Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meeting Resume on January 8

The GCRV Computer User Group meeting will not be held next week (New Year's Day), but will resume on January 8.  Please note the meeting location on January 22nd will be held in the Saguaro Room for that week only.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Windows 8 Tips

Here are more tips for Windows 8.  I know it says it's for IT Professionals, but I think you should read through it anyway.  Who knows?  You might find something of value.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Windows 8 Shortcuts and Tips for Google Chromebook

As more of you secure Windows 8 machines, I thought this Windows 8 Cheat Sheet would be of benefit.

More commercials are being shown by Microsoft depicting the unsuitability of the Chromebook.  I think it's a nifty alternative to the troublesome Windows behemoth.  Here are some tips for the Chromebook that might answer some lingering questions.

See you Wednesday.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yesterday's Browsing

Yesterday's browsing resulted in several web sites you should see.  The first is an amazing photo of Saturn; I've made it my desktop background.  Very impressive.

Next, is some aerial photography by Claytonius F.  Here's the link to You Tube -  Cool.

Next are some sites regarding computer issues.  The first is from Gizmodo, "How To Fix Your PC, The Right Way".  Some pretty detailed suggestions on fixing slow and/or dead computers.

My favorite site, Lifehacker, is next with "Superior Alternatives to Crappy Windows Software".  I, also, subscribe to many of these alternatives and have tried/used many of them.  Try them out for yourself.

The last site describes some tinkering with a Raspberry Pi and an LED TV.  Looks like a little bit of work, but if you have an older tv and some soldering skills, it might be a fun project.  If anyone is up to it, let me know and we can document your progress on this blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time ....

Here's a site that provides a great perspective on when we are.  Yes, when.  Take a look -

Saturday, November 16, 2013


During the last meeting (or maybe it was the one before), I talked about a web search engine that keeps no tracking data -  That same company is developing a secure email program called StartMail.  A few days ago I received the following from them -

We know you've been waiting patiently to receive private email through your StartMail beta test account. Now, after nearly three years of hard work, we're excited to announce that StartMail Beta is about to launch!

Within the next week or so, you'll receive a link to a confidential email usage survey. You need to complete the survey before we can launch your free three-month StartMail account, so please check your inbox for the link.

We realize it has taken longer than we originally anticipated to develop StartMail, and we truly appreciate your patience. The revelations this summer of NSA spying through the PRISM program prompted us to add even more features to our already rock-solid privacy. Those tighter security features added to our development time, but when you see them, we believe you'll agree they were worth the wait.

All StartMail users will now have access to a fully-encrypted user vault, the protection of perfect forward secrecy and transport layer security, state-of-the-art SSL encryption, and the confidence of knowing their email provider is based in the Netherlands, outside of US jurisdiction.

Thank you for joining more than 50,000 people worldwide who are helping us make email privacy a reality. We can't wait to get started!

On behalf of the StartMail team,

Alex van Eesteren
Vice President, StartMail Product Innovation

p.s. If you have friends who missed the opportunity to be beta testers, don't worry -- they can reserve their own paid StartMail accounts by going and checking the box at the bottom of the page. By reserving an invitation, they will be given the option to purchase an account, but will be under no obligation to do so.

I'd suggest you take advantage of their offer and reserve an account.  Don't know what the price will be, but the reservation will cost you nothing.  It could be a very worthwhile product.

Monday, November 11, 2013

GCRV Computer User Group Meeting

Last week's discussion pretty much covered the problems associated with cellular service.  Especially for those who are visiting from Canada.  Well, yesterday my favorite web site (Lifehacker!) published an article about the "Five Best Pre-Paid Cellphone Carriers".  I thought some of you might be interested - here's the link -

See you at Wednesday's meeting.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


If you'd like a really small, but powerful pc, how about a Brix?

I'm trying a G-Box Midnight MX2 from Matricom.  It works great for my XBMC-based media center.  I've tried several, but this little box works the best for XBMC.  Still prefer the Roku for most of the internet TV and music.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Windows 8.1 Update

Disregard the previous blog about the Windows 8.1 "train wreck".  Turns out that an app called "Bins" does not play well with the update.  Uninstalling it solved the problem.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lost Your Password

Can't remember your computer's password.  Try the programs mentioned in the site for a possible fix.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Don't Install Windows 8.1 - Yet.

Always anxious to update my operating systems to the latest, so I tried it last night.  The update to 8.1 has resulted in MANY applications errors.  I can foresee many hours of effort in trying to get these resolved.  My advice.  Stay away from 8.1 for awhile.  Windows 8.0 was working just fine.  These new improvements are a train wreck.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Atlanta Bound

No meeting this week (the 16th).  We're in Atlanta at The Rally (  Good Sam's big event.  See you next Wednesday - 23rd.

Friday, September 6, 2013

OCGG starts on October 9.

OCGG starting on October 9th.  Will you be there?  Let me know.

XBMC Little Black Box

In the past, I've discussed XBMC (XBox Media Center) as my favorite multimedia software.  Well, now they have created their own Linux XBMC Little Black Box.  Sort of like a Roku.  But the capabilities of XBMC are much more extensive.  Take a look at the new product here -  Read all about XMBC here -

Oldcomputergeek meetings will begin in about a month.  Oh my, Summer is about over.  But, why is it 104° on the deck now!!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


As more and more people use internet devices, it behooves us to be as secure as possible.  This article discusses a hijacking program called dSploit.  This software can monitor unencrypted wifi traffic; consequently, it can obtain passwords, credit card information, etc.  Anything you type on an unencrypted internet connection.  Although it provides sufficient information to enable this activity, it also provides steps you can take to prevent this possible, but unlikely, action being taken against you.  The meat of the article is contained in the last section - "How Can I Protect Myself?"  Those are easy steps to take to prevent a major inconvenience in you life.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Received my new Chromecast yesterday.  It has potential for being an excellent product.  Not too many sites support it now, but for $35 you can't go wrong.

I finally purchased a cell phone with enough memory - the HTC One.  Seems pretty speedy.

Free Software

Free is always good!  Take a look at this link to a site that reviews some software that, in their opinion, would be worth paying for.  Some of these you might want to try.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New to Us

We witnessed something new to us the other day.  There have been many new groups of Gamble Quail in the park.  The guys shown here were frozen still for over 30 minutes!!  It seems that "mom" said something and they froze in their tracks.  Really!  Other birds were nearby, but the babies remained motionless.  We had to check this out online, and that's what they do.  We never did see a possible predator.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monsoon Season

The monsoon season is upon us, but, so far, we have been spared the strongest storms.  The newspaper has forecasted daily storms for the Valley.  I watch the radar daily, and it seems these storms split just on the other side of the mountains and go to either side of us.  I know that doesn't always happen, but I think the Superstitions have a significant impact on our weather.

On a more colorful note, here's one of the flowers you may have missed by not spending the Summer here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taylor Lake

This past weekend we traveled to Durango, Colorado.  Our goal was to hike to Taylor Lake in the LaPlata Mountains to find some Elephant Heads flowers.  We succeeded.  Here is a view of the mountains near the lake.  Elevation is about 11,500 feet.  Very beautiful.

Small Computer

Anybody comfortable with Linux as an operating system?  Take a look at this small desktop computer.  Very cool.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Replacement for the Park Phone System

I know that many residents will just use their cell phone when the Park's phone system is gone (the system will be shut down on July 1), but I've elected to take a different approach.  My current cell phone plan (t-mobile) provides for only 100 voice minutes, but unlimited text and data.  I hate to lose this plan, as it's only $30 per month, so I make most of my phone calls utilizing my free Google Voice service (

With hardware from Obihai ( I'm able to use my existing telephones, but instead of connecting to a land line, they are connected to the internet.  Calls to Canada and the US are free (I expect Google will charge some day).  The cool thing about Google Voice is that I'm able to have incoming calls ring the Obihai-connected Phone, a computer, or a cell phone (or a land line if I still had one).  In fact, I can set them up to ring all three.  Outgoing calls are just like a regular phone line.  Many special features are available; the one I like best is call blocking.  If a telemarketer transmits his/her phone number, then I can tell Google Voice to, henceforth, block that number.  Or give that caller a "special" message.

The basic Obihai hardware is about $40 from Amazon.  Setup is easy, with the only caveat being that Google Voice requires a telephone number to set up their service.  So, you might need to borrow someones phone line for the initial setup if you don't currently have a cell phone.

Speed dial is available for 99 numbers and you'll have to get the phone numbers from your friends.  Maybe the park directory will be a phone book, as well.

We've used GV for a couple of years and find it very reliable and easy to use.  And, it's FREE (so far).

Call or email me if you have questions.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting a New Computer?

If you're in the market for a new PC, you might consider an Ultrabook.  Take a look here -

With the "newer" Windows 8.1 being released soon, Windows and these devices should be better than ever.

Wonder if Donna will let me try one?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Windows 8 Not So Bad ...

I've been using Windows 8 for many months.  When it's the only Windows OS you have, you find out more about it.  Increasingly, I'm pinning Metro Apps to the desktop task bar - the best of both worlds.

Read this article about the new start screen.  Very informative.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is IE 10 faster?

I've been experiencing some very slow responses from Google lately.  It seems I can get my gmails faster if I use a third party email program - presently, I'm trying Postbox.  It is pretty good.

Even Chrome seems to be very slow for me (Donna hasn't experienced this slow down on her computer, but of course she has put up with the internet at work).  So, I'm trying IE in Windows 8 and it SEEMS much faster than Chrome.  Hmmmm.  I've always that Chrome to be much faster than Internet Explorer, but now I'm not so sure.

Anybody out there using Windows 8?  How to you rate IE10?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

End of Season

Meetings of the Old Computer Geeks have been suspended until next season.  We will begin again in October.  Follow this site throughout the Summer for tech information.

Have a great summer.  Steve

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader Will be Terminated

If you've been reading the tech blogs today, you know that Google Reader is not long for this world.   It's too bad, I've enjoyed using this service over the years.  I've mentioned it several times in the OCGG meetings; maybe some of you are using it??

Well, don't despair.  There are many replacement to this service.  I'm now trying FEEDLY and it looks very good.  Very elegant.  You should give it a try.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Backup Tools

I talked to some folk lately about the need to do frequent backups.  Here are some tools you might want to consider.

I've been using SyncBackFree (  It might be more to your liking.

Cloud Storage Services

A current review of the top 10 cloud storage services.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I know ...

I don't update this site much.  Summer's is getting closer and, hopefully, this site will provide news about the park and the area to those of you not fortunate enough to experience the many days over 110° F.

But, hey, we just had the Mardi Gras Parade.  Were you in it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GizMag is a great place to learn about stuff.  Read about the Darpa camera probably used on drones.

uPnP Security Flaw

I'm not sure it has hit the main stream media yet, but I expect it soon.  It has been known for some time, that the uPnP feature of networked devices provides an easy way for a hacker to take control of your home network.  This concept is difficult to follow - the following links will help in the understanding of this protocol and the resulting security flaw.  Good luck.

This recent article in ITBusinessEdge provides a basic description of the problem.

This wikipedia entry goes into much more detail and it's only provided here for additional information.

My favorite techie is Leo Laporte.  I've been watching his podcasts for many years.  I find that he provides understandable information on a variety of technology-related subjects.  His latest issue of The Tech Guy once again mentions this uPnP problem.  He talks to Steve Gibson about 2:20 into the show.

A much more detailed discussion of this flaw can be found in this episode of Security Now, also a Leo Laporte production.  Steve Gibson does a good job describing what and how uPnP works and how hackers can take advantage of it.  I think the first 35 minutes should give you the necessary information.

Lastly, Steve Gibson has a web site called wherein he provides much information regarding the security issues surrounding the pc and networking.  His page called "ShieldsUP!" provides a test to determine if your router is vulnerable to the uPnP exploit.  Click on the "proceed" button to begin, then click on the orange exposure test button to determine if your router has uPnP turned on.  A results page is then shown.  If your test resulted in -


then you passed!  There are many links on this results page; you might want to visit some of them.

Have fun!

Monday, February 11, 2013

10 Chrome Tricks

I use Chrome most of the time.  Rarely do I have to use IE, but a few sites will only work with IE.

TechRepublic has a site entitled "10 Chrome tricks to improve your browsing experience".  If you're a Chrome user, then these tricks are for you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pivos = Not so good

My greatly anticipated Pivos arrived on Saturday.  I spent a lot of the weekend trying to get XBMC to work on the little box.  But, it failed.  Way too much buffering; unable to watch networked movies.  I returned it yesterday.  Maybe my Dell Zino is still the best, small HTPC.  I'm upgrading the memory to 8gb and will try replacing the dvd drive with a bd.


The bad guys just keep getting better.  All you Android users, please note -

Thursday, January 31, 2013


What is it?  Home Theater PC.  Quoting Wikipedia - "Home Theater PC (HTPC) or Media Center computer is a convergence device that combines some or all the capabilities of a personal computer with a software application that supports video, photo, audio playback, and sometimes video recording functionality."  The HTPC just might be the device to cause you to disconnect cable TV - well, maybe.

Next week Dave Peterson will demonstrate his HTPC - The Roku.  I don't know which model he has, so the extent of it's capabilities will only be revealed next week.  I've ordered a Pivos Xios ( that should arrive by then, but I may not be in a position to demonstrate it.

So, if we can get good wifi in the Prickly Pear Room, we should have a lively discussion.  See you there.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Next Week - DAVE!

Another very good meeting today.  Let's keep it up.  Next week should be even better.  Dave Peterson has "volunteered" to demonstrate his new Roku box.  If you're not sure what a Roku is, take a look here, and then go to their web site.

We did discuss Android today.  So now you know it's my operating system of choice.  Read more about some of it's features here -

Have a good week and be prepared to ask Dave lot's of questions.  Dave, don't chicken out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Security Update

Just found another site you might find useful.  It's associated with the Internet Crime Complaint Center - part of the FBI.  Here it is -

Credit Card Problems

Quite a few folk have been victims of, or know someone who has been a victim of, recent credit card fraudulent usage.  I hear lots of rumors regarding where these thefts might have taken place, but it seems there is no consistent source of the problem.  I can't find anything on the internet except this blog about a new credit card scam -  Does anyone remember getting a phone call like this?

We've talked to bank employees and they think it has to do with a credit card clearing house (or something like that - whatever that is).

Monday, January 21, 2013

10 Free Tools

TechRepublic is frequently a good source pc-related tools and fixes.  Today's email referenced a previous post describing 10 Free Tools to help with computer problems.  Take a look at them here.  I've used some in the past.  I haven't tried ComboFix, but will check it out.

PS - I just read about ComboFix.  My recommendation is to leave it alone, unless you feel very comfortable interpreting it's results.  AND, you don't have trepidation about having to possibly re-install Windows.  If you try it, let me know how it goes.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

OCGG Meeting on 23rd

Next week's OCGG meeting will be held in the Saguaro Room (January 23rd only).  The Prickly Pear room is being utilized for Hillbillies construction.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Lot's of press regarding Java that past few days.  Here's an article on how to disable that "nasty" program.

Note this Java test site wherein you can determine if Java is running on your machine.  If Java is not running, be careful about the "Download Java Now"

Great "How To" Site

TechRepublic always has interesting links.  Today's is -



Note tweet regarding tomorrow's meeting.  See you next week - I hope.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Few More Techie Links -

Here's a list of techie-type links I've been saving up --

How Windows 8 came to be -
The best of Lifehacker in 2012 -
10 Simple Things to protect your privacy -
Best astronomy picture of the year -
How to make your own home screens for Android -
How to get the most out of Google Chrome -

That's all for now.  Enjoy