Follow-Up on Windows 10

Windows 10
A few weeks ago I wrote about the all new Microsoft Windows 10.  It’s the grandfather of a long string of operating systems. There was no Windows 9 because of the public’s rejection and dislike of Windows 8.1, so they decided to make a fresh start with Windows 10.

Now that it’s been out since July 29th, let’s start at the beginning and work through the process of upgrading. This can be accomplished in one of two ways.

If you’re running an old machine you should consider buying a replacement with Windows 10 already installed.  The good news is that prices have come way down since your last purchase!  That’s the easy route.  Of course you will have to transfer all your documents, photos, music, favorites, email contacts and messages from your old computer to your new one.

If you want to keep your present machine and are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 you are eligible for a FREE upgrade until July 28, 2016 but you must first reserve a copy. 

On your desktop down next to the clock you will see a small white windows logo icon. Click on it, then click the lower left corner where it says “Reserve your free upgrade.”  The next screen will ask for your email address, but that’s not required.  Simply click on “Skip email confirmation.”  The next window will say “All Done for Now,” then click Close.  You will be notified sometime in the near future when you can download and install Windows 10.

When you receive this notification you are ready for the upgrade.  Before doing so it is recommended that you back up your files just in case there’s a problem.

If this whole operation gives you concern then it’s advised to consult a professional technician.

OK, you’ve decided to do this yourself.  Start the download of Windows 10.  This will take 30 to 45 minutes and when finished it will start the installation.  At some point it will offer a screen which will require your input as to whether to use “Express Settings,” or in small print to the left “Customize Settings.”  My suggestion is to choose “Customize Settings” and take the check marks off everything you see.  This will greatly improve your privacy.

This entire operation from start to finish may take up to two hours, so some patience is required.

The new Microsoft Internet browser, called Edge, is entirely new and will take some getting used to.  If you have been using another browser like Firefox or Google’s Chrome you may want to install one of those.

One more thing.  Windows 10 start button is a great improvement over Windows 8.1, but still you may not be comfortable with it.  If you’d like to use a start button like you’ve been used to for years you can install it for free, and here’s the link.

Follow-Up on Previous “Samsung or Apple?

I have owned both Samsung and Apple phones, and like any manufactured item nothing is perfect.  Both of these phones have their good points.

Note 5After much research and consideration however, I have purchased the newly released Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and after two weeks of use I must say that I’m extremely pleased!
The 5.7 inch display is awesome and the built in stylus is something that I thought I wouldn’t use but quickly changed my mind. Really handy for making quick notes!
The big decision maker for me, since I’m an avid photographer, was the camera.  All I can say is wow!  It even features a “Pro Mode” that enables you to change ISO, F stop, EV, shutter speed, white balance, and manual focus. Other camera modes feature everything under the sun including 4K video!

I’m not downgrading the Apple 6S that will be released on 9-25, but as you may know the “S” series is always an incremental upgrade and the Galaxy Note 5 is an “All new Smartphone.”

To give you an idea of what the camera does, while writing this article I walked into our kitchen and snapped this photo.

Now it’s pretty hard to beat that for quality!  No special lighting or editing was used. (Click on larger view.) 

So if you are now or soon to be in the market for a new phone I would highly recommend the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5!

Windows 10

Windows 10 Desktop

I have experienced every Windows Operating System since the beginning of time!  Windows 95 was definitely the biggest splash!  Microsoft lit up buildings in London and New York with the 95 logo and it was a huge marketing extravaganza!  Remember the Rolling Stones theme song?

At that time I lived in the Midwest and remember driving to Chicago’s McCormick Center for the big event.  Windows 95 was the first real user interface.  Many versions have passed, some good, and some not worth mentioning, like Windows Me and Windows Vista.  The OS that the world passionately endorsed was XP and people are still using it despite the fact that support ran out long ago.

Windows 7 was very successful and well respected, then came along Windows 8, a total disaster!  People were mad and frustrated and most refused to upgrade, especially businesses. 

Microsoft quickly upgraded to 8.1, but it wasn’t any better.  The biggest downfall was the removal of the start button.  The system was really two, the Metro and the Desktop and did nothing but offer confusion.  In order to make any sense of it all you had to install a third party start button to regain any familiarity and unless you were pretty computer savvy this had to be done by a technician.

Microsoft slowly woke up to the fact that they had a real loser on their hands and decided to totally skip the next progression which would have been Windows 9.

So here we are in July of 2015 and at the end of the month MS will release what they are heralding “The Revolutionary new Windows 10.”

I have been beta testing Windows 10 on an older laptop for months and with the last couple of updates it’s almost ready for prime time.  I’ll admit that it boots up and shuts down in seconds instead of minutes which is very pleasing.  But, there still are a lot of changes that will take getting used to. 

Like it or not it’s here and if you use a PC as apposed to a MAC, you sooner or later will be using Windows 10 or some future variation.

So here’s the bottom line.  The best part is the new PC Operating System will be FREE to users of Windows 7 and 8.1 for one year after July 29th.

Windows LogoYou’ve probably seen the Windows logo down on the lower right taskbar near the time and date whether you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1.  If you click on it you can reserve your free copy of Windows 10, and read up about the new features. 

My advice, however, is not to install it immediately!  You have a whole year to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.  There will be bug fixes and patches soon after release, so let’s wait until things stabilize and the dust settles, then start our new learning process.

For the first time in Microsoft's history they are giving away an operating system and the reasoning is they want the world to adapt quickly, but of course there will be those that will cling to Windows 7 as long as possible.  But, when they finally give in they will have to pay.

Samsung or Apple?

Those who know me, know that I'm a photo & technology nut.

In June I was eligible for a new smartphone and I thought I'd be at Verizon when they opened the doors because I was counting the days. But, I've decided to practice some patience and wait until September.

That's when the new iPhone will be released. They will call it the 6S or the iPhone 7. Samsung's usual release is in March, but to rival Apple they too are rumored to unveil the new Galaxy S7 in September.

I've had both phones and my decision in 90 days will be who has the best camera. From what I've researched thus far it just might be the iPhone but it's still early in the game.

Galaxy 6

iPhone 6

So, who will be the winner this fall?  For me the camera is very important, for you it may be other specifications.

There is no perfect anything, but either Samsung or Apple will have the edge!

Actually, I’m not alone in practicing some patience.  A lot of people are satisfied with their present phone and are not so apt to run out and spend the bucks just because a newer model is released.  The marketing hype has worn off, and furthermore free operating system upgrades account for most of the big changes!

Some people get excited about megapixels.  The present iPhone, for example, features a camera with 8 MB and it’s rumored that the 6S will have 12MP.  One must keep in mind that megapixels have nothing to do with photo quality, only the size of prints. 8MB will comfortably print a 16x20, and besides how many people print photos from their phones?

Here are some thoughts about this subject from CNET.


Having had a career in aviation I’ve had a chance to see North America’s beautiful landscapes from the air.  Now that I’m retired it’s a joy to experience the highways and byways of America.  Being a photographer adds even more enjoyment by capturing those adventures through the eyes of my camera!
Travelling though Europe is an exceptional experience, but if you never get to do that there are so many adventures in America.  We are lucky to live in the Southwest and I believe Arizona, Colorado, and Utah offer a super opportunity for great travel and wonderful photos!
We have visited almost every National Park in the Country and they are certainly very valuable and appreciated assets of America!  My favorites are Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier.
A trip up the California coast is a great adventure.  A couple of years ago we drove from Phoenix to San Diego, stayed with friends and then worked ourselves up the coast to Napa Valley.  From Napa we drove East and spent time in Yosemite, then back to Phoenix.  This trip was so amazing we will duplicate it again soon!
There is nothing like travelling.  If you haven’t done it for a while, plan a trip even if it’s a short one!  Take lots of photos as they will provide memories for a lifetime!

Horseshoe BendElephant Arch Arizona Wilderness Moran Point
Click on Photos for Larger View

Computer Problem?

Did something strange just happen to your laptop or desktop?  Perhaps an icon disappeared from the taskbar, your Internet browser is acting funny, or an endless list of other small gripes.

There are things you can do before calling a tech.  Your first option is to re-boot your machine and most often that will supply the fix. If that doesn’t do the trick then Google the problem and most of the time you’ll come up with an answer.

A common fix when not being able to access the Internet is to pull the power (the small black cord) on your modem and your router if you have one.  Wait 30 seconds, then plug them back in, wait two minutes, then open your browser.  Chances are very good you’re now back on the Internet!
Caution:  Never let anyone take remote control of your computer unless it is a technician that you know personally.  This is a good way to get scammed!

Are you a Coffee Hound?

I’ve really never been a coffee drinker.  A few months ago we stayed at a bed and breakfast in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Quietly sitting in the dining room was a Keurig coffee maker.  Next to it was a display of different kinds of coffee in cute little container cups.  Pop one of those cups in the machine, tell it how many ounces you want and push the magic button.  Seconds later you have this exotic coffee drink.  Add sugar and cream to your liking and sip away.

Keurig2It was so good I looked forward to another flavor later that day.  So after an afternoon of exploring the country side and taking photos we returned to our nest, and you guessed it, headed for the Keurig.  This time I tried another flavor and liked it even better.

Of course after dinner that evening it was that time again.  This was becoming fun and I was really enjoying the experience!

This went on for the three days we stayed there and by the time we left I was hooked.  Arriving back in Phoenix, the first thing I did was to shop for this marvelous machine.  I went to many stores and by far the best deal was Sam’s Club.  They had the best price and it came with 45 K cups, many times more than other stores.

We tried a few different storage cabinets and the best one we found at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  The drawer pulls out and there sits a stock of 36 K-Cups enough coffee for a couple of days!  No, just kidding.  My favorite taste is “Donut Shop” but of course your liking will be different. 

One of the neat things is that there are dozens of flavors to choose from. I am now an official certified “Coffee Hound!”

Are You Protected?

This is really a leading question as it could pertain to a number of things in our lives, right?  I believe one of the biggest things where protection is needed is your computer and your cell phone. Protection means backing up your files which includes documents, music, photos, and your contacts.

If your cell phone or computer quits and these things are not backed up, they are lost forever!  This may be one of those things you think won’t happen, only to someone else. It’s kind of like never wearing your seat belt because you think you’ll never have an accident.

My PassportSo if you are not doing it, this is my strong advice.  Purchase a portable external hard drive.  My recommendation is the Western Digital “My Passport,” because it has the best auto back-up software. A 1TB drive will be more than enough for most people and will cost about $69.00.  This is a very inexpensive investment for the security of your digital files!

Simply plug it into a USB port, and do a one time software set up.  Now, when it’s plugged in, it will continually monitor anything that you save and instantly copy it to the drive.  Now you have two copies of all your files and when you computer or laptop fails you have your digital life saved!

Your cell phone back-up is different.  If you’re using an Android phone, simply plug it into a USB port on your laptop or desktop.  Now find the files you want to copy and paste them onto your external drive.

If you’re using an iPhone plug it into a USB port on your desktop or laptop and the back-up is accomplished using iTunes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the above procedures ask a friend who has this knowledge to help you.

We are living in a “Lost Generation of Photos” because everyone is taking pictures with their smartphones.  Because they are not backing up those photos, when a failure occurs the photos are lost!

Remember your photos are what you pass along for future generations to enjoy, so take lots and back them up!

A Time of Reflection……..

Picture yourself sitting on a boulder and gazing at this scene.  Perhaps you’ve packed a small picnic lunch, something you love to eat, and your favorite beverage. (Click photo for larger view.)

It’s quiet, except for a bird singing in a distant tree, and your thoughts wonder.  You reminisce about all the experiences you’ve had until this point in your life, and you relive some of those times especially the high points!  After a while you snap back into reality and get totally immersed into the moment.

It’s fall and the leaves are turning beautiful colors. You’re admiring the reflection in the water and your thoughts now turn to the present.

Where am I on the path of life?  Am I really happy, or just biding time?  Do I feel healthy?  What makes me smile?  What is my passion? 

Again, you’re engrossed with the beauty of your surroundings.  You take out your iPhone and take some pictures, then put on your earphones and listen to some soothing music.  Oh….the serenity of my being.

What’s next on the path of life?  What are my goals, challenges, and dreams?  You’re reminded of the lyrics from one of Diana Ross’ songs..
”Do you know where you’re going to..Do you like the things that life is showing you…Where are you going to….Do you know?”

Because of this “Time of Reflection” you feel energized, but you might realize that there’s something missing…sometimes you just don’t feel whole.  What is that feeling all about?

Maybe you don’t have a relationship with God.  Maybe you need to find a church and feel his presence. If you have a church maybe you should go more often.  If you have a church and don’t feel fulfilled maybe it’s time to find another.

If you’re reading this and live in Phoenix, you’re invited to Easter service at the Super Bowl!  It all takes place on Sunday, April 5th at 10:30.  Bring your family and friends and get there early (doors open at 9 am) because we’re expecting 60,000 people.  CCV (Christ’s Church of the Valley) is a non-denominational bible based church with 6 campus locations in the valley.  Step up, take a chance, it just may change your life!

The words of Diana’s song asks you “where are you going,” and God says in the Bible “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24

So many people travel from the womb to the tomb where other people push them.  If you place a toy sail boat in the ocean, where will it end up?  It’s no one’s guess. On your ocean of life, be the Captain of your ship and guide it to your destination!

So, we have reflected on the past, present and future.  Imagine the world you want to live in!  Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life's coming attractions!”

Walking down the path of life, say hello with a smile to everyone you meet.  Give someone a sincere compliment today and watch them light up.  Buy a stranger lunch the next time you visit a fast food restaurant….watch them light up and watch how it makes you feel!.

Be awesome today!

Please be Warned!

Monitor-ScamBe more aware of your Internet activities.  Remember that everything you post is out there forever!  Your computer has an Internet address and every site you visit has a record of it.  Be extra careful about posting too much personal information, especially on social sites like Facebook.  Never post your phone numbers on the Internet!  Facebook is famous for that.  You’ve probably had the message that says “For extra account security please furnish us with your cell phone number.”  I don’t think so!  You also leave an open invitation to burglars when you post on social sites that you’re out of town or going on a vacation.

Internet scams seem to get worse by the day.  There is an increasing amount of fake sites on the net and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys!  You may think you are on your banking site, but it’s really one that looks just like it.  Make sure you sign in under secure conditions and sign out when finished with your business.

Most of us have received an email informing that there is a problem with an account, but it can easily be rectified if you click on an enclosed link and furnish your account information.  Click on the link and you now have big problems.  Delete these kinds of emails!

Another big scam is the little window that pops up in the lower right corner of your computer screen informing you that you have problems.  Note the name of the program then remove it from your computer.  Also run Malwarebytes, a free program that will remove malware and spyware from your machine.

Calling from MSHere’s the scam winner!  A guy calls you on the phone identifying himself working for Microsoft or Windows and informs you that your computer has problems.  He asks you to turn on your machine and follow his directions.  (You should hang up right now!)  If you continue you will be informed that he has found very dangerous problems and for a dollar amount will fix them for you.  I have had customers who have given this phony caller credit card numbers, even their bank account number!  DON’T FALL FOR THIS SCAM!  You will never receive a phone call from Microsoft or any other legitimate company informing you of such bunk! 

What really prompted me to write this is that I personally got that call today, only the fraud at the other end was in for a surprise. I played along with him for 5 minutes, then informed him that I was an IT guy and he was a fake and I was going to call the FBI.  He hung up immediately.

Be security conscious at all times, not only on the Internet but anywhere you happen to be!

How long will you live?

Have you ever read anything that inspires or motivates you?  Sure you have.  And have you ever noticed that a lot of motivational speakers inspire people because they lived through a tragedy that brought them close to death?  Since they had such an experience and because of that experience, they talk about enjoying each moment of each day.

How many days do you have left on this earth?  We don’t know and that’s a concerning question that sets us back a bit.  What if you knew the end would happen this Saturday?  Would you live those remaining days differently? Well I’m sure the answer would be an astounding yes!

We’ve all heard people say “I’ll really be happy when I reach 16,” or “I’ll really be happy when I get married, or divorced, when I retire, or win the lottery.”  The list goes on and on.  We tend to put off happiness and joy until tomorrow when we should be relishing each moment of today! 

Today is the day you dreamt about yesterday, in fact it’s always today!  If it’s always today then shouldn’t we live life to the fullest today?

My own father was an example of procrastinating joy and happiness.  He owned his own business in the Midwest and didn’t take a vacation the last 15 years of his life.  His promise was that he’d find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when he retired.  He said that he and my mother would move to Sun City, Arizona, enjoy the sunshine, make new friends, buy a motor home, travel, and “be happy.”

Well, that’s exactly what he did.  He sold the business, and retired on his 65th birthday.  They moved to Sun City.  The first Saturday after settling in their new house, they went out to dinner to celebrate their new life, and after returning home he died suddenly of a heart attack.

Only one week of sunshine, no new friends, no motor home, no traveling, no joy of retiring that he promised himself and others for the past 15 years.

Take time today to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have.  The more gratitude you have the more joy you will experience!

Research has shown that most lotto winners end up in bankruptcy and today are leading a miserable life.  The happiest people on this planet are the ones with a passion for what they do and live life daily with a positive attitude!

Take a few minutes right now and write down things that make you happy.  Be grateful for the things that you have and things that make you smile, and tell someone in your life today that you love them.


I love you Arizona……..

I love Arizona….everything about it.  The desert, the lakes, streams, canyons, mountains, and the pine trees in the high country.  As a photographer our diverse and beautiful State offers vistas that my camera simply falls in love with!

A visit to Page, Arizona offers the breathtaking experience of the Antelope Slot Canyons and Horseshoe Bend.  Arizona is world renowned for the majesty of the Grand Canyon.  Then there’s Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Roosevelt Dam, just to name a few, in fact the list is long!

Upper AntelopeHorseshoe Bend

Moran Point

Hoover Dam

Ninety minutes North of Phoenix is another must visit; the splendor of Sedona.  This secluded community is nestled in red rock formations and is quite an experience at every turn of the road.  Sites to see are Schnebly Hill, The Chapel of the Holy Cross, view from the airport, Red Rock State Park, shopping and dining in downtown and Tlaquepaque. The ride up 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff is simply magnificent!

Chapel SedonaRed Rock Crossing
Southern Arizona also has its charms including the sites and sounds of Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbee, and the Kartchner Caverns.

Super Bowl 49 Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and the hub of activities and entertainment!  Sports?  We have them all: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, & Golf.  During a ten day period, the first part of this year, Phoenix was on the world map with the Barrett-Jackson Auto Show, The Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, The Pro Bowl, and the Super Bowl.  I can’t think of any city in the world that had this much excitement all essentially in two weeks!

We are the winter home for many baseball teams including our own Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers!

DougArizona has a new leader, Governor Doug Ducey, former State Treasurer and founder of Coldstone Ice Cream. Governor Ducey promises to improve education and advertise the State as the “place to be for small business!” Apple recently announced a two billion dollar data center to be located in Mesa.

Sheriff JoeAnother strong Arizona leader is long time Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He rules Maricopa County with a strong arm and is known as “America’s toughest Sheriff.”  He was first elected in 1993 and at the age of 82 will run again this year. Joe says “If you don’t want to eat bologna sandwiches and wear pink underwear, then don’t come to my jail!”

You gotta love a place that has 333 days of sunshine a year and the world’s most beautiful sunsets!

Sunset 11-12-14

And now you know a few reasons why “I love Arizona!”

All photos by Gary Stanley and you may click on them for a larger view.

Windows 10

Remember way back in 1995 when Microsoft introduced Windows 95?  That was a huge step from Windows 3.1.  Since then we’ve had many operating systems, some good some bad.  Windows XP had a 14 year run and 10% of all desktop users are still holding out.  Windows ME and Vista were dogs, but Windows 7 brought back the faith.

Windows 10Windows 8 came out a couple of years ago and has been a total flop.  Now Microsoft is trying their best to pull us back into the fold with Windows 10.  When it’s released sometime this year it will be a free upgrade for users of 7 and 8.  They are promising big changes and maybe even a respectable start button!

Check out the full story from CNET.

Windows 7 Exits Mainstream Support

That’s the headline and it takes effect on Tuesday January 13th, 2015.  But don’t panic, that doesn’t mean the end of one of Microsoft's most popular operating systems.

Leaving mainstream support only means that Windows 7 won't be receiving any new features or product tweaks.  So relax, it’s not going anywhere for years, thank goodness!

The full story from PCWorld.