Inside Eastside - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.
Christmas Santa - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Welcome to the New Year

This month’s article has been written in mid-November, when it is still raining and a bit cool. Hopefully this has passed and the weather is kinder with most of the silly season is behind us and Santa was good to you.

Thank you to all those who have sought computing help from us and contributed to our continuing viability.

Broadband fibre

I have been suggesting that moving to Fibre while it is still free for the installation and new equipment is well worth considering. I have seen several clients on very old Broadband Plans who have moved to Fibre. They have done so at a small monthly increase or in one case a saving as their plan had to be considered “ancient”. Are you perhaps still paying for Faxability and not used it in a couple of years? Call your supplier to see if Fibre is available at your place and that it is still free for the install. If you are on a current plan, then you will probably only have to add $10 per month to enjoy Fibre.

It is not just the speed increase that is useful, but the huge volume increase. Think of regular Broadband as delivering water at a maximum 15KPH thru a garden hose. Fibre will deliver water constantly at 30KPH thru a 6 metre pipe. That is a huge volume increase and will allow you to have several Computers, Tablets and even your nice Santa delivered new Smart Fone to all be running at full speed on the Internet at the same time, with no slow down.

Internet Explorer

If you are still using Internet Explorer 8, be aware that you need to upgrade to a later version before January 2016. So, plenty of time yet. Or perhaps you might like to try a different browser like Firefox from Mozilla.

Bike Racks

I know, this article is supposed to be all about computing, but all of us have to have some down or me time sometime. If you have a bike rack on the rear of your vehicle and as a result your number plate is partially or fully covered, you could end up with a fine to pay. This can be avoided at very little cost. Call the NZTA at 0800-736-253 and order your Supplementary Number plate and hang it off the back of the bikes. Ours was ordered over the phone on a Monday and arrived on Friday for just $19.69.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 14 December/January 2014, vol 32 issue 11.



WiFi - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Wireless Network or WiFi

Wireless networks come in two broad categories; incoming to your house and within your house.

Incoming to your house

This variety of wireless network is used where the location of your house is too far away from a wired broadband connection. Typically for those out on the land. Usually this requires either a direct line of sight from a sending unit mounted at a distance on top of a hill. Another method for this option is a satellite dish to receive the incoming broadband signal.

WiFi in your house

Just about all current broadband modems have the ability to send out a WiFi signal. The modem has at least one aerial, which may not be visible and mounted inside the case, or sticking up at the rear of the case. This lets any computer, tablet or smart cell phone connect to your Wi-Fi broadband and surf the internet.

Security

If you are hooked up to your modem with a network cable and have no WiFi devices to use this signal, then you may choose to turn it off. Security is pretty important here, so make sure you are aware of the security password. This is typically displayed at the base of the modem along with the name given to your WiFi modem. Both the modem name and password can be changed, just make sure you know what they are! If you choose not to turn on the security function, then anyone within the distance your WiFi signal is being sent can use it to download whatever they want. And they will.

Within your home you will normally “see” several other WiFi signals displayed on your computer. These are from you close neighbours and sometimes commercial sites. A lot of businesses now offer free WiFi, but please be careful using these. OK for a bit of web surfing, but your use could be compromised, watched and captured by anyone close by.

In days gone by, we had postcards. You wrote to someone on the card, popped on a stamp and sent it off. Anyone handling that postcard could have read you message. Guess what, your use of the internet is pretty much the same. Anything you see on your computer could be seen by those who choose to partake in such activities. Be careful out there!

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page ?? November 2014, vol 32 issue 10.



Computing Solutions - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Pushing Buttons . .

The situation goes sort of like this for a computer user in need of help; my neighbour’s son-in-law’s, niece’s, boyfriend’s best mate says “No worries I can fix that easy for you”. Kind of like a Tui ad, you know, “Yeah, right!”

Turns out the lad didn’t know the difference between Restore and Factory Reset.

Restore

The purpose of Restore is to set the computer back in time to a point prior to the fault happening on the computer. That is as long as you have Restore Point turned on. It’s a good idea to manually set a Restore Point just before you install some new software. If it goes wrong you can restore the computer to its previous state.

Factory Reset

This is a completely different kettle of fish. This option is usually available on laptops and sometimes on desktop computers. Be careful!! This will put the computer back the way it was the day you purchased it. Yep, none of the neat programs you had installed in the past four years are there. Even worse, all you documents, music and the hundreds of photos of the family, grandkids and memorable holidays have gone forever too. Your only option at this time is to use the regular safety Backup you have been making on your external hard drive or memory stick.

Download

The term “Download” means to get (Download) a file or series of files from a local network or from the internet, a very big network. These file(s) are saved onto your computer for later use.

Install

The term “Install” means to use a file, perhaps recently downloaded, to have a new program functioning on your computer. The installation file may have many other files compressed and contained within it. Think of a shirt, it’s made up of a dozen or more pieces of material, but it’s not a shirt till they are all stitched together. This is sort of what Install does on your computer, takes all the files required to make the program work, stores and links them on the computer.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 14 October 2014, vol 32 issue 9.



Happy Birthday - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Thank you

A big thank you to all who have allowed us the opportunity to help you with your computing needs. Time has truly flown by and as at the first Monday in August, we have been running for 5 years. We are having a blast and have met a heap of really neat folks, thank you.





Linux Mint - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Linux Mint

Many years ago a computer operating system called Linux was created. This was really for the dedicated computer user and not readily taken up by regular users. Time has moved on and now there is a very “User Friendly”, mature and stable version called Linux Mint 17. For anyone out there with a low powered computer and probably still running Windows XP, this could be a viable option to buying a new computer.

I have had a play with the latest version and found it installed cleanly and quickly on several old cobbled together computers. One has a very old CPU and just 512Mb of RAM, yes, that is Megabytes not Gigabytes of RAM. During the installation it installed most of the common programs a light user would need; Firefox for getting onto the internet, Thunder for email, Libre Office which includes a word processing, spreadsheets and a presentation program, Gimp to deal with pictures and Banshee for music and videos and several more for a variety of tasks.

This version of LinuxMint is supported with updates and improvements till 2019. It has a bit of a look and feel like Windows and there is quite a library of additional programs available for easily downloading and installing. It is essential that you need to save ALL of your data, including email, address book and any data or folders that may be stored on your desktop before installing any new operating system. Should you want to have a go at this yourself, remember you will lose ALL existing programs and data during the installation. Safety First! To have a look at this running, give me a call.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 20 September 2014, vol 32 issue 8.



Windows XP - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Keeping Windows XP running

Most people in the know estimate that around 25% of all computers using Windows, are still using Windows XP. That is a huge number of computers in the world. So, how do you keep your computer happily running if you are using XP?

Security is the biggest issue. Just because the last XP update was on April 8th this year, does not mean your computer will stop working. Whatever it was capable of doing then, it can still do it. More than one computing observer has estimated that XP is six times more likely to have unwanted lodgers tucked away inside it than the current version of Windows. Several providers of Anti-Virus programs have indicated they will continue to provide their updates for XP for a year from April 8th. This is good news in that you know you have a year to decide on your next move.

How do you stay secure? Well, the most drastic way is total abstinence of using the internet, but for most folks this is not really an option. Keep your antivirus up to-date and be careful of the places you visit. Be aware that some links in your email offering quick access to a site may in fact be hosting a virus. When you wander your mouse over the link, your program will show the path and a string of letters and/or numbers after it. This may house malicious code. A better option is to visit the website by typing in the true web address and looking through the site to find the article or item.

Another cheeky way your system can get invaded is when you find a video clip or some music the you just “must have”. The site offering this may want you to download a new codec to run the file. Codec is code to help you media player run video or music. This is fine as long as it really is codec and not something nasty that could cause havoc on your computer.

I guess it really comes down to being careful, using sites you know are legit and taking the advice our Mum’s gave us years ago – “Be careful out there”. And, make sure you keep regular backups of all your email, data and photos you cannot afford to lose.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 19 August 2014, vol 32 issue 7.



Bloatware - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Bloatware

If you have recently purchased a new computer or even installed a new printer, chances are you have a stack of Bloatware as well. Bloatware is the name given to software either pre-installed on your computer or bundled with your new printer install that really does not offer any benefit to you. Typically this is a trial version and will expire in 30 or 60 days, at which point you will be told “this software expires tomorrow and your computer will implode if you don’t pay now!”

Some of these programs are a bit like ET, in that they are constantly calling Home for updates. This sort of behaviour will slow your computer down and hog your broadband. Or it may fit into another category of Bloatware and pester you to “Click here to get our new and improved pro version, to clean out those other 9783 files”. How ironic is that? Of course you will need to dig out your credit card to complete this operation.

These programs may not take up a lot of storage space, but add all of them together and it can chew up space on your hard disk. That is not the issue though with the large capacity hard disks currently in use. Think of a large technical book with hundreds of pages and many chapters. To find any information in the book you would look up the index and move directly to the correct page in the book. Your computer sort of works like this too, it has to know the storage position of every file on the hard disk. So, if you have several thousand “extra” files, then these to have to be tracked and recorded in your computer tracking system. It’s no wonder your computer seems slower than it used to be.

Browser toolbars are the other pests that invade your computer. You will recognise this when you open your browser and find that the top portion of the screen is now populated with pretty icons on several extra toolbars. Most offer no advantage to you and rob you of a reasonable amount of screen space for you web surfing.

All of these programs need to be hunted down and removed to clean up your computer.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 15 July 2014, vol 32 issue 6.



Internet on Fibre - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Internet on Fibre.

We have taken the plunge into the current fast method of hooking into the internet. Recently we had fibre connected up in place of the original copper wire from the street.

The whole process from our point of view was completely painless. The team turned up at about 10 in the morning and they were gone by 3 in the afternoon. First thing they needed to do was dig a small hole in the front lawn to find the trunking already laid months ago. On the side of the garage is a small white box with the connection into the house for the phone. They pushed a small conduit down through the existing connecting tube all the way under the drive and front lawn to the street connection box for the phone.

The fibre optic was then blown with compressed air just over 500 metres from the road side exchange box, through the street trunking, all the way to the connection at our garage. Inside a new connection box at the garage they hooked the fibre to another new cable they had laid through the ceiling and down into my office. In the office a new terminating junction box was fitted to the wall and the fibre hooked into it. A new wireless modem/router was supplied and wired into the terminating box. The technician called our ISP and had the fibre activated. Nearly ready to go!

The internal phones had to be “livened” by also hooking into the terminating box. This needs to be done as there is no longer any copper wire connection into the house. All the phones worked fine after this.

The last thing to do was see if we had a connection to the internet. Yep! First time in it worked fine and has continued to do so. Our download speed has moved from 8Mbs to 30.5Mbs and upload from 0.5Mbs to 9.8Mbs. What does this mean? Well, things get here a heap faster from the internet and outgoing emails are now gone in a flash.

All of this was provided free and only a few dollars more for our monthly charge. This option is well worth looking at as there is limited time for this to be offered free. It could be said we are a bit future proofed too.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 15 June 2014, vol 32 issue 5.



Capacity - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Size Matters . . .

In previous articles I had talked about backing up your important files. Since then I have had folks ask “How do I know if they will fit on my backup device”. Well that’s easy to sort out using any version of Windows Explorer.

If you need to select a continuous series of folders or files; click on the first one, hold down the Shift key and click on the last required folder or file. If you need to select random folders or files; click on the first one, hold down the Ctrl (Control) key and click on each required folder or file.

Once you have selected your folders and/or files, right mouse click within the highlighted block and chose “Properties” from the pop out menu. This will let you know how many folders and/or files you have selected and importantly, the space they will take up. If you then right mouse click on the target backup device, typically an external hard disk or USB Memory stick, again choose “Properties” to find the available space for your files.

If you have 486Mb of selected files to backup will they fit on a 4Gb memory stick with 3.18Gb of free space? Yep, easily. A Gigabyte (Gb) is a thousand Megabytes (Mb). So, in this example you are about to add 486Mb of folders and/or files to an available space of 3,180Mb.

Learning to use Windows Explorer provided with all versions of Windows is useful. While there are numerous user friendly backup programs available, mostly they suffer from a similar fault. That is they are often version dependant, meaning if your computer needs replacing and you cannot get the same (original old) version of your backup program you may have trouble getting your files back. Using Windows Explorer you are simply mastering the art of Copy and Paste.

Remember, all computers have a crisis detector built in. If that’s not true, then when did your computer last fail at a convenient time?

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 14 May 2014, vol 32 issue 4.



Broadband - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Broadband – What flavour do you need?

Remember Dialup? It took for ever to get on-line then even longer to surf the Internet or grab a file from a website. Then along came Broadband. Broadband is going through a new stage for us, we now have three “flavours” to choose from.

ADSL

This is short for, asymmetric digital subscriber line. In very simple terms it means we have a faster speed of Broadband arriving at our place (download) than we have sending files like email, outwards (upload). This is the norm for all Broadband.

Broadband

This is the normal one most of us have, running through our copper wired phone line. Great for a bit of surfing, email and Skype. In terms of speed I have seen downloads from 0.256Mbs (MegaBits Per Second), only just better than Dialup and all the way up to 16Mbs in Rotorua. This is fine for “normal” use, with a theoretical top download speed of 18Mbs. Upload should be at least 0.5Mbs.

Fast Broadband

Now we see speeds of up to 30Mbs, or nearly 3 times faster in most places than we current can achieve and still using copper wire. Really good if you have multiple folks in the house using the Internet. Teenagers anyone?

Fibre Broadband

Get ready to fly – now speeds of upto 100Mbs are being offered by the suppliers. This is a theoretical speed, but whatever you get it will be fast. This is ideal if you are moving vast amount of data around via email attachments or streaming shows from any of the “On Demand” sites on the Internet. The upload speed is proportionally greater as well as the high download speed. The speed increase here also means there is way less “waiting time” for data transfers. Some suppliers suggest this could amount to as much as 30 minutes per person in your business.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page ?? April 2014, vol 32 issue 3.



Sick Computer - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Is your computer slowing down?

If you have been using your computer for several months, or perhaps years, chances are it seems to be running slower than it used to. This is often due to the additional programs that have been installed, either on purpose or from the additional “features” included in some program updates.

In a lot of cases these programs will set themselves to run every time you start the computer. This can rob your computer of RAM, the driving force of the computer. The real RAM hogs not only run at start-up, but continually “call home” to see if they need updating. If the program is one you want to keep, then it may be possible to stop it running at start-up time and just call it as you need it. This releases valuable RAM and gains back some computing power.

Then there are other programs that you really don’t want and these can be deleted. This will help the computer performance and also give you back a bit more space on your hard disk.

Wayne’s tip of the Month

At last we have some good news from Microsoft. As you are all aware by now the LAST update for Windows XP is the 8th April this year. Microsoft have announced they will continue to support their antivirus product, Security Essentials, for another 12 months beyond that. This means that if you are using, or planning on using, Security Essentials you can still happily surf the net with virus protection.

If you are using another antivirus program and still on Windows XP, check that it’s data file will continue to be supported after 8th April.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 18 March 2014, vol 32 issue 2.



MemoryStick - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Backup your data!

What do you back up onto? The old 3½” floppy is too small for even one picture from you digital camera or cell fone, CD’s are fine but also have a limited storage capacity and DVD’s, while larger in capacity, are still really too small. What is left? USB memory sticks can be found in a variety of sizes and are dropping in price too. These can be purchased in packs of 3 with each holding 8Gb for around, or under, the $30 mark. If you choose to use the triple coloured pack, it’s easy to rotate their use by colour. You know, red this week, blue next week and yellow the following then back to red. This way you have multiple safeguards.

Even better are the portable USB external hard drives. These can be located for around the $100 mark. With a couple of these you can again create a regimen of safe guard backups.

A no-cost method is to use Windows Explorer. Create a folder on you backup device, with the current date backwards in the format of Year, Month, Day. So 31 January 2014 would be 20140131. This will always keep your backups in order. Then select the required files and folders from your Documents folder, copy and paste them to your Dated folder on your backup device.

Wayne’s tip of the Month

If have printed email from the likes of Gmail or the content of a web page and the font size is tiny, you need to turn off the default page setting of ”Shrink to fit”. From within your browser select File > Page Setup. Remove the tick from Shrink to fit and reset the scaling to 100%.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 17 February 2014, vol 32 issue 1.



Backup logo - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Save your files!

In recent times I have had to carry out complete re-builds on client computers, or in some cases, replace a computer that had reached the end of its life. Too often there had been no back of those valuable documents or photos of the loved little ones. Fortunately I have been able to recover most of these for most of the rebuilds.

When did you last backup your data and pictures? Do you know how to do it, or do you just hope that it won’t happen to you? If you did backup, have you tested you backup to ensure the files on it can be popped back onto the new computer? If you have used a software program to make the backup, has the current version changed and will it still read the “old” files? More on this next year.

Summer is on the way . . .

and so is the heat it brings. Have you thought about the amount of dust and carpet fluff that gets into your computer and clogs up cooling fans? When this reaches a critical point, the computer will not start as it can no longer cool the electrical components inside it. Do NOT try and fix this with your trusty vacuum cleaner as it really requires clean compressed air, and the right amount, in the right places.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098. To find out more about this, follow this link to see the results of crud build up inside a computer: http://www.abingdon.co.nz/horror.html

Thanks to all who have been part of our lives and continued to seek help, training and support from us. Have a great Christmas break and take care out there. Wayne & Jenny.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 17 Dec 2013 & Jan 2014, vol 31 issue 11.



Download logo - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Installing Freebee Software

Be careful! Have you thought about why it’s free? Most of the free programs are a cut down version of the “pro” or paid program. The idea is that the “personal” version is a bit of a teaser for you to Upgrade, which means getting out you credit card.

Another way money is made from the free version is on-screen advertising. The hope here is that you will try another type of advertised program. The one you were using gets a few cents for you choosing it from their screen, paid by the second program team.

These methods are accepted as fair and legitimate. You need to take your time and watch what you click on. If you race thru and install the freebee program and not watch and read each screen you are likely to end up with some new software as well. Many of the install procedures have tick boxes in the sequence of screens. Some of these are telling you that they will install extra “features” unless you remove the ticks. You need to decide if you don’t want these extra programs and if so, MUST remove the ticks from the bottom up. Taking out the top tick will often “grey” out all others and not allow you to remove them.

Sometimes you will be confronted with buttons offering to “accept and install” or “decline”. This option is for the extra feature, NOT the program you are attempting to install. Taking the option of “decline” is normally safe; you are declining the extra, not the intended program.

Be aware of the difference between “Update” and “Upgrade”. Most times “Update” means give me the latest free data file for this program, but “Upgrade” says I am done with the freebee, here is my credit card for the pro version.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 17 November 2013, vol 32 issue 11.



Cart logo - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Buying a Computer

Eventually it will happen, your faithful computer now needs to take a one way trip to the recycle centre. Now the fun starts, what do you replace it with? There are three main “categories” of computers to consider.

Desktops in the main require the smallest budget. You probably still have a good screen, keyboard and mouse that will happily connect to the new desktop. It’s the one requiring the most desk space, but has the longest life expectancy. A desktop has a lot of air space in it and can dissipate the normal heat generated in a computer fairly well. Desktops can often be configured at purchase time to suit your needs and then later have addition items added inside them, like more memory or a second hard disk.

Laptops are great if you have need to move the computer, like into the lounge in the colder winter months or with you on a trip. You should take care in determining the configuration of a laptop as it can be difficult and expensive to alter later.

All in Ones are like a monitor with the working parts of a laptop tidily attached at the back. These are really handy if desk space is an issue but you still want a nice sized screen. It’s a cross between a desktop (cannot be moved) and a laptop (configure carefully), with advantages and disadvantages of the other two

So, where to start? List what you want to use it for to determine the software to handle these tasks. The power needed, or not, of the software will lead you to the computing power required in the computer

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

To find out more about this, follow this link and read more information at the Intel website:

Follow this link to read more information with additional links after the article:

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 25 October 2013, vol 32 issue 10.



Email logo - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Email

Love it or hate it, we all use email. The trick to surviving the onslaught of good email and bad email is to know there is an easy no-cost way to deal to the baddies. We have two main flavours of email, Webmail and POP mail.

Webmail is where you access your email using your browser, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to visit the email site of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you are with Clear it would be “webmail.clear.net.nz” and Xtra is “mail.yahoo.co.nz”, other ISP’s have similar sites. By using webmail first, you can easily delete any email that you don’t want, before it gets onto your computer and potentially causing a bit of havoc. Sort of like going out to your real letter box, dumping all the junk mail in the wheelie bin and going inside with just your real mail.

POP (Post Office Protocol) mail, is where you have downloaded your email physically on your computer. You may be using Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Thunderbird for this. Once you open, or view, a bad email it is too late. You have been hit. I am a keen advocate of using Webmail first to clean out the junk, then going into your POP mail and getting clean incoming email. I know you can use programs to do this for you, but think it over, they usually deal with the email once it’s on your computer. That may be too late. Take a moment to learn how to use your Webmail and save yourself from potential hassles.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098.

To find out more about this, follow this link and watch a five minute video on YouTube:

This is another three minute minute video on YouTube:

Wayne's Tip of the Month

A very real advantage of knowing how to use Webmail, is that you now have access to your email from anywhere in the world. If you are visiting Aunt Mildred in England, you still have full access to your email via her computer and web browser.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 21 September 2013, vol 32 issue 09.



Microsoft Windows XP - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Microsoft Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP, the operating system, will cease to be supported and updated by Microsoft as of April 8th, 2014. This is not a big surprise as it first came on the market on August 24th, 2001. That will be a 13 year run for one of the most stable versions of Windows.

What does this mean if you are still using XP? Well your computer will still run as it does now, but no further Windows updates will be available. However, the rumour is some of the antivirus companies may not update their product either. This is a real bother. You will still be protected, BUT only as at the last antivirus update. So if a new virus comes out after the last antivirus update, your program may not catch and deal to it.

Sadly for most folks this may mean replacing your computer. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but given the progress in software many of the “older” computers do not have enough computing power to support the newer operating systems and programs. Then there is the cost involved. The computer is probably too old to warrant the cost and labour involved in saving all your data, replacing the version of Windows, installing all your programs (you have got your install disks haven’t you?) and then copying back your data.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098. I do not sell computers, but an happy to provide help in your decision should you feel purchasing a new one is the right option for you.

To find out more about this, follow this link to the Microsoft Windows Life Cycle Factsheet:

Wayne's Tip of the Month

Don’t be too despondent about the above information as now you have a timely indication that it will happen, know the exact date and have time to plan for the event.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 15 August 2013, vol 32 issue 8.



Freemake Video Converter - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter is a Freeware program that does exactly as the name implies. You can start with a video in one format and easily convert it to another. Better yet, you can locate all your holiday videos, assemble them in Freemake, edit each of the individual clips, join them into one continuous video and then burn this to a DVD. The new DVD can be played on the computer or popped in your DVD player in the lounge and run through your big screen TV.

If you have a heap of saved photos, these can now all be concentrated in to a slide show and be burnt onto a CD or DVD, again to be played through your TV. In total, there are nearly 20 different formats that Freemake is able to convert files into. This is truly a very versatile conversion program, and the price is attractive.

Like a lot of freeware programs, care must be taken in reading every screen during installation. If you miss taking out some of the tick boxes, you will inadvertently install additional programs you did not expect to have on your computer. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download the current version of Freemake Video Converter

Wayne's Tip of the Month

We all do it, fill in forms on the internet. Next time you need to find data from a Drop Down List box, try this. Instead of scrolling all the way down the list, select the top item and type in the beginning letter of the item you want. If you need New Zealand, type in the letter N. You will probably end up with Namibia, but then it’s on a short scroll to get to New Zealand from there.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 15 July 2013, vol 32 issue 07.



Firefox - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Mozilla Firefox 20.0

Firefox 20.0 is a Freeware internet browser program and is part of the Mozilla line-up. Firefox has evolved out of one of the original browsers, Netscape . It has many years of development and is one of the leading browsers currently available.

Firefox was one of the first to make use of tabs during searches on the internet. It uses a minimal amount of computer recourses to run and is quite fast making it a worth a look if you are in need of a new browser . It has an un-cluttered look and adding sites to your Bookmarks is pretty simple. It will import all your Favorites from other browsers easily. One of several available layouts is to have all your Bookmarks displayed down the left side of the page.

Firefox will happily install and run on the current and older versions of Windows and is equally at home on Linux. Being Freeware and developed as an Open Source product, there is a raft of Add-Ins available from Mozilla that are well worth investigating. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download English British version of Firefox 20.0

Wayne's Tip of the Month

Passwords can be the bane of our computing life. We all end up with so many it can be difficult to keep track and remember them. Passwords must be strong or there is no point using them. Try to use something simple to help you remember them, the first letter of each of your children or grandchildren. Or, lines from a poem. Jack and Jill ran up the hill can become – jajruth.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page ?? June 2013, vol ?? issue ??.



Thunderbird - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Mozilla Thunderbird 17.0

Thunderbird 17.0 is a Freeware email program and is part of the Mozilla line-up. Thunderbird has to be one of the easiest email programs to use. The layout of its elements can be varied to suit your viewing needs, with the preview pane either at the right side of the screen or below your list of emails. Creating and using multiple email accounts is something that Thunderbird does with ease.

Thunderbird can make use of tabs if you want to see your email in full screen view, just double click on the required email to make this happen. Don’t forget to close the tabs when you’re done or they will still be there next time you open Thunderbird. It is very easy to change the font in your email and adding, altering or deleting items from the address book is pretty simple. For those of us in need of it, Thunderbird has a good English dictionary that can be set to work as you type or just as you send off the email.

Thunderbird will happily install and run on the current and older versions of Windows and is equally at home on Linux. Being Freeware and developed as an Open Source product, there is a raft of Add-Ins available from Mozilla that are well worth investigating. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download English British version of Thunderbird 17.0

Wayne's Tip of the Month

The modem is your link to the outside world and usually we cannot function without it. Have you given any thought as to how hot it runs? Place you hand on it to feel this. At night, when you no longer need it, turn the modem off. This will give the heat a chance to dissipate and hopefully offer the opportunity for the modem to have a longer life.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 15 May 2013, vol 32 issue 04.



Libre Office 4.0 - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Libre Office 4.0

Libre Office 4.0 is a Freeware program to rival commercial office suites. It comes in over 30 different languages and will happily install and run on all the big name operating systems. The install file is just under 200Mb, so it won’t take too long to download or install.

The suite is made up with the components you would expect; Writer, Calc and Impress. Each of these will easily read and write files from the Microsoft Office main components; Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This is a real bonus if you have been receiving files from friends that previously would could not open successfully. In addition to these major three Libre Office also has a drawing and a database program.

Taking your time to read each of the install screens is well worth while. For example it will automatically seek to load several language dictionaries and you may be happy with only one. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download LibreOffice 4.0

Wayne's Tip of the Month

Is the text on your screen small and not too easy to read? You can adjust the size of the font to a larger percentage. Larger sizes available will be a bit dependant on your operating system. In Windows 7, try a right mouse click on the desktop, select Properties then Display and finally 125% or 150%.

New flat screen monitors come from the factory with both the Brightness and Contrast cranked up to fairly high settings. Try knocking these down to 50% each and then small adjustments up or down to suit your room and eyes. This will also help a little with power consumption. Use your monitors on-screen menu to do this.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 10 April 2013, vol 32 issue 03.



Faststone Image Resizer - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Faststone Image Resizer

Faststone Image Resizer is a really cool re-sizing program. It will allow you to select a single file, multiple files or an entire folder of files for re-sizing. Selecting one of the many predefined image sizes is just a mouse click away and renaming and re-numbering the files is pretty simple too.

As well as all the above options the program offers the opportunity to; rotate, crop, alter the canvas size, alter the colour depth, adjust the brightness – contrast – gamma – saturation and sharpness, alter the dpi (Dots per inch), add and edit text on the image, add a watermark to the image and finally add a border to each image.

Faststone Image Resizer supports all the standard image formats; jpg, bmp, gif, png and tiff. Another really neat feature of it allows you to search for and replace test within a filename. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download Faststone Image Resizer

Wayne's Tip of the Month

Here are a few tips for Windows 7 users using the Windows key and another key combination. Windows + Home (key) – will minimise, or restore, all open windows except the current one. Windows + T – will cycle through thumbnails of all open programs listed on the Task Bar. Windows + E – will open Windows Explorer. Windows + Left or Right (arrow key) – will make the left or right open window fit exactly half the screen. Within Windows Explorer another useful combination is Alt + P – this will open or close the Preview Pane to show a larger image of a picture, the opening page of a document that may be text, a spreadsheet or a pdf file.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 19 March 2013, vol ?? issue ??.



InfraRecorder - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

InfraRecorder

InfraRecorder is a CD or DVD recorder/copier. It does not profess to be the be-all and end-all; it just does a fast and easily used job of burning or copying data. You are presented with a very “clean” screen to use without a heap of puzzling features. Burning data to a CD or DVD cannot be easier; just click and drag the required files from the upper right window to the lower window and click on the Burn icon.

It will deal with ISO files, dual layer DVDs, burn and create images with support for bootable discs, edit rewritable discs, and create audio CDs and video DVDs. A nice feature is the facility to import session data from multi-session discs and add more sessions.

Along with the ability to clearly display all the information on the current disc, it can create disc copies on the fly by creating a temporary disc image and clearing it when completed.

This program is great for copying all your pictures or documents to a CD or DVD for safekeeping. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download InfraRecorder

Wayne's Tip of the Month

If you're filling out an online form, e-mail, or other text field you can quickly move between each of the fields by pressing the Tab key or Shift + Tab to move back a field. For example, if you're filling out your name and the next field is your e-mail address just press the Tab key to move to the e-mail field.

This applies to the Command Buttons too. Press Tab and you will usually move to the next button and the Space Bar or Enter will activate the button.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 13 February 2013, vol 32.



Faststone Image Viewer - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Faststone Image Viewer

Faststone Image Viewer is one of those neat programs that have you wondering how you coped without it. It displays the contents of your Picture folder in thumbnails in the right window pane and allows you to navigate to other folders in the left window pane. Setting the default picture folder should be done on your first use of the program.

Double click on a folder to show all its pictures and then double click on a thumbnail to see the picture full screen. Use the right arrow key to move to the next image or left to go back. Pressing the letter “S” will run a slideshow.

It has one of the easiest and best “red eye” fixers going. Rotating pictures is done with one mouse click and re-sizing is just a right mouse click away. Sending a picture out attached to an email is very easy and it can be sized to suit on the fly. Scanning and saving an image has its own icon on the tool bar and is straightforward to use. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download Faststone Image Viewer

Wayne's Tip of the Month

You have just got back from holiday and have 743 pictures, all of them with some crazy number as the file name. To rename all of them using Windows Explorer, first select all of the files. Easiest way to do this is select the first file, hold down the Ctrl key and press the letter “A” (all). Press the F2 function key (for Rename), type in the new name, ie Vancouer.jpg and press the Enter key. This will rename all other pictures with a number in brackets ie Vancouver(2).jpg to Vancouver(743).jpg

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 13 December 2012, vol 31 issue 11.



Faststone Image Viewer - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is one of many free anti-virus programs available. In the end it really doesn’t matter too much which one you choose, as long as you keep it up to-date and run a full scan on your computer on a regular basis.

MSE has a user friendly menu system. Like most anti-virus programs, updates are automated for both the download and installation. It has two scan modes, Quick Scan and Full Scan. The icon tucked down in the System Tray will change colour to let you know its state. Green is all up to-date, orange requires either a manual update or Quick Scan and red means for some reason it’s not functioning as it should.

I like MSE as it requires less computing resources than many others and therefore leaves you with more computing power. It has a good record of capturing and dealing to nasties that arrive un-invited on your computer. Used in conjunction with the previous four programs I promoted it will ensure you have the best chance of keeping your computer free of bugs. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download Microsoft Security Essentials

Wayne's Tip of the Month

When you need to enter the web address of a site in your browser, do you type in the entire address?

If it ends in .com then you only need to type in the name, hold down the Ctrl key and press the Enter key, ie “Google” then Ctrl Enter. This will work in all browsers adding the beginning www. and the ending .com.

Provided you use Firefox and the address ends in .net, “Slideshare” then Shift Enter will work. Unfortunately there is no option for .co.nz.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 17 November 2012, vol 31 issue 10.



Malwarebytes - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a companion program to your Anti-Virus program and is another “tool” in your arsenal of Preventative Maintenance programs. It looks for, and effectively deals to, Trojans and other nasty malware. You should have this on your computer and run it at least once a week.

Malwarebytes is very easy to use and will always inform you of any updates that need to be downloaded and installed. The update process is painless and is quite fast. The scanning process is equally simple to use but will take a wee while to run. Hence my suggestion that this is best done while you are going to be away from your computer.

Malwarebytes will detect and remove most stealth malware and infections that tend to hide away their existence. These files are different from viruses, which your anti-virus program should cope with. Any “nasties” that it finds are displayed in a list and you are able to tell Malwarebytes to remove all of these. It has two scan modes, Quick and Full. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download Malwarebytes

Wayne's Tip of the Month

When you need to select emails or files, do you know to use the keyboard and mouse together?

When you have need to select a series of files or emails, click on the first one, then hold down the Shift key and click on the last one required.

When it’s a selection of “random” files or emails you need, click on the first one, then hold down the Control (Ctrl) key and click on each of the other required files or emails. You can now move, copy or delete the selected files of emails as a block.

This information reprinted in the Inside Eastside magazine,
Page 14 October 2012, vol 31 issue 9.



iObit Smart Defrag - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

iObit Smart Defrag

Files on your computer are stored on the hard disk in small pieces. A single file could be made up of many of these “pieces”. Every time you use your computer these “pieces” can end up in the next convenient place that the computer finds as being available. This causes file fragmentation and can lead to a delay in opening or saving your file.

Smart Defrag is designed to find all the “pieces” of each file and where they are located on the hard disk. It then re-arranges the placement of the files so the “pieces” of each file are next to each other. This will aid in the time it takes for files to load and save. But this has another huge benefit for the longevity of your hard disk. Now that the “pieces” are lined up, the moving head in the hard disk doesn't’t have to move so far to deal to a file.

This will reduce the wear on the head and preserve the life of the hard disk if you run this just once a month. If you need help with this, give me a call at 345-6098.

Use this link to download Smart Defrag

Wayne's Tip of the Month

When you delete an email or file, do you just use the Delete key? Then you have to empty the Trash Can. If you are confident that you will never want this email of file again, hold down the Shift key then use Delete.

This will permanently remove the email or file and you will get a warning to this effect. Please be aware, this is definitely a one way street. You will NOT get you email or file back. But that’s what you wanted anyway, didn’t you?

This information reprinted in the Mokoia Matters magazine,
Page 10 September 2012, vol 31 issue 8.



iObit Advanced System Care 6 - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

iObit Advanced System Care 6

Advanced System Care 6 (ASC) runs a comprehensive suite of “clean–up” programs with just a few mouse clicks. It has two modes, Quick Care and Deep Care. Quick Care takes just a few minutes and Deep Care taking about 20 minutes.

Deep Care will look into several areas in your computer to locate issues it will deal with. Once the first part of analysing is completed, a single mouse click on the “Repair Now” button will complete the “clean-up” process. This is like getting a bit of a tune-up and service on your car. ASC will check and fix items in the Registry, optimise the System and Start-up, check all Desktop Shortcuts, check the hard disk for errors, run a Privacy Sweep then check for all required Windows Updates.

ASC will help your computer to run sweetly, have less hang-ups and crashes if you use it every couple of weeks.

Use this link to download Advanced System Care

Wayne's Tip of the Month

After using Google to find a list of websites that matches your request, do you just click on one of the links to visit the website? Try using the scroll wheel as a button and press down on it instead. This will open the link in a new Tab and leave the results of your search still onscreen.

The advantage of this is that you can open several relative links and not “loose” the results of your search. You no longer have to keep using the “back” button to get back to the search results. Scroll click on an open Tab to close it.

This information reprinted in the Mokoia Matters magazine,
Page 10 August 2012, vol 31 issue 7.



cCleaner - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.

cCleaner

Most people are unaware that every time you use your computer it generates temporary files, which accumulate on your hard disk and add to the indexing system. This especially true when you cruise the internet. You think “I didn’t download anything”, unfortunately this is not true. All web pages are made up of files for text, images and headings. These files are stored on your computer and then your browser, Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer re-assemble these files into the page you see.

If these files are not periodically cleaned they consume disk space at an alarming rate. The most I have seen is just over 310 thousand! These temporary files are not located in just one convenient place and easy to get rid of. They are all over the disk and tricky to find. How many do you think you have?

cCleaner is a neat program that does all the finding and deleting for you. Better yet it’s free. Once you download, install and run cCleaner you will see how many temporary files were lurking on your computer. If you sometimes want files back from your Recycle Bin, clear the tick from the “Empty Recycle bin” option under the System menu before you run it.

Use this link to download cCleaner

Wayne's Tip of the Month

How do I increase the font size in my internet browser?

There are a few ways of doing this. Try holding down the Ctrl (Control) key and tap the "Plus" key on the numeric keypad at the right of your keyboard. Using Ctrl and "Minus" will reduce the font size. Another easy method is to hold down the Ctrl key and roll the scroll wheel on your mouse away from you. Roll the wheel towards you to decrease font size.

This information reprinted in the Mokoia Matters magazine,
Page 7 July 2012, vol 31 issue 6.



Computer Logo - Abingdon Computing Essentials, Rotorua.