Amazon News

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If you aren’t aware, there is a critical software update for all Kindle e-readers.

Amazon News

If you haven’t received the update, you’ll have to do it manually (yourself) in order for your Kindle to return to normal functionality.

When I returned home from my spiritual retreat (Thursday evening) my husband informed me that I had to do some kind of update to my kindle or I wouldn’t be able to use it anymore.

I just completed the two updates I needed (how many updates you need all depends on which generation of Kindle you own. Mine is from 2011) and it was pretty simple. The directions were clear. However, I need to disclose that I have some “techie” experience so that’s why it was simple for me. My husband would not have been able to complete the two updates that my kindle needed.

If you are unsure of your ability, have a techie-type friend sit with you as you update your kindle.

Here is the page you’ll need to go to for download/install instructions. It will show you how to check for what version your Kindle is running, etc. I recommend opening a new window for each link you click on. That way you don’t have to back arrow to the previous page.

WAZE: Free GPS & Traffic Smartphone App (Guest Post)

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WAZE: free smartphone GPS & traffic smartphone app

Have you ever been sitting in horrendous traffic wondering “What’s going on up ahead?”, or even “Is there a detour past all this crap?” Well if you own a smartphone, then you have a resource at your fingertips. Waze. (Pronounced “ways”, as far as I am aware) This free smartphone app is user driven, and extremely well written. It’s intuitive and very informative. By user driven, I mean that traffic details are input by users. Details like accidents, potholes, speed traps and some traffic flow conditions are input in real time by other ‘wazers’ in the community. Additionally, the software takes the information from some (or all, I’m not sure) of the users currently online and figures out how traffic is flowing. It displays this information in near real time in the software on the phone’s window. The road color (if present) determines the level of congestion.

  • Yellow = very moderate slow down
  • Orange = moderate traffic
  • Red = very heavy traffic
  • Crimson = near stand still

Have you used Google Maps in the past for directions and navigation? Well since Google bought Waze a couple years back, it has been integrating the Waze data into Google Maps. Google maps has it’s place, but it wasn’t created for the sole purpose of getting people around on the roads. Waze is! Also, Waze beautifully integrates itself into your smartphone: from taking pictures of road conditions to you speaking your destination or speaking your road reports. Another benefit is that if you have cell service, Waze calculates routes on the fly from time to time. It will happily recalculate new routes during your travels without your intervention. As conditions ahead change, Waze will let you know by adjusting the time (shorter or longer) or adjusting the route. In calculating routes, it’s far quicker than my GPS unit. Also, my GPS unit has to be told that I need to make a detour. Waze will just do it for me. I’m not sure though, how good this will work out in “the sticks” where cell coverage is just about non-existant. Yes, there are GPS subscription services that provide traffic conditions, but Waze does it for the simple cost of a meager bit of data useage.

WAZE: Free GPS & Traffic Smartphone App (Guest Post)
The above image shows Waze navigating through a traffic jam on the lovely L.I.E. or I-495. The purple line depicts the path of travel for navigation. The bar on the left tells you about how long it will take you to pass through the congestion. The box at the top tells you what your next exit is and any names it’s aware of. The bottom box tells you your arrival time, how much time from now until then and the distance remaining.

 

WAZE: Free GPS & Traffic Smartphone App (Guest Post)
If a user has input a traffic hazzard, such as a vehicle stopped in the road, it displays when it’s within your preset alert distance. If you get to that point and see the hazzard, you can thank the person by tapping the thumbs up icon, or clear it by tapping the “Not there” indication.

 

WAZE: Free GPS & Traffic Smartphone App (Guest Post)
When you near your destination, Waze will display a checkered flag. The purple line will stop on the road nearest to your destination.

 

WAZE: Free GPS & Traffic Smartphone App (Guest Post)

There are many different alerts that can be present in Waze. Cameras (red light, speed, and dummy), police (visible and hidden) and various weather conditions too (rain, snow, flood, etc.). The above image shows you what a red light camera alert looks like.

All of the alerts and driving instruction shown on the various screens are accompanied by a very lovely female voice. Unlike typical stand-alone GPS receivers, the voice is not programmable. You’re stuck with her, but she is pleasant enough. This technology comes at a small price: Your data usage. I’m not sure how much is being used, but it isn’t all that much. If you do install Waze, take a cruise through the menu options. It it highly customizable. It’s also a pretty powerful ally when fighting day to day traffic conditions, and downright enjoyable on long trips away from your home area. Those cameras tend to sneak up on you!

One feature of Waze that I use often is inside it’s friends area. You can share your ride with your friends. If you’re going to meet someone, you can let them know where you are or what your ETA is going to be from right within the app. (they need to be Waze users as well and need to be running the app at the time) In the past, there was also a feature that would let you mark where your car is parked. That comes in handy if you’re parking at some large venue or airport long term lot. Finding your car after you’ve been away for it for some time in a sea of vehicles isn’t always easy. Likewise, if you’re a city slicker, kind of like I am and frequently have to park blocks away from where you need to end up, it can be a Godsend!

Have fun out there

Bob

About the author: Bob is a 17 year veteran in technical support for a metropolitan NYC hospital system. His responsibilities there include LAN, WAN and wireless communications, server as well as telephone support. In his professional career, he started out working with PC assembly and sales in the 80s when a 20 megabyte hard drive was the size of a lunchbox and cost as much as a present day laptop. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He has programmed in MS BASIC, Visual BASIC, PERL, OpenVMS, JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

 

Free Virtual PC Software (Guest Post)

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Free virtual PC software

Free virtual PC software

Skill level: medium to advanced

You are probably wondering, what the heck is a virtual PC? Well, it’s just like it sounds. It’s an operating system running inside another computer. Its hardware is a subset of the host computer system’s hardware. CPU, hard drive, monitor, network cards… All of these are shared between the host system and the virtual system. Why the heck would you want (or even need) to do that? Well there are many possible reasons. The usual reason is to test something: be it a game or some software product that you aren’t too sure about the consequences of the installation. If you do this on a virtual machine and it goes south on you, all you have to do is shut it down and delete the image. No harm done to your daily driver. Sometimes you want to dry run a new operating system before wiping and rebuilding your computer. This is an excellent test bed for that sort of thing. Similarly, upgrades, be they to software or entire operating systems. Do them first in the virtual world and if you like the results, chances are your live system will go similarly (no guarantees here though!) MAC folks have been doing this for Windows systems for years (WINE, or WINdows Emulator comes to mind…) There are several big players out there that charge for the privilege of doing this. My choice in this area is Oracle’s Virtual Box (link). Oracle is a name you’ve more than likely heard of, and it’s one you can trust. It is totally, 100% free. That’s a great price for testing purposes. There will more than likely still be licensing fees for the overlying operating system (read Windows). If playing with a Linux distribution is your goal, then it may still be absolutely free. The below picture is an example of what can be done:

The above image is a portion of my computer’s screen. Note the window headers are numbered.

  1. The properties windows for the PC showing it’s a Windows 7 Professional operating system
  2. The Oracle Virtual Box window showing that the virtual PC is running, along with some of the settings
  3. The Virtual instance of Windows XP that Virtual Box is supporting

Click here to see the installation instructions from the top, or use one of the below links to skip ahead.

The install procedure will follow the below steps:

  1. Download and install the software
  2. Carve out space for the operating system
  3. Configure the virtual system for the install software
  4. Install the operating system

That’s basically all there is to it. This procedure can be duplicated with most any operating system out there. Yes, even Windows. Just remember, the Microsoft End User License Agreement stipulates that for each Windows OS installed, a valid Windows license is required. I will add, for the version of Windows that was installed. Don’t think that because you have an old Windows 95 license key floating around you can install Server 2012 and be compliant. That’s not going to cut it. I cannot be held liable if you don’t follow the rules outlined in their EULA.

Have fun out there

Bob

About the author: Bob is a 17 year veteran in technical support for a metropolitan NYC hospital system. His responsibilities there include LAN, WAN and wireless communications, server as well as telephone support. In his professional career, he started out working with PC assembly and sales in the 80s when a 20 megabyte hard drive was the size of a lunchbox and cost as much as a present day laptop. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He has programmed in MS BASIC, Visual BASIC, PERL, HTML and CSS.



Free Android Apps on Amazon Today

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Free Android Apps on Amazon Today

(Please check prices before downloading as prices are subject to change.This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here.)

These are free Android Apps on Amazon today, and today only. Please remember to always check the price before downloading and make sure it’s still free. With that said, the following is a list of Apps that, when not free, add up to $140 worth of goodness!

There are lots of good ones listed here, so have some fun and get ya some free apps! ๐Ÿ˜€

80 Days

OfficeSuite Professional 8

Trivia Crack (Ad Free)

Doodle Jump

Glow Hockey 2 Pro

Sworkit Pro – Personal Trainer

Relax Melodies Premium
Free Android Apps on Amazon Today

Cut the Rope: Experiments

Stellarium Mobile Sky Map

Bag It! (Ad-Free)

Battery HD Pro

Back to Bed

Listure – List, Task, Reminder

mSecure – Password Manager and Secure Digital Wallet

Ski Safari: Adventure Time

Speed Reading Trainer Full

Travel Interpreter

Shazam Encore

Sleep as Android Unlock

Runtastic PRO GPS Running, Walking & Fitness Tracker

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5 – Audio Edition

Pocket Yoga

A Scientific and Financial RPN Calculator (HP-12C & HP-15C likewise)

DoggCatcher Podcast Player

Tunable: Tuner, Metronome, and Recorder

Smart RAM Booster Pro

SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar

Food Substitutes

Caveman Feast – Paleo Recipes

MeteoEarth

Simple Camera

Guitar Pro

Buy Me a Pie! Grocery List Pro

~Thanks, Crystal!

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Team Viewer – Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing (Guest Post)

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Team Viewer – Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing

Team Viewer – Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing

Have you ever been on the telephone with someone, chatting it up about something one of you is watching on your computer and saying ‘I wish you could see this!’ Well, believe it or not, that concept is far easier than you think. A company out there called TeamViewer put together a really nice piece of software called, simply enough, ‘Team Viewer‘. When you go the the page in the previous link, the green button says it all: “Download – Free for private use”. That’s my kind of software! As of this printing, the version is 10.0.36897.0. It has a relatively small footprint if you don’t install it. (Just under 6 MB) Also you don’t need to register it or anything like that. Just have the other end (your friend) load and run it as well as yourself and away you go! Here’s how:

  1. Go to http://www.teamviewer.com and download (or run) the application.
    Team Viewer - Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing (Guest Post)

  2. When the application opens, select:
    • Run only (one time use)
    • Personal / Non-commercial use(1)

    Team Viewer - Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing (Guest Post)
    Click “Accept – run”

  3. Close the next splash screen to get to the good stuff behind it.
    Team Viewer - Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing (Guest Post)

  4. Close the window on the right. (unless you have an account, it’s not necessary)
    Team Viewer - Shared Mac or PC Desktop Viewing (Guest Post)

  5. If you want to see the remote work station (your friend’s screen), ask them for their “Your ID” number and password.
  6. If you want them to see your screen, give them “Your ID” and password.
  7. You will both be seeing the same screen and can take turns working on the same content in collaboration.
  8. When completed, simply “X” out of the Team Viewer sliding window in the lower right corner.

The actual Team Viewer software also offers much more, if you install it. Go ahead, take a test drive, see where you end up!

Have fun out there

Bob

    *Note (1) – Using Team Viewer software outside of it’s terms of use (license) is a punishable crime and should not be done. If you are a business, pay up. I’m just saying…

About the author: Bob is a 17 year veteran in technical support for a metropolitan NYC hospital system. His responsibilities there include LAN, WAN and wireless communications, server as well as telephone support. In his professional career, he started out working with PC assembly and sales in the 80s when a 20 megabyte hard drive was the size of a lunchbox and cost as much as a present day laptop. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He has programmed in MS BASIC, Visual BASIC, PERL, OpenVMS, JavaScript, HTML and CSS.


Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

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Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

Free virus infection recovery software

OK, so your system got infected. I’m not here to say “I told you so”, or slap your wrist for possibly doing something, well stupid like not running or updating your AV program. That’s a bit too late. The fact of the matter is your machine is hurting. Somehow, something got hold of it and won’t let go. Before I dive into the programs, you need to estimate just how bad off your machine is. Sometimes you can use Windows and your current AV program to heal your system. Other times, major surgery is involved. Worst case scenario is, well as Bones McCoy would say, “It’s dead Jim!” Most of the time some sweat (worry sweat, not work sweat) and some hours worth of time are all that’s required to get your system back into it’s happy mode. These are basically the questions you need to ask before cleaning:

  1. Does the machine boot up without outside intervention?
  2. Does the machine only start in safe mode?
  3. Does the system go all the way into Windows, but won’t let you run any AV products?
  4. Does the machine get all the way into Windows, then is held hostage by some malicious software package?

Well if your issue is number one, you are in pretty good shape. The operating system should pretty much be salvageable. Likewise with number two. If we can get to Windows, we can do some salvage work. With three as well, we can possibly get things back in order without too much sweat. If you are unlucky enough to be hit by number four, the cleanup for that is far beyond the scope of this blog. With any of the other above scenarios, you’ll have to think back to when (on what date) did you first notice this behavior. The Windows ‘trick’ is actually a built in function of Windows since Windows XP came ’round. This function is known as System Restore. During AV updates, Service Pack installs, and sometime software installs as well, if enabled, Windows will create what’s called a ‘Restore Point’. That’s a point in the system’s life where you can roll back the registers to before that package was installed. This was done so that a bad install could possibly be backed out of in haste if it all went downhill.

To check your computer’s System Restore status:

Windows XP

Right click on “My Computer”, click on “Properties”, then click on the tab labeled “System Restore”. When that window opens, make sure the check box labeled “Turn off System Restore” is NOT checked. Highly counter intuitive…
Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

Windows Vista

Right click on “My Computer”, click on “Properties”, then click on “System protection” on the left hand side. When the next window opens, click on the tab labeled “System Protection”. The system restore drive settings will be displayed in the middle of that pane.
Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

Windows 7

Right click on “My Computer”, click on “Properties”, then click on “System protection” on the left hand side. When the next window opens, click on the tab labeled “System Protection”. The protection settings will be displayed in the middle of that pane.
Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

Well as you’re probably guessing, we can use this feature to restore our infected system to the time before you first noticed the infection. This is why I had told you just before to try to remember the date you first noticed the symptoms. If you know you received an email or installed a program on the same date, check for the email date or program folder’s date for a clue. Then all we have to do initially is restore the system to the date or time BEFORE then and see what happens. This method isn’t 100% foolproof, because some malicious code actually prevents you from restoring your system. (correcting that behavior is beyond the scope of this blog post) Unfortunately, the place to restore isn’t always in the same place where you check to see if it’s active.

To use System Restore to restore to an earlier date:

Windows XP

Click the “Start” button, “All Programs”, then “Accessories”, next “System Tools”, then finally “System Restore”.
Free virus infection recovery software (Guest Post)

Windows Vista

Follow the same procedures as above in Windows Vista status. The menu option is in the same location as shown on the XP menu page just above here. You could also drill down through similar menus, but I believe the above method is easier.

Windows 7

Follow the same procedures as above in Windows 7 status. The menu option is in the same location as shown on the XP menu page just above here. You could also drill down through similar menus, but I believe the above method is easier.

When you restore the system, only installed programs are backed out, your data remains intact on the system. Windows 7 is able to tell you what programs will be affected after backing out. Windows XP won’t. That’s the beauty of this. You back out that install of the virus. Now be wary, it’s still resident on the hard drive. (even possibly in the system restore area if a restore point was made when the virus was downloaded) Now before you go out and install something else, CLEAN YOUR SYSTEM! Your AV software may actually run now that the virus is hibernating. Start it. If you cannot get it to run, download and install it again. It’s at this point I give the bad guys the 1-2 punch. Run 2 independent on demand scanning programs back to back. My go to programs are Vipre Rescue by ThreatTrack Security and directly after that MalwareBytes by MalwareBytes. Vipre Rescue is like it states, a rescue program. It runs in a DOS window, so even if your OS won’t boot, just use the installation media to boot to the command prompt and let this wonderful piece of software go to town. As the window scrolls, anything it finds offensive will be displayed in bold red on black colors. It usually takes a couple of hours to completely scan an average hard drive. Depending on the level of infection, it may ask to run once again after the reboot. If it asks, LET IT! Next, hopefully, you can get the OS back up again. That’s when I install and run MalwareBytes. This is a Windows program. Upon first install allow it to update, then immediately run a deep scan as well. This too may take a similar amount of time as VipreRescue had, and also it may ask for a rerun after reboot. LET IT!

If your Windows is back at this point, you’re in really great shape. Make sure your antivirus program is 100% functional and updated. Have it run a scan as well. It can’t hurt and you can actually use the machine while this scan is running. One final step to insure your system is as near to pristine as possible, run the following command from the “Run” window: sfc /scannow. SFC is ‘Windows speak’ for System File Checker. The scannow switch is hopefully painfully obvious. This utility will check the installed system files against the known good versions and refresh any that have been damaged by infection or that are missing. Once all this has been completed, I would reboot. It’s not required, but it will clear any memory and start from scratch. Besides, it’s impressive to see how much faster the computer loads. That brings a smile to my face each time I complete a cleanup. At this point, since you are (hopefully) convinced the computer is virtually virus free, BACK IT UP! If after all of this work your hard drive decides to give up the ghost, at least you won’t lose all you just fought to salvage.

See the below list for some free virus infection recovery products available to you:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

When you click the above link, click on the blue ‘download’ button to download. From the Emsisoft website, ‘By default Emsisoft Anti-Malware installs as a free fully functional 30 day trial version. After the trial period you can either choose to buy a full version license or switch to the limited freeware mode. The freeware mode still allows you to scan and clean infections, but it doesn’t provide any real-time protection to guard against new infections’.

Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

When you click the above link, click on the green ‘download’ button to download the free version in your preferred language.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0

When you click the above link, click on the orange button on the left (free version download) to download the free version. Immediately run the program and allow it to update and download the latest definition file.

Super Anti Spyware free

When you click the above link, click on the red button on the top left (free edition download) to download the free version.

Vipre Rescue

When you click the above link, click on one of the green buttons (download now) to download the free version. It’s a self extracting .zip file. It will run in DOS mode or in a DOS window. You may also wish to open the instructions (blue button) from the same download page.

The above list was compiled from the best free options available during testing by an independent lab sponsored by PC Magazine.com at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388652,00.asp (April 23, 2014).

Unlike residential antivirus products, those on the above list are run time applications. They are on-demand (“my butt is in trouble here!”) products. You call upon them when most other avenues are exhausted. Sometimes your AV product may miss something (or at least you think it may have), so you run one of these to be sure. Since they are free you have the ability to load each one down, run it then install and try the next. Try them all if it’s your whim. After all, they are free!

Have fun out there

Bob

About the author: Bob is a 17 year veteran in technical support for a metropolitan NYC hospital system. His responsibilities there include LAN, WAN and wireless communications, server as well as telephone support. In his professional career, he started out working with PC assembly and sales in the 80s when a 20 megabyte hard drive was the size of a lunchbox and cost as much as a present day laptop. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He has programmed in MS BASIC, Visual BASIC, PERL, HTML and CSS.



(This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here.)

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Isaiah 54:17 - No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,โ€ Says the Lord.
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