CAPTURING VIDEO AND PICTURES

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IT’S A MARSHMALLOW WORLD

Less than five percent of Android phone owners have the new “Marshmallow” operating system. A third have the previous version, Lollipop. the rest are so far back the operating systems were written on stone tablets.

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TOM HANKS’ APP

“Hanx Writer” is a free app created by well-known actor Tom Hanks. It makes your iPad or iPhone keyboard sound like a manual typewriter. When you reach the end of a line and tap “return,” you hear that old familiar carriage-return sound, but no bell. (How come no bell, Tom?) Hanks says it helps with his own writer’s block, since he wrote some of his best stuff on a manual typewriter. The $3 to $5 pro versions offer different fonts and typewriter models. Standard typeface is “Courier,” like the old typewriters.

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CONVERTING PDFS

A reader asked us to find a free program to convert a “PDF” (portable document format) into a Microsoft Word document. We like Nitro PDF.

Most people use Adobe Reader to open PDFs, which are documents that retain their original look (all the formatting and illustrations) no matter what program they were created with. To convert a PDF back into a Word document is usually done with a costly program like Adobe Acrobat. But we’ve had no problem with the free PDFtoWord.com, made by Nitro PDF.

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WORD TIPS

Microsoft Word has lots of keyboard short cuts and here are some of the more useful:

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BALANCING YOUR CHECKBOOK ON THE COMPUTER

A reader told us his disability is making it tough to balance his checkbook with pen and paper, and he is unhappy with software like Quicken. Here’s an easy way to do it using a free program.

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READ ‘EM AND WEEP

The refined grist of hundreds of conversations has taught us that everybody wants to be a writer. Now they can. You and you and your Uncle Max can publish their fiction and non-fiction on WattPad, an online site. It also has hundreds of free classics, such as “Jane Eyre,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” The web site, Wattpad.com, draws15 million readers a month. And posts more than 1.5 million new stories. Some are from best-selling writers, like Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But most seem to be from teenagers, who display an inordinate interest in sex. Who knew? Random example: “I’m the SuperModel in a BoysBoarding School.” Not only are these […]

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THE PERFECT WORD

The latest version of WordPerfect is $99 at Walmart, a big reason why people take it instead of Microsoft Office, which is $220 for the Home edition or $99 a year for Office 365. But there are other good reasons why you might prefer WordPerfect. Lawyers like WordPerfect because of its legal tools, such as redaction, “Bates” numbering, document comparisons and legal templates. Writers like it because it makes it easy to publish your book to the Kindle; the new “X7” version handles other e-Readers as well. If you choose “eBook Publisher” from X7’s “Project” menu, WordPerfect prepares your manuscript for electronic publishing to the Kindle, Nook or Sony e-Reader, saving many steps.

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GETTING A NEW WINDOWS 8 COMPUTER

Just when we thought we’d heard every complaint about Windows 8 computers, we heard a new one. A friend wondered where in the world she should save her files, because now she sees two choices: “Skydrive,” and “This PC.”

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NOTES AND NOTS

Cyberlink’s “YouNote,” a new free app at the Windows  app store, is fun and even useful. It’s a virtual notebook for collecting notes and pictures and putting them in pockets of interest. We found it fun to collect notes this way under different topics, like recipe books, travel, sports, etc. Add the pictures, cartoons and scribbles and some of our notes are cute enough to use as scrapbook pages or greeting cards. The program works with regular or touch screen PCs using Windows 8. But, alas, all is not yet perfect in this infinitely perfectible universe: There are other ways to skin Schrodinger’s cat. YouNote is missing some key features found in the older and massively popular Evernote, a free […]

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