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Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Meeting9:15 Set up your computer
9:30 Beginners Lessons #1 Cut or Copy and Paste . See Lesson 1 for beginners Print and bring to class.
10:30 General meeting
Watch Free TV and Movies Legally on Your Smart Device
By Ira Wilsker
I was recently helping a disabled Viet Nam veteran with a not so unusual problem; he wanted to be able to watch live streaming sports events for free. His favorite free streaming live sports website now showed a frightening image stating that the domain had been seized by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for copyright infringement. Since he was living on his disability income, money was in short supply and the various legitimate subscription websites were beyond his means. The cost to watch all of his favorite football and basketball games that were unavailable on his TV was prohibitive, considering his personal circumstances.
I did a search of the free streaming sports websites, and while there were several, including NFL.com that displayed videos of past games, I was suspicious of those that offered free streaming of live games, as ICE, along with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, have been actively seizing domains and servers, and arresting the purveyors engaged in intellectual property theft.
Somewhat discouraged, he asked about getting free TV and movies on his smart device, a gift from his daughter. I showed him the free content on Hulu (hulu.com), and the free full length movies and TV shows on YouTube. While lacking the live broadcast TV shows and sports, they did have the capability of providing countless hours of entertainment without incurring any significant expense.
I later showed him another free streaming service that is explicitly for Apple iOS and Android smart devices, including phones and tablets, which quickly became his favorite source of free online entertainment, TV, and movies; this service is Crackle (crackle.com). Crackle is a free download from the iTunes and Play Google stores. While not as comprehensive as Hulu or YouTube, Crackle does offer a respectable selection of movie and TV titles. The Crackle app for both Apple and Android smart devices has been downloaded over 13 million times. The most recent Android release on October 24, and the Apple release on November 3, incorporated several improvements, enhancements, as well as better video quality. The newest version of Crackle supports HDMI out, if the smart device is so equipped, such that it can play on most modern TVs and other HDMI equipped devices. There are also free versions of Crackle available for the Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire, Windows smart phones, Roku boxes, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 consoles.
In terms of full length TV shows, Crackle has classics such as All in the Family with the ubiquitous Archie Bunker, Married With Children with Chicago’s most famous shoe-man Al Bundy, the acclaimed 1967 series of an imprisoned former secret agent Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner, and dozens of other TV series from the U.S. and Japan. The clichéd phrase “Dyno-mite” can be heard on Good Times, while 13 full episodes of Rescue Me dramatizes the life of a post 9/11 New York Firefighter, both available on Crackle. Sanford & Son and The Three Stooges offer a lot of humor on Crackle, but one of the most popular TV series, Seinfeld, is also available on Crackle. Dana Carvey provides Crackle viewers with satirical comedy sketches, while dozens of other TV series complete the full episode TV offerings. The TV offerings on Crackle are dynamic, in that they frequently change with new shoes being added, and some shows cycling off Crackle. A link on the top of the TV page will show the most recently added shows, while some other shows indicate the date that they will be leaving Crackle.
Crackle offers over 300 full length, uncut movies of all genres. As when watching the commercial TV networks, the movies on Crackle are periodically interrupted for a commercial; it is this sponsorship that keeps Crackle free to the user. While many of them are lesser known titles, many were box office successes. Movie fans will recognize Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in the Bermuda treasure thriller “The Deep”, while the camp comedy classic “The Gods Must Be Crazy” dramatizes the effect a Coke bottle can have on a primitive society. Serpent loving horror aficionados may appreciate the nine different Godzilla movies available along with a companion pair of Mothra movies, while zombie followers will appreciate the cult classic “Night of the Living Dead.”. Michael Chiklis, currently known for his parts in “The Commish”, The Shield”, and “Vegas” plays Curly in the 2000 biography of The Three Stooges, as seen from Moe’s perspective.
Crackle also offers 44 different “original series”, many with multiple episodes. One humorous but risqué original series is “Crash Comedy”, with Charlie Murphy (Eddie Murphy’s brother). The popular Las Vegas and television magician Penn Jillette has an original series of 58 short but snappy satirical commentaries on controversial subjects in “The Best of Penn Says”. Unabashed and often politically incorrect, Penn Jillette leaves no doubts as to where he stands on issues, often injecting comedy and satire into his analyses.
For those willing to put up with the same commercial interruptions as they have on the network channels on their home TV, Crackle is a worthy free app for Android, Apple, and Windows smart devices, including phones and tablets as well Kindle Fire, Nook, Roku, Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. With over 300 full length movies, and over a thousand episodes from dozens of TV series, as well as original content, Crackle is definitely worth a try.
Windows 8 – A first look
From the HAL-PC, Texas, Senior Learning Center
Since Windows 8 looks and acts differently from Win 7, it is the subject of many questions, and possible misinformation. Volunteer teachers are busy discovering as much as they can, as fast as they can so they can be a knowledgeable resource. Below is a summary of what they have learned thus far, which would be relevant for their Senior Learning Center audience.
The new Windows 8 operating system was designed for use with multiple devices such as Windows phones, laptops, tablets and desktops which may or may not have touchscreens. Basically it is a new user interface or UI that runs on top of an “improved” Windows 7. Programs, now called apps, appear as active tiles/icons and applications (apps) such as you might see on a smart phone display. At one time this opening screen was called the “Metro” interface. The vertical group of icons on the right, dubbed the Charms bar, provides access to “Searches” at the top and to “Settings” at the bottom. One of the tiles is labeled Desktop (lower left). When clicked, it reveals a familiar, yet different XP or Win-7 desktop view with the familiar Windows Explorer (now called File Explorer) and Control Panel. It does incorporate the “Ribbon” interface which was introduced with Office 2007. However there is no Start button.
VERSIONS OF WINDOWS 8
There are several variations of the new Operating System (OS) for consumers: (1) Win-8, (2) Win-8 Pro, and (3) Windows RT. Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will run any current software on Win-8 PC desktops, laptops, net books, and some tablets. The main differences between these two systems are that Win 8 Pro accommodates Windows Media Center and also will allow encrypted back-ups. It is considered the “business” version. Windows RT will only run on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet and other tablets that PC firms are developing in competition with Surface. As with any tablet, the Surface will not run current Microsoft software such as Office 2010, or 3rd party software such as picture editing programs like Adobe Elements. However, a new Office 2013 is included with the purchase of the Surface tablet. All other apps must be downloaded from the Microsoft store, a la Apple. Other vendors will eventually have competing hardware and programs that will run with and on Surface. It should be noted sometime after the first of the year Microsoft will be coming out with the Surface Pro which will be more like a net book or any other small portable computer.
As previously mentioned, there is no Start Menu with Win-8 as with previous Microsoft OS’s produced since Win-95. There is a “Start Screen” on which programs are displayed as “apps” (applications). Example: Office 2010 Word, Excel and Power Point will be displayed as separate apps as will be 3rd party programs. Since these run on the desktop side of Windows 8, they are now known as “Desktop Apps”. Depending on your hardware, they are called into use by a touch or by mouse click to the desired icon on the Start Screen which will take you to the Desktop side. Features found in Win-7 Accessories, such as the Calculator, WordPad, Paint and Snipping Tool are now found as apps. Several features available in Win 7 have been deleted. Examples: Gadgets, Aero Glass, DVD Maker and Flip 3D. Some may be still available as apps from the Microsoft store.
Those who are considering upgrading their current OS to Win-8 will find that a single upgrade disk will upgrade XP, Vista and Win-7 regardless of the version. The upgrade package contains both 32 & 64 bit disks. When upgrading it will let you know which disk to use.
AND IN CONCLUSION….
It’s important to understand that Win-8 is a work in progress just as all operating systems have been in the past, whether it be MSoft, Apple, or Google’s Android. What we know about Win-8 will undoubtedly change as we move into 2013. Please stay tuned.
As a last note, if you shop for a new machine, do not be surprised if you receive different answers to the same question asked of the sales force at the local retail stores. Everyone is faced with a learning curve with Win-8.
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