CTPC User Group

 

  1. Preview of the Next CTPC Meeting
  2. New 2015 Security Suites Released, and Bargains are Available - Ira Wilsker
  3. Windows 8 Tablet - A tablet for all reasons - Phil Sorrentino
  4. Image Processing Software, Part 2 - Dick Maybach
  5. Could You Save By Changing Fonts? - Ilona Merritt
  6. Interesting Internet Finds - Steve Costello
  7. Merging Photos - Larry Piper
  8. The Tip Corner – July 2014 - Bill Sheff
  9. 3 Word Tools That Provide Quick Help - Nancy DeMarte
 

Preview of the Next CTPC Meeting - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.

November Roundtable

The November round-table discussion won’t be limited to a single topic. There are plenty of interesting things going on in the tech world so we’ll try to touch on a few. Here are five ideas:

As usual we’ll try to answer Random Access questions and adjourn to Uncle Joe’s for pizza and refreshments after the meeting. We hope to see you there!

Don’t forget our new location: the United Congregational Church of Norwalk on Richards Avenue (directions here). Pizza and refreshments at Uncle Joe’s will follow. CLICK HERE for directions from the church to Uncle Joe’s.

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Ira Wilsker - Ira hosts “My Computer Show” a call-in tech support show on KLVI radio, 560AM, from 4-5 p.m. Mondays, Pacific time. The show streams live over the net at KLVI.com and on the free iHeartRadio app. His call-in number is 800-330-5584.

New 2015 Security Suites Released, and Bargains are Available

WEBSITES:
http://www.trendmicro.com/us/ 
http://www.bitdefender.com/media/html/60-second/index.html
http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/internet-security.html
http://sharewareonsale.com/s/bitdefender-total-security-sale
http://home.mcafee.com/store?CategoryId=pcsecurity
http://home.mcafee.com/store/total-protection
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-security-list-part1.htm?page=0,1
http://dealnews.com/c127/Computers/Software/Utilities/

As normally happens shortly after Labor Day, most of the major security software publishers have released the 2015 versions of their security software products. As is common, most of these newly released upgrades and updates incorporate greater protection then the previous versions, as well as new or improved safeguards against types of threats that have appeared in the past year, or otherwise have become a greater security threat than in the past. Several of the security suites now include protection for portable devices, such as smart phones and tablets, password managers that work across multiple platforms, and other enhanced features.

Notice in the above paragraph that I explicitly used the words "security suite" rather than just the more traditional "antivirus" software, which is also available from most of the security software publishers. Most of the security software publishers take advantage of the blissful ignorance or traditional software purchasing patterns of countless computer users, and still publish and sell a minimally protective antivirus only product at the lowest price of any of their current offerings. At computer club meetings, listening to shoppers in the big box stores, students, and others, I still frequently hear that the users' have only antivirus software installed, rather than a more comprehensive, and usually more expensive suite of security products.

Many personal computer users, both novice and experienced, have heard for years that computer viruses are dangerous, which they may very well be. While viruses were the primary computing security threat several years ago, today according to published reports, computer viruses only make up about 14% of contemporary threats. Those who have only antivirus software installed, even if from a reputable publisher and continuously updated, lack protection from about 86% of the current threats. It is a false economy to save money by purchasing minimal protection, but then suffering substantial losses in time and money when machines are infected by malware. I have been asked to clean the malware from countless computers, and it is common to hear the l ament from the purloined user, "But I don't understand how it got infected; I have antivirus software which is frequently updated. Shouldn't it have stopped the infection and takeover of my computer?" Sadly, the answer is no, because in almost all cases the malware was not a traditional virus which would have likely been blocked, but one of the six times more common malware threats that are not blocked by traditional antivirus software.

In order to appeal to different price points in the retail market, most security software publishers publish several different products, each progressively offering more protection and security, and an ascending price for the more comprehensive products. In some cases, some of the software publishers produce relatively expensive 'top of the line" products that are so feature rich that they often may contain products and services that many users will never use. It is up to the user to intelligently decide which level of protection is most appropriate, and balance that protection against the cost of the service. If purchased at retail, the boxes containing the software almost always have a chart displaying the comparative features and levels of protection of each of the types of security software published by that company.

As an example of the differences in features and costs, I compared the features and prices of the different versions of the 2015 offerings from TrendMicro. In full disclosure, I have been a satisfied user of TrendMicro products for many years. While there are several iterations of coverage, including the number of PCs and other devices protected, TrendMicro is now offering four major versions in its 2015 product line. These products range from the most basic and least expensive "Antivirus and Security", to "Internet Security", to "Maximum Security" (the level of protection that I use), to the top of the line "Premium Security". Each product offering includes all of the protections of the lesser offerings, but adds more features and functionality, albeit at a generally higher price. In terms of price, please keep in mind that "MSRP" or list price is commonly charged, but almost all security products are often available from some sellers deeply discounted, even as low as "free after rebate" from some of the big box electronics and office supply stores.

In terms of TrendMicro, the most basic level of protection is the "Antivirus plus Security" which retails in the $30 - $40 range, and covers 1 PC for 1 year, and includes cloud based protection from viruses and malware that is continuously kept up to date when connected to the internet. Other than minimal protection, this basic product also includes some basic identity theft protection that may block phishing emails; this is the limit on this minimal level of protection. The second tier of protection, commonly called "Internet Security" in the industry, includes all of the more basic features, but adds utilities to improve system performance, parental controls (controls the online activities of children), helps manage online reputation on social networking services, controls which desktop applications can be accessed by children, and scans for and recommends privacy settings on social networking services (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn). This second tier of protection, which many pundits consider a minimal level of protection, retails from $60 - $80 for 3 computers for one year.

For those desiring additional features and functionally, as well as protection for smart devices including Android and iOS phones and tablets, a "Maximum Security" product is available which includes all of the above features, but also adds a secure password manager that can be utilized across devices; a secure browser for safe online banking and shopping; identifies installed apps on portable devices that may be involved in "data stealing"; helps find lost or stolen portable devices; backs up, shares, and restores contacts between devices; and offers 5GB of secured backup storage in the cloud. A license for any combination of three devices for one year ranges from $67 - $90. The "Premium Security" features are almost identical to the Maximum version, but it offers 25GB of cloud storage, and five licenses for any combination of devices for $75 - $100.

Other security software publishers offer somewhat similar protection at different levels. One very highly rated, but not very well known publisher of security software, BitDefender, offers three levels of protection, "Antivirus Plus 2015" ($60, 3 PCs, 1 year), "Internet Security" ($80, 3 PCs, 1 year), and "Total Security" ($90, 3 PCs, 1 year). The basic Antivirus Plus 2015 offers comprehensive protection from malware, performance enhancement utilities, secured online banking and shopping, a secure payment wallet, and secure browsing. The Internet Security 2015 also includes an two-way firewall, Parental Controls, and a cloud based Anti-Spam function. The top of the line Total Security 2015 adds secure online storage, device anti-theft capabilities (especially useful on laptop computers), and file encryption.

One of the perennial market leaders in retail sales for many years, McAfee offers a variety of product and service levels that offer protection for a variety and number of devices. As is common among its competitors, McAfee offers a minimal featured "McAfee AntiVirus Plus", which protects one computer for $35 - $50; this version offers protection against viruses and malware, and can optimize the PC. The "Total Protection" has the basic feature set of the AntiVirus, but adds family protection (parental controls), a spam filter, protection from online threats including hackers and thieves, and social networking protection; this version retails for $90 and is licensed to run on three PCs. McAfee offers "McAfee All Access" which has a one year license for an unlimited number of devices, including PCs, MACs, smart phones, and tablets; and an integral password manager. McAfee All Access retails for $100, but is available directly from McAfee for half-price, $50. "McAfee LiveSafe" offers the same unlimited, multi-platform device protection, but adds cloud storage and access to 'McAfee Security Advisors" for $80.

Other security software publishers such as Symantec/Norton, and Kaspersky, offer somewhat similar levels of protection at generally completive prices. While there may be some variation in the naming of the products from the different suppliers, most of the publishers offer somewhat similar levels of protection among their respective offerings.

It would not be typical of me to close a column without telling about deals which may be currently available, including both deeply discounted, and free security suites. As far as free security suites that are often very comparable in features and protection to the commercial (paid) suites, one of the most reliable listings is in section 2.3 of Gizmo's TechSupportAlert.com "Probably the Best Free Security List in the World - Part I". Among the reviewed and rated free security suites are offerings from ZoneAlarm, Agnitum (Outpost), Comodo, Forticlient, Roboscan, and 5nine Cloud Security for Hyper-V Free Edition. Again, in terms of full disclosure, I have personally installed Agnitum's Outpost Security Suite on many computers where the user stated a preference for a free comprehensive security suite rather than a paid suite.

As far as getting legitimate deals on commercial security software suites, there are many opportunities available to those who may seek them out, and many of these offerings are fleeting, as they are often only available for a very limited time, but they tend to periodically reappear. One of the most popular deals on the major suites can be found at the local big box electronics and office supply stores, such as Fry's, OfficeDepot (OfficeMax), Staples, MEI MicroCenter, and similar outlets. Almost every week, in their respective newspapers advertisements, each of these retailers has deeply discounted deals and high value rebates for security suites. For example, one of my favorite big box stores is offering this week (probably will be different when you read this): Kaspersky Internet Security 2015, 1 PC license, regularly $50 in store, free after $25 mail in rebate, and another $25 upgrade rebate (if qualified); AVG Ultimate 2015, unlimited devices, 2 year license, regular in store price $85, on sale (no rebate) for $35; Norton 360 2014, 3 PCs - 1 year license, regularly $90 in store for $40 (no rebate).

For those who do not have the time or inclination to watch the weekly newspaper ads, the shopping bot site DealNews.com, which is continuously updated, (dealnews.com/c127/Computers/Software/Utilities) lists some of the best currently available security software deals. As I type this, Dealnews.com has a listing linked to a free 6 month license and download for BitDefender Internet Security 2015, available directly from BitDefender at bitdefender.com/media/html/60-second/index.html . Another daily deal website, ShareWareOnSale.com is currently offering a 3 computer, 1 year license and download for the top of the line BitDefender Total Security 2015, regularly $90 for $15 (sharewareonsale.com/s/bitdefender-total-security-sale). In recent days, the website ShareWareOnSale.com has had free or deeply discounted deals (now expired) on security suites from Kaspersky, Panda, and other reputable publishers of commercial security software. Bargain hunters who like software (and other) deals should consider the free daily email subscription from DealNews and ShareWareOnSale.

There is still another way to get deeply discounted security suites, and that is from online sites such as eBay. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people who intentionally purchase the "Free After Rebate" deals from the big box stores, tear off the UPC code from the otherwise sealed box, and then resell the sealed boxes that cost them virtually nothing after rebate for whatever they can get for them. Sometimes the sellers, who typically have very high eBay ratings for reliability, will simply scan the license or registration code from the sealed software CD, and email the registration code, rather than ship the box. The user can then download the latest version directly from the publisher, and register it with the purchased code. Reputable sellers will then destroy the original registration code so it cannot be illicitly resold. I have twice demonstrated this process to the local computer club, resulting in several of the members successfully getting super deals on major name brand security suites which downloaded and registered without any problems. Also be aware that by policy, most of the major publishers allow for an unused registration code from a previous version to be used to register a new version. For example, I recently assisted someone who purchased on eBay a 1 year, 3 PC license for Trend Micro Maximum Security 2014 for only $7.50; he downloaded directly from TrendMicro the newly released 2015 version of Maximum Security, and proceeded to install a properly registered 2015 version on 2 PCs and one Android smart phone, all (in his words) "Without a hitch".

Now that performance drags have been dramatically reduced in the newer security suites, and the protection capabilities greatly enhanced, there is no valid reason not to use a comprehensive security suite on a PC, MAC, Android, or iOS device. The threat landscape is very real; with good quality, free and deeply discounted security suites readily available, there is no reason to leave our machines vulnerable to attack.

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Phil Sorrentino, Staff Writer, The Computer Club, Inc., Sun City Center, FL, www.scccomputerclub.org/, philsorr (at) yahoo.com

Windows 8 Tablet - A tablet for all reasons

Well, maybe not “all” reasons, but it certainly has some very good points in its favor. I have used an iPad, an Android tablet, and now finally a Windows 8 tablet. And let me tell you they are all great tablets and any one would be a good addition to ones computing inventory. But, as similar as they are, they are all very different in the details, and, in my opinion, that is where the ownership decision lies. I must admit that most of my experience has been with Android tablets and smartphones, so my tendency has been towards the Android “ecosystem.” Yes, the literature considers these different varieties, “ecosystems”, and right now there are three major ecosystems out there, Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 8. (Blackberry would have also been considered a few years ago, but they seem to have been eclipsed by the other three, but that might change in the future.)

Tablets, of all types, are great devices for “consuming data.” They are not the best choice for creating data, though they can be used to create short documents and review most any document. Can you imagine writing your memoirs on a tablet? (I wouldn’t even want to write this article on a tablet.) Tablets are very good at checking your email, checking on your stocks, sharing pictures and videos, listening to music, social interactions, finding a nearby restaurant, getting driving directions, keeping a calendar, accessing your cloud storage, and many more very specific activities. But they are not so good for writing lengthy documents, writing and sending lengthy emails with attachments, managing your stock portfolio, managing a large picture or document database, ripping your CD music, editing pictures, creating elaborate spreadsheets, and many more generally complex computing activities.

The latest addition to my tablet collection is an 8” Dell, Windows 8 tablet. Those of us who are familiar with Windows 8 will feel right at home in front of this tablet. Yes, there are differences in the User Interface between Windows 8 on a non-touchscreen computer and on a tablet because you don’t use a mouse, you use only your fingers. But all the Windows 8 functionality is right there in front of you. (Although on an 8” screen, some of the buttons are very small and may be difficult to actuate with a large finger.) Windows 8, as any user will tell you, has two distinct modes of operation, Desktop (like Windows 7) and Tiles (on the Start Screen). Those who are only familiar with Windows 7, may look at the Tile mode as unnecessary and maybe even unusual, but it is my feeling that the Tile mode really shines on a tablet. So, why didn’t Microsoft develop two different Operating Systems, each optimized for the specific target hardware, computer or tablet? The answer to that is way above my pay grade, but, maybe having to maintain multiple OSs in synchronism is more difficult than combining the functionality into one OS. Only the gurus at Microsoft know the reasons and only time will tell if it was a good decision, but I’m betting that it will be a winner. The reason being; simply, Microsoft enjoys a strong corporate presence.

The Tile mode seems to be a good default for a tablet, even if it is not a good starting point for a Laptop. (For a laptop it would probably make more sense for it to start in the Desktop mode.) The tiles in Windows 8 are like the icons on an Android or Apple tablet. The Tiles are rectangular and re-sizeable. The sizes for many Tiles are Small, Medium, Wide, and Large. Because many of the Tiles are “live,” meaning that changing data is being displayed on the tile, the Wide and Large sizes are useful. Tiles that don’t reveal any data can be relegated to Small or Medium size, leaving more screen room for information. Tiles can be grouped and the groups can be named. With a group of only a few tiles, you can get a really good idea of what is happening in the world, at a glance. Live Tiles for Email, News, Finance, Weather, and a Calendar, will give you a pretty good summary. When you want more detailed information, just touch the appropriate tile.

One nice thing about a Windows 8 tablet is that it is a full network participant, showing up in the Network folder in Windows Explorer, with ease. Yes, you have to set it up just like any other computer you want on your network, but once that is done, it can share files, folders, and printers just like any other network participant. You can easily watch movies that reside on one of your other networked computers, on the tablet. You can play music that resides on another networked computer, on the tablet. You can access any information that has been shared on your network, easily and efficiently. Everything you know about networking applies to the tablet. Anything you do, on the network, can be done on your tablet. Most of these things can also be done with Android tablets, but in my experience, it was much more difficult with the Android Apps that I used. And, when things did work, you had an entirely different User Interface with which to become familiar. Most of the App provided User Interface’s were very different from the well known Windows (File) Explorer.

Apps really make the tablet useful. And in this area, the lack of Windows 8 Apps is probably the biggest detractor. Currently, in the battle for the largest number of Apps, both Apple and Google boast over 1 Million. Microsoft on the other hand can list only about 100,000, so they are really way behind in this area. (However, some tasks, like moving your camera pictures to your home computer, that require an Apple or Android App to accomplish can be accomplished with Windows Explorer, which is an integral part of Windows 8.) Many, of what I’ll call “basic Apps,” are available. There are multiple Apps for email, news, finance, weather, cloud storage, maps, calendars, search, picture and video viewing, music playing, social interaction, reading, and internet browsing. But, when I looked for my favorite picture viewer, it wasn’t available; however the Photo Viewer that comes with the tablet works quite well. Although many of the basic Apps are available, there is certainly nowhere near the selection that is available with Apple and Android. So, if a large number of Apps is important to your decision, then the Windows 8 tablets are probably not ready for prime time. But, if taking advantage of the storehouse of knowledge that you have acquired, using Windows 8 and previous Windows Operating systems, is important to you then a Windows 8 tablet might be the right choice.

Windows 8 tablets are certainly late to the party, but once they are available at reasonable prices, and the Apps store gets a good bit larger, they just might be a really good tablet choice.

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Dick Maybach, Member, Brookdale Computer Users’ Group, NJ, March 2014 issue, BUG Bytes, www.bcug.com /, n2nd (@) att.net

Image Processing Software, Part 2

In the first article (February 2014 newsletter available at www.bcug.com) we discussed photo retouching using GIMP (GNU Image Processing Program). However, GIMP does not develop raw files; for that you need a program such as RawTherapee. Why would you want to bother with this extra step? In the picture inside a church, the frame on the left is the JPEG image as produced by my camera, while the one on the right is the same image, but I used RawTherapee to process it from a raw file. (I have my camera set up to save every picture as both a JPEG and a raw image and decide what processing to use after I see the results.) This example shows one advantage of working with a raw images. In the JPEG, the roof is essentially black with no visible detail, while in the processed raw image, the details are visible. This is not a simple exposure compensation, as you can see by noting that the highlights in the two images (for example as seen through the open door on the right) have about the same brightness. While adjusting the brightness, I also compensated for the perspective distortion resulting from the wide-angle lens. As a result, the image on the right is much closer to what your eye would see. (The changes here are modest, in an attempt to keep the result realistic. You can easily go off the rails and produce results that belong in a comic strip.) The improvement is possible because the camera records 12 bits per pixel per color, while a JPEG image has only 8. In other words, the raw image has 16 times the dynamic range of the JPEG one. In photo terms, this means that the raw image has two to three more f-stops of range that a corresponding JPEG.

The screen-shot below shows an image being processed by RawTherapee (http://rawtherapee.com/ for Linux, OS X, and Windows). The panel on the right shows the tools available, and these are grouped with tabs. The color adjustment tab has been selected and the white balance tool within it. From left to right the tabs are exposure, detail, color, transform, raw processing, and metadata. Histograms for luminance, and the three primary colors are visible at the top of this panel. The left panel shows the history of the changes, and the center one the current state of the image. If you look carefully, you will see a button on the bottom, just to the left of the orange "Ready" button. Clicking this develops the image and sends it to GIMP as a 16-bit TIFF file. (As I noted in the previous article, the current version of GIMP is capable of only 8-bit processing, so it immediately converts the file to 8-bit TIFF. Hopefully, this butchering will stop with the next version of GIMP.) The next button to the left outputs a JPEG, TIFF, or PNG file directly. I frequently skip GIMP altogether as RawTherapee can often do all the processing I need. RawTherapee is a non-destructive editor; that is, it makes no changes to the image file. Instead, it creates a separate script file that specifies the processing to be done when the raw image is developed. The processing occurs in the order the program deems optimal. As a result, the order in which you perform your editing is unimportant. This is much different than with a program such as GIMP, which changes the image directly in sync with what you do. In the latter case, the order of the editing steps is quite important. RawTherapee requires some persistence to master, partly because it has no help file. Expect to spend some time reading the manual and searching the Web for examples before you become comfortable with it. Finally, although it should run on a 32-bit operating system without difficulty, a 64-bit one is recommended.

RawTherapee has a unique ability to correct for lens distortion. When your camera saves an image in raw format, the file includes a JPEG thumbnail in which the lens distortion has been corrected (providing that if your camera has a removable lens, it's compatible with the camera). The program uses the thumbnail to correct any distortion in the raw image. All other programs that incorporate automatic distortion correction, including Photoshop, use databases, and these don't cover all combinations of cameras and lenses. Indeed, RawTherapee can use the same Adobe camera and lens profiles used by Photoshop, but it is a non-trivial process to adapt them.

Lightzone (http://www.lightzoneproject.org/ for Linux, OS X, and Windows) is a raw developer with a much different approach. For one, you can specify only a portion of the image for a particular processing step, while RawTherapee always works on the entire image. It can also show you which portions of the image have similar luminosities, which is frequently helpful. The screen-shot below shows an image being edited in LightZone. In the right-hand panel, the icons below the thumbnail bring up windows, a new one each time you click on an icon. Each window is one application of an editing tool, which can apply to the whole image or just a portion. If you delete a window, the changes you made using that step are also discarded. When you develop the image, the processing is done in the same order as the tool windows, so unlike RawTherapee, their order can be important. You can reorder the processing by drag-and-drop moving of the tool windows. You can also change the way in which the effects of each tool are combined in the final image. The left-hand panel shows the editing history. Here, I've adjusted the white balance, applied the relight tool (which lightened the shadows and darkened the highlights) and further lightened the shadows. Then I used the color selector to select the very bright areas (the window and the sun-lit highlights on the table) and reduced the luminosity of only those regions. Finally, I rotated the image. All this takes longer to describe than to do. The screen-shot shows a region selected based on its luminosity, but I could have based it on color, or just by drawing an outline.

Like RAWTherapee, LightZone has several pre-defined styles, and often applying one of these is the only thing you need do to obtain a satisfactory result. Unlike RawTherapee and UFRaw, LightZone has no provisions for correcting distortions. (If you look carefully at the window frame and the bookcase, you can see some curvature, which results from my particular lens, a wide-range zoom. Better lenses have less distortion and some cameras correct for it in their raw images.)

To get the best results from LightZone you must start from a raw image, as JPEG has discarded much of the photo's dynamic range. Since the program can't correct lens distortion, you would pass the developed image file to GIMP in TIFF format (to avoid degrading it with JPEG compression). There, you would correct he image in GIMP, perhaps by comparing it to a JPEG version of a photo as processed by your camera.

The combination of GIMP, RawTherapee, and LightZone will provide the tools to do almost all your image processing. I've introduced these because they have good reputations and I'm familiar with them. However, an Internet search using “image processing software” will reveal dozens of alternatives, both free and commercial.

References

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Ilona Merritt, Editor, The Journal of The Computer Club of Sun City Center, FL, www.scccomputerclub.org/, ilonamerritt7201 (at) gmail.com

Could You Save By Changing Fonts?

The U. S. government uses Times New Roman or Century Gothic font in all of its documentation. It was recently discovered that if the feds switch to Garamond — which uses thinner strokes for its letters, which means less ink used per letter — they could save $136 million per year. Maybe we should all change.

The above article was sent to me by Jack Fischer for the Journal. That $136 million really peaked my curiosity and so it was off to Wikipedia for some lessons in fonts.

Graphic #1Personally I either like a font or I don’t and I have more fonts in my computer than should be allowed. When I design flyers or invitations, etc. I frequently study my font file or will look for something new to fit a specific purpose. However, it is very important that an absolute minimal number of different fonts are used in one publication ... that is if you want anyone to read what you produced. Why? The more fonts are used the more the eye has to adjust and causes one’s eyes to tire easily. Ergo ... the person stops reading and your work goes into the waste basket.

I researched Times New Roman, Century Gothic, Garamond and Minion. Each font described is written in that typeface and all are at 12 point.

TIMES NEW ROMAN gets its name from the Times of London, the British newspaper. In 1929, the Times hired typographer Stanley Morison of Monotype, a British font foundry, to create a new text font.

After Monotype completed Times New Roman, it had to license the design to then-rival Linotype, because the Times used Linotype’s typesetting machines. (Think of Monotype and Linotype as the Depression-era Microsoft and Apple.) Since then, Monotype has sold the font as “Times New Roman” and Linotype has marketed its version as “Times Roman.”

Typesetting technology has evolved, but due to its enduring popularity, Times New Roman has always been one of the first fonts available in each new format. Objectively, there’s nothing wrong with Times New Roman. It was designed for a newspaper, so it’s a bit narrower than most text fonts. Times New Roman is a workhorse font that’s been successful for a reason.

CENTURY GOTHIC is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed for Monotype Imaging in 1991. It is a digital typeface that has never been made into actual foundry type.

The Century Gothic face is distinct for its single-story lowercase a and g. Century Gothic is more closely related to Avant Garde Gothic, designed by Herb Lubalin, and released by the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) in 1970. Century Gothic is similar to ITC Avant Garde in its pure geometry, and does not possess the subtle variation in stroke width found in either Futura or Twentieth Century.

GARAMOND is the name given to a group of old-style serif typefaces named after the punch-cutter Claude Garamont (also spelled as Garamond, Latinised as garamondus) (c. 1480–1561). Many of the Garamond faces are more closely related to the work of a later punch-cutter, Jean Jannon. A direct relationship between Garamond’s letterforms and contemporary type can be found in the Roman versions of the typefaces Adobe Garamond, Granjon, Sabon, and Stempel Garamond.

Garamond is considered to be among the most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print (offline) applications. It has also been noted as using much less ink than Times New Roman at similar size.

MINION (TYPEFACE) is a digital typeface designed by Robert Slimbach in 1990 for Adobe Systems. The name comes from the traditional naming system for type sizes, in which minion is between nonpareil and brevier. It is inspired by late Renaissance-era type.

Minion Pro — An Open Type update of the original family, released in 2000. The font was designed based on Minion MM, but with redesigns, which include slight changes to the selection of instances, and also alteration of font metrics.

Minion Pro is rapidly becoming THE FONT TO USE ... I have been using it for the Computer Club Journal for well over two years.

Now do you see what I mean about using too many fonts? I apologize!

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Steve Costello, Boca Raton Computer Society, editor@brcs.org, http://ctublog.sefcug.com/

Interesting Internet Finds

In the course of going through the more than 300 RSS feeds, I often run across things that I think might be of interest to other user group members. The following are some items I found interesting during the month of June 2014. How can I manage a lot of scanned documents?
http://askleo.com/how-can-i-manage-a-lot-of-scanned-documents/

Leo Notenboom explains how he manages a lot of scanned documents. Check this post out to get an idea of how to handle your own collection of scanned documents.

How to Record Screencast Videos on Android
http://www.labnol.org/software/record-android-screencast/4929/

Have an Android and thinking about recording screencasts with it? If so, you should read this post first.

How to Make a YouTube Video Easily
http://www.aha-now.com/how-to-make-a-youtube-video/

Another interesting post, this time about how to easily make a YouTube video. This post explains how you can create your own YouTube video without a lot of specialized equipment and lighting.

Is Your PC Updating Correctly? Are You Sure?
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/your-pc-updating-correctly-are-you-sure.htm

You're updating your Windows PC all the time. Are you sure the updates are actually being done? Gizmo's Freeware tells you how to check in this post. I think this is something you should do periodically. In fact, the post reminded me to check my Windows machines. They all checked out, giving me some peace of mind.

Going Paperless Quick Tip: Clipping Email with the Evernote Web Clipper
http://www.jamierubin.net/2014/06/17/going-paperless-quick-tip-clipping-email-with-the-evernote-web-clipper/

In this Going Paperless tip, Jamie shows how to clip your email into Evernote using the Web Clipper. I found the tip useful, and thought you might also if you use Evernote and email.

6 Tips to Help You Go Paperless On Android
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-tips-go-paperless-android/

This MakeUseOf post explains ways to be paperless on your Android, by scanning receipts and documents, using a notekeeping app, printing to PDF, and more.

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Most Fridays, more interesting finds will be posted on the Computers, Technology, and User Groups Blog:
http://ctublog.sefcug.com/tag/interesting-internet-finds/

The posts are under Creative Commons licensing.

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Larry Piper, President, Midland Computer Club, MI, April 2014 issue, Bits and Bytes, ewsletter, mcc.apcug.org, webbyte (at) yahoo.com

Merging Photos

Ever see a row of photos at the top of a Facebook or website page? I'll bet it crossed your mind that this would be a good idea for one of your own projects.
I'll bet your next thought was that it would take a powerful photo editing tool, most likely Photoshop, to accomplish this horizontal photo montage'. Sure enough, when you did some cursory checking, words like 'layers' and 'flattening' began to appear. Or maybe you found how-to ideas for creating a photo collage', which is NOT what you had in mind.

I too went down this same road. I also discovered that the most recommended solution is to use Paint, a free program that comes with Windows. I found the Paint solution not very intuitive and a little time consuming to use. Then I discovered another solution that had been right in front of me for a number of years. It is also a free program, IrfanView. This little utility has been around since the days of Windows 95. It will open virtually every graphic file type—as well as most sound and video file types. I use it as a fast image resizer. But right there in the opening screen under the Image drop-down menu is the choice Create Panoramic Image. Perfect!

IrfanView gives you the choice of horizontal or vertical merging of photos. You add the photos you want, rearrange their order and then hit the Create key. Save the resulting photo-merge, give it a name and you are good to go. You could even resize the final image if it is too big or too small for your application.

So what about merging photos of different pixel size or resolution. No problem. I ran a few tests where the height dimensions were five times different. IrfanView makes the horizontal photo montage' a constant height. The same thing occurred when merging photos of very different resolution. Again, the merged photos were a nearly constant total pixel size. The overall picture quality has been reduced substantially, but who cares when it is being viewed over the Internet.

IrfanView is the product of Irfan Skiljan, who lists himself as graduate of Vienna University. Be sure to get the latest version which is 4.37 as of this writing.

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Bill Sheff, Chair, Grants Committee & Co-Chair, Novice SIG, Lehigh Valley Computer Group, PA, July 2014 issue, The LVCG Journal, www.lvcg.org, nsheff (at)aol.com

The Tip Corner – July 2014

You don't need the http://www. portion of a web page url I would be surprised if anyone still didn’t know that you do not need to type http:// or even the www. in a web address. For example, instead of typing http://www.Yahoo.com. In the address bar, you can just type Yahoo.com and get there. But did you know that if the site you want to go to is a .com you can even eliminate the .com by typing the address and then press Ctrl + Enter.

A Few Windows 8 Tips

Navigation with a Mouse
Spin the scroll wheel on your mouse to move backwards or forwards through the tiles on the Home screen. You can point your cursor to the tile you want to open.

Remove Tiles
Remove a tile by clicking it with your mouse and selecting Unpin From Start.

Add Tile
Right-click on an open area (a space where there aren’t any tiles) and select the All Apps button, which will bring up the various applications on your PC. Right-click any of the programs you want on your Home screen and click Pin To Start.

Create Columns
Move your tiles into columns by dragging and dropping the tile horizontally. When you do so, a gray bar will appear, which is where you can add other tiles that fit your grouping

Find Open Programs Using Keyboard
To see which programs are running in the background, hold down the WIN and TAB keys to bring up a pane on the left-hand side of your screen that will show you the various open applications on your PC.

Tabbed Browsing
While on a web page, if there is a link that interests you open the link in a new tab by either pressing the Ctrl key and clicking on the link or if you have a mouse with a wheel press down on the wheel to use it as a middle mouse button to open the link in a new tab.

Better Searching
If you can’t find what you want in a search box, try surrounding the text in quotes. For example, if you search for 'computer help' without quotes you can get return results with "computer" and "help" anywhere on the page. But surrounding ‘computer help’ with quotes (“ “) will return pages with ‘computer’ and ‘help’ next to each other.

Changing Your Desktop Icons
When you click “New Folder” on the desktop, you usually end up with an icon that looks like a folder. But if you want to start making those icons look like something else here is the solution:

Your Recycle Bin
Most of us know that when we delete a file, we're not really deleting it, but sending it to our Recycle Bin. There, the file will sit until we empty the Recycle Bin or restore the file to its original location. It is a good idea to clean the Recycle Bin every once in a while. Using some programs like Ccleaner does the job but to clean it out yourself just click on the Recycle icon then click on FILE>EMPTY RECYCLE BIN.

To delete a file and bypass the Recycle Bin hold down the SHIFT button on your keyboard while deleting it. (Make sure you really want to avoid the Recycle Bin before you use this method).
If you delete a file the normal way you can restore it to where it once was.

On your desktop, double click on your Recycle Bin icon. Find the file you want to restore and click on it once to highlight it. Then, at the top of the screen, click FILE>RESTORE. The file will disappear from the screen and will be replaced in the folder from where it had been deleted.

Move Your Taskbar
Although most of us have the Taskbar on the bottom of our screen, it can be moved to the top or either side. With you mouse over the Taskbar, hold down the left button and then drag the Taskbar where you want it.

Try alternative browsers
I don’t think we have to mention that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) comes packaged free with any Windows version, and can be updated for free. However be aware that there are many other browsers that are all free to download and use and may have features your current browser does not include.

A few of them are: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. You can as many browsers as you want loaded onto your computer, and even open up more than one at a time.

Install plugins and add-ons
There are many add-ons and plugins that can be added to a browser. They provide all sorts of information and shortcuts to improve your computing time such as being able to change the color and/or skin of the browser, how it looks, placing the current weather on your desktop and hundreds more. But one plug in does fit all browsers, so make sure you add the correct one to the correct browser. For your information, many of these plugins and add-ons are developed by volunteers.

Using FIND
If you forget where you placed a file, don’t despair. Use your FIND utility. Click on START>FIND>FILES OR FOLDERS. Type in the name of your file and search.

If you downloaded the file in Firefox you can find it by clicking TOOLS>Downloads and then Right- click Help! And to find the folder just click Tool>Downloads, and then Right-Click the download in question. If you’re using Firefox 4.0, click the Firefox button, then Downloads to get here.

Now, select Open Containing Folder and you’ll be taken to where your download resides!

View All Open Programs
If you would like to view all your open program just find an empty space on your Taskbar and right click. Then choose either "Tile Windows Vertically" or "Tile Windows Horizontally."

Add a Program to Your START Menu
To add a program that is on your desktop to your START menu, hold your mouse over the program icon, left click. While holding the mouse button down, drag it and drop it onto your START button.

Add a Program to Your Desktop
To add a shortcut to a frequently used program to your Desktop, navigate to the desired program by clicking on START>PROGRAMS>DESIRED PROGRAM then right click on the name of the program. Choose SEND TO>DESKTOP (Create Shortcut). An icon will be added to your desktop. You can use this method to add documents or favorites.

Move between Open Programs
Besides using the mouse to click on a file in the taskbar you can also hit ALT>TAB. This will move you between open programs. To go backward, hit SHIFT>ALT>TAB.

Windows Calculator
There is a nifty calculator in windows. You can get to it by clicking on START>PROGRAMS> ACCESSORIES>CALCULATOR, but just hit start and type in calculator in the search box. It offers many different types of calculators. Just click the View button and see what else this calculator can do. Entering numbers can be done by clicking on them with the mouse or even use the number pad on your keyboard for most of the buttons. Besides the numbers you can press + button for plus, the - button for minus * is multiplication and the Enter key is =. To access the Backspace function, use your left arrow key.

Shortcut to Shutdown
You can create a shortcut on your desktop to shut down your computer. Quick Access to the FIND Utility
Need to find a file using Windows FIND Utility? Just click an empty spot on your desktop and hit the F3 button on your keyboard.

Select Multiple Items At Once
If you're in a list, whether it be on a web page, in your Windows Explorer, etc., you can select (highlight) multiple items at once. Check Today's Date To see the date, simply hold your mouse cursor over the time in your system tray for a second. It will pop right up.

Switching Between Open Windows
If you have multiple windows open, you can switch between them quickly by hitting ALT + ESC on your keyboard.

Incidentally, you can switch between screens within one program by hitting CTRL + TAB on your keyboard.

Remove the Speaker Icon
If you need a bit more room on your taskbar, you can remove the speaker icon from your system tray.

Click on START | SETTINGS | CONTROL PANEL. Double click on MULTIMEDIA.

Under the AUDIO tab, un-check the box next to "Show Volume Control On Taskbar."

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Nancy DeMarte, 1st VP, Sarasota Technology Users Group, FL, May 2014 Issue, PC Monitor, www.thestug.org, ndemarte (at) Verizon.net

3 Word Tools That Provide Quick Help

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have with Microsoft Word, at times you run into little problems that need solving immediately. Here are three tools in Word that have helped me get out of some frustrating situations.

1. Show/Hide:
Located in the Paragraph group on the Home tab in Word, the Show/Hide tool looks like a paragraph symbol. Its primary purpose is to assist you in proofreading a document, but it has other uses, too. When turned on by clicking, it displays a variety of otherwise hidden formatting marks which are only visible on the screen, not in the printed document. These marks give you basic formatting information, such as a dot for each space, a paragraph sign to show a new paragraph, and a right-pointing arrow where words are aligned to tabs on the ruler. Reading through a document with the tool enabled will help you find spots where you accidentally double-spaced between words or pressed Enter unnecessarily, adding extra space between lines. In longer documents, being able to see the dotted section break line can make it easier to position both a full page heading and a two column article on the same page.

With all these marks visible on the screen, the document looks cluttered. For this reason, the Show/Hide tool has a bad reputation with some Word users. On the other hand, some users want certain marks to be visible all the time, not just when the Show/Hide tool is enabled. This can be set up in Word Options (File – Word Options or Options – Display – “Always show these formatting marks on the screen”) by checking the marks you want to see all the time. I choose not to do this, but the list is a good place to view what the formatting marks mean.

The Show/Hide tool can be handy in several ways besides proofing. Let’s say you have completed a one page document, but find when you print it, a blank page comes out of the printer along with the document. If you turn on the Show/Hide tool, scroll down to the blank page, and delete any formatting marks that appear there, the blank page will disappear. Another special use of Show/Hide is controlling the spaces between paragraphs by changing the size of the paragraph marks between them. If you want to decrease the space, select the Paragraph mark between the paragraphs and click a smaller font size.

2. Margins:
All documents have margins around the outside of the page. Each new version of Word seems to have different default margin sizes. In Word 2003, top and bottom margins are 1”; the two sides are 1.25”. In Word 2010/13, the default margins are 1” on all four sides. Recent Word versions also have a Margins gallery. On the Page Layout tab in the Page Setup group, click Margins to see the choices. If none of these dimensions fits your needs, you can create your own custom margins using the command at the bottom of the gallery.

One kind of problem this tool solves is similar to one addressed by Show/Hide. Assume you’ve typed a document that is a bit longer than one page. Your choices are to revise the text, use a smaller font size, or reduce the size of the page margins. I often click the Narrow margins choice (.5” on all sides) to eliminate spillover text. That’s about the smallest margin setting possible to ensure all the text will print.

Another problem which margin changes can solve is the need to put a document into a ring notebook or bind it in book form. In this case you want the inside margin wider than the outside. Here’s where the Mirrored option comes in handy, as shown.



3. Format Painter:
I wrote about this tool a couple of years ago, but it’s so useful, it needs another mention. For those who are new to it, Format Painter copies text formats, like fonts, font effects (bold, italics), and font colors; and paragraph formats, like indents, line spacing, and bulleting from one place to another within a document.

Here’s how it works. You are in the middle of a document and find you want to copy a paragraph into this one from another document saved on your computer. You open the second document, highlight the paragraph, and click Copy or press Ctrl+C. Click in the first document where the copied selection will go, and click Paste or press Ctrl+V. Now you notice that the new paragraph is in a different font and font size from the rest of the text. Instead of manually making these format changes, click anywhere in the original section of the document, and then click the Format Painter icon (Home tab – Clipboard group). Select the new paragraph (You can select a whole paragraph with a triple click.) and it will change to match the rest of the document. This works especially well to match the indenting pattern when using bullets or automatic numbering.

Sometimes you need to copy a format to more than one place in a document. Format Painter makes it easy. Pretend you have created a document with six sub-heads scattered throughout. After you finish, you decide to emphasize the sub-heads by changing the font, adding boldface, and making the text blue. You select the first sub-head and manually make these changes to it. Then you click inside this newly-formatted heading, and double click the Format Painter icon. Double clicking keeps Format Painter active until you click its icon to close it. Drag over each of the other sub-heads one by one, and each will take on the format of the first one. Then click Format Painter again to turn it off. You’ll be surprised how often Format Painter can help you fix mismatched formats in an instant. That’s why I put it on my Quick Access toolbar. Little tools can cure big headaches.

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