Free computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

Computer & tech help for seniors

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?

 

Windows FREE Office 2010

Microsoft Rolls Out “SkyDrive” Online Office Apps and Storage

by Ira Wilsker

WEBSITES:

http://explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive

http://docs.google.com

 

It is obvious that there is some heavy competition between Microsoft and Google in  the online document market.  About a year ago I wrote about the services offered by Google Docs (docs.google.com), which includes free online document creation and editing, along with online storage and collaboration.  Microsoft has also been providing a somewhat similar service, originally with its Office Live Workspace (beta), but now with its enhanced and upgraded SkyDrive service, which is also free (explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive).  While the office components in Google Docs are generally compatible with Microsoft Office, Microsoft’s SkyDrive provides a free online version of Office.  Since SkyDrive is online, it is accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection, and works with most browsers; I tried it on Firefox and Internet Explorer, and it worked flawlessly on both browsers. SkyDrive is platform independent, and works equally well on a PC and a MAC, or any other operating system with a compatible browser and internet access.  Documents can be “collaborated” and edited or shared with others, even if the other users do not have Microsoft Office.  Microsoft SkyDrive offers 25MB of free storage, an adequate if not generous amount of storage space for almost all users.  SkyDrive requires registration, which is free; registered users of most other online Microsoft products, such as the other Microsoft Live services, Hotmail or Messenger can use their existing usernames and passwords on the SkyDrive service.

One of the primary features is the “Office Web Apps for SkyDrive”, which includes online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Clicking on the “Office” link will open up the basic Office App page, where the desired application can be opened.  The first window for all of the apps is very simple, where the user is asked to enter the name of the document.  I started typing this column on the online Office Word App, and the screen was almost identical to the desktop version of Word.  Anyone who can use Word, or another similar word processor, will find the online Word app familiar and easy to use; almost all of the features, commands, controls, and features of the desktop version are available in the free online version of Word.  In terms of functionality, I could not find any significant differences between the web and desktop versions of Word.  The user can choose to save the file on the SkyDrive servers (the default), print, and share the document.  Under the “Share” option, others can be invited to view or edit the document, all under the control of the original user.

As with Word, the online Excel App has the same look and feel as the desktop version of Excel.  To open a new workbook, the clean opening screen asks the user for a file name, and then the workbook opens.  Once data is entered, there is no “Save” button, as the Excel App continuously saves the workbook as it is produced.  The user also has the option to “Save As” and save the workbook under another name.  Unless explicitly downloaded to the computer, all of the workbooks are saved to the SkyDrive servers.  Workbooks can be selectively shared with others, while the others can be granted access only to view the workbook, or edit it; this is the heart of online document collaboration.

I frequently do PowerPoint presentations, and the SkyDrive PowerPoint app offers the ability to create, edit, store, and show a PowerPoint presentation from anywhere there is internet access.  When opened, the PowerPoint app has the same look and feel of the desktop version, and uses the same command set.  As with Excel, there is no “Save” button, as the presentations are automatically saved as they are created.  One interesting feature is that when a PowerPoint presentation is shown (“View – Slide Show”) it opens in a browser pop-up window, so the user must allow browser pop-ups from the application in order for the slide show to be viewed.  If connected to a projector, the output looks the same as if it was from a desktop version of PowerPoint.  As with all of the other Office online apps, the user can choose to share the file with others, and selectively allow others to edit the file.  Since Microsoft provides 25MB of free storage, SkyDrive is a practical place to store presentations; if for some reason the presentation must be shown from a computer lacking Office, the SkyDrive file can be shown, as long as there is internet access.

Microsoft OneNote is hard to explain, but basically both the desktop and SkyDrive App versions are both note-taking utilities.  OneNote can easily organize any notes that are taken, and would be useful in a classroom, organizational, or professional environment where notes are taken.  OneNote looks like a simplified version of Word, but allows the user to “flag” important points, or quickly search for desired terms or phrases.  OneNote can incorporate images, web pages, and video, and can itself be incorporated into Word or PowerPoint.  A few of my students use OneNote to share class notes during my lectures, ensuring that each of them has a comprehensive set of notes for test reviews.  As with the other Office apps, it can be selectively shared with and edited by others.  As with some of the other apps, there is no “Save” button as the information is saved to SkyDrive in real-time.

I have several students who do not have Microsoft Office on their personal computers, but need to be able to access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote; SkyDrive is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, provided that the student has internet access.  For the frequent times when several of us must work together (there is that “collaboration” term again) on an Office file, SkyDrive could be the appropriate utility that we could all share, giving us secure and controlled access to our files.  For those who have the desktop version of Office 2010, there is a direct and transparent online connection with SkyDrive, allowing files to be saved on SkyDrive directly from the desktop Office. The SkyDrive files can be selectively shared with anyone on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, AOL Mail, Hyves, Gmail, Outlook, other Windows Live users, and anyone else with an email address.  For security and privacy reasons, access is limited to only those authorized by the user, and that degree of access is also under the control of the original user.

I found SkyDrive and its Office Apps to be every bit as useful as their desktop counterparts, with the bonus of secure online storage of files.  Some of us have used SkyDrive and its apps to work together on producing Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, without the need to physically swap files between us.  SkyDrive and its Office Apps would be very worthwhile for any computer user with internet access.

 

Windows 7 – Complete Access

Guest Article:

Control All Functions in Windows 7 with “God Mode”

by Ira Wilsker

God Mode

Take Control

WEBSITES:

While Windows 7 generally works fine as they come from Microsoft with all of the default settings in place, many of us cannot resist tweaking our operating systems. In Windows 7 we can click on START (the orb) and CONTROL PANEL which will display the menu of most of the items that can be tweaked. Alternatively, the user can go directly to “SYSTEM” (START – CONTROL PANEL – SYSTEM) which will open the Control Panel Home where the basic customization functions can be located. For the past several months, geeks have been exchanging information about an undocumented Windows 7 feature. While this feature works very well on Windows 7, some published reports indicated that there have been problems using this feature with Vista. Based on published reports, I cannot recommend that users utilize this function on Vista. This undocumented function will display virtually all of the possible Windows 7 controls and tweaks in one place. Since this single command opens up so much of the innards of the operating system, and gives the user such great control, geekdom has given this control the moniker of “God Mode”. For those who would prefer not to refer to the deity in a Windows function, the user can easily change the name displayed to any name or title of his choosing.

To setup God Mode on the computer, the procedure is very simple. First, right click on an empty spot on the desktop, and go to NEW and then FOLDER (click on FOLDER); this will create a new, empty, generic folder on the desktop. Second, right click on the newly created folder and click on RENAME; in the box displayed, enter the following exactly (it may be manually typed, or pasted):

God-Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

It is here that the user can replace the name “God-Mode” with any other name or title to the left of the “period” if he so chooses. If you prefer to copy-and-paste, all of the links above have the exact string that can be copied and pasted into the name box for the new folder. Once that large string is entered for the name, the generic folder icon will automatically be replaced by the default Windows control panel icon. Now is when the fun really starts.

Clicking on the newly created icon will open up the “God Mode” (or whatever you chose for its name). God Mode offers easy access to 268 tweaks and controls, many of which most users are blissfully unaware that they exist. While none of the selected tweaks are terminal or irreversible, I strongly suggest that the user frequently create a system restore point in case the user wants to restore the computer to an earlier time. In Windows 7, click START – CONTROL PANEL – SYSTEM – SYSTEM PROTECTION – CREATE. Enter a brief description, and the time and date will be automatically appended to the chosen name of the restore point. If the user wants to use God Mode to create a restore point, simply scroll down to SYSTEM and click on “Create a restore point” and click on CREATE. The process is the same as if the same selection was found manually. If the user wants to restore the computer and go back to an earlier point in time, open God Mode and under the “Action Center” heading simply click on “restore your computer to an earlier time”; that will start the system restore process, which will not harm or delete any data files.

The God Mode display shows almost three dozen categories in its menu, each category having a selection of related tasks. Some of the categories include the Action Center, Administrative Tools, Backup and Restore, Date and Time, Default Programs, Device Manager, Devices and Printers, Display, Ease of Access, Fonts, Internet Options, Mouse, Network and Sharing, parental Controls, Personalization, Power Options, Programs and Features, Sound, System, Troubleshooting, Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, and Windows Update, among many others. Each of these categories contains a variety of tasks and tweaks, and by clicking on the task will open it and display whatever information and selections are available.

One of the several critical security functions is the firewall, which controls access to the computer from online sources, and controls which programs can access the internet. To control or access the firewall from God Mode, scroll down to “Windows Firewall” and click on “Check firewall status”. That will open the firewall window, and display the results and user-selectable settings. When finished the window can be closed, or by clicking on the back (left) arrow returns the user to God Mode.

In God Mode under the “System” heading there are 20 selections, including several that allow the user to control system performance, check the RAM in the computer, open the device manager, control the virtual memory, and access other performance related functions. It is much faster to access these System utilities with God Mode than it is to get to the same place manually, plus since all of the functions are laid out in plain sight, other tweaks can be quickly and easily identified.

` Many users never change the default Windows sounds, even though they are totally customizable. From God Mode, scroll to Sound, and select “Change system sounds”. When the “sounds” window opens, clicking on the “Sound Scheme” will show the selection of sound themes available, and give the user the opportunity to select sounds for any Windows function.

Under the heading “Personalization” are 12 tweaks that can be used to manipulate the desktop, change the color scheme or theme, get more free themes online, control the screen saver, and perform several other tasks. Without using God Mode, each of these functions would have to be found and accessed individually, but with God Mode, they all are in one place.

` “Mouse” allows the user to control all aspects of the mouse. The user can easily select the mouse pointer, change other mouse settings, select mouse buttons, and control the appearance of the mouse cursor on screen.

The “Internet Options” heading in God Mode offers the user 14 sets of internet tweaks and controls. Since many of us spend significant time online, some of these tweaks may increase our online satisfaction. It should be noted that the tweaks selected in this category only change Internet Explorer settings, and do not impact other browsers such as Firefox. The user can control pop-ups, cookies, security settings, select search providers, set a homepage (website shown when Internet Explorer is opened), manage browser add-ons, and other browser tasks.

There are about two dozen other categories available in God Mode, and anyone interested in tweaking his computer would find this undocumented feature very valuable. I now use God Mode exclusively to access Windows 7 functions, and have found it very fast, and an easy way to locate whatever tasks I am seeking. It takes almost nothing to set it up, and users will find it very simple to work with. Remember to create frequent restore points (accessible from God Mode), just in case something done is not as expected, so the computer can be restored to an earlier time. With that proviso in mind, enjoy the power (and responsibility) that God Mode provides the user.

Make PDF Copies FREE – limited time

Make PDF Copies FREE

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Remember, this offer is ONLY GOOD UNTIL October 21st.

Make portable file documents (PDFs) out of any data file. This keeps your tax return, manuscript, graphic art and such in tact.

When you email a PDF copy of your document or art it remains as is for the receiver.

This is for WINDOWS users ONLY.

 

CLICK TO GET FREE COPY

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MAKE FIREFOX FASTER – It really works…

Internet Explorer Browser logo

IE Browser

I admit to never being an IE browser fan. In fact, back in the day, I used Netscape. Well that is until Netscape 7 began to slow down and lose the browser war against IE

firefox browser

Firefox Browser

Is history repeating itself now with Firefox. Everyone is currently complaining about how slow Firefox has become.

RESULT: Firefox is now running slow…Just like the old Netscape.

HELP HAS ARRIVED and it REALLY WORKS:
3 steps listed below
to make your Firefox FASTER…

Here’s 3  easy steps for broadband people that will really speed Firefox up:

1. Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit return (where it says http://). Scroll down and look for the following entries:

network.http.pipelining network.http.proxy.pipelining network.http.pipelining.maxrequests

Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true

Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true

Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0″. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

If you’re using a broadband connection you’ll load pages MUCH faster now!
(from CNET.com)

Sneak Peek at Internet Explorer 9

NVIDIA Demos IE9 on Netbooks

First Look: Internet Explorer 9

gmail and MS Word

Get better email service

WHAT’S THAT? YOU DO NOT USE gmail? ARE YOU CRAZY???

gmail just keeps on getting better and better and better

AND IT SAVES YOU TONS OF MONEY IN SOFTWARE TOO…

Posted by Marc Miller, Software Engineer @ Google
If you receive Microsoft® Word files as attachments in Gmail, you can now view them with a single click — no need to download, save, and open files with a desktop application when you just want read them. The Google Docs viewer that allows you to view .pdf, .ppt, and .tiff files in your browser now supports .doc and .docx formats too.

Just click the “View” link at the bottom of a Gmail message and the viewer  will take it from there. If you decide you want to edit the file, clicking “Edit online” will open it in Google Docs, or you can download it to your desktop from there.

Windows “SkyDrive” FREE Storage 25GB

Windows SkyDrive – Works with a Mac or a PC

First off you will need a Windows Live account. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SIGN UP FOR HOT MAIL – I used my gmail account to sign up. This way you are not hooked to Windows “company store”.

Yes you read correctly: Windows is offering free online storage via their new SkyDrive. All you need is a Windows Live account or a hotmail email address to join in on this free service.

Upload, store and share photos and data up to 25 gigabytes worth with no charge.

AND guess what?

You can use this free service on both a Windows PC and a Mac computer.

There is one HUGE downside to this service and that is THERE IS A LIMIT:

Upload size is limited to 50 MB per file.

THIS MAKES THIS SERVICE very limited if you want to save video or music.

Personally, I will pass on this service as my files are larger than 50 MB and if I want to share files larger than this I can use the free sharing service at yousendit.com

HOWEVER it is excellent for students…Check out this video:

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS… remember you DO NOT NEED hotmail.

READ MORE HERE

FREE Computer Help 24/7

Please Note: This article will appear in the December issue of First Monday magazine.

No Strings Attached …

“Computer Problems Solved FREE OF CHARGE”
24/7 Service for the Public

http://tinyurl.com/ask-pamela

by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com

The title of this article is true. Just ask members of the Sarnia Computer Group: SCUG (www.scug.ca), as they know first-hand how fast and efficient this free service works.

All too often we find ourselves sinking in the mystery sea called Windows. We know what we would like to do but just can’t figure out the “how”. The further we click through our computers the worse our adventure becomes. We end up at a DEAD END and completely frustrated to the point of never wanting to turn the computer on ever again.

If the above situation sounds even remotely familiar, read on because now you are in luck and at no cost this time. Our saving grace: “The Computer Tutor”, Pamela Tabak.

When I was the editor for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group (scug.ca) I met Pamela somewhere in Cyberspace as she was writing a monthly article in another computer group’s newsletter. The one thing that struck me strange was that this person was offering a free computer-help service, not only for free, but offered answers back within 24 hours. Of course, it wasn’t long until we had The Computer Tutor column on the Sarnia computer group’s team as a columnist. Many SCUG members who began using this free service quickly began raving how simple and fast the answers back came.

Pamela tells the story of an “old gentleman” who told her he purchased a new computer.  He contacted Pamela for help because he was “tired of waiting for a phone call from his children and grandchildren” for computer help. Pamela did help this man to learn about his computer. Pamela quickly points out that “it is never too late in life, or even impossible, for seniors to learn about them.”

So how does this free 24/7 help service work?

Simply go to this site: http://computertutorinc.net/survey/questions_2008.htm and fill out the form with the details of your problem/question. One thing to keep in mind is that you must fill out the entire form, not forgetting to enter your email address so Pamela can reply to your issue.

After many suggestions and requests Pamela made the decision to publish a book that demonstrates the main questions others have queried via email. Pamela’s new book comes with the “most frequently asked questions” by seniors using computers. It overflows with excellent “how to” computer tips.  Check it out her website at: http://www.computertutorinc.net and see how she is helping others. Oh yes, Pamela is also a certified Ebay instructor so if you have questions on Ebay fire away!

TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

Almost everyone likes butterscotch, right? Well if you do you will like it even better now. Butterscotch is now online, you cannot taste it, however you can use this website to get free video training on hordes of subjects, programs and more.

How about free tutorials on MS Word 2007, Blackberry Basics, Finer Points of FACEBOOK, Buying and Selling on Ebay, adding your Photos to Flickr, using gmail and Google Earth and so much more.

As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system. (www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html)

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario for Emailing me this excellent find.

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor for Lambton College.  He also holds free “Basic PC Computer and Internet Training” seminars at Central United Church: 
http://central-united-church.org – (Click on “Groups).
Gregory can be reached at prospector16@gmail.com
More TIPS on Greg’s Blog: http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

FREE VIDEO ADVICE

TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html

Almost everyone likes butterscotch, right? Well if you do you will like it even better now. Butterscotch is now online, you cannot taste it, however you can use this website to get free video training on hordes of subjects, programs and more.

How about free tutorials on MS Word 2007, Blackberry Basics, Finer Points of FACEBOOK, Buying and Selling on Ebay, adding your Photos to Flickr, using gmail and Google Earth and so much more.

As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system.

TRY THIS EXAMPLE VIDEO ON Ebay Shopping

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for this great tip.

Windows 7 Upgrade or Stay With VISTA?

A recent report in the Globe and Mail warns: Stay with VISTA unless…

“Unfortunately, upgrading an existing PC from XP to 7 is not easy.

After upgrading, users will have to reinstall all their programs and find their files in the folder where Windows 7 tucks them away.

However, if you bought a Vista-based computer after June 25, you should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7 from the manufacturer, and I suggest taking advantage of it.” SEE GLOBE AND MAIL REPORT

Google Calendar on Cell Phones

If you use Google’s live calendar (if you don’t you are missing out big time), you can now connect to that calendar via your cell phone.

Set it up in minutes

Set it up in minutes

Here’s how: (I use it and it only took a few minutes to set up)

Just go to http://www.google.com/calendar in your phone’s web browser to access Calendar
(Google Apps users can go to http://calendar.google.com/a/your_domain/m, replacing ‘your_domain’ with your actual domain name).

For the full scoop CLICK HERE

NEW: YouTube – How to Use It

YouTube has made a major change in that you can now have your own channel and watch what you pick without all the other junk.

Getting ready for when TV goes online and away from the old way of viewing a show via TV set. Imagine the landfill sites with old TVs?

Problems Playing Some Video?

NO MORE PROBLEMS on your Mac or PC while wanting to view a video…

best video player on the planet and it's FREE

best video player on the planet and it's FREE

Join the over 52 million other people who have downloaded the FREE video player called: VLC

When I was trying to play one of my hundreds of videos on my Windows machine I came across several that Windows Media Player and Quicktime would not play.

Enter: VLC Player…Yes, it played every type of video format I found, without any problems whatsoever.

Say goodbye to Windows Media Player and Hello to VLC Player.

Click here to check this video player out for yourself.

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

Get All Your Local News FREE

The Most Popular Way to Get News

The Most Popular Way to Get News

Did you know that “Google News has 5 to 10 times the reach of MSNBC, the Guardian UK, the New York Times and Digg

BUT NOW YOU CAN GET LOCAL NEWS FROM WITHIN YOUR HOME TOWN WITHOUT BUYING THE NEWSPAPER (that offers news that is well over 12 hours old) OR HAVING TO WAIT FOR THE RADIO STATION (which usually never gives you ALL the news).

Check out:  http://news.google.com/
On the left side of this site you will see “Personalized”. Click on the arrows and find your town…Enjoy

Here is an example of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
http://news.google.com/news/section?pz=1&geo=N7V+2Y3&ict=ln

Fall LineUp for FREE Computer Training Seminars

FREE COMPUTER & INTERNET TRAINING

By Gregory West

This is our 3rd. season for our Basic Computer and Internet Training Seminars. It is a FREE program open to the public.

Free Computer / Internet TrainingFree Computer / Internet Training

The only catch is that you can bring one canned goods product for a donation to the Sarnia Food Bank.

Here is our proposed lineup and it is numbers by the weeks of the presenation order.

I am looking for suggestions and comments so PLEASE email me: prospector16@gmail.com (Greg West)

Getting Started with Your Computer…and then some!

1: Buying a Computer.

– what to look out for
– what kinds are good ones
– what stores are better and safer
– is that low price really a good deal
– what do you need inside your computer
– how much should I spend

2: Setting Up Your Computer.

– add password
– additional users
– set time & date
– set screen size
– turn off computer

3: Getting around the Windows Desktop.

– taskbar
– quick launch bar
– recycle bin
– desktop shortcuts
– change desktop picture
– start button/menu
– arrange desktop icons (R-click)
– recycle bin
– find a file with Win Explorer
– start a program
– switch between programs
– resize a window close a program
– how to remove USB devices

4: Customizing Windows.

– change desktop background
– choose a desktop theme
– set up a screen saver
– change mouse behavior
– uninstall an application

5: Working with Files and Folders.

– understand how Windows organizes data
– find and open files
– choose a file or folder view
– create new folder
– rename folder
– search for a file
– add file to favourite list (open windows by Right click START and choosing EXPLORE
– back up – USB, CD, DVD

6: Working with Printers, Scanners, and Fax Machines.

– invite guest from Data Tek or Staples to demonstrate

7: Getting FREE Help

http://support.microsoft.com/windowsvista
– forums
– using search engines such as google & bing

8: Creating Documents with Works Word Processor.

doc = documents
– open new documents – enter & edit text
– save a doc
– open existing doc
– cut copy paste text
– format text
– add photo or graphic
– resize objects
– spell check
– print a doc
– types of text file such as rich text etc.

9: Work with Numbers and Finances.

– spreadsheet – guest speaker
– online banking – guest speaker from a bank
– online investing – as above
– pay bills online – my wife

10: Get the Most from Movies and Digital Photos.

– Windows Media Player
– Windows Photo Gallery
– Googleʼs Picasa
– Windows Movie Maker
– play movies with Windows Media Player
– upload photos from digital camera
– view digital image in Windows Photo Gallery
– add tags to photos
– play a slide show with Windows Photo Gallery
– fix photos
– burn photos to CD

11: Listening to & Downloading (recording) Music and more…

– iTunes
– Windows Media Player
– create Windows Media Player Playlist
– burn CD music
– buying music online
– playing online Radio Stations & Podcasts & TV

12: Playing Games in Windows Vista.

I am not a game player. I am sure we can get a few people to help demonstrate some of the computer games they like to play. We can show how to find FREE games, how to play games on the Internet against other people around the world in live sessions. And of course we can set a general discussion and live demonstration.

Exploring the Internet

13: Understanding Internet Basics.

– explain the Internet
– different types of connections & speeds
– navigate the web: enter click on blue E show back and forth
– tabbed browsing etc.
– popups
– setup a home page with tabs
– secure surfing and online safety

14: Browsing the Web with Internet Explorer & FireFox

– add website to favourites
– change website name in favourites
– organize favourites
– customize Internet Explorer Toolbar
– download files and save to hard drive doc
– printing web pages
– playing podcasts
– finding podcasts
– cookies
– privacy settings
– enable content advisor

15: Keeping in Touch with E-Mail.

– set up an account
– set up Windows Mail
– Windows Mail and inbox
– manage email accounts
– create and send email
– send an attachment
– read a message
– reply to and forward email
– create and add signature
– format email messages
– add contacts
– customize Windows Mail
– create message folders
– organize messages in folders
– create mail rules
– spam

16: Connecting with People Online.

– Skype phone calling free phone calling between computers anywhere on
 the planet
– instant messaging what is it and how does it work
– use a webcam (it is really easy honestly)
– Magic Jack phone via computer
– Blogs and their many uses
– explore virtual worlds – secondlife.com madwolfsw.com
– find people with common interests
– playing games on the Internet live with other people for free

Taking Care of Your Computer.

17: Protecting Windows Computers.

– cleaning inside and out and save yourself lots of money
– FREE virus protection that really works
– spyware
– adware
– malware
– Windows Defender included in Vista
– update patches Microsoft automatically
– run Windows Update
– enable Windows firewall
– run Windows Defender scan
– full scan, quick scan and custom scans

18: Maintaining Windows.

– defrag
– free up disk space
– delete cookies using IE
– set reminder for maintenance tasks
back up important files

PLEASE HELP ME OUT HERE:

IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, IDEAS, WANTS, OR NEEDS WITH YOUR COMPUTERING TASKS PLEASE LET ME KNOW VIA EMAIL TO: prospector16@gmail.com

WE WILL BEGIN THESE FREE SEMINARS AT CENTRAL UNITED CHURCH THIS COMING FALL. LAST TWO YEARS WE RAN THESE SEMINARS EACH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. NOT SURE OF THE TIME AND DATE THIS SEASON – IT WILL BE POSTED IN EMAILS AND ON THE CHURCH WEBSITE www.centralunitedsarnia.ca

OF COURSE ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP ME OUT WITH THE MEETINGS AND PLANNING IDEAS FOR OUR SEMINARS CAN CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL. I NEVER TURN DOWN HELP :-)

Note: Outline for this came from Computers For Seniors For Dummies as a guideline
 reference.

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!