A reader writes in to share his regret over buying a Windows 10 computer. “Here’s my issue,” he says. “I have never been a big fan of Microsoft and was a Mac-aholic until Mac OS 10.4.1 when the Mac OS was no longer backwards compatible.” It would have cost him more to make his documents and applications compatible than to become a Windows user.  It was hard-slogging at first. Then, he writes, “when Microsoft finally arrived at Win 7, it produced an OS that was reasonably stable and NOT buggier than a wino’s beard… hooray!” Then came Windows 10.

I despise Win 10 and all the hoops (and $$$) I’m gonna have ta go through to get this machine integrated seamlessly into my home network (existing printers, scanner, router, yada yada) plus upgrade a dozen or so applications for WIN 10 compatibility,” he adds. “AAARRRGGGHHHH!”

He wondered if he could strip Windows 10 off the machine and install Windows 7, but  Windows 7 might not have the right drivers for the new machine. Our favorite guru Kenny suggests using a virtual machine to run Windows 7 on top of  Windows 10, which is what he does. His tech support service, at helphelpnow.com, can help with that.

Alternatively, we suggested he return the Windows 10 machine and get a Windows 7 desktop. Amazon is selling refurbished machines with fast i5 processors for as low as $137. 

Alexa as Career Counselor

Alexa, the voice inside Amazon’s smart speaker and the free Alexa app on phones and tablets, told Joy her top career choice was dietitian. It told Bob that his number one career choice would be dentist. When he heard that, he felt a little down in the mouth. He was hoping for “hammock tester.”

To get your own career advice, go to Amazon.com, click “Alexa skills” in the drop-down list and type “career advisor” into the search bar. Click on the first one, then click “enable” when it come up. If you have the free Alexa app on your phone, or an Echo device, all you have to do is say, “Alexa, open Career Advisor.”  She asks you 26 questions first.

Free Movies

Archive.org has thousands of old movies for free. What a surprise. 

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women

We’ve recommended Archive.org in the past for its “way back machine.” It can show you what a given website looked like in the old days. This can be handy if there’s some info on there you need to recover, that has since been taken off.

For movies, just click on the “movies” tab when you get to the site. The sci-fi horror section has some real howlers, like “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women,” and “Planet 9 from Outer Space.” In comedy, we found one of our favorites, “His Girl Friday,” a remake of the classic play “Front Page,” along with the original Front Page movie. There are lots of Charlie Chaplin films. If you want captions, click “cc” then “ASR,” for automatic speech recognition.

Leaving Archive.org and turning to  “IMDb TV,” you’ll find a few hundred free movies. Most of these are from the last ten years or so, including “Paddington,” “Captain Fantastic,” and “La La Land.” IMDB is owned by Amazon. We saw it as one of our choices on the Kindle Fire.

Getting Charged

You’d think a fast-charging phone like Joy’s Pixel 2 would never go dead. But just the other day, it did, on a long bike ride. As she squinted at a Google Map, the phone went kaput. She had to get directions the old-fashioned way: by asking a couple who were walking by.

The Catch 22 of phone chargers is that you have to remember to charge them so they’re available for your phone. Of course, once you do, they’re good for several full charges, depending on the kind you buy. If you want one small enough to fit in a pocket, you’ll likely get just one or two charges out of it. 

Following PC Magazine’s advice in “The Best Portable Chargers,” we got the $30 Anker PowerCore 1000 for our phones. It weighs 6.35 ounces and has a 10,000 mAh battery. It takes four hours to charge it, but it’s good for between two and a half and four charges, depending on the kind of phone you have.

You can get some chargers for less than $10 and they work fine. The only hassle you will encounter with any charger is carrying a cable with it to connect to your phone, unless you get the wireless kind. Make sure it’s compatible with your phone. There should be a list of compatible phones on the package.

The News From Abu Dhabi

What a computer does is make calculations. Today’s microprocessors do their calculations on unencrypted data. But researchers from the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University have figured out a way for calculations to take place on encrypted data. Talk about privacy!

If these “GoPHEE” microprocessors make it to market, which researchers say will happen within five years, major data leaks may be a thing of the past.  Hackers won’t have any way to get in, except by human error. For example, a stranger once knocked on our door and asked for access to our WiFi connection. Fortunately, Joy stopped short of giving it to her. By the way, microprocessors are found in just about everything these days, like gas pumps, bread machines, washing machines, credit card processors, elevators, stop lights, TVs, and even your refrigerator.


Comments are closed.