Blogs

 

Welcome to My Blogs

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison

The purpose of this blog is to be a resource for consumer information on computer related technology without getting too technical (free of geek speak) and without cost (geek for free) – thus the name “GEEK FREE”.


FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison

Warning! This blog is for geeks only. If you are not comfortable working with the command prompt, Windows registry, system restore, administrative tools and such, then you are welcome to read, but please FOR~GO trying anything you read here on your own. SenCom and the author will not be responsible for your actions and the results!

Posted by Joe Callison in Introduction

What to do with Old Computers

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
9 December, 2018

After purchasing a new computer there is often a question of what to do with the old one. If you are like me, I do not want to see it go to waste or recycling if it is still useful to someone. Here is my evaluation of whether it might be worth using by another person:   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Tips for Slow Computers

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
3 November, 2018

Many low budget laptops and small desktop computers are provided with very low performance processors, such as the Intel Celeron or Pentium models or the older pre-Ryzen AMD models. Even some of the older Intel i3 processor models are very low performance. You will probably become aware of the performance limitations when trying to use the computer while it is running a scheduled antivirus or antimalware scan, or when Windows updates are being automatically downloaded in the background. You may notice that the computer becomes painfully slow at doing more than one task at a time. Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Migration from Old Computer to New Computer

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
14 October 2018

Windows Computers
So you have purchased a new Windows computer and now you are wondering how to move your files, and maybe even your settings and programs, from the old computer to the new one. If you only want to move your user files from the old computer to the new computer, you can either copy the folders containing those files from the old computer to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and then copy them from there to the new computer, or you could set up the computers on your home network to share files and copy them over the network connection.  Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

October is for Techies!

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
6 October, 2018

October is an exciting month in the world of computer technology. Whether you are in the Apple, Microsoft, or Google camp, all sorts of new products arrive at this time of year, just before the holiday shopping frenzy begins.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Memories

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
5 September 2018

There are many types of computer memory being used these days. It used to be simpler when you had RAM memory and a hard drive. Sure the RAM memory evolved over the years from DRAM to DDR, then DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 and hard drives went from SCSI or PATA to SATA, then SATA2, and SATA3, but now there are several more new types to confuse us.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Surge Protection – Are You Protected?

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
31 August, 2018

Point of use surge protectors, usually in the form of a power strip, are probably used by most of us for at least some of the more sensitive or costly electronic items in our households. Did you know that your surge protector has likely been subjected to multiple surges if it is over two or three years old and may have diminished or even no protection left? If it has an indicating light, usually red, to indicate the protection is working, then there is at least some protection left in it. This is different than a light in the on/off or reset switch that only shows if it has power or not.  Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Power Cycling and other Maintenance Tips

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
16 August 2018

Most people are aware that many times a computer, modem or router problem can be resolved by just turning off the power to it, waiting a few seconds, and repowering it. This also works for all kinds of other equipment with electronic components, especially logic boards, in them. Sometimes even the power supply for a device has a protective circuit that must be power cycled to reset it. The following are some common experiences I have had that were fixed by power cycling.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

No More System Image Backup?

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
23 July, 2018

Microsoft is no longer supporting the System Image Backup feature of Windows 7 that was carried over to Windows 10 and plans to eventually remove it in a future update of Windows 10. Few people were using it and often had trouble using it when they did. There are many third party programs that are easier to use, have more features, and are available in both free and paid versions. We will take a look at some of the best and most popular programs available for Windows and also macOS, as using Apple’s Disk Utility to create a system image backup is no picnic either.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Migrating Operating System to SSD

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
10 June 2018

One of the most cost effective ways to improve the performance of a computer is to migrate the operating system from a mechanical rotating hard drive to a solid state drive. Accessing and reading data from a solid state drive can easily be at least 30% and up to 100% or more faster. With prices as low as $25 for a 120GB SATA type, it is the most bang you can get for your buck and is relatively easy to do. Here is the easiest method for any desktop or laptop computer with a SATA type hard drive:   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Are You Seeing Red?

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
4 June, 2018

Internet browsers have recently begun displaying red warning pages about potentially unsafe websites you are about to navigate to. Google analyzes keywords and attributes found on the page that might indicate danger and flags the site in a database that is also used by some other browsers for their warnings. It is possible for a site to be flagged as dangerous that is not, and Google will investigate and remove a listed site from the database if requested to do so, though it may take some time for that to happen.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Virtual Machines

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
9 May 2018

A virtual machine is an emulation of a computer system in software. It provides the ability to test or try out various operating systems on your current computer, often at no cost for non-commercial use. It was even provided by Microsoft as an optional Windows feature that could be enabled in Windows 7 Professional to run Windows XP in a virtual machine. For those who still like to tinker with old DOS programs or games, free emulators such as DOSBox are available.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Searching for Tech Support

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
8 May, 2018

I continue to hear stories from people who were scammed or almost scammed from fake technical support providers. Most recently it was someone looking for help with their Amazon Kindle. Thankfully they got nervous about giving personal information to a stranger over the phone and ended the conversation by saying they would have their computer consultant (me) get back to them if needed.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Google Experiments & Labs

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
21 April 2018

Google has insider user groups just as Microsoft does. You can browse experimental apps for Android or Chrome or sign up for early access to test new Android and iOS apps through Area 120, a workshop for Google’s experimental products.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Bluetooth Wireless Technology

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
15 April, 2018

Bluetooth is finally becoming a very usable and useful feature thanks to two major improvements:
First, the new Bluetooth 5 standard has greatly improved the performance in both speed and distance over previous versions of Bluetooth. New devices already supporting the standard include Apple iphone 8 (and X) and the Samsung Galaxy 8. New headphones, earbuds and speakers are also available using the new standard, and are now able to work with the Low Energy mode first introduced with Bluetooth 4. This will greatly improve the battery life for wireless audio peripherals. The new standard also supports Dual Audio, streaming the same or different audio to two devices simultaneously.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

USB Info & Tips

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
17 March 2018

USB or Universal Serial Bus started showing up in computers in 1998, beginning with the Apple iMac. The USB 1.1 ports were designed for Low Speed (1.5 mbps) or Full Speed (12 mbps). Three years later the USB 2.0 standard improved USB to High Speed (480 mbps) and supported up to 100mA (0.5W) of power for low power and up to 500mA (2.5W) for high power. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 devices started showing up in 2010. The first generation USB 3.1 supports 5 gbps speed and up to 150mA (0.75W) for low power or up to 900mA (4.5W) for high power. The second generation of USB 3.1 increased the top speed to 10 gbps, and the current USB 3.2 top speed is 20 gbps. The USB 3.x standards are backward compatible to USB 2.0 devices.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Digital Tracking

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
13 March, 2018

If you browse the internet or use a cell phone, you are leaving digital tracks that can be monitored by others for financial gain or other purposes. These tracks include information obtained from your internet viewing and searches and location information from your cell phone usage. Some tracking you have no control over. A cell phone that is turned on connects periodically with cell phone towers which record the “cell,” a small geographical area, that the phone is located in.  Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Windows 10 Download

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
14 February 2018

So now that both the free upgrade to Windows 10 for the general public and the extended free upgrade for those using assistive technologies have ended, you are out of luck for a free upgrade, right? Well, not necessarily. Supposedly if you download the Windows 10 installation software from Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/en-in/software-download/windows10
and upgrade using a qualifying Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license key, it will still upgrade and activate Windows 10 for free.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Know Beans about Java

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
14 February, 2018

There is a lot of misunderstanding about Java, partially because of the confusion with the similar sounding JavaScript. Java was developed by Sun Microsystems almost 23 years ago. Sun was acquired by Oracle Corporation. Java was intended to be a “write once – run anywhere” programming language using a virtual machine that can be run on any processing platform.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Meltdown, Spectre and WPA3

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
13 January, 2018

I tried to resist writing on these because they are everywhere in the media already and there have been new developments almost daily as companies frantically prepare their responses to the vulnerabilities. You can follow new security updates easily by looking at the Security Alerts and Updates on our own SenCom web site. The technical details and many helpful links and manufacturers’ responses are also contained in the following alert by Homeland Security.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Windows Reliability Monitor

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
4 January 2018

If you have ever tried to analyze the contents of the Windows Event Viewer to troubleshoot a computer, you should appreciate the value of the different views of events offered by the Reliability Monitor.
Start typing Reliability Monitor in the Search bar and you should see “View reliability history” as a Control Panel item show up in the search results. Running the Reliability Monitor produces a daily summary of events by categories and a reliability trend curve scaled from 1 to 10. Clicking on a particular day will list the events for that day, where you can also click to view technical details for each event.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Email Tips

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
26 December, 2017

There are two methods that most people use for handling email. The most common method these days is using a web-based email client. Examples are Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, or anything else that opens up in your web browser to connect to the host email servers to view or send email that is stored by the servers. The other method is an email program or app that installs and runs on your computer and connects to the host email servers to download the new mail to your computer for storage. Outlook Express and the older versions of the full Outlook program available from Microsoft as part of the Office suite (not to be confused with outlook.com which is web-based) are examples.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Fixing Printer Offline

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
3 December 2017

Recently a lot of people have been experiencing their network printers going offline and having great difficulty getting them back online or keeping them from going back offline. These are printers that had been working fine in the past and something must have changed to create the problem. It could be due to a change in the router firmware by the internet service provider, an operating system update, or a printer driver update. It has occurred with various makes and models of printers, multiple internet service providers with various makes and models of routers, and both Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating systems.    Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 1 comment

Deleting Internet Accounts

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
3 December, 2017

There could be many reasons for needing or wanting to delete old internet accounts, if for no other reason than removing personal data from inactive accounts to reduce the chances of it being hacked. Finding instructions on how to do it may be a bit of a challenge. Sometimes the instructions provided by a particular internet site are hard to find or understand, and are explained more clearly by other sources that provide “how to” articles or videos.    Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Last Chance for Free Windows 10 Upgrade!

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
9 November, 2017

Time is quickly running out for a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10. The extended deadline that was intended for those needing accessibility features or “assistive technologies” is ending on December 31, 2017. It is available whether you use accessibility features or not. The link is below:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade?ranMID=24542&ranEAID=TnL5HPStwNw&ranSiteID=TnL5HPStwNw-u…q837srr4UGM1Qo7jIQ&tduid=(f73661ca7380245d9398e7af4f9c7854(256380)(2459594)(TnL5HPStwNw-u…q837srr4UGM1Qo7jIQ)()

Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

MBR and GPT Based Hard Drive Partitions

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
6 November 2017

Windows on a UEFI-based device must format the hard drive for Windows with a GUID partition table (GPT) file system instead of a Master Boot Record (MBR) file system. Besides the EFI System Partition on a GPT drive, it will have a Microsoft reserved partition (MSR) to help with partition management, the Windows partition, and a Recovery tools partition for the Windows Recovery Environment tools image, which also supports booting partitions with Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption, if used. Additional OEM-utility partitions or data partitions could optionally be present.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

KRACK and ROCA: Are You Safe?

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
1 November, 2017

In October we were hit with two particularly onerous public alerts about security threats known as KRACK and ROCA. KRACK is the WPA2 vulnerability, which potentially affects the security of anyone using wi-fi communications. ROCA is the encryption key vulnerability, which potentially affects anyone using devices or software that uses encryption keys generated from chips made by Infineon, which has about 30% of the market share for such security chips.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 2 comments

About ISO Files

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
25 September 2017

An ISO file is the image of a CD or DVD that is typically used for burning a copy of the CD or DVD. Windows 8 and 10 come with a built-in ability to mount an ISO image directly from the file so that a CD or DVD player is no longer needed. A utility can be added to Windows 7 or Vista to provide the same capability. For information on how to mount (and unmount) an ISO file or to obtain the utility, see the following link:
https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/mount-an-iso-image-in-windows-vista/

Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments

Firefox Browser Changes

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
17 September, 2017

Firefox version 52 and later ended support of legacy plug-ins such as Java, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Silverlight and others. For an explanation of the reason behind the change see this Mozilla link:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/npapi-plugins?as=u&utm_source=inproduct

Beginning with version 57 that is planned to be released November 14, 2017 support of legacy extensions such as LastPass will also end and they will be replaced with WebExtensions. This change has also been incorporated in Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome browsers. Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Windows 10 and macOS Fall Updates

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
7 September, 2017

Fall is fast approaching and with it comes the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update which Microsoft has officially announced will be released to the public on October 17 (a little later than the planned September release). This will be the fourth feature update (new version) for Windows 10 since its initial launch and as a reminder, each new version of Windows 10 has an end of life for support 18 months after the public release. If you are more than one version behind, you can skip to the latest available version, assuming your computer hardware will support the latest version. This can be a problem for older computers that were upgraded from earlier Windows versions for the initial release of Windows 10, but should not be a problem for new computers that shipped with the initial release of Windows 10.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in GEEK FREE, 0 comments

Restoring the F8 Function During Boot

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)

By Joe Callison
1 September, 2017

Welcome to zero-day for my new blog. I thought it might be fun to start a blog for the more advanced senior computer users interested in digging into the bowels of the Windows beast. I may also sprinkle in some opinions, reviews, rants, and even some Apple or Android nuggets from time-to-time. What you will not find are step-by-step tutorials (except in links) as they should not be needed for the intended readers.   Continue reading →

Posted by Joe Callison in FOR~GO, 0 comments
4/A6Y2BsbQZhmz6XbH9WrwaHSTJdwvtAOdTOWqvlTSM1o.wplhENXo_gYVoiIBeO6P2m_yozPFlgI