Saturday, November 28, 2015

iPad Marketshare Falling

The iPad marketshare, (like the Windows phone marketshare) is falling.  For more, click or tap for

For those who do not need the excellent support available from Apple, a $50 Kindle Fire 5th generation might be all a senior might need in a computer.

Put Google Apps on Kindle

Kindle tablets include a subset of the larger library of applications available for Android devices.

If you would like to add one of the Google applications, don't give up the ship.
What you need to do is to download a file with an apk after the dot in the file name. That will be an installation file.

Sources of these files are detailed below.

To be able to install that file, you first need to provide permission in settings.

Then there are three ways to get the particular file that you need.

1. The standard way is to sideload the application on a PC and then transfer it by cable to the tablet.

2. Another way is to download the file directly to the tablet or email it to yourself where are you can install it in the tablet.

3. A third way is to use a Chrome browser extension called APK Downloader.
Once you have the particular file on the tablet, just tapping on it will usually install it.

If not, it is worthwhile to first install a helper app called ES File Explorer. Tapping on the file name in ES File Explorer download folder will install the app.
Now, where to get those files. The APK Downloader app, of course, will get them for you.

This is the latest way to do it and probably the best.

Otherwise, there are several sites which provides such apps. These are 1mobile market, slideme, APKmirror.

From such sites you can also obtain three files which will actually install Google Play Store in your Kindle.

These are Google Account Manager and reboot the tablet, Google Services Framework and reboot the tablet, Google Play Services and reboot the tablet, and then probably Gmail and reboot the tablet once again.

Having done the last, the whole library of Android apps will now be available.

Newly, Google has simply started streaming apps.  Try Weather in your browser.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Run Another OS

More and more, you can run another operating system on the computer you are using.

You can run Windows on a Mac, and Windows Office on almost any other OS or piece of equipment.

You can run the Chromebook operating system via Chrome OS on most equipment.

 Also, you can install the Chrome OS on an old Windows tower.

Or you could just run the Chrome browser on most other equipment.

To compete with the Chromebook Microsoft has modified Windows 10 to run on minimal equipment at low cost.

You can also run Linux on an old Windows tower or indeed via an application on an Android device.

Android can also run now on a Windows computer or tablet.

It is also becoming possible to run some Android apps on Windows.

More and more apps run on all three main operating systems

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Internet Service at Willow Valley

Here at Willow Valley we have had two basic choices for Internet service, Comcast or Willow Valley service.

A third choice is to use a hotspot. The hotspot works like a cell phone but also provides Wi-Fi access to other devices.

FreedomSpot service has been available here also for quite a long time using the older Wimax protocol.

Reception was quite marginal, although I was always able to use it when there was a problem with my other internet choice here.

The hot spot was also portable and I could use it with any device.

Now there is a new and better choice than WiMAX. Available now is so called LTE service. While WiMAX service was poor in this area the LTE service is excellent and can be recommended.

I know that because I have the LTE service on my smartphone and it works extremely well here and along the routes I usually follow to Philadelphia and Wilmington. It works throughout Lancaster.

This service is extremely inexpensive for moderate use. However, you do need the hotspot at the start. I paid $50 for it. As a new user, you may need to spend more.

It would not be practical if you download or stream movies or videos but may suffice for many users just for documents and music.

Also, the service goes anywhere with you.

The old WiMAX service has been retired.

A big benefit of hotspot service is that you do not need to be bothered with routers and access points and expensive support.

Solving One of a Kind Problems

Caduter problems, which are probably more common on Windows than any other platform, can be fairly common problems or they can be one of a kind problems you have never seen before.

It may never be possible to determine the cause.

To find a solution it is wise to go to your browser and search for a solution to the problem by describing it. Someone probably encountered something like it before and may have a possible solution for it.

Then more simply all that may be necessary is to  unplug everything from the wall and reboot.

Often drivers or apps simply need to be reinstalled to solve the problem.

Then it may be possible simply to reset the OS from settings.

(Google has started to stream apps so that it is no longer necessary to install them to access them. A search in Google brings up the app which is then streamed to your computer without further ado.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tech Videos for Seniors

Intimidated by technology? Here is an AARP site to guide you. Tap or click for

Organize Your GMail

Looks like we have a new tool to organize our GMail.   Tap or click for:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why bother with Windows 10?

Why use Windows at all?

Nowadays there are plenty of alternatives for everything most of us need to do.

But there are also plenty of reasons to use the new Windows 10.

So what are the pros and cons?

Windows has been around for a long time, and Windows 10 is very much improved over all previous versions.

It has been reengineered to run on minimal hardware.

It will run on a very inexpensive $150 laptop and much old equipment. It is a free upgrade for older equipment.

Most important, it can run some of the best software out there for special purposes.
If you are writing or publishing a book it will run Scrivener. If you are an avid reader, it will run Calibre. These applications organize what you are doing better than others.

Most of us will simply use Word or Kindle for these purposes. Both are wanting when push comes to shove. These can run almost on any system whereas Scrivener and Calibre cannot.

So those are compelling reasons to use Windows 10.

So why not use Windows 10? What are the negatives?

If you need help or simpler and more easy to use software just avoid Windows.

If you are paranoid about privacy, avoid Windows.

If you fear viruses avoid Windows unless you take measures to keep safe. That means keeping sensitive data off your computer or encrypted.

Let me emphasize that it is dangerous to keep sensitive data on your computer whether connected to internet or not. Better to keep that data on the cloud, just as it is better to keep your money in the bank than under your bed.

Encryption is safe. Virtual private networks are used to keep it that way. You can use one too.

Weigh the alternatives and use what works best for you and for those around you. If you do expose yourself to viruses, you can bring down other computers and the common network they are using. You can expose others to theft of their personal information.

Or do like me. Use Windows 10 when you need to and otherwise not.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Malwarebytes is often proposed as a solution to Microsoft Windows virus problems.

If you read widely on internet, you will know that it is one of the least effective antivirus programs out there.

Malwarebytes does claim to remove a virus. The problem is that you can never be sure that it fully removes all malware content.

When you do have a virus, the only safety measure you can really depend upon is to reinstall the operating system altogether.

Fortunately, Windows 10 makes that more than easy.

Malwarebytes gives a false sense of security. Even though it may remove a virus in your computer, that same virus  may have infected other computers on the network and indeed the network itself.

It is better to protect yourself with rock-solid encryption and a VPN.

Then always keep at hand a reinstall DVD and restore your files from a safe place on internet where you have kept them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

No Screen , No Keyboard

Imagine, a computer with no screen and no keyboard. It just listens and talks to you.

That would be Alexa, the newest mass market introduction from Amazon. It is called Amazon Echo.

The closest device to it heretofore would be a GPS. You say "Take me to XXX" and it takes you there. It is the closest device to a real person today as it talks you there by voice.

Alexa, though, can talk about many things while you are busy doing something else like working in your kitchen.

I have not tried it yet, but I see nearly 30,000 mostly favourable comments about it on Amazon.

It could be a boon for those with limited vision and limited mobility, as attested to by commenters.

Somebody needs to set it up for them, of course.  I would think that would be someone who is quite computer literate.

That could be someone who is comfortable using voice now with their computer, as I am doing as I dictate this posting.

What next?

So Alexa, what is the weather today?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Important Windows 10 Update

Tap or click on the following for information on an important Windows Update.

Be sure to download and burn a DVD of a Windows 10 1115 ISO as a disk image back up after you install it, just in case you need it when things go sour.   

Organizing Documents

We are all deluged with documents, seniors most of all.

With internet documents, my first line of defense is to send them off to Pocket. Pocket is just a holding tank where I can read them later. I keep them there temporarily and delete them after I have read them.

Short permanent notes go straight to Evernote  where they are automatically indexed and easy to access later. I use a browser extension that sends them off to Evernote.

Longer documents present more of a problem. I use a similar browser extension which sends them off to Kindle. The extension is called Push to Kindle.

I also use email to send documents to Kindle. In the subject line I type convert for PDF documents.   I use dotEPUB to convert to ebook.

This works well for digital manuals and instructions, and everything else.  For paper documents I need something else.

If these documents have very tiny type I scan them to my PC using my Brother printer. The printer will convert them to digital text, send them to PC, and magnify the document for easier reading.

I keep track of these documents on the Kindle page for managing content and devices, where I can deliver them to a tablet or phone. I keep a bookmark on my PC browser for that purpose.  They will not appear on a device until that Kindle content is synced.

To organize all these documents, I use a Kindle Paperwhite reader. There I can distribute them into Collections by subject. Since the Paperwhite can handle a huge number of documents in its memory without going to the cloud, I keep them all there to access anywhere.

So there is then just one place to go when I am looking for a document, my Kindle Paperwhite. No more going through piles of papers.

Windows 10 Recovery Options

Tap or click or Windows 10 recovery options

I keep all of them available in the event that I have a problem with Windows.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Being Peppered by Nuisance EMail?

If you are being peppered by nuisance email, Go here:

In GMail you can also mark it as spam.

Snrtech Print Archive Available

A perfect bound paperback printed version of all snrtech posts from 2007 thru late 2015, including all typos and warts, is available from        Copyright ISBN 2015. Price $20.

Accessing of links can only be done from online, as links are frequently not listed with URLs.   You can preview the first pages of the book before ordering.

As the postings are almost always a result of questions from seniors in one-on-one help sessions, the archive shows interesting and changing trends of senior concerns and of technology over the years.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New Breed of Cat

Coming out now are a new breed of cat, Flip Chromebooks which work both as laptops and tablets, at around $250, from Asus and Acer.

They look promising for those who want both laptop and touchscreen tablet, plus a high degree of security, all at low cost.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Favorite Apps

OK, here are my favorite apps:  (not including bookmarks and websites).

Google Voice Search

Google Mail








Amazon Music

CBS News



Google News and Weather










The Old Reader



Ookla Speedtest

ES File Explorer


Google Maps



Push to Kindle


iTunes Radio



Volume in Notifications


WiFi Analyzer

Microsoft Word