Friday, July 31, 2015

Undoing an Upgrade to Windows 10

In the last few days, contrary to my recommendation, millions of people have upgraded Windows 7 systems to Windows 10 (along with Windows 8.1 systems which I acknowledged the desideratum of an upgrade to Windows 10). But suppose you have tried Windows 10 and now you want your old system back? As long as it has not been more than 30 days since you installed Windows 10, there is an easy way to downgrade.
Here is the procedure. Since something can always go wrong, first back up any personal files and data. Also, if a laptop or tablet is involved it will need to be plugged in since the rollback can take a while.
  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Click or tap “Settings”
  3. Click or tap “Update & security”
  4. In the dialog window that opens, choose “Recovery” in the left column
  5. The image below shows the options that are then displayed. Under the entry “Go back to Windows x” (where x is 7 or 8.1), click or tap “Get started”.
     
    Downgrading Windows 10
  6. A blue window (example shown below) will open asking why you want to roll back the system. Choose an answer and click “Next”.
  7. Another blue window with some information will open. Click “Next”.
  8. The rollback will start. Depending on your system, the process may take several hours.
Rolling back Windows 10
The files needed for reverting to a previous system are in a folder Windows.old. If you have deleted these with a clean-up procedure, then no rollback is possible. Once you are sure that you are happy with Windows 10, the Disk Cleanup procedure can be used to remove these files.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Best Way to Eat Mussels

At most domestic restaurants, mussels will be served with a tiny fork to extract the mussel from the shell. In Spain, no fork. One just slurps down the mussel along with whatever liquid is in the mussel. The Spain way produces a far more delicious mussel memory.

Cellphones in Restaurants

Most people will agree that the proper etiquette in restaurants (as in other venues) is to put your cellphone away. However, if it's several people meeting at the restaurant, especially a large restaurant that's noisy, it is wise to have your cellphones out on the table until everyone in the group arrives. In that way, if there is a problem with a non-arrival, you will not miss the text or call from the non-arrival or from whomever the non-arrival calls to find out if you're at the correct restaurant who also then tries calling and texting you.

Exception to Mandatory IRA Withdrawals at Age 70.5

Qualified retirement accounts like individual retirement arrangements, 401(k)s and 403(b)s offer a host of tax benefits, including tax-sheltered growth, so it's no surprise that you want to leave the money in as long as possible. Whether you have to withdraw from your retirement when you're 70 1/2 years old depends on the type of retirement plan you have and, if it's an employer-sponsored plan, the terms of the plan.

IRS Employer Plan Rules

The Internal Revenue Code allows you to delay distributions from non-IRA plans, like 401(k)s and 403(b)s, until the later of the year you retire or the year you turn 70 1/2 years old. So, if you're still working at age 70 1/2, the IRS won't come knocking at your door telling you to take the money out. However, there is an exception -- if you own 5 percent or more of the business that sponsors the plan, you must start taking required minimum distributions when you hit 70 1/2, even if you're still working.

Employer Plan Discretion

Just because the IRS permits you to delay your required minimum distributions from a non-IRA plan because you haven't retired doesn't mean your plan terms will do the same. The option to delay required minimum distributions is just that -- an option that employer plans don't have to allow you to use. So, before you go skipping your required minimum distributions because you're still employed, check with your plan administrator to make sure your plan doesn't require distributions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Your PC Might Be Listening to You: Not a Joke

One of the features in certain versions of the Chrome web browser is voice-activated search. Just say "OK Google" and then you can dictate your search query. But the existence of such a features poses a question. If the browser is to be able to recognise when you say "OK Google", presumably it's listening to everything you say. All the time.
If you use Chrome and you want to find out whether this is indeed the case on your computer, open your browser and type chrome://voicesearch/ in order to see the settings for that particular feature. If it says that audio capture is allowed, and that a microphone is detected, then there's a good chance that your PC is listening to you.
If this is the case, the explanatory link will explain how to turn off the voice-enabled feature. Remember, though, in making the decision whether or not to disable the voice-enable feature, while some might find it creepy that others are listening to you, others of us are comforted to know that at least someone is listening.

Two Airline Booking Tips

Say you live in Phoenix and want to visit people living North of NYC. If you fly Southwest to EWR or LGA and take a driver, it will cost you about $1,000 (two round-trip tickets for $800 and two car trips for $100@ or $200 total). If you fly to Westchester on Delta round-trip, the tickets would cost about $600@ or $1,200 total. But if you fly to Westchester on  Delta and back on United, the tickets would cost you about $500@ or $1,000 total. Here, then, the two tips:

1. When your ultimate destination is outside a major city, check whether flying to a local airport might be easier or even less expensive or at least not more expensive.

2. When flying between any two cities, check the prices of flying each way on every airline providing service because flying out on one airline and back on a different airline might be less expensive than flying the same airline on both legs.

Unchecky

Free software has to be financed somehow, and many authors now add additional routines to their installation system in order to persuade you to install extra software.  For every browser toolbar you choose to install (or forget to untick the checkbox when you're offered the opportunity to decline), the freeware program's author gets a small kick-back.  
Programs which "trick" you into installing additional software like this are a common cause of complaint among my readers, which is why I was so pleased when I learned about Unchecky. The program sits silently in the background on your PC, waiting until you install new software.  At which point it springs into action to check that you're not inadvertently about to install an additional unwanted module.  If it thinks that you are, it pops up a warning.

Link to Unchecky Download

Thursday, July 23, 2015

History According to Vice President Joe Biden

If you have 1 min 52 secs, not only will you get an eye opener as to history, you'll love the music. See Link to What Really Happened in 1929

Caution re Airbnb

An Airbnb search requires you to put in the destination you want to see listings for. However, do not assume that the search results are limited to that destination or even to the state or country that destination is in. For example, put in Bar Harbor, Maine, and if you are not careful, you might book a spectacular place in Rye, New Hampshire, or in Boston, Massachussettes, or who knows where.

I alerted Airbnb to the problem. Here is the response I got: "There simply are not enough listings in Bar Harbor itself to popular [sice] a full search result. When this happens, the search algorithm will reach out further to show a guess [sic] more options." Here is what I wrote back to DemonDeacon, the supposed author of the explanation: "Not only does not it not explain anything, and putting aside your typos (e.g., I think you mean "populate" not "popular" and "guest" instead of "guess," it's a ridiculous policy. If someone is looking for places in Maine, why would Airbnb give them results hundreds of miles away. And besides, there were plenty of listings in Bar Harbor. So, Hi there, DemonDeacon, you are doing Airbnb no service, and Airbnb is doing its potential users no service."


I then got a response with a link to which I supposed could submit the feedback to a real person (I'm pretty sure DemonDeacon is an auto-responder). I followed the link and it's instructions. When I hit the Submit button, it said the website was down but would be back up momentarily. That was hours ago. I'm beginning to suspect Airbnb doesn't really want feedback.


Then I heard again from a person at Airbnb. Here is what they wrote: First, I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with your search tool. I looked at the website, and did a search option for "Ban Harbor Maine", and got multiple hits. Now, with saying that, we search in a radius. That may sometimes put listings in another state, town, etc that is within that radius. In a lot of cases, guests will choose a lower dollar listing that is a little further away from their destination, to save them some money. My hometown borders three states, so if I would search in that area I would get listings from three different states. We do, however have a handy map tool on the right side of the page. You can actually see where the listings are in that specific area or in a specific area around the destination just by clicking on the price. Also, a lot of host will list in their description how far away their listing if its close to a popular vacation and or tourist destination. 

Here is how I responded:

1. Note that the auto-responder  (I assume it was an automated response) said the reason for the widened search was the lack of Bar Harbor hits. That clearly was not the case as you acknowledge.


2. It would be helpful for travelers to give them the choice of looking only at the locale they want and excluding other locales or looking in a given radius. At least make it a filter that reads, for example, “search only the locale named” or “search within X hundred miles of the locale.” In that way, travelers, such as me in this instance, would not be burdened with having to sift through listing in which one had no interest solely because of locale.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Amazon Home Services

I have not tried it, but it's pretty cool in concept: Amazon Home Services. It offers all kinds of home help from small repair projects to remodels. The website is a bit annoying because it keeps moving on you, but still, it's neat.

Link to Amazon Home Services Home Page

Televisions

If you haven't looked recently at television prices, they keep going down. While my research lab continues to work on quality evaluations, you can get a 70" Vizio for under $1,400 and a 60" UHD 4K Vizio for under $1,300 at Costco. If you want a peanut size television (and you should not except say for your kitchen counter television), say 55", they can be had for under $700. And then when you get down to micro-size televisions of 36"-50" (which almost are small enough to wear like Dick Tracy watches), you can be down to under $300.

Whether or Not to Upgrade to Windows 10

If you're running Windows 7, and everything's fine, there is no real advantage and some definite risks (e.g., application compatibility; slower performance) in upgrading to Windows 10. If you're running Windows 8.1, it's so lousy that upgrading to Windows 10 makes a lot of sense.

Checking for Hacker Remants on Your PC

Earlier this month, Italian security company Hacking Team found itself on the wrong end of a hack. Around 400 GB of its own data from HT's servers were stolen and leaked onto the internet. This included details of the spyware products that it sold to Governments and intelligence agencies across the world.
As researchers continue to analyze the leaked data, which also contains the source code for some of the Hacking Team products, a picture is emerging about what the malware does and how to detect it. Rook Security, a US-based security company, has now released a free program that scans your PC to check that none of the Hacking Team spyware is present on your computer.
Use the "MILANO INSTALLER - MSI WINDOWS" link from the above-mentioned download page, to get the correct package. Having been written by security researchers rather than experts in user interface design, the tool (called Milano) is fairly simple. It's text-based, when you run it, and creates its report as a text file that you need to load into Notepad in order to view. But it does provide a useful service and is a useful addition to your normal PC security routine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where to Park Cash

I have heard that some people have a substantial amount of cash. If you are one of them, and you have it in your brokerage account, you likely are earning virtually no interest on it. You might then consider parking that cash instead into an online savings or money market account where you can earn about 1%. Not great, but if you are parking say $100,000, that's an extra $1,000 you can lavish on yourself during the year. Be sure you pick a place where the funds are FDIC insured. Ally Bank is very easy to deal with and, if you are opening an account in the name of your trust, be sure to ask for a trust specialist.

Link to Bankrate.com Listing of Online MMA and Savings Accounts and Rates

Coping With an ISP Webmail Outage

Sometimes, an ISP will have problems with its email servers so that, if you are using an email client such as Outlook, which connects to those servers, you might not be able to send or receive email or both. That happened today with Cox Communications servers, which suffered a national outage. If you have a Gmail (or other web-based account), and you have your ISP email set to forward to your Gmail account, you will be able to send and receive emails, including receiving emails from your ISP server.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recovering Deleted Files for Free

Disk Drill has long since been a favorite tool among Mac users, for its excellent ability to locate and restore deleted files. Available in both free and pro versions, it has fans across the internet.
Now, the software is available in a new version for Windows which supports all versions from 7 to 10. As yet, only the free version is available. It's pretty powerful but, even more importantly, very easy to use. Run the program and wait for it to scan your PC in search of deleted files. Then choose the file you want, and it's restored. Even if it was more fully deleted than merely being in the Windows recycle bin.

Link to PC Clever Files Website (Disk Drill Download)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wild (2014)

Can a movie with Reese Witherspoon miss? Yes, by miles. At least the first half of Wild does. It's really boring and has no discernible point and the photography is nothing to brag about. I have no clue if it gets better in the second half, and have no intention of finding out.

IMDb Link

Music Streaming With Deezer

Deezer offers mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows, and is also accessible right away in your desktop browser. You will need an account to run Deezer. If you don’t have one, simply sign up a free account with your Facebook, Google+ or email credentials.
Depending on the version of Deezer you use, you'll need to select your favorite music genres and artists when starting off a new account. You can then tap “Start Flow” to stream music from its catalogue based on the music you liked.
Flow is a free and decent feature of Deezer. On top of this, it recommends new releases of music, top playlists and mixes. If you like any of them, simply tap the Favorite icon to add to your Favorite Tracks, or from the menu add to a user-defined playlist in the library for playback.
If you like music with lyrics too, tap the Mic icon to display synchronized lyrics where available when you listen to a track.
Unfortunately the free account has some restricted usage and bar you from accessing certain music tracks. If you have some mp3 files in your computer, nevertheless you can upload them via the web version so that they are accessible across multiple devices with your Deezer account.
While basic features are free and sufficient to most users, a paid subscription to Deezer offers you premium features that allow you to listen to all tracks, download music for offline listening, access to high quality sound and be free from intermittent ads.

Jet.com

Jet was begun by a former Amazon executive. It says it will reinvent the shopping club when it launches in early 2015. For $49.99/ a year, members will have access to millions of items, from clothes, books, and electronics to baby goods and athletic gear, for the lowest prices online. Members save when they shop on over 700 other websites too with discounts at top retailers like J. Crew, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn and more. It always offers free shipping & returns regardless of the seller, plus access to a Member Services team to help every step of the way. I'm not sure how or if it works, but you can sign up on the website for a 6-month which might actually be a 2-month free membership or maybe it's not real. 

Link to Jet.com Website

Saturday, July 18, 2015

PicPick

PicPick is a free utility that combines into one package different functions normally handled by several different programs.  So many in fact it does so much that I had to create a new software category just to accommodate it!


First it is an excellent screen capture utility that provides multiple capture options (including screen scrolling) together with multiple output formats.

Second it is a useful image editor that allows resizing,rotation, sharpness, hue and brightness adjustment and the application of various effects.

Third it provides Microsoft Paint-style features include painting effects, frames, drop shadows, text annotation, various kinds of boxes, circles, arrows, image insertion and more.

Fourth it is pretty useful color picker that allows you to select and describe the color on any part of your screen not just the image currently within PicPick.  You can also select from an in-built palette.

Finally it offers a pixel ruler, protractor, crosshair, magnifier and whiteboard.

Not bad.  But when you consider that PicPick is a modest 945KB in size and available in portable form then you will understand why I am impressed.

PicPick is free for personal and commercial use.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gmail Backup

While cloud-based email systems like Gmail are very handy, it's also sensible to keep a copy of your mailbox on your local PC for safety and security. In fact, it's a good idea to ensure that all your cloud-based services are backed up to your own computer, to avoid forgetting where each type of information is stored.
In the case of Gmail, here's a really handy program for Windows which will back up your entire mailbox to your PC. Each message is stored as a separate text file, so you can retrieve or search them should you lose access to your Gmail account.
The program is from UpSafe and it's called Free Gmail Backup. By default, the program buries your backups in your AppData folder. If you'd prefer them to be somewhere else, such as your desktop, make sure you change the data destination before you run a backup. It's all on the options menu.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Windows 10

I am not upgrading my computer (or anything) to Windows 10 and this blog will have very few if any tips about Windows 10 (just as it shunned Windows 8 and 8.1). But on July 29, you can get upgrade your Windows 7 or 8 machine to Windows 10. In a spirit of cordiality, here (courtesy of cnet) are the top 10 things one should know about Windows 10:


1. When can I upgrade? And how much will it cost?

Windows 10 will be available on July 29, and it'll be free for one year, for anyone running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If you're running an earlier version of Windows or don't upgrade by that time, you'll be able to pick up Windows 10 Home for $119, and Windows 10 Pro for $199.
Microsoft is also asking Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to reserve their free copy of Windows 10. If you do, you'll get a notification when Windows 10 is ready to be installed, and have the option to schedule your installation for the most appropriate time for you.

2. I've got a desktop, a tablet, and am considering a Windows Phone. How will that work?

Microsoft's ultimate goal is to make Windows 10 the sole operating system powering all of your devices, and Continuum will be the driving force behind that. Windows 10 knows when you're interacting with a keyboard and mouse or using a touchscreen and will react accordingly. If you're using a keyboard and mouse, you'll be treated to the standard Windows experience. If you're on a tablet, you'll encounter full screen apps and a finger-friendly Start menu. Pop off the keyboard on a two-in-one device like the Surface Pro 3, and the interface will smoothly transform into tablet mode -- if you want it to, of course.
The situation on phones is a little different, as there will be a Windows 10 Mobile. But Microsoft has also shown Windows Phones that transform into PCs once a mouse and keyboard are connected -- there's no word on when we'll see that capability on Windows Phones.
mg7967.jpg
Windows 10 will morph to fit the device it's running on.Nate Ralph/CNET

3. What about apps?

Microsoft wants you to be able to buy an app from the Windows Store once, and expect it to run on all of your devices. These universal apps will than adopt whatever form is appropriate for the device you're using, whether you're on a tablet or a PC. We've already seen a taste of this with Microsoft's Office suite, which the full Office experience in a format that's appropriate for your device. I wouldn't recommend editing spreadsheets on your smartphone, but it works, and you'll have all of Excel (and PowerPoint, and Word, and the rest) at your disposal.

4. Those full-screen "Modern" apps were a pain. What ever happened to them?

Those touch-friendly, full-screen apps that debuted with Windows 8 were alternately known as the "Metro" or "Modern" design. With Windows 10, full-screen apps will be optional. Let's say you're using a convertible 2-in-1 device, like the Surface Pro 3, for example. Thanks to Continuum, when the keyboard is docked you'll see the standard desktop with Windows 10's "new" old-school Start menu. Once you take the device off of the keyboard base, the OS will allow you to switch to the finger-friendly tablet mode Windows 8 users are likely familiar with.

5. I actually liked those Modern apps, and bought a few. What happens now?

Existing Modern apps take advantage of Windows 10's Continuum automatically, so you'll have little to worry about there. When you're in tablet mode they'll behave like they always have. If you're in desktop mode, they'll convert into a normal windowed app that you can drag around at your leisure.
new-start-menu.jpg
You can freely customize and arrange the tiles on your Start menu.Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

6. And the Start menu?

If you hated Windows 8's full-screen Start screen, you're in luck: the new Start menu harkens back to the good old days, sitting on the left side of the screen and presenting that familiar pop-up column of shortcuts. And if you liked Windows 8's approach, there's something here for you too: the new menu will incorporate Live Tiles and can be customized.
Continuum means you'll get the best of both worlds, as you can jump between tablet and desktop modes on the fly. And if you never want to see that full screen start menu again, there's an option for that too.

7. Never mind the apps -- I need to get things done. Any improvements on that front?

Windows 10 beefs up Snap, the function that lets you quickly arrange apps side by side, with a new quadrant layout that lets you split your display up among up to four apps. There's also support for multiple virtual desktops (finally), so you can keep all your work apps in one place and quickly slide back to the desktop with your blogs and Reddit once your boss walks away. And then there's the task view button that lives on the taskbar. Click it, and you'll get a quick look at all of your open files, windows, and desktops.
Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant has also made the jump from phone to desktop. Say "Hey, Cortana" after turning on the voice recognition feature and you can bark commands at your PC, whether you're searching for directions or checking the weather. Cortana will also be able to send emails and text messages that you dictate to your contacts -- that functionality isn't available in the Windows Technical preview just yet, however.
windows-10-snap.jpg
Annotate Web pages, then send them to OneNote or share with your friends.Nate Ralph/CNET

8. Is Internet Explorer still around?

Yes and no. Internet Explorer will remain a part of Windows for compatibility reasons, but it's been replaced by a brand new browser, called Microsoft Edge. The browser will offer all of the amenities we've come to expect from modern browsers, including support for extensions, a reading mode that strips websites down to their bare essentials, and a new rendering engine that's appreciably zippy while you're browsing the web.
And there are a few new tricks baked in, too. Microsoft's Virtual Assistant Cortana will drop suggestions into the address bar as you search, and gather important details on business and restaurant websites into a sidebar. Click the Web Note button, and you'll be able to annotate what you're looking at and share your notes via email, or through OneNote. The browser is still using the codename Project Spartan in the most recent build of Windows 10 (Build 10130, as of this writing) and these features aren't quite ready for prime time, but the future looks promising for Microsoft's new browser.

9. Will Windows 10 run on my machine?

If your PC is only a few years old and you're already running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should be fine. The minimum requirements for Windows 10 are a 1GHz processor, at least 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of hard drive space.
Some older peripherals like USB floppy drives will run into trouble while you're upgrading. Some software might not make the cut, including some app that were pre-installed by your PC's manufacturer. There are also two versions of Windows 10 -- Windows 10 Home and Pro -- and the version you get will vary, depending on the version of Windows 7 or 8 you're running now. Microsoft's Windows 10 Specifications site has the full details, so you can ensure that your PC or tablet makes the transition intact.

Amazon Customer Service

Amazon has excellent customer service and is especially good at connecting you to a phone rep in under 30 seconds. The only problem is that it is difficult to find the Help page where the phone connection is and you have to fill out info before the call is put through. Here is an alternative: Just dial 1-866-216-1072, and you will get through promptly to a rep.

PS: Here is a really weird thing that might happen to you: You look on Amazon for a product and comparison shop it on eBay. You order on eBay because the product is available there for $28 which is less than it is available for on Amazon. The eBay seller sends you a shipping notice with a USPS tracking number. USPS never gets that product to ship. Instead, the eBay seller finds it for less on Amazon several days after you placed the eBay order, and buys it from Amazon (for $22), and has it sent to you as a "gift" delivered in an Amazon box with an Amazon order number. The gift note names the seller but, until you went back and checked the eBay order, you did not realize that the gift/seller was the same eBay seller. You can return the product to Amazon, but you will be refunded (by way of a gift card) only the amount the seller/gifter paid ($22). If the seller/gifter would take a return, that would be great, but if you have to pay shipping, you are better off just keeping the "gift." You  might not be happy with what happened, but you have to concede the seller/gifter was shrewd, and that the sun will come up tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Don't Get Stuck on Airbnb

Airbnb is a wonderful resource and an excellent website. But, it does not always have the best selection of rentals. For example, if you are looking for an ocean front place in Cape Cod, you will find a much better selection at FlipKey by Trip Advisor which you would find immediately by putting "Cape Cod Ocean Front Rentals" into The Google. Likewise, there are virtually no Hanalei Bay (Kauai) rentals on Airbnb while there are quite a few on Kauai Vacation Rentals. And restricting yourself to Airbnb for a rental in Sant Pol de Mar would not bring up the best rental there. So, rather than limiting yourself to Airbnb, it is worth also doing a simple search on The Google for the kind of place you are looking for.

Smash Flash

[From Gizmo's Freeware]
The time has come to think seriously about removing Flash from your PC. Your system will be more secure and will probably run faster.
At one time Adobe Flash (previously Macromedia Flash) was an important adjunct to web sites and was found all over the Internet. It is probably present on the majority of PCs.  But the coming of the native video features of HTML 5 and the constant parade of security problems with Flash mean that its day is coming to a close. Flash is also a heavy user of CPU resources and is a drain on batteries. All in all, the once-ubiquitous Flash is looking more like a detriment than a useful feature. It is time to assess whether you should keep it. Unless you have specific need for Flash, many security experts are recommending its removal and here is how to do it.

Check if you have Flash

If you are not sure if Flash is present on your system, there are several ways to check. There are, in fact, numerous varieties of Flash player. There is an old stand-alone multi-platform player called Shockwave Flash. There are also different ways that Internet browsers implement Flash. For example, Internet Explorer uses a plug-in called Flash ActiveX, the Google Chrome browser has a built-in Flash player, and Firefox uses a different Flash add-on. One place where you can check your particular browser to see if Flash is installed is here. The graphic below shows a check on a Chrome browser.
Flash player check
If you have the stand-alone player, it should be listed in Control Panel under Programs—Programs and Features. An ActiveX plug-in for Internet Explorer will also be listed here if it has been installed. Add-ons for Firefox will not be listed in Control Panel, however, nor will the built-in Flash for Chrome.

Uninstalling the Flash player

There are several ways to remove Flash. One way is to use the uninstaller provided by Adobe at this link. This uninstaller works for Internet Explorer and Firefox but personally I found it did not work for Chrome. The Flash player is built into Chrome and can be disabled only in Chrome itself. An example of the uninstaller is shown below.
Flash uninstaller
Disable Chrome Flash playerTo disable the Chrome Flash player, enter “chrome:plugins” (without quotes) in the address bar. A window will open where settings for certain plug-ins can be made. The graphic on the left shows the settings for Flash. Click “Disable” and restart the browser. A setting “Enable” will then be available if you wish to restore Flash.
If you have the Shockwave Flash player, it can be uninstalled in Control Panel. It should be listed under Programs—Programs and Features.

Getting Flash back

If for some reason you find that you need Flash, it can be reinstalled at this Adobe link.
And there you have it – uninstall Flash and get a safer PC. Incidentally, you might just lose a few ads too.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Five Best Battery Saver Apps for iOS Devices

A few days ago, we posted a piece on the three best Android battery saver apps. The DU Battery Saver is the one I've been using, and I continue to be stunned by how much longer a charge now lasts--namely double the time it used to last. Unfortunately, that particular app seems not to be available for iOS devices but others, including the number one rated app--Battery Doctor, is. Here then are the 5 top-rated battery saver apps for iOS devices:

1. Battery Doctor

We’ve already written thoroughly about Battery Doctor. This free battery management iPhone application is easily the one that offers the most thorough information set and the best array of tools for the iPhone user who really wants to know everything that goes on with their iOS device’s battery.
Battery Dr  Main
The app’s five different menus provide highly detailed information about the iPhone’s battery inner workings, with both the Status and the Rank menus being the most useful parts of it. The first of these menus provides the time that each of the iPhone’s main processes or apps will take to deplete the battery if they were in use, but at the same time provides instructions as to how to suspend any of these processes.
Battery Dr  Status 1  Battery Dr Status 2
The Rank menu also brings something novel to the table, allowing you to see how much of your iPhone’s battery each of the running processes is taking, although it doesn’t include either the screen’s power drainage or the operating system’s.
Battery Dr Power Usage 1  Battery Dr Power Usage 2

2. Battery Life Pro

Battery Life Pro might not be the prettiest or even the most intuitive battery management app out there, but what it lacks in usability it delivers in variety of functions and customization.
Battery Life Pro
From the start, this small, yet powerful app displays the current battery level in the form of a power gauge with some interesting options to its left and right. Sliding the “gauge” to the right allows you to change the app’s color scheme. Slide it to the left though, and the app’s most interesting option shows up: It allows you to select from among six main services (Bluetooth,Mail Push, Wi-Fi, Push, 3G and EQ) and to see how much of your iPhone’s battery you would additionally spend if you enable them.
Battery Life Pro 2  Battery Life Pro 3

3. Battery

Not every battery manager for the iPhone has to be cluttered or full of information of course. Many people would like to just have the most important info about their iPhones’ batteries fast, in just one screen and in an easy to read manner. This is exactly what Battery for iPhone accomplishes with a very clean and minimal interface that shows the user the current battery charge of the iPhone and the time it will take for any of the eight most important apps and processes to drain it.
Battery
Simple, useful information at a glance and for free.

4. Battery Manager

Battery Manager for the iPhone is by almost all means, a very simple and common battery app except for one nifty feature: It allows you to select any of the processes listed and to use a slider to choose the amount of time that you will use that app or process.
Battery Manager 1  Battery Manager 2
While you select your usage time, it will dynamically adjust the amount of time that your iPhone will last on battery for the remaining processes. It is a very intuitive option that really allows you to micromanage how you plan to use your iPhone for maximum battery efficiency, which makes it even more surprising that no other app I have tried has come up with something similar to it.
Battery Manager 3  Battery Manager 4
As for the rest of the app, it behaves as expected, showing you the time it will take your iPhone to turn off if one particular process is used.

5. System Status Lite

While this app offers a more general approach that encompasses the whole iPhone system, it also shows the current battery charge. Some might not find it really special, I found it very convenient to have all this “added information” while at the same time glimpsing my battery status.
System Status 1

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

It's an entertaining movie that is well-scripted, well-cast, well-acted, and well-photographed, and it moves right along holding your attention throughout. The only problem with the movie is that it spends too much time on matters of the heart and sensuality at the expense of showing more street and architectural scenes of Barcelona. To put a fine point on it, there was too much Vicky and Cristina and not enough Barcelona. A film-maker of Woody Allen's skill would have been well to have afforded a higher concern for his audience who have the chance to see the sights of Barcelona in the air-conditioned comfort of their homes or a theater rather than suffering in the city's interminable and intolerable heat. He also should have thrown in some scenes from Girona and the country-side outside Girona.

IMDb Link

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Three Best Battery Saving Apps for Android Devices

I've been using the DU Battery Saver (the app rated second best) and have found it easy to use and amazing in terms of extending the battery life of my phone and tablet in that the app nearly doubles the time before the device needs to be recharged. Here is a review of the top 3 such apps which also explains how they do what they do:

1, Battery Doctor 

Top 3 Best Battery Saving Apps Android -Fix Slow Charging
The name says it all.The Doctor in live colours.I can remember the first time using this app,  I was stocked to see my phone sustained a extra 2 days without charging. Yes I optimized my Samsung galaxy S3 by using the automatic battery saving feature that searches for what is intensively draining my battery, and In no time it preserved 45% more battery life.
I have a lot of  positive feedback for this app. If you want this app to make full use of it's function, you should consider installing this application too:Clean Master
Why using battery doctor? and why is it the best Battery saving app for android?
Okay, i won't be discussing it's 50,000,000 Installs, we all know why it's so high.
Disable pointless apps that drain your battery! -
  • Job Killer kills duties with one click on! -
  • Kill apps when display screen is off! -
  • Correct battery remaining time! -
  • Correct charging remaining time! -
  • Schedule energy saving modes for work/class/sleep and extra! -
  • Distinctive three Stage Charging system! -
  • Wifi/Information/Bluetooth toggle! -
  • Brightness management! -
  • CPU Administration (for rooted telephones)! -
  • Battery temperature! - Charging Ideas! -
  • 15 languages supported! - Easy simple-to-use interface!

2, DU Battery Saver and Widget

Another great Battery saving app for the android phone is the DU battery saver and widget . This is also a free battery saving app that comes with a widget to maximize more than 50% of your battery. The best thing about this app is that is does what is says and has little to no resources on the system. It works independently. The Smart Pre-battery features is capable of optimizing your battery in  real time and in background mode.
My second best android battery saving app.It is featured in a lot of website for it's standalone features that gives you the chance to extend more battery life and identify which app is hogging your system. The difference about this app is that is can maximize your battery  span without disabling most of your services and background running apps. It uses a smart technology and a one -click optimization technique that adequately extend your battery life more that 50 %
Top 3 Best Battery Saving Apps Android -Fix Slow Charging

Easy Battery Saver

If you are looking for a easy and simple battery saver app that can perform all the  effective and valuable tasks to optimize your android phone then easy battery saver is the app to choose.It is an intelligent battery saver app that can tune  your phone’s network connectivity, screen time out and screen brightness.
What type of saving mode it has ?
1 General Saving Mode 
Intelligent Saving Mode 
Super Power Saving 
Normal Mode 
5 Advanced Customized Mode 
easy-battery-saver-app

Identity Theft Remediation

If you have an identity theft (e.g., you find out a credit card application in your name was denied when you never made the application; or an account was opened in your name that you did not do; or a debt is sought to be collected from you even though you incurred no such debt), here is what to do:

1. Check out this EXCELLENT overview of what to do: https://www.identitytheft.gov/

2. Contact all your credit card companies, banks, and brokerage firms, and any other place that has any of your assets and alert them.

3. Have a fraud alert placed on your credit bureaus. See phone number and explanation in link at Point 1. See also https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/fraud-alerts.page

4. Have a credit freeze placed on your credit bureaus. See phone number and explanation in link at Point 1. See also https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/fraud-alerts.page

5. Get and review your credit reports. See phone number and explanation in link at Point 1. See also https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/fraud-alerts.page

6. Take a deep breath, calm down, and remember: The sun’s coming up tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, it’s only a day away.

7. If you had not already signed up for monitoring where you would get an immediate alert of any activity, do so, and you should do so whether or not you have had an identity theft. Here are two such services:  http://costco.identityguard.com/  if you are a Costco member and  https://www.citibank.com/us/cards/gen-content/crt_mntr/  if you are not. [Note the credit scores they report are based on their simulations and not the actual scores, but they are close, and the real point of the service is the alert function, not the score reporting function]


Friday, July 10, 2015

Driving in Europe (or at Least in Rural/Coastal Spain)

If you haven't driven a stick shift in 40+ years, you are in for a real thrill if you rent a car in Europe: Just like riding a bike ... the basic skill comes back immediately (double-clutching might remain elusive). Well, not completely of course, but good enough. Here's the only catch: When you get home, and back into your automatic, you will find yourself reaching for and then starting to try to move the gear shift while your foot gropes for a non-existent clutch.

The one thing you might know, but if not it's a good idea to travel with someone whose father decades ago taught this lesson, if you park with the wheels blocked against the sidewalk, and then if the key does not turn in the ignition, and it is the only time you forgot to take your phone with you, sitting down in the baking sun and crying will not help. What will help is to give the steering wheel a strong pull down or push up as if trying to turn the wheels, which somehow magically frees the ignition. Upon returning home, you might discover you are in a smaller minority than you had thought who knew all about this problem and its resolution.