EASY BACKUP

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LOSING SKYPE

Our 96-year-old friend Ida uses the free Skype service to have video-chats with her friends in Australia. One day, her account was wiped out. Could this happen to you? (Think of that question as having been asked in scary monster movie title type.) You might think this had something to do with her age, and she must have hit the wrong button or spilled something on the keyboard. But no, we found dozens of similar complaints on the web. One guy wrote: “Where has my account gone? I do business all over Europe and today you just trashed my account with the credit I had as well?  You idiots.  If somebody within Microsoft made the decision to do this – […]

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TEXTING FROM YOUR COMPUTER

Joy’s sister recently sent her an email saying: “Look at your text messages.” (She implied, but did not add, “Dummy!”)  We’re much more likely to see email on our computer than texts on our phone and Sis knows it. We’re that rare couple who doesn’t live on their phones. So what we needed was a free Windows app called “MySMS,” which is for Android phones only. The acronym stands for “Short Message Service.” You can get it from MySMS.com. Once installed on your computer, it can copy all the text messages that were sent to your smartphone — as long as you have another app installed on your phone. That’s also called MySMS and you get it from the Google […]

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MEDICAL APPS

A reader asked us to find her a blood pressure app for the iPhone. There are several of these for both iPhone and Android. Unlike the kind you see at the doctor’s office, the apps do not use a compression band that temporarily cuts off your circulation. They measure the slight pulsing from placing your finger on the phone. We tried “Finger Blood Pressure! Free” on our Android phone, and compared it with the reading we got on the $35 Omron 3 Series Blood Pressure monitor with a pressure cuff. The Omron is battery operated, so you’re not tethered to the wall plug. Omron said Joy’s systolic pressure was 118, her diastolic reading was 74 and her pulse was 46. […]

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CAPTURING VIDEO AND PICTURES

Both Windows and Mac come with free tools for capturing whatever you see on your screen and attaching it to an email or using it elsewhere. But if you need high resolution screenshots, or want to capture video, add voice over or turn it into a brief animation, the new Ashampoo Snap 9 is a handy Windows program for doing that. Basically anything you see on your computer screen can be captured in up to 4K resolution, which is quite sharp. Add special effects, or time the video capture for a precise start and stop, or even pause it. The program can also do “OCR” (optical character recognition). So if you want to capture a news article off the screen, […]

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PAINTERS USING COREL PAINTER

 PainterArtist.com/masters has links to a marvelous group of artists who use the “Corel Painter” program to create their art. Some of them have tutorials.

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ONLINE WRAPPING PAPER CREATOR

Epson.com/community/wrapping-generator   Choose your message, a holiday or birthday theme, and a background in whatever colors you wish. Presto! Out comes one sheet of wrapping paper suitable for a small gift. Be sure to click “settings” or “setup” and check the box for background graphics or images. We used it and printed the person’s name onto the wrapping paper.

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LOOK LIKE A PEANUTS CHARACTER

The website PeanutizeMe.com lets you look like a character in the “Peanuts” comic strip. Choose a boy or girl and then select what he or she is wearing, and select a background. With brown hair and glasses, Joy’s Peanuts character looked something like her. This is a very clever use of an old programming routine and is being used to promote a new movie titled “The Peanuts Movie.” Likely we’ll see it used frequently now to create your own super hero, android, cowboy or whatever new show or movie is coming out.

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APP HAPPY WITH CHUCK AND ADA

“Lovelace & Babbage” is a free iPad app for a comic book about the lives of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Ada, born in 1815, was the daughter of the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet, Lord Byron. After being steered toward math to tame her wild blood, she invented the first computer language for the first computer. (The computer was never finished but was fully conceived by Babbage.) A print version just came out, for $21, re-titled “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.”

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CAPTURING THE SCREEN

After extensive research – we talked to several people – we found that most people don’t know how to capture what they see on the computer. This is shocking but true. Why would you want to do that in the first place? Well, if you can capture the screen image or any part of it, you can print that out, email it, use it yourself, or post it to Facebook. Somewhere in all that there may be a copyright involved; so it you think there is, don’t do it without permission. You can capture anything you see on your computer screen. No exceptions. And there are lots of different tools for doing it. What’s more, you can add comments, include […]

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