Archive for Software

Word for Chromebook

Need help installing Word on your Chromebook? Call Skylark NetWorks at (516) 308-2759 or read on.

One of the most frequent calls I’ve received lately as a computer repair technician revolves around the new Chromebooks using the ChromeOS Operating System. The typical call sounds like this:

Caller: How do I install Microsoft Word on my Chromebook? I can’t get Word to work on my Chromebook.

Skylark NetWorks: Do you have a Windows or a Mac version of the Microsoft Word software that you are trying to install on your Chromebook?

Caller: Yes! I have the _________ version. (Fill in the blank)

Skylark NetWorks: You can’t install that on your Chromebook because your Chromebook isn’t a Mac or a Windows computer, but —

Caller: So what do I do? I need a word processor, and I prefer to use Word.

Skylark NetWorks: I would recommend you go to the Microsoft Office Apps website at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps. Then you can use and share your Word documents anywhere.

Get Started with Microsoft Office Web Apps

Since Chromebook users cannot install Microsoft Word on Chromebook because Chromebook uses ChromeOS, a Linux-based operating system which doesn’t support Microsoft Windows-based or Mac-based software.

This doesn’t mean that you’re locked out forever from working on Word documents. There are a number of ways Chromebook users work on Word documents, and their Excel and PowerPoint files, too. You already know these are important file types, and having access to them is a must.

Download Microsoft Office Web App

This Chrome app was generated by Microsoft to allow Chromebook users the chance to go online and use Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The web app also gives you access to Microsoft’s Cloud Storage Service called SkyDrive.

Alternate: Google Docs

Have you heard of Google Docs? It’s a free service from Google. Google Docs can open and edit most of the popular file types of Microsoft Office including Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Since your Chromebook was also developed by Google it is the perfect tool for working with Google Docs.

FYI: Anyone Can Use Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft’s Office Web Apps aren’t just for Chromebook users. Your can use it on just about any desktop, laptop, netbook, or tablet computer.

Steps to help prevent infection on your computer

Here are some tips for PC and Mac users alike — and smartphone users, too. Though there are “few” Mac viruses in the wild, there are plenty of unscrupulous programmers and con-men spreading free fraudulent software and malware.

Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your computer:
  • Enable a firewall on your computer.
  • Get the latest computer updates for all your installed software.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Limit user privileges on the computer.
  • Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers.
  • Use caution when clicking on links to webpages.
  • Avoid downloading pirated software.
  • Protect yourself against social engineering attacks.
  • Use strong passwords.
Let me elaborate on a few points:
Get the latest computer updates

Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. It is important to install updates for all the software that is installed in your computer. These are usually available from the providing company’s website. The following are programs I recommend updating straight from the source:

  • Adobe (www.adobe.com):
    • Flash
    • Acrobat Reader
    • Air
    • Shockwave
  • Java (www.java.com): Check this one monthly.
Use up-to-date antivirus software

Most antivirus software can detect and prevent infection by known malicious software. To help protect you from infection, you should always run antivirus software. If you have a “subscription” for update service, make sure you renew annually. Antivirus, contrary to popular belief, is not free-for-life.

Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers

Exercise caution with email and attachments received from unknown sources, or received unexpectedly from known sources. Use extreme caution when accepting file transfers from known or unknown sources. When in doubt, reply to the sender, assuming it is someone you know, and confirm that they meant to send you the attachment. It’s possible their computer is infected and sent you the file without their knowledge. I’ve seen this happen several timers in the course of a year.

Use caution when clicking on links to webpages

As above: Exercise caution with links to webpages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a webpage that you are not familiar with, unsure of the destination of, or suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your computer simply by visiting a webpage with harmful content.

Avoid downloading pirated software

Threats may also be bundled with software and files that are available for download on various torrent sites. Downloading “cracked” or “pirated” software from these sites carries not only the risk of being infected with malware, but is also illegal. For more information, see ‘The risks of obtaining and using pirated software‘.

Protect yourself from social engineering attacks

While attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in hardware or software to compromise a computer, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior to persuade the affected user to perform an action of the attacker’s choice, it is known as ‘social engineering’. Essentially, social engineering is an attack against the human interface of the targeted computer. For more information, see ‘What is social engineering?‘.

Use strong passwords

Attackers may try to gain access to your Windows account by guessing your password. It is therefore important that you use a strong password – one that cannot be easily guessed by an attacker. A strong password is one that has at least eight characters, and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/create.mspx.

Office 2010 – Better Than Ever

If you run a small business you should have (or upgrade to) Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business Edition. This package provides you with the leading word processing package, Microsoft Word, and the top spreadsheet application, Excel. Beyond that you get PowerPoint for quick and easy presentations (slideshows), and Outlook for managing your email.

Outlook 2010 has proven so useful for managing my email because I have so many email accounts. People always ask “Which email address should I use for you, Robert?”, and I say, “Any of them; they all go to the same place.” That place is my Outlook Inbox. The other great thing about Outlook is the mail rules. I can have it flag or sort important messages as they arrive. Flags add them to my To Do list so I know which mails need to be looked at right away.

Download Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 today and try it free for 3 days. And feel free to leave comments or questions here.

Half Off Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 Video Editor and DVD Maker

For longer than I can remember, I have been using and recommending Corel’s VideoStudio Pro package for excellent, affordable, and easy-to-use editing of digital video and for making your own DVDs.

Corel never rests in their efforts to keep these product competitive, modern, and up-to-date with the latest home video standards. The latest version, VideoStudio Pro X4, is no exception.

At its regular price of $100 it is still a great buy, but currently you can acquire this software for half that, $50.

VideoStudio Pro X4

VideoStudio Pro X4

Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 is the powerful, creative and easy way to take your video footage from shoot to showfast. Quickly load, organize and trim SD or HD video clips. Easily cut together your production from templates and get creative with amazing effects, music, titles, transitions and more. Explore new Stop Motion Animation and Time-Lapse tools, then export to 3D! Share anywhereon iPhone and other mobile devices, disc, your favorite website or your TV. …







Save on Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 with a subscription from Adobe

Adobe provide great tools for creating graphic images for print or for the web. They also provide great tools for touching up and enhancing your digital photos. If you’ve ever need to create a PDF, then Adobe  Acrobat is the best choice — after all, they invented the format in the first place.

An excellent way to get all these tools is to buy Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard, but if you are on a tight or limited budget — perhaps you’re a student or considering a career change — then this package of software can be very pricey.

Fortunately, Adobe offers a subscription plan for this most useful software package. For only $65 per month you can have a completely up to date, and constantly updated versions of:

  • Photoshop® CS5 (699)
  • Illustrator® CS5 (599)
  • InDesign® CS5.5 (699)
  • Acrobat® X Pro (449)

Buying new copies of these programs would cost you a total of $2,446, but Adobe’s very affordable subscription program gives them to you for $65 per month (with a one year commitment).

Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard Subscription Edition (one-year)-Subscription

Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard Subscription Edition (one-year)-Subscription

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard
Deliver high-impact print designs using industry-standard software for editing digital images, creating eye-catching vector graphics, and laying out stunning pages that incorporate elegant typography. Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 Design Standard software combines the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Acrobat® Pro, and more. This comprehensive toolkit offers many features that let you freely express your wildest ideas without sacrificing quality, precision, or speed. Plus, now you can extend beyond print with dynamic presentations, beautifully designed eBooks, and immersive digital magazines* that marry the appeal of interactivity with the quality of traditional print.

*Adobe Digital Publishing Suite requires a separate license and payment of associated fees. Learn more.






End of Windows XP Support

No More Microsoft Windows XP

No More Microsoft Windows XPIn less than 1,000 days, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop issuing security patches, updates, and hotfixes for all versions of Windows XP.

You may, or may not, be aware that Microsoft issues FREE updates to Windows and other Microsoft software products every Tuesday evening. Most computers will automatically retrieve them when the computer is connected to the Internet. (Although, some people, who don’t know about the service, choose not to install them. Is that you?)

On April 8, 2014, PCs running Windows XP will no longer find updates and fixes to download, so those computers will remain at risk to any new security threats that arise. Furthermore, many other companies (known as “third party” providers) will no offer service or support for their hardware or software applications on systems using Windows XP.

What about businesses using Windows XP? Business owners and managers may find this may generate more complexity, security risks, and ultimately, added management costs for IT departments.

Industry analysts say that it can take from 12 to 18 months for an organization to migrate, and a recent Gartner report stated that “more than 50% of organizations that do not start deploying Windows 7 by early 2012 will not complete their deployments before Windows XP support ends.” (Read “Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP“)

Several other versions of Windows have had their service runs ended within the last year.

Previous End of Support Schedules for Other Windows Operating Systems

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) support ended on July 12, 2011. SP2 is still being supported.
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2*) support ended on July 13, 2010. SP3 is the most recent and last service pack issued for XP systems.
  • Windows 2000 support ended on July 13, 2010.
  • Windows Vista Release to Manufacturing (RTM) support ended April 13, 2010.

Ready to Deploy Windows 7? Whether your a home user or a business user, I encourage you to consider making the move to Windows 7. If you feel your computer is still going strong on XP you may find it runs even better on Windows 7. Otherwise, if your budget allows, you may find it’s more cost effective to buy a new system.

Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer

What about the files on my old system? Moving fromWindows 7 from Windows XP is easier than ever. Windows 7 comes with powerful tools to assist and guide you every step of the way. If you decide to get a new system, you can use Window Easy Transfer to move your files from one system to another using a network or USB flash drive.

Some of the world’s most prominent companies have made the move to Windows 7 like Boeing, InfoSys, Dell, Samsung, and BMW and getting benefit from the cost-savings, security, and productivity gains Windows 7 delivers.

On the homefront. I have helped several people upgrade their Windows XP computers to Windows 7, and they say their computer is faster than it was with Windows XP. I have been very impressed with Windows 7’s performance. It’s easy to install, and works great with every device I’ve connected to my computer — specially with devices that weren’t supported by Windows Vista (hiss).

Need help? If you have any questions you can send them to me at skylarkingblog @ gmail.com or with the contact page on this site. Or consult with your local computer service professional.

Windows 7 from The Microsoft Store. You can purchase Windows 7 on DVD from The Microsoft Store. If you have more than one computer in your home, or your family, then I recommend the orange package below. It will allow you to upgrade 3 computers for one low price. It’s my favorite package. Click the image below for more information.

Also, if you get the Home Premium version or the Professional version, you can always upgrade to a higher level for a reasonable price using the Windows Anytime Upgrade feature on your Windows 7 installation. I have used it to upgrade one Home Premium computer to a Professional system.

Save up to $200 on Corel products, a Skylarking special

You’ve got less than 2 weeks to take advantage of some great savings from Corel, a 2010 award winning leader in video, graphics, and photo editing tools. About a week ago an affiliate coordinator at Corel contacted me/Skylarking with New Year’s specials on Corel products. Savings start at $40 ($90 and more if you consider the value of the bonuses they include). These apply to their most popular software packages — several of which I have used or use regularly. Buy $80 in products and they ship for $1.  It’s not free shipping, but at least they aren’t trying to make up the difference in savings with shipping and handling fees. Read on for the deals!

Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X3PaintShop Pro X3. ($99, $59): I started using PaintShop Pro about 16 years ago, and I still turn to it frequently. It’s an easy to use alternative to Adobe’s PhotoShop Elements. With it you’ll organize and edit your photos and graphics images with ease. It’ll handle digital and hi-def (HD) videos, too. Sharing on Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube is a click away with built-in tools— I don’t think Elements offers that functionality — and, let’s face it, most of us edit and touch up photos just for sharing them online.

VideoStudio Express ESD Corel takes $40 off PaintShop Pro X3 for January, so it’s yours for $59.99. They’ll give you a free copy of VideoStudio Express ESD (a $50 value) so you can edit your videos with a professional look for sharing online or converting for iPod, iPhone, PSP, and smartphone playback. Total Savings: $89.99.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 VideoStudio Pro X3. ($99) They told me this would be going for $59.99, but it looks like its actually selling for $49.99 and if you buy before Jan. 20 you’ll get FREE shipping. It gets better: (1) buy another Corel product and they’ll take off another $10, (2) save 60% if upgrading from Adobe Premiere Elements. VideoStudio Pro X3 has been my choice for video editing, DVD creation, and YouTube uploads for several years now. I use it both for my business video prsentations and for saving my family videos, too. VideoStudio Pro X3 creates standard and HD DVDs, plus Blu-ray formats, and they have tools for sharing online with YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. PLUS you get a FREE download copy of Corel PaintShop Photo Express 2010 (a $50 value). Total Savings: $108.99.

Those were some of the highlights among their offerings for January 2011. Here’s the rest of the good news for getting your digital new year off to a great start.

Corel Photo & Video Pro Bundle Save $50 on
Corel Photo & Video Pro Bundle. Only $99.99 Plus get KPT collection free ($100 Value).
Save $100—200 on
Corel Painter 11.
Only $199 full or $99 for the upgrade. Painter 11
Changing whats possible in Digital Art.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 Get a free gift with the purchase of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5. Free Unleashed X5 training DVD ($80 Value).
  CoreDRAW X5 Premium Save up to $120 on
CorelDRAW Premium
X5
. From $239 for the upgrade. Premium design software for print, web design, and video editing.
Corel WordPerfect OfficeJumpstart your year and business with
Corel WordPerfect Office. Now Only $249 + receive a set of business templates worth $155. (WordPerfect upgrade package is only $159.)

Updated Posts: AntiVirus for Mac; Sneak Peek Sale

Back in Dec. 2008 I wrote a post titled Apple Encourages AntiVirus Use for Macs?! I updated the article today to include links to the latest AntiVirus and AntiSpyware applications for the Mac. If you still believe that Macs are invulnerable to viruses and spyware, then you may be interested in knowing that Apple has added anti-malware features to their latest Mac Snow Leopard operating system. See Dan Moren’s report at PCWorld on the Hidden Malware Features of Snow Leopard. I mentioned some risks to Mac users in recent weeks.

I also updated the links in my Jan. 2009 post about sale items on Buy.com. I’ve crossed out the items that are not available. I’ve updated the links and proces on the items that are available. It’s a useful link because many of the items have become very affordable.

Taking a Screenshot in Word 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 has lots of new and improved features. One feature which will prove very useful is the new screenshot button in Word 2010. With it you can take a snapshot (screenshot) of any image or window on screen. Furthermore, you can crop and edit those shots, too.

This can be a very useful feature for writing articles while including images from websites or other sources on your computer. This tool is found on the “Insert” ribbon in Word 2010. Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft replaced the familiar toolbars with a “ribbon”, thereby reveling features that had long been buried and hard to find.

To take a screen shot, you click the “Insert” tab above the ribbon. (See picture below). You’ll see the Screenshot tool has a arrow below it. Whenever you see a downward pointing arrow on the ribbon that indicates that other options will be made available to you when you click such a tool.

Screenshot Tool in Word 2010

In the case of the Screenshot button, it will reveal “screenshots” of all the available windows from actively running programs on your screen. For example, I might be working on a spreadsheet or browsing a website when I come across information or images I’d like to include in a Word document. In Word 2010 I could click the “Screenshot” button and a snapshot of these open windows would be displayed in Word. Then I juct click on the image of the window I want to include in my document, and voila!, that’s it. The image is embedded into my document.

If you want to just show a portion of a window, then select the “Screen Clipping” link at the bottom. (Show at right). Then the last screen you displayed is redisplayed (but faded) with some crosshairs for you to drag a selection around the portion of the image you want to display, then Word embeds that portion into your Word document.

Need to enhance the image further? Use the the “Picture” tools tab to manipulate your new image.

Buy or Try Out Microsoft Office 2010 Online from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Download can be yours today for only $149. Or you can order the package and have Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 delivered anywhere you choose. The Home and Student edition comes with the popular Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications.

Business users might be interested in either Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote) or Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (Includes all the previous applications, plus the Access database application and Publisher). These packages cost $280 and $499 respectively and are available for download or delivery.

For Windows (Windows 7, Vista, or XP SP3)


Microsoft Office
Home and Student 2010

$149

Microsoft Office
Home and Business 2010

$279

Microsoft Office
Professional 2010

$499

For Mac (Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later)


Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Student 2011

$149

Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Business 2011 Download

$279

Track Expenses and Save Money. Get MS Money for Free.

Microsoft Money 2007

It’s always a good idea to track your cashflow — where’s does your money come from and where does it go. It’s something I “try to do” on a daily basis. I keep a notepad in my pocket so I can write down where and on what I spend my money. Then at the end of the day “I try” to enter it into my computer, and categorize my expenditures (ie gas, office supplies, groceries, newspapers, cellphone bill, etc.).

Microsoft Money 2007For the last 13 years (Ooo, I hate that number) I’ve been using Microsoft Money to track my cash. I could track my cash, credit cards, savings and checking accounts, and PayPal all with that one program. There were better know programs, like Quicken and Quickbooks, but I found MS Money did everything I needed to do, and it was easy to use — just as familiar as Microsoft Word. Go figure (no pun intended).

Money in Decline. Just about 2 years ago, August 2008, with Money Plus and Money Plus Deluxe, Microsoft announced there would be no new version of Money in 2009, and that you would only be able to get MS Money via online downloads. There would be no more copies on the store shelves.

Then back in June 2009, Microsoft announced they would be stopping sales on Microsoft Money altogether since there were so many other ways to track one’s money online.

* Sidenote: That’s a reference to those hoaxes that circulated in the past that Microsoft and Bill Gates would give you cash for circulating emails on their behalf. That was a hoax, but getting Microsoft Money Plus Sunset for free is no hoax.

Money Resurfaces — and its Free! Hurray for Free Money! Now, well, just this past June 2010, Microsoft released Money Plus Sunset, as a free download. Yep, Microsoft is giving ‘Money’ away *. Click here to download your free copy of Microsoft Money Plus Sunset edition direct from Microsoft. And there’s no strings attached. they don’t ask for any personal information whatsoever, not even your email address. Just click and download.

Alternatives. As I started writing and researching this post I fully had it in mind to switch to Intuit’s Quicken Starter Edition before moving onto Quicken for Home and Business. Along the way I discovered Money Plus Sunset edition was free, so I’ll be sticking with Microsoft Money a little longer.

If you’re looking to track your expenses and you’d like to try some of these other programs, here are some good prices I found online. Please use my links so they’ll know Skylarking: The Tech Tip Blog sent you.

You can still buy Intuit Quicken 2008 Starter Edition Financial Management – PC for less than $21 including shipping. Or you can get the latest version, Intuit Quicken 2010 Starter Edition for $29.99 plus shipping etc. That’s a picture of the box at left.

Business User? If you run a business, then you might consider Intuit Quicken Home and Business 2010 for $100. This is a great program for checking things such as your credit cards, 401(k), and other investments. You can also distinguish between business and personal accounts as well as business expenses paid for on a personal account. when tax time comes ’round you’ll also be able to print out Schedule C reports and export your data to TurboTax. You can even try Quicken Picks, for online coupons and discounts, using this version.

Going All Out? Quicken is the kid brother to Quickbooks. This is the program used by many accounting firms and businesses. You can get started with Quickbooks Pro 2010 for Windows for $120 or Quickbooks Pro 2010 for Mac for $180. If you’re already a Quickbooks user, or you want to know more about the program, then you might need a copy of Quickbooks 2010 All-in-One for Dummies. It’s no secret that I have a shelf full of Dummies books.

Price Break. Need External Storage? Checkout this massive 1,000 gigabyte external drive from Office Depot! Great for photos, videos, and music storage. Seagate(R) FreeAgent(TM) Desk External USB 2.0 Hard Drive, 1TB (1,000GB)