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        1. <  > KEYS (8/12)
        2. 32 vs 64-BIT SYSTEM
        3. ADDRESS BAR SEARCH BOX (10/12)
        5. AUDIOBOOKS – AMAZON OR iTUNES? (8/13)
        6. AUDIO RECORD – INTERNET (2/13)
        9. BIBLES WEBSITE (3/13)
        15. CD BURNING OF AN AUDIO FILE (12/12)
        16. CD – RIPPING A CD TO THE COMPUTER (2/13)
        17. CHARACTER COUNT (9/12)
        18. CLICKING – WON’T OPEN LINKS (8/12)
        19. CLOSING A SITE WHEN NO “X” SHOWS (2/13)
        20. CTRL+P WON’T WORK (8/13)
        21. COMPUTER CAPACITY / SPEED (4/13)
        22. COMPUTER – SHUTTING OFF (8/12)
        23. COMPUTER SLOW – TUNE-UP (8/12)
        24. COMPUTER TUNE-UP – THINGS TO DO (1/13)
        27. CPU USAGE – TOO HEAVY (8/12)
        28. DEFAULT PROGRAMS – SETTING (1/13)
        29. DELETE FILE OR PROGRAM – CAN’T (8/12)
        30. DESKTOP ICON FONT COLOR (9/12)
        32. DISK BAY BROKEN (8/13)
        33. DISKS – RW CDs and RW DVDs vs REGULAR ONES (8/12)
        36. DOWNLOADING TIP (4/13)
        37. DVD–RW – ERASE (8/12)
        39. DVD COPYING TO COMPUTER (8/12)
        40. E-BOOK READER – ADOBE (8/12)
        41. E-BOOK READER – See KINDLE (8/12)
        43. E-MAIL RETURN ADDRESS (8/12)
        44. E-MAIL SIGNATURE – AUTOMATIC (12/12)
        45. E-MAIL – SIGNING A FORM (8/12)
        46. E-MAIL – SUDDENLY CAN’T ACCESS (8/12)
        47. E-MAIL TEXT WRAPPING (8/12)
        48. E-MAIL – to SELF (9/13)
        49. ERASING A DVD–RW OR CD—RW (8/12)
        50. EXCEL – MICROSOFT EXCEL (12/12)
        51. FACEBOOK AND SPAM (8/12)
        58. FLASH DRIVE LIFE (9/12)
        59. FLASH DRIVE SENSITIVITY (11/12)
        62. FORMATTING – REMOVING (8/12)
        63. FREEZING (8/12)
        64. GADGET – NOT WORKING (1/13)
        67. GADGETS – LESS INTRUSIVE (8/12)
        68. GEEK SQUAD PEOPLE (1/13)
        69. GRAMMAR FUNCTION (8/12)
        70. GPS UPDATE (4/13)
        71. HARD SPACE – SHADING A HARD SPACE (8/12)
        72. HIBERNATE vs SLEEP (12/12)
        73. HI-DEF DISKS (8/12)
        74. HIGHLIGHTING VS SHADING (8/12)
        77. INSTALLING A PROGRAM (9/12)
        78. INTERNET / CABLE ACCOUNT (8/12)
        79. INTERNET CONNECTION (8/12)
        80. INTERNET EXPLORER – OPENING (8/12)
        83. IPAD (9/12)
        84. IPOD CAR STEREO (8/12)
        85. IPOD IN CAR PROBLEMS – UPDATE (8/12)
        89. iTUNES – MISSING SONGS (9/12)
        90. iTUNES – TROUBLE IMPORTING A SONG (12/12)
        91. JAVA SECURITY PROBLEM (1/13)
        92. KINDLE (8/12)
        95. LINE – HORIZONTAL (8/12)
        98. LINKS IN A WORD DOCUMENT (9/12)
        99. LOGGING OFF vs SHUTTING DOWN (12/12)
        100. LYRICS OF SONGS (8/12)
        101. MAGAZINES – DIGITAL EDITIONS (1/13)
        102. MAINTENANCE TASKS – SCAN DISK (8/12)
        103. MARGIN STUCK AT VERY TOP (8/12)
        104. MOUSE – NOT WORKING (9/13)
        105. MOUSE – ONE FINGER SCROLL (8/12)
        106. MOVIE-MAKING (9/12)
        107. MOVIE REVIEW WEBSITES (8/12)
        108. MUSIC – AMAZON DOWNLOADS (8/12)
        115. NETFLIX (8/12)
        117. ONLINE SHOPPING FAILURE (8/12)
        118. OPENING A PROGRAM – DELAY (8/12)
        119. OUTDOOR USE OF LAPTOP (8/13)
        120. PAGE BORDERS (8/12)
        123. PASSWORD FOR YOUR COMPUTER (1/13)
        124. PASSWORD TIPS (4/13)
        127. PC MATIC (8/12)
        128. PDF CONVERSION (8/12)
        129. PDF DOCUMENT NAVIGATION (1/13)
        130. PDF EDITING (4/13)
        131. PDF to WORD CONVERSION (8/12)
        132. PEOPLE SEARCH (8/12)
        133. PHONE NUMBERS (8/12)
        134. PICTURE – WON’T PASTE IN (8/12)
        139. PICTURES – SPECIAL EFFECTS (8/12)
        140. PODCASTS – FFRF (8/12)
        141. POINTER DISAPPEARS (3/13)
        142. POINTER – MORE VISIBLE (8/12)
        143. PRINT JOB – CANCEL WINDOW (11/12)
        146. PROJECTOR (8/12)
        147. PRONUNCIATION WEBSITE (9/12)
        148. PROTECTED VIEW (8/12)
        149. QUICKTIME (8/12)
        150. READ-ONLY (8/12)
        151. REGISTRY CLEANING (4/13)
        153. RESTORE SYSTEM (4/13)
        154. ROUTER RANGE (8/12)
        155. SCAM EPISODE (12/12)
        156. SCANNER NOT WORKING (8/12)
        157. SCREEN CAPTURE – “SNAGIT” / YOUTUBE (3/13)
        158. SCREEN – FULL-SIZE FOR WEBSITE (2/13)
        159. SCREEN SPACE (4/13)
        160. SCREEN TIPS IN FRENCH (9/12)
        161. SCREEN WIDTH – 16:9 OR 4:3? (2/13)
        162. SCRIPT RUNNING (10/12)
        163. SCROLL BAR DISAPPEARED (8/12)
        164. SHOPPING ONLINE (8/12)
        165. SHORTCUT – COPIES  OF (9/12)
        166. SHORTCUTS – MORE (8/12)
        167. SMARTPHONES (8/12)
        168. SNIPPING TOOL (1/13)
        169. SPAM (8/12)
        170. START INDEX UPDATING (8/12)
        174. TASKBAR – CLOSING A BUNCH OF FILES (12/12)
        175. TASKBAR – PINNING A PROGRAM TO (1/13)
        176. TIME – COMPUTER TIME ACCURACY (1/13)
        178. TOOLBARS – UNWANTED (1/13)
        180. VIDEO – WON’T TRANSFER TO DVD (8/12)
        181. VIRUS / SECURITY ALERT (9/12)
        182. WEBSITE – COMPATIBILITY VIEW (1/13)
        183. WEBSITE RESTRICTIONS (1/13)
        185. WINDOW FRAME TRANSPARENCY (9/12) 
        186. WINDOWS 7 LOG OFF SCREEN (12/12)
        187. WINDOWS 7 OFFICIAL MANUAL (1/13)
        188. WINDOWS 8 (1/13)
        189. WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER (10/12)
        190. WINDOWS – SIDE-BY-SIDE (8/12)
        191. WINDOWS SIDE-BY-SIDE (WINDOWS 7) (1/13)
        193. WIRELESS CONNECTION – PUBLIC (9/12)
        194. WORD REPLACING (8/12)
        195. YAHOO MESSENGER (8/12)
        196. YOUTUBE – CHANGING USERNAME (8/12)
        198. YOUTUBE – REMOVING A CLIP (8/12)

<  > KEYS (8/12)

I was wondering what the two keys just to the right of “m” key were called. Answer: Either “angle bracket” or “less than” / “greater than” keys.

32 vs 64-BIT SYSTEM

I had been using 32-bit since 64-bit didn’t seem to work for the Flash program for playing videos on the internet. But, 64 is apparently faster, because is handles larger amounts of RAM info more effectively. Also it speeds up burning video material to a DVD. I recently switched to 64, and found internet videos run fine now (I think because Flash player is now updated). To switch to 64-bit: Start > All Programs > (in first alphabetical list) “Internet Explorer (64 bit)”. That’s it; it stays in 64 unless you click “Internet Explorer”, the next item in the list, which would put it back to 32-bit.


To get to the website of an address you’ve typed into the URL address box at far upper left, you DON’T click on the spyglass icon; instead, you press the Enter key. (I think clicking on that spyglass icon just searches for previous sites you’ve got on the pop-up list below the box.)

Another technique of searching for a website is this: When on the net, press CTRL+O (the letter “O”) > that brings up a window where you can put in a URL address (the name of the site) > click OK.  Works just like an address box, except you click OK, instead of pressing the Enter key.


Happened to get into a conversation with a dedicated computer guy (my age, over 60) who has been involved, professionally, in the computer world for years, at a very high level, and he said a friend of his is on the very cutting edge of computer stuff, and that this guy is frequently enthused about new developments, and that whenever he tries this guy’s stuff… it hardly ever works right!

That really confirmed my conviction that computer problems have far less to do with my – and normal people’s – knowledge and skill or lack thereof, than to do with the very nature of the beast: the stuff is technically very complex and things tend to go wrong practically all the time!

I recently came across someone’s complaint about a magazine app that wouldn’t work for him: Despite having downloaded the app, its icon doesn’t appear on the iPad (it’s there if you type in a search for it). Once it does open, though, it doesn’t offer any issues other than the free sample issues, and it won’t even download those. When I go into my online account, it indicates that I have one, but then it asks me to subscribe. When I try to subscribe, it says I already have an account. I have called the magazine’s customer support, and have been assured that everything is hunky-dory, but still nothing works. This is just so typical of the computer world.


Tried to buy an audiobook thru Amazon, but you have to go thru some program called “Audible.” Found it simpler to go to iTunes and download it there in one step (they already have my credit card info, etc.).


Usually if I want to capture some audio from the internet (YouTube or whatever), I run a 1/8 inch connecting wire (male/male) from the computer earphone outlet to my digital voice recorder, to capture the material, analog, and then drag and drop the material from the recorder to my computer, placing it into a desired folder.

However, I recently was getting too much hiss when trying to record a debate on YouTube. I found a good way to get around the hiss was to use the computer Sound Recorder program, instead of my voice recorder: Start > All Programs > Accessories > Click “Sound Recorder” (normally pops up onto your desktop) > run a 1/8 inch wire (male/male) out of the earphone outlet and right back into the mic outlet > play the material > click “Start Recording” button on the Sound Recorder program > click “Stop Recording” > choose target folder to land it in > title the file, click Save.

Note ahead of time the beginning and end times of the segment you want to record, because, with the wire running out and then right back into your computer, you can’t actually hear the material as it plays.


For Windows, the default setting is that a word is automatically capitalized at the start of a new paragraph after you press Enter. Also, after a period and space, when you start a new sentence the first word automatically turns into a capitalized word once you press the space bar after that first word. If you want to keep that first letter in lower case, after you press the space after the word, do a CTRL+Z and that will turn the first word back into lower case.

If I want a vertical list of single words in lower case, I will simply let them be in caps at first, then block the whole list going down, and then use Home tab > Font box > Aa icon dropdown arrow > lowercase.

However, traditional typists, who look at what they are copying rather than what they have typed, and then end up with automatic caps where they don’t want them, should probably change the default setting: Review tab > Spelling & Grammar > Options at lower left > AutoCorrect Options at upper right > AutoCorrect tab at upper left > Uncheck “Capitalize first letter of sentences” > OK > OK. Now you’ll get caps when you type caps and lower case when you type lower case.

If your document has no spelling errors or grammar suggestions, then you don’t get that Spelling and Grammar window you need, but only a small window saying “Spelling and grammar check is complete.” To get the window you need, just stick a misspelled word in temporarily and you’ll get the proper window with the AutoCorrect options, etc.


If you like to keep certain documents or folders on the desktop, fine, BUT, what you should do is: DON’T keep the documents or folders themselves on the desktop but only their shortcuts. Otherwise, when you go to back up your My Documents folder, you will miss backing up those files located on the desktop, because those files are no longer in My Documents. With those file shortcuts only on the desktop, you can access them equally easily, yet will not accidentally leave the actual files out of a backup operation.

Old File Date Still Showing

I noticed, when backing up on a flash drive, that when I replace an old file with the updated one of the same name, the date of the file sometimes shows as the old date rather than the new one, even though it IS the new file! Can be very disturbing to see the old date, because you think, oh no, my latest version didn’t get backed up! BUT, when I close the flash drive and open it up again, the new date then shows correctly. Sometimes, due to some odd combination of operations, the proper date shows only on a delayed basis!


Came across a site that gives you access to virtually every version of the Bible – King James, New King James, NIV, RSV, etc., etc. Called “” Just enter chapter and verse, select the desired version, and then click Search, and the text comes up. Can select red letter format (Jesus’ words in red), as well as several other options, like viewing the whole chapter.


Recently, my computer sometimes will not go past the bottom of the page as I try to manual-drag to block text. Have had to resort to the Shift key or F8 key methods, which do allow me to scroll past the bottom of the page. Typical computer characteristic: For years it does something fine, but then suddenly, without reason, it won’t do something, intermittently.


Pretty confusing, but it’s roughly this: A browser enables you to interact with the internet. A search engine searches for sites related to info you put into its search box.

A browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, etc.) is for accessing the internet. A search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) is for searching the internet for specific websites. Analogy: if you’re sitting in your car, the browser is the windshield, which allows you to see where you want to go; the search engine is your steering wheel, which directs you to your specific target.

Note that if you know the exact address of the site (“” for example), you can put it into your browser address box at top, press Enter key, and it will take you directly to that site. If you don’t know the specific address or name of the site, type the most likely word(s) into the search box of a search engine, and it lists the most relevant sites for you. If you click on one of those in the list, it brings up that site and shows its exact address in the address box at top. You can think of the search engine as a general map, and the browser as a taxi service which can take you to an exact address.


I googled “Avery templates” and clicked on this site: “Templates – Pre-designed and Blank | Avery”, then > Business Cards > scroll for desired design. Note how there are two different highlight frames when you click on the sections of the design, one for typing in text, the other for adjusting or moving the frame. You may have to drag an edge to get all the text included instead of having a piece of a letter, like a “g”, cut off at the bottom.


For Windows 7: Start > All Programs > Calculator (or type “Calculator” into Start search box) > click on Calculator > View > Unit Conversion (expands window) > select type of unit (like “temperature”) > select “from” and “to” > put in first value, and the converted value shows up below. Then, to get calculator back to its original unexpanded size, click on View and then “Basic.”


Sometimes when you try to change a document or folder name into all caps, or from all caps, it keeps reverting back to the case it was in. But, if you close out the folder, then open it again, then the order takes effect and you get what you wanted. A delayed action.


When I go to an audio file and try to burn a CD of it by clicking “Burn” at top, it doesn’t work. Instead, this procedure works: Open the folder with the file, put the window to the left > open Windows Media Player, put its window to the right > drag and drop the file from its folder to the Windows Media Player burn panel at right > click “Burn” at the top of that panel.


I recently tried to rip some CD tracks to my computer. Tried several things, including dragging and dropping tracks, but nothing seemed to work. Checked my manual and followed my own instructions under Music > Windows Media Player > Ripping Songs to Computer Thru Windows Media Player: Open Windows Media Player > put disk in > click “Rip” tab at top (middle left). Tracks should land in your Music folder, under a folder titled the current date. Key thing is that that “Rip” tab does not show UNTIL you put the disk in.

Note also that you can’t use Windows Media Player to rip materia from a DVD. To rip a DVD: Insert it > close it if it starts to play automatically > double-click Computer > right-click Drive E (your disk bay) > click Copy (note that nothing happens  yet) > click onto a target (like the Desktop) > then do a Ctrl+V, at which point it starts to get ripped onto your computer.


Your status bar (just above your taskbar) normally gives you a word count at lower left, but you can also get a word count under Review tab at top > Proofing box > Word Count. You can also get a character count under the same “Word Count.” If you block a section of text, it will give you the count for just the blocked section.


My clicking (even double-clicking), to open internet links suddenly stopped working. (It still worked for opening files, and right-clicking and clicking “Open” still worked OK.) Was exploring how to get it back and it suddenly came back on its own. In the meantime I had read that slowing down the clicking speed might make the difference: Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse > Buttons tab > Double Click Speed (in middle of window), move the slider to a slower position.

Later, I again had the same problem. I tried restarting the computer. No luck.

Aha, I remembered that I had changed the popup setting around the time this problem started. Solution: Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Internet Options (or, you can enter “Pop Up” into the Start search box, and “Block or allow pop-ups” shows at top of list to click on) > Privacy tab > near bottom of window, where “Turn on blocker” is checked, clicked on Settings > near bottom of that window is “Blocking Level” > clicked on dropdown arrow > clicked on “Medium”, instead of “High”. I had switched it to “High” at one point because I was getting sick of too many popups, but apparently that High blocking level setting was keeping the clicking/double-clicking function from operating for some links I DID want to go to.


If a devious site won’t LET you close it out because it doesn’t give you the X at upper right, Ctrl+F4 should close it. Or, you can right-click the taskbar > Start Task Manager > Applications tab > click on the site in the list given > End Task.


After 15 years of using Ctrl+P to print a document, suddenly Ctrl+P wouldn’t work for me. Turns out I had accidentally pressed the “Num Lk” key at upper right, which makes a bunch of the letter keys turn into numbers instead, so that when I was pressing Ctrl+P, it was actually Ctrl+*. I just pressed the Num Lk key again and things were back to normal.

Until I figured that out, I had to use (Windows 7) the File tab at upper left, and then click Print under there. (And it worked that way, indicating my wireless connection to the printer was OK.)


I came across a computer tip in Consumer Reports: When you buy a new computer, it’s good to get one with significantly MORE space than you think you need, because once it gets about half full, it tends to slow down “since the hard drive’s heads have to move further across the spinning disk  surface as they gather data.” See my manual also, under “SLOW COMPUTER” for further tips.


For Windows 7, as it is closing, it shows which programs are still open, and the black screen shows “Waiting for background programs to close.” You can click “Cancel”, close the programs yourself, then shut down the computer again. Or, simpler, just wait, and it closes those still-open programs (or files) itself, and proceeds to shut down itself.


I took my old computer in to Best Buy for a tune-up (free, with my contract). It had been taking ten-plus minutes to boot up fully. They cleaned it up, saying it had malware (spyware, not necessarily a virus), slowing it down. Guy told me to be careful, when downloading any program, or anything free, not to include extras they offer. Uncheck such items. They are the source of malware.

Then I took my new computer in. It was working OK, but taking a bit long to bring up simple Word documents. Since the store was not busy at the time, the Best Buy guy did the whole thing right there in front of me on the counter. Learned some key concepts:

Kitchen analogy: Think of your computer as having programs stored in the cabinets, with some programs out on the counter, being used. If you have too many on the counter in use, that slows things down. I had too many of them active. He right-clicked the taskbar > Start Task Manager > Performance tab, to see my CPU usage; it was too high, well over 25% in the first and third green and black graphs; should be close to 10%. So he highlighted items under the Processes tab (stuff I wasn’t using normally, like my “TV Stick” program), and clicked “End Process” at lower right. So that cleaned up stuff (i.e., took it off the counter back into the cabinets). And then my Word documents opened up much quicker. Back to normal.

I think the programs he took off automatically go back on when you use them again. (You still have them in the cabinets.)

Update: Computer was a bit slow again. Did the above. Everything showed using no CPU, except Windows Share Media something or other, right at the bottom. Ended that process, and then my CPU usage went down from 25% to 3%. And the memory usage from 3GB to 1GB. And my documents started opening up much faster again. So it worked.

Update: I find it’s running at 25% again, and I couldn’t find any process or program that was running. Did a little research, checked e-How site. There they say as long as it’s below 50%, it’s OK. Well, OK, but I could hear it constantly whirring, working hard. Not comfortable with that. Can’t help thinking that will wear out the hard drive long before its time.

SOLUTION: Right-clicked the taskbar > Start Task Manager > Performance tab. The graph showed my CPU usage was at 49%. Under performance tab I could find no program using high CPU. Clicked on “Resource Monitor” at lower middle > CPU tab > showed two items at top using “25″ (rest of list showed using “0″) > right-clicked those two (Host Process for Windows Services, and Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service) > End Process > that did the trick! Now my CPU usage is nice and low, as well as the “Memory” graph. The whirring has stopped. Hooray.

If I need those two services in the future, I’m sure they get activated automatically, so I don’t have to worry about missing them. Then, next time I hear constant whirring on my computer, I’ll do the above procedure again to shut those two services off and get back to a quiet, not overworking computer.

Update: Heard it whirring a bit more than I like. Did the same procedure above, except this time under the Memory tab. They list the items using KBs from most to least. So I did “End Process” for the top two. That did the trick.


My computer was running fine, but I figured an annual tune-up is a good idea. Brought it in to Best Buy where I have a service contract that includes an annual tune-up. Had to leave it there for 4-5 days. I made sure I had all my files backed up on an external hard drive at home. And, I made a copy of stuff I was currently working on, onto a flash drive, so I could continue working during the 4-5 days, on my old computer.

Here’s the issues I had to deal with (not bad, but certainly good to know for next time):

What They Did

When I picked it up, they guy told me I had had 40 viruses. I said, “Whoa!” But he quickly dismissed my concern, saying that they get computers with 700 viruses. No big deal. Maybe he meant malware, not viruses; I don’t know. My service order sheet says they “removed infections, uninstalled some junkware, updated the operating system, flash, java, and reader.” They leave a folder icon on your desktop which has their detailed service report, an orange sheet of about a hundred technical things they checked.

Desktop Icons

When I got home and opened up the computer, the desktop icons were reduced to just one column on the left. Where’s all my desktop stuff?! I noticed one of the folders in that column was labeled “Desktop Items.” Opened that one up, and there they all were. I did a Ctrl+A, and Ctrl+V’d them onto my desktop. Back in business, though I did have to arrange them again the way I like them, which, as mentioned elsewhere, is now easier for me, because I reduced about 50 icons into about 15 folders of similar categories.

Automatically Entered Passwords

A big annoyance: my password was no longer getting automatically put in for my email, and a couple other accounts. I now had to put them in each time, even after I checked OK for the option at bottom that shows up for having Internet Explorer remember the info and automatically enter it. I tried Tools > Internet options > Content tab > Autocomplete > Settings > checked all the options > OK > OK, but it still kept making me enter the info each time. Also tried Safety > Delete browsing history, checked all options, to no avail.

Finally was able to fix it by doing this: Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab > Reset > Reset again, and then restart the computer. That fixed it. And for a couple of other accounts, it now automatically lists, below, the full info after I put in just the first letter or number, and I only need to click on that full info to land it up into the sign-in box, which is the way I had it.

Guy told me that their tune-ups will frequently wipe out cookies that people have had in their computers that enable this automatic entering of sign-in info. So that was the key – resetting under that Advanced tab. Makes a big difference for me. I hate having to enter my full email address, and tricky password, each time I want to check my email! (Yahoo does make you sign in “manually” every two weeks, but that’s not bad.)

Taskbar Size

I had to right-click the taskbar at bottom > Properties > check “Small icons” which makes the taskbar a bit thinner, the way I had it before and the way I like it.

Homepage for Email

My home page (my email at Yahoo) was now Google instead. Put “Yahoo” into the Google search box > clicked on Yahoo site > at top, clicked “Make Yahoo your home page” > checked “Use this webpage as your only homepage” > Yes > signed in with email address and password > checked “Keep me signed in” > Sign in > “Do you want Internet Explorer to remember the password for” – Yes. Now it’s back to the way I had it.

Toolbars – Favorites, Command, and Status

For internet browsing, the above three toolbars were no longer showing. I right-clicked an empty spot at the top, and checked all three back on. And I also put the icons in my Favorites and Command bars back to smaller size by right-clicking directly on one of the items > Customize title widths > Short titles. (Incidentally, for me, the Favorites toolbar and Command toolbar are on the same line, Favorites at left, Command at right.)


I had to get my gadgets back up by Start > enter “gadgets” into search box > click on “Restore desktop gadgets installed with Windows” which brought them back the way I had them on the desktop. (For my old computer, with Windows Vista, I had to put in the word “sidebar” to get an option to click on to get the sidebar restored; the word “gadgets” didn’t work.)


I had to change my pointer back to the heavy black one I prefer: Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse > Pointers tab > Scheme dropdown arrow > fourth one from bottom > OK.


If you get a new laptop and want to connect it to your router: Click on the signal bars icon at the right of your taskbar at bottom > select your network name (your router) from the list of available networks > click on Connect.

That’s for Windows 7. For older versions of Windows, the window for managing a network connection is reached thru: Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center. I haven’t done this myself, so I can’t help you with the exact procedure here, other than refer you to the eHow website. Put “How to Connect a New Computer to a Router” into their search box, and follow their instructions.

As discussed in my manual, setting up a router in the first place and connecting a laptop to it is not easy, and I had to call in a Geek Squad guy to do it for me. But, if you want to try it by yourself, I would recommend going to the eHow website and putting “How to Connect a Laptop to a Wireless Router” into their search box, and follow their instructions


If you want a copy of a document in two places – because you often forget just where you have it stored – the way to avoid confusion, is to not make a copy, but make a shortcut (right-click > “Create shortcut”) and move that shortcut to the other folder. That way you keep the original in its original folder, yet can access it from the other logical folder you happen to remember more easily at the time. YET, you are dealing with the SAME document each time; you’re not adding different things to two documents at different times and getting yourself into a mess.


Often I would hear my hard drive whirring a lot, like it’s working way too hard. I right-clicked an empty spot on the taskbar, clicked on Start Task Manager, then under the Performance tab, in the lower middle, I clicked Resource Monitor. That showed me a list of items working. At the top of the list (using the most resources) was “wmpnetwk.exe.” Which is Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service, which is used to share media or stream it over the network, using Windows Media Player. This function is something I don’t know if I really need. I think not, since I don’t share videos with other people over the internet.

I right-clicked on that and clicked on End Process, then End Process again. After a minute or so, it ended its process and my usage went down and the computer stopped whirring so much. You can see the difference on the green graphs. OK. BUT! Gradually it would build right back up on its own, and before long I was right where I was before!

Researched it on the internet. Long story short. I did this: Type “Services” into the Start search box. Click on “Services” at top (has a sort of “gear-looking” icon), which also gives you “Local Services.” Go down the long list of services, till you find Windows Media Sharing Service, right-click it and hit Stop. May have to wait a couple minutes for it to stop. A green progress bar shows in a window. Then right-click that same item again and click Properties, and under General tab, change the Startup Type to “Disable.” Click OK. (Might have to restart the computer for this new setting to take effect, though for me it took affect right away.) That should stop the excessive whirring.

Now, I just need to wait a week or so and see if anything I normally do gets affected or not. If I need it, I can always go thru the same route, and enable it temporarily.

Update: Nothing seems to be adversely affected. I’m fine. Hooray. No more excessive whirring. Disabling that particular program – “Windows Media Sharing Service” – so that it wouldn’t keep starting to get active on its own, was the answer. I think that was what was causing my excessive whirring all along.


For example, if I want Windows Media Player as the program to open all video files, instead of QuickTime, a program I don’t like, I’ll do this: Start > Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > “Set your default programs” > on left, click on the program you want (“Windows Media Player”) > “Set this program as default. Use the selected program to open all files and protocols it can open by default” >  at lower right, “OK”.


(“File open in another program”)

I had a folder with nothing in it and wanted to delete it but it wouldn’t let  me. Right-clicked taskbar empty spot > Start Task Manager > Applications tab > clicked every program up there that I was done with (including that folder, if I remember right) > End task. That enabled me to delete that folder.

I also had a program I was fully done with (had already uninstalled it), yet I could not delete its icon from the desktop. I entered its name in the Start Search box, and found the location where related files of that program were still there. But, I couldn’t delete any of those either. They all gave the same message that it was already open.

Researched it on the net. Tried a free program called Unlocker, as recommended by a few people. But it was a no go; still couldn’t delete or uninstall that program. Also that Unlocker program turned out to be a limited free trial one. They fixed the first 100 of about 4,000 supposed “errors” and then recommended that I buy the full program to clear up the rest of the “errors.” No thanks. I uninstalled Unblocker.

Aha, I kept fiddling around, and I got it: I right-clicked not on the stubborn icon I had on the Desktop, but its twin one under the hidden icons on the taskbar. And I clicked on Exit. That did it.


I was fiddling with my desktop icon fonts and they suddenly changed from black (the way I like it) to white with a shade, which I do not like. Could not get the black back, no matter what I did, except once when I rebooted. Turns out that that is the answer – you have to reboot (not just restart, but turn off and then back on), and then you get your black back.

Found this out by researching the question on the web (googled “change desktop icon font color”). Came across this from a person after my own heart: “As a matter of personal choice I eschew busy backgrounds and choose a solid color (a shade of blue as it happens). I like the look of a solid black font for the icons on this background. When the system boots up, the icon fonts are black and unshaded. However, if I make any changes at all to the theme, the font changes to that gawdawful, bloated white shaded monstrosity, and I cannot get it to change back without performing a reboot. No amount of theme selection, background color selection, or font choosing will get rid of the shading.


Lately my icons completely re-arranged themselves on their own, several times. Seems after I re-started the computer, it was OK. But, I’m tired of having to re-position them all to where I like them. Newest solution for me: I put the 50 or so icons into 15 or so folders, according to topic. Four or five video programs under a folder on the Desktop called “Video.” Several audio programs under “Audio.” Several others under “Current-Active,” etc. Now if they migrate, it will be easy to put those folders back where I like them, because there are less of them.


One day when I opened my disk bay, the little black center spindle piece popped out. I stuck it back on, and the bay worked OK for a while. But then the thing popped out again, and each time I used it thereafter the bay got worse and worse, making louder and louder sounds. Then it stopped working. The DVD even got stuck inside the computer; I couldn’t eject it, unless I restarted the computer.

Brought my computer to Best Buy. Needed a new disk bay (“internal optical disk drive”). They don’t carry internal ones. So I was advised to get one over the internet, bring it in, and they would put it in for me.

Looked on several sites, including Amazon and Sony. Had no idea which one to get. They ranged from $50 to $500. Called Sony. Was told the drives are very specific, and expensive. $400! I declined. Checked with local Staples. There, the tech guy said he could take an external one ($70) and fit it in. But, it will still cost maybe $200 more for labor, since Sony laptops are especially difficult to open up (compared to other brands which are easy and can be done in a few minutes). Plus he was about to go on vacation that day and wouldn’t be back for a week or more. I bought the external disk drive to use in the meantime, and have for when he got back.

But then I decided I didn’t want to wait. Maybe Best Buy could fit it in. Went straight there and asked if they could fit the drive in. They said they could… and did so in 15 minutes! Hooray! I was all set. Labor only costs me $50, since I have a yearly support service plan with them. What a great day! Saved myself money, time, and aggravation. I was even lucky that some  guy had not shown up for his appointment (I think Best Buy is now making 15 minute appointments for customers), and I got his spot, on the spot. The drive was set to go. No need to install, connect, or adjust anything, or any other rigmarole. I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Best Buy Geek Squad people.


Update: Yeah, regular CDs and DVDs tend to be more stable than re-writable ones. Heard one expert use the term “more robust” for regular disks compared to re-writable ones.


When you’re in a folder window, it shows you the progression of locations at top, but once you’re in a document, you no longer can see what folder you’re in. But one often wants to remember which folder it’s in, for future reference. To see the folder your current document is in: For Windows 7, click File at upper left, and over at the lower right, click “Open File Location”.

For Vista, to find where you are when you are already in a document: Click the colored “Office Button” icon at the very far upper left > Prepare > Properties > at the top is a yellow bar showing your location. You may have to click inside it and scroll to the right with the arrow key to reach the full info.


Suddenly, in a folder, my document icons were listed in two columns instead of one, which is what I strongly prefer. Simple solution: I had accidentally ordered up the wrong “View” of document icons –  ”Small Icons” instead of “List.” “List” is the one that shows them in ONE column. (Windows 7 – “Change your view” dropdown arrow at upper right. Windows Vista – “View” at upper left.)


If a website has two places that say “Download Now,” it’s usually for two different things. One is for what you wanted to download, and the other for downloading the program that that site wants you to download. For example, I was trying to download an odd song, and invariably I couldn’t do it unless I downloaded that site’s music downloading program first. (Which is something I did not want to do, because I absolutely hate programs that install their toolbars into my computer and mess things up from the way I had it.)

At any rate, it’s good to be aware that “Download Now” buttons may refer to two different things and you have to guess which one you want. I have the impression that usually the one on the lower left is the item you want, and the one on the upper right is the program the site wants you to download and install.

DVD–RW – ERASE (8/12)

Normally to erase a DVD–RW disk: Insert disk > it starts to play > close that function so that it stops playing > double-click on Computer > right-click on Drive E (the disk bay) > Erase this disc. If the disk was already empty, then the “Erase this disc” option does not show.

Recent problem: I put a disk in to burn video to it. It started to make odd sounds. It would not burn anything. I right-clicked Drive E, to make sure it was erased, but no “Erase this disc” option showed. I clicked “Open Command Prompt Here” and it showed “The disk media is not recognized. It may not be formatted.” Now, did that mean “It might not be formatted”? or “It is not allowed to be formatted”? I tried to format it (even though I’m sure I had already formatted it long ago) and it would not do so.

So I tossed that disk. Another one, same brand, worked fine! So, as I have mentioned, DVD–RW disks sometimes just go bad, for whatever reason.


Not sure, but I suspect that when I have had a DVD–RW failure (sticking points, “error”, won’t play, stuck inside machine, etc.), it’s because I’ve used the disk in both my DVD recorder and computer, erasing it at times in one, at times in the other. I’m going to limit DVD–RW disks from this point on to either one machine or the other. It will take some months, but I hope to see these disk failures eliminated. The last problem I had, the disk would not even eject from my computer! I had to restart the computer; then it came out.


Put the disk in, turn it off after it starts to play, then, under Computer, right-click the icon for the DVD (Drive E), and then click Copy. But, note that after you click Copy, it doesn’t do anything yet! You go to your Libraries > Videos folder, and do a CTRL+V there, THEN it starts to copy, showing a green progress bar. It ends up in your Videos folder, inside a folder called “DVD Video Recording”. You have to search around inside that folder to find the actual material; there are other files associated with it; the largest file would be the actual material (“Video_TS” or “VTS_01_1″). And, you may not be able to find that “DVD Video Recording” folder in the first place until you close and then re-open your Videos folder; then it suddenly appears there.

The last time I tried to rip DVD material to the computer, I think I got it there but that final file with the material simply would not open. It had 67 MB of stuff in the file, but it showed the time duration was zero. Deleted it; started over. Again the file showed zero time, YET this time it worked; it opened up and started playing like it’s supposed to. That’s often an answer to computer problems: Just do it again from the beginning and it may work the second time.

Of course this procedure does not work for commercial DVDs, but it works for stuff you’ve recorded off of TV. At least, it does for me. Good luck.

Also, if you try to rip DVD material to your computer thru Windows Movie Maker (instead of right-clicking Drive E and clicking Copy), it may send it to some other place besides your Videos folder, like your Public Music folder.

DVD Ripping by Dragging and Dropping

Tried a procedure I read on the internet – basically dragging and dropping the material from the Computer disk drive E (once you’ve put in the DVD and stopped its automatic playing), to a new folder you make on the Desktop. Wouldn’t work by dragging; only made a shortcut icon for the disk drive E. (This may only work for a data DVD, not a video DVD; I don’t know.) But, if you right-click on Drive E and click Copy and then do a CTRL+V into that new folder, it does work. Just like the basic procedure I originally described. You still have to find it inside other folders (it’s the big one, many MBs not KBs).

Other stuff on the internet involves downloading supposedly free ripping programs.

I note here some typically superficial internet “help” – “Ripping a DVD is simple. Insert the disc, open your preferred ripping program, click the proper button in the software to copy, rip, or back up the disc, and that’s it.” Yeah, right, what “preferred ripping program”!? I think advice like this is worthless, except to someone who already knows most of the stuff.

The other way I know for ripping DVD material (non-protected) to your computer, is to use the Windows Movie Maker program. I try to stick to programs already on the computer, and avoid anything that you have to download. (“Audacity” audio-editing program is the exception.) See “WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER” in the manual.

Here’s another relevant quote: “Obtain a DVD ripping program. This is a bit easier said than done. Legal threats have deterred some of the larger software companies from distributing DVD ripping software. Thus the only software you will find will be from companies you may not have heard of. Do an online search on “DVD ripping software” for a list of options. Compare different products, read any disclosures carefully, and look for non-biased reviews (reviews that do not have conflicts of interest) on the products to decide on the right product for yourself.”

If you follow the procedure I describe above – right-click, Copy – it should work and you don’t need any third party software.


I downloaded an Adobe e-book reader program (“Adobe Digital Editions”). While installing it, at one point, it just froze. Started over and this time it worked. This program allows you to transfer protected e-books between multiple computers and mobile devices. But I just needed it to read an e-book on my computer. I did have to put in my Adobe ID (email address) and password. Forgot that I had one. I tend to think I have maybe only a handful of programs for which I need a password, but since I’ve started to keep a record of my programs and passwords in one place, I find that I have close to 30 such programs for which I need a password!

I had been sent an e-book copy of this very manual by my publishing company to review, as an attachment to an email. And I had to go thru the above procedure to enable my computer to read it. I click now on the downloaded attachment (the e-book file of my manual) and the Adobe program opens up to show that file so I can read it on my computer. Once they send it to Amazon, people can buy it and download it directly to their e-readers.

So people can download an e-book to their e-reader, but you can also read an e-book on your computer, once you have the Adobe e-book reader program.



I wanted to know if I sent an email with an attachment using the CC function, if the attachment would be sent to each person as well as the text. Googled the problem. Long story short, at least for me, after experimenting, the CC function DOES include the attachment; recipients get the whole package. If you want some people NOT to receive it, you have to send a separate email to those people without the attachment.


For me, when I get email from someone, it shows just their name at top rather than their email address. But, if I click Reply to send an answer, it does send it to their address. Also, if I want to see just what their address is, I right-click on that name and it shows me the email address, along with an option to copy it and paste it elsewhere.


You can have each email you send include your signature automatically (as well as other info, like phone number, website, etc.). I have Yahoo as my email program; other programs will most likely have analogous steps.

Click on Mail > click on gear icon at upper right > from dropdown list, click on Mail Options > click Signature at the side > from menu at right, select signature option (Plain, Rich Text, or Don’t use) > type signature, etc. into the text area > Save. 

Now your signature and whatever else you typed will appear in each email you send.


I reasoned that if I needed to sign a form from a company that sent the form by email attachment, the way to do it was to download the attachment > print it out > sign it > scan in the signed form > sent the JPEG picture result to them as an email attachment. I recently asked a company if that is the way to do it. They said yes.


Suddenly, for no reason at all, I couldn’t access my email. Went thru the resetting of password process. (ID = email address, Password = my usual, plus two “secret questions”, which I had forgotten to write down, but guessed right as to what I had originally put down.) Still didn’t work. Then, finally, it did. Key was waiting a bit; the resetting does not happen immediately; gotta wait a few minutes. Back to normal now.


I read that most email programs wrap text around to the next line, at 72 characters.

E-MAIL – to SELF (9/13)

If you’re emailing from somewhere else, no problem. But, I used to like to directly email myself letters I just wrote, in order to make sure formatting, line-spacing, etc. held OK. Suddenly it will not allow me to email stuff to myself directly any more. Geek Squad guy looked into it for me. He concluded it’s Yahoo’s decision not to allow self-emailing any more, for whatever reason (spammer access weakness most likely). That ability has been shut down. At least I know it’s not some easily fixable thing. Not a big deal, but it was convenient to email myself.

Update: Got a new computer. Self-emailing works fine. Tried old computer, now having gone thru a cleanout, and, hooray, it works OK again. Guess another Geek Guy was right, that I had some minor level of malware.


Usually: Double-click Computer > click on the disk Drive E > click Erase this Disc at top. But, oddly, sometimes that option does not appear at top. So, I found what to do is, scroll down your panel of items at left, go to Computer and Disc E. Click on Disc E and the very same window comes up as clicking on Computer twice, but this time “Erase this disc” option IS there.


I’m used to using Microsoft Office 2010 for “manually” making tables, and filling in info, shading columns or rows, adding totals, etc. But MS Excel is a separate program for that type of thing (table work). The basic idea is that you have a grid, with columns going down named A, B, C, etc. and rows going across named 1, 2, 3, etc. Then you fill in info. (The box expands as you type, but contracts back down to original size when you move on to another box.)

Then you can do various standard operations on those boxes. For example, you can type in Sales in A1, and Salesperson in A2, and then under that, in A3, A4, etc. the names of your sales people, in that first A column. Then type in the sales figures for the month for each person in the second column over (B3, B4, B5, B6). Type “Total” into box A7. Then in Box B7, you can type in an equation for the figures for the boxes above in the B column: “= B3+B4+B5+B6″, press Enter key. Then when you click on that box, the program (following the equation you entered) automatically gives you a total for those four boxes, the total sales figure. Thus, when you put in new figures for a salesperson, that “Total” box automatically adds the updated figure.

Or, you can put an equation into that box B7 to get an average sales figure: “= (B3+B4+B5+B6)/4″

So Excel is a program that allows you to keep and work with this kind of table or spreadsheet, with its automatic updating functions.

Like so many programs, this one is worth learning if you do it a lot. For me, I’ll just stick to my manual tables, manual entries, and manual computation for totals and so forth.

You can reach the program by typing “Excel” into the Start search box.


I had signed up for Facebook. Then just lately I activated something there shortly before my birthday, and promptly got several Happy Birthday notices from people. I don’t want that! Am I supposed to thank them all now? I don’t want to get involved like this! So I unsubscribed to such messages. But then, I noticed I had tons more spam! 800 instead of 100 over a couple of days. Don’t know for sure, but I think there is some connection. I think, thanks to Facebook, my email address is somehow out there more and I now get tons more spam! Update: Seems to have settled down to what it was before.


If you have a lot of favorite sites up on your internet Favorites toolbar, you might start running out of room and those at the end of your list won’t show. To get more room, right-click, not an empty spot on the toolbar, but right on any of your favorites tabs. That brings up an option list including “Customized title widths.” Click choice of long titles, short titles, or icons only. That way you can make your favorites tabs smaller and you can fit more on the Favorites toolbar.


Note that when you have a website up in a reduced-size window, the favorites bar at top doesn’t show. Maximize the window and then it shows.


At the end of a file name, there is an extension showing what type of file it is (like .docx for a word document, or .jpg for a picture, or .avi for a video clip, etc.), but usually it is hidden. To see it: In Windows 7, while in a folder, click Organize dropdown arrow at upper left > Folder and search options > View tab > Advanced settings > partway down the list, uncheck “Hide extension in the computer folder” > Save. (For Windows Vista, type “Hide extension” into the Start search box to bring up the appropriate window.)


If you use the “Find” or “Find and Replace” function and specify matching case, DO NOT FORGET to undo that matching case checkbox, or it will stay in matching case mode for the next time and will not find or replace non-matching words! Can be a major disaster, like editing out foul language and inadvertently leaving a lot of it in, because caps did not match.


For Windows 7, click File at far upper left, then “Open File Location” at lower right.

For Windows Vista, click the big colored “Office Button” at far upper left > Prepare > Properties (shows locations at top bar). Or, click the Vista “Office Button” > Save As > in the panel at left, the folder the document is in will be highlighted slightly. Then, once you see which folder the document is in, you can simply return to the document by clicking “Cancel” at lower right, canceling the “Save As” action.


I usually use my Windows Internet Explorer icon (the light blue “e”) to browse the internet. But, you can reach a website also DIRECTLY from Microsoft Office: While in a folder, go to the locations bar at the top (where it shows you the succession of locations) > click the dropdown arrow at the right of the bar > type in a website address (like “”) > press Enter key, and that will take you right to the website.


Recently heard someone talk about his flash drives suddenly expiring. Did a little research on the internet. Seems flash drives will last maybe 10 years before dying. They last longer than hard drives. And they can be erased thousands of times with no negative effect.

Came across this  quote:Flash drives do wear out, but very slowly. And playing back recorded music is one of the least taxing things a flash drive can do.”

Also, it’s not good to yank the drive out when it is in operation; wait until it is idle.

Keep in mind that sending it thru a washing machine or sitting on it, etc. may well cause it to malfunction. But other than physical abuse, I find flash drives to be very stable and dependable. Biggest danger is probably simply losing them, because of their small size.


Instructor of a computer course told us not to remove a flash drive while it is in a transferring process. Not only will that info not get transferred properly, but the material already on the flash drive could get ruined! Need to cancel the transferring process if you want to pull the flash drive out, or, wait till the transfer finishes.

He also said that there is an industry trend to get rid of the standard hard drive in computers (with the spinning disk and the reading beam) and replace it with a flash drive type device, which is not as sensitive to bumps and jolts. Dropping a traditional laptop onto the floor will damage the hard drive, but dropping a flash drive rarely causes damage.

At Walmart recently, I noticed they sell 64 GB flash drives for $40. So I’m thinking eventually I’ll buy a couple, rather than another external hard drive. As an external storage device, it takes up less space, and is not as sensitive to damage. (Update – Read some bad reviews for the PNY brand of flash drives at Walmart. Will probably go with SanCruz brand at Best Buy instead.)


Caution – if you back up a shortcut onto a flash drive, you’ve only backed up the shortcut, not the file itself. It may seem you have the file itself there because if you put the flash drive into your computer, it will open up to the actual file; but, that is only because you are using your own computer. If you use the flash drive in some other computer, you do not have the file, only the useless shortcut.


This is usually because the missing files are not the correct kind that the program you are currently using can work with. For example, if you have both video files and a couple of Word documents in a folder, and you are using Windows Movie Maker, or DVD Maker – i.e. VIDEO programs – only video type files show, even though you know you have a couple of Word documents in that folder.

If you want to see ALL the files in a folder, in the browsing window there might be a spot under a dropdown arrow at lower right that gives you an “All Files” selection. Or, you can type in *.* (shift 8, period, shift 8) into the File Name bar (and maybe click Add or Open; it varies) and that should show you all the files in that folder.


Block the section > press CTRL and the space bar. Or, block the section > Home tab > Font box > click eraser icon at upper right of box.


I find that trying to open up two or three programs, one right after the other before any actually comes up, often leads to a freeze or some malfunction, and then you have to restart your computer to set things right. Allow programs time to open, before trying to open another one.


My stock market gadget stopped working fully. Microsoft says they are no longer supporting their gadgets (they want to transition to Windows 8 procedures instead). I checked with a Geek Squad guy and asked him if there is any way, now, to simply get a stock market gadget by itself WITHOUT all the stuff they bundle in with it (all kinds of programs automatically included, and a default toolbar of theirs that takes over your computer, etc., etc). He said no, there isn’t. And he rolled his eyes when I mentioned how it seems to me that when you try to download something free, all these companies install THEIR toolbars on your computer, to take over your computer operations. He said, “Yeah, we know all about that,” implying that that is absolutely what they do, and they hate it also.

I had spent a lot of time much time searching unsuccessfully for a simple stock market gadget, like the one I had with MS before it ceased working fully. So this Geek Squad guy confirmed for me that any such item is no longer available out there, and that virtually all the free stuff out there is designed to trap you into buying other stuff. I’ll just have to do another click or two each time, to get to a financial website and see the current Dow Jones average there, instead of more easily on a desktop gadget.

Again, for another item I tried to download free, I had to spend half an hour getting rid of their intrusive extra stuff. They had more than one program bundled in with that program and each one had a different name that I had to research to establish which one it was, so I could go ahead and uninstall it! At this point, I’ve decided to virtually never download free stuff; it’s far more hassle than it’s worth.


Update 1/17/13 – Here’s a good solution, instead of a gadget: I googled “DJIA” > it immediately shows the current average, with a graph that can be viewed for daily, monthly, yearly, etc. periods > I clicked on the yellow star at the left of my Favorites bar to put that site onto my Favorites bar (the icon is a blue g, called “DJIA – Google Search”) > once the icon was in the list, I dragged and dropped it onto my desktop, making a shortcut there. Now I just need to click on that icon to get the current number, along with the graphs.


Had a tune-up done for my old computer. When I got it back, the gadgets were gone from the desktop. I put “gadgets” into the Start search bar. Nothing, except documents. I put “sidebar” in; then it showed “Windows Sidebar.” I clicked on that and the gadgets came back onto my desktop. (For my new computer with Windows 7, when I put “gadgets” into the search box, an option did come up for restoring the desktop gadgets.)


One time on my old computer my four gadgets just disappeared. And right-clicking on the empty desktop spot showed no “Gadgets” option. Went to internet, messed around for a while, eventually ordered up the Weatherbug gadget I had (“Windows 7 Gadgets Gallery”?), and after selecting to ignore warnings for that download (“Run anyway”), since I knew it was actually pretty safe, I downloaded it (clicked both Download and Install). It installed quickly, and, suddenly I had all four of my gadgets back, not just the Weatherbug one. I don’t know, maybe that one gadget included the necessary driver for all of them.

Stock Market Gadget Stopped Working

My stock market gadget stopped showing the current Dow Jones average. I could click on it and it would open to my investment account and I could see the daily chart there, but I liked the way it worked originally – when you click on the Chart tab, you can get daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, 3-year, and 5 year charts. Needed to download it again to get it working the way it used to. Typed “Gadgets” into Start search box > click on “Desktop Gadgets” > right-click the stock market one > Add > then had to fiddle a bit, including “Download” and “Install”. Got it. Deleted the old one. [See update above under GADGET – NOT WORKING (1/13). Microsoft no longer supports their gadgets!]


If you right-click on a gadget, you get a menu that includes “Opacity.” Click on that and choose 20% to get that gadget icon very light. When you put your pointer over it, it lights up to full brightness.


Was talking to a couple of Geek Squad guys at Best Buy. They have to do thru rigorous courses and training to get – and to keep – their jobs. Confirms my experience that Geek Squad help is pretty solid.


At this point I favor keeping the grammar function on. It is helpful. For example, I noticed a word at the end of a sentence was underlined in green, yet I knew it was spelled correctly. Turns out that sentence was in the form of a question, and therefore needed a question mark at the end. I had a period. I put the question mark in, and the green underlining disappeared. So I do find the grammar function helpful.


I have a Garmin GPS, over 8 years old. Decided to update its maps. Not only because of new streets, but new or closed restaurants. Did something like this: Attached device to computer > googled “” > picked category of device (Automotive) > clicked Updates, somewhere at bottom > Find Maps Updates > Download now > Run > Install (after checking Terms and Conditions box) > Yes > it puts a shortcut icon on your desktop called “Garmin Express” > click on that.  Then I don’t remember what came next, only that it took a good two hours to download all the maps.

But, it kept an automatic HOME location as Kansas (where the company headquarters are), and I couldn’t get it to change to my actual home location. But, I finally got it.

The key is to follow my directions here precisely: Like a chimpanzee typing at a typewriter, fiddle around for a long time, jump up and down, then presto, you’ve got it. It’s just that simple. All kidding aside, setting my HOME location only worked after I took the device outside into my car, parked somewhere, and fiddled with it. I finally got it somehow  by making sure that somewhere along the line I deleted the existing HOME location first, under Favorites, and Edit, and then put my  actual home address in.


If you enter a “hard” space (see “Hard Space” in manual) you can’t shade that space using the Text Highlight Color icon in the Font box. You need to use the Shading icon in the Paragraph box.


Not sure, but I think the key difference is that Hibernate automatically saves your work, whereas Sleep doesn’t (if you forget to manually save it). And then Hibernate takes a bit longer to get the computer going again compared to Sleep. I personally prefer Sleep to Hibernate, simply because I like the computer to be ready to use in two seconds, rather than the 10-15 seconds boot-up time for Hibernate. A key factor for me is that no one else uses my computer, so I don’t have to worry about losing unsaved material because of other people. But if you have other people using your computer, you may be better served using Hibernate, so that you get the automatic saving.

I read that a laptop uses only 2% of its battery power per hour, when in Sleep mode. So that means maybe after 2 days the battery will run out. I frequently plug in my laptop every day, so it rarely runs out, and even if it does, so what. I just plug it in and it’s up and running instantly.


Was talking to a Geek guy. Because of expenses and complexity, I decided to hold off pursuing the idea of producing hi-def video disks. Difference in quality may be nice, but not really necessary. Many people do not have blu-ray players. Price of blank hi-def disks is high. Only really makes sense if I start selling a lot and it’s worth the aggravation and price. He said higher quality computers do better with hi-def video than mine. Also, he says in ten years disks will be obsolete. That it will all be “digital distribution”, streaming over the internet, including hi-def. I should still shoot in hi-def, to get best quality video, in 16:9 aspect picture. So that’s my plan – continue as I have been making DVDs in regular definition. And if I do switch to hi-def someday, I’ll have hi-def footage to work with.

Geek guy was 30, but said people younger than he tend to view disks as obsolete already. They expect material to stream to their smart phones, iPads, etc. Guy thinks all printed matter is on the way out. I think his view might be skewed, since that’s the world he lives in. But, there is certainly a strong element of truth in what he says.


When you shade a text, with the paint can icon in the Paragraph box, you can press the F4 key at top to repeat that action. But, the F4 function does not operate to repeat a text highlighting action (the crayon icon in the Font box); for that, you have to do it again. The F4 key does not work for the crayon icon.


Got a new computer. Wanted as my homepage, so that I always open up the internet directly to my email on Internet Explorer > Tools dropdown arrow at upper right > Internet Options > in the Home Page box type in > then go right to the bottom and click Apply and OK. If you want a different home page, get on the home page you want, copy its URL address at upper right box, and then go thru the above procedure, and paste in the address into the Home Page box, click Apply and OK.


When I press CTRL+P, the printing window shows icons for my cartridges levels (6 icons, one for each cartridge), but they always show empty (they’re not empty). I would like to be able to see levels on the computer screen. Haven’t figured this out yet. Read I should disable my anti-virus program temporarily, power both computer and printer off, then on. Naw, I don’t want to do that. I’ll just check ink levels on the printer itself, by pressing “Setup” > “Ink Levels”, on the printer panel.

One note I came across was on their cartridge yields: They give a ball park figure of 500 pages per cartridge.


My STUDIO movie-making program was not showing hi-def clips in the preview window. The clips played fine under Windows Media Player, but would not show in the STUDIO preview window. Bought a $10 help deal from Avid, and the guy and I went back and forth for days with our emails. Tried everything he suggested. No go. Final solution was to re-install the program. He had me un-install it first.

Then it took me days to get the right phone number from which to download the program again.

Guy on the phone helped me do it. It takes 2 hours, since it is a huge program. Well, I got it downloaded OK, but then what? Opened the folder, which had a bunch of other folders in it. I clicked on the “Run” file, which opened a window that did nothing and had no options. I clicked on the “Welcome” file, “Extract all, “Welcome” again, and that led me to the installer (“Auto-run”) with the options I needed. Took another half hour. But got it in. And it worked. Hooray! My hi-def clips show beautifully.

What a hassle though. Weeks of unease, before a final solution.


Update: My bill went up $20 from one month to the next ($98 to $118). I believe the 3-year special deal I had goes up $20 each succeeding year. I followed my own advice and asked about any new deals. Best they could offer was ongoing $10 off HBO. Not bad. Well worth asking; they are pretty quick to look for ways to keep you happy. I note also that once my Norton virus security programs runs out in a year, they (Comcast) offer it as a free download. And they also offer some free download that enables you to watch cable on your smartphone or iPad. Might be in my future.


Tried my old computer and it wouldn’t automatically connect to the internet. Turned off the wireless switch at the front of the computer, turned it back on, and then I got the internet back. This was after I went thru the process described below under “INTERNET – GONE WHEN SWITCHED COMPUTERS.”


I find that even though double-clicking is supposed to open it, it doesn’t, until I double-click it again. So basically I double-click it TWICE. Or, after the first double-click, it gets put onto the taskbar at bottom, and if I click it there, then it opens up on my screen.


Couldn’t get the internet, or my wireless connection to my printer, when I connected my old computer. Had to have Best Buy Geek guy over.

To find the wireless connection status, I don’t remember what he did or how he got there (he right-clicked and chose “Properties” at some point.) I got it up myself later by typing “Network Status” into the Start search box. On Vista I think you can do Start and “Connect to” over on the right, but Windows 7 didn’t have that option. Or, to see network status, try Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Connect or Disconnect.

He said the address ending in .1 was the router, and the .2, .3, .4 ones are printer, one computer, other computer, etc. and that those numbers change each time, to the next number, after one of them closes, etc. He said not to worry about it.

OK, the deal on why switching computers often results in internet and wireless connection (router) getting lost: He said, “If you’re plugged in direct, it works every time [that is, with USB wire connection, when you switch computers, it DOES retain internet, and of course the connection to your printer]. Wireless, for some reason, it can be configured right, but it won’t see it. The only way is to re-install the software.” Me: “So you’re saying sometimes you lose the connection, with wireless?” “Usually when you install a wireless printer, it will ask you whether it’s connected with USB, or wireless. If you set that option wrong, it’s almost impossible to get it to connect the other way [wireless instead of USB]. So if you’d had this for a while and you had always had it plugged in [USB wire], then switched it over to wireless [as was the case with me], it almost never works right. You have to re-install it [the printer program] and tell it it’s on wireless.”

 ”You don’t want USB, you want Network Connection, when it gives you those choices. There’s something in the software; it doesn’t like to switch. You have to do it by scratch this way.” Me: So that’s why it would work, I wouldn’t use it for a while, and then next time it wouldn’t work, even though I made no changes at all to it in the meantime? “Yeah, it doesn’t matter who it is, anyone, Hewitt-Packard, anyone, they’re all the same. Installed that way, it only works that way. I find I have to re-install the whole thing.”

So he did that – uninstalled the Epson Printer program and re-installed it (I had the CD to insert).

And then it worked. Now the program knows the “Artisan 810″ network is the default network. So, it all had to do with the software’s tendency to revert to what you originally selected as its default mode (USB wire, instead of wireless). Once the program is re-installed and the default mode is selected for wireless, it should find it consistently from this point on.

So now I had internet back for either computer. Of course, the minute he left, I tried it yet again, to make sure, and of course, suddenly now it didn’t work again!! I put away sharp objects, finished cursing, then did this: Because it showed on the diagnosis window (that comes up when you can’t connect to the internet) that no network was showing, I knew I had to get it connected to my home network (my router address) somehow. I typed in “Network Status” into the Start search box. It showed my printer setup status – “Artisan 810 Network Setup”. Clicked on that and just ran thru their directions (straightforward Next, Next, etc., Finish), and then suddenly my internet was back. (I think maybe I needed to restart the computer to have the wireless setting get set.)

But, I think that only fixed it temporarily. I had to also do this: Start > Printers > right-click a different printer (of the three variations of Epson printer icons I have there) and choose it for my default printer. Then it was fine. I think the re-installing of the printer program switched which of the printers worked, back to the original one, instead of the one that had been working for the past year or so.

OK, next time I tried switching computers, it was fine. I was connected to my home network (wireless router), and the internet, thru the correct printer icon.

Update 1/13: My old computer did not pick up the internet when I tried it. I turned the wireless switch in the front of the computer off, and then on, and then I was connected to the internet.


It has happened to me several times now, that my connection to my router and the internet, disappeared. Each time I got it back by simply moving my wireless connection button at the front of my laptop to OFF and then back ON (apparently to refresh it). Or, I simply turned it back on after it accidentally got switched off (the front of my laptop frequently rubs against my laptop bedstand, as I move it, and moves that switch to the OFF position).

IPAD (9/12)

A friend was showing me his iPad. Very impressive, how much it does, how helpful it is, how intuitive and simple it is to operate. He’s a doctor and he finds it very helpful for checking on medications, as well as all kinds of other things. He said that almost all his friends to whom he showed the iPad, went out and got one soon after. I’ll probably get one eventually. I like the way it is, and the way it is NOT like a computer: Does so many things, yet with hardly any of the normal computer complications and hassles.

Seems like you just get your app, and you’re on your way. You don’t have to set up or learn dozens of steps all the time.


Lately it’s been freezing suddenly for no reason between songs. Usually just pressing the forward one song button gets it going again. Also, a couple of times the sound went off without my touching it at all; the volume had gone down to 0 on its own. I saw the song still playing, so I just turned the volume back up and it was OK. I hate that about electronics: So often weird stuff just happens out of nowhere.


After several months with no problem, suddenly, again, for no antecedent reason whatsoever, it got stuck (just stopped playing the iPod, whereas radio and CD playing were fine). Finally got it going again. Not sure if everything here is necessary or in what exact order things need to be done, but I got it going approximately like this: Remove iPod nano > reset it, by holding down the on/off (sleep/wake) button AND “–” (volume down) button at the same time for 6 seconds until the lone apple icon comes on (then I turned it off and then on again) > remove completely the front panel of stereo > reset by pushing pen tip onto small red button at lower left (not sure I reset it at first, but then I saw the date/time had reverted to an earlier setting, so I know I DID reset it > re-attach iPod nano > (turn it on, off, unattach, re-attach, whatever), and it was back on.

As I say, I don’t know if turning on/off, attaching/detaching was necessary at certain points, but the key seems to be that BOTH stereo and iPod needed to be reset.

Update: Stuck again. I reset stereo, then iPod. That worked. But, once I got the Apple icon/logo up I don’t remember exactly what I did at that point (clicked on Lists icon, selected a song, whatever. So, next time, I will 1) do just iPod first to see if stereo reset was really necessary. 2) Try to note exactly what I did with the iPod once I got the logo up. 3) If that doesn’t work, then I’ll know I have to reset BOTH, and will try to nail down exact iPod procedure.

Update: Got stuck. Did an iPod reset (holding down on/off and “–” buttons, twice, once to turn it off  and then again to turn back on. At least that’s what I think I did. And that worked. Again, it’s not the iPod itself that screwing up; it’s the iPod in combination with the car stereo. (The iPod separate from the stereo works fine.)

And once it’s back on, I had to navigate back to the playlist I had been listening to. Seems to get reset to shuffle mode instead of the playlists.

Update: A couple of times it shut off by itself suddenly, but I noticed the track was still progressing. Realized the volume had suddenly dropped on its own. Turned it back up and it was OK. Didn’t think I touched the volume knob, but maybe I did when touching other buttons.


I wasn’t fully clear in my manual on deleting songs from an iPod “Nano”. You can delete or add a song by attaching the iPod to your computer and going thru the iTunes window procedure (see manual). But, to delete it on the iPod itself without attaching it to the computer, you have to follow this procedure: Tap the Playlists icon > tap the playlist the song is in > then click the name of the playlist at upper left, which brings up “Add” and “Edit” > tap Edit > scroll to and tap the red minus icon next to the song, which brings up a red Delete icon on the right > tap on the red Delete icon, to delete that song.

Note 1: If you do any of the steps above not in the correct order, you’ll just go around in circles! Like so many procedures, it’s easy enough if you do it all the time, but if you only do it occasionally, it almost impossible to remember the correct order of steps, unless you have it written down somewhere.

Note 2: The iPod sometimes automatically drops out of this Edit mode in just a matter of a few seconds, so you have to proceed in a timely way.

Note 3: This procedure deletes the song from your playlist, but not the song itself from your iPod, so it is still taking up room on your iPod (under your “Songs” icon)

Note 4: You can add that song back to your playlist (or any other song under your Songs list) by doing this: Playlists icon > tap the desired playlist > tap the playlist’s name at upper left, which brings up “Edit” and “Clear” > tap Edit > tap Add > scroll to and tap “Songs” > scroll to the desired song (can tap on alphabet at right to reach it more quickly) > tap the blue “plus” icon at left of song > tap “Done”. Next time you open that playlist, that song should be added to the bottom of that list.

So basically you can build and adjust playlists on the iPod, from the songs you already have stored there. But, personally, I find it easier to do all editing, adding, or deleting thru the iTunes program on the computer with the iPod attached.

To delete a song from your iPod, not just from a playlist

This is actually a key thing, because you don’t want songs taking up space on your iPod when you no longer have them on a playlist. Attach iPod to computer to bring up iTunes window > Click “Music” under the name of your iPod > that brings up your entire list of songs on your iPod > find the song > right-click it > it asks if you’re sure you want to remove it > click Remove.

Note that you in scrolling to find that song, you can click either Name or Artist to get that long list in alphabetical order, by name or artist.

Note also that even though all the songs might be checked, it’s only the highlighted song that gets deleted. It will ask if you want to delete the selected song. In fact, I think you can’t delete more than one song at a time.


Recently downloaded a bunch of songs. When I attached my (battery depleted) iPod to transfer them, nothing happened; the iPod did not show up in my iTunes window. Had to wait till it charged up. Now I know; it has to be charged to in order to show in the window and allow transfer of songs. But, it only took a few minutes to get charged up to 20%, and then a minute later it showed up in my iTunes window, ready for transferring songs.


I recently put together a new playlist, from music I had collected in a folder under my computer’s big Music folder. Found that checking all the songs and doing a Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V into the iTunes playlist window did not work. Instead, I simply dragged and dropped the whole folder of about 40 songs to an open iTunes playlist window (File > New Playlist) and the whole bunch of songs in that folder were imported quickly.

Knowing the above procedure was key in my deciding to clear up my iPod nano, on which I had over 2,300 songs. I was running out of room (very close to the 15GB capacity) and was pretty sure part of the problem was that I had many duplicates. I did not know how to clear them out, given that I had so many songs in so many places and many of them were labeled only “Track 14″ or whatever. Up to this point, I had been terrified of fiddling with what I had on there, since it was working fine and I did not want to mess up something and have to redo the 2,000+ songs – a huge amount of work.

But, working with my other iPod, on which I put only my most recent songs, I finally felt sure enough of procedures that I decided to go ahead and re-do those 2,000+ songs, in order to get rid of duplicates, realizing it would NOT take all that long after all. Did the whole thing under 2 hours! Here’s the procedure:

I have all my music in my computer’s big Music folder and each playlist in separate folders, labeled “Disk 01″, “Disk 02″, all the way to “Disk 75″, with all songs already edited to my taste. I set up iTunes at left, computer Music folder at right, so I could drag and drop the folders over.

STEP A – Clear out iPod: Attach iPod > click on Music under Device, which gives you your entire list of songs on your iPod, in alphabetical order > do a Ctrl+A and press the Delete key of your keyboard, which will completely empty your iPod of songs, in a minute or so > highlight each now-empty playlist on the left under “Devices,” and delete each one, leaving absolutely nothing on the iPod. (Click on the square under “Devices” to confirm that it is empty, down at middle bottom. If you click on Audio down there, it tells you exactly how many songs you have on the iPod.)

STEP B – Re-import playlists to iPod: Since I couldn’t simply drag and drop folders to the area below Devices, since that area in that left panel got completely filled up after only a few folders and would not allow scrolling further down, and since dropping the folder onto Music did not keep the set playlists but listed every song individually and alphabetically, and since dropping a folder onto a playlist already there made two playlists into one, I did this, which worked: File at upper left > New Playlist > type in the name of the playlist (“Disk 01″, etc.) > press Enter key to set that name > then drag the folder from the right over to the empty window of that playlist on the left > that makes a copy of your playlist, songs in proper order, in a minute or two (it shows progress at the top and songs change from gray to black when they are done) > proceed that way, creating a new playlist each time with a matching name and dragging that matching folder over to the playlist’s empty window at the left.

I did this for all my 75 disks/playlists. Success! And now I know exactly what I have on my iPod. I know I don’t have any duplicates. And I have more room now, for ensuing years of music. Hooray. I went from about 14GB down to 10GB; had had over 200 duplicates taking up space!

General lesson learned: Many times when you do a complex procedure, because you’re unfamiliar with it, you end up with all kinds of glitches (in this case, unidentifiable duplicates); but, once you know the procedure, it may well be worth doing the whole operation all over again from scratch, so that you don’t get those glitches.

Be sure, if you do the above operation in more than one session, to click on the name of your device at the beginning, so that the new playlist gets put under the device, not under your iTunes Music library (in which case you’d have to do the additional step of moving the playlists from the library to the device).


I try to keep my iTunes Music Library empty, except for the songs I’m currently working on. I get into all kinds of messes when I want to transfer some songs temporarily from some playlists to my iPod. At one point I thought I had lost my latest three downloads, after erasing my songs. Only having those three on my iPod. I couldn’t transfer them back into my recently emptied iTunes Library.

But, I see that when my iTunes Music Library is empty, it has an option: “Find music files.” I clicked on that and it listed ALL the songs I’ve purchased, alphabetically by singer. So I copied those three current songs back into my iTunes Music library.

You would think it’s easy, but it rarely is. I like my iTunes Library empty because it’s so hard to work with songs when there are over 2000 songs in there! The lesson I take from this most recent episode, is that I should keep in my iTunes Library any recent songs that I have not yet finalized to a playlist. Other than those songs, I still think I should delete all other songs out of the Library.

Update. So typical. Somehow I lost those three songs again. I emptied out my Library again completely, and then that large “Find music files” option appeared on the center of the page at right. And again, provided me with a list of all my songs. But, I think that list comprises all the songs in my computer, not necessarily my songs purchased from iTunes. And two of those three songs were NOT in the list! So I figured I’d just buy them again. When I went to buy them again, iTunes informed me that I had already purchased them and would I like to download them again for free? Why yes, thank you. So I did that. Hooray. Good for iTunes, not making people buy songs they already bought but lost.


There was one song that refused to be imported from my hard drive to my iTunes playlist by the normal “File > Add File to Library” route. Made a copy of it onto the desktop, and tried simply dragging it over to the iTunes window, onto Music (under Library at left), and that did land it there. But, then when I tried to add it to my playlist, it wouldn’t go, saying the original file could not be found. But, it had an option for Windows finding it for you. I clicked that, and then, 2 seconds later, it was usable. (The exclamation mark to the left of the name disappeared, meaning it was now OK.)


Recent news told of Java (a programming language that enables some websites and applications to work) having a flaw that allows malware to access your computer. To help forestall that, I was told it’s best to have the latest version of Java (eleven) installed. To do so: I put “Java” into my Start search box > Java icon shows at top, clicked on that > Java Control Panel window came up > Update tab > Update Now at lower right > Yes > Install (identifies as “Java 7 Update 11″) > clicked Install again > unchecked a toolbar they offered (key thing, you don’t want new, strange toolbars taking over your computer!) > Next > Close Programs and Continue > green progress bar shows at top (takes a minute to get going, and finishes in about 2 minutes) > successfully installed > close. That should fix that flaw.

Update 1/15/13 – Some experts ( say the flaw is NOT fixed, and that you should uninstall Java, because you probably don’t need it anyway. So, I did that. Start > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > checked “Java 7 Update 11″ > clicked Uninstall at upper left > Yes > Yes > Close browsers and continue, OK. Now, should I ever need it, I can still download and re-install it from the Java website (

Note that Java and Javascript are two different things. Javascript is fine and is an automatic part of your browser anyway.

KINDLE (8/12)


I’ve got one. Been using it a fair amount for a couple of months. I like it a lot. (Have yet to explore reading magazines or newspapers on it.)


Great concept – you get many books in one small place, each for a cheaper price than a physical book (typical $13 instead of $16). Great space saver. Great for reading in the woods or anywhere; you don’t have to lug a book with you or decide which of several books you might want to read. You can have a dictionary in it, reference books, whatever. Works well even in direct sunlight. It’s lightweight and very comfortable and readable. Book lovers might prefer actual books, but it’s easy to get used to the Kindle. You don’t have to turn pages or hold pages open awkwardly. You can increase the size of the text to your preference.


Bought a Kindle at Best Buy. Only $79; good price. Can have 1,400 books on it. Other Kindle models cost maybe $20-$60 more and can hold 3,000 books. My understanding was that the cheapest model is the one that has ads (sponsored screensavers) whereas the more expensive ones don’t have ads. But, I see from the Best Buy site that the more expensive ones also have ads. However, bottom line is that the ads are not intrusive; they don’t interrupt your reading ever; they just show up as screensavers once you’ve stopped reading. Just press the On button and you’re back to your reading.

I got the cheapest model, but it does show so-so black and white advertising pictures, so I assume it shows half-decent black and white book pictures also.


Device comes with a connecting cord. You plug one end into the Kindle bottom, the other end into a USB port of your computer. Takes maybe 3 hours to fully charge, though it seemed a lot faster than that for me. The indicator light (between port and button) turns green (from yellow) when the battery is fully charged. Supposed to last a good 15 hours. I note that the USB connecting wire they provide is NOT the same size as other such connecting wires; you gotta use THEIRS. The trapezoid end is a little smaller. I believe it’s the “micro” not the “mini.”

Battery icon normally shows at upper right. White indicates amount charged, black indicates amount used up, I’m pretty sure.

Connector Wire Lost

After a while, I figured I didn’t need the box the Kindle came in, so I tossed it… forgetting that I had the USB connecting cable inside the box. Argh. Went to Radio Shack for a replacement, but it was $24. Went to Walmart and bought a “USB Mini Cable Kit.” (“Connect, Charge, Sync”), for $22. It has three short connecting cables (from device to computer USB port), one for an iPod, and two different mini trapezoid sizes. So one of those worked (the smaller “micro” one).

It took maybe 20 minutes for the empty battery to charge up enough to use the Kindle. I note that I couldn’t use it by just connecting it; I had to wait for it to charge up first (unlike my cell phone or electric razor, both of which can be used on an empty battery as long as you have it connected to a power source). (Update: Actually, I think you can use it, by going inside your computer: Start> Computer > Kindle icon > Eject, which makes the Kindle exit USB drive mode and show the Home screen.)

Also, you have to connect your Kindle upside down; the trapezoid end only goes in one way. Weird.

Additionally, I note that charging the Kindle up by connecting it to my laptop, uses very little of the laptop battery.


1. Charge up the device (see above under Battery).

2. Turn on by pressing and holding (a good 7 seconds) the on/off button on bottom edge (to the right of the connecting port).

3. Select language.

4. To get books you need to A) have an account, B) register your Kindle, C) connect to the internet thru your computer or Wi-Fi network (your router). Can’t remember exactly, but it’s fairly straightforward – follow screen instructions using the square button at bottom center. Press the directional arrows at the edge of the square to navigate; press the square itself to enter your choice.

5. If you have a router, like me, select “Connect to Wi-Fi” and press the square. Shows what networks are nearby; you find yours; highlight it (underline); pick Connect. Then you enter your password (the password to your network/router, not the password to your Amazon account). You have to bring up the Kindle keyboard of course, to enter your password. Not sure if you need to match caps.

 6. I think either press Done at bottom right of keyboard, or just press the keyboard button (button to left of square) to close it. Then you press Submit.

7. Should show “Connecting” at top. So that should connect it to your router (your home wireless network).

8. Then you have to register it. Has 3 choices – “existing account,” “create account from computer,” and “create account from Kindle.” I have an Amazon account, so I picked “existing account.” Now you fill in your email address and Amazon password. Press Done after you get your email address in. Press keyboard again to now get your password in, after you got your email address in (you can’t do both at once, you must do each separately). Scroll to Done again and Enter it (pressing square = Enter).

 9. Use down arrow to get to Submit. Press Enter. That’s it. Your account should be set up.

 If you need help for the above, you can go to the Home screen and select Set Up Your Kindle, and follow the instructions. Once you’ve completed this process, the “Set Up Your Kindle” selection disappears. But, you can get some good instructions on the same Home page under Kindle User’s Guide.


Menu > Store > find (can go by categories, but putting in name of book in search box at bottom is best) > click black-highlighted “Buy” and it downloads in less than a minute (shows on Home page, where you can select it and read it). You find the charge on your credit card statement the next month. I bought a book, and it was pretty simple. I just clicked on Buy, and with computer and Kindle on, there it was on my kindle, ready to read. Since I have a wireless router, I did not have to connect the kindle manually to the computer.

Best way to search for a book, the name of which you know: Store > keyboard > type in name > Done > highlight “Search” at right using arrow > Enter. (Gives a list up top as you type, and you can just close out the keyboard (press keyboard button again) and then select your book from the list at top.

If you buy a book when your Kindle is offline, it won’t process the order. But as soon as you connect, it processes it.

Usually you can get a first chapter sample for free.

Many public domain books are free. Some other books, like Bibles, you can get very cheaply, for only $2.


I’ve seen controls on different Kindle models located at different places. But, on the your Kindle, if you go to Home > “Kindle User Guide,” near the beginning of the guide it should have a nice clear diagram of the controls for your particular model. And these controls, though located in a different place, should include all the functions described below.


Button is at bottom. Pressing it toggles back and forth between ON and SLEEP. When it’s ON, it shows your book on screen. When it’s in SLEEP, it shows a screensaver advertisement on the screen. After ten minutes of inactivity, the Kindle automatically goes to Sleep mode.

To turn the device completely off or to turn it on to begin with, you press and HOLD it for 7 seconds. (The green light at bottom starts blinking as it is about to turn on, or off.)

It’s like an iPod or a laptop: You have two levels of ON and OFF – temporarily on and off (sleep), and then really on and off.


The square at bottom center has arrows on each side to navigate to your selections. Then you press the square itself (Enter) to select the highlighted or underlined item.

Far right button – is Home, which shows you the books you have.

Near right button – is Menu, which shows “Go to…” (for searches) , “Settings,” “Store,” etc. You go to “Store” to order your books. Also has “Kindle User Guide” option here.

Far left button – is the “Back” button for getting back to the previous screen… that’s previous screen, not previous page. Also note that once the device goes to sleep mode and the screensaver ad is up, to get back to your reading, press the ON button at bottom, not the Back button.

Near left button – brings up the keyboard, which you use to type in info. Use the directional arrows around the square to navigate, and the square to select. Can select caps or lower-case letters tabs at top of the keyboard. The space key is just to the left of the delete key at middle bottom of keyboard. What you type shows at bottom of screen. Click Done at lower right when done. Or, just press keyboard button again to get rid of keyboard.

Pages: At the edge of both left and right sides, you have page forward and page backward “buttons” or “bars.” You press them toward the back of the device rather than in. The lower bar is for the next page; the upper bar is for previous page. You end up using either the left side exclusively, or the right side, whichever feels more comfortable. Myself, as a right-hander, I use the right side bars.

Note that certain buttons other than the page turning ones, may not react instantaneously; have to wait a couple seconds.


Returning to Your Reading

Text stays on the same spot you left it. Just open the book again to continue. To return to reading from Sleep mode (screensaver ad up), press On/Off button.

Getting to a Chapter

If the book has a Table of Contents, as most do, and you are in the book already, press Menu button > Go to > Table of contents > select your choice of chapters > Enter.

If it does not have a table of contents, you can move it one chapter at a time from the chapter you are in, by clicking either the left or right directional arrow at bottom, repeatedly. For example, if the User Guide did not have a Table of Contents, you could simply press the right arrow to move ahead chapter by chapter.

Deleting Material

Home > select choice > left directional arrow > Enter > Remove from device > Enter. Kindle books are backed up for you at Amazon even if they are removed from the device.


They have the Oxford Dictionary of English for free already there. Home > select the dictionary > press keyboard button to bring up keyboard > type the word in > press keyboard button again to get rid of keyboard (the word you typed and a list of the nearest words to it stay on screen for you > right arrow to get to and highlight “search dictionary” at bottom right > Enter. That brings up the word and its definition.

Also, easier – AND VERY USEFUL – is to just use the arrow key to bring the cursor into the text. Move it to the start of any word, and its definition appears at top (if word is near bottom) or at bottom (if word is near top). That gives you an immediate definition; if you want a full dictionary definition with all the variations, then use the procedure in the previous paragraph.

Word Search

Aha, great, you can do a word search in a book: Get the book up > Menu button > Search This Book > keyboard button > type in the word > Done (at lower right of keyboard) > right arrow to “Find” (at lower right) > Enter. It lists all the results.

Change Font Size

Have a book up > Menu > select Change Font Size > highlight desired size from row of “Aa”s (default is third one over) > Enter. That’s it. Can also select Typeface, Line Spacing, and Words per Line, but I think the default settings here are fine.


To set the clock: Menu > Settings < 2nd page > Device Time > use arrow to underline “Set” next to Device Time > Enter > use arrows to set time > scroll right to highlight Save > Enter. Press Menu to show time at top of screen. (When reading, if you want to check the time, press Menu to see time, then press Back (far left) button to return to your reading.)

Transferring Word Doc to Kindle

This is actually a useful function for me. It would enable me to take a document of mine to read out in the woods without printing it out.

In theory you’re supposed to be able to attach the Kindle, and then drag and drop docs, from computer folder to a Kindle folder called Documents. Well, it does transfer; it shows that document transferred on the Kindle document window onscreen on your computer, along with your other books. But, when you go to find it in your Kindle, to read it there, you cannot find it.

Tried converting my Word doc into a PDF file and transferring that by dragging and dropping, and that DID work; there it was on my list of books! But, it was too hard to read; it came out a full page on the screen, with letters too small. Zooming was no good because it enlarged only one section of the page; if you clicked next page, you’d see only that same small section of the next page enlarged.

Work-around solution: Enlarge a copy of your Word doc to maybe one paragraph a page, put that into PDF format, then transfer, and your pages should be big enough to read. Actually it arrives in a set font which is kind of skinny, regardless of what font you had the PDF in. I found putting the doc into 30-poiint font size before converting it to PDF, works pretty well.

Called Kindle support. Here’s how to do it normally. Basically you have to email it to Amazon, who in turn sends it to your Kindle. Pretty involved, but, it works well: Attach your Kindle to your computer > go to your email on your computer > put this address in with your name, to send the document to – > attach the document > send it > it arrives in your Kindle account at Amazon > go to (your material is automatically stored in your Kindle library at Amazon) > dropdown arrow of Your Account at upper right > Manage Your Kindle > sign in, with email  and password > Personal Document Setting at lower left > Personal Document Archiving, Enable > Personal Documents > your transferred documents should be listed at the right, including the one you just emailed > Actions on the right > Deliver to my Kindle > Deliver, and that sends it to your Kindle, to the Home page listing your material.

With the PDF method, you can’t change font size; with the email method, you can. Pretty neat. You can load up your Kindle and read stuff on it without lugging the literal material with you. And, I suppose, magazines, newspapers, and internet material also. Will have to look into that eventually.

Your list at Amazon, under Personal Documents, is also where you can delete archived items (like the foreign dictionaries they put there by default). For your other books listed on Home page, you simply left-arrow the  selection, and then click on “remove  from device”.


Kindle support phone number – 1 866 321-8851

I got a PDF version of their user guide from internet – “Kindle User Guide (PDF)”. Made a copy to my computer. [The Kindle itself has nice abbreviated version of the guide, on the Home page under Kindle User's Guide.]

Bottom of screen shows percentage of book read. Little notches on the bar indicate chapters.

Good distinctions to get into your head: 1) Pressing the right arrow moves text to the next chapter or selection, pressing the next page bar moves the text to the next page. The four arrows at bottom are for all kinds of navigation, but not for page turning. 2) To get back to your reading after it goes to sleep mode, press the ON button, not the Back button.

Word definitions – get cursor up on screen by pressing a directional arrow, move to start of word, and it shows definition at top.

Screen can be read easily even in bright sunlight; has no glare or reflection. But, it cannot be read in the dark. It’s not like a computer screen that can be read in the dark.

Should not get the Kindle wet. If you do, let it dry, completely, on its own, before using it again.

My model is 6.5″ X 4.5″ size, with 6″ diagonal screen. 2 GB storage, with 1 GB available to user.

This basic model does NOT have audiobook capacity. It has no earphone outlet. It has no speaker.

Reviews for this model on were very good for the most part. People especially liked the readable screen and the light weight (presumably the lightest available). Bottom line conclusion was that this model is a great buy for people who simply want an e-reader for straightforward reading without many extra bells and whistles.


I read that you can actually access the web with this model. May look into this in the future. For accessing the net in my apartment, it seems pointless, because I prefer just using my bigger laptop. But, I suppose at an internet hotspot, I would be able to connect and use the Kindle to surf the web.

Update: You do it under Menu > Experimental > Launch Browser > then sign in with your email address and password. But, then it got to Locations and I got stuck. Did not know how or what to put in there. And, I couldn’t get out of that spot. Turned Kindle fully off, opened it up again, and it put me right back to that spot.

Will work on it again in the future. I figure it would be good to know how to connect to some hotspot while on the road to check my email on the kindle.


You can enter notes if you want, but I don’t like typing with the device, so I’m not going to bother with this function. BUT, it also has an excellent feature I find VERY USEFUL – HIGHLIGHTING.

When I read a book, I frequently highlight key passages for future reference. For example, for the many books on religion I read so that years later when I am dealing with a particular topic or what an author wrote, I don’t have to re-read the entire book, but just need to check my highlights. I can do likewise with the Kindle!

Use the directional arrows to place the cursor at the start of a section you want to highlight > press Enter > click Start Highlight > move the cursor to the end of the desired section > press Enter > click End Highlight. That underlines the passage. But the good part is that it puts all your highlighted passages into one place under Home > My Clippings. So instead of re-reading a relevant book I once read, I just re-read those few pages of clippings.

To erase those clips, supposedly you just left arrow > Delete > OK. But, those same clippings still showed up next time I added something to the My Clippings “folder.” Messed around with it. The way to do it is this: Attach your Kindle to your computer and delete them there:

Open folder to view files > My Clippings (the white icon “text document”, not the red icon “MBP” file) > right-click > Delete. (I also deleted all the duplicate files there, all the ones with just a few KBs; the ones with the many KBs are the ones to keep, the actual book or clippings.)

That also finally gets rid of the underlining in the text on your Kindle for that clipping.

But, here’s the best thing: Before you delete your clippings, you open the My Clippings file, and copy it to a Word doc in your computer. Thus, you have all your highlights saved, without having to type them out! So, for me, instead of having to type out the key passages of a book, I easily transfer them en masse to a Word doc. Great time-saver for me.

Kind of a new era for me. Instead of buying a physical book, marking key passages, and storing the book in my apartment, I buy the ebook, highlight key passages, and transfer them to my computer. The key info is accessible for me, and physical books will no longer tend to fill up my apartment space.


A library gathers files from different locations and displays them as a single collection, without moving them from where they are actually stored.


You can just hold down Shift and the underscore key at upper right till you get a line across the page. Like this:


Or, you can do Home > Paragraph box > Border icon (to right of paint can icon) dropdown arrow > Horizontal line. That will give you a line like this:

Then you can right-click that line > “Format Horizontal Line” > change thickness or color.

Or, here’s a quick way I stumbled upon to get a nice bold horizontal line in Windows 7: Shift key and three strokes of the underscore key at upper right > press Enter > presto, you get a nice thick horizontal line.

But then, it suddenly stopped doing it. Figured out how to get it back; you need to have automatic borders on: Review tab at top > Spelling and Grammar > Options at lower left > AutoCorrect Options at upper right > AutoFormat As You Type tab > “Apply as you type” at left > check Border lines > OK > OK.

Update: Naw, I don’t like it after all. It keeps doing funny things like duplicating itself, or moving ahead or behind new text, etc. Prefer the horizontal line option under the Border icon.


Highlight the source word or phrase > right-click on the highlighted section and select “Hyperlink” from the dropdown menu > copy the URL address of the website, and paste it into the address box at the bottom of the window that opened up > click the OK button at lower right (the source word or phrase turns blue, indicating an internet link has been created > to use the link, press the Ctrl key and click on the source word.


Actually pretty simple: Make a copy of the website’s complete URL address at upper left (highlight it and Ctrl+C to put it onto your clipboard, unseen) , then paste it (Ctrl+V) into the desired spot in your email text. The web page address now appears as an active clickable link that your recipients can just click on to visit that site.


If you have a link in a word document, instead of just clicking on the underlined word, you need to press the Ctrl key and click on the word, to get sent to the link destination.


You can log off and leave the computer running for other people who have a user account on that computer. Or, you can shut down the computer and that automatically logs you off.


The downside to is that you gotta fend off all sorts of ads flying in on you. The site is heavily laden with ads. In fact, lately I find it’s easier NOT to use this site, but, once I have the name of the song, simply google the song name followed by “lyrics.” Like the Johnny Cash song, “I Ride an Old Paint lyrics.” (I wanted to find out what the heck throwing a “hoolian” is.)


Now that Newsweek no longer puts out a print edition (as of 1/1/13), I need to explore reading magazines thru digital media – on my laptop at first, then maybe I should spring for an iPad.

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated says subscribers can access the digital edition free. Went to their website. Had trouble at first. My email address was apparently not valid yet. Needed to activate the thing, fill out stuff, get a password, etc. Here’s what I did: website > near bottom of page, clicked on “Digital Edition” > since email, password, and sign-in didn’t work, I clicked “Activate” > filled in account number (which I had to get from the magazine cover, after retrieving it from my car) > filled in zip code and email address > Next > my account status was then shown as “Verified” > had to create a password and re-enter the password > click “Add the digital edition” > it said “Thank You.”

Then I went back to the first page of the site, near bottom, and clicked on “Digital Edition” again > now when I signed in with my email and password at top, and clicked Sign In, it worked. Page opened up showing all past issues. You can click on “READ” next to the desired issue and read all the major articles at right, in order, or the minor articles on the left.


OK, now Newsweek. I sent them my email address weeks ago, as per their instructions, and established a password. I then went on their website (“”). As usual, nothing is simple. Searched around on the site. Apparently, you can’t access any digital edition yet, until they send you info on how to, which they will do on January 4, 2013. I note that this “The Daily Beast” website includes articles from Newsweek, but it is NOT itself the digital Newsweek magazine. (I think Newsweek and The Daily Beast merged a year or so ago, as Newsweek prepared for the switch to digital.)

Update 1/4/12: Oh geez. Everything I feared. It’s way more complicated than I had hoped. Why can’t they set it up so that reading the magazine online is very similar to reading a physical magazine!? Instead they have all kinds of confusing buttons. I could write pages on it. But, I’ll just pare it down to the essentials here. It’s actually not as bad as I first figured, once I made my way thru the forest, and settled on the key buttons and ignored the rest of them.

To get there and read the magazine

On the Newsweek (Daily Beast) website, at the bottom middle, click on “Newsweek is all digital. Subscribers, click for details.” And there they have a table of instructions for how to access the digital edition for mobile devices, tablets, and computers.

For a computer, this is how: Google “Newsweek Web Reader” > there it shows you the magazine covers, starting with the most recent issue at top > click on the issue > sign in at top left > put in your username (email address) and password > Sign in. And there’s the digital edition of the magazine.

The arrows at bottom middle, take you to next (or previous) article. The arrows at bottom right, take you to next (or previous) page. There are no page numbers for the magazine as a whole, but at lower left, for each article, it shows the page number of that article alone.

The annoying thing is that when you go to a next page, you have to use the scroll bar at right to get to the top of the page, each time. And you have to use the scroll bar to go down the page as you read it, and then back up for the second column. (Pressing an arrow key moves the page down, but usually too much, so you have to scroll back up.) And there are buttons all over the place that are confusing, or go nowhere. You can spend time to learn all the buttons, but, you don’t have to. Once you see how the article button (lower middle) and page button (lower right) work, you can essentially do what you want to do – read the magazine.

Every week, they email you the current edition.

4/13 Update – I don’t really enjoy reading the magazine on my laptop. It’s more a chore than an enjoyment. Much prefer an actual magazine.


According to my defragging window, I had it set up to defrag automatically every week. But it showed it hadn’t been done for two months, so I ordered it manually. That’s another factor to keep in mind: sometimes stuff is absolutely set up properly, but it doesn’t work. Computers have “bugs.” (After defragging, I found computer was not perceptibly faster anyway.)


There may be other situations, but I recently found that if I see that the side margins are as ordered but the top and bottom ones are stuck right at the top and right and bottom, the explanation is that I accidentally clicked the “hide white space” option.

If you hover your cursor directly over the top or bottom edge of the page, a double arrow shows. Double-click on that to either hide or show white space between pages and the white space of the margins. If the top margin for example seems stuck at the very top, it really is not; it’s just that your “hide white space” (and top and bottom margin space) option is on. Double-click that two-arrow icon that pops up and that will put things back to normal, with top and bottom margins showing properly at their chosen setting.


Suddenly my mouse got harder and harder to use. Had to click on stuff a dozen times (or right-click instead, or press Enter, or click harder, or on a different spot, etc.). It was getting unusable. Fiddling with it for half-an-hour looking for a solution, including rebooting twice. Still no go.  Was about to call Best Buy to schedule a 15-minute appointment there. But then, suddenly, who knows why, the function came back. It started working consistently again. That happens. Stuff goes wrong, but then it suddenly fixes itself after a while.

Update: Geez, the problem suddenly came back and stayed. Horrible. Usually 6 or 7 attempts before it works. May have to go to Best Buy after all.

Update: Ah, the agony and the ecstasy. Went to my mouse settings (Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse > Buttons tab > Double Click Speed, in the middle of the window > and slowed my mouse speed by pushing the slide bar all the way to the left (since it recommended doing so right there). No go. Moved to right instead. No go. But then, later, checking it again, I figured why not click the “Defaults” button at lower left (Mouse > Device Settings tab at upper right > Settings at middle right > Defaults at lower left > OK), and, hooray, things were back to normal! Mouse working fine.

Update: Argh! Nope. It went bad again. Had to bring it to Best Buy and leave it there. Had to wait 10 days; busy time of year for them. They eventually replaced the physical unit, and now, finally, it works fine again.


Decided to keep the one-finger scroll feature on after all. I had to, because otherwise I couldn’t change the size of my chessboard to maximum in my Chessmaster program. Also, I figured out that the one-finger scroll feature works when you slide your finger up or down on the right side of the mousepad. That scrolls the screen material up or down; whereas sliding your finger on the center of the pad, moves the pointer up or down. Try it, to get that difference embedded into your head. I had been hit-and-miss floundering for weeks using finger scrolling, until finally the difference registered clearly in my little brain.


I’ve been working on a new DVD called “Solving Computer Aggravations.” And I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker, as well as other programs, to make it. Again, just like with my Studio movie-making program, I found the key thing is to make the movie in SET segments. As soon as you work on anything long, all kinds of things go wrong. I read an expert’s comments on Windows Movie Maker who referred to it as “finicky.” Absolutely. Stuff disappeared, sound went off, clips showed the dreaded “can’t find” exclamation mark (which, like Studio, makes the whole movie null and void, unable to be recorded), etc., etc.

But, once I settled on making it in 10-minute segments, things went much better. The program doesn’t like to work with so many effects (sound changes, transitions, titles, etc.) over a movie line that’s a full hour long; but putting material into set segments allows it to find and insert a set chunk of material without having to search for and re-render all the aspects of that segment.


I like the website “”. So many other sites you go around in circles trying to find a simple summary of critics’ ratings and movie-goer ratings. With this one you can get a nice summary of each, so you can decide whether you want to see a new movie or not.

The prefix “meta” is an interesting word. It means one level of description higher, or a broader more general perspective on something. A meta-study of breast cancer means a study of many studies on breast cancer. So, “metacritic” would refer to a bigger, broader, overall view of the material of critics – something I like, so I don’t get mislead by the skewed perspective of just one or two critics.


When I tried to find music on to download I was going around in circles trying to find the right place. Finally googled “Amazon MP3 downloads” and found it.


Sometimes iTunes doesn’t have a song I know exists, and I can find and download it from instead. Here’s the procedure that worked for me (I already have an account with Amazon, a prerequisite): website > at left of search box at top, click dropdown arrow > click “MP3 Music” > then put the name of the artist or song into the search box > click “Go” > when you’ve found the song, it has a Play button at the left of the song, so you can hear a 30-second sample > if you want it, click “Buy MP3″ at right. (At some point earlier, I had to download an MP3 Downloader from them, free. There is a button somewhere for “Need download help?”) > sign in with email address and password > “Sign in using our secure server” > “Continue” > “Download to your computer” > click Save on bar window at bottom > click Open Folder to see where it landed, and then move it to wherever you want (like your normal big Music folder under Libraries or Owner) > you can change the name to the actual name of the song from “MP3 whatever” that it originally showed as.

When I tried to move the song into a sub-folder, the song disappeared; the sub-folder was empty! But, the song showed up in my iTunes Library (found it by scrolling down long list of song names, after clicking “Name” at top to put the list into alphabetical order. From here, my iTunes Library, I dragged and dropped it into that new sub-folder. OK, got it where I wanted it.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew it.


No Silence Between Songs

I was getting no silence between songs. I like a good 4 seconds of silence between songs. Otherwise, it’s a bit disconcerting for me, even though I like both songs, especially when a hard rock song follows a soft song, or vice versa. My emotions need to settle a bit between songs.

When you burn songs to a CD, there is a window that comes up for setting the silence gap between songs at 3 seconds or whatever. But, for transferring songs to your iPod, I think you have to do two operations:

1) At first I thought this one operation would do it: Edit at upper left > Preferences > Playback > uncheck “Crossfades” (“crossfades” means no silence between songs, but rather one fading out as the next one fades in) > OK (preferences take effect as soon as you click OK and the preferences window closes. So now I should get the silence gap I prefer instead of those no-silence crossfades. Well, guess what, no! There is a second operation to do also. See “2)” below. The “Preferences” window applies to all your songs when you transfer them to your iPod, not just a current one you have highlighted. (For adjustments, like volume, to individual songs, you right-click > Get Info > Options > OK.)

In this same window, I also unchecked the “Sound Check”, which evens out the volume among the songs. It varies for me. Sometimes I use this, but lately I’ve preferred to set my own sound levels, because usually they come out good except for one or two that still come out too soft. So I unchecked the Sound Check box, so I could up their sound level individually.

In this same window, I do keep the “Sound Enhancer” checked.

2) Doing just the above procedure did not work; unchecking the Crossfades preference was not enough. Needed to also do this: Select all the songs > right-click > Get Info > Options > choose Yes for “Gapless Album”. What common sense does this make, choosing gapLESS option when in fact you DO want a gap!!? [It's so confusing. I couldn't figure it out. Something to do with the fact that some albums are concert albums with no set gaps, instead of studio albums with set gaps, so that crossfading here would eliminate the gaps between songs, contrary to what actually happened at the concert… I don't know.] Anyway, that seemed to do it. At least for most songs. It leaves the original silences in, instead closing them up. However, it seems songs that did not have any silence at the start or end in the first place, will naturally not have any silent gap. Bottom line is that from now on, when editing songs I have to put in silent gaps if there are none. As it is, when this most recent huge bunch of songs I did, most of them have some silence already, so it’s not bad. And for the few that did not have silences, I individually set them with crossfades. (My first preference is fade to silence; second, crossfade; and third (the worst) sudden immediate change of song.)

Update – Geez! I was experimenting and found that ordering Crossfades under Preferences, while also choosing Gapless might be the best combination. I had one Bette Midler song with an abrupt end and the Crossfades preference put some silence in there… at first. But that silence disappeared once I transferred things to the iPod. I guess I’ll just have live with less-than-perfect edits on a few songs.

Good luck to you. It’s so damn frustrating, isn’t it? You would think there would be an easy answer to such basic elements as getting a simple gap between songs. As mentioned above, there is a gap-setting option when burning a CD thru iTunes, but NOT when transferring to your iPod.

Internet Thread

No automatic way. You can create a track with “nothing” in it, that is, 2 sec, 3 sec, 4 sec, etc. long. Then you can add that track to your playlist to use as a buffer between songs.

Thanks. That’s what I thought. It’s a bit surprising though, because iTunes is so popular and I think it would be an easy option to add. You CAN add a gap between songs when burning a CD from iTunes, so I don’t quite understand why they haven’t included the option when playing from iTunes.

My final solution for myself is this: I will add 4 seconds of silence to each song thru Audacity (select the last 4 seconds of the song > copy it to the end > reduce the volume to zero (“amplify” option); then you CTRL+C that silent segment and can CTRL+V it onto the ends of each song you go thru). (I like relatively long gaps between songs; lets the previous-song emotions sink in more, and builds up my desire to hear the next one.)

iPod – Won’t Sync

Working on my latest playlist, I dropped a few songs, changed a few volumes, re-ordered some songs, etc. I wanted to delete the original playlist, as it was on my iPod, and replace it with my newly adjusted playlist. Had some problems. It showed “An unknown error has occurred (13019) The iPod (mine) cannot be synced.” Does it ever end!? Always something is going wrong. Anyway, I noted it did sync, but it left out 3 songs. Tried again. Maybe I had forgotten to click the Detach icon at left before detaching the iPod. Who knows?

I attached the iPod and under Device (i.e., my iPod), I right-clicked and deleted ALL categories – recently played, top 25, Music, so that my iPod was empty. If I remember right, I couldn’t just right-click the Music category and delete; I had to open, select all, delete. I made very sure I was not deleting the playlist songs in my iTunes program at the bottom left, but only the ones located at the middle left under “Devices”. OK, with my iPod empty, I tried again. This time it worked. Got all the songs.

iPod Sync – Won’t Sync, Again

Suddenly, for no reason, I again got the message “The iPod ‘Mickey’ cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (13019).” Checked the internet for “iPod error 13019″. Apparently it is a “glitch”. To fix it, do the procedure below. Don’t know if it works for everybody, but it worked for me. I’m not really sure of exact order or what each step does, but some combination of it worked – essentially unsyncing and then re-syncing.

Note well that this procedure, I’m pretty sure, erases your iPod music! So if you don’t have all your playlists in your iTunes Music library, you could lose a ton of music! For me, it was no problem because I just had one playlist on my iPod Touch, and it re-synced quickly. Of course, if I get that error for my iPod Nano on which I have 2,000 songs (which are on my computer but not in my iTunes library), I’ll have to call iTunes for how to fix this glitch. (1 800 676-2775)

1. Attach iPod

2. Click right on your device name to bring up options

3. Music tab at top

4. Have “Sync Music” unchecked at upper left.

5. Click “Apply” at lower right. (I think that erases what you have on the iPod)

6. Now check “Sync Music” at upper left

7. Click “Apply” at lower right. That re-syncs your music, without that error message.

I also downloaded the latest version of iTunes (takes over an hour), which might prevent another such incident.

I note that even when I have it set to “Manual”, when I connect my iPod, it shows “syncing” even though it’s not really syncing. Maybe “connecting” would be a more accurate word here.

And, I suppose, clicking the reset button down below there as you scroll down that Music page (under Options), might fix it. Whatever, make sure you got “manual” if that’s what you want. Don’t click for an “automatic sync” is that’s not what you want, otherwise, your current iPod material will change to match whatever is in your iTunes library at that time.

iPod in Car – Just Stops Again

No problems here for many months, but then recently it started to simply stop, fairly frequently. Resetting the iPod fixed it, but within minutes another song got stuck; it kept stopping for no reason, several times per playlist. But, the way I got it going again was simply to turn the car stereo unit off and then back on. Annoying, but at least it’s a quick fix.

iTunes – Not Moving Your Original Songs

Very confusing. Normally you can import songs to your iTunes Music Library thru “Add File”. But, in some situations (exactly what, I haven’t been able to figure out) iTunes cannot find your songs if you move them. Once those songs have anything to do with iTunes, they are set as songs to be found only where they were originally found. I had edited some songs, made files for them in my Music folder, then deleted those original songs to my Recycle Bin, and I found I couldn’t do anything with those edited songs until I restored those original files from my Bin to where they were. Then, I was able to continue.

I think it had to do with my trying to move my edited songs into a new playlist. If I remember right, they would not go, until I got my original files back from the Bin. Try not to move your original songs, because your playlist or anything you build with those songs, requires those songs to be in their original storage location.

Size of Playlist

I don’t know if there is any limit to the number of songs you can have in a playlist. I had 140 for my latest playlist. BUT, I find working with and editing that many songs is too much trouble. I plan to limit my playlists in the future to about 40 songs. When you have fewer songs, it’s much easier to deal with any complications that come up.

Deleting iPod Material

Remember that to delete material from your iPod you do this: open iTunes, attach your iPod > delete not just that playlist (which deletes that playlist but still leaves the actual songs on the iPod) > go to the iPod Music folder (NOT iTunes Music Library, but iPod “Music”) > do a CTRL+A > Delete key. Now your iPod has been emptied and you can put a new revised playlist in. Otherwise, all those old songs stay there in your iPod. Deleting a playlist does not equal deleting the songs on the playlist; the songs are still there in your iPod, until you delete THEM!

Also note that if you want to delete ONE song out of 2,000 plus songs, as I did recently, be careful. If you right-click that one song and click Delete, you may end up deleting all 2,000 plus songs (and a weeks of work!!) if you had all those songs checked. Normally, all the songs are checked. You need to do a CTRL+A > unselect, so that all of them are unchecked > then check just the ONE song you want to delete.

Deleting Audiobooks

I finished an audiobook that I had on both my Nano and Touch. Wanted to delete it. For Nano it was simple: Attach iPod > Audiobooks > right-click the book > Delete. But, right-clicking the audiobook in my Touch wouldn’t bring up the Delete option. Finally figured out I had changed my setup for my Touch to Automatic sync. Clicked the triangle under Devices to bring up the basic settings window, and scrolled down to re-select Manual instead of Automatic, clicked Apply, then went back to right-click the audiobook. Delete was there for an option now.


OK, I downloaded a bunch of songs in iTunes. Took a LONG time. (Going thru 1,000 songs by Ravi Shankar is not fast.) Transferred them from “Purchased” list to playlist “2012″.

To edit them, I tried to make a copy of all the songs to a folder inside my Music folder. Wouldn’t go. I figured out it was because two of the songs were MP3 instead of the Apple ACC or AIFF format. Those were the only two that had an exclamation mark next to them, indicating they were the wrong format. Temporarily deleted those two from the list; then I was able to make a copy of the whole bunch by doing a CTRL+A, CTRL+C, CTRL+V into the new folder. (It automatically arranged the songs alphabetically by artist, which is good; I want chunks of the same artist together anyway.)

From there I will transfer them individually to my Audacity program to edit each, and then return them to the folder as edited. Then I’ll import them again – edited now – into iTunes. I’ll put them into a new “2012″ playlist, set their order, and then transfer them to my iPod.

Of course, after that, I’ll probably want to make still further adjustments – maybe drop a few songs I don’t like as much as I thought, or make other segment changes. I’ll get a final version of the playlist set, delete the initial playlist from my iPod, and then transfer the final playlist to the iPod.

Huge amount of work (I downloaded about 140 new songs over the past week), but well worth it. Hours of driving pleasure, instead of annoyance that I got songs I don’t really want, or songs not edited the way I like them.

Note that when I tried to convert those two songs to an Apple format, no “Convert” option appeared, so I converted them thru Audacity (File > Open > selected the song > Open; then File > Export > Save as Type > AIFF or AAC > lands in my Music folder).

Burning a CD Thru iTunes – “Data Disc” Shows

If “Data Disc” shows at right panel top instead of the correct “Audio CD”, then to change to the necessary “Audio CD”: Music folder > check desired file > click on Burn at top > puts file into window of list of files “ready to be written” to disk > Click “Burn to Disc” > Next > “Make an audio CD” > Next > opens up Windows Media Player > should now show “Audio CD” at top of right panel.


This is what works for me:

1. I download the songs on my iTunes account

2. I make a copy of each song into my Music folder, under a folder titled 2012A (year, plus letter A, B, C, etc. for successive sessions that year). If I do three sessions in 2012, my playlists will be titled “2012A”, “2012B”, and “2012C”.

3. I open Audacity, and under File at top left, I click Open to search for and highlight the song. I click “Open” at lower right to import the song into my Audacity work station.

4. I listen to, and edit, the song there. (I do a lot of cutting out of sections and using “Fade out” and “Fade in” to make the transition between sections sound pleasing. In fact, I actually cut sections out of most songs; two minutes of material might be great, but most often I do not like 6 minutes of the same material repeating. I find there is a too much repetition in pop music. A great segment repeated several times over a song is fine, but 10, 20 times is too much.)

5. When set with that song, I click File, Export, “Save as type” (I pick AIFF, or AAC format), Save, and I land it into another folder I title “2012 Edited Songs”. I keep doing that till I get all of them done. HUGE amount of work, but, ultimately very worth it.

6. Open iTunes, set it on the right; click the “2012 Edited Songs” folder, open it and set it on the left.

7. Open a new Playlist on iTunes (File, New Playlist, type in name “2012A”.)

 8. Drag and drop each song from the edited song folder, onto (into) the “2012A” playlist.

 9. Transfer that playlist to my iPod. That’s it. I now have my new songs, edited the way I want, on my iPod.


There’s always problems. I ran into two major ones.

1. “Blank” Files

Of the 130 newly downloaded songs I edited and put into a playlist, 4 of them would not process themselves thru Audacity properly. I got the message: “You are about to save an AIFF file. Normally these files end in “.aiff”, and some programs will not open files with non-standard extensions. Are you sure you want to save the file under this name?” I click Yes, and it proceeds, but then, fails at the final transfer. There was no “AAC” (the normal Apple format) in my choices for “Save as type”. Also, when I tried MP3 format instead, it gave the exact same message for MP3, for those 4 songs. Also, with any file that has a blank square in front of its name, you can’t use right-click and “Open with”; it’s not there like it is for normal files.

Why those 4, I don’t know; other songs by the same artist right next to them were fine. But it was those 4 consistently. They actually went thru the processing but when it came time to transfer to the iPod, they would not go. In fact, those 4 eventually simply disappeared from the folder of edited songs I had put them in.

Each did not have the QuickTime blue icon, but had a blank square, unlike all the rest which had the blue icon. (QuickTime, AAC, and AIFF are all Apple/iTunes programs or formats.)

I tried all kinds of things, with no luck. Burning those 4 to a disk, then re-importing them, didn’t work; the file icon still showed blank. Even my Studio program would not process those 4. So, I did the fallback procedure of simply using the limited editing capabilities of iTunes – I picked the ONE section of those songs I liked the best (right-click > Get Info > Options > start and stop times), and went with that, no multiple segments or fades. That – not going thru Audacity – worked, for those 4 songs. (All the rest worked fine with Audacity.)

 2. Incorrect Transfer

When I transferred the songs to my iPod Nano, they did not transfer properly. The songs were all messed up in terms of their titles and order. They were all working fine on my computer in iTunes, but once in the iPod, using the iPod, I would get the wrong songs for what I selected, the same song would play for different selections, some selections would play nothing, a few played correctly. When I attach my iPod to the computer and play songs from the iPod thru the computer, everything is OK, but when I go to strictly the iPod controls by themselves, songs are all messed up.

When I tried it in my car, they were likewise messed up. (The rest of the stuff, already in the iPod, was fine.)

Tried to redo the transfer and went to delete that new playlist from my iPod. I learned that deleting that playlist from the iPod on my computer in iTunes while the iPod was connected, DOES NOT DELETE THOSE SONGS FROM THE IPOD; it just deletes that playlist, as a playlist. The songs themselves are still in there on the iPod taking up space. I had to laboriously delete each of those 130 songs individually from the iPod “Music” list, going thru over 2,000 songs. (I put the list into Artist order, and was able to identify the new songs relatively easily that way.)

At any rate, I made sure I did have enough room (and that all desired songs were checked), and tried again. But, the new playlist was still messed up.

I thought maybe I had too many songs on one playlist. But no. You can have tons of songs on a playlist. I thought I had made too many changes in song number and order and name, and the iPod could no longer read them properly. Or that iTunes (Apple) simply does not work well with other programs like Audacity. But no. Here’s the resolution I finally came to:

I was short on available space on my iPod “Nano”; that was the problem.

I tried transferring the new 130 song playlist to my other iPod (the “Touch”), which I keep empty except for current stuff. And, it worked fine. So it was not a matter of too many numbering changes, or because I edited stuff in the Audacity program. It was because I was trying to put 3 GB of material on my iPod “Nano” when it only had 1.2 GB space left available!

Long story short, the problem was that I had converted songs from AAC to AIFF format. A typical song in AAC format was 3 MB, but it changed to 35 MB when I converted it to AIFF! I had much bigger files than I thought.

Actually, I experimented with MP3 and compared the sound with AIFF, and well, I hear a difference. I like AIFF better. (MP3 is compressed format; AIFF is lossless.) So, I’m keeping things in AIFF, even though it uses giant space. I figure storage space will become less and less of an issue in the future, as iPods will probably be able to hold more and more. I prefer to keep the sound quality up as much as possible. Not to mention the fact that I don’t really feel like running those 130 songs thru Audacity again and converting them to MP3.

I did that with a couple of songs, and, like I said, I did notice a difference. I’m going with AIFF. [Or so I claimed at the time. My most recent decision (June, '12) is to go with AAC for most songs, AIFF for my top 1% favorites.]

I note that the songs as originally downloaded are in AAC format, which I think is better than MP3. I see the average MP3 songs is around 3 MB, the average AAC song around the same, I think, and the average AIFF song 35 MB. So, like I said, I’m going with AIFF. Though MP3 is good enough for spoken material for my interviews.

In either case, I do like using Audacity, and have gotten used to it.

Quotes on MP3 vs. AIFF from the Internet

“They sound OK, period, but there is something missing from the sound. Remember that compressed formats have information removed from them that the human ear can’t hear, so the sound becomes crispy and not as warm as analog sound or uncompressed formats like wav or aiff.”

“I don’t think “most” people on this site could tell the difference between a WAV and a 192 mp3. If I know the track really well then I can tell, but if I heard a new song WAV vs decent MP3 I doubt I could reliably tell you which is which.”

“Redbook audio is just a general term for raw, uncompressed audio. WAV and AIFF are both redbook formats. They both produce the exact same sound the same way.”

 “AAC files are generally higher quality and slightly smaller than MP3 files of the same song. The reasons for this are fairly technical (more about the specifications of the AAC format can be found at Wikipedia), but the overview of the reasoning is that AAC was created after MP3 and it offers a more efficient compression scheme, with less quality loss, than MP3s. Despite popular belief, AAC was not created by Apple and is not proprietary to Apple or its devices. AAC can be used with a wide variety of non-Apple devices.”

“AAC is less widely supported than MP3, partly because it’s newer and partly due to the rise of Windows Media due to Microsoft’s prominence.”

 “AAC is the native file format for iTunes. Here’s a guide to deciding what file type you’ll want to use in iTunes:

AAC – Pro: Small file size; higher quality sound than MP3. Con: Less compatible; works in iTunes and with iPod, on Microsoft’s Zune, and on the Sony Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable, as well as some cell phones.

MP3 – Pro: Small file size; more compatible; works with virtually every portable audio player and cell phone. Con: Lower sound quality than AAC.

Apple Lossless [i.e., aiff, I think – MJ] – Pro: Highest quality sound. Con: Less compatible; only works with iTunes and iPod; larger files than AAC or MP3; slower encoding.”

“Typically, the creator is allowed to set a bit rate, which specifies how many kilobits the file may use per second of audio. The higher the bit rate, the larger the compressed file will be, and, generally, the closer it will sound to the original file.”

Final Format Choice For Me

Had to choose between top quality (AIFF format) and space-saving (MP3 or AAC format). I did the math and roughly speaking, I can get maybe only 240 songs on an 8GB iPod with AIFF; with either of the two compressed formats, I can get maybe ten times as many, 2,400 songs. (Average song in AIFF for me is maybe 30 MB, but in AAC or MP3, only 3MB.)

Now, I like top quality, but, I didn’t want to end up having to buy 3 or 4 iPods. Decision: Since AAC is supposed to be a little better than MP3, I’m going to go with that format for most songs, but with AIFF for my very favorite (top 1%) songs. Last time I experimented, AAC sounded just fine on my car stereo.

So, that’s the decision for me:  AAC for 99% of songs; AIFF for top 1% favorites

Music File Formats – Changing

Usually iTunes changes formats automatically to AAC. But not for AIFF. So I use Audacity to change file formats. Audacity does have the AAC choice, further down on the list as “M4A(AAC)”. So, for 99% of my recent downloaded and edited songs, I’m going to import them again into Audacity, then export them back to my music folder as AAC files. I’ll make a new final playlist, with all the songs in AAC format, a few favorites in AIFF. Then I’ll be able to fit them easily onto my iPod (which already has 2,000 songs on it) and not worry about space running out. (AAC: 2,000-3,000 songs on a 16 GB iPod; AIFF:200-300 songs only.)

Music from TV Shows

There’s a site – – that helps you find the name of a song you liked when watching a TV show. Good luck. The one time I tried it, I got close, but couldn’t find the specific segment of music I liked. Seems like a hit or miss proposition, but it’s worth a try.

Song Order in iTunes Lists

At one point I got exclamation points next to a dozen songs. I put them all back to their original location and that got rid of those exclamation points. I’m pretty sure exclamation points are there to say “This ain’t going to work.”

I note that when clicking on song Name or Artist headings it arranges them alphabetically BUT the list may jump to a middle section so that it appears it did not arrange them alphabetically, but it DID; you just have to scroll back to the top to see it starting with the A’s.

I also note that once you click one of those headings, the songs are fixed into their alphabetized order; you can’t drag them to a different order; they just pop back to the spot they came from. But, if you click the blank spot at top, just to the left of the check next to “Name”, that puts the songs into the order you originally imported them, AND then you CAN drag them into a different order. This tiny bit of info is actually quite important!! If you’re editing songs, on your way to a final edit, having to redo your song order is a major pain. My standard procedure for new songs is to make a playlist, listen to it on my iPod in my car, revise it – dropping a few songs, editing others – make this second playlist, listen to it for a week or two, then make my final revision of the songs so that they are exactly the way I like them, then make that final playlist.

One of my songs kept starting before the previous one finished, so that they were both playing at the same time (on my computer, in iTunes). Re-imported them; no go. Tried simply reversing their order, dragging the first below the second. That worked.

Notes on Audacity Features

Key: Can use “Pause” to stop exactly where you want, and then block your segment, BUT you must then click “Stop” next, otherwise your menu is grayed out. “PAUSE” MUST BE OFF IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT ANY OPERATIONS!

Sound volume increments UP are usually too big. But go ahead anyway, and then bring the volume down; sound increments DOWN are much smaller. So you can get the exact level you want that way. Also, the top option on the menu – “Repeat Amplify” – is very useful; you can quickly bring the volume down bit by bit till you get exactly what you want. And, reminder: if you up the volume you must click the “Allow clipping” button, in order to activate the “OK” button.


Wanted to get a great version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Joseph Arthur, from a movie (“Deliver Us From Evil”). Ran wire from computer earphone port to CD recorder input, and got it. An analog recording, obviously, but the quality of sound was fine. Had to remember two key things: 1. Select “Analog” input for recorder. 2. Find the female/female connector that I had bought from Radio Shack for this purpose, in order to connect the male wire from the computer to the male wire from the CD recorder.

I used the CD recorder, rather than my Olympus voice recorder, because, as good as it  is, I don’t think the voice recorder does well with music in terms of quality. Plus, I was getting a buzzing sound.


The way I’ve done it in the past is: Record the song, analog, directly to my CD recorder > import from CD to computer > then transfer to iPod. (See my manual for details.)

Or, easier, but lower sound quality, use “Sound Recorder” program of the computer: Start > All Programs > Accessories > Click “Sound Recorder” (normally pops up onto your desktop) > run a 1/8 inch wire (male/male) out of the earphone outlet and right back into the mic outlet > play the material > click “Start Recording” button on the Sound Recorder program > click “Stop Recording” > choose target folder to land it in > title the file, click Save. (Of course, as you play the song, you can’t hear it, because the sound is going right back into the computer. If you pulled out the wire from the earphone outlet, you’d hear it, and “Sound Recorder” will record it, but at a vastly inferior quality.) (Usually I reduce the size of the internet window and move it to the right, so I can see both the window and the Sound Recorder program at the same time on the screen.)

I’ve read about this method on the internet for recording a YouTube song: Copy the URL (of the address bar) and paste it into the YouTube search bar. Click Download (just to the right of the Search Bar.) I tried this twice and both times my computer froze. Maybe things have changed since that post was written 4 years ago.

When I’ve googled a song and tried to download it, digitally, directly off the internet, I always needed to first download and install the program (,, etc.) that offered the free download, before being able to actually download the song. And I aborted the attempt each time, because I refuse to sign up for these programs, for fear that they will alter my toolbars, get into my computer in some way, bombard me with ads, etc.

Bottom line for me: 1) I use iTunes. 2) If I can’t find the song on iTunes, I try music. 3) If I still can’t find it, then as a last resort, I’ll record it from YouTube, by either of the two methods described above.

Legality – Internet Comments

There are many opinions, including, that it is NOT legal, that it is technically illegal, but everybody does it. And, that it’s OK if you just use it yourself, without posting it, or making a copy of it, or sharing it.

     “It’s on the internet. It’s open to the public. If they wanted to keep it safe, they wouldn’t just dump it on the internet. It’s not stealing. It’s using your freedom rightly.” 

     “NOT LEGAL!
      Uploading copyrighted songs onto YouTube is not only a violation of YouTube’s terms of service, but it’s also illegal. It’s illegal for the exact reason you are inquiring about. The person who posted it on YouTube has violated the copyright laws by posting a copy of a song without permission. You would be breaking the same laws by making yet another copy of the illegal post.
      Personal use doesn’t come into play. Would it be legal to take a CD from Best Buy without paying for it if it was only for “personal use”?        Answer: NO! It would be just as illegal if you recorded a “personal use” copy of the song from the CD at Best Buy then left the CD at the store.
      You are taking something without paying for it. Just because other people do it and/or the odds of getting caught are small… it doesn’t change the facts.”

Audacity Program

You can record songs off the internet or YouTube thru the excellent (and free) Audacity recording/editing program. If you just play the song and click the Record button in Audacity, it records what you’re playing. But, just like the Sound Recorder program, you need to run a wire out and then right back in, or else you get simply the sound coming from your computer speakers over the air, and that sound quality really rots. (The sound source, from a YouTube song is already compromised; if you want good quality, usually you need to simply buy the song from iTunes or Amazon.)


I was fooling with the Windows 7 MS translator feature, and guess what? You can get yourself an audible narrator for your text!

Review tab at top > Language box > Translate dropdown arrow > Mini Translator > Choose Translation Language at bottom > OK. Then, now that you have clicked on Mini Translator, you block whatever word or sentence or paragraph you want, and hover the pointer over it. A very faint window pops up. Move your pointer around and the window becomes clear. In the window is a translation of your blocked text.

But at the bottom of this window is a green Play arrow. If you click that, a woman’s voice comes on and speaks your text out loud, in English! Pretty neat. Of course, her inflections of words are pretty far off, so it can be difficult to follow what she’s saying, because she talks like a machine rather than a human. But, it’s pretty neat.

To turn it off (i.e., not have that faint window keep popping up whenever you hover the pointer over any text), just click on Mini Translator again, under that Translate dropdown arrow.

NETFLIX (8/12)

Since Netflix upped their price, I looked around for alternatives. But then realized my Netflix package included Streaming video PLUS one DVD at a time for the now $16. Dropped the streaming part ($8) and kept just the DVD part. So now it’s just $8 per month again for one DVD at a time. (Changing the package was a very straightforward and immediate procedure, under my “Account”.) So for the past several months I had been paying for streaming, yet never did any streaming (don’t know how yet, and don’t want to stream anyway… yet). They may or may not have notified me of the price change at the time (I don’t remember), but they certainly did not make it clear that you could just drop the streaming part and retain the one-DVD-at-a-time part. Maybe it was there, but I missed it.


Say you have a table of contents paginated i thru iv, and then your regular text is paginated with regular numerals from that point on. I don’t know how to make the computer differentiate between Roman numeral pages and regular pages. If you order up pages 1-4, you end up getting BOTH pages i thru iv AND pages 1 thru 4. A workaround to get just your first 4 regular pages after the table of contents, is to order up your first 4 regular pages individually, one at a time, using “Print Current Page.” Put cursor into desired page > CTRL+P > Settings > Print Current Page > Print.

Then, after that, you can order regular page 5, onward, normally.


I filled everything out correctly but got a “format error” message. Tried putting my credit number in WITHOUT the spaces. That made the difference. It went thru OK then. Some sites will tell you if you should include the credit card number spaces, or not. This one didn’t say anything.


Sometimes a program takes a long time to open. Often, as you wait, you can hear the hard drive making slight sounds; that’s usually a good indication that it IS in the process of opening. QuickTime is a good example of a program that takes a while to open (sometimes a good 30 seconds) and makes you think nothing is happening.


Originally, I had decided outdoor use of a laptop was not worth the effort, because the screen was just too hard to see, with too much light reflected off it. But, with further experimentation, I’ve changed my mind. If you set up the proper conditions, it’s quite feasible. 1. Make sure the area at your back is fully shaded. No dappled light spots coming thru the trees. 2. Wear a dark shirt. 3. Increase the size of your font, or zoom up your screen. 4. Make the font bold, and white on a black background (Ctrl+A > font box at top > Font color > white) and (Paragraph box at top > Shading paint can icon > black). With all these conditions, your text becomes pretty readable after all.


Page Layout tab at top > Page Setup box > click dropdown arrow at lower right > Layout tab > click Borders at lower right > Page Border tab > select options, making sure to apply it to Whole Document or This Section if that’s what you want (lower right) > OK.

If you want to vary your page borders, say the first two pages red, the next two blue, you have to put in a section break: Put cursor at top of page you want different > Page Layout tab at top > Page Setup box > Breaks > Continuous. Then Page Layout > Page Borders > choose your line style, color, and width > at lower right “Apply to:” set to “This section”, not “Whole document.”


Cropping is one of the functions that works differently in Paint than in other programs. To crop in Paint: “Select” dropdown arrow at upper left > Rectangular Selection > then drag and draw a rectangle around the portion you want to keep > click “Crop” up at top.


For heavy foto paper, for better feeding, I think it’s better to have the feeder tray fairly empty. If it’s near full, the top sheet rests too close to a side rail; the paper is too stiff and the suction is not strong enough to pull the paper up past the rail. But when the paper load is minimal, the paper bends more and the side rail is not as much a factor in holding back the sheet from being pulled up. At least that’s what it seems like, to me.


Since I am the only one using my computer, I don’t have a password for it. But, I realize most people are not the sole users of a computer, and probably should have a password to their account, so that they are the only ones who can access their info. To create a password: Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Users accounts > Create a password for your account.


The length of a password makes it stronger, so that, instead of having a hard-to-remember shorter password, it makes sense to simply have a long phrase that’s easy to remember. Like “thecowjumpedoverthemoon.” Just make sure it’s not a common phrase like the one I just gave. Make it an odd phrase that only you yourself would remember.

Or, you can use just the first letters of the words of that odd but easy-to- remember phrase, as your password.

Or, you can take your basic password that you always use and remember, and just add easy-to-remember stuff to the start and end of it. Instead of “house”, make it “123house123″. Myself, I try my best to stick to just three passwords, one weak easy one, and two strong ones I have memorized. If I were starting over, I’d probably use the above method, and have, for example, “house”, “123house123″, and “xyzhousexyz”.


I had passwords and user names for some accounts automatically entered for me – or at least as soon as I typed in the first few letters, the password showed below the box and I only needed to click on it to enter it – but that suddenly stopped for one of my accounts. In theory this is how to get passwords automatically entered: While on the internet, click Tools dropdown arrow at upper right > Internet Options > Content tab > Autocomplete, click Settings > check the appropriate options you want (“Forms” and “User names and passwords on forms”) > OK > OK. BUT, it still wouldn’t work, even after I restarted the computer.

Update: Checked with Best Buy geek guy. I do have the right settings selected, but some sites allow automatic entry of passwords, others do not, and some allow them at one point but then not so later. He said he experiences the same results himself; some of his accounts allow automatic password entry, others do not.

However, I checked with the company, by email, and they responded by having me delete their icon in my Favorites toolbar, and then re-enter it, checking “Remember me,” and that worked. I now have regained my automatic entry for my username. Though I still have to manually put in my password. The company said passwords are not remembered automatically.

I could have sworn I was getting the password automatically popping up to click on before also, but I guess, no longer. That’s OK; I can live with that.


Sites will sometimes require you to enter a password they provide, which is in squiggly, hard-to-read characters. Rather than guessing and having to do the whole thing over and over till you get it right, there should be a button right near there to click on and give you another such password. Keep clicking on it till you get one you can read.

PC MATIC (8/12)

The ad on TV says it does all kinds of things to clean up your computer. I read the reviews on It got mixed ratings. The key thing is that the negative ratings were from the clearly more knowledgeable people (computer geeks who know the more technical stuff). From their reviews I conclude it’s not very accurate, and it doesn’t do all that much good. “False Positives, incorrect driver information, incorrect system information.”

Bottom line for me, as a general rule, stay away from anything that is not unambiguously a good thing; otherwise, you might just get more problems instead of less.

Here’s one review that’s somewhat positive (4 stars), yet gives you a pretty good perspective on this product:

“There is a joke about a guy that sold magic rocks to people in New York. The rocks were supposed to keep tigers away. When asked for proof, they guy would say, ‘Well, you don’t see any tigers, do you?’

My computer was running a little slow. Now it seems like it is running a little faster. How do I know for sure it was this product that made the difference? I really don’t. Maybe it wasn’t a big problem to begin with. On the upside, the program is SIMPLE to use, but then again maybe there are no tigers around here in the first place.”


Had to do a conversion for a large document.  This time I used a site called “”. Orange title. Nice and straightforward. There is a spot where it mentions “membership,” but it’s not required. [See “PDF Conversion – Thru MS Office 2010″ below for an easier method than going thru a website.]

Right at top it says “Source File Browse”. Click that, browse for your file. Click Open at lower right. Put in your email address, and then click Convert down below. (Also check “Attach File to email”, although, after it’s done converting, it gives an option to download the PDF file directly right there from the site – “Job Done”, Download your file”, “Save As”, sent it to “Downloads” folder – so you don’t even have to go to an email attachment.)

At one point, I got a message about something couldn’t this or that. My instincts told me to just x it out and proceed. I did, and it worked fine.

There were a few very tiny discrepancies in the PDF document compared to the original, but too tiny to worry about.

PDF Conversion – Thru MS Office 2010

Found out you don’t have to go thru a website to get a conversion done from Word to PDF. You can do it right in your computer, at least in MS Office 2010. Open your Word doc > File at upper left > Save As > at lower middle center of window, Save As Type dropdown arrow > PDF > Save. The PDF document lands into the same folder as your original Word doc.

PDF File – Saving

Usually you can do a CTRL+A, CTRL+C, and CTRL+V into a folder of your choice. But if it doesn’t let you, you can click File at upper left > Save As > and CTRL+V it into a folder of your choice.


Type in a page number in the page number box at top, and press Enter, to get to that page.

Press the down arrow key on your keyboard to move to the next line; press the right arrow key to move to the next page. (Likewise for the up arrow and left arrow keys for going in the other direction.)

Press Ctrl+F to open a search box for a particular word, type the word in, press Enter key, to reach that word. Press the arrow keys in that box for the next or previous instance of that word (or phrase).


Normally you cannot edit a PDF file directly. But, you can block it (or sections of it), make a copy of it to a Word document, and then edit it there. I believe the same goes for a DVD–ROM or CD–ROM; you can’t edit it, but you can make a copy and edit that material. (ROM = Read-Only Memory)


You can convert a PDF file to Word format by using the website : Browse for your file > click Open > put in your email address > click Convert to Word. They send the converted file to your email as an attachment.

Another site you can use is

Tried to find a way to convert directly on the computer – like you can from Word to PDF, with MS Office 2010 – but couldn’t find any way.

Of course, unfortunately, with any heavily formatted PDF text, the converted version will probably have some glitches and anomalies.


Wanted to get in touch with old friend. Used Worked pretty well. Only thing you have to watch out for is that they try to sell you everything and anything as you go thru their process. I had to make sure I was not signing up for other stuff I did not want. Looked at all the boxes and made sure they were unchecked.


If you google “White Pages” and enter a person’s name, it gives you the phone number and address (might have to click on a few things, including “Full Info”). So this site serves as a phone book. I no longer feel the need for a phone book, or want one taking up space. Most everything can be found on the internet these days.


One time I couldn’t seem to get a picture pasted into a document. Turns out it WAS getting pasted in, but lower in the page so that I couldn’t see it until I scrolled down.


The technique is a little different from either cropping pictures in a Word document, or in the Paint program. In Windows Photo Gallery: Edit at top > Crop > Proportion > Custom, which puts a grid over the picture > drag the grid edges to get your desired size > Edit again > Crop again. It’s done.


I don’t know what I accidentally clicked after right-clicking on an internet picture to make a copy, but when I clicked Copy, it gave me a low-quality thumbnail picture instead of a regular picture. Was able to get around this by right-clicking the image, clicking “Open Link”, and then clicking Copy. Then, later, on its own, it was back to normal; right-clicking and Copy gave me a normal picture instead of a low-quality one.


You probably have your picture already in your Pictures folder, but if not, and you only have it in a Word document, here’s the whole procedure for cropping and then straightening that picture: Right-click the picture > Save as Picture > name it > click Pictures folder at left > Save. Then go to Pictures folder and right-click the picture there > Open with > Windows Live Photo Gallery > crop the picture (Edit, Crop, Custom) by dragging the grid over your desired section of the picture > click Edit again, Crop again > Apply crop, and that crops it. Now double-click the picture > Straighten. That should straighten it. Then make a copy back to the document you want it in.

(Windows Vista does not have the straighten feature.)


Often a picture can’t be used for other purposes once it’s embedded into a Word document. You have to convert it to a usable format, like JPEG rather than Word document. There may be other ways to do this, but using the Paint program is how I did it:

Go to the document with the desired picture > right-click the picture > Copy > open Paint program > CTRL+V it into there > click Paint dropdown arrow at far upper left (above the Paste clipboard) > highlight but don’t click Save As > move to right and select JPEG > Name it and land it into your Pictures folder, by clicking on Pictures folder in your list over on the left and then clicking Save at lower right. Should be usable now.

May have to adjust its size first, by making a copy into a blank document first, resizing it, then pasting it into Paint. That’s what I had to do when the picture that I was trying to post into my YouTube profile came out way too small at first.


You can right-click a JPEG picture and get some interesting effects after you click Format Picture. Depends very much on what you have and what you like. A couple that are not bad: Format Picture > Artistic Effects > dropdown arrow > Pencil Sketch or Chalk Sketch. One I do like is the one that gives you high-contrast black and white: Format Picture > Picture Color > Recolor Presets dropdown arrow > Black and White 50%.

You can turn a color picture into black and white by: Picture Color > Color Saturation > Presets dropdown arrow > pick 0%.


I happen to be a theist, but I like a lot of the material offered from the atheist organization Freedom From Religion Foundation. Under the News tab > Freethought Radio > “Archives & Podcasts” at right > then at upper left you can select year. Can’t download it to your computer, but can play it and tape it, analog, direct from the ear outlet of computer, then transfer it to computer, then to iTunes, then to iPod. (For me, a low playing volume – 5 bars – and recording in Dictation mode on my voice recorder is best.) A bit involved, but worth it in order to spend driving time productively, listening to good intellectual discussions.


Someone asked me how to get an intermittently disappearing pointer back on screen. I haven’t had that problem, so I don’t have a good answer. If you just keep trying to drag it, it may re-appear. Or, if you re-start your computer, it should re-appear. But, of course, those two options are a pain. I would take the computer to Best Buy. From what I’ve read, it’s probably a glitch of some sort involving drivers that need to be re-installed, or maybe a virus.

Pointer – Hard to See

Here are some good options for better pointer visibility: Under Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse > Pointer Options tab > explore the options there, for what works best for you. “Show location of pointer when I press Ctrl key” might be helpful. I find the best solution is to go under the Pointers tab, under the Scheme dropdown arrow, and pick a heavier, darker pointer (I like the 4th one from the bottom).


I had settled on a pointer style of “Windows black (extra large)(system scheme)”, because it’s more visible. But then I realized that the style you choose comes with its own associated I-beam pointer style. And although this style had a better I-beam pointer also, it was not as good as another choice, which had better visibility for both pointer and I-beam, namely, “Windows Inverted (extra large)(system scheme)”. So now I use that style.

Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse > Pointers tab > Scheme dropdown list > “Windows Inverted (extra large)(system scheme”) > OK.


When you go thru the Control Panel to “Printers,” to cancel a print job, once you right-click on the name of the file, you get the Cancel option, BUT you have to click directly on the file’s name, not other info at the right on that line, or you’ll get a different set of options.

Printer – Lost Connectivity

So aggravating. I downloaded a PDF editing program (a major saga in and of itself) and suddenly my printer would not respond to a print command. Fiddled around for a long time, finally figuring out that that PDF editing program had switched my default printer back to the wire-connected printer icon, from my wireless printer icon. Right-clicked on the wireless one (the one I had been using ever since a I got a router to make it work wirelessly), checked it as the default printer, and I was back in business.

I absolutely detest the way companies try to take over your computer operations so that you use their software. Their add-ons put themselves in front of whatever you had before, royally messing you up. The company in this case was Soda PDF. I will never order from them again! They are the same company I describe under “SCAM EPISODE.”

Also, any PDF file I tried to open would open under this Soda program. Didn’t want that. I right-clicked a random PDF file > Open with > selected Adobe Reader (my usual program that I prefer) > OK > and now I’m back to what I like.


If your printer tends to misfeed frequently, a misfeed can mean a cascading series of incorrect back sides (page 7 is backed up with page 9, etc.)… a real nightmare. One way around this is to not print a set of pages in numerical order, collated by the printer as they print, but rather do each page separately, front then back, and then collate the piles at the end into sets. For example, do all your pages 1-2, then all your pages 3-4, etc. Then, at the end, manually collate them into sets of 20 booklets or whatever.

That way a misfeed means just a blank side or individual sheet needs to be done over, rather than a whole series of sheets with incorrect backs. The collating is extra work, but not as much work as redoing whole booklets with pages out of order due to one misfeed.


The advantage of downloading a program is that you get it right away, and don’t have to pay postage. BUT, for certain programs, you might be better off buying the actual physical disk, inserting it and installing it that way. For example, for me, my Pinnacle/Studio movie editing program often has things go wrong, or the whole program crashes, and it is absolute hell to try to get help. They consistently send you in circles; you constantly run into catch-22 situations. I finally gave up and simply ordered their newest version (Pinnacle Studio 16), the physical disk, not the download. That way, any major crash, I can just re-install it myself, without trying to contact their horrible help system.


They sell projectors that can project what you have on your laptop screen onto a wall or large screen. I bought one for small group presentations. Works well. But, as usual, there were problems setting it up.

Got the thing attached properly, but couldn’t get the CD program installed to make it work. Went thru six different HP tech people from India, with the final one telling me I need to contact SONY, not them (the projector is an HP, my computer is a SONY). Amusingly, I figured out the answer myself while I was waiting on the phone for that last guy.

Solution: I put “VGA” into the Start search box, since I knew the connecting wire was a VGA, and hoped some relevant info would come up. Hooray. “Connect to a projector” came up. Clicked on that, and chose “Projector only.” As soon as I did that it started to work; I got what was on my laptop screen projected onto the wall. But, my laptop screen then turned black. But, I found I could use my mouse and do all operations by looking at the wall and moving and clicking the mouse up there, while the laptop screen remained black.

Then I figured out that I needed to choose not “Projector only” but “Duplicate” so I could see the image on BOTH my laptop screen AND the wall.

All set now.

Basically I couldn’t install the CD program because there was none, other than the User Guide on the CD. Didn’t need to install any program; just needed click the proper setting in my computer’s Control Panel. (Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Display > Connect to a projector > Duplicate.)

I use the projector for presentations, but you can also use it to view movies on a big screen. The one I have is a “pocket” one ($214); the regular-sized ones go for about $400.

Update: Tried to use it with my old computer with Vista, and I could not find any place to click to “Connect to a projector.” But then I plugged the VGA wire in and the appropriate window (“New Display Detected”) popped up on its own. I clicked OK “Duplicate my desktop on all displays” >, and it worked fine.


Came across a site that audibly gives you the correct pronunciation for words –

Very simple and straightforward: Google the site > type the word into the box > click “Submit” > and the word gets pronounced clearly.


Sometimes you get a yellow message bar at top called “Protected View” with the message: “This file originated from an Internet location and might be unsafe. Click for more details.” You can click Enable Editing and go ahead and edit, but when you go to save it, it won’t let you, and gives you the dreaded “Read only” message (at which point you have to do a CTRL+A, CTRL+C, CTRL+V into a new document with a new name. Then you can save that document, but, then next time THAT document in turn came up in the Protected View!) Tried all kinds of things to get this particular document out of the Protected View.

Finally saw that simply having this document in this particular folder is what turned it into Protected View. When I put it into another folder, or on the desktop, it was fine, no longer “protected”. Apparently the “Protection” mode was embedded in that particular folder. Once I put it into another folder, it was fine.


Several keys things about QuickTime: 1) Takes 5-10 seconds to open. Sometimes 30 seconds! 2) May have to make window smaller to see the controls at bottom. 3) For me, oddly, the hourglass icon floats there, as though you need to still wait some more, but you don’t; just go ahead and click on the start button and it plays.

Very Slow Coming Up

QuickTime Player takes a good ten seconds or more to come up after double-clicking on a clip. I don’t like Quick Time. What I usually do is right-click the clip > Open with > Choose default program > Windows Media Player > OK > then it opens with Windows Media Player, AND opens with WMP from that point on (you can see the clip icon change from the blue Quick Time Player to the orange Windows Media Player).

QuickTime is Apple’s (iTunes) video player, and Windows Media Player is Microsoft’s video player. And it seems like they constantly wage gladiatorial bouts inside your computer for the right to be your default player. I frequently set my default program for video to WMP, yet I keep seeing both video and audio files revert to that damn (light blue) QuickTime icon.

READ-ONLY (8/12)

Yeah, if you click twice to open a document and get impatient and click twice again, it will often bring up the “Read-only” window saying someone else is already using the document. What you should do then is, in that very same small window, click “Cancel” at lower right. That cancels the second opening of that document and just leaves the first one as a normal document you can work on, as not a “Read-only” document.

Basically, to avoid the “Read only” message, when you open a document, be patient and wait for it to open. Don’t try to open it againas it is in the process of opening.


Your computer keeps a database for all your configurations and settings. This “registry” can, over time, become bloated with settings that no longer exist or with unwanted settings from malicious programs. And that may slow down your computer. There are third party programs for removing such registry errors and optimizing your computer’s performance. Check the eHow website under “How to clean my laptop registry” for several free ones.

Myself, I say, leave me alone, I have enough to do. If my computer is working fine, leave me alone. BUT, since I have a Best Buy Geek Squad service contract, I just make sure THEY do it once a year.


A few times now I’ve had tech people on the phone tell me to get on my computer and google “”, and that program/website, whatever it is, opened a “support connection” window. The tech person gave me a code number to put  in, and then he was able to see exactly what I myself currently have on my computer screen. He can even move MY cursor. And we would work together to fix the problem, as I spoke to him over the phone.


I’m pretty shaky on this. Never did it. But, I think you can save settings and programs on a disk so that you can use that disk to restore a messed up computer. Can’t tell you much here, except that the place to access this function is Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore > “Create a system image” at left.

See my manual under “RESTORE SETTINGS” for restoring a system to an earlier date (for example, a week ago when things were NOT screwed up). I did that once, and it worked nicely.


A router’s range is usually up to 100 feet, but I was wondering if a router situated upstairs would be effective for a computer downstairs. From what I’ve read, it might, or it might not. Depends how thick the walls and floors are and just where the router is located. If you find a spot with the least physical obstructions between the router and the computer, that would be your best bet.


I had bought a program that allows editing of PDF text. But, I was unable to figure out how to either install the program or make links within a PDF document. So I called the company, and eventually ended up with a guy who had me do a connection to allow him to see my screen, and he ran thru a check of my computer, which, according to him, came up with a lot of errors. And he advised me to get these errors fixed first… for $250.

Here’s how the conversation ended up. The green font represents the guy: and they will fix all these problems for you. Wait a minute, hold on. My computer has not had problems, other than this one! My computer has not had problems. You’re saying my computer’s not working.. I’m just asking you a simple question, right. Forget what you think. I don’t want to “forget what I think”! [Something about the numerous errors showing.] You think I’m joking? I don’t trust you, because you’re saying my computer is having all kinds of problems when it hasn’t. Then why are you calling? If you don’t trust me, then why are you calling me? Because I’m trying to figure out how to get this program installed and how to make links in it. I think you don’t know to whom you are speaking to right now. I’m a Microsoft certified diagnostic. I’m not here wasting my time. I told you the truth, right? We are working for a company that is 15 years old. Do you think I’m going to lie? I’m going to lose my job. So I have to get all these things fixed, for $250, and, then I have to call you back to find out how to make links. I mean, that was my original question. The technician will let you know about that; don’t worry about it. Yeah, well, I’m worried. Oh, this is insane! Let me know what you want to do. Well, I’ll probably go thru with this eventually, but I would also like to know what is the basic procedure for making a link? You could tell me that over the phone. The technician will let you know about that, sir. Don’t worry; the technician will tell you each and every thing about it. You don’t get it, do you!? You’re not looking at it from a customer’s perspective. I’m asked to spend $250 to fix errors that apparently are here, but haven’t seemed to have been any problem with my computer at all, and at the same time you won’t tell me a simple procedure. OK, give me one minute. Can I speak now? If you feel that these warnings and errors are doing nothing to your computer, keep on working with this infected computer for the next month, then you can call me back in one month. I’m not disputing that that might be the case, but I am asking you how to do that linking procedure. The technician will let you know about that. OK, before I get your call connected, can you please tell which route you’re going to use for payment, Visa, Master Card.. Oh, I don’t trust this, I don’t trust this at all. Hello? Yes, go ahead. No, I’m not gonna go ahead. Just give ME the number and I’ll call them. We are Microsoft certified partners. Just give me the number and I’ll call them. The number that we are calling, that is the only number. Well, all right, give it to me. You don’t understand. I just now told you we are Microsoft certified partners. You don’t understand. I don’t trust you. What is the number; I’ll call them. What is the number!? If you don’t trust me, you can hang up and call. I don’t trust you. Give me the number. Why can’t you give me the number? Give me the number. Give me the number… You’re a scammer. I think YOU are! How can I scam you!? You’re asking ME for money and you think I’M the scammer? Give me the number. If you want, I can get your call connected.. Oh, what is wrong with you?! Are you stupid or something? Give me the number. Give me the number and I’ll call. If you’re not willing to give me the number, I know you’re a thief. You’re a damned thief. Why don’t you do something good in your life, instead of this. [End of call]

So what was going on? I’m not sure, but I think this: The company (called Soda PDF) is legit, but some people in the company have been instructed, or have taken it upon themselves, to try to sell an online cleanout of customers’ computers, before dealing with whatever issue the customer called about, on the theory that many people’s computers could use a cleanout, and that will bring in some nice extra revenue for the company.

I’m not sure, but I think there can be a ton of “errors” in one’s registry but it usually make little difference, because there are literally a million items in the registry.

Bottom line, it’s a month later, I did not do a cleanout, and my computer is working fine. (I had called again, got a different person, who also tried to sell me a cleanout but did not push it. She got the program installed for me by sending a different link to my email, one that worked instead of the original one. And she connected me to a good technician with a good attitude, who ran me thru the procedure of how to make links within a PDF document, a simple 20-step process that included at least 3 totally illogical steps… but, hey, it works.


Again, though I changed nothing, after I hadn’t used my scanner for a few weeks, it would not open up to use. Went thru my original fix: Start > All Programs > found Epson > clicked on “Epson Scan Settings” > changed option from “Local” to “Network” > Add > shows scanner address of my printer > typed in that number ( in the Enter Address box lower down > OK > OK. Now it works again. (If the scanner address is already listed there, I think you have to highlight it there in that box, click Add, then OK.)

Not Working Again

I had my printer working fine scanning, then a few months later, it simply wouldn’t go. Got it going again, by going to “Epson Scanning Settings” under Start, All Programs. I clicked the IP address for my printer and then OK. That did it, though I think at one point I had to click “Enter Address” and type that “address” (from the ones listed) into the line below and then press, not “Add”, but “OK”, and that did it.

Scanner – Lousy Image

Now the next problem was this: The result I was getting, using Document Type: Photograph, was poor. Tried every possible combination; no go. Still getting poor copy into my Pictures folder. Called Epson tech person. Spent an hour on the phone with him. We re-installed the program and downloaded a new driver. No go. Still poor. We noted that when I use the printer alone to make color copy, it comes out good, but going thru the computer, it’s poor. (Guy noted that sometimes Windows automatic updates can change settings, so that might be why I got the problem of the program not opening up, as mentioned above.)

Anyway, we got nowhere, so I had a Geek guy come over. Solution: I was opening the scan (essentially a picture) with QuickTime, which is a movie program rather than a static picture program (even though it says “Picture Viewer”). Once we opened the image with a different program, it came out clean.

After the scan picture lands into my Pictures folder, right-click the picture > Open With > “Choose default program…” > select (I picked Windows Photo Viewer; Paint works fine too) > OK. Now the picture is good quality. (Although, I couldn’t print it directly from the Windows Photo Viewer program; I had to make a copy into a Word document first; then it printed fine. But that’s always been my normal procedure anyway. I like to put photos into Word. It DID print directly from Paint when I used Paint to open the image.) Note how the file icons will change when you select a different opening program. That blue circle “QuickTime” icon is now gone, and I have a blue Windows Photo Viewer icon. Update: I changed it to Paint and now the files have the orange Paint icon.


The “Snagit” screen capturing program works very well. It captures video as well as taking screen snapshots (which you can save to your computer). But, sometimes material doesn’t come out right. Tried recently to capture a boxing match (Ward/Gatti 1) from YouTube, but the video came out a bit jerky and cartoonish. Turned out to be much better simply watching it live, instead of trying to capture it and put it onto my computer, and then a DVD disk.


In fact, for the most part, I no longer feel the need to get great material on disk for myself; I can always just watch it on my computer, usually on YouTube. YouTube is great! Just enter a topic of interest, and you get a whole bunch of stuff on that topic, for free. Intellectual stuff, sports, stupid stuff, celebrities, nature, music, whatever. Some of the material may be limited to 10-15-minute segments, in numbered segments, but other material might be a full hour or two.


Pressing F11 key is a quick way to get a website screen size to full page. Press that key again and it goes back to the smaller size. Key detail: Clicking on the Maximize/Restore Down icon at upper right does the same thing, but the F11 key is better because it’s probably a bit easier, and, it gets rid of the toolbar at top, so you can see a real full-sizescreen.


To get more screen space, you can:

1. Hide the toolbar. Ctrl+F1, then again to get it back.

2. Hide page margins and the space between pages. Put cursor on space between pages (double arrows show up) > double-click. To get the space back, put the cursor directly onto the line between pages (double arrows again show up) and double-click.

3. Hide the taskbar. Right-click the taskbar on an empty spot > Properties > check “Auto-hide the taskbar > OK. If you need the taskbar,  put your pointer into the very bottom of the screen, touching the edge, and the taskbar will pop up for you temporarily. (I myself don’t like to hide it, because I use it a lot, and hiding it doesn’t save that much space.)

Note that when you are on the INTERNET, pressing the F11 key will hide toolbars at top, and they come back if you press F11 again.


Does it ever end? Suddenly, totally out of the blue, my screen tips (when I hover the pointer over an icon) are in French instead of English! Tried various spots and selected English as my default language, but, tips still stayed in French. Finally fixed it this way: Review tab > Language dropdown arrow > Language preferences > towards bottom of that window, “Set your ScreenTip language” > clicked down from French to Match Display Language > OK.

SCREEN WIDTH – 16:9 OR 4:3? (2/13)

Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display > Adjust Screen Resolution > Resolution dropdown arrow > select size on slide bar (16:9 is 1366 x 768; 4:3 is 1024 x 768) > OK > Keep changes, OK.


Lately I had intermittently been getting a message that said “Script Running” and I would often have to try to open my email program, or a website, several times before it would open. Couldn’t figure it out. Took my computer to Best Buy. Geek guy fixed it in a few minutes. He said he needed to re-install Adobe. He did that, and it’s been working fine ever since; don’t get that message anymore. That’s my usual last resort, if I can’t figure something out – take the computer to Best Buy.


I went to a site and suddenly the scroll bar on the right was missing. Usually the scroll bar is missing only when the full page is already showing and there’s no further section to scroll to. But, in this case, there was further info below the current screen. I opened up another browsing session and the scroll bar came back on its own. Lesson: if odd stuff happens, start over. Re-open the site, or file, or program. Or re-start the computer. Usually that fixes the odd situation.


I subscribe to Consumer Reports magazine. I like to know what actual customers and objective tests have to say about products. I note that a very good alternative to this magazine is to look up a product on (they sell just about everything) and check the reviews there. You get a good idea of the positives and negatives of a product, as experienced by actual consumers.


I had noted that if you drag and drop a shortcut icon from your computer, to a backing-up device like a flash drive, that you then have made a copy of just the shortcut but not the actual file. I checked this again recently, and I find making a copy of the shortcut seems to make a copy of the actual file also. So I stand corrected, albeit whilst sitting down.


– Here are some other types of shortcuts. They are not for me, but you might find some of these very useful.

Drag & Drop a Highlighted Section of Text: Instead of using CTRL+X and CTRL+V to move a highlighted segment, just highlight it and drag and drop it. You can drag highlighted sections of text around. Try it.

Double Underline: Instead of highlighting and then using the font box > dropdown arrow > Font tab > Underline Style dropdown arrow, you can highlight the segment and press CTRL+Shift+D to get double underlining.

Date Insertion: Press Alt-Shift-D.

Inserting Your Address Quickly: To insert your address, or some other text you want (a logo, letterhead, whatever): type out the text > highlight it > Insert tab > Quick Parts (in the Text box at right) > Save Selection to the Quick Part Gallery > OK. Then to insert that segment: Insert tab > Quick Parts > click the one you want. That inserts it wherever your cursor is.

Fonts/Formatting – Making Them Conform: If you have lots of different formatting throughout a text, highlight it and press CTRL+spacebar. That makes the whole thing uniform without formatting. (It may be uniform to some other size or font than you want, but it’s then much easier to change the whole deal to what you want, instead of changing numerous individual segments.) A great time-saving feature. Or, you can block text and click on the eraser icon under Home tab > Font box. Does the same thing – removes formattingTry it on a section of formatted text to see how it works. You can then CTRL+Z it right back to what you had.


Article in Newsweek (Apr 2012) says smartphones are going to replace personal computers. “… the Web is now moribund. The action has moved to the mobile space…” I don’t have a smartphone, but I guess I’ll have to get one in the future, if only because my current cell phone is kinda primitive. I dislike tiny screens as a rule, but I suppose having the internet, a phone, a camera, a camcorder, an email checker, maybe even a GPS, all in one fairly small portable device, makes sense.


This is a tool that enables you to draw a rectangle around any portion of a page, and save a picture of that portion. It’s just like the Print Screen key, except you’re saving a snipped area instead of the whole screen.

Start > All programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool (the screen becomes dimmed) > drag the cursor around the area you want to capture (the captured area becomes no longer dimmed) > File at upper left > Save as > send it to desired location > Save. Then when you click on that file, it shows you your captured rectangle of material, which you can right-click and copy and land in a Word document and adjust to your tastes there.

SPAM (8/12)

Lately, this is what I do: wait till my spam gets up to 100 or so, then quickly check the first dozen, then delete them all.

Read about something called “Spamfighter.” Don’t know if it’s for Yahoo or just MS Outlook. Didn’t try to get it. Will hold off. Rather, next time I go to Best Buy, I’ll ask what they suggest to reduce spam. I know, eventually, I plan to change my email address and start anew.


For Windows 7, here is how to reach this feature (other than typing in “Indexing Options” into the search box): Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System > Performance Information and Tools at lower left > then at upper left “Adjust indexing options” > Advanced > Rebuild > OK.

I believe the computer has to be plugged in; it won’t rebuild the index if it’s just on battery power.

Took less than two hours for me, the second time I did this.


Don’t work your way thru the User Guide; instead, get a DVD called “Complete Training for Pinnacle Studio 14 and 15″ by Paul Holtz. There you can see exactly how everything is done, with all kinds of key tips. I think it’s like 7 hours long, but this is the way to go for anyone serious about making movies on their own, beyond just straightforward family videos. It takes huge time to learn, but it’s well worth it for a serious movie-maker. The video is so much easier to learn from, compared to slogging thru the Studio user guide. You can see him doing all the procedures. Much more efficient. And, he is VERY good. Knows his stuff and teaches very well. And he tells you key things to watch out for, unlike the user guide.

Available from the website “”. $50, if I remember right.


This is a useful operation to know, but I think I did not explain it well in my manual. Let me try again here.

You want to have titles at the left, and then a row of periods from the titles over to the page numbers at the far right. And you want the page numbers to align flush at the right. But if you try to do it manually, the numbers refuse to line up cleanly; they always end up ragged at the right, even when you do your typing in a justified paragraph mode.

In order to have the page numbers align properly, you need to temporarily change your default tab setting, like this: Home tab > Paragraph box > dropdown arrow > Tabs at lower left > Clear all > upper left of window, set “Tab stop position:” at the number of inches from the left margin you want the page number to land (for example, 7.5 inches, so that the row of periods ends at the far right of the page) > upper right of window, set “Default tab stops:” at 0 (delete, type in 0) > set Alignment at “Right” > pick #2 leader > OK.

Now, you type in your title at the left, then press the Tab key; periods go instantly right across to the spot at the right; then you just type in the page number at that spot, and the periods adjust automatically, whether it’s a single, double, or triple digit page number; you end up with the column of numbers at the right, perfectly aligned.

Then, when you are done, bring up the Tab dialogue box again and clear what you had, in order to get back to what you normally had for a default tab for first lines of paragraphs. For me: Home tab > Paragraph box > dropdown arrow > Tabs at lower left > Clear All > Default tab stops at upper right, at .2 > OK.

Chapter 1………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2

Chapter 2………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

Chapter 3………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 64

Chapter 4……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 115

If you had text before or after your table of contents, the computer might temporarily put your paragraph tab indents to zero, so that you lose your paragraph indents, but once you reset your default setting to what you normally use, that text snaps back into the indents it had. But, your table of contents stays put, the way you wanted it, with clean right alignment.


When I tried to print a small selected text from inside a table, the “Selection” option in my printing window was grayed out. Had to make a copy of that selection and land it outside the table. Then the “Selection” option became active.


I often have a bunch of files on the taskbar and I want to close most of them out and leave just the one or two I am working on. I haven’t been able to find a way to close out a bunch of them all at once. I have to put the pointer on each one, to bring up a box of that icon just above the taskbar, and then click on the red x at the right. A bit laborious if I have a lot of files on the taskbar. One technique for speeding up this process is to put the pointer on a file icon and the box pops up with a whole stack of files, and then pick one file to x out and leave the pointer at that same spot and hopefully the next file in the list moves up to that spot and you click again. So the files end up coming to your stationary pointer, instead of your having to move your pointer to the files.

Of course, if you restart your computer, that will clear out the taskbar all at once. But then you have to wait for it to reboot, and you have to open up again the one or two you wanted to work on.

Remember that you can rearrange the order of the icons on the taskbar by dragging them. So that’s another way around the problem of having too many icons on the taskbar: Drag the one or two you want, to the far left of the whole bunch.

Update 1/13:

Talked to a Geek Squad guy at Best Buy. He said, definitely, no, there is no way to close a whole bunch of files on the taskbar and leave only one.


Once you have a program on your taskbar at bottom (by opening the program, then minimizing it (the “–” icon at upper right), you can pin it to the taskbar so that it will stay there: Right-click its icon on the taskbar > “Pin this program to taskbar”. Follow the same procedure to unpin it: Right-click > “Unpin this program from taskbar”.

You can change the order of items on your taskbar by dragging them.


The time shown at the far right of my taskbar did not match what my DVR showed as the correct time. It was two minutes off. I realized that the computer time may not be automatically correct, like the DVR is. Manually changed it to the correct time, to match my DVR time: Click the time at lower right of taskbar > Change date and time settings > Change date and time > in the time box, click on the hour and use the arrows there to move it up or down > do the same for minutes > OK > OK. [Note that to get the two times to match exactly, I put the computer seconds category to 0, waited for the DVR time to switch to 8:05, and clicked the computer minute from 4 to 5, and clicked OK, exactly when the DVR time switched to 8:05. (As you are clicked on the computer time, it is stationary and does not resume advancing until you click OK.)]

I’m not sure of this, but I think this is the deal: The computer time at lower right of taskbar does NOT automatically update on its own. You may have to manually update it as I described above. Or, you can also manually update it to match a correct internet time by: Click the time at lower right > “Change date and time settings” > “Internet Time” tab > “Change settings” > make sure the “Synchronize with an Internet time server” is checked (I have “”) > then click “Update Now” > OK. That updates your time to the correct time.

So, updating the time on the computer is not automatically automatic, but manually automatic. Of course, I did some more research on the internet and, apparently, once you check that “Synchronize with an Internet time server” option, it IS supposed to be automatically automatic, but… it wasn’t for me. Welcome to the world of computers. Anything may not work at any time.

Further thought, and probably the actual situation: I see that the window under “Internet Time” indicates that the next synchronization is scheduled one week from today. So I’m thinking it does update automatically, every week, and maybe the fact that I let the battery run out last week may have temporarily thrown the time off. Previous to this week, I had always found that the computer time matched my DVR time.

Bottom line, computer time is the correct time, normally, but not guaranteed.


Sometimes the internet toolbar you are used to, gets replaced with another one. Very annoying. It just happened to me again recently. MS’s damn “Bing” browser snuck onto my screen. To get rid of it, I did this: While on the internet, click dropdown arrow of Tools at upper right > Internet Options at bottom > General tab > Search > Settings > Search Providers at left > highlight the one you want (Google, for me) > Set as Default > Close.

That changed it back to Google. Of course, when I tried to change it back to Bing, to make sure of the procedure, nothing changed, even when I restarted the computer. Typical of the computer world – things work intermittently, for reasons beyond comprehension. Good luck.


Here’s the lead-up story to an unwanted toolbar episode for me: My stock market gadget stopped working fully. I could still get stock market info, but not as quickly as before. (It just leads me to my investment website, which in turn has the info.)

Re-downloading the gadget didn’t fix it. And I read that Microsoft no longer services their gadgets. Came across this on MS’s website: “It is no longer possible to get more gadgets from the Windows website.” Trying to download another stock market gadget from other places, I kept encountering sites that send you ads, add additional stuff, try to add their toolbar onto your computer as a default toolbar, etc., etc. All the invasive complications that I find SO aggravating. I couldn’t get anything to download simply, as I did originally. It’s always 20 steps, downloading a downloading manager program so I can download a download. So crazy. Seems like there’s no longer such a thing as a simple download, because companies use popular downloads as baits to pull you into all kinds of other things. Absolutely hate it.

(Will check with Best Buy next time I’m there for best solution. For now, I’m hoping it just suddenly fixes itself on its own, as sometimes happens in the computer world. Update: No change. Called my investment company; talked to a very knowledgeable tech guy, who told me there is no answer, the technology is changing, and MS is not supporting gadgets under the old technology any more. So for me it’s not a big deal, just less convenient; I have to do two or three clicks to get to stock info, instead of having it right there on the desktop. But, what IS a big deal is the following, below.)

ARGH! So what do I get, trying to download another stock market gadget? An unwanted toolbar now at the top of my internet window! That is just the worst. I hate that! I was happy with what I had! I had to go round and round, finally figuring out the correct name of the toolbar, then go thru my control panel, to delete it. (Start > Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program > restart the computer.) I also had to go to Yahoo and find a “Make Yahoo my home page” button, to get things back to the way I had them.

I hate the way these companies insert their toolbars and made it hard to get rid of them. It’s like squatters moving into your home unannounced and refusing to leave. Man, I’m not going to download any more %&#%&# free programs. Not worth the aggravation. (Rare exception – Audacity audio editing program.)


You can view what is on your computer screen, on your TV. Just connect your computer and TV with an HDMI cable. Most modern computers and TVs have an outlet for an HDMI cable. Of course, you have to have the right buttons on your TV setup pressed, whatever your TV setup is, but it should be fairly easy.

Note, however, that you cannot record what you see on your TV screen onto your DVD recorder, because it uses a different system. To record what is on your computer screen, you’d have to buy a separate software program, like “Snaggit,” which I have and find quite good.


Sometimes a clip will simply have some sort of glitch which prevents a DVD from being made (using Windows DVD Maker). Or, if that clip is one of several you’re trying to burn to a DVD, it prevents the others from being burned. Need to eliminate, or uncheck, the offending clip. One time I had such a situation, and I tried burning a disk thru my Studio program instead, and it worked. And, I found the offending clip; it had kind of a waverly line at the left.


Opened my computer and suddenly got an “At risk” status alert from my Norton Security. I thought at first that my subscription had run out. But no. I opened the Norton program myself and it says right there I’ve got many months left. But it showed “Error 3048.3″. I called them. There was a six-minute wait. I hung up in order to charge up my near-empty cell phone. Called again. Six-minute wait again. They came on after 6 minutes. Person was putting me thru to the correct department. Phone company breaks in to inform me how many minutes I had left (plenty), thereby cutting me off.

I called yet again. Another 6-minute wait. Got thru. Person sent me to another department, for which there was a 15-minute wait! All the time of course I had to listen to horrible, loud, broken-up music. At the same time, I was in the midst of trying to send an important email, and expecting another one to come in. Then suddenly, after 10 minutes, I got disconnected for no reason at all.

In the meantime I clicked on some help button on Norton, which led me to something to download (“Norton Power Eraser” to detect and remove threats from my computer). In this case I was sure it was OK, so I downloaded it. In the meantime the sun is going down and I’m missing out on the day as I sweat over my computer. So I had the “Eraser” thing downloaded, but my Norton window still said “At risk.” Clicked on a few more things; it ran a scan. Then, after 10 minutes, it showed that everything was OK. My status showed “Secure,” instead of the “At risk.” Back to normal.

I think something was just keeping it from doing its normal safety scan. And not having done its automatic scan, it decided to show “At risk” for my computer.

My point? It never ends. It never ends! There’s always something new that suddenly comes up and causes problems. And the process of fixing the problem is never easy, but involves all kinds of extra complications and things you need to do. It is soo frustrating! That’s why I wrote the manual, to help myself and others deal with these problems somewhat more easily. If something I write or describe saves people from having to go thru 45 minutes of aggravation on the phone, I’ll feel my life will have been a worthy one.

Another recent aggravation: I had downloaded several screen capture programs. Suddenly I find one of those companies has THEIR toolbar at the top of my screen, trying to take over and run my computer life. Forget how I got rid of it (probably right-clicked the bar and clicked something like Hide or Delete). Had to fiddle around and find and click on Yahoo’s spot to make Yahoo my only home page, the setup that I’m used to. Companies do that – try to take over your computer so that you do everything thru them. Very aggravating.


Not sure of the details here, but if some older website doesn’t work well with your current version of Internet Explorer, you can have your computer use an older more compatible version of Internet Explorer: Click the ripped paper icon (“Compatibility View”) at the right of your address box at upper left. Then next time you visit that site, it automatically gets displayed for you in compatibility view.


Since I am the only one using my computer, I don’t use the restrictions function, and I don’t have the experience to give any solid advice. However, here is where you go to explore options: While on the internet, at right under Tools > Internet Options > Content tab > check the options in that window.


When on the internet, at upper right of your command bar, under Tools tab dropdown arrow, there is an option called “Suggested Sites.” Here you can click to get suggested sites offered to you based on sites you’ve visited. I keep it off. I hate intrusive suggestions.


After fiddling with Desktop themes, I find that my window frames are now somewhat transparent, showing stuff behind them. To get rid of that (I hate that look; I like opacity for window frames): Right-click on an empty desktop spot > Personalize > Window color (second icon at bottom) > uncheck the “Enable transparency” box > Save Changes. Well, it’s better, but it still seems a bit transparent, despite my also moving the slide bar all the way to the right, which is supposed to make it not transparent at all.

Update: OK, finally got it. Right-click on an empty desktop spot > Personalize > scroll down the window of themes > select “Windows 7 Basic,” which was the particular theme (with opaque window frames) I originally had and liked. That got rid of the transparency. I also changed the background to grey (getting rid of the foul Windows giant flag logo, and also had to turn computer off and then back on to get the font back in black, rather than white.


When you shut down Windows 7 and a mostly black screen appears, clicking “Cancel” stops the log off process and returns you to your computing session. The logic involved for what to click in this log off process for Windows 7, for various alternatives, is ridiculous. Bottom line, I find, is to ignore all the options, and just let it shut down on its own, unless you suddenly change your mind and want to return to your computing session; then, in that case, click “Cancel” to stop the log off process.


I bought Step by Step Windows 7, the manual put out by Microsoft itself, written by two of their experts who have decades of experience in “development of training materials about technical subjects for non-technical audiences.” I went thru the book cover to cover, and I’m sorry, but I found it was horrible! Maybe I’m not that bright, or maybe my brain is wired differently, but I found everything was difficult to follow!

They present mountains of detailed information, without regard for how a non-expert encounters the material, and without providing a clear context for understanding the relevance of the information. For example, on page 210 they write, “You can change the labeling convention, and thus the width of the buttons.” OK, that’s not bad, but wouldn’t it be clearer if they said, “You can save room by making the buttons smaller.”

They write, The Favorites bar and the Command bar appear above the Internet Explorer Content pane, below the navigation buttons, Address bar, and Search box.” I would have written: “The address bar is at the top. Underneath that is the Favorites bar, then the Command bar, then the actual page content.”

It’s hard to describe exactly what it is that I didn’t like about the book. I just know that I constantly found myself slogging thru a page only to find out that I already knew the content, but it took me forever to see that that was what they were saying. As I say, maybe it’s just me, but, I don’t think so. They have a disk included, with files you could practice on, but the process of how to do that was not at all clear to me. And I’m not a beginner, and beginners are who the book was written for!

WINDOWS 8 (1/13)

I understand that Windows 8 is a major adjustment in that it uses touch screen technology. I asked a Geek guy how that works. Wouldn’t the computer itself have to have touch screen functionality? He said yes, but that most current computers above $700 do have it. (I got my current laptop two years ago, for over $800, and it does not have it.)

Then he said that he is not too keen on Windows 8, that there are many compatibility issues. Oh, quintessential horror! I felt justified in my plan to delay any switch to Windows 8 for as long as possible. I’m guessing several years. And then I’ll switch only if the consensus is that it is a major improvement. I firmly believe that Microsoft is more interested in selling more stuff, than in making our lives better.


Sometimes when trying to import a clip, it gives a message that the clip is not available, but I found that usually it actually IS available. I just have to close its folder down, open it up again, and simply try a second time.


Rechecking Windows Vista side-by-side windows feature, I now find using the taskbar > right-click empty spot > Show windows side by side,  seems to be more consistent than View tab > View Side by Side. Either way, I find clearing the taskbar of everything first, then opening the two windows you want side by side, then using either technique, works more consistently.

The Windows 7 “drag each window deep into the edge” technique for setting windows side by side, is a significant improvement. Works every time, unlike Vista, where if you do something in the wrong order, it doesn’t work.

Update 9/12

A couple of new wrinkles for using the View tab at top for side-by-side windows. 1. You have to have the document in full screen at first, or else the “Side-by-Side” option doesn’t show at top on the toolbar. And that is a general principle: If you don’t see the full complement of icons on the toolbar at top when your window is reduced, maximize the window and you should get the full array of icons you usually have. 2. If you use the View method instead of the Taskbar method, it puts up the two documents in the SAME zoom size. So if you want different zoom sizes, first CLOSE those documents, open them again, then use the Taskbar method instead.

Update and Review

With Vista, you can make putting up two items a bit easier this way: Open a document > minimize (“–” icon) it to the taskbar > open the second document > with that second document on screen, click the first one back up from the taskbar > right-click on an empty spot on the taskbar > “Show Windows Side-by-Side.”

That puts the two up side by side, each filling exactly half the screen. Then, when you’re done, right-click an empty spot on the taskbar again, and click “Undo Show side by side.”

Another way to get side-by-side windows is to click the View tab at top > click “View Side by Side” (your document must be in full screen to see that option), and fiddle with it till you get it. It can be very confusing, what you have to click in what order, which of the two techniques for side-by-side viewing overrides the other, which is still on, which is off, etc.

Thankfully, Windows 7 has a much simpler technique: Drag one window (by its top) deep into the right edge and the other deep into the left edge. Presto, each fills half the screen.


In my manual I describe the Windows 7 technique of putting a reduced window to a half-screen size by dragging it deep into either side, whereupon the window pops into half-size. It seemed like you had to drag it deep into a side, but actually once the pointer touches the edge, at that instant the window pops into half-size. It’s just that, since I tend to position my pointer at the top middle of the window, it looks like the window needs to be dragged past the edge of the screen deep into the side. If you position your pointer at the upper corner of the window, then you don’t have to drag the window that deep; as soon as the pointer hits the edge, the window pops into half-screen size.


The default Windows 7 Sleep mode allows Windows to bring your computer out of Sleep mode to check for, download, and install updates.

Generally speaking, you can just ignore Windows Updates and let it do its thing on its own. The only time you get involved is when you are using your computer and a window comes up saying Windows is going to close down your computer to install updates. It gives you the option of postponing this action for 10 minutes, 1 hour, or 4 hours, if you want to keep working on your computer.

A quick way to reach the Windows Update window is Start > All Programs > Windows Update. But why in the world anyone would want to keep track of updates and manually install some but not others, is beyond me. It’s far more hassle than it’s worth. Just let Microsoft do its default thing and ignore it, is my advice.


I noticed in a Wendy’s restaurant that they had free Wi-Fi. Asked the guy. Yeah, you bring in your laptop (or other device) and you can connect and sit there and access the internet.

Since then, I’ve used free Wi-Fi connection at my library and at a motel. At the lower right on your taskbar is an internet access icon that looks like a striped triangle. Click on that and it shows available networks; click on the one you want, and it connects. It’s that simple. It just warns you that “Information sent over this network might be visible to others.” No passwords or wires needed. Just make sure you have your wireless button on. (Mine is on the front of my laptop.)


Be very careful when you do a “Replace All.” For an important document it might be better to do each replacement individually, to make sure you don’t make any mistakes. For example, if you want to replace all instances of “disc” with “disk”, you may unknowingly change parts of other words, and end up with “diskcovery” and “diskrepancy” and “diskussion”, etc. Putting a space before and after your word – space, “disc”, space – should eliminate this problem. But, you may still leave some instances not replaced (if, for example, you have instances of the word at the end of a sentence with a period following the word instead of a space).

So, if you have an important document, especially a long one with numerous instances of the word, it might be safer to do replacements individually. Or, do a Replace All, but then check each instance individually afterwards.


I kept getting occasional popup messages from complete strangers, maybe once a week. Could not find the “Yahoo Messenger” program to get rid of this program. Found a Yahoo phone help number – 1 866 562-7219. Called. The 4th option, for technical help, said “Live technical phone support is not available at this number.” Thanks a lot Yahoo. Are you any better than Microsoft? Seems not.

Tried twice using their help section (they said they needed more info, even though I had given that info the first time, and that info seemed quite irrelevant – just tell me how to do it, why do you need to verify my ID again? I’m asking about how to do a process; why should ID verification have anything to do with it? Couldn’t find any useful help on the internet. eHow had a nice answer – just uninstall it like any other program (under Start, Control Panel, Programs) – but Yahoo! Messenger was not on my list, nor could I find it with a Start search.

OK, second time I tried over the phone I got good help. She gave me a link that explained how to do it. It didn’t match exactly, but it was close enough, that it worked: Regular “Yahoo! Mail” homepage > click on “Folders” partway down the list at left > wait for “Online Contacts” just below “Folders” to open up (took a good two minutes for me) > got message “You are signed in to Messenger in multiple places. Where do want to sign out? Sign out here. Sign out everywhere. I clicked “everywhere”, “Remember this preference”, and “Sign out”. That did it.


I had posted a couple of clips (religion, tennis) but used just random numbers for my username. Wanted to change the name to something more descriptive. Guess what, they specifically say you cannot change your name. What you need to do is create another account, then post those clips again. So I did that:

First, be sure to be signed out of your current account, so you can get the “Create Account” option. Go to YouTube – Broadcast Yourself website > at upper right, to the left of Sign In, click on Create Account > fill in the info (you actually set up an account with Google who is in partnership with YouTube, and that gives you the ability to post videos) > you get a new email account with them also [I hope this has no effect on my current Yahoo email account that I have been using for years! … No, it didn't.] > now I can post my clips with that new username.

There’s an “Upload” option on more than one page of their site – it brings up a big white arrow inside red, and a “Select file from your computer” option, which you use to search your computer and click “Open” at lower right, and then it starts to upload. I found it did a 2-minute clip in about 8 minutes, a 4-minute clip in about 20 plus minutes. It shows progress at upper left – “Uploading”, then “Processing”, then “Complete”.

Your account username shows at upper right, and you click on the dropdown arrow to enter your account, from which you can upload, or edit, clips. Don’t forget to survey the page and enter or click the stuff you need to – “tag” words, various choices, Save, Publish. If you leave out a category, the Save button may stay grayed out and inactive.

On the editing page, it gives you a choice of 3 thumbnail pictures you can select for your clip. It puts those up after you’ve uploaded the clip.

Tried to add a caption (my website address) to one of my clips, with no luck – it was black against black and I couldn’t get it white, despite the option for white being there. Tried using the “Title” feature and got that to work OK. You have to drag the frame it puts up, in order to position it and to accommodate your number of letters; if it won’t put in any more letters, drag the frame wider. You have to Save it and Publish it (two seconds).

And, you have to set the time frame for your title to be on your clip (just at the beginning, all the way thru, just at the end?). Highlight the minutes or seconds below and click on the up or down arrow to get your start and stop times. I set mine to show for the last 15 seconds or so.

You Tube Username – Change to Actual Name

Was checking my account and I saw that they now have a new option: You can change your old username to your actual name if you want to (“A better YouTube name”). So I did that.

I had uploaded a 12-minute clip of part of my “Solving Computer Aggravations” DVD-ROM. Came out good. Got it up. But so far I can only watch it thru my account (under “Video Manager). When I put “Solving Computer Aggravations” or “Miklos Jako” into the You Tube search box, I don’t get it. Then I found a spot where it says it may take up to 8 hours to get indexed. So I’m waiting and hoping that it will get indexed under those two names soon. That way I can tell anyone to do a You Tube search for my name and they will get the clip, which promotes my full DVD and book.

Well, next morning my name got indexed. Hooray. I put in my name and my three video clips came up.


I still had a duplicate clip up from my old account (I changed my account name). Wanted to delete it, or drop that old account. I couldn’t because I couldn’t get into my old account. If I eventually do, then this is how to delete that account, according to what I read:

1. Sign in to your account

2. Click on your username dropdown arrow at upper right

3. Click Settings on the menu

4. Click the Overview tab

5. Select the Advanced button below your email address

6. Click Close Account


1. Sign in and click your username in the upper right corner of any YouTube page

2. In this dropdown menu, click Video Manager

3. Check the box next to the left of the clip

4. Click “Actions” button at top of page

5. From the dropdown menu, select Delete