A Sampling Of Some Of The Most Popular Articles At What’s On My PC — and MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-03)

January 18, 2016

A Sampling Of Some Of The Most Popular Articles At What’s On My PC – Each week on the blog I try to provide an array of topics through the Geek Squeaks’ theme. This week I was brain dead and for the life of me nothing was jumping out to get my juices going. In an effort to give myself a jump start, I decided to list some of the most popular articles at What’s On My PC. This not only got my juices going; but, it made me come to the realization that I need to re-think how I am titling my blog articles and still keep within the parameters of my Geek Squeaks’ way of life where I post multiple topics (with one main topic as the attention grabber). As a result, I am going to implement this change to see where it takes me. To get started with this week’s post, I changed the title format; and to get my juices going, I have listed a sampling some of the most popular articles at What’s On My PC. Always remember, you can perform a search to find various topics, software, etc… In the 8 years that I have been blogging, there is a good chance that if you are looking for something, I have covered it in some form or another.

Symptoms of a Failing Computer Power Supply – I discuss some of the symptoms you may experience that could indicate that your power supply is failing. This article was published back in 2010, which seems like yesterday, and much of what is reflected is still applicable today.

Shutdown, Sleep, Restart or Logoff Your Computer Using the Keyboard – Here I did a post about the built in keyboard shortcuts that you can use to shutdown, sleep, restart or logoff your Windows computer. This article is applicable to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users. I still get a ton of hits on this one.

Locating Your Software License Keys – Did you know that if you do a complete reinstall of the software on your PC, you will need the product license keys (or serial/registration information) for the software that you had paid for? If you did not know this, then this article will guide you on the various software options that are available that will help you out.

An Easy Way to Get the Serial Number and Disk Drive Information of Your Computer – If you follow the command prompt steps that I have reflected in this article you can get the serial number and disk drive information of your computer.

Get the last FREE version of FastStone Capture – If you do not know what FastStone Capture is, then you are missing out on some good software. This screen capture program, at one point was freeware; however, you now (current version) have to pay for the software (shareware). This is one shareware program that I recommend buying. If you do not wish to buy it, you can still grab the last FREE version.

What does the “G” represent in 3G and 4G? – There is a high probability that you own a cell phone. If so, you have probably questioned, “What is all of this 3G and 4G talk about?”. This article will help you out with this.

MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

A Package Of More Than 180 Portable Freeware Utilities (for Windows) – If you are the techie type, you probably have heard of the NirSoft utilities. Did you know that these utilities can be downloaded as a package and conveniently launched using what is called the NirLauncher. The NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more… This is a “must have” for the tech toolbox.

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An OS That Will Turn A PC Into An Android PC – I came across a new open source OS (operating system) that can be installed on a compatible PC or run from a flash drive called Remix OS that will turn a PC into an Android based PC. What this means is that you can run the same apps through the Remix OS that you do on your Android based phones and tablets. I will be keeping an eye on this…

Video – How To Install The Remix OS

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Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – If you do not own a wireless bluetooth speaker, you do not know what you are missing. Today, I came across an Amazon deal for people like me who is rough on things. It is the Photive HYDRA Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, that is shockproof and waterproof. At the time of this posting, the pricing was unbelievable ($39) with great customer reviews.

 Photive HYDRA Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Photive HYDRA Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

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Geek Squeaks (#2016-02) FEATURING — Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs — and MORE GREAT STUFF

January 11, 2016

Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs – If you are contemplating a career as an IT Professional or you are an IT Professional, you may want to consider purchasing the 22nd Edition of Scott Mueller’s Upgrading and Repairing PCs. Get “practical answers about PC processors, mother-boards, buses, BIOSes, memory, SSD and HDD storage, video, audio, networks, Internet connectivity, power, and much more. You’ll find the industry’s best coverage of diagnostics, testing, and repair—plus cutting-edge discussions of improving PC performance via overclocking and other techniques.”.  Also, be sure to check out Scott Mueller’s online Upgrading and Repairing Forum.

Upgrading and Repairing PCs

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Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart – Since I started out today’s post with a book on upgrading and repairing PCs, I thought I would throw in this Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart that you may find of interest. There is also a book on this as well — CLICK HERE .

 Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart

Boot Failure Flowchart

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Use Disk Space Organizing Software To Keep Your Computer Clutter Free – Using disk space organizing software can help you keep your computer from turning into a junkyard by visually showing you what files and folders (and where) are consuming hard drive space.  To help me in this situation I use the portable app called GetFolderSize. There is also a full install version if you are not into the portable apps. GetFolderSize works as a disk analyzer that lets you see a folder tree where you can easily locate files and folders that you have “lost” and cannot even search for because you have forgotten what you named them! I have added GetFolderSize to the Downloads Page, listed under the portable apps swarm.

GetFolderSize

GetFolderSize

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Fast Free File Shredder – Another portable app that landed in my lap is OW Shredder. This portable app is an advanced security tool which allows you to completely erase secret data with all drive traces from your hard drives by overwriting it. Individual files, free disk space and entire volumes can by erased. I have also added this portable app to the Downloads Page

OW Shredder

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Turn An Android Device Into A Home Video Monitoring System – If you have a tablet or an old Android phone lying around, you can put it to good use and turn it into a video surveillance camera by using the Android app called AtHomeCamera. This app is worth a try before you go out an buy and expensive setup. All platforms are supported, including Windows PC、Mac、iPhone、iPad、iPod, Android phone, Android tablet and Smart TV. Used together with AtHome Video Streamer, you are able to keep an eye on your home when you are outside, and receive alerts right away in case of any incident!

AtHomeCamera

 AtHome Camera - Home Security- screenshot

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Geek Squeaks (#2016-01) FEATURING — The Lemming Effect Top 25 For 2015 — and MORE GREAT STUFF

January 4, 2016

The Lemming Effect Top 25 For 2015   – In today’s world we depend on a multitude of readily available sources for current events, news, politics, etc… The media competition is intense to the point that a lot of what we read, watch and hear is diluted with mistruths and downright lies. I am a firm believer that if you hear and see mistruths (and downright lies) enough, you will believe it to the point that if the truth were actually pointed out to you that you will deny it is the truth (and will become angry). “How dare you tell me this is not true!”, I saw this on my news channel, read it in my email, saw it on Facebook, and it is gospel. Folks, I am here to tell you that we are a very gullible society and are like a bunch of lemmings…

republicans cliff

If you don’t know, the term lemmings is a a metaphor for people who go along unquestioningly with a group with potentially dangerous consequences. The “Lemming Effect” is an innate psychological phenomenon, a survival trait, an inborn instinct in the majority of people. For example (and I have been around weapons for hunting purposes all my life), the media hype over the gun issue has initiated this “Lemming Effect” that has generated fear that we better arm ourselves now before our right to own guns are taken away. As a result, we are like lemmings and lineup to buy military grade weapons (and handguns) that require skill (and continual maintenance) that potentially could have dangerous long term consequences (even beyond our generation).

When there are times I feel I am becoming a lemming, I start looking for facts. For example, how many of you fell for the Mark Zuckerberg Giveaway Hoax where on 1 December 2015, Mark Zuckerberg shared a post on Facebook announcing the birth of his daughter and a pledge to giveaway 99% of his Facebook shares to users who shared the post?  If you fell for this, then you joined the Lemming’s Club. I fell for it because one of my reliable Facebook friends was circulating it; and, then it hit me, I need to check this out. Just because someone says it is true, does not make it true (even if it is someone that you consider to be a reliable resource).

One such site that I use to “assist” in research of some of this crazy stuff is Snopes.com which has come to be regarded as an online touchstone of rumor research. Recently Snopes posted the Most Popular Urban Legends of 2015 that features the top 25 rumors (or urban legends) that circulated most widely on the internet. Don’t become a lemming, always look for the facts and truths.

Most Popular Urgan Legends of 2015

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How To Import Your Browser Bookmarks Into Pocket – In a nutshell, Pocket is an online cloud based “bookmarking” service that will help you “save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch, during commutes or travel — even offline”. I love Pocket and use it to categorize and save sites I want to visit later. I know you can save (bookmark) your sites in your browser, but Pocket is like a bookmarking site on steroids (much, much better in my opinion). Recently I was wondering if it was possible to import browser bookmarks into Pocket and found that “yes you can”…  To do this, CLICK HERE to visit the Import Bookmarks Into Pocket.

How To Import Your Browser Bookmarks Into Pocket

Pocket

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Tech For Everyone Let’s Out Secret You Need To Know About Ebooks – Tech Paul at Tech For Everyone recently posted a notice on his site that led me to another site called BookBub that will send you a daily email that alert you to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time. I have taken advantage of this and already have downloaded some FREE ebooks (from the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc…).  Good find there Tech Paul…

BookBub

BookBug

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“All In One” Cable Modem Router – I have an older version of one of the Motorola Cable Modem Routers and it has not given me an ounce of trouble. The one I am sharing with you today is the newer version (compared to mine) called the Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem/ Wi-Fi N Router … With this device you can free up some desk space. The Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 is designed for seamless mobility, Motorola’s SBG6580 is a fully integrated all-in-one home networking solution that combines the functionality of a DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, four-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet switch with advanced firewall, and an 802.11n Wi-Fi access point in a sleek, stylish package for the sophisticated consumer.

Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem/ Wi-Fi N Router

Motorola Cable Modem

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-42) FEATURING — An Easy To Use Backup Program — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 28, 2015

An Easy To Use Backup Program – Nearly every home based computer user that I have encountered do not backup their personal files. Most of what files people have stored on their computers they feel are files that are unimportant; until the moment comes that they lose those files. An example being, many people store family pictures on their computers. At the moment they may seem unimportant; however, when the computer fails (and it will), all of the sudden you realize that you lost precious memories. If you fall into this category, which most likely you do, please take the time to purchase an external hard drive (click here) and establish a backup plan. Finding an external hard drive and connecting it is the easy part. Finding a software solution is another matter. To help you along, a software solution that I use is called

To help you along, a software solution that I use is called Bvckup 2. If you visit the site you will see that it is software that you have to buy; however, to get around that option, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page where the download button is located, you will see “Looking for the last beta?”.  If you click on that link you can download the last beta version of Bvckup, which is FREE. By trying out the beta, you may be encouraged to purchase the software; however, I have found the beta’s of BVCkup 2 to work perfectly fine for our purposes. Bvckup 2 is easy to use (and learn) and it does not compress, encrypt or FTP files. It’s not a two-way sync nor is it a full system backup software. It simply makes a copy of your personal files from your computer to a designated location on the external hard drive; AND, the best part (by default), Bvckup will automatically perform these backups for you in real-time.

Bvckup 2

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Turn Your Android Smartphone Into A Digital Bubble Level – Our smartphones have many other purposes other than making calls and texting. For example, did you know you can turn your smartphone into a bubble level that comes in handy when you need to make sure a picture is hung straight on the wall, or a length of lumber is level, etc… If you search the Google Play store you will many bubble level apps available. The one that I settled for is an app developed by a company who actually makes levels, called Rigid. The app that they have developed is called Rigid Digital Bubble Level. This app features a calibration mode that will allow you to use this app in three views: Bubble View (the standard bubble level you’re used to); Horizon View (a horizon line that twists as you rotate. Enable the camera feature in this view to level things from afar.); and, Flat View (placing the phone on a surface activates this view where an optional beep can indicate how level the surface is without needing to look at the screen.)…

Rigid Digital Bubble Level

Cover art

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A Gizmodo Field Guide To 9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone – I am sure, if you own a Google based Android phone, you have used the “ok Google” feature where you speak to your phone by saying “ok google” and then tell (speak to) the Google Now Assistant to perform searches, etc… I am still trying to get used to this, but when I do use it I am really amazed of the accuracy and the results. Along with performing searches there are other commands you can give. Gizmodo has put together a nice field guide to “9 Google Now Voice Commands To Take Control Of Your Smartphone” that you need to learn. Commands such as turning your wi-fi on/off; the flashlight on/off; read text messages; etc…

9 Google Now Voice Commands
To Take Control Of Your Smartphone

9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone

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verykool Sleek, Contemporary Unlocked GSM Phones – I was focused on smartphones when I visited Amazon and what I came across is a smartphone brand that I have never heard of (called verykool). What caught my eye and made me look more than twice was the unbelievable super low pricing. Based on the low number of customer reviews (which, by the way are high ratings), verykool must be a newcomer at Amazon. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this smartphone brand that just may change the whole landscape of things when it comes to smartphones.

 verykool

verykool

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-41) FEATURING — Three WordPress.com Blogging Editors To Consider — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 21, 2015

Three WordPress.com Blogging Editors To Consider – About a year ago I was at wits end in trying to find an editor that I could use at the desktop level to draft my blog articles. Today, if you are an avid blogger or want to give blogging a try, you need to know that there are several options available. Some of these editors support other blogging platforms, but what I am outlining here in this geek squeak article is editors that I know work with the WordPress.com platform (which is the online cloud based version of WordPress).

Wordpress

To keep this simple and allow you to do a quick read; three options to consider are:

ScribeFire – This editor is actually a browser extension (for Firefox and Chrome) that I use (and love). I think what sells me on this is that it is a basic editor, is fast, and dependable. The cons with ScribeFire is that, due to its’ simplicity, you have to do the final touches online (with the formatting) using the online WordPress editor. Otherwise, ScribeFire has worked for me. ScribeFire is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to all of your blogs.

Open Live Writer – Remember the Windows version of Live Writer. I actually used that prior to ScribeFire; however, due to changes at Microsoft and the operating system upgrades the Microsoft version of Live Writer is basically a dead duck in the water. Due to numerous people using Live Writer, a group of talented contributors have turned what it used to be into an open source program called Open Live Writer. Open Live Writer is like Word for your blog. Open Live Writer is a powerful, lightweight blog editor that allows you to create blog posts, add photos and videos then publish to your website.

New WordPress.com Desktop App – WordPress.com must have heard our cries and know that in order to continue as one of the premiere blogging platforms there has to be options made available in order for people to remain within their blogging empire. I can tell you from being a blogger since 2008, WordPress is the way to go. With the new Windows and Mac based apps you can manage your sites, write and publish, and even customize your site and view stats from a dedicated app in your Windows Start Menu.

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Happy Holidays To My Reader And To My Favorite Blogging Friends –  I want to wish my readers’ a safe and happy holiday season; AND, hope that you will continue to visit my blog. I love blogging about information technology, and have been doing so since 2008. During this journey there is a group of bloggers that have kept together in the virtual sense (even though none of us have physically met each other). Those bloggers, whom I have great respect for are Steve, Bill Paul, and Michael (and Jason). I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season…

Happy Holiday Wreath Facebook Cover

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Bluetooth Speaker Makes Great Gift – If you are looking to gift someone, consider a portable bluetooth speaker. Currently Anker has a new release at Amazon (that has become a best seller) called the Anker SoundCore. Right now the customer reviews on this little beast is very good. Points that standout with this speaker is battery life (24-hour / 500-song playtime powered by a built-in high capacity Li-ion battery) and Bluetooth 4.0 Technology (compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. Instantly connect to your smartphone or tablet from up to 66 feet away. SoundCore reconnects automatically to the last device used. Built-in mic for hands-free calls.).  What you get is the Anker SoundCore Bluetooth speaker, Micro USB charging cable, welcome guide, and 18-month warranty).

Anker SoundCore

Anker SoundCore

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Turn Your Android Device Into An At Home Video Monitoring Device – Have a tablet or an old smartphone around? If so, put it to work using the AtHome Camera – Home Security App. This app, using a three step process, will turn the device into a home video monitoring device that can be accessed when you are away.

AtHome Camera – Home Security

 AtHome Camera - Home Security- screenshot

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The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards – If you love animals, then you will love these hilarious and funny pictures (with a funny caption). For example the picture you see below was captioned “Rush Hour”. To see the original “Rush Hour” and others visit The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. The cool thing about this is that no digital manipulation was allowed in order to enter the contest.

The Comedy Wildlife

WINNER Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-40) FEATURING — Use Qwertycard To Generate And Keep Track Of Passwords — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 14, 2015

Use Qwertycard To Generate And Keep Track Of Passwords  – As computer and internet users, where we log into numerous accounts, we are still failing to keep our information safe. From experience of helping others, I find that most people use weak passwords and will use the same password to log into numerous accounts. On top of that, most folks will write down those passwords and keep them near the computer. An easy solution to all of this is what is called a Qwerty Card. I had heard about these cards in the past; and, just recently I came across them again on Tech Crunch. How this works is that the card reflects the QWERTY keyboard and each letter on the keyboard is assigned a unique character. When you purchase a card, you are given a unique base code. To generate a really strong password, you first type your base code, then your own password, then use the Qwerty card to generate the coding for the website name. You can also simplify this process and still maintain a strong password by reducing the number of steps. To learn more on how this works, either visit Tech Crunch or the actual site that sells these cards (click here)…

Qwerty Cards

picture of qwertycard

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EncryptOnClick Is Like Hiring Your Own Highly Experienced Data Security Guard – I nearly forgot about EncryptOnClick, until I saw that the developer recently updated it. If you want a simple, easy to use encryption program, this one is definitely a keeper. After you install EncryptOnClick, you can copy the contents of the install directory over to a flashdrive (to make it a portable app). Very nice program, that is FREE (that uses 256-bit AES encryption). You can encrypt individual files or entire directories.

EncryptOnClick

EncryptOnClick

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Google Drive Rolling Out New Search Experience – Drive lets you search across all your files, regardless of the device they came from. To make that easier, you can use these new ways to find your files: Narrow your search to a file type from the search box on Android, iOS, and the web. Open advanced search instantly from the search box. Access recent files or search Drive from the home screen using 3D Touch on iOS. Search Drive using the iOS search bar without opening the Drive app.

The new features will be rolling out in the coming weeks…

Read About Google Drive’s New Search Experience

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Speaking of Google Drive – Here is The Only Google Drive Guide You Will Ever Need… The guide covers: Navigation: Supported File Types | Accessing Google Drive | Storage Space | Working with Google Drive | Desktop Clients | Uploading Files & Folders | Downloading Files & Folders | File Size Restrictions | Creating a New Document | Sharing Files & Folders | Collaborating | Accessing Files Offline | Organizing Your Drive | Tweaking Your Layout | Third Party Apps | Troubleshooting | Drawbacks of Google Drive…

The Only Google Drive Guide You Will Ever Need

Google Drive will sync documents with Microsoft Office

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MAPS.ME – GPS Navigation & Map (Android) – Get detailed maps of any country in the world (that can be downloaded) and are optimized for your phone or tablet. This is an Android app called MAP.ME… If you need a GPS unit for your car; by using your Android smartphone, this is a great option. Recently upgraded to include walking directions…

MAP.ME

 MAPS.ME - GPS Navigation & Map- screenshot thumbnail

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A Terabyte Internal SSD Drive (by Samsung) – I am starting to see the much larger SSD drives come down in price. If your are in the market for a SSD Drive you may want to take a look at the Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Samsung SSD Drive - 1TB.png

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-39) FEATURING — Put All Your Cloud Drives In One Place — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 7, 2015

Put All Your Cloud Drives In One Place – Thought I would share with you an online service that I use called MultCloud (by AOMEI). This service provides a FREE option (as well as a PAID option) that can help you easily (and safely) manage multiple cloud storage services. For example, I currently manage online drives from Box, Copy, Google, Dropbox, Mediafire and OneDrive ALL from MultCloud. In that mix I also use MultCloud to manage two Google Drives. What MultCloud does is allow you to pull all of those services and manage those services from one location. MultCloud FREE features an online file manager, cross-cloud file transfers, and a countless number of cloud drives. The file transfer speeds for the FREE version are slower than the PAID version and there is a monthly data cap on the FREE version (which is quite high in my opinion). For normal everyday use, the FREE version has worked for me and in the end (after I give this a run for awhile), I may opt to go to the PAID version.

MultCloud 

MultCloud

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Use Your Android Phone (or Tablet) To Convert An Image To Text – Ever heard of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) where you scan a paper document and OCR software that is engineered to recognize the characters in the document then translate (or convert) it into an electronic text version (that you can then edit, insert into documents, etc…)? There is an OCR version for your Android Phone or Tablet called Text Fairy that has the ability to scan for and extract text from an image. From my testing, I found Text Fairy to be quite accurate and the best part is that it is FREE. Some words of advice is when you scan the document is to make sure the images are sharp (with good lighting) and the text is black on a white background.

Text Fairy

 Text Fairy (OCR Text Scanner)- screenshot

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Nothing Gets Old Faster Than The Technology News – Case in point, check out the boredpanda for 15 Vintage Computer Ads That Used To Be Cool.  The ad I have reflected below is my favorite one from the 15 selected. Which is your favorite?

15 Vintage Computer Ads That Used To Be Cool

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How To Disable Login Screen on Windows 10 after Sleep – I have been recently assisting quite a few folks with breaking through the Windows 8.1 barrier to Windows 10. One of the most asked questions that I am receiving is “How do I disable the login screen on Windows 10 after sleep?”. What this means is that Windows 10, by default, will go into a sleep mode when the computer is idle for a prescribed period of time. When the end user comes out the sleep mode, the computer will prompt you for your password. To change this setting, to prevent or disable the login prompt, is actually quite easy and the best way to show you is for you the watch the video below from Simple How To Guide

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This Software May Be Useful When You Sell or Get Rid Of Your Hard Drive (or PC) – Came a across this portable app, called My Disk Wiper, that may be a keeper for the tech toolbox. What this portable app does is securely wipe hard drives, flash drives, SD cards, etc… by overwriting the files with a standard pattern that the developer claims cannot be undeleted or restored. To ensure maximum privacy the file names are wiped before deletion.

My Disk Wiper

My Disk Wiper

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The easiest and fastest outdoor Christmas light solution – no more hanging string lights – My neighbor has one of these and it is awesome (and beautiful). If you are looking for an alternative option to hanging lights for Christmas, take a look at the Star Shower Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights… Plant this thing in the ground, plug it in and you will have up to 600 square feet of green and red lights displayed. The one I have reflected below is the number one best seller at Amazon with a near 5 star rating…

Star Shower Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights

Star Shower

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-38) FEATURING — My Reset Experience With Windows 10 — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 30, 2015

My Reset Experience With Windows 10 – I recently performed a reset on my Windows 10 based computer and found the experience to be quite positive. I thought I would share some pointers with you so that if you have to perform a reset, it is not a scary experience.  Even though the reset preserves your personal files, I highly recommend that you always have a backup of any files on your computer that you cannot live without.

To get to the reset option in Windows 10, click on the Windows Start button (bottom left corner), go to Settings > Update & security > Reset this PC > Get started and choose an option. The option I chose was to reinstall Windows 10 and keep my personal files. This option will reinstall Windows 10 and keep your personal files; will remove the apps and drivers that you originally installed; will remove the changes made to any settings (and return them to the default settings); and, will remove any apps that the PC manufacturer installed (Note: If your PC came with Windows 10, the apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.).  After I launched the reset on my PC, it was pretty much hands free; and, what I really liked was that following the reset, Windows 10 generated a html page on my desktop titled “removed apps” that listed all of the programs I originally had installed on my computer. I had already written down what I wanted to re-install, but this list came in quite handy. In the end, the reset took approximately a half hour to 45 minutes and I can honestly say my computer is cleaner and faster.

Windows 10 Reset

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How To Mark All Your Unread Gmail’s As Being Read  – After performing a reset on my Windows 10 computer, I found myself motivated to do some housecleaning in my Gmail account. One of the issues I ran into was that I had hundreds of email’s that I did not read. As a result, I needed and wanted to mark those emails, as being read. The problem with this is that Gmail will only allow you to bulk select only a certain number of emails. This is where I started thinking, “there has to be a way to mark all the emails in my account as being read”. After performing some online research, I found an article at a site called Chron, titled “How to Mark an Entire Gmail Inbox as Read“. By using the Google Search box in your email as a filter to generate all unread messages, and following the step-by-step instructions, at Chron, you can easily mark hundreds (or thousands) of unread emails and change them to read.

 

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A Simple Program To Troubleshoot Network-Related Problems – If you manage a network, Win Network Tools may be helpful. The program provides a graphical interface (or launcher) of common command line tools that are built into Windows (that are typically run from the command prompt) and some other options (such as Speed Test) that will launch a site to test out your connection speed. What would be nice is if this program had a “portable app” option readily available for the tech toolbox. I did find that if I installed the program, and copied the “WinNetworkTools.exe” to another location (such as a flash drive) I was still able to run the program.  I then uninstalled it from the computer. Nice concept…  May contact the developer to suggest the portable app idea.

Win Network Tools - Interface

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Checker Plus for Gmail – You do not know what you are missing if you do not have Checker Plus for Gmail installed (as a Google Chrome extension). In my opinion, this is probably one of the best (and most useful) extensions available. I currently use this to monitor 4 different Gmail accounts and the best part is that you can set this to run in the background so that you will get notifications when an email arrives. If you have Chrome installed, get this one…

Checker Plus for Gmail

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Shield Your Electronics From Electrical Power Surges – When Christmas rolls around many of you may be installing new electronic equipment. What we have a tendency to forget is to purchase a surge protector to help protect the equipment from power surges. I went on the hunt to find what I think is a good investment and came up with the Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 25ft Cord Right Angle Plug 1440 Joules . This Tripp Lite Surge Protector has a 1440 joule surge suppression rating with EMI/RFI line noise filtering to help components perform at their peak while extending their lifespan; 8 outlets with 3 specially designed to accommodate transformer plugs without blocking other outlets; an extra-long 25 foot cord with space-saving right angle plug; diagnostic LEDs that alerts you to the protection and grounding status; convenient built-in outlet safety covers to protect young children from possible harm and prevent dust from eroding internal components; and, a lifetime Warranty and $75,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance for connected devices. On top of this, to support my opinion on this, this surge protector is carrying a 5-Star rating.

 Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 25ft Cord Right Angle Plug 1440 Joules

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Quick Links

Today’s Deals

Cyber Monday

12 Days of Deals

Last-Minute Deals

Year-End Deals

Black Friday

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-36) FEATURING — Control What People See About You On Google Services — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 16, 2015

Control What People See About You On Google Services – If you are a subscriber to any of Google’s services, it is important to know that you can control what people see about you at aboutme.google.com. While you are there, click on the privacy checkup where you can review and adjust what data Google uses to personalize your experience, and update what information you share with friends or make public.

Google About Me

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Safely AND Quickly Hide Files and Folders – If you are looking for a way to hide a file or folder, then take a look at WinMend. I can tell you that I have used WinMend for the past several years and I have never lost a file.  The WinMend site states it, like this; “While ensuring the absolute system safety, this application can quickly hide files and folders on local partitions and/or on removable devices. The hidden files/folders will be safely hidden whether the drive is accessed in another operating system on the same computer or reinstalled on another computer”. I have added WinMend to the downloads page, located under the FREE SOFTWARE swarm…

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Using The Disk Cleanup Tool In Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 – Cnet has a nice tutorial (click here), on how to clean up the junk in Windows using the built-in cleanup tool. The tutorial covers each aspect of what the tool removes and cleans from your system such as the browser thumbnail cache, system files, system restore files, the hibernation cache, and the recycle bin.

Cleaning up system files

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A Tool To Reset And Repair Windows Update Related Components – The Windows Club posted this article, Reset Windows Update to default in Windows 10, that features using the Windows Update Component Tool (aka Reset Windows Update Agent) to reset and repair the components to the Windows Update service. The tool itself is available from Technet – click here

Reset Windows Update 1

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MORE Quick Links To Amazon Holiday Deals – As you probably have noticed I have an obsession with Amazon and the challenge of locating their best deals. As Christmas gift giving (and receiving) nears, I really go on the hunt to bookmark links to their holiday deals.  Below is my latest collection to share with you.

Quick Links

Today’s Deals

Cyber Monday

12 Days of Deals

Last-Minute Deals

Year-End Deals

Black Friday

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-35) FEATURING — GEGeek NOW On Facebook — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 9, 2015

GEGeek NOW On Facebook – The motherload of all tech sites, GEGeek, is now featuring their GEGeek Tech Toolkit on Facebook. The toolkit, available through donation at the main GEGeek web site, is a complete collection of over 400 tech related FREE programs and suites (all available from a menu launch utility). If you are an information technology professional the GEGeek website and the GEGeek Toolkit should automatically become part of your mindset. Mike and Jason at GEGeek have gone to great lengths to review, collect, and maintain the information (and toolkit) that is available. Jason recently joined Mike to assist in maintaining the motherload. I personally thank both of them (and I encourage you to do the same). After you donate to acquire the toolkit, you are then entitled to the upgrades (which occur on a regular basis).

GEGeek

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Online Games To Pass The Time Away – I regularly visit the USAToday web site to get my initial daily dose of news. Did you know that on the USAToday web site there is a link that will take to you a wide array of online games that they sponsor and maintain. Initially when you load the USAToday site, you will find a link a the top of the site for Crosswords. Click on that link and you will be taken to the Crossword puzzle page and on the page (at the top of the crosswords) you will find additional links for puzzle, arcade, strategy, brain, casino, and quiz type game challenges. Prior to playing any of the challenges or games, you will be required to set though a short in length advertisement…

USAToday Puzzles

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WordWeb Upgraded To Support Windows 10WordWeb has been a mainstay on my computer for years. It is a very useful and comprehensive one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows. It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links. I especially like the one click lookup where you hold the CTRL key and right mouse click on a word to get the definition. WordWeb can also be installed as a portable app. You will be prompted for that option after you run the install file. Also, if you like WordWeb and use Google Chrome, be sure to download their WordCaptureX browser extension…  NOTE: WordWeb has been added to the What’s On My PC download page under the FREE Software swarm.

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Fix Specific Windows 10 Problems and Issues With This Utility – The Windows Club has a developed a utility called FixWin 10 for Windows 10, that is a portable freeware application that allows you to fix and repair Windows 10 problems, issues and annoyances. This new release of FixWin has an updated UI for Windows 10 and includes a new section to fix Windows 10 common problems and issues specifically.

FixWin 10 for Windows 10

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Digital Trends’ (brought to you by Drippler) Best Android Apps For Any Occasion This list of Android Apps is a pretty good list in my opinion and is a good starting point if you are looking for good reputable android apps (for any occasion). The list was originally posted on Digital Trends and it made Drippler (the Android app that features new tips, apps, features, updates, accessories and more)….

false

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Where To Look For Deals On Amazon – As the holiday shopping season approaches and we Countdown To Black Friday, many of us will be doing our shopping online. One of my favorite shopping sites is Amazon. For example, to look for bargains I will visit their Today’s Deals, their Outlet, or their Warehouse …  I have found items, using these three options, to get really good deals. If you want to visit the Earth’s Biggest Selection to get a full directory listing at Amazon, CLICK HERE

Countdown Black Friday

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-34) FEATURING — Samsung’s 18.4″ Galaxy View Tablet (can pre-order now) — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 2, 2015

Samsung’s 18.4″ Galaxy View Tablet (can pre-order now) – Yes you are seeing that right. Samsung has developed an 18.4″ tablet called the Galaxy View that is in comparison to carrying a portable TV around; AND, that is exactly what I think Samsung is thinking in regards to this hugeous tablet. The pricing on this ($599) is a little steep for my pocketbook; however, if the price were to come within reason, I may consider the Galaxy View for home-based usage.

There are mixed reviews on this, from CNET’sSamsung has just taken the wraps off the best tablet we may have ever seen”, to the Verge’s “Samsung might’ve just priced itself out of success”… The Galaxy View is slated for release on November 6th and can be pre-ordered now… To see all the specs — CLICK HERE — scroll down the page and then click on “See All Specs”.

Samsung Galaxy View

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Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard for Computers, Tablets and Smartphones – The Logitech K480 is an excellent bluetooth keyboard, that works great either as an external keyboard for a Mac or a PC desktop system, or as a keyboard for a phone or a tablet. You can use this device to connect up to three Bluetooth wireless–capable computers or mobile devices. If this is something you may find of interest, check out Logitech’s Immersion Guide that will tell you everything you need to know about this keyboard.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480

You aren’t limited to a single device, so why should your keyboard be?

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How To Bypass Android’s Secured Lock Screen – If you do not have your Android smartphone (or tablet) locked down, I suggest that you take the time and lock it down. For example, to use my Nexus 5, I enter a pin number in order to operate the device.  The ONLY problem I see with locking down your device is the chance you forget the pattern, pin or password that you used. Well, don’t fret, I came across this article,7 Ways to Bypass Android’s Secured Lock Screen.  A lot of folks don’t want to lock down their devices due that it is an inconvenience; however if you ever lose the device you will soon learn that you wished you had taken the precaution of securing it.

Android Security

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Display A Host Of System Information-Type Data On Your DesktopBGInfo is a system information tool (portable app) that is very useful for people who manage numerous systems. BGInfo automatically displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop’s background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. The information that BGInfo displays can be edited, as well as the font and background color. Stick this tool in the startup folder on your computer to display the system information each time the computer boots.

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-32) FEATURING — Beware: A Browser Hijacker That Replaces Your Default Browser — and MORE GREAT STUFF

October 19, 2015

Beware: A Browser Hijacker That Replaces Your Default Browser – Scams, viruses, malware and hijackers are constantly being developed and engineered to make our computing lives a nightmare. Today I want to make you aware of a piece of software, called eFast, that the Malwarebytes research team has determined as being a browser hijacker. What is unique about this browser hijacker is that it does not hijack your existing browser; instead, eFast replaces your existing browser. This hijacker takes control of the file associations for .gif, .htm, .html,.jpeg, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .shtml, .webp, .xht and .xhtml files AND displays numerous advertisements.

Typically eFast will piggyback its’ way onto your computer through third party software installs. Always read what is occurring when you install software.  You can usually tell it is installing (by the install prompts) and from what I getting, eFast is similar in appearance to Google Chrome. If you have been fooled into installing eFast, reflected below are the removal steps. To read more about eFast CLICK HERE

eFast

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can detect and remove this potentially unwanted program.

  1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to your desktop.
  2. Double-click mbam-setup-version.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  3. At the end, be sure a check-mark is placed next to the following:
  4. Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium
  5. Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  6. Then click Finish.
  7. If an update is found, you will be prompted to download and install the latest version.
  8. Once the program has loaded, select Scan Now. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  9. When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  10. Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

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A Command-Line To Cleanup Windows – TTC Shelbyville posted Advanced Windows Cleanup using cleanmgr /sageset:50 and cleanmgr /sagerun:50 that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to use these commands to cleanup windows. Note: Do NOT Delete Windows ESD installation files. These files are NEEDED to Reset or Refresh your PC.

1 More Options Cleanup

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Jump Your Car AND Charge Your Devices With This Power Bank – If you get chance, take a look at the BESTEK® 400A Peak Current Portable Car Jump Starter Power Bank that not only can jumpstart a vehicle (up to 16 times); BUT, can be used to charge your portable devices (such as GPS devices, smartphones, tablets, etc.). This power bank has a 11,000 mAh battery capacity that is able to jump start a 3L gas or 2.5L diesel vehicle engine. The neat thing about this is that it is safe and can fit in your glovebox… CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Power Bank

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OW Shredder Is Portable AND FREE File Shredder Software – I came across OW Shredder through reading the article Free File Shredder With Full Drive Eraser, Disk Analyser (@ILoveFreeSoftware) and thought it was well deserving of a post here, as well. What I especially like about this file shredder is that it is portable and has the ability to erase entire volumes.

OW Shredder is an advanced security tool which allows you to completely erase secret data with all drive traces from your hard drives by overwriting it. Individual files, free disk space and entire volumes can by erased. In addition OW Shredder offers various tools to scan, analyze and wipe more drive information and traces. Beside of it OW Shredder supports a desktop widget, a context menu integration and automated recycle bin cleaning. All in all this small and portable application gives private users or even companies the perfect solution to eliminate sensitive data.

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-31) FEATURING — Android 6.0 Marshmallow — and MORE GREAT STUFF

October 12, 2015

Android 6.0 Marshmallow – If you currently have an Android supported device (smartphone or tablet) there is a possibility that you may be entitled (for FREE) to the newest Android OS called Marshmallow. I currently have a Nexus 5 smartphone, which is a Google based phone, and I received the upgrade this week. My Samsung Galaxy Tab S (tablet), I will have to do some research to determine when and if this device will receive the upgrade. You may have to do the same thing. Again, the OS upgrade is called Marshmallow.

Marshmallow

After receiving my upgrade, I had minimal knowledge as to what the new features were. I went on the hunt and found what I was looking for (to educate myself) at the official Android Marshmallow site (at Android.com). There you will find the complete features list by clicking on “All Features” at the bottom of the page. If you are wondering, Google names their operating systems using a confectionery theme. Below is a complete listing:

Cupcake (1.5) – Donut (1.6) – Eclair (2.0–2.1) – Froyo (2.2–2.2.3) – Gingerbread (2.3–2.3.7) – Honeycomb (3.0–3.2.6)[a] – Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0–4.0.4) – Jelly Bean (4.1–4.3.1) – KitKat (4.4–4.4.4, 4.4W–4.4W.2) – Lollipop (5.0–5.1.1) – Marshmallow (6.0)

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If You Are A “LastPass” Subscriber You May Want To Read This – LastPass is an online password manager where your passwords are stored in an online encrypted vault. They have been bought out by LogMeIn (a company specializing in remote desktop management). If you visit the LastPass blog you can read more about this announcement and the various comments that indicate that people are not happy with this move. This is another reason why I do not store my passwords online and instead use local software to manage my passwords. If curious of what I use to manage my passwords, CLICK HERE..

.LastPass_&_LogMeIn

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How To Hide A File Inside A Picture – I have to give credit to BetaNews for showcasing this little app called Free File Camouflage that is easy to use that gives you the ability to hide files inside a typical jpeg image. What attracts me to this software is that it is small in size (portable); thus, a nice addition to my tech toolbox.

Features:

  • The software can be used with the main interface or via the explorer “send to” context menu (the first time you only need to select a directory with some images).
  • All the files are encrypted using AES and hidden inside an image.
  • What happens if someone tries to open a camouflaged image? Well… nothing! He will only see an image!
  • This software is also useful when you want to send an exe via email. Currently many email providers (or companies proxy) don’t allow this.
  • Recently also GMail has disabled the support for attaching a zip file (even if protected with password) with an exe in a draft message.
  • With Free File Camouflage you can send via email whatever you want!

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Anker CD Slot Mount Car Mount Phone Holder – This is a unique method to mount a phone holder in your vehicle that is made by Anker. There are many variations of this method available by different companies; however, at the time of this blog post, the Anker CD Slot Car Mount Phone Holder was listed at being under $10…  

Anker CD Slot Mount Car Mount Phone Holder

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-30) FEATURING — Use This App To Create Your Own Android Car Dashboard — and MORE GREAT STUFF

October 5, 2015

Use This App To Create Your Own Android Car Dashboard – Many auto manufacturers as well as aftermarket units are bringing Android to the dashboard of your car. One such example is Android Auto that projects or casts what is on your phone onto a compatible dashboard touchscreen; but, most of us do not have the luxury of this technology. To fill in this gap, did you know that there is an android app called Car Dashdroid.

 Car dashdroid- Car dashboard- screenshot

Car Dashdroid does not project to a screen in your car’s dashboard; however, it will turn your phone into a distraction free device that has been specifically developed for use in your car. I have been testing this app and can attest that it is very good. In summary, Car Dashdroid is a car home dock replacement that makes driving easy (and safer)! It can switch on and off with your car (using Bluetooth), and return from any app to the specially-designed Car Dashdroid homescreen with a press of the Home button while connected (see settings). The interface features large buttons to launch apps (such as your GPS mapping app) and can be set to read incoming text messages to you (and you can respond back without taking your hands off the wheel). This app is fully customizable; for example, you can set up to 16 shortcuts for your favorite apps, contacts, and even shortcuts to custom actions like directions to a particular place, opening a specific playlist, or sending a pre-written message (like “On my way!” or “Stuck in traffic!”). You can use it FREE (with ads) and with some of the features disabled; however, if I were to buy an android app, this is one that I would buy. (UPDATE – I did buy this app!)…

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How To Update Windows In An Isolated Environment – Another tool for the tech toolbox is Portable Update. This tool is used to perform Windows updates on a computer where there is limited or no internet connection. Portable Update uses an external cache to store updates. The cache can reside on any usb external drive or, via private lan network, on a shared path. Once an update is copied to the cache (the only time that an internet connection is required), the same update will be used for all computer that need that particular update. I have added Portable Update to the What’s On My PC downloads page (under the Portable Apps Swarm).

Portable Update Hystory tag

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Daimler Driverless Truck Tested  – I’ve been saying that one of the first areas of transportation that will host autonomous driving is the truck industry. Take a look at the this article, “Daimler driverless lorry tested in motorway traffic” …

Daimler's self-driving truck took to a German autobahn to prove its capabilities

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Compact Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank – I don’t know about you, but my smartphone has become an extension of my body. I feel lost when I don’t have it in my possession and frustrated when it needs charged. To remedy the charging issue, I am exploring (looking at) the compact portable chargers. One that has caught my eye, that is inexpensive and has great customer reviews is the Anker Astro E1 5200mAh Ultra Compact Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank … One in three chargers sold on Amazon are from Anker!

Anker Astro E1

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