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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Is your Mac Running Slowly?


Maybe it needs a clean up of large files.  If you have the Operating System called Sierra there are several features to do that for you!
  1. To find out what operating system your computer has click on the black apple in the top left corner and choose About this Mac. The window will tell you what operating system you are using.Mac storage
  2. Now click the storage tab. Wait a second and this will tell you how much storage you are using. 
  3. Now choose Manage.  This will show you things you can set up that will maximize your storage space.
manage storage
  1. Store in iCloud -  This will save some space on your computer, but you may have to pay for extra space on iCloud.  5G comes free with you iCloud account and it is about $1 a month for more 50G more.
  2. Optimize - This dumps iTunes videos you have already watched and deals with email attachments differently.
  3. Empty trash automatically - permanently deletes anything in the trash more than 30 days.
  4. To me the most interesting was Reduce Clutter -  It goes through your machine and gives you a list to review all of the large files on your computer. You can the keep, delete, or transfer them to a CD or Thumbdrive. I think I could spend hours on this, but I won't because I am not short on space!
list of files
If you have an older mac there are programs that you can download that will do similar things. Some names are: CleanMyMac 3Gemini 2Disk Cleanup Pro and Dr. Cleaner . It is a good idea to type the name of the program with the word review in you browser and read the reviews before you download. Always back up your Mac before using software intended to automatically delete files on your computer — just in case.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I keep running into times where I am told to create an account for CloudHQ. I tend to be skeptical at first of creating accounts for things that are new. So, I decided I needed to do a little look into what CloudHQ is and decide if I really need an account.

I now understand that CloudHQ is a cloud to cloud management service. I know that is a lot of tech talk. What it means is that since every company has their own cloud service (One Drive for Windows, iCloud for Mac, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc...), it allows them to talk to each other so that you can get all of your "stuff" in one place.

For example, I have a Dropbox account, use Google Drive and iCloud. I also use Gmail. I think it was with Gmail that I was required to sign up for CloudHQ. AHA!  I was trying to learn about Gmail Templates!

The Research
When I want to learn more about something I just go to Google and type a question into the search box. For this I just typed "review CloudHQ" and got 29,100 results. I almost never go beyond the first page of results.

What I learned is that there are other management systems that do what CloudHQ does, but it is the most used. It is a completely web-based app meaning that you do not have to download anything to your computer to make it work. If you want to sync multiple services (let's say Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud) you will have to pay for it, but if you are just pairing two services (Google Drive and Dropbox) you can use the free version.

The free version is enough for the average user. They make money especially by working with companies who use it so that their employees can be more effective at their jobs. I guess signing up for a free service is OK for me.

This review from 2013 is where I learned most of this information:

Another article that was helpful was from 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The End of Windows 7

windows 2007 will no longer be supported by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This sounds like a long time from now, but it will sneak up on you. Many people that I know kept Windows 7 because they did not want to switch to Windows 10.

Here are some things to think about:
1. Your budget - start now to save money for a new computer ($500-$1000) or the upgrade to Windows 10 ($119 for the home version). You can stick with Windows 7 for a while, but since it is not updated you will be more likely to get a virus or have problems.
2. Which software you use often - It is possible that software that works on Windows 7 will not work on Windows 10. If you just use email and a browser, like Chrome or Edge that is no problem, but if you have any special software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom you might have to upgrade your software also.
3. Mac or PC - If you are thinking of getting a new computer this is the age old question. Often people who use Macs are totally convinced that they are the best and people who use PCs ( any computer that runs Windows) are convinced that they are the best. Now is the time for you to start exploring and trying different computers at Best Buy or wherever.

Now you have time to think about all of it and decide what you want to do. In 2020 you will be getting reminders and risking a virus. Your computer will still work and maybe you will be OK, but it is better to be safe.

To find out what Operating System you have now click on the Windows Icon in the bottom left corner of the screen (the start button). Type Computer into the search box. When it comes up Right Click on Computer. Then click Properties. Look for Windows Edition for the version of Windows that your computer is running.

This article was inspired by this article:

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Track changes is helpful, but what I am really amazed with lately is Google Drive. I am on several boards and on committees that use it. It is a GREAT way to share documents so that multiple people can comment or edit a document without messing up what someone else has done.

When you go to you have to sign in with a Google account. You can get one even if you do not want to use gmail. Go to and either get a gmail account or sign up with your own email address.
signing up for a Google Accountsigning up with your own email

New Google Doc

Once you have a Google account and sign in to Google Drive you can start a new document or go to a document that has been SHARED with you.

shared documents
The person who creates the document is the owner. They can share it and set the permissions for each person who it is shared with.

If you choose File - Version History you will see who revised the document, what they did and when it was done. If you don't like the revision you can return to a previous version!

It is even great when you just want to share documents, but you don't want anyone to change them. When you share the document you just mark that everyone should VIEW only. They will not have the rights to change anything, but can view the document at any time.

This is becoming a very popular way to share documents on a committee or board.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


overflowing mailboxEmail is a curse of our society. It is totally necessary, sometimes we like it, other times it takes WAY too much of our time and energy.  This article has a few recommendations for making the use of email smoother. 

When you are in a hurry glance through your messages and mark those that are important and need to be dealt with by putting a flag or star on them. It depends on which email program you are using if it is a flag or a star. Gmail uses stars and many others use flags. Later you can easily sort your mail by the flags or stars and go through the important messages when you have more time. 

When you are doing your sort if there is a message that you can answer with a quick reply do it!  That way it gets out of your inbox and is dealt with. If you get advertisements that you don't want to see immediately scroll down to the bottom of the message, find the tiny print that says UNSUBSCRIBE and unsubscribe from their list. Most vendors want you to be happy and will immediately take you off of their list if you only ask. If you do it right away you can keep your inbox from filling up with unsolicited ads. You will have to keep up with it since there are always new ones, but it is easy if you do one at a time. 

After writing a message in Outlook  go to File > Save As… > Outlook template, or search for preset Outlook templates that cover the most common ones. Then, click on Items > Choose Form… > User Templates when you’re ready to put that pre-saved form to use. 

screenshotIn Gmail there are two ways to do this. The older one is called Canned responses. If you want to use this first you need to enable it. To do that go to Settings (the Gear icon) and choose Advanced. Then find Canned Response and enable.

settings menu

To use it you compose an email message and after you have written everything except the "to" line (also delete your signature, so it does not appear twice) then go to the three dots in the bottom right corner of the window. Choose Canned Response and then new canned response. It will be saved and ready for the next time you choose Compose and have a new message. Then you can click on the three dots and choose Canned Responses and you will see the email you wrote in the list.

There is a second possibility, but it involves signing into another service and I am a little wary of that. It may be just fine, but I want to do a bit of research first. Here is how it works. In Gmail start to compose a message. Then click on the little icon at the bottom of the compose window that looks like a document. This will connect you to something called CloudHQ. It is more than I can write about here, but if you sign up for it you will have access to lots of templates and be able to create your own and access them right from a message. I will write more about CloudHQ in another post.

There are two ways to make finding past email messages easier. You need to find the best way for you, but once you have set it up and use it you can save huge amounts of time. 

  • Create folders and for the messages that you may want to find again have a good system of saving them. Archive or delete all the rest of your mail so that your inbox can be fairly empty after it has been read.  In most programs when you create a new folder it is on the left side and you can just drag messages from the right and drop them into the correct folder.
  • If you use Gmail I have found that the search function works really well. What I do is to archive almost all of my read messages. They are compressed then and saved in a very small format, so my mailbox does not get jammed. When I need something I just do a search and so far it is finding what I need!
Sometimes you have time to write something, but do not want to send it right away.  In Outlook you can choose Options > Delay Delivery > Do not deliver before. In Gmail there is an add on called Boomerang that allows you to designate when you want a certain email sent. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Track Changes in Microsoft Word


In Microsoft Word there is an option available called track changes. This is most helpful for the times when you write something (a school paper, a book, an article, your Christmas letter) and you want someone to proofread it for you. It allows the proofreader to make changes like crossing out or adding words and put comments on your document without really changing anything.

When they return it to you there are red marks that need to be approved or rejected. It allows you to stay in control of the document while also getting feedback from someone else.

Turning on Track ChangesLet's look at it step by step.
  1. I am starting with a document that I copied from the internet somewhere.
  2. I have to turn Track Changes on.
  3. I am going to put all of the different types of edits into the document so you can see what it looks like.example of track changes
  4. You can see that everything is marked in Green or red and on the side there is an explanation of what was changed.
  5. Now, you as the author can choose which changes to keep and which to reject. First open the ribbon called Review and look for Accept/Reject.
  6. Now you can click on each one of these changes and choose Accept or Reject. If it is marked Accept the change is made. If you choose Reject the mark goes away and the text returns to normal. There is a small red mark on the left side that shows where a change has been made. If you think you are done, but there are still lines on the right side click on the line to see what is changed.
Like everything else it makes more sense when you do it. If you are interested why not take a piece of text and try it out?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Getting Pictures from the Internet and Attaching them to email


I always use Google to search for pictures, because it is easy to find ONLY the pictures that have been marked for sharing. 

Did you know that all of the content on the Internet is copyrighted? Copyright Law says that copyright exists the moment a work is "fixed". You do not have to register for copyright in order to use the ©  

(On a Mac in order to get a copyright symbol go to System Preferences>Language and Region. At the bottom of the window that appears will be a checkbox with the words-Show Input in the Menu Bar.  The menu bar is the very top bar of your computer screen that has the date and time. When it is there you can click on it and choose Show emojis and symbols. The Character Viewer will open and you can go to Letterlike symbols to choose the copyright symbol.)

Following are the instructions for choosing a picture from the Internet, saving it on your computer and then attaching it to an email message.

1.       Go to Google. 
2.   Type the name of the picture you want into the search engine.

3.   Choose IMAGES from the menu at the top 
4.   To choose pictures that are free to share, click on tools.

5.   Choose Usage Rights
6.   Choose Labeled for Reuse 

7.   Select the picture you want and click on it.
8.   Right click on the image
9.   Choose Save Image As
10.       Give the image a name and decide where to save it on your computer.
1.   Where are you saving the picture file?
2.   What do you want to name the file?
3.   What type of file do you want it to be (usually leave this the same)
11.       Click Save
12.       The picture will show up in your picture file.

Go to your email (This example uses Gmail. The directions for other email programs is similar)

1.   Type in the search box.

2.   Click Compose

3.   Type in the email address you want to send it to.

4.   Put in a subject.

5.   Type a note.
6.   Click on the paper clip OR on the camera
·      The paper clip will attach the picture as a file
·      The Camera will attach the picture so that it shows in the message space.

7.   Choose the picture(s) you want to put in. To choose more than one hold down shift while clicking on the pictures.
Press Shift if the pictures that you want to choose are in order.
Press Control (ctrl) if the pictures you want to choose are not in order.

8.   Once you have chosen all the photos you want press OPEN and they will be added to your email.

Getting a Copyright Symbol on a Mac

On a Mac get a copyright symbol

1. Open System Preferences

2. Choose Language and Region 

3. At the bottom of the window that appears will be a checkbox with the words:

4. The menu bar is the very top bar of your computer screen that has the date 

and time. 

5. When it is there you can click on it and choose Show emojis and symbols.
The Character Viewer will open and you can go to Letterlike symbols to choose the copyright symbol.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Data Retention and Privacy Google vs. Facebook

Google LogoWhen Facebook was getting lots of attention for its data retention policy and Mark Zuckerburg was having to take questions from Congress, I wondered how things were with Google. It seems that they are doing many of the same things that Facebook is doing. In fact, it seems like they are trying to take over the world. I used to think that their motto "Do no evil" was nice, but now it seems like Google has gotten SO big that I wonder if it can control anything anymore. This is a great article that answered my questions about that. It shows how transparent Google is and how much control you have over your own account, which was not true of Facebook. It is a good read.

Here are links to the Google services that the article talks about.

Google Takeout

My Activity

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What is WiFI and how do I make it secure?

tangled cordsMost of us hate all of the cords that plague our lives these days. It is such a relief to have wireless connection to the Internet and good computer batteries so that you can take your laptop and work anywhere. Many people don't understand how that can happen because it is invisible, but it is important to understand a bit.

Wireless computers use WIFI to connect to the Internet. WIFI is like a radio signal that floats in the air invisibly. At your routerhome it comes from a box (router) that is connected by a wire to the Internet. The box converts that signal into a WIFI connection. You are paying someone to provide this service (similar to cable for your TV, but wireless).  Maybe it is ATT, Time Warner (which is now ATT!). Google Fiber or Grande. They come to your house, set up the box and maybe even put the password into your computer, so it just works!

List of WIFI signalsYou need to understand this because the signals that are floating around the air can be captured by ANY computer. Most connections are protected, so only people who know the password can access the WIFI. This is good. It means that no one can sit outside of your house in a car and access your WIFI. This list is what WIFI connections my computer senses. They all have locks next to their name. That means they are password protected and I would need the password to use the WIFI.

When you go to a coffee shop or airport or anywhere else that has either a WIFI connection that does not have a password OR a password that they give out freely to anyone in that location, it means that ANYONE who is on the same connection can theoretically connect to your computer. If you are just using your computer for something local, like Word; or to browse the Internet to read the news or your email this is not a big problem. However, if you are logging into your bank or purchasing something and entering your credit card information it is like you are giving it out to anyone in the space. Most people would be honest and not pay any attention, but you never know when there is someone who knows how to misuse that information for their benefit.

So, make sure you have a good password on your WIFI connection and be careful how you use it when you are in a coffee shop.

This is a great article that will tell you more important things about making sure you have a secure connection to the Internet. If you have any questions about this just call!