Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of DECEMBER 6, 2015

WEEKLY MEETINGS
EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:00 - 10:00 AM
One on One Help 10:00-?
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, let's 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 DECEMBER 9, 2015 Meeting
 8:45 AM Set up your computer
 9:00 AM Lesson
10:00 AM One on One help

SandyEdge – Microsoft’s New Web Browser

By Sandy Berger, COMPU-Kiss      www.compukiss.com      sandy (at) compukiss.com

Yes, Microsoft has finally replaced their old bloated Internet Explorer web browser. The new browser which comes with Windows 10, is called “Edge”. This is aptly named because it is much sharper than Internet Explorer. As a matter of fact, it is better in almost every way.

Edge is more secure, faster, and has new rendering engine. One of the best things about Edge is that it’s newly designed interface is easy-to-use. Similar to the current Chrome browser, Edge has a cleaner look that makes it easier to use. The Edge address bar is front and center under a “Where to Next?” label. Although this is a bit simplistic, it works.

The Edge has a New Tab page that is quite customizable. It also has a well-designed reading mode that strips away all of the extraneous ads and navigation creating an easy-to-read version of an article. You can also easily save an article for reading in the future.

A Hub icon on the upper toolbar gives you easy access to your favorites, a reading list, your browsing history, and your current downloads. This download area is especially useful making it easier for the average user to find them.

And WOW, you can even write on the screen of a web page to add your own comments. Draw or type on any web page using a mouse or drawing with your finger on a touch-screen .You can draw in several different colors with three different sized pens. You can also highlight in several colors and add a text note. You can even draw a square on the screen to highlight and copy part of the web page. Once you have marked up the web page you can save it and/or share it with friends.

When using Edge you can also use Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant to issue voice commands. Cortana will answer or will find the correct folder or program for you. It is extremely useful. You can even ask Cortana for more information on any text that you highlight.

In the future, Edge will support browser extensions from Chrome and Firefox and it will keep getting better and better. It is available at no additional cost along with Windows 10.


JimBack To Basics

Fun with Spreadsheets

By Jim Cerny, 2nd Vice President, Sarasota TUG, FL        www.thestug.org        jimcerny123 (at) gmail.com

Most people do not associate the word “fun” with anything like what a spreadsheet program can do, but I hope by reading this you will decide to at least open a spreadsheet program just to see what it can do and if it is really “fun” for you to use. I use a spreadsheet program to keep track of my monthly expenses. It is really simple to use for this purpose and helps you organize anything with numbers. Let me introduce you to the basic use of spreadsheets.

What is a “spreadsheet” program anyway? It is a program that allows you to organize numbers in a matrix array of boxes called “cells”. You can put ANY number or words in a “cell”. The beauty of a spreadsheet program is that it can do calculations and is easy to sort or change the contents of any cell. You have probably heard of Microsoft Excel (part of the Microsoft Office set of programs), but there are many other FREE spreadsheet programs that you can use as well, such as Google Drive (called “Sheets”) and Open Office (Google these to find out more about them).

What can a spreadsheet program do for me? I enjoy using a spreadsheet program to help me keep track of my personal home monthly expenses, my investments, and lists of club members. Although a spreadsheet program is intended for use with numbers, you certainly can use it to organize and sort a list of anything. Let me introduce you to a simple basic use of a spreadsheet by using one to track monthly expenses. I will use Excel 2013 in this example.

The basic elements of a spreadsheet. All spreadsheet programs work the same way. Once you learn how to use one, it is not difficult to use another. The basic screen of a spreadsheet (see sample) is an array of cells with the cell columns labeled with letters (A, B, C, etc.) and the cell rows labeled with numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). Thus every cell has a unique “address” such as B5 or D3 for example. Above this array of cells are the many menus, tools, and options that are available for you.

Use your mouse to click on a “cell” in the array. You will see the “address” of that cell displayed just above the top row in the far left of the menu area. This is how you know what cell you are working with. The box or area to the right of the address is the “function” bar and it shows the contents of the cell here. You can enter and edit the contents of a cell in this area if you want, I find it most helpful.

For our example, I am going to put words in the first row and column cells. This serves to “label” or give a title to the numbers I am going to put into the other cells.

Click the mouse (the left mouse button) in cell A1 and then type in the work “Expense”. In the following cells in row 1, click in each cell to enter in the name of the month. So in cell B1, type “January”, in cell C1, “February”, in cell D1 “March”, etc. (see example).

In column A, in each row from 2 on down, enter the text of the expense (bill, service, or company) that you pay each month. So, for example, in cell A2 I will enter “Electric”, in cell A3 I will enter “Water and Sewer”, in cell A4 I will enter “Gas”, etc. When I entered “Water and Sewer” the column was too narrow to hold all the words, so I had to widen the column. I did this by positioning my mouse on the vertical line between “A” and “B” (the mouse changes to a double arrow) and then I dragged the mouse to the right. I will end up with a list in column A of all my monthly expenses. All you are doing, really, is making a simple table with labels on the first row and column. This table will be filled with a number (your expense) in each cell.

Note that if you click on a cell to select it, the contents of the cell will appear above the array of cells in the “function” bar.

Enter numbers into the cells. Just click your mouse (left mouse button) on any cell to enter something into that cell. You can enter what you want in that cell by using the function bar if you wish. If you make a mistake, you can delete what is in that cell by hitting the “delete” key on your keyboard or use text editing. I did not use the decimal (the period key on your keyboard) in this example, but you can pick the “two decimal point” option if you want, and the “$” option as well.

Adding up the total. Now we come to the good part. You would like the spreadsheet to add or sum all the numbers in a column (or row). So, let’s enter a new row label in column A as the last row in our spreadsheet and enter the text “TOTAL”. In my example spreadsheet there are only three monthly expenses, so my “TOTAL” row will be row 5. You can have as many rows (and expenses) as you like. Now click on cell B5 which will contain my total of all the “January” expenses and I will enter the following FORMULA or FUNCTION into that cell: =SUM(B2:B4). You should enter this formula in the “function bar” at the top, above the spreadsheet, in the menu area. Note that the equal sign “=” indicates that this is NOT text or a number like we entered in our other cells, but a formula or function. We are telling it to ADD or SUM the numbers in all the cells from B2 to B4, and it will put the total in this cell, B6. In my example, you can see the formula that is in cell B5 in the function bar above. I find it easier to always enter things into a cell by entering it in the formula or function bar.

Try doing this in the remaining total cells in row 5, totaling the numbers in each column above.

What’s the Big Deal Anyway? Well, the big deal is that you can organize and work with ANY array of numbers OR text. Not only can you total numbers, but you can average them or perform any mathematical calculation you want with them. It is easy to insert new rows or columns and the formulas will still do the calculations correctly. You can sort your spreadsheet by text (the “labels”) or by numbers. Your spreadsheet can look (that is, can be “formatted”) any way you want. You can color or highlight text, numbers, or cells; make the text larger, use any font, make the size of the cells any size you want, and much more. There are hundreds of formatting options and hundreds of “built-in” formulas and functions. Excel, for example, can even draw graphs and charts. Well, I will let the accountants use all the fancy stuff, I just want to track some of my basic expenses, and a spreadsheet is perfect for doing that. Why not give it a try? You can learn more about the spreadsheet that you are using by using the “help” option or by asking Google. YouTube will have many video lessons as well. Hey, maybe this can be fun after all!



Keep Your PC Clean

By Merle Nicholson, Secretary       Tampa PC Users Group       Merle (at) merlenicholson.com

You're going to say, “Here's Merle again, preaching on the same ol,” but keeping your computer fully functional goes further than just buying antivirus and doing backups. Here's my take on what we have to look out for.

Emails: We're getting emails – it seems constantly – with requests to straighten out your credit rating, fi x an error on the mortgage, a report on someone logging into a credit card account that you don't even own. Or worse, one that you do own. Scams – all of them. Any legitimate concern – they'll NEVER send you an email. It's a scam to get you to reveal something that will harm you. They need to be deleted immediately. You'll soon be able to recognize each one because they're persistent, and you'll delete without opening. Better still, mark the email as spam, and the next time you get one from them hopefully your email client will recognize it and put it in your spam folder for later deletion.

The objective is to never open the spam email in the first place. Sometimes you have to. But first, let's make a small change to your email client. If there is a pane (a section of the email window) that automatically shows the content of the email; turn that off. If it's on – guess what: You have already opened that spam. That's not good. You want to be able to select it and hit delete without reading it. If the reading pane is showing, it's too late.

No legitimate business will ask you to click on something in an email unless you're expecting it. For instance, I buy something from Amazon, and they send me a link to get a tracking number. There's something there that I recognize: The previous transaction. But if I get something from Amazon that doesn't contain a known previous transaction, just urging me to click on a link, forget it. I may open the browser independently of the email and log into my account to check, but probably not.

Incidentally, there's a system of second level login security on some websites. One of my sons told me about it when he knew I was using PayPal, and he directed me where to set it up. I associated my mobile phone number to my PayPal account and checked one option. Now when I log in, I'm stopped asking for a six digit number to type in to continue. There's a “Send SMS” button to click and when I do, they immediately send a message to my mobile phone with the number to type in. You have five minutes before the number expires. I really like this. I can glance at a six digit number and remember it long enough to type it in, so I don't see that I've lost a thing. I'd like to see more of this – my banking site first comes to mind.

Finally on this subject, guess how many unopened emails you should have. If you guessed none, you're managing your mail effectively. If you have hundreds, you're not managing at all. How can you find the important emails if you have hundreds of unopened ones?

To get on the right track, sort all your current email by sender, start at the top and block delete the entire senders mail if it's not of interest. But just before that, right-click on the first one in the group and mark it as Spam. If your email doesn't have a Spam filter, it's time to change email clients.

Downloads: One very disconcerting trend on websites is the appearance of multiple “Download” buttons on a page where you expect a single download of a product. I do have several products, some paid and some free that require new versions. I'm directed to the site and I see a confusing number of Download buttons. What is happening is that the owners of the site have sold a section of their page to a service that provides content. That content is then sold to advertisers, and I'd guess there is very little oversight of the content. In any case those things with Download buttons can't be to your benefit. Be alert, cancel this quickly if you can; if there's a file being downloaded, there's a notification on the lower left of your browser; it can be canceled if you're quick. If you don't catch it, there's a menu item to “Show in Folder”, go to that file and delete. Hold Shift, hit Delete or Shift, right-click Delete. Be careful! The next thing you have to look out for are downloads of things you don't want that are attached to things you do need. When you want to update Flash, or PDF readers, and get the update, very frequently you'll see a popup that has a toolbar or something else already checked for installation. UnCheck those first. Do it slowly and make sure you understand everything that is happening.

Phone Calls from Microsoft Support: You have to believe me. Microsoft does not know what PC you have, cannot tell you have a problem, and certainly will never call you! There is no mechanism existing that can do that to benefit you. None. That the speaker is saying something in a language vaguely resembling English has to be the first clue.

Offers to “Fix” your PC: Merle's Rule Number 1 is worth repeating. No software can “Fix” your computer. It doesn't exist. If you're having problems it's because you have software installed causing it. That's Too Much Software, don't add more! First uninstall all software you don't need. You don't need anything that has the word “Toolbar” in it. You don't need “Repair My PC” software. You don't need “PC Cleanup” software and you certainly do not need someone to log into your computer remotely to repair it, even if they say they are “Microsoft Support.” Even benign PC repair software stands on its ability to clean up the registry. Guess what? No one needs that. Ever. You also don't need but one antivirus software installed and running. Then look at all your browser add-ons. Anything with the word “toolbar,” disable it.

Actually there is plenty of software that will fix specific problems. But first you must identify the problem in detail first. Frankly, if you have the knowledge to do that you probably wouldn't have the problem in the first place.

Last, make sure you are completely up-to-date on all Windows Updates. Don't just assume that it's being done automatically. Check on that first. One of the tricks malware pulls is to block or turn off automatic updates. Microsoft creates and sends you a “Malicious Software Removal Tool” on the second Tuesday of each month.

Currently it detects and removes the top 264 malware. It runs automatically. The tool is a part of the Windows Update process.

There are lots of things you can do to be safe, and operate your computer with a minimum of fuss, but if you're having problems with your computer that you can't handle, get some help. This is one reason you are a member of a computer club. Every club has several people who are very adept at cleaning up your system when it’s misbehaving.


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