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Sunday, July 10, 2016

1704. Stick with Windows XP

I need to continue using Windows XP. I don't want to upgrade to Windows 7, 8, or 10. I know Microsoft has abandoned Windows XP, but is there anything I can do so that I can continue using it? It's funny we've been moving people for the last few years away from windows XP. towards Windows 7 or 10.

I think Windows 8 is a bad choice at this moment but in any case.

There are reasons to stay on Windows XP, especially if you have an application that will only run on Windows XP. And there are some out there. At this point. Microsoft has pretty much abandoned Windows XP and won't be providing updates but we did find a useful article online which points at some things you can do that will make Windows XP be acceptable for the near future. This includes tricks like making your registry setup correctly deleting applications that may have problems and keeping track of updates manually in any case we don't recommend it we really think moving to Windows 10 is a good idea but if you just can't, there are ways to do it.

Check out our website tech tip guys dot com for more information on maintaining your existing installation of Windows XP.

1705. Using the WIndows 10 Start Menu

I often can't find the application I'd like to run in the WIndows 10 Start menu. Is there anything I can do to make it easier to find my application? If Microsoft did anything in its conversion from Windows 8 to Windows 10 they worked on making the Windows Start Menu easier to use in Windows 10.

You can make any application appear on the Start menu just find it in your list of applications, right click and you'll see an option to pin it to the Start menu. But even that isn't really necessary.

What Doug and I both like to do is just press the Windows key to bring up the start menu and then start typing the name of the application you'd like to use. For example if you want to start Microsoft Word just press the Windows key to bring up the Start Menu then type a W. You'll see a list of all the applications that include a W in their name and Microsoft Word should appear.

Well it pretty much tops on that list. You hit enter and Microsoft Word starts up. This is certainly the simplest way to begin applications running on Windows 10.

1706. Creating Video Files from DVDs

I need to rip some DVDs to files so I can watch them on my tablet without an internet connection. What tool do you suggest I use to create the video files? Although I'm probably as guilty as you are about creating copies of D.V.D.'s for my own personal use. I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on T.V. and I do not know what the legal issues are involved in this case. Just be aware that you may or may be breaking the law when you make a copy of a D.V.D.

I have no idea but I certainly do it. The tool I use on my Mac is called Make MKV that is the letters. M K V. Make M.K.V is an application that runs on both Macs and P.C.'s and it takes a D.V.D. and takes each of the chapters or files on that D.V.D. and converts them into a format that you can play on a tablet or laptop. I find it very easy to use it's free and although there are many many options for doing this it's my tool of choice.

There are also other options you can look at on Windows or Macs but again, make MKV is currently free, easy to use and I highly recommend it. Given the video files that this program creates you'll need to move them to your device, your tablet, your phone, or your laptop and then find an application that can play the video files. A very common use for playing video files is the application called V L C which plays videos of almost any kind on almost any device - give it a check.

1713. Automatically Route iPhone Calls to the Speaker

I most often use the speaker on my iPhone during the day, and for every call I make or receive, I have to press the little speaker icon. Is there some way to make my phone automatically route calls to the speaker, so I can bypass fiddling with that button every time? This is a common problem when I'm driving I want all my calls routed to the speaker phone. When Doug is running around town he uses his bluetooth headset it would like all calls to come in and go out from his bluetooth headset.

It's easy to make this change but you have to know where to look. It's not obvious on your iPhone. Go to your settings application, choose general then find, accessibility in the accessibility settings. Scroll down till you find the call audio routing option, select that and then you can choose automatic which is the default Bluetooth headset or speaker.

Once you've made that choice all incoming and outgoing calls including Face Time calls will use that selected audio device. When you're done you can set it back to automatic and then it will use the default options on the phone instead. This is a quick easy way to select the default incoming and outgoing audio device. So you don't have to tap your phone one extra time to make or receive a call.

1714. Some Android Apps Cause Huge Data Consumption

I recently added a few new apps to my Android phone, and all of a sudden, my data usage has skyrocketed. I didn’t expect these applications to consume any data at all, but clearly, one or more of these apps is doing something I’m not aware of. What’s up? How can this happen? Although I'm intrigued by Android phone and some of them are awfully slick looking and certainly their price is better than other devices.

I must say that, well I told you so. You can say what you like about Apple's applications and its phones but at least their applications are curated. You go to the App Store on an Apple device and download an application you can be pretty sure that someone at Apple has looked at the application has verify that it doesn't do nasty things to your phone.

That cannot be said for Android applications which can come from any source. You can load them from any place at all and anyone could have written them and anyone could have added code to that application to do nasty things to your phone.

Although the applications have to request your permission to use various bits of hardware in the device for example an application has to get your permission to use the microphone, the G.P.S., your contacts, and so on. Most people just blindly give that permission and once you give that permission you have no control over what the application does. And what applications are known for being somewhat, what's the word spiky, and you really can't be sure what it's going to do with your device.

We have a link to an article on our website which lists ten of the worst Android applications that are most popular right now that is "Things You Should NEVER install". You can use that list to help decide whether or not you should install an Android application but beware any Android application can use whatever data it once once you give it that permission.

1701. Change the Default Downloads Folder on Mac

I'm using Safari on the Mac, and would love to be able to store downloaded files in a folder that I have created, not the default Downloads folder. How can I change the built-in behavior, so I can indicate the folder where I want to save downloads? I completely get this question because when I download things I like to store them often in my Dropbox folder so I have them all for later use.

It's easy to make this change in Safari all you have to do is go to the preferences menu in the upper left hand corner, choose the general preferences and from there you can select the downloads folder. You can choose any existing folder or you can create a new folder into which to place your downloaded files.

By default they go into your Downloads folder which is a perfectly reasonable place to put them. But if you want to place download somewhere else you have that control. He should be able to do this with almost any browser. Just look to the preferences for a place where you can specify the download folder.

1724. What is "the Cloud"?

We often talk about using the cloud for data and storage and I wonder if some people understand what we are talking about.  Can you take a moment and explain what we mean when we talk about the cloud?

A big white puffy... Oh you mean the computer related cloud?

The first thing you should understand about the cloud is that it is not a physical thing. The cloud is a network of servers, and each server has a different function. Some servers use computing power to run applications or "deliver a service." Some store data.  Some provide deliver information.

For example, Adobe recently moved its creative services to the cloud. You can no longer buy the Creative Suite (PhotoshopInDesign, etc.) in a box set. Instead, you must pay a monthly subscription fee to use each individual service. That's why it's now called the "Adobe Creative Cloud" instead.
Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data.
For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone's internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
So remember: "The Cloud" is a network of servers. Some servers provide an online service, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram or Dropbox.
Chances are, you encounter the cloud daily. From Google Drive to OneDrive to iCloud to Evernote, any time you store information without using up your phone's or computers internal data, you're storing information on the cloud.