Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for week of JANUARY 28 ,2013

Every Wednesday

Library Room
9:30 - 10:20
General Meeting
If you would like to meet in a small group to discuss special computer related subjects or form a Special Interest Group lets discuss it.

Our bulletin is also available on line by visiting and clicking on bulletin.

1 on 1
Help available
this week

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Meeting

 9:15 Set up your computer
 9:30 Beginners Lesson 3:  Backup your hard drive. Notice: "Four links at the bottom of the page, view and study them before class".

10:30 General meeting:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Noon Till 4:00 PM central time, Beginning each hour there will be an online class on various computer related subjects put on by APCUG.
Windows 8 -- Mysteries and Misconceptions Explained!
Freeware and Shareware 
Are We Losing This Generation’s Photos? 
How to Publicize Your User Group 
To 'Cloud' or Not to 'Cloud', that is the Question
Using Your Smartphone for Everything 
iPad Basics and a Bit More
Each meeting wil last about 50 minutes. You will be able to pick and chose what meetings you want to attend.

Have Fun and Learn with PAINT

Jim Cerny, Director, Sarasota PCUG, Florida

November 2012 issue, Sarasota PC Monitor        jimcerny123 (at)

Feed your creative side! Learn a little about computer graphics.

I’ve always liked the Paint program -- it comes free with Windows. Sure, there are other drawing and graphic programs you can use, many of them free on the internet, but since everyone who has Windows has the Paint program, you might want to know a little about it. To open Paint on your computer click on the “Start” button in the lower left of your screen, then move your mouse to “All Programs” and a list of your computer programs will be displayed. Scroll down to the “Accessories” folder and click on it. In the list of programs in the Accessories folder find “Paint” – click on it once and it will open. You can play with Paint and make your own drawings and you can open a photo in paint and then draw or put text right on the photo. But before we do that, let me tell you why I like the Paint program and why I think it is worth your time to learn about it.

Paint is an excellent program for new computer users because it can teach you some basic computer commands for doing graphics. You can draw and work with shapes, colors, lines, pictures, and more. But the important thing is that what you learn in Paint will come in handy in many other graphic programs. Paint is also an easy program to learn on your own by using its own “help” option. When you open Paint (in Windows 7), click on the little blue circle with the tiny white question mark in the upper right corner of the window (or just hit the “F1” key on your keyboard). Then click on the article title you want to learn about. I suggest starting at the top and read all the sections if you have not used Paint before. Don’t worry, the entire help article is not long and you can read it all in less than a half hour. But you really need to actually do what the instructions tell you so that you will build up your computer skills. The program is simple enough to learn easily and it will introduce you to some great computer graphics. But, on the other hand, Paint is limited in what it can do. For example, it is not intended to be a complete photo editing program by any means.

Play with Paint for a while and learn how to draw and change shapes. Select different colors and draw some lines, circles and squares (to draw perfect circles and squares, hold down the “shift” key while you drag your mouse to create the shape). Try selecting different brush types – you can select oil or water color, for example, or crayon or marker. Notice how you can see “through” some colors to the others underneath (Paint prior to Windows 7 does not have this feature). Now draw a text box by clicking on the text tool which is a capital letter “A”. In the box will be the insertion point ready for you to type your text. You can make the box “transparent” or “opaque” and move it wherever you want. Make a mistake? – just click on the “undo” arrow, the small blue arrow curving to the left at the very top-left of the Paint window.

One thing Paint can do is allow you to put text right in your photo. If you click on “help” you will see the “Adding text” title – click on it to learn how. But let me step you through this, one step at a time (in Windows 7), to introduce you to this:

1. Open the Paint program (see instructions above).

2. Click on the dark blue rectangle in the upper left of the window. This used to be the old “file” menu but in Windows 7 the word “file” is gone. (No, I don’t know why they removed the word “file”!).

3. Click on “Open” which will display a window in which you can find the photo you want to work with in Paint. Click on the photo and click on “Open” at the bottom right of the window. The photo will now be in the Paint program window – but wow -- look how big it is!

4. Why so big? Well, I guess the Paint program is used to dealing with images with fewer pixels, but it’s no big deal – let’s zoom out to see the whole image at once. Click on the “View” tab and then click on the “Zoom out” tool until you see the whole image in the window. Now we can work with it much more easily.

5. Click on the “Home” tab and then click on the “Text” tool – this is the large capital letter “A” in the “tools” section of the Home tab ribbon. You are now ready to draw a rectangle in which you will type your text.

6. On the photo, drag your mouse (hold down the left mouse button) to draw a rectangle. If you draw it in the wrong place, just move it to where you want by dragging it with your mouse. You can also change the size of the rectangle by dragging the little white “handles” at the corners or sides. Try it!

7. When you draw this rectangle, the “Text” or “Text tools” tab is opened for you. This is where all the text editing tools are, and there are not that many.

8. The “insertion point” is already in the rectangle ready for you to type your text – but wait a second, where is that insertion point again? It is in the upper left of the rectangle you drew, but it may be VERY tiny! Can you even see it? The Paint program had no idea how large your photo was going to be so the larger (i.e. more pixels) your photo is, the smaller the font will appear. Remember, we zoomed out to see the whole photo. So, get the font larger by clicking on the little black arrowhead next to the number in the “Font” tool area and pick a big number, say “72” and see how big that is. You can enter numbers larger than 72 if you want by using the keyboard.

9. Select a color for your text. Pick a color from the color pallet that will stand out on the photo, such as yellow. Just click on the color you want and that color should then appear in the “Color 1” box. This will be your text color.

10. You can select other text options if you wish, such as bold, italic, or a different font. Also, select if you want your text box to be transparent (my choice) or if you want it to be “opaque” (that is, to have a background color). The background color will be the color in the “Color 2” box which you can change if you want by clicking on that box. If your text color and the background color are the same, you will see no text!

11. After you type your text you can still move the box to where you want by dragging it. Once you click outside the box, that’s it, your text is now part of the photo and the box is gone. If you make a mistake, just click the “undo” blue arrow at the top left of the window and you can try again.

12. Save your photo with a NEW NAME. Click on the blue rectangle again (the old “file” menu), move your mouse to “Save as…” and then click on your file type (probably “.jpg”). In the window that opens, pick the folder into which you want to save your photo and enter a good name in the name box. Click “Save”. If you do not give it a new name it will replace your old photo which will be lost.

I think you will enjoy using the Paint program, let it bring out the artist in you. While you are drawing your masterpiece, you will be learning some very helpful computer skills. Computer graphics can really do some amazing things and there are several programs free on the internet if you want to do more. So have fun and get colorful!


Thousands of Free eBooks for Kindle

by Ira Wilsker


            Regular readers of this column are well aware that digital books (eBooks) are making tremendous inroads in the publishing industry.  With the purchase of countless millions of e-readers, along with smart phones, tablets, and other digital devices, the market for eBooks has exploded.  Several book companies including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, have introduced dedicated readers such as the Kindle and the Nook, that allow the user to carry an entire library of books and magazines in a light weight, thin electronic device.  Many schools and colleges across the globe are now arranging for textbooks to be provided to students via a reader, rather than as the traditional paper based books.

            There are both cost and environmental advantages to utilizing eBooks rather than the paper books.  Supposedly, millions of trees are now saved annually because they are not felled to make the paper used in the books, while massive amounts of diesel fuel is not burned because thousands of tons of books no longer have to be shipped. With an e-reader, rather than the proverbial "ton of books", our children no longer have to suffer back and other orthopedic issues due to an overweight backpack, but instead carry a digital reader that weighs mere ounces.  Casual readers and academics can carry their entire personal libraries on a reader that weighs only ounces, yet may easily have a display comparable to that of their favorite paper books.

            As our digital technology expands at an incredible rate, more and more devices can display eBooks from a variety of sources.  The major e-reader manufacturers have also released free "apps" (applications) that can run on almost all digital devices, such as computers (desktop or laptop), smart phones, and tablets, including those running iOS (Apple), Android, Windows,  MAC, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.

            While there are many types and formats of eBooks distributed, one of the most popular is Amazon's Kindle format.  While Amazon produces and sells the very popular Kindle devices, it also distributes an unimaginable assortment and number of books and magazines in Kindle format.  Amazon also makes available for free and to anyone, Kindle apps that can run on virtually any modern computer, smart phone, or tablet, regardless of operating system.  Amazon obviously has a pecuniary interest in getting the widest possible dissemination and distribution  of its commercial Kindle devices and free Kindle apps in order to sell more of its Kindle formatted books and magazines.

            Amazon has millions of book and magazine titles available for Kindle, most available in digital format for significantly less than the paper equivalents.  In many cases, the Kindle digital format is even less expensive than many of the used books listed on Amazon.  In order to expand the distribution and popularity of the Kindle format, Amazon has made available to Kindle users, both those that use a dedicated reader or an app based device, a large number of  free titles, as well as a very large "lending library" of current and popular titles to its "Prime" members.  Many of the free titles offered by Amazon had been older editions of books whose copyrights had expired, and are now in the public domain.

            There are several ways to locate the free books and other printed materials available on Amazon for the Kindle devices and apps.  I opened the webpage and did a simple search for "free kindle books" which displayed a pull-down menu that provided the appropriate links to what I was looking for.  As I type this, Amazon is offering 54,472 free books for the Kindle.  While most of these titles are totally free, there are many others that are listed as free to borrow by Amazon Prime members (normally $79 per year), but are for sale to non-members.  It must be stated that the listings of free Kindle books are somewhat dynamic, in that some of the titles are only free for a limited time, while other titles are likely to remain free of charge.  It is likewise also important to note that titles are somewhat constantly being added to these free listings, while others are deleted.  Unless desiring a specific title, this is a trivial impediment, as at any given time, there are over 50,000 free titles available.

            Upon opening the listing of free Kindle eBooks, the display defaulted to the "New and Popular" listing and displayed Les Misérables (English language) by Victor Hugo, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Ryan, The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References),  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Ugly Duckling (Illustrated) by Hans Christian Andersen, and thousands of other titles.  On the left margin of the Amazon webpage is a directory of approximately 30 genres or categories of free Kindle books making the menu method of finding titles of interest somewhat easy.  Upon clicking on many of the listed genres, a sub-menu opens listing topics under that particular genre, making locating desired texts still easier.  For example, clicking on the "History" topic, which includes over 3600 titles, opens a sub-menu of over a dozen categories.

            One especially interesting free Kindle eBook that appeared among the most popular downloads is "Kindle Buffet: Find and download the best free books, magazines and newspapers for your Kindle, iPhone, iPad or Android [Kindle Edition]", by Steve Weber.  "Kindle Buffet", according to the review on Amazon, " ... will introduce you to, a website and newsletter founded by author Steve Weber to showcase the best Kindle books currently offered free -- plus a multitude of other avenues toward great free content."  While free to download in Kindle format, a paperback version sells on Amazon for $5.95.  This title is also a guide to the website, which provides frequent updates to the availability of free Kindle content, as well as a directory of free content broken down into 18 categories or subjects (

             Another website, Freebook Sifter (, currently has a compiled list of over 36,000 free Kindle titles in over a dozen languages.  Being somewhat ethnocentric, I selected English as my chosen language, and Freebook Sifter reduced its displayed selections to 26,244 books published in English.  Freebook Sifter offers a menu of 26 categories of free Kindle books; when clicked, the default display is based on the number of ratings for each title, followed by the readers' ratings for each title.  Clicking on a title displayed on the Freebook Sifter website takes the user directly to the Amazon website where that free title can be accessed.

            With over 50,000 free books available in Kindle format that can be displayed on almost any type of computer, smart phone, or tablet, as well as on an Amazon Kindle device, there is enough free content available to satiate any casual or devoted reader.

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