Mar 23, 2016

Mar - 10 2016 | By

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For a limited time, the podcast of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

 

NOTE: There’s one more Zentech show scheduled for this month on 3-30-16.

 

Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in later in the show.

 

Paul talked about keeping his 7″ Nexus Android tablet updated. Many of the apps in the Google Play Sore are free. They are sometimes supported by sponsorship using Adwords.

One of his favorite apps is Gasbuddy for finding the cheapest gas near his location. It’s a crowdsourced database of gas prices around the nation.

Another free app he likes is for weather and comes from Wunderground. It’s one of many free weather apps.

Using Adwords, many of the free apps provide useful and generally unannoying ads for products in your area. Google knows where you are unless you have locations services turned off.

About once a year Paul goes thru his collection of apps to see if there are better versions. For instance, his previous weather app started giving wrong temperatures, so he switched over to using the Wunderground app.

When using the Play Store app, Paul said you can check for app updates by ‘clicking’ the menu icon in the upper left (the 3 striped lines). He said that though there’s some wisdom to ‘don’t fix what ain’t broke”, he hasn’t seen a case where there wasn’t a marked improvement by upgrading an Android device — including, he said, the Android operating system itself.

Upgrading the Android operating system itself is not done thru the Play Store. Instead, click the settings icon (gray cog wheel) and at the bottom you’ll see either ‘check for updates’ or ‘about the Android’. He said Android has gotten sleeker and faster and it’s usually a good idea to do the upgrade unless you have really old hardware.

Paul noted that to uninstall an app, it’s not enough to delete its icon from the home screen. Instead, click the app icon (circle with the dots inside), find the target app and hold your finger on it. An uninstall option appears at the top to which you drag the app. <Or you can do it thru settings -> apps -> all apps. Click your choice & select ‘uninstall’.>

The show preceding Zentech apparently failed to give out the web address to Animal Place. It’s animalplace.org. Paul got a chicken from them years ago that lived to an incredible age.

Marilyn called. She got an older Dell Optiplex, aka lunch box, and installed Windows 7 on it. She now needs a wi-fi adapter. She wondered why it didn’t come with wi-fi and wanted to know what she should get.
– Laptops do come with wi-fi. An Ethernet cable connection is preferred, if it’s available — the performance is better. Marilyn said that could work for here as her laptop is using an Ethernet cable.
– You can get a Realtek USB wi-fi adapter from Amazon or Ebay, Windows 7 will automatically recognize it because it’s so common. It’s a product of China and is pretty cheap — about $5.

Also, Marilyn tried to install an 2002 version of Microsoft Office and it wouldn’t let her do it.
– Paul wasn’t sure why that was happening but suggested she insert the CD containing Office and immediately stop it from autorunning. <Hold down the left shift key, if I recall correctly>. Then browse the CD looking for a program called setup.exe, startup.exe or install.exe. Right click on the program and change it’s properties to run in compatibility mode.
– Instead of using Office, use the free LibreOffice or OpenOffice suite. Paul doesn’t expect compatibility issues except for something minor like a font being used that’s slightly different from the original document.

Ward called. He wanted to know what phone to buy that’s just for calling. He didn’t want to deal with ads.
– Paul suggested a flip phone — somewhere between a smartphone and a dumb one. You can find them on Ebay. Or you can go to a big box store and get a Trak Phone for about $23/mo for voice & text but no data.
– Many people have stashed away their old flip phones after they’ve upgraded. Check with people you know to see if they have one lying around.
– Ideally, find a phone not made by Verizon. Look for one that can take a SIM card <GSM>. You can then get a SIM card on Ebay and buy airtime as needed.
– If you don’t want ads following you around on the web, you can browse anonymously in incognito mode. Most browsers have the feature.

Pinky called. She has an iPhone 6S. She is no longer able to delete email messages. When she tries to trash it, her only options are to ‘archive’ or ‘cancel’. Paul said ‘archive’ is now the same thing as a recycle bin. First do the archive then find the recycle bin and empty it to completely delete the email messages. And remember, the trash folder an email program uses is usually separate from the system trash.

When Glenn finally called in from the Bay Area, Paul played him a recording of phone call he got the other day purporting to be from his bank. The caller asked Paul to call back to an 800 number regarding his credit card. Paul then asked Glenn what he thought of that. Glenn suggested using the phone number on the credit card, not the one given over the phone. That’s what Paul did and when he called the bank he strongly suggest they not give out a phone number during their calls, but to ask people call the phone number on their credit cards. The bank agent seemed perplexed.

Paul also warned people to be leery of websites that show a secure lock in the browser and/or a Better Business Bureau logo on the webpage. That stuff can be easily faked. And when you get an email from, say, your bank, don’t click on any provided links. Instead, type in the link you definitely know is correct.

Paul went on to warn people that phone numbers of incoming calls, the ones that show up in caller ID, can be faked, too. The FCC imposes a $10,000 fine for faking a phone number.

A related security issue is when a bank, for example, uses caller ID to identify customers when they call in. Since phone numbers can be faked, someone using your phone number can impersonate you. Banks should always use other means to identify you. Paul said.

Glenn said he’ll be in the Bay Area until Sunday and that he may be gone for the next Zen Tech show on 3-30-16, as well. Paul will host the Flea Market tomorrow.

Paul talked a bit about Windows 10. He said he’s not encountered any major issues. As true with previous versions, commonly used functions have been moved around. This will be the last iteration of the operating system <it will just be updated>. It’s somewhat faster as the code has been tightened up. He hasn’t seen it crash yet in the few weeks he’s used it.

The deadline for a free upgrade from Win7, Win8 or Win8.1 is approaching. It’s in April, Paul thought.
– It’s a 2 or 3 gig download.
– Be sure to back up your important files before upgrading.
– The menu system in Win10 is “hokey”, Paul said. It’s just a little better than Win8.
– You can get some of the functionality of Win7 or even make it look like XP by using classicshell.net. It’s supposed to work on a Win8 machine, too.
– Microsoft’s goal is to sell you apps for Win10. That’s part of what’s responsible for the crappy interface.

Glenn asked if the Win10 upgrade will work on his ASUS touch screen laptop. Paul said it would, The touch screen interface is just some drivers similar to a mouse driver.

The only people who aren’t eligible for the free Win10 update are those who currently have anything higher than the pro version of Win7 or Win8 (like the enterprise version). Pirated versions of Win7 or Win8 won’t get the upgrade. Those with versions of 7 or 8 that haven’t been activated may have problems after the upgrade. Paul didn’t give details and just said that it will ask you to activate.

To find out more about your computer click the Start button -> right click on ‘computer’ -> left click on properties. Toward the bottom of the screen it will tell you if it’s been activated. If you have an OEM version of Windows, it may not say that it’s been activated but it will say ‘OEM’ and it should be upgradable.

On the Microsoft site there’s supposed to be a link to a downloadable version of Win10. It’s about 3.5gig for the 32bit & 64bit version or 5.6gig for both. Paul didn’t recommend Win10 for 32bit machines. It will work but will be sluggish. You really should have a 64bit cpu, “2 brains in the machine if you can”, 4gig of memory and about 10gig of hard drive space (100gig or more total hard drive storage).

If you currently have an underpowered computer and you’re running, maybe, XP, you can install a version of Linux called Ubuntu.

In versions of Win7, 8 & 10 that are above the home version have Bitlocker. It’s a way to encrypt the content of a hard drive. It’s hard to tell that it’s running in the background. One of Paul’s clients didn’t even know it was running on their computer as they got it used. So, when the manufacturer (Dell) suggested a firmware upgrade the client went ahead and was locked out the hard drive, The firmware upgrade made Bitlocker think it was suddenly running on a different machine. If the client had the chance to turn off Bitlocker before the upgrade, it would have gone smoothly. Paul said that unless you have a compelling reason to use Bitlocker, don’t. Also make separate backups.

Glenn gave us an update about his health situation. He doesn’t have cancer, as first thought. He does have a problem with his liver, which is being treated. So, he plans to be with us for many years to come.

Last Updated 12:10 AM 3-24-2016