Practical Help Library

  • iTunes Copy Computer to Computer

    iTunes Copy Computer to Computer

    iTunes Copy Computer to Computer: a reader asks… I have a newish macbook pro laptop and an old macbook pro laptop. I want to copy one iTunes music playlist from the new computer to the old one because at an upcoming event I want to have a 2nd computer that someone else can play the music during breaks etc while I am using another laptop to run my Powerpoint slide deck. Having 2 computers seemed like a great way to […]

  • Firestick & Ethernet

    Firestick & Ethernet

    Firestick & Ethernet: a reader asks… I have a firestick with the Amazon Ethernet adapter,  that is directly connect to my router what do I need or do to connect to my blue ray so i can get surround sound with my firestick.my blue ray player the following outputs HDMI output no input! A Ethernet output and a USB wireless connection port. I want to be able to still use Ethernet rather than wireless can this be achieved!!! It would have […]

  • Dropbox Sync-Not!

    Dropbox Sync-Not!

    Dropbox Sync-Not! a reader asks… Occasionally but regularly I get an error message when I try to delete or move a file or folder saying that a file is in use by another program (never specified, of course). I tracked it down to Dropbox and solved it by closing Dropbox. Dropbox is in constant sync mode, and this in itself is puzzling because all file or folder changes sync at normal tempo. This all started happening maybe a few months […]

  • Renewable Toner Cartridge

    Renewable Toner Cartridge

    Renewable Toner Cartridge: a reader asks… I have a question regarding replacing the toner cartridge in my older HP laser printer.  It takes a 49A HP…I see where I can order one “renewable” toner compatible to 49A on Amazon, but will the printer refuse to operate if it’s not a genuine HP cartridge? I know my  HP Envy 5660 printer  won’t let me replace the cartridge with anything renewed!  Does this make sense?  Obviously the price is considerably cheaper on […]

  • Registering a Domain Name

    Registering a Domain Name

    Registering a Domain Name: a reader asks… I’m creating a website to serve as a portfolio for my artwork, in order to have something to refer people to when I do design work and also to have a way to publicize my artwork. I want to register a domain, which I know is available, for the portfolio to be on. My question is how do I go about properly registering and purchasing a domain? Are certain sites better to buy from than […]

  • Lenovo Critical Updates

    Lenovo Critical Updates

    Lenovo Critical Updates: a reader asked… I keep getting a pop up notice that says I have critical Lenovo updates.  I keep ignoring b/c it doesn’t give me a link to find out what the updates are.  But it is persistent – how can I determine if I need to do this?  I have not downloaded any Lenovo updates since I got the laptop (new). Short answer: go ahead and click Yes and then install all available Lenovo updates. All […]

  • Mac Air vs. Pro

    Mac Air vs. Pro

    Mac Air vs. Pro: a reader asks… I’m planning to buy a new Macbook for personal use. I saw an ad for a Macbook Air 13″ with a 2.2 GHz i7 new on sale from BestBuy for $1300 (list $1550). I love the idea of a Retina screen, so was looking also at a similarly configured (but better in a lot of details) Pro with a 3.1 GHz i5. Since I do plan to do maybe 20% usage for photoshop […]

  • Photo Magic

    Photo Magic

    Photo Magic: a reader asks… I want to do some photo editing with Adobe Photoshop. I’ve looked through tutorials but am not sure I understand them. What I want to do is take a color photo that has some rose petals in it, and turn the entire photo black and white but with the petals still red. Can you help? Photoshop is a very powerful tool for creative artists to make true works of art out of just about any […]

  • Firestick with Analog Snafu

    Firestick with Analog Snafu

    Firestick with Analog Snafu: a reader asks… I want to hook my firestick to my Panasonic Projector PT-AE500U. The Projector and my receiver Onkyo HT-R510 only have component hook up.  I bought XF Times HDMI to YPbPr+Audio converter. I plugged the Firestick into the converter HDMI side then ran my component cables to the receiver input. No picture! What am I doing wrong? Most likely the video problem you’re experiencing is that with analog connections (like your YPbPr RCA cables from […]

  • Win10 Stuck Restart

    Win10 Stuck Restart

    Win10 Stuck Restart: a reader asks… My Windows 10 computer notified me that it had to do some updates and restart. I went ahead and hit the restart control, but now I have a blue screen with the circling dots and “Restarting”. It’s been going on for hours now. What should I do? Sometimes the restart process gets stuck (this has been happening to Windows since as far back as I can remember). The fix is pretty simple, press your […]

  • Battery Conditioning

    Battery Conditioning

    Battery Conditioning: a reader asks… I’ve recently acquired a new smartphone. I’ve read about the problems with battery life and longevity. What should I do to make sure my battery gives as good service as it can? Battery technology has advanced quite a bit over the years. In the old days of Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries, you had to pre-condition them by fully charging before first use, and then periodically drain them down fully to re-condition them and ensure you get […]

  • Domain Name Reservations

    Domain Name Reservations

    Domain Name Reservations: a reader asks… I am a small business owner and have a website that was setup by someone who used to work for me. They’re long gone now and I don’t have anyone with skills in this area. I think I can handle making updates to the website itself (it’s on “WordPress”), but something came up and I don’t know what to do. I received an email saying that my ‘domain name reservation’ was due to expire […]

  • New Version Malwarebytes

    New Version Malwarebytes

    New Version Malwarebytes: a reader asks… I followed your advice about installing Malwarebyes 3 on my Windows 10 computer to run alongside Windows Defender. It’s been running fine for over a year now and no problems. My question is, when will Malwarebytes issue a new version? I’m using version 3.3.1. Malwarebytes issues new versions usually about every three months or so. If you hover your mouse over the Malwarebytes icon that’s sitting in your system notification area, you’ll see a […]

  • Garage Firestick

    Garage Firestick

    Garage Firestick: a reader asks… Here is a link to my monitor: Thank you for providing this service. I wanted to use this monitor as a tv in my garage using the fire stick. As you can see on page 12 there is only one HDMI and no audio out. I have a small amplifier to power two speakers. Is there a way to get the audio to the amp? The monitor speakers are tinny at best. Any help will be much […]

  • Fake Phone Call

    Fake Phone Call

    Fake Phone Call: a reader asks… I got a call yesterday, from someone saying they’re from Microsoft Tech Support. They said my computer was infected and their system determined that it needed to be cleaned. They then asked me to let them remotely access my computer so they could clean it up, but didn’t mention how much that would cost. At that point I got a little scared and hung up on them. If they call again what should I […]

  • Fake Email Voicemail

    Fake Email Voicemail

    Fake Email Voicemail: a reader asks… I received a strange email from Microsoft with an attached pdf. What should I do with this? Don’t open the file attachment. Do not pass go, do not collect malware on your computer (sic). This is a phishing attempt to get you to compromise your computer security. Nefarious hackers are very creative in the ways they’ll attempt to get you to bypass any security you’ve added to your computer. Based on your screenshot, you […]

  • Printer Economics

    Printer Economics

    Printer Economics: a reader asks… I have an HP Envy 5660 printer I’ve been using for printing everything. I really hate it that I have to keep replacing the ink cartridges often. I have an older HP Laserjet 1320 printer that my husband used years ago, but it’s just been sitting. Should I replace my ink jet printer with the laserjet – will it save me money? I have a Windows 10 PC. The Laserjet will be much more economical […]

  • Buh-bye Vista

    Buh-bye Vista

    Buh-bye Vista: a reader asks… I have an older Windows Vista PC that I need to get rid of. I have a new Windows 10 PC. What should I do at this point? Since Microsoft stopped providing updates more than a year ago, Windows Vista has been off life-support and really, nobody should be using that version of Windows any longer, any more than Windows XP. So yes, it’s time to get rid of that old PC. I doubt you’ll […]

  • What is Sneakernet

    What is Sneakernet

    What is Sneakernet: a reader asks… I must be missing something. I’ve heard of Internet, Ethernet, and even Intranet, but someone told me a new one yesterday. “Sneakernet”. What does it mean? Nowadays with cloud-based file storage and sharing services so ubiquitous, it’s pretty trivial to share files between colleagues and friends. It didn’t use to be that way. When someone wanted to send a very large file (that wouldn’t go via email) or a bunch of files, they would […]

  • My Little PC

    My Little PC

    My Little PC: a reader asks… I’ve been using these big desktop CPUs for years now (don’t need or want a laptop). A friend (ok, you) showed me a ‘micro PC’ that looks really nice and takes up a sliver of space compared to normal. Can you tell me more about it and how I might get one for my next PC upgrade? Sure! We’re talking about the Dell Optiplex series of Windows computers, that come in various sizes including […]

  • iPhone Photo Sync to Windows

    iPhone Photo Sync to Windows

    iPhone Photo Sync to Windows: a reader asks… Since my computer upgraded itself to Windows 10, I haven’t been able to download any photos. It doesn’t recognize my iphone. I’m very frustrated! You don’t say how you’re been connecting your iPhone to Windows, so I’m just guessing, but have you still been plugging the USB cable to connect your iPhone physically with iTunes on your PC? That is the old, legacy way of doing things. A good 10 years ago, […]

  • Dropbox Noodge

    Dropbox Noodge

    Dropbox Noodge: a reader asks… I’ve been invited to upload my own photos from a recent group trip to a Dropbox account of a friend. Unfortunately, I only have a personal account and it’s full. Even though my friend’s Dropbox account has plenty of space, Dropbox won’t let me upload my files to his account. Is there a solution without me having to buy more Dropbox space? Unfortunately, the solution is one or more workarounds. This is the most annoying […]

  • KISS my Mac Calendar

    KISS my Mac Calendar

    KISS my Mac Calendar: a reader asks… I use Mac calendar and have several different calendars for different purposes like work, personal, volunteer, etc. It’s nice because I like that my events are in different colors for each purpose, but still show on one calendar (and this shows the same on my iPhone/iPad). Helps keep me from double-booking appointments or otherwise screwing something up. Some of my friends and colleagues use Google calendar and send me appointment invitations. It looks […]

  • Color-code Outlook

    Color-code Outlook

    Color-code Outlook: a reader asks… I use Outlook 2016 and use that to collect email from several different email accounts. Sometimes I have email forwarded from a secondary account to a primary account, and sometimes I have Outlook poll the secondary account directly. I like having all mail come to one inbox but it can get a little confusing at times as to which emails came from where. Is there an easy way to differentiate the emails based on what […]

  • Adding RAM

    Adding RAM

    Adding RAM: a reader asks… I have several desktop PCs that aren’t very old, have Windows 10 on them, but don’t have enough RAM. What’s the easiest way to increase their RAM? Since they are desktop PCs, the physical method is pretty easy. Pop the side cover and locate the slots for the memory modules – there should be 4 of them, and one or two will already have modules inserted. Slide the new modules into the empty slots, being […]

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