CTPC User Group


  1. Annual Holiday Party - Tuesday, December 17 - 6:30 p.m.
  2. Got Windows 8? Then Get Start8 - Tom Kuklinski
  3. Windows XP's Swan Song - Time is Running Out! - Bill James
  4. The Web of Unintended Consequences - Greg Skalka
  5. Free Up More Hard Drive Space on Windows 7 and 8- Ira Wilsker
  6. The Smiley Face Turned 22 years old September 19th - Art Gresham
  7. How to Find a Lost Document and Other Filing Tips - Nancy DeMarte
  8. Preserving Memories in a Digital Age - Mike Hancock
  9. $25.00 CTPC Dues Due 01/01/2014 - Mike Alcorn
  10. Web Tracking is Monitoring our Every Move - Sandy Berger,
  11. Interesting Internet Finds - August - Compiled by Steve Costello

Annual Holiday Party - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 6:30 p.m.

Traditionally, the CTPC doesn't have a formal meeting in December. But, just as traditionally, we do get together for a social evening that includes plenty of computer discussion.

This years Holiday Party will take place at the Silver Star Diner (directions here) on Tuesday, December 17th (the 3rd Tuesday). We do hope you can join us. There is no need to RSVP. Simply come at 6:30 p.m. and enjoy. Since there isn't a formal meeting, we should wind things up around 8:00.

As noted elsewhere in this newsletter, 2014 CTPC dues in the amount of $25.00 are due on January 1st. Feel free to bring your check to the Holiday Party.

Since I have some space, I would draw your attention to the Interesting Internet Finds article. I publish these articles, compiled by Steve Costello, frequently. His links are often long and unwieldy. You might find it easier to visit www.ctpc.org and view the articles there. In the HTML version all the links are live and much easier to cut-and-paste into your preferred browser.

Mike Alcorn,
CTPC Newsletter Editor

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Tom Kuklinski, President, Computer Users of Erie, PA, April 2013 Issue, Horizons, www.cuerie.com, tkuklinski (at) gmail.com

Got Windows 8? Then get Start8

Some reviews of Microsoft's Windows 8 have been brutal. I have been using Windows 8 since December 2012. It is on a desktop and does not have a touch screen. It works well. I have not experienced a crash to date.

Overall, I do like Windows 8. Do I prefer it to Windows 7 or XP? Yes, I do! That is a powerful statement. Here is why.

Windows 8, like Windows 7 is pleasant to use. I find it overall to be aesthetic in appearance. It is like having two operating systems. The so called Metro-Modern Start Screen consists of blocks that contain your programs. There is no START BUTTON like in previous Windows versions. This look was made to conform to hand-held devices like phones and tablets. These devices use touch screens and this layout works. However, when using a traditional Windows 7 desktop, it almost becomes useless. There is no point to have it other than to remain consistent in appearance between hand-held devices and your desktop or laptop. Microsoft made one of these Metro-Modern Start Screen program blocks to access the good old traditional desktop of by gone Windows versions. EXCEPT, there is no START button like previous versions of Windows.

Some of the apps that are made for the Metro-Modern look may work different that you would expect on a laptop or desktop application. For instance, Internet Explorer 10 when in the Metro-Modern mode will be in a minimalist mode. You will not have the full robust appearance that you would be used to having if launched from a Windows 7 desktop. However, Microsoft did include the full version of Internet Explorer 10 in the Windows 8 desktop. Sounds confusing. It is, until you become accustomed to this. However, this difference really is not great. You can choose to stay in the familiar traditional Desktop mode that looks like Windows 7 and not visit the Metro-Modern Start Screen very much.

However, one great issue exists. This single issue may be the problem as to why Windows 8 has not been too successful. The START Button at the lower left corner of your screen is missing. Microsoft purposely left this button out. So if you use Windows XP, Vista or 7, you are familiar with the Start button and rely on it for just about everything you do. Picture it gone. Now you see the problem.

It is this anomaly that may have caused the negative reviews and caused slow sales of Windows 8. So Microsoft, wake up and give us that START BUTTON back.

Until Microsoft does include the Start Button, here comes a company that has been around for thirty years. It is Stardock. This company created a program called START8. The purpose of this program is to put the good old Start Button back on the Windows 8 Desktop screen and function as before.

START8 costs a mere $4.99. To me this is a bargain. Lets take a look at this START8. You need to download it from www.stardock.com. Then install it. Simple and done. You can customize this START. You can choose a STYLE. It can be the traditional Windows 7 theme or custom to your preference. You may choose a Windows 8 style. You may have translucency, flag look START button or customize.

You also can choose, Large Icons, Show Recently used applications, Open sub Menus, create shortcuts, show Windows 8 Modern User Interface, control some Window 8 features – on and on.

That is about all it does. It is cheap and works well. This is one of those programs that is so obvious. In fact, this one program may actually increase sales of Windows 8.

I recommend this to anyone that uses Windows 8. Thank You Stardock.

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Bill James, Editor & Webmaster, Computer Club of Oklahoma City, www.ccokc.org, editor (at) ccokc.org

Windows XP's Swan Song - Time is Running Out!

If you are still using Windows XP, please read on. Did you know that Microsoft introduced the Windows XP Operating System in October 2001 and it is arguably one of the most popular of all the Microsoft OS’s? It is 13 years old and still represents a 37% share of all desktop operating systems worldwide as of June 2013. However, time is marching on and Microsoft has announced that starting April 8, 2014, there will be no more patches or updates – including security ones – issued for Windows XP. If you for instance do only email and web browsing you would think that this new policy would not affect you. Oh but it does because, over time without updates, Windows XP will not only become less secure, it also means that you will be facing support issues with finding anti-virus and other programs that work with XP. Your web browser, the tool that you use to access the Internet, will also be open to security problems because of the lack of security updates, locking you into obsolete and insecure browsers designed for XP.

The solution, as I see it, is not to wait until you have a catastrophic computer failure which will then force you to update your system. But consider that now is the time to start looking at your options.. With a working XP system you will be able to take your time and decide what you need to do. You will also have the ability to move all your data files, those emails you wish to keep, etc. to a new computer or updated operating system as well as find alternatives for those favorite programs that will work with your existing data. By thinking about updating or replacing your system, you will be able to logically and methodically determine what your needs are and choose a strategy that works best for you. The end result is not to be hurried or pressured in doing something immediately just to get your computer up and running again.

If you have already decided that Windows 8 is not for you, you will want to upgrade to Windows 7. You should be able find copies of Windows 7 through Tiger Direct or Amazon and some computer manufacturers such as Dell and HP are still offering Windows 7 as an option. You can also use Google and search for vendors that might carry the product. But, I would not wait too long because soon sources to that program will dry up. If your plan is to buy a new computer, I would wait until Windows 8.1 is released in the later part of October 2013 because there are significant changes in 8.1 that will negate what you may have already learned about the current version of Windows 8.

If you need help with learning to use your new OS, ask your UG to offer classes or workshops for the new OS. Moderating a SIG or Workshop is a wonderful way to learn about software. If you are in charge of programming, offer programs and workshops for your members. If you have not signed up for the APCUG/O’Reilly free books program, then you are missing a source of information that covers the newer OS. If you are unfamiliar with the program, look for information on the APCUG website or APCUG Reports.

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Greg Skalka, President, Under the Computer Hood User Group, CA, June 2013 issue, Drive Light, www.uchug.org, president (at) uchug.org

The Web of Unintended Consequences

CERN logoFor all those new high school graduates out there, the World Wide Web has been around all of their lives. Even most new college grads have never known a time without the web. Though the Internet, a global computer network, has existed since the 1960s, the World Wide Web has existed publicly for only 20 years. Tim Berners-Lee, then an employee of the European nuclear research organization CERN, created the framework for linked information in 1989; it went into the public domain on April 30, 1993. Berners-Lee hosted the first website on a NeXT computer with the intent to allow physicists around the world to share information. To commemorate the anniversary, CERN has resurrected that first web page, which explained the basics of the web and how to use it (see http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html).

Berners-Lee photoI wonder if Tim Berners-Lee could have anticipated the impact the web has had on life today. While he no doubt intended it to be a space to exchange information, fostering creativity and collaboration, the fact that it has become so much more has me considering the unintended consequences of his creation. What do we now have, 20 years later, as a result of that first web page, and what price have we paid?

Whole industries have been created and fortunes made (and lost) in servicing the web. Our lives have been made easier, and the world has been made a smaller and more interconnected place by the resources available to anyone on the planet (and even on the International Space Station) from the World Wide Web. Though there are great global benefits in the free exchange of information it provides (at least in most countries), even helping to topple repressive governments, some would argue there are also detrimental consequences to its spread. The web has made good and useful information freely available to anyone with Internet access, but it has also allowed those with bad ideas, racist attitudes and radical goals to put their views and information before a worldwide audience. As with any new environment, it didn’t take long for criminal activity to find it, and for governments to look at it as a new battlefield.

The World Wide Web could be thought of as an application running on the Internet, and while it is not the only Internet service typically in use today, it enables or enhances the use of most others. Although email and streaming media don’t require the web, most people access them through it. It is hard to imagine social media and web commerce without the web.

A great deal of new wealth has come into the world as a result of the web, not even counting that from ecommerce. The web provided a primary reason for personal computer use and fueled the expansion of the fledgling personal computer industry.

Without the web, there would have been no “browser wars”, and all those Netscape employees would have been without jobs. Today most computer users would cringe at having to use dial-up Internet access; the need for web connection has driven a worldwide broadband infrastructure expansion. New telecom technologies have been developed and the companies that promoted them have prospered as a result of this demand for web access, especially mobile access. Our own San Diego economy has benefited greatly from this infrastructure build-out driven by the need for improved web connections. Qualcomm pioneered new cell phone technologies that now carry more data than voice traffic, and have developed new processors that power smartphones. ViaSat in Carlsbad is planning to develop and launch their second satellite to help provide cheaper broadband satellite service to areas of North America not served by wired broadband. All that economic development and the related benefits (like jobs) that it provides are the result of Berners-Lee’s development twenty years ago.

The popularity of mobile computing, using laptops, netbooks, smartphones and tablets, came out of the use of the web. What would be the point of having a tablet or smartphone, devices primarily oriented towards consumption of content, if the World Wide Web were not there to provide that content? Devices like the Chromebook, which are pretty much useless without web access, and concepts like cloud storage exist only because of the web. Big technology companies like Apple, Intel and Microsoft owe a lot of their success to the existence of the web.

Google, of course, is the best example of economic success driven by the web, as a search engine is unnecessary if there is no web to search. The concept of making money from web advertising was another unintended consequence of the web’s development.

E-commerce was probably unanticipated by Berners-Lee, yet it has grown into a significant economic factor worldwide. The ability to easily comparison shop products from all over the globe is definitely a great benefit, one that has become so popular that it is sometimes blamed for the demise of traditional “brick and mortar” stores. Today’s political battles over taxes on Internet sales would not be happening were it not for e-commerce on the web. So many personal and financial tasks can now be more easily performed on the web, including paying bills, registering to vote, booking travel and applying for college. Web banking has revolutionized personal finance and the banking industry, providing greater competition in the industry (including web-only banks), but no doubt costing jobs in local branches.

Without the web, there would be no YouTube, no Facebook, no Google Maps, no iTunes and no eBay. All these beneficial things owe their existence to the web, yet there are also unintended consequences, many of the quite detrimental, to all that information so easily accessible.

Could Berners-Lee have anticipated the growth in Internet porn facilitated by the World Wide Web? Or how much time people might waste on Facebook? Or how much deception might go on in online dating site profiles? Or how much productivity is lost by employers each year on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, when employees are lured by marketers into shopping online from work? Cybercrime, cyber bullying, cyber-attacks; these are all unintended consequences of having the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, along with the benefit of web page links that take you to the information you want are corrupted links that hijack your browser and take you to undesirable sites, or facilitate the loading of malware on your computer. With useful web access also come denial of service attacks, where groups or individuals with malicious intent attempt to make web sites unavailable to intended users.

With more and more business and infrastructure information and systems connected to and accessible through the web, the threat of misuse of that information and access becomes greater. Cyber spying by criminals and governments unfriendly to our own is costly to businesses, individuals and our country’s economic and military security. There are legitimate concerns about terrorist threats to our infrastructure through cyber attacks. Investigations into recent terrorist acts often lead to web sites where groups hostile to our country and our way of life promote their views, recruit members and provide how-to information on bomb making and other terrorist tactics.

The cyber threat is so significant that our own military has a specific branch devoted to cyber security and warfare, the U.S. Cyber Command. Our adversaries are increasing their hostile cyber activities, requiring us to fund a growing cyber capability for our defense in that arena.

On a personal front, the presence of the web has had unintended consequences for my finances. In addition to all the personal financial benefits I’ve received from the web, there are added costs as well. All that connectivity comes at a price. For me that cost is around $100 a month, for cable Internet access at home and smartphone data plan expenses for family members. My own personal security costs add up as well. While viruses and malware can be spread through removable media and emails, a lot of the threat comes from the web. Would I need to have so many antivirus and anti-malware programs if the web didn’t exist? Would I need to go to such great lengths to keep track of hundreds of unique and complex passwords to protect my financial and personal information in all my web-based accounts? Would I need to worry about doing everything right in terms of cyber security but still having my identity stolen by criminals that hacked the web site of a careless online merchant I purchased from?

With each anniversary of the World Wide Web, we should be grateful to Tim Berners-Lee for all the benefits the web has brought us. It has profoundly changed our lives and culture, mostly for the good. We must also be aware that almost everything that seems good comes with unintended consequences.

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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.

Free Up More Hard Drive Space on Windows 7 and 8


Despite the fact that newer PCs tend to come from the factory with hard drives having a capacity greater than we could have even dreamed of just a few years ago, there is some variation of Murphy's law that says that "The amount of data stored on a hard drive increases greater than the capacity of the hard drive to store it all". Even users of terabyte or greater drives have found that hard drive space sometimes becomes short, as they are now willing to use their computers as DVRs (digital video recorders), rip DVDs, save countless YouTube and other videos, build up massive collections of video and audio files, and save countless other files that consume the finite drive storage capacity.

There are some excellent third party utilities that do a commendable job of cleaning hard drives (and other digital storage devices) of useless and obsolete files, some of my personal favorites being CCleaner (www.piriform.com/ccleaner), and Wise Disk Cleaner (www.wisecleaner.com/wisediskcleanerfree.html). In a recent cleanup of a coworker's laptop, CCleaner found and reclaimed over 2 gigabytes of hard drive space by deleting obsolete cache, data, temporary, and other useless files. As good as they are in freeing up hard drive space by deleting obsolete and temporary files, there are several types of Windows system files that they do not detect. While there are some third party drive cleaners that can detect and clean some of the hidden and old archived Windows system and update files, the safety records of some of these utilities has been spotty, with significant anecdotal postings of Windows problems after some incorrect files were deleted.

Microsoft has been acutely aware of the "bloat" that Windows leaves on hard drives as it is updated, and the junk files left on the drive as other routine Windows internal tasks are accomplished. In a recent (October 8, 2013) monthly update of Windows 7 and Windows 8, Microsoft included a much improved version of its Disk Cleanup utility. In addition to performing the common tasks of emptying the recycle bin, and deleting a variety of temporary files, the newly improved Disk Cleanup utility now can remove old, obsolete system and update files that are written to a deeply hidden system folder, WinSXS. Users who have not taken advantage of the recent updates provided by Microsoft may need to do so in order to utilize the newly enhanced capabilities of the updated Disk Cleanup feature.

The Disk Cleanup utility can be accessed and run by any one of several simple methods. The first time I ran it, I clicked on the "Orb" (Microsoft Windows logo on the bottom left of the screen), and in the "Search programs and files" box I typed "disk cleanup"; Disk Cleanup appeared at the top of the list under the "Programs" heading. Alternatively, typing "cleanmgr" in the search box, and then clicking on "OK" will directly load the program. For those who prefer to use the menus built into Windows, clicking on Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Cleanup will directly load the utility. If a user gets a "Low Disk Space" warning from Windows, clicking on the warning will offer to run the Disk Cleanup.

The amount of obsolete data and files that can be detected and removed by Disk Cleanup Utility is enormous. As an experiment, prior to running Microsoft's enhanced, newly updated Disk Cleanup, I updated and ran both CCleaner (using many options in addition to the default cleaning list), and then Wise Disk Cleaner, allowing each in turn to delete any obsolete files found. CCleaner did a very credible job in locating and deleting useless cache and other files, and Wise Disk Cleaner found some additional files to delete; If I would have run these two programs in the reverse order, I surmise that the composite results would have been much the same.

After running both CCleaner and Wise Disk Cleaner, I ran Microsoft's updated Disk Cleanup. Since my "C:" drive is my primary hard drive, I selected it for scanning by Disk Cleanup. It took almost two minutes for the Microsoft utility to scan my hard drive for files to delete, but the results that were finally displayed were very impressive, as it initially found 7.16 GB of files to be deleted; this is because Disk Cleanup can search in the hidden Windows folders that are inaccessible to most other cleaning utilities. Specifically, on my Windows 7-64 computer, after running two other well respected hard drive cleaners, Disk Cleanup found 920 MB of "Service Pack Backup Files", 3 MB of "thumbnail" files, and a staggering 6.26 GB of "Windows Update Cleanup" files.

On the top edge of the Disk Cleanup window is a second tab "More Options", which offers two options to free up even more hard drive space. The two choices are "Programs and Features" and "System Restore and Shadow Copies". Under the "Programs and Features" heading is an explanation that says that "You can free more disk space by removing programs that you do not use." The "System Restore and Shadow Copies" option states, "You can free more disk space by removing all but the most recent restore point." This selection also states that the file shadow copies (saved, usually older versions of Windows system files), and older "Windows Complete PC Backup images" will also be deleted. Clicking on the "Programs and Features" clean up button opened Windows integral "Uninstall or Change Programs" utility (formerly called "Add/Remove Programs", that allows the user to select which (if any) programs should be uninstalled, freeing up additional hard drive space.

An amazingly large amount of hard drive space may be freed by deleting old system restore points; these files are located in a hidden and protected folder, C:\System Volume Information. On my computer, most of these system restore files are each 2GB to 4GB in size, and consume in aggregate up to 10% of the hard drive space by default, but can be manually configured to consume more or less space as desired. On the large hard drive in my primary desktop, setting the "System Properties - System Protection" (Start - Run - type " SystemPropertiesProtection.exe" in the search box - click "OK") to 5% of the hard drive capacity (one-half the default size) still allows for 50GB of system restore space on a terabyte hard drive, and 30GB of restore space on a 600GB drive. Unless totally turned off (a bad idea!), Windows makes periodic restore points as scheduled and configured, and also before any major updates, as well as at other times. If the computer is running well, and appears to have had no system problems for a while, then it is probably OK to only have the latest restore point saved from deletion, the only choice offered by Disk Cleanup. If you are unaware if you have recently created a system restore point, and your computer is currently running well, you can create a new system restore point by clicking on Control Panel - System and Security- System - System Protection; this leads to the window where the computer can be restored to an earlier time, a new restore point can be created, and the amount of hard drive space allocated to system restore can be selected. If the computer has been problematic, it may be worthwhile to save all of the stored system restore files, so deleting all but the latest restore point may not be appropriate. In unusual cases, if the most recent restore point cannot recover from system problems, it may be necessary to restore from the last good restore point (other than the latest). On my desktop PC, I had 76GB of older restore points, which, since my computer has been running well for months, I decided to delete with the "System Restore and Shadow Cleanup" option. Combining the 7GB of space freed by the basic Disk Cleanup, and the 76GB freed by deleting old restore points (other than the latest), made 83GB more hard drive space available.

As with any other hard drive cleaning utility, Disk Cleanup must be used with a degree of caution; if there are any doubts, do not use it, but if you are reasonably trusting in Microsoft's updated Disk Cleanup utility, you may be able to reclaim a lot of wasted space on your hard drive.

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Art Gresham, Editor, Under the Computer Hood User Group, CA, September 2013 issue of Drive Light, www.uchug.org, 1editor101 (at) uchug.org

The Smiley Face Turned 22 years old September 19th

”Scott Fahlman was the first documented person to use the emoticons :-) and :-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion. The text of his original proposal, posted to the Carnegie Mellon University computer science general board on 19 September 1982 (11:44), was thought to have been lost, but was recovered 20 years later by Jeff Baird from old backup tapes.”

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for happy: :-)

Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are sad, given current trends. For this, use :-(

The information in the paragraph above is quoted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon#cite_note-smiley-1

It is a very abbreviated summary of the story of how the keyboard characters we now call a Smiley Face came into existence. It is part of a much longer story of the inner workings of the earliest forms of computer to computer, and user to user communications, long before the internet as we know it. These 'Bulletin Boards' were first commonly used among academics. It all began as a rather prankish comment following this post on the Computer Science Bulletin Board System at Carnegie Mellon University.

"At around noon on September 16th, 1982, and in response to a similar scenario involving pigeons, Neil Swartz posted the following hypothetical situation to the CMU CS BBS:"

"There is a lit candle in an elevator mounted on a bracket attached to the middle of one wall (say, 2" from the wall). A drop of mercury is on the floor. The cable snaps and the elevator falls. What happens to the candle and the mercury?"

A very delightful reading of the complete story of the evolution of :-) is at http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/mar/13/emoticon1/

I am sure you will be ROFL when you read it.

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Nancy DeMarte, 1st Vice President, Sarasota PC Users Group, FL, August 2013 issue, PC Monitor, www.spcug.org, ndemarte (at) Verizon.net

How to Find a Lost Document and Other Filing Tips

I suppose you’re thinking this could never happen…until it does. You have a large number of folders full of documents and photos on your computer. One day you need to find a letter that you wrote and saved a week ago, but can’t remember what name you gave it or which folder you saved it in. Here are some ways to find that document.

Look in your Recent Documents list: Open Word 2010 or 2007 and click File, and you will see a list of documents you opened recently. If you haven’t opened more than about 20 documents since you saved the letter, it will be on the list. If you find the letter, you can open it from the Recent Documents list. But before you do that, it’s a good idea to take note of its “path,” so you’ll know exactly where it’s stored. The path of a document file in Word 2010 is shown below its name in the Recent Documents list. It is represented by a string of folders, starting with the largest folder, My Documents, and ending with the sub-folder in which the document is stored. As shown, the path for this article is “My Documents\1 SPCUG\Office Talk Column\ Files and Folders.” In Word 2007, the path is missing in the Recent Documents view, but with a few steps, you can find it. Open Word 2007 and click the Office button to open the Recent Documents list. Click a recent document to open it. Then click Office button – Save As. In this window the path of the document appears in the address bar across the top. The last folder in the string of folders is where the document is stored.

You can keep or “pin” any Recent Document to the list for easy future access by clicking the pushpin icon next to it. You can also right click a recent document in Word 2010 and select “Remove from list.” Recent files lists exist in most 2070 and 2010 Office programs.

Search your computer: In Windows 7, click the Start button at the left end of the taskbar, then type in the search box one or more words which you guess are part of your lost letter’s name. If your guess is correct, the letter should appear in the Files list and can be opened from there. Sometimes, however, a Windows 7 search does not find files stored too deeply in sub-folders. Windows 8 offers a more targeted search. Open the Charms from the Start Screen and click the category of item you’re looking for, such as Mail or, in this case, Files. Then type your search words in the Search box. This tool searches inside all levels of sub-folders in the category and returns a list of possibilities. It searches not only file names, but also the body of the document.

Make use of File Views: The contents of any folder on the computer can be viewed in various ways, but some views fit certain kinds of files better than others. It’s easiest to find a document in a file list using the Details view, which is a list which includes File Name, Date Modified, File Type, and Size. A photo is best viewed as an Icon or Tile, which shows a thumbnail of the photo, its name, and file size. To change the view of a file list in Windows 7, open a folder, then click the Views icon at the right end of the menu bar. By moving the slider, you can preview how different views affect your list before making your selection.

If your letter does not appear in Recent Documents and is not found with a Search, you can open My Documents and scroll to the bottom of the list of folders to see unfiled documents. If it isn’t there, then open a sub-folder where you guess it might be. Set the view to Details, and sort the list by Date Modified, which will put recently opened files at the top of the list. To sort, click the heading of the Date Modified column. Reverse the sort order by clicking the heading again. File names sort alphabetically; dates chronologically.

Add folders to your Favorites: Much like the Favorite websites list you keep in your Internet browser, Windows provides a convenient spot for you to park folders that you open frequently. Open Libraries. In the Explorer Window, at the top of the navigation pane on the left, you’ll see a section called Favorites. A few folders are listed there by default, but you can customize this list with your own folders. I keep my SIG Schedules and Office Talk Column folders there because I open them frequently, and because opening a Favorite folder takes only one click. To add a folder to Favorites, make it visible in the main Explorer window (but don’t open it), then click and drag it left onto the word Favorites, or use Copy and Paste. A Favorite folder is synchronized with the original one. Whenever you make a change to files in the original folder, the change will also appear in the Favorites version and vice versa. File Management is one of the most difficult skills to master in a Windows environment. And each new version of Windows changes the system just enough to cause confusion.

The more you understand how files and folders are stored and organized on your computer, the more control you’ll have of your documents and other important files. You won’t have many lost documents, either.

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Mike Hancock, Advertising Manager, Golden Gate Computer Society, CA, July 2013 issue, GGCS Newsletter, www.ggcs.org, editor (at) ggcs.org

Preserving Memories in a Digital Age

Preserving Memories in a Digital Age - More than 30 years ago—in 1982—videotapes came to the market. By now, though, many are degenerating. Alan Kolsky, of Digital Video Dimensions, startled attendees of the June 24 GGCS General Meeting by enumerating the probable life spans of various media:

But people often want to digitize home movies, slides, videotapes, audio recordings, documents, and photos for storage and ease of presentation. Some authorities argue that because of rapid advances in technology enhanced media longevity is questionable.

Future trends that will affect archiving include higher resolution and solid-state storage. “4K” resolution video format (4,000 pixels in horizontal direction) is coming and is needed for the huge monitors, which tend to have much softer resolution than smaller monitors.

“Ultra HD” is on its way, too. 64GB thumb drives are readily available, and solid-state drives are being introduced to computers and will displace mechanical drives and players. DVDs are ubiquitous today, but Alan warned us that improper handling can rapidly degrade them. Hold DVDs at their edges, across their diameter; do not handle them on their recording face, and do not handle them roughly. Also, avoid using paper stick on labels because they cause wobbling and thus poorer recording.

These factors affect the life of any media: To help keep your media in good condition: Alan recommends making backup copies of all digital media—two backups minimum for optical discs and hard drives. And re-copy them every two years or so. “High-8” tapes, especially from Sony, have a 20% failure rate, therefore they should be copied digitally and archived.

Tips for digitizing media
Alan suggests if you are digitizing home movie films to remember that film deteriorates and becomes brittle, and old projectors can accelerate damage.

With slides, look for at least 2,400-dpi scanners with no glass between the scanner and the film, otherwise you may have distortion from Newton rings, an interference pattern created by the reflection of light between two surfaces.

Canon is the best scanner brand for prosumers, or try to find an old Microtek 1800F on eBay. A 4,000dpi scan is the best, with 7,200 dpi being overkill, Alan says.

Document scanners are affordable at $500 to $600. Alan’s advice for scanning photos is to scan at 600 dpi for photos 5x7 inches or smaller, and at 300 dpi for greater than 5x7 inches.

Scanning services usually charge by the hour: $15 to $25. Be careful about cheap scanning services; they work as fast as possible and not necessarily with consistent quality. Also, pick out only the best of your photos to scan to reduce cost.

With videotape, “repack” the tape before copying by using fast-forward and fast-rewind before playback and capture. It helps, too, if tapes sit in the machine for a couple of hours before repacking because the heat of the machine makes them more flexible.

The best DVDs for general purposes are Verbatim and JVC at the Gold level. Ritek is another good general purpose DVD. Meritline.com and Rima.com are good online resources if you buy at least 50.

Go to eBay to obtain a Sony VHS Adaptor for the High-8 reader and capture the output of a VCR.

Alan showed us a couple of examples of advanced mixed media montages with voiceover, comprising slides, videos, and music. An external service would charge about $6,000 for a 35-minute professional mixed media show.

Video editing software include Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vega, ProShow Gold, and Photodex. Be careful, though, of copyright laws when using, for example, Youtube video clips or music. Alan recommends paying for royalty-free music or looking for government newsreels.

If you wish to digitize tape, look for a Grass Valley Digital Converter that runs output to a computer (upward of $250), or an outside service will do it for $25/hour. Clean dirty or greasy DVDs and CDs from the center out, radially, using a cleaner (Radio Shack has one).

Judging by the numerous questions and comments, a significant number of the audience had boxes of material that were candidates for digitizing!

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Mike Alcorn, CTPC Newsletter Editor

$25.00 CTPC Dues Due 01/01/2014

You can mail your check for $25.00 to the CTPC, PO Box 291, New Canaan, CT 06840. You can also bring your check to the January meeting.

We really would like to see you continue as a member so we will continue sending you a newsletter, with a dues reminder, for a couple of months.

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Sandy Berger, CompuKISS, www.compukiss.com, sandy (at) compukiss.com

Web Tracking is Monitoring our Every Move

Web tracking has gotten completely out of hand! The government is snooping on everything we do. On top of that, sharing of information between companies for advertising purposes has reached a level of alarming sophistication. Here’s my story about what they do and how they do it.

Times have changed quickly in the Internet world. It used to be fun to visit a website and be presented with an ad about some new product or service that I found interesting. I fully realized that they chose what they presented to me by scanning the information that had been gathered about me from my previous Web searches and Web browsing, but it didn’t really bother me.

Today, however, was an eye-opener for me. Today I realized just how invasive that Web tracking has become. This morning I looked at a skirt that was on sale at the J Jill website. During my browsing session I looked at the skirt several times.

Here’s the eye-opener. That afternoon, I when I was doing some research, I was struck by the fact that the same skirt was featured in two prominent J Jill ads. These ads were on the Associated Press website, which had nothing to do with J Jill or with clothing.

In my morning shopping I also looked at some Web services. In the afternoon, I was shown ads for one of the Web service that I had looked at in the morning. Of course, the Website that showed me the ads had nothing to do with Web hosting.

This all has to do with advertising and the sharing of information. When you visit a website that website knows your IP address. It also has a record of the web browser you used, the time of your visit and what you looked at. All shopping sites do this. Search engines like Google also keep track of this type of information. In addition, they track everything you search for. They can also see which website you visit when you leave their website. Search engines, including Google, retain this information for some time.

When we are on the Internet, we are constantly being categorized, identified, and targeted. All of the data from multiple visits and multiple searches is congregated to give a pretty good representation of who you are. On top of that this information is shared by all of the search engine or website’s advertising, marketing, and tracking partners and affiliates. That is how the skirt that I was looking at showed up on a totally unrelated website.

All of this is done in the name of advertising and it follows the American way of advertising. Remember when television transmissions were totally free, supported only by advertising? Well, although we pay for both the Internet service and the device that we use to access the Internet, many things on the Internet are free. These include programs and services like Internet browsers and search engines.

They offer us free stuff, but they either have direct ads or they have deals with others who are advertisers. They also use small, almost invisible single pixel graphic images called web beacons to scan computer and cookie log files to analyze people and to target purchasers. The information that they gather cannot identify us personally, but it can tell them a lot about our preferences, surfing habits, and purchasing behaviors.

I don’t mind direct ads but unfortunately, the advertisers and their partners and affiliates have become more and more invasive. Technology is being used to predict and to affect consumer behavior. A few years ago, when a website said, “Welcome back Sandy”, it felt comforting to have the site recognize me. Now, however, the targeting is becoming so accurate that it feels artificial, intrusive, and even a bit eerie.

Add that to the fact that the American government has been gathering the telephone and Internet records of millions of citizens, and you will agree that WE HAVE A REAL PROBLEM!!

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Compiled by Steve Costello, President / Editor, Boca Raton Computer Society, FL, September 2013 issue, Boca Bits, http://ctublog.sefcug.com/, editor@brcs.org

Interesting Internet Finds - August

In the course of going through the more than 200 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 August 2013.

Sandboxes Explained: How They’re Already Protecting You and How to Sandbox Any Program

Print Files Remotely in Windows with Google Cloud Print

Don’t Get “Smished”: How Scammers are Targeting Your Smartphone

How to install a fully portable desktop on a USB for on-the-go access

How To Use Skype to Share Your Computer Screen

Ultimate Windows 8 Wi-Fi Troubleshooting Guide

Stop Android 4.3 from always scanning for Wi-Fi networks

How to Return a Lost Phone in Four Easy Steps

How to Fix Annoying Multi-Page Articles All Over the Web

********** Most Fridays, more interesting finds will be posted on the Computers, Technology, and User Groups Blog, under Creative Commons licensing.

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