Tag Archives: Patti’s Pathways

Patti’s Pathways has computer and health tips and solutions for daily life.

Making Sense of Terms of Service (a.k.a. EULAs)

We’ve all done it. Yes, you have. Don’t deny it.Question mark smilie

“Done what?” you ask.

Rapidly read, or purposely skipped, a EULA for a software or app download.


What’s a EULA? over time you wish to use free or paid software or apps, you must agree to an End-User Licensing Agreement or EULA (their terms and conditions) before you’re allowed to download said software.


Most standard EULAs exist to protect developer ideas along with their licensing partners. This is especially true for apps. Many apps are independently created and sold for distribution to software giants like Google Play or The App Store (Apple).

The trouble is some EULAs aren’t standard. These EULAs are the problem causers.

timeThe trap many computer users fall into is the time trap. That’s the place where not-enough-hours-in-the-day meets the-abyss-of-EULA-legalese.

Some Time Management Thoughts

  • iTunes and Mag+ Publisher EULAs are each 33 pages long and over 15,000 words.
  • Paypal’s User Agreement has 16 sections for a grand total of 61 pages and over 26,000 words.

Guess how many words are in a novella? Yep, same amount: 17,500 to 40,000. And novellas are light reading. EULAs? Not so much.

I somewhat understand the Paypal EULA length since it’s a banking service, but still. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paypal. It keeps my credit card/banking info on one site rather than spread all over the internet.


More EULA Food for Thought

  • A few days ago, Nintendo updated its EULA for the Wii U gaming console.

If you don’t accept their new EULA terms, your game console shuts down and becomes unusable. Really nice after you’ve shelled out $300 or more USD for it originally.

The truly bothersome thing is the presidence Nintendo is setting. Now EULAs not only affect digital content, but actual physical items.


I know what you’re thinking, “Nintendo can’t do that. EULA’s aren’t really legally binding”.

If EULAs are or aren’t lawful depends solely upon the court trying the case. There have been court cases — ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg is cited regularly — where courts have upheld the legality of EULAs.

So if EULA’s might be legally binding, what’s to safeguard the innocent computing public?Flying contract

We all know even when we read contracts sometimes the legal descriptions and verbiage just flies right over our heads. True enough? Not to mention the “boring” factor.


Here’s the blog section where I actually give you useful information. I knew you’d be happy.

First, some EULAs should be read in their entirety.

I’m talking about investment or financial sites. You have hard currency deposited with these places so you need to know what’s in their EULAs.

I’m also talking about sites that have access to your personal information.

Second, the following trick doesn’t work on EULAs that display in a pop-up window. However, it’s very useful for EULAs that display in .pdf form or browser windows.

Saving Time Reading EULAs

STEP 1: Know problematic EULA terms and phrases.

The terms or phrases the standard computing public should look out for include:

  • unlawful
  • pay/purchase*
  • share/give*
  • allow
  • trial*
  • rights
  • install*
  • uninstall/removal*

The asterisks (*) are the important ones, in my opinion (and that’s why you read this blog).

What we’re looking for with these terms are EULAs that state: a) they share or give your personal information away to other sites, b) may install other things on your computer (tracking software, tool bars, etc.), c) you can’t remove their software once you’ve installed it — Ha! I’d like to see them stop me — and d) you have to pay for something after a trial period, often at a cost that’s mind-boggling.

STEP 2: Determine if the EULA is a pop-up or not. This is easy. If it looks like the below example, and you can only click decline/accept or agree/disagree, it’s a pop-up. If that’s the case, I suggest you read it.
Adobe EULA WindowRemember, we can’t search a pop-up window for suspicious or unusual terms.

STEP 3: For a EULA in a browser window, Press Ctrl + F to search for terms or phrases.
EULA in Browser WindowNotice the nice box in the lower left corner? This is where you type your search criteria or terms.

STEP 4: Type in each term you wish to search out separately (see Step 1) then press Enter.

STEP 5: Use the up and down arrows to the right of the search box to view all your finds.


DISCLAIMER: This is my personal strategy. I am sharing it with the intent to help you avoid wasted time, and worse, legal problems. Use these techniques at your own risk. I am not a lawyer nor have I ever desired to be one.


Things You Should Know

1) When you put software on your computer, you do not now, nor will you ever, own it.

Most software is copyright by the developer(s) or the company who paid big bucks to the developer(s) to own it, and that wasn’t you.

Here’s an analogy. Written works are copyrights of the author who created them. You can pay $4.99 for a book, but you don’t own those writings. You own the book to read those writings, but not the original text.

It’s the same with computer software. But unlike books, you can’t loan a computer program to a friend for two weeks then get it back.

2) Many EULAs limit the resale of digital content. This has a lot to do with owner versus user rights like the ones we talked about above.

In 2010, a court upheld a developer’s right not to have its software resold courtroomor transferred by the original purchaser as stated in its EULA. This case came about by — you guessed it — a resale of software on Ebay.

The new and unopened software was resold by a gentleman who bought it at a business liquidation auction. The case started in 2008, and went back and forth on appeals. Check out Vernor v. Autodesk.  It’s interesting reading for computer geeks… and maybe even if you’re not.


Interesting Items in EULAs

Did you know…?

  • You can’t use iTunes for warfare.

“You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture, or production of nuclear, missile, or chemical or biological weapons.”

Personally, I’ve considered calling the Pentagon several times with suggestions of certain pop and rap songs usable as auditory weapons of mass destruction.

  • EA (Electronic Arts, a game company) isn’t responsible for “…LOSS OF GOODWILL, WORK STOPPAGE…”

Meaning if you fight with a friend over an EA game, don’t call them for bail, or if you call in sick or late for work because of their game and get fired, you can’t sue them for lost wages. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • Facebook can give anyone your info at anytime.

“…you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

Facebook does give you an out by stating the above is “subject to your privacy and application settings”. So if you have strict privacy settings, they won’t give away as much of your stuff to everyone else on the net. They explain their reasoning in the next blurb.

“When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”

Last Thoughts on EULAs:

  • A few weeks ago I blogged about unknowingly adding tool bars to your computer (Extra Annoying Programs). Some EULAs do this.

Be careful to uncheck any boxes that could download extra content to your computer or browser before you agree to a EULA.

My Suggestion

contractIf you must pick and choose which EULAs to read, read the ones that matter.

Those would be from banks and financial institutes, and any site that has access to your private information.

On the freebie programs with no personal info, I’d search for download, tracking, location, and call it good.

Why?

1) You’re looking for anything downloading you don’t know about, and 2) mobile devices now can pinpoint your location like a GPS.

Number 2 is particularly bad if strangers want to track your kids, and particularly good if you want to track your kids.

My last suggestion is to use EULAs as bedtime reading. The “boring” factor I talked about earlier really comes in handy for insomniacs.

Have a great week, and thanks for following Patti’s Pathways. 🙂


Related posts you might like: How Secure is Dropbox? Extra Annoying Programs


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Advertisement

Welcome Windows 10!

October is a nightmare month for me. Terrifying in terms of the number of places to scared girlgo and people to see, not to mention stuffing day-to-day activities into the same time frame.

But guess what? I have more planned at the end of the month, but until then…  I’m baaaack. Cue scary music.


A few weeks ago I informed, notified, warned —pick your poison — of a new Microsoft OS on the horizon. The big announcement came on September 30 as promised, but speculation the new operating system (a.k.a. Threshhold) would be unveiled as Windows 9 was wrong. Microsoft skipped right over the number nine and went straight to double digits.

Welcome To the World Windows 10!

Hello little Windows 10.  We hear you’re a lot less horrifying than Windows 8 (which isn’t anywhere near as petrifying as Windows Vista). We want you to be our friend.

Niceties out of the way, it’s time to dissect our new buddy Windows 10.

With Windows 10 Microsoft has tried to lessen confusion by bringing back the familiarity of Windows 7 while keeping the new interface of Windows 8. Thank you Microsoft development crew.

Windows 10 is probably what Windows 8 should’ve been. Glad to see Microsoft realized the general public wasn’t ready for a futuristic Windows product just quite yet.

A few days ago Microsoft released a test version of Windows 10, and anyone can words only scary microsoftdownload it. But beware.

Windows 10 Technical Preview has numerous bugs, but that’s to be expected. It’s a preview. What wasn’t expected is the depth to which this preview can access your personal information.

“When you acquire, install and use the Program, Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

For example, when you:

* install the Program, we may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility,

* use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing,

* open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use it for purposes such as improving performance, orscreaming woman

* enter text, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spellcheck features.”

Scared spitless yet? You should be.

The good news is other people have downloaded and tested the preview so we don’t have to. Thank you brave computing souls.


What’s new in Windows 10?

Windows 10 has a fresh — not as alien as Windows 8 — look. Some of the icons within Windows 10 look different, but basically function the same as Windows 7.

  • Apps will appear in separate windows.
  • There are dozens of new shortcut key commands. Like “snapping” windows into different corners of your desktop.
  • File Explorer gets smarter in Windows 10. It’ll remember what you recently opened and keep track of your favorite files so you have faster access to the files you use regularly.
  • Taskview will be available so you can see all your open windows along the bottom bar of your desktop.
  • Search includes Internet finds.
  • MS also did some housekeeping, making a few minor changes. Like the ability to cut and paste into the command prompt, which will make intermediate computer users fairly happy.
  • Probably one of the neatest new features is multiple virtual desktops.

What’s that mean? Say I’m working on my blog and have Adobe Photo Shop open, MS Word open, plus a few web windows (WordPress edit, WordPress preview, etc.).

Someone asks me to start a spreadsheet project or to look up something on the internet for them. Before Windows 10, I’d need to add this to my sole desktop mess of open windows. With Windows 10, I can open a new, clean virtual desktop and work there.

With a few mouse clicks or shortcut keys, I can switch between virtual desktops. From what I understand, there is an auto-save function so you can call up your virtual desktops on any device at any time.

NOTE OF CAUTION: When you’re 100% through with a project on a virtual desktop, close/erase the desktop. I foresee people unfamiliar with these eventually having 30 or more virtual desktops open and wondering why their computer performance is suffering.


Okay, now to address the big question for us casual gamers: does Windows 10 have OpenGL?

Windows 10 description says it ships with DirectX12. I have a feeling as with Windows 8, there’ll be no OpenGL on Windows 10.

But fear not! The Grim Reaper hasn’t come for us yet.Grim reaper

At least for Minecraft junkies, there’s a silver lining. Sorry Angry Bird fans, you’ll have to tweak OpenGL as detailed in my first post. See below for the link.

For Minecraft fanatics, the great news is that Microsoft recently purchased Minecraft from Mojang. There’s little doubt Microsoft will fix the Minecraft issues to run with its Operating Systems. It would be counterproductive for them to leave their game unplayable on their OS… I hope.

I’ll update the OpenGL info soon after Windows 10 is released.


Whether you run a 4″ mobile device or an 80″ LED screen, you can use Windows 10. Keep your eyes and ears open. Rollout should start spring of 2015.

Have a great week, and thanks for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


Related Blogs: On the Threshold of Windows 9, A Notch in the Belt of Microsoft, Finally a Fix for Windows 8 OpenGL Error


All images used within EULA parameters granted by Microsoft.


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Spotting Extra Annoying Programs

Whether you read this headline and thought “Extra programs are annoying”, or “Yep, some programs are extra annoying”, it doesn’t matter. Both are equally true.

Annoying programs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free, some are not, and some are free for a certain number of days. These free trials are known as Bloatware. Like Microsoft Office, they come pre-installed on your new computer or mobile device. You pretty much have no choice with these. The only thing you can do is decide which ones to keep (i.e. eventually buy), and which ones to delete.

Where you do have a choice are with programs I like to call tag-alongs. They’re officially known in the tech industry as adware, spyware, junkware, or crapware… and those are only the names I can reference in polite society. These names alone should tell you what the IT World thinks of them.

Grab a cup of tea and let me tell you about tag-alongs.


smiley bookOnce upon a time in computing history, a business decided when a person downloaded a chosen program it’d be profitable to add theirs as a bonus. The end-user thought receiving extra stuff for nothing was wonderful until he downloaded four more programs and was extended a dividend of four more tag-along programs. He realized some blessing were really curses in disguise, just like King Midas.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a happy ending… yet. But I’m going to help you recognize where these tag-alongs come from, and how to avoid them.

Most tag-along programs come with free downloads. I won’t say all tag-alongs come with freebies for the same reason a person shouldn’t say “never” or “always”.

In our story, we don’t care what causes those pesky additional programs to attack our computer, we just care that they do.


 Why Are Tag-along Programs Bad?

  • They slow down your browser.

Ever wonder how the Internet knows the exact brand of something you’ve just purchased?  Tag-along programs. Stealth programs known as Spyware or Adware sit in the back of your computer watching your purchases and website visits. Later they automatically toss-up advertisements that might interest you.

Why is this bad? These programs take precious seconds off your download speeds and clog up your computer’s RAM and hard drive memory.

Yes, we’re only talking extra seconds added, but Headache computercompound this by several programs and your computer speeds may rival 56K dial-up modems. Remember dial-up? I really don’t either. Trust me, it was horribly slow; we just didn’t realize it at the time.

  •  They load too many toolbars.

PC Magazine posted a super example of what happens when bonus toolbars load along with other programs. See the bottom where it says PC? That’s the PC Magazine website… under all the toolbars.
Toolbars

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • They take up memory.

Programs are programs. People think a few extra megabytes of RAM or storage space used has no impact. It does.


It’ll help us understand by knowing how computer memory works.

How Hard Drive Memory is Used

Imagine your computer hard drive as a piece of graph paper. There are squares across plus up and down where we save data. The top left square gets the first item saved. We’ll pretend each square stores a byte of data.Mona Lisa

First, I save a word processing document worth ten squares (bytes). Then I find a picture of the Mona Lisa I like so I’m saving it. Mona’s cost in space is five squares. So far I’ve saved fifteen squares of total data.

Oh, I forgot. I need to edit down my document; it’s too long. I erase two squares of data and re-save. I now have two open squares between my document and Mona on my hard drive.

Now I create a spreadsheet worth seven squares. Data saves in all open squares first. This means two squares of spreadsheet data are saved between my document and Mona while the last five of the seven squares save behind Mona.

This happens over and over as we save items to our hard drives. Computers slow down when we ask them to piece together an item spread out over many squares. NOTE: To speed up your computer, you can defragment or defrag your hard drive. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? See. You’re smart.

What is RAM Memory?

Think of RAM memory like a kitchen counter. I store my food (data) in a refrigerator (hard drive), but when I want to use it I need a place to set it while I cook (RAM memory). Computer items (documents/internet pages/pictures park in RAM memory as I edit/read/view them. The larger the countertop (Random Access Memory), the more food (data) I can have out at one time.


 Spotting Tag-along Programs

Let’s talk about spotting rogue programs that seek us out. They sneak into our computers when we’re on auto-pilot after a long day, or after a frustrating hour trying to find a usable download.

  • Make sure to download the correct program.

This is the download screen I posted a few weeks ago in Password Protecting Items in Windows 8.

Even a trusted site like Download.com can be confusing. I wanted the 7-Zip download. There are at least two other programs on this page vying for my download. Neither of which I want.Download 7-zip

 

  •  Uncheck all boxes that will cause you to say, “Huh? How’d that get there?” later.

This is Java. You know Java. Almost every computer in the world runs something that uses Java. Well, when you update your Java — don’t worry, it’ll remind you — you’ll see this.

If you don’t uncheck the boxes, not only will you download and install the Ask search app, you’ll make it your default browser and your homepage. Don’t do it.added unwanted toolbars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Uncheck the boxes unless you really want the toolbar. You probably don’t if you’ve been fine searching the World Wide Web up to now.unwanted toolbars

 

 

 

 

 

 


There. Don’t you feel better? Now you know what to look for to avoid downloading adware, spyware, junkware, and crapware.infected

What? You think you’re already are infected? Don’t worry. You can get rid of those with no needles involved.

I can’t do better in my explanations than to direct you to Kim Komando’s site. She has easily understandable instructions. Thanks, Kim.
Remove Unwanted Toolbars-Kim Komando

Have a wonderful week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. Y’all come back now, ya’ hear? 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Facebook: Little Known Tips and Tricks

FB logoI’ve been on Facebook again for a while now. I deleted my account for three years, but was talked into reactivating it. Had I known some of these tips my first go ’round, I would’ve tweaked my account so I wasn’t so overwhelmed.

You may already know some or all of these — in which case they’re not little known — but I thought I’d pass along some of the more useful tools and security settings I’ve uncovered anyway.


TIP ONE:

We all have that one person in our Facebook lives. You know the one. They insist we be part of every dental exam, every vet visit, every emotional breakdown, their list goes on. We like them and don’t want to hurt their feelings, but their Facebook posts are just clogging our newsfeed.

UNFOLLOW A NEWSFEED

In the example below, if I no longer wanted to see what John Tesh has to tell me, I can hover over the 1) arrow in the top right of his post, then 2) click Unfollow John Tesh. John won’t know, and I’ll just no longer see his newsfeeds on my Facebook page.
Unfollow

 

John’s Facebook account is public or I’d have blurred out his info. It’s a great site.

FB TIP TWO:

HIDE GROUP NEWSFEEDS:

I’m a member of several Facebook groups. One group has thousands of members so the posts get overwhelming. I like this group and want to remain a member of it but at my leisure.

We can do the same thing with groups as we did with an individual. Instead of Unfollowing though, with Groups it’s known as Archiving.

1) Navigate to the Group’s home page, and 2) click the ellipsis. Yep, that’s its name. Then 3) choose Archive Group.Archive Group

 

 

 

 

 

4) View the ominous warning, and click “Archive”.
Archive Warning

 

 

 

 

 

I have a short memory so I’ve decided I want to reactivate my group newsfeeds. And how could I forget John Tesh has intelligence for my life so I want his newsfeed back also.

TIP THREE:

Unarchiving a Group Feed/Refollowing a Person

1) Find the News Feed Settings gear, and 2) choose Edit Settings.
Newsfeed Settings Gear

 

 

 

 

3) Click the “x” beside the group/person you’d like to view posts again on your Facebook page.
unarchive group

 

 

4) Click Save. Now all the newsfeeds you’ve selected are back.

 

 TIP FOUR

Ever want to post something you really don’t want your boss to see? How about posts you really, really don’t want Aunt Agnes to see? Or something less nefarious: a joke only a few good friends will understand.

You’d need a way to select who you send what. Facebook has that.


You can accomplish your goal of sending posts and photos to chosen Facebook friends in one of two ways: 1) create a list, or 2) set up a group.

With lists or groups, your bff sees everything — articles, jokes, sayings, emo rants — while co-workers can only see a few jokes or an article you shared about production.

Facebook has already included lists for you to populate. There are Close Friends for people you keep in contact with, and Acquaintances for people you don’t. Restricted is useful for people like your boss and managers; I’d include co-workers with the insatiable need to gossip in this list also. Or you can create you own.

What’s the difference?

Stuff Lists Do Groups Can’t

  • Lists are connected to your security settings.

NOTE: If you use a list to limit your audience, your default may reset to that list. I’ve had that happen, but can’t verify or recreate it happening every single time. If it does, you can change it by setting the next post to Friends or whichever list you wish the post sent. Or you can do it through settings.

Under 1) Settings
FB Settings

2) Click Privacy in the left margin, then you can see and set a default.
Privacy List

 

  • Lists will not notify all your Facebook contacts you’ve create a new list. When you create a new group, it’s blabbed all over your Facebook.

Stuff Groups Do Lists Don’t

1) Groups limit what people view on your wall. You can set a group to only see what you’ve posted for that group.

You could do this for lists, but you’d need several monster lists minus the special people you wish to un-include.

2) Groups are customizable.

  • You can set a specific picture to represent your group.
  • Administrators can be assigned.
  • Groups can have their own customized email address.
    This is kind of a neat feature. When information is sent to the Group’s email address, it posts to their wall.

3) You can use the Share feature on Group posts.  Lists don’t support this function.


Making a List

1) On your Home page’s left-hand margin, scroll down and hover over Friends, then  2) click More.
Friends-More

 

 

 

 

3) Click Create List
Create list

 

 

 

 

4) Add people to your new list.
Facebook makes it easy. When you type a letter, you’ll get friend choices.
Add to friend list

 

Using Your New List

When you post in the “What’s on your mind?” Facebook box, you can choose your  list.

1) Write your thoughts or insert your photo, and 2) Choose your list.
Select List of Friends who see post

Yes, I have tested this. Only the people on your list can see your post.

FYI: If you switch lists, your post is removed from the original recipient’s page and resent to the new receiver.

Remember: the List function may set the last list used as your default.

Updating Your Lists

1) Simply click on the list name in the right margin, 2) click Manage List to add or delete people, change the list name, plus more.
Update Friends List

 

Creating A Group

1) Click on Create Group under your Groups area in the left margin.Create Group side panel

2) Pick a name, 3) add members, and 4) choose your Privacy specs.
Create target list

 

TIP FIVE:

You’ve got your security settings just like you want them… secure. So you might not want everyone and his dog —yes, some canines love Facebook — seeing your reply comments.

Are you ever curious about who can see what you write on someone else’s post?

Who Can View Your Comments

Hovering over the icon below their name tells you exactly who can see your replies/comments.

The first person’s Facebook posts are Public, the second are only Shared with their friends.Public-private sharing

 

 

TIP SIX:

Did you realize that your Facebook Friends can take your secure information with them to other apps or games? Apps are usually granted access to FB information when a person logs into other websites with their Facebook account.

When you give a trusted contact free rein to your information, they could be giving it away and not even know it.

Secure How Much of Your Information Others Can Share

1) Go to Settings, 2) Apps in the left margin, and 3) scroll down to Apps Others Use and 4) click Edit.
Apps others use

 

 

 

 

 

5) Uncheck what you don’t want passed on and 6) Save. I’ve unchecked everything.

HELPFUL HINT: While you’re at the bottom of the Apps page, I’d recommend disabling the Instant Personalization option. This prohibits your public info from being used by Facebook’s third-party partner sites, like TripAdvisor or Pandora.

TIP SEVEN:

If you want to be a courteous friend and not bombard people with paid ads from stuff you like, you can turn that feature off.

1) Go to Settings, 2) Ads in the left margin, 3) click Edit by Ads And Friends. Set it to 4) No one and 5) Save.Facebook ad


HELPFUL HINT:
While you’re on this page, set your Third-party Sites (above Ads and Friends) to No one just in case at some future date Facebook decides to sell its user lists.

TIP EIGHT:

Did you know you have an “Other” message box? If your Facebook page isn’t Public and someone who’s not your FB Friend sends you a message, it ends up in your Other box.

If you click on the word bubble icon to get to your messages, you’ll also see your Other tab.
Other Message Box


Now that your to-do list is overflowing with Facebook tasks, I’ll leave you alone to digest this post. I have one last tip: Like the Facebook Security page. You’ll get the latest in threat news, plus some great internet safety tips here.

Have a super week, and thanks for visiting Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

A Notch in the Belt of Microsoft

Yep, another special midweek edition. This one isn’t about flash fiction — although some gamers may hope this is fiction, but it’s not — it’s about the biggest gaming news in years. That’s my opinion, but prove me wrong. Can’t, can ya’?

microsoft logo roundThe major gaming announcement this week is that the Microsoft Corporation has purchased Mojang AB (owner of the popular Minecraft video game) for $2.5 billion USD. That’s billion… with a B. I know what you’re thinking: But Patti, in the 2014 fiscal year Microsoft Corporation’s net profit was 22.07 billion USD; they can afford it.

You’ve convinced me. They can afford it, and it might just be the best money they’ve spent lately. Why?

Avatar_Creeper_100x100Markus Persson (aka Notch to the gaming world), Swedish programmer and kingpin of Minecraft, has been a thorn in Microsoft’s side of late. First, with his anti-Windows 8 stance. Remember, he refused to update Minecraft to work without OpenGL? Trust me, he did. That’s how this blog got started. See my first post Finally a Fix for Windows 8 OpenGL Error.

Persson also stated there was no pressing reason to create a Minecraft version for Microsoft’s Windows phones. Minecraft is one of iPhone and Android’s most popular mobile apps, and those two operating systems have a 95% share of the world mobile market according to Business Insider. Microsoft Windows phones are barely a speck on the smartphone horizon. Could there be a correlation? Possibly. But I do see a trend Microsoft could well want to take a Notch out of.

Well, Mr. Persson, tick off a gigantic corporation and watch their thinktank wheels turn. They usually will come up with an offer you can’t refuse. And you didn’t. Why sell your baby to a company you obviously despise?

Since its launch in 2009, Minecraft has sold over 50 million copies for PC’s, smartphones, and video game consoles. Its annual revenue last year was $290 million. While that’s small potatoes for Microsoft, it’s sizable for a company like Mojang AB.

Minecraft is taking off like wild-fire. There are Minecraft-themed camps, Halloween costumes, Scholastic gaming guides, Lego characters, and a soon-to-be Warner Bros. movie. Don’t forget the online Minecraft projects, YouTube and Twitch tips and tricks posts, and teachers using it to educate students in computer programming classes. Oh, and Minecraft is one of the most played Xbox games in the world.

Its popularity is the core of the problem. Persson can’t keep up. He’s frustrated managing something so large, plus he’s having difficulty keeping development pace with demanding Minecraft fans.

giant babyIn essence, Persson’s baby has grown too big for him to care for. His best course of action is to find someone with experience to nurture it and see to its future.

But before we get too sentimental, don’t forget he had 2.5 billion reasons to entrust the baby’s care to Microsoft.

Persson posted on his personal website: “Thank you for turning ‘Minecraft’ into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big.”

Serious gamers are grumbling a corporate takeover will ruin Minecraft’s homegrown, Indie flavor. But honestly, I saw this coming when Walmart started selling Minecraft plushies. That was the beginning of the end for the Indie marketing strategy.

What’s my opinion and thoughts for Minecraft’s future?

Personally, I think this could be a very good thing for Minecraft fans. A friend mentioned his hopes of Microsoft stabilizing Minecraft’s online servers. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Things I had thought about were new game content, and more rapid implementation of suggested improvements. I’d also thought about corporate greed. Will Microsoft decide to offer added Minecraft features and content for money? Currently, you buy Minecraft — $7 to $27 USD depending on the platform for play — and everything is included; all updates are free.

Nobody really know how this scenario will play out, but let’s pray there are relatively few growing pains.

Have a great rest of the week, and thanks again for stopping by Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Password Protecting Folders In Windows 8

This post was originally going to be “How to Permission Protect Your Windows 8 Folders” because chatter on the web said there is no way to password-protect folders in Windows 8.

dancer, german femaleSurprise! You can password protect folders in Windows 8. You do this by using a zip program and archiving your special folder. After doing a bunch of dancing around, you’ll get password protected folders and files.

Be forewarned. The choreography sounds complicated, but you’re a good dancer so I think you can follow.

Now… get ready to dance. I’m leading.

Dance Step One:

Create a Restore Point.

In Windows 8 and 8.1 to create a restore point go to Control Panel > Recovery > Configure System Restore. Don’t forget there’s always an uninstall option at Control Panel > Programs if you don’t like a program.

Dance Step Two:

Find a good file archive program. I have WinZip, but the free archiver I tested for my faithful readers is 7-Zip.

What’s a file archive program? A file archiver either 1) compresses information to take up less hard drive or download space, or 2) makes files and folders easier to send between people since they are archived with file content and not a specific file system.


MORE THAN YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FILE SYSTEMS: Different digital devices use different file systems to store data. Flash drive content is stored differently than CDs/DVDs. Different operating systems also have different file system types. Microsoft/Windows file system (usually FAT or NTFS) is different from the Macintosh/Apple file system (HFS). For the pre-computer crowd, think Dewey Decimal System versus strict alphabetical order.Rumba

Now to toss a watusi step into a rumba dance to confuse you further. File systems are not the same as file extensions (.exe, .doc, .jpg, .zip, .bat, .epub).


Why did I choose 7-Zip to test? Out of 5 stars, it still has a 4- to 4 1/2-star approval rating from users after 8 million downloads at cnet.com. Cnet editors gave the 32-bit a 5-star rating, but didn’t rerate the 64-bit program. I’m using 64-bit with no troubles.

Psst! If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve figured out my favorite program download site is cnet (download.com). I’ve used it for years and have never gotten a virus, plus little or no adware sneaks in with your downloads.

HEADS UP: On download.com — and a lot of other download sites — don’t be confused by paid advertisers on the same page as program downloads. Paid advertiser download buttons are in a box usually with the name of the paid program beside the button.Download 7-zip

In the above example, the top free download is RegClean Pro. The name’s fairly well hidden, but you can find it if you try. The second impersonator for our download is Bitdefender. I’m sure it’s a very nice program, but we don’t want it today. We want 7-Zip.


7-Zip
http://download.cnet.com/7-Zip/3000-2250_4-10045185.html

7-Zip 64-bit
http://download.cnet.com/7-Zip-64-bit/3000-2250_4-10905593.html

After downloading 7-Zip, follow the prompts to install.

Oh good, the band is back to playing our waltz.

How To Password Protect Items in Windows 8

1) Find the folder you wish to password protect.

For demonstration purposes, I made a TEST Test Folderfolder on my desktop. I’d suggest you do the same until you are familiar with how this works. Toss a test.doc or two into your TEST folder. You’ll need something to protect or it doesn’t work. At least, it didn’t for me.

Note on Photos and Clipart: .jpg, .gif, .png, and others save in zip archives, but don’t open. Some premium archiver programs have an image viewer capability. If you don’t have one of those, you can unzip/move the photo to a regular unarchived file/folder to view.

2) Right-click your TEST folder, 3) choose 7-Zip, then 4) Add to archive…7-zip

5) Make sure the Archive Format is zip, and the Encryption method is ZipCrypto. This allows someone you’ve given the password to the ability to open this file with any zip program. 6) Enter a password of 8 digits, and 7) Press OK.
Add to archives

8)  Locate the .zip folder you’ve just created.

The easiest way is clicking the Taskbarfolder icon on your task bar, then under Desktop find your TEST folder. You can also use Windows key + X, and search for your .zip folder with the File Explorer.

Your original TEST folder is still there. That’s the one you made first, but not the archived one. To find the archived one, scroll down a little farther. If you see a TEST.7z folder, you archived your folder in 7-Zip format.Test

Did you notice my archived folders show as WinZip files? That’s because WinZip is my default archive program.  My new password protected files open in WinZip also.

9) Left-click on your TEST.zip folder and you’ll get a prompt to enter a password. That’s the password you just assigned in 7-Zip: Add to Archive. 10) Enter your password.
Password

10) Choose the document in the folder you wish to open/edit. Now you’re free to edit the item as you wish.

FYI: If you don’t close the archived folder, you shouldn’t need to reenter the password to access other documents in that folder.

A WORD ON SAVING YOUR FOLDER:

When you exit your new .zip folder, 7-Zip is so nice, it’ll ask if you want to update it. You do.
7-zip save

WINZIP NOTE: If you’re default program is WinZip, you’ll get this save screen.
SaveYou want the top option. WinZip now asks for another password. It must think an updated document needs an updated password. I use the original pass I set. If you don’t edit the file, WinZip doesn’t ask to update the password.

There. You’re done! You’ve created a new password protected .zip folder, and you’re free to delete your original folder.

I played around for a while before actually deleting any folders. My password protected folders are still working. All seems right in the .zip computing world.


Are there any downsides?

The only downside I see is adding items to your protected .zip folder.

Creating new folders in either 7-Zip or WinZip is easy. Right-click in the protected folder body (or chose the File command at the top bar), then left-click “New Folder” or “Create Folder”.

The tricky step is adding documents or photos within a protected folder in 7-Zip.

Archive programs are made to conserve space or make data more portable, not as a place to create documents, view photos, et cetera.

7-Zip:

Let’s talk about adding items in 7-Zip first.

I will requote the old adage: You get what you pay for. This free program makes it necessary to dance around again to add items.

7-Zip does have a “Create File” option, but for some reason, it doesn’t work for me nor can I find anyone on the forums who succeeded with it. Let me know if it works for you.

To add photos or documents using 7-Zip, they need to be 1) archived first (a new .zip made), then 2) dragged and dropped into your password protected archived folder. Cut and paste aren’t supported.

It might be of greater benefit in 7-Zip to resave old items from your protected folder in a new regular folder with the new items you want to password protect, then rearchive them all.waltz

Why? Each added item equals a new folder. Soon, if you have a lot of super secret stuff, you’ll have oodles of folders to waltz through to find the one you want.

WINZIP:

Adding photos or documents using WinZip is much easier.  1) Create and save your item as usual. 2) Drag and drop it into your password protected Winzip folder. 3) With the document name highlighted, 4) open Tools, and 5) choose Encrypt Zip File.

When it asks a password, continue with the steps you used before to edit and save it. When you close your newly added file, WinZip will password protect it.


I know this is a lot to process, but if you wish to password protect your data in Windows 8, you must learn the tough routines. And pray Windows 9 allows password protecting files again then upgrade.

You should pat yourself on the back though. hula bear and penguinYou’re a great dance partner. Now sit this next set out and put your feet up, you’ve worked hard.

Have a productive week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


Other posts that compliment this one:

Creating the Safest Passwords

On The Threshhold of Windows 9


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

 

How to Spot a Hoax Email

super www womanI  received another hoax email last week. I’m not viewed tenderly by most people who send these. Why? Because I believe it is my charge in life to single-handedly rid the internet of hoax and fake emails. Ka-Pow!

I do this by not forwarding them, and bringing the email status to the attention of the person who forwarded it.

There are at least three problems with this approach.
1) A million other people still forward these thinking they’re true.
2) Haters don’t care as long as the hoax email damages the reputation of their target.
3) Innocent forwarders can be offended.

Hence, the purpose of this blog.

“Gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe – here in this great hall of justice – are the most powerful forces of good ever assembled.”

Yep, the Super Friends narrator is talking about you!  Never saw that coming, did ya’?

You’re being recruited by the renown organization A.T. (the Accuracy Team). We, at @, stand for truth, justice, and the cyber highway.


The A.T. Not-so-super-secret Training Manual

Spotting hoax emails isn’t hard if you know what to look for. About 90% of the emails I choose to verify turn out to be hoaxes. The 10% that aren’t usually surprise me.

Some hoaxes are merely annoying while others can cause financial hardships or worse.

What do I look for in a hoax email or photo?

  • Does the email picture or quote a person or business in the public eye?

    emailAll hoax emails refer to famous people or entities: politicians, tv/movie/radio personalities, famous athletes, or major corporations.

How many hoax emails circulate with quotes from Mildred Smith of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. or from Brad’s Lawn Service? And if they did, who would care?

  • Is the person mentioned smart enough to foresee the consequences of performing said appalling action?

Example One: The below photo is circulating. The claim is the Obamas were caught blatantly disrespecting our wonderful country by using their left hands during [pledge of allegiance, national anthem, add your own].

Since I know neither one of the Obamas is stupid, and both smart enough not to want the massive public outcry this shameless diss would bring — hey, it was his first term in office — I decided to verify the info before forwarding.

My investigation uncovered the truth. The picture is Photoshopped. The creator did a bang-up job by adding wedding rings and switching the buttons on the President’s coat. He just forgot one teensy, glaring item: marines always wear medals on the left chest. It’s protocol. There’s an entire chapter devoted to how to, where to, and when to wear medals in the marine handbook.obamas_lh_flag_salute

I didn’t find who took the original, but it ran in Newsday and was taken during the playing of Taps on September 11, 2009.

In all fairness, I’ll include a hoax photo from our last Republican president. Opponents on both sides of the political machine try so hard to discredit one another it’s embarrassing.

This photo is also a product of Photoshop. The book is America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney. Notice the back cover of the book G.W. is holding? The black blob (red arrow) — no clue what it is — is on the wrong side if the book were flipped around. It’s located opposite on the book the girl is reading.bushbook
I tried to find the original of the back cover photo (Lynne Cheney surround by children, some with flags) to identify the black blob, but I had no luck.

The original of this is an Associated Press photo.

Today’s tip to haters? If you digitally alter photos, don’t use pictures from big name media outlets. They’re so easy to debunk.

  • Does the email include the words “This is NOT a hoax.” or “This is REAL!”?

Have you seen that Bill Gates is giving away $5,000 to anyone who shares a certain picture of him on Facebook? “IT IS FOR REAL”. It’s not, and he’s not.


The above types of hoaxes are annoying, fill your Inbox, clog the Internet, and waste the time of millions of people.

But do they cause lasting hardships for people? Probably not. The targets are people who are accustomed to being stalked and slammed by the media so I’m sure email hoaxes don’t mean a great deal to them.

Actually, this week elites are busy worrying about iCloud hackings. This is exactly why my blog post How Secure is Dropbox? cautions people against uploading important or personal information onto a cloud service. If you’re not comfortable with the data or photos falling into the hands of unscrupulous people, don’t share them there.


Now, pay attention.

Up to this point we’ve talked about irritations. Our conversation is now turning very serious.

Danger

There are emails hoaxes which fall under a category I like to call “felonies”. They are life-altering and some have major financial consequences.

Email Hoaxes that can seriously cost you.

  • Emails that ask for a credit card numbers.

You’re too smart to fall for that, right? How about the one below? It’s a complete hoax. Looks legit, doesn’t it? It’s easy to copy and paste a logo into a mock-up business mailing. Don’t fall for it.
021604-yahoo-phishing-scam

IMPORTANT WARNING: Notice you can “update your credit card information by clicking here” That “here” takes you to a bogus website setup for the specific purpose of stealing your credit card information.

  • Emails that ask for cash to get something.

If they didn’t cost innocent people their hard-earned savings, I’d find some of these emails hilarious.

An example is the email featuring a letter from the FBI legitimizing the Nigerian Minister of Finance’s offer of $800,000 on an ATM card for wiring $550 USD to an account. Doh!

NOTE: Anything from a country you’ve never visited, like Nigeria or Singapore, is probably a scam unless the person asking is a long-time friend or associate. But please, be equally cautious if you do know the Nigerian Minister of Finance.

  • Emails that ask for personal information.

No legitimate organization will EVER ask for your social security number, bank account number, or PIN number via email.

  • Emails that give you a clickable link.

Remember the Yahoo! scam email above with the “click here” option? Cyber thieves put their blood, sweat, and tears into their endeavors. If only a small percentage of their emails succeed, they’ve made tens of thousands of dollars illegally.

Capital OneCapital One has a great section on internet security. Thanks, Capital One!

Capital One Security Education Center  The Fraud Prevention Topic item two on phishing has great advice on spotting bogus emails.


Now that you know how to spot them, let’s talk about authenticating scam/hoax emails.

How do I verify hoax emails?

You’ve received an email you think is a hoax. How do you know for sure?

One word: Google. Search engines are a beautiful thing.

In Example One above, I searched something like “Obama left-handed pledge?”. You can add “hoax” or “fake” to the search if you’d like. You should quickly find enough research to know if something is a hoax.

WORD OF CAUTION: Remember, everyone has an agenda. Never rely on one site’s opinion unless the fraud is so obvious common sense dictates no further research is required. The marine medal’s or the book cover in the above examples pretty much made further investigation unnecessary. Those alone proved the photos fake.

I suggest using one (or more) ultra-liberal, and one (or more) uber-conservative sites for each verification, if needed.


What to do if you’re being targeted by scammers.

If you think you’re the target of internet thieves, all email providers have “Report Phishing” functions. They take this very seriously.

Gmail Report Phishing

 

In Gmail. 1) Open the email, 2) left-click the options menu (little arrowhead) on the very top right and 3) select “Report phishing”.

 

 

 

 

In Outlook, there is a “Junk” tab at the top.

Outlook Phishing

If you use a different email program, search “Report phishing” in their Help or “[Program name] report phishing”on the Internet.  You should find what you need to file a report.


PARTING THOUGHTS:

With politicians, Hollywood elites, and athletes doing dumb things daily,  we certainly don’t need to make up stuff or enable others who do.SuperBusinessman

Scams are everywhere. Not only in emails, but on social media sites.

Be cautious and do your part. Use your newly acquired superhero powers to help make the cyber highway a safer place to travel for everyone.

Have a great week, and thanks for visiting Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

On the Threshhold of Windows 9

Toward the end of September — September 30 to be exact — I’ll be spying on computer world news. Spy with newspaper

Intelligence reports mark this date as a likely press event to unveil Windows 9 (code-name: Threshhold).

In April 2014, attendees at the Build conference were treated to a sneak peek of Threshhold. Rollout date is currently set for April 2015.

Why the hurry? Windows 8 just debuted. Therein lies the problem.

Windows 8 has received a less than stellar reputation. For the general computing public, Windows 8 is too heavy on apps and too light on desktop functionality. Honestly, I like Windows 8 —  my previous OS was Vista, the OS that almost single-handedly brought down the free world. I’ve also not upgraded to 8.1 because of a number of sketchy reviews from people who did.

I’m praying Microsoft’s trend of great OS – poor OS – great OS – poor OS continues making Windows 9 the next XP or 7. Sometimes I wonder if Microsoft releases bad OS’s on purpose so the good ones look phenomenal by comparison. I know, I know. What happened to my glass-half-full mentality? It’s still here, just undercover. 😉


On the Threshhold of Windows 9

I’ve tracked down a few new features of Windows 9. Beware, nothing is one hundred percent set in concrete gumshoes.

Changes/features may or may not be universal across desktops, laptops, and tablets (we hope not); and Microsoft could tweak anything to insure the best performance for each specific hardware device (we hope so).

NEW WINDOWS 9 FEATURES:

    • Start menu is back, just when we Windows 8 users figured out how to live without it. It’s probably like a bicycle: once you can learn, you never forget.
    • This is a leaked printscreen of the new Start menu.Windows_9_Start_Menu_Neowin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Removal of the Charms bar.side commands

Remember the Windows 8 bar that opens when you hover over the right top or bottom of your desktop? Yep, that’s the Charms bar. Honestly, it’s more of an Apple-wanna-be bar. It’s not coming back. At least not in Windows 9.

  • Metro apps are still a part of Windows 9, but in  a much lesser capacity… or so it’s said. Some of the leaked screenshots make me wonder about the reliability of the operatives. They’re reporting Window 9 Apps will open in small desktop windows.

What’s a metro app?  It’s all those little box programs that show up on the Windows 8 Start Screen, including the ones you added from the App Store.  Metro apps are fantastic if you have a touch screen tablet, but — as everyone found out with Windows 8 — not very user-friendly for keyboard computers.

  • Greater ability to personalize.Windows-9 Personalize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  Cortana — Microsoft’s voice-based assistant currently available on Windows Phone only — could be part of Windows 9.

Don’t panic. You’ll probably be given the choice to turn her off and on. And guys? Enjoy it. You may never get a chance to silence a woman this easily again.

  • Possibility the new Windows OS will be subscription-based.

Rumors are flying about the price. Software watchers vary in opinion of the cost from Windows 9 being free or negligible to subscription-based. Remember Office 365 priced at $100? It’s a subscription-based MS program. You get to use it for 365 days. When your subscriptions runs out — you guessed it — you have to pay again. Personally $100 annually for an upgrade is way to expensive for my taste. If Microsoft charges a subscription fee anywhere close to Office 365, and Windows 9 doesn’t perform up to expectations, this could start the next Cold War with OS defections inevitable.

I’ll leave you with a few more leaked screenshots of Windows 9. Enjoy.

Thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


Windows 9 Desktop:
Windows-9-Design-Mixes-the-Desktop-and-the-Modern-UI-Screenshot-385249-2

 

Outlook:
Outlook-Windows-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Scanning Without Extra Program Downloads

Welcome to a blog for the everyday techie. Although, there are times intermediate to advanced users can benefit (i.e. Finally, A Fix for Windows 8 OpenGL Error).Printer

Today, we’re talking specifically about scanning or printing without the extra software supplied with your hardware.

Why? Less miscellaneous computer programs means less clutter which increases efficiency, not to mention lessens lag and frees up computer memory. Windows operating systems have a plethora of drivers and functions that make those additional programs unnecessary.

But the big reason I avoid installing pre-packaged software is there are stealth (a.k.a. sneaky backdoor) programs that install with your new hardware drivers. Yep, they’re on digital downloads, but also on the disks included. We’ll cover those another week: Spotting Pesky Add-on Programs You’ll Never Need.

Today’s hint works for printers/scanners, cameras, or any usable device that shows up in your Windows Control Panel.


How to Scan Using Only Windows

I have a HP printer/scanner/fax machine. Yes, it’s ancient, but it still works so I keep it around. Since I don’t want to deal with the tag-along programs (technical terms are “crapware” or “junkware”. I’m not kidding), I initiate it through Windows.

If there are features you want beyond barebones — ink levels come to mind — you’ll need to download the program that comes with the hardware. We’ll cover how to choose the features you need vs. the extra garbage in another blog.

NOTE: I use Windows 8 so finding Devices and Printers through Control Panel may be a bit different for you if you use Windows 7 — the last good Windows Operating System (OS). There is a new Windows OS on the horizon. I’ll tell you about that next week. 🙂


1) Plug the printer USB into the computer if it’s not already. Turn on the printer.

Windows now recognizes there’s a device attached… we hope.

2) Open Control Panel.

I use the Windows key + X.
windows-keysmall

 

In Windows 8, the Windows key + X gives me this:
Control Panel

 -OR-

You can also access the Control Panel from the Settings menu (hover over the top/bottom right corners of your screen). Click Settings at the bottom.
Setttings Shortened

 

 

 

 

 


-OR-

You can access it by typing “control panel” in the application search area. Hover over top/bottom right of your screen, click Search and type in your request.
Control Panel-App

FYI: In Windows 7, you can simply open your Start menu and in the right column is your Control Panel.

Where were we? Oh yes, initializing your printer/scanner without installing the included programs.

3) In Control Panel, click Devices and Printers.Devices and Printers

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Scroll down. Your printer icons are at the bottom (Arrow 1). The printer with the green check below is your default printer.
Devices and Printers with arrows.

What’s Arrow 2? Arrow 2 is where other devices, like cameras, show up. If you don’t find the device you are looking for there, you can Add a Device (Box 3).

FYI: The squiggly lines in the middle is the area any device allowed on your home network shows up. I have twelve or so listed, even people who visit four times a year show up. Yes, the inactive ones can be hidden, but one must jump through hoops and mess with the computer registry. I Just scroll past them. If they really bother you, search “Hide Inactive Multimedia Devices” on the internet for instructions. After reading the instructions, I’m fairly confident you’ll scroll past the multimedia icons also.

5) Click the printer you’re using for the project/letter/whatever you’re scanning.

6) When the next window opens, choose Scan a Document or Picture.
scanner


7)
The New Scan window opens.

Here’s where you create different profiles for items you’d like to scan. Notice mine. I have Photo which is higher resolution in color and Documents with less resolution in grayscale. scanner profiles

 

You can also choose Manage Scan Profiles from the Printer/Scanner window. You’ll get a different looking window, but with the same editing options as the New Scan window.scan profile

 

A third way to access Scanner Profile is by right clicking on your printer icon under Devices and Printers (see below). Ninth option down on the menu is Scan Profiles. NOTE: Right above Scanner Profile is a Start Scan command. Yep, you can use that to take you to the New Scan window.Right Click on Printer


Bingo! You are a scanning-without-any-added-programs pro.Thumbs up

What? You don’t feel like a scanner pro?

There’s a lot of information here. Grab a cup of tea, check your tweets or Facebook, and come back later to reread this huge amount of material.

Remember some of these steps are duplicates. Simply different routes to get the same result. Pick the one you like best and is easiest for you to remember.

 ADDED TIP:

I’ve got a secret to show you. How to change the default folder where your pictures/documents/music land.

1) Go to your Libraries folder. I access mine through the file folder icon on the quick launch bar at the bottom of my Desktop.

Alternate ways to get to your Libraries folder: Windows key+X > File Explorer -OR- Windows key+E.

Psst1
2) Right click on any of the Libraries folder icons to access Properties. We’re talking about photos so we’ll use Pictures for our example, but you can change where to store your documents, music, or videos also.
LIbraries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3) 
Select Add, then select the folder you wish to store your photos in.Picture Properties

Your chosen folder will now show up in the Picture Properties menu. I have a folder I send pictures to then move within my photo folders (e.g. Holidays, Family, Cartoons, etc.)

4) Click the new folder added, then 5) Apply, and 6) Set Save Location (middle left).Set Save Location

 

 

FYI: See the P:\Photos folder? P is for Patti, and I’ve partitioned my harddrive so I can save documents and photos to a location that won’t get reformatted if Windows takes a dive and I have to reinstall. That’s my safety partition until I find time to save my files to an external harddrive or flashdrive.

What? You want to know how to partition your harddrive. That’s another blog. 🙂

 

If you followed the steps above, you’re done changing where your pictures will save from your devices. Neat trick, huh?

Well, have a super day and happy scanning! And, thanks for visiting Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Flash Fiction Short – Inside Out

If you didn’t know already, I write fiction as a hobby, not to mention a release. There’s a link to my author website in the right margin. Nothing’s published yet, maybe some day.

Over the summer, I entered a few flash fiction contests. Haven’t won anything and probably won’t, but writing short stories turned out to be great fun.

For a mid-week treat, I’m posting one of my stories. Some of you will like it. A lot of you won’t. I’m okay with that. 😀reptile girl close up

It’s not techie, but there’s definitely a Sci-Fi slant.

Enjoy.


Inside Out

Fear raged red inside her brain threatening to overtake her logic. Her head pounded, the pressure making it impossible to think. Blinking against the sweat stinging her eyes, she tried to hold onto her humanity. Was she going to explode at any moment or could she tamp down the internal, and infernal, creature for another day?
Crouched against the wall for support, her chest heaved as she struggled for breath. Swallowing hard, she closed her eyes, trying to deal with the terror inside. The terror she’d kept hidden… until tonight.
“Deena? Mom said—,” Devin Skinner rounded the corner and skidded to a halt. His thoughts blanked at seeing his twin sister. “Holy crap.”
Deena Skinner’s eyes flew open, her beautiful blue irises now yellow with black elongated pupils. Around a mouth full of pointed teeth, her deepening voice warned him, “Stay away from me, Devin.”
Oh, no. He should’ve told her. She was his twin. Did he think she’d be spared the agony of the curse he assumed was his alone to bear? By neglecting to confide in her, he’d wronged her grievously. Now he needed to make this right. He only hoped he could.
“Deena. Can you hear me?” Devin waited for a response. None came. “Do you see me?”
Tears streamed down her tormented face as she shook her head at her brother. “Dev. Run. Please. For the love of God… run!”
“I’m not leaving you like this.”
Screaming, Deena threw back her head. The drywall behind her crumbled. Bones cracked and fingernails grew as her hands morphed into claws.
Hearing the noises, their mother called up the stairs, “Are you two all right?”
Devin glanced down the hallway praying she didn’t come up to investigate. She didn’t.
“We’re fine, Mom. I just scared Deena.“ But not half as much as she’s scaring me right now.
“Shh. Deena, listen to me. Concentrate on the sound of my voice.” Devin quietly closed and locked the door. “You can fight this. You’re strong. Channel your human self.”
Between clenched teeth, Deena ground out, “It’s. Gone.”
“No, you’re still human. It’s there… inside. Find it.” Devin watched her panting frame. Her breaths came in short, fast bursts.
He had to do something, but he couldn’t chance leaving her to seek help from those who’d saved him. The others lived across town. Left unattended, Deena could wreak havoc in no time. Not to mention Mom was home.
Their parents had adopted the twins when they were under a year old. That was almost eighteen years ago. Both he and Deena loved them with all their hearts. How were they to know the seemingly normal babies they’d nurtured would grow into this?
“Deena. Mom’s downstairs. I can’t let you hurt her.”
“I don’t want to hurt her.” Her red-rimmed reptilian eyes pleaded with him. Her weak and defeated voice begged him, “Kill me. Devin. Help me and kill me now.”
Devin released a barking laugh. “Ha! As if. Now work with me here, Godzilla. You can harness this.”
Deena’s shoulders began shaking as great sobs racked her aching body. She wasn’t strong, she couldn’t control this. “I can’t.”
If she turned any further, she’d be lost to him. Devin had to make her understand. “See. Your voice was normal that time. You’re learning to deal with your inner beast.”
A fierce snarl escaped her. Yellow eyes flashed at him. In a throaty growl an octave deeper than her usual voice, she answered him, “I’m not. Now. Kill. Me!”
“I’d rather let you kill me. Do you want to kill me, Deena?”
“No,” she whispered. Bowing her head into her clawed hands, she wept.
“If you were truly possessed, you wouldn’t care. Now help me out.” Devin stopped, waiting for Deena to look at him. She nodded. “Take a deep breath.” She inhaled.
“Good.” Devin pushed open the bedroom window, letting in light and life from outside.
“Think about the sunny day. Listen to the birds chirping, the neighbor’s dogs barking, the children laughing and playing in the schoolyard down the street. Concentrate on the world. Smell the clean, crisp air. Think about walking — upright, not ambling like a Neanderthal — down the street, petting the dogs, waving at the neighbors and their kids. Remember how wonderful it feels to be human.”
She could do this. He was her tall, dark and handsome older brother — five minutes older, but still older. She’d try … for him.
 Deena closed her eyes. She focused on the sounds drifting into her room. Drawing a slow breath, she listened with a human heart.
The burning haze in her brain lessened, the throbbing quieted. Exhaling long and deliberate, Deena yearned to be herself again.
Thoughts of life’s pains and pleasures wound their way through her clearing brain. Living hurt, but the tradeoff was the happiness that weaved its way through every human soul a few minutes each day. No other species could boast the wonders of being human. Deena wanted that more than anything.
Opening her eyes — her human eyes — she was greeted by her brother’s heartwarming smile.
“I knew you could do it, tiger.”
Devin backed up to the wall and slid down it, ending on the floor beside his sister. He wrapped an arm around her and hugged her sweat-soaked body to him. Kissing her on the forehead, he confessed, “Boy, do I have a lot of freaky things to tell you.” Glancing behind them, he added, “Man, Mom is going to kill us for denting her wall.”
Exhausted but comforted, Deena closed her eyes and laid her head on her big brother’s broad shoulder. “I’m so blaming you for this, Dev.”

© 2014 Patricia S Gunther. All rights reserved. This document and the information contained herein is the sole property of Patricia S. Gunther.  Any reproduction, including copying and/or publishing, in part or as a whole, is strictly prohibited without written permission from the author.