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MAY 2011

Page history last edited by Donald Achim 9 years, 2 months ago


Elder Teckies Help Newsletter


Senior Computer Users of Greater Kansas City

Compiled and Edited by Don Achim  


A Not for Profit Organization - Helping Senior Citizens Develop Computer Skills in the 21st Century


MAY 2011                                                            


Guide for Seniors who use Computers


Discover How to Make the Computer Easier to See, Hear, and Use

Having trouble seeing things on your computer screen? By the time we reach our fifties, two-thirds of us have vision, hearing, or dexterity impairments that will impact our use of the computer. There are easy ways to adjust your computer without downloading or purchasing anything. This guide shows you the features in Microsoft Windows that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer.

Make the Computer Easier to See

* If you have trouble seeing the screen, explore ways to increase text and icons, change colors, and add contrast to what you see on your computer screen.
* Try the built-in bifocals, called Magnifier, in Windows. Magnifier opens a floating window that magnifies a portion of the screen—just like a magnifying glass or pair of bifocals.

Make the Computer Easier to Hear

* If you have difficulty hearing videos or other computer sounds, try cranking up the volume. Also, using headphones can help block out background noise.
* Having trouble hearing email alerts? Try using text or visual alternatives for sounds and consider adjusting computer system sounds to tones that are easier for you to hear.

Make the Keyboard Easier to Use

* If you experience typing errors due to a mild tremor or stiff fingers, try Filter Keys to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes.
* If you find it difficult to press multiple keys at once, try Sticky Keys.

Windows Speech Recognition

* If still joints or dexterity issues are slowing you down, try using Windows Speech Recognition in Windows Vista. You can talk to your computer and use voice commands to dictate text, send email, and more. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get started once you plug a microphone into your PC.

Make the Internet Easier to Use

* If you have trouble seeing things on the Web, many options are available in Internet Explorer 7 to make the Internet easier to see and explore. Try zooming in on a Web page to magnify text, images, and controls. Also, try changing text, color, font, and other options to make Web pages easier to see and read.

Make the Mouse Easier to Use

* If you find yourself searching for your mouse cursor more often than you search the Web, adjust the mouse cursor size, appearance, and pointer options.
* If you find yourself wrestling to control the mouse, you can change the way the mouse scrolls and how the buttons work, including the double-click speed.
* Is dragging a drag? Try using ClickLock if you don't want to hold the mouse button down while you drag items with the mouse.

For above solutions: click here


Quick learn tutorials: click here


Great collection of Free Software: click here


Best Antivirus Programs for 2011:click here


Microsoft Treats Windows XP as an Addiction


It appears as if the software giant is casting XP users in the same light as those suffering from an addiction and in need of help. On the Microsoft download web site, the message reads as follows:

"Looking to get off Windows XP? Use this handy gadget to count down the number of days until Windows XP End of Support (EOS) in 2014".


'Help Stop The Dependence' of Windows XP

The end-of-support gadget sits upon the desktop and slowly ticks away the seconds left until the plug is officially pulled on Windows XP.

When the user double clicks the widget, an additional button is displayed and offers to redirect users to a website that promises to 'help stop dependence' of Windows XP and its ailing technology. (Source: i-programmer.info)

While 2014 marks the official end-of-support year for Windows XP, Microsoft has already taken several measures to wean people off the aging OS -- most notably, denying them the benefits of new technology in the form of the Internet Explorer 9 browser and the updated Windows Media Player.


Windows XP Users Denied XP Countdown Gadget

Ironically, Microsoft did not think enough of offering this gadget to Windows XP users, since it can only run on Windows Vista or Windows 7. (Source: filescrunch.com)

Those interested in the countdown feature can visit the Microsoft download site and follow the link instructions under "Windows XP End of Support Countdown Gadget".



  Reminder: Elder Teckies will not meet in July or August. NEXT MEETING MAY 19th


 Sample Newsletter:                     LifeHacker               Virus?Malware Problems:  Click for Help from Microsoft


From PCWorld




Must-Have Tools and Tricks


Learn how to get a disposable e-mail address, stop Windows 7 from automatically resizing windows, and recover data from a dead laptop.

By Rick Broida, PCWorld    Feb 22, 2011 10:45 pm

It's time for another grab bag of hassle killers. This week I tell you how to get a disposable e-mail address to use as a spam magnet, how to turn off Windows 7's automatic window resizing, and how to recover data from a crashed drive.

Get a Quick and Easy Disposable E-Mail Address

Here's a common hassle: You sign up for some freebie, promotion, or service that requires your e-mail address--and suddenly your inbox is deluged with ads, notifications, and other spam.

Of course, without supplying an e-mail address, you wouldn't have been able to sign up. Indeed, in some cases you actually need to get e-mail from the company, if only to retrieve a registration code, coupon, or the like.

What you need is a disposable e-mail address, one that doesn't impact your inbox. Enter Mailinator, a free and easy service that gives you a temporary, Web-accessible e-mail address. (Fans of Phineas and Ferb should channel Dr. Doofenshmirtz: "It's my latest invention: the Mail-in-ator!!")

What I love about Mailinator is that it requires no registration or setup of any kind. You just think up an e-mail address on the fly (like when you're staring at a Web form), tack on @mailinator.com, and then type it in. For example: hasslefreepc@mailinator.com.

To check your e-mail, just head to the Mailinator site, enter your invented address under "Check your inbox," and then click Go. Presto: there's your mail. There's no password required (meaning this is a highly non-secure system, so use it only for things that don't require absolute privacy).

The only thing I couldn't figure out from Mailinator's FAQ page (which I highly recommend reading) is how long the mail (and accounts) are stored. A week? Indefinitely? I'm guessing it's the latter, meaning you should probably delete your messages when you're done with them. You also have the option of forwarding them to your primary e-mail account, which is handy.

This is a great little service, one that can really help cut down your spam.

Turn Off Automatic Window Resizing and Docking in Windows 7

When Windows 7 made its debut back in 2009, one of its most celebrated new features was automatic window resizing: drag a window to one edge of the screen and it would "dock" there while resizing to fill half the screen. Drag a window up top and it would enlarge to full-screen size. Drag it down again and it would return to its original size. And so on.

It's a pretty cool feature, one I use from time to time--but not everybody likes it. Indeed, some users might prefer to turn off the feature entirely, to resize windows as they see fit. Just one problem: where oh where in Windows 7's sea of settings do you find that particular one? In a place you might not expect.

Here's what to do:

  1. Click Start, type Ease, then click Ease of Access Center.
  2. Scroll down a bit and click Make the mouse easier to use.
  3. Scroll down to and enable the last check box in that window: Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen.
  4. Click OK.

Now your windows won't dock or resize when you drag them to the various hotspots.

Recover Lost Data From a Crashed Laptop Hard Drive

Reader Luis is trying to help a friend whose laptop hard drive started having boot problems. The friend replaced the drive, but now Luis is trying to help her recover prized family photos from it. He mentioned running Recuva' a great utility for such rescue missions, but can't figure out the logistics of reconnecting the bad drive to the laptop.

Specifically, he's trying to determine how to put Recuva on a bootable CD, restore access to the bad drive, and then find a home for the salvaged pictures.

This is easier than you think, Luis! What you need is an external enclosure for the old, displaced drive. These little housings cost no more than $15-20, and they turn a formerly internal hard drive into an external one, able to plug into any USB port. Just make sure you buy an enclosure that matches the size (i.e. thickness) and interface (i.e. IDE or SATA) of the drive.

Installing it in the enclosure takes no more than a few minutes, and from there you should be able to access the drive just like any other removable storage. The only uncertainty is whether or not Recuva can recognize it. If so, have at it--and just save any recovered photos to the new drive. If not, you might need to look at some more robust data-recovery utilities.

If you've got a hassle that needs solving, send it my way. I can't promise a response, but I'll definitely read every e-mail I get--and do my best to address at least some of them in the PCWorld Hassle-Free PC blog. My 411: hasslefree@pcworld.com. You can also sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.



Antivirus Suites Compared: Microsoft Free A/V Inadequate




Microsoft Security Essentials has put on a mediocre showing in a series of recent tests run by international examiners AV-Test.org. The results were deemed so poor that Microsoft actually placed 20th out of 22 antivirus products tested.

MSE Strong at Detecting Known Variants


Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 (MSE) started off the testing procedures relatively strong when required to uncover malware drawn from industry-agreed Wildlist selection, including malware variants such as the Koobface virus.

In this test, Microsoft Security Essentials finished with an impressive detection rate of 100 per cent. It also fared well against a number of recent malware samples selected by a panel of AV-Testing personnel, finishing with a favorable 97 per cent score. (Source: idg.no)


MSE Missing Effective Email and Web Protection


Issues began to arise, however, when Security Essentials went up against 107 recent zero-day malware attacks.

Despite AV-Test claiming that the flaws represented "real-world testing", MSE was only able to spot half of them. The product also produced dismal results in areas of "dynamic detection testing", which discovers a malware infection on or post-execution with a 45 per cent detection rate.

By comparison, the test average for real-world testing and dynamic testing was 84 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively.

In a Techworld release following the antivirus testing performances, Andreas Marx of AV-Test weighed in on Security Essentials. "The product (MSE) is missing effective email and web protection and also dynamic detection/protection technologies, so the product performs worse when compared with other free or paid offerings." (Source: infoworld.com)


BitDefender Takes Top Honors


Of all the antivirus programs tested, BitDefender's Internet Security Suite 2011 ranked the highest, scoring a maximum weighted score of 6.0 across all tests. BullGuard Internet Security 10, F-Secure Internet Security 2011 and Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 all scored 5.5 for a share of second spot.

In the end, Security Essentials was awarded a "pass" certification under the AV-Test assessment, receiving satisfactory marks in at least 11 of the 18 areas tested.


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