5/16/22 - Can you use the new 88 gas

My wife wanted me to lookup the new 88 gas to see if she can use it in her 2010 Honda car.  It's supposed to be cheaper.  Below is a web link that explains all the details.  The short version is yes you can use it if your car is 2001 or newer.  But don't use it with old cars or other types of equipment like boats and lawn mowers.

Kwik Try web link

4/8/22 - Fake email from QuickBooks

I received this email in my inbox the other day, not even my spam folder.  It's pretending to be a bill from QuickBooks and Best Buy's Geek Squad.  There was a PDF link to click plus a phone number to call.  This of course is all fake.  There are several clues that makes me think this:

  • First off I've never owned QuickBooks

  • I've never used the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

  • Auto renew subscriptions don't expire, the the whole idea of auto renew.

  • In the message they spelled "GEEK_SQUAD" with an underscore, which is not normal.

So what should you do if you got an email like this?  Call QuickBooks or Best Buy using a real phone number from their official website, or stop into Best Buy in person.  The important thing is to never click anywhere inside an email you were not expecting or call any phone numbers.  Even clicking an "Unsubscribe" link would be bad.  Best thing to do is move the email to your spam folder so it's flagged, or just delete it.  You can also call me if you want a free 2nd opinion  763-689-5912.

2022-04-08  Fake quickbooks email.jpg

3/13/22 - Great YouTube video showing the most popular websites

3/7/22 - Turn off YouTube's new mouse over feature

Recently I've noticed when I move the mouse over a YouTube video in the search list, the small preview picture of the video gets a bit larger and starts playing.  Problem is there is some animation while this happens and that often gets in the way of me click or dragging the video.  Basically I have to wait for the animation to stop.   Fortunately I found an easy way to turn this feature off.

1.  Sign into YouTube with your Google account so your setting change will be remembered.  A Google account is just your Gmail account.

2.  Click on your account picture in the upper right.  A menu will show.

3.  Click on "Settings"

4.  Along the left click "Playback and performance"

5.  On the right scroll down to the very bottom.

6.  Find "Inline Playback" and click on the On/Off button so it turns from blue to black.  Black means it's turned off.  The change is saved automatically.

7.  Now search for some videos by typing something in the search box at the top.  If you mouse over a video it should now work like it did before.

 

2/27/22 - Do you need a backup computer ?

If you are like me I'm on my computer (or someone else's) every day.  I'm continually researching something, changing my programs, writing webpage tips like this, or testing some program talked about on the web.  My main office computer is over 10 years old and still running Windows 7.  Sure I could upgrade it to Windows 10 or 11, but then some of my most used programs would no longer work, like Microsoft's Photo Gallery or Office Start 2010.

My computer could die at any time without warning, and if it did I'd be out of commission for some time.  I do a good job of backing up my important data files every other day, but what about all the programs I'd have to go without until I got another computer up and running?

So for the last week I've been preparing an old Windows 7 desktop to replace my main office computer just in case it dies suddenly.  I didn't realize how many small programs, icons, browser bookmarks, and the many adjustments I'd made to my old computer.  I finally finished today, so if my computer died tomorrow all I have to do is swap the computer out and restore my most recent data files, and I'd be off and running.

But what about you?  If you are a business I would strongly suggest having a backup plan in case your computer dies, and it could, maybe 5 years from now or maybe the next time you turn it on.  Even if you're not a business, if you rely on your computer as much as I do, you should have a plan.  AT THE VERY LEAST everyone needs to backup their important data files regularly, once a month, once a week, or maybe every day, depending on how important it is.

This backup computer does not have to be something brand new.  In fact it could be the last computer you used that you still have in the closet.  Maybe it's on the slow side, but at least if it has most of your programs installed and your printer setup, that's a big time saver.

2/23/22 - Some useful free webpages

CloudConvert.com

This webpage allows you to convert files from one format to another free of charge. There's nothing to install, it's all done online.  You can convert up to 25 files per day. After that there's small fee, like $9 for 500. I tested going from a DOC to PDF and PDF to DOC. They looked great and opened without problems. The buttons are a bit hard to figure out at first but really weren't too big of problem.


ManualsLib.com

This webpage lets you type in a product name or model number and look up the old manual available for it.

For example I brought up the PDF manual for my old HP Windows 7 desktop, Acer Aspire x3400g


ReviewMeta.com

This webpage adjusts the Amazon review score for a product by taking out reviews it thinks are "unnatural".  Just paste in the Amazon product's web address.  I tried this on some safety glasses my wife orders.  It did not find any bad reviews and left the score the same at 3.8.



 

2/11 22 - Make the Gmail compose screen larger automatically

1.  Click the Compose button.

2.  Click the 3 dots in the lower right corner of the small compose screen.

3.  Click "Default to full screen"

4.  Close the compose screen with the "X"

2/8/22 - Virus popup in the lower right of Chrome

I had a job last night and a job this morning that involved the same kind of virus popup.  The information displayed changes each time but to the right is an example.  This popup is 100% fake and is only trying to get you to click the buttons.  The popup does not hurt anything other than to display the messages.  It's caused by a setting in the chrome browser and something that got installed that takes advantage of that.  Until you get it fix just ignore it and don't click inside that popup.  If you would like me to remove it and check for other viruses, give me a call to set an appointment.  We can likely remove it remotely if you have Windows 10 and nothing else you need done.  763-689-5912

2022-02-08  Bestfaust systray popup.jpg

2/8/22 - Minnco hours

I had to lookup the Minnco Credit Union hours today for the wife.  Here they are in case you need them also.

2022-02-08  Minnco Bank hours.jpg

1/24/22 - How to clean up the look of Gmail

 

I was helping a client with Gmail the other day and found the webpage so cluttered with confusing features and buttons it was hard use the email program and to see the folders along the left side.  The client had all her webpages enlarged a bit to 110% due to eyesight problems which made it even worse.  The biggest problem was a feature called "Meet " which took up half the left column and got in the way.  Below are some settings in Gmail you can change to make things more usable.

 

 

Making the folders list show or not

Along the left side of the screen you should see a list of folders with words like "Inbox".  If you see only pictures, then just click the 3 horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your Gmail screen.  It's a button to the left of  "M Gmail".  Click it a couple times and you'll see it toggles between showing or hiding your folder list.

 

 

Removing Meet on the left side

This will remove the "Meet"  and other related lines from the left side of the screen.

It's a free online video conferencing service like Zoom and Skype.  If you don't use this feature there's no reason to see it along the left.

  1. Click the Settings gear button in the upper right, then click "See all settings"

  2. Click on "Chat and Meet", which is a tab along the top of the settings screen.

  3. Now choose "Hide the Meet section in the main menu".

  4. Click the "Save Changes" button below.The Gmail screen will refresh.

 

 

Changing what folders show along the left side

Along the left in the folder list you may not see all the folders you expect, like "Trash" and "Spam".  Gmail likes to hide folders under the word "More" at the bottom of the folders list.  If you click on "More" you'll be able to scroll down and see the rest.  If you want to control what folders show right away and what folders show under "More", then use these steps.

  1. Click the Settings gear button in the upper right, then click "See all settings"

  2. Click on "Labels", which is a tab along the top of the settings screen.

  3. A list will show of all the possible folders you could see along the left side.

  4. Choose either "show" or "hide" for each folder.Some have a "Remove" button as well.
    "Show" means it shows right away, and "Hide" means it's hidden under the word "More".
    Your changes are saved automatically.For me I choose "Hide" for everything except these folders:Inbox, Sent, Drafts, Spam, Trash

  5. When done click your "Inbox" along the left to get out.

1/12/22 - How to test your internet

 

When I'm working on a client's computer with internet trouble,

there are some simple tests I can do to give a good picture of what's going on.

 

#1 - Ping test

Frist you need to open a command prompt.  This takes us back to the good old DOS days.  You remember those when computers were simple and Windows did not exist ;)  You can get to a DOS prompt in Windows 10 by searching for "cmd" in the white search box in the lower left corner of your desktop screen.  Click on CMD and a small black box should come up with a blinking cursor.  You can maximize that box to make it bigger.

 

Now type in this command and press Enter on the keyboard:   ping  -t  google.com

You should see a list go down the screen something like this, the numbers will vary:

Reply from 74.125.225.39: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=53

Reply from 74.125.225.39: bytes=32 time=131ms TTL=53

Reply from 74.125.225.39: bytes=32 time=72ms TTL=53

Request timed out

Reply from 74.125.225.39: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=53

 

Let it run it run for 30 seconds or so.  If you see no interruptions that's good.  That means you have a reliable internet connection.  However if you see 2 or more lines saying "Request timed out" that's bad.  It means your internet is disconnecting and that causes webpages not to load or at least be very slow.  The more disconnects you see the worse the problem is.  A common fix for this is to unplug the power to your modem, wait a minute, plug the modem back in, wait 5 minutes, then run the ping test again.  If the problem is consistent day after day, you may want to have me or someone look at it.  You can also call your internet company.  In the end you may need a new modem.

 

#2 - Speed test

Open your browser and type in any of the following webpages.  You can try them all:

speedtest.midco.net

speakeasy.net/speedtest

chicago.speedtest.centurylink.net/speedtest5.html

 

On each webpage click the GO button to start the test.  This will measure your internet's download and upload speed.  That is to say how fast stuff comes into your computer from the internet and how fast stuff goes out.  The download speed should be in the range from 3 to 150.  Anything over 7 is good.  The upload speed is usually much lower and can even be less than 1, but that's usually not a concern, it's the download speed that's important.  If your download speed is less than 3 that's a problem.  You should check with your internet company and see if the numbers are close to what you are paying for.  Typically your results are about 90% of what the company will advertise.  See if you can pay more and increase your speed.

 

#3 - Try another computer

Bring in a 2nd computer and connect to your internet, then try both the tests again.  If you get the same results, then you know any problems you are having are not the fault of your computer, but rather something outside it like a bad modem, bad wiring, or even a temporary problem with your internet service.  A while back I had internet trouble for a couple of weeks and it turned out to be a problem at a Midco junction box a block from my house.  If your internet problems do not show on the 2nd computer, then your computer is the cause.  That could be background programs, browser settings, or viruses.  In that case have me or someone knowledgeable clean up your computer.

 

If you need help you can call me anytime to set an appointment and we'll figure out what's going on  763-689-5912  ;)

1/20/22 - Free at home Covid tests

The government is providing 4 free tests per household.  You can order them online thru the following webpage.  I ordered mine yesterday, it was easy.

Click here to order

1/7/22 - How to backup your browser bookmarks

Bookmarks (or Favorites) are those webpages you like the most and save across the top of your browser as buttons, or in a bookmarks list in the menus.  For clients I regularly turn on the bookmarks toolbar and add their favorite webpages there to make it easy.  However it is very easy to delete those bookmarks by mistake.  In fact just the other day I deleted a folder of bookmarks on my computer that contains hundreds.  I was able to get them back though because I had a backup.  Periodically you should make a backup as well.  Below are the steps for each of the common browsers.  You will be saving your bookmarks to a file in your Documents folder.  You may find a previous file there already and if you do just overwrite it.  If you need help backing up your bookmarks or restoring them you can always give me a call.  Something like this does not take very long and I can likely do it over the phone or remotely without setting an appointment.

Firefox browser

1.  Click the Settings button.  (3 lines in the upper right)
2.  Bookmarks, Manage bookmarks (at the bottom).   A "Library" screen opens up.
3.  Click "Import and Backup" along the top.
4.  Choose "Export Bookmarks to HTML file.   A browse window will open up.

5.  Along the left find your Documents folder and click on it.

6.  In the right side of the screen save to a file like "Firefox bookmarks backup"

     If that file does not exist type in the name along the bottom.

7.  Click the SAVE button.

Chrome browser

1.  Click the Settings button.  (3 dots in the upper right)
2.  Choose "Bookmarks", then "Bookmark manager"
3.  Click 3 dots in the upper right on the blue bar.
4.  Choose "Export bookmarks".   A browse window will open up.

5.  Along the left find your Documents folder and click on it.

6.  In the right side of the screen save to a file like "Chrome bookmarks backup"

     If that file does not exist type in the name along the bottom.

7.  Click the SAVE button.

Edge browser

1.  Click the Settings button.  (3 dots in the upper right)
2.  Choose "Favorites".  A favorites list will show.
3.  Click 3 dots in the upper right corner of that favorites list.
4.  Choose "Export favorites" from the menu.   A browse window will open up.

5.  Along the left find your Documents folder and click on it.

6.  In the right side of the screen save to a file like "Edge favorites backup"

     If that file does not exist type in the name along the bottom.

7.  Click the SAVE button.

12/31/21 - Bill paying thru Minnco Credit Union

This last summer my mother went into a nursing home.  It's a long sad story about sugar addiction and her refusal to eat correctly to cure her type 2 diabetes (and yes it is curable).  In any case there was one good thing that came out of it and that is a free service from the Minnco credit union that allows me to pay any bill online in just a minute or two.  It worked so well for my mother's bills that I started doing it for most of mine.

 

Of course for this to work you have to be banking thru Minnco, but I suspect other banks may offer the same service.  Now you can arrange for companies to automatically withdraw money each month from your checking account, BUT that's a lot more work, and you have to give the business your bank account info.  Epay thru Minnco is very easy and doesn't involve contacting the company you are paying at all.  You just choose the company off a list or enter the account details manually.  Then you can make the payments each month or set them up automatically.

https://www.minnco.com

12/28/21 - Make any webpage print friendly

Printfriendly.com

This free webpage lets you paste the URL or web address in and convert a complicated webpage into something easier to read and print.  There is also an option to convert it to a PDF file you can save for later or send to someone.  Not all webpages convert well, but most seem to.

Note - if you're typing in the web address above be sure to type PrintFriendly not PrinterFriendly.

To convert a complicated webpage just highlight the web address across the top of your browser, then press Ctrl-C on the keyboard.  Now open the Printer Friendly webpage, click inside the field to make a cursor show, the press Ctrl-P on the keyboard.  You can also use right click mouse options for copy and paste.

12/10/21 - An email scam in action

The 1st email below is one my wife received from a relative this morning asking us to make an Amazon purchase for her.  My wife emailed her back saying no, and then received the 2nd email almost right away asking again.  This is clearly a scam.  Some suspicions are the 1st email was addressed to "Undisclosed recipients" which implies more than one person got it.  We later confirmed that over the phone.  Another sign of trouble is the bad grammar in the 2nd email.  That's a dead giveaway.

Clearly this relative's email account was hacked, that is to say someone figured out her password somehow.  If this ever happens to you, then you need to change your email password right away.  Also call anyone important that you email frequently and let them know any emails from you asking for money are fake.

If you receive emails like these asking for money the best thing to do is ignore it.  You could also call the person on the phone to verify things.  Generally never believe anything you see in an email or get in the regular mail.  And never click links inside email messages unless you 100% trust them.  Also to get a safer password you can use my webpage link in the upper right "Create a Random Password".

11/30/21 - Fake popup to install a bad browser add-on

Yesterday I was trying to bring up an old webpage - pcainternational.com

This is from a photographic company I worked for a 1000 years ago back in the 80's.  I'm pretty sure the company has gone out of business.  Instead of the webpage I expected, I got the popup you see below in the screen shot.  Notice the browser's address bar has redirected me to something called "Get browser safe".  Had I clicked the the large "Continue" button no doubt something bad would have been installed on my computer.  I just closed down the browser tab instead by clicking the "X" at the top.

I've never seen a popup like this before, but I suspect this is a common way bad add-on's get installed into our browsers and change settings like our homepage.  A good rule of thumb would be if something doesn't look normal just get out of it somehow and don't give it permission.

11/28/21 - Hidden close button

Sometimes I use the Bing search engine by Microsoft to look for pictures.  But lately I've seen a popup advertising some new service that looks impossible to close down.  After seeing it a few times I found the hidden "X" button.  Notice how Microsoft moved it from the upper right corner down a bit and made it much smaller.  I've marked it with a red arrow in the picture below.

11-8-21  How to save an entire webpage as a picture

These steps only work with the Firefox browser.

It will save the entire webpage as a PNG file in your downloads folder.

That picture can be opened up, cropped, or even printed.

Steps:
  1.  Add the "Take a screenshot" icon to the toolbar.
      Settings menu button, "More tools", "Customize toolbar"
      Drag the "Screenshot" icon to the toolbar.
      It looks like a pair of scissors.
      Click DONE in the lower right corner when finished.
  2.  Open the webpage you want to capture.
  3.  Click the "Take a screenshot" toolbar icon.
  4.  Click "Save full page" or "Save visible"
      A preview will show, click DOWNLOAD
  5.  Click the download toolbar icon to find the picture.

11-7-21  Fake email from PayPal

10/26/21 - Working with contact lists in Outlook.com email

 

Creating a contacts list:

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Find the words "New contact" in the upper left,

      then click the down arrow to the right.

  3.  Choose "New contact list" from the menu.

      A "New contact list" screen will show.

  4.  Type in a name for your list.

  5.  You must add at least one person's email to your

      new list now before you can create it.

      Do this by typing an email address in the empty

      box under "Add email addresses", then click ADD.

      As you type a list of addresses will show.

      You can choose them off the list if you like.

  6.  When done click the CREATE button at the bottom.

      If you click the "X" that cancels your changes.

 

Bringing up a list to see who is in it:

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Click "All contact lists" along the left side.

  3.  Click the list you want in the middle.

  4.  The people in the list show on the right side.

 

Adding contacts to an existing list method 1:

  Use this method if they are already in your contacts.

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Click to checkmark each person you want to add.

  3.  Click "Add to list"

  4.  Click the "+" symbol by the list.

Adding contacts to an existing list method 2:

  Use this method if they are NOT in your contacts.

  Note - this adds people to the list but not

  to your normal contacts list.

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Click "All contact lists" along the left side.

  3.  Click the list you want in the middle.

  4.  The people in the list show on the right side.

  5.  Click "Edit" along the top of the list.

      This brings up an "Edit contact list" screen.

  6.  Click inside the "Add email addresses" field.

      Type in an email address then click ADD.

      As you type, a list of addresses will show.

      You can choose them off the list if you like.

  7.  When done click the SAVE button at the bottom.

      If you click the "X" that cancels your changes.

 

Removing people from an existing list:

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Click "All contact lists" along the left side.

  3.  Click the list you want in the middle.

  4.  The people in the list show on the right side.

  5.  Click "Edit" along the top of the list.

      This brings up an "Edit contact list" screen.

  6.  Click the "X" to the right of each person

      you want to remove from the list.

  7.  When done click the SAVE button at the bottom.

      If you click the "X" that cancels your changes.

  Note - this only removes the people from the list,

  not from your normal contacts list if they are there.

 

Removing an entire list:

  1.  Click the People button along the left bar.

  2.  Click "All contact lists" along the left side.

  3.  Click the list you want in the middle.

  4.  Click "Delete" along the top of the list.

  5.  Click "Delete" in the confirmation prompt.

  Note - this removes the list only, not anyone

  that is in your normal contacts list already.

 

Getting out of contacts and back to your email:

  Just click the word "Outlook" in the far upper left.

10/19/21 - Health video that will make you laugh

If you've watched any of the health videos on my health webpage, you're going to love this one.