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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tips for Switching from PC to Mac

If you are used to using a PC and switch to a Mac there are certain things that you will miss. The Mac can do everything that a PC does, but sometimes there are different ways to make them happen.
  • How to right click on a Mac
setting up secondary mouse buttonMacs will respond to a right button if the mouse you use has a right button. If you do not have a mouse with a right button there are two ways to right click. The first is to hold down "control" when you click. The second is to set up your trackpad for secondary clicking. You can do this by going to the System Preferences (black apple at top left and then System Preferences), finding the Trackpad controls and choosing that tapping with two fingers equals a secondary click
  • How to sleep, restart and shutdown
Black apple menuAlways go to the black apple at the top left in order to sleep, restart or logout of your computer. You can also logout in order to switch users without turning off the computer. You should always shut down rather than turning it off with the on/off switch. This process allows the computer to close all of the programs that make it run in a way that does not cause any problems. 
  • How to find a program you want to open on a Mac
There are several different ways to look for a program you want to open. For this article I just want to remind you of the Spotlight. It looks like a magnifying glass in the top right of your window. Type in here what you are looking for and you will find it!

  • How to uninstall a program on a Mac
A Mac does not require you to uninstall software with a program like Add and RemoveAppCleanerPrograms. You can just drag an app to the trash in order to delete it. Remember that anything with a bent arrow (like the programs on your desktop) are not programs. They are just pointers to the programs so you have to find the actual application in the applications folder and uninstall it from there. 

I like to use an app called AppCleaner. It will delete the app and look for any other files that are related to it and delete them as well. It is free and has worked well for me.
  • How to close, maximize and minimize on a Mac.Quit
On the Mac you have a Stoplight system on the left side of a window instead of on the right side. When you click the RED button to close an app the app closes, but the program stays open. To close the program you choose the name of the program and then slide down to Quit.

  • How to control-alt-delete on a Macoption-command-esc
Force Quit in MacOn a PC Control-Alt Delete is a way to force quit an application that is not responding or to force shutdown the whole computer if it is frozen. On a Mac the keys are Option-Command-Escape. When you press these keys a window appears allowing you to choose the app that you would like to force quit or to relaunch the Finder, which is like a force shutdown on the PC.
  • How to find the control panel on a Mac
OSystem Preferencesn a Mac The Control Panel is called System Preferences. You can find it under the black apple in the top left of the screen.

  • How to set up multiple accounts on a Mac
When you turn your computer on you may want to have separate accounts for different users of the computer. This allows you to have your own document folder and set up (background picture, password to get in, etc...) This is especially helpful if you have children using your computer and you want them to have child friendly set up in the browser which will block some things and access to only certain software. Here is how to do this on a Mac. It can also be done on a PC, but I will leave that for another time.Users and Groups
  1. Click on the Black Apple at the upper left side of the screen.
  2. Choose System Preferences
  3. Look for and click on Users and Groups
  4. Users - KeyIf the lock at the bottom left of the screen is closed you will have to put in the admin password and then it will unlock.unlocked
  5. Click on the plus sign at the bottom of the list of users and a new user will appear.
  6. You can give the account a name, a folder name that can be the same or different than the account name, set up parental controls (or not), and put in a password. The password is required, but there is no requirement of length, capitals, numbers or symbols.
  7. Before the account is set up it asks you if you want your computer to Automatically open in the admin account or open so that either account will have to log in. If you choose to have the admin account log in automatically you will have to log out before the other account logs in.
  8. The account will be set up and you will have a chance to change the settings including to put on parental controls if you forgot to do it earlier. You can even change the picture by rolling your mouse over it and clicking edit.
  • How to move between open windows in the same program in a Mac.
Both Macs and PCs are created with the idea that you should be able to have several things open at the same time. Each program has different ways that you can show the windows so that they are horizontally or vertically oriented, but if you want to have several things open that take up the whole screen in order to switch between them look for the menu called "window" at the top. When you click on it the list of the windows open will show and you can switch from viewing one to the other.
  • How to find out how much storage is left on your Mac
This is easy to do, but I always forget how!  If you click on the black apple at the top left of the screen and choose About this Mac you can find out anything you need to know about your computer (including the serial number!). At the top of this window are several choices. Click on Storage to find out how much storage memory your computer is using. It takes a little while for your computer to calculate the amount you are using, but right away you can see the total size of your storage. The picture it shows is like a thermometer showing how much each item takes up. You can roll your mouse over the ones that are too small to have words to find out what they are.

People often ask me what I recommend: a Mac or a PC. My answer is evolving, but it basically stays the same. It depends....  Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. If you have limited funds you can find a much less expensive PC than a Mac. If you like to play high end video games often a PC is better than a Mac. If you like to be in control of your computer and put in chips to add capabilities and program so that it is more unique to you a PC is what you want.

On the other hand if you can spend a bit more, do not want to be in control and able to change things a lot, and if you just want it to work reliably a Mac might be better. They can both do way more than most people ask of them. Now it is pretty easy to move documents, pictures, etc.... from Mac to PC and back, so you do not have to stick with only one.

Tips from

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Slow Computer?

I have written about this before, but I thought I would revisit the issue here since I have come across some slow computers lately.These things may not solve your situation, but they are worth trying. I have put it in terms of questions to ask yourself and what you can do.

Do you have too many programs open at once or too many tabs open on your browser? 

I have seen browsers that are so full of tabs that they cannot even show them all at once. Many busy people open programs and forget to close them before going on to the next task.Even the stuff that you are not using is taking up some of the RAM or the memory that the computer uses to run things. The first thing to do is to try closing tabs and exiting programs so that you are only doing a few things and see if it makes a difference.

Is your hard drive full?  Here is how to check.
  1. On a PC open the START Menu and look for Computer on the right side
  2. Click on computer and you will see a thermometer-like line which shows how much space is used and how much is free.
  3. On a Mac click on the black apple at the top left of the screen.
  4. Choose About this Mac
  5. The window opens with Overview usually.
  6. Click on Storage and you will see a similar "thermometer".

When did you last empty your downloads folder and your trash? 

Your downloads folder is usually full of things like attachments that people have sent you or installation programs for programs you have downloaded. Most of the files in there are also saved somewhere else on your computer.  Do you ever even look at your downloads folder? Most likely there is nothing in the Downloads folder that you need. To be sure you can trash it all. It will stay in the trash and be unavailable to your computer. If you have no problems nothing was necessary. The next step is to empty the trash. When you do that it should make a difference in the storage memory of your computer. Remember: even though you have put something into the trash it still takes up space on your computer until you empty the trash.

Have you uninstalled all of the unused programs on your computer?

Each program on your computer takes up space. My rule is that I NEVER uninstall something if I don't know what it is. Computers often have programs on them that help them to run. I would hate for you to delete something that would cause trouble later. However, people often have programs on their computers that they never use and maybe even were installed before they bought the computer. You do not have to leave these ones on.

  1. You can uninstall them on a PC by going to Control panel and searching for uninstall. It will take you to a list of what is ON your computer and then you can uninstall what you do not use.
  2. On a Mac I use a small program called App Cleaner that was free to download. All I need to do is to open App Cleaner and drag the icon of the program I want to remove on top of the program. It will find all of the other files that relate to this program and I will have a choice to delete all of them or to pick and choose what I want to keep.
Have you deleted your "temp" files?

These are files that are created by your browser (IE, Chrome, Safari) when you go to a website. It is similar to packaging when you buy a TV. You want to keep the TV, but you throw away the packaging. Anything that is a temp file can be deleted without causing any problem.
  1. On a PC open "My Computer", select your main drive (C), click the "Windows" folder then open the folder inside that called "Temp".
  2. Use your mouse to right-click on the folder, and in the "View" options, choose "Details". Once this is done, select all the files that are older than the current date and press the delete key. Then go to the Recycle Bin on your desktop and empty it.
  3. Macs are designed to automatically run maintenance and clear temporary files. However, if you are having difficulties and need to do it manually you can
    • Launch the Terminal application. You can do this by clicking "Go" at the top of your screen, then scrolling to "Utilities." Alternately, you can click "Applications" on the left sidebar of your Finder window, then double-click on "Utilities" from there.
    • Type "open /tmp" in Terminal (without quotation marks).
    • Press the "Enter" key. The Finder window should now navigate to the appropriate folder.
Have you defragmented your disk?
  1. To do this on a PC go to "My Computer", right-click on the hard drive and select "Properties". Under the "Tools" tab there should be an option to "Defragment Now".
  2. This is not necessary on a Mac. Here is a great article on things that you can do for a slow Mac. It involves downloading specific software, so I have not included it in this article.

Have you done a Disk Clean Up?
  1. On a PC click "Start" then go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
  2. On a Mac see the link above.
Do you have unnecessary programs running in your System Tray?
  1. On a PC your system tray is on the bottom right side of your toolbar and shows what programs are running in the background while you use your computer. For example, one that you see there should be your virus protection, which you want to see. You also see indication of any flash drives that you might be using. However, there are many things that could be running that you do not need.
  2. To stop the ones you do not need from running in the background you can right click their icon and close them.

What programs automatically run when you startup your computer?
  1. Many programs install something in a file called the "startup file" on your computer so that they can open more quickly when you want to use them. 
  2. On a PC to get these out of your Startup file click Ctrl-Alt-Delete to open the Task Manager. When it is open click on the Startup tab.
  3. If there are any programs listed that you do not want to open automatically when you start your computer you can click to highlight them and then press "Disable" at the bottom right of the window.
  4. A Mac calls these things the Login items. To see what your login items are go to the black apple in the top left and then choose System Preferences
  5. Then choose Users and in that window click on Login Items. There should be a list in that window and to choose something that you do not want to be in your login items highlight it and click the minus sign at the bottom.
Well, I think that is enough for today!  I hope it has given you some things to try and maybe speeded up your computer. If these things do not work you will definitely need to find a Geek and ask for help. They might tell you that a good solution is to buy a new computer, but you are in charge of whether to do that or not!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Help! I Cannot Open My iMovie Projects with the New Version (10.1.4)

The other day I got an email from one of the bright readers of this blog asking about iMovie. His question had to do with different versions of iMovie. I know that iMovie can be very confusing and I had not looked at it for a little while, so I wrote him back to say that I would have to look to see what versions I am using and do a little research and I would get back to him.

Much to my surprise, when I looked at my computer I had THREE (count them…3) versions of iMovie on my computer. I kept the oldest version (6.0.3) on purpose because I knew how to use it and I did not like the way the replacement worked. 6.0.3 will not even work on Sierra and I get the message that I have to upgrade to the newest version.

I used the next version (iMovie 09, 8.0.6) until I got used to it. So, I have a bunch of projects and event files from then.

Finally, there is another newer version (10.1.4) on my computer that I have played with (because it does have a few trial movies in it). It cannot access all of my older movies, so I am going to try to figure that out and let you in on it!

First I want to open the 10.1.4 version and see if there is any way that I can open the movies that I have made in the past.

The first thing that I tried was to go to FILE-Import iOS Projects and then I navigated to my Movies folder and EVERYTHING in it was faded. I could not open anything. So, I learned I could not upload old projects.

So then I tried FILE-Import Media. This time an Import window opened up in iMovie and all of my files were listed below. First I had to change the file name at the top where it says “import to”. Then I chose one of the movies I had made in the past and clicked import in the bottom right. I went to the top of the list where it said “New Event” and I named it past projects. My movie from the past imported and now it is in my media list. 

However, it will not play in my media list. I had to create a New Project and then drag it down to the bottom. 

NOW I get it!!  The newest iMovie does not automatically connect to your older projects. It allows you to import your older projects and even the pieces of the projects (the stills, video and sound from when you were making the movie). Once they are imported into the folder you can work with them and make new things or remake the movies you had before. 

If you have completed movies in the past to the point of "Sharing" them so that they were no longer a project, but a movie it will play even if you do not have iMovie. That file is a stand alone file. What you cannot do is to edit them unless you have imported all of the pieces to create a new project.

I am ready to edit my video files to get rid of all of my old projects and keep only the final videos that were made. I don’t want to change them. I just want to have them to look at. Before this I was afraid to throw anything away because it might be necessary, but now I understand.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Changing the Order of Your Posts in Blogger

I work with a client who is creating a blog in anticipation of a long trip.  The pages written ahead of time are listed in date order in the list of pages in Design. The problem is that the travel is not going to be in the same date order, nor will it be alphabetical. It would be much more useful to have the pages listed in the order of travel.

In order to do this just adjust the dates that Blogger has recorded.

Here are the instructions with some images.

  • Open one of the pages or posts.

  • When it is open on the right side you will see the date that it was published.

  • Click on the words Published On.

  • A window will open with a calendar which will allow you to change the date.

  • You can change all of the dates so that they show up in the correct order.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sharing in Dropbox-Can someone else delete my stuff?

There are different ways to share folders in Dropbox. You are in charge of how you share folders or documents. 

If you want to share so that the other person can edit the document, the choice comes up after you type their email address into the To: line

You can choose how they will interact with the document. 

You can also choose to share only a link to the folder in your Dropbox. 

If you Create a Link you can send it in your own email and the recipients will have access to your folder. They cannot change anything in it, but they can download the contents to their own computers. There are additional choices for how the link is managed if you sign up for a paid account. 

Here are step by step directions for sharing. You can do it from your own Dropbox folder on your computer, but I think it is more straight forward if you sign in online.

1. Get online-any browser should work.
3. Sign in. Your files should appear and look like this when you roll over them.

Inline image 2

4. Click on the "Share" button
Inline image 3
5. Fill in the To line with the email or email addresses.
6. Add a message.
7. It will be sent letting the people you are sharing with that they have access to that folder.

If you have given someone editing permissions for your folder they can add and remove items. It is always good to have a backup somewhere for the items you store in Dropbox. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Converting PDF to Word on your Phone

Every once in awhile I get a request to try out something and then to write about it on my blog. This post is about an app for your phone called PDF to Word.

Cometdocs has created an app that makes it really easy to convert a pdf to a word document and send it to yourself. You can find a link to the app store, the play store and other information at their website. 

Here is what I did:

1. I downloaded the app from the App Store. Look for PDF to Word from Cometdocs.

2. I found a .pdf document in my email. When I opened it I had an option to send it to PDF to Word. Look for the "share" box in the top right corner. When you open it one choice will be PDF to Word.

3. The PDF to Word app opened up and a little wheel began to turn. The app told me that if I wanted faster conversion I could purchase it rather than use the free version. It said that it could take 1-3 hours to convert.  I looked it up and if I wanted to add a quicker conversion it was only $5.99 and I could also link other services like Dropbox for another $1.99.

4.  I had other things to do, so I set my phone down and came back to it later.

5. When I returned the document was there. I clicked to open it and then clicked on Share and sent it to my computer. 

6. Used Airdrop to send it to my computer (that is a Mac thing). It is great!  The document looked a bit funny on my phone, but when I opened it on my computer it was perfect.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

WiFi On the Go

Traveling has gotten me thinking more about mobile wifi. In Japan I had friends who had devices which allowed them to have wifi anywhere. We were traveling to parts of the country where we would not have Internet access, so it was really nice to be able to access the Internet all of the time.

One other benefit to having your own mobile wireless is that using shared networks can be risky. You are exposing your computer and the information on it to anyone else who is on the network, which could be anyone. It is important to think about that if you do go to coffee shops to do work or just use your computer for whatever. 

The way it works is that the device connects to a cellphone tower and converts the signal to Wifi. If you have a recent iPhone you can already do this by going to your settings and turning on your personal hotspot. So, if you are in a place that does not have cellphone towers (which is becoming more and more unlikely) it would not work.

Because it is using a cellphone connection this device is something that has a monthly charge. It is just like your cellphone. If you use it too much you are charged huge overages, so you have to be careful. There are no plans with unlimited minutes and you find that the number of “free” (or paid for with your monthly charge) minutes is not enough. It costs more than using Home Wifi.  These devices also need to be charged. They last about 10 hours depending on the device and how you use it.

The device itself costs from as high as $450 to $50!  It makes me wonder If they are just making up the prices to see what people will spend!  The higher end ones connect to more devices and have faster connection speeds.  

There are reviews online which are worth looking at. These companies make devices that you can purchase and set up an account for.
  • TMobile
  • Sprint
  • Verizon
  • ATT

There are several smaller companies and they cost less usually, but it is good to remember that they use the same cellphone connections as the big companies. For example if Sprint is weak in your area the smaller company will also be weak.

One interesting company is Karma Go. Their device works in a little different way. It is set up so that you can share your connection with others and in that way lower your own bill. I am not sure how it totally works, but it might be worth looking at their website to understand it. You should also find out which cell network they use before choosing their service.

Karma Go – $150  shared wifi


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