Google is about to focus lots of attention on health questions. These account for one out of every 20 searches. Though it isn’t available everywhere yet, when it is, you’ll see symptoms and treatments, illustrations, ages affected, and whether it’s contagious or not.
Usually, a computer slows down because it has too many programs, too many browser add-ons, and possibly some infected files. A Microsoft employee points out that Windows computers might never slow down if we didn’t add anything to them. Even uninstalling programs can leave bits behind.
A reader asked us about programs like “Tune Up Utilities,” which we used to recommend for speeding things up. Our favorite tech guru feels these speed-up utilities are a sham. We thought at first it was improving Joy’s computer but she has since stopped using it, with no change in results.
The best way to speed up a cluttered computer is to dump its contents and restore it to the original factory settings. On most PCs, start by simply shutting down your machine. Then, when you turn it on, keep tapping the F11 key until you get the “restore” screen. In our experience, this is the best way to get a fast computer back. Joy says it always feels like she just bought a new machine.
Bringing a computer back to its factory state is a fairly drastic operation, because unless you save all those files to some other place, they will be wiped. Save them to a disk or storage space in one of the many cloud storage accounts you can buy. Microsoft has free storage called “One Drive,” for 15 gigabytes, which is quite a bit. Other free ones – with limits — are Google Drive and Drop Box.
Any programs you purchased will be wiped out, of course, so you’d best have the disks for those so you can reload. Any downloaded programs will have to be downloaded again.
Search “10 Fabulously Quirky Restaurants” to see TripAdvisor’s list. In Bavaria, your food is delivered on a roller coaster, in England you can dine in a tree-house. in the Maldives, have dinner under the ocean. (The average elevation above sea level is a little more than three feet; the average elevation of Florida is about six feet.)
JobApplicationDB.com lists 1200 companies with their job applications. It claims to be the largest direct application site and is adding more each month. Users are directed to a company’s internal career site where they can see jobs not posted on job boards.
If you feel competent technically, you can try Windows 10 before it’s in stores. But we found a safe and easy way, using a Mac and the new “Parallels” software. “Parallels Windows Desktop 10 for Mac” creates a virtual Windows environment on your Mac but doesn’t affect anything else on the computer.
That’s important, because if you try to install the Windows 10 Preview version on a Windows machine, Microsoft fills the screen with dire warnings: You could lose all your files, your printer and keyboard may stop working, and your computer could become a doorstop. Windows Desktop 10 for Mac, on the other hand, is free for 14 days and easy to use.
Desktop 10 for Mac was as easy as clicking yes, until we ran out of storage space. Then we had to uninstall a few Mac programs, which involved dragging them to the virtual trash can. (One time we missed and dragged a thousand or more icons onto the screen. It may be better to use “delete” from the file menu.) Once we had Windows 10 installed, we installed the free OpenOffice.org, which is just like Microsoft Office. Finally, we installed our favorite anti-virus program, Bullguard, though the free Avast is also good.
Here’s why we like Windows 10: You get a better “start” button. The Windows 8.1 “start” gave you a screen full of colorful squares which are hard to read at a glance. In Windows 10, you get an actual list of programs and apps. At the top of the list is “File Explorer.” This makes it easy to find any file on your machine. (In Windows XP, 7, and 8, you can get something similar by right-clicking the start button and choosing File Explorer, Windows Explorer or Explore.)
Windows 10 has a search box next to the start button. We typed “Cortana.” Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s “Siri, a digital assistant that can talk to you when searching for information. Cortana is, let us say, a work in progress. For simple requests, it worked fine. When we asked for “Mexican restaurants,” it knew what city to search in. But if we just said “Mexican food,” as in: we’re thinking of going out for Mexican food, we got recipes. For more complicated questions, it usually asked us to try again later.
Beyond simple searches it can give you reminders, take notes, set alarms and play music. It also makes predictions. We read about a guy who made money letting Cortana predict the results of English soccer games. It also makes predictions for the NFL. If you want Windows Desktop 10 for the Mac after the free trial, it’s $80, or $40 if you are upgrading from an earlier version of Parallels. When it’s finally ready for the PC, it may or may not be free – unknown.
It’s perfectly legal to share with a spouse, or someone in your household. It gets questionable when you tell a friend, “hey use my password to get on.” Netflix allows up to four different locations to be streaming a movie at once. Go over that limit, and someone will be shut off.
Hulu is stricter. Only one movie can be streamed at a time. If you give your password to a friend, they might be watching when you want to watch. Amazon Instant Video allows two at a time, but you both must be in the same location. Hubby can be watching his action film in the living room while Wifey is watching her romantic comedy in the den, or vice versa. HBO Go 3 allows three at once, but only in the same household.
A few weeks ago we mentioned the yellow exclamation point in Gmail that prompted us to switch from Chrome to Firefox to Opera. A reader said he gets it too and wonders why. We finally have the answer.
Every web address these days begins with “https” rather than the simple “http.” (The “s” is for “security.”) If you have a browser add-on that still uses the simple http, Gmail flags it. It can be quite annoying, even causing your email to freeze, but it appears to be harmless. In our tests, simply uninstalling Google Chrome and reinstalling it without any add-ons fixed the problem.