Friday, December 28, 2012

Most Popular Chrome Extensions for 2012

A lot of stuff will make the Chrome Browser even better.  Take a look at this Lifehacker article.  I keep trying the new IE10, but Chrome is still the best for me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas Greetings!!  If you find a new Windows 8 computer under the tree, then this link is for you -  Oh, so true.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Phoenician

We experienced brunch at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale this past Sunday. A very beautiful place in the desert. I expect it would be quite nice in warmer weather. I took a few HDR shots (wish I had my tripod). This picture is of The Canyon Suites lobby looking out the back door on to an almost-real desert view. Other pictures can be found my clicking on this one. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

New Google+ Community

We've created a new Google+ community named "The Old Computer Geek Group".  Presently it is a private group, so you must have an invitation to join.  We want to keep it for the residents of Gold Canyon RV & Golf Resort.  If you have not yet received an invitation (those of you with Google+ access, and have attended a meeting, should have received an invitation) - please call or email me with your request.

You can learn more about Google+ Communities here -  I hope this can be the vehicle to provide an online forum for computer-related information.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Links

I've been saving several links to helpful sites.  I'll share a few with you.

Have you ever dropped your phone in the toilet?  Or spilled liquid on it?  Try this site -

Want to make your pc's desktop a little prettier?  Here's a collection of some of the best.  I'm gonna try the happy sky desktop.  Maybe I'll have it ready for the next OCGG meeting on January 2.

I've rooted my phones many times.  AND, many times I've crashed them in the process - it's not pretty.  Heh, it's just something I do.  Here's an opportunity to give your Android phones a new look or capability WITHOUT going through the rooting process -

Google Drive Extension - a new way to save web content to the cloud.

What happened to the boot options in Windows 8?  Get back your favorite features in Windows 8 -

More Windows 8 tips -

How to get the most out of Google Chrome -

Enjoy!  The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Windows 8 is Here!

It didn't take long - some residents have purchased Windows 8 computers.  And, there is a learning CURVE.  Don't fret, all it takes is practice, and you'll be a power user in no time (well, maybe it'll take a little time).

There are many sites that can help in this learning curve.  Here's one I thought to be pretty good -  Have fun and we'll see you tomorrow in the OCGG meeting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Good discussion today.  Thanks to all who attended.

Need topics for next week.  Any ideas?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chromebook Arrives!

Received the new Chromebook today!  Pretty nifty computer - not sure Donna is thrilled, but it is a lot lighter than the laptop she was using.

After a few updates and a lockup, it's been running great for several hours.  I'm impressed.  I'll have it for you to play with at next Wednesday's OCGG meeting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Streaming Radio

Do any of you use a streaming radio service for listening to music?  Let's talk about music streaming at the next meeting.

Monday, October 8, 2012

OCGG Meeting this Week

I'm starting the meetings up again this week - Wednesday, October 10th at 9:30 am in the Prickly Pear Room.  I have Windows 8 Release Preview loaded on my laptop so we can take a look at some of the "features" of the upcoming operating system.

I receive daily technical information from a variety of sources.  One of these is TechRepublic.  Go here to see a recent blog posting regarding anti-malware tools.

I'll see you on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

MaximumPC Windows 8 Review

Maximum PC is currently the only pc magazine I get on paper.  It has become thinner over the years, but still contains some good articles for the Old Computer Geek.  This article covering Windows 8 is one of the good ones.  You should read it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Great Sunset

We had a great sunset last night.  It felt cool - only 90°.  Fall is almost here!!

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A Great Sunset Last Night

The pictures don't do it justice; great sunset last night.

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Click on the picture to see a few others.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blocking Web Trackers

Several of you know that I've mentioned Ghostery as Chrome extension that will help you block web trackers.  Well, I've learned of a new one, Abine, that appears to do a pretty good job, too.  So far I like it better because it gives you an easy way to release a site from these cookies, if you so desire.

Abine works with IE and Chrome; however, when I tried to add it to IE10, it gave a notification that they weren't quite ready for Windows 8, and that I should use it at my own risk.  Think I'll try it anyway!

It's working well in Chrome, though.  So far, for each site I've visited, both Ghostery and Abine register the same amount of trackers.

Here's the link that caused me to investigate Abine -  Seems that facebook is BIG into following everything you do online.

Friday, September 7, 2012

After the Rain

Long and steady rain today.  Temperature dropped to 75°, but now is 81° and humid.  But, can winter be far away?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dust Storm Warning!

A couple of days ago, my cell phone started squawking.  Government alert about bad weather in our area (first time I'd seen that on a phone).  So I drove over to the club house to view the impending disaster.  Here's what I saw -

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 It never did reach us. That's usually what happens to us.

Here's a picture of some virga.  That's more typical.

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However, last night we had rain.  Lots of it, and I slept right through it!  Today we discovered this erosion in the park.

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As much as I like a good storm, I wish "someone" would have made me get out of bed.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Windows 8 Release Preview

I decided yesterday to install the Windows 8 Release Preview on my main pc.  I had it installed in a separate partition, so all my applications were not installed when I booted in W8.  Well, it turns out that W8 is much faster than W7 - at least I think so.  So, I thought, why not just install the Release Preview on the W7 partition?  That way I could use my existing applications AND get the increased speed.

Don't do it!  Not unless you want to have a big administrative problem.  It seems that Microsoft has not provided an upgrade to W8 if you have installed a pre-release version.  You have to install all your applications again!  However, if you do not install a pre-release version, than an upgrade to W8 is available. Go figure.

Anyway, I'm continuing to test W8 on my laptop and will keep my main pc as a W7 machine for the time being.  I'm discovering more shortcuts in W8 and folk have written some code to get some of the start screen functionality into W8 that we've become accustomed to in W7.  And with W8 booting a lot faster than W7, I think I've changed my mind about 8.  Do expect a pretty good learning curve, though.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Windows 8 Once Again

Just read an interesting article today - - so, with new-found enthusiasm, I'm trying W8 again.  Someday you'll have to use W8 - read this article in preparation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

North Rim Visit

About 10 days ago we visited the North Rim with David and JoAnne.  Here's a pretty good picture of us during the visit.  Nice job, Dave (or JoAnne).

I took some pictures, too.  This is one of David and JoAnne learning about their camera.  I guess the training worked; the picture of us is great!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grand Canyon

Just returned home from a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon.  Sometimes it rains; not much sun for this one.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Hack Link

Additional information on THE HACK can be found here.  This guy's problems are getting a lot of press.  Amazon has changed how it handles credit cards and I suppose Apple has made some changes, too.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hack Update

Here's an update to the hacked story - Take heed.

Being Hacked is Not Fun

A few days ago, a techie's iCloud account was compromised. His blog describes everything that happened and how he's trying to fix it.  You should be concerned about security, and if you do nothing else, you must have difficult passwords, difficult security questions with unusual answers, and you MUST backup.  And, maybe the backup should not be in the cloud.  It appears, in this case, that Apple employees were very instrumental in allowing this to happen.

Those of you with Apple products on iCloud should carefully read Mat's posting.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Took this photo a few days back and forgot to post it.  It's a fine example on how bird-be-gone devices really work.

Rain, Batteries, & Downspouts. Oh My!

Every year during the monsoons, I vow to fix the gutters.  Every year I procrastinate.  We happened to be home during one of the recent rain storms, and noted, once again, the patio gutter cannot handle the volume of water dropping from the sky.  The gutter overflows onto the deck - big mess.  There seems to be a slight dip in the gutter about in the middle - water quickly pools there and then overflows.  Today we installed an additional downspout at that spot.  I'm sure this will fix all those soaked deck problems!!??

The monsoons have also exacerbated the golf cart battery acid leaking problem.  These batteries are at least four years old (really don't know how old they are, I bought the cart used) and the summer heat is not kind to them.  Some of the batteries boil over when charging, and the rain washes the acid onto the driveway.  We have a beautiful, multi-colored driveway now. It appeared that some cells leaked; the levels dropped so quickly.  All of this is the result of my lackadaisical battery maintenance routine.  I promise to do better - all six of these deep-cycle batteries have been replaced with new ones from Costco.  This is not a trivial expenditure; I must be more diligent in maintaining them.   Oh, and I have ordered a more sophisticated charger.  One that should be a little kinder to the batteries, AND keep them charged at all times.

I've posted some pictures of our Idaho trip on SmugMug.  Go to my photo site at, and click on one the trip pictures shown there.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Trip Photos Uploaded

All the Idaho trip photos have been uploaded.  Click on this picture to see the whole album.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

File Recovery

Just read the latest issue of MaximumPC.  Good little magazine for those of us that like to get into the guts of our personal pc.  They cover hardware and software.

The article of note covered the recovery and restoration of deleted files.  Their program of choice is Piriform Recuva, and it can be found here -  It might be worthwhile to have it loaded on your PC, just in case.  It's free!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Windows 8 Part Deux

I keep trying Windows 8, but still have to revert back to 7 to get anything done.  My advice is do not switch until you have to.  Read here for some comfort -

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Idaho Camping Trip

We just returned from a 11-day rv trip to Northern Idaho.  3,500 miles.  Whew!  Yes, my rear is sore.  But, I think we got some good pictures.  I know we visited some great people.  Too bad it was nearly as hot as home, and the A/C died 5 days into the trip, and it rained .... but a good time.  This is the first picture I'll post.  I believe this was just north of Arco, Idaho.  Click on the picture and you'll link to the album on SmugMug.  I'll keep adding pictures over the coming days.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Windows 8

This article challenged me yesterday to install Windows 8.  So, for several hours last evening, I attempted to do just that.  It took much longer than a I thought, but at about midnight it was accomplished.

This is the second time I've tried Windows 8.  This latest version does work better than my first attempt, but I still have to say Windows 7 is much easier for me.  I think it is a comfort factor.  W8 is STRANGE compared to what we're used to in Windows.  It acts/looks more like an iPad or Android tablet interface.  The functionality is way below Windows 7.

I'll keep playing with it to learn it's "features".

If any of you try this dual-boot process (that's the only way I recommend you try it - do not perform a complete replacement of 7) I'd like to know what you think of it.

Free Android Apps

Many of you bring your tablets to the OCGG meetings.  And many of you use Android (my personal favorite, as well).  This site lists 50 free apps you might consider using.  The apps from the list that I currently use, and recommend, are:

Orbot (secure browsing over wifi)
Pocket (just started using this; taking the place of others like this)
MXPlayer (just seems to work all the time)
Dolphin Browser HD (I've tried most of the browsers - keep coming back to this one)
Go SMSPro (I don't text much, but this make it look nice)
Swype (A real time saver when inputting text)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alternative Software

I've mentioned this site in the past, but think it's time to have another look.  Click here for a listing of alternative programs best suited for certain functions.  A lot of them are free and most of them perform their functions quite well.  So, if you're looking for that right software or a replacement for software you're just not pleased with - try out this site.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Quail

We haven't seen many baby quail this year - lot's of couples, though.  Today, Donna went to the shed for laundry and frightened a mother and some babies.  The mother continued on, distraught, without her chicks.  While the chicks were confused, I was able to take a few pictures.  Since the family was in obvious turmoil, we quickly moved indoors to let them regroup.  Here's a blowup of one of the chicks.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


A couple of weeks ago we had our windows replaced with the double-pane variety.  You know, the ones almost everyone has in their house.  We had forgotten the true benefits of these windows.  It is QUIET inside (can hardly wait for the diesel trucks to arrive, now!) and the air conditioner doesn't run all the time.  And, as a side benefit, we expect the DUST to be lessened.  They are wonderful.  Mesa Window and Tinting were the installers, and they did a great job.  As a matter of course they add tinting to their window installs.  It's interesting to note that only after the windows were installed did the company tell us the tinting voids the manufacturer's warranty!!  Mesa provides their own 2-year warranty; they claim that in all their installations, only once has a window cracked.  So, not to worry.  (click on the picture to view a few more shots of the installation)

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Network Attached Storage

I'm a little paranoid about possible loss of data, and over the years I've spasmodically backed up valuable files like photos and documents.  The problem with those backups is that I never seem to make them in a timely manner.  In an attempt to remedy that problem, I've installed a Synology DiskStation DS411j NAS.  This "computer" can accept four hard drives for a total storage of 16TB.  I have it configured so that each file stored on this device also has a duplicate copy of it on a different drive.  This device has an assortment of drives I've used in the past, so the current storage capacity, before redundancy, is about 1.8 TB.  I used to think that was enough storage for all of my data.  But, guess what?  Data requirements seem to increase all the time.  This DiskStation makes it very easy to increase that storage.  All I have to do is remove one of the four drives (usually the smallest) and insert a newer, larger capacity drive.  The DiskStation then automatically brings the new drive into the system, and my newer capacity is then available.  This storage is available for all devices on my network, so I can use it for data from those devices, as well.  The DS411j constantly checks the health of all the installed drives.  When any drive starts to degrade, the system will alert me so that I can replace the questionable drive.  Remember - ALL DRIVES FAIL!  It's just a matter of "when".

So, how do I make sure my newest data files are backed up on a regular basis to the DiskStation?  I've tried numerous software (and there are MANY solutions available).  Some of you who perform this exercise probably have your own favorite, but my current solution is SyncBack.  I use the free version at this time.  I have my backup automatically made once a week.  SyncBack looks at the source drive and compares it with the DiskStation to determine changes.  It then updates the DiskStation based upon criteria selected by me.    Very slick.

Why did I choose Synology when there are so many other solutions?  It boiled down to: a pleasing looking enclosure; quiet; auto drive shutdown when not in use; 4 drive capacity; features; cost.  My experience with several NAS solutions has not been totally successful, consequently I quickly narrowed my choices to Synology and Drobo.  It's almost a toss-up, I think.  However, the Synology solution has been good so far.

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Dusty Fries

One of our favorite restaurants in the Valley of the Dust (I mean, Sun) is D-Vine Bistro and Wine Bar in Mesa. These delicious sweet potato fries are enhanced by a "dusting" of cheese. Yumm.

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The Old CrossStitch

As many of you know, Donna has made trivets for several years to sell in the Gift Shop. Last Summer's production was curtailed by an increasingly painful shoulder. She made the reluctant decision to discontinue that hobby. This Spring she sold much of her supplies to a couple of ladies in the Park. She used to cross stitch quite a bit; if any of you have visited our home, you have seen some fine examples of her work. Well ... about 22 years ago we visited New Zealand, and on our way out of the country, she spent the last of our New Zealand money on a HUGE crossstitch. She worked on it, on and off, for many years, but nine years ago she put it away to be worked on at some future date. That future date has arrived!! Luckily she can work on it without much pain to her shoulder - something about "no shoulder motion like the trivet's required". Here it is in it's current condition. I'm hoping she gets it finished so we can have it framed and placed above our bed (to replace an antique sampler crossstich reproduction she also completed many years ago!).

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clubhouse Owls

Snapped these guys yesterday.  Both shots were processed with HDR software, utilizing one RAW digital image each.  And, wouldn't you know it?  Before I got my camera, both faces were looking out.  Mom didn't like the attention, and she refused to turn her head again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Heard a "hoot hoot" as I walked into the clubhouse today.  Went home to get the camera and was able to get them both.  Wish I had the camera the first time - full face views of both!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Site 436

 This hibiscus bush was pretty sick a year ago.  It was cut back quite a bit, and for most of this year looked like it might not recover.  But, today!  Wow!  It is full of flowers.  This park is full of beautiful flowers all Summer long.  Too bad the temperatures are well over 100° most of the time.
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Lonely Little Flower

We haven't had rain in some time, but still, the flowers grow!  This little weed struggles to survive from under our edging.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We have a 22' Class B - Pleasure-Way Plateau.  Very fun to drive and get's great mileage, too.  Much to my sorrow, I think we must sell it this year.  Oh well.

Anyway, that doesn't keep me from looking at RV-things.  Just saw a neat one here in The Tiny House Blog.  Very nice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Exposure Problems?

My favorite web site - lifehacker - has a trick to fix exposure problems.  Give it a try!

Thought for the Day

Well, the season is just about over at Gold Canyon RV.  We'll begin the computer discussion group next October, but until then, stay turned to this site for helpful hint.

Today's information can be found here.  Please read it carefully and decide how you'd like to proceed with your security protection.  Also go to the site referenced by the ending link - Does it really matter what anti-virus software I am using?

Some good stuff AND it will save you $$$.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meetings Over

Sorry, this is a little late, but last week was the last meeting for the season.  Only one person attended, so those present decided we should not meet again until?????

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Toy

There's gonna be a new toy on the block.  IF it works - slick!  Take a look here.  Wish I had waited, but I always say that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Sorry, a little slow on the updates.  We will have a meeting tomorrow.  See you then.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dogs! Happy Dogs!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugHave you ever seen a dog agility competition live? We did yesterday. Very happy dogs.  See the pix here.


We do get out of our tiny house ever so often.  Yesterday we saw a dog agility competition in Tempe.  Click on the picture to access the SmugMug gallery for these pictures.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Go Kansas State!?

I grew up in Kansas (Wichita State Alum) and Donna grew up in Missouri (Central Methodist College).  We both root for the "home" teams of our state.  BTW, Wichita State is doing great in basketball this year - I continue to hope for the best.  Also, all the Kansas teams are doing well; also Mizzou.  However, last night Kansas State beat Mizzou for the second time this year!!  Sorry, Donna.


Last Summer I photographed many cactus - 3,000 pictures.  My intent was to create a book, but I'm finding it difficult to cull that many pictures.  So, this is a start.  More to come.

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Great Web Site

A gentle reminder that you should follow - a very good site.  Trey also puts out a newsletter; see it here.  If you want to try a little HDR, then Trey's site is the place to go.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Meeting This Week

A reminder; this week's meeting is cancelled - please attend the Security class being given in the ballroom.


The other day I decided to take some shots in b/w.  These were around the clubhouse.  Here's one of them.

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The rest of the monochromes of that day can be found here -

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I've added a few photos to my photo blog.  Click on link shown in RH column.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Desert Water

While looking through my photos for something to submit to the Arizona Republic, I found this one from Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ.  You can imagine the flowing water that created this spectacular formation.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

This and That

We had a small group yesterday.  Topics were varied.  I'm looking for any topic the group might want to discuss next week?????

Some sites I've run across lately might interest you.

Arizona State University and the Johnson Space Center have made available some old Mercury and Gemini photos and movies.  I like them.  Here's the link -

Lifehacker (my favorite site) is a wealth of knowledge and they're always writing about topics of interest to me. Try this link for the Best Start Pages for your browser.  I'm trying Speed Dial 2 for Chrome.

If you like to mess around a little deeper into windows, try this site -  It uses several unique programs.  I've used Rainmeter and Stardock before, and they have worked well.  But, prepare to have an extensive learning experience.  Beautiful rewards for a little work.  I'll give it a go and see if I can't come up with something before next week.  LH also a tutorial on Rainmeter that is worth reading -


All this pollution in the Valley of the Sun sure makes some great sunsets.

Wizard of Oz

Last weekend was the Great Wizard of Oz Party here in the RV Park.  Us old people really get into this costume stuff!  Some of my photos of the party can be seen here -  Although this is not my work, I do think the following is the best photo from the party!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Router Concerns

The latest security problem has been covered a lot this week.  It is caused by the router WPS function.  If you have a router with a security PIN listed on the label, AND you use this PIN, then this warning is for you.  We'll discuss in tomorrow's meeting.  Go here to read all about it.

Ghost of the Bird

During the Summer, the reflections of the residents' windows must be something hard to resist. Many times we see the results of bird collisions. This one is the most pronounced. Kind of like a ghost. Even the eye is visible.

Ghost of a Bird

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tablet Pano

Recently obtained Ice Cream Sandwich for my ASUS Transformer Prime TF201.  Here's a picture I took prior to the last wine tasting.

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Christmas In the Desert

I'm getting more minimalistic over Christmas.  Here is this year's decorations.

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Back to Photos

I've been remiss in my postings.  Let's start again. This is from December 13, 2011.  We had a much better display the previous day, but I didn't have my camera.

Park Rainbow on December 13, 2011.  HDR

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something for Rose

During today's OCGG meeting, Rose wanted a FREE book or service to help her with techie terms.  We found one.  Go here -