Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of JANUARY 12, 2014

WEEKLY MEETINGS
EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:30 - 10:30 AM
One on One Help 10:30-?
In the Library


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS:

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 tecc.apcug.org and clicking on bulletin.


Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday JANUARY 15, 2014 Meeting
 9:15 AM Set up your computer
 9:30 AM Lesson
10:30 AM One on One help

­Fun With Your Scanner

By Jim Cerny, Director, Sarasota PCUG, Florida

October 2013 issue, PC Monitor www.spcug.org jimcerny123 (at) gmail.com

In a previous article we looked at the many options and ways of having fun with your printer. This time I would like to look at using a scanner. It only makes sense that if you are purchasing a new printer it is a good idea to get a “combo” printer that includes a scanner.

Scanners have been around for a long time and their technology keeps improving. If you have a scanner, you can think of it as a digital camera – it is really taking a digital photo of what you are scanning and making a new file of that image on your computer. Anything you can do with a digital photo you can do with what you scan with your scanner – it creates a “.jpg” file, for example. Here are some basic tips for using a scanner (but read your scanner’s manual!).

When you install your scanner (i.e. combo printer) it will create an icon on your computer Windows desktop to control it. Whenever I scan something I first double-click on that icon to open it and use the controls there to control the scanner. Many combo printers have some controls and buttons to push on the control panel to make copies, print, or do a scan, but I always find that I see more options and get better results if I always use the controls on my computer window. When you do a scan you need to provide the scanner with some information – such as the following:

+ File type – do you want to save your scanned image as a “.jpg” photo file? That is my usual choice. But other file types may be available too if you want or need them.

+ File name – give your new file a meaningful name.

+ Destination folder – into what folder would you like your new file to be placed? My usual selection is “My documents”. I can move the file anywhere from there whenever I want. You should always be aware of where your scanner is putting the new files so that you can find them!

+ Scan resolution – the higher the density (of dots per inch) the higher the resolution and the more time it takes to scan and create the new file. Go with the suggested default resolution settings to start with and change them later if you need to. Usually 200 dpi (dots per inch) is fine, although most scanners are capable of much higher resolutions.

Scanners will have “default” settings for these and other options. Read your manual to understand how to change these default settings – or you can change them before each scan is performed.

Double-click (the right mouse button) on the printer/scanner icon on your desktop and follow the instructions. Place the object you would like to scan flat (and I mean totally flat) on the clean scanning bed – facedown, of course, the scanner is not an x-ray machine! Then click on the “scan” control box on your computer window. The pop-ups should tell you what the settings will be for the scan or give you an opportunity to change them. I always give the file a good name, put it into the “My documents” folder, and use “.jpg” as the file type (scanning the object to create a photo file). When I hit the “scan” button on the screen, the scanner with do an “initial scan” of the object and display it in your window. Now you may be able to change the area scanned (that is, you can select only a portion of the image to scan, sort of like cropping a photo). So if you are scanning the page of a magazine, you can select only what you want on that page to be scanned for your final image. When you are ready, hit “scan” again and wait for the results. After a scan has completed, always view the file you created right away to make sure it worked! Scanning your old family photos to create timeless digital images is always a good use for a scanner.

If you are scanning text (and this is really amazing) you can scan the text and put it directly into a Word file, for example. Do you understand what this means? It means your scanner can actually “read” text and put the text right into a Word file (or another text file) just as if you typed the text in using your keyboard. You can then edit and change the text in the file all you want. So in this case, your scanner is not “taking a photo” of the text or creating a .jpg file -- it is interpreting the text and entering it into a word processor file for you – so you do not have to enter the text from the keyboard! An example of this would be scanning a recipe from a document, letting your scanner create a text file with the words (you would select a text “file type” such as Word (.doc) or .txt or other text file type you know you can open and edit) and then opening the file and changing the recipe.

Don’t forget that Google is a great source of information. Even if you lost your scanner manual, just enter the make and model in Google and get all the information you need. But take some time to try your scanner and see what happens. You are not going to break it by trying it out. I am sure you will be impressed.

Finally, remember that it is illegal to scan (or copy) copyrighted material – you know, like books or money. Well, maybe you could scan a few coins but I don’t think they would work in a vending machine anyway.


IraFree Microsoft Fix it Solution Center

by Ira Wilsker


WEBSITES:

http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/


Any user of a Windows PC has become well aware of the complexities of the features built into modern versions of Windows. The technical support components of the Microsoft empire are all too well aware of the multitude of software issues and problems that can plague any operating system, but are also well aware that many users suffer the same problems with Windows.

Several years ago, in an attempt to satisfy Windows users and to reduce the number of technical support requests received by Microsoft, Microsoft released a "beta" or pre-release version of a downloadable utility, "Fix it Center Client", which could be installed on the computer and used to diagnose and repair most Windows operating system problems. Now, Microsoft has gone to a totally online, interactive method of diagnosing and repairing most Windows related problems, the "Fix it Solution Center" at support.microsoft.com/fixit. Upon going to the "Fix it Solution Center", the user is greeted with " Welcome to the Fix it Solution Center - Find automated solutions for your issues." At the top of the display is a series of seven large interactive icons labeled, Top Solutions, Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Entertainment, Office, and Other. Clicking on any of the large icons will sequentially display a box headed "What are you trying to do?", that lists the most common issues with the chosen selection. While several of the large icons such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are self explanatory, the last three icons, Entertainment, Office, and Other each open a sub-menu offering more detailed selections.

When selected, the first of the large icons, Top Solutions, displays a list of seven of the most common issues or problems that some people have with Windows. These problems include desktop issues, media problems, internet connection troubles, problems installing or upgrading software, problems printing or faxing, performance and crash issues, and security along with privacy issues. When one of these is selected, a third box headed "View or run solutions" displays a series of potential diagnosis and repair items, each with a "Run Now" button. Clicking on "Run Now" will download a specific repair utility directly from Microsoft, which is then run by the user. While the general repair utilities are somewhat similar in appearance, each is very specific about the resolutions offered. I tried several, and each downloaded a relatively small utility, which when executed, performed a sequential series of diagnostic and repair actions.

Since upgrading my primary desktop PC from Vista to Windows 7-64 several years ago, my Windows Media Player has never functioned properly. I have read many of the other online hints and tips attempting to repair my Windows 7-64 media Player, with no success. Apparently, I am not the only person having problems with that Microsoft product, as Windows Media Player has earned its own large icon in the Solution Center. Clicking on the large icon displayed a short selection of choices in the "What are you trying to do?" box. The problems listed are All Windows Media Player problem areas, Music & sound, Performance, Video, and Other. Not being sure what precisely is wrong with my Windows Media Player, I selected " All Windows Media Player problem areas" and proceeded to choose the first of the 14 selections offered, which appeared to be the most comprehensive fix offered. I clicked on the green "Run Now" button, which immediately downloaded a 340k file from Microsoft. I ran the file which then opened up a series of small windows, each performing a different diagnostic procedure, sometimes downloading more material from Microsoft. After completing the several diagnostic and repair procedures initiated by that one download, a lengthy report headed " Windows Media Player Troubleshooter" was presented that listed every problem issue found (four major issues), and eight other issues checked for which no problems were found. Of the four problem issues found, three were successfully repaired, but one problem was not fixed. The one problem identified but not successfully repaired by the downloaded utility was my "Windows Media Player Library" which was corrupted. In order to try and finally resolve this one remaining problem with my Windows Media Player, the Fix It utility attempted to delete the media player's library without deleting any of my media files. The Troubleshooter said, " ... the library will be rebuilt the next time that you run Windows Media Player."

The large Entertainment icon displays additional choices, Xbox, Zune, and Windows Phone. Choosing one of those sub-selections opens another heading " View or run solutions". Each of the solutions presented commences an interactive series of downloads, diagnostics, and repairs; a similar process is implemented with all of the other solutions presented under each of the other large icons or sub-menus. Anyone having operating system or function problems with these Microsoft products may likely find solutions under these headings.

I have seen several users of Microsoft Office that have appeared to have had software related problems with one or more of the several Office products. The large Office icon offers fixes for Office itself, as well as specific repairs for Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, InfoPath, Live Meeting, and Project. As it does with the other large icons, selecting a Microsoft Office product displays product specific solutions for each of the Office items. Since most of the problems that people are having with Office are functional, rather than software related, most of the Office solutions have a "Learn More" link rather than the "Run Now" button. Upon clicking on "Learn More", a new Microsoft Support window opens which describes the problem, and instructions on how to fix or otherwise resolve the issue.

The last large icon with the ubiquitous title "Other" offers diagnosis and tips on ten other Microsoft products, including Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Streets & Trips, and a few other Microsoft products. While some of the solutions presented have the now familiar green "Run Now" button which will download and execute diagnostic and repair utilities, several others have the "Learn More" link which, as above, opens a specific Microsoft Support Window.

For anyone having problems or issues that may be related to the Windows operating system, Microsoft produced game and entertainment systems, Microsoft Office, and other Microsoft products, this online " Fix it Solution Center" would be an ideal first choice to try. It is apparent that the most common Microsoft related problems may be quickly diagnosed and resolved at this free website.


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