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Getting Along With Your Computer

Loose ends

The theme of this week’s column is: Things that didn’t fit any other theme recently. One more way of recovering a “missing” document, cool Google tricks, and an awesome website.

 

An even better way to find that “missing” document

Last week (http://rlis.com/columns/column470.htm) I mentioned a few ways to get back a Word document that I’d saved in the wrong place. Thanks to long-time reader Barb, who gently suggested that it would be pretty easy to open Word, click on File| Open | Recent and open it from there.

Well good grief. Yes! That would be way easier! I wish I’d thought of that. Thanks, Barb!

 

Google does things besides just search

Google is a search engine, but wait --- there’s more. You can make Google perform a few other useful functions.

If are working at your computer and need a little reminder that the tea is going to be ready in a few minutes, open your browser and go to the Google search page. Type set timer followed by how much time you want. For instance, set timer 5 minutes.

You’ll get search results as usual, but at the top of the search results will be a timer, set for 5 minutes. Make sure your speakers are on, then go on and do other things, just don’t close your browser. The timer will beep at you when it gets to zero.

If you’re using Firefox or Internet Explorer, you’ll have to type in the commands. But if you’re using Google Chrome or the Google Search app for Windows 8 (and if you have a microphone connected) you can simply say set timer 5 minutes and get the same results.

Here’s a short video demonstrating all that: http://youtu.be/IOAjeerGDIw?list=UUOAXThem70susrdb2wLwf-Q.


Time and Date are just the beginning

While I was fooling around with --- I mean TESTING--- the Google timer and calculator, I rediscovered the website called TimeAndDate.com (http://www.timeanddate.com/date/). I wrote about this site years ago, but hadn’t visited in a long time.

It took me forever to write this column because TimeAndDate.com has so much to offer. When you first arrive at the site, you’ll see the current time in your location along with a searchable World Clock. And then you’ll see links to a Date-to-Date calculator, countdown timers, and a stopwatch/time/alarm. Then there’s weather, sunrise/moonrise, time zone calculator and meeting planner and distance calculator. Want a printable calendar? No problem. Want holidays on it? No problem.

I clicked on Distance Calculator, and found the distance between Kelowna and Toledo, OH. From that result, I clicked on the “Find suitable time to call…” link and got a table that converted time, highlighted good times in green, bad in red, and marginal in yellow, always showing the time in both time zones.

This website has so much more going on. Check it out and let me know what you think!


Have a great Labour Day weekend, and maybe take a look at TimeAndDate.com and reflect on what Labour Day is all about: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/labour-day. Be safe!

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

 

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



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How to recover from self-inflicted problems

When Windows asks me if I'm sure, I'm usually sure. Unfortunately, sometimes I am also wrong. Here's how you can recover in case you ever make a couple of the same silly mistakes I made recently.

 

Where did that file go?

Last week I finished writing my column (I use Microsoft Word) and saved it. But… where?

I have a folder in my Documents folder called Columns, and that’s where I keep my columns. But when I saved last week’s column and opened that folder later I didn’t see the column in there. Oh no! How can I find it?

When this happens to you (and at some point it probably will) the first thing to do is stop clicking on things, and calm down. There are several ways you can find a file you’ve recently worked with, and a couple of them are really quick and easy.

One way is to use Windows built in search function. I didn’t know where the file was, but I remembered that it had the word “tips” in the name. The bad news was that many of my documents have the word “tips” in the name! I could use the Advanced Search options to narrow the search to just Documents, and then sort the results by date so the most recent documents with “tips” come to the top of the list. That works but it’s a little tedious and would take some time to look through my stuff.

Another option is the excellent free search utility called Search Everything (http://www.voidtools.com/). In just seconds Everything can find your file and show you exactly where it is. It’s much faster than the built in search.

Both those methods required me to remember at least one of the words in the name of the file. But if you simply can’t remember what you called that file, there are two easy ways to find it. I knew it was a Word document. Opening Word and clicking on the top left corner displayed a list of recent documents, including the one I wanted. Clicking on that opened the column, and then clicking on "File | Save as" allowed me to save it to the correct folder, and showed me where I’d saved it in the first place.

Finally, I could have clicked on Start (because I was using a version of Windows that still has a Start Menu) then on Recent, and opened the file from there.

 

Wait. What?!? OneDrive has a Recycle Bin?

Sometimes when I write my column I start it on my main desktop computer and work on it using my netbook when I’m between customers. I save the work in progress/finished column to OneDrive because I write in Word, and my Windows 8.1 netbook makes it easy to use OneDrive. (OneDrive is Microsoft’s free online storage offering, similar to Dropbox or GoogleDrive. Check this tutorial for more: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/getting-started-onedrive-tutorial.)

While working on this very column, I managed to delete it from OneDrive before grabbing it to work on back at home. I logged onto OneDrive via the web, and noticed a Recycle Bin. It turns out the OneDrive Recycle Bin works just like the Recycle Bin on a computer. You can restore files from the bin to their original location! Click on Recycle Bin in the left panel, select the file(s) you want, and click on Restore along the top of the OneDrive window.

Not only that, OneDrive will show you previous versions of documents you’ve stored there. Right-click on a document, click on Version history, and select the version you want to revert to. It’s nice to have a second --- or third --- chance at undoing a mistake.


The best key combination in any version of Windows is…

CTRL+Z. Pressing those two keys simultaneously will UNDO the last thing you did. Sometimes I wish we had an Undo key for real life.

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

 

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



Quick tips

Three simple fixes for three kind of obscure problems.

 

Just a minute…

Here’s a weird problem: After about a minute of inactivity, a computer would jump out of Windows 7 and back to the logon screen. And by inactivity I mean the customer could be sitting there watching a YouTube video, and suddenly be dumped out to the logon screen.

I changed the Power Plan settings (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ie/windows7/change-create-or-delete-a-power-plan-scheme) to increase the time before the screen would blank and before the hard drive would shut down. Then, I turned off hibernation. I sat there for a minute and … the computer was back at the Logon screen.

Eventually I realized that the computer was acting like it had a screen saver set. So I checked there. Nope, no screen saver. But one little option was causing the problem. The screen saver was set to None, but the time was set to 1 minute AND the box saying "requires a password" was checked. So after a minute, we were going out to the Logon screen. I hate it when computers do just what we tell them and not what we mean.

If you’re having this really weird problem in Windows 7 or Windows 8.x:

  • Right-click on an empty spot on your desktop
  • Click on Personalize
  • Click on Screen saver
  • Clear the checkmark in the box that says “On resume, display logon screen”
  • OK your way out

And by the way, if you want to change your power plan settings, there’s a link to that right in the Screen saver properties. If I had used that shortcut in the first place, I’d have seen the problem right away.


Tell Apple you’re not using your old computer any more. Seriously.

The last couple of columns (http://rlis.com/columns/column467.htm and http://rlis.com/columns/column468.htm) dealt with the current iTunes scam. There’s something else you need to know about iTunes. If you use iTunes one thing you really need to do before you get rid of an old computer is “deauthorize” it.
 

iTunes allows a maximum of five computers associated with your Apple ID. (And by the way, why isn’t it an "Apple iD”?) If you give that computer to someone else without deauthorizing it, that person has access to all your iTunes content ---- music, apps, and of course the associated credit card. Whoa.

If the computer is still able to connect to the Apple store:

  • Open iTunes
  • Click on Apple Store
  • Click on Deauthorize this computer
  • Type your Apple ID and password
  • Click on Deauthorize

If you can’t get your old computer to connect to the Apple store, or if you’ve already given it away, you need to go to a different computer, go to the Apple store and deauthorize ALL your computers. You can then authorize just the ones you want. (You can only do that once a year, for some reason, so be careful.)

More information on the Apple support site, here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1420.

 
Get your Google back

If you have a Windows 8 computer, you have likely noticed how Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the Microsoft search engine, Bing have pretty much taken over your browsing and searching. The folks at Google want you to get your Google back, and they’ve made it pretty easy to do that.

The Google Search app for Windows 8 is pretty cool. Visit the new Google for Windows 8 page, http://getyourgoogleback.com for a quick way to get either the Google search app or the Google Chrome browser or both. You just need to click on a few things and you’re good to go. If you want a little more help, check out this fun video: http://youtu.be/TGplftLI9Fo.


Do you have a tip to share? Do you need a quick tip to fix something annoying? Email [email protected] and let’s talk.

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



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Reader feedback

Thank you to everyone who writes with things to ask or tell. Here is a sampling of recent reader feedback. Please keep it coming!

 

iTunes scam feedback

Last week’s column about the current iTunes scam (http://rlis.com/columns/column467.htm) generated plenty of comments. Many of you wrote to say you’d just received the iTunes email too.

Several readers wondered how spammers got their email address in the first place. The short answer: People use “harvesting” programs to scour the internet and copy text that contains the @ sign, or they might use a brute force program (which is just guessing words from the dictionary at a very high speed) to produce a list of possible email addresses. Spammers then buy the email addresses obtained or guessed at and bombard the addresses with spam. Or, you might have actually provided your email address to a spammer on a website without realizing it.

This article provides a good, brief overview: http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/scamsandidentitytheft/f/spamemailaddresses.htm. An excellent, more detailed discussion is here: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/spam.htm.

A few readers were confused about what “hover your cursor over the link” in an email means. What you need to do is place your cursor (without clicking anything!) on a link in an email. That link might look perfectly fine until you look at the bottom of your email window to see if the link does not actually go to the correct site.

Additional feedback came from people who warned of the Netflix scam (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netflix-scam-put-users-credit-cards-personal-information-at-risk/) and several Facebook scams (http://www.2dayfm.com.au/scoopla/trending-now/blog/2014/8/10-facebook-scams-people-actually-fall-for/). An interesting twist came in an email from someone with an actual Amazon account who found he’d been charged for an Amazon Prime membership without consenting to it.

My advice up to that point was, “If you get a message about an account you don’t have, ignore the message!” But now I have to add that even if you HAVE an account with someone, watch the account activity and the credit card activity closely. Some banks offer a service that sends a text message or an email or both every time your credit card is used. Irritating, but apparently necessary.


Up or Down Feedback

The July 8 column (http://rlis.com/columns/column466.htm) mentioned several websites you can use to check if Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, or other websites are unreachable for everyone or just for you. I received an email from the owner of a similar site, CurrentlyDown.com, here: http://www.currentlydown.com. He points out:

What's cool about it that it provides historical outage data for you to explore. We also try to research the cause and the status of the outage and take screenshots whenever possible.



Antimalware Feedback

Faithful readers will know that I recommend an antimalware program such as Malwarebytes or SuperAntiSpyware in addition to whatever antivirus program you’re using. A customer wrote me last week:

I am concerned about the number of tracking threats when a scan is done on SuperAntiSpyware. They are quarantined and removed after each scan.

I’ve long maintained that while SuperAntiSpyware is a good program, calling Tracking Cookies a “threat” is overstating it. And it turns out that the makers of SuperAntiSpyware kind of agree. This comes from the SAS website (http://www.superantispyware.com/supportfaqdisplay.html?faq=26):

Are cookies really spyware and are they dangerous?

This subject has been the debate of many newsgroups and online forums. Cookies are simply text files stored on your hard drive and cannot themselves harm your computer in any way. Typically cookies are used to remember logins and keep track of user settings on web-sites.

Cookies can be used to track your movement on the Internet ONLY if a site is aware of the cookies and is designed to use the specific cookies. Because of their use in tracking, many feel that this constitutes spyware.

We do not consider cookies to be threats of anywhere near the same level of severity as actual malware threats that can steal real personal information, serve ads, or render a computer unusable.

SUPERAntiSpyware will detect tracking cookies as "Adware.Tracking Cookies" and you can choose to remove them or leave them on your system. You may turn off this feature in the Preferences -> Scanning Control tab of SUPERAntiSpyware should you not wish cookies to be scanned, detected and removed.

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

 

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



Read more Computers articles

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About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at www.rlis.com.




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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