Tech Talk #24 – Apr 30, 2016
Now that you’ve got your shiny new computer, you’ve probably noticed that most your familiar programs weren’t included. Oh sure, with the built-in Windows apps you can look at and edit the pictures in your Pictures folder and play the music in your Music folder. And there’s a Calculator app and News and Weather apps, and you’ve still got your standbys like Notepad and Wordpad, but let’s make that computer a bit more useful.
For reading PDF files you’ll need to get Adobe Reader.
For writing letters, making lists, or setting up a budget you need an office suite. If you don’t have your old Microsoft Office CDs or a subscription to Office 365, get the free Microsoft file-format compatible Libre Office.
Your PC probably came with a trial version of McAfee anti-virus. If you like McAfee and are going to keep it, you might as well get signed up and pay for a full year now so it doesn’t expire and leave you unprotected. Or, you could uninstall McAfee and install AVG, Avast, or Avira free antivirus software. While you’re at it, also get MalwareBytes to help clean up after an infection.
Windows 10 comes with both the new Edge browser and good old Internet Explorer, but if you prefer Firefox or Chrome you can get those, too.
If you use Skype, you’ll need to get that as well.
If you use online storage, you’ll need to pick up a Dropbox or Google Drive client. Microsoft includes their OneDrive online storage client, so you’ve got that going for you.
Have a massive iTunes library? You’ll need to download iTunes, too.
And of course, for virtual vacations, nothing beats Google Earth.
Wait, how do I get all this stuff? Relax, you don’t have to go to a bunch different sites to get all these programs. And you don’t have to deal with toolbars, and software partners and misleading Google searches trying to find the programs you want.
You can get all of this stuff from one site: http://ninite.com. Once you have the site open, check the box next to each program you want to install and click the Get Your Ninite button at the bottom. Ninite downloads a small installer that then installs all the programs you checked off. No toolbars, no special offers, no trial versions – just the good stuff.
Oh right, you can use Ninite for everything except Adobe Reader. If you want to use Ninite for everything, you can grab FoxitReader to read PDFs instead of Adobe Reader.
As a bonus, if you save your Ninite installer before you run it the first time, you can rerun it every once in awhile and it will check the versions of all the programs it installed and update them if necessary. Nice!
Ninite is only for Windows, but Mac users don’t despair – http://www.getmacapps.com/ has you covered. Most of the same apps as Ninite for Windows, but with that special Mac flavor.
Sending large files
Most email platforms have a limit on the total size of the message you can send – usually 10MB. To send bigger files (videos, CAD drawings, lots of photos, music, etc.) to someone you can use an online service.
I’ve had good luck with https://www.wetransfer.com/. Go to the site, select the files you want to transfer, fill in the To and From email addresses and click the Transfer button. Your recipient will get an email with a link to your files. When they click on the link, the files will download, and then you get an email letting you know they got your files.
Quick, easy, and free. I like.
Home is where your WiFi connects automatically.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.