A NEW FREE Ad-Supported Version of Google Play Music

June 24, 2015

You need to check out Google Play Music. Google has launched here in the U.S. a NEW FREE ad-supported version of Google Play Music. The theory behind this is that you will like the FREE version so much that you will become a subscriber. I am still nosing around and so far I am liking what I am seeing. I do not know what the frequency of the ads will be…

Google Play Music

 

At any moment in your day, Google Play Music has whatever you need music for—from working, to working out, to working it on the dance floor—and gives you curated radio stations to make whatever you’re doing better. Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.

To learn more CLICK HERE

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A FREE Online Spell Checker and Grammar Checker That Helps You Write Clearly

June 23, 2015

A Google Chrome extension that is highly rated and very useful is the extension called Grammarly.

What this extension does is monitor your online written (typed) communication for spelling and grammar errors. Grammarly helps you write clearly and confidently on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly anywhere else on the Web. I recently installed Grammarly and don’t know how I lived without it; especially when using the WordPress.com editor to finalize my blog articles.

Grammarly

Contextual spell checker – Correctly spelled words used in the wrong context mean embarrassing mistakes for you. Grammarly spots erroneous use of lose/loose, affect/effect, lie/lay, there/their/they’re, and many more commonly confused words.

Grammar checker – Grammarly scans your text for proper use of more than 250 advanced grammar rules, spanning everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement.

Vocabulary enhancement – Words can make an impact, or they can fall flat. Enhance your sentences with Grammarly’s word choice suggestions that optimize for the context of your document.

NOTE: CLICK HERE to learn more on how you can also get Grammarly as a Microsoft Word and Outlook Add-in…

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Using XP or Vista? Appears There Is A Workaround Available For You To Get A FREE Windows 10 Upgrade

June 21, 2015

 Found this at Lifehacker, that may be of interest to you XP and Vista users. If you install the Windows 10 Preview on your Windows XP or Vista computer, establish a valid Microsoft account, you will then be eligible for the Windows 10 upgrade (for FREE).

As Microsoft details on its Windows blog, if you’re running the Windows 10 Technical Preview as part of the Windows Insider Program, and you have a valid Microsoft account connected to your installation, you’ll be upgraded to Windows 10 for free. If you’re already in the program, future builds will prompt you to connect your Microsoft account if you haven’t already done so.

While this is good news for those on the preview builds, it’s also a handy workaround for anyone who might be getting left behind when the free upgrades start rolling out. — source: Lifehacker

If interested in exploring the option of installing the Windows 10 preview, Lifehacker also can help you out with instructions on performing the installation, as well — CLICK HERE

Of course, make sure your computer meets the Windows 10 system requirements. Not sure?  CLICK HERE to get those requirements.

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A Brief “How To” On Replacing The Power Supply In Your Computer

June 19, 2015

One of the most popular articles, at What’s On My PC, is about pinpointing whether a power supply is failing or not (Symptoms of a Failing Computer Power Supply)… What the article does not get into, is how to remove the power supply and replace it. If you examine the picture below of a computer power supply, it appears from all the wiring, it is a complex process; but, in reality it is not.

Today, I came across a brief “how to” on replacing the power supply in your computer at PCWorld. The article describes very nicely the two factors involved:

How Remove Your Old PC Power Supply

AND

How To Replace Your PC Power Supply

How to replace a power supply...

I encourage you to take a minute or two to review the article and I think you will agree that removing and replacing a power supply is not very difficult. If you are looking for a replacement power supply click here

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An Inexpensive SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (for the tech toolbox)

June 18, 2015

Looking for an inexpensive way to take advantage of the fast Serial ATA III disk drives and USB 3.0 bandwidth for fast storage backups and data transfers? Whether you are or not, the Plugable® USB 3.0 SuperSpeed SATA III Lay-Flat Hard Drive and Solid State Drive Docking Station is the perfect solution for taking a SATA drive (desktop and/or notebook) and turning it into an external hard drive.

Plugable Docking Station

  • Supports all 2.5 and 3.5 inch SATA (Serial ATA) I, II, and III hard drives, solid state drives, and hybrid drives up to any capacity (6TB+). (Please note that IDE/EIDE/PATA, SCSI, SAS, mSATA, and M.2 drives are not supported.)
  • Docking station connects via USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 5Gbps (640MBps), up to 10x as fast as USB 2.0 480Mbps (60MBps). Real world transfer rate performance over USB 3.0 will vary by computer host controller and disk drive specifications.
  • Take advantage of fast Serial ATA III disk drives and USB 3.0 bandwidth for fast storage backups and data transfers.
  • UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) support for even faster drive data transfer performance. (UASP functionality requires UASP capable host controller and operating system.)
  • Includes robust 30W 12V 2.5A AC power adapter. Dock will work connected to any USB port. AC adapter required for operation. (US AC Wall Outlet Plug, 100-240V 50/60Hz)

I personally own one of these docking stations and have used it on numerous occasions to clone drives, remove data from drives (on dead computers) and to serve as a backup drive (for my own computer). If you are a tech, this is a “must-have” tool to have available in your the tech toolbox. Very easy to setup and use with excellent ratings at Amazon…

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Use StreamWriter To Record Music From Various Internet Radio Stations

June 16, 2015

Found an interesting FREE piece of software, called StreamWriter, that records music broadcasted by internet radio stations. There are other recorders out there; but, if you read the feature list below you will see that StreamWriter sets itself apart from other recorders. I also like the idea that you can download a portable version of StreamWriter, which is a great way to test and try the software, without performing an installation. In my testing I was impressed with the recordings (which can be done in tandem from various sources), the wishlist feature (that will look for, wait and record a specific song), and the ability to edit out sections of any MP3 you download.

StreamWriter

Feature List:

  • Record as many streams as you want at the same time (MP3/AAC)
  • Automatically record a wishlist’s song when it’s playing on a stream
  • Player for streams and recorded files
  • Track splitting with silence detection
  • Function for manual cutting of saved titles
  • Tracks are named by a given pattern
  • Short songs (ads) can be skipped
  • Writing of tags to recorded files
  • Script-based postprocessing
  • Applying of effects to recorded songs (SoX)
  • Integration of different audio encoders
  • Scheduled recordings
  • Stream browser
  • Multilingual
  • Can be installed or used in portable mode

…and much more!

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Microsoft’s Malware Center Flags The Older Versions Of The “Ask Toolbar” As Malware

June 13, 2015

I have been on numerous computers over the years and the Ask Toolbar always seems to find a way (usually through trickery) to install itself on people’s computers. Well, there is some good news and it is from Microsoft…

Microsoft recently flagged the older versions of the Ask Toolbar and is officially considering it malware. As a matter of fact, to validate this point, Windows Defender for Windows 8.1, or Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Vista have been engineered to detect the older versions of the Ask Toolbar and remove it.

I don’t know if a lesson has been learned here or not, by the makers of the Ask Toolbar; but, Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center states, “The latest version of this application is not detected by our objective criteria, and is not considered unwanted software”… So, what I get from this is that the new version is ok and the old version is not.

The older version, that I have personally seen on many computers, will hijack your browser and restrict or limit your control over your search provider. I have to wonder if Microsoft became aggressive with this due to the Ask Toolbar, in essence, messing with Microsoft’s own search engine (called Bing).

Either way, I recommend that you avoid installing it (or any toolbar) and be careful when installing any software that allows other third party software to piggy back its’ way onto your computer (see example below of how the Ask Toolbar is along for the ride when Java is updated and installed — unless you uncheck it).

Ask Toolbar with Java

Also, I am not a real advocate of Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Both, at present, are not rated very well. You may want to consider Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium … I prefer the premium version (which has full time scanning) over the free version (which does not have full-time scanning).

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