a period of time”. I believed this would happen, but it never did. The book was written before the Internet was born, although ironically, Toffler “popularized the phrase information overload” (wikipedia).

We are a connected society now. One just has to look to the streets, to the malls, along sidewalks and in grocery store lineups. What is it you see? People staring at their smart phones, connected in a “brave new world”. These are the people who are learning to tolerate and navigate through the rough seas of change, be it a computer, a tablet or a smart phone. It is so much part of our lives today that these devices, once called “toys” are now a major necessity. We are, and we will, continue to live with change – I believe deep down we must thrive on change, otherwise Alvin Toffler would have been correct back in 1970.

If you have a computer problem or a great tip, please pass it along to Greg at First Monday and he will post it in the next issue.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
SENIORS NOW GET FREE HELP on this website: alternatecloud.com
Free Basic Computer Help for Seniors: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

Facebook for Beginners

HOW TO GET A FACEBOOK PAGE – HOW TO SECURE YOUR FACEBOOK

CLICK HERE WATCH THE HOW TO VIDEOS

facebook for beginners the easy way

Want to learn more? Alternate Cloud is here for you!

AlternateCloud.com helping seniors learn tech stuff

Visit us today for FREE HELP – so CICK HERE

 

help for seniors the easy way

HELPING SENIORS LEARN MORE - THE EASY WAYS

 Seniors learn the easy way right here at AlternateCloud website for FREE

Want to learn more?

Want to learn more?

 

Flu season

Anti Virus free

Flu season

My Review

InDesign Production Cookbook (CS2)

By Gregory West from sarnia, ontario, canada on 9/2/2011

 

3out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand, Helpful examples

Best Uses: Intermediate, Student, Novice

Describe Yourself: Sys Admin, Educator

This book is full of full color graphics, loaded with ideas and step-by-step easy instructions. The cookbook comes loaded with 169 “recipes for graphic designers and desktop publishers” and others who are looking for new ideas or concepts.

The book is laid out beginning with text, pictures, drawings, color, and transparency. The Pages and Documents section explains the inner workings, taking you on a journey to complete a book, magazine, newsletter, or any document you need to prepare and complete. I particularly like the document setup section that guides one through the entire process.

Throughout the book are “Tips” relating to given information that enhances your learning in ways you may not find out otherwise. The graphics are easy to view and the text is just the right size for easy viewing. Each section is color coded for easy access to a topic. Once you get used to the colors you will not need the very well established TOC.

This book is what it claims: “Production Cookbook” whereby you find yourself coming back quite often for that little tip or process that gets you back on track with your project.

Not only is this book a must have as a reference and “follow-along” book, I love to refer back to it from time to time simply to get new ideas for any project I am working on.

(legalese)

My Review of The Art of Community

Originally submitted at O’Reilly

Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. In The Art of Community, you'll learn about the broad range of talents required to recruit, motivate, and manage c…

The Art of Community

By gregorywest from sarnia, ontario, canada on 9/2/2011

 

3out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand, Helpful examples

Best Uses: Intermediate, Student

Describe Yourself: Educator, Sys Admin

Amanda McPherson, of the Linux Foundation, declares this book “isn’t just for technology leaders – anyone who wants to harness community for their cause should read this book.” I agree.

This book is about “B E L O N G I N G”. Bacon tells us this should be a sign in everyone’s office and should be “at the forefront of your inspiration behind building a strong community. If there is no belonging, there is no community.” I agree.

This book gives us the tools to build “strategic plans” to build our own communities, whether it be in a church, a computer group, on an online forum. Bacon speaks to all communities. Bacon also demonstrates how “communication is the key to tying it all together and “leading by example” as many examples are given throughout.

I agree with Bacon’s principle that “simple is sustainable”. He talks about “processes” that keep things in perspective, “eyes on the prize”, keeping things in perspective with our said plan for the community and how it functions. We are shown how to build alliances and then test how we fare in the community in by using a “conflict resolution process”.

My need for this book is to help build my community within my website. I find it helpful while setting up a training structure for volunteers who help seniors learn about computers and technology. Building an effective community is what this book is all about. We are taken by the hand in a sort of step-by-step process, one that works in the Linux community, and others across the globe. We need to work and build effectively together, this book show us the way.

Leo Laporte says that “Jono has written a guide with everything you need to keep your online groups healthy and productive.” Online or off, every group should read this book.

(legalese)

My Review of Adobe Illustrator CS5 One-on-One

Originally submitted at O’Reilly

Master the fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator and watch your designs come to life. With Deke McClelland's unique and effective learning system, you get step-by-step tutorials, hours of DVD-video demonstrations, and lots of hands-on projects to help you improve your knowledge and hone your ski…

Adobe Illustrator CS5 Deke McClelland

By gregorywest from sarnia, ontario, canada on 9/2/2011

 

5out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand, Accurate, Concise, Well-written, Helpful examples

Best Uses: Student, Novice, Intermediate

Describe Yourself: Sys Admin, Educator

How do you review the best Abobe author and trainer. Actually, it is quite easy, as Deke McClelland takes us on a training journey that goes the extra mile. This book includes a step-by-step 6 hour DVD training video that works directly with the book. This winning combo is worth every penny.

“Read, watch, and do,” says the author. I walk you through Illustrator just as if I were teaching you in a classroom or corporate environment.” McClelland’s statement is true. I found this training method simple to learn at my own speed. I bookmark the book and pause the video, thus working at my own leisure. This is especially good if you have a project you are working on and need some help in a certain area; look it up in the book’s well laid out Table of Contents, fire up the video and away you go.

I love the full color graphics and easy-to-read text. There are lots of really good ideas in the graphics and font alone. The book lays flat on a desk and the pages stay open as you work. At the end of each session there is a check list to see how you are doing. It is called: “What Did You Learn?”, with 12 questions covering key concepts. Yes Deke includes the answers!

Tips are abundant and come in the form of “Pearl of Wisdom” wherein you are given some extra information in short digest that can save you time and effort.

As an instructor myself, I can use this book to create mini or full length college courses for night school. This type of training is excellent for employees wanting to learn more. Not only is this book a must have as a reference and “follow-along” book, I love to refer back to it from time to time simply to get new ideas for any project I am working on.

(legalese)

My Review

WOW – Easy to follow along.

By gregorywest from sarnia, ontario, canada on 9/2/2011

 

3out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand, Excellent graphics

Cons: CS2 version still useful

Best Uses: Novice, Intermediate, Student

Describe Yourself: Educator, Sys Admin

This book is full of full color graphics, loaded with ideas and step-by-step easy instructions. The cookbook comes loaded with 169 “recipes for graphic designers and desktop publishers” and others who are looking for new ideas or concepts.

The book is laid out beginning with text, pictures, drawings, color, and transparency. The Pages and Documents section explains the inner workings, taking you on a journey to complete a book, magazine, newsletter, or any document you need to prepare and complete. I particularly like the document setup section that guides one through the entire process.

Throughout the book are “Tips” relating to given information that enhances your learning in ways you may not find out otherwise. The graphics are easy to view and the text is just the right size for easy viewing. Each section is color coded for easy access to a topic. Once you get used to the colors you will not need the very well established TOC.

This book is what it claims: “Production Cookbook” whereby you find yourself coming back quite often for that little tip or process that gets you back on track with your project.

Not only is this book a must have as a reference and “follow-along” book, I love to refer back to it from time to time simply to get new ideas for any project I am working on.

(legalese)

My Review

Project management at its best!

By gregorywest from sarnia, ontario, canada on 9/2/2011

 

4out of 5

Pros: Well-written, Helpful examples, Easy to understand

Best Uses: Expert, Intermediate

Describe Yourself: Educator, Developer, Designer, Computer Group or other

“How”, is author Scott Berkun’s favorite word and it shows throughout this book. Whenever he sees something new the first word comes out: “how”. Berkun’s roles, while working at Microsoft, included: Internet Explorer 1.0 to 5.0, Windows, MSN as well as a lead program manager. So, it is no wonder Scott Berkun makes this book happen.

“Making Things Happen” is sectioned into three parts: Plans, Skills, and Management. It is an easy read and it seems like Berkun is speaking directly to you, while in the office or on site. This book is designed for “experienced team leaders”, “new team leaders and managers” and “individual programmers, testers or other contributors”. It demonstrates various proven management principles to any group looking for productivity, leadership, and how to make it all work. Berkun is correct when he says this book “combines business theory, psychology, management tactics, design processes, and software engineering”, giving advice in every chapter.

Each chapter ends with a summation of key points for review. There are “Exercises” along with summations that can be easily applied within your group setting or on your own. These exercises are designed to create situations stimulated from the information in the chapter, giving you a sense of real time action. This is a great way for team players to act out or plan for the next project, using the techniques from each chapter.

This book is about about managing groups and projects. I am involved with several different types of groups, some having nothing to do with technology, and the methods found within this book can easily be adapted to any one of my various groups.

This book is written for people who like to “skim” ahead, browse and/or dig in for a specific task or problem to plan and commit. If you have a specific management task to work out in a group setting, or if you want success using project management techniques, this book is a must.

(legalese)

“When Digital Disaster Strikes, Smile!…because you will be OK.”

by Gregory West

Have you ever deleted photos from a camera or computer by mistake?

A friend of mine called me recently after going through a “catastrophe”, as he called his situation. It happened about mid way over the Atlantic Ocean, thirty-seven thousand feet up. He was sitting in his seat with not much to do so he decided to check the photos on his digital camera. All these photos were from this trip to Portugal, a trip that involved hiking in the wilderness and visiting old buildings. You can only imagine some of his prized photos.

I think you know where I am going with this…Yes, while looking at the photos, clicking from one to the next, he inadvertently deleted not just a couple of photos, every photo from his trip was gone in one simple click. After checking and double checking he knew it was fruitless to look further; the photos vanished.

When he got home he called as told me about this situation.

“That’s no problem,” I tried to reassure him. I explained that there is a software recovery program that people use in such cases with much success. The voice at the other end of the line was silent. I knew he didn’t think this process was possible. After he recovered every single photo from his vacation he couldn’t thank me enough.

However, my tale doesn’t end there. I had a similar problem where a new SD (photo storage card in camera) failed to produce 250 pictures and some video clips. After taking a deep breath I remembered my advice I had doled out and quickly downloaded a copy of Recuva, a recovery program that is free and works. Within no time I had all my pictures and video clips stored on my computer, thanks to Recuva.

The moral of this story is when you delete photos, music from an MP3 player, or data from your computer, remember that it is possible to recover the data. Don’t say it will never happen because you are careful. I am sure it has happened to the best of us.

To avoid a similar “catastrophe” you need to have a recovery software program installed on your computer. One of the best recovery programs around is called: Recuva. As an added bonus this program is free and it comes “highly” recommended.

You can read the reviews here: http://cnet.co/filehelp

How does it work? Recuva scans your drives for the files you need and “recovers them in a flash” (www.piriform.com). Even if the files are partially damaged “Recuva will show you a list of files it has found on the drive, and give you an estimate of the likelihood of success of recovering them”. You can’t ask for much more.

Let’s not forget when we delete those important emails. Yes you can recover them too. Recuva says that “The email program doesn’t delete the email or emails to the Windows Recycle Bin, but rather empties its own internal trash or Recycle Bin.”

I use word processing software every day. And yes I have lost documents that I have spent hours working on and never got them back. That is until I discovered Recuva. They assure us that their software “can intelligently rebuild Word documents from their temporary files”.

We all can agree for the most part that weddings, graduations, and other such special events are best remembered with lots of photos. Music downloaded to your MP3 player is a treasure chest to cherish. While those word documents on the hard drive on your computer are from hours of work, you dare not lose them anymore.

To find out more and to get your free copy of Recuva go to this website:www.piriform.com/download

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
For more tips visit his Blog: https://gregorywest.wordpress.com
Free Computer Help Seminars: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

New Google Search Series

This is a change from my normal blog. This time the article(s) and videos are in the LambtonShield online newspaper.

I am doing a 3 part series on the new Google Search. This is also part of a live presentation I am doing for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group in Sarnia, Ontario.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO AND ARTICLE: CLICK HEREgoogle search

 

Make Your Computer Run Brand New Again

Don't Let This Bug You

They say that computer users belong to a group known as procrastinators when it comes to maintenance. I confess I sometimes fall into this group too often and get reminded its time when someone cries out their “computer is so slow”.

In the old days of computing we had to manually clean out files and programs on our computers. This is when we had to know what we were doing. Cottage industries quickly grew in popularity, taking on the task of cleaning up computers. These businesses still flourish today. However, you can easily avoid the high costs of sending your computer in for repair by doing it the easy way: Do it yourself.

For some fun I called a local computer repair business to find out what it would cost to clean up my very slow computer. I don’t have a slow computer, I was curious on some pricing. I know it would be costly but I was not ready for the price of $101.70 for virus removal, of which they would not guarantee to get all the viruses or spyware. They suggested spending $113.00 for a complete format of my hard drive, meaning it would wipe everything from my computer and I would lose all the data. Wow!

What is a person to do?

My advice is to NOT pay these high costs when you can very easily do the same work yourself with a few clicks with a mouse? Want to learn more? Read on…

There are usually three issues that can slow down your computer.

  1. Malware and Spyware: Spyware and Malware software “programs can collect various types of personal information” (wikipedia.org) and redirect you to unsafe websites while on the Internet. It gets worse in that “Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet connection or functionality of other programs.” Here is a free program you should download and run:
    http://superantispyware.com
  2. Wasted Hard Drive Space: More than likely your computer is clogged up with junk files, unused useless files, traces of your Internet searches and other data that puts your registry out of sync. In the past, a highly trained technician was the only one to repair this section of your computer. Now the same task can be easily performed by you, and done extremely fast. The program to download for free is called CCleaner found at http://www.piriform.com/. You will note that more than 600 million people have already downloaded this program and it comes highly recommended for computer maintenance.
  3. Slow Starting Computer:I have worked on computers that are so slow starting up I didn’t think the machines was even going to run at all. Some didn’t. Those that were so slow starting were terribly slow running and some people said they could put a load of laundry in while waiting for the computer programs to appear.The problem could very well be that there are too many programs on your computer fighting for startup at the same time. Everything on your computer wants to begin running at the same time and that makes for a very slow computer. Why would you have a full blown office program starting up when you are not going to use it right away? What to do, you ask?

    CCleaner does a fast and amazing job of cleaning “up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software (cnet.com).”  A real benefit of this program also is that it keeps a watchful eye for you as it takes “a snapshot of your critical system resources, then alerting you to any changes that occur without your knowledge.” This is a good way to know if the bad guys have tried to enter your computer without your knowledge.

If your computer is still running strange, then you should consider formatting your hard drive, which means a reinstall of your operating system. Here are some websites that will help you:

Windows XP:    http://bit.ly/lhPy7g
Windows Vista: http://bit.ly/kagWR9

Windows 7:       http://bit.ly/ivEwt4

Good luck and I hope the first three items work well for you and no further work is required. Email me and let me know how you make out.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com

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