Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the month of MAY 2015





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Wednesday DECEMBER 2, 2015 Meeting
  Thanks for making the 2014/2015 season a success. The Computer Club will continue with meetings in December. In the meantime there will be a monthly e-mail and bulletin. Near the end of each month the email announcement will be sent out with a link to the bulletin that is published on the Computer Club web site


By Jeannine Sloan, Ambassador for Friendship Village, Twin Cities PC Club, Minnesota

The Digital VIKING       SQWalbran (at)


A new computer tool lets you plug in the text of any politician’s speech and, with one click, it draws red lines through jargon. It is called Polifiller, as in “political filler,” and searches for phrases in what it calls the Hall of Shame.


We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

Politics and Psychology

APA's Psychology Help Center is an online consumer resource featuring articles and information related to psychological issues affecting your daily physical and emotional well-being. This site had an article about the Science of Political Advertising that is interesting.

Microsoft Does Some Things Right

The Windows team invests a mind-boggling amount of time, hardware, and people into maintaining compatibility. There are bugs in Windows that could have been fixed years ago, but can’t be, because that would break applications that (deliberately or accidentally) depend on those bugs.


Photo Mosaic Maker:

If you are thinking of creating a photo mosaic without downloading any additional software, then you can look for free and reliable mosaic generators online.

Ancient Incans Earthquake Proof Walls

The brilliant ancient civilization figured out how to make seismically stable structures using stones that fit together like Legos. Now it's time to learn from the past. Over 500 years ago, when Incan workers built Machu Picchu, they devised an ingenious building technique to prevent building collapse during Peru's frequent earthquakes. It worked a little like an ancient form of Legos: Every stone fit together perfectly without any mortar. Now California-based architects are using 3-D printers to create a similar design.

Find Large Files

Big files clog up your hard drive and many of them are just garbage that you can delete. Instead of downloading a utility to find them, you can use Windows Explorer. Simply type ‘size:gigantic’ into the Search box and Windows will show you all the files that are larger than 128MB in the folder (and subfolders) you’re currently browsing. Delete any you’re sure you don’t need.

Make text pin-sharp

Windows provides a utility to fine tune text to match your display. This is called the ClearType Text Tuner and unless you’ve made use of it, your text won’t necessarily be as sharp as it could be. You’ll find this utility at Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Fonts > Adjust ClearType text.

Household Repair

DIY guides for many household repairs, ranging from furniture to plumbing solutions.


Do it Yourself Tips and Helpful Household Hints on Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink

Clean Microwave Oven Easily

The inside of your microwave should be white. If it isn’t, you better get to cleaning. The process is incredibly easy and will only take about five minutes.

Step 1 - Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and add either a drizzle of dish soap or a tablespoon of white vinegar, whichever you have handy.

Step 2 - Let it cook for about two minutes depending on how strong your microwave is. You want it to get nice and steamy but not boil over.

Step 3 - Keep the door closed and let the steam do its work for about three minutes.

Step 4 - Carefully remove the bowl, because it’s going to be hot.

Step 5 - Wipe off all the sides with a paper towel, and clean the plate like a normal plate. If you don’t have dish soap or vinegar, cut a lemon in half, put it in a bowl full of water, and cook it for five minutes. This option is the most natural and the warm lemon makes your kitchen smell nice for a few hours.

Export Favorites/Bookmarks from Your Browser

To export your bookmarks from Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon at the top - right corner of your browser window, select Bookmarks, then Bookmark Manager or Ctrl+Shift+o. Click the down arrow beside the Organize menu and select Export bookmarks to HTML file.

To export bookmarks from IE. Click the Favorites icon in upper right corner of browser window, select Add Favorites, click the down arrow next to Add to Favorites, select Import/Export, then Export to a file.

To export bookmarks from Firefox. Click the Show your bookmarks icon (Ctrl-Shift-B) in upper right of browser window. This opens the Library window. Select Import and Backup, then Export bookmarks to HTML. (Contributed by Dianne Runnels)

What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality

Interesting article points out that the giants like Google, Nexflix and Facebook already have fast lane servers within the ISPs. Suggests we should be more concerned about competition (or lack of it) between ISPs.

(Contributed by Dianne Runnels)

The Ultimate Manuals Library

A handy library of PDF user manuals for almost anything.

Fax Zero

Fax Zero allows you to send faxes to US and Canada for free. Additionally, it enables you to send faxes to countries outside North America at a fixed pay per use cost.

Screen Capture

Enter the address (URL) of any web page and the screen capture tool will generate a high-resolution screenshot of the full web page as a PNG image that you can download.

Use Hidden Characters

A site for copying the ‘hidden’ characters that come with the computer’s typefaces, to be pasted into emails, tweets, text documents, forums and whatever else you might need. Left click on character to copy, Ctrl+v to paste.

Ask a Kid

Ask a 10-year-old how to solve the problem of cleaning up trash, and you might end up with a concept like the "De-Waster 5000," a helicopter that scoops plastic out of landfills and the ocean — and then uses a solar-powered flamethrower to melt the trash into beds for homeless people. In other words, you'll get something that probably wouldn't occur to an adult designer.

Two Factor Authentication

List of websites and whether or not they support two factor authentication.

Most Productive Ways to Waste Time

"Every time you decide to work, the payoff gets evaluated twice: once by the limbic system and a second time by the prefrontal cortex," according to Steel. In other words, it's a battle of impulse against rationality.

How to Use the Windows Speech Recognition Feature

Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 include a speech recognition feature

Unbreakable Gorilla Glass

Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass, which probably protects the screen on the smartphone you’re using now, has decided it needs to tell us exactly how cool its product really is. To do so, it has hired the Mythbusters team and come up with the videos you can watch here:

This to That

Find out which adhesive to use to attach one material to another.

Crooks Don’t Want Anything I Have on My Computer

Oh, yes they do. They want to infect your computer with a Trojan and make your computer a zombie for their botnet. Criminals use botnets to send out spam email messages, spread viruses, attack computers and servers, and commit other kinds of crime and fraud. If your computer becomes part of a botnet, your computer might slow down and you might inadvertently be helping criminals.

Windows Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager is one of the core programs that ships with every version of the Windows operating system. Designed to provide users with an overview of what is running and happening on the system, it is considered an advanced tool by many. The Task Manager is more or less identical on Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows while it has changed in Windows 8 and newer versions.

From the TCPC editor -- Thanks, Jeannine, for another great year of Nibblers tips


Traveling with Technology

By Jim Cerny, 2nd Vice President, Sarasota TUG, FL

Sarasota Technology Monitor       jimcerny123 (at)

So, you have a trip coming up, maybe you will be doing planes, trains, and automobiles. Or maybe you are going on a cruise (lucky you!) and you are wondering if you should take your computer, iPad, or iPhone with you. Well, the answer is yes, and don’t forget the power charging cords, adapters, and earphones too. So what can you expect about using these devices when you travel? Let’s start with the iPhone or “smart phone”.

SMART PHONES use the cellular phone network to make phone calls AND they use a wireless connection to the internet too. (The wireless internet connection is called Wi-Fi). In order for you to make and receive cellular phone calls you have to be in an area where there is a strong enough signal to use it. Turn on your phone and you should be able to see a certain number of “bars” or “dots” at the top of the window which indicates your signal strength. My iPhone uses the AT&T cellular network and at the top left of my phone screen I see a row of five “dots” next to “AT&T”. Naturally a strong signal is four or five dots and a weak signal is one or two. The dreaded “no service available” message means you are out of luck. Sometimes your phone will not work in an area of weak service (i.e. one or two bars or dots) but it seems that using your phone for texting in those weak areas may work.

Your smart phone also uses a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection for the internet. On my phone, also at the top of the screen, is a series of “arches” (a small dot with one or two arches over it, sort of like tiny eyebrows). This shows the signal strength of the Wi-Fi network. If both arches are there above the dot you have a strong signal, if just the dot with no arches, your signal is weak and may not work for the internet.

Remember, wireless Wi-Fi connections to the internet are almost all FREE (but may require you to enter a password to use), but using the cellular phone network is NOT free, and you pay monthly charges to use it.

iPADs and TABLET COMPUTERS are smaller than laptops and much easier to take with you on a trip. iPads come in two different types – one type can use EITHER the cellular network OR a Wi-Fi network to connect to the internet. The other iPad (usually lower-priced) can ONLY use a Wi-Fi network. You do not usually use an iPad to make cellular phone calls, although you CAN use it to run Skype or other “apps” that use the internet to communicate.

LAPTOP COMPUTERS connect to the internet on a Wi-Fi network, not using the cellular phone network. (However, you can use your laptop AND a smart phone to connect your laptop to the internet using the cellular phone network. But let’s not talk about that kind of hookup here). Your laptop will show you the signal strength of the Wi-Fi network you are using in the lower right of the screen (on my Windows 7 computer) or, on some computers, on the top bar on the screen. Look for an icon that looks like a small bar chart. Click on it with your mouse and it will open a window with your network connection information. If you are not connected to the internet at all, it will tell you and show you the Wi-Fi networks available to you, the strongest signal network first. Click on the one you want to join (when you are at a restaurant, library, or hotel) and you may have to enter a password to connect.

So are you confused yet? Let’s see if I can summarize things up and give you the big picture. Basically what you need to know is “Am I connected to the internet?” and “How am I connected to the internet?” As an easy example, let’s say I am traveling with my I-Pad. There are many “apps” (applications or programs) I already have installed on my I-Pad many of which are games or books I want to enjoy on my vacation. These apps are available to me whether I am connected to the internet or not. So, if I want to play a game like checkers (against the computer) or read my book, these are already on my I-pad and I can play them anywhere anytime, even on an airplane. However, if I want to play checkers against a real opponent via the internet, or if I want to download a new book to my I-pad, I need an internet connection to do that. Any Wi-Fi connection will let me do it. If, however, I am in an area with NO Wi-Fi available, AND if I have an I-pad with cellular network capability, AND if I am paying for cellular connection with my I-pad, then my I-pad will use the cellular network to connect to the internet. This will result in charges (could be significant) for using the cellular network.

So no matter what device you want to take with you on your travels, you should understand how to find out on your device IF you are connected to the internet and HOW. There is really no reason to use the cellular network to connect to the internet if you can find a Wi-Fi spot that is free.

Whatever device you use I know you will be glad that you brought it along. Just using a free Wi-Fi connection provides you with the whole internet of entertainment and fun for you whenever you want -- and you won’t feel “disconnected”.

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