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!)…


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


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


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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I Just Changed The Way I Receive Windows Updates AND Here Is Why…

November 23, 2014

I cannot stress enough, from a computer security standpoint, the importance of the Windows Updates. Microsoft goes to great lengths to keep our PC’s safe; HOWEVER, this past week I had an experience on a brand new PC that I had customized to my liking where I believe a Windows Update caused me a lot of grief. I experienced similar symptoms, as reported at 404 Tech Support, where they made determination that a specific update on machines with the Avast Anti-Virus installed caused the following symptoms to occur:

  • Restarting or shutting down would never complete
  • Uninstalling a program would hang
  • Certain startup programs would never launch
  • Opening computer properties (Right-click on This PC, select Properties) would never open

In my case, I experienced the exact same symptoms; HOWEVER, was not the same cause(s). I did not (initially) install the update as indicated in the 404 Tech Support article and do not have Avast installed. My problem started out when I booted my Windows 81. box and was greeted with a message indicating that Windows was installing new features and telling me to wait. Of course I am scratching my head going, “What new features???  I didn’t install or ask for any new features”. Needless to say, the computer hung on that screen (and message) and did not move forward. I ended up booting into the Windows reset, refresh and restore options. I attempted a restore and that did not work properly, as well. I performed a reboot again, and the PC did start to the desktop; however, that is when I experienced the symptoms as reflected above. After a second start of the computer, the computer started to run properly (for whatever reason). I immediately ran a scan for malware and checked all areas (startup, processes, services, etc…) to make sure I was not hit with something.

The only thing that I could come up with was when I went to do the Windows restore, the restore point was showing that Windows updates KB2920189 and KB3011780 had been installed. Update KB3011780 was showing in the Windows Updates history that it had been cancelled at one point, but also showed on the same date it did install successfully. It is my thinking that this update may have caused the issues I was experiencing.

After getting things back in order and the computer running properly. I manually downloaded the update as reflected in the article 404 Tech Support had problems with (which showed as an optional update on my PC) and the update installed with no issue on my PC. Note: By the way, that optional update (KB8000850) is a large core Windows update.

Needless to say, after reading the article at 404 Tech Support and my own experience with a potential Windows Update that went wild, I now have my computer configured to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them…”.

Windows Update Configuration

I do not recommend this setting, but from a troubleshooting standpoint, I am going this route for now. There have been too many Windows 8 (8.1) updates that have caused problems and this will put me in control to monitor the updates more closely and to educate myself more about Windows Updates.

If anyone else experienced a Windows Update issue, please feel free to share your experience and comment below…


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How to Disable Specific Windows Updates So That They Will Not Be Installed

August 13, 2014

You probably are asking, “Why would I want to block a Windows Update?”.

I had numerous Windows Updates hit my PC yesterday and one of the updates would not install.  As a result, the computer ended up into a tailspin where every time I booted, the update appeared to be installing; then, it would fail; and, then uninstall itself.  After identifying what update it was, I needed a way to disable the update from installing, until a fix could be found.

What I found is that in Windows 7 and Windows 8 you can disable updates from installing by hiding them. Keep in mind, it is important to capture all updates; however, as in my case, there are those occasions where an update will break the machine.

To disable or hide the update I did some research and found that the web site Windows SevenForums has a very nice tutorial description (with graphics) on How to Hide or Restore Hidden Windows Updates in Windows 7 and Windows 8.


By following their tutorial, I was able to easily hide the update that was causing me the issue. Once I find a fix, I will unhide the update so that it can properly install. Thank you Windows SevenForum

GEEK SQUEAKS – Featuring A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On A HP Computer (following a hard drive failure).

April 20, 2014

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On An HP Computer (following a hard drive failure) – This squeak is from a personal experience that I will keep short; therefore, a chopped up description.

Windows 8.1 Update

Have you ever ran a marathon and you thought there was no end? To me the experience below was unbelievable and was like running a marathon.

My Father’s All-In-One HP computer, running Windows 8.1, still under warranty, had a hard drive failure. Called HP, patched to India, on the phone for an over an hour to run the diagnostics and listen to them trying to scare me into buying the extended warranty. Hard drive failure confirmed, patched to another person in India who kept telling me how wonderful I was. Hard drive shipped (within 3 days), and installed (in less than 15 minutes); then, the real fun began.

The drive shipped with HP’s Windows 8 recovery software.  My objective was to get the machine up and running, then upgrade to Windows 8.1…

Long story short, started at 6 pm and finished after 1 am.  Over 7 hours to run the recovery, download all of the Windows updates, and download/install Windows 8.1.  The time involved did not include the other tweaking required to get my Father’s PC back to the point he originally was at (i.e. printer install, third party software installs, cosmetic changes, etc…).

I am definitely, at my next visit, going to image the disk…  Has anyone else experienced this?



[MICROSOFT OFFICE] Microsoft Launches Cheaper Office 365 Personal – First unveiled last month, Office 365 Personal lets you run Microsoft’s cloud-based document creation and editing suite on one PC or Mac and one tablet for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Office 365 Personal is available online, at Microsoft stores, and through online and retail partners… @PCMag

[REMOTE PC ANDROID APP] Chrome Remote Desktop – Securely access your computers from your Android device. On each of your computers, set up remote access using the Chrome Remote Desktop app from Chrome Web Store. On your Android device, open the app and tap on any of your online computers to connect… @Google Play

[COMPUTER ACCESSORIES] Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter Supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Hard Disk Drives – The SATA/IDE-USB Adapter gives you the flexibility of connecting almost any type of drive to your computer via USB.  SATA, 3.5-inch IDE, 5.25-inch IDE, and 2.5-inch IDE drives are all supported and can be easily hot-swapped to your system.


Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter

The included external power adapter will allow you to power your drives outside your system giving you the ability to quickly add or swap between drives without opening your case.  The SATA/IDE-USB adapter incorporates 3 interfaces to one USB adapters… @Amazon

[COMPUTER BACKUP SOFTWARE] FREE Backup Software Protects System & Data of Your PC – Back up your most important files and folders on a regular basis. Create a system image to keep Windows and applications safe. Back up entire hard disk or specified partitions, or just cloning them. Save time and effort with automatic, incremental, and differential backups… @AOMEI

[WEB APP] Zenpen – A minimalist writing zone by Tim Holman, to get you into that zone, where you can focus on the writing – with none of the distractions… @ZenPen

[HOW TO] Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space nowNow that you’ve had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the taskbar to the modern UI, among other welcome additions—the next few days present a good time to clear up extra space on your hard drive by getting rid of some Windows Update files.How much space you’ll recover depends on whether you’ve ever run the Disk Clean-up utility, and the number of different Windows versions you’ve ever run on your PC… @PCWorld

Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

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Today’s Geek Squeaks – November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013

Summary: Update Microsoft Windows and Office without an Internet connection; A computer-generated digital decoy named “Sweetie” snares sex predators; An all-in-one toolbox for your Android smartphone or tablet; and, A 650 lumen tactical flashlight…

Geek Squeaks’ features a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!



Update Any Computer Running Microsoft Windows Without An Internet Connection

WSUS Offline Update @

Believe it or not, there are still many people with dial-up connections, due to limited broadband availability. Performing Windows updates on a dial-up connection can be a very frustrating experience that ends up bogging down the computer. This is an example where WSUS Offline Update can help…



Virtual Girl Dubbed ‘Sweetie’ Snares Thousands
Of Would-be Sex Predators

@ NBCNews

A charity created a virtual 10 year old girl named Sweetie to snare sex predators…


In little more than two months, more than 1,000 people were identified by children’s rights group Terre des Hommes after they offered money to the fake profile for a variety of sex acts. They included 254 Americans… READ MORE

All-In-One Toolbox For Android

We have seen all-in-one utility suites for the desktop computer; but, this is the first (comprehensive) all-in-one package I have seen for our Android OS based devices (such as smartphones and tablets).


All-In-One Toolbox provides comprehensive system optimizing techniques, including real-time memory info, one click memory quick boosting, task killer, cache cleaner, history cleaner, and SD file manager etc. It embraces all factors that matter to device performance, and helps to optimize your device to run at optimum speed… GET IT HERE

TerraLUX TT-5 Dual Button Tail Switch Tactical Flashlight

If you are into police or security work, I highly recommend one of these tactical flashlights. I use one, not only to light things up, but as a form of protection. The technology with these things continue to get better and better.


3 lighting modes (high, medium, low) and strobe mode

CREE XM-L (U2) LED with max 650 lumens

Max run time 295hrs

Requires (2) CR123A or (2) CR123 or (1)18650 batteries

Detachable stainless steel strike bezel


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1: Are you the techie type that is called upon to assist others?  If so, download the NirLauncher which is the launching point for over 150 utilities that are useful in managing the operation of Windows based computers (see below);

Squeak #2: Windows updates occur on a regular basis and the number of these updates over the course of the life of the operating system is insurmountable; but, what do you do when you see the “optional” windows updates?  Should you are shouldn’t you?  USA Today has a good response to that (see below);

Squeak #3: Barry’s Best Windows, Android and iPhone iPad Apps blog has an Android utility that I could have used the other day with my Android phone. The utility he is featuring gives you the ability to use your smartphone’s camera to take a pic of a document and convert it, on the fly, to a PDF file (see below); AND

Squeak #4: If you are into mass quantity document scanning or quality level document scanning, then today’s featured tech product is for you (see below);


Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]

A Package Of More Than 150 Portable Freeware Utilities For Windows



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… GET IT HERE

Are optional Windows updates necessary?

@ USA Today


Question: What’s the deal with the “optional” updates Windows suggests I install? Are they equally unnecessary?

Answer: As a general rule, you should install the optional updates that you won’t see afterward and skip the ones that you would notice.… READ MORE

Quick PDF Scanner FREE (Android) – Scan, Organize, Share, PDF Docs From Your Phone

@ Barry’s Best Windows, Android and iPhone iPad Apps


Quick PDF Scan allows you to scan, export and share multipage documents in PDF format. The software uses the camera of your Android device to help you scan and digitize your paper documents so you can easily manage and store them… READ MORE

Easily Digitize Paper-Based Data
with the Touch of One Button

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac


The ScanSnap iX500 is the scanner that intuitively guides you through every step of the scanning process, and lets you access your documents anywhere and anytime. Scan to and view across a range of popular cloud services, or wirelessly scan to your iPad/iPhone and Android devices… CHECK IT OUT HERE

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#78)

July 12, 2013

Microsoft dropping the price of the Surface  RT tablet; an update to one of the best FREE image editing software packages out there; how to setup Prey to track a lost or stolen laptop; download and save Microsoft updates using Microsoft’s Update Catalog; and, protect yourself from power surges…

Plan on seeing more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites…

Microsoft drops price of Surface RT 32GB to $349, 64GB to $449


The price cut means the base model of the Surface RT will be $349, a $150 price cut from the original price. Microsoft recently teased new Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, which means this price drop for the current models could be an attempt to get rid of current stock in place for the new models later this year – READ MORE…

PhotoFiltre by Antonio Da Cruz


PhotoFiltre 7 is a complete image retouching program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve. The toolbar, giving you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks, gives PhotoFiltre 7 a robust look. PhotoFiltre 7 also has layer manager (with Alpha channel), advanced brushes, batch module and lot of other powerful tools.

How to Setup Your Laptop with Tracking
Software in Case You Ever Lose It


Prey offers tracking software for Windows, Mac, and even Linux PCs. Prey also offers tracking apps for Android and iOS, so you could use this one service to track all of your devices – READ MORE…

Microsoft Update Catalog website lets you download & save Microsoft Updates


Microsoft Update Catalog is a service from Microsoft that provides a listing of software updates that can be distributed over a corporate network. – READ MORE…

Belkin Pivot-Plug Surge Protector


As the demand for electricity to feed our hi-tech appetite increases, the likelihood of power interruptions and problems are also increasing. In addition to problems caused by the increasing severity of storms across the country, power experts are predicting that increasing power demand will soon put most major population centers at risk for severe power problems. As you know, power lulls and surges can severely damage your electronic equipment and even destroy your invaluable data – READ MORE…

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