eHow To Do It EASY

Here is a website that shows you HOW TO in many areas.

GREAT HOW TO DO THINGS WEBSITE

I find this site http://www.ehow.com/guide_5-computers.html very useful in the latest computer tips in PLAIN ENGLISH.

If you like video tutorials this site has them too:
http://www.ehow.com/videos.html – scroll down where it says: More Featured Videos and use the slide bar on the right to see tons of topics.

let me know how you find this site???

What’s New at Google Laboratory?

What’s New at Google Laboratory?
www.googlelabs.com

by Gregory West

Editor’s Note: This article will appear in the October Issue of First Monday magazine

Google has a secret place: Google Labs. It is not well known to most humans. This is the place some insiders refer to as the “playground” for Google engineers. For those of you who have never explored Google in the past, other than using Google Search, you are now in for a real treat inside Google’s Labs. Come on and check out the programs.

Let’s head to http://www.googlelabs.com and see what Google is currently testing. Here you will find twenty five software programs you can try and use for free.

FAST FLIP: (http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/) This program is one of my favourites. When you click open this program you are before a magazine stand displaying various newspapers and magazines with current content. You just click on one and begin your reading experience.

Newspapers and magazines are beginning to suffer due to their content being displayed on the Internet, Google feels this service can help. Tony Bradley of PCWorld reiterates that “Google feels that recreating the print media experience online will attract more readers and help its partner publishers transition more smoothly to delivering information over the Internet”. Time will tell, but for now, give this program a go and enjoy the FREE newspapers and magazines on your very own news stand.

GOOGLE NEWS TIMELINE: (http://newstimeline.googlelabs.com) This is another collection of news media presentations wherein you find the major stories of the day. Timeline is also a news “time machine” where you drag the dates and go back in time. A calendar allows you to change dates from DAY, WEEK, and YEAR to see how a subject changes over a certain period of time. According to cnet.com this “project is the baby of Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original designers of the Apple Macintosh software and something of a Silicon Valley icon”. It is a definite program to keep an eye on.

SIMILAR IMAGES: (http://similar-images.googlelabs.com) Is a fun program where you type in a name, place, or whatever you choose to retrieve “similar” images. I typed in “sarnia, ontario” and was amazed at the tons of photos that people have uploaded to the Internet. In fact, there are “about 467,000” Sarnia related pictures found in that search. Type in your own name and include sarnia, ontario and see the many times your related photo has been uploaded to the Internet. To check your name type it like this: “gregory west” sarnia, ontario (include the quotation marks). This is a good time waster and it is an interesting program, to say the least.

There are twenty two more programs to check out. Some of my other favourites are: Google Mars, Google Trends, and Google Dashboard Widgets for Mac to go nicely with my Macbook. Remember, this is Google’s “playground” and the programs are in the beta or test mode and are not ready for prime time just yet.

[bi-line]
Gregory West is a basic home computer consultant for MAC and PC and software
reviewer for major computer companies. Also come and join in on his free Basic
Computer Training sessions, held weekly at Central United Church this Fall. For info: www.centralunitedsarnia.ca/free_computer_lessons.html
Gregory can be reached at gregorywest@bell.net
Also, check out his Blog: Computer & Internet Tips:
http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

HELP for Computer HELP

Note: This was originally published in First Monday magazine.

HELP for Computer HELP

by Gregory West

Does your computer have a mind of its own? Do you find that it is becoming increasing difficult going it alone, or are you relatively new to computers and completely lost?

We know that all-too-many computer software HELP buttons do not really help, they tend to make things much more confusing than before you clicked on that button. You are not alone.

Stats Canada reports that in 2006 “More than three-quarters of all households reported owning a computer”.  According to internetworldstats.com there are 237,168,545 North Americans used the Internet as of November 30, 2007 and that figure is increasingly on the rise. Out of those numbers, today Seniors make up a good majority of the computer purchases and are looking for ways to learn about how to use the computer. However, not just Seniors are seeking help. There are many people who have missed out on learning computers for a variety of reasons and there is a growing need for computer help.

As a computer instructor, I show a group of Seniors at Central United Church how to perform various functions on the computer, as well as use the Internet in a safe and secure manner. Part of the session is a popular Q & A where you can bring your computer questions and resolve issues live, on a large screen, so everyone can see how “it” is done.

Not all people are ready for a group such as this; they are new to computers and need some basic training at a computer “boot camp”. Here in Sarnia Lambton we are very fortunate to have a Board of Education who recognizes that people need a place where they can go and learn basic computer skills. They have opened the doors at Norm Perry School with the “Adult Learning Centre” (ALC). Here there is help for anyone from ages 18 to 80+ to learn computers at their own speed.

Sean Pynaert is the computer instructor who has been teaching computer skills at the ALC for the past nine years. Sean says that about 1/4 of the students are in their early 20’s and most are Seniors. “I had a 68 year woman in my class, a retired teacher who wanted some extra income and wanted to go to a call centre to work part time and they wanted computers [experience]. These courses are excellent for those who have never touched a keyboard and can “work at their own pace”. Those who want to brush up their computer skills can pick out what they want to learn. “Some people come in and say they just want to learn how to type,” said Sean. There are three levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced. You can even earn credits towards a high school diploma with these courses.

Anyone who I have spoken with that has attended Sean’s computer sessions have had nothing but high praise for Sean and his courses and how easy he makes it to learn about computers and the Internet. To get your name on the list for the next sessions you can go to Norm Perry School at 660 Oakdale Avenue and ask to see Sean. Do it now; see how easy it is to learn computer skills, you will not regret it.

In Sarnia Lambton there are other ways you can improve your computer skills. For example, the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group has been around for over a quarter century where people are helping people learn more about computers and technology. Members’ skills range from basic to advanced and most are in between. For more information go to www.scug.ca. The Sarnia Public Library also offers computer help, as does the Strangway Centre.

FORUMS and WHAT ARE THEY? Absolutely millions upon millions of computer users are now members of online/Internet forums. If you need help in almost any topic answers are only a few keyboard clicks away. For instance, we bought a travel trailer and needed to know how to winterize it. Well not only did we easily find that out, we were given additional information, from other travelers, regarding trailers and campground reviews by people who had “been-there-done-that”. YouTube.com is another way to get computer help. There are thousands of videos there on “how to”. Just enter your topic in YouTube search box to retrieve a training video.

The same goes for computer help of any sort. Just go to Google’s search box and use the word “forum” or “training video” with the search topic. For example, if you are looking for computer help and it is for a specific operating system such as Vista, type that into the search along with the word: forum. i.e. Windows Vista forums. If it  is a program problem you insert the program’s name along with the word: forum. Make sure you check out the forums before you join to see if they are the ones that you find most helpful.

LOCAL PLACES TO GET COMPUTER HELP:

The Adult Learning Centre: Sean 519-383-8787 ($20. per 6 week session)
Lambton Libraries: 519 845-3324 (call to see when free courses available)
The Strangway Community Centre: 519-332-0656 (call for fees)
The Sarnia Computer Users’ Group: www.scug.ca (attend 3 meetings for free)
Computer Tutor: http://tinyurl.com/ask-pamela (free online advice within 24 hours)
Central United Church: www.centralunitedsarnia.ca (free computer sessions)
Lambton College: For more experienced computer users: www.lambton.on.ca

[bi-line]

Gregory West can be reached at editor@scug.ca. Gregory is the Editor for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group [SCUG], a non-profit computer help group that is open to the public for Newbies and Geeks. For more information: www.scug.ca.

Update to Boot Camp Issue

There just might be some hope for wanna bee users of Boot Camp. “Dechamp”, an Apple forum user offered this solution to jump start and workaround issues in Boot Camp:

http://www.geocities.com/nja469/

I have decided not to use Apple’s Boot Camp and have now purchased a 3rd. party app called Parallels.

My Macbook will now be also a virtual machine running Windows XP Pro, Windows Visa Home Premium and Ubuntu Linux. All in a virtual mode using Parallels.

I have installed Windows Vista Home Premium thus far and it works like a charm. In fact any windoze operators would die if they saw that my Vista operating system opens as fast as you can turn on a lamp light. BAMB its on!

Boot Camp Fails the Grade

Does APPLE CARE have rotten Apple TECHS?

This was posted in Apple’s forum yesterday and some how the post disappeared and it has been forwarded to Leo Laporte’s Blog:

I use Parallels, a 3rd. product software and find it works very good.

However, I cannot say that for Boot Camp. Here is a post I put in yesterday that somehow disappeared from this forum:

Boot Camp Fails the Grade
Posted: Jan 19, 2008 7:35 PM
Click to edit this message… Click to reply to this topic Reply email Email

First of all, let me say that I am thoroughly disgusted with Apple Care techs.
I won’t even talk about the upwards of 3 hours I spent waiting on the phone today waiting to get a tech, but what I want to say is the service is below an acceptable standard.

I will get back to this later on, for now I want to discuss the problem that 3 Apple Care techs acted as if they knew nothing of what I was talking about.

I activate Boot Camp Assistant, Load Windows Vista. After Vista loads it looks for drivers. I am then instructed to insert driver disc (Leopard). The problem is (and the problem these techs would not acknowledge or listen to) that I cannot eject the Windows disc to insert the Leopard disc for the drivers. The problem is that simple – the solution seems to be a wonderment or a secret.

So, I decided to seek the tech support I paid good money for…That is when more problems from Apple transpired.

After an hour wait I got a tech (who gave me the wrong case number) who had no idea what I was talking about. He kept saying it was a Windows issue and not Boot Camp. Finally, after about 30 minutes on the phone he said I was a Canadian and I had somehow been transferred to the American Apple Care and he then transferred me. This was another 30 minute or so wait until I got Apple Care tech Alec. Who acted the same way. For these guys to say “I don’t do Windows” is wrong. Apple created Boot Camp for users to load Windows. They advertise this and they advertise the ease in which it is loaded. But when you seek help they play dumb and say they are not Windows guys that is truly not acceptable.

For any Mac reps who may be monitoring this post, this here is my case number I was given by tech Alec: 9150493, but guess what, he the other tech left out one digit and thus the number is incomplete. This “Alec” told me that to take a picture of the desktop with the problem and then call him back at: 1-800-275-2273 88 then extension 2210. Little did I know this was a lie. I tried that number and it is the same number I called for Apple Care before. The person who finally answered (after another 30 minutes) said I was not authorized to use that number.

At this point I gave up.

Now I am wondering why I spent good money buying the extended Apple Care tech support when these people do not support Boot Camp.

Gregory West
editor@scug.ca

Macbook Mac OS X (10.5.1)

Am I a MAC or a PC?

Now that Macs can host Windows Operating Systems and run both  OS’s on the same desktop (sorry on a Mac only), I have loaded Windows XP Home onto my Macbook laptop.  This was accomplished by the virtualization program: Parallels.

My next feat is to load Windows VISTA onto my Macbook via Boot Camp and then virtualize a Linux Ubuntu Operating System to work on the Macbook as well. This will be done by using the virtualization program: VMware.

Mark my words: Over the next 6 months there will be a huge amount of people buying Mac laptops, just because they can run other Operating Systems on a Macbook that is second to none.