The other day I was training a client who lives at North Shore Towers on the Queens / Nassau border and he went to the United States Post Office  website to look up a zip code. If you find yourself going to the United States Post Office website to find a zip code of an address there is a better way that will save you time. The next time you are trying to find the zip code for an address try using Google Maps or Bing Maps instead.  Type in the address in the address bar and the full address including the zip code will appear in the left hand corner. Bing Maps will also give you the longitude and latitude readings as well. 

The United States Post Office website requires you to enter the street address on one line and the city on another line. You then select the state from a drop down menu that contains all the states. Using Google Maps or Bing Maps is a good time saver especially if you are looking up the zip code for several addresses. It also is very easy to get a zip code for an address in either the phone book or calendar of my Android smartphone.  

While we are on the subject of the post office website, many people have Google as their homepage.  If you need to track a package or letter don’t go to the post office website or Fedex. In the Google search bar type the tracking number and the status will show.

If you want to know more about how using your computer or other technology issues, I can be contacted at (917) 572-3468 or email me at mike@computerconciergeny.com .

My Facebook page at Computer Concierge NY LLC has tips there to better use your computer, smartphone, iPad and other technology. Liking it will assure that you are up to date in technology.



Computer Concierge NY LLC provides expert computer and technology services in the Queens, NY area. This includes Albertson, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellerose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park,  FlushingForest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park,  New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside NY vicinity.  Our web services are provided worldwide.
 
 
Bayside NY, nyc, new york, in queens ny, queens, queens ny, Bayside queens
Winter in Bayside NY. Picture taken by Mike Klubok of Computer Concierge NY LLC.
With the impending arrival of the 2013 blizzard please look at the attached link.  http://mashable.com/2012/07/03/charging-solutions/ about some ways you may be able to recharge your devices in the event you lose power. (If you are charging your phone inside a garage make sure the garage door is opened.) Cell phone towers may be down and you may lose internet service but keep in mind that most smartphones have a built in light that could come in handy during these times.  Also at this time if you are not using your cellphone, keep it charged. Use your phone as sparingly as possible to preserve power.  Dim the display on your smartphone to preserve power.  On a personal note, since I will not be using my cellphone during the evening I will be turning it off to preserve my battery in case we lose power.  Also use text messaging to reach out as this is likely to be more successful.  One thing people did after Hurricane Sandy was to use wireless networks where free Wi-Fi is offered such as Starbucks (inside or outside).

Before retiring, it will be a good idea to disconnect electrical power to televisions, computers, printers, etc.  Have copies of any prescriptions.  Use a smartphone if you have one or a phone with a camera to take a picture of them.

If you bank online, you may want to make sure that all bills that need to be paid in the next several days are accounted for and that you have money in your accounts to cover any recurring and other payments that you have set up.  If you lose power, you may not be able to pay these bills and transfer money between accounts till power is restored.

Most of all be safe.  Unless you absolutely have to go out, stay indoors.  Being safe is of utmost importance. Use common sense.  Fill up water bottles, tea pots, etc..

As always I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 for your technology problems.

My Facebook page provides information on the current goings on in the technology field. There are tips to better use your technology. For timely information, please visit and "Like" my page.


Computer Concierge NY LLC  provides expert computer and technology services in the Queens, NY area. This includes Albertson, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellerose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park,  Flushing, Forest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park,  New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside, NY vicinity.  Our web services are provided worldwide.
 
 
While this blog is a posting of computer related items, cell phones are in fact a computer and this is a potential life saving issue. I am doing this post that indirectly relates . 

In case of emergency (ICE) is a program that enables 1st responders to identify victims and contact next of kin in case of an emergency.  Hence the acronym ICE.  All cellphones should have one or more ICE listings should the unfortunate happen. 

That said, cellphones and particularly smart phones have password protection mechanism where your phone, ICE and all other information cannot be accessed without keying a password or drawing a pattern to unlock all of this.  What I am trying to get at here is if your phone is password protected, ICE is not able to be accessed.  Please have an alternate form of identification that lists an emergency contact(s).  Don't feel a false sense of security having ICE on your phone where there is password protection enabled.
 
 
My 17 year old son who is somewhat tech savvy got a new laptop computer last month. As such, I did not expect him to ask me for help in setting up his new computer. Even afterwards he had a question since his screensaver was not working properly which I promptly fixed for him.It got me thinking and realizing how much more there is to setting up a computer than just taking it out of the box, making the necessary connections and following the on screen instructions. I always knew, but with my 17 year old asking for help did not realize how much more it truly is.


Here are just a few things to consider: 
1. Do you know which programs need to open when you start your computer? Unnecessary programs opening   
     when you start your computer up will slow start time.
2. Do you have a system recovery disk should you ever need it?
3. Do you know the correct update setting for your computer to use? Make the wrong selection and you are  
     more likely to get a virus or have another computer problem.
4.   Do you know what to do when your factory installed antivirus program expires? This will occur shortly after  
      you purchase your new computer. The right move will keep your computer virus free and save you money in 
      the long run.
5.  Do you know how to set up your computer to find and open your favorite programs and files quicker?

If you live in Queens or Nassau County, NY call me at 917.572.3468.  Installing computers is just one of the technology services I offer.  I also provide expert computer training as well as training on your iPad, iPhone or Android  in the convenience of your home (seniors a specialty) as well as computer troubleshooting, printer setup, computer repair, computer support,wireless networks, and more.


iPhone training, iPad training




Computer Concierge NY LLC, provides expert computer services in the Bayside, NY area, Including Queens, Albertson, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellrose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park,  Flushing, Forest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park,  New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside vicinity. 


 

GCF Learn Free

06/06/2011

 
For those wanting to learn a new subject or brush up on a new one, GCFLearnFree.org is a good site to start.  With courses on subjects like computer software (particularly Microsoft Office), everyday life, money, and career this is a good place to go to for free courses. You can study at your own pace and there are accompanying videos that aid in your grasping the subject and greatly support the content taught. You also can register for courses given online that are graded by instructors. These instructors also will also provide help and feedback as well. You can finish these courses in a few days or up to 4 weeks. Upon completion for these you are awarded a certificate of completion.  You are not awarded a certificate for completing the self paced courses. There are also some good GCF videos on YouTube as well.  See link:  http://www.youtube.com/user/gcflearnfree

Some of these courses are very basic like "Cash Back".  Others like the ones for the various editions of Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Office Access are more involved.  By creating an account you are able to see what courses you have taken or are in the process of taking.  Courses that are more involved have various sections and a challenge at the end of each section. What I like about the Microsoft Office courses are that they are not only offered for the current version but for several previous versions. It is not necessary to be using the current version to get instruction that is meaningful for you. For those who are beginners with regards to computers, their Computer Basics course is useful and informative.  Most of their courses are computer related. Their Facebook page notes that  they provide "innovative online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve their technology, literacy, and math skills."

You may wonder how are they able to do this for free. GCFLearnFree.org is supported by the Goodwill Community Foundation. GCFLearnFree.org serves to support the educational mission of the Goodwill Community Foundation which is "to create and provide education, employment, and life enrichment opportunities for people who desire to improve the quality of their lives" as per the GCFLearnFree.org site. It certainly is a good site to go to for your lifelong education.
 
 
CCleaner is a product developed by Piroform. It is used to clean unwanted files and invalid Windows registry entries from a computer. It is an application for Windows and not for Macs. However the Piroform webite which is responsible for CCleaner notes on its website that it soon will be making CCleaner for Macs as well.  It is free and a valuable program to have. One of its applications is the removal of cookies. For those who may be unfamiliar with cookies per Wikipedia they are "a piece of text stored on a user's computer by their web browser". What this piece of text does is that it stores various information on it. This information can be site preferences, shopping cart contents and an identifier.

Yes you can use the Disk Cleanup program in the System Tools of your PC. However CCleanerdoes a better job. As mentioned it can be used to delete invalid registry entries from your computer. It is not a sophisticated program for doing this but for those unfamiliar with registry files, it will do the job without harming your computer. It also is very good for cleaner your internet browser's cookies, history, temporary files and form history and download history. 

Having said all this I will add that you can customize the settings. For example should you not wish to delete anything related to MS Office you can. This is important because if you select MS Office your history of recently opened documents will be deleted. 

CCleaner also removes from your PC temporary files, listing of recent documents opened and clears your recycle bin. In addition it also removes unnecessary information from various third party programs. These include MS Office and Adobe Acrobat. If you like your computer to save your passwords (not recommended) or browsing history you have that option. Should you wish not to delete selected cookies, there is an option for that as well.

You also can uninstall programs using CCleaner instead of going into your computer's Control Panel.  The ability to wipe your hard drive also exists by going into the Tools option and selecting "Drive Wiper" then selecting "Entire Drive"  in the drop down menu to the right of "Wipe" so you do need to exercise some caution.

In all this is a desirable program to have on your hard drive. It is free and is a good way to get rid of unneeded files as well as being user friendly. I have found the settings to be easy to use.

UPDATE:  CCleaner is now available to Mac users as a free beta download.  http://lifehacker.com/5808168/ccleaner-for-mac-clears-personal-data-in-one-click-for-safari-and-firefox

I would like to add here that if anyone has a suggestion for a subject, please let me know. Also please feel free to comment.  All comments are welcomed.
 
 
Google is the #1 search engine going. Almost 75% of internet volume of searches as noted in http://www.hitwise.com/us/datacenter/main/dashboard-10133.html for the 4 weeks ended May 29 are made through Google. That said, this blog are ways to make your internet searching easier using Google. The underline phases are the verbatim ways to enter the search terms in Google:

• Crossing delancey – the words crossing and delancey

• “Crossing delancey” – the exact phrase Crossing delancey

• Crossing –delancey - the word crossing but NOT the word delancey

• define:crossing/definition:crossing – definitions of the word crossing. Both define: and definition: are acceptable when searching in Google for definitions.

• phonebook: Joseph Torre NY – phone listings of all those named Joseph Torre in New York.

• stocks:pfe – find Pfizer’s current stock price.

• movie: the blind side 11360 – show show times in or near zip code 11360 for the blind side

• weather:11360 – weather and forecast for zip code 11360

• Site:cnn.com obama – search cnn.com for all information on obama. This can be done for all websites. “Site: “ only searches on the website or domain indicated in the search parameter.

• Crossing#or#delancey – the words crossing or delancey

• Crossing#and#delancey – the words crossing and delancey – this is another way to search for the words crossing and delancey. Using “#and#” in your search is great for searching where you are more than one phrase, term, etc. For example “Tom Seaver”#and#”world series”. Google will search for where the terms “Tom Seaver” and “world series” occur. It is not case sensitive.

Did you know you can do arithmetic calculations using the Google search bar?

Using + - / * keys, you can do basic adding, subtraction, division or multiplication functions. In the search bar put in “2*3+5” and your search will return the correct value of 11.

You can also use Google to convert units in measurements. For example typing “3 tbsp to cup” and hitting the enter key gives a result of 0.1875 cups.


Google is a very good search engine and by following some of the suggestions noted can speed up what you truly are searching for.

 
 
What would happen on a trip if you were to lose your passport, credit cards, driver's license, etc?  I find it to be a good idea to scan all except the credit cards and then save it as a word file using Microsoft Word (MS Word).  As for the credit cards, I make a list of that using MS Excel. I have the name of the card in one column and the card number in another column. You can also do a list in MS Word.  Using MS Excel is a personal preference. 

In saving these files I make sure to password protect them. Since the method to password protect a file differs by program used and version of that program you need to go to the help section to determine how to password protect the file. I then email the file to myself. What I am doing here is adding an extra layer of security to information that if it fell into the wrong hands would make me more susceptible to identity theft. One would need to know both my email password as well as the password I am using to protect the respective files that contain this sensitive data. I would suggest making the passwords for your email and files different.

One does not have to limit to just credit cards, passport and drivers license. Scanning current drug prescriptions you are using and saving them to a word type file is another good idea where you have a copy of the prescription. This way if you were to lose the prescription drugs you had packed, you should have an easier time refilling it. You can also put the numbers of your travelers checks in a file as well. I also keep my phonebook in my Google contacts list so should I need a number I can get it wherever I have an internet connection which would include my smartphone.

Doing all of these is not a magic bullet should you have a loss. It will however make it easier to travel and in the case of a passport get a replacement more easily in the event of losing any important documents. I would also suggest that you avoid using an unsecured public wireless network to obtain any of this. If you have a smartphone, you can likely access this information using it. That said another way to store your files is if you are using a syncing program likeDropbox or Sugarsync. You can log onto the one you are using to access the information in question. I will suggest here that you do not save this information on the hard drive of any computers you may be travelling with. Better that it is in the cloud where the data and you are not in the same place. Also should your computer get lost or stolen, you can still access it from another computer. If anyone is interested in opening a Dropbox account let me know before setting up your account. I will send you an invite to join Dropbox and both of us will get an extra 250mb of free storage. A win/win for both of us. Note: as I mentioned in my blog last week, you cannot upload or save a password protected file in Google Docs.

Hopefully you will never need to access these files in an emergency.  However, having them in an emergency can make your life easier when it occurs.
 
 
Have you ever wanted to share files with someone without emailing them? Have you ever needed to access a file and you are not by your computer? Then Dropbox is for you. Per Wikipedia, “The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder that is then synced to the cloud and to any other of the user's computers and devices with the Dropbox client.” 

While Google Docs is a way to share and store files offline, it is not as good as Dropbox. 3 reasons: 
1. Using Dropbox allows you to upload by folder which at this point in time you cannot do using Google Docs. With Google Docs, you can only upload files. You have to set up a folder in Google Docs and move the files to that folder after you upload. With Dropbox, you can drag the folder into Dropbox and the folder and contents are uploaded. 
2. You can set up more than 1 computer to have access to selected files. When you use the files and update, they are automatically uploaded on any other computer linked to your Dropbox account. You do not need to use a USB drive to transfer files or email a file to yourself. 
3. Dropbox offers up to 2GB free storage. With Google Docs you are limited to 1GB of free storage. 

Let’s discuss the 1st advantage. When you use Google Docs you can only upload files. You cannot upload a folder but rather the files in a folder. In Google Docs you upload the files in the folder, individually or collectively. What this means is that in Google Docs you need to create a folder name. Then in Google Docs you move the files to the folder selected. In Dropbox you simply upload the folder which would include all the files in the folder. A step saved. 

I also like the time saver of the 2nd advantage. My wife and I have both a laptop and a desktop. When we travel, frequently our travel notes are written on the desktop. Prior to our trip we use a USB drive to transfer our travel notes to our laptop. Now that we have Dropbox and both computers are linked to the Dropbox account this is automatic. No USB drive needed here. That said, in order for the file to sync in Dropbox the file cannot be opened. While you are using the file, it cannot be synced to the Dropbox website or any other computer. Only files in the Dropbox folder are synced. If you do not want to share a file and/or folder you don't put it in the Dropbox folder. You save time in that you do not have to email files to yourself. You also do not need a USB drive to transfer files from 1 computer to another. This also has the advantage of backing up files on both another computer and on the Dropbox website. Don’t have another computer? Well like Google Docs, you can access the file from another computer by going to Dropbox on the web. If you want to share a file with others, you send an email allowing access to the file you wish to share. 

The last advantage is academic. 2GB of free storage vs 1GB of free storage. 

All in all, Dropbox is not only a good way of storing and accessing files online. It is also a better way of doing it than using Google Docs. Try it. You will find that you have some extra time on your hands for other things to do.
 

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