Free computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

Imagine this conversation 15 years ago…

"Use anti virus software for safe computing."

"Use anti virus software for safe computing."

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

“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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Free Computer Help Seminars: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

Online Petition – HELP Save Sarnia Jail

Sarnia Jail Help Save it sarnia jail

Petitions now are sent via emails. Once the required number of signatures are met, the final person is to send the PETITION to the listed addresses within the PETITION. PLEASE GO THE EXTRA MILE AND SEND IN AN EMAIL COMPLAINT YOURSELF TOO. USE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES LISTED IN THE PETITION.

For example here is a real PETITION that is being distributed in order to collect 200 names and thus the final 200th person is to forward the email with the signatures. For example, in the body of the said email you will see these instructions:

Please copy this message out of the original email and paste into a new email. Lastly, add your name to the bottom and pass it on to people who have the same concerns within our community. When there are 200 names, please forward to Jim.Bradley@Ontario.ca  and Mr. McGuinty dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org

In our case we are trying to save the Jail in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

FACEBOOKSee Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarnia-Jail-Help-Save-it/212016418809742

PLEASE FORWARD THIS IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL TO YOUR FRIENDS AND CO WORKERS IF YOU WANT TO HELP US SAVE THE SARNIA JAIL. DON’T FORGET TO COPY THE NAMES IN THE LIST AND THEN ADD YOURS. 

Here is a copy of the petition:

Petition

To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

WHEREAS, the Government and the Minister of Finance has announced in theOntario budget of 2011 the closures of Walkerton, Owen Sound and the Sarnia Jail;

AND WHEREAS, these closures are only to offset the cost of building and running the two new Super Jails being built in Windsor and Toronto at the expense of other jails and security;

AND WHEREAS, the closures will undermine the fundamentals of public and security;

AND WHEREAS, the closures will cause families undue hardship to travel two hours to attend courts and visitations;

WE the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

1. Jim LaPier – Corunna, ON

2. Chris Parkes – Petrolia, ON

3. Dave Mitchell – Brights Grove, ON

4. J.Wolfenden-Bright’s Grove, ON

5. R.&P. Dummitt – Sarnia Ontario

6. F & N Strickland Corunna On.

7. K & D McGarry – Sarnia ON

8.  Allan Anderson – Sombra, Ontario

9. Jamie Pole- Sarnia, Ontario

10. Gregory West – Sarnia, Ontario

11. ADD YOUR NAME HERE AND PASS THE EMAIL TO SOMEONE ELSE.